Well, now that the first month of a new year is almost over (where did it go?) I decided to review my restaurant list from 2016 and see just how much I dined out, where and when. Which meals were memorable? Which restaurants would I like to go back and visit? Which restaurants have already closed their doors (Beverly Hills Beignet and Another Kind of Sunrise).
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Let’s start with the basics. I counted 112 dining experiences in 2016 that were first-time visits for me. These not only included sit-down restaurants but also ice cream shops, coffee shops, walk-up windows and more. Now I’ve been tracking my first-time restaurant visits for several years and while this seems like a lot, this number was down from 152 places in 2015.
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So I’d like to mention some of the most memorable experiences, starting with our potato tasting menu at Curtis Stone’s Beverly Hills restaurant Maude. I had to make reservations on January 1 to get a February reservation, and Matt and I made it our Valentine’s gift to each other. If you don’t know, potatoes are my favorite food after chocolate and the variety of ways the Maude team presented them was pretty special. Not to mention the ambiance and the service were top notch. Best way to spend $200 in my opinion! If you don’t care for potatoes, Maude’s culinary team chooses a different ingredient to highlight each month. The next mention, much more casual than Maude is the Chowder Barge, located on the water in Wilmington. It is LA’s only floating restaurant and I loved it’s kitschy look (nautical + tiki) and the food! The best and most reasonably priced fish & chips I’ve had in a long time. Though I still haven’t made it to the Wee Chippy in Venice, that is still on my list.
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A few nostalgic shout outs go to Burbank’s Smoke House which marked 70 years in business and is located adjacent to Warner Bros. Studios and Moun of Tunis in Hollywood which may be closing its doors soon, and offers entertainment along with its Moroccan style dinners. I finally tried the famous chopped salad at La Scala in Beverly Hills which was festively decorated for the holidays, and celebrated 60 years in 2016.
If you are a meat-eater you’ll want to try Barrel & Ashes in Studio City and Carlito’s Gardel on Melrose Avenue. The burgers at Belcampo Meat Market are almost too good for words, seriously, ask my research partner Paula. There is a location in Santa Monica, but we visited the Grand Central Market location. The happy hour at Cannibal in Culver City is not to be missed either! Oh let’s not forget newcomer Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken. Speaking of chicken, this year I plan to get to (what everyone’s talking about) Howlin’ Rays with my research pals Angela and Allen.
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Mexican cuisine is one of our favorites (me and Matt) and we got to several new eateries including Trejo’s Tacos on La Brea, Cascabel in Toluca Lake, Loqui in Culver City and Guelatetza in Koreatown.
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DineLA Restaurant Week brought us to Hanjip Korean BBQ, Taix French bistro and Lukshon, highlighting beautifully presented southeast Asian eats. Two other different mentions are the afternoon Tea by the Sea at the Getty Villa in Malibu and Yogurt Stop, a casual serve-yourself yogurt shop in WeHo that I found thanks to a private tour request. So you can see I’ve only been able to call out a few of my new discoveries here in this blog but rest assured I have my list and my memories of each and every dining experience. If you would like suggestions on where to dine in LA in any given neighborhood and any given budget, please contact me, your friendly foodie and tour guide with TOURific Escapes!
By Trish Procetto