Friday, December 18, 2009
It's almost all about watering stations opening this week . . . because everyone can use a little liquid courage, post-entertaining relaxation or a new place to ring in the New Year's ;)
In the Mid-City on La Brea near Melrose, The Tar Pit opens today. A collaboration between Mark Peel (of Campanile) and Audrey Saunders (of New York's famous Pegu Club) the 1940s theme restaurant and bar features surprisingly reasonable Neo-classical cocktails (most are $11), wines (everything on the list is $38 a bottle) and menu (priciest dish, Steak Diane, rings in at $17.) I was fortunate enough to be invited to a press preview party yesterday; the Jamaican Firefly (a sweet-n-spicy concoction of dark rum, housemade ginger beer and lime) is a favorite in the crowd, and the gnocchi w escargot is worth a try too.
Further out West, Bar Bouchon is also opening today - with a more casual vibe than the restaurant upstairs and seating less than 50; it's a great spot for those who want a few drinks and some small bites (a great way to preview some of the fare without dropping as much change.) And while it is a full bar, the beers (artisanal ones picked by Keller himself) and wines (carefully selected by head sommelier Alex Weil, including the Vin de Carafe program) are definitely worth more than just a passing glance.
And in the East, the much anticipated Eagle Rock Brewery finally opened! While tours and tastings are RSVP only now while they get their bearings straight. Right now they've just released their first batch of Solidarity, a mild black ale - but you may get a preview of their witbier-style Manifesto or their Revolution IPA as well. Email here or call 323.257.7866 to RSVP.
And while you're out in Eagle Rock, you may as well swing by Larkin's - a contemporary soul food joint that is doing an adopt-a-family drive now until the 23rd. Bring in clothes, toys and other non-perishables to help the cause and you get 15% off the bill, warming the soul in more ways than one (esp. when you get their seafood broth gumbo, Momma's BBQ meatloaf or their "dirty" grits with bacon, pepper and onions.)
And my favorite festive reads of the week:
Slate tackles the history and variations of the often-misunderstood fruitcake
And also answers the question for the most eco-friendly cheese to bring to the table (go young, go soft, go local)
Meanwhile, LA Times go full hog with the turducken, which test kitchen manager Noelle Carter makes seamlessly easy
And for a little more deets about The Tar Pit, Pat of EatingLA already summed up her experience from yesterday's preview
And being the chocoholic I am, definitely appreciated gawking at Diana Takes a Bite's chocolatey last-minute holiday gift list
And, for a little laughter, check out S. Irene's snarky zero-star review of Firenze Osteria and Don't Even Reply's prank response to a call-for-catering ad (makes me think twice about using craigslist!) May I interest you in a little Le Sandwich Rouge?