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Osteria La Buca: Mamma, it's the beginning of the end.

i was there last thursday and will not be going back. they weren't making pizza that night either. so my entire family ordered pasta. the bolognese was bland, the arrabiata was ok, the pesto and the fume were good but nothing to go back for.

i had raved to my family about this place and unfortunately, they weren't able to experience the la buca that i had met a couple of years ago when it was a delicious closet-sized eatery with free corkage. OLB may be on deathwatch.. it has already died in my mind. sad.

Jun 02, 2008
jwn in Los Angeles Area

coffee+work

hi all - i am in search of a good cup of coffee and a great place to work. a good cup of coffee to me is just that - a good cup of coffee. i'm not looking for lattes or seasonal fraps.. a good cup of joe in a real cup.

a great place to work would be: free wifi, a place to plug in my laptop, and good parking.

preferably in silverlake/los feliz/east hollywood/downtown/koreatown.

thank you!

Apr 14, 2008
jwn in Los Angeles Area

vienna eats in the NYT

Jan 28, 2008
jwn in Food Media & News

Vegas with kids

you should definitely call LoS and secure a reservation. i thought it was odd too since in LA hardly any thai restaurants take reservations but trust me, LoS will be packed during normal mealtimes. fyi - the noise level of LoS is on the low side.

Jan 23, 2008
jwn in Southwest

Best breakfast/brunch in Vegas

i've had both brunch and dinner at bouchon. i've also had brunch at the verandah at the four seasons. although bouchon offers a great brunch, i have to give the edge to the verandah - i thought it was slightly better.

Jan 23, 2008
jwn in Southwest

Vegas trip with the boys recs

the food at bouchon is tasty but i was a bit underwhelmed. probably because i was expecting too much. i've had the steak frites - the frites are good and the steak had some kind of onion relish or something like that on it.. which was good but not jaw-droppingly awesome. it was a company dinner and everyone ordered different dishes but not one dish really stood out. if i went back, i'd probably order the steak frites again even though i wasn't amazed by it.

what WAS amazing was their fruits de mer menu. it's pricier but i think if you order a dozen mussels or oysters (which would be within your budget, i think), it will be the freshest most delicious appetizer. that was the most memorable part of the dinner when the server brought out that gigantic fruits de mer platter..

Jan 15, 2008
jwn in Southwest

getting reacquainted after a break

i've always meant to try out dan sung sah - can i make reservations? will there be a wait if i can't? and is it outsider-friendly? will some of my friends, whose only knowledge of korean food is bbq, not make "what the hell is this place and what are they trying to serve me" faces?

as for cigarette smoke - before my time out here in europe, i probably would have been very annoyed but not have said anything. now, i can't imagine going to a place without cigarette smoke! ah, just another great thing to look forward to - no smoke in restaurants!

Jan 13, 2008
jwn in Los Angeles Area

getting reacquainted after a break

my half-year break from los angeles has been agonizing - partly because i miss the food so much! i've been studying abroad in vienna and although the food has been wonderful, the city just does not have the kind of variety flavors that i'm accustomed to, having grown up in LA. i hardly cooked in LA but being here forced me to learn to cook seeing as wiener schnitzels and sausages get tired after awhile.

i am planning on having a reunion of sorts (i will be reuniting with the LA food scene) with a group of friends, probably 8-10 people. as my friends will be mostly students (age range is mid to late 20s), i am looking for a place that is cheap, fun, serves alcohol and most importantly, delicious. location: in or near downtown (los feliz/silverlake/ktown is ok too) and kbbq is off the list. am i asking for too much? i've been trying to think of a place for a group but so far i haven't been able to think of such a place..

thanks in advance!

Jan 12, 2008
jwn in Los Angeles Area

no bake stuffing?

help! i am in austria this thanksgiving and my kitchen unfortunately has no oven. i am not a fan of turkey so i won't be missing it but i love stuffing! is there any way i can make stuffing on the stove top (and a reminder - i don't have access to boxed stovetop stuffing, i'm in vienna!).

if someone can point me to a link or a technique that's been used, that would be wonderful! i am making a few thanksgiving dishes for my friends here in austria and would love them to try my favorite dish.

thanks in advance.

