Archive for the 'Special Menus' Category

The Fine Art of Fine Dining at @Alinea

November 27, 2012

After you view the video of a dessert being created by Chef Grant Achatz, please read more about Alinea Restaurant where you purchase tickets rather than schedule a reservation.

Visit their site at www., or better still, visit the restaurant, located in the Lincoln Park area of Chicago, 1723 North Halsted. No walk-in dining options. All dining must be ticketed. Although tickets are transferrable, they are nonrefundable. Chicago, home to many fine restaurants including Henri, EL Ideas, Acadia, Everest, L20, Moto, Naha, and Schwa among others, is a destination where chefs and foodies pilgrimage. Even aspiring locations, like Goosefoot, make their mark with innovative combinations and redefining American (new) cuisine. Alinea brings the dining experience to a new level as artform/performance.

If you can’t secure your New Year’s reservation… TICKETING – which opened Nov 7 – you can still purchase the cookbook, Alinea on Amazon. Since dining, food, and art are fused at this restaurant, it would make sense that it is more suited for coffee table than kitchen as a cookbook.

“A pioneer in American cuisine, chef Grant Achatz represents the best of the molecular gastronomy movement–brilliant fundamentals and exquisite taste paired with a groundbreaking approach to new techniques and equipment. ALINEA showcases Achatz’s cuisine with more than 100 dishes (totaling 600 recipes) and 600 photographs presented in a deluxe volume. Three feature pieces frame the book: Michael Ruhlman considers Alinea’s role in the global dining scene, Jeffrey Steingarten offers his distinctive take on dining at the restaurant, and Mark McClusky explores the role of technology in the Alinea kitchen. Buyers of the book will receive access to a website featuring video demonstrations, interviews, and an online forum that allows readers to interact with Achatz and his team.”


If visiting Alinea’s website to buy tickets for your first dining “event” at Alinea proves to be fruitless, I can share some online advice from fellow California foodie, Kim T. of Tustin, CA:

“Tip:  Stalk their facebook page for “day-of” openings.  We were able to snag a 2-seater for prime-time that night.  Btw, our table could have easily seated 4 people so it depends on the luck of the draw.  I guess we were really lucky.”

Here’s to discovery!

Thanksgiving 2012

November 15, 2012

Don’t let the deadlines, headlines or stress mess with your gratitude. We all have a lot to be thankful for. Here’s some Thanksgiving recipes and treats to inspire you! Please feel free to repost and share…just let me know what time dinner is served and I’ll be there!

Try a New Orleans Thanksgiving. Last year Chef Guy DuPlantier III of Crazy Creole made ours magical with an All-American Creole Thanksgiving meal – gumbo, jambalaya, bread pudding, ettouffe. Ain’t nothing but goodness!


Thinking about your Thanksgiving meal? Let the L.A. Food Bloggers group help you! We have tons of great ideas and recipes!


Bitten Word offers that it’s time to start planning your menu in earnest.


Fearless Art of Food for Pleasure #cookforJulia @TheAcademy

August 13, 2012

It is with absolutely no intended disrespect that I confess that my childhood impression of legendary Julia Child was that she…was a female impersonator; a male comic in pearls wielding a knife. My respect for her since then has dwarfed such a foolish notion. I have learned much from her remarkable gift for making cooking pleasurable and validating the fact that loving good food requires no pedigree or certification. I see Child as an inspiration for Pixar’s Ratatouille (2007). Think back where restaurant critic Anton Ego concludes: ” I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau’s famous motto, “Anyone can cook.” But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist; but a great artist *can* come from *anywhere*.” @PixarTalk Was it Julia Child who launched the modern foodie movement with her “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” cookbook and television show? Learning that August 7-15 was dubbed Julia Child Restaurant Week (by Knopf her publisher, of course) set me scrambling to celebrate.

