Posts Tagged ‘Drago Centro’

Gin with style: Nolet’s

I used to hate gin. The juniper berries turned me off. But I’ve had a change of heart, what with the abundance of quality mixology in the L.A. area, as well as the emergence of good spirits, including Ketel One vodka maker Nolet’s, which comes with a variety of interesting infusions.

At a Nolet’s cocktail-and-dinner pairing at FIG in the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica, I sampled Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin, which has Turkish rose, peach and raspberry notes and was used in cocktails designed by FIG’s mixologist, Tavis Alexander. My favorite was the beet-based drink, which is now available at FIG. Here are the recipes of Alexander’s cocktails from the dinner:

Beet Me Loud
1 oz. Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin
0.5 oz. beet juice
0.75 oz. apple syrup
0.5 oz. lime juice
Absinthe spray glass
Shake all ingredients, strain over ice and serve in a rocks glass.

Mandarin Fizz
2 oz. Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin
0.75 oz. lemon juice
0.75 oz. simple syrup
1 egg white
Angostura bitters
6 tangerine segments
Zest tangerine
Shake all ingredients, double strain into a mini pilsner glass and garnish with dashes of bitters.

Palisades Coffee
1 oz. Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin
0.5 oz. root liquor
0.5 oz. Benedictine
1 oz. espresso
0.5 oz. cream
0.25 oz. simple syrup
Shake all ingredients, strain and serve up in a coupe glass.

Can’t make it to Santa Monica? I’ve seen Nolet’s at Bouchon Bistro’s bar in Beverly Hills, and mixologist Jaymee Mandeville of downtown’s Drago Centro has also put a Nolet’s drink on her seasonal menu:

Silver Solstice
1.25 oz Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin
0.5 oz maple syrup
0.5 oz fresh lemon juice
0.75 oz banana jam
4 peppercorns
Muddle or grind peppercorns, add all other ingredients over ice, shake and fine strain. Serve up in a martini glass and garnish with lemon twist.

Beet Me Loud

Beet Me Loud

While the Silver is most common, Nolet’s Reserve, with saffron and verbena notes, retails for about $600 a bottle and is the brainchild of distillery owner Carolus Nolet Sr., who personally tastes every batch before it’s bottled. I got to taste some of this pricey liquid, and it is definitely spicy, just as it was described to those of us at the dinner. I think I actually prefer the Silver, which is a good thing since it seems to be popping up more often around Los Angeles.

Note: The meal and cocktails at FIG were hosted.


05 2012

Favorite bites from Great Chefs of L.A.

Drago Centro's celery root panna cotta

The 24th Annual Great Chefs of Los Angeles event at CBS Studio Center in Studio City was good times. The “Go Green, Go Organic” event benefited the National Kidney Foundation through a fancy-schmancy auction that was too rich for my blood. Good thing I had tasty food to keep me occupied. While there were some repeat participants from last year’s event, I managed to find some new favorites this time ’round.

Drago Centro‘s Sommelier and Beverage Director Michael Shearin served up mini Smitten With Britain cocktails of Tanqueray gin, fever tree tonic, and fresh chives and lime. The drink was nice and light yet had a nice kick. Chef de Cuisine Ian Gresik served up an interesting celery root panna cotta topped with pancetta and a basil crouton. I’ve never had a savory panna cotta before, so this was definitely intriguing.

Drago Centro's Smitten With Britain cocktail

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11 2010

A proper meal at Drago Centro

Mozzarella amuse bouche

I’ve been to downtown Los Angeles’ Drago Centro many times before, but I had only partaken of the bar menu, which is one of the best deals in town (everything is less than $10 all the time — no need to wait for happy hour!). But I hadn’t had a real meal at the restaurant until last month, when my friends very generously took me for my birthday. And it was one of my favorite meals of the last month.

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07 2010

It’s bake sale time again!

Eat My Blog, the charity bake sale that benefits the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, is back, bigger and better than December’s inaugural event. This time there will be more than 70 bakers, including the foodies behind the blogs Delicious Coma, Diana Takes a Bite, Eating L.A., Ravenous Couple, plus donations from local chefs, restaurants and mainstream media luminaries Evan Kleiman, Ludovic Lefevbre, Debbie Lee, Drago Centro, Valerie Confections, Starry Kitchen, LAist, Los Angeles Times’ Daily Dish, L.A. Weekly’s Squid Ink, and many more. Check out Gastronomy Blog for a complete list of participants.

The event is taking place this Saturday, June 19, at the West Hollywood Tender Greens from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Look out for noms such as Nutella blondies, carrot cake cookie sandwiches, browned butter brown sugar cookies, matcha mocha bundts with red bean filling, ube cupcakes and much more (complete menu here). There will also be The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf beverages to help wash it all down. The best part? Every is priced between $1 and $4 and all proceeds go to charity.


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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02 2010