Showing posts with label west hollywood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label west hollywood. Show all posts

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.
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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. 
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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, jalape├▒os and a sunny side up egg worked extremely well with the salted dried cod.
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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.
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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Fig and Olive (West Hollywood, CA)

by @btsunoda
IMG_1527 West Hollywood is one of LA’s hotspots for new cutting edge restaurants. As a result, I’ve been traveling to the area on a more frequent basis. This time it was to experience Fig and Olive on Melrose Place. Fig and Olive’s menu is largely influenced by its founder, Laurent Halasz, who grew up learning Proven├žal cuisine. They are probably best known for using exceptional olive oils.

Fig and Olive selected 22 of the finest olive oils and use them as a foundation for all of their their dishes. For them, gourmet olive oil is a central ingredient and it displaces their need for butter.

The interior of Fig and Olive is impressive. They have a huge split-level space with double-high ceilings. Instead of showing off their wine collection, they have an impressive wall display of their olive oils. Other dining areas within the restaurant are available such as their semi-private indoor patio with olive trees and rosemary plants.

Complimentary fresh rosemary focaccia bread was served with three distinctly different virgin olive oils: two were from Spain (Manzanillo and Picual); the other was a Fig Koroneiki from Greece. Of the three, my wife and I both favored the Greek olive oil. The Picual was very earthy and I was extremely surprised at the differences in taste between the three olive oils.

We began with the three crostini starter.
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The first was a prosciutto with ricotta, olives, chopped walnuts and topped with a fig. Burrata with a cherry-sized heirloom tomato and pesto was the second one we selected. Of course, I selected the octopus with hummus which was dusted with paprika. All three crostinis were tasty, but I was surprised at how well the octopus paired with the hummus.

A number of dishes were calling my name and I ended up selecting Paella del Mar.
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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Roku Sunset, IDG's Newest Flagship Restaurant in West Hollywood

by Bryan Tsunoda @btsunoda

West Hollywood or “WeHo” has become an interesting intersection for me. More of my co-workers select WeHo as their place to call home. In addition, I have been receiving way more invites to dine at WeHo restaurants. I was fortunate to be invited to one of the hottest restaurants, Roku Sunset.

Due to the large front windows, the interior is full of natural light. Combined with the fact that their is spacious seating available, Roku Sunset is extremely welcoming. It’s certainly bodes well for someone trying to impress their date.

I typically lean towards sake when I eat Japanese seafood. After perusing the drink list, I decided it was only fitting to start with a sake flight. After all, it was an easy way to sample different types of sake.
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The traditional sake sampler consisted of three premium samples: Ken Sword Daiginjo, Yuki No Bosha, and Shichi Hon Yari. The Ken Sword Daiginjo was probably the driest of the group. The Yuki No Bosha was fruity and had notes of banana and strawberries. The Shichi Hon Yari was the most interesting as it was very rustic and earthy.


I began my meal with the bluefin tuna.
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 It was combined with diced avocados, tomatoes, shaved parmesan and shaved truffles. I was initially skeptical about mixing bluefin with parmesan, but overall the combination of flavors worked very well.

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.

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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.
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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)
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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.
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Yellowtail, cucumber agua chile, pickled persimmon, masago ($19), a light and refreshing dish that highlights the texture of the yellowtail.
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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Taste on Melrose (West Hollywood, CA)

by guest blogger @btsunoda

When the food and ambiance come together, a restaurant becomes a special place. Taste in West Hollywood is cute, hip, and not a pretentious place. Until recently, the only negative on the place was that it was small.

Taste on Melrose recently expanded their restaurant and added a courtyard and an Atrium. The  Zen-like courtyard was built in the rear of the original building which gives diners an al fresco option. 
Owners John Halter and Morten Kaag transformed a small dress shop into a romantic and stylish addition complete with a full bar and kitchen. The Atrium is attractively decorated and equipped with spot lighting which adds to the ambiance. A skylight offers daytime diners some nice indirect lighting.
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The Atrium was built to serve different purposes. First, they needed more space added to the original restaurant and having the Atrium can address the overflow. With its own full bar and kitchen, It is also ideal for private parties; it even has a separate entrance.


