Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Holidays

Fourth of July 2012 dining guide: Holiday food and drink specials


Throwing a Fourth of July backyard BBQ is a fun way to spend the holiday, but sometimes it's nice to sit back and have someone else worry about the cooking. Here's a list of restaurants around town offering special Fourth of July cocktails, menu items and discounts:

Rock & Reilly's Irish whisky bar is having a "Reilly's backyard BBQ" with brats and burgers on its backyard patio. The bar also came up with a Fourth of July cocktail called the "Miss American Pie" made with Old Shine Apple Pie, basil, cranberry juice, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Pink Taco is serving its El Presidential Margarita made with Don Julio's 1942, fresh lime, raw agave nectar and a splash of Combier. Get a 2 for 1 margarita pitchers from 3 to 7 p.m. and 10 to 11 p.m. at both the Sunset Strip and Century City locations.

Fuku Burger will offer a special Declaration Burger topped with mac & cheese and crispy onion rings. Wash it all down with a Fuku Firework (Sapporo with a shot of sake) or the Independence flight of Fuku's domestic beers. 

PHOTOS: Fourth of July recipes

Napa Valley Grille is celebrating with a patriotic happy hour from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on July 4. The extended happy hour will be available at the bar and on the patio. It includes 50-cent sweet chile-glazed chicken wings, $2 PBRs and a $4 Firecracker cocktail.

Burger Lounge is offering grass-fed beef corn dogs with spicy mustard and organic ketchup ($5.95) or with onion rings and a Maine Root "Agave Pink Drink" ($10.95). 

Cecconi's will celebrate the Fourth with its new seasonal pizza night featuring different pizzas from chef Andrea Cavaliere. The pizzas are inspired by what's fresh at the Santa Monica farmers market that morning.

STREET is serving a Backyard Barbecue for four that includes the Jamaican Gingerbrew chicken, a slider assortment of Yuzu Kosho burgers, black bean veggie burgers, fried chicken and Korean BBQ shortribs, a variety of sides (Malaysian baked beans, chilled soba noodle salad) and for dessert Mexican spiced dulce de leche double chocolate fudge and toasted coconut jello ($100 for the group, plus tax). The restaurant will also offer the world-flavor bento box with tastes of the Burmese melon salad, Japanese potato salad and more ($30, plus tax).

Moon Juice is offering some figure-friendly juices that you can drink on their own or with tequila or vodka for a cocktail. The new summer flavors include honeydew, cilantro and lime; cantaloupe and nectarine; watermelon, tomato and lime; and cucumber, pineapple and jalapeno ($9-12).

Magnolia Bakery is offering Fourth of July-decorated cupcakes ($3.50 each) and a variety of blueberry desserts, including the Blueberry Jamboree or classic Blueberry Pie (slice $4 to $4.50 and pie $24).

Did we miss something? Let us know in the comments below or fill us in on your plans for the holiday.


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-- Jenn Harris


Photo credit: Spencer Weiner /Los Angeles Times

Recipe Box: 10 Mother's Day brunch recipes


Still wondering what to make Mom for Mother's Day? Not to fret, we have 10 recipes from the Los Angeles Times Test Kitchen for a special brunch at home. Also check out our gallery for 50 Mother's Day recipes for brunch, lunch and dinner.

1. Square One Dining's French toast

2. The croque-madame served at La Dijonaise in Culver City

3. Rustic Canyon's maple bacon biscuits

4. Marscapone-stuffed French toast with orange compote

5. Slow-scrambled eggs with prosciutto

6. A pretty quark tart with asparagus

7. BLD's blueberry ricotta pancakes

8. Cheese omelet with tomatillo sauce

9. Cornmeal Belgian waffles

10. Persimmon Champagne cocktail


Photos: 50 Mother's Day recipes

Mother's Day 2012 dining guide

This week's recipes from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen

-- Jenn Harris


Photo: Eggs with prosciutto. Credit: Eric Boyd / Los Angeles Times.

