Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Leah Rodrigues

Super Bowl: Basement Tavern, City Tavern, Rush Street & more


Basement Tavern: Sports fans can enjoy happy hour specials all night long at the Basement Tavern at the Victorian on Super Bowl Sunday. There will be $3 beers, $5 well drinks, $5 house red and white wines by the glass, and 50% off all bottles of wine and champagne. Hot dogs, hamburgers and other dishes will be complimentary with a two-drink minimum. Feeling indulgent? The tavern is also offering a Bottle and Bacon package: For $1,000, guests will receive a bottle of whiskey and bourbon and bacon-wrapped hot dogs for 10-20 friends. 2640 Main St., Santa Monica, (310) 392-4956.

City Tavern: This "new American tavern" is offering all-day happy hour in honor of the Super Bowl.  Spectators can sip on $10 craft beer growlers while munching on Super Bowl meatballs and pigs in a blanket made with Spanish chorizo. If you are going with a group, reserve your own table tap booth where you can pour your own beer throughout the game. 9739 Culver Blvd., Culver City, (310) 838-9739, www.citytavernculvercity.com.

Pink Taco: The Century City taco joint has 11 LED TVs and one jumbo projection screen for your Super Bowl viewing pleasure. The restaurant is serving crispy carnita tacos with salsa fresca and chipotle mayo, adobado chicken mini tortas, mini churros and more, all for less than $6 (or pick four for $22). 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 789-1000, www.pinktaco.com.

Rock & Reilly's: Located on the Sunset Strip, this pub boasts more than 45 Irish whiskeys and 14 antique framed flat-screen TVs as well as a 120-inch projection screen. It will be serving Super Bowl favorites with an Irish twist including whiskey bingo wings, Irish nachos (made with potatoes, peppered bacon and Irish cheddar), wee burgers and corned beef sliders. If you are not a beer drinker, the bar will have its signature Irish whiskey flights available. 8911 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, (310) 360-1400, www.rnrpub.com.

Rush Street: This high-end sports bar is serving up gourmet snacks on Super Bowl Sunday. Diners will be able to try dishes such as warm pretzels with beer cheese fondue, avocado fries, lobster and shrimp egg rolls, and a trio of hummus. For those with a bigger appetite, the gastropub will be serving pizzas, like caramelized onion, fig, pancetta and goat cheese, along with burgers, sandwiches and salads. It will also have an extensive drink menu including team-themed specialty cocktails. 9546 Washington Blvd., Culver City, (310) 837-9546 www.rushstreetculvercity.com.


Anthony Bourdain visits College of the Canyons on Feb. 9

'Moveable Feasts' dinner series by Los Angeles Nomadic Division

Tar & Roses open in Santa Monica

--Leah Rodrigues


Photo: Jeremy Back, assistant general manager of City Tavern. Credit: Gary Friedman/ Los Angeles Times

Eagle Rock Brewery anniversary party at Verdugo Bar

ERB_Anniversary_YearTwo_ADDRESS_V1Eagle Rock Brewery is hosting its anniversary party at Verdugo Bar on Saturday to celebrate its second year as an L.A. brewery. 

Craft beer lovers can sip on all Eagle Rock's signature brews along with a few surprise beers to be revealed at the event.  Grill 'Em All and Mandoline Grill food trucks will be there to nourish your inebriated body. 

Tickets are $12 per person at the door and include four drink tickets and a commemorative glass (while supplies last). Verdugo Bar, 3408 Verdugo Road, Eagle Rock, eaglerockbrewery.com


Test Kitchen Tips: Edible Flowers

'Godfather' cooking class at Ombra Ristorante

Drinking (and making) Scotch on Robert Burns Day

--Leah Rodrigues

twitter.com/ LeahRodrigues24

Photo Credit: Eagle Rock Brewery

'Godfather' cooking class at Ombra Ristorante

Chef Michael Young of Ombra, which is offering a 'Godfather'-inspired cooking class

On Sunday, Feb. 12, Ombra Ristorante is hosting a "Godfather"-inspired cooking class taught by executive chef Michael Young. This class is designed with couples in mind (possible Valentine's Day gift, because what says love like mob warfare?). Participants will prepare a four-course meal including braciole (a filled slice of meat braised in a tomato sauce), meatballs and Sunday sauce, mostaccioli (a baked pasta dish) and Sicilian cannoli. In addition, students will receive a recipe packet, wooden spoon and 1 pound of dried pasta to help them re-create these dishes at home.

