People do walk in L.A., but – let’s be honest – they mostly still don’t. People drive alone, and they carpool. They vanpool and they shuttle. They ride their bikes. They Über or Taxi Magic all over town. And yes, we Metro railway. Do you ever get the feeling that just because we’re not New York, that’s the only thing they’re rubbing our noses in?
Which is not to say that I’m not envious of their subway access – and many other things. Yet having passed the 2-year mark living near a Hollywood Metro Red Line stop, I’ve learned a lot in the process about our own public transportation options. The Expo Line has opened during that time. And we’re looking forward to more. Just experiencing the drastic transformation in how people choose to get around – myself included, and not only on the rail – have provided so many eye-opening revelations. So when Slate says that L.A. is being turned into “America’s next great mass-transit city,” we’ll take that little bit of validation.
There was a point in time about a year ago where, upon first meeting other Angelenos and exchanging which neighborhoods we lived in, I stopped getting as many wrinkled noses and, “How’s THAT going for you?’s” in response to my living in Hollywood. But I still get them, to my own bemusement. It’s a revealing comment about the inquisitor, divulging more about their assumptions than I care to disprove. When it comes to drinking and the requisite clubbing, there has sprung up plenty of spots to disprove those stereotypes for a few years now (Library Bar, Harvard & Stone, The Spare Room, Sadie – three of which I can walk to, the other I can Metro to).
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:
When I learned through the presses Twitter that Krista Simmons, my one-time (OK, one issue) editor, would be a judge on the upcoming season of Top Chef Masters, I was ecstatic that someone that I know, love and respect would get her enormous food TV cred. Wednesday night was a special night dedicated to her current Bravo Top Chef Masters stint, and pretty much the entire food community was there to support. The love was not lost on our star:
“I’ve wanted to have a cooking show ever since I was a little girl, so the experience of taping Top Chef Masters was sort of surreal. Getting to work with James Oseland, Ruth Reichl and Francis Lam really helped me grow as an on-camera personality as well as in my writing. But the best part of the whole process has been receiving the outpour of support from the LA food community. I can’t believe how many people came out last night! I feel so lucky to be part of such a talented group of industry professionals here in LA.”
Truth be told, I missed the boxing-themed episode with Sugar Ray Leonard also as a judge at the “viewing” party. Of course, it was because I relied on my DVR to pick up the slack while we caught up with old friends and celebrated with new cocktails from Library Bar and bites from Public Kitchen. Good thing she’s on plenty of episodes this season (the more space on my DVR dedicated to friends’ appearances, the better) – so be sure and catch her on Top Chef Masters Season 4!!
It took a few tries, but it seems as though the flagship food, cocktails, wine & beer event of our city’s flagship publication may have this Labor Day weekend on lock. So head on over to Paramount Pictures this upcoming 3-day weekend for a celebration of delicious consumptions and libations. Tickets cost $65 per event and come with unlimited bites and swigs. See below for a preview of dishes, cocktails & people you’ll have to look forward to:
Field to Fork: Saturday, 9/1 • 11 am- 3 pm (21+) Times Food Editor Russ Parsons and Chef Ray Garcia of FIG host this session inspired by fresh, local ingredients in celebration of seasonal dishes. Look forward to cooking demos, a conversation with local farmers and a chef’s challenge. You’ll experience tastes from Cook’s County, Sunny Spot, Picca, Mo-Chica, M.B. Post and Canele, who will be plating their Shelled Bean Salad.
Times: They are a-changin’. So much so, that I’ve grown to love my neighborhood – even after some growing pains – for its walkability to certain things, including the Los Angeles Metro Red Line.
Now the fact that this summer’s dineLA Restaurant Week (which started yesterday) has been scheduled for the very first time in one block instead of only on the weekdays, makes for good incentive to diners to capitalize on the Metro rails and the destinations to which they flow. What better way to enjoy your wine or cocktails with dinner than to finish the trek home liability-free? (Perhaps you’ll want to make a reservation on the the last day of dineLA – the very first day the Metro runs until 2 AM, on July 27 – and make that one a late night?)
