I first visited the space owned by Bill Didonna and Charles Kelly when it was Allston Yacht Club. Since then, the space had taken a 180 degree turn away from its incarnation as a casual, neighborhood spot. Though there’s no warmth lacking from the feel that emanated throughout Allston’s dining room, it has evolved to the kind of environment that encourages diners’ curiosity for new things.
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:
LA Beer Week is back and better than ever. Be sure to peep the official site for the full run-down of events. And while this 3rd annual is so exciting because it’s so huge (I’m seeing about 5-10 events every day, all over town!), thisÂ makes itÂ hard to decide between all the stellar happenings going on.
It kills me that I won’t be able to go on this tonight (Dine LA is this week, too), but this beer week event is definitely a shoe-in.Â The Musical Beer Crawl combines not only beer and food, but music tooÂ in only the neighborhood that could: Echo Park.
The reasonsÂ why you should go:
- Stone Brewing Co. Norm Stackhouse will be on-hand to talk beer & present a special Stone flight at City Sip (western-most stop). HappyÂ hour will be going on as always (5:30 – 7 PM).
- $5 showÂ atÂ The Echo w/”super secret” beer keg tapping
- $1 off beers and no corkage at brand-new Sunset Beer Company
- 10% off records at Origami Vinyl
- 10% off at Masa, for Chicago deep dish lovers
- 15% off beer in pub areaÂ at Mohawk Bend
- 2-for-1 slices at Two Boots
- Lot 1 Cafe has a keg of Weinhenstephan’s Hopplosion & 4 taps pouring $4 pints. Buzz Bands LA has lined up Joey & Andy Siara of the Henry Clay People and more to play.
- “Super secret, divine” keg of beer at El Prado. Origami‘s record club will be going on here.
- The Short Stop will have a special keg at discount for crawlers only, plus $4 drafts 5 – 10 PM. Word has it it’s a big Golden Road Brewing Company debut! Yay! (eastern-most stop)
The night will commence at 5 PM. Just print out your Musical Beer CrawlÂ Passport and bring it with you, tonight. Remember to keep an eye on the respective business hours of each participating venue so you don’t miss out!
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.
Sunday – Friday
October 3 – 8, 10 15, 2010
Lunch, Dinner (Not all restaurants serve both)
All over Los Angeles
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 Drago Centro, 8 Oz. Burger Bar, Chaya, Comme Ca, The Edison, Pitfire Pizza, Rush Street, 25 Degrees
- Elise of LAist put together this Google Maps mashup of pubs – because sometimes you just need to know where to get a pint of ale. Also check out her green beer post.
- includes Redwood Bar & Grill, Brennan’s, Bigfoot Lodge and even The Standard (er?)
- 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.
Erin Go Braugh, Los Angeles!!
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?
Jan 24 â€“ 29 and Jan 31 â€“ Feb 5, 2010
Dine LA Website
Various locations throughout Los Angeles
Call earlyÂ for reservations
I’ve always wondered about the “sceney” brunch places around LA. There’s inevitably a patio, 5 dressed-up chihuahuas around said patio and a long wait for food. The pretty people make a day of it but let’s be real – sometimes you just really want a solid, no-nonsense brunch without spending too much more money the morning after a night of questionable choices made. There are few places I can think of in LA where you can go have said brunch with little hassle – but the good news is, if you’re an Eastsider, there’s always Allston Yacht Club.
It’s an affordable place that won’t sell you on its distracting scene – just the neighborhood appeal. Everything brunch (and lunch and dinner, actually) is priced under $10. A great thing to ease that splitting headache you may or may not have going on.
I visited AYC one Sunday early-afternoon for some treats with my web-dev-dude Roycifer. The sweet potato fritters were a good start – they had a surprising twist of cinnamon and were a nice flirtation with dessert. Next, we ordered cocktails – after all, brunch doesn’t have rules. I went festive and got a Figgy Pudding (fig-infused bourbon, egg nog and egg white). It really was a perfect holiday cocktail – the egg nog was at just the right weight (not too heavy) and entirely drinkable for any time of day. Yum. Royce went with a tequila cocktail in keeping with his spirit of choice: Basement window – utilizing tequila, Kahlua and pomegranate puree. This cocktail will take you down into said basement and beat you up if you forget what you’re drinking. A very strong cocktail so very subtly sweetened by the touch of Kahlua and puree, but so delicious. One of the weightier tequila concoctions I’ve tried and it’s very welcomed.
I was feeling simple this particular day so I went with the classic biscuits & gravy. Chopped, sweet onions were in the gravy and fried sage topped the dish – sometimes, this is all you need to soak up the libations from the night before. Roycifer’s omelet, however, was one that I could’ve stolen off his plate had he not inhaled it first. The thickness to which the outside egg was cooked and the filling was hearty and hot.
