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At Trois Mec, diners must buy tickets upfront

I don't mind the concept of paying a deposit for a reservation. The part I don't like is having to eat exactly what they want to serve me that night and spend exactly how much they want me to spend. If the $100 was actually a deposit and you were allowed to order off the menu and then settle up at the end of the night, I would be okay with that.

May 03, 2013
Wolfgang in Los Angeles Area

Burritos - LA Dish of the Month (April 2013)

In the past two weeks, I've had a carne asada burrito from Leo's truck at La Brea and Venice and one from the new Pinche's Tacos on Larchmont.
Leo's burrito was close but not quite there. It was too salty and wasn't hot enough, temperature wise.
The Pinche's burrito had nice flavors but was pretty small for the price.

Apr 25, 2013
Wolfgang in Los Angeles Area

Copper Pan Experts: Please weigh in on this set for sale on Ebay

No, I wasn't the winning bidder and I wasn't part of the bidding war.
I'm not sure if I want to make a 5 pan investment in tin lined copper.

Oct 08, 2012
Wolfgang in Cookware

Copper Pan Experts: Please weigh in on this set for sale on Ebay

Thank you both for your thoughts. They are very helpful.

Oct 03, 2012
Wolfgang in Cookware

Copper Pan Experts: Please weigh in on this set for sale on Ebay


I'm interested in transitioning to copper cookware. I've been looking at new pans as well as used ones on Ebay and Craigslist. I was hoping you could opine about a set of 5 pans currently on Ebay.
One thing in particular I would like you to comment on is the condition of the tin. Not having any experience with tin, I can't tell if the tin is ready for a re-tin or in fine shape. I also have a hard time determining the thickness of the copper from pictures. By the total weight, I would think they're over 1.5mm, but that's just a guess.

I really appreciate your guidance.

Thank you.

Here is the link:

Oct 03, 2012
Wolfgang in Cookware

Meatball Subs

While not a sandwich, the meatballs al forno at Pizzeria Mozza are excellent and decently close to the Miracle Mile. They are served with sauce and some garlic rubbed crostini. These are my current favourite meatballs. They are just a nose ahead of the meatballs from Salumi in Washington.
I'd love them in a warm Bay Cities roll.

Aug 01, 2012
Wolfgang in Los Angeles Area

Where to buy grass fed beef or farm specific beef in LA?

I tried grass fed beef for the first time last night. They were boneless 100% grass fed, organic rib-eyes from Sommers purchased at Sprouts in Culver City. These were from Uruguay. We grilled them over an oak fire. I did not like the steak at all. It was soft but incredibly chewy and tough. It was still pink in the middle so I doubt that it was overcooked. It wasn't dry. After reading all of the precautions about overcooking grass fed meat, I was determined to error on the undercooked side. The flavour was musky bordering on gamey. I couldn't add enough salt to make it enjoyable. I'm hopeful that a braised shortrib or a ground chuck burger will be more to my liking.
Anyway, I'm still going to try other grass fed cuts in other preparations but I don't see a reason to try a steak again any time soon. I just don't see any reason to eat steak if this is what it's going to taste like.

May 14, 2012
Wolfgang in Los Angeles Area

Meatball Subs

I agree with you about the mealy meatballs at Bay Cities, but I still enjoy them. I get them to go along with sausage in a 2:1 meatball to sausage ratio. I heat them up in the sauce, cutting both the meatballs and sausage into bite size pieces. The mealiness fades away a bit when cut into smaller pieces and mixed with the sausages. The Bay Cities roll comes to life in a low oven--about 250-275 degrees for 10 minutes.

