Archive for the ‘Food’Category

Eating good in the Larchmont neighborhood with Vernetti restaurant

Vernetti salumi platter

Vernetti salumi platter

Larchmont Village isn’t a Los Angeles neighborhood that I frequent. It’s small and never really held a big draw for me, despite its cute, small-town feel. But now I know about Vernetti restaurant (and having Portland-based ice cream shop Salt & Straw nearby isn’t too shabby, either).

Chef Steve Vernetti and his wife, Joanna, took over the old Girasole space on Larchmont Boulevard a couple of years ago before reopening as Vernetti earlier this year. They’ve done their best to keep a neighborhood feel at the Italian restaurant while making some upgrades, including some gorgeous brass light fixtures and a better restroom situation (customers used to have to walk through the kitchen to use the toilet!).

When it comes to the food, start with some crostini — the deviled egg version with white anchovy is my favorite — and a salumi platter featuring prosciutto, porchetta, bresaola, spicy calabrese salami and house-made giardiniera pickled vegetables.

Crostini: deviled egg (front), ceci bean and roasted beet

Crostini: deviled egg (front), ceci bean and roasted beet

Then move on to pasta. The preparations are straightforward and satisfying: pappardelle con funghi (sautéed wild mushrooms, cream, parmigiano), rigatoni spuntature (braised short rib ragu, marrow, crispy greens, roasted tomatoes, breadcrumbs) and linguine alla vongole (manila clams, white wine, garlic, crushed red pepper).

Pasta: mushroom pappardelle (top), rigatoni and linguine

Pasta: mushroom pappardelle (top), rigatoni and linguine

The one savory dish I really didn’t take to was the seared yam and sage polenta cake, which is offered as a side dish. I didn’t understand how it was supposed to complement the other food, and it was kind of boring on its own.

But the desserts made me smile. Panna cotta with strawberry compote, cannoli and tiramisu. All classic and well-executed.

Cannoli

Cannoli

So next time you’re driving through Mid-City, consider stopping at Vernetti restaurant. You’ll get a satisfying meal of classic Italian dishes.

Note: This meal was hosted. 

22

08 2015

Eat well with Freshly home delivery, get 50% off

Freshly salmon packagingI haven’t paid much attention to home-delivery meals. I usually associate them with high-priced diets, neither of which I do (high-priced or diets). But then I discovered Freshly, a mail-order meal service that provides healthful food without breaking the bank.

Freshly meals are not explicitly designed for weight loss, though they are made with ingredients that produce high-protein, low-carb meals that are gluten-free to boot.

These were the meals my husband and I tried:

~ Garden Omelette: Huge breakfast for me. Lots of baked egg, but not much you can do when it has been precooked. Kept me full for hours.

Garden Omlette

Garden Omlette

~ Carnitas Bowl: Tasted just like a burrito without the tortilla. Could have used more beans, but overall it had lots of flavor.
~ Turkey Chili: Hubs added rice to this because that’s how he likes to eat chili, but at least doing so was still gluten-free, right?
~ Chicken Stir Fry: Hubs gave this two thumbs up.
~ Steak Peppercorn: Beef tasted high-quality. Carrots retained nice al dente bite.
~ Lemon Garlic Salmon: Fish and vegetables tasted fresh with bright flavors.

Lemon Garlic Salmon

Lemon Garlic Salmon

Everything tasted really fresh. Between my husband and I, we enjoyed every one. These meals are also super filling! I even made two meals out of the salmon dinner. And the meals are really easy to prepare — just pop one in the microwave for a couple of minutes, and you’re ready to go.

The smallest meal plan gets you six meals for $69 per week. That’s $11.50 per meal, including shipping, which is free on the West Coast (more regions to come soon). The price goes down to $10.90 per meal if you sign up for the largest delivery of 21 meals per week, which also includes access to a meal coach. Considering the ingredients, labor and delivery, Freshly is a definite deal.

Curious? Get 50 percent off your first order of a six-pack of Freshly meals with the code SES3FREE. These Freshly meals would be great if you want to stick to a low-carb diet or even for a shorter period of time, such as if you know you’re going to have a busy week. I know I’ll be keeping Freshly in mind.

Note: These six meals were complimentary.

