Culinary Experiences at Passport to Dry Creek Valley

Dry Creek Valley

Now in its 27th year, the Passport to Dry Creek Valley event this weekend promises to be a great time to visit and taste Pinots, Zinfandels and other Sonoma wines. If you fly to Sonoma (via Alaska Air), you’ll get to take home a case of wine free of charge. And if you wisely decide to take a bottle from a Dry Creek vineyard to dine at one of the participating charter restaurants, you’ll also get free corkage as a part of their culinary cooperative.

While I love wine, food and wine always taste better when together, so I’ve highlighted some culinary-focused opportunities at certain wineries to turn your attention to this weekend:

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Revisiting The Hungry Cat in Santa Monica

Seafood Platter, Siberian Osetra Caviar

There are always plenty fo reasons to visit Hungry Cat, but the location in Santa Monica has put a new focus on their wood-fired menu, thanks to their brand new wood-burning grill and rotisserie. The result is an amazing array of seafood and other menu items that take on a whole new dimension of flavor.

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Twenty-One Reasons to dineL.A.: January 19 – February 1, 2015

Lobster Roll – Blue Plate Oysterette

DineL.A. is back and it’s time to scour the menus of participating restaurants all over town. I’ve come up with some reasons to jet to a particular dining establishment near you, whether for lunch or for dinner. Some restaurants offer exclusive dishes to dineL.A., others are offering a particularly enticing lunch and/or dinner menu. There are also participants that might normally be out of your price range or sense of adventure, but dineLA might just be the right occasion to give them a try.

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Lunch at POT Moves to The Line Hotel Lobby

Noodle of the Day: Bibim Gooksu (chilled somen noodles, bibim sauce, vegetables)

With the migration of lunchtime at POT to the lobby of The Line Hotel in Koreatown, gone is the enclosed, smoky and cavernous setting that we’ve come to know as the Korean restaurant experience. In the daytime, anyway. It’s a smart move, to be sure, more conducive to the power lunch, and the menu is nonetheless a delightful range of authentic to hybrid, but always tastefully imaginative.

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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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L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade Raises Over $700,000 For Childhood Cancer Research

Alex’s Lemonade at Royce Quad

Food events come and go, but when the clout behind a particular function brings out some of the best chefs from inside and outside of Los Angeles, you’ll have a standout. Especially when the resulting total raised amounts to more than $700,00 towards childhood cancer research and patients’ lives and care.

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Saint Martha: An Unexpected Dining Destination in Koreatown

Pecan wood smoked brisket with hoisin, tiny lettuce & root vegetables

There’s something incredibly freeing, even liberating about a Western restaurant that sets up shop in a strip mall in Koreatown. While you’d find a stellar sushi restaurant – and Korean BBQ joint, for that matter – in many a plaza in Metropolitan L.A., you wouldn’t hardly ever find a modern American restaurant in one.

But Saint Martha, named after the patron saint of cooks and servants and sister of Mary and Lazarus, demonstrates that this is where Los Angeles is, today. That smart, exciting food isn’t indicated by how hard it is to get a reservation, nor how hard a battle with L.A. sprawl is fought. The vibe was comfortably casual and inexclusive; I took the subway from my Spanish Revival apartment near East Hollywood.

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Nine Noteworthy Upcoming Los Angeles Food & Drink Events

Glimpses of Unmissable Upcoming Events

Let me take this first post in almost one month to deliver some pertinent upcoming event news. It’s now summer and thus, event season, here in sunny Southern California. Now that I’ve somewhat psychologically recovered from a huge picture-data dump from spilling a homemade cocktail all over my non-backed-up laptop, I’m finally ready to move into this crazy part of the year.

So here’s a rebirth of sorts; it’s an intentional start to the summer by tallying up the essential food events continuing into the fall (L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade is in September). One focuses on cocktails. One focuses on tacos. One focuses on ribs. Three are on the same day; thus, yes – I do wish that these were spread out, more. But practically all of them feature world-class chefs. So without further adieu, here’s where you need to be this summer:

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First Taste: Faith & Flower in Downtown Los Angeles Opens Today

Sturgeon with pickled mustard, brussels, polenta

I had the privilege of attending one of the first nights of service at Faith & Flower during a night of Friends & Family. There was a backing up of reservations that occurred at the middle of the night and they ran out of a few things, like Milk Punch and Stuffed Quail, but that’s what a test night like last is meant for. Besides, we got a chance to get really acquainted with a good third of the stellar cocktail menu by Michael Lay.

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Piedmontese Beef the Star at Star King BBQ

Tomahawk Piedmontese Steak

Known as one of the only restaurants in Los Angeles that serves Piedmontese beef, Star King BBQ is an unlikely destination for the genetically advantageous, double-muscled, super lean meat. But the truth is that you’ll never find this Italian breed at any other Korean BBQ, and at less than a handful of other restaurants, such as in a burger at Stefan Richter’s L.A. Farm.

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