Showing posts with label sunset blvd. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sunset blvd. Show all posts

Thursday, January 11, 2018

BOA Steakhouse: dineL.A. Restaurant Week Exclusive Series Preview

by guest blogger Bryan Tsunoda @discovering_LA

Dine L.A. Restaurant Week for Winter 2018 begins Friday, Jan. 12 and runs through Jan. 26. Approximately 300 LA area restaurants are participating for this event. Also returning is dineL.A.’s exclusive series: 16 select restaurants have created a special menu only available during dine L.A. These exclusive dinners start at $95 and BOA Steakhouse in Santa Monica and West Hollywood both return after successfully participating last year.

BOA Steakhouse is modern and has an impressive decor which quickly establishes the tone of the restaurant. We sat in the expansive outdoor patio which is designed to protect its diners from the elements. In January, al fresco dining is unheard of in most cities and I appreciated the experience.

Their dine L.A. menu is a four-course dinner featuring multiple selections per dish and the choices available are quite impressive. Foie Gras Torchon, black truffle cannelloni, Japanese Wagyu and pan seared scallop are just a few of the savory selections. A duo of exquisite desserts round out the last course (you can check out the full menu here).

BOA Steakhouse is well known for their caesar salad.

Prepared tableside it is fun watching the preparation, but it is also prepared to perfection. Foie gras lovers will appreciate the torchon method because it is prepared sous vide and is the ultimate way to prepare foie gras. It was placed on top of a funnel cake with blood orange marmalade giving it a salty and sweet experience.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Butcher, The Baker, The Cappuccino Maker (West Hollywood, CA)

by guest blogger @btsunoda of Discovering LA

The Butcher, The Baker, The Cappuccino Maker takes it name from the famous nursery rhyme (the Butcher, The Baker, and the Candlestick Maker in the nursery rhyme Rub-a-dub-dub). They cleverly substitute candlestick maker with cappuccino maker and it works quite well for their concept. They opened a few weeks ago and I recently paid them a visit.
BBCM is located in the iconic Sunset West Plaza. This is a popular destination visited by the locals due to the chic shops and outdoor cafes. People in the know take advantage of the free parking available behind each business.

The intent behind The Butcher, The Baker, The Cappuccino Maker is one of community. Breakfast was central to their strategy and so they created a bakery as the foundation. Not wanting to be breakfast-only, they designed their menu to incorporate their seasonal farm to table cuisine for lunch and dinner.

The appearance is one of a classy European cafe. 
The use of marble is extensive; the counter top for the bar is a large block of marble and even the plates are made of marble. The outside is landscaped with beautiful 100 year-old olive trees and there are quite a few tables available for al fresco dining.

The kitchen is led by the duo of Executive Chefs Ren Nisenbaum (formerly of Jaleo, Washington, D.C. and Morimoto and Jean Georges in NYC) and Craig Hopson (formerly of Le Cirque, Picholine and Beautique in NYC) and features seasonal local farm-fresh ingredients.

Consistent with their European bakery foundation, they use the French galette for some of their dishes. I tried two of their galetes: the Beef Short Rib with cherries, arugula and boursin was tasty. The use of cherries blended extremely well with the beef short ribs.  IMG_2855
I especially enjoyed the Galette of Bacalhau. The flavors of mushrooms, jalapeƱos and a sunny side up egg worked extremely well with the salted dried cod.
Other highlights from my visit:
Chestnut Pappardelle - The rich taste of duck and mushrooms permeated the pasta noodles and transformed the pasta to a nice savory taste.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Romantic Cavatina Heats Up The Sunset Marquis

A romantic, quiet outdoor dining just off of the Sunset Strip, Cavatina is currently flying under the radar. It's surprising that not more people know about this restaurant, which offers a solid menu of both food and wine.