16

08 2015

Downtown gets a treat with Broken Spanish restaurant

Rebanada

Rebanada

Ever since Chef Ray Garcia left Fig restaurant in Santa Monica, I’ve been waiting for him to find a new home. So when news came that Garcia was taking over the old Rivera space in downtown Los Angeles to open Broken Spanish restaurant, I couldn’t wait to check it out.

While Rivera’s loss was mourned, Broken Spanish has more than filled the void with inventive food and drink. This is contemporary Mexican food turned up to 10. And Garcia’s team has opened up the space so it feels lighter and more festive. (Bonus: It’s just a few blocks from my office!)

For smaller bites, the requeson cheese accompanied by snap peas, black sesame, agave and sea beans is a light way to start before moving on to the esquites, or Mexican street corn salad. Garcia’s version uses Kewpie mayo, manzano pepper and parmesan, changing up the classic.

Requeson

Requeson

Keep reading

27

07 2015

ArcLight Culver City adds entertainment value to downtown

ArcLight Culver City

ArcLight Culver City

Out with the old, and in with the new. ArcLight Culver City has arrived.

The Pacific Theatres in downtown Culver City is now an ArcLight Cinemas movie theater, which means your night out just got a little more interesting. Complete with a full-service bar serving movie-themed cocktails and craft beer, alongside real food from a real kitchen, ArcLight Culver City is now a one-stop experience for food, drink and entertainment.

Johnny's Drama, an "Entourage"-themed cocktail

Johnny’s Drama, an “Entourage”-themed cocktail

Everything has been upgraded here, from the snack bar to the theaters themselves, which now feature ArcLight’s “black box” viewing experience for minimal distractions. As with other ArcLight theaters, seating is reserved, and you can bring your bar drink with you to screenings. Unfortunately, ArcLight Culver City doesn’t have the room for a seated dining area like ArcLight Hollywood does, but you can comfortably eat at the bar from a menu that offers tasty bar bites. The chicken wings with sweet Thai chili sauce, popcorn chicken, and tomato bruschetta with burrata are among my favorite dishes here.

Chicken wings

Chicken wings

Bruschetta

Bruschetta

With the opening of ArcLight Culver City, there are now two such theaters on the westside, including ArcLight Beach Cities in El Segundo, and a Santa Monica location is in the works.

Note: A menu tasting and movie viewing were hosted by ArcLight.

06

07 2015

Head to The Corner Door for new bites, solid drinks

Lobster and shrimp bolognese. Photo by acuna-hansen.

Lobster and shrimp bolognese. Photo by acuna-hansen.

The Corner Door, which has become a Culver City food and drink mainstay, has gone through its fair share of chefs, with varying success. The latest to helm the kitchen, Executive Chef Brendan Collins and Chef de Cuisine Ali Haji, bring a new dinner menu that has something for everyone.

Collins, who is also heading up the kitchen at Birch and previously worked at Waterloo & City, Melisse, Anisette and Palihouse, brought on Haji, who has worked with Collins for the last eight years, to create a diverse menu that reflects his upbringing in Southern California by Indian parents who were raised in Africa. Talk about the proverbial melting pot!

While not every dish I tried worked for me, many did, and others pleasantly surprised me.

Keep reading

26

06 2015

Broadway Bites returns to NYC—just in time for summer

Red Hook Lobster Pound's lobster roll

Red Hook Lobster Pound’s lobster roll

This post is written by ShopEatSleep contributor Deanna Ting, a New York-based writer and editor who hails from Los Angeles. She is a seasoned travel, lifestyle and fashion writer, having written for publications such as TravelAge West, Luxury Travel Advisor, Los Angeles magazine and WSAToday (a magazine that was entirely devoted to shoes). These days, you can find her working as a managing editor/senior editor for Incentive and Successful Meetings magazines, as well as scouring New York–and the globe–for her next favorite meal. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @deanna421.

One of the best things about living in New York is there’s always plenty to choose from—especially when it comes to food. Sometimes, though, all that choice can be a little overwhelming—as are a lot of different facets of life here. (Let’s not even talk about winter; I’m still in recovery.)

