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rjwong

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Posts posted by rjwong

  1. u.e., don't worry. I'll be in LV next week. I can have dinner with Robert for you.

    Robert, just e-mail me.

    FYI Robuchon at the Mansion will be closed during that time, but L'Atelier will be open. Guy Savoy should be re-opening in Aug. Alex should be open as well.

    Dining alone does have its merits, M&M. Nothing gets in the way between you and the food.

  2. Here's the NYT article, titled Alive and Evolving : The Paris Bistro by Mark Bittman.

    WHETHER the Parisian bistro is dead depends largely on how you define “bistro.” If you need pigeonholes for your napkins, no wine choices because the owner’s brother-in-law makes Beaujolais, a dependable blanquette de veau every Tuesday, and the neighborhood plumber sitting in the corner, you’re out of luck. But if you want a small, cozy place, reasonably comfortable, with reliable and affordable food, it may be that the choices are better than they have been in years.
    ... Some of the thoughts expressed here, support his viewpoints but I believe there were more insights and depth in our discussions ...

    Are you implying that Mark Bittman is "minimalist" in his reviews as he is with his cooking? :rolleyes::rolleyes:

    And the snips at Pierre Gagnaire and Alain Ducasse ... Do they remind him of his friend Gary Danko?

  3. Au Bon Accueil is also probably my favorite restaurant right now, and the pigeon is indeed awesome, as are the sweetbreads, the sole, and many other courses. But I don't think it qualifies as a traditional bistrot. It's pretty much a bistronomique.

    Okay, I'll ask:

    What's the difference between a traditional bistrot and a bistronomique, s'il vous plait?

    And which one costs more?

  4. nibor, have you ever been to South Coast Plaza? SCP is no ordinary mall, more on the high-end of things. Having Marche Moderne in a high-end mall didn't bother me from eating there. I would think that bistro would be a nice place to eat after a day of shopping.

    A zillion times! That is where I shop. We call it town hall. I guess I just don't feel much of a need to go there to eat too, unless I already happen to be there shopping. Going to Laguna and getting a little ocean breeze in my hair is much preferable. Too bad that Woody's the old gay bar/restaurant in Laguna is gone. Now that was fun.

    My husband really likes Marche Moderne, but I have to admit I am not keen on it. I find the food overly sweet.

    :laugh::laugh:

    Thanks, nibor. Admittedly, I found it amusing to hear SCP referred to as nothing more than a mall (albeit with places like Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany's, et al.). I didn't know whether syrah girl's group wanted a nearby excursion away from Laguna Beach, as well, thus the mention of Marche Moderne.

    Are there any restaurants in Dana Point? Or is that getting too far from Laguna Beach?

  5. nibor, have you ever been to South Coast Plaza? SCP is no ordinary mall, more on the high-end of things. Having Marche Moderne in a high-end mall didn't bother me from eating there. I would think that bistro would be a nice place to eat after a day of shopping.

  6. kiliki,

    What do you like about Christian Constant's restaurants?

    The reason I'm asking is I'm planning to go to Paris later in November (finally) and I'm planning to stay in the 7th, just one block away from Chef Constant's restaurant (and La Fontaine de Mars). I've looked at his website, but I still want to get a first-hand account of his cooking.

    Apparently, there are other restaurants in the 7th, like Au Bon Acceuil, Chez L'Ami Jean and I did mention La Fontaine de Mars, where the President ate leg of lamb and a floating island recently, with no wine, just water.

  7. Merci beaucoup, John! Your contributions in the France forum has helped me greatly in planning my upcoming trip to Paris.

    If I ever see you in Paris, I'll remember to say "Bonjour" and offer you a glass of wine.

  8. We will be spending the 4th of July weekend in Laguna Beach and would love suggestions for great, casual places to dine.  A couple of dinners and lunches.  I was thinking the Mosaic Pool Bar @ the Montage one night.  Thanks!  :)

    Instead of the Mosaic, please consider the Studio Restaurant at Montage Laguna Beach as a possible high-end dinner. Executive Chef Craig Strong just started there this month, and he's one of my favorite chefs in Southern California. He used to work at The Dining Room, a one-star Michelin restaurant, in the Langham (formerly Ritz-Carlton) over in Pasadena. I haven't tried The Studio Restaurant yet, but I definitely plan to. Having Craig Strong at the Montage is a culinary boost for Orange County, California.

    The only other place I can think of in the area is Marche Moderne at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. This French bistro is located on the 3rd floor across from Nordstrom's.

  9. rjwong, thanks for joining this party (I was wondering when you'd show up).

