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djquinnc's Profile

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Great Dessert at the Grove Los Angeles

It's not going to fit the bill. But let me state for the record: I cannot visit that complex without buying a sugar glazed at Bob's Donuts at the Farners Market. Fluffy and yeasty. Very happy making.

Italian Pre NYC Marathon Meal

You want to carbo-load? Becco has that AYCE pasta thing going on:

http://becco-nyc.com/wp-content/uploa...

Oct 16, 2014
djquinnc in Manhattan

Where To Eat Near Downtown?

Kang Hodong Baekjeong? Soot Bull Jeep? Kobawoo House? Not seafood per se, but close to your location.

Oct 16, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Best Mexican food in WLA?

When I lived near the 405 eons ago, I ate at Tito's Tacos weekly. Is it "authentic? -- you be the judge. Having said that, if I still lived in the neighborhood, I'm sure my weekly visits would resume. Those tubs of salsa with the mysterious white froth on the top makes me very happy. It's no Ciro's, but something about those hard shell tacos takes me back in the best possible way.

Oct 16, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area
1

NYC for 2 dinners, which one would you pick?

I have had both the 5 course and 7 course tasting menus at Annisa. The 5 course was perfect. The 7 course left me uncomfortably stuffed. To their credit, they do not skimp on the tasting portions. And the 7 course included a cheese course which was, in my opinion, superfluous in light of the wonderful dishes that were served.

Oct 16, 2014
djquinnc in Manhattan

Suggestions for vegetarian-friendly dinners in Fairfax or WeHo area, downtown, and Santa Monica area

Araya's Place on Beverly/Crecent Heights and Bulan Thai on Melrose/Formosa are perfectly good vegan Thai options in the area. M Café de Chaya on Melrose/Detroit has plenty of good veg/vegan options as well. In the same mini-mall as M Café, Tatsu Ramen apparently has a vegan offering on the menu, which I cannot vouch for,

Oct 14, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Night+Market Song (A Photo Story and Review)

Fantastic write up. That Nam Khao Tod is one of the most memorable things I've had in recent months, despite my struggles to fight through all of the chili! Totally worth the struggle.

Oct 13, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Sashimi

So, although my resolve to go paleo was promptly placed on the back burner (I love all manner of food too much for that to be a tenable way of life for me to adhere to), I still maintained this notion to go to Matsuhisa at one point. So, I went for lunch today.

I was offered three levels of omakase at the bar: $100, $150, or $200. Wisely, I chose the least expensive option. Although it was not a bad meal per se, I left disappointed. For lack of a better word, the food lacked refinement. And the overarching flavor of the meal was abrasive acidity. There were two dishes in which unrestrained fumes of vinegar rose up into my throat and gave me an almost instant sense of agita. One of the dishes, a "sashimi" salad was presented on a rather large bed of "mixed baby greens" and drowning in an onion dressing. Another dish, "whitefish tempura" was soaking in one of these aggressive vinaigrettes, which rendered the breading utterly limp, while dressed with a heap of thinly shredded red onions and some jalapeno slices, in case I wanted it to be "more spicy." The "signature black cod" was on the very edge of declaring itself overcooked and didn't have that umami-rich flavor and almost gelatinous mouth-feel that I've had with other versions (that I am assuming are borrowed ideas from Nobu Matsuhisa).

I'm certainly glad that I didn't go for a larger price point. If more expensive ingredients would have been treated with the same lack of discernment, I would have been downright pissed. In contrast, The $125 lower end omakase I had recently at Sushi Tsujita was leagues above the meal I had today. Another point to mention was that not a single staff member greeted me as I was leaving. That to me in concerning.

I'm sure there is a place for Matsuhisa in the LA dining scene. A lot of the patrons resembled the old Hollywood types that tend to frequent Spago as well. I'm glad that I dived in and gave it a shot, but I can't see myself returning. If want this sort of gilded lily cuisine in the future, I'll just head over the hill and go to OG Katsu-Ya on Ventura. I think theirs is a better representation of this sort of dining experience.

Oct 13, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Planning a Trip in January

Thank you for the very thorough feedback!

I had some of the same thoughts about BH@SB, but I'm not sure when I might be back again. I had a similar experience at Manresa, which is also highly dependent upon their farm's output and the seasons. One meal during the summertime was exceptional, while another at wintertime fell flat. Coming from SoCal, the idea of meandering around a snowy farm in the countryside is a very romantic notion as well.

I thought about Carbone, but there is a fair chance that a bunch of these meals will be solo (can't expect my friends and family to indulge to the level that I sometimes set for myself). It seems that a tasting menu at Torisi might be more practical than a series of larger plates at Carbone for one.