The class is $99 per person, or $169 per couple. Space is limited and reservations can be made by calling (818) 985-7337. Hopeless romantics and 1970s mobster movie fans welcome. 3737 Cahuenga Blvd., Studio City, (818) 985-7337, www.ombrala.com.


Royal Clayton's Pub to reopen in downtown LA

Vegan Super Bowl specials at Tony's Darts Away

Good Food Awards winner: Dandelion Chocolate

--Leah Rodrigues

twitter.com/ LeahRodrigues24

Photo: Chef Michael Young of Ombra Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Anthony Bourdain visits College of the Canyons on Feb. 9


The Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons presents "An Evening With Anthony Bourdain," in which the renowned culinary "bad boy" will tell all. The evening will be divided into two parts: First, the "No Reservations" star will divulge the details of his travels, career and wordly experiences (there is sure to be a high dose of unapologetic opinions and sarcasm); then he'll participate in a Q&A session. Tickets are $55 to $85 and can be purchased online.

A reception and book signing will follow in Pico Canyon Hall Dance Studio at the college. Copies of Bourdain's "Medium Raw" will be available for purchase. Tickets for the book signing are $75, with proceeds going toward building a permanent culinary arts training facility on the Valencia campus.

26455 Rockwell Canyon Road, Santa Clarita, (661) 362-5304, www.canyons.edu.


The word is gourmet

5 Questions for Charlie Parker

Coachella 2012: What will you be eating?

-- Leah Rodrigues

twitter.com/ LeahRodrigues24

Photo credit: Gilles Mingasson/Travel Channel

Vegan Super Bowl specials at Tony's Darts Away


Craft beer hot spot Tony’s Darts Away will be offering vegan Super Bowl specials on Sunday, Feb. 5. Patrons can watch the big game while munching on hot buffalo style “wings” with "818" valley ranch dressing or fresh tortilla chips with five-layer dip made from spicy vegan beans, tomato salsa, vegan cheese, avocado salsa and vegan sour cream. Many menu items come in either a vegan or nonvegan option, such as the the Frito pie or the barbecue pulled pork sliders on biscuits with slaw. Wash it all down with Golden Road Beer, $3.50 per glass, the Super Bowl drink special.

1710 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, (818) 253-1710, http://tonysda.com/


International Foodie Spring Flings

Ace Hotel and Swim Club Leather Coasters

Cliff's Edge brings in chef Benjamin Bailly for fresh direction

-- Leah Rodrigues

twitter.com/ LeahRodrigues24

Photo: Tony's diners chow down on vegan and nonvegan sausages. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

Royal Clayton's Pub to reopen in downtown LA


Royal Clayton’s, a favorite downtown watering hole that served chilled pints and traditional fish and chips, just reached a deal to reopen at the Spring Arcade Building at 6th and Spring streets.

The pub closed its doors in 2010 after being open for four years in the Arts District.  The new Royal Clayton’s will be replacing an electronics store on the Spring Street side of the space.  According to co-owner Tony Gower in the Los Angeles Downtown News, the company is hoping to reopen the pub by the end of the year although the official timeline is still undecided. 

The owners would like the new Royal Clayton's to be as close as possible to the original.  However, if the city permits, they would like to add outdoor seating.


Test Kitchen Tip: Roasting chiles

Drunken Udder alcohol-infused ice cream

EcoFarm Conference 2012 to be held in Feb.

--Leah Rodrigues

twitter.com/ LeahRodrigues24

Photo Credit: Beatrice de Gea/ Los Angeles Times

Taylor Boudreaux is Napa Valley Grille's new executive chef

Taylor ColorTaylor Boudreaux, who has worked at Mastro's Steakhouse, Citizen Smith and for Wolfgang Puck Worldwide, is the new executive chef at Westwood Village’s Napa Valley Grille.

Boudreaux says his cuisine is driven by local sourcing and seasonality.  He is inspired by the rustic cuisine of California wine country.  Boudreaux said in a news release “...I came to understand that if you take a great cut of meat and season and cook it correctly, it will be amazing. It might be called ‘simple’ or ‘rustic,’ but it’s also about letting the food be what it should be.” 

