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Looking for a fun restaurant for a birthday??

I think there are a number of options - $8 burritos (and they're very filling), $7 quesadillas, $7-12 nachos, $10-12 enchiladas, $10-14 other entrees. My favorite is the Taco sampler plate - one of each of their 12 tacos, served as mini tacos, for $14. Some things might be cutting it close if adding alcohol & tip, but I think it's worth consideration - my thinking is at least there are a number of lower-priced options. The only things definitely out of budget range are the fish "special plates" at $21...

Jan 24, 2011
LisaStitch in Los Angeles Area

Looking for a fun restaurant for a birthday??

If Mexican works, I suggest Loteria Grill - the Hollywood location at 6627 Hollywood Blvd.
Great food, fun vibrant atmosphere, and they take reservations.
http://loteriagrill.com/

Jan 24, 2011
LisaStitch in Los Angeles Area

Santa Maria BBQ...catering?

Last summer, I used Thousand Oaks Meat Locker to cater my family reunion which was held on the beach in Malibu. They did a fantastic job. They brought a huge bbq hitched to the back of a truck and cooked right on-site - chicken, burgers, etc. and it included all the sides (including beans), condiments, etc. I highly recommend them. I've never been to their location, but I believe it is a regular storefront/restaurant, so you can stop by for lunch sometime and see how you like it. On their website they do list "Santa Maria Tri-Tip" as an option. They also offer the option of delivering the food to your lcoation (rather than cooking on-site) if you prefer.

Thousand Oaks Meat Locker
2684 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360
(805) 495-3211
http://webbq4u.com/

Jun 14, 2010
LisaStitch in Los Angeles Area

Sushi Roku, Gonpachi, or 1000 Cranes?

For drinks, I had tea and he had 2 large beers. And really the only non-sushi was the seaweed salad, two mushroom "sushi" pieces, and two orders of vegetable tempura (I snacked on stuff at home later, though all the tempura was super-filling). I don't remember them having anything else non-fish on their menu.

My husband had a LOT of sushi. I can't remember the details, but the sushi chef seemed stunned when he realized that everything my husband ordered really was just for him and not me.

The grand total before tip was around $80.

Feb 11, 2009
LisaStitch in Los Angeles Area

Sushi Roku, Gonpachi, or 1000 Cranes?

Just wanted to report back. Thank you so much for your help. We went to Ike on a Saturday night.

We got there right at 5:30pm (maybe 5:32) when they opened and it was already half full. It had a very nice, relaxed, neighborhood feel. We sat next to another couple who apparently had been going there regularly for years, as in over 10 years.

We sat at the bar, and my husband had a ton of great sushi. I got a little made fun of (good-naturedly) for not being a fish-eater, and the sushi chef decided to create a couple pieces of sushi for me that used baked mushroom - it was excellent and a nice special touch. I also ate seaweed salad which was fine/pretty standard, and two servings of vegetable tempura which were awesome.

The service at the sushi bar was great and fast since the sushi chefs are right there and very attentive. It was a little hard for me though since I was ordering non-sushi off the menu - I had to flag people down constantly - but everyone was very nice. The tempura seemed to take forever to get done, perhaps non-sushi items are an afterthought for them.

I didn't get an itemized bill, but the overall total was still very reasonable, similar to when I took him to Hirozen a while back. My husband loved it and said we must go back.

Thank you again!

Feb 11, 2009
LisaStitch in Los Angeles Area

Buns for sliders?

Oh my goodness you are talking in percentages? :P I don't know that "should" is really appropriate to say ? I can't find a definition of "slider" except in reference to White Castle (which is more in the 3" range). I'm looking at my ruler and 3" seems much more common to me and my slider experience. And I think that's also closer to the size of the King Hawaiian rolls people are talking about above.

I have had sliders that were 1.5-2 inches, but most of the ones I've had have been more as 'bar food,' at places like the Arsenal and others I can't quite remember... :)

Jan 06, 2009
LisaStitch in Los Angeles Area

Buns for sliders?