[Updated] Mother's Day 2012 dining guide


What better way to show mom you care than by giving her a much needed break? Treat your mom to a meal with the family. Here's a list of places around town serving Mother's Day specials: 

The Tasting Kitchen will serve Mother's Day brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., featuring dishes such as the squash blossom, tomato and ricotta frittata ($13), savory waffles with fried clucks (chicken) ($18) and the short rib hash with baked egg and gremolata ($18). Mix things up with one of bartender Justin Pike's original cocktails, the French Tutor (Pernod, Chardonnay and lemon) or the Blue Monday (vodka, blueberry and clove), both $12.

Fig & Olive is offering a three-course prix-fixe Mother's Day brunch menu ($48 per person) inspired by founder Laurent Halasz's mother, Francine. The Mougine-inspired brunch will feature items such as Francine's Farmer's market zucchini terrine, salmon and scallop en papillote and a rasberry meringue.

Mr. C Beverly Hills will have a prix-fixe Mother's Day brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. ($60 per person) that will include a classic Cipriani bellini. Diners can enjoy dishes such as the seasonal gazpacho with melon or the smoked salmon, leek and yukon potato quiche while listening to a special performance of smooth jazz by the Jimmy Gimelli Jazztet.

Napa Valley Grille invites guests to celebrate with a Mother’s Day brunch buffet ($49 for adults, $19 for children) featuring an omelet and prime rib carving station from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Treat mom to bottomless mimosas for $12.

The Belvedere at the Peninsula Beverly Hills will serve a three-course brunch from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. with free-flowing Nicolas Feuillatte champagne ($115 per person and $39 for children under 12). Executive Chef James Overbaugh's menu will include a smoked salmon with baby beet salad, pan-roasted Walleye pike fillet and a pastry buffet.

Scarpetta is offering an Italian buffet brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., which will include carving, baked pasta, whole roasted fish, omelet and dessert stations ($88 for adults, $35 for children). Add bottomless bloody Marys, bellinis or mimosas for $17.

Casa Vega is serving owner Christy Vega Fowler's own grandmother's beef, chicken and vegetable tamales for $3 each, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Red O will serve a special brunch featuring chef Rick Bayless’ huevos rancheros verdes and chilaquiles al guajillo with a selection of hand-crafted beverages, freshly squeezed juices and agua frescas. All mothers will be treated to a complimentary cocktail.

Enoteca Drago will be offering a three-course menu from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ($48 per person) with dishes such as the lamb belly chicharon, grilled calamari and lobster spaghettini.

Ra Pour is offering a three-course prix-fixe menu ($39 for adults, $16 for children) from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dishes include the egg yolk and ricotta ravioli with duck confit, custard-style brioche French toast and the "mimosa" tangerine sponge cake.

Asia de Cuba at the Mondrian Hotel is offering a prix-fixe brunch menu from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., which includes bottomless mimosas, mojitos and bloody Marys ($42). Dishes will include a selection of Cuban-style pastries, choice of entree and the chef's selection of signature desserts.

Street will offer a special brunch menu created by co-chefs Susan Feniger and Kajsa Agler from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., which will include Danish chestnut popovers, soft Indian Semolina and crispy soft shell crab. Diners can order a la carte or share the entire menu with their table for $35 per person.

Mezze is offering a tasting menu of the restaurant's specialty small plates, flatbreads, large plates, vegetables and desserts ($65 per person) from 5 to 10 p.m. 

Drago Centro is offering a prix-fixe lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., which includes zucchini agnolotti, diver scallops, confit duck and other specialty items for $39.

RockSugar Pan Asian Kitchen will have a special five-course menu available May 12 and 13. The menu is $52 per person, and includes signature dishes such as the crispy chicken samosas, lacquered BBQ ribs and roasted Jidori chicken.

One Pico at Shutter's is offering a three-course prix fixe menu ($80 per person). The menu choices include homemade tagliatelle with walnut, ricotta pesto, Dover sole with brown butter crust and pain perdu.

