krystle920's Profile

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Where to buy coffee beans?

Looking for a good source for reasonably priced, high quality coffee beans. Thinking of something like Porto Rico in NY. No nonsense coffee where you can get Ethiopian Yirgacheffe for $9.99/lb. It seems that most of the hipster brands sell their coffee for more like $15-20/lb because of the branding. Any suggestions?

about 12 hours ago
krystle920 in Greater Seattle

Where would you eat in Vancouver if you were visiting from LA?

Vij's and Vij's Rangoli both look pretty interesting. Is Vij's worth the cost? My benchmark for fine dining Indian is Rasika in DC where you feel that the food is really a step up from your standard Indian. Vij's Rangoli is cheaper but not sure if it's harder to get to without a car.

How many dishes do you need to order in Pidgin to get full? Are dishes small? The pork belly rice bowl is only $15 so not sure if it's possible to just order 3 dishes total for 2 people.

about 13 hours ago
krystle920 in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Sherman Oaks dining 'renaissance' - will it draw Angelenos?

the problem is it's all gastropubs.

Jul 10, 2014
krystle920 in Los Angeles Area
2

AYCE Sushi in 2014

It seems a lot of AYCE sushi places have closed. We're looking for AYCE sushi within 20-30 minutes of downtown LA that doesn't have a time limit. (1 hour seems a bit rushed). So far, I found Yoshino Sushi in San Gabriel, but nothing else, which is odd considering the popularity of the concept. Any suggestions? It would be for 6 people so places that limit it to the sushi bar are also out of the question. Thanks in advance!

Jul 10, 2014
krystle920 in Los Angeles Area

Where would you eat in Vancouver if you were visiting from LA?

We are visiting Vancouver for 6 days in August, and we were wondering where we should eat considering we are from LA. I know Vancouver is particularly known for excellent Chinese, but LA certainly has enough as well. Are there any unique regional Asian cuisine that is better in Vancouver than in LA? Should we focus on Pacific Northwest with a touch of Asian influence?

I've done some initial research, and Kingyo and Pidgin seem interesting. Our budget is around $15-20 a person before tax and tip.

We are staying in the downtown (Coast Coal Harbour and Rosewood Hotel) and would not have a car so probably nothing in the suburbs, but we can take public transportation within the city.

Jun 21, 2014
krystle920 in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Why are "Westernized" restaurants so much more expensive than ethnic places?

It's a shame there's not more of these types of Chinese restaurants in the US. It would really elevate the perception of the cuisine. Not the white table cloth, single serving, Western-format style, but the family style, chandelier, plush carpeting type restaurant that serves super fresh seafood, sharks fin soup, etc.

Dec 30, 2013
krystle920 in General Topics

What food is so much better during lunch or during dinner?

I was just thinking - it seems there are certain foods that are really so much better during either lunch or dinner. For me, they are as follows.

Better during lunch:
-sandwiches
-paninis
-wraps
-salads
-crepes
-lobster roll

Better during dinner:
-Indian
-pasta

Dec 29, 2013
krystle920 in General Topics

Why are "Westernized" restaurants so much more expensive than ethnic places?

I've always eaten at ethnic places and fortunately, haven't really encountered dirty food. I think it's a matter of getting used to. Same reason why a lot of Americans get sick when they eat food in Asia or South America.

Dec 29, 2013
krystle920 in General Topics

Why are "Westernized" restaurants so much more expensive than ethnic places?

I feel like you can't really compare getting a tuna sandwich or chicken wrap with what you get at an ethnic place. At a Chinese takeout, for $5-6, you get a full beef with broccoli serving complete with white or fried rice. It's hot food that may be eaten for both lunch or dinner. I feel like paying $5 for a cold tuna sandwich isn't really the same. It's really more of a lunch thing and you probably still need to get a side of chips for $2. Not as filling in the end too.

Dec 29, 2013
krystle920 in General Topics

Why are "Westernized" restaurants so much more expensive than ethnic places?

