Posts Tagged ‘Santa Monica’

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.

29

05 2012

How to celebrate National Drink Wine Day

Wine Glasses

Wine? Why not! Photo by Christina Lam.

This Friday, Feb. 18, is National Drink Wine Day. Now, we all know that you don’t need a special reason to drink wine, but now you can say you’re doing your civic duty when your boss asks why you’re having that bottle — er, glass — of pinot at 10:00 a.m.

Here are a few ways to celebrate.

While not technically happening on National Drink Wine Day, Pourtal wine bar is hosting tonight a screening of the documentary “Merlove: A Documentary about Merlot” with writer and director Rudolf McClain. As you watch, sip on some of the bar’s merlot Merlove and white wine Labor of Love-themed wines. Screening is free, but the wine costs money.

Pourtal
104 Santa Monica Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Wednesday, February 16, 2011
8:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

On Friday, downtown Los Angeles’ Corkbar will offer a specially-priced flight of three wines for $10. And if you check in on Foursquare and unlock the Swarm badge, you’ll get extended happy hour specials, including $2 off drafts, $8 select wines and half-priced select appetizers, for the rest of the night.

Corkbar
403 W. 12th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90015

Also, Napa Valley Grille in Westwood will host Friday a “Guess the Grape” game led by Wine Director Christina Sherwood. Guests will be invited to sample a grape varietal not listed on the menu, and if they answer correctly will be rewarded with a complimentary glass of wine. Free wine, woo!

Napa Valley Grille
1100 Glendon Ave. Suite 100
Los Angeles, CA 90024

16

02 2011

No more Mr. Douche Bag: Les Deux redux

Smashed Irishman at Les Deux

The nightclub formerly known as Les Deux (of “The Hills” fame) is now the gastropub Les Deux. Les Deux Estate, actually, but you can keep calling it Les Deux. Anyway, the folks behind The Buffalo Club in Santa Monica took over the former nightclub space and turned it into a classy restaurant and bar with a more-than-respectable food and drink menu.

I recently visited the new Les Deux during happy hour, which goes until 7:30 p.m. but applies only to food. Boo. But the cocktails are really pretty great, so that makes the $12 to $15 price tags a bit more bearable (not really; those are steep prices!). Anyway, if you’re going to shell out for one of the drinks on the menu, try the Smashed Irishman made with Jameson whiskey, lemon, basil, red bell pepper, honey and a Guinness reduction float. It’s reminiscent of Rivera’s Blood Sugar Sex Magic, which is one of my favorite cocktails. If you’d like something custom made, ask the friendly mixologist behind the bar for a Dealer’s Choice, which he will create for you based on your preferred flavor profile.

The grilled cheese with caramelized onions is also a good choice, though the tomato soup that comes with it is just OK. When I was there, it seemed that the staff was still working out some kinks: I ordered the grilled cheese off the happy menu, which listed fries as the accompaniment, but got the soup, which is part of the dish on the regular menu. Oh, well. The mac and cheese is another worthy menu item, with its topping of bread crumbs and a bruschetta-like mixture giving it a little something special.

Grilled cheese sandwich with caramelized onions

Mac and cheese

Les Deux is definitely going to become one of my go-to Hollywood happy hour spots. Now, if only the cocktail menu were part of the discount…

Further reading: Les Deux Estate, a Hollywood Sequel You Need to See by Thirsty In LA

21

01 2011

‘Tis the season: Christmas dinner roundup

Georgio's Cucina. From Gilt City.

Georgio’s Cucina: From New York chef Gary Robins and Chris Heyman, restaurateur behind Table 8 and 8 oz. Burger Bar, comes a Christmas Eve Feast of the Seven Fishes dinner at this new Studio City restaurant. The 7-course prix fixe ($65 per person, with a $45 wine pairing supplement; $15 children’s menu also available) will feature oysters on the half shell with prosecco gelée and black caviar, giant shrimp, big eye tuna, clams with pancetta, lobster risotto, roasted branzino and a selection of desserts.

Eva Restaurant: For a family-style dinner, hit up Eva’s prix fixe ($39 per person) on Christmas Eve to enjoy a prime rib roast, roasted organic chicken, creamed spinach, butterscotch pudding and more. Given the high quality of the food here, this meal looks like one of the best deals out there!

