Pinot Bistro, located in Studio City, has recently taken their practice of a no-corkage fee policy to the next level by allowing diners to bring in their own bottle of vino for a customized wine-paired three-, four- or five-course dinner. With an advance notice of vintage or varietal, executive chef Steven Mary crafts a menu composed of the restaurant’s traditional French fare with a take on modern California cuisine, tailored to compliment the wine of choice. We sat down with chef Mary to find out what these “Bring Your Own Bottle” dinners are all about:
The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles
Here's a sneak peek at what's coming in Thursday's Food section:
Are you a fan of C.S. Lewis' "Chronicles of Narnia" series? If so, then you recall reading about Turkish delight, the confection that the White Witch uses to enchant a naughty little boy. And you might have wondered -- as I did -- what is Turkish delight? This week's Artisan brings you behind the scenes at a local pastry shop that specializes in Turkish delight and has done so for three generations. Click here to read more and take a look at this photo gallery of the making of Turkish delight.
-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch
Photo: A tray of freshly made pistachio Turkish delight treats at Nory Candy & Pastry in Winnetka. Credit: Katie Falkenberg / For The Times
Here's a sneak peak at what's coming in this week's Food section:
Antojitos Latinos' owner has added a full-scale restaurant down the street in Van Nuys, where fans can savor sancochos and other Colombian comfort foods. A small-plates gastropub-style meal could easily be assembled from any combination of antojitos with the freshly made soup of the day at El Mesόn Criollo. Ideal candidates might be papas chorreadas with their delicate cheese sauce, or corn-crusted empanadas de carne, eggshell-thin-crusted turnovers stuffed with juicy seasoned shredded beef.
Then there's the pizza-like patacon pisao, whose tropical "crust" is a whole lengthwise-sliced and flattened green plantain that's deep-fried. Topping choices include beef or chicken braised with onions and tomatoes or with seasoned vegetables. With these, regulars love to order a batido, the Colombian milkshake or ice-blended juice made from imported tropical fruit purées such asguanábana, guayaba or lulo (a.k.a. naranjilla), a mini tomato-like fruit.
Read more: "The Find: El Mesόn Criollo."
On your way to the stampede for flat-screen TVs, you might also want to keep in mind the Black Friday restaurant openings at Brentwood Country Mart, Beverly Center and Westfield Topanga Shopping Center. Ice cream break, anyone?
FarmShop: Jeff Cerciello, who headed Thomas Keller's Bouchon, Bouchon Bakery and Ad Hoc, has opened FarmShop bakery in the Brentwood Country Mart, taking over the space that formerly housed Maury Rubin's City Bakery. This is the first phase of FarmShop's opening, according to a release. The bakery will be open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday, with brunch service expected to start the weekend of Dec. 4. Breakfast, lunch and family-style dinners soon will follow. The market, featuring cheese, charcuterie, a butcher, prepared foods, and wine and beer is slated to open next year.
Brentwood Country Mart, 225 26th St., Suite 25, Santa Monica, (310) 566-2400, www.farmshopla.com.
Obika Mozzarella Bar: The second L.A. outpost of the Italian chain of mozzarella-focused restaurants is open in Beverly Center. Just as at the Century City location, the Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP is flown in three times a week from Italy. Besides seasonal panini such as speck affumicato dell'Alto Adige with grilled artichokes and wild arugula, the menu features other cheeses, Italian specialties and California produce. Open on Black Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Beverly Center, 8500 Beverly Blvd., Suite K604, Los Angeles, (310) 652-2088, www.obikala.com.
L.A. Creamery Artisan Ice Cream: Chef-partner Jessica Goryl, formerly of Cafe del Rey and Laurent Tourondel's BLT Steak, uses Straus Family Creamery dairy and offers 16 to 18 house-made rotating flavors daily. Also: sorbets, sundaes, ice cream sandwiches, bonbons and fresh fruit popsicles. Plus baked goods, Intelligentsia coffee and tea from the Art of Tea. (Note: It's next to Nordstrom.)
Westfield Topanga Shopping Center, 6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Suite 1044, Canoga Park, (818) 340-2663, www.lacreamery.com.
