Tequila Mixology Contest at Ortega 120

Tequila Cocktails at Ortega 120

Ortega 120 in Redondo Beach, where you can order LA Weekly’s Best Classic Margarita of 2009, will also be the site for an inaugural “Toma Tequila” Mixology Contest. Amateurs will compete for the grand prize of a $250 gift certificate to the restaurant, an editorial feature in Mutineer Magazine and, of course, have their winning recipe on Ortega 120’s cocktail menu alongside Chef Thomas Ortega’s imaginative dishes.

No professionals allowed – only amateurs are eligible to compete. To enter, submit your best tequila-infused recipe. Judges will narrow it down to a final three, which will have been chosen on a set criteria: taste, creativity, visual presentation and mixology practicality. And you should be excited (or intimidated) to find out who the judges are, including Ortega 120’s Demi Stevens, Mutineer Magazine Editor-in-Chief Alan Kropf, Carole Dixon of FEAST LA, Hadley Tomicky of Grub Street LA and Josh Lurie of Food GPS. Selected finalists will compete live at the restaurant on the evening of May 3rd.

Other events going on at Ortega 120 for that week include:

Sunday, May 2 – Sister Cities International Charity Fundraiser
Monday, May 3 – Ortega 120 “Toma Tequila” Mixology Competition Finals
Tuesday, May 4 – Tequila University
Wednesday, May 5 – Cinco de Mayo Grand Fiesta with folklorico dancers

May the best tequila cocktail win!

Finals: Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Entry form

Submit to ortega120contest [dot] com.

Ortega 120
1814 Pacific Coast Highway
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
310.792.4120

@Ortega120

Hudson House Celebrates 1st Anniversary on Sunday

Photo credit to FoodGPS

This weekend, Hudson House in Redondo Beach turns one. To toast the occasion, the also-owners of Beechwood in Venice will be welcoming all who wish to help celebrate with a complimentary Hudson Ale or a Blood Orange Chinaco Tequila Cocktail on Sunday. You can also expect complimentary bar bites to accompany your free drink. Win logoed Hudson House apparel while you’re there. And live music from a local DJ will entertain guests all evening – so groove along in your seat or start up your own dance floor – no one will mind.

A party with a free drink and free food? If you’re in the South Bay, you’d be remiss to snooze on this one.

Sunday, March 14th

4 PM – Close

Hudson House
514 North Pacific Coast Hwy
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
310.798.9183

@HudsonHouseBar

Vegan Desserts A Delight Around LA

Vegan Red Velvet - Kiss My Bundt

Los Angeles is a perfect city in which to eat – whether it entails having access to the cuisines of countless ethnicities or healthful options that honor our moral obligations. There’s a tricky thing, however, about desserts for vegans – most of which incorporate butters, understandably, into their recipes. LA vegans have reason to rejoice, though, with ever more plentiful options to get their sweet tooth on around town:

Kiss My Bundt (Mid-Town)

Kiss My Bundt offers vegan red velvet on Fridays and Saturdays as well as vegan chocolate on Saturdays. They may be vegan, but they certainly don’t look nor taste like they’re in shortage of any sort of ingredient. Incredibly moist and delicious, the red velvet will never let on what you’re missing…it’ll be a secret between you and your bundt. And if you’d like a sizeable order (6 mini-bundts or more), the vegan bundts are available any time of the week. What are you waiting for?

Mini Bundt – $2.50
Baby Bundt – $4.50

Also please read about Kiss My Bundt on ShopEatSleep. Try a full-sized bundt and help keep the most delicious cakes in town around!

Kiss My Bundt Bakery
8104 West 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90048
323.655.0559

The Bakery at Akasha Restaurant (Culver City)

The Bakery at Akasha has a few options available for vegans at their storefront. Pick from chocolate cupcakes, tarts and cookies – or go for their meyer lemon scone. If you’re seeing a movie across the street, best come early and buy a few treats to sneak into the theatre – it sure beats the $8 popcorn at the concession stand!

