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New Chef at Church and State pulled over from Bastide

The new chef is Walter Manzke of ex-Bastide fame. Haven't tried it yet but it seems promising.

Dec 10, 2008
sebi in Los Angeles Area

Looking for a nice restaurant near or in La Canada

MaryT: you might have lost track because Bashan has been open for over a year. Former chef from Providence. 2-3 great write-ups in the L.A. Times. A real destination spot for the area.

There is also 3 Drunken Goats on Honolulu in Montrose that is more casual. And all Spanish in theme.

Nov 22, 2008
sebi in Los Angeles Area

Looking for a nice restaurant near or in La Canada

Good luck! But if you head a mile or so over to near Montrose there is Bashan. Fantastic, fresh Cal-French type cuisine in an intimate setting.

Nov 21, 2008
sebi in Los Angeles Area

Natural Wines in L.A.

Here are some better ideas:

Depending on what part of town you in there are plenty of choices on the central to east side of the city. In Pasadena there is Vertical Wine Bar. In the central part of the city there is AOC. In Glendale there is Palate.

And if you just want wine shops that double as a wine bar there is Silverlake Wine in Silverlake and Rosso Wine Shop in Glendale. Both have many of the importer wines you mention and do tastings certain nights of the week.

Nov 21, 2008
sebi in Los Angeles Area

good prosecco, available locally?

Best I've had:
Drusian Prosecco Valdobiadene $15.99
www.rossowineshop.com

Nov 19, 2008
sebi in Los Angeles Area

lil' parlor pizzeria in south pas. open

When did it open?

Prices look reasonable. Wood-fire oven looks impressive. Always like the space.

Nov 19, 2008
sebi in Los Angeles Area

BayAreans Hit Canele 4 Times in 2 Weekends

I really like Canele quite a bit too. Although does anyone else have a problem with the almost never changing menu?

In the Summer months who is ordering the boeuf bourguignon? It's too damn hot. And a lot of their other dishes are fall/winter types... brandade, etc.

I can only order the Branzino so many times...

Jul 31, 2008
sebi in Los Angeles Area

Lunch recs in Montrose?

In additon to cjla's post

Berolina (next to Scheiner's): makes a decent sandwhich
Zeke's: good, smoky pulled pork

Jul 09, 2008
sebi in Los Angeles Area

PALATE - amazing new restaurant in glendale!!

All three of these experiences happened within the last 2 weeks (including my own). And wine coordination was not an issue in my case. We brought our own bottles. They knew we were wine savvy and yet the first white, which we ordered after committing to the prix-fixe, still came 20 minutes later. They even acknowledged that it was poor timing. And yet they continued to take 30 minutes (after everyone was obviously done) between food courses. We opened our own wines after the first white.

There was no challenge other than being aware/consciencious of your customers.

Jul 08, 2008
sebi in Los Angeles Area

PALATE - amazing new restaurant in glendale!!

What do people think of the service?

I didn't have a very good experience with that and have heard from other friends of similar situations. In my case, 30 minutes in between courses. 20 minute delay for 1st wine ordered (so as to miss the first course of food). Itemized bill when a pre-fixe at a set amount was ordered. Things like that...

Jul 08, 2008
sebi in Los Angeles Area

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

With La Buca: order an nice app to start and then pick a pasta and you will be happy. No reason to complicate things.

Mozza pastas: $17-19
La Buca pastas: $13-$16

Jun 04, 2008
sebi in Los Angeles Area

what's the situation with flor morena fine foods in silverlake?

I believe the orig license was revoked and the neighbors protested a new application. So no deal...

Apr 16, 2008
sebi in Los Angeles Area

Best wines with pizza? Best pizzeria wine lists?

Barbera is my go to pizza wine. Great acidity.

Apr 15, 2008
sebi in Wine

Vermentino wine question

There is some Vermentino planted in Tuscany and a few wineries release bottles to the States. The wines are generally dry, fruity and great for seafood and Summer faire. I wouldn't think it would be a great match with beef but I would generally say the same of all whites.

Apr 15, 2008
sebi in Wine

Neomeze review

Exact opposite experience 2 weekends ago. The service was terrible (no attitude, just lame) but the food was very good. Everything was super flavorful and seasoned well.

