This past week, Matt and I both celebrated our birthdays. Mine is January 4 and Matt’s is January 5. So as much as we usually dine out around Los Angeles, it usually increases around our birthdays. And this January was no exception. I looked long and hard at my list of best restaurants in Los Angeles, and made another list based on that list. I literally spent weeks thinking about where we would spend our time and our money. I ended up choosing Republique, which Los Angeles Magazine recently named the #1 restaurant opened in LA in 2014. I was lucky enough to get reservations for Saturday night on the early side, which meant we were able to get a private table rather than a communal table. Our meal included a bit of everything from their popular bread and pan drippings, to veggies, pasta and two meat dishes, the short ribs and popular Mary’s Organic Rotisserie Chicken. Of course we had to top off our birthday meal with birthday cake. Lucky for us the much-written-about Salted Caramel Chocolate layer cake was available. It was delivered with two birthday candles. Sweet!
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We shared this meal with friends Robin and Rachel, visiting from out of town, who understand my obsession with food and chocolate. After a lovely breakfast in Culver City at Meet in Paris, where I enjoyed a wonderful peach bellini, we spent a few hours at the Hollywood Costume exhibit in the Old May Company building at LACMA. This runs through March 2 so be sure you get there while you can, if you are a movie and costume design fan. Our appetites had come back, so Robin requested a return visit to ChocoVivo so we could all enjoy a hot chocolate. After perusing the drink menu for some time, we finally decided on Chocogatos which are ChocoVivo’s version of an Affogato, a traditional Italian dessert with espresso poured over ice cream. These Chocogatos consisted of hot drinking chocolate (I got mine with a blood orange twist, which is their seasonal specialty) poured over some of the best vanilla ice cream. It was heaven!
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The evening ended right in our own neighborhood of Playa del Rey, at one of our favorite new spots called Bacari PDR, a Wine & Cicchetti Bar. Cicchetti means Italian style small plates. I wish I had taken a picture of the French fries with a fried egg on top, but trust me when I tell you I will absolutely order that every time we dine there. We weren’t terribly hungry, so just a few small plates were all we needed in addition to the fries: a grilled “white” pizza, the hangar steak and osso buco. But being that it was our birthdays I suggested we look at the dessert menu. We ended up with something called Malabi which was made of a rosewater custard with coconut, pistachio and hibiscus flowers. It smelled like being in Mashti Malone’s ice cream parlor and was unlike anything I’ve had before. It was so unique, the custard was creamy and the scent was simply exotic. So even though our birthday weekend consisted of amazing dishes from some of LA’s best restaurants, it was this Malabi at Bacari PDR that I am declaring my best bite of the week!
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By Trish Procetto