Showing posts with label beverly hills. Show all posts
Showing posts with label beverly hills. Show all posts

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Beautiful Revamp of Esterel at Sofitel LA

Esterel Restaurant inside the Sofitel hotel in Beverly Hills just had a major renovation, and its patio dining area is worth a second look. From this gorgeous bar with the romantic lights and vines in the background  ...

Esterel
... to the covered outdoor dining area. It's a charming spot that would be perfect for dates.
Esterel
The inside dining room also feels more casual and open than the previous setup.
Esterel
The menu is relatively small and simple, but the food is done very well here. We got the Lamb Meatballs ($13) served atop couscous.
Esterel

Followed by Pan-seared scallops ($17) which were fresh and cooked just right. I love the texture of seared scallops when they're done well.
Esterel

Monday, January 12, 2015

L'Amande Bakery: A Little Parisian Haven in Beverly Hills

L'Amande On Santa Monica Blvd in Beverly Hills is a charming bakery called L'Amande. What looks like a normal storefront from the outside leads into a bright and lovely space. High ceiling, spacious, charming decor.

Now, the baked goods themselves. I think this bakery makes one of the baguettes in town. They make them throughout the day so you can always get one still fresh and warm from the oven!

L'Amande
I couldn't stop eating these baguettes. I got one fresh from the oven and it was perfect. The only baguette that might be better in town is the one Chef Ludo uses at Petit Trois, but you can't really buy those retail. As far as baguettes that you can just go and buy whenever you want, these may be some of the best in town.

As far as other baked goods go, one of their signature items is the Raspberry cream cheese croissant

L'Amande

Friday, January 9, 2015

Paninoteca is a Lunch Game Changer in Beverly Hills

Scarpetta at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills has often been named as having the best bread basket in the city. They make all the breads in house. Now, imagine if they opened a sandwich shop ... Oh, wait, they did. Paninoteca is now open right next door to Scarpetta (using the same kitchen space) for weekday lunches, and it is the game changer. Meet the best sandwiches and the best lunch deal in Beverly Hills.

There's no official seating at Paninoteca, but the courtyard at The Montage is the perfect setting for an al fresco lunch. Your order will come in a brown bag so you can head to the courtyard and enjoy LA's almost-always-perfect weather.

I tried three sandwiches and my surprise favorite was the Chicken "Parmigiano": Chicken cutlet, burrata, smoked tomatoes ($11)

Paninoteca
Their bread, of course, is oustanding. On top of that they also use juicy dark meat, and paired with the perfectly creamy burrata and the flavors of a spread of smoked tomatoes, I couldn't believe how much I loved this chicken sandwich. Filling and flavorful with tender meat, it's possible the best sandwich I had last year.

Another best seller is the Porchetta (spiced pork belly, broccoli rabe pesto, fried hen egg, $11)
Paninoteca

Sunday, October 26, 2014

November 10: Wine and Food of Spain at The Bazaar ( + Ticket Giveaway!)

On Monday, November 10, head on over to The Bazaar at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills for a taste of Spain's best wines and food. The event is called Spain's Great Match and will feature more than 200 Spanish wines. The wines will be accompanied by tapas from The Bazaar. We're talking 200+ wines with Chef Jose Andres' lauded food! Last year's bites include a taste of their famed molecular gastronomy techniques

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There will also be a Cava Bubble Lounge. I don't know about you, but I love my bubbles.

Sounds good? Even better, at the end of this post you can enter a giveaway for 2 FREE TICKETS to this event!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Morel Mushrooms at Curtis Stone's Maude (Beverly Hills)

When Maude opened, I asked the same question I ask about other celebrity chefs: "But can Curtis Stone cook?" I went the first time for the artichoke month and the answer was a resounding "Yes, Curtis Stone can cook, after all". Before leaving for Boston, I went back for the morel menu.

If you're not familiar with their concept: Maude serves only a prix fixe menu, which changes every month. Each month's menu is built around a particular ingredient: artichoke, rhubarb, morel mushroom, pea, and so on. The prices vary, since morel is obviously more expensive than peas.

For starters, Popcorn, Australian winter truffle, and shaved morels

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Popcorn

I loved the next course: Risotto, citrus butter, chicken-stuffed morel
Risotto
I wish I had a bigger bowl of this risotto, but I knew there are many more to come. The light zest of the citrus butter made each bite of the rich risotto feel fresh and new.