"WAY" too big seems like an overstatement. All the sliders I've had at restaurants have been somewhere between 2 and 3 inches.

Melrose Baking Co can probably accomodate a smaller size if needed.

Jan 06, 2009
LisaStitch in Los Angeles Area

Sushi Roku, Gonpachi, or 1000 Cranes?

Thanks. Hamasaku and Ike look interesting. I think Koi may be a bit too scene-y for us though (we recently went to the Hollywood Katsu-ya and were, in a word, annoyed).

Why again is Monday bad for sushi - is that the last day for that week's fish? What day is best?

Jan 06, 2009
LisaStitch in Los Angeles Area

Buns for sliders?

I think the Melrose Baking Company does 3" buns. I looked into them a while back, then my plans changed, so I've never personally used them. But they probably can provide what you need.

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Melrose Baking Co
7356 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA

Jan 06, 2009
LisaStitch in Los Angeles Area

New parents night out $100.00 for 2, need ideas

Have you tried Lou? In the corner of a minimall at Vine & Melrose. They don't take reservations and are always busy, but the wait isn't normally very long, and you can have some wine while you wait. I think the food is well worth it.

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Lou on Vine
724 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90038

Jan 06, 2009
LisaStitch in Los Angeles Area

Sushi Roku, Gonpachi, or 1000 Cranes?

Husband's birthday is coming up, and I typically take him out for sushi, since he loves it, and I don't eat or make sushi myself. I've taken him to Hump and Hirozen in the past, both of which he loved. This time I've narrowed it down to Sushi Roku (WeHo), Gonpachi, and 1000 Cranes. Would love to get anyone's thoughts on which would be best, or if you can recommend any better places...

In terms of location, since it will be a weeknight (a Monday), we would like to stay within the confines of Beverly Hills to the west, downtown to the east, and the 101 & 10 freeways to the north and south. Do not want to go up on Ventura. I don't have any price limitations, especially since dinner is part of his birthday present. But he is not very adventurous, so I've crossed Urusawa off the list.

Thanks in advance!

Jan 06, 2009
LisaStitch in Los Angeles Area

Father's Office ~ Culver City, CA

Fantastic!

Went last night at about 7:15pm, walked right in. A line started forming around 7:30, when a friend of mine was coming, and the guy at the door told me he'd have a wait of only about 15 minutes. They were managing how many people were let in so that the place was always pretty full, but never so packed like the Santa Monica location, where you can barely walk around. Here it was very easy to walk around, and there was pretty much no wait to get a bartender, maybe sometimes just 1 person in front of you. I really liked this.

Service was great!!! My bartender, the server, and some guy with an earpiece were all super super super nice - I can't state that enough.

I had the steak thai salad from their specials menu, and the steak was perfectly crusted on the outside, rare on the inside, and the salad was spicy and wonderful. My friend had the duck confit salad, also from the specials menu, which he also loved.

I absolutely cannot wait to go back.

Apr 23, 2008
LisaStitch in Los Angeles Area

RIP Nook Short Ribs :(

I just got an e-mail newsletter from Nook saying they have retired the short ribs from their menu!!! Does anyone know if they have already done this, or is there still time for me to go and gorge myself on short ribs before they're gone? They are still listed on their website menu...

Why would they do this? Am I the only one in love with them (the short ribs, that is)? I can only hope that they mean "retire" like Bill Parcells means retire.

Mar 19, 2008
LisaStitch in Los Angeles Area

The York, gastropub in Mt. Washington

I thought I'd offer a different opinion from all the raves about the food on this post, which inspired me to try it out...

This was my first time in Eagle Rock/Mt. Washington/whatever, and I was surprised to find the area to be rather sketchy. For some reason I was expecting it to be more like Los Feliz or South Pas. Anyway, since I'm a very petite female, I was nervous parking and walking around there. I would have appreciated this knowledge beforehand, so I just wanted to mention it here for others who might want to plan accordingly (carpool and whatnot..)

