Our Ventura Blvd - Our Ventura Blvd May/June 2017

Mini Monster Takes a Walk

Mini Monster developed custom drink lids. [Snow Monster Instagram]Apparently not all snow monsters are abominable, and neither are their offspring. Snow Monster, an Asian dessert sensation that two struggling college students founded in Little Saigon, now has five outposts and is spawning a new one this summer at Universal CityWalk. Mini Monster is their highly focused, drinks-only concept that centers on fresh brewed…

“Top Chef” Taco Shop

Lox tacos are a Burbank original. [Joshua Lurie]Alex Eusebio is a season 5 Top Chef contestant who teamed with wife Sara Mann on two Toluca Lake hits: Sweet Salt Food Shop and Cascabel Restaurant. Now they are going fast-casual with the new nearby takeout-friendly Cascabel Taco Shop. Cascabel Taco Shop resides near office towers and entertainment studios like ABC, Disney and Warner Bros.,…

Get Your Guac On

Todo Bien tacos are available with assorted fillings. [Joshua LurieTodo Bien Kitchen & Tequila Bar is a stylish Mexican restaurant that replaced LUKE Bar & Restaurant this spring in Woodland Hills. Owner Scott Floman has been based in the neighborhood for about 20 years, running Big Screen Cuisine Catering, which feeds creative at studios like Universal and Paramount. Now he…

Hungry Crowd, Indeed

White kimchi clam pasta is a signature dish. [Joshua Lurie]At the same time that LA diners are embracing authentic Asian food, other chefs and restaurateurs who have racked up experiences with unrelated concepts are taking their culinary traditions in new directions. Case in point: Hungry Crowd in Toluca Lake. Chef Juran Kwak, who previously worked at Manhattan Beach Post (M.B….

What’s Special About Ellen’s Special in Calabasas

Ellen’s Special is a healthier Monte Cristo. [Joshua Lurie]At Blue Table, the Calabasas café with a cheese closet and communal blue table that Ellen Marcione launched in 2004, only one sandwich bears her name: Ellen’s Special. The sandwich ($9.99) layers sliced turkey and ham with tangy goat cheese, sweet fig jam and punchy garlic aioli on a choice of pressed ciabatta,…

Junior Grows Up in Sherman Oaks

Garlic noodles defy categorization but taste delicious. [Joshua Lurie]John Mekpongsatorn, the Noodle World founder who opened his first Pan-Asian restaurant in 1993, expands to Sherman Oaks with Noodle World, Jr. The indoor-outdoor restaurant replaces The Habit in La Reina plaza. A yellow-and-red color scheme with stone accents features the “Slurpin’ good” logo of a spiky-haired boy devouring a bowl of…

Spice is Nice in Valley Village

“Mouthwatering” chicken can get spicy, if you like. [Joshua Lurie]Calling Chengdu House a regional Chinese restaurant would be a stretch, considering the just-opened Valley Village restaurant serves dishes like orange chicken, hot & sour soup, and mu shu pork. That said, seasoned chef Gang Tian, who spent the past 15 years cooking for cousin Georgia at Le Chine Wok in…

Knee Deep Beer Garden at The Garland

Hops pop up on The Front Yard patio for a beer pairing event. [The Front Yard]The Front Yard, located at The Garland hotel in North Hollywood, is partnering with Northern California-based Knee Deep Brewing Co., transforming the restaurant’s outdoor patio into a beer garden. On June 7 from 4 to 6 p.m., experience four beer pairings for $38 per person in…

Begin With Gin in Sherman Oaks

SOCA’s bar-only lobster roll stands out from 5 to 6 p.m. [Joshua Lurie]If you are a gin lover, be sure to check out SOCA for happy hour. From 5 to 6 p.m. each evening, the high-end restaurant is running a special menu at 15 bar seats that combines powerhouse small plates and six inventive gin and tonic cocktails. Chef/owner Aaron…

What you need to know about testosterone hormone treatments

Middle age is filled with challenges. And for many men, one of them is low levels of testosterone. Here we offer a breakdown of the hormone and a candid look at the latest treatments.

