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Palm Springs Area: Any Chow-worthy places???

Jiao. Went there yesterday for a late lunch. Outstanding shrimp and mango spring rolls and really good chicken/mizuna salad. Great ginger/plum iced tea. Other menu items were very enticing. Everything was fresh and pleasantly presented. Very accommodating with allergy requests.

Sep 07, 2013
jpb in California

Ombra? New in Studio City

Terribly impressed. We had a wonderful dinner there a couple of weeks ago. We had the shrimp appetizer and the octopus salad - both delicious and generously portioned. I had the pasta special with a bolognese type sauce. The sauce was great, but it was the noodles that were sublime. Wait staff was terrific, even accomodating to special requests due to allergies. Only complaint was that it got a bit loud towards the end of our meal as the restaurant became more crowded. Understandable that people want to come . . . . really great food.

Nov 01, 2011
jpb in Los Angeles Area

LA to SLC

We are driving from LA to Salt Lake to enjoy the fresh powder of Little Cottonwood Canyon (Snowbird/Alta). Would love to enjoy some wonderful dining along the way and when we get there . . . . preferences are original cooking, moderately priced/not planning to dress up, and no Mexican. Any don't miss places in Cedar City? in Sandy? in SLC? in the Canyon? Thank you so much. We can't wait to return to beautiful Utah.

Dec 30, 2010
jpb in Mountain States

First time visitors need anniversary dinner suggestions

We made the mistake of eating at Tender. 'Nuff said. Please don't.

Jun 21, 2010
jpb in Las Vegas

Opening Weekend Report from Julian Serrano at Aria CityCenter

Here is is June - and our experience was much like Kevin's. Our meal at Julian Serrano was wonderful. Jason, our server, was helpful, friendly and went out of his way to help us manage the menu with a food allergy difficulty. All of our tapas choices were outstanding, with my favorite the Ahi tuna wrapped in sesame seeds and a 'molecular' rasberry and the Salmon cannelone - the 'wrapping' being very thinly sliced avocado (just beautiful) around the salmon and seaweed. The white asparagus with a mango/mayo foam was wonderful - even for myself who doesn't care for asparagus.

The room is beautiful and comfortable. A wonderful experience with a 'lighter' meal. Great that there is an option for outstanding food without feeling the necessity to have a huge meal.

Jun 21, 2010
jpb in Las Vegas

Gluten Free in SFV

Z Pizza, there are several locations, one in the Porter Ranch area, one in the Woodland Hills area, has gluten free pizza. You can check them out online. It isn't too bad. I think PF Chang's was mentioned and that is good also. You do have to ask for their gluten free menu but it has lots of options. Am also interested in finding out more about gluten free restaurants/offerings if there are any others. Always, JPB

Dec 15, 2009
jpb in Los Angeles Area

Prague, never before

We will be staying at the Art Hotel near the Stromovka park and the stadium/Sparta tram stop. Are there restaurants near there that are recommended? We are looking forward to enjoying the food and beer of Prague. I understand the roads near that area are under construction. Will that be a problem getting around by public transport? Thank you!!

Oct 03, 2009
jpb in Europe

Best Burger in the SFV?

Another very good burger is Pinot Bistro. I think they only serve it at lunch, but it was cooked perfectly (I asked for rare) and was excellent, juicy meat. On Ventura Boulevard near Coldwater Canyon.

Jun 16, 2009
jpb in Los Angeles Area

Frozen custard in LA?

No shipping for me. Once it is hard frozen, it isn't as good. That's why Ted Drewe's failed in the grocery store and at the ball park. You have to go get it freshly made. Then, when they put the chocolate hard shell into the mixer with the vanilla custard and you get 'chocolate chips' which is essentially broken up chocolate, there is absolutely nothing like it . . . .

I think Lucky Devil's is a nice comparison in a pinch.

Anyone tried the frozen custard at Chili My Soul in Encino? I've seen it advertised on the window, but have never gone in. JPB

Jul 17, 2008
jpb in Los Angeles Area

Merkato 55 - long

Since I didn't see any comments about the food we ordered, thought I would add my 2 cents. Merkato 55 did not disappoint, rather one of the best meals I have had in a very long time.

