The Happy Hour at Harlowe

Two Trios of Oysters (Half-dozen = $10)

Bar Harlowe has been open for four months, now, and has become my favorite bar of the 1933 Group. It’s easy to see why, when Harlowe’s cocktail menu with housemade elixirs and modern techniques was designed by Dushan Zaric, Chris Amirault (recently named one of Zagat’s 30 Under 30) and Kyle Ackley.

Continue reading

Beyond Celebrity Sushi Rolls: Omakase at Hamasaku is Top Notch

Kuromutsu Sushi Topped with Shirako

Hamasaku is a Westside strip-mall sushi joint, its designation as such not lost on the many regulars who have gone for a particular sushi experience for a number of years. There’s a menu full of celebrity rolls – that is, name-saken sushi rolls with ingredient combinations made up by celebrities – and it is this menu on which Hamasaku has built its reputation. Until recently, that is. Now, you’ll have to specially ask for the celebrity roll menu should you want to order off it.

Continue reading

The Hudson Updates Their Look & Menu

The Hudson

The Hudson has been at the center of many a West Hollywood scene. So when they shuttered over the new year for 3 weeks to renovate their interior, they had in mind to update the feel of the place – without doing so much as to disrupt the reasons their patrons have become regulars. What you’ll feel immediately when you walk in is the added height – 8 feet, to be exact – and a now-exposed, beautiful A-frame ceiling.

Continue reading

BierBeisl Ushers Fresh, Austrian Fare into Beverly Hills

Veal Schnitzel, Lingonberry & Mustard

BierBeisl, a charming little outpost in Beverly Hills serving Austrian food with Austrian, German and Czech draft beers on tap, is founded and helmed by former Patina Chef de Cuisine Bernhard Mairinger. An honoree on Zagat’s recent 30 Under 30 Los Angeles list, Chef Mairinger looks to be realizing his dream of both creating and curating an Austrian restaurant he can call all his own.

Käsekrainer

With his formal culinary training beginning at four-star Austrian Classic Hotel Aichinger at the age of 15, his work took him through hotels in Switzerland and London, then Da Gianni in Germany before landing in Los Angeles at Nick & Stef’s and Patina.

But at BierBeisl, with its modest yet adequate furnishings and finish, it’s clear that 6’7″ Chef Mairinger is happiest in probably the smallest kitchen he’s ever worked in. He brings a refinement to each of his dishes that will debunk the “rich and heavy” stigma people often attach to Austrian food.

The Käsekrainer comes luciously infused with swiss and laid atop tarragon mustard. A fresh grating of horseradish is just the kick needed for this punchy bite. The Veal Schnitzel, fried in clarified butter, was also perfectly breaded and seasoned.

Kaiserschmarrn

And don’t forget the dessert. The Apfelstrudel is so delicate that it could only have been handcut – and made - with enormous care. And if you’ve never had Kaiserschmarrn, BierBiesl would be the place to conduct your initiation. German for “emperor nonsense,” this strictly Austrian treat has such fun texture and flavor (think wet-dry pancake fluff – but better) with which to dip in a delicious plum compot.

BierBeisl also features a schnapps bar – the first that I’ve noticed in L.A. Made from the fermentation of pure fruits at carefully controlled temperatures with no added sugar or fragrances, schnapps is something that Bierbeisl hopes to share with Angelenos through tastings and pairings.

There are a lot of other things I’ve yet to try – including pairings – at BierBeisl. Beer and sausage tastings are available: 3 course + 3 beers for $32 or 5 course + 5 beers for $42. Bratwurst, Weisswurst, Polish, Wiener, Bier Cabanossi are the classic sausage offerings on the menu, whereas Stiegl is the Austrian beer on tap currently.

Also, with late closing times – especially in comparison with its upscale retail environment – BierBeisl looks to be a destination for late night chef grub and post-Troubadour concert fare. It’s a welcome upstart to a neighborhood that can benefit from a varied, younger energy – unrelated to a certain cupcake ATM, that is.

All food and drink were hosted.

Center map
Traffic
Bicycling
Transit

Mon – Tue, Thu – Fri

12 PM – 12 AM

Closed Wednesdays

Saturday

5 PM – 1 AM

Sunday is reservation only

Bierbeisl
9669 S. Santa Monica Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA
310.271.7274

Healthful, Conscientious Pan-Asian at Fresh East Is Actually Delicious

Emperor's Lamb ($12.95)

Good Chinese, Indian and other Asian food is known to be sourced from the dirtiest, rudest hole-in-the-wall shops around town – especially east of our Metropolis off the 10 and 60 freeways. I can put it this way:  There were plenty of great reasons to visit my aunt who lived in West Covina for those two years, and they were all within a two-mile radius around the house she later flipped.

