Guinness Menu Items In and Around Hollywood

Guinness Milkshake at 25 Degrees

Last week, I got to enjoy up close a private concert by Paul McCartney right on Hollywood Boulevard. Considering the audience reached all the way back to La Brea Avenue (or, for the first two songs, the audience of the Jimmy Kimmel Live telecast), it was truly an honor when Guinness asked me to be a part, first with Guinness in the makeshift green room and with a great view of Sir Paul on the Boulevard.

Beforehand, we had an early burger dinner at 25 Degrees in the Roosevelt Hotel furnished with none other than creamy Guinness milkshakes. If you haven’t already had one of these shakes, it’s a definite must-try. They’ve other adult varieties like Salty Caramel, but the Guinness is my favorite.

Continue reading

Lessons Learned at Tales of the Cocktail

Ramos Gin Fizz at Sazerac Bar

With last week marking it my first time at Tales of the Cocktail, I figured I was somewhat prepared. Or really, prepared as I could be. There were tips gathered from friends who are long-time veterans, and jaw-dropping stories told that were too creative to have been embellished. The scared-yet-excited anticipation for my four-day initiation seemed healthy.

Of course, hearing about it and talking about it is nothing compared to living it, and … well, live it I did. And I came out! I survived! If we were to be honest about things, it’s always the case of “the more you know, the more you find out what you don’tknow.” As in the stuff they teach in 10 AM seminars.

I did a few of those, but I was always way more into real-life application:

  • Order a Ramos Gin Fizz at The Sazerac.
Sazerac Bar, Roosevelt Hotel

It may appear counterintuitive, I know. But without discounting their Sazerac (it is, of course, fabulous), you’ll want to start with the Ramos Gin Fizz first. It was the best one I’ve had in my life. That foam was at the most perfect density-to-fluff ratio. And the taste was of the glorious, refreshingly eggy essence only dreamed of, before.

And I guess it would make sense that this would be the place, since (according to their website) it was from this very bar that Huey Long, the governor of Louisiana (1928–1932), flew his top bartender to The New Yorker Hotel in New York so that he could teach them how to make a proper Ramos Fizz.

Continue reading

Matt Biancaniello Specialty Cocktails at Oscar Viewing Party at The Roosevelt

Roosevelt Hotel

Didn’t manage to fanagle your way into the Oscars? For all us commoners – or those who didn’t pass the background check – the next best thing is to corral friends together for a viewing party across the street. The Roosevelt Hotel will be setting up screens in the lobby, Dakota and 25 Degrees for your viewing pleasure. And before I send you into the flustercluck that is Hollywood on Oscars night, just be aware of the street closures in the area and be sure to carpool or Metro it on in.

The best part is most definitely getting to try special Oscars-themed cocktails dreamt up by the famous Matt Biancaniello – all for $12 each. Typically drinks at The Library Bar run $16; call it an incentive. (Edit: Unfortunately, Matt will not be there personally as he’ll be on the other coast for a national mixology competition – but the recipes he leaves behind will tide us over until he comes back. 😉 )

“Up in the Air” Aviation – Gin, Maraschino Liqueur, fresh lemon juice and Creme de Violette

“The Hurt Locker” Breeder’s Cup – Hendricks Gin, cucumber, lime, agave, beet horseradish and salt

“Precious” Strawberries on Fire – Patron Silver, lime, lemon, strawberries, agave and jalapeno

“Inglorious Basterds” 10 Cane Old Fashioned – 10 Cane Rum, sugar, bitters, lemon and orange peel

“Avatar” Saving Grace – Basil Hayden’s bourbon, lemon, mint, Grand Marnier and ginger

They all sound so delicious, I’m going to have an extremely hard time not trying the whole menu. Metro, indeed!!

And to soak up all of Matt’s mixology magic, take a peep at the menu that will be served in the lobby – after the jump. (Or, head to 25 Degrees for a burger or Dakota for an entree – if that’s more your steez.)

Continue reading

Dine LA Restaurant Week Launches Sunday

Last week, the food and restauranteur community of Los Angeles gathered at The Hollywood Roosevelt to celebrate the launch of the winter installment of Dine LA – a two-week-long collaborative effort to offer diners three-course lunches and dinners at six specific price points.

$      Deluxe Dining   $16  $26
$$    Deluxe Dining   $22  $34
$$$   Fine Dining       $28  $44

Burger Slider

The red carpet was out and almost 100 chefs – many donning their white jackets straight from the kitchen – were the stars of the night. Oh – plus Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Writers, journalists, bloggers – what have you – were or weren’t donning our white “PRESS” badges. The purpose was clear: To celebrate food’s imminent role in Los Angeles culture – and the accessibility every man has to fine dining. And why don’t we enjoy some fixins from Dakota Chop House and 25 Degrees with cocktails from Matt Biancaniello of Library Bar to wash them down while we’re at it? Pork belly, tacos, quesadillas, salads, burger sliders and even a shiitake mushroom-infused Manhattan were passed around – but the hits of the night were undeniably the spicy burger sliders and Biancaniello’s arugula gimlet.

