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djquinnc's Profile

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Two New Yorkers spending two nights in Los Angeles. Help us eat great!

If you are looking for relatively affordable in the Fairfax area, Plan Check is right near where you are staying (On the west side of Fairfax, just south of Oakwood). Great flavors and lively atmosphere.

Aug 06, 2015
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Bon Appetit announced its list of 50 best restaurants for 2015 and 4 are in LA.

Jon and Vinny's? Whatever. Shame that Odys+Penelope did take that place instead. Probably all a matter of more polished press releases. Having said that, my meals at the new Momofuku Ko and The Progress this year were certainly deserving of any and all accolades.

Aug 04, 2015
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Planning for LA in late August

Your taco list sounds great. As mentioned previously, a trip to Mexicali Taco would really round it out nicely (if you still have room in your belly -- I did an afternoon of Mariscos Jalisco/Mexicali/Guidsados once and certainly over shot the mark!)

Animal is always great. I had a less than stellar experience at St. Martha and cannot see myself returning. Bestia is completely worth the hype, in my opinion. Resos are challenging. Most of my meals have been at odd hours (opening and late), seated at the bar.

As for Korean, my three go-to joints are Kang Hodong Baekjong, Park's BBQ, and Soot Bull Jeep. All have their merits. Depends on what you are looking for.

Welcome to LA, in advance. And enjoy your trip.

Jul 22, 2015
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area
1

Mourad (from Aziza) [San Francisco]

Yeah, the basteeya was basically the same duck confit filling as the one I had at Aziza, but with a very nice verjus sauce on the side, and in the shape of a cylinder rather than a disc.

If that's the case about Aziza, that's a little dissapointing. I have really fond memories of that lentil soup and those spreads.

Tablehopper reports on The Progress [San Francisco]

Was just there a couple of weeks ago and had a wonderful time. Two similarities to State Bird that I observed: (1) The staff seems genuinely happy to work there (I actually asked our server who stated that management does not patronize their staff which results in high morale); and (2) although various dishes were super delicious, it was the cumulative experience of the meal rather than discrete bites that made for an excellent experience. These are two things that I have felt at both restaurants. The everything roti, the potato sauerkraut dumplings, the pig fry salad, and the opening snacks were really great. Although our table was not wowed by the oysters fried in the black rice coating, we still remarked at how well the dish was prepared, particularly the oysters themselves. I think I like the fast pace, smaller plates, and seeming whimsy of State Bird a bit better, but this meal was no slouch.

Mourad (from Aziza) [San Francisco]

I agree with your assessment. I was up there a couple of weeks ago. 9pm reservation on a Monday night and it took a little while for our table to be ready. The service was wonky at best. It was hard to ascertain who were the servers vs. the runners -- probably because no one had acknowledged us about twenty minutes into being seated. One of our party stopped what appeared to be a manager and our order was taken promptly. Subsequent to that conversation, the service began to emerge and it was pretty warm and affable.

Due to the timing gaffs, they were more than generous and comped us three apps over what we had already ordered. Everything was good, but nothing wowed me per se. The smoked salmon app was the unexpected winner in our group. The family style roasted chicken was great, but after the onslaught of apps (and the sides which all happened to be pretty starchy in nature -- potatoes, couscous, kale and beans), doggie bags were in order.

One thought that crossed my mind during the course of the meal was that not much of what we were tasting read particularly Moroccan/North African in terms of flavor. Not that anything was offensive, but the basteeya was the only dish that sort of met the seasoning expectations that I brought in with me. I'm a bit sad that we were too full to try any of the desserts as they sounded lovely. It was a very good meal, and a very attractive one at that. Having said that, I was not wowed and can't see myself going back. However, it did stir up genuine cravings for Aziza. I think the next I am craving Chef Lahlou's food, I might just trek out to Outer Richmond.

Go's Mart Sushi, Canoga Park - a little long

I was at Go's Mart this past Wednesday for a quick lunch and was delighted as always. Started out with a dish that was simply called "tofu and veggies", followed by a couple of Chef Go's flights of nigiri (whitefish and tuna). My last savory course (I was in a hurry) was a plate of hamo tempura with green tea salt that was out of this world. Ended simply with a perfectly fresh slice of melon. If I could have stayed longer, I would have.

I have been to Shunji twice (once for lunch, and once for dinner) and I have been to Go's Mart at least ten or so times. The only real similarity is the odd locations of each, neither of which scream bougie. Chef Go gilds the lily, and for some odd reason, it works. I would normally run screaming from truffle oil, but he makes it palpable. I had two perfectly decent meals at Shunji, and I might even be willing to give it another shot. On the other hand, I actively crave Go's Mart. It's memorable and delicious. I also have to say that Chef Go's sense of humor is a major selling point as well. I am amazed at his ability to hold multiple conversations in Japanese, English, and Spanish simultaneously.

