Sometimes I am surprised at the hidden gems I find in and around Los Angeles. The Curious Palate is one of those, located in the busy Santa Monica Place mall. You’d think most people would have heard of it but two years into business at that location, they are still building their client base. While the regulars continue to stop by – they were busy at dinnertime earlier on in the week – it’s the new foot traffic that needs to head here.
I assumed anyone that heads to the movies (they are located right by the AMC) would possibly stop by here for a meal or at least to grab a drink and snack but that isn’t necessarily how it works. At the exclusive menu tasting, the co-owners Mark Cannon and Elliot Rubin shared their experience moving from their Venice location to this larger spot at the top floor in the famed mall.
Los Angeles’s leading farm to fork restaurant FARMHOUSE opened doors in the city amid much fanfare March last year at the Beverly Center – the launch day party was the talk of the town for days after. The city’s culinary aficionados certainly took note of the grand debut and many remarked rather surprised that the space was helmed by Executive Farmer Nathan Peitso.
You did read that right…Executive Farmer. Peitso comes from more of an agricultural background, farming at Kenter Canyon Farms until this venture was announced. While meat is served at FARMHOUSE, Peitso shines the rare spotlight on veggies, many of which are from his own farm and the rest sourced from other local farms. If you wanted to know where your food came from, there’d be no doubt when dining here.
All your French fry dreams have come true with this DTLA based gourmet style fry bar that I visited last week. What’s not to love about fries right? But wait till you see what they’ve done here at Fry Madness, taking fries to a whole other level!
Italian food is one of my favorite cuisines and I enjoy seafood as well so when Cal Mare posted its Dine L.A menu, guess who made a reservation asap! Located in the Beverly Center, the venue is a lovely blue and brown haven of coziness. One of chef Michael Mina’s many restaurants in the US, the specialty here is the seafood, with a few other options thrown in.
All of the comfort, none of the guilt is the motto at Granville and they put that to full effect at their West Hollywood location for sure. Sunday brunch at their Beverly Blvd. venue is a comfy cool affair at your own pace. The large space, airy ambience and open floor plan provide a great vibe for relaxation and a fun time with family and friends. At noon, they were already filling up with neighborhood regulars and first timers (like me) alike dining on some of their globally inspired menu.
In the process of continuing to discover the city (I’ve only lived here about 2.5 years) and its many neighborhoods, I’ve stumbled upon a few hidden gems and well-known hotspots while hanging out with le husband, who has ended up becoming my best friend in the process – guess that’s what happens when you move to a new city as adults and don’t know anybody!
Highlighted here are some of the results of such explorations. Sometimes I visited here after thorough research, sometimes by referrals from friends, other times on a whim and then even more so just walking by a spot and having my curiosity piqued. By no means is this list exhaustive, it never will be, not if you live in L.A. but definitely a list I’ve been meaning to share for a long time. Here goes, in no particular order!
At Canter’s Deli! The famed “L.A diner experience unparalleled” is about a 24-minute walk from my place so it ended up being this Sunday’s brunch spot discovery. Made it in just before the crowd started milling about noon. Don’t be fooled by the bakery and deli areas up front – there is so much more available on their menu through the day because yes, it’s a 24-hour diner! And while it looks pretty big inside with a counter area, dining area and bar area, they still get real busy real quick so expect some amount of waiting around before you are seated. Staff is awesome though (ask for Candice and Greg’s area to be seated - they were so nice!) and the general feel is that of a loved neighborhood joint – I guess that’s expected given the place has been around since 1931.
Yes, its Valentine’s so here’s the obligatory post. Well, not really but reason enough. There’s always a bunch of places in the neighborhood you walk or drive past and think – we should check this out sometime. So today was the right day and time to check out this Thai place I’ve been eyeing since I moved to Hollywood. Called Nong-La, its nestled between a series of businesses on La Brea. The outer area has these green creepers growing over the window rails that makes it look very cozy compared to all the other buildings around. Since I live close by, this was the lunch spot today. Most folks seem to prefer to sit outside on the semi open porch area and it can get pretty noisy real soon so we opted for indoors. Started out with the Thai tea and iced coffee. Both perfectly milky and sweet as expected. For lunch though, despite what looks like a limited menu, there is a reasonable amount of dishes to choose from, even though I stay away from pork/pork products, and they do have a lot of dishes with pork added in the mix. The husband settled for a beef pho bowl while I chose the curry chicken with vermicelli. I thought it would be a smaller portion compared to typical pho bowl sizes but it actually turned out to be the opposite. So yes, there it is, the bowl of curry chicken with vermicelli and sweet potato. Just the right balance of salt and spice, lemongrass and onions. I could savor only half of it though before having to resort to a box to go. Ended the lunch with their caramel flan. Perfect ending to a lovely lunch with lovely company (read:husband).
A spot I've been planning on trying for a while - one of those that I've driven past but never eaten at. Decided to change that today. Met with a friend for a dinner catch up and tried the Dine L.A. specials at Connie & Ted's . I do love a good lobster roll and fantastic desserts are an easy way to my heart so this one was a winner all the way. Added to my fave list!
Met with a friend to check out the Dine L.A. special at Birch for dinner. See the images in the gallery for a quick visual review. Everything was delicious - can't complain. Was impressed though with the cocktail featuring turmeric - seems like an unlikely ingredient for an evening libation. And the dessert was certainly the crowning glory. Will be back!