For the n00bs, lunches range from $15, $20 or $25 while dinners vary from $25, $35 or $45 for a 3-course prix fixe meal. It’s all so simple. Look below for some of my dineLA Restaurant Week recommendations along the Metro – all sorted according to the rail lines along which they are situated. (Sorry, Westsiders – you have Beverly Hills to blame for your dearth of rails.)
Sang Yoon’s Lukshon (3239 Helms Avenue, Culver City)in the Helms Bakery building (one block east of the elevated Culver City Station) blends stand-out design with modern takes on South-East Asian fare in the form of shared, small plates. Try the Hawaiian butterfish: half inch slices of melty cured fish layered just so and finished with slivers of pretty pink watermelon radish and nahm jim, a coarse, nutty Thai sauce.
Nearby is one of the stalwarts of Downtown Culver City, Chef Ben Ford’s Filling Station (9531 Culver Boulevard, Culver City), with classic, non-nonsense American pub fare with an seen-and-be-scene outdoor patio with views of passers-by and available dineLA lunch and dinner menus. Or stop in at Akasha (9543 Culver Boulevard, Culver City) for dinner, with some farmer’s market-fresh, contemporary American fare offering unexpected twists on otherwise-classic dishes.
On the other end of the Expo Line is the brand new & highly anticipated Mo-chica (514 W. 7th St., Downtown), whose playful and inviting space is located just a few blocks east of the 7th Street/Metro Station. The newest restaurant (or re-location from Mercado Paloma, depending on who you ask) from 2011 Food & Wine Best New Chef and owner Ricardo Zarate is loaded with playful design details including colorful ekeko figurines decorated by chef friends of Zarate. Try the sun dried potato stew with peanuts and chimichurri and bisteck a la pobre (skirt steak with fried egg and pan fried bananas).
Stop one is Maison Akira (713 E. Green St., Pasadena) where chef Akira Hirose has been quietly crafting modern Japanese -French fare for almost 14 years. This gorgeous restaurant with butter yellow walls, is a healthy walk from Lake Station. But when you dine, you’ll definitely want to choose the tempura soft shell crab served atop wasabi potato mousseline.
Haven Gastropub (42 S. De Lacey Ave., Pasadena), which opened last December, is just a few blocks further south on the other side of Colorado. With forty beers on tap including a handful of in-house brews, Haven is happiness for beer lovers. But the excellent food will surprise you. Try Chef Greg Daniel’s deviled eggs made with smoked serrano powder and topped with Maldon smoked sea salt and crumbled, house-made bacon (on the lunch menu). For dinner, try their flavorful lamb burger finished with onion jam and tzatziki sauce.
At the opposite end of the Gold Line in Little Tokyo, is Aburiya Toranoko (243 S. San Pedro St., Little Tokyo) – four blocks Southwest of the stop on Alameda and a pleasant walk past Japanese Village Plaza. Snap up one of the all-time lunch favorites during dineLA Restaurant Week, such as their bento box. At dinner, a ten ounce New York steak with garlic soy will do just fine.
A five minute walk from the Hollywood and Vine station lies Papilles (6221 Franklin Ave., Hollywood) at Argyle and Franklin. If you’re not keen on them already, don’t let the strip mall deceive you when it comes to this quaint little bistro with one of the simplest yet satisfying menus. Go prix fixe as per usual in this quaint spot, which hosts just a dozen tables in its cozy dining room complete with low ceiling, red walls and open kitchen. For dineLA Restaurant Week, choose from dishes such as roast hanger steak with potato gratin and shelling beans, or market fresh fish with red quinoa and roasted corn slaw. Don’t forget the wine, as Santos Uy has just the perfect pour to complement the excellent food by Chef Tim Carey.
Try Cleo (717 Vine Street, Hollywood) inside the fabulous Redbury Hotel, which serves up Mediterranean fare for dineLA dinner. Start off with two enticing appetizers before indulging in the Chicken Tagine or the Grilled Daurade. You’ll be enjoying the best of what Hollywood has to offer – trends and tastes to tantalize your tastebuds – all for $35 prix fixe. It’s one of the glitziest places in Hollywood, much less LA.
