Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Culver City

Small Bites: Rush Street celebrates Christmas in August, the Waffle celebrates National Waffle Day

Bacon waffles at the Waffle.Christmas in August: It starts earlier every year. Today and tomorrow, Rush Street is serving Christmas dinner with all the trimmings: rib roast, maple-roasted turkey breast, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, roasted baby root vegetables and glazed Brussels sprouts. There will even be Christmas-themed drink specials, tree decorating, a tree lighting ceremony, pictures with Santa, "deer pong" and a white-elephant gift party Saturday. Rush Street, 9546 Washington Blvd., Culver City. (310) 837-9546, www.rushstreetculvercity.com.

Celebrate National Waffle Day: On Monday, Aug. 24, the Waffle will celebrate this little-known holiday by offering 25% off on all its waffles as well as a few special waffles. The Waffle, 6255 W. Sunset Blvd., L.A. (323) 465-6901, www.thewaffle.us.

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Bacon waffles at the Waffle. Jamie Rector / For The Times

Small Bites: Peach tart at Platine, absinthe at Tonga Hut, new menu at Copa d'Oro

The Tonga Hut in North HollywoodEvery Monday night from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. the vintage tiki bar the Tonga Hut offers Absinthe-Minded Mondays, featuring absinthe cocktails concocted by Lisa Marie. 12808 Victory Blvd., North Hollywood. (818) 769-0708, www.tongahut.com.

Copa d’Oro recently introduced several new cocktails to its menu, including the Custer Cocktail (Sazerac Rye, Galliano, Cynar, celery bitter and rhubarb bitter; $13), the Black Rosemary Diamond (gin, Crème de Cassis, blackberry, fresh lime juice and rosemary; $12); the Jersey Pie (applejack, vanilla and fresh lemon juice; $11); and several others. Copa d'Oro, 217 Broadway, Santa Monica. (310) 576-3030, www.copadoro.com.

A peach tart won Platine's recent Julia Child recipe contest. You can try the bakery's version of it from now through Saturday. 10850 Washington Blvd., Culver City. (310) 559-9933, www.platinecookies.com.

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: The Tonga Hut in North Hollywood. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Celebrating Julia Child

Meryl Streep portrays Julia Child in a scene from Julie & Julia.

"Julie & Julia," perhaps the most hyped food-themed movie since "Like Water For Chocolate" opens today, and a few places are offering Julia Child-themed deals of their own.

In honor of Child's birthday on Aug. 15, Platine Sweets & Savories has chosen a few of its favorite dessert recipes from "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" and is inviting patrons to vote via blog, Facebook, e-mail, Twitter or in person on which dessert it should feature during the week of her birthday. Choices are: peach tart, lemon and almond tart, crepe cake, blackberry clafouti, the Queen of Sheba (a chocolate cake with a slightly underdone center), palmiers cookies, or almond biscotti. 10850 Washington Blvd., Culver City. (310) 559-9933, www.platinecookies.com.

Comme Ca celebrates Child in three different ways. First, at their "block party," 3-7 p.m. Sunday, they'll serve four dishes inspired by Child's classic French recipes (each $7): roasted asparagus with hollandaise sauce; garlic sausage en croute, brioche, fried egg; vitello tonnato, sweetbreads, sauce au thon; and potato-Gruyere croquettes. They'll also have a 200-pound block of ice that bartenders will chip away at for three special cocktails ($5). Second, on Aug. 14-15 they'll offer a five-course tasting menu ($65/person; dinner only) featuring gravlax canapes, vichyssoise, crab-stuffed artichoke bottoms, lobster Thermidor, beef Wellington and berry crepes. And finally, for those with fat wallets, they'll celebrate by opening three First Growth Bordeaux from the 1997 vintage. Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, Chateau Latour and Chateau Mouton-Rothschild will all be available by taste (3 oz.), glass, carafe and bottle -- all at a discount. ($210/bottle). Wines will be available Aug. 9-15. 8479 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood. (323) 782-1104, www.commecarestaurant.com.

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Meryl Streep portrays Julia Child in a scene from "Julie & Julia." Credit: Jonathan Wenk / Associated Press

Small Bites: Breakfast (Kate Mantilini), Lunch (Essex Public House) & Dinner (Royal/T)

Heather Ambos of Las Vegas channels Wonder Woman at the 2008 Comic-Con International, in San Diego. Breakfast at Kate Mantilini: The Beverly Hills mainstay is now serving breakfast Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-11 a.m., and brunch on weekends, 11 a.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. on Sunday. Eggs, pancakes, bacon, French toast, etc. 9101 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. (310) 278-3699. www.gardensonglendon.com/katehome.html.

Lunch at Essex Public House:
Hollywood's newest bar and restaurant (dare we say gastropub?) is now open for lunch. Chef Chris Ennis' "rustic American" lunch menu includes a selection of starters, soups, salads, grilled pizza, sides and desserts from the dinner menu, as well as a few new sandwiches: curried chicken salad with red grapes and green apple on whole wheat ($9) and honey roasted turkey with brie, fig marmalade and basil on walnut bread ($10). 6683 Hollywood Blvd., L.A. (323) 460.6608. www.essexhollywood.com.

