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Park Labrea News/Beverly Press
It’s grilling time.
The Porterhouse. Nothing says steak like this mighty cut. Serve your guests only the highest quality beef, lamb, pork and poultry. We carry a broad selection including Pure Grass Fed Beef, Piedmontese Beef & antibiotic free, all natural USDA Prime Beef, Colorado Lamb & Niman Ranch Heirloom Pork. We supply the finest restaurants in Los Angeles. At your next dinner party, present Marconda’s meats at your table, and impress your guests.
6333 W. Third St. • Farmers Market • 323.938.5131 www.marcondas.com
What is old is new again
The age of the classic is back
Drago Centro, Faith & Flower
Wine Tasting with Jon & Brad
Morgan’s in the Desert
Scratch Bar, smoke.oil.salt
Musso & Frank Grill
PERCH LA Zoo Neighborhood Bars Ray & Stark’s Bar The Movies The Dodgers The Greek Theatre L’Assiette EB’s at the Farmers Market SECO Spare Tire
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ne of the recurring themes of Los Angeles’ culinary scene is that what is old is new again. We are reminded that the golden age of classic dining, wines and cocktails is back. In fact, it never actually left. The intimate setting of a bar and restaurant on Hollywood Boulevard, where one might have bumped into Bogey or Fitzgerald in the ‘20s or ‘30s, is alive and thriving. There is only one place on the planet where you can order a classic martini that GQ magazine named the “Best in America”. That place is Musso and Frank Grill, page 20. Celebrating its 50 for 50 Golden Anniversary, LACMA will feature such classic artists as Claude Monet and Edgar Degas, mixing it up with newer masters like Andy Warhol and David Hockney. We remember “Urban Light” creator, Chris Burden, and are sure you will find the upcoming Burden exhibit “Ode to Santos Dumont” uplifting, page 14. You will also find articles on local neighborhood bars where you can shoot the breeze, some pool or a game of darts. We have included a golden era hotel restaurant tucked away in the foothills surrounding the La Quinta Resort that has been open since 1926. There you can order a perfect French 75 mixed the same way it was served to Gable, Hepburn and Bacall. Morgan’s in the Desert continues a rich tradition of fine dining and exquisite service, page 9. Going out of the zip code this year, we’ve offered several options for readers to explore. We also covered the movies, Hollywood Bowl, Dodgers and the L.A. Zoo to name a few of the events and attractions that the city has to offer. But most of all it’s about the food. It’s always about the food. L.A. has been named a top West Coast food city by Zagat. So dive in and let’s eat! Michael and Karen Villalpando Publishers
Dong Il Jang Pampas Grill Jose Andres The Bazaar Church & State Plan Check Ventura County Farmers Market Pierpont Inn Recipes New Orleans
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On the cover Photographer extraordinaire, Andrew Kitchen, selected the Vista Hermosa park overlooking Downtown L.A. for our cover shot. This happened at a moment’s notice, when the original cover shot was not cleared for publication at the last minute. Andy’s vision enabled us to give you a memorable cover for this year’s Dining and Entertainment Special Edition. Thank you to our models, Emily Villalpando and Michael Jilg, and a heartfelt thank you to Andy Kitchen for your hard work, keen eye and determination to get the shot. photo by Grant Kitchen
Founded 1946 kAREN VILLALPANDO Editor & Publisher
MICHAEL VILLALPANDO CEO & Publisher
Contributing Writers: Jill Weinlein, Jon Jilg, Brad Barker,Tim Posada, Edwin Folven, Jonathan Van Dyke, Luis Rivas, Rebecca Villalpando, Gary Twinn Special thanks to Tim Posada for graphic design and layout. photo by Michael Jilg
Down on the bayou in Jean Lafitte, Louisiana, with shrimp boats passing by, we embarked on a culinary tour of New Orleans to share with our readers for the 2015 Dining and Entertainment magazine.When you visit the establishments you find inside, please mention you read about them here. Bon Appetit! 4 June 2015 Dining & Entertainment
The Park Labrea News & Beverly Press are weekly newspapers publishing since 1946. The Dining & Entertainment magazine is a special edition, publishing on June 4, 2015. 5150 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 330 P.O. Box 36036, Los Angeles, CA 90036 323.933.5518 • www.beverlypress.com Park Labrea News/Beverly Press
elestino Drago is an icon among restaurateurs in Los Angeles. Since 1979, he has cooked in kitchens from Santa Monica to Beverly Hills and Downtown. His flagship restaurant, Drago Centro is located in the City National Bank Plaza on Flower Street. The atrium style dining room with floor to ceiling windows offers a grand view of downtown and the ideal setting for celebrating a jubilant occasion. A far cry from the trendy urban gastropub scene, Drago Centro brings classic elegance back to dining. Start with a glass of champagne and try the shrimp carpaccio, thin gently pounded opaque bites of sweet crustacean with olive oil pearls. Or opt for the chef’s tasting menu featuring yellow tail crudo, followed by a descontructed nicoise salad with poached egg, seared tuna, olives and tomatoes. The creamy yolk combines with a slight dash of citrus coating the tuna in a rich and comforting dressing. Linger over the Nebbiolo Burlotto while enjoying the short rib ravioli with brown butter and sage. Celestino’s venison loin with heirloom risotto cake and smoked tomato fonduta surpasses all expections, showcasing his finesse and creativity. A new spring lunch menu has just been introphotos courtesy of Drago Centro duced offering lighter fare, like seared octopus Pasta dishes are Celestino Drago’s specialty. The summer version and beef tartare for appetizers, light salads and of the orecchiette is prepared with chicken sausage, caperberries, half orders of pasta. For those with a heartier appeppers, and garlic foam. petite, full pastas, pizzas, fish and carni dishes
By kAREN VILLALPANDO
are also available. The l’insalata di gamberetti is entreé sized, with delectable bite-sized shrimp, romaine, cabbage and chick peas with a green goddess dressing. The flavors are spot on and an abundance of shrimp make this salad a substantial entrée. The hankerchief pasta with lump crab and arugula pesto is a popular dish with juicy crab and a garlicky pesto. It’s a lighter pasta, perfect for lunch.
Affable restaurant manager Micha Reyniers directs his staff in a professional manner, ensuring that service at Drago’s is top notch. Whether it’s a special occasion or a business lunch, Drago Centro is an ideal destination. This enchanting restaurant serves classic Italian cuisine with Celestino’s personal touch. 525 S. Flower St., Los Angeles. (213)2288998. www.dragocentro.com.
Faith & Flower
his upscale restaurant in the Water MarkeTower combines the downtown of old (circa 1920s) with the flashy social scene it is today. The dark green glassware and metal plates – reminiscent of a bygone time – harness the era while the cuisine and edgy music tie the restaurant to the present. Soaring ceilings with crystal chandeliers add to the Gatsbyesque atmosphere, with booths hugging the sides, and four-top tables down the center aisle. Executive chef Michael Hung and sous chef Huy Nguyen integrate their collective talents to produce interesting dishes. The celery root kolrabi with housemade ranch dressing, fennel and sesame seed is a refreshing dish, perfect for a summer lunch or a light starter for dinner. Deviled jidori eggs topped with Korean chili and kimchee are a zesty take on the tried and true version. A main stay on the menu – and for good reason – is the oxtail agnolotti with bone marrow butter, Asian pear
salsa and beef tendon chicharrones. Hung’s deep brown sauce is remarkable with intense flavors touching on sweet, salty, rich and delicate. Crab risotto capitalizes on the briny sea salt. Confit duck leg benefits from crisping in a wood oven. The special dish of the evening was Nguyen’s “pho gras”, fusing his mother’s Vietnamese noodle soup with his own creative flair – and the incredible addition of foie gras. Sommelier Jared Hooper has curated an excellent wine list and expertly pairs each dish. Touraine sparkling rosé from the Loire Valley is ideal with oysters on the half shell. Sancerre pairs marvelously with crab risotto and a Palmina Nebbiolo by Steve Clifton is the perfect accompaniment to the oxtail agnolotti. Saunter into Faith and Flower where the 1920s melds with today. Order a classic cocktail or glass of bubbly and let the evening unfold. 705 W. 9th St., Los Angeles, CA 90015. (213)239-0642. www.faithandflower.com. by Karen Villalpando
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photos courtesy of Faith & Flower
When wine tasting, does $$$ = NNN ? Our resident wine experts are back to help you with your summer selections By BRAD BARkER AND JON JILG
or this year’s column, we attempt to answer the age old wine tasting question: Does more expensive wine generally taste better? Our course of action was to visit three local wine retailers to help us select wines at three different price points: under $25 ($), under $50 ($$), and under $100 ($$$). Each shop would help us with one California varietal and we would subject the entire portfolio to the discerning palates of our regular Tuesday night wine tasting group known as the Padres Panel (also known as the Cork Dorks in some less charitable circles).
Cabernet Sauvignons from k&L Wine Merchants When Dan Maas heard about the theme for our tasting, he enthusiastically offered to help us with selections made from California’s premier red varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon. At under $25, he selected the 2013 Martin Ray from Napa Valley ($24.99). Most of the grapes were grown in the renowned Stags Leap District of Napa Valley and the Cabernet is blended with a little Malbec and Petite Sirah to add complexity. Dan’s under $50 selection was the 2010 Amici from Napa Valley ($43.99). In the heavyweight division, just barely qualifying, is the extremely limited 2003 Hourglass from Napa Valley ($99.99).
Pinot Noirs from Domaine LA This is a terrific little wine shop that focuses on smaller production wines from the United States and Europe. Anthony Cailan was very happy to help us select California wines made from the fickle red grape, Pinot Noir. 2013 Eono from Sonoma Coast ($19.99) was Anthony’s entry level choice.
This wine is produced by noted importer/distributor Amy Atwood whose wine making philosophy includes using native yeasts and neutral oak. 2012 Domaine de la Cote from Santa Rita Hills ($44.99) was Anthony’s selection for the under $50 category. Finally, the 2011 Hirsh from West Sonoma Coast – San Andreas Fault ($63.99) was chosen as the heavy hitter.
Chardonnays from Monsieur Marcel We like visiting Marcel’s because there are plenty of places in the Farmers Market to grab some lunch. One can work up quite an appetite picking out wines. While the emphasis here is on wines from France, and although we visited when the resident wine expert, Kyle, was not available, we managed to select some California Chardonnays at each of our three price points. 2013 Ca’ Momi Napa Valley ($14.99) was our ($) pick. This wine sells for $22.00 on the winery’s website, so Marcel’s price looks like a bargain. With only 65 cases produced and aged for 10 months in neutral oak, we chose the 2013 Ser Monterey County ($39.99) for our ($$) contestant. Lastly, a wine that everyone in the Panel has already tasted, the 2011 Far Niente Napa Valley ($69.99) was our most expensive entry. This wine does not go through malolactic fermentation so it promises nice bright fruit clean balanced acidity.
The Tasting The Padres Panel is an informal tasting group of friends who get together every week to enjoy wine. Generally, folks bring whatever wine they want (bagged of course) and we spend an hour or two trying to guess what’s in each bag – what grape(s), what region, and the vintage. We’ve been doing this
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for years and have tasted thousands of wines. We were a confident group before the tasting began. After all, how difficult can it possibly be to tell the difference between a Cabernet costing $100 and one costing only $25? Turns out, it was a lot tougher than we thought! We tasted the Chardonnay flight first. The wines were of similar hue and were stylistically very similar, but with considerable variation on the nose. As soon as we tasted and smelled the entire flight our confidence was gone. This was not going to be easy. By far, the wine we liked most garnered six first place picks and a single second. When it was revealed as the least expensive of the flight (2013 Ca’ Momi Napa Valley - $14.99), we were all stunned. We were equally flummoxed when the wine we preferred least turned out to be the most expensive (2011 Far Niente Napa Valley - $69.99). Certainly we would do better with Pinot Noir. The entry from Santa Rita Hills would clearly stand out from the other two from the Sonoma Coast. It didn’t. The consensus favorite turned out to be the 2012 Domaine de la Cote from Santa Rita Hills ($44.99), receiving four firsts, two seconds and a single third vote. Averaging our scores for the most and least expensive wines yielded an absolute tie! We were getting crushed. Finally, we tackled the Cabernet flight featuring a $100 bottle with 12 years of age. Slam dunk? Well, almost. We all agreed that the bottle that turned out to be the most expensive, the 2003 Hourglass from Napa Valley ($99.99), was our overall favorite. Regarded as a close second, was the 2013 Martin Ray from Napa Valley ($24.99). There See next page
Jon Jilg and Brad Barker
The Pinot Noirs
The Chardonnays Park Labrea News/Beverly Press
That’s Life & other standards at Morgan’s in the Desert
By kAREN VILLALPANDO could stand alone on this dish, yet the salad added a depth of flavor. Entrées at Morgan’s are divided between the composed plates and the a la carte steak house items. The halibut with beluga lentils and a pesto sauce was buttery and moist. Chef Schmidt’s lamb tenderloin with asparagus and chanterelle mushrooms combined a light, slightly Asian sauce with the hearty cut of meat. The Zellmer Ranch wagyu steaks are selected exclusively for Morgan’s. Add a steak crust of crisply parmesan or Maytag bleu cheese to create your own entrée. For sides, you can never go wrong with the five cheese macaroni gratin. If you’re looking for something on the lighter side, the asparagus pasta with Meyer lemon, parsley and wagyu beef bacon gremolata is outstanding. With our entrées, we selected a wine I’ve only found at Morgan’s, the Robert Foley The Griffin, this time a 2012 blend. We had the 2009 bottle here three years ago, and I haven’t found it since. It was equally as lovely as before and paired well with our dinner. Lingering over dessert of a chocolate tart with sea salted caramel ice cream and almond brittle, we remarked about the welcoming and personable staff at Morgan’s. It feels more like old friends returning for a visit. If you are in the mood for lighter fare of appetizers and drinks, Morgan’s is more than accommodating. Cozy chairs and sofas provide casual seating to enjoy artisanal cheese and charcuterie, crispy Cochella artichokes and flatbreads with cocktails. After a fabulous meal accompanied by exceptional wine from Morgan’s treasure trove cellar, relax to the crooning tunes from the piano man as he sings standards from Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Andy Williams. Yes, “that’s life,” just as Sinatra would’ve imagined. 49-499 Eisenhower Dr., La Quinta, CA 92253. (760)564-7600. www.morgansinthe dessert.com.
first wrote about Morgan’s in the Desert at La Quinta Resort and Spa about three years ago. The headline was “Dreaming of a Return,” in which I recalled a recurring dream of being in a 1920s club, sipping champagne and listing to jazz. My dream came true a few weeks ago when we returned to Morgan’s to celebrate our anniversary. Morgan’s in the Desert is an elegant hacienda with its rustic wood beams, high ceilings and comfy chairs and sofas. The resort opened in 1926 after Walter H. Morgan purchased 1,400 acres of land 120 miles east of Los Angeles. He and architect Gordon Kaufman designed and built a small grouping of casitas and a main lodge and called it “La Quinta”, meaning “The Inn”. Morgan designed the resort to lure Hollywood elite to this desert photos courtesy of La Quinta Resort & Spa oasis. He succeeded, as noteworthy guests included Bette Davis, Clark The entrance to Morgan’s reflects the elegance of what awaits inside. Gable, Katherine Hepburn and later
Wine Tasting From page 8
were several tasters who felt that at this price point, this wine should be purchased and laid down for consumption after a couple more years of bottle age.
