Wolfgang Puck Opens all-day Ospero

Located at the former House of Blues site on the Sunset Strip, Wolfgang Puck recently opened his new all-day restaurant Ospero at the new boutique hotel, Pendry West Hollywood. The entrance is at street level, looking out to the Comedy Store, and is within blocks of his first Spago restaurant that he opened in 1982.

It’s been over 10 years since Puck, one of L.A.’s most famous chefs, has opened a restaurant. Puck became a household name for his award-season dinner parties, one-of-a-kind restaurants around the world, popular airport eateries and a line of culinary delights available at grocery stores.

Sit outside in the afternoon and watch the people and cars go by on Sunset Boulevard. In the evening, if you seek a quieter spot, ask to sit at the back of the restaurant on the al fresco dining terrace. The twinkling lights of the residences at the Pendry and views of greater Los Angeles are beautiful.

At Ospero there is a long dark blue bar and an open pizza kitchen. The low, soft leather teal-colored chairs resting on the Saltillo tile floor create an Italian trattoria feel.

Step into the lobby of the Pendry Hotel in West Hollywood and push the elevator to the 3rd floor to dine at Ospero.

We sat at a table for two at one of the coveted green velvet banquette tables and opened the dinner menu on our smartphones. Ospero features some neighborhood-friendly favorites that Puck made so popular during his days at Spago. There are iconic and innovative salads, pastas and wood-burning pizzas. Ospero also offers vegan dishes, proteins, a really good burger, breakfast favorites, grab-and-go items and a full bar.

We started with Puck’s chopped Chino Farm vegetable salad that our server had the kitchen split into two bowls. It was a generous portion of chopped lettuce with a variety of crunchy cube-shaped vegetables dressed lightly with a balsamic vinaigrette and dusting of parmesan cheese shavings. The salad was very fresh, healthy-tasting and offered layers of pleasing flavors.

Other popular salads and share dishes include a grilled tuna niçoise salad with a soft-boiled egg and meatballs al forno, bathed in a tomato, garlic and basil sauce with whipped ricotta.

Puck’s signature smoked salmon pizza with dill cream and salmon pearls is on Ospero’s menu, along with five others, including a wild mushroom pizza that we ordered and enjoyed. It arrived with Puck’s famous crust, thick and perfectly browned by the wood fire. A generous sprinkling of mushrooms topped a basil pesto spread, and chopped roasted garlic, caramelized onions and melted cheese medallions finished off the pizza.

Other pizzas include a house made lamb sausage with Calabrian chiles, mushrooms and onions; a spicy chicken with melted leeks; and a squash blossom and goat cheese pizza.

The Pendry displays one-of-a-kind art

There are four different pastas, including one named My Grandmother’s Cheese Ravioli, and fresh pappardelle with braised oxtail ragout and fava beans topped with pecorino cheese.

Those seeking grilled fish have a choice between Atlantic salmon served with a fresh arugula and fennel salad on top, or a tender wood oven cooked branzino served with a delicious gremolata and Tuscan kale.

The table next to us ordered the prime beef burger topped with melted white cheddar cheese, a slice of grilled red onion and garlic aioli spread on the bun which comes with fries.

Other proteins include a half Jidori chicken served with Tuscan potatoes and broccolini, and a grilled prime skirt steak served with rosemary and garlic fries.

Stay for dessert and order the creamy Basque cheesecake topped with a farmers market strawberry sauce and the pie of the day. Both are ethereal, rich and is sliced large enough for two to share.

Executive chef Mark Andelbrandt oversees the kitchen with Puck and has enjoyed an extensive culinary resume with the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group. Besides being the executive chef at Spago at the Bellagio Resort & Casino, he works alongside Puck to create one-of-a-kind globally influenced fare.

Now he is managing the kitchens at both Ospero and the more exclusive Merois, which offers stellar views from the Pendry’s penthouse level, creating a fine dining menu using French techniques with an Asian spin.

The night I dined at Ospero, Merois was just opening to hotel guests and private club members. I’ll have to save that experience for another night. Puck’s son, Byron Lazaroff-Puck, oversees both of these restaurants.

Come in for breakfast at Ospero starting at 7 a.m. Lunch service begins at 11:30 a.m. The grab-and-go and pizza menus are available between lunch and dinner. Dinner is served nightly starting at 5 p.m. $$ 8430 Sunset Blvd., (323)918-3420.

This review was featured in the Beverly Press – https://beverlypress.com/2021/05/wolfgang-puck-opens-all-day-ospero/

Gelato Festival Tasting Party at Home

The 2020 Gelato Festival is hosting COVID-friendly and socially distanced competitions, as well as adding a new coffee making competition.

#SaferAtHome families and individuals have the opportunity to purchase a sampling box and be the judge of the world’s best gelato. These cool gelato boxes are filled with 12 different artisan gelato flavors, and are available for purchase for $69 until December 9th. Boxes will be shipped to your door shortly thereafter.

Each box includes four QR codes that allows gelato fans to have a gelato taste testing party at home and vote for their favorite flavor, and ultimately take part in picking the winner of this year’s tournament, to be announced in January.

