Stinking Rose: A Pictoral Essay

Okay. I can’t respond to everyone. So here it is. No dig on FTC. I love it and am here to stay. My main problem with CH was the technical difficulties; then long time posters that I came to like and follow started leaving. I wasn’t there long enough to experience the b.s. you guys did. A Chowhounder - I don’t know who - found a way to slip me the info for this board. Here I am. But there is no harm in reminiscing about the fun parts of CH. It is one of the things I like about FTC; you can be free to discuss other forums.

Hah! @LAgirl. I was kidding… kind of. I’ve seen other posts about Sergio and caught on to the Where’s Waldo aspect. Thanks! You cleared things up for me… a bit :confused:. But it doesn’t matter; I don’t need to know everything. I just like this thread and reading you longtime chowhounders having fun with each other. It’s what attracted me there and inspired me to come here in the first place.

[quote=“ipsedixit, post:18, topic:5113”]
Anyone who doesn’t get the Stinking Rose probably also doesn’t understand the spirit of the community here.
[/quote]You had me until you got to this part. So once again… Go F yourself.

Happy Garlic & Steak Eating!

I tried the Stinking Rose in SF once soon after they opened. Tourist trap. I think you could eat better at Buca di Beppo.

Hi @TheCookie,

I’ll try and recount the legend of Sergio to the best of my memory (other FTCers who remember, please chime in if I didn’t remember right! ;))…

Chef Sergio Penuelas and his wife Maria Penuelas founded a little, delicious hole-in-the-wall eatery focusing on Sinaloan cuisine, called Mariscos Chente. It was noteworthy not only for the great food, but that it was on the Westside. Legit, delicious, authentic Sinaloan food that was convenient for many on the Westside. :slight_smile:

He ended up having marital issues and got divorced, and I think before things were totally split up, he was cooking less and less at Chente, then not at all. His replacement wasn’t as good, so people would chime in (there was an open kitchen so you could see in), if “Sergio was cooking” that day or not.

If he wasn’t, that was the reason the food wasn’t as good.

He moved on to his father-in-law’s(?) restaurant in Inglewood IIRC, so that was good news… except we found out he wasn’t there full-time. :frowning: So people showing up also had to see “if Sergio was cooking that day.” If he wasn’t, it seemed like the food wasn’t as good.

He moved on to another restaurant (I think his father-in-law owned 2 or 3 restaurants), and also wasn’t there full-time.

So it just turned from serious inquiry “is Sergio cooking that day?” to a running joke of if we go to a restaurant that people are reporting was good, but we had a bad experience, then “maybe Sergio wasn’t cooking that day?” :stuck_out_tongue: (even though clearly Sergio Penuelas isn’t at all of those other restaurants we’re going to), LOL. :slight_smile:

I think that’s generally it, but the veterans might remember more about this than I do. :slight_smile:

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Ahhh!!! Okay. I get it! Thanks for taking the time to break it down!

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I didn’t know about the family issues, but @westsidegal is a deep and serious fan of Sergio’s cooking, and she once posted (I think) how she actually would ahead of time to make sure that Sergio was cooking. And I think, once we was cooking at Mariscos Chente irregularly, she somehow tracked him down to the other places where he was cooking.

And then the CH mods told her that she couldn’t post anymore about Mariscos Chente/Sergio b/c she seemed to have a personal relationship w/ him that would impair her objectivity. And we all know what happened after that…

As far as the Keith Gilabert thing goes, he used to actually put his name IN the title of the thread (which I think @ElsieDee alluded to). It took me one or two initial readings to figure out that “Keith Gilabert” wasn’t an EATERY but (supposedly) a PERSON. And he’d post like 5 reviews immediately and sequentially, so you’d go to CH and see “KEITH GILABERT REVIEWS _____” as the first 5 subjects. I personally thought he was a little addled in the mind, but who knows. So the Stinking Rose review was one AFTER he was encouraged to stop putting his name in the topic (so it was actually an improvement!).

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What @paranoidgarliclover said.

