Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: San Fernando Valley

Small Bites: 9021Pho opens in Beverly Hills, Alcove to get a bar, Lazy Dog Cafe opens in Valencia

Jon Hamm, 38, of Mad Men relaxes at the Alcove in Los Feliz

Pho in Beverly Hills: As its name implies, 9021Pho serves pho (four types, to be exact) in the 90210 ZIP Code. The restaurant, which opens today, is overseen by chef Kimmy Tang, who emphasizes market-fresh produce and a health-conscious menu of stir-fry dishes, bento boxes and other Vietnamese eats. 490 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, CA.

Alcohol at the Alcove: The upscale market inside the Alcove Cafe and Bakery will reopen as a bar in early 2010. More details to come. 1929 Hillhurst Ave., L.A. (323) 644-0100.

Lazy Dog gets its day: On Monday, the latest outpost of expanding pan-ethnic chain the Lazy Dog Cafe opens inside the Valencia Town Center. (Soft opening this Thursday.) The brainchild of father/son duo Thomas and Chris Simms (dad is the founder of the vaguely New Orleans-y Mimi's Cafe chain), Lazy Dog's menu is a magpie collection of the most accessible dishes from around the world: pizza, pasta, hummus, burgers, wok-fried dishes, tacos, fish and chips, ribs, pot pies, salads and more. Plus, it has a full bar. 24201 Valencia Blvd., Valencia. (661) 253-9996, www.lazydogcafe.com.

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Salon's "sexiest man living," Jon Hamm, 38, of "Mad Men" relaxes at the Alcove in Los Feliz. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times.

Sampler Platter: Hardee's in Pakistan, bacon flights in Palm Springs, stolen bees in Matamata

Hardee's in Lahore, Pakistan

Bee thieves, suggestions for food that should be thrown at celebrity chefs and all sorts of pre-Turkey Day food news.

-- Thieves steal more than a million bees from New Zealand beekeeper. NZHerald.com
-- Ten celebrity chefs and the foods that should be thrown at them. Westworld
-- CKE Restaurants opens first Hardee's in Pakistan. Associated Press
-- White House menu for state dinner for Prime Minister Singh. ABC News
-- Xiao long bao at Tampa Garden in Reseda. Stuffy Cheaks
-- People learn to cook from restaurant chefs so they can save money by cooking at home. Chicago Tribune
-- Even vegetarians hate Tofurkey. CNN
-- It's time for the annual Butterball hotline horror stories. Chicago Sun-Times
-- Eating LA digs Cheeky's in Palm Springs with its flight of four kinds of bacon and pumpernickel waffle.

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Hardee's in Lahore, Pakistan. Credit: Business Wire

More Thanksgiving options: Joe's, Simon L.A., Henry's Hat, Gus's BBQ, Josie and Larcmont Larder

Tday Joe's Restaurant is offering a four-course Thanksgiving menu with several choices for each course, including sunchoke soup with smoked baby artichokes and hazelnuts; crispy sweetbreads with fall vegetables; Heritage Farms turkey breast and leg confit; Eastern monkfish and gulf shrimp with butter clam parsley broth; and pumpkin pie with pepita brittle and parsnip vanilla ice cream. $52 per person, $22 for children. 1023 Abbott Kinney Blvd., Venice; (310) 399-5811, www.joesrestaurant.com.

Henry's Hat opens Thanksgiving Day at 9 a.m., serving brunch all day long (including 2-for-1 mojitos and Bloody Marys, and bottomless mimosas and sangria). A Southern Thanksgiving buffet dinner starts at 2 p.m.: spinach salad; deep-fried turkey breast; brown butter and honey glazed ham; mashed potatoes; stuffing; roasted Brussels sprouts; coconut cream pie and pumpkin pie. $20 per person; children under 8 eat free. 3413 Cahuenga Blvd., Studio City; (323) 512-2500; www.henrys-hat.com.

