Wild Fish – Little River, CA. – Dinner – April 29, 2019

This is the best fish restaurant you will ever experience, everything is line caught, with such fresh fish you just can’t go wrong.

Wild Fish is where a stunning view meets organic fare. Where quality, collaboration and community come into focus. For either lunch or dinner, owners Liz and Kelvin Jacobs generate a warm and inviting atmosphere.

By working closely with only local purveyors and harvesting provisions from right outside their door, it’s become a personal mission to procure and serve only the finest, sustainable ingredients. It’s about being resourceful and taking in the bounty of the earth, a healthy rebellion against the reign of processed food.

The Jacobs’ know that California is a prime spot for resources, and acting on tradition, nothing goes to waste. They are constantly pushing artistic boundaries, satisfying appetites and intriguing the senses. The key is employing new seasonal ingredients and implementing new elements. Their dishes incorporate piquant flavors, exceptional techniques and impeccable pairings.

Liz Jacobs, a tenured food writer, believes that food transforms people. Her husband, Kelvin, is an award-winning chef. They relocated from Devon, England, where the couple previously owned and operated a restaurant and inn. Wild Fish opened on Thanksgiving Day 2011.

Wild Fish offers only the finest organic provisions, purchased directly from local purveyors with exclusive plates crafted by our premier chef. From the headland where they sit, there’s a view of waves combing the crags of Little River Cove, with a stunning sunset beyond. Where delectable fresh dishes meet a wistful atmosphere, Wild Fish makes every meal a spectacular dining experience.

Here’s What I Tried:

Starters:

Fresh Oysters on the Half Shell, Marin Miyagi Oysters, delicious, fragrant and so fresh, a great starter.

Wild Fish house smoked sable fish sample, such a delicacy, wow.

Sides:

Cauliflower Florets – tarragon cream and sumac.
Forbidden Coconut Black Rice – fresh mint and basil.
Roasted Root Vegetables – spiced brown butter, fresh turmeric, fennel seeds, and chilis. Each side dish was impeccable, with different textures and flavors; you know everything was just picked.

Mains:

Bouillabaisse – wild caught local fish, mussels, simmered in tomato-saffron broth, with rouille and crostini. A very lovely light broth, coupled with terrific fresh caught fish, jam-packed with mussels a very nice rendition of this popular staple.

Dessert:

Sticky Toffee Pudding – Date and brown sugar sponge cake in hot toffee sauce, with house made vanilla ice cream, toasted pecans. This is sticky and chalk full of toffee nuances, just a big huge thumbs up.

Hours;
Sun-Thu 5:00pm – Late; Kitchen closes 9pm
Fri-Sat 5:00pm – Late; Kitchen closes 9:30pm

Wild Fish
7750 N. Highway 1
Little River, California 95456

Their other location is:
545 Lighthouse Avenue
Pacific Grove, California 93950

http://www.wild-fish.com/

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Dinner – Trillium Café – April 28, 2019 – Mendocino, CA.

The village of Mendocino is like something out of a movie with all Victorian buildings, everything is so elegant. Trillium is in an old Victorian house; it is one of the newer restaurants and boosts amazing food and views. It’s an inn with a 20-table locavore café.

Trillium Cafe is located right in the middle of Mendocino village. Mendocino was settled in the 1850s as a logging community and it is now on the National Register of Historic Places. This town, of 900, will transport you to a bygone era.

The restaurant is beautiful and cozy with a fireplace and ocean views. When the weather permits, they have their outside deck open. It has ocean views of Big River Bay and their beautiful flower garden filled with culinary herbs, summer veggies, and endless flowers. They serve the best Mendocino has to offer in organic, high quality ingredients and they try to use their local farmers as much as possible. Trillium Cafe & Inn is close to all the local shopping, Main Street, and is just a short walk to the beach and the Mendocino Headlands State Park. Located in the heart of Mendocino, Trillium Café offers ocean views and inspired California cuisine in a cozy, relaxed environment. Long-time visitors to Mendocino will recognize this as the location of the Moose Café. Trillium continues in its proud Mendocino tradition, while offering an updated feel and menu. Chef Daniel Martin-Dzul prides himself on sourcing produce, meats and seafood from the Mendocino County coast.

Although not the cheapest option in Mendocino, it is far from the priciest, and offers a wonderful value for quality ingredients and dishes. The setting is excellent as well, and you can sit either inside in a pleasant farmhouse-style setting, or on their beautiful deck overlooking their gardens with a view of Mendocino Bay and the Pacific Ocean.

The menu is relatively contemporary for Mendocino, with a nod towards classic California farmhouse cuisine.

Here’s What I Tried:

Appetizers:

Soup of the Day, with purée parsnip, leak and potato. This is a very delicate soup, with rich parsnip flavor, simply delicious.

Local Seared Albacore Tuna, with tamari reduction, micro greens, pickled ginger, and chili glaze. The combination of the sweet and sour really sets my taste buds on fire, not in the literal sense, but just so wonderful.

Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tart, with arugula, olive oil, and balsamic. The onion is sweet and the local goat cheese is tangy, it melts in your mouth. I took half home and ate is for breakfast the next morning.

Salads:

Cured Salmon Salad, with lemon and herb cream, radish, cucumber, arugula, jicama, red wine vinaigrette, and sesame croutons. The vegetables are so fresh, it is like they were picked right before serving, and the salmon was salty, but smooth, a great salad option.

Carrot and Snap Pea Salad, with arugula, radishes, croutons, citrus vinaigrette. The snap peas did exactly that – snapped in your mouth, another amazing salad.

Main Courses:

Wild Caught Local Fresh Fish, with Cod and roasted fingerling potatoes, broccolini, pumpkin seeds, preserved lemon caper relish, lemon herb butter. This fish came right out of the local waters; you can taste the ocean in every bite.

Prawns and Mushroom Risotto with leeks, tomatoes, spinach, cream, wild mushrooms. This was another favorite, with the super plump prawns and the backdrop of mushroom risotto, how could you go wrong?

Grilled T-Bone Lamb Chops, with a coffee and chili rub, grilled fennel, fingerling potatoes, asparagus mint/cilantro pesto, romesco. The lamb was cooked medium rare and there was not a lot of seasoning on it so you could really gets its essence, a super nice balance of flavor.

Sides:

Grilled Asparagus, with roasted red pepper Romesco, and Laura Chenel goat cheese. Correctly cooked asparagus at a restaurant is super hard to find, they nailed it.

Dessert:

Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Cake, with raspberry, chocolate chip ice cream, and raspberry sauce. A perfect way to end my meal, with all of this chocolate goodness.

Vanilla Cheese Cake, almond flour crust, and strawberry balsamic sauce. This was my server’s choice and she called it. One of the best cheesecakes ever.

Wine:

Meyer Family Cellars Chardonnay “Donnelly Creek” Anderson Valley 2016. I liked this wine with the Cod; it is creamy and was a nice addition to the super fresh cod.

Skylark “Pink Belly” Rose Anderson Valley 2017, a truly wonderful wine, went great with the sweet and sour Albacore tuna.

