UMAMI Burger partners with TBS new show “CHAD,” premiering on APRIL 6

I been seeing the trailer for a new original comedy Chad, a 14-year-old coming-of-age “quest to become popular in high school.”

Then when I heard from my friends at Wagstaff, I learned that Chad is Nasim Pedrad (“SNL,” “New Girl,” “Aladdin”). Not only does she star in the show, she also created and produced it.

Umami Burger, the burger concept by C3, is giving a free CHAD Burgers (one per dine-in customer) now through April 27 at Umami Burger Santa Monica, The Grove and Downtown L.A. locations. “As Umami Burger continues to explore partnerships in the entertainment world—whether it be music, film, or television shows—we viewed TBS’ newest sitcom “Chad” as an opportunity to really get creative with a burger recipe,” shares Sam Nazarian, C3 CEO and Founder. “Umami Burger prides itself on celebrating unique flavor combinations, being truly one-of-a-kind, and standing out in its own way, which is why we easily bonded with and related to the character of Chad, and thought, ‘why not explore that cultural coming-of-age story through a burger?’”

This one-of-a-kind burger draws inspiration from the show’s narrative featuring a Kofta patty made with onions, garlic and various herbs and spices. The patty is topped with lettuce, tomato, mint cucumber yogurt, parsley, and Kewpie mayo.

The CHAD Burger comes with a recipe card for guests to recreate at home with each new episode that airs, and QR code for guests to scan that links to the show’s website. 

The Persian-inspired CHAD Burger will be available at Umami Burger Santa Monica, Downtown LA and The Grove locations, with free burgers on premiere day, April 6, 2021, while supplies last*

This is also featured in the Beverly Press and Park LaBrea News on April 1, 2021.

Dazzling Dodgers Holiday Festival

Celebrate the holidays at Dodger Stadium with lights, music and surprise appearances throughout the evening. Nightly the stadium is celebrating LA’s World Series winners.

Photo by Jill Weinlein

The drive-thru event runs through Christmas Eve from 5 to 10 p.m. Admission starts at $55 to $100+ per vehicle. The ticket cost is determined by the time and day of the timed ticket.

Photo by Jill Weinlein

Ticket holders can bring new or gently-used baseball of softball equipment to benefit Dodgers RBI. The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation is also requesting pairs of new socks to give to LA Family Housing, and a new toy for RaiseAChild. Donations are optional and must be unwrapped. A Dodgers elf is near the donation bin near the entrance gates at Stadium Way Downtown Gate E.

Photo by Jill Weinlein

Dodger fans will enjoy seeing images of their favorite players, championship trophy, ring and memorabilia. There is a waving bobblehead, replica of Elton John wearing a sparkling Dodgers uniform while playing the piano, and colorful lights synchronized to holiday music.

Photo by Jill Weinlein

The speed limit is under 5 miles an hour. Try to arrive 30 minutes before your ticket time. Guests are not allowed to exit their vehicle and must wear a mask when their car windows are down. There are no public restrooms available.

Courtesy of Dodgers Holiday Festival

Bring your own picnic dinner and non alcoholic beverage, as there is no food or drinks available at this venue.

Photo by Jill Weinlein

For all event details and guidelines please visit Dodgers.com/holidayfestivalor email holidayfestival@dodgers.com.

Mama Lion roars with Chef Zarates creative menus

Koreatown’s supper club Mama Lion now has renowned chef Ricardo Zarate as a culinary partner to reimagine its menus. Known primarily for its bar and live music scene, owner Robert Kim asked Zarate to invigorate its culinary offerings.

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Recently, my husband and I visited Mama Lion to try some of Zarate’s new items. Most of the dishes are served tapas style, with his signature Peruvian touch combining with regional Asian and Latin influences.

We started with house-made blue corn tortillas layered with grilled mushrooms, caramelized onions, parmesan cheese, a sprinkle of chopped cilantro, a touch of truffle essence and topped with thinly sliced radish. Next, we tried his Taco Tu Madre, a pork chicharrón on blue corn tortillas with avocado, cotija cheese and a citrusy and smoky chipotle yuzu sauce and topped off with a sprinkle of spicy kimchi, which gives this taco a whisper of heat.

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The ceviche frito came next, offering fried sea bass nuggets with chipotle Leche de Tigre, red onion Peruvian salsa criollo and Peruvian “cancha choclo” corn nuts. Crisp romaine lettuce leaves accompany this dish, which and can be eaten as a lettuce wrap.

Another sensational fish dish is the sushi-grade ceviche kampachi. It’s marinated in a citrus based ponzu with a side of avocado mousse. Dots of chili rayu oil not only add a pop of color, but fiery flavor.

One of our favorite tapas was the smoked eggplant tartare arranged in a circle and mixed with chunky avocado, truffle essence and thinly sliced radish spheres on top. It’s ideal to spread on the accompanying crispy toast wedges.

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The most immersive presentations include the kimchi chafe, served in a metal container. Lift the lid to reveal Peruvian kimchi fried rice with a sunny side egg on top. Under the egg are thin white Simeji mushrooms, and a aji and green huacatay sauce. Huacatay is a native Peruvian herb related to tarragon that offers a pleasing mix of mint and basil aroma. Proteins can be added to this dish including large grilled prawns, pork belly or skirt steak.

The pièce de résistance was the lamb chops carried to our table underneath a smoky glass dome. Zarate glazes these chops with gochugaru, a Korean-style red pepper spice, and serves them with a creamy hummus and delightful sweet and tart pickled cucumber spheres. He ignites aromatic herbs and places them on top of the chops before covering with the dome. As the top is lifted, ethereal smoke with the aroma of herbs wafts about the table. These anticuchos (Peruvian-style meat dishes) were sweet, spicy and tantalized my palate.

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Dessert is not yet offered, but I’m hoping Zarate can make his famous tres leches cake that he made at Mo-Chica in downtown Los Angeles years ago.

Dinner is served Tuesday through Saturday from 6 to 10 p.m. Between 10 p.m. and midnight, Zarate offers an amended late night menu with tacos, baby back ribs and sweet potato fries. The bar stays open until 2 a.m.

Every Tuesday night, live jazz is on stage from 9 p.m. to midnight. There is no cover and walk-ins are welcome. $$ 601 S. Western Ave., (213)377-5277.

Also featured in the Beverly Press .

LA ART SHOW celebrates diversity this weekend

Actress Sofia Vergara hosted the 2020 Opening Night Premiere Gala of the LA Art Show last Wednesday eveningThe LA Art Show is the city of LA’s largest art fair, and one of the most diversely programmed show in the world. Inside the Los Angeles Convention Center from Feb. 6 – 9 are some of the world’s most celebrated artists and their pieces.

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Photo courtesy of LA Art Show

Here are some of my favorite stand out pieces at this year’s LA Art Show:

On two floors there are featured exhibition pieces by Oscar-nominated Kazo Hiro, formerly known as Kazuhiro Tsuji. His three-dimensional portraits of legendary, historical figures are on display. This Japanese-born American special make-up effects artist and visual artist won an Academy Award for Best Makeup and Hairstyling for the biographical film Darkest Hour,  after earning nominations for the comedies Click and Norbit.

