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.

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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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Greenleaf Chopshop Rolls Out Discounts on 3rd Anniversary

Zorra the Great Salad

As much as I am skeptical of some food trends – for instance, I don’t get the mindless love for cupcakes while I totally relate to the on-going bacon craze - there are some upshots that I can get behind. For instance, this fast-casual-and-healthy thing: I actually hope that it’s a pattern that turns out to be longer lasting than a fad. After all, we can only hope it’s an indication that we as an audience are becoming more aware of eating in a healthful way – nothing but good can become of it, right? And when it’s presented in ways that taste delicious, it’s proof that healthful doesn’t have to be boring.

Anti-Oxidant Orchard Salad

I was recently introduced to Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop, which is currently in Beverly Hills and Century City and serving clientele from boutiques, law offices, accounting & consulting firms alike on the east-of-Westside. They also serve wine and beer, which come complete with pairing suggestions. Talk about a delicious lunch or take-home salad. The head chef is from the Patina family, so you know they’re not kidding around when they call this chopshop “gourmet.”

The good news is, they’ve stuck around for 3 years and to celebrate their anniversary, they’re rolling out some discounts starting now through this Saturday, June 4th. You get 10% off on your 1st visit, while working your way up in 5%-off increments to 30% off your in-store meal on their 5th visit (no more than 2 visits per day for discounts). And, on Saturday, you can also look forward to 30% off all meals at the Beverly Hills location. And about that beer and wine - imbibers can also enjoy 50% off beer and wine selections all-week-long, including an organic Alma Rosa Chardonnay (regularly $8/32), Talbot Kali Hart Pinot Noir ($9/34), and Lost Coast Great White Ale ($3.50).

Lemongrass Chicken

Got a couple buddies? Bring two “green” newcomers to dine in a “3Some” (kinky) and if you each purchase a salad or entrée, you’ll receive your choice of a complimentary bottle of housemade salad dressing or handcrafted dessert for the table. Options include Owner & “Commander in Leaf” Jonathan Rollo’s signature Citrus Basil Vinaigrette, Corporate Chef Kristi Ritchey’s “Grandma Nancy’s Chocolate Chip Cookies,” and “Carrots Are Good for You” Carrot Cake.

My personal favorite is the Greek-esque “Zorra the Great” salad, which has a good amount of kick thanks to the peppercorns in the dressing. If you’re looking for something naturally sweet, try “The Antioxidant Orchard.” Feeling like a refreshing salad topped with coconut and other tropical flavors? Try the “Lemongrass Chicken” – probably my second-most favorite. 

So if you’re near Beverly Hills or Century City, enjoy a salad, panini, sandwich and/or soup with a glass of beer or wine for lunch this week. Greenleaf’s menu is not only health-conscious but creatively and utterly delicious. Enjoy!

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Order online

Mon – Fri

11 AM – 6 PM

Sat

11 AM – 4 PM

Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop
9671 Wilshire Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
310.246.0756

Mon – Fri

10:30 AM – 6 PM

1888 Century Park East
Los Angeles, CA 90067
424.239.8700

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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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!

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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

Hatchi With Chef Lauvand

Breadbar Century City does it again. Eight & eight – $8 each for 8 dishes that are seasonally inspired and as unique as the renowned chefs who design them. And for one night only it’s Remi Lauvand – formerly of Citrus at Social Hollywood and Le Cirque, La Grenouille, and Montrachet in NYC before that. This last Thursday of September – the 24th – it’s the following menu for one night only:

Charentais Melon, House Cured Tasmanian Trout, Tarragon & Lemon Hatch Pepper Relish
Crisp Pork Belly Salad, Parsnips, Jalapeno Sauce
Foie “ Parfait” Pain D’épices, Black Mission Figs
Hand Made Farfalle, Octopus, Chicken Oysters, Tomatoes
Barramundi, Lady Peas, Watercress, Prosciutto, Basil Jus
Mini Tropézienne, Santa Barbara Pistachios and Chocolate Cracker
Slow Cooked Veal Breast, Carrottes Rissolées, Arugula
Penryn Orchard Pear, Crepe, Sofia Goat Cheese, Young Walnuts

Entitled “Endless Summer,” it sounds like such an interesting, delicious menu. So hurry – make your reservation for this yet one-night event before they run out. Minimum of 3 dishes per person required.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

6-10 PM

Reservations

Or call:

BREADBAR Century City
10250 Santa Monica Boulevard R-2
Los Angeles, CA 90067
310.277.3770
@breadbar_la

Noriyuki Sugie & The Skinny Bitch Go Vegan at Breadbar

Photo credit to Sygyzy on Flickr

As Breadbar has been enjoying an infinite run of hosting nighttime, culinary one-off successes opposite their daytime operating hours – it was only a matter of time before Chef Noriyuki Sugie (of Tetsuya, Sydney and Asiate, NYC fame) had occasion to come back from his Crudo Bar stint. This time it’ll be as business consultant in partnership with the launch of online “healthful chick lit” site, Healthy Bitch Daily. Kim Barnouin, co-author of The Skinny Bitch, collaborated with Chef Nori for a very special menu that should pique your palette, regardless the orientation of ye –vore. Take a look:

Watermelon Gazpacho, Tapioca Pearl

Broccolini Bruschetta, Kimchi

Smoky Eggplant Caviar, Hummus

Seaweed Salad, Ginger, Scallion-Marinated Tofu, White Sesame Vinaigrette

Kabocha Squash Soup, Asian Pear, Fried Chickpea, Thai Basil Pesto

Sweet Potato Okura, Red Curry Quinoa, Soy Tzatziki

Mole Chocolate Risotto, Avocado Chocolate Mousse

The first hour of the night (from 6 – 7 PM), Kim will give a lecture and sign copies of her book. The rest of the program (7 – 10 PM) is dedicated to serving all 7, 100%-vegan courses on the above menu in a bento-style dinner (Look, ma! No sharing!) for only $30 per person. Tax and gratuity is not included so be sure to tip accordingly. This could very well be genius on the cheap. Since this is a one night-only deal, be sure to make your reservation soon.

P.S. – You know, I’m really disappointed I can’t go to this since I’ll be in New York. Please report back – I’m anxious to hear how it went.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

6 – 10 PM

Cost: $30 prix fixe

Free parking for 3 hours in Westfield Century City Mall

Reserve on Open Table or call to reserve

Breadbar Century City
10250 Santa Monica Blvd. R-2
Los Angeles, CA 90067
310.277.3770

Further Reading:

Noriyuki Sugie Guest Stars at Breadbar (Crudo Bar) – J. Gold on LAWeekly

I Ate the Eight: Hatchi With Michael Voltaggio

Japanese tomato tartare, green almonds, parmesan “overeasy,” tapenade powders

It was H.C. of LAOCFoodie who secured the reservation and I jumped on the Twitter call to secure my spot in the Hatchi craze that was – this time – Top Chef and James Beard Award finalist Michael Voltaggio. Other foodie counterparts present included Kung Food Panda, Pepsi Monster, Christine of Folie à Choi Sauce, Hey Hey Scenesters, Follow PK plus many more inside. Kevin Eats, My Last Bite, Betty Hallock of the LA Times – all of which I had the pleasure of finally meeting for the first time (unfortunately not inclusive of Oishii Eats) – had dining room spots. And so did Tony. Yes, they were all seated in the inside of the restaurant while our table of 7 was banished to the outside. As indicative of the service quality bar set for the night – things were so slow that they set us up at a table in the Century City mall. For a temporary post at BreadBar, there were all the excuses available for the service to be slow and disorganized – but I think to the extent that it interfered with guests’ enjoyment of Voltaggio’s art, the service model should be reexamined.

It was a packed night, for sure. If you were so much as paying attention, you’d have realized that you had the chance to enjoy modern cooking or, if you will, “molecular gastronomy” for $8 a pop, 8 times over. Voltaggio, I’ve learned, is my age. Or rather – I am his age? The menu for the night was entitled “An Experience of Texture and Flavor” and I figured – I’ve never been afraid of either.

The plates featured cooking so modern that the egg you see above isn’t even actually an egg. It’s a consistency made from parmesan and sure as heck tasted like egg. The tartare stack tasted delicious. That gooey consistency was heavenly (besides – over-easy is how I prefer my eggs) and the overall dish was light and refreshing.

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Celebrating Obama on Election Night in L.A.

It’s hard for me to put into words the emotion that has surrounded this entire Presidential campaign.

Obama referenced Dr. King’s term, “the fierce urgency of now” when he announced his candidacy. And maybe not in so many words, but that was the essence of what I felt when I knew I had to do something to help him get elected. Anything – like drive to Nevada and canvas there. I have believed in him – oratory and inexperience considered – from the beginning, even more than Hillary. To me, his speeches were and never are just words, but eloquent articulation communicating a broad understanding of issues he has weighed time and time again. His charisma isn’t empty, but a fresh and graceful challenge to our lowered standards of Presidential rhetoric and diplomacy as a direct result of the past 8 years.

The General Election was quite an animal. The mere prospect of the alternative being elected was just not something I could face myself with if I had not done my part. I won’t lie and say that “negative” motivation wasn’t also factor. Everything that came up Ayers, socialist, Hussein, Wright or non-policy in general, fueled me as well. But Palin scared me the most and and that was that.

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