National Taco Day in LA

Casa Vega

Casa Vega

National Taco Day is October 4. What better way to celebrate than to go to one of the restaurants below and order a giant margarita with a plate of tacos. Here are some deals my favorite restaurants are offering in honor of the soft or crispy taco –

Los Gringos Locos 

Since today is such a special day, Gringos is serving three roasted pork belly tacos with caramelized onions, spices, rice and beans for $10. This pairs nicely with a $5 Habanero, Jicama, Prickly Pear, Pineapple or Mango margarita. 631 Foothill Blvd. La Canada, (818)790-2696.
Casa Vega

The Valley’s celebrity hot-spot is offering beef taquitos con guacamole or crispy four chicken flautas with creamy salso roja for 50% off their normal price on Friday, October 4 to celebrate National Taco Day. 13301 Ventura Blvd (818)788-4868.

International flavors at Mondo Taco

International flavors at Mondo Taco

Taco Mondo

One of my favorite taco shops located in a mini-mall offers braised short rib with a horseradish slaw, Moroccan lamb with a chimichurri sauce, grilled shrimp with chili sesame oil, soyrizo with peppers and mushrooms, and shredded pork topped with Dijon mushroom cream. Order one of the thirst-quenching frescas. I love the fresh watermelon or refreshing blueberry/ginger beverage. 1292 S La Brea Ave. (323) 939-0161.

Petty Cash

Hang out on Beverly during National Taco Day at one of the coolest taquerias in town. Chef Walter Manzke and his staff are offering one taco of your choice with a Modena on draft for $8 on Friday. DJ Stepdad – Davie Fernie will provide great tunes. 7360 Beverly Blvd. (323)933-5300.

Goat Tacos

Ebanos Crossing in downtown Los Angeles is a newer dining venue offering goat tacos that are braised in Mediterranean spices and garnished with yogurt slaw and rosemary oil. Pair them with a rum, mezcal, or tequila cocktail. 200 S. Hill St. (213)935-8829.

Skinny Style Tacos

Tortilla Republic has tacos de jicama with thinly sliced jicama “tortillas” filled with shrimp, chipotle mayo, cilantro, red onion, avocado and roasted corn salsa served on butter lettuce wraps. They also serve a sweet potato hibiscus flower taco has jicama, beets, queso fresco, sweet potato, hibiscus vinaigrette and cilantro. Both go nicely with a margarita. 616 N. Robertson Blvd. (310)657-9888.

Skinny taco at Tortilla Grill

Skinny taco at Tortilla Republic

Tacos for Bacon Lovers

Loteria Grill offers the “Three Little Pigs” tacos with juicy carnitas, crispy bacon with salsa morita, finely chopped onion and cilantro with pork rind chips. Farmers Market – 6333 W 3rd St. (323)930-2211, Hollywood – 6627 Hollywood Blvd. (323)465-2500, Studio City – 12050 Ventura Blvd. (818)508-5300, Westlake Village – 180 Promenade Way (805)379-1800 and Santa Monica – 1251 3rd St. (310)393-2700.

Happy Hour at Frida

Enjoy a good deal at the Americana at Brand during Happy Hour from 3 to 7 p.m. All drink specials and draft beers are $4. Sangria and well drinks are $5. Sip a martini, mojitos or margaritas for $6. Wines by the glass are $4 or order a bottle for $15. All go well with tacos. 750 Americana Way (818)551-1666

securedownload

Sushi Roku

Sushi Roku

Roku Style” Albacore Tacos fuse Latin American and Japanese cuisines, wrapping chunks of albacore tuna in crispy wonton wrappers before topping them with creamy guacamole and a tangy Asian salsa. 8445 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, (323) 655-6767 and 33 Miller Alley, Pasadena (626)683-3000.

M Café

Macrobiotic cuisine enthusiasts love the Tokyo TJ Tacos, featuring soy-and sake-marinated black cod or tofu in warm, sprouted corn tortillas with avocado, daikon sprouts, pickled onions, shredded cabbage, and yuzu mayo, served with choice of pinto or black beans, crispy corn chips and lime. 7119 Melrose Ave. (323)525-0588 and 9433 Brighton Way (310)858-8459.

