BEP Kitchen Vietnamese Brunch Surfaces Every Other Sunday at Franco

Chao Sang

These days, it’s not exactly hard to find a pop-up around town. So when on the look out for one, unique themes and meal times will catch my eye more than others. Good thing Chef Connie Tran is launching her centrally located Sunday Vietnamese brunch pop-up on Melrose.

It’s a refreshing survey of her style of Vietnamese dishes. Because sometimes, you just want to go beyond a bowl of pho, and for multiple courses. And the option to BYOB is always a great way to go.

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Pingtung Brings Pan-Asian Café Favorites to Melrose

Neighborhood Hot Spot

It’s curious that Pingtung is called an “Eat-in Market,” the “market” designation perhaps being a way of propping up the Asian goods that lie on overhead (to me) shelves along the sides of the deep-drawn cafe. Though I have a few guilty snack pleasures such as Yan Yan, Shrimp Chips, that clear, Japanese soda with the swingy little ball, Calpico and the like, I’d make the trek to 99 Ranch, Mitsuwa or Zion if I wanted to go Asian grocery shopping. (I’m trying to cut down on the snacks, much less MSG-laden ones, anyway.)

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Tuesday Comme Ça Burger Nights Start Tomorrow

Comme Ça Burger

With the popularity of burgers in this city still going strong, Comme Ça’s David Myers has decided to capitalize on his burger’s longtime reputation as being one of the best burgers in LA (or more specifically, The Best Brasserie Burger in LA). Tomorrow, the Melrose Avenue restaurant will start a Tuesday Burger Night weekly and expand their bun and patty combos beyond the classic.

Check below for your gourmet burger options:

  • Comme Ca Burger – $18
  • Swiss Melt Burger – $18
    Angus beef, gruyere cheese, mushrooms, butter lettuce, crispy onion rings, French fries, garlic aioli
  • Black and Blue Burger – $18
    Angus beef, bleu cheese, red onion, bacon, French fries, garlic aioli
  • Lamb Merguez Burger – $16
    Lamb sausage, roasted peppers and caramelized onions, arugula on ciabatta bun, French fries, harissa aioli
  • Breakfast Burger – $14
    House made pork sausage, egg sunny side up, white gravy, on an English muffin, lyonnaise potato
  • CCVB – $14 (Comme Ca Veggie Burger)
    Cashew & pine nuts, garbanzo bean, ajuwan-tomato jam on a tofu bun, baby kale and spinach salad

And since these burgers call for a better pairing than a fountain coke, Comme Ça will be offering a list of “Cellar Finds,” or rare wines, at special values to wash your special burger down.

You know where to be tomorrow night (or the Tuesday night after that, and after that). Not a bad place to go after a couple cocktails at The Roger Room (you’ll want to get to The Room earlier than later)!

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Dinner: 5:30 PM – 11 PM

Comme Ça
8479 Melrose Avenue
West Hollywood, CA 90069
323.782.1104

Michael Voltaggio Preempts Ink With Ink Sack

Banh Mi

There’s a sandwich shop that just debuted last week and thus far, it has sold out everyday ahead of its scheduled close time of 5 PM. Dare I suggest, however, that it’s worth getting there right at its 11AM opening?

Menu

While I’ve often complained about the selection of lunch options near my office, I was happy to find on opening day that ink.sack was an easy to drive north – I got there in 7.5 minutes. It’s a school-themed enclave with standing room only (if even that). Ink and Ink Sack sandwiches the dessert landmark, Sweet Lady Jane between them on the designer shopping-laden end of Melrose.

The menu features a manageable dozen items with just more than half being 6-inch sandwiches ($4-6 each) and the rest being crispy salt & vinegar potato chips, compressed fruit seasoned with chili and cookies. On a normal lunch, I can devour about two sandwiches with sides.

Sack lunch, indeed. (With Mexican Fruit)

My favorites were the Jose Andres, or “The Spanish Godfather” (Serrano ham, chorizo, lomo, Manchego) and the Banh Mi (pork cheek, chicharrones, pickled vegetables). I also really liked the Maple Turkey Melt, complete with Camembert, mustarda and arugula. The bread is also solid and while good quality, doesn’t overwhelm the small sandwich.

