dineLA starts on July 15 to July 26

dineLA_FacebookCover6Los Angeles’s vibrant dining scene has a record-setting list of over 330 participating in this 12-day dining event. Noteworthy newcomers include Silver Lake gastropub Black Hogg, Hollywood hotspot littlefork, Los Feliz stand-out MESSHALL and Abbott Kinney darling Willie Jane.

These new additions join Los Angeles’s most acclaimed chefs in showcasing the city’s best cuisine. dineLA’s Restaurant Week chefs Bryant Ng of The Spice Table, Suzanne Goin of Lucques, Tavern and The Larder at Burton Way, and from season five of Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters,” Neal Fraser of BLD and Sang Yoon of Father’s Office and Lukshon, join with hundreds more in offering special prix-fixe lunch and dinner menus at three different price points – Lunch menus for $15/$20/$25 and Dinner menus for $25/$35/$45

Here are some of my favorites:
logoMr. C Beverly Hills
The Restaurant at Mr. C will offer specially priced prix fixe menu options for lunch and dinner featuring Cipriani signature dishes and Italian favorites.
$25 Lunch Menu includes Tomato soup with croutons with a rucola salad with cherry tomatoes and shaved Parmesan Mortadella and Cetriolini.

Main Course a choice of Homemade lightly baked green Tagliolini with veal ragu boneless chicken Spezzatino al curry served with mango chutney  or a Pan fried salmon with roasted peppers served with rice pilaf. Vegetarian option available upon request. Dessert is an Assortment of  Sorbetti for $25 per person, not including tax or gratuity.

$45 Dinner Menu includes Pasta e Fagioli, baby spinach salad with mushrooms and crispy bacon prosciutto cotto with mozzarella.

Main Course a choice of homemade lightly baked white Tagliolini with ham  or Chicken Spezzatino alla Pizzaiola served with rice pilaf or grilled Branzino served with Peperonata. Vegetarian option is available upon request. Dessert is Assorted Ice Cream. $45 per person, not including tax or gratuity. $20 per person for an optional wine pairing.

1224 Beverwil Dr  Los Angeles, CA 90035 – (310) 277-2800


Enjoy a three-course dinner for $35. Start with a sweet corn Veloute or Weiser Farm melons with arugula and yogurt. Entrees include a nice piece of local sea bass with cannel inis with zucchini flowers and black garlic or Niman Ranch pork belly with coco beans, sweet corn and a stone fruit compote. Cheese and dessert finish the meal. 6221 Franklin Ave.  Los Angeles – (323) 871-2026.

Fig & Olive  dineLA (July 15 – 26)

Indulge in a prix-fixe seasonal summer menu by Chef Pascal during dineLA Summer Restaurant Week, available for lunch ($25 per person++) anddinner ($45 per person++). The three-course prix-fixe menus include French Riviera-inspired dishes such as: Beef Tartar; Lobster Samosas; Primavera Risotto; Lamb Skewers; Yellowfin Tuna a la Provençale; Berries and Cream on a French Waffle; and more.- 8490 Melrose Place, West Hollywood. For reservations, please call 310.360.9100

Cafe Pinot

Pinot Cafe 001Enjoy lunch or dinner next to the historic 1920’s Downtown LA’s landmark public library, surrounded by metropolitan skyline views, while sitting in a lovely garden setting. Inside the dining area offers floor to ceiling windows. Executive Chef Sydney C. Hunters III prepares a contemporary Californian-French menu featuring fresh, sophisticated dishes inspired by the farmers’ market as well as a daily rotisserie.downtown next to the Library Tower for $20. Dinner is $35 per person.  Choose one dish from the appetizer selection: Tomato Gazpacho with toasted almonds, cherry tomatoes, micro basil or Burrata with peperonata, sherry vinaigrette, pesto, arugula; or Albacore Sashimi with sushi rice, soy sauce sabayon, yuzu kosho, and daikon sprouts.

The Entrée Selections include: Corn Risotto with Mexican shrimp and baby corn; Jidori Chicken with Coq au vin garnish, pearl onions, button mushrooms, applewood smoked bacon, beurre rouge or Hanger Steak with creamy polenta, broccolini, in an au poivre sauce.

Finish with dessert selection includes – Carrot Cake with curry infused butte powder and a scoop of coconut ice cream or strawberries in a Rose water meringue and Chantilly cream. 700 w. fifth St. | 213 239 6500 | cafepinot.com

Cafe del Rey

Guests can Mediterranean-inspired dishes from Executive Chef Daniel Roberts while enjoying views of million dollar boats in the Marina del Rey harbor.

