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Planning a Sunday Casual Mexican Crawl

Thanks, SoozyQ!

Mar 15, 2012
RChicago in Los Angeles Area

Planning a Sunday Casual Mexican Crawl

Mexicali is closed on Sundays, boo! Oh well. Fortunately, plenty of other options.

We only have Sunday and Monday for food grazing this trip, and I figured Monday would be best spent in SGV, as a Chinese food crawl on a Sunday would be difficult, to say the least.

Mar 14, 2012
RChicago in Los Angeles Area

Planning a Sunday Casual Mexican Crawl

Ooh, keep em coming. I've never ordered something called a Vampiro, and haven't had flor de calabaza quesadillas. Great tips, thanks.

Anything I should scratch off my initial list? I'm going to have a hard time picking just a few.

Mar 14, 2012
RChicago in Los Angeles Area

Planning a Sunday Casual Mexican Crawl

Thank you!

Mar 13, 2012
RChicago in Los Angeles Area

Planning a Sunday Casual Mexican Crawl

What should we order at Cacao? What are the one or two things not to be missed?

Thanks!

Mar 13, 2012
RChicago in Los Angeles Area

Planning a Sunday Casual Mexican Crawl

We'll be driving from Anaheim to Pasadena and would like to eat Mexican food along the way. We'd like to include some fish/seafood stops as what we have in Chicago generally isn't very good. I understand that a lot of the taco trucks are only open at night, so I've tried to include a few that look like they are open for lunch.

What's below is what I was able to come up with from this site and elsewhere on the web. Obviously, with just two of us, we won't be making all the stops. I'm guessing four stops would be doable if we're only order a few items at each spot. I'd appreciate advice about what we shouldn't miss, whether I'm missing anything, and whether anything I have below is incorrect. I'm hoping to not go to far off of our route.

East LA:
Sergio's (fast food) - carne asada & al pastor
Taco's Baja Encenada (fast food) - fish tacos
Mariscos Jalisco (truck) - shrimp avocado tacos
Cinco Puntos (fast food) - amazing carnitas tacos (add nopales)
Guisados Tacos (fast food) - more upscale tacos

Approaching Pasadena:
El Mar Azul (truck) - cocktails, tostadas (both seafood)
La Estrella (fast food) - carnitas
My Taco (sit down?) - barbacoa
Rambo's (truck) - asada & carnitas

Thanks again for all your help.

Mar 13, 2012
RChicago in Los Angeles Area

BEST SUSHI in LA...

Thanks, folks. And thanks to choctastic in particular about the lunch experience at Mori. As I mentioned, I'm concerned that lunch may be different from dinner, so your input is greatly appreciated. As we only have Sunday, Monday, and part of Tuesday in L.A. proper, I thought Tuesday lunch would be our best bet for fresh fish. But, of course, I'm interested in the best option. If anyone would recommend something other than Kiriko or Mori for a weekday sushi lunch, please let me know.

Thanks again.

Mar 09, 2012
RChicago in Los Angeles Area

BEST SUSHI in LA...

If I might hijack the thread a bit, Kiriko or Mori for a weekday lunch? Preferred focus would be on sashimi, but we like just about all Japanese food. Mori's website is down, making it hard to compare. And I know some Japanese spots have different offerings for lunch and dinner.

Thanks!

Mar 08, 2012
RChicago in Los Angeles Area

Ink, LQ@SK, or Providence?

I guess I spend too much time reading food blogs. When a menu includes lots of airs, gels, foams, etc., I worry a bit. And, at the $45 price point, I was worried it wouldn't deliver.

Mar 07, 2012
RChicago in Los Angeles Area

Ink, LQ@SK, or Providence?

Thanks for all the great input. Glad to hear that LQ@SK wouldn't be a mistake. I was a bit worried it was all hype, no substance.

We can save Providence for another visit.

Mar 07, 2012
RChicago in Los Angeles Area

Ink, LQ@SK, or Providence?

Hi! Will be in LA for a long weekend soon. The dining focus will be mostly on ethnic spots (adored Mottainai, Torihei, Beverly Soon, Din Tai Fung, and Jitlada last fall and can't wait to try more), but we'd like to go to one nicer dinner this trip.

I reserved a table at Ink, but then today got an email that we'd scored a table at LQ@SK, too. As these are both tough-to-get tables, I'd like to free one up asap. I've also been considering Providence, and wondering if Providence has the better food, and it's just that Ink and LQ@SK are hotter at the moment. I know this is a bit of apples and oranges as LQ@SK is far less expensive than the other two, and cost is a consideration, although not the major one. We're staying downtown, so being able to BYOB and roll back to the hotel from Starry Kitchen is tempting - - but not at the expense of far better food.

