Twenty-One Reasons to dineL.A.: January 19 – February 1, 2015

Lobster Roll – Blue Plate Oysterette

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.

Continue reading

Nine Noteworthy Upcoming Los Angeles Food & Drink Events

Glimpses of Unmissable Upcoming Events

Let me take this first post in almost one month to deliver some pertinent upcoming event news. It’s now summer and thus, event season, here in sunny Southern California. Now that I’ve somewhat psychologically recovered from a huge picture-data dump from spilling a homemade cocktail all over my non-backed-up laptop, I’m finally ready to move into this crazy part of the year.

So here’s a rebirth of sorts; it’s an intentional start to the summer by tallying up the essential food events continuing into the fall (L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade is in September). One focuses on cocktails. One focuses on tacos. One focuses on ribs. Three are on the same day; thus, yes – I do wish that these were spread out, more. But practically all of them feature world-class chefs. So without further adieu, here’s where you need to be this summer:

Continue reading

Drunken Udder Ice Cream: Artisanal, Booze-Infused Dessert for Adults

Salted Butter Caramel infused with Bourbon

It probably goes without saying that, when ordering ice cream, you’ve never had to worry about showing your ID.

That’s about to change, thanks to The Drunken Udder, an artisanal, mom-and-pop shop ice cream company which sells its deliciously boozy product via wholesale and other storefronts. (It doesn’t quite have the liquor license to sell retail on its own.)

Yesterday, I sampled a few flavors including Salted Butter Caramel infused with Bourbon (boozy, salty-sweet deliciousness), Pumpkin Spiced Praline infused with Maple Liqueur (boozy, crunchy fall on a cone), Raspberry-Orange Sorbet infused with Orange Vodka (fresh, tangy booziness) and Bailey’s Jameson Caramel (especially boozy sweet caramel flavor).
Continue reading

P’tit Soleil Has The Poutine I’ve Been Waiting For

Poutine Malik: Merguez sausage, cheese curds & a creamy Harissa sauce

Poutine. It’s an import to Southern California, but you’d think it would’ve reached Universal Food Status by now…like cupcakes, burgers & frozen yogurt. After all, who doesn’t love gravy, cheese and fries? I can confirm that the combination of the three (or four – that is, with protein) is way better than the mere sum of its parts.

Poutine Marat

Then again, I hail from Wisconsin – and the frequency of my visits to Canada still outnumbers those to Mexico. So you can understand my Cheesehead’s frustration with the grated cheese application on fries everywhere in this city. Even at Animal. And Frysmith. (I still love both of you.) But this is not poutine. In fact, cheese curds exist as an actual ingredient even on its Wikipedia page. (I know! I just invoked the Wiki!)

You may call it “gourmet poutine,” I just call it “done properly.”

But perhaps I hold too much respect for the cheese curd. I can’t help it – nor can I contain my excitement that P’tit Soleil – across from Soleil, which has been a Westwood Blvd restaurant for 10 years – actually sources theirs from Carr Valley Cheese in LaValle, Wisconsin. Though curds are known for their squeak when fresh, these nuggets are expertly melted down from being laid atop just-out-of-the-fryer frites. Not too gooey to appreciate its original shape…softened enough to spread its love to the other frites in the Québécois haystack. It is the anti-steak fry, and it’s just the right size for a balanced ratio of potato to gravy and toppings. Melty morsels, not tiny slivers, are key in curds, I’m telling you!

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

Friday is National Drink Wine Day

National Drink Wine day

It seems like there’s an official day for absolutely everything, but tomorrow is probably the day commandeering an act that should be performed every day: Drinking wine.

If you feel like going out, there’s a couple places around town that will make it easy to celebrate:

Corkbar (Downtown)

This downtown, California-centric wine bar will be offering a flight of 3 wines for only $10. If you unlock the Foursquare Swarm Badge by checking in with 49 other wine-drinking, social media hangers-on, you’ll also unlock the incentive to receive extended happy hour specials—that is, $2 off drafts, $8 select wine, and half-priced select appetizers— for the remainder of the night. (To note: Normally, happy hour runs from 5 – 7 PM.) Delicioso!

Napa Valley Grille (Westwood)

Feeling confident about your wine palate? Wine Director Christina Sherwood will be leading a “Guess the Grape” game for guests, who will get to guess the varietal of a wine not currently on Napa Valley Grille’s wine list. Should you guess correctly, you’ll win a complimentary glass of wine. Fun!