May 11, 2012
Wolfgang in Los Angeles Area

Food for plane on route from midtown to LAX

I agree with the suggestion of La Brea bakery. They have about 5 cold prepared sandwiches to choose from. They travel well and are not messy. The turkey with avocado, arugula and chipotle aioli is probably my favourite of the cold ones and the oatmeal currant cookie is my favourite of their small cookie selection. Parking is easy.
Leo's taco truck at the Unocal station on the corner of Venice and La Brea. I think they're there by 5p. Tacos won't be warm after the long wait but a burrito wrapped in foil may still be palatable.
Moving a mile or so east is Larchmont Wine and Cheese. Call in your sandwich order ahead of time and it will be there waiting for you. Because they are not loaded with wet stuff, they do not suffer from hours of neglect.
There's a Nicaraguan? restaurant on La Brea about 1.5 blocks south of Washington on the east side of the street. I haven't been but I recall a positive write-up a couple of years ago.
Moving closer to LAX is The Good Pizza in Weschester. They have 4 sandwiches to choose from. They sound slightly messy but may be worth it. I've only had the pizza from them, but that only comes in full pies IIRC.
Lastly, there's the In-N-Out on Sepulveda a stone's throw from LAX. I don't like waiting to eat burgers but you may be less picky.

May 10, 2012
Wolfgang in Los Angeles Area

Umami Burgers....Worth the price ??

Yes, it's worth it, or close enough, to try it to decide for yourself if it's worth it. I wouldn't call it a good deal though. It's a splurge to spend around $20 on a burger and fries, even if that's the going price for gourmet burgers.
I've been about 6 times, all in L.A., and always have the manly burger in spite of its name. It's always been cooked a perfect medium rare, which is a rarity. Even when I used to live down the street from FO in SM and would frequent their burgers, they wouldn't turn out meat temperatures with the same consistency. I don't put Umami on FOs level, though, but I put it clearly above the Counter, which I find clinical and bland while still being greasy.

May 09, 2012
Wolfgang in Los Angeles Area

Langer's vs. Katz's and One Other LA vs NY Observation

I recently went to New York and ate a lot of food. The place that I was probably most excited to try was Katz's deli. I've lavished praise upon and more recently, lamented a pattern of decline at, Langer's. For this comparison, I will take Langer's at its best vs. one visit to Katz's. At Langers, I order a plain pastrami on rye and sometimes spread a small amount of mustard on the bread. At Katz's, I ordered the pastrami on rye and due to a misunderstanding, the sandwich maker added mustard.
The pastrami at Katz's is better than at Langer's. It's very close though. Langer's at its best does not leave me wishing I could go to Katz's. The pastrami at Katz's is slightly smokier and has a slightly deeper, more robust taste. The Katz's pastrami is also a little bit fattier and juicier. The sandwich maker hand slices it right in front of you and offers a sample on a paper plate before assembling the sandwich. Katz's gives you more meat than at Langer's but not by a large margin.
The rye bread at Langer's is far superior to Katz's rye bread. Katz's rye bread is an afterthought, it seems. It's soft all the way through the crust. It fell apart while eating the sandwich. I compared it to the bread or rolls that you get at most BBQ joints--it's just a vehicle for the meat and doesn't add anything to the sandwich. Langer's rye bread is exceptional. Soft in the middle with a great crust. Since I wouldn't be returning to Katz's, I went back to the counter for another sandwich to split with one of my companions. This sandwich came from a brand new hunk of pastrami. The pastrami was identical--perfect. The bread was the same as well.
I'm glad we have Langer's and I hope my last five or so sandwiches aren't the new reality at Langer's. At its best, I'd choose Langer's over Katz's because of the bread.
Other observations: NY pizza is not better than LA pizza. I had pizza from about 5 different places in New York, including John's on Bleecker Street and Joe's (to compare with our SM Joe's) and I never found myself wishing we could have this pizza in LA. Between the fancier wood fired oven places and a few of the better gas oven pizza places, LA has as good or better pizza than I had in NY.

Mar 19, 2012
Wolfgang in Los Angeles Area


I would recommend Eataly for lunch on Saturday. The Rotisserie has a meatball sandwich special on Saturday along with their daily prime rib sandwich. Both are excellent.
The cappuccini at the front espresso bar are very good, as is the gelato served next to the coffee bar.