So, folks that have experienced all three, knowing what you know, which would you recommend if you could only go to one?

Thanks in advance!

Mar 07, 2012
RChicago in Los Angeles Area

Best Korean Restarant

I'm liking the idea of a hole-in-the-wall or the seafood focused spot. Both seem different from what I'm used to in Chicago.

Thanks so much to all for the good recs. Lots to ponder. Really appreciated.

Sep 28, 2011
RChicago in Los Angeles Area

Best Korean Restarant

Hi,

I'll be in LA for a long weekend soon and am looking for a place for four of us to have Korean food that's better/different from the many run-of-the-mill Korean BBQ places in Chicago (although this guy thinks a Chicago Korean restaurant is the best restaurant in the world: http://www.chicagogluttons.com/the-gr...

)

The LA restaurant doesn't have to be a BBQ place and cost isn't a factor. It shouldn't be more than a 30-minute drive from Century City (Saturday evening traffic). We'd like plentiful banchan (not just 3-4 choices) but otherwise aren't wedded to any particular dishes.

What I'm hoping may be available in LA - - higher quality or fresher ingredients than I get in Chicago, a focus on fresh seafood (absent in Chicago), or food that you won't find on the average BBQ menu. The restaurant can be a hole-in-the-wall. (Things I eat often in Chicago: bossam, variety of BBQ items, yuk hwe, kimchi jiigae, dolsot bibimbop, casseroles, etc.)

I've read several Korean food threads here, and the discussion seems to focus on going to particular restaurants for particular dishes. As a visitor, I don't have the luxury of trying several and I'm having trouble selecting just one.

So, if you could pick one Korean spot that really shines to take out-of-town guests, where would it be?

And, if you've been to Korean restaurants in Chicago and think that I shouldn't bother in LA (should focus on other cuisines), please let me know. Our trip will also likely include: TBD sushi, Jitlada, Langer's, Father's Office, Fukagawa, and some dim sum and/or XLB spots.

Thanks in advance!

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Father's Office
1018 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

Jitlada
5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

Sep 27, 2011
RChicago in Los Angeles Area

Best Dives

Thanks for the tips. I'd picked Cooter Brown's because hubby is a Steelers fan and a quick net search led me to believe that the bar may be Steelers-friendly. How do Markey's and Bud Rips compare as far as seating, tvs, etc?

Thanks!

Dec 11, 2010
RChicago in New Orleans

Best Hole in the Wall Mexican for a Burrito

For a carne asada burrito and plenty of character, I prefer the lunch counter inside the Guanajuato #3 grocery store at California and Belmont. I've tried all four places mentioned by gordeaux and still prefer Guanajuato for carne asada burritos. It's not quite the dive that Tierra Caliente is (friendlier service, appears a small bit cleaner), but has just as much local flavor. I've never had the pollo, but the carnitas are solid. Gotta go before 3pm, I'd say, to ensure that your food is freshly made.

My last visit to Pasadita wasn't any good. I think it's too inconsistent. I really like Tierra Caliente, but it seems they rarely have everything. I didn't get pastor on either of my last two visits, and carne asada was reheated in a microwave. Plus, I find the service to be pretty poor - - good luck getting a table cleared. I live close to Asadero and think they do a pretty good job. I hate that the salsa is so inconsistent and at several dollars more than a burrito at Guanajuato, I'm more likely to go to Guanajuato. I've only been to Asadas once, and it was before the move across the street - - I thought it was pretty good, though.

Bottom line - - there are many good choices and it's all about preferences. None of gordeaux's selections are bad choices, and in many cities each would be the best Mexican food around.

Dec 10, 2010
RChicago in Chicago Area

Best Dives

Thanks to everyone for the great tips. We're headed to New Orleans in the morning and really looking forward to the weekend.

Here's a Sunday brunch question -- Elizabeth's or Dante's Kitchen? I'm leaning toward Dante's because we want to go watch football at Cooter Brown's at noon and it looks really close. We're staying in Fauborg Marigny, though, so it's not like Elizabeth's is out of the way. We'd like a neighborhood, casual brunch, and these both look to be good options.

Thanks again!

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Dante's Kitchen
736 Dante Street, New Orleans, LA 70118

Dec 10, 2010
RChicago in New Orleans

Best Dives

Thanks for the quick responses. I'll check them all out. Info on what we should order at these recommended spots would be useful, too!

Oh, and if there's anything you think I should remove from the list, that is also helpful.

Thanks again.

