Need Advice on places to eat/drink and things to do in the city? Hit us up at finerthingslosangeles@gmail.com - we'd love to help out!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday Feature: Bottomless Mimosa Guide

Has this been the longest week ever or what?? TGIF!! Time for bottomless mimosa pick of the week!  This week is another westside spot (I know, I know...), World Cafe.

World Cafe in Santa Monica has bottomless mimosa brunch every Saturday and Sunday from 10:30a-3:30p.  With the purchase of an entree you can add on bottomless bubbly for just $8!



And their brunch menu is super affordable, pancake plate or build your own omelet for $8 and the breakfast burrito sounds amazing at $13.  Along with breakfast picks they also have a full lunch menu available during brunch (salads, burgers, sandwhiches, pasta, pizza, meats and fish), there is something for everyone. 

World Cafe is located right in the middle of Main St, so it is a great place to start for brunch and then embark on a pub crawl to nearby bars or partake in some boozy shopping.

World Cafe. 2820 Main Street. (310) 392-1661. http://www.worldcafela.com/

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Prix Fixe Fix!

Here at Finer Things LA, we have a fondness for all things prix fixe and all things wine, so when today's Blackboard Eats deal landed in our inboxes, we were pretty much in heaven. Not to mention the blurb on the deal included a shout out to my favorite white wine ever - viognier.



Today's deal will get you a 3-course dinner at Mercantile on Sunset, a low key wine bar-slash-grocery-slash bakery-slash-eatery.  The fixed menu includes and endive and watercress salad, your choice of main entree (sausage, ricotta gnudi or trout rillettes) and a scoop of home-made ice cream (yum!). All this for $20!

If you haven't used Blackboard Eats before, sign up NOW, and then click to get in on the deal. You will receive a passcode for the deal that is good to use at the restaurant for a month.

Blackboard Eats: www.blackboardeats.com
Mercantile. 6600 W Sunset Blvd. (323) 962-8202. www.themercantilela.com

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Classy Cocktails

The Varnish 1 Yr Anniversary

There seems to be a lot of buzz in the last year around mixologists – fancy pants bartenders who make amazing cocktails. Mixologists aren’t serving up your standard vodka sodas and jack and cokes, they take bartending to a whole new level and have perfected the art of the cocktail, layering many ingredients and flavors.



There are many spots around town to try some of these cocktail creations including the Roger Room, Seven Grand, the Tar Pit and The Association to name a few. And tonight, one of the best, the Varnish, celebrates it’s one year anniversary.

Now, I’m not usually a fan of overpriced cocktails that have flowers and weird ingredients floating around in them, but the Varnish is worth checking out. Especially tonight, since they will have free Beefeater punch and baked goodies from newly opened Babycakes.

The party starts at 7pm tonight and they will have live jazz music as well. So if you find yourself downtown or looking for something to do tonight, head over!

The Varnish. (located behind Cole’s).118 E 6th St. (213) 622-9999. http://www.thevarnishbar.com/

Cork Me!



"You haven't drunk too much wine if you can still lie on the floor without holding on."
~ Dean Martin

As you know, we love wine. With brunch, lunch or dinner, or even on its own as a pre-party beverage before a night out... Anytime there's wine - we're in. 



But if you're out to dinner and you want to drink wine like Dean Martin - you'll need a Dean Martin sized bank account too. 

So then begins the fun game we all play of 'which bottle do I order that doesn't make me look like a total cheap ass, but also doesn't cost me a fortune?' 

My dad taught me you always pick the second least expensive bottle on the menu, and then pretend you've had it before. This makes it seem as though my 'inexpensive' wine selection  ($50 for what would have been $15 at Ralphs) is based on my discerning and experienced taste, and not my 'just outta college' budget. 

OKAY, so yes, we graduated three/four years ago. Quit rubbing it in and let me finish my story!!

Anyway... There are two alternate solutions to the wine-bottle game: 
1. Drink at home before dinner (and risk not remembering the meal)
2. Find a place with free or cheap corkage so you can bring your own cheapy bottle and drink for less

Option 2 is always the best solution. 

And now I present to you: FinerThingsLA's favorite free corkage spots around town: 

* Nook - 11628 Santa Monica Blvd #8, West LA
Free corkage on Mondays and Tuesdays only. Favorite items on the menu: Flat Iron Steak and the Burger (friends claim it rivals the F.O. Burger)  

* Colori Kitchen - 429 W. 8th St., Downtown
Family owned and run Italian spot, free corkage every day of the week. This place looks like a total hole-in-the-wall but it's actually the perfect date spot and you really can't go wrong with their homemade pasta. (Thanks for the tip Mr. Lobanov!)


Not free but cheap: 

* Allora Cucina Italiana - 8432 W. 3rd St, Mid-City-West
This place USED to have free corkage, but since they obtained their liquor license they started charging an $8 corkage fee. Not as good as gratis - but still relatively reasonable! While you're there drinking your weight in wine: try the mushroom ravioli, its tastey!



Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Slow Loves Hot Dogs



A couple things about my drunken alter ego
1.    When I drink – my nickname is Slow.
2.    When I drink – I always want hot dogs.

Slow comes from the fact that after a few beverages I am terribly un-photogenic and have a difficult time getting thoughts out. Hot dogs – well they are just delicious. Seems though that every time I drink (or when I'm sober... which is occasionally the case) I can never find a good hot dog near by. Yes there are options but I’m just not willing to wait in line at Pinks, and the street dogs and Carney’s dogs result in a worse hangover than booze.

I mused for months over the idea of starting my own fancy little hot dog shop with locations in the South Bay, Santa Monica, and WeHo and calling it Slow Dogs. Since I’m from Seattle the specialty of Slow Dogs would be a delicious Seattle Dog (dog/bun/cream cheese/onions/ketchup). We’d have other gourmet and low cal options as well so everyone would want to eat there. Everyone. 