This year marks her would-be 100th birthday (she passed in 2004). What better place to raise a glass to Julia Child’s contribution to foodies the world over than near her Pasadena upbringing, in Los Angeles. Okay, it’s a stretch but you want to hear why.
Los Angeles offers the experience of TAIX French Restaurant, where a special prix fixe menu features a Julia Child inspired meal. Savor your choice of signature dishes prepared a la Child: sole meuniere, boeuf bourguignon, or coq au vin. Your meal also includes an amuse-bouche, a salad or soup (TAIX vegetable soup is legendary), french bread (don’t expect sourdough), and a dessert of floating island. Order a glass of your favorite red wine and enjoy.

TAIX vegetable soup

TAIX vegetable soup

TAIX opened in 1927 and relocated to its current location in 1962. Before you start out for 1911 W.Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles 90026, note that you’ll be looking for the Glendale Blvd, Sunset Blvd. and Reservoir Street intersection in Echo Park region. Valet parking and atmosphere await you. The Julia Child menu is offered as a special only through August 15. TAIX is celebrating a milestone of their own, 85 years in business, and the roast chicken dinner is $10 but only Sunday through Friday until August 31. Make a reservation using @OpenTable and ask for Bernard.

“The French Chef” – PBS television series which created my first impression of this tall, jolly, alto-voiced chef – is available for viewing online at @PBSFood A reconstruction of her home kitchen which doubled as the actual tv show set is on display at the Smithsonian’s national Museum of American History. Although, according to the Wall Street Journal, it has been closed for renovations earlier this year, it will be open from August 15-September 3.

Meryl Streep channeled the bon vivant spirit of Julia Child in 2009 and won an Oscar for “Julie and Julia.” The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has been hosting “Oscars Otdoors: Summer Film Series” this summer. By pairing food trucks (organized by @RoamingHunger) with with a outdoor picnic setting for weekend film screenings, the Academy has created a signature L.A. recipe for summer entertainment. The surprise addition and concluding film is “Julie and Julia” – not in keeping with Child’s 100th but in honor of fellow fearless creative femme, Nora Ephron. The film was adapted from the book of the same name where the author/blogger was inspired to fearlessly cook hr way through Child’s own cookbook. Fearlessness inspires art and this reason above all seems an ideal one to celebrate!
Bon Appetit!

@bittenword @WholeFoods @DreamDinners @bostonmarket Holiday Meal Options with Less Stress (pt.1)

November 10, 2011

Hungry for options this year for holiday meals? The holidays can typically be a time where the focus is on feasting and family, with a tendency to overindulge and/or stress out (at least in my family of origin). It is an American holiday after all, and we do not take overindulging or stress lightly.

With a non-traditional family, recreating the Norman Rockwell traditional holiday meal just might not happen. What are my options for Thanksgiving and Christmas?

Instead of dreading the obligation to prepare a whole turkey and groaning sideboard of assorted dishes, there are many options that allow you to enjoy a holiday meal and be realistic. There are budget-friendly solutions for all tastes. Not pizza delivery or heading for Disneyland, but meals that feature the North American fall season harvest offerings that can be realized without overindulging or stressing out. It is a time of thanks, and gratitude for a new wave of enlightened food choices is high on my list.

Grocers/Markets for Meal Planning

Whole Foods Market has expanded its marketing from healthy food choices to healthier food planning. On the website guides and tips await you. Recipes are also there along with links for entertaining. Share your story online by posting a photo to their webpage. Consider gifting healthier food; is it too obvious to suggest buying gift cards these holidays considering the source?

Check out the blog with helpful ideas, recipes, and social media links, although it doesn’t appear to be interactive with consumer feedback. Like other supermarket chains, Whole Foods most likely offers a boxed holiday meal ready to cook/reheat and serve. These can be very convenient, less expensive but do require a bit of attention to make the flavors more satisfying (think herbs, spices).

Online Resources

If shopping and cooking does not give you cause for trepidation these holidays, start online and explore some great online resources. You can maximize satisfaction by preparing several well-chosen complimentary dishes instead of the carbo-overload menu you might remember from grandma’s house of your childhood. oh my!