Paiche

If you are in the Marina del Rey area, Ricardo Zarate makes a wonder Paiche Lettuce Wrap made with pieces of the Amazonian fish anticucho miso-marinated and grilled with crispy sweet potato. 13488 Maxella Ave  Marina del Rey
(310) 893-6100

M.A.K.E.

For a raw, living foods spin on the classic Vietnamese sandwich, check out Matthew Kenney’s Banh Mi Taco, with maitake mushrooms, guacamole, chipotle crème, carrot, and radish. 395 Santa Monica Place #333, (310) 394-7046.

Taco at M.A.K.E

Taco at M.A.K.E

Bibigo

Korean BBQ has joined the taco trend with Bibigo’s Green Taco filled with bulgogi in Boston lettuce, and topped with pickled daikon slices, pickled pepper, cilantro, and fresh tomato salsa dressing. Get a taco and beer at all three locations- 1091 Broxton Ave. (310) 824-0011, 225 S. Beverly Dr. Beverly Hills (310) 275-0011 and 10252 Santa Monica Blvd. (Century City Mall) (310) 557-0011.

Advertisements

10 Dandy Father’s Day Destinations in LA

Picnic with Dad

Picnic with Dad

Your Daddy might want to sit home with his remote, drink a few beers and watch television all day long for Father’s Day, but DON’T LET HIM. This is a day to organize something fun for Pop! Here are some fun dining destinations and overnight hot spots.

Your Beer Loving Dad Will Enjoy the Following Destinations –

Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar

The family-run spot is offering $3 big pints for Pop.  The special includes 16-ounce Lazy Dog house beers and Firestone DBA. Every dad who dines at Lazy Dog on Sun. June 16 will receive a free limited edition pint glass while supplies last.  Pair the beer with Lazy Dog’s famed BBQ Baby Back pork ribs with housemade BBQ sauce, or a prime steak like the garlic-butter glazed Flatiron or bacon wrapped coulotte. 3525 W. Carson. St. (310)921-6080.

Golden Road Brewing 

Los Angeles’ largest craft brewery is boasting beer and burritos for Dad. For $12, dad will score a crisp Cabrillo Kolsch with a vegan or non-vegan breakfast burrito. The Cabrillo Kolsch is the perfect summer beer. It’s a Kölsch-style brew.  The style originated in Cologne, Germany and is hybrid, drifting somewhere between an ale and a lager.

Dad loves craft beers

Dad loves craft beers

Ale yeast is fermented at cooler temperatures, much like a lager, to create a clean, refined, smooth lager finish.  German Tradition and Opal hops lend the beer a slightly peppery aroma and flavor, lightly accented by a citrus aroma.Dad will also receive a special piece of Golden Road swag.  Dad will enjoy games on the lawn, sports on the flatscreens and a beer in his hand. 5410 W. San Fernando Rd. (213)373-4677.

Simmzy’s

Dad will want to swing by the Manhattan Beach or Long Beach location to receive a pint of beer for a penny. On Sun. June 16, Simmzy’s opens at 10 a.m. and closes on 11 p.m. 229 Manhattan Beach Blvd. (310) 546-1201 and 5271 E. Second St. (562) 439-5590.

Father’s Day with Sausage and Beer

Treat Dad to a BierBeisl’s sausage sampler platter with their five best-selling sausages: Kasekariner, Debreziner, Bratwurst, Weisswurst and Wiener, served with specialty mustards, sauerkraut and fresh horseradish for $28 per person. Chef Mairinger’s is also offering a special five-course sausage and beer tasting menu for $45. He also is preparing a 3 course lunch or dinner menu for $35. Each homemade sausage has a unique presentation and is paired with a specialty beer. 9669 S Santa Monica Blvd. (310) 271-7274.

