I say bespoke because the act of stumbling into Heirloom was shockingly not via their famously flavor-packed, personal sized lasagna cupcakes found at farmer’s markets around town, but instead by luck of an invitation to a private dinner showcasing Bridlewood Wines in that said tasting room. Fortunately, they’ll be opening it up to the public a few days during the week, and I imagine the Eagle Rock community will meet that unveiling with elation. So bring on 2013, then. Continue reading →
Beer cocktails. Beer floats. Sour beers. All-you-can-drink beer. Beer crawl set to music. Crappy-for-happy beer trades. Prickly pear beers from all over town. Los Angeles is comin’ up beer. And in its 4th year, not only is LA Beer Week bigger and better than ever, it’s also more unified. The camaraderie around the LA beer community is unmistakable – so get ready to drink some tasty brews while learning a lot and meeting some cool people along the way.
After perusing the 10-day schedule, I’ve come up with a few events I’d personally want to attend. With the LA beer scene at the strongest it has ever been, there’s bound to be some (or a lot of) conflicts during this extravaganza, but all we can do is do our best, right? While you’re at it, you might as well check off the four quandrants of this LA Beer Week Bucket List. Then, bring your four stickers to the LA Beer Week Festival on September 30th and get a free bottle of the official beer of the week, Unity, from Eagle Rock Brewery – a play on a traditional Berliner Weiss, yet jazzed up with a touch of rye as well as red and green prickly pear. You’ll also get to enter a drawing for tickets to the BAM Fest on October 6th in Santa Monica.
(If you don’t complete the bucket list, never fear – it’ll be on draft at select retailers throughout Los Angeles and Orange county as well as at the LA Beer Week Festival itself.)
Without further ado, here are my Top Ten of LA Beer Week:
We all know about the tragedy that continues to unfold in Japan. As Japan endures aftershocks and the rest of the world does everything in her power – but seemingly never enough – to help the Land of the Rising Sun, we can see that at least some of our going-out dollars go towards relief.
Fortunately, two of my favorite sources of wine and beer in town have kicked off benefits where 50% or even 100% of proceeds from sales will go to Japan.
Cube will donate 100% of proceeds from sales of the following three red wines by the glass to the American Red Crossâ€™ disaster relief programs in Japan:
2006 Brigaldara Amarone ($18)
2008 Nicodemi Montepulciano dâ€™Abruzzo ($10)
2009 Zuani Collio Bianco ($12)
All three wines will be distinguished on Cubeâ€™s wines by the glass (vini al bicchieri) list with a â€˜+â€™.
UPDATE: Cube has just added 2 pastas to the Red Cross – Japan benefit menu: Maltagliati with Oxtail Ragu and Red Cow Parmesan, Gnocchi with Lamb Sausage Bolognese and Red Cow Parmasan. They both are dressed in red sauces in keeping with their “RED for RED” Japan relief theme. So enjoy either (or both?) of these delicious pastas and wash it down with a RED for RED wine while knowing those dollars will help with disaster relief.
Raise a pint of Solidarity for Japan in Eagle Rock Brewery’s own taproom.Â They’ll be donating 50% of proceeds from every pint of the dark mild ale sold to UNICEF’s efforts to help the children in Japan who have been impacted by the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami.
So get out there and make every liquidÂ dollar count towards Japan earthquake and tsunami relief. You might as well support local biz and enjoy some solid wines and beers while you’re at it.
Cube benefit: Today – Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Cube 615 N. La Brea Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90036 323.939.1148
Everyone knows Los Angeles is a wonderful place to eat, with unmatched culinary diversity – and mobility – found anywhere else in the world. Fortunately, there are two food events happening today and tomorrow with focuses on food trucks – O.G. and nouveau – that bring you their goods in a special setting for one night only. If I weren’t out of town, I’d personally attend these two events. Instead, you’ll have to go in my place, represent and see what they’re all about.
One is brought to you by the celebrated return of Street Food Mondays, curated by Bill Esparza (Street Gourmet LA) and Evan Kleiman (owner of Angeli Caffe). Antojitos de mi Abuelita, a food truck representing Mexico City-style antojitos, or masa-based â€œlittle whims,â€ will be serving up “Comida corrida,” or a 3-course meal for only $28.
The other is a collaboration between Cast Iron Gourmet and Frysmith food truck – more on that after the jump.
It all started out with a contest. Hot Knivez, the beer-loving, meat-hating blogger-chefs in town, sent other bloggers and me a proposal. Said the email in my inbox: Pair cheese with beer. And write about it. If we love it, the winner with the best post will get to attend a private beer-cheese pairing symposium at Verdugo Bar with The Bruery.
I love a challenge, and beer and cheese are two of my favorite things. Factor in Verdugo and The Bruery, and I am yours.Â I am a native Wisconsinite-turned-Angeleno, after all. Thankfully, Barrie Lynn Krich of The Cheese Impresario came to my aid by reconnecting me with my roots and her supply from Wisconsin cheese-makers.
