My dad loves to eat out, perhaps even more than me. He also loves to cook, but when he visits me we essentially design the itinerary around each meal. If dinner has not been plotted yet, we discuss it and decide during lunch.
Okay, I will first state that while I do consider myself to have a somewhat educated and discerning palate - that I am a veritable neophyte in the Chinese cuisine arena. I have always enjoyed the occasional Chinese food night which conjures thoughts of either a delivered dinner where I eat with my chopsticks straight out of the takeout containers while watching the ABC Sunday night movie in my cozies OR dining out in a dimly lit restaurant with neat streams, bridges and fountains inside that serve dishes with words like happy, lucky, delight and family in the title (which I miss... where did those go??).
At the farmer's market today I was very excited to buy some fresh herbs to plant, specifically chocolate mint. My foodtastic roommate, Madeline, and I began a love affair with chocolate mint last Summer when my mom was in town and planted us an herb garden with purchases from the Sunday market. Madeline would make the most wonderful snacks and treats accented with the bounty from our little garden. She especially loved the chocolate mint - which I believe was a new discovery for her. She put it in and on water, tea, coffee (yes, coffee), salads, and toast to name a few. I quite liked it in a Summery pasta salad or chopped up and sprinkled over ice cream.
I love wine.
I love graze-y, noshy, snacky, wine-filled, conversation-heavy evenings. On frequent occasions I love a destination that is not my or one of my friend's houses that can accommodate such an evening. Surprisingly there are fewer options than one may imagine - especially with quality food (I am not talking about a glass of "house red" and wings here). Obviously A.O.C. is a great option but it usually ends up being a whole THING - kind of dressy, kind of expensive, kind of a scene. There is Vinoteca, in Los Feliz, which is lovely. But it's more of a wine bar in a literal sense - a bar that serves primarily wine with an extensive wine list. They do serve food and it's not horrible - but it's not so great either. Mediocre at best.