The Anti-Prix-Fixe Valentine’s Day Roundup

Carnival Cabaret at Big Bar

Single or not, you won’t find me exactly chomping at the bit to try any sort of prix fixe menu on, of all nights, Valentine’s Day, only the busiest dining night out all year. A night of fighting the crowds of twosomes to order up one of the multitude of prix fixe menus during a potentially service-distastrous evening is not something I can recommend to you in good conscience, so why pretend? Anniversaries and birthdays are as great as the dates they land on are unique to each couple or person, so when a calendar designates that one particular day is the day everyone is to express one’s affection to his/her significant other, I can’t help but get a little bit apprehensive.

Here are a few fun alternatives to Valentine’s Day that take that icky obligatory feeling out of your profession of love…

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The Great White Truffle Round-up of Los Angeles

White Truffles at SAAM, The Bazaar

It’s that wonderful time of year when it’s time to indulge in one of the true delicacies of the world. Forget the artificial truffle oil (redundant) of the ’90s – the real thing has a season and the time to enjoy white truffles is now.

Of course, at two to three thousand dollars per pound, it’s quite easy to break the bank while partaking. Fortunately, I’ve got a lot of options in different forms (cocktails! tasting menus! burgers!) and price points that will ensure you’re able to get your fungi fix.

Let’s start out with a cocktail by Matty B, why don’t we?

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See You At L.A. Times’ THE TASTE: September 1-3, 2012

Flavors of LA: Plan Check Smoked Jidori Fried Chicken – Photo credit to naftels on Flickr

It took a few tries, but it seems as though the flagship food, cocktails, wine & beer event of our city’s flagship publication may have this Labor Day weekend on lock. So head on over to Paramount Pictures this upcoming 3-day weekend for a celebration of delicious consumptions and libations. Tickets cost $65 per event and come with unlimited bites and swigs. See below for a preview of dishes, cocktails & people you’ll have to look forward to:

Field to Fork: Saturday, 9/1 • 11 am- 3 pm (21+)
Times Food Editor Russ Parsons and Chef Ray Garcia of FIG host this session inspired by fresh, local ingredients in celebration of seasonal dishes. Look forward to cooking demos, a conversation with local farmers and a chef’s challenge. You’ll experience tastes from Cook’s County, Sunny Spot, Picca, Mo-Chica, M.B. Post and Canele, who will be plating their Shelled Bean Salad.

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Plan Check: The International Stüssy Burger and Other Limited Edition Items

ISB: International Stussy Burger

Since I’m a Hollywood resident, I admit I’ve been sorely behind on the West LA food scene – and Plan Check has been one of the casualties. Recently, I had a good reason to venture west of the 405 and really see what the fuss about the burgers were about.

World Fries

Stüssy, the former surf-centric brand that you can now find as a Target clothing staple, has events to promote its brand – though shall we say they read more like pretty rad one-off parties held at varying venues. Plan Check was the site of one such event a couple weeks ago, whereby I tried “The ISB.” Made with Akaushi beef, jalapeno escabeche, cheese, smokey bacon, battered onion straws, “knowledge” sauce & crunch bun. I know bacon is a shoe-in ingredient, but this was one of the best bacon burgers I’ve tried in recent memory. The lush bun was of no detail!

It was a delicious burger reminiscent of Umami thanks to the fried onion, and ultimately alumni chef Ernesto Uchimura, but I could tell at Plan Check that their burger product is that much more reliable – barring a guerilla expansion plan to flood Los Angeles, that is.

Stoopid Fresh Donuts

Another other must-try limited edition item is the World Fries, which comes topped with chorizo gravy, fried egg and roasted pasila chile. These were done way before the burgers came – because if you love eggs, chorizo and chiles, there’s just no saying “no” to these fries.

Ever had cereal milk soft serve at Momofuku? The Stoopid Fresh Donuts are the real-life incarnation of the mere flavor, made with cooked cruller, raisin frosting, cereal milk ice cream and carmelized cornflakes. The cornflakes were a nice touch to the dessert thanks to the sweet crunchiness. So don’t forget your Stüssy-fied dessert.

With these limited edition items pretty much hitting it out of the park, I can’t wait to try Plan Check’s regular menu – complete with cocktails by Steve Livigni and Pablo Moix.

West LA, I’ll see you soon again.

Check below for that special menu, available now:

The Stussy Menu

All food and drink were hosted.

Sun – Wed

11:30 AM – 11 PM


11:30 AM – 12 AM

Fri – Sat

11:30 AM – 1 AM

Plan Check
1800 Sawtelle Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025