Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Culver City

Royal/T in Culver City closes this month

Royal t 600

Royal/T, the Japanese maid cafe, eatery and art space in Culver City, is closing at the end of July.

Opened in 2007, Royal/T brought Los Angeles weekly Tokyo Nouveau Champagne brunches, waitresses dressed in playful maid uniforms and the cafe's signature milk tea, among many culinary- and art-related workshops, exhibitions and events.

The shop bids farewell with final events held at its space beginning this weekend. Saturday, from 10 a.m. to noon, Royal/T hosts a tea workshop with Paper Architect. Learn tips and tricks for planning an ultimate tea party from Nancy Caldwell while munching on an assortment of sandwiches, scones, desserts and freshly brewed tea. Purchase tickets online at www.royaltworkshop.eventbrite.com.

A closing brunch will mark the final cafe service at Royal/T on Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with live music featured throughout the afternoon. The cafe's last scheduled shindig is a pop-up dinner in collaboration with Cordero Negro from 6 to 9 p.m. July 26 and 27. The evening's 12-course tapas tasting menu is $45 per person and will include dishes like chorizo sausage with succotash and saffron corn veloute, herbed goat cheese, stuffed pequillo peppers with basil infused olive oil, and Spanish flan. Make reservations online at www.corderonegro.com/popup.

What's next? Royal/T's owner Susan Hancock plans to take the brand on the road with various events and pop-ups.

8910 Washington Blvd., Culver City, (310) 559-6300, royal-t.org.


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Photo: Royal/T storefront. Credit: Royal/T

Fraiche goes out with a bang

Fraiche restaurant in Culver City is going out of business, so it's putting its whole menu on sale
Who doesn't love a deal? How about a deal on great food? Fraiche restaurant in Culver City is going out of business, so it's putting its whole menu on sale. Hey, it works for rugs and clothes, why not oysters and agnolotti? The deal is good at both the Culver City restaurant, which is closing sometime in late June, and the Santa Monica location, which is staying open.

The "Secret Menu" (well, not so secret anymore) features a kind of greatest hits of Fraiche's dishes at prices that average about 20% off. Cheaper dishes, such as fried calamari (now $11) or the Fraiche salad of citrus, manchego cheese, walnuts and red onions ($11) are only a couple bucks less while pricier items such as steak frites ($18) and the great braised short ribs ($23) are roughly a third off.

The only catch is that you have to have a copy of the secret menu in hand when you go in. That's not that much of a hitch, actually, as you can find it on the restaurant's Facebook page.

Fraiche, 9411 Culver Blvd., Culver City, (310) 839-6800; and 312 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 451-7482.


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Photo: Steak frites at Fraiche. Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

Andrew Zimmern from 'Bizarre Foods' to stop by Royal/T in January

Andrew Zimmern On Jan. 13, Royal/T Cafe and Andrew Zimmern, the TV personality behind the Travel Channel's "Bizarre Foods," will team up for a pop-up dinner themed "California Dreaming."

The pop-art-inspired exhibition space in Culver City is hosting the culinary event, which will reflect Zimmern's take on California cuisine while introducing Angelenos to innovative ideas and out-of-the-ordinary foods.

The five-course dinner menu will feature sea urchin and yellow-tomato-vegetable aspic; linguine; a veal tongue tartare and chile-braised lambs tongue quesadilla; a grilled Broken Arrow Ranch venison chop and a cioccolato orrare da gustare for dessert.

Tickets to the event are $150 per person and can be purchased online.
8910 Washington Blvd., Culver City, (310) 559-6300, royal-t.org.


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Photo: Andrew Zimmern. Credit: Stuart Freedman / Travel Channel

Batch Restaurant & Bar to open next week in Culver City


Batch Restaurant & Bar, helmed by James Couey and Mat Gries (both formerly of Church & State), is expected to open in Culver City on Monday. The 80-seat restaurant is located in the Washington Boulevard building that formerly housed Sublime Food Lounge and will feature a menu by executive chef Salvador Roldan (Ford's Filling Station) and cocktails by Gries.

Gries, whose culinary resume includes the Inn at Little Washington, plans to focus on specialty cocktails using house-made syrups and infusions, such as the Apple Blossom (vodka, fresh apples, orange flower water) and the Drunken Sow (bacon-infused bourbon, Carpano Antica, Sapling, cinnamon bitters). 

Roldan's menu will feature local ingredients and meat sourced from ecologically minded farms such as Six Point Berkshire. Signature dishes include short rib in stout chocolate mole with jasmine rice and gremolata and Berkshire pork shank, beet farrotto and currant-hazelnut herb salad.  

Batch was designed by Studio Pali Fekete Architects [SPF:a], featuring a Carrara marble bar, dropped honeycomb ceiling, bamboo plywood paneled walls, poured concrete floors, modular Knoll seating and two outdoor patios.

