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Where to "wow" a visitor with "do NOT miss this place" recommendations

I wonder if I hit Sable on a bad day. Tepid food that did not taste good at all with crappy service. Made watching Heather Terhune on Top Chef seem even more insufferable. We walked down the street and wound up eating a fantastic meal at Frontera that night, standing up at something that approximated an end table in the bar.

I concur with your suggestion of Guelaguetza. Not sure how robust the Oaxacan food scene is in Chicago, but it's a great restaurant.

Aug 21, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area
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Where to "wow" a visitor with "do NOT miss this place" recommendations

The only restaurant meal that I had during my last drive-through trip to Chicago was atLou Malnati's. A Malnati Salad and a Malnati Chicago Classic. Perfect meal. I thoroughly enjoy Masa of Echo Park for deep dish pizza here in town, but it can't hold a candle to Lou's.

Aug 21, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Where to "wow" a visitor with "do NOT miss this place" recommendations

This is a tough one. You have so many great places to eat in Chicago, and places in LA that are more or less analogous to each other. So, I am trying to call to mind places where the food is piquant and delicious while keeping in mind your preferences. What I come up with is:

Bestia
Commissary at the Line Hotel
Din Tai Fung
Jitlada
Lukshon
Night+Market (but be mindful that it is SPICY as hell! At least to me)
Osteria Mozza
Papilles
Picca
Son of a Gun

Certainly not comprehensive, but I would happily eat at each of these places over and over again. Welcome to LA!

Aug 20, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

From EaterLA: "Grand Central Market Makes Bon App's Best Resto List"......My question is "Who Made This Happen?"

Of all the new things I've tried this year so far, the Belcampo burger is the one thing I have the most desire to eat again.

Aug 19, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Roy Choi's POT

For some reason, I have had pretty good parking luck in the area. Most of my visits have been around 6-ish, if that makes a difference.

Aug 18, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

L'Entrecote style steak frites in LA?

Just got back from having a wonderful meal at L’Assiette on Melrose. Friendly service, cozy room, and really delicious food. Although I had the salad to start, I tasted the sorrel soup and thought it was exceptional. The steak was tender and flavorful and the fries were perfectly crisp. I loved the accompanying sauce as well, although it sounds more like an espagnole sauce than the one described above. And being served the second half of your portion after you are done with your first feels somewhat wonderfully gluttonous and civilized at the same time. I would most certainly return.

NY Times Review of Giada's Las Vegas restaurant. Ouch

Was there late last year for the first time in eons and had some great meals associated with some pretty famous chefs: e by Jose Andres and B&B (Batali/Bastianich) Ristorante.

Aug 13, 2014
djquinnc in Food Media & News

NY Times Review of Giada's Las Vegas restaurant. Ouch

Now, I would pay to eat at a restaurant where Aunt Raffy harped on the chefs all night, telling them how they are doing everything incorrectly. That would be amazing.

Aug 13, 2014
djquinnc in Food Media & News

Help!! N/Naka or Zo

I wholeheartedly recommend n/naka. Along with Providence, it has become my "special occasion" place. I was at the original Zo once. Let's remove my assessment of the food (I don't remember anything I was served at Zo; I still salivate at the thought of various dishes I was served at n/naka). I think the environment at n/naka is more conducive to what you might be trying to reciprocate - it's a fine way to relax and enjoy a few hours of quiet time with a good friend.

Aug 13, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

NY Times Review of Giada's Las Vegas restaurant. Ouch

Culinary school's value was masterfully discussed in this article:

http://eater.com/archives/2014/07/28/...

Having said that, George W. Bush went to Yale. Not sure if education is a viable barometer.

Sashimi

Great idea. However, the temptation to make a bee-line to Hannosuke would be very, very tempting!

Aug 13, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Sashimi

I used the term "gorge" in my original post. Anticipatory starvation, I suppose. :)

Aug 13, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Sashimi

My one trip to Asenebo a long time ago did not result in any memories that I carry today. However, I don't know how I have spent my entire life as an Angelino and not experienced Matsuhisa yet - I even live spitting distance from the joint. Two of the saving graces of a low-carb diet are vinegars/acids and chilies. I might have to make the splurge.

Aug 13, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

NY Times Review of Giada's Las Vegas restaurant. Ouch

1) I will freely admit that I enjoy the snark.
2) What I do appreciate is that Wells has pointed out the discrepancies between these Food Network star's personas (advocacy of down to earth food, making it affordable to the all socio-economic strata, discovery of bold and appealing flavors) and their public ventures (over priced food that under-delivers).

I don't begrudge anyone trying to make an honest buck, but if this can prevent some fans from spending their hard-earned money on some disappointment, I'm all for it. Caveat: I just had a very disappointing experience at Maude, Curtis Stone's venture in Beverly Hills. Big hype, small restaurant, sad food. The emperors are really digging their new clothes right now.

Sashimi

I am starting another round of a "modified" paleo diet for a while. During this time, I would love to gorge on some good sashimi, since white rice is verboten. Plenty of posts on the board about where to get good nigiri, but not much about about sashimi. Thanks in advance.

Aug 12, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Commissary at the Line Hotel

It's a bit of a puzzle, that's for sure. But sometimes, I wonder if Choi is trying to f*ck with his diners a bit. The floral bibs and the roll of paper towels at Pot make my eyes roll every time.

Aug 10, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Commissary at the Line Hotel

Hard to say. Inside the "greenhouse", the vibe was rather lively. However, we didn't really have a chance to absorb it as we were taken to the patio outside which was substantially more serene. When we walked back from the Wiltern around midnight, the bar was packed and spilled out onto the sidewalk on Wilshire.