By Westernized, I meant either typical restaurants that serve American/New-American/Continental type food or even restaurants that serve Asian food but are owned by Western people. Examples that come to mind are Khe Yo, Uncle Boons, Red Farm in NYC. Places where you probably find the exact or similar dish at an ethnic place for $10-15, while their restaurants serve it for $25.

In terms of wages, don't most places (even fancy ones) pay their servers the $2 or so minimum then have them rely on tips? That doesn't like much compared to what authentic ethnic places pay. Even if it's $0, that's only a $2 difference.

In terms of ingredients, I agree there are many awesome restaurants out there that are sourcing from farmer's markets or nearby farms. But then again, I would bet a lot of them still source from convenient Sysco.

At the end of the day, I agree it's really what people are willing to pay. As long as there is a class of people willing to spend $30-40 a head per meal on a regular basis, owners looking to earn more would always try to aim for this slice of the pie vs the high volume immigrant market. I certainly know enough people willing to pay this mark up instead of eating at a white-lights place even if the food is exactly the same or even better. Just makes me sad.

Dec 28, 2013
krystle920 in General Topics

Why are "Westernized" restaurants so much more expensive than ethnic places?

That is interesting. I wonder though if the workers would prefer to get paid the $2 or so minimum instead and just rely on tips which I assume isn't much for a Chinese buffet. Considering they already get free housing and food with this arrangement, I wonder if they can afford to live on their own without this arrangement. Sure, they can always find another job or work several jobs but since they're new to the country, it seems that it would be very difficult. All I'm saying is that when you add the value of the food and housing, maybe it's just the same or better than getting $2 and a few tips every now and then while still having to provide your own food and housing. No safety net of social services too since they don't have papers.

Dec 28, 2013
krystle920 in General Topics

Why are "Westernized" restaurants so much more expensive than ethnic places?

Lol, I wonder if I can bargain at a Chinese takeout.

Dec 28, 2013
krystle920 in General Topics

Why are "Westernized" restaurants so much more expensive than ethnic places?

True, but given the overall portion size of Asian food, I would argue that the overall meat content is pretty much the same as a Westernized meal. It's just broken into many smaller pieces or chunks.

Dec 28, 2013
krystle920 in General Topics

Why are "Westernized" restaurants so much more expensive than ethnic places?

That is an interesting insight. Japanese restaurants are almost always expensive, especially when it's run by Japanese people. Even when it is run by Chinese people, these restaurants are still more expensive than Chinese restaurants.

It doesn't make sense but there seems to be an agreed upon price for things. I.e.

Chinese takeout - ~$5 lunch specials, $5-8 dinner

Indian places - $10 lunch buffet, $15-20 dinner entrees

Thai places - $10 lunch special, $10-15 dinner entrees

Chinese owned sushi places - $10-15 lunch special, $15-20 dinner

I agree it's really based on what people are used to and what they are willing to pay for. There is no reason we can't have ubiquitous Indian takeouts serving $5 meals especially when their food can just sit and stay just as good in huge containers, vs. Chinese food that really need to be cooked for each order.

Dec 28, 2013
krystle920 in General Topics

Why are "Westernized" restaurants so much more expensive than ethnic places?

In general, it seems "Westernized" restaurants are always so much more expensive than ethnic eats. Whether these restaurants serve American/European food or whether they offer a "Western" take on Asian or Latin food, it seems that there is a universal minimum of how much each person has to spend at these types of places. In an ethnic place, it is easy to get out spending less than $20 and feeling full. Nowadays, it's very difficult to get out of a gentrified type restaurant without spending at least $30 a person and that's with choosing items in the menu that are hopefully filling.

The first thing people would say is different would be the atmosphere. It costs money to have some sort of atmosphere. Next thing would be marketing costs. Then that leaves rent which may be more expensive if these restaurants are in prime neighborhoods, but doesn't explain restaurants in less gentrified areas of Broooklyn or Queens. One could argue that food quality may be slightly better too. In terms of wages, these restaurants pay the same minimum too and just have servers count on tips. Considering that in ethnic places, servers don't get as much in tips, it could even be that they need to get paid more wages.