    I never realized how wanted I am ... :smile:

    2. re: Restaurant/Charlie: Well, now I'm torn.  Whilst I am highly skeptical of "Westernized" kaiseki, eating at the bar is appealing to me.  That said, in terms of food. the format of the 14-course in Restaurant Charlie seems like a perfect balance.  Do we know who is manning either station?  And then, part of me is skeptical in total because of a rather breathless meal at had at Charlie Trotter a few years ago (though the service was astoundingly well choreographed).

    Perhaps things have changed in the last few years. It was my first dining experience with Charlie Trotter. I might have to defer to my fellow eGer, lgott, who has eaten at Bar Charlie three times (lgott, please respond).

    3. re: Guy Savoy.  Have you been to Guy Savoy's home office?  I was there in December of last year and had a rather faultless, if not unexciting meal.  I see that the top tasting menu (the $290 menu, not the shocktacular $750 Krug menu) in Vegas (if the version online is current) seems unseasonably focused on the master's greatest hits: artichokes may be in season, but black truffles?  Roasting chicken with black truffles makes me want a raging blizzard outside.  Also, I've had about a third of the items on that menu; I would hope that his Las Vegas chefs couldn't prepare them any more competently that the chefs in his kitchen in Paris while Chef Savoy and I were both there.

    No I haven't. I plan to be in Paris later in November (finally!). Krug? I thought Billecart-Salmon was the Savoy family favorite.

    4. re: Raku.  And what does everybody who's been except you have to say about it?  How much of a schlep is it out to Raku?  Are we talking a nice, but manageable walk? Or are we talking $80 cab ride?

    Here are a few comments about Raku from others. Raku is about a 3-mile schlep from the Wynn Resort. I don't about you, but I'm not going to walk there. I doubt it's going to be a $80 cab ride, unless you want me to give you a ride, I'll take the $80.

    I'm also highly curious about:

    DJT

    Alize

    Wing Lei (though I've heard it won't change my life)

    And why does everyone keep recommending Mesa Grill?  It's a little scary (no offense Bobby Flay).

    DJT is no more. It only opened less than four months until August 2008, about two weeks before my Las Vegas visit. I was so bummed.

    Alize is a French restaurant. I've never eaten there. If you want French, stick with Robuchon, Savoy (if you wish) or Daniel Boulud. You can also check Ducasse's restaurant Mix over at Mandalay Bay, on the 64th floor.

    Wing Lei is a good Chinese restaurant. I ate there once. It won't change your life. Mind you, the Beijing duck is really good if you want that.

    As a side note, rjwong, have you been to l'Atelier de Joel Robuchon in New York?  I wonder how you would compare it to the one in Las Vegas

    No, I haven't done New York, New York (aka Manhattan).

  10. Alright, this thread hasn't moved in a couple of months.  I'm giving it a bump since it looks likely that I'll be headed out there soon.  Three, possibly four, nights.  Where should I spend them?

    I'm thinking Alex and The Mansion are at the top of my list.

    I can give a quick, short list:

    Alex and Robuchon (the Mansion): keep them on the list. It's been a while since I've eaten at the Mansion. I usually go to L'Atelier, Robuchon's "casual" restaurant. If you haven't tried Alex and it's open when you're there, definitely go.

    Restaurant Charlie: I ate there about a month ago. Very good. I had the 14-course tasting menu, which included courses from both Restaurant Charlie & Bar Charlie (more kaiseki). I was impressed. Rumors keep surfacing that it might close. My feeling is that Restaurant Charlie is THE restaurant for the Palazzo's big-time gamblers, so it won't closed. But just in case, go there.

    Guy Savoy: If you're into comparing his two places (Paris, Las Vegas), give it a try. In terms of food, I have to give the nod to Robuchon. Savoy provides a more overall dining experience.

    Raku: I want to go there so bad. About everyone I know has been there, except me! Raku is off the Strip on Spring Mountain Road. This is the place where the chefs go after service (Rick Moonen, Paul Bartolotta, etc.). Raku opens at 6 p.m. until late, like 2-3 a.m. More izakaya-style cooking.

    rm: Speaking of Rick Moonen, rm is another place I haven't been to yet. Currently, he and Adam Sobel are teaming up, re-doing the menu and will re-open their fine-dining seafood restaurant later. Rick is committed to sustainability. Check out the webpage over at Mandalay Bay.

    I hope this help. Enjoy Las Vegas!

  11. Please clarify. When you say Paso, are you referring to Paso Robles?

    Word of caution: Avoid saying "San Fran" or "Frisco." Instead, use San Francisco or SF. Now, back to your request ...

