The Hollywood Bowl To-Go Round-Up

Bienvenido Gustavo! at The Hollywood Bowl (October 1, 2009)

Hollywood Bowl season is upon us! And what better opportunity to combine your love of food with your love of music than to do up the pre-performance picnic the right way? Grab a recommended wine from Jill at Domaine LA to pair with your food and you’re set. Just make sure your show is an official Bowl event and not leased out. If it’s leased out (most likely to include the high profile rock bands not part of the KCRW World Music Series), then you’re confined to the Patina catering sold (or served in your fancy box seats) at the venue. If not, you’re good to go!

Below, you’ll find options all over town. So wherever you hail from, you’re set to make your little haven in Hollywood home for a few hours whether they be Pool, Garden, Terrace, Super or bench seats. And by the way, yes, you can always order from Nancy Silverton’s Mozza2Go – I would just recommend ordering and picking up extra early in the day on Bowl nights given its vicinity and the likelihood everyone may be thinking the same thing as you. Here we go… (Check the map at the bottom for a visual of all mentioned locations.)

Napa Valley Grille – Westwood

When at UCLA, I always knew the Napa Valley Grille as the out-of-range option for us students – the place you got your parents to take you to when they visited from out-of-town. But they’ve recently come out with a boxed lunch program that seems pretty accessible to me, ranging from $10.75 to $13.75 with 3 seasonal options from Executive chef Joseph Gillard and packaged in recyclable materials. You can wax Napa in Hollywood (or elsewhere) as they are themed after different Napa Valley regions:

Russian River Menu: Shrimp Salad Sandwich, with Poached White Shrimp, Fine Herbs, Buttermilk Dressing, and Shaved Cabbage on a Soft Herb Roll; Sweet Pea Salad with Butter Lettuce and Green Goddess Dressing; housemade Napa Potato Chips; and Summer Fruit Trifle ($13.75)

Stag’s Leap Menu: Slow-Roasted Rare Prime Beef Sandwich with Bacon, Red Onion Jam, Creamy Horseradish, and Smoked Cheddar Cheese on Pretzel Bread; Roasted Red Fingerling Potato Salad; housemade Napa Potato Chips; and a Black and White Cookie ($12.75)

St. Helena Menu: Roasted Vegetable Foccaccia with Grilled Zucchini, Eggplant, Portabella Mushroom, White Bean Hummus, Tomato Fondue, and Basil Goat Cheese on Herb Ciabatta Bread; Orzo Pasta Salad with Pepperdew Peppers, Spring Onions, and Golden Balsamic Vinaigrette; housemade Napa Potato Chips; and a “Blondie” Bar ($10.75)

You’ll undoubtedly want dessert (not included) – so choose from delicious selections like Mini Eclairs with Cordillera Dark Chocolate-Brandy Cream, Bourbon Pecan Bars and White Chocolate Coconut Cookies.

Call to place order

Napa Valley Grille
1100 Glendon Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90024

Petrossian Boutique & Restaurant – Robertson/West Hollywood

Ordering your take-away items from Petrossian means you demand taste, style and class. More power to you. In fact, I just ate there last night and was delightfully reminded how absolutely talented Chef Ben Bailly is. So tote his offerings to The Bowl – your tastebuds will be titillated while your ears are enchanted. Below are some picnicking suggestions straight off their menu:

Caviar Surprise, served in a caviar tin and comprised of layers of Caviar, King Crab, Crème Fraîche and Apple Cider Jelly ($32)

Caviar Dip and Sweet Potato Chips ($14)

Blinis with Caviar, Trout, and Salmon Roe; the Green Bean Salad with Burrata, Marcona almonds and Transmontanus Caviar ($18)

Smoked Salmon Tartine with Goat Cheese, Capers, and Caviar ($16)

Eggxiting Caviar—two 12 gram “eggs” of Transmontanus caviar and spoons in an isothermic case ($49)

Petrossian CaviarCubes ($45)

Foie Gras and Pâté (from $20)

The Petrossian staff will kindly package the items to go in one of their stylish cooler bags or pack your picnic basket for you. Provide your credit card number ahead of time and they’ll deliver your items to you in your car.