At Sadie Restaurant (1638 N. Las Palmas Avenue, Hollywood) by the Hollywood and Highland station, you’ll get the best of both the food and cocktail worlds thanks to food by Mark Gold and cocktails by Giovanni Martinez. Enjoy their Parlor Room, Lounge, or beautifully lit back patio for a customizable dining experience – all areas with elegance to spare. Start off with the Basil Risotto topped with olive oil-poached baby tomatoes. You’ll have trouble deciding your main entree, whether it be Ocean Water Poached Scottish Salmon with “hazelnut brown butter” or the Creek Stone Beef Shortrib, complete with potato creameux and roasted forest mushrooms.
For dineLA lunch or dinner, stop by Rivera (1050 S. Flower St., Downtown), John Sedlar’s gorgeous, modern Latin eatery across the street from Pico Station. Stellar food and cocktails (by Julian Cox) align at this stalwart Los Angeles establishment with no lack of sophistication in any of the senses. Try the handmade, crisp corn cones filled with fresh crab salad and finished with a tequila chipotle vinaigrette. Order the sous vide beef shank with roasted summer vegetables or the Agave-roasted duck.
Corkbar (403 W. 12th St., Downtown), just a few blocks east, is a solid wine bar with great food to complement the all-Californian list. What better way to take dineLA local than to drink the finest wines in the state. Chef Thomas Lamont’s dineLA Restaurant Week menu features house made corned beef brisket sandwich with pickled cabbage and steamed mussels with linguini.
There’s no better time to revisit Water Grill (544 S. Grand Ave., Downtown), around the corner from Pershing Square Station, since it has just undergone a facelift with more casual but hip sights in mind. New are chocolate leather booths and a wall of antique fishing rods. But the constant, thankfully, is the beautiful raw bar. Try Chef Damon Gordon’s pan seared skate, finished with brown butter, red grapes and arugula. Perhaps the pan sautéed wild sockeye salmon with asparagus chutney and raw asparagus salad is more your speed. No matter what, your seafood craving will go more than satisfied.
Border Grill Downtown LA (445 S. Figueroa St., Downtown) always feels like a party, thanks to its festive interior and buzzing vibe. Just a short walk from 7th Street/Metro Station, Border Grill is featuring grilled local yellowtail with seared greens and quinoa. Vegetarians will appreciate and love their take on chilaquiles on the lunchtime restaurant week menu. Think tomatillo salsa and melted panela cheese draped over asparagus, fresh fava beans, artichoke hearts and a happy mix of soft and crispy chips. It’s summer!
Bar | Kitchen (819 S. Flower Street, Downtown) is one of my favorite places in LA for a cocktail and a bone luge, so why not pony on up to their lunch or dinner menu for some Shrimp & Grits for lunch or Grilled Berkshire Pork Chop for dinner? Just a block away from the 7th & Metro station, this stellar restaurant inside the O Hotel is just what you need for some instant satisfaction.
So enjoy dineLA, Los Angeles. The plethora of options can definitely be overwhelming, but as with anything, a little bit of online research will go a long way. Just use this map for your convenience (bravo, dineLA, on the re-design!), keeping in mind that not all places offer lunch. And remember, whenever you can: Go Green! And Go Metro!
As foodists, we all have a little Francophile in us. Why not celebrate France’s Le Fête Nationale some place around town? Whether it’s to enjoy a couple Kir Royales outdoors under the canopy of the Farmer’s Market, playing Pétanque after having slurped a dozen oysters downtown, a dinner in an intimate French Bistro or out on a gorgeous patio, Bastille Day is a perfect excuse to get out and live it up. (As if you really needed a reason to eat French food, right?)
