Sunday, December 27, 2009

Best of 2009: Big Night in Sao Paulo, Brasil-Mocoto Restaurante e Cachaçeria, Gastronomia Urbana in Vila Medeiros

Sao Paulo is a world class fine dining city.Lavish restaurants line its avenues in the upscale neighborhoods of Jardims,Pinheiros, and Itaim Bibi.Bars with cutting edge local gastronomy and crowded luncheonettes favor the historic city center. Every neighborhood is full of all types of eateries featuring delicious and savory eats.But, perhaps the best regional restaurant in Sao Paulo is in the northern reaches of the 3rd largest city on the planet, in Vila Medeiros.Vila Medeiros is a working class neighborhood that includes a favela(slum) just outside the municipality of Sao Paulo.

I had been reading local Sao Paulo press about the restaurant Mocoto featuring the northeastern Brazilian cuisine of Pernambuco, and was dying to make it out on my trip back in March of 2009.The state of Pernambuco is known for its unique culinary traditions and the popular oceanside capital of Recife.

I took the subway to its northern limit, and then cabbed it up to Vila Medeiros,arriving full a anticipation.

This night turned out to be the best meal of 2009, and one of the best in my life. My five hour Mocoto experience started with putting my name on the wait list for a table. While taking some photos outside the restaurant, I was playfully distracted by some locals who insisted I take their picture. Leandro Antonio, the gentleman in red on the far right, introduced himself and asked why I was taking pictures.

I told him I was a blogger and would be writing about my dining experience at Mocoto. He instantly started introducing me to his friends, the local samba school instructor, and other random people on the street. These fantastic residents of Vila Medeiros kept me busy the whole 45 minutes I waited for a table.I was even invited to visit the local samba school for a rehearsal.

Leandro is an outgoing person,full of warmth, but he took a moment to reflect on the restaurant. His pride was palpable. "All people ever say about Vila Medeiros is about the drug dealers and murders", he paused, " but this special for us". I looked at him and said,"Vila Medeiros is a center of gastronomy." His eyes widened and he grinned at this revelation. At that point I almost got lifted upon their shoulders, the 45 minutes passed in a matter of seconds, and when my number was called I was a little sad to have to head in.

Mocoto Restaurante e Cachaçeria is akin to a Brazilian gastro-pub. It's a boteco, a bar with food.

Its story is a romantic tale.Started by Jose Olveira de Almeida in '74, it was just a typical bar, selling booze, typical foods, and a to-die-for calves foot soup known as Mocoto.Mocoto is a Brazilian calves foot and tripe stew flavored by tomatoes and the spicy malagueta pepper.In those days the soup was served in cups, the perfect splash of spicy sobriety at 3AM.

Jose's son, Rodrigo Olveira de Almeida, who had worked every job imagineable at Mocoto in his youth,and was studing engineering at the time, had always begged his dad to expand the menu.While his dad had to attend to a family farm in Pernambuco, Rodrigo seized the opportunity to renovate the outdated restaurant.He expanded the menu and not knowing what the word gastronomy really meant, went to culinary school to learn cooking techniques and about other cuisines and ingredients.Later he traveled all over Brasil to learn more about cachaça, a passion of his, and spent sabbaticals in his family's home state of Pernambuco studying the cuisine.His father had no other choice but to go with the flow.

Rodrigo has become known worldwide and still has the same whimisical fascination with mis native cuisine that first set him to dream. I happened to read about him in an Aeromexico magazine on a recent flight to Mexico City. He was visiting Mexico City and expressed wonder and by the gastronomy of Mexico City and how the people interacted with food.

It's known that Michellin starred chefs come here,world famous chefs come here,the elite of Sao Paulo come here, but this is a locals joint, a boteco, not a pretense to be found.

It's a mission to get up here for those just passing through, but the reward is immeasurable.

This place is a cachaca lovers paradise. Hundreds of fine cachacas line the bar, and the cachaca list gives you the region, tasting notes, and other helpful information to better understand and enjoy cachaca.

