Meet Jonny Ericsen, Who’s Serving Up Bartender’s Omakase at AMMO

Jonny Ericsen

There was a point in time about a year ago where, upon first meeting other Angelenos and exchanging which neighborhoods we lived in, I stopped getting as many wrinkled noses and, “How’s THAT going for you?’s” in response to my living in Hollywood. But I still get them, to my own bemusement. It’s a revealing comment about the inquisitor, divulging more about their assumptions than I care to disprove. When it comes to drinking and the requisite clubbing, there has sprung up plenty of spots to disprove those stereotypes for a few years now (Library Bar, Harvard & Stone, The Spare Room, Sadie – three of which I can walk to, the other I can Metro to).

Continue reading

Celebrate Cocktailians’ Cross-Medium Creativity at Art Beyond the Glass on Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Lounge at Sadie

We already know that our favorite Los Angeles bartenders are some of the most talented and artistic set in the city. And no, I’m not talking about constraining service employees to that stereotypical archetype of actor-actress, though I know how easy it is for you, the all-knowing Angeleno, to do so.

I’m talking about painting, photography, graffiti art, classical piano, DJing, and…who knows what else? There is plenty more in-store and ready to surprise you. All talents will be on display with no holds barred (even a surprise performance by Aidan Demarest and Marcos Tello) at the inaugural Art Beyond the Glass this upcoming Sunday. It’s an afternoon-to-evening curated by famous cocktail blogger Daniel Djang of Thirsty in LA and superstar mixologist and bar manager Zahra Bates of Providence, and what better place to do it than at Sadie Restaurant with food by Mark Gold? Mark this down as the definitive Los Angeles’s cocktail event, which brings together those sharing a beautiful artistry to showcase their artistry in all other areas.

Anxious to see just whose art, exactly, will be on display? Never fear. And those who will actually be behind the stick (an art in and of itself) are denoted with a (*):

  • Rich Andreoli (*), Mia Sarazen (* & photography) – Areal

    The Parlor at Sadie

  • Matt Biancaniello (*) – Library Bar at The Roosevelt
  • Chris Bostick – The former GM of The Varnish has graciously donated a couple of his graphic prints to display at Art Beyond The Glass.
  • Brian Butler (* & art display) – Sunny Spot, A-Frame
  • Julian Cox (*) – Picca, Playa, Rivera, Short Order, Sotto
  • Edwin Cruz (*) – Tlapazola Grill
  • Allan Katz (DJ), Angela Gomez (*) – Caña
  • Eugene Lee (* & photography), Dan Long and Rosie Ruiz (*) – Big Bar at Alcove
  • Lil’ Twisted Sangrita ft. Cari Hah (*) – Neat, & Jaymee Mandeville (*) – Drago Centro
  • Laura Lindsay (Live Music Performance) – Providence
  • Steve Livigni (DJ), Pablo Moix (Street Art – Live Graffiti), Dave Fernie (DJ), Lindsay Nader (* & Live Performance) – Harvard & Stone, La Descarga, Pour Vous
  • Joshua Lucas (Magic Show) – The Writer’s Room
  • Live Performance by Mad Planet featuring Cooper Gillespie and MonicaOlive (Thirsty Crow), Tony Crouse (Broadway Bar), Greg Gordon (supperclub)
  • Giovanni Martinez, Greg Bryson (*) – Sadie
  • China Morbosa (Artist) – Eveleigh
  • Chris Ojeda, Mia Mastroianni (*) – Soho House
  • Justin Pike (* & Artist) – The Tasting Kitchen
  • Jason Schiffer (*) – 320 Main
  • Naomi Schimek, Diana Gettinger (Both DJing)– The Spare Room
  • Erik Trickett (Live Piano Performance) – Roe Restaurant & Fish Market
  • Kylee Van Dillen, Dan McClary (*) – Westside Tavern
  • Daniel Zacharczuk (*), Ricky Yarnall (Artist) – Bar|Kitchen

The best part is that 100% of the proceeds from ticket sales, artwork sales and T-shirt sales (limited edition silkscreened t-shirts by Seven Grand’s Angus McShane, that is) will be donated to Inner City Arts. It’s a fabulous non-profit organization dedicated to the arts instruction of at-risk youth on LA’s skid row, making their futures ever brighter, artistic and promising. (And that is all possible thanks to sponsors like Infinium Spirits, Karlsson’s Vodka, Sailor Jerry, Becherovka, Campari Gruppo, Java Juice, Atlantico Rum, Akvinta Vodka, St. George Spirits, Heaven Hill Distilleries, Henry Wine Group, 123 Tequila and additional sponsorship and support provided by dineLA and smartwater. So be sure to be on the lookout for those spirits in your favorite cocktails.)

