What We’re Reading
Oscar predictions and ways to watch, upscale ‘faux’ gras, Frank Gehry rugs….
February 22, 2013
Jennifer Lawrence, pictured accepting the SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role earlier this year, is an Oscar favorite for Best Actress.
We’re obsessed with the Oscars this week, and The Hollywood Reporter predicts who will and should win. [The Hollywood Reporter]
No matter who takes home the statuettes, every Academy Award nominee is a winner, thanks to a $45,000 gift bag. [LA Weekly]
Don’t have anywhere to watch the Oscars? Throw yourself a luxe viewing party at home with these items from The Zoe Report. [The Zoe Report]
Speaking of upscale, Eater has a roundup of where to find Los Angeles dishes inspired by foie gras—cleverly called “faux” gras in this post. [Eater LA]
But what could be more elegant than a rug designed by Frank Gehry? Bonus: the chic décor supports a great cause. [LA Times]
Photography by Mark Davis/Getty Images
Dinner Plans: Esterel
Enjoy farm-fresh French fare at the new resto within the Sofitel Beverly Hills.
February 22, 2013
Wild Alaskan halibut is one of the many South of France-inspired seafood dishes at Esterel.
Last month, the Sofitel Beverly Hills introduced Esterel, a new concept restaurant helmed by executive chef Marius Blin that focuses on fare inspired by the South of France. Combining the fresh flavors of fennel and saffron, and herbs like basil, sage, and thyme, the menu predominantly features Mediterranean-inspired seafood dishes served in a chic, upscale environment.
Blin doesn’t just highlight straight-from-the-farm ingredients sporadically—his menu incorporates local ingredients from California purveyors like Mary’s Farm free-range chicken and El Monte California fresh burrata in as many dishes as he can. His commitment to healthy cuisine extends to the types of dishes offered, too. Diners can select from several vegan, gluten-free, and vegetarian options, as well as a separate “de-light” side bar with calorie-conscious cuisine.
Consider starting your meal with one of Esterel’s wood-fired flatbreads, like the AIX, which features artichoke barigoule, pistou, bacon, and shaved goat cheese, or opt for selections from the soup, salad, and appetizer sections. Entrees include a wild Alaskan halibut, a sage-roasted lamb on the bone, and a grass-fed beef tenderloin with asparagus shavings, potato beet gratin, and bandol sauce, among others. Even after polishing off starters and a main course, there’s always room for Esterel’s pumpkin silken cheesecake. Flavored with persimmon and pomegranate, the dessert clocks in at only 167 calories.
Pair it all with a selection off their cocktail menu. Our pick is the Perrier Ace, which comprises Perrier, gin, cucumber, green apple, basil, and lime. Reservations are recommended and can be booked through opentable.com. 8555 Beverly Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310-358-3979
Weekend Recommender: February 21-24
Wilfredo Rosado trunk show, an LA poster exhibit, and Oscar-viewing party….
February 21, 2013
ForYourArt hosts an exhibit on LA printer, Colby Poster Print Company.
Shade Wine Academy
Thursday, February 21, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Luxury Manhattan Beach hotel Shade is launching their new wine academy series with a rooftop soiree featuring Mario Monticelli of Tinchero wines. The first hour of the event comprises wine tastings and passed hors d’oeuvres by chef Chris Garasic, while the second hour includes an interactive presentation on wine by Monticelli. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door and available by calling the hotel at 310-546-4995. 1221 N. Valley Dr., Manhattan Beach
Wilfredo Rosado Trunk Show
Friday, February 22, 3-7 p.m.
Designer Wilfredo Rosado will appear at Hollywood’s Just One Eye boutique, to show off his latest fine jewelry collection, available exclusively at the store. Complimentary sweet treats and Champagne will celebrate the occasion. 7000 Romaine St., Hollywood, 888-563-6858
Colby Poster Exhibition at ForYourArt
Saturday, February 23, 6-9 p.m.
Head to the ForYourArt gallery space to explore In the Good Name of the Company, a new exhibit featuring exciting prints and posters from the iconic Los Angeles printer, Colby Poster Print Company, which closed its doors a few months back. The showcase will be on display until March 23, and is set to spotlight works by artists like Scott Benzel, Eve Fowler, Allen Ruppersberg, Ed Ruscha, Craig Stecyk, and more. 6020 Wilshire Blvd., Mid City
Oscar Party at Public Kitchen & Bar
Sunday, February 24, 5 p.m.-12 a.m.
