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This Weekend: Warren's Blackboard, José Andrés, Lobster Fest

09/08/14

This Weekend: Warren's Blackboard, José Andrés, Lobster Fest

There's much food-related fun around town in the 818 and beyond this weekend. Check it out! Block Party in Noho: Warren’s Blackboard is having their second Beer & Wine Block Party of the year this Sunday, September 14, 2 to 5 p.m. Enjoy tasting from a half-dozen local breweries and wineries alongside Chef Warren Schwartz's grilling station with his signature bites, including halibut ceviche, grilled rib eye, heirloom watermelon salad with burrata, al pastor tacos and duck breast. $25 per person. While you're there, be sure to check out the new lobby and bar at The Beverly Garland as both were renovated as part of hotel's recent $20 million transformation. Click here for reservations. WORTH THE DRIVE If you are a fan of Chef José...

Posted at 11:03 AM | Permalink | Comments

Exciting New Chef, New Menu at Studio City's Firefly

09/08/14

Exciting New Chef, New Menu at Studio City's Firefly

When Firefly opened in Studio City 12 years ago, it set a new standard for drinks and dining in the San Fernando Valley—and has been the leader for a slew of other restaurants which have followed. Firefly has since undergone several incarnations of chefs helming the kitchen—sometimes with mixed results. However, the restaurant has always remained popular due to its very special design and ambience: an inside library bar with banquettes and bookcases, outside dining room with cabanas, candlelit tables, center fireplace, outdoor bar and additional terrace area. When I dined there last weekend, I was thrilled to discover that the cuisine is better than ever—and finally equally on par with the ambience. The reason: executive chef Paul Shoemaker, a James Beard...

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The Woodman Brings A Roadhouse to Sherman Oaks

09/08/14

The Woodman Brings A Roadhouse to Sherman Oaks

Continuing the wave of Los Angeles restaurateurs coming to the 818, particularly toward the East Valley, comes The Woodman—which opened last week, replacing Smiles Cabaret at 13615 Ventura Boulevard. It's that buzzy kind of casual neighborhood place to drop by for a drink or a meal. The Woodman is owned by Ryan Sweeney, who is known as one of the foremost craft beer impresarios in Los Angeles due to his success with The Blind Donkey, The Surly Goat and The Phoenix, along with partners Brandon Bradford, Alen Aivazian and Michael Malin. With an open floor plan and a sidewalk patio looking in, The Woodman is a rustic roadhouse with barn-red French doors, reclaimed wood walls and tables, chairs made from tree stumps, black tufted booths, a bar area, and corrugated metal...

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A Sneak Peek at The Gadarene Swine

09/02/14

A Sneak Peek at The Gadarene Swine

Since signing the lease two months ago on the former Egg Plant in Studio City, Chef Phillip Frankland Lee of Beverly Hills' 1-year-old Scratch|Bar has garnered a ton of attention for his newest venture, The Gadarene Swine, as he is known as one of the most exciting young chefs in LA today. However, it turns out the theme of the restaurant has nothing to do with pork; in fact, there is no meat or meat substitute at all. The Gadarene Swine is all about vegetables and fruit—which Phillip intends to introduce and re-imagine on a whole new level. The Gadarene Swine will not open until September 9; however, I was able to get a sneak peek at a media dinner for eight last Thursday to see what Phillip (who spent a good part of his childhood in Studio City) has in store. The...

Posted at 07:42 AM | Permalink | Comments

New Menus Around the 818

09/02/14

New Menus Around the 818

All Fries Are Not Equal: Mimi’s Café, the French-American chain with a Northridge location, just launched a “frites” menu based on two months of research in France, where their culinary team sampled authentic French frites and talked with local chefs in brasseries, bistros and Michelin-starred restaurants in order to create their own recipe. The frites are thick, hand-cut potatoes that are double-cooked, fried to order and sprinkled with sea salt and herbs. No frozen-from-the-bag fries here. They are served with a choice of steak, mussels, salmon or chicken ($11.99 to $17.99). “We wanted our new, made-from-scratch frites to be so authentic that they would be worthy of the all-important ‘fait maison’ certification if...