Art, music, cocktails and a great cause: There’s really no reason not to buy your ticket now, is there? I’ll see you on the flip side.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

3 – 8 PM

Presale: $40
At-the-door: $50

Art Beyond the Glass at Sadie Restaurant
1638 N. Las Palmas Avenue
Hollywood, CA 90028
323.467.0200

@thirstyinla
@zxenos
@sadierestaurant
@giomartinez
@futuregreg

It’s Liquid Spring at The Raymond Pasadena’s 1886

Barrel Roll

It’s rare when I get a full picture of an entire cocktail menu, but it’s even rarer when I’m afforded the opportunity to do so and end up consistently impressed with cocktail after cocktail. The bar at 1886’s recent Spring menu makes it the destination in not only Pasadena drinking, but a go-to for some of the best cocktails in all of LA.

Pork Belly, Bourbon Aged Maple, Apple, Celery & Chili

Sure, it flies under the radar because of its location, but 1886 has also benefited as a result. Free of the obligation of appealing to overflow traffic, 1886 has the freedom to focus on seriously fun cocktails, akin to the audience the bar has cultivated since its opening in late-2010.

The Pimm’s #5 Cup (after previous other Pimm’s versions with other spirits) is a perfect cocktail to head off the menu for Spring. The rye, Bitter Lemon Fever Tree Tonic and housemade Pimms made for a perfect balance, rendering a super-refreshing cocktail just as a Pimm’s Cup should be.

The Cinnablossom

If you’re in the mood for their other rye cocktail, go for the 20,000 Leagues – a kind of swizzle made with peach-infused rye, mint, and housemade yellow chartreuse candy (the garnish was especially tasty!). Imagined by Pete Lloyd Jones, this delicious cocktail was the result of a request by the Pasadena Historical Society to honor residents who were aboard the Titanic. The ingredients were inspired by the Titanic’s own dessert menu.

The Water of Life, made by Garrett McKechnie with the Norwegian spirit, Aquavit, homemade Chamomile-Syrup and Nolet’s Gin, is the floral tea-influenced cocktail of the season. It’s also a light yet herbal treat and finished off with a sprig or two of Chamomile.

Bittersweet Farewell

The Cinnablossom by Lacey Murillo comes with a cinnamon garnish that is toasted – or flamed – tableside. Gin, lemon juice and homemade cinnamon bark syrup make for delicious gin-citrus cocktail with a subtle touch of spice.

One of the best beer cocktails I’ve had in awhile also happened to be the prettiest, which is quite lovely since it’s a testament to how far they’ve evolved. The Wild Orchid is a shaken cocktail made with Torontel Pisco, Vergano Bianco Vermouth, Grand Marnier and Hefeweissen with the orchid garnish. The effervescence of the beer worked well with the depth of the Pisco, vermouth and Grand Marnier for a really wonderful combination of flavors and textures.

The other flaming cocktail on the menu is the Bittersweet Farewell in honor of former 1886 barman, Danny Cymbal’s. A flaming lemon peel floats as an oasis in a shaken concoction of London Dry Gin, homemade Passion Fruit Syrup, lemon juice and Campari. It’s a beautiful gin drink with just the right amount of tart.

Rum Whistle

The all-out favorite of the night had to be the Rum Whistle, which is basically 1886’s new bottled special and bottled each and every night for a fixed amount to be sold at the bar the next day. It’s not only bottled, but it also has the widest range of appeal; boozers and non-boozers alike will love it. The green apple-celery soda base is spiked with aged white rum and finished off with fresh lime juice before being carbonated and bottled and the results are simply tasty. You may order more than one – not only because you can but also because you love it.

The Vintage Caprice Flight features three vintages of classic Beefeater Gin Barrel-Aged Caprice – made with Beefeater Gin, dry vermouth, Benedictine and orange bitters and then aged at 4-months, 8-months and 12-months. I was surprised to find that I actually favored the 8 month vintage over the 12. Older isn’t necessarily better and sometimes, your gin is just done aging.

Vintage Caprice Flight

The Barrel Roll (title picture) doesn’t just fall under the years-long trend of barrel aged cocktails, it’s also a super tasty rendition of aged Bols Genever, Carpano Antica, Green Chartreuse and a Campari chip by pastry chef Jeff Haines (who also did the Yellow Chartreuse candy). It just so happened to be one of my favorites. The chip was the slight sweet touch to the Bols cocktail and made for a strong yet nuanced cocktail.

Of course, you’ll need a few bar bites to line your stomach – but the selection at 1886 does more than that. They are daring yet successfully delicious plates, indeed. The musts: Shrimp toast and Lamb necks.

So get on over to 1886 right away and drink up. You’ll learn why it’s one of the best kept secrets in Pasadena.

All food and cocktails were hosted. Special thanks to Brady Weise.