Celebrate Oscar evening at the Roosevelt Hotel, the site of the very first Academy Awards. Public Kitchen and Bar is rolling out the red carpet for guests, broadcasting the awards live on multiple flat-screens while serving up chef Tim Goodell’s decadent three-course prix-fixe ($99). Get ready to enjoy fare like waygu beef tartare with crostini and quail eggs, Dover sole, and lemon Napolean. Call the hotel at 323-769-8888 for reservations. 7000 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood
Governor’s Ball Preview
What the stars will eat, drink, and enjoy at the Oscars afterparty, plus an at-home recipe.
February 21, 2013
Immediately following the 85th Academy Awards at Los Angeles’ Dolby Theater on February 24, celebrities will head upstairs to the Ray Dolby Ballroom for the lavish Governor’s Ball afterparty. This year’s gala includes a spectacular event design spearheaded by Academy governor Jeffrey Kurland, food and dessert by Wolfgang Puck and Sherry Yard respectively, floral arrangements by Sherman Oaks florist Mark’s Garden, and more.
Kurland joined forces with Cheryl Cecchetto and her Sequoia Productions team to cultivate an environment that matches the elegance of the Academy Awards. A massive 120-foot chandelier will be the focal point of the room, casting a soft light over the aubergine, chartreuse, and Champagne-colored décor. Of course, Oscar himself will make several appearances throughout the evening, in the form of an 18-foot statue in the center of the ballroom floor, as well as in several food items like Puck’s take on a blini—smoked salmon Oscars with dill crème fraiche and caviar.
In addition to the blini, Puck’s menu comprises an assortment of hors d’oeuvres and small plates like rich bacon wrapped dates (recipe below), slow braised lamb shank shepherds pie, mini kobe-style burgers, and steamed red snapper with Thai spices. To finish the feast, attendees will enjoy baked-to-order chocolate soufflé cakes with shaved espresso ice, huckleberry macarons, and a variety of other creative confections courtesy of Yard. To round out the evening, guests will pair their fare with beverages by Sterling Vineyards, Patron Tequila, and Ultimat Vodka. For more information about the Academy Awards, visit oscars.go.com.
WOLFGANG PUCK’S BACON-WRAPPED PARMESAN-STUFFED DATES
“I love this easy appetizer's combination of sweet, salty, nutty, meaty, and smoky flavors and smooth, creamy, and crispy textures—all wrapped up in just an intense bite or two. You'll need a wooden toothpick to secure each stuffed and wrapped date for baking and serving.” -Wolfgang Puck
18 large dates, preferably Medjool, slit lengthwise and pitted
18 pieces good-quality Parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano, each about 1 by 1/4 inch
6 slices good-quality smoked bacon, cut crosswise into thirds
Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Insert a piece of Parmesan into each date. Then, wrap each date with a piece of bacon, securing it with a wooden toothpick.
Arrange the dates 1 inch apart in a shallow baking pan. Bake for 5 minutes. Then, using tongs, turn the dates over. Continue baking until the bacon is crisp, 5 to 6 minutes longer. With the tongs, transfer the dates to paper towels to drain, carefully patting them dry with more paper towels. Serve immediately.
Photography by Andrea Brico Photography (Puck's Dates)
Q&A: Gail Simmons Deciphers LA Dining
The Top Chef critic shares her favorite eateries in the SoCal area.
February 20, 2013
Between judging stints on the Top Chef series, her editorial work for Food & Wine, and promoting her book Talking with my Mouth Full, Gail Simmons certainly has a lot on her plate. Fortunately—although she has her days where all she wants is a bowl of steamed broccoli—she still gets excited about great food, and thinks Los Angeles has no shortage of it. Just before heading off to shoot the season 10 finale of Top Chef (which airs tonight on Bravo), Simmons swung through Los Angeles to give us the inside scoop on her favorite spots in the city.
Have you visited the restaurants of former Top Chef contestants here in LA?
GAIL SIMMONS: When Ilan Hall, our season two winner, opened The Gorbals (501 S. Spring St., Downtown LA, 213-488-3408) I went to visit him. Just the other day, [I had lunch from] a restaurant called Sweetsalt (10218 Riverside Dr., Toluca Lake, 818-509-7790)—the chef is from season five, his name is Alex. I lost track of him a few years ago, and he’s opened this beautiful, very delicious little catering company and take-out restaurant. I haven’t been to INK (8360 Melrose Ave., Ste. 107, West Hollywood, 323-651-5866) yet sadly, but I plan on it soon.
What do you crave when you come to LA?
