Eat More Pay Less-5 Meals under $10 in LA

22 Jul

While some skeptics might be claiming that we’re losing the LA dining scene to the $100 prix fixe menu, there are still a few places you can get your fix for about $5. Here is a list of some of my favorites!
5. Chego 

From the father of the food truck movement, Roi Choi, comes his restaurant with seats in Downtown LA. Diners can enjoy Kimchi Spam Bowls for 8$ ,and his famous Beer Battered Ooey Gooey Fries for only $6.

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4. Pink’s Hot Dog

An institution since 1939 with a chili dog still available for $3.85. Come with a bag of nickels to count while you’re there to help you pass the time you’ll spend waiting in line.

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3. Ink.Sack 

Pop into Michael Voltaggio’s Ink Jr. for a unbelievably reasonably priced “sando” My two favorites are the the jose andres, aka “the spanish godfather” made with ham, tomato, chorizo, and manchego for $6, and the cold fried chicken for $5.

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2. Porto’s Bakery

Although technically not in LA, this Valley favorite is worth the drive to get some spectacular Cuban food. A freshly pressed Media Noche sandwich will only set you back $4.25-which is about the price of the gas it will take to get to Burbank or Glendale.

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1. In-N-Out Burger

No list would be complete without a burger from In-and-Out. My personal favorite being  a cheeseburger “animal style” off their not so secret menu. If you really want to keep the bill down, skip the fries, which are a little too timid for my taste. Your total cost will still be under $3 even after a recent 10 cent price hike!

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Pink's Hot Dogs on Urbanspoon

The Top 3 ways to make the most out of Dine LA this Year.

10 Jul

Dine LA  kicks off this coming Monday July 14th, and with meals ranging from $15-45, it’s easy to get carried away. Here are my top 3 tips for navigating the prefixes!

1. Analyze why you want to go to a particular restaurant in the first place. If you’ve been dying to go to Boa to have a steak, make sure steak is actually on the menu. This year for example Entrée choices include a Kobe Brisket Sandwich, Chicken Pallard, and a Penne pasta, so unless you are going for the people watching, it might be best to find another spot.


2. Have lunch instead of dinner. The prices for lunch range from $15-$25, and usually the food is identical to the dinner menu, but maybe without a desert.

3. Don’t let those prices pull the wool over your wallet! Yes DineLA offers much lower prices than you might get during a normal night out, but if your $45 dollar dinner pre-fixe begins with the house salad, and moves on to the basic chicken, then you might want to skip the pre-fixe and just order a-la-carte.

That being said here are few places to get the most dime in your dine!
Piccolo Venice-5 courses for $45 dollars to have some of the best pasta in the city

• Wolfgang Puck at the Hotel Bel Air for unheard of prices; $25 for lunch and $45 for dinner. When a 4 course lunch costs the same as your valet ticket…you know you found a good one.


• Rivabella for a $25 for a 3 course lunch, offering their famous Lasagne Nonna Elvira, which costs $20 by itself.

• Fig and Olive for either $25 or $45. Superior value and a plethora of choices. And a place where I would recommend you have the chicken :)

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Rivabella on Urbanspoon

5 Best Places for Fireworks in the Sky and in your Mouth!

2 Jul hollywood-bowl_24_570x559

Here is my list of the 5 best places to watch fireworks on the 4th of July and what to Eat when you’re there!

5. Grand Park

Celebrate July 4th starting at 4 PM with the largest block party and biggest rooftop fireworks display in Downtown LA. Best of all it’s free! Worst of all there is no alcohol allowed. So go late, watch the fireworks at 9, and then head out to a spectacular dinner at Patina with all the money you’ve saved.

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4. Rose Bowl Stadium 

Starting at 2 pm you can be part of “Americafest”, the largest fireworks show in Southern California. Ironically the headline band is a British Beatles cover group…but that doesn’t mean you still can’t feel patriotic! My suggestion for great afternoon, pick up some sammies from The Oinkster in Eagle Rock and bring some suds to tailgate with.