There's even a cachaca club, where you can buy a bottle to keep at the bar.Nothing exclusive about it, just put your name tag on it and you're all set for your next visits.

After lustily flipping through the cachaca list I settled on Fabulosa from the state of Minas Gerais, the Bordeaux of cachaca. It's made in Salinas, where the finest cachaças in Brasil are born.It's aged in balsam for 6 years with intense flavors of fennel, a characteristic of Salinas cachaças.

I had been drinking beer and cachaca all day but simply had to sample the stylings of this boteco. My chaser was a garapa doida,unrefined sugar, pineapple and lime juices, and cachaça.This translates to a "drunken sugar".It strikes a wonderful balance between sweet and tart.

My second cocktail was a mamulengo, pure decadence, with cachaça, chocolate liqueur,chocolate, and condensed milk. It's like a cachaca and chocolate shake.

The cocktail menu is original, creative,but you can also order traditional caipirinhas.They have a full bar, but you want to indulge in the cachaça here.

It was fitting that I just had the cachaça shake because the waiter informed me that we would be starting with dessert.That's the way we do it in Pernambuco, he informed me.Course number one would be the notable street food of Olinda and Recife in Pernambuco.

Rodrigo has transformed the traditional street tapioca into a masterpiece of flavor and presentation. A tapioca envelope gently comforts fried yucca strips,greenonions, cheese from Pernambuco, and carne seca(Brazilian beef jerky). A strawberry sauce and some cherry tomatoes round out this sweet and savory delicacy. It's salt, sweet, soft, crunch, and undeniable pleasure.

Torresmo is the Brazilian version of chicharron, or cracklin'.This torresmo had grapefruit colored chunks of meat attached, not the usual brown and crunchy bites served as part of a meal.This was achieved using sous-vide.That's right, sous-vide in Vila Medeiros. This torresmo deserves your undivided attention, the best I've ever had.

You must order the mocoto here, a small cup will do. Jose's son is the celebrity chef, but Jose still makes the mocoto, and is active in helping run the restaurant.

The meal could have ended here, what a fantastic soup.This is the hangover cure and a revitalizing aid for many a bebado(drunk)trying to make it home after a mild pickling.Every family in Brazil has someone that makes a superb mocoto, but you would be hard pressed to outdo this 40+ year old recipe, unchanged after all these years.

The tripe and foot melts in your mouth and the malagueta peppers just nip at your taste buds, the perfect amount of heat.

Rodrigo does his own version called mocofava,given an added textural sensation by the use of fava beans in the stock as a thickening agent.

The next cachaça I had was a suggestion of the waiter, quite the cachacier,from the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul.Cachaça Dom Braga came chilled, aged for 3 year in oak, with smooth vegetal and fruit flavors.

At this point a nearby table started waiving me to come over. I had been eating and drinking away and my odd, food-blogger behavior had aroused their curiosity.

After meeting Claudio, Silvia, Rosana, and Nana, I began to head back to my table but they sternly insisted that I join them. Eventhough they had finished their meal and I had my main course coming, they hung with me 'til we closed the place down.

We sat and talked about food and drank for hours. I had ordered the atolado de bode, which set the group to carrying on about this coveted dish.It was a new item on the menu.

Atolado de bode(ahto-lahdo gee bodgee)is tender goat marnated in cachaça and apple vinegar, roasted for twelve hours in a bath of manioc puree flavored by peppers, cumin,paprika, and tomato extract.It's served in a country cooking pan.

The supple pieces of goat cascade into the manioc puree upon penetration by your eager fork. Bliss, one bite at a time.

Rodrigo has taken the working man's cuisine and transformed it into a cuisine that the garbage collector and investment banker can both agree upon.

He also has sarapatel(pig offal and blood stewed with vegetables),the famous baião-de-dois(beans,rice and beef jerky in a mold), and bar snacks, called petiscos, like joelho de porco(pork knees).