If you’re in the area and looking to sit down for some reasonably-priced, imaginative neighborhood eats, look no further than Allston Yacht Club. Cocktails are also $9 or less and seasonal selections are always offered and successfully executed (see: Figgy Pudding). The good-time, no-nonsense vibe of the place is so down-to-earth, you’ll out-hip the hipsters who are shelling out $15 for pancakes.
Check below for the entire Sunday brunch menu:
2 eggs $6
Potatoes, Fruit and a Biscuit.
Duck Confit hash $8
With a poached egg
Omelet du Jour $8
Potatoes, Fruit and a Biscuit
A hard boiled egg, dark bread and accompaniments
Croque Monsieur $7
With fruit. Croque Madame [a fried egg on top] add $1
Biscuits & Gravy $6
Countrypolitan Sausage Gravy
House Made Granola $6
Yogurt, Honey and Fruit
Sweet Potato Fritters $6
With Minty Yogurt Sauce
Add Bacon or Sausage to anything $2
All aforementioned food was hosted.
Allston Yacht Club
1320 Echo Park Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90026
What better way to celebrate and benefit a charity like Real Medicine FoundationÂ than to pair pizzas with beer? Real Medicine is a charity which provides humanitarian support to people affected by disaster, post-war, and poverty – and Gev Kazanchyan & Stone Brewing Co. led the charge for their benefit one Sunday afternoon at Citysip, a local wine bar located in Echo Park on Sunset. The result was an impressive $1000 check towards research whereby we guests tasted delicious beers with pizzas delivered fresh every single round by Tomato Pie.
We started out with a palate cleanser – Stone Levitation Ale. I don’t know if it’s so much a palate cleanser so much as a beer that simply tastes good. But sure, it’s not heavy – still is a Stone (i.e. strong) brew so it has some weight to it -Â and therefore, a good beer to whet the senses.
The first Tomato Pie pie came out, which was of a breakfast sort with bacon, sausage, spinach, white onion and egg as toppings. I can usually eat breakfast any time of day yet – lo and behold – I had been sleeping on a cemetery lawn a few hours prior. It seemed a proper way to wake amongst the dead. But Stone’s Smoked Porter is one of my favorite beers, and it was a nice, rich start to the tasting and matched the sausage on the pizza well.
Photo credit to elakerfan on Flickr
I’m going to New York next week. Though I’m very much a subway girl while there, there will be a lot of taxis – and at that, ones you can hail. I doubt any of us ever instructed anybody to “hail a cab” as a means of getting around Los Angeles. Despite our best efforts, that is. But let’s get serious here. Outside the airport or hotel complete with taxi lanes, we’re most accustomed to calling one if we had planned to use a cab, at all. I don’t know about you, but I’ve experienced many a frustration with operators on the other line while trying to call one.
This Labor Day weekend might be prime time to try a new experiment. I know you’re on your phone texting your dogsitter, anyway!!
I may end up loving where I live even more (the key phrase for that would be, “central to everything”) because I just found out about a new service that makes cab service even more conducive for my friends and I to take around town. You can now text the address of your location to “777222” and GoFastCab will dispatch a cab directly to you, wherever you are in L.A. – even South Bay and Long Beach! Sweet!
After texting your address, you get a confirmation text back to you so you know they received it (and that your text didn’t get lost in outer space). If you change your mind, you can also text “CANCEL” to the same number and that will cancel your cab. If you’re wondering where your cab is before he gets to you, you can text “STATUS” for a status message back.
I think the best part about this, though, is when you’re out at the bar and not exactly sure when to cash out because you want to secure the cab you called – for fear of someone else snatching your cab from you. The service calls you when they’re outside!
Photo credit to Flickr 7500
Barnsdall Park and Silverlake Wine have made it a summer tradition to hold weekly wine tastings on Friday nights at the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Hollyhock House. An interesting LA Weekly article came out a couple weeks ago reporting on a light tension between hipsters and kid-toutin’ Eastsiders – but it looks like this Labor Day weekend is occasion to mix things up a little.Â It decidedly favors the kidless – that is, unless your son is dating and you’re teaching him how to leave epic “answering machine” messages for girls.Â Just be sure to let him knowÂ his voicemail message isÂ now bound to end up on the internet.
Instead of wine flights, there will be an artisan beer tasting, alsoÂ hosted by Silverlake WineÂ – and a screening of Swingers to follow. The outdoor movie night will also take place on Saturday – what with more recovery time allowed for the long weekend. And what a perfect Los Angeles-shotÂ movie. Nevermind that 310 (westside) girls were favored. What did Mike, Trent and Rob know, anyway? (Oh right – 310 would be me. Barely!)
Saturday, September 5, 2009
5:30 – 7:30 PM Beer tasting
8 PM Swingers (1996)
(includes artisan beer tasting & $10 donation for Swingers screening)