Fall and Full Bar Descend Upon Pitfire Pizza on Fairfax

Apple & Pork Festival, Sprouts ‘n Bacon Pizza, Rumpkin Pie Cocktail, Linguica Ragout (clockwise)

The place known for its consistently great, tasty and reasonable Neopolitan crust with the sides and pasta to match has stepped it up in the booze department – at least at their location on Fairfax. Formerly confined to wine and beer, Pitfire Pizza now has a full liquor license with a fall cocktail menu to debut with the return of a few fall food favorites.

The great thing about their new cocktail menu is that they’ve streamlined it to just a trio of pretty phenomenal seasonals but also Moscow Mules made with Tito’s on tap, a few classics like the Old Fashioned and Negroni, and another trio of customizable sours with your choice of spirit. And they all go for a wallet-happy $8 per cocktail.

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New Fall Cocktails Hit M.B. Post on Thanksgiving Eve

Man in the Yellow Hat, The Hessian & The Fall of Man (Photo credit to Rick Poon)

If you ever needed a reason to hang out in Manhattan Beach the day before Thanksgiving, I’ve got three liquid reasons right here. Known in the food and beverage industry as the “biggest drinking night of the year,” Thanksgiving Eve will see some new, fall-appropriate cocktails at the destination restaurant, M.B. Post. Think of these cocktails as autumn-tinged takes on some classics.

Don’t forget to try some bites to to line your stomach. After all, I can’t see myself ever visiting M.B. Post without having a taste of Chef David LeFevre’s small plates…make that many tastes…all Los Angeles “seasons” of the year. Or, if you’ve got the home bar with the capacity, I’ve included the recipes to the Jerry Garbus’ team’s cocktails below. Score!

All cocktails cost $12 each – whether fall-inspired or not.

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New Fall Cocktails Debut at Sadie Restaurant

The Combination – Chivas 12, Italian Vermouth, Pear Syrup, Toasted Pecan Bitters

Since the weather, yet again, is doing nothing to evoke anything the least bit autumn, there are four new cocktails at Sadie in Hollywood that will do it, themselves. Forget that we’ve yet another heatwave (alas, in November) and let Giovanni Martinez’s new creations take you to a place where the leaves turn colors and the air smells crisp. And your taste buds find a new appreciation for cognac…

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Favorite Dish: Rein Fall in with Mo-Chica’s Quinotto

Quinotto – Quinoa risotto, wild mushrooms, parmesan, parsley infused oil

I was loving the weather this past weekend in Los Angeles. At one time, I may have been one of those annoying Midwest ex-pats that complained about “missing the seasons,” but let’s be honest: Heat wave after heat wave into October does not a City of Angels make. We finally get to bring out the boots and maybe even sweaters. Late October is better than never, as they say.

Inspired by the grey clouds as well as the feeling that we Southern Californians will always have one foot in the sunshine, I recalled Mo-Chica’s Quinotto – a quinoa-mushroom dish that invokes the consistency and tastes of a mushroom risotto. Drizzled with parsley-infused oil, this savory dish is perfect for the grey clouds that have been finally adorning our skies.

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Pumpkin-palooza at Blue Palms Brewhouse: Saturday, October 29, 2011

Mmm. Pumpkin Beer. | Photo courtesy of NorthwestBeerguide on Flickr

LA Beer Week(s) may be over, but Halloween’s not – and neither is your thirst for beer, I hear. When is it, ever? Why not combine the two by making a stop at my favorite neighborhood pub, Blue Palms Brewhouse, tomorrow starting 2 PM?

You’ll get to quench your thirst and craving for pumpkin with these special brews:

  • Dogfish Head Punkin’
  • Midnight Sun TREAT
  • The Bruery Barrel Aged Autumn Maple (bottle)
  • The Bruery Autumn Maple
  • 2010 Beer Valley Jackalope Imperial Pumpkin Porter
  • Sam Adams Double Pumpkin
  • Bootleggers Pumpkin Ale
  • New Belgium Kick (Sour Pumpkin Cranberry Ale)
  • Kern River Brewing Pumpkin AleShipyard Smashed Pumpkin

And the food menu will be embellished with these autumn goodies:

  • Pumpkin Salad: Spiced Pumpkin, Lentils, & Goat Cheese
  • Pumpkin Quesadilla: Pumpkin, Feta, & cilantro

Who needs to turn into a pumpkin at the end of the night when you can drink them at the duration, instead? See you at Pumpkin-palooza!

Oh, right: Happy Halloween, too!

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pumpkin-palooza: 2 PM

Kitchen: Closes 12 AM

Bar: Closes 2 AM

Blue Palms Brewhouse
6124 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
323.464.0808

The Tuscan Fried Chicken at Cube LA

Tuscan Fried Chicken

If “November” and “turkey” have become a little too synonymous for you, you’re lucky to have the option of some good ol’ fried chicken at Cube. It’s available only until Wednesday, November 24 – and if you don’t catch it now, you can expect to see it again in about a year.

