Los Angeles

My Favorite L.A. Eateries

The last place I visited before leaving Los Angeles was Father's Office. Why Father's Office is such a hit can be summed up in two words: Beer and Burgers.  This gastropub specializes in beer from all over the world. It's not your typical bar/restaurant. There is no waitress to take your order--you order from the bar and you have to find your own table.  And if it's 9 p.m. on a Friday night, finding a table may require some patience.  But, you will probably run into friends, colleagues, and old classmates.   When Lucy and I went last Friday, we both ran into numerous people we know. Father's Office in Culver City has become a spot that West Siders frequent regularly. From young doctors and lawyers, to members of the Urban League's Young Professional group. Everyone is kicking back, enjoying a beer, and munching on Father's Office's amazing garlic fries or sweet potato fries.

The photo above is THE burger from Father's Office. The burger is topped with a gruyere-blue cheese combo, arugula, and onions caramelized in bacon fat. And it is absolutely delicious! I always order a side of sweet potato fries, which comes with a blue cheese aioli to dip the fries in.  The dip makes them the BEST sweet potato fries! But don't ask for ketchup- there is none. As a matter of fact, you can't specialize any order at this joint.

Other places in Los Angeles that I will miss:

Creme De La Crepe (Hermosa Location): authentic French food and amazing crepes. Try the crepe splendide, filled with sliced strawberries and topped with honey, vanilla ice cream, and whipped cream.  The location--on the pier of Hermosa Beach, the service, and the food make this place a winner every time. [I'm not vouching for any of their franchise locations though!]

Chado Tea Room (3rd Street Location): I have spent countless hours sipping tea with friends, and enjoying their delicious scones with Chado cream and strawberries.

Loteria Grill (Farmer's Market at the Grove Location): What one Mexican food-loving friend described as, the best Mexican food she's ever had.  Try the shrimp burrito.

I'll even miss Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles--not for the chicken. not for the waffles. But for the memories. Freshman year, no matter what we did, we always seemed to end up at Roscoe's around 1 am on Saturday nights.

What's your favorite place to eat in Los Angeles?

Foodie in Los Angeles

When I realized that I was in the home stretch of my time in Los Angeles, there were two things that I wanted to do.  The first was to spend time with my friends and my sister.

The second was to revisit some of my favorite Los Angeles eateries.  I'm not so good at good byes, but I did manage to see most of my girl friends.  My sister and I went on a bit of a food crawl, hitting up some of my favorite places.  We had lunch at Toast Cafe on W. 3rd street where I enjoyed a delicious tortilla soup. Toast Cafe is a great place to put on your oversized sunglasses, bring your small dog, and sit outside and have breakfast or lunch while people watching.  After brunch, you can hit up some shopping at the Grove or the Beverly Center--both within walking distance.

We also visited a number of places closer to home on Venice Blvd., like Cafe Brasil, tucked away in Culver City.  Cafe Brasil serves authentic and delicious Brazilian food in a relaxed and comfortable semi-outdoor setting. There is always a "futbol" game or coverage of Brazilian celebrations (like Carnival) playing on one of their televisions. One afternoon last week, Lucy and I grabbed a bottle of Reisling, went to Cafe Brasil, ate well, drank well, and relaxed soaking up the Los Angeles sun. (It's BYOB-and there is NO CORK FEE!)

Lucy asked me how I "discovered" the place. Well, it was my second date with Encouse- 4 years ago! Cafe Brasil is next door to another one of my favorite eateries, Bamboo.  Bamboo specializes in Caribbean fare, and I am convinced that EVERY chicken, salmon or shrimp dish on the menu is absolutely delectable. Cafe Brasil and Bamboo actually share a parking lot. So, four years ago, Encouse took me there and asked me to pick which one I wanted to go to that evening. Caribbean or Brazilian? Such a tough choice! But Encouse assured me that we would come back and try whatever place we didn't go to. And we did :)

Creme de la Crêpe

I have fond memories of walking the cold, damp streets of Paris with a warm crepe enveloped in my chilly hands.  I explored with all types of fancy toppings until I settled on my personal favorite-- "beurre et sucre" (butter and sugar).  A "crepe Suzette" is a close second (butter, sugar, and lemon juice). And I can't leave out nutella! My favorite crepe stand in Paris was across the street from the Centre Pompidou Museum and Library.  The crepe maker would paint my nutella on, as if it were a work of art (how fitting that he was across the street from a museum that houses some of the most daring art pieces of our age).

There is a restaurant in Los Angeles that makes wonderfully authentic crepes--Creme de la Crepe.  My favorite location is their Hermosa Beach one.  The owner is a young French guy who has been so successful because the food is so good and the service is so French.  I often go to brush up on my French, as all of the waiters are native French speakers.  My favorite is the "crepe splendide"--a crepe with strawberries, honey, whipped cream, and vanilla ice cream.  All of this leads me to my recent endeavor--to make crepes at home. I found a wonderfully simple recipe, and the crepes came out rather good.

 

 

Crepes inspired by Creme de la Crepe
Author: Vallery
Ingredients
  • 1 and 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk, room temp.
  • 3 large eggs, room temp.
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Sift flour and salt into a large bowl.  Whisk together milk and eggs in a medium bowl. Pour milk mixture into flour mixture, whisking to combine.  Whisk in butter.  Strain mixture into a medium bowl, and refrigerate for at least two hours (or up to one day).
  2. Heat an 8" or 12" nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Brush with butter.  Ladle 3 tablespoons batter (for smaller crepes)  or 1/3 cup batter (for large crepes) onto the skillet, turning and tilting the skillet to coat the bottom evenly with the batter.  Cook until the tops of the crepes appear set, about 1 minute.
  3. Run a spatula along the edge of the crepe to loosen.  Slip the spatula under the crepe and gently flip in one swift gesture.  Cook until the bottom is firm, about 45 seconds.  Transfer to a plate.  Repeat with remaining batter. Serve immediately.

The Yard Gastropub

Earlier this week, I attended the Grand Re-Opening of The Yard Gastropub in Santa Monica. To all of the Top Chef lovers, you will recognize the chef as "CJ" from Season 3.

Only feet from the Santa Monica promenade, the Yard is the perfect spot for lunch, happy hour, or a late night gathering with friends. The decor is whimsical, yet fun and casual. The large table inside encourages mingling and conversation. The smaller tables on the periphery allow for a bit of privacy.

The menu is as fun and sophisticated as the decor. Some of the small plates that are not to be missed are the pan-seared diver scallops with mandarin, the crispy fried cheese with a chili fig sauce, and the "Ain't No Thang" Chicken wings.

Despite the sophisticated flavor profiles, the ambiance and service is as warm as your own backyard. The signature drink, "Backyard Lemonade," comes in a mason jar, reiterating the casual neighborhood atmosphere. Also, local DJs spin on Friday and Saturday nights. Check out the website for details on weekly events!

The Yard Gastropub 119 Broadway Santa Monica, CA 310.395.6037 www.theyardsm.com