Hendry Zinfandel Blocks 7 and 22 Napa Valley 2015. This is the best wine with the lamb; it is bold and strong and will stand up to the lamb flavors.

Enkidu Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County 2017, I really enjoyed this wine with the Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tart, it really sets off the sweet onions.

They also have lodging at Trillium. Upstairs from the restaurant, they offer three guest rooms, two of which have ocean and garden views. Their third room has views of Mendocino Village and its own private bath. In 2014 they renovated and redecorated the entire building, giving each of their rooms new carpet, paint, beds, furniture, and linens.

Trillium has been featured in many magazines: Marin Magazine, Travel and Leisure Magazine, Zagat Magazine, Yankee Magazine, New York Magazine, Expedia Travel Recommendations, 7 x 7 Magazine, Afar Magazine, Wallstreet Journal, Los Angeles Magazine, and Sunset Magazine.

“Great eats, historic inns, stunning views. The only thing you won’t find in this NorCal seaside town is cell service. And that’s the point…. at Trillium Cafe, the menu might include grilled wild-mushroom flatbread, local albacore, and a creamy Meyer lemon tart.”
Sunset Magazine

Trillium will be open all year until next December, when they close for their annual break.

Delicate and delightful, would be my full description. All done with pristine elegance, just the perfect combination of sustainable, farm to table. Do not miss this restaurant when you are visiting Mendocino.

Hours:

Lunch: Daily from 11:30 am – 2:30 pm
Dinner: 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm Sunday through Thursday
Dinner: 5:30 pm – 9 pm Fridays & Saturdays

Trillium Cafe & Inn
10390 Kasten Street,
Mendocino, CA 95460
707 937-3200
http://trilliummendocino.com/

• Note some content was taken off of their website

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Mendocino Cottages Stay – April 28, 29 & 30 – Mendocino, CA.

The area itself is just so untouched and gorgeous and then you have this spectacular property that sits on a bluff overlooking the rugged coast. This hotel is a honeymooner’s dream come true. It has all of the amenities you would want from a 5-star hotel, and a few extras. The best thing about this property is that the owners just leave you alone.

Mendocino Seaside Cottage, is a romantic Victorian style estate, newly built in 1997 – it’s located just 70 yards from the Pacific Ocean. Not a “Bed & Breakfast”… Mendocino Seaside Cottage is an ultra-private estate catering to guests who want to get away from it all. At the heart of the timeless village of Mendocino, this property adjoins the Mendocino Headlands State Park.

I was greeted upon my arrival, but pretty much left to my own devices after my initial meeting. I never got to meet the owner Mel, but met his lovely sister Marilyn Pope who gave me a reading the last day I was in town, (I will talk about my experience later). She healed my mind, spirit, and soul.

My room, The Penthouse Suite, has sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, the Mendocino Headlands State Park, and the historic Point Cabrillo Lighthouse. It is equipped with a large jacuzzi tub for two, a steam shower, 3-sided fireplace, and dining area with views. It also has a wet bar, refrigerator, microwave, cable TV, stereo, DVD, private deck, and is a pet-free room. The bed is extremely comfortable and there’s an observation area inside with a telescope. There is also a nice flat screen TV that gets some stations. The suite is clean and spacious, really just lovely. This is the place that you want to come to settle in and enjoy the gorgeous coast that Mendocino has to offer.

They left me a lot of snack items, and a Keurig coffee and maker for my morning beverage. They do not provide a breakfast or a happy hour, but really there are so many places in Mendocino Village that I really didn’t miss it. They have a wide variety of rooms, I never got to see anything besides my amazing penthouse, but they have photos and descriptions of their other rooms online.

The only thing I can say that you really need to know about staying at Mendocino Cottages and Mendocino in general is to not conduct business on your phone. The coverage is sketchy at best, it shuts down at night. However, my laptop worked just fine with internet coverage. Texting and phone calls should be kept to a minimum due to poor coverage. If I really had to have coverage without any problems both on my phone and computer, I would go to Fort Bragg down the way.  There,  all devices worked great, but this should be known before you come here. Anyway Mendocino should be a place where you unplug, and just enjoy all of what nature’s bounty has to offer. You will feel very rejuvenated and calm.

The décor on the property is so adorable, lots of little nooks, with ceramic angels peeking out of all of the greenery. There is also a gazebo on the grounds, which is a lovely little way to enjoy the Mendocino air. You can walk to downtown and or the beach right outside. It’s an easy stroll to beaches, art galleries, live theater, shops, restaurants and picturesque ocean cliffs. There are cypress trees down the street that many people get married in, they cover a nice area that looks out to the beach. This is just the perfect setting for a romantic moment or a wedding.

I just loved my stay and would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to enjoy the lush green surrounding and amazing water views. Since Mendocino butts up against the forest, it feels at any moment hobbits or fairies could pop and greet you, it’s that kind of place.

Amenities include: Romantic Ocean Sunset Views from Luxury Private Baths (including spa tubs and/or steam massage showers), Sundecks and Balconies for Whale Watching and spectacular Ocean Views, Raised Fireplaces, Romantic King Size Beds, Table Chairs & Lounge Chairs, Kitchens or Wet Bars Complete with Microwave and Refrigerator, Walk to the Village, Phones, Free Wireless Internet Access, Built-in Entertainment Centers with TV, VCR, Stereo/DVD Players, Spotting Scopes, Ocean/sunset views from bed, Private Dining overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Ocean Views As Far As the Eye Can See, Views of Point Cabrillo Lighthouse, Headlands State Park is at your front door, Elegant Décor, and Romance and Relaxation in all of their suites.

Owner Mel Lockey has owned and operated Mendocino Seaside Cottage for over thirty-two years. First time guests who are just discovering this magical place as well as returning friends come again and again, and always enjoy the pleasures of staying at Mendocino Seaside Cottage!

His sweet and oh so talented sister Marilyn Pope, met me and my friend closer into the village on a bluff, to do a reading/healing. We sat at picnic benches, she had me visualize my chakras at the same time she did, and did some major clearing. She asked some questions about what was going on with me emotionally, but everything else she picked up on her own. My allergies were a bit bad that day so I had a dry cough; she cleared all of my throat chakras and made way for me to unclutter my emotions. I coughed a bit more during the rest of the day, but by sunset my cough was gone. She is a wizard, in the best sense. Book an appointment with her and it will heal anything that ails you, it did for me!

Mendocino is the perfect place to vacation with your pet! This property is pet friendly, and it comes highly recommended by Coastal Canine magazine. Some of their custom-designed rooms make life a little easier while you’re on vacation with your pet. These rooms feature all of the same elegant amenities and fantastic ocean views that other guests enjoy and some extras as well: pet throws (for the furniture and bed), water and food dishes, and pick-up bags supplied.

Everything was so perfect, with great views, wide-open beaches, and miles of hiking trails, all part of this fantastic experience, what more could you want.

Mendocino Seaside Cottage
“Romance By The Sea”
10940 Lansing Street
Mendocino, CA 95460
1-800-94-HEART

* Some content was taken off of their website.

