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Jan 27, 2014 12:45 PM

Chowhound or Cuisinepoodle?

Like many here, I've been around this board since the Usenet days. Is it just me or has it gotten more and more elitist over the years? I always thought that part of the "chow" aesthetic was finding great food _at a great value_. Hence the déclassé name. But the frequency with which posts like "NY Hound coming to LA for one day, where should I go?" now receive answers like "Urasawa" (as opposed to, say, "Tommy's") freaks me out. Is it just that hounds have done well for themselves over the years and/or have big expense accounts? Is money (like drive time) no object? This is not meant to troll; it's a genuine philosophical question.

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  1. When a diner asks for suggestions w/o a budget, it is best to just respond with the highest price option you can think of until the original poster realizes the error in his/her ways.

    6 Replies
    1. re: ns1

      ns1, it honestly didn't occur to me that a lot of those replies might be facetious. I obviously need to have my sarcasm filter cleaned or replaced!

      1. re: jesstifer


        "Where do I go eat in NYC?"
        - "I hear Per Se is good"

        "Where do I go to eat in LA?"
        - "I hear Urasawa is good"

        "Where do I eat in SF?"
        - "I hear French Laundry is good"

        you get the jist ;)

        1. re: ns1

          I'm gonna disagree that the "majority" of posts suggesting places like Urasawa are facetious. There's little doubt that this board features its fair share or moneyed folks who have no problem dropping serious bank on meals.

          Sadly, I'm not one of them. For PLU, there's the SGV and all it has to offer, taco trucks, some solid delis, etc.

          1. re: JeMange

            I won't speak for others, only myself ^_^

            1. re: ns1

              I guess I read too much into the previous posts - I'm the only one here who used the word "majority." My bad.

            2. re: JeMange

              I actually don't think a lot of those responses are being sarcastic, either. However, some of the blame also needs to fall on the OP (not the OP of this thread but the OP of threads described below).

              I'm fairly new around here (was lurking for awhile b/f posting), but I do have to say that posts where the OP writes, "Here for a day. Where do I eat?" w/ NO other information (such as "willing [or not] to drive" or "here's my budget" or "here's the kind of food I'd like to eat") are quite frankly annoying b/c then we're left to guess what the OP wants.

              When I posted on the London (or is it Europe?) board, I was very specific w/ details. And I got very useful responses. I think the same hold true for the LA board. When someone gives a budget, a lot of posters will chime in if they think recs are over budget.

              And sometimes, even when posters try to clarify, the OP gives a vague response. When people don't clarify what they want, you kind of assume they're really not interested in food....

              When I give recs that are kind of expensive (IMO), I state this. And when I give a rec that's a bit of a drive, I also state this (esp when the OP makes it clear that they're not from here).

              As for the lack of finding new, fresh places, I can only speak for myself.... I work long hrs, and I'm exhausted when I get back home. I like to read what other people recommend b/c I don't have a lot of time to drive to random places only to have mediocre food. If I had more time, I'd have no problem exploring....

              But I think your question/observation also just reflects how LA in general is changing....

              As for Yelp, I find it useful in aggregate, but the overly self-referential, trying-too-hard-to-be-hip-and-witty style that the site seems to cultivate just makes me cringe while reading. ::shrug::

      2. I always interpret these answers as being a little facetious because the OP usually doesn't list a price point or any restrictions, so people just say places they would go if money didn't matter.

        I haven't been here as long as you, but I always thought this place was for a discussion of good food no matter the price.
        That being said, the posts and places I'm most interested in are the hole in the wall little known cheap places.

        I still wouldn't send anyone to Tommy's unless I didn't like them very much, though.

        10 Replies
        1. re: Butter Fight

          If you don't like Tommy's I am really worried about you.

          1. re: bringiton

            Worry then, as I find it pretty darned gross as well.

              1. re: JAB

                +3 (I used to love Tommy's when I was younger too)

                1. re: ns1

                  I hope Linus doesn't get jealous.

            1. re: bringiton

              Another dissenter of Tommy's here. But I never say never.

              1. re: bringiton

                You've got a world of worry, because Tommy's is at the bottom of the LA food chain.

              2. The first place I want to send out of towners is Langer's or Ricky's Fish Tacos. Whenever I travel I look for the best food at the best price.

                1 Reply
                1. re: wienermobile

                  When I was going to London I posted on Chowhound "Looking for Good Eats and Cheap Eats with teenagers" and I got 100 replies and had some great meals.

                  1. re: jefpen2

                    Right. Very interesting the direction the comments on that topic took. It became about whether or not to let Chowhound guide you to restaurants or not. To which I say, "Wait...what?"

                  2. You and Mr. T. need to talk:


                    Personally, I find the lack of exploration and trail blazing more concerning than the big budget responses. Those big time recs were around even back in the day. Many times, threads discussing/reporting on the low budget hole in the wall finds get ignored for the bigger flashier names. The community as a whole has changed.

