Eating and Drinking at Coachella

securedownload-31The cocktail and party scene at Coachella is better than ever this year. For those who are lucky enough to go to the music and social festival, bring your sunscreen and enjoy the atmosphere, food and drink. Keep your wristbands on for a week or two. Ricardo Zarate and Govind Armstrong are offering guests libations that will perk up your spirits when you come back to Los Angeles.

For those of us who have to stay here in Los Angeles, we can enjoy some of the same Coachella drinks at various restaurants around town from April 14 to April 18. 

In honor of the headlining artists and their hit songs, Govind Armstrong at his Willie Jane restaurant has rebranded a few of their popular cocktails.  Guests wearing their Coachella wristbands pay only $7 for:

securedownload-30·Arcade Fire – Tequila, hibiscus, mezcal, averna, lime, with muddled jalapeno

· Outkast – “Roses” – Citron Geranium vodka, fennel dill gin, lime, lillet (Photo)

· Muse – “Supermassive Black Hole” – Rye, Fernet, smoked honey, lemon, scotch float · Lorde – “Royals” – A glass of champagne

Outkast “Roses” cocktail at Willie Jane (Photo on the right)

Ricardo Zarate is serving free cocktails with the purchase of an entree at Picca, Paiche, Mo-chica, and Blue Tavern.

Ricardo Zarate’s team will serve a selected beverage at each restaurant inspired by one of the festival’s stages:

· Avocado Project at Picca (complimentary with entrée purchase – see photo above). If you love the artsy vibe of the Do Lab, the beautiful bright green Avocado Project is right up your alley. Adventurous and off the beaten path, trying this cocktail is a refreshing experience (just like the mist that rains down on you while dancing in the Do Lab)

· Pisco Sour at Paiche (complimentary with entrée purchase) is the signature drink of Peru. You love exploring new artists in the Mojave tent, so trying a new cocktail should be fun!

· Palma Fizz at Blue Tavern (complimentary with entrée purchase) is made with vodka, ginger, lemon and pomegranate syrup—and a name like the “Palma Fizz”—this cocktail is about as classic and California as it gets. 

· Sangria pitcher at Mo-chica (for $25, normally $35) is perfect to share with friends. That warm and fuzzy feeling you get from the wine is as close to that lovin’ feeling you get from dancing the day away in the Sahara tent to your favorite DJ

 Peace, Love, Eat, Drink and be Merry!



2013 – Halloween Specials and Spooky Events


Chipolte Mexican Grill is offering a special from 4 p.m. for guests who come into a participating Chipolte dressed in a costume. You will score a burrito, bowl, salad, or order of tacos for only $3. To learn more –

Chinatown Pub Crawl

Sample a cross-section of Chinatown’s finest offerings paired alongside Los Angeles’s best craft beers. Dim Sum pub crawl is on October 31 from 6 to 10 p.m. Costumes will be highly encouraged for this event. Those dressed in costume will receive a bonus dish. One ticket gets you into four restaurants and four breweries for $70. Start at the Melody Lounge at 6 p.m. Restaurants include Starry Kitchen, Chego, Hop Woo Seafood & BBQ and Golden Dragon Seafood Restaurant. Brews include Kirin Ichiban Frozen Beer, Ohana Brewing Company, and Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company. 939 N. Hill St. (213)625-2823


Sip Peruvian spirits in creepy costumes to spooky sounds from 9 to 11 p.m. Receive welcome shots if dressed in a costume. Dine at Picca earlier for dinner and enjoy a $20 open bar. General public pay $25 for Pisco Halloween punch,

Chef Ricardo Zarate at PICCA
Chef Ricardo Zarate at PICCA, Mo-Chica and Paiche

Peruvian beer and house wine. Enter the costume contest, “Thriller” dance competition and bob for apples. 9575 West Pico Blvd. (310)277-0133.

Pub Crawl – Boos for Booze

Dress up in a costume and join others in the Culver City Halloween Cocktail Crawl. Start at A-Frame from 5 to 7 p.m. for Kettle corn and heirloom pickles snacks are from $4 to $7. Be sure to drink The Omen made from Rye, Whiskey, Yellow Chartreuse, Imbue Petal & Thorn and lemon. Next, crawl to Waterloo & Crawl from 7 to 9 p.m. for Scotch egg and Piccalilli for $4. The drink is a Waterloo Scary Pub Tail made with Mezcal, blood orange and Serrano chilies for $6. Crawl next to The Corner Door at 9 p.m. for a fried chicken sandwich for $7 and a Halloween punch made with bourbon, housemade spiced apple cordial, lemon, lime, ginger and Prosecco for $6. A- Frame -12565 W. Washington Blvd. (310)398-7700. Waterloo & City 12517 W. Washington Blvd. (310)391-4222 and The Corner Door 12477 W. Washington Blvd. (310)313-5810.


Halloween starts at 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. with welcome shots for those who dare to enter in a costume. Enjoy an open bar of Peruvian Pisco Halloween punch, Peruvian beer and house wine for $25 from 2:30 to 10 p.m. Arrive during happy hour and receive 20% off the entire bill. There is a costume contest, dance competition and treats that include a spook gift bag. 517 W. 7th St. (213)622-3744.