I’ve yet to try the two chicken varieties (with cold fried chicken and chicken liver mousse, each) but rest assured, for the amount of hype the Voltaggio name garners, the bottom line is that each sandwich is a reasonably priced dosage of delicious goodness. Just remember that they’re so popular, Ink Sack has been forced to institute a 6-sandwich maximum per person.

Don’t forget your fruits. (The veggies are in the sandwich.)

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Wed – Sun
11 AM – 5 PM

ink.sack
8360 Melrose Ave., No. 107
Los Angeles, CA 90069

Scoops Debuts Beer Ice Cream Flavors Today

Potential Flavors for Beer Week

We’re in the middle of LA Beer Week and that means it’s time for Tai Kim’s beer flavored ice cream to debut. Yes – that means that today, perfected versions of flavors like Unibroue Quelquechose With Cherry, Guinness Tiramisu, Chimay Premiere With Apricot, Firestone IPA Union Jack With Mocha, Lost Coast Tangerine Wheat Ale With Hazelnut and The Bruery Autumn Maple With Molasses will be at Scoops on Heliotrope for all beer and ice cream enthusiasts to enjoy. (Though, I’m told that The Bruery’s Autumn Maple may be too hard to acquire to make this flavor, unfortunately.)

Tai Scooping Ice Cream

A couple of weeks ago, a few bloggers and I were invited to preview the making of these special flavors. It was so fun to see Tai at his machine, pouring in his special concoctions and, of course, the beer. Curious for more? Be sure to pop on over to Caroline On Crack’s post on this preview for her great videos of the action. My personal favorite was definitely the Lost Coast Tangerine Wheat Ale With Hazelnut. What can I say? The beer flavorings are very subtle – but I I’m a sucker for hazelnut, and it was one of the most potent flavors and the wheaty tangerine was a nice spin on things.

So head on over to Scoops today, and find out one of the sweetest ways to celebrate LA Beer Week. I’m curious myself to see what flavors actually came out of all that experimentation.

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Beer flavors debut Monday, October 11, 2010

Mon – Sat, 12 – 10 PM
Sun 2 – 6 PM

Scoops
712 N. Heliotrope Drive
Los Angeles, California 90029
323.906.2649

Picks For Fashion’s Night Out Los Angeles

Studio Beauty Mix, Fred Segal Melrose

Tonight’s the night! Exactly a year ago I was in New York during Fashion Week and had an absolute blast during the first ever Fashion’s Night Out. Goodie bags, champagne, cocktails, discounts, free make-overs, cupcakes – you name it. But we’re doing our best here, in LA, so I thought I’d highlight the events going on around town that I would want to hit up.

For the complete listing, just head on over to the Official LA FNO site, which groups the retailers by neighborhood. You can also check out Mondette’s run-down, which expertly and succinctly lists what each store is doing for tonight’s special occasion. The @FNOlosangeles and @FashionWeekLA twitter accounts are also great resources. And while you’re out there on the town, don’t forget to bring your appetite because the food trucks will certainly be out in full force.

I’ll be elsewhere tonight but if I were to make a night out of succumbing my wallet to temptation (and a portal to get me all over town in a jiff), I’d go here:

Custo Barcelona, Beverly Center

  • Free Custo Jelly Bag with $50 purchase. I love Custo’s vibrant designs and mix of fabrics and patterns. Not for gals who are most comfortable with the little black dress.

A Ferris Wheel and surrounding shops, Rodeo Drive

  • I’ve never seen a ferris wheel on Rodeo Drive, so maybe this is just a cheap thrill. Still, Rodeo’s the perfect place to be a tourist in my own city since the price points at many of these shops boutiques shoot my moon. A girl can dream…and canoodle.

Paige Denim on Robertson Blvd.

  • I love Paige Jeans. The store in LA will be giving away a prize every hour on the hour starting 7 PM. If you buy a pair of jeans, you’ll get a Carasoin Spa gift. Refreshments and bites will be served.

The Dandy Warhols play Fred Segal, 8100 Melrose

  • I can’t really argue with putting music in the mix, especially on an occasion celebrating fashion. The Portland alt rock band will be playing a live set. And while you’re there…

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SoBe’s Lean Into Summer Party

This is a last-minute one, folks. But hey – it’s free, and it’s at the über-hip De La Barracuda, an art-music-skate venue located in West Hollywood. You’ll be hard-pressed to find another art gallery that also houses a mini skate park, hair salon and tattoo parlor. Hosting you tomorrow will be LA designer Dr. Romanelli and De La Barracuda founder Miguel de la Barracuda. Sip up your SoBe drinks and soak in all the urban culture via ultra-exclusive art, skate decks, and other apparel from Dr. Romanelli.

