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Gavin499's Profile

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End of November Itinerary

Nothing? Does that mean I nailed it? Do you need more info?

Nov 19, 2013
Gavin499 in New Orleans

First Cut at 5 Days in N.O.

Since I asked for help on another post, and I've been to New Orleans several times, I figure I owe to to karma to weigh in here.

Since I figure most of your need for opinion rests with the ones you haven't visited before, I'll say I've been to Cochon and Iris. I enjoyed Cochon quite a bit, and though I've only been there for lunch I think it's a great spot. This is especially true if you're interested in, or willing to try, unusual cuts or parts of the animal (probably a pig). I think that's where they set themselves apart.

Iris for me was a somewhat different situation, I thought the food was good, but not great. Frankly I think you can do better. I'd even do Sylvain before I went back to Iris. There are quite a few great places that I'd suggest before Iris. Of course not to say the food is bad (it's not), just that it could be better (for me).

Nov 14, 2013
Gavin499 in New Orleans

End of November Itinerary

I've been lurking on the board for a bit now (sorry I haven't posted!) and have put together a culinary "itinerary" for while I'm in New Orleans. I'd love input on what we're going, as well as suggestions if we should change things.

I'd also love thoughts on truly great cocktail bars. Is Kingfish any good? We had been to Bar UnCommon while Chris McMillan was there, and it was fantastic, does Kingfish have the same appeal? Or has he stepped away? Is Arnaud's French 75 still excellent? Where else is new and delicious?

A couple of things before I get to the itinerary:

1. I'm a chef, but that doesn't (at all) mean I only want fine dining. I do love well executed fine dining, but I also enjoy amazing more "rustic" cuisines.
2. My wife and I have been to New Orleans several times. We went on her 21st birthday, we've been for Christmas, we spent our Honeymoon there, and we're back for her 30th. It's a city we're pretty familiar with, and clearly can't get enough of.
3. In general (though not always) I would prefer someplace that can also make a decent cocktail. Sure, we'll head to Arnaud's or Cure or wherever afterwards for a cocktail, but if we can get a nice one to start the nice, that's a great bonus.

On to the itinerary.

Sunday 11/24 - Restaurant R'evolution
Monday 11/25 - Stella!
Tuesday 11/26 - (Lunch) La Petite Grocery
Tuesday 11/26 - (Dinner) Sylvain
Wednesday 11/27 - Coquette
Thursday 11/28 - Restaurant August (Thanksgiving)
Friday 11/29 - Restaurant Patois
Saturday 11/30 - Bayona

We're still looking for some great lunch spots, and almost all of this is subject to change if you all have great insights. What are we missing?!

Nov 14, 2013
Gavin499 in New Orleans

Chicago Trip in August- Great food and cocktail recommendations wanted

I've been looking at El Ideas, but I was curious, how long does the meal usually take? Dinner on Saturday is at 6:00, is it over by 9? 9:30?

Jul 10, 2013
Gavin499 in Chicago Area

Great Chicago Meal for One

So... I've looked around Chowhound fairly significantly, and I'm coming up short on suggestions for precisely what I'm looking for. What I'm looking for is the best restaurant in Chicago for one person. I'm heading to Chicago in August, and my wife won't be able to join me the first night. I'll be flying in Friday, and she joins me on Saturday morning. That means I'm on my own for Friday night, and I'll need something to do.

Obviously that means different things for different people, so let me set out a few "conditions" to explain what I'm looking for:

1. Ideally I'm looking for a place with a great bar scene. I prefer NOT a club scene, but a good bar with quality cocktails and good food would be appreciated. I usually feel more comfortable by myself sitting at a bar, but I would consider a good restaurant if you have a strong suggestion.
2. I'm staying at the Intercontinental Miracle Mile Chicago. Nearby would be handy, but I'm not opposed to taking a cab.
3. I prefer (though not exclusively) more modern food. Interesting proteins, preparations and sophisticated plating. That means that while it has its place, I'm not really looking for deep dish pizza or a steakhouse. Delicious? Maybe. What I'm looking for? Not this time.
4. A cocktail program would be nice, but not at all required. I'm a big fan of wine, but a good cocktail program is always helpful. Like I said above, a bar is nice, but frankly a wine bar location is fine too. Either way is good!
5. Not terribly concerned about cost, but since my wife is coming into town the next day, we'll probably go all out the next day (or two), since we have two nights in town. I'd take suggestions for those meals too, but for this meal I'd like to get out probably for under $100 including drinks. (but if there's a can't miss place a bit more, please don't leave it out!)

