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HELP requested - NY hound in for a long weekend, group dinners to plan!

Hello again LA hounds!

Given the wonderful help from here for my previous trip this year, I thought I'd try again! Last time we were only two, and tried Red Medicine, Ink, Gjelina (partially), and Huckleberry.

Some parameters:
> Staying in Venice, coordinating with friends near K-town for some part of the weekend
> Group size varies from 3 at the outset on Friday to 6 and 8 at peak and back to 3 by Monday
> Couple of foodies mixed in with non-foodies (not picky though), food needs to be yummy but not always fancy

Reservations so far, with # of people at the meal:
> Fri lunch (3): tbd, need something easy and Venice-area
> Fri dinner (5-6): have a rez at Baco Mercat, Pizzeria Mozza, and Osteria Mozza -- need to decide
> Sat lunch/brunch (6): have Pizzeria Mozza booked in case we don't go on Friday
> Sat dinner: Sunny Spot
> Sun lunch & dinner (7-8): tbd (have a dinner rez at Gjelina as backup)
> Mon lunch (3) & dinner (5): tbd

Questions and dilemmas:
> Pizzeria or Osteria Mozza, or both on different days?
> Gjelina or Tasting Kitchen in AK? (we tried the salads at G last time, but they messed up the order and we had to leave before our pizzas so we could make the flight)
> Superba worth a visit / rez for one of the meals? Fri lunch maybe?
> Baco Mercat - how best to fit it in? I thought we could grab lunch there on Friday or Monday, but the menu beyond the bacos looks amazing...
> Someone recommended Axe, Piccolo, and MB Post - thoughts?

Anything missing we should add?

Thank you so much in advance!

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  1. tacos puntas cabras for a quick taco stop.

    You should also add something in koreatown; this will help: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/918747

    1. Baco is good for lunch or dinner or brunch, it does not matter but for your group size you might want a reservation, especially if you decide for brunch. The biscuits and gravy for brunch is pretty tasty.

      1. MB post is really great. As good or (probably) better than any other place you have on your list. Even the non-picky, non-foodies will like.

        Superba is also very good.

        Sunny Spot? Not sure about that one. Roy's stuff has mostly been average-to-bad (despite the hype) since the early days of Kogi.
        Pizzeria Mozza is nothing (especially for a NYer), Osteria Mozza and chi Spacca are both better choices.

        Baco Mercat/Bar Ama/Orsa & Winston - all are owned by the same creative, inventive chef in slightly different environments, and at least one is worth your time.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Ciao Bob

          "Sunny Spot? Not sure about that one. Roy's stuff has mostly been average-to-bad (despite the hype) since the early days of Kogi.
          Pizzeria Mozza is nothing (especially for a NYer), Osteria Mozza and chi Spacca are both better choices."

          Agree quite a bit with this.

          Actually, the Kogi trucks still taste pretty good to me. I'd go there over Sunny Spot. Or maybe even to his new Chego location.

          I can't imagine NYer's being super thrilled by Pizzeria Mozza either... It's funny, the place must be on every tourist's list to go to, but it hardly seems like it would make a top 25 (probably not even top 50) list if I were to come up with one when visiting LA for food.

          1. re: Ciao Bob

            Skip Sunny Spot. I really like A-Frame.

            1. re: Ciao Bob

              completely concur with Ciao Bob about sunny spot.
              imho, it's just not good enough to be thought of as a destination restaurant.

            2. Bestia
              Son of A Gun
              animal
              Petty Cash
              Sotto
              Salt Air

              17 Replies
              1. re: Ciao Bob

                Pettycash? Really?...

                God... if someone came to LA and that's the only taco they ate... that's the kind of horror story that keeps me up at night.

                It is seriously tragic to mention that pretentious POS eatery in the same list as Bestia, Son of a Gun, Animal, and Sotto.

                1. re: Stravinsky

                  Yes, really.
                  Not for you...maybe not for me. But it seems to fit the OP's sort of vibe.
                  If she seemed more into chow-for-chow sake I would send the OP to many, many other places for Mexican food. She has other needs.

                  1. re: Ciao Bob

                    That seems rather insulting to the OP's tastes...

