Mommy Eats Out, Little Next Door

20 Jun Little Next Door

French restaurants can be a garden of Eden for most prego’s. A menu of fantastic offerings but with that one section of strictly look don’t bite. Luckily Chef Kevin Luzande, currently moonlighting at Little Next Door, must have known I was coming as I was delighted with new dishes featuring pasteurized cheeses and cooked through meats!

Here are some of the menu items you can expect to see at Little Next Door this season, with more rolling out as the weeks go on.

Mommy Mocktail-A Lychee puree with sparkling water a served in a champagne glass, which for a restaurant that only offers beer and wine was really above and beyond creative

Mocktail at Little Next Door

Beet Salad with creamy goat cheese, savory pistachio granola, mizuna and apple cider vinigrette

Beet Salad from Little Next Door

Country Crouton with brie, mascarpone, glazed apple and candied walnut–and yes the brie was mommy-to-be friendly

Country Crouton Little Next Door

Tuna Tartare with red pepper paste, sesame oil, avocado and blue corn chip–unfortunately off limits for me, except the chips (not pictured), which were tasty enough to make me want to come back for the tuna.

Tuna Tartare at Little Next Door

Spicy Prawns with harissa, labneh, aleppo pepper and pistachio–a triumph of Morrocan/French fusion reminiscent of Chef Luzande’s days at Acabar

Cauliflower Duo of cauliflower puree and caramelized cauliflower–never have two of the same thing tasted so good together

Cauliflower Duo at Little Next Door

Summer Ravioli which I can only describe as heavenly little saucers filled with corn pudding that melt in your mouth thanks to a bath in chanterelle mushrooms, chive blossoms and butter sage

Summer Ravioli

Salmon Risotto with zucchini and basil puree, baby squash, oven-dried tomato and parmesan-a solid dish

Salmon Risotto at Little Next Door

Steak Frites with green peppercorn reduction and pommes frites, generally served medium rare but in this case I stole a few well done bites

Steak Frites at Little Next Door

Dessert is a feast for the senses. Cherry Clafoutis, Pot de Creme, Lemon Tarts, and Must have Macarons

The casual atmosphere at Little Next Door makes you feel like you’re eating at your friend’s house in Provence, assuming your friend also studied at Le Cordon Bleu. The intimate setting with dark corners and low lighting makes a great spot to meet your lover on a Tuesday night, while the sunny outdoor patio provides kid-friendly adult brunches on a Sunday morning.

Meaning, there’s never an excuse not to go.

 

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What does Smokey Robinson Taste Like? #4thofJuly

30 Jun Smokey Robinson at The Hollywood Bowl

Looking for a next level dinner theater experience? The Hollywood Bowl is spicing up their summer season with themed menu offerings from Patina Restaurant Group designed to compliment your concert!

Here’s a look at the 4th of July and beyond at The Hollywood Bowl

Smokey Robinson- July 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, 2015

An array of ‘Smokey’ specials available at Joe’s BBQ and smoker pop-up tent

Baby Back Ribs with jalapeno cornbread, $16

baby-back-ribs-and-cornbread

Pulled Pork Hoagies with baked beans and BBQ sauce, $14

pulled-pork-hoagies-and-beans

Smoked Tri-Tip Sandwiches with coleslaw, $14

Smoked Giant Turkey Legs, $9

Smoke-Roasted Corn on the Cob with “County Fair” style fixin’s (mayo, parmesan, hot sauce, chili powders, lime) $5

Corn, Hollywood Bowl

Romeo & Juliet- July 9, 2015

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet…as the cocktail What’s in a Name, a Rose Water Soju Cocktail available at The Wine Bar $12

TheWineBar at The Hollywood Bowl

Harry Connick Jr.- July 10, 2015

Head to Staccato for New Orleans fare that will bring you that much closer to Harry Connick Jr.

Jambalaya with shrimp, chicken, andouille sausage, and Tasso ham, $22

Jambalaya

Gumbo, $14

Gumbo

Hushpuppies with powdered sugar, $6

Bugs Bunny at the Symphony- 25th Anniversary- August 14&15 2015

Bugs Bunny carrot cake available all over the bowl, $10 per slice

BugsBunnyHollywoodBowl

ET: The Extra Terrestrial- September 4-6, 2015

Available at Staccato, Chocolate “Moon Pie” with caramel dipping sauce, $9

E.T. at The Hollywood Bowl

Hungry for the arts, then don’t delay. Buy your tickets here and Happy 4th of July!