Conclusion One thing that would be easy to conclude from this experiment is that the panel doesn’t have a clue what we’re doing. Alternately, we suggest that the relationship between cost and quality is far more tenuous than we all originally thought. Once the price gets above $15 and certainly after you travel north of $25, there are terrific wines at any price point. You, dear reader, just need to find the wines that are enjoyable and represent value to you!
k & L Wine Merchants 1400 Vine Street Hollywood (323) 464-9463 Domaine LA 6801 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles (323) 932-0280 Monsieur Marcel 6333 West 3rd Street Los Angeles (323) 939-7792 Chardonnay Flight 2013 Ca’ Momi - Napa Valley ($14.99) 2013 Ser - Monterey County ($39.99) 2011 Far Niente - Napa Valley ($69.99) Pinot Noir Flight 2012 Domaine de la Cote Santa Rita Hills ($44.99) 2013 Eono - Sonoma Coast ($19.99) 2011 Hirsh - West Sonoma Coast 'San Andreas Fault' ($63.99) Cabernet Sauvignon Flight 2003 Hourglass - Napa Valley ($99.99) 2013 Martin Ray - Napa Valley ($24.99) 2010 Amici - Napa Valley ($43.99) Park Labrea News/Beverly Press
Firsts 6 1 0
Seconds 1 5 1
Third 0 1 6
4 3 0
2 4 1
1 0 6
Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack. Now the Waldorf Astoria resort boasts updated rooms and suites, championship golf, Spa La Quinta, world-class tennis and award-winning dining. Three-time James Beard winner, chef Jimmy Schmidt, whose team includes Chef de Cuisine Brian Recor, maître d extraordinaire and restaurant manager, John Healy, and knowledgeable sommelier, Lisa Tussing, work together to ensure your evening at Morgan’s is nothing less than superb. Start with a vintage cocktail, like a rosemary salty dog with Nolets gin, pink grapefruit juice and fresh rosemary or perhaps a classic martini or French 75. Morgan’s shakes theirs with cognac instead of gin, just the way I prefer. We began with a dozen oysters topped with a blood orange granita, a lovely amuse bouche with our cocktails. Healy prides himself in amassing bottles from small batch vineyards, allowing us to enjoy two chardonnays by the glass, the 2012 Neyers from Carneros, and a 2012 Pfendler from Sonoma Coast. Both were excellent with the Neyers being slightly more acidic than the smooth Pfendler. We enjoyed the wine with the wagyu beef carpaccio garnished with a watercress and baby artichoke salad. The beef
June 2015 Dining & Entertainment 9
By JILL WEINLEIN
flair. He divides his time between the kitchen at Scratch Bar and managing his vegetarian restaurant, The Gadarene Swine. There are only a few seats in the kitchen, so reserve a few weeks in advance. The dining room or bar seating has plenty of space to enjoy a multi-course “chef choice” dinner with either six, nine or 12 interesting plates. On the a la carte menu, tantalizing plates of sea urchin, branzino, filet mignon, duck leg, octopus, rib eye, lamb and foie gras are offered. The popular sourdough bone marrow, pictured, is always a home run. Save room for dessert made by chef photo by Jill Weinlein Lee’s beautiful wife Margarita. Wine, sake and sparking wines are served. Reserve a spot in the kitchen to watch chef Phillip Frankland Open nightly at 5 p.m. 111 N. La Lee demonstrate his innovative culinary skills and enjoy a multicourse chef’s dinner. photo courtesy of Scratch Bar Cienega Blvd. (310)289-8010.
ne of the coolest culinary experiences in LA is dining in the kitchen at Scratch Bar and watching the talented chefs prepare a multitude of imaginative dishes. Chef Phillip Frankland Lee prepares innovative plates with an artistic
moke.oil.salt celebrated its one-year anniversary in April with a 10-course dinner prepared by executive chef Perfecto Rocher. Hollywood producer turned restaurateur Stephen Gelber, along with Umami founder Adam Fleischman, Lee Weinberg, and hospitality expert Jason Berkowitz opened this cutting-edge Spanish restaurant on Melrose, with Rocher as the engineer of this powerhouse Spanish locomotive. The aroma of wood burning on open flames envelopes the two dining areas – one side is more formal for an intimate dinner, while the
Perfecto Rocher is the engineer of this Spanish influenced locomotive. other side offers communal tables for people to share food, sip wine and socialize. Gelber has been collecting a variety of Spanish wines through the years, and offers some of his favorites on the menu. Diners rave about Rocher’s cod croquette, beet gazpacho, and
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smoked spring onions with a salbitxada sauce made with almonds, peppers, garlic, tomatoes, red wine vinegar, parsley, olive oil, salt and pepper. His caramelized cauliflower and artichokes with hazelnuts, garlic and spicy chili is a vegetarian’s delight, while the skillet of cubed fried potatoes with slices of Serrano ham,
chorizo sauce and topped with a fried egg is a heartier dinner option. Inspired from the sea are dishes like smoked octopus and a cocktail of marinated oysters and mussels. Rocher uses an aromatic woodfire grill to cook quail; whole sea bass; butcher’s filet of Iberico pork; and dry-aged New York steak. Culminate the evening with a
By JILL WEINLEIN Catalan custard with passion fruit ice cream. Muy Bueno! On Sunday, the restaurant offers a prix-fixe four-course paella dinner with an optional wine flight pairing. $$- $$$ 7274 Melrose Ave. (323)930-7900.
photo courtesy of smoke.oil.salt
Splash! into TART this summer By JILL WEINLEIN
unday brunch at Tart has been a popular destination for locals. To “splash” things up this summer, the management at Tart is inviting brunch guests to jump into the swimming pool at the Farmers Daughter Hotel with your clothes and shoes on and they will take 50 percent off your bill. Now that’s a fun way to spend a Sunday! After completing the redesign of Tart at the Farmers Daughter Hotel on Fairfax, owners Peter and Ellen Picataggio started renovating the hotel rooms. The decor in both the hotel and restaurant is upscale farm-theme filled with colorful art. Ellen is passionate about supporting local artists and displaying their beautiful creations throughout the restaurant and hotel. They also hired a new chef and manage-
ment team: Executive Chef Keith Shutta, Director of Food and Beverage John Monaco and Michael Spencer, the General Manager of the property. Prior to coming to Tart, Shutta worked in the kitchens of Shutters on the Beach, Hotel Casa del Mar, Patina Restaurant Group and Montage Hotels and Resorts. Shutta revamped the menu offering new seasonal farm-fresh dishes, like the whimsical jar of pickled vegetables with a snap. His Brussels sprouts are tossed in a chili vinaigrette, lime crème with a sunny-side egg on top. Another popular dish is the fried pig ears served hot-wing style with with tabasco, grilled lime, celery and ranch dressing. Two plates worthy of sharing are the crispy
photos courtesy of TART
chicken legs cooked slowly for three to four hours, confit-style and topped with a spicy Tennessee whiskey sauce. The buttermilk fried chicken and waffles are doused with a tabascomaple butter sauce. The chicken is marinated in buttermilk, cayenne, paprika, garlic and onion powder, then fried crisp and sprinkled with sea salt – delicious! Come for Sunday brunch and sip orange punch from their signature punch bowl or have a few bottomless mimosas or Bloody Mary’s. If you’re feeling brave, jump into the pool – a staff member will give you a towel and knight you a “Pool Warrior”. You may want to bring a change of clothes to brunch and wear shoes that you don’t mind getting soaked. The outdoor dining area – or porch – is an inviting area to dine with friends on a warm summer night. If you stay late, drink a little too much, or are too tired to drive home, go into the lobby after 11:30 p.m. and request a Sleep It Off Barn Rate, 50 percent off the regular room rate. Hotel guests enjoy free wi-fi, complimentary caramels in the business center, glasses of sweet tea and free barbecue potato chips during the day. A complimentary whiskey tasting is offered at 5 p.m. and the lobby cookie jar is always filled. Artisan clothes, jewelry, ties and gifts hand picked by the owner are for sale in the gift shop. Once you experience Tart for the first time, you will want to come back to the farm often. $$ Open from 7 a.m. to 12 a.m. 115 S. Fairfax Ave. (323)556-2608.
Summer cocktails Strawberry French 75
4 oz Pimm’s #1 ice. Shake vigorously Double strain liquid into chilled Cham- 1 oz fresh lemon juice 1 oz simple syrup paign flute. This fruity twist on the classic is perfect for summertime entertaining. Top with sparkling wine, add lemon fresh blueberries twist and place a sliced strawberry on fresh strawberries 1 lemon slice 2 oz of gin – Hendrick’s (infused with the rim for garnish 1 lime slice both cucumber and rose) pairs nicely 1 orange slice with the strawberry in this cocktail 1 long horizontally cut strip of cucum1 lemon, squeezed (roughly 2 tableSummer’s Bounty ber spoons) Pimm’s Cup Splash of club soda 2 teaspoons simple syrup Dry sparkling wine or Brut Champaign Serve this colorful cocktail in a large Combine all ingredients in a large wine Strawberries wine goblet so the fresh ingredients glass and mix so berries add color. Garnish with fresh mint In the bottom of a cocktail shaker, shine (pictured right). Variation muddle one to two ripe strawberries Omit simple syrup and add Ginger Ale Add gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and 12 June 2015 Dining & Entertainment
Park Labrea News/Beverly Press
Looking forward to the next 50 years at LACMA By EDWIN FOLVEN
mmerse yourself in art and entertainment this summer at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), where masterpieces, music and movies come together to create unforgettable experiences. LACMA turned 50 this year, and gifted art is at the center of the golden anniversary celebration. The exhibit, “50 for 50”, runs through Sept. 13 in the Resnick Pavilion, featuring paintings, sculpture, tribal art and contemporary pieces. Visitors can view works by masters such as Edgar Degas, Claude Monet and Miguel Cabrera alongside works by contemporary artists Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and David Hockney. The one-of-akind exhibit was made possible through gifts from benefactors such as Lynda Resnick and Marc and Jane Nathanson. The works will be added to the museum’s collection to be enjoyed by generations to come. Art and L.A. history combine on June 7 with the opening of an exhibit by Noah Purifoy (1917-2004), a founding director of the Watts Towers Art Center who created art from collected items following the 1965 Watts riots. Purifoy is considered a pivotal postwar American artist who inspired many of his contemporaries. On July 5, Christian Marclay’s “The Clock” returns to the museum. The
piece is a 24-hour montage constructed from thousands of moments of cinema and television history depicting the passage of time. It also keeps visitors on schedule, serving as a functioning timepiece. A stop for photographs at artist Chris Burden’s “Urban Light” is a must when visiting LACMA this summer. The iconic piece is an assemblage of more than 200 vintage street lamps ranging in height from 20 to 30 feet. The cast-iron light poles were installed in 2008 and are a fixture on Wilshire Boulevard. The restored antique street lamps are solar-powered, and illuminate summer nights in front of the museum’s BP Grand Entrance. LACMA is also paying homage to Burden — who passed away on May 10 — with an exhibit titled “Ode to Santos Dumont”, which runs through June 21 in the Resnick Pavilion. It is a performance piece comprised of a scaled down dirigible that takes flight in 15-minute intervals, and travels in a 60-foot circle. No visit to the museum is complete without walking under artist Michael
Heizer’s “Levitated Mass”, a 340-ton towering boulder above a subterranean walkway that provides a unique viewpoint of the relationship between nature and art. The cool sounds of the Jazz at LACMA series will be held every Friday at 6 p.m. The hot rhythms of the Latin Sounds series will also resonate every Saturday at 5 p.m. through Labor Day Weekend. Movie lovers are covered this summer at LACMA, with classic films, documentaries, new releases and retrospectives shown in conjunction with the museum’s partner, Film Independent. The museum invites families to join the fun at free programs held on Sundays, June 7 through 28, at which parents and children can participate in interactive art projects focusing on the museum’s golden anniversary celebration.
Dining options by the Patina Restaurant Group offer guests graband-go salads, snacks and lattes at the LACMA Café and C+M (Coffee + Milk). Ray’s & Stark Bar serves fieldto-table gourmet cuisine. Its Mediterranean-inspired menu includes dishes prepared in a wood-burning oven and grill. Seasonal cocktails, wine, artisan beers and spirits are also available. Whether it’s art, music, film, food or fun, LACMA has something for everyone. With a diverse schedule of programming that is always evolving, every visit to the museum offers something new. LACMA is located at 5905 Wilshire Blvd. For information, call (323)8576000, or visit www.lacma.org.
photos courtesy of Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Hollywood Bowl There’s nothing quite like a summer night at the venerable venue
here are as many different ways to enjoy the iconic Hollywood Bowl as there are different music acts gracing its stage this summer. “Whatever the tradition is, it’s very important to the individual who comes there every year,” said Gail Samuel, executive director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association. “It’s a night under the stars, and we are lucky in L.A. to have great weather that you can count on every year. It’s such a broad range of programming and I think everyone can find his or her perfect
ing, just as many enjoy the bargains to be had a little further back. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, music series featuring the L.A. Phil or various jazz musicians serenade crowds — and also include 300 seats for $1. “That’s the experience of the bowl,” Samuel said. “It’s beautiful, you can look down on everything as the sun sets and you’re back there in the trees.”