Not a lot of people know about this restaurant that is hidden inside the Sunset Marquis hotel, but it offers a gorgeous outdoor dining experience. Get a table on the outside that overlooks the man-made waterfall for a more romantic setting.
Cavatina's cuisine is originally headed by James Beard winning Chef and Restaurateur Michael Schlow who has a restaurant empire on the East Coast. I've previously had a great lunch experience at Cavatina, but now I returned to try the dinner menu. The evening provided a very different ambiance as well!

Lamb meatballs, tomato, cumin, pine nuts ($12)
It's nice that the tomato sauce here doesn't overpower the flavors of the meatballs themselves.

Homemade potato chips ($7) with green chile onion dip - this one's a mainstay on the menu that I've had during lunch before.

Yellowtail, cucumber agua chile, pickled persimmon, masago ($19), a light and refreshing dish that highlights the texture of the yellowtail.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Cheebo on Sunset (Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA)

Cheebo has been around on Sunset Blvd for a while, and their free wifi and all day menu seems to draw a few people either working on their laptops or having meetings there. The decor is colorful, fun, and a bit kitschy.

For appetizer, you must get the Polenta tots with pomodoro sauce ($9)
These fluffy fried polenta were addictive, they're way better than regular tater tots!

If you don't feel like getting a big entree, Cheebo has a big selection of salads and sandwiches, like this B.L.T.A (nitrate free bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado ($12))
I took half on the plane with me, and it was perfect!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Warm Up to Tiki Happy Hour at The Church Key (West Hollywood)

It may be winter (as if there's a real winter in LA), but you can pretend it's warm with The Church Key's new happy hour. Yep, they're going all tiki for happy hour, taking place Monday-Friday, 5:30-7PM. There's no bad season for tiki.

Tiki cocktails are $9 each and there are plenty of fun options, complete with tiki mugs and excess garnishes. We started with The Professor (Selvarey Cacao, coconut, pineapple, orgeat) and Polynesian Pearl (Bacardi Superior, Bekrovka, lime, OJ, allspice, cinnamon, vanilla)
As is always the case with proper tiki drinks, they are strong but dangerously easy to drink.

Blue Hawaii (Malibu, blue curacao, creme de coconut, pineapple)
I haven't had one of these in forever, but we let go of our cocktail snobbery for the moment because, well, frankly it tasted delicious. Interestingly, according to Wikipedia this drink should've been the Blue Hawaiian, whereas the Blue Hawaii uses a sweet and sour mix instead of creme de coconut. Either way, I know I would prefer the one with coconut.

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Bowery: Not Your Ordinary Pub

by guest blogger Brian L. @iam_robot

To be honest, Los Angeles is the mecca of overhyped burger joints and gastropubs. Is it a conspiracy to think a group of Los Angeles restaurateurs collude every week to create another gastropub? I understand public’s desire to drink peanut butter beer from a local brewery or to devour a grass-fed bison burger without the 4 hours commitment in a jacket and slacks; But when there’s too many of them, the flux of turnovers is inevitable. I mean you might fall in love with a burger joint only to realize they had closed down before you made your second visit 6 months later. That said, it's still sad to think of some of the burger joints we recently lost: Kalbi Burger, The Parish, Haven Gastropub, Hamburger Hamlet, and the utterly delicious tamago (egg) burger at Fuku. Till this day, I regard that tamago burger the same way I regard tequila – if I ate one, all of a sudden I wouldn’t be able to stop, and suddenly I’d be broke and jobless.

Initially I had some trepidation when I got the invite to The Bowery. It’s another gastropub – years of experiences have taught me I typically got bored halfway into eating the food that I over-ordered and I’d ask myself, “Is it wrong I kinda wanna cook top ramen in my kitchen rather than eating here?”  But after entering/ observing the Bowery and talking to owner George Abou-Daoud, I knew I was in for a treat.

