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Oct 4, 2006 05:24 AM

How do you feel about the Michelin guide spurning L.A.?? [moved from L.A. board]

So our neighbors to the North scored the first West Coast Michelin guide and now the city of San Francisco is gloating at us.

What do you think about what they had to say? (LAT, 10/3/06)

From Jean-Luc Naret, director of the Michelin guide: " 'San Francisco is a natural choice after New York City. When you go to restaurants [in SF], everyone is a foodie. Everyone talks about the food all the time. In L.A. maybe you have incredible and beautiful movie stars. But here, the celebrity stars are the chefs.'"

From Daniel Scherotter, vice president of the Golden Gate Restaurant Assn.: " 'The reason Angelenos come to San Francisco to eat is because our food is more about ingredient-driven, organic, free-range, sustainable, fresh-right-from-the-backyard, seasonal food than it is about some chef's ego and how high he can pile' it."

Are they right? Semi-right? Dead wrong? Are the French incredibly irritating?

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  1. i wrote the author of the article agreeing with nancy silverton. who needs guide michelin when you have CHOWHOUND?!? it's interesting that chowhound wasn't even mentioned in the article.

    i do like michelin for areas where there is nothing like chowhound.

    1. No



      Aaacchhhoooyess. Just playing. Honestly, no. French-opinionated Michelin guides are irritating, but only if you let it bother you. It shouldn't bother Chowhounds, because we know what's good. LA.

      1. I'd have to agree. The food in Southern California doesn't compare to New York or San Francisco. At least not yet, but keep trying.

        33 Replies
        1. re: 212

          Really? I have yet to have a remarkable Mexican or Vietnamese meal in NYC or SF. You guys can keep trying at that and talk to us later.

          1. re: Ernie

            I have yet to find good Chinese or Indian in Southern California??

            1. re: 212

              You are not looking hard enough. Try Monterey Park or the Artesia area. Perhaps you live in the middle of OC?

              1. re: 212

                As far as "good" Indian food in Southern California, maybe you haven't been pointed in the right direction(s) yet? May I suggest you clink the link below and scrow down to "losfelizhound"'s discussion of a sampling of what L.A. has to offer:


                1. re: 212

                  You couldn't find good Chinese food in Southern California? Is this some sort of weird joke?

                  1. re: 212

                    Are you kidding? The San Gabriel Valley has the largest Asian population in the U.S.. And although SF will challenge it, the food is generally considered the best the country has to offer.

                    1. re: biscuit

                      There are Chinese places in Monterey Park and Alhambra that are definately at the top in North America but to say overall LA/SVG bests SF is a pushing it a bit. The big seafood houses in SGV are great but LA does less well on low end, volume and longevity vs. SF.

                      In LA you can still get away with serving so-so Chinese food on the Westside (and charge more) SF the competition is very stiff on price and quality. If you don't one either one okay, you could be out of business fast.

                      Also there are things in SF you can't get in SGV (but possibly LA), like old ladies selling homemade Zongzi/Tsungtze/Dung Ti or (Chinese "tamales") and old school places that have been around for 80-100 years. There's still a few old school places in LA Chinatown but you know the story there...lofts are moving in and the old is nearly gone.

                      1. re: ML8000

                        Sorry about the old lady dearth here. go to the mall on valley blvd north side of street just west of New (where the mr baguette is). There's a professional (sorry no old ladies) place selling about 15 kinds lof Zongzi.
                        If you want old ladies, go to the corner of Irolo and 8th st in koreatown, sw corner, jons market parking lot- ladies there selling excellent tamales, mexican tamales, and atole and champurrado.

                        I've had awful awful chinese food in San francisco and in the bay area which is about 2 1/2 million people. Please.

                        I've been to a place in lafayette that served excellent shanghai/huaiyang food but just to me and my party. the rest of the clientele ordered and still orders beef and broccoli and cantonese-influenced mediocrities (at this kitchen) and won't order the xlb. Lilly's. Ate there with Melanie Wong. One of the guests lives and works in lafayette, had eaten at the place a few times - just the lunch special, thought i was crazy inviting him there and was blown away by the banquet we had - none of which was familiar to him.

                        Vancouver gives the SGV a more serious run for its money than either flushing or sf proper - i hear the silicon valley area is quite something - maybe next time.