By JONATHAN VAN DykE
image of hillside amphitheatres in Greece and Rome. It opened in 1922, and today it has a capacity of just under 18,000. The varying Hollywood Bowl experiences are very much based on the seating arrangements of the venue. Box seats have canvas-collapsible chairs in groups of four or six, surrounded by wooden partitions. SuperSeats are stadium seats molded for
phasis on pleasing the most people. Recent upgrades to the venue include a sound system overhaul and the installation of high definition video screens on either side of the stage. All the benches have been replaced. This year, the box seat areas were completely redone with new metal and wooden sidings, new tables and chairs and a full refurbishment of the concrete and flooring.
“When that place is full there is nothing like walking out there on stage for an artist.” Gail Samuel, executive director Los Angeles Philharmonic Association bowl experience.” Music fans are encouraged to bring their own food and drinks for picnics — lay out a blanket and enjoy the open space at the venue. There are also gourmet food and concession options that can be ordered in advance and served at the box seats. “It is an iconic venue and for me it starts with more than 90 years of history and the kind of artists who have performed there,” Samuel said, noting the likes of The Beatles, Pavarotti, Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald have graced the stage. “You kind of never know when you go what is going to be that great moment, but the summers tend to be full of them.” While many adore the Hollywood Bowl for the picnics and up-close seat-
photo courtesy of Los Angeles Philharmonic Association
The Hollywood Bowl, located at 2301 N. Highland Ave., is the summer home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The venue was constructed in the Daisy Dell site and designed in the
Image courtesy of the Hollywood Bowl
The Sound of Music Sing-a-long has been a crowd favorite at the Bowl for years. This year’s event on June 26 will celebrate the film’s 50th anniversary and will feature costumes and interactive fun for thousands of fans. 16 June 2015 Dining & Entertainment
comfort, with build-in cup holders. Bench seats extend to the back of the theatre. While the audience enjoys itself, musical artists find themselves enchanted. “When that place is full there is nothing like walking out there on stage for an artist,” Samuel said. “Because it is such an historic place and everyone knows what the venue looks like, for artists it’s such a marker for their careers. It can be very overwhelming.” The L.A. Phil plays approximately half of the concerts presented at the Hollywood Bowl. Beyond that, Samuel said the lineup places an em-
A busy concert schedule begins in June with The 37th Annual Playboy Jazz Festival, which includes performances with Herbie Hancock, Eddie Palmieri Afro-Caribbean Jazz Band and Aloe Blacc. Other season highlights through September will include Journey, Ed Sheeran, Basement Jaxx, Smokey Robinson (as part of the popular July 4 Fireworks Spectacular with the L.A. Phil), Harry Connick Jr., Death Cab for Cutie, John Fogerty, Sheryl Crow, Ziggy Marley, Diana Krall and more. “I’ve never taken anyone to the Hollywood Bowl who doesn’t absolutely love it,” Samuel added. Park Labrea News/Beverly Press
By EDWIN FOLVEN
n the heels of its 75th anniversary celebration, Pink’s Hot Dogs near the corner of La Brea and Melrose is ready for summer with classic hot dogs and hamburgers that are relished by everyone. Pink’s has stayed true to its roots since 1939, which is one of the reasons it’s a favorite destination for Angelenos craving tasty chili and delicious hot dogs. Visitors often make it a first stop when they arrive in Los Angeles. “It’s one of the top tourist destinations in Los Angeles. A lot of people say, ‘New York has the Statue of Lib-
erty, and L.A. has Pink’s,” said Richard Pink, son of the stand’s legendary founders, Paul and Betty Pink. “A lot of people say before they go to their hotel, they go straight to Pink’s” Richard Pink operates the stand with his wife, Gloria, and sister Beverly Pink. The family environment is one of the hallmarks of Pink’s Hot Dogs, where guests are greeted and served by familiar employees, many of whom have worked at the hot dog stand for decades. Gloria Pink said summer is a busy time for Pink’s, and with National Hot
photo courtesy of Pink’s Hot Dogs
Pink’s started serving hot dogs near the corner of La Brea and Melrose in 1939.This photo, circa 1941, shows their spartan early years with just a push cart and few amenities.
Dog Month just around the corner in July, she expects business to be sizzling. Pink’s offers 35 different types of hot dogs and a dozen different hamburgers, and routinely creates new varieties to tempt hot dog lovers’ tastes. In the weeks leading up to Independence Day, the America the Beautiful hot dog is very popular. It’s made with a 12-inch jalapeño sausage topped with pastrami, bacon, lettuce and chopped tomato. “It’s a huge sausage, one of the biggest you’ve ever seen,” Richard Pink said. “A lot of people order that for Fourth of July. Everybody loves it.” In addition to variety, Pink said the secret to longevity is having a consistent product, and theirs is a “very tasty hot dog and very tasty chili.” It also doesn’t hurt to have an iconic stand that invokes a nostalgic feeling of stepping back in time to 1939, when hot dogs were 10 cents. Pink’s has served millions of people from all walks of life, and is a hot spot for Hollywood celebrities. Jay Leno and Steve Martin are regulars. Bruce Willis reportedly proposed to Demi Moore at Pink’s. More than 150 photos of celebrities adorn the stand’s walls, and many have hot dogs named after them. The Martha Stewart Dog is a nine-inch stretch dog with relish, onions, chopped tomatoes, sauerkraut and bacon.
The Emeril Legasse Dog is a nine-inch stretch dog topped with mustard, onions, cheese, jalapeños, bacon and coleslaw. While Pink’s has made its home on La Brea Avenue just north of Melrose Avenue for 75 years, the Pink’s brand is growing. Pink’s recently opened in Hawaii at the Sea Life Park on the island of Oahu, and at the Seaquarium in Miami. Plans call for Pink’s Hot Dogs to open in the Philippines in September. Catering is a big part of the business, and Pink’s hot dogs, hamburgers and chili are available for parties, social events, benefits and business outings. Gloria said Pink’s recently catered Quentin Tarantino’s birthday party, and routinely serves television productions, such as “Criminal Minds” and “Hot In Cleveland”. “The Travel Channel just came out and will feature us on a show called ‘Delicious Destinations’,” Gloria said. “They were looking for iconic places and featured our bacon wrapped chili dog.” Richard Pink invites everyone to partake in the fun at Pink’s this summer, and as the faithful customers can attest, the season is one of the best times to enjoy a unique L.A. tradition that can only be experienced at Pink’s Hot Dogs.
photo by Jose Martinez
The Pink family still owns and operates the iconic hot dog stand, which now has locations in Miami, Ohio, San Diego, Las Vegas, Connecticut and Hawaii. Above, Beverly, (left) Richard and his wife Gloria Pink invite you to try one of their famous hot dogs. 18 June 2015 Dining & Entertainment
Park Labrea News/Beverly Press
ack in the heyday of early Hollywood, you could have walked into Musso and Frank Grill on Hollywood Boulevard and seen celebrities like Marilyn Monroe or Charlie Chaplin alongside some of the most well-known writers like F. Scott Fitzgerald or William Faulkner. Picture them sharing a corner booth, perhaps enjoying a porterhouse steak and one — or two —of the restaurant’s famous martinis, which GQ Magazine once called the best in America. Hollywood celebrities continue to dine at Musso and Frank, including Johnny Depp, Scarlett Johansson, Jack Nicholson, Nicolas Cage and the Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. The restaurant is equally as welcoming to the rest of us. In fact, that’s one of Musso and Frank’s strongest attractions, according to general manager Andres Airoldi. “We treat everyone the same way. We don’t give special attention to celebrities, and they like that, “ Airoldi said. “We have kind of a hidden parking lot off the boulevard and we have a back entrance, which is a big deal for them.” Arguably, nothing in Hollywood is more iconic — save for the Hollywood Sign or the Hollywood Walk of Fame — as Musso and Frank Grill, or simply known as Musso and Frank. Its nearly-unchanged menu for close to a century, its old Hollywood ambiance and its history are hallmarks of the nearly century-old establishment. Frank Toulet and Joseph Musso, aided by French chef Jean Rue who created the original menu, opened the restaurant in Hollywood in 1919. Rue stayed with the restaurant for 53 years as its first executive chef. In 1927, Musso and Toulet sold the restaurant to two Italian immigrants, Joseph Carrissimi and John
The early days at Musso and Frank, circa 1920. 20 June 2015 Dining & Entertainment
photo by Luis Rivas
Skillful bartenders have been shaking martinis at Musso and Frank Grill since 1919.
Mosso, who later moved the restaurant next door to 6667 Hollywood Blvd., where it stands today, with the Carrissimi and Mosso families continuing as owners. The restaurant’s allure may be attributed to its Back Room, located a few doors down from Musso and Frank. Opened in 1934, the Back Room was famed for its well-known writer and Hollywood elite patrons. After years of guests, such as William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Raymond Chandler, William Saroyan, T.S. Elliot, John Steinbeck, Aldous Huxley and Dorothy Parker, the Back Room’s lease expired. However, the New Room — where the restaurant’s bar, booths and tables are — was modeled directly after the Back Room, and has been open since 1955. Today, as it was since the beginning and throughout the Golden Age of Hollywood, Musso and Frank stands as a permanent part of Tinsletown’s history and cultural landscape. The restaurant has stood the test of time, in fact, thriving in the highlycompetitive redevelopment of Hollywood — with new neighboring bars, restaurants and venues saturating the boulevard. “We’re basically a landmark. We’re a destination. People have been coming here for decades,” Airoldi said. The concentration of development and more people moving into Hollywood has kept the photo courtesy of Musso and Frank Grill restaurant popular and successful, Airoldi
added. “You can walk basically anywhere, kind of like downtown L.A. You can walk to Cahuenga and Vine” Airoldi said. “It’s getting more of a neighborhood feeling that it didn’t have before,” Many of the restaurant’s customers have been coming to Musso and Frank for 40 to 50 years, and they love that the menu has not changed, Airoldi said. But there’s a newer generation that is quickly falling in love with this iconic restaurant. “And now we’re attracting a younger demographic because there’s this thing about being a historic landmark, young people are starting to appreciate that,” he said. The restaurant’s executive chef, J.P. Amateau, is the third executive chef in Musso and Frank’s history. “We’re mainly a steakhouse. But like any other steakhouse, we have a wide variety of fish and seafood,” Airoldi said. Musso and Frank features several specialty dishes, such as Sauerbraten and corned beef and cabbage, among other dishes. “We’re a little bit eclectic. We have chicken pot pie on Thursdays. We also have a wide variety of pasta, so there’s a little bit for everyone,” Airoldi said. Musso and Frank also has had a long history of keeping employees for decades. Many of the waiters have been working at the restaurant for over 40 years, according to Airoldi. Airoldi said that due to its legacy and success the restaurant might – with Airoldi repeatedly emphasizing the “might” – expand the brand of Musso and Frank. “There are a lot of people interested in taking the brand to Washington, D.C., New York and Chicago. But it’s not definite yet,” Airoldi said. Musso and Frank is located at 6667 Hollywood Blvd. Hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. For reservations, call (323)467-7788. For information, visit mussoandfrank.com. Park Labrea News/Beverly Press
By JILL WEINLEIN
The perfect place to enjoy 5 O’Cocktails
he ultimate spot to bring out-oftown guests for drinks and dinner is perched on the rooftop of a historic art-deco building in downtown Los Angeles. As the sun goes down, business professionals grab a beer or cocktail before dinner and are treated to spectacular 360-degree views of Los Angeles while sitting at tables on the patio or near a blazing fireplace. Skilled bartenders craft cocktails like Lolita, Writers Block, My Fair Lady and Penicillin. Bubbly wines from Spain, California and France are offered, as well as an interesting wine selections from California, Washington, New Zealand and France. Chef Gerardo Benitez’s menu features hors d’oeuvres, small plates and entrées with a French flair. Popular dishes include baked Brie, steak with frites, truffle poutine, scallops, rabbit ravioli and a variety of fromage and charcuterie with sour cherry mustard and raisin-walnut crostini. The grilled octopus appetizer is seasoned with vaudovan, a blend of spices that is a French derivative of an Indian curry masala with shallots and garlic. The dish arrived with a small fennel citrus salad, juicy campari tomatoes and a dollop of crème fraiche. For entrées, try the flat iron steak with bordelaise sauce and truffle cheese fries. The pan-roasted salmon is a generous piece of moist fish served on a bed on flavorful smoked eggplant puree and vegetables Provencal with tomatoes and onions. Surf and turf skewers are served with a creamy Béarnaise sauce. Classic French onion soup is topped with the traditional brioche crostini and Gruyere cheese. Save room for the orange cardamom creme brulée paired with an after dinner drink of Muscat de Saint Jean de Minervois. The Valrhona chocolate pot de creme with berries and a sprinkling of fleur de sel or the white chocolate bread pudding drizzled with a Bourbon caramel glaze will satisfy any sweet tooth. Perch would be great for a birthday brunch or bridal shower. The brunch menu offers an assortment of scones, 22 June 2015 Dining & Entertainment
muffins and croissants served with honey butter and jam. Brunch entrées include French toast, smoked salmon Benedict, crab Benedict, shrimp scampi, and the Perch burger served on a brioche bun. Champagne is $34 to $200 per bottle, and diners may create a mimosa or bellini with a carafe of orange juice or peach puree for an additional $5. Open Monday through Friday at 4 p.m. for Happy Hour and at 5 p.m. dinner is served. On weekends, Perch opens at 11 a.m. for brunch and later dinner service. Live music and a festive bar scene keeps this place open until 2 a.m. on weekends. Guests must be 21 years and older after 9 p.m. $$ 448 S. Hill St. (213)802-1770.
Bloody Mary Mix Recipe by Brent Falco, Cole’s photo courtesy of Perch
Sunday afternoons at Perch are perfect for leisurely sipping Bloody Marys and mimosas with fantastic panoramic views of Downtown L.A. Below, Emily was in need of a chilly Chelada after a somewhat bumpy elevator ride to the top of Perch. If the elevators seem rickety, rest assured; they are attended to regularly, according to management.
