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Jun 27, 2007 06:03 AM

When you open your fantasy restaurant...

I don't want people to think that this thread is for hijacking restaurant ideas, but you've got to admit that as 'Hounds, you've thought about opening your own space. So, with that in mind, would anyone like to share? Where are you opening it, and what type of food are you going to serve? And if you're not afraid to run the risk of someone borrowing a great idea, what will be it be named?

Personally, I love Los Angeles, and would love to one day open a high-end Filipino restaurant here (which paradoxically, no Filipino would ever visit). My general rule of the thumb is No One Goes Broke In LA Doing A High-End Version of Something That Already Exists.

Don't know what I'd name it yet, but I know that I could just take a quick glance at my kitchen and come up with a name like "Peppercorn" or "Whisk" or whatever, so I'm not worried about that.

So, when you open your fantasy restaurant, where'll it be and what'll it be like?

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  1. my SO and i would like to open our own place one day. not sure what type of food but we want a great wine and beer selection.

    i would love to be in a position where i could pay my servers more than minimum server wage. now there's a fantasy.

    1. I would love to open a fried food and Champagne bar. Tempura veggies, french fries things like that with lovely small grower Champagne selections. Hell, I don't need to open it but I wish someone would here in LA. Something about the combo makes my toes curl.

      1. I have often thought about opening a small café. Not sure about the name, but I really like your choice of "Whisk". Location would be more rural or village-like, rather than a big city. I would not have a set menu, but would offer daily specials...whatever's in season and at the farmer's market, which means it would help to be in a warmer climate. Serve breakfast and lunch, only, with takeout for dinner. No more than 10-15 tables. Great big muffins, breads & pies. Good soups, stir fry, salads. Taking everything I've learned in the past 30 years and serve it up. (This sounds really good!)

        A couple of places come to mind that I've been inspired by...Alice Water's place, Chez Panisse in Berkeley, CA. Rebecca Rather's, Rather Sweet Bakery in Fredrickburg, TX. Real people, real food.

        2 Replies
        1. re: sonofoodie

          Your place sounds a lot like Olga's Cup and Saucer in Rhode Island which I saw a picture of years ago and saved all this time. I never got to visit there but I'm glad to see it's still around.

          1. re: Chowpatty

            I've been to Olga's. Really cute place...and tiny, tiny. I don't know how she get's all those baked good done in that building. I discovered it on a trip to RI. I saved that same article...many years ago in one of the cooking magazines. That would be another fantasy. Like a roadside stand that is an oasis for weary travelers. Love that idea!

        2. I'd like to have a combination café, tearoom, pizza place, frozen yogurt shop, with a touch of health food--salads, granola, fruit smoothies. And I've often thought I'd like a gift shop attached (maybe something like New York's Serendipity, which I have read about but never been). I'd sell all the pretty things you never see anymore--English bone china figurines, Delftware, cranberry glass.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Angela Roberta

            I would have a soup cafe. All sorts of soups made from organic ingredients. Our specialty would be Lobster Bisque. (Because it's my specialty) I'd also serve/sell organic breads that were made on premises. I'd call it Soup Kitchen. Mmmmm. I can smell the kitchen from here....

            1. re: OrganicLife

     to share your Lobster Bisque recipe? I tried making it one time, followed a recipe seen on the Food Network. They made it look easy and delicious, but they steered me wrong. It was so awful...dishwater would have tasted better! There is a restaurant in Newport, RI that claims the secret is lobster shells....lots and lots of lobster shells. Cook them down for hours to extract the best lobster flavor. That's all they gave me. What do I do from there? I'll understand if you're keeping it a secret. (Let me know when and where you'll be opening the Soup Kitchen...I'll be your first (maybe) customer...;-))

              1. re: sonofoodie

                Ahhh lobster bisque. There's nothing like it, right?

                My recipe is a little different because I like to keep the flour out of it. I'll do my best to write it out because it's usually all eyeballed.

                4 2-3 lb lobsters

                12 white potatoes peeled
                5 stalks celery
                2 carrots
                5 shallots
                2 bottles of sherry cooking wine
                3 tbs paprika
                2 tbs minced garlic
                1 tsp cayenne pepper
                sea salt- to taste
                10 leaves fresh taragon chopped

                Boil lobsters in large pot, when done remove lobsters to platter and retain boiling broth

                In another large pot or giant sautee pan add veggies, spices, and one bottle of sherry along with 2 ladels of broth. Cover and simmer low until all is soft.

                WHile it all simmers begin removing lobster meat from shells. Retain everything that might fall out of the lobster...the fat, the juices, the gunky innards...all of it. Toss it into the sautee pan/pot. Toss the large shells and small legs into the pot too. The idea is to get the veggies soft, and the liquid intense with flavor.

                once all of the meat is out of the shells, and the veggies are soft, get out the blender. Remove all shells and legs and discard.

                Begin to puree all of the sauteed ingredients along with 1/2 the meat and ladels of lobster broth. Puree very well until all is smooth. Pour into another large pot and return to stove to simmer on low heat. It should be a pretty thick mixture.

                Add second bottle of sherry, one cup of heavy cream and 1/4 stick butter. Simmer on VERY LOW heat until desired thickness. Crumble up remaining lobster meat and toss into bisque.

                I hope that's somewhat clear...I wish I had better measurements but I kind of played around with this recipe over the years and now I have no idea how much I use of anything. Basically I thicken the soup with the pureed veggies and lobster meat. And you can never have too much lobster meat.

                Good luck!

                1. re: OrganicLife

                  Oh and the potatoes do absorb a ton of flavor so that's why I use so much sherry but they also give it a silky texture that other thickeners don't.

                  1. re: OrganicLife

                    Thanks a bunch...I will give it try and let you know. I was wondering about the two full bottles of sherry...interesting.

                    Makes the fantasy seem like a reality...Dream A Little Dream Café.

          2. It'll be close to where I live, and it'll be a sushi bar called "Eat My Sushi". Instead of the typical japanese or Korean run places, this will be a sushi bar run by a white boy.

            1 Reply
            1. re: calabasas_trafalgar

              Did something similar -

              When I retired from the military, my wife (Korean) and I opened a Korean restaurant. We didn't specialize in any one type of dish as so many Korean rests do. Rather we served a "homestyle" menu that incuded grilled, stir fry, soup, and rice dishes.
              You should have seen the priceless expressions on peoples faces (both American and Asian) when they walked in for the first time and were greeted by an average white american male in his late 30's. Many people simply turned around and walked out.
              Many others stayed and we built a fair base of loyal regulars who would recommend us often. We also became popular with the Asian college students in the area who would often bring their parents and family members who visited the US while the student was here attending college.
              This actually resulted in my restaurant being better known in places like Pusan, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong than in the local area. I was even recognised while shopping in Korean Markets 300+ miles away from where my rest was located.

              Thirteen years later we sold the rest and I have to say that while it was a lot of fun, it was also very hard work and I will not go into the biz again.