Gladstones Malibu: Looking for somewhere to nosh during the day? This SBE takeover is offering a Christmas Eve Dungeness crab feast ($70 per person; $30 for children 12 and younger) from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. You’ll also get Caesar salad, boiled new potatoes, steamed corn, asparagus and eggnog golden raisin brioche bread pudding. There’s fun for the whole family, too — new hopscotch courses and a sandbox, as well as a coloring contest for a chance to win special holiday treats.

Whist at Viceroy Hotel: Can’t decide which day to eat out? No worries because Whist is offering its Christmas menu ($75 per person) on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. You’ll start out with a smoked sturgeon salad with the option to add on foie gras torchon or raw oysters, and for the main course, choose two whole roasted meats, including a pork rack, organic turkey, prime rib and wild European turbot. There will be all kinds of sides, too, including black truffle, chestnut and pancetta risotto, and ricotta and spinach lasagna, in addition to a variety of desserts — even roasted chestnuts in a brown paper bag to go.

Oliverio at Avalon Hotel: Chef Mirko Paderno (a bit of a character, if you’ve ever met him) will be serving up some of his family’s Italian traditions on Christmas Day this year ($48 per person). These include marinated salmon in pink peppercorns with a citrus salad, a cauliflower soufflé topped with parmesan sauce, tonnarelli pasta made with crabmeat broth, and veal cheese and truffle fondue ravioli. Choose from either the roasted Mediterranean sea bass (AKA branzino) with cabbage and porcini mushrooms or the baked chicken served with artichoke and potato. Enjoy a cranberry parfait drizzled with dark chocolate sauce for dessert.

21

12 2010

Gobble, gobble, snooze: Thanksgiving meals at L.A. hotels

The Bridge. Courtesy of The Bridge at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

The Bridge at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel: This Thanksgiving meal ($49 per person, $25 per child) includes chestnut agnolotti with crispy sage, ameritti cookies and shaved parmesan; squab-roasted root vegetables and foie gras remoulade with huckleberry jus; and chocolate cake with salted caramel.

Delphine at the W Hotel Hollywood: The brasserie-inspired prix fixe menu ($45 per person) includes the run of a raw bar with a selection of oysters, prawns and ceviche; butternut squash soup; a variety of hors d’oeuvres; an entree of roasted turkey with wild mushrooms, sweet potato puree, stuffing, and haricot vert and almonds; and dessert of pumpkin pie with brown sugar bourbon ice cream or chocolate pecan pie with nutmeg pear ice cream.

Cézanne at Le Merigot Hotel: A three-course dinner ($49 per person) with choices including lobster chowder; persimmon salad with arugula, burrata and speck; braised short ribs en cassoulet; roast turkey; black pepper crusted filet mignon, duck breast and confit duck leg; rum baba; banana cream pie; pumpkin pie; pecan pie; and chocolate ganache cake.

Whist at the Viceroy Hotel: The meal ($68 per person) features a buffet including butternut squash soup topped with sage and prosciutto; a turkey and poached char carving station; and a risotto station (!).

Oliverio at the Avalon Hotel: The menu ($40 per person) features a winter pepita salad with pumpkin seeds, goat cheese and walnut dressing; roasted turkey; and apple pie topped with cinnamon ice cream.

23

11 2010

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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16

11 2010

Bit and pieces: Blogger Prom, Pinkberry & Santa Monica deal

Blogger Prom: This year’s Blogger Prom, dubbed Hollywood Confidential, is taking place this Wednesday, Sept. 22, at Yamashiro restaurant. Since I’m on the planning committee, I haven’t been posting on ShopEatSleep as often as I usually do — an event as big as Blogger Prom takes a lot of work! There’s going to be all kinds of fun stuff, including good eats from Chef Brock at Yamashiro, tastings from Barrie Lynn The Cheese Impresario, Coolhaus, Crumbs Bake Shop and other yummy and generous sponsors. There will be giveaways and gift bags galore, so if you’ve received an invitation and haven’t responded yet (this is an invite-only event!), do it now! You won’t want to miss this.

Pinkberry: The ever-present purveyor of tart frozen yogurt is now offering a take-home container that holds the equivalent of five small servings (prices range from $9.95 to $10.95, depending on the store). You can also purchase toppings to go for $1.95 per container, too. I’m not too sure how the froyo would hold up if placed in a home freezer, but I guess it could work if you were having a party and were planning on eating it soon. The fruit bowl is also a new offering; from the description, it sounds like a reverse cup of froyo, with mostly fruit topped with what Pinkberry is calling Swirly Whip, which is made from the Original tart flavor.

