Unique Artisanal Valentine’s Gifts in LA

A study by Drexel University found that women feel more romantic after they’ve eaten. Published online in the journal Appetite, researchers found that women’s brains respond more to romantic cues on a full stomach than an empty one. Here’s a way to capture a loved one’s heart. Give a thoughtful, unique and loving edible gift on Valentine’s Day.

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Who: Cookie Good

What: Fresh artisan cookies to warm the hearts of your significant other, friend, teacher, or family with a box of classic flavors. Wrapped in a festive box, the founders are perfectionists in making the perfect cookie and bar. They use the best ingredients starting with chocolate from Callebaut & Van Leer, Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla, and AA sweet creamery butter. Cookie flavors include: Chocolate Birthday Cake, Chocolate Choc. Chip-Brownie Chunk, Chocolate S’mores, Cupid, Just Plain Choc. Sugar Cookie, Red Velvet, Turtle and White Choc.-Raspberry Truffle.

Where: 2448 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, (424) 280-4100.

When: EverydayIMG_4591Photo Credit | MW Media

Instead of bringing a bouquet of roses to your sweetheart on Valentines Day, demonstrate your love with a heart shaped pizza throughout the weekend. Here’s some creative and customized pizzas to warm anyones heart.

Who: Mickeys Deli

What: Valentines Day Heart-Shaped Pizza

Where: 101 Hermosa Ave, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

When: February 14th (Pre-order is available for that day)

Delivery: $.99 cent delivery day of exclusively through DoorDash

Price: $15.99 (additional toppings $1.99 each)

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Who: PizzaRev

What: Valentines Day Pizza with messages

Where: 9 locations across LA county, click here

When: Thursday, 2/13 – Saturday, 2/15

Special Offer: Buy one, get one FREE at PizzaRev on all pizzas, salads and calzone. Artisanal customization is completed in under 3 minutes. image001

Who: California Pizza Kitchen

What: Heart shaped pizzas

Where: Participating locations, go to https://www.cpk.com.

When: From 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.

Special Offer: Valentine’s Day for CPK’s “Sweet Deal” prix fixe meal now through Feb. 16, chose one appetizer, two entrees and share a dessert for $35. As a gift, guests who dine-in during these days, they 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.

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.

 

CPK Keeps Getting Better

DSC_0079In 1985, attorneys Rick Rosenfield and Larry Flax opened a bright yellow casual pizza restaurant on Beverly Drive. It was located on a block in Beverly Hills that didn’t get as much foot traffic as the Beverly Drive north of Wilshire Blvd, however within a year the street became more of a social hub as locals and visitors flocked inside to try a unique barbecued chicken pizza and wickedly good chicken tequila pasta dish.

In 1992, with CPK at its height opening many new restaurants nationwide, PepsiCo bought the company for almost $100 million. Unfortunately, the restaurant changed. Regulars noticed the difference in quality and service. Flax and Rosenfield were not pleased and in 2003, this dynamic duo resumed control of CPK.

In 2011, hospitality expert GJ Hart became the CEO of California Pizza Kitchen. First, he renovated the flagship Beverly Hills restaurant, revitalizing the success of CPK’s future. It was received so favorably, that Hart and his team have planned similar makeovers at 80 CPK locations nationwide to celebrate the restaurants 30 year anniversary this year.

One of the most recent renovations is at the lively Hollywood and Highland location. The interiors have been transformed with reclaimed wood floors throughout and warm colors with a hint of the trademark yellow. Near the entrance is an herb garden and Restoration Hardware-style wine case. Artwork on the walls are photographs telling a story about Hollywood with its classic and whimsical architectural highlights.

The new Callfornia Pizza Kitchen’s menu is by chef Brian Sullivan, Senior Vice President of Culinary Development. Working at CPK DSC_0081for almost 30 years, he has kept many of the signature favorites, yet upped the menu with steaks and seafood.

Some of the new dishes are featured in Sullivan and Paul Pszybylski CPK’s Senior Director of Culinary Innovation cookbook – CPK “Taste of the Seasons.” It’s a collection of flavorful and wholesome salads, meals, desserts and drinks.

I really enjoyed the 10 oz. USDA Ribeye sprinkled generously with homemade Pinot Noir sea salt. It rests for 24 hours to tenderize before being grilled and served. With a dollop of creamy bleu cheese butter, it’s served with delicious crispy roasted fingerling potatoes sprinkled with sea salt and an arugula salad. The price point on this steak is half of the high-end steak houses in town, yet just as good or maybe even better.

There is also a hearth-roasted piece of white halibut served with slightly sweet butternut squash, crunchy farro, baby kale and grilled asparagus.

DSC_0076Soups include a new baked potato with bacon and Farmers Market with squash and a variety of vegetables with a touch of cream.

The seasonal California field salad has cubes of sweet watermelon and slices of strawberries with mixed greens, a sprinkling of feta cheese and California pistachio. It glistens with a housemade Champagne vinaigrette dressing. Guests can add grilled chicken, shrimp of sauteed salmon to this salad.

The General Manager Michael Palaski and Assistant General manager Matthew Ross circulate the dining room and try to touch each table checking on guests. They are pleased with the new renovations and feel the open dining room allows management and servers to offer better service to each guest.

Pasta dishes include eight different varieties and pair nicely with the seasonal harvest sangrias or 18 oz. draft beer. Wine flight of three – 3 oz. pours include California whites, California reds and adventurous wines with a pink Moscato.

Of course they still have hearth baked pizza made with a hand-tossed crust on the menu. In fact there are 19 varieties of pizza pies, including a Jamaican Jerk chicken and roasted artichoke. The new Tricolore salad has caramelized onions and large shavings of Parmesan cheese. It’s a pizza and salad on one plate with greens tossed in Dijon balsamic dressing.

They have five flat breads that include a new Maine lobster with fresh herbs. It’s similar to an open face lobster roll, DSC_0085yet had too much mayonnaise for my liking.

Save room for the desserts in a glass jar. They are fantastic.

For midday diners, the lunch duos on the menu offers a lunch size 7″ pizza with a salad or soup for $10.95. The half-sandwich with salad or soup is $8.95. Lunch specials are available Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Come see the new and improved CPK in the heart of Hollywood.

$$ 6801 Hollywood Blvd. 2nd Level (323)460-2080.

This article was featured in the Beverly Press 2015 Dining and Entertainment Guide.

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