There are a couple new happy hours at some pretty fancy spots in Mid-City West and West Hollywood launching today. With weather in Los Angeles warming up as much as it has recently, it doesn’t get much better than these refreshing libations and succulent bites on the terrace or patio to begin your night.
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…
The other night, I again had the privilege of visiting Petrossian on Robertson – the caviar boutique that doubles as a dining hotspot with a clean and casual ambiance. I know the space well from my numerous visits to Chef Benjamin Bailly and have even had the honor of judging a cold soup Dine LA Quickfire ChallengeÂ (recap) held in the boutique area.
But things have changed since the end of Chef Bailly’s year-long tenure as Executive Chef. He has moved on to Fraiche in Culver City and now, Giselle Wellman has taken over the kitchen. She has some big names on her resume, including New York’s Del Posto and most recently Beverly Hills’ Bouchon. Armed with just a basic pasta recipe by Tony DiSalvo, she taught herself how to make 20 kinds of pasta at his Jack’s La Jolla for the purposes of its reopening as an Italian restaurant – quite a feat that would be perfected by working in Mario Batali’s kitchen thereafter.
And the agnolotti that I had at Petrossian happened to be my favorite dish of the evening. The house-made pasta was tender and the filling was perfectly cooked – with fontina being one of my favorite cheeses, of course. The pasta was topped with perfect prosciutto, accompanied by fresh asparagus and extremely flavorful mushrooms while finished off with a further savory, non-frivolous parm foam. Everything in this dish worked together extremely well in no small part by top-notch ingredients and good execution. Not bad for a chef in her new kitchen. (She still has Ben’s pistachio creme for the Pistachio Creme Brulee.)
My second favorite dish of the evening was the Smoked Sturgeon Risotto with pressed caviarÂ cooked into the dish in order to fully integrate the eggs’ flavors. The topping of slicedÂ apple slices was an elegant, sweet reprieve from the rich risotto. Everything on the plate made for a really delicious combination while the risotto itself was amazingly complex in its richness. If I weren’t so full, I might have licked the plate.
Of course, we had to have dessert and with a vendor like Petrossian and their delicious chocolates, it’d be premature to leave their dining room without having done so. Giselle was especially excited about her on-theme espresso pearls, which, of course, look like caviar. She showed us a video of her making them byÂ droppingÂ theÂ espressoÂ mixture into clear liquid with an eye-dropper. The result?Â A glorious topping to spread over panna cotta.
The beads weren’t especially potent but they were indeed novel and well, espresso goes extremely well with vanilla. The cardamom shortbreads had good spice and were a nice, crunchy side note. This is definitely my go-to dessert at Petrossian.
Overall, I was impressed with Giselle’s new but solid menu – especially given that she just moved in a few weeks ago. It seems like she’s fitting in well into the space at Petrossian and will continue to evolve in that space, given her unbridled passion for cooking. I can’t wait to revisit to try more dishes, which she’ll have time to perfect. The blogger-friendly boutique-restaurant hybrid has great things to look forward to.
Also, Petrossian is participating in Dine LA (going through Friday this week and Sunday – Friday, January 30 – February 4 next week). Fortunately, the risotto, agnolotti and espresso panna cotta I’ve mentioned are all on that menu so this is the opportune time to try them out.
All food and wine were hosted.
If one could eat luxury, one should also be allowed to drink it, too. Petrossian in West Hollywood thought as much as they recently have expanded their liquor license and integratedÂ vodka flutes and cocktails into their menu. It may be as obvious to bacon loversÂ as bacon salt; for caviar lovers, Petrossian created the Caviar-tini. Â
Two and a half ounces of vodka with a half ounce ofÂ dry vermouth and maybe a dash of orange or Angostura bitters are the martini, but the skewer with 1 Petrossian caviar-stuffed olive, a cocktail onion and 1 Petrossian Caviarcubeâ„¢ – essentially caviar pressed into a cube – make it the Caviar-tini. It was the perfect amount of dirtiness. I saved the skewerÂ for theÂ last few martini sips and found my patience rewarded me well.
There are other cocktail options like their Basil Gimlet ($12), Vodka Sunrise ($12) and Russian Cider ($12). (Don’t worry – there’s also a Cosmopolitan [$14] for you Carrie-types.) Their Hibiscus Champagne ($12) will remain available – just don’t forget to eat the flower, too. If you were thinking straight-up, choose a vodka flute of the European variety from Beluga or Russian Standard Premium (Russia), Linie Aquavit (Norway) or of course Jean Marc XO (France). Belvedere and Chopin are your Polish options.
Chef Ben Bailly’s menu is reason enough to get you in the door – now you can wash down each bite of his dishes with a complementary, caviar-topped cocktail. Because you don’t need vermouth to make a martini dirty.
I’m proud to announce that I’ll be co-hosting a special shopping event at the Los AngelesÂ Tory Burch boutique on Thursday, April 8th along with power fashion and beauty bloggers Dena of Dluxelist and Christina & Stephanie of Paisley Petunia to benefitÂ Share Our Strength!
