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Old 11-28-2003, 15:05   #8
fnfalman
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: California & New Mexico, US
Posts: 56,174


Let's see...

Phoenix, AZ area:

1. Vincent's on Camelback Road. This guy puts some interesting southwestern twists into his French cooking. Service is great and low snobbery level. Double thumbs-up!!!

2. Pizzeria Bianco. This pizza joint is killer!!! All fresh ingredients cooked in a wood oven. The waitstaff are composed entirely of hot chicks!!! Yee-haw!

Los Angeles/Southern Kali area:

1. Valentino on Santa Monica Blvd. The best food, the best wine list, the best service, low snob appeal (rather surprising since that the Hollywood and Beverly Hils crowds are right there). No jacket required even though it's a fancy joint - gotta love it. I come here usually by myself or one of my good friends for some mean grubbin'!

2. L'Orangerie in Beverly Hills. Spectacular classic French gourmet cuisine. Impressive wine list. Jacket required. I'd usually take a decent date to this place for a romantic dinner.

3. Citronelle in Santa Barbara. Same as Valentino. I usually take a very nice date to this place for a romantic lunch and sometimes dinner, but mostly lunch. The drive is spectacular and lends the mood.

4. 71 Palm Restaurant in Ventura. This place is more affordable than the other three. The food isn't quite as exquisite, but still very decent on its own. Friendly staff and great non-pretentious French country cooking. The booze is not marked up too badly. A comfortable and cozy dining joint.

San Francisco Bay Area:

1. Lalime's in Berkeley. Excellent continental gourmet food. Excellent service. Friendly atmosphere. Definitely non-snobbish attitude. I wore my "Tommy FALFiger" T-shirt to that joint and the waitstaff didn't even bat an eye. The wine list is rather modest. Not enough Bordeaux and Burgundy for my liking. The menu changes monthly which is rather refreshing.

2. Chez Panisse in Berkeley. Supposedly the ne plus ultra of Bay Area gourmet cuisine. I personally find it only a little bit better than Lalime's.
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