Here are the 12 flavors I received and who created them:

1. Figs Pecan and Chocolate – created by Carlo Piccinini of Gelato Italyano – Fiordilatte with figs, pecans and dark chocolate.
2. Fior di Mandorla by Fabio Vota of Guess & Marciano Family Private Kitchen – almond gelato and lemon zest
3. Dama Pistachio Vegan by Joseph Maatouk of Paradise Ice Cream made with Oat Pistachio Gelato, orange blossom and rose water
4. Hazelnut and Honey Truffle Stracciatella made by Luca Moriconi of Culina Restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. Hazelnut with truffle and Acacia honey
5. Lavender Honey by Peter Macias of La Peer Hotel
6. Banana Pudding Gelato by Theresa Black of Amore Congelato
7. Mimosa Siciliana by Vincenzo Grasso of Likery – Blood orange and almonds (vegan)
8. Drunken Chai by Vinn Brooks of Coffee Manufactory – oat vanilla chai gelato drizzled with chocolate and caramel
9. Gianduia Gelato and Amarena Cherry by Michael Miranda of Gelato D’Oro – Giandula gelato with crushed hazelnut and whole Fabbri Amarena cherries
10. Cardamom and chocolate pear gelato by Samantha Santiago Torres of Saint Clair Inn – Cardamom, pear and crunchy chocolate
11. Blueberry Basil by Mike Guerrero (American Champion in 2019) – organic blueberries, fresh basil leaves, a squeeze of lemon and water (vegan)
12. Texas Pecan Salted Caramel by Diego Comparin of Paciugo Gelato Cafe (Silver Award Americano Championship 2019) creamy salted caramel gelato with swirls of organic pecans roasted in Dallas, Texas.

Gelato Festival is open for purchases of gelato at 8906 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles (424)249-3966.

New Chef at Harlowe in West Hollywood

When Harlowe opened in 2014 as a vintage-inspired cocktail bar, it soon became one of the most sophisticated neighborhood hot spots in West Hollywood. The beautifully decorated interior captures the feel of an invigorating social club from Hollywood’s Golden Era.

The kitchen had been hibernating due to COVID-19, but it was reignited in July when lauded culinary star T. Nicholas Peter, formerly at the Little Door for 25 years, was invited to create a new Harlowe menu.

Dimitri Komarov from 1933 Group, which owns Harlowe, said after the Little Door closed, Peter was pursuing new opportunities.

“We have been huge fans of the Little Door and chef Peter’s food since the beginning and truly can’t think of a better chef who has that ‘je ne sais quoi’ we’ve been envisioning for Harlowe’s return as a serious player in West Hollywood’s dining scene,” Komarov said.

Peter said he also had his eye on what the 1933 Group has been building over the years.

“I’ve been received with open arms to collaborate with people that are genuine, and they’ve invited me to do what I do best,” Peter said. “My food is who I am, and I have been wanting to find a way to keep doing that.”

As with his menu at the Little Door, Peter transports people to another place in time at Harlowe.

They creatively designed an al fresco dining area on the newly refurbished semi-covered patio, plus added a new outdoor seating area that expands into an easement facing Santa Monica Boulevard. There is an eye-catching black and white mural painted on one wall, a vine-lined trellis and festive bistro lights hanging above to illuminate the area in the evening.

The Harlowe team wears masks, and all guests must be masked on arrival. Tables are more than 6 feet away and there are hand-sanitizing stations.

“We’ve seen a very successful uptick in patio reservations. Lots of couples on a much-needed date night, and we’re so glad to be welcoming back locals and regulars in the neighborhood who used to hang out with our team weekly,” Komarov said.

Peter creates an appealing full-service French-Mediterranean dinner menu with so many tempting dishes. They are also providing take-out. Guests can place an order online and pick it up at a table near the valet stand in front of the restaurant.

Harlowe creates an environment of a French countryside bistro. To start, share a Mediterranean plate of romesco, hummus and tzatziki dips with olives, ribbons of red onion, sliced cucumber and grilled chickpea flatbread.

A French-Moroccan marinated octopus salad with al dente green beans, sliced tender fingerling potatoes and whole-roasted sweet cherry tomatoes combines a perfect balance of salty and sweet with the essence of the sea flavors. For an entrée, try the garlic, oregano and lemon roasted chicken breast paired with crispy polenta diamonds and green beans.

Baked almond-crusted whitefish was perfectly cooked and covered with finely chopped almonds. It was tender, flaky and enhanced with a coarse mustard tarragon sauce and smashed fingerling potatoes.

Other entrées include the Harlowe burger with Kennebec home fries. The burger is topped with caramelized onions, roasted porcini mushrooms and melted brie cheese. Peter and his team also grill a marinated skirt steak and make a Moroccan lamb stew and fresh pappardelle pasta.

For the piece de la resistance, we shared a strawberry rhubarb lattice tart with creme anglaise for dessert. Beautiful micro-flowers on top made this dessert visually appealing. The menu also offers a gingered peaches coconut cheesecake.

Enjoy a drink from Harlowe’s robust selection of classic and original, old-meets-new cocktails, and stay for Peter’s exquisite Mediterranean fare. For those living close by, delivery service is new for Harlowe and it’s been going well with a few platforms up and running. Make a reservation for dining at Harlowe starting at 5 p.m. on Tuesday through Sunday or order online at harlowebar.com for a scheduled pickup or delivery. $$ 7321 Santa Monica Blvd., (323)876-5839.