There's lots of great ideas (and I'm soaking them all in!) on this board, but I couldn't find this nugget of info. Any help?

May 01, 2013
Gavin499 in Chicago Area

Ultimate Restaurant in Austin

So... I've looked around Chowhound Austin fairly significantly, and I'm coming up short on suggestions for precisely what I'm looking for. What I'm looking for is the best restaurant in Austin. The best.

Obviously that means different things for different people, so let me set out a few "conditions" to explain what I'm looking for:

1. Not looking for steakhouses or BBQ. They're great, but during my trip I'll eat at several. Your suggestions are fine, and appreciated, but that's not what I'm looking for (here).
2. Exclude Uchi. I've got a gift card for the restaurant, so I'm going here. I have heard good things, and I'm thrilled to hear more comments, but the gift certificate makes it such that anything other than a "it's the worst meal on earth" probably won't sway me from visiting.
3. I prefer (though not exclusively) more modern food. Interesting proteins, preparations and sophisticated plating. That means that while it has its place, I'm not really looking for puffy tacos with queso. Delicious? Maybe. What I'm looking for? Not this time.
4. A cocktail program would be nice, but not at all required. I'm a big fan of wine, but a good cocktail program is always helpful.

There's lots of great ideas (and I'm soaking them all in!) on this board, but I couldn't find this nugget of info. Any help?

Apr 30, 2013
Gavin499 in Austin

San Diego Trip

My wife and I are planning a trip to San Diego in the next few weeks. Since I'm a chef, I can get Sunday-Monday off, so we're looking at Sunday arrival, Tuesday AM departure. What are the can't miss food and drink places in San Diego? A few qualifications:

1. Assume money is no object. At least one night we're hoping for the best of the best food-wise. We've hit most of the best in Los Angeles, and many across the country, but we're interested in what San Diego has to offer.

2. We prefer contemporary "american" (whatever that means) food. Meaning ethnic food is great (and we'd LOVE recs for lunches, or a second dinner that include that), but my personal preference is for fresh, well prepared, preferably interesting food. That said, refer to point 1 - best of the best for at least one meal.

3. We're also looking for a great bar that can make fantastic cocktails. In LA we're fans of places like The Varnish, Library Bar, love a great classic cocktail list. Modern variations are great too, as long as balance and quality is on point.

4. Where should we stay? Obviously, with food and drink involved, we'd prefer not to be driving all that much. Is there a place to stay within walking distance of both? Are cabs relatively easy to come by?

5. We'd love great suggestions for things to do during the day. We're definitely game to walk around, especially if the weather is nice, and though museums aren't really our "thing," any great suggestions are worth it.

Feb 18, 2013
Gavin499 in San Diego

Seattle "Itinerary"

OK, so I'm trying to figure out my schedule for Seattle. I'll be in the city (at the Westin) on Thursday and Friday evenings. At the moment I've got a reservation at Spur Gastropub on Thursday, though I'm far from sold on that location. It might be better for us to focus on a nice bar with good cocktails and solid but less "fancy" food. I do enjoy a small plates kind of restaurant with lots of things to try, but I'm not committed to anything in particular.

I'm also still looking for one more casual restaurant for my last day in Seattle (Friday). My mom and step dad are coming into town, and they're NOT foodies. They recently ate at a bistro-style restaurant in a hotel in Seattle, and thought it was fancy. Not to say I can't convince them to do something tasty, but anything with too much complexity is probably out. They also tend to react strangely to food plated too intricately, if that makes any sense.

Your help is greatly appreciated!

