Apparently, not everyone is as giddy as we are that the skills of Périgord chef Sebastien Archambault are suddenly available for a fraction of the usual cost at L'Epicerie, which, despite a B-rating from the health department, gets an A from us. S. Irene Virbila, on the other hand, gives the place one and a half stars, after admitting she was confused by the combination tapas bar/market concept for much of the last year. After encouraging descriptions of the pintxos and a reaffirmation of her love for Archambault's duck confit and cassoulet, she dispenses with a few dud dishes, but only seems to have serious criticism for the way the place used to be, hardly a justification for such scant star-age. We'd certainly be content to have the place for ourselves, but listen to her at your own risk, L'Epicerie is high on kicked-back charm and the cooking is first-rate. [LAT]
L.A. Weekly drops one of its annual "Best-Of" issues this week. This means we have no Jonathan Gold reviews, making it one of those weeks that somehow feels incomplete, like you're not able to take a shower for another seven days or something. Still, there are plenty of great recs for eating and drinking in this big ish, so check it out!** [LAW]
**This post has been corrected to reflect that Jonathan Gold did not contribute to this year's Best Of issue. The stories credited to him earlier were from last year's issue. We were probably just desperate for the Gold touch this week.