Now, if I lived in Pasadena I wouldn’t have to muse about owning a hot dog cafĂ© – I could just go to The Slaw Dogs.

Slaw Dogs recently opened up on N. Lake Ave in Pasadena and serves 10 different delicious dog combinations and a great selection of sides. Don’t want to be stuck with their specialties? Don’t worry – there's a huge ass menu of 11 different dogs (beef dog, turkey dog, chicken dog, etc...) and over 45 topping options so you can design your own dog as well.

Unfortunately for me/Slow - I don’t see cream cheese on the menu. But goat cheese + tomatoes sounds like a delicious alternative! And, who knows, maybe they will read this amazingly written post and decide to add the Seattle Dog as a specialty item (Note to Slaw Dogs: you can rename this specialty dog the ‘Finer Things Dog’. Thank you.)

Happy Eating!

The Slaw Dogs
720 N Lake Ave, #8
Pasadena, CA 91104
Sun-Wed. 11:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Thu-Sat. 11:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Surviving Saturday & Sunday Mornings



Lines at breakfast spots in LA on the weekends are nuts - especially around noon when all the drunks wake up in desperate need of greasy breakfast food to nurse their hangovers. It’s because of these lines that I rarely go to Toast anymore - its just not worth a 30+ minute wait when you’ve got the shakes and need coffee STAT. 


One of my favorite spots in the city for lunch has always been Cuvee on Robertson. I used to live nearby and the walk always helped revive me from the night before.  It’s also never super busy, they serve my favorite iced tea in town (plus a free refill!), and they have a pretty little outdoor patio. It's an ‘order at the counter and choose your own table’ sort of spot so it's less formal than a normal restaurant (which I like). However, their breakfast hours were terrible (i.e. service stopped around noon) and I can’t think of a single weekend when I woke up in time to try their breakfast menu.

Me and the man went back to Cuvee on Saturday for the first time since we moved from the Robertson/Doheny part of town and we were  pleasantly surprised to find that, not only have they updated their menu with some new great items, but they also now offer breakfast ALL day on the weekends. Yipee!

The breakfast items were great (I had the Huevos Rancheros - yum!) but it was the man's order, which came from the lunch menu, that I loved the most: the Mozzarella, Pesto, Tomato, and Prosciutto Sandwich on Sourdough. It is amazing. I think its the  balsamic vinegar that really makes this sandwich perfect but really everything about it I love. We both loved it so much we returned Sunday with friends to order it again! (I would have taken a picture to show you but we ate them too quickly... both days.)

This sandwich is also just the right amount of greasy to make you feel 100% after lunch and ready to start drinking again! 

(Can’t wait until you get home to tap the keg? Cuvee also sells a great selection of wines that you can purchase and drink right there at your table.) 

Cuvee
145 S. Robertson Blvd. 
(W. 3rd & S. Robertson Blvd.)
(310) 271-4333

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Feature: Bottomless Mimosa Guide

This week's mimosa pick is a shout out to all those on the Westside - who we frequently tend to neglect since we both live in West Hollywood and the thought of driving west of Doheny makes us nervous.

But we just might have to head out there for this brunch this weekend because it features the cheapest bottomless mimosas yet!  The spot? - Overland Cafe.



Overland Cafe has bottomless champagne for $4.99 (not a typo...literally 4.99), with the purchase of any breakfast entree.  Their brunch menu features breakfast food with a twist - shrimp/scallion/guac omelet, krabbycakes benedict - and sounds delicious.  With my huge sweet tooth, I think I'll go for the chocolate chip pancakes, yum!

Brunch at the Overland Cafe is every Saturday and Sunday from 8am-2pm.  From the reviews on Yelp seems like the wait is usually around 40 min and the place does get crowded so I would suggest showing up early to get your name in.  But in my book, a 40 min wait is definitely worth it for $5 mimosas.

Since we are celebrating a bday out west Saturday night (Happy Bday Drew!), I can't think of a better way to keep the party going on Sunday (hint hint to our friends). See you there!

Overland Cafe. 3601 Overland Ave. (310) 559.9999.

We Put the 'ASS' in Class


I love the combination of fine cheese and champagne. Something about spending time with a friend, enjoying a great cheese plate with a glass of Veuve Cliquot, makes me so infinitely happy.
 

Unfortunately this love of mine is rather expensive. I've tried to imitate it at home and, though the Champange is far less expensive this way, you lose the economies of scale on the cheese that the restaurant can offer. You also lose the ambiance and the people watching. It's just not as special when you're enjoying a brick of cheese while watching Horatio take on and off his sunglasses on CSI Miami. 

However, during an amazing walk through WeHo on Sunday afternoon I found the perfect solution to this expensive habit of mine: Froma

Froma is a tiny gourmet market on Melrose. They sell all sorts of tapenades, olive oils, wines, etc...  They also have a handful of bar seats (maybe seven total) for you to sit at and enjoy their menu of salads, sandwiches, and delicious gourmet bites.

I've been to here once before for lunch and it was delicious, though I'd say a little pricey for a salad. But I've been enticed to return as they are now offering a key element of the FinerThingsLA bible: Happy Hour. 

During typical hours of happiness (4-7pm) Froma has a small menu of gourmet bites. Items include parmesan & herb-dusted fries ($3), 2oz Kobe beef burger sliders with mixed greens ($4), and the La Burrata: a gourmet plate that includes burrata cheese, pesto, tapenade, and toast ($6). They also have a menu of fine wines ($5 Glass), Proseco ($5 Glass), and Yanjing Beer ($4 Glass). Yum Yum Yum.

La Burrata + Proseco ($11 total) is definitely a worthy replacement for my typically expensive cheese plate + Veuve.