                        You know what's great in SF? Swan's Depot. And never a star. And marvelous and all kinds of longevity.

                        In any case, the SF/LA and NY/LA comparisons are worse than tired. you can get excellent chinese food in los angeles county, maybe just not in your neighborhood. you can also buy 10,000's of dollars worth of jewelry in Los Angeles County, again maybe not in your neighborhood.

                        1. re: Jerome

                          the only chinese i love in the BAY AREA is jade café.

                          even the chinese from HK, shanghai, and canada all say the best chinese food in the world is in the SGV.

                          looks like your OC-based. you have really decent chinese and indian in irvine, but cross the curtain and get yo'self to artesia and the SGV.

                          time to start your new adventure.

                          1. re: revets2

                            can you give me some specific places to try. So far the places that we've been sent to have been fair.

                            1. re: 212

                              where have you been thus far? it will help to know why you thought they were fair.

                        2. re: ML8000

                          The comment about getting so-so Chinese food on the Westside is rather disingenuous. Nobody goes to the Westside for Chinese food. That's like saying that the sushi in Bernal Heights sucks.

                          1. re: choctastic

                            It's disingenuous until you get on a freeway in LA. Going from the Westside to Monterey Park or Chinatown is a major hassle, esp. in commute traffic or the weekend typical weekend jam up.

                            Sure you might stop in Chinatown on the way home if you work near it but if you live on the Westside and don't work're not going to stop by and/or make a few freeway changes. Not going to happen. Say you live near LAX and work in the South Bay, no way you're going to Chinatown, let alone Monterey Park.

                            OTOH, I can get from Bernal to J-town or anywhere else in SF in about 20 minutes...of course parking is another story. Bernal to Market/Castro, Potrero, Mission, 10 - 15 mins., etc., etc., etc.

                            1. re: ML8000

                              I work by LAX/South Bay, live on the westside and Go to school twice a week in SGV immedately after work... it's not problem for me at all. It comes from being an L.A. native, you learn the rhythms of the freeway, side and main streets. Of course my car is just turning four years old and has 75k on it. But that is why I got a great car and I've had LOTS of fun and great chow getting there... ;)


                              1. re: Dommy

                                Sure if you're on the road and on the move, going from work to school, etc. I can easily see stopping in the SGV on the way to or from...but would you really stop in Chinatown on this route?

                                That's my point, if it's out of the way I just don't see it happening. I can see making a stop in non-commute traffic but when isn't it commute traffic now? BTW, born and raised in SoCal, family still there, South Bay, Silver Lake.

                                1. re: ML8000

                                  Yeah, Chinatown is right next to little tokyo which I stopped first day of class for Ramen. The next class day, I stopped over for a taco table in bolye hights. Going from work to class, a girl has to pick something up... (And this is all documented on the L.A. board if you care to check it out), like any good chowhound I make most of my travels to try new things. You just have to know what free way exits, what cross streets, and how to get back on the freeway. And of course you have to have a realistic sense of timing (In my two years I've only been late to class ONCE and that was because of massice pile up that happened infront of me, c'est la vie!) But, I have a friend who has a thomas guide (no car in L.A. should be without one, even if you own a Treo!) with chow notes written on the margins of pretty much every page...


                              2. re: ML8000

                                So traffic is the only reason why you stick with Westside!

                                I suppose that means I should stop doing the hour drive from San Fran (due to traffic) to Koi Palace for dim sum. Instead perhaps I should stop by one of the craptastic dim sum joints in Chinatown because I'm lazy and it's more convenient. This is the stupidest reason ever to eat on the Westside.

                                BTW you totally missed the point about Bernal Heights sushi. It may take you 10 minutes to get to Bernal Heights from wherever you are in Frisco (it's a small city) but the sushi still SUCKS.

                                1. re: choctastic

                                  Yeah sushi sucks in Bernal and you drive 20 minutes to get some decent stuff, i.e., Kabuto. Any way, whatever the food in LA is simply fab, you have freeways and the weather is nice, so be happy.

                                  1. re: ML8000

                                    Kabuto changed hands and from all reports is no longer worth a detour.

                                  2. re: choctastic

                                    I live in LA but was visiting SF this weekend. We had dim sum at Koi Palace on Sunday and it was very pleasant. But it was not worth driving an hour for from SF.