Ethnic restaurants near Beverly hills

I haven't been in a while, but I have enjoyed Tagine in the past. Not always consistent, but the tasting menu is a relative bargain. Good take on Moroccan cuisine.

Also, omakase at Kiyokawa is a unique experience to say the least. Very enjoyable, not cheap, but not as expensive as other Japanese meals to be had in town.

A little farther afield, but a straight shot down La Cienega is Versailles. Consistently good Cuban food at a reasonable price. Roast chicken and roast pork have always been good bets for me there.

La Cienega

Near that exact corner, not much. But plenty in the vicinity: AOC, Bazaar, Son of a Gun, Lucques, for example

Jul 02, 2015
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area
1

Top 5 restaurants in San Francisco...?

Don't forget about the broth.

Top 5 restaurants in San Francisco...?

I clicked on the photo and it expanded into another window.

Top 5 restaurants in San Francisco...?

I didn't get any gold leaf, but some of the presentations were just so damn precious. Take this asparagus, for example. And guess what it tasted like. Asparagus. This is a gilded lily if I ever did see one. I'm all about chefs using restraint when indicated. But these baby flowers did not one thing to advance this dish beyond being a small plate of cooked asparagus.

Top 5 restaurants in San Francisco...?

I was up in the Bay Area last month and had meals at Saison, Bar Tartine, and Benu. Bar Tartine and Benu were excellent in their own unique ways. Similar to your comment, I feel like I got swindled at Saison. If the price point was significantly lower, I might not come away with the same opinion. But man, I really felt like Patrick Bateman was taking me to Dorsia. There was a series of four "bites" that I would hardly call "dishes" that were sublime. However, the rest of the meal failed to wow at all. At that cost, I really feel like I need to be pretty much constantly delighted. Save this one for the whales and the wanna-bes.

How One Acclaimed Restaurant Went From Critical Darling to Almost Broke in Just a Couple of Years

Selected quotes from the IndieGoGo page:

"$75000 USD
AN 'ALMA' WEEK IN FRANCE FOR 8
A weeklong stay in Southern France for up to 8 guests. We'll take care of accommodations, food and wine and James Beard nominated chef Ari Taymor and and his staff will cook for you for the week. * just travel yourself there and we're all yours !"

Soooooo, who's going to man the fort that week? And you would think that they would at least have the decency to fly you coach at that level of commitment. The audacity of this premium really grabbed my attention.

"The restaurant is our anchor, our base and our home; and yet we also believe in Alma to be something more than just a restaurant."

True that sometimes restaurants are "more" than just a place to grab a bite. But could this be part of the dilemma? A place that serves food without some overarching mission is fine by me. Alma is not Blue Hill at Stone Barns, by any stretch of the imagination. Perhaps its goals and self-appraisal are far larger than need be,

"Too often artists, inventors, thinkers and small business owners are intimidated, bullied and silenced by powerful individuals and corporations."

Zzzzzzzzz...perhaps I'm a bit jaded from being a lifelong Angelino. But the lamentations of the long suffering artist just give me automatic eye rolls.

"In this coming year, we have plans to pioneer a rooftop garden program in downtown LA, expand our outreach program and of course to strengthen our ties to local farmers, providing practical support through responsible sourcing during this historic drought. We have so much growing to do within our community and so much to share."

Again, absent the suit, could this desire to be so expansive be a factor in the macro level issues that serve as barriers to ongoing success? Not to say that there is anything wrong with these goals. But they certainly require mindful and targeted plans of action that require a lot of time and skill.

Jun 21, 2015
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Best Cambodian restaurant(s) in Long Beach

When I was going to grad school in Long Beach, I used to stop into Sophy's from time to time. It's been almost eight years since my last visit, but I remember it being quite good. Any recent reports?

Little India, Artesia

Thanks to all for the feedback. Just got back from Udupi Palace. Everyone in our party was very please with the meal. Really good idli and dosa. The service was very attentive and spot on. Still a strong choice in my book.

Jun 20, 2015
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

CHI SPACCA - New Chef

Maude, in my experience, is one of the best examples of the Emperor's New Clothes and social desirability this town has to offer. Nakayama, Goin, and Menashe, for example, have substantially more deliverable perfectionism and purism than Stone demonstrates. Give me a little more time and I can easily come up with some more names.