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At the Perrier area, I learned that artist Juan Travieso, born in Havana, Cuba, contributed his art on limited editions PERRIER cans and bottles. He creatively used these forms of bottles and cans to magnify his creativity, imagination, and artwork technique for more of the public to appreciate this talented artist’s work.

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Combining a realist painting technique using spatial splicing, bright palettes, and geometric abstraction, his current focus is on his fascination of endangered species and the often irrevocable influence of human intervention. He has taken on a series dedicated to endangered bird species, capturing them on the cusp of imminent disappearance. Travieso has exhibited in ten different Art Museums nationwide, including The Ft Lauderdale Museum, Orlando Museum, MOAH, Honolulu Museum Art School, Cornell Museum, Berkshire Museum, Long Beach Museum and Naples Museum of Art. Most recently he received a Masters of Fine Arts from The Museum School of Fine Arts in Boston.  He has had numerous exhibitions in New York, Miami, Boston, Los Angeles, as well as internationally. His work is included in multiple collections throughout the United States and other parts of the world.

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Birth of the Niemand by Viktor Freso and curated by Marisa Caichiolo. Presented by Danubiana Museum | Bratislava The Birth of the Niemand consists of monumental large sculptures. They represent a whole range of negative emotions that people try to hide in their lives, such as maliciousness, inferiority complex, and unhealthy self-confidence. The artist studied in Bratislava at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava and in Prague at the Academy of Fine Arts. Freso’s approach to art is rather untypical but at the same time they reflect the situation in the society and culture.

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Celebrating Diversity: Pride Flag Unfurled by Chiachio & Giannone. To commemorate local and international LGBTQ+ communities around the world, the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) presents this colorful installation of diversity and pride in collaboration with the world-renowned Argentine artistic duo Chiachio & Giannone. The unfurled 120 ft. long textile flag is MOLAA’s new acquisition “Californian Family in Six Colors 1” created by the artists during their residency between March and June 2019 at MOLAA. More than 3,000 members of the Long Beach and Los Angeles community collaborated in the creation of the flag.

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KOBE BRYANT (part of the fallen legend series) is a 60 x48 inch mixed media on canvas by Los Angeles-based multimedia artist Shlome J. Hayun. He combines urban with classic elements. His colorful murals and original works of art can be seen around the globe.

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Designer Sue Wong was at the event with a handful of models wearing her red carpet dresses. Displays of her gorgeous art pieces include Sue Wong designed dresses worn by Anne Hathaway, Jessica Biel, Minnie Driver and Taylor Swift. She was the first American designer credited with bringing Haute Couture looks to the masses at affordable prices. She gained the reputation as the Everywoman’s Couturier and ruled the American Evening Market, selling to the highest level stores in America, such as Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom and Bloomingdales, in addition to 27 countries globally, becoming the number one source for the Evening category.

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Live Painting by Los Angeles artist Robert Vargas, a contemporary artist known for his mixed-media portraits, murals and live events. He was born and raised in Boyle Heights and is a leading creative force in the revitalization of Downtown LA’s art scene.

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Proceeds from the Opening Event will go to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for the sixth year in a row. Thanks to generous donors, families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food – because all a family should worry about is helping their children live.

While attending the first night of the show, guests enjoyed food and beverages from a list of LA’s favorites (See below) including Pink’s Hot Dogs and Angel City Brewery. Bare Snacks, Brera Ristorante, Califia Farms, Castle Rock Water, Coolhaus Ice Cream, Diabolo Beverages, El Coyote Café, Factory Kitchen, Il Fornaio Beverly Hills, IVDC Wines, Kon-Tiki Taco, Kurosawa Sake, Mrs. Fish, My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream, Napa Valley Grille, OBAN Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Ocean Prime Beverly Hills, Otium LA, Pasote Tequila, Perrier Sparkling Mineral Water, Pink’s Hot Dogs, Primo’s Donuts, Rao’s Hollywood, Sixth+Mill Pizzeria and Bar, Suga Brown Pastries, The Culver Hotel, Tito’s Vodka, Top Tier Treats, Uncle Val’s Gin, Upper West, Vespaio DTLA, Whalebird, Kombucha, and Wood & Vine.

SHOW DATES
VIP Red card Special Collectors’ preview Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020, 6 – 11pm,

Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020, 11am – 7pm,

 Friday, Feb., 7, 2020, 11am – 7pm,

Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020, 11am – 7pm

Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, 11am – 5pm

For LA Art Show tickets, click here .

 

 

 

National Pizza Day is on Sunday, Feb. 9

Not only do we have the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 9, but it is also National Pizza Day. Celebrated on Feb. 9, studies show that 4 billion pizzas are sold in the U.S, each year in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some are thin crust, while others are made thick crust, some are deep-dish, square, round or even heart shaped.

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Here are some interesting facts about pizza discovered on National Day calendar:

  • The most popular topping on a pizza is pepperoni at 36% of all pies ordered.
  • Of the 3 billion piping hot pizzas sold in the U.S. each year,  one billion more are from the frozen pizza section and heated up at home.
  • Pizzerias are 17% of all U.S. Restaurants.
  •  Antica Pizzeria, is the first Pizzeria that opened in 1738 in Naples, Italy.
  •  Gennaro Lombardi, the first Pizzeria in the United States, opened in 1895 in New York City.
  • Americans consume on average 23 pounds of pizza per person each year.

In Los Angeles we have hundreds of pizza spots to get your fill on this national holiday. Here’s my 5 favorites to eat-in or bring home to watch the Academy Awards:

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Paperboy Santa Monica is offering half off pizzas all day and an all new menu of hot delicious Neapolitan pizzas, wings and desserts. Build your own personal 9” pizza and  top it with Italian sausage, pepperoni, jalapenos, cherry peppers, and green onions. Cheese topping include mozzarella, fontina, provolone and parmesan.  No celebration is complete without dessert, try the all new cheesecakes with seasonal fruit or grab a pint of artisanal ice cream. Paperboy in Santa Monica is located inside The Gallery at 1315 Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica, CA 90401.

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DRAGO Ristorante – offers a variety of mighty good pizzas from Margherita, to Siciliana and assorted roasted vegetables for around $15.

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Blaze Pizza – Is offering a special on Feb. 9, with two pepperoni pizzas for $10 with online orders.

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PizzaRev offers all pizzas for $6 on National Pizza Day. PizzaRev is another fast casual concept that specializes in premium pizza customization in under 3 minutes.

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California Pizza Kitchen offers a variety of creative pizzas everyday, however on Feb. 11 through Feb. 16, guests can order any of their favorite CPK pizzas on a special heart-shaped crispy thin crust, for no additional charge. Also, CPK is participating in a nationwide fundraiser with The Children’s Heart Foundation. Guest who dine starting on Feb.11, and mention the fundraiser to their server, will have 20 percent of their bill donated to the foundation. Order a glass of Colby Red wine and the donation will be matched to reach up to 40 percent of the purchase proceeds. Come in before, during or after Valentine’s Day for CPK’s “Sweet Deal” prix fixe meal special. Starting on Feb. 12 through Feb. 16, chose one appetizer, two entrees and share a dessert for $35. As a gift, guests who dine-in during these days will receive a special card to redeem for a buy one, get one free offer during a return visit. Guests will also be eligible to enter the California Wine Country Sweepstakes, featuring a romantic two-night stay in Sonoma, Calif., an afternoon with the winemaker at Truett Hurst Winery, and dinner for two with wine pairings at Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen, courtesy of CPK and premium wine partner, Colby Red. For participating locations, go to https://www.cpk.com.

