THINGS I ATE: Pretty Much Everything at The Corner Door

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It’s Autumn in Los Angeles. Well, actually, it’s Autumn everywhere. Except the Southern Hemisphere. It’s Spring down there. I think. The point is that we — as a global community — are in a different season than we were, say, two months ago, and to celebrate the leaves changing color from green to slightly less green, The Corner Door in Culver City, CA has trotted out some autumnal cocktails. What better reason to head all the way down to this nifty gastropub for a media-comped meal, replete with cinnamon smoke and beignets.

Photos after the jump…

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THINGS I ATE: Dinner at Stella Barra in Hollywood

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After a recent viewing of Star Trek: Into Darkness, my friend jash and I felt the need to wildly decompress from two hours of explosions, Spock bangs, and futuristic 9/11 imagery. And so we too stepped into darkness by taking in dinner at the dimly lit Stella Barra on Sunset Boulevard. Attached to the ArcLight and cousin to Stella Rosa in Santa Monica, the new restaurant has a reputation for awesome pizza and killer cookies. Naturally, this was right up my (Kirstie) alley. That was a bonus Star Trek reference, in case you were wondering.

jash and I kept the order simple. He ordered a glass of wine and a spinach and kale salad with pecorino ramona, Medjool dates, shaved radishes, and mustard vinaigrette. I too wanted to be healthy, but resistance was futile. I wound up requesting a fennel bianco pizza, which featured fennel, burrata, rosemary, torn basil, and olive oil. The friendly waiter then informed us that the policy of the restaurant is that when something is ready, it’s ready, and the food will arrive as such. It seemed like a strange approach, but I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal — that is, until jash’s salad arrived five minutes later (sans wine), and we had to wait an additional fifteen or twenty for my pizza. Yes, we were warned of the policy, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

As for that salad, it was very tasty, but teeny tiny. We’re talking side-salad size. At $10, it veers into “overpriced” territory. More appropriately priced was my pizza ($15), which was strong flavor-wise, but was so soggy and oily in the middle that the slices were near impossible to hold. Still, structural issues aside, I enjoyed the burrata and fennel, and found I was able to crisp up the slices a bit more the next day when I flung the leftovers in a skillet and heated them up for five minutes.

Eventually, the waiter discovered that he had neglected to bring jash’s wine, and to apologize, he gave us a free chocolate chip Rice Krispie treat cookie that may as well have descended directly from heaven. This cookie was far and away the best part of dinner, and I would truly consider going back to Stella Barra for the cookie alone.

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THINGS I ATE: Papa Cristo’s

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Image via Food GPS

Los Angeles is not a city brimming with Greek food. In fact, I can only think of about six or seven Greek restaurants total — Le Petit Greek in Larchmont Village, The Great Greek in the Valley, Tony’s Taverna in Malibu, Ulysses Voyage at The Farmer’s Market, Petros in Manhattan Beach, and Joseph’s Cafe in Hollywood, which I think is probably closed by now, and I wouldn’t eat there anyway. But I digress.

Supposedly at the top of that Aegean totem pole is Papa Cristo’s, located in the Byzantine-Latino Quarter of Los Angeles. And yes, LA does have a Byzantine-Latino Quarter. It’s basically Koreatown. Anyway, Papa Cristo’s has earned raves from newspapers, magazines, and of course, lowly blogs. I’ve wanted to visit the place for some time, but annoyingly, the restaurant closes at 8 PM, which is highly inconvenient for me.

Nevertheless, the other night I managed to finally make my way into the BLQ an snuck into Papa Cristos with just under 25 minutes left before the doors shut. Did the place live up to the hype? A few grainy pics after the jump…

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Poutine In My Mouth, My Mother ‘Effin Mouth

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A few weeks ago, after I had been invited to a media-comped meal of various Quebecois treats at P’tit Soleil in Westwood, I knew I just had to make some sort of crazy poutine pun in my headline. It took me a while, but I’m thankful for the musical genius of Akinyele for the assist (link not safe for work, btw). Anyway, now that I’ve officially patted myself on the back for my vulgar punnage, let’s move on, shall we?

So… POUTINE.

What do we know about poutine? Well, it’s a French Canadian indulgence involving gravy and cheese curds over fries. I first had it back in college on a fraternity trip up to Montreal where after a night of visiting such fine establishments as Club Super Sexe (real place, fake boobies), my BROS and I headed to McDonalds and enjoyed some poutine with our fries. Probably not the best exposure to the stuff. Fast forward 14 years [as I gently weep for time passed], and I found myself in the heart of “Tehrangeles,” amidst various eateries hawking any variety of Persian delicacies. Not P’tit Soleil, however. This place is all French Canadian all the time (sort of like Club Super Sexe, if you think about it, but probably more hygienic). Nevertheless, I was eager to reacquaint myself with poutine, even if it did mean loosening up the ol’ belt a notch or two.