His new dishes at Napa Valley Grille include blue crab cakes with classic tartar sauce and lamb ragù with house-made tagliatelle pasta. Furthermore, he says he plans to source the restaurant with locally grown ingredients from Santa Monica and Westwood’s farmers’ markets.

1100 Glendon Ave., Los Angeles, (310) 824-3322, www.napavalleygrille.com.


Forklore: Pity the parsnip

Farmshop opens artisan market on Jan. 29

Test Kitchen Tips: Cheesecloth substitutions

-- Leah Rodrigues

Twitter.com/ LeahRodrigues24

Photo: Taylor Boudreaux Credit: Napa Valley Grille

Short Cake bakery opens Friday

GanacheThe much anticipated Short Cake bakery opens Friday in the Original Farmers Market on 3rd Street. This is the sweet partner to the Short Order diner located just a few stalls away.

Short Cake bakers Hourie Sahakian and Ramon Ramirez have crafted unique sweet and savory pastries that include croissants, scones, cookies, pies, quiches, cakes and more. The cakes and pies will be made in individual portions (as the name suggests), so there is no need for sharing. The bakery will also be serving savory offerings that are ideal for a quick lunch or dinner, such as quiche with bacon, leek and Comté cheese or bun bread pudding with spinach and mushrooms, and bacon and cheddar croissants.

For the grand opening weekend, the bakery will be giving samples of its signature baked goods,  such as chocolate cardamom cream cake, chiffon cake with orange curd and meringue, and apple cider spice cake and Nik Krankl's Single Origin Cold Brew coffee. In addition, Short Cake will be hosting a book signing with Nancy Silverton for her latest, "The Mozza Cookbook: Recipes From Los Angeles' Favorite Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria," on Sunday from noon to 2 p.m. 

6333 W. 3rd St., No. 316, Los Angeles, (323) 761-7976, www.shortcakela.com.


Holiday Cookies: Bourbon balls

Holiday Cookies: Banbury tarts

5 Questions for James Overbaugh

-- Leah Rodrigues

twitter.com/ LeahRodrigues24

Photo: Dana Maione

Christmas and New Year's restaurant roundup

WP24DiningRoom 600

Looking to celebrate Christmas and New Year's out on the town? Whether you're in the mood for caviar and truffles, prime rib, roasted leg of lamb, crab salad, sushi or a pizza party, several restaurants are here to help with the festivities: 

Bäco Mercat: The new downtown restaurant from chef Josef Centeno is celebrating Christmas Eve and New York's Eve with family-style dinners. On Christmas Eve, braised beef shank comes with a stack of bäco flatbreads, salad and sides for $75 and serves two to four people. On the New Year's Eve menu is suckling pig with bäco breads, salad and sides for $80 and serves two. Call for reservations. 408 S. Main St., Los Angeles, (213) 687-8808, www.bacomercat.com.

BOA Steakhouse: The Sunset Strip steakhouse will feature menu specials such as prime rib and whole branzino on Christmas Eve. For New Year’s Eve, the restaurant will have live entertainment with a DJ,four-course prix-fixe menu and two seatings: 6:30 ($95) and 9:30 p.m. ($165). The Santa Monica location offeres a “surf & turf” NYE menu ($75) including dishes such as pan-seared scallops with truffled foie gras risotto with a wild mushroom demi-glace, smoked chipotle, coffee-braised prime short ribs with snow crab cluster and strawberry honey biscuit shortcake with white chocolate cream. 9200 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, (310) 278-2050, 101 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 899-4466,  boasteak.com.

Border Grill: Celebrate New Year's Mexican style at Border Grill. For $55 per person, a four-course dinner includes spicy crab taco, smoked mussel ceviche tostadita, coriander-roasted leg of lamb and more. Optional margarita and wine pairings. The a la carte menu will also be available. 445 S. Figueroa St.,  Los Angeles, (213) 486-5171, and 1445 4th St., Santa Monica, (310) 451-1655; bordergrill.com.

Cafe del Rey: Ring in 2012 seaside at Café del Rey with a three-course prix-fixe menu centered on fresh seafood. Some menu highlights include lobster thermidor with brandy and hollandaise sauce, and Wagyu beef tartare with black currants and olives. Additional New Year’s Eve specials such as duck confit crostini and truffle risotto will also be available. The first seating begins at 5:30 ($65 per person), and the second at 8:30 p.m. ($95 per person, including a glass of sparkling wine). 4451 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey, (310) 823-6395, www.cafedelreymarina.com.