                                    1. re: JudiAU

                                      actually the dim sum is pretty good at least for Frisco area but you really need to try some of their seafood offerings which can be really good.

                        3. re: Ernie

                          Ernie, have you been to THE SLANTED DOOR in SF?

                          1. re: revets2

                            I have, and except for the amazing view, it ain't all that. There are about a dozen Pho stands in LA serving better food.

                          2. re: Ernie

                            Wow. Mexican I will go along with, but Vietnamese?? Then you arent trying. Between SF, SJ, Milpitas, Mt View etc. I can think of 10 truly very good Vietnamese. Next trip, search the SF board and you will find em, from hole in the wall, to Slanted Door level

                            1. re: tomritza

                              There's great Mexican food in Oakland.

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                Can you recommend some good places in Oakland for chiles en nogada, cochinita pibil, costillas en salsa negro, or calabacitas con puerco?

                              2. re: tomritza

                                San Jose & Milpitas are about 50 miles away from SF. In LA about 8 miles to Alhambra or about 30 to Westminster, each with more than 10 excellent Viet choices. I looked at the Slanted Door menu and it does not resemble any Viet region I am familiar with.

                                1. re: Ernie

                                  You can get great Vietnamese in SF proper and Oakland. No problem. I don't see anyone driving to Westminster from LA except on a weekend or it's on your way. Of course there is good Vietnamese in LA, in Chinatown, or you have to search for it.

                                  1. re: Ernie

                                    Some of Slanted Door's dishes are straight-up traditional Vietnamese. The nem cua, ca kho to, and bo luc lac are all excellent versions of those standards.

                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                      I don't see ca kho to, which is a fish dish. They do have a chicken claypot but that is not the same. Are we looking at the same menu?

                                      1. re: Ernie

                                        I was just going by memory. It's called catfish claypot on the menu:


                                        I think the nem cua (crab and black mushroom rolls) are on the menu only during Dungeness crab season.

                                        We should really discuss this on the SF board.

                            2. Who cares! Los Angeles offers soooo much more that any ONE guide can handle. Let Frisco have their Three stars, all of us in Los Angeles know where the best food can be found from the top of the chart Chef's to the corner Taco Truck.
                              Los Angeles is where REAL foodies like, and CHOWHOUND is where we talk about our latest finds.

                              1. i was in san francisco a few weeks back and i ate at boulevard. several years ago, i had to take weekly trips to san francisco and every week i was able to eat at the best restaurants in the city ( blvd, one market, fleur de lys, aqua, 5th floor, gary danko, charles on nob hill, masa, and many more ) - i really liked blvd so i wanted to see if it was able to maintain it's service/food quality that i enjoyed in the past...let me tell you...i actually thought it might be better now ( maybe my palate has changed...not sure ) and it made me think - which fine dining establishments in la have "withstood the test of time" and so far i'm drawing a blank...i enjoyed spago a few years back...didn't care for it last time i was there ( about 4 months ago ) - i really like joe's but i'm just not sure if i could put it at the fine dining level...but i do like it. have not been to aoc in awhile - i really liked it the 4+ times i've been there. I was very disappointed when they changed the chefs at that nice french restaurant on melrose place...i forget the name of it, but it was one of the most memnorable meals i've had ( so memorable, i can't remember the name of the )
                                i also thought highly of melisse but i have not been there this year....i'm just wondering if this is a factor in getting the so-called respect of the michelin people - i tend to agree with the prior posting - who needs them anyways !!!

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: kjs

                                  thanks for the BLVD update. it's a great restaurant and we love it. i, too, commuted to SF for a long time and was able to do the same as you. your post brings back these great culinary adventures. on our last visit to BLVD. (january), we learned our waiter, who's been there since the opening of the restaurant is a surfer, a wharton grad, and is now brewing beer belgian-style with bagels. it's called bagel brew. thanks for the great post.

                                  1. re: kjs

                                    Wow, I just hated Boulevard. Went there when it was still fairly new (but not just-opened new). Some of the food did not match my expectation based on the menu descriptions; the appetizers didn't really go with the entrees; clearly the focus was on the desserts. Plus it was so annoyinging crowded, and the bill came out to a tidy even dollar amount, which couldn't be right.

                                    1. re: slacker

                                      you ate there once over a decade ago?