Javier Plascencia & Tim Hollingsworth with Petty Cash Taqueria
Petty Cash Taqueria
712 S Santa Fe Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Dining date: 8/12/15
I’ve never been to mid-city’s Petty Cash, a modernized taqueria from chef Walter Manzke and restaurateur Bill Chait. The restaurant has been pretty popular since opening two years ago spawning this second location in the red hot Arts District of downtown.
The restaurant recently soft opened with a number of ‘Test Kitchen’ dinners. Night one included a mashup of Carlos Salgado of Taco Maria and Wes Avila of Guerrilla Tacos. Night two, the one recapped here, featured Javier Plascencia (Tijuana’s Mision 19 and San Diego’s Bracero Cocina) and Tim Hollingsworth (The French Laundry, Barrel & Ashes, Otium) pairing up with the Petty Cash team to cook up some tacos.
I’ve seen and heard about Plascencia’s cooking for some time and have never tried it so this was a great opportunity to get a taste of his Baja-Mediterranean cuisine. I’ve been a fan of Hollingsworth since his days at The French Laundry so I’m always in for a peek at what he’s cooking. This served to be a sort of preview of his forthcoming concept Otium at the new Broad Museum downtown.
1104 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Dining date: 7/24/15
My last time dining at Melisse was a year and a half ago when it participated in the dineLA Restaurant Week promotion. While Melisse didn’t technically participate this time, they offered a special 5-course 16th anniversary ‘Dine Melisse’ menu that happened to coincide with dineLA. Priced at $85 per person, it was a very attractive price point to revisit.
Montage Beverly Hills
225 North Canon Dr.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Dining date: 7/7/15
I’ve had some great meals at Scarpetta since it opened in 2010. It had been almost two years since I stopped in, so a return visit was long overdue. In my opinion, the restaurant’s best seats are the six at the kitchen counter; this would be my third time sitting here. We had a custom tasting menu built for the evening, picking a few old favorites and letting chef Freddy Vargas fill in the rest.
701 St Charles Ave
New Orleans, LA 70130
Dining date: 6/12/15
Herbsaint is chef Donald Link’s flagship restaurant. Since opening the restaurant in 2000, Link has garnered considerable acclaim on the nationwide stage and is now one of the most notable chefs in the state. He opened the ever-popular Cochon in 2006, was awarded the James Beard award for Best Chef: South in 2007, opened up Cochon Butcher in 2009, and opened his latest restaurant Pêche Seafood Grill in 2013. Link was also nominated for the James Beard award of Outstanding Chef in 2012, 2013 and 2014. For these reasons, Herbsaint was a must-visit on this trip’s itinerary.
Beverly Wilshire Hotel
9500 Wilshire Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
Dining date: 7/15/15
I haven’t been to CUT since 2011 but have generally regarded it as probably the best true steakhouse in the city. I recently put that to the test during a revisit for a birthday dinner.
CUT is Wolfgang Puck’s modern interpretation of an American steakhouse. Their steak offerings are top-notch in breadth and quality featuring multiple cuts of Japanese wagyu, American wagyu, and aged USDA Prime varieties (distinguished between corn and grass fed).
Willie Mae’s Scotch House
2401 St Ann St
New Orleans, LA 70119
Dining date: 6/10/15 and 6/13/15
Willie Mae’s fried chicken was probably the most highly anticipated bite of this whole trip for me. In fact, this might have topped the list of dishes I wanted to try in America. I’m a huge fan of fried chicken; Willie Mae’s is supposed to have some of the best in the country. Popularized countless times by the likes of the Food Network and Travel Channel, it kind of seems like the Peter Luger of fried chicken. Pretty much legendary status.
The menu at Willie Mae’s offers a host of southern specialties like a country fried pork chop, smothered veal, and fried catfish or shrimp. These items are supposedly good, but I’ll likely never know – we were here for fried chicken.