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Los Angeles Area Restaurants 2018 - Keep On Eating!

Los Angeles Area Restaurants 2018 - Keep On Eating!

Old Feb 6th, 2018, 12:28 PM
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Los Angeles Area Restaurants 2018 - Keep On Eating!

I'll start with this one...It was so good we visited four times in November and December.

There aren’t too many restaurants I can recommend for breakfast, lunch, happy hour AND dinner, but Great Maple in Pasadena (also with locations in La Jolla and Newport Beach) nails every one of them. From French Toast to an Old Fashioned with a hefty piece of Spicy Maple Bacon to Chicken and Donuts, not to mention the best piece of apple pie that I can recall eating, this place is a quadruple threat … at affordable prices. Keep the calorie counter at home!

Great Maple - Pasadena - Travels With Mai Tai Tom

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Old Feb 6th, 2018, 05:54 PM
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Wow, Tom, Great Maple sounds like a must for breakfast in Pasadena or back down here in La Jolla. Do you favor it over The Cottage?
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Old Feb 6th, 2018, 06:06 PM
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I've never been to The Cottage. It's been awhile since I've been in La Jolla.

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Old Feb 15th, 2018, 11:46 AM
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maitaitom, do you know why Café Bizou in Pasadena closed? Somewhere online I read it was a "victim" of Pasadena's new(?) minimum wage law. Hmmm. Will we be seeing closures left and right, or was there another reason Bizou closed? I see their S.O. location is still open....

Just curious as CB was one of my elderly mother's favorites.
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Old Feb 16th, 2018, 06:27 AM
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Jean I do not know the exact reason. I heard those rumors about wages, also. I can tell you this however...for years Cafe Bijou was our go-to restaurant in town, but in the last couple of years we had a few disappointing meals, and the service was atrocious on our last visit. We (and I will add, many of our friends) just stopped going there due to those factors. We have so many choices that it was just a waste of time to dine there anymore. Too bad, at one time we loved the place, and two dollar corkage didn't hurt either.

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Old Feb 16th, 2018, 09:40 AM
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Well, c'est la vie. I guess.

Thanks.
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Old Feb 17th, 2018, 11:00 AM
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Since Pasadena is coming up, I have a question. I will be interviewing for a position in downtown Pasadena and will be doing a dry run to check out my commute. What are the good, not too expensive lunch choices around Colorado and Los Robles? Paseo Colorado isn't too far; will I find something good there, or should I continue over to Old Town?

And a quick reco: My husband and I have been on diets to try and whittle off holiday weight, but we blew our diet for one night at La Traviata in downtown LB (latraviata321.com), in the historic Willmore Building. It's a lovely place with tasty Italian entrées, a darned good wine list (was that an Anderson Valley pinot noir? Yes, and it was unique and wonderfully drinkable!) and charming wait staff, with live entertainment on the weekends to enhance the romance. Sometimes you just want an elegant, friendly place serving food you will want to eat without needing a semiotician explaining each freeze-dried, foamed and/or sous vide nuance to you. A bit off the main drag of downtown Long Beach, so it has a real locals-only flavor to it; the fact it's in the ground floor of a building filled with residential lofts reinforces that vibe. Nothing life-altering, just heartwarming and satisfying.
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Old Feb 18th, 2018, 07:20 AM
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Happy Hour at Great Maple

Thanks maitaitom for suggesting this during our recent stay in Pasadena. While we had dinner at Union, we almost didnt need to since we had very substantial Happy Hour tastings at Great Maple a couple hours before. We tried their Brisket Sliders which consisted of three rather substantial sandwiches, and also their Cauliflower Hummus which was a large container w pita crisps and freshly cut crudites. Absolutely delicious. Tender brisket, great sauce. While we wanted to return for brunch the next morning, it only opened at 11, and we wanted to get an earlier start. Glad to see they are also in La Jolla in UTC and downtown San Diego.
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Old Feb 24th, 2018, 07:39 PM
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Wow, I didn't even know that Cafe Bizou had closed and it's nearly right under my nose. But, I've been away in Asia since December. I threw my first GTG dinner there in around 2017, as I threw two dinners and a luncheon during that GTG weekend, but at different restaurants within walking distance. Folks loved Cafe Bizou. I used to go there a lot up until maybe around 5 years ago. It was one of my favorites.