At the private 6 – 8 PM shopping event, attendees will be able to buy their discounted ticket to the Taste of the Nation culinary event taking place on Sunday, June 6th from 1 – 4 PM in Culver City. Normally, tickets run $100 for regular admission and $150 for VIP, but at our special shopping event, you’ll be able to buy tickets in personÂ for $15 off ($85 and $135, respectively; child tickets remain $25). All proceeds – yes, 100% -Â from ticket sales benefit Share Our Strength’s efforts to end child hunger. It’s a great way to experience the premier Los AngelesÂ chefs and mixologists and taste great wine in one spot for an afternoon in the beautiful California sun while supporting a great cause. If you are one of the first 50 at the event to buy a ticket at the shopping event, you’ll also receive a luxe gift bag full of a ton of beauty products and other goodies, including Pinky Vodka!
And when fashion and food forces combine, the incentives don’t stop. Make this a night out with the girls – champagne and h’ors doeurves will be served, and you’ll be encouraged to shop the Tory Burch Robertson boutique for 10% off all full-priced merchandise while Tory Burch donates another 10% to Share Our Strength. And if you have bought a Taste of the Nation ticket, you’ll be able to take advantage of the full 20% discount and keep it all yourself!
This is a private event (business hours are only until 6 PM)Â and the store is only so big – so be sure to RSVP (rsvp.totnla [at] gmail [dot] com) to secure your spot! I hope toÂ see you there – ready to browse &Â shop Tory’s beautiful designs and prints – and to support a great organization likeÂ Share Our Strength!
Thursday, April 8, 2010
6 – 8 PM
$15 discount ($40 on at-the-door price)Â on TOTNLA tickets
10% off Tory Burch full-priced merchandise or 20% off if you buy TOTNLA ticket
Free gift bag for 1st 50 tickets bought
Tory Burch Boutique
142 N. Robertson Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
On my first visit to Petrossian on Robertson, the famed boutique of renowned caviar and a one-stop-spot for diners with tastes more sophisticated thanÂ and unfazed by the star power of The Ivy, it happened to be Industry Night. It was a night meant to familiarize Petrossian with the heavyweights in the LA culinary scene and I was happy to crash the party.
It was a long-overdue visit: My taste buds would no longer be tantalized but titillated and everything Chef Benjamin Bailly sent out from the kitchen would do just the trick. A perfectly floral and barely-sweet hibiscus champagne helped wash down the sliders andÂ soups – and yes, the hibiscus at the end was delicious, thankyouverymuch. Sweet pork sliders with carmelized onionsÂ were alternated with juicy cheeseburger sliders; you just had to have both. The tiny butternut squash soups had chestnuts, pecans – and of course, bacon – in it, and while I have had many butternut squash soups, this had to have been one of my favorites (my other favorite is from Neal Fraser’s Grace Restaurant). Next time, I’m getting a full order.
There were other classics like the bacon-wrapped date and a gazpacho, the latter’s consistency of which left me curious (you need a spoon). But when the dessert came out – a strawberry cobbler topped with pistachios, I was in heaven!!
And talk about “industry night” – there was no shortage of familiar faces. My Last BiteÂ (Petrossian coverage), Hanhonymous, Daily Wine, Social Domain, JoAnn Cianciulli andÂ Maya of ShopEatsleep were all on hand to experience Petrossian.
I was lucky enough to follow Chef Benjamin Bailly into the kitchen and try mother of pearl spoonfuls of absolutely luxurious caviar, including a kind that literally melted in my mouth. Do want (my own)! I’ve alsoÂ yet to try selectionsÂ displayed in their case up front – which included beautiful chocolates andÂ desserts all elegantly presented. But of course – I’ll be back, industry night or not!
Petrossian Restaurant & Boutique
(one block north of Beverly Blvd)
321 N. Robertson Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90048
Photo credit to LA Times
We may be in a recession – but that may be the very reason to start your holiday shopping now, just to “spread things out,” if you know what I mean. Then again, if you’re gifting from Petrossian’s Boutique, a place to get rather decadent delectables, let me first commend you for your great taste and second, give you my info so you can put me on your list.
Petrossian – a place that prides itself on bringing otherwise-inaccessible luxurious items to everyone – is having a one-day-only holiday shopping event on Sunday. Staff will be on hand to help you shop. Pick one of the pre-made gift baskets, starting at $115 or customize your own. The point of the shopping event is to try what you may gift – like caviar, foie gras, fine olive oils, smoked salmon, french chocolates and truffles. Complimentary champagne will be provided and samples of “Tsar Cut Salmon, Trout and Salmon Roe, and Chocolates” will be available.
You may or may not know the Petrossian name as a leader in the caviar industry through three generations – but I’d say of any occasion this would be the day to stop in and see what you’re missing.
Besides, it’s a much better reason to visit Robertson than Kitson.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
12 – 5 PM
Petrossian Boutique & Restaurant
321 North Robertson Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90048
H’ors doeurves were passed, cocktails wereÂ swingin’Â and only ladies were present – but no bridal showers nor birthdays were in sight. Each guest took home her own gift instead of bearing gifts to the party.
Tara of TaraMetBlog is a GAP Brand Ambassador – and what that means is she gets to invite her friends to the local GAP 1969 Jeans pop-up store (which was only launched earlier this month) on Robertson Boulevard for a party, at which all who attend get a free pair of jeans. Sweet.
It was the kind of party I could handle.