 Here’s my reasoning: First, George is probably the pioneer of this gourmet burger movement. He’s done it since year 2005, way before we knew the juggernauts: Umami, Father’s Office, and The Counter. The most impressive part is – he did it when the odds were stacked against his favor – Tower Records and The Palladium were closing while those ritzy apartments were probably a rolled-up blue print.
 As a fellow entrepreneur, I admire his fervor. Second, looking at the menu, The Bowery is no ordinary gastropub. Granted the menu could be a smorgasbord of all things irresistible and forbidden on any sort of diet, but they didn’t neglect people who seek balance. There are so many healthier fares I can’t wait to try on my next visit: Roasted Tomato Soup, Spicy Tuna with Saffron Risotto Crostini, Chickpea Falafel, and the Vegan Burger (with Black Bean & Roasted Beet Patty…Interesting!).  

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Game Meats at Burger Lounge

Did you know Burger Lounge has a rotating burger series made of game meats? The aptly called "Game Changer" series featured burgers with bison, boar, and elk.

I'm blogging late in the game (ha!) so we already missed one, the Grass-fed Bison Burger which ran from October 2013 – November 2013. The $10.95 was served on the signature Lounge Bun (there's a gluten free bun option) with blue cheese, pickled onion, and roasted garlic aioli. 
For those looking for leaner meats, bison is a great burger alternative.

You still have time to try the second one though, which runs through the end of January. The Wild Boar ( $10.95) is served with crispy onion rings, smoked mozzarella and house-made BBQ
This was my favorite of the three burgers, being the juiciest one. Plus, it's topped with crispy onion rings!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Dim Sum Carts, Liquid Nitrogen, and Canned Cocktails at The Church Key

The Church Key brought the "dim sum cart" concept to Sunset Blvd, except instead of the classic grouchy dim sum ladies pushing their metal carts, the servers at Church Key are dressed in PanAm stewardess outfit pushing airline carts (one said PanAm while another cart said Delta). Various small plates, canned cocktails, and liquid nitrogen cocktail otter pops can be found on these carts.

Just like at dim sum, they stamp your card with the dishes or cocktail you received. Unlike Chinese dim sum, the restaurant is large, spacious, and sexy.
You won't find Chinese dim sum here, though. Instead, look for one of our favorite dishes of the night: Crispy pork belly, gojuchang glaze, cashew butter, radish, sesame ($14)
Word of warning: this was a bit spicy, but I love the crispiness! Everyone raved about the pig's ear cheetos but unfortunately I didn't get to try them as they were sold out.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Vintage Enoteca, A Friendly Wine Bar With A Female Sommelier

Female chefs have gotten more attention lately, but it's still pretty rare to find a female sommelier. Well, you can meet one at the very approachable Vintage Enoteca in Hollywood: Danielle Francois. It's not a frou-frou wine bar, but a friendly, casual place where locals hang out or go on a date while trying some interesting wines. In fact, while Danielle is the in-house sommelier and part-owner, the other owner is also a woman.

Owners Danielle Francois and Jennifer Moore worked in advertising in New York City. Tired of the of the advertising world, they moved to Los Angeles and opened Vintage Enoteca, wanting to create "a casual environment to explore and sip interesting vino and eat simple, yet delicious tapas that complements the wine." 

They opened Vintage on June 1st 2010 and Danielle went on to get her sommelier certification with The Court of Master Sommeliers. I took a look at the wine and beer list and was surprised at the number of unfamiliar names and varietals on both. I mean, I thought I've learned quite a bit about beer and wine over my blogging years, but still. There was Scheurebe from the Rheinhessen, a Grignolino from Piedmont or a Blaufrankish from Burgenland. The only word I recognize there was Piedmont!

Anyway, I came in for a casual wine pairing dinner, starting off with a refreshing glass of Pascal Bellier "Reverie" Brut Rose from Loire Valley, France. This sparkling rose is 100% made of pinot noir grapes and going to be perfect in the summer months to come.