    Two restaurants along the way worth trying: Manresa in Los Gatos and L'Auberge Carmel in Carmel.

    If you're into wineries, there are some in the Paso Robles area. Others know more about that than me.

    The farmer's market in San Luis Obispo on Thursday night is worth the drive from Paso Robles. Unfortunately, it's been a long time since I last gone there.

  12. Here's the website link to La Fontaine de Mars.

    For my vacation to Paris this November, I'll be staying at one of the hotels near the restaurant. I hope I don't become one of those American tourists that ruins everything ... :sad::sad:

    Which nearby restaurant would you recommend for dinner on my first night in Paris: La Fontaine de Mars or Le Petit Troquet or one of the Christian Constant restaurants? Or is it a case of "c'est la meme chose" (It's the same thing)?

  13. John S. is correct. That's not much time.

    If you want to include Ave. of the Giants, you might have to drive along the 101 from SF all the way to Eureka on Tuesday. The only restaurant in Eureka that I've been to is the Samoa Cookhouse. Very basic food, very affordable, historic restaurant, where the lumberjacks used to eat decades ago, cafeteria-style with long benches. Then on Wed. morning, go through Ave. of the Giants on your way to Crescent City.

    Mendocino/Fort Bragg area is a wonderful area. There is a place called the Grey Whale Inn that I stayed at many years ago. I don't know whether they're still around.

    I hope this helps.

  14. No bar at Matsuhisa, obviously.

    If you look at the last pages of their menu, there's an entire beverage list, including beer and sake and "Matsuhisa’s exclusive sake cocktail" list. Matsuhisa does have a bar.

    Whether a restaurant has a bar or not, that shouldn't deter a diner from going to that restaurant, unless it's a matter of personal preference.

    Now, if you want to try a really good new bar, try Copa D'Oro over in Santa Monica. Barmaster and mixologist Vincenzo Marianella is great!

  15. Robyn -- Don't know why RJ hasn't responded.  He's usually so good at these things.

    But I have responded, JFLinLA. You need to have the secret password (in the form of baked goods) to read my posts. :biggrin::biggrin:

    Ortolan is a very good fine dining French restaurant. There's also Sona on La Cienega. There are more "casual" restaurants like Lucques and Campanile.

    Along Beverly Blvd., east of the Farmer's Market/Grove, are several restaurants:

    Grace, Angelini Osteria, Hatfield's (but they're going to move to Melrose Ave., just across the street from Mozza. I don't know when exactly).

    Robyn, you should reconsider Urasawa. Small room (10 covers) and minimal staff. Chef Hiro-san, two assistants and a server/attendant, that's it. Yes, it doesn't have a full bar, but the intimate dining experience is worth it.

    As for Providence, I can only speak for myself. Providence is my favorite restaurant in Los Angeles. It is a seafood-based restaurant, so you don't have to worry about steaks, even though they do serve Japanese Wagyu. Full bar with great mixologists/bartenders. Definitely go there.

  16. Being solo is not a problem when reserving in restaurants in France (there are exceptions, not starred one to my knowledge). As for local foodies, you know where to find us.

    Several topics discuss the issue of eating alone, particularly this one.

    Merci beaucoup, Monsieur John!

    Now, I can do some restaurant planning ... sans peur (without fear). Mind you, if I get tired of the company I keep with this solo dining routine, I may contact some local foodies.

  17. .

    .

    .

    13) After Settebello, go to the market next door, one of the few places in the US where you can get real Iberian jamon.

    .

    .

    .

    Are you referring to Valley Cheese & Wine (1770 W Horizon Ridge Parkway)? It used to be near Settebello, but Settebello moved some time back.

    What lgott said. Settebello has moved to a shopping area called The District, near Whole Foods, on Green Valley Parkway.

    10) Spend the $80 per person for Sterling Brunch at Bally's (The Strip, Sunday only)

    I disagree. I'd rather spend about half as much and eat at the Bellagio or the Wynn Buffet. More variety, better quality (for a buffet), and not so cramped. When I ate there, there was only one server covering at least a dozen tables. Not a good dining experience.

    TopperMom, As for Asian food, just drive along Spring Mountain Road and pick a place .... if you feel adventurous and lucky.

  18. Again, can't vouch for authenticity but as long as we're touting Mozza and Angelini Osteria, let's not forget Angelli Cafe on Melrose.  Don't get me wrong.  Love Nancy Silverton and the rest but, while not as big of a star, Evan Kleiman has done wonderful things over the years for the LA food scene.  I've never had a bad meal there.  (And Evan is a star in her own right anyway.)