So suck it up for an evening, put away the flask, and enjoy a gourmet Happy Hour for once. It won't break the bank and you'll feel so much classier (even if you do end up down the street at the Snake Pit at the end of the night).  While you're there please don't drink too much and make a bad name for FinerThingsLA - that is not a CLASSY thing to do and, as you know, we here at FinerThingsLA are all about class.

Froma on Melrose
7960 Melrose Av. Los Angeles, CA 90046
Open Monday-Saturday 9AM to 9PM / Sundays 10AM to 7PM
Happy Hour: 4pm - 7pm Daily

Thursday, February 18, 2010

"Where everybody knows your name"


Our group of friends has always wanted a place like MacLaren’s on How I Met Your Mother (or as we more familiarly call it – Himym). For those who are old as dirt and don’t get the Himym reference – think Cheers. 



In a perfect world we’d all live in the same building and all meet downstairs at the local bar, nightly. But alas we are spread across the city and all have different spots we like to haunt – most of which are close to our own apartments so we don’t have to worry about DUIs.

But when we all do meet up on weeknights for a drink – we almost always go to Oak Fire Pizza.

We each have our own reasons for loving the place: V and I love their happy hour (50% off pizzas, apps, beers, wines, mixed drinks) and consider it one of the best deals in town. Our buddy Drew (who’s birthday is today!) loves it because one of the hostesses mercilessly flirts with him. My guy Mike likes it because there are lots of flat screens and they are always tuned into sports. For those of us who live in WeHo - we love it because can walk/stumble home after dinner.

Long story short – it’s our meeting place.

So if you’re looking for a great happy hour spot after work come join us at Oak Fire. We’ll even be there tonight for Drew’s Bday – just look for the rowdy group that’s disproportionately male.

Cheers!

Oak Fire Pizza (Formerly Stone Fire Pizza)
829 North La Cienega Boulevard
Happy Hour: 4pm - 7pm
Recommended Pizzas: Four Seasons, No-Name, Perfect Pie, Chicken Pesto

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Tip for Date Night


Your classic date night: dinner and a movie. What was once a reasonably priced endeavor has quickly turned into quite the expensive night out in LA.
 - Two tickets to an evening newly released movie at an LA theater? $27.
 - Dinner for two at Morels French Steak House? $80 (drinks not included)
 - Parking? $2.

So now you’ve spent $109 bucks and what did you get: a  booze-less dinner at a restaurant that almost constantly has a B health rating, followed by two hours of not-talking, ending with a kiss on the cheek as you drop your date off at home.

Yippee….


Well the Grove has a promotion to make this standard date night slightly more palatable: for just $30 per person you’ll get free valet parking, two movie tickets, and 3-course dinner for two at a participating Grove restaurant (hopefully not Morels… seriously… B Rating…Gross.)

So with all your saved money you can take your date to the bar in the Farmers Market (or El Carmen down the street) and buy some drinks. You’ll STILL be saving money even after ordering drinks (unless you drink like our friends, then it might be more, a lot more…) and the booze will definitely help your chances at the end of the night! 

Date Night @ The Grove
$30 Per Person
Available Monday - Thursday Nights

Participating Restaurants and Menus
 

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

VandK’s Sausage-Fest Adventure at Big Wangs


Somehow, and I still don’t know how, we got conned into going to the new BigWangs downtown on Saturday night. While others were enjoying the delicious foods (and long lines) of LAFoodFest, we were enjoying beer and mediocre bar food with our usual crowd. This 'usual crowd' tends to consist of V, about 12 dudes, and me… i.e. a sausage fest.

The beers were good (and in some cases gigantic). The chicken-wrap-thing I ordered was a 4/10. The sampler platter was typical bar food so I’ll give it a 7/10. The wings, however, were a big hit with the guys (see a trend here with these guys?) The Rochester sauce, and the fact that the wings were actually boneless (and thus less wings than they were balls of chicken meat), was a crowd pleaser that night. 

Note: Keeping our guys happy is important, as it means we have leverage the next time we want to try out a ‘less than manly’ new establishment in the future.

However I wasn’t totally sold on Big Wangs until I ventured into the bathroom. There upon the wall, framed above the sink, was a sign showing the happy hour specials… And they are great:  


Oh how easily we are swayed by Happy Hour deals….

Plus, because of the crowd we roll with, I’m pretty sure we will have no choice but to return here in the future. At least now we’ll know what times to go so we can save some moolah!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Fat Tuesday = Sick Day Wednesday

Mardi Gras celebrations tend to involve some of our favorite things – drinks, food, and live music (… and boobs and beads but those fall a little lower on the ‘favorites’ list.)


We’re not sure which festive events we will be attending – but there are a few good options across the city:

Liquid Kitty, WestLA (5pm – 2am)
·      No Cover,
·      Live Cajun/Zydeco band (“The Damn Well Please Organ Trio”)
·      Grilled Cheese truck out front at 10:30pm
·      Drink Specials: $3 Abita Beer, $6 Hurricanes, $6 Sazerac Martinis, $2 PBR, $3 Low Lifes (Pabst & a Shot)

Rush Street, Culver City (7pm – Close)
·      Specialty Drinks: Mint Juleps, Hurricanes, Alabama Slammers
·      Free Party Favors
·      Masked Bead Girls

Westwood Brewing Co, Westwood (Beginning @ 6pm)
·      Free Beads
·      Gumbo Special: $7/bowl
·      Zydeco Music, 6pm – 8pm
·      8pm: New Orleans Themed Trivia Night!