Cheese & Salumi

The recipe is of the Tuscan variety and for $23 you get a a half-chicken chock with lemon wedge, Maple Roasted windrose Farm White Acorn Squash and sauteed McGrath Pea Tendrils. This isn’t your usual, butter-filled entree but rather a zesty, juicy bird that packs a punch; red pepper flakes are in the batter. The fluffy breading crumbles beautifully under the weight of your knife (should you feel like sharing) and between your jowls to reveal an extremely tender, semi-boneless masterpiece by Executive Chef Erin Eastland.

While you’re at Cube, don’t forget a custom cheese-salumi plate of your choosing and glass of wine to start. It’s always a delightful experience whenever I’ve dined there; trying the limited edition fried chicken plate was no exception. To finish it off, go seasonal and try their Warm Hachiya Persimmon Pudding or satisfy your chocolate craving with Dark Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake.

All food and wine were hosted.

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Fried chicken available through November 24, 2010

Tue – Sat, 11 AM – 11 PM

Cube
615 N. La Brea Avenue
Los Angeles, CA
323.939.1148

LA Loves Alex’s Lemonade Ushers In Fall Flavors

LA Loves Alex

There were a lot of events going on over the weekend, but the inaugural LA Loves Alex’s Lemonade at Culver Studios was a culinary extravaganza to hit it out of the park. The backdrop? The famous Gone With the Wind mansion on a beautiful autumn day. Our hosts were Chefs Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne (Lucques, AOC, Tavern) along with Chef David Lentz (Hungry Cat) – and there was a solid showing of chefs from across the country who all offered their live talents to an event whose goal was to fight childhood cancer.

Seasonal Antipasto | Chris Bianco

The standouts? Chris Bianco’s Antipasto dish, featuring beautifully seasoned fall vegetables and almost making us forget that it was his pizza we were looking forward to. Celebrity chef Giada of The Food Network was personally on-hand to serve up her Pasta Ponza, topped with a fried prosciutto. Paul Kahan, of The Publican in Chicago, brought forth a delicious house-made chorizo coupled with cured ham and dressed with arugula and apples. Hailing from New Orleans was a dish from Susan Spicer’s Bayona – a delicious grilled rosemary shrimp with artichoke bread pudding. Local Neal Fraser (Grace) had pig on the brain, or “Pig in a Box,” as he called it. We caught him reloading charcoal into his smoking apparatus and appreciated the pork he prepared, dressed with a side of mustard potatoes and brussel sprouts.

Caramel Chocolate Macarons | Tavern

With all the dishes at the event making it ever apparent that it was autumn in Los Angeles, the cocktails and beer did not pale in comparison. VIP had access to Craftsman Beer, offering up their Triple Sage, Lavender Sour, Poppy Fields and Firestone brews. Hungry Cat cocktails were also in VIP and out in the common area and were delicious as ever. Of course, we can’t forget the epic dessert table from Tavern and Lucques. S’mores, caramel chocolate macarons, carrot cake – I didn’t even have room for a bite of everything on the table, though I wanted to. Fortunately, I was able to stuff in almost a half-scoop of Mozza’s Meyer Lemon Gelato. Its lemon zest packed punch in the midst of a goat cheese-like flavor and consistency.

If Caroline on Crack, Lindsay of LAist and I didn’t have somewhere else to be later that day, we would have surely enjoyed basking in the Culver City sun with our perfect cocktails, food, beer and desserts the rest of the afternoon. Overall, it was such a stand-out showing that I do hope the event moves from inaugural to annual.

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Held last Sunday, November 7, 2010

12 – 4 PM

Culver Studios
9336 Washington Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90232-2600

Dominick’s Introduces New Fall Cocktail Menu

Dominick's Bar

Sometimes, it’s not enough that you get a strong pour from the bar. You want that bar to be worth your time as you enjoy your drink. Fortunately, Dominick’s has not one but a couple beautiful bars (a smaller one is just outside on their newly re-done patio) at which you can sip – and it’s a perfect setting within which to try their new fall cocktail menu. Much of what was there in 1948 is still at Dominick’s now, and the place has the charm and hospitality to match.

Is West Hollywood not your speed? No problem – just hop on over to Little Dom’s in Los Feliz, where for the first time, they’ll also be featuring the same cocktail menu as Dominick’s. I was a latecomer to a preview first started off by Caroline on Crack, Daniel of Thirsty in LA and Aaron, the Savory Hunter, but got some pretty tasty sips in and deemed the Scotch Leaf my favorite original cocktail of theirs.

Find the menu below with their explanations. My notes (if any) follow each cocktail.