                    As much crap as Yelp gets, it's great for locating new and interesting hole in the wall places. Just google "best X in Y city". You'll get a huge list of places not discussed here and sorting through the photos, you can usually figure out what's going to be good and worth trying and what's not.

                    16 Replies
                    1. re: Porthos

                      Thanks, not sure how I missed that thread. Especially relevant is this from Jim Leff's post regarding his Manifesto:

                      'We never aimed for this to be a "cheap eats" site, and I've been pleased that it didn't turn into one. When Ducasse (most expensive restaurant in NYC at the time) opened, we had several reports the very next morning...from the same people who'd been scouting tacos and knishes. Deliciousness is deliciousness, and we aim to chart the full spectrum.'

                      In that spirit, the umpteenth discussion of Urasawa is absolutely within the site's scope. I just get the feeling--and maybe I'm wrong--that the overall weight of posts and comments on the site has shifted over time toward the $$$$ end. Not that one can't find posts about Carney's or Ricky's or the new hole in the wall that just opened around the corner, but they seem to be fewer and farther between.

                      1. re: jesstifer

                        Not that one can't find posts about Carney's or Ricky's or the new hole in the wall that just opened around the corner, but they seem to be fewer and farther between.
                        And that is where you, the individual Hound, come in! :-)

                        1. re: jesstifer

                          Yes, but how much of this is a reflection of LA in general? There's lots of cheap eats in the SGV, but they come and go so quickly that only David can keep track of them. Are cheap places opening up in Santa Monica? If they are, I'm not hearing about it (or even seeing it for myself, aside from TPC). =(

                          Also, what is "cheap"? Even a relatively small sub at Jersey Mike's is $7. For the quality of the food, I don't find that to be particularly cheap. I really like Layla's in Brentwood (and have posted about it), but you can easily blow $20/person there. To me, that's relatively affordable, but definitely not "cheap." Add in dietary issues for some people (meaning no Carney's or Ricky's) and the fact that high-quality, farm-to-table, yadda, yadda, yadaa, is very "in" right now, and I think that explains some of the change that you're seeing.

                          Also, food is a relatively affordable luxury. The economy is still crap, so people don't have much discretionary income for things that are "truly" expensive. You may not be able to buy a Bentley, but you might able to save up enough to eat at Urasawa once in your life (I haven't, but that doesn't bother me so much).

                          1. re: ilysla

                            It doesn't have to be a newly minted restaurant. Maybe it's that place you've driven by every single day on the way back from work. There are so many established hole in the walls out there serving the local population for years or decades. Just unknown here to CH.

                            Someone the other day posted on a restaurant they tried just because they were stopped at a stop light and noticed a sign for good eats. I thought that was awesome.

                            1. re: Porthos

                              On a somewhat unrelated note, some of the "established," cheaper places I've liked have disappeared. =( I really liked one place in the old Century City mall food court that had good spanikopita. My parents would occasionally take me there when I was young. I didn't move to the westside until recently, and I remember being terribly excited about being so close to the mall. I went there seeking the food stall, only to discover that the mall had gone all upscale on me. It was horribly disappointing. =(

                              Loved the chinese-food place across the street from the Edwards theater in Alhambra (Main and Atlantic? Next to car wash). The inside was SO dingy and outdated, but they had great guo-tieh. Place disappeared unexpectedly when that whole area underwent a renovation a few yrs ago.

                              Perhaps I just like the places that don't have any customers.... ::sigh::

                            2. re: ilysla

                              I think all you can do is report your experience. If you are clear about what you had and how much it cost, the reader can make his own decision.

                              1. re: sr44

                                Agreed.... But sometimes posters aren't telling people what they paid (at least, not initially)....

                              2. re: ilysla

                                what is TPC?
                                I am really sick of acronym-speak instead of words!

                                1. re: VenusCafe

                                  I'm not quite sure but I believe its Tacos Punta Cabras.

                                  1. re: VenusCafe

                                    I punish those that use that speak by not replying ;-)

                                    1. re: VenusCafe

                                      Oh Venus, you and me both. WT*, OMG, and the like just leaves me cold. Why do we have to guess what the poster is saying about the restaurant or some restaurant.
                                      I've got to see if there is a rant page for us.

                                      1. re: Hughlipton

                                        I wonder where you draw the line? Is NYC ok? I only learned NOLA recently, and had to ask, but use it all the time now. What about AIDS? Is FYI ok? Is ok okay?

                                        You can always ask.

                                        1. re: jesstifer

                                          Ask??? No, that would require too much effort.... ;)

                                2. re: Porthos

                                  I know what you mean. I am still waiting for some local hounds to get to M&T Seafood Village...

                                  posted almost four weeks ago…

                                  but already on Yelp...