OCKevin's Profile

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Bordeaux

Erly, thanks for reporting back. My wife and I are going next month. Did you get out to the Medoc or St. Emilion by any chance? I'll probably start a new thread, but I wanted to check to see if you had any "can't miss" experiences out there. Thanks.

Oct 12, 2009
OCKevin in France

Visiting Vancouver - What Are the "Can't Miss" Experiences?

CK, what I like about Joe Fortes - in addition to oysters - is that it's only 5 blocks from the hotel. Thanks for the tip!

Jul 18, 2009
OCKevin in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Visiting Vancouver - What Are the "Can't Miss" Experiences?

Dan, thanks for the tip! From looking at Fuel's website (www.fuelrestaurant.ca), I'm very intrigued. Not to mention that they seem to have a better wine list than Raincity.

Jul 18, 2009
OCKevin in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Visiting Vancouver - What Are the "Can't Miss" Experiences?

Thanks, FMed! Market Grill definitely sounds like a viable lunch option. Whenever I'm in Canada, I usually make a pilgrimage to the local Harvey's, but the closest one appears to be a few kilometers away from where we're staying.

Jul 18, 2009
OCKevin in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Visiting Vancouver - What Are the "Can't Miss" Experiences?

Hello Hounds,
My wife and I are spending a couple of days in Vancourver and staying in the West End. I've read every guidebook ad nauseum looking for the best food, but I thought I'd go straight to the local source and ask: what are the great culinary experiences I should not avoid in Vancouver? I'm specifically searching for good (1) seafood: I'd like to try the Blue Water Cafe; (2) locally grown and made food: Raincity Grill sounds intriguing just from the standpoint that it serves local food (e.g. the 100 mile tasting menu); and (3) the city's best burger joint. Thanks for your help!

Jul 18, 2009
OCKevin in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Wine pairing with smoked fish?

A champagne or sparkling wine (blanc de blancs).

May 22, 2009
OCKevin in Wine

Gruet Sparkling Wine From New Mexico

I'm with you. For the money, Gruet is unbeatable. You're lucky you found a $9 bottle. I've mostly seen this sparkler for between $11 to $15 retail. I had a very notable Gruet experience (or non-experience) in Las Vegas last month. My wife and I went to a Fleur De Lys in the Mandalay Bay and saw the Gruet Brut Blanc de Blanc on the wine list for $75 - a 300% markup.

I've had the rose and the blanc de noirs. Both are the same price as the wine you had, and both are again exceptional for the price!

Mar 11, 2009
OCKevin in Wine

Pairing: Duck with coffee/cinnamon/cardamom sauce

I was gonna say, it sounds like you need to be mindful of the sweetness of this dish. You've got a twist on duck a l'orange going there. I would think with it being Christmas Eve and all, you may want to go with a nice, not too dry sparkler. Alternatively, I'd say you probably can't go wrong with a German or Alsatian gerwurtztraminer. My other choices are the ones you set aside for Christmas - Riesling and Pinot Noir - but there's no law against drinking the same varietals two consecutive nights! :-)

Dec 15, 2008
OCKevin in Wine

Help - Need Suggestions for Dinner Party in Orange County

If it's not booked already, you may want to inquire with the Clubhouse in Costa Mesa - they have private rooms of all sizes. Not sure what your budget is however.

Dec 15, 2008
OCKevin in Los Angeles Area

Ultimate OC Restaurants, 2008

Over $25:
1. Marche Moderne - even better than the first year it opened.
2. Old Vine Cafe - the biggest little restaurant in OC
3. Anaheim White House - a personal fave; also authentic, real Italian
4. Tradition by Pascal - still a go-to place after all these years
5. Zipangu - underrated anti-mall Japanese gem

Under $25
1. Taco Mesa - a successful marriage of informal fast food and gourmet Mexican
2. Stonefire Grill - the BBQ sauce is addictive; they serve excellent sides with the ribs
3. Persian food counter @ Wholesome Choice - well worth the punishingly bad service
4. Brussels Bistro - moulles frites w/ beer is the best comfort food (under $25 w/o beer)
5. Veggie Grill - (Irvine) - reinventing the taste of healthy food

Dec 13, 2008
OCKevin in Los Angeles Area

X-Mas Dinner in or around Irvine

If I'm not mistaken, Five Crowns in Corona Del Mar is open on Christmas day. I'm having a hard time thinking about what may be open in Irvine proper, except Mimi's Cafe. For buffets, you may have to look at the bigger hotels nearby, like the Hyatt, Marriot or Island Hotel.

