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Foodie weekend for mom and daughter and need help!

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I am planning a "foodie" trip to Los Angeles with my mother, with the only entertainment break being Iris Cirque de Soleil. Here is our itinerary: Thursday we will be driving into Los Angeles/Beverly Hills and we would like to have a simple lunch, but still something memorable. We are having dinner at Saam at the Bazaar that evening. The next day we both want dim sum, so we chose Bao. Then at 3:00 we are going to Cirque and have dinner plans at Providence afterward. In the morning our plan was to go to Bouchon for brunch because I can get some bakery goodies to take home to my husband and four-year old. So with all that being said, where should we eat for lunch on Thursday? Also, are there better choices to be made?

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  1. Pizzeria Mozza

    1. A casual lunch on the patio of Ivy on Robertson would be nice. They have very good salads and pizza and a famous Ivy gimlet.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Thor123

        I have been to the Ivy several times with girlfiends and it sure is a fun place to "people watch." However, my mom is more into food and I would consider theirs to be just average, but thanks for the idea.

      2. I second Pizzeria Mozza for a Thursday lunch. The Ivy on Robertson is a nice place to sit outside if you want to absorb that kind of LA scene (and nothing against those who do), but its not really a "foodie" destination. If your "memorable" lunch has to be in Beverly Hills, I'd go to Spago, which is usually good despite the fact that its so famous.

        In terms of better choices, if you're making a serious "foodie" pilgrimage to Los Angeles, I'd go the extra distance to the San Gabriel Valley for early Friday dim sum. I like Elite, but you can search the boards for various options. And for Saturday brunch, I'd go to Campanile on LaBrea - which is a lovely setting (sit in the front near the fountain), excellent food, and adjacent to the LaBrea Bakery for sublime take-out pastries. Save Bouchon for the next time you go to Napa...

        25 Replies
        1. re: Omniverous

          Spago has closed until September for a major remodel and new menu.

          1. re: wienermobile

            Oh...its about time on the remodel. In that case, I still second Pizzeria Mozza for a Thursday lunch but if you want to be closer to Beverly Hills in the memorable/foodie/mother-in-tow categories, consider Lucques or Matsuhisa too. Also, its not really in the foodie category per se but in terms of a "simple" Beverly Hills lunch, its hard to beat a chopped salad at La Scala.

            1. re: Omniverous

              Since we don't want to fill up too much before our dinner that evening, we will probably just split some appetizers and a salad. Would you say that Pizzeria Mozza would still be the place to go for lunch? If so what would you suggest?

              1. re: wineanddine2nite

                You can split a pizza, or order appetizers. Everything is wonderful. Make sure you save some room for their Butterscotch budino with sea salt & rosemary pine nut cookies, you won't be sorry.

                1. re: wienermobile

                  I have read on Kevineats and other blogs about the budino, it will be a must! What appetizers would you suggest? My mom will want the bone marrow app, is it good here?

                  1. re: wineanddine2nite

                    nancy's chopped salad and the squash blossoms are bomb. pizza-wise, they're all good, but i'm partial to the sausage & fennel one...

                    and the budino is to die for, so it's absolutely a must...

                    1. re: mikkel obe

                      Their Mozzarella di bufala , tomato, Genovese basil & extra virgin olive oil pizza with the BIANCO DINAPOLI POMODORO is amazing.

                      1. re: mikkel obe

                        I was thinking the squash blossoms sounded amazing, thanks for the confirmation. I will definitly order them.

            2. re: Omniverous

              So you would suggest Elite over Bao? I saw that they open at 10am so that would make the trip a possibility. I know that this will sound lame, but I also hesitated going because looking at their menu online, nothing is in English. How do you know what to order?

              As for Campanile, I did look at their menu and what they were missing that is a must for a brunch with my mom is the seafood portion, especially the oysters.

              1. re: wineanddine2nite

                As someone who's been to both Bao and Elite (and many San Gabriel Valley places...and Hong Kong, lol), Bao is good, but there's really no comparison to the SGV if you're on a "foodie" trip to LA. There are no dim sum ladies/carts at Elite and the menus include photographs to point towards...but if you want dim sum without the inconvenience of the language barriers that accompany a restaurant full of Chinese immigrants, then you're better off at Bao. And its closer.

