i like to consider myself a los angeles gourmand. i pride myself on new restaurants, eating odd foods (grasshoppers anyone?) and testing out the newest food crazes.
last week’s undertaking? the newly opened laurel hardware.
once a mom-and-pop hardware store, the spot has been completely rejiggered to resemble a too-cool-for-school, industrial-meets-secret-garden hideaway.
i know that’s a mouthful, but really… the first room harkens back to the space’s hardware glory days with exposed pipping, steel chairs and glass sliding doors.
walk through the narrow hallway and you’re in midtown manhattan. ornately stocked bar, cozy couches and gangster overtones give you that new york buzz, with a splash of la la land lightness.
the back patio is the crowning factor - enclosed by hedges and completely ensconced by twinkling lights and romantic tidings, the space is perfect for sweet-nothings and noshings.
the food, while eclectically interesting, left a bit to be desired, but the cocktails made up for it ten-fold. the rosie and the acqua di vida were personal highlights (i mean really, champagne? it was love at first sight).
give it a try, find a nesting spot, order a simple pizza with a side of their caprese and get lost in their cocktail list.
it will be a great manhattan-meets-la night.
laurel hardware- 7984 santa monica blvd, west hollywood
a major stride was made for la gastromaniacs last week, when new york’s famed and delicious italian eatery eataly announced they will most likely be taking up residence on san vincente and melrose. squeal!
i mean…cannolis within walking distance from my house? stop it.
mario battalli goodness…that does take out? swoon.
italian munchies that make me feel like i’m giada for a day? killing it.
let’s be real, this is one small step for food, and one giant step for los angeles eating.
tis the season of restaurant openings. i normally pride myself on keeping up with jones’ (or ya know the sbe’s etc.), but my list is getting long and i’m ready to make a dent.
1. FARMSHOP - anything with farm i normally sold. i too have given into the “fresh, from-the-earth trend of late and am fully okay with admitting it. first off, the menu changes weekly. point numero uno for them. spiced sonoma lamb leg with wheat berries and roasted pumpkin hummus. i don’t even know what a wheat berry is, but i know i want one. point #2 and #3. ready set - reserve. farmshop - 225 26th st, santa monica
2. COOKS COUNTY - again - they just get me with the farm motif every time! pork rillettes - yum, wood-grilled duck breast with brussel sprouts - double yum, and chocolate ale cake - well i think i just reached nirvana. cooks county - 8009 beverly blvd, west hollywood
3. BUGATTA - sadly it has taken the place of an la staple, but so far it seems to be living up to the hype - a cocktail lounge that boasts simple dishes, but seems to have killer drinks such as the elderflower gimlet or lavender cosmopolitan. i’m curious indeed. bugatta - 7174 melrose ave, los angeles
5. CHURCHILL - i must admit i begrudgingly put this on, because i went last week and really - i wasn’t impressed. my cocktail was great, but the food? mediocre. i have the feeling we got the wrong thing - went too fancy, when really it’s a burgers and sausage kind of place. so it gets a complimentary pass on decor alone. the churchill - 8384 west 3rd street, los angeles
in the meantime i’m keeping my belly empty and my wallet full in true preparation.
last night my parents treated me to thick-crust delight and truffle oil heaven at santa monica’s newest deluxe pizza parlor: stella rossa.
as we walked up to the entrance two golden labs sat in front of the door…leashes tied to nothing.
we got it - it’s just that kind of place: your casual, neighborhood pizza joint…that happens to serve killer sangria and prides itself on classic napolitano menu.
starting with a salumi board (four different types anyone?) and the warmest, crunchiest, yummiest bread, then moving on to a vegetable antipasti plate…even I, who has yet to outgrow my childhood fear of all things green, enjoyed it. then came the pizza.
oh, the pizza.
deliciosa. my mother got burrata and fennel, my dad opted for the classic basil and tomato, and i’m a girl who just can’t say no to truffle oil, so i went for shaved mushroom (w/truffle, gorgonzola and some other goodness). all i can say was that there were extended periods of silence. the crust was the perfect thickness, and the various flavors all fused together into a wonderful explosion of taste.
best news of all - they’re open till 1am on friday and saturday.
last night our friend had to work late (le sigh), so ended up passing off his long standing reservation at l.a.’s haute restaurant du jour (and sister of l.a. great - animal) - son of a gun. let’s just say i think i am still full. no, really.
i am a cheap date and normally not the biggest lobster fan, but i devoured the lobster roll with lemon aoili so fast that my boyfriend had not even finished his first bite. after which he proceeded to look at me like a small child who had food all over her face. which, let’s be honest, i probably did.
a mahi mahi dip, and a sriracha shrimp toast later we found ourselves face to face with alligator schnitzel covered with citrus and heart of palm-infused coleslaw. deliciousssss.
original, imaginative and all together tasty and we hadn’t even gotten to dessert: deconstructed flourless chocolate cake with peanut butter, coconut ice cream, and fresh whipped cream AND a pear/berry tart with a crispy sugary pastry crust.
my waistline hates me, my stomach loves me, and my mind can’t wait to go back.
ok, so i am fully aware i am WAY late to the game. but i finally went to animal this week. and let me just say, IT’S ALL TRUE. it is unreal.
starting with the texas caviar and soft boiled egg, then jumping to the shredded bbq pork buns, and pigs head with aoili (personal fav), to the piece de la resistance…wait for it…foie gras with a buttermilk biscuit and gravy. um, yum. when i say it melts in your mouth, i ain’t lying.
run, don’t walk, if you haven’t gone, or simply salivate outside their window (restaurants love that by the way).
animal, 435 north fairfax ave, los angeles, 323-782-9225
Due to some fancy going-ons at work I have found myself three days a week in the lovely area of Silverlake. A place I had normally reserved for hot bed hipsters, avant garde arts shows, and anything else that reminded of Brooklyn - I have realized though that it ALSO has a bevy of delightful eateries. So here for your (and my) gastronomic pleasure I have listed the following places I intend to try (and have been recommended) during my month “abroad.”
1. Local - Organic gone wild, but in a good way - not the type of way where you hold your nose but still eat because it’s good for you, but the way where I want to devour everything on the menu. Butternut Squash Fritters w/ Honey Butter - Yes, please.
2. Edendale Grill - Supposed to be super yummy - fresh, interesting, yet eclectic. I saw these cheese-covered mushroom caps and was SOLD.
3. The Kitchen - So clearly the website needs a little work, but Fried Chicken, Mac n’Cheese, Goat Cheese Potato Latkes…well, you had me at hello.
4. Red Lion Tavern - I am always a sucker for a Beer Garden…I mean really, who isn’t?
Any other recommendations are eagerly wanted and welcome!!