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Help a D.C. Gulleter Out


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My wife and I will be in the L.A. area (Glendale) for a weekend in October and will be looking for a restaurant for a memorable dining experience. We are looking for a restaurant that offers tasting/chef menus in the $75 to $100 (before drinks) range that will showcase fresh local ingredients. I look for service above all, but I also look for creativeness, innovation, and courage of the chef in his/her dishes. Since we will only be there for 2 days, we would like to go to THE restaurant that we HAVE to try while we're there (such as Charlie Trotter's in Chicago, The French Laundry in Napa Valley, or Maestro, Citronelle, or Inn at Little Washington here in DC).

I could easily look in Zagat or read reviews in local newspapers, but, as with DC, I'm sure I can get more knowledgable and honest opinions from Gulleters.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Edited by mhberk (log)

(Sitting for lamb chops)

Lamb: Ple-e-e-se Li-i-i-sa I thought you lo-o-o-oved me, lo-o-o-oved me

Marge: Whats Wrong Lisa? Cant get enough lamb chops?

Lisa: I can't eat this, I can't eat a poor little lamb.

Homer: Lisa get a hold yourself, that is lamb, not A lamb.

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Help us narrow it down a little bit...what kind of food/cuisine are you looking for (or want to avoid)? For example, there is a lot of excellent Japanese food in LA, but sushi and sashimi are not for everybody.

Will you have a car? Glendale is a little far away.

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Will you have a car? Glendale is a little far away.

There is the key question, mhberk. Glendale is a bit of a culinary wasteland for haute cuisine but close by is Pasadena and Burbank which might offer more suggestions for you.

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Will you have a car? Glendale is a little far away.

Actually, I will NOT have a car, but I have no problem taking a cab. How far away IS Glendale anway? I guess I would be willing to go 30 minutes by cab. This is my first time out to the west coast and I'm not really sure what to expect but I know that I'll want to sample some of the best that LA has to offer as far as a culinary experience.

I posted this question because we (the DC board), from time to time, get out-of-towners that ask a similar question. There are 3 to 5 constants where we can predict with most certainty that the visiter will be utterly impressed with our selections. I am really looking for fine-dining, tasting/chefs menu, and american, european, or seafood cuisine. I want to be "WOWed" with the presentation and taste (I know I'm asking a lot). But anything (no matter how simple) will be helpful!

Thanks again

(Sitting for lamb chops)

Lamb: Ple-e-e-se Li-i-i-sa I thought you lo-o-o-oved me, lo-o-o-oved me

Marge: Whats Wrong Lisa? Cant get enough lamb chops?

Lisa: I can't eat this, I can't eat a poor little lamb.

Homer: Lisa get a hold yourself, that is lamb, not A lamb.

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mhberk, I guess what we who know LA were trying to figure out is how ambulatory you would be -- unlike DC, LA is not really a cab-friendly city and everything is quite scattered.

Sadly, Glendale is a town that has no restaurants that fit your criteria. To be utterly impressed, you need to travel to the westside of town which, with good traffic, could take an hour or more and, in a taxi, could cost upwards of a hundred dollars, round trip. The places that consistently have what you are looking for are in Santa Monica, Venice, Hollywood (and surrounding communities), and downtown.

Take a look at this map to get an idea.

Any chance you could rent a car? It would give you infinitely more freedom and you could really enjoy what the LA area has to offer.

In the meantime, I will try to come up with some Pasadena restaurants that could fit the bill -- it is a shorter cab ride (perhaps a half hour) and that might work for you...

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Sadly, Glendale is a town that has no restaurants that fit your criteria. To be utterly impressed, you need to travel to the westside of town which, with good traffic, could take an hour or more and, in a taxi, could cost upwards of a hundred dollars, round trip.
I was afraid of that :sad: ! Unfortunately, we'll need to stay in Glendale because that's where our workshop is and it's would be more convenient to get there in the morning. I guess another option would be to sacrifice sleep and just stay closer to a restaurant area and just get up earlier on the mornings of Friday and Saturday. I will check with my wife to see what time we would need to be there in the morning. If it won't make that much of a difference, I wouldn't have a problem staying in Santa Monica, Venice, or Hollywood (unless it's grossly more expensive in those areas).

Have you been to the DC area before? If so, what restaurants have you tried in this area?

(Sitting for lamb chops)

Lamb: Ple-e-e-se Li-i-i-sa I thought you lo-o-o-oved me, lo-o-o-oved me

Marge: Whats Wrong Lisa? Cant get enough lamb chops?

Lisa: I can't eat this, I can't eat a poor little lamb.

Homer: Lisa get a hold yourself, that is lamb, not A lamb.

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Have you been to the DC area before? If so, what restaurants have you tried in this area?

I was in DC once when I was 14 years old. I remember being taken to a restaurant where I had an amazing Veal Cordon Bleu and a dessert that was flamed tableside, but the name escapes me (and it was a long time ago).