Spicy Garlic Noodles ($8.25)

There’s usually a direct relationship between taste and MSG in Asian food, however. It’s just one of those known facts, along with the cost-effectiveness of an often cash-only operation – and a lot of these Mom and Pop shops using styrofoam and other unrecyclable products and just plain being un-green.

Fresheast is the first known-to-me Pan-Asian place that integrates an Eco-conscientious (organic when they can) business model into actually delicious food. No MSG is in their recipes, all their sauces are made in-house and their plates are made from recycled, bio-degradable palm fronds. As for your side, you can choose from white rice, brown rice, quinoa or greens.

Interior

The best part of all of this is that they’re Midtown Lunch LA price point-friendly (that is, under $10). To start, anyway (sorry, Zach, you’ll have to drink water). They also have beer and wine on their menu, so you can wash down your Jidori Chicken with some Singha or Fess Parker Pinot Noir. And there’s free parking. In West Hollywood. And there’s energy outlets! And wifi! Talk about blogger-friendly.

My favorite dish was definitely the Emperor’s Lamb, which really impressed me in that there was little-to-no gamey taste. Their Jidori Chicken was also solid and had really good flavor. The Spicy Garlic Noodles were so-so, but nothing extraordinary. It seems that for the most part, they’ve been able to hone in on the right recipes, creating dishes that utilize fresh and made-in-house ingredients while keeping the price point fairly low.

I also loved the Fresheast juice, which was a great, natural energy drink made with beets, kale, apples and other ingredients. Feel like coconut? They got them. And don’t forget dessert. Their sorbet flavors are potent yet fluffy – I loved the mango!

So try it out. You won’t get that MSG hangover or icky feeling you typically get after consuming bad-for-you Chinese. And if you’re looking to get some work done, you might as well bring your laptop, too.

All food, wine and beer were hosted.

Center map
Traffic
Bicycling
Transit

Open daily, 11 AM – 10 PM

Happy Hour: 4 – 7 PM daily
Get 50% off wine and beer with food purchase

Free parking, energy outlets and wifi

Menu

Fresheast
8951 Santa Monica Blvd- Suite G1
West Hollywood, CA 90069
310.859.9989

Being Roused By Bon Iver at Hollywood Forever

It’s always the people from out of town who think it’s weird there are movie screenings in a cemetery. Oh you know, those L.A. hippy folk are always up to their crazy ways, up to no good. On the other hand, if you’ve been here awhile, it’s old news or – even if it actually weren’t – you had heard about the screenings and that they were really cool so you just acted like it was old news the only way hipsters in skinny jeans could. Oh yeah, been there – done that.

I myself had the Hollywood Forever routine down. I brought my layers of blankets and sleeping bags, my food and wine – ready to lay down on a damp lawn. In true fashion, we even lined up in between velvet wood stakes and plastic tape to get in. Mozza 2 Go in tow (mortadella sandwich, burrata pizza special and butterscotch budino, thankyouverymuch) we set up in the same area and pretty much in the same manner as for a screening. The 1 AM arrival time, however, was a deviation. And instead of preparing to feast or snack, all entrants prepared for slumber. People set up little kumbaya circles with tea lights in the center while we crawled inside our sleeping bags and zipped up, separating ourselves from the lawn and the mist. I never got to have sleepovers like this when I was a kid. I believe it was then when I was scared of cemeteries.

We’re all grown-up now. And what happens at grown-up sleepovers, apparently, is screenings of one Wes Andersen movie and one documentary (Bottle Rocket and Planet Earth) with the sound turned down a notch. DJ sets by Bon Iver came between the movies and a night-long coffee bar was available a few yards away. Apparently, there are still face paintings at grown-up sleepovers. But probably the most remarkable thing that happens at grown-up sleepovers is waking in said cemetery to the chants of Buddhist monks. Since generally cranky when waking from naps, I was halfway between thinking that spirit-filled monotone was the coolest thing in the world to wanting them to shut up. I sat up a bit, groggy, and finally noticed there was a stage set up to the right of the Masonic Lodge. And then I saw a spotlight upon four dudes in the dark before the dawn - their complexions only fellow Wisconsinites could understand. The red-tinged hair, beards and Justin Vernon’s sweet, quaint and perfectly harmonized voice carried through the fog so serenely over subtle syncopations – nowhere else, no other time in Hollywood would I ever feel the simple beauty of the woods of Wisconsin ever again. I held on.

Continue reading