So this was last Friday around 7:30pm, and I was impressed by the beers and the service of one of the bartenders, but nothing else. It's quite a cavernous space, so when I got there and it was not crowded at all, it was really loud. It's also really dark, so it's hard to see your food. I think this is first and foremost and beverage place, that offers bites to eat if you get hungry, i.e. you don't go here with eating a meal as your first priority.

Eating burgers is a hobby of mine, and I really did not like theirs at all: 1) the cheese tasted like it was especially super sharp cheddar and was not melted enough, 2) the "rocket" greens were way too salty & peppery, 3) I now believe that pickled onion has no business being on a burger, and 4) everything else was a big grease bomb (and not in the good way). All of the toppings completely overpowered the beef and the actually quite nice bun. It was as if the owners wanted to cash in on a Father's Office knockoff, so they threw on a bunch of gourmet-sounding toppings with no thought behind any of it, and then slapped on a $13 price tag. Fool me once...

The rest of the food was good-to-mediocre, definitely nothing to write home about. You can get fries just as good or better throughout LA. The wings were kind of dry and very sweet - which they really should specify on their menu, since I would imagine most people expect the more common hot wings. The cheese/meat plate and their roasted chicken special were alright, but again, nothing special. All of it overpriced.

I can see this being a nice place for locals, but it's a bit out of my way, so I don't plan on returning. But honestly, if I lived in that area - and I should disclose I'm somewhat of a homebody - when I would venture out to eat, I would probably drive out of my way to go somewhere else.

Mar 12, 2008
LisaStitch in Los Angeles Area

Dinner near Bridge / Howard Hughes?

Not a lot of options. I've only been to the Islands there!

Just up Sepulveda from Howard Hughes is Pann's, an old diner famous for their fried chicken.

Mar 03, 2008
LisaStitch in Los Angeles Area

Santa Monica restaurants for Texas visitor

Ocean and Vine is pretty good, but I wouldn't pay for it, and the one time I had dinner there the place was dead. The big circular fireplace in the middle of the restaurant might be a nice warm-up place to have a couple drinks before heading out, but even those are on the pricer side as well.

I second the Father's Office suggestion. Just go for lunch on Saturday or Sunday and you won't have a problem finding a place to sit.

I also love The Ivy but that is definitely above your desired budget. And btw if you go on the weekend, you won't see any celebs.

The Bodega wine bar is also a good spot for drinking and eats. It's very hip/loud. A very happenin spot. Sort of walking distance. Nice wine selection, fun trendy crowd, and I loved the pizzas I've had there, but I must point out again that it is pretty loud in there.

Might want to check out Rustic Canyon for lunch. They're pretty affordable then, and all their food is fantastic, and organic/sustainable/something like that, so very California-y. Nice wine selection too.

Feb 27, 2008
LisaStitch in Los Angeles Area

Greek in West LA???

What about Hungry Pocket in Santa Monica? I've never been but hear raves about it - I'm suprised no one else has brought it up.

Feb 27, 2008
LisaStitch in Los Angeles Area

Romantic birthday dinner

What's your budget & ideal geographic area? Any particular type of cuisine preferred?

Feb 27, 2008
LisaStitch in Los Angeles Area

culver city tonight

Uh, have you been to Fraiche?

They themselves describe their cuisine as "Rustic French & Italian." The very few Italian dishes are not good.

It's always fully booked because people believe the hype. I've had many friends and coworkers who have made reservations there solely based on the hype, and I tell them I don't recommend it, but they still go and end up completely underwhelmed.

Feb 05, 2008
LisaStitch in Los Angeles Area

Small wedding reception dinner

Any geographic section of LA in particular? It is a very spread out city.

Just off the top of my head I'd recommend Ca'Brea - great Italian, great service, very nice private room (at least when I was there before the fire they had last year).

Asia de Cuba has excellent Asian fusion food, and it is also in a hotel so you and your guests could stay there. On the downside, it has very modern/hipster architecture & decor, so it doesn't really scream "wedding" and at night the clientele gets pretty trendy & clubby.