Check these special celebrations in and around town. Most are on Saturday, but Church & State has delayed their celebration til Sunday just for belated revelers:
Saturday, July 14th, 2012
Monsieur Marcel – Mid-City West, Santa Monica (Open 9 AM – 9 PM)
The little restaurant stand inside The Original Farmer’s Market is now also on Santa Monica’s 3rd Street Promenade and ready to serve up cocktails for the holiday. Monsieur Marcel will be serving Kir Royales for $7.99 and Kir Normales for $6.99 each on the holiday. After all, you’ll have every reason to toast Felix Kira, a member of the French resistance, the French Parliament and eventual mayor of Dijon in Burgundy.
Prefer to celebrate with some eats? Start off with a French Onion Soup ($6.75) accompanied by a Frisée Salad with Feta Cheese and Hazelnuts ($13.75). Other options you’ll want to consider:
Niçoise Salad with Seared Ahi Tuna, Egg, and Lemon ($19.50) Ham on Fleur de Sel Baguette with Cornichons and Radish ($15.95) Moules Frites with Steamed Mussels and Fries ($19.25) Steak Frites, a classic Hanger Steak with Fries ($19.50) Duck Confit with Lentils and Kale ($27)
Crème Brûlée ($5) Affogato ($4) Macarons, Fruit Tarts ($5-6)
Papilles – Hollywood
At Santos Uy and Tim Carey’s no-nonsense, curiously ambitious wine bistro, they’ll be celebrating Bastille Day with a three-course prix fixe menu for a bargain $30. Enjoy $12 carafes of natural French wines to further Two seatings (6-6:30 & 8-9 PM) are available, as is this menu:
French Onion Soup or Frisée Salad with French Radishes
Moules Frites or Steak Frites
Camembert or Chocolate Mousse
And that shall take care of the all essentials – and then some. Be sure to call to reserve your seating.
Cliff’s Edge – Silver Lake
Celebrate the storming of Bastille with a menu by Ben Bailly on Saturday night while enjoying the patio at Cliff’s Edge – hands-down one of the most beautiful settings in LA. Choose from the following options for a 3-course delight ($45 per person):
Frisee aux Lardons poached egg, crispy bacon, bleu cheese, croutons or Escargot au Gratin braised snails, garlic, parsley, mushrooms, tomatoes
Saumon a L’Orseille Atlantic salmon, puy lentils salad, sorrel butter or Onglet a L’Echalote Prime hangar steak, shallots sauce, roasted fingerling
Apricot Tart, Vanilla Creme Brulee or Glacee & Sorbet
Sunday, July 15, 2012
Church & State – Downtown LA
11 AM – 3 PM
If you feel like extending your celebrating to daytime Sunday, Downtown LA’s stalwart French bistro, Church & State has got something just your speed.
Chef Jeremy Berlin will be offering assorted French sandwiches. Maître Écailler Christophe Happillon, will be on hand with his famous raw bar serving up not only oysters (!!!), but clams, crab, shrimp and accompaniments for you to enjoy throughout the day.
Sarah Clarke, Church & State’s Sommelier and Beverage Director has a special menu with a selection of French wines, artisan beers and new summer cocktails for guests to enjoy all afternoon as well. And when in Downtown LA, do as the French do, and play a little Pétanque. It’ll be a perfect way to casually celebrate, as there are “no reservations – just fun.”
Happy Bastille Day, wherever you’ll be! See you around town.
Monsieur Marcel The Original Farmer’s Market 6333 W 3rd St #150 Los Angeles, CA 323.939.7792
1260 3rd Street Promenade Santa Monica, CA 310.587.1166
I grew up with a particular older brother who had all of the James Bond flicks (half on Beta, half on VHS), so I had enough exposure to the British spy series to pick the cues up quite a few years later. Just recently, it re-started with my viewing of the Mad Men Season 5 finale. That Peggy and Don viewed Casino Royale while playing hooky from work and the finale’s credits closed out with You Only Live Twice made me take notice of everything going on around us. My girlfriend, who volunteers at The Aero, mentioned their Bond marathon. The James Bond frenzy is currently overtaking Los Angeles.
