Open Sesame: Legit Lebanese on Beverly (Plus Giveaway)

Sultan’s Platter

In the old space that once housed Hatfield’s, then Eva Restaurant, is now an outpost of a successful Belmont Shores import. The new location of the Lebanese chainlet called Open Sesame is admirably strategic; it’s well north of other Mediterranean haunts on Pico but south of those in The Valley. It adds to the diversity of dining options on Beverly Boulevard, and from my experience a couple weeks ago, a viable choice for flavorful food which also doubles as healthful. Those seeking vegetarian, vegan or Halal compliant will be happy that this popped up in the neighborhood.

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Chef Bruce Kalman Takes Breakfast at The Churchill To New Heights

Breakfast or Brunch is Served

Brunch remains the fruition of the ultimate Southern Californian snub – a meal Angeleno dilettantes could fit into their schedules almost any day of the year if they wanted to, and on an outdoor patio, at that. While I once considered the tweener meal synonymous with a certain 3rd Street spot known as much for their celebrity sightings as for their fruit cup and egg dishes, brunch has become a fact of life. There is now no shortage of restaurants – most of whom don’t even offer lunch service on the weekdays –  who open early on the weekends for brunch. It’s become a ritual, a pastime that has become justification for that Friday or Saturday night hangover. With that comes competition and an audience that is no longer enamored with the existence of eggs on the menu.

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Five Cocktail Favorites by Mia Sarazen, Who’s Shaking & Stirring it up at The Churchill

Mia Sarazen

I think a gal can be considered lucky when she has top-notch bartenders within walking distance from her separately located home and work. I’ve just reached those ranks thanks to Mia’s new position at The Churchill inside The Orlando Hotel. Now, I’ve realized it can be a dangerous thing when, after a hard day at the office, she’s a mere 3 blocks away and on my way home. And this bar is also inside a hotel, so even when I get off early every Monday through Friday, it’s open!

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Celebrating Bastille Day in L.A. This Weekend

The Patio at Cliff’s Edge

As foodists, we all have a little Francophile in us. Why not celebrate France’s Le Fête Nationale some place around town? Whether it’s to enjoy a couple Kir Royales outdoors under the canopy of the Farmer’s Market, playing Pétanque after having slurped a dozen oysters downtown, a dinner in an intimate French Bistro or out on a gorgeous patio, Bastille Day is a perfect excuse to get out and live it up. (As if you really needed a reason to eat French food, right?)

Check these special celebrations in and around town. Most are on Saturday, but Church & State has delayed their celebration til Sunday just for belated revelers:

Saturday, July 14th, 2012

Monsieur Marcel – Mid-City West, Santa Monica (Open 9 AM – 9 PM)

The little restaurant stand inside The Original Farmer’s Market is now also on Santa Monica’s 3rd Street Promenade and ready to serve up cocktails for the holiday. Monsieur Marcel will be serving Kir Royales for $7.99 and Kir Normales for $6.99 each on the holiday. After all, you’ll have every reason to toast Felix Kira, a member of the French resistance, the French Parliament and eventual mayor of Dijon in Burgundy.

Prefer to celebrate with some eats? Start off with a French Onion Soup ($6.75) accompanied by a Frisée Salad with Feta Cheese and Hazelnuts ­($13.75). Other options you’ll want to consider:

Niçoise Salad with Seared Ahi Tuna, Egg, and Lemon ($19.50)
Ham on Fleur de Sel Baguette with Cornichons and Radish ($15.95)
Moules Frites with Steamed Mussels and Fries ($19.25)
Steak Frites, a classic Hanger Steak with Fries ($19.50)
Duck Confit with Lentils and Kale ($27)

Crème Brûlée ($5)
Affogato ($4)
Macarons, Fruit Tarts ($5-6)

Papilles – Hollywood

At Santos Uy and Tim Carey’s no-nonsense, curiously ambitious wine bistro, they’ll be celebrating Bastille Day with a three-course prix fixe menu for a bargain $30. Enjoy $12 carafes of natural French wines to further  Two seatings (6-6:30 & 8-9 PM) are available, as is this menu:

  1. French Onion Soup or Frisée Salad with French Radishes
  2. Moules Frites or Steak Frites
  3. Camembert or Chocolate Mousse

And that shall take care of the all essentials – and then some. Be sure to call to reserve your seating.

