Posts for January 16, 2013

Check Out Josiah Citrin's New Menu at Tower 8, Now Open at Santa Monica's Oceana Hotel

Tower 8Photo: Oceana Beach Club Hotel

In more hotel restaurant re-branding news, the Oceana in Santa Monica is making another attempt at turning its restaurant into some kind of a destination. The biggest asset on the property's side? Josiah Citrin, the Michelin star-toting Melisse chef, who consulted on the menus here. Let's take a look, shall we?

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300 Hopefuls Line Up To Audition at Don't Tell Mama

Don't tell mama I'm still looking for a jobPhoto: Don't Tell Mama

What do you get when you combine record unemployment and a brutal entertainment industry with your average starving actor's need for fame and attention? Something akin to the scene this morning at Don't Tell Mama, the 30-year-old New York cabaret bar that plans to plant its tap shoes in L.A.'s former O-Bar space this month. According to the venue's PR, hundreds lined up for the open casting call today for front-of-the-house positions, which were conducted with all the ceremony of an episode of So You Think You Can Dance? Yes, there were actually celebrity judges on hand for these auditions, including Hairspray's Tony Award-winning Marissa Jaret Winokur and casting director Bruce Newburg. Mama's hiring notice called for hopeful bartenders, waiters, and managers to bring their headshots, resumes, and a prepared song along with them for the try-out. Nonetheless, the whole thing still manages to seem scads less desperate than the similar ad Pink Taco runs when searching for its "talent."

Volunteers Rescue 1,000 Restaurant-Bound Cats From Delivery Truck in China

The back of the truck in Changsha.Photo: Reuters

More than four dozen animal lovers in China sprang into action earlier this week when they heard that a truck freighted with more than 1,000 cats on their way to be sold to restaurants had become disabled after a traffic accident on a Changsha highway on Monday.

Twenty-five cats kept in a tiny cage. »

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Kerry Simon's SimonLA Closes at The Sofitel, Reopens As Estérel

EstérelPhoto: The Sofitel

Here's some big news that managed to sneak past us under the cover of the gift-shopping blizzard in December: Kerry Simon's Beverly Hills restaurant, SimonLA, closed at The Sofitel Hotel, making room for a re-branded effort named Estérel. Now, instead of tuna dynamite and Iron Chef-winning short rib burgers, guests can dine on French and Mediterranean food over lunch and dinner from the property's executive chef, Marius Blin, who has been with the brand since his days as a sous chef in the early aughts. Two menus include a selection of dishes under 500 calories, which we'll presume does not include junk food dessert platters. Simon, meanwhile, still has his Downtown restaurant, LA Market, as well as Simon and KGB Burger in Vegas. A full website for Estérel is said to be "coming soon."

L.A.'s Foul-Mouthed Restaurants Get Called Out

Ew.

LAist rounds up what it thinks are the most inappropriate restaurant names in Los Angeles this week, a list that includes the truly distasteful (Muddy Leek, Toe Bang) to the overly-sensitive (Fishing With Dynamite, FOOD) to the names that ensure we'll never eat there (ROFL Cafe). Somehow, Gorge didn't make the list, nor did our favorite sassy standbys like Big Wang's, Pinches Tacos, Bastard's, Poom Thai, the various mispronunciations of Wurstkuche, or the very short-lived idea of a bistro named Oral. But at least this list of foul nomenclature doesn't even broach the subject of those filthy-mouthed food trucks. [LAist]

The Hudson Reopens Tomorrow With New Look, Food, and Drinks

The Bombshell: Mia Sarazen consults on new cocktails at The Hudson

West Hollywood's The Hudson will reopen tomorrow with a brand new look and a new consortium of experts, including bartender Mia Sarazen's consultation on cocktails, Stumptown coffee and tea, and newly introduced dishes from chef Conrad Woodul (whose first name probably offers us the only opportunity we're going to get to pour one out for Conrad Bain, so here goes). During the restaurant's three-week refresh, The Hudson tore away its ceiling to expose the original wood beams, creating eight more feet of height in the process. Aesthetic additions to the bar include new counter tops, stools, and an antique mirror, while floors have been refinished and communal tables added. What else?

