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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Judging a Happy Hour Beyond Its Cover: Hollywood’s Lexington Social House

Mette's Fried Chicken Tenders

There’s something about being a Hollywood resident that lends itself to glossing over most of the food and drink choices in my neighborhood. Believe you me, I love my area and all the conveniences it affords – but it’s because they all outweigh the inconveniences.

The Lexington | Earl grey-infused Woodford Reserve Bourbon, honey, lemon juice, orange bitters

There are inconveniences like the annoyances of walking past the Thursday through Saturday night crowd, as well as the douche spots themselves that I’d avoid any day of the week. Hemingway’s is an example of a place that I’d go and see Alex Straus make cocktails earlier in the evening but avoid at all costs at peak times. But now, I can add Lexington Social House to that secret non-peak-time list.

I was invited to take a peak at their Social Hour, their thematically dubbed happy hour. And it’s not shabby in the least. With the launch of their new menu, it’s a great opportunity to try new items during LSH Lite, which goes on at the bar Tuesday through Friday from 5:30 until 8 PM and all day Sunday. Their specialty cocktails as well as their entire menu is half-off during this time! Since I love sitting at the bar, anyway, I’ll gladly take my supper club to the stools.

Chipotle Pork Belly Biscuits

A sure menu bet is Mette Williams’ fried chicken tenders, an unordinarily juicy-crispy preparation. Looking for that hearty bite that doesn’t hold back? The Chipotle pork belly biscuits with aged Gouda and fried egg will be sure to satisfy you and then some.

As for the cocktails, designed by Kyle Ackley, I must applaud this Hollywood-and-Vine institution for putting the brakes on the vodka in their drink menu – just beware that there are pop rocks in one of them. My favorite cocktail, however, was the Spanish Harlem, made with tanteo cocoa infused tequila, maraschino liqueur, agave nectar and chocolate-chili bitters. It was a clean, strong yet flavorful drink and I ended up having another.

Lexington Social House is an unlikely place to find a Spago and CUT alum like Mette Williams, but alas – there she is, surprising everyone with her well-executed, comfort-driven menu. Social Hour is just the time to try it all out and wash it down at half-off. And that beats amateur hour any day. 

All food and cocktails were hosted.

1/2-Off Happy Hour:

Tue – Fri: 5:30 – 8 PM
Sunday: All night

Lexington Social House‎
1718 Vine Street
Hollywood, CA 90027
323.461.1700

Baco Mercat Steps Up the Savory

Szechuan Chicken Ribs

I made my overdue visit to Bäco Mercat one cold-for-LA, weekday evening. I stationed at the full bar, in full view of the construction of both Bäzeracs I ordered for the duration of my meal. The red tinge of the storefront neon sign brought a welcome warmth, and it proved quite the perfect setting in which to enjoy each of the small plates that gradually came out.

Caesar Brussel Sprouts

They are all essentially small plates with big flavor. It sounds so simple, but only Josef Centeno can effectively achieve that. You could also oversimplify the Bäco as a sandwich, but that would be the same atrocity as calling its flatbread a mere pita.

I haven’t had any of the other Bäcos (an offense to be corrected over many future return visits), but the beef tongue schnitzel variety was absolutely divine. The combination of breaded beef tongue and spicy harissa with smoked aioli were like bites of heaven. And there are no words for that secret flatbread, in which Centeno uses “different fats and lebni” – you have to try it on your own. It’s more moist and dense than typical flatbreads while affording a fluffy consistency. I wanted to finish the whole thing right then and there. (Alas, I had ordered too much food.) If I had to move downtown for my daytime vocation, the lunchtime Bäco alone would be a huge consolation.

Beef Tongue Schnitzel Bäco

The thinly sliced pork headcheese with capers was a great way to start off. I also really enjoyed the brussel sprouts, which were made into a warm, chopped caesar salad. The Szechuan chicken “ribs” were to die for. They had a ton of spicy BBQ flavor and were super tender – and big.

The “Cocas,” or crispy, poofy flatbreads, are have a scrumptious texture further spiced up with tasty toppings – most pizzas will seem far and away plain boring in comparison once you’ve tried. Mine had a just-spicy-enough salsa verde topping with anchovies – a perfect savory treat.

There are many more dishes that I can’t wait to try at dinnertime. So between all those and all the different Bäcos I have yet to try, I definitely have my work cut out for me. The full bar is yet further  enticement. It’s clear that Josef Centeno is loving having a place to truly call his own – and we, the diners, are all the better for it.

Lunch: Mon – Satur
11:30 AM – 2:30 PM

Dinner: Mon – Sat
6 PM – 11 PM

Sat mornings ”hair of the dog”
9 AM – 11:30 AM

Closed Sunday

Baco Mercat
408 S. Main Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013
213.687.8808