Posts Tagged ‘Culver City’

East Borough brings amped up Asian food to Culver City

Daikon rice cakes at East Borough

Daikon rice cakes at East Borough

East Borough, which recently opened in downtown Culver City, brings something new to the fast-growing area: Asian food. And not just any Asian food but amped up Vietnamese. John Cao and Chloe Tran, who own a more casual version of East Borough in Costa Mesa, teamed up with Paul Hibler, owner and creator of Pitfire Pizza and Superba Snack Bar, and Jason Neroni, executive chef of Superba Snack Bar, to create this new concept, which focuses on traditional Vietnamese flavors and dishes while also re-imagining some of them.

The menu starts with appetizers familiar to those who know Vietnamese cuisine. The Imperial Rolls made with pork and taro and fried to a bubbly crispiness are flavorful and well-balanced, as is the banh xeo crepe, which in this case is stuffed with lots of crab.

Imperial Rolls

Imperial Rolls

Banh xeo

Banh xeo

The daikon rice cakes (pictured above) served with eggs, shiitake mushrooms, cilantro and spicy soy sauce are dense and kind of a mouthful, but the flavors are nice. Actually, there is a lot of richness at East Borough. The nuoc mam sauce reduction makes the cauliflower and long bean vegetable dish really strong, and the Phocatini, a playful take on Vietnamese pho and Italian bucatini, is almost too rich. The oxtail, hoisin and Sriracha combination nearly make for too much flavor, but it’s still one of the most interesting dishes on the menu.

Phocatini

Phocatini

The cocktails here are serviceable, but I wouldn’t say they were some of the best I’ve ever had. The Mo Bourbon, with bourbon, Averna, St. Germain and apricot was on the sweet side for me, but I do like the mix of bourbon with stone fruit. At least the drink prices are reasonable: $9-10.

Mo Bourbon, left, bourbon sour and The Golden Axe

Mo Bourbon, left, bourbon sour and The Golden Axe

Note: This meal was hosted.

23

02 2014

The Wallace brings international flair to Culver City

Broccoli

Sprouting Broccoli

From former SBE corporate chef Michael Teich comes The Wallace, a shareable plates concept in downtown Culver City featuring an internationally influenced menu and a respectable cocktail menu from Mixologist Holly Zack, who also hails from SBE.

My favorites here include the sprouting broccoli served with tahini, marinated feta and dukkah (pictured above), as well as the braised pork cheeks with lentils, apple, horseradish and red onion agrodolce. Both pack flavorful punches.

Braised pork cheeks

Braised pork cheeks

The chicken liver mousse with balsamic onions and five spice and the roasted bone marrow with parsley, radish, tarragon and pickled shallots are solid choices, though I wouldn’t say they were the best versions I’ve ever had.

Chicken liver mousse

Chicken liver mousse

When it comes to dessert, if it’s available (I think this was a special when I went) get the house made gelato, sorbet and cookies. The marshmallow ice cream and  ginger cookie combo was my favorite, followed by the cream cheese ice cream and pumpkin cookie. The cherry sorbet with chocolate cookie was my least favorite, but I personally don’t like cherry-flavored things that much.

Ice cream, sorbet and cookies

Ice cream, sorbet and cookies

As for Zack’s drinks, the stirred pleased my palate more than the shaken (though that’s to be expected from me). I liked the Day Rate, made with coffee-infused scotch, cognac, honey syrup and chocolate chili bitters, as well as the Roundtrip with Angel’s Envy bourbon, byrrh, persimmon syrup and sour cherry bitters. I did like the Warm Fuzzies, a shaken drink made with Blackwell rum, cognac, Cynar, egg, lemon and simple syrup.

Day Rate, left, and Roundtrip

Day Rate, left, and Roundtrip

Warm Fuzzies

Warm Fuzzies

I really wanted to like the, ahem, Morning Sex, with bourbon, chai fennel syrup, passion fruit, lemon and Peychaud’s bitters, but it was just a bit sweet for me. It’s pretty, though.

Morning Sex

Morning Sex

While I’m glad to see new restaurants opening up in a neighborhood so close to my ‘hood, I’ve grown somewhat weary of restaurants that offer dishes from a what seem like a myriad of influences made from whatever is in season. Not that I’m opposed to fresh, seasonal ingredients — Teich shops at the Culver City farmers market located just steps outside his kitchen, and I think that’s great — but I sometimes feel like restaurants use this as an excuse to not choose a focus. I’ve read in more than one place that Teich’s menu is influenced by Italian food, but when I see a dish such as lamb with farro risotto, chickpeas, harissa and yogurt on the same page as duck confit with hoisin sauce, noodles and a sesame tortilla, I get confused. I appreciate having many choices on a menu, but it can also be a head-scratcher. To each her own, I guess.