                    The only people who fit in at Pettycash are clueless scene-eaters from Bev Hills/West Hollywood who think they are being "adventurous" by venturing East of Fairfax to try something "exotic" like "carnitas".

                    FFS, at least you could direct them to La Otra Escuela Taqueria. It's in the same area, slightly less pretentious, about half the price for better executed food, and they at least offer some unique stuff, like diced pork chops in tacos, that you actually might not find elsewhere.

                    1. re: Stravinsky

                      Look at the OP's itinerary so far. Look at the lack of low key/1 dollar sign places.

                      1. re: ns1

                        So? Doesn't mean you have to recommend a place that specializes only in ripping off diners without a clue...

                        This is Chowhound, isn't it? Is it not presumed that people coming here for some help have at least a modicum of taste, and are generally concerned with their dining experience at a deeper level than "Is the place popular? Is it glitzy? Is it expensive?"

                        1. re: Stravinsky

                          y'know, when you presume, you make a pres out of u and me...

                            1. re: Stravinsky

                              This is Chowhound, isn't it? Is it not presumed that people coming here for some help have at least a modicum of taste, and are generally concerned with their dining experience at a deeper level than "Is the place popular? Is it glitzy? Is it expensive?"
                              -----------------------------------------

                              You could presume that, yes. But history shows that is not the case.

                              re: petty cash
                              You hate it, but (some) trusted food critics love it.

                              1. re: ns1

                                I know.

                                It's things like that that make believe food critics get paid off at least sometimes...

                                1. re: Stravinsky

                                  Most of them are people who graduated from journalism school and make $40,000 per year. Just because you are willing to work for that salary does not mean that you know anything about food. It just means that you are a decent writer.

                                  Having said that, there are some excellent food critics like Jonathan Gold, Dave Lieberman (he is a tech guy during the day) and Gustavo Arellano.

                                  1. re: matthewlcohen

                                    and the qualifications for rendering an opinion on chowhound are?

                                    1. re: linus

                                      An ego that knows no bounds? ::snort:: ;)

                                      1. re: linus

                                        I'm not saying that anyone here is any better, but holding up journalists as fonts of wisdom is not very useful.

                            2. re: Stravinsky

                              No insult intended. But I defer to you, Stravinsky - you seem to be more of a specialist in insulting than I.

                              1. re: Ciao Bob

                                Pettycash deserves every insult that it is hurled at it.

                        2. " Fri dinner (5-6): have a rez at Baco Mercat, Pizzeria Mozza, and Osteria Mozza -- need to decide "

                          Not even close. Go to Bäco Mercat! Or I'll haunt your dreams for eternity!

                          Ok, fine, I am biased here. But I would say Bäco is light years beyond the Mozza's. It's creative, exciting, unique, and the most "LA" restaurant in LA in terms of cuisine. You can get pizza and pasta any time can't you?

                          The menu beyond the Bäco's btw IS AMAZING! Make sure you order as many vegetable dishes as possible! DO NOT MISS THE BABY BEET SALAD! (Or the cauliflower, the carrots, or the eggplant...)

                          If you go early try to order the saffron-honey chicken. They only do 1-2 a night, but if you're lucky enough to get it, you can thank me later for the tip ;) The pork porterhouse, or coffee-rubbed rib chop at by no means poor consolation plates if you miss it though.

                          The other small plates change pretty often, but try to get whatever version of quail is being done...and whatever the server recommends really! (Hopefully you get Jenn!)

                          Also, my most recent visit to Osteria Mozza was awful. The food was ok, but the service was horrific. I almost chipped a tooth on a cherry pit in the dessert. Dessert was not comped... and I was handed a legal form to fill out while in a massive amount of pain. One of the worst dining experiences of my life.

                          Pizzeria Mozza is a bit better. But if you MUST go to a Mozza locale, consider Chi Spacca! It's almost entirely meat on the menu though, so if you aren't really into meat, then perhaps not... otherwise, seriously consider making that your Mozza-empire stop. Chad Colby is very talented, butchers his own meat, and makes it sing (both cured, and alla griglia).

                          In Venice...you should try Superba over Gjelina or Tasting Kitchen in my opinion. I also want to recommend Willie Jane, but I have yet to go (I think I will be going tonight actually!) It looks much more interesting than either of those places to be honest.

