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Where to eat in Sultanahmet, Istanbul

thanks for your insight, antman. much appreciated.

Mar 09, 2010
speedm in Europe

Where to eat in Sultanahmet, Istanbul

thanks so much scrumptiouschef, that was exactly what i was hoping to hear. of course it's all about the food, that's one of the main reasons we're considering istanbul. i've already begun perusing your reviews, another great resource, thank you!

Mar 08, 2010
speedm in Europe

Where to eat in Sultanahmet, Istanbul

scrumptiouschef, antman,

what is traveling in istanbul like recently? we were considering visiting soon and was wondering if it's a relatively safe and friendly city. is it easy to get by with speaking english? have already seen istanbuleats.com and it seems like a great resource. thanks!

Mar 08, 2010
speedm in Europe

Favorite hangover foods (or restaurants)?

i find that pho always does the trick.

so does chao ca (vietnamese rice porridge with fish). for oc peeps, i get mine at brodard's.

Aug 14, 2009
speedm in Los Angeles Area

another review + photos of church & state

great summary of your experience, hyacinthgirl.

i agree, the radishes really works for the bone marrow.

good to hear those other dishes (none of which we ordered) are also good! i want to try them all.

Aug 14, 2009
speedm in Los Angeles Area

another review + photos of church & state

in case there weren't enough on chowhound already:

http://www.alamodejournals.com/index....

Tucked into a small urban oasis in a rather questionable side of town, Church & State defies convention. The beautiful glass, steel, and brick façade on the bottom level of the National Biscuit Company Building, with its outdoor patio, tree-lined sidewalks, and young professionals walking their dogs outside, is a stark contrast to the surrounding sooty industrial buildings, the vast concrete-lined LA River, and infamous skid row just around the corner. Regardless of the location, the food, with Walter Manzke (formerly of Bastide) at the helm, is excellent. Unlike other Steven Arroyo hot-spots like Cobras & Matadors, which seemed more focused on entertainment than outright authentic cuisine, Church & State brings its rock-solid, comforting bistro fare to the forefront. Manzke’s dishes stun you with their simplicity and deft execution; their flavors celebrate classic French technique and quality of ingredients. Is it possible to have incredible French food in an exciting and vibrant atmosphere in the middle of downtown’s sketchy warehouse district? Church & State says you can.

While Anisette across the way in Santa Monica is more traditional, grand, and Parisian in feel, Church & State is more befitting of its downtown location; it’s fun, lively, a bit more edgy and hip, and Manzke runs with it. The best way to sample his menu, in my opinion, is to order up a gamut of appetizers and small plates, and bring a few friends to share. Most of the entrees are also smartly offered in a smaller size, perfect for sampling.

A great start is the Gambas à la Niçoise. A nod to ama ebi (Japanese sweet shrimp), Santa Barbara spot prawns are cooked just enough to color their shells; the rare crustaceans drizzled with olive oil and lemon, and topped with a brunoise of celery, olives, and capers. Light and delicious.

The Pied de Cochon, pork shoulder, cheeks, and feet, lightly breaded and fried, is creamy, tender, and flavorful; the accompanying nutty lentils and bacon laced frisée help to cut through the fat. Rillettes de Porc, a paste of slow-cooked Berkshire pork in its own fat, is presented in a glass canning jar and paired with a Armagnac spiked prune jam. The texture is quite similar to cold, refried beans, which may not agree with everyone. Some mentioned the prune confiture to be too overpowering, but alone, the fattiness of the pork would have been too much. A better choice is the Terrine de Foie Gras, served with port wine gelée and a stack of buttery brioche slices. So damn good you’ll want to ask for more brioche to spread that luscious duck liver on. Oreilles de Cochon continues down the pork-favored menu; golden triangles of crispy pig’s ears served with béarnaise sauce. Silky, crispy, porky. Again, delicious. Fans of salt cod will appreciate the Boulettes de Brandade de Morue, pureed salt cod balls, perfectly fried, and served piping hot with a small bowl of saffron aioli.

Church & State features a selection of Alsatian tarts, which resemble crispy flatbread with toppings. We tried the Époisses Tart, in which a layer of the namesake pungent cheese is topped with chanterelles, cubes of of smoky bacon, caramelized onions, and parsley. This was a fun dish to share, with a beautiful marrying of flavors and textures.