Locanda del Lago will have a prix fixe Festa della Mamma menu ( three courses for $39 per person, four courses for $55 per person) inspired by Chef Minuz's mother "Mamma Adelia." Menu items include the Polipo e Patate (octopus salad with meyer lemon dressing), the Gnocchi di Zucca al Gorgonzola (Homesmade squash gnocchi) and the Branzino all Livornese (Pan-roasted Mediterranean striped bass). The menu is available all day May 13 and for dinner May 12 and May 14 to May 18.  

Caulfield's at The Thompson Beverly Hills is offering a Mother's Day Brunch from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. featuring items such as the Brioche French toast with apple compote, grilled wild salmon with lemon-braised kale and key lime pie. The three-course brunch is $45 per person or for $60 per person have unlimited blood orange mimosas. Mothers will recieve a box of Caulfield's artisan caramels.


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-- Jenn Harris


Photo: Terry Campbell of Dana Point shares a Mother's Day moment at brunch with daughter Ryan Cady. Credit: Karen Tapia-Andersen / Los Angeles Times.

[Updated on May 7, 2012 at 3:42 P.M. Two more restaurants were added to the dining guide.]

That's one big bunny: Easter at Valerie Confections

Large bunny white 72dpiLooking for a gift to tuck into an Easter basket? Or just want to satisfy your own sweet tooth? 

I all but swooned when I saw Valerie Confections' large chocolate Easter bunny. Weighing in at almost 1 1/2 pounds, this big guy is solid bittersweet chocolate, packaged for Easter and tied with a pink satin ribbon. Did I mention he's solid chocolate? (It's $40 for 1 lb. 7.5 oz.)

Valerie also offers a smaller option with a darkened milk chocolate bunny. The little guy's also solid, and he's not so little either, weighing in at 5 1/2 ounces ($14). 

Valerie's "golden eggs" by the dozen or half dozen are bittersweet chocolate eggs filled with liquid caramel and topped with edible gold leaf ($36/dozen, $18/half-dozen). Bunny tableau bars are solid darkened milk chocolate, molded with an old-fashioned relief of bunnies ($10). If you can't make up your mind, Valerie also offers an Easter gift set ($80). 

Valerie Confections, 3660 West First Street, Los Angeles, 90004, 888-706-1408.

-- Noelle Carter

Photo credit: Valerie Confections

Restaurant roundup: Easter and Passover, brunch or dinner

BouchonalexgallardoHave you planned your holiday meal yet? If you're looking to go out on the town, here's a list of a variety of places — from Bouchon Bistro in Beverly Hills to the San Diego Zoo — offering brunch or dinner:

 The Backyard RestaurantBackyard Restaurant will serve Easter Sunday Brunch for $20.12 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the restaurant will also offer Easter egg hunts at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Some of the menu items include passion fruit, lemon drop and berry scones with French butter, truffled egg-in-the-hole with brioche and lobster hash. 930 Hilgard Ave., Los Angeles, (310) 443-8218.

Bouchon Bistro/Bouchon Bakery: Bouchon Bistro is offering buttermilk fried chicken, bacon, and chive waffles with cheddar grits, Vermont maple syrup and Tahitian vanilla bean butter and sauce chasseur for both brunch and dinner on Easter. $36 per person. Bouchon Bakery is offering Easter treats such as hot cross buns and pecan clusters. 235 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, (310) 271-9910 (Ext. 621 for the bakery).

Café del Rey: Café del Rey is offering a three-course prix fixe Easter brunch for $38 per person. Chef Daniel Roberts is featuring such dishes as eggs Florentine with sweet potato and duck confit hash, brioche French toast with pear syrup, bacon and whipped cream, and more. 4451 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey, (310) 823-6395.