Nov 30, 2010
RChicago in New Orleans

Best Dives

Hi! Hubby and I will be visiting New Orleans for four days in a few weeks. I've been having trouble identifying good dive/casual/sandwich spots. We've both been to New Orleans several times, so we don't need help with the usual spots (Central Grocery, Acme, Maspero's, Mother's, etc.). We'd like to try some classic places that are new to us, as well as find some real hole-in-the-wall gems.

I'd appreciate any additions to my list. I'm mainly looking for Cajun and Creole (While I'm sure New Orleans does great Vietnamese, with our short trip, we'd like to get our fill of southern food). I'd also appreciate recommendations for what we should eat at the spots already on the list, as they're all new to us. We will have a car and are willing to travel for great food.

The list so far:
Cochon Butcher
Clover Grill
Liuzza's By the Track
Parkway Bakery and Tavern
Domilise's
Tracey’s
Chicken Sue’s
Willie Mae's Restaurant

Thanks in advance!

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Liuzza's By the Track
1518 N Lopez St, New Orleans, LA 70119

Chicken Sue's
203 W Harrison Ave, New Orleans, LA 70124

Clover Grill
900 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70116

Cochon Butcher
930 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70130

Maspero's
601 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70130

Nov 30, 2010
RChicago in New Orleans

Brooklyn Report

I visited family in Brooklyn this past weekend and was able to try some great spots. My Brooklyn I.Q. was pretty low before this trip, so I was happy to get to see several different neighborhoods. Here's a quick run down of the trip, in no particular order.

DRAM BAR - - We loved this place so much we spent two evenings there. It's cozy, casual, and comfortable. Even on a Friday evening, there were seats available - - and no wait at the door. If I lived anywhere near here, this would be my go-to bar for cocktails. Jeremy took great care of us, really listening to our likes/dislikes/requests and making sure were were all happy with our drinks. He even went the extra step and gave us a list of other cocktail spots we should visit during our trip.

FATTY CUE - - We don't have anything like this in Chicago. I felt that nearly everything was solid, even if there were few home runs. This is the kind of meal I'll remember liking a few years from now, even if I can't remember any particular dishes. That said, I liked the lamb ribs, clams, celery, and hanger steak quite a bit. This is a fun place, great for a big group.

PIES N THIGHS - - We stopped here for dessert. Gotta say, nothing blew us away. We tried a few pies, a sundae, and cake. Nothing memorable.

BARK HOT DOGS - - We only tried the fried pork sandwich and the disco fries. Both good, neither crave-worthy.

MILE END DELI - - This place was incredible. A trip highlight for sure and worth the hour wait. The smoked meat sandwich and poutine were both great. We also enjoyed the pickle and whitefish. It was so good, we almost returned for dinner.

OLEA - - We went here for Sunday brunch. Not good.

WTF - - New coffee shop. Wow. Best iced coffee I've ever had. Great Americano, too.

EGG - - Really liked this spot for brunch. Even on a Monday morning, there was a wait. We had grits with pork ragu and duck confit hash. We couldn't decide which we liked best. The housemade pork sausage was pleasantly spicy, but disappointingly dry.

BEDFORD CHEESE - - What a charming cheese shop! We stopped inside to buy some New York cheeses as a thank you to a friend. Great service, plenty of good suggestions.

ROBERTA'S - - When we arrived on a Sunday at 5pm, we were quoted a 1 1/2 hour wait. Fortunately, a few bar seats opened up quickly. Very good pizza. I like my crusts a bit crisper, but the toppings were really spot-on. Sweetbreads (small, greaseless, fried nuggets) were a highlight and fun to see at a pizza joint.

DI FARA - - This was pretty good, but I wouldn't make the trek again. I think I'm just not a huge fan of New York style pizza. (The shawarma joint around the corner, on the other hand, was quite good)

COMMODORE - - We had the cheeseburger and pork & pintos. Both were quite good, especially given the reasonable prices and that options were pretty limited at nearly midnight. I would happily return.

Nov 16, 2010
RChicago in Outer Boroughs

Recs for Smaller, Chef-Driven Restaurants with Great Food

These are all great suggestions, thank you so much. I will take a look at all the menus.

And no worries about suggesting Brooklyn ideas - - Traif looks great and we're actually staying with family in Park Slope this trip. (I just thought I should stick to Manhattan on the Manhattan board.) Although, that's raises a good question - - for the type of restaurants we're looking for, does Brooklyn present some better options?

Thanks!

Oct 15, 2010
RChicago in Manhattan

4 Days & Nights In Chicago...

For pizza, I'd suggest you take the Red Line El up to Andersonville. Great Lake serves the best pizza (by far) that I've had in Chicago - - and there are waits to match. Best plan is to put your name down for a table and then go grab a cocktail at In Fine Spirits or a beer at Hopleaf. Great Lake is happy to call your cell when your table is ready.

