Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Monday, February 25, 2013
Planned Parenthood is one of the more controversial nonprofit organizations, sadly. Each year, PPLA Food Fare receives their share of anti-abortion protesters in front of their event, even though the majority of PPLA's services (97%) include cancer screenings, STD treatments and testings, and contraceptive services.
PPLA Food Fare is the organization's biggest fundraiser of the year. It started 34 years ago with a simple cooking demo from Julia Child but now draws 1500 attendees to partake in good food and wine from over 100 vendors (see my recap of the 2011 Food Fare). The Food Fare is returning to Santa Monica Civic Auditorium on Thursday March 7th. There are two sessions. The daytime session rungs from 10:30am-2pm ($150) and the evening session, which usually have more restaurants participating than the daytime one, runs from 6:30-9:30pm ($225). You can buy tickets on their website or by calling (213) 284-3200x3700.
There are many great restaurants participating including Angelini Osteria, Drago Centro, the new Hart and The Hunter, Joe's Restaurant, and The Corner Door. Libations will be offered by The Beer Chicks, La Fenetre Winery, and more. To promote the PPLA Food Fare, I was invited to a cocktail paired meal at The Corner Door in Culver City. This new restaurant has become a very popular destination in Culver City, with waits up to an hour for a table at dinner time.
Behind the bar program is Beau du Bois. Beau has opened a few bars in the LA area, including MB Post.
|olives and rosemary|
We started our pairing with Lettuces and Avocado, Bayley Hazen blue cheese, watermelon radish, peppercorn.
The salad has a citrus dressing and was paired with King's Assassin (gin, blanc sweet vermouth, Salers, Cocchi Americano, Cointreau).
The King's Assassin is a play on Negroni with a light, bright, vegetal quality from the Salers, which pairs well with the citrus in the salad. This cocktail is nicely balanced, strong but easy to drink.
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Time flies and apparently it's been over three years since I went to BondSt at The Thompson Hotel for the first time. Now, the restaurant has been replaced with an entirely new concept, Caulfield's Bar and Dining Room. I hardly even recognized the space, which now has an enclosed patio area.Gone are the sushi and Japanese dishes, although Caulfield's "American" concept also encompasses crudo, pasta dishes, and bincho charcoal grilled meats.
Here's what I tried:
Pacific yellowtail crudo, pear, radish, coconut milk, finger lime, ginger ($16).
Burrata, butternut squash, dried figs and capers, balsamic vinegar, basil ($12)
Little angel pasta filled with artichoke, arugula and peas with butter, poppy seeds, Montasio cheese ($24)
From the binchotan grill: Marinated skirt steak, fingerling yams, soy, ginger, anticucho sauce ($31)
Cocktails here are the products of Jeremy Back, formerly of City Tavern, and are a definite improvement over what was offered at this hotel before. Expect different shrubs, like the one used in the Kentucky Kiwi (Pure Kentucky XO whisky, kiwi shrub, Bitter Truth Boston bitters, $13).
The most interesting one is perhaps the Bar & Dining Room (Maestro Dobel, fig shrub, cracked black pepper foam, finished with prosciutto dust, $15)
For desserts, we decided to go light with the fruit-based desserts. We tried the roasted pear with ginger gelato, which I really enjoyed. Especially the ginger gelato part!
Strawberry Pistachio is a popular one that was recommended by our server and it was certainly a good pairing.
Caulfield's Bar and Dining Room
9360 Wilshire Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
Disclosure: this meal was hosted
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
There are many notable things about Tam O'Shanter in Atwater Village. It's one of the very few Scottish restaurants in town (although some restaurant guide sites will list it under "Irish") and it is also the oldest restaurant in LA that's been constantly owned by a single family (established in 1922 by Lawry's). They were there when Atwater Village had nothing.
The beer list at Tam's is actually quite good as well, with the recently revamped bar. There are 11 beers on draft featuring Brouwerij West, Stone, Great Divide, etc, and quite a few bottled beers.
So, the trivia is done by filling out your answers in these papers each round. Eating LA and I had such a hard time with just the two of us on our team. I didn't get any of the sports questions right! Pat did much better with the music and film questions, but I was jut pretty much useless.
There are two teams who apparently go every week and they tend to take first and second place each time. Next time I'll bring a bigger and more well rounded team!
Monday, February 18, 2013
Theorem is a unique experience in craft coffee devised by Portola Coffee Lab in Costa Mesa. Once an hour in the late afternoons, the small room with a counter seating only six people opens up for a set menu of one of a kind coffee drinks. You can call or go on their website for reservation.
The menu lists four items and you can order any three for $20.
Next is an amazing cappuccino made using milk with 6% butterfat. This milk has a texture like no milk I've had before and it makes for an incredible cappuccino.