South, Santa Monica (4pm – Close)
·      $4 Beer Specials
·      Beads, Masks

J Lounge, Downtown (5pm – 8pm)
·      “Fat Happy Hour” Drink Specials
·      Creole Menu Items by Chef Oz
·      Live Entertainment


For those just looking for a good Cajun meal: 

Dominick's, West Hollywood
Mardi Gras Themed Menu included $5 Gumbo, $6 Jambalaya, $8 Eggplant pirogues with shrimp sauce

The Gumbo Pot, Mid City
This spot serves their delicious Cajun food year-round at the Grove Farmer's market. However, for Mardi Gras the Farmer's Market transforms into a Mardi-Gras party with live music and Gumbo Pot has King Cakes available for purchase for the holiday.


Maybe plan to call in for a ‘personal day’ at work on Wednesday? You’ll need it after you take down all those southern-style drinks!

Get Drunk Like Gee-Dub

 

Back in the day when Washington was elected, the campaign trail was all about providing tons of Hard-A to the public. Citizens would wander through the town square, from campaign table to campaign table, getting their fill of whiskey from each candidate. The larger the quantity, and the higher the quality, of booze you provided: the more people liked you. By the time the drinker was ready to vote they were thoroughly trashed, and because drunks are easier to convince into voting for you, you were basically ensured a vote if they finished their binge drinking at your campaign table (ingenious!)

In honor of this old-as-time tradition of providing booze to gain a following - CommeCa is offering drink specials today at a special price. For President's Day only, a select menu of cocktails will be available for just $4.40 (since we're at Presidente numero 44.) 

Here's the menu: 
  1. Frost/Nixon: "Last Word" - gin, lime juice, Green Charteuse, maraschino 
  2. Kennedy: "Cuba Libre" - cola, lime, white rum
  3. FDR: "Dark and Stormy" - black rum, lime juice, ginger syrup, splash of soda
  4.  Washington: "Penicillin" - Scotch, ginger, lemon, honey

    While you're there try the French Onion soup - it's delicious!

    CommeCA
    8479 Melrose Avenue
    11:30am - 3pm, 5:30pm - 11pm

    Happy President's Day Everyone!!!



    Friday, February 12, 2010

    Friday Feature: Bottomless Mimosa Guide

    Well, well, here we are again....Friday. This Friday is especially great because for most of us, it's the start of a 3-day weekend, which means there is no excuse not to get wasted on bottomless mimosas on Sunday.

    This week's pick: Citizen Smith in Hollywood. On Sundays, Citizen Smith has an organic (something healthy to offset the copious amounts of booze you will intake) farmer's market brunch, with bottomless mimosas, bloody marys and bellinis (yum!) for an additional $10.



    Their brunch menu is the standard fare: eggs benedict, three cheese omelet, molten waffle with strawberries.  But who really cares about the food, this is about the bubbly and we all know that.

    So......check it out this weekend or head to any of our other bottomless picks and enjoy the long weekend! And also good to know, Citizen Smith has other great specials during the week including half off food on Mondays and half off wine on Tuesdays.


    Citizen Smith. 1600 N Cahuenga Blvd. (323) 461.5001

    Thursday, February 11, 2010

    SAVE MONEY MONEY SAVE MONEY MONEY


    Getting fat and drunk are great fun. But getting fat and drunk on the cheap - well that's just fantastic. Thanks to 'deal-a-day' websites we can do just that.

    Here's a few of today's deals to keep you tipsy, chubby, and happy all day long:

    GROUPON – LOS ANGELES
    $10 for $25 worth of locally grown cuisine at Food Fair by Diego
    7825 Beverly Blvd. / Los Angeles, California 90036
    Not a member yet? Sign up here.

    BLACKBOARD EATS – LA
    30% off Lunch at Lotteria Grill – Hollywood 
    No Purchase necessary - just sign up and download the password to start saving! 
    Discount valid until March 13th.

    WIRED FOR WINE
    Premius Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc 2006
    Wine Enthusiast:  Designated this wine as a "Best Buy".
    Sale Price:  $9.97 - 41% off (Reg. Price:  $16.99)
    Free Shipping on 6 or more

    SOCIAL BUY
    $25 for $50 worth of Gifts and Baskets at Bountiful Baskets by Jean.
    I.E. Cookies, candies, drinks, and treats for a friend or to spoil yourself
    Not a member yet? Sign up here.

    GILT
    Beautifully packaged gift sets and boxes of chocolates 30-35% off – while supplies last!
    Not a member yet? Sign up here.

    Food Truck Lot Launches Today!

    If you are in Downtown for lunch or dinner today check out the new food truck lot that opens today.  The lot opens near Little Tokyo off Alameda and Traction, and starting today will feature a handful of trucks daily for lunch and dinner. 



    Lunch trucks start at 11am and dinner trucks will roll in around 5pm. The schedule of trucks is still a little TBD but so far here is what is confirmed for the next couple of days:

    Thursday (today):
    -11am: Barbie Qs, Dosa Truck, Kabob n Roll, Komodo Food, Fishlips Sushi

    Friday:
    -11am: Komodo, Slice Truck, Sweets Truck, Vesuvio
    -5pm: Flying Pig, Fressers, Tasty Meat, Grilled Cheese Truck

    Saturday:
    -5pm: Barbie Qs, FrySmith

    If you are heading downtown for ArtWalk today/tonight, it is worth checking out. And if you can't make it, don't forget this Saturday is the 1st Annual Street Food Fest, also in downtown. (For more info on Street Food Fest read our earlier post or check out http://www.lastreetfoodfest.com/).  And if you planning on heading to downtown anytime soon you can always find out where popular food trucks are stationed or are planning to be by checking out http://roaminghunger.com/la.

    Traction Food Truck Lot. 216 S Alameda St Los Angeles, CA.

    Wednesday, February 10, 2010

    Seriously Good Cheap Eats.

    ...like seriously.


    If you are looking for quality Mexican food on the cheap, you must go to El Carmen in West Hollywood. El Carmen has long been a favorite of ours and everything on the menu is $10 and under. Including drinks! In fact, the only item that actually makes it up to a $10 price point are their margaritas.