    Speaking of Angeli Cafe, Jonathan Gold just happens to mention this place in this pizza article in LA Weekly, along with Bollini's Pizzeria, Bottega Louie, Casa Bianca, Riva, Spark Woodfire Grill, Zelo Gourmet Pizzeria, and of course, Pizzeria Mozza.

  19. Being solo is not a problem when reserving in restaurants in France (there are exceptions, not starred one to my knowledge).

    I heard that the high-end restaurants do not encourage solo dining because that's one less seat available that could have been filled with a party of two.

    The problem that I foresee is scheduling. If I want to eat at a certain Michelin-starred restaurant, I would only have one day to go there, due to the restaurant's hours and my vacation schedule. And the question I would ask myself is whether this restaurant is worth the effort, since there are so many other places to eat in Paris. C'est la vie!

    As for local foodies, you know where to find us.

    Of course. I'll just ask the concierge ... :raz:

    Thank you for your help, Julot!

  20. Mike, check out these two places:

    Pizzeria Mozza

    Angelini Osteria

    I really like the pizza at Mozza, although it may not be "authentic Italian" like a Neapolitan. The pizza over at Angelini is really crisp, but I go there to eat other things on the menu, because Gino is the best Italian chef in Los Angeles, IMO.

    Pardon me for asking, but what kind of dining experience did your sister have over in Piacenza?

  21. Allons enfants de la Cuisine. Le jour de gloire est arrivé ....

    Well, not yet.

    In November, I’m finally going to Paris! Actually, back in 1985, I was in Paris for four hours on my way to Brussels, but that doesn’t really count.

    I’ll be in Paris for five nights, starting on Thursday night. In terms of eating, that would be about five dinners, five breakfasts, four morning snacks, four lunches, four afternoon snacks, four apertifs, and perhaps five midnight snacks. I’ll be traveling by myself. I just made a hotel reservation in the 7th arrondisement, close to Le Violon d’Ingres, La Fontaine de Mars and Au Bon Accueil. I could go visit such places as the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre, but on this vacation, I want to eat my way through Paris.

    So far, I’ve told a few people about my vacation, and the suggestions have already started coming in. Trying to sort out all these recommendations can be a nice problem, I suppose. Mind you, I want to come up with an overall approach to Paris. Do I only dine at Michelin-starred restaurants? As a solo diner, how hard is it to make reservations at these high-end restaurants? I want to try some of the neighborhood bistros (bistrots). I also want to leave some room to discover places on my own, namely a spontaneous culinary tour to discover things. And I wouldn’t mind eating with a few Francophile foodies while I’m in Paris.

    So far, here is my list of restaurants I want to dine at (subject to change): Arpege ; Astrance ; L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon ; Le Bristol ; Chez L’Ami Jean ; Le Comptoir de Relais Saint Germain ; L’Espadon ; Guy Savoy ; Le Meurice ; Pierre Gagnaire ; Le Violon d’Ingres

    At this point in my vacation planning, I’m going to try and make reservations at three-star Michelin restaurants for lunch and eat at the various cafes and bistros near where I’m staying in the 7th for dinner, as well as snacking my way through the boulangeries, patisseries, fromageries, etc. I was told that I should have a back-up plan just in case my first choice is overly busy or closed.

    In preparation for my trip, I’ve created a few Google maps:

    Les restaurants (***) de Paris 2009

    Les restaurants (**) de Paris 2009

    Les saveurs de Paris 2009

    Although my Parisian vacation is six months away, any help would be appreciated.

  22. MissMegan,

    The Los Angeles area is very big!! From where you're staying, Spago is a lot closer than Water Grill. WG is located in downtown LA, where the Staples Center and Walt Disney Concert Hall are located. Downtown LA is slowly improving on the restaurant front. The LA Times food critic just did an article on the food scene in downtown LA. You may want to use a taxicab. Public transportation is an option: $1.25 each way or $5 for a day pass.

    1. Besides Spago and WG, you might want to try Providence, on Melrose near Cahuenga. Five-course tasting menu for $75, without wine pairings.

    2. Lots of food options. La Cienega Blvd., northbound starting from Wilshire Blvd. The old "Restaurant Row." Matsuhisa, Lawry's the Prime Rib, Fogo da Chao, Arnie Morton's Steakhouse, The Bazaar (Jose Andres).

    When you reach the Beverly Center towards Beverly Blvd., Beverly Blvd. becomes the new Restaurant Row. Third St. is another area with a number of restaurants. Third and Fairfax is The Farmer's Market/The Grove.

    I may have some more info later. Of course, others may chime in. I hope this helps.

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