Eating Your Way Through the 5th Annual Taste of Italy on October 12, 2013

Taste of Italy

The food events haven’t stopped, but The Taste of Italy looks to not only present a stellar line-up of food but an authentically Italian atmosphere. Just as a fundraiser for the Italian American Museum, slated to open in early 2014, should be. Luckily, I also have a special discount code for my readers to share that will score you $5 off, so stay tuned til after the jump.

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The Bayou Boil Returns to Dominick’s

Photo by VisitBatonRouge on Flickr

I’ll admit: I’ve always had a soft spot for crawfish. Once you get the hang of peeling and eating those little mudbugs (and believe me, getting proficient at it is like a rite of passage), it’s like a crafty, delicious feast doubling as entertainment.

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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.

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

Weekend Brunch Now at Dominick’s

Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes

Dominick’s, the neighborhood hangout on Beverly (no, not Jerry’s Famous Deli), is one of those places you can rely on for great, Italian food in a great atmosphere. Fortunately, they’ve recently also implemented a weekend brunch with some tasty options on the menu – complete with some cocktails, of course.

Now, you can enjoy brunch on their covered, pleasant patio or inside their 50’s-ish tiled, dark wooded restaurant from 9 AM – 3 PM on Saturday and Sunday. Try their airy blueberry ricotta pancakes and pair it with a mimosa ($12 per bottle of Prosecco!). Or, take a look at a sampling of their brunch menu below for your other options:

Polenta Waffles with Strawberries, Whipped Mascarpone & Warm Honey – $9
Biscuit & Mushroom Fontina Gravy – $8
Soft White Corn Polenta & Two Fried Eggs with Parmesan Cheese – $9
Smoked Salmon, Herb Waffles & Poached Eggs with Dill Hollandaise – $15
Wood Grilled Oysters with Oregano, Crushed Red Pepper, Garlic, Lemon & Butter – $15
Zucchini Pancakes with Cucumber Mint Yogurt – $9
Prosciutto & Warm Ricotta with Arugula on a toasted Baguette – $11
Wood Grilled Hamburger with Burrata, Roasted Tomato Mostarda & Speck – $12

Cocktails include:

Dom’s Bloody Mary – $9
Strawberry Bellini – $11
Arnold Palmer – $9
Cardamom Crisp – $12

I’d say brunch in a former Frank Sinatra Rat Pack hangout is not a bad way to start off a weekend morning. And if you were smart and got the Blackboard Eats discount recently for 30% off, I’d say your next trip to Dominick’s is a win-win.

Brunch served: Saturdays and Sundays

9 AM – 3 PM

Dominick’s
8715 Beverly Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90048
310.652.2335

The Crawfish Boil at Dominick’s

Get your crawfish on...

The Italian eatery and solid bar scene that is Dominck’s in West Hollywood will be undergoing a metamorphosis of sorts – into a Southern restaurant. Next Saturday, June 5th, they’ll be spending the afternoon serving up Louisiana fare – crawfish, that is.

There was a Louisiana State University alumni crawfish boil I used to crash yearly back in the day – this could be my opportunity to get my crawfish fix and back into the practice of twisting, pinching and peeling the darned mudbuggers (and sucking, if that’s your thing). Plus, with crawfish season ending, this is the time to get in on the tiny crustaceans before they’re gone.

The patio at Dominick’s will be open for the afternoon and New Orleans native Chef Brandon Boudet will be serving up the cajun and creole fare. The crawdads will be seasoned with salt, garlic and cayenne pepper, and the other secret recipes come straight from the South:

Crawfish, served with potatoes and corn – $7/lb
Oysters on the half shell – $2 each
Roast Beef Po’ Boy – $8
Soft-shell Crab Po’ Boy – $12
Onion Rings – $5
French Fries – $5
Creole-boiled half Artichoke with Remoulade – $5
Beer – $2
Dago Red & White Wine – $12 per bottle

Are you a Laker fan? Don’t fret – Dominick’s promises to have the championship on the screens should they be playing that day. All bases are covered. So make your reservation now to save your spot!

