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Any reports from The Gold Standard today?

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  1. I thought it was kind of a let-down. Too many ppl, too little food. Some of the food did not highlight the restaurant's specialty/ strengths. Many restaurants (Beacon, Angeli, Drago) only offered salads, Providence only offered desserts. On the other hand, I was impressed with the earnest effort of the smaller establishments like Jitlada, Akbar, Clementine, and Genet, they offered a good variety to really showcase their food and to attract potential customers. Another problem was that some places ran out of food by 530 when the event's supposed to go until 7. I was really impressed that Palate and Annisette had their chefs there, and the quality of the food shows. Unless they step it up next year, this will probably be the last time I attend this event,

    1 Reply
    1. re: lunacake

      Agree with most of that - the choices for some restaurants seemed strange. There was much disorganization at the start - which worked in my favor as there were two lines to enter and all I had to do was show the confirmation e-mail on my phone while the line of ticket-holders wrapped around the block.
      I was able to enjoy about 40 minutes without a crowd!
      I found Sona and Loteria to be standouts.......

    2. too crowded. lines were too long. glad there was free wine, beer, Fiji and POM juice.

      favorites were Sona for their "caviar shooter" (what was that btw,i just took it and shot it with reckless abandon...) and their ginger/grapefruit drink, La Casita Mexicana was great too...i'm definitely gonna check that out....green cerviche (actually all three of their dishes were strong and they had the best people there for telling you about themselves....block of cotija cheese...fantastic) and Animal for their Pork Belly Kim Chee..that was by far my favorite of the day.. didn't get to try everything....the venue was also very hot, wish it were all out doors next time....just so cramped inside that studio.

      1. While waiting in line for an hour (arriving at 2:40 pm but didn't get in until 3:40 pm due to confusion and chaos at the entrance), I was able to look through the program and map out the ones that I want to taste. We skipped the first two rooms and went straight to the back room where Drago, Anisette, Sona, The Hungry Cat, Jitlada were stationed. It wasn't very crowded yet at that time so we got to do a lot of repeat tastings in that room. When we ventured out to the room where Mozza was, the line was alreay very long. So we skipped that room and went to the first and the largest room and tasted Providence, La Mill, Upstairs 2...etc.

        My favorite for today were (hope I get them right since there was no time to get full description of everything):

        Drago--a very tasty seafood salad with poached scallops and shrimps (portion was really tiny but we went back for 2nd, 3rd.....)
        Sona--a combination of raw salmon, ikura, seaweed sprout, and baby radish & a very delicious freshly squeezed ginger/blood orange drink (again tiny portion but we went back many times)--saw David Myers there
        Annisette--they offered two tastings: a bite-size salad with crispy porchetta, and duck l'orangerie on skewers
        Palate--a very generous piece of crispy pork belly with polenta
        The Hungry Cat--a piece of rolled up smoked salmon with a very flavorful cream cheese (?) inside
        Providence--we were disappointed too that they only served desserts but the chocolates (3 kinds-banana, whisky and a tea flavor I think) were really amazing. There was another dessert in a cup (pineapple with mousse?) that was also very good.

        Bummers for the day: couldn't get to Animal (pork belly), Mozza (fresh mozzarella) and Clementine (an array of desserts). Lines were just too long.

        For beverages there were 63 wineries (according to the program) 2 beers (Kirin, Stella Artois), POM, Fiji Water, Urth Caffe and La Mill. We didn't drink a lot of wine but some people got very tipsy when we left at 6:30 pm.

        There were defintely too many people, too little space and quite a few detailed needed improvement, but we thought it was pretty fun.

        1. I have a slightly more optimistic take than the others, and I think it's probably because I got in sooner (3:15?), and had no lines whatsoever for the first half hour or so. So I got to try a lot of things without waiting at all. After that, the lines were typically about 5 minutes, with the exception of Animal, which had a HUGE line. It was indeed very crowded, but this didn't always translate into a long wait for food (except for Animal). We left after about 2 hours, completely stuffed, so if there were any problems with food shortages we didn't encounter them. Overall, we had a very good time. Personally, I don't have a problem with restaurants offering salads and desserts if they are good...and the seafood salad at Drago was very good, as was the dessert at Providence. Here's a really brief review of many booths, loosely organized into "the best" and "the rest":