    AND they have a daily happy hour, which makes this place even more affordable if that is even possible. Food and drink specials that bring you down to the under $5 range – can’t beat that. Their happy hour includes $4 margaritas, $3 Tecate, and snacks like quesadillas and ceviche for $4.

    El Carmen specializes in different types of tequila that you can taste in one of their tequila flights (which start at 4 tastes, these flights will however put you above the $10 range).  They also have some not-so-standard margarita flavors like ginger cilantro and a spicy margarita made with jalapenos (kinda scared of that one).

    The decor here is not to miss either- think Nacho Libre - but in a cool way, not in a Jack Black kind of way (nothing against the guy, I happen to love School of Rock) - with Mexican wrestling paraphernalia adorning the walls.

    All in all, it is a great place to head to that won't break the bank but will get you blackout.  Just a warning, the place is tiny so don't show up in a large group and try and get their early - especially if you are looking to catch the happy hour.

    El Carmen. 8138 West 3rd Street.(323) 852.1552

    Life is too Short to Drink Bad Wine

    If you’re looking to beef up your wine shelf with some good quality wines, but not spend a fortune, you’re in luck.

    RueLaLa is having a sale today (closes at 10am tomorrow morning PST) on a selection of DeLille wines. These Washington wines come in sets of three (three Chaleur Estate Blancs, three Sryahs, or a mix) and are around 40% - 50% off.

    If you’re like me you save the ‘nice’ wines for 'nice' occasions (i.e. they sit on your shelf forever to show off what great taste in wine you have.) Unless of course your significant other comes back from the bars late with his friends and ‘accidentally’ opens up a $30 bottle of wine when their taste buds are already so obliterated from Bud Light that they could be drinking Franz and think its good. But either way it feels good to have some good stuff on the shelf.

    However, if you’re the type of person who is fine with a $4.99 vat of Livy, and just looking to get trashed: maybe buy the set as a gift for a friend or newly married couple? You’ll make your friends question their original judgment of your drinking habits and think you a more refined person (ha you tricked them!)

    (Membership only website, if you’re not already a member sign up here)

    Tuesday, February 9, 2010

    Burger Bargain

    I feel like I am on a constant search to find the best burger in LA, but there are so many options that so far we are at a probably 10 way tie. Sometimes I crave a Father’s Office burger and sometimes I dream of the shoestring fries that accompany my Rush Street burger. And almost always at 3am on a weekend, I want my In-N-Out burger with animal style fries (I know…it’s fast food…and a chain…but you can’t beat In-N-Out).

    One place I have yet to try but have heard great things about is the burger at The Counter. And on Tuesdays (today!), they have a great burger special that almost makes me want to leave the house in this rainstorm and head there tonight.



    Every Tuesday starting at 4pm, at the Santa Monica and Marina del Rey locations, The Counter has a $12 special where you can get 4 mini burgers and 4 beer pairings. These are not your regular mini burgers either, you can choose from a beef, turkey, chicken or veggie patty and they have a large variety of cheese, toppings, and sauces (including grilled pineapples, caramelized onion marmalade, roasted garlic aioli…yum!)

    So if you are in the mood for some burgers and beer get there tonight, I don’t think you will be disappointed.

    The Counter. http://www.thecounterburger.com/

    LaDiDaDi We Likes to Party

     This Thursday, February 11th, the W Hotel LA (Westwood) is hosting a party with Virgin America.



    Party starts at 7:00pm and there will be free ‘botanical beverages’ from Pinky Vodka served until 8:00pm. I’m sure there will be a nice long line at the bar to get the free drinks (either that or the server's trays will empty quickly) so practice your skills at ‘ordering drinks for friends’ and double/triple/quadruple fisting-it once you’ve gotten your drink order.  

    There will also be some gratis bites of food making their way around the room. 
    (Since many times these events happen when I’d normally be eating dinner, and thus starving, I’m a pro at staking out the kitchen exit from which all the servers originate to snatch up snacks first.)

    And if you’re feeling lucky – enter their drawing to win airfare and accommodations for two (compliments of Virgin and W).

    See you there!

    Whiskey Blue @ W Hotel Westwood
    930 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles
    RSVP: rsvpwlaevents@whotels.com

    VDAY Dining Options Under $50/ Per Person


    I will never understand the type of person who is willing to spend $150+ per person on a dinner that would normally cost them half that. How desperately are you trying to impress your dinner companion? Or if you’re the demander of such dinner – are you a gold digger? Yes, you must be. 

    Valentine’s Day is a holiday in which nearly every restaurant in town forces a prix fixe menu down our throats and jacks up the price. While researching the numerous dining options available this weekend for lovas I was shocked to see even mediocre spots are partaking in this thievery. $64/per person at Daily Grill? $35/pp at Wokcano? You have to be kidding me.

    Say you’re an unhappy couple who just doesn’t have the balls to call it quits – or maybe you’ve got a blind date – and you want to get nice and toasted at dinner to make it more tolerable. That’ll cost you another $20-$50/pp for wine pairings. What a joke.

    But if you’re a shitty chef and you must go out for Vday here’s some options that won’t rape your wallet as badly as, say, Gordon Ramsay @ the London hotel will ($350/pp?!?!!??!?!?)

    ·      The Gorbals (Downtown): 4-Course Seasonal Menu (Including Wine!!!), $45/pp
    ·      BLVD 16 @ Hotel Palomar (Westwood), Prix Fixe $45/pp (Also serving regular menu)
    ·      BLD (Mid City): 3-Course Prix Fixe, $45/pp
    ·      Barefoot (Mid City): 3-Course Prix Fixe, $40/pp
    ·      Ciudad (Downtown), 4-Course Prix Fixe, $49/pp (With $5 wine pairings)
    ·      Akasha (Culver City): Serving Regular Menu + Food & Drink Specials
    ·      Beacon (Culver City): 4-Course Prix Fixe, $49/pp (Also serving regular a la carte menu)
    ·      Cube (Mid City): 3-Course Prix Fixe Fondue Dinner + Glass of Prosecco + Take home box of chocolates, $35/pp (SATURDAY ONLY!)