Thank you for altering me about Cosme. I had the pleasure of eating at Pujol earlier this year and my mind was blown. I'd go back there in a heartbeat (that is, if Mexico City was a tiny bit closer to me).

We had a meal at The Clam my last visit earlier this year. It was a mixed bag. The raw preparations were really on point, while the cooked dishes sort of fell flat.

I'm going to take a closer look at some of your other suggestions as well - thank you!

Oct 13, 2014
djquinnc in Manhattan

Planning a Trip in January

Hello, everyone. I am planning my annual trip to NYC and want to get some feedback before I start my reservation frenzy. I will be there for five nights in January and have the following ideas popping through my head:

Lunch:

-Ko (I've been there for dinner twice and loved it, but never lunch)
-Blue Hill at Stone Barns (thinking Sunday lunch)
-Betony
-Torisi Italian Specialties

Dinner:

-Anissa (been twice before, loved it, and kind of want to go again to give the middle finger to Michelin)
-Atera
-Marc Forgione
-Mondays with Jesse at Recette (I will be there on the second Monday of the month)

Full disclosure: I will most certainly have at least one meal at Monument Lane where my brother-in-law is the executive chef and an truly outstanding cook (plug, plug, plug....)

Just wondering if the aforementioned places are still worthy of the visit at this point in time and I trust the good word of the Manhattan 'hounds. Thanks in advance.

Oct 13, 2014
djquinnc in Manhattan

Chengdu Taste for Beginners

That's the thing I neglected to mention! Each of us got out of there at $25 each, including tip. To say it's a great value would be an understatement.

Oct 13, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Chengdu Taste for Beginners

Thanks for all of the feedback. Our party of six arrived on Saturday somewhere between 4:30 and 5:00pm and were seated immediately. To the best of my memory, this is what we ordered:

Toothpick mutton
Chengdu fried rice
Spicy eggplant
Sauteed lettuce
Fried lion fish
Boiled fish in green pepper sauce
Kung pao chicken
Lima bean vermicelli soup
Plum juice

The only two dishes I didn't try were the fried rice and the chicken, simply due to disinterest. However, everything else completely met my expectations. And was not as spicy as I anticipated (caveat: two of my friends asked our server if they could tone it down a bit - having said that, there was plenty of visible chili flake, chili oil, sliced chilies, and Sichuan peppercorns observed and consumed.)The standouts for me were the mutton and the boiled fish. The mutton's flavorings were very reminiscent of the skewers at Feng Mao in K-Town, but far more addictive. The boiled fish was the standout for me in terms of uniqueness and complexity of flavors. As a complete neophyte to Sichuan cuisine, this is the dish that will make me wish to return. I was a little perplexed when at first sniff of the plum juice(one friend thought it smelled reminiscent of BBQ sauce) but it wound up being the perfect accompaniment to the meal. Not a bad dish in the bunch. A very satisfying experience.

Our main server, Bruce, was a great help, but we were pretty much left alone for the next two and a half hours while we ate. I was wondering if this might account for the long waits. There were no discernible efforts to turn the tables to be seen. This was advantageous for us, as some of us hadn't seen each other for a while and it was a delight to catch up over such a fantastic meal.

Thanks again to everyone who gave such sound advice. I had a wonderful time.

Oct 13, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area
1

Lunch at Connie & Ted's

My last couple of visits, we have ordered a burger to share. I really do think it's one of the best in town.

Oct 10, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Hinoki and the Bird…very good, but...

I concur. My one visit will probably be my last. Nothing was bad, but not one dish had any POW/BAM/WOW/ZING in the slightest.

Oct 05, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Chengdu Taste for Beginners

A small group of us are planning to dine at Chengdu Taste next Saturday, probably late afternoon/early evening.

1. I understand that there is more than one location now. Is there a difference/preference?

2. Any tips on mitigating the anticipated wait (good times to arrive, etc.)?

3. I think I have a good idea what I am getting into, in terms of spice level. Having said that, I have a ridiculously low tolerance for heat. Is it likely that I will be suffering the entire time? Still, I am willing to give it a shot as the flavors sound amazing.

Thanks in advance.

Oct 05, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Solo Business Trip to LA area - Recommendations?

A strong +1 for Pizzeria Mozza and an additional nudge towards Osteria Mozza, my favorite place in the city for solo dining.

Oct 05, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Alma or Orsa & Winston, if you could choose one?

I'm having a hard time remembering what the optional dishes were. I believe that one was a liver preparation of some sort.

Oct 03, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Alma or Orsa & Winston, if you could choose one?

We had the five course. We were just about sated, but could have easily gone with a lengthier option or taken advantage of some of the optional add-ons.