The Coffee Sour is an incredible non-alcoholic coffee cocktail made with a cold brew, lemon, orange flower water, orgeat, and honey. When I tasted it I couldn't even tell there was coffee in it, just a balanced, complex mocktail.
The "Enhanced Espresso" must be ordered for the whole table (for $20). Lucky for me someone there was generous enough to order it. The enhanced espresso is coffee infused with various herbs and fruits using a vac-pot (reminiscent of the Rooibos cocktail I had at The Aviary in Chicago).
A peek into the back room held promise for future tastings. A barrel for aging ... alcoholic coffee cocktails, perhaps?
3313 Hyland Ave
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Friday, February 15, 2013
Casa Del Mar has been elevating their cocktail program under the radar, inviting renowned bartenders locally and internationally to train their staff and help with new menus. One of the latest such consultant is LA's own Aidan Demarest.
Not only that, now you can age your own 5 liters of cocktails with your name or logo etched into the barrel! Choose from Brooklyn, Manhattan, or Vesper, or consult with the bartenders for your own. Once you finish the contents, you get to take the barrel home as a keepsake. The pricing for this starts around $500 per barrel (it depends on the spirits you use).
The lead bartender, Raymond, has also been coming up with fun new cocktails using fresh produce, like the
Smoky Beets (Alipus mezcal, fresh beet puree, lime juice, Ras El Hanout). This may be my favorite out of the cocktails I tried. The beet flavor wasn't overpowering and the ras el hanout is a unique touch.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
ScotsFest is returning to the Queen Mary in Long Beach this weekend, Saturday-Sunday February 16-17.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
They got me with the promise of a 30-ft elephant. I don't know how Big Bar (which is really not big) is going to fit a 30-ft elephant and a whole party underneath it, but this I have got to see. Everything else sounds much better than an overpriced prix fixe dinner somewhere, anyway.
So, on February 14, head over to Big Bar in Los Feliz for: Henna, eye ball reader (what?), photobooth, and a custom gin and tonic bar.
- Rosie Loves Andy (Bombay Sapphire East, lime, cucumber, rose)
- Mango Lassi Fizz (Bacardi 1909, Galliano, mango, lassi)
- Star of India( Bacardi Oakheart, Grey Goose Pear, Martini Rossi Bianco, bubbles)
- Kashmir Old Fashioned (Masala Chai infused Dewars, date syrup, Miracle Mile orange bitters)
Sunday, February 10, 2013
The new Littlefork in Hollywood brings Chef Jason Travi back on the dining scene after Fraiche, with a bar program helmed by Brian Butler (Sunny Spot) and Dino Balocchi, formerly of Longman and Eagle in Chicago. With my fond memories of Longman and Eagle's cocktails, I was pretty excited about Dino moving here! The exterior of Littlefork was a bit out of place - a white corner building with a small "littlefork" painted on the wall - but the inside is a beautiful bar and a spacious, elegant dining room.
Chef Travi makes his own pickles here, and he really goes all out. As you walk in to the restaurant, take a look to your right, behind the hostess stand. There's a whole wall of pickle jars.
From pickled beets to brussels sprouts (my favorite!), he pickles them all.
The cocktail menu here features house-made bitters, house-made tonic and ginger beer (cocktails are $11 each). The El Perdido is made with tequila, lime, chartreuse, cocchi americano, and the house-made strawberry chile bitters.
A fun appetizer for the table is the Maple eggs with crispy bacon
Our multi-course tasting meal continues with the Chowder: clams, bacon, oyster crackers
Thursday, February 7, 2013
It was our third meal of the night, but a Michelin-starred gastropub wasn't something we wanted to pass up. In the end, we're so glad we went, because we fell in love with Longman and Eagle.
The cocktails here are excellent and they're only $8 each. I love Chicago! We drank quite a bit that night. There were $2 special Evan Williams shots around the table and conbon found her ultimate Old Fashioned.
That's my excuse for not really remembering what cocktails I had, but I am guessing this was the La Perla with tequila, Cocchi Americano, grapefruit, and habanero shrub.
We decided to just share a few plates since we were already full, and started healthy with the roasted cauliflower with beluga lentil and yogurt curry sauce
Steak and edamame with lobster tater tots. Lobster tater tots!
The desserts sound particularly enticing here. The first was a lightly savory dessert: warm gruyere donuts, fig jam, hazelnut mascarpone, wild flower honey ($9)
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
It's a little known fact that some of the Fairmont hotels have started honey bee hives on their rooftops, wherever it was possible. This has included the Fairmont in Newport Beach, Seattle, and San Francisco (where you can also try the honey beers made by a local brewery with their honey). I was invited to a dinner at Fairmont Newport a few months ago and got to check out the rooftop bees with a view of the sunset! The hives at Fairmont Newport and maintained and harvested with the help of Backyard Bees.
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