1 15 oz. canned tomatoes* 3 32 oz. cans tomato juice 9 teaspoons meat rub (sea salt, rosemary, thyme, pepper) 3 ounces of Tabasco sauce 9 ounces of Worcestershire sauce 6 ounces pickle juice 3 teaspoons horseradish 3 teaspoons celery seed, NOT celery salt 3 teaspoons Lawry’s seasoned salt Combine the ingredients and blend it up until you get the texture you want. Let the mix sit 24 hours so the seasoning and full flavor come through. Rim a 16 oz glass with seasoning mix. Add ice, your favorite vodka, a squeeze of lemon and lime and 6 oz. of Bloody Mary mix. Season with equal parts of sea salt, cayenne, celery seed. Garnish with a celery stalk and a spicy pickle. *Expand or reduce proportionately for the amount of mix you want.
photo by Michael Villalpando
To make a Chelada, pour 4 oz. of Bloody Mary mix over ice in a rim seasoned glass. Fill with a lager beer, Corona works best. Add an extra dash of Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce, and a squeeze of lime. Enjoy! Park Labrea News/Beverly Press
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It’s going to be a wild summer at the L.A. Zoo By EDWIN FOLVEN
ou don’t have to leave the city to visit exotic locales this summer, such as the rainforests of Central and South America, the fertile plains of Africa, the dense jungles of Asia and the unique landscapes of Australia. It only takes a trip to the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, where animal habitats and special programs open new worlds and offer extraordinary experiences. “The L.A. Zoo is one of this city’s best places to visit during the day, and it’s even better at night,” L.A. Zoo spokesperson Laura Stegman said. “We’re going to be sizzling — in the coolest sense of the word — with six events which are perfect for date nights, family nights or just good fun nights.” The summer fun kicks-off on June 20 at 6 p.m. with the 45th annual “Beastly Ball”, a fundraiser offering guests the opportunity to stroll through the zoo for after-hours viewing of animals, sample fare from some of L.A.‘s top restaurants, and dance the night away to live music. This year’s Beastly Ball will honor outgoing Councilman Tom LaBonge and the 99 Cents Only Stores. Singer,
photo byJamie Pham
Bring the family to the zoo on July 11 for “Family Jam at the L.A. Zoo” where visitors can interact with small animals and groove to live music.
dancer, producer and philanthropist Lance Bass, of the group ’NSYNC, will receive the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association’s (GLAZA) Tom Mankiewicz Leadership award for his longtime support of the zoo. Tickets to the Beastly Ball are $1,000 per person. For information, call (323) 644-4753, or visit www.lazoo.org. Friday nights are also heating up with the “Roaring Nights at the Zoo” summer music series, offering live music, zookeeper talks and close-up
photo byTad Motoyama 24 June 2015 Dining & Entertainment
At “Brew at the Zoo”, guests can sample the best from 35 local craft beer producers. encounters with the animals. Musical line-ups will take the stage on Fridays, June 26, July 24 and Aug. 21 at 7 p.m. Food trucks will satisfy guests’ appetites, and full-service bars will offer libations. General admission is $20. Music and animals come together on Saturday, July 11 beginning at 6 p.m. at “Family Jam at the L.A. Zoo”, with entertainment for all ages. Young visitors can get up-close with some of zoo’s smaller animals, and embark on after-hours “adventures” while viewing habitats and exhibits. Food trucks will keep energy levels up, and families can dance to live music. Adult tickets are $20; $15 for children. Craft beer enthusiasts will have something to cheer about on Friday, Aug. 7 at 7 p.m. at the 5th annual “Brew at the Zoo”, where guests can sample the best from 35 local craft beer producers and microbreweries, as well as pub-style food. Zookeeper talks, encounters with the animals tours, live music and more round out the evening for visitors 21 and over. Advance tickets are $50; $55 at the door if available.
Designated drivers will be admitted for $25. “Where else but the L.A. Zoo can you munch on foods like gourmet tacos or other great choices, and listen to bands and entertainment of all kinds while chatting with our keepers and visiting our animals after hours?” Stegman said. Every trip to the zoo offers eyeopening experiences, and throughout the summer, its more than 1,100 animals will be center stage. Habitats ranging from LAIR (Living Amphibians, Invertebrates and Reptiles) to the Campo Gorilla Reserve and the Chimpanzees of Mahale Mountain to the Rainforest of the Americas are open for exploration. Visitors can get up close with an Indian rhino and the Asian elephants, and walk among orangutans in the Red Ape Rainforest. Young children will have a summer they will never forget with visits to the Winnick Family Children’s Zoo, and the botanical gardens are perfect for a walk among more than 800 different plant species. The zoo’s flamingos — one of the largest flocks in the world — always put on a colorful show. GLAZA members receive discounts on tickets and events. The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens is located at 5333 Zoo Drive in Griffith Park. For information, call (323)644-6042, or visit www.lazoo.org. Park Labrea News/Beverly Press
Park Labrea News/Beverly Press
June 2015 Dining & Entertainment 25
Fun, friendly neighborhood bars Little Bar
“It’s been my favorite bar ever By LuIS RIVAS since,” Boyer said. “Although I live in Hollywood and work in The Miracle Mile’s favorite neighborhood bar is Little Bar, located at the in- the San Fernando Valley, I keep tersection of 8th Street and La Brea Avenue, for the past 10 years. coming back. The bartenders are Bar owner, Angelo Vacco, refers to the Little Bar as the bar away from home. the main reasons. They love their “It’s like your bar back home — wherever that may be, Washington, D.C., job and care about their cusNew York, Baltimore or Texas,” Vacco said. tomers.” Max Boyer, has been a regular at Little Bar for two and a half years. The bar has a rustic aesthetic, complete with regulation dart boards, vintage art, a tin rocket sculpture, a wall of license plates and the bar’s centerpiece – a mermaid swathed in bright neon. The locals have become regulars at the Little Bar, especially for the bar’s Saturday night trivia. Contestants can win prizes, drinks and gift cars by answering trivia on cinema and TV history and current events. Although the bar doesn’t have a kitchen, it works with local restaurants, which deliver to patrons directly at the bar. Patrons can order from Rocco’s or Apollonia’s Pizzera on Wilshire Boulevard, El Burrito Jr on South La Brea, Berri’s Café on 3rd Street and many more. Happy hour is Monday through Friday, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. with $5 drafts, wines or well drinks. Sunday is happy hour all day. Little Bar is located at 757 S. La Brea Ave., just south of Wilshire Boulevard. It’s open daily, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. For information, visit www.littlebarlounge.com. photos by Luis Rivas
Ludwig Biergarten When Johnny Rocket’s in the historic Farmers Market closed last year, Sean and Fara Faridnia inquired about opening a German-style restaurant. As soon as they received approval, Sean took over the construction and design concept to create a lively indoor and outdoor beer garden in Los Angeles. His vision was to create a restaurant similar to Ludwig’s in Munich, Germany, yet with a California twist. Construction took 9 months, building a new kitchen, large bar area, indoor dining rooms, and appealing patio for al fresco dining. During the restaurant’s first few weeks in operation, they served bottles of beer to guests and asked each guest
By JILL WEINLEIN
to sign their bottle. The staff collected the bottles and had them made into light fixtures hanging from the ceiling inside the VIP dining rooms. What attracts people to Ludwig’s is the all day Happy Hour on Mondays and Tuesdays. Guests sitting in the bar can enjoy libations for $5. The full bar offers a variety of classic cocktails, tap and bottled beer and wine. A VIP table on the patio can be reserved if guests call ahead and order their choice of beverage. The staff will have bottles ready and iced by the time guests arrive. Sean hired two talented chefs to serve authentic German and American dishes. Some of the most popular items are the schnitzel topped with an egg and the Ludwig burger. The charcuterie and cheese plates go well with one of the 20 German, Belgian or domestic beers on draught. They also offer 30 bottles of beer and red and white wine that pair nicely with the Wurst sampler offering a variety of sausages. Another great starter is the huge German pretzel lightly salted and served with four different dipping sauces.
photo courtesy of Ludwig Biergarten
The menu has a variety of burgers and sandwiches served with warm German potato salad made with pee wee potatoes, bacon-mustard vinaigrette, frisee, and wilted spinach. The bar stays open until the early morning hours on the weekend. The
kitchen stays open until 10:30 p.m., however the bar offers finger food until closing with beef sliders, garlic fries, onion rings, cheese quesadillas, flat breads and hot wings. All are $5 or under. 6333 W. 3rd St. Ste. 706 (323)556-6679.
photo by Jill Weinlein 26 June 2015 Dining & Entertainment
Park Labrea News/Beverly Press
Park Labrea News/Beverly Press
June 2015 Dining & Entertainment 27
Ray & Stark’s Bar
Water, wine & jazz
BY JILL WEINLEIN
ater is the most important beverage you can drink,” said Martin Riese, the General Manager of Ray’s & Stark Bar. We all know that, however this certified water sommelier from Germany is an expert on water and the TDS (Total Dissolved Solid) in water. “The higher the TDS, the more minerals and health benefits. There are so many wine, beer and spirit options in restaurants, why only one or two water options?” Riese said. At Ray’s & Stark Bar they offer an extensive water menu. There are bottles available to enjoy from Canada, Denmark, Fiji Islands, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. One of the bottles is Beverly Hills 90H20, a water Riese helped create. He brought two distinctive blue 90H20 bottles to our table to sample. The TDS is higher than other American waters and it offers a pure, no chlorine smell. Spain is the winner of bottled water offering health benefits with their Vichy Catalan offering a staggering 3,052 mg per liter of TDS. That’s almost a full dose of several key minerals your body needs including calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, bicarbonate, fluoride and silica. Riese’s water menu is easy to read with a photo of each bottle and a rating scale for sweet to salty and smooth to complex. He also shows the sodium, magnesium and calcium content. Who knew water could be so fascinating? Martin Riese sure did. He is on a mission to educate the public about water. Ray’s and Stark new executive chef Viet Pham offers innovative plates that can be paired with designer water, wine, beer or cocktails.
photo courtesy of Patina Restaurant Group
Lobster tartine with green Tabasco aioli, fine herbs, red onion and Old Bay gaufrette – an ideal summertime dish – will be served all day on a special menu from June 22 through Aug. 3.
New Jazz Nights on Fridays offer three courses for $35 and four courses for $45. with a jazz performance at LACMA now through the end of summer.
Cooking in a few of Joel Robuchon kitchens before Joachim Splichal hired him, Pham is right at home cooking at LACMA’s fine dining restaurant next to the vintage lamp posts of “Urban Light”. Pham’s culinary approach combines classic French technique with bold flavors. His dishes are museum quality in their artful presentation, especially his hanger steak with a swirl of green garlic puree and
photo courtesy of Patina Restaurant Group
Toad in a hole is a brioche bun, poached egg, ham, truffle sauce, crispy potatoes, chives served for Saturday and Sunday brunch. Pair it with one of their signature cocktails, if you’re desiring something more than their designer waters. 28 June 2015 Dining & Entertainment
brush of beef jus decorating the white plate with a wood grilled steak, roasted summer squash and reed thin asparagus. My favorite dish is his black-as-midnight squid ink pasta made with a special Italian pasta maker called a chitarra, giving the fresh noodles a special texture. It’s cooked in a lemongrass and ginger water before topped with whole bake blistered Sungold tomatoes, bits of crab, garlic, Calabrian chili, Red Boat fish sauce and Thai basil. This dish elevates your senses to a new level with a hint of sweetness, an essence of citrus and the saltiness of the sea. His fluke (a flatfish or flounder) dish offered the quintessential summer flavors. Fluke is a mild fish that Chef Pham cures with kombu, a Japanese kelp, before slicing it thinly on a plate. He garnishes the white fish with green strawberries, kumquat, prickly pear and green almonds. Be sure to order the rhubarb crumble with salted caramel ice cream or the banana bread pudding with caramelized bananas and a scoop of cognac vanilla ice cream. Both are terrific. Brunch is Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Lunch is weekdays from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dinner is served nightly from 5 to 10 p.m. The Bar is open until 11 p.m. The restaurant is closed on Wednesday. New Jazz Nights on Fridays offer three courses for $35 and four courses for $45. The dinners coincide with a jazz performance at LACMA now through the end of summer. Park for free in the LACMA garage after 7 p.m. Early birds who brunch before 11 a.m. receive complimentary parking when each person spends $20 or more during brunch. Parking is located on Sixth St. at LACMA Way, one block north of Wilshire Blvd and one block east of Fairfax Ave. $$ 5905 Wilshire Blvd. (323)857-6180. Park Labrea News/Beverly Press
SequelizingSummer ...or how I learned to quit my midnight movie habit By TIM POSADA
30 June 2015 Dining & Entertainment
still remember the joy of midnight screenings. The lines. The anticipation. The bragging rights when you see it first. One special viewing stands out. It’s Oct. 2, 2009 –– “Zombieland” at midnight. During the trailer for a reboot of “A Nightmare on Elm Street” four words grace the screen: “From producer Michael Bay.” United in common cause, an uproar of dissent drowns out the sound of Freddy scaring on-screen virgins. We didn’t forget Mr. Bay’s most recent film, “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”, and we all felt obligated to voice our displeasure with anything and anyone
Park Labrea News/Beverly Press
Main: Chris Pratt stars as raptor trainer Owen Grady in “Jurassic World”. Inset: Bryce Dallas Howard is Dr. Claire Dearing, who decides to splice DNA of dinos, creating a new breed of monster roaming the park. photos courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
(photos courtesy of Universal Pictures)
connected to that terrible sequel. Summer was the ideal time for midnight screenings. No more. They’ve transitioned into multiple showings as early as 6 p.m. on Thursday. Gone is that singular audience watching together, laughing together, catching all the subtleties together. Of course it couldn’t last. Only a choice few can enjoy a midnight screening. I still love it, but I’m sure plenty of you cringe at the thought of getting home after 2 a.m. The big screen no longer belongs to teens and 20-somethings. My community had to die for many others to partake in the
Top: The Termintor is back. Arnold Schwarzenegger reprises his classic role for a fourth time. Bottom: Emilia Clarke plays Sarah Connor, the role originally played by Linda Hamilton.