Written by Steven Stiefel, Illustrated by Christine Georgiades In any locker room or sports bar where men over 40 hang out, you’ll likely hear banter about testosterone—guys complaining about low levels, comparing therapy notes and debating, in some cases, controversial treatments. Testosterone is a steroidal hormone, derived from cholesterol. The testes primarily secrete it; yet, women also have testosterone (just…

Aw Shucks for a Buck

West Coast oysters are impeccable at Tuccio’s. [Joshua Lurie]Tuccio’s is so much more than an Italian restaurant. The Woodland Hills establishment from Gina Shields, husband Damien and executive chef Gavin Humes features seasonal, market-driven ingredients prepared with panache and paired with many items made by hand. Since opening at the base of Warner Center Towers late last year, the spot…

Stupendous Soft-Serve in Tarzana

Soft-serve and civic pride unite at Magpies. [Joshua Lurie]Warren Schwartz is an accomplished chef. Anyone who ate at Warren’s Blackboard, which he oversaw for a while at The Garland in NoHo, will attest to that. Given his culinary pedigree, it’s no surprise that the chef’s latest endeavor, Magpies Softserve, which he is running with wife Rose, is no ordinary ice…

Novel Seafood Concept Opens in Encino

Shrimp, lobster and king crab are available in rolls. [Jakob Layman]Chef Phillip Frankland Lee and wife Margarita Kallas-Lee complete their triumvirate of restaurants in Encino Place with this week’s launch of Frankland’s Crab & Co. The takeout-friendly seafood concept is tucked between Scratch|Bar & Kitchen (offering a prix fixe, multi-course menu of small plates) and Woodley Proper (a cocktail lounge…

God’s Gift to Valley Glen

Shawarma gets top billing at Natanya. [Joshua Lurie]Natanya Kosher Cuisine recently opened in a plaza across from Los Angeles Valley College and a Metro Orange Line station. The owner, Rachel Avshalom, has partnered with a produce pro on this airy restaurant with an open kitchen and grey color palette that’s named for a city in Israel and means “god’s gift.”…

Flexible “Farm-to-Face” Food in Calabasas

Greenleaf brings creative salads like Buffalo Wangs to Calabasas. [Joshua Lurie]Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop, a “farm-to-face” concept that Commander-in-Leaf Jonathan Rollo initially debuted in Beverly Hills, is set to debut a branch at The Commons at Calabasas this summer. Greenleaf was initially rooted in salads but now touts a varied roster for brunch, lunch, dinner and drinks—all leaning on local produce….

Calm Wave in Sherman Oaks

Sherman Oaks hardly has a dearth of Japanese restaurants, but Sushi Sazanami is still a welcome addition. The eatery features a varied Japanese menu and some atypical pairing possibilities. Jimmy Koshino originally hails from Kanazawa in Midwestern Japan and still remains a partner in nearby Sushi Don, which focuses on high-quality takeout fare. Sushi Sazanami—his latest project with new business…

Beer Event in Burbank

Tony’s Darts Away looks unassuming but deserves attention for California craft beer. [Joshua Lurie]Tony’s Darts Away, the Burbank bar that’s known for its killer craft beer selection, celebrates their seventh anniversary on Saturday, May 13, and Sunday, May 14. This event promises to be epic, as they plan to tap a special keg every hour between 10 a.m. and 7…

Stampede for Stanley’s

Greg Sadofsky and partners preside over Stanley’s 2.0. [Joshua Lurie]Stanley’s, the beloved Sherman Oaks restaurant from Greg Sadofsky, Ramin Ghaffar and Luis Morales, lost their lease in 2015 after 32 years. Their new landlord replaced them with Te’kila, an existing tenant from Hollywood. Instead of sulking, the trio immediately plotted a return. Eighteen months later, a prolonged search led them to…

Secluded Spaces

Part wine country estate and part private spa sanctuary, the recently renovated Bernardus Lodge & Spa is in a class of its own.

Part wine country estate and part private spa sanctuary, the recently renovated Bernardus Lodge & Spa is in a class of its own.

The Dating Game

The good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to looking for that someone special—plus candid comments by two anonymous singles.

The good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to looking for that someone special—plus candid comments by two anonymous singles.

What a Girl Wants…Really

Boiling down to the essence of a good man.

Written by Kathleen Laccinole It’s a question on par with the meaning of life, the existence of god and the reality of time: What do women want in men? When I asked my son, “What do you think a woman wants in a man?” he responded, “Someone who owns a chainsaw; who doesn’t drink out of a straw; and who…