This review is featured in the Beverly Press .

Daphne’s Mediterranean Delights

Seeking outdoor dining venues re-opening in Los Angeles, I discovered that the Mediterranean-inspired Daphne’s California Greek Restaurant is open for takeaway and al fresco dining. This fast-casual dining venue offers an array of healthy starters, salads, bowls, pita sandwiches and plates. I visited the Pasadena location during my lunch hour.

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Walking inside I noticed a sign that reads “No mask, no service,” reminding guests of proper COVID-19 protocols. The friendly Daphne’s employee Adriana Aguila, welcomed me and offered some recommendations. She told me business has been picking up since their reopening, and that she takes the cleanliness and safety protocols very seriously. Wearing a mask and gloves, she fills guests drink orders with ice, tea and soda, located inside the closed dining room.

At the grill a chef wearing a mask started my order of crispy phyllo spanakopita filled with feta and spinach, and made one of Dapahne’s new strawberry salad. All were boxed for me to take outside to eat or bring home.

The spanakopita arrived in four bite-sized pieces alongside a generous portion of mixed greens topped with freshly chopped strawberries, candied walnuts, feta and grilled and sliced chicken. Aguila, who said that the chicken is antibiotic free, included a container of honey vinaigrette dressing to toss to my liking. Salads also come with a container of tzatziki sauce and warm pita with the words “Happy is Healthy” on the paper bag.

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Other salads on the menu include a Greek salad, falafel salad and a Mediterranean salad with mixed greens tossed with lemon tahini dressing, tomatoes, cucumbers, red cabbage, chickpeas, artichokes, feta, kalamata olives and a grilled chicken skewer.

Three bowls on the menu, including a creamy hummus bowl, Greek bowl and gyro bowl, are served with a few pieces of warm pita bread.

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Sandwiches include a spicy grilled chicken pita that has a fire feta sauce to spike the flavor, as well as a classic pita with a choice of either gyro or grilled chicken for protein. For vegetarians, they make a chickpea falafel pita filled with red cabbage, hummus, cucumber-tomato salad and lemon tahini dressing.

If you want to feed the whole family, Daphne’s offers a family feast special for $34.99 offering diners the option to select two proteins, two sides, a sauce and pita bread.

Proteins include hand-carved gyro that is lean, tender and melts in your mouth, or grilled chicken or falafel. For $4.99 extra, you can select grilled steak, seasonal fish or shrimp skewers.

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Select from side dishes that include seasoned basmati rice, Greek salad, french fries, tabbouleh, cucumber-tomato salad, roasted vegetables or pita chips. Sauces include tzatziki, hummus or, for $2.99 extra, fire feta.

The menu also features a Mix & Match plate that includes two proteins, a Greek side salad, seasoned basmati rice, tzatziki and pita. I ordered the grilled Mediterranean fish plate that had half of a grilled lemon and fresh herbs sprinkled on top. Accompanying this entrée was a Greek side salad, seasoned basmati rice, tzatziki and pita slices. They also offer a Surf & Turf plate that includes grilled shrimp and steak skewers served on a bed of seasoned basmati rice with roasted vegetables, tzatziki and pita bread.

For vegetarians, there is a plate of tabbouleh, chickpea falafel, spanakopita, hummus, Greek side salad, tzatziki and sliced pita.

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For kids, they have four menu items that come with seasoned basmati rice and warm pita for $5.99. Kids can select hand-carved gyro, grilled chicken, chickpea falafel or cheese pita pizza. On Sundays, kids eat for free when an adult entree is purchased.

Save room for their crispy baklava phyllo dough drizzled with honey and chopped walnuts for dessert.

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Daphne’s has also partnered with Uber Eats, Postmates, Grubhub and DoorDash to deliver fresh Mediterranean cuisine to your door.

What I like most about Daphne’s Mediterranean-inspired fare is the menu offers healthy items that appeal to everyone seeking a low-fat, low-carb, high protein diet, as well as for those vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free diets. $-$$

7100 Santa Monica Blvd., Ste 130, West Hollywood, (323)969-8225. Take a drive and visit other Daphne’s Restaurant locations at 3573 East Foothill Blvd., Pasadena, (626)351-5005; or 2700 Marine Ave., #109, Redondo Beach, (310)355-0535.

This review was featured in the Beverly Press and Park LaBrea News 

The Pendry West Hollywood Welcomes Wolfgang Puck

Recently I was invited to a Zoom informational meeting with a panel involved in the new Pendry West Hollywood and Pendry Residences West Hollywood by Montage Hotel & Resorts. Everyone was giddy about the collaboration with Chef Wolfgang Puck returning to the Sunset Strip.

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Wolfgang Puck first starting cooking in Los Angeles in 1975 as a chef of Ma Maison in West Hollywood. His big personality and innovative culinary flair attracted the rich and famous eager to enjoy his elegant fusion of French and California fare. With award winning reviews and a steady following, Wolfgang branched out to create his first flagship restaurant, Spago, in West Hollywood. Spago means “spaghetti” in Neapolitan slang.

