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Carolyn Tillie

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Everything posted by Carolyn Tillie

  1. Shin Sen Gumi in Gardena is the best Yakitori in the state (I live in San Francisco and this is my go-to restaurant whenever I head south).
  2. I believe the menu is only updated weekly. When you see the top of the printed menu, it will state "Week 237" or something like that -- indicating how many weeks they have been in business and how many different menus have been developed.
  3. I usually don't make lunch reservations, however I *do* call to make sure they are open. Because of how small they are and because it is holiday time, it doesn't surprise me that they might have shut down during the holidays. Sorry you missed it. I recommended it to some visiting Austin foodies just this afternoon...
  4. Six weeks ago, I got a text message from Lisa stating simply, "Just found us a new restaurant!!!!!!" That means a lot because both Lisa and I have become bored dining around San Francisco. She was excited at having found an establishment that is like those she discovered while traveling around Japan; authentic, intimate, and unlike anything else we have here in the Bay Area. There is a sign in the front window that warns the philistines: No Sushi. No Combination Plates. This is not your standard, Westernized Japanese restaurant. With an expansive ten-page menu, this is a restaurant based on th
  5. Shamanjoe, I think 190th is a bit far to take a cab for dinner -- that is well past Manhattan, Redondo, and Hermosa Beaches. I also disagree with the suggesting Houstons and P.J. Chang's. Those are chain restaurants available all over the country and hardly special or indicative of what is great about California. And I'm afraid the "Italian" you are thinking of is Macaroni Grill (yet another chain). There are some great recommendations in Manhattan Beach, however; RockNFish, for example.
  6. Joe's on Venice. Axe and Gjelina have also been getting raves, but I haven't been yet. Plan on roughly $100 round trip for cab rides (probably less, but best to plan on the high side).
  7. Florio is a little restaurant in my neighborhood that I dine at only once or twice a year. Quite frankly, the menu has always been a bit too restrained for my tastes; generic steak frites and mundane roast chicken. Not bad at all, just dishes I always felt I could create at home. In fact, the times I have gone there I have always enjoyed myself, but was never blown away. But when my older sister comes to visit, Florio is a favorite for her for the very reasons I forget about it; she is a woman who revels in a good roast chicken, craves a hearty steak with fries, and loves its basic goodness. W
  8. There is no irony in the fact that what could be considered my most memorable Los Angeles meal in recent history was not spent with a fellow foodie. I wanted to go somewhere special with Tony, who was my childhood friend and easily one of the most influential people in my early life. We hadn't seen each other in over 27 years so it was important for me to find a restaurant that would be indicative of great Los Angeles food, offer a wide selection, and that was near to the L.A. County Museum of Art, where we met prior to dinner. The irony is that Tony didn't care for much of the food at all --
  9. Just came from the soft opening... I started with a pretty amazing offering of Brussels Sprouts served with mint and yuzu. I don't miss the fact that SPQR isn't serving Brussels Sprouts any more. These were incredibly fresh and the combination of mint and citrus awakens the palate and is comforting at the same time. I also ordered the sashimi sampler and couldn't be happier; toro, sake, hamachi, and another. Being adventurous, I of course ordered the "challenging" dishes; chicken hearts yakitori, beef heart served with onion and bonito flakes. The chicken hearts were perfectly grilled and so t
  10. My last evening in the L.A. area was blessed with a surprise visit by O.C. friend, Joan. She showed up as I was tearing down my booth at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium and after a very long day of peddling my wares, I was anxious to get some fresh air and just stretch my legs. We walked the Santa Monica Promenade which I had not been down in almost a decade. Not really surprised but slightly saddened to realize that all the independent shops had all been replaced with large, corporate chains. Even chain restaurants. There was a brief debate about dining at a Houston's just because the wafti
  11. I'm just learning this. I was in Santa Monica.
  12. It isn't difficult to find a good restaurant in Los Angeles and through a recommendation, I headed to Drago with another old Angeleno friend. I was very glad we arrived early (before 7:00) because by 8:00 on a Saturday night, the restaurant was packed and the volume definitely made it hard to hear the person sitting across from me. There was a special prix fixe menu available but we were apprised that we could mix and match from that menu and their standard menu. The amuse of bruschetta with an olive and bit of cheese was rather forgettable. I took one bite and let it alone; the tomatoes were
  13. Fortune has taken me to Los Angeles a few times this year and undoubtedly one of the best trips has been to stay with jeweler friend Rose. Being compatriots in a great love of sushi, she and her boyfriend, Andrew, insisted on sharing her personal favorite, Sushi Gen at 422 East Second Street in downtown. I think Rose has a personal "in" with head-chef Masa, but I'm not complaining. We had to wait a long time to get in and apparently that is not unusual for the following this place has. We waited a good 45 minutes for the coveted seats in front of Masa's station and it was well worth it. We sta
  14. I love my old friends, I really do. But I should know better than to trust people who don't eat out very often to pick the restaurants... Wife was very excited about finding a place they thought I would enjoy; fusion food, 4-star Yelp reviews, can accommodate Wife's vegetarian needs and Husband's seafood love. My only criteria was a place somewhere between my LAX hotel and their Garden Grove home. We had planned on Long Beach, but Wife was so excited about finding Restaurant Christine in Torrance. There was an amuse of strawberry soup -- a bit on the thick and yogurty side, more like Keffir.