Tue – Sun

5 PM

Parlor Hour: Tue – Fri

5 PM – 7 PM

Closed Mondays

1886 at The Raymond
1250 S. Fair Oaks Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91105
626.441.3136

Mixology101 Brings World Class Cocktails To The Farmer’s Market

We’re all familiar with our favorite stands and spots at the Farmer’s Market at 3rd and Fairfax, a Los Angeles landmark that dates back to 1934. As we fast-forward and look at the space beginning the 21st century, much hasn’t changed in awhile before the Dupars remodel. Short Order and Short Cake just recently became the stalwart newcomers for the last couple months (and with good reason).

Mixology101 360° Bar

Now, there’s a new kid on the block, and her vibe is a luxe, open-air space accentuated by sleek and simple design lines and a centerpiece 360-degree bar. Staged across from Zara and Cafe Marmalade, the bar has potential to play host to a vibrant, pulsing energy. The only thing that would make the scenery prime is if the bar were maybe just one level up (didn’t you know – The Grove parking lot has some of the best sights of the city).

But all of this barely matters, because you still get the view of the original clock tower and more importantly, cocktails by Salvatore Calabrese and helmed by his conductor, local expert barsmith Joe Brooke.

Breakfast Martini

In short, yes – go for the House Martini. It’s one of the best martinis you’ll ever have. It’s so cold while achieving the perfect dilution (see above video) and made perfect in no small part due to the frozen glass and spirits.

Another gin go-to would be the Breakfast Martini, made with Bombay Sapphire, Cointreau, fresh lemon juice and orange marmalade – a signature drink from 1997 that may immortalize Salvatore in the cocktail world. It’s just jammy enough thanks to the marmalade (an ingredient inspired by Salvatore’s wife) but not not too sweet. And of course, you’ll have to order your own to see if it actually tastes like breakfast.

Spice lovers won’t be disappointed by the still-elegant Spicy Fifty, made with Stolichnaya Vanilla vodka, elderflower cordial, fresh lime juice, honey syrup and chili pepper.

Farmers Martini

But the true signature cocktail of the menu would have to be The Farmer’s Martini, made with frozen Stoli Elit, blue curacao and Salvatore’s bitters & champagne. I can’t say I’ve ever had much of a blue cocktail since I’ve left undergrad – but while it’s not my favorite, this one is legit and, together with the Spicy Fifty, has me perhaps reconsidering my prejudices against vodka…maybe.

And for those who are secretly or not-so-secretly craving a girly drink will have to pony up (personally or not) for the $18 Hollywood Bubbles, a Champagne cocktail made with Benedictine, fresh raspberry puree and pomegranate juice. Though I might be quick to judge on looks alone, Bubbles actually packs quite the berry punch.

Mixology101 also serves bar food, though it decidedly carries less emphasis as it all fits onto the last page of the menu – after Salvatore’s bio. But really – if you were aiming to really eat, you’d go across the way to Planet Dailies.

Exterior patio

It’s an exciting time to be at The Original Farmer’s Market. People don’t have to flock there purely on account of old favorites anymore and now have reason to make new ones.

Though their location is right by the Farmer’s Market, you won’t be finding a lot of housemade syrups, as that’s a variable to contend with from batch to batch. Mixology101 focuses on using modern (not to be confused with gastronomic) methods to make the classics. But it’s clear that Joe Brooke seems happy to be exactly where he’s at, under the tutelege of a world-renowned mixologist and continually learning.

With Short Order around the corner and offering quite a different style and selection of cocktails, it becomes clear: Cocktails of all kinds will be a new pull to the Original Farmer’s Market.

We’ll just have to deal with the early call times.

Now open

Mon – Thur

5 – 10 PM

Fri – Sat

5 – 11 PM

Mixology101 at Planet Dailies
6333 W. 3rd St., Ste. O20
Los Angeles, CA 90036

M.B. Post Delivers As The Star of South Bay

Vietnamese Caramel Pork Jowl, Green Papaya Salad, Lime

There’s something really exciting going on over in Manhattan Beach. The cooking is so titillating I’d gladly make the trek to meet a Westside or South Bay friend at M.B. Post, Chef David LeFevre’s exciting and as-yet-still-new venture. It is this that he left Downtown L.A.’s seafood heavyweight, Water Grill, for and it’s a beautiful thing to see his unbridled passion coming out of the kitchen. Call M.B. Post a gastropub, if you will (everyone is doing it), but I can’t remember the last time the small plates in one spot hit it so consistently out of the park. They were playful, but also well-executed.

Cheese, Meats & Accompaniments

Each tasty bread selection is accompanied by a sauce of sorts, with maple butter on the side of their crumbly Bacon Cheddar Buttermilk biscuits, a delicious horseradish mustard on the side of the Fleur de Sel Pretzel and a harissa yogurt sauce dippable by naan. And if that doesn’t properly start things, don’t forget the cheese and cured meat selection – and all the accompaniments.