Why? Only the 50th anniversary of the Sean Connery-to-Daniel Craig franchise, I eventually found out, and we Angelenos have plenty of chances to get dosages of our own:
American Cinematheque’s The Aero Theatre (Santa Monica) is concluding their Complete James Bond Retrospective this weekend with Golden Eye and Tomorrow Never Dies on Friday, June 22nd and Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace on Sunday, June 24th.The Egyptian(Hollywood) will be screening The World Is Not Enough and Die Another day on Saturday, the 23rd.
If you want to see Bond inspiration articulated in the museum, check out the “…Is James Bond” exhibit at LACMA, now through September 9, which happens to be co-organized with Loyola Marymount School of Film and Television. You can also catch Bond movie double screenings here every Thursday in July and September. (You can also score a free summer pass at the museum with purchase of regular general admission!)
But it’s not really celebrating Bond if you don’t toast his tradition of drinking, or concocting, the classics. Lo and behold – today is also National Martini Day! But if you’re like me, you already know which places really know how to make a martini just how you like it. So let’s mix things up with some help from the spy.
If you want to go for a classic formulated and named by the spy himself a la Casino Royale (circa 1953), and the cocktail that just so happens to be Ian Fleming’s favorite, you’ll look for a Vesper. Just remember that you’ll want to correct that infamous phrase to “Stirred, not shaken” and you’re set. (No man is perfect, after all.) But if James Bond were in Los Angeles, you can bet that you’d see him at one of these awesome bars:
After a screening or exhibit viewing at LACMA, head on over to the adjacent Ray’s & Stark Bar, the bar of which is helmed by Paul Sanguinetti, where you can order a Cali Blonde (think Eva Green with a dye job). It’s essentially a Vesper made with Hangar One vodka, Martin Millers gin, Lillet Blanc and lemon peel.
If you prefer the flipped version, you’ll go for the Reverse Vesper at Hemingway’s Lounge with Alex Straus:
3 oz Akvinta Vodka 1 oz Beefeater Gin 1/2 oz Lillet Blanc Stir these with ice, strain and garnish with a twist
Here with the Reverse, the vodka and gin proportions are switched because after all, 007 gravitated more towards vodka further along his career.
Take things to the next level with a barrel-aged cocktail tribute to author Ian Fleming called The Living Daylights over at The Spare Room inside Hollywood’s Roosevelt Hotel.
Spiced rum Dry vermouth Velvet Falernum Green Chartreuse Jerry Thomas bitters
Naomi Schimek, the bar manager, explains, “Ian Fleming wrote all of the James Bond stories from his estate Goldeneye on the beach in Jamaica,” where he of course drank a lot of rum, too. “Like cocktail aging in a barrel, a story develops over time, so we thought this was a fitting tribute to Mr. Fleming, the brilliant man who gave us so many wonderful stories.” Fantastic! (Though Naomi had me at Velvet Falernum and Green Chartreuse.)
You can also head on over to Steve Livigni and Pablo Moix‘s Pour Vous, the beautiful new, admittedly French-and-not-English cocktail and Champagne bar. But never fear, because Lindsay Nader has put together the vermouth-based Eau de Chambery, an herbal extravaganza that Pablo can see “Bond sipping [on] as he spits game at a model.”
2.5 oz Dolin Dry
.5 oz Maraschino
2 dash Orange bitters
Stir these with ice, strain and pour into coupe glass and garnish with a twist
Sounds like the perfect dry aperitif to get the spy started…
But we mustn’t forget the Classic Daquiri at Steve & Pablo’s La Descarga, which always come out superb. Again, here we’re waxing Fleming’s glamorous time in the Caribbean. Kenny Arbuckle will have you covered and it is always a fantastic time with plenty of live music and great tunes. If you want rum neat – and why wouldn’t you? – don’t miss the sipping bar in the cigar lounge out back. There are specialty rums that make limited appearances but always leave you craving more.
Viva la Bond and Happy National (modified) Martini Day! I’m definitely grabbing a Vesper or something else Bond-inspired after work. Enjoy you and yours!