Simon L.A. at the Sofitel Hotel is serving Thanksgiving, featuring free-range, organic turkey and trimmings such as sweet potatoes with caramelized walnuts, cornbread and sage stuffing, and buttermilk mashed potatoes. Kerry Simon's signature junk food platter: pumpkin cupcakes, orange coconut snowballs, pecan-date cookies, candy corn Rice Krispies treats, cranberry-orange sorbet, and pumpkin milkshake. Or you can have pumpkin pie. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., $46 per person, $21 for children under 12. Sofitel L.A., 8555 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles; (310) 358-3979; www.simonlarestaurant.com.

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Small Bites: Gobi Mongolian BBQ drops prices and Samba Brazilian Steakhouse opens

A dancer makes a big impression at Samba Brazilian Steakhouse & Bar in Redondo Beach. Discounted Mongolian barbecue: Gobi Mongolian BBQ in Silver Lake has launched a deal that's good Mondays through Thursdays until Dec. 31, dropping the price of its lunch to $8.95 and dinner to $11.95. Happy Hour (Mon.- Fri, 4-7 p.m.) also features $3 select beers, $4 wines by the glass, $4 cocktails and $1 off artisanal ales. 2827 W. Sunset Blvd., L.A. 213-989-0711, www.gobimongolianbbq.com.

A dash of Brazil: Featuring Brazilian churrascaria, a dedicated Caipirinha cocktail bar and free nightly entertainment like Samba dancers and Brazilian bands, Samba Brazilian Steakhouse & Lounge opens this Thursday at Universal CityWalk. 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City. www.citywalkhollywood.com.

--Elina Shatkin

Photo: A dancer makes a big impression at Samba Brazilian Steakhouse & Bar in Redondo Beach. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times.

Small Bites: Umami Burger (II) and Salaryman in Los Feliz; Raphael in Studio City; Philippe on Melrose


More Umami Burger: Umami Burger opened its second location Friday in Los Feliz, an Adam Fleischman-Steven Arroyo collaboration in the former Cobras & Matadors space on Hollywood Boulevard. The kokeshi-doll-accented restaurant serves the same roster of burgers as at its original La Brea Avenue location, including its signature Umami Burger (parmesan tuile, shiitake, special sauce, etc.), SoCal Burger and Manly Burger, among others. The adjacent Japanese beer bar is called Salaryman. 4655 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, www.umamiburger.com.

Coming to the Valley: Raphael is expected to open in Studio City this month. Owner Alon Raphael calls the 60-seater "fine dining casual, leaning more toward fine dining." Chef Stephen Burkalis, who had worked at the Water Grill in downtown Los Angeles, says the small menu (six or seven appetizers, nine entrees, six or seven desserts) is Japanese- , French- , Italian- and California-influenced. 11616 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, (818) 505-3337.

Melrose Avenue Chinese: High-end Chinese restaurant Philippe made its Melrose Avenue debut over the weekend in the former Dolce space, in all its red-white-and-black Deco-disco glory. Philippe already has restaurants in New York, Mexico City and Miami, with another on the way in Las Vegas. Signature dishes include satay, "Mr. Cheng's noodles" (hand-pulled noodles) and "nine seasons spicy prawns." The restaurant has attracted the wrath of Michael Chow (a.k.a. Mr. Chow), the former employer of Philippe co-owner Philippe Chow. Mr. Chow filed a lawsuit against Philippe in Los Angeles last month. 8284 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, www.philippechow.com.

-- Betty Hallock

Photo credit: Andy Lai / Philippe

Small Bites: Marche and Blue Dog Tavern in Sherman Oaks and Vinolio in Hollywood are newly opened


Market-driven at Marche: Gary Menes left Palate Food + Wine this summer to open Marche, in the old Max space in Sherman Oaks. Marche opened Tuesday, with a medium-plates menu of seasonal dishes, all priced at $16 or less. 13355 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, (818) 784-2415.

