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Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego restaurants
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simona



Joined: 11 Mar 2005
Posts: 696
Location: israel

PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 5:52 am    Post subject: Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego restaurants Reply with quote

We'll be in Los Angeles and West coast in October-November.
We'll take a car and travel around, while our base will be my best friend's home in LA. Though she's been living there for the last 20 years, I'm sure I could get some good advice from all of you out there, about restarants etc. We'll travel north to FS ,east to Las Vegas and south to San Diego- all by car. If weather will permit, we'll take a day or two in Napa Valley. I dream to go back to the Tre Vigne restaurant, I can't forger their polenta with porcini mushrooms. If it's still on the menu. I'm not looking for very fancy restaurants ( I considered the French Laundry, but decide I could have three very good meals instead)
So help please with some of your good and kind advice!!THANK YOU!!

Meanwhile I'm leaving for three weeks to Seefeld, Austria with my mother, hoping not to return with an additional 5 kg Laughing Resisting the strudels and the snitzels is a real challenge. Evil or Very Mad
When back, we'll be the "next year" of the Jewish callendar. [color=red]So a very good new 5767 Year to everybody!!![/color] Smile Laughing Cool Laughing

No more war! 5767 years is enough , isn't it???
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Judy



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 1196
Location: buried under a pile of books somewhere in Adelaide, South Australia

PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 7:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Simona, instead of beating your head against a brick wall trying to get a booking at French Laundry (I know you're not going there anyway but it's not easy getting a table...) why not do the next best thing and go to Thomas Keller's 'Bouchon' while you're in Las Vegas. We had a wonderful meal there last year. It might not be easy to get into on a Saturday or Sunday, but we had no trouble on a Monday ... or was it Tuesday? I booked in the morning of the night we went.
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happenstance



Joined: 30 Sep 2005
Posts: 32
Location: Oakland, CA

PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 8:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Simona,

In the SF Bay area you have so many good options it is sometimes overwhelming even for us locals.

I highly suggest a trip to Chez Pannisse in Berkeley. The food upstairs at the cafe is wonderfully good if you can't get in the main restaurant.

For very interesting Mexican food a trip to Doña Tomas in Oakland is worth it. FOr that matter, Pizzaiolo next door has some of the best Pizza in the area and is a lovely restaurant.

Also great in Oakland are Oliveto and A cote.

In the city (San Francisco), one of my favorite places for drinks and dinner is Absinthe in Hayes Valley.

For desserts you must visit Citizen Cake also in Hayes Valley.

Other winners are Home, Range, Jardiniere.

Also do not miss a visit to the Ferry buidling on Saturday for the market.

It is a food lovers paradise here and is hard to go wrong.
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Sharing her home with Rimsky the cat, Cody the partner, and 9 happy hens.

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KathyD



Joined: 02 Nov 2005
Posts: 41
Location: Couzon, France 03160

PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 10:48 am    Post subject: San Diego.... Reply with quote

Please go to Fidel's in Carlsbad and eat for me. I miss Mexican food so much !! I lived in San Diego for 20+ years. Also you can't go there without trying a fish taco.....Rubio's is the original.
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simona



Joined: 11 Mar 2005
Posts: 696
Location: israel

PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the tips, I'm gathering all possible information.
Judy, I was thinkung about Bouchon in Las Vegas and indeed we will not be there on the weekend. I've heard good things about this restaurant, so I'm happy someone I can trust comfirms it.Thanks.
I would be grateful about some SF chinese restaurants ( including dim-sums) - they are my preferate when in the states as we don't have many around here. China town is so diverse, a local's reccommendations will be welcome.
Now about Panisse, I think I've already posted this somewhere: I ate there about 10 years ago, and it was one of the most ennerving and dissappointing meals I had. And I had many in my long life-time. Maybe it was a bad day ( not mine- theirs).
Nothing was tasty, the Pizza was fade and anaemic, I had to order extra garlic- they charged 3$ per each minuscule serving of crushed garli, the salad and the tiny "sardines" was an offense ( the "sardines lookes like those small fishes 3 days old you sell to kids for theys aquariums), the fish was bland ( more salt and garlic), the service was poor, and the desert, I don't even remember it. So no more Chez Panisse for me, and may the San Franciscans forgive me., no offence.
San Diego and Las Vegas will be new for me . though not for my husband who visited those cities many time as a guide, but never had time to have a decent meal.
I never really had good Mexican food and Fidel and Dona Thomas seems very attractive.
So thank you once again, but don't worry , I'll bother you once again when getting closer to the trip.
Meanwhile, Austria is waiting for me. Strudels and Snitzels too.