During dinner, we saw cute little cups topped with puffed pastry whizzing from the open kitchen to tables around the restaurant, and we just had to order some of our own. The Escargots de Bourgogne replaces the classic dimpled serving plate with snails (sans shells) baked in individual cups. The golden pastry helps the snails steam in a bath of garlic and parsley butter.

My friend is a huge fan of bone marrow, so of course the Mœlle de Bœuf was a non-negotiable. The Flintstone-like bones are split lengthwise, allowing the fat to be seasoned and caramelized. Take a scoop of jelly-like bone innards, spread it on the buttery grilled toast, making sure to add a little scoop of radish relish as provided. The result is quite sumptuous. I have never really liked this dish elsewhere but Manzke’s version is quite tasty.

Not to be missed, is the Pommes Frites au Lard. Yes, you read that right. No cholesterol-free vegetable oil here. Potatoes fried in lard. Just amazing. The lemony aioli is the perfect dipping sauce, no ketchup please!

The dessert list may look simple, but don’t let that fool you. A few months ago I had the most incredible strawberry rhubarb crisp (which inspired my first journal entry). As I scraped every last remnant of the crisp, I scratched my head wondering how something so simple could taste so good. In alignment with the changing seasons, this time it’s a version with peach, tangerine, and plum, with a quenelle of buttermilk ice cream. The Pot de Crème a la Vanille, boasting berries from Pudwell Farms, is smooth and satisfying. I usually scoff at the artisan name dropping, but the jewel-like berries have rightfully their stripes. The chocolate version, topped with caramel, candied hazelnuts, and fleur de sel, is equally decadent but a bit more rich.

In past visits we’ve also sampled the steak frites, duck confit, and mac & cheese, all quite good. There’s still much more to try, so I’m certain we’ll be back for more. The service while friendly, courteous, and knowledgeable, can be a bit sporadic as the restaurant hits full steam in the thick of dinner service. Somewhat understandable given the frenetic pace of the restaurant. However, even with different wait staff carting dishes to our table, our waiter always made it a point to stop by soon afterwards to explain each dish and offer any tips that might enhance or improve our tasting experience. As long as you have a few hours to kill, the slower service doesn’t detract from the experience. And why should it? With all the awesome dishes and great downtown vibe, no one should be in any hurry to leave.

Aug 13, 2009
speedm in Los Angeles Area

Finally good eats in HB

thanks for the tip. huntington beach is much closer to me than the roosevelt. hopefully the quality is the same.

Jul 31, 2009
speedm in Los Angeles Area

Special Occasion Dinner (tonight) for Los Feliz/Silverlake/Downtown?

I was going to say church & state as well, though it is loud in there. depends if you're looking for a fun lively place or romantic setting.

Jul 29, 2009
speedm in Los Angeles Area

Golden State - 3 strikes and out

here are some photos (and quick review) from Golden State:

http://www.alamodejournals.com/index....

i found the burger to be pretty good, but not great. the bun wasn't crumbly, on the contrary it was nice and soft. i don't like ketchup so i ordered without, everything else on the burger was tasty. i do want to try that beer float with the rasputin!

Jul 29, 2009
speedm in Los Angeles Area

A Wonderful Bit of Paris in L.A.: Anisette Brasserie (Dinner, Brunch & Breakfast) [Review] w/ Pics!

i went the same night and had the exact same experience as wileyshungryagain. 30 minute wait (twice) for drinks from the bar and no apologies from the server or manager (and we complained to both). i would expect the drinks to be comp'ed, at least.

Jun 25, 2008
speedm in Los Angeles Area

suggestions for bergen, olso, stockholm, copenhagen?

yes, i saw that, thank you.

Sep 14, 2006
speedm in International Archive

suggestions for bergen, olso, stockholm, copenhagen?

thanks for the recommendation!

Sep 14, 2006
speedm in International Archive

suggestions for bergen, olso, stockholm, copenhagen?

hi all fellow chowhounders! going to scandinavia next week and need some affordable restaurant suggestions for those cities. i did find a recent post for stockholm, but most others are pretty old. preferably places that really capture the gist of the culture and city!

thanks in advance :)

Sep 14, 2006
speedm in International Archive