-- Betty Hallock
Photo: Obika's Century City location. Credit: Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times
4 food events you should know about: Zen dining at Breadbar; Eva fundraiser and anniversary dinner; the American Wine & Food Festival; Cube's pork and beans fundraiser
Zen dining: Starting Tuesday through Sept. 28, Breadbar hosts chef David Schlosser and his “Za-Zen” pop-up, offering a taste of kappo cuisine based on a formal style of dining from Kyoto, Japan. Dishes explore the balance in traditional Japanese cuisine between seafood and farmed vegetables and sea plants. A seven-course "plant and fungi" menu includes germinated rice with barley, fresh chestnuts, lotus root pickle, kelp soup and black sesame mochi; fall mushrooms marinated, grilled and smoked in hay, with sesame and kinako paste; and fig filled with red bean and cinnamon ($34). Another menu includes hirame sashimi, pressed in kelp and marinated konbu jinme with mountain yam, nori cube, wasabi and wasabi sprout; autumn knife fish sanma with prickly ash pepper and marinated winter vegetables; and persimmon with shaved black sugar ($46). 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday.
Breadbar, 8718 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, (310) 205-0124, www.breadbar.net.
A fundraiser, and an anniversary: Eva restaurant and Share Our Strength host a fundraising dinner to help fight childhood hunger on Wednesday. Four courses feature the produce of Alex Weiser and include: potato with clam; cod caponata; chicken with charred onion; and "chocolate with chocolate." $65 per person. And on Sept. 29, chef Mark Gold celebrates Eva's first anniversary with special guest chefs Josiah Citrin, Michael Cimarusti, Walter Manzke and Sherry Yard. Five courses for $150; an additional $50 with wine pairing. Reservations required.
7458 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 634-0700, www.evarestaurantla.com.
Puck-a-palooza: Tickets for the American Wine & Food Festival, benefiting Los Angeles Meals on Wheels programs, are now on sale. The 28th annual bacchanalia hosted by the Puck-Lazaroff Charitable Foundation, takes place Sept. 25 at Universal Studios' back lot. Among the chefs at this year's event: Gino Angelini, Paul Bartolotta, Floyd Cardoz, Lissa Doumani and Hiro Sone, Dean Fearing, Thomas Keller, Paul Liebrandt and more. See the jump for the full list of participating chefs. The next day, on Sept. 26, Wolfgang Puck, Lee Hefter and Barbara Lazaroff with executive pastry chef Sherry Yard host the Chefs Grand Tasting Dinner at Spago. Tickets are $300 for the AWFF, and $750 per person or $7,000 per table for the Chefs Grand Tasting.
American Wine & Food Festival, Universal Studios’ back lot, 3900 Lankershim Blvd., Gate 3, Universal City. Chefs Grand Tasting Dinner, Spago Beverly Hills, 176 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills. For tickets and more info, go to www.awff.org/tickets.
Pork! Beans! Cube Marketplace & Cafe, along with Steven Sando of Rancho Gordo and Taylor Boetticher and Toponia Miller of Fatted Calf charcuterie, present a pork and beans rooftop barbecue fundraiser at its downtown factory on Oct. 9 from 1 to 4 p.m. Dishes will incorporate products from the Bay Area's Fatted Calf (pork) and Rancho Gordo (beans). All proceeds from the event will benefit Cube Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to the development of garden-to-table programs for local underprivileged children and their parents. Corey Landis & the Attacks and Quinn DeVeaux & the Blue Beat Review are scheduled to perform. $64 per person in advance, $75 at the door.
Cube Foundation Rooftop Garden, 550 Ceres Ave., Los Angeles, www.cubemarketplace.com.
-- Betty Hallock
Photo: Mark Gold at Eva. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times
Closings: Squid Ink reports that Marche in Sherman Oaks is closing next month. Its last day will be May 8. The restaurant, which was formerly Max, opened in September. Under the helm of chef Gary Menes, it received two-and-a-half stars from Times restaurant critic S. Irene Virbila. "We've got a core of extremely loyal customers, but it just hasn't been enough," owner Andre Guerrero, who also owns the Oinkster in Eagle Rock and BoHo in Hollywood, told S.I. 13355 Ventura Boulevard, Sherman Oaks, (818) 784-2915, www.marche-la.com.
Photo credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times
Casa Don Rolando sits on secluded Parthenia Place, a one-block street that curves between a row of tawdry gentleman's lounges and rundown taquerias on Sepulveda Boulevard and a vast, gaudily lighted stretch of auto dealerships and tire retread shops in North Hills.
But step inside the restaurant's set piece of a dining room and you might feel a bit like Alice having traveled down the rabbit hole to Wonderland — or in this case into a fantasy of a magnificent old Cuban hacienda whose grandeur has been softened by years of patina. Read more here from Linda Burum about this week's find.