Dog days of Sherman Oaks: Another opening in Sherman Oaks: Blue Dog Tavern is serving lunch and dinner and soon, breakfast. On the menu, along with a roster of beers, are sandwiches, salads, pizza and burgers, as well as entrees such as spaghetti and meatballs. If you're so inclined, they'll put your pizza in the deep fryer (yes, deep-fried pizza). For dessert, there's something called a "Neapolitan mastiff" -- a 5-layer cookie sandwich with chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice cream. 4524 Saugus Ave., Sherman Oaks, (818) 990-2583, www.bluedogbeertavern.com.

Cahuenga Corridor Italian: Vinolio in Hollywood has announced its official grand opening; the Italian restaurant whose kitchen is helmed by Andy Pastore (he previously worked at Michael's in Santa Monica and Granita in Malibu) is focusing on "family-style Neopolitan pizza." You'll find standards such as prosciutto pizza, burrata caprese salad and tiramisu in a Mediterranean-rustic setting. 1634 N. Cahuenga Blvd, Los Angeles,  (323) 856-0888, www.vinoliola.com.

-- Betty Hallock

Photo credit: Vinolio

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

Sampler Platter: Taco tables, community gardens and chicken shortages

The popular Tacos Estrella truck in Highland Park. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles TimesIs Dijon mustard elitist? We ponder this among other issues in today's Sampler Platter.

  • LAist crawls the taco tables and trucks of Highland Park.
  • Henry's Farmers Market, a swank health-food and grocery store, opened Wednesday in Woodland Hills. Daily News
  • Sean Hannity attacks President Obama for ordering Dijon mustard on his burger. Gawker
  • Supporters of the Crenshaw Community Garden hope a partnership between the school and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's office will let the garden bloom once again. LA Beez
  • Franchises not cooperating, long waits and chicken shortages; the day after the Oprah/KFC chickengate, Consumerist analyzes What Went Wrong. And El Pollo Loco now says (via YouTube and Twitter) that it'll accept KFC-Oprah coupons on Mother's Day.

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: The popular Tacos La Estrella truck in Highland Park

Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Bokado is open in Studio City


Still in its soft-opening phase, Bokado, a modern Spanish-inspired bistro with an adjoining deli/marketplace, is bringing Iberian flavor to the Ventura Boulevard shopping district in Studio City. 

The casual space blends the comfortable grace of a Basque asador (grillery and roast house) with a congenial full bar where updated pintxos (tapas) include spicy patatas bravas, artisanal cheeses and oysters Rockefeller. The food’s not strictly traditional at all: There’s mac and manchego cheese and a marinated skirt steak Cobb salad. 

Consulting chef Todd Williams (executive chef at Bradley Ogden in Las Vegas) has fashioned a Basque-influenced lunch and dinner menu: Pan-roasted organic cod over white bean cassoulet and berberechos (Spanish clams) with fried baby artichokes accented with jamón Serrano are highlights. Sous-chef Fredi Ruiz -- ex of Melisse, Joe’s and Craft -- is at the stoves.  And overseeing desserts is Christa Sias,  formerly of the Breakers in Palm Beach.

 An array of breads baked in-house from doughs made by Porto’s Cuban Bakery are foundations for the many panini and bocadillos sandwiches.  Porto’s also delivers the guava and cheese-filled flaky pastries offered at breakfast.

Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 12345 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, (818) 752-9222.

-- Linda Burum 

Photo by Linda Burum 

Sampler Platter: The Counter is now open, vegetarianism as eating disorder

Katemoss So much controversial food news to read about...

  • Is vegetarianism a teen eating disorder? Or an eating disorder for everyone else? "People who don't eat meat are not just pale, boring, vain and flaky. They are also suffering from an eating disorder." Times Online
  • LAist recommends two cheap eats in Monterey Park: Seafood Village and Lucky City.
  • Sainsbury's rebrands the pollack with a less racially offensive name, the colin. Yahoo! News
  • The Counter, known for its burger-in-a-bowl and its panoply of toppings, opens in Westlake. Eater LA
  • There's no proof that she actually eats, yet Kate Moss is developing a cookbook. Mirror

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Peter Kramer / Associated Press


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