Fresh, Fall Cocktails Launch at Crossroads

Cause for Alarm, Parisian Standard, Lady From Shanghai, Forever Young

Now that the restrictions that come with a vegan diet fail to faze him, Jeremy Lake, in his second cocktail menu since Crossroads has opened, made efforts to advance the drinks even further and towards a healthful mindset. And if any restaurant in Los Angeles has been successful at reframing how a diet with no animal by-products is viewed, it’s Crossroads. Everything here is delicious – without mention of the usual apologetics – and the new fall cocktail menu is no exception.

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Fall and Full Bar Descend Upon Pitfire Pizza on Fairfax

Apple & Pork Festival, Sprouts ‘n Bacon Pizza, Rumpkin Pie Cocktail, Linguica Ragout (clockwise)

The place known for its consistently great, tasty and reasonable Neopolitan crust with the sides and pasta to match has stepped it up in the booze department – at least at their location on Fairfax. Formerly confined to wine and beer, Pitfire Pizza now has a full liquor license with a fall cocktail menu to debut with the return of a few fall food favorites.

The great thing about their new cocktail menu is that they’ve streamlined it to just a trio of pretty phenomenal seasonals but also Moscow Mules made with Tito’s on tap, a few classics like the Old Fashioned and Negroni, and another trio of customizable sours with your choice of spirit. And they all go for a wallet-happy $8 per cocktail.

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New Fall Cocktails Hit M.B. Post on Thanksgiving Eve

Man in the Yellow Hat, The Hessian & The Fall of Man (Photo credit to Rick Poon)

If you ever needed a reason to hang out in Manhattan Beach the day before Thanksgiving, I’ve got three liquid reasons right here. Known in the food and beverage industry as the “biggest drinking night of the year,” Thanksgiving Eve will see some new, fall-appropriate cocktails at the destination restaurant, M.B. Post. Think of these cocktails as autumn-tinged takes on some classics.

Don’t forget to try some bites to to line your stomach. After all, I can’t see myself ever visiting M.B. Post without having a taste of Chef David LeFevre’s small plates…make that many tastes…all Los Angeles “seasons” of the year. Or, if you’ve got the home bar with the capacity, I’ve included the recipes to the Jerry Garbus’ team’s cocktails below. Score!

All cocktails cost $12 each – whether fall-inspired or not.

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New Fall Cocktails Debut at Sadie Restaurant

The Combination – Chivas 12, Italian Vermouth, Pear Syrup, Toasted Pecan Bitters

Since the weather, yet again, is doing nothing to evoke anything the least bit autumn, there are four new cocktails at Sadie in Hollywood that will do it, themselves. Forget that we’ve yet another heatwave (alas, in November) and let Giovanni Martinez’s new creations take you to a place where the leaves turn colors and the air smells crisp. And your taste buds find a new appreciation for cognac…

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Favorite Dish: Rein Fall in with Mo-Chica’s Quinotto

Quinotto – Quinoa risotto, wild mushrooms, parmesan, parsley infused oil

I was loving the weather this past weekend in Los Angeles. At one time, I may have been one of those annoying Midwest ex-pats that complained about “missing the seasons,” but let’s be honest: Heat wave after heat wave into October does not a City of Angels make. We finally get to bring out the boots and maybe even sweaters. Late October is better than never, as they say.

Inspired by the grey clouds as well as the feeling that we Southern Californians will always have one foot in the sunshine, I recalled Mo-Chica’s Quinotto – a quinoa-mushroom dish that invokes the consistency and tastes of a mushroom risotto. Drizzled with parsley-infused oil, this savory dish is perfect for the grey clouds that have been finally adorning our skies.

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Pumpkin-palooza at Blue Palms Brewhouse: Saturday, October 29, 2011

Mmm. Pumpkin Beer. | Photo courtesy of NorthwestBeerguide on Flickr

LA Beer Week(s) may be over, but Halloween’s not – and neither is your thirst for beer, I hear. When is it, ever? Why not combine the two by making a stop at my favorite neighborhood pub, Blue Palms Brewhouse, tomorrow starting 2 PM?