We ordered the pickled sardines. Sardines had a wonderful firm texture and the onions with a bit of chili pepper had just the right bite to add to the fish. Next was the goat (in the pot) entree which was flavorful and very, very tender meat. The okra (which I usually don't like) had absorbed enough of the unfamiliar flavors of the sauce that it was still crunchy but very tasty. The best entree we had was the Guniea Hen with carmelized onions and Meyer lemon. Cherry tomatoes topped the dish which had a slightly tomato base. I couldn't identify all the flavors, but it was rich and flavorful (?cumin) and the onions were perfectly sweet and soft.

I loved all my dessert choices: passion fruit sorbet was creamy (yet non-dairy) and very, very tart. Just the way I like it, like eating the fruit itself. The coffee custard was smooth, somewhat thin, with coffee crumbles on top and tasted very much like coffee without being too sugary sweet. The chocolate sambosa was just a slight bit greasy with the frying, but the milk chocolate center oozed into my mouth with the greatest of flavors.

All in all a fantastic meal. Service was a bit uneven - very helpful with menu selections, yet somewhat slow with taking orders and bringing the check. On the other hand, a bit too anxious to pick up our dishes (I wanted every last bit). Noise level at a typical NY level - loud. Agree with previous posters about the tables. A bit too close, though the better to see what everyone was choosing.

We'll definitely be back. Tremendous food. JPB

May 17, 2008
jpb in Manhattan

Best Museum Restaurants

Thank you so much! Look forward to my visit.

Anything at all around the Javits Center? Their cafeteria is nothing at all, so am tempted to pack in a lunch from a local deli, unless you have some advice on something nearby to go out to while at the convention center? Thanks again for any advice.

May 17, 2008
jpb in Manhattan

Breakfast: Houston&Bowery

Open at 7 a.m. is Russ and Daughter's. If you don't mind picking up something to go, they have amazing bagels/cream cheese/variety of smoked salmons. Good selection of juices as well. Just no where to sit, except a couple of benches just outside. (Houston at Allen). Katz's is just down the street, as is the Sugar Cafe, both with great food, just don't know about opening times.

I wouldn't be suprised if the Hotel on Rivington isn't open that early but don't know for sure. Their restaurant is amazing for dinners. Haven't had breakfast there.

I love Clinton Street Baking Co. Pretty amazing muffins and pancakes. Too bad they aren't ready to go by the early hour of 7. JPB

May 17, 2008
jpb in Manhattan

Best Museum Restaurants

We'll be visiting NYC from LA next week. On previous visits we've really enjoyed meals at the MOMA and the Neue Gallerie . . . which got me thinking about other restaurants/cafes in museums. Is the Morgan Library cafe worth it? Any other don't miss places while we are enjoying some of the best culture that NYC has to offer??? I did do a search, but it was awkward and I didn't see much.

We'll be at the Javits Center for ICFF. Anything at all around there for lunches? Our last trip there, it seemed fairly remote.

(We have reservations for WD-50 and Merkato 55 for our dinners out but open to suggestions for don't miss places. Just love eating in NY!! We are staying in the Lower East Side).

thanks!! JPB

May 12, 2008
jpb in Manhattan

Need a Meeting Place for Bookclub near 405/101

A small Italian restaurant with excellent food, and vegetables from their own garden is La Pergola. On Ventura Boulevard, just East of Sepulveda. Quiet, great service and not terribly expensive.

A bit more pricey, but also good Italian is Panzanella. Almost just across the street from La Pergola, on the South side of Ventura Boulevard.

I'd stay away from the Galleria restaurants (Cheesecake Factory, etc . . . ) as they are terribly loud and very crowded.

May 08, 2008
jpb in Los Angeles Area

Amazing Peruvian in Van Nuys

Great to hear! Look forward to trying this place since it's so close.

Another recommendation is Jose Antonios on Devonshire in Chatsworth. They have a nice mix of Peruvian and Chinese, the folks they are great and the lomo saltado is delish! Everything I have had there is good, and not too pricey, especially their lunch specials.