The promise of a 60-minute Thanksgiving that would “satisfy my inner grandmother” really piqued my interest:

Yes, Plymouth, Massachusetts has a website with social media links. If you are on the East Coast, the food festival looks very promising on November 19!

Celebrate without meat and savour the flavor of vegetarian options:

The Bitten Word – Resolving to Put Our Food Magazines to Use. Their (Zach and Clay) annual posts on Thanksgiving are an annual tradition and have a devoted fan base.

Catering Services

Banish the thought of an unwieldy wedding reception with waitstaff serving individual tables, catering is available on a far more manageable size to bring home and serve. offers holiday meals a la carte. “Life Just Got Easier” according to where you indulge in “garanimal” meals, packaging up ingredients within a pre-set recipe to make your meal. (One friend swears by this system!). These are fresh, time saving options and offer a dine-in option that is higher-end.

Food Retail (do not make me say restaurant) has an excellent website with mouthwatering descriptions of hams, turkey, beef, ribs, side dishes and desserts, store locations, recipes, as well as social media links and coupons. Emarketing opt-in can have some cost-savings benefits when you are sent coupons to use for your purchase. One of my print vendors used to give Honeybaked gift cards each year as a thank you for orders. boasts of “good tasting food you can feel good about.” Look for food section, store locations, and a link to order holiday meals.

I look forward to exploring some of the restaurant special holiday menus in my next blog article. Bon Appetit!

@Patina Patina Celebrates 22 Years With All-Star Alumni Dinner

October 31, 2011




Patina Celebrates 22 Years With All-Star Alumni Dinner.

From GrubStreet:

“To honor its 22nd birthday, Patina plans to pack its Downtown kitchen full of its former executive chefs, a group of alumni that includes Walter Manzke, Octavio Becerra, Eric Greenspan, David Feau, Michael Otsuka, and Theo Schoenegger, cooking alongside Patina chefs Tony Esnault, Sarah Koechling, and the empire’s founder, Joachim Splichal. The eight chefs will each produce part of a nine-course dinner with options for wine pairings ($199 with wine, $150 without). David Féau will offer his John Dory, Manzke will be on duck duty, and Greenspan will make a grilled cheese.

“Just kidding, Greenspan will be working with lobster for the affair, while Becerra will produce a fall terrine. After the dinner, there will be a separate after-party starting at 10:00 P.M. held over oysters and “pigs and pinot.” If the grand dinner is out of your price range, this might be the best bet to come mingle with the chefs, with a cost of $30.

“While the full dinner menu his yet to be released, we have a bit of a sketch of which ingredient or dish each chef will be working with, below. So if taking a trip back in time with one of L.A.’s few surviving, and still thriving, fine-dining experiences is up your alley, you can make reservations directly with Patina.”

Patina Alumni Dinner
November 2nd, 2011
6:30 P.M. Cocktails
7:15 P.M. Dinner


Joachim Splichal

Michael Otsuka
Porcini and Rabbit

Octavio Becerra
Fall Terrine

Tony Esnault
Vegetable Mosaic

Theo Schoenegger
Egg Ravioli

David Féau
Saint Pierre

Eric Greenspan

Walter Manzke

Sarah Koechling

Food Truck Safari, evening @lomoarigato @VCHOSTRUCK @maccheesetruck @SeabirdsTruck @ShortstopBBQ @Slapyomamatruck @MandolineGrill @Takoyakitanota

October 28, 2011

“What do you want for dinner?” I hate this conversation opener.
If I haven’t already planned, shopped, found inspiration, or, let’s say, I had a long day, being the dinner project manager is not something I want to be. Why not try casual dining for a change? Drive-by Dining?

Thanks to food truck events or chuck wagon circles, I don’t have to AND as a bonus, I can meet some great people trying to make a living in a more mobile community like Southern California.

Okay, I don’t want to drive far, I don’t want to limit my choices, where can we go? Narbonne High School?