Call to order

Petrossian Boutique & Restaurant
321 N. Robertson Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90048

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Favorites From Elements Kitchen, Pasadena

Braised Wagyu Beef Cheeks w/Homemade Porcini Fettuccine ($26)

Elements Kitchen rose out of a successful catering business by Chef-Owner Onil Chibás and established its brick and mortar dining room in January of this year. Its menu isn’t traditionally structured; instead of the traditional appetizer-entree distinction, it asks you what you’re in the mood for. This is, after all, “New” American. But you can appreciate the emphasis on ingredients, or “elements” as the restaurant’s theme revolves around.

Pistachio Butter ($19 for PF&J)

Chicken & Birds? Lobster? Duck? Beef? Mussels & Oysters? Squash? It reads like a dozen questions in a row … but who’s to criticize an establishment that wants to pinpoint and cater to your desires to a tee? An extension of that are the extremely tasty, borderline odd creations such as Pistachio Butter, which is presented on the same platter as Foie Gras Torchon and Jellied Sauternes – dubbed “PF&J”. Plus Roasted Grapes. I’ll be honest: My mind was blown at the Pistachio Butter. But the endless combinations that were possible made it hardly polite to complain, because somehow, they worked.

There are a lot of dishes at Elements that work with a few that probably try to do too much, but it’s good to see a spot in Pasadena that is taking risks for once. One of my favorites was the Braised Wagyu Beef Cheeks – which sat atop a bed of housemade Fettuccine. The Seared King Trumpets were a perfect middle texture, flavorfully connecting the über tender meat with super fresh pasta.

Oyster & Mussel Chowder: Yukon gold potato cream, crispy pork belly ($12)

The Oyster & Mussel Chowder was a true winner. It consisted of a delicious Yukon Gold potato cream broth and was sprinkled with shavings of crispy pork belly and green onion, thickened further with potatoes yet also crispened with celery. It was a chowder combining all the right textures and tastes, with a good helping of oysters and mussels serving as the center of the dish.

A really good dish at Elements Kitchen that also happens to be pointedly vegetarian is the Spaghetti Squash with Marinara ($9). The sauce itself is quite fresh as the herbed ricotta is substantive, bringing a weight to the stringy contents of the gourd.

While you’re at Elements, be sure to try out one of the cocktail creations by Michel of Neve Ice – the recently-named overseer of their cocktail program. Every Wednesday, Elements features “Sketches” – which is a set of dishes that focus around one ingredient. Every Thursday are new “Liquid Sketches,” cocktails that center around another ingredient. If you’re on Twitter, you can re-tweet @ElementsKitchen on these days for a free dish or $1 cocktail.

And if you’re up for dessert, don’t miss their White Chocolate & Coffee Mousse with Milk Chocolate Ganache – an absolutely divine and indulgent dessert that should send you home with your tastebuds dancing.

All food and drink were hosted.

Further reading:

The Review: Elements Kitchen in Pasadena — all the elements of success – S. Irene Virbila for LA Times

Elements Kitchen
37 S. El Molino Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91101


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

8715 Beverly Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90048

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

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

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)

1050 S. Flower Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015

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

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

Weekly Sketches at Elements Kitchen, Pasadena

The theme is cheese

If you’re in Pasadena during the latter half of the week, there’s incentive to stop by Elements Kitchen. In a classic catering business to brick-and-mortar move by chef-owner Onil Chibás last January, Elements focuses on being innovative with their ingredients. That effort has translated to Wednesday Sketches and Thursday Liquid Sketches, where dishes and cocktails revolve around two different seasonal ingredients per week.

Today’s Wednesday Sketches will revolve around cheese. Each dish will run $5. If you Twitter, you retweet this @elementskitchen tweet by 5 PM today, you’ll receive a complimentary first dish.

Tomorrow’s Thursday Liquid Sketches will revolve around rhubarb, the cocktails of which will be created by cocktail consultant Michel Dozois of Neve Ice. You can also retweet this tweet and your first cocktail will be $1. All cocktails in the Liquid Sketches menu are $5 each.

On Sundays, Elements also features a 3-course prix fixe menu for $35 per person, the courses of which revolve around a singular theme (this week: Slow Italian Kitchen).

It’s definitely the most innovative food I’ve had around Pasadena in awhile, so the aforementioned deals would be a good introduction to anybody new to Elements. Put that Twitter to use!

Tue – Fri: 11:30 AM – 2:30 PM

Tue – Thur, Sun: 5 – 10 PM
Fri – Sat: 5 – 11 PM

Bar & Lounge
Tue – Sun: 4 PM – 12 AM

Elements Kitchen
37 S. El Molino Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91101