Mar 19, 2012
Wolfgang in Manhattan

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Clementine makes a perfect chocolate chip cookie. As described above--the crispy perimeter is about as good of a cookie bite as you could hope for.
If I'm not out west, Larchmont Larder makes a nice chocolate chip cookie, though I prefer their oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, which is as good as Clementine but different. I'm forgetting the name, but the bakery on Robertson by the 10 fwy that bakes for the Ivy has some very interesting chocolate chip cookies.

Feb 06, 2012
Wolfgang in Los Angeles Area

Ventura/Oxnard help?

Cuernavaca on the avenue in Ventura is my favourite Mexican restaurant in the area. I've tried a few of the places along Channel Islands Blvd and they do not compare. Cuernavaca is very casual and serves beer. Try the al pastor tacos.
You have to try Topper's Pizza Place once. It's right on the harbor now, so if you're in Hollywood Beach, you can walk there. It's not gourmet pizza but it's really enjoyable. I ask for it well done.
Welcome to the neighborhood. I hope you enjoy your stay.

Best pizza west of the 405?

Gjelina pizza is more like bar food--something to accompany your drinks. It's good but doesn't leave me craving it when I haven't been in a while. I'd order it again if I went but it's not a reason to go.
What do you think of the Good Pizza? I think it's pretty good. It's not great but it's an enjoyable pie that needs to be ordered well done and even if you do, you'll want your toaster oven ready to go. Their sausage is a good step above other pizza joint sausages out there, not counting Mozza.

Good Pizza
7929 Emerson Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90045

1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

Jul 29, 2011
Wolfgang in Los Angeles Area

Most delicious gelato--Grom Malibu -- gelato made the old fashioned way

We recently tried Grom. I loved the staff. They were very friendly and very generous with the samples.
I really really enjoyed the Crema de Grom. I wish their generosity extended to the scooping for the orders. The 2 scoops could be eaten in 6 bites without a problem, 4 if you were pushing it. It was $5.25 for that fleeting moment of pleasure.
I don't have the gelato credentials of some of the other posters beyond not liking most that I try because it is way too sweet. I thought Grom got the sweetness close to perfect.

Crema Cafe
322 Main St, Seal Beach, CA 90740

May 20, 2011
Wolfgang in Los Angeles Area

Umami Burger - Does it live up to the hype?

I've only had two burgers and both times from the LaBrea and 9th street location. I had the Manly burger both times. They are nice, good burgers. They're familiar tasting. I enjoyed it but I would say that it does not live up to the hype. It's good but it's not something that claws at me and nags me to return when I haven't been in a while. I have never and would never say to someone, you HAVE to try Umami Burger. It's more like, if you want a burger, you'll probably like what you get here.

Umami Burger
850 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Apr 21, 2011
Wolfgang in Los Angeles Area

Do I need both a VitaMix and A Juicer?

MacGuffin, I was hoping you could help again. My wife has had 2 juicers in the past that were around $100 or $150 and she quit using them because it took so long to make a glass of juice. I told her about the Champion but she thinks at that price, she is going to be getting something similar to what she's gotten rid of. She sees the juicers used in health food shops and wants something that works that fast. We don't have a Norwalk budget but we are very willing to spend $1,000-$1,500 or more for something that is easy enough to make us want to use it often. Do the health food stores use centrifugal juicers? Is there anything between a Champion and the Norwalk that you recommend? Have you heard of Omcan?
We will be juicing a combination of fruits and vegetables--carrots, celery, parsley, spinach, kale, apples, beets, etc.
Thanks for your help.

Mar 31, 2011
Wolfgang in Cookware

Tender, Juicy and Crisp? Roast Chicken Battle - Melisse, Costco, Pollo Ala Brasa, Rustic Canyon, Zankou, A Frame, Gjelina, Marouch, Lola's, and more! [Review] w/ Pics!