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“Bringing the best food trucks to the best cities every week.” DinDinAGoGo (DDAGG)
@SouthBayDDaGG is my favorite but they cover lots of areas in So Cal.
Every Thursday night @ #NarbonneHighSchool 24300 Western Ave Harbor City 90710 5:30 – 9:30 any questions call 310-940-0073. You don’t need to bring a chair as there are tables, chairs, and free parking. Dogs may be restricted (we didn’t see any). People of all ages are there, eating, tasting, talking, sharing. Credit cards, cash.

And we saw:

My neighbor totally rawks! “Creator of DinDin-a-GoGo & Proudly Reppin’ the SouthBay and LA with J-style Peruvian yumz since 09. Thanks for the L.O.V.E.!!” She is the best!

Got pupusas? “Vchos is Los Angeles’ first gourmet Pupusa truck, serving up FRESH traditional Central American food with a modern twist. Vchos is slang for young people.” DO NOT miss the empanadas!

“The Macaroni and Cheese Factory food truck is coming soon to a location near you with specialized menu items.” Very popular, sells out fast. Pretty close to the perfect comfort food.

“We’re an Organic Vegan Food Truck from Orange County using local produce and top quality, organic ingredients. Gluten-free & Raw Options!” (Don’t be scared off by healthier food choices! You might surprise yourself with some amazing discoveries.)

**Note: Vegan Halloween Party this Saturday at Verdugo Bar! check it out… (non-vegans are welcome!!)

“Soul Food so good it makes you wanna Slap Yo Mama! Fried Chicken, Greens, Mac N Cheese, Gumbo, Lobster Po’Boy, Frog Legs &more!”

“Let Mambo Juice add some flavor to your day!” Juices, fruit, lemonade, shaved ice. Sweet treats.

@SlapFishTruck featuring Chef Gruel
“A modern seafood shack on wheels. Stop by and stuff some fresh in your face.” Delish! Very impressed with owner Jethro Naude’s cyber savvy – the business cards have a QR code for easy access to their website. Very cool!

B Sweet Catering’s new dessert truck! Serving freshly baked cupcakes, pies, cookies, breads, and other sweets.
plus @105ChuckWagon

“We’re a couple of friends who love eating big. We have a 3lb challenge burger for the brave come out & hang with us.”

“King Kone is a mobile ice parlor providing treats out of a sweet butter yellow truck!! mmmmm”

“Traditional and vegan-friendly Gourmet Vietnamese food truck serving the streets of Los Angeles!”

“Takoyaki Truck in LA/OC. Real osaka style takoyaki is served at my trailer. Puffy and melty inside must make you happy! Enjoy Tanota’s takoyki!!” This specialty open-air mobile grill might not have a high a profile as a truck or a big menu but the fish balls are delicious, with shrimp or octopus.

“We are young people with a passion and appreciation for food done right. It’s our mission to bring you delicious dirty BBQ.”

“Specializing in Baja style fish @ shrimp tacos, deepfried shrimp quesadillas, shrimp taquitos, fish & shrimp ceviche. Come have A Taste Of Baja!”
Facebook: papajuansfishtacos
“Cheesy Chaz and the Cheesecake Cuties are bringing their Cheeseballs to LA…”

Not present but talked about:

“Crisp. Refreshing. California Beach Cuisine. The concept is simple, make great healthy food and have it readily available. ”

Note: @YukonFoodFest
We are bringing you the best in gourmet food trucks Friday, Nov 18 as part of a fundraiser for Yukon Elementary 17815 Yukon Avenue Torrance, CA 90504-3927
will be every 3rd week of the month. Supported by and for Yukon Elementary and Torrance Unified School District.

Food Truck Safari, day @Kingscornerbbq @Suratruck @CrepedeVille @lidiasdkitchen @kiyokosteriyaki

October 28, 2011

Driving to LACMA, I spied parked along Wilshire Boulevard the herd/colony/battery of Miracle Mile Food Trucks waiting for hungry lunch crowds.