          The best:

          Sona—Really delicious and visually beautiful dish of salmon and roe, topped with a pretty broccoli flower. This may have been my favorite dish of the day. Served with a really refreshing fruity drink.
          Animal—pork belly with kimchi was delicious, and worth the very long line. The two dudes were cooking everything themselves and were very friendly and apologetic about the wait.
          Palate—Really delicious pork belly, tender and perfectly cooked, served over polenta. I actually preferred this to Animal's pork belly, my husband liked this version a lot but preferred Animal's.
          Anisette—Frise with quail egg was delicious!
          Drago—excellent seafood salad.
          Providence—pineapple concoction that was at once rich and very light, and a variety of chocolates that were uniformly excellent...we revisited this booth right before leaving to end on a high note of dessert!.
          Babita—shrimp dish that was solid but nothing special, and a delicious chile relleno stuffed with a mixture that resembled ceviche. This chile relleno was a standout.
          Lou—pulled pork dish that was very good, and a fish salad that was also very good.
          Kyochon—spicy fried chicken wing was excellent, the soy sauce fried chicken wing was solid but not special.
          Mozza—really delicious burrata with smoked tomatoes and pesto. Simple but surprisingly delicious.
          Loteria Grill—Lengua and potato tacos were very good. Taco with cheese and guacamole was very lackluster in comparison...cheese was overly salty and guac tasted overly processed. Agua fresca was delicious and refreshing.

          The rest:

          Clementine—banana creme pie was delicious, as was the rugalach. Oatmeal cookie with creamed filling, chocolate cookie, and another cookie were good but nothing to write home about.
          L.A. Mill—coffee was very good, but nothing I would drive across town for, so I'm glad I got to sample it in a convenient location. L.A. Mill's chocolate chip cookie was terrible--took one small bite, then threw it out.
          Upstairs 2—kurubota pork dish was good, but the weakest pork dish of the day (compared to Animal, Palate, and Lou).
          Renu Nakorn—salmon in a red curry sauce. A good version of this dish, but again, nothing I would drive across town to eat in the future.
          Mr. Baguette—had a variety of sandwiches, I tried the soft roast beef. Again, a solid sandwich, but nothing I would drive across town for. I had to save room so I threw it out after a couple of bites.
          Alcazar—they had a variety of offerings, but I only tried a couple of things and they weren't remarkable.
          Fanciful baskets—tried a variety of chocolates, all were good but not standout.
          Hungry Cat—Smoked salmon wrapped around tasty cream cheese was good, but not a standout.
          Jitada—Curried beef and rice were both nice and spicy. Good but not standout.
          Wurstkuche had a rabbit and rattlesnake sausage that was solid but nothing special.

          It should be noted that "the rest" were all pretty good, they just weren't as good as "the best." The only items that were truly disappointing were L.A. Mill's cookies and the food at Alcazar. Everything else was solid, if not remarkable.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Nicole

            I forgot one of "the rest":
            Beacon--edamame and goat cheese salad, solid but nothing exciting.

          2. I had a great time. The line was a bit chaotic but we got there around 2:45pm and were towards the front of the line so got in quickly once it started moving. After grabbing some Kyochon wings to tide us over we went straight to the back room. Many of the high end restaurants were there and by heading straight back we beat the crowds and got to eat everything there (multiple times!) at our leisure with absolutely no lines and with many of the chefs on hand happy to talk to you about the food. In the back room Palate served a wonderful pork belly dish and the SO had three servings of Hungry Cat's salmon and date roll-up as well as multiple servings of the Drago seafood salad. We were both very impressed by Drago's panna cotta dessert, Jitlada’s very spicy food (first time trying, will definitely be back) and all three of the dishes from Anisette (two quail egg dishes and duck a l'orange).

            Once we had our fill of the back room we ventured out to the other two rooms and were struck by how crowded it had gotten. Quite frankly, we had already eaten from so many of the best booths by that time and were getting somewhat full that we used the opportunity to taste wine. There was sooooo much wine to try and no lines for any of it which was wonderful. Very kid in a candy store feeling. Some of the pourers were very knowledgeable while others were not, but overall the wine tasting portion was extremely enjoyable.

            After our wine break we were feeling more adventurous and scoped out which booths in the front room we wanted to try based on restaurant, size of line and what they were serving. We decided against Animal which had a huge line and was serving pork belly since we just had multiple servings of that from Palate. We also skipped Meals by Genet because of the line. However Angeli didn’t have any line and we loved their very simple beet gnocchi with a parmesan salad. Providence also was line free and while we were a touch disappointed they didn’t have seafood, we were mollified by their delicious chocolates. We also went right up to LA Mill for cookies, Upstairs 2 for pork with beet risotto and Wurstcuche (sp?) for rattlesnake sausage.

            At this point we went to the middle room and saw that the Mozza line was huge. I popped to the front of the line and they were just doing their caprese which I’ve had before, so we skipped it and got dessert with hot chocolate and marshmallows from Clementine. Their food reminded me how good that place is and how I need to go back.

            There were more places we tried and I was so full by 6pm that I couldn’t eat or drink any more. Admittedly many of the booths had run out of food by that point but quite frankly I had eaten almost everything I wanted and had more than my $60 worth, so that was fine by me. Sure there were some lines, but there were so many great booths that you could just walk right up to that I didn’t mind the occasional line to give me a little time to take a breather from all the eating. All in all I thought it was a wonderful event especially at the price and would definitely come back.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Newkie

              Glad to hear that you enjoyed it too! We did the exact same strategy of heading to the back room first...it seems like having first dibs on the very best food before the crowds arrived upped the enjoyment factor for those of us who used that strategy. I guess I still missed the panna cotta at Drago and duck at Anisette...oh well, I can't eat EVERYTHING (but I can try.). :)

            2. i had a great time.
              for the price/quality ratio it was an amazing value.

              wine house stations were great. i'm pretty sure they hooked up the purveyors to pour at their own stations. wine house is def one of the best places to buy wines in LA. one of my go to spots for sure.

              i drank easily at least the equivalent of a bottle of red wine and at least half a bottle of the piper heidsieck towards the end.

              i got in around 3:30 and ate til the bitter end. i tasted nearly everything there was. in other words i dominated. getting my moneys worth and making chinese people everywhere proud.

              we saw david myers at comme ca after the event where my friends ate more and had cocktails. (i was already to my limit) i liked that sona did something adventurous, although i thought the dish had a little too much going on. i thought providence doing chocolate was a disappointment.

              i liked drago/sona/anisette/mozza. actually i liked it all.

              the organization did leave a lot to be desired and i'm sure they will improve the next go around. for the price you really can't complain.

              got to talk to j gold which was cool

              1. Very short report. Four of us in one car arrived in valet parking line at 3:45 PM. By 4 pm we were 5 cars from the valets and we were told that the event had been shut down by order of the Fire Marshall. So we left, clutching our useless prepaid ticket receipt in our sweaty little hands. Um, not impressed.

                1 Reply
                1. re: barham turner

                  i also had the same situation. got stuck in the valet line for about 1/2 hour or longer. we would've just park somewhere else but the street was so narrow it was hard to get out of there. when we finally got to the front, we were told the valet was full and the event was shut down. not impressed and still waiting for a refund.

                2. Nicole's review is fantastic. I absolutely loved the burrata at Mozza, I wish I had eaten it more slowly.

                  I echo that the Palate pork belly was good. The spicy beef at Jitlada pretty much took my face off so thankfully, there was a Singha beer keg right next to it along with some cute cheese and chocolate at Fancifull Baskets. They were so basic it was actually a pleasure to taste after all the sensory overload.

                  As simple as it was, Beacon's sugar snap pea/goat cheese salad was a standout for me, probably because I needed to dial it down a bit - so much stuff!

                  I would definitely say that with the pressure, the crowds and the small space, these restaurants can't be judged by there performance here. I'm sure the in-house experience is 20 times better. We had a great time!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: outshined

                    Thanks. :) BTW, you're right, it was sugar snap peas, I don't know why I wrote edamame...I made a lot of mistakes in an effort to quickly write up a lot of booths.

                  2. I applaud those who got there way early, avoided some of the lines, and "got their money's worth." But gosh, it sounds like a crapshoot or game of musical chairs and far from a nice dining experience. Were there places to sit down and enjoy? Or was everything gobbled while on line for the next? How were the bathrooms?

