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gourmetla's Profile

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Peruvian Food: Los Balcones del Peru, Mamita's and Mario's

I love Natalie Peruvian. Really great ceviches.

Oct 19, 2009
gourmetla in Los Angeles Area

Good Restaurants in LA for a Bachelorette Party

I just arranged a bachelorette dinner for 12 people at Le Parc Hotel in West Hollywood (off La Cienga & Melrose). I worked with the chef to have a prix fixe menu of $25 (not including tax & tip) that consisted of an appetizer (salad or crab cakes), choice of entree (skirt steak, salmon or chicken) and dessert (chocolate cake). The price included drinks. It was perfect because I asked for us to be on the rooftop and they put us right next to the tennis courts. It was very private and we had a great view.

Jun 19, 2007
gourmetla in Los Angeles Area

the good ole' standby: ramenya (ramen review)

As far as I know, it's still cash only. I did notice they're now open seven days a week now. I used to go there at least once a week but hadn't gone in the last ten months. I went back a few weeks ago and had the best shrimp omlette ramen. It was definitely more tender and better made than ever before (and it was great before). It's too bad their gyoza are still bad though.

Dec 19, 2006
gourmetla in Los Angeles Area

Naraya Thai Fusion

I love this place. Everything is well done and with care here. And yes, a VERY dramatic sugar sculpture with the desserts. We were so surprised to see it!

Dec 15, 2006
gourmetla in Los Angeles Area

Fresh Strawberries

I still see them at the farmer's market by the Central Library on Wednesday.

Dec 12, 2006
gourmetla in Los Angeles Area

ISO African Restaurants...Ethiopian, South African, Rwandan anything...

I liked the food better at Rosalind's (Ethiopian) over Nyala's but Nyala's has better decor. Both have slow service though Nyala seems to be improving.

Dec 12, 2006
gourmetla in Los Angeles Area

ISO African Restaurants...Ethiopian, South African, Rwandan anything...

Ngoma was probably the worst dining experience I've ever had in my life. I ordered what I thought was a seafood stew. It turned out to be goat stew with dried seafood in it. Nowhere on the menu did it mention it was goat. Also, slow service and bad desserts.

Dec 12, 2006
gourmetla in Los Angeles Area

Pinkberry-Studio City location, was just there!

Yes, I know but I don't want to eat them! I used to spend hours cracking them open for the tiny bit of nub. Too much work.

Dec 12, 2006
gourmetla in Los Angeles Area

Where do you get your favorite caprese?

Antica in Marina del Rey

Dec 12, 2006
gourmetla in Los Angeles Area

Pinkberry-Studio City location, was just there!

I also got blueberries (no seeds) and kiwi (seeds are edible). I didn't think the blackberry seeds were bad. I wouldn't get the pom seeds though. That would be a chore to eat.

Dec 12, 2006
gourmetla in Los Angeles Area

Pinkberry-Studio City location, was just there!

I went for the first time about a week ago to the Studio City location. I loved the decor. But I love mod stuff.

As for the yogurt, I liked it. I had feared it would almost be too sour from what I've read here on CH but it was much more mild and really not tangy to me (but I love sour flavors). Still, I enjoyed the fresh fruit- they had the most incredible blackberries when I went. Yeah, $4.95 for a medium with three toppings is a lot but so is Coldstone and any sort of "thing" like this. I rather spend $5 on fresh fruit and yogurt over a "fancy" dry cupcake with too much celeb hype. Given a choice of Thrifty ice cream at Rite Aid or Pinkberry? It depends of my mood. Both are great.

Oh, and yeah, parking is HORRIBLE there.

Dec 11, 2006
gourmetla in Los Angeles Area

Food at Magic Castle?

I went in July and found the oysters, steak (NY) and drinks good. But service was iffy and prices high. If you can avoid it, eat elsewhere.

Dec 06, 2006
gourmetla in Los Angeles Area

Rec for West Hollywood?