Happy Travels!
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Old Aug 10th, 2018, 05:17 PM
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Had two great meals at the Anaheim White House in June and July. Chef Bruno Serato is the man who founded Caterina's Club, a charity that feeds kids not only in Orange County, but now around the country and in Africa and his native Italy. The restaurant suffered severe dame in a 2017 fire and recently reopened. Delicious, albeit expensive, foods. Ambiance with frescoed rooms is perfect. Great service, too.

https://travelswithmaitaitom.com/ana...se-anaheim-ca/





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Old Aug 10th, 2018, 06:36 PM
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The LA area, ok. Kiriko for sushi and Mexican at Gilbert’s El Indio in Santa Monica. Dupars pancakes at the Farmers Market. Pork chops, hash browns and eggs at Pann’s for breakfast. Love the view from the Cliff Restaurant in Laguna, food isn’t bad either.
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Old Aug 11th, 2018, 10:15 AM
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Curiousgeo, you're going to laugh but we once had Thanksgiving dinner at DuPar's and it was great!!

Maitaitom, do tell what that unbelieveable-looking chocolate thing (middle picture) is.
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Old Aug 11th, 2018, 12:48 PM
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So sad, Le Petit Bistro, a La Cienega/Melrose go-to spot in Los Angeles shuttered on July 25th. Without warning. We mourn.
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Old Aug 11th, 2018, 02:49 PM
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sf7307, not laughing at all. I had their hot roast beef sandwich with mashed potatoes and gravy once and thought it was quite good. So I imagine their roast turkey dinner on Thanksgiving would be delicious!

Too bad about Le Petit Bistro, it was on my list of places to eat in LA.
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Old Aug 11th, 2018, 04:58 PM
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surfergirl, Le Petit Bistro was on my short list of future places ... didn't even know it closed.

sf, "We shared a Soufflé El Nino; flourless Grand Marnier soufflé, served with chocolate ganache, crème anglaise and Chantilly cream ($13.95). Decadence on a plate."

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Old Sep 5th, 2018, 01:29 PM
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Tracy and I ventured to Hipster Highland Park (I just try not to break a hip) to check out a French restaurant friends had told us about. Côté Est was so good on our July visit (on the hottest day in history), we made a return trip in August. Chicken, meat, fish and pork dishes plus some wonderful appetizers and desserts in a beautiful space make this place a keeper! Check it out below. Bon appétit!

https://travelswithmaitaitom.com/cot...rk-california/

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Old Sep 7th, 2018, 10:11 AM
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Not sure if these more casual restaurants are appropriate for this thread, but here they are anyway!

We ate dinner at Mercado Los Angeles last week, which we also visited a year or two ago. Los Angeles Reservations ? Cocinas y Calaveras
Really good guacamole, and I loved my steak tacos. DH went rogue and ordered seared scallops (at a Mexican restaurant??), but they were awesome. Only complaint about the place is the noise level is very high.

Speaking of tacos, we loved our lunch at this Trejo's Tacos location last year: https://www.trejostacos.com/labrea/

Going farther afield, to Newport Beach, on our drive day to LA last week, we went for an early dinner at another old favorite, The Crab Cooker at Newport Beach. We never miss an opportunity to eat there.. main courses/desserts ? The Crab Cooker Restaurant
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Old Sep 7th, 2018, 03:47 PM
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"Casual" counts! Thanks.

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Old Dec 10th, 2018, 12:19 PM
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This year … we’re going Latin for my favorite L.A. Once again the choice was tough, but in November we visited the relatively new Dama restaurant in the Fashion District of Los Angeles (twice). We were blown away by the cuisine on both visits, so in the end the choice was obvious. This is a restaurant where the dishes are meant to be shared. From the opening bread serving that includes heirloom tomatoes to Whipped Beans to exquisite Squash Flowers to Oxtail Tacos to the best damned corn I have ever tasted to virtually everything else we tried, this restaurant hit on all cylinders. Choosing between the delectable churros and unbelievable Soft Serve Ice Cream and Banana Sundae proved so hard that we had to order both (including an extra helping of churros). Dama gave the Expando belt another tough test. Dama is a worthy recipient of this someday-to-be-coveted award. Good eating to you all!

https://travelswithmaitaitom.com/dama-los-angeles-ca/


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Old Oct 23rd, 2020, 12:38 PM
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For the better part of the last 30 years, Tracy and I have visited Pasadena’s Bistro 45 on numerous occasions. We usually attend winemaker dinners or stop in for special events such as a Bastille Day or New Years Eve. All of our meals have been nothing less than spectacular, and since its patio has reopened, we thought it would be a good time to pay one of our favorites a visit. Along with friends Jeff and Cecilia, we enjoyed yet another fabulous meal at this Pasadena, CA, icon. Come check it out with us in the link below. (story no photos below photos)

https://travelswithmaitaitom.com/bistro-45-pasadena-ca/






Situated in a charming, retro Art Deco building in Pasadena, Bistro 45 has provided us with many a memorable meal over the past 25 - 30 years, and it consistently serving delicious dinners. Over the years, in addition to special occasion meals, we have attended many of their winemaker dinners, almost always resulting in an infusion for our wine cellar.