Dark Chocolate Cupcake with Ganache Glaze & Vanilla Icing – $3.25 ea
Salty Chocolate Pecan Tart and Rustic Apple Tart – $4.75 ea
Chocolate Chip and Snickerdoodle Cookies – $1.50 ea
Meyer Lemon Scones – $2.50 ea

Bakery at Akasha
9543 Culver Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90232-2618
310.845.1700

Babycakes (Downtown Los Angeles)

Los Angeles vegans rejoiced when Babycakes came to us from New York – to set up shop in the historic Pacific Electric lofts downtown. Not only could you get a french dip at Cole’s and a cocktail at The Varnish – you could also get dessert nearby. There are a lot of vegan options here (loaf? cookie sandwich? macaroon?) with a variety of flavors:

Vanilla Cupcake with Zesty Lemon Frosting – $4.25
Banana Chocolate Chip Loaf – $3.65/slice (Check the recipe from Glutenfreebird.com)
Cinnamon Raisin Cookie Sandwich with Vanilla Filling – $5.00
Cinnamon & Sugar Toasties – $3.75/slice
Vanilla Macaroons – $1.50 each

Babycakes
130 E. 6th St.
(between Main & Los Angeles)
Los Angeles, CA 90014
213.623.5555

Continue reading

Tuesdays Are Coming Up Tacos: The Round Up

Photo credit to kevinv033 on Flickr

It’s Tuesday and there’s no better day of the week than to go looking for a place to take that cheap date. Nah … not really (tacky!), but if you and your buddies are jonesin’ for tacos with sit-down service, look no further. There are plenty of options around town – venues serving up a ton of different kinds at taco stand prices. Go ahead – try a different one each week to see how the tacos stack against each other.

Hudson House – $1.00 each

Dubbed “All You Can Eat Street Tacos” – just because they’re so cheap – a couple varieties are being offered by Hudson House. Prime placement for all South Bay dwellers, the resto will serve up Pollo braised with lime and tequila or Confit-style pork carnitas with creamy avocado sauce, diced onions and chopped cilantro. They’re served with charred tomato salsa, limes and fried serrano chiles. And don’t forget the drink specials with which to wash down your eats: Score a 7 oz. Pacifico or Tecate for $2.00 each or a Mexico Mule (Tequila, Ginger Beer, Grapefruit and Lime) for $5.00.

Hudson House
514 N. Pacific Coast Highway
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
310.798.9183

Spanish Kitchen – $2.00 each

One of the most visible spots the West Hollywood end of La Cienega, The Spanish Kitchen offers not only a whole slew of taco choices but salsas to match … or not. Choose from Grilled shrimp pesto, Beer-battered mahi, Grilled blackened salmon and Mexico BBQ pulled pork tacos. You even get to choose the kind of shell (hard or soft) your taco is served in and over 12 salsas to mix and match (Suiza blanco, Tequila lobster, Mole negro and more). These tacos are served family style so be don’t be bashful – order as many as your heart desires the first time around! It’s a party.

Complete Taco Tuesday Menu

The Spanish Kitchen
826 N. La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90069
310.659.4794

Continue reading

Saturday in LA Beer Week

Today: If you’re not in Mammoth snowboarding or skiing for free, you’ll want to poke your head into the nearest Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and retrieve your complimentary pumpkin iced latte or iced blended between 4-7 PM. And if you are a pre-fan of the movie or love Arcade Fire, pick up the Where the Wild Things Are Soundtrack at Amoeba Hollywood, because while you’re at it, you might as well get a voucher redeemable for a free ticket to see the actual movie at participating cinemas (Arclight, across the street, would be my favorite cinema membership).

Then, tomorrow – you’ll be ready to celebrate the arrival of fall in LA this mid-October (hellooo, El Niño) and celebrate by drinking beer. No matter where you are, there are plenty of options to celebrate LA Beer Week tomorrow – especially if you’re trying to rectify your horrific LA Oktoberfest experience from last week. Between Bigfoot West’s awesome interior and one of my old time favorites – Verdugo Bar – you’ll see me debating where to go up until tomorrow afternoon.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

West Los Angeles

Bigfoot West celebrates its first October by calling their tented beer fest Rocktoberfest. Tomorrow, they’ll be hosting a tented beer garden with bands – thus the rock – and a special list incorporating that infamous Bavarian Purity Law including:

Beck’s Oktoberfest
Jack’s Pumpkin Spice Ale
Hofbrau München
Spaten Oktoberfest
Hacker-Pschorr
Weihenstephaner

(Shhh…I won’t tell anyone if you don’t that Beck’s nor Jack’s doesn’t pass Reinheitsgebot. But, who’s counting at Rocktoberfest?)

