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maitaitom Mar 22nd, 2017 02:26 PM

We recently visited Manuela in the L.A. Arts District. Our dinner was so good, we returned for brunch a week later. It is located inside an art gallery. Here's my review.



Jean Mar 22nd, 2017 05:53 PM

LA Weekly just issued its list of "99 Essential LA restaurants"

and the "Freshman 15" list of new and up-and-coming LA restaurants.

The lists are certainly eclectic in cuisine, location, price and atmosphere. Some places have been mentioned in Fodor threads. I'm not sure the two from my own neighborhood are ones I'd select, but I understand they're "hot." I admit, a desire to maintain my hearing outweighs my food requirements.

Amazingly, we've been to 3 of the Freshman 15, and all 3 were great. Baran's in Hermosa Beach, Gus' Spicy Hot Chicken in Mid-City, and Salazar on Fletcher in the Atwater/Glassell area.

maitaitom Mar 23rd, 2017 08:23 AM

Thanks Jean...I'll take a look. More eating!!!


nkm1 Mar 23rd, 2017 07:44 PM

I went to Sur in West Hollywood for a bachelorette party recently (the bride loves the show that is sent there), the atmosphere was really cool and the food did not disappoint!

maitaitom May 10th, 2017 02:22 PM

In the past couple of months Tracy and I have dined at two Nick’s locations, Nick’s On 2nd Long Beach (for dinner) and Nick’s Laguna Beach (for lunch). The food at each restaurant was superb, and the service was as good as any restaurant we have eaten at in our life (from dive to 5-Star). Nick’s serves what they call California Comfort Food with a flair. As you’ll see, we and our friends enjoyed a lot of spectacular dishes, including the most scrumptious deviled eggs ever created. They also have restaurants in Manhattan Beach and San Clemente, as well as a Mexican Kitchen and Bar, also in San Clemente. Come with us on a fun (and delicious) culinary adventure!



StuDudley May 10th, 2017 03:27 PM

Did the food look as good as the oxtail taco I had at the Food Truck at Bungalow Heaven while I was chatting with you? Was the ambience as nice?? And was the live band as good??

Stu Dudley

maitaitom May 11th, 2017 05:25 AM

"And was the live band as good??"

Not as loud, however. (:
It was great to meet you. The corgis say "hi." Safe travels to you both.


maitaitom Jun 7th, 2017 01:05 PM

Sometimes it’s good to follow a Red Herring, especially when this Red Herring happens to be a very good restaurant located in Eagle Rock, CA. The chef used to work at one of our old favorites (Blair’s Restaurant in Silver Lake) and his co-owner wife is a television show producer. The cuisine is “New American,” and our friends Paul and Susan joined us as we once again proved there is never too much food on a menu for us to devour.



Iwan2go Jun 11th, 2017 06:52 PM

Seconding Nick's - especially the butter cake. Amazing.

maitaitom Jun 26th, 2017 02:02 PM

Love the butter cake!

It’s been a great first half of the year when it comes to dining. Tracy and I have been fortunate to hit some great restaurants this year with lots of different friends, and our most recent choice is the slight leader in the clubhouse for MaiTaiTom’s 2017 Restaurant Of The Year. Alimento in Silver Lake offers an Italian-inspired menu with multiple dishes that have been positively scrumptious, or as Guy Fieri might say, “Out of bounds!” In any event, we visited Alimento twice in the past month, and both meals were spectacular. Enjoy!



maitaitom Aug 1st, 2017 09:44 AM

I thought we’d put out a little review of our latest restaurant experience. It seems that Tracy and I had been overdosing on Italian food, so we changed it up to hit a relatively new Pasadena establishment putting out what it calls “Modern Mexican cuisine.” For the most part Maestro hit on all cylinders with a very interesting dinner menu, including a couple of stupendous dishes (gotta get that cornbread recipe). If in the Pasadena area, this is a terrific choice.



Guenmai Aug 1st, 2017 07:52 PM

I love the shrimp burrito at recently-opened Trejo's Cantina here in Pasadena. Since I have both a corn and dairy allergy and don't eat meat/poultry, by choice, I haven't tasted the other items on the menu. But, I have had the shrimp burrito twice within two weeks and it has been great. Look out Rubio's Baja Grill, nearby, which is where I usually go. Smiles.

