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Restaurants & Bars 6

Living Downtown (Long)

Deborah | Feb 2, 200110:34 PM

I've just moved downtown and I love it, as I knew I would. Despite the fact my phone is out (611 tells me today that 'due to storm conditions our operators will be unable to take your call'); the heat and elevators are whimsical; and the man in the flophouse directly across spends his days (mercifully, I can't speak to his nights) sitting, naked, in the window. I like to think he's knitting.

But enough about my domestic travails. My chief concern is that I'm not accumulating menus and building a dining repertoire as quickly as I'd like.

I'm at Mitsuwa just about every day. I love their tofu, both fried and salad. I'm also glad they have such things as steamed sweet potatoes and prepared lotus root, even though the lotus is too soft and sweet for my taste. The anago chirashisushi always looks terrific but it's a bit disappointing in the usual way (too much fatty skin, not enough meaty flesh). When I get there just after they open at 9:30, though, I can get a combination anago-california or anago-inari box for breakfast, and it's still slightly warmer than room temperature.

I've done Sushi Gen, TOT, Sushi Kawabaka (I may have that latter wrong; it's the place on that flanks TOT on the other side from/ than? Sushi Hama); Cafe Paraiso (it was open, it was Mexican, I could walk); and I'm looking forward to Fisherman's whatever after the recent responses to my post. Mornings I've been walking the dogs to Cafe Jolt for an extra hot (at Starbucks I make-- correction, made-- it 180 degrees-- I know some will say that kills the milk don't mention the crema but--) 2% double latte. I started with cafe au lait which I'd prefer but theirs tastes flat and papery. OK, ok, 180).

For Chinese I've relied (too often) on Full House, Happy Valley, and a place on Broadway that offers a pink menu and a kitchen that closes at 9:00. Recommendation? They deliver. Unfortunately the food is wretched and the delivery person is scared (make that terrified) of dogs. Mine are both under 20 lbs. And no, they're not junior pit bulls.

I'm going back to Ciudad for visit #3 tonight. First time was months ago before I'd actually made the 24-hour commitment. It's a busy place (good) but it shows in the attitude and timing of the servers (bad). Moceca (sp) was a huge disappointment-- very seventies nouvelle. I've only had it in the kitchen of a Brazilian classmate at French Culinary, though, so I may be spoilt.

Second time was a couple weeks ago, solo, and I sat at the bar (as I've noted before, one of my favorite things to do). On a bartender's recommendation I ordered the calamari with chorizo to start and it was terrific. The manager advised me against was it the skirt steak? which was their most popular but since the bovine spongiform encephalopathy--thing-- they've switched from Argentinian beef and now it wasn't in his opinion quite the same. Everybody said go for the salmon which I'm usually placid enough to do but I had a taste for red meat and the ribs looked good and when the manager said no and the bartender said yes I thought I'd go out on a limb and was well rewarded.

I'll probably yield to salmon tonight.

Pacific Dining Car last Wednesday because I've been haunted by the filet since New Year's Eve. Spinach salad (too crisp) and creamed spinach (a paradigm: fresh chopped spinach rather than blended, often frozen, in white sauce). Fries were dreadful-- burnt AND soggy; mashed potatoes were perfect. We had to send everything back for another spell in the microwave though. Did I mention I need heat?

Phillipe's, Cole's, 410, Langer's are on my list-- in no small part because of the posts I've read on this site. I know the Biltmore, the California Club. Can anyone report on the DR's at the LA Athletic Club? I've heard their food is not to be considered but also know they have a relatively new catering director. I've only had breakfast and remain unpersuaded.

I urgently need recommendations for late night, Mexican, Italian, bistro (French and Californian, and DELIVERY, however mediocre.

Any other downtown chowhounds out there?

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