Qualifier: I do not have a massive appetite, nor do I enjoy feeling like I have dined past a comfortable limit.

Oct 03, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Michelin New York 2015 results

Sincerest apologies if my mention of the geographical location sounded like a dig. Wasn't meant to be, although I can see how it would read like one.

Oct 03, 2014
djquinnc in Manhattan

Michelin New York 2015 results

This is the mind boggler for me. Annisa is one of the places I long to return on each visit to NYC. I might be speaking out of turn, but how does Annisa not get elevated to two stars while a Thai place in Queens with pictures on the menu receive one? Michelin seems decidedly unreliable at this point. I want to give Anita Lo a hug.

Won't be returning to Per Se

Agreed that it all boils down to personal taste.

One of the enduring memories of my one visit to Per Se was how markedly stoic the service was. I remember asking the somm what they had in terms of non-alcoholic beverages, and he replied in the most unemotional tone, "Anything you want." Now, everyone knows this is an unreasonable statement by any account, and not very helpful. In retrospect, I should have asked him to get met some freshly milked yak cream, warm from the udder, to see what might have happened.

In contrast, my one visit to French Laundry was much warmer and informative in contrast. I even remember the name of our main server, Olivia. There was connection and assistance.

Another compare and contrast: earlier this year, I ate lunch across the street at Jean Georges. Not as warm as TFL, but certainly friendly than Per Se. As a bonus, my meal at JG was far more exciting and delicious than what I had at Per Se to boot.

I suppose it does depends on one's one personal preferences. Chalk it up to me being a native SoCal dude, but I like my service to be simultaneously bright and friendly while maintaining appropriate professional standards. What I really appreciate is a server that can quickly pick up on the fact that I am not stuffy at all and can relax and have a bit of fun with me while I am dining with them for the next few hours, in the cases mentioned above. I don't see myself going back to Per Se for the fact that none of the dishes I consumed delighted me sufficiently. And that's fine. One of the joys of visiting NYC is the diversity that can be found even within the strata of three/four star establishments (depending on who's stars you are looking at).

Oct 03, 2014
djquinnc in Manhattan
1

Alma or Orsa & Winston, if you could choose one?

I know I'm chiming in a bit late, but I think you made a well informed choice. I went to Alma once when it first opened. The food was delicious and inventive and the service was warm, attentive, and very accommodating. . My meal at Orsa and Winston was not "bad" per se: the quality of the ingredients was top notch, as was the execution. However, each dish was too familiar -- something I have had a similar version somewhere before, but in significantly smaller portion sizes. And as for their service policies: if you are going to make a big deal about charging extra for accommodating dietary restrictions, then please go ahead and charge me rather than serve me the very thing that I don't eat.

All of this discussion has piqued my interest in returning to Alma again. Enjoy your meal!

Oct 02, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Italian Dinner-Los Angeles (Decisions?)

Agreed. No matter how chaotic, I've always nabbed a seat with relative ease.

Sep 30, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Italian Dinner-Los Angeles (Decisions?)

I like all three. Having said that, I would pick Bestia and Angelini Osteria over Drago Centro for sure, although it has it's charms. And if really pressed, I would have to place Angelini Osteria over them all just for the lasagne verde -- has to be the best version in the city and worthy of the trip alone. In addition, their branzino and veal chop Milanese are sublime.

Sep 30, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Sushi Tsujita or Q?

Yes! Pike was the very first piece of nigiri I was served. There were matustake mushrooms in the dobin mushi as well.

Sep 29, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area
2

Sushi Tsujita or Q?

Got back a couple of hours ago. What a fantastic experience. The food was on point. The service was beyond what I expected. $120 (plus a couple of extra pieces) was more than enough. This along with my meal at Nakazawa back in March are the two best omakase experiences I've had this year. In and of itself, definitely one of the best meals I've had this year. I can certainly see myself returning. Thanks for the votes of confidence.

Sushi Tsujita or Q?

And this just in...seems kind of serendipitous:

http://www.latimes.com/food/la-fo-gol...

Sep 26, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Sushi Tsujita or Q?

Aw! I really enjoyed bos, but not compelled to get down there again before it closes. That sizzling Thai tongue was one of my fave dishes of 2014 for sure.

Sep 26, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Sushi Tsujita or Q?

Sold! Reservation made. Thank you very much for the very detailed and thoughtful feedback. I'll be sure to report back.

Sep 26, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Sushi Tsujita or Q?

Hey, all...

I have some unscheduled free time tomorrow night and was thinking about treating myself to a good sushi dinner. If given a choice between Q and Sushi Tsujita, what would y'all pick? Thanks in advance.

Sep 26, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area