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Who Wants to Attend an Incredible Chowmeet at Clusi Batusi in May???

Gauging interest levels...

I cannot give any Chowmeet details on this board, due to Chowhound guidelines - see guideline http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3676...

Any Hound who is so inclined or interested to attend needs to email me at:


... so I can email you back with details. One detail I CAN tell you is that there are limited spaces for this event - First come first serve.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Thanks again for setting it up.

    1. J.L. did a great job here. Very detailed proposed menu available when you email. Respond as quickly as you can -- this promises to be a great dinner for those who appreciate the food and the intimate, exclusive show event.

      1 Reply
      1. re: nosh

        Very kind words... Thank you.

        1. Sorry in advance if I can't answer your emails right away... This darn 9-5 gig I have gets in the way of my Chowhounding too much


          3 Replies
          1. re: J.L.

            Then tell nosh not to get our hopes up by saying how great the menu is! ;)

            Cost is likely the only factor for me since I am (always) in $-conserving mode, but I eagerly await details. =)

            1. re: ilysla

              I sent you an email. Didn't you receive it?

              1. re: J.L.

                Got it. =)

                Now, I must take some time to think.... Does sound absolutely lovely, though.

          2. Can't you at least give a date, or approximate date or dates being considered? The last chow meet had a post with the date and everything!

            5 Replies
            1. re: Dirtywextraolives

              Believe me DWEO, I would LOOOOOVE to give you (and all the other Hounds) the details right here on this site, but blame it on the ChowMods for instituting these rules which say that we have to go OFFSITE to plan these things.


              Shoot me an email at the email address I gave you in the OP, and I'll be happy to give you the 411.

              1. re: J.L.

                It's totally fine to post the date and time here. We can even edit it into the original post if you'd like.

                1. re: J.L.

                  Are you going to post a date and time, now that CH says it's ok?

              2. Yay! Just sent you an RSVP.

                1. Have fun guys! I would go but we are caring for a Puppy now that keeps or dining options Al Fresco :D


                  15 Replies
                    1. re: ilysla

                      Really! I thought this was a private room thing?


                      1. re: Dommy

                        I don't think they *have* a private room. It's pretty small inside (the seating area, at least).

                        1. re: Dommy

                          I have arranged it so that we have the run of the place that day, both indoor and out...

                      2. re: Dommy

                        ilysla is right: There is a small front outdoor seating area at Clusi Batusi. (For your consideration)

                        1. re: J.L.

                          Yes. So we can smoke a few Cubano stogies mid meal if you will.

                          1. re: kevin

                            B/c nothing says Tuscan meal like a cigar on the patio under the heat lamps next to a Chinese joint. ;)

                            1. re: ilysla

                              Ok. I stand corrected.

                              At this piece point, we might as well have taken over Valentino for The evening. :)

                        2. re: Dommy

                          Um, Dommy! according to this (yelp) photo, dogs are excluded from the patio.

                          1. re: vickie2172

                            And the place is actually named after a cat.

                            1. re: Ciao Bob

                              Well, it's not like the cat's actually present on the premises.... ;)

                            2. re: vickie2172

                              Yep! Although the relatively recent LA County Law allowing dogs on the patio is a wonderful thing, It's always up to the owners discresion on if Dogs are allowed in the Patio.... I struck out at Aqui es Texcoco yesterday too...LOL!! I always call ahead just to make sure! :D


                              1. re: Dommy

                                So you didn't end up eating at Texcoco? I'm thinking about going on Sunday.

                                1. re: JAB

                                  Sadly yes. We'll have to do take out one of these days instead. Looking forward to your report back!!


                                  1. re: Dommy

                                    I'm really looking forward to Aqui es Texcoco too!

                          2. Please post a date and time. Sounds like fun.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: JeMange

                              Yes, post the date. Interested but swamped in May.

                            2. Hello Gang,

                              At this point, I'm pretty far into planning this shindig offsite from Chowhound. It would just add to the complexity if I were to post the date/time of the event now on this board (i.e. it would open up yet another front which I'd have to answer to.)