GS: It sounds so cliché, but when I come to LA, I know I’m going to get a great salad. I’m not talking about birdseed and silly items, I’m talking about substantial, delicious ingredients [from the] farmer’s market. I don’t eat burgers much in New York, but when I come to LA I instinctively crave a burger. I get very excited for an In-N-Out burger, but I also love Father’s Office (3229 Helms Ave., 310-736-2224).
What places do you hit to get your fresh veggie fix?
GS: I love eating at Café Gratitude (639 N. Larchmont Blvd., 323-580-6383). I’m not vegan or vegetarian but it’s a place that New York doesn’t necessarily have, so I love eating lots of great veggies and salads there. Superba Snack Bar (533 Rose Ave., 310-399-6400) is a new restaurant I’m excited about in Venice—they serve great veggies.
What other new spots are you excited about?
GS: I just went for breakfast at Sqirl (720 N Virgil Ave., Ste. 4, 213-394-6526). I had this beautiful brown rice with poached eggs, kale, radish and Meyer lemon, and this sweet porridge with rhubarb and blueberry jam, and toasted hazelnuts that was so great and refined. It was this tiny little fun place with delicious coffee; I thought it was very unique to LA. I just had lunch at Sycamore Kitchen (143 S. La Brea Ave., Mid-City West, 323-939-0151)—their salads, their fresh vegetables, and their pastries [were amazing]! I feel like this trip I’ve discovered that Los Angeles is obsessed with patisserie and pastry.
Funny considering Los Angeles is supposed to be so health conscious….
GS: Of course it’s health conscious in regards to hiking and fresh-pressed organic juice shops everywhere, but it’s also the home of the burger and the home of the milkshake, and one of the best places to eat ethnic food in the country. I just went to this place Night + Market (9041 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, 310-275-9724), it blew me away—one because it was super spicy, but also how authentic it is coming from this young kid who learned to cook from his grandmother.
When you want to indulge you go to…
GS: I like going to Osteria Mozza (6602 Melrose Ave., Hollywood, 323-297-0100) and having the butterscotch budino, just because butterscotch pudding is one of my favorite childhood comfort-food desserts.
Finally, what’s your go-to Los Angeles spot?
GS: I’m a big fan and have been for years of Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook at Animal (435 N. Fairfax Ave., West Hollywood, 323-782-9225) and Son of a Gun (8370 W. 3rd St., 323-782-9033), and I’m really excited that they’re opening a new restaurant in the next couple of months with Ludo Lefebvre. I cannot wait to see what it will be.
Photography by Melanie Dunea
Mario Testino at PRISM Gallery
WeHo gallery's showing of iconic images by famed photographer coincides with the Oscars.
February 20, 2013
On February 23, the PRISM gallery will fête the opening of a survey of works by photographer Mario Testino with a private preview event before the exhibit opens to the public on February 26. Dubbed Mario Testino, the showcase's timing around the Academy Awards is particularly significant since Testino is renowned for his stunning portraits of celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Julia Roberts, and Madonna. This exhibit marks Testino’s first in the United States in seven years, and will feature 27 large-scale photographs that span his career, including some never-before-displayed images.
Born in Lima, Peru, Testino has solidified his place in the art world by capturing mesmerizing images that reflect as much on the time in which they were shot as they do on the subjects themselves. Whether it’s his iconic Shades photo of Kate Moss sunbathing, or a close-up of a series of disco balls that perfectly encapsulate a buzzing nightlife scene, Testino’s pictures are visually striking and culturally significant. His works have been exhibited worldwide in places like at the MATE (Asociación Mario Testino in Lima), a not-for-profit that Testino founded to promote the arts of his native country. PRISM will exhibit Testino’s work until March 30 during normal business hours. 8746 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, 310-289-1301
Photography by Mario Testino
California Creation: EJH Brand
LA-based artist crafts animal-inspired stationary, candles, pillows, and more.
February 19, 2013
EJH Brand candles come in 11 tantalizing scents.
Whether you’re looking for the perfect housewarming gift, or just want to spruce up your own space, consider EJH Brand—an exciting series of products by Elana Joelle Hendler. The LA-based artist takes her visually stunning black-and-white line drawings of animals, plants, and ocean life, and transposes them onto pillows, stationary, and candles. All EJH Brand products are manufactured in the United States with an emphasis on eco-friendly materials and practices.
