Twenty-One Reasons to dineL.A.: January 19 – February 1, 2015

Lobster Roll – Blue Plate Oysterette

DineL.A. is back and it’s time to scour the menus of participating restaurants all over town. I’ve come up with some reasons to jet to a particular dining establishment near you, whether for lunch or for dinner. Some restaurants offer exclusive dishes to dineL.A., others are offering a particularly enticing lunch and/or dinner menu. There are also participants that might normally be out of your price range or sense of adventure, but dineLA might just be the right occasion to give them a try.

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My Top dineLA Restaurant Week Lunch Picks for Summer, 2013: July 15 – 26

RivaBella’s Nidi di Rondine

This summer’s dineLA Restaurant Week commences today and lasts 10 days – over two weekday stretches and one weekend. And since we’ve had a few of these by now, it’s probably time we got smart on maneuvering through the multitude of menus. The trick with dineLA prix fixe is that it may get people through the door, but it may or may not be quite the deal you had in mind. The danger is that you might just be stuck with fewer, albeit recommended, choices for about the same price you’d normally pay.

May I propose lunch? They tend to be better deals than dinner – often true between both offerings of the same restaurant – because there’s more incentive to increase lunch traffic with dinner reservations filling up more readily. So whether you’ve got a 9-5 in the area or are in a certain neighborhood for an audition or client appointment, there’s probably a great dineLA power lunch strategy wherever you end up.

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Greenleaf Chopshop Rolls Out Discounts on 3rd Anniversary

Zorra the Great Salad

As much as I am skeptical of some food trends – for instance, I don’t get the mindless love for cupcakes while I totally relate to the on-going bacon craze - there are some upshots that I can get behind. For instance, this fast-casual-and-healthy thing: I actually hope that it’s a pattern that turns out to be longer lasting than a fad. After all, we can only hope it’s an indication that we as an audience are becoming more aware of eating in a healthful way – nothing but good can become of it, right? And when it’s presented in ways that taste delicious, it’s proof that healthful doesn’t have to be boring.

Anti-Oxidant Orchard Salad

I was recently introduced to Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop, which is currently in Beverly Hills and Century City and serving clientele from boutiques, law offices, accounting & consulting firms alike on the east-of-Westside. They also serve wine and beer, which come complete with pairing suggestions. Talk about a delicious lunch or take-home salad. The head chef is from the Patina family, so you know they’re not kidding around when they call this chopshop “gourmet.”

The good news is, they’ve stuck around for 3 years and to celebrate their anniversary, they’re rolling out some discounts starting now through this Saturday, June 4th. You get 10% off on your 1st visit, while working your way up in 5%-off increments to 30% off your in-store meal on their 5th visit (no more than 2 visits per day for discounts). And, on Saturday, you can also look forward to 30% off all meals at the Beverly Hills location. And about that beer and wine - imbibers can also enjoy 50% off beer and wine selections all-week-long, including an organic Alma Rosa Chardonnay (regularly $8/32), Talbot Kali Hart Pinot Noir ($9/34), and Lost Coast Great White Ale ($3.50).

Lemongrass Chicken

Got a couple buddies? Bring two “green” newcomers to dine in a “3Some” (kinky) and if you each purchase a salad or entrée, you’ll receive your choice of a complimentary bottle of housemade salad dressing or handcrafted dessert for the table. Options include Owner & “Commander in Leaf” Jonathan Rollo’s signature Citrus Basil Vinaigrette, Corporate Chef Kristi Ritchey’s “Grandma Nancy’s Chocolate Chip Cookies,” and “Carrots Are Good for You” Carrot Cake.

My personal favorite is the Greek-esque “Zorra the Great” salad, which has a good amount of kick thanks to the peppercorns in the dressing. If you’re looking for something naturally sweet, try “The Antioxidant Orchard.” Feeling like a refreshing salad topped with coconut and other tropical flavors? Try the “Lemongrass Chicken” – probably my second-most favorite. 

So if you’re near Beverly Hills or Century City, enjoy a salad, panini, sandwich and/or soup with a glass of beer or wine for lunch this week. Greenleaf’s menu is not only health-conscious but creatively and utterly delicious. Enjoy!