Oct 25, 2012
Gavin499 in Greater Seattle

30th Birthday in Vancouver

Great options all, here's what I've got going on tentatively. Please let me know if any of these are worth skipping, or perhaps just something that I've missed that I should really look again. I'm also still looking for one more casual restaurant for my last day in Vancouver. My mom and step dad are coming into town, and they're NOT foodies. They recently ate at a bistro-style restaurant and thought it was fancy. Not to say I can't convince them to do something tasty, but anything with much complexity is probably out.

Anyway, here's what I've got for dinners:
Wildebeest
C Restaurant
L'Abbatoir
Hawksworth
West Restaurant

Does that sound about right? I'm planning on L'Abbatoir for my "actual" birthday, since it sounds like a slightly more relaxed atmosphere so we can let ourselves go a bit! Any help would be appreciated!

Oct 23, 2012
Gavin499 in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

30th Birthday in Vancouver

Those all look like great ideas, thanks for the suggestions! Since I'm going to be in Vancouver for five nights, and my wife is actually quite a fan of Indian food, Vij's is slowly making its way onto the "potential" list. I guess my question (if anyone can answer this), is the food better than the Indian we can get in Los Angeles? We have a pretty strong Indian community, and our previous residence was within one block of three Indian (as in few if any signs even written in English) markets, so we have "good" Indian food around.

I'll add something else as well, for at least part of my stay my in-laws will be along, so we'll have five people total, does that matter much at any of these locations? Preferable to make it a twosome? Or is five fine? Either is great, but preferences would help decide what days to go where (and the like).

Thanks again for all the suggestions so far!

Oct 04, 2012
Gavin499 in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

30th Birthday Vacation

I'm heading to Vancouver and Seattle for my 30th. A few notes that might help illustrate where I'm coming from:

- Coming from LA, I love great artisanal cocktails. I've been to most of the good cocktail bars in LA, and love most of them. I'm looking for well-balanced, well-made cocktails, typically (though not exclusively) with dark spirits, like bourbon or whiskey.
- I'm a chef for a profession, so I tend to enjoy interesting food. That's not necessarily only the fancy food, but just really well made, delicious food. Obviously a couple "nice" meals would be great for my birthday, but that's far from all I'm looking for. I like "interesting food," so for example a delicious off-cut of meat prepared well would be more interesting to me (generally) than a well cooked braised short rib (though both could be great!)
- I'll be staying at the Westin Seattle on 5th Street, and won't have a car. I'm not sure what the cab situation is, but certainly being close to that location is preferable, but nowhere near mandatory.

So you all don't feel like I'm asking you to do everything, I've done extensive research, including on Chowhound, and many other places. I've heard about and am considering most of Tom Douglas' restaurants, Canlis, and quite a few others.

I'd love places that speak to Seattle's specific culinary perspective, but in general I'd love just great food. To put it in perspective, I really have only limited interest in truly "sight-seeing," since my favorite things are enjoying food and good cocktails (and wine). If there are must-see locations, I'm completely game for them as well.

My vacation is going to be the 2nd week of November (from the 8th to the 10th), and I can't wait to experience everything you guys have to offer. Any help making sure it's as special as possible would be helpful.

Sep 29, 2012
Gavin499 in Greater Seattle

30th Birthday in Vancouver

I'm heading to Vancouver for my 30th. A few notes that might help illustrate where I'm coming from:

- Coming from LA, I love great artisanal cocktails. I've been to most of the good cocktail bars in LA, and love most of them. I'm looking for well-balanced, well-made cocktails, typically (though not exclusively) with dark spirits, like bourbon or whiskey.
- I'm a chef for a profession, so I tend to enjoy interesting food. That's not necessarily only the fancy food, but just really well made, delicious food. Obviously a couple "nice" meals would be great for my birthday, but that's far from all I'm looking for.
- I've heard about Vij's in Vancouver, but I'm not typically big into Indian food. Is it still worth it if the Indian I've had has not spoken to me? It's not necessarily that I hate it, but the flavors aren't typically in my wheelhouse, and I don't usually enjoy them.
- I'll be staying at the Fairmont Hotel downtown, and won't have a car. I'm not sure what the cab situation is, but certainly being close to that location is preferable, but nowhere near mandatory.