Goat cheese brulee: excellent, great textures and great flavor combo
Calamari: perfectly cooked, light batter, seasoned well
Lamb kebab: again cooked well, seasoned aggressively, great taste, sides were tasty
Wild mushroom pappardelle: fresh made pasta, great, mushroom sauce creamy good
Herbed potatoes: tons of herbs, very flavorful, simple but well done

Even with inexperienced service I wouldn't hesitate to go back. But I also agree the jazz was very tame and uninteresting.

Apr 07, 2008
sebi in Los Angeles Area

La Crescenta: La Cabañita

I think if you order the "standard things" you will be disappointed based on the ravings. But if you order some of their sauce-based dishes you will be much more impressed. The Chuleta pork chops are very good, as mentioned above. And also their mole verde and regular mole are good. The Caldo di Pollo soup is fantastic. Chips are fresh made and the salsas are decent.

Apr 07, 2008
sebi in Los Angeles Area

Corkage fee at retail shop/winebar

I hear you. And I agree that it is reasonable from a business perspective. But I also know that some people do look down upon it. And I always want to keep in mind what it was like to be a customer...

Apr 04, 2008
sebi in Wine

Corkage fee at retail shop/winebar

Waffleman: nope, normal retail markup.

Like I mentioned, if you purchase a bottle from me, why should I care where it is drunk. And if I have the license to have open container, primarily for wine flights and education, then why not allow it at my wine bar?

Here is a common situation: a customer who is a regular buys a wine flight, then wants a bottle of one of the wines, decides to buy a full bottle and would like to drink it at the bar.

Should I?
a) Look to get an additional $5-$10 corkage from that person?
b) Open the bottle for them, let them enjoy it and they leave with a good feeling

To me that good will translates into word of mouth advertising. There is a cost for that.

It just seems a bit short-sided to me to ask for corkage. Most retailers will tell you it is the "repeat" customers that make your business thrive. If you are in it for the long haul, providing the best customer service is the way to go.

Apr 04, 2008
sebi in Wine

Corkage fee at retail shop/winebar

It sounds like you work for ABC? You have too much information about this "pour situation" in SoCal (just messin' with you).

Incidentally every new license or over-saturated area for licenses goes through this kind of City scrutiny about whether or not it is just a full blown bar or educational. Their famous line is that it impacts police and can create a public nuisance. Nothing new there...

Apr 03, 2008
sebi in Wine

Basque in/around SF Valley (or any recommended Tapas/Wine spots without breaking the bank)?

Not exactly Basque but in north Glendale there is Ingredients, which is most definitely Spanish in flare. Here are some small bites offered on Fri & Sat:

radishes w/sea salts and citrus butter 3
roasted beets layered w/peppered goats cheese, pistachio and balsamic-honey 6
duck confit tossed with pears, reggiano, almonds and quince 8
poached wild salmon sous vide in mustard emulsion w/soy beans and blood orange marmalade 12
merguez sausage on white bean ragout with saffron-onion jelly and harissa 8
smoked prosciutto (speck) w/ berolina bread stix, olive chutney, aioili 7
boquerrones, sweet marinated white anchovies on chickpea toast and spicy tomato paste 7
piquillo peppers, stuffed with bonito tuna, capers, arbequina olive oil,olive paste 8

And for wine, there is a a store 1 block away, called Rosso Wine Shop. No corkage at Ingredients, great tapas, pretty close to what you are asking about.

Apr 03, 2008
sebi in Los Angeles Area

Corkage fee at retail shop/winebar

I am not specific about the wine bar margin as compared to the bottle sales because it is all variable. So are bottles sales as a matter of fact. For the most part normal wine shops work off a 1.5 type markup or 30-33% GPM, but what about when you buy closeouts or get the best discount for 5 and 10 case buys. Then those margins are different.

It is even more up and down with my wine bar. One night I may pour three wines totaling $30 wholesale but get twenty tasters at $10 each. So that is $200 on a $30 investment.

But another night I may choose slightly higher end wines, totaling $60 wholesale and only get 10 tasters. In this case $100 on a $50 investment.