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Order online

Mon – Fri

11 AM – 6 PM

Sat

11 AM – 4 PM

Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop
9671 Wilshire Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
310.246.0756

Mon – Fri

10:30 AM – 6 PM

1888 Century Park East
Los Angeles, CA 90067
424.239.8700

The 2011 L.A. Easter Brunch Round-Up

Quail Eggs at Kaohsiung Night Market | Photo: hk_traveller on Flickr

I don’t remember ever having given up anything for Lent. But I always have celebrated Easter in non-ritualistic fashion – just as I eat and celebrate life. Every day is a rebirth, right?

Did I mention that I love eggs?

I compiled a bunch of Easter Brunch specials around town. There are plenty of restaurants offering up 3-course prix fixe menus for Sunday morning, but a lot of them have some pretty solid choices.

Go ahead…you can scan this post for the bottomless champagne or mimosa spots. I totally understand.

(By the way, I can’t believe how Westward this list skews… Do Eastsiders not celebrate Easter?) 😉

Happy Easter!!

***

Eva (Beverly/Hancock Park): 12 -  8 PM

$39 per person.
Bottomless wine. 5-course prix fixe.

I know I said “brunch,” and I know Mark Gold calls this the “Eva Dinner Party,” but the noon start time has to count for something, doesn’t it? You get all of the following: Deviled Eggs, Nicoise Salad with Olive Relish and Roast Peppers, Chicken “Pallard” with Arugula and Mustard, Warm Potato Salad, Prime Skirt Steak, Grilled Asparagus and Strawberry Shortcake with Whipped Creme Fraiche. I know. Amazing. This is where I’ll be…sometime during Easter Day.

7458 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036, 323.634.0700

Chaya Brasserie (Downtown, Beverly Hills, Venice): 11 AM – 3 PM

$37 per person, $15 per young adult.
Bottomless champagne. 3-course prix fixe.

You get a couple choices for your 3-course prix fixe, all menus of which vary according to location! Be sure to peep the right Chaya outpost for your menu.

A few highlights from what I can see on all three menus include French Toast with Granola Crust, Kabocha Squash Ricotta Cheese Gnocchi, Grilled New York Steak and Fries with Poached Egg, Pancetta-wrapped Gulf Shrimp with Provencal Grits, Meyer Lemon Mascarpone Cheese Tart. I think the Downtown location is where to be!

525 South Flower, Los Angeles, CA 90017, 213.236.9577

8741 Alden Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90048, 213.859.8833

110 Navy Street, Venice, CA 90291, 310.396.1179

Obika (Century City): 10 AM – 4 PM

$25 per adult, $15 per child under 12.
Comes with one mimosa or glass of Prosecco. Buffet-style plus one family-style pasta.

Not feeling the prix fixe but don’t want any hassle? Obika’s doing it up buffet style – at the mall. Mozzarella di Bufala along with a selection of Smoked Wild Alaskan Salmon, Assorted, Salumi, Caponata with Pan Carsau, Artichoke Ricotta Quiche with Thyme and Mint, Ricotta Mousse and four (yes, four) flavors of Tirimisu will all be available. In addition, your table will get to pick one choice of pasta served family style, including Handmade Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli with Brown Butter and Sage, Lasagnetta with Peas and Tagliolini with Artichoke and Mint.

10250 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90067, 310.556.2452

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Friday is National Drink Wine Day

National Drink Wine day

It seems like there’s an official day for absolutely everything, but tomorrow is probably the day commandeering an act that should be performed every day: Drinking wine.

If you feel like going out, there’s a couple places around town that will make it easy to celebrate:

Corkbar (Downtown)

This downtown, California-centric wine bar will be offering a flight of 3 wines for only $10. If you unlock the Foursquare Swarm Badge by checking in with 49 other wine-drinking, social media hangers-on, you’ll also unlock the incentive to receive extended happy hour specials—that is, $2 off drafts, $8 select wine, and half-priced select appetizers— for the remainder of the night. (To note: Normally, happy hour runs from 5 – 7 PM.) Delicioso!

Napa Valley Grille (Westwood)

Feeling confident about your wine palate? Wine Director Christina Sherwood will be leading a “Guess the Grape” game for guests, who will get to guess the varietal of a wine not currently on Napa Valley Grille’s wine list. Should you guess correctly, you’ll win a complimentary glass of wine. Fun!

