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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Los Angeles Magazine’s The Food Event at Saddlerock Ranch: Sunday, October 24, 2010

Arroz Con Marisco | Mo-Chica

It’s that time of year, again. Last year, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality showing of chefs at The Food Event. In this fifth installment, the line-up looks pretty solid. I also just checked the weather, and it looks like this rain will pass a couple days clear of Sunday (phew).

I can imagine that Malibu will be beautiful and green by the time The Food Event rolls around. It aims to be the perfect backdrop against which renowned restaurants, brands and their headlining chefs will glisten. I’m especially excited about Akasha, Barbrix, Bulgarini, Eva, The Foundry on Melrose, La Mill Coffee, The Lobster, Loteria!, Magnolia Bakery, Mo-Chica, Palate Food & Wine, The Penthouse at The Huntley Hotel, Sweet Rose Creamery and Westside Tavern. Chefs such as Helene An (The An Group), Mark Gold (Eva), Neal Fraser (Grace), Rory Hermann (Bouchon) and Laurent Quenioux (Bistro LQ) and mixologist Julian Cox (Rivera, Test Kitchen) will be presenting live demonstrations on the stage. Carrie Kommers (Dine LA) and Leslie Bargar Suter (Los Angeles Magazine) will be modering panels.

Of course, you’ll have mostly California wines closeby, along with Anheuser’s sponsored beer garden (serving Hoegaarden, Leffe and Stella), Karma Tequila and Veev to help you sip your way through the afternoon. And what’s even better, some research on my end yielded a discount code for $25 off the ticket price – so whether or not you decide to tether it to a $5 yearly subscription to Los Angeles Magazine – that’s a good quarter off the $95 advance ticket price. Take a look below for the code, get your tickets and I’ll see you there!

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

1 – 4 PM

Advance tickets: $95, or w/subscription: $100
At-the-door: $110

Parking included
Must be 21+
Use code “FRIENDS” for $25 off

The Food Event
Saddlerock Ranch
31727 Mulholland Hwy
Malibu, CA 90265

Dine LA Restaurant Week Happens Now: My Picks

Duck "Shawarma" With Oven-dried Tomatoes, Fig Confit & Garlic Spread on Homemade Whole Wheat Pita | Momed

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 Greenspan of The Foundry on Melrose 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.

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Sunday – Friday

October 3 – 8, 10 15, 2010

Lunch, Dinner (Not all restaurants serve both)

Dine LA List

All over Los Angeles

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

New Year, New Decade: The NYE Dinner-Party Round Up

Photo credit to Stephanie Hillberry on Flickr

It’s not even Christmas Eve but if New Year’s plans give you a fraction of the headache it gives me, you could use this list. Whether you’re simply looking for some celebration bubbly with the guys or gals or for a full-on (or not so full-on) dinner, I’ve got plenty of options all over L.A. for you. There’s a little something for everyone, no matter your association.

Little Cave (Highland Park)

Did someone say free on New Year’s?! Because free will happen at Little Cave on the Eastside. Not only is there no cover charge, but drink specials will flow all night and free tacos will be given out from 9 PM through the countdown to 1 AM. Amazing! And that’s not even the last thing that’s free – you’ll get a glass of bubbly so you can toast fellow hipsters in between your swigs of PBR. Party favors will keep things festive.

9 PM – 1 AM

Free admission, free tacos, drink specials

Little Cave
5922 N. Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90042
323.255.6871

Royal/T Cafe (Culver City)

The cosplay cafe in Culver City (say that 5 times fast) that has played host to LudoBites the past couple weeks and a Hello Kitty exhibition before that is hosting their own party to usher 2010 in – in the theme of “10,” of course. The $10 cover includes a midnight champagne toast, and all 2-for-1 drinks are $10. So grab a partner for those twofers and get on the dance floor because there will be a DJ spinning all night. Bonus: RSVP with 9 other crazies (for yes, a total of 10) and your partay gets a free bottle of champagne! Oh, groupies.

10 PM – 2 AM

$10 cover includes Champagne toast
$10 2-for-1 drinks

RSVP: RSVP [at] royal-t [dot] org with password “10”

ROYAL/T
8910 Washington Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90232-2326
310.559.6300

@royaltcafe

Pourtal Wine Tasting Bar (Santa Monica)

In honor of the new year and new decade, Pourtal is offering “Bottomless Bubbly for $20.10.” For just a Jackson, your glass will never run empty. Your cup, instead, shall runneth over with Marquis de Perlade Blanc de Blanc, Pierre Sparr Rose and Kir Royale. Or just one, if you prefer. What a steal. No RSVPs for this one, though, so get there early and max out the bottomless. A little more lipstick on your champagne flute never hurt anyone!

9 PM – 12 AM

$20.10 for bottomless bubbly

Pourtal
104 Santa Monica Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
310.393.7693

@pourtal

8 oz. Burger Bar (Melrose)

The controversial burger bar on Melrose will be closed to the public and open for the purposes of their private New Year’s Eve party – offering passed hors d’oeuvres, a dessert buffet and Champagne toast at midnight, along with a DJ to keep the tunes flowing all night. Not bad for $35 in advance, though set aside some more dough for the drinks. Hopefully the finger bites will prove plentiful.

Call to make a reservation, as 8 Oz. will be closed to public

9 PM – 2 AM

$35 Presale, $45 At the door

8 oz.
7661 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90046
323.852.0008

@8ozburgerbar

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LA Magazine’s The Food Event Lives Up To Hype

The thing about these food extravaganzas is sometimes you can expect a lot of piecemeal efforts from restaurants who run the gambit of quality and notoriety and are there to garner publicity because they need it. Not so with Los Angeles Magazine‘s The Food Event – held at Saddlerock Ranch in Malibu last Sunday and which featured a ton of power players in the L.A. scene. First of all, the setting was beautiful and couldn’t be more fairy tale. Imagine food and wine in a bowl set inside rolling hills with rows of grape vines and a clear blue sky above. Second, I actually regretted not having enough capacity to try everything. If I knew what everyone was serving ahead of time as I perused stand to stand, I could prioritize the space in my stomach somehow. Then again, that would have taken oodles of self-control that – let’s face it – I frankly don’t have.