Coupa Cafe: Coupa Café will be offering Easter brunch for $28 per person. Menu includes mimosas or peach bellinis, mini cachapas, eggs Benedict, Reina Pepiada arepa and more. 419 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, (310) 385-0420.

Fig & Olive: Fig & Olive on Melrose Place will be offering three-course prix-fixe brunch and buffet menus starting at $40 from 12 to 3:30 p.m. with dishes featuring flavors from the south of France. Menu features items such as gig gorgonzola tartlet, grilled thyme chicken paillard salad, and for dessert strawberry rhubarb macaroon. 8490 Melrose Place, Los Angeles, (310) 360-9100 .

FraicheFraiche's Easter brunch, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., includes dishes such as lobster bisque, steak 'n' eggs with home fries), and for dessert, “Our World-Famous Dessert Platter.” 9411 Culver Blvd., Culver City, (310) 839-6800.  

Locanda del Lago: A “Buona Pasque” Italian-style Easter menu runs for a week starting Saturday, with a special prix-fixe menu starting at $48 for three courses. Menu items include cestino di Parmigiano con crescione, uova di quaglie e asparagi bianchi (parmesan “basket” filled with watercress, white asparagus salad with chive aioli and hard-boiled quail eggs.) 231 Arizona Ave., Santa Monica, (310) 451-3525.

Mimi’s Café: Mimi’s Café is offering "Easter Feast To-Go" through Sunday.  Serves six to eight guests for $84.99. The menu features dishes such as sliced pit-roasted ham with homemade honey Dijon glaze, mashed potatoes and gravy, rolls, dessert and more. 2925 Los Feliz Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 668-1715.

Napa Valley Grille: The Napa Valley Grille is offering an Easter brunch buffet. Adults $49 and children $19; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. A wine-country inspired brunch buffet with menu items to include spring onion soup and kale salad, an omelet station, and steak hash with poached eggs. 1100 Glendon Ave., Los Angeles, (310) 824-3322.  

Pann’s: This Easter Sunday Pann’s is giving away chocolate bunnies to all patrons who wear hats, bonnets, caps, etc. Enjoy a free bunny or just fried chicken and waffles and Pann’s homemade chocolate Easter muffins. 6710 La Tijera Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 776-3770.

EastereggroyallepetrossianPetrossian: Petrossian will be serving Easter brunch for $45 and $59. Some of the menu items include Festive Egg Royale (soft scrambled egg, vodka whipped cream), Smoked salmon bagel with caviar (cream cheese, capers, red onion, mixed greens) and for dessert almond crème brûlée with Russian tea cookies. 321 N Robertson Blvd., West Hollywood, (310) 271-6300. 

Playa: Playa will be offering Easter brunch and dinner on Sunday. Specials include smoked salmon with poached eggs for brunch and crispy blue corn taco with corned beef and serrano ham tamal with piquillo salsa for dinner. 7360 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 933-5300.

Raphael: Raphael is offering a Euro-Japanese three-course Easter brunch featuring menu items such as roasted apple salad, chilled wild nettle soup, brioche French toast, Valrhona chocolate pots de crème, and more. $35 per person, $25 for children 12 and under. 11616 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, (818) 505-3337.

Royal/T: Royal/T café will be offering an Easter Sunday brunch menu highlighting dishes such as Peter Rabbit’s carrot ginger soup, Easter quiche with bacon, spinach, shallots and cheese. The menu items will be available from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 8910 Washington Blvd., Culver City, (310) 559-6300.

San Diego Zoo: The San Diego Zoo is offering an Easter brunch prepared by zoo executive chef Chris Mirguet along with chef Charles Boukas. $39.95 per person for adults and $18.95 for children ages 3 to 11. 2920 Zoo Drive, San Diego, (619) 557-3964.

Street: Street’s chefs Susan Feniger and Kajsa Alger are offering a Saturday night Seder led by Rabbi Eleanor Steinman with dishes such as warm halloumi salad and Moroccan lamb.  Easter brunch is offered on Sunday with egg dishes from around the world. Passover Seder, $55 per person; Easter brunch à la carte. 742 N. Highland Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 203-0500.