Obika Mozzarella Bar (Century City)

Stop by for “Aperitivo Hour” between 4:30 – 7 PM for some tasty, mozzarella-focused bites and half-off wine. Again: Delicioso!

Feel like celebrating with a loved one or with friends (ok – maybe yourself) at home? Visit one of my favorite shops, including Domaine LA, Wally’s Wine, Silverlake Wine or K&L for some great vino selections. Their staff are always knowledgable and can recommend a great bottle or two across all different price ranges for your enjoyment.

Another good idea is to stop by the excellent Bar Covell wine bar in Los Feliz for a glass or three. It’s got just my kind of ambiance – casual, cool and not uppity. Feeling like accompanying your wine with some great cheese? Head on over to Cube on La Brea. Be sure to make a reservation if you plan on visiting during the evening because even the bar seating is reserved – and trust me, it will be packed. If you’re on the Westside, stop by Pourtal for their normal happy hour (4 – 7 PM: $5 wine and apps) and pours from their enomatic machines.

Whatever the case and however you choose to celebrate, Happy National Drink Wine Day!

Center map
Traffic
Bicycling
Transit

Mentioned in this post:

Corkbar
403 W 12th St
Los Angeles, CA 90015

Napa Valley Grille
1100 Glendon Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90024

Obika Mozzarella Bar at Century City Mall
10250 S Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90067

Domaine LA
6801 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038

Wally’s Wine
2107 Westwood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025

Silver Lake Wine
2395 Glendale Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90039

K&L
1400 Vine St
Los Angeles, CA 90028

Bar Covell
4628 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027-5408

Cube
615 North La Brea Avenue
Los Angeles, CA

Pourtal
104 Santa Monica Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401

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.

Center map
Traffic
Bicycling
Transit

Sunday – Friday

October 3 – 8, 10 15, 2010

Lunch, Dinner (Not all restaurants serve both)

Dine LA List

All over Los Angeles

The Hollywood Bowl To-Go Round-Up

Bienvenido Gustavo! at The Hollywood Bowl (October 1, 2009)

Hollywood Bowl season is upon us! And what better opportunity to combine your love of food with your love of music than to do up the pre-performance picnic the right way? Grab a recommended wine from Jill at Domaine LA to pair with your food and you’re set. Just make sure your show is an official Bowl event and not leased out. If it’s leased out (most likely to include the high profile rock bands not part of the KCRW World Music Series), then you’re confined to the Patina catering sold (or served in your fancy box seats) at the venue. If not, you’re good to go!

Below, you’ll find options all over town. So wherever you hail from, you’re set to make your little haven in Hollywood home for a few hours whether they be Pool, Garden, Terrace, Super or bench seats. And by the way, yes, you can always order from Nancy Silverton’s Mozza2Go – I would just recommend ordering and picking up extra early in the day on Bowl nights given its vicinity and the likelihood everyone may be thinking the same thing as you. Here we go… (Check the map at the bottom for a visual of all mentioned locations.)

Napa Valley Grille – Westwood

When at UCLA, I always knew the Napa Valley Grille as the out-of-range option for us students – the place you got your parents to take you to when they visited from out-of-town. But they’ve recently come out with a boxed lunch program that seems pretty accessible to me, ranging from $10.75 to $13.75 with 3 seasonal options from Executive chef Joseph Gillard and packaged in recyclable materials. You can wax Napa in Hollywood (or elsewhere) as they are themed after different Napa Valley regions:

Russian River Menu: Shrimp Salad Sandwich, with Poached White Shrimp, Fine Herbs, Buttermilk Dressing, and Shaved Cabbage on a Soft Herb Roll; Sweet Pea Salad with Butter Lettuce and Green Goddess Dressing; housemade Napa Potato Chips; and Summer Fruit Trifle ($13.75)

Stag’s Leap Menu: Slow-Roasted Rare Prime Beef Sandwich with Bacon, Red Onion Jam, Creamy Horseradish, and Smoked Cheddar Cheese on Pretzel Bread; Roasted Red Fingerling Potato Salad; housemade Napa Potato Chips; and a Black and White Cookie ($12.75)

St. Helena Menu: Roasted Vegetable Foccaccia with Grilled Zucchini, Eggplant, Portabella Mushroom, White Bean Hummus, Tomato Fondue, and Basil Goat Cheese on Herb Ciabatta Bread; Orzo Pasta Salad with Pepperdew Peppers, Spring Onions, and Golden Balsamic Vinaigrette; housemade Napa Potato Chips; and a “Blondie” Bar ($10.75)

You’ll undoubtedly want dessert (not included) – so choose from delicious selections like Mini Eclairs with Cordillera Dark Chocolate-Brandy Cream, Bourbon Pecan Bars and White Chocolate Coconut Cookies.