Dinner with superheroes: You only have until Aug. 8 to try Royal/T's cleverly named and very temporary superhero-themed menu featuring dishes like the Silver Surfer Shrimp Pancake ($6), Wonder Twin Sliders ($5), Aquaman’s Stoned Salmon Salad ($6) and Holy Shitake, Batman! A Quesadilla ($4). It's strictly BYOC (bring your own cape). 8910 Washington Blvd., Culver City. (310) 559-6300. www.royal-t.org.

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Heather Ambos of Las Vegas channels Wonder Woman at the 2008 Comic-Con International, in San Diego. Credit: Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times

Four food events you should know about: Now with more Bastille Day

Bar-Noir TUESDAY

You say it's your birthday The Original Farmers Market celebrates its 75th birthday with a week's worth of activities and an evening's worth of fun called "Taste of Farmers Market," which includes food samples and discounts from dozens of vendors, book signings and live music. The Original Farmers Market, 6333 W. 3rd St., L.A., 5 to 9 p.m. Tickets $20. (323) 933-9211. www.farmersmarketla.com.

It's beer time Akasha restaurant hosts a New Belgium beer dinner featuring summer dishes made with local farmers market ingredients and prepared by Akasha Richmond, paired with beers crafted by Eric and Lauren Salazar of New Belgium Brewery. On the menu: Carlsbad Aqua Farm oysters, beer-battered calamari and okra, Niman Ranch beer-braised pork shoulder and flourless black ale chocolate torte. A vegetarian menu is available upon request. Akasha restaurant, 9543 Culver Blvd., Culver City. 7:30 p.m. $45 for dinner and drinks. (Wow!) Reservations required. (310) 845-1700.

I freak for France Finally, a true Bastille Day celebration can be had, at Maison 140, where the hotel's Parisian-style Bar Noir is teaming up with Club Culinaire of French Cuisine to present a party worthy of this town's most committed Francophiles. A DJ will spin French tunes while guests sip on French wine and Champagne and nibble on French cheese and fruit. The party is co-hosted by Sophie Gayot of Gayot.com and the hotel is offering a special overnight rate of $75 for revelers who'd rather not drive home. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Hope Program at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Maison 140, 140 S. Lasky Drive, Beverly Hills. 6 to 11 p.m. $85. (310) 281-4000. www.maison140beverlyhills.com.

A decade of the tasty Melisse restaurant is turning 10 years old, and to celebrate it's throwing a birthday dinner party on Bastille Day. Chef Josiah Citrin will put together a special four-course menu to be served for $100 that evening. Then, for the remainder of July, the restaurant will offer a 10-course menu featuring Citrin's favorite dishes from the last 10 years, priced at $150 per person and accompanied by the option of a $10 corkage fee. House specialties include Mandarin tomato soup, egg caviar with cauliflower mousseline and lemon-chive creme fraiche. Melisse, 1104 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica. (310) 395-0881. www. melisse.com

-- Jessica Gelt

Photo: Absinthe is prepared at Bar Noir in Maison 140. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times.

Retro dessert roundup

Desserts at the Nickel Diner made by pastry chef Sharlena Fong. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times.Blame it on the red velvet cupcake. Blame it on the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. But it looks like the ebb and flow of the retro dessert trend is at high tide. Inspired by last week's whoopie pie post, here's a list of some other retro desserts.

101 Coffee Shop (Hollywood): chocolate cake in a jar
Baby Blues BBQ (Venice, West Hollywood): buttermilk pie
Beacon an Asian Cafe (Culver City): Rice Krispie sundae, Ring Dings
BOA Steakhouse (West Hollywood, Santa Monica): raspberry cotton candy, s’mores
The Cabbage Patch (Beverly Hills): whoopie pies
Kate Mantilini (Beverly Hills, Woodland Hills): lemon icebox pie
Louisiana Best Seafood (Long Beach): 7-Up cake and sock-it-to-me cake
Milk (Mid-City West): moon pies, blue velvet cake, bonbons, ice cream sundae bars and more
The Nickel Diner (downtown): Pop Tarts, Ho Hos
Nola Ice (Sherman Oaks): New Orleans sno-balls
Simon L.A. (Mid-City West): junk food sampler platter featuring cotton candy
SusieCakes (various locations): whoopie pies, animal cookies, snickerdoodles and more WestCoastWhoopies.com: whoopie pies

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Desserts at the Nickel Diner made by pastry chef Sharlena Fong. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times

Gluttony + charity = a win for everybody

Buckwheat sugar cookies. Credit: Stephen Osman / Los Angeles Times. Hazelnut chocolate Linzer cookies. Credit: Robert Gautheir / Los Angeles Times.