Vermont Kitchen and Bar: Vermont Kitchen and bar will be offering Easter brunch from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. It will be its regular brunch menu with a special Easter menu item and beverages. 1714 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 661-6163.

The Winery: The Winery will be offering a three-course Easter brunch Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., $32.95 per guest. Menu items: seared rare ahi tuna (with avocado, mango, cucumber, cilantro-orange vinaigrette) and chile lime-rubbed Hawaiian mahi mahi (with roasted tropical fruit chutney, jasmine rice, lemongrass-Gewurztraminer butter). 2647 Park Ave, Tustin, (714) 258-7600.

— Rachel Sherman and Sarah Al-Abdulrahim

Photos, from top: Bouchon Bistro in Beverly Hills. Credit: Alex Gallardo / Los Angeles Times; Easter Egg Royales at Petrossian. Credit: Petrossian.

Brisket tacos: Jonathan Waxman's Mexican Passover

Jonathan Waxman's pulled beef brisket tacos at Rosa Mexicano
Beef brisket tacos, huachinango "gefilte fish," matzo chilaquiles.... It must be Passover at Rosa Mexicano. It's the 10th anniversary Rosa Mexicano’s Mexican Passover dinner, and this year's Latin-inspired versions of Seder specialties were created by Jonathan Waxman, chef-owner of Barbuto in New York, cookbook author and a pioneer of California cuisine. (Rosa Mexicano has brought on Waxman as culinary advisor to develop seasonal menus including Foods of Baja and Day of the Dead.)  

So on Waxman's Mexican Passover menu are: charoset, with dates, coconut, tangerine, pomegranate, almonds, cinnamon and rose apples; hierbas amargas (Passover maror), a beet, romaine, scallion and avocado salad with horseradish, parsley and matzo; huachinango “gefilte fish,” or red snapper dumplings with jalapenos; and pulled beef brisket tacos. What, you've never had sangria at Seder? The sangría de Passover is Herradura silver tequila, apple and lemon juices with Manischewitz reduction.

Mexican Passover at Rosa Mexicano is available April 6 to 13 at both L.A. locations. 

 At L.A. Live, 800 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 746-0001, and 8570 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, (310) 657-4991; www.rosamexicano.com.


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Photo: Pulled beef brisket tacos. Credit: Rosa Mexicano

Happy National Margarita Day!

MargaritaCelebrate National Margarita Day at home or in your favorite Mexican restaurant. 

If you choose the former, the Los Angeles Times Test Kitchen has a recipe for a refreshing grapefruit margarita (recipe below) made with freshly squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice, triple sec, and of course, reposado tequila. 

If you're feeling extra festive and choose the latter, Red O Restaurant on Melrose is offering a margarita sampler for $15. 

Included in the sampler are the market margarita (muddled fresh cucumber with honeydew melon, and tequila blanco), la dama margarita (reposado tequila shaken with serrano chile, mango grenadine, lime juice, and pomegranate liqueur), and the Alacaran margarita (Sauza Conmemorativo tequila, Veev Acai spirit, Torres orange liqueur, fresh limonada, and serrano infused syrup). 

Either way, it's an excuse to enjoy a cocktail.  

Red O, 8155 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 655-5009, www.redorestaurant.com.


Grapefruit margarita

Total time: 10 minutes

Servings: 4

Wedge of lime
2 teaspoons coarse margarita salt
14 ounces ruby red grapefruit juice, with pulp (about 3 medium grapefruits)
1 ounce lime juice
5 ounces reposado tequila
2 ounces triple sec
4 slices grapefruit or twists

1. Run a lime wedge halfway around the rims of four margarita glasses and dip into salt. Set aside.

2. Combine 7 ounces grapefruit juice, one-half ounce lime juice, 2 1/2 ounces tequila and 1 ounce triple sec in a cocktail shaker. Shake over ice until chilled. Strain into two ice-filled, salt-rimmed margarita glasses.

