My Restaurant Tips

Because man does not live by bread alone

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Dinner at Hot Wings Cafe on August 16, 2007Hot Wings Cafe

March 6th, 2015 by philippe · No Comments

Hot Wings Cafe

Hot Wings Cafe
7011 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
USA

+1 (323) 930-1233

Fast food

Restaurant: 1.5/5

Hot Wings Cafe is located in the heart of Hollywood, not far from the very famous Pink’s hot dogs. The restaurant is very casual, so don’t expect much comfort. The decor could really do with an update. Additionally, parking is notoriously difficult in the area, mainly because of the proximity of Pink’s hot dogs.

Service: 3/5

The service was good. While she’s not an accomplished professional, our waitress took good care of us and made genuine efforts to please us.

Food: 2.5/5

Of course, going to a place named Hot Wings Cafe, we had Buffalo wings for dinner. The wings, served with curly fries were perfectly cooked, crispy outside and tender inside. The sauce was hot with the right amount of chili for me. I was feeling the heat while still able to continue eating wings. This is definitely the place to eat Buffalo wings in Los Angeles.

Value for money: 4/5

Around $15, including drinks (beer) and tip. At $15, Hot Wings Cafe definitely offers very good value for money. If the decor put you off, you can still order wings to go.

→ No CommentsTags: California · Los Angeles · United States

Lunch at Copacabana on August 12, 2007

March 5th, 2015 by philippe · No Comments

Copacabana

Copacabana
1520 1/2 pike place
Seattle, WA 98101
USA

+1 (206) 622-6359

Bolivian Cuisine

Restaurant: 2/5

Copacabana is a very casual restaurant located in pike place market. The tables are on a terrace on the first floor of a building, giving you a nice overlooking view of the market. The restaurant is very casual, so don’t expect great comfort here. Still, it really fits the bill as a market restaurant.

Service: 3/5

The service was good. Our waitress made genuine efforts to please us.

Food: 2.5/5

I ordered a paella. With the paella came a small salad as starter (lettuce, carrots and tomatoes). While the presentation of the salad was the most basic, it was good. The paella was very good. apart the shrimps that were a bit dry.

Value for money: 4/5

Around $25, including drinks (sangria and espresso) and tip. Considering the food and the location, Copacabana is a good value for money. I will come back.

→ No CommentsTags: Seattle · United States · Washington

Dinner at Aux Pieds Dans L’Eau on July 31, 2007

March 4th, 2015 by philippe · No Comments

Aux Pieds Dans L’Eau
623, chemin de la Plage
69270 Rochetaillée Sur Saone
France

+33 (0) 4 72 27 85 72
French Cuisine

Restaurant: 2/5

Aux Pieds Dans L’Eau is a guinguette, a very casual outdoor restaurant near the Saone river. The location is great and perfectly fits the bill but don’t expect great comfort. One sour note, there is a train track nearby. Hopefully, trains are not that frequent.

Service: 3/5

It took a bit of time for the aperitifs to come, but, apart that, the service was good. Our waiter was running all over the place to satisfy the numerous tables he had in charge. He probably could have done with a bit of help.

Food: 2/5

I started with the Pâté en croute (pate covered with a crust and cooked in the oven). The pate was served with figue jam and dry apricots. While rustic, it was very good.As main course, I ordered the quintessential guinguette dish: frog legs. If you never had frog legs, you’re probably have a vision very different from what the reality is. To be honest, it’s a bit like chicken. What make the difference is how you cook them. In this instance, the frog legs were cooked with the traditional garlic, parsley and butter sauce. While the meat was crispy on the outside and tender inside as it should be, the sauce was too oily and a bit too bland. Salt and pepper would have been helpful here. Good but somewhat disappointing.

As desert, I had half of a Saint-Marcellin cheese. Saint-Marcellin is a small local cheese produce with non pasteurized milk. If you never had non pasteurized milk cheese, Saint-Marcellin is probably not for you. Simply served with a salad, it was a bit pungent and about medium strength. A bit more salad would have been nice but the cheese was exactly the way I like it.

