Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Recession busters

Recession Busters: Half off the entire menu

Moules frites (steamed mussels in a saffron broth with a side of French fries) at Tasca Wine Bar in Brentwood. (CREDIT: Lawrence K. Ho, Los Angeles Times) The economy's in a tailspin but you're still hungry, and thanks to a pesky public that thinks compensation should be tied to performance, you might not get your AIG bonus. What to do? Drink/Eat/Play has organized an ongoing Screw the Recession promotion. For one night only at a designated restaurant, the entire menu will be 50% off. That's right, the entire menu. No fixed courses, no picking over watered-down discount menus, no two-for-one coupons required. Just an old-fashioned half-off meal.

Deal nights are sporadic and rotate:  San Gennaro Cafe in Brentwood (Tuesday), Tasca Wine Bar on 3rd Street (March 23), the Kress in Hollywood (April 2) and Geisha House in Hollywood (April 6). You can only make reservations for that week's featured restaurant, but reservations are strongly recommended.

For more Recession Busters, click here.

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Moules frites (steamed mussels in a saffron broth with a side of French fries) at Tasca Wine Bar in Brentwood. (Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

Recession Busters: $1 specials (mark your calendars) [UPDATED]


In an interesting coincidence, Aloha Cafe, Luckyfish and La Grande Orange Cafe are all celebrating their one-year annivesaries with dollar specials. They are as follows:

Today through Saturday (March 12-14): At Hawaiian restaurant Aloha Cafe downtown, among other anniversary specials, spam musubi is only $1. 410 E. 2nd St., Los Angeles, (213) 346-9930, www.eatatalohacafe.com

Thursday (March 19): At Luckyfish, each dish on the sushi conveyor belt and all drinks (including beer and cocktails) will be $1, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. 338 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, 274-9800, www.luckyfishsushi.com

Monday and Tuesday (March 23-24): La Grande Orange Cafe in Pasadena is offering the following deal: Buy one entrée and get the second one for $1. 260 Raymond Ave., Pasadena, (626) 356-4444, www.lgohospitality.com

-- Betty Hallock

Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News

For more dining deals, click here.

Updated March 16, 10:28 a.m.: An earlier version of this post had the incorrect dates for La Grande Orange Cafe's anniversary offer. The offer is for next Monday and Tuesday, March 23 and 24.

Recession Busters: Cost of Luau's Recession Punch dips along with Dow

The Blue Loree cocktail at Luau in Beverly Hills. Credit: Ken Hively, Los Angeles Times With the Dow Jones industrial average's recent drop below 7,000, most of us are hoping that this recession has hit bottom, but at Luau you're in luck if the economy keeps getting worse. The Beverly Hills tiki restaurant and lounge reprices the cost of its Recession Punch on a daily basis to reflect the change in the Dow.

The base price of $14 that's based on a Dow of just under 13,000 means yesterday's guests imbibed this mix of rum and citrus juices for under $7.50. (That isn't cheap, but remember that your average tiki drink packs two and sometimes three times as much booze as a standard cocktail.) Luau's bar is open Tuesday-Sunday, 6-11 p.m.

Luau also recently introduced its Sunday Chinese dinner, a prix-fixe meal  for $24.95 per person that includes a choice of two pupus and the soup of the day; an entrée like kung pao chicken, beef with broccoli or crispy catfish; a side of mixed vegetables; and your choice of steamed or fried rice. Luau: 369 N. Bedford Drive, Beverly Hills; (310) 274-0090.

Click here for more recession-busting dining deals.

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: The Blue Loree cocktail at Luau in Beverly Hills. (Credit: Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times)

Recession Busters: Craftbar, Ortolan

Craftbar2shot Craftbar Opens: Beginning tonight, chef Tom Colicchio and chef de cuisine Matthew Accarrino transform Craft Los Angeles' front lounge and terrace into Craftbar, where they'll serve an array of small dishes all priced $10 or under. Snack on hush puppies with tomato-bacon jam, Jidori chicken wings with maple Dijon aioli, lamb sliders, foie gras confit, raw albacore tuna with pickled shallots and kishu tangerine, veal and ricotta meatballs, Berkshire pork rillettes and several Italian-influenced dishes like spaghetti with abalone puttanesca, braised veal ravioli with hazelnut brown butter and leek goat cheese pizza. For dessert, pastry chef Catherine Schimenti has whipped up half a dozen offerings including cinnamon sugar donut holes, butterscotch panna cotta and coffee ice cream parfait with whiskey sauce and toffee pecans. Craftbar: 10100 Constellation Blvd., L.A. (310) 279-4180.

