FOOD & DRINK: LA Times

Los Angeles is the ideal destination for star gazing and PCH cruising.  While concrete grazing isn’t so easy on the Left Coast, it’s hard to argue with the level of talent in the restaurant scene.  While the patrons are easy on the eyes, many chefs produced gems that were easy on the palate.  Below are a few of my favorites from my recent cross country trip to the City of Angels.

SONY DSCBaco Mercat

Baco is a flatbread sandwich created by Chef Josef Centeno.  While the original features pork and beef carnitas, I quickly locked in on The Amergaz which consists of lamb, tabbouleh, grape leaves, and a spicy kochkocha sauce.  Coming from the East Coast, it’s refreshing to go to a mainstream restaurant that is not afraid to bring the heat.  Superstar status.  I cannot wait to return so I can try a few more of their sandwiches.

BS Taqueria

After hearing about the revitalization of Downtown LA, I decided to set up shop at the Sheraton, which is undergoing over $45 million in renovations.  One day one, I decided to wander around and let my nose decide where I’d eat.  Coming from the east coast, it’s hard not to eat Mexican all day every day when in LA.  And especially when Chef Ray Garcia has provided modern interpretations of classic dishes.  As a result, I was a repeat offender at BS Taqueria.  Both nights, I started with the smokey, savory, spicy elixir, Barracho Gazpacho. A perfect blend of mezcal, cherry tomatoes, celery, cilantro, beet escabeche, and strawberry.  This drink was my soul on ice circa Ras Kass.  On the first night, I had the ever fresh Campechana Verde, a spicy seafood ceviche.  The next day, I had the beet torta which was too die for as well churros.  BS Taqueria is doing something outside of the box with Mexican which is something I wish more chefs would do.  When I go out, I love when a chef is willing to take a risk and knock it out of the park.

SONY DSCEggslut

Egg sandwiches are the quintessential hangover food and the team at Eggslut is doing it in a gourmet way.  House made turkey sausage with cheddar and sriracha mayo accompanied with an over medium egg on a brioche bun.  It was a ooey gooey mess that was so perfect that there weren’t any leftovers or sloppy seconds.

Congregation Ale House

As a member of the elite beer club, Malts & Hops League, I take my brew serious and so does the team at Congregation Ale House.  Awesome selections with over 30 beers on tap.  I’ll say amen to that.

The Spare Room at The Hollywood Roosevelt

I flew all the way to LA to run into a mixologist who used to live in the City of Brotherly Love.  Funny how the universe conspires.  With that said, I typically let the bartender select based on my preferences but my eyes were fixated on the drink that bore the name that closely resembled one of my all-time favorite films.  ‘Menace To Sobriety’ was like a subtle introduction to the Old Fashioned world.  The use of basil honey and charred applewood added a layer of sweetness to the bourbon forward cocktail.  Good stuff for a newcomer but I prefer my drinks to be a little bit over the top so lesson learned.  My second drink more than made up for the first drink.  I sipped of a neat pour of the clean Japanese whisky, Nikka Coffey Grain.  Proper.

SONY DSCDK Donuts & Bakery

As someone who braved the cold elements to get his hands on an authentic cronut, many people who have had the impostors just do not realize what they are missing.  Nice try but it’s just not the same.