Pics of the undertaking after the jump…

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Lobster Ice Cream: Cool or Crap?

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In case you hadn’t heard, gourmet food trucks have taken over Los Angeles. It all started four or five years ago with the arrival of Kogi’s and has snowballed from there. Now we have a truck for nearly every cuisine and specialty, and so it was only inevitable that a lobster truck would pop up. I’m not complaining.

Enter Cousins Maine Lobster Food Truck, which specializes in — you guessed it — lobster. When I was invited to enjoy a media-comped lunch at the truck, I was only too happy to oblige. And then when I was told there’d be lobster ice cream involved, I was all the more intrigued. I knew it had to either be really good… or really bad.

After the jump, my impressions of Cousins’ lobster ice cream…

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Checking in on Downtown LA’s Daily Grill

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Burger mania has swept Los Angeles over the past few years, with spots such as Umami, Stout, Gold Coast, Father’s Office, The Counter, and 8oz (RIP) all vying for a position at the top of the totem pole. With all the burger hype going about the city, the Daily Grill in Downtown Los Angeles invited me to sample their own meaty offerings as well as several other items on their menu. The media-comped meal was part of an effort to raise awareness of the Daily Grill’s burger, which is made with 100% Certified Angus Beef Chuck that’s ground twice a day in-house.

And so I trekked down to Flower and 6th where I found the very cool, very mid-century restaurant bustling with lawyers and corporate types all enjoying the lunch rush. I could almost imagine Don Draper and Roger Sterling holed up in a corner sipping martinis and downing oysters. If only I’d remembered my Dobbs fedora.

Nevertheless, I wasn’t there to fantasize about Mad Men. I was there for a BURGER. How did lunch at the Daily Grill stack up? Results after the jump…

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Sneak Peek of Mohawk Bend in Echo Park

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Last night I was lucky enough to attend a sneak peek of the new vegan-friendly gastropub Mohawk Bend in Echo Park. The spot comes to us courtesy of the people behind Tony’s Darts Away in Burbank and occupies a space that once housed the Ramona Theater on Sunset Blvd. That famous Vaudeville space is now gone, but some of its walls remain in the beautifully designed (Spacecraft, natch) venue.

Mohawk Bend doesn’t open until the end of the month, but after the jump, check out pics and early impressions of the food and drink…

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Cecconi’s of West Hollywood Serves Up Gut-Busting Italian Meal (That’s A Good Thing)

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Oh the joys of finally reaching the ranks of “food blogger.” Earlier this week, I was invited to a media-comped dinner at Cecconi’s, the Italian restaurant that took over the former Morton’s space (famous for its Vanity Fair Oscar parties) in West Hollywood, CA. I didn’t know much about the spot going into the evening except that it was Italian, fancy, and probably out of my price range. Well, I’m happy to report that I was misinformed on two of those points. Yes, Cecconi’s is indeed Italian, but it’s not ludicrously expensive, and furthermore, its casual ambience and bright patio make it a wonderful summertime destination.

It also helps that the food is really, really good.

Pics after the jump…

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Bastille Day? More Like Bast-DEAL Day!

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Bonjour, mes amis! Today is Bastille Day, which means it’s your duty to grab a beret and mime your way over to the nearest quiche or croque monsieur. Failing that, you can go to L’Épicerie in Culver City and enjoy French cocktails and small plates for $4 a pop. Ce n’est pas mauvais!

I’m not sure I’ll make it to Culver City, but I will try to find something French to eat. Hmmm… could an Adventure in Domesticity be on the horizon? Zut alors!

L’Épicerie Market
9900 Culver Boulevard, Culver City, CA

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UPDATED: Carmageddon Deals and Events Around Town!

Batten down the hatches! Carmageddon is nigh! Los Angeles will be paralyzed for 53 dreadful hours as the 405 freeway is shut down from the 10 to the 101 this weekend. The sky will turn red as fire descends on this fair burg and judgment is doled out to those who dare trek to the Westside!

And in honor of this special occasion, many establishments are offerings deals for citizens looking to wile away their immobile weekend. After the jump, a revised list of deals and events around Los Angeles, with the new stuff in red.

Enjoy! Continue reading

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