Showing posts tagged restaurants
Due to my stomach bug while in LA, I didn’t get out to eat very often. However, the new places we did hit up, which were all cafes, were well-rounded and exceptional in terms of food, decor, and service. I don’t know if they will become staples, but I loved the experience at each.
Brentwood Country Mart (West LA)
Tucked behind the food court, Farm Stand is a market, deli, bakery, and farm-to-table cafe serving up sophisticated comfort food. The guilt-free indulgence seems to good to be true until the bill comes and you realize you’ve just dropped $25 per person on brunch! Absolutely worth it though :)
800 DEGREES PIZZERIA
8I wanted to try out 800 Degrees, the new pizza joint in Westwood where you can customize your own pizza that cooks up in 60 seconds, but as you can see the entire neighborhood came out to do the same that night. Chef Anthony Carron takes great pride in his concept and pie that he claims is based on the original Neopolitan recipe. Watch the video, it looks delicious!
West LA (below), West Hollywood, North Hollywood, Culver City, Downtown,
Due to the line at 800 Degrees, we ended up at Pitfire Pizza down the street. Honestly, I’m happy we did. They have a super fresh menu full of things other than pizza like the quinoa tar tar above. I was a little disappointed the crust was traditional instead of thin, but overall their pies were delicious. The craft beers on draft were a nice addition. All around great concept for a casual night out!
From the masterminds behind Hatfield’s (arguably one of the best restaurants in LA) comes a little sister cafe on La Brea, The Sycamore Kitchen. Think Urth Cafe…but San Fran chic instead of LA rag-a-muffin. Delicious pasteries, savory quiches, and a ricotta crepe dish that looks like heaven are just a couple things to make you salivate when you walk in the door. I didn’t get a chance to try lunch, but as you can see from the menu above it looks as divine as breakfast. They use Stumptown roasted beans, but unfortunately have not figured out how to serve them properly yet (why is it so hard for people to make a proper cappucino). The service is a bit cold, but I think the hipsters and their mommy manager will warm up over time.
Everyone is also buzzing about John Rankin’s Lauren Hardware in Weho. A la the Beauty & Essex entrance, this eatery looks like a hardware store. But all the cool kids are flocking there for food and fun, so maybe we should follow their along.
Trust me, I know I’ve missed tons of great new places, so if you want to offer up recommendations, please do so in the comments. I hope to make it back out there soon!
I wrote this article for the Huffington Post a few weeks ago. Below are five hot spots on Abbot Kinney in Venice, CA that are absolutely worth the drive out of central Los Angeles.
As I say in the intro, “Coincidentally, each seems like a San Fran farm-to-table transplant with intriguing dishes and minimal decor to house their savvy diners. Don’t be deceived by the laid back locale, reservations are absolutely required in advance: We are, in fact, still in LA.”
- Intelligencia Coffee
- Gjelina (Ja-lee-na)
- Axe (a-shay)
- Tasting Kitchen
- Lemonade (a smaller one lives in Brentwood too)
Click here to see the slideshow of my snapshots along with a short description of what you’ll discover at each venue.
Waiting for our table at The Standard Grille, we get to watch them prepare “fresh” prosciutto. Ummm…GROSS!
Updade: You can’t see the pig’s foot behind his hand. I understand where prosciutto comes from, but I really don’t need to see him scraping it off of the pig’s bone.
Best corn in NYC is at Cafe Habana in Soho. I also highly reccommend the cafe con leche with your brunch. If you’re not in the mood for Cuban, hit up Ruby’s (an Aussie joint) a few doors down on Elizabeth street for a casual brunch.
One of my favorite things in NYC: bacon-wrapped figs from Salt. Melt in your mouth, small bites of heaven.
No wifi at home drew me out to the Coffee Bean in the Grove. How very Euro, no? I mean, my cafe au lait with a scoop of no-sugar added mocha (with corn syrup, but I had to indulge) is even in a real glass! If I was really trying to embrace a Euro experience I would have ordered a double espresso, but I’m not looking for a kick in the ass. Hope you are enjoying your Friday morning.
(Update: I know I have a brain, so I havd to wonder why I seem to choose not to use it all the time?! That’s a rhetorical question. Giggle to yourself, don’t feel compelled to comment.)
benjy’s and Beyond - Where The Cool Kids Hang Out in Houston
I don’t have to tell you Houstonians benjy’s on Washington is a hot spot. But you might be interested to know it’s still living up to the hype.
The bar is bustling with Houston’s trendy crowd. Trendy in Houston doesn’t have as much to do with age and style as in other cities. Here trendy means people “in the know” looking to have a fun night out. Socialites let their guard down, parents sip martinis with people half their age, and everyone is laughing. In H town, everyone knows everyone else (and EVERYTHING about their past), so the people watching can get interesting.
The food is equally trendy and fun; a welcome change from Houston’s classic offerings. With a variety of apps and entress, you’re sure to find more than one thing to get your mouth watering from the list of unique dishes, even the cripsy chicken has a tasty twist.
