The Best Things I Ate in 2015

Branzino, Maré

Los Angeles has been a phenomenal place to eat for the duration of 2015. In fact, it’s been really hard to keep up with everything going on in all parts of the city, but what a great problem to have. Better food is available in more neighborhoods, helping raise the standard of dining out in all parts. Hopefully all parts, anyway. We do have our native Roy Choi, doing what he can to make sure such positive change reaches otherwise forgotten neighborhoods, with his and Daniel Patterson’s project, LocaL.

But for all the Fig & Olives of the see-and-be-seen L.A. dining scene, there have been some indisputable favorites of mine to rise to the top. I see 2015 as the year we’ve surpassed the huffing and puffing about authenticity and what that even means for all the history and diversity we have in this city. It’s been exciting to taste how we’ve moved beyond all that to a place and time where chefs can confidently make their mark using flavors from all over the world as their paintbrushes.

So read on, and get to it. 2016 is just around the corner:

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The 2nd Annual Sriracha Festival Returns to Great Success

Sriracha Marinated Chimichurri Steak Taco – Komodo

It was a thankfully mild Sunday in Chinatown, and Grand Central Plaza was filled with red tents under which chefs, cooks, brewers, bartenders and vendors doled out Sriracha-themed exclusives to enthusiasts of the celebrated, local Rooster sauce. Whether the food and drink were evocative of or complementary to the red jalapeno chili sauce, there was no shortage of flavor to be found on that block between Broadway and Hill.

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The Happy Hour at Harlowe

Two Trios of Oysters (Half-dozen = $10)

Bar Harlowe has been open for four months, now, and has become my favorite bar of the 1933 Group. It’s easy to see why, when Harlowe’s cocktail menu with housemade elixirs and modern techniques was designed by Dushan Zaric, Chris Amirault (recently named one of Zagat’s 30 Under 30) and Kyle Ackley.

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Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese Serving Up Classics and Much More

The Classic with Tomato Basil Dip

As April and thus, National Grilled Cheese Month, comes to a close, I have come to realize that: 1) This classic sandwich needs no one to vouch for its deliciousness the rest of the year, and 2) Who has time to keep track of the celebratory day or month of every food in existence, anyway? (Oh right: Thank you, PR pitches.)

After all, the sandwich has had its own Invitational here for years on end, to somewhat sadly conclude this year as we food enthusiasts find other foods and combinations of food to fawn over. But let’s not forget that as there have been multiple storefronts dedicated to cupcakes and only cupcakes, for a very long time, dedicated grilled cheese slingers has also become a thing.

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A Hotel Rooftop For All Occasions

SLS Hotel’s Altitude Pool

We’ve had quite a heat wave lately, but as it cools off (as much as it does here in Los Angeles, anyway), you’re probably going to want to spend one of these lazy days enjoying the view. Sure, there’s not as much urgency to the end of summer because we’re in lovely, if sometimes scorching, Southern California, but there are some great specials around town that are incentive to enjoy the weekend or evening panorama. Discover a new scene with opportunities like Sunday suppers, pop-up vendors and wine happy hours.

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Celebrate July 4th at The Roof on Wilshire

The Roof on Wilshire

With The Foundry in the middle of an overhaul and Chef Eric Greenspan’s neighboring grilled cheese operative still under construction, the only place that Angelenos can get a piece of his comforting cooking is ironically in the middle of one of the best 360 degree views of the entire city. What better occasion than Independence Day to take advantage of not only the views but an affordable all-you-can-eat extravaganza?

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V-day or Bust: Make a Miracle Mile Getaway at Kimpton’s Hotel Wilshire

Hotel Wilshire Roof Pool

Back in the Fall, I made a little getaway to a familiar area (no, I won’t use that word that begins with “stay” and ends with “-tion”). It was a welcome chance to really explore what I already thought I knew, and the Hotel Wilshire was the perfect home base.

The Hotel Wilshire is walking distance to LACMA, but also to Petersen Automotive Museum. Both museums are the venues of so many cultural events, which makes the hotel seem like a great place for out-of-town visitors to establish their base or for locals to crash after a nearby gala. The rotating exhibits make it perfect for locals to visit time and time again.

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For Pigs: All You Can Eat Weekend Summer Comfort Food

Roy Choi’s Krispy Fried Chicken

AYCE. Or, All You Can Eat, for those not yet acclimated to the now-oft-used acronym. (You late-comers and non-Korean BBQ-grubbers, you.) But we’re not talking Old Country Buffet on this blog, nor the club tunes-pumping Manna, here. We’re talking gourmet all you can eat, now.

Take Roy Choi, for instance. The All You Can Eat Fried Chicken Picnic starts tomorrow on Saturday, July 14th and will go every weekend from 12-3 PM.

For $18 per person you get:

  • Krispy Buttermilk Fried Chicken – legs and thighs sous vide in spices, herbs & chilies dredged in rice flour and a splash of lemon juice
  • Supermarket Sweet Potato Deli Salad – smashed red garnet sweet potatoes, scallions, pickled shallot rings, whole grain mustard vinaigrette
  • Zucchini & Cabbage Cole Slaw – buttermilk, dijon dressing, fresh herbs

If you prefer the Korean beer of choice to wash down your poultry, add $10 for endless Hite.

