Vegas Uncork’d Preview @ Border Grill (Los Angeles, CA)

Vegas Uncork’d @ Border Grill
445 S Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90071
Dining date: 1/27/15

signage

This past week, Bon Appetit and Las Vegas hosted a Vegas Uncork’d preview at downtown’s Border Grill. It was a fitting location, given Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger’s restaurant has two locations in Las Vegas and has been a consistent participant in the annual food event. This evening’s event served to garner attention to the April fest, as well as celebrate Border Grill’s 30th anniversary.

Now in its 9th year, Vegas Uncork’d has moved up a little earlier this year to the last weekend of April. As usual, it will amass dozens of big-name chefs cooking their way through various different seminars, tastings, classes and sit-down meals. The 20+ event, 4-day Uncork’d has been a tradition in my family for many years now and I’m looking forward to what 2015 has to offer (see 2014 here and here).

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Terrine (Los Angeles, CA)

Terrine
8265 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Dining date: 1/18/15

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Terrine opened at the end of last year on popular Beverly Blvd a block away from Jar. The restaurant is described as a “California brasserie;” typical French brasserie items do make an appearance along with a bunch of salads, pizzas, pastas and a wide-ranging variety of dishes.

I’ve enjoyed Kris Morningstar’s food as he’s bounced around the city (Blue Velvet, Casa, Ray’s and Stark Bar) so Terrine was definitely on my list of restaurants to try. We came during one of the Friends & Family preview events, but the overwhelmed kitchen wasn’t able to send much out with consistency. Having given the place a few weeks to gain its bearings, we stopped in for dinner.

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Redbird (Los Angeles, CA)

Redbird
114 E 2nd St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Dining date: 1/15/15

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Neal & Amy Fraser’s Grace seems like so long ago; it’s been 4.5 years since the doors closed for good (I was at their final night). Two restaurant concepts (Playa and Petty Cash) have since replaced Grace on Beverly Blvd while Fraser’s Redbird faced delay after delay after delay. I remember years ago when this concept at the Vibiana was first announced in the “up-and-coming” downtown restaurant scene. Since then, downtown has certainly arrived and I think Redbird will make a great addition to the neighborhood.

Redbird is serving new American cuisine in a beautiful space at the Vibiana. Large windows, a live tree, and an open-air “ceiling” make for a spot that almost feels outdoors; I think it’ll be particularly nice to dine here during summer evenings.

ceiling

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I stopped in the previous week after an Art Walk stroll to get some of Julian Cox’s cocktails and a couple of snacks from the menu (chicken pot pie!). However, a full meal was definitely in order on this evening.

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Stones Throw (San Francisco, CA)

Stones Throw
1896 Hyde St
San Francisco, CA 94109
Dining date: 12/28/14

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For the past number of years, my cousins and I have taken my grandma out for a birthday dinner over the Christmas holiday. This year, we decided on a restaurant in close proximity to my grandmother, Stone’s Throw in the Russian Hill neighborhood. The new American restaurant has been a hit since opening just over a year ago and it would be a new restaurant for all six of us (except for one cousin who had visited previously).

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We ordered a number of small plates to share and each ordered a main course.

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Faith & Flower (Los Angeles, CA) [2]

Faith & Flower
705 W 9th St
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Dining date: 12/31/14

menu

Faith & Flower was one of my favorite restaurant openings in 2013 with its Asian-accented modern American cuisine and excellent cocktails. It’s conveniently (for me!) located downtown and has quickly become a go-to for me for a spontaneous spot for bites and drinks. While I’ve actually only had one full dinner in the dining room here, each of times I’ve dined in the bar/lounge area has been good as well.

When looking for a local dining experience on NYE, Faith & Flower was the choice. Special tasting menus were offered on this night with this one being $125pp inclusive of a champagne toast at midnight. All images on this post were taken with a point-and-shoot camera instead of my usual DSLR to stay mobile this evening.

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Osso Steakhouse (San Francisco, CA)

Osso Steakhouse
1177 California St
San Francisco, CA 94108
Dining date: 12/27/14

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Each year, my dad takes my grandmother and my aunt out for an elaborate birthday dinner. This year, Osso Steakhouse was chosen as the spot. The restaurant opened earlier in 2013 by a restaurant group with a number of concepts around the Bay Area (probably most notable for The Stinking Rose) and has generally received favorable reviews since its opening. My parents had gone once last year and had a good meal, therefore they felt safe bringing a larger party here for this special occasion.

Osso specializes in dry-aged steaks featuring various sizes of filet, New York and porterhouse (a ribeye is curiously not on the menu). A large selection of seafood items, salads and traditional steakhouse sides round out the menu. Between our party of six, we were able to make a good dent into the menu.

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