Fireworks at The Hollywood Bowl

This Weekend! Go on a Road Trip without leaving the Parking Lot

12 Jun Culinary Road Trip Road Maps_Photo Credit Kat Goduco

Thrillist’s 1st Annual Culinary Road Trip kicks off tonight at 6 PM at Siren Orange Studios giving foodies the chance to hit 6 cities and 9 restaurants without ever exiting the building.

Rest Stop Snacks_Photo Credit Kat Goduco

Unlike a traditional food fest, this one has guests use a road map to lay out their dining destinations and punch a tollbooth card at each stop (so no going back for seconds :) Those looking for a memento can snap a shot at each stop using the Honda photo-booth with rotating location backdrop.

Honda's Photobooth Shots_Photo Credit Kat Goduco

Here are a few spots that are worth pulling over for.

  • Chicago for Gino’s East Spinach Margherita with spinach, cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella and basil.

Gino's East Spinach Margherita_Photo Credit Girl's Who Eat

  • New England for Luke’s Lobster serving their Maine Lobster Roll in a split-top New England style bun with mayonnaise, butter, lemon and secret seasoning.

Luke's Lobster Lobster Roll_Photo Credit Kat Goduco

  • Portland for Lardo’s Sandwiches serving up their Griddled Mortadella Sandwich with thinly sliced mortadella, provolone, Mama Lil’s peppers and mustard aioli.

Lardo's Sandwiches_Photo Credit Kat Goduco

  • DC for Georgetown Cupcake and their uber rich Red Velvet, Salted Caramel, Peanut Butter Fudge, Lava Fudge, Cookies & Creme, Vanilla Birthday and PB Banana Fudge flavors.

Georgetown Cupcake_2_Photo Credit Kat Goduco

Tickets are still available but don’t wait, or you’ll be hitch-hiking!

Hand of hiker man

 

 

Freebies you donut want to miss

3 Jun homer-simpson-donuts

Friday June 5th is National Donut Day, and this might be one of the best national food holidays on record due to the enormous amount of freebies available! Plus it was actually created to honor a good cause–women who served donuts to soldiers during World War I.

Here are some spots you can hit up before the office and make yourself as happy as this guy:

homer-simpson-donuts

Dunkin’ Donuts in Santa Monica

Score yourself a free donut with the purchase of a beverage, but hey who can’t go for a coolatta at the start of summer.

Dunkin' Donuts

Krispy Kreme Donuts

Not to be outdone by Dunkin’, Krispy Kreme is offering a free donut without a required beverage purchase.

Krispy-Kreme-Four-Original-Glazed-Doughnuts

Kettle Glazed Donuts

Although not official, Kettle Glazed Donuts in Hollywood is throwing around the idea of giving away a free donut. My advice is to try your luck and if you aren’t successful then throw down $3.75 for one of of their croissant style donuts, something you won’t find at Krispy K. or Dunkin’ D.

Croissant Style Donut

Donut Snob

Being considered a snob comes at a price, and in this case it’s a price tag. Although Donut Snob will not be giving away any freebies, they will be celebrating all week with mini donuts–made small to accommodate the large demand.

Donut Snob Mini Donuts

Fōnuts

Yes even the faux are getting in the spirit. This Friday you can enjoy your steamed, baked, vegan, or gluten free for practically free at $2 off the regular price.

fonut

Randy’s Donuts

If you find yourself around LAX then head over to this Los Angeles landmark for free donut holes all day! And since Randy’s never closes you could score yourself one at both the start and finish of it.

Randy's Donuts

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Pick your Picnic

26 May Pop up Picnic Table

Summer is just around the corner which means it’s time to ditch the silver for plastic and enjoy your haute cuisine basket style while at your favorite concert venue.

Here are a few places where it’s just a trendy to eat out of a box!

Patina at the Hollywood Bowl

This year marks Patina’s 16th season collaborating with the bowl and brings with it new menu items from restaurants Café Gratitude and Gracias Madre. Prices range from $69.00-88.00 for a basket for two, but each one has about 4 types of dishes inside. Highlights from The Dandelion ($69) include the honey stung golden fried chicken entree with warm glazed cinnamon rolls. The Sunset ($88) serves a roasted hanger steak with summer vegetables and horseradish cream, and finishes with flourless dark chocolate cake, local raspberries, and chocolate sauce.

Honey Fried Chicken

Marston’s Restaurant

Perfect for the Pasadena Pops Marston’s has a special menu dedicated to just picnic baskets, or for a $3.95 surcharge you can have anything on the regular menu as well. They all come with a beverage, utensils, and dessert and best of all nothing is over $30 dollars. Keep it light with their Vegetarian Picnic Dinner ($23.00) which includes an orzo salad made with kalamata olives, basil, sun-dried tomato and spinach, grilled eggplant, heirloom tomatoes and fresh mozzarella with a pesto vinaigrette, plus fresh berries and a rustic roll.