Al Fesco Dining

Father’s Day Brunch at W Los Angeles Westwood

The W Los Angeles Westwood invites all dads to  The Backyard from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Guests can enjoy “Hair of the Dog” cocktails, signature brunch and lunch dishes, and two Father’s Day specials from Executive Chef Dakota Weiss – the Short Rib Stuffed Burger with spicy BBQ sauce, smoked cheddar, and crispy onions on a brioche bun ($18), and an Everything but the Kitchen Sink Sammy with smoked turkey, bacon, ham, salami, pickled peppers, provolone, swiss, gouda, mustard, mayo, lettuce, tomato, and red onions ($16). Reservations are recommended and can be made by visiting http://www.wlosangeles.com/thebackyard. 930 Hilgard Ave. (310)443-8218.

Red meat and wine

Red meat and wine

The Hunting Dad Will Want to Dine at Saddle Peak Lodge

Dad will enjoy a three-course brunch at a timbered hunting lodge with game trophies adorning the walls. On June 16, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Chef Kufek prepares a manly brunch is $55 per person and $30 for a two-course meal for children under 12.  The menu includes for Starters – Ahi Tuna Salad with peanut sesame dressing, almonds, scallions, bell pepper, oranges, carrots, cilantro, Napa cabbage, Bibb lettuce, fried wontons, House-Smoked Scottish Salmon on a bagel, dill cream cheese, capers, red onions, tomatoes, cucumbers or On The Vine Tomato Salad made with arugula, burrata cheese, shallot marmalade, pumpernickel croutons, basil vinaigrette

Main Entrée

Saddle Peak Lodge “Eggs Benedict” poached eggs, smoked bacon, sautéed spinach, shallots, country potatoes, hollandaise

Pan Seared Salmon with roasted beets, pistachios, sautéed beet greens, oranges, tarragon buerre blanc

Sliced Leg of Lamb Sandwich with focaccia, crispy onions, caramelized onions, brie, arugula, garlic aioli, sweet potato fries

Thick-Sliced French Toast topped with toasted hazelnuts, strawberry compote, whipped cream, Nutella, Vermont maple syrup

Roasted Prime Rib accompanied with brown butter mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus, sautéed spinach, horseradish cream

Dessert – Dulce de Leche flan macerated berries or caramelized white chocolate pot de crème blackberries, pistachio, white fudge or apple bread pudding peanut butter ice cream

419 Cold Cyn. Rd. (818)222-3888.

IMG_1594Spa Dad

Give Dad a day to remember at the Ritz Carlton in Marina del Rey with one of Spa Nautica’s Father’s Day packages.

Soothing sounds of the water, picturesque views of the marina, and the fresh air of the Pacific provides a healthy balance and the ideal backdrop for your city escape. Spa Nautica offers 7,000 square feet of serenity featuring eight treatment rooms including one couple’s suite. Customize your experience in a refreshing eucalyptus steam room, sample Mediterranean figs while curled up in our tranquility lounge, stretch out and bask in the sun on a comfortable lounge chair by the pool with an ice-cold beer. Immerse yourself in the latest spa therapies designed to stimulate your senses and cleanse your mind body and soul. His tension-relieving Therapeutic massage with a fitness gel of menthol and eucalyptus is $155. You will get a $25 voucher for yourself with every 60-minute or longer treatment purchased. 4375 Admiralty Way (310)823-1700.

GENTLEMEN’S SPA TREATMENTS

Spa Montage introduces new packages and treatments designed specifically for men. Indulge Dad with a Gentlemen’s Deep Tissue Massage or a Gentlemen’s Executive Facial. To reserve, call 310.860.7840. 225 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills

Enjoy Father's Day at The Montage Beverly Hills

Enjoy Father’s Day at The Montage Beverly Hills

GENT’S TEA

Take Dad to Parq Bar at the Montage Beverly Hills for a Gent’s Tea which includes house scotch, sliders, pie and cake for $60/person. Available Friday through Sunday from 12-3pm. Call 310.860.7886 to reserve. 225 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills

SHAVE & SCOTCH AT GORNIK & DRUCKER

For the month of June, reserve Dad any shave at Gornik & Drucker at Montage Beverly Hills and he will enjoy a glass of The Macallan while he is pampered. Starting from $75. Call 310.860.7819 to reserve. 225 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills

Museum Dad

Take Dad to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and afterwards enjoy a meal at Ray’s & Stark Bar. Helmed by Executive Chef Kris Morningstar, the popular Mediterranean dining destination is offering specialty brunch items that include Joe’s quiche with caramelized onions, Gruyere cheese and lettuce sourced from the restaurant’s onsite garden. Morningstar’s slow cooked eggs come with house cured ham, fingerling potatoes, ramps, and cracked black pepper. A la carte items range from $15- $29 for entrée. Doors open at 11:30 p.m. until 3 p.m. for brunch. 5905 Wilshire Blvd. (323)857-6180.

FREE Burger for Dad

This Father’s Day show your dad how much you appreciate all the big and little things he has done for you with a free burger. The Counter Burger will buy your dad a burger, when you tell the server, “My dad is a BFD.” Offer valid for one standard 1/3 lb. burger (excluding bison and market select burgers), additional and premium toppings are extra. One per Dad with a paying guest. 5779 Wilshire Blvd. (323)932-8900, 7919 Sunset Blvd. (323)436-3844 and 725 West 7th St. (213)228-7800. For other locations, go to http://www.thecounterburger.com/.

Scarpetta – Simply Elegant

IMG_1215Being a Restaurant Reviewer in Los Angeles has its perks. Last night I attended a 10th anniversary dinner party at Scarpetta in Beverly Hills. I was excited to enjoy a one-of-a-kind celebratory dinner at the Montage Hotel Beverly Hills and to meet celebrity chef Scott Conant.

Working side-by-side with Conant was Chef Alessandro Stratta of Scarpetta Beverly Hills; Craig Strong of Studio at Montage Laguna Beach; and Shawn Armstrong on Montage Deer Valley. These esteemed chefs creatively scurried around one of the most beautiful restaurant kitchens in the world.

When Scott Conant walked into the kitchen of Scarpetta, we instantly felt his energy. He is a brawny and charaismatic chef. Conant is like a professional quarterback walking onto a field to lead a team to victory. He reminds me of the Captain of a ship on a transatlantic sailing when he is in the kitchen.

All of the chefs in the kitchen are accomplished, however Conant has an air about him. His Scarpetta restaurants can be found in New York, inside the Beverly Hills Montage, inside the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas, at the Thompson Toronto and in the Fontainebleau resort in Miami Beach.

Conant is an extremely busy chef and television personality, as guest judge in Top Chef, Chopped, guest on Martha Stuart Living, and as host and Head Judge of 24 Hour Restaurant Battle.

We toasted to the evening with a glass of Prosecco and nibbled on bite size creamy polenta cups with wild mushrooms and simple raw yellowtail with a pinch of sea salt and pickled red onion. Then we all sat inside the private Chef’s Table dining room to enjoy four signature dishes from each famed Montage chef.

Our first course was served to us as chef, Alessandro Stratta explained how he created his Maine lobster risotto with saffron. The Meyer lemon, poppy seeds, red peppercorns and saffron enhanced the flavors of the large hunks of lobster. It was absolutely extraordinary risotto. Cooked perfectly into a creaminess, yet I could taste each single grain. This perfect dish was paired with an Italian Berg Gravner, Friulli, 2010.

Leaving the table, I walked into the kitchen to watch Chef Shawn Armstrong from Apex at the Montage Deer Valley resort in Utah. He was preparing our second course, as he sautéedIMG_1203 brussel sprouts with sun choke chips, green garlic, fava beans to be the bed for his striped bass with coal-black gnocchi.

The delightful gnocchi did not get its color from squid ink, but from a charcoal cooking process. It was intertwined with the crisp vegetables.

The restaurant’s Wine Captain paired this dish with a taste of red Suber Daino to enhance the dish with a Sicilian personality.

Sitting back at the Chefs dining table, Scott Conant did not enter with his critically praised signature dish, his spaghetti with tomato and basil. It’s the true elegance of simplicity. Instead, our entrée was a sirloin of Kobe paired with Conant’s signature braised short ribs of beef. The delicate meat looked like a piece of dark fudge next to the Kobe sirloin with flash fried spring vegetables and wild mushrooms. The surprise of this dish was a beef bone sliced in half and filled with luscious marrow, parmesan and leeks. It was baked into a gratin and sublime.

