What do you think of Rachael Ray's picks?
Here is the list of choices from LA:
eat. on sunset
Cobras & Matadors
The Original Pantry
Canter's Delicatessen & Restaurant
Sweet Lady Jane
Square One Dining
Did I hear Rachel correctly...? Did she say that Gyu Kaku was shabu shabu?!
I went to the Gyu Kaku in HB last week. I think you can get a better value for your money elsewhere plus we had some pretty horrendous service.
OK that's just horrifying. This is like our list of "Places to Avoid". Well, maybe except for Clifton's I can tolerate that place. In each of those categories, there is a better alternative.
My likes on the list include: Fred 62, Cobras and Matadors (Hollywood location) And Square One, I mean, that place is GREAT!!!
I like the coconut margaritas at El Cholo a LOT. And it's a fun place.
She is making this guide for her audience, not a bunch of foodies. I think Clifton's would disappoint most average diners, you have to really get into the history and kitsch value. Canter's is another historic thing, I don't like it, but most of my friends LOVE it. Gyu Kaku is fun, just because we all know it as a chain, it's a decent place. Mr and Mrs. Smith from Tulsa, OK might not enjoy trying to figure out which place in Koreatown is actually decent, but they can find a Gyu Kaku in a part of town they are comfortable in, and enjoy it. Original Pantry is also historically fun, they have good ham and french toast, and it's 24 hours.
As for Sweet Lady Jane, I admit I was impressed when I first moved here 6 years ago. The display of cakes was gorgeous. I know people have had rude service there, but I never have. I just kind of lost my taste for their average cakes after a while. But if you are coming from a place that only has a Marie Callenders, you are going to be impressed with Sweet Lady Jane.
Besides, this list keeps the tourists away from all your favorite places, right?
Well, geez, lookit where you LIVE! (no just kidding!, Tulsa is wonderful)
Seriously, I think the intent of the post was that the typical Ray fan is not necessarily a person in search of really great flavors on the chowhound level. Her main audience visiting LA may be more interested in what they'd think of as an "Experience" . Imagine sending a starry eyed tourist to Sabor A Mexico or Yum Cha cafe. Not a good scene.
Also, in order to have a successful show and become the mega grin she has, she appeals to the lowest common denominator. People who's idea of fine dining is a night out at Applebee's. And no, that's not resrticted to Tulsa. There are quite a few of those in LA, really.
Regarding your "no taste" comment:
It's not a matter of having "no taste". It's a matter of the events in your life shaping the basis by which you measure new experiences.
I lived in suburban New Jersey for 18 years and central Missouri for 4.5. In both places, the most exotic food I ever ate was Taco Bell. Six months before I left Missouri for LA, the town's first Indian restaurant opened. My meal there was an absolute revelation. Parts of my mouth that I never knew existed came alive.
It was not until I moved to LA (and had been here for 5 or 6 years) that I began to open my mind past what I had gotten used to eating.
It's just a fact that people from less populated areas of the country (like the midwest) generally do not have the immigrant population density which can provide an authentic and diverse ethnic food experience.
In LA, we are lucky to have massive Korean and Chinese populations which provide us with opportunities to not just eat "Chinese" but various permutations of regional delicacies. In Koreatown, we have a restaurant that prepares imperial cuisine. Although I'm sure Tulsa has a Korean population, my uneducated opinion is that it is likely not large enough to support a restaurant which serves a style of Korean food which is so specific.
It is in this regard that people from smaller cities simply have less opportunity (and less inclination due to peer influence, etc.) to diverge from the standard "middle class" restaurant experience-- and this is what Rachel Ray's audience expects. So when she espouses Gyu-Kaku, she is speaking to those people in Tulsa (and elsewhere) who have never eaten *GREAT* Korean BBQ (or more specifically, the blander Japanese version of KBBQ which Gyu-Kaku makes), so Gyu-Kaku becomes a wildly exotic but still very "safe" (i.e. clean and filled with middle class white people) experience.
For those of us who have been eating authentic, fantastic Korean bbq for years now (some in restaurants that are pretty grimy holes and would scare away Rachel Ray's core demographic), Gyu-Kaku provides nothing new or exotic.... I see it as half the food and half the quality at twice the price.
So, it's not that people from Tulsa have no taste. It's simply that the cities in which we live shape our life experiences. The vast majority of non-Korean and non-Japanese Americans will likely find Gyu-Kaku an exciting and exotic change of pace from the regular Red Lobster/Applebee's/Friday's/local diner rotation.