I was introduced to the francesinha by Nana. There isn't much in this world that doesn't call for a francesinha, according to Nana.It's a delightful liqueur, and we extolled its virtues, we toasted the francesinha, we toasted some more, we talked, and the restaurant slowly emptied into oblivion.

After such a command performance, Rodrigo came out to talk with us and party a little. He is humble and a true devotee to Brazilian gastronomy,a chef for all walks and talks.

He's refused to move the restaurant out of the blue collar neighborhood of Vila Medeiros.While a favela does lie down the hill from Mocoto, the intersection where the restaurant is located is a bustling, lively, and safe area.

It was now after 2AM and the subway was closed.Cabs from Vila Madeiros at 2AM, forget about it! Claudio, Silvia, Rosana, and Nana drove me to a safer neighborhood to catch a cab,as I was all the way over in Jardims.

I was way to stuffed from the days eating to finish my atolado, sugar drunk from eight hours of cachaça "tasting", so I offered my atolado de bode to some police officers on patrol while I waited for a cab.It seemed fitting to share my meal with fellow proles.

My night wouldn't end 'til about 5:30AM, when I went home after hooking up with my good friend in Sao Paulo, and the evenings debauchery, day long cachaca festival in which I was the sole attendee, walking and metroing all over this metropolis,and trying to try as many Brazilian bites as I could, completely debilitated me the next day. I couldn't eat nor drink anything 'til I got to the airport.

I wish every night could be like that, where strangers embrace you like their lifelong friend, the food is rapturous, and alcohol intrigues conversation and passion.

Restaurante e Cachaceiria
Av. Nossa Senhora do Loreto, No 1100
Vila Mederiros, SP

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tacos Task Force:LA's best Baja Fish Taco!!

The Taco Task Force was first and foremost assembled in the spirit of adventure and fun. I talked with several blogger friends that I thought would engender a broad range of experiences. Cathy Danh, Josh Lurie, Javier Cabral, Matthew Kang, and myself would take on the LA taco scene to give another perspective on “tacoing” in Los Angeles.

The very popular taco blogs had already turned on foodies and bloggers alike to the local taco trucks, stands, and taquerias. I had gone to many of these places in recent years to find out that they weren’t very good, nor did many resemble what I’d encountered traveling throughout Mexico. There was a complete lack of criteria, baseline, or understanding of what makes a great taco. It was more or less, ” I like this place, the tacos are good, I give it 3.5 tacos(stars)”, with no explanation why it deserved the score. The result was a comprehensive list of mediocre to bad tacos.
There are solid regional and authentic tacos in LA, and there are also taco places that make tacos unique to Los Angeles, the result of Mexican-American cultures coming together.

The main reason tacos tend to be inferior in the US is the lack of ingredients, inadequate sources of proteins, and most importantly the lack of skilled taqueros (tacoers). Skilled taqueros don’t immigrate to the US, they are more employable in Mexico where stand owners hire these taco professionals. The taco trucks in LA( there are hardly any trucks in Mexico at all) are run by people who know how to make tacos, but usually they come from another line of work. They lack knife skills, don’t know how to select quality ingredients, don’t know cuts of meat, have only basic salsa making skills, lack creativity, and don’t have specialist skills like proper cooking on a vertical spit.They are also handcuffed by Angelinos' demands for the $1 taco,making Costco,Smart 'N Final, and other relatively inexpensive sources the supplier of taco ingredients.

Using the fish tacos at world famous El Fenix in Ensenada as a basline, which we all had the pleasure of trying, we raced across town one Sunday to sample fish tacos at five different locations in Los Angeles: Tacos Baja(East LA), Tacos El Nazo(), Senor Fish(Eagle Rock), Best Fish Tacos in Ensenada(Silver Lake), and newcomer, Ricky’s Fish Tacos(Silver Lake).