Aug 10, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Commissary at the Line Hotel

Had tix to see Jenny Lewis at the Wiltern last night. Called Guelagueta to make a reservation. Was told to “just walk in.” Got there and was told it would be 45-60 minutes. On a lark, I took a look at OpenTable and saw that a reservation for the Commissary had opened up within the hour. Having had two good experiences at Pot under my belt, it seemed like a worthwhile venture.

We were escorted through the lobby elevator to the second floor to find ourselves next to a rather large atrium. The hostess quickly took us to our table outside on the patio and we were promptly given menus. As to the convention of the menu, one could either take great delight or become wildly frustrated, I imagine. There is a card that has boxes containing pictures of various foods sectioned off by price points. There was a separate card which explained the other ingredients that are used to season that dish and an additional section to explain the various sauces used. Aside from the fact that the type was really small, I found this to be kind of fun.

We ate: figs, pasta, corn, and schnitzel. The standouts were the figs (the “rainbow sauce” made of nuts, garlic, and chilies tied the components together nicely) and corn (which was reminiscent of elote with some Korean spice), but everything was very delicious. Although far away in style from the food downstairs at Pot, the preparations were really focused on maximizing and contrasting flavors (which is what I’ve experienced from Kogi and Chego, as well.). They had one dessert option available: a rhubarb on meringue thing that didn’t sound that appealing to me. Luckily, the Pot Café downstairs had Ritz candy bars for sale (as well as really good coffee) and we were on our way to the show.

The service was a bit on the slow side, but extremely friendly and helpful. I’d most definitely return and maybe order more the produce focused dishes.

La Restaurants with Oxtail

There is that odd oxtail agnolotti with cocoa, pine nuts, and currants at Bestia. Odd, but very good.

Aug 06, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

La Restaurants with Oxtail

+1 on Jar. During one visit, they were out of the pot roast. I was crestfallen. They suggested the oxtail as a substitute. It was really delicious and soul satisfying.

Aug 06, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Best Los Angeles area Tasting Menus

Fair enough. But I made the reservation via OpenTable and nothing indicating as such was provided either electronically or verbally prior to the meal.

Aug 03, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Best Los Angeles area Tasting Menus

I had made the reservation for Maude expecting to receive a corn-based menu, as indicated on their website. We were not advised of the actual theme of the menu upon being seated. My dining companion overheard another table being told it was the berry theme as they were being seated – thus, we were made aware of this indirectly and after our meal had been well underway. I excused myself at the end of the meal to use the restroom and my dining companion asked one of the staff about the menu theme confusion. He was advised that the corn menu would start next week and that this staff member was not in any way apologetic. I guess August starts when they say it starts. If I had known that the menu was going to revolve around berries, I would have not made the effort.

Aug 03, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Best Los Angeles area Tasting Menus

Just got back from Maude. Very underwhelmed. Service was inconsistent. Nine courses served at a rather rapid clip. The food was "just OK" with only two of the dishes making me "ooooh" at all. And August is supposed to be "corn" month, but they served us the July berry menu (because I guess August begins when they say so -- and rather unapologetic about that as well) For the same price, you can get a far superior tasting menu at Hatfield's.

Aug 03, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Sushi Nakazawa, has anyone been recently ?????

I live in LA, and my meal at Nakazawa in March far exceeded my meals at Kiriko, Zo, Shunji, Kiokawa, Sushi Gen, and Go's Mart. I felt that the quality, taste, and variety (texture, temperature, etc.) made it stand out above the aforementioned. Also, Chef Nakazawa's warm, humorous presence is an added value as well.

I hate eggs. My least favorite food in the world. I closed my eyes and pinched my nose and went for it when the tamago was presented. Although my mind was not having it, it was pretty damned awesome. Even better than the last tamago I attempted to eat, which was at Urasawa. Texture and flavor on point. Way better, as a matter of fact.

Jul 30, 2014
djquinnc in Manhattan
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Nice restaurant where we can wear shorts?

I can't imagine that you would feel that out of place at Ko wearing shorts.

Jul 30, 2014
djquinnc in Manhattan

ISO Lunch Ideas

That looks really delicious. Just have to get the buy in from the other parties involved. Thanks, Robert!

Best Los Angeles area Tasting Menus

My last trip to Hatfield's a few months back, we got the tasting menu for the first time. Hand's down the best meal I've had there. Not only was the food delicious, they gave us each a totally separate dish for each course. They are still holding it down.

Jul 29, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

ISO Lunch Ideas

There will be a car. My preference would be to park it somewhere and use public transit during my stay. Having said that, we are not adverse to driving either. And never adverse to a recommendation from you, Robert.

ISO Lunch Ideas

Hello, everyone. I am taking a quick trip up north at the end of August. Have a reservation for State Bird Provisions on the Wednesday night and a reservation for Commis the following Thursday night, heading back south Friday morning. Looking for suggestions for a nice lunch on Thursday that will complement the other two experiences. My default plan is chicken at Zuni, but would love to hear ideas from others. Thanks in advance.

DineLA Meals Reported -- July 2014

I did the dineLA thing at Lukshon this round as well. It was a fantastic meal, flavor-wise. But it seemed as if the portion sizes had decreased significantly this year. It seems a bit of a conceit to announce that the dishes are "meant to be shared" and then send out two scallops (one bite each at best) to be split amongst the table. Having said that, I loved the lobster/pig ear dish (although we had to exercise the skill of a surgeon to split it amongst the four of us). I had a great time with my pals, but I think I would be more inclined to come again when Restaurant Week is not in full swing.

Jul 29, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area
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