Exile--Wonderful report. I want to echo the praise deservedly lavished on you. 2 things stuck out for me: 1) Most of the roast chicken in this town is not worth trying and 2) Recommendations from other hounds don't guarantee anything.
I've tried only 2 on your list--Costco, which is a good value but always too salty and the original Pollo A La Brasa on Western and 8th, which is always tasty but leaves me wanting crispier skin and a second, less doctored up version.
I'd love to buy my chickens at Healthy Family Farms but I'm too cheap right now to do it. $20+ for a bird elevates a simple dinner to special occasion faire.

Pollo A La Brasa
16527 S Vermont Ave, Gardena, CA 90247

Mar 25, 2011
Wolfgang in Los Angeles Area

ISO Lunch and Dinner Restaurants that can accomodate a group of 25-30

We're back from our Seattle trip. We were there for 4 days. For a few meals, we were able to break into smaller groups than 33. Here are some of the places we visited. Our first meal was at Elliot's Oyster House. It fit our party well and the service was good and friendly. I didn't care for anything I tried--cioppino, crab cakes, clams, alder plank salmon or seafood pasta. The fish didn't taste fresh and the frying seemed heavy handed.
Serious Pie. I'd been here once before. We went with a group of 6 and were told that it would be 2 hours. We ordered 4 pies to go and ate a couple slices in the cab on the way back to the hotel. I love Serious Pie. I liked the spicy salame and fennel sausage pies the best. Ivars on the waterfront. I split the steamed clams with chorizo and the bacon cheeseburger. I was fished out and after Elliot's, I didn't have much hope for another touristy spot. We had our full group here. Both the burger and clams were good except they didn't come out hot. They were both luke warm by the time they were served. A few of us had cappuccinos at Cafe D'Arte. I thought it was great, but I'm not a coffee drinker. We went to Ventana, splitting into 3 tables of 3 or 4. Ventana is on 1st ave near Bell. Our table of 3 ordered the fried chicken and waffles, fish in a thai red curry sauce, beef short rib, and venison osso buco. From the other tables I tried the pork spare ribs, fries, and burger. I liked the fried chicken and fish the best. The osso buco was a little dull. The short ribs were quite good but needed a better accompaniment. The pork ribs were so so and the burger was quite tasty. For dessert, we tried the red velvet cake, twinkie, and doughnuts. The doughnuts were very good; the others were average at best. The server was not nice at all and the hostess was rude as well. A group of 6 of us split 4 sandwiches and soup from the Batali Salumeria. The meatball sandwich was the best I ever had. The porchetta was great and I really enjoyed the mole salame sandwich. The other salame sandwich was good but not as good as the others. The St. Joseph's soup was excellent. Mario's mom is the sweetest thing and the food and her hospitality makes me want to go back all the time. We had gelato at Gelatiamo after this lunch. I had an affogato with white chocolate gelato--they didn't have vanilla--and it was fantastic. I also tried, separately, the grapefruit gelato and it was amazingly similar in taste to a grapefruit. We wish we found this place before our last day in town. That's about all I can remember for now. Seattle is a great city and we really enjoyed our time here.

Serious Pie
316 Virginia St, Seattle, WA 98101

1400 3rd Ave, Seattle, WA 98101

Oyster House
320 4th Ave W, Olympia, WA 98501

Ventana Restaurant
2323 1st Ave, Seattle, WA 98121

Mar 23, 2011
Wolfgang in Greater Seattle

Do I need both a VitaMix and A Juicer?

Thanks so much MG. I really appreciate your thoughts.

Mar 22, 2011
Wolfgang in Cookware

Do I need both a VitaMix and A Juicer?

What do you think of Angel juicers?
Are they worth the premium over a Champion?

Mar 21, 2011
Wolfgang in Cookware

Who makes a really outstanding roast (or rotisserie) chicken?