12 – 8 PM

Bigfoot West
10939 Venice Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90034
310.287.2200

Eastside

Never fear, eastsiders – Verdugo Bar is having their own beer celebration. Buy your entrance fee into the festivities for $20 (or $25 at the door) and included in admission is 4 drink tokens. With Ryan Sweeney – who’s been recently tapped to do the Capitol City beer program in the Cahuenga Corridor - at the helm, this is the place in town to have 4 beers anyway. German beer will be featured and special food will be available as they open up the parking lot, set up the tents and a stage for music.

Open: 6 PM – 2 AM

Verdugo Bar
3408 Verdugo Road
Glassell Park, CA 90065
323.257.3408

South Bay

The Strand Brewing Co., a new craft beer brewery based out of Torrance, will be celebrating their launch at Naja’s Place on the Pier in Redondo Beach. Their inaugural brew is called 24th Street Pale Ale, and all of The Strand’s VIP will be on hand for the celebration. Naja’s actually has one of the largest beer lists in all of Los Angeles while specializing in Belgians. Looking for ABV? Check out some of what’s on tap:

St Bernardus Abt 12
Allagash Curieux
Delirium Tremens

Open: 12pm-2am

Naja’s Place
154 International Boardwalk
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
310.376.9951

Live elsewhere? Check the official LA Beer Week event page for what’s going on in the ‘Dena, Torrance, Downey and Alhambra (38 Degrees would be a place to check out – though I still need to visit).

Have a great Saturday and weekend.

Hell’s Kitchen Viewing Party at Ortega 120

Photo courtesy of Maya of Shop Eat Sleep

Anyone watch Hell’s Kitchen? Anybody simply feel like good Mexican food and/or margaritas in the South Bay on a Tuesday? Ortega 120 (previous write-up) is holding a Hell’s Kitchen Finale viewing party at their Redondo Beach restaurant where Chef Tommy Ortega will be serving up the very dish he made in his guest appearance on the finale:

Pato con Mole Oaxaqueno

Pan-seared maple farm duck breast, Oaxacan mole negro, Partida Tequila-poached manzana, onion confit

The dish is the first time the duck breast dish will ever be offered and available to order. For Ortega 120’s special viewing party, the resto will also employ Folklórico dancers, Partida Tequila paletas (popsicles) and Partida Tequila tastings for your pleasure. And don’t forget that for 2009, Ortega’s Partida margarita was awarded the “Best Classic Margarita” by LA Weekly. All readers who mention this LA Weekly award will receive a special discount on their margarita! Without question, it’s an award my own limited tolerance and consumption wholeheartedly agrees with. Nothing but lime juice, agave nectar and some of the best tequila I’ve tasted even on the sip.

It’ll the best thing to have in your raised glass as Chef Tommy appears on the projected screen… FOX 11 will be there to film the live Ortega 120 action at 10PM broadcast.

hk6_chef_gr02s
Photo courtesy of FOX

 

Tuesday, October 13

7 – 11 PM

Ortega 120
1814 S. Pacific Coast Highway
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
310.792.4120

Trek to Redondo: Ortega 120 Tasting

I don’t usually touch the South Bay. Yeah, I’ve said it. It’s tough to find occasion when there’s so much to explore north of LAX. I may have found that occasion now.

Ortega 120, located in Redondo Beach, is a good reason to visit. Maya of ShopEatsleep and I attended a tasting there and every corner I turned, I found a fresh, unique perspective in each bite. Their margaritas were some of the best I’ve ever tasted thanks to real juices and Partida tequila; each bite tasted a little bit like home. (I am not Mexican.)

I’ll say this off the bat: Ortega 120 know how to do media dinners. The margaritas, courses, cocktail courses and the like kept coming. Cofounders Demi Stevens and Thomas Ortega were on hand to give our meal a personal feel – and somehow I can believe that they’re around to do so with all their guests.

We started with a Taco de Atun Crudo (above) which was filled with Ahi Poke yellow fin tuna, roasted corn, mango, cilantro, roasted red peppers, chili oil and chili crema fresca and topped with guacamole. It was an appropriately light starter and I thought the guacamole brought out the flavor in the poke pretty nicely. The taco was paired with the a pomegranate ginger margarita – and although we all had at least a full glass of the house margarita still, our apéritif – I honestly think these margaritas could be paired with any dish since they were all so fresh. Only juices, no sweet & sour. No sugar, only agave nectar – which doesn’t give you that wired nor crash & burn feeling like sugar. 

Continue reading