We already know that our favorite Los Angeles bartenders are some of the most talented and artistic set in the city. And no, I’m not talking about constraining service employees to that stereotypical archetype of actor-actress, though I know how easy it is for you, the all-knowing Angeleno, to do so.
I’m talking about painting, photography, graffiti art, classical piano, DJing, and…who knows what else? There is plenty more in-store and ready to surprise you. All talents will be on display with no holds barred (even a surprise performance by Aidan Demarest and Marcos Tello) at the inaugural Art Beyond the Glass this upcoming Sunday. It’s an afternoon-to-evening curated by famous cocktail blogger Daniel Djang of Thirsty in LA and superstar mixologist and bar manager Zahra Bates of Providence, and what better place to do it than at Sadie Restaurant with food by Mark Gold? Mark this down as the definitive Los Angeles’s cocktail event, which brings together those sharing a beautiful artistry to showcase their artistry in all other areas.
Anxious to see just whose art, exactly, will be on display? Never fear. And those who will actually be behind the stick (an art in and of itself) are denoted with a (*):
Rich Andreoli (*), Mia Sarazen (* & photography) – Areal
Matt Biancaniello (*) – Library Bar at The Roosevelt
Chris Bostick – The former GM of The Varnish has graciously donated a couple of his graphic prints to display at Art Beyond The Glass.
Brian Butler (* & art display) – Sunny Spot, A-Frame
Julian Cox (*) – Picca, Playa, Rivera, Short Order, Sotto
Edwin Cruz (*) – Tlapazola Grill
Allan Katz (DJ), Angela Gomez (*) – Caña
Eugene Lee (* & photography), Dan Long and Rosie Ruiz (*) – Big Bar at Alcove
Lil’ Twisted Sangrita ft. Cari Hah (*) – Neat, & Jaymee Mandeville (*) – Drago Centro
Laura Lindsay (Live Music Performance) – Providence
Steve Livigni (DJ), Pablo Moix (Street Art – Live Graffiti), Dave Fernie (DJ), Lindsay Nader (* & Live Performance) – Harvard & Stone, La Descarga, Pour Vous
Joshua Lucas (Magic Show) – The Writer’s Room
Live Performance by Mad Planet featuring Cooper Gillespie and MonicaOlive (Thirsty Crow), Tony Crouse (Broadway Bar), Greg Gordon (supperclub)
Giovanni Martinez, Greg Bryson (*) – Sadie
China Morbosa (Artist) – Eveleigh
Chris Ojeda, Mia Mastroianni (*) – Soho House
Justin Pike (* & Artist) – The Tasting Kitchen
Jason Schiffer (*) – 320 Main
Naomi Schimek, Diana Gettinger (Both DJing)– The Spare Room
Erik Trickett (Live Piano Performance) – Roe Restaurant & Fish Market
Kylee Van Dillen, Dan McClary (*) – Westside Tavern
Daniel Zacharczuk (*), Ricky Yarnall (Artist) – Bar|Kitchen
The best part is that 100% of the proceeds from ticket sales, artwork sales and T-shirt sales (limited edition silkscreened t-shirts by Seven Grand’s Angus McShane, that is) will be donated to Inner City Arts. It’s a fabulous non-profit organization dedicated to the arts instruction of at-risk youth on LA’s skid row, making their futures ever brighter, artistic and promising. (And that is all possible thanks to sponsors like Infinium Spirits, Karlsson’s Vodka, Sailor Jerry, Becherovka, Campari Gruppo, Java Juice, Atlantico Rum, Akvinta Vodka, St. George Spirits, Heaven Hill Distilleries, Henry Wine Group, 123 Tequila and additional sponsorship and support provided by dineLA and smartwater. So be sure to be on the lookout for those spirits in your favorite cocktails.)
Art, music, cocktails and a great cause: There’s really no reason not to buy your ticket now, is there? I’ll see you on the flip side.
If you’ve been following my Twitter feed, you’ve probably noticed how much I’ve been craving oysters recently. For awhile, I wasn’t exactly sure whether it was a by-product of my trip to New York – every day of which I enjoyed raw oysters (and what a glorious trip it was).