Nov 21, 2007
jwn in Home Cooking

5 Days in Vegas - help fill in the blanks

yes, you should reserve a table, okada gets pretty busy. i've had to wait for a good long time once because i walked in. i've sat at a table and at the bar and i enjoyed sitting at the bar a lot more.

as for bouchon, their breakfast/brunch is awesome but i enjoyed the verandah at the four seasons a lot more. if you look on other boards, most ch'ers would agree.

Nov 20, 2007
jwn in Southwest

thanksgiving-ish food in vienna

sadly i am not home (in los angeles) during thanksgiving this year. i will be in vienna, austria but would like to have as close to an american thanksgiving dinner as i can get. i don't need the turkey (never have been a fan) but mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, corn, cranberry relish, green beans - basically all of the side dishes would really hit the spot.

is there a moderately priced place to go? i would love to take my roommates with me, and treat them out so nothing too expensive. thanks in advance!

Nov 19, 2007
jwn in International Archive

cheap eats in vienna, austria

i am also studying architecture! hope to find some good eats while i'm here and i'll let you know what i find on a student budget. =)

Oct 04, 2007
jwn in International Archive

cheap eats in vienna, austria

i'm studying abroad for one semester in vienna, originally from los angeles. i've had my fill of bakeries (pastries, sandwiches, etc), wurstel stands, and kebap shops. are there any other cheap eats (and some reasonable eats) here in vienna? or are there particular bakeries, wurstel stand and kebap shops that i should be visiting?

i am also looking for good asian eats, especially japanese or thai. the other day i went to a japanese place and it was utterly disgusting. i think it was called asahi or something in josefstadt.

thanks in advance for the recommendations!

Oct 03, 2007
jwn in International Archive

Las Vegas Best place for "special" sushi rolls?

kaizen fusion roll and sushi (across the street from the hard rock) has many "special" sushi rolls. i have tried kobe sushi which is 10 mins west of the strip and was very very disappointed. kaizen however is good if you're not looking for a more traditional sushi fare - like at okada (which is amazing, by the way).

if you do make it to kaizen, please please order the spicy tuna with crispy rice. it is on the hot appetizer menu. my favorite thing on the menu.

Aug 26, 2007
jwn in Southwest

LV- Ham & Cheese Croissants

you can get a ham&cheese croissant at bouchon bakery - i don't think they're available at bouchon.

Aug 20, 2007
jwn in Southwest

Outside Dining in Las Vegas

i recently had brunch at bouchon and brunch at the verandah at the four seasons. while both are excellent, i would have to give it to the verandah by a hair. try the corned beef and pastrami hash with crispy potatoes. get the eggs over easy. wow, delicious. you have the option to sit outdoors (which i did). although the view is just of the four seasons pool, it is still very nice.

bouchon is a tiny bit cheaper and their breakfast americaine is a great deal. i would definitely go back for that.

lotus of siam is probably my favorite restaurant in vegas.
tao has surprisingly very good food. if you want to skip the lines at tao, i would definitely recommend dining here.
grand lux is a sister of the cheesecake factory. i would probably skip this one.
never had koto or kaigenro but have eaten at okada at the wynn. sit at the sushi bar. very very good.

Aug 20, 2007
jwn in Southwest

food off the strip, las vegas

i went to hash house a go-go. it was good but as i was saying, didn't distinguish itself from other chain type places. for breakfast, i really enjoyed the cracked egg on rainbow.

i visited the memphis bbq location on rainbow and my dining partner had had a long day at work and ordered a gin/tonic. it came in a tall water glass and had no lime in it. i ordered a hefeweizen and had no lemon in it. i guess it might have been the very young server (probably a unlv student) but it was not a good way to start off. my ribs were fine but the sides (mashed potatoes and green beans) were terrible. has anyone tried/heard anything about the salt lick?

oh and what is the price range for sen of japan? it looks wonderful!

Aug 19, 2007
jwn in Southwest

i sent my food back at spago

i also felt that my food was inedible but just couldn't say that to the chef in front of everyone. i definitely think my expectations were really high but you hear the name "spago" and you automatically think you are in for an experience.