I can’t say so much for the original Benji’s off of Kirby. It hasn’t changed, the scene has just moved North.
If benjy’s is booked, drive down the street and try:
Soma Sushi - The decor and atmosphere want so desperately to look like it belongs in NYC. Luckily, the food (creation of Robert Gatsby) would be good enough to hold it’s own in the big apple.
Catalan - Tapas for when you’re feeling adventurous, as in sweetbreads is on the menu.
Max’s Wine Dive - Looks like a dive, but the wine selection and fare are anything but dumpy.
El Tiempo - classic Tex Mex with meat market bar where singles of all ages hang out.
Porch Swing - On Heights Blvd. It’s the casual, cool outdoor pub. Roll up in a t shirt and shorts to grab a beer with friends. The fare is fair at best, so I would grab something beforehand. My favorite part: the dart board!
Cedar Creek - another outdoor pub that really looks like they took it from Texas hill country, creek and all. I haven’t tried the food, but apparently it’s decent.
Eight - THE club of the moment. Bring your white man’s over-bite, the music is a remix of hip-hop’s top 40.
For A Local Cup of Jo - MuggedNYC
I’m tired of deffering to Starbucks for a quality soy-latte. And there aren’t enough Think Coffees around….or that place on Clinton with free wifi that’s so trendy…
If you’re like me and have no idea where these cute cafes are in your neighborhood, check out MuggedNYC.com - which is like Yelp for coffee.
It tells you all about the teas and lates, as well as the amenities and atmosphere. Basically, the info you need to know if you want to plop your ass down there with your laptop for an hour or two.
Right now, the directory contains mostly downtown shops, but contribute your favorite java spot and help it grow.
Looking to enjoy the summer heat with a cocktail in hand? It’s actually not as easy as you would think in NYC.
My NYC inside source (aka Sarah who has tried them all) offers you her list of local spots you can overindulge without overspending.
Water Taxi Beach - it just used to be in Queens but now they’ve opened one in Manhattan @ SSS. Always a fun time. Kind of cheesy but in a good way. Turns super fun at night.
Frying Pan - buckets of Corona (6 for $30) pretty good deal, decent food, on a boat & pier so can be a bit rocky but tons of fun, and always a few tables of hot guys.
Me Bar @ La Quinta rooftop - I know this sounds random, but it is so fun and cheap, I promise.
Sixth Ward - nice garden, typical irish bar.
The Delancey - kind of a dive , but has a good roof.
Loreley - a great little pub, good garden, good food, clean, great music.
The Park - it isn’t exactly outside, it has an atrium but the garden is cool, has a dance floor inside, probably the most expensive on this list though but still not too bad ($8 vodka soda)
- B Bar and Grill - Not a party, but would be fun with the right group. One of the best Portabello sandwiches I’ve ever had. Big patio. Tasty sangria. A fun diner atmosphere. Open 24/7.
Bedford - Houston, TX
It seems the food critics have not returned to Bedford after its opening last year, and I can’t help but say to myself “what a shame.” After my 5, 6,or 7 (I honestly lost count) course meal tonight, I can appreciate the innovative palate of Chef Robert Gadsby.
I won’t claim to understand his concoctions with English, French, and Japanese (which he speaks fluenetly) roots, but what I can tell you is that the intricate dishes are divine. Truly unique so a foodie will salivate and a layman will drool.
From the offerings above, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to choose an absolute favorite…but I will say the crab risotto (top right) made me weak in the knees and his signature mimosa salad (towering on the bottom left) was outstanding.
The crowd may not be pushing to get through the door now, but mark my words, they will. Oh they will. Did I mention the roof deck…..
FINE DINING ON CLINTON STREET (between Houston and Delancy)
For the last week I have been raving about all of the oh so cute spots on Clinton street. I didn’t get to try them all, but the food I did sink my teeth into was fantastic. No need to dress up for the LES, just come hungry!
Clinton Street Baking Company: Known for it’s brunch, but serves amazing American food all day.
Frankie’s 17: Has been on my NYC Favorite Italian list since I first visited over a year ago. The prices have gone up a smidge for their classic dishes, but still totally worth it. A GREAT DATE SPOT - unique location, good food, intimate atmosphere, and affordable!
Donnybrook: This bar (which should be serving food shortly) takes me back to living in Notting Hill. Local crowd makes for a good happy hour or pre-dinner drink.
San Marzano: BYOB pizza place that will deliver to Donnybrook. I wouldn’t say it’s the best pizza, but if you’re around the area, definitely stop in.
Fat Hippo: Probably the most creative, satisfying, affordable full meal I’ve had in a while. The pulled pork stuffing is out of this world. Don’t expect to just walk in, people are catching on.
Alias: I didn’t get a chance to go, but Sarah insisted I add it on the list. Apparently their fried chicken is finger lickin’ good.
Martini night out with Sarah at Fat Hippo (Clinton & Rivington). As James said earlier, “Three nights a week with her is fun. Seven nights a week and your liver is begging for mercy.” Truth me told, I’m the instigator tonight ;)