joy of popcorn fun. I can live with that. That’s just how summer flicks impact me. However, it’s difficult to stay depressed. If I ever feel nostalgic for something I’ve lost, I need look no further than any given weekend from May to August for a familiar story. Summer is sequel season after all. My comrades might be spread out, fragmented in reclinable chairs at all times throughout the evening, but I’m sure they’re fist pumping at the sight of a new “Mad Max” film. They might even laugh alongside me during “Pitch Perfect 2”, if only as an homage to how good the
first one was. But our metaphysical bond loosens at the mere mention of “Terminator Genisys” (July 1) thanks to the many liberties it plans to take with a canon that dates back to 1984. An aged T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger ) cares for Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) from birth and somehow her son, John (Jason Clarke), returns to the past as a Terminator himself. Skynet should probably win if such a robotic concept is the best Warner Bros. can muster up. But who am I kidding – I’ll see it just to get out of the heat. And I’m a glutton, for both food and punishment. “Avengers: Age of Ultron” released to worldwide success, but can “AntMan” (July 17) surf the high of Marvel Studio’s world-building empire? Or is this guy just too smalltime for mass ap-
peal? The idea of Paul Rudd as a superhero is enticing enough, and if they tap into the absurdity of the character and his name – Ant-Man – we’re in good shape. It would be easy to bemoan “Jurassic World” (June 12), but Chris Pratt, as Owen Grady, training a team of raptors to take down a new monster, only a cotton candy machine in the lobby could make that premise better. I’m perhaps more confused by “Magic Mike XXL” (July 1). Why would Channing Tatum bother returning to the man-meat stage? And now “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon” is back with chapter 2, “The Green Destiny” (Aug. 28). Only one returning character, Michelle Yeoh as Yu Shu Lien, and no director Ang Lee attached –– we’ve apparently waited 15 years for a sequel no one wants. What about all those horror sequels we should expect? You’ve got the See next page
Park Labrea News/Beverly Press
June 2015 Dining & Entertainment 31
photo courtesy of Universal Pictures
Your favorite demented teddy bear,Ted (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) and his best bro John (Mark Wahlberg) are back for another round of crass humor and juvenile antics “Ted 2”.
photo courtesy of Marvel Studios
Paul Rudd prepares to get small as Marvel’s tiniest superhero, Ant-Man.
potentially eerie “Sinister 2” (Aug. 21) and “Insidious 3” (June 5). The latter is about to undergo a substantial cast turnover. Either that means magic or indifference. Don’t stay on the edge of your seat to find out. Despite the usual dose of skepticism, I remain faithful to Tom Cruise’s action endeavors, so “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” (July 31) is sure to hit all those blockbusting notes: chase scenes, shoot outs, oneliners,
cool gadgets. And like its predecessor, your eyes will bleed at the IMAX showing. Don’t forget, Cruise does his own stunts – being cray-cray has its perks. For that matter, even “Ted 2” (June 26) could turn out well. Ever the optimist, summer time brings with it hope for something fun despite the many times we’ve all been hurt. What can I say? I’m a hopeless romantic. That midnight movie lover isn’t gone. He still hopes beyond
hope that something new emerges from all those recycled ideas. And he just hits the earlier showing with friends who need to be up for work the next day. Visual effects change, actors age, directors retire, studios merge. Now, the midnight showing is a thing of the past too, but summer sequels are forever, like the growing dozens of gray hairs invading my scalp. I’ll just have to stay young through Tom Cruise’s impossible stunts.
photos courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures/The Weinstein Company
Left: Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt shows no signs of slowing down in “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” as he continues his long tradition of performing his own stunts, including hanging off a plane in the sky. Right: Michelle Yeoh returns as Yu Shu Lien in the “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” sequel nobody knew or expected to arrive 15 years later.
32 June 2015 Dining & Entertainment
Park Labrea News/Beverly Press
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photo by Juan O’Campo / courtesy Los Angeles Dodgers
Dodger Stadium undergoes major renovations aimed to improve the fan experience, insiders say, including better Wi-Fi access, increased dining room capacity and more food options.
Dodgers match winning team with a grand slam fan experience By JONATHAN VAN DykE Carved into the hillside of Chavez Ravine, Dodger Stadium will be rocking this summer as the Los Angeles Dodgers defend their National League West title and strive to make their mark on the historic franchise in front of 56,000 adoring fans. First baseman Adrian Gonzalez is leading a powerful and deep lineup that includes fan favorite Yasiel Puig and newcomer Joc Pederson, along with twin aces Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke dominating from the mound. The new ownership, with several years under its belt, is striving to make the fan experience just as good as the on-field product, officials said, and they’ve made major headway. “If your image of Dodger Stadium is just this parking lot and some stadium, you really need to hit the reset button,” said Janet Marie Smith, senior vice president of planning and development. During the past few years, Smith has overseen $150 million in renovations 34 June 2015 Dining & Entertainment
to Dodger Stadium, which includes expanded concourses, new standing room and game views, completely redefined restrooms, new retail and concessions, new scoreboards and remodeled clubhouse areas. “As we have done the renovations around the stadium, one of my jobs was to shake off the dust on our archives and really tell the story of the team — from the East Coast to the West Coast and what did that mean for Los Angeles, the pioneering things the Dodgers have done over the years,” Smith said. “We tried to combine the best of the old with the best of the new, and really build on the entertainment quality. We field a competitive team, but we also want it to be a place where it is just plain fun to be.” Electronic upgrades allow for Wi-Fi Internet and a larger number of LED screens around the stadium. The parking lots and public transit areas include new lighting for improved safety. The Lexus Dugout Club has undergone the most changes, renovated for the first time since 2000. Upgrades in-
clude increased dining room capacity, new interior décor, additional food options, new built-in cooking locations, a new carving station and buffet, new desserts and premium cocktails, enlarged and enhanced televisions, San Antonio Winery products and more Dodgers memorabilia. New ballpark food includes Lasorda’s Meatball Marinara Specialty Fries, Lasorda’s Meatball Marinara Cone, L.A. Taqueria’s Carne Asada Specialty Fries, Tender’s Spicy Breaded Chicken Sandwich, Fried Dodger Dogs and Extreme Loaded Dogs — along with new nacho locations and expanded beer choices featuring Anheuser Busch’s full product line and local craft selections. “We try to make it so it feels comfortable and fun to get there early and stay late,” Smith said. “And Dodger Stadium is as electric as it’s always been.” Game ticket prices range from $12 to $100-plus. Parking costs $10 online in advance or $20 at the stadium. For information, visit www.dodgers.com.
June Friday, June 5 vs Cardinals, 7:10 p.m. Saturday, June 6 vs Cardinals, 7:10 p.m. Sunday, June 7 vs Cardinals, 5:08 p.m. Monday, June 8 vs D-backs, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, June 9 vs D-backs, 7:10 p.m. Wednesday, June 10 vs D-backs, 7:10 p.m. Wednesday, June 17 vs Rangers, 7:10 p.m. Thursday, June 18 vs Rangers, 7:10 p.m. Friday, June 19 vs Giants, 7:10 p.m. Saturday, June 20 vs Giants, 4:15 p.m. Sunday, June 21 vs Giants,TBD
July Friday, July 3 vs Mets, 7:10 p.m. Saturday, July 4 vs Mets, 4:15 p.m. Sunday, July 5 vs Mets, 1:10 p.m. Monday, July 6 vs Phillies, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, July 7 vs Phillies, 7:10 p.m. Wednesday, July 8 vs Phillies, 7:10 p.m. Thursday, July 9 vs Phillies, 7:10 p.m. Friday, July 10 vs Brewers, 7:10 p.m. Saturday, July 11 vs Brewers, 7:10 p.m. Sunday, July 12 vs Brewers, 1:10 p.m. Tuesday, July 28 vs Athletics, 7:10 p.m. Wednesday, July 29 vs Athletics, 7:10 p.m. Friday, July 31 vs Angels, 7:10 p.m. Park Labrea News/Beverly Press
The Greek Theatre
‘The Magical Musical Forest’ A summer lineup that would make the gods smile By JONATHAN VAN DykE
inger-songwriter Damien Rice opened the Greek Theatre this year on April 24 with full Irish gusto, regaling the crowd with story after story that sent laughs throughout the sold-out 5,000-seat venue. During the course of the performance, Rice and the crowd became more and more comfortable with each other, as is prone to happen in the open-air and intimate theatre. The musician took requests, implored the crowd to sing along in a three-part medley and even borrowed a coat from an enthusiastic fan. At the end of the night, Rice struggled to wipe away a smile as he sang another photo courtesy of the Greek Theatre sorrowful tune to the rapt crowd, The Greek Theatre, located at 2700 Vermont Ave. in Griffith Park, is city owned and will be operated by the city next year. which howled with delight. This is how you start a season, Nederlander Concerts representaNederlander Concerts CEO Alex Wave’s Soulful Summer (WAR, Los “The fact that it is such an intimate tives said, and this is why the Greek venue, you don’t have that huge dis- Hodges said he has heard The Greek Lonely Boys, Malo, Tierra), Robert Theatre is magic. tance from the artists and you feel that frequently referred to as the “magical Plant & The Sensational Space “It doesn’t get better than to be able intimacy with the other fans,” Caplan musical forest.” Shifters, The Doobie Brothers, Into see live music under the stars, nes- said. “They want that connection with “The live music coming off the grid Michaelson, Peter Frampton tled in the trees in the park,” said Na- the other people in the venue and with stage and through the systems at The and Cheap Trick, Little Big Town, talie Caplan, artists liaison for the the artists and The Greek lends itself to Greek, with the trees and the way it is Ben Folds, Pokémon: Symphonic Greek Theatre. “The environment, it’s that.” Evolutions, Willie Nelson, KOST a beautiful outdoor setting where you 103.5 Summer Concert Series PresWhen Caplan talks about the expe- “It doesn’t get better than feel like you are in the middle of rience and human element of the staff, ents: Under the Sun Tour (Sugar nowhere even though you’re steps she could very well be telling the story to be able to see live music Ray, Uncle Kracker, Better Than from the city.” Ezra, Eve 6), Jim Gaffigan, Wilco, of Zeke Naranjo, who is the floor staff under the stars, nestled in The Greek Theatre is located in manager for the venue. He has worked Blondie, Colbie Caillat, Social DisGriffith Park at 2700 Vermont Ave. It his way up to the position during the the trees in the park.” tortion, “Weird Al” Yankovic, and is a city-owned property, run by Ned- last 29 years. –Natalie Caplan more. Ticket prices average $56. erlander Concerts since 1975, although Greek Theatre artists liaison “These concerts are something “One thing first: I love being around the city is slated to run the venue itself people,” Naranjo said. “We’ve never everyone can enjoy,” Naranjo said. next year. The venue, which opened in had any problems with any of the pa- laid out, it’s a magical experience,” he “You have concerts for the elderly, the 1929, was built in a spot chosen for trons who come to see the shows. said. “And all the fans seem to echo middle-aged and the younger ones. It’s natural acoustics from the park’s natu- Everyone enjoys themselves. We spe- that.” beautiful at night, and no matter where ral canyon. The Greek Theatre has cialize in customer service. Patrons This year’s lineup has been you sit, you can see the show and you 5,900 seats nestled in the hillside and who come over and over again, they scheduled with a diverse concert- are never far from the stage.” the stage includes its original 1920s know my staff by name. Everyone is going audience in mind: The Piano For information, visit www.greekGreek columns. Guys, Little Dragon, 94.7 The theatrela.com. like family here.” 36 June 2015 Dining & Entertainment
Park Labrea News/Beverly Press
photo courtesy of L’Assiette
Steak frites is Coulotte-cut, Nebraska beef and hand-cut frites that undergo an eight-step process that takes a day to prepare and are the main attractions at L’Assiette.
Steak & frites By JILL WEINLEIN
hen L’Assiette’s chef and owner Jacques Fiorentino opened his restaurant on Melrose Avenue, he hoped it would be well received by locals. Word got out that the restaurant grills tender steaks and serves the best frites in town. Chefs make them daily with an eight-step process before arriving piping hot at each table. The potatoes are cooked in beef tallow or peanut oil for vegetarians. In the beginning, L’Assiette served three entrées with the most popular being the Prime Nebraska Coulotte steak prepared sous-vide. A black truffle sauce is added for an additional fee. Guests loved the dining concept of a second helping of beef and a piping
photo courtesy of L’Assiette
Father and son, Jacques and Marc Fiorentino 38 June 2015 Dining & Entertainment
hot tray of freshly made frites added to their plate. L’Assiette recently launched a lunch menu featuring pescetarian and vegetarian-friendly dishes as well as the coulotte steak on an open face baguette and a steak salad. Guests can add a fried egg or Raciette cheese fondue on the lunch options. Now they have salad with sous-vide chilled salmon, chopped little gem lettuce, goat cheese, almonds, and citrus balsamic vinaigrette. There is also salmon on a freshly-baked baguette with choice of salad or pommes frites. Another new item is portobello frites with marinated grilled portobello mushrooms. Night owls enjoy L’Assiette’s late night menu featuring “demi” sizes of the restaurant’s namesake dish with steak frites. The poutine L’Assiette is Coulotte steak covered with L’Assiette’s signature sauce and topped with roasted goat cheese. They offer a steak sandwich and a sorrel soup served with baguette toast points. Fiorentino also offers desserts worth every calorie. The beignet-style profiteroles are filled with ice cream and topped with hot chocolate sauce for dessert. The fudge brownie has a sprinkling of sea salt and the Marianne’s Amaretto cake is made from a family recipe. L’Assiette offers a great steak in an elegant setting at a much more reasonable price than most steak houses — plus diners get seconds. Open daily at 5:30 p.m. $$ 7166 Melrose Ave. (323)274-2319. Park Labrea News/Beverly Press
Family Style Korean Restaurant Featured on
ANTHONY BOURDAINâ€™S KOREATOWN LOS ANGELES
" ! Park Labrea News/Beverly Press
June 2015 Dining & Entertainment 39
photo by Dawn Laureen
Rock supergroup, the International Swingers, rocks out at EB’s.
EB’s knows Rock ‘n’ Roll International Swingers frontman Gary Twinn reflects on how one bar – EB’s – continues to serve as sacred ground for Hollywood’s music scene, old and new
By GARy TWINN
upscale eateries, and the popular Bar 326 will soon undergo a major renovaos Angeles has seemingly been tion and will specialize in beer and overwhelmed by gastropubs, wine from local Los Angeles breweries microbreweries and over- and wine makers (a true farmers’ marpriced mixology bars that have many ket of beer and wine). But EB’s Bar is still the place to people asking, “Whatever happened to find old-time Hollywood nostalgia. our humble dive bars?” I began contemplating this question The joint is named after E.B. a few months ago when the Power- Gilmore, who not only built the Orighouse bar closed its doors on Highland inal Farmers Market in 1934, but was also behind L.A.’s first Avenue near Hollywood Boulevard. After EB’s Bar is still the professional ballpark — Gilmore Field. moving from London place to find oldEB’s presents live to L.A. years ago, I music Thursday found the classic Amertime Hollywood throughevery Saturday at 7 ican bar to be everynostalgia. p.m., and for those thing I’d seen on movie who prefer a more screens or in my favorite TV shows — dimly lit, a touch cerebral evening’s drinking, “Trivia of neon, sports on TV, a jukebox and a Tuesdays” are hosted by Tony Roy bartender who called you by name and every Tuesday from 7 to 9 p.m. There is no pretense at EB’s Bar, knew what you wanted as soon as you just friendly staff, TV sports, music walked through the swinging door. In recent years, I’ve had the privi- and the most affordable prices in town lege to oversee 326 and EB’s, the beer (everything is $4 for happy hour from and wine bars of the Original Farmers 3 to 8 p.m.). EB’s is located in the Original Farmers Market, corner of 3rd and Fairfax. I believe EB’s is quite possibly the last bas- Market at 6333 W. 3rd St. For information, visit www.farmerstion of those bygone L.A. dives. With its close proximity to The marketbars.com or www.facebook.com/ Grove, Farmers Market has its share of farmersmarketbars.
