Posts Tagged ‘Marina del Rey’

Marina Del Rey’s taste of Peru: Paiche

Yuquitas at Paiche

Yuquitas at Paiche

Paiche, the newest in Chef Ricardo Zarate‘s mini Peruvian restaurant kingdom, is his most ambitious yet. Located in Marina Del Rey just steps from the Pacific Coast Highway, its focus is seafood — a paiche is a South American tropical freshwater fish, after all. But I’m weird, OK? My favorite dishes at Paiche had nothing to do with the myriad fish and shellfish items on the menu.

The Yuquitas, yuca beignets filled with manchego cheese and topped with grated parmesan, were light and airy yet delightfully chewy. The creaminess of the cheese went well with the salty fried goodness of the yuca. I could eat these all day long.

Out of all the dishes I tried — and I had the uni shrimp toast (didn’t like it texturally) and the blood clams and uni risotto (too fishy tasting) — the Ceviche de Pato, confit duck in a ceviche stew and lima bean rice, was my favorite. It was super savory and hearty.

Ceviche de Pato

Ceviche de Pato

As for the Deysi Alvarez-designed cocktails, two stood out to me. The Last Ice Age, with Porton pisco, Hakushu whiskey 12 year, Asian pear, shiso, organic egg white, lime, lemon, evaporated simple syrup and Fernet Branca drops, was just my kind of drink. I always go for the whiskey-based drink, and this one didn’t disappoint. The Last Ice Age was a nice combination of sweetness, tartness, bitterness and frothiness.

Last Ice Age

The Last Ice Age

The Bernard Devoto AKA The Master of Intoxication, with Sino reposado tequila, Christian Drouin calvados brandy, yellow chartreuse, Benedictine and Angostura bitters, was also a highly drinkable — and potent — choice.

Bernard Devoto

Bernard Devoto

Note: This meal was hosted.


05 2013

J. Nichols Kitchen steps up its game

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich at J. Nichols Kitchen

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich at J. Nichols Kitchen

Since Executive Chef Roger Hayot, formerly of Authentic Café on Beverly Boulevard, joined Marina del Rey’s J. Nichols Kitchen this summer, he has turned up the sophistication factor at the neighborhood diner, incorporating more seasonal, locally sourced ingredients to create a new contemporary comfort food menu.

I had never been to the previous incarnation, so I didn’t have anything to compare it to. But no matter — the new version stands on its own. There’s a little bit of everything on the menu, so if you can’t decide what to have for dinner, then J. Nichols might be the place for you.

Start with the Black Pepper Wings with ginger soy glaze, garlic and black pepper, or get The Del Rey salad, a hearty mix of chicken, kale, mixed greens, pink lady apples, applewood bacon, aged white cheddar, nuts, dried cranberries, egg and a sweet mustard vinaigrette.

Black Pepper Wings at J. Nichols

Black Pepper Wings

The Del Rey at J. Nichols

The Del Rey salad

The BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich (pictured above), which comes topped with slaw and crispy onions on a pretzel bun, is one of the best I’ve ever had (I’m such a sucker for pretzel buns). The Creamy Chipotle Rigatoni with chicken, mushrooms, corn, cherry tomatoes and a chipotle cream sauce sounds strange but ultimately works. And for dessert, try the bread pudding and the key lime pie — both are made for sharing.

Creamy Chipotle Rigatoni at J. Nichols

Creamy Chipotle Rigatoni

The restaurant also recently introduced Sausage Sundays. From 5 p.m. to close every Sunday night, Chef Hayot will be offering a variety of sausage specialties made in-house – all for under $10 each. The menu will rotate, but expect to see items such as a chicken sausage sandwich with apples, caramelized onions and fried sage; pork and Mexican chorizo posole with corn tortillas; and Asian duck sausage with fried jasmine rice. Pair one of those with a $4 glass of beer, a selection of three rotating brews that might include Scrimshaw Pilsner, Dead Guy Ale or West Coast IPA. Or go on a Tuesday for Pizza & Beer Night, when you’ll get any pizza, salad and two draft beers for $32.

See more photos from J. Nichols Kitchen:

Note: This meal was hosted.

Further reading:

The BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich & More at J. Nichols by estarLA


10 2012

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.


11 2011

Food and drink with a view: Vu Restaurant

Let me preface this post with this statement: This restaurant is in Marina del Rey. Unless you live in Marina del Rey or really close to it, you probably don’t frequent the area much. I know I don’t. But I may start now that Vu Restaurant has opened at the waterfront Jamaica Bay Inn, which just underwent an extensive makeover.

Vu (pronounced “view”), which just opened this month, turned out to be a pleasant surprise for me, despite some hiccups at the bar (make sure head mixologist Jolie Klein makes your drinks, and you’ll be golden). The food’s origins are all over the map, literally — there’s Asian, Italian and good old American, among others — and even some molecular gastronomy thrown in. A bit confusing, but somehow it works. Here are some of the highlights from my dinner there last week.

The pork belly sitting on a crispy cake of grits and topped with root beer gelée was my favorite bite of the night. As Lindsay William-Ross, editor of LAist, noted, the flavors were reminiscent of chicken and waffles. I liked this because the root beer wasn’t overpowering but lent just the right amount of subtle sweetness to complement the dish.

Pork belly on crispy grits topped with root beer gelée

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12 2010

Get to know Marina Del Rey and win big prizes

From S/V Rapture

The Marina del Rey Convention & Visitors Bureau is holding a digital photo scavenger hunt called Hit Me With Your Best Shot. Cute, huh?

Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t know much about MDR other than it’s a beach town, so I think doing a scavenger hunt would be a good way to explore and learn more about the area. And the visitors bureau is giving away some great prizes to the winners, too.

To participate, you’ll have to take photos of yourself in front of or next to the “iconic, unique and quirky” items listed in certain categories representative of the MDR community — family, foodie and wedding. You’ll need to collect at least five photos to qualify for prizes; if you collect all 10 photos in a category, you’ll be entered to win grand-level prizes.

Each category has prizes with values up to $2,200, including:

  • A two-night getaway weekend for you and your friends with three deluxe rooms and daily breakfast for six at the Marriott Marina del Rey
  • A bed and breakfast overnight package at the Ritz-Carlton Marina del Rey
  • Tickets to champagne brunch and dinner cruises featuring live music and food with Hornblower Cruises and Events
  • $300 gift card for dinner at Café del Rey
  • $50 gift card for Mendocino Farms Sandwiches & Marketplace
  • Round-trip tickets to Catalina Island from Marina del Rey’s shore with Catalina Ferries
  • To enter, upload photos either to Facebook, Twitter or by email to The deadline to submit all photos is Oct. 27, 2010. The grand prize and runner up winners will be announced via Facebook, Twitter and the Visit Marina del Rey Blog on Nov. 10, 2010.

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