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Shockers: Nutrition Crusaders Say Cheesecake Factory, IHOP, Others Are Palaces of Fat

Just got home from dinner.Photo: istockphoto

Last year, Men's Health anointed the Cheesecake Factory's Bistro Shrimp Pasta, a carb-y tangle of pasta and crispy shrimp awash in cream sauce, America's most gut-bustingly disgusting meal. Now the Center for Science in the Public Interest named it to their list of Xtreme Eating “dis-honorees” — they estimate that the sodium-soaked batter platter is 3,120 calories. That's three Olive Garden lasagnas! Also on CSPI's black list: Johnny Rocket's bacon-cheddar double burger, IHOP's country-fried steak 'n eggs, and Maggiano's veal porterhouse. But if their goal is outrage, they're x-tremely misguided.

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Dunkin' Donuts Expanding to California Even Though California Already Has Better Doughnuts

Not better than the Donut Man.Photo: PSD/Flickr

With the kind of fanfare more appropriate for a coronation than a franchise opportunity, Dunkin' Donuts announces its plans to expand to Southern California today. The Massachusetts-based chain, which once had a short presence in the Golden State but failed to thrive, currently has just one store in Camp Pendleton. The chain says it is "now recruiting multi-unit franchisees" to open locations in L.A., Orange County, Ventura, San Bernadino, and San Diego. Some people are going bonkers at the prospect. But we already have really, really good coffee and doughnuts in California, so why should we care about another chain coming here? We shouldn't.

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Watch Nicki Minaj Swear Her Allegiance to A1 Steak Sauce at Boa

Nicki Minaj beats to the thump of her own drummer and when the woman wants commercial steak sauce on her cut of imported wagyu, she'll get it. Last night, the platinum-haired fire-spitter was dining at fancy-pants steakhouse Boa in West Hollywood. Not content with the restaurant's own Cabernet, peppercorn, or bearnaise sauces, she dispatched some sort of underling to fetch bottles of A1 sauce from the store to slather on the restaurant's pristine meat, right in the middle of her meal. The diva confirmed to TMZ that she may have risen to the status of a Hollywood star, but she's not abandoning her favorite condiment just yet. And fortunately, the gossip site caught the foodie faux pas on video. Take a peek.

Nicki Minaj at Steak House -- Get Me Some A1 Sauce, STAT!!! [TMZ]

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Looking Into The Space and Menu at David Myers' Hinoki & the Bird, Opening Tomorrow in Century City

We're not alone in saying that David Myers' Sona long held the top spot in our list of favorite L.A. restaurants. In fact, the Michelin inspectors who awarded it one star would be the first to agree (if they were still speaking to us). Elegant and electrifying, the chef merged his French training with a passion for Japanese kaiseki, flexing his tweezer fingers over internationally-fused tasting menus based on exotic micro-greens and fruits, chai foams and grains of paradise sabayon, subcontinental spices, and Gallic mainstays with Asian accents.

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Better Boozing: Twelve Bartender-Approved Secret Cocktail Ingredients

And your hangover will be extra fancy, too.

Building out a great home bar is a long-game prospect: It takes time to prune a respectable collection of first-string spirits and mixing gear. But once you’re suited up with all the strapping English gins, malty genevers, chewy mezcals, and rare whiskeys your Ikea shelving unit can handle, what then? In the service of ambitious amateur cocktail savants everywhere, we asked a dozen bartenders to reveal the ingredients they trot out when a drink needs to go to the next level. Read on for alcoholic obscura and game-changing modifiers that will give even your simplest at-home highballs a pro-level boost.

"It smells like a truck stop ... and pours the color of death." »

Michelin-Starred Chef Endorses McDonald’s McBaguette

Pierre Koffmann, the French-born chef who's received three Michelin stars for both La Tante Claire and Waterside Inn in London, loves the newest item on the McDonald's menu in France. The McBaguette, which is filled with cheese, ham, potato, lettuce, and mayo, is the company's attempt to appeal to local tastes; after the U.S., France is McDonald's most profitable market. Koffmann, who we really hope is getting paid generously for this endorsement, says he'd choose the "good bread" from McDonald's over local vendors. But shockingly, he does admit that it's "not the top bread in Paris." Michelin guide inspectors, please note. [Bloomberg]

Some of U.K. Retailer Tesco’s Hamburgers Are Actually 29 Percent Horsemeat

Not cool.

The British hypermarket chain Tesco has been selling a line of frozen hamburgers that are ostensibly made from beef, but many of those all-natural patties are actually part horse, and one recently tested sample was actually 29 percent horse meat, the Telegraph reports, citing an investigation conducted by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland. In addition to burgers, meat pies and frozen lasagnas were tested, and most of these products were found to contain DNA from pigs.

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