As the Los Angeles “chill” continues, it’s only natural to crave the comforting foods in which we take refuge. Luckily, there’s Bar Pinxto, a tapas place that has reinvigorated the Spanish traditions behind the term that was once disgracefully applied to all “small plates.” The place has the most mom and pop feel of anywhere in the tourist hub of Santa Monica, and the reasonable price points, accommodating happy hour specials and prix fixe menu options clinch its status as a neighborhood favorite.
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.
It’d be a glaring omission to recall best Los Angeles meals of 2012 on Eater LA and not give my mentions a proper write-up, and so here is an account of my experience at the bespoke Salon at Heirloom LA.
I say bespoke because the act of stumbling into Heirloom was shockingly not via their famously flavor-packed, personal sized lasagna cupcakes found at farmer’s markets around town, but instead by luck of an invitation to a private dinner showcasing Bridlewood Wines in that said tasting room. Fortunately, they’ll be opening it up to the public a few days during the week, and I imagine the Eagle Rock community will meet that unveiling with elation. So bring on 2013, then.
Something special is coming up on Sunday – it’s so special it’s “to die for,” and luckily there are a few tickets left, so grab them quick. Yet again, there’s something brewing down in Long Beach – but for this 11th installment of Dionicess, you can forget it being holiday themed, and instead Walking Dead themed. Zombie themed. What-have-you.
To match, the series has been temporarily renamed as “Die”-nisis and will be serving food to accommodate their vision, including food and beer inspired by corpses, skeletons, brains and all of the above. Though they say it’s a 5-course dinner, if you’re familiar at all with their events, you know there will be some extras.
There’s enjoying wine, and there’s enjoying wine with food. And maybe you live or are near Melrose just for the moment, but you probably were looking for something a little less bro-tastic. While pairings have gotten increasingly more attention as of late, it’s hard to come by an expert without the expectation of spending an exorbitant amount as a result of access to that expertise. Thankfully, Colonial Wine Bar brings that luxury to Melrose diners at neighborhood prices.
Chef de Cuisine Ryan Otey, who has all of Patina, Tasting Kitchen and Villetta on his resume, is serving up some rustic dishes in the intimate wine bar. The bar itself lines the wall as your eye is caught by the glass-encased wine cellar in the back. The overall feel of the crown-molding-adorned place is casual with plenty of play available towards getting as serious about the food and wine as needed.
You’ll find familiar dishes such as deviled eggs, bone marrow, flatbreads, burrata and heirloom tomatoes on the menu, but not-to-miss is their lamb – whether as meatballs or a burger. Their mushrom risotto is also solid, appropriately buttressing the definition of “comforting wine bar” as Colonial stands. There are a few beer taps behind the bar, as well, where I pleasantly found Hitachino White Ale on draft.
Whatever the case, it’s time to get (re-)acquainted for the tenth installment of pairing sessions, because the boys are about to bring you an extravaganza of aged beers and foods for your enjoyment.
Yes, you’ll have to venture to Long Beach for this special event, but let’s be honest: There’s really no better reason to do so than Beachwood BBQ. At an all-inclusive $80 with 5 pairings and the proceeds going to Real Medicine Foundation, you know this particular summer Sunday will be more than worth it.
Some intel to get you excited:
The base beer by Julian of Beachwood BBQ is high-gravity and contains Green Cardamom and was fermented with a bunch of Blackstrap Molasses. Jeff Duggan of Portola Coffee Lab was given a sample of this base beer in order to craft a coffee that would lend the beer an “Armenian coffee” note. These beans were then placed in the beer a few days ago. Soon, oak chips that have been soaked in 25-year-old Armenia Cognac will be used to age the beer in time for the event. And the resulting product, dubbed “System of a Stout,” will be an exclusive to Dionicess X for the series’ tenth anniversary and for your tasting pleasure.
You’ll have Gev Kazanchyan, a public health professor; Randy Clemens of Sriracha Cookbook fame; Dave Watrous, “The Guezehound” of Beachwood BBQ; Gabe Gordon, Executive Chef of Beachwood and Julian Shrago, Brewmaster of Beachwood to guide the way. Because you’d expect nothing short of the experts to impart knowledge and tastes to your palate, now wouldn’t you?
Basically, everything you’ll be enjoying on this evening will have undergone an aging process of some sort – whether beer or food. And there will be a couple goodies to take home with you, such as a specially-bottled, limited edition Bourbon Barrel Aged Chile Sauce. Talk about swag.
Tickets are almost sold out, so it’d be a good idea not to sleep on this one and reserve your seats now… I’ll see you there.
We’re about due for another Dionicess event. Of course, these guys won’t stop outdoing themselves as they’ve brought a beer & booze pairing to fruition.
Matt Biancaniello of The Roosevelt Hotel’s Library Bar is brought into the fold with Randy Clemens, Dave Watrous and Gev Kazachyan as they pair five craft beers with five craft spirits. Prepare for a boozy evening in late October at Steingarten LA to benefit the Real Medicine Foundation for an all-inclusive $65 entrance fee.
And if you know anything about Matt or the Dionicess crew, you’ll automatically know this is something unique they have up their sleeves. Expect garden-fresh ingredients a la Matt with your spirits and beer pairings.
Better start arranging that taxi… See you there.
Beer Dinners: You can’t really have too many. Good thing City Tavern, the Downtown Culver City hangout with taps at the tables (a couple of them, anyway) is holding one with Ladyface Ale Companie next Thursday, September 15th.