-----
Five Crowns
3801 East Coast Highway, Corona Del Mar, CA 92625

Mimi's Cafe
4030 Barranca Pkwy, Irvine, CA 92604

Dec 02, 2008
OCKevin in Los Angeles Area

Disneyland Dining: The Mediocrest Place on Earth

Wow, thank you for this wonderful and informative post! Speaking as an ex-Disneyland castmember, all I can tell you is that, well, the brains in between those mouse ears know two things: (1) guests are captive audiences; and (2) most people don't go to Disneyland for the food. A good rule of thumb nowadays is to consider grazing while in the park (as you mentioned above, a corndog here and a churro there) and then having a nice meal outside the park either at Downtown Disney or in the Grand Californian Hotel.

Dec 02, 2008
OCKevin in Los Angeles Area

The Apple Pan.

Does anyone remember when Huell Howser did a "California's Gold" piece on the Apple Pan about 10 years back? BTW, I think every city has its two or three "old and established" haunts which are riding on the coattails of their history and reputation, but could be found to be overrated to some.

Dec 02, 2008
OCKevin in Los Angeles Area

Visiting Sonoma: Need Recs. On Wineries

Jason, thanks for the reply and the (appreciated) specific winery suggestions. These are closer to Healdsburg -- and Ridge is definitely going to be a priority to see.

The Apple Pan.

I'm with foodie on this one! The "Apple Pan" is one of the most overrated grease joints in L.A. Not that the burgers and fries were bad - it was a decent enough burger (and the Bob's Big Boy relish sauce was okay too). But the grub didn't match the hype, and the built-in "we are an L.A. institution so you can wait 30 minutes for a barstool" service is a bit of a turn-off.

Nov 29, 2008
OCKevin in Los Angeles Area

Visiting Sonoma: Need Recs. On Wineries

Fantastic. Thank you for your input! How about Siduri - or is it even a "vineyard," per se?

Visiting Sonoma: Need Recs. On Wineries

Heck yeah! I already made the reservation. Serious cash, yes. But not heart-stoppingly, stroke-inducingly serious as French Laundry. I'll no doubt post a review.

Visiting Sonoma: Need Recs. On Wineries

My wife and I are visiting Sonoma with some other couples over the New Year's holiday. We're staying a couple of nights in Sonoma at the Marriot Lodge and then head up about 35 miles to a Healdsburg B&B for two more. We're setting aside a 1/2 day on New Year's Eve to visit wineries, and then another 1/2 day on January 2 in Healdsburg. I've been appointed winery researcher for the group, so please drop me some recommendations! In terms of what we're looking for, I'm trying to cull together some accessible wineries which have nice tours, fun tasting rooms and are well respected. Thanks for your help.

Hush, Laguna Beach, Winter Prixe Fixe $29 Menu

With all the hullaballoo of new restaurant openings the past couple of years, including Hush's competitor down the street Sapphire, I think it's been easy to forget the restaurant's been there. I too am curious about any recent reviews.

Nov 23, 2008
OCKevin in Los Angeles Area

T Day line-up - what is everyone pouring?

And the bubbles are a plus! BTW, I still have to figure out Chow's user unfriendly editing function. I tried to clean up my entry a bit a few times, but the results never "saved."

Nov 23, 2008
OCKevin in Wine

T Day line-up - what is everyone pouring?

Just six of us of Thanksgiving. Two don't drink wine, and my mother-in-law rarely deviates from white zin!! The idea of a long and sultry evening of aperitifs, sparkling wine, white, followed by red, followed by a dessert wine was certainly appealing. Alas, I settled on:
(1) Lucien Albrecht Cremant d'Alsace Brut Rose, which not only is wonderful, but also looks like white zin; (2) the reliable and mother-in-law friendly Monchhof Mosel Slate Riesling Spatlese; and (3) Wine Spectator's surprise #10 Seghesio 2007 Zinfandel. Pumpkin pie will be served with coffee to keep people alert for the ride home.

Nov 22, 2008
OCKevin in Wine

Top 100 from Wine Spectator

I found it for $18 at the local Bevmo! And, yes, I bought a bottle, too. I think it will go nicely with Thanksgiving turkey. I wasn't dissing the wine, so much as I was commenting on the guy in Spork's story who bought the stuff even though he didn't like it.