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3. Marina del Rey

The fireworks in Marina Del Rey begin at 9 PM, which gives you ample time to have a three course Americana inspired meal at Cafe del Rey. They will be offering seating at 5:00 PM and 7:00 PM, for $60 dollars and $80 respectively, $80 dollars you can watch the fireworks directly from your table…or spend $60 and linger around your car :)

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2. Hotel Irwin

For one of the best views on the west-side, head over to the High Rooftop Lounge at the Hotel Irwin for a great view of the fireworks from the only rooftop bar in Venice. While you’re there you can enjoy a array burgers and bites from Barlo Kitchen & Bar Downstairs.

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1. Hollywood Bowl

Perhaps I’m partial, but in my opinion there is no better show than the fireworks at the Hollywood Bowl, especially because you eat and drink in the comfort of your own seats! Tickets are still available to this year’s fireworks extravaganza with Steve Martin and many more!! Too lazy to pack a meal, then enjoy something from The Public Kitchen & Bar at the Roosevelt Hotel before or after the show.

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Barlo on Urbanspoon

It’s Street Food Saturday!!

28 Jun

If you’re looking for a great place to be outside and eating today then head over to Pasadena for the fifth annual LA Street Food Fest at The Rose Bowl!

General admission tickets are $55 dollars, and VIP are $80, but I’ve been told this year will offer more VIP offerings then ever, so it might be a good time to spend the extra dough. You are guaranteed an extra hour of just VIP time plus plenty of spots to sit and relax.

What I’m most looking forward to trying on this hot summer day? A Churro Ice Cream Sammy from Churro Borough!

Also fun and exciting on this Saturday is the every popular Tacolandia courtesy of LA Weekly happening in Downtown LA. General admission tickets are $30 dollars while VIP is $50 but that includes 5 drink tickets and a gift bag!

Worried that both events are already sold out?!! Go to craigslist, where tickets are still available from your friendly neighborhood scalper.

Then just promise yourself you will plan ahead next year.

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Bobby London is taking you out Saturday Night

21 Jun bobby

Bobby London is a great place to start or end your hangover. While it might still be getting its bearings, overall the food tastes like it was made for drunks who can’t tell the difference.

That being said this restaurant is PERFECT for those who find themselves in Koreatown at 10 PM and don’t want Korean Food, which has happened to everyone at least once or twice right? :)

Old Fashioned: When I went they did not have a drink menu, but that only means you can order whatever your heart desires, which for me was an Old Fashioned

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Caramelized Brussels Sprouts :A little too sweet for my taste, but worth getting to balance out the rest of savory dishes you’re about to order

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Beef Sliders: Sweet Onion, Tomato Jam, Bacon, Havarti…delicious

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Pastrami Sandwich: Only in someone’s wildest inebriated dreams do you actually get a pastrami sandwich for the midnight munchies, a nice touch.

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French Fries: Only $4 dollars, you sort of have to…

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Nutella Balls: Unfortunately the superb combination of ingredients;Peanut Butter, Banana, Chocolate, and Caramel were not enough to make this taste good, but it looks nice on the table

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Overall this is a fun small plates restaurant opened till 2 am. and with a kitchen that stays open until 11 PM on weekends. So if you find yourself stumbling around Koreatown tonight, know that you always have a friend in Bobby London.

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Bobby London on Urbanspoon

Places to tell Dad-the first one’s on me!

14 Jun dads-n-daughters

Father’s Day is tomorrow, so what better way to show dad your gratitude then by finally offering to pay the check.

Here are few places making it even easier for you to look like a baller (the first drink is free!)

 

Harlowe

Take dad back to Hollywood’s Golden Age with a drink from renown mixologist Dushan Zaric and food by Eric Greenspan.

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 The Thirsty Crow 

If your dad is a whisky man then head over to the Thirsty Crow for…a Thirsty Crow!  Made with old overholt rye whiskey, maraschino cherries, lemon, ginger beer, and a touch of magic (magic is actually listed as an ingredient :)

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Sassafras 

Let dad be a mixologist for a day and teach him to build a buck at Sassafras. It starts with fresh lime, plus your choice of spirit, and choice of homemade ginger beer.

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Bigfoot Lodge

If your dad is the outdoorsy type then take him to this Los Feliz favorite for a Roasted ‘shmella. Made with Bacardi rum, Fernet Branca, and a roasted up marshmallow it’s like a night around the camp-fire without the work.