Cliff’s Edge – Silver Lake

Celebrate the storming of Bastille with a menu by Ben Bailly on Saturday night while enjoying the patio at Cliff’s Edge – hands-down one of the most beautiful settings in LA. Choose from the following options for a 3-course delight ($45 per person):

  1. Frisee aux Lardons
    poached egg, crispy bacon, bleu cheese, croutons
    or
    Escargot au Gratin
    braised snails, garlic, parsley, mushrooms, tomatoes
  2. Saumon a L’Orseille
    Atlantic salmon, puy lentils salad, sorrel butter
    or
    Onglet a L’Echalote
    Prime hangar steak, shallots sauce, roasted fingerling
  3. Apricot Tart, Vanilla Creme Brulee or Glacee & Sorbet

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Church & State – Downtown LA

11 AM – 3 PM

If you feel like extending your celebrating to daytime Sunday, Downtown LA’s stalwart French bistro, Church & State has got something just your speed.

Chef Jeremy Berlin will be offering assorted French sandwiches. Maître Écailler Christophe Happillon, will be on hand with his famous raw bar serving up not only oysters (!!!), but clams, crab, shrimp and accompaniments for you to enjoy throughout the day.

Sarah Clarke, Church & State’s Sommelier and Beverage Director has a  special menu with a selection of French wines, artisan beers and new summer cocktails for guests to enjoy all afternoon as well. And when in Downtown LA, do as the French do, and play a little Pétanque. It’ll be a perfect way to casually celebrate, as there are “no reservations – just fun.”

Happy Bastille Day, wherever you’ll be! See you around town.

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Monsieur Marcel
The Original Farmer’s Market
6333 W 3rd St #150
Los Angeles, CA
323.939.7792

1260 3rd Street Promenade
Santa Monica, CA
310.587.1166

Papilles
6221 Franklin Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90028
323.871.2026

Cliff’s Edge
3626 Sunset Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90028
323.666.6116

Church and State Bistro
1850 Industrial Street
Los Angeles, CA 90021
213.405.1434

Legit Ramen “Pops” at Ramen Bull, Breadbar

Spicy Ramen (with ground beef)

Breadbar, with its regular offerings being that of breakfast through lunch, is the site of many a nighttime pop-up. The latest one is curated by a regular of the space, Chef Noriyuki Sugie of Ironnori Concepts. It’s a casual stint to last through September, but as my recent dining experience has shown, Chef Sugie can sure serve up a solid bowl of ramen.

Corned Beef Side

I accompanied Fiona; together, we were able to try the Oxtail and Spicy varieties. Though the gastronomic foam layer on top of the broth intially threw me off (how good can fancy-looking ramen taste?), when I took a slurp I was pleasantly surprised by both the flavor of my Spicy broth as well as the freshness and bite of the noodles.

Fiona’s Oxtail bowl of ramen differed more than just in toppings; her noodles were even a bit different (round and maybe a tiny bit coarser, whereas mine had four sides and were more tender) and the broth had a decidedly deeper, richer taste. My broth was a bit more “mapo,” with tinges of bean curd in the broth. Both were delicious, but I loved mine for the familiarity.

Beef Tongue Side

You can also get the types and toppings of ramen as sides on a plate. The corned beef “is what it is,” so if you’re a bit more adventurous I’d recommend the tongue. The hibiscus and pineapple sodas, a substantial add-on at $4, are housemade and delicious but also a refreshing off-set to the salty ramen.

So stop on by Breadbar on 3rd Street (not to be confused with the other locations) one of these summer nights. Personally, it’s a closer alternative than the trek to my trusty Santouka, and since it’s temporary, it also carries a bit of welcome novelty.

(Vegetarian? They’ve got you covered, too, with the appropriate modifications and omissions. And apologies for that tongue photo in this post.)

All food and drink were hosted.

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Mon – Sat until 9/30/11

5 – 10 PM

Ramen Bull at Breadbar
8718 W. Third Street
Los Angeles
310.205.0124

Thanksgiving In a Sandwich at simplethings

Thanksgiving Sandwich

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.

3" Bourbon Pecan Cutie Pie ($2.50)

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.

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Open today (Monday, November 22, 2010) at 11 AM

Menu

simplethings
8310 W. 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90048
323-592-3390

Website

Eva Restaurant Hosts Weiser Family Farms Dinner To Benefit Share Our Strength: September 15, 2010

Eva Restaurant (not on menu for event)

Mark Gold is at it, again. This time, Eva will be hosting a special one-night engagement with Share Our Strength to showcase produce from Weiser Family Farms. Also included in the 4-course, prix fixe menu will be wine pairings by Robert Oatley and special, eco-friendly cocktails with Veev acai spirit.