No more war, no more garlic chez Panisse!
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bulkarn



Joined: 10 May 2006
Posts: 32

PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 2:52 pm    Post subject: California trip recommendations Reply with quote

Simona, I received so many wonderful tips on this site when I recently planned my honeymoon in France that I am happy to return the favor to you.

First of all, a big yes on Bouchon in LV. My daughter and I spent 4 days there as my batchelorette party and all we did was shop and eat. Fantastic place. We loved Bouchon, Olives (though on a more recent trip she was disappointed the second time--we loved it though) Spagos, a Mexican restaurant in the Venetian that overlooks the "canal" but the 4 star fave was Joel Robechon's L'Atelier. It compares with L'Esperance in Vezelay as the most spectacular meal of my life. We had the tasting menu, something like 12 courses, each one better than the next and if you eat shellfish--perhaps you don't but if you do, have their oysters poached in butter. Not to be believed. Las Vegas is a dining paradise.

In San Diego, go to but DO NOT STAY in the Del Coronado. We had an awful experience and wrote a letter to which the Del, to their credit, refunded half of our 4 day, $750 a night bill. However, it is a place to see and lunch on the terrace is fun. We just walked down the main street and found great places to eat.

San Francisco is one of the world's great food cities. All of the recommendations you've received are on point. Also, Quince is exquisite, the Zuni Cafe for their wood roasted Chicken Salad--a main course to order in advance--takes an hour--don't miss this, but I've never been disappointed with anything on their menu. Boulevard and Chapeau, both terrific. You almost can't go wrong with any of the name restaurants here.

Chinese food is iffy I find. I'm attaching a post
http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfgate/month?blogid=26&year=2006&month=08

from the SF Chronicle's food site, an award winning food section. It is the Aug. 22 blog and has lots of interesting things to say about Chinese food in this country but particularly in SF with some recommendations and cautions. I've always heard Koi Palace is good but haven't been there, I have been to the restaurant where the chef just serves you, you don't use a menu. It looks like you'd get ptomaine poisoning when you walk in, to say it is unpretentious is an understatement. However, the food was sensational and I didn't recognize a thing I ate. Tommy Toy's doesn't get much press anymore But I've been to it a lot lately and I think it is exquisite, though pricey. You may find some other recommendations on this site.

In the wine country I'm a big fan of The Market in St. Helena, esp. their chopped salad, and Tre Vigne is no longer Michael Chiarello's restaurant but still good. Go to Copia while you are there if you can and Domaine Carneros, a champagne winery but the best building and view in the wine country. I don't drink but won't go to Napa without stopping in.

You can't do it all but you have amazing food choices in California and enjoy those Austrian pastries. You only live once. I'd like to know how your trips turn out and above all, peace.
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gingerpale



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 1324

PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shalom, Simona!

Last edited by gingerpale on Thu Aug 31, 2006 8:00 pm; edited 2 times in total
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tannazie



Joined: 26 Jun 2006
Posts: 11
Location: los angeles

PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

there are tons of hole-in-the-wall strip mall restaurants in LA with great ethnic food:

- Mario's Peruvian Seafood in Hollywood (get the saltado de camarones)
- Attari is a nice Persian sandwich place with a bright sunny patio in Westwood
- Chameau is a little fancier, delicious Moroccan food in a very hip setting, in West Hollywood (er Fairfax District, adjacent to West Hollywood)
- If you are looking to hang out with Israelis, Aroma Cafe in Encino has a great patio and is bustling with young people at all hours -- really good panini, baked goods, salads, espresso drinks, etc.
- Lots of great Korean bbq in Koreatown
- Lots of good sushi all over the place -- I like Azami on Melrose a lot
- Posh on Pico is a great Latin-fusion cafe -- kind of overpriced for a cafe, but the space is adorable, and the food is quite good.
- lots of great mexican food everywhere
- Clementine in Century City is a great local bakery/cafe. Homey and charming and really delicious.
- Joan's on Third in West Hollywood/Beverly Hills is like a high-end deli. Everything is delicious, lots of gourmet foods, and I've had celebrity sightings there on several occasions! =)
- Father's Office in Santa Monica -- more of a bar, and can get very crowded. but they have the best burger in LA (and a million different types of beer, as well as wine)
- Figaro Cafe in Los Feliz - french cafe on a great walking/peoplewatching street. kind of overpriced, but the ambiance is well worth it, and it's mostly organic

Ok, I got a little excited here. And there is so much I left out! Let me know where you will be staying (and whether you'll have a car), and we can narrow it down.
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tannazie



Joined: 26 Jun 2006
Posts: 11
Location: los angeles

PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

doy, of course you'll have a car. i need to read more closely! =)
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tannazie, I read your recs with interest. I don't get to those areas so I don't know any of them but I'm filing them away for when I do find myself on the westside.

