Son of a Gun
8370 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Dining date: 3/29/15
Son of a Gun’s been open just over 4 years; this is my third time visiting the restaurant, but really my first time having a full ‘regular’ meal here. My first trip in 2011 was a ‘second dinner’ after a Cafe Boulud pop-up meal at Animal, while my second visit in 2013 was for a Graham Elliot dinner. After quite some time, I was excited for a return to try some of the favorite menu mainstays as well as some new dishes.
The maritime decor reflects the fact that this is a seafood-focused restaurant, though its most famous dish has become its fried chicken sandwich.
220 E 4th St
Santa Ana, CA 92701
Dining date: 3/7/15
I don’t often come to Orange County too often to dine, but Playground has been on my radar for some time. It was probably the OC restaurant I’ve most wanted to try and I finally got the chance when it was chosen for a birthday dinner.
Jason Quinn, probably best known for being a member of The Great Food Truck Race winning The Lime Truck, helms Playground. It’s gotten rave reviews since opening, even leading to the opening of a bakery and a lunch spot just around the corner. The menu changes often, and there’s a sort of attitude about the place. The restaurant encourages trying new things and being adventurous, disclosing on the menu that they will not charge you if you don’t love it (in fact, I observed it in practice on a neighboring table). Perhaps this is the way they’ve been able to get more conservative OC palates to try some of their more forward-thinking creations?
Peter Luger Steak House
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Dining date: 3/2/15
Peter Luger is perhaps the most famous steakhouse in the nation (and the world?), known for consistently serving top-notch steaks since 1887. Every single time I see a list of top steakhouses in the nation, Peter Luger seems to be at or near the top. I’ve always wondered if the restaurant was overrated, maybe finding its way to the top of lists due to a nostalgia factor. There is no doubt Luger’s been a pioneer in the field since opening, but surely restaurants have improved on the concept since 1887…right? Given my penchant for meat and potatoes, Luger’s been a must-try on my list and I was excited to finally try it. The restaurant currently holds one Michelin star.
114 E 2nd St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Dining date: 1/15/15
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.
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.
1896 Hyde St
San Francisco, CA 94109
Dining date: 12/28/14
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).
We ordered a number of small plates to share and each ordered a main course.
Faith & Flower
705 W 9th St
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Dining date: 12/31/14
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.