Carla here! Thanksgiving season is here and it’s my favorite time of the year! Halloween is a close second but there’s just not enough savory foods involved. I’ve been a pescetarian for 7 years, and while I never impose my diet on anyone, I just serve awesome meatless meals that I would enjoy and after a few bites, my friends eventually forget about having meats as mains.
Thanksgiving is a great time but Friendsgiving is equally important. To celebrate all of the amazing friendships in our lives, I scoured the internet high and low to find out what the best dishes for this year’s Veggie Friendsgiving feast. There are so many delicious options that bring all the flavors and feels of the season without meat! Try them one or try them all!
Last week, French bistro Belle Vie opened it’s doors in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. Being a Westsider myself, I can confirm that we are a little bit lacking in French restaurants (unless you counting the endless supply of Le Pain Quotidiens around) so I was beyond thrilled to try a this new neighborhood spot.
The team behind Belle Vie, Owner Vincent Samarco and Head Chef Cedric Nicolas‘ (who met when working together at Michelin-plated restaurant Le Trianon) aim was to provide locals with classic French comfort food with hints of California flavors: mission accomplished.
My inner Fracophile was geeking out right when I walked in, because the design, decor and the littlest details are spot on Parisian. French restaurants may have a reputation for serving up smaller portions, but at Belle Vie the portions are more generous. This spot is perfect to bring a friend and share a few plates.
Just in time for Fall, The Rockefeller in Hermosa Beach has a new seasonal menu! The Rockefeller is a modern-meets-rustic gastropub with craft beer and boutique wines served alongside American fare, located up the hill from Hermosa Beach pier! With the expert opinions from Chef Michelangelo Aliaga of Primo Italia, the new additions will give you yet another reason to travel down to the South Bay of Los Angeles.
1. Char Grilled Octopus Lollipops, with Basted Potato, Rocoto Peppers, Salsa de Panca, Microgreens, Kalamata Aioli, and Lime
Hot, hot, HOT! Spicy-food fans, listen up, and don’t let the charred black exterior of the octopus fool you; it’s perfectly cooked with amazing texture! While the octopus is fully charred on the outside, it’s extremely moist and tender inside, and is perfectly complemented by the basted potato. You can tell it’s extremely fresh by the lack of salty/overwhelming-seafood taste that can accompany less-premium octopus. If you want it as an appetizer for yourself then you can simply eat it on the stick, as you would a corndog or lollipop, but it’s also easy to cut and share with a friend. Even as someone who doesn’t typically go for octopus, this is a strong recommend.
If you’re having a cheat day, Universal CityWalk is a foodie paradise, with grub-tastic options like VooDoo Doughnuts, Mini Monster and Pink’s Famous Hot Dogs. For those of us trying to keep within our daily calorie counters, the CityWalk is a little bit more of a challenge. However, I found the perfect casual lunch and dinner spot, which I recommend checking out, especially during Halloween Horror Nights. (so you can get your candy corn on without feeling guilty!)
Samba Brazilian Steakhouse is a Rodizio-buffet-styled restaurant, with all you can eat options on their fresh-off-the-grill meats.
On Friday, October 6th, 2017, Vibiana, the former 19th century Cathedral turned prominent event space in Downtown Los Angeles, was taken over by the national non-profit culinary arts organization, the James Beard Foundation and the best in the LA culinary scene. Taste America, the foundation’s 5th annual ten-city touring event, celebrated prolific stars of the food scene.
LA favorite and family-owned Wexler’s Deli opened their 3rd location at Westfield Century City this week. Wexler’s Deli is known for serving up traditional Jewish deli soul food with a chef-driven mindset.
Music Tastes Good is back, and while here in SoCal the calendars say fall, it felt like summer at this awesome festival. I doubt that I’m alone, but food regularly stirs up humming and melodies from within me so the entire concept brought forth by this festival is truly one I can get on board with.
The lineup was super fun, and I’ve been putting my Spotify to work with some of my new favorites.( (Big Freedia you gave me life!) The culinary experience this year was described as being a “port to port experience”between Long Beach and New Orleans.Sounds and tastes reflected this experience and showcased the absolute best of these two port cities.
Calling all LA food-lovers! On Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, the James Beard Foundation will touch down on the West Coast for the Fifth Annual Taste America, the Foundation’s culinary tour through some of the country’s most exciting food cities. The festivities will begin at Vibiana and will celebrate Los Angeles’ food culture with esteemed local chefs and one national all-star, Barbara Lynch of Boston’s Gruppo, who will create a multi-course collaborative dinner with fellow James Beard Award winner Michael Cimarusti of Providence and Connie and Ted’sin Los Angeles, pastry chef Shannon Swindle of Craft Los Angeles,and host chef Neal Fraser of Redbird in Los Angeles.
But before getting seated for dinner, guests will snack on an amazing lineup of bites from some of the finest local chefs, including Amanda Chapman and Johnny Ray Zone of Howlin Ray’s in Los Angeles, Evan Funke of Felix in Venice, Justin Hilbert of Maude in Beverly Hills, Sara Kramer of Kismetin Los Angeles, and David Schlosser of Shibumiin Los Angeles.
This event will celebrate LA’s culinary arts scene and raise money for the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America Scholarship Fund during a silent auction and an exciting live auction.