See you there.

*****

Crawfish FTW

If you’re more of a shellfish and Zydeco band lover, head to The Foundry on Melrose for Crawfish Boil Sundays.

For your aural pleasure, the Mudbug Brass Band will be on-hand for that authentic vibe. And from 5:30 – 8 PM on Sundays, you’ll get crawfish and jambalaya for only $25 per person

Update/Correction:
Also offered are Hurricanes for $10 each and Jack Juleps (Jack Daniels with mint & sugar cubes) for $8. Each week, a different Po’ Boy will be featured (this week: catfish) for $9.

All this, hosted by Chef Eric Greenspan, is of course one of the best ways to spend a summer Sunday on Melrose.

Win-win-win.

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Saturdays & Sundays

12 – 3 PM

No reservations

A-Frame
12565 Washington Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90066
310.398.7700

Sundays

5:30 – 8 PM

The Foundry on Melrose
7465 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90036
323.651.0915

The Dionicess VIII Double Header: The Bruery Lunch & Dinner at The Foundry on Melrose

The people (and The Bruery beers) you need to know: Nate Sellergren, Dave Watrous, Gev Kazanchyan, Chef Eric Greenspan, Randy Clemens and Ben Weiss

I’m always game for a Dionicess event. What that means is, pairings of top-notch brews with delicious food. But this time, the ante has been upped and the result looks to surpass anyone and everyone’s expectations.

Late February’s extravaganza yields not one meal but two – in the same day. It’s Placentia-based Famille Rue’s brewery, The Bruery, taking center stage at The Foundry on Melrose. I think the only way to do justice to this amazing event is to go for all 10 courses and make a day of it, because $115 is sooo worth Chef Greenspan’s amazing food, alone.

And the beer. At this event, only, will you be able to experience 2 beers not normally distributed past The Orange Curtain plus 3 others that are limited release or non-release special edition brews. The Bruery is one of my favorite local breweries – or anywhere – and along with their Provisions store, ties my dentist as the most common reason I will make a drive to Orange County.

Take a gander at the menu below for what is in store on this day:

Lunch Menu (The Bruery beer pairing)

  • Goat Cheese and Orange Rillettes / flatbread / herbed oil (Orchard White)
  • Endive Salad / taleggio / Asian pear / hazelnut oil (Saison Rue)
  • Confit of Rabbit / lemon / date / olive / harissa (Loakal Red)
  • Pecan Coconut and Cocoa Tartlet / bourbon ice cream / corn flakes feuilletine (Very Rare Dessert Beer)

Dinner Menu (The Bruery beer pairing)

  • Charred Mackerel / grapefruit juice / oil (Saison de Lente)
  • Crispy Skin Loup de Mer / spicy lemongrass broth / siriacha kimchee mushroom ragout (Mischief)
  • Fried Chicken Oysters / cheddar cheese / biscuit bread pudding / collard greens / honey & black pepper gastrique (Premiere)
  • Mascarpone and Black Pepper Gelato Quenelle / strawberry gooseberry cranberry compote / balsamic reduction / tarragon (Very Rare & Limited Release Beer)
  • Duck Breast “Reuben” / mustard / sauerkraut (Rugbrod)
  • Dark Chocolate Crepes / burnt orange marmalade / cinnamon and nutella ice cream (Very Rare Dessert Beer)

If you have scheduling conflicts and must only go to either lunch or dinner, separate pricing options are available. So go forth and reserve your space now, because spots will fill up! And do report back so I can live vicariously. Loves are loves, and this love of beer and food unfortunately conflicts with my love of snowboarding (I’ve committed to Colorado).

Enjoy.

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Sunday, February 27, 2010

Tickets:
Lunch – $45 (1 PM)
Dinner – $85 (6 PM)
Both (no repetition in course or brew) – $115

The Foundry on Melrose
7465 Melrose Avenue.
Los Angeles, CA 90046

Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Food (Truck) Fight

Courtesy of Artstechnica.com, Marvel, Capcom

Q: What do Marvel & Capcom video games and food trucks all have in common? A: Very little

But there’s no better excuse to celebrate your anticipation for either the new Marvel vs. Capcom 3 video game and/or Chef Ludo Lefebvre (LudoBites) and Chef Eric Greenspan’s (The Foundry on Melrose) awesome food than to attend tomorrow’s tailgate launch party at Kim Sing Theatre. It’s from 11 AM – 3 PM so it’s prime time for lunch or linner.

Food and drinks will be served off food trucks for this event and you’ll get to try out the brand new video game on-the-spot. A live DJ will be spinning tunes to help create that unique gaming atmosphere. What’s on the food menu, you ask? Dishes and bites inspired by the video game, itself.

So come out and check out your potentially new gaming addiction while enjoying food from two of the most talented (and yes, famous) chefs in the city. See you there!

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Saturday, December 11, 2010

11 AM – 3 PM

Email: [email protected]

Kim Sing Theatre
722 N. Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012