There are two different lines of EJH Brand candles: Luxe and Signature ($32, $52), each hand-poured in Los Angeles and made from an eco-friendly blend of coconut wax. The candles are infused with essential oils to create 11 different fragrances, including wild rose, lavender, and amber sandalwood. The designer throw pillows ($115) feature Hendler’s designs hand silk-screened onto a blend of soft hemp and organic cotton, while letter-pressed stationary ($75+) showcases her pen-drawings on heavy 100% recovered cotton paper. All of her artworks make an ideal pair with her limited-edition black-and-white prints, which come signed, embossed, and numbered in both 8” x 10” and 15” x 20” sizes ($375-$750). For more information, or to purchase EJH Brand items, visit ejhbrand.com.
Bamboo Izakaya Opens in Santa Monica
Sake-driven small-plates restaurant opens in beachfront location.
February 19, 2013
Bamboo Izakaya's expansive patio.
Opened earlier this month, Bamboo Izakaya boasts a varied small-plates menu that pairs perfectly with a wide selection of sake. The Santa Monica resto includes oceanfront views, an expansive outdoor patio, and a chic, trendy atmosphere that exemplifies the Japanese pub experience.
Bamboo Izakaya is one of the few restaurants in Los Angeles to utilize an iPad menu with functions that enhance the dining experience. Guests can see photos of menu items before they order, place additional requests throughout the meal, and learn more about the Izakaya-style dining experience, with just a quick swipe of their fingers.
The menu encompasses both classic Japanese fare and unique American twists on it, with sections for robata grill, kushiyaki, sushi, and sashimi, as well as signature Bamboo specials. Creative offerings include crispy pickled bamboo shoots, deviled eggs with pickled wasabi, or fried cheeseburger bites with ground beef, mozzarella cheese, onion, and sweet chili ranch. Sautéed options like the chahan, with braised pork belly, egg, green, onion, and shiitake, are also available, as well as larger nabe and soba dishes.
In addition to a sizable sake menu from bar director Jessica Furui with comprehensive tasting notes, Bamboo Izakaya offers an array of specialty cocktails. Try the Tokyo Manhattan, made with Nikka 12-year Japanese whisky, pressed brandied cherries, orange, and angostura bitters, or the Natsukaze, with Tsukasabotan organic mountain yuzu sake, Thai basil, and tapioca pearls, garnished with basil in a tall glass. Reservations are recommended and are available via opentable.com. 1541 Ocean Ave., Suite 120, Santa Monica, 310-566-3860
‘No Such Place’ at William Turner Gallery
Santa Monica gallery presents stunning photographs by Jay Mark Johnson.
February 18, 2013
City of Little Motors by Jay Mark Johnson.
On February 23, the William Turner Gallery will celebrate the opening of Jay Mark Johnson’s new exhibition, “No Such Place,” with a private reception before opening the show to the public the following day. The artist, who currently resides in Venice Beach, has created a stunning series of timeline photographs that chronicle the daily migrations of people and their vehicles across diverse landscapes—from the rice paddies of Cambodia to Los Angeles’ own city streets.
The images are captured in such a visually intriguing manner that the static scenery blends into a series of colored lines, while the moving subjects pop off the canvas with sharp clarity. These stunning works explore man’s relationship with machines and challenge viewers to question their own surroundings. Bold, colorful, and large in scale, the photographs come together for one powerful impact.
Although Johnson has traveled the world, he has a long history with California, formerly working in visual effects on films like The Matrix and Titanic. Over the past decade, he has perfected the art of timeline photography, exploring subjects from sunsets to dancers to nudes in order to challenge a viewer’s sense of space and perception. Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., E1, Santa Monica, 310-453-0909
Fashion and Cinema-Focused ‘Hats on Film’
The Italian Cultural Institute celebrates the marriage of fine hat making and film.
February 18, 2013
A new exhibit at the Italian Cultural Institute, “Hats on Film,” will include a variety of installations to showcase the intriguing tradition of Italian hat making and its role in film. A montage of famed hat-related cinematic moments produced by the Toscana Film Commission is in store, and the exhibit will include a collection of hundreds of straw hats, which expert milliners will personalize on site according to exhibit-goers’ preferences. “Hats on Film” is featured in the program of The Year of Italian Culture in the USA: 2013, promoted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Iconic Italian hat-making companies like Memar have adorned the heads of Hollywood’s finest—from Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman to Kim Cattrall in Sex and the City. To further celebrate cinema and whet Angelenos’ appetites for the Academy Awards, the opening night event will be invitation-only and feature A Room with a View actor Julian Sand, LACMA director Michael Govan, Decades owner Cameron Silver, and more. “Hats on Film” will then open to the public on February 20 and remain on display until March 8. 1023 Hilgard Ave., Westwood, 310-443-3250