Sunday, November 14, 2010

Over priced Italian restaurants and a list of my fav. restaurants from my L.A. trip.

I met a writer for dinner at AGO. Our dinner for two, with three glasses (not a bottle) of wine and no dessert, came to over $170. Yes, the food was delicious and it was fun to speak Italian with the host. However, that is bananas for some pasta with porcini mushrooms. Really.

I noticed in general the wine lists were very expensive. I get there's a markup and I understand why the Italian, French, South African, etc. wines are pricey but why the heck are California wines so expensive? Are they carrying the wines down the coast on foot from Napa Valley?

Unless an exec is taking me to Ago, I will have to stick to La Buca on Melrose or avoid Italian until I get home. Not sure what it is about L.A. and super expensive Italian restaurants (like Giorgio Baldi). In NYC there's more of a range.

I forgot how insanely huge portions are in most American restaurants after being gone for almost three years.

The only meal I could finish was my lunch at sushi restaurant The Izaka-ya. What's the deal with these massive portions? How do the restaurants turn a profit?

I had lunch with an actress from Canada at a place in Century City Mall. When we picked up our bowls, she said I had to take a photo.

I don't think the picture does it justice. I was starving that day. I could barely make it though 1/3 of this dish...a serving for one person. My friend couldn't finish her's either.

One serving of noodles is half a cup. I'm pretty sure my dish had at least four servings.

Here are the places I enjoyed during my trip.

A small Southern Mexican restaurant my hosts took me to. I would have never found it as it's tucked away in a small strip-mall on the Westside.
11676 Gateway Blvd (near Pico)

A big fan. Used to eat there all the time.
8454 Melrose Avenue (West Hollywood)

This is the more laid back version of Katsu-ya but it's just as delicious. Returning for a lunch with my former co-workers was a blast. If you're into celebrity sightings this place is full of them.
8420 West Third Street (West Hollywood)

700 South Grand Avenue (Downtown)
This restaurant opened after I left. It's Downtown with a great energy. It's loud so not the place for a quiet dinner. I was told the Lakers (not a fan) go there after games at the Staples Center. I had a very good burger and their cocktails are outstanding.

Very popular for brunch
7450 Beverly Blvd. (West Hollywood)

1445 4th Street (Santa Monica)
An oldie but goodie for Mexican food.

202 Wilshire Blvd. (Santa Monica)
Does anyone remember the original restaurant in Georgetown (DC)?
I always get the chicken salad. I say I will try something new but then I don't.

115 South Fairfax (near The Grove)
The restaurant for the funky hotel, The Farmer's Daughter, TART is known for their somewhat pricey but good breakfast.

I also went to Quality on 3rd. Their biscuits still rock but the service was terrible. Especially since it wasn't crowded.


gibber said...

HOUSTONS. Man, I love that place. I have my theories as to why it left gtown.

There is a location in Bethesda that I go to sometimes. Its called something else now, but has the same menu. My constant dish is the chicken fingers, that are no longer on the menu! But they still make them for people like me who order nothing else :)

BLD sounds pretty good. I don't understand the ridic prices for CA wine either.

Speaking of wine, my new dessert wine is moscato d'asti, and that was before all these rappers started name checking it!

Elizabeth said...

Great home cooked Italian at Angeli on Melrose. And not expensive.

Joanne at Frutto della Passione said...

I'm always taken by surprise when I go back and eat in a restaurant. Is it because in Canada and the States we are used to having only a single course as a rule? Or are people really that hungry?

milanese masala said...

I miss the variety of restaurants back home. Milan is just starting to get more "ethnic" eateries but I have yet to eat a decent Mexican meal here.
Btw, loove the picture of the soups! Crazy portions, though.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

gibber - When I went to Piemonte I tried an amazing Moscato. The growers said Moscato is very popular in Asian countries but not so much in America. Now that the rappers are name checking it...things might change!

Elizabeth - thanks for the tip. I don't know that restaurant. I've been to Angelini Osteria on Beverly which is very good Northern Italian cuisine.

Joanne - I think people are used to the portions. Most people do eat more than one course. Apps, dinner and then dessert.

milanese - I went a little crazy with the Mexican food in L.A. Luckily here I have some great ethnic markets so I make what I miss (except for bagels, I haven't had a decent one since I left NYC 14 years ago. L.A. is not known for it's bagels)

Kim B. said...

i remember houston's! I forget what is in that space now. . . for some reason I think a hairdresser's, which clearly doesn't make any sense, it MUST be another restaurant there.

$170 and not even a bottle of wine. Yowza.

Am headed to LA on Friday but will be hanging out with family in Woodland Hills so I doubt any of these restaurants are in my future!! Oh well all I care about is the bird, the first I will have had in three (four?) years!

Kim B. said...

p.s. loooooooove moscato, I can drink it like ginger ale!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Kim B - Have a great trip. There might be a Houston's in Woodland Hills.

No bird in four years?! Here my expat friends ask for a turkey from their butchers in advance (it's not like they have a bunch of them lying around).

I had Moscato for the first time on my birthday last year when I stayed at Diana's B&B. I need to buy some stat.