Select from three options for each three-course meal ($25 for lunch$45 for dinner) paired with special wine selections for an additional cost. Lunch ($25++): IMG_3140Grilled Tiger Shrimp with a curry cilantro marinade, quinoa, vegetable salad, and a harissa vinaigrette (Summerland 2011 Chardonnay, Bien Nacido Vineyard Block O, Santa Maria Valley, California – $12) or Agnolotti of Sweet Corn with corn buerre fondue and roasted corn (Joell Gott 2011 Chardonnay, Unoaked, Monterey, Napa, Sonoma County, California – $14) or Poached Salmon Salad with butter lettuce, spring beans, fin herbs, watermelon radish, and a tarragon dressing (Estancia 2011 Pinot Grigio, California – $9). Finish with a Peach Upside Down Cake with ricotta ice cream, salted caramel and peach honey (Quady “Elysium”, Black Muscat – $16)

Dinner ($45++): Steamed Mussels with chorizo picante and kaffir lime leaves in a coconut curry broth with a grilled baguette (Simi 2011 Chardonnay, Sonoma County, California – $10)  Entree includes a Basted Salmon with carrot puree, baby carrots, snap peas, olive and herb orzo, and chard spring onion (Summerland 2011 Chardonnay, Bien Nacido Vineyard Block O, Santa Maria Valley, California – $12) or Petit Chateau Filet with sautéed haricot vert, fine herbs, savory gruyère gougère and béarnaise (St. Supery 2006, Cabernet, Dollarhide, Limited Edition, Estate, Napa, California – $22). Finish with a  Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Cake with a strawberry Italian meringue and Meyer lemon syrup (Inniskillin 2008 “VQA” Niagara Peninsula, Canada – $29)** Additional cost for wine pairings, tax and gratuity not included.  CAFE del REY – 4451 Admiralty Way – Marina del Rey – 310.823.6395 – www.cafedelreymarina.com


This wonderful wine lounge is offering a four-course dinner for $45. Start with a grapefruit and jicama salad. Sauteed brussels sprouts arrive with crimini mushrooms and lardon. The filet mignon is offered with fingerling potatoes. For those who prefer Diver scallops with roasted asparagus and a beet salad with goat cheese and pistachios, those options are available too. If your prefer vegan or vegetarian options, just let your server know your request. The owner, Edgar will personally pair each dish with wine. 320 S. La Brea, Los Angeles – Call 323.932.9500 

Here is a list of hotels with restaurants that are participating with dineLA. Stay at a participating hotel for two-nights or more, pay with an American Express card and get a $50 American Express gift card.

Need a ride to a dineLA restaurant or home? click on https://www.uber.com/go/dineLA2013. Use Promo Code: dineLA2013 to redeem a $20 UBER credit for new customers only during dineLA

7 Destinations for Mother’s Day

IMG_1615Mother’s Day is approaching soon. What should you get that special lady in your life? It depends on what interests your Mother. Is she active? Does she enjoy being pampered? Is she a Nature lover?

Here are 6 of my favorite spots that your Mother will enjoy to experience on her special day.

1. Beach-Loving Mom

Book one night at The Beach House in Hermosa Beach. Across the street is the Hermosa Cyclery to rent a one speed cruiser bike for $7 an hour. Take a ride along The Strand. The 22 mile paved path winds from Will Rogers State Park in the Pacific Palisades to the Torrance County Beach.

Sit out in the sun at Good Stuff along The Strand for lunch of salads, sandwiches and burgers. Back at the hotel, grab a few beach chairs, beach toys and a boogie board. Enjoy the beach as the sun is starting to set.

Take Mom to Manhattan Beach for  dinner at MB Post. Soulful Chef and co-owner David LeFevre createsIMG_1633 fun small plates to be shared around he table. Start with a great glass of wine  and a cheese plate. A fresh fish, Diver scallops or meat dish will satisfy her appetite. Save room for one of his sweet and savory desserts.

In the evening, Jay Leno usually performs on Sundays at the Comedy and Magic Club in Hermosa Beach.

www.beachhouse.com/hermosabeach-hotels.html – 1300 The Strand  Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. (310)374-3001.

Hermosa Cyclery – www.hermosacyclery.com

eatmbpost.com – 1142 Manhattan Ave  Manhattan Beach, CA 90266 (310)545-5405.