Dia de los Muertos

Chef Sandoval is making special food and drink offerings at his Santa Monica’s rooftop hotspot, La Sandia on November 1. Splurge by eating Mole Rojo, Oaxaca – slow roasted pork carnitas with a decadent red mole sauce. It pairs nicely with a Habanero blood orange margarita to combine the sweet and spicy flavors. 395 Santa Monica Pl. (310)393-3300.

The Boo Ball in West Hollywood at Tortilla Republic
The Boo Ball in West Hollywood at Tortilla Republic

Tortilla Republic’s Boo Ball

The chic Mexican restaurant, situated within the boundaries of one of the world’s largest Halloween celebrations, West Hollywood Halloween Costume Carnaval is offering boo bites, TR Witches brew cocktail, live music, photo booth, and festive décor on Halloween. The party begins at 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. The modern Mexican restaurant will also host a Day of the Dead celebration with a specialty prix fixe menu on Friday, November 1 with a four-course prix fixe menu. Dinner is from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Guests will finish with a pumpkin flan for a sweet ending. 616 N. Robertson Blvd. (310)657-9888.


Eat, drink and be scary in Marina del Rey. Enjoy special-themed cocktails, beer and house wine for $25 from 2:30 to 10 p.m. At 9 p.m. to midnight order from the 666 menu that features six dishes for $6 each. There is a raffle and costume contest. Mixologist – Deysi Alvarez is offering a one-hour mixology class and Ricardo Lopez is hosting a one-hour cooking class. 13488 Maxella Ave. (310)893-6100.


DSC_0084The special tasting menu featured on Tuesdays at Mo-Chica encouraged me to gather a group of friends to experience Chef Ricardo Zarate’s Peruvian cuisine.

We sat in the back room of the restaurant admiring the vibrant red walls with the words “Mo-Chica” in big letters. A hip-looking llama by famed local graffiti artist Kozem enhances this urban restaurant’s unique vibe.

Looking over the cocktail menu by Deysi Alvarez, we ordered watermelon margaritas – a melon libation with a sweet yet spicy zing – and Peruvian maids, which is similar to a mojito with albilla pisco, cucumber, mint, fresh lime and evaporated cane syrup.

Later we ordered a couple of white wines from Argentina and Spain. The Catena chardonnay offered a hint of honeyed tropical fruit flavors.

Three of us selected the five-course tasting menu for $27 per person. The first course was a salad of vine-ripened roasted heirloom tomatoes with smooth burrata, huacatay pesto (Peruvian black mint) and crunchy quinoa, which originated in Peru.

Chef Zarate enjoys using quinoa and Peruvian black mint in many of his dishes.

One friend ordered a la carte off the main menu. Her grilled artichoke was topped with huacatay pesto.

Our second course was an interesting ceviche trio. Our favorite was the Hokkaido (Japanese) scallops with bottarga (a shaved Mediterranean cured fish roe) resting next to monkfish liver with cherry marmalade. Liver of any kind is definitely an acquired taste. The cherries do sweeten its distinctive flavor. Last, was a delicate bite size piece of Hamachi (Japanese yellowtail) with a slightly salty seaweed salad.

The third course was a roasted chicken thigh layered with truffles. The flavors were intensified with Shitake mushrooms and a jalapeno sauce. Our server Jean, from Lima, DSC_0091explained that the sauce is made with tofu to thicken it without having to add any fat. It was a gorgeous dish. We all enjoyed the golden colored Kobacha, a Japanese winter squash.

After taking a bite of the magnificent short rib entrée, we all agreed this dish was the best of the four served. The meat was incredibly tender and full of distinctive flavors that soaked into the creamy quinoa risotto.

Our last course was a splendid slice of tres leches cake. One friend commented that she wished the cake was soaked with more leche, yet she liked that it was accompanied with a blueberry sauce as well.

We asked Jean which Peruvian dishes on the menu were foods that he ate as a young boy. He said that his grandmother would always make him Papa a la Huancaina –  a dish of Peruvian potatoes, olives, and hard-boiled egg with a spicy cheese sauce made with Peruvian aji Amarillo peppers. Chef Zarate offers his version with green beans and bacon to elevate it to a more modern culinary comfort food.

Upon leaving, we all agreed that Chef Zarate’s beef short ribs were the highlight of the tasting menu. Many top-notch restaurants in Los Angeles serve beef short ribs for $27. At Mo-Chica, it was one of the five courses served for that same price.

Come try the Tuesday tasting menu at Mo-Chica. The dishes will vary each week, yet I guarantee that you will enjoy the unique flavors and creative presentation of Chef Zarate and his talented culinary staff.

Open for lunch and dinner. The lunch special is two daily dishes with rice and a dessert for $15 per person. The restaurant is open from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays.  Lunch service begins at 11:30 a.m. Come between 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. to get 20 percent off your bill. Dinner is from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. $$ 514 W. 7th St. (213)622-3744.

Published in the Beverly Press and Park LaBrea News.


%d bloggers like this: