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french for extra credit

raizans Jul 9, 2012 11:57 PM

So, I'm taking French 1 in the summer. Extra credit is to eat out at a French restaurant, lunch or dinner, and write a report. Pictures are required. Yes, chowhounding and food porn gets you extra credit.

Where should I go? I have had no prior interest in French food and practically no experience. Is there a restaurant that does the classics well (vichyssoise, cassoulet, escargots, ratatouille, etc.), but also has killer deserts? One that makes rum baba will get you extra credit, though I'll settle for tarte tatin. I've wanted to try rum baba since reading Jay Rayner's book. Also, though I'm not much of a drinker, I'd like to try kir.

So far, I've got RH, Bouchon, Church & State, and Cheval Blanc on my radar. I'll go anywhere in the LA basin. Budget is preferably around $35, but not over $50. That's a little too much.

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  1. Rodzilla RE: raizans Jul 10, 2012 12:20 AM

    the Little Next door seems to have a menu with some french classics for reasonable prices. Haven't visited myself.


    1. c
      crystaw RE: raizans Jul 10, 2012 01:41 AM

      I'm also suggesting a place I haven't been to myself and it's Taix in Echo Park. I thought of it upon reading your post because a friend who grew up in the area says it has been around for ages and that he went there in high school because he was taking French. Looks like it fits very will into your budget as well!

      1 Reply
      1. re: crystaw
        ipsedixit RE: crystaw Jul 11, 2012 10:08 PM

        Taix is to French food as PF Chang's is to Chinese food.

      2. a
        aizan RE: raizans Jul 10, 2012 09:50 AM

        how about l'epicerie? i just read that the chef from rh went there.

        5 Replies
        1. re: aizan
          maudies5 RE: aizan Jul 10, 2012 10:00 AM

          Celebrate Bastille Day this Saturday at AOC with special Bastille Day Menu. That should get you extra credit.

          1. re: maudies5
            raizans RE: maudies5 Jul 11, 2012 05:19 PM

            it would be neat to go to AOC on bastille day, but i'd rather not drive to 3rd street after work; i work on saturdays (ick), and i'm coming up from the south bay.

            good idea though. maybe i'll go somewhere closer on bastille day, though i'll probably go out on friday.

            1. re: maudies5
              westsidegal RE: maudies5 Jul 12, 2012 09:03 AM

              the AOC bastille day deal does not come in at budget.

            2. re: aizan
              TonyC RE: aizan Jul 10, 2012 04:35 PM

              L'ep's/RH's chef is long gone. He's in DC now: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01...

              Mignon is doing bottomless Bastille Day for $20: http://www.facebook.com/mignonwine/po...

              1. re: TonyC
                raizans RE: TonyC Jul 11, 2012 05:22 PM

                is l'epicerie any worse for his absence?

            3. sarahbeths RE: raizans Jul 10, 2012 04:19 PM

              What fun! My favorite french bistro is Madame Chou Chou. You have to sit on the patio to get the full experience. they owners are french, your waitress is from Paris, the desserts are KILLER and the decor is so adorably french chic (on the patio). I adore l'epicure and the food is really great. I would not go somewhere whose name doesn't sound french (Church & State) or somewhere owned by a famous American chef (thomas keller's bouchon isn't actually French) RH is good. Meet bistro in culver city is a good value (Also, depending if you can wait til next week you can combine with Dine LA for a good deal.)

              1. j
                Jack Flash RE: raizans Jul 10, 2012 08:20 PM

                For classic, old school French fare (gratinee, canard a'lorange, escargot, coq au vin) that won't break the bank, head to La Vie on San Gabriel Blvd. in Rosemead. I kid you not.

                I can't find a website for the restaurant, but here's a menu link:


                2547 San Gabriel Blvd
                Ste A
                Rosemead, CA 91770
                (626) 571-1180

                1 Reply
                1. re: Jack Flash
                  maudies5 RE: Jack Flash Jul 10, 2012 08:46 PM

                  I'm sticking with my recommendation. Extra credit for Bastille Day celebration:)

                2. d
                  Dirtywextraolives RE: raizans Jul 11, 2012 12:32 PM

                  Madison Giraud, in the Palisades.

                  1. e
                    Ernie RE: raizans Jul 11, 2012 12:54 PM

                    Le Petit Bistro on La Cienega is reliable for French


                    1. n
                      Norm Man RE: raizans Jul 11, 2012 01:07 PM

                      Le Petit Cafe
                      2842 Colorado Ave
                      Santa Monica
                      310 829-6792

                      1. o
                        Omniverous RE: raizans Jul 11, 2012 01:27 PM

                        Hmm...that's a good question. There used to be more options, but a lot of the surviving "French bistro"-style restaurants have evolved/devolved into Cal-French or Cal-French-Italian-Whatever.