    As always - please make sure to call in for reservations! 

    Monday, February 8, 2010

    Monday Night Specials!

    It's Monday, back to the daily grind. Especially hard after a weekend in Vegas. Sigh. At least there are a few specials around town to help you forget that there are still 4 more work days left to go.



    If you are in the Hollywood area, head to Geisha House on Mondays - all food is 50% off. I know Katsuya opening in Hollywood has kind of stolen Geisha's thunder, but the food here is still just as good as ever. And at 50% off it will taste even better. The black cod in miso is amazing, as is the miso glazed rock shrimp. I think I just really like miso glaze. Call ahead to make a reservation and remember the discount is only applied to food.


    If you find yourself in Beverly Hills, Nic's Martini Lounge has a Monday night special as well. They extend their happy hour today to last all night. The happy hour includes $7 martinis and appetizers, or a $21 3-course meal. The entrees for the meal rotate weekly but some of the menu items featured are western fried chicken (yum!) and shrimp scampi. You can call ahead for details on this week's menu and should call to make reservations.



    Geisha House. 6633 Hollywood Boulevard. (323) 460.6300
    Nic's Martini Lounge. 453 North Canon Drive. (310) 550.5707

    That's just how we roll...


    The man and I finally made our way to The Foundry this weekend. Being the last day of DineLA we figured we should get there before we can no longer afford it (will someone please start paying me to eat and write about it?!) Long story short: my tummy couldn’t fit all the food on the DineLA menu so I just ordered from the regular menu. It was a helluva lot more reasonably priced than I expected and the food was really tastey.  The man on the other hand decided to be manly and order the big ‘ol four course special. Here’s the lowdown on our menu options:  

    MY MENU CHOICES:
    Chopped Salad (hazelnuts, currants, mixed veggies), $9
    Decent, but too many beets in this salad for me...
    Grilled Cheese Sandwich (with Short Rib), $12
    Delicious Delicious Delicious Delicious Delicious. And a great deal!! No wonder this guy is opening a restaurant solely dedicated to the oozey goodness of grill cheese – this was amazing. The bread was super buttery and there was an overdose of cheese (that’s a good thing). If only I could pretend there are no calories in butter and cheese…


    THE MAN'S CHOICES (DineLA, $44):
    Romaine & Clementine Salad
    Good, but I think I liked it better than he did (he likes his salad with meats and cheese and heavy things – not healthy veggies and fruit)
    Duck Confit & Squash Risotto
    My FAVORITE thing we ate that night. Rich and delicious – the arugula and blue cheese were the perfect compliment to the rich flavors of the risotto.
    Beef Tenderloin
    Perfectly cooked and perfectly seasoned. Though, the man complained that the menu said it came with olives and there was only one on the plate. I’m not sure why he cared….
    Blood Orange Bar
    The man was pretty sure that the blood orange bar was going to be some dessert that only girls would like – for him ‘dessert’ does not involve anything healthy (like fruit). But we both loved it. A pastry like bar (like a lemon bar) topped with blood oranges, goat cheese ice cream, and balsamic vinegar (my favorite condiment of all time) – the combination of all ingredients was heavenly. Really delicious. 


    Best part of the night: 
    As we were about to leave Eric Greenspan (the head chef) came up and asked us how our meal was (and as I’m a nerd I got excited talking to this ‘celebrity’). I told him the grilled cheese was 'to die for' (I hate when people say that – it sounds so pretentious, why did I say that?!!). His response:

    That’s just how we roll.

    Oh Eric Greenspan I love you and your deliciously unhealthy food.


    Friday, February 5, 2010

    Vegas, Baby, Vegas

    Oh how I wish today's Groupon deal had landed in my inbox a few days earlier, you know, before I booked my last minute ridiculously pricey 1 hour flight to Vegas.  But there are 25 more weekends left (yes, I counted), until this Groupon expires, and another Vegas trip is inevitable.

    Today's deal is a discounted rate of $49 for a round trip ride on a luxury (this ain't your yellow school bus) bus from Blue Groundways. The tickets are usually $99 so this is a steal, especially considering the other perks included.  The ride features: Sirius radio, free Wifi, movies, meal service AND a free (you know how we love free) drink!


    Blue Groundways has trips leaving from LA, the Inland Empire (more affectionately known as the 909), and OC.  There are 2 trips daily, seven days at week at either 9:30am or 5:00pm.  Must call at least a day ahead to make your reservation.

    So make sure you sign up for your Groupon account asap and cash in on this deal, available today only! I can assure you that you won't regret it.  Except maybe when you need to catch the bus home but are mysteriously stuck on the roof of Caeser's after taking some rufies...or are they floories.

    Vegas here I come!


    http://www.groupon.com/
    for more info on the bus company:
    http://www.blue-ground-ways.com/

    Friday Feature: Bottomless Mimosa Guide

    TGIF!!!! Even though it's raining, it is Friday, thank god. And it's Super Bowl weekend! If you want to get your boozing started early on Sunday before the big game, what better way than with bottomless mimosas?

    This week's spot: Cafe Was in Hollywood.  Owned by Ivan Kane (nightlife veteran), Cafe Was is a sort of French themed Bohemian joint (think Moulin Rouge, "Elephant Love Medley"....I love that movie).



    On Saturdays AND Sundays, Cafe Was has bottomless champagne, mimosas, screwdrivers or bloody marys for $15.  And their brunch menu sounds pretty good, featuring the standard brunch fare, some french items and heartier lunch-type options.  They even have crepes (my fave! with nutella!).

