Favorites From Drago Centro’s Fall Cocktail Menu: $8 Today Only

Golden Goose | Bulleit Bourbon, Fernet Branca, Fresh Cape Gooseberries, Maple Syrup

I admit, I was off form when I took the Metro Red Line to Downtown Los Angeles last week to preview the fall cocktail menu at Drago Centro. I forgot my Canon S90 point-and-shoot camera, the device usually responsible for taking the high res shots you’re used to seeing on this blog. But my desire to safely walk in my own neighborhood and use public transportation in LA (yes – I use it) didn’t diminish my own enthusiasm when I got to Drago. (Plus, I think my BlackBerry Torch did a good job, don’t you?)

Eponymous

Michael Shearin and his team put together a really good menu, and there are a few particular cocktails that I would order in a heartbeat. Caroline on Crack (her post) and Daniel of Thirsty In LA (his post) battled traffic to be at Drago and it was worth it, so it’s safe to say that these cocktails carry a bonus when you Metro it in – and to Metro it back out, again. The station is but a couple blocks away.

The Dazed & Confused, which combines Casa Noble Crystal Tequila, Creole Shrub, Cherry Heering, Fresh Rosemary and Angostura, is a cocktail which Michael describes as “combining everything,” much like the inspiration for the cocktail itself. It’s a man’s drink and delicious enough for tequila drinkers. The Eponymous, which combines Appleton VX Rum, Cruzn Blackstrap Rum, Orgeat and Fresh Lime – is even more complex while utilizing rum, and pleasantly less sweet than one would normally expect a rum cocktail to be. In fact, it evolves on your palate and is the drink that keeps on giving. Very nice.

5th & Fig

The 5th & Fig is a special drink, because I had actually loved this drink about a year ago – but Michael said they served it for about a week and then on a fluke, figs had suddenly gone out of season. So, it’s back and better than ever, and even earlier this year so hopefully the figs will be here to stay, for at least a little while. The cocktail is a perfect blend of savory and sweet while really highlighting the nuances of the shrub and complementing the flavors well. It’s a nice balance, perhaps for that indecisive moment where you don’t know if you’re in the mood for something sweet or hearty.

The Golden Goose is delightful bourbon drink with a lot of its charm derived from the gooseberry, itself. The Fernet is a really nice touch, which further highlights the earthiness in the bourbon. Just a touch of maple syrup is added, with compliments to Michael for not adding too much, and letting the gooseberry set the stage.

Smitten With Britain

The Greco Roman is a superb Sherry cocktail in my very little experience of Sherry cocktails. If I could ever muster a sherry craving (haven’t had one yet, to date), I could see this cocktail being my foray. Luxardo Morlacco does make it even sweeter but, I admit, perhaps a bit more palatable. The Fee Brothers Rhubarb Bitters, however, brings back in an earthy note. I guess when I make up my mind about sherry, I can have it alone. For now, it’s the Greco Roman.

The Smitten With Britain, made with Tanqueray Gin, Chives, Lime and Fever Tree Tonic is a beauty as it is an imaginative variation on your usual gin and tonic. The added chives and lime make this cocktail refreshing – as I guess does the visual charm of the martini glass and purple blooms. Don’t spill.

Smokehouse

The Smokehouse features – let’s not kid ourselves – the bacon. Laphroaig 10-year-old Scotch is the liquid centerpiece, here, accented with Clear Creek Cranberry, Apfelkorn, fresh apple, Fee Bros, whiskey barrel bitters and candied bacon. The smoke is thanks to the Laphroaig. I’m pretty glad I didn’t get to taste all the individual ingredients that make up this drink, because otherwise it would have been just too much. But this is your top savory cocktail on the menu – and the candied bacon swirl is alone reason enough to order this wonder. Michael gets away with not letting this one be too sweet on top of the smoky – and the results are delicious.

Don’t forget to order some appetizers while you’re enjoying your cocktail. And there are great bar bites to be had, like a black truffle-topped funghi calzone. Or order one of Jashmine Corpuz’s delectable sweet bites – her imaginative desserts will have you intrigued.

