With this year being a leap year, I feel it calls for a special outing of sorts on February 29th. After all, it comes but once every four years, so you might as well make the most of it.
Starting tomorrow and every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening only for a limited time (until March 2nd), you can taste a 16-course black truffle dinner at SAAM for the ultimate, seasonal private dining experience at José Andres’ The Bazaar. The masterminds behind the dinner are Think Food Group’s research and development Chef Aitor Lozano, Executive Chef Joshua Whigham and Sous Chef Holly Jivin.
We all know Maker’s Mark. So when I had a chance recently to catch up with Rob Samuels, I jumped at the chance. He’s the 8th generation bourbon maker of the Maker’s Mark family, and just succeeded his father last year in the position. Theirs is the only bourbon distillery designated as a National Historic Landmark. With the amount of history behind the company, there were a few things I had to know…
What’s your favorite cocktail to drink with Maker’s in it? And how do you feel about how Maker’s fits in with the ongoing cocktail scene?
I was just at a nice event at Morton’s, where the bartender made a great Manhattan – [a cocktail] which I really enjoy. More than anything that’s what I love. With the growth of premium spirits, handmade spirits, and that’s the history of my grandparent’s legacy, when they started in 1952. That was the beginning of the modern era of bourbon. To incorporate their craft, what they created with the handmade craft of a unique cocktail is really nice. I love just working with bartenders.
There are ladies who lunch and ladies who have afternoon tea. My experience at Tres inside the SLS Hotel has convinced me that there need to be more of the latter.
If you’re able to fit time in with your girlfriends sometime in between the slim, 2-hour daily window, you’re in for a real treat. Tres has beautiful tea selections to accompany your charming 3-tier pastry stand decorated with tiny titillations for your tongue.
Whether it’s a steamed bun filled with caviar and topped with crÃ¨me fraÃ®che, a peanut butter jelly sandwich made with (not only the best peanut butter I’ve ever had, but also) brioche flatbread or a foie grasÂ sandwich with quince (swappable with a smoked salmon sandwich with coconut), each bite is a treat for the senses.
My favorite was one that my girlfriend Chris and I were instructed to eat right away, lest the delicate cookie melt -Â a beet macaron filled with goat cheese. Its sweet, savory and yet tart goodness simply melted in my mouth.
The tea, of course, is an appropriate centerpiece. I chose a The Green Teaist Blend, a variety that is apparently drunk by much of the kitchen at Tres. It’s of a beautiful color and really elegant – much smoother than other green teas I’ve had. Our server came by often to fill our cups and make sure everything was up to par.
Definitively the most wallet-friendly way to experience the luxe Tres dining room (or SLS Hotel at all), the Phillip Starck-designed ambiance at tea is guaranteed to soothe. Travel and other books, fireplaces and translucent glass stag heads line the well-lit library-themed lounge adorned with light brown hues. The furniture has just-kitschy-enough details (silver AK47 standingÂ lamps, anyone?)Â to pique intrigue; thankfully,Â theyÂ stop just short of gaudiness.
Afternoon tea at Tres is an elegant way to catch up with friends while enjoying some savory and sweet tastes. Sit back on the comfortable couches and enjoyÂ tea insideÂ the lovely space at Tres. As for me, I can’t wait untilÂ myÂ out-of-town girlfriends come to visit LA again; Tres will be where we catch up.
Afternoon tea was hosted.
Something special is coming to 3rd Street in Mid-City West, and it’s simplethings sandwich and pie shop. Third street is one of Mid-City West’s main treasures, and the store is a nice departure from the hustle and bustle of Joan’s on Third and the scene-y brunch hullabaloo of Toast.
At simplethings, you’ll get to choose pies from three different sizes (3″, 5″ & 9″) in delicious varieties like Pumpkin, Key Lime, Banofee (banana + toffee = deliciousness), Bourbon Pecan, Orange Creamsicle, Chocolate Peanut Butter and Blueberry. Feelin’ like whoopie? They got plenty of varieties of whoopie pie for your hollerin’.
Or maybe you were feeling like a meal, first. They have specialty sandwiches like the Prime Rib sandwich, with their prime rib made in-house, and a Veggie Sandwich that tastes as hearty as a meat party. They also serve breakfast on the weekends until 2 PM and have fresh salads available all day.
But my favorite bite of the media preview had to be the Thanksgiving Sandwich, made with cranberry chutney and jalapeno stuffing. They also use chunks instead of slices of the bird, which helps keep the turkey meat tender. It’s seasonal, comprehensive and everything I could want since I’ll be on the plane on Thanksgiving Day. I’m celebrating early!
