Posts Tagged ‘scotch’

Allumette lights up Echo Park dining

Poached octopus at Allumette

Poached octopus at Allumette

Allumette, owners Charles Kelly and Bill DiDonna’s new eatery in their former Allston Yatch Club space in Echo Park, is a home run. With chef Miles Thompson (Son of a Gun, Vagrancy Project) in the kitchen and mixologist Serena Herrick (Pour Vous, Harvard & Stone) behind the bar, Allumette really steps it up with inventive, intensely flavorful food and drink that’s hard to find in this neighborhood.

The restaurant recently added Tuesday night dinner service and changed its menu to a pared-down version of its à la carte and added a five-course $72 tasting menu with an optional beverage pairing for $45.

If you’re going for the tasting menu, which everyone in your party must order, you can look forward to the homey-yet-decidedly new-feeling poached octopus with beluga lentils, vadouvan butter and a fried egg (pictured above), and the goat’s milk flan with angel food cake, brown butter and cucumber-flavored tapioca for dessert.

Goat's milk flan

Goat’s milk flan

From the à la carte menu, the crudo options — pink snapper with kanzuri (Japanese chili paste with yuzu), white soy and cherimoya, and live scallop tartare with strawberry, black truffle and elderflower — are both good choices.

Pink snapper crudo

Pink snapper crudo

Live scallop tartare

Live scallop tartare

When it comes to pasta, go for the cavatelli bathed in an uni ragu and served with English pea purée, braised mushrooms and Thompson’s special fromage noir.

Cavatelli with uni ragu

Cavatelli with uni ragu

One of the more interesting dishes is the short rib cooked in pho broth served on top of a scallion pancake with a side of xiu mai. While I found the meat a tad too salty for my taste, I appreciate the innovation in the dish.

Short rib "pho"

Short rib “pho”

If you’re lucky Thompson might send out a surprise, such as fried potato mascarpone butter (unlike anything I’ve ever had!) served with house-made focaccia topped with black lava sea salt, or a tiny fairy squid with flowering cilantro and yuzu.

Potato mascarpone butter

Potato mascarpone butter

As for cocktails, I enjoyed the Gentleman’s Breakfast, a hearty concoction of Famous Grouse scotch, egg white, lemon and ginger honey syrup topped with Atomized Candy Cap bitters, Islay scotch and a piece of candied ginger. The Le Système Solaire with Oloroso sherry, Dolin Blanc vermouth and Bergamot bitters, is another satisfying choice.

Gentleman's Breakfast

Gentleman’s Breakfast

Note: This meal was hosted.


04 2013

Chef departs Wood & Vine, puts on special Halloween dinner

Charcuterie and cheese board at Wood & Vine

Charcuterie and cheese board at Wood & Vine

If you haven’t already heard, Chef Gavin Mills will be leaving Wood & Vine in mid-November, less than two years after opening the Hollywood joint known for its whiskey drinks and chicken and waffles. Current Sous Chef Eric Buss will take over as interim executive chef and continue to prepare the restaurant’s menu favorites.

As a last hurrah, Mills is putting together an “Offal-y Spooky” Halloween menu featuring snout-to-tail dishes, including blood sausage, calf’s liver, beef tongue, and something described as “cock’s comb and turkey testicle poppers.” Head barman Bayardo De Murguia has also put together a couple of special drinks, including the Are You Afraid of the Dark? with Famous Grouse scotch, Amaro Averna, toasted marshmallow syrup (what?!), Miracle Mile Forbidden bitters and a Laphroaig scotch spritz. Interesting…This special menu will be available on Halloween, Wednesday, Oct. 31, from 5:30 p.m. to close.

While the Halloween menu sounds a bit scary (pun intended), if Mills’ and De Murguia’s regular offerings are any indication, it should be an offally (OK, I’ll stop now) good time. The chicken liver mousse (pictured above) is smooth and fluffy, and the chicken and waffles with a maple glaze and sage butter are satisfying. The shrimp and grits is another good dish, but my hands-down favorite is the gnocchi, which is airy yet hearty. Both the food and cocktail menus change seasonally, so you might find variations depending on when you go.

Chicken and waffles

Chicken and waffles

Shrimp and grits

Shrimp and grits



If you can’t make it for the Halloween meal, you can always go on a Monday night when you can get a three-course farmers market dinner for $18.