Note: This meal was hosted.

Further Reading:

Vegetables Take Center Stage at Soon-to-Open Wallace in Culver City by Los Angeles Times’ Daily Dish blog

Wallace Serves Up Playful Sustainable Fare in Culver City by Where LA

24

12 2013

Chef Ben Bailly’s new menu at Cliff’s Edge

Cliff's Edge lamb cheeks

Chef Ben Bailly shows off his lamb cheeks. Photo by John Ales.

Is third time the charm for Ben Bailly? Bailly recently joined Cliff’s Edge as executive chef, where he was brought on to revamp the menu after stints at Petrossian and Fraiche Culver City. Cliff’s Edge is Bailly’s third restaurant since arriving in Los Angeles, and his food complements the Sliver Lake location nicely. The menu is elevated but not stuffy, which seems to speak well to the discerning hipster neighborhood.

During a recent visit to Cliff’s Edge, I enjoyed both the cocktails and the food. I really liked the Bitter Pill (Zaya 12 year rum, Fernet Branca, brown sugar, fresh lime juice, egg whites, orange oils), which had great depth of flavor. The Gold Rush (Buffalo Trace bourbon, honey syrup, fresh lemon juice, orange oils) and Question Mark (Bols Genever gin, lavender simple syrup, fresh grapefruit and lemon juice, Peychauds bitters, flamed grapefruit oils) were also winners, mostly because I love the bourbon-citrus combo as well as lavender in general.

As for the food, the Whipped Ricotta with lavender (again!), honey and olive oil is a must to start. It’s fluffy, creamy and fragrant. The Crispy Polenta served with mushrooms, egg, and Pecorino Romano cheese, as well as the Seared Scallops with lebne yogurt cheese, cauliflower, Vadouvan spice and salsa verde, are solid savory options.

The Skate Wing served with sunchokes, brown butter, pine nuts, lemon and capers was hands-down my favorite main dish. It was reminiscent of a fish and sunchoke dish that Bailly served at Fraiche that I also enjoyed. The Lamb Cheeks with celery root purée, rapini and hazelnut gremolata is another good choice.

The Chocolate Torta is what you should order for dessert. At once light, smooth and decadent, this cake is one of the best chocolate cakes I’ve had in a while. I don’t normally order the chocolate cake at restaurants, but I would definitely do it here.

Note: This meal was hosted.

 

01

03 2012

Last-minute holiday shopping guide for LA foodies

Valerie Confections SUPER CHOC-O-FOOD

Valerie Confections SUPER CHOC-O-FOOD

Still scrambling for holiday gifts? If you’re shopping for people who like food, or should like good food, then look no further than these L.A. options:

Valerie Confections: While Valerie Gordon is know for her toffees and cute-as-a-button petit fours, an interesting gift would be the SUPER CHOCO-O-FOOD, a huge block of milk chocolate with a hint of caramel loaded with dried pears, apricots, golden raisins, macadamia nuts, cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds and peanuts. The packaging comes from Commune Design, and each color (pink, violet, aqua) corresponds to part of a triptych image found under the label. Valerie now also has teas blended by the American Tea Room just for the shop, including the Black & Blue, which was inspired by her Black & Blue jam and contains black tea from Nilgiri, blackberries, black currants, blueberries and blackberry leaves.

Kiss My Bundt Baking Academy: Chef Chrysta Wilson of Kiss My Bundt, formerly on West Third Street, is now teaching baking classes at Surfas in Culver City. The first class will be on January 15 and will focus on baking with winter citrus. And if you purchase a spot in this class before December 24, you’ll get 20 percent off. If you’ve ever had Wilson’s bundt cakes, you know they’re a treat.

Monsieur Marcel at the Original Farmers Market at Third and Fairfax: This gourmet foods store has all kinds of delicious treats, including European chocolates, fancy vinegars and oils, flavored salts, cheeses, wine and all kinds of fun stuff. This place will have lots of variety, so you’re sure to find something for the gourmand on your lift.

20

12 2011

Cooking, schmooking: eat out this Thanksgiving

Foie Gras Creme Brulee at Sage Restaurant

Foie Gras Creme Brulee at Sage Restaurant

If the idea of cooking a huge meal this Thanksgiving freaks you out, then go out to eat! Here are some local (and not-so-local) options:

Akasha: For $65.00 per person ($35.00 for children 12 and under), this Culver City farm-fresh and vegan-friendly eatery offers a bevy of choices, including a roasted cauliflower bisque with white truffle sea salt, a fuyu persimmon (my favorite!) and pomegranate salad, crab-stuffed Idaho trout, peppercorn and hemp crusted tofu, and turkey with all the fixings, of course. You’ll also have your choice of sides, including orange candied yams, brussels sprouts, green bean casserole, creamed spinach, cheddar-gruyere macaroni and cheese, and stone ground cornbread and turkey andouille sausage stuffing. Oh, and there’s a pie buffet for dessert featuring organic and vegan pumpkin pie, maple pecan and chocolate pie, coconut custard pie, peanut butter pie, pumpkin cheesecake with whiskey caramel, and much, much more.