                    Tickets to this event cost $60 -- I don't know how they dealt with parking. Surely portions were fraction of those normally presented as mains or even starters. So what you saved in per portion cost you spent in time in line, ticket price, and strategic gluttony. Sure, you can count as a plus the wine-tasting and flowing booze, but I only partake if I am a passenger and someone else is taking responsibility for the driving. Now add to all of that the absence of a charitable purpose for all of this excess -- maybe there was a tax-exempt beneficiary, but I haven't heard of it. Wow, my impression is a haute hotdog eating contest.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: nosh

                      It was indeed for a charitable purpose--Heal the Bay. I got in line by 2:45 and was in by 3:15, which was totally reasonable. Others who had paper tickets didn't have to wait in line at will call, they could go right in. The parking was a weird situation...there was plenty of street parking (at least at 2:40), but the valet line was down the block. There were no places to sit down, but there were tables to stand at. Yes, portions were small, which I was very grateful for given that there were 30 restaurants to sample from. I paid $42.50, spent 30 minutes in line, sampled from at least 20 restaurants, and generally had a great time, so I certainly think it was worth it.

                      1. re: Nicole

                        Actually there were a few comfortable couches in the middle room and off to the side of the main entrance that I enjoyed when I needed a breather.

                    2. The lines were incredibly long for parking and willcall. But since this a new event, I think that organizers will have a better handle on the situation. They need a larger place and maybe a few tables so people are not balancing their plates to eat while standing in line for another one. If you think about it, some venues were handing out 3 different plates of food, then there was that wine glass you had to hold on to. What a juggle! The beer and wine were really flowing, but I think that the small venues were not expecting the huge crowd. It was the organizers fault, not the restauranteurs.
                      You've proably read the reviews of most of the places, but Clementine's hot chocolate with fresh marshmellow was a killer. Jitlada's beef dish just about put me away - and I eat spi-cy! I wasn't so impressed with Lotteria. Ciudad's paella was abundant , lasted throughout the whole event ,even after many places closed down by 5:30. And it was loaded with delicious seafood. Babita served a yellow chile stuffed with salmon ceviche. It was just so-so. La Casit'as green ceviche was really good. The flavor came from epazote, poblanos and lots of lime. Lou's pulled pork was really good.
                      SO I would go back again, but I would have a hard-ticket in hand, expect to park on a side street instead of valet, and go an hour early!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: sassille

                        I thought the food overall was quite good. The surprise favorite was La Casita Mexicana. Really awesome and worth a trip to Bell for second helpings. The generous assortment of wines to taste was well beyond expectations.

                        However, it was WAY too crowded and should have been held at a larger venue. Plus the parking was ridiculous. It was impossible to valet that many cars.

                        Lastly, it was disappointing that so many of the major players, who should have known better, ran out of food by 5:00 p.m.

                        1. re: Bob Brooks

                          Yeah, it was quite an event. I got there about a quarter to 3pm, and they said they wouldn't be checking in anyone until 3pm, due to the regulations doled down. so this created a backlog. luckily, i didn't even approach fuller and just parked on sm blvd. there were some available parking spaces there, due to it being a sunday and all.

                          i paid the full 60 plus the ticketing fees. it was almost chaotic just trying to get in but once in:

                          Babita, great salmon tartare guerrito with strawberry sauce, as well as the shrimp tamabolmpo with the infamous habenero salsa (but alas it was a little muted over the extreme spicyness at the actual restaurant, the chef Berezella said he brought double the portion size mentioned by the LA Weekly staff and he still got cleared out before 6pm).

                          Wurstkuche, tried there Rattlesnake and Rabbit sausages for the very first time and it was really really good. Went back a half dozen times since the line was so short.

                          Jitlada was ok for the dry curry beef, but it was VERY V ERY V ERY SPICY, i had to immediately scoot down to the Singha beer stand to tame the fire. when i asked the server if it was really hot, she said "it wasn't too hot" if i'm not mistaken this was the definition of thai spicy.

                          I didn't try Palate, nor Animal, and Lou. what's with all the pork belly.???