 

71Above – Where the term “elevated dining” really means something

71Above, located on the 71st floor of the US Bank Tower, offers panoramic views of downtown Los Angeles and beyond. The OUE Skyspace, a 45-foot slide cantilevering outside of the high-rise building, while separate from 71Above, provides a thrilling start to an evening out.

71Above, located on the 71st floor of the US Bank Tower, offers panoramic views of downtown Los Angeles and beyond. The OUE Skyspace, a 45-foot slide cantilevering outside of the high-rise building, while separate from 71Above, provides a thrilling start to an evening out.

Executive chef Javier Lopez prepares an elevated seasonal menu and adds a personal flair to many of his dishes.

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The restaurant is built around a unique 360-degree compass next to the floor-to-ceiling windows, which change in opacity as the sun moves across the sky, with an individual compass at each table.

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Sitting at a table overlooking Malibu to Palos Verdes, the uninterrupted panorama of greater Los Angeles is breathtaking during the day and very romantic in the evening.

Guests can choose from three different dining experiences: a reservation deposit for a prime window table, an edge table right at the window or one of the two chef’s tables that offer a direct view into the kitchen.

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Both the lunch and dinner menus are prix-fixe, with a two-course lunch menu for $35. Guests can also select an optional wine pairing for an additional $24 during lunch.

Our friendly server went over the menu and shared the staff favorite: a creamy and rich black squid ink pasta layered with shredded crab and slightly spicy Calabrian chili peppers.

First course items on the menu include a parsnip soup with pickled apple mostarda made from mustard seeds, shaved walnuts and pretty nasturtium flowers. Other selections include a burrata with sliced persimmon, and fried Brussels sprouts glazed with a Mandarin green apple curry sauce. We chose a yellow tail hamachi, a market salad and a roasted beet salad as our starters.

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The market salad was a colorful bowl displaying green and purple endive and Bibb lettuce. Thinly sliced Asian pears, parmesan cheese, chopped almonds and a light olive oil dressing delivered an earthy profile.

Artistically arranged with two rows of Japanese yellow tail, half of the hamachi was wrapped with thinly sliced cucumber and topped with sliced grapes, while the other half was topped with red beet medallions and sprigs of micro-greens.

Roasted beets were placed on a bed of ancient farro with a sprinkling of buckwheat grains on the top. This dish was dressed lightly and the texture of the grains balanced the smoothness of the beets.

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For the second course, we selected the New Zealand salmon filet. Cooked in a miso brown butter with coconut, the filet was served with three types of squash including a maple glazed squash and a puree.

Two large pan-seared diver scallops were served on a bed of farro risotto. Crunchy julienne leeks and a creamy leek foam dazzled the top of this dish. The third entrée was the staff’s favorite squid ink pasta.

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We finished with a bowl of coconut custard hidden under a bright green basil gelée. Dollops of Key lime curd, a scoop of strawberry sorbet, freshly cut strawberries and crunchy, flavorful sesame brittle decorated the top. The complexity and textures of this dessert offered an array of bright and clean flavors.

The second dessert was a round, crisp ginger snap tuile wafer on top of dark chocolate cremeux, smoked banana ice cream and a salted peanut crumble. Both desserts were pleasing in presentation and flavor.

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Pastry chef Vanesa Beltran oversees the program and will introduce a wide range of new artistic desserts including vegan and gluten-free sweets for the lunch and dinner menus.

Spur-of-the-moment guests can come in for dinner and sit in the bar or lounge without a deposit reservation. On a first-come, first-served basis, diners can order from the a la carte Bar Bites menu prepared by the same fine dining kitchen.

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Items on the menu include oysters, a potato and two-cheese fritter with truffles, a falafel with za’atar and pickled onion, and dates wrapped in bacon and blue cheese. Shareable plates include roasted beets, charcuterie with selected cured meats and marinated olives, and a chef’s selection cheese plate. Heartier fare includes steak tartare, octopus and Nduja Bolognese pasta.

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The bar makes cocktails inspired by neighborhoods in Los Angeles, including the Hollywood, which offers a spicy grapefruit essence made from jalapeño Grey Goose vodka and grapefruit cordial. The West Hollywood is made with apple-enhanced Hangar 1 Vodka, apple brandy, and apple and cinnamon cordial. Beers include a Lagunitas Czech Pilsner, Saint Archer white ale, North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial, and Almanac Sunshine and Opportunity sour beers.

71Above will be offering a special four-course Valentine’s Day dinner menu on Feb. 14 for $150 per person. Lead sommelier Catherine Morel will introduce some of her favorite wines with a supplemental $75 wine pairing.

Reservations for lunch during the week are recommended, but not required for the main dining room starting at 11:30 a.m. The restaurant is open nightly for dinner starting at 5 p.m. Reservations can be made on the restaurant’s website, and payment in full gives you a “ticket” with the number of guests and time of the reservation. Pricing varies and depends on the menu. $$$ 633 W. 5th St., (213)712-2683.