Vegetarian Picnic

Ray’s & Stark Bar

Every Friday through the end of the summer Ray’s will be offering three course dinners to go as well as picnic baskets to be enjoyed during the Friday night Jazz concerts on the lawn. Prices range from $40-$100 dollars but considering that the concerts are free, this is really one of the best dinner and a show deals around.  The Duke ($40) is all-inclusive of disposable plates, napkins, plastic-wear, bread, and butter while The Louis ($100) is a deluxe luxury basket offering a bottle of wine, real china, a fold-out table, a picnic blanket, and cloth napkins presented in a wicker basket. One more added perk, it’s a dog friendly venue!

Foodlab

Brownie points for affordability, Foodlab in West Hollywood specializes in clean organic eats, and the philosophy extends to the packaging of the Picnic Box.  Each $20 box includes your choice of over 20 sandwiches, a vegan salad, a daily side salad of your choice, a cookie by Deluscious Cookies, a bottle of water, a stick of gum and ecofriendly picnicware.With a meal this biodegradable you might find yourself asking…did I eat anything at all?

Picnic Box

Say Cheese Silver Lake

Perfect for a night under the stars at the Griffith Observatory, Say Cheese Silver Lake offers a great made to order picnic basket menu of salads, sandwiches, meats, breads, and of course cheeses. Featured wines and champagnes are available in convenient split sizes. Prices range from $3.25-$10.99 but a word to the frugal, an actual picnic basket will set you back $11.99.

Selection of Cheese from Say Cheese in Silver Lake

 

 

 

 

Say Cheese on Urbanspoon

Patina Group at the Hollywood Bowl on Urbanspoon

Free Cocktails every Wednesday in May!

6 May The Mixing Room_JW Marriott Los Angeles LA LIVE

Do you have unfulfilled dreams of becoming a mixologist? Then why not come out and judge some?

Tonight, May 6th is the kick-off to the 3rd Annual May Mix-Off event at The JW Marriott Downtown and for every Wednesday in May professional drinkers can become amateur judges for the night and sample the cocktails of their favorite bartenders!

The Mixing Room_JW Marriott Los Angeles LA LIVE

Don’t have a favorite bartender, then you get to try them all! Some of this year’s finalists competing for a chance to go to Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans include:

  • Aaron Alvarez – Alcove
  • Josh Yerkey – EMC
  • Brian Quint – Ace Hotel
  • Dylan Snyder – ACME Group
  • Gia St George – Tacoteca
  • Melaney Schmidt – The Standard

Unfortunately I won’t be present at this year’s judging because a girl can only stand so much temptation but for everyone else, there’s never been a better excuse to start the weekend early.

2014 MixOff Finals

The Mixing Room on Urbanspoon

My First Mother’s Day in LA

3 May

Maybe you’re not supposed to plan your own mother’s day–but subtle hints are allowed right?

Here is my list of the best brunch spots for Mother’s Day, broken down by mood–and hopefully my husband is reading this :)

Trendy

The Little Door Santa Monica has launched a weekend brunch just in time for Mother’s Day! Post-natal mom’s should definitely check out the seared foie gras with poached eggs, fingerling potato frites, and green lentils, while us pre-natal’s should stick to the $14 breakfast basket filled with pain au chocolate, and both butter and almond croissants.

The Little Door Santa Monica

Also new on the brunch beat, The Larchmont will be offering an alfresco brunch with menu highlights like The Stoner,  which is a peanut butter crunch French toast, with maple bacon, roasted banana, and the option to add foie gras.

The Stoner

Decadent

Nothing says I love you mom more than caviar on ice, but if you’re not able to pay by the gram this mother’s day then Petrossian Restaurant & Boutique has you taken care of. For the entire mother’s day weekend  an à la carte menu from Executive Chef Giselle Wellman will be offering menu highlights such as a Caviar Salad with butter lettuce, shaved egg, shallots, chives, and crème fraiche and the Eggs Benedict with a choice of black forest ham, smoked salmon, or salmon & caviar. Both entrees under $25 dollars each.

Petrossian West Hollywood

Interested in the MOST expensive brunch in Los Angeles? Then take mom to Wolfgang Puck at The Hotel Bel Air for their $120 3 course prix-fixe menu. Highlights include Maine Lobster and the eggs benedict with maple hollandaise.