That’s why it’s great when outdoor food pop-up events like Broadway Bites roll back into town when the sun comes back out. Let’s be clear—there are A LOT of great choices at Broadway Bites. But what makes Broadway Bites so great is they’ve done a lot of the legwork for you by curating a carefully selected collection of some of the city’s best food and drink vendors.

If you happen to be near Herald Square and hunger pangs strike, you should definitely head here. Taking over Greeley Square, which stretches from 32nd to 34th streets on Broadway, this summer’s rendition of Broadway Bites has 28 vendors serving up plenty of satisfying, delicious things.

From no-frills grilled cheese and savory empanadas to innovative tacos and classic lobster rolls, you can find them all—and much more. Here’s a closer look at a few of those choices for whatever you might be craving.

Keep reading

22

06 2015

Hyatt Palm Springs offers convenience in large package

Hyatt Palm Springs

Hyatt Palm Springs

Looking for a reasonably priced getaway? Then consider Hyatt Palm Springs.

Palm Springs is just a couple hours away from Los Angeles, so it’s no wonder the desert town has become a go-to destination for young and old alike. And Hyatt Palm Springs, located in the downtown area, is convenient for exploring on foot (or bike, which can be borrowed from the hotel at no cost for guests) and is a short drive away from all the trendy hot spots in Palm Springs.

Previously branded as a Hyatt Regency Suites, the Hyatt Palm Springs recently has been remodeled and features all suite rooms, offering tons of space for your group of friends or your family.

King room with a mountain view

King room with a mountain view

Mountain view

Mountain view

When it comes to food and drink, the hotel has Share restaurant, where you can get a breakfast buffet or order off an a la carte menu, and the outdoor HooDoo Lounge for drinks in the evening.

A la carte breakfast at Share

A la carte breakfast at Share

Mother's Day breakfast buffet

Mother’s Day breakfast buffet

There’s also a pool with private cabanas and huge ottomans for laying out (my favorite part).

Hyatt Palm Springs pool

Hyatt Palm Springs pool

We recently stayed at the Hyatt Palm Springs in a King suite with a balcony. While we were sufficiently comfortable, I can’t say there’s anything special about the place other than the abundance of space. And the same goes for the food at Share; it’s satisfying but largely unremarkable. If you stay here, it’s more about the convenience of the hotel’s location and offerings (it’s also pet-friendly), which definitely has their own merits. I would definitely consider staying here again, especially if I were to visit Palm Springs with a group of friends.

Note: This stay was discounted, and meals were hosted.

Further reading:

Hyatt Palm Springs by hoopLA

07

06 2015

Amorino gelato packs big flavor in pretty package

Amorino gelato's flower cone

Amorino gelato’s flower cone

I love ice cream and all its variations, so when I learned about Amorino gelato and its beautifully crafted flower cones, I jumped at the chance to try it. Everything looks like it tastes better when it’s shaped like a flower, right?

Luckily, Amorino gelato lives up to appearances. Using all natural and organic ingredients, the Beverly Hills store (the only one on the West Coast) makes wonderfully smooth gelato. Texture is key to me, and Amorino’s gelato is nicely dense and elastic, just as gelato should be (American ice cream has more air and cream churned into it, so it’s fluffier and creamier than gelato, which is generally denser).

The gelato’s flavor is satisfying, too. I tried the tiramisu and chocolate, which complement each other. The tiramisu has just right amount of espresso, and the chocolate is rich.

One thing to note: I had this gelato in a take-home container, which is supposed to be consumed within two days for optimal taste. If you take the large container home, you better have a bunch of people ready to help you eat because there is A LOT of gelato in there. Then again, you could just keep it all for yourself…

Note: This tasting was complimentary.

25

05 2015

Take a trip to Provence with Kendall’s Brasserie

Tuna nicoise salad

Tuna nicoise salad

I’ve never given Kendall’s Brasserie much thought — I believe most people think of it only when they need a place to eat before a show at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion or Disney Concert Hall — but after having a special Provencal dinner there from the very French Executive Chef Jean Pierre Bosc, I’ve come to know Kendall’s as a place to get a solid meal, no matter the occasion.

As part of the Passport to France dinner series, May is Spring in Provence month. Using Mediterranean ingredients, such as olive oil, fresh vegetables, garlic, seafood and herbs, Chef Bosc has crafted six dishes that can be ordered a la carte or in a three-course prix fixe menu.

