It’s taken years to recover from our last Seder — a sad, scrawny potluck populated by aging, embittered single women who nearly jumped us into the Landmark Forum. That’s why we haven’t celebrated Passover in a decade. But a fast-paced, irreverent Passover cooked by a professional chef — we couldn’t turn it down. Last night washed away a decade’s worth of bad memories and replaced them, mostly with food. So much food that we thought it was joke when dish after dish after dish kept coming out. We should have treated it like a marathon. Instead, we couldn’t stop ourselves from snacking on the delicious chopped chicken liver. The braised short ribs were a highlight; not a speck was left after people packed away their leftovers. Our favorite, by far, was the homemade gefilte fish, was so good we had seconds (and thirds). Pacing… it’s all about pacing.
Elina Shatkin • 04.19.11 at 4:32 pm
Elina Shatkin • 10.09.10 at 11:31 am
Design & Architecture, Elina Shatkin
Inspired by The Gap’s recent marketing savvy debacle in transforming its instantly recognizable, decades-old logo into something that looks like a fifth-grader spent five minutes designing it with clip art, we decided to upgrade our logo.
Here, at Guzzle & Nosh, we don’t need an armada of brand managers or an entire ad agency staffed by font nerds to screw up our brand. Unlike the new Gap logo, which is real, took TWO YEARS to create and was overseen by Laird & Partners, New York, we conceptualize and execute our mediocre designs completely on our own.
Now, with CrapLogoMe, you instantly apply the styleless, technocratic sheen of the new Gap logo to your brand. Simply type in the words, and voilà! It’s a beautiful thing.
Elina Shatkin • 10.08.10 at 1:03 pm
Elina Shatkin, Lunch, dineLA Restaurant Week
I popped into The Little Next Door yesterday for lunch to sample the dineLA lunch menu. It was advertised nowhere in the restaurant and never mentioned by our waiter until we asked for it. Almost as if they didn’t want you to know about it…
I chose the marinated artichokes followed by what turned out to be a terrific French Dip. Thin slices of roast beef curled on bread that, on its own, would have been great but when grilled and buttered was divine. The real standout, however, was the horseradish mustard dipping sauce in place of traditional au jus. Light and creamy with enough horseradish to tingle but not enough to overpower, I found myself dipping stray frites into the stuff. The three course-meal, topped off by a forgettable chocolate eclair (a soggy chocolate eclair is still a chocolate eclair), was well worth the $16.
dineLA restaurant week runs Oct. 3-8 and Oct. 10-15. Click here for a full list of participating restaurants, conveniently organized by name, neighborhood and price.
Elina Shatkin • 10.07.10 at 10:19 am
Bars, Elina Shatkin, Street Food, Tacos
Last week, coming out of the faux speakeasy after a party for Los Angeles magazine’s Great Nights Out issue, we spotted two of the lovely La Descarga dancers about to nosh on some classic L.A. street food. Where else but El Patio, a taco stand a couple doors down from the rum bar. Rob couldn’t resist snapping their pictures — and they gamely played along.
After all, what could be sexier than an already sexy girl eating a taco?
Elina Shatkin • 10.06.10 at 4:26 pm
Design & Architecture, Elina Shatkin, Hollywood, Pubs & Clubs
I’m no connoisseur of urinals, but this futuristic black bullet set against the mish-mash of shattered rainbow tiles at Premiere Supper Club gets my vote for Best Urinal in Hollywood. What better receptacle for that $5,000 jeroboam of Dom Perignon?
After all, Premiere is the kind of club where bottle service starts at $395 (Stoli, Bacardi Light, Malibu, Maker’s Mark, Crown Royal) and goes all the way up to $30,000 (a methuselah of Cristal).
You can thank Kristofer Keith and Spacecraft for the design, which feels like the movie version of a Spanish wine cellar (i.e. it’s 20% sexier than real life). Owner Vinny Laresca (the man behind Villa) has a concept — above and beyond the usual make-rich-people-feel-special-so-they’ll-spend-gobs-of-money-on-alcohol concept that’s the hallmark of high-end clubs.