                          Providence was great for the milk chocolate, crushed pinenapple, and indian spice mousse shooter as well as their coconut-green tea chocolate truffles and the Bakran curry chocolates. great, great desserts, but yeah were were the savory dishes? (possibly the savory dishes would have been too costly since providence is a primarily all seafood, caviar and truffle strewn restaurant).

                          i had the dessert plate from Clementine from annie miler, the chef over there, the tray had a small banana cream pie pot de creme, an oatmeal marshmallow sandwich cookie, a fudged dark chocolate cookie, and a couple other treats i'm forgetting. oh, and toward the end I had their Hot chocolate with marshmallows, a very decadent and almost too rich hot chocolate.

                          i tried the alcazar site and it was good but not necessasirly better than sunnin for the hummus and spinash fatayer.

                          the pom teas were nice as a refresher course.

                          the mashed potato tacos and fried monterey jack wafer from loteria were good (although i had been to their new Hollywood location so it kind of detracted from the pleasure of it all). but he aguas frescas, esepcially the pineapple orange was truly awesome.

                          i did get a chance to try the sweet and spicy fried chicken wings from Kyochon after the lines abate a litlte. and it was good and pretty darn spicy.

                          suffice to say, i had to wash a lot of the food down with the Singha and Asahi beers. Too bad they didn't hand over the 12oz bottles but instead maed a 3 or 4oz pour.

                          it sucked that a lot of the booths ran out of food and closed early (very early in fact for some, at 530pm, and considering they started at about at least a quarter after 3pm, that's not along time).

                          it was good, though fraught with logistical and planning problems in general, i'm still pondering whether it was worth 67 bucks, which is not cheap even for a solid 20 or so restaurants.

                          by the way, i didn't try the song and dance booth serving up the vegan Faux Pho Noodle soups, but the presentation seemed to be really interesting.

                          that's it for now, i think i missed a few food items. but i was definitely stuffed to the gills,

                          i did had some tiramisu and a margherit a pizza for a later dinner at terroni later on, and now as i'm writing this i'm getting hungry again, a trencherman of the first order if you will.


                      2. Here are some pictures from the event!


                        Yes it got really crowded (the fire marshal almost closed it down!), yes people ran out of food (I guess a lot of people love pork belly as much as I do), and yes some of the lines got waaaay too long (Palate, Animal, Anisette...), but you know what? I think we all got to eat some really tremendous food nonetheless.

                        My favorites were Animal's pork belly, Drago's seafood salad (which was so light and fresh, and delicious), and Providence's desserts (although Clementine had a delightful assortment of treats as well.)

                        1. Had a great time at this event. even got to talk to the man for a little who was there with his kid. This was for charity so I don't really think it's right for the food snobs out there to complain that mr baguette was there. My favorites were sona for their creativity with the salmon roe shooter (those bartenders were serious, hackin at the huge ice block), palate's pork belly dish (perferred over animal's version, although the pork belly itself was fattier/better from animal), anisette's frise with quail egg (my favorite).
                          I was disappointed with the caprese from Mozza. The version they serve at the pizzeria is much much better.
                          duck l'orange was ok. The kumquat dominated the dish. though everyone else didn't seem to mind
                          Missed out on so many but was stuffed/tired driving in from vegas

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: peppermonkey

                            you drove in from vegas just for the event?

                            anyhow, i truly enjoyed that salmon/roe shooter.

                            good stuff as well as the blood orange whipped brown sugar egg white frappe at the sona stand also.

                            1. re: kevin

                              was in vegas for the weekend and was speeding to get back in time for the event

                          2. So sad about this event - had been looking forward to it for weeks, and talked a couple out of town friends into coming with me. We were turned away, loudly, by the fire marshall at 4pm - he assured us that the event was shut down and that even if people left no one else would be let in.

                            Saw Jimmy Shaw on the way out, who seemed suprised about all the hullabaloo. He suggested that we go to Loteria in Hollywood since we were hungry, and we did just that.

                            Here's hoping that this event never sees the light of day again. And if it does, lets get some people in there to organize it that know what they're doing (share our strength, I am looking in your direction).

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Superdilfer


                              Has anyone been to the Woflgang Puck and you guys feel that that event was run logistically pretty well? Although they have had close to 30 years of experience in getting it right.

                              As for the Gold event, I went on my own so I didn't have to worry about my guests getting pissed off at it.