Saint Amour: This new Culver City favorite is offering Maine lobster and roasted chestnut bisque, an autumn harvest salad, Mary’s Organic Farm turkey with traditional garnishes, and a variety of desserts for $65.00 per person ($30 for kids under 12). You can substitute an entrée from the restaurant’s regular menu, too, including mushroom pot pie, New York steak or loup de mer.

CAFE del REY: This Marina del Rey restaurant is offering a three-course, prix-fixe holiday menu for $55 per person with a cauliflower and apple soup, housemade veal and pork sausage, free-range turkey breast with duck sausage stuffing, Maine scallops, a vegetarian beet risotto, and a sweet potato cheesecake. Kids get their own menu at $18 with a a choice of roasted turkey with mashed potatoes and green beans, cheese pizza, or penne pasta with marinara sauce, as well as a mini chocolate cream pie paired with hot chocolate.

Sage: Going to Vegas? Then you’ll want to spend Thanksgiving at this ultra-satisfying restaurant at the Aria Hotel (my full review to come soon). For $83 per person, Sage’s prix fixe menu features your choice of a roasted pumpkin soup, pear and brussels sprout salad, or the unique and decadent foie gras crème brulée to start; mains of roasted organic turkey, day boat scallops or braised veal cheeks (all with seasonal side dishes); and for dessert a pumpkin mascarpone tart or a bourbon caramel bar.

22

11 2011

Real modern Korean cuisine in Culver City: MoKo

The new kid on the block in Culver City, MoKo, quietly slipped in to town in late April when it took over the former Gyenari space. The switch happened in a matter of about two weeks, when a truly modern Korean (get it?) restaurant replaced one that tried to be forward-thinking but ended up being stagnant. That’s why Gyenari owner William Shin made the change, along with partner Chris Heyman (Table 8, 8 Oz. Burger Bar) and Chef Gary Robins (formerly of The Biltmore, The Russian Tea Room and Aja in New York), who created a menu that’s contemporary without being overwrought.

We were recently invited to check out the new menu, which features updated versions of Korean ban chan, ssam, jeon and many other traditional Korean favorites. Don’t worry — the grills from Gyenari are still in place, so you can get your barbecue fix, too. And the cocktail list includes some nicely crafted drinks, too.

Keep Reading

23

06 2011

Delicious new menu: Fraiche Culver City

Eggplant caviar and smoked trout rillettes

Culver City just got a little cooler: Chef Benjamin Bailly, formerly of Petrossian in West Hollywood, has taken over the helm at Fraiche. And he has revamped the menu to blend French (he’s from France, natch) and Italian influences. Perhaps the best part, at least for me, is the reasonable prices for the high quality food: nothing is priced more than $28 on the dinner menu, with most items coming in under $20.

I recently had the pleasure of experiencing the dinner menu myself — along with Caroline of Caroline on Crack — at the invitation of Chef Bailly. Herewith, some of my favorites.

Keep Reading

06

12 2010

Weekend shopping and fun: Emily the Strange at Royal/T, Macy’s Shop for a Cause, Junior Drake warehouse sale

Emily the Strange. From SlashFilm.

Emily the Strange at Royal/T: Starting today through Nov. 11, Emily theStrange — the ever-moody black-haired cutie cartoon — will be at the center of a pop-up shop and exhibit at Culver City’s Lolita-inspired Royal/T cafe space. During the exclusive retail engagement, books, artwork and one-of-a-kind collectibles will be on sale. Proceeds from the Emily the Strange pop-up shop will support the brand’s altruistic efforts — encouraging teens to be empowered individuals. When it’s time to take a break from shopping, you can order up a Strange Brew Chocolate Pangea Tea and Emily the Strange-themed black kitty cupcakes by Hot Cakes Bakes. The official opening party will take place on Friday, Oct. 26.

Royal/T
8910 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232

Macy’s Shop for a Cause: On Oct. 16, donate $5 to charity online or in-store and get a shopping pass that gives you 10 percent to 20 percent off items you purchase that day. You can also use the in-store shopping pass for 25 percent off one regular, sale or clearance item in men’s, women’s or kids’ apparel or accessories (some exclusions apply). In any case, you’ll save. Sounds good to me!

