October 11 experiences
I assume many of you ate at a participating restaurant last night (I was unable to). Were the restaurants crowded? Any experiences to report?
Since I was so actively recruiting for additional diners for La Cachette (I only got one, BTW), there may be some who are waiting for my report.
Well, unfortunately, I got laid off from my dot-com at 3:00 yesterday afternoon and couldn't justify the expensive meal when I don't know how long this situation will last.
re: Carolyn Tillie
So, sorry to hear about your layoff. And sorry your dinner did not happen. I really wanted to join you, but it's not really in my budget right now either. Times are tough and it's good we have this board so we can recommend restaurants to each other that might be affordable but are still of good quality. Also, we might all have to find ways to help out that are doable on all levels. It takes a village. Hang in there.
re: Carolyn Tillie
Sorry to hear that Carolyn. Hope you find something soon. Referring back to that article you linked to a while back (see below), I think many of us will be turning to comfort food at restaurants and in our homes. Tonight will be a pizza night for me.
re: Carolyn Tillie
Thank you, ALL! It will be a lean time (which may benefit my expanding waistline) but I am fortunate that I have many non-chowhound friends who understand that my best therapy is a good meal. These friends will help when they can. As an example, tonight I dined at Bossa Nova compliments of a friend who needed help moving -- there will be a separate post on the food...
Had the 38.00 prix fixe menu at Joe's last night with 6 friends. The place was hopping, and the service painfully slow, which would have been okay on a night for charity if the waiter didn't have such an attitude. The wait staff is usually very professional - he was a bad apple, and I let the management know.
The food was great. I go to Joe's about 4 times a year, and while I do miss the smaller feel of it, the new patio (which re-opened 2 months ago) is lovely, with a beautiful wooden trellis and water fall/fountain. Joe was in the kitchen last night, which may account for the high caliber of food considering the rush.
Started with the blue crab salad sandwiched between light flaky "crackers," avocado, cilantro, baby yellow/red tomatoes, and sprouts. Then the squash and corn soup puree (I love any soup at Joe's - must get the soup). The salmon entree with wild rice and steamed asparagus and veggies was fine, but I favor the soups, pastas (esp. any ravioli as an starter or entree), and salads at Joe's over the entrees. I finished with the chocolate souffle, which I order every time I go (you can substitute it on your prix fixe even if it's not listed with it).
My friend had a starter plate of ahi tuna with foie gras over a bed of cripy potato "hash." That was amazing. With 7 adults and a bottle of wine, the total was 298 with tax, before tip.
Also went to Joe's with a group of 6 others. No relation to the above party.
The service since they expanded has been spotty and last night was no exception. That said, the food and wine (and company, of course) made up for it, and Joe even stopped by to chat with us at the end of our meal.
The food was terrific. Everyone got the tasting menu. Here are some thoughts:
The blue crab salad mentioned above was good and light though not lumpy enough. The grilled fig salad with roasted hazelnuts and balsamic was the best starter. We had a Horton Viognier (see the link below) from Virginia (yes, East coast!) that was stunning with a great nose and good flavor.
For the second course most opted for the tuna and foie gras (mentioned above). It's nice, but not my favorite foie gras treatment -- I prefer the seared foie gras like Jiraffe serves. The scallops were also good, but my favorite was the bright red beet risotto with asiago cheese. Terrific. We had a bottle of pinot noir that I can't recall, but it was nice and went quickly.
The most popular choice for the main was the short ribs. Very tender and flavorful. I'm a sucker for that sort of braised meat. The mushroom ravioli, for the veggie in our group, was great. Intense, rich mushroom flavor. If you like mushrooms, get this (you can get this as an appetizer.) The duck was also good. Our group sommelier ordered a Ravenswood petite syrah. A big, rich, deep red wine. Great match with the mains.
Most of us got the signature chocolate souffle, but it went best paired with the banana bread pudding.
The wines were nice and reasonably priced in the $30-$40 range.
We had a great time, were thoroughly stuffed, and ended spending a fair bit, but it's for a good cause, right?
I went to Il Capriccio aka Capriccio on Vermont in Los Feliz. I had intended to go to old standby local Angeli but they were, happily for them, fully booked, so a couple of friends and I chose Capriccio based on a listing in the LATimes which said they were participating plus some vague memory of a CHarles Perry review some weeks ago in the same paper.
Well, it was very crowded. Unfortunately, that's the good part. Basically, the middle of the road Italian food offered was truly mediocre. The starters were best--some okay calamari fritti and some prosciutto with melon (a dish that's hard to ruin but this wasn't a particularly good version). A tomato basil pate with some kind of cheese was tasteless.
The pastas were terrible, flaccid, about five minutes past al dente. I felt disgusted with myself for finishing mine, a penne norcina (with sausage). I happen to have been to Norcia itself in the last year and this wasn't even a kissing cousin of the original.
Anywya, it all went to a worthy cause, or some of it. Obviously, there won't be a next time.
For those that care, the place is BYOB and (here's something good) they don't charge for corkage.
Note to Caroline Tilley: We're all behind and just remember the famous words of the "I Ching"--- "Change. Opportunity!" [exclamation point mine]
Due to the aformentioned "won't go westward" boyfriend who was working late with his gang at the office, we didn't go out.
Instead I headed over to his office (he's a graphic designer so it's kinda like a playground for me!) and we all ordered out from Chan Dara in Larchmont who claimed to be donating ALL of their proceeds, which I thought was kinda cool. The delivery guy was super friendly and just buzzing with excitement, he said the restaurant was packed and deliveries were nonstop. We just ordered the usual slightly overpriced thai grub, nothing esoteric, but it all tasted good to me - thai bbq chicken (with a sauce whose sweetness s. irene would deplore!), pad thai, mixed veggies, etc. Not breathtakingly fabulous, but good!
p.s. Carolyn, wishing you an open window leading to a possibility-rich future. I'm sure everyone's thoughts are with you!! :)
I knew I wanted to go out but I didn't trust Joe's anymore. I noticed that Axe (ah-shay) which is on the corner opposite Joe's was also participating. I had never been but this was a good excuse. We had a trio of middle eastern dips with flat bread to start. We followed that with an antipasti plate...roasted beets, squash, goat cheese, toasted bread, green beans, arrugula and roasted corn. For entree we had the braised lamb shank. Everything was flavorful and excellent. It really could not have been better. The server was also excellent and you felt that all of the staff was pleased to have you as their guest. We finished with an apple tart for dessert. I was totally full, we didn't even finish all of the food. We shared everything. Bill was $69.00 before a 20% tip. That also included 2 glasses of chilled sake (good sake but didn't go with the food, what was I thinking?). They have a nice reasonably priced wine list too. This place is a keeper.