Want to get dapper and celebrate with us? Tickets are still on sale here.
A trend in the Los Angeles foodie culture is the concept of the pop-up restaurant which offers a limited time dining experience in a temporary space with a specific focus on a particular type of food.
SAOR Project, started by Gianluca Zago and his wife Alessandra Manias, take the pop-up concept and aim to make it more of a permanent fixture, with monthly intimate meals and special dining events celebrating the best of classic Italian cuisine.
I wasn’t sure what to expect going into the experience. I love Italian food, and I have so many favourite restaurants such as Restaurant Verden. Although I’m not Italian, I would like to think that I know a little something about Italian food. But the word “experience” definitely sums up the evening. This was one of the most memorable dinners I’ve had in a very long while, and not just because of the excellent food.
Do you ever wonder where the word burger derived? I decided to look it up and sure enough Hamburg, Germany is the home of the first hamburger, made from a Hamburg steak (this blend consists of three muscles: chest, shoulder, and back). German immigrants in New York brought the steak into restaurants, then it naturally took a turn during the Industrial Revolution and became more Americanized. It was served first to industrial workers as a “steak” from a food cart. Workers found it hard to eat while standing so this unknown innovator decided to put the meat between two slices of bread. How ingenious, right?
Growing up burgers have always been revered as America’s favorite food. I grew up first with Mc Donald’s, In-N-Out, Carl’s Junior, Jack In The Box, Burger King and Fat Burger. I thought those were the best back then. Then over the years Umami, Fuddruckers, Five Guys, Smashburger, Steak N’ Shake and Shake Shack emerged and elevated the burger game.
Now there’s a new player in Southern California that has been around for seven years, Burger City Grill. I went to their newest location in Torrance, which has been open since January 2017. What’s great about this fast food restaurant is that you have the choice to build your own Hamburger or to choose from the preset menu. Always good to keep options open.
South Bay favorite The Standing Room will be serving an original creation, Tako Poke Tacos, which we’re the most excited for. We predict this taco—a blue corn tortilla topped with smoked octopus, tobiko, ikura and chives—will be the most innovative bite there.
General admission per person is $35, but if you use the discount code THRILLISTVIP at check out, you get $5 off. Just a little gift from Girls on Food. #yourewelcome
Traditionally this event takes place in NYC but it’s about time Thrillist brought it to LA! Not trying to start a Tupac vs Biggie feud here, but SoCal really is the home of the best Mexican street food in the U.S.
For out-of-towners, I will be live on our Instagram stories feed providing you with footage of the event. But if you’re in LA and at the event, be sure to say hi!
If you’ve been paying attention to my posts, you know I’m a fan-girl for The Lucques Group (owners Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne) who own LA spots I’ve blogged about in the past, like Tavern,Larder Baking Co and even the catering at The Hollywood Bowl. But Lucques is the only spot they own that I haven’t dined at yet, but I’ve been dying too.
Recently, I had time to kill before a dinner near by, so I bellied up to the Lucques bar for a glass of wine. I sipped on a lovely pour of Paul et Jean-Marc PASTOU Sancerre Blanc ‘La Côte de Sury’ Vieilles Vignes (it’s a must order!) and I was in awe over the beautiful fine-dining atmosphere, which is becoming a rarity in LA. As I read over their dinner menu, I was a bit envious of the diners and wishing my dinner was there.
But, one way you can experience dining at Lucques, (with a relatively less expensive pre-fixe menu), is their upcoming 17th annual All-American Summer Rib Fest,Sunday, August 13, 2017, Noon – 9 p.m.. This feast features slow-cooked ribs, hot wings, and sides that have become a Lucques tradition since 2000.
Although Lucques has a refined atmosphere, you are more than welcome to sport your favorite cowboy hat, Wrangler jeans, and Stetsons. You won’t look funny; you’ll fit right in!
The Lucques dining room and patio will completely transform into a family-style summer BBQ, with butcher-papered tables and wet-naps, since eating with hands are strongly encouraged. The menu will feature Saint Louis-Style Pork Ribs;Braised Beef Back Ribs; Spiced Lamb Spare Ribs and Too-Hot-To-Handle Chicken Wings.
Also included are sides of Cole Slaw & Baked Beans;Long-Cooked Collard Greens;Buttered Corn-On-The-Cob; Tomato & Watermelon Salad; and Grilled Cornbread & Wonder Bread (just to keep it real!). A mouth watering dessert of Warm Peach Cobbler with Strawberries& Buttermilk Ice Cream by Executive Pastry Chef Sahar Shomali completes this yearly Rib Roundup. I have had this dessert at Tavern’s Low Country Boil this past summer, and it was fantastic! Totally worth going back for!
Head Barman Christiaan Röllich’sCowboy Cocktails, including the Longhorn Lemonade and a “Beer in a Can,” will also be served. There’s also a promise of old school country jams, like Johnny Cash, Hank Williams and Willie Nelson playing through out, so my inner-cowgirl is so excited for this!
Pricing for the dinner is $55 per person, exclusive of beverages, tax, and service.
This is a ticketed Sunday supper event, advance ticket purchase is required. Tickets are available by calling the restaurant directly: 323.655.6277. For further information and full menus at Lucques visit http://www.lucques.com