I've never had it crispy either and I've had birds right out of the rotisserie. The skin has always been a little wet and slippery.

Feb 24, 2011
Wolfgang in Los Angeles Area

Review: Langer's Delicatessan - Los Angeles

I had a bad Langer's sandwich last week. The bread was fantastic as always but the pastrami was not. It was dry and lean. I always order the plain pastrami on rye. The meat was bad enough that I took some of my brother's coleslaw and put it in the sandwich. We do curbside pickup from Langers about once every 2 months. The sandwiches are usually very good but there is more variation in meat quality the past couple years than there was before. I never know if I'm going to get a good sandwich or a great sandwich. I would like to expect great pastrami every time. Now I can only count on the bread being great.

Feb 09, 2011
Wolfgang in Los Angeles Area

Westlake Village: Taco Truck Recommend

Do you prefer Lety's or El Tapatio?

Jan 26, 2011
Wolfgang in Los Angeles Area

Taco Trucks/Caterer Santa Barbara

Thanks GLB, I'll give it a whirl.

Jan 21, 2011
Wolfgang in California

Taco Trucks/Caterer Santa Barbara

Hi Gordo,

Did you find a taco caterer?

We're looking for the same thing.

Anyone else have any recs?


Jan 20, 2011
Wolfgang in California

ISO Lunch and Dinner Restaurants that can accomodate a group of 25-30

We've traveled in a similarly sized group in the prior years to Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia and were able to find places that fit our budget. For dinner, we are looking for entrees under $20.
We do not expect to, nor necessarily want to, sit as a group. We just need restaurants that fit the budget and can fit 25-30 people that come in at the same time.

Thanks, Mike for the rec.

Firecracker, what part of t

Jan 05, 2011
Wolfgang in Greater Seattle

ISO Lunch and Dinner Restaurants that can accomodate a group of 25-30

We will be visiting Seattle in March and are looking for moderately priced restaurants--lunch around $10, dinner less than $20, food only--that will have room for our group. We do not need to sit at the same table or same room. We just need to be in the same restaurant at the same time.

We will be staying in Downtown Seattle but will travel if public transportation allows for it.

Most of the group will be under 21, so cocktails and/or wine list are not important.
Any ethnicity is fine.

I know this is a tall task. I appreciate all of your thoughts.

Jan 04, 2011
Wolfgang in Greater Seattle

Osteria Mamma - New Italian in Hollywood

I recently visited Osteria Mamma because of the reviews and the proximity. We wanted pasta for dinner so we narrowed it down to Angelini, Mozza, La Buca and Mamma. I've been to the first two and like them but wanted to try this place. What a waste of a night. It's experiences like these that make me want to never eat out again. I leave feeling like I was had. Had by the reviewers that somehow find something redeeming about this place and had by the restaurant that puts out such mediocre food in such a dour, depressing space. First the bread. We should've cancelled our orders and left after the bread came out. It's no wonder (no pun intended) they bring the bread out after you order. It's barely a step up from Wonder bread. The soups and salads were okay. The pastas, a special of spaghetti and meatballs and the tagliatelle bolognese were just blah. The meatballs were about the size of a macadamia nut. The bolognese tasted like bolognese light. There was no long simmered decadent richness to it. I even found the homemade noodles to be lacking. They did little to absorb the sauce and become one.
The specials did not have prices next to them on the chalkboard. The spaghetti and meatballs were $17.25 each, not exactly commensurate with the space, service, or quality of the dish.
Experiences like these, along with a new house, keep me happily eating at home. I make pasta from Mario's cookbook or other recipes and they are so much better that what we wasted our money on at Osteria Mamma. I don't have the bank account to give restaurants multiple tries. And besides, it's one thing to overcook or undercook something or be slammed. This wasn't the case.

La Buca
5210 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038

Osteria Mamma
5730 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038

Oct 22, 2010
Wolfgang in Los Angeles Area