Wolfgang Puck at the Hotel Bel Air

 Thrifty

Bring a mother to Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse on mother’s day, and she can eat free the next time too!

Meats at Fogo de Chao

Looking for a place where mom can eat completely free? Well then Hooters is your spot–because after all, nothing makes mom feel more treasured then being surrounded by girls in tank tops and hot pants.

Hooters

Lazy

If the ultimate mother’s day for her means not ever putting pants on, then treat mom to the best in the comforts of her own home like some treats from Huckleberry Bakery & Cafe. During the month of May the menu will feature highlights like apricot muffins and cherry tarts made with fruit from Murray Farms, cookies n’ cream glazed donuts, rustic banana cake with cream cheese frosting and much more. Be a dear and just bring one of each :)

huckleberry cafe

 

Huckleberry Café on Urbanspoon

Aside

Brazil comes to DTLA

21 Apr Meats at Fogo de Chao

How do you fogo?

Fogo de Chão operates 25 locations in the States and just a few months ago they opened a location in downtown Los Angeles to ease the traffic burden for East-siders lusting after roasted meats but too tired to drive to the La Cienega location.

Although the restaurant has always been known for their abundant dinner offerings, did you know there is more than one way to fogo?

Classic Dinner Service

The $54.50 prix-fixe menu features 16 cuts of meat prepared gaucho style and every cut is always available rare to well done (perfect for mommies-to-be). PS-if the taste of well done is something you are having to get used to, their chimichurri sauce makes everything better.

Meats at Fogo de Chaochimichuri sauce

The Market Table offers an array of salads and fresh vegetables along with cheeses and charcuterie items displayed in such a way that you might forget there are meats on swords swirling around you. Vegetarian?…The Market Table is also available on it’s own for $29.50 during dinner and $15 during lunch.

IMG_2119IMG_2120

The pace of dinner is controlled by the diner with a card you can flip from green to red. Along with all the premium protein come side dishes like fried plantains, crispy polenta, and farofa to top on your rice and beans. Plus a steaming hot basket of Pão de Queijo (cheese bread).

If you still have room available, try their Papaya Cream. It’s a natural digestivo from the dessert menu made with fresh papaya and vanilla ice-cream which can also be topped with Crème de Cassis. Note: this is large enough for the whole table.

papaya

Lunch Hour

The same full dinner menu but at a fraction of the price, $34.50.

Bar Fogo

A great option for lunch or dinner if you’re looking for lighter fare and hand crafted cocktails. Happy hour runs from 4:30 PM-6:30 PM.

Family Fogo

All children six and under are complementary when mom and dad are ordering off the prix-fixe menu. Children seven to twelve are half price. Best of all, the noise level is such that all the kids running around just seem to blend in with the gauchos :)

Secret Menu Item

The beef ribs are not on the menu and are not always available because they take 4 hours to prepare. But if you’re lucky enough to catch them, these crispy on the outside tender on the inside delicacies are worth flipping your card over to red for.

ribs

Fogo de Chão on Urbanspoon

There’s Something in the Water at Ray’s & Stark Bar

13 Apr Ray's & Stark Bar at Night

What if I were to tell you there was a place where moms-to-be could enjoy a flight of drinks with dinner plus leave feeling refreshed, euphoric, and not the least bit guilty.

I recently enjoyed an evening at Ray’s & Stark Bar for Executive Chef Viet Pham’s new “Riddle Me This” Menu and had no idea I was in for a hydration education from Martin Riese, the only water sommelier in the United States (yes this is a thing, check him out on Kimmel next month :)).

rays

Ray’s & Stark Bar has always been my go-to place for cocktails after a late afternoon of wandering around LACMA so I never realized before they were home to a 43 page water list along with all those superb suds. Speaking of which, if you are partaking in the first annual dineLA  Happy Hour Week on April 27th, then make the Stark Bar one of your stops for a $9 Summer’s Comin’Smash. Although my version had pecan bitters instead of rum and apricot liqueur, it’s worth getting smashed over.

Summer's Comin' Smash

But back to the water! All H20 is certainly not created equal and I’m not just talking about the difference between tap and Evian. The water menu at Ray’s & Stark Bar allows you to choose based on mineral content and a water flight is an encouraged way to educate your palate. For me the best part was drinking out of a wine glass for a change. Unfortunately my relationship with my brita at home is now forever strained…

Water Flight

Now on the food…

The Riddle Me This Menu changes every two weeks from now until June 6th 2015 on Friday and Saturday Evenings. This past weekend’s riddle was “The cheekiest part of the pig”…and if you’re like me you’ll have to pull your head out of the gutter to guess this one.

