Eating and Drinking in Los Angeles

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Benny P
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Los Angeles

#651 Post by Benny P » January 3rd, 2019, 3:58 pm

bryan c wrote:
March 30th, 2018, 10:18 am
Anyone been to Somni? I have reservations tonight and curious if anyone has feedback on their various wine pairing options. There's not much info searching online.
Just curious if you have any thoughts you don't mind sharing regarding your experience at Somni as my wife and I are looking to go in the near future. I tried searching a bit online as well and haven't seen too much regarding the wine pairings.
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Los Angeles

#652 Post by JesseC » January 3rd, 2019, 4:59 pm

Had drinks at The Wolves in downtown last week with a couple friends, first time there. We got there pretty shortly after they opened (around 5:30) and were able to grab a table easily, but it filled up quickly by 6:30. Really neat interior, love the stained glass and the wood. Cocktails were tasty albeit pricey, which I guess is in line for any new place like this. Nice presentation, one of the bourbon cocktails (can't remember which one) came served in a decanter filled with smoke. Ooooh, aaaah...
Apparently they don't allow for any standing guests, the guy at the door won't let more people in than there is room for at a table or at the bar seating.
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Los Angeles

#653 Post by c fu » January 4th, 2019, 10:26 am

Benny P wrote:
January 3rd, 2019, 3:58 pm
bryan c wrote:
March 30th, 2018, 10:18 am
Anyone been to Somni? I have reservations tonight and curious if anyone has feedback on their various wine pairing options. There's not much info searching online.
Just curious if you have any thoughts you don't mind sharing regarding your experience at Somni as my wife and I are looking to go in the near future. I tried searching a bit online as well and haven't seen too much regarding the wine pairings.
EDIT I AM DUMB.
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Los Angeles

#654 Post by G. Keeler » January 4th, 2019, 9:07 pm

c fu wrote:
January 4th, 2019, 10:26 am
Benny P wrote:
January 3rd, 2019, 3:58 pm
bryan c wrote:
March 30th, 2018, 10:18 am
Anyone been to Somni? I have reservations tonight and curious if anyone has feedback on their various wine pairing options. There's not much info searching online.
Just curious if you have any thoughts you don't mind sharing regarding your experience at Somni as my wife and I are looking to go in the near future. I tried searching a bit online as well and haven't seen too much regarding the wine pairings.
Didn't really care for the meal. Pretty presentation but fairly oversalted while being boring in flavor.
Thats a bummer. I’ve heard good things and pictures look good.
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Los Angeles

#655 Post by Sh@n A » January 5th, 2019, 8:57 am

Thanks for advice before. Going to Osteria Mozza and Mercado gave us their private room at Santa Monica location for no charge. Thanks!
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Los Angeles

#656 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » January 5th, 2019, 9:11 am

Nice, I like Mercado, it’s a fun place with tasty food and drinks. Not super authentic or creative but fun.

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Re: Eating and Drinking in Los Angeles

#657 Post by julianseersmartin » January 5th, 2019, 7:04 pm

Any advice on Providence? We've received a gift card for Christmas so intend to go in March. Do they still do corkage and any tips on dishes to look out for? TIA

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Re: Eating and Drinking in Los Angeles

#658 Post by jeffruggels » January 6th, 2019, 12:25 am

Love providence. In terms of corkage, it is allowed. They generally limit to three bottles, $50 per except Monday when free. No restrictions on what bottles since they do not publish their list. As for food, hard to go wrong. I always order the signature or chef (depending on how hungry and how much time you have). Cheese course is best in LA.

