There’s been a Mediterranean favorite of a few years now called Momed, on Beverly Drive. It was at the opening of this restaurant where I tasted some really solid flatbreads with interesting toppings, exquisite white wines and discovered the wonder that would become an outpost favorite, their Duck Shawarma Wrap.
Fast forward to today, and I’m intrigued that while the first location is close to my office, the second is now close to my home. Lucky me.
We’ve had quite a heat wave lately, but as it cools off (as much as it does here in Los Angeles, anyway), you’re probably going to want to spend one of these lazy days enjoying the view. Sure, there’s not as much urgency to the end of summer because we’re in lovely, if sometimes scorching, Southern California, but there are some great specials around town that are incentive to enjoy the weekend or evening panorama. Discover a new scene with opportunities like Sunday suppers, pop-up vendors and wine happy hours.
When you visit an outpost of such a well-renowned hotel entity as the Ritz-Carlton, its flagship restaurant has plenty to live up to. And with a location and view right on the shore at Half Moon Bay, the food better be a match to its scenery and splendor. Navio lives up to the task thanks to Chef Sean Eastwood’s imaginative dishes with ingredients sourced from nearby markets, but this is the Ritz-Carlton, and they have come to expect a certain clientele that can afford the high-end ticket – the kind of clientele that also subscribe to the mantra of “location, location, location.” With that: Scenery.
Though there’s a new eatery in the neighborhood, its proprietor is anything but a stranger. George Abou-daoud’s newest venture (The Bowery, Rosewood Tavern, Township, The Mercantile) does not actually include a liquor license.
Instead, you’ll find fresh Lebanese made from scratch. Your trusty Mediterranean selections like babaganoush, lebneh yogurt, organic chickpea & quinoa falafel, tabouli, fattoush salad, vegetarian kibbeh, lentil mujadarra, stuffed cheese rolls, fried cauliflower can be found at Urban Garden for an average combo price of $9-$15 a pop. It’s a great addition to Fairfax Village, at once metaphorically and physically across the street from mainstays as historic as Canter’s and iconic as Animal.
Momed, a new Eastern Mediterranean place on the south-of-Wilshire stretch of Beverly Drive, has all the makings to be a neighborhood hotspot. A contemporary interior is where you’ll enjoy an equally modern rendition of Mediterranean cuisine with beautiful wines to match. Specific cuisines that bring inspiration and are highlighted include those from Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt and Morocco.
The place, with its white and just-short-of-sterile decor, is equal parts eatery, wine bar, coffee and tea house. The aim was to create a neutral visual platform on which the vibrant spices and flavors of the cuisine would shine.
Enjoy tasty treats like their Pide topped with Ohanyan spicy sausage and sweet red onions. Or go for a more unusual, adventurous topping likeÂ Chicken â€˜lahmajounâ€™ – minced chicken, pistachios and oven-roasted peaches. It may be wood-fired (the oven is the only thing from the previous tenants they kept) but don’t call it pizza. It’s Turkish flatbread, and it’s delicious with the right topping (the spicy sausage was my favorite).
Want to dial it down a little? Momed offers a great selection of salads and dips with which to eat with your pita. I thought their tzatziki yogurt dip was especially flavorful and done well. The vast varieties of hummus, baba ganoush and other mezze (appetizers) were also palatable in large thanks to the warm, moist pitas served. The long display of spices like cardamom, sumac and cumin is evidence of Momed’s commitment to making everything from scratch with freshness being a priority.
And don’t forget selections that come already prepared with their fantastic pitas, likeÂ one filled with warm duck “shawarma” and fig confitÂ – my personal hand-rolled pita favorite. If you’re looking for a warm side, no look further than the Baleela (chickpeas with toasted pine nuts, preserved lemon and perfectly flash-fried with brown butter) – absolutely divine!
Intelligentsia coffee, traditional Turkish coffee, a rare selection of fine teas including Du Hammam, Moroccan mint, Eveâ€™s rose petal and white pomegranate, as well as six different hot chocolate options from The Chocolate Box are offered. In the back, behind the wood-fired oven, is where you can get your coffee or Turkish Spa tea fix.
Momed is a great place to approach quality Eastern Mediterranean – whether it may have been intimidating before or always been a favorite. And while you’re there, try to pair your meal with one of their wines. You won’t find a French, Italian or Californian bottle of vino but rather a Greek, Israeli, Moroccan or even Lebanese. When I had the opportunity to visit I had the pleasure of tasting a beautiful Israeli ’09 Muscat Rose as well as an Israeli ’07 Golan Heights Chardonnay…delicious. No matter what, you’re in for a unique treat each time you dine at Momed.
All food and wine were hosted.
Momed Market Cafe 233 S. Beverly Drive Beverly Hills, CA 90212-3886 310.270.4444
Now’s this could be your legit excuse to have brunch in a hotel. After all, The W Hollywood is still new and now, they’re serving a weekend brunch. And let’s face it, Delphine‘s space is one-of-a-kind. The subtle back-lighting over bookshelves and aquamarine hues, white flourishes and matching crown moldings are calming; it’s up to the scene to complete the dining room’s character. A Hollywood Hotel, it is.
Never having been to the Culver City location, I had my first experience at FraÃ®cheÂ just a couple months after mine at Riva – the restaurant that was formerly housed where FraÃ®che stands now. It would officially be my second meal with Jason Travi’s protogee Sydney Charles Hunter IIIÂ at the helm. Of course, I didn’t expect to visit the locale so soon after my dinner with other gals at Riva; at the time I also didn’t know I was dining at a place that would soon close. The surprise, however, was welcome – FraÃ®che set out to impress the Food Digger crew and succeed they did. The meal was pretty much mind-blowing.
We started out with Japanese scallops with braised pearl onions, lobster glace, lemon oil and orange. A great little seafood taste in which the citrus flavors were the most potent. Combined with the sweet and sour braised pearl onion, it was the lightest take I’ve ever had on a scallop.