Bestia – Los Angeles, CA

Very Good…But Not Quite The Bestia Bestia – Los Angeles, CA After waiting nearly a year to secure reservations at Bestia located in the Arts District in Downtown Los Angeles, Tracy, Susan and I arrived for dinner on a Monday evening at 5:45 p.m.  Yes, you read that correctly, it took us almost a year to score a relatively conveniently timed reservation…before 6 p.m….on a Monday night…on Fourth of July Eve.   And I thought getting Hamilton tickets was tough. Several of our friends had already been to Bestia, two of them waiting in line before the restaurant opened at 5 p.m., and another scoring a reservation during Dine L.A. Week.   Reservations open up three months in advance (and … Read more…

Maestro – Pasadena, CA

Worthy Of An Encore Maestro – Pasadena, CA Visited: July 2017 • Cuisine: Modern Mexican Tracy and I realized we had been on an Italian restaurant kick lately, so it was time to head south of the border (well, it is south of our house in Pasadena) and investigate a relatively new establishment that touts its inventive Mexican cuisine.  Maestro opened earlier this year in what was the former Azeen’s Afghani Restaurant (loved that place), located about a block from one of our favorite Italian (can’t escape them) restaurants, Union. Maestro comes from the creative mind of chef Danny Godinez, who was born in Acapulco and has opened a few restaurants in Orange County. He decided to enlarge his mini … Read more…

Alimento – Silver Lake, CA

A Golden Find In Silver Lake Alimento – Silver Lake, CA Visited: June 2017 (Twice)  •  Restaurant Type: Italian Inspired Alimento in Silver Lake had been on our dining radar ever since it opened in 2014.  Unfortunately, it took us over three years to make it here (we’re very good at procrastinating) and, boy, are we sorry we didn’t try it sooner!   We hooked up with friends Paul and Susan, who live in the neighborhood, for an early Sunday evening dinner and were fortunate enough to score a table on the outdoor patio.  I say “fortunate” because when I poked my head inside it was pretty loud. In 2011, Zach Pollack partnered with chef Steve Samson to open Sotto in … Read more…

Red Herring – Eagle Rock, CA

Following A Red Herring Red Herring – Eagle Rock, CA Visited: April 2017 Restaurant Type: New American With so many interesting restaurants opening up these days, it’s difficult to decide which ones to try.  Through word of mouth, Tracy and I heard numerous positive comments about the great food being served in Eagle Rock at a place called Red Herring, so on a rather balmy Sunday evening we made the short trek to meet our friends Paul and Susan from Silver Lake. Red Herring opened in the autumn of 2016 in the space formerly occupied by Petite Beaujolais and is led by the husband and wife team of Chef Dave Woodall (formerly of Blair’s Restaurant in Silver Lake and Mélisse … Read more…

Nick’s – Long Beach & Laguna Beach, CA

In The Nick’s Of Time Nick’s on Second – Long Beach, CA Nick’s Laguna Beach – Laguna Beach, CA Visited: March & April 2017 Restaurant Type: California Comfort Food…with a flair Well, you know what they say, “Two Nick’s is better than one!”   In the past couple of months we have visited Nick’s on Second in Long Beach for dinner and Nick’s Laguna Beach for lunch.   They both have a lot in common; the food was out of this world, the service was impeccable and they served a deviled egg that we still dream about to this day. Our first Nick’s experience took us to Long Beach on a balmy Sunday evening.  Even with sunset dinner reservations at 6 … Read more…

Manuela – Los Angeles, CA

Dinner and Brunch In The Art Gallery Manuela – Los Angeles, CA Visited: Brunch and Dinner • February 2017 Restaurant Type: For lack of a better term…Eclectic Contemporary Southern We are always interested to see what’s going on in the culinary world of L.A.’s Art District (numerous great restaurants now reside here), so when Tracy and I were told about a “hot” new eatery, we knew we needed to find out “what’s cooking” at Manuela.  What we didn’t know was that we would encounter a large establishment that has everything from live chickens…to a garden…to a giant flower…to a contemporary art gallery.  It all actually makes perfect sense because Manuela is part of an art gallery, Hauser & Wirth. Confused?  … Read more…

Trattoria Allegria – Montrose, CA

Excellent Neighborhood Italian Trattoria Allegria – Montrose, CA Visited: December 2016 (Twice)  •  Restaurant Type: Italian One of our favorite areas to visit is nearby Montrose, so when we heard from subscriber Claudia that a relatively new neighborhood Italian restaurant, Trattoria Allegria, had opened there, we decided to give it a spin.  Well, we liked it so much we returned a few weeks later to celebrate Tracy’s speed limit birthday (you have to guess). If pedigree is important to you, Trattoria Allegria’s owners have it.  They are admired local Italian restaurant veterans. Antonio Guberti, who formerly ran Glendale’s much-beloved Far Niente, and chef Fausto Tinelli, who for 12 years churned out the terrific dishes at Gale’s Restaurant in Pasadena.  These … Read more…

L’Ange 20 – Paris, France

Travels With Mai Tai Tom 2016 Vacation Restaurant Of The Year L’Ange 20 – Paris, France There were lots of great choices this year for the first ever Travels With Mai Tai Tom Vacation Restaurant Of The Year, but L’Ange 20 in Paris brought home the award with two impeccable dinners on back-to-back evenings. L’Ange 20 barely edged out L’Arôme in Bonnieux and Le Bacchus in Beaune, both of which were also excellent (as were many restaurants we visited on this trip, but these three were the crème de la crème). Tracy and I visited L’Ange 20 in 2014 and had intended to also dine there our last evening of that trip, but we had to cancel a day early … Read more…

Le Bacchus – Beaune, France

Beaune Appétit Le Bacchus – Beaune, France Visited: September 2016 While I’m busily writing the France 2016 Trip Report (which should be slightly shorter than War and Peace), I thought I’d include a couple of France restaurant reviews to (for lack of a better phrase) whet your appetite. This trip we were fortunate enough to dine at some of the best restaurants we’ve encountered on any of our journeys, including this one (Le Bacchus in Beaune, Burgundy). On our first night in the delightful town of Beaune, Tracy and I (along with friends Greg & Gloria, who we hooked up with for a few Burgundian days) walked to a little place I had read great things about before leaving on … Read more…

Forma – Santa Monica, CA

Wheel Of Fortune Forma – Santa Monica, CA Visited:  September 2016  •  Restaurant Type: Italian When Tracy and I learned that a highly rated Italian restaurant in Santa Monica served pasta in giant wheels of cheese, we decided Forma was a place we had to try!   While in NYC last autumn, we dined at Cacio e Pepe (dinner order foreshadowing) that served its signature dish in a similar fashion, so we definitely wanted to check out this restaurant.   The only reservation we could secure for Labor Day weekend was at 5 p.m. on Sunday.   We arrived a little early, which was fortuitous as we had to drive around the neighborhood to find a place to park. At 5 … Read more…