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Dinner – Betty Lou’s Seafood and Grill – Saturday April 27, 2019 – San Francisco, CA.

There is a sister restaurant called Sotto Mare Oysteria and Seafood that I have done reviews two consecutive Christmas’s. When my friend who lives in San Francisco told me that there is a spin off type place, I jumped at the opportunity to come taste the bounty. And what great bounty it was, all politics aside the food here is as good as Sotto Mare. There was some type of disagreement between both owners that happened which I do not know much about, so I am just going to leave it at that.

It’s located in the heart of North Beach, charming and cozy, the night I was there the line to get in was down the street.

Here’s What I tried:

Oysters and Clams, West Coast Oyster, and East Coast Oyster, pretty much the best oysters, fresh and smooth, you can taste the fresh seawater in both.

Appetizers, Boston Clam Chowder, you always have to try clam chowder when in San Francisco, and this one does not disappoint, rich and creamy, just the perfect soup.

Calamari Misto, a perfect blend of crunchy and mild seasonings went into the batter, but the calamari itself is soft and very tender, just the right amount of time cooked.

Pasta, Lobster Ravioli, these are big round pastas with succulent lobster and a super rich creamy light red sauce, another outstanding dish.

Mains:

Classic Cioppino, with ½ cracked crab, clams, mussels, prawns, sea scallops, bay shrimp, and calamari. I was so in the mood for fresh crab, this crab is stewed in this delectable sauce, which adds to the overall experience, just a to-die-for Cioppino.

Combo Scallop and Prawns sauté, served with a potato soufflé and garlic buttered spinach, this is another fantastic dish. The scallops were tender and the prawns were huge and fantastic, a truly remarkable dish.

Wine, their House White – Sola – 2016 – Paso Robles – went well with all of my seafood choices.

Betty Lou’s Seafood & Grill opened at the highly desirable intersection of Columbus and Grant Avenues in a prime space formerly occupied by Viva Pizza. Sisters Betty and Louise are third-generation Portuguese from Hawaii, and Hector is from Temascalcingo, Mexico. Hector was executive chef at Sotto Mare since it was opened in 2007 by master restaurateur Gigi Fiorucci and became an instant classic. Betty was the longtime principal server there, and Louise was the manager. Gigi Fiorucci is their brother-in-law. It’s bringing some much-needed revitalization and excitement to Broadway — that southern boundary of North Beach, now known more for its nightlife than for its fine dining.

The space is small but mighty, with nice cozy seating that will keep you close to all of the action. You can look into the kitchen and watch Hector create his awesome dishes.

Usually I get to try many more items. I told my server what I was interested in, and between 3 people, this food was enough with also being able to take a doggie bag with the left over Cioppino. They serve very large portions; I would venture to say that everything on their menu is great. It is a seafood lover’s paradise. So make some time and try Betty Lou’s.

Betty Lou’s Seafood & Grill: 318 Columbus Avenue, daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m., 415-757-0569, bettylousf.com.

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Saturday, April 27, 2019 – Taste of Mendocino – Fort Mason Center, Gallery 308 – San Francisco, CA.

I went to the LA Travel show in February at The Los Angeles Convention Center, and every time I go, there is always a travel outcome. I met one of the chamber people from Mendocino and told her it was on my bucket list. I had been there briefly in the 80’s, but didn’t really get to do much exploration. She said oh just go to Taste of Mendocino in April and you will get everything you will need for a great trip. But I took it one step further and contacted many bed and breakfast properties, and restaurants to start a familiarity trip. After just a few days of emailing and calling,  I realized that not only was Mendocino super welcoming, but they jumped at the chance to help my with my trip. Taste Mendocino was the gateway for my fantastic magical week in Mendocino.

Taste of Mendocino is at Fort Mason, which in itself is a cultural mecca in San Francisco. There under 1 roof were so many purveyors including; wineries, Spirits, Cider, Specialty Food Producers and Destination Properties.

Here were the participants:

Alder Springs Vineyard, Barra of Mendocino, Bee Hunter Wine, Brutocao Cellars, Bliss Family Vineyards, Cakebread Cellars, Campovida, Black Oak Coffee Roasters, Bonterra, Briceland Vineyards, Chance Creek Vineyards, Coro Mendocino, Crush Italian Steakhouse, Fathers + Daughters Cellars, Frey Wine, Goldeneye Winery, Gowan Family Orchards, Greenway Distillers, Greenwood Ridge Vineyard, Handley Cellars, Harbor House Inn, Heritage House Resort and Spa, Hopland Tap and Grill,Husch Vineyards, Kala Wines, Kemmy’s Pies, KOZT the Coast, Little River Inn, Long Meadow Ranch, Lovers Lane Farm, Maple Creek Ranch and Winery, Mariah Vineyards, Mcnab Ridge Winery, Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, Mendocino College, Murder Ridge, Navarro Vineyards, Noyo Harbor Inn, Old Chatham Ranch, Pennyroyal Farm, Powicana Farm, Scharffenberger Cellars, Schats Bakery and Café, Seebass Vineyards, Shamrock Artisan Goat Cheese, Stella Cadente, the Madrones, Theopolis Vineyards, Tres Bien Creamery, Waits-Mast Family Cellars, and Winesong.

All of the wines were great, and the food and other purveyors had lots to offer. It was a mind opening experience.

Everyone had happy smiles and a kind of  “you don’t know what your missing attitude”. What I didn’t get from research and pre-planning in early March was much more information and contacts by going to this perfect event.

Well after going to Mendocino I can honestly say to all of my readers this place is heaven on earth and in the next posts you will see what an amazing trip I had. Everyone was accommodating and wonderful.

http://tastemendo.com
https://visitmendocino.com/taste-mendocino-2019/
Marina Blvd
Landmark Building C, Suite 260
San Francisco, CA
94123

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April 7, 2019 – 4th Annual Masters of Taste – Pasadena Rose Bowl!

4th Annual Masters of Taste, Host Chef Michael Hung & L.A.’s Top Tastemakers, celebrate the Finer Things on Field. L.A.’s premier outdoor, luxury food and beverage festival on the field of the iconic Pasadena Rose Bowl! What an amazing event and each year it just keeps getting better!

Masters of Taste 2019 is also introducing Chef Michael Hung as the event’s first-time Host Chef. 2017 and 2018 Masters of Taste Culinary Master, Michael Hung’s illustrious career credentials include time spent with Traci Des Jardins’s James Beard Award-winning team at San Francisco’s Jardinière and overseeing the kitchen at Roland Passot’s Michelin-starred La Folie. Chef Hung then left San Francisco to open Faith & Flower in Downtown Los Angeles, where under his leadership the restaurant was honored “Best New Restaurant” by Esquire Magazine, Los Angeles Magazine, and Travel + Leisure. Michael’s success continued when he opened the highly-acclaimed Viviane in the Avalon Hotel Los Angeles and then he started his own company Ardour Hospitality in 2016, which focuses on full-service consulting, culinary and hospitality experiences in Greater Los Angeles. In addition to running his own company, Michael has also returned to Faith & Flower where he oversees the kitchen.