Of course, the fun part was coming up with the control – the beer that would be lucky enough to have so much lactic love paid to it. Inspired by a particular Orange County-San Diego beer tour in which I discovered the wonders of sour ales, I found Russian River Valley’s Consecration within walking distance of home. Just knowing there was good beer stock so near was really the icing on the cake. It wasn’t the only sour ale but indeed probably one of the most approachable ones I’ve ever had. It isn’t a beer to smack you upside the head with overpowering citrus. In the 10% ABV Consecration is a blend of five different beers, including dark malts, which are then aged in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels for 4-8 months. Tobacco and fruit are prominent notes, particularly cherry (oh, look at that: currants are added). Carbonation comes from having fermented the beer in the very bottle it comes packaged in – and this further adds punch to its sour, my tasters and I found. Not only was it fun to pair this particular beer with cheese, it served as a palate cleanser as we went from candidate to candidate. Perfect.
Barrie Lynn had given me five cheeses in all,Â which rangedÂ in funkiness with the intention of standing a chance against the sour ale’s…well, sour properties. We tried the first, aptlyÂ nicknamed “Cheese Sex,” – which was an agedÂ cheese spread, or aÂ blend of Widmers Aged Brick Cheese and aged cheddar. No, it wasn’t funky.Â Yes, it was divine; it reminded my friends andÂ me of a really well-executed version of the cheese in the HandysnacksÂ cheese and crackers snack pack we all got in our lunches as kids. That is, probably the best execution that we had never dreamed of. (Seth noted as a parallelÂ that we’re still waiting for the gourmet chicken nugget.) Don’t underestimate the Cheese Sex, okay? As far as a pairing, however, Consecration – and probably any other sour ale – overpowered the dream. The beer was too strong for even its slightly salty aftertaste, but all the same, I could understand why this spread is in such high demand, as evidenced by the sliver we were given. There be rations!
The next cheese candidateÂ was Italico, which was appropriately named because it reminded us of mozzarella. It was an ivory-colored cheese and was even milder than the Aged Brick Spread – without any finish at all. It was almost like there wasn’t any cheese at all. After some research, I found that Italico is better paired with fruit. Truly, there would be stronger cheeses that could hold their own in this tasting.
I’ve been kind of sleeping on this one, because we are already half-way through the first of two weeks of this season‘s restaurant week. But don’t let me be the example, because if there are a couple restaurants in LA you’ve been meaning to check out, now is the time to see if they’re participating in Dine LA. From the Quickfire Challenges that have been held around the city (and culminating last night with Chef Eric GreenspanÂ of The Foundry on MelroseÂ winning the dessert challenge finale) to the incentive to dine at least three times with your American Express (but not before registering your card here), there has been a good amount of hoopla surrounding this fall’s Restaurant Week installment. You get a prix fixe 3 courses for varying price points.
So, if you have an American Express and plan on dining out at least three times, be sure to register it because if you spend at least $21 each time, you’ll get a $20 statement credit.
Of course, not all restaurants nor menus are considered equal. I browsed the list and pulled the ones that I’d be most interested in. Keep in mind there are three different price points each for lunch ($16, $22, $28) and dinner ($26, $34, $44) – and not all restaurants serve a Dine LA prix fixe for both. I also highlighted a menu item that particularly piqued my interest.
The Bazaar by Jose Andres ($$$) – Catalan Pork Sausage Bistro LQ ($$) – Ham Hock District ($$) – Venison Chile Relleno Drago Centro ($$$) – Veal Osso Bucco Eva ($$) – Cod and Caponata FIG Santa Monica ($$) – Red Beet Risotto The Foundry on Melrose ($$$) – Miso Honey Glazed Duck Laxy Ox Canteen ($) – Veal Breast with Pee Wee Potato Salad Locanda del Lago ($$) – Lobster-Dill-Ricotta Ravioli Ortega 120 ($) – Petite Sterling Silver, Pasilla Pepper, Queso Oaxaca, Red Chile Potato Hash Petrossian ($$$) – Crab Risotto Piccolo ($$$) – Pumpkin pasta w/Black Truffle Filling RH Restaurant ($$) – Roasted Boothbay Harbor Lobster Rivera ($$$) – Banana leaf-braised pork shoulder Urban Noodle ($) – Urban Noodle House Special Noodles
I admit, there is no way I’m going to make it out to half on my list so I’m leaving it up to you. They are all restaurants that I’ve had good experiences at so you can call these educated guesses. So get out there and experiment. You’d be remiss to not take the opportunity to try the restaurants you’ve always been curious about.
Food trucks come and go. I mean, literally. Everyday, they do this. But now we can add to the fleet a truck that is inspired primarily by bacon. Because we all have that vegetarian friend whose sole weakness is strips of pork – so you know that centering a truck around one ingredient is, well, putting all your pigs in a very big, fail-safe basket.
Yesterday afternoon, I caught their soft launch in Silver Lake. Heather and Jeremiah Crowley, the masterminds themselves who discovered the magic of bacon at home with their kids, were on board and super excited to be putting their home-cooked recipes out on the road.Â Heather says, â€œThereâ€™s nothing like the scent and sizzle of bacon in the early morning, but we felt it could and SHOULD be eaten anytime, anywhere!â€
Check below for some mouth-watering bacon applications:
Smoked bacon, over easy eggs & cheddar sandwich ($6)
Breakfast burrito with potatoes, cheddar & smoked bacon ($6)
Brioche french toast sandwich filled with crumbled bacon & bacon bourbon maple syrup ($6)
Bacon pancakes served with bacon-infused bourbon maple syrup ($5.50).