As it appears, my itch has failed to taper off whatsoever.
So what am I to do except create a round-up of my go-to spots for raw oysters on the halfshell? It’s pretty much the best seafood to consume in the world, with 95% of all oysters consumed being farmed with sustainable practices. And if bacon were vegan kryptonite, oysters are almost vegan … kale-beet salad? Having no central nervous system, oysters feed off plankton while filtering the waters around them and actually benefiting nearby marine life. Check them out on Seafood Watch to see that they’re “Best Choice” when it comes to consuming seafood.
I’m lucky enough to have great options in my neighborhood offering quite a variety of ambiances, as well as a variety of oysters to enjoy between Oysterholics Anonymous meetings, to boot. Of course, you’ll find more West Coast varieties with a sprinkling of East, but never fear – you’ve a handy online oyster guide spun off Rowan Jacobsen’s book to guide the way. It’s a fantastic way to have info on each oyster handy at your fingertips.
Anyway, back to it. Here’s where I personally break to slurp on those briny and not-so-briny bivalves. And yes, it’s centered on Hollywood and Silver Lake since this is my hood!
Located down from The Satellite and across from LA MILL, the no-reservation L&E Oyster Bar is a great place to grab a dozen – the Daily Dozen, to be clear. You’ll get three varieties while saving a few bucks off the per-oyster price. Wash each oyster down with one of the excellent varietals of wine (after all, Dustin Lancaster and Matthew Kaner also brought us Bar Covell). L&E is already a neighborhood favorite but also the subject of a recent S. Irene review, so your best bet is to arrive near their 5 PM opening time. It’s often slammed, but when it comes to oysters it’s easy to see why.
Jonesin’ for bivalves on a Tuesday? Escape into the Roosevelt Hotel and into this 1960’s library-esque restaurant with moss-lined dining rooms, high ceilings and rustic interior for their special oysters and Champagne menu. They’ve a dozen varieties of West and East Coast that switch out from week to week – so whether you want $14 for a half dozen, $20 for nine, or $28 for the dozen, you’ve got a few increments to choose from. And if you’re not looking to end on bubbly, there’s two awesome bars in the same hotel: The Spare Room and Library Bar.
Well look at that, little French Champagne & cocktail bar! This latest venture by Steve Livigni, Pablo Moix and Mark and Johnnie Houston is just one of those bars I’m so glad is in town – oysters or not. But hey, if oysters are a go, then you’ll really find no other place in the city with better libations to slurp them down with. If cocktails are the new food-is-the-new-rock, Pour Vous is essentially your rock supergroup with a vast but excellent menu featuring 26 drinks. But don’t come here if you’re looking to grab a dozen in your sweatpants; remember to come with a jacket and/or collar, guys, and ladies – you’ll have tons more fun dressed to these fabulous surroundings in your sharp garb. If you’re lucky, Livigni will be on deck…er, on the decks.
Hungry Cat’s really been the neighborhood stalwart of seafood, so when power duo David Lentz and Suzanne Goin expanded all the way over by PCH in Santa Monica, our city’s beachcombers rejoiced. Whether you supplement your oysters with one of their solid cocktails or get them as a prelude to their annual CrabFest (which sells out soon after it’s announced), you really can’t go wrong. Get the half-dozen for $15 or a full dozen for $30 – and supplement with plenty other shellfish and seafood – including plenty of other raw iterations – at will. Parking in the complex lot is also a cinch thanks to 2-hour validation.
Let’s not forget your own place or event. I was at a Dine LA media party once, and my friends and I were essentially glued to Christophe Happillon’s shucking station. It was the best party, ever. Everything I learned about oysters (away from the internet), I learned from this guy. You’ll learn a ton about oysters in the process, as in how environmental conditions and geography play a role in how each variety looks and tastes. You can also seek him out on Tuesdays at Church & State and Fridays at Joe’s Restaurant.
I’ll see you at the oyster bar!
L&E Oyster Bar 1637 Silverlake Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026 323.660.2255