Feb 01, 2008
LisaStitch in Los Angeles Area

culver city tonight

How do you mean "equivalent"? There are no similar French-inspired restaurants in the area. If you mean it more in terms of well-executed satisfying dishes (which I don't think Fraiche has, but that's another discussion), then I recommend Ford's Filling Station (American/pub food with Artisan cheese/meat plates) which is very close to Fraiche, and also Beacon (Asian/American), which is down a ways in the Helms area. Both places also have a similar vibe and price range to Fraiche.

Feb 01, 2008
LisaStitch in Los Angeles Area

Farmer's Market Driven Restaurants

LOVE Rustic Canyon!

Also:
Lou
Abode
Ocean and Vine

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Rustic Canyon Wine Bar
1119 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Lou on Vine
724 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90038

Abode Restaurant & Lounge
1541 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA

Jan 29, 2008
LisaStitch in Los Angeles Area

DineLa Restaurant

Roy's looks really good to me. Had a great dinner there before.

Jan 29, 2008
LisaStitch in Los Angeles Area

Lunch Downtown???

Mortons' lunch burger for sure!!!!! And you can't beat that service...

Also, there is a place called Wood Spoon that got good reviews on here a while ago for tis grilled beef plate and coxhina that is on my list for next time I'm in that area...

Jan 29, 2008
LisaStitch in Los Angeles Area

dineLA reports

Nice to hear. I had a fantastic (& very expensive) dinner there years ago. If I still lived near Long Beach that would definitely be on my list for this week...

Jan 29, 2008
LisaStitch in Los Angeles Area

Delivery In The Hollywood Hills

Bossa Nova used to deliver to me when I was in 90046, and the pizza was always perfect. I was pretty close to them though. But yeah, they can take forever to arrive.

I also actually really liked Green Tea House - great chow mein & Kung Pao Chicken.

I also like Raffalo's Pizza, but didn't order from there too often, since I usually preferred Bossa Nova's pizza. But they are a good alternative if Bossa Nova says they'll take 2 hours to deliver.

There's also a place called New York Pizza & Pasta that delivers. They've got a pretty broad menu. I highly recommend their mozzarella sticks & sub sandwiches.

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Raffallos Pizza
1657 N La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028

New York Pizza & Pasta
7123 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046

Jan 29, 2008
LisaStitch in Los Angeles Area

Sexy Finger Foods?

Thanks - I will have to check out Artisan Cheese for the SO. He can never get enough cheese!

Jan 29, 2008
LisaStitch in Los Angeles Area

Sexy Finger Foods?

A big cheese board - cheeses, charcuterie, bread, mustard, sliced apples, honey, those tiny pickles... Have had great cheese boards at Lou, Ford's Filling Station, & Rustic Canyon. I wonder if any of them will wrap everything up for takeout? Lou has papa Batali's wonderfully tasty meats. Otherwise, I'm sure Whole Foods can make some great recommendations from their deli area.

Jan 29, 2008
LisaStitch in Los Angeles Area

Best Italian Cuisine in Town

I second Via Veneto.

For everday (more affordable) Italian, I like La Vecchia Cucina and Caffe Pinguini.

Jan 29, 2008
LisaStitch in Los Angeles Area

Dinner in Irvine

I also second Bistango, have had many good business meals there, the food is great thought the atmosphere and service seem a tad stuffy to me. Great service, although they don't really like people making changes to things on the menu.

Chat Noir would be my first choice, though it's in Costa Mesa by South Coast Plaza. I used to work in Irvine and have had several great business dinners here. It's technically a chain, but the food, atmosphere, and service are fantastic. It's also right near a spa in case you want to expense some massages before or after, sorry the name of the spa escapes me...

P.S. Your post isn't very clear if you'll be dining alone. If you are, I'd go with Chat Noir - very cozy atmosphere and nice bar area. Another thought is Taleo in Irvine, great Mexican food, slightly more casual, but still fantastic and one of my favorites. Bistango is more of a group business meal type of place.

Jan 24, 2008
LisaStitch in Los Angeles Area