40 June 2015 Dining & Entertainment
323-962-1900 6263 Leland Way, Hollywood, CA 90028 (one block south of sunset, just east of Vine) www.offvine.com email@example.com
Park Labrea News/Beverly Press
photo courtesy of Smith Bros. Restaurants
New American cuisine
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By REBECCA VILLALPANDO
he newest addition to the Smith Brothers’ restaurant dynasty stands out for its unique twist on new American cuisine and its simultaneously relaxed yet upscale environment with a stylish, modern feel. SECO offers a variety of seating options. Sit comfortably in the contemporary interior dining room, or enjoy the cozy outdoor seating area that’s perfect for a sunny day or a pleasant evening by the welcoming fire pit. If you’re in the mood for lighter fare, belly up to the polished bar and enjoy a dozen oysters on the half-shell and a handcrafted cocktail. SECO offers an array of different oysters daily — such as Naked Cowboy and Blue Point — at market price. The bar also features several craft beers on tap including Craftsman 1903 Lager and Stone IPA. The cuisine at SECO utilizes the highest quality ingredients in dishes that are both innovative and quintessentially Californian. While Pasadena offers many staple options for luncheon dining, lunching on the patio at SECO is both idyllic and a nice change from the sometimes monotonous menus of other spots. Start with a glass of rosé and order the stuffed shishito poppers as a small, flavor-packed, bite to begin a leisurely lunchtime meal. The peppers, traditionally found in Japanese restaurants, are prepared with multi-ethnic flair and filled with spicy chorizo and goat cheese, lightly fried, and garnished with Manchego and a tangy remoulade dipping sauce. Park Labrea News/Beverly Press
The menu at SECO features several wood-fired pizzas that are perfectly sliced for sharing. Try the classic caprese pizza or the pizza pollo with smoked chicken, fire-roasted red peppers, and goat cheese. My personal favorite is the pizza bianco, an updated white pizza topped with sautéed leeks and roasted garlic, adding depth of flavor without including grease. The fresh burrata gives the pizza a creamy element, while the white cheddar adds a flavorful, salty tang. The inclusion of fresh basil cuts through the richness of the pizza with its crisp, herbaceous flavor. SECO also offers a wide range of delicious entrée salads, including classics like the Chopped Salad alongside new combinations like the shrimp and pear salad, which includes arugula, frisee, spicy peanuts, and delicious lemon-tarragon vinaigrette. I ordered the kale salad because I wanted to try SECO’s take on the latest food trend that seems to appear on every restaurant’s menu. While many kale salads suffer from being boring, underdressed, and bitter, SECO’s kale salad is unique, tender, and oddly addictive. The kale is finely chopped with cabbage and tossed with a chiffonade of mint, jalapeno, green apple, and peanuts in a refreshing honey-soy vinaigrette. SECO’s Asian-style approach eliminates all bitterness from the kale and the mild heat from the jalapeno keeps diners coming back for another bite. I suggest ordering the kale salad as a crisp green side to share or See SECO page 48
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Rolling down the Miracle Mile with Spare Tire JILL WEINLEIN
he eclectic décor at Spare Tire centers around a full-size crocodile hanging on the wall. Silver, pewter and gold painted tires, an interesting black and white mural and posters of Marilyn Manson, Rolling Stones, Jim Morrison and the Ramones add to the whimsy created by owner Paul Boettcher. Executive Chef Isaias Peña’s summer menu offers a multitude of international flavors, including 14 gluten-free plates like grilled pork belly lollipops on long skewers served with a citrus gastric; squash blossoms stuffed with goat cheese and an interesting prosciutto and fig stuffed quail with a sherry Executive Chef pan sauce. Isaias Peña
42 June 2015 Dining & Entertainment
"I focus on dishes I likes to eat. I have also included more gluten-free and vegan dishes," he said. For heartier fare, try the chicken and waffles stuffed with gorgonzola and bacon and served with a rosemary syrup. The pub burger with smoked cheddar and bacon is also an excellent choice. From the sea section on the menu, Isaias creates octopus carpaccio, seared scallops with black gnocchi, pan seared halibut with a purple cauliflower puree and New Zealand green mussels cooked in Alagash Belgian white ale with orange, garlic and butter. Try Spare Tire’s wood-fired pizzas – there are at least ten different pies, such as the banh mi with pork belly, peanut sauce, mint, carrots, cilantro and bean sprouts. My favorite variety is made with a delicious fig jam as the sauce, then topped with prosciutto, red onion and arugula. The saltiness of the prosciutto and sweetness of the fig jam is a dyna-
mite combination. On the lighter side is the heirloom farro salad with roasted butternut squash, black truffle, and boschetto cheese, topped with greens and aged balsamic vinegar. Spare Tire pours 20 draught beers, 20 varieties of bottled and canned beer, and wine by the bottle and glass. At the full bar, they’re mixing up classic cocktails like Rob Roy, Manhattan, Old Fashioned, Dark and Stormy and a variety of mules. The lunch menu has a multitude of entrées, salads and sandwiches that include a Thanksgiving sandwich, Chicago Italian beef on a French roll
and a beer battered fish filet. Spare Tire Kitchen & Tavern is open for lunch, happy hour, dinner and late-night snacks from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m., Thursday through Saturday; and from 11:30 a.m. to midnight, Sunday through Wednesday. $$ 5370 Wilshire Blvd., (323)525-2618. The proscuitto and red onion pizza on a fig jam spread topped with arugula is one of Jill’s favorites at Spare Tire. (photo by Jill Weinlein)
Park Labrea News/Beverly Press
korean food at its finest By JILL WEINLEIN
orean barbecue has been a mainstay in Los Angeles for years, yet many residents in our city have never been to a Korean restaurant, including my octogenarian father. I recently enlightened my dad by treating him to an authentic lunch at Dong IL Jang in Koreatown. Since 1979, owner Roy Kim and his parents have been serving their authentic dishes to Angelenos in a friendly and respectful atmosphere. Walking into the restaurant, my father admired the koi fish pond by the front door and remarked how professional the servers looked in their chocolate brown uniforms with a starched white collars and aprons. We sat in a booth with a covered gas burner insert in the table and exhaust fan hood above. Our server, Ms. Song welcomed us with a friendly smile, and gave us a few recommendations. She thought we would like the Dohl Sot Bibimbap bowl and a glassy potato noodle dish called Chap Chae. Before our entrées arrived, another server brought us the traditional Korean banchan - side dishes served family style. With chopsticks in hand, we nibbled on housemade kimchi (fermented cabbage), seasoned bean sprouts, sautéed spinach, Korean pancakes, and radish in a red sauce. The little bowls offered a variety of rich with scented flavors. My father loved the Bibimbap served with white rice in a hot stone pot with namul (sautéed and seasoned
photo by Kaitlyn Yoo
Traditional Korean banchan – or side dishes – accompany the beef to be self-cooked.
vegetables), beef, gochujang (chili pepper paste), and soy sauce. An egg yolk is added on top for flavor and protein. The slightly sweet Chap Chae noodles arrived with thin strips of stir fried vegetables and meat. There are exotic dishes on the menu, such as thinly sliced beef tongue, beef intestine, tripe and hot spicy squid. The seafood pancake made with egg, green onions, calamari and jalapeños give it a slight kick. At the end of our meal, Ms. Song brought us two glasses of rice punch, very refreshing and not too sweet. As we walked out to the front door, Roy stopped us and asked if we had a nice lunch. My father replied, “I really like Korean food. It’s delicious.” The restaurant is open for lunch at 11 a.m. with specials ranging from $10.95 to $15.95. Dinner is served until 10 p.m. $$ 3455 W. 8th St. (213)383-5757.
photo by Kaitlyn Yoo
Park Labrea News/Beverly Press
June 2015 Dining & Entertainment 43
An ‘express way’ to Argentina
Pampas Grill By JILL WEINLEIN
isitors getting off the tourist buses that stop daily at the Farmers Market roam through the stalls searching for something wonderful to eat. Many stand in line with locals at Pampas Grill. Francisco Carvalho and Caesar Brelaz opened the Brazilian restaurant in 2001 to bring churrascarias at the Farmers Market. Churrascarias cuisine is from the southeast region of Brazil where the South American cowboys reside in the Pampas region. This area offers plains with large cattle ranches and is the regional cuisine both men grew up eating. They wanted to share the spices and seasonings with Los Angelenos. The duo developed a self-serve casual restaurant where diners select items from the salad bar and are charged by the pound before sitting down to enjoy the food. The salad bar offers hearts of palm,
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hard-boiled eggs, broccoli, corn, and tomatoes. Prepared salads include a Caesar salad, eggplant salad, string bean salad and pasta salad. There is also a selection of hot dishes that include fried yucca, black beans, garlic rice, mashed potatoes, chicken stroganoff, zucchini, friend plantains, colphoto courtesy of Pampas Grill lard greens, linguine pasta Pampas Grill provides authentic Brazilian food, from seasonings to churrasco-style cooking. and beef stew. Be sure to order Carvalho’s fresh only cook but they carve as well. Not citrus juice, garlic and fresh herbs. The and hot cheese bread. It’s his grand- everyone can do both well. The carvers slice the meat based on your carvers work hard to serve meat the desired cooking preference. mother’s recipe baked daily. Pampas Grill offers two desserts, a Next, guests select from the Chur- way our customers want it.” Some of their best sellers include top flan and passion fruit mousse. Both are rasco menu, large pieces of meat barbecued over an open charcoal fire pit sirloin, Brazilian sausage, spicy made in house. Pampas Grill has two locations. chicken thighs, garlic chicken drumsprinkled with rock salt. “It takes about three months to train sticks, sirloin cap and pork loin. The 6333 W. Third St. #618 (323)931-1928 a chef for Pampas Grill,” said Car- garlic beef has an abundance of garlic, and 3857 Overland Ave. (310)836vahlo. “The best of those chefs not and the chicken breast is marinated in 0080.
The Gumbo Pot
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Park Labrea News/Beverly Press
Welcome to José Andrés’ The Bazaar
By JILL WEINLEIN
s a pioneer of culinary small plate fare or tapas paired with unique cock- offering a variety of chocolate bonbons and cookies, walnut brownies and milk tails prepared table-side, José Andrés has earned an impressive list of chocolate mousse cake, along with chestnut or chocolate cream puffs. The Bazaar is filled with so many gastronomical delights that you will want awards including, "Outstanding Chef" by the James Beard Foundation and GQ Magazine Man of the Year. His molecular gastronomy, which uses ad- to come back again and again. 465 S. La Cienega Blvd. (310)246-5555. vances in culinary science, creates new exciting flavors and textures. The interior of The Bazaar inside the SLS Hotel offers a large bar area and Andrés is known for his Jamón Serrano Fermín board two dining rooms. The Patisserie is a pink dessert palace with numerous glass retail display cases selling interesting items. It's a marriage of Los Angeles chic layered with slices of dry cured ham. with Las Vegas glitz designed by Philippe Starck. Andrés popular and whimsical tapas include the American sturgeon caviar served in paper-thin pastry cones, and a Caprese style plate with sweet cherry tomatoes and mozzarella balls that burst with a liquid gel. The red and white colors on a swirl of emerald colored pesto offer an eye-catching presentation. A mixologist with his elegant wheeled cart of liquid nitrogen visits tables to make specialty vaporing cocktails with a theatrical flair. Andrés is known for his Jamón Serrano Fermín board layered with slices of dry cured ham with lightly toasted bread topped with a delicious tomato jam. Pair this plate with a flute of champagne to enhance the spicy flavors. His salads include long strips of peeled green apple with fennel, Manchego cheese, and chopped walnuts. From the sea, the kitchen makes Japanese tacos filled with grilled eel, shiso, cucumber, wasabi and chicharron and succulent seared scallops with a distinctively smooth Romesco sauce. Tender Loup de Mer is served with celery root puree and sea beans and succulent shrimp sautéed with garlic. The dessert menu is one of the most extensive I have ever seen, photo courtesy of Jose Andres The Bazaar
Try one of our Delicious, New Burgers!
Open 24 Hours
# " Park Labrea News/Beverly Press
June 2015 Dining & Entertainment 45
Experience seasonal rustic French cuisine with Church & State By JILL WEINLEIN
alented chef Tony Esnault at Church & State is one of my favorite chefs with his personable style and attention to detail. His focus on ingredients and presentation continuously pleases his diners. Sitting near the kitchen, we watched Esnault orchestrate the kitchen, inspecting each dish and meticulously perfecting the plating before handing it off to the server. The tables are close together creating a lively, bustling atmosphere with brick flooring and white tile walls. Twinkling lights strung from one corner to another adds to the celebratory environment. Built in 1925, this gorgeous space once had trains pull up in
the back with goods for the National Biscuit Company, where Nabisco products were made. The white tile and glass wall in the back are remnants of the loading dock. Esnault is known for his beautiful puff pastry escargot with garlic butter, like mini luscious soufflés in a classic egg cup. The charcuterie plank offers a variety of meat from organic farms that don't use antibiotics or hormones. His chicken liver mousse is made with Mary's Chicken organic liver, apples and cognac. It's buttery smooth to spread on a slice of French baguette. The thinly sliced cured pork belly is made with rosemary, thyme, onion and black peppercorn. Esnault simmers pork with vinegar, garlic and parsley until it’s tender and comes off the bone
known for his colorful tartes, try his English pea tart with mint, carrots, onion, garlic and goat cheese on thin flatbread. The verdant array of spring delights offered earthy flavors and provided a buttery, flaky texture.
photo courtesy of Church & State
The classic dish, bouillabase, is quintessentially French with a bountiful serving of seafood.
for over a week to make head cheese. The pork rillettes are slowly cooked pork confit with garlic and onions. The country pate is made with duck, pork, cognac and green peppercorn. The duck prosciutto is dried for two weeks, resulting in a deep rich color. The various meats are accompanied by pickled carrots, cornishons, yellow and purple cauliflower, watermelon radish turnips and housemade mustard. The charcuterie pairs well with an organic Beatrice et Pascal Lambert, Cabernet Franc, Chinon wine to balance the richness of the meat.