Arugula Gimlet

If you haven’t already, make your reservations soon; Dine LA runs Jan 24 – 29 and Jan 31 – Feb 5. The bevy of restaurants this round tops 243. Schedule a lunch in there to save a few dollars – it’s a great occasion to take an extended break from work. Eva (lunch or dinner), Palate (dinner), Cube (lunch or dinner) and Petrossian (lunch or dinner) rise to the top of my personal list.

And don’t forget to enter the daily contests Dine LA is holding: Starting 10 AM and running all day, answer a trivia question to be entered to win $100 gift certificates to participating restaurants (today’s is Petrossian, lo and behold). Also follow @dine_la on Twitter for updates.

Bonus: If you’re an American Express card holder, all you have to do is “do” Dine LA three times and you get a $20 credit on your statement. Just spend more than $21 per time.

And if you’re interested in the names behind the scene in Los Angeles food, it might interest you to peep the Dine LA Family Tree to see how they – and we – are all interconnected. Food brings us all together, doesn’t it?

Further reading:

DineLA Flickr Set

Restaurant Deals Ahead: It’s dineLA, the winter version; plus a “family tree” of L.A. chefs & restaurants – LATimes

DineLA Restaurant Week Kicks Off With Celebri-Chef Party – LAist

Dine LA Restaurant  Week Launch Party – ShopEatSleep

Jan 24 – 29 and Jan 31 – Feb 5, 2010

Dine LA Website
Various locations throughout Los Angeles
Call early for reservations

Lindsay, Dawson and Sabrina

New Year, New Decade: The NYE Dinner-Party Round Up

Photo credit to Stephanie Hillberry on Flickr

It’s not even Christmas Eve but if New Year’s plans give you a fraction of the headache it gives me, you could use this list. Whether you’re simply looking for some celebration bubbly with the guys or gals or for a full-on (or not so full-on) dinner, I’ve got plenty of options all over L.A. for you. There’s a little something for everyone, no matter your association.

Little Cave (Highland Park)

Did someone say free on New Year’s?! Because free will happen at Little Cave on the Eastside. Not only is there no cover charge, but drink specials will flow all night and free tacos will be given out from 9 PM through the countdown to 1 AM. Amazing! And that’s not even the last thing that’s free – you’ll get a glass of bubbly so you can toast fellow hipsters in between your swigs of PBR. Party favors will keep things festive.

9 PM – 1 AM

Free admission, free tacos, drink specials

Little Cave
5922 N. Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90042

Royal/T Cafe (Culver City)

The cosplay cafe in Culver City (say that 5 times fast) that has played host to LudoBites the past couple weeks and a Hello Kitty exhibition before that is hosting their own party to usher 2010 in – in the theme of “10,” of course. The $10 cover includes a midnight champagne toast, and all 2-for-1 drinks are $10. So grab a partner for those twofers and get on the dance floor because there will be a DJ spinning all night. Bonus: RSVP with 9 other crazies (for yes, a total of 10) and your partay gets a free bottle of champagne! Oh, groupies.

10 PM – 2 AM

$10 cover includes Champagne toast
$10 2-for-1 drinks

RSVP: RSVP [at] royal-t [dot] org with password “10”

8910 Washington Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90232-2326


Pourtal Wine Tasting Bar (Santa Monica)

In honor of the new year and new decade, Pourtal is offering “Bottomless Bubbly for $20.10.” For just a Jackson, your glass will never run empty. Your cup, instead, shall runneth over with Marquis de Perlade Blanc de Blanc, Pierre Sparr Rose and Kir Royale. Or just one, if you prefer. What a steal. No RSVPs for this one, though, so get there early and max out the bottomless. A little more lipstick on your champagne flute never hurt anyone!

9 PM – 12 AM

$20.10 for bottomless bubbly

104 Santa Monica Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401


8 oz. Burger Bar (Melrose)

The controversial burger bar on Melrose will be closed to the public and open for the purposes of their private New Year’s Eve party – offering passed hors d’oeuvres, a dessert buffet and Champagne toast at midnight, along with a DJ to keep the tunes flowing all night. Not bad for $35 in advance, though set aside some more dough for the drinks. Hopefully the finger bites will prove plentiful.