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In reading your criteria, I think you might want to get reservations at Patina, which is actually only about 10 miles away (that is a relatively short distance in LA). It is the best restaurant you could get into within an affordable cab ride.

Here is my disclaimer -- I used to work for Joachim Splichal so I like the food. He has had some bad press lately (spreading himself too thin), but I think his *new* Patina is becoming a destination restaurant in LA because it is in the Geery-designed Disney Hall. He moved into this building after I moved out of L.A.

Also in downtown and of distinction is Water Grill.

Outside the downtown area that others love are Josie, Lucques, Joe's in Venice, Spago (Wolfgang Puck's place), and Capanile.

Maybe that is more encouraging?

Edited by Carolyn Tillie (log)
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30 minutes? You obviously do not have any idea of the distances involved or the cab charges in the area. You can easily spend more on cabfare than on your dinner.

Pasadena would be my suggestion, it is next door to Glendale and has some very fine eateries.

Old Town is a stretch of Colorado Blvd. (See it every year during the Rose Parade) where there are some places that are bistro style and you will get a good meal.

I don't know about places with chef's tasting menus.

My favorite in Old Town is Bistro 45 which is just off Colorado on Mentor Ave. (at 45 south Mentor)

They were one of "Top 30 in L.A." in Zagat's, the Wine Spectator rated them in the Top 10 and they had high ratings in other publications.

An old standard for me, excellent food, fair pricing and a very "homey" atmosphere is a long-held Pasadena secret, is Beckham Place on Walnut or West Walnut. This place is favored by long time Pasadena residents. My second husband, third generation born in Pasadena, and all his family frequented the place. They do a duck in cherry sauce that is remarkable. Their desserts are awesome, if you have room.

Another place, on Arroyo Parkway, the Parkway Grill, has been a favorite in the past. I haven't been for a couple of years, mainly because I am usually with people who want to hang out in Old Town.

http://www.oldpasadena.com/

I can't get the hyperlink thing to work so I am simply posting the link here.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Almost the opposite of what you want (in terms of service, variety, creativity, and decor) but still worth checking out is Zankou Chicken -- there is (or at least was) a branch in Glendale -- 1415 E Colorado Boulevard (818-244-1937).

Zankou is an Armenian chain selling cheap, garlicky rotisserie chicken (lots of garlic sauce!) -- well, they sell other items too, but none that I've ever tried. I have a friend who moved from LA to the Bay Area and whenever he comes down to visit, Zankou is the one thing he wants to eat. It's an inexpensive but delicious quick meal (you can also get it for take out), immortalized in a popular song by Beck a few years ago. So it's the other side of the LA dining experience!

If you do end up renting a car, or getting a hotel closer to the Westside, the dining choices are much more varied...so keep us updated!

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Shiro's on Mission Street in South Pasadena is closeby and has a tasting menu.

Number is 626-799-4774. Style is California-Asian. Joe's in Venice is always

good if you do decide to rent a car.

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Consider the dining room in the Ritz Carlton Huntington Hotel in Pasadena. The grounds contain numerous gardens that guests can walk through before dinner, and the restaurant offers patio seating.

I believe a five course tasting menu runs about $75/person. Just ate their two weeks ago: Amuse of tempura shrimp with micro greens; seared diver scallops with foie gras; duck canoloni (sp?); braised veal cheeks; peach tartin (Sorry, I can't remember one of the dishes). Chef Craig Strong loves enthusiastic foodies. Check out my other post on the subject, and/or the Ritz Carlton web site.

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  • 3 weeks later...

mhberk,

I'm glad you started this thread! I live in DC now too, but I lived in LA for eight years, and I'll be in LA for a week starting Wednesday. After reading here for tips and ideas, I happened to run into a DC eGulleter on the street in Dupont Circle a few days ago and he said A.O.C. was not to be missed (A.O.C. Restaurant). It looks like it's gotten lots of praise here in the California pages, too. I hope so -- I made reservations for Friday night :) (thanks California eGulleters for helping me out with that choice!)

Of course, it's not in Glendale. Which got me thinking: how are you planning to get from the airport -- assuming you arrive at LAX -- to Glendale? As mentioned, cabs can be pretty costly. The price of only a few cab rides would equal a cheap car rental -- I agree, rent a car if you can! One of the startling things about LA is how vast and spread out it is.

(edited for quoting with out asking first :unsure: )

Edited by garnish (log)

garnish is a twist on the twist

garnish is another person's garbage

garnish is added

garnish is removed

garnish is like tying the ribbon on a present

garnish is a lovely warm "lollipop" pink

garnish is the person i would want by my side

garnish is the fun part of this soup

garnish is a speed bump on the road to bliss

garnish is described as an ornament or a decoration

garnish is an incredibly fussy little number

(garnish as googlism)

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I agree with Caroline. Glendale is really not all that far from downtown LA and Patina. Furthermore, that's at the new Disney Concert Hall so, aside from the food, you get to see Frank Gehry architecture.

So long and thanks for all the fish.
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