During the pandemic, Bistro 45 has also pivoted to curb-side pick-up, Rosti (family) dinners, Butcher Shoppe and recently, patio-only dining. We have purchased Cryovac-sealed Nieman Ranch pork chops from the Butcher Shoppe, and they are among the best pork chops we’ve eaten.

Digression: Back in the 1980s, when Old Town Pasadena was nothing like the bustling area it is today, Alvin Simon and his son Robert (proprietor of Bistro 45 … along with wife Deborah) started a restaurant named Café Jacoulet. It was, at the time, my favorite restaurant. It, and other establishments, started the Renaissance and revitalization of Pasadena. Fine memories indeed!

We returned recently to this 30-year old Pasadena favorite with friends, Jeff and Cecilia, to dine on Bistro 45’s outdoor patio. The menu was smaller than usual, but the dishes continue to excel. The tables where adequately spaced, and the staff all wore masks, as did we.

Jeff and I started with Vieux Carre cocktails, which we first tasted at Disneyland’s Club 33. I call a Vieux Carre the New Orleans Martini, because it brings in booze with French, Caribbean and Southern flavors.

While sipping our cocktails, warm bread, fresh out of the oven, was delivered table-side. It didn’t last long.

Jeff and Cecilia shared a starter of Braised Spanish Octopus, organic lemon and olive oil, pickled onions and fennel and wild arugula ($19.45). They couldn’t keep their tentacles off of it.

Tracy ordered the special chilled cucumber soup with avocado sorbet ($11.45). Cool and creamy with a dollop of avocado sorbet, this was definitely a Wow starter. I don’t usually care for cucumbers, but I had to admit this soup was splendid. It was so good Tracy wants the recipe.

I started with the Burrata alla Panna & Parma Prosciutto, organic tomatoes and roasted local figs with a balsamic drizzle ($18.45). Another Wow starter.

For their main course, Jeff and Cecilia shared the special 12-ounce ribeye with shallot demi sauce, buttered yellow creamers and roasted cauliflower ($49.45). They declared it the best ribeye they had ever eaten. They have not tasted the off-menu ribeye steak at Hippo, so it will be quite the contest.

Tracy ordered the Rocky/Petaluma Half Chicken from “Our 800 Degree Oven,” crispy chicken served on a bed of buttered yellow creamers, sautéed spinach with shiitake mushroom Madeira Demi-Glace sauce ($28.45). This dish could easily have been shared, and half of the dish went home with us and made for a scrumptious lunch the following day.

I opted for the special Angel Hair Pasta with ribeye in a mushroom Demi-Glace sauce ($26.45). It was very good, but after hearing Jeff and Cecilia’ comments, I wish I’d gone for the 12-ounce ribeye.

Despite my ever-increasing girth, I talked the table into sharing three desserts ($12.45 each): Meyer Lemon Trio; chilled sliced lemon soufflé, lemon curd, warm lemon pudding cake with raspberry sauce; Chocolate Blackberry Terrine with salted caramel ice cream; and the Apple Tart Tartin with crème fraiche ice cream and caramel sauce. As you can imagine, all of our plates were clean after devouring this trio of delectability.

To complete our wonderful dining experience, complimentary glasses of port arrived with the bill. They must have subconsciously known our autumn trip to Portugal sadly had to be canceled.

The corkage fee at Bistro 45 is a reasonable $15, and they also have an extensive wine list.

As stated at the beginning, Bistro 45 also hosts terrific winemaker dinners. They charge less than many restaurants for these special experiences (usually $75 or $85 apiece, which includes flights of wine).

Of course, after I purchase a few hundred bucks worth of vino after dinner, it’s not quite as inexpensive, but, hey, unless you’re Shirley MacLaine, you only live once. Simon (who has also been a wine judge in his career) is always at the forefront during these winemaker dinners dispensing fun and interesting wine and dining information along with introducing the vintners whose wines now occupy a decent percentage of our cellar.

In 2018, we really enjoyed the Châteauneuf-du-Pape winemaker dinner. The Chilled Turnip Vichyssoise with caramelized leeks, chives and sautéed wild cod earned a “Wow” from both Tracy and me (turnips, who knew?).

Other dishes at this dinner were very good, too.

Whoever has to wash all of these wine glasses deserves a bonus.

I don’t ever recall having a disappointing meal or good time dining here. Besides the food, the service has always been impeccable … friendly, attentive and professional.

When inside dining finally makes its return, the interior dining areas of the restaurant, with its soft-lighting, make for a very romantic place to dine. Until then, when in the area, put Bistro 45 high up on your list of restaurants to visit for patio dining, and get on their mailing list for upcoming winemaker dinners and seasonal menu changes. Bon appétit!
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