for February, 2011
Downtown LA is the last major obstacle between me and home on my daily west-to-east commute. Already battered by the indignities of the Santa Monica Freeway, I usually ditch the 110 and weave my way through the city streets instead. However traumatizing, this drive has proven a great tool for bringing restaurants to my attention.
One place I drive by and wonder about a lot is Zucca, so I was excited when I got an invite to try out the Italian restaurant’s new Piazza menu. The main perk of this al fresco service (menu is served on the patio) is that the large selection of small plates—antipasti, oven-fired pizzas, salads and pastas—are fairly inexpensive. Nothing over $12, all day from 11:30 to 9pm.
Okay, so this is kind of late notice, but tonight would be a good night to eat out in Silverlake and Echo Park. You’ll be supporting a good cause if you head out to Masa of Echo Park, Local or Allston Yacht Club, all of which are participating in Go Eat, Go Drink, Go Out, a one-day fundraising event to provide financial support to those suffering with HIV and AIDS. The goal is to prevent homelessness and hunger—Aid for AIDS and The Serra Project are behind the effort.
Each restaurant is donating a percentage of tonight’s profits (Local is donating 100%), so you can feast on, say, a deep dish pizza at Masa, the Duck and Mushroom Ragout at Local, or the Pulled Pork Tostada at Allston….all in the name of sweet (and savory) charity.
If you don’t live on the eastside, there are plenty of restaurants all around town participating. Click here to find one near you.
This would be the third time I’ve posted about Four Cafe. I really can’t help myself. Owner/chef Michelle Wilton (easily the sweetest restaurateur on Colorado Blvd.) always manages to keep me dazzled with her ever-changing selection of comfy soups, sandwiches and salads. Her newish Winter menu is no exception.
I’ve been frequenting this perfectly casual neighborhood restaurant for 3 seasons now, and I have to admit, I always get a little antsy when I hear that the menu is about to change. I get attached, you know—especially to their soups. First, there was my beloved gazpacho, and then my fall favorite, Kabocha Squash Red Curry.
I thought I’d observe Valentine’s Day with a sexy dessert that I enjoyed when I was invited to dinner at Café Pinot. Created by Chef Kevin Meehan, who helms the kitchen at this Downtown LA restaurant, this Chocolate Mousse Crunch definitely covers the spectrum of chocolate intensity. The mousse and milk chocolate gelato are marked by lightness, but the drizzle of dark chocolate keeps things sharp.
Texture isn’t a second thought with this dessert—the hazelnut crust on the mousse is crispy-crunchy for snappy contrast to the smoothness of the gelato and mousse. Oh, and the candied hazelnuts….Super sultry.
p.s. This might be a little late, but tonight Cafe Pinot is offering a special Valentine’s Day menu. It’s $65 for 3 courses and $75 for 4 courses.
“Every time I want a sandwich, I have to drive to Eagle Rock.” That’s a common chorus for many Highland Park and Mt. Washington residents. And while it’s not entirely accurate—they actually make great custom sandwiches at the deli counter at Figueroa Produce—there aren’t too many alluring options. Unless you like Subway.
Café de Leche owners Matthew and Anya Schodorf have heeded the call with their new York Blvd. lunch spot Schodorf’s Luncheonette. Rather ecstatically, I joined the steady stream of customers taking advantage of Schodorf’s soft opening this week. Without signage, the dinky blue store front is easy to miss, but after one visit, I can tell you it’s definitely worth finding.
Like most people, the first time I went to Babita Mexicuisine, I was a little surprised. The unassuming restaurant, once a house itself, sits on a low-lit corner of a residential street in San Gabriel. When you open the door, you find yourself in the middle of small square dining room with around 10 tables and wood-paneled walls clad in Elmer Dills plaques.
Babita’s lack of pretense is part of it’s charm. That, along with Chef Roberto Berrelleza’s Chiles en Nogada are what have kept me coming back for years. A relleno variation, Chiles en Nogada is a Pueblan dish that consists of a poblano chile stuffed with a sweet filling of tender slow-cooked shredded pork, pears, apples, peaches, raisins, dried bananas, cactus, almonds, pecans and walnuts. Though it looks heavy, the sauce is actually a light goat cheese cream. Pomegranate seeds are sprinkled on top.
I always really wanted to like Good Girl Dinette. The look of the Vietnamese diner, complete with its red formica counter, is perfection. The location is everything I could ask for. The ingredients are seasonal, local and sustainable. The staff is friendly. Really, what’s not to love?
Well, for me, the food. I tried GGD on three separate occasions, but I just wasn’t feeling it. It’s not that I hated any of the dishes, but for the longest time, I really didn’t get why so many people (whose food tastes I trust) were going bonkers for this place. And yes, I even tried the chicken pot pie.
I’m happy to announce that I’ve had a change of heart.