The neighborhood also has some great little antique and boutique shops, so you can go for more than food.

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Hopleaf Bar
5148 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640

In Fine Spirits
5420 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640

Great Lake
1477 W Balmoral Ave, Chicago, IL 60640

Oct 14, 2010
RChicago in Chicago Area

Indian on Devon or Korean BBQ on Lawrence?

Kang Nam on Kedzie just north of Lawrence is probably my favorite Korean spot. I've been with a big group and we had no problem at all. Great panchan, bibim bop, and soups, in addition to the BBQ.

I really like gordeaux's suggestion for Khan BBQ, but if it's a quiet night, it lacks for atmosphere.

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Kang Nam Restaurant
4849 N Kedzie Ave, Chicago, IL 60625

Oct 14, 2010
RChicago in Chicago Area

Recs for Smaller, Chef-Driven Restaurants with Great Food

Hi! Hubby and I will visiting New York (from Chicago) next month for the first time in a few years and would appreciate some dinner recommendations. There are so many wonderful threads discussing the best fine dining options.

What we're having trouble with is finding the best smaller restaurants, with up-and-coming chefs working hard in the kitchen nearly every night. We'd greatly appreciate suggestions for where we can get great food from a restaurant with a chef that hasn't been profiled by the NYT and won't be bumping elbows with 200 other diners.

We'll eat any cuisine, although coming from Chicago, we'll probably skip Mexican and Chinese as we have perfectly acceptable options here. If possible, we'd like to find a great snout-to-tail spot, and we also appreciate restaurants with locally-sourced ingredients. Cost isn't a major issue, but what I'm thinking about are spots with $20-30 mains, so not cheap, but not super high-end either.

A friend and food writer just returned from New York and recommended Dell’Anima, Little Owl, and Cafeteria. Any of those good options? Is the Spotted Pig still a great choice, or has it been supplanted by another restaurant?

Thanks so much in advance!

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Spotted Pig
314 W 11th St, New York, NY 10014

Little Owl
90 Bedford Street, New York, NY 10014

Oct 14, 2010
RChicago in Manhattan

One Night in Tokyo

Thanks, jem589, for the tips. Sasahana sounds like it's exactly what we're looking for, and we will definitely ask the hotel to call ahead for us. Yes, I am hoping for something much better than Morimoto!

I mentioned the tempura suggestion to my husband, but he's not a huge fan of tempura. :(

As many folks have mentioned, this is a pretty aggressive plan, but I'm hoping we can do it. We have such a short time in Tokyo and with the high cost of getting from the airport into Tokyo, we definitely want to make the most of it. Plus, our visit is sandwiched between two lengthy flights - - plenty of sleeping to be done inflight.

Thanks again and if anyone else has suggestions or tips, I'd really appreciate them!

All the best,
R

Mar 12, 2010
RChicago in Japan

One Night in Tokyo

Great help. Thanks so much folks.

To jk1002, we're flying JAL, but to Jakarta. We'll return from Denpasar through Tokyo.

To the many folks offering Tsujiki morning advice, thank you. As some have surmised, while we're new to Tokyo, we're not new to travel. This is my fourth trip to Asia. It's really great to have an idea of how much time to allow. I like the idea of leaving the luggage at the airport and traveling lightly, which means we won't either have to stop back at the hotel to pick up our bags or drag them around the fish market. It sounds like we can safely be at the fish market from 5am to 7am without any worries about missing our 11am flight. Given the proximity to the fish market, I'm guessing it won't be difficult for the hotel to find us a cab before 5am.

I like the idea of eating sushi at the fish market. I mentioned this to my husband, who agreed, and thought we should have a different focus for our one dinner. Is there a place relatively close to the hotel where we could enjoy a wonderful kaiseki meal for around $100-150 per person (before booze)? Somewhere we wouldn't need a reservation on a Monday night and that we could enter dressed pretty casually? I think we're pretty adventurous eaters and would prefer a restaurant with both wonderful and challenging food. I don't know if this helps, but we do enjoy things like tripe, heart, uni, jellyfish, raw geoduck, etc. While delicious food is the priority, we'd love to have our server throw down some dishes with ingredients we'd never tried before. (Btw, while we eat Japanese food fairly regularly, we do live in Chicago, so the options are pretty uninspired. Our favorite Japanese meal was a long, multicourse at Morimoto in Philly years ago.)

And then an izakaya or two to visit after?

Again, many thanks. I've skimmed a few guidebooks and they don't contain information nearly this helpful - - so thanks.