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These mobile gourmet chefs bring food to where the mouths are vs. owning a brick and mortar dining establishment or a tiny wagon and bbq grill. Cloudy days pose a problem as office workers are less willing risk the elements and sales go down. Street permits are required and some areas have higher restrictions or prohibit truck parking. These chuck wagons do not circle – they must park and have space along the curb. One determined truck owner arriving late to the scene meticulously fit his truck in a space between a car and another truck that offered almost no allowance for error. Who said Angelinos can’t park?!

You can follow a truck’s whereabouts or plans for the day on Twitter, Facebook, their website (if they have one), or as one happy lady put it, “my neighbor follows this stuff online and she tells me which trucks will be where, so I go!” I’ll be your tin can on a string here and give you links at the end of this article to find out more. Bon Appetit!

King Maaele says, “Hey this has been such a blessed experience sharing our food idea’s with family friends and local food chasers.” His island inspired cuisine is a nice compliment to his warm smile and laugh which all brighten your day.
Try him on Facebook kings corner on wheels or 310/483-8828. The website isn’t live quite yet.

@Suratruck for “Corean Rice Bowls”
“Rice bowls and more!!!”

They can perform some amazing spice magic with tofu or beef, chicken, pork, or yes, spam. Bowl (very generous) or Cup servings are suited to fit all appetites. I loved the tofu with spicy chili sauce!

“Crepe de Ville brings the sidewalks of Paris to the streets of L.A.” Ideal for savory crepes or sweet desert ones. Seeing Nutella ready to spread at this open-air mobile kitchen had me thinking of skipping lunch in favor of a whipped cream topped Parisian delight. Bavardez un peu avec ces chefs du crepes.


“Lidia’s Dominican Kitchen Delicious Home Cooked Dominican Food, just like Abuela used to make. The Best In Los Angeles!” The branding alone whets your appetite! “The cuisine of the Dominican Republic (D.R.) reflects its melting pot roots of Taino, European and African cultures with later additions from … (check out the website by
Facebook: Lidia’s Dominican Kitchen

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“Specializing in simple yet tasty Japanese-American cuisine!”

Facebook: Kiyoko’s Teriyaki

New York Galbi
Korean BBQ Tacos & Burritos

A cute logo and memorable business card are a good start on brand. Facebook page is just short of a stake stuck in the ground and the web is still in the planning stages. Stop by this popular truck and say howdy to John Kim.

“Vietnamese home cooking on the go” “We are a Phamily owned and operated business focused on bringing Vietnamese cuisine to your hood via our food truck such as Pho, Banh Mi, Spring Rolls & more!”
Next on my list to try.

“Serving falafel and love. But mostly falafel. We are here to bring you a wonderfully new, and diverse twist to traditional Falafels!”
Facebook: Yalla Truck
Freshest ingredients and healthy ethnic food make for a really satisfying lunch (or dinner) anytime!

And some links:


“Providing you with the most current and up to date information on locations of gourmet food trucks in and around the South Bay area.”
The site says it best: “You hungry for that food truck grub? Of course you are. Well, is the easiest way to figure out where your favorite trucks are.”

“Following the Twitter Feeds of Los Angeles’ Rolling Food Truck Gourmets!”

A Team of Gourmet Food Trucks that roll together in a group. We just might drop in on your town and serve up the best food found anywhere.

Weekly Gourmet Food Truck Lots in O.C. and L.A. (WhitneyHS, CharterOakHS, CanyonHS, LaHabraHS, LoaraHS, TroyHS, CerritosHS, LaMiradaHS)

@Komida_LA Where Flavors and Cultures Mix

October 9, 2011

where flavors and cultures mix. Kinda like L.A.
Only, you know, in a taco.”

