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2014 Top Ten Tastes

There is a thread with this title on the SF Bay Area Board that I have enjoyed following over the last week or so:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9989...

Thought it might be fun to come up with my own. So, in alphabetical order here it goes:

L.A. Area --
Beep Beep – Pot
Belcampo Burger with Beef Tallow Fries – Belcampo Meat Co.
Burrata with Celery Herb Salad And Celery Leaf Pesto – Osteria Mozza
Focaccia Di Recco – Chi Spacca
French Onion Burger – Papilles
Mac and Cheese Gratin w/White Truffle – Papilles
Roast Chicken – Republique
Roasted Marrow Bone. Spinach Gnocchetti. Crispy Breadcrumbs. Aged Balsamic– Bestia
Steak Tartare – Petit Trois
Wagyu Beef Cheek, Eggplant, Golden Raisin, Shawarma Spice – Ink

Elsewhere--
Café De Oila and Pan Dulce – Quintonil, Mexico City
Garlic Bread with Burrata – State Bird Provisions, SF
Guinea Hen Dumpling with Aromatic Broth – State Bird Provisions. SF
Iwashi Nigiri – Sushi Nakazawa, NYC
Mole Madre, Mole Nuevo – Pujol, Mexico City
Paprika Lamb Shank Piergoi – State Bird Provisions, SF
Spencer Steak – Jocko’s, Nipomo, CA
Sucking Lamb Taco – Pujol, Mexico City
Tagliatelle, King Crab, Meyer Lemon, Black Pepper – The NoMad, NYC
Wild Striped Bass; Bhutanese Red Rice, Green Papaya Salad, Ginger-Red Wine Sauce– Le Bernadin, NYC

about 2 hours ago
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Hinoki & The Bird or The Bazaar for Birthday?

Bazaar-- hands down, no question. My one meal at Hinoki delivered a table full of overhyped, under seasoned whatevers. Bazaar is more often than not very delicious and quite fun. I actually prefer to sit on the patio/balcony/terrace? and watch the parade of guests soar through the valet. i haven't done the Saam experience, but if it is comparable to é in Las Vegas, that might be worth investigating as well.

Dec 17, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area
1

Bistro LQ's 18 course Truffle Menu

This sounds like heaven.

Dec 16, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

My "SGV" Christmas will be at Taipei Garden (Arcadia) -- what about yours?

Thanks for the recs!

Dec 12, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

My "SGV" Christmas will be at Taipei Garden (Arcadia) -- what about yours?

Good point. With this crowd, probably a rather seafood/meat family-style meal would be in order.

Dec 12, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

The Taste

My big issue is that there is no one that I'm really rooting for. They are not the most likeable, charismatic bunch this round. All a bit flat, except for Gabe Kennedy's almost constant self-aggrandizement.

Dec 12, 2014
djquinnc in Food Media & News

My "SGV" Christmas will be at Taipei Garden (Arcadia) -- what about yours?

I want to bump this post and ask for updated recommendations for a good Xmas meal in the SGV. Blood family will be out of town and a group of us would like to venture out east. Thanks.

Dec 12, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Alimento adds separate gratuity line for BOH

When I am out dining, I like to do as little mathematics as possible. This is only going to confound the diner unnecessarily with the added addition of an bonus ethical dilemma to figure out. Rather than trying to be innovative (or possibly, making a point), I wish he would go the way of Amanda Cohen at Dirt Candy in NYC and move towards a service added model that benefits the entire staff in a more equitable fashion.

Dec 06, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Broad Request

In addition to your night out on the town, I would also suggest a quick trip to Porto's in Burbank for some coffee and pastry since you are staying so close -- enjoy your visit!

Dec 05, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Hatfields closing end of December

So sad to have read this. It's one of the few truly "grown-ups" restaurants in Los Angeles. Cuisine aside, I find it pretty analogous in comparison to Annisa in NYC: calming, elegant environs where it is effortless to carry on a conversation with your dining companions over a delicious, thoughtful meal. I have made a reservation for dinner on Xmas eve -- seems a fitting way to help close out the year and say goodbye.

I can only dream that Karen Hatfield would open a donut shop one day: her beignets at Hatfield's and her chocolate donuts at Sycamore Kitchen give me great joy.

Dec 05, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Favorite cookbooks by NYC chefs

I love the Babbo cookbook for inspiration. But every time I have followed one of the recipes to the letter, it has been pretty disastrous (unlike when I follow Hazan's details and pretty much always come out with successes).