Further reading:

Wood and Vine (Hollywood, CA): Monday Market Dinners and Chicken and Waffles by Gourmet Pigs

Wood & Vine: That Cozy, Warm Space on Hollywood Boulevard by estarLA


10 2012

All the glitz and glamour: Hollywood Confidential Blogger Prom 2010

The Blogger Prom Committee all dressed up! Photo by Heather Kincaid.

The Hollywood Confidential Blogger Prom, the second incarnation of last year’s Blogger Prom, took place at the elegantly historic Yamashiro Restaurant last week, and boy, was it a party! With guests decked out in their best Hollywood glamour — every decade from the 1920s to the 1950s were represented — along with classic tunes and abundant food and drink, Blogger Prom was a hit. Just check out these stories in the Los Angeles Times and Brand X!

Keep Reading


09 2010

Lots of style, little substance: First and Hope

First & Hope, the gorgeous supper club in the not-so-gorgeous strip mall at the corner of 1st and Hope streets (clever, huh?) in downtown Los Angeles, certainly has lots of style. From the mood-changing lighting in the sleek dining room to the servers outfitted by “Mad Men” assistant costume designer Allison Leach, the restaurant screams class. I just wish the food spoke as loudly to me — in a good way.

I had visited First & Hope once before during its preview night when the atmosphere was close to mayhem. It was very crowded, and while the servers did their best, it was hard to get a good idea of what the food and drink should have been like.

So when presented with an invitation to have dinner at the restaurant under normal circumstances, I decided I would give the place another chance. I would have a proper meal and make a better-informed decision about First & Hope’s merits.

And I’ve made my decision: I would only come back here for one, maybe two, dishes.

You see, the menu sounds good; it reads like a food blogger’s wet dream, with foie gras, bacon and pork rinds littered all over its comfort food-centric offerings. But First & Hope leaves much to be desired in execution.

First, the cocktails. Nearly every one contains some kind of bubbly, no doubt an homage to the vintage style. I get it, but I thought the drinks were just OK, which was pretty much my summation after the preview party, too. I had an Elle for Leather, made with Famous Grouse scotch, vanilla syrup, “a touch of effervescence” and garnished with a vanilla pod. It smelled amazing due to the vanilla pod but tasted light on the scotch.

Elle for Leather. There's a blue tint because of the mood lighting.

Keep Reading


06 2010

Loving scotch like Ron Burgundy

Hello, ladies! Courtesy of Balblair.

Balblair, a Highland single malt scotch whisky, recently held its U.S. launch at the Edison in downtown Los Angeles. I attended the party, along with Tara of When Tara Met Blog, Fiona of Gourmet Pigs, Esther of e*starLA and others, where we sipped on Balblair 1991 and 1997 accompanied by small bites such as bruschetta and chocolates, which went surprisingly well with the scotch. I preferred the 1991, which was smoother than the 1997, which was spicier.

What sets Balblair apart from other scotches I’ve tasted, including Macallan, Highland Park and Dalmore (check out Thirsty in L.A.‘s very thorough post on the Dalmore tasting at the Varnish), is the use of vintages, i.e., years, in naming, just like wines do. Most scotches use the number of years the liquor has been aged in their naming conventions. Balblair’s bottle design is also very contemporary, something you don’t necessarily expect from a scotch. Considering how many times I’ve heard that scotch isn’t just for old men anymore, it’s refreshing to see a company actually reflect that in its packaging.

Courtesy of Balblair

Balblair isn’t cheap, either — the 1991 retails for $129.99 per bottle, and the 1997 goes for $64.99. Wow. Balblair isn’t messing around. While I enjoyed the 1991, I don’t think I would pay $130 for a bottle of it. [Note: There are few things I would pay $130 a bottle for, mostly because I don’t have that kind of cash!] Taste it for yourself and let me know how you like it: Balblair is available locally at the Edison, Checkers and Thirsty Crow.


05 2010

Macallan scotch

IMG_0765The Macallan Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky – heretofore referred to as “Macallan” – hosted a tasting poolside at the Viceroy hotel earlier this week, and what a tasting it was. Moderated by Eden Algie, Macallan brand ambassador, and held in a kick-ass cabana, other bloggers and I sipped on Macallan in neat and cocktail form. I learned more about scotch than I ever thought I would. There’s fine (light-colored) and sherry (dark-colored) oak-matured scotch, which is a single-malt whiskey (the Scots spell it “whisky”) made from barley. American whiskey is really bourbon made from rye.

Keep Reading

Related Posts with Thumbnails


05 2009