Hi, I need a rec for a late dinner in West Hollywood somewhat near the 24 Hour Fitness on Santa Monica Blvd. Walking distance is preferable to the gym and they wouldn't mind if some of us are still in our workout clothes. Casual, sit-down, cheapish and good are keywords! We tried the Courtyard last time and it was fine but we'd like to try something different. Thanks!

Dec 06, 2006
gourmetla in Los Angeles Area

Favourite Cut of Steak?

Medium rare ribeye, hands down. Strip second.

Dec 02, 2006
gourmetla in General Topics

Tonight: Saito's or Ike for Sushi

I just went for the first time two weeks ago and noticed the enormous portions (which pleased me greatly). Perhaps it was a fluke but I had a feeling Ike wanted us to come back.

Nov 30, 2006
gourmetla in Los Angeles Area

The Counter Burger Toppings - who is ordering this stuff?

My ex loved the pineapple on his burger. I couldn't do it- but I do love pineapple in general. The other stuff, if you order the burger as a "salad" is pretty good.

Nov 30, 2006
gourmetla in General Topics

Bonaventure Brewing Company

Happy hour isn't bad there but burgers are definitely dried out by that point. Their surf and turk is decent. Pastas are okay. They used to have the best key lime cheesecake but they haven't had it in ages. I think drinks are best there.

If you're in the area, I'd recommend Engine Company #28 down on Fig for a better meal.

Nov 22, 2006
gourmetla in Los Angeles Area

Ramenya, In West LA on Olympic, just west of Sawtelle (short review)

Ramenya is my favorite ramen place in LA! I love the shrimp omlette ramen and the negi ramen best there. Their pork and pickled veggie was good too but "stinky" to some people's noses. I don't really like their gyoza but always ordered it because the ex liked it so much (lots of cabbage- which he liked).

Nov 14, 2006
gourmetla in Los Angeles Area

BORDER GRILL (Santa Monica): Yay or Nay??!

Food is definitely good there though service is generally horrible. The SM Seranata is decent but the atmosphere is better at Border Grill.

Nov 10, 2006
gourmetla in Los Angeles Area

Can someone recommend a Japanese Curry Restaurant?

I would be interested to know if Duck's improved the air circulation. The last and only time I went years ago, it smelled so bad! But the curry was good.

Nov 07, 2006
gourmetla in Los Angeles Area

Cacao next to Le Saigon, West LA, on Santa Monica Blvd.

Cacao is okay. Although, the guy making the coffee was smoking as he was making the coffee the last time I was there.

Nov 03, 2006
gourmetla in Los Angeles Area

Red, White and Blues Pasadena?

I went to Red White + Bluezz last night. The menu online looked amazing. My friend was particularly interested in the fried mac & cheese and I loved the idea of the fromaggio risotto. Pecorino and parmasean were mentioned. And since pecorino is my favorite cheese, I was eager to try this. I was happy to find the short ribs served with the risotto and since it's my mission to try short ribs whenever I find it on the menu, I thought it was a match made in heaven. I was wrong.

The short ribs were inconsistent in tenderness. The waitress even had to bring out steak knives for us since some pieces were so tough. The Montepulciano veal reduction was surprisingly sweet which overpowered the risotto and garlic-y. That garlic snuck up on us hours later.

The risotto was way undercooked. The rice was not throughly cooked and the cheese flavor could have been any cheese. I did like the bits of portabello but otherwise, I was unsure why it was called "risotto" when the rice was definitely not creamy. The three baby carrots were fine.

I did enjoy my Caesar salad though our waitress was a little weird about cracking pepper only on one spot. I had to cut off the lettuce and rub it around the entire head of romaine. She joked it was really dark in the restaurant. The lonely little piece of anchovy made me laugh as it was hiding under a large Parmasean crisp. I didn't eat the "artistic" croutons. But they did make a nice presentation. The oven-roasted Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes were cold but good. The homemade dressing was chock full of anchovy which made it very worthy but not the best Caesar I've ever had.

The fried mac & cheese balls were lacking in flavor. They were nicely fried but it needed a little salt to bring out the cheese. This is surpringly to us since the cheese alone should have been salty enough. My friend liked the red pepper sauce that went with the balls.