“The Bacone” – 3 strips of bacon, rotating inclusions ($4)
“The Baco” – Potatoes and cheddar in a bacon shell served with horseradish bacon sour cream ($4)
Lunch, Dinner, Late Night
Chicken wings covered in bacon hot sauce, topped with hot sauce-covered bacon and served with bacon blue cheese dipping sauce ($5)
Frisee au Lardon sandwich with fried egg & vinaigrette on toasted brioche ($6)
â€œThe Lardonâ€ – BLT Nueskeâ€™s peppered bacon, butter lettuce & tomatoes and St. Agur Blue Cheese served on toasted baguette ($6)
Lark brownies with bacon Nutella spread ($3.50)
Lark sugar cookies ($3.50)
Desserts come from the popular Silver Lake bakery, Lark.Â As for refreshments, theÂ truck serves canned soda, water and even fresh-squeezed OJ if you’d like Vitamin C with your bacon breakfast.
I very much enjoyed my Frisee sandwich as well as The Baco. And I can’t wait to try other things on their menu. So whether you catch a soft launch (soft stop?) of theirs while they iron out theÂ menu and operating kinks the rest of this weekÂ – or wait til their hard launch on Monday -Â be on the look-out for the Lardon truck via their Twitter account (@getyourlardon) and Facebook page. Your bacon cravings demand it!
I’ve been eyeing the St. Patrick’s Day specials going around Twitter all week and have finally decided on one – in Hollywood. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a ton of other options available. Whether you’re looking for a few special Irish menu items, a pub to knock back a couple ales, IrishÂ musicÂ or happy hour pricings (or any combination of the aforementioned) – these round-ups got them all:
includes Blue Palms Brewhouse, Henry’s Hat, Bodega Wine Bar, Liquid Kitty, Saints & Sinners, Cabo Cantina and Tom Bergin’s
Also, don’t forget Pourtal Wine Bar in Santa Monica, serving up $5 Vinho Verde (green wine that is ironically Portuguese) starting at 4PM.Â Verdugo Bar in Glassell Park is serving up Devil’s Pie late-night; wash it down with a brew on-tap. Hungry Cat in HollywoodÂ – where I’ll be – is offering $4 Murphy’s Irish Stout Irish Slings and $6 Picklebacks (whiskey with a chaser of pickle juice). Also, Allston Yacht Club in Echo Park will be serving up Corned Beef Sandwiches for $6 each and pints of Guinness for $4. All food is $5 as they integrate St. Patty’s with their Wicked Wednesday.
Last week, the food and restauranteur community of Los Angeles gathered at The Hollywood RooseveltÂ 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.
$Â Â Â Â Â Â Deluxe DiningÂ Â $16Â $26 $$Â Â Â Deluxe DiningÂ Â $22Â $34 $$$Â Â Fine DiningÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â $28Â $44
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 DegreesÂ with cocktails fromÂ Matt Biancaniello of Library BarÂ to wash them downÂ while we’re at it? Pork belly, tacos, quesadillas, salads, burger sliders and even a shiitake mushroom-infused ManhattanÂ were passed around – but the hits of the night were undeniably the spicy burger sliders and Biancaniello’s arugula gimlet.
If you haven’t already, make your reservations soon; Dine LA runs Jan 24 â€“ 29 and Jan 31 â€“ 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. EvaÂ (lunch or dinner), PalateÂ (dinner), Cube (lunch or dinner)Â 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?
Everybody probably knows even better than we do how we don’t really have a “fall” here in L.A. Seeing how September was frickin’ hot, and the temperatures have cooled down (before they warmed up again yesterday), I can say with confidence that fall, as Angelenos know it, is finally here. If weather won’t do it, incentive for increased beer consumption will – be it German beer, domestic, local or any other. 😉
If you’re not sure what to do, look no further. I’ll be in Orange County for a night, trying the South Coast Plaza restaurants on for size, then welcoming 28-year-old conducting prodigy to LA at the Hollywood Bowl for Â¡Bienvenido Dudamel! (with David Hidalgo, Flea and Herbie Hancock “opening,” to boot). Sunday, I’ll be cruising to the Pasadena Wine Festival. So if you didn’t get a stab at the free Dudamel tickets, don’t fret – there’s still plenty to do.
Saturday, October 3
The bars at Farmers Market and Monsieur Marcel have put together their own fall celebration. Saturday, you can sample more than 50 different beers from around the world – paired with the most delicious imported and artisanal cheeses from Monsieur Marcel. JoAnn Cianciulli will also be there to be sign copies of her new book, L.A.’s Original Farmer’s Market Cookbook.
Tickets are $20 in advance at Monsieur Marcel Gourmet Market or $25 at the door.
1 – 5 PM
Farmers Market Upper Deck 3rd & Fairfax – 6333 W. 3rd Street 323.939.7792