If you’re going to choose, I’d start with the niçoise salad made with house-made albacore tuna confit, green beans, tomatoes, potatoes, chopped eggs, olives and a shallot vinaigrette. I’m not usually a niçoise fan, but this version’s house-made tuna confit makes this dish special. It’s delicate yet flavorful.

For your entree, I’d go with the bouillabaisse made with rock snapper, shrimp, scallops, mussels and saffron potatoes served Provencal style with croutons and rouille, a sauce made from olive oil, breadcrumbs, garlic, saffron and chili peppers that’s like a lighter aioli. The croutons and rouille make this seafood soup special.

Kendalls bouillabaisse

Bouillabaisse

To end, choose the Nougat Glacé Maxim made with candied fruit and nuts, frozen meringue, and a raspberry coulis. It took a deft hand to make this light-as-air nougat, which had just the right amount of bite.

Kendalls nougat

Nougat Glace Maxim

The three-course prix fixe ($40) is available from 7:30 p.m. to close.

Next up in the Passport to France series at Kendall’s Brasserie is Fall in Lyon from Oct 1-31. I can’t wait to see what Bosc has up his sleeve for that meal.

Note: This meal was hosted.

18

05 2015

Terrine cocktail menu finds balance while packing punch

Terrine Barman Ryan Wainwright

Terrine Barman Ryan Wainwright

While foodies have been fawning over Terrine restaurant‘s Chef Kris Morningstar’s dining menu of French-meets-California cuisine (and with good reason), the Terrine cocktail menu is not to be overlooked.

Barman Ryan Wainwright, formerly of Tasting Kitchen, has an extraordinary talent for finding balance in his drinks, making each one on his menu dangerously easy to imbibe. The Terrine cocktail menu is divided into categories based on taste. Here are my picks in each group:

Bubbly & Refreshing

Prairie Fire Punch with Buffalo Trace bourbon, lemon, pomegranate, Calisaya herbal liqueur and soda.

Prairie Fire

Prairie Fire Punch

It’s no secret that bourbon is my favorite spirit, so of course I’m going to recommend this one. While there isn’t any actual fire in the Prairie Fire Punch, the Calisaya lends an interesting note while the soda makes it fun.

Crisp & Clean

Beverly Fix with El Silencio mezcal, lime, pineapple, housemade orgeat and serrano tincture.

Beverly Fix

Beverly Fix

This one is everything you could ask for in a flavor-forward drink: it’s a little smoky, a little spicy and a little sweet. If you like bold, this is your cocktail.

Smooth & Elegant

Counter Point Sling with Plymouth gin, Punt e Mes vermouth and Vergano Biano vermouth.

Counter Point Sling

Counter Point Sling

This is my favorite drink from this menu, and the fact that I like it so much surprised me because gin isn’t my favorite spirit. But Wainwright created a cocktail that definitely lives up to its “smooth and elegant” categorization. There’s body, but it’s not oppressive. The Counter Point Sling is just a classy drink.

Dark & Bitter

Pimm’s Pong with Pimm’s, Contratto Bianco vermouth, Ramazzotti Amaro and chocolate bitters.

Pimm's Pong

Pimm’s Pong

Usually Pimm’s drinks are clear or light in color, but this one is dark. It’s an interesting take, with the Amaro and bitters adding dimension.

Sweet & Velvety

Strawberry Puff with Hayman’s Old Tom gin, strawberry, lemon and cream.

Strawberry Puff

Strawberry Puff

Drinking this drink is as close to having a milkshake without actually having ice cream in it. It’s rich and frothy, and will satisfy any sweet tooth without being cloying.

And the food? The entire regular menu is available at the bar, so you definitely don’t lose out by sitting here. My recommendation would be to order a charcuterie plate (three words: chicken liver mousse) and enjoy a drink or two from the Terrine cocktail menu. Go ahead, indulge.

Charcuterie

Charcuterie

Note: This tasting was hosted.

Further reading:

Dine on California Comfort Fare at Terrine by Where L.A.

What to Drink at Terrine, Opening Soon by Los Angeles magazine

Terrine California Gold Cocktail (Drink of the Week) by Food GPS

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04

05 2015