My Top dineLA Restaurant Week Lunch Picks for Summer, 2013: July 15 – 26

RivaBella’s Nidi di Rondine

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.

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The 8th Plate By Plate Tasting Benefit: Saturday, August 14, 2010

Plate By Plate, 2009

Credit: Rich Mar Photography – used with permission

This year will be my first time attending Project by Project’s main, annual fundraising event called Plate by Plate – but there are plenty of hot names and a great cause on this ticket to warrant going. Your ticket will directly benefit our Asian American community at large as Project by Project partners with an underserved non-profit each year to help them reach their goals.

The names serving up this year’s delectables that have personally piqued my interest include: Chef Laurent Quenioux of Bistro LQ, Chef Ricardo Zarate of Mo-Chica, Chef Kevin Meehan of Cafe Pinot, Chef Amar Santana of Charlie Palmer at South Coast Plaza, Chef Anthony Zappola and Pastry Chef Shannon Swindle of Craft, Chef Eric Greenspan of The Foundry on Melrose, Thi & Nguyen Tran of Starry Kitchen, Chef Chris Behre of Gonpachi, Chef Suzanne Tracht of Jar, Susina Bakery and Valerie Confections.

Throughout the event, you’ll get to sip wine from 25 different wineries with your food, enjoy a taiko performance and see Aziz Ansari play sous chef. Bid in the silent auction on generous packages from restaurants and vendors all over the city.

Either way, I hope to see you there. I wouldn’t miss this one!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Tickets: Reg $125 ($150 door), VIP $200

6 – 7 PM VIP Reception
7 – 10 PM Main Event

Plate by Plate

California Science Center – Wallis Annenberg Building
700 State Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90037

*Parking entrance is located on Figueroa St. between Exposition Blvd. and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

The 2010 Easter Sunday Brunch & Dinner Round-Up

Photo credit to algo on Flickr

Where are you eating on Sunday? Hopefully you’re looking for a spot to brunch or dine at, because this particular round-up is one I can’t take advantage of myself since I’ll be in Mammoth. Whether you’re looking for bottomless bubbly, a buffet, a prix fixe menu or simply special dishes offered for the holiday, there are plenty of options all around town. Though I tried finding spots to represent the LA neighborhoods equally, apparently the Christians live on the westside as most of the specials I’ve found skew toward that side of town. It’s a curious thing, especially to an adoptive eastsider like myself.

Take a look below for your Sunday feast of choice on April 4, 2010:

Santa Monica: Whist at The Viceroy

Spend Easter by the beach. Whist at The Viceroy’s Executive Chef Tony DiSalvo (formerly of NYC’s Jean Georges) will be procuring an Easter feast to extend throughout the day but offered as two separate buffet menus: Brunch and dinner. Expect a shellfish station as well as a leg of lamb/prime rib station whether you do afternoon or night, but omelettes and grits in the first half and a risotto station in the second. The best part? The price includes access to the bellini station and house wine. Not bad for a such a snazzy place like Whist…

Whist Brunch & Dinner Menu

Brunch Buffet: 11 AM – 3 PM – $55

Dinner Buffet: 3 PM – 7 PM – $55

Children’s Buffet: $18

11 AM – 7 PM

$55 buffet incl. Bellini station, house wine

Whist at Viceroy Santa Monica
1819 Ocean Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Venice, Beverly Hills & Downtown: Chaya

From 11 AM – 3 PM, Chaya’s all over Los Angeles will be offering a 3-course prix-fixe Easter Brunch menu. It will cost $35 for adults and $15 for young adults (12 and under), who have their own menu. For the adults, though, bottomless mimosas are included – so I’d highly recommend making a reservation right away to secure your slot. You can do this through Open Table.

At Chaya Venice (full menu), who will be celebrating its 20th anniversary in April 2010, guests can enjoy unique selections such as:

  • Spring Jumbo Crispy Asparagus with Romesco Salsa
  • Roasted Beet Wedge Salad with Bacon, Sun-Dried Tomato, and Blue Cheese Dressing
  • Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict with Asparagus and Roasted Potatoes

11 AM – 3 PM

$35 prix fixe incl. bottomless mimosas

Chaya Venice
110 Navy Street
Venice, CA 90291

Chaya Brasserie Beverly Hills (full menu), pick from an assortment of fresh brasserie-style fare including:

  • The CHAYA Classic Tuna Tartare
  • Cinnamon Roll French Toast with Farmer’s Market Berry Compote
  • Grilled Free-Range Chicken Breast with Apple & Fourme d’Ambert.

11 AM – 3 PM

$35 prix fixe incl. bottomless mimosas

Chaya Brasserie Beverly Hills
8741 Alden Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90048

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Tomato Tour With Patina

All photo credits to Liz of Food, She Thought

One night. One group of restaurants. And one fruit vegetable (argue at will).

I enjoy tomatoes probably more than the next person yet was skeptical – multiple courses all featuring tomatoes? I could see the tour was to be taken seriously as the tomato growers themselves (from Coastal Organics in Oxnard) were along for the preview. We got firsthand tastes of the Patina Group’s utilization of their prized produce in a farm-to-table take that is the focus of so many restaurateurs these days. And utilize, they did, from using oil made from tomato vines to concocting an actual tomato dessert – the latter of which I thought had good effort with what was given but wouldn’t order.

It’s always a party with fellow food writers. Also there: Liz of Food She Thought, Neil of Food Marathon, Matt of Dig Lounge, Cat of Gastronomyblog, Lindsay and Elise of LAist, Hadley of GrubStreetLA, H.C. of LA-OC-Foodie – to name a few. We all started out at Nick & Stef’s Steakhouse. It was my first visit and it turned out to be a very pleasant one. As an introduction to how much we all really did not know about tomatoes, a different kind awaited each of us at our place setting with a request to guess what kind it was. Short of guessing, “red,” I got to get familiar with the color and texture of mine, which turned out to be a Mondrian Cross. No matter. I may not be able to memorize my tomatoes but there were many in the appetizer, which was absolutely delicious. Chef Brian Kiepler kept it simple yet fresh. After inquiring about the dish, I found multiple kinds of heirloom tomatoes were used – specifically Brandywine, Big Zebra and Cherokee. They were seasoned with a grilled pineapple chutney including onion capers, and drizzled with banyuls vinegar.
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Locals’ Night at Café Pinot

Photo credit to The Flying Enchilada on Flickr

Thursday, July 9, 2009

5:30 – 7:30 PM

Patina Group – which also includes Zucca Restaurant and Nick + Stef’s Steakhouse – is hosting a special Locals’ Night at each of their locations on Thursdays this summer. Way to bring residents and commuters alike together – that’s what I like to see. Downtown love!

For tonight – Café Pinot will feature “A Taste of the French Riviera.” The theme will inspire a $5 menu of appetizers and drink specials. Also on the menu on Thursdays this summer is live music, a complimentary appetizer and a chance to win prizes! Next Thursday will be at a different resto with a different theme so take advantage if you’re really feeling the French cuisine tonight.

And if you miss Locals’ Night, bring a bottle of your favorite wine. For the summer, the entire Patina Group (click for complete list) will waive your corkage fee.

So enjoy the skyline view and beautiful outdoor patio for a little while. Your wallet can take it. I’m taking the Metro to Café Pinot from Koreatown tonight. I know! Public transportation! The subway! In L.A.!!

P.S. – I’m told by FoodGPS to “try the rabbit.” Oh, little furries…

Café Pinot
700 W 5th St
Los Angeles, CA 90071