                        If you can stretch your budget a little for a good meal, Comme Ca has a bistro-inspired menu that includes a 3 course "bistronomy" dinner for $45.

                        Otherwise, I second the person who said Maison Giraud. Also, Cafe Pierre in Manhattan Beach is a solid restaurant that still has some French classics in the mix. Lastly, I haven't eaten at La Poubelle in about 15 years, but its still there and still French.

                        Bon Appetit. :)

                        1. J.L. RE: raizans Jul 11, 2012 04:25 PM

                          I've eaten at RH at the Andaz, Bouchon, Church & State, Soleil, The Little Door, La Cachette, Maison Giraud, Melisse, etc., and they can all qualify as adequate for your French assignment.

                          BUT I think for the purposes of your assignment, your best bet is to go to a little hole-in-the-wall French eatery called Ratata on Westwood Blvd. The owners (a cute French couple from the Montmartre, Paris) are very cordial, and will explain the food to you. Also, I found the food to be very, very good. I'd recommend the Boeuf Bourgignon (beef stew) and the Hachis Parmentier (potato cheese casserole). Ask them if they make you a coq au vin (chicken in wine).

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: J.L.
                            J.L. RE: J.L. Jul 12, 2012 10:57 AM

                            Ratata will fit your budget nicely.

                          2. f
                            film_score RE: raizans Jul 11, 2012 09:06 PM

                            Le Dijonaise in Culver City is very reasonable French and they have most of the classics...

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: film_score
                              sarahbeths RE: film_score Jul 12, 2012 02:30 PM

                              Respectfully disagree, Le Dijoinaise is not quality. They serve canned tuna and canned olives on their "niciose" salad. So many better options.

                              1. re: sarahbeths
                                linus RE: sarahbeths Jul 12, 2012 03:29 PM

                                canned (or jarred) tuna is supposed to be in a nicoise salad.

                            2. westsidegal RE: raizans Jul 11, 2012 10:20 PM

                              is your $50 budget INCLUDING tax, tip, dessert, and beverage?
                              or is it $50 BEFORE tax, tip, dessert, and beverage?

                              9 Replies
                              1. re: westsidegal
                                aizan RE: westsidegal Jul 11, 2012 11:22 PM


                                1. re: aizan
                                  Jack Flash RE: aizan Jul 11, 2012 11:35 PM

                                  You can definitely stay within your budget at my earlier suggestion, La Vie.

                                  1. re: aizan
                                    sarahbeths RE: aizan Jul 12, 2012 02:32 PM

                                    If you go at lunch, you have more options. highly push Madame Chou Chou, they even serve their coffee in these big glass bowls they way my french friend grew up drinking coffee. She had never seen that anywhere else in the US before.

                                    1. re: sarahbeths
                                      aizan RE: sarahbeths Jul 12, 2012 03:36 PM

                                      their website doesn't show a lunch menu, or am i not looking in the right place?

                                      1. re: aizan
                                        sarahbeths RE: aizan Jul 13, 2012 04:34 PM

                                        Hmm, that's funny. But they definitely have lunch, i've been! I guess it's similar to the "brunch menu" if you scroll down on their website. Fewer options, but salads, sandwiches and things like croque madame, a few other specials, and free delicious bread. I mentioned how good the desserts are? My favorite is the raspberry pistacchio cake.

                                        1. re: sarahbeths
                                          raizans RE: sarahbeths Jul 15, 2012 03:25 PM

                                          well, i'm gonna have to go to madame chou chou someday to try the dessert. i went to l'epicerie on bastille day and it was pretty good, but dessert was just so-so. i drank a glass of kir and i'm a real lightweight so i ordered the créme brûlée instead of rum baba. with the lemon rind and all of that caramelized sugar, it was too bitter for my taste. the duck confit was great though, and i enjoyed the kir a little too much. surprise, surprise. it was good!

                                          1. re: raizans
                                            raizans RE: raizans Jul 15, 2012 03:28 PM

                                            oops, forgot the pics.

                                            1. re: raizans
                                              J.L. RE: raizans Jul 15, 2012 09:42 PM

                                              Thanks for reporting back! With pictures!

                                        2. re: sarahbeths
                                          baloney RE: sarahbeths Jul 12, 2012 04:34 PM

                                          You can get coffee in a bowl at Le Zinque in Venice.

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