Posted on Apr 08, 2014 under Archives, Los Angeles |
Four new drinks at The Langham Huntington Pasadena
The Langham Huntington Pasadena has launched a new special cocktail menu of four new drinks available only at Langham hotels in the United States.
The cocktails were created by master bartender Alex Kratena. He is the head bartender at The Langham London and has won numerous best bartender awards around the world.I recently visited the Langham Huntington Pasadena to sample the new drinks.
Alex first made The Social Club, a concoction with vodka, lillet, vetivier, rose water and California citrus. This drink represented the Pasadena location.
Back to the Future
Next came the Back to the Future with talisker, port, sherry, citrus, cacao and raspberry and represented the Chicago Langham. This was my fave for presentation because it featured a smoke element and the rocks surrounding the drink were actually edible chocolate.
making the Back to the Future
The third drink was Skylines with aquavit, fino, citrus, cedarwood and bitters, representing the Boston Langham.
The last libation was Lady Pink with fino, rhubarb, citrus, agave and bitter orange, representing the Langham in New York.
Each specialty cocktail will be available at the participating hotels through the end of the year. I also sampled some great bites at The Tap Room bar.
The Tap Room is the Langham’s bar and lounge and features hand crafted cocktails, a wide variety of wines, premium artisanal beers and upscale bar bites. Guests can choose to sit in front of the fire or overlooking the resort’s beautiful Horseshoe Garden on cozy couches or intimate tables. I started off with a lovely tuna tartar with shallots, chives, paprika oil and parmesan crisps. I also sampled the Kobe sliders with a bacon tomato jam and caramelized onions served on brioche buns.
Dessert was the decadent chocolate lava cake with a strawberry St. Germain consomme and raspberry sorbet. Both the cocktails and the bar bites were delicious. Head to the Tap Room at the Langham Huntington Pasadena to sample the great new libations and stay for a bite and enjoy the view. Located at 1401 South Oak Knoll Avenue in