I can’t think of a better way to enjoy great, locally sourced food with wine – while fighting childhood hunger all at the same time.

Make your reservation soon. If you’ve ever been to Eva (and tried Mark Gold’s food) you’ll know that space is very limited.

Here’s the menu:

Potato with clam
Cod with caponata
Chicken with charred onion
Chocolate with chocolate

I’ll see you there!

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

4 courses with wine pairings + Veev cocktails
Call to reserve, space is limited

$65

Eva Restaurant
7458 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90036
323.634.0700

The 2nd Annual Taste of Farmer’s Market

Photo credit to da90027 on Flickr

This post is a quickie because this event will be sure to sell out soon – the event is tomorrow. Last year marked the celebration of 75 years of the Farmer’s Market at the corner of 3rd and Fairfax – and it proved so successful that they’ve decided to bring it back. Purchase your advance, $50, $30 or $25 ticket for tomorrow night and enjoy a little bit of everything the historic marketplace has to offer.

VIP will get you Express event entrance, unlimited food sampling at all participating merchants, 4 beer/wine tickets, Farmers Market tote bag, Farmers Market coupon book, a complimentary all-day parking pass for use during a future visit and even a signed copy of L.A.’s Original Farmers Market History Book or L.A.’s Original Farmers Market Cookbook - a $22.95 value by itself.

The $30 price point will still let you have unlimited tastes and the coupon book but allot 2 beer/wine tickets and the $25 price point will give you access to the food along with the same coupon book. Seems to me the additional $5 is a steal for two drinks to wash your food down with – but VIP will enjoy the most perks by far.

So don’t delay – get your ticket. And enjoy Loteria!, Mr. Marcel Pain du Fromage, Moishes, Tusquellas Fish & Oyster Bar, Du-Par’s, Banana Leaf, The Gumbo Pot and more. Personally, this will be a farewell to the neighborhood since I’m moving east in about a month – but the Farmer’s Market at 3rd and Fairfax will always be a huge part of my Mid-City West experience!! Don’t miss it.

P.S. – Nancy Silverton and Amy Pressman will be previewing a burger from their upcoming Short Order stand to open at The Farmer’s Market in 2011. Trust me – that’s reason enough!

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

5 – 9 PM

Tickets and website

Taste of Farmer’s Market
6333 W. 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Highlights of a Night at Morels

I’ve a confession. At first migration to the Mid-Town neighborhood in which I still reside, I had frequented The Grove – weekly. It was the anti-mall mall before I realized that that could mean Disney. That was for shopping, however – all my dining excursions always took place in the nearby, historic Farmer’s Market. So thanks to the PR company representing Morels, the French Bistro with the best people-watching in the entire mall (even with Christmas lights year-round to provide adequate lighting), I can now say I’ve dined at The Grove.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect – but I can say there were pleasant surprises. The drinks were unfortunately not one of them, as they were mostly cocktails that were sweet enough to be what I might describe as “stereotypically girly” and not exactly complex. What I did enjoy was the cheese and charcuterie plate, which included Petite basque (sheep), Parrano (cow) & Nancy’s Hudson Valley Camembert (sheep), Prosciutto di Parma, garlic sausage, Rosette de Lyon salami and Dry mountain sausage. It was a nice combination of meats and cheeses, with the honey on the side being a nice touch as were the pickled radishes and French cornichon (get it – French bistro?).

Another highlight was the Caesar salad – which comes with a custom-made dressing. The server will season your dressing to taste right alongside your place setting. I thought my Caesar was delicious, however, even without modification. The fact that there was the option to add more sour cream, garlic or anchovy – for example – made for an interesting twist on what would normally be another mindless pre-entree salad.

Unfortunately, the main course of night – which was a beef tasting of sorts with Filet, New York and Rib Eye cuts – was rather unremarkable. The slices arrived with a steak sauce and were cooked with mostly salt; however, additional salt options were available on the table for the seasoning. Unfortunately, no exotic salts can rectify ordinary steak. Brussel sprouts, bacon bits, carrots, potatoes and a soft root vegetable were sauteed and brought out on a hot pan to eat with the steak and were probably the most interesting feature of the entree. Short of my waving the foodie flag of buzz word “bacon” too many times in this post, it reminded me of my favorite dish at The Village Idiot – who serves up rather large brussel sprouts with generous bacon cubes and does the dish quite well, though meant to stand on its own instead of sprucing up plain, salted steak slices.

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