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jalapenos, tortilla chips, and masa harina - can I get them in Paris?

We are planning to move to Paris next year. After spending 13 years in Los Angeles, we are die-hard fans of Mexican food. I've been learning to cook my own since I have never seen a Mexican restaurant during our trips there, and it would probably disappoint anyway. Can I get jalapenos and masa harina in Paris? Tortilla chips would be good, too, but I could make my own if I had the masa --and we won't eat as many if we have to make them ourselves ;)

Also, can Americans tell me of the stores they go to for American products? Not necessarily for processed foods (except tortilla chips), but just for things you can't get in Paris. I know from the David Lebovitz site that certain things are not available - like chicken stock and brown sugar, which I use all the time.

Mar 15, 2010
bicoastalfoodie in France

who is frying their frites twice?

I just went here today, on MLK day. The fries were absolutely disgusting! Some were small and over-cooked, others were 2x the size and undercooked and soggy! I complained and the waitress said they kitchen was "trying something new". I told her it wasn't working at all. The worst fries ever, which is sacrilege for a bistro. I mean, McDonalds is soooo much better than these pommes frites!

It's a shame because LA could use a good bistro!

Need caterer for small NYE dinner party

Hubby and I and 2 other couples always spend NYE together. Usually we go to a restaurant and pay way too much for mediocre food. Since everyone is worried about the economy, I am trying to find a caterer who would do dinner for 6 (otherwise I will have to do all the cooking). Any suggestions?

Best Vegan/Vegetarian in and around SF

We went to SF last weekend and we got reservations at Fleur de Lys and Millenium. The Fleur de Lys vegetarian tasting menu was fantastic - expensive but worth it. Food, service, wine all great (decor not to my taste, but you can't have everything). Millenium was a disappointment - the place was too busy and the service was very spotty. We ordered 2 small plates, 1st course and 2nd course. We waited forever, then got one of the small plates along with the 1st course. Then the second small plate came with the 2nd course. Food was good, but this was not how we anticipated it would be served and should have been told. The waiter rarely came around and it took forever to get a 2nd glass of wine. Still, it would be nice to have a vegetarian restaurant of this caliber in LA.

Gourmet vegetarian restaurants in SF

Wow! Great list. This helps a lot. Thanks!!

Gourmet vegetarian restaurants in SF

Hi hounders,

We are visiting SF in a few weeks and want to try some vegetarian dining. Money is not an issue, we just want superior, gourmet food. We are staying at the W if that helps.


UGO Culver City - going downhill

I've tried it and don't see why everyone raves - it's ok but not great.

On the Taco Trail in Williamsburg

I used to live around the corner from the old Taco Bite. It was the best! They should have closed the Italian restaurant and let those guys set up a Mexican place. Glad to hear there are still good tacos in W-burg...I could use a Taco Bite around the corner from me here in LA!

Mar 24, 2008
bicoastalfoodie in Features

Caffe Pinguini – the search continues

I used to live in the area at time of the first posts. What I remember most is that the "special" was always salmon. It's not so special if it's always the same is it? I would opt for Cantilini's instead, which is where I went last time I was in the area. More Italian-American than Italian but better than Pinguini.

From Brooklyn to LA, where should I go?

I haven't been to OM yet ,but the menu looks very much like Lupo in GV, so a NY'er would probably be wise to skip it so they can get a more authentic LA experience. No disrespect, I love me some Batali!!

Akasha - needs to be hotter!!!

Tried Akasha tonight - very excited about new places in the CC' hood. They were fully booked, but the hostess suggested we sit in the bar area - fine, no problem. The menu looked intriguing. My SO decided to order 3 sides as an appetizer - parsnip puree, mac n cheese, & curry cauliflower -- the appetizers looked interesting, but it was chilly, so I think he was into the idea of comfort food. I ordered the broccoli pizza and SO ordered the mung beans and rice - we were happy that they had interesting vegetarian options, even though we are not strictly vegetarians (and I love that there is plenty of pork on the menu!). The first problem was that the bread was cold. I don't expect fresh warm bread unless it's a very upscale place, but it does annoy me when the bread is cold and slightly hard, but what the hell - it's only bread.

The main problem is that the food was NOT HOT - it seemed like it had been sitting for 20 minutes or so before it got to the table. The mac n cheese came in it's own little skillet, so that was hot, and maybe the chef could make the argument that the curry cauliflower was meant to be served room temp, but how can mashed parsnip/potato be expected to be good when it's cold? We told the waiter that we expected hot food, and we would have liked the food better had it been hot and were reasonably certain that it was supposed to be served hot. He was extremely gracious and said he would alert the kitchen and the manager. He suggested dessert on the house, we countered with not charging us for our 2nd round of wine and the deal was sealed. We told him that we hoped they would get things sorted out before our next visit, and we would like to go back again -- after they get the kitchen and front house working in tandem to get hot food on the table and not left at the pass.