  15. Well, you have to dismiss Urasawa immediately -- he only takes reservations one to two months in advance so this weekend is definitely out. The best Katsuya is in the valley and I doubt you want to drive that far. L.A. is not known for street vendors since that is something which requires people to be on street and it isn't really a walking town (unless you want to go to some of the shadier areas where the taco trucks are, but I wouldn't recommend it). Honestly, a 15-20 minute drive *IS* somewhat limiting. Your best bet might be Joe's on Abbott Kinney in Venice or Chinois on Main. I'm also a
  16. Went to SPQR last evening - the first time since the chef change. Lots of changes; for starters, the dark, heavy, rustic earthenware plates are gone and have been replaced with pristine, clean more food-presentable white plates which shows the food off better. Secondly, the breakdown of the menu is much different; you used to be able to choose a series of starters in the $8 range from three categories and then a more expensive set of pasta and entrée offerings. Now there is Spuntini, 15 offerings from $7 to $15; Primi (pastas), 10 choices from $14 to $16, and Piatti, six offerings at $17 and $
  17. I had a very lovely meal at Bar Pintxo (tapas at 109 SM Blvd) just last evening. Will be writing it up with photos in the next few days, but it was quite a find. A long wait, yet, but worth it. I also dined at Drago Italian and found it overpriced for what it was.
  18. I have been lauding the praises of Aziza for several years now. It has been my go-to restaurants for anyone visiting from out of town and has never not impressed new comers and old friends alike. Since the recent Michelin star, I went back last night with friends. It was one of the first times I haven't ordered the full tasting menu (which has gone from $55 to $62). I started with a special starter of duck triangles with foie jus and moved into a seared mackeral with vadouvan, wilted greens, potatoes and octopus. I got to taste one of my compatriot's offerings; sardines (which are now cut up
  19. This report is several months old and the following meal was enjoyed in June, during my last trip to Los Angeles, accompanied by the delightful Mr. Richard and the beautiful Lisa. I won’t comment on the surroundings or décor; suffice to say the artist in me was thrilled with all the eye candy. It is not an understated, demure room by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, I would hazard to guess it could have been designed by Jeff Koons, if Jeff Koons did such things. Sweet potato chips with Greek yogurt foam with star anise and tamarind. Delightful concoction of crisp, light chips (so much
  20. My first night in Glasgow was blessed with a last-minute concert offering by a favored band, Zero 7. Because the show started at a surprisingly early hour of 7:30, I had to find a restaurant that could accommodate an early dinner. During my Kelvingrove museum trawl, I spied the menu at Two Fat Ladies and was already sold on returning there, happy they could seat me upon opening at 5:30. The restaurant was warm and inviting, painted in lush golden yellow tones with a frieze surrounding the room of a bas relief ocean motif. The thematic room provided a great atmosphere for the gastronomic deligh
  21. Unfortunately I won't be able to afford Ubuntu, or Manresa most likely. I want to eat at Nopa and Flour+Water in SF, but beyond that I will struggle to afford anywhere that isn't at the very cheap end of the spectrum. Go to Ubuntu for lunch. I'd go there over Ad Hoc...
  22. You won't be disappointed if you hit Ubuntu in Napa. It is on my Top Five in the country (moreso than TFL and Manresa right now). Tell us where you are planning to eat in SF?
  23. I always research my meals before I even leave for a country. The recommendations came from the Robert Parker wine board and I thought I could trust fellow wine lovers... W.R.O.N.G. I'll be posting my Glasgow meals over the next few days. BTW, the museum cafes in Edinburgh were really good. For lunches, I had a great soup in the cafe of the St. Giles cathedral and an amazing cheese plate at the Modern Art Museum which included Clava, Smoked Dunlop, McClelland mature cheddar, and Dunsyre Blue. Between that cheese plate the one at The Kitchin, the Witchery cheese plate was a joke.
  24. In researching the finer restaurants in Edinburgh, one name was mentioned more than others; The Witchery. Looking at their website, one sees a celebrity list to rival an BAFTA runway. It took a bit of work to get reservations and before my arrival, I asked local cab drivers and hotel staff what they thought. All were enthusiastic with exclamations of, "Oh! That is where my husband brought me for my anniversary last year!" or "It is the most elegant restaurant in town -- a place to go for special occasions!" Upon arrival, I could see the décor as reminiscent of an old world men's club with its
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