Aug 17, 2007
jwn in Southwest

i sent my food back at spago

as i mentioned, i did not feel qualified to give a critique to the head chef of spago in front of everyone sitting at the restaurant. i specifically asked to not talk to the chef as it would create a scene. with that said, and with everyone watching and listening in on our conversation, i held my tongue and tried to be as nice as possible.

the problem was that the pizza was limp, the crust was soggy and it looked reheated. tasted the same also. the calamari was yes salty and my ribs were swimming in a goopey sauce, seeming as if the sauce was to mask any and every flavor that could possibly come from the meat. the accompanying potato salad looked and tasted like it came from a huge economy sized tub. basically everything looked and tasted like it came from the wolfgang puck factory, not a wolfgang puck kitchen. that's what i meant by "spago" standards - i just expected it to be a bit more refined than mass-produced goopey saucey cafeteria food. but i dare not say that to the chef and in front of everyone - i did not want to cause a scene. i just wanted to pay the bill and leave.

if you read my post at all, it says that we went to spago because we had originally planned on going to mesa grill but it was after their lunch hours. we settled on spago because my friend had already been to spago in LA and hated it but after wandering around he decided to give it another go.

Aug 17, 2007
jwn in Southwest

i sent my food back at spago

a few weeks ago my roommate D and i wanted to try bobby flay's mesa grill but we didn't make it there in time for lunch (2:30pm). so we wandered around caesar's palace and settled on spago. yes i said settled because D has been to spago in LA before and he did not like it. and he is not fond of postrio (another wolfgang puckery but in the venetian). but it was slim pickins so we settled on spago.

next comes the fun part. i started with the calamari steak with ponzu and chili lime something or another. D starts with the steak something quesadilla with some fancy cheese. we order voss water and a beer each. so the "calamari steak" comes out and it looks like mozzarella sticks from denny's (i know this because i used to go to denny's all the time in college to study late night). it looks like it came from wolfgang puck's line of frozen appetizers. D gets his quesadilla and it looks like something you can get at TGI but worse. the guacamole is this yucky green paste. the pico de gallo looks straight out of a jar.

but we eat it. because we are good sports. even if it cost a $15 for an appetizer (during lunch). we eat it. my calamari was so salty that the ponzu was out of the question and the accompanying greens were wilted if not completely lifeless.

our main comes to the table. i ordered st louis style ribs and D ordered a sausage/fennel pizza. ok maybe i ordered wrong (who orders ribs at spago, i know) but D's pizza should have been fantastic. he took two bites and had a foul look on his face. my ribs were barely edible. it was like cafeteria food. DORM food. we contemplate for a couple of minutes if we should send it back.

i call over our waitress and tell her my food is inedible. i say a bunch of other things, and D chimes in here and there. she asks if we would like to speak to the chef to let him know. i just told her that i did not want to make a scene. but of course the general manager comes up to us and says something like.. what were you expecting from pizza, it's just dough and cheese. uhh.. yeah. then the chef comes out and asks us for constructive criticism. what the. i did not feel qualified to give the executive chef of spago a crit. but i told him that the calamari was too salty and the food was just not up to the standard of what i thought spago was.

anyway so we wanted to get out of there and they say that they want to send us a dessert and that they will comp the entire meal. we felt bad so we told them that we would pay for our drinks and appetizers. we had the strawberry caprese for dessert (the strawberries were chopped up in small pieces but some pieces still had their stems on!) because they insisted. we get the bill (to pay for our drinks and appetizers) and they added on that damn dessert. UGHH. two thumbs WAY down.

Aug 16, 2007
jwn in Southwest

food off the strip, las vegas

i went to eat at rincon de buenos aires last night. great food, relaxed place. i ordered the entrana with mashed potatoes. i will probably go back during lunch for one of their sandwiches. thanks for the suggestion!

Aug 16, 2007
jwn in Southwest

food off the strip, las vegas

thanks everyone for the suggestions. i am still in vegas and have tried many of your recommendations. so far

memphis bbq - not impressed. but i went in expecting a lot because of a recent issue of LV weekly had named it one of the top 10 bbq joints. the meat was ok and the sides were.. blah. mashed potatoes came out in the form of an ice cream scoop and the green beans were limp and brown.

nora's italian cuisine - just ok. my pasta was drenched in sauce and overcooked. will not be going back as service was very very slow.

hash house - very good, but seems like any other chain-type place. maybe i ordered wrong - i got the grilled salmon salad.

lotus of siam - oh wow. it was a spiritual experience. all those superlatives used on other posts and jonathan gold's recommendation as the "best thai in north america" made me a skeptic but now that i'm no longer a LoS virgin, i no longer think that anything said about LoS is an exaggeration. wow. i am drooling just thinking about my meal last night.