I was recently hosted for dinner after the Atrium was opened. Our dinner started with the kale and persimmon caesar salad.
This salad was extremely colorful and I thought that the addition of persimmon and garlic married the ingredients nicely. Many chefs offer “seasonal” menus and it’s enjoyable for me to see the winter offerings.

Albacore tuna tataki included avocado, cucumbers, scallion, toasted sesame seeds, shallots with a Jalapeno Soy Citronette. This is a nice small bite starter that would pair with a white French (e.g., their Louis Latour, Montagny) or Pinot Gris wine.
The pear bruschetta with gorgonzola, caramelized onions and walnuts appetizer was very simple and I got addicted to it quickly. I went for seconds on this tasty starter.
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One of their signature dishes, the White Truffle Mac and Cheese was served. What I particularly enjoyed about the dish was the inclusion of slivered crimini mushrooms. The buttery taste and the white truffle oil will delight your senses.
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Monday, September 14, 2015

Brunch at Toca Madera (West Hollywood, CA): Churro Waffles and Boozy Popsicles

Looking for a new brunch place around West Hollywood? Head to Toca Madera and its plush lounges for two things: churro waffles and boozy popsicles.

Toca Madera

You can get the churro waffle on its down, dusted with cinnamon sugar (which is more churro-like), or get it as a Chicken and Waffle (chipotle chicken strips, churro waffle, served with honey butter, maple syrup, tangy hot sauce, $16)
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On a hot day, definitely get one of the Adios Felisha (Don Julio tequila, cucumber, mint, tajin, seasonal paleta - $15 each)
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We had a mango and a strawberry when we went, and they made the perfect desserts. The paleta themselves were quite good, very refreshing!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Brunch at Terrine (Los Angeles, CA)

When one thinks of brunch in Los Angeles, al fresco or patio dining comes to a lot of minds, especially during the summer months. The fairly new Terrine has a beautiful back patio shaded by a tree canopy.

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Terrine's kitchen is headed by Chef Kris Morningstar (formerly at Ray's and Stark Bar) and he's doing some great things. This was one of the restaurants I had to try on my recent trips back home to LA.

I ordered the Eggs in Purgatory (spicy tomato sauce, fennel pollen, basil, pecorino, crostini, $14)
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Yes, I have a soft spot for eggs in tomato sauce, but Terrine's version of shakshouka is one of my favorite brunch dishes we tried. The sauce isn't too spicy but rich in flavors. Their bread was also especially good which made the dish even better.

We had to order this: Terrine de foie gras with prunes and fleur de sel - and baguette, of course.
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The foie gras accompaniments are different between their lunch and dinner service, but both are worth ordering. This terrine was a wonderful version of a classic, smooth and rich. Welcome back to California, foie gras.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Fast Casual Lebanese at Urban Garden (Los Angeles, CA)

George Abou-Daoud may be famous for his previous enterprises along the lines of gastropub The Bowery or Delancey, but he's started to bring his Middle Eastern heritage into the LA dining scene.

His latest venture is Urban Garden, a fast casual Lebanese spot in Mid-city that boasts free range chicken shawarma, organic chickpeas in the falafel, and more.

As you'd expect from a Lebanse spot, they have hummus, falafel, shawarma, etc.
They have three types of hummus: Traditional hummus, spicy hummus (with spicy pickled peppers), garlic hummus (with thyme roasted garlic). On top of that you can also get a lebneh made with Mediterranean yogurt, topped with French feta cheease and za'atar. There's also babaganoush with sumac.

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Pictured on the wall is Abou-Daoud's mother, who inspired most of the recipes (the baklava with rosewater syrup served here is his mother's recipe). These are the food that Abou-Daoud grew up with, but he's added his own touches.
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Sunday, April 5, 2015

Boozy Brunch at Harlowe (West Hollywood, CA)

1933 Group brings black Old Hollywood glamour with Harlowe. The gorgeous space incorporates fine touches like antique tiles and a sleek wooden bar that takes center stage.

