The Elements of Alimento

9 Dec

Alimento in Silverlake is one of the most talked about restaurants in Los Angeles right now. It is 1000 square feet of dimly lit space brandished with a scarlet A barely viewable on Silverlake Blvd.

Although I feel like I’m last to get on the party bus for this one, I almost wish I had never read the reviews and had tried what I thought sounded best on this rustic Italian menu, instead of eating what everyone else was.

That being said, here are my favorite elements of Alimento, but feel free stop reading now if you’d rather not taste my opinions.

 

Chicken Liver Crostone with black plum mostarda

I didn’t know what black plum mostarda was, but now I wish they bottled it! A deliciously savage plate with more than enough for two, but you might be fighting over the last crostone.

Crostone

Pig in a Blanket

I can only think this made it’s way on to the menu because it’s a childhood favorite for the Chef, Zachary Pollock. After reading raves I had to include in with my dinner, but honestly I came up feeling like I had just enjoyed some food from the state fair. I wish I had gone with the Roasted Escarole Heart…

Pig

Fusilli cockles with fava leaves, serranos, and smoked butter

Truly inventive and supremely hearty and satisfying.

Fusilli

Money Saving Tip: Looking to booze it up? Bring your own wine and uncork it for $20.

Overall, I enjoyed the simplicity of the menu offerings and the more than reasonable prices for a space with limited seated and only open for dinner! Also I must give kudos to the social media team for the restaurant, who recommended the daily specials when I said I was coming in that night. Perhaps I should have taken their advice instead of the critics.

Alimento Restaurant in Silverlake

Alimento on Urbanspoon

Cocktails for a Buck!

4 Dec

Prohibition was repealed 81 years ago and cocktails have never been more expensive!!! So for one day only, bars are celebrating by finally giving consumers a break with $1 specials! The following are some places that from 5-7 PM on December 5th will let you pay for your old fashioned cocktails in quarters!

Harlowe
7321 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 9004

Bigfoot Lodge
3172 Los Feliz Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90039

Oldfield’s Liquor Room
10899 Venice Blvd.
West Los Angeles, CA 90034

Thirsty Crow
2939 West Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026

Sassafras
1233 N. Vine Street
Los Angeles, CA 90038

cocktails

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Black Friday Food Deals

26 Nov

If you’re brave enough to fight the crowds on Black Friday then you’ll need some nourishment! Here are my top picks when you’re thinking food over fashion.

The Beverly Center (8 AM-10 PM)

Obica Mozzarella on the first floor of the mall is the perfect addition to an afternoon of shopping. A nice glass of white wine and a burrata is a light option for both your weight and your wallet.

Glendale Galleria (Thursday 6 PM-Friday 10 PM)

I recommend crossing over into The Americana mall across the street to have lunch at Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak. Two lunches are the price of one dinner, and its also the only time you can enjoy a burger on the menu.

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Desert Hills Premium Outlets (Thursday 10 AM-Friday 10 PM)

As this is the mecca of outlet shopping in California, no one really goes to Cabazon for the dining.It would serve you well to be  on the Kate Moss diet while you are here, as you can’t expect much more than a questionable food court at Desert Hills Premium Outlets. If you do plan on eating, I suggest driving about a mile and hitting the restaurant options at Morongo Casino Resort & Spa. Hey you might even win some money for a second round of shopping :)

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Rodeo Drive (10 AM-7 PM)

You’re not going to get a deal on shopping while you’re here, so why not treat yourself to a reasonably priced starch dish at Il Pastaio Restaurant to soften the blow. My favorite is the carnaroli rice with red beets and goat cheese.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

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Pumpkin Spice Everything!

6 Nov

If the fall season had a flavor I think we all could agree it would be pumpkin spice. Although very often there is not a drop of pumpkin in the mix, it still makes me feel all warm and fuzzy about the goard.

If you’re half as excited as me about this magical time of year, then here are some place in LA where you can spice up the season!

Pumpkin & Spice Latte Donut

Courtesy of Plan Check Kitchen & Bar and Executive Chef Ernesto Uchimura these crullers made with spiced sugar, whipped candied pumpkin, cold brew coffee pastry cream, and whipped cream make cronuts seem tame.

Pumpkin & Spice Latte Donut

Pumpkin Sage Ravioli

If you’re looking to enjoy the savory side of pumpkin, The Pumpkin Sage Ravioli  from Fig &  Olive will make your mouth water. This seasonal dish is made with free-range chicken, ricotta and charmoula, pumpkin olive oil emulsion, and topped with toasted pumpkin seeds.

Pumpkin & Sage Ravioli

Pumpkin Pizza

Paul Hibler’s Pitfire Artisan Pizza has brought back their infamous pumpkin pizza for the holidays made with roast pumpkin, sage, greens, fontina, brown butter, pumpkin seeds & oil.