This article was featured in the Beverly Press on Jan. 23, 2020

25 Hanukkah, Christmas Eve & Christmas Day Venues

  1. Christmas at the Gallery on ICE – On Friday, Dec. 20, enter an ‘Ugly Sweater’ contest to have even more fun during your holiday shopping in Santa Monica near the corner of Fifth and Arizona avenues. A winter wonderland known as ICE at Santa Monica is open, offering visitors an 8,000-square-foot ice-skating rink throughuntil Jan. 20, 2020. Wear your creative Christmas sweater and enjoy bites and $4 brews at the Gallery and SocialEats Food Hall before or after skating. 1315 Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica, (310)584-7836.
  2. InterContinental L.A. eight crazy nights – During Hanukkah, enjoy a festive cocktail menu that includes Jewish twists on some of beverage manager Silvia Rho’s favorite libations. Specialty cocktails will be served in both the Copper Lounge and during meal service at Mari Los Angeles from Dec. 22 through Dec. 30. On Dec. 22, sip Lights of Kikori, followed by a Manischewitz mojito on night two. The Chosen One will be made on night three, and an apricot and dark-chocolate gelt martini is available on night four. Order a Sufaganiyah jelly donut martini on night five, He-Brewed on night six, Vodkas & Latkes on night seven and the Star of Century City on the last night of Hanukkah. Each specialty cocktail is $12. 2151 Avenue of the Stars, (310)284-6536.
  3. Eight nights of Hanukkah at Viviane – Enjoy a menu featuring matzo ball soup, potato latkes and horseradish-pistachio-crusted salmon from 3 to 9 p.m. on Dec. 22 through 30. This menu is available for $55 per person, plus tax and gratuity, along with the regular dinner menu.  Viviane is also offering a special Christmas Eve menu for $65 per person, as well as its regular breakfast, lunch and dinner menus. On Christmas Day, a holiday menu from Chef Michael Reed is available from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. 9400 W. Olympic Blvd., Beverly Hills, (424)285-6605.IMG_1729
  4. Holiday fun in Century City – Dine at Eataly or Del Friscos Double Eagle Steakhouse before or after riding a dragon at Dreamscape’s recently launched “DreamWorks Dragons Flight Academy.” It’s a free-flying immersive virtual-reality experience inspired by DreamWorks critically acclaimed “How to Train Your Dragon” film trilogy. The interactive experience propels up to eight participants at a time on a first-of-its-kind flying adventure. 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., (424)603-2948.
  5. Beverly Hills – Maude’s Tuscan White Christmas – Maude will be open Christmas Day for the first time and executive chef Chris Flint is preparing a white truffle lunch. The menu includes  roasted pumpkin with truffle soup, chicken liver crostini, chestnut bread and smoked fig with gorgonzola and truffle. Potato ravioli precedes a third course of mushroom risotto, then pheasant with cannelloni-bean puree and braised kale. Finish with a white-truffle gelato and chestnut cake with persimmon and pine nuts.  Reservations are available from 1 to 4 p.m., at $250 per person via Resy. 212 S. Beverly Drive, (310)859-3418.IMG_7526
  6. Jean-Georges Beverly Hills Christmas – Enjoy Christmas Eve at the Waldorf Astoria with an elegant three-course menu. Listen to a live pianist throughout the evening while enjoying truffle hamachi on a toasted brioche or grilled octopus. Main entrées include fresh tagliatelle pasta garnished with black truffles, spice-crusted squab or Maine lobster. Finish up with chocolate coconut and banana chestnut with orange and mascarpone, or an apple with salted caramel and cinnamon dessert. This menu is $165 for adults and $80 for children. On Christmas Day, bring your family to enjoy a very special brunch menu offering a choice of slow-baked salmon served with truffle mashed potatoes, and short ribs with a celery root and apple salad. Side dishes are served family style and a variety of desserts are served buffet style, including matcha green tea custards, chocolate salted caramel tarts and pumpkin cheesecake. 9850 Wilshire Blvd., (310)860-6700.
  7. Culina Christmas menus – Chef de cuisine Luca Moriconi is preparing a Christmas Eve four-course prix-fixe menu at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills for $89 per person. Menu options include roasted octopus, buffalo mozzarella, capon chicken ravioli, roasted striped bass filet and jidori chicken. Finish with a festive chocolate yule log or baked Alaska. On Christmas Day, sip and savor the holiday with an elaborate buffet-style brunch for a $135 per adult and $69 for children ages 5 to 12. 300 S. Doheny Drive, (310)860-4000. IMG_7545
  8. Christmas buffet at Sofitel L.A. at BH –  The annual ‘sea to table and farm to fork’ Christmas buffet at Cattle & Claw features traditional favorites such as chestnut soup, slow-roasted goose, maple-glazed ham and herb-crusted halibut with lobster velouté. Cattle & Claw’s famed creamy lobster mac ‘n cheese will also be served. For sweets, choose from a variety of delicious pies, cakes, Christmas yule logs and the famous chocolate fountain with fresh fruits. Book your table now, with pricing at $65 and up per person and $30 and up for children between ages 5 and 12. The buffet is free for children 5 and under. 8555 Beverly Blvd., (310)278-5444.
  9. CIRCA 55 Christmas – Christmas Day Brunch is priced at $95 for adults – including bottomless mimosas – and  $38 for children served from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.  Brunch favorites include a make-your-own-omelet station, assorted breakfast pastries, and festive prime rib, roasted turkey, roasted kabocha salad and a selection of “Santa Pastries” courtesy of chef Thomas Henzi. Christmas Day dinner is priced at $55 per person and includes fresh oysters, potatoes and green bean salad, wild-caught salmon, prime rib and an assortment of hand-crafted Christmas pies from 5 to 10 p.m. 9876 Wilshire Blvd., (310)274-7777.IMG_1411
  10. Peninsula Beverly Hills Christmas – On Christmas Eve, feel the magic of Christmas at the Belvedere while enjoying a three-course meal served family-style for $148 per person from 5 to 10:30 p.m. On Christmas Day, the holiday dinner includes free flowing Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne, parsnip and pear soup, beet carpaccio, turkey and sage stuffing, and a selection of classic desserts for $140 per person from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. 9882 S. Santa Monica Blvd., (310)975-2736.
  11. Downtown L.A. Sunday brunch at WP24 – On Sunday, Dec. 22, Santa will make an appearance as chef de cuisine John Lechleidner offers guests a personalized culinary journey through the kitchen of WP24 by Wolfgang Puck. Enjoy demonstrations by the chefs making dumplings, wok-fried dishes and eggs to order. Culinary stations of  holiday favorites include honey-glazed ham, Belgian waffles topped with maple and cinnamon, and an assortment of freshly baked pastries. This festive brunch is $75 for adults and $35 for children under 12 years old. Price includes teas, coffees, juices and bottomless mimosas for adults. 900 W. Olympic Blvd., (213)743-8800. 
  12. Redbird Christmas Eve dinner – Chef Neal Fraser and team will prepare a special three-course Christmas Eve dinner with optional wine pairings in celebration of the holidays. Bar director Tobin Shea presents a winter holiday cocktail collection. The dinner is $90 and optional wine pairings range from $45 to $65. Entrees include Beyond Meatloaf with smoked potatoes, John Dory with herb gnocchi, roasted turkey with cranberry chestnut stuffing, and filet of beef with Rosti potatoes, haricots verts, cippolini and bordelaise sauce. 114 E. Second St., (213)788-1191.
  13. Veranda Christmas – Inspired by the beloved Dr. Seuss’ holiday classic “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”, Veranda at DTLA’s Hotel Figueroa is serving a themed menu including Roast Beast rib roast and whole roast duck; Who Hash is roasted root vegetables with caramelized onion and herbs. When you order Red Fish, Blue Fish, a whole roasted red snapper and blue-nose bass with red and green mojos arrives. This special Christmas Day meal includes chicories with hazelnuts and crushed pomegranate vinaigrette, potato purée and Stolen Christmas Pie. Reservations are available from 3 to 8 p.m. on Christmas Day at $55 per person. 939 S. Figueroa St., (213)627-8971.
  14. NoMad Christmas – Chef de cuisine Rudy Lopez serves an a la carte holiday brunch from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Later, he will prepare a four-course prix-fixe dinner starting at 5:30 p.m. Main courses entrees include NoMad’s roast chicken breast, braised beef cheeks and scallops with butternut squash bisque. Executive pastry sous chef Henry Molina features a selection of desserts, including chocolate cake with ginger ice cream, Milk & Honey or a trio of seasonal sorbets. Reservations for brunch and dinner can be made on OpenTable. 649 S. Olive St., (213)358-0000.IMG_2086
  15. Miracle Mile Jar Christmas – Suzanne Tracht, chef and owner of Jar, celebrates Dec. 24 with a special Christmas Eve dinner menu. Come in starting at 5 p.m. for perfectly crafted crab and shrimp cakes, braised pork shank and a prime porterhouse for two. Holiday cocktails include a spiced hot chocolate with house-made marshmallows served with a shot of maestro dobel tequila, or a spiced pear old fashioned made with Rough Rider rye whiskey, spiced pear and orange zest. Finish with Jar’s famous chocolate or butterscotch pudding. 8225 Beverly Blvd., (323)655-6566.
  16. Hollywood Christmas at Gwen Butcher Shop – Gwen will operate regular hours and service on Christmas Eve, and then a special four-course-prix-fixe on Christmas Day. Chef de cuisine Juan Rendon will serve winter root vegetable salad, black truffle risotto and Jack’s Creek 8 oz. New York strip steak with cauliflower bagna cauda and maitake mushrooms. For dessert enjoy a cranberry cremeux with red walnuts and pickled cranberries. The Christmas Day menu is $95 staring at 1 to 7 p.m. 6600 Sunset Blvd., (323)946-7513.
  17. The Pikey Christmas – Come into the renowned English Pub serving local and organic dishes at noon on Christmas Eve. Come back for a Christmas Day prix-fixe dinner featuring choices of roasted duck or sea scallops. Sides for the table include Brussels sprouts and cauliflower with red pepper sauce, crispy potatoes with herb sauce, roasted carrot and parsnip with rosemary and confit garlic. The dinner is complete with figgy pudding and whipped crème fraîche. The holiday menu is $55 per person. For vegans and vegetarians, a composed plate of side dishes is $28 per person. 7617 Sunset Blvd., (323)850-5400.
  18. Public Kitchen & Bar Christmas dining – At the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel, the American brasserie offers a multi-course Christmas dinner of squash soup and seared diver scallops, roasted Moulard duck breast with Japanese sweet potato, and a deconstructed pumpkin pie or heirloom apple cranberry tart tatin. A holiday children’s menu includes chicken noodle soup, Christmas honey-glazed ham, macaroni and cheese, and crunchy praline mousse. 7000 Hollywood Blvd., (323)769-8888.
  19. Marina del Rey Christmas brunch at Whiskey Red’s – Celebrate with herb-butter roasted turkey, garlic-herb-crusted prime rib, a holiday ham, crab legs, raw bar and traditional sides. Besides live music, Santa will visit throughout the brunch. The price is $62.95 for adults and $29.95 for children ages 5 through 12. 13813 Fiji Way, (310)823-4522.IMG_1406
  20. Christmas Eve at Cafe del Rey – Celebrate the holidays with your family while enjoying stunning marina views. The four-course meal by executive chef Job Carder includes roasted chestnut soup to start, followed by choice of Belgian endive or baby frisée salad. Main course options include a slow-roasted prime rib, honey- and clove-roasted goose, or salmon en croute. Finish with a Bouche de Noel or eggnog crème brulee. This special menu is $89 per person, while teens can receive the same menu at a $20 discount. A holiday kids turkey plate is for those 12 and under. All these specials are available from 4:30 to 8 p.m. 4451 Admiralty Way, (310)823-6395.
  21. Santa Monica Christmas Eve dinner at Catch – Celebrate the holidays with prix-fixe menu that includes a choice of four starters, as well as entrees that include dry-aged rib-eye, grilled Maine lobster with lemon brown butter, Mary’s Farm slow-roasted organic turkey or dill branzino. Finish with a warm pecan tart a la mode or banana-cream pie with Chantilly cream. Make a reservation from 5:30 to 10 p.m. 1910 Ocean Way, (310)581-7714.
  22. Christmas Day beach brunch at 1 Pico – Treat yourself to a variety of appetizers, including Dungeness crab cake and grilled prawns, before selecting a whole lobster Benedict on a brioche, Jidori chicken and rosemary bacon parmesan waffle with chili-maple syrup, or pan-roasted prime filet mignon and eggs. Desserts include a pear tart with amaretto gelato. This holiday brunch is $95 per person. 1 Pico also will serve a Christmas Eve and prix-fixe Christmas dinner that includes braised waygu short rib, white-truffle tagliolini and roasted muscovy duck breast. Sweet endings include a chocolate yule log and citrus tuille. The Christmas dinner menu is $115 per person. 1 Pico Blvd. (310)587-1717.
  23. Westwood at STK Christmas Eve and Christmas Day – Bring the family to STK at the W Los Angeles and order from the full menu, or splurge and choose the prime rib special featuring roasted “Linz” prime rib with truffle Madera sauce for $58. A special children’s menu is available offering a 4-ounce beef filet with mac and cheese and sautéed broccoli. Their meal ends with a chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream for $24. 930 Hilgard Ave. (310)659-3535.
  24. NoMad Los Angeles – Celebrate the season with a cocktail pop-up in the Coffee Bar. The cocktail Spectacular will run from 5 to 11pm on Saturday and Sundays nights through Sunday, Dec 22, and feature holiday cocktails from the NoMad bar team with festive decor to match. Naughty options include a boozy Ho, Ho, Hot Chocolate spiked with green chartreuse and Fernet Branca, and the Lump of Coal with Sombra mezcal, Lustao Oloroso sherry, fig leaf and verjus. “Nice” beverages include the Winter Wonderland milk punch with spices served in a decked out snow globe; and the Into the Woods with Douglas Fir liqueur, blanc vermouth, maple syrup, lemon and egg white. NoMad Los Angeles will operate regular service hours on Christmas Eve, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner. On Christmas Day, NoMad chef de cuisine Rudy Lopez serves an a la carte holiday brunch from 10am-2:30pm with a four-course prix fixe dinner available from 5:30 to 9:30pm. Executive pastry sous chef Henry Molina features a selection of either chocolate cake with ginger ice cream, the iconic Milk & Honey, or a trio of seasonal sorbets. Reservations for brunch and dinner can be made via OpenTable649 S. Olive St.
  25. Preux & Proper’s SLEIGH BELLS on SPRING  is a monthlong holiday spectacular featuring Holiday Specials, Christmas Cocktails. decorations galore, and a Holiday Calendar of Festivities that includes weekly visits from Santa Claus himself runs through Monday, December 30, 2019. Preux & Proper will not be open Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but will re-open on Dec. 26. 840 S. Spring St. (213)896-0090.

