Maccheroni Republic – Los Angeles, CA

Still Our Favorite Pasta in L.A. Maccheroni Republic – Los Angeles, CA Visited (May 2018 … twice) It’s comforting to know that some things don’t change in life, like my favorite pasta restaurant in Los Angeles continuing to provide the freshest pasta four and a half years after our first visit.   Maccheroni Republic has been churning out delectable pasta dishes since early 2014 (photo on right below from 2014), and it is as good (or even better) today as it was back when we first started going here.                                  Located virtually across the street from the historic Grand Central Market on Broadway between 3rd and … Read more…

Ristorante Pesto – Philadelphia, PA

South Philly Perfection Ristorante Pesto – Philadelphia, PA Visited: April 2018  •  Cuisine: Italian Before leaving for Philadelphia many people offered me dozens of restaurant recommendations, but after diligently doing my homework (something I should have done in college) there was only one place I knew we MUST visit … Ristorante Pesto in South Philly. To say that it lived up to its advanced billing would be a giant understatement. In fact, I’ll go as far to say that when you add up the food, atmosphere and service at Ristorante Pesto, it’s one of the top Italian restaurants I’ve dined at in my life … which includes all our trips to Italy. There are not many (if any) times we … Read more…

Great Maple – Pasadena

Perfect for Morning, Afternoon and Evening Great Maple – Pasadena Visited: November & December 2017 An outing in November to the Pasadena Convention Center to see retired Los Angeles Dodger announcer Vin Scully speak resulted in our stumbling (and I hadn’t even had a cocktail yet) onto a new restaurant recently opened (October 2017) in the Paseo Colorado Mall, Great Maple. It turned out to be a home run as  our new find quickly became a regular haunt that we visited four times in a two month period for brunch, Happy Hour and dinner. Its website states, “Great Maple is a modern American eatery specializing in elevated comfort food with a twist.”   There are also Great Maple locations in Newport Beach … Read more…

Manuela – Los Angeles, CA

Travels With Mai Tai Tom 2017 Restaurant of the Year Manuela – Los Angeles, CA Visited: Brunch and Dinner • February 2017 & Dinner:  December 2017 Restaurant Type: Eclectic Contemporary Southern As the year was winding to a close, we had yet to select Mai Tai Tom’s Restaurant of the Year for 2017 (aka…we eat out way too much).  There were many deserving contenders this year including Alimento in Silver Lake, Alexander’s Steak House in Pasadena, Trattoria Allegria in Montrose along with Nick’s selection of restaurants in Laguna Beach, Long Beach and San Clemente.  As much as we loved all those establishments, our thoughts kept returning to Manuela (located in the Los Angeles Art District), which we had visited for dinner … Read more…

South of Nick’s Mexican Kitchen + Bar – San Clemente, CA

Nick’s Strikes Again! South of Nick’s Mexican Kitchen + Bar – San Clemente, CA Visited: August 2017 Since Tracy and I had already visited and enjoyed Nick’s in Long Beach and Nick’s in Laguna Beach, we decided to head south of Nick’s to San Clemente.  We met our friends, Kim and Mary, who had driven up from San Diego on a gorgeous Sunday morning to yet another Nick’s Restaurant, this one appropriately named South of Nick’s Mexican Kitchen + Bar.  The restaurant is housed in a lovely Spanish building adjacent to Avenida Del Mar, which hosts the Sunday morning Farmer’s Market. It opens at 10 a.m., and we were there right when it opened. Hey, we were hungry! Walking inside, … Read more…

Bestia – Los Angeles, CA

Very Good…But Not Quite The BestiaBestia – 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 they … 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…