                Re. Mozza, if you want a light lunch, bone marrow and budinos are not your friends. A light lunch is one of you ordering a chopped salad and the other ordering the squash blossom/burrata pizza, and then picking up a couple of rosemary/pinoli cookies at their take-out shop next door on your way out.

                Have fun!

                1. re: wineanddine2nite

                  Concur with Omniverous. If you don't want to deal with L.A. traffic (I'm not sure what the drive would be like on a Friday morning from the Beverly Hills/West Hollywood/Hollywood to SGV), Bao is the only dim sum place I would consider west of the 110.

                  It won't be as good or as cheap as Elite (or Sea Harbour, the other top rec for dim sum), but all but a half dozen dim sum are $3.95 a plate for lunch, and they have happy hour all day at the bar with a handful of dishes further discounted to $2.95.

                  The rest of the weekend sounds excellent! IRIS is a great show.

                  Since your mom likes seafood, for Thursday lunch how about Son of a Gun for simple yet memorable? And if you or your mom get peckish late at night, Red Medicine is open to 2 AM every night. :-)

                  1. re: wineanddine2nite

                    If you are staying in Century City/Beverly Hills, Clementine is a great bakery and cafe to fill in the holes (closed Sunday).

                    Don't bother with Chinese if you don't have time to drive to SGV. The meal will be wasted locally.

                    Mozza is a great choice but order with caution; there are a lot of heavy dishes and desserts are crazy huge. The chopped salad is quite large and filling. I'd suggest a single appetizer and one or two pizzas. Split a dessert or cookies from the "to go."

                    1. re: wineanddine2nite

                      Dim sum at Elite on Friday morning won't take that long a drive. It's a straight shot along the 10 to Atlantic, so you are probably talking about 30 minutes back and forth. If you want dim sum, go there. As JudiAU says, don't waste your time and money at Bao.

                      Also, Elite has a menu with photos of the items and an English-language order form. I have never had trouble ordering there.

                      1. re: Jwsel

                        The same goes for Sea Harbour. Menu in english with photos of each item. Just check off what you want and the dim sum starts flying out.

                        1. re: wienermobile

                          Everyone seems to feel very strong about going to SGV for dim sum, I do believe we will have to change our plans and make the trip. Although I will miss having a martini, I think the loss will be outweighed by the overall food experience. I can't wait.

                          1. re: wienermobile

                            Do places like Elite or Sea Habour take reservations or is it first come first served?

                            1. re: wineanddine2nite

                              The only time I can recall Elite ever taking a reservation was for a large birthday party held on the patio. If you get there at 11 or so, you should not have much of a wait (if any).

                              One nice thing about Elite and Sea Harbour for dim sum is that you have access to all of their dim sum at all times. Some cart restaurants have less selection on weekends and less busy times.

                              1. re: wineanddine2nite

                                First come first serve. Sea Harbour opens at 10 am on weekends and 10:30 during the week. Lines start on weekends around 9:45 and everyone gets right in when the doors open. The long wait starts really growing after 11am and Sundays are even busier. Go early,
                                http://www.laweekly.com/2011-11-10/ea...

                                1. re: wienermobile

                                  This will be my first time having dim sum, no I dont get out that often and I live in a city where good food in general is hard to come by. What items are a must when it comes to dim sum?

                                  1. re: wineanddine2nite

                                    Order what sounds good to you. You could start simple with their BBQ pork buns, streamed shrimp dumplings, scallop dumplings and then get a little more adventurous with oxtail noodles and my favorite salty egg yolk buns and more (see link below).
                                    http://exilekiss.blogspot.com/2008/05...

                                2. re: wineanddine2nite

                                  Just make sure you know if you want to order tea before you are seated.

                                  1. re: chezwhitey

                                    I have read this before, what does this mean because it seems that this is when errors are made as a customer. It seems pretty simple, just say yes or no?

                                    1. re: wineanddine2nite

                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/853113

                                    2. re: chezwhitey

                                      Now, now. Let us not open the "Richard Noggin" debate again for our new guest... lol

                                      1. re: Servorg

                                        Jasmine tea it is!

                          2. Final decision...
                            After speaking with my mom we have decided to cancel our reservations at Bao and go to the SGV and eat at Sea Harbour.
                            Also, we have decided to do a light lunch at Pizzeria Mozza when we drive into Beverly Hills on Thursday.
                            Thanks for all your help!