- ONE WOMAN ON A MISSION TO DISCOVER & EXPERIENCE ALL THINGS LOS ANGELES
Filed In: FOOD (+ BEVERAGE)
I have been out in Hollywood more times in the past month than I feel like I have in 2-3 years. Hollywood finally seems to be filling in the gaps with totally worthwhile cocktail bars and eateries and Viva Hollywood is one of my latest and greatest favorites to enter the neighborhood. Viva took over the space that was once Beso and converted it into a casual chic Mexican centric restaurant with ideal ambiance and all around great food. All I had to know prior to making the decision to pay Viva a visit was that Chef Raymond Alvarez (formerly of Toca Madera) had something to do with it and I was sold. Toca Madera and Tocaya offer some of my absolute favorite Mexican food in Los Angeles so I could easily count on Viva to uphold the same standard.
First thoughts over the words “magic show” (for me at least) aren’t exactly “OOoOooO!” I’ll be honest, usually there more like, “…hmmm…” BUT that being said, say “magic show” and “Houston Hospitality” (Good Times at Davey Waynes, No Vacancy, La Descarga, Breakroom 86, etc.) in the same sentence and suddenly I’m sold. Black Rabbit Rose is the latest Houston Hospitality venture to hit Hollywood; born into the former Butchers & Barbers space, Black Rabbit Rose is the team’s latest concept that is centered around dining, entertainment, and of course cocktails. It’s been described by many as the “smaller, younger, more hip sibling” to the O.G. of Hollywood mystery, The Magic Castle. (Cheesy magician voice) Why that may be, you’ll have to see for yourself.
Have you ever wanted to go out and just have dessert? It happens to me more often than I think I’d like to admit, but if you’ve got a case of the sweet tooth you probably sympathize. Well. If you were looking for the perfect excuse to dine solely on sugar, I have found it! One of my favorite places in LA, The Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills, now offers a 7 course dessert tasting that is described as a celebration in honor of the intersection between art and taste. We’re talking about The Peninsula here, you can completely guarantee that not only will your food taste wonderful, it will look particularly wonderful as well. Think seashells, flowers, pretty plates, perfectly made treats and all that exemplifies “almost too beautiful to eat”. The best part about this dessert tasting? It comes with free flowing champagne for up to two people! So for $76, you and your date/mom/friend/grandma/colleague can indulge in some truly incredible sweets, AND drink all the champagne you want.
MY FAVORITE PASTA DISH ON THE PLANET IS BACK IN LOS ANGELES. I REPEAT. MY FAVORITE PASTA. IS BACK IN LOS ANGELES.
Ever since Scarpetta closed its doors about a year or so ago, there was a void I worried would never be filled – that is unless I was willing to travel to the Scarpetta in Vegas or NY to fill it. But thankfully as of a few months ago, chef Scott Conant is back in Los Angeles and has teamed up with some of my favorite local restauranteurs to bring us The Ponte, and thus, bring back Scott’s signature spaghetti pomodoro.
And the award for cutest restaurant name… cutest concept… basically cutest everything goes to… KISMET! And I haven’t even told you my favorite part yet: Kismet is run by a dream *girl power* team (Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson of Madcapra fame, and formerly New York City’s Glasseriein) in partnership with the beloved team behind Jon + Vinny’s. It was destined for greatness and greatness it has already achieved.
Can we talk about how good Chinese food is (seemingly) really freaking hard to find in Los Angeles? WHAT IS THAT. I’m all ears if you’d like to school me on decent Chinese places in LA, but me personally, before last week there’s no way I could have offered you even one recommendation. But thankfully as of December LA is home to an AMAZING fast casual Chinese food joint called Fat Dragon, and it really is everything I needed and wanted in my life – finally the void has been filled.
Somewhere up there at the top of the “LA’s Most Picturesque Restaurants” you’ll find places like Republique, Gracias Madre, and most recently – Manuela. Oh Manuela. I’ve been hearing nothing but amazing things about this place and once I finally had the chance to go, I completely understood why. As mentioned, Manuela is easily one of the most beautiful restaurants in LA right now; it’s located right in the heart of the Arts District in the Hauser Wirth & Schimmel arts complex which is of course complete with art galleries, a garden, and most importantly – chickens. I damn near screamed (in delight) when I saw REAL LIVE ADORABLE HENS in Downtown LA, just sitting there hangin’ out in a garden. Very casual. This garden and those chickens however belong to Manuela who clearly have taken the quality of their ingredients to a whole other level. It’s not all that often that a restaurant has such close access to their very own garden in Los Angeles. (Real estate is quite hard to come by in case you didn’t know!)
I feel like meal delivery services are popping up all over the place in Los Angeles, each with their own special niche and clientele. And naturally, being the adventurous, non-cooking, food lover that I am I have tried a few of them! None of which however resembled what I’ve come to appreciate from the likes of a certain local meal delivery service called Crateful. Crateful is a self proclaimed “Michelin Star Chef Prepared, meal delivery service” based right here in the city of Angels. If you’re familiar with any delivery services, you probably found that a lot of them cater to meals that can be enjoyed cold (i.e. salads, juices, etc.). But Crateful is really testing a theory based on the same premise… just with a larger array of more exciting ingredients (some of which are meant to create hot dishes). I was fortunate enough to give Crateful a trial run recently, and here’s what I’ve come to love from this special experience:
Talk about a swift and silent landing! “TomGeorge” held no meaning to Angelenos one day, and then the next: voila – a sign, a full staff, and lunch/brunch/dinner service. No press releases, no big to-do, just whispers and word of mouth.
“It’s not happy hour, it’s not share plates, it’s not family style… it’s Baldoria.” Kind of in love with that? ALL THOUGH I WILL SAY…. their happy hour and shared plates are pretty fucking wonderful, so even if they did lead with that it’d be accurate, just perhaps a slightly less adorable tagline.
Baldoria opened a few months back in Little Tokyo and since then I have seen that name come up, time and time again. I recently did a little research to find out what they were all about and was completely blown away over all of the incredibly positive responses. It’s not like we can totally trust Yelp, but Baldoria has managed to get 4.5 stars and 112 reviews already?! I’m not even mad… I’m impressed.