Cecconi's: Dinner at Cecconi's this New Year's Eve is a black-tie affair. The restaurant is serving an elegant four-course dinner at $235 per person. For the first course, diners can choose between cream of parsnip soup with white truffle, corn Madeleine with crème fraîche and caviar, or hamachi tartare in a plantain cone. The next courses range from smoked ahi tuna carpaccio with blood orange and wild fennel pollen to wood-roast spicy rock lobster, clams and saffron guazzetto. For dessert, chocolate fondant with coconut gelato, panettone delizia with warm Moscato zabaglione or torrone semifreddo with pistachio sauce.  Reservations are available for 8 p.m. and will secure your table for dinner and DJ until 2012. 8764 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, (310) 432-2000, www.cecconiswesthollywood.com.

Chaya: Chaya's three restaurants -- in Beverly Hills, downtown L.A. and Venice -- are hosting themed New Year's Eve soirées that include "Midnight in Paris," "New York Nights" and "Mardi Gras Carnival." Each destination will feature prix-fixe menus, live entertainment and midnight toasts. In downtown L.A., experience New York with live jazz and Chaya's signature Euro-Asian cuisine with a "bonsai box" of big-eye tuna sushi, Kumamoto oyster and sea urchin shooter and a Moroccan-spiced maple leaf duck salad. 525 S. Flower St., L.A., (213) 236-9577, thechaya.com.

City Tavern: This craft beer bar in Culver City will be hosting “Brew Year's Eve.” From 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., patrons can drink unlimited beer, wine and Champagne for $68 per person. A reduced price of $56 is extended to guests with a dinner reservation. In addition, booths accommodating six to eight people can be reserved for $100 per person. 9739 Culver Blvd., Culver City, (310) 838-9739, www.citytavernculvercity.com.

Drago Centro: On Christmas Eve, Drago Centro is celebrating with the feast of seven fishes. The seven- course menu is $70 per person with optional wine pairings for an additional $40. Dishes include Blue Point oyster with red currant pearls, crab salad with fennel and pomegranate seeds, Maine lobster cappuccino and more. 525 S. Flower St., Suite 120, Los Angeles, www.dragocentro.com.

Fig and Olive: New Year's Eve dinner is meant to evoke the French Riviera with Fig and Olive’s four-course prix-fixe menu at $150 per person. Each guest will be greeted with a complimentary glass of Moët & Chandon Champagne and a set of white and gold party favors to celebrate the New Year. Diners can savor grilled langoustine de San Sebastian with artichoke tapenade and smoked pimentón olive oil and fig foie gras terrine with pear chutney and Pedro Ximenez reduction. After dinner, dance in the restaurant until 2 a.m. with DJ Julien Nolan. 8490 Melrose Place, West Hollywood, (310) 360-9100, figandolive.com.

Jar: Executive chef Suzanne Tracht will be serving up her signature dishes as well as some New Year's Eve specials at Jar. The a la carte menu will include truffled celery root soup with braised celery hearts, oxtail consommé with oxtail pumpkin dumplings, and gnocchi with chanterelles and lobster. In addition, guests will be given party favors to celebrate the coming of 2012. 8225 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 655-6566, www.thejar.com

Locanda Del Lago: On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, chef Gianfranco Minuz is cooking a meal showcasing Italian winter ingredients. Diners can choose between a $55 three-course menu or a $68 four-course menu.  Diners can add optional wine pairings ($25) and a seasonal dessert ($11). The holiday menu includes Scottish salmon marinated with pomegranate and spiced wine reduction, capon chicken tortellini with chicken consommé and Grana Padano, and roasted veal tenderloin with morel mushroom and chestnut sauce. On New Year’s Eve, the restaurant will be offering a five-course prix-fixe menu for $89 per person or $139 per person, which includes endless Pommery Champagne. There will be a live DJ and dancing. Overnight parking is available to diners for $15 (with next-day pickup from 5 to 10 p.m.). 231 Arizona Ave., Santa Monica, (310) 451-3525, lagosantamonica.com.