Obika Mozzarella Bar (Century City)

Stop by for “Aperitivo Hour” between 4:30 – 7 PM for some tasty, mozzarella-focused bites and half-off wine. Again: Delicioso!

Feel like celebrating with a loved one or with friends (ok – maybe yourself) at home? Visit one of my favorite shops, including Domaine LA, Wally’s Wine, Silverlake Wine or K&L for some great vino selections. Their staff are always knowledgable and can recommend a great bottle or two across all different price ranges for your enjoyment.

Another good idea is to stop by the excellent Bar Covell wine bar in Los Feliz for a glass or three. It’s got just my kind of ambiance – casual, cool and not uppity. Feeling like accompanying your wine with some great cheese? Head on over to Cube on La Brea. Be sure to make a reservation if you plan on visiting during the evening because even the bar seating is reserved – and trust me, it will be packed. If you’re on the Westside, stop by Pourtal for their normal happy hour (4 – 7 PM: $5 wine and apps) and pours from their enomatic machines.

Whatever the case and however you choose to celebrate, Happy National Drink Wine Day!

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Mentioned in this post:

Corkbar
403 W 12th St
Los Angeles, CA 90015

Napa Valley Grille
1100 Glendon Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90024

Obika Mozzarella Bar at Century City Mall
10250 S Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90067

Domaine LA
6801 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038

Wally’s Wine
2107 Westwood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025

Silver Lake Wine
2395 Glendale Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90039

K&L
1400 Vine St
Los Angeles, CA 90028

Bar Covell
4628 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027-5408

Cube
615 North La Brea Avenue
Los Angeles, CA

Pourtal
104 Santa Monica Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Picks For Fashion’s Night Out Los Angeles

Studio Beauty Mix, Fred Segal Melrose

Tonight’s the night! Exactly a year ago I was in New York during Fashion Week and had an absolute blast during the first ever Fashion’s Night Out. Goodie bags, champagne, cocktails, discounts, free make-overs, cupcakes – you name it. But we’re doing our best here, in LA, so I thought I’d highlight the events going on around town that I would want to hit up.

For the complete listing, just head on over to the Official LA FNO site, which groups the retailers by neighborhood. You can also check out Mondette’s run-down, which expertly and succinctly lists what each store is doing for tonight’s special occasion. The @FNOlosangeles and @FashionWeekLA twitter accounts are also great resources. And while you’re out there on the town, don’t forget to bring your appetite because the food trucks will certainly be out in full force.

I’ll be elsewhere tonight but if I were to make a night out of succumbing my wallet to temptation (and a portal to get me all over town in a jiff), I’d go here:

Custo Barcelona, Beverly Center

  • Free Custo Jelly Bag with $50 purchase. I love Custo’s vibrant designs and mix of fabrics and patterns. Not for gals who are most comfortable with the little black dress.

A Ferris Wheel and surrounding shops, Rodeo Drive

  • I’ve never seen a ferris wheel on Rodeo Drive, so maybe this is just a cheap thrill. Still, Rodeo’s the perfect place to be a tourist in my own city since the price points at many of these shops boutiques shoot my moon. A girl can dream…and canoodle.

Paige Denim on Robertson Blvd.

  • I love Paige Jeans. The store in LA will be giving away a prize every hour on the hour starting 7 PM. If you buy a pair of jeans, you’ll get a Carasoin Spa gift. Refreshments and bites will be served.

The Dandy Warhols play Fred Segal, 8100 Melrose

  • I can’t really argue with putting music in the mix, especially on an occasion celebrating fashion. The Portland alt rock band will be playing a live set. And while you’re there…

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Hatchi Mix At Breadbar Goes Liquid As New Monthly Mixology Series

Pre-Prohibition Cocktail: The Sazerac

You may be familiar with my previous Hatchi mentions, with each rendition featuring a high profile chef from around Los Angeles. The series at Breadbar has upped the ante for May, however, and will now be featuring the best mixologists on a monthly basis for, again, one night only as “Hatchi Mix” debuts on Thursday, May 6th.