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The next time you are in Hollywood on Thursday evening or lunch on Saturday, stop by Komida on 1738 N. Orange Dr. (just off of Hollywood Blvd., behind Grauman’s Chinese) and be ready for the ultimate Los Angeles food. Forget everything you know about tacos. They are the perfect food on many counts. Yet newly opened Komida offers THE ultimate taco experience with the Asian-inspired tacos that a more mainstream Southwest meal just lacks. Trust me, I conducted a personal taco tasting day as an informal experiment. Komida reminded me how satisfying life in L.A. can be when every detail is aligned by a skilled designer, such as Chef Brock. @ChefBrock

Chef Brock Kleweno who contributes to Yamashiro’s success on staff as a chef (@Yamashiro_LA), is gracious and personable as the visionary behind Komida. At the recent opening, he mentioned that Alice Waters was his inspiration, the founder of Chez Panisse who pioneered a new appreciation for locally-grown, seasonal food known as California cuisine – “Good food depends almost entirely on good ingredients.” At Komida, tacos are the perfect meal – good food from good ingredients, fusing the tastes, textures and colors of several cultures. As the eco-friendly poster child of cuisine, tacos require no cutlery, no frying, no elaborate preparation, serve 1 without promoting overeating, and leave very little carbon footprint to serve.

At Komida, be ready to meet corn tortilla tacos filled with miso sake black cod, chicken satay, spiced hoisin duck confit, soy and red wine braised short rib, or tangy veggies accompanied by salsas and tastes like a wasabi guacamole, ginger pico de gallo, and tequila salsa verde. No wheat, no cheese, no wrong choice. Bring a friend and try them all. Komida is open for dinner on Thursdays 5:00 to 9:00 P.M. and for lunch on Saturdays 10:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. Cash only through October, so don’t let your sudden embrace of a cashless society allow you to miss out. Go! What are you waiting for?

And I didn’t win the free tacos for a year at the opening 😦 but if I don’t go back soon for more tacos, I’m a bigger loser for missing out on the limited availability!

Check out review (Oct 25, 2011)

@YamashiroLA @Komida_LA Opening on Oct 6 Plan for lines! Be hungry for tacos!

October 6, 2011

Buy a taco before 8:30 PM on Thursday, October 6 and you’re entered to win a chance at free tacos for a year. What’s not to love? Come support Komida’s debut.

@YamashiroLA Executive Chef @ChefBrock Kleweno serves up his popular Farmers Market tacos in prime time with the grand opening of Komida on October 6. Down the hill from Yamashiro, Komida will debut in a very Hollywood space, using the patio and former bar area (of former H Wood location) at 1738 N Orange Drive, Los Angeles 90028 just off of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland. Confirmed tacos to be served include: Hoisin Duck Confit; and Sake Black Cod; Soy & Red Wine Braised Short Rib; Chicken ‘Satay.’   <<< GPS by Google  <<< Follow on Facebook

@restaurantchris Get Happy at Restaurant Christine

September 30, 2011

This tiny South Bay restaurant has long been a favorite of mine with a menu that reflects the delicious and culinary whimsy of Chef Christine. Officially, it is “contemporary cuisine laced with flavors of Tuscany, Provence and the Pacific Rim” or satisfying and inspiring.  Open for lunch, dinner and catering, the start of the offering of weekly themed specials at Restaurant Christine came to my attention with their email marketing campaign. These are comfort food variations, reasonably priced that offer the more discerning diner a great excuse to step out for dinner on a weeknight and try Restaurant Christine.

Grilled Cheese Mondays
Taco Tuesdays
Christine’s Crepes Wednesday
Thursday’s Oodles of Noodles
(5:00-6:30 patio and bar only)
Friday’s Burgers, Sliders & Dogs (5:00-6:30 patio and bar only). See full menus online .

On October 13, Restaurant Christine proudly presents comedian Angela Hoover for a night of comedy, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Show starts at 7:30, with food and drinks at 6:30. This show, for $45 per person, will sell out fast, as space is limited to seating in “Room Next Door” so you’ll want to get your reservations in today (310) 373-1952.

Restaurant Christine
24530 Hawthorne Blvd., past PCH, on the left as you start ascent up the hill into PV.
Torrance 90505
(310) 373-1952

And Chef Gary Robbins is making German Oktoberfest creations at Koreatown’s Biergarten one more weekend only Oct 1-2 – Don’t miss it!