IMG_1214Last, was a bowl with a Guanaja chocolate sphere with sea salt caramel ice cream. It’s a dark chocolate that comes from Guanaja Island off of Honduras. It sat in the middle of Guinness foam. The server poured hot milk chocolate on top of the sphere and within seconds it started to melt like an Italian Affogato.

The main goal in 2013 for the Montage Resorts is to make memories for guests during their stay. I will always fondly remember this evening.

Upcoming Dinner: You too can experience a dinner at Scarpetta inside the Montage Beverly Hills with the upcoming Caduceus Cellars & Merkin Vineyards on Sat. March 23 at 7 p.m.

The celebrated culinary arts meal will include Chef Alessandro Stratta’s delectable five-course tasting menu to pair with different wines.

The menu includes roasted Sea Scallops with oven dried tomatoes & Heirloom beans with basil, pink grapefruit & lobster roe. It’s paired with a 2011 Merkin Vineyards Chupacabra Blanca.

Next, an egg ravioli with ricotta, chard & aged Parmigiano with brown butter & sage. It will be served with a glass of 2010 Caduceus Cortigiane Oneste.

The third course is a crispy Daurade with caramelized endives & Guanciale in a red wine sauce with a glass of 2010 Caduceus Nagual de la Paciencia.

Enjoy braised veal cheeks with candied shallots, served with potato gnocchi and robiola cheese. It’s paired with a glass of 2011 Nagual de la Naga.

Finish with a selection of regional Italian cheese with  grilled bread & dried fig condiment and a sweeter 2010 Cadudeus Anubis.

The cost is $200 per person.

 225 N Canon Dr  Los Angeles, CA 90210
(310) 860-7970


Beverly Hills on Dwellable

Beverly Hills Hotel Celebrates 100 Years

The Pink Palace in Beverly Hills is celebrating its 100th anniversary. Walking into the lobby, one notices a life-size artifact gallery filled with photos of the hotel and their celebrity guests that have graced its grounds.

In 1906, Burton Green from the Rodeo Land and Water Company developed acres of lima bean fields, that were once owned by the Mexican Government.  Since the land was located at the base of rolling hills, Green renamed the area Beverly Hills, after his home in Beverly Farms, Massachusetts.

Margaret Anderson and her son Stanley S. Anderson were commissioned to build a hotel halfway between Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean on May 12, 1912. Since Anderson had been the manager of the Hollywood Hotel, she hired Pasadena architect Elmer Grey to design the new hotel. He had designed the Huntington Library and the Pasadena Playhouse.

In 1923, Will Rogers is sworn in as the mayor of Beverly Hills on the grounds of the Beverly Hills hotel. This location became Rogers and his friends watering hole after polo matches.

In 1930, the hotel closed due to the depression. The bungalows were leased out to individuals until a bank reopened the hotel in 1932.

In 1941, under new ownership, the restaurant inside the hotel, El Jardin, is renamed The Polo Lounge, in honor of Will Rogers, Darryl Zanuck, Tommy Hitchcock and Neil McCarthy.

The hotel is offering fun festivities for visitors this year. Vintage photos of Sophia Loren, Clark Gable and the hotel built in 1912, grace the menu covers.

A group of friends and I recently had lunch in the Polo Lounge. We were excited to sit next to comedian Tom Arnold, (once married to Roseanne Barr). Astronaut Buzz Aldrin and actress/ comedian Amy Poehler (Saturday Night Live) sat outside on the lovely garden patio at separate tables. Aldrin’s ex-wife, Lois Driggs Cannon was dining inside the restaurant with a friend. An interesting moment happened when Buzz, carrying a book with a rocket ship on the back of the cover, walked by Cannon’s table. Buzz Aldrin looked fit and spry for a man born in 1930.

