Posts Tagged ‘whiskey’

Treat yo self: Quality food and drink at good prices

Asa Meza ceviche

Asa Meza ceviche. From Asa Meza.

If you’re like me, you want to enjoy the finer things in life, but you can’t always afford it. That’s when knowing where to score some reasonably priced eats (sometimes free!) at some of Los Angeles’ up-and-coming restaurants and bars comes in handy.

Two new deals from Asa Meza and Now Boarding should whet your appetite.

On Thursday, March 19, Latin- and Asian-inspired restaurant Asa Meza is hosting a Hollywood Social Night from 6 to 10 p.m. Go to check out the menu, craft cocktails and beers while also enjoying complimentary appetizers.

Asa Meza
1718 Vine St.
Hollywood, CA 90028

Blackjack Smash at Now Boarding.

Blackjack Smash at Now Boarding. From Now Boarding.

At Now Boarding, a travel-inspired bar in West Hollywood, Sunday nights are now “You Don’t Know Jack” nights. Starting at 9 p.m., enjoy free live music from funk, soul and R&B bands, as well as happy hour-priced $9 specialty Jack Daniels cocktails. Considering these kinds of cocktails are usually $14, this is a bargain.

Cocktails include:

~Tiny Dancer with Jack Daniel’s whiskey, Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur, passion fruit and prosecco
~Blackjack Smash with Jack Daniel’s whiskey, lemon juice, sugar, blackberries and mint
~Jackalope with Jack Daniel’s whiskey, pineapple, coconut and Ancho Reyes ancho chile liqueur
~Elda Fitzgerald with Jack Daniel’s whiskey, St. Germaine elderflower liqueur, orange, lemon, sugar and egg white

Now Boarding
7746 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90046


03 2015

Travelogue: NYC’s Estela restaurant

Beef tartare at Estela

Beef tartare at Estela

Named No. 3 Best New Restaurant by Bon Appetit in 2014, Estela restaurant is a self-described “beverage-driven” eatery from the minds and palates of beverage director Thomas Carter (Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Essex House) and James Beard Award-nominated chef Ignacio Mattos (Isa, Il Buco) in New York City. With shareable plates, an interesting wine list and solid cocktails, Estela focuses on “American food with European influences.”

I visited Estela restaurant earlier this year in the fall, and enjoyed its famous beef tartare with fried sunchoke chips, which give the dish a welcome variety in texture and subtle sweetness.

My dining companion, my cousin Phillip who is studying to become a sommelier, chose a funky white wine for us to drink, as well as the burrata with salsa verde and charred bread, one of the dishes the Obamas ate during dinner here less than a month earlier.



We also had the razor clams, which come topped with tons of freshly grated horseradish. I’ve never had a dish like this before, and I liked its spiciness, especially because it didn’t overpower the delicacy of the clams.

Razor clams

Razor clams

Since Estela restaurant is beverage-focused, we of course got cocktails. The Il Vittelone, with whiskey, sherry, amaro and vermouth, and the Tuxedo #2, with gin, white vermouth, maraschino, absinthe and bitters, were both winners. Il Vittelone is the bolder of the two — a “real” drink — and the Tuxedo #2 is a smooth operator.

Il Vittelone, left, and Tuxedo #2

Il Vittelone, left, and Tuxedo #2

Estela restaurant is pretty small and gets crowded, but we were able to walk in on the early side of dinner on a Friday night without a problem. It’s kind of great, actually.

Further reading:

25 Things to Do When Traveling Solo to NYC by Diana Takes a Bite


12 2014

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

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

Tonight’s Radio Room at The Edison

Zane from Seattle

Thinking about going to The Edison‘s Radio Room tonight? Lucky for you there was a press preview last night of the guest-bartender event under new Director of Spirits Joe Brooke, so you’ll have the details on what’s going to be served. Tonight’s guest bartenders are Simon Ford from Pernod Ricard in London and New York, Giuseppe Gonzalez from Dutch Kills in New York, Zane Harris from Rob Roy in Seattle and Don Lee from Momofuku Ssam Bar in New York. There will be a menu of six cocktails at $14 each, and entrance is $10 at the door (presale tickets here).

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03 2010

Another Blackboard Eats adventure: Ammo Restaurant

I had been wanting to try Ammo for a while, so when Blackboard Eats offered a 30 percent off deal for the entire check — including alcohol — I jumped on it. I recruited a few of my friends (the discount was good for up to parties of four) — the usual suspects, Esther of e*starLA, Caroline of Caroline on Crack, and H.C. of L.A. and O.C. Foodventures — to join me. What I discovered was a restaurant that offers great value for your buck in a pleasant (if a tad too dark) setting.

We started off with cocktails, of course. I had the restaurant’s whiskey sour, made with Black Maple Hill bourbon, and lemon, orange and grapefruit juice, topped with a house made brandied cherry. I liked the abundance of citrus, which gave it a light sweet and sour taste without using a nasty-tasting mix. I appreciated that.


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01 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.

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05 2009