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Re: Eating and Drinking in Los Angeles

#659 Post by Benny P » January 7th, 2019, 10:51 am

c fu wrote:
January 4th, 2019, 10:26 am
Benny P wrote:
January 3rd, 2019, 3:58 pm
bryan c wrote:
March 30th, 2018, 10:18 am
Anyone been to Somni? I have reservations tonight and curious if anyone has feedback on their various wine pairing options. There's not much info searching online.
Just curious if you have any thoughts you don't mind sharing regarding your experience at Somni as my wife and I are looking to go in the near future. I tried searching a bit online as well and haven't seen too much regarding the wine pairings.
Didn't really care for the meal. Pretty presentation but fairly oversalted while being boring in flavor.
Thanks for the feedback. That's disappointing to hear as the presentation and pictures do look impressive. Just saw that their corkage is $80 a bottle as well.
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Los Angeles

#660 Post by c fu » January 7th, 2019, 11:43 am

Benny P wrote:
January 7th, 2019, 10:51 am
c fu wrote:
January 4th, 2019, 10:26 am
Benny P wrote:
January 3rd, 2019, 3:58 pm


Just curious if you have any thoughts you don't mind sharing regarding your experience at Somni as my wife and I are looking to go in the near future. I tried searching a bit online as well and haven't seen too much regarding the wine pairings.
Didn't really care for the meal. Pretty presentation but fairly oversalted while being boring in flavor.
Thanks for the feedback. That's disappointing to hear as the presentation and pictures do look impressive. Just saw that their corkage is $80 a bottle as well.
sorry. please disregard my message, i was thinking of a different restaurant!!! I keep getting Somni and Simone confused.

Somni is excellent.
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Los Angeles

#661 Post by johngonzales » January 7th, 2019, 1:28 pm

Ahh, I was surprised that Charlie was down on Somni. I haven’t been but want to go.

Providence always had no corkage fee on Mondays, and I haven’t heard that they changed that. Chef Cimarusti is usually not there on Mondays, but that kitchen operates fine without him. They also have a four course dinela menu that is $100. The spot prawns roasted in salt are really good there. For meat, I really like the various duck preparations. It’s more of a standout than the beef, and I don’t find the wagyu there really satisfying for the tariff. Cheese is great there and the bread/butter is too.

Mercado has my favorite flan in Los Angeles.
Last edited by johngonzales on January 7th, 2019, 3:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Eating and Drinking in Los Angeles

#662 Post by Benny P » January 7th, 2019, 2:43 pm

c fu wrote:
January 7th, 2019, 11:43 am
Benny P wrote:
January 7th, 2019, 10:51 am
c fu wrote:
January 4th, 2019, 10:26 am


Didn't really care for the meal. Pretty presentation but fairly oversalted while being boring in flavor.
Thanks for the feedback. That's disappointing to hear as the presentation and pictures do look impressive. Just saw that their corkage is $80 a bottle as well.
sorry. please disregard my message, i was thinking of a different restaurant!!! I keep getting Somni and Simone confused.

Somni is excellent.
No worries at all haha! I was worried for a bit as my wife had purchased the prepaid reservation tickets already. Great to hear that you thought Somni was excellent as you seem very in tune with the LA food scene during my search through the message boards. Did you try a wine pairing by any chance or remember how their wine list was at all? Thanks for the thoughts.
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Los Angeles

#663 Post by Justin S » January 7th, 2019, 3:50 pm

Benny P wrote:
January 7th, 2019, 2:43 pm
No worries at all haha! I was worried for a bit as my wife had purchased the prepaid reservation tickets already. Great to hear that you thought Somni was excellent as you seem very in tune with the LA food scene during my search through the message boards. Did you try a wine pairing by any chance or remember how their wine list was at all? Thanks for the thoughts.
Not Charlie, but I did try the wine pairing at Somni. There are/were three levels when I went: $175, $250, and $500. Opted for the $250 level. I left pleased but felt it was a bit overpriced somehow. That said, they do refresh your glass as long as the current "course" is still being served, so you can drink quite a bit if you want, which helps the value proposition. Service is excellent. Enjoyed drinking from Zaltos.