Comedy and Magic Club Hermosa Beach – www.comedyandmagicclub.com

2.  Relaxed Mom

Drive or ride the Amtrack train up to Santa Barbara to enjoy the newly opened El Encanto Resort and Spa. Book a Vitamin Sea Facial for Mom IMG_1695with Esthetician Kelsey Webb. It’s an amazing experience. Mom will walk out completely relaxed, appreciative and content.

Reserve a seat out on the Terrace for High Tea from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.  Sit among eucalyptus groves overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Channel Islands while enjoying a Traditional or Bellini Tea. Bring your bathing suits, because the infinity pool is the perfect temperature. It’s tranquil and serene.

Stay overnight in one of the beautifully renovated suites or cottages. Take Mom for a divine dinner prepared by Executive Chef Patrice Martineau. His French dishes are spiked with a delightful Japanese fusion flair. www.elencanto.com. – 800 Alvarado Place, Santa Barbara – (800)393-5315.

3. Whimsical and Adventurous Mom

img450_LLH_day_ofA drive down to Carlsbad will put a smile on the face of  this type of mom. The colorful LEGOLAND California Hotel just opened. The 250-room, three-story LEGOLAND Hotel showcases three room themes: Kingdom, Adventure and Pirate. It’s the perfect complement for the mom who enjoys playing with her children, riding on amusing rides, and cheering at shows at LEGOLAND California, LEGOLAND water park, and SEA LIFE Aquarium.

If Mom gets tired, the outdoor pool area at the hotel features a gradual incline 5-foot-deep swimming pool and offers a plethora of lounge chairs to cool off after a day at one of the Parks. visitcarlsbad.com or LEGOLAND 1 Legoland Dr  Carlsbad, CA 92008 – (760) 918-5346 – california.legoland.com.

4. Palm Springs Loving Mom

For the mom who longs to play golf or lie in the sun and relax with a favorite book on her special day, Palm 2.1_splashtopia_1280x394Springs offers over 130 hotels and resorts, and over 100 restaurants.

Book a night at Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa. Children will enjoy the newer Splashtopia, featuring a 425-foot lazy river, two 100-foot water slides, a cliff-side Jacuzzi, and a sandy beach. Splashtopia also features unique water-play zones with fountains and sprinklers for the kids.

If the noise level gets too loud, mom can saunter over to the refurbished adults-only Azure Pool with its sleek decor and elegant teak furniture. Poolside service has an attentive wait staff  that will cater to her every need with great food and signature drinks. www.rancholaspalmas.com – 41-000 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage – (866) 423-1195.

  • Walk across the street to The River for dinner or brunch at the popular California Bistro – Aqua Pazza restaurant. They offer outdoor dining on their water-viewing patio and special value menus that will appeal to every family member. www.acquapazzabistro.com

5. Mountain Mom800px-Lake_Arrowhead_Village,_California

Mom will enjoy getting away from the frenzied pace of the city, while driving up to an elevation of 5,106 feet in the San Bernardino National Forest. Treat Mom to a special Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet at the Lakeview Terrace at The Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa. Sit along the shores of picturesque Lake Arrowhead, with plenty of fresh air and clear-blue sky.

After brunch, go for a hike or walk with Mom to the Lake Arrowhead Village to peruse the quaint specialty shops, and outlet stores such as: Jockey, Bass, Famous Footwear, and Coach.

Before leaving book Mom a massage  at Spa of the Pines inside the Lake Arrowhead Resort. Kids and Dad can don bathing suits and swim among the pine trees. Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa – http://laresort.com/ 27984 California 189, Lake Arrowhead, CA  92382 – (909)336-1511.

6. Ojai Yoga Mom

Send Mom to one of So Cal’s best all-inclusive destination spas, The Oaks. The staff offers guided hikes into the nearby hills and mountains, water IMG_1532aerobics and calming yoga classes.  Treat her to a day or 2-night stay. The Oaks provides a well-rounded 1,000 calorie a day food plan that consists of three meals, snacks and beverages. The varied menus feature natural foods, fresh fish and poultry, locally-grown fruits and vegetables, homemade salad dressings and soups – all without a touch of additional salt or refined sugar used in the preparation. Many meals feature freshly-grown herbs from their special gardens.

From May 10 – 17 is a  MOTHER-DAUGHTER special. Receive a 40% discount off program rates for each daughter sharing a room with Mom. Ends Friday, May 17, 2013 at noon. Book early, as this is a popular time!