These were also featured in the Beverly Press.

Dine, Drink & Dwell at Arts District Firehouse Restaurant

Executive Chef Ashley Abodeely and her female culinary team prepare artful American favorites with a wood-fired spin at Arts District Firehouse Restaurant.

I’ve dined twice now at the newer restaurant inside a historic 1927 firehouse. Located on the ground floor of one of the most unique independent boutique hotels in Los Angeles, this restaurant is getting wonderful accolades as its fun bar and dining menu in the Arts District.

There are multiple dining areas including a covered patio running the length of the building, plus an event space on the former handball court used by the fireman. This area seats 28 people for dinner or 60 guests for a standing cocktail party. Off the bar is a comfortable lounge and there is an al fresco sitting area around a blazing outdoor fire pit.

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Above the restaurant are nine uniquely designed guest suites available for short and long-term stays. Instead of numbers, the suites are named after colors such as orange, violet and white. 

It took three years to restore the charm of the firehouse into a hotel and restaurant. Fire poles that once were anchored to the floor have been removed, however guests enter through the large red firehouse garage doors to reach the lobby, coffee bar and pastry case filled with sweet treats baked by the restaurant’s pastry chef Rose Lawrence, formerly of Rustic Canyon and Manuela.

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Chef Abodeely cooked in New York City under Danny Meyer and Union Square Hospitality Group, including Eleven Madison Park, before she was the chef de cuisine for NoMad restaurant and invited to be at the helm of this kitchen.