And if you’re craving pies and sandwiches now, today’s your lucky day since simplethings just opened at 11 AM. Call in your order or stop by – its simple decor is a charming set-up for the drop-in.
Summer is upon us, and there’s no better time to introduce a new dessert menu. Nobu on La Cienega has you covered – with three new options from pastry chef Gabriele Riva. This ever delicate-yet-decadent, deconstructedÂ cheese cake is made with Cheesecake mousse, sable breton, raspberry coulis, and sweet gorgonzolaÂ gelato. Yes – gorgonzola gelato! (Indeed, I am on a gorgonzola ice cream kick andÂ cannot wait to try this one – especially after the phenomenal Pear-Gorgonzola-Walnut ice cream from Tai Kim of Scoops at the Eat My Blog Bake Sale over the weekend.)
Further along the summer theme is Chef Riva’s Equilibrium ($11), whichÂ resembles a freshÂ green salad. The dessert is a mix ofÂ orange segments, light goat cheeseÂ cream, baby arugula, carmelized pecans and sorbet. I’m curious to try this one out; I can’t say that I’ve ever had a salad for dessert, before.
And don’t forget that there’s a fresh summer cocktail menu to lead into or even supplement your desserts…
Nobu in West Hollywood may be the epitome of La Cienega swank, but one good thing about them is that they have happy hour every day. Make no mistake – these aren’t dive bar prices, but this isn’t dive bar food, either. Nobu’s imaginative bites do well to accompany you and titillate your taste buds while you take in (and exude) all the glamour in their lounge area.
Marcus Voglrieder recently updated their cocktail menu to match the warmer temperatures and while washing down your Wagyu Foie Gras Gyozas, Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeno and Ginger Panko Encrusted Scallops. The original Happy Hour bites menu is still available, as is their $40 Omakase option.
During happy hour, the following drinks are $9:
- Matsuhisa Martini 14
Akvinta Vodka, Hokusetsu Sake, Ginger & garnished with Cucumbers
- Spicy Acai Martini 14
Veev Acai Spirit, Acai, Passion Fruit & Serrano Peppers
- Bellini Martini 14
Akvinta Vodka, CrÃ¨me de Peche & White Peach puree
- PiÃ±a Martini 14
Pineapple Vodka, Fresh Pineapple & Fresh Lime
- Lychee & Elderflower Martini 14
Marani Vodka, St. Germain Liquor & Lychee Juice
- Pink Canton 14
Right Gin, Canton Ginger Liqueur, St Germain & Pink Grapefruit juice
- Spring Punch 15
Fresh Raspberries, Stoli Raspberry, Cassis & Champagne
- Cucumber Martini 14
Finlandia Grapefruit, Fresh Cucumber & Fresh Lemon Juice
- Champagne 95 14
Grand Marnier Liquor, CrÃ¨me de Peche, Pineapple Juice & Champagne
- Pisco Sour 14
Pisco, Fresh Lime Juice & Sugar Cane
- Japanese Caipirinha 14
Leblon Cachaca, Fresh Lime, Shiso & Ginger Beer
- Mia Margarita 14
Corralejo Anejo, Passion Fruit, Shichimi & Fresh Lime Juice
- Mango Martini 14
Mango Infused Vodka, Passion Fruit & Fresh Lime Juice
- Watermelon Shiso Martini 14
Krome Vodka, Fresh Watermelon, Lemon & Shiso
The pricing on your other liquid optionsÂ is as follows:
Mixed Well Drinks $7
Specialty Wines by the Glass $6
Hot/Cold Jyunmai $9
Looks like Marcus has been hard at work. Can’t wait to try his new libations!
Happy Hour Daily
5 – 8 PM
Happy Hour Food Menu (unchanged)
Specialty cocktails $9 during Happy Hour
Nobu West Hollywood
903 N. La Cienega Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Perhaps you’re in the neighborhood but not in the mood to commit for the night. You want bites, not entrees – and were thinking something more elegant than bar food: The Nobu bar or lounge might be the perfect place to stop. They’ve recently made some additions to their already-popular menu – like Uni Dry Miso, Wagyu Dango Wasabi Saffron Aioli and Spanish Baby Octopus with Ginger Soy. Not to mention a brand new dessert menu. I will have to try that Suntory Whiskey Iced Cappuccino at least once!