                          I would make Superba your Friday lunch. Unless you want to do something even simpler. What about Cafe Gratitude? It's a slight "chain", but honestly, the I Am Whole bowl there is one of the most pleasurable gustatory experiences I've ever had, and you will feel very good after eating it. The place is vegan, though I am not. I'd say it's worth a try if you've never been. It's a pleasant atmosphere, too.

                          Why are you set on/how did you come by Pizzeria Mozza and Sunny Spot recs?

                          I would honestly try to just get some pizzas from Mozza for lunch on Saturday if you MUST try it.

                          I would say somewhere you absolutely should go for lunch/brunch on Sat/Sun is Salt's Cure. Order the All Star (bacon, sausage, eggs, biscuit, oatmeal griddle cakes). It will change how you view a plate of breakfast food forever.

                          Other dinners: would seriously recommend hitting Animal if you never have. I would entirely skip Gjelina. Last time you tried Ink and Red Medicine, it seems like Animal kind of completes the trifecta in that area of "must try" places.

                          MB Post is certainly worth going to.

                          What types of food would you be interested in trying?

                          Interested in coffee shop recommendations, or other stops in between meals?

                          Let's see what your tentative schedule looks like so far:

                          Friday Lunch: Cafe Gratitude/Superba Snack Bar.
                          Friday Dinner: Bäco Mercat.

                          Saturday Lunch: Pizzeria Mozza.
                          Saturday Dinner: Sunny Spot

                          Sunday Brunch: Salt's Cure.
                          Sunday Dinner: Animal.

                          Monday Lunch:
                          Monday Dinner:

                          Monday is still open, so let's see if there is anything in particular that would fit your bill.

                          Personally, I'd say do something "really LA" like go to Guerilla Tacos on Monday for lunch!

                          Perhaps to supplement Osteria Mozza, a dinner at the new Bucato, masters of pasta and bread in Culver City?

                          Edit:

                          To be fair, this is petty focused on "high end" dining. LA has a ton of truly awesome "low end" dining, especially in its various ethnic categories. Are you interested in dining at those places at all?

                          For example, a dinner at Ruen Pair, a stop at Leo's Tacos, Breakfast at Taqueria Los Anaya, dinner at Park's BBQ (Korean), perhaps an adventure into the San Gabriel Valley or two?

                          I was somewhat basing recommendations on your previous trip, but maybe you'd like to experience a different side of LA altogether?

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: Stravinsky

                            Parks BBQ is definitely not low end dining.....

                            1. I thought that the service was fine at Osteria in LA. The food just lacked any soul. It was well executed but everything was missing something. It's hard to get chefs who know how to cook Italian in LA.

                              I can certainly believe that someone missed a cherry pit. Having done it, I can confirm that it's a mighty tedious task pitting cherries.

                              For pastas, I like the original Terroni. Some dishes at Angelini are good as well.

                              1. re: matthewlcohen

                                Where is the original Terroni actually? Adelaide?

                                I guess you wouldn't say chefs at Bestia, Bucato, Chi Spacca, etc... really cook Italian, would you?

                                I'm sort of ruined. I think I like LA-Italian more than Italian-Italian hah

                                1. re: Stravinsky

                                  Original Terroni
                                  7605 Beverly Blvd
                                  Los Angeles

                                  The pastas at Bestia look Italian. The rest of the menu is a combination of gastropub and shock food. Which is fine, of course.

                                  To be honest, I'm a little tired of schlepping to LA for disappointing Italian meals. I'll try Bestia eventually but I'm not in any particular hurry.

                                  Your perspective on driving 4 hours round trip to eat pasta changes when you finally figure out how to make it. Getting that last 5% takes a lot of practice (and a few trips to Italy).

                                  Congrats on surviving the f bomb posting :-)

                                  1. re: matthewlcohen

                                    Really, that's the original one? Weird.

                                    Disappointing Italian meals? Wow... I only seem to have mind-blowing ones, or at least really good ones.

                                    Maybe because I am not into super authentic Italian?

                                    Where have you been disappointed?

                                    Maybe if I could make pasta I would think less of them...but alas...I cannot =/