Rock Kanpachi crudo with pickled morels, avocado mousse, herbs, passion fruit snow
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I was wondering how they would pair something as earthy as morel with a delicate kanpachi and passion fruit, but pickling it is ingenious decision.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Caviar at Happy Hour? Only at Petrossian (West Hollywood, CA)

There are plenty of happy hours in Los Angeles, but where would you find caviar on the happy hour menu? Well, at Petrossian - the renowned caviar purveyor - of course you would. For happy hour drinks you can get either the caviar cocktail or vodka at a discounted price, or $6 wines.

Let's talk about the food! Last year I put Petrossian's lobster roll as one of the best bites I had that year. The lobster roll was topped with sea urchin and caviar!

For happy hour, you can get a mini version:
Mini Lobster Roll, topped with Sea Urchin, Caviar, Fennel, Daikon, Chives, Parsley, Brioche Roll, Lemongrass & Garlic Aioli, French Fries ($15)

Caviar Lobster Roll
I went for a media preview so they had cut up the mini lobster roll into smaller pieces for us to taste. It's just as good as I remembered and made me want to come back in for a full size!

Other offerings include Tarte Aux Pommes de Terre (Potato Tart, Crème Fraiche, 20g Transmontanus Caviar - $24)
Latkes
The crispy potato tarts remind me of latkes - but topped with caviar makes it that much better, of course.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

New Secret Kitchen Item from Crustacean

by guest blogger Bryan Tsunoda @btsunoda


Crustacean in Beverly Hills has been around for quite some time. The roasted crab and their famous garlic noodles are crowd pleasers and what Crustacean is best known for. Despite its name, Crustacean is so much more than that and I recently had the opportunity to sample some of their new offerings.
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Crustacean is also known for its “Secret Kitchen.” A closed door kitchen within a kitchen, it’s where some of the restaurant’s most coveted dishes are prepared. Since their opening in 1997, only six dishes have been created in the Secret Kitchen. Now, there's a new Secret Kitchen item that we'll be tasting tonight.

As I entered Crustacean, a three piece jazz ensemble provided entertainment to the bar patrons. The walk on water entrance features a serpentine shaped aquarium that doubles as a floor. It was obvious that Crustacean is still a place to be seen as everyone seated at the bar had the required ‘look’.DSCF2018 Our group was led outside through the side door of the restaurant, entered an unmarked exterior door and walked up a flight of stairs. We learned that this is Crustacean’s new “Secret Room” - a new private place to dine. Celebrities enjoy the fact that they can be whisked in from valet parking through the separate side door.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Tartine for Lunch at Esterel (Sofitel Los Angeles, Beverly Hills)

The restaurant inside the Sofitel Los Angeles hotel in Beverly Hills is now Esterel, a French-focused restaurant that kept the sleek interior of its predecessor.

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The bread basket is generous and even included gougeres!
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I came to try their lunch menu (although I tried them during dinner), which is mainly composed of a selection of tartine - open faced sandwiches - named after. Each tartine is served with a green salad and some fries.

There is a tartine for everyone here. There's the vegetarian friendly Beverly Garden (marinated heirloom tomato, cucumber, burratta cheese, artichoke, pesto, fleur de sel ). Executive Chef Marius Blin combines many ingredients to get
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The creamy burrata is topped with crispy crumbles of potato chips.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

May 8: Oliverio's 2nd Annual Sorprendente

This is a rather last minute announcement, but Sorprendente returns to Oliverio at the Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills for a second time this Thursday, May 8! I went last year and quite enjoyed their summertime poolside celebration, so I thought I'd share while there's still time.

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Last year, mimes served unlimited cocktails and wines
My favorite part is the Truffle Brothers Truffle Station. There's truffle spread to go with your bread, truffle honey with your cheese, and shaved truffles on pizza, shaved truffles on fresh handmade pasta ...
Truffle all night long!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Go Greek Yogurt: A Greek Yogurt Bar in Beverly Hills

Combining the popularity of Greek yogurt and Pinkberry, Go Greek Yogurt provides a place in Beverly Hills to get authentic, imported Greek yogurt with various toppings. The yogurt is flown in directly from Greece.

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There are three options for the Greek yogurt, based on the fat content. The most authentic one is 10% fat but you can also get a 2% or a nonfat Greek yogurt.
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The 10% obviously tastes the best, but the 2% is still smooth and creamy. I can't eat the Greek yogurts they sell at the grocery stores without adding something to it, but this one I can eat by itself. The yogurt is stored in terracotta bowls, and when you order some to go they will also pack it up in terracotta pots. I want to get one just as a souvenir!