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The decor is best appreciated in daylight, and now you can do just that with their brunch hours. The bar program is the main draw here, so naturally brunch will be a boozy brunch with specialty cocktails ($14 each). They had brought in mixologist Dushan Zaric (from NYC's Employees Only) to design the opening cocktail menu and the GM Chris Amirault and other local bartenders are keeping the game up.

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Swap your regular cup of joe with Coffee is for Closers (Teeling's Irish whiskey, Stumptown coffee, Chartreuse whipped cream). This take on Irish Coffee is lovely - not too sweet and enhanced by the chartreuse in the whipped cream. For me it was the perfect drink choice to start my morning.

There's a full food menu at Harlowe. When Harlowe opened, Chef Eric Greenspan consulted on the menu, which has since been refined by chef Sam Hoke.

You'll find the usual brunch suspects like Eggs Benedict (brown butter hollandaise, country ham, homemade biscuit, $13). The brown butter is a nice touch that distinguishes it from the typical eggs benedict.
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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Prova Pizza, West Hollywood's Newest Italian Pies

Pizza lovers in West Hollywood should rejoice with the opening of Prova Pizza, serving up Italian style pies at a reasonable price. Prova is the new restaurant from Vito Iacopelli, who was head chef of Michael's Pizzeria in Long Beach.

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Now, he's bringing his 100-year old recipes to the wood burning oven in West Hollywood (he also has an oven for his catering trailer, in case you're planning a party soon)
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The signature pie at Prova is the "Vesuvio" (salame di Napoli, fresh ricotta, mozzarella, ground pepper, San Marzano tomato, fresh basil, olive oil, $18)
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After placing the toppings, a thin layer of dough is placed at the top before baking in the oven again. This makes the top layer puffs up. He then pokes a hole in the middle after taking it out of the oven, letting the hot air escapes through a hole, sort of imitating a smoking volcano.

Iacopelli also brought the most beloved pie from Michael's, dubbed "La Vito" (mortadella, pistachio, oregano, stracciatella, $14)
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Mortadella sits atop the pie, and stracciatella (shredded burrata) is layered over them, and pistachio crumbs is scattered throughout. The chef, who hails from Puglia, either makes the stracciatella in house or gets it made by a fellow Puglian. I really liked the fresh cheese, which I think makes the whole pie.


Monday, December 29, 2014

Happy Hour at Melrose Umbrella Co Spans the Classic Cocktail Families

Who does't love happy hour? Cheap drinks, sometimes cheap food. But most of the time happy hour menu consists of only a handful of cocktails, which means limited options. Not so much at Melrose Umbrella Co.

Melrose Umbrella Co
I've heard a lot of Melrose Umbrella Co before, for having good cocktails, so I was excited to come in for happy hour. The decor is fun, and the name of the bar is actually related to an old photo of the great great great grandfather of one of the three bartenders who started Melrose Umbrella Co. You'll see vintage umbrellas along with vintage photos of the family around the bar.

OK, back to happy hour. At first glance the happy hour menu looks small, with a punch that serves 4 and 4 sections of cocktails. But the last section actually covers the four classic cocktail families with your choice of garnish and base spirit. Virtually unlimited choices!

First off, they served us a mini cup of the white sangria to start off the night (and "amuse booze"). This is the same sangria that comes as a 4-person punch and it is a crowd pleaser.
Melrose Umbrella Co
Let's start off with some of the happy our choices. There's the Nip Julep made with bourbon, mint, and peach, and only $5! The last section lets you choose between the four cocktail families: smash, fix, daisy, or maid. The "Fix" is your choice of base spirit with citrus, sugar, and your choice of garnish (I did bourbon and grapes). The Smash would be like a mojito with any spirit, and the Maid is made with cucumber, mint, and and citrus. Each is $9.
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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.

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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)
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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)
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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, September 26, 2014

Opening Alert: The Nice Guy (West Hollywood)

Taking over the former Mezze space in West Hollywood is a mafia-inspired hangout called as The Nice Guy. Taking cues from late 70’s and early 80’s interior, the H.Wood execs (the brain behind hotspots such as Bootsy Bellows, Hooray Henry’s, and Shorebar) never seemed shy about being upfront with their upbringing.

