- ONE WOMAN ON A MISSION TO DISCOVER & EXPERIENCE ALL THINGS LOS ANGELES
Filed In: FOOD (+ BEVERAGE)
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.
Destroyer. Super metal name, especially for a restaurant right? Well it’s befitting in one aspect because it seriously is the most serious “casual” breakfast/coffee/lunch spot I’ve probably ever been to. Walk in though to find no black metal or grime, but tunes by Explosions in the Sky and soft minimalist decor instead. The whole vibe definitely draws you in because if you don’t know exactly what you’re in for, it might not be at all what you expect.
I’ve never met a treat I didn’t like, but if you’re telling me there’s a delicious treat out there that happens to not only be tasty but also incredibly adorable… the ante has significantly been upped. Take these ice cream desserts from SomiSomi. If you live in LA, follow foodies, and try to stay on top of the pulse of current trends, there’s a chance you’ve already seen these little cuties somewhere on the internets or Instagrams. My best gal pal Nastassia of @letmeeatcake is ALWAYS on the look out for the latest and greatest sweet trends and this one I just needed to see and experience for myself as well.
There’s a new kid on one of my favorite DTLA blocks, and with it being at the center of the Arts District, it’s safe to assume that it’s hip, easy on the eyes, and yeah – tasty. The Smile’s di Alba opened up just last week and is already attracting passersby and Chef Nina Clemente (The Standard) fans like myself. The concept is a partnership between Nina and the brains behind NYC’s successful multi-concept dining collective called The Smile. Di Alba is the first West Coast concept to open and it’s described as “a modern, market-driven take on an Italian focacceria”. Now I don’t know about you, but all I needed to hear was “focacceria” and my cheese n’ bread lovin’ brain was piqued. I can’t really think of any focacceria’s in LA, and if you’ve been to Italy you know what a crucial role these types of eateries play in just about every Italian city. Pizzerias/Focaccerias are about as plentiful in Italy as Donuterias are in America. (Yes I 100% just made up “donuteria” but it kind of has a ring to it, doesn’t it?)