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Restaurants & Bars 3

busy weekend with many reviews (long)

ks | Feb 21, 200501:01 PM

What a bad weather weekend for parents to visit! In spite of all the rain, we still did some good eating. Although, the poor weather made us probably more geographically conservative than usual. My parents are good sports about trying new foods (although our choices this weekend were pretty tame), but anything super high-end or scene-y is out.

Friday night - Sprazzo Cucina Italiana
Haven't seen much posted on this restaurant. We had to be at ucla that evening - this was close and strongly recommended by my boss. I'm no great fan of Italian, but since my father loves it, I thought why not? This turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Nice salads to start and good pasta followed. I had spinach ravioli, my Mom one of the specials of the evening with butternut squash ravioli, and Dad had the cioppino, which he really enjoyed. Good, low-key choice - I thought the service was conscientious, but a bit formal. Not a destination place, but everyone was happy. Didn't see the bill, but I think salads were $6-8.00 and pastas were $12-15.00.

Sat. breakfast – Maxwell’s
This was geographically convenient, but is a bit of a mystery to me. We got there early enough so there wasn’t a line, but by the time we left there were at least a dozen people waiting. Why? Hard to figure out. This was my second time here and I admit it’s one of those places I want to be better than it is. Mystifyingly bad waitress to begin, but a very sweet one took over (thank goodness) and was able to rectify the mistakes of the first one (like the wrong french toast, no eggs with the corned beef hash, didn’t seem to know what came with toast and what didn’t). But still the food just wasn’t that good. Anyway, I guess the atmosphere’s welcoming and it’s kinda cute, but I think I’m through with my attempts to love this place.

Sat. lunch – Baby Blues BBQ
Again geographically convenient, but this one was a winner. We had been aiming for Bay Cities (a major parental favorite), but the crummy traffic on Lincoln coming from MDR prompted an early stop. This was my second time here and I really like the pulled pork sandwich. I lived in the piedmont triad area of NC for two years and ate a lot of pulled pork. Frankly, I never expected to have good pulled pork after I left NC – this place is a treat. They were out of collards, but the creamed spinach was tasty (although nothing like creamed spinach at a place like tam o’shanter). Four of us also ordered mac n cheese and mashed sweet potatoes – which were a big hit along with shared pulled pork sandwiches. I’m still baffled by the lack of hush puppies on the menu and wish they had better lemonade, but otherwise I like this place.

Sat. dinner – Meals by Genet
After really stupid parking by yours truly, we ended up coming in soaking wet having walked/run way too far in a downpour. The waiter got us all settled in and served us some hot tea pretty quickly. Three of us ordered the chicken tibs, a lamb dish and the vegetarian combo. This was just as good as everyone has posted. My parents had only had Ethiopian once before and hadn’t been crazy about it (which they did not mention when I suggested this place). But they loved the food here. I was surprised by the diversity of the vegetarian combo and spent most of the meal grazing off of these choices – I think this has the best assortment of veg choices I’ve seen in any Ethiopian place. Someday I’ll have to figure out how come Ethiopian collards are made because they are always my favorite. We ate until we were totally stuffed and asked to have the rest boxed. Ms Genet was in the house and came out to see how we liked it since we didn’t eat much. We all kind of stared in a food stupor and then laughed. Maybe too much bbq earlier on, but we ate a ton. Dinner for three with tea was $48.00

Sunday brunch – Campanile
Now I know Campanile bashing is some hounds’ favorite sport, but for some reason I thought this would be a good choice. I had only been for dinner once, but I really liked it. We got there early at 10am and were seated in the middle atrium area. My brother and father almost immediately started poking at buttons on the wall and our waitress came up to explain that they were the controls for the original freight elevators. She spent time describing the building and then got us the little handout they have with a picture of the original building and with a mini-history. Needless to say my architecture buff parents were charmed. And the service stayed excellent – that waitress was great and the man bussing our table was also very attentive. The food was fantastic. Both my Mom and I got quiche (me Lorraine, her salmon – I wonder if quiche sales city-wide have shot up since that article in the Times?). The custard was quite loose and very delicious with a perfect flaky crust. My brother looked deliriously happy while eating his eggs benedict and my father was pleased with his egg in bread thing (?). My parents felt this was the best food all weekend and I would agree. By the time we left, it was pretty packed downstairs – so nice to be in such a light, airy space amid all the gray of the weekend. Then my Mom went over to La Brea Bakery to get some treats for the road trip back north. A big success – I think brunch for four was $88.00.

Sunday dinner – Gloria’s
After a very busy day for my parents, they wanted something close and simple. Gloria’s fit the bill perfectly with its Mexican and Salvadoran food. Four of us split two pupusas to start (one pork & cheese and one laroca – Gloria explained to us what this is, but I’m still hazy about it). They were definitely tasty. My parents both ended up with tamales of different kinds which they loved. I had the carne adobada – pretty good, but kind of dry (to be fair it was late on Sunday night we closed the place out). My brother had another dish that was beef and onions – I wish I remembered the name, it was very good. My parents were totally charmed by Gloria and were talked into dessert – insanity after so much food. But the desserts turned out to be the best part of the meal. We split a flan and an order of empanadas. The flan was truly amazing. Fairly dense, but not rubbery, and delicious. And I’ve never had empanadas like the ones we got, the outside wasn’t a pastry, and I think they were stuffed with plantain – a poor description for something very good. Didn’t see the bill here, but the entrees were around $7-10.00

LA 90024


VENICE 90291




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