What I like about the Polo Lounge is the impeccable service. Servers Felix and Pepe have worked at the Polo Lounge for years and have waited on many celebrities. One of their favorites was Princess Diana sitting in the back garden patio.

While looking over the menu, one of the most gorgeous and talented blonde piano players, Oksana, entertains guests.

We decided to order two items that have been on the menu since day one, the McCarthy salad and Tortilla soup. The salad was named after Neil McCarthy, who frequented the restaurant after casual polo games. When the actor/polo player got hurt after a game, his mouth was sore. The Chef in the kitchen finely chopped all the ingredients in the salad he ordered. It was a hit with the actor and his friends. Today, this wonderful chopped salad is still one of the most popular items on the menu.

To celebrate 100 successful years in Beverly Hills, the hotel is offering “Pop-Up 1912 Pricing” at each dining venue. Once a week, one lucky table will randomly have their total check converted to 1912 prices.

The Spa Specials include a Pink Palace Manicure and Pedicure or Diamond Anniversary Facial or Caviar Express Massage for $100 each.

For Beverly Hills buffs, Robert Anderson, the great-grandson of the hotel’s original owner, Margaret Anderson, is launching his book ”The Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows – The First 100 Years,” this month. As the official historian of the Beverly Hills Hotel, he has exclusive images of many dignitaries and celebrities, historical facts and documents that are featured on each page. Many of the photos have never-been-seen-before of celebrated guests relaxing and enjoying the grand hotel. His book is available at the hotel’s Logo shop and on the website. Each guest room in the hotel will have a book on display.

To learn about other special events at the hotel this year, go to www.thebeverlyhillshotel.com 9641 Sunset Blvd. (310)887-2777.

Article published in the May 2012 issue of Not Born Yesterday.

 

 

 

 

Lunch at the Beverly Hills Hotel and Polo Lounge

Last Wednesday for lunch, my Luxe Lunch group and I dined at the Beverly Hills Polo Lounge with comedian Tom Arnold, astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and Saturday Night Live actress and comedian Amy Poehler.

Arnold actually was sitting in a booth across from us. Poehler and Aldrin were sitting outside on the garden patio at separate tables. Aldrin’s ex-wife, Lois Driggs Cannon was dining inside the restaurant with a friend. An interesting moment was when Buzz,  carrying a book with a rocket ship on the back of the cover, walked by Cannon’s table. Buzz Aldrin looked fit and spry for a man born in 1930.

Here is what I love most about the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel that is now celebrating its 100th Anniversary:

1. I always see a few mega-stars dining for lunch with friends, agents or managers. It’s a refuge for them, because no one will take their photo or ask for an autograph. That is a big “no-no” at the hotel and restaurant.

2. The service is impeccable. Many of the staff members have been at the restaurant for years. Ask for Felix, he will share a few interesting tales about guests who frequent the restaurant often.

3. The pianist Oksana is one of the most gorgeous and talented blonde piano players in Southern California.

4. The food is quite good. I thoroughly enjoyed my spice crusted salmon with fingerling potatoes and white/green asparagus. The McCarthy Salad and Tortilla Soup have been on the menu from day one.

To celebrate 100 successful years in Beverly Hills, the hotel is offering “Pop-Up 1912 Pricing” at each dining venue. Once a week, one lucky table will randomly have their total check converted to 1912 prices.

The Spa Specials include a Pink Palace Manicure and Pedicure or Diamond Anniversary Facial or Caviar Express Massage for $100 each.

For Beverly Hills buffs, Robert Anderson, the great-grandson of the hotel’s original owner, Margaret Anderson, is launching his book  ” The Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows – The First 100 Years,” this May. As the official historian of the Beverly Hills Hotel, he has exclusive images of many dignitaries and celebrities, historical facts and documents that are featured on each page. Many of the photos have never-been-seen-before of celebrated guests relaxing and enjoyed the grand hotel. His book is available at the hotel’s Logo shop and on the website. Each guest room in the hotel will have a book on display.

To learn about other special events at the hotel this year, go to www.thebeverlyhillshotel.com

The Polo Lounge is at 9641 Sunset Blvd. (310)887-2777.