The waitress seemed shocked at how busy they were on a Wednesday night. We never got our bread basket and my iced tea took a while because she had to brew it which was fine, I liked the freshly brewed tea. She forgot my friend's "sophisticated lady" wine flight and had to be reminded. When the waitress asked if we would like dessert, we replied no and she enthusiastically said, "good!" Hmm, I was eyeing the ricotta cheesecake or molten chocolate cake but never mind then.

Overall, I think the food needs a lot of work. I like the idea of the wine and cheese flights but I would not return for the food.

Nov 02, 2006
gourmetla in Los Angeles Area

Downtown LA - one night, solo dining

Engine Company #28 on Figueroa.

Oct 27, 2006
gourmetla in Los Angeles Area

Vegas report 10/20-10/23

As far as I know, Caesar's was the place for buffet back in the day. They're actually fairly good in quality and quantity of choices. No, it's not as big as the Wynn but I felt they were actually maybe just a little bit better at refreshing the foodstuff. The marinated veggies I mentioned went fast and were immediately replaced. The sushi stuff was better at the Wynn but Caesar's had more variety.

Oct 26, 2006
gourmetla in Southwest

Vegas report 10/20-10/23

slightly edited from my blog...

10/20 Buffet Dinner at Cafe Lago (Caesar's)

I was fairly bummed we got a bad table at the buffet. Getting in and out meant mashing my hip against the corner of the table. It's a good thing I'm flexible! I liked the marinated veggies along with the olives. The pork chop and chicken were good. I also liked the ham. The veggies like broccoli were way overdone and a sickly yellow-green. I couldn't try everything as I was full but people were going mainly for the crab legs and shrimp (I had one but it was way too much work--they do not provide small forks). The cocktail shrimp were nicely firm with a spicy cocktail sauce. The fresh fruit and fruit tart were a nice end to my meal.

I really liked our waitress. She was very nice, happy and smiled a lot. She came by often to check on us.

$28 or so with tax and tip.

10/21 Buffet Lunch at The Buffet (Wynn)

I enjoyed the mini sushi rolls, clam chowder, marinated veggies, various cold salads, fresh sliced bacon and prime rib. The chicken noodle soup was fine though the noodles were way too mushy and overall, it was a little salty. I liked the cocktail shrimp from Caesar's better as well as their sauce. Wynn's wasn't as spicy. I skipped all the breakfast stuff but my friends seemed to think the veggies for the breakfast burrito were too spicy. I didn't like the Kansas ribs. It was all sauce and not much meat. The eggroll I had was too much wrapper and not enough filling. The lemon tart was a little bit too gummy but I loved the passionfruit sorbet.

Overall, I think the meat and cold salads are worth it. The candy apples looked intersting as well as most of their desserts. The bloody mary I ended up with was too watery and the iced tea was acceptable.

Service was consistent despite a shift change. We were there approximately 2.5 hours.

$36 or so with tax and tip ($8 more if you get the mimosa/bloody mary brunch)

10/21 Dinner at Le Provencal (Paris)

We started with the calamari. Very lightly fried and great batter but not enough calamari. I felt like I was just eating the batter which is fine for some but not for a seafood nut like me. My friends raved about the butter and bread that came to the table.

I had the seafood linguine. I was bummed two clams weren't open. I liked the three large shrimp best of the clams and mussels also in the dish. What sold me was the claim the sauce had 8 tomatoes in it. I love tomatoes and the sauce was nicely playing up the flavors of the seafood as well as the basil.

$30 with tax and tip

10/22 Breakfast at Peppermill (strip- near Riveria)

I had the french toast collage which said came with three eggs, two strips of bacon and two sausages. The eggs looked like the whole dozen! It was fun to grind fresh pepper into 'em. I loved the sausage and the bacon was fine. The french toast is made with thick Texas toast. Not too eggy and served with whipped butter and syrup.