Highlights that I was actually able to digest included a steak sandwich from Dakota (above), three different tacos including a potato variety from Loteria! Grill, an interesting foie gras-eel sushi roll (yes, the magic was in the foie gras) as well as an astounding lettuce wrap (below) from Wilshire Restaurant, and – I’m sure – tons of other things I eyed with a look only a diner with an overwhelmed yet yearning palate could exude.

Oh – and how nice it was to see the newly-expanded Petrossian in my neighborhood, in Malibu. Their blinis and borscht was one of the smallest bites there but also the most delectable and luxurious. And you’d think I’d never be so excited to see so many sliders, which I’d normally view as fillers. There were so many varieties of meats and perfect buns to accompany them, including Westside Tavern‘s lamb dip.

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This Weekend: Beach Cleanup, BevMo!, Beer…and Kitty. And Food.

Americans on a non-American beach (autumn in Italy)

Wow. There is so much going on this weekend – I can’t wait to tell all of them to you because I won’t be in town to enjoy hardly any of them! (I also can’t wait to be done with the press releases that are coming out of my ears!!) Too bad I can’t pull my weight at the Blogger Beach Cleanup – put on by Siel of Green LA Girl and Sara Bayles of The Daily Ocean! 🙁 The cleanup fun starts at 4 PM on Saturday between lifeguard stations 26 and 27 in Santa Monica – and the best part is, you don’t even have to be a blogger to participate. Also, afterwards you’ll even reap rewards beyond your eco-conscience and get to enjoy an awesome happy hour at Pourtal. I mean, who wouldn’t get a chance to hang out with Siel and Caroline on Crack?!?!?!?!?! (You’re crazy.)

I’ll be at a wedding, which is a welcome obligation (yeah – I guess you could call him a “Good friend”) much aided by the fact that it’s at a winery in Paso Robles. That’s north, which means that I will be able to catch The Food Event in Malibu on my way back to LA. Super excited about that! In the meantime, here are the plethora of things to choose from this weekend…

Saturday, October 24, 2009

BevMo! Torrance Grand Opening

There’s a new BevMo! opening in Torrance and the launch party is on Saturday. You’ll have the opportunity to donate $15 to The Boys & Girls Club of South Bay, plus take home a 100th store commemorative wine glass and a goody bag full of miscellaneous … goodies. Complimentary hors d’ouerves will be served as well as Jim Beam BBQ. BevMo! will also be hosting a silent auction and live entertainment. I think it’s a good day to make it to the South Bay as any – especially with a chance to taste $6,000 cognac!

11 – 5 PM

BevMo!
2533 Pacific Coast Highway, Suite A
Torrance, CA 90505

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I Came, Saw & Drank (Quickly): Malibu Wine Classic

I had a serious miscalculation in getting to the Malibu Wine Classic. First of all, it was on one of the last Saturdays of the summer. Second of all, it’s on the coast in one of the most beautiful cities in the world – and also serves as a beach destination for the rest of Los Angeles. Third of all, it was right in the middle of one of the hottest weekends LA had this past summer; many were surely seeking respite via Pacific Ocean if not via vino. (Yes – that was just an Angeleno complaining about PCH traffic. Predictable.)

Okay. I also drove from Orange County. I always want to do it all.

But the 45 minutes I did get to attend at the end left me certain that I would for sure attend next year. The Malibu Wine Classic had a truly easy-going vibe, made perfect with an ocean backdrop. It was interesting to get a taste of the region. I saw – and tasted – a lot of 100% Garnachas which is a recent trend since Garnacha has in the past been more widely used in blends. It’s a rich wine; I thought the Villa Creek particularly delicious.

And what did I miss by coming late? Tori Spelling. Miss Teen Malibu, I hear? (Is Miss Teen Malibu really allowed to even attend? Liquor license hello?) STK, Monsieur Marcel were all in attendance. The big hit, though, was Water Grill’s oysters – the first appetizer to run out for the day.

I’ll see you at next year’s Malibu Wine Classic. I’m going to make a day of it.

Malibu Wine Classic
Malibu Civic Center
23555 Civic Center Way
Malibu, CA 90265

7th Annual Malibu Wine Classic

Santa Barbara -Wine

Photo credit to smazurov on Flickr

This Saturday, August 26, top wineries and restaurants will gather at the Malibu Civic Center for a showcase of the best wine and food from Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Ventura and Los Angeles counties. It will take place in the courtyard of the civic center, which overlooks the Santa Monica Bay.

Benefitting Childhelp, the largest non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention, education and treatment of child abuse, will be over 60 wineries and 20 restaurants in attendance for the “Grand Tasting.” Summerland and Michael’s? Tablas Creek, Water Grill and STK? I am there!

This will be an afternoon event from 1 pm – 4:30 pm, so make the most of the sights, smells and tastes right on the coast. (And is that Emilio Estevez and Cindy Crawford I see on the front page of the site? Admit it. It wouldn’t be an L.A. event if not for potential elbow-rubbing with some glitz!)

Tickets are available for $79 each, $50 of which is a tax-deductible donation to Childhelp.

Valet parking for the event is $8 per car.

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, August 26, 2009

1 – 4:30 PM

Malibu Wine Classic
Malibu Civic Center
23555 Civic Center Way
Malibu, CA 90265