                              For now, simply email me at the provided address, so I can provide details, address questions and make arrangements.

                              Thanks for your understanding!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: J.L.

                                Ok. No worries. Sounds dope.

                                And thanks again for setting up to The proverbial plate.

                              2. Thanks to everyone for their enthusiatic responses!


                                I still have a few spaces left for this event, and will also be taking names to be put on a WAITING LIST, in case anyone on the official guest list decides to back out.

                                Please email clusibatusichowmeet@yahoo.com for further info.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: J.L.

                                  J.L. Thanks for all your time and energy with this!

                                2. What's going on with this event? I emailed & haven't heard back.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Kate is always hungry

                                    Sorry, I've been a bit busy in my life outside CH. We are still on. I will email you in the next 24 hrs.

                                    The event is still coming up!!!

                                    Thank for your understanding.

                                    1. re: J.L.

                                      Thanks! Hope all is well. Looking forward to hearing from you! :)

                                  2. UPDATE: We are still on! Getting the final touches on how each guest can pay for the event. Will have news for you all this week sometime.

                                    Thanks for your patience - Aside from the restaurant, I'm organizing this all by my lonesome, so please bear with me.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: J.L.

                                      PayPal? Although I've never had to do anything like this myself, so....

                                      Thanks for organizing!

                                      1. re: J.L.

                                        Thanks J.L.
                                        Looking forward to it!

                                      2. Hello gang, this is a public service announcement for this event.

                                        We are in the final phases of getting ready. If you've expressed interest, then please check your respective emails. Thanks!

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: J.L.

                                          Hey uh, sent a email last week and didn't get a response :[. I didn't bother to spam your email or here about it as you are obviously busy. If there's still time as I don't know the date, let me know so I can sent another email or just wish you a joyous meal :p

                                          1. re: polldeldiablo

                                            Sorry if you haven't received an email yet - I thought I replied to everybody at this point. It is NOT too late. I will send you another email now...

                                            Sorry - I'm not an event planner by profession, so please bear with me...

                                            Oh, wait a minute here. I don't see your email in my inbox. Please resend me your email address to clusibatusichowmeet@yahoo.com so I can email you the details. Thanks.

                                            1. re: J.L.

                                              Looking forward to seeing everyone while enjoying an interesting dinner on Monday evening!

                                        2. Hi, J.L.:

                                          Just sent a message to the meet e-mail address and wanted to make sure it had been rec'd....

                                          5 Replies
                                            1. re: J.L.

                                              It didn't come through, and it's not in my spam box. =(

                                              If you feel it's appropriate to hint at a response here, is it okay or not okay?

                                              1. re: ilysla

                                                It's fine. How many in your party?

                                          1. i never received a email this past week,i rsvp awhile ago

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: yogacat

                                              Thanks for your message! I will email you in 1 hour.

                                            2. Wish I'd known about this sooner. I got on to CH too late.

                                              9 Replies
                                              1. re: FoodShutterbug

                                                This has been up for a couple of months now.

                                                1. re: kevin

                                                  I only started lurking on CH today. Buon appetito to those who go!

                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                      Thanks Kevin.

                                                      Will you be having a meet at Kiriko afterwards?

                                                          1. re: jessejames

                                                            My mistake :p just started CH today and skimming thru threads too quickly:( Buon appetitto to all -- I've had the pizzas, uni pasta and desserts at Clusi and it's all good! I'll go on my own for off the menu red snapper or lobster.

                                                      1. re: FoodShutterbug

                                                        Do you mean you only started posting on CH today? If you know about kevin and his Kiriko (tamagoyaki) fixation, then you've been lurking for a while, I think...

                                                        Also, kevin is not attending this event.

                                                        1. re: TheOffalo

                                                          @Offalo -- Only started reading the Clusi threads today. Would be nice to hear an update on Kiriko on another thread, though. I've never been there, but a budding food writer and acquaintance was hardly flattering about the dishes she had there earlier this year. #hazedonthefirstdayonch

                                                  1. We are down to the last spot in the event. Whoever gets their pre-payment in next gets this last seat.

                                                    After that, we are sold out.

