Hi, y'all. I'm a native So Cal, born and raised in Diamond Bar, but now escaped to a north OC city for whom Mike Eisner is the de facto mayor. I had considered myself a foodie until I read Jim's reasoned distinction, and now count myself firmly in the chowhound camp. I eat passionately, both out and in, and look forward to both giving and getting reccos in this remarkably diverse forum.
I plan wine dinners for an increasingly jovial and integral cadre of LA and OC inebriates, usually 12-15 at each, and for next month's venture, I want to immerse them in the culanry culture of Ethiopia through a meal at one of the area's better restaurants. I know it's not at the top of everyone's list of wine-friendly cuisines, but I see the possibilities, and this group expects to be challenged. Through my modicum of experience, I'm focusing on the Little Addis Ababa section of Fairfax Bl between Pico and Olympic, but I would be open to others if any of you have had exemplary experiences. I've dined at Rosalind's and Nyala, and had my sights set next on Messob.
Our primary concerns, besides those we all normally take to dinner, are private spaces, glassware, and corkage. A set-off room is not essential, but I'm just looking to make sure we don't wind up elbow-to-elbow with couples trying to have romantic, quiet dinners. Several of the members arrive in full wine geek mode with plenty of their own stemware, but not everyone. We routinely have 25 to 30 bottles at these blowouts, so either a low per-bottle or per-person tariff is key.
Do any of you have group dinner experiences at these restaurants which could shed light on these issues? Also, have any Abyssiniphiles among you noticed any of these places either seriously ON or OFF their game recently? Thanks in advance for the feedback, and I'm truly frightened to consider all the free time I now know I will consume surfing here.