Summer food events are a dime a dozen, but Angeleno Magazine manages to present a consistently solid line-up year after year at their steady Live and Dine LA event held at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows. This year, there was no award presentation, leaving a core group of favorites to sample their eats in the courtyard surrounding the gorgeous, 130-some-year-old, 80-foot tall Moreton Bay Fig Tree.
Attendees sipped Brugal Summer Hounds, Pavan Sangria Cocktails, Macallan 12 Fine Oak, iced Handsome Coffee brew, Solsticio Wines, 123 Organic Tequila margaritas and more as they savored dishes from some of the most popular restaurants in the city:
This summer’s dineLA Restaurant Week commences today and lasts 10 days – over two weekday stretches and one weekend. And since we’ve had a few of these by now, it’s probably time we got smart on maneuvering through the multitude of menus. The trick with dineLA prix fixe is that it may get people through the door, but it may or may not be quite the deal you had in mind. The danger is that you might just be stuck with fewer, albeit recommended, choices for about the same price you’d normally pay.
May I propose lunch? They tend to be better deals than dinner – often true between both offerings of the same restaurant – because there’s more incentive to increase lunch traffic with dinner reservations filling up more readily. So whether you’ve got a 9-5 in the area or are in a certain neighborhood for an audition or client appointment, there’s probably a great dineLA power lunch strategy wherever you end up.
There’s a trace amount of apprehension I try to temper when I find myself dining in oversized spaces. The fear stems from the likelihood of spending time and money dining in a space that is less likely to feel personalized – whether in terms of physical sense of space and/or the quality of service enjoyed during the meal.
Happy Martin Luther King Day! Also, what a joyous second inauguration day. In this case, it also means the very first day of dineLA Restaurant Week. If you haven’t, already, you best be making your reservations right now – or better yet, take advantage of your day off and find your prix fixe destination for lunch today.
I’ve done a bit of perusing the incredibly extensive list of restaurants and their offered menus around the city and came up with a few categories that struck me. With 3-course prix fixe as the standard, here are some standout menu offerings the week starting today, Monday, January 21 – Friday, February 1:
Best Opportunity to Try New Chef at Venue
Not new chefs by any definition (in fact, the tenure of this group is impressive especially by L.A. standards) – just new venues.
I associate my first experiences with potted rillettes, headcheese and pates in L.A. with Remi Lauvand, and he’s now at Le Ka, having just opened last September. Downtown workers can get their feet wet on the $25 lunch menu, but interesting dinner menu items include escargot cavatelli, lamb’s tongue and scallops with lentils and chicken skin – some things that may be too good to pass up.
With Vartan Abgaryan now serving at a venue in possession of one of the most enviable patios in Silver Lake, I can’t help but simply displace the delicious plates he was just serving at Public Kitchen & Bar and imagine them enjoyed in outdoor dim lighting surrounded by foliage. Sure, he’s changed up a few things, but I’ve always been a fan of his octopus.
Just a week ago, IDG’s RivaBella just started serving dinner in its brand-new, 8,000 square foot space, basically the antithesis of Angelini Osteria. You’ll have to settle for lunch if you want to do Restaurant Week here, but if Gino Angelini’s pasta (such as a green pappardelle in ragu) is part of the 3-course offering, that will always do.
The launch of the Pirelli cookbook marked a bunch of firsts for me. Though always pleasant to see Hadley of Grubstreet LA and Eddie of Deep End Dining, it was the first time I had been at a media event with Maxim, European Car and a few other related publications. Cars and food, they do go together, right? Or more specifically, tires and food?
The cookbook details recipes made for the Pirelli team by Chef Fabrizio Tanfani as they travel all over the world in the Pirelli Motorhome. Just as the same drivers, mechanics and technicians drive and calibrate Pirelli’s equipment throughout their travels, the entire team’s meals and diets are just as controlled. The Pirelli cookbook introduction begins, “Preparing a dish and manufacturing a tyre have a lot in common.” So it may be a stretch, but you don’t exactly turn down a private dinner catered by Gino Angelini on a Saturday night at a residence in Bel Air.
Turns out that the place with a superb view (which sits next door to Gordon Ramsay’s own house) belonged to Claus Ettensberger of CEC – Claus Ettensberger Corporation, that is. European car geeks – something I could’ve called myself in a former life – know CEC alongside and as the importer of aftermarket brands like AC Schnitzer, Oettinger, Caractre, Lorinser, etc. We have all wanted rims, turbo kits, pulleys, body kits, sway bars, full on tuning kits from the CEC showroom in Century City. But here I was, invited as food media, and it was a crazy feeling having my former and current worlds colliding. (The Maxims piled a few feet high on the top of my ex-boyfriend-from-college’s toilet tank, not excepted…eeesh.)