Value for money: 2.5/5

Around $30, including drinks (white wine and espresso) and tip. While you can probably find better value for money around, the overall experience was certainly pleasant. In a guinguette, food is not the most important thing, the atmosphere is. So, I’m on the fence with Aux Pieds Dans L’Eau. I may go back there.

→ No CommentsTags: France · Lyon · Rochetaillée Sur Saone

Dinner at L’Auberge Du Pont De Collonges (Paul Bocuse) on August 1, 2007

March 3rd, 2015 by philippe · No Comments

L’Auberge Du Pont De Collonges (Paul Bocuse)
40 Quai de la plage
69660 Collonges Au Mont D’Or
France

+33 (0) 4 72 42 90 90
www.bocuse.fr

French Cuisine

Restaurant: 5/5

L’Auberge Du Pont De Collonges is located north of Lyon, on the banks of the Saone river. The restaurant is extremely comfortable. From the fine tablecloths to the crystal glasses, everything is, as you would expect from Paul Bocuse, perfect.

Service: 4.5/5

In line with the French tradition, the service is very formal. Our waiters and our sommelier were continuously taking care of us without being overly present. When asked, they provided extremely detailed descriptions of the dishes and expert advice on wine pairing and cheese. My only disappointment was not be able to get a menu in English for my American friends.

Food: 5/5

I started with the Risotto. The risotto was served with crayfish and a Nantua sauce (a crayfish based sauce). Both the taste and the texture of the risotto were perfects. The crayfish were extremely tender and their flavor was certainly enhanced by the Nantua sauce.As main course, I had the fillet of beef Rossini. The fillet of beef, topped by a piece of lightly seared foie gras, was served with vegetables and a Périgueux sauce (Madeira and truffles). The beef was so tender that I used a blunt knife rather than a steak knife to cut it. Perfectly cooked, it was juicy and flavorful. The foie gras and the sauce were a perfect complement.

A judicious agreement with my left neighbor at the beginning of the meal allowed me to exchange part of my fillet of beef Rossini against some sea bass in puff pastry. The sea bass, cooked in puff pastry, was stuffed with tarragon and parsley. That fish, with it’s wonderful aroma of fresh herbs, was the best fish I ever had.

Following the main course, we were offered a wonderful selection of cheeses, from soft white Cervelle de canut to mature Roquefort. I asked for an assortment that included my local favorite: Saint -Marcellin. All were perfectly aged.

As desert, I had both woodland strawberries with vanilla ice cream and a burgundy cup. Woodland strawberries are very small, yet extremely flavorful, strawberries. The accompanying vanilla ice cream was actually the best ice cream I ever had. The burgundy cup is a selection of red berries dipping in a red burgundy wine based syrup. It is surprising how well berries and red wine go together.

Value for money: 4.5/5

Around $200, including drinks (still water, white wine, red wine and espresso) and tip. While it’s a lot of money, I truly believe that it was well worth every penny. What we had was simply astonishing. I will definitely come back.

→ No CommentsTags: Collonges Au Mont D'Or · France · Lyon

Dinner at Masala on August 8, 2007

March 2nd, 2015 by philippe · No Comments

Masala
314 Fifth Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101
USA

+1 (619) 232-4634
www.monsoonrestaurant.com

Indian Cuisine

Restaurant: 3/5

Masala, conveniently located close to the convention center, is comfortable. The modern decor offers a few surprises like a flat panel TV in the toilets.

Service: 0/5

You shall not lie to your customers. Our waiter inverted a lamb and a chicken order. Instead of fixing the mistake, he switched the dishes and lied, expecting that we wouldn’t make the difference between a korma and a rogan josh. There is no excuse for that.

Food: 2/5

I started with a Mulligatawny soup. The soup, served with a poppadom, was fairly authentic. Although a bit too salty, it was very tasty.

Following the soup, I had lamb dhaniwal korma with a side of pulao rice. On the good side, the pieces of lambs were a very nice cuts and the pulao rice was very good. But, while korma is usually very mild, this one was totally bland. Not what you expect from Indian cuisine.