The riddle dish is meant to be enjoyed along with the rest of the menu rather than as a stand alone entree, so leave room for some of my favorites below.

Crispy Fried Broccoli, charred to perfection and topped with thinly sliced pieces of Garrotxa cheese, which will soon become your favorite goat variety.

Crispy Fried Broccoli

Chitarra; Squid ink pasta, with calamari, garlic, ginger-lemongrass water, Calabrian chili, Red Boat fish sauce, lime, and Thai basil. You’ve never tasted anything like it.

Chitarra Pasta

Chicken Pot Pie; Now while this is not my go-to dinner item on a night out, a great pot pie is food for the soul. If you haven’t had one in a while, try Chef Pham’s version, where the  crust just sort of levitates over the hearty taste of childhood.

 Chicken Pot Pie

Banana Cognac; Just the right way to end the evening if you’re looking for something that’s not too sweet. It’s banana bread pudding with caramel sauce, brûlée banana, and vanilla cognac ice cream.

Banana Dessert

Maybe it just comes with the real estate, but Ray’s and Stark Bar seems to be on a mission to elevate the traditional Saturday night out. Their Curate Dinner series kicks off May 5th, where along with a tour of the European art wing of the museum comes a 4-course dinner by executive chef Viet Pham.

Looking to test your own guessing skills? Coming up in the next two weekends, April 17-18 and 24-25, is this puzzle–“This part is used to shoo away pesky files on this old world plough animal”.

Make sure to hashtag #Ray’sRiddleMeThis and let them know what you think, and scroll down if you want the answer to the dish I enjoyed!

 

 

 

 

The cheekiest part of the pig is…..

 

 

 

 

Pork Jowl! One of Chef Viet Pham’s childhood favorites, this is the cheek of the pig used very often for bacon. Pham’s version is crispy with sweet chili sauce, cucumber, mint, scallion, and cilantro.

Riddle Me This

Ray's Restaurant and Stark Bar on Urbanspoon

Easter is going to the Dogs

31 Mar pinot

For most Angelenos, our dogs are just as much the baby as an actual baby, so it’s only natural that we want to spend holidays with them. Here are some great places to enjoy Easter Brunch this year that are also fido friendly.

Everleigh

Head to Everleigh on Sunset Blvd where you can enjoy yourself a Bubble & Squeak while your dog bubbles and squeaks all he wants on the outdoor patio. Made with corned brisket, cranberry potato & greens hash, and a sunny side egg it’s on the richer side, but fitting on Easter Sunday.

Bubble & Squeak

BLD

BLD on Beverly Blvd allows dogs on the patio and they have superb Brunch hours for early birds and night owls alike (8AM-3PM). You’ve never seen a more inventive egg menu and pre-pregnancy, I would be going with a Spanish Frittata made with chorizo, fingerling potatoes, roasted piquillo peppers, paprika, and manchego cheese. Currently, you will probably see me diving into a plate of a plate of Nutella Crepes or the Strawberry Cream Cheese French Toast.

Strawberry Cream Cheese French Toast

Ray’s & Stark Bar

Located at the BP Grand Entrance of LACMA. Ray’s& Stark Bar is offering a special Easter Brunch menu, and before 11 AM the parking is on them. I highly suggest the Monte Cristo filled with bread pudding, ham, Emmentaler cheese, Grana Padano, melted leeks, and blackberry jam. A close second will have to be their French Toast made with Cinnamon Anglaise Terrine, Pecans, Cranberry Compote, and topped with Bourbon Whipped Cream. Dogs are free to sit on the patio, but not in the bar area.

French Toast

The Waffle

The Waffle in Hollywood offers 17 kinds of waffles for you and a woofle for your dog. At only $3.95 for 3 dog friendly treats made with Parmesan, parsley, and whole wheat flour, this is a deal you usually have to beg for.

The Waffle Restaurant Hollywood

Black Cow Cafe

Possibly my favorite dog friendly brunch spot, the Black Cow Cafe in Montrose specializes in making you feel right at home. Case in point, they open at 9 AM but let people start sitting at 8:45 AM. So if you’re thinking of coming with your pooch try and arrive before they open as outdoor tables are sometimes hard to come by. As far as food goes go if you’re in the mood for something sweet, try what they have on special–doesn’t even matter what it is I promise it will be good. Savory lovers should try their entrees served in a skillet, with extra biscuits on the side.

Black Cow Cafe Skillet

Until the real baby comes, he’s got a seat at the table.

Pinot

BLD on Urbanspoon

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