The Dublab Soundsystem DJs Ty Segall and Very Be Careful will be spinning tunes for your audial sensibilities. It’s all ages, so there will be SoBe flavors for everyone – including mixed drinks for those over 21, so bring your ID. Food trucks will be on-site, cool activities with prizes and giveaways will happen throughout the day. All you have to do is RSVP via email with your name.

See you there.

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Saturday, July 31, 2010

3 – 9 PM

RSVP: rsvpnightmoves [at] gmail [dot] com

De La Barracuda
7769 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90046
323.852.7179‎

Mondays At Bastide

The Library at Bastide

If you ever thought French restaurants were immune to happy hours, Bastide will prove you wrong – for one day per week. Starting next week on July 26th and on every Monday thereafter from 5 – 7 PM, not only will Bastide host a happy hour, you’ll be able to enjoy the duration of it at a flat rate of $15.

For their pre-dinner social hour (or two), guests will enjoy one of three select wines by the glass, Bastide’s signature Soju Martini or the exclusively created cocktail, which changes weekly. Indulge in passed h’ors d’oeurves like Yellowtail Tartare with Coconut, Basil and Citrus and their Summer Corn Soup with Crispy Pork Nuggets and Curry Oil, which are all included in the price.

Your best bet is probably to get there in the beginning so you can secure your lounging spot and gain the attention of your server. I can get behind Bastide’s recent push to become accessible… And if your wallet can handle it on that particular Monday, what better reason than to secure that reservation for what’s sure to be a spectacular dinner?

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Mondays

5 – 7 PM

Unlimited select wine, Soju Martinis and/or cocktail of the week and passed appetizers for $15

Bastide
8475 Melrose Place
Los Angeles, CA 90069

The Hollywood Bowl To-Go Round-Up

Bienvenido Gustavo! at The Hollywood Bowl (October 1, 2009)

Hollywood Bowl season is upon us! And what better opportunity to combine your love of food with your love of music than to do up the pre-performance picnic the right way? Grab a recommended wine from Jill at Domaine LA to pair with your food and you’re set. Just make sure your show is an official Bowl event and not leased out. If it’s leased out (most likely to include the high profile rock bands not part of the KCRW World Music Series), then you’re confined to the Patina catering sold (or served in your fancy box seats) at the venue. If not, you’re good to go!

Below, you’ll find options all over town. So wherever you hail from, you’re set to make your little haven in Hollywood home for a few hours whether they be Pool, Garden, Terrace, Super or bench seats. And by the way, yes, you can always order from Nancy Silverton’s Mozza2Go – I would just recommend ordering and picking up extra early in the day on Bowl nights given its vicinity and the likelihood everyone may be thinking the same thing as you. Here we go… (Check the map at the bottom for a visual of all mentioned locations.)

Napa Valley Grille – Westwood

When at UCLA, I always knew the Napa Valley Grille as the out-of-range option for us students – the place you got your parents to take you to when they visited from out-of-town. But they’ve recently come out with a boxed lunch program that seems pretty accessible to me, ranging from $10.75 to $13.75 with 3 seasonal options from Executive chef Joseph Gillard and packaged in recyclable materials. You can wax Napa in Hollywood (or elsewhere) as they are themed after different Napa Valley regions:

Russian River Menu: Shrimp Salad Sandwich, with Poached White Shrimp, Fine Herbs, Buttermilk Dressing, and Shaved Cabbage on a Soft Herb Roll; Sweet Pea Salad with Butter Lettuce and Green Goddess Dressing; housemade Napa Potato Chips; and Summer Fruit Trifle ($13.75)

Stag’s Leap Menu: Slow-Roasted Rare Prime Beef Sandwich with Bacon, Red Onion Jam, Creamy Horseradish, and Smoked Cheddar Cheese on Pretzel Bread; Roasted Red Fingerling Potato Salad; housemade Napa Potato Chips; and a Black and White Cookie ($12.75)

St. Helena Menu: Roasted Vegetable Foccaccia with Grilled Zucchini, Eggplant, Portabella Mushroom, White Bean Hummus, Tomato Fondue, and Basil Goat Cheese on Herb Ciabatta Bread; Orzo Pasta Salad with Pepperdew Peppers, Spring Onions, and Golden Balsamic Vinaigrette; housemade Napa Potato Chips; and a “Blondie” Bar ($10.75)

You’ll undoubtedly want dessert (not included) – so choose from delicious selections like Mini Eclairs with Cordillera Dark Chocolate-Brandy Cream, Bourbon Pecan Bars and White Chocolate Coconut Cookies.