Pumpkin PIzza

Pumpkin Gelato Beer Floats

Perhaps the most inventive pumpkin beer combination, Soleto Trattoria & Pizza Bar is pouring up Pumpkin Gelato Beer Floats, made with rich pumpkin gelato and Lagunitas IPA.

Pumpkin Beer Float

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Lastly, I must pay homage to the 380 calorie drink from Starbucks that started the craze 10 years ago. It might not have a drop of pumpkin in it…but caramel color IV latte just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

pumpkin spice latte

 

Plan Check Kitchen + Bar on Urbanspoon

Last Minute Halloween Haunts

31 Oct

All dressed up and no place to go? Here’s a list of some LA Halloween spots where no reservations are required!

Bigfoot West 

Westsiders can enjoy tarot card readings, live music, and a costume contest where the prizes will get you free drinks at this Venice hotspot from 9:30 Pm-2:00 AM.

Big

West Hollywood’s Halloween Costume Carnival 

Called the the largest Halloween street party in the world, this Halloween festival brings an average of 500,000 people to the streets of West Hollywood for the ultimate runway walk-off. Better have your blue-steel face ready! Lisa Vanderpump of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills will be there to crown the queen of the carnival! The party begins at 6 PM and goes until last man standing.

halloween-crowd

Sassafras

If you’re in Hollywood and aren’t feeling the nightclub scene, then head to Sassasfras for the spirit and voodoo of New Orleans. Beginning at 9:30 PM there will be voodoo punch, live blues, and a halloween costume contest where the prizes are for bar tabs. Keep your eye open for the little girl riding the alligator.

Sassafras Saloon   

Sassafras on Urbanspoon

The Federal Bar’s Noho Monster Bash

This party in North Hollywood starts at 9 PM and although tickets are already sold out, they are $20 at the door, so arrive early (Happy Hour is from 3-6 PM so just get comfortable) and make sure you’re wearing a costume. There will be live music, contortionists, and special acts every 30 minutes. The Special acts portion is not defined, but you’re in North Hollywood, so I would count on seeing performances by some out of work actors. Perhaps the scariest thing of all!

Happy Halloween!!!!

Federal Bar North Hollywood

One-Night-Stand

 

 

A Piece of Prime Real Estate

29 Oct Ocean Prime Outside

What makes Ocean Prime different than any other surf & turf restaurant in Beverly Hills? The heightened sense of retail fantasy life that comes from having dinner while looking at Barney’s.

Barney's

The Ocean Prime franchise has landed in Beverly Hills, and if you’ve never heard of it don’t worry, that just means you’re not from Ohio. This will be the first location to open on the West Coast and will be offering an experience unique to Beverly Hills as the only location serving sushi and with a focus on California wines.

Camden Roll

Sushi named for Camden Drive made with Tempura Shrimp, Cream Cheese, Scallion, and Beef Carpaccio

Personally I don’t come for sushi when the head chef is Matthew Brigggs from Mastro’s so I was eager for some of the menu’s more classic supper club options. The Surf & Turf is in a category all it’s own.

 

You know the mark of a good restaurant group when 10% of the local staff is willing to relocate for the improvement of the business. But then again, Cameron Mitchell is sending them to Beverly Hills, and then New York City in 2015. Not a bad gig!

Ocean Prime Outside

Get TabbedOut

30 Sep 20140928_153939

This weekend I got to experience a great new way to pay your tab when you’re out and about! It’s a huge hit in Texas and is making it’s way West with a run at about 25 restaurants and counting!

Who this is great for:

1. Girls who like to carry as possible. Cellphone is all you need, and an ID if your blessed with young features like myself :)

2. Guys who lose their wallets every time they go out!

3. Girls and Guys who constantly question if the bartender is putting extra drinks on their tab–because you can watch the bill in real time!

I tried it out at Barney’s Beanery in Pasadena and with just the mention of Tabbed Out my bill was transferred to my cell-phone and I was free to leave whenever I wanted! Plus there is a tip calculator so if you’re a little too tipsy to be intelligent, TabbedOut will take care of the basic math involved with a night out.

All in all, the perfect accessory for your dining needs!

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5 LA restaurants where it pays to eat at the bar

25 Sep Winston Churchill Quote

Have you ever found yourself hungry at “Linner time?” That magic hour when it’s too late for lunch and too early for dinner? When this happens to you consider eating your meal at the bar, where you’ll get the same great food, possibly better service, and a much cheaper bill!

1. Cecconi’s

This has been a West Hollywood staple for great Venetian Italian food since 2009, and usually you can enjoy a celebrity sighting with your Bellini. They are open for breakfast, lunch, dinner-and offer a terrific happy hour from 4-7 pm that includes weekends! Everything is priced at 4-7 dollars, with the exception of the pasta-which was 13, but worth the extra!