  • Scotch Leaf ($12) with Famous Grouse Scotch, Maple Bitters, Maple, Egg White, Lemon and Orange Peel 

It was probably the maple bitters that really did it for me. The egg white wasn’t too obvious and I love how everything just really worked with the Scotch.

Italian 75
  • Dom’s Manhattan ($13) with Rittenhouse 100 Proof Rye, Carpano Antica, Angostura Bitters and Amarena Cherry

Not the best executed Manhattan I’ve had (pretty watery) but it paled so much in comparison to the others that I’ll call it a fluke.

  • Southside ($12) with Damrak Gin, Cucumber Slices, Basil Leaves, Simple Syrup and Lemon served up with a skewer of Cucumber and Basil (Didn’t get to try, so here are Dominick’s notes:)

This drink was created in the early 1920s by the Mob on the south side of Chicago. The gin at the time was not as palatable due to prohibition, so mint and/or basil and lemon were used to cover up the flavor. Dominick’s version uses basil and cucumber and a very floral gin, Damrak, from Amsterdam.

Patio at Dominick's
  • Pink Elephant ($12) with Plymouth Gin, Lime, Simple Syrup, Triple Sec and Raspberry served on the rocks with a skewer of Lime and a pink elephant Tiki garnish

Basing my assumption on the color (a bright pink), I thought this would be a sweet drink but I was pleasantly surprised at how nuanced it really was. It had just enough Triple Sec and Raspberry to compliment the juniper in the gin. Delicious. Apparently, it’s meant to replace the Raspberry Lemonade from summertime, and I’d say it’s a great adaptation.

  • Italian 75 ($11) with Plymouth Gin, Dimmi (winter wheat spirit w/Nebbiolo grappa infused w/peach & apricot blossoms), Lemon and Simple Syrup topped with Prosecco and a Grapefruit Peel
El Matador

This would easily be my mimosa replacement at any brunch time. So much more complex and even refreshing, with the absence of weighty orange juice.

  • El Matador ($12) with Crème Yvette, Ginger, Simple, Lemon, El Jimador Silver Tequila and Orange Bitters, served on the rocks with a flamed Orange Zest garnish
  • The solid tequila cocktail stalwart of the bunch. Very delicious and a great introduction – you’ll be hard-pressed to find another tequila cocktail that goes down smoother.

So head on over to Dominick’s or Little Dom’s and taste the new fall cocktails we were lucky to enjoy. They’re really good and with the charming atmosphere and neighborhood vibe, you just can’t lose.

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Dominick’s
8715 Beverly Boulevard
West Hollywood, California 90048
310.652.2335

Little Dom’s
2128 Hillhurst Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90027
323.661.0055

Savor Sundays Return to Whist at The Viceroy

Whist at The Viceroy

The weather lately has confirmed that it’s officially fall in Los Angeles, and you may be looking for a good spot for a Sunday dinner as you wind down your weekend. Thankfully, Savor Sundays at Whist are back and they’ve got four different rotating themes just to keep things interesting.

I had the opportunity to visit during their “Southern Favorites” theme and Executive Chef Tony DiSalvo as well as Chef de Cuisine Chris Crary did a great job comforting my guest and me with their buttermilk fried chicken. It was perfectly breaded on the outside and incredibly juicy and flavorful on the inside and out. The butter lettuce wedge had a perfect buttermilk dressing, as well.  The drinks were prepared nice and stiff. I’m curious to see how the other themed menus will turn out – and it’s up to you to find out.

Butter Lettuce Wedge

Nov. 14 – Southern Favorites

Butter Lettuce Wedge, Bacon/Tomato/Blue Cheese/Herb Buttermilk Dressing
Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Bacon Cheddar Biscuits/Collard Greens/Grits/Mashed Potatoes/Market Slaw
Pecan Pie, Knob Creek Caramel/Vanilla Ice Cream
Featured beverages: Mint Julep, Sweet Tea Bourbon, Root Beer flight

Oct. 24/Nov. 21 – Spanish Style

White Gazpacho, Crisped Jamon Serrano/Grapes/Almonds/Garlic
Valencia-Style Paella Shellfish/Chorizo/Chicken
Churros and Horchata
Featured beverages: white and red sangria

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Oct. 31/Nov. 28 – French Flavors

Frisee aux Lardons, Poached Egg/Hazelnuts/Shaved Truffles
Toulouse-Style Cassoulet, Pork/Sauccison/Duck Confit/Tarbais Beans
Tarte Tatin, Cinnamon Ice Cream Canele
Featured beverages: French 75, Rhone Valley wine flight

Nov. 7/Dec. 5 – Chinese “Takeout”

Hot and Sour Wonton Soup
Spring Rolls/Dumplings/Shrimp Toast/Squab and Lettuce Cups
Moo Shoo Pork, Peking Duck, Housemade Pancakes
Shrimp Fried Rice
Featured beverages: Tsing Tao beer, lychee wine, Greenteani cocktail

So be sure to make your reservation and enjoy a delicious fall Sunday dinner inside the beautiful Whist.

