Tag Archives: dining

Making the Grade

Last year I was finishing another great meal at Daikokuya, one of my favorite ramen joints in Little Tokyo, when I looked up to see a bright red “C” hanging in the front window.


Now I am no ratings snob. I’ve eaten at roadside shacks in rural Thailand. I’ve consumed sausage from a vending machine in Sweden, and I’ve knowingly dined at plenty of “B” establishments before. However, a “C” rated restaurant in Los Angeles? Never.

As soon as I got home that night I went straight to the Google. That’s where I found something that would continue to haunt me for the next few months: A database of Los Angeles County restaurant ratings, including the reasons for each score.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has a simple web site, lapublichealth.org/rating/, which allows you to search by restaurant or facility name, or you can search all of the restaurants in any given area.

“Information is power!” I thought. Feeling smug and empowered.

Once I found the database, I compulsively searched all of the restaurants that I dine at regularly. When that failed to reveal anything horrifying enough, I searched more. All of the restaurants in my zip code. All of the restaurants in the city. Scanning scores, looking for “C” ratings or below, obsessed with knowing why. Even when I found what I was looking for, I kept searching for more. I finally reached maximum overload when I Continue reading Making the Grade

More Late Night Eats in Silver Lake

The scarcity of late night dining options has been a sore spot for me since I moved to Los Angeles in 2003 from Atlanta, “where parties don’t stop ’til 8:00 in the morning.” So, naturally I am enthusiastic when I find a restaurant that serves food late, like Silver Lake’s newest taquería, Tarascos.

Silver Lake's Newest Taqueria
Silver Lake's Newest Taquería

Tarascos is a very pleasing, minimalist taquería. No obnoxious sombreros hanging from the ceiling or mariachi crooners hovering over your guacamole. You walk into a small foyer and order at the counter. The menu is handwritten on chalkboards on the walls – and the prices are minimalist too! $1.50 for tacos, $5.50 for burritos and quesadillas – your choice of charbroiled steak, charbroiled chicken, cochinita pibil, or carnitas. For a smaller taquería, they have an unusually generous vegetarian selection and salads too. They also have some rather delicious flautas, which are not on the online menu right now, but very tasty and not too greasy. Continue reading More Late Night Eats in Silver Lake

Team Hot Dog! Uniforms for Hot Dog Death March

Ok, the “uniforms” aren’t mandatory, but I’m sure planning on wearing as much wacky hot dog gear as I can to the upcoming Hot Dog Death March on June 13.

Like this hat:

hot_dog_hat If you, too, would like a hot dog hat, you can buy your very own here.

And if you, too, would like to join us in a few weeks as we rage against the dying of the weenie, as we throw our very bodies into the mustard-and-ketchup abyss, as we launch once more into the bratwurst breach, well, learn more about LA Metblogs’ Hot Dog Death March here.

I’ll see you there. How will you know me…?

I’ll be the one with the hat.

Underground pop-up restaurant: “Dinner & a Movie” in a downtown artists’ loft

For those who wanted to go to the last private-home-hosted dinner from underground chef David Weidman but who couldn’t get in (he had to turn about a dozen folks away), hoo boy are you in luck! Chef David is hosting another dinner, this time at the super-cool Downtown location known as Abundant Sugar.

An apple tarte tatin begins its journey to your tummy.
An apple tarte tatin begins its journey to your tummy.

This artist’s loft/warehouse/performance space will play host to his “Dinner & A Movie” event on March 14. For only $25 you get a gourmet dinner and a movie–Sergio Leone? The Godfather?–well, something Italian, as you’ll guess from the menu. It’s a super cool venue and an amazing chef, so find a babysitter, grab a date or a pal, and go
here to sign up (if you’re not on facebook, leave a comment & I’ll connect you with Chef David). Only twenty-five seats are available.


Cold seafood Cioppino (clams, mussels and oysters steamed in vermouth with tomatoes, olives, anchovies and saffron)
Blood oranges and wild greens
Antipasti: 3 meats, 2 cheeses, marinated mushrooms, eggplant salad, white bean puree, bread
White lasagna in a cream sauce with caramelized garlic w/ yellow-foot chanterelles…OR…Penne with pancetta, Italian sausage, Chianti, garlic and tomatoes; meat balls (pork and beef with bread crumbs and Parmigiano in tomato sauce)
Assorted cheesecakes, coffee with Belgian chocolate, Cinnamon apples

Remember to come out & meet everyone at Classic Eats tonight!

Last time we did this it was, clearly, a rager!