You’ll get to quench your thirst and craving for pumpkin with these special brews:

  • Dogfish Head Punkin’
  • Midnight Sun TREAT
  • The Bruery Barrel Aged Autumn Maple (bottle)
  • The Bruery Autumn Maple
  • 2010 Beer Valley Jackalope Imperial Pumpkin Porter
  • Sam Adams Double Pumpkin
  • Bootleggers Pumpkin Ale
  • New Belgium Kick (Sour Pumpkin Cranberry Ale)
  • Kern River Brewing Pumpkin AleShipyard Smashed Pumpkin

And the food menu will be embellished with these autumn goodies:

  • Pumpkin Salad: Spiced Pumpkin, Lentils, & Goat Cheese
  • Pumpkin Quesadilla: Pumpkin, Feta, & cilantro

Who needs to turn into a pumpkin at the end of the night when you can drink them at the duration, instead? See you at Pumpkin-palooza!

Oh, right: Happy Halloween, too!

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pumpkin-palooza: 2 PM

Kitchen: Closes 12 AM

Bar: Closes 2 AM

Blue Palms Brewhouse
6124 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
323.464.0808

Giveaway: Port of Los Angeles Lobster Festival – September 16-18, 2011

Photo credit to lizfairhurst on Flickr

Who loves seafood? Or more specifically, lobster?

Time to celebrate that lobster love at the 13th annual Port of Los Angeles Lobster Festival happening next Friday through Sunday, September 16 – 18th, 2011. And while festivals come and go, this particular event takes the crustacean as it currently holds the Guiness Book World Record for most seafood served at an outdoor event. Impressive.

So, what’s the deal before and when you get there? You can buy a First Class (VIP) ticket in advance for $41 per person, whereby you secure your lobster feast, one beverage, a poster by artists in The Uprising Creative and priority in the food and bar lines. There’s even a special dining area for First Class ticket-holders and 1/3rd of these ticket proceeds benefit the Harbor Interfaith Services.

Feeling more like a pay-as-you-go program? Admission to the festival is $10 (be sure to print out the $2 off coupon) and Maine lobster meals are $19 each. Thinking you’ll want more than one lobster? You can “double up” and add an extra lobster to your plate for a total 2.50 lbs for $33. Every meal comes with cole slaw, potatoes, sweet bread, lemon wedges and a buttery dipping sauce.

If you’re vegetarian, the Lobster Festival has a great deal going on with the adjacent Ports O’ Call Restaurant, where you can dine on their 50 item salad bar. Take your receipt to the front desk for free admission to the festival.

And, while you’re there, you might as well stay for the fun. There will be bands (flashback to the ’80s, anyone? Berlin!) and even Taiko drummers to keep you entertained once you’ve devoured your lobster dinner. And as the L.A. festival tradition goes, there will also be food trucks there like The Lobstatruck (of course), Rajun Cajun, Coolhaus and Barbie’s Q.

*****

And if you’d like to enjoy lobster for free and think you’ve got good luck, I’ve got a giveaway for tickets to the Lobsterfest. On the giveaway block are one pair of First Class (VIP) tickets and one pair of General Admission tickets. The winner and runner-up must have a mailing address to give me in order to receive your tickets. To enter, you must do all of the following:

  1. “Like” e*starLA on Facebook (yes, friends, I’ve given in to the beast)
  2. Leave a comment below (with email address field complete; this will not be shared with anyone) detailing your favorite lobster dish in memory. Make me salivate. Include your Twitter handle if you’d like to be announced as the winner on Twitter (and can be notified in a timely manner).
  3. Tweet this: “I want to win tickets to @PoLALobsterfest, @estarLA! http://estar.la/e/br”
  4. Be ready to give me your mailing address when I announce the winner at noon on Monday, September 12th and email you. If you don’t respond by 2:30 PM I will be forced to choose another winner and/or runner-up!

I’ll be checking all entries to make sure you’ve done #1, #2 and #3 before I put you in the drawing bucket, so make sure you’re thorough. 😉 Good luck, everyone! And see you next weekend at the Lobsterfest!!