Opening in 1982, the restaurant perched on a hill next to Tower Records with the Sunset Strip below, became an instant culinary phenomenon. He hired a team of talented chefs that later went on to open their own successful restaurants throughout Los Angeles.

Puck pioneered “California Cuisine,” and became famous for its haute designer pizzas topped with smoked salmon and caviar, and pasta dishes. Known as the pizzeria to the stars, super agent “Swifty” Lazar held his annual post-Oscar party at Spago, and just about every movie star hoped to secure an invitation.

Spago attracted some of the most talented, ambitious cooks, who later moved on to launch their own successful restaurants. Nancy Silverton and her husband at the time Mark Peel, opened Campanile in 1989, and later La Brea Bakery. Executive chef Govind Armstrong began working at Spago in his teens. Susan Feniger of Border Grill restaurants worked with Puck, as did Chef Neal Fraser before opening BLD and Redbird. Before Providence and Connie & Ted’s, James Beard Award winning chef Michael Cimarusti was the chef de cuisine at the original Spago.

With Puck’s success he opened Granita in Malibu or Chinois in Santa Monica. This accomplished chef earned the prestigious James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Chef of the Year, in 1991, and the James Beard Foundation Award for Restaurant of the Year in 1994, but won Outstanding Chef of the Year again, in 1998. Wolfgang Puck is the only chef to have won the Outstanding Chef of the Year Award multiple times.

After 15 successful years in West Hollywood, Puck moved Spago to the more toney Canon Drive in Beverly Hills. “WeHo is different now than when I had a restaurant on the Sunset Strip,” said Puck. “It was funky and known for its wild nightlife and rock music in various clubs. I used to go to The Whiskey, and once I saw Chuck Berry,” said Puck.

Photo courtesy of Pendry Hotels

 

Located on the former House of Blues corner, is a new way of luxury living, The walkable neighborhood of Sunset and Fountain is becoming the hub to live, work and play. It’s the right property for the right time to meet the moment.

Wolfgang Puck will bring a variety of premier dining concepts to Pendry West Hollywood. ‘Now Sunset Blvd., is being revitalized. It’s amazing. The Pendry West Hollywood will be the center of the Sunset Strip,’ said Puck. ‘I like it so much, that I have moved my office here.’

Diners can expect to enjoy Puck’s Michelin-starred, seasonal cuisine, highlighting local ingredients and organic options, along with carefully crafted wine and cocktail lists developed by Puck’s acclaimed beverage team.

“I may create a new fine dining restaurant concept for a new generation of foodies,” said Puck. Plans are to create a casual indoor breakfast, lunch, and dinner concept with an outdoor patio, and a sophisticated rooftop restaurant offering stunning views of Los Angeles.

The restaurants might even have some Spago inspired dishes that fans of the original restaurant enjoyed. “Downstairs is a music room. Musicians like home cooked meals, so I’ll be making fried chicken and comfort dishes,” said Puck.

“It’s an honor to team up with a world-renowned chef and one of Los Angeles’ culinary icons to bring our food and beverage concepts at Pendry West Hollywood to life,” said Michael Fuerstman, co-founder and creative director of Pendry Hotels. “Wolfgang has played a singular role in shaping the City’s culinary identity, and we are excited to collaborate with an LA legend to continue to push the food scene to even greater heights.”

Photo courtesy of Pendry Hotels

 

Pendry West Hollywood is a $500 million dollar project that has taken 15 years in the making featuring 149 luxury guestrooms in an urban oasis and 40 luxury residences with a piazza separating the vibrancy of the hotel with the privacy of residential living.

Besides Wolfgang Puck culinary and beverage venues, guests and residence owners will have exclusive access to hotel amenities, including a rooftop pool and bar, multi-purpose live music and entertainment venue, a screening room, bowling alley, Spa Pendry and state-of-the-art fitness center, and a curated art collection.

Martin Brudnizki, founder of Martin Brudnizki Design Studio, vision for the new Pendry West Hollywood is the glamour of the 1930s and 1950s with a contemporary twist. “Sunset is a stretched out Time Square,” said Brudnizki on Zoom. ‘Im creating an inviting public village, that is exclusively perched up above the Sunset Strip with steps cascading down the hill.’

Every resident will have a terrace, some are bigger than others bringing nature and sunshine, a relaxed lifestyle, and uber glamour that inspires a zest for life. The residences start at $3 million for an almost 3,000 square foot private unit.

New to the Pendry Hotel since the coronavirus pandemic, is One Medical, a telecom Medical App, offering check-in with a live doctor 24/7 for associates.

Another Pendry West Hollywood article is also featured in JustLuxe -.

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.

Gelato Festival Opens in West Hollywood

Walking into the new Gelato Festival Gelateria on Melrose Ave., I met with Master Gelato & Pastry Consultant Filippo Cianciosi to learn about Gelato Festival’s concept store. Recently established in West Hollywood on Melrose Ave., the purpose is to celebrate and share the craft of making gelato with the community.

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Inside the 3,000 square foot scoop shop, is also a museum, gelato lab and classroom in lively bright colors, fun Instagrammable moments, interactive touches, and a rotating contemporary art installations. The first is a wall of enormous giant, recycled plastic spoons created by celebrated Italian artist Simone d’Auria.