So get to Drago Centro today: All cocktails are $8 each for the launch. It’s a great day to figure out what your favorite downtown libation is.

All cocktails were hosted.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fall Cocktail Menu Debut – $8 each today (Normally $12)

Drago Centro
525 S Flower St.
Los Angeles, CA‎ 90071
213.228.8998‎

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!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

5 – 9 PM

Tickets and website

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

Pitfire Pizza Brings Delicious Artisan Pies West

Burrata Pie

Edit (1/22/10): Eater LA reports that due to the rain, the opening has been postponed to January 30 (or even later)!!

Set to officially open on January 23, 2010 is the 4th installment of Pitfire Pizza, featuring artisan pizzas hand-crafted with the freshest, finest ingredients – some of which are grown in their very own garden out front.

I arrive at the soft opening unsure if I’m in the right place at all (part of it is still under construction) but still felt drawn to the warm glow of the space. First of all, the address says Culver City, but I Google map the address to find it’s south of Santa Monica Airport. Er? Good thing I spot Diana Takes a Bite. And then as I enter, I eye lucious vegetable and salad plates on the table, ready for absorption. Zing.

Pitfire Chicken Salad

The chicken salad ($10.95) was delicious as was the Farmers Market Roasted Vegetables ($9.95) – which were done to a perfect tenderness. The brussels sprouts were still firm and the seasoning was subtle and complimentary. Another favorite was the cauliflower, which came with mild red pepper and a light dusting of crumb. Get these vegetables.

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Akasha Offers November Tastes

It’s never too early for Thanksgiving. That’s what I always say. No, not really – but seeing as from Sunday’s Great Chefs of LA event (post coming soon), there were plenty of autumn bites to be had despite the seventy-something temps in Southern California … in November. Fortunately, Akasha is previewing some Thanksgiving bites – indoors. For only $10, you’ll be able to sample tastes of Akasha’s Thanksgiving menu to get an idea of what you might like to order for the big day. In addition to the tastings, you’ll be treated to complimentary non-alcoholic beverages. They have two Saturdays lined up for your sampling pleasure:

Saturday, November 14th

Thanksgiving Desserts & H’ors d’ouerves

  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Texas Style Pecan Pie
  • Pear and Cranberry Tart with Cinnamon Crumble
  • Banana Cream Pie
  • Buttermilk Biscuits
  • Bacon-Cheddar Biscuits
  • Curried Chicken & Fuyu Persimmon Salad
  • Dilled Egg Salad
  • Wild Planet Tuna with Housemade Bread & Butter Pickles

Also try Akasha’s housemade:

  • Cranberry Chutney
  • Betty Kennedy’s Plum Chutney
  • Fig-Balsamic Jam
  • Zinfandel & Pinot Plum Jam
  • Pomegranate-Jalapeno Jelly

Saturday, November 21st

Thanksgiving Sides & More

  • Finley Farms Lettuce & Flora Bella Arugula, Persimmon, Pomegranate, Goat Cheese
  • Niman Ranch Ham with Pomegranate Jalapeño Glaze
  • Cornbread & Creminelli Sausage dressing
  • Candied Yams with Ceylon Cinnamon and Brown Palm Sugar
  • Rutiz Farms Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Pearl Onions & Niman Ranch Bacon
  • Blue Lake Green Bean Casserole with Housemade Skinny Fried Onions
  • Organic Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese with Seasoned Bread Crumbs
  • Artisan Cheese with Crostini & Akasha’s Housemade Quince Paste

What a great way to try many different things all at once! I can attest that their housemade chutneys and jam are truly fresh and delicious, too – looove that Betty Kennedy’s Plum Chutney (which I used to top the braised shortribs above at Great Chefs of LA). I’ll see you one of these Saturdays!

Saturdays, November 14 & 21

12 – 3 PM

$10

The Bakery at AKASHA
9543 Culver Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90232
310.845.1700

@akashaCC