Do you know if the Figaro you recommended is related to the one that used to be on Altamont in BH? That was a spot we used to visit a lot when we lived in Hollywood and I really loved how energetic, funky and homey it was.

I would also add La Serenata de Garibaldi on First in Boyle Heights for Mexican. You can't visit LA without enjoying the Mexican and Garibaldi is one of my two favorites. It has great seafood and a very upscale approach to Mex in a very relaxed and warm environment. Their sopes and empanadas are also something not to miss.

I'm told there's a Westside location that's not nearly so good.

My other fav is more traditionally LA/Mex. It's Abuelita's on Topanga Canyon Blvd at the top of Topanga. Very relaxed and Topanga. Good food. Better during the week when they're not so busy as weekends. The fish in cilantro sauce is one of my favorites as are their empanadas.
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tannazie



Joined: 26 Jun 2006
Posts: 11
Location: los angeles

PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't been to Serenata de Garibaldi yet, but yes I believe there is one in Santa Monica as well. A friend of mine teaches high school in Boyle Heights -- she starts her break this week,and I'm making her take me East for a day in the life! Perhaps we'll end it with a meal at la Serenata, although I suspect it'll be more like Mexican shrimp cocktail from a stand, and sweets from a local panaderia. Needless to say, I'm very excited =)

As far as Figaro, I have no idea about its origins.. I've not heard about this Beverly Hills one before. I was trying to find their website (I could have sworn there was one!), but no dice..

Rainey, whereabouts in LA do you live? Sounds like you're deep in the East side?
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm in Woodland Hills out in the Valley almost up to the Ventura County line.

DO go to the Serenata de Garibaldi in Boyle Heights at least once. It really is special. And you can still go to the panaderia for dessert. Wink
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simona



Joined: 11 Mar 2005
Posts: 696
Location: israel

PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 11:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just reading your posts makes me ravenous. It's 2 a.m. in this Holy Land of mine, and I'm fighting my over -stimulated hunger buds so as not to attack my frige. There is no much there anyway, as my husbands is skiing in Patagonia and I'm preparing my luggage for the land of strudels.
It's a treat to read your posts, and I'll certainly do justice to some of them.
My basis will be in Calabassas, which is I think, north of LA. But my friends of course will drive us anywhere, we are all experienced gourmets. I'm sure she will enjoy your recommendations as well.
We'll have a car of course, and we intend to use it .
Thank you all

No more war. Shalom. Happy 5767 New Year to all of you
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tannazie



Joined: 26 Jun 2006
Posts: 11
Location: los angeles

PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 12:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Simona -- one more then! It's in thousand oaks, which isn't too far from calabasas -- there' s a place called Shave It that does hawaiian-style shave ice. It's certainly not gourmet but very refreshing on a hot day, flavors like passion fruit, coconut, guava, etc. and all sorts of cute surfery high school kids.

and happy new year to you too! my birthday falls on the first night of rosh hashana this year =)
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 2:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oooo! Calabasas has one of my favorite little spots. Cosmos. I never can remember the name of the street it's on but it's the main street and, if it's interesting, tell your friends it's in the tiny strip mall right across from The Commons. It's a great place for a weekday lunch.

What I really love is the salad with the apricots and walnuts topped with the chicken satay that are on the appetizer menu (they'll happily put this all together for you if you ask). The peanut dipping sauce is delicious but nuclear. The coolness of the salad, the sweetness of the apricots and walnuts and the creaminess of the cheese on the salad make this an extravaganza for every sensor you have in your mouth all at once. They also have a comfortable, stylish dining room.

And Abuelita's is not really very far from Calabassas.

If you're in Calabassas on Saturday the farmers' market takes place in the morning. Stop by the Corn Maiden booth and have one of their wonderful tamales on the spot and then enjoy all the other fresh produce. Another thing to check out is the Flame raisins at the dried fruits & nuts booth. These raisins will only be available another month or so. Perhaps you also have wonderful raisins in Israel. But I find these much superior to the other raisins available here in the US. They're large and plump and have wonderful flavor. I freeze a couple pounds for baking though the fall and winter.

Perhaps, if you are planning a white tablecloth evening, you'd all enjoy the Saddle Peak Lodge. I've never been but it's famed for it's menu which features game and so it's quite unique in LA.
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