“I have been a participant in Masters of Taste for the past two years and it is spectacular. Cooking and serving people on the field of the Rose Bowl could be a once in a lifetime dream, but I have been lucky enough to get to do it for the past two years, and this year, the honor to be able to formally host the event,” says Hung. “And, while the festivities are amazing, what is most impressive is that Masters of Taste donates 100% of proceeds from this event to Union Station Homeless Services each year. Homelessness deserves our attention, focused work and finances, and Union Station Homeless Services and Masters of Taste are truly leaders in helping those who are in need.”

Masters of Taste 2019 will bring over 2,500 food and beverage enthusiasts together from all over Greater Los Angeles for one afternoon to celebrate this exhilarating festival, which will include the finest fare from over 95 Culinary Masters and restaurants, delectable sweets prepared by L.A.’s top Sweet Masters, top Beverage Masters who will be featuring signature handcrafted cocktail tastings from over 25 spirit brands and bars, a premier 50-Yard-Line Cocktail Bar featuring top Mixologists from four of L.A.’s most distinguished drinking destinations, select wineries, local craft breweries, cold-pressed juices, cold brew coffee, live entertainment and much, much more.

100% of the proceeds from Masters of Taste 2019 will directly benefit Union Station Homeless Services, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to helping homeless men, women and children rebuild their lives. Union Station is part of a premier group of human services agencies in L.A. County that are leading the way to end homelessness in our community. Union Station offers an array of services including street outreach, meals, shelter, housing, case management and career development. In the last three years Masters of Taste has raised over $1.5 Million in support of Union Station’s life-saving programs. Thank you for making that possible.

Some of this year’s Masters of Taste 2019 participating Culinary Masters and Restaurants include:

• Faith & Flower 2019 Masters of Taste Host Chef Michael Hung (Los Angeles)
• 1212 Santa Monica Chef Hiro Fujita (Santa Monica)
• Alexander’s Steakhouse Chef Florent Courriol (Pasadena)
• Ayara Thai Chef Vanda Asapahu (Westchester)
• Bacchus Kitchen and Claude & Co. Chef Claud Beltran (Pasadena)
• Bistro Mon Cheri Chef Kimmy Tang (Pasadena)
• Bone Kettle Chef Erwin Tjahyadi (Pasadena)
• Celestino Ristorante Chef Calogero Drago (Pasadena)
• Cento Pasta Bar Chef Avner Lavi (Downtown Los Angeles)
• Eagle Rock Brewery Public House Chef Jerry Su (Eagle Rock)
• Eat @ Rollin’ Joe’s Chef Mark Salazar (Los Angeles)
• Gus’s Barbecue Chef Mike Stern (South Pasadena, Claremont)
• Gus’s Fried Chicken (Burbank, Long Beach, Los Angeles)
• HATCH Yakitori + Bar Chef Daniel Shemtob (Downtown Los Angeles)
• Jackfruit Café Chef Angela Means (Los Angeles)
• KASS Wine Bar + Kitchen Chef Christophe Émé (Los Angeles)
• Kitchen for Exploring Foods (Pasadena)
• La Bohéme Chef Atsushi Kenjo (Los Angeles)
• Lunasia Dim Sum House (Alhambra)
• Maestro Chef Elena Vargas (Pasadena)
• Maple at Descanso Gardens Chef Philip Mack (La Cañada Flintridge)
• Mercado Chef Jose Acevedo (Hollywood, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Santa Monica)
• Momed Chef Alex Sarkissian (Beverly Hills and Atwater Village)
• Mrs. Fish Chef Yoshi Matsumoto (Downtown Los Angeles)
• Namaste Spiceland Harsh Malik (Pasadena)
• Packing House Wines Restaurant & Wine Shop Chef Eric Rowse (Claremont)
• Patina Chef Andreas Roller (Downtown Los Angeles)
• Pez Cantina Chef Bret Thompson (Downtown, Los Angeles)
• Preux & Proper Chef Sammy Monsour (Downtown Los Angeles)
• Prince of Venice Chef Generoso Celentano (Los Angeles)
• Ramen Tatsunoya Chef Ryuta Kajiwara (Pasadena, Silverlake)
• Rappahannock Oyster Bar Chef Wilson Santos (Downtown Los Angeles)
• Salazar Chef Jonathan Aviles (Los Angeles)
• SpireWorks Chef Mustafa Otar (Westwood, Eagle Rock, Westlake Village, Upland)
• Sticky Rice Chef Dave Tewasart (Downtown Los Angeles, Echo Park)
• Sumo Dog Chef Jefrrey Lunak (Santa Monica)
• Sweet Greek Chef Christina Xenos (Los Angeles)
• The Arbour Chef Ian Gresik (Pasadena)
• The Pizza Plant Chef Rachael Carr (Pasadena)
• The Raymond 1886 Chef Jon Hung (Pasadena)
• Wax Paper and Lingua Franca Chef Peter Lemos (Frogtown, Los Angeles)
• We Olive Ervin Galvan (Pasadena)
• Wolfgang Puck Experience (Los Angeles)
• World Empanadas Chef Matthew Hirtz (Burbank)

Sweet Masters: A select group of Los Angeles Top Sweet Masters will showcase an assortment of delectable desserts such as the deliciously scrumptious scratch baked custom cakes and cupcakes from Fantasy Frostings, Lark Cake Shop and Lady M., Chocolatier Mignon Chocolate, My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream, Nomad Ice Pops, homemade premium sorbets from Pop’s Artisinal Creamery, Porto’s Bakery, SuperCool Creamery, THE Bakery Truck and more.

Some of this year’s participating Beverage Masters include:
Brewmasters: Beverage Masters who specialize in barley and hops will be presenting top-notch ales, lagers, pilsners and more for guests to sample, sip and savor all throughout the event, including Southern California favorites Indie Brewing Company, Iron triangle Brewing, Los Angeles Ale Works, Lincoln Beer Company, MacLeod Ale Brewing Co., Arcadia’s first Microbrewery Mt. Lowe Brewing Co., San Fernando Brewing Co. and State Brewing Co..

Wineries: A specially curated collection of Wine Masters will be showcasing their finest varietals including premium boutique winery Ascension Cellars, CRŪ Winery, Frisco Cellars, Golden Star Vineyards & Winery, Hitching Post Winery, Kieu Hoang Winery, Anderson Valley’s Navarro Vineyards, San Simeon Wines, Vinemark Cellars, Wrath Wines and more.

Bars & Spirits: Some of L.A.’s top bartenders and cocktail bars will be creating first-rate craft cocktails, including Cameron Masden of The Raymond 1886, Ned Kirby of Magnolia House, and Katie Putterlik of Otoño. Top brands showcasing their finest spirits will also include American Born Moonshine, Buzzbox, Dulce Vida Tequila, KI NO BI Dry Gin, Krafted Spirits, Neustra Soledad Mezcal, Pomp & Whimsy, SelvaRey Rum, Ventura Spirits, Wild Roots Organic Vodka, Woodford Reserve, ZYR Russian Vodka and many more.