Jun 12, 2015
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

CHI SPACCA - New Chef

Moving from Silverton/Batali/Bastianich to Stone makes zero sense to me.

Jun 11, 2015
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Little India, Artesia

Hello, all

I am going to meet some friends for a late lunch later this month in Artesia. I haven't been down there in about a year or so and tend to prefer the veg places over the carnivorous ones. My usual go-to places in the past have been Surati Farsan Mart, Rajdhani, and Udupi Palace. Woodlands used to be my fave, but I have heard that the quality has gone a bit south since they reopened.

If anyone has any recent trip reports to share, I would be greatly appreciative. Thanks.

Jun 09, 2015
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Dinner for 25 foodies in LA? Suggestions please!

Papilles seats about 30. Maybe you could do a buy out.

Jun 08, 2015
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Favorite food items at Disneyland (ex. Club 33)?

+1 on the fried chicken
Also, Safari Skewers at the Bengal BBQ and a corn dog in Frontierland (they serve fries as an option rather than the bag of chips or sliced apples at the other locations). Garlic Parmesan fries and beignets in New Orleans Square from time to time. Not very exotic, but a root beer float at Gibson Girl on Main Street can make me very, very happy .

Jun 03, 2015
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Republique or Odys and Penelope tonight?

Been to O&P three times now. Ready for round four. I think they did a smart transition from Hatfield's to the current concept. And just for the fact that Karen Hatfield is the best pastry chef in town in impetus enough for me.

May 25, 2015
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

first time in LA!!! give me your top 5.

At this particular place in time, I get the most cravings for:

Bestia
Kang Hodong Baekjong
Mariscos Jalisco
n/naka
Papilles

May 25, 2015
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Chowhound's Impression of Popular Food Critics

I really enjoy Gold's weekly talks on Good Food as well, and I continue to enjoy his writing. One of the things that I have always dug about Gold's style is that he leaves a bit of ambiguity for the reader to make some preliminary conclusions on their own. As a long time reader, I fail to see where he might be faltering at this time and place. I think he's consistently good. Certainly, there is a particular level of accountability that working for the Times vs the Weekly that certainly directs his output in a particular way.

Besha does not seem to get a lot of love on this board, and I think that's a shame. I also enjoy her style as well and give her additional props for being able to slide right into the Angelino culinary zeitgeist with relative ease. I find her wit engaging. When she first started at the Weekly, there was an uncanny accuracy in shared opinions. It sways a bit more now, but I respect most of her reporting.

On the other hand, I have become unnecessarily infuriated with the Eater LA team. Eater NYC gets Ryan Sutton (who is hands down my favorite food critic right now) and Robert Sietsema. What we get is a never-ending slew of paraphrased press releases from not very interesting restaurants, and editors whose overtly subjective posts outnumber those of the readership in the comments section. I still read it on a regular basis, much like sitting at a slot machine waiting to hear some intermittent bells go off. But the jackpots are far and few between.

May 18, 2015
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area
1

Chinese For One

I guess to clarify a bit more, my concerns are more with portion size. Leftovers tend to die of neglect or become like Petri dishes in my fridge. Would love to have a tasty meal of a manageable size and not have to worry too much about over ordering.

May 06, 2015
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Chinese For One

Those are more than sufficient. Thank you!

May 06, 2015
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Chinese For One

I will certainly give these a look. Thanks for the list.

May 06, 2015
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Anniversary dinner: Osteria Mozza or A.O.C.?

Of course the styles of food are quite different and I enjoy both very much. I would say that Osteria Mozza is more "special" and AOC's patio could certainly skew more as "romantic." I don't think you can go wrong either way.

May 06, 2015
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

Chinese For One

Really craving good Chinese food, but don't want to rally the troops. Any place y'all can think of where I can get a good meal where I would not be looking peculiar sitting alone? Certainly don't need to have a ton of dishes sitting in front of me that I would not be able to finish. Location is not that important and I'm open to styles. I work in Norwalk and live in WeHo. I'd be willing to drive a bit for some good grub. Thanks in advance.

May 06, 2015
djquinnc in Los Angeles Area

n/naka

Like a good fanboy, I watched Niki's episode of "Chef's Table" on Netflix today. To say I was moved is an understatement. It was a beautiful document of the steps that she has taken to get to n/naka that left me a bit misty-eyed and my heart very full. I think I'm going to have to make up a special occasion and get over there sometime soon.

In contrast, I also watched Dan Barber's episode as well, having had an outstanding meal at Blue Hill at Stone Barns this past January. A very compelling story, but what a mouth that guy's got on him! Can't wait to watch the other episodes soon.