Known for his colorful tartes, try his English pea tart with mint, carrots, onion, garlic and goat cheese on thin flatbread. The verdant array of spring delights offered earthy flavors and provided a buttery, flaky texture. The three-beet salad is arranged artistically with red, golden and candy striped beet towers. Crisp beet chips are wedged into bright white goat cheese and a slice of thin toasted baguette balances on top. One of my favorite dishes on the menu is the Coq au Vin braised for See Tony Esnault page 48
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Plan Check Kitchen + Bar
Japanese and Argentine? yes, and it works By JILL WEINLEIN
hef Ernesto Uchimura's pastrami nosh piled high with double smoked pastrami and topped with melted Swiss cheese, kimchi mustard, pickles and a fried egg, served sunny-side up is one of my favorite sandwiches in Los Angeles. He takes contemporary gastropub food to a new level when paired with Plan Check's beers, Japanese whiskey, creative cocktails and fun atmosphere. Reclaimed wood, a chalkboard menu, Restoration Hardware-style high table-tops with stools and a large front window are trademarks at each location. Since chef Uchimura is of Japanese and Argentinean descent, he grew up in a home with diverse cooking styles, as his mother prepared Argentinean specialties, while his father created Japanese dishes. His heritage inspires him to infuse Japanese seasoning into
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some of his dishes, as well as make his own Kimchi mustard, innovative ketchup leather, and unique kimcheese. His beer nuts are sweet and salty with a hint of wasabi and his creamy baked crab dip is spiked with a dynamite sauce, masago, charred tomato and nori seaweed. Uchimura presents many of his dishes in a whimsical way. His exotic veggie chips are served in a little fryer basket with a side of creamy avocado dip. He also makes a clever deconstructed pickled candy stripe beet salad with pomegranate molasses, and olive oil drizzled on whipped goat cheese and peppercress, a peppery relative to watercress. People drive from all over Los Angeles to sink their teeth into a blueprint burger served with smoked blue cheese and luscious pig candy â€“ glorified slices of caramelized bacon. From 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through
photo courtesy Plan Check Kitchen + Bar
Plan Check serves a smoky fried jidori chicken smoked milk gravy, yam preserves and spicy pickled okra. Fried chicken also comes on a sandwich with spicy green pimento cheese, duck breast ham and pickles.
Friday, the downtown Los Angeles and Fairfax Plan Check Kitchen + Bar hosts a shift change happy hour featuring $2 off all draft beers and cocktail specials. At the downtown location, bartenders make a $6 Old Fashioned with Slow & Low Rock and Rye to sip with new exclusive bar fare. Guests order tacos hamburguesa; baked oyster Rockefeller; and a plate of beast fries with schmaltz onions, bacon spread and Americanized cheese. Both downtown and the Fairfax locations offer a $6 Tropical Daisy drink with jalapeĂąo infused tequila with a choice of blood orange or mango juice.
The menu has pimento grilled cheese and bacon with green chiles; a Southern fried chicken sandwich with Jidori chicken, yam preserves, smoked milk gravy and pickled okra. Be sure to finish with a plate of airy cruller donuts with slices of banana and sprinkled with sugar. At the Sawtelle location, happy hour is from from 3 to 6 p.m. with $2 off drafts, well drinks and $4 off house wine. Open seven days a week from 11:30 a.m. to closing. $$ 351 N. Fairfax Ave. (310)288-6500, 1111 Wilshire Blvd. (213)403-1616 and 1800 Sawtelle Blvd. (310)444-1411.
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June 2015 Dining & Entertainment 47
Tony Esnault of Church & State
From page 46
three days in red wine, herbs, salt and pepper. Try the Loup de Mer simmered in an exquisite fennel jus with a subtle aroma of anise. It is plated with a tender fennel bulb, scallions, blistered cherry tomatoes and khaki colored Castelvetrano olives to provide a salty balance to the sweetness of the fennel. Desserts include a cheese plate that offers sheep cheese from Corsica that is strong to the nose and a Swiss cow cheese that offers a nutty flavor. There is also a wooden plank of sweet desserts prepared by the new pastry chef Joseph Kim. The lemon tart made with freshly squeezed lemons and served with lime infused cucumber slices and lime coulis sauce was light, fresh and so satisfying. Another delicious dessert is the chocolate sorbet with pieces of espresso meringue that were photo courtesy of Church & State so light and airy, almost evapo- Executive chef Tony Esnault continues to focus on rating on the tongue. lighter French Mediterranean dishes at Church & Dining at Church and State is State using fresh local, seasonal and sustainable inalways a pleasure. Make it a habit! gredients. $$-$$$ Open for lunch Monday through Thursday starting at 11:30 a.m. Open for dinner Monday through Friday at 6 p.m. Dinner on Saturday and Sunday begins at 5:30 p.m. 1850 Industrial St. (213)405-1434.
FOOD is FRIENDS
FOOD is PASSION
SECO - Smith Bros. latest creation
From page 41
adding shrimp or salmon or another protein to make it a main dish. SECO features several sandwiches exclusively for lunch and adds other more traditional entrée options for dinner. Try the ahi tuna sandwich with wasabi aioli, tomatoes, grilled onions and field greens with balsamic vinaigrette. The airy bun with crisp crust is the perfect vehicle for the generous portion of fresh ahi and the surprising twist of wasabi in the aioli makes the dish especially flavorful. Whether you are enjoying a business lunch, a bar snack or a casual dinner, the farm-fresh, high quality of the ingredients takes SECO’s new American cuisine to the next level. While SECO features the high-quality service and fare we’ve come to expect from Smith Brothers’ restaurants, it does so in a chic yet photo courtesy of Smith Bros. Restaurants relaxing environment The patio at Seco is bright and sunny or warm and cozy dethat sets it apart. pending on the time of day – or year. SECO is open daily from 11:30am and features a special bar menu and reduced price libations during their social hour between 4:30-6:30 p.m. daily. Can you say street tacos, mini pizzas and discounted IPAs? I’m in. SECO is located at 140 S. Lake Ave. in Pasadena, CA. Complimentary valet parking is available at Smitty’s Grill, on Shoppers Lane, located only a few doors from SECO. 48 June 2015 Dining & Entertainment
FOOD is LOVE
Ca’Brea is FOOD 346 South La Brea Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90036 Tel: 323.938.2863 www.cabrearestaurant.com
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All aboard for a fun excursion – By LuIS RIVAS
photo by Luis Rivas
rains, planes, whale watching, wine tasting and a cold beer. No, this isn’t a promo for a summer movie blockbuster. It’s just some of the many things for visitors to do and see in Ventura County. First stop, Fillmore, a historic and charming small town about 45 minutes north of Los Angeles. The Fillmore & Western Railway Company is a fully-functional railway complete with weekend train rides, murder mystery rides and trains to nearby Santa Paula and other destinations. The scenic routes travel through California’s citrus belt on the railway’s most iconic and historic trains. “Guests can come by on Saturdays for the weekend scenic excursions to Santa Paula. We also work with local schools for weekly field trips to the Fillmore Fish Hatchery,” said Fillmore & Western Railway Company representative Tresa Wilkinson. “It’s fun for the whole family.” Fillmore & Western Railway’s main attraction is its Saturday afternoon scenic excursions, with trains going to Santa Paula and Loose Caboose shop where you can find an eclectic assortment of gifts, antiques and local honey. Aboard a restored 1928 Diner Car, enjoy dinner service from the a la carte menu. Although the train departs at noon, try to get there early as it is first come, first seated. The first stop is Santa Paula, where train riders can visit up to three museums or shop in downtown Santa Paula. The second stop is the Loose Caboose. For adults, tickets are $25, $23 for seniors, $15 for children ages 4 through 12, $10 for children 2 and 3, and free for children 23 months and under. Officially recognized as the Fillmore & Western Railway Company in 1996, the railway has been popularly featured in film and TV productions, such as appearing on the Food Network, “Get Smart”, “Mad Men”, “NCIS-Los Angeles,”
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– just an hour from the city “True Blood” among others. The murder mystery dinner train ride pulls on to the tracks on selected Saturday nights year-round and departs 6:30 p.m. and returns at 9:30 p.m. Each murder mystery dinner train ride comes stocked with a full bar. Guests are served a threecourse dinner of fresh garden salad, bread and butter and choice of prime rib au jus with a baked potato or chicken cordon bleu with sauce, rice and vegetables or blackened pork chop with sauce, rice and vegetables. Coffee or tea and dessert are included. Audience participation is key in solving the murder mystery, but not required. The murder mystery lunch train rides are also scheduled on selected dates with varying themes. The lunch performance is more comedic than the dinner. The P. Maxwell Production troupe performs while guests enjoy the Fillmore & Western Railway Company’s signature Orange Blossom Chicken three-course lunch. A perfect day trip for the entire family to drive from Los Angeles on a Saturday afternoon and experience a relaxing train ride through 100-year-old citrus and avocado groves of the Heritage Valley. For a complete list of train rides and itinerary, visit www.fwry-blog.com. A good place to recharge is at the local gastropub and brewhouse, Anacapa Brewing Company in downtown Ventura. Guests can enjoy a variety of brews which may include the crisp Pissy Pelican Pale Ale, the light-bodied Seaward Golden Ale, a rich, dark Benyhana Espresso Stout, a medium-bodied Santa Rosa Red or the full-bodied Pierpont IPA. Guests enjoy a full menu of different styles of burgers, including the Scorcher Burger with ghost pepper cheese, BBQ pulled pork or the spicy Newport sandwich made with homemade buffalo wing sauce, salmon teriyaki salad or the golden ale battered fish and chips. The gastropub works closely with local farmers in Ventura County to supply visitors with the freshest locally-grown produce.
photo by Luis Rivas
Anacapa Brewing Company is a fully operational brew house, restaurant and bar in downtown Ventura. Stop in to taste some of the brewmasters latest pints.
Heritage Square is located in the oldest section of Oxnard where many of the city’s founding families once lived. Enjoy wine tasting at Rancho Ventavo’s tasting room, located in the Scarlett House, one of the oldest Victorian homes in Oxnard, built in 1902. Rancho Ventavo winery exclusively produces red wines, including cabernet sauvignon and franc, merlot, syrah and petite sirah. Their most popular wine is the 2006 Paso Robles cabernet sauvignon/syrah blend. Be sure to try La Dolce Vita, for dinner. The restaurant offers guests a unique fusion of Italian and Mediterranean cuisine with antipasto and tapas, such as coSee Whale watching page 52
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5969 Melrose Ave. (corner of Wilcox) (323) 467-7124 www.vineamericanparty.com
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June 2015 Dining & Entertainment 51
Farmers Market sizzles with Friday Night Music series T
he Original Farmers Market, corner of 3rd and Fairfax, presents the return of its free “Friday Night Music Series” running through Friday, Aug. 28. The series includes a performance by The Jazz Leaders, composed of Dr. Bobby Rodriguez, Ryan Cross, Billy Mitchell, Paul Kreibich, Rickey Woodard and Bobby Matos, on Friday, June 5; followed by a tribute to Motown music with Otis Hayes, a seasoned jazz musician who has toured with James Brown, The Temptations and Martha Reeves, on Friday, June 12. Orquesta Charangoa performs its Cuban Charanga music on June 19, followed by the western swing sounds of The Lucky Stars on June 26; Nina Lares’ jazz standards on July 3; and Dakota’s Centennial Salute to Ol’ Blue Eyes — a Sinatra tribute — on July 10. Bluesman Gino Matteo will perform on July 17; Bad Haggis with Eric Rigler performs on July 24; and Johnny Polanco y Su Conjunto Amistad performs salsa music on July 31. The series continues with the California Feetwarmers on Aug. 7; Ethio Cali on Aug. 14; SideWynders on Aug. 21 and Incendio on Aug. 28. The series is held every Friday beginning at 7 p.m. on the West Patio stage. The Original Farmers Market is located at 6333 W. 3rd St. For information, call (323)933-9211, or visit ww.farmersmarketla.com.
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Whale watching & more
From page 51
conut shrimp with spicy apricot sauce, pumpkin ravioli topped with gorgonzola cream sauce, sage and walnuts, and zuppa, pasta and piatti, such as veal scaloppini marsala or the seared Ahi tuna served rare over risotto or jasmine rice with baby bok choy, drizzled with lemon aioli. Include in your weekend getaway a visit to the Channel Islands National Park in Ventura and go on a whalewatching tour with Island Packers. With comedic commentary by the captain, guests enjoy the sights at sea, such as dolphins, gray whales, sea lions and the Anacapa and Santa Rosa islands. If whale watching doesn’t float your boat, visitors can also go on kayaking excursions and other special trips. In nearby Camarillo, visitors can
explore the Southern California Wing of the Commemorative Air Force museum located at the Camarillo Airport just west of the 101 Freeway. Some of the aircraft on display are the F6F5 Hellcat, which was known as the ‘Ace Maker”; a P-51 Mustang, “Man O’ War”, a C-45 “Bucket of Bolts”, a T-6/SNJ and the Curtiss C-46 F “Commando” Transport. In addition to the aircraft, the museum has an extensive collection of exhibits, uniforms, antique weapons and ammunition, post cards, radio equipment and other war-time relics. Ventura County has it all: museums, historic attractions, scenic outings and relaxing adventures. Visit www.visitventura.com.
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postcard courtesy of Pierpont Inn
The back of the postcard reads, “The Pierpont, an inn of very unusual distinction, overlooking the Pacific Ocean on the main automobile road between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara.” The Pierpont Inn is located at 550 Sanjon Rd., Venura, CA. (805)643-6144. www.pierpontinn.com.
5 2 3 1 e n sat., Ju
By MICHAEL VILLALPANDO
he Pierpont Inn is an historic classic craftsman architectural hotel located just off the 101 Frwy in the heart of Ventura. Built in 1910, it has served as an oasis for travelers on their journey up and down the California coast. Roads were rougher then, and the automobiles were not equipped with the comforts of today. Guests could count on a home cooked meal, comfortable accommodations and a warm welcome from proprietor, Josephine Pierpont. Today The Pierpont Inn continues its tradition of being a warm and welcoming place. While much of the hotel remains the same, additional rooms
L I O B H S I F W A R C Y A D FATHER’S pm
and an annex have been added over the years. The Inn is a perfect location for corporate meetings, weddings, receptions and quiet getaways. They host winemaker dinners and offer seasonal specials in the lively restaurant. Austen’s serves classic and innovative American cuisine. Try the habanero lime sea bass, a flavorful fish with a zesty yet sophisticated finish. Steaks, burgers, pastas and salads – all fresh and expertly prepared – are also on the menu. Relax and unwind with your favorite glass of wine, cocktail or craft beer while sitting by the window and enjoying the ocean view. Austen’s is the quintessential California experience.
