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Long absence from reporting, so here's a long one

tokyoastrogirl | Jun 17, 2003 09:28 PM

Has been a while since I posted so I thought I would kick myself in the butt and start getting back into the swing of things. Here goes:

First time to Xiomara. Nice atmosphere, excellent service. When we were sat directly underneath the air conditioning vent, we asked to be moved and they accomodated, no attitude. Our waiter was gracious and subtle. We started with the duck ropa vieja which was tender, meaty, rich and just fabulous. It was hard to tell that it was duck- it was much like the port conterpart but an original and tasty idea at that. We then tried the shrimp tamales with lobster sauce. The soft, sweet corn combined with the creamy lobster sauce was divine. The pork taquitos were the only miss- they came in what was described as a chipotle sauce but there was no chipotle flavor- just bitterness. It was so bitter that we thought maybe they accidentally poured dishwashing liquid into the hollowed out orange it came in, but later I figured it was the orange - the sauce must have been sitting in it for a while. All was saved with the entree - the churrasco with mashed potatoes (spiked with blue cheese) was fork tender and delish.

I liked it so much that after a few days, I decided to try take out from Cafe Atlantic. I got the traditional Cuban sandwich (ham/mustard/pickles on cuban toast) and was sorely disappointed. Although I did my best to rush home (as to lock in as much freshness as possible!) it was a soggy, broken-up mess that was overpowered by the massive amount of ham. It even smelled like a hunk of ham and little else. Needless to say, it was totally unappetizing. Now, I like a hunk o ham now and again, but there was something awkaward about the whole vibe of that sandwich. 8 bucks which I will not get back is what I think of that place.

I also tried the Tibet Nepal House based on a hound rec and it was excellent. Forgive me for not remembering the name of the dish I had (beer was my main sidedish that night) but everything was very flavorful and spicy- it's always nice to sweat from the chile and still taste all of the flavors. I had chunks of chiken in a tomato/onion/pepper sauce with soft and billowy naan. The atmosphere is very soothing, service friendly, and prices reasonable.

Pete's Cafe in downtown LA will probably become a new hangout as my best friend recently moved into the area. After checking out the new place, we went there for a late dinner. The hamburger (priced at $10 on the bar menu) was thick, juicy, perfectly seasoned and cooked, on a toasted but not cut-the-roof-of-your-mouth toasted and it came with salty, crispy shoestring fries that I could eat all day long. Husband had the soup of the day (tomato and "vegan approved" accordig to our waiter). It was so tasty that all of the meat eaters at the table kept dipping their fries into it. Also had the ceasar salad which came with thin toasts- the garlic/anchovy mix was on the spicy side but very good that way.

Another disappointing meal at Edendale Grill means I probably won't be frequenting that place for a while. The green goddess salad is worth a trip anyday, but woman cannot live on greens alone. My trout w/ applewood smoked bacon was bland- the two strips of bacon were just set on top of the trout and didn't really add to the dish at all. The accompanying veggies were cooked properly- crisp and not overdone- but I can throw a couple of baby zucchini in a pan too, I wasn't impressed. Too bad that such a gorgeous space has such mediocre food.

Finally had a chance to try Vermont. Again- beautiful restaurant, nice lighting, good service. Food was so so. Split an onion tart that was wonderful- topped with a mound of fresh herbs. Should have stuck with the appetizers becuase my duck was literally like port tenderloin- I mean, pork tuffloin. I kept sniffing it, poking it, I mean- I've never seen a duck do such a great imitation of pork. Friend ordered the same dish and was convinced the kitchen did a switcharoo on us. When we asked the waiter, he assured us it was duck but I still don't beleive it. Won't be back there for a while.

Had breakfast at Sol Y Azul the other day- great chips and salsa, nice little muffins to start. I had the lobster omlette- fresh, tasty, came with amazing potatoes. Hub had the always winning grilled fish tacos which have an entire fillet of mahi mahi in each one. No flakes here. Menu includes a creative chef's menu (about 6 items) which changes about once a month. Lobster taquitos always hittin.'

An off restaurant rec but I recently made the oven roasted tomato tart found in the newest issue of Food & Wine- and wow, was it good. A bit time consuming, but worth it. I bought 3 pounds of romas at the Farmer's Market and it make for a rich and meaty tart. Perfect for brunch or a light dinner paired with some greens, stuffed mushrooms and a good zinfandel.

That's a wrap for now. Am still trying to get into Cafe Stella- I have high hopes since I've tried three times to make ressies but have missed out, since the restaurant was completely booked. Am looking forward to trying a certain sushi chef's new sushi place when it opens sometime this summer. Let's say the main sushi chef at a certain sushi joint I always talk about is finally striking out on his own and it will be wonderful. Will post details as soon as we can blow the lid off this thing!

Happy chowing.

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