The first night I dined at the restaurant it was World Martini Day. A group of friends and I joined a group for a special dinner with Plymouth Gin’s Master Distiller Sean Harrison. While sipping a “Rosé Fifty-Fifty” martini, we enjoyed a Caesar salad filled with baby green and purple kale topped with crunchy garlic croutons, a squeeze of preserved Meyer lemon and long and thick shavings of Parmesan cheese. This salad and other dishes were served on beautiful black and white Robert Siegrl Studio tableware.

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The martini made with one part Plymouth Gin, one part Lillet Rosé, and a grapefruit twist. It was served with a large ice cube that melted slowly to prevent the botanical flavors from diluting too quickly. 

Harrison is one of the most respected distillers in the world, joining Plymouth Gin 25 years ago. He is the current keeper of the coveted 200+ year old Plymouth Gin recipe, that has been passed down verbally to every Master Distiller since 1793. Harrison oversees every step of the production and distilling process, evaluating hundreds of botanical samples and approving all of the line’s bottled products.

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When the smoked trout tartine toast topped on thick grilled toast with sliced crisp radish and aromatic dill arrived, Harrison informed us that the character of every gin is defined by the selection of the perfect botanicals. “It’s not just a matter of freshness or size. You have to understand what you are trying to create to understand the finish,” Harrison said as we sipped a Plymouth Aerial with Bergamot, rose and Luxardo bitter Bianco.

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Biting into a wood-fired soft Japanese sweet potato topped with salsa verde, yogurt and toasted pine nuts, we learned that a former Lieutenant of the Royal Navy played a pivotal role in developing Plymouth Gin’s original export business, as well as, developing the brand internationally.

Plates of Chef Abodelly’s special crispy fried chicken were served with two moist dill and yogurt biscuits on a light gravy were served with another Plymouth martini. This one was made with Plymouth Gin, vermouth and orange bitters. It went well with plates of Branzino topped with fresh herbs and a crushed squash, zucchini and wood-fired charred scallion puree.

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Harrison launched a Plymouth Master Distiller tour that gives visitors a behind-the-scenes private tour of the award-winning distillery. This special experience is hosted by Harrison himself, and offers a first-hand look into the distilling process where each guest gets the opportunity to use their own personal micro gin still.

Our evening ended with bowls of hibiscus granita with rosewater and a scoop of luscious labneh, and a plate of rich chocolate semifreddo with milk jam, saffron and a crunchy glass sugar roof.

The second time I dined, I joined a group of friends from Palm Springs and ordered different dishes to try. We started with three snacks on the menu – homemade focaccia and garlic oil, marinated olives and deviled eggs with crispy prosciutto. Besides cocktails, Arts District Firehouse offers an interesting list of wines by the glass. Noticing one of my favorite wines, I ordered a light orange Jolie Laide skin contact Pinot Gris from Mendocino to pair with two salads. One was a heirloom tomato with sliced grilled peaches and a dollop of creamy burrata. The second salad was a mix of chopped lettuce, tossed with cut grilled corn, chopped tomatoes and cucumbers, and small medallions of mozzarella cheese.

A favorite around the table was a tortellini dish topped with grilled maitake mushrooms, a sprinkling of goat cheese, corn and breadcrumbs.

The vegetarians at our table enjoyed the cauliflower steak topped with chopped almonds, parsley, and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Meat lovers raved about the New York strip steak served with dijon butter, and rosemary. Sauces for proteins include buttermilk ranch, blistered tomato, black peppercorn jus, salsa verde, garlic Hollandaise or buffalo sauce. 

Our evening finished with a celebratory rich chocolate brownie topped with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream, swirl of chocolate sauce and a small carafe filled with rainbow sprinkles to pour on top. 

Next time you dine in the Arts District, enjoy wood fired food and drinks in a historic firehouse dwelling.

Arts District Firehouse is open for lunch, brunch and dinner. $$$ 710 S. Santa Fe Ave. (213)947-3010.

This review was featured in the Beverly Press on Oct. 10, 2019

 

 

 

 

INKO NITO Celebrates the fall season

Some subtle changes have occurred at the Inko Nito downtown in the Arts District. Diners can almost feel the heat from the open robata grill while sitting at the new dining counter. It’s an interactive experience as guests watch chefs prepare new seasonal dishes, as well as many beloved signature favorites.

When Inko Nito opened in January last year in downtown L.A., it became so popular that the Zuma team opened a pop-up on Third Street in Beverly Grove, which closed earlier this year. Now the team is focusing on their flagship location with a chef’s counter and 124-seat dining room designed by Studio Mai that offers communal seating and tables set for smaller groups of two and four guests. They built a larger full bar and added more greenery to the front door patio, softening the industrial design and adding a coziness for al fresco dining.

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Head Chef Randolfo Vaz added new items to the menu, including a sashimi section and a few robata dishes such as bone marrow and a sea bream fillet with saikyo miso and pickled red onion.

The drink menu is inspired by Japanese bar culture, offering Japanese beers, sake, California wines and some creative nonalcoholic beverages. Try the spritz made with watermelon, aperol, yuzu and a splash of sparkling wine. They also offer a Japanese-style margarita named Palomita – a combination of  sakura tequila, agave, a squeeze of lime and pink grapefruit juice.

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We ordered a cut corn on the cob and enjoyed it with a sprinkle of shichimi. Seven different ingredients combine to give the dish pizzazz, including red chili pepper, orange peel, black and white sesame seeds, ginger, pepper and nori.

Near the grill, a large container holds black charcoal logs called Binchōtan. Creating a beautiful flame that creates less smoke than wood, this charcoal produces high heat while preserving the flavorful juices of proteins and some vegetables.

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Each chef has his own station and responsibility. One chef marinates spicy beef and yellowtail collars with brown butter and a citrus-based ponzu sauce. Thick cuts of salmon filets are grilled and glazed with grapefruit miso and a sprinkle of sansho salt, which carries a little basil and spearmint flavor.

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Lighter fare includes an acidic empire salad layered with butter lettuce and mixed greens, slices of smooth avocado, small black quinoa for a slight crunch and an apple wasabi dressing.

An artistically arranged sashimi board arrived with two slices of salmon, toro and hamachi yellowtail and tender tuna belly maki with fresh wasabi, scallions and topped with rich, briny Petrossian classic shassetra caviar, as well as avocado and cucumber maki with wasabi peas, shichimi and yuzu.

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Four pieces of toast glazed with garlic butter accompany silky and buttery bone marrow topped with a smokey soy sauce. Another beef favorite, sliced spicy beef tenderloin, glistens with a caramelized chili and scallion sauce. The tender meat and appealing flavors made this one of our favorite dishes. We finished with a bowl of coconut soft serve ice cream drizzled in sweet soy and crunchy housemade Japanese granola on top. Bright green pocky sticks decorated this sweet treat.

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“We are like family working together, and we make sure each guests leaves satisfied,” said General Manager Nathan Merriman.

Inko Nito offers delicious fare, a pleasing atmosphere and attentive service. The restaurant opens at 5 p.m. daily, except on Saturday and Sunday when it opens at noon. $$ 225-227 S. Garey St. (310)999-0476.

Featured also in the Beverly Press.

BEST GIRL at the Ace Hotel DTLA

A James Beard and Michelin star-winning chef Michael Cimarusti returns to downtown Los Angeles with Best Girl located at the luxury boutique Ace Hotel DTLA. Cimarusti is known for his acclaimed restaurants Providence and Connie and Ted’s.