Perfect for busy dad’s and daughter’s alike :)

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Sassafras on Urbanspoon

The Smoke from Bourbon Steak

2 Jun

Michael Mina’s newest extension of his Bourbon Steak franchise has landed at the Americana Mall. I recently visited to see if there was any fire behind the smoke billowing around Glendale.

Exterior

As this is my neighborhood I watched the facade come up brick by brick on the corner of Broadway and Colorado. The finished product makes you want to do nothing but go inside!

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Interior

Unfortunately it is not as “rat-pack” as I had hoped inside, but give me live music and I can let the lack of leather booths go for a night.

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The Freebees

The bread and duck fat fries that come at the start of every meal are reason to stay for the $60 steak

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The Apps

Duck Spring Rolls might not be what you would expect from a traditional steakhouse, but it is one of the most popular menu items at this location. Were we in Bourbon Steak D.C, I would have ordered the Fois Gras Terrine.

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The Meat

Although tempted by the tomahawk rib-eye, my husband and I split the porterhouse for two. Which is more than enough for three, but we Americans are excessive after all.

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The Sides

Does Truffle Mac & Cheese count as a vegetable? Well it should! If you’re trying to keep it on the leaner side then your best option is the Roasted Cauliflower as the running theme of Michael Mina’s side dishes is to start with cream.

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The End

There is no better way to top off an evening of indulgent carnivorism then with a A Bourbon Flight smoked table-side.

Just don’t try this at home…or you might end up with a small fire and series of  forever charred glasses.

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Bourbon Steak on Urbanspoon

A trip to Sierra Mar

31 May

When Chef John Cox handed me an oyster at The LA Food and Wine festival   last year, I took it as a personal invitation to dine at his restaurant Sierra Mar inside The Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, California. And so began our weekend adventure to his steel treehouse in the sky.

Saturday

The trip began with a night in San Francisco and a visit to Una Pizza Napoletana  for Chef Anthony Mangieri’s  purist pizza. All the dough is handmade by himself and only served 4 days a week for a few hours in the evening. It’s sort of a cooking in the round experience as the chef does everything right in front of you. I ordered a Bianca pizza and can attest it is worth the wait in line to be whisked off to Naples on a carpet made of dough. Here is an insider’s tip: Go at 5 PM. That is when the restaurant opens and so the line is minimal. The door is right outside a bus stop though so be ready for the line jumpers (yes ladies we saw you…).

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Sunday

Armed with bags of Yank Sing to Go, my husband and I began the 2 hour drive from San Francisco to our hotel near Monterey. We decided to take the “scenic” route and so vowed never to stray from the PCH. Another Insider’s tip:the first 2 hours of the drive are a series of long lines of traffic through beach towns will little or no view of the actual beach, so listen to your IPHONE and take the 101.

Yank Sing 2 Go Dim Sum

That being said, as the second hour turned into the third, our desperate search for a restroom began and with it the wonderful discovery of The Bonny Doon Tasting Room! Not only was it an escape from traffic, but for only $10 we got 6 wine tastings and 2 trips to the loo :)

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We arrived at The Centrella Inn with just enough time to change before getting on the road for the final portion of our journey to the Post Ranch Inn. This part of the drive is worth sitting in traffic for and my photos hardly capture the magic.

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Sierra Mar

The driveway up to The Post Ranch Inn is a signal that you are about to experience something fabulous. The entrance to the hotel is restricted to those staying there or eating there, and after we had crossed over to the other side, deer and wilderness awaited us.  A far cry from the wildlife we’re used to in LA.

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Sierra Mar is on the top of the hill where the hotel rests and ladies you best leave your Loubs at home. Three flights of wooden stairs carved into the side of a mountain later…I barely arrived.

The restaurant makes you feel like you are sitting in a glass house over the ocean, and offers some of the best panorama views of the Pacific. There is no bad seat in the house.

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The menu offers 4 courses of seasonal choices, although a 9 course menu is sometimes available if you request it. Hoping to make it down the mountain again, I chose 4.

The Bread

The Bread is a great way to keep yourself from eating the butter with your fingers. The one on the right is made with goat cheese.

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Morro Bay Oysters

Very different from the Oyster that brought me here in the first place, these were topped with a hollandaise and served over pickled onions.