My friends had the bbq chicken wrap and feta cheese omelette. They both enjoyed their food and felt happy with their choices despite the kitchen messing up the omelette. She wanted egg whites and the order had to be redone. Service is a little slow but it is a really crowded place. We had to repeatedly ask for the cocktail waitress but it was worth it. I throughly enjoyed my giant bloody mary. The mimosa and kir royale were also loved.

$25 with tax and tip

10/22 Dinner at Wasabi Jane's (Venetian)

After the Blue Man Group, we just wanted a quick bite and ended up at the food court. I chose the least dried out stuff from the wannabe Chinese/Japanese place. I got the mabo tofu (not spicy enough), green beans (not spicy enough), yakisoba (a little dry) and a water. Friends seemed to like the little sandwich shop next door.

$9

10/21 Lunch at Commander's Palace (Aladdin)

When I looked up all the places I wanted to try in Vegas, I knew I definitely wanted to try Commander's Palace for their "1880" fixed price lunch ($18.80) along with their $.25 martinis. That's right, you can get four martinis for $1 (limit 4). I tried the Commander's Palace signature martini (very blue!), French (a little too strong with the cassis instead of chambord--they use non-premium spirits for the $.25 martinis), pomegranate and juicy cupcake (like a strawberry lemonade flavor). The pomtini isn't one of the special martinis but they comped that one for me because my catfish was underdone.

I started with the sweet potato bisque. I enjoyed the freshly ground pepper on top of the not-overly sweet bisque. My catfish was absolutely wonderful. The polenta that went with it was very good. I loved the microgreens and shoots on top of the fish. The slightly bitter notes from the greens complented the fish quite well. But as I said, my first fish was underdone. The next was seared more (loved that crispness) and fully but not over cooked. Service was very attentive before the incident but suddenly, it was even more stellar. I received a small tasting of the turtle soup while I waited for my new fish. I ended up with the wonderful white chocolate pistachio parfait. I expected it to come in a glass but it was a huge triangular slice with artfully squeezed caramel on the plate.

My friends enjoyed the salmon appetizer and bananas fosters dessert as well. Commander's Palace was my favorite meal of the whole trip.

$26 including tax and tip

Places to avoid:

Starbucks at the Mandalay Bay- much more expensive than a regular Starbucks. A litre of Fiji water was $6.47 ($6 plus tax).

Go to any ABC store and that same water will probably be around $1.50-$2!

Oct 25, 2006
gourmetla in Southwest

New Thai Westside

I went over the weekend and thought it was wonderful. Loved the space, settings, attentive service. We tried the salmon cakes, avocado wrapped fish balls and Vietnamese shrimp handrolls (served in shot glasses- nice presentation) as appetizers. I had the rib eye for lunch which was nicely flavored with the fried basil. I would have prefered the steak not have been pre-sliced however. My friends had the fried catfish and tamarind salmon (also fried). They were tasty looking. For desert, we finished with the warm flourless chocolate cake served with ice cream. It was also served with a whole sliced orange and strawberry. The giant half-circle sugar wall was amazing! I don't know if they do that regularly or if it's because my friend is a "regular" (she's been a few other times) and it was her birthday.

Oct 16, 2006
gourmetla in Los Angeles Area

Dish (La Canada) -- review

I've had excellent short ribs there. However, their red velvet cupcake was dry. I've heard this complaint of red velvet cupcakes in general at other bakeries/restaurants so I'm wondering if it's just a general LA thing- can't get good red velvet cake?

Oct 16, 2006
gourmetla in Los Angeles Area

best bolognese

I love Antica's version but I also add a little bit of balsamic vinegar to it.

Oct 16, 2006
gourmetla in Los Angeles Area

Best French Onion Soup

I like La Dijonaise in Culver City because it's not that salty. I also recall a good one from Monty's in Westwood years ago but I'm not sure how it is now.

Oct 12, 2006
gourmetla in Los Angeles Area

Best diner

Cafe 50s in Venice (on Lincoln).

Oct 12, 2006
gourmetla in Los Angeles Area