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The vibe here feels like your favorite supper club with its intimate candles setting, piano play, white-marble bar tops, floral-patterned booths, large couches, and dark wood walls. Also, the reservation-only concept breaths hospitality - they want to make sure they know who you are, what you like to drink, what time of the night you’d like to eat and where you like to be seated every night. I imagine in an upscale lounge like this, they expect a sense of intimacy, familiarity, and camaraderie within the regulars. But fret not…to score a reservation, all you have to do is call the hostess and answer her questions.
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John-Carlos Kuramoto, formerly of Michael’s in Santa Monica, has put together Italian-inspired bites, ranging from healthy to comfort fare. My favorites are the Duck Banh Mi Pizza, Chicken Parm Wings, and the 8 oz Dry Aged New York Steak.  And for the healthier items, I thought the Black Tuscan Kale Chips, Blue Crab Arancini, and Charred Baby Sprouting Broccoli were excellent. Other than those, of course, they have the classic Margherita or Prosciutto Pizza, Meatballs with tomato sauce, and the Burger with candied bacon. Even if you decided to go with the more conventional dishes, rest assured the dishes will be carefully executed and taste much better than the typical bar food.

Other than the food, The Nice Guy is also a craft cocktail destination. Helmed by master mixologist Brian Stewart (of SoHo House) in collaboration with h.wood Group's Adam Koral, this place boasts a large selection of spirits, fresh juices, and top shelf Liquor. 
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I thought the Bobby Soxer (Casamigos Reposado, blackberries, fresh lemon juice, honey, Campari, and fresno chili peppers), the Chairman (Gentleman Jack, Aperol, cacao, salted cola reduction, and cider vinegar), and the Daddy’s Little Angel (Silencio Mezcal, pineapple juice, organic agave nectar, fresh lemon juice, and Angostura bitters halo) were some of the tastiest cocktails I’ve tasted. 
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Cocktail I didn’t like as much - Mother’s Milk (Tito’s Vodka, house made chocolate milk, soda water)…tasted too sweet, it felt like a 50-50 mixture of Yoohoo and Vodka. Additionally, if you really want to impress your date or group of friends, you should go big – order your cocktail in a large punch bowl for $350.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Cavatina: A Hidden Gem Inside The Sunset Marquis Hotel

We oftentimes ignore hotel restaurants. In fact, I didn't even know the Sunset Marquis hotel had a restaurant - and it's gorgeous. The newly revamped and renamed restaurant, Cavatina, is tucked in the heart of the hotel. The outdoor area is naturally popular during the day, with lush greenery and a faux waterfall nearby.

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Executive Chef Roger Eggleston (formerly of Ten Pound Bar) has teamed up with Boston's James Beard winner Michael Schlow for the revamped restaurant's menu. I recently came in for lunch to check it out.

To start: Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho over olive oil crouton, sweet pepper, basil blossoms 
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Then we had a variety of addictive snacks: Marcona Almonds with Citrus and Curry,  Homemade Potato Chips with sunset secret spice mix” and green-chile onion dip, Bacon and Bourbon Salted Caramel Popcorn
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Could not stop munching on all of them - the popcorn in particular!

We had a beautifully plated Maine Lobster with Stone Fruit and Caviar with cherry tomato, chardonnay vinegar, sea salt
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The fresh, chilled lobster was beautifully complemented by the sweet, juicy fruits. It's a suprising combination that also works perfectly for the summer weather.

Vodka-marinated Pacific Northwest Salmon, apricot, beet jus, sea beans
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Another great seafood dish, the salmon's texture was silky.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Lobster Wednesdays at Pearl's Sunset Strip

I admit, I tend to avoid eating on Sunset Strip, so there are a lot of places there I have not yet visited. I was pretty surprised when I stepped on the second floor patio of Pearl's overlooking Sunset Blvd. Oh, hey, this is a pretty nice al fresco dining area!

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So, I was there to check out their lobster night, but first ...some oysters
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On Wednesdays, Pearl's serves a whole Maine lobster dinner - with fries and sides, for only $25!
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