                              For the people who did not make it in, there is something problematic with that, And just from the valet parking situation at about 3pm, it did look like a real cluster fuck of sorts.

                              But it was their first event so I did got them some slack, but perhaps I wouldn't if I didn't gain entrance. It was really busy, but the Puck event and other events of this type were very very very busy in the past too, but the whole cheek-to-jowl ness of it all is just not fun at all.

                              1. re: kevin

                                i went to wolfgang pucks AWFF two years ago.
                                its the same thing as all of these events. get there before doors open because the lines are crazy long. much much longer at AWFF than at the gold standard event. of course the food is of a similar to better caliber, with more national scale celebrity chefs and more top shelf wines in a much larger open space. but its still kinda insane. (i imagine with the economy it should be way more chill this year).

                                i also usually go to taste of the nation and project by project.

                                1. re: modernist

                                  that's what i thought too in some ways. the awff event was really packed unless you got there right when it opened and it's not cheap either 325 or so per. whereas the gold event was 65 per and just as packed. in some ways, some of the food was of a similar caliber, though at the puck event, you wouldn't see Mr. Baguette, or Kyochon, or Clementine among others. and the puck event would have lots of truffles, both black and white, caviar, kobe beef (i think michael mina served kobe beef shabu shabu).

                                  it does suck for the people that didn't get in, if i remember correctly there was to be no refunds. yeah, if you are planning on going to one of these events, the name of the game is arrive very early.

                            2. I got there early so had a good time exploring the eats before it turned into a crazy mob. I agree the logistics is funky so if they're doing it again hopefully it'll be in a more spacious venue.

                              My faves included Hungry Cat's Tandoori Smoked Salmon with Cheese, Dates and Pine-nuts, Providence's Chocolate Mousse with Pineapple and Drago's Panna Cotta with Citrus and the Mozza Caprese.

                              Don't know what the deal is with the cash bars -- with free wines and beers there's barely anyone who'd pony up for a cocktail. They should fine a spirits sponsor or do without the bar next time.

                              Bummers about the fire marshal thing, it was only temporary and they did start let people in / re-enter half an hour after they "shut down".

                              More Gold Standard thoughts here: http://la-oc-foodie.blogspot.com/2009...

                              1. A little late to the party... and I'm sorry to hear of all the troubles... We had a great time because a) we biked to the event and b) hence we arrived early... We definatly felt like we got our money's worth and hopefully they have the event again at a much bigger venue...

                                I felt compelled to post because no one had mentioned Natraliart Jamican. We felt their Curry and Jerk chicken dishes were completely stand out... It's on top of the list of restaurant to go back after the event...

                                I also have to comment about the great selection of wines including lots of bubblies... That was in fact my favorite part... Yummy pork bellies in one hand... a glass of sparkling in the other... a perfect meal...


                                4 Replies
                                1. re: Dommy

                                  It seemed like there was just too much pork belly going around at the Food Fest.

                                  The jury is still out on whether I truly felt it was worth 70 bucks, but they again to try each individual restaurant dishes at their actual locations would have cost hundreds of dollars.

                                  Did you try the Vegan Faux Pho at the Fred's Tiara Cafe booth. Wow, and that dried beef curry was truly incendiary.

                                  I really liked Babita, Wurstkuche, Kyochon, Providence, and Sona overall.

                                  1. re: kevin

                                    No, I was actually warned away from the Vegan Pho... LOL!! I LOVED the dried beef curry however, it came up last night at the Zocalo...


                                    1. re: Dommy

                                      Yeah, I missed the Zocala event, but made to the Gold Fest and sort of earlier so I didn't quite have to deal with the valet parking horror stories or just driving on fuller with cars stacked cheek to jowl.

                                      The thai curry needed a serious amount of beer to temper, and that was strategic planning on their behalf to have a the Singha stand a couple storefronts down from Jitlada's stand.

                                      It was cool seeing Jazz as the event, and oringally when I went to Jitlada a couple years back after the Chicago blogger (Eric M.???) initial translated review. She talks a mile a minute and loves to talk about Southern Thai cuisine which is a truly plus. I still have to try her Thai Espresso Frappe that I heard so much about already.

                                    2. re: kevin

                                      I thought the Photo fromTiara Cafe was the weakest of the day.