The Baja fish taco was born out of tempura technique brought by Japanese fisherman, battered fish with tailored salsas, a special cream made with mayonnaise and milk, fresh cabbage, pico de gallo, and a corn tortilla. Salsas vary, pure mayo can be used instead of the Baja style crema, and pickled cabbage is sometimes used as an alternative to fresh cabbage. These are the standard dressings. In Baja, your lard fried fish is handed to you on a warm tortilla, and you finish the job yourself.
Our judging criteria that day would be the quality of fish, authenticity, condiments, flavor, and cooking technique. The system needs a little work, but at the end of the day, or days, our results were unanimous in ranking the five locations. In that sense, the scoring worked out.

We carefully chose fish of the most popular and well known Baja fish taco places in town and ranked them as the best five Baja fish tacos in LA.

The Results
Our second stop of the day, coming in at number 5.
Taco Nazo

Taco Nazo is a local chain founded by Tony and Telma Garcia in 1978. It is well liked by many in the foodies communities and was largely selected based on its reputation on the various discussion boards.

I don’t know if this place used to be very good, or if it has remained as such all along, but this was truly a disappointing experience. For all of El Taconazo's bravado, he's suffers from performance anxiety

Despite the Hussong's cantina sticker in the background,Taco Nazo's signature item only has a base appearance of a Baja fish taco.

The condiment bar was not fresh or well kept, and the plated taco that we received had no lively vegetables to complement the fish. The chiles gueros were curiously over seasoned with pepper, not the usual pico de gallo overwhelming the elegant flavor of the blond chile.

From FoodGps(TTF scorekeeper) B=Bill(me),C=Cathy,J=Javier,JSH=Josh
Grade of Key Ingredient:JSH 1.5, C 2.5, J 2.5, B 2.5 AVERAGE 2.25/5
Condiment:JSH 1.5, C 2.5, J 2.5, B 2 AVERAGE 2.125/5
Authenticity:JSH 2.5, C 2, J 2, B 2.5 AVERAGE 2.25/5
Overall Flavor:JSH 1.5, C 3.5, J 2.5, B 1.5 AVERAGE = 2.25/5
Cooking:JSH 1.5, C 2.5, J 2, B 2 AVERAGE 2/5


The flavor of this pollack was non-existent, indistinguishable from the shrimp. We actually had to take them apart to see which was which. The texture was strange, not the familiar crispy outside and tender inside.The pre-made taco was also shrouded by a mound of lackluster toppings, perhaps by design?

The 3rd stop we made together that afternoon, and number 4 on our list.
Senor Fish

Another place that I gather used to be better has a winning concept. A cartoonish mascot, and an attractive ready for franchising kind of motif have made this place a destination for years, along with their California themed menu. Lots of grilled tacos,seafood burritos, and quesadillas.

The salsa bar was very strong, with many simple but well kept items.Somebody takes good care of this station.

Where this taco lost me was in the batter,which was lacking the Baja flavor and texture.It was mushy and bland, not a proper package for an otherwise nice tasting cod.

Grade of Key Ingredient:JSH 3.5 C 4, J 3.5, B 3 AVERAGE 3.5/5
Condiment:JSH 4, C 4, J 4.5, B 4 AVERAGE 4.125/5
Authenticity:JSH 2.5, C 2, J 2, B 2 AVERAGE 2.125/5
Overall Flavor:JSH 3.5, C 3, B 2, J 3 AVERAGE 2.875/5
Cooking:JSH 3, C 2.5, B 2.5, J 3 AVERAGE 2.75/5


Our last stop on our Sunday run due to the no show by Ricky's Fish Tacos, and number 3 on our countdown:
Best Fish Tacos in Ensenada

Of all the stops we made together, and apart, BFTIE brings the most authentic Baja sensation upon delivery. A warm tortilla wrapped around crispy fried fish is handed to you to do as you will.Could this be the real deal?