As for the wines themselves, a lot more new world / hip wines than I expected, which may or may not be to your liking, but also some nice old world wines. Pairings worked very well. The highlight was a 2009 Vina de Martin Escolma Blanco with lobster, superb. But then I also got a light Beaujolais-like CA natural red wine (Post Flirtation red) with some squid...creative pairing and tasty wine, but somehow I felt a bit short-changed. Others I could recall were an off-dry Loire Chenin Blanc, 2009 Mascot napa cab with wagyu beef, and a single varietal (100% meunier) champagne. I preferred the wine pairing at Dialogue, which was less expensive and more "traditional" with almost exclusively European (and French-leaning) wines, though they didn't refill my glass.

Sorry, didn't check the wine list because of that. Corkage I recall was quite high.
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Los Angeles

#664 Post by bryan c » January 7th, 2019, 6:24 pm

Benny P wrote:
January 3rd, 2019, 3:58 pm
bryan c wrote:
March 30th, 2018, 10:18 am
Anyone been to Somni? I have reservations tonight and curious if anyone has feedback on their various wine pairing options. There's not much info searching online.
Just curious if you have any thoughts you don't mind sharing regarding your experience at Somni as my wife and I are looking to go in the near future. I tried searching a bit online as well and haven't seen too much regarding the wine pairings.
Somni was nice - fun, beautiful dishes and tasty, went with a group of 4. Two of us got the mid level pairing, and our SOs split some half btls of modest burg. I don't quite remember the pairings but I felt mid level was fine, a bit out of my comfort zone of standard old world fare but it had a decent interesting mix from what I remember. The somm was nice such that he didn't mind me picking his brain a bit about the pairings beforehand (essentially clued me in on btls that they were doing for the top tier so I had an easier time deciding). Perhaps do that if you're hesitant, bug them for some details and they can share a good amount of info.

If you've been to its previous incarnation, SAAM, I liked Somni a lot more. Best of the 3 restaurants in that category with the other two being Dialogue and Vespertine. Vespertine I'll save for another post, it is pretty much on the bottom of my list now (but at least it gave us some laughs to look back after crying about worst QPR ever).
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Los Angeles

#665 Post by bryan c » January 7th, 2019, 6:32 pm

Justin S wrote:
July 29th, 2018, 11:30 am
I went to Dialogue in the winter of 2017 and did not find the meal as assaulting on the palate as described above. Perhaps they have tried to push things more with the more recent menus? I also thought the wine pairing was pretty decent (mostly traditional regions and wines), and probably a better value than that at Somni, though I thought Somni as a whole was a more "fun" "experience". Good to know how things have gone at Dialogue more recently.

Still haven't been able to bring myself to try Vespertine.
Went to Dialogue a few months ago, it as solid, had a great time. Didn't do pairing, brought our own wines, mostly white and red bug and it was fine.

Vespertine went on NYE - horrible experience - few dishes were basically so nasty it was inedible. Some dishes tasted like BBQ Lays or Popchips, so many flowers were eaten... definitely your stereotypical awful restaurant that people like to laugh about being all presentation and less about taste (I actually rarely encounter it so it was a surprise to see a recent example). Too much going on in dishes with usualy one ingredient drowning the rest - balance was VERY off on most all dishes. Wine pairing was awful and pretentious. They kept being SUPER vague and hiding labels when pouring. They'd say stuff like: rose champagne, pinot from sonoma, white premiere cru burgundy. When I tried to get more info they were like don't worry, and only mentioned details on what I was just poured, and went back to the vague descriptors for the following wines. Emailing the menu - took about 3 days to get an emailed copy after the dinner (but new years / days off accounted for some) - but really, how can the menu not even be ready to hand out the end of the night...
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Los Angeles

#666 Post by Benny P » January 8th, 2019, 9:49 am

Thank you Bryan and Justin. Your Somni comments are much appreciated and has me looking forward to this meal even more. The mid-level pairing sounds like a great option for this meal. Recently read that the ban on foie gras has been upheld, I'm curious to see what the restaurants will do to replace the foie gras courses if the upheld ban is effective immediately. I don't recall much when the ban was first implemented several years back as I was dining out less at the time.
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Los Angeles

