L.A.’s Restaurant Week is starting back up this weekend (Jan. 24 to Jan. 29, and Jan. 31 to Feb. 5), and to kick off the event, which comes just about three months after the last incarnation wrapped up, Dine L.A. (the city’s food arm of its tourism board, L.A. INC.) threw a party at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Lots of chefs were there, some wearing their chef jackets (Ben Ford, Joachim Splichal) and others not (Ludovic Lefebvre, Marcel Vigneron), as was Mayor Villaraigosa, but what event hasn’t he shown up to? Anyway, the party was catered by the hotel’s Dakota Chop House, 25 Degrees and Library Bar. Here are some of my favorites.
By far the standout food items at the event were the drinks. The arugula gimlet, made with gin, lime, agave and micro arugula, was not only gorgeous but also very, very tasty — and I don’t like gin.
While I missed the Manhattan made with shiitake mushroom-infused bourbon, which frankly I wasn’t too keen on trying anyway, I did also enjoy the Last Tango in Modena, made with gin, muddled strawberries, balsamic vinegar and St. Germain foam. This was an intensely flavorful drink. I wanted the foam to stick around a little longer as it melted pretty quickly, but other than that, it’s definitely a drink I would order at Library Bar.
My other favorite of the night was the mini burger courtesy of 25 Degrees. This is kind of a given because it’s well known that 25 Degrees has one of the best burgers in town, but it’s still worth mentioning. Looking back at my photos from that night, I realize that more than one version was served at the party — a traditional one with some kind of tasty sauce, and one with a spicy guacamole and bacon. Both were great.
Dine L.A. also debuted its research project, the L.A. Chef Family Tree, which features an interactive map of the interconnectedness of L.A.’s chefs. If you want to see where a particular chef has worked before or which chefs have worked together, this is the place to find out.
So for this Restaurant Week, several new restaurants have joined the bandwagon, including Eva, Il Grano, Cecconi’s, Joe’s Restaurant, Jar and Ortolan. Prix fixe lunches range from $16 to $28, and dinners range from $26 to $44.
And from Jan. 18 to Jan. 22, Dine L.A. is giving away $100 gift cards to a featured restaurant, which ostensibly you can use during Restaurant Week. All you have to do is answer a trivia question to enter to win.