June 18, 2011

Economics of Dining; Where to Find Good Food in Los Angeles

by Shirl


Tiny but a very cute car, isn't it?  Not the kind of ride we see everyday.  I bet his surf board is longer than his car is long.    

Enough small car talk; back on topic.  We've all been hit by the recession one way or the other in the last couple of years.  But not all results in bad, I think. With the recession I've been having a much easier time getting reservations at almost any kind of restaurants.  Not only that but more great restaurants have opened their doors for lunch or weekend brunch, happy hours or even late night; I definitely find it welcoming that I can partake with good food at almost any time of day.  Also noticeable is the ever-growing and more comprehensive libations menus you could find in eateries.  Is that so we can drink and drown our sorrows in these tough economic times?  How about the expanding lists of small-plates that show up on menus everywhere, so we entertain with the illusion that we are not spending more (on less food)?  But my favorite strategy has to be coming from Grant Achatz's Next Restaurant: Meals are paid upfront at reservation time or "ticketing" and priced based on times and days of the week.  No changes. No refunds.     

With our continuing poor economy I wonder if Next's pricing strategy will catch on soon.  Here in Los Angeles on my home turf where we still pay after the meals, I'm actually quite delighted by the variety of styles of cooking that the new crop of restaurants has offered.  No doubt, they make sure you have a great beer and wine, and cocktail selections to down the delicious small plates with, and many of them open late. Depending on what you are in the mood for, Waterloo and City serves wonderful British style pub food.  Playa stands by with Latin American flavors and Tar Pit stays true to America classics.  No doubt Aburiya Toranoko is of Japanese heritage.  While Spice Table brings out Singaporean flavors big time, Red Medicine’s dishes are inspired by Vietnamese and very beautiful to look at.

At the handsomely-designed Lukshon the cooking captures the essence of Southeast Asian cuisine well, and even when a restaurant named itself A-Frame you shouldn’t look up too much but focus on the crowd-pleasing dishes that are re-conceived with an Asian accent.  In the end, there’s Lazy Ox Canteen that does everything brilliantly in an eclectic mix.  Personally though, I can’t wait to try Picca Peru, the just-about-to- open westside outpost of the outstanding Mo-Chica located in downtown.

I'm not sure how I feel about paying my meals upfront.  One thing I agree with Grant Achatz, though, is that a great fine-dining experience, perhaps, shouldn't conclude on counting out a stack of bills as you get up and leave the table.  That only looks good on film, I think. 

4 comments:

  1. i love the begining of this article. how cute :). i can't wait to try all these places next time when I'm in LA!

    XO

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  2. AnonymousJune 21, 2011

    Interesting concept from Grant Achatz. Hope the experience will be as surprise as seeing that tiny car on the road. At least this should inspire more innovative ideas from some great chefs in the near future.

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  3. AnonymousJune 23, 2011

    The car is so cute! An interesting article, make me think that poor economy still have its good side. :) We have to fuel us up with good food and work hard on our economy!
    Thanks for sharing us the good food places!

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  4. Thank you for this great list of new restaurants to try in L.A. - even though I just returned from the city a few weeks ago, I feel I should plan my next trip soon :-)

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