There will be one seating at 7 PM (up to 7:30 PM, if you prefer) and included in your $46 cost are 4 courses + amuse bouche, each paired with a Ladyface beer. For the full menu, peep below:
Deviled egg, asparagus, roe
6oz., abv: 8.3%
Orzo salad with crab, avocado, grapefruit and beet vinaigrette
6 oz., abv: 8.7%
Potted duck confit and crisps
6 oz., abv: 10.9%
Smoked cocoa-rubbed tri-tip sandwich and potato salad
Picture city porter
6 oz., abv: 7.0%
Spiked watermelon and peppered strawberries
Sazerac-oaked red rye
6 oz., abv: 7.2%
I had a lovely time at one of City Tavern’s other beer dinners, which was in conjunction with Eagle Rock Brewery. My favorite was a stone fruit salad, which was paired expertly with their Yearling Flanders Red Ale. If this is any indication, next Thursday’s beer dinner will be solid. It’s a great way toÂ support local business and beer while celebrating the end of summer (if that’s your thing).
A couple days ago, there was an announcement of an alliance formed by Farid Zadi, David Haskell & Susan Park called FOH/BOHÂ³. Derived from Front of the House and Back of the House acronyms (“to the third power” is of no detail), the name is meant to capture the essence of their partnership – the pursuit of proper, hands-on restaurant training from the ground up.
The trioÂ wasted no time getting down to business as it has just been announced that they will be debuting at Jenee Park’s (also of Parkâ€™s BBQ and Don Dae Gam) LaOn (previous review) on Western this weekend. The location of their first projectÂ was secured at thisÂ newish restaurant just 3 hours after their interview with LA Weekly Squid Ink’s Amy Scattergood was finished. It’s a perfect setting for their launch, as Zadi has worked in Seoul for three years as a chef and managing partner at a restaurant. It also is expressive of David Haskell’sÂ intense passion for Korean food.
Park andÂ Zadi created a special menuÂ of 8 dishes, dubbed “Lucky Cat”, to complement LaOn’s traditional menu. One thing’s for sure: The menu of this “limited engagement” is not to be underestimated.Â Nothing on the menuÂ will be watered down, but instead will showcaseÂ the fabric of what Korean food is all about.Â
â€œI have a lot of respect for Korean cooking. My mother in law is from Jeon-Ju, the culinary capital of South Korea,” Farid says.Â â€œThis isnâ€™t fusion or even modern Korean. Weâ€™re taking Korean ingredients, flavors and techniques and recontextualizing them while retaining the soul of Korean cuisine: the bold, stick to your guts flavors that make it so satisfying.â€
Haskell will be pairing each menu item with a wine or beer, the pairingÂ pours of which will be available for $6 each – or glass pours for $12 each. Expect this pairing experience to evolve your perceptions ofÂ and experiences in Korean food, as I can’t recall a single time I’ve had traditional Korean foodÂ with proper wine pairing. FOH/BOHÂ³’s “front of the house” team will be on-hand to ensure top-notch service throughout both nights.
Check out the menu below:
LAON MENU (traditional tapas)
- íŽ¸ì±„ PYEON CHAE Beef carpaccio with onions,sesame leaf,radish sprout – 10
- ì¹ ì ˆíŒ SEVEN WRAP Cucumber,carrot,beef,shiitake mushroom,egg with radish wrap – 7
- ì–´ì„ FISH WRAP Steamed fish and assorted vegetables in an egg wrap – 10
- ê¶ì¤‘ë–¡ë³¶ì´ TEOKBOKKI Rice cake in soy based sauce – 10
- ê°ˆë¹„ì°œ GALBI JJIM Braised short rib – 15
- ì˜¤ì§•ì–´ìˆœëŒ€ STUFFED SQUID Stuffed with tofu,beef,squid & vegetables – 10
- ì „ë³µìš”ë¦¬ OPEN FLAME ABALONE Lightly seasoned fresh abalone – MP
- ìž¡ì±„ JAPCHAE Clear noodle with mixed vegetables – 7
FOH/BOHÂ³: Lucky Cat LaOn
- Spicy chicken kochi/foie gras fat fingerlings/ garlic chips – 12
- Crab and kimchi brik/orange and onion salad – 8
- Thai cobb ssam – 10
- Thai curry bacon, avocado, duck rillettes, quail egg, tomato, fried shallot, lettuce
- Grilled oysters – 3 each
Dashima, ponzu, serrano mignonette and gochujang vinaigrette
- Uni and scallop chawanmushi – MP
- Â½ dozen peel ‘n’ eat grilled prawns/shiso chimichurri – MP
Laotian curry marinated whole prawns
- Braised beef cheeks/ slow roasted corn cheese/baby carrot/arugula quick-chi – 14
Riff on braised kalbi
So be sure to secure your table now. This limited engagementÂ will sell out fast! Call 323.798.4648 or email David Haskell at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Also note that reservations go til 1 AM – perfect for you nightowls.) Reservation lines are open now.
With their debut event occurring last year, Savor Los Angeles will return next weekÂ and instead of focusing on the sweet, the emphasis will be on pairings. “BFFs” for the acronymically inclined.
They’ll feature eateries and vendors trending in the Hollywood, Silver Lake and Downtown areas like The Oaks Gourmet, Mas/Malo Restaurants, Starry Kitchen, Reservoir, Bangers and Smashed and Cast Iron Gourmet. Of course, The Farm of Beverly Hills also deserves a mention as the west-most representative of this culinary extravaganza.
Tickets start at $55 plus tax for tastes of all vendors, pre-event cocktails, Veev event cocktails, Zhena’s Gypsy Tea and Duvel beer. VIP will run you $85 and will get you a VIP gift bag, open bar and a special entrance. Fancy.
Proceeds from Savor Los Angeles will benefit CoachArt, which teaches art and athletic classes to children and adolescents with chronic illness. All paper- and plasticware at this event will be reusable or rapid biodegradable.
So there you have it: A tasting event in a posh, intimate Hollywood studio setting. I’ll see you there!