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How to do dineLA's Restaurant Week 2014, Postgrad foodie style

1:00 AM

dineLA's reminder for YOU!
  

Firstly, I love food, I love events, I love quality, and I love a good deal. LA Restaurant Week combines all of those things, and I look forward to it every year. You have until the 31st (Happy Chinese New Year!) to enjoy dineLA. It's not too late yet! A couple more days, but you can apply this same strategy to the next thing coming up! I've had a bunch of people ask me for tips bc I'm always happy with what I order. Keep in mind that everyone's different, but because I eat everything and have no dietary restrictions...*sings* THIS IS HOW YOU (I) DO ITTTTTTT:
  • Over 300 places are participating this year, so while that's awesome, it's also really overwhelming
  • You only have so many lunches and dinners left to help revitalize the economy
  • I want to enjoy more than 1 day of dineLA, SO I'm gonna be careful about what I spend
    • Step 2: Select the $15 option (currently the lowest price). Why?
      • $15 lunch means that the restaurant will also have reasonable dinner options
      • The site conveniently posts lunch and dinner menus. See if there are any that you like. Again, this is what I did. You can always use this to check out if the $20 and $25 lunches are appealing to you. Keep in mind they're multi-course meals! :)
        • Need to limit options down some more?
      • Depending on if you're trying to do dinner or lunch, if you reeeeally wanna try a dinner place out but it's still out of your budget, you can always go for their lunch options!
    I was tempted to go back to Little Next Door. The last time I went was with my Parisian friend, Tiphene, who was in LA with her parents. Her old friend is French AND the co-owner of the place, so the food was delicious, vibe was dreamy, & overall experience was authentic & genuine.
    • Step 3: You can limit by location (Downtown Pasadena, Santa Monica, Westwood, Downtown LA, etc.) or by ethnic cuisine, basically.
      • I opted to pass over the tempting Mexican, Italian, Korean BBQ, & Japanese BBQ food options. Why?
        • Being in So Cal, I have yummy Mexican food all the time, and it's authentic. I prefer authentic hole-in-the-wall places over somewhere that will end up serving essentially comparable quality of food with the price jacked up 3 times. Exceptions for specialties, historic sites, atmosphere...but since I'm looking for a good deal, I can eat Mexican food any other time (Taco Tuesdays heyyyy).
        • Unless there's a great specialty, I'm honestly not impressed by the usual offerings on a fixed price menu for most Italian restaurants. They are all tasty, but for a $15 lunch or $25 or $35 dinner, I can go any other time and order a la carte...or I can make my own appetizer salad, pasta with chicken at home, etc. and not drown it in overly creamy sauce that restaurants seem to love to do. However, for dineLA, some of the Italian dinner menus DO look tasty, but I have prosciutto, mussel and clam pasta, margherita pizza, and fillet of fish often enough that I don't crave it. It's different for everyone
        • Being in Orange County, we have a plethora of yummy Korean BBQ and Japanese BBQ places. I go to the AYCEs (All-You-Can-Eats) often enough that I don't need to go for dineLA. Besides, a typical AYCE Lunch is under $20, and dinner is under $30 anyway.
    • Step 4: Once you decide, RSVP via OpenTable for a day + time bc you get points when you show up to eat! All those points add up, and one day, you will get a gift certificate for more food. :D
  • Voila! I narrow down my choices in this logical manner and that's how I know that I'm getting the best deal for me. 
    • Again, it depends on what you happen to be craving. I don't diet, and I eat a lot and often, so chances are, I'm not craving certain things bc I had it recently. Bc I'm in Orange County, if I have to go to LA, then I want to get something that I can't get as easily in Orange County. Ask yourself what you've been meaning to find/try/have again. And take advantage of this opportunity!
      • What have I been looking for all of these years?
        • A place that does ESCARGOT justice! It's been one of my favorite foods since I was 10 and in France. Obviously, escargot is much harder to find in America, but luckily, we as a country have become more and more open-minded about exploring different cuisines. 
My 1st dineLA Restaurant was Cafe Bizou. Their quality of dinner choices at $25 made me happy. Once I saw escargot as a 1st course option, I was already in. Then I saw that they would let you substitute your 1st or 3rd course (dessert) for a glass of house wine--BOOM! Done deal. I already had lots of pastries for lunch at Porto's Bakery & Cafe earlier in the day, anyway, so I happily subbed my dessert option at dinner for a glass of wine...and what a generous pour that was, might I add!

Our waiter ended up being French, so FINALLY I could at least exchange small convo with someone in So Cal who speaks real French with a real French accent. Cafe Bizou = authentic to the max. 


  • Atmosphere = welcoming + romantic + cozy
  • Service = attentive + friendly + everyone looks nice and has pride in their work + elegant
  • Food = French + sophisticated but welcoming + tasty + presentation + decent portion
    • BONUS POINTS: for doing escargot justice and showing off their appeal!
  • Location = I LOVE Downtown Pasadena. Lots of happenin' there.
  • Bathroom = Single (sorry)
  • Parking = We parked at a meter across the street
  • Hours = closes at 9 PM (21h)


Next post will be about how to do dineLA when you're not from LA.

Now...can't wait for OC Restaurant Week! Eeee :D

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