Allumette Pushes the Envelope in Echo Park

Short Rib cooked in Pho, Xiu Mai, Scallion Pancake, Herbs

I first visited the space owned by Bill Didonna and Charles Kelly when it was Allston Yacht Club. Since then, the space had taken a 180 degree turn away from its incarnation as a casual, neighborhood spot. Though there’s no warmth lacking from the feel that emanated throughout Allston’s dining room, it has evolved to the kind of environment that encourages diners’ curiosity for new things.

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Top Ten Picks For L.A. Beer Week: September 20 – 30, 2012

Photo credit to djdphotos on Flickr

Beer cocktails. Beer floats. Sour beers. All-you-can-drink beer. Beer crawl set to music. Crappy-for-happy beer trades. Prickly pear beers from all over town. Los Angeles is comin’ up beer. And in its 4th year, not only is LA Beer Week bigger and better than ever, it’s also more unified. The camaraderie around the LA beer community is unmistakable – so get ready to drink some tasty brews while learning a lot and meeting some cool people along the way.

After perusing the 10-day schedule, I’ve come up with a few events I’d personally want to attend. With the LA beer scene at the strongest it has ever been, there’s bound to be some (or a lot of) conflicts during this extravaganza, but all we can do is do our best, right? While you’re at it, you might as well check off the four quandrants of this LA Beer Week Bucket List. Then, bring your four stickers to the LA Beer Week Festival on September 30th and get a free bottle of the official beer of the week, Unity, from Eagle Rock Brewery – a play on a traditional Berliner Weiss, yet jazzed up with a touch of rye as well as red and green prickly pear. You’ll also get to enter a drawing for tickets to the BAM Fest on October 6th in Santa Monica.

(If you don’t complete the bucket list, never fear – it’ll be on draft at select retailers throughout Los Angeles and Orange county as well as at the LA Beer Week Festival itself.)

Without further ado, here are my Top Ten of LA Beer Week:

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Today’s LA Beer Week Pick: Musical Beer Crawl

Inside El Prado | Credit to poketo on flickr

LA Beer Week is back and better than ever. Be sure to peep the official site for the full run-down of events. And while this 3rd annual is so exciting because it’s so huge (I’m seeing about 5-10 events every day, all over town!), this makes it hard to decide between all the stellar happenings going on.

It kills me that I won’t be able to go on this tonight (Dine LA is this week, too), but this beer week event is definitely a shoe-in. The Musical Beer Crawl combines not only beer and food, but music too in only the neighborhood that could: Echo Park.

The reasons why you should go:

  • Stone Brewing Co. Norm Stackhouse will be on-hand to talk beer & present a special Stone flight at City Sip (western-most stop). Happy hour will be going on as always (5:30 – 7 PM).
  • $5 show at The Echo w/”super secret” beer keg tapping
  • $1 off beers and no corkage at brand-new Sunset Beer Company
  • 10% off records at Origami Vinyl
  • 10% off at Masa, for Chicago deep dish lovers
  • 15% off beer in pub area at Mohawk Bend
  • 2-for-1 slices at Two Boots
  • Lot 1 Cafe has a keg of Weinhenstephan’s Hopplosion & 4 taps pouring $4 pints. Buzz Bands LA has lined up Joey & Andy Siara of the Henry Clay People and more to play.
  • “Super secret, divine” keg of beer at El Prado. Origami‘s record club will be going on here.
  • The Short Stop will have a special keg at discount for crawlers only, plus $4 drafts 5 – 10 PM. Word has it it’s a big Golden Road Brewing Company debut! Yay! (eastern-most stop)

The night will commence at 5 PM. Just print out your Musical Beer Crawl Passport and bring it with you, tonight. Remember to keep an eye on the respective business hours of each participating venue so you don’t miss out!

Have fun!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

5 PM – ???


Passport (print!)


Sunset Boulevard, from Mohawk to Sutherland
Echo Park, CA 90026

St. Patrick’s Day Round-Up of Round-Ups

Photo credit to sebastian.b (altuwa) on Flickr

I’ve been eyeing the St. Patrick’s Day specials going around Twitter all week and have finally decided on one – in Hollywood. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a ton of other options available. Whether you’re looking for a few special Irish menu items, a pub to knock back a couple ales, Irish music or happy hour pricings (or any combination of the aforementioned) – these round-ups got them all:

Alternatives to Green Beer: St. Patrick’s Day Cocktails + 2 Cocktail Recipes – Caroline on Crack for LA Weekly Food

  • includes Drago Centro, 8 Oz. Burger Bar, Chaya, Comme Ca, The Edison, Pitfire Pizza, Rush Street, 25 Degrees

Pubs in Los Angeles – Google Maps

Where To Drink Green Beer – Elise Thompson for LAist

  • Elise of LAist put together this Google Maps mashup of pubs – because sometimes you just need to know where to get a pint of ale. Also check out her green beer post.