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Best Girl is an ideal pre-theater or downtown Los Angeles dining venue, offering a relaxed vibe and menus crafted towards farm-fresh comfort foods. Located on the ground floor of the Ace Hotel, it was one of the tallest buildings in Los Angeles in the 1920s.

Dining at Best Girl is a great people-watching spot. The wine list includes French sparkling wines, French and Californian chardonnays, rosé and select red wines. A nice selection of rotating draft beers, dry ciders and low-to-no alcohol beverages round out Clay Wendel’s beverage list.

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Fun fall cocktails include an “Indi Rose” made with gin, rose water and sweet vermouth. The “LA Intervention” is a tequila-based cocktail with a citrusy pamplemousse liqueur, and the “Osaka Sour” is made with Iwai Blue Label whisky and spiced plum wine syrup.

Thick grilled slices of Bub and Grandma’s bread arrived with silver containers of herb butter that offered a pleasing pesto finish and another container with Sicillian anchovies. A mixed garden salad with a handful of small yellow and red tomatoes, sliced radish and baked croutons glistening in olive oil. A light buttermilk dressing made this salad extra special.

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Another winning salad was the sugar snap peas tossed with thinly sliced radishes and red onions. Chopped hazelnuts tossed with Italian parsley and a pleasing crème fraîche dressing finished the salad nicely.

The Lumache alla Norma, one of their most popular dishes and one of the highlights of the evening, is comprised of Sicillian-style large macaroni-shaped pasta, dark purple eggplant, chopped simmered tomatoes and a generous shaving of pecorino cheese.

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We also enjoyed the grilled Jidori chicken with purslane, salsa verde and charred lime halves. A great plate to share with others at the table, the purslane adds a healthy greens to the dish. Its bright, lemony flavor enhances chicken or fish, plus the green leaves offer high omega-3s. Purslane is said to have high levels of melatonin to promote a good night’s sleep.

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Best Girl’s Pastry Chef Crisi Echiverri, who is Cimarusti’s wife, recently updated the dessert menu with her take on Eton Mess. Echiverri’s “Mess O’ Berries” is made with crisp meringue, whipped cream and sweet farmers market berries.

Cimarusti offers a Sunday Supper menu representative of his favorite meals he makes at home for his family and friends. Through the end of the month, enjoy a three-course meal for $35 with an optional wine pairing for an additional $18. One week, it might be a pizzieria salad and charred Jimmy Nadello peppers, and the next course might be chicken and ricotta meatballs with house-made spaghetti and garlic bread. Finish with tiramisu that includes a shot of Sambuca.

Best Girl is one of the best culinary options for breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner when in downtown Los Angeles. $$-$$$ 927 S. Broadway (213)235-9660.

Read this review also in the Beverly Press and Park LaBrea News .

Celebrating Fourth of July 2019

Here’s some fun Fourth of July spots to celebrate Independence Day with friends & family, eat BBQ, corn on the cob, watermelon, sip festive drinks and watch fireworks:

First ever 4th of July celebration at Universal Studios Hollywood!

Celebrate Independence Day like never before at Universal Studios Hollywood’s first ever salute to the stars and stripes, featuring a spectacular firework show. Fill your day with thrills, heart-pounding rides, shows and attractions. Enjoy holiday-themed décor, food, and special character interactions. And keep the fun going into the evening with a dazzling display of fireworks synchronized to Universal-themed music and patriotic favorites. Festivities included with the price of General Admission.

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July Fourth Party at Skyspace 

Take a Skyslide ride while watching fireworks all across Los Angeles from 1,000 feet in the air. There will be a live DJ, all-you-can-eat barbecue buffet, plus two drink tickets for $75 a person. Seniors pay $70 and youth $45. The fun begins at 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. 633 W. 5th St. (213)894-9000.

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Fourth of July BBQ at Hotel Shangri-La

The art-deco hotel in Santa Monica is hosting a family-fun pool party with barbecue fare on July 4. Starting at noon, the grill will be fired up for build-your-own Kobe beef burgers, marinated flank steak, chicken breasts, hot dogs, and vegetable skewers. There will be corn on the cob, guacamole, and homemade potato chips. The party will last in The Courtyard until 6 p.m. Guests not staying at the hotel can purchase a pool day pass for $25 and spend a minimum of $25 per person on food and beverage. 1301 Ocean Ave. (310)394-2791.

Summer Menu at Messhall Kitchen

Sit out on the large outdoor patio on Thursday, July 4 for the festive brunch menu, plus the chefs will barbecue chicken, smoke rib eyes, pull pork, grill baby back ribs and hot links. Sides include cheddar scallion mashed, mac-n-cheese, pit baked beans, Cole slaw and rolls. On Saturday, July 6 come in to celebrate National Fried Chicken Day with biscuits. Throughout the summer Park & Dine is available for those going to the Greek Theatre.The restaurant offers 40 Park & Dine reservations each night before a show. Make a reservation to park your car in the Messhall lot for $8 and you will receive a $10 credit redeemable towards your meal or cocktails that night. The bill must have a minimum purchase of $30. After dinner walk or take an Uber to the theatre. 4500 Los Feliz Blvd. (323)660-6377.

Cheers with Red, White & Boom Rum Punch with Fireworks 

Celebrate Thursday, July 4 to Castaway in Burbank with an all-American buffet and 180 degree firework viewing. Executive chef Perry Pollaci and his team are barbecuing Berkshire ribs, Wagyu sliders, grilling Pasture Bird chicken and Ora King Salmon, Kobe hot dogs, raw bar, charcuterie and cheese, a variety of salads and a selection of desserts to share around the table. Listen to live music while sipping creative drink specials including “Red, White & Boom” rum punch and buckets of beer. Families enjoying this buffet dinner sitting inside or out on the outdoor gazebo courtyard is $79 per person. Children ages 12 and under are $35 each in these areas of the restaurant. Adults and over 12 years may visit the buffet and chose the firepit/lounge area, outside patio, and window seating at $99 per person. Reservations are strongly recommended. 1250 E. Harvard Rd., Burbank (818)848-6691.

Firework viewing at The Rooftop by JG 

Come to the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills to celebrate a special Fourth of July menu and fireworks with rooftop views, a live DJ, and special beverages. The Rooftop by JG opens at 5:30 p.m., and offers a special Maine lobster roasted in the shell with corn and smoked chili-almond emulsion. After 7 p.m., reservations require a $100 food and beverage minimum per person. A live DJ will be on the rooftop from 7 to 11 p.m. For those staying overnight, the rooftop pool is open for guests to enjoy snacks and a cash bar while viewing fireworks. At the main Jean Georges Beverly Hills in addition to the regular menu, there are two dinner specials including glazed short rib served with potato puree, and a warm cherry pie served with a scoop of almond milk sorbet. During dineLA starting on July 12, guests have the opportunity to taste a three-course Asian and French-American meal during lunch for $35 per person. The dine LA dinner features roasted salmon and parmesan-crusted organic chicken for $59 per person. 9850 Wilshire Blvd. (310)860-6566.