Non-Alcoholic Beverages: A variety of premium non-alcoholic Beverage Masters will also be on hand for those who wish to hydrate, caffeinate or regenerate, such as Boxed Water, Califia Farms Juices and Cold Brew Coffees, Dry Sparkling, East Imperial, Groundwork Coffee, Honeydrop Beverages, Humm Kombucha, Immordl energy elixirs, Matcha Matcha, Zico Coconut Water and more.

Sponsors: Masters of Taste 2019 is made possible through the generous support of our Sponsors, which includ HomeStreet Bank, Judith L Chiara Foundation, US Bank, Western Asset Management, Kaiser Permanente, Capitol Group, Citizen’s Business Bank, Chase Bank, Westport Construction, App Dynamics, Pasadena Tournament of Roses, Clear Stream Media Group, Tsutayo Ichioka & Satsuki Nakao Foundation, HKG LLP, Wescom, California Linens and more.

There was so much variety of food this year and I did have many favorites, but just tasting everything will really gets your taste buds going, and the beverages were a big success as well. Such a lovely way to spend a perfect spring day and the weather totally cooperated!

Masters of Taste
Pasadena Rose Bowl
1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena, CA 91103
Masters of Taste – Direct Line: 626.791.6677
www.MastersofTasteLA.com

* Note some content was taken off of their website.

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Antigua Kitchen + Bar – Dinner & Lunch – March 25 & 26 – Palm Springs, CA.

Located right on Palm Canyon, Antigua Kitchen will get your taste buds going. You will love all the Mediterranean and American authentic dishes, with Antigua Kitchen being super conveniently located right in downtown Palm Springs, in a very upscale area, chalk full of dining, hotels, and nightlife.

Owner Sal Zavala also owns L’Olivo Italian Bistro down the street. I did a review back in 2017. His Father Sal Sr. is in the kitchen at Antigua, some of Sal’s family is from Spain, and his father is from Michoacán Mexico and has lived in The Coachella valley for most of his life. Most of Sal’s family is working with him at Antigua Kitchen. It is truly delightful having all of their family members, even Sal’s sister Sandra is there to greet all of the customers. What ever their business model is it is really working.

I went for dinner one night and then got invited in for lunch the following day to really taste everything and not be too stuffed. What a great way to enjoy their marvelous cuisine. Sal wants my readers to know that when you come to Antigua Kitchen you will be taken care of like family with their unique style of cuisine, he wants everyone to feel this inviting atmosphere.

There are so many great places to eat in Palm Springs and it’s hard to decide but Antigua Kitchen is a great choice for lunch or dinner. Excellent home made fresh Mediterranean food and warm and friendly service.

The interior has rustic wood paneling and partitions, with a Japanese feel because Gylo Japanese Restaurant was there before. There are black leather chairs and tables, and great light maple hard wood floors. It’s a mixture of modern with all nice little design details. The outdoor life is huge in Palm Springs and their modern patio will give you the opportunity to people watch under their yellow umbrellas, during your amazing lunch or dinner. The music is really fun Motown, which sets a lively tone.

Here’s What I Tried:

Cocktails:

Classic Martini, 2 olives, in my favorite martini glass this is one to remember.

Vintage Margarita, Mi Campo Tequila, Agave Nectar, Fresh Lime Juice. A great take on a margarita; on a hot summer night this would be the perfect thirst quencher.

Ocean Organic Vodka, Pineapple Basil Tini Ocean, Symple Syrup, Pineapple, Basil Leaves. This is a very tropical drink, which marches the overall appeal of Antigua Kitchen & Bar.

Ocean Organic Vodka, Cane Field Cosmo, Gran Marnier, Fresh Orange Juice, Splash of limejuice, squeeze of Lime. A great example of how a Cosmopolitan cocktail can be done so creatively.

Sharing is Caring:

Krispy Calamari, lightly fried, with tartar sauce, this Calamari is cooked right, crispy and tender.

Pacific Prawns lemon, garlic, white wine sauce, for sure a dish you need to try, sumptuous garlic sizzles in your mouth.

San Francisco Crab Cake, with avocado, aged balsamic glaze. Another great take on an existing classic, very good choice.

Batan Avocado with avocado dip, tortilla chips. A great way to get your appetite going.

The Duo with crisp onion rings, shoestring fries. I love great onion rings and these do not disappoint.

Lust for Crust:

Chef Sal’s Special, with light marinara, mozzarella, pepperoni, ham, mild sausage, just a great pizza, order this one, you will be happy you did.

Salads:

1930’s Bleu Wedge, with iceberg, tomato, bacon, red onions, Bleu cheese crumbles, Bleu cheese dressing. I just love a good wedge, the lettuce is super fresh and crispy, and the dressing is rich and creamy, a definite keeper.

Baby Organic Spinach Salad with bacon bits, diced mushrooms, berries, home made raspberries vinaigrette. The presentation is delightful, with the strawberries and really fantastic salad.

Caesar Cardini’s, with hearts of romaine, shaved Parmesan, crostini, Caesar dressing. A nice rendition of a Caesar, the dressing is equally terrific.

Wrap-It-Up:

BLT, with bacon, lettuce, tomato. A very big wrap with great bacon flavor, a terrific lunch item.

Chefs’ Favorite Pasta:

Fettuccine Alfredo, signature Alfred sauces. This pasta is so creamy with superb cheese sauce, just the best.

Linguine Clams with garlic, olive oil, Pinot Grigio natural sauce. The clams pop in your mouth and the simple sauce adds to the overall experience.

Lobster Ravioli with vodka cream sauce, and basil. These are huge raviolis, with bites of lobster, a very filling menu item.

Red Meat:

L’Entrcôte de Paris, 1940 butter-based sauce served with grilled beef with fries. This is very French but totally worked for me, especially the sauce.

Antigua Burger, 8oz. Angus beef, lettuce onion, tomato with house spread. Oh what a burger, I would come here just for this.

White Meat:

California Paella, with mild sausage, clams, mussels, white wine. A nice subtle paella with great Spanish seasonings, a true winner.

Guilty Pleasure:

Antigua Tiramisu, luscious, smooth, just what the doctor ordered.

Tres Leches Cake, this is a super rich cake so save room.

Wine:

Ruffini, pinot grigio “Lumina” Italy, a great pair with the Krispy Calamari.

Simi, Chardonnay, Sonoma County, you just have to try this wine with the Pacific Prawns, its very buttery so it adds so much nuance to the garlic sauce.

Vanderpump, Rose, Provence, France, yes this is Lisa Vanderpump wine and without all of the hype it is a great wine.

Genesis By Hogue, Syrah, Columbia Valley, do this wine with L’Entrcôte de Paris, it’s the perfect steak for this very meaty Syrah.

Ravenswood, Zinfandel, “Old Vines”, Sonoma. Really a great old vines Zinfandel is truly my favorite wine. I loved this wine with the Sal’s pizza; it’s an interesting choice but somehow it works.