I eagerly walked to the salsa bar, which is a very La Salsa, salsa bar.I mean, just put the stuff on a counter, but, alright.The salsas? Mango was everywhere except on one of the salsas. This adulterating component is more Cabo than Ensenada.Not to mention the salsas themselves were watery and lacking in balance. Old 'n runny tomato sauce with mango, dude.The housemade crema from the dispenser was just fine, though.

The fish is stand alone good, loaded with flavor, and the cooking station made me feel like I was at a taqueria near la quinta in Ensenada.

The tortilla was hard, though, which was just fine for miss Cathy Danh, but it was a distraction to the overall taco.

With a salsa bar makeover, Best Fish Tacos in Ensenada could really up its game. Think dried chile or roasted chile based salsas and perhaps a nice pico de gallo, oh, and a more pliable tortilla.

Grade of Key Ingredient:JSH 4.5, J 4.5, C 3.5, B 3.5 AVERAGE 4/5
Condiment:JSH 3.5 B 2.5, C 3.5, J 4 AVERAGE 3.375/5
Authenticity:JSH 2.5 J 2.5, B 3.5, C 3.5 AVERAGE 3/5
Overall Flavor:JSH 4, C 3, J 4, B 3.5 AVERAGE 3.875
Cooking:JSH 3.5, C 3, J 3, B 3 AVERAGE 3.125/5


Our first stop of the day for the christening of the Taco Task Force, was the still relevant, Tacos Baja, formerly known as Tacos Baja Ensenada.Monday through Friday this is the best fish taco in town and number 2 Baja fish taco on our hitlist.

Tacos Baja

Tacos Baja has been a favorite of mine for years, ever since moving to LA and reading about them in the various articles praising the virtues of its fish tacos. I hadn't been in while since I'd been down to Ensenada so many times this past year enjoying the genuine articles.It was great to know they still got it.

Their popular condiment bar showcases those delicious chiles gueros, properly dusted with pico de gallo(seasoned chile salt)after roasting and doused with lime.These special items are the mark of a great taco joint, you should get something on the house that is part of the folklore.

The catfish taco comes fully dressed, not in the Baja tradition, but all the components are solid. The fish is tasty and the batter nicely seasoned. The texture is as it should be, crispy light batter around a flaky fish.

I would love to see Tacos Baja create a couple of other salsas and expand upon their condiments,but the Taco Task Force unanimously agreed this was the best taco on our run that fine Los Angeles Sunday afternoon.

Grade of Key Ingredient:JSH 4, B 4, J 3.5, C 3.5 AVERAGE 3.75/5
Condiment:JSH 2.5, B, 2.5, J 3, C 4 AVERAGE 3/5
Authenticity:JSH 3.5, B 3.5, J 2.5, C 2 AVERAGE 2.875/5
Overall Flavor:JSH 3, B 3.5, J 3.5, C 4 AVERAGE 3.5/5
Cooking:JSH 4.5, B, 4, J 4.5, C, 4.5 AVERAGE 4.375/5


Well, our master plan was foiled that day, Ricky was away.Thanks to some twitter stalking by the other members of the Taco Task Force, including the entreaties of Cathy Danh to please come out and taco, we finally all were able to taste the number 1 Baja fish taco north of the border.

Ricky's Fish Tacos

Ricky Pina has altered the Baja fish taco universe in LA, ever since he showed up with his little cart and rainbow umbrella.

I initially heard about him on chowhound and questioned why someone from Ensenada would serve up a fully dressed fish taco, and not let the customer plate.But, I was definitely with Scooby Doo-like curiosity to get out there and try them myself.

Ricky uses a quality basa(genetically a catfish but from Vietnam)that looks as fresh as it tastes. These tacos are made to order, something that doesn't even happen all the time in Ensenada.

The pico de gallo is vibrant, the mustard accented batter is made from imported Mexican wheat flour,the cabbage is fresh and razor thin, and the homemade crema is a veritable blend of mayo and 1% milk.