Mar 20, 2008
jpb in Los Angeles Area

poke in l.a.?

Roy's - downtown and Woodland Hllls, has it on their appetizer menu. I enjoyed it, it's a spicier version.

Mar 21, 2007
jpb in Los Angeles Area

Peruvian in SFV?

Sounds great. Will try it soon. Thank you very much!

Mar 09, 2007
jpb in Los Angeles Area

Peruvian in SFV?

Well, I answered my own question . . . . accidentally! Was driving in Chatsworth and came across Jose Antonio's Peruvian Chinese on Devonsire (near DeSoto). So far, so good! They have chicha morada (made there) and I tried a wonderful appetizer (whose name I've promptly forgotten) which was beef, peppers, black olives all wrapped in a potato layer with red onions/dressing on the side. I'll have to go back to find out what it was called, but it was delicious!! Will still try to get to Las Dunas and the other wonderful suggestions. In the meantime, I can at least get my bebida fix! Looking forward to trying the Chinese versions. Thanks for your input. More is always welcome!

Mar 06, 2007
jpb in Los Angeles Area

Peruvian in SFV?

Had a wonderful meal at Limon in the Mission in San Fran and would love to check out more restaurants that have Peruvian food closer to home. Anyplace to recommend in the San Fernando Valley? If not, great Peruvian restaurants elsewhere in LA? A recommendation on where I can get the drink, chicha morada? (hope I spelled that correctly!) Thanks!

Mar 03, 2007
jpb in Los Angeles Area

What's all the hoopla about with Tartine bakery

I loved Tartine. We had the Gougiere. Cheese and pepper in the dough and it was light and flaky with a wonderful savory taste. Truly enjoyable.

Loved the quiche. It's the very, very light type of quiche with a perfect crust. Only complaint is that I would have preferred it warmer than the just over room temperature it was served at.

The killer was the passion fruit/lime bavarian cake. Got that recommendation off of Chowhound and so very glad I got a piece of it. I don't even like coconut, but am a big passion fruit fan. Have never had a cake filling so incredibly creamy without being too sweet. Wish LA was closer for just that cake alone.

Very frustrating as after waiting in line (about 45 minutes) would have loved to get some more items to go after we finished our breakfast. We were told we'd have to wait in that line again (which had grown even longer). Seems they might have been able to sell us a 'to go' bag at that stage. . . . . Oh well. Didn't need the calories anyway.

Feb 27, 2007
jpb in San Francisco Bay Area

Moscone conference, Hotel Adagio: where to eat?

Oops. Can't believe I forgot Dottie's True Blue Cafe on Jones between O'Farrell and Geary, not too far from the Hotel Adagio. Really great breakfast and creative breakfast breads (muffins and breads). Will likely be crowded but worth the wait.

Too bad Cortez (the restaurant in the Adagio) will be closed for renovations. We loved our dinner there last year but don't know if it will be the same when it re-opens as the chef/pastry chef (the Hatfield's) have moved to LA and they have opened a tremendous restaurant down here. Our gain.

Feb 27, 2007
jpb in San Francisco Bay Area

Moscone conference, Hotel Adagio: where to eat?

Just got back from San Fran (awesome vacation) today and stayed at the W just next to the Moscone.

Dinner - XYZ in the W hotel. 3rd street at Howard. Despite the reputation of hotel restaurants, this place was great for dinner. CA cuisine, inventive and service was impeccable. Pricey but not out of control ($90 for 2 with glasses, not bottles, of wine) Phenomenal annotated wine list.

Even better is AME - at the St. Regis hotel. Also on Third St. Also amazing. Asian high end. Wonderful sommelier who assisted us with a large choice of sakes. Great, but pricey, inventive sushi dishes.

Lunch or dinner, less expensive, but quite good, is the Thirsty Bear. On Howard St?, same street as Moscone a couple of blocks away. A microbrewery with great Spanish/tapas. Strange combo (beer and Spanish) but very good food and small plates fun to share. My pork loin dish with dates and quince was delicious. Husband's calmari was perfectly fried.

