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!

20140928_153939

 

 

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

 

churchill-quote

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?

IMG_1263

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.

IMG_1262

 

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!

IMG_1261

 

Crossroads on Urbanspoon

LA Food and Wine Festival, four days later, why we keep going back.

27 Aug Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival

As one food festival closes and another one is about to begin (The Taste at Paramount Studios) you have to ask yourself why do we keep going to the gorge-fests?

Yes of course you can attend and taste the chef’s you know never miss a beat like Scott Conant (Scarpetta) and David LeFevre (Fishing with Dynamite)…but the real reason I go is to taste that thing that I’ve never heard of from the chef you’ll be hearing about at festivals to come.

Here are my highlights from two events at this year’s Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival that helped shape my pallet for the rest of 2014!

Champagne & Caviar

I Heart Champagne & Caviar at L’Ermitage epitomized decadence for me on Friday night, all beginning at the door as I was knighted with a caviar spoon around my neck and a champagne flute in my hand!

Unfortunately digging right into the caviar was not encouraged, but don’t put it past Beverly Hills folks to be serving themselves the minute the chef turned his back…

Chef Mirko Paderno

Chef Mirko Paderno of Oliverio

My favorite bite of the night, personal caviar tins lined with crudo from Matthew Accarrino from SPQR in San Francisco.

Matthew Accarrino of SPQR

Matthew Accarrino of SPQR

Sip I most looked forward to but wasn’t completely blown away by…Louis Roederer. Pass me the Perrier-Jouët  any day. 

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A taste from the host, Sang Yoon and his Lobster Bahn Mi

Lobster Bahn Mi

Saturday at The Lexus Grand Tasting was a whirlwind of delights, which included 45 minutes of standing in line  purely because of the rumors swirling around that something fantastic was happening. Blame it on the FOMO, but there I was like a lemming, and happy to say I was not disappointed.

The Chef who caused all that fuss,Chef Pawan Mahendro of Badmaash.

The Chef who caused all that fuss,Chef Pawan Mahendro of Badmaash.

Also noteable: Bernhard Mairinger, of  BierBeisl who helped stir up the love of Austrian food I never knew I had with a piece of crispy pork and a smile :)

chef-bernhard

So why go..year after year and weekend after weekend… to stand in line, and wear a wine glass around your neck?

Because you never know where you next religious food experience will come from…and it just might be from a lamb burger with a picture of Gandhi wearing sunglasses on it!

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If you can only go to ONE Los Angeles Food and Wine Event….

19 Aug Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival

…then go to the one that lasts all day!!!!!

The Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival is in its 4th year and kicks off in a mere 24 hours! Tickets to many events are still available, but at an average of $150 dollars each you might have to pick your battles.

My suggestion is to stick to the tent-pole events: Ultimate Bites of L.A.The Lexus Grand Tasting & Asian Night Market. However if you are lucky enough to afford one more then make it something that makes you feel spoiled, which for me is always Champagne & Caviar :)

Lexus Grand Tasting

I choose this event because it is $150 versus $195 and takes place in the sunny daylight hours of 12-3 PM, on both Saturday and Sunday. Each day features different chef’s to taste so you could potentially attend both days to really get a sense of what is worth eating, even outside L.A. If you’ve read my previous posts you know about the transformative experience I had with a certain chef from Big Sur, California at last year’s event…

john

 I Heart Champagne & Caviar

I’m almost certain this event is a preview of what heaven will be like: a diet of Champagne & Caviar on a rooftop in Beverly Hills. Chef Sang Yoon of Lukshon in Culver City is hosting this decadent evening of delights along with his friends, Perrier-Jouët & Louis Roederer. You will find me in the corner hanging out with both of them :)

This event takes place on Friday August 22nd from 6:30 PM-8:30 PM at L’Ermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills and the cost is $150.

Champagne & Caviar

Tickets are still available by clicking here. The 4th Annual Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival runs from Thursday August 21st-Sunday August 23rd.

Happy Tasting!

Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival

8/22/14, 6:30p – 8:30p
BEVERLY HILLS: Rooftop – L’Ermitage Beverly Hills
Price: $150.00

- See more at: http://www.lafw.com/index.cfm/event-I_Heart_Champagne_Caviar_at_LErmitage_Beverly_Hills_presented_by_California_Caviar_Company_and_Hosted_by_Sang_Yoon_1112.htm#sthash.BPv4piAx.dpuf

National Filet Mignon Day!

13 Aug

It’s August 13th 2014, which means of course that it’s National Filet Mignon Day!

Don’t worry if you forgot the holiday because luckily for you there are still places you can celebrate!

Firefly in Studio City is honoring one of their most celebrated dishes and recognizing National Filet Mignon Day with a throwback deal and a new Chef!

Executive Chef Paul Shoemaker (French Laundry, Water Grill, and Providence) is bringing his culinary talents and understanding of traditional California cuisine to the Valley as the new Executive chef of Firefly.

Now on to the “meat” of this post :)

Follow the steps below to earn yourself a Filet Mignon Entree for only $16.

1. Make a Reservation at Firefly in Studio City
2. Spend the time before your reservation to look around and take a photo that relates to Firefly. Next promptly instagram it to @FireflyStudioCity with the hashtag #waybackwednesday
3. Show the server the fabulous photo you took
4. Receive a Filet Mignon entrée for $16 (on August 13 only)

 

National Filet Mignon Day

 

Firefly on Urbanspoon

Win Free Cupcakes for a Year!

9 Aug Pinot & the Cupcake

The Jewel City just got a little shinier because Sprinkles at The Americana Mall in Glendale has officially opened it’s doors!

Sprinkles Cupcakes Glendale

Hours are on average 10 AM-10 PM, but if you get a case of the midnight cupcake cravings there is also a 24-hour cupcake ATM. 

Sprinkles Cupcake ATM

Dogs love it too!! Special dog friendly cupcakes are sugar free and made with special yogurt frosting.

Pinot & the Cupcake

Not sweet enough?…Well now until Tuesday August 12th 50 cupcakes will contain golden tickets for prizes including $250 gift cards! At about $4 a cupcake, that is just enough to get your 365 day fix!

Caroline & Pinot

Unfortunately I didn’t get one :(…but that only means more chances for you!

Caroline and no Cupcake

 

Sprinkles Cupcakes

889 Americana Way
Glendale, CA 91210

 

How you can help save the world, and taste six chefs, all in one night!

8 Aug Taco

If you have been thinking to yourself that you would like to do more to help others while also eating well , then I have found the charity event for you!!

Dinner Lab Los Angeles is an exclusive members-only club that pairs undiscovered chefs with explorative diners, and on August 14th you can be one of them!

With Love to Mexico is an event created by Chef Francisco Guzman whose goal is to help bring awareness to the rampant drug cartels and their impact on the Mexican community. The evening will feature cuisine from some of L.A.’s top chefs who will be creating dishes from the six most affected regions in Mexico with all proceeds going to Mexico Unido.

To eliminate any guesswork, I have included the list of chef’s along with a menu below.

For more information on how you can give some Love to Mexico, feel free to message me or click here!

1Yucatan Meridia (Gilberto Cetina from Chichen Itza)
Tacos de Pulpo: braised octopus | calamari ink sauce | pickled chiles | handmade tortilla

2Oaxaca (Matt Dhillon from Fattoria Del Vicario Culinary Institute)
Masa Harina Empanada de Pollo: aguacate crema | smoked queso | asaderoa

3Nayarit (Phillip Franklin Lee from Scratch Bar)
Oyster Zarandeado: preserved papaya | smoked sugar cane | ancho chilli

4Morelia Michoacan (Francisco Guzman from Scratch Bar)
Uchepo: chorizo carmel | jocoque | raja mostrada

5Jalisco (Jason Fullilove from Malibu Pier Restaurant)
Love Braised Birria: crispy red rice cake | grilled corn purée | pickled red onions

6Puebla (Ryan Turner from City Tavern)
Mole Panna Cotta: cured pineapple | chapulin brittle

taco

 

 

 

 

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