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Buttermilk Fried Quail

Covered in puffed rice, panko, and a dollop of black caviar

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Cauliflower

Served with Quinoa, Almonds, and Popcorn (this was my husbands, and almost too beautiful to eat)

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Oregon Lamb Rack

Served with Barley, Date, in a pomegranate-brown-butter Jus

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A Tasting of Artisanal Cheeses

I have never turned down a cheese plate but after such large portions I had to resist asking for a to-go box to take this back with me. Very good to order if you’re with someone to share it with.

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After Dinner Drinks on the outdoor Patio because we couldn’t resist. The warm scotch more than made up for the cold winds.

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Although I can’t say it was the best food of my life, it ranks among my top foodie journeys.

Beginning with an oyster and ending with a pearl.

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Yank Sing on Urbanspoon

The start of Summer and Craft Beer Season

23 May

Memorial Day Weekend ushers in the start of summer in the southland, and that means a 3 day break bookended by craft beer! Here are a few spots to go for the kickoff and all the days in between.

The Sunset Strip Farmers Market

Although yesterday was the official 1st day of the Farmers Market, it runs every Thursday through September 25th and offers a place to get your craft beer, wine, oh and the occasional tomato or two. Entrance is free and it’s only $15 dollars to sample 6 craft beers!

Zarate Summer 

Looking for a place to spend your long weekend, then take your pick from one of Ricardo Zarate’s many memorial day offerings! Mo-chica will be serving $25 sangria pitchers on both Sunday and Monday and Paiche’s happy hour will be available all day Monday including discounts on wine, cocktails, ceviches, and more. Lastly get your friends together and head to Picca for a $30 punch bowl blended with white and dark rum, Cava, lemon, honey, pineapple juice, and bitters.

Chaya Downtown 

The Tuesday after Memorial Day doesn’t have to mean the party is over, just make your way to Chaya Downtown and enjoy the 4th year of their outdoor summer beer garden which runs through August 29th 2014. A special Kaisen Menu will be introduced featuring the freshest local and Japanese seafood available. $1 oysters will be offered during the week as well as BoozySno-cones and two-tone nama draft beer bocktales.

Here’s to the start of an eclectic summer!

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Mo-Chica on Urbanspoon

A Week in Beverages

16 May IMG_0699

This week has been a scorcher for Southern California so here is a look at my attempt to stay cool during this taste of summer!

MONDAY

Oprah has recently partnered with Starbucks to add some of her wisdom to our morning beverages and I have been drinking it up–literally! Try and not be inspired when you’re looking at this koozie on a Monday Morning!

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TUESDAY

Sadie Kitchen & Lounge celebrated it’s 2nd Anniversary this past Tuesday and all of the Star-chasers were out in full force to help commemorate. After throwing a few punches I was lucky enough to get my hands on one of these most delicious creations by mixologist  Giovanni Martinez-a Kentucky Ninja; made with Scotch, Bourbon, wild honey and bitters lightly misted on the top!

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WEDNESDAY

This week I succeeded at finally getting a Martini at Musso & Frank’s. I’ve lived in L.A. for 8 years and somehow have always found myself at the oldest restaurant in Hollywood when they had their doors shuttered. It might not have been the best martini of my life (sorry Esquire…), but there’s a good chance the bartender is the same one they had in 1919, and he would throw a drink in your face if you called him a mixologist.

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THURSDAY

After a Wednesday Martini night you have to have a Thursday juice bar morning, and did anyone know that Mel’s Diner on Sunset Blvd had one?! I wish I could tell you it cost less than those other juice bars…but my Popeye’s Breakfast tasted better than anything I’ve had at Pressed and only consisted of spinach, apples, kale, and parsley.

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FRIDAY

Nothing says it’s Friday like going to a new bar opening and this Friday, May 16th, it’s all about Harlowe, the 1933 Group’s answer to the modern dilemma-where has old Hollywood glamour gone to? I’m most looking forward to trying a Rye the Long Face-made with Rye Whisky, Honey, lemon, apple cider vinegar, and picked rhubarb “boba” created by famed NYC bartending revolutionary Dushan Zaric.

Cheers, and a toast to a happy weekend, with many more beverages to write about!

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Musso & Frank Grill on Urbanspoon

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