I had to opportunity to taste the chicken rogan josh and the chicken vindaloo. Rogan josh should be medium hot and vindaloo should be very hot but, as the lamb, both of them were totally bland.

Value for money: 1/5

Around $40, including drinks (a mango lassi and sparkling water) and tip. Considering the food and the service, Masala is definitely not a good value for money. I will avoid that restaurant in the future.

→ No CommentsTags: California · San Diego · United States

Dinner at Grant Grill (US Grant Hotel) on August 7, 2007

March 1st, 2015 by philippe · No Comments

Grant Grill
US Grant Hotel
326 Broadway
San Diego, CA 92101
USA

+1 (619) 232-3121
www.grantgrill.com

Californian Cuisine

Restaurant: 4.5/5

Located in the heart of San Diego, Grant Grill is both beautiful and extremely comfortable. The decor is modern and chic. From the tablecloth to the china, everything is perfect. I have only one regret: you have to go across the hotel hall to reach the toilets.

Service: 3.5/5

The service was very good. We were accommodated quite late in the evening without a reservation. While our waiter wasn’t the best in the profession, he made genuine efforts to please us.

Food: 4/5

I started with the foie gras. It was fresh foie gras, lightly pan fried, served with apple slices and grapes. Both the apple slices and the grapes (skinless) were cooked in the foie gras juice. In one word: delicious.

As main course, I had braised oxtail, served with vegetables and a salsify puree. The oxtail was served as pieces, without bones or gelatine, sparing me all the tedious extracting work. Both the oxtail and the salsify puree were excellent. That combination create a very well balanced dish.

As desert I had the fresh fruits clafouti. The clafouti was served warm in a copper dish, topped with a delicious home made vanilla gelato. It was the perfect ending to a wonderful meal.

Value for money: 5/5

Around $70, including drinks (a glass of red wine, sparkling water and espresso) and tip. Grant Grill offers an excellent value for money. While $70 is a fair amount of money, it was worth every penny. The location, the restaurant and the food are exceptional. I will definitely come back.

→ No CommentsTags: California · San Diego · United States

Dinner at Harbor’s Edge (Sheraton Hotel) on August 6, 2007

February 28th, 2015 by philippe · 1 Comment

Harbor’s Edge
Sheraton Hotel
1380 Harbor Island Drive
San Diego, CA 92101
USA

+1 (619) 291-2900
www.starwoodhotels.com

Contemporary American Cuisine

Restaurant: 3/5

Harbor’s Edge is located at the Sheraton hotel in San Diego’s marina. The restaurant is comfortable and offers a very nice view of the marina. The decor is modern with a nautical theme.

Service: 2/5

While our waiter tried to offer good service, his culinary knowledge was at best misinformed.

Food: 2/5

We started directly with the main course. I ordered the rack of lamb with gratin potatoes, pink (medium rare), as any Frenchman would order it. For some strange reason, the rack of lamb is by default served with cassoulet… While I like experimental cuisine, such an association is extremely unorthodox to say the least. The rack of lamb, composed of twice 4 chops, was excellent. The meat, rubbed in seasoning, was both tender and juicy. The vegetables were correctly cooked and the potatoe gratin, while a bit too rich, was very good.As desert, I had the molted chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream and berries. What a disappointment! The molted chocolate cake turned out to be something resembling a half cooked chocolate muffin, far too compact and lacking flavor. The vanilla ice cream was a low quality commercial preparation and I had to search my plate to find the berries (2 blackberries, 2 blueberries and half a strawberry).

Value for money:1/5

Around $60, including drinks (sparkling water and espresso) and tip. For that kind of money, you can definitely find a better place to dine. I will avoid that restaurant in the future.