Elina Shatkin • 10.04.10 at 5:56 pm
Asian Cuisine, Elina Shatkin, Restaurant Opening
A couple months ago, I was on a press tour of a restaurant where the owner (not the chef) bragged that he had been the first person to serve sushi and robata in the same restaurant. My eyes must have clicked like marbles when they rolled back in my head.
These days, the sushi and skewer combo is common enough to not merit much awe. That doesn’t mean L.A. couldn’t use more restaurants that serve both.
After a painful wait for its liquor license, Robata Jinya, located at the corner of Crescent Heights and Third, finally opened last week — but only for lunch (service ends at 2:30 pm). Dinner, robata and the grand opening should all happen next week.
For now, Jinya offers a small but promising lunch menu that includes ramen ($8.55), rolls ($6-11) and a hearty bento box (for only $10.50!) packed with tempura, chicken teriyaki, gyoza, California rolls, salad and miso. The most promising item was the “tonkotsu ramen,” because of its broth, which was rich and subtle. The noodles are topped with a few slices of thin, soft pork, which isn’t the way I’m used to seeing tonkatsu (I’m used to it breaded and fried), but that’s the way they do it here.
Robert Takata • 09.06.10 at 6:17 pm
Asian Cuisine, Comfort Food, Review, San Gabriel Valley
One of my favorite places for comfort food dining is Yama Restaurant in Alhambra, California.
It meets all of the qualifications for the comfort category. I started going there before I can recall, so it reminds me of my family and youth. The food is hearty and filling. This is no sushi joint. You can get sweet and savory, grilled and fried, stews and starches.
In fact, I’d suggest that if you love basic, all-American comfort food, you could satisfy all of your Main Street (seriously, it’s on Main Street) cravings at this little Japanese joint.
Yama’s specializes in Japanese comfort food: teriyaki, tempura, tonkatsu and sukiyaki. Before the 1980s, sushi wasn’t even on the menu.
Elina Shatkin • 07.10.10 at 3:21 pm
Elina Shatkin, Liquor, Sneak Peek, Tasting
I am finally at liberty to disclose the story behind Maker’s Mark 46. You see, as a Maker’s Mark Ambassador — an honor granted to me years ago after mailing in a card rubber-banded to a bottle of the stuff — I was among the first to receive the company’s new “special” bourbon.
I first received word of this experimental libation via my January dispatch (read: promotional email) from Maker’s Mark H.Q. That was when I emailed the company and ended up talking on the phone with its president, Bill Samuels Jr. A few weeks later, a pint of Maker’s Mark 46, labeled “SAMPLE – Not For Sale,” was delivered to my doorstep.
Samuels, a seventh-generation Kentucky distiller and Maker’s Mark scion, is about as down-to-earth a corporate honcho as you’ll ever find. “The only reason I’m running this company is because of my last name,” he joked. For all his self-deprecation, he had long nurtured an ambition to create a new Maker’s Mark blend.
Elina Shatkin • 07.09.10 at 8:34 am
Elina Shatkin, Food in the Media, Meat
If I became a vampire, I’d pine for certain elements from my previous life. Sunlight. Sex. The taste of a good steak — except my ideal cut of beef wouldn’t come from Musso & Frank.
In “Moonlight,” CW’s whimpering attempt to cash in on vampire chic, Alex O’Loughlin (J.Lo’s non-baby daddy in “The Back-up Plan”) stars as Mick St. John, a vampire private detective. Because if you were bestowed with the blessing of eternal life, running a detective agency would be a natural mid-life career change.
Elina Shatkin • 07.08.10 at 10:18 am
Elina Shatkin, Street Food, Video
Los Angeles has its taco tables, its corn and champurrado peddlers, its food trucks and street vendors, but it’s hard to imagine L.A. having anything like the popcorn peddlers of China.
According to Skeptic Friends Network, they make popcorn by pouring the kernels into a heavy cast-iron canister (a.k.a. the popcorn hammer) that’s sealed and slowly turned over a curbside fire in rotisserie fashion. When the pressure reaches a certain level, the canister is removed from the fire, a sack is put over the lid and the seal is released, creating an impressive boom as all of the popcorn to simultaneously explodes.
If only Thor had a popcorn hammer.