All food was hosted.

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Every Sunday through December 5, 2010

5:30 – 9 PM

$35/per adult, $15/per child under 12

Whist at The Viceroy
1819 Ocean Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
310.260.7514

Favorites From Drago Centro’s Fall Cocktail Menu: $8 Today Only

Golden Goose | Bulleit Bourbon, Fernet Branca, Fresh Cape Gooseberries, Maple Syrup

I admit, I was off form when I took the Metro Red Line to Downtown Los Angeles last week to preview the fall cocktail menu at Drago Centro. I forgot my Canon S90 point-and-shoot camera, the device usually responsible for taking the high res shots you’re used to seeing on this blog. But my desire to safely walk in my own neighborhood and use public transportation in LA (yes – I use it) didn’t diminish my own enthusiasm when I got to Drago. (Plus, I think my BlackBerry Torch did a good job, don’t you?)

Eponymous

Michael Shearin and his team put together a really good menu, and there are a few particular cocktails that I would order in a heartbeat. Caroline on Crack (her post) and Daniel of Thirsty In LA (his post) battled traffic to be at Drago and it was worth it, so it’s safe to say that these cocktails carry a bonus when you Metro it in – and to Metro it back out, again. The station is but a couple blocks away.

The Dazed & Confused, which combines Casa Noble Crystal Tequila, Creole Shrub, Cherry Heering, Fresh Rosemary and Angostura, is a cocktail which Michael describes as “combining everything,” much like the inspiration for the cocktail itself. It’s a man’s drink and delicious enough for tequila drinkers. The Eponymous, which combines Appleton VX Rum, Cruzn Blackstrap Rum, Orgeat and Fresh Lime – is even more complex while utilizing rum, and pleasantly less sweet than one would normally expect a rum cocktail to be. In fact, it evolves on your palate and is the drink that keeps on giving. Very nice.

5th & Fig

The 5th & Fig is a special drink, because I had actually loved this drink about a year ago – but Michael said they served it for about a week and then on a fluke, figs had suddenly gone out of season. So, it’s back and better than ever, and even earlier this year so hopefully the figs will be here to stay, for at least a little while. The cocktail is a perfect blend of savory and sweet while really highlighting the nuances of the shrub and complementing the flavors well. It’s a nice balance, perhaps for that indecisive moment where you don’t know if you’re in the mood for something sweet or hearty.

The Golden Goose is delightful bourbon drink with a lot of its charm derived from the gooseberry, itself. The Fernet is a really nice touch, which further highlights the earthiness in the bourbon. Just a touch of maple syrup is added, with compliments to Michael for not adding too much, and letting the gooseberry set the stage.

Smitten With Britain

The Greco Roman is a superb Sherry cocktail in my very little experience of Sherry cocktails. If I could ever muster a sherry craving (haven’t had one yet, to date), I could see this cocktail being my foray. Luxardo Morlacco does make it even sweeter but, I admit, perhaps a bit more palatable. The Fee Brothers Rhubarb Bitters, however, brings back in an earthy note. I guess when I make up my mind about sherry, I can have it alone. For now, it’s the Greco Roman.

The Smitten With Britain, made with Tanqueray Gin, Chives, Lime and Fever Tree Tonic is a beauty as it is an imaginative variation on your usual gin and tonic. The added chives and lime make this cocktail refreshing – as I guess does the visual charm of the martini glass and purple blooms. Don’t spill.

Smokehouse

The Smokehouse features – let’s not kid ourselves – the bacon. Laphroaig 10-year-old Scotch is the liquid centerpiece, here, accented with Clear Creek Cranberry, Apfelkorn, fresh apple, Fee Bros, whiskey barrel bitters and candied bacon. The smoke is thanks to the Laphroaig. I’m pretty glad I didn’t get to taste all the individual ingredients that make up this drink, because otherwise it would have been just too much. But this is your top savory cocktail on the menu – and the candied bacon swirl is alone reason enough to order this wonder. Michael gets away with not letting this one be too sweet on top of the smoky – and the results are delicious.

Don’t forget to order some appetizers while you’re enjoying your cocktail. And there are great bar bites to be had, like a black truffle-topped funghi calzone. Or order one of Jashmine Corpuz’s delectable sweet bites – her imaginative desserts will have you intrigued.

So get to Drago Centro today: All cocktails are $8 each for the launch. It’s a great day to figure out what your favorite downtown libation is.

All cocktails were hosted.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fall Cocktail Menu Debut – $8 each today (Normally $12)

Drago Centro
525 S Flower St.
Los Angeles, CA‎ 90071
213.228.8998‎