So you all don't feel like I'm asking you to do everything, I've done extensive research, including on Chowhound, and many other places. I've heard about and am considering C Restaurant, Hawksworth, West Restaurant, and quite a few others.

I'd love places that speak to Vancouver's specific culinary perspective, but in general I'd love just great food. To put it in perspective, I really have only limited interest in truly "sight-seeing," since my favorite things are enjoying food and good cocktails (and wine). If there are must-see locations, I'm completely game for them as well.

My vacation is going to be the 2nd week of November (from the 3rd to the 8th), and I can't wait to experience everything you guys have to offer. Any help making sure it's as special as possible would be helpful.

Sep 29, 2012
Gavin499 in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Chicago Birthday Trip

I'm getting ready for the big 3-0 this fall, and am going to be visiting Chicago in celebration. To clarify exactly the situation, we're going to be attending for about 7 days in the middle of November (I know, cold right?) We're looking for a few things:

1. One or two "mind-blowing" meals. I'm not necessarily asking for the most expensive, but the meals that are going to be truly special. As a chef in Los Angeles, food is one of the main reasons I'm excited to visit Chicago.
2. Several ideas for mid-level restaurants to fill out the week. Still loving tasty food, but I'd love to see what some of the local chefs are doing at places that we can do on a relative budget ($100-150 for two people including perhaps a glass or wine or cocktail)
3. Inexpensive places to eat. This is especially good for lunches, but I'm open to going somewhere more "expensive" for lunch and using a "cheap eats" place for dinner.
4. Bars. I love a good bar, especially the ones with great cocktails, both classic and modern. My preference is dark spirits (bourbon and whiskey primarily) but I'm not opposed to the lighter spirits!
5. Locations. We're still looking for a place to stay, and while specific places are welcome (our budget is tight, preferably below $200/night) I'm mostly looking for locations or neighborhoods that would be good for us.

To give you some more general background, I am chef at an upscale restaurant in Los Angeles and we are both very interested in visiting a city with a great restaurant scene. In addition, we are also very enthusiastic about the classic cocktail scene. We're very into classic (and twists on classic) cocktails, especially cocktails using dark spirits. Trying to put some perspective, we've got 8 different bourbons, 4 sweet vermouths and 6 rye whiskey options in my home bar, and many other specialty liquors. We don't tend to prefer loud spaces, though we're not necessarily opposed.

Looking forward to hearing anything you all have to say about your great city. And before you go crazy, I've checked through past posts, and will continue to comb through them. Just hoping to get some directed, current advice from those in the know!

Jun 18, 2012
Gavin499 in Chicago Area

Solvang, Santa Ynez, Los Olivos Wine Recommendations

My wife and I are heading to Solvang for the weekend to enjoy some tasting and celebrate our 1st anniversary. At the moment we're staying in Solvang (Hadsten House) and having dinner at Root 246. I'm open to suggestions for a different dinner, as well as lunch and breakfast in the area, but what we're most looking for is wine suggestions.

Here's what I know:
1)We're willing to travel a bit around the area, hence the title. I've been in the area a half dozen times and enjoyed some great wines, but we're really looking for something different.

2)We tend to prefer appointment experiences, since they are usually less crowded, which can be an issue on the weekends.

3)We tend to prefer old-world "style" wines, meaning good minerality, and less fruit bombs. Balance is key. No strong preference as to white or red wines, though I suppose we lean a bit more towards red.

4)If I were to define some of the things we like, my favorite grape (at the moment) is Granache, and we tend to enjoy Rhone style wines. We've been to Demetria and enjoy it a lot, just as a point of reference.

Ideas? Thoughts? I've searched the boards significantly, but most of the recs are from last year (or before), so I'd love any thoughts from recent (or permanent) visitors!

May 26, 2012
Gavin499 in California

Cocktails

I'm looking to head to Montreal, probably next fall, so I'm in the early stages of planning my culinary adventure. I've found several suggestions for dining options (although I'm always open for more suggestions), but what I haven't found is a good place (or places) for cocktails.