8631 W. Washington Blvd, Culver City, (310) 202-8631, www.batchrestaurant.com. 


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Photo: Mat Gries at the Batch bar. Credit: Erica Bartel.


[Updated] Bon Appétit's Adam Rapoport toasts Los Angeles


Bon Appétit magazine editor Adam Rapoport threw a "Toast to the Left Coast" soiree Thursday evening at chef Roy Choi's restaurant A-Frame in Culver City. The former GQ style editor toasted the growing culinary scene in Los Angeles looking dapper in a blue-and-yellow checkered shirt, skinny tie and fitted suit.   

Celebrity and foodie guests mingled under A-Frame's signature A-shaped ceiling in the candlelit dining room. Toward the back, guests lounged on haystacks in a relaxed tented-lounge with signature cocktail mixes such as the Benicio Collins (Genever, Cocchi Americano, Strega, lemon), served in retro-style punch bowls. 

Guests munched on offerings from chef Roy Choi, mastermind behind the Kogi taco truck and Chego restaurant. Small bites included the furikake kettle corn, heirloom pickles, kitchen fries with a killer kimchi sour cream dip and sesame leaf-wrapped shrimp tempura. There was really no room for shy eaters with the heartier dishes such as blue crab cakes wrapped in bibb lettuce, large pieces of beer-can chicken, swordfish brochette and wonderfully messy hoisin-chile-glazed baby back ribs.

The small area between the bar and the kitchen quickly became a hot spot as guests huddled and strained their necks to see what bites would come out of the kitchen window next. Celebrity sightings included actress Anna Faris, actor Emilio Estevez, "Martha Marcy May Marlene" star Sarah Paulson and chefs Jose Andres, Michael Cimarusti and Sang Yoon.

-- Jenn Harris



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Photo: Actor Armie Hammer, left, Elizabeth Chambers and Adam Rapoport at Bon Appétit magazine's "Toast to the Left Coast" party at A-Frame restaurant in Culver City. Credit: David Prutting /Billy Farrell Agency

Updated at 7:30 P.M. October 28,2011: The spelling of Adam Rapoport's name was corrected.

Caitlin Williams Freeman and SFMOMA's latest edible art offering

Zurier_Arabella-233x334Caitlin Williams Freeman is the in-house pastry chef at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's rooftop cafe. The former UC Santa Cruz photography student co-founded Miette. Then in 2001, in what she thought would be a temporary stint, she started making pastries for her husband James Freeman's Blue Bottle Coffee locations.

When his company landed a spot on SFMOMA's rooftop, Williams Freeman used the opportunity to channel her love for paintings and photography into her baking. Now the cookies and cakes available -- for visual and literal consumption -- at the coffee bar pay homage to artworks on view in the museum's galleries.

Constantly coming up with new ideas for art-inspired desserts, edible spinoffs have included a Katharina Fritsch ice cream sandwich, with poodle-shaped chocolate cookies sandwiching vanilla ice cream; a fudgsicle-take on Ellsworth Kelly's Stele I (located in the sculpture garden); and a Thiebaud cake inspired by the museum's large collection of Bay Area artist Wayne Thiebaud's paintings.

The latest addition to the menu is a popsicle created in reference to Santa Monica-born artist John Zurier's painting "Arabella," included in the "The More Things Change" exhibition, on view until Nov. 6. The popsicle, made of fresh spearmint ice milk and strawberry, costs $5 and will be available up until the exhibition's closing day.


The next dessert in the works will be ...

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What's in the box at Father's Office?


If you've been to Father's Office recently and noticed small cardboard boxes showing up at nearby tables and have wondered what's in them, they're cupcakes. Yes, F.O. owner Sang Yoon makes cupcakes. Or his pastry chef John Park does. 

Until now, Father's Office didn't offer desserts, sometimes notoriously, because it also doesn't allow outside desserts to be brought in, such as a cake for a birthday. So now you can celebrate with cupcakes. Or ice cream sandwiches. 

Continue reading »

3 Food Events You Should Know About: Cognoscenti Coffee tasting + Royal/T; Carmela Ice Cream at DomaineLA; Library Alehouse's SourFest


Coffee time: Royal/T, Culver City's Japanese pop-art gallery and maid cafe, hosts a Cognoscenti Coffee tasting, along with food pairings from cheesemonger Sebastian Robin Craig of the Cheese Store of Beverly Hills and Jessica Koslow of Sqirl. Cognoscenti Coffee founder Yeekai Lim will be pouring Four Barrel coffee. There will be artisanal cheeses, homemade pickles, seasonal jams and specialty breads and baked goods. A three-course menu includes: Lacinato kale salad with Sqirl’s preserved Meyer lemons, Santa Rosa plum dressing, and Lou Rey raw sheep Basque cheese, paired with chilled Ethiopia Welena Suke Quto coffee; a European cheese plate with Sqirl’s homemade pickles and Proof’s Concord grape focaccia, paired with hot Kenya Murang’a Theri and chilled Costa Rica La Concha Typica. Aug. 3, 4 to 8 p.m. Tasting sessions start every half-hour. Poetry reading starts at 7 p.m. in the back space. Tickets are $18 per person, available at http://coffeexfood.eventbrite.com or call Royal/T. 8910 Washington Blvd., Culver City, (310) 559-6300, www.royal-t.org. 

