I think I am ruined. I have had sushi in Japan and it was phenomenal. It was the best sushi I have ever had; nay, it was the best meal I have had in my entire life. It surpassed my wildest dreams, if they knew at which point to even begin.
Single or not, you won’t find me exactly chomping at the bit to try any sort of prix fixe menu on, of all nights, Valentine’s Day, only the busiest dining night out all year. A night of fighting the crowds of twosomes to order up one of the multitude of prix fixe menus during a potentially service-distastrous evening is not something I can recommend to you in good conscience, so why pretend? Anniversaries and birthdays are as great as the dates they land on are unique to each couple or person, so when a calendar designates that one particular day is the day everyone is to express one’s affection to his/her significant other, I can’t help but get a little bit apprehensive.
Here are a few fun alternatives to Valentine’s Day that take that icky obligatory feeling out of your profession of love…
A reservation at the tasting menu-only Maude will present you with 9 courses, with the first course actually being a series of precious but oh-so-delicious bites. Expect to be here from 3 – 3.5 hours. Naturally, you’ll have a conversation with the server about your allergies and preferences, to tailor your meal to you. Here are my foremost thoughts on my experience:
Last month, I got a chance to partake in one night of the excellent Culinary Masters series going on at The Strand House in Manhattan Beach. The chef of the night was John Besh in the wake of the release of the Louisiana native and home cooking champion’s latest cookbook, “Cooking From the Heart,” and the celebratory 6-course dinner, expertly paired with Bwise Vineyard Wines, was nothing short of fantastic.
You might be acquainted with Coni’Seafood, and maybe even Chef Sergio Penuelas’ former affiliation with Mariscos Chente. You probably have had their pescado zarandeado (grilled snook), and most certainly their raw preparations such as the Shrimp aguachiles. If you were ever aware of the need for one, it has become your go-to spot for Sinaloan specialties – right in Inglewood.
In the old space that once housed Hatfield’s, then Eva Restaurant, is now an outpost of a successful Belmont Shores import. The new location of the Lebanese chainlet called Open Sesame is admirably strategic; it’s well north of other Mediterranean haunts on Pico but south of those in The Valley. It adds to the diversity of dining options on Beverly Boulevard, and from my experience a couple weeks ago, a viable choice for flavorful food which also doubles as healthful. Those seeking vegetarian, vegan or Halal compliant will be happy that this popped up in the neighborhood.
Just three more performances of Falstaff at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion remain this year, and if you haven’t seen the brand new production, this is your last chance.
A few days before its opening, I got a chance to go backstage with other media and see the staging, a bit of rehearsal and results of all the effort that goes into the food in the comic opera, which was also Verdi’s last. Yes, the food. A whole turkey is prepared for every single performance of Falstaff – Act II, Scene 1, to be exact – requiring 5 hours of preparation that precede it. Mistress Quickly, played by Ronnita Nicole Miller, also has to deal with taking a bite of a big turkey leg immediately before singing verse.
It’s that wonderful time of year when it’s time to indulge in one of the true delicacies of the world. Forget the artificial truffle oil (redundant) of the ’90s – the real thing has a season and the time to enjoy white truffles is now.
Of course, at two to three thousand dollars per pound, it’s quite easy to break the bank while partaking. Fortunately, I’ve got a lot of options in different forms (cocktails! tasting menus! burgers!) and price points that will ensure you’re able to get your fungi fix.
Let’s start out with a cocktail by Matty B, why don’t we?
When considering restaurants on Abbot Kinney and the recent upshoot of many restaurants serving Southern cuisine around town, it’s only proper that the Venice hub would receive its own outpost. Govind Armstrong, of Post & Beam and before that, ROFL Café (I know) and 8 Oz Burger Bar, is as recognizable a chef’s name as any other in L.A. and adds himself as another well-regarded name on the Boulevard, the others being Joe Miller and Casey Lane. Continue reading
Now that the restrictions that come with a vegan diet fail to faze him, Jeremy Lake, in his second cocktail menu since Crossroads has opened, made efforts to advance the drinks even further and towards a healthful mindset. And if any restaurant in Los Angeles has been successful at reframing how a diet with no animal by-products is viewed, it’s Crossroads. Everything here is delicious – without mention of the usual apologetics – and the new fall cocktail menu is no exception.