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There are four different delectably indulgent areas to the inspire creativity:

  • The ROTATING MENU of award-winning, artisan gelato includes 15 flavors. Visitors can come in an try 10 of the flavors that are from recipes created by master gelato chefs from around the globe. These chefs won awards at Gelato Festival’s worldwide championships, including Strawberry & Red Pepper and Pecorino Cheese with Caramelized Pear & Honey. The store’s in-house gelato chef creates five additional flavors, as well as gelato cakes, gelato popsicles, Italian coffee and affogatos. 
  • Visitors can come in and view the process of making fresh gelato daily in an open-concept LAB equipped with state-of-the-art machinery.
  • Take a class inside the CLASSROOM for fun, weekly interactive gelato and coffee workshops open to the public. This space is also available for private events and parties.
  • Along the wall is a GELATO MUSEUM highlighting the history of gelato with gelato cone lights displaying an array of gelato history, starting with its founding in the 16th century in Florence, Italy. Florentine architect, Bernardo Buontalenti in 1559 added milk, cream, and egg yolk to sorbet at the Medici Court.  Learn that the first public place to consume gelato was in Paris in 1686. Display cases include artifacts such as a famous spoon, and an antique Florentine gelato maker. 
  • The calendar of lively COMMUNITY EVENTS, including special visits by award-winning gelato chefs, kids’ juries, and all-you-can-eat gelato challenges.IMG_5058.jpg

This weekend local and visiting International gelato artisans are gathering at West Hollywood’s Pacific Design Center on Sept. 28 and Sept. 29 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.  Every ticket-holding guest gets a vote and opportunity to participate in gelato eating contests, scoop stacking, and other fun family games. The gelato artisan who earns the most votes, wins the coveted gold medal and continues the journey towards the industry’s ultimate stage, the Gelato Festival World Masters 2021. Tickets are available on Eventbrite. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/gelato-festival-america-west-hollywood-2019-tickets-61930715437#pdc.

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Gabriele Poli, Founder & President of Gelato Festival is enthusiastic about the upcoming two-day festival. Gelato Festival has partnered with Project Angel Food to create a number of initiatives that will launch next month to support the organization. To start, Gelato Festival created an exclusive, limited edition flavor for Project Angel Food’s 30th Anniversary Angel Awards on September 14. It is available in the store. Proceeds from the sale of each scoop will go directly to the organization, which prepares and delivers medically tailored meals to feed people impacted by serious illness throughout Los Angeles County.

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Gelato Festival’s flagship store is open Sunday through Thursday 12-10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday 12-12 p.m. Visit gelatofestival.com/store and follow along on Instagram @gelatofestival. (424)249-3966.

 

 

 

Pacifique pleases your palate

In the sophisticated dining room of the new Pacifique restaurant on La Cienega, guests can sit in intimate Japanese izakaya-style booths with curtains for a discreet dining experience.

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Pacifique is located at the former Le Petit Bistro, which closed its doors in 2018 after 25 years in business. Restaurateur Joel Herzer and partner and designer Sean Leffers have transformed the main dining room to look like a West Hollywood designer showroom. Oversized white papier-mâché globe lights hang above a row of tables set for two and houndstooth fabric-covered chairs. The space, with comfortable plush velvet banquettes and booths, along with opulent gray, taupe, dark blue, white and black colors, exudes warmth and elegance. Much of the restaurant’s design takes its inspiration from the local community – many of the textiles and interior pieces were sourced from West Hollywood designers Kelly Wearstler and Rose Tarlow.

Looking at the beverage menu, I saw that my friend Feisser Stone curated the bar program with Zachariah Parks. Stone has reimagined the cocktails at the Wallis Annenberg Center of Performing Arts in addition to some of the most acclaimed restaurants and bars in the area, including Mosaic Hotel in Beverly Hills, Hinoki & the Bird in Century City and the Ace Hotel rooftop. The bar menu at Pacifique features a carefully composed list of domestic and international wines and beer. There are unique cocktails as well, including a martini made with almond-and-Castelvetrano-washed vodka, white honey, and a dry and pale fino sherry.

Pacifique also offers a curated bottle service menu that pairs single cask whiskies with bites from the kitchen. Other rare, cask and small-allocation spirits are featured in 1.5-ounce pours, showcasing Stone and Parks’ rotating favorites.

We started with what our server said is a fan favorite – a flute of Schlumberger grüner veltliner brut. This dry sparkling wine carried apple, pear and ginger essence with a pleasing finish. It paired well with the first three small plates that we ordered, the Japanese karaage, chawanmushi and chicory salad.

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At Pacifique, chef Danielle Sobel showcases traditional Japanese dishes with seasonal California ingredients. The karaage, for instance, is made with mushroom-marinated dark meat chicken, coated with a light potato flour and fried to resemble tempura. It’s then served with a slice of lemon, pinch of soy salt and a pleasing spicy citrus aioli dipping sauce.

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The chawanmushi arrived next in a small blue and white cup with a lid on top. As our server lifted the lid, I caught a glimpse of an egg on the bottom of the bowl with pieces of shimeji mushrooms and Dungeness crab meat floating in the hot soy broth. Within one minute, however, the liquid turned into a velvety custard flan-like consistency. The savory dish was warm, smooth and very satisfying.