#667 Post by Justin S » January 8th, 2019, 10:31 am

@bryan c: That sounds like an awful experience at Vespertine! I have read mixed reviews and gather that the chef doesn't really want you to know what you are eating (and drinking), preferring that guests just focus on the tasting. Maybe a case of art over pleasure. By contrast, at Somni, the somm and I chatted throughout the meal, and the sous chef even came to show me the molds they use for the "beans" in one of the soups.
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Los Angeles

#668 Post by bryan c » January 8th, 2019, 10:59 am

Justin S wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 10:31 am
@bryan c: That sounds like an awful experience at Vespertine! I have read mixed reviews and gather that the chef doesn't really want you to know what you are eating (and drinking), preferring that guests just focus on the tasting. Maybe a case of art over pleasure. By contrast, at Somni, the somm and I chatted throughout the meal, and the sous chef even came to show me the molds they use for the "beans" in one of the soups.
Yeah, that would be nice. However, it was also the case that their food descriptions were much more detailed (if only they were that detailed with the wine descriptions...). Sounds like they're going for the spa experience at a restaurant vibe. The music was also like spa music.
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Los Angeles

#669 Post by johngonzales » January 8th, 2019, 5:21 pm

Justin S wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 10:31 am
@bryan c: That sounds like an awful experience at Vespertine! I have read mixed reviews and gather that the chef doesn't really want you to know what you are eating (and drinking), preferring that guests just focus on the tasting.
I’ve probably heard reviews from 15 people who I know as opposed to Yelp, etc. Not one has given it a glowing review and the couple that were positive stressed that it was more for the avant garde experience than the quality of the food and beverages. I really don’t have much desire to go, and would never pay my own money. The kind of b.s. that they don’t want to be totally upfront about what wines are is irritating and not a surprise. I understand the default concept, but if patron asks for info then they should realize that the person has their own concepts. That is especially true with wine.

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Re: Eating and Drinking in Los Angeles

#670 Post by c fu » January 9th, 2019, 1:30 am

Went to Nightshade today. Been really looking forward to what Mei Lin (top chef season 12 winner - head sous previously at Ink) was going to put together when she announced a restaurant in LA. Beautiful space, great service and really great innovative food. I don't think I've ever had Western style high cuisine with such strong classic chinese flavors. The dishes are gorgeous and presently beautifully. But unlike their neighbor Simone.. there's plenty of flavor to go around.

The fried quail is aromatically intoxicating. You bring it to your nose and it smells like mahla hot pot, it tastes like five spice and chili oil around a perfectly fried quail.

The green jade tomatoes - the tomatoes are pelled and perfectly soft and ripe. But the sauce is what gets it, it's like the sauce you get from dan dan noodles mixed with the spicy cold cucumber dish sauce.

Shrimp toast - thick slice of toast with a great shrimp cake on a mild yellow curry.

Nori Spagatelli - seaweed dashi butter broth is heaven. The flavors so pure and umamamamamamamai.

Scallops and coconut water was good but nothing earth shattering, the coconut was a bit too mild. But very fresh tasting dish.

Tom Yum onion - a party of 2 cannot eat this alone. We were stuffed with onion at the end. If you have a larger group, just the "ranch" whip is enough to order the dish.

But my favorite dish was the congee. When it arrives - anyone from Taiwan/Mainland China (outside of cantonese- who cook a different more flavorful meat laden form of congee) would look at the congee and go "yep i grew up eating this". It's just congee with portions of XO sauce, sous vide egg, pork floss, crispy garlic. But it feels like home, tastes like home but is the best version of it you'll eat.

We left stuffed. Really wanted to try the dessert, but we couldn't eat a bite more. For some reason they are pouring Aqua Panna for free. Before tip it was $150 for the two of us.

Posted pictures on my instagram story.
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Los Angeles

#671 Post by Justin S » January 9th, 2019, 10:29 am

c fu wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 1:30 am
Tom Yum onion - a party of 2 cannot eat this alone. We were stuffed with onion at the end. If you have a larger group, just the "ranch" whip is enough to order the dish.
Bummer, my gf was really looking forward to this dish, perhaps we take the rest home (or find some friends to go with, which would allow us to try more anyway).