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Restaurants Expanding West

08/25/14

Restaurants Expanding West

Two popular San Fernando Valley restaurants that originated “over the hill” (Beverly Hills and West Hollywood) are now expanding west.  Chef Kimmy Tang's 9021PHO is premiering at The Lakes in Thousand Oaks on Wednesday, August 27 with a celebration that is open to the public from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.  Complimentary small bites and cocktails will be served.  Make sure to: rsvp@9021Pho.com  The Thousand Oaks location is the first of the five branches to offer a handcrafted cocktail menu, alongside Vietnamese-centric cuisine, of course. Other locations are at Westfield Sherman Oaks, Glendale Galleria, West Hollywood and Beverly Hills.  Kamil Majer is following the success of his West Hollywood and Sherman Oaks restaurants by opening...

Posted at 08:25 PM | Permalink | Comments

BatterFish: Modern Fish 'n' Chips in Encino

08/25/14

BatterFish: Modern Fish 'n' Chips in Encino

Blink, and you might miss it. BatterFish quietly opened in Encino this past May, replacing a chicken wing eatery amidst towering buildings on Ventura Blvd.  BatterFish is all about fish 'n' chips. If you’re a fried fish fan, this is the real deal—with a modern twist: custom-built fish-and-chips. Owner Jason Killalee moved from Dublin, Ireland 20 years ago. Although he came to pursue acting, he found another love in the restaurant business and managed such upscale dining rooms as Providence, Bastide and Valentino’s. Despite his exposure to the best cuisine in Los Angeles, he still craved authentic fish-and-chips. “I couldn’t find anything close to the good stuff I ate back home,” says Jason. “I’ve always had this...

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An Idea for a Wine “Stay-cation”

08/25/14

An Idea for a Wine “Stay-cation”

If you’re a wine lover, here’s an idea that might just do the trick for a quick, relaxing, end-of-summer "stay-cation." Malibu Family Wines recently opened The Tasting Room in partnership with the Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village. It's located inside the hotel itself and pours Malibu Family Wines, as well selections from other local wineries. There’s also a small-bites menu that includes a cheese plate, house-made truffles, chocolate bark, pork rilletes and spiced nut selection.   If a getaway is what you’re after, the hotel is offering a special package that includes overnight accommodations, two tasting flights in The Tasting Room and a “wine passport” with offers at other nearby wine tasting rooms and vineyards....

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A Peek Inside Granville Studio City

08/18/14

A Peek Inside Granville Studio City

Granville opened its third location on August 18 in Studio City (across from Lemonade), following Burbank and Glendale. The former Good Earth space is virtually unrecognizable as it has been completely renovated into a bright, airy, industrial-chic environment. This location has nearly 200 seats with a back area that can be closed off for parties of 30. Granville president Jonathan Weiss explains that the restaurant design is completely different from location to location. “It’s kind of an anti-chain approach,” says Jonathan. “Granville Studio City features unique elements such as an open-air floor plan, which extends onto the sidewalk with patio seating, indoor/outdoor bar, indoor olive trees, back patio with atrium skylights, and custom art and...

Posted at 05:18 PM | Permalink | Comments

Restaurant News: Killer Shrimp Takeover

08/18/14

Restaurant News: Killer Shrimp Takeover

Ye Olde King's Head is winding down toward its last few weeks after only two years in Studio City. An exact closing date has not been given, but what is certain is that Killer Shrimp will be taking over. No stranger to the 818, Killer Shrimp was last seen in Studio City at Colfax and Ventura in 2008 where the Jinky's Studio Café currently operates. Killer Shrimp now has five locations and has expanded on its original shrimp concept to include steak and fish entrees, a slew of appetizers and a cocktail menu. A month ago we reported on Hamburger Hamlet’s demise, only to follow up with news of its resurrection a week later. That didn’t happen at the time because a new group has intervened and purchased it. In an interesting twist, that group happens...

Posted at 03:33 PM | Permalink | Comments

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