Cecconi's on Urbanspoon

2. Fleming’s

While it’s not Maestro’s, they make a good piece of meat, and the Beverly Hills location offers that broody ambiance you long for in a steakhouse. Head over to their bar seating where you can enjoy not one but TWO happy hours! The early bird specials feature 5 items for $6 until 7 including many $5 dollar cocktails and wine specials. While the late seating offers 8 dishes for $9 until 10 pm including items like Lobster Lettuce Wraps and Filet Mignon Flatbread. I think we can both agree that the best plan of attack would be to stick to liquids until 8 pm…

Filet Mignon Flatbread

Fleming's Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

3. Scarpetta

Warning. This should only be tried after you’ve had the proper night out.  Dinner at Scarpetta when the clock strikes 9 PM is usually the signature LA experience for tourists and residents alike who choose to visit the Montage Hotel before their drive in to Hollywood. So when you’re done being hip and trendy, try eating dinner when the sun is out, and enjoy signature cocktails for $9 dollars instead of $16 even on the weekend! There is plenty of table seating in the bar area, so you can actually face the people you came with while you gently twirl thick pieces of the best spaghetti of your life on to your forks.

Spaghetti

Scarpetta on Urbanspoon

4. Katsuya

Katsuya in Glendale is offering a new happy hour Monday through Friday from 3-7pm, which is perfect if you’re unemployed…but then again you probably shouldn’t be spending your last dollar on a tuna roll. If you do decide that you prefer ramen over rent, then you can enjoy the crispy rice original roll for $8 dollars, and a signature Katsuya Fresh Cocktail for $7 along with many other menu items. All kidding aside, a happy hour past 6 PM is something all walks of life can smile about.

Spicy Tuna

Katsuya on Urbanspoon

5. The Churchill

This Gastropub on West 3rd street has one-upped Katsuya by offering the same happy hour from 3-7 PM, but every day of the week! Their menu offers $4 well drinks, featured beers and wines, and a selection of lower priced bar bites hovering around $8 instead of $12.

Although I’m not sure if The Churchill was named for Winston, these words sometimes attributed to him best sum up my idea of bar dining: “Gentlemen, we’ve run out of money, now we have to think”. That is to say, don’t ever let a lack of funds keep you from having a fabulous night out!

The Churchill on Urbanspoon

 

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Hot Sammies in the City

22 Sep

While most parts of the United States enjoy a change of seasons for Fall, in L.A. we can rejoice in a change of sandwiches!

I had the pleasure of sampling some of the new Fall sandwiches that Mendocino Farms will be serving up this season, and I can assure diners we will be satisfied until winter!

Don’t let the 8 locations fool you, Mendocino Farms is far from a chain restaurant! Founder Mario del Pero and Executive Chef Judy Han have kept the local spirit alive by only using fresh ingredients from local farms. Case in point,  the Save Drake Farm’s Salad, named for Dr. Dan’s farm that was revitalized thanks to goat-cheese obsessed Mendocino Farms customers.

Save Drake's Farm Salad

For Fall Mendo-lovers can enjoy the carnivorous side of things with a Smoked Turkey Romesco on Pretzel bread and a Peruvian Steak Sandwich on a torta bun as the seasonal specials. All the bread comes from Drago Bakery, the turkey is house smoked, and all sammies are made to order.

House Smoked Turkey Sandwichsammie

If meat isn’t your thing then I recommend the Vegan Banh Mi with Maggi marinated pressed tofu on a panini grilled ciabatta.

Vegan Banh Mi

Lastly no midday Mendo would be complete without an accompanying deli side. And with 5 different varieties every day there’s no reason you can’t visit Mendocino Farms more than once a week!

Pasta Shells with Feta  Deli Side from Mendocino Farms

 

Mendocino Farms on Urbanspoon

Brunch with a Conscience

12 Sep "chicken" and waffles

While you’re scratching your head to find a good brunch you’ve never been to for this weekend, consider one that makes you feel a little less guilty.

Crossroads by Chef Tal Ronnen on Melrose Avenue in Santa Monica offers vegan alternatives to your favorite brunch items, and I dare you taste the difference!

The Bloody Mary Cart

Sunday isn’t proper without a Bloody Mary, and at Crossroads they are made table-side with about every pickled substance you can imagine.

Bloody Mary Cart

Chicken and Waffles

A perfect blend of sweet and savory, and with “chicken” that tastes just like the real thing, served with a maple hot sauce, instead of just plain syrup.

chicken and waffles

Oven Roasted Herb Fingerling Potatoes 

Oh and did I mention they’re gluten free?

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Crossroads Benedict 

If Chicken and Waffles are too sweet for you, then head to the savory side of the street with some Eggs Benny. Made with herb chickpea panisse and shitake bacon tomato hollandaise, they are another example of some expert wizardry in the kitchen by executive chef Scot Jones.

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Crossroads is breaking the glass ceiling of Vegan dining while simultaneously taking the upscale brunch scene by storm. While I won’t be giving up meat anytime soon, it’s good to know it can be done without sacrificing taste…just many tomatoes!

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Crossroads on Urbanspoon

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