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The large chicory salad was delivered to our table with a swirl of date purée on the side, Pink Lady apples and yuzukōsho vinaigrette to sweeten the bitter chicory leaves. Mixed in were slightly spicy soy nuts adding texture and crunch, as well as a generous sprinkling of savory manchego cheese on top for a salty component to this well-balanced salad.

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A glass of grenache from France’s Languedoc region went nicely with our next dish, the kohlrabi “tournedos” on a sunchoke purée. Kohlrabi, also known as a German turnip, tastes a little bit like broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. Sobel prepares it to look like scallops on a plate, and then adds rolled spinach leaves, king trumpet mushrooms and a vibrant citrus vinaigrette.

My least favorite dish of the evening was the agnolotti. I found the pasta too buttery to my liking, but I did enjoy the vibrant tomato and garlic confit on the side.

We finished with a piece of grilled rock cod placed on top of white asparagus and a mizuna (Japanese mustard greens) pesto swirl. The chopped green leaves framing the moist white fish were dressed with a kabosu and sansho pepper glaze for a slightly spicy kick.

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Leave on a sweet note with dessert options like coconut panna cotta or an attractive lemon yuzu tart. The talented pastry chef Eliot Pardo, of Salazar and The Raymond 1886, adds floral lavender wafers to round out the delicate flavors of the tart. Or, keeping with the restaurant’s theme of Japanese and California fusion, try the chocolate molten cake with green tea ice cream. The treat, along with Pacifique’s pleasing dishes and great cocktail and bar menu, will entice diners back to the restaurant again and again.

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$$ Pacifique is open Sunday to Thursday from 6 to 10 p.m. On Friday and Saturday, the restaurant stays open until 11 p.m. 631 N. La Cienenga Blvd., West Hollywood, (310)359-0788.

This review is also featured in the Beverly Press on March 28, 209

Tesse is Terrific on Sunset

After developing and operating over 20 successful restaurant concepts such as Bestia, Petty Cash, République and Otium, restaurateur Bill Chait repeats his success with Tesse, his newest endeavor on Sunset.

The new dynamic duo Michelin-starred Executive chef/partner Raphael Francois and award winning partner/pastry chef Sally Camacho Mueller make quite a team at Tesse on Sunset. Chef Raphael worked with Marcus Mueller (Sally’s husband) and when the idea of Tesse came about, Raphael knew Sally would make a perfect partner.

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Tesse is a play on the French word “delicatesse,” meaning delicacy. It’s a thoughtful restaurant the minute you walk inside and notice Alexis Readinger of Preen, Inc., design. It’s modern with a teak bar, soft tan leather banquettes, a beautiful wood and cork ceiling, and interesting 3-D patterned rose colored cinder block walls throughout the main dining space.

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The first time I dined at Tesse was last year while attending a private dinner in the attached Boutellier wine room. Managing partner and wine director Jordan Organ opened this unique wine store and named Boutellier – a French title given to one in charge of the King’s wine. The logo of this space is a key, representing the only person with a key to the King’s cellar.

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Ogron travelled the world exploring unique partnerships with wineries, and brought hard to find and affordable wines to Los Angeles. During the evening, this wine store lined with bottles, is transformed into a private dining room for standing receptions or private seated dinners. 

Ogron’s wine list features nearly thirty wines by the glass that come in 3 oz. pours, and a list of thousands of bottle selections.  The 3 oz. pours enable guests to enjoy multiple varieties, however if diners prefer a traditional pour they can tell their server.

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They also offer two corkage policies. If you purchase wine at Boutellier, it may be opened in Tesse for $15 per bottle, no bottle maximum. All other wines will be charged at $30 per bottle for the first and second bottles, and $50 per bottle for the third and fourth bottles with a four bottle maximum.

The contemporary dinner menu offers a European twist that is influenced by chef Raphael’s recipe that he learned to make while growing up in Belgium and France. This esteemed chef has a resume that includes Michelin-starred dining establishments in Brussels, Paris and London. He cooked at Le Cirque in New York and Le DeSales in Washington DC. Now the bearded chef lives near the restaurant and gets around Los Angeles on a BIRD electric scooter to go to the Farmers Market.

Before drinking wine, I enjoyed a craft cocktail named Date Night designed by Nick Meyer and Julian Cox. It was a refreshing vodka based beverage enhanced with date syrup and cranberry juice. I sipped it while enjoying French specialities displayed on a long wooden board with thick slices of bread and whole grain mustard. There were pâtés, terrines, rillettes, saucisses and dates. 

Chef Raphael next sent to our table a classic beef tartare with a twist. It was mixed with caper berries, chopped shallots, on a Grana Padano cheese crisp with shaved cheese and a sprinkling of chive aioli.

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Bowls of colorful radicchio and kale leave had thin slices of peach, kernels of corn and a sprinkling of goat cheese. It was dressed with a pleasing beer vinaigrette and paired nicely with a beautiful Chardonnay Library Release Frostwatch 2014 from Bennett Valley. I learned the wine is a barrel fermented blend evoking layers of flavors that include ripe red apple followed by citrus notes of lemon, lime and orange peel. This wine offered a rich silky mouthfeel with just a nuance of well-integrated French oak.