Where To Get Shamrocked – LA Times

  • includes Redwood Bar & Grill, Brennan’s, Bigfoot Lodge and even The Standard (er?)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day – The Happy Hour Tour

  • includes Blue Palms Brewhouse, Henry’s Hat, Bodega Wine Bar, Liquid Kitty, Saints & Sinners, Cabo Cantina and Tom Bergin’s

Also, don’t forget Pourtal Wine Bar in Santa Monica, serving up $5 Vinho Verde (green wine that is ironically Portuguese) starting at 4PM. Verdugo Bar in Glassell Park is serving up Devil’s Pie late-night; wash it down with a brew on-tap. Hungry Cat in Hollywood – where I’ll be – is offering $4 Murphy’s Irish Stout Irish Slings and $6 Picklebacks (whiskey with a chaser of pickle juice). Also, Allston Yacht Club in Echo Park will be serving up Corned Beef Sandwiches for $6 each and pints of Guinness for $4. All food is $5 as they integrate St. Patty’s with their Wicked Wednesday.

Erin Go Braugh, Los Angeles!!

Allston Yacht Club: Cure For The Eastsider’s Hangover

Omelet du Jour

I’ve always wondered about the “sceney” brunch places around LA. There’s inevitably a patio, 5 dressed-up chihuahuas around said patio and a long wait for food. The pretty people make a day of it but let’s be real – sometimes you just really want a solid, no-nonsense brunch without spending too much more money the morning after a night of questionable choices made. There are few places I can think of in LA where you can go have said brunch with little hassle – but the good news is, if you’re an Eastsider, there’s always Allston Yacht Club.

Sweet potato fritters
Sweet potato fritters

It’s an affordable place that won’t sell you on its distracting scene – just the neighborhood appeal. Everything brunch (and lunch and dinner, actually) is priced under $10. A great thing to ease that splitting headache you may or may not have going on.

I visited AYC one Sunday early-afternoon for some treats with my web-dev-dude Roycifer. The sweet potato fritters were a good start – they had a surprising twist of cinnamon and were a nice flirtation with dessert. Next, we ordered cocktails – after all, brunch doesn’t have rules. I went festive and got a Figgy Pudding (fig-infused bourbon, egg nog and egg white). It really was a perfect holiday cocktail – the egg nog was at just the right weight (not too heavy) and entirely drinkable for any time of day. Yum. Royce went with a tequila cocktail in keeping with his spirit of choice: Basement window – utilizing tequila, Kahlua and pomegranate puree. This cocktail will take you down into said basement and beat you up if you forget what you’re drinking. A very strong cocktail so very subtly sweetened by the touch of Kahlua and puree, but so delicious. One of the weightier tequila concoctions I’ve tried and it’s very welcomed.

Basement window
Basement window

I was feeling simple this particular day so I went with the classic biscuits & gravy. Chopped, sweet onions were in the gravy and fried sage topped the dish – sometimes, this is all you need to soak up the libations from the night before. Roycifer’s omelet, however, was one that I could’ve stolen off his plate had he not inhaled it first. The thickness to which the outside egg was cooked and the filling was hearty and hot.

If you’re in the area and looking to sit down for some reasonably-priced, imaginative neighborhood eats, look no further than Allston Yacht Club. Cocktails are also $9 or less and seasonal selections are always offered and successfully executed (see: Figgy Pudding). The good-time, no-nonsense vibe of the place is so down-to-earth, you’ll out-hip the hipsters who are shelling out $15 for pancakes.

Check below for the entire Sunday brunch menu:

2 eggs $6
Potatoes, Fruit and a Biscuit.

Duck Confit hash $8
With a poached egg

Omelet du Jour $8
Potatoes, Fruit and a Biscuit

Gravlax $8
A hard boiled egg, dark bread and accompaniments

Croque Monsieur $7
With fruit. Croque Madame [a fried egg on top] add $1

Biscuits & Gravy $6
Countrypolitan Sausage Gravy

House Made Granola $6
Yogurt, Honey and Fruit

Sweet Potato Fritters $6
With Minty Yogurt Sauce

Add Bacon or Sausage to anything $2

All aforementioned food was hosted.