Call to make a reservation, as 8 Oz. will be closed to public

9 PM – 2 AM

$35 Presale, $45 At the door

8 oz.
7661 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90046


Continue reading

Dakota Sunday Jazz Brunch Goes Bottomless at The Roosevelt

Photo credit to Classicbeauty92 on Flickr

Move over, BoHo. Dakota Chop House at The Roosevelt is stepping up their daytime Sunday Hollywood brunch game starting tomorrow with a new menu and optional bottomless Bloody Mary or bubbly menu. To grease the deal even more, they’re including the following:

One complimentary signature coffee drink from our European coffee bar
Complimentary valet parking
Complimentary Sunday paper

It’ll set you back $18 for the buffet-style brunch alone or $28 if you’d also like an entrée and side from the brunch menu. The buffet houses a cheese and charcuterie board, house-smoked salmon and salad satation amongst other options. The theme is decidedly early 1900’s and comes complete with live music by The Bob Gail jazz duo so if it’s not too early in your Sunday to dress up, I dare you to make a date of it – say, with girlfriends.

And now for the important things – which would of course be the bottomless menu ($10):

Bloody Mary Menu

  • Some Like It Hot
    Roasted poblano-infused tequila, housemade tomato & vegetable purée, manchego cheese stuffed olives
  • Casablanca
    Skyy peppered vodka, moroccan spices, tomato vegetable purée, curry roasted cashews, saffron cherry tomatoes
  • Petiot
    Classic bloody mary with Skyy vodka, bartender’s choice of vegetables

Bubbly Menu

  • The Big Easy
    Bubbles, pomegranate liqueur, fresh pomegranate seeds
  • Hollywood Hills Sunrise
    Bubbles, local mandarin orange juice, blood orange bitters, fresh nutmeg
  • Marilyn’s Favorite Vodka
    Bubbles, peach purée, sauternes, raspberry, mint

You can also peep the full brunch menu for all your brunch options at Dakota. I would be checking it out tomorrow if I didn’t already have brunch plans at Casa del Mar, but I’ll definitely see you there on a Sunday in the near future…

Sundays starting November 15, 2009

11 AM – 3 PM

$18.00 – Brunch buffet
$28.00 – Brunch buffet, entrée & side
$10 – Bottomless Bloody Mary or Bubbly

Dakota at The Roosevelt Hotel
7000 Hollywood Blvd
Hollywood, CA 90028

NFL Gametime Specials at 25 Degrees


Who and where’s your NFL team playing this weekend? Just when I thought I had no reason to watch since the Packers are having their bye week, 25 Degrees‘ PR shoots me one of these. Whether you’re eyeing the $2.50 PBR (you can tell me later) or the half-off their other beer selection of Miller, Stella Artois, Guinness, Hef and Amstel Light – I’m curious myself to try the buffalo and spicy soy bbq wings that aren’t normally on their menu. Nor the chili cheese fries, that is. One thing I do know is that I’ve always loved the tiny, french-cut french fries at 25 Degrees so we’ll see how their chili and cheese are.

I know what you’re thinking – too bad the burgers aren’t on special. I’ll make this easy for you – a burger is probably what you should be ordering, whether on special or not, anyway. Also, the Guinness Milkshake. So yes, this is just a ploy to get you in there to watch the game. But at least I’m honest. Anyway, I’ve been growing a second stomach, lately! Nothing’s off-limits!


I got an update on pricing. See below for the damage:

$2.50 PBR cans
Half-off all other beer = $3.50 bottles and draft
$8 half-dozen wings (Buffalo and Spicy Soy BBQ)
$12 dozen wings
$10 plate of chili cheese fries

25 Degrees
(Bottom of Roosevelt Hotel)
7000 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028

Just look at the bun…

There’s No Reading In This Library

Because all the studying necessary for a good time has been taken care of by the man behind the bar.

This much is true: If you’ve ever had a basil tree garnish in your Bloody Mary, it’s highly doubtful you’d ever want to go back to a celery stalk. Ever. Because who wouldn’t choose a fragrant drink, if one had the choice? I took that as one sure sign of the establishment’s passion for fresh ingredients and the value placed on using them. Matt Biancaniello – the resident mixologist of The Library Bar inside the Roosevelt Hotel – is no stranger to that concept for starters and what’s more, he revealed to us that he goes to the Farmer’s Market 5 times a week! Now that’s fresh.

I had the privilege of joining Caroline on Crack and Neil of Food Marathon for a hosted tasting. We had everything from the mojito to bourbon cocktails and even – yes – the bloody mary as above. And I could really taste the freshness in each drink and all the attention to detail in Matt’s passion for mixology. It was great to sense the energy with which he described his own creative processes in concocting each drink. This is a good thing – since it IS The Roosevelt and the cost of a drink at this gem will set you back $15 each.

Continue reading