Junior Drake Warehouse Sample Sale: Clutches for $40? Bags for $60? Yes, please! Head down to the South L.A. warehouse this weekend for a cornucopia of bags, wallets and even belts. Make any purchase on Friday or Saturday, and get an additional 10 percent off to spend on Sunday. You can enter a raffle to win a free handbag, and if you spend at least $150 you’ll get a free canvas tote. Munch of free hot dogs, cookies and drinks, too.

Friday, Oct. 15, 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 16, 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 17, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Junior Drake Warehouse
740 E. 60th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90001

15

10 2010

M Cafe 5th anniversary deals

Grilled tuna burger

M Cafe de Chaya, the macrobiotic mini chain that’s part of the Chaya Restaurant Group, is celebrating its 5th anniversary this month with different $5 specials each week at all three of its locations.

Week of June 7 — Falafel Wrap & M Chopped Salad (Grab & Go only)
Week of June 14 — 2 Salad Combo & Tofu Bento (Grab & Go only)
Week of June 21 — Breakfast Enchilada (breakfast hours only) and Double Chocolate Fudge Cake

What’s macrobiotic food? It’s food made from minimally processed, natural whole foods that are in-season. Fish is OK, but not poultry, red meat, eggs or dairy. I’ve been to M Cafe a few times, and it’s actually pretty tasty, despite its nearly vegan-like description. I have a few recommendations, none of which are part of the $5 specials. But no matter — you can always go back, and for certain items, it would be worth it.

Keep Reading

09

06 2010

To celebrate or not to celebrate: Valentine’s Day

Drago Centro charcuterie plate. From Dig Lounge.

Whether you plan on celebrating Valentine’s Day or not — or just haven’t made up your mind yet — here are some special meals that will be happening around Los Angeles.

To Celebrate

Drago Centro: From Feb. 12 to 14, Drago Centro is offering a four-course dinner for $55, with wine pairings for an additional $35. (Limited à la carte menu items will be available, too.) Here are the menu choices:

First course — beef carpaccio, hearts of palm and candied almonds, or antipasto plate

Second course — butternut squash ravioli with lemon brown butter, or shrimp and scallop agnolotti with cioppino foam

Third course — roasted lamb with artichoke hearts, brown butter pomme purée and rapini, or Dover sole, baby vegetable ragoût and lemon beurre blanc

Fourth course — strawberry semifreddo with basil and white chocolate, or chocolate cake, candied Marcona almonds and raspberries

Also, on Feb. 14 the restaurant will be hosting a masquerade carnival with live music, and guests are encouraged to dress up, too.

Cecconi’s: The West Hollywood eatery is offering its full à la carte menu, a tasting menu for $85, and an optional wine pairing for an additional $45. The tasting menu includes wild mushroom cappuccino; dungeness crab, ahi tuna and avocado; winter black truffle and ricotta ravioli; chateaubriand for two, winter root vegetables and a peppercorn sauce; and a layered chocolate cake, kirsh cherries and whipped cream.

Pourtal: The Santa Monica wine bar is offering two-for-one glasses of bubbly on Feb. 14 from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Choose from the featured selection of Marquis de Perlade Blanc de Blanc or a Kir Royale. Cupid will be there to pass out secret Valentines to guests who purchase bubbly or a tasting card; they will receive a free pour ranging from on Pourtal’s Enomatic machines.

Cube: Head over to Cube Marketplace’s cafe on Feb. 13 for a fondue party. Ok, not really, but you can get the fondue special and make it your own party! For $35, you can get prosecco, cheese fondue, roasted farmers market vegetables and fresh fruit, house-baked bread, Meyer lemon coeur a la crème, farmers market berries, citrus cookies — and house-made dark chocolate truffles and confections to take home.

Not To Celebrate

Charlie’s Malibu: On Feb. 13, Charlie’s will host “Bitter, Party of 1” for singles (or as its press release says, “couples welcome, but we may mock them”) with tunes from DJ Kid Wycked from 9:00 p.m. to close. And on both Feb. 13 and 14, the restaurant will offer a four-course chef’s tasting menu for $75, with a $20 wine pairing, along with the regular à la carte and lounge menus. The tasting menu includes dishes such as poached pear with herbed goat cheese and candied walnuts, filet mignon, and lobster tail. You don’t have to eat with a Valentine, you know.

Rush Street: On Feb. 13, the Culver City bar and restaurant will host a Meet Your Valentine party with specialty cocktails and artisanal chocolates. There will be no prix fixe menu. On Feb. 14, diners can enjoy half-off featured wine and champagne all day long.

Akasha: Take home a box of 12 mini cupcakes for $20 from the Culver City restaurant’s bakery to serve at your anti-Vday party — or eat them yourself, I don’t judge. Flavors include chocolate and vanilla cakes with different frosting and icing. The chocolate with Gianduja (that’s a chocolate/hazelnut combo) filling, chocolate glaze and fleur de sel sounds awesome!

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03

02 2010