This wine also went well with ethereal plump ravioli pillows filled with parmesan cheese, sweet currants and sautéed herbs.

Large scoop of burrata, topped with Oregon porcini duxelles arrived before my entree. Duxelles is finely chopped mushrooms with shallots, herbs such as thyme or parsley, and black pepper. It is all sautéed in butter and reduced to a paste. I grabbed another piece of this heavenly bread and spread this on top. Delicious!

A plates of beautifully cooked French classic skirt steak was set in front of me. The protein was cooked on the wood-fired hearth before it was topped with a bordelaise sauce, watercress, sliced grapes, and shallots.

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The last highlight of the evening was pastry chef Sally’s dessert. After graduating with honors from both the Culinary and Baking, and Pastry Programs at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, she gained recognition for her exquisite duck egg creme brûlée. I thought it would be savory, yet instead the creamy custard base sweetened with Muscovado, a robust flavor sugar from Mauritius. It’s high molasses content gives a strong lingering flavor. This beautiful ethereal brunt cream had a curled almond crisp tuile cookie dusted with powdered sugar on top.

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Enjoying the dinner so much, I brought my husband to Tesse for brunch on a rainy Sunday last month. Sitting in the main dining room, we started off with three of chef Sally’s pastries to share around the table. We chose a chocolate croissant, along with a fresh fruit danish and a small banana loaf. All were exquisite.

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Our friendly server recommended we start with fresh red beet and carrot juice, and a kale, celery and green apple juice. She also told us that we have never tasted a grapefruit like the one they serve at brunch.

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It’s half of a ruby red grapefruit with muscovado sugar sprinkled on top. When torched, it bubbles and browns to a caramelized brûlée. The blushing red sections burst juicy sweetness with each spoonful.

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During brunch the formidable culinary duo reinvent classic brunch fare into something special. We ordered chef Raphael’s special smoked salmon Benedict topped with an exquisite herb hollandaise. Instead of English muffins, the eggs are on top of two slices of housemade brioche bread. Lovely pickled tomatoes and smoked salmon finish this brunch favorite.

img_0089When the “Frenchy Pizza” was delivered, Chef Raphael arrived at our table to prepare the dish in front of us. On a large wooden round plate were two grilled crepes topped with olive oil. There were dishes of ricotta cheese, garlicky pesto, marinated tomato confit and crispy prosciutto. This is the only restaurant in Los Angeles where you will experience this unique and savory crepe style crust pizza. Chef finished it off by shaving French cheese on top. 

While enjoying the new brunch offerings, we glanced at the daytime cocktail menu, including the Drip Club for coffee lovers with vodka, demerara (a dark rum fermented cane sugar from Guyana), and coffee. The Tesse Bellini is a pour of Champagne and peaches, while the refreshing Gin Fizz Tropicale is a mix of Sunday gin, orgeat, pineapple, and lime.

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Looking around the dining room, I noticed almost every table had a stacked up high Tesse burger. It’s made with braised short rib, instead of ground beef, and is topped with a thick and crispy onion ring.  Baby bib lettuce leaves, sliced tomatoes, pickled jalapeños and housemade ketchup finish the burger served with a handful of duck fat fries.

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Before leaving, our sweet and efficient server Maureen encouraged us to walk across the breezeway to Fred Segal to see the newly opened Tesse Cafe and Bakery. It is open for breakfast and lunch serving French delicacies on Sunset.

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Tesse is open for dinner daily from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday brunch begins at 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tesse Cafe & Bakery is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., with lunch during the weekdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 8500 W. Sunset Blvd. (310)360-3866.

This review is featured in the Beverly Press on February 28. 

The Henry in West Hollywood

My daughter and I enjoyed breakfast last week with a friend and her two-year old grandson at The Henry on Robertson.

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It’s informal during breakfast where diners order at the coffee bar a quinoa breakfast burrito with a cup of Joe, or smashed avocado toast with a Greens and Protein smoothie. The coffee menu includes cold brew, flat white and The Cleo, an espresso mixed with almond milk and hazelnut.

With a number in hand, we could sit anywhere inside the “Restoration Hardware” style dining room. We chose a booth along the back wall of glass offering guests views of the large open kitchen.

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The beautiful, open-concept restaurant feels as if it were in a hip hotel. The Henry is by the True Food Kitchen group, with an all-day New American food concept.

Breakfast is served from 7 to 11 a.m. Bring your laptop and work with others at The Henry’s communal table or bar. Our server shared that the communal bar is a favorite with locals. Many come in daily for some nourishment while working on their computer.

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Daily sit down lunch service is from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The large bar is usually filled during the more formal dinner service. Click here to see the menus – The Henry.

The Henry is located at 120 N Robertson Blvd, Los Angeles, (424) 204-1595

This review was also featured in the Beverly Press

Holiday Gift Snacknation Delights

Bring some holiday cheer to your office or home with SnackNation. It’s a snack subscription box filled with healthier snacks to munch on at home, put into school lunches, supply at the office break room or bring to a holiday gathering.
Starting on December 10th, SnackNation is offering two different curations – “Mindful Munchies”  and “All Sweet, No Cheat.”
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For the official launch week 12/10-12/17, Postmates is offering 25% off all SnackNation curations, in addition to free delivery.