Lucques: This New Year's Eve at Lucques, diners will be transported to the canals of Venice with a meal inspired by the famous Harry's Bar. The five-course prix-fixe menu is $110 for the first seating and $150 for the second seating. The menu includes a Venetian antipasto of grisini with prosciutto di Parma, fagioli and winter squash in saor, fried artichokes in bagna cauda and burrata with pesto. Following the antipasto will be warm scallop and squid salad, tagliolini with lobster and herb-roasted rack of lamb with radicchio risotto. To end the feast, torta di zabaglione for dessert. 

 8474 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 655-6277, lucques.com.

Marino's: A classic Italian restaurant, Marino's is serving up the traditional southern Italian feast of seven fishes family-style. The four-course meal is $60 per person, including dishes such as spaghetti with baby clams, cod cakes and poached branzino. For dessertguests can enjoy ricotta cheescake, panettone souffle or roasted chestnuts. 6001 Melrose Ave, Hollywood, (323) 466-8812, www.marinorestaurant.net

Mélisse: Michelin-starred chef Josiah Citrin is preparing a five-course Christmas Eve menu priced at $150 per guest. Options include seared foie gras and glazed pear; smoked salmon "pavé" with potato, green apple, caviar and sauce gribiche; Maine lobster and scallop “pot au feu”; or prime filet of beef with bulb onions. Guests will have a choice of fig and apple tart or a Valhrona chocolate crunch cake for dessert. Mélisse's New Year's Eve dinner has two options: an early seating beginning at 5:30 with a four-course menu ($140) or a late seating at 8:30 p.m. for six courses ($250). Highlights of the menu include the restaurant's signature caviar with poached egg and lemon crème fraîche, lemon-crusted Dover sole and olive-crusted lamb. Reservations are advised. 1104 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 385-0881, melisse.com.

Mozza's Scuola di Pizza: Nancy Silverton's Scuola di Pizza at Mozza offers Saturday night family-style dinners, and Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve are no exception. Christmas Eve is the annual feast of seven fishes for $75 at 7 p.m. And on New Year's Eve, a multi-course dinner celebrating truffle season will be served with wines for $250 per person at 8 p.m. Seating is limited. Call the event line at (323) 297-1133. 6602 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, www.mozza-la.com. 

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5 Questions for Danny Elmaleh

Dan Danny Elmaleh is the executive chef of both Cleo and Mercato di Vetro.  After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in 1995, Elmaleh worked at many restaurants around the world, including Jean Moulin in Japan and Ristorante Giannino in Milan. In 2001, he moved to Los Angeles, where he cooked at Josiah Citrin's Mélisse and Lemon Moon.  Eight years later, Elmaleh began his partnership with SBE Entertainment Group.  He is now executive chef for all its restaurants.

What’s coming up next on your menu? I am always thinking about new, seasonally influenced items for the menus. Specific to Vetro, I’m focused on an egg dish. I’ve been playing around with a spicy tripe soup with egg, or because mushrooms are in season, possibly a spin on English mushroom toast with egg.

Latest ingredient obsession? Salt is something that’s always fascinated me. Not just from a flavor profile, but also from a moisture extraction perspective. There’s such a delicate balance in the way that salt influences the flavors and textures of other ingredients. Our Hen of Woods dish at Vetro is a great example of how executing the right balance of salt before, during and after it’s cooked is vital in creating the perfect flavor.

What’s your favorite breakfast? There’s a delicious Tunisian breakfast that my father used to make for me. It calls for pat-brik filled with sautéed tuna and mushrooms, and melted cheese and eggs. The pat-brik is like a spring roll paper and you fold it over the ingredients and brown until crispy. If done just right, the cheese is melted and yolks are runny. Hands down my favorite.

The one piece of kitchen equipment you can’t live without, other than your knives? My hands –- that’s the No. 1 tool in being a chef for touch, feel and the art of manipulating ingredients with precision. Next to the hands, I’m always looking for a spoon, which I use for almost everything, including tasting, measuring, plating and mixing.

What chef has most influenced you? My dad. He opened the first Moroccan restaurant in Japan, and I grew up working with him in the kitchen. Having that experience at a young age was a major influence on me and has served me very well throughout my career. Today, he owns Simon’s Café in the Valley.


The Bracebridge dinner in Yosemite

Cook's stocking stuffer: Mutti of Parma tomato paste

Happy hour at Komida, the place for Japanese tacos in Hollywood

--Leah Rodrigues
twitter.com/ LeahRodrigues24

Photo credit: SBE


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