This part of downtown is really being built up; there is a whole new resurgence. It used to be that all of the businesses would close down for the hot summer months, but with the advent of the misters they can open all year long. Tourists from Germany especially love the hot summer months. From my home in West Hollywood I watch the weather during the summer and always see it always be about 20 degrees hotter there from June – October. My season to go visit is November – May, just the perfect temperature for me.

Antigua offers quality dishes, with locally sourced ingredients and a casual desert dining vibe. Antigua delivers when it comes to high-end quality cooking from many cultures and attracts a very chic city crowd. Its dining room, which features a spacious 30-foot bar and dining room seating up to 120 people, while more can be accommodated out on their patio. For a romantic dinner, request a table next to their outdoor fireplace with low lighting.

Palm Springs really is the place to be, so any choices so little time. But with Antigua Kitchen and bar, you get many options that are all great. A fun new people watching spot, with great food and luscious cocktails, what more could you want.

Antigua Kitchen + Bar
105 S. Palm Canyon Dr.
Palm Springs, CA 92262
760-656-7875
AntiguaPalmSprings.com

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Dinner – Il Corso – March 24, 2019 – Palm Springs, CA.

Imagine the best food in Italy; except you are in Palm Springs. A while back I did a tasting at the Il Corso sister restaurant in Palm Desert and was very impressed. When I saw that they opened a new restaurant, I jumped at the opportunity to do a new review.  The review I did a few years ago was incredibly impressive, but now it’s only gotten better. Il Corso is a much-needed addition to the gentrification of downtown Palm Springs. The hotel next-door, The Ronan by Kimpton, is elegant and gorgeous; so, Il Corso is just the perfect fit for this new upscale part of town. Il Corso takes you on a tour of Italy with dishes from Sicily to Venice.

The interior is very refreshing, with a pizza oven and a huge wine wall. Everything there is a part of the whole experience and inspires one’s appetite. The bar area has its own menu, smaller plates, and some mini versions of the main courses served in the dining room. In the dining room, imported Italian, natural stone walls; reclaimed farmhouse wood on the floors and entryway ceiling; comfy red chairs, and red and white linens on wood tables. Overhead: shiny, oversized air ducts give the restaurant an industrial feel below the piano-wire taut, pattern of steel cables crisscrossing the high ceilings. The ambiance is enhanced by lighting, which is very complimentary. The bar, tucked behind the host’s desk, seats approximately 15 and beyond that, more seating. In the back is an open kitchen with counter-seating in front of the pizza oven. The counter is an immersive experience and an opportunity for chef Claudio Marfia and his diners to get to know each other. If you’re good with letting go, Marfia would be thrilled to plan your entire meal for you. He loves to do this.

Here is What I tried:

La List Dei Nostri:

Martini Milano, Lombardia, Martini bianco, martini rosso, mint syrup, mint leaves, tonic water, shaken. A lovely effervescent cocktail, that had all of the right ingredients mixed together.

Marfia Cocktail, Toscana, Belvedere vodka, tangerine belvedere vodka, Mario’s tangerine liquor, tangerine juice, granatina syrup, shaken. I thoroughly enjoyed this cocktail, and would order it often.

Il Corso Cocktail, Sicilia, Basil Hayden’s bourbon, cinzano, Campari, cherry, stirred. This cocktail was a bit too heady for me, very bold and strong, one of my guests loved it.

Antipasti:

Speck Tirolese, Trentino Alto Adige, GF, champignon mushrooms, Belgian Endive, speck. The speck is sliced very thin and the mushrooms are the stars of the show, everything about this dish will inspire you.

Impepata Di Cozze, Sicilia, GF, sautéed mussels in a white wine sauce. These delicate mussels were cooked to perfection with a very tantalizing broth.

Carpaccio Di Manzo Alla Veneta, Veneto, GF, Cured beef in a harrisbar sauce topped with capers and shaved parmigiano. I have always loved Carpaccio, though some people do not like the fact that it is raw beef, when it’s cut super thin with a great sauce you just can’t go wrong.

Burrata Nostra, Puglia, GF, burrata fagiolini, heirloom tomatoes. The burrata melts in your mouth, like it is supposed to, and the tomatoes sing with happiness, a no-brainer appetizer.

Salmone Tiradito, Puglia, cured salmon topped with light chili sauce, served with fennel salad. This was my favorite appetizer and I could eat this all day. The salmon is cured to perfection; with the fennel salad; it is a wonderland for your eyes. I just wish the ride never ended.

Soup:

Minestra Di Verdure, Puglia, GF, Vegetables soup with topped with toasted bread. I can always tell what a restaurant has to offer from its soups, all three were simple delightful.

Zuppa Calurese, Sardegna, fregola, mixed fish, in a fish broth. It is served with couscous, another amazing soup, with such fresh seafood.

Tortellini In Brodo, Emilia Romagna, mini veal ravioli, julienne vegetables, chicken broth, and parmigiano cheese. This is a very similar soup to a Jewish kreplach, it is just what the doctor ordered.

Pasta:

Pappardelle Ai Bolognese, Toscana, pappardelle pasta with beef ragu. The pasta was so fantastic, thick, lovely handmade pasta does the trick, and the sauce is rich and bold, a great pappardelle.

Fruiti Di Mare, lots of seafood with a light red sauce. Shrimp, clams, mussels, adorned this wonderful pasta, I would order this every time.

Bavette All ‘Astice, Sicilia, cherry tomatoes, white wine, arugula, chopped lobster. I always love lobster and this dish did not disappoint. The sauce was amazing and the lobster was fresh and sweet, I would definitely order this again.

Secondi:

Spigola All’Isolana Sicilia, Mediterranean Sea bass baked in the oven with tomatoes, black olives, and potato. The sea bass was light and wonderful, with the olives as the backdrop, it really pops in your mouth.

Scottadito D’Agnello, Lazio, Rack of lamb in a rosemary sauce, served with roasted potatoes and rapini. This lamb is succulent and tender, plus the rosemary sauce really sealed the deal for me, yum!

Dolci:

Torta Di Cioccolato, chocolate hazelnut cake with vanilla ice cream. A beautiful desert with lovely chocolate and the ice cream was pure heaven.

Cannoli Chips, pastry shells, sweetened Ricotta, and drizzled chocolate sauce. A very nice take on a standard desert, I would recommend this one.

Panna Cotta, Italian vanilla bean custard, raspberries, strawberry sauce drizzle. This is a nice light choice, it really rounds out the whole experience.

Wine:

Massimo, Malvasia Istriana, Istria, this was the perfect wine for the Salmone Tiradito.

Lunelli Villa Morgon Chardonnay, Trentino, a great pairing with the Spigola All’Isolana Sicilia.

Tenuta Di Nozzole, Bruniche, Chardonnay, and I would do this wine with the Fruiti Di Mare.

Vini Bianchi Al Bicchiere, a true Italian wine that should be paired with the Carpaccio Di Manzo Alla Veneta.

Massimo, Terrano Istriano, Istria, I loved this wine with the Pappardelle Ai Bolognese.