The food, as they claimed, is simple and affordable. The small bites are $6 and all the salads, flatbreads, and paninis are $10.

While it wasn't on the tasting menu, one of the other writers had heard a lot of their Crispy Duck Cracklings Salad ($10) and wanted to try it. The salad was composed of blue cheese, blistered baby tomatoes, arugula, creme fraiche dressing, and topped with duck cracklings.
I'm glad we got to try this salad, tossed with the right amount of dressing. Of course, it's the duck cracklings that made it special.

Asparagus Salad (English pea, pickled fennel, chorizo chips, herb anchovy vinaigrette - $10)
This was paired with Palomino: La Cigarrera Manzanilla NV, Sanlucar de Barrameda, Spain.
Nope, not a white wine. This is a sherry! This dry sherry pairs very well with the anchovy vinaigrette, cutting the saltiness and fishiness. Danielle explains that the dry sherry pairs well in general with salty snacks.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Revisiting Asia de Cuba (West Hollywood)

I remembered Asia de Cuba as an early date place, with its view of West Hollywood and its lobster mashed potatoes and plantain fried rice. Eons ago. I haven't been back, what's with all the new restaurants in town to try, and the restaurant is pretty expensive (especially with $12 valet). It's one of those "seen and be seen" places. I was recently invited for a tasting, as the menu had changed quite a bit with the arrival of the new chef, though signature dishes still remain.

There is now a whole ceviche section, served with plantain chips and toasted sesame tapioca chips:
Black grouper, sevilla orange, aji amarillo, yuzu and horseradish

Photo courtesy of Asia de Cuba
Wild salmon and salted avocado helado, spicy coconut milk, bird's eye pepper and black lava salt ($7)
The avocado helado (that's ice cream for you) was a cool addition to the dish in both sense of the word.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Meet the True Ice Cream Sandwich

Sandwich, according to Wikipedia, "is a food item, typically consisting of two or more slices of bread with one or more fillings between them". But then there's the ice cream sandwich, usually consisting of ice cream in between two cookies. Where's the bread, I asked. And Night+Market answered.

The ice cream sandwich ($4.50) at Night+Market actually involves bread, and it is a must try.

Ice Cream Sandwich
The contents are everything you'd think of in a Thai dessert, minus mangoes.
Sweet sticky rice and toasted mung beans are doused with condensed milk, sandwiched by a (toasted) sweet roll, then topped with coconut ice cream.

Now that's what I'd call an ice cream sandwich.

For a review of their dinner menu, go here.

9041 W Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 275-9724

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Night+Market: Thai Street Food on Sunset

The palace and the streets are separated by a mere gate. In Los Angeles, Talesai which serves royal palace-style (or close to it) Thai cuisine, is conjoined by Night+Market, serving street food from North to Southern Thailand.

Kua Gling (border beef)
beef tendertail, wok-fried with mortar pounded southern chile paste

To say that they're neighbors is an understatement. Talesai and Night+Market actually shares a kitchen and 28 year old Chef Kris Yenbamroong, the son of the Talesai proprietors.
Chef Kris Yenbamroong
Fooddigger recently organized a tasting dinner for bloggers (as a disclosure, while the dinner was not free, the price was heavily subsidized) and we got to try a selection of dishes - some we've seen before, and others completely new, like the Isaan sour pork sausage, made in-house.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Pizza Fusion: Going Vegan and Gluten-Free for a Night

Pizza Fusion is NOT a vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free place.
It does, however, carry options for all of the above, and is pretty well-known for their gluten free crust, giving those with celiac disease the rare opportunity to eat a pizza. So when the owners of Pizza Fusion invited me over to taste the food they offer, I decided to try these vegan and gluten-free stuff for myself.

DISCLAIMER: I went for an invited tasting, so we ate for free.

I went with LA & OC Foodie, the perfect partner in crime since he was doing a Meatless April (and I guess now he's attempting a Meatless May too ... tsk tsk.)