Beard Papa - at the Yerba Buena Gardens. Fun place for delicious cream puffs and desserts.

Hope you enjoy as much as we did. And, hope you get less rain than we did . . . . the only drawback to a wonderful long weekend. JPB

Feb 27, 2007
jpb in San Francisco Bay Area

Best LA Area Burgers?

Two more (my two cents' worth) that I'm suprised have not been mentioned . . .

Hungry Cat - so far my favorite, surpassing Father's Office mostly because of the less hassle factor and ability to get ketchup, but mostly due to the great melding of flavors
Pinot Bistro - one of the best simple burgers I've had in LA. Their quality of meat was perfect. They serve it at lunch and the frites that come with it are an added plus.

Feb 20, 2007
jpb in Los Angeles Area

Gyu-Kaku???

Be prepared for a very noisy experience. The sound in there when they are full is deafening. Also, be sure you have reservations. We walked in a couple of weeks ago on a week night, not terribly full, was told it would be a 20 minute wait (there were empty tables) and left after 45 minutes, still had not been seated. It isn't worth it for tasty, but expensive food.

Jan 31, 2007
jpb in Los Angeles Area

An odd combo: Breweries and Dessert

Thank you so much! There's lots to digest!! Just in case any others have advice for me . . . . didn't mean to imply that the places have to be in SOMA, just that we are staying there. Feel comfortable with all parts of the city.

Though not in the original plans, Anchor Steam appears to be a must. Looking at the Tartine menu, that is definitely for me! Looking forward to our trip and any other thoughts you might share. JPB

Jan 18, 2007
jpb in San Francisco Bay Area

An odd combo: Breweries and Dessert

Will be in SF from LA for a long weekend - truly looking forward to several great options for dinners (Ame, Town Hall, Limon, Zuni Cafe) but want to know if SF still has great brew pubs or breweries? Any to be sure not to miss, for the beer and for the food? That's truly something LA has none of and in the past, SF excelled at. We'll be in the SOMA area without a car, but comfortable with cabs/public transport.

Also, any not to miss places for great sweets? Ice cream, bakeries, either during the day, or even better, a late night option? Thanks for all the advice I've already gleaned from the Board. Thanks ahead for responding to an odd request . . . .

Jan 17, 2007
jpb in San Francisco Bay Area

Best last burger before meat fast?

The Hungry Cat. Everytime it's been cooked to perfection. But it's a messy meal!!!

Dec 25, 2006
jpb in Los Angeles Area

Mozza

Finally got in to Mozza. A walk in (30 minute wait at lunchtime) rather than reservations (impossible at a reasonable hour less than 3 weeks out). The pizza is everything I remember about Otto, and better since it's here in LA. Loved my goat cheese/leek and carmelized garlic choice. Squash blossoms are also very good, lightly fried. Butterscotch pudding was creamy and very good. Prices are certainly reasonable, not cheap ($60 for two for lunch, including beers).

Service started out as very good, personable and efficient, but then quickly deteriorated. 45 minutes between finishing our appetizer and receiving our pizza??? Several of the pizzas around us had decidedly burnt edges, as in way burnt. Consistency is just not there yet. Hoping they don't feel they don't have to make corrections just 'cause it's popular. I'll definitely give them another try since our food was so good. Take out will be a wonderful option to avoid the hassle (not available yet for some reason).

Dec 25, 2006
jpb in Los Angeles Area

Blue Velvet Restaurant - Downtown LA

Thanks!!! Looking forward to trying it out with all this good press. If anyone else has comments . . . always glad to hear what others think.

Dec 14, 2006
jpb in Los Angeles Area

Blue Velvet Restaurant - Downtown LA

This time I did do a search and didn't see anything already on the site . . . . but have another new restaurant I am curious about. Saw a feature on T.V. about this restaurant, Blue Velvet, in the Loft building downtown. Anyone been? Chef is a former Patina chef, I think. On T.V. the food looked good! And they had what sounded like interesting drinks at the bar with great decor (modern, simple). Thanks!!

Nov 30, 2006
jpb in Los Angeles Area