With all these differences, though, it is still hard to justify the significant cost difference. Is it just because people are willing to pay more for these places? Is it because owners of "Westernized" restaurants demand a higher net income for themselves than owners of ethnic places?

I was just thinking too that a factor could be turnover in that places with nicer atmosphere experience a lower turnover. Can this problem be solved then by offering the same prices as ethnic places with the same nice atmosphere but just setting a one-hour time limit for diners?

Dec 27, 2013
krystle920 in General Topics

New Year's Eve - not prix fixe, classy atmosphere

I'm looking for recommendations on a restaurant for New Year's Eve. Planning to arrive around 930 pm or so and stay until midnight. Don't want to do an overpriced prix fixe so looking for a place that offers their regular menu. We do want to dress up though so it would be nice if it had great ambiance - somewhere where you can wear a jacket for men and nice dress for women, and not feel overdressed.

I've been doing tons of research and so far the few places I can find are: Locanda Verde (all booked already), Delmonico's in Financial District (not sure if there would be anyone there), Keen's, Strip House (in GV but only 1115 pm left), Porter House. Seems like mostly steakhouses so far though. We would prefer to stay away from Midtown and ball drop area. Oh, and it would just be for 2 people.

Thanks!

Dec 14, 2013
krystle920 in Manhattan

"Serious" Coffee Shops in Japan

This may be a stupid question, but are any of these coffee shops open in the morning for to-go coffee? It seems that a lot of these coffee places are sit down places. We are just looking for a place where you can get a cup of coffee to go, but not Starbucks.

Oct 15, 2013
krystle920 in Japan

Kyoto - what food am I missing?

We are going to be in Kyoto for 3 nights, then heading over to Tokyo afterwards for another 3 nights. I have created a tentative Kyoto food itinerary, but I am missing a dinner, ideally around the Gion district. We are coming from the Fushimi district for sake tasting before that. My itinerary so far is as follows. It would be great to get your recommendations. Somewhere in the $15-25 per person range is ideal. We would be eating more ramen, tonkatsu, and tempura in Tokyo so those are out. Maybe o-banzai homestyle Kyoto cuisine or something unique to the area? We are already doing a tofu lunch so not sure if a vegetarian dinner is too similar. Omen seems interesting but it seems it's closer to Ginkakuji.

November 4
-arrive at KIX
-late night dinner - Wachi or Gogyo - thoughts on which one?

November 5
-lunch - Issen Yoshoku and/or Izuju
-dinner - Giro Giro

November 6
-lunch - Kaneyo
-dinner - ??

November 7
-lunch - Komameya Nijyo
-snacks - Nishiki Market
-train to Tokyo

Oct 15, 2013
krystle920 in Japan

Best sake breweries in Kyoto

For Gekkeikan, does the 300 Yen museum admission include the tour and tasting?

http://www.gekkeikan.co.jp/english/pr...

Also, what's the best way of making reservations at the breweries for a tour? Based on your description, we would be interested in Saito Shuzo and Fujioka Shuzo. Are these within walking distance from the train station?

I tried emailing the breweries but I have only heard from Yamamote Honke so far. They seem flexible. Any thoughts on their restaurant - Torisei?

Oct 15, 2013
krystle920 in Japan

Best sake breweries in Kyoto

We are visiting Kyoto in November and would like to tour a few sake breweries in the area. From what I read, it seems most of them are in the Fushimi area. I found the following so far, but it's difficult to figure out which ones are the best to try. We would prefer a place that's not too touristy and serves sake for serious drinkers. It would be great to get your insight and recommendations. Thanks!

-Gekkeikan
-Tamanohikari
-Kizaru Kappa Country
-Matsumoto
-Fujioka Shuzo
-Yamamote Honke

Oct 14, 2013
krystle920 in Japan

Napa / Sonoma - unique, non-touristy, cult, good value?

Thanks! Corison charges $40 a person so it's a bit steep, but I have reached out to Trespass.

Aug 05, 2013
krystle920 in San Francisco Bay Area

Napa / Sonoma - unique, non-touristy, cult, good value?