Pricing seems really reasonable.
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Los Angeles

#672 Post by c fu » January 9th, 2019, 10:35 am

Justin S wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 10:29 am
c fu wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 1:30 am
Tom Yum onion - a party of 2 cannot eat this alone. We were stuffed with onion at the end. If you have a larger group, just the "ranch" whip is enough to order the dish.
Bummer, my gf was really looking forward to this dish, perhaps we take the rest home (or find some friends to go with, which would allow us to try more anyway).

Pricing seems really reasonable.
It's really tasty, but it's also half a fried onion. Gets heavy. I guess you can take it home? We took 1/3rd of the shrimp toast home.
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Los Angeles

#673 Post by David Fleming » January 12th, 2019, 8:40 am

Tried Simone last night. Similar thoughts to c fu. Service was excellent. Liked the space. Good cocktails. None of the dishes wowed me though, was expecting more given the pedigree. Had the burrata, sweet potato, cavatelli and pork collar. Starters were the best part of the meal, especially liked the sweet potato with tahini. Cavatelli was a bit overcooked and mushy. Pork collar was good and properly executed but seemed to be missing some more layers of flavor in the accompanying bits. They also serve a Flannery Jorge here, but at $180, I'll just cook that at home thank you.

I'd probably come back here just to sit at the bar, have a cocktail or two and nibble on some starters. Seems to be, at least for now, the best part of the place. Glad to have in the neighborhood and hope they get better.

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Re: Eating and Drinking in Los Angeles

#674 Post by julianseersmartin » January 14th, 2019, 10:35 am

Tried Night Market in Venice a week ago. We're on dry january so it was only water, but the wine list looks absolutely fantastic - quite new wave in style but it's very cool but priced accordingly. SOme of the by the glass offering was pretty compelling. Food was good - I'm not hugely experienced in Thai food but it was unilaterally good to my tastes. We decided to go spicy, the nam khoa tod was really stretching the realms of enjoyable for me, but ultimately quite exciting to eat. The pastrami pad kee mao was outstanding.

I think we spent $70 inc. service without alcohol. Given the vibe and style of place, that's absolute upper limit in cost for me. I'd go again but wouldn't rush back, purely on the vfm point.

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Re: Eating and Drinking in Los Angeles

#675 Post by c_choi_ » January 17th, 2019, 11:55 am

c fu wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 1:30 am
Went to Nightshade today. Been really looking forward to what Mei Lin (top chef season 12 winner - head sous previously at Ink) was going to put together when she announced a restaurant in LA. Beautiful space, great service and really great innovative food. I don't think I've ever had Western style high cuisine with such strong classic chinese flavors. The dishes are gorgeous and presently beautifully. But unlike their neighbor Simone.. there's plenty of flavor to go around.

The fried quail is aromatically intoxicating. You bring it to your nose and it smells like mahla hot pot, it tastes like five spice and chili oil around a perfectly fried quail.

The green jade tomatoes - the tomatoes are pelled and perfectly soft and ripe. But the sauce is what gets it, it's like the sauce you get from dan dan noodles mixed with the spicy cold cucumber dish sauce.

Shrimp toast - thick slice of toast with a great shrimp cake on a mild yellow curry.

Nori Spagatelli - seaweed dashi butter broth is heaven. The flavors so pure and umamamamamamamai.

Scallops and coconut water was good but nothing earth shattering, the coconut was a bit too mild. But very fresh tasting dish.

Tom Yum onion - a party of 2 cannot eat this alone. We were stuffed with onion at the end. If you have a larger group, just the "ranch" whip is enough to order the dish.

But my favorite dish was the congee. When it arrives - anyone from Taiwan/Mainland China (outside of cantonese- who cook a different more flavorful meat laden form of congee) would look at the congee and go "yep i grew up eating this". It's just congee with portions of XO sauce, sous vide egg, pork floss, crispy garlic. But it feels like home, tastes like home but is the best version of it you'll eat.