If the idea of mixing charity and cuisine inspires visions of stuffy hotel ballrooms and wilted vegetables, you have two tasty ways to do good this weekend -- and mercifully they're the antithesis of the rubber chicken circuit.

For those who have $125 to drop, Taste of the Nation Los Angeles offers a gourmet feast, deftly uniting the culinary with the altruistic. Forty-six local restaurants including the Bazaar by Jose Andres, Mozza, Lucques, Craft, Palate Food + Wine, Church & State and Rivera will set up booths in Culver City's Media Park, where they'll hand out samples of their signature dishes. The afternoon also includes cooking demos from Michael Mina of XIV and Mary Sue Milliken of Border Grill and Ciudad; a silent auction; waiter races and a mole cook-off between well-known Mexican restaurants Moles La Tia, Guelaguetza and Tlapazola Grill.

Where: Media Park, Culver and Venice boulevards, Culver City
When: 1-4 p.m., Sunday
Price: $115, advance; $125, day-of; $175, VIP
Contact: (877) 268-2783, www.tasteofthenationla.org

For those looking to spend a little less, fight world hunger by gorging yourself on a smorgasbord of delicious baked goods at the No Cookie Left Behind bake sale. We promise it's for a good cause, although who needs altruism as an excuse to scarf down desserts from Lark Cake Shop, CakeMonkey, Kiss My Bundt Bakery, Spork Foods, Laurel Avenue Bakery, Whisk LA and Taste on Melrose?

Where: Scoops, 712 N. Heliotrope Drive, L.A.
When: 2-6 p.m. Sunday
Price: Free admission
Contact: (323) 906-2649, www.nocookieleftbehind.com

Both events benefit Share Our Strength, which will divide the proceeds among local charities working to end hunger here in Los Angeles.

--Elina Shatkin

Photo: Buckwheat sugar cookies. Credit: Stephen Osman / Los Angeles Times. Hazelnut chocolate Linzer cookies. Credit: Robert Gautheir / Los Angeles Times

Mobile dessert trucks gear up for Los Angeles turf war

Localicoolhausduo

Cupcakes are the new tacos. Mobile is the new sit-down. And Los Angeles is definitely ground zero for a brewing battle royal among mobile dessert vendors.

Like some sweet mutant spawn of the Kogi truck, three new contenders -- the Locali Icycle, Coolhaus and the Sprinklesmobile -- are adding their own gourmet touches to the dessert-on-wheels scene. And keep your eye on Babycakes NYC, the New York bakery that's opening its first L.A. storefront downtown on 6th Street near Cole's and the Association. Owner Erin McKenna says he plans to roll out a mobile cupcake truck after the store opens, which will hopefully be in September.

Let the turf wars begin! The only casualty is your waistline.

Continue reading »

Sampler Platter: Le Saint Amour, Jamie Oliver & Joaquin Baca

CafeangeliqueIt's early in the week, but here are a few news bites to tide you over ...

  • Café Angelique spinoff Le Saint Amour should debut in the next 15 days. Eater LA 
  • 5,000 people tasted the biggest cheese in the world this weekend in Spain. Typically Spanish 
  • British chef Jamie Oliver teams with "American Idol's" resident expert on eyebrow tinting, Ryan Seacrest, for an ABC reality show in which the pair will revamp "the unhealthiest places in America." The Hollywood Reporter
  • Momofuku man Joaquin Baca opening a new restaurant in Brooklyn for $135K. New York 
  • Two new bars are slated to open on the ground floor of City Lofts, at 626 Spring St. Michelle Marini, former Lava Lounge owner and current co-owner of the Woods, will open a bar in 626-A, while former wine bar 626 Reserve will be replaced by an as-yet-unannounced tenant. Blog Downtown 
  • Menu-free restaurants: wave of the future? Food & Wine

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: A merguez sandwich made from spicy Algerian-style beef and lamb sausage at Cafe Angelique. Credit: Rick Meyer / Los Angeles Times.

Sampler Platter: Oaxacan quesadillas, spaghetti hot dogs & jalapeno-pear cocktails

Organic strawberries

Midweek food bites...

  • In honor of Earth Day, a list of the fruits and vegetables that contain the most pesticides. Clean Plate Charlie
  • 5 ways to save on organic food. Consumer Reports
  • Thierry Perez, co-owner of Fraiche and Riva, has left to open his own restaurant in Culver City. It will be called Ben Fatto. Eater LA
  • Freaky food fun: insert dried spaghetti into hot dogs, then boil. Boing Boing
  • Pleasure Palate checks out an Echo Park street cart featuring Oaxacan quesadillas with blue corn tortillas.
  • Strangest drink ever? The jalapeno-pear caipiroska. Umami Mart
  • Kellogg's Frosted Mini-Wheats won't make my kids smarter? Yahoo! News
  • Downsize Me: Man loses 15 pounds eating only McDonald's for 30 days. Daily Mail

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Elina Shatkin

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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.