Before moving on to the toppings, don't miss the two most important sections: the preserves and honey. They have authentic preserves that the Greeks eat with their yogurt, including carrot, sour cherry, and rose preserves.
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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Revisiting The Little Door

It's been many years since I last came to Little Door, and their outdoor dining area is still as charming as ever. The regulars still pile in for happy hour and dinner, and Executive Chef Nicolas Peters still personally makes runs to the farmer's markets after 17 years at Little Door.
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I came in the fall for a tasting menu. Preparing for the colder weather, we started the dinner with a bowl of Celeriac soup with pomegranate and shaved walnuts
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Maple sherry vinegar glazed chanterelle and frisee salad
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Beautiful mushroom salad, perfectly complemented by the glaze and evoking the flavors of fall.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Revisiting Picca with Gojuchang Lamb Chops and Avocado Cocktail

I never got around to writing about Picca when they first opened, so with the newly decorated upper level mezzanine (I love the warm lights) and new menu items come my opportunity to write about it.

They did not change the entire menu but there are plenty of new items, my favorite of which is the Anticucho de Cordero (lamb chops, gojuchang marinade, aji amarillo miso, $28)

It's a bit pricey for two lamb chops but I just can't get enough of that gojuchang marinade! The lamb was tender but even after the meat was gone I wanted to keep sucking on the bone ...

There are a couple of new cocktails as well, but one of my favorites remained from the old menu, which is the green one pictured below: The Avocado Project (5 Island white rum, fresh avocado, vitamin C (orange juice perhaps?), fresh lime juice, agave nectar, salt, $12)

When I first ordered this drink I was expecting a creamier drink, instead the citrus cuts it nicely, making it a beautifully balanced drink with a hint of avocado flavor.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Brunch at Caulfield's (Thompson Hotel, Beverly Hills)

Caulfield's Bar and Dining Room at the Thompson Hotel has started brunch service with pastries and a diverse array of dishes. We started brunch with their Whole grain blueberry muffin ($6) and Braeburn apple turnover ($7)

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It's more expensive than going to a bakery and getting them to go but you're paying to dine there after all and I was happy that the muffins were full of blueberries instead of just a couple garnishing the top.

There are traditional mimosas and bellinis but I had to try the prickly pear one.
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Inadvertently, I ended up having a vegetarian brunch! But don't be deterred by my brunch, because they do have hamburgers, pork belly, steak au poivre, chicken and waffles and the likes for brunch. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Bibigo Celebrates Hwangap Tradition With Prix-Fixe Deal

Hwangap (or hwangab) is a 60th birthday celebration in Korea. Why 60? Because it apparently signifies accomplishing a "big circle" and coincides with the lunar calendar's 60 year cycle. In Korea, the 60th birthday celebration is usually thrown by the children of the one turning 60. Well, Bibigo's parent company, CJ Foods, just turned 60 so the "child", Bibigo, is throwing the celebration! I thought that was kind of cute.

Bibigo is celebrating by offering a three course prix fixe menu (the first two courses include two dishes each, though) for $45 per two people, which also includes a soju tasting. The menu will be available until Saturday, November 30th.

The first course includes two spicy pork steamed buns and a plate of brussels sprouts.
The steamed buns contain spicy pork, pickled radish and cucumber, lettuce, hoisin teriyaki on Chinese bao.

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With this item I usually worry about the buns themselves being too dense or dry but the ones here were nice and fluffy.
The brussels sprouts are served with zucchini, cloves of garlic, zucchini, chili pepper and dried prunes.
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Of course, the main course has to have Hot stone bibimbap (your choice of protein and type of rice)
Bibimbap

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Pork Chop and Beers at Carson House (Beverly Hills, CA)

Sure there are an abundance of gastropubs in LA, but you can't say the same of Beverly Hills. In fact, Carson House on Wilshire Blvd may be one of the only ones offering such a big beer selection. 

I've been to Carson House once for lunch and once for dinner.
For lunch they serve sandwiches, pizza, and a few entree dishes like this roasted salmon with forbidden rice. 
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Perfect for a nice, healthy lunch.

I indulged more during dinner. We started with the Grilled watermelon salad, heirloom tomato, basil, Dutch feta, lemon vinaigrette
Watermelon salad
I really liked the combination of flavors here. The feta was not crumbled but served as a whole slice which added to the texture contrast of the salad. I thought this really distinguished the salad from the usual watermelon feta combo.