Dec 05, 2014
djquinnc in Manhattan
1

Favorite cookbooks by NYC chefs

Cooking Without Borders by Anita Lo

Dec 04, 2014
djquinnc in Manhattan
1

[UPDATE] Vote for your favorite restaurants in Los Angeles for "Best of 2014"

Here's the Maude issue. I went during berry month. It was most assuredly less than amazing. A restaurant with the overarching goal to masterfully execute a menu based on a particular ingredient every month should damn well hit it out of the park every single time. At that price point, the ingredient shouldn't dictate the level of experience one receives.

Nov 26, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Trip Report: Jaleo, Mon Ami Gabi, L'atlier de Joel Robuchon, Baccanal Buffet

Was in town recently for a little over 48 hours and this is what I consumed (pics on Instagram @sideorderofham)

Jaleo: Very tasty meal with very wonky service. They do the usual suspects very well: gambas al ajillo, croquetas de pollo, and pan con tomate were executed well and delicious. Our two tastes of Iberico (the supplement with the charcuterie plate, as well as the mini sliders) werfre highlights. As for the service, it seemed like we had two servers that constantly seemed amazed that the other was waiting on us. All in all, a very good dining experience. However, there was a little part of me pining to return to that secret room in the back where e resides. I long to dine there again sometime soon.

Mon Ami Gabi: The waiting queue to be seated at the patio was rather long at lunch (It was a gorgeous day). I have to say that the faux Parisian interior of the dining room serves as a rather calming respite from the constant clatter from the casinos. I had the standard issue steak frites. Mind you, I was starving – so my perception was that the steak was decent. It probably wasn’t It reminded me of those paper thin minute steaks my mom used to get when I was a kid. But I still don’t know what to make of those frites – not quite fries, and not quite potato chips. Salty as hell and not pleasant to chew. And when I asked our rather aloof server for some sort of dipping sauce, he brusquely responded, “I can give you ketchup or mayo.” The good news is that my hunger was satisfied, but I can’t see myself returning.

L’atelier de Joel Robuchon: I was super excited for my first dining experience at a Robuchon restaurant. One thing that I found remarkable was that I was completely distracted from the casino floor, which was in clear view from the open door way. The atmosphere was rather enveloping and engaging in a positive way. The service was great and somewhat casual without becoming too relaxed (We were told that it was sort of a slow night and that the servers were having a bit more fun than usual – it showed). The food was very good. Of note were the shrimp carpaccio (I have no idea how the cooks sliced the shrimp on the cross-section so uniformly) and the quail with the famous mashed potatoes (that totally lived up to the hype). It was a very good meal indeed, but I’m not sure if I would return or not. I really love eating at a chef’s counter, observing and interacting with the staff in that particularly intimate fashion. However, this meal did not live quite up to some similar meals I’ve had in similar settings (Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, Commis, Frantzen, Mathias Dahlgran Matbaren, Momofuku Ko). Although the food tasted good and was prepared well, most of the dishes did not have much of a true “wow” factor. And there was some over-reliance of certain herbs (such as cilantro) which felt a bit redundant on my palate. Having said that, it was a very enjoyable experience and I’m very glad to have partaken. My curiosity is leaning me towards a trip to the mothership next door during my next visit. We will see.

Bacchanal Buffet: The negotiations on the table for our last meal in Las Vegas were some sort of a buffet, Estiatorio Milos, or DB Brasserie. Since our hotel offered a free shuttle to the Forum Shops, we settled on the buffet at Caesar’s. I have to say that I was impressed. I think that the quality of the food at Wicked Spoon might be a tad bit better, but the variety and creativity of the selections at Bacchanal were impressive to say the least. The only real disappointment was in the cold shellfish offerings. They were pretty under seasoned and tasted like variations of water in seafood form. Suffice it say, these places are deceptive. I thought that I had consumed a reasonable amount of food and wound up not eating another bite until the next morning. It the most gluttonous thing that I had done in Las Vegas and a fitting end of a rather delightful trip.

Nov 21, 2014
djquinnc in Las Vegas
1

Faith & Flower - anyone been yet?

Reporting back on our Tar and Roses experience. The consensus of the table was that it was a good meal, but that we are in no big rush to return. Quite good small plates, but lacked the refinement or the "pop" of Gjelina or Bestia, to attempt to make a comparison. Having said that, we had some of the best, attentive service I've experienced in a very long time. Our server (I believe her name was Jennifer), was exceptional.