Photo: Cuban combo platter. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times
The six-time Emmy winner boasted a Super Bowl commercial, was lovingly roasted at the Screen Actors Guild Awards (before receiving a lifetime achievement honor) and is set to host Saturday Night Live on May 8. If that's not enough -- and it's not, c'mon, everyone loves Betty -- she now has her own hot dog.
White was at Universal CityWalk on Monday to mark the opening of Pink’s newest hot dog stand. It was also the unveiling of a new menu item -- the Betty White “Naked” hot dog. Now, get your mind out of the gutter. The hot dog is thusly named because Betty White likes her hot dogs simple. Nothing on them.
Naked, if you will.
On Twitter @renelynch
Photo credit: Universal CityWalk
Small Bites: James Beard award nominees; SunGay Brunch, the gay brunch bus tour; Loteria Grill to open in Studio City
Awards season: The James Beard Foundation announced restaurant and chef semifinalists for its 2010 awards. A hometown rah-rah goes to Suzanne Goin of Lucques and Mark Peel of Campanile in the "outstanding chef" category. Finalists will be announced next month, and awards are handed out at the James Beard Foundation Awards Ceremony and Gala Reception in May. Other Los Angeles semifinalists are: Benjamin Bailly of Petrossian for "rising star chef of the year"; Goin's Tavern for "best new restaurant"; Patina for "outstanding wine service"; the Dining Room at the Langham in Pasadena for "outstanding service"; Michael Cimarusti of Providence, Josiah Citrin of Melisse, Andrew Kirschner of Wilshire, Matt Molina of Osteria Mozza, John Rivera Sedlar of Rivera, and Craig Strong of Studio at Montage Laguna Beach for "best chef: Pacific."
The big gay brunch bus: The SunGay Brunch Tour, which claims it is "Hollywood's first and only gay bus tour that spans LGBT history from pre-Spanish settlement to present day in Los Angeles," starts rolling Sunday, Feb. 28. While exploring the "in's and especially out's" of gay L.A., brunch will be served in three courses at three restaurants. It starts with appetizers and Meximosas (Champagne and guava nectar) at Mexico Restaurante y Barra in West Hollywood. The bus meets up with the Buttermilk truck for pancakes, biscuit breakfast sandwiches, rosemary garlic hash browns and Hawaiian bread cinnamon French toast sticks. The tour ends with a trio of desserts at Flying Leap Cafe. Out & About Tours, the last Sunday of the month starting Feb. 28, 1 to 4 p.m.; $85 per person; tickets available at www.outandabout-tours.com.
New in Studio City: Jimmy Shaw, owner of Loteria in the Original Farmers Market and Loteria Grill in Hollywood, opens another Loteria Grill in Studio City. The debut is set for today. 12050 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, (818) 508-5300, www.loteriagrill.com.
-- Betty Hallock
Photo: Suzanne Goin; credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times.
Neighborhood Canteen: After a year of planning, chef Josef Centeno (Lot 1, Meson G, Opus) and restaurateur Michael Cardenas (Boa, Katana, Sushi Roku) plan to open the Lazy Ox Canteen in Little Tokyo sometime next week, Dec. 10 at the latest. "We could open today," Centeno says. "The restaurant itself is finished." They're waiting on final inspections and permits.
Centeno, who left Echo Park eatery Lot 1 three months after it opened, has an ambitious vision for Lazy Ox, and it's reflected in an eclectic menu that features pan-fried skate wing with ham-hock collard greens and shellfish béarnaise; charred octopus with garlic rappini and a preserved lemon vinaigrette; khlii (Moroccan-style beef jerky); cod brandade fritters with yuzu aioli; brick-roasted mussels; Jersey cow Ricotta agnolotti with pancetta-tomato sauce and Pecorino; and more. "We'll be grinding our own meat for burgers, grinding our own sausages, making our own pates," Centeno says. "We'll be getting in our own whole baby pigs and we'll confit them and cook them in our brick oven."
Lazy Ox will also have a wine list, 12 microbrews on tap and a small selection of bottled Japanese microbrews (including Ryujin Shuzo brewery's Ozeno Yukidoke IPA) that will, according to Centeno, be sold in the United States for the first time.
It's not fusion. It's not small plates. So what is it? "New American with global influences," Centeno says. Or as he has oft repeated, "It's basically everything we like to eat." 241 S. San Pedro St., L.A. (213) 626-5266, www.lazyoxcanteen.com.-- Elina Shatkin
Photo: Pasadena's newest piece of street art, "The Fork in the Road," located at South Pasadena Avenue where it meets St. John Avenue. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times