    Cafe Was also seems like a great spot to check out on any other night of the week, they have a piano in the middle of the room and almost always have live music.  Something different from the usual scene in Hollyweird.  They have bottomless carafes of wine every night for $15 with purchase of an entree and have different weekday specials (grilled cheese special on Mondays....half price wine on Wednesdays).

    Seems like a larger venue so reservations may not be necessary but they are always suggested.


    Cafe Was.1521 N Vine St. (323) 466.5400.  http://www.cafewas.com/

    Not classy - But It'll Get Ya Fat


    St. Nicks is a dive bar. Its grungy and informal and the crowd… well there usually isn’t a crowd. But the drinks are huge (full 12 oz glass when you order a mixed drink) and the burger… oh god that burger is good.


    Don’t bother with the rest of the menu – save for the French fries the rest is pretty unpalatable. The thought of their club sandwich makes my stomach turn. But the burger is worth the visit.

    If you’ve been drinking – the burger is even better.

    Its incredibly greasy and there isn’t anything gourmet about it – no arugula, no caramelized onions. Just the standard patty + cheese + lettuce + tomato. But the meat must be of the least healthy variety because its tastes so good.

    I’d recommend dropping by this weekend, grabbing a burger and a beer, and then head to your next drinking destination. Or come here after you're nice and toasted for fourth meal (call ahead to see what time the kitchen closes though so you arn't terribly disappointed when you arrive at 2am and you can't order your burger... and forced to go to Taco Bell...)


    St. Nick's Pub
    8450 W. 3rd St.
    Los Angeles, CA 90048
    323-655-6917


    Thursday, February 4, 2010

    Post Super Bowl Munchies..

    After consuming mass amounts of bar food and beer, if you are still hungry and feel like heading out for a meal, head to Ketchup on Sunday night for 50% off all food! You must mention the deal to get it, which seems a little odd, but just make sure to tell your server that you are in on the special before you get your bill.

    And if you pass out early and can't make it this weekend, not to worry, this is an on-going weekly special.




    Ketchup. 8590 Sunset Blvd. www.dolcegroup.com/ketchup/

    Calling All Winos

    Looking for something to do this Saturday? Head to Venokado in West Hollywood for their $10 wine tasting event. From 2-5pm you can taste a selection of wines hand-picked by the store's owner.



    Venokado is a cute boutique wine store, with reasonably priced wine and cute knick-knacks for your home or for gifts.  They also deliver wine anywhere in LA, which is great for those nights when you don't feel like leaving your couch but really need a glass of merlot to keep you company while watching the Biggest Loser. 

    Venokado partners up with local restauarants - like Street and Dominick's - to waive corkage fees if you purchase wine at their store, you can always check their facebook page to see who they are teaming up with.


    Venokado. 7714 Fountain Avenue. http://www.venokado.com/

    More Super Bowl Specials!

    WEST HOLLYWOOD EDITION



    If you don't feel like heading out to Culver to check out the Super Bowl deals we posted earlier this week, there are some great events going on around West Hollywood as well.  Here is the run down:

    Spanish Kitchen ( La Cienega Blvd)
    -$10 Bottomless Micheladas (a sort of bloody mary but with beer)
    -$3 Tecates
    -$12 all-you-can-eat (I KNOW, right?!)

    XIV (Sunset Blvd)
    -$45 ticket gets you in for all-you-can-eat BBQ from 1-6pm
    -Pony kegs available for purchase
    -Game will be featured on big screens as well as projector screen

    The Abbey (Roberston)
    -Drink specials
    -BBQ food
    -Carnival games
    -Live DJ

    Oak Fire Pizza (La Cienega Blvd)
    -1/2 off all beers
    -$10 pizza
    -Will be showing the game on all screens

    Eleven (Santa Monica Blvd)
    -$10 all day buffet
    -$10 Miller lite pitchers
    -Game showing on all screens as well as on a 10ft x 10ft projected screen


    And if you AREN'T a fan of football, then check out the Super Bowl Sanctuary special at Cecconi's (how very swanky of you), featuring an either $35 2-course or $45 3-course meal from 3-7pm, including a complimentary glass of prosecco or pint of Perroni.

    Celebrating S.A.D.?


    No +1 to join you next Sunday for Brunch or and over priced Dinner? Prefer to celebrate the awesomeness of being single on Feb. 14th?  OR maybe you’re just a couple that just wants to do something different this year and are looking for ideas.

    Either way, here’s a few spots holding some non-traditional Vday/SAD events next weekend (reservations recommended where applicable):

    Venice Valentine’s Scavenger Hunt:
    A scavenger hunt through the streets on Venice by bike! This one works for couples and friends – though they recommend teams of two – so grab a partner and your bikes and head out to Venice next weekend. Prizes go out to the top three teams and hunts are scheduled for Sat (13th, 10am & 2pm) and Sun (14th, 10am, 1pm, & 4pm). Tickets are $25.

    Last year the events sold out quickly so go online today to book your tix:
    www.outoftheboxevents.net, or call 323.799.1374

    Single’s Night Out @ Remedy Lounge
    Drink specials, games and entertainment in Downtown LA just for singles (and there’s no cover with RSVP!), Saturday, Feb 13th (8pm – 2am)
    http://thelek.com/TL/lek/los-angeles/events/heartbeat-find-your-valentine-party/39404

    Rush Street – Culver City
    The bar and restaurant will be open as usual, with a special menu of Valentine’s Day themed desserts. If you’re there from 10pm – 2am on Sunday night – Rush Street will be passing out FREE SHOTS of American Honey whiskey to everyone in the bar. Plus wine and champagne will be 1/2 price - all day long.