Nov 16, 2008
OCKevin in Wine

Best Wine Book for Novice

Here are my Top 5 favorite wine books:

1. Ron and Sharon Herbst's "Wine Lover's Companion" - from the makers of the equally informative Food Lover's Companion. Economically written, highly informed wine dictionary and reference book. Hard to leave home without it.

2. Kevin Zraly's "Window of the World Complete Wine Course" - it reads like a transcript of a great wine class, like you're there sitting in front of him. Great reference guide, with invaluable advice, user-friendly diagrams, entertaining sidebars and excellent photographs.

3. Andrew Dorenburg and Karen Page's "What To Drink With What You Eat" - alas, I've only seen it in hardcover, otherwise it would go with me to restaurants. Not only does it contain great advice and gorgeous photos, but it contains two brilliant and expansive lists: (1) of wines (both varietal and appellation) and non-wines what foods correspond with those beverages; and (2) of foods (meats, cheeses, ethnic food) and what beverages go well with them.

4. Karen MacNeil's "The Wine Bible" - MacNeil is one of my favorite wine writers, because her tasting notes are so beautifully written and entertaining. A lot of wine writers read like they use the same descriptors ad nauseum. She injects each description with infectious enthusiasm. This book is also expansive and informative without being weighty and lofty. I keep it by my bedside!

5. DK Publishing's "101 Essential Tips: Wine." I bought this at an airport while I was waiting for a connecting flight. It's not even 1/2 an inch thick and can fit into a pocket, but it's packed with information (e.g., Tip #85: "the correct wine storage temperature.") . The combination of succinct text, clear diagrams and nice color photos makes this the easiest guide I've read and it doesn't overwhelm the newly converted wine enthusiast. I like to pick it up at home just to refresh myself with basics.

Anyway, hope this helps!

Nov 15, 2008
OCKevin in Wine

Top 100 from Wine Spectator

I'm amazed at the oligopoly of taste the Wine Spectators and Robert Parkers have when it comes to their influence on the wine collecting public. Wine is food. Just like some people don't like onions with their burgers, some people don't like tannins or don't like sweetness. I am a little bit disheartened when I hear stories about how people grabbed armfuls of Seghesio with one eye affixed on the WS Top 100. I'd love it if, as a lark, WS put a Boons Farm-esque wine on the Top 100 just so people would blindly buy it.

Nov 15, 2008
OCKevin in Wine

Old Vine Cafe

It just goes to show you that eating well does not have to go hand-in-hand with dropping a lot of bank notes.

Nov 09, 2008
OCKevin in Los Angeles Area

It's Soup Season...need some healthy suggestions

You're very welcome! It's such a satisfying fall-weather soup. And it goes exceptionally well with a New Zealand or California Sauvignon Blanc.

Nov 04, 2008
OCKevin in Home Cooking

It's Soup Season...need some healthy suggestions

The latest issue of Gourmet Magazine has a carrot fennel soup recipe which knocked our socks off. Very simple recipe consisting of four ingredients: carrots, fennel bulbs, onion and garlic. A wee bit of work needed early on with regard to roasting the vegetables and then blending them, but the results make this well worth doing again and again during soup season. It's the issue with the Thanksgiving turkey on it.

Nov 03, 2008
OCKevin in Home Cooking

Best SoCal rest. for anniversary dinner, other than Providence

Bastide sounds like the L.A. choice. Orange County: hmmm, have you made it to Napa Rose yet?

Nov 01, 2008
OCKevin in Los Angeles Area

Recommendations for Providence tomorrow night

Really odd, but your separate post-dinner thread has been more or less wiped out of Chow's existence. It's not listed on your history of postings nor can I find it when I do a search for "Providence." I know it's a closed thread, but weird that it doesn't show up on your posting list. I only found it after googling it:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/529501

Nov 01, 2008
OCKevin in Los Angeles Area

Need ideas for left over Prosciutto

I'm on the same wavelength with the pasta folks here. You can make a super-simple pasta sauce using nothing but a can of whole tomatoes, 2 cloves of garlic, a bayleaf, herbes de provence and salt. After about 40 mins. on low heat, throw in some prosciutto in strips and serve with fresh basil!

Oct 22, 2008
OCKevin in Home Cooking