And these are only 3-wine flight examples. So it is always different. Not to mention there are often times when I need to open multiple bottles. But do those extra bottles justify the added cost if I only get 5 additional tasters?... you see where I'm going with this.

In the end I find it better to just pour and let people enjoy rather than count pennies and wine drops.

By the way, can I ask which state this store is in that has to abide by this 2 oz pour policy by ABC? And do they actually send reps out to police this?

Apr 02, 2008
sebi in Wine

Corkage fee at retail shop/winebar

Believe it or not my flight pours are not really calculated that carefully. I always give more than 3 oz pours per wine and offer "re-visits." It is far more important to me that someone gets the feel of the wine than to be stingy with my pours.

I generally pour more obscure stuff so this goes a long way to ingratiate the store and my picks to customers. I see my wine bar as an extension of the store not as a bonafide money maker. Though I do make money with it my primary focus is providing a platform to taste the store's wines (in a wine bar setting).

Of course this type of format may change as business needs are dynamic, but for now, it works.

Apr 02, 2008
sebi in Wine

Corkage fee at retail shop/winebar

Hi Midlife, I own and operate the very kind of shop that you speak of, with both on and off-site licensing.

I do not charge a corkage for opening an entire bottle that is purchased. Now that may be a bad "business model" but the way I look at it is, I have sold you the bottle, it doesn't matter to me where you drink it.

I know that I will have to wash that glass and that I have to provide seating at my bar (let alone the insane costs of permitting to start) but I prefer to make up those costs other ways.

I consider it the cost of doing business. Most of those full bottle folks are regulars and smart people who realize that if they purchase a bottle rather than do flights they get more wine for the money. Those people get rewarded in my book.

Apr 02, 2008
sebi in Wine

PLEASE POST YOUR VOTES HERE: Ultimate Los Angeles Restaurants 2007

Ortolan
Valentino
Grace
La Terza
Providence

Feb 11, 2008
sebi in Los Angeles Area

Listing of corkage free places in LA

I believe La Buca has changed their corkage policy to $18.

Jan 29, 2008
sebi in Los Angeles Area

Spice Store..Cookware Stores..Specialty Food Shops

Ingredients in North Glendale/Montrose: www.ingredientsshop.com

Check out a new shop from the former chef/owner of Bistro Verdu. There are spices, salts, dried chiles, gourmet cheeses, charcuterie and on weekends, a small bites menu. Along with that there are also some cookware products, paella pans, interesting utensils and the like.

Jan 19, 2008
sebi in Los Angeles Area

Casa Bianca vs. Antica Pizza

Casa Bianca isn't the greatest pizza ever but if you order right they make a very good pie. Maybe not worth "driving across town for" but a better-than-average-pie.

Personal favorites are: anything with sausage (sausage and onions) because the sausage is handmade and has loads of fennel, so the combination of zingy fennel, meaty sausage and what I believe is almost caramelized onions makes for a great flavor combo.

Then beyond that, the eggplant pizza is also very good. Crispy breaded pieces of eggplant blending with the tomato sauce just works.

And, if you are a purist, the pepperoni and black olive pizza is very good also.

You gotta get the pie there and eat there. It's part of the experience. The insane waits are do to the family style, neighborhood vibe and good prices. But it is still quite annoying to wait that long...

Oh, and they make a good antipasta salad!

Jan 15, 2008
sebi in Los Angeles Area

Bastide or Lucques?

I vote for Ortolan.

If you are looking for possibly the best "French" food in the city, Ortolan is the place. Fantastic dishes, impressive cooking, well-seasoned, great ingredients, etc.

Dec 20, 2007
sebi in Los Angeles Area

Why don't I live next door to Bashan in Glendale?

Hello Patz, et al, there is a cool link with a map of the area showing a few great food and wine things to do in the neighborhood. It's very helpful. I like what is going on there. Check it out:

http://rossowineshop.com/pages/misc/s...

Dec 03, 2007
sebi in Los Angeles Area

Prices of Olive Oil? [Moved from Los Angeles Area board]

It might have something to do the crap U.S. dollar value... $1.44 to 1 Euro. But yea, you are right, Costco extra virgin olive oil cost me $12 per jug (packaged in 2) yesterday.

Nov 14, 2007
sebi in General Topics