                                                    Thanks for everyone's interest in this Chowmeet!!!

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: J.L.

                                                      guess I shouldn't have waited until the last day to pay =X

                                                      I keep getting this damn answering machine.

                                                      1. re: ns1

                                                        It looks like they re-open at 5:30PM....

                                                        1. re: ns1

                                                          ....and I just paid for myself +1 @ 4:32pm

                                                          Hope ya'll don't mind me drinking low-brow wine. I don't mind sharing though ;)

                                                          1. re: ns1

                                                            Two buck chuck ??????

                                                            That's the good stufff.

                                                      2. Thanks ns1 - You got in just under the wire!

                                                        ... OK then, our event is set!

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: J.L.

                                                          I never got the email regarding method of payment from you, I sent 2 emails wednesday and thursday :[. I can only guess that my email was acting up and you didn't receive them or I didn't receive your return email regarding payment, Either way since it's obviously full now, I hope everyone enjoys it!

                                                          1. re: polldeldiablo

                                                            I sent emails with details to you twice. I feel bad we couldnt connect. :-(

                                                            Next time hopefully the meet will allow more Chowhounds to attend.

                                                            1. re: J.L.

                                                              Paella, I'm just saying. ;>)

                                                              1. re: J.L.

                                                                Yeah I figured it was a email problem(I should switch from Yahoo), it's not your fault, regardless enjoy!

                                                          2. Send me details. Maybe waitlist?

                                                            1. Just got home from the dinner (have an early morning tomorrow). It was a spectacular feast, and the company was wonderful. Many thanks to J.L. for organizing!

                                                              4 Replies
                                                              1. re: ilysla

                                                                Was our international man of mystery himself there? When he was first organizing he was claiming (kidding?) he might not be able to make his own event.

                                                                1. re: TheOffalo

                                                                  I assume you mean J.L. and not kevin? ;)

                                                                  Yes, he was. And if kevin was there, he kept himself anonymous....

                                                                  1. re: ilysla

                                                                    Yes, I meant J.L.

                                                                    At Bucato, kevin reiterated he was not going. He had another event to attend.

                                                                2. re: ilysla

                                                                  Agree 100% - wonderful food and hosting J.L. - thanks!

                                                                3. A successful event! I attended in the company of a regular poster and enjoyed the company only slightly less than the outstanding food. Thanks, Michele, and J.L.

                                                                  1. Thanks to everybody for coming out to the event!

                                                                    And let's not forget our gracious hosts, Chef Michele and all the wonderful staff at Clusi Batusi! Mille Grazie!!!

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: J.L.

                                                                      What a fun evening - delicious food and wonderful conversation. Thank You J L. I am looking forward to the next one.

                                                                    2. Echoing the sentiments of others; much props to JL for setting up this fantastic event.

                                                                      FYI TonyC, your profound statistical observation remains true.

                                                                      19 Replies
                                                                      1. re: ns1

                                                                        What was TonyC's profound observation, ns1?

                                                                        1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                          my paraphrasing of his observation: in major metropolitan areas, an overwhelming majority of 'foodies' come from 2 demographics.

                                                                          I'll let you come up with the demographics.

                                                                              1. re: ns1

                                                                                I got a mirror. Strong and powerful physique better?

                                                                            1. re: ns1

                                                                              Ah yes, as discussed last night.
                                                                              Still dreaming of Best Dishes Last Night
                                                                              Duck Lasagna with Mascarpone
                                                                              Rabbit with pork sauce

                                                                              1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                                that duck "lasagna" was magical.

