With this year being a leap year, I feel it calls for a special outing of sorts on February 29th. After all, it comes but once every four years, so you might as well make the most of it.
Apologies for not updating the blog, but here’s a post to push its revival into the New Year. Here I come, 2016! This week, I’ll be posting a round-up of sorts on 2015 and noteworthy dishes at noteworthy restaurants.
In any case, feel free to catch up with a few of my freelance articles, and my comments forthwith, that I wrote for other online publications the latter half of 2015 here. Also, a plug to follow me on other social media channels, which I’ve been updating pretty regularly: Instagram, Twitter, and eventually Snapchat (@estar_la)!
- A personal essay I wrote for Eater National. It’s crazy how ever since Fresh Off the Boat aired, we’ve gotten Dr. Ken and Netflix’s Master of None as far as Asian American representation on TV. After a lifetime of not seeing hardly anyone who was even the same shade I am on TV, 2015 felt like jackpot:
- During Eater LA’s Cheap Eats week, I culled a memory from my college days, commuting from Westwood to Alhambra just for boba milk tea and fried pork chop. For Cocktail Week, I rounded up some sherry-based cocktails as well as cocktai
- I did a few round-ups for Time Out Los Angeles, a couple of which were on the sandwich beat. We’re talking extensive, exhaustive research, here. Let’s put it this way: I haven’t had a pastrami or banh mi for quite awhile. Dim Sum? Plenty.
- I did a couple stories for Thrillist Los Angeles on the illustrious L.A. Armenian chicken institution that is Zankou Chicken and a story about a whole bunch of Bloody Marys around the city:
The Fried Pork Chop at Old Country Cafe Taught Me to Embrace My Taiwanese Heritage
How L.A.’s Top Bars Are Using the Spice Trade to Their Cocktail Advantage
13 Fine Sherry-Based Cocktails in Los Angeles
Happy reading. I’ll catch you guys with another 2015 update tomorrow.
Bánh Mì My-Tho
304 W Valley Blvd
Alhambra, CA 91801
3300 Overland Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90034
Catch & Release
13488 Maxella Ave
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
704 S Alvarado St
Los Angeles, CA 90057
Wexler’s Deli, GCM
317 S Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Old Country Cafe
2 E Valley Blvd #1e
Alhambra, CA 91801
Shanghai No. 1 Seafood Village
250 W Valley Blvd
San Gabriel, CA 91776
5065 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027
There’s been a #ThirstyThursday weekly broadcast that’s been happening for the past month, but the good news is that we’ve still got the remainder of July left – including today. It’s a great way to tune in live to learn some cocktails as well as overall tips to use at your home bar. We’ve had Josh Goldman, Joseph Brooke, and Vincenzo Marianella so far, and today we’ve got Alex Straus of the Bon Vivants and the brand new Southeast Asian hotspot E.P. & L.P.
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.
Bar Harlowe has been open for four months, now, and has become my favorite bar of the 1933 Group. It’s easy to see why, when Harlowe’s cocktail menu with housemade elixirs and modern techniques was designed by Dushan Zaric, Chris Amirault (recently named one of Zagat’s 30 Under 30) and Kyle Ackley.
There are a couple new happy hours at some pretty fancy spots in Mid-City West and West Hollywood launching today. With weather in Los Angeles warming up as much as it has recently, it doesn’t get much better than these refreshing libations and succulent bites on the terrace or patio to begin your night.
Single or not, you won’t find me exactly chomping at the bit to try any sort of prix fixe menu on, of all nights, Valentine’s Day, only the busiest dining night out all year. A night of fighting the crowds of twosomes to order up one of the multitude of prix fixe menus during a potentially service-distastrous evening is not something I can recommend to you in good conscience, so why pretend? Anniversaries and birthdays are as great as the dates they land on are unique to each couple or person, so when a calendar designates that one particular day is the day everyone is to express one’s affection to his/her significant other, I can’t help but get a little bit apprehensive.
Here are a few fun alternatives to Valentine’s Day that take that icky obligatory feeling out of your profession of love…
Apparently, the Italians celebrate a holiday of leisure called Ferragosto on the 15th of August – a day to head to the beach, mountains and other glorious vacation destinations for some serious off time. Cecconi’s is making this occasion easy for us Angelenos to celebrate – thanks to a pig roast on August 18th.
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.
I had a chance to attend a shortened version of basic cocktail training Sam Ross might employ to new bartenders. It was an awesome chance to learn from and get back to the basics of great cocktails with the guy who, through Comme Ca, pretty much helped to revolutionize the cocktail landscape of Los Angeles. Next time you’re in New York, you can visit his and Michael McIlroy’s latest project, Attaboy, in the intimate, former Milk & Honey space in Chinatown. It’s for old world drinking aficionados.
As you’re on the other side of any bar figuring out what to order, you might not need to know that 3/4 oz lemon (or 1 oz lime) balances out 3/4 oz simple syrup in most citrus drinks on the menu. Or that the Old Fashioned on the rock just served to you was actually served “hot,” or short of optimum dilution, so that you’d enjoy it as it mellowed out as the ice melts. It would, however, add to your appreciation of the techniques that go on behind the bar.