→ 1 CommentTags: California · San Diego · United States

Lunch at Il Pastaio on July 22, 2007

February 27th, 2015 by philippe · 1 Comment

Il Pastaio

Il Pastaio
400 North Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
USA

+1 (310) 205-5444
www.giacominodrago.com

Italian Cuisine

Restaurant: 3/5

Il Pastaio is located in the heart of Beverly Hills, not far from Rodeo Drive. The restaurant is very comfortable. Tables outside are a bit cramped but let you enjoy the sun. Toilets are clean but could look better.

Service: 3/5

The service was very good but with an attitude. Repeat customers seems to get a better treatment.

Food: 3/5

As a main course, I had risotto al funghi. While I personally prefer thicker risotto, it was truly excellent. It wasn’t too rich and they were able to strike the right balance of cheese and mushrooms.

Following the main course, I had panna cotta as desert. The panna cotta was served with fresh strawberries, a strawberry couli and some mint for decoration. Taste and texture were excellent. One fault: the mint decorating the panna cotta was not the freshest.

Value for money: 4/5

Around $35, including drinks (orange juice, san pellegrino, cappuccino and espresso) and tip. It’s pricey for pasta but if you consider the location and the quality of the food, it is definitely good value for money. I will come back.

→ 1 CommentTags: Beverly Hills · California · Los Angeles · United States

Dinner at Joe’s Restaurant on July 12, 2007

February 26th, 2015 by philippe · No Comments

Joe’s Restaurant
1023 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Venice, CA 90291
USA

+1 (310) 399-5811
www.joesrestaurant.com

California-French Cuisine

Restaurant: 3/5

Joe’s Restaurant is located in the heart of Venice on Abbot Kinney Blvd. The restaurant has a modern decor and is comfortable. As always in Venice, parking is a problem.

Service: 4/5

Service was excellent. Our waiter was much agreeable with a good sense of humor, which was actually really needed as we bombarded him with pretty dry English jokes.

Food: 4/5

I started with the porcini mushroom raviolis. The mushrooms had exceptional aroma both in the raviolis and on the side. One slight regret, the mushrooms may have been better served with a light broth than with a creamy sauce.

As a main course, I had wagyu from New Zealand. Wagyu is a kobe-style beef, nicely marbled. The meat, presented with a reduction sauce and vegetables was truly remarkable. It was cooked to perfection, tender and flavorful. Some bites even reminded me of the flavor of good foie gras.

As desert, I had white peaches with brown sugar whipped cream. The peaches, served as small dices were sandwiched between half whipped cream filled choux. It was light and delicious, a perfect end to that meal.

Value for money: 4/5

Around $100, including drinks (red wine and water) and tip. Wagyu is not cheap but truly worth penny. The location, the service and food quality make it a very good value for money. I will come back.

→ No CommentsTags: California · Los Angeles · United States · Venice

Lunch at Lokalbahnhof on July 2, 2008

February 25th, 2015 by philippe · No Comments

Lokalbahnhof

Lokalbahnhof
Darmstädter Landstrasse 14
60594 Frankfurt
Germany

+49 (0) 69 62 71 62
www.lokalbahnhof.com

German cuisine

Restaurant: 2/5

Lokalbahnhof is located not too far from the center of Frankfurt. While the decor is simple, the restaurant has a very friendly atmosphere, especially in the Biergarten (get a table there in summer). Comfort is very basic.

Lokalbahnhof

Service: 3/5

While the place was full, the service was still fast and friendly. Our waitress made genuine efforts to please us.

Food: 2.5/5

I only had a main course which was a very typical dish of boiled eggs and potatoes with green sauce. The Frankfurt Grüne, a cold sauce, is regional specialty made from seven herbs (borage, chervil, cress, parsley, burnet, sorrel and chives) that traditionally accompanies fish and meat dishes, boiled eggs and potatoes. While very simple, it was good and tasty.

Lokalbahnhof - Eggs And Potates With Green Sauce

Value for money: 4.5/5

Around $20, including drinks (water and bier) and tip. Considering the food and the current exchange rate (close to 1.6 dollars for 1 euro at the moment), Lokalbahnhof is definitely a very good value for money. I will certainly come back.

→ No CommentsTags: Frankfurt · Germany