    Wine + Cheese + Chocolate Tasting
    Goldstar has a deal on an event held by LearnAbout Wine next weekend – learn about wine pairings with cheeses and chocolates for $39 per person (regularly $69). The event is held both Saturday & Sunday (tastings at 1pm & 5pm).
    Hash @ Hotel Erwin
    This one’s more for couples than SAD celebrators – but I’d have fun doing this with one of my gal pals just as much as with the man. For $60/per couple you can enjoy a bottle of Graham Beck Sparlking Rose with an order of chocolate covered strawberries – all while watching the sunset from Hotel Erwin's great Venice location.  For reservations call Tiffany Bosch 310.452.1111 (ext 175).
    Deal is available: Friday, February 12th (Starting at 4pm
    ) and Saturday & Sunday, February 13th & 14th (Starting at 1pm.)

    Wednesday, February 3, 2010

    Hump Day Happy Hour!

    Now that the LOST premiere is finally past us (thoughts anyone? I was just happy to get to see Jack's scruffy face again), we can get back to our weekday boozing schedule.

    If you are looking for a fun happy hour to try tonight, head to Tinto's in West Hollywood for $5 tapas.  The deal is actually Monday-Wednesday so it is not hump day specific but it will the the last day to catch it this week. 



    They have a selection of tapas for $5 and $6 glasses of sangria.  The place is usually on the pricier side so this is a great bargain especially if going with a group of friends, you can order an assortment of tapas and share (that's what tapas are meant for anyways right?).  Their $5 tapas last from 5pm - 11pm so you don't have to rush there right after work which is also a plus.

    Just 2 more days to Friday!

    Tinto Tapas. 7511 Santa Monica Blvd. (323) 512.3095

    Peet's Coffee: Buy One Get One Free

    Today when you buy one beverage at Peet's Coffee & Tea you can get a second free for a buddy (or yourself!)

    Here's the link to print your coupon:
    http://www.peets.com/specialoffer/Default.asp?rdir=1&cm_mmc=retailemail*10.01.07_bev_bogo*retail*coupon_btn

    Enjoy!

    Valentine's Day Brunch


    Maybe you don’t like her** enough to spend $150/pp on a romantic dinner and would rather cheap it out for $35/pp on a friendly brunch.

    Maybe you like/love her so much you want to not only spoil her with an overpriced $150/pp meal (plus requisite $50/pp wine pairing), but you ALSO want to treat her to a delicious brunch that morning (plus requisite $15 bottomless mimosas).  The larger she gets the less likely she is to leave you… right?

    Either way – you’re looking for Valentine’s Day brunch options.

    The brunch scene next weekend isn’t all that different than the average weekend in LA – mostly hotels on the list – but there are a few newcomers. There also are a few special valentinesy brunch and drink items on the typical menus around town.

    So whether saving or spoiling here’s the dish (sorted by area):

    COASTAL
    This seems to be where most of the brunches are located
    * Viceroy Santa Monica (Sat/Sun,10:30am - 3pm): Standard Sunday Brunch Menu with Specialty VDay Cocktail Options ("Sweet Valentine" or "Lovely Bubbly")
    * Geoffrey's Malibu (Sun, 10am - 4pm): $65, 3-Course, Prix-Fixe Valentine's Day Brunch (damn that's expensive for Brunch...)
    * La Cachette Bistro - Santa Monica (Sun, 11am - 3pm): Special Brunch Menu

    WEST SIDE & 90210
    * Boulevard 16 @ Hotel Palomar (Sat/Sun, 10am - 2pm): $45 Prix-Fixe VDay Brunch OR Standard Sunday $35 Champagne Brunch
    * Beverly Hills Hotel Polo Lounge (Sun, 11am - 3:30pm): $48, 3-Course, Prix-Fixe Standard Sunday Brunch (also Includes one alcoholic beverage)

    WEHO/MID CITY
    * Taste - Pacific Palisades AND Melrose Locations (Sat/Sun, 10:30am - 3pm): $23, 3-Course, Prix-Fixe Valentine's Day Brunch
    *Comme Ca - WeHo (Sunday, 9am - 3pm): Extended Brunch Hours, Standard Brunch Menu

    HOLLYWOOD
    * Dakota - Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel (Sun, 11am - 3pm): Sweetheart Jazz Brunch, $28 Breakfast Buffet + Signature Brunch Menu, Also Available: $10 Bottomless Bloody Mary and Bubbly Bar
    *Campanile (Sun, Starting at 9:30am): 'Cupid Themed Brunch' + Bottomless Sparkling Wine.

    EASTSIDE
    No Valentine's Specials Found: Hipsterville apparently is void of 'lovey-doveyness'- but this makes sense as Hipster's are notoriously unhappy. I've included a few reliable regular brunches instead:
    * Cliff's Edge - Silverlake (Sat/Sun, 11am - 3pm): Standard Brunch Menu
    * Desert Rose - Los Feliz (Sat/Sun, 10am - 3pm): Standard Brunch Menu

    DOWNTOWN
    * Bottega Louie (Sat/Sun, 11am - 2:45pm): Standard Brunch Menu + Special VDay Menu Items & Special VDay Gifts Available in Marketplace
    *J Lounge (Sun, 10am - 2pm): Valentine's Day Brunch Menu and Drink Specials

    ETC
    * The Raymond - Pasadena (Sat/Sun, 10am - 2:30pm): Standard Brunch Menu
    * The Langham Huntington Hotel - Pasadena (Sun, 10am - 3pm): $75 Champagne Brunch Buffet (Standard on Sundays... and very very expensive...)
    * Zin Bistro Americana -Westlake (Sun, 11am - 3pm)): $34.95 VDay Champagne Brunch


     NOTE: RESERVATIONS AT ALL LOCATIONS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED!!

    **Maybe you're a dude with a sugar momma: in that case swap the pronouns seen above.