! c i s u M e v Li ion! s s i m d A you! Free a B e h t f ste o amily! a t a y o j En le f o h w e h t Bring
2560 S. Lincoln Blvd. Marina del Rey Northeast corner of Lincoln & Washington Bl.
photo courtesy of Pierpont Inn
The view from the inn’s lawn overlooks the Pacific Ocean in Ventura, CA. Park Labrea News/Beverly Press
310.306.GUMBO 310.306.4862 www.uncledarrows.com June 2015 Dining & Entertainment 53
Recipes Boozy Berries and Cream
3 cups of quartered strawberries ¼ cup white dessert wine 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar 1 8 oz. container of mascarpone cheese 2 tablespoons of Chambord 3 tablespoons of half and half 1 passion fruit ¼ cups of chopped pecans 2 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons brown sugar A pinch of sea salt Cut up strawberries and place in a glass-serving bowl. Add the ¼ cup of ice wine and 1 tablespoon of white granulated sugar. Set aside and let the strawberries macerate. In an electric mixing bowl, whip the mascarpone cheese with Chambord, half and half and 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar until fluffy and smooth. Do not over mix or it will become paste-like. Put the Chambord cream into a piping bag and cover the strawberries with small pillows of cream. Next, put the chopped pecans into a small saucepan on high heat with the brown sugar, butter and sea salt. Stir constantly with wooden spoon until small bubbles start to gather on the sides of the pan, about 1 minute. Pour the pecan caramel onto parchment paper to cool. Cut open the passion fruit and scoop flesh out. Place in a small bowl and mix around until the fruit is broken up. Garnish the top of the strawberries and cream with the candied pecans and passion fruit and serve immediately. It’s really yummy!
by Emily Villalpando
White Bean Salad 2-15 oz.cans of white beans* 1 cup of Italian parsley ½ cup olive oil 2 tablespoons of drained capers 4 filets of anchovies 1 cup of quartered radishes ¼ cup of chopped Kalamata olives ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar ½ cup lemon juice Salt and pepper to taste Puree together the parsley, capers, anchovies and olive oil in a food processor. Pulse until it creates thick paste. Pour the parsley paste into a large bowl. Whisk in the apple cider vinegar and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Next, strain the white beans and add them to the bowl with the dressing. Add the Kalamata olives and radishes. Mix until all the beans are covered. Cover with saran wrap and leave in a cool place for an hour. We think it’s best served at a cool room temperature. Season with a little salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon to give it a freshness just before serving. *Variation: substitute 1 can of white beans with garbanzo beans Enjoy!
54 June 2015 Dining & Entertainment
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Great Greek Dining! Enjoy a romantic greek dinner on our patio among the olive trees & twinkling lights!
Grilled salmon salad
our show-stoppping Saganaki “flaming cheese”
Full Bar , Breakfast, lunch, dinner In the Farmers MArket • 3rd & fairfax • 323.939.9728 www.Ulyssesvoyage.com Park Labrea News/Beverly Press
June 2015 Dining & Entertainment 55
Celebrating 60 in
New Orleans By kAREN VILLALPANDO
eather is a hot topic in New Orleans and it seems that when we plan a visit, a weather incident is occurring. Last fall, Tropical Storm Karen (not me) was set to hit town. Last April, we were met with the threat of Southern Soaker 2015. But magically, we dodged the weather both times. The Southern Soaker turned out to be nothing more than Spring Sprinkles. Our adventure was to celebrate my husband’s 60th birthday and we had a full agenda. Our first stop was Superior Seafood’s happy hour for 50¢ oysters and cold NOLA Brewing Company beer. Gulf oysters taste unlike oysters from other coasts. They’re bigger, briny, more flavorful and a dozen won’t set you back $30. This would be the first of many dozens we consumed over our five-day vacation in New Orleans. Superior Seafood has superb hospitality and it’s just plain fun. www.superiorseafoodnola.com. Exploring the neighborhoods – or parishes – of the city was our goal. To venture beyond the French Quarter and into various parts of the city and soak up the local culture was our motto. We drove to the township of Jean Lafitte on the bayou and spotted a live alligator. Popping into a bait shop, we inquired if they served lunch. “Nope, but
we’ve got cold beer.” Well, that will do just fine. We also drove to City Park, where the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) is located, as well as the Bestoff Sculpture Garden. NOMA is the city’s oldest fine arts institution containing a permanent collection with more than 40,000 works. The sculpture garden holds more than 60 sculptures. Other attractions at the park include Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, an 18-hole golf course, mini golf, the Train Garden and kayaking. The park is bordered by cemeteries, which in New Orleans are above ground, exposing the elaborate stone crypts and mausoleums for people to explore. The cemeteries have come to resemble small villages and have been nicknamed the “Cities of the Dead”. Audubon Park, across the street from Tulane University, is another jewel of the city. Spanish moss covers the tree branches and hangs down providing beautiful canopies. A jogging path encircles the park, always lively with runners and walkers. A golf course sits in the center, and beyond that lies the New Orleans Zoo. There is also a bird sanctuary attracting dozens of species. One of the main attractions when visiting New Orleans, however, is the
photo by Michael Villalpando
The whole pig’s tail at Cochon is a sight to behold, and even better to eat. 56 June 2015 Dining & Entertainment
photo by Michael Jilg
Historic Jackson Square faces the Mississippi River and is surrounded by historic buildings, including the St. Louis Cathedral.
food. We meticulously planned our culinary adventures and made reservations well in advance. We have previously dined at three of chef Donald Link’s restaurants: Cochon Butcher, Herbsaint and Peche. This time, we anxiously awaited our experience at Cochon, Butcher’s big brother. The restaurant’s namesake means “pig” and the team led by chef de cuisine, Matthew Woodall, takes full advantage of the whole hog. We started with a round of appetizers including wood fired oysters, pig’s feet with peanuts, pickled strawberries and a strawberry glaze, and pork cheek served over creamed corn. At our first bites, we knew we were in for an exceptional evening. The creamed corn was the perfect texture – not too thick and heavy, perfectly complementing the succulent pork cheek. Woodall encouraged us to be adventurous, so we opted for the special of the evening – a whole pig’s tail. Crispy
chicharron on the outside with tender meat inside, the tail was interesting to see, resembling a whip, but oh, what flavor and texture. Michael said it was possibly the best thing he’s ever eaten. Other dishes I would recommend are the rabbit and dumplings, a house specialty, with roasted turnips and sage. The taste and aroma were magnificent. Woodall’s mac n’ cheese is creamy and delicious with an irresistable crust made crisp under the broiler. Woodall’s Southern hospitality matches the sweetness of his desserts: butterscotch pot de crème, lemon meringue custard and rhubarb ice cream. You’ll find excellent and friendly service by a well-trained staff. A jovial night was had at this Link Group star. www.cochonrestaurant.com. Walking around the city all day allowed us to splurge for dinner. And we took full advantage. Emeril’s is celebrating its 25th year. His namesake restaurant, housed in the Warehouse Park Labrea News/Beverly Press
district, is highly popular and reservations are necessary. The cuisine is classic New Orleans in a sleek, contemporary environment. After a complimentary amuse bouche of pork belly and other tasty tidbits on a spoon, we started with Emeril’s famous barbecue shrimp – which aren’t grilled shrimp – a signature dish. Succulent Gulf shrimp are coated in a lemony, garlicky caramelhued sauce, which has gained its color from Worcester, seasoning and slow simmering. You will savor every bite! Another terrific appetizer is the beef Carpaccio with crème fraiche, Choupique caviar, soft egg, ice wine vinegar and crisp potato, melding marbled beef with even more sophisticated ingredients. For entrées, Michael and I shared Emeril’s whole truffle fried chicken for two, presented on a wood cutting board with all the fixings. What a scrumptious extravagance! I have never tasted fried chicken like this. The chicken is sous vide with truffle and then battered and fried. The fixings are all the accouterments you would find in a crab boil – corn, mushrooms, Andouille sausage and yes, crawfish. Wow – the consummate New Orleans dish! The whole roasted daily Gulf catch that evening was flounder, marvelously prepared. Andouille crusted drum, a Gulf fish, has been on the menu for 25 years and it has Emeril’s stamp on it – BAM! Glazed pecans and a Creole Meuniére top the chargrilled fish. Memorable shrimp and grits rounded out the entrées enjoyed at the table. We selected a Ramey Chardonnay and a Shannon Cabernet from Healdsburg,
allowing everyone to pour what best matched his or her food. A sweet ending of banana cream pie shared by the table completed a perfect evening. At Emeril’s, it’s not only about the food, it’s about the entire experience. Add this to your itinerary when you go to NOLA. www.emerils.com. On Saturday, Tulane University was hosting their annual Crawfest, an event that is free for students and faculty and only $10 per person for locals and guests. Crawfest is an all-day festival celebrating the mudbugs, as they are affectionately referred to, with live music, contests and all the crawfish you can eat. Held on the quad at Tulane with two stages for live bands performing throughout the day, the event served more than 20,000 lbs. of crawfish. However, there are only so many crawfish you can eat. So we ventured to Magazine Street, home to eclectic shops, upscale boutiques, restaurants and watering holes. But today we were out for one place and one thing – Dat Dogs. We contacted our friend, Constantine Georges, proprietor of Dat Dog, prior to the trip. He would be out of town, but assured us we would be in good hands with Bill DiPaola, his gregarious CEO. Bill is a New Orleans transplant, by way of New York, and he knows his dogs. The creative powerhouse behind Dat Dog NOLA, Bill strives to invent the most outrageous – yet magnificently delicious – dogs and sausages. Take the bacon werewolf dog, a Slovenia sausage topped with bacon, sauerkraut, dill relish, grilled onions, tomatoes and Creole mustard.
Or opt for the sea dog, which isn’t a dog or sausage but a tender on-the-inside, flaky on-the-outside cod filet. Better yet, try the alligator dog, a sausage of alligator meat, topped with your favorite fixings. On the side, there are plenty of options, but go for the crawfish etouffee fries – fries smothered with the yummy Cajun, stew-like dish. Fork required. On tap is the NOLA Brewing Company Hopitoulas, a great IPA, and plenty of other selections, plus a full bar. A lively patio scene is great for watching sports and listening to the Dat Dog danceable playlist. If you’re not here, you may have FOMO (new college term – “fear of missing out”). So don’t miss out – go to Dat Dog! They have three New Orleans locations. www.datdognola.com photo by Michael Jilg We took a break from eating and The sculpture garden at City Park has more wandered down Magazine Street and than 60 imaginative pieces.
photo courtesy of Commander’s Palace
The shrimp and tasso dish is accented with pickled okra and five pepper jelly. It’s spicy, savory and a new twist on the common barbecued shrimp. Park Labrea News/Beverly Press
June 2015 Dining & Entertainment 57
Grilled crawfish with lemon gnocchi tosses crawfish tails chargrilled with spring legumes, edamame, asparagus tips, herbs and lemon whipped Creole cream cheese gnocchi. We shared these apps as we sipped cocktails of Sauzerac, Champagne and French 75. Moving on to entrées, chef offers dishes such as pecan-crusted Gulf fish, seasonal crispy soft shell crab and his acclaimed lacquered quail. I’ve enjoyed it with a chicory lacquer, but he’s also known to do it with sugarcane. Filet of beef and a cowboy cut rib eye are great selections. However, if you’re all-in, order the chef’s menu of three to six courses. Why not? You’re here to indulge! The sommelier suggested outstanding wines, like the Faustino Tinto Gran Riserva, 2001, a rioja from Spain. The wine list is a tome, so ask the sommelier for assistance. The Leviathan red blend is another excellent choice. Dessert at the Palace is phenomenal. Bananas Foster flambé will take you back to a time when waiters prided themselves in their craft, preparing a tableside sweet course with aplomb. Commander’s bread pudding and crème brulée are classics. Let’s put a photo by Michael Jilg candle in something and sing! This was Crawfish etoufee fries, bacon werewolf dog, hot bratwurst - what more could a girl want? an epic night. Michael went home with
did some window-shopping. Since it was Michael’s actual birthday, April 18, we went into Goorin Brothers Hat Shop and purchased a dapper Gatsby or Flatcap made of Italian linen. We didn’t realize then how appropriate the gift would be, since we are paying tribute to the era in this magazine. The decision of where to hold the birthday celebration was easy – not just IN the Big Easy, but at the one and only Commander’s Palace. Executive chef Tory McPhail presented us with the most memorable meal last fall, we had to return to commemorate this spe-
cial occasion. And that’s what Commander’s does best – make memories. From the moment we entered, we were given red-carpet service, as are all guests who dine here. Seated in the Garden Room, we started with a selection of salads and appetizers, like the turtle soup, a Commander’s classic. Its rich, golden broth is both comforting and extraordinary. A bowl of that, please. McPhail’s shrimp and tasso Henican combines sweet Gulf shrimp with pickled okra, pepper jelly and Crystal hot sauce – a Louisiana original.
a souvenir signed menu, yet again a memory in the making from Commander’s Palace. www.commanderspalace.com. In the Convention/Warehouse District is Grand Isle, a casual place to relax and enjoy good drinks. With a menu that offers everything from fancy fish dishes to fried calamari, there is something to please all in your party. Chef Ryan Haigler grew up around shrimp boats in South Carolina and is eager to show his guests his deep knowledge of Southern cooking. Start with some oysters on the half shell, then move on to the fried calamari with the garlic aioli or sesame vinaigrette – both are delicious. Be impressed by the fresh fish of the day – like swordfish so tender and tuna thick as a steak. Chef Ryan rocks it with original recipes you wouldn’t expect at a more casual location. The Bloody Marys are excellent and Hopitoulas is on tap! A full bar and an oyster bar are waiting to serve you. 575 Convention Center Blvd., New Orleans, LA. www.grandislerestaurant.com. Alas, it is time to depart. Hot dang if we didn’t find the best places to visit this time! We’ll be back for more – Rebecca still has two more years at Tulane! Go Green Wave!
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