Saturday, June 5th

2 – 6 PM (reservations required)

Dominick’s
8715 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90048
310.652.2335

Giddy Up: Mint Juleps On Derby Day

Mint Juleps | Photo credit to heathercapri on Flickr

This may not be Kentucky, but if there exists a people who are experts at pretending we’re something or some place we’re not, it’s us, Los Angeles. Celebrate your bets vicariously at the bar with a Mint Julep tomorrow (and today, if you prefer to celebrate early). There are plenty of spots around town to get a good version of the spearmint muddled cocktail.

Dominick’s (West Hollywood)

Dominick’s always brings a solid pour to the bar. Enjoy your Mint Julep surrounded by the ’50’s era decor with tiled floors, dark wood and deep booths. Or, since the wind has died down, sit outside on their pleasant patio while basking in the sunshine.

Open at 6 PM

Dominick’s
8715 Beverly Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90048
310.652.2335

Thirsty Crow (Silver Lake)

I’ll take any reason to revisit the brand new, 1930’s-themed bourbon far from 1933 Group. In fact, I’ve already had their Mint Julep made with Maker’s Mark, and it was pretty fantastic. Don’t forget to play a song for a nickel on their 1936 jukebox. 

Open at 5 PM

The Thirsty Crow
2939 W. Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026-2127
323.661.6007

Elements Kitchen (Pasadena)

Enjoy the recently-revamped space with its modern decor while you sip your Bourbon and mint. As one of the most exciting places to eat or drink in Pasadena, Elements’ Mint Julep comes from a cocktail program designed by Michel Dozois of Neve Ice. What more could you ask for?

Bar Service 4 PM – 12 AM

Elements Kitchen
37 S. El Molino Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91101
626.440.0044

Rivera (Downtown)

They may serve food under the “Modern Latin” column, but it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the official Kentucky Derby cocktail from a menu designed by Julian T. Cox. The bar in the subtly-lit, elegant restaurant is the site of one of the premier drinking spots in Downtown L.A.

Open for dinner at 5:30 PM
Late night until 1 AM (Food 12 AM)

Rivera
1050 S. Flower Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015
213.749.1460

Copa d’Oro (Santa Monica)

Whatever the cocktail and whatever the occasion, it’ll turn out top notch at Copa d’Oro. Special order up a traditional version or pick one of Vincenzo Marianella’s gin variations (the Freezing Jess includes elderflower and a touch of absinthe).

Open at 5:30 PM

Copa d’Oro
217 Broadway
Santa Monica, CA 90401-2311
310.576.3030

Have a great weekend with your mint-muddled cocktails!

There is something about a mint julep.
It is nectar imbibed in a dream,
As fresh as the bud of the tulip,
As cool as the bed of the stream.
There is something about a mint julep,
A fragrance beloved by the lucky.
And perhaps it’s the tint
Of the frost and the mint,
But I think it was born in Kentucky.

-Ogden Nash
Excerpt from: A Drink With Something In It

LA Magazine’s The Food Event Lives Up To Hype

The thing about these food extravaganzas is sometimes you can expect a lot of piecemeal efforts from restaurants who run the gambit of quality and notoriety and are there to garner publicity because they need it. Not so with Los Angeles Magazine‘s The Food Event – held at Saddlerock Ranch in Malibu last Sunday and which featured a ton of power players in the L.A. scene. First of all, the setting was beautiful and couldn’t be more fairy tale. Imagine food and wine in a bowl set inside rolling hills with rows of grape vines and a clear blue sky above. Second, I actually regretted not having enough capacity to try everything. If I knew what everyone was serving ahead of time as I perused stand to stand, I could prioritize the space in my stomach somehow. Then again, that would have taken oodles of self-control that – let’s face it – I frankly don’t have.

Highlights that I was actually able to digest included a steak sandwich from Dakota (above), three different tacos including a potato variety from Loteria! Grill, an interesting foie gras-eel sushi roll (yes, the magic was in the foie gras) as well as an astounding lettuce wrap (below) from Wilshire Restaurant, and – I’m sure – tons of other things I eyed with a look only a diner with an overwhelmed yet yearning palate could exude.

Oh – and how nice it was to see the newly-expanded Petrossian in my neighborhood, in Malibu. Their blinis and borscht was one of the smallest bites there but also the most delectable and luxurious. And you’d think I’d never be so excited to see so many sliders, which I’d normally view as fillers. There were so many varieties of meats and perfect buns to accompany them, including Westside Tavern‘s lamb dip.

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