Happy Travels!

maitaitom Aug 2nd, 2017 06:54 AM

" love the shrimp burrito at recently-opened Trejo's Cantina here in Pasadena."

Looking forward to trying that out. Pasadena seems to be opening a restaurant today. My waistline can't keep up with it.


rjw_lgb_ca Aug 2nd, 2017 11:02 AM

I'm going to give shouts-out to a couple of restaurants in my neck of the woods, good ol' Long Beach....

Playa Amor ( is serving elevated <i>pocho</i> cuisine, aka Alta California-style Mexican. Yeah, it's in a sprawling mall complex, but the room is fun and festive and the food is knock-your-socks-off great. It's not your standard tacos-and-burritos joint. I may have mentioned this place in the last restaurant thread, but I think it deserves visibility.

Roe Seafood ( is a wonderful seafood specialist in Belmont Shore. If you can find parking, you will be rewarded with fresh, beautifully-prepared and delectable fish and shellfish. And it has a hopping full bar and a whimsically-decorated dining room. Definitely worth a visit.

Starling Diner ( is breakfast and lunch only. And great at them. Not too fancy, just a friendly Belmont Heights neighborhood joint with AWESOME food.

This weekend I'm having my birthday dinner at Lasher's Kitchen ( website still work-in-progress) in Belmont Shore. I will report back. This same crew ran one of my absolute favorite Long Beach eateries, Lasher's, back in the 90s and 00s, but closed a few years ago to focus on restaurant consulting. They went back in business when this new space opened up, and since their soft-open they've been busy and getting raves, so I'm VERY excited about this.

maitaitom Aug 2nd, 2017 11:35 AM

rjw...I used to live in LB, and we meet there occasionally with OC friends for dinner. Thanks.


rjw_lgb_ca Aug 7th, 2017 09:01 AM

Reporting back....

Lasher's Kitchen was great! It was wonderful to see Ray and Lynn Lasher working the front of the house like old times, and the menu has "greatest hits" and new wonders working side-by-side. Cozy and stylish room, superb servers, smart wine list (Anderson Valley bubbly? What a treat!), delicious food. I had pepita-crusted salmon, and it was just buttery and rich and all sorts of good. The "birthday cake" was house-made pound cake with simple macerated strawberries, and it was perfection. Happy birthday to me!

maitaitom Aug 7th, 2017 11:23 AM

Lasher's "Cranberry Glazed Meatloaf" might be calling my name if the temperature ever gets below 80 again in So Cal. Thanks for the update.

mlgb Aug 7th, 2017 03:28 PM

Always nice to see recs from rjw.

My latest quick serve Mexican is not a place for "dining with friends". In fact you are lucky to get a seat at all but it works for me after the Lakewood Y, just straight down Woodruff to South. Shrimp Quesadilla and Horchata...

MoBro Sep 8th, 2017 03:33 PM

We are looking for a restaurant for a special celebratory dinner with my son and his fiancée this Sunday, Monday or Tuesday. Have ruled out Spago, The Ivy, Polo Lounge.

Right now, planning on Mr Chow. It has some bad Yelp reviews, though. I was there a long time ago, and have always wanted to go back. My dining companions are interested in it, as a classic place in Beverly Hills.

I'm looking at all recommendations in this thread. We don't want Mexican or Italian.

Something classy, expensive, and really good.

Is Sur just a reality TV show spinoff?

rjw_lgb_ca Sep 9th, 2017 07:22 AM

MoBro, you might want to start a new topic thread just so you get focused responses-- this is more of a "great finds in greater LA area" thread, and most of our finds are less "special-occasion" than you'd like.

Having said that, there is no shortage of special celebration places. It looks like you're concentrating on the Westside over to BH/WeHo. One place that is still getting a lot of critical love is Mélisse in Santa Monica:

Elegant, French-accented cuisine, elaborate tasting menus, expensive. I'd say that would make for a nice celebratory dinner.

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