Call to place order

Napa Valley Grille
1100 Glendon Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90024
310.824.3322
@nvgwestwood

Petrossian Boutique & Restaurant – Robertson/West Hollywood

Ordering your take-away items from Petrossian means you demand taste, style and class. More power to you. In fact, I just ate there last night and was delightfully reminded how absolutely talented Chef Ben Bailly is. So tote his offerings to The Bowl – your tastebuds will be titillated while your ears are enchanted. Below are some picnicking suggestions straight off their menu:

Caviar Surprise, served in a caviar tin and comprised of layers of Caviar, King Crab, Crème Fraîche and Apple Cider Jelly ($32)

Caviar Dip and Sweet Potato Chips ($14)

Blinis with Caviar, Trout, and Salmon Roe; the Green Bean Salad with Burrata, Marcona almonds and Transmontanus Caviar ($18)

Smoked Salmon Tartine with Goat Cheese, Capers, and Caviar ($16)

Eggxiting Caviar—two 12 gram “eggs” of Transmontanus caviar and spoons in an isothermic case ($49)

Petrossian CaviarCubes ($45)

Foie Gras and Pâté (from $20)

The Petrossian staff will kindly package the items to go in one of their stylish cooler bags or pack your picnic basket for you. Provide your credit card number ahead of time and they’ll deliver your items to you in your car.

Call to order

Petrossian Boutique & Restaurant
321 N. Robertson Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90048
310.271.0576
@petrossianweho

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Red O By Rick Bayless: Modern Mexican With The Ambiance To Match

Sonoma County Lamb - ancho & guajillo chiles, roasted garlic, cumin in Chile Colorado, black beans

If it’s one thing I’ve learned to appreciate during my tenure in California, it would have to be Mexican food. Los Angeles has opened my eyes to probably the best Mexican food in the country – so when I heard Rick Bayless had decided to expand in our city, my interest was piqued. It’s not a restaurant that is Bayless’ so much as one that has consulted him on the menu and brought a lot of the elements of his Chicago restaurants directly to Melrose – but good enough. It has his name on it; I’ll take it – and thank Executive Chef Michael Brown in the meantime.

Dining room with heated floor

When I travel to Chicago, Mexican food and seafood are cuisines I flat-out avoid (celebrity chefs aside). I was curious to experience first-hand his approach to it, however, and I’m happy to say that it didn’t disappoint. In fact, the food was inspiring – a large part made possible with the quality ingredients that I imagine are much more accessible than in Chicago – and the ambiance of the natural, modern space completed an overall enjoyable dinner. Price points were reasonable, save for the “Mexico’s Celebrated Seven” – which, if you should want to get committal at Red O, include an achiote-marinated Gleason Ranch suckling pig, a spicy green chile-marinated Creekstone Natural rib-eye.

Gleason Ranch Pork Belly Sopes - black beans, salsa negra, sesame

But the important thing was that the flavors were as vibrant as Mexican fare should be. Dark sauces, light sauces, pork belly, chicken, duck, steak dishes were all solid – but you might laugh if I told you that the tortillas were good. Don’t, because this ground level ingredient is so often overlooked, and Red O passing the test allowed me to appreciate the actual dishes with a keener eye.

The pork belly sopes were the sweet kind of delicious, with the salsa negra giving it good depth. I could see myself at the bar with a tray of these, washed down with their Topolo Margarita (Sauza Conmemorativo tequila, Gran Torres orange liqueur and limonada) – the only straight-up cocktail on the menu at the time of our visit. The cocktail menu is actually being revised right now, which is a good thing since I thought every other drink was too easily bruised by the ice, having started off with not enough flavor. Or, perhaps, liquor.

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