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Friday – Sunday, September 16 – 18, 2011

Friday: 5 – 11 PM
Saturday: 11 AM – 11 PM
Sunday: 11 AM – 7 PM

Free Parking – Cruise Ship Parking Lot

Cash only at the event

Lobsterfest at
The Ports O’ Call Village
1100 Berth
San Pedro, CA 90731
(Harbor Blvd. exit off 110 Fwy)

The Tuscan Fried Chicken at Cube LA

Tuscan Fried Chicken

If “November” and “turkey” have become a little too synonymous for you, you’re lucky to have the option of some good ol’ fried chicken at Cube. It’s available only until Wednesday, November 24 – and if you don’t catch it now, you can expect to see it again in about a year.

Cheese & Salumi

The recipe is of the Tuscan variety and for $23 you get a a half-chicken chock with lemon wedge, Maple Roasted windrose Farm White Acorn Squash and sauteed McGrath Pea Tendrils. This isn’t your usual, butter-filled entree but rather a zesty, juicy bird that packs a punch; red pepper flakes are in the batter. The fluffy breading crumbles beautifully under the weight of your knife (should you feel like sharing) and between your jowls to reveal an extremely tender, semi-boneless masterpiece by Executive Chef Erin Eastland.

While you’re at Cube, don’t forget a custom cheese-salumi plate of your choosing and glass of wine to start. It’s always a delightful experience whenever I’ve dined there; trying the limited edition fried chicken plate was no exception. To finish it off, go seasonal and try their Warm Hachiya Persimmon Pudding or satisfy your chocolate craving with Dark Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake.

All food and wine were hosted.

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Fried chicken available through November 24, 2010

Tue – Sat, 11 AM – 11 PM

Cube
615 N. La Brea Avenue
Los Angeles, CA
323.939.1148

LA Loves Alex’s Lemonade Ushers In Fall Flavors

LA Loves Alex

There were a lot of events going on over the weekend, but the inaugural LA Loves Alex’s Lemonade at Culver Studios was a culinary extravaganza to hit it out of the park. The backdrop? The famous Gone With the Wind mansion on a beautiful autumn day. Our hosts were Chefs Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne (Lucques, AOC, Tavern) along with Chef David Lentz (Hungry Cat) – and there was a solid showing of chefs from across the country who all offered their live talents to an event whose goal was to fight childhood cancer.

Seasonal Antipasto | Chris Bianco

The standouts? Chris Bianco’s Antipasto dish, featuring beautifully seasoned fall vegetables and almost making us forget that it was his pizza we were looking forward to. Celebrity chef Giada of The Food Network was personally on-hand to serve up her Pasta Ponza, topped with a fried prosciutto. Paul Kahan, of The Publican in Chicago, brought forth a delicious house-made chorizo coupled with cured ham and dressed with arugula and apples. Hailing from New Orleans was a dish from Susan Spicer’s Bayona – a delicious grilled rosemary shrimp with artichoke bread pudding. Local Neal Fraser (Grace) had pig on the brain, or “Pig in a Box,” as he called it. We caught him reloading charcoal into his smoking apparatus and appreciated the pork he prepared, dressed with a side of mustard potatoes and brussel sprouts.

Caramel Chocolate Macarons | Tavern

With all the dishes at the event making it ever apparent that it was autumn in Los Angeles, the cocktails and beer did not pale in comparison. VIP had access to Craftsman Beer, offering up their Triple Sage, Lavender Sour, Poppy Fields and Firestone brews. Hungry Cat cocktails were also in VIP and out in the common area and were delicious as ever. Of course, we can’t forget the epic dessert table from Tavern and Lucques. S’mores, caramel chocolate macarons, carrot cake – I didn’t even have room for a bite of everything on the table, though I wanted to. Fortunately, I was able to stuff in almost a half-scoop of Mozza’s Meyer Lemon Gelato. Its lemon zest packed punch in the midst of a goat cheese-like flavor and consistency.

If Caroline on Crack, Lindsay of LAist and I didn’t have somewhere else to be later that day, we would have surely enjoyed basking in the Culver City sun with our perfect cocktails, food, beer and desserts the rest of the afternoon. Overall, it was such a stand-out showing that I do hope the event moves from inaugural to annual.

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Held last Sunday, November 7, 2010

12 – 4 PM

Culver Studios
9336 Washington Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90232-2600

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.

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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