One of my dining companions coincidently had a recent dining experience at Faith and Flower. Reported that the décor was great, but that the food at Tar and Roses was superior in comparison.

Nov 21, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area
1

[UPDATE] Vote for your favorite restaurants in Los Angeles for "Best of 2014"

Papilles
http://www.papillesla.com
Why: The economy of the menu. The quality of the ingredients and the even higher level of technique. The remarkable consistency evidenced after many repeated visits. Chef Tim Carey's ability to coax intensely delightful flavor without the use of garish party tricks or fleeting trendy conventions. All this done with a great sense of humility. However, the real litmus test is that when ever I bring a friend to the restaurant for the first time, their eyes light up and audible coos emanate from their lips after taking one bite of Tim's food. Every single time.

Dinner close to Cedars Sinai - Public Transit-friendly locations most appreciated

I thank you for your service to the greater good. :)

Nov 18, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Dinner close to Cedars Sinai - Public Transit-friendly locations most appreciated

That cornbread with the little paper cups of honey butter is my Achilles heal.

Nov 18, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

2014 LA meal of the year. Where was it? What was it?

Five course menu with spot prawn and wagyu suppliments at Providence during their anniversary month. Every single dish was on point. The steak was one of the best I've ever had. A meal that keeps Providence at the top of my list.

However, best meal of the year was at Pujol in Mexico City. Completely memorable from beginning to end and still evokes string feelings of warmth.

Nov 13, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Dinner close to Cedars Sinai - Public Transit-friendly locations most appreciated

It's a deal! :)

Nov 13, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Dinner close to Cedars Sinai - Public Transit-friendly locations most appreciated

So glad you said it. Souplantation at the Beverly Connection is one of my "guilty" pleasures, that I'm not really guilty about at all.

Nov 13, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Dinner close to Cedars Sinai - Public Transit-friendly locations most appreciated

I live near Cedars and work on Norwalk, so I feel your husband's pain in reverse! Another idea for future consideration might be to take the Metrolink from the Norwalk/Santa Fe Springs Station to Union Station and have your husband meet you all Downtown. Might be a bit easier to navigate than a series of busses. There are certainly a ton of options in DTLA to explore, not far at all from Union Station.

Dinner close to Cedars Sinai - Public Transit-friendly locations most appreciated

+1 on AOC

Nov 13, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Any Recent TFL reports?

A friend has brought up the notion to eating at The French Laundry this spring, but I'm not seeing a lot recent reports on the board. Wondering how things have been under David Breeden's care. My one meal there was when Timothy Hollingsworth was chef de cuisine and it was fabulous. In contrast, my one meal at Per Se (under Eli Kaimeh's direction, and presumably Breeden's hand as well) was woefully forgettable. Thanks in advance.

Dinner near Staples Center

As maligned a choice it may be, Katsu-ya tends to by my go-to place when I am going to dine before a show at LA Live. The baked crab hand rolls are probably my favorite overpriced junk food in LA. I stick with the "classics" although the quantity and quality are significantly less impressive than at the OG location in Studio City.

Nov 12, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

ISO Steak House Recs

And after all of that consideration, looks like Dad can't make it and a reservation at L'atelier de Joel Robuchon has been made for the birthday dinner. Hopefully, we can sneak in a visit to Carnevino and/or Bazaar Meats at a subsequent visit. Thanks for all of the feedback and input. Still makes me want to visit these places at some point.

Nov 07, 2014
djquinnc in Las Vegas

Missing the Angeli Gnocchi

Ah, that bread. And her chicken salad with raisin inside...I'm having a really bittersweet reverie right now!

Nov 07, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Top Chef Boston – Ep. #4 – 11/05/14 (spoilers)

$50,000 bail says the DA has some "significant" evidence.

Missing the Angeli Gnocchi

Yeah. There was something really special about those fluffy ricotta gnocchi at Angeli. Also, whatever antipasti veggies she had on offer for the day . I love me some Good Food, but I wish she'd open another place again.

Nov 06, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Impressed! Just got a table at "fully booked" Bestia

I tend to go after seeing a show at the Music Center, etc. It might be a bit on the late-ish side, but I've never failed to be seated in a timely manner, even if at one of the two bars. Certainly not at peak times, but it's a strategy that's worked very well for me.

Nov 05, 2014
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area