And if you just want the best of what Chef Alex Becker has to offer you, you can always choose the 6-course omakase for $40. The first 3 courses are direct from the sushi bar followed by 2 dishes from the hot kitchen – and then dessert. Choices, choices…some of us are just more decisive than others.
Peep the new tapas menu below forÂ the full range:
NOBU COLD TAPAS
Nobu Style Sashimi Tacos with Yellowfin Tuna, Lobster, or Crab 8
Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeno 9
Whitefish Sashimi with Dried Miso 9
Yellowfin Tuna Tataki with Tosazu or Cilantro Dressing 9
Oysters with Nobu Sauces (Ponzu, Nobu, Maui) 10
Lobster Ceviche Butter Lettuce 12
Nobu New Style Sashimi – Salmon, Whitefish or Scallop 8
Uni Dry Miso 12
Tiradito – Whitefish, Scallop, or Octopus 8
Kanpachi Agua de Chile 12
Baby Artichoke Salad with Crispy Leeks 7
Yellowfin Tuna Sashimi Salad with Matsuhisa Dressing 10
Hearts of Palm Salad 7
NOBU HOT TAPAS
Wagyu and Foie Gras Gyozas 10
Scallop with Jalapeno Salsa 8
Looking for a holiday nightcap?
Marcus, a longtime mixologist in the Nobu family, will take care of exactly that with his holiday cocktail:Â Gingerbread on the Rocks. He starts out with crushed gingerbread cookie, which he mixes into a puree comprised of nutmeg, cinnamon and molasses. Double espresso Van Gogh gives it that rich coffee kick while Canton French ginger liqueur accentuates the root of the cocktail. It is thenÂ topped with more gingerbread crumbs. The result? AÂ nostalgic look back at Christmases or holidays past. Gingerbread never tasted – or slurped – this good.
Available for $12 through December
Christmas Eve (12/24) hours: 6 – 10:15 PM
Christmas (12/25): Closed
Nobu West Hollywood
903 N La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90069
Looking for a November nightcap?
I know what you’re thinking – November puts you in the mood for pumpkin pie & spice, and a sushi restaurant normally isn’t the place you’d go to get that. But for this month, only – Nobu West Hollywood is serving up a specially-made dessert that comes with a shot. Yes, the Japanese have pumpkins too! Peep below for the absolutely delicious dessert I tried last week:
Kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) creme, vanilla caramel, caramelized Kabocha seeds, topped with coconut/caramel ice cream
Finlandia grapefruit vodka, spicy pumpkin puree, condensed milk and garnished with nutmeg.
The coconut/caramel ice cream was so delicious with the Kabocha creme and the crispy carmelized seeds gave it good crunch. But the best part is actually the shot (have a little sip with each bite you take), which finishes off the dessert in a whole other way. Yes, it’s made with grapefruit vodka so there’s a nice, refreshing base while giving you that autumn, savory creaminess you’ve come to expect from pumpkin pie.
Oh, I’m sorry – did you want bites to eat before dessert? Nobu is notorious for some seriously delicious tapas – hot and cold. It’s pretty easy to pop in and sit down in the lounge area so you don’t have to mess with the stress of a reservation. I myself like to play it by ear. 😉
Wagyu and foie gras gyozas (3 pc) $10
Scallop with jalapeÃ±o salsa (2 pc) $8
Miso black cod with butter lettuce (2 pc) $8
Uni tempura $10
Rock shrimp tempura with creamy spicy or butter ponzu sauce $7
“Fish ‘n Chips” Nobu style $8
Lamb anticucho $9
Squid pasta with light garlic sauce $9
Miso marinated grilled Black Tiger shrimp $9
Foie gras and crispy soba (2 pc) $9
Ginger panko encrusted scallops $10
Spicy taro chips with yellowfin tuna or scallop $10
Nobu style sashimi tacos with yellowfin tuna, lobster or crab (2 pc) $9
Yellowtail sashim with jalapeÃ±o $9
Whitefish sashimi with dried miso $9
Oysters with Nobu sauces (Ponzu, Nobu, Maui) $10
Lobster ceviche butter lettuce (2 pc) $12
Nobu new style sashimi – salmon, whitefish or scallop $8
Tiradito – whitefish, scallop or octopus $8
Kanpachi agua de chili $12
One thing’s for certain – I have my eye on the foie gras wagyu gyozas! I think I may just have to stop in – dessert’s just not enough.
Dessert available through November – $14
Hot and cold tapas available in lounge all day
903 N. La Cienega Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069