Plate by Plate 2013
214 S Main St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Dining date: 8/3/13
This weekend was the 11th annual Plate by Plate event. Each year, Project by Project partners with a local nonprofit to help fund-raise and promote awareness for their cause (this year it’s East West Players). The chief fundraising event comes in the form of a large, annual tasting benefit which brings together many well-known local restaurants and bars.
The location for this year’s event was the same venue as the last couple of years – downtown’s Vibiana. I really like the place (and not just because it’s within walking distance for me), with its mix of outdoor and indoor space and its rich personality/history. General Admission tickets this year were $150 ($250 VIP) for the all-you-can-eat, all-you-can-drink feast. I attended as a media guest.
408 S Main St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Dining date: 7/15/13
I’ve been to Josef Centeno’s popular Baco Mercat multiple times for lunch and have been meaning to try it for dinner. I live relatively close but have procrastinated for so long; two weeks ago, I finally made this dinner visit as my final ‘birthday dinner’ of the year.
The dinner menu is definitely more expanded than lunch, particularly in the small plates section. While the baco and coca (flatbreads) have been the restaurant’s claim to fame thus far, Centeno’s small plates offer a lot more in terms of variety. There are also a few delicious-sounding ‘big plate’ options that are dinner-only. The whole menu setup is not unlike what Centeno was doing at Lazy Ox Canteen.
514 W 7th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Dining date: 4/29/13 and 6/25/13
Ricardo Zarate and business partner Stephane Bombet have been a busy tandem, opening three restaurants in the past two years. Mo-Chica opened just over a year ago, the current middle-child in the growing group of restaurants. Given its downtown location is very convenient to me, I’ve made more than my fair share of visits for both lunch and dinner.
This post actually covers a recent lunch as well as a visit for their special anniversary menu. The lunch special is something my coworkers and I have partaken in a number of times. It’s a good deal for downtown standards; $15 buys a main course that comes with a couple of small sides and dessert. The latest promotion, slightly more limited, was to celebrate their anniversary – the restaurant served a $27 five-course dinner on Tuesdays in June.
2121 7th Pl.
Los Angeles, CA 90021
Dining date: 3/28/13, 4/27/13, 6/7/13
Bestia opened in downtown LA late last year, and continues to be one of the most popular restaurants in the neighborhood. Ori Menashe is the chef here (formerly of Angelini Osteria) cooking up Italian food based around a house salumi program, a wood-burning oven, and housemade pastas. Wife Genevieve Gergis heads the pastry program, completing the husband-and-wife team.
The menu is on the larger side, featuring about twenty small plate antipasti, about six pizza options and just a handful of larger entrees. My favorite part of the menu may be the pasta section, with a constantly-changing lineup of around eight at a time. There’s a lot of great-sounding stuff too; I’m always indecisive here.
This post spans three separate meals at Bestia, which I can confidently say is my favorite restaurant in downtown (and one of my favorite in the city) at the moment.
727 N Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Dining date: 5/3/13
The street food-slinging Kogi food trucks are undoubtedly what chef Roy Choi is most known for, but Chego may be my favorite of his restaurants (I haven’t been to A-Frame yet though). Chego shares the same in-your-face, full-flavored approach as Kogi, but primarily in the form of rice bowls and within a brick-and-mortar format. I’d been to the Westside location a couple of times and enjoyed it both times; the cross-town location just didn’t often justify a trip for me. However, the expiration of their lease a few months ago prompted a move to a very unexpected location – Chinatown.
Le Grand Fooding Crush Paris – Los Angeles
The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA
152 N Central Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Dining date: 4/26/13 and 4/27/13
This past weekend, Le Grand Fooding made its first foray into Los Angeles. The traveling event, hosted in San Francisco and New York in past instances, seeks to promote chefs of both nations cooking a sort of bistronomics concept – fine dining concept in a more affordable atmosphere. The event was a two-day affair at downtown’s Geffen Contemporary at MOCA (in addition to an exclusive pre-event dinner cooked by Craig Thornton (Wolvesmouth) and Miles Thompson (Allumette) - full pictures here).
The chef lineup was pretty impressive, with 11 big-name chefs from both LA and Paris. Some of the chefs cooked on only one day and a handful cooked on both days. General admission tickets were $50 and included one dish from each chef and a glass of champagne. Ticket prices went up in three tiers, all the way up to a $125 VIP ticket that included early entrance, a secluded dining area, and an extra dish from a VIP-only chef. Tickets sold out in a hurry, but I managed to purchase a base level ticket for each day.
For the two evenings, MOCA’s outdoor venue was set up with a DJ tower, multiple chef booths and an impressive Veuve Clicquot tower.