The menu will feature cocktails priced at $8 each, made by the featured mixologist of the night. Kicking off the series is Devon Espinoza from Abbot Kinney’s Tasting Kitchen, who offers his “Vive le Cocktail” concept featuring pre-Prohibition libations – like the Sazerac, which is arguably America’s first cocktail, dating back to pre-Civil War New Orleans. Also on the menu: The Martinez (gin, vermouth, maraschino liqueur), by the legendary bartender Jerry Thomas in San Francisco’s Occidental Hotel during the late 1800s; the Manhattan, called the father of the Martinez and the grandmother of the Martini; and The Last Word, a Prohibition-era drink with gin, lime juice, Chartreuse and often with maraschino liqueur.

With a menu like that, it’ll be hard to pass this Hatchi Mix up. But keep on the lookout for future guest mixologists, like Joel Black of the Caña Rum Bar at The Doheny, highlighting Rum cocktails on June 3, and Julian Cox of Rivera, with a focus on Tequilas on July 1. (Mmm…I hope that includes the Barbacoa.)

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

6 PM – 2 AM

$8 per cocktail

BreadBar Century City
10250 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90067
310.277.3770

Tillamook Love Loaf Tour Wraps Up Metro LA

Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler With Tillamook Cheddar at Akasha

You may have heard the Tillamook name being touted around food news lately – more specifically as a result of their recent Love Loaf Tour, which actually wraps up their Metro L.A. leg of good will and free cheddar goodness today. Well, that is with exception to the Grilled Cheese Invitational, which they are the official cheese sponsor of.

Tillamook Baby Loaf (yes, they really are small!)

A couple weeks ago I joined the ranks of a few other food bloggers, writers and all-out cheese lovers at the Baby Loaf’s stop at Akasha Restaurant in Culver City. We enjoyed platters of triangle-sliced Tillamook as well as Chef Akasha Richmond’s creative genius in incorporating the cheddar into her recipes. We garnished toasts with her mango chutney and fig-avocado spreads, enjoyed her baked mac ‘n cheese and gobbled up half-baked fingerling potatoes. My favorite bite, however, was definitely the pulled pork sliders which came encased in biscuits and sandwiched with coleslaw. The hands-down most creative usage of Tillamook was the White Tillamook Cheddar melted atop Chef Akasha’s Strawberry-Rhubarb Cobbler! It gave the otherwise sweet dessert a nice cheesy tang and made the dish quite savory. Truly, you can do anything with cheese.

Good thing Angelenos can still get their free samples of Tillamook … today, only. Check out the locations below for the Baby Loaves’ stops for today, only. Looks like if you’re in Mid-City, South L.A. and Century City today, you’ve lucked out.

Food at Akasha Restaurant-Tillamook media event was hosted; pictures of Chef Akasha Richmond’s and my cats were shared.

Further reading:

My Life-Long “Loaf” Affair With Tillamook Cheese – Diana Takes a Bite

Akasha Means “Enlightening One’s Tongue With Joy” – My Last Bite

My Tillamook – Charles at 1HundredMiles

Love Loaf Tour LA concludes today (Monday, April 12, 2010) at:

Food 4 Less
1717 S. Western Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90019
12 – 7 PM

Food 4 Less
1091 S. Hoover Street
Los Angeles, CA 90037
12 – 7 PM

Ralph’s
10309 W. Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064
11 AM – 6 PM

@TillamookCheese
@AkashaCC

Dine LA Restaurant Week Launches Sunday

Last week, the food and restauranteur community of Los Angeles gathered at The Hollywood Roosevelt to celebrate the launch of the winter installment of Dine LA – a two-week-long collaborative effort to offer diners three-course lunches and dinners at six specific price points.

$      Deluxe Dining   $16  $26
$$    Deluxe Dining   $22  $34
$$$   Fine Dining       $28  $44

Burger Slider

The red carpet was out and almost 100 chefs – many donning their white jackets straight from the kitchen – were the stars of the night. Oh – plus Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Writers, journalists, bloggers – what have you – were or weren’t donning our white “PRESS” badges. The purpose was clear: To celebrate food’s imminent role in Los Angeles culture – and the accessibility every man has to fine dining. And why don’t we enjoy some fixins from Dakota Chop House and 25 Degrees with cocktails from Matt Biancaniello of Library Bar to wash them down while we’re at it? Pork belly, tacos, quesadillas, salads, burger sliders and even a shiitake mushroom-infused Manhattan were passed around – but the hits of the night were undeniably the spicy burger sliders and Biancaniello’s arugula gimlet.