From Brooklyn to LA, where should I go?

SM is pretty boring except for Josie and Michael's. I tend toward Venice - Hal's has a great atmosphere and food, and Joe's, as mentioned before. Abbott Kinney is a agreat little street to walk, though it's getting trendier and more upscale these days. Also try Culver City - Fraiche is excellent (I just saw that Frank Bruni in the NYT has it on his Top 10 list of new restaurants in the country) but you must reserve. Everybody has their personal fave for Mexican -- I love El Cholo on Western because it's an institution and the food is always good. There is one in SM but it's newer and the vibe is just not the same. And Dave's in Malibu is a must since you have a car. You don't get the full LA experience unless you go to Malibu! You might see dolphins or whales :)


Stopped by for lunch today, after hiking in Griffith Park. It's a beautiful spot with all the expensive accoutrements, so the prices on the menu reflect these costs. We shared pumpkin polenta, had the squash soup (2 orders) and 2 desserts - creme brulee and pear/cranberry crisp. The food was excellent, but the bill, with tea (we are not coffee people) was $70 PRE-TIP. And portions were tiny, tiny - tasting menu small. It's all lovely, but I can't see going back anytime soon. I'm not sure this area really supports this type of cafe - it's super high-dollar for a hipster area, and I thought the tiny portions for lots of $$$ was passe these days - that feels very 80's to me now, hope it's not coming back into fashion. Why can't America do normal size portions of anything? But I digress...I'm sure the hipsters will linger for hours over a $5 cup of coffee and the place will be busy, but not profitable for the amount of money the owner obviously spent.

Wilshire & Doheny - ??

Carter - what in my posting causes you to think that I wouldn' t know Chakra is Indian and Tagine is Moroccan? The post was about location, not ethncity of restaurants. Your comments are a waste of time. Was it meant to be a dig at NY? Sooooo pointless. Spare me the NY-LA fight - I live in LA, n'est pas?

Wilshire & Doheny - ??

I was implying that i liked it because it did not have cheesy belly dancing. The fact that it was too small for such entertainment was a positive in my book.

Seeking high-end loose teas -- PLEASE HELP

Ten Ren is all my DH drinks. Cheaper than Palais du The, too. Not as trendy/ pretty, but good and authentic.

Wilshire & Doheny - ??

I went to Tajine a year ago and couldn't stand that tasting menu. I preferred it years ago when it was traditional Morrocan without the belly dancing (because it is so small and intimate). Went to Chakra earlier this year - good but very overpriced in my book. And the place was empty on a Friday night - that can't bode well. Then again, it's hard to get good Indian in LA anyway. I'd go with Mantilini - not great but not bad either.

Momofuku or Blue Ribbon in LA?

Sadly, there is nothing like Momofuku in LA, but somebody should know a good sushi/asian place in that area - it's not my hood.

3 Square Cafe + Bakery on Abbot Kinney now opened

I went last weekend and was not impressed. The waiter asked me if I had ever had it before, I said no, and then he suggested tuna salad. When a waiter gives advice, I gladly take it. Very, very bland. I wonder what is so wrong with the chicken club? Hubby had the burger but he didn't rave about it.

UGO Culver City - going downhill

I just moved to CC this year and discovered this place. Finally, a good, cheap Italian place in LA, plus I am now walking distance from it. And the wine bar next door is great, too! But lately, the quality of the food is really lacking. The sauces are bland. The pizzas are undercooked. Maybe they are over-reaching with the new place they opened next door? I haven't tried that because my neighbors gave it a bad review. Please, Ugo, get back on track!

Craving pecan pie

I don't do pastries, and my friend who promised to bring a pecan pie for T-giving decided to do apple instead. One week later and I'm still craving that promised pecan pie. Where can I buy one in LA? My birthday is this weekend, so I'll gladly go for pie instead of cake.