3. Garnish with a twist or slice of grapefruit. Repeat to make two more cocktails.

Each serving: 174 calories; 1 gram protein; 17 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 0 fat; 0 cholesterol; 2 1/2 mg. sodium. 


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For Valentine's Day, Le Bon Garcon limited-edition caramels


It's that time of year: time to start thinking about giving sweets to the sweet. Le Bon Garcon, the L.A. caramel maker founded by pastry chef Justin Chao, has Valentine's Day gift boxes featuring a new caramel flavor called Caramour that gets its subtle pink tinge from blood orange puree. 

Chao, who graduated from Ecole Gastronomique Belluet Conseil and worked at Le Meurice in Paris, started Le Bon Garcon in 2010 -- making the caramels with Plugra butter and wrapping them by hand. The blood orange Caramour caramels are available for a limited time. Other flavors include sea salt, mango-passion fruit and macadamia nut. Place Valentine's Day orders online by Feb. 7.  



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Celebrate the Year of the Dragon with onigiri

Onigiri rice balls
Get into the firey spirit of the Year of the Dragon with a mochi-pounding demonstration and an onigiri contest at the Japanese American National Museum on Sunday. It's all part of a day-long festival called the Oshogatsu Family Festival, which also includes plenty of arts and crafts, entertainment and cultural activities.

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. you and yours can learn how to make onigiri rice balls and enter the contest, which is sponsored by Common Grains, an organization that celebrates japanese culture and food through grain education.

Here's how it works: Participants will be given a cup of cooked rice to make a tasty onigiri in 10 minutes or less (after you've been taught how to do it with style, of course). Everything you need for the contest will be given to you, so no smuggling in some magic ingredient.

When you finish, Los Angeles Times Food editor Russ Parsons, joined by judges including food blogger Lynn Chen and Sunny Blue shop owner Keiko Nakashima, will judge the results. Six winners will be crowned victorious in both children's and adult categories, and prizes will be awarded accordingly.

Also on the menu of the day's events are artisanal rice and soba workshops, a rice exhibition, a soba restaurant event, and at 2:30 and 4 p.m. a traditional rice cake pounding ceremony (called Mochitsuki) demonstration and performance by Kodama Taiko.

Sunday, January 8, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free. For more information go to: www.janm.org/events.


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Photo: Salmon onigiri. Credit: Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times

Celebrate Three Kings Day with Rosca de Reyes


The holiday season isn't quite over just yet. Friday marks the 12th day of Christmas, known as Three Kings Day or El Día de los Reyes Magos, the Epiphany. Christians believe that on this day the three kings, also known as wisemen, arrived in Bethlehem bearing gifts for the newly born Jesus.

Celebrations typically include caroling and of course culinary treats, the most famous being the Rosca de Reyes, a festive round cake topped with trinkets and candy. Baked into the cake is a small plastic baby Jesus. If you find him in your slice, tradition says you must throw a party on Feb. 2, Candlemas Day, and serve tamales to your guests.

KingscakeTo celebrate the big day, Pink Taco in Century City is offering patrons their own version of Rosca de Reyes. Their smaller, individual cakes still feature the signature hole in the middle but are made with a gummy bear instead of a baby Jesus, and fresh raspberries, blueberries and a raspberry sorbet take the place of more traditional candy.

If you're in the mood for a full festive meal, you can feast on items from their special Three Kings Day menu such as the signature pink taco with Yucatan-style panuchos, achiote grilled chicken and habanero pickled onions, sweet corn tamal and their signature En Fuego cocktail, made with El Jimador Blanco Tequila topped with a float of high-proof rum to set a fire at your table.

La Morenita bakery in Cypress and La Monarca bakery in Huntington Park also specialize in making the round cakes for the holiday.

If you'd like to try your hand at making your own Rosca de Reyes, check out a recipe from our test kitchen:

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