Take The Leap - Today I had beef noodle soup and scallion pancakes with someone I used to love dearly. The details, of course, will remain vague and unpublished but I will...
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Dine LA, Summer 2013 Edition is Better Than Ever: Date Night, Indulge, New, and Ethnic Dining
Dine LA's Restaurant Week(July 15-26) began yesterday--it's on right this minute--and it's better than ever. I'm a writer for Dine LA, but have been a Dine LAer years before I ever wrote a story for the current administrator, Stacey Sun. Under her watch Dine LA has grown by leaps and bounds.
Dine LA is about supporting our city, and getting to know its flavors and charms on a dime--its about promoting Los Angeles cuisine to the world--L.A. is the undisputed king of global dining. We have a wealth of international enclaves that have cuisines that are as authentic--in many cases--as can be found abroad. We have fine dining, and we have a rising number of world class chefs opening casual restaurants that feature bold, inventive plates in a more inclusive setting.
Lots of fine dining in NYC, and San Francisco?--Tired! We have it all-- dining luxury for all walks and all pocket books.
Restaurant Week has it all--all that is great about dining in Los Angeles. Here are some suggestions from my own tried and true experiences in the town that never sleeps? No--in L.A. we get our beauty sleep so we can get up and do it again, and again.
Oh how I love to eat on curbs, in parking lots, and stands sitting on benches, plastic chairs and bricks, but if you're married--I am--or have a girlfriend or boyfriend, that will not do at all. L.A. has many delicious, and romantic spots to woo your significant other.
Asia de Cuba is an L.A. institution for white tablecloth dining at the Mondrian Hotel with a fine view of our city. Spicy hamachi and plantain threads? Check. Gambas gigantes? "And the lady will have a mojito" At these Dine L.A. prices--$45 a head--you can even get a room.
Bouchon Chef David Hands and the people at this Beverly Hills outpost of the Thomas Keller brand showed us a good time at the Dine LA preview. I learned that Hands rejects 6 of 12 types of oysters delivered to insure the highest quality, and the proof was in the impeccable and delicious blue points we were served at this French inspired bistro using local ingredients. Bouchon has many reasonable menu items despite what you've heard--they are casual beyond their zip code, and your date will be excited from the moment you say," We're going to Bouchon, how's does that sound?"
Fogo de Chao is a Dine LA favorite of my Brazilian wife and I--it's also one of the best deals of Restaurant Week. It's the full all-you-can-eat churrascaria experience at Dine LA prices.
Scarpetta On the other side of this beautiful plaza in Beverly Hills lies the Montage, where Chef Scott Conant's modern Italian cuisine brings an elegance that matches the perfect alfresco setting. The veal and bone marrow agnolotti I tasted at the Dine LA preview was deep, complex meat flavors on fine textured pasta. All the stars are in line here for an evening of amore!
Rivera has all the elements of a truly Los Angeles encounter--it's in the heart of DTLA, it's near the Convention Center and sporting venues, it's modern Latin by Chef John Rivera Sedlar, and has an ultra hip decor to enhance the inspired, mouthwatering plates bursting with Latin flavors.
Drago Centro by Celestine Drago is one of the most attractive settings in DTLA where wine takes center stage--literally--and classic Italian fine dining can be enjoyed in multiple courses at promotional prices thanks to Dine LA.
Farmshop is a level of fresh and local that you've been wanting to try but maybe thought was out of your reach--not during restaurant week--after this visit you'll agree that this restaurant is worth coming back to, at any price.
Lawry's is another Dine LA must, where you can get the world famous spinning salad and prime rib again for only $45. Yes to this--always!
Paiche is the newest location of Chef Ricardo Zarate's Peruvian triumvirate, which includes Picca and Mo-Chica, bringing a Peruvian izakaya (Japanese pub) style service to the beach communities. Here is where you go for Peruvian bar bites, and a much welcomed guest to Los Angeles: paiche, or Amazonian river fish.
Kiriko's sushi master Ken Namba is a gentleman and a superb sushi chef of traditions and innovations. The fish is fresh as can be, and there's much attention to the seasons of aquatic delicacies. Recent accolades by this outstanding sushi restaurant are a long time coming for us regulars.
Loteria Grill has some special menu additions just for Dine LA like am amazingly good chile relleno stuffed with goat cheese and dressed with a creamy chile poblano sauce, and is even plating a blue corn huarache, or masa boat inspired from the streets of L.A.'s favorite chilango(person from Mexico City), chef Jimmy Shaw.
Night and Market and Chef Kris Yenbamroong has been receiving much attention for presenting the fascinating Thai cuisine straight from the famed night markets of Thailand. This is the best restaurant on the Sunset Strip--if you stumble over to the Rainbow Room after some khao soi haw, or curried beef noodles, and many Sinha's, then you really are a rock star.
Spice Table is getting better and better under the direction of Chef Bryant Ng. After a trip to Singapore I immediately headed over to this Singaporean and Vietnamese cuisine restaurant for flavors and textures that brought me right back to the hawker centres Singapore. Dine LA is your ticket to around the world dining!
What are you waiting for? Book now! Get your friends, grab your date, or just enjoy a quiet meal alone during Dine L.A.'s Restaurant Week.