Ascheri, Barolo, Piemonte, this wine is a must-do with the lamb, Scottadito D’Agnello.

Belpoggio, Rosso di Montalcino, Toscana, forget the dessert wine, pair this wine with the Torta Di Cioccolato, it enhances the rich chocolate flavors.

Il Corso’s wine list is just spectacular, many can be enjoyed by the glass. Take a recommendation from the Sommelier or your wait staff, they know the wines and will not steer you in the wrong direction.

Executive Chef Mario Marfia has done a great job with his skill and knowledge of all things Italian. There are such great products mixed with homemade goodness that you just want to keep coming back for more. But at the Palm Springs location his son Claudio has taken the helm. Claudio Marfia, 33, grew up in an Italian kitchen. His father, a chef from Palermo, had him “peeling potatoes and cleaning squid” since he was a tot. “It was like my day care,” he says. He came to Coachella valley was he was a teenager, but went to college and worked in Los Angeles and Europe. Once finished, he came back to the dessert to start a business with his father, “The desert always stayed with me,” he says. “We wanted our look to be like a Tuscan, upscale farmhouse but with a Los Angeles, Chicago, or New York vibe,” says chef and owner Claudio Marfia. His dad Chef Mario Marfia was born in Sicily, Italy and honed his craft working as a chef in the Mediterranean. He brings those cultural influences to the El Paseo location, partnering with developer John Wessman to create a truly unique fine dining experience.

My great, sweet waitress, Reyna Barbeyto, from Texas made my culinary journey flawless. She was very competent and just delivered amazing service.

Sauces are made separately at each restaurant, and that’s because the Palm Desert Il Corso is all about Tuscany. While Chef Claudio’s Palm Springs version takes you on a culinary tour of Italy, each dish is representative of a specific city or region (the menu tells you where), with regional wine pairings to complete the experience.

The new Palm Springs Il Corso opened in Jan 9, 2019. Owner/developer Michael Beckman was very smart to expand his successful brand in this very upcoming part of Palm Springs. Il Corso offers genuine Italian hospitality serving a wonderful variety of authentic Italian dishes – fresh salads, homemade pastas, wood oven pizza and delicious seafood. You can see many tourists as well as locals enjoying the fruit of Michael Beckman’s labor. Il Corso is a tasteful addition to the plaza outside the Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs Hotel, the entire area is a vibrant scene with shopping, and dining.

Chef Marfia makes all of the bread, pasta, and pizza dough at another family restaurant, Trattoria Tiramisu. The kitchen has been expanded to include what they call “the lab” where all of the big gadgets and equipment live, including a gelato maker, which is his current favorite new toy. He and his father started out as pastry chefs, so you know why it’s all so good.

Il Corso in Palm Springs offers sophisticated dining with no pretense. If you want the best authentic Italian food without getting on a plane, you must give Il Corso a try.

Il Corso
111 N. Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs
760-656-3770
ilcorsocv.com
*Some Content was taken off of their website.

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El Morocco Inn & Day Spa – 3 Night Stay – March 24, 25 & 26th – Desert Hot Springs, CA.

Think 1942 American romantic drama starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, and Paul Henreid in the controlled city of Casablanca. El Morocco Inn is all about Morocco and Casa Blanca, from its looped screening of the film in the TV lounge room, to its décor all over the property. What you don’t figure out until after you are bathing your troubles away in one of the hot mineral baths, is that this décor will enhance your overall experience. The spiritual new-age background music adds to the incredible heightened mood. One thing you will be guaranteed of for sure is that once you enter the compound, all of your stress will be left outside of the wooden gate.

The grounds are very charming as well. There are lots of hammocks and little nooks to meditate. There are fabrics flowing off of every available area, which in the wind adds an extra sexiness. One of their treatment rooms is in a small building on the grounds near their wonderful gardens. This very sweet little area is all part of the overall ambiance that makes El Morocco Inn  & Day Spa so unique and special.

As part of my 3-night stay, they gave me a 90-minute treatment done by Maria, which was pure heaven. She started me off using a soft brush, and brushing my skin with the circulation going up towards my heart. She then applied a clay body mask, massaged my scalp, and wrapped me up like a mummy. I was escorted to an outdoor shower that was still private with a shower curtain separating any common areas. Once the clay was washed off, I went back into the treatment room and she did a full body massage. What a treat, I highly recommend including this with your glorious stay.

They have a happy hour with their special martini, “The Morocco-tini”, as well as a lovely continental breakfast, which included: hard-boiled eggs, pastries, bagel, fruit, yogurt, and cereal. The best part of all of this is their French-press coffee that you make yourself, and is ready to make anytime of the day or night – what a very amazing touch.

My room was on the first floor and very close to the entrance. The bed is super comfy, and their small but cute kitchen gives you everything you need if you wanted to stay in and chill. The motif aligns itself with the rest of the Inn with Moroccan details, which for me was very soothing.

Robert, who arranged my stay was extremely accommodating, he is just so sweet. Anything your heart desires he will make happen. He extended my stay to 3 nights, which was so kind and generous. He is one stand up guy!

Dessert Hot Springs is off the beaten path, but something not to be missed. It’s about 25 minutes away from Palm Springs, worth the drive, in a very quiet low-key area. The hills are all part of the San Andreas fault, and they release minerals so all of the hotels are privileged to have mineral baths that are great for healing any ailments. After 1 day of soaking in the baths my body felt great, all of my aches and pains were literally gone.

I highly recommend this Inn. It is part of the Cabbi – California Association of Boutique & Breakfast Inns, which is a vetted website/book that only has the best of the best Bed and Breakfast Inns. www.cabbi.com

A truly amazing romantic getaway, but not just for lovers, it can be a nice time by yourself as this hotel is quiet and rejuvenating. Whatever the occasion, I would make your next trip a very memorable one by trying a nice spot, The El Morocco Inn & Day Spa.

El Morocco Inn & Day Spa
66810 4th Street
Desert Hot Springs, CA. 92240
760-288-2527
www.elmoroccoinn.com

 

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LN2 Pizza Shoppe – Dinner – March 22, 2019 – West Hollywood, CA.

I must say I was truly surprised. I went to the grand opening and an industry mixer, and although I never tried the full experience, I was able to enjoy little bits and pieces of delicious food by LN2! LN2, a “modern gastro lounge,” opened early January 2019 with Chef Chris Robbins at the helm. The restaurant gets its name from the chemical symbol for liquid nitrogen (LN2), a substance that adds theatrics in the restaurant to both the cocktails and various dishes. This is a testament to the detail-oriented, chef driven food LN2 has to offer. Everything served was unique and interesting. Each dish, with its own flavor profile and nuances, Chef Chris Robbins and his restaurateur wife Mica Ray made for one stellar experience.