Coming from Los Angeles (so you know my point of reference), I've been getting very into classic (and twists on classic) cocktails, especially cocktails using dark spirits. Trying to put some perspective, I've got 8 different bourbons, 4 sweet vermouths and 6 rye whiskey options in my home bar.

I don't tend to prefer loud spaces, though I'm not necessarily opposed. I tend to prefer somewhat more quite areas, food is optional, but good cocktails are a must. Any ideas? Does it just not exist in Montreal?

Mar 06, 2012
Gavin499 in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Dinner & Drinks

As clarification, we are planning on coming in on Saturday, and will be taking the ferry into the city proper, at which point we will be (obviously) subject to the whims of public transit.

Sep 28, 2011
Gavin499 in San Francisco Bay Area

Dinner & Drinks

So the wife and I are going to be in the Bay Area this weekend, and are planning to head into the city for at least one evening with her parents. We are looking for a place to get some good food and drinks, ideally not absurdly expensive (especially the food). We're not picky about the neighborhood, except that the food and drinks should probably be relatively close together, since we won't have a car in the city.

Just to specify somewhat, for food we're probably looking for something where entrees are in the low-20's or so, and/or we can get out (4 people) for under $200, excluding tax, tip and drinks. We tend to prefer upscale casual types of food, and probably avoid most "ethnic" foods, like Indian, Mexican or Chinese this time.

For drinks, the ideal setting would be a smallish bar, excellent drinks, with an emphasis on classic style drinks over extremely fruity, modern or trendy drinks. I love a twist on a classic, and the wife and I spent our honeymoon in New Orleans and loved Bar Uncommon, Arnaud's French 75 and the like. I don't particularly love an overly loud/trendy crowd, but don't mind waiting for a quality drink. Smaller crowds are probably better, especially with the parents along for the ride this time.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

Sep 28, 2011
Gavin499 in San Francisco Bay Area

New Year's Eve Dinner

My fiance and I would be interested in checking out a delicious meal for New Year's Eve in New Orleans. We're not tied to being at the restaurant to ring in the year, but we're big foodies and price is no object. We'll be staying in the French Quarter, so somewhere near enough to walk would be great. Especially since a cab might be hard to find on New Year's Eve.

We love a good cocktail, and music is great, so if anyone has suggestions on where to be after dinner we're certainly open to hearing them. Any ideas would be great!

Dec 19, 2010
Gavin499 in New Orleans

Marin Rehearsal Dinner

My fiance and I are trying to locate a good place for a rehearsal dinner in Marin County for next June. We're definitely into good food, but unfortunately since the wedding party is so large (30-35 people) we have to try to keep costs relatively low. Here's what we're looking for:

1. Located near Novato. The wedding will be there, and everyone coming in from out of town (most of them) will be as well. Several won't have cars, so we'll have to coordinate travel, so near Novato would be nice.
2. Can accommodate our party comfortably. We'd love to have a private room, but it's not a deal breaker for us, if the space is nice.
3. Good food. We like good food, and don't want some nasty unpleasant food. That said, we're fine working with some of the most simple/less expensive products if they're prepared well.
4. Availability - The rehearsal dinner will be on a Friday. I know that makes things more expensive, and if you know of somebody willing to work with us, let us know. We're willing to do the dinner early (as early as 4:30PM if necessary) to try to keep our costs down as much as possible.
5. Cost - Here's the hardest part. We're trying to keep costs right around $35/person. That would include the meal, and possibly non-alcoholic beverages. We would like access to a cash and carry bar (wine, beer, cocktails if available) and our guests will likely indulge on their own dime, we just don't need it included in our price.

Are there any places that can do this around that area? We can't easily get into San Francisco proper, or all the way to Sonoma, but what else is out there?

Nov 01, 2010
Gavin499 in San Francisco Bay Area

LA Hound Heading to Boston

We won't have a car, but we're looking for great food in Boston. We'll be arriving in the morning, have all day and evening on Thursday, and then all day Friday. We're departing for Providence, Rhode Island on Friday evening, and can eat either in Boston or Rhode Island (or anywhere in between).