R

Mar 11, 2010
RChicago in Japan

One Night in Tokyo

Hello! Happily, my frequent flyer ticket from Chicago to Indonesia has me overnighting in Tokyo, where my husband and I have never been.

We arrive at 4pm on a Monday and have flight out the next morning at 11am. I'm hoping that we can take the express train into town, drop off our luggage, eat traditional sushi, visit a few izakaya, get up super-early to visit the fish market, and head back to the airport.

I made a reservation at the Hotel Monterey Ginza because it looks to be pretty close to the Tokyo Station (which I understand is easy to get to from Narita on the express train) and to the fish market. It doesn't look like a fancy hotel, but looks fine for a few hours of rest, which is all I expect we'll have time for (we can sleep on the plane).

I would greatly appreciate recommendations fairly close to the hotel for a casual, traditional sushi restaurant. Somewhere we won't need reservations on a Monday evening. Also, recommendations for nearby izakaya. I figure we'll enjoy a light sushi dinner and then go for more bites and drinks afterwards at a few izakaya.

Given that I don't know Tokyo at all, I thought it would be best to ask for expert advice here from folks who know the area.

Logistics tips are of course also appreciated.

Thanks so much,
R

Mar 10, 2010
RChicago in Japan

Visiting Vancouver Next Week - - Appreciate Assistance with Itinerary

Thanks, Iona. Great tips. Too bad we are driving all the way to southern Puget Sound, because I'd be really tempted to go to more than one of these.

Do you think that given that we'll probably eat at Kirin downtown earlier in the week we should pick Shanghai River because it will be different? I am a huge fan of XLB.

Thanks!

Sep 24, 2009
RChicago in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Lunch Driving North from SEATAC

At first I thought this was a joke; but no, Mt. Vernon is actually honoring Glenn Beck on Saturday. We will avoid the crowds, thanks.

Should we visit Mt. Vernon on the way back south next Wednesday and stop at the Skagit coop? We'll be driving from Vancouver to Harstine Island in the Puget Sound. I initially thought we'd just stop at Pike Place to buy provisions for our stay on the island before grabbing the Bremerton Ferry. But, given that we'll have plenty of time in Seattle later in the trip, would it be better (or less expensive?) to stop at the Skagit coop for provisions? As it'll be a Wednesday, I also saw that Bellingham and Wallingford have markets those days, which we may be able to visit depending on what time we're driving by.

If anyone has thoughts about where we should stop for great groceries on the way south, it'd be appreciated. We'll generally be looking for in-season produce and local meat and fish.

Thanks again for all the tips. Good stuff.

Sep 24, 2009
RChicago in Greater Seattle

Visiting Vancouver Next Week - - Appreciate Assistance with Itinerary

fmed, someone needs to open a bun cha hanoi restaurant somewhere closer than Hanoi. It doesn't exist in Chicago and I've found only slightly ok versions in Northern Virginia. EVERYONE I've met who's been to Hanoi longs for that dish. I only tried it once, but wow was it memorable. And, I can't complain about the giant crab spring rolls that were served alongside, either.

When I visit a city with a significant Vietnamese population, I try to find bun cha hanoi.

Hen Xuc Banh Da (thanks for reminding me of the Vietnamese name), on the other hand, can be found in Northern Virginia. Pretty tasty, too.

Thanks for the Cuu Long rec!

Sep 23, 2009
RChicago in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Visiting Vancouver Next Week - - Appreciate Assistance with Itinerary

Thanks for all the great tips. Awesome, really.

Granville Island and Japadog are already on the list. I appreciate all the suggestions, which should allow us that night to pick a spot based on what we're feeling like.

I would appreciate a Vietnamese suggestion or two. My favorite common Vietnamese dishes are fried spring rolls and grilled pork. My favorite less common dishes are bun cha hanoi and a clam appetizer served with shrimp chips (aka clam nachos). If there's a place you think I might like given these favorites, that'd be great.

Yes, sf toronto, we do hang out in Bucktown/Wicker Park quite a bit, more because it's close to home than because it has the best food. For cheap eats in Chicago, I frequent Salam for Middle Eastern, Brown Sack for shrimp-avocado BLTs and shakes, Spring World for $4 Chinese lunches, TAC Quick for amazing authentic Thai, Johnnie's for Italian Beef, Cross Rhodes for great Greek fries, Guanajuato #3 for a carne asada burrito, etc. And, again, please feel free to consult me for tips as your trip approaches. I, too, like the Bongo Room, but don't go often because of the lines. If you get to the Bongo Room on a Sunday and lines are long, consider the nearby Bristol for a great brunch.

Sep 23, 2009
RChicago in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)