I don't know if Pizza Fusion is the first sustainable chain, but this franchise that started in Miami not only serves organic and sustainable products but also didn't stray from their environmental mission in building their locations. Even their floors, walls and toilets.

Pizza Fusion carries some microbrewery beers on taps and also a selection of organic wines. LA & OC Foodie ordered a flight of 4 beers (20 oz total, %10).
I don't remember what beers he ordered but I remembered I liked the Unibroue Blanche de Chambly the best.

I opted for the lemonade instead ($3.00) at first... I gave in and got a beer later - the Blanche de Chambly. Uhm.
The lemonade is not too sweet like most others, which makes it even more refreshing and thirst quenching.

The owner recommended the stuffed zucchini, "Zucchini al Forno" ($6.99), so we got an order of those too.
Roasted zucchini stuffed with walnuts and vegetarian stuffing. We definitely didn't miss the meat or the chicken/turkey broth in this, the stuffing had plenty of flavors already. Perhaps too much actually. I thought the zucchini didn't need so much stuffing and less would actually balance the flavors better. I did enjoy the texture that the walnuts gave to this.

Because those flip-up menus and ads sometimes do work and this looked good, we got a half order of the Pear & Gorgonzola salad ($5.99)
Using great fresh products, can't go wrong with this salad.

We ended up getting a non-vegan (but vegetarian since LA & OC Foodie is doing his meatless April!) on a gluten-free crust, and a vegan pizza (with vegan cheese) on a normal crust. Hedging our bets, so to speak.

Here's the Farmer's Market Pizza with Gluten-Free crust (personal size, $9.99)

As you can see below, the gluten free crust is noticeable thinner than a normal thin crust. It's rather cracker-like also, probably what one would expect from a non-gluten crust.

For the vegan cheese at Pizza Fusion, you have 2 options: either the Follow Your Heart soy cheese, or the Daiya cheese for a bit extra - $0.50-$1, can't remember. Because Quarry Girl raved about the Daiya cheese (which she then asked Pizza Fusion to carry), we opted to try it.

We got this cheese on the Very Vegan pizza (personal size, $8.99+extra for Daiya).
Upon first taste, Daiya cheese certainly had strong flavors, one that you wouldn't expect from a vegan cheese, and one that you wouldn't get from the Follow Your Heart soy cheese (according to LA & OC Foodie)

I ended up liking the normal-cheese-gluten-free-crust pizza better but LA & OC Foodie liked the vegan-cheese-normal-crust better.
It's certainly wonderful that those with celiac disease can have things they normally wouldn't be able to at Pizza Fusion, like the pizza, and also brownies. We tried a gluten-free vegan brownie ($4.99) a la mode (with vanilla gelato - not vegan).
The brownie was surprisingly chocolate-y and decadent, almost reminiscent of fudge though not as rich and thick. It was moist but the flavors are there, although the texture was just a little bit off. Not necessarily bad, but I definitely noticed a difference between this gluten free version and others.

I have some vegan friends and I also know a couple of people with celiac disease. It was really nice to find this place so I can take him later and let him have some pizza and brownie. Personally though, I'd still go with the bbq chicken, sinful cheese, and gluten crust :P Luckily, Pizza Fusion has all that, too. Something for everyone.

They also have the following weekly specials, in case you're planning a visit!
Vegan Monday- Free Daiya Cheese Upgrade on Any Pizza or Free Vegan Strawberry Sorbet on any Large Vegan Pizza Soy or Daiya
Wine and Dine Tuesday- Up to $20 off Organic/ Sustainable Bottles of Wine
Draft Beer Wednesday- $1 off Any Draft Beer
Gluten-Free Thursday- Free Gluten-Free Vegan Brownie with Any Large Gluten Free Pizza

Pizza Fusion - Hollywood
7950 W. Sunset Blvd.
Suite 104
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 375-3390
Pizza Fusion on Urbanspoon

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