The cocktail menu by Sal Roses, Jerry Garbus, Gregg Wescott, and Beau du Bois is a composition of riffs on old favorites. I was more than pleased with my Manhattan Avenue, made with Sazerac Rye and finished off with bacon dust. The Landing Strip is their Aviation with a Creme de Violet twist. The real stand-out, though, is the Day of the Dead, made with Fortaleza Silver, amaretto, lemon and sage. It’s a refreshing yet boozefully delightful Spanish Fly – and Fortaleza is one of my favorite tequilas. If you’re feeling like an aperitif, go with their off-menu Virgil’s Ascent, a not-so-ordinary Negroni made with Hendricks, Aperol, pomegranate seeds and orange clove nectar. I love that all the cocktails were personalized to M.B. Post with the use natural fruits while still paying proper homage to the classics by being great stand-alone cocktails.

Yellow Cauliflower wtih Sultanas, Mint, Caper Berries

All of the vegetable dishes that we ordered were exceptional, from the Blistering Green Beans with Thai basil, chili sauce and crispy pork to the Yellow Cauliflower with sultanas, mint and caper berries. They also weren’t just roasted iron dishes brought out with different vegetables, but they were all individually constructed dishes, very thoughtfully seasoned with unique flavorings. Enjoy them before or with your seafood and/or meat dishes, because while I have yet to try their fish and shrimp plates, I can vouch that the Steamed Green Curry Mussels are pretty much as solid as others I’ve had elsewhere. While it’s probably more betraying of which piece of the food pie I’m partial to, I thought the meat dishes were the real highlights.

The Elvis: Peanut Butter Mousse, Caramelized Banana, Chocolate Pudding, Bacon Brittle

Such as the Vietnamese Caramelized Pork Jowl atop a green papaya salad. So tender and flavorful, this pork part is a must-order. The Meyers Farm “Never Ever” Skirt Steak is seasoned with a delicious red chimichurri sauce and comes accompanied by grilled broccolini. It’s got that perfect pink center and it’s as unordinary a skirt steak as I’ve had in recent memory. But don’t forget the Moroccan BBQ Lamb Belly with creamy semolina and cardamom carrots. And if you’re lucky enough to visit while Chef LeFevre still has the Albondigas on the menu, don’t forget those, either. (Bring your people.) It comes glazed with maple miso on top of garnet yam puree – perfectly delicious compliments - and the shishito peppers that top the meatballs make for a slightly spicy garnish.

Day of the Dead

As far as dessert, there are just enough offerings to satisfy that sweet tooth (admittedly, mine borders on savory), with my personal favorite, the Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake, coming in a sealed jar. But if you love all desserts Elvis, you’re sure to order this “wonderful mess” of peanut butter mousse, carmelized banana, chocolate pudding and bacon brittle. It’s the closest thing to that heavenly Wolvesmouth dessert since I’ve been.

M.B. Post wins as my favorite gastropub in South Bay – and dare I say, even all of L.A. Though I’m loath to let trends (yes, communal dining exists here too) filter through my radar, there’s no mistake that I immensely enjoyed practically everything Chef David LeFevre sent out of the kitchen. Then again, is it still a gastropub if there are only two draught beers on tap? To me, it’s not a weakness. It’s indicative of focus. So the end-all is that we can throw away the labels. I have no qualms about calling M.B. Post simply a great place that serves great small plates.

All food and cocktails were hosted.

Sun – Thur

5 – 10 PM

Fri – Sat

5 – 11 PM

M.B. Post
1142 Manhattan Ave.
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
310.545.5405

@chefdlefevre

Nobu Re-Introduces Daily Happy Hour With Summer Cocktails

Lounge Fixtures at Nobu West Hollywood

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, Crème de Peche & White Peach puree
  • Piña 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, Crème 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 options is as follows:

Martinis $9
Sapporo $4
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
310.657.5711

Wild For Rosangel Tequila

Flor de Maria by The Liquid Muse (recipe)

It was an intimate event on the second floor of Malo Restaurant on Sunset Blvd. in Silver Lake where Gran Centenario Rosangel tequila would be launched. The lady mixologists started off the night on a positive start – showing everyone they have just as much as the guys (if not more) – of what it takes to mix the best drinks in Los Angeles. My guests and I were the lucky ones to get the first drinks specially made for the night by mixologist Natalie Bovis-Nelsen a.k.a. The Liquid Muse. It was called the Flor de Maria and was delicious, potent and a perfect note to start off the night.

Once the ladies were done with their showcase, the competing mixologists took their individual stations positioned throughout the bar. Names of their concoctions included Angel’s Apiary (Mark Blackhart) and the Ramos Rose (Jason Bran).

Continue reading