Eat, Breathe, Shop at FIG, Fred Segal Couture and Exhale: Spend more than $500 at Fred Segal Couture and get a complimentary week at Exhale Spa in the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows as well as a complimentary FIG Fit breakfast at the hotel’s FIG Restaurant. The FIG Fit menu features health-conscious items such as scarlet quinoa with diced apples, and house-made power bars blended from dates, acai, gogi, pomegranate and hemp seeds. Exhale combines fitness and movement with spa and healing therapies, and if you sign up for one of Exhale’s memberships, you’ll get a $100 credit to Fred Segal Couture. It’s a pretty nice cycle.

20

09 2010

Fashion’s Night Out in Los Angeles

Official L.A. Fashion's Night Out shirt designed by FIDM student Marc Blaskovits. From Transmopolis.

There are like a gazillion events happening tomorrow, Sept. 10, for Fashion’s Night Out, and you can find a great list at Mondette. Here are some others that are taking place in Santa Monica, for those of you on the Westside:

Fluxus: The Santa Monica Place store will have a guest DJ, complimentary cupcakes and champagne, an exclusive preview of the Fluxus fall/winter 2010 collection, and a Buy 2, Get 1 Free discount.

395 Santa Monica Place
Santa Monica, CA 90401
6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Fred Segal Santa Monica: While the Melrose location does its thing (see the Mondette post), this store will be hosting giveaways and gifts-with-purchase from JET, Sharon Segal, ICON and Line & Dot. There will also be personal styling by Kahi Lee, a debut wall installation by KSwiss, art by ICON, music by DJ OMG and cocktails.

Fred Segal Santa Monica
420 Broadway St.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

There’s also a bunch of stuff happening at The Grove, which Kelsi of Dedicated Follower of Fashion and Two Point Oh! L.A. has explained. There’s so much going on, I don’t know where to go!

09

09 2010

Not your momma’s mall food: La Sandia and Zengo at Santa Monica Place

The opening of the new Santa Monica Place mall has been exciting for those of us who knew the old, tired mall that stood in its place years ago. Perhaps some of the most exciting parts have been the new food options, some of which are entirely new to Los Angeles. La Sandia and Zengo from chef Richard Sandoval are two of those new restaurants.

I was invited to try out the food and drink at both places last week, and I came away from the experience pleasantly surprised. These restaurants — the Mexican La Sandia and the Latin-Asian fusion Zengo — are nicer than your usual mall joints, with some pretty respectable cocktails, too.

We started out with cocktails and appetizers at La Sandia. My favorite drink was the cucumber-serrano martini made with mezcal, cucumber, serrano chili, citrus and chili piquin salt on the rim. I love spicy hotness as well as cucumber in my drinks, so this was the prefect combination. I also really enjoyed the shrimp quesadillas made with shrimp, Mexican cheeses, black bean puree, chipotle aioli and topped with crema and avocado. So tasty!

La Sandia cocktails

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30

08 2010

Nation LTD at the new Santa Monica Place

If you haven’t yet heard, the new Santa Monica Place mall opens tomorrow, Aug. 6, and if you remember what the old mall looked like, this is a real treat. Gone is the bunker-like feel (sorry, Frank Gehry, this was not one of your best designs), replaced by high-end stores and an open-air dining deck. There will be all sorts of hooplah surrounding the grand opening, including live music and dance, and sale specials, of course! Here’s a full list of retailers.

One of those special grand opening events will be taking place at Bloomingdale’s (yes, Bloomies!) with Nation LTD, the luxe basics brand. Designer Jen Menchaca will be offering styling tips, and there will be a giveaway contest with the chance to win one of three “Summer Survival Kits” filled with Nation LTD tees (retail value $325). The first 50 purchasers will receive a free denim Nation LTD tote, and Bobbi Brown makeup artists will be on hand to offer beauty tips and to give out mini Crystal Lip Glosses. If only I didn’t have to go to work tomorrow!

Friday, Aug. 6
1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Bloomingdale’s at Santa Monica Place
395 Santa Monica Place
Santa Monica, CA, 90401

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05

08 2010