Craft lacking the human touch

Got a 9:30 reservation at the last minute. I love Top Chef and I've never had a chance yet to go to Colicchio's NY restaurants, so I was excited about the opening of this one. We were taken to a banquette where a sleazy looking guy was perched next to an elderly couple - I had to wait a few moments for him to realize that I wanted to sit down on the banquette. Sleazy guy stood next to my husband's chair and continued talking to the couple. He was offering them dessert - maybe's he's the GM. Meanwhile, no one offers us menus, water, nothing. To go all Larry David about it - it's nice that the sleazy GM is taking such good care of the elderly couple, but I'm 40 and I've got decades more dining ahead of me, so maybe somebody could acknowledge my existence here so I'll want to come back? We asked a busboy to get our waiter - nothing. Finally we flag someone down to bring us menus, but he never returns. We asked the hostess to find our waiter - at this point we had sat for 10 minutes. Nobody comes. A few more minutes later, we grab another waitress to use as pinch hitter - our is apparently too busy with other tables (and was someone we had never seen at all, not the one the gave us menus). We tell her we haven't looked at the menu because we were seriously thinikng about leaving and going to try Pink Taco. What was really annoying is that the waiter's station was right behind us, so we could hear people standing around gabbing, not paying any attention to us.

The food was good but very rich. We started with the pork - huge portion, glad we only got one appetizer. They suggest one starter, one main, and one or two sides per person. We decided to share on main -the short ribs, and 4 sides. It was a lot of food. The waitress steered us away from the gratins and suggested the grits - which were terrific. We also had the gnocchi, brussel sprouts, and peas. If you love mushrooms, they have a huge selection in the sides.

I expected more from Colicchio. When you judge others, you better walk the talk. He would have reamed them on the show for the service we got. I think Mario does the best job of all the celebrity chefs - I've never had a bad time at his places.

When we left, sleazy GM was sitting next to two cute girls at the bar. I don't know if he is actually the GM, but he's definitely managerial staff, he looks like a drug dealer, and he obviously doesn't care about good service. A real turn-off.

Bad night at Il Buco

I went there about a year ago and it was terrible. The waitstaff was incredibly inattentive, even though the place was empty. The only customers who got good service were 2 young, pretty girls who came in for take out - our waiter fawned over them forever. The food was pretty bad, too. I was living close by but I never went back.

Any recent visits to Minotaure?

I went there a few weeks ago and was not impressed, see here

Disappointed with Gonpachi

I've been to the one in Tokyo and it was by far my best meal in Japan, so I was excited to hear about Gonpachi LA. I called late on Friday for a reservation (I admit poor planning on that part) and was told there was nothing available until 9:15 for a table of 2. I asked what I could expect if I just showedd up and was told they had a sushi bar and a robata bar (I can't remember what they call it). So we got there about 7:45 and went to the non-sushi bar because I don't eat much sushi. There were several tables empty in this section - including a table for two that sat empty the entire time we were there. I couldn't see if the prime mezzanine booths were full -- if you go there ask for one of these. The food was good but not hot, even though we saw them take it off the grill and bring it right over to us. While we were waiting for our bill, my husband noticed that a cook was burning two corn on the cobs. When he took it up to the pass, they just turned it over so that the burnt sides were on the bottom. We watched the two unsuspecting diners and we could clearly see from our vantage point the burnt parts but obviously they didn't notice. Gordon Ramsay would not have been pleased.

I think I'll just stick with the Tokyo Gonpachi.

What's worth going to 'Ford's Filling Station' or 'Fraiche' in Culver City

I haven't been to Fraiche yet, but I've been to FFS twice and am not impressed - which seems to be the general consensus of this thread.

Wilson - don't order the truffles for dessert

Went to Wilson on Friday night. Got a reservation that afternoon - no problem. We had the tortellini as appetizer and I had the slow pork, while my partner got the short ribs. Great food and service was good until the waiter got busy with more tables. He suggested the truffles for dessert - they were awful!! We each took a bite of one and immediately put it back on the plate. Not smooth and creamy at all, just flour-y and tasteless. I've made truffles before, so I KNOW they are not hard to make (desserts and pastries are not my forte).We complained and they took it off the bill. I'd go back, but I would stay away from the desserts.

Dinner in WIlliamsburg - new suggestions? [moved from Manhattan board]

I lived there for awhile in 2005/2006. I'm thinking of getting reservations at Queen's Hideaway but was wondering if there is anything new I should try. I'll be going to Fornino for lunch - I moved back to LA, and other than waiting forever at Mozza, I never get good pizza anymore.

Minotaur = Mediocre

I know what a tortilla is - I've been to Spain and I've eaten tapas in many cities. Usually it's layered and a coupl of inches high - not a flat floppy thing like this place serves.

Minotaur = Mediocre

I was in the area on Friday, so I tried it out. The tortilla was a very flat omelet - I've never seen that before. All in all, it was very mediocre. The coucous seemed to have frozen mixed veggies in it. When we arrived at 7:30, the place was empty. It was full by the time we left, which meant getting the bill was a very slow ordeal.