521 N La Cienega Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90048
Dining date: 10/3/15
Raku is one of the year’s most exciting restaurant openings for me; I never expected to see this place in Los Angeles. I’ve enjoyed the restaurant a handful of times since it opened in Las Vegas’ Chinatown 2008. In its early stages, it was a fairly unassuming ‘locals spot’ in a Chinatown strip mall. The restaurant steadily gathered a very devoted following and national acclaim, following up with a Raku Sweets concept in 2013 and this second location of Raku that opened just last month.
The menu at this West Hollywood location is virtually identical to the original, with a long list of menu items and a chalkboard of daily specials. We ordered up a couple of daily specials (bluefin tuna sashimi, iberico pork skewers), a few old favorites and some new dishes.
114 E 2nd St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Dining date: 9/2/15
I’ve been to Redbird a few times; I consider it to be the best ‘new American’ restaurant in the downtown area. It seems to have a little bit of something for everyone and it helps that it’s such close proximity to my home and office. On this occasion, I introduced an out-of-town coworker to the restaurant.
It was a great time to take advantage of the open roof on a warm summer evening. It had a little bit of the al fresco dining feel yet still had the elements of a beautiful, modern dining room.
5955 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Dining date: 9/14/15
This year, Providence is celebrating its 10th anniversary. To celebrate the occasion, the restaurant held a three-part guest chef series. The first one was last month featuring Dominique Crenn (Atelier Crenn in San Francisco) and Suzanne Goin (Lucques), while this one brought chefs Michael Tusk (Quince in San Francisco) and Marc Vetri (Vetri in Philadelphia) into the restaurant. Rounding out the series will be a dinner next month featuring David Kinch (Manresa in Los Gatos) and Mauro Colagreco (Mirazur in France).
I’ve been to Michelin two-starred Quince once and casual sister restaurant Cotogna a few times. This would be my first time having Vetri’s food, though. Tusk, Vetri and Providence’s Michael Cimarusti and pastry chef Jessi Liu collaborated on the evening’s menu, eight courses, for $225.
2121 7th Pl.
Los Angeles, CA 90021
Dining date: 2/7/15, 3/22/15 and 8/26/15
Open almost three years now, Bestia continues to be a restaurant I frequent. I’m not alone; it seems to be as popular as ever. I consider it one of my favorite restaurants in the city and am lucky to have it in close proximity to me downtown.
The menu at Bestia changes often, rotating based on the seasons and ingredient availability. However, there’s always a handful of menu staples as well; every time I visit, I get some of these old favorites as well as some new ones. This post recaps three previous visits. Continue reading
7313 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Dining date: 8/7/15
Gino Angelini has been cooking his popular Italian fare in this small spot on Beverly for almost 15 years now. It’s been a crowd favorite ever since opening and certainly was a full house on this Friday evening. It’s hard to pinpoint why it took me three and a half years to return here since my first visit in 2012. I think part of it is due to the restaurant’s lack of OpenTable accessibility (it’s a real thing!) and part of it is due to the emergence of Bestia downtown. Whatever the reasons, I really enjoyed the meal (especially the pastas) during that first visit so a return trip was way overdue.
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.