Here’s all the info on tonight. Tiki Ti in Silver Lake(ish) at 4:30; then, Taix in Echo Park at 6:30. See you all there! Burns! will be leading a contingent over to the Derby Dolls bout (sold-out, but if you have tix…) from Tiki Ti. LA Metblogs will be everywhere tonight! Everywhere, I say! Muahahaha!

See you there!

Gourmet Survival In Tough Times

One of the silver linings of a poor economy are the deals that inevitably evidence.  I have been seeing them all over the place, even in very high end areas.  Fine dining is starting to feel the pinch all across Los Angeles and the deals are becoming plentiful in an effort to entice diners out for a meal.  These are a couple of the latest special menus I’ve come across.

Taste on Melrose is extending its DineLA menu through the entire month of February (something many participating restaurants are also doing).  You can enjoy a three course lunch for $22 per person or a three course dinner for $34 per person.  If you haven’t been to Taste, now is the time to try it out.  It will be impossible not to fall in deep taste bud lust.

This weekend the Innovative Dining Group announced Appetite Stimulus Menus at several of their popular restaurants ranging from $25 per person to $40 per person Sunday through Thursday beginning yesterday at BOA Steakhouse (West LA and Santa Monica locations), Sushi Roku (West Hollywood and Santa Monica locations), and Katana.  It appears to be a similar extension of the DineLA concept.

So, if you are dire need of an exquisite little venture to remind yourself that life can be completely hedonistic even in the darkest of hours, take advantage of these sumptuous menus and spoil yourself or do it in tandem with your favorite partner in crime.

High Art Dining at a Private Home with Chef David Weidman

For year’s David Weidman’s unmistakable laughter has punctuated every Silver Lake & Echo Park get-together from bar-b-ques to birthday parties, and whether he’s delivering one of his signature cheesecakes with glass candy or brandishing pork chops with a flourish, an invite to one of his dinners is a much-coveted chance to dine chez one of LA’s coolest underground chefs. He’s hosting another one of his special dinners at a private home in early February and there are a few spots left; I thought you guys should probably know about David if you don’t already. Here’s a video of him creating a few lavish dinners.
For this dinner Feb. 7, the menu will include stuffed mushrooms and crab cakes; wild green salad with poached pears and candied pecans; macaroni with goat cheese, caramelized garlic, crushed almonds and a Cabernet reduction; salmon with Thai basil; and a tarte tartin with vanilla ice cream and coffee. And OMG it’s only $25 per person! Perfect for an early Valentine’s Day treat, and as someone who’s both enjoyed a Ghetto Gourmet party as well as worked one, I can tell you David’s evenings are absolutely on par with those. Wanna rsvp? Send me an email at lucindamichele (at) metblogs (daht) com and I’ll hook you up.

Dinner… And A Free Movie

Hollywood & Highland has just announced a new promotion offering diners free movie tickets to the Mann’s Theatre with any purchase of a meal at participating restaurants.  Just show same day receipts totaling $30 or more at the Visitor’s Information Center on Level I and you’ll get a pair of tickets!  (There is a one pair per person, per receipt, per day limit.)

The promotion runs through February 15th while supplies last.  For more information as well as a list of restaurants involved visit their website here.

Cheap Eats Alert: Casa

Casa, a brand-new upscale Mexican restaurant, opened on the 6th. A little birdie told me that this Saturday is the opening party, including such items as “cheap or free drinks, some fancy Mexican hors d’ouevres…and my charming personality.” So if you’d like to mooch some cheap/free eats a la myopenbar.com and enjoy my friend’s charming personality, this may be a destination to add in on your nightly cruise in search of Two-Buck-Chuck and Gelson’s cheese plates. The restaurant looks pretty cool too. Tip: friend arrives after 8pm. I’m just sayin’.

ICME: Know It All Napkins At Local Eatery

There’s nothing I hate more than a napkin that makes me feel stupid. As luck would have it I’m a little smarter than your average napkin so this rarely an issue. However, the napkins at Don Antonio’s on Pico are not your average napkins, just take a look:


I found that napkin to be full of difficult questions and I’m something of a savant for trivia (I knew 3 of the 7 questions shown). The other side of the napkin was a little easier thanks to the Bullwinkle question but the remaining napkins on the table were even harder. I enjoyed the carnitas but the next time I go to Don Antonio’s I’m asking them to hold the know it all napkins.

Answers to the questions on the smarty pants napkin after the jump, I hope you do better than I did; no cheating.

Continue reading ICME: Know It All Napkins At Local Eatery