NJ restaurant was in this space previously, and while they had their own crowd, LN2 is a welcomed sight along a very hipster part of Melrose Ave in West Hollywood. Mica Ray did all of the interior design, she had her work cut out for her. She had some help from Maison Bertet Showroom on Beverly Blvd., they did some of the furniture that Mica Ray designed herself on paper, they also did some of the furniture for Crustacean Restaurant in Beverly Hills. Mica transformed this space into a lively modern experience, with deep purple plush velvet club chairs, lots of marble, a friendly bar, and cool graphic wallpaper and murals. There is a very user-friendly patio, which will make it the ideal place to come and meet up with your friends after a long week during those hot summer Los Angeles nights.

I couldn’t wait to do a proper tasting. For my readers, a piece of advice, if you love the food at a grand opening or catered affair, show them your love by going for a full sit down dinner!

Here’s What I Tried:

Cocktails:

Proper Vodka Martini, it comes in nice large coupe glasses, for the perfect martini.

LN2 Cosmo with vodka, hibiscus, cranberry and lime. This cocktail is very festive. Its garnish reminded me of a peacock, and the combination is a feat in itself. After tasting it you too will know why it is their signature cocktail.

Blueberry Smash with vodka, cucumber, blueberry, lime, and mint, this is a very fresh light pairing of vodka with blueberry, a nice thirst quenching cocktail.

Melrosita with Mezcal, centerba, agricanto, lime, and agave, a sexy blend of liquors, that packs a punch.

Small Plates:

Soup of the season – Cream of Spinach. Farmer’s market inspired. I can always tell how good the food will be from the soup. If a Chef can make a killer soup, then the rest is easy-street. This soup was so delicious and great to the last drop.

Snacks, with Furikake chickpea fritters, wood fired bread, avocado goddess dip, and tapenade. The presentation is just fantastic, and the flavors all together make for one incredible starter.

Hamachi, with aji amarillo, kizami wasabi, lime, apple, nori, shoyu pearls, avocado, wonton crips. Lovely colors add to the overall experience, the Hamachi is cubed and extremely fresh, with a nice tag from the citrus, a true winner.

Shoppe fries, with pickle chips, mango-caper ketchup, and piquillo aioli. This was a very fun way to start this meal, the fried pickle chips with the two sauces do not disappoint.

Salads:

Caesar, with romaine, butter brioche croutons, kale, anchovy, and poached egg. The egg oozes its lovely yolk all over, creating the perfect sauce for this great salad, topped with crispy and light croutons.

Pizza:

The wood fired oven makes all the difference in the world for LA’s pizza aficionados.

Duck confit, with goat cheese, butternut squash, basil, roasted plum hoisin. Oh my goodness, truly a must have. It is sweet and cheesy, with the precise amount of everything. This is one of my all time favorite pizzas.

Shrooms, with Taleggio, truffle sauce, candied peppers, arugula, thyme, and herb oil. Another off the charts pizza, wow! You just have to try.

Caramelized fig, with saint agur blue cheese, hazelnuts, onion jam, arugula, aged balsamic. This pizza was served to me after my entrees, as it is kind of a desert pizza. However, whenever you order this pizza, it will be tantalizing and delicious.

Plates:

Crispy chicken sandwich, with jidori chicken, brussels slaw, butter lettuce, pickles, wasabi dynamite sauce, and tomato jam. The chicken melts in your mouth. There are lots of fried chicken specialty restaurants opening up in Los Angeles, but this will give them all a run for their money, it is just that good.

Black Cod, with sauce Vera Cruz, clams, roasted tomato, fennel, potatoes, chorizo, and saffron. The clams pop into your mouth with incredible foam, and the fish is flaky and tender. A great entrée!

Short rib, with mashed potatoes, baby vegetables, charred onion, and hondashi jus. For the meat and potato lover, it hits all the right notes.

Buffalo duck wings, with crispy duck leg, sriracha-tangerine glaze, celery, five-spice sherry caramel, 
and root vegetables. This is a very inventive dish. I can’t say enough about these lovely duck wings; the duck is tender and sweet, with an incredible caramel glaze.

Special:

Lamp Shank with creamy Taleggio polenta, Bordeaux reduction sauce, mushroom glaze and caramelized shallots. This entree was by far my favorite. Call ahead and see when they are featuring this dish again – It is heaven on a plate.

Sides:

Sautéed spinach, this spinach comes with a hint of garlic slightly cooked, making for an impeccable side dish.

Mashed potatoes, these potatoes will blow your hair back! They are creamy and smooth, everything you would want from a mashed potato side dish.

Mushroom Ragou, this was an ideal accompaniment with the short rib.
Market vegetables, these veggies are colorful and fresh. It feels good to be able to include such a healthy side in my meal.

Desert:

Carmel Corn with kumquat, on a waffle cup, this is sweet and sour, and also amazing. Vanilla crème brulee whipped cream in a waffle cup, my favorite one of the night, I just love vanilla and caramel. All I can say is WOW!

Milk and cookies with chocolate syrup and balsamic pearls, the balsamic pearls are the highlight. They pop in your mouth and are a very interesting combination with the chocolate, but somehow work beautifully.

Ice Cream:

They have a whole area designated just for their handmade ice cream. You pick your favor, all of the other fixings, and you have one heck of a flawless ice cream delight. Chef Rodolpho gets a huge “bravo” from me. The ice cream itself is so specialized, you almost can’t describe it.

Wine:

Vermentino Di Sardegna, Giunco, Sardinia, 2017. This is a fresh fruity wine, one you can tell is Italian. It was a great start to my night, and the correct balance between the Cesar dressing and the anchovies.

Chardonnay, Starmont, Napa Valley 2015. This wine was made for the Cod. It is a bit oaky and enhanced the unique Vera Crus sauce.

Chardonnay, Blindfold, Santa Barbara 2016. I loved this wine with the Duck confit pizza. The pizza is sweet and the wine is a huge contrast, which makes for a delightful experience.

Red Blend, Cline, “Cashmere” Sonoma 2016, this is a lovely wine with the short rib. It is jammy with a bit of a creamy texture, which adds another component of flavor to the enjoyable short rib dish.

Malbec, La Perlita, Mendoza, 2016. This wine was designed to be paired with the lamb, plain and simple.

I had one of the best meals ever. Their take on inventive, creative, and casual cuisine will make you want to come back for more. There is a bit of Italian influence over this delectable food, but the real story here is their Chef’s take on otherwise unexciting cuisine. Every now and then you find a new spot that engages you with innovative food, and LN2 Pizza Shoppe is just that. Don’t let the name fool you, yes their pizza is delightful and fantastic, but all of the menu items will put a huge smile on your face and palate.

LN2 pizza shoppe is located on Melrose Avenue in the heart of Los Angeles. LN2 is where the chef creates his own whimsical take on what he calls “the modern gastro lounge.” Utilizing his fine dining background and passion for tastes that “make us happy,” Chef Robbins and the team at LN2 offer an innovative, playful approach to comfort food right here in West Hollywood.

LN2 Pizza Shoppe
7212 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles 90046
https://ln2pizzashoppe.com/
Phone: (323) 917-5178
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday – 5:00pm to 10:00pm, Friday and Saturday – 5:00pm to 11:00pm, Sunday – 11:00am to 3:00pm and 5:00pm to 10:00pm, and Closed Mondays
Social: Website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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