The fish are dipped in batter, fried in the good stuff, and carefully assembled by the master taquero. Ricky's reasoning for plating the tacos is to maintain the hygiene of his little stand. He would have more items if he had space, but what he carries is stellar. These are delicious fish tacos, and despite not being made from dogfish or angel fish as they are in Baja, you really don't miss a thing. His frying technique and the perfect consistency of the batter deliver satisfaction.

The one thing missing from every other place we went was balance. All elements were present here to produce a choice fish taco.

Grade of Key Ingredient:JSH 4, J 5, C 4.5, B 3.5 AVERAGE 4.25/5
Condiment:JSH 4.5 B 4, C 4.5, J 4.5 AVERAGE 4.375/5
Authenticity:JSH 3.5 J 5, B 4, C 4 AVERAGE 4.125/5
Overall Flavor:JSH 4, C 4.5, J 5, B 4 AVERAGE 4.625/5
Cooking:JSH 4.5, C 4.5, J 5, B 4.5 AVERAGE 4.625/5


We are still refining our scoring system, but our group was unanimous in ranking and there was no scoring consultations. I don't think Best Fish Tacos was that close to Tacos Baja, but this is a work in progess.

Having trekked through LA in search of the best, I conclude that I have no reason to go back to Taco Nazo, Senor Fish, nor Best Fish Tacos in Ensenada.The only unpleasant experience was Taco Nazo, but they did have beer as a consolation.

Tacos Baja is still a great place to go during the week, but weekends are made for Ricky's Fish Tacos, the best Baja fish tacos in town by a knockout.

Ricky's Fish Tacos

Tacos Baja
5385 Whittier Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA
(323) 887-1980‎

Best Fish Tacos in Ensenada
1650 Hillhurst Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 466-5552

Senor Fish
Eagle Rock
4803 Eagle Rock Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90041
(323) 257-7167

Taco Nazo
9516 Garvey Ave
South El Monte
CA 91733

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Best Cigar Lounges: Buena Vista Cigar Club, Beverly Hills

The Buena Vista Cigar Club has been a favorite of mine for many years, ever since a friend invited me out for a get together some time ago. It's no stodgy Beverly Hills cigar club for members only, nor frequented by an upscale clientele. It's a place for a good smoke with some rum or scotch in one of the last places around that you can live so marvelously reckless. It's a place to talk politics and sports, or to unwind with friends.

Rigo Hernandez, a Cuban expat, was born into cigar smoking. He started as a lad in Havana and has worked in the business up until he opened the Buena Vista Cigar Club in 2000.This "King of Cigars" is a sports fanatic, and eventhough I don't follow sports, I always find a reason to listen to Rigo's post-game analysis.Cuba you say?Always a spirited groaning session or discourse about the future of his native country.Besides Rigo, there always seems to be interesting people in the club. A British investment banker in a bowtie talking about parliamentary procedure, a personal chef and her clueless date, and the occasional character actor. One night Seymour Cassel was behind the bar helping Rigo with some drinks.

Rigo is a one man show, bartender, tobaccanist, and host. He can't have any employees under the Dracconian tobacco laws, only a sole proprietor can serve drinks in a smoking environment. The license to smoke and drink indoors has been grandfathered into Rigo's club, where the majority of lounges in LA are for smoking only.That's only half the fun.

And, smoking a fine cigar without a single malt, aged rum, champagne cognac, or an anejo tequila is like Van Halen without David Lee Roth.

The cigar selection has all the usual offerings, your Paratagas, Romeo y Julietas, and Montecristos.

The room itself is a period bar, from a time when men hunted, told tall tales, and smoked cigars. The kind of place Ernest Hemingway would call home.

Despite the taxidermied mallards and Old World maps on the wall, the Buena Vista Cigar Lounge is couple friendly too.Perhaps it's the drink that makes it more inviting than your typical cigar lounge.I think it's the vibe. This isn't your beer belly, scraggly beard and insults crowd nor is it the manicured Hollywood gathering. The Buena Vista Cigar Lounge is for anyone who likes a nice spirit,isn't afraid to talk to their neighbor, and can afford the time to comtemplate a fine cigar among great friends.Cheers, to the King of Cigars, Rigo Hernandez.