Founder Sheila Cluff “The Mother of Aerobics” since the 1950s, has owned this wonderful resort since the late 1970s. Her daughter Cathy now manages the resort, while Sheila and her husband Don travel the world educating people about fitness, health and gratitude. Her latest book, Living Your Dream is a must read for every mother.

The typical Oaks guest at The Oaks is a fifty-year-old woman who just wants to relax and take in all the positive, nurturing elements of a healthy lifestyle. If this sounds like your mom (or You) this will be a memorable gift. http://www.oaksspa.com – 122 East Ojai Ave. (800)753-OAKS.

7. Beverly Hills Mom 

Baldemar Fierro - Montage Beverly HillsWould your mom like the red carpet treatment for Mother’s Day? The Montage Beverly Hills is offering the quintessential gift. Start with a heavenly brunch by celebrity chef Scott Conant. Bottomless Mimosas and Bloody Marys will be served for $22. Call to make reservations at (310)860-7840.

If Mom would prefer an Afternoon Tea served in hand-painted china with exclusive artisan tea varieties, small bites and divine desserts. Tea is served every Friday through Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Reservations are (310)860-7940.

For a light lunch, Mom can sit up at the rooftop at the Conservatory Grill near the pool and receive a complimentary rose and chilled glass of Rose wine.

Here are a few of the Spa services that they are offering for Mother’s Day –

·       Mother, Manicure and Mimosa: Treat your Mother on this special day for a Montage Manicure, while sipping on a Mimosa. She will also enjoy access to the rooftop pool, Fitness Center and Spa Montage facilities. $65 per person.
·       Mother’s Day of Indulgence: Delight in a day devoted to mom with the ultimate gift of relaxation:  a day at the lavish Spa Montage, which includes a 60-minute massage and 60-minute facial, Montage Manicure and Pedicure, poolside lunch at our rooftop Conservatory Grill and all-day access to the pool and Spa Montage facilities. $565 per person. Lunch is received in a credit of $50.
·       Mommy & Me Spa: Mom knows any day is good if it includes bonding time with her daughter. This package, designed for girls ages 5-12, includes a Montage Manicure and Pedicure and a Paintbox Manicure and Pedicure. Children will also receive a special braiding at the Kim Vo Salon. 225 N Canon Dr  Beverly Hills, CA 90210, (888) 860-0788
Show your appreciation to Mom everyday. On Mother’s Day pamper, spoil and love her even more.

Hermosa Beach on Dwellable

a/k/a An American Bistro

I really wanted to like the new a/k/a Bistro in Pasadena, because the building has sat empty for over two years when Gordon Biersch closed their doors.  It’s next to the Gold Cinemas and Il Fornino.  Also, it’s the same owner of Bistro 45  over on Mentor.

Unfortunately, even though it is pretty enough to be a dinner hot spot, the menu lends itself to more of a lunch eating place. Granted it’s bar food, however many establishments in Hollywood are creating magical and innovative bar food dishes. It lacked the zip to want us to run back for more.

The Caprese salad was pretty, but nothing out of the ordinary.  Our friend, Mitch, ordered the a/k/a/ Rueben sandwich that arrived with a tower of steak fries and a thin Rueben sandwich that lacked a lot of meat.

My roasted game hen salad arrived looking like a ladies lunch chicken salad. It was tasty with bulgar, avocado, cucumber, dried fruit with a balsamic lemon vinegar.

However, it isn’t worthy enough to be on a dinner menu. The pasta special lacked clams and only had two small mussels, while the pan seared Scottish salmon was a smaller portion to be listed under “Large Plates.”

For dessert the upside down blueberry tart lacked the tart appearance and was more of a cake and the butterscotch pot du creme was too sweet and didn’t offer enough salt to produce that WOW experience.  I did like the two housemade macaroons.

As we left around 9:15 there were only a handful of patrons dining inside and a few more out on the front patio.  For a Saturday night, I was expecting a larger crowd.  Maybe they need to get the word out that they are open. Or maybe they have and restaurant goers are going somewhere else in Pasadena. 

With food service at the Gold Cinemas, they can’t rely on the movie going crowd to come for a bite to eat before or after the show.  I urge the chef to keep his menu for the lunch crowd and to revamp his menu to appeal for a dinner crowd.  

Food – 2

Price – 2

Service – 3

Ambiance – 3

41 Hugus Alley, One Colorado Plaza (626)564-8111