Chicken lollipops (chicken meatballs, buffalo plum glaze, blue cheese whip)
Chicken balls
These are a little spicy! Luckily the blue cheese whip is there to curb the spiciness.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Scarpetta: The Best Happy Hour in Beverly Hills

Who would've guessed that Scarpetta at The Montage in Beverly Hills would launch the best happy hour deal around? From 4-8pm (Monday through Saturday) all the cocktails and food on the happy hour menu are only $8! And we're not talking boring cocktails or skimpy food portions. Just keep reading to see what you get (chicken liver pate? lobster croquettes?) !

Scarpetta has tapped mixologist Rob Floyd to design the cocktail menu. Even for the skinny drinks he made (for that LA crowd), he wanted the ingredients to be all organic. The Fortuna (peach vodka, St. Germain, peach puree) uses puree made with all organic Japanese peaches. Did I mention it was sugar free? He uses STIR sweetener, an organic sugar substitute.
Scarpetta happy hour
For a refreshing gingery drink, try the Amalfi: Crown royal with mint, lime, bitters, topped w fever tree ginger beer. Rob told us that Julep came from an Arabic medicinal drink, called Golab which originated in the 15th century.

Much like the name, the Passione (aperol, gin, sambuca, lemon) is made with fire and a delight to watch. I personally love aperol and really enjoyed this lighter drink.


Monday, October 7, 2013

Serving Cocktails at Home for the Lazy with Om Cocktails

Ever want to serve delicious cocktails at your house party but then realized you're too lazy? Like me, like all the time? Well, now there's a solution!

Natalie Bovis from The Liquid Muse and Jason Monkarsh have come out with Om Cocktails. These are bottled pre-mixed cocktails, and you have to do is pour and serve. They're not one of those nasty mixes in the grocery stores, though, these are made with natural, organic ingredients - including organic vodka (Om stands for "Organic mixology"). Plus, they plant one tree in Haiti for every bottle you buy!

Om Cocktails


There are three flavors currently out, including Wild Cranberry & Blood Orange (which is a bit like your Cosmo), Meyer Lemon & Ginger, and Coconut Water & Lychee. I'm still debating between the last two. Whichever flavor you like, instead of mixing drinks all night for your party, just grab some bottles of Om, sit back and relax while drinking.
Om Cocktails
Remember, you're drinking for trees in Haiti

Sunday, September 29, 2013

An Intimate Sushi Omakase Experience at Nozawa Bar (Beverly Hills)

When they built Sugarfish in Beverly Hills, they had planned for Nozawa Bar all along and kept a room in the back for that sole purpose. Now, Nozawa Bar is open and taking reservations for ten people, two seatings per night for a sushi omakase experience. It's not Nozawa wielding the knife, but Osamu Fujita has long worked with Nozawa and has his stamp of approval. After my omakase meal there, I would say perhaps the setting and timing actually allows for a more refined experience than the busy Sushi Nozawa was in Studio City.

I knew my sushi, or thought I did, but for more than a couple of courses at Nozawa Bar I had a few moments where I went "no way, that wasn't ...". There were moments of learning that season really matters, and preparation matters. More on that later, on to the meal first. 

As I said, there are two seatings per night for everyone (at 6PM and 8:30PM), so don't be late! I was five minutes late and missed Fujita-san slicing up the jelly fish for the first course. I didn't miss eating the course, though, luckily (everyone is served the courses at the same time).
jellyfish
The crisp jellyfish was a nice opener to whet your appetite.
Sashimi plate of tuna and octopus before moving on to nigiri sushi
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The nigiri courses start out with a bang with the chu toro. This a blue fin tuna chu toro, although the fattiness is close to oo toro.
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Just like Nozawa's style, the rice is served slightly warm so that the sushi feels like it's melting in your mouth.

Ika (squid)
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Fresh and firm squid on top of a shiso leaf.

Switching to the opposite spectrum of texture is a perfectly creamy Santa Barbara uni
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A generous serving of it, too!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Spend Summer Fridays Sipping Local Craft Beers on Thompson Hotel's Rooftop

Every Friday this summer, the Thompson Hotel in Beverly Hills is bringing different local craft breweries to the rooftop, dubbed the Rooftop Food Club. They'll be serving these local beers along with rotating grill menu from Caulfield's (and sometimes Seoul Sausage). Drinking beer on the rooftop with a view of Beverly Hills? Pretty chill way to spend a Friday evening!

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(Well, you can't quite get to the pool, though, as they close around 6pm or something every day. I snuck up there and took this photo but then was told to come back down to the rooftop bar).

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