To put it in perspective, we've enjoyed some of the best food in LA, and for at least once meal we're looking for a meal where price is no (realistic) object. We'd like to stay under $200 or so per person, but that should be fairly easy. We're pretty hardcore foodies, so we'd love any suggestion for what to do on Thursday/Friday as well if anyone has good tips. Any help would be appreciated!

Apr 13, 2010
Gavin499 in Greater Boston Area

Duck legs - where to buy in Los Angeles - moved from Home Cooking board

Whole Foods in Woodland Hills has them on a regular basis in or near the meat department (by the poultry). It's good duck, and beautiful for the duck recipe from the NYT. There are better recipes, but that's a great one to start with.

Mar 18, 2010
Gavin499 in Los Angeles Area

Pheasant

I'm trying to stay out of the city proper if possible... especially since we'll be about 30 minutes(ish) north of San Francisco. If we can stay in Marin/Sonoma it'd be much more convenient for me... but of course maybe I'm stuck heading into the city. Thanks for the idea!

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30 Cafe
9850 Cabrillo Hwy N, Moss Beach, CA

Oct 29, 2009
Gavin499 in San Francisco Bay Area

Pheasant

I'm trying to find a place north of San Francisco, in either Marin County or Sonoma County where I can find fresh game birds. Most specifically I'm looking for pheasant, but fresh quail would probably suffice. I know about Liberty Duck Farm, but unfortunately duck's not going to work for this purpose.

Does anyone know if Bud's Custom Meats sells fresh pheasant or quail? Or if it's all frozen? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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Bud's Custom Meats
7750 Petaluma Hill Rd, Penngrove, CA

Oct 28, 2009
Gavin499 in San Francisco Bay Area

DineLA- running reviews of places so far

Color me disappointed. I went to Spago on Friday evening for the dineLA menu (and also to celebrate my girlfriend's birthday). It's not the first time we've been to a dineLA restaurant, and in general we have had quite good experiences. I feel like we're also quite familiar with top-notch service and food that we have come to expect from a restaurant of Spago's quality. While we didn't expect the same level experience we have received at restaurants such as Le Bernardin or Providence, I was sorely disappointed.

Let me start by saying that the both of us (and our guests) were very impressed with the service when we arrived. Everything from the valet, to the host, to the bartender was excellent. Unfortunately, eventually we had to head to our table and meet our server, Jason. Jason was... abrupt to say the very least. When we requested the dineLA menus (something I had mentioned when we made the reservation prior), he replied "fine" and left to get the menus. Upon returning to the table proceeded to collect the normal menu. We asked if we would be able to keep the regular menu, since we were interested in potentially adding a couple courses to the meal, since it was a celebration.

Jason left, only to come back a few minutes later and inform us that the chef would not allow us to add any additional courses. Of course I'm skeptical (perhaps only a very slight notch below calling him an outright liar), but fine. Suffice it to say at that point we were already disappointed. When we subsequently asked if we could at least add the corn agnolotti, he hesitated before finally saying that we could indeed have one plate of that to share amongst the four of us (no more... apparently). He also mentioned that the agnolotti would have to come out at the same time as the appetizers. Of course, we all had appetizers, so this made things a bit awkward. While we ate our appetizers, the pasta sat in the middle of the table getting cold. Hardly what I'd imagine any chef would want for his or her food.

As a capper to the evening, since it was my girlfriend's birthday, and we'd come to Spago since she had wanted to visit for years, I made a specific point of confirming with the restaurant that it was noted. They informed me that they would happily provide a candle for her dessert. A small, but in my mind classy touch. I reconfirmed with the host upon checking in, and still dessert came and went with no acknowledgment whatsoever. No candle, no birthday wishes, nothing. It was disappointing.