                                                                                for you suckas that missed out:

                                                                                Roasted preserved octopus in extra virgin olive oil
                                                                                Fennel Gratinato
                                                                                Pappardelle all'aretina (lasagna-like pasta with
                                                                                Costoleccio coi fagioli (pork ribs stewed with beans)
                                                                                Roasted poussin with Vin Santo
                                                                                Roasted potatoes
                                                                                Available lake fish with salsa verde
                                                                                Rabbit "my grandmother" style

                                                                                BONUS: rib eye steak

                                                                                1. re: ns1

                                                                                  sounds awesome....woof woof hounds nice work! I had hotdogs and kiddie party - bummer

                                                                                2. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                                  Oh, I wish I had been sitting on your side of the table when you were all discussing that! I'd like to post my guesses, but I think that'd be very un-PC....

                                                                                  The "lasagna" was my fav dish of the night (by far) followed, oddly enough, by the fennel. It (the fennel) was so simple and yet so "right." And it was like the only vegetable dish. ;) Would never have thought to be salsa verde/chimichurri on fish, but it was lovely.

                                                                                  Not a single "miss," though, as far as I was concerned....

                                                                                  Just kind of sad that, when I asked the chef if any of it would make it to the regular menu, he responded that it was unlikely b/c he didn't think most American would appreciate it.... And he's probably right. =(

                                                                                  1. re: ilysla

                                                                                    Damn, I wanted to try some of these dishes.

                                                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                                                      Next time you'll have to tell your hot date that you have a Chowhound event. ;)

                                                                                      Dessert was homemade cookies (which tasted a lot like a softer biscotti).

                                                                                    2. re: ilysla

                                                                                      "Just kind of sad that, when I asked the chef if any of it would make it to the regular menu, he responded that it was unlikely b/c he didn't think most American would appreciate it.... And he's probably right. =("

                                                                                      I like Chef Michele, and the whole staff. They're pretty cool people. We had a lot of fun with them sharing beers, and stories (I think we stayed about an hour and a half later than anyone else talking with them). But either I misunderstand the LA food scene, or he's a bit more cynical than he needs to be.

                                                                                      How is LA currently supporting places like Bestia, Bucato, Sotto, the Factory Kitchen, Angelini Osteria, Chi Spacca, etc... if there is no appreciation for excellent regional Italian cuisine here?

                                                                                      He seems to think that it's not the food, but the name that makes a restaurant successful, and that the only reason anyone bothers eating at those places I mentioned is because of the celebrity chefs.

                                                                                      I personally love most of those places, but I did not go to eat at any of them because of who the chef was. I went based on the food...

                                                                                      Do the rest of you guys go to restaurants based on the names of the chefs? Does the LA dining scene in general only popularize places run by celebrity chefs?

                                                                                      I love Tuscan food, and would be happy to see a restaurant dedicated to it. I also think it's an extremely American-friendly regional variety of Italian cuisine, so I am not sure why Chef Michele thinks American's wouldn't appreciate it. Was there a single person who attended the sold out dinner that didn't enjoy it?

                                                                                      I think my only gripe was that it would have been much more enjoyable if it was served 1. course by course, 2. over a longer period of time. But the food it was was fantastic, and far too rare a bread here in LA for all of the great Italian food we have here.

                                                                                      1. re: BacoMan

                                                                                        Hey I'm with you. I've been begging the guy to add more homestyle Tuscan dishes to his usual menu.

                                                                                        Perhaps you can plan the next Chowmeet at Clusi Batusi. I'd gladly attend.

                                                                                        1. re: J.L.

                                                                                          My impression after speaking with him is not that he thinks his "other" cooking would be unappreciated by Americans at all.

                                                                                          I believe his issues are twofold:
                                                                                          a) he does not currently have the space to cook and offer more (outside of prearranged deals like ours) AND
                                                                                          b) the clientele that have come to appreciate his pizza and pasta are not interested in food at a higher price point IN HIS CURRENT LOCATION/SPACE.

                                                                                          I think he knows his cooking is rock-solid and that the audience most likely would be there, if he had the means to open full service space and restaurant.

                                                                                          He's young, I think his means and cojones will hypertrophy in time, and we will see him joining, or surpassing, the big names of LA Italian dining.

                                                                                      1. re: ilysla

                                                                                        genghis cohen at stonewall ???????????????????

                                                                                        am i missing something ???? is this an in joke ????


