Pine & Crane
1521 Griffith Park Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Dining date: 9/6/14
Pine & Crane opened earlier this year, bringing Taiwanese food to the Silver Lake neighborhood. Asian food, particularly Chinese or Taiwanese, is always looked upon skeptically outside of the SGV, but Pine & Crane has opened to strong praise early on. The family’s background is in the food business; the Pine & Crane name is taken from a noodle factory they operated in China while all produce is sourced from a family farm near Bakersfield. Sounds like the right ingredients for a successful restaurant.
The restaurant has been very popular and can get pretty crowded in the evenings (evident in the picture below). Food is ordered at the register, you take a number, find a seat, and the food comes straight to your table. The menu is fairly focused, with a handful of small plates (dumplings, scallion pancakes, beef rolls), noodle dishes (both soupy and saucy), and rice dishes.
129 N La Cienega Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
Dining date: 8/7/14
Nobu Matsuhisa’s massive empire currently stretches 5 continents with over 30 restaurants; he’s easily one of the most successful high-end chef/restaurateurs today. However, it all began here in 1987, where Matsuhisa would establish a name for himself and where he met some powerful partners that helped him expand the brand worldwide. Almost thirty years later, Matsuhisa is still going strong on La Cienega’s restaurant row.
I was first introduced to Matsuhisa’s food at the original Nobu in New York many years ago and loved it. I’d frequented his restaurants in LA when I first moved here (and Las Vegas too), but it’d been many years since this latest visit.
Live on Grand
Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival 2014
Grand Avenue between 1st and 2nd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Dining date: 8/23/14
This past weekend marked the fourth annual LA Food & Wine Festival; this year, it spanned almost 30 individual events over four days. Some of the standbys I’ve attended each year have been the large tasting format events; in my opinion, they’re the best way to access the most chefs and bites with one ticket. This year, I attended the daytime grand tastings as well as this evening event, Live on Grand. What separates this event from the others is a live performance at the end of the night (this year’s performer was Common) and a gorgeous backdrop of downtown LA. Grand Avenue, next to the Walt Disney Concert Hall, is shut down specifically for this event.
Dozens of chefs/restaurants lined the street serving up both savory and sweet bites. Of course, it’s all-you-can-eat/drink for the price of the ticket ($250 GA).
521 W 7th St
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Dining date: 7/30/14
Q Sushi opened in November of last year, just off downtown’s corner of 7th & Grand, home to other popular spots Bottega Louie, Sugarfish and Mo-Chica. Its opening was right on the heels of the downtown location of Zo, creating a formidable twosome in downtown’s high-end sushi scene.
Q is known for its omakase-only menu (begins at $165) and edomae-style of sushi. Chef Hiroyuki Naruke maintained a sushi bar in Tokyo’s Roppongi district for years before moving to LA with the assistance (and persuasion) of some of his loyal customers, who also happened to be LA-based attorneys.
Americana at Brand
237 S Brand Blvd
Glendale, CA 91204
Dining date: 7/24/14
I first dined at Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak in March during its opening. The meal was a unique one, hosted by Bon Appetit to promote the upcoming Vegas Uncork’d, where a custom tasting menu was served. I’ve been intending to return for a more ‘regular’ meal and to try more of the steaks; recently, I had the chance with a few coworkers.
The menu at Bourbon Steak centers on the beef, of course, with a number of options under Certified Angus, Certified Angus Prime, and American, Australian and Japanese Wagyu. A wide array of other appetizers and entrees, including Mina’s signature tuna tartare and lobster pot pie, really round out the menu. Between the six of us, we were able to sample quite a bit of it.
Plate by Plate 2014
Petersen Automotive Museum
6060 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Dining date: 8/2/14
This past weekend was Project by Project’s 12th annual tasting benefit – Plate by Plate. This was my third time attending the charitable event which benefits a rotating nonprofit partner; this year Pacific Asian Counseling Services (which provides counseling services to under-served populations) was the beneficiary. All net proceeds from the all-you-can-eat/drink event go straight to the partner.
Similar to prior years, Plate by Plate gathered a host of LA restaurants, mixologists, breweries and spirits for an indulgent evening. The venue this year was a slight change of pace from prior years, moving from downtown’s Vibiana to mid-city’s Petersen Automotive Museum. It still had a mix of indoor/outdoor space and I thought this location had more personality; patrons were able to browse the museum and soak up the history. Tickets this year ran $150 for GA and $250 for VIP, which provided access to additional purveyors and an hour earlier admission.