Aug 15, 2007
jwn in Southwest

something soupy in vegas

japanese ramen sounds great, but after being spoiled by daikokuya in little tokyo, los angeles - i can't get myself to any other ramenya. soup dumplings sound wonderful but is there any place here that can compare to din tai fung?

it might be over 100 degrees in vegas, but sometimes a girl just needs something soothing to slurp.

any suggestions? something warm and soothing that i can make a whole meal of. thanks in advance!

Aug 10, 2007
jwn in Southwest

local bakery that ships internationally

thank you for your suggestion - i ended up calling sprinkles to have them ship it. it's actually perfect because she loves to bake! thanks hounds!

Aug 03, 2007
jwn in Los Angeles Area

Delmonico Opinons

i went a couple of weeks ago. had the scallop appetizer and ribeye. also ordered the mashed potatoes and asparagus to share with the table.

the scallops were perfect. then it was downhill from there. the steak was just alright and the sides were just alright. the service was great though. but all in all, my experience there was just mediocre. if you want steak, what about craftsteak at the mgm grand? that's supposed to be a notch above..

Aug 02, 2007
jwn in Southwest

food off the strip, las vegas

i am willing to drive anywhere between the strip and west toward the 215. all way north to charleston, south to the 215.

Jul 27, 2007
jwn in Southwest

food off the strip, las vegas

i have been working just west of the strip for the past few weeks. so far i've tried archi's thai, kj kitchen (chinese), fellini's (italian), opa (greek), kabob palace (med), mother's korean grill, a couple of pho places, many forgettable mexican joints, lots of sandwich/sub shops and a bunch more i don't remember.

i enjoyed archi's and kabob palace but i feel like i've already eaten my way through west vegas. i do enjoy eating on the strip and have been to many lovely restaurants but i need something more practical for everyday. i checked out rosemary's but i'd rather eat at a restaurant on the strip for that kind of money.

if anyone knows about good eats just west of the strip, that would be great. maybe we can swap restaurant recommendations.

Jul 26, 2007
jwn in Southwest

Are there any "Stay Away Froms" on the Strip in Vegas

i've been here on work for the past month. have been eating a lot of food, on and off the strip.

i've eaten at bouchon (venetian), olives (bellagio), delmonico (venetian), fiamma (mgm), okada (wynn), tao (venetian), postrio (venetian).. probably some more i don't remember. out of those i would say that delmonico was just so-so and fiamma was good but nothing to write home about. stay away from buffets. that's my only advice. delmonico was probably the most pricey out of those i mentioned and probably the worst of that group. number two worst would be postrio. the best of that group that i enjoyed was todd english's olives.

Jul 25, 2007
jwn in Southwest

local bakery that ships internationally

my friend is working europe this summer and spending her birthday away from her friends and family. i would love to send her a box of her favorite - red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.

if there are no local bakeries that do this, does anyone know of a good not-local bakery that does this? a website would be great.

and worst case scenario - if there are no bakeries that can do this - is there a specific kind of brand of boxed ready-to-bake red velvet cake mixes that is better than most others? and where would i be able to find such a cake mix?

i thank you in advance!

Jul 16, 2007
jwn in Los Angeles Area

beef stew and...

did the beef stew with root vegetables (potatoes, parsnips, onions, carrots) last night. the stew came out very good and thick so i skipped a side dish. i had planned to steam corn on the cob and some asparagus (my parents are on a low sodium diet).

i also made a good spinach salad (with dried cranberries, toasted slivered almonds, apples, heirloom tomatoes) and a loaf of crusty bread, toasted so that it would be able to hold the stew.

thought this would be enough food but just as i predicted, my father asked, where's the next course? =\

thanks everyone for their input!

May 23, 2007
jwn in Home Cooking