Further reading:

My previous visit to AYC

Allston Yacht Club
1320 Echo Park Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90026

Pizza and Beer Pairing To Benefit Real Medicine Foundation

What better way to celebrate and benefit a charity like Real Medicine Foundation than to pair pizzas with beer? Real Medicine is a charity which provides humanitarian support to people affected by disaster, post-war, and poverty – and Gev Kazanchyan & Stone Brewing Co. led the charge for their benefit one Sunday afternoon at Citysip, a local wine bar located in Echo Park on Sunset. The result was an impressive $1000 check towards research whereby we guests tasted delicious beers with pizzas delivered fresh every single round by Tomato Pie.

We started out with a palate cleanser – Stone Levitation Ale. I don’t know if it’s so much a palate cleanser so much as a beer that simply tastes good. But sure, it’s not heavy – still is a Stone (i.e. strong) brew so it has some weight to it - and therefore, a good beer to whet the senses.

The first Tomato Pie pie came out, which was of a breakfast sort with bacon, sausage, spinach, white onion and egg as toppings. I can usually eat breakfast any time of day yet – lo and behold – I had been sleeping on a cemetery lawn a few hours prior. It seemed a proper way to wake amongst the dead. But Stone’s Smoked Porter is one of my favorite beers, and it was a nice, rich start to the tasting and matched the sausage on the pizza well.

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The Yacht Club in Echo Park

If you’re an Eastsider and so much as wanted to have a neighborhood place to crash with a handful of small plates and glass of wine – you’re probably the kinda guy or gal Bill and Charles had in mind while launching their restaurant, Allston Yacht Club. They’re a pair of guys in entertainment who’ve been fulfilled to a good degree in one of their two dreams (the writing side). Allston Yacht Club – named after a Boston neighborhood by this, these couple of Bostonians, is the realization of that second dream. It was first opened last January and from what I understand has undergone significant yet effective growing pains. I had the privilege of a private tasting to learn what their venture was all about. They were super entertaining and a pleasure to share food with.

Yes, yacht club – in Echo Park. It takes no chances with letting you know they don’t take themselves seriously so you shan’t, either. But seriously – these guys are cool. Thank god – because hanging out at The Allston is like hanging out in their living room. And who wants to be in a living room inhabited by uncool anybody?

The good news is that the vast majority of plates are within the $6-8 range so this is a great place to come here with friends, order a bunch of plates (designated by main meat dishes), snacks (smaller, non-meat plates) and/or sides (greens) and everyone gets to sample a little of everything.

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Santa For A Day

Caroline sent out a last-minute email to friends to accompany her on a sleigh pass to SantaCon. I have to admit, it was one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences I just had to see for myself. If you’ve only read on blogs or heard on Japanese gameshows about mob pranks before then maybe you’re crazy enough to ever have wanted to be a part of the crowd. Just to see.

We started out on the East Side and the East Side we’d stay. If you’re going to fill 5 yellow school buses full of Santas chanting “Ho. … Ho. .. Ho. Ho ho ho ho hooo!” then streets better be wide enough to handle the obstruction. And that’s not even including the few dozen Midnight Ridazz Santas on their trikes beating us to each location. El Cid and 4100 bar near Sunset Junction were good first stops (or maybe that was the liquor store) with bartenders prepped and ready to tend to our afternoon habit.

We were even prepped with a song book of rewritten Christmas carols. All day, Santas spoke of Santas in the third, improper person. “Anyone seen Santa?” “He’s around here, somewhere.” Goodwill, cheer and merriment to all – including the “cheer” spread from our buses to pedestrians on the sidewalks. The scene was a spectacle. A day-long hootenanny. A study in … 21st century debauchery. We kept up on the digs through subscribed text messaging and were encouraged to hash tag our tweets (#lasantacon) for a searchable archive. Probably 1 out of 0.75 santas had his iPhone or Blackberry out at all times. Updating. Taking pictures and sending them via MMS. And then the cameras

I didn’t last all day. Okay, okay – I didn’t even last til late afternoon. My excuse was my company holiday party, but I was secretly glad to have it as an out. I missed out on uWink bar (:\) and Power House at Hollywood & Highland, Boardner’s and Jumbo’s Clown Room – with even an “after-party” at The Echo. Apparently, I also missed out on a concocted “snowball” fight outside the first location.

But I was honored to have been part of this mob, if even for only a little bit. Other than the lagging at the beginning for a straggling fifth sleigh, the experience didn’t disappoint. This is a recommended pub crawl that you should do – at least once. Check the nearest, upcoming Santacrawls here.

Other links:

e*star’s L.A. SantaCon Flickr Set

Caroline’s Santa Post (LAist)

The con is on – L.A. SantaCon, That Is (LATimes)

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