Ortolandiningroom Nibbles at Ortolan: Chef Christophe Émé recently added ten Nibbles -- less expensive, small plates that cost $6 to $14 -- to Ortolan's menu. Available Tuesday through Saturday, 6 p.m. to closing, they include short ribs with a potato soufflé and herb salad; pork confit with chickpea and gelée; salmon with lemongrass and ponzu. This is the first of several changes including a Sunday brunch that starts this Sunday, March 8, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (appetizer, main course and dessert for $45 per person plus tax and gratuity). Émé has also dropped the price of the eight-course seduction menu from $110 per person to $80 per person; it can be ordered until 9:30 p.m. daily. Ortolan Restaurant: 8338 W. 3rd Street, L.A. (323) 653-3300, www.ortolanrestaurant.com

Click here for more recession-busting dining deals

-- Elina Shatkin

Photos: TOP: Pork belly with Madras curry and dates at Craft; the terrace at Craft. (Los Angeles Times). BOTTOM: Crystal chandeliers, high-backed leather booths and sweeping curtains give a glamorous air to the main dining room at Ortolan. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Recession Busters: Rush Street brunch, Casa happy hour and Jamba Juice oatmeal

Oatmeal_2The Recession Busting never, ever ends (ever): Jamba Juice has announced an "oatmeal-fueled stimulus plan," which offers oatmeal with fruit topping for $1 through the end of March. To get your steaming bowlful, go to www.oatmealforabuck.com and print out a coupon. (I can't believe that URL wasn't already taken!) In other chain restaurant news: El Pollo Loco (of the amazing theme song) is now accepting competitors' chicken coupons and offering anywhere from $1 to $3 off menu items according to the coupon presented. Watch out, KFC! www.elpolloloco.com.

A Morningstar-less happy hour: The new downtown Mexican restaurant Casa is moving full-steam ahead after the hasty departure of chef Kris Morningstar. It recently announced a new happy hour featuring dishes such as albondigas (meatballs), tequila-flamed cheese and fries with chorizo (or soyrizo), all priced under $7. Drinks specials include $3 Modelo beers and $12 pitchers of sangria. Happy hours are as follows: for food, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Monday to Friday; drinks, 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. Monday to Friday; late night happy hour, Monday to Saturday 9 p.m. to midnight; Saturday 5 to 7 p.m. Casa, 350 S. Grand Ave, L.A. (213) 621-2249. www.casadowntown.com.

A boozy new brunch: The Culver City party restaurant Rush Street is launching a new weekend brunch beginning Saturday called "Red Eye Brunch." Its goal: to relieve your perpetual weekend-morning hangover by offering you more alcohol at reduced prices, and to line your stomach with hearty booze-compatible fare such as sloppy Joe's, burgers and fried eggs. Everything on the menu is priced at $10 or under. Oh, and there's a Bloody Mary bar for those who love tomato juice and olives (and vodka). Rush Street, 9546 Washington Blvd., Culver City. (310) 837-9546. www.rushstreetculvercity.com.

Click here for more recession-busting dining deals.

-- Jessica Gelt

Photo: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

Recession Busters: Free pizza at 1739 Public House

Publichouse1_2In the process of reporting a night life story about a new bar in Los Feliz called 1739 Public House, I stumbled upon a Recession Buster mother lode. 1739 Public House, on Vermont in the space formerly occupied by the short-lived French bistro Mes Amis, is a lively pub co-owned by Jessie Singh (who owns neighboring Cuba de Oro and the Electric Lotus). It's been open for a couple of months now, during which time it has quietly been serving free individual cheese pizzas (the size of large dinner plates) to anybody ordering alcohol between the hours of 3 and 7 p.m. on weekdays.

The bar and restaurant also serves a full menu of pub-inspired grub at decent prices. Not many items go for more than $9. Shepherd's pie, burgers, fish and chips, salads and sandwiches are available alongside 40 draft beers all priced at $6 apiece.

More recession-busting deals here.

— Jessica Gelt

Photo: Alex Gallardo / Los Angeles Times

Recession Busters (Not?): Breadbar rescinds deal but unveils new bistro-inspired menu


Listed in a recent post about restaurant deals was Breadbar's "Farmers Market Solace," prix-fixe three-course lunches for $15 and four-course dinners for $20 featuring farmers market ingredients -- a deal that had been brought to our attention by a publicist and offered at the Century City and 3rd Street locations only. (Though later when we called to fact-check, we were told it was offered only at the Century City location.) But a reader called to say that he had phoned Breadbar in Century City and was told that there was no such deal.

Was it only our imagination? No, a release definitely said: "Stock market troubles? Job worries? Breadbar has just the thing!" and went on to describe specific dishes, such as grilled chicken skewers with sweet raisin couscous and pesto corn on the cob.