Arugula Gimlet

If you haven’t already, make your reservations soon; Dine LA runs Jan 24 – 29 and Jan 31 – Feb 5. The bevy of restaurants this round tops 243. Schedule a lunch in there to save a few dollars – it’s a great occasion to take an extended break from work. Eva (lunch or dinner), Palate (dinner), Cube (lunch or dinner) and Petrossian (lunch or dinner) rise to the top of my personal list.

And don’t forget to enter the daily contests Dine LA is holding: Starting 10 AM and running all day, answer a trivia question to be entered to win $100 gift certificates to participating restaurants (today’s is Petrossian, lo and behold). Also follow @dine_la on Twitter for updates.

Bonus: If you’re an American Express card holder, all you have to do is “do” Dine LA three times and you get a $20 credit on your statement. Just spend more than $21 per time.

And if you’re interested in the names behind the scene in Los Angeles food, it might interest you to peep the Dine LA Family Tree to see how they – and we – are all interconnected. Food brings us all together, doesn’t it?

Further reading:

DineLA Flickr Set

Restaurant Deals Ahead: It’s dineLA, the winter version; plus a “family tree” of L.A. chefs & restaurants – LATimes

DineLA Restaurant Week Kicks Off With Celebri-Chef Party – LAist

Dine LA Restaurant  Week Launch Party – ShopEatSleep

Jan 24 – 29 and Jan 31 – Feb 5, 2010

Dine LA Website
Various locations throughout Los Angeles
Call early for reservations

Lindsay, Dawson and Sabrina

Hatchi at Breadbar Goes Peruvian With Chef Ricardo Zarate

Causa at Mo-Chica

Photo credit to tinynancer on Flickr

Breadbar Century City’s monthly Hatchi series continues in January! The “foodie exhibition” of sorts rotates guest chefs for one-off nights so Angelenos can get a taste of everyone. Thursday, January 28, Hatchi will feature Chef Ricardo Zarate of Mo-Chica fame. Contemporary Peruvian tapas will be served, and if the glowing concensus about Mo-Chica is any indication, reservations will fill up fast.

True to its title, the night will feature eight dishes running $8 each. And if you’re smart about things, you’ll dine with at least a couple others so you can try everything on the menu. (Apologies ahead of time if I underestimate your capacity, perhaps, to single-handedly handle all eight by yourself.) Six of the eight will be savory, two will be desserts. Peep the “Peru Mucho Gusto” menu below (still under revision, subject to change):

SOPA DE COLIFLOR
Cauliflower soup, crispy pancetta, croutons, feta cheese dressing

CAUSA TRIO
Trio of Peruvian potato salad
Blue crab, mayo, huancaina sauce
Spicy blue fin tuna, rocoto aioli
Scallops menatiko sauce

CEVICHE MIXTO
Tairagai, uni, sea bass, aji amarillo leche de tigre sauce

TIRADITO DE PESCADO
Yellow tail tiradito, sundried tomato yuzu dressing

CARAPULCRA
Peruvian sun dried potatoes, pancetta, roasted black cod, chimichurri sauce

SECO DE CORDERO
Stew lamb shoulder in black beer and cilantro sauce, canario beans, red onion salsa

SELVA NEGRA
Flourless chocolate cake, lucuma ice cream, tamarillo sauce

KIWICHA CON LECHE Y ESENCIA DE MAZAMORRA
Kiwicha coconut pudding, purple corn essence, mixed nuts

Rarely find yourself in the USC area? Have an unfounded aversion to strip malls or do you simply love quality Peruvian food with a contemporary feel? Make your reservation at Breadbar for Chef Zarate’s turn at Hatchi.

Further reading:

Mo-Chica: The Best Peruvian Ceviche Might Be In a Warehouse South of Downtown – Jonathan Gold for LAWeekly

Perfectly Peruvian: Mo-Chica’s $35 Tasting MenuNancy Huang for CarolineOnCrack

I Ate the Eight: Hatchi With Michael Voltaggio – e*starLA

Thursday, January 28, 2009

6 – 10 PM

$8 per dish; 3 per guest minimum

Call for reservation or visit Breadbar or OpenTable

Breadbar Century City
10250 Santa Monica Blvd. R-2
Los Angeles, CA 90067
310.277.3770

@breadbar_la
@mo_chica