Friend and I dropped into Sonora Cafe on a whim. Sat at the bar and had a surprisingly excellent meal.
I've always enjoyed the food here (and the tacky 80s era LA decor has now become sort of kitschy retro fun) but it's been a while since I've eaten there, and the place has been around so long, I guess I kind of adjusted my expectations down.
Our two apps came off the specials menu:
Ostrich medallions which were impeccably done, as melt-in-your-mouth tender and flavorful as the best filet mignon, with a delicious, slightly sweet sauce.
We also had a terrific tuna tartare which came stuffed inside a whole Poblano pepper. An unusual, creative presentation and superb tartare to boot.
For entrees we shared their "signature" double cut pork chop which was enormous, flavorful, and perfectly cooked. The only stumble was the mango salsa which was a bit boring and the sweet potato tamale which tasted microwaved from yesterday's batch.
We also had their blue corn enchiladas which again were huge and irresistible.
Add several perfect margaritas, great, friendly service, and a pretty reasonable (non-pre-fixe) bill and we really lucked into a fantastic, impromptu New Years Eve meal.
I left thinking that Sonora is really underrated, though somebody must be keeping it in business after all these years. I just hope they can hang on a few more.
180 S La Brea, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Went to Grace. It was our first time and also my birthday dinner. Good food but overall hubby and I were not wowed. And since I am a dessert person first and foremost, the dessert offerings left much to be desired. We still might go back though on a regular night just to try the everyday menu.
Very pleasantly surprised. Had dinner at Pescadou on the Balboa Peninsula. My parents go a lot & suggested their prix fix at $59. Usually I hate these things, especially on holidays, but went rather reluctantly & was pretty much pleasantly surprised. Charming owner/chef & family - service was a bit scattered, but I guess that's to be expected on NYE.
Pre Dinner Cocktails - they only serve beer & wine, so I had an Alize/champagne & mom a Kir - both were very over Alized & Creme de Cassised
Wine list - reasonable
Bread was ok, Toasts were blah & almost raw very cold garlic to spread on them
At this point I was starting to become very concerned, but things started looking up.
Appetizers were Lobster Bisque, which my mom liked, or foie gras with quail that I thought delicious. Husband was able to negotiate 2 plates of escargot for him & my dad, so they were happy too.
Entrees - Loup de Mer, or choice of filet mignon or venison. My fish was delicious, perfectly cooked, beautiful sauce (could have used a little more!), haricots verts perfect, can't remember the rest, but everyone was very happy with their entrees - especially the fish & venison.
Dessert - Chocolate lava cake or apple tarte tatin with camembert. People with the apple seemed to like theirs better. Cake was fine, just nothing exciting.
All in all, a lovely evening and pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food on such a busy night.
Pretty tasty, about 17 of us went out to Cham Sut Gol in Garden Grove for Korean BBQ. It's AYCE, but they bring the meat for you to grill yourself so it's better than those meat bars. They have scoop yourself ice cream for dessert. Not as crowded as I thought, maybe waited 15 min, dinner lasted from about 7-9.
We took our visiting relatives to eat at Fogo de Chao. Reasons we picked it were: our relatives don't have anything similar where they're from, the restaurant was serving its regular menu at regular prices and not some trumped up holiday special, they had a room big enough to seat all 32 of us comfortably, and they were open late.
The overall experience was phenomenal. The service was incredible, the food was as tasty as my last Fogo meal in Chicago (perhaps better), and everyone had a great time. I'm not one for noisy NYEs, but this year with so many out of town guests we decided to do something interesting and Fogo was very well received.
Kendall's Brasserie at the Music Center. The place was gorgeous, the service impeccible, the martini perfect, and the food delicious. But the portion was like the master card commercial: elf food. Not cheap, either. Tiny portions. Would be like eating at a tapas bar, only way more expensive.
And we saw Belinda Carlisle and Rufus Wainright at the Disney midnight show. Man did I throw my money away this time on new year's eve.
Stayed in. Since I had to work NYE, this is about all we could do:
We put out some pecorino with black truffles, iberico, a triple cream brie, prusciutto wrapped mozarella, pastry with gorgonzola and caramelized onions, crackers, and a lot of wines I can't even remember- all materials came from CostCo. At midnight we took a bottle of sparkling wine (which I also can't remember), our plastic champagne flutes (you know, the kind that you have to assemble on your own!) and watched the marina fireworks from the building rooftop.
Tatertotsrocks- Great menu! I aspire to be you for NYE 2008.
I had a great time at Hungry Cat. There was a special New Years eve prix-fixe menu, as well as New Years drink specials. I didn't partake, but the following day, they had a special New Years Day brunch also.
Here's my blog post:
The Hungry Cat
1535 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90028