Call to place order

Napa Valley Grille
1100 Glendon Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90024
310.824.3322
@nvgwestwood

Petrossian Boutique & Restaurant – Robertson/West Hollywood

Ordering your take-away items from Petrossian means you demand taste, style and class. More power to you. In fact, I just ate there last night and was delightfully reminded how absolutely talented Chef Ben Bailly is. So tote his offerings to The Bowl – your tastebuds will be titillated while your ears are enchanted. Below are some picnicking suggestions straight off their menu:

Caviar Surprise, served in a caviar tin and comprised of layers of Caviar, King Crab, Crème Fraîche and Apple Cider Jelly ($32)

Caviar Dip and Sweet Potato Chips ($14)

Blinis with Caviar, Trout, and Salmon Roe; the Green Bean Salad with Burrata, Marcona almonds and Transmontanus Caviar ($18)

Smoked Salmon Tartine with Goat Cheese, Capers, and Caviar ($16)

Eggxiting Caviar—two 12 gram “eggs” of Transmontanus caviar and spoons in an isothermic case ($49)

Petrossian CaviarCubes ($45)

Foie Gras and Pâté (from $20)

The Petrossian staff will kindly package the items to go in one of their stylish cooler bags or pack your picnic basket for you. Provide your credit card number ahead of time and they’ll deliver your items to you in your car.

Call to order

Petrossian Boutique & Restaurant
321 N. Robertson Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90048
310.271.0576
@petrossianweho

Continue reading

Free Lunch to First 100 at BLVD 16 in Hotel Palomar

Reuben

BLVD 16 at Hotel Palomar is introducing a their lunch service this week. To celebrate, starting 11:30 AM today, they’ll be giving out free lunches to the first 100 people to show up. You’ll get a sandwich, bag of chips and drink.

Crispy Chicken Sandwich

This should have the UCLA students in a tizzy. Yesterday, I got to try a few of their sandwiches, and the standouts were definitely the Reuben and the Crispy Chicken sandwich. These sandwiches, which go for $10 each when not given out for free, are a great portioned size and a good deal, anyway, for the price. The pickles are housemade and Chef Simon Dolinky – another native Wisconsinite like myself - regularly visits the farmer’s market for his ingredients.

Validation for valet is free for all guests visiting BLVD 16 for lunch ($5 during dinner), though this 100 free lunch promotion will be more of a grab-n-go kind of deal. Who said there’s no such thing as a free lunch? Get over there and claim your sandwich! The countdown begins…

Lunch menu

BLVD 16 at Hotel Palomar
10740 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90024
310.474.7765

The Cooking Stage at L.A. Times Festival of Books

Mark Peel

It wouldn’t be Spring in Los Angeles without the L.A. Times Festival of Books. And it certainly wouldn’t be a book festival without cookbooks. Held in Westwood Plaza behind the Wooden Center on the UCLA campus, the cooking stage will feature author-chefs in demonstrations throughout both days of the festival. Included in the schedule are Los Angeles contributors to the Top Chef Quickfire Cookbook like Betty Fraser (Grub) and Stefan Richter (L.A. Farm) as well as Mark Peel (Campanile) – who is actually a Top Chef Masters alumni but recently came out with a cookbook entitled, “New Classic Family Dinners.”

Peep below for the full cooking stage schedule:

Saturday, April 24

11 AM – Lisa Lillien, Hungry Girl 1-2-3
12:30 PM – Chris ‘CJ’ Jacobson, Stefan Richter, Betty Fraser & Antonia Lofaso, Top Chef Quickfire Cookbook
2 PM – Dave Martin, Flavor Quest
3:30 PM – Alicia Silverstone, The Kind Diet

Sunday, April 25

11 AM – Alice Waters, In the Green Kitchen
12:30 PM – Anne Byrn, The Cake Mix Doctor Returns
2 PM – Tricia Yearwood, Home Cooking with Tricia Yearwood
3:30 PM – Mark Peel, New Classic Family Dinners

Great way to get up close and in-the-flesh with your favorite chefs – or vegan actress-turned-chef, whichever you prefer. Either way, the Festival of Books is well worth a visit this weekend.

Cooking stage demos are free
Parking: $10

Map

Cooking Stage at L.A. Times Festival of Books
Westwood Plaza
924 Westwood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA‎ 90024

@latimesfob