We left stuffed. Really wanted to try the dessert, but we couldn't eat a bite more. For some reason they are pouring Aqua Panna for free. Before tip it was $150 for the two of us.

Posted pictures on my instagram story.
Agree with all of this and after seeing it on your story, I went the next day with the gf for a repeat. I slightly disagree about the Tom Yum onion as we easily demolished it while dipping in the green jade tomatoes dish sauce; that sauce is so amazing that we completely disregarded the coconut ranch whip for it. Forgot to try the mapo lasagna so that's something I want to do next time and the almond sorbet dessert presentation is very good.
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Los Angeles

#676 Post by saul_cooperstein » January 17th, 2019, 6:53 pm

My two visits to Somni were both exceptional.

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Re: Eating and Drinking in Los Angeles

#677 Post by Benny P » January 17th, 2019, 7:31 pm

Great to hear so much positive feedback on Somni - really looking forward to dinner there next month. Also, have any of you been to Scratch Bar and Kitchen over in Encino? I've read some positive feedback regarding the food and experience there but also not too much regarding the wine pairings there.
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Los Angeles

#678 Post by David Cooper » January 19th, 2019, 9:03 am

Anyone been to Faith and Flower? My wife is going there this week with business associates.

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Re: Eating and Drinking in Los Angeles

#679 Post by Sh@n A » January 20th, 2019, 10:48 am

Thank you for recommendations for Osteria Mozza & Mercado.

Osteria Mozza was very good. First off, the service was on, as we had many table requests and they were handled well. The appetizers were all quite good. Enjoyed the prosciutto (although I didn't dig the pear combo), the endives were very good, and the pugliese mozzarella. For entrees, the rabbit ragu stole the show for me: one of the better gluten free pastas I have had, and the ragu sauce (which I liberally added parmesan and black pepper to) was much better than the bolognese (for me). The desserts were so/so; I enjoyed the trio of ice cream the best. I enjoyed a 2013 Burlotto Acclivi (BYO) with the prosciutto, which I quite enjoyed. A 2004 Bel Colle Monvigliero followed, and this second bottle confirmed my feelings for the first I had a few weeks ago... find it to be a nice bottle, but disjointed. A nice surprise on the wine list was seeing a series of Cappellano Rupestris for (if memory serves me correct), $175-200/bottle. These are reasonable prices considering the secondary market. The restaurant graciously offered to sell me the 2008 rupestris and waive corkage on one of the BYI bottles, which for a net price (corkage being $40) made for quite the attractive restaurant pick up! the 2008 was one of my WOTY at an event a few months ago (where the 2007 Pie Franco was my #1), so I was pretty excited for the pick up (not a steal, but still OK pricing in that type of setting!). I am told there is only 1x of the '08 left, but there were a couple other years (I never had the '06, but I recall it being on the list for similar price).

Mercado did the job for my needs. The VIP room was really just a big table, next to may other tables, on the second floor dining room. It does look over the restaurant, which is nicer than a booth. In this experience, I would say the appetizers were better than the entrees, although I filled up on too many appetizers prior to the entrees. Pork tamale, rajas, guacamole, elote were all on point. A single cucumber margarita I ordered tasted a bit like a jolly rancher so I switched to sipping tequila. More importantly, guests all enjoyed the vibe, price point, and recommendation.
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Re: Eating and Drinking in Los Angeles

#680 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » January 20th, 2019, 1:50 pm

David Cooper wrote:
January 19th, 2019, 9:03 am
Anyone been to Faith and Flower? My wife is going there this week with business associates.
It’s gone downhill, unfortunately.

johngonzales
Posts: 6721
Joined: June 19th, 2009, 6:07 pm
Location: City of Angels

Re: Eating and Drinking in Los Angeles

#681 Post by johngonzales » January 20th, 2019, 2:11 pm

If anyone is looking to do DineLA, the offering at Charcoal is always one of the best.

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