When we checked in again with the publicist, we were told that Breadbar had "decided to hold off on the Farmers Market Solace menus for the time being." But take note: "Given the current economic climate, the bakery-bistro has partnered with chef Noriyuki Sugie to revamp its dinner menu to include more value-driven bistro-inspired dishes that are more accessible for diners. The new dinner menu is approachable, offering customers a great selection of seasonal salads and sandwiches, as well as a new 'Bistro Bar,' which features Japanese and Spanish-influenced small plates. Notable new dishes include vadouvan lamb curry with couscous and roasted squash ($23.25) and duck confit with lentils and kale ($20.25)."

Click here for more recession busting dining deals.

-- Betty Hallock

Photo credit: Breadbar

Recession Busters: Cecconi's, Sutra offer significant discounts this week

Sutra2 Today is turning out to be a financially prudent one for Daily Dish readers. In addition to Betty Hallock's list of recession specials and Jessica Gelt's martini find in Beverly Hills, two more deals are ready for your list.

Cecconi's, which we wrote about last week, is now open, and I just spied this fantastic opening week special on their website: All food is 50 % off this week. The special is good until Feb. 27 (drinks not included).

In addition, Costa Mesa's Sutra restaurant and nightclub is hosting an event called the Art of Vodka on Friday night. For $40, diners receive a five-course meal and five Grey Goose-based cocktail pairings. Menu items include seared pork tenderloin medallions, ahi salad and ginger-pear martinis. 

We're not sure how good the food will be, but for that price, who's going to complain?  In addition, Sutra says the first 50 diners to make reservations will take home a Grey Goose gift bag with four 200-milliliter bottles of vodka inside. For more information on the event (an art show featuring pieces inspired by Venice Beach "graffiti and culture" also debuts inside the club that evening) or to make a reservation, see the club's website, buy tickets here or e-mail nilo@sutrabar.com.

Click here for more recession busting dining deals.

-- Charlie Amter

Photo: Diners inside Sutra. Credit: Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times

Recession Busters: Martinis for $3.60 on Rodeo Drive

Martini There are deals and then there are deals. Bar 360 at the Luxe Hotel Rodeo Drive is offering the latter, italicized, deal. A deal must offer the full package: Location, price and atmosphere. Bar 360 nails all three with its spot-on happy hour. From 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. daily, excluding Sunday, the casually cool bar is serving dry, dirty or watermelon martinis for $3.60. A menu of tasty appetizers including crisp truffle French fries, duck confit quesadillas, barbecue pork belly and pressed ham sliders, and fried chicken skewers also go for $3.60. (Bonus: There is complimentary valet parking for two hours with validation.)

The funny thing is that although it just announced this offer as a recession-based one, Bar 360 has been serving $3.60 martinis during happy hour for close to two years now. I know because I used to drink them whenever I found myself on Rodeo Drive (which, granted, wasn't very often, but still). Anyway, when I did drink them, I always planted myself at one of the few sidewalk tables, which afforded fantastic people-watching opportunities. I can't think of another place on that fancy strip of road that offers a comparable ringside seat. 

Bar 360 at the Luxe Hotel Rodeo Drive, 360 N. Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills. (310) 273-0300. www.luxehotelrodeodrive.com.

Click here for more recession busting dining deals.

-- Jessica Gelt

Photo: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Recession Busters: Get your restaurant deals right here [Updated]


The recession is taking a big bite out of L.A. restaurant business -- read more here. Yet there is an upside: There are so many restaurant deals going on right now (yes, thank the economy), it's tough to keep track of them. So we've compiled a list of running bargains -- prix-fixe meals, especially happy happy hours, discounts and specials. If you'd like to keep us posted about ongoing or upcoming restaurant deals, please e-mail food@latimes.com.

“Simple Supper Menu”: Available Monday through Thursday (and Fridays and Saturdays before 7 p.m.), three courses for $30: your choice of soup or salad; citrus marinated jidori half chicken with cabbage fennel salad, Oro Blanco grapefruit, pickled red onions and pistachios, or poached Scottish salmon with beets, peewee potatoes, arugula and Meyer lemon, or house-made pappardelle with dandelion greens and pancetta; and build-your-own sundae.
1155 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood, (323) 871-2666, www.ammocafe.com.

The Bazaar by José Andrés at the SLS Hotel
The restaurant has extended its DineLA Restaurant Week offer indefinitely: four courses for $45 per person. First course: jamón serrano with “Catalan style” toasted bread with tomato and olive oil or “organized Caesar salad” with quail eggs and Parmesan cheese; second course: “croquetas” (chicken and bechamel fritters) or “not your everyday Caprese salad” (cherry tomatoes and liquid mozzarella); third course: sautéed shrimp with garlic and guindilla pepper or hanger steak with piquillo pepper confit; fourth course: traditional Spanish flan with fresh cheese and fruit or assorted bonbons.
465 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 247-0400, www.thebazaar.com.

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