What are your thoughts on Sherwin, Behrens, Guilliams, and Neal Family Vineyards?

Aug 05, 2013
krystle920 in San Francisco Bay Area

Napa / Sonoma - unique, non-touristy, cult, good value?

Ah, would you recommend just staying in the Napa area?

Aug 05, 2013
krystle920 in San Francisco Bay Area

Napa / Sonoma - unique, non-touristy, cult, good value?

We are visiting Napa / Sonoma on Labor day this year, and we are seeking suggestions for wineries that are relatively unique, non-touristy, or serious cult favorites but are still a good value for tasting fees.

We primarily like cabs and pinot noirs, but zins and merlots are okay too. We have been to the area before and have tried Rubicon, Pride, Spring Mountain, Joseph Phelps, Keenan, Arrowood, among others, but we want to try hidden gems away from the typical tourist stops. Also looking to spend ideally less than $20 a person on tasting fees.

So far, we are looking at Smith-Madrone and Heitz (for Martha's Vineyard). Any other suggestions? Are there any cult wines that offer a reasonably priced tasting (most places seem to be $50 a person)? Schoolhouse looked interesting but they are closed that day.

Aug 04, 2013
krystle920 in San Francisco Bay Area

Park City, Utah

So is it time for 2-for-1 entree deals at Park City already? How do you get the coupons?

Mar 22, 2013
krystle920 in Mountain States

Food and Drink in Salt Lake City and Park City for 5 days

Thanks! How is the Stein Eriksen bar vs. the St. Regis bar?

Mar 20, 2013
krystle920 in Mountain States

Food and Drink in Salt Lake City and Park City for 5 days

We will be in Salt Lake City and Park City next week for a ski trip, and I am putting together a list of restaurants and bars to try while we're in the area. We will be skiing most days so we usually skip lunch, opting for a quick breakfast on the way to the mountain instead. Here is my list so far. As you can see, we usually opt for more mid level price points with the food being the focus. Any other suggestions are welcome! For reference, we are coming from the NYC region.

Restaurants in SLC
-Takashi
-Red Iguana
-Park Cafe - brunch
-Lucky 13 - do they really have the best burgers?
-Mazza
-Copper Onion - we normally think New American is overrated for the size/price. is it worth it?

Drinks in SLC
-Uinta
-Squatters (also in Park City)
-The Bayou
-Epic
-Bar-X

Restaurants in Park City - any other suggestions?
-Tarahumara - worth the drive?
-No Name Saloon

Drinks in Park City
-Wasatch
-Squatters
-St. Regis bar - is this the best splurge lodge drinks experience?
-High West
-Stein Eriksen bar

Mar 20, 2013
krystle920 in Mountain States

a day in Chicago - brunch and dinner

It would be on a Sunday. I included Avec because the place seems small so I assume it would be too long of a wait for 5 people.

Mar 01, 2013
krystle920 in Chicago Area

a day in Chicago - brunch and dinner

We're spending a day in Chicago next week and we're trying to decide where to eat for brunch and dinner. We have been to Chicago many times before and have tried staples like Girl and the Goat, Frontera, XOCO, Hot Doug's, etc. We will be in a group of 5 people so we would prefer something more reasonably priced and accessible too - no Alinea, Next, Avec, etc.

We are looking at the following for brunch and dinner. Thoughts? We are coming from LA and NY, for perspective.

-Publican (brunch)
-Little Goat (brunch)
-Longman and Eagle (brunch or dinner)
-Tango Sur (dinner)
-Purple Pig (dinner)

Mar 01, 2013
krystle920 in Chicago Area

Negril - what are the must eats?

We are visiting Negril from New York in late February and it would be great to get your feedback on restaurants that are must-trys and places that are overrated. From what I have researched so far, these places seem to be highly regarded. Any other suggestions are welcome!

-Rockhouse
-Chicken Lavish
-3 Dives
-Just Natural
-Kuyaba's
-Ivan's

Feb 09, 2013
krystle920 in Latin America & Caribbean