City Sparkle for three nights at InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown 

Enjoy the sparkling Fourth of July weekend tasting menu at La Boucherie curated by Chef Igor Krichmar. Seatings are available at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., with a six-course ‘Sparkling’ tasting menu for $165+ per person. Add an additional $85+ for wine pairing. Enjoy complimentary access to the rooftop soiree at Spire 73 after dinner. The tallest open-air rooftop bar in Los Angeles will have a live resident DJ, festive cocktails, and creative appetizers. On July 4 Spire 73 is hosting a ‘Jack Daniel’s Party in the U.S.A.’  from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. On July 5 the ‘Red, White & Ice Party’ featuring Moët Ice & Grey Goose’ begins at 4 p.m. Join the fun on July 6 during the ‘Clicquot & Constellations’ party featuring Veuve Clicquot & Magdala’ starting at noon. Tickets for this are $10 before 8 p.m. and $20 after 8 p.m. There is bottle service available. Go to Eventbrite https://www.eventbrite.com/e/see-the-city-sparkle-spire-73-july-4th-celebration-tickets-62608344243. 900 Wilshire Blvd. (213)688-7777.

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Box o’ BAO on Fourth of July 

Bao Hiroo makes a party box of traditional Chinese steamed and stuffed buns. This innovative concept features unique flavors, crafted with homemade dough. Boxes to-go feed four to six people, and include 8 steamed Bao, four sweet Bao, and a side of slaw for $52. Come in for their daily Happy Hour for a $4 bag of Bao, $4 fries, $ draft or $5 glass of wine. 905 E 2nd St #109 (213)395-0626.

Build your own Ice cream Sundae

Hotel guests at The Garland on the Fourth of July can enjoy watching a classic dive-in poolside movie, and build ice cream sundaes with unlimited toppings from 3 to 8 p.m. Starting at 3 p.m., indulge in an all-American BBQ with grilled burgers and hot dogs. Non-guests can enjoy an al fresco dinner on the patio at The Front Yard. 4222 Vineland Ave. (818)255-7290.

Enjoy a Fourth of July picnic from Tocaya Organica 

The organic menu appeals to those who chose to be vegan vegetarian, KETO and are gluten-free. Order in or pick up and take your healthy fare to the beach, outdoor concert and firework viewing spot. Protein and dairy can be added to each traditional Mexican recipe based on each diners needs. Tocaya Organica now offers a watermelon and heirloom tomato salad; Zuma tacos with watermelon citrus slaw; and tomatillo shrimp that can be added as a protein to any salad, bowl, burrito or taco. Seasonal aqua frescos include watermelon, cucumber mint and strawberry basil. 8500 Beverly Blvd. (424)285-6080, 6550 Sunset Blvd. (323)472-5802, 8720 W. Sunset Blvd. (424) 288-4871, 10250 Santa Monica Blvd. (424)255-6956, 801 S. Olive St. (213)262-1805, 507 Wilshire Blvd.(424)268-8219 and 4303 W. Riverside Drive (818)641-1921. 

Golden Road Brewery Beer Can Derby

Come into the Golden Road Atwater Village Pub to pick up a beer can derby starter kit. Inside are wheels, framing, axles, and an empty Golden Road can. Get creative for this second annual event on Sunday, July 7. The grand prize for the best derby beer can will receive beer for a year, a Golden Road merchandise gift bag, a $100 pub gift card, $100 to the charity of your choosing and a trophy. 5410 W. San Fernando Road. (213)373-4677.

Le Grand is Bigger than Life in LA

Across from Bottega Louie in downtown LA on the corner of Grand Ave. and 7th Street is a new Mediterranean inspired restaurant, Le Grand. In the kitchen, chef/brother duo Alex and Chris Manos focus their brunch and dinner menus on local coastal California cuisine, yet add a French and Greek twist.

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The decor inside is similar to an elegant club-style restaurant. The booths are gold tones and mirrors line on wall. Green plants and ferns drape down at the lengthy bar and around column in the main high room. Dramatic light fixtures and glossy gray floors offer a modern touch. There is an outdoor, pet-friendly patio that allows guests and their furry four legged friends to watch others pass by.

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The brothers became chefs years ago after watching and working with their father. “In his 40’s, he had mid-life crisis and wanted to become a pastry chef,” said Executive Chef Alex Manos. “His passion led us to culinary school.” Since Alex is three years older than Chris, he went to culinary school first and then his younger brother Alex followed. Alex has spent time at Providence and Melisse, while Chris has worked at Michelin-starred Hytra and Spondi in Athens, Greece.

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My family and I met these handsome chefs during their first Sunday brunch service. While enjoying a plate of pastries that included a beignet ball served with a warm salted caramel sauce, and a beautiful flower shaped brioche filled with Nutella, fresh raspberries and a dusting of powder sugar, the General Manager Thibaud Duccini walked by our table. He stopped and we stared into each other’s eyes. I first met Thibaud at Patina when Tony Esnault was the Executive chef (11 years ago), then we were reunited at Wally’s Beverly Hills. Now he is expertly running Le Grand with the Manos brothers.

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The sublime buttermilk pancakes are different than any other round breakfast cake that you have tasted in Los Angeles. Pouring some Noble Bourbon aged maple syrup onto the stack, I remarked about the distinctive bourbon, maple and oak flavor profile. Scooping a forkful of lemon zest creme frache, before cutting into the three puffy levels, I noticed the golden spheres didn’t absorb the sweet amber syrup like a sponge and become thinner and soggy. Instead, they stayed puffy. Chef de Cuisine Chris Manos said ““It’s all in the technique. We make the buttermilk pancakes as one would make a soufflé.” Also on the plate was a sprinkling of delicious housemade granola, a scoop of red berry gelato and fresh blackberries.

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Other winning dishes included the Dungeness crab Benedict with a poached egg, Béarnaise, and jicama slaw layered on a soft and slightly sweet brioche bun.

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Another floral designed entree was the smoked salmon tartine. It’s enhanced with a creamy white ricotta spread on top of toasted turmeric bread. The lacy fennel fronds offered a delicate anise flavor. They were so tender that the fennel practically melted in my mouth. The pretty thinly sliced cucumber ribbons wrapped in a circular design were a creative, artistic touch.

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During brunch there are two impressive sandwiches, a Wagyu Burger with caramelized onions, and romaine lettuce, along with creamy, sweet and buttery brebirousse D’ Argental sheeps milk cheese. 

The second dish was made with an eye-catching charcoal black brioche bun. It was filled with soft shell crab and served with a black garlic aioli spread, sliced cherry tomatoes and crunchy jicama.

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For salads, the burrata with sliced summer yellow peaches is a winner. I hoped the  pistachio crackers would be crisper, yet the arugula leaves sprinkled with a pleasing 30 year old aged Balsamic vinegar was sensational.

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Healthier fare includes a large egg white omelette with cubes of tofu, kale, sliced tomatoes, scallions and shiitake mushrooms. It’s served with a bowl of summer berries.

I learned that the chefs make their own traditional dinnertime Greek dishes, including shrimp saganaki straight from the skillet and served with housemade pita.

I will be back to see if their dinner fare is as spectacular as the brunch dishes we enjoyed. Maybe on Father’s Day, as the brothers are offering specials on their Sunday brunch and dinner menu, plus every dad will receive a complimentary IPA on June 16. 

$$$ 707 S. Grand Ave. (323)303-2535.

This review was also featured in the Beverly Press.

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