West Hollywood residents and office managers can order a subscription through the Pink Dot marketplace. Delivery to West Hollywood residents is within a four mile radius from the Pink Dot location on Sunset Blvd.
Learning about this, I ordered a Mindful Munchies box that arrived yesterday. Inside were an array of sweet and savory items that are healthier and lower in calorie. My favorites include:
  • AG Standard Smoked Almonds
  • Brownie Brittle
  • Smart Sweets Gummy Bears
  • Karma Nuts – Coconut Crunch roasted cashews
  • PopCorners – Sweet and Salty Kettle Corn
  • Boulder Canyon Authentic Foods Malt Vinegar & Sea Salt chips
  • Pretzel Pete mini salted caramel twists
  • DAELMANS Stroopwafel
  • Benitos Nacho Cheese white bean chips
  • RXBAR Peanut Butter Chocolate protein bar
  • Love Corn Smoked BBQ
  • Lenny & Larry’s Chocolate Chip cookies
  • Emmy’s Organic coconut cookie
  • Chef’s Cut Real Jerky Co.
  • Torie & Howard Chewie FruitiesIMG_6714

SnackNation will donate to FEEDING AMERICA for every box a SnackNation member enjoys. PRICING for this box or All Sweet, No Cheat with 25% off 12/10 -12/17 for 4 snacks is $9.99; 8 snacks is $19.99; and 16 snacks is $34.99. Click here to order – SnackNation.

BOA Brunch is Better than most

Entering BOA on Ocean Ave. in Santa Monica, we were welcomed by a hostess offering us a tray of deviled eggs, while we waited to be seated. This wasn’t an ordinary deviled egg, because BOA Steakhouse isn’t an ordinary restaurant. It’s extraordinary.

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The elevated egg snack is called Green Eggs & Ham. The chefs at BOA slice a hard boiled egg in half and adds pesto to the hard yellow yolk before re-filling it into the carved out cooked white egg and topping it with crispy prosciutto slice.

While sitting in one of the square shaped booths overlooking the Pacific Ocean, our server Brandon welcomed us and recommended a few new dishes on their lunch and brunch menu. These dishes are available at both the Santa Monica and West Hollywood locations. 

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Brandon told us the American Wagyu meatballs in a pomodoro sauce is his favorite. It’s made with tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, onions, herbs and a pinch of sugar. They are hearty and served with slices of grilled ciabatta to swipe the slightly sweet red sauce.

BOA Steakhouse is known for it’s salads. During dinner service, the classic Caesar salad is rolled to your table and prepared in an entertaining manner right before your eyes. Servers also provide cart entertainment when preparing tableside steak tartare. 

Another interactive item that appeals to your senses is the smoked American Wagyu tri-tip on ciabatta bread. It arrives under a smokey glass dome that releases a pleasing aroma of smoke when the glass is lifted. Visually it was exciting to watch and the smell peaked my senses. This sandwich is layered with a black pepper aioli, juicy roasted peppers and melted brie.

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We also ordered a Caprese chicken burger made with moist chicken thigh meat that is topped with creamy white burrata, a smear of sun dried tomato aioli, chopped sweet basil, and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Taking a bite, it was so juicy and delicious, that I took another mouthful before putting it back on my daughter’s plate.

The BOA chefs are conscientious to every guests dietary needs. Vegan diners will enjoy the classic Impossible vegan meat chili with vegan American cheese and mustard on a vegan bun. For those who prefer gluten free fare, the grilled chicken pizza is topped with sun dried tomatoes, mozzarella, and arugula.

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Feeling creative, I ordered the new BOA Bowl. It’s a heightened take on the poke craze, where diners can start with a base of either brown rice, black beans, quinoa or kale. Next choose one protein of either grilled salmon, chicken, or hanger steak. Top with a veggie – braised mushrooms, artichokes, or a broccoli salad. Then select either crispy garlic chips, smoked almonds, nori or furikake (a dry Japanese seasoning mixture of dried fish, sesame seeds, chopped seaweed, sugar, and salt) as a topping. Finish with a sweet soy sauce, tahini dressing or avocado cream. 

I selected brown rice, grilled salmon, artichoke, crispy garlic chips and a tahini dressing on top. The soft artichoke quarters mixed with crunchy garlic chips was a nice balance of textures. 

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Desserts include a carrot cake, coconut cake, S’mores, BOA cookies and a new Snickers served in a rectangular slice with three layers made with chocolate Bavarian cream, and a honey nougat peanut butter center. On top are chopped roasted peanuts and a scoop of caramel ice cream. On the side is a small cup of warm chocolate sauce to pour on top.

I ordered two scoops of housemade sorbet. One was made with carrot and ginger, and the other white peach and orange. Both were refreshing and not too sweet. 

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Walking out I learned that BOA offers a special Happy Hour with $7 drinks on Monday through Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. When you dine on Sunday, they offer 50% off any bottle of wine, excluding the captain’s list. $$$

9200 Sunset Blvd #650 (310)278-2050 and 101 Santa Monica Blvd. (310)899-4466.

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