The food was fine. It was not knock your socks off brilliant, and somewhat below what I would have hoped for a restaurant with such acclaim. That being said, if the service hadn't been perhaps the worst service I've had since TGI Fridays, I believe we all would have enjoyed the meal. As it was, we left with a poor taste in our mouth. After we left, we contacted the restaurant and spoke to a manager, who informed us that he would look into the situation and give us a call to follow up. During the call to management, they confirmed that in their system it was noted that we were celebrating a birthday, so it's clear somebody dropped the ball. To his credit, he was very pleasant and generally apologetic, if non-committal, across the board. Three days later, still no word. I'm holding out hope we'll hear something, but I'm growing skeptical. In all, I can't recommend the restaurant unless you can be sure to avoid Jason...

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Spago
176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Oct 12, 2009
Gavin499 in Los Angeles Area

Temecula Wine Country

Fair enough re:summer visits. I've gone a couple times this summer, though I agree with you on the weather and crowds. I've found that Doffo, since it's somewhat hidden is MUCH less crowded (I've never had more than 1-2 other groups in at the same time, and usually small groups of not more than 4). Also since Briar Rose is appointment only, they are never too crowded. Also, great AC in both cases!

Thanks for the tips on Paso, if you've got any other good ones, I'd love to hear it. I've been up to SB county a couple times, but only once to Paso. We're heading up there next weekend, so I need some good ideas! I've been to Martin Weyrich and Turley, and you're right. Very tasty zins. Of course zin is not my favorite. I'm in a major grenache kick, and LOVE any of the Bordeaux grapes (if done well obviously). Also do enjoy a tasty pinot from time to time.

If he/you haven't already, you should try to hit Demetria in the SB area. Delicious wines, appointment only (but easy to get, especially on weekends). Beautiful property, but most importantly some of the best wines I've had in the area.

Aug 08, 2009
Gavin499 in San Diego

Temecula Wine Country

Been to Palumbo, and I think they're quite tasty. They're another one that we try to stop by when we're in the area. Please report back after you try Doffo and Briar Rose (especially) and let me know what you think. Always interested in another opinion!

Aug 05, 2009
Gavin499 in San Diego

Temecula Wine Country

My girlfriend and I have been down to Temecula about a dozen times in the last couple years and by and large have been disappointed. We were not impressed by South Coast Winery, and most of the others tend to have the overly commercial, excessively sweet wines that we don't enjoy (though clearly some do).

I would recommend two in particular that we do find to be quite good. First, Doffo Wines is a neat little winery off past most of the main wineries on Rancho Cal. They make good wines, and tend to be... Argentinian in style? Lots of Malbec, Cab Sauv, no whites of note. Overall some good ones, some decent ones, but definitely worth the trip.

The other one is Briar Rose Winery. You need a reservation, but we've never had any trouble getting one (of course, we're wine club members, so that helps). Their wine stands up against all the other wineries in the Napa, Sonoma, Santa Barbara and Paso areas that I've tried. Not all of them are the best in the world, but especially if you're a fan of complex and delicious reds, you won't be disappointed. I'd be curious to see if anyone else has been there and has any other perspectives...

Aug 03, 2009
Gavin499 in San Diego

What L.A. restaurants have caffeine-free Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi on tap?

Most of The Habit locations have it. Tragically, the one on Ventura near Van Nuys does not. Also on a smaller scale the bagel place (New York Bagel Cafe I think) in the shopping center on Van Nuys and Ventura Blvd in Sherman Oaks has it too.

Aug 02, 2009
Gavin499 in Los Angeles Area

Food near Hyatt Regency

I'm looking for a delicious meal for a Sunday afternoon. I don't mind spending some money, but especially since it's only a lunch, I'd like to keep it relatively within reason. We're coming from LA, so anything that's unique and delicious would be great.

Also would strongly consider any more "refined" restaurants, especially if any of them have good deals for a Sunday meal, or something along those lines. Any thoughts?

Jun 02, 2009
Gavin499 in Austin

Uncommon Meat

Harmony Farms isn't bad, and they certainly have a wide selection, but keep in mind if you're looking for "fresh" you're out of luck. Basically everything they source is frozen. They have fresh beef and chicken (I believe) but anything more exotic than that is frozen solid. Up to you if that's a deal breaker, but it's worth noting.

Apr 15, 2009
Gavin499 in Los Angeles Area