Buena Vista Cigar Club
9715 S. Santa Monica Bl.
Beverly Hills, CA

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Happy Hour: Wolfgang's Steakhouse, Guys and Dolls

Wolfgang's Steakhouse is a finely polished vision of the classic American Steakhouse, refreshing at a time when some are trying to update the archetype.It's a place for thick quality steaks, jumbo shrimp cocktails, cesar salads the way they're supposed to be, and hearty sides. Order a nice bottle of wine for you and your best girl, or send some cocktails to the dolls at the bar from your Rat Pack.Valet your Porsche with a devil may care attitude.

I was invited to a blogger event last month to taste Wolfgang's Steakhouse's new Happy Hour drink and nosh menu.

They are offering a happy hour menu from 4-7 pm M-F with $7 cocktails, $7 wines, $5 beers. $7 select appetizers are also available all night long.

As I eyed the lovely Grand Cru Classes on display and glanced at the art in the hallway, a song came into my consciousness.

From Guys and Dolls

When you see a sport and his cash has run short
Make a bet that he's banking it with some doll.
When a guy wears tails with the front gleaming white
Who the hell do you think he's tickling pink on Saturday night?
When a lazy slob takes a goody steady job,
And he smells from vitalis and barbasol.
Call it dumb, call it clever
Ah, but you can get odds forever
That the guy's only doing it for some doll
Some doll, some doll
The guy's only doing it for some doll!

And, I have a gorgeous Brazilian doll who absolutely adores Wolfgang's Steakhouse, so do her hot friends.Simply because it's a beautiful room with timeless elegance.

Don't overthink this place, it's not trying to reinvent the wheel, it's just oldschool service and panache.

The Absolut Oyster Shooter, along with the rest of the new cocktails are big,bold,and straight forward.This cocktail contains a fresh blue point oyster, Absolut Vodka, horseradish and cocktail sauce.This isn't your center of mixology, but a place to have a drink. This is Happy Hour Beverly Hills style.

I also had the spicy "Sunset", It’s made with Don Julio Blanco, orange juice,a touch of grenadine, and a belt of jalapeno.

Happy Hour is a chance to sample Wolfgang's marquis item, steak. You may have to stay for dinner.

The tuna tartar was a hot item at our event, I was able to get my hands on several of these, missed the sliders though. Too busy drinking and chatting up the lovely ladies of the blog universe, what you're supposed to be doing at Happy Hour.

Wolfgang's Steakhouse puts a smile on my wifes pretty face and an extra swivel in her hips, and those hips don't lie. It's love American Steakhouse style. The new Happy Hour at Wolfgang's Steakhouse, for Guys and Dolls.

What's new for the holidays?
Gift Cards
Just in time for holiday shopping, Wolfgang’s Steakhouse is offering a wonderful gift option to patrons. Guests that purchase a gift card of $250 or more will receive a complimentary $50 gift card to thank them for their continued support of the Beverly Hills location.

This offer will end on December 31st, at closing and is exclusive to the Beverly Hills location

New Year's Eve
To celebrate the New Year the Della Robbia Room is opening allowing guests to relax in the lounge and dance to a DJ who will be spinning into the wee hours of the night.

The lounge menu will include items from the Happy Hour menu which have recently created quite a buzz, including: Tuna Tartar, Steak and Lobster Sliders, and Oysters on the Half Shell. The Antioxidant, Birthday Cake, Park Avenue, Socialite, and Wolfgang’s Spice cocktails will be available to compliment traditional bar options. The New Year will be rung in twice during the evening once at midnight Eastern Time, and then again at midnight Pacific Time; complimentary champagne will be passed in celebration of the East Coast and West Coast New Year’s and early attendees will receive a New Year’s gift.

Wolfgang's Steakhouse
445 North Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210-4819
(310) 385-0640