Thursday, October 27, 2005

La Cabanita

It's quite possible that the best Mexican restaurant in all of Los Angeles is located in Montrose. Our fave foodie friends introduced us to La Cabanita (3447 N Verdugo Rd.) last week and we were quite impressed. I dare someone to find a better chicken mole dish in all of Southern California. It was divine as were the chile rellenos which were tasty, declious and not too heavy. The atmosphere is a little on the bright side and the bar doesn't feel like somewhere you want to have to wait for a table, but the food is world class, home cooked Mexican food. After eating here, I wondered when I was going to get the chance to come back.

I guess this place is technically in Glendale, but it's so close the Montrose border, it feels like Montrose. Note: The maragaritas are lethal especially when you get a double shot of tequila. Careful not to have too many... It's a long cab ride back down the 2 freeway.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Weekend Trip: San Diego

You don't realize just how great we have it in Los Angeles until you actually go out of town. We have so many amazing restaurants in this city and I am a little guilty of taking them for granted.

This past weekend, my wife and I drove the mini cooper down the 5 freeway to San Diego. We wanted to take in the sights, visit the world famous zoo and try some new restaurants. We stayed at the W Hotel which was comfortable but the place was trying painfully to be fashionable and hip...the two things San Diego definitely is not. We needed a wrist band to get into the hotel bar after hours and the clientele was a bit on the jocky guy/midriff girl side.

Upon our arrival at the hotel, we made reservations at a place called Chive, but when we arrived, there was no one eating there and it was gone 7:30pm. Not a good sign. We abruptly left and wandered around the gaslamp district which we soon discovered was not the place for fine cuisine. We happened upon a place called Osteria Panevino which we recalled was recommened by our bartender at the hotel. Osteria Panevino serves a nice mix of homemade Italian dishes. I had the chicken parmesean which was served with a layer of eggplant. My wife tried the homemade spinich ravioli dish. The food wasn't spectacular, but it was decent and we were pleased to be eating in a place where other people were.

On Saturday, we drove up to La Jolla. As soon as we stepped out of the car, we could smell the sea air and the money. La Jolla feels very GOP. We wanted to try the best of San Diego, so we hot footed it over to a French restaurant called Tapenade, a very impressive establishment created by renowned chef Jean-Michel Diot. We didn't have reservations, so they plunked us at a table between the bar and the hostess desk. As soon as we were seated I ordered a bottle champagne (It was Saturday night after all). We shared an ounce of Russian Ossetra Caviar and then ordered our entrees. I had the filet migion topped with a layer foie gras while my wife tried the lobster risotta. Her risotta was cooked with Vanilla. Stimulating. Our meal was great. We skipped dessert, but we still spent well over $200. I was please with Tapenade and would highly recommend it. But, having said that, I've paid far less for much better at many places Los Angeles. My wife even commented that she much prefers the lobster risotta at Blair's in Silverlake.

Other highlights from our trip. We had brunch at the Hotel Del Coronado which is definitely a place you should visit. Oh, and that's me with a giraffe in the picture. If you closely, you'll see that I'm saying the word "GIRAFFE."

Saturday, October 01, 2005


This morning we drove into posh San Marino to check out a French Cafe called Julienne (2649 Mission St.). We arrived around noon at the end of their breakfast seating. We had come to have some lunch and a glass of wine, but when we saw how amazing the breakfast dishes looked, we were wondering if we made a mistake not to come earlier. We were soon seated on the sidewalk patio which is really, really nice. If the weather is right, sit outside.

We got our menus and had a few moments of sheer panic when we thought they didn't serve wine. But, luckily for us, they did and we each got a glass of Pinot Noir. I ordered the croque monsier while my wife opted for the herb roasted half chicken served with very large and very delicious french fries (the fries came with a homemade dijion mustard which is fabulous!) Our lunch was amazing however, I'd have to say that my dish resembled nothing like an authentic, French croque monsier. It was all jazzed up..kind of a poncey, California version (basil pesto ? ĂȘtes-vous fou!) It was good though. But, I saw the waiter bringing a sirloin burger to the table next us and I was pretty jealous I didn't order that. Next time! It was a pretty leisurely and filling lunch. Julienne is definitely a "ladies-who-lunch" kind of restaurant.

After we ate, we went into the gourmet market next door which served some snazzy prepared foods. We walked around and came up with loads of dinner ideas. We'll be back for sure.