Have your wine with your ice cream: Local ice cream maker Carmela Ice Cream unveils new wine-based sorbets at wine shop DomainLA in West Hollywood. Carmela founder and flavor developer Jessica Mortarotti collaborated with sommelier Heather Willens to create two summer wine sorbets, based on Raventos i Blanc Sparkling Cava and Caluna Malbec blend (Willens' own brand). Sorbets and wines available for tasting. Sunday, July 24, 2 to 5 p.m. Advance tickets are $6 (through the Domain547 website) or $8 at the door. 6801 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 932-0280, www.domaine547.com. 

SourFest kick-off: Library Alehouse celebrates all beers sour, starting July 25 with a visit from Orange County's Bruery. Featured beers: the Wanderer (City Beer collaboration); Marrón Acidifié (Cigar City collaboration); Pharaoh; Hottenroth Berliner Weisse; and Saison de Lente. A cheese pairing from Bruery Provisions cheesemonger Kendra Birdwell and Cicerone Thomas Kelley also will be available. Throughout SourFest, which runs until Aug. 4, Library Alehouse will dedicate 10 of its 29 taps to beers that bring the sour, rotating through 30 sour beers. See a SourFest draft list after the jump. 2911 Main St., Santa Monica, (310) 314-4855, www.libraryalehouse.com.


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Photo: Cognoscenti Coffee at Proof Bakery. Credit: Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times

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Paper or Plastik Cafe: More than just a cup of joe

The coffee condiments sit atop an old Deluxe television set amid the cafe's industrial setting with high ceilings, copper fixtures and a glass-paneled storefront. A joint venture between Anya and Yasha Michelson, along with daughter Marina, Paper or Plastik Cafe is a neighborhood coffee shop and the heart of a community hub.

The goods come from all over town; coffee from Intelligentsia Coffee and Ecco Caffe; pastries (homemade pop-tarts, pies, croissants) from Cake Monkey, Sweets for the Soul, Sweet Lady Jane and Le Pain du Jour; and a rotating menu of sandwiches and salads from Auntie Em's Kitchen and Breadbar.

There's even a playful ad campaign touching on the cafe's function as a multidisciplinary arts space.  With coffee as its core, the Mid-City cafe aims to serve the community as an artistic center, providing an outlet for visual and tactile performing arts.

5772 W. Pico Blvd., L.A., 323-935-0268



Vote, or else

A purse for your fortune

-- Caitlin Keller

Video credit: Paperorplastikcafe.tumblr.com

3 Food Events You Should Know About: Taste of the Nation; 'Beating the Nazis With Truffles and Tripe'; Mondavi on tour at L.A. Wine Fest

Gourmet Eat well: Share Our Strength's Taste of the Nation: Los Angeles 2011 takes place June 12 at Media Park in Culver City, where top L.A. chefs will be cooking to help raise funds that go toward ending childhood hunger. One hundred percent of the ticket sales support local recipients including Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, St. Joseph's Center, Los Angeles Coalition to End Hunger and Homelessness, and California Food Policy Advocates. Tickets are $25 to $150, available online at tasteofthenationla.org. 9070 Venice Blvd., Culver City, 1-877-268-2783.

Gourmet talk: On June 11, the Culinary Historians of Southern California present David Strauss speaking on "Beating the Nazis With Truffles and Tripe: The Early Years of Gourmet: The Magazine Of Good Living." Author of "Setting the Table for Julia Child: Gourmet Dining in America, 1934-1961," Strauss will lead a talk on how the staff of Gourmet magazine and their readers alike created a patriotic, mostly American food regime as the Depression ended and Americans entered World War II. The talk will be held at the Downtown Central Library and is free and open to the public. 630 W. 5th St., L.A., 213-228-7000, lapl.org.

A visit from Mondavi: The Robert Mondavi Discover Wine Tour heads south, bringing Northern California wine country to Raleigh Studios during L.A. Wine Fest on June 11-12. The event celebrates American winemaking and features cooking demos, tastings and "the essence station," which familiarizes guests with the many aromas and flavors of wine. Admission is complimentary with an L.A. Wine Fest pass. Tickets range from $75 (one-day pass) to $139 (weekend pass), www.lawinefest.com.

-- Caitlin Keller

Photo: Cover of July 1942 issue of Gourmet magazine. Courtesy: Peter Kreitler


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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.