Ithink it was @westsidegal who first coined the phrase about calling ahead to make sure Sergio was cooking that day.

I think, though I could be mistaken, she was one of the first champions for the restaurant and Sergio’s skills in the kitchen.

I also think - and hopefully she’ll correct me if I’m wrong - CH determined (wrongly!) she had some connection to the restaurant and asked her not to post about it/recommend it any longer.

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I had the Sergio thing explained to me before, but I thought it was a metaphor. I can’t believe the guy is also real!

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[quote=“paranoidgarliclover, post:25, topic:5113”]
@westsidegal is a deep and serious fan of Sergio’s cooking, and she once posted (I think) how she actually would ahead of time to make sure that Sergio was cooking. And I think, once we was cooking at Mariscos Chente irregularly, she somehow tracked him down to the other places where he was cooking.

And then the CH mods told her that she couldn’t post anymore about Mariscos Chente/Sergio b/c she seemed to have a personal relationship w/ him that would impair her objectivity. And we all know what happened after that…
[/quote]I didn’t know any of that was going on. I must have been insulated by hangin’ with the Cookbook lovers.

When I read your first paragraph about westsidegal I thought “She is great seeker.” Then reading your 2nd paragraph about CH I thought “WTF… They don’t know what they’re doing. She’s what they should wish for.”

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For sure. I figured many, if not most, of the clientele were out-of-towners.

A bit tongue n cheek most def, but honestly, we had a great time. You don’t go for the food. I mean, you do go for that big ole vat of garlic and fill up on that and rolls, as @attran99 mentioned. All of the servers were exceedingly, and surprisingly, nice. The decor is kitsch and fun. And no corkage fee!! To me, the worst part about it is the cost. So dang high for what you get. But bring your own wine, split all of the food, and have fun at the ridiculousness of it all.

Just make sure to call ahead for Sergio…

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I long long time ago, before I knew better, my folks took my and the family out to the Stinking Rose in SF.

the roasted garlic and bread is, indeed, no joke. But then, it’s kinda tough to screw something like that up.
Everything else was… whatever. garlic pasta. garlic steak. garlic fried chicken, blah blah blah. Brother got garlic ice cream. har-dee-har. The food was edible, in a generic and utterly unmemorable way, and vastly overpriced. The place was loud and crowded. And parking sucked. We never went back.

Great! We live down the street.

Since we’re combining this with a little innuendo and bawdy boudoir talk, let me say, I need to break my husband’s Stinking Rose cherry. I get confused by all the joking though? Is the steak really good? Or is that a joke too? He loves steak!

Happy Valentines Day!

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is the steak really good?

I would venture to say nothing at the Stinking Rose is ‘really good’ except the roasted garlic.

Everything there was, not figuring price into it, fine at best, and not great at worst. That seems like a semantic difference. It is.

Considering what you’re paying for… I can think of, conservatively, a bazillion jillion squillion places I would rather go to.

Pan of roasted garlic and bread with some drinks…and then move on elsewhere :slight_smile:

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Yes, but after all this talk. We’re going! Don’t try to stop us… hah!

Perfect. A La Cienega Bang Bang.

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Hi @TheCookie,

I was just going to mention that Aburiya Raku is on La Cienega as well (just down the street), but for that you should go with a completely empty stomach, unhampered by the Garlic Overload that is Stinking Rose! :wink:

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@westsidegal has a very discriminating palate. Followed here avidly on Chowhound, and here when she posts (sadly not as frequently). If she feels strongly about something, it’s a slam-dunk to follow her advice.

The whole “only when Sergio is there” line might be tongue-in-cheek - I think we all get it in varying degrees - but the reality is, if Sergio IS at the helm, and @westsidegal puts out the call, go.

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Even the roasted garlic is not that great compared with what that dish can be made in season with first-rate butter or olive oil, bread, and new-crop garlic. I first had it at a Chez Panisse Bastille Day dinner around 40 years ago.

This this is about the worst time of year for garlic.

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is it this?

I’ve never actually been to Stinking Rose.

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Steaks are good, loaded with garlic and garlic tiramisu for dessert.