                                                                              2. Thanks again JL for putting it on.

                                                                                It sounded like a great event.

                                                                                And the 'hounds in attendance seemed to really enjoy it.

                                                                                Was there no dessert ?

                                                                                What wines did you guys have or bring ?????????

                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                1. re: kevin

                                                                                  Next time let's change seats before dessert!

                                                                                  1. re: flowergirl

                                                                                    Change seats before dessert ???????

                                                                                    1. re: flowergirl

                                                                                      Heheh The layout of the room, and the U-shaped table "trapped" a few intrepid diners (including flowergirl). Hopefully you got some dessert biscotti, flowergirl.

                                                                                      1. re: flowergirl

                                                                                        Who provided the wines for the event ????

                                                                                        btw, why'd you want to change seats having desert ?????

                                                                                    2. Sorry I missed it. My kudos to J.L. for organizing, especially with those later posts about difficult email communication.

                                                                                      J.L. -- What was the final cost per person? Including tax and tip. Were beverages (alcoholic and non) included or supplemental. Did 'hounds BYOB?

                                                                                      How many attended? How many staffed the kitchen and front of the house? Do you think the restaurant was happy with the evening and even made a profit?

                                                                                      23 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: nosh

                                                                                        Thanks for the encouragement everyone. I feel bad we had to limit it to 20 people, but that's the limit of the seating at the restaurant.

                                                                                        Total cost out-the-door was $75pp. There were 2 servers, one sous chef.

                                                                                        Many 'Hounds brought wine (and special beers too!) and stemware to enjoy them. We tried some really nice super Tuscans and Barolos. Corkage was free. Gratuity was purely optional. The Chef even treated us to a glass of Prosecco as an aperitif on the house!

                                                                                        Financially, I believe the restaurant broke even on the event, but Chef Michele had such a great time expressing his true passion for his regional Italian cooking, he'd jump at the chance to host another one of these things. There were many Italian dishes served last night that I'd never seen in L.A. before.

                                                                                        1. re: J.L.

                                                                                          Chef Michele's enthusiasm for cooking cannot be understated. You could feel the passion when he was announcing his menu.

                                                                                          1. re: ns1

                                                                                            So 20 X $75 = $1500. I'm sure the 'hounds were generous with the gratuities. Food costs had to be substantial. Interesting to consider the possibilities for another meet-up here or elsewhere...

                                                                                          2. re: J.L.

                                                                                            "jump at the chance to host another". ??????

                                                                                            Sounds like a part Deux is in the works ?????????

                                                                                            1. re: kevin

                                                                                              An early (11 AM?) lunch group meet up at Tacqueria Los Anaya http://www.taquerialosanaya.com/ on a Sunday? That would at least be theoretically possible for my present, crazy ass basically insane schedule. I can taste those chilaquiles with chorizo now.

                                                                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                You gonna actually meet up for that ????

                                                                                                Btw. Isn't 11am on a Sunday to late for you ???????

                                                                                                1. re: kevin

                                                                                                  Way, way too late. But I'll eat breakfast before I arrive. So don't worry, I won't wolf down all available food in sight before you get a chance to "stick a fork in it" - (g).

                                                                                                2. re: Servorg

                                                                                                  I finally got around to trying that dish this past Sunday holiday weekend. It was sublime. The chorizo was a lot less heavier than I was led to believe. But it still had great depth in the spicing that worked so well with the chilaquiles.

                                                                                                  1. re: Jase

                                                                                                    sounds like the next meet up.

                                                                                                    though we wouldn't want to let chef Michelle down.

                                                                                                    by going to another joint.

                                                                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                                                                      Different cuisine, invite her along! It's not like we're cheating on her by going to another Italian place. But this is mid town in a working class neighbourhood, that might turn some people off.

                                                                                                      1. re: Jase

                                                                                                        Chef Michele (Michael in Italian) is a dude. FYI.

                                                                                                        1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                          I wasn't at the meet and never met him. Thanks for the correction. Invite him!

                                                                                                            1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                              And Sevrog, now you have the opportunity to set this shit up.

                                                                                                              I think I've officially retired from attempting to plan meet ups. :)

                                                                                                              And that's a good thing obviously.

                                                                                              2. re: J.L.

                                                                                                I think the part that I missed the most is that mention of special beers brought(special beers and cold pressed coffee are my lifeline)

                                                                                                1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                  When you say "total cost out-the-door" are you including tax? Because I, and my two companions paid about $85pp in today with the tax. Not that I mind, just thought others might want to know. Originally I thought the $75 included tax.

                                                                                                  1. re: BacoMan

                                                                                                    There is purchasing power in numbers. We had 20 attendees, each paying $75 for a total take of $1500 (yes the $75 included tax, gratuity was optional though most in attendance were gracious).

                                                                                                    You see a similar numerical phenomenon in eating dim sum. It can get expensive eating dim sum by your lonesome, but bring 7 or 8 companions and take up a round table, then the per person price becomes much more reasonable quite quickly.

                                                                                                    What did you end up eating (for your $85pp) on your visit?

                                                                                                    1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                      I am somewhat troubled by your assertion that the $75 included tax. When I paid for the Clusi Batusi meal I was charged $85pp because of tax (according to the person who took my order).

                                                                                                      Can anyone else confirm whether or not they also paid this amount? Or were they charged a flat $75?

                                                                                                      It's unfortunate that the Batusi space is so small. The food at that dinner easily could have fed another 10 people, which would have brought the cost down to a mere $50pp. Not that I didn't enjoy myself, but, you know, if you can have the same experience for less money, that's always a bonus =P

                                                                                                      1. re: BacoMan

                                                                                                        Ah, I see - So you went incognito to my event? The room wasn't big. I think I know who you are, then. If you indeed attend, then I will ask the chef what happened to your payment and get your $10 back. The staff may have not been on board and charged you tax when you prepaid.

                                                                                                        1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                          I thought it was an "anonymous event"? That being said, since I've revealed my young age on these forums, I'm afraid me and my two guests stood out like sore thumbs at the event. haha

                                                                                                          Sorry if I offended you by sneaking in =/ I figured it would be better not to reveal myself for political reasons, and I really like Tuscan food. It was a very nice event.

                                                                                                          Someone else replied that they also paid tax, so it's possible everyone paid it. I wouldn't necessarily be surprised. I wasn't really troubled by it until it was brought up that it wasn't supposed to be charged.

                                                                                                          Oh well, I'm sure things can easily get muddled when putting on events like that. I think everyone was happy that it managed to happen at all in the end =)

                                                                                                          1. re: BacoMan

                                                                                                            Dude, no problem at all. I respect your anonymity.

                                                                                                            I will talk to the Chef in order refund the excess tax surcharge to all who were affected. Thanks for bringing up the issue - I didn't know they were charging above $75 - It was meant to include tax.

                                                                                                        2. re: BacoMan

                                                                                                          I was charged $150 PLUS tax, so ~$170 for my 2 seats. So I don't the $1500 included tax.

                                                                                                          1. re: ns1

                                                                                                            Hmm, yeah, given the reports, it seems like it.

                                                                                                            I suppose there was just some sort of communication. Generally tax is charged on these kinds of things isn't it? They still charge tax even on those fancy tasting menus at places like The French Laundry after all.

                                                                                                2. thank you
                                                                                                  what a fun evening
                                                                                                  really enjoyed being amongst other chowhounds.
                                                                                                  loved the duck pasta and the fennel gratin

                                                                                                  1. i also paid 75.00 plus tax=81.75

                                                                                                    1. To all who were charged above $75 per person for the event: It has come to my attention that restaurant staff, due to miscommuncation, had charged tax on top of the $75 per person cost of the event. The $75 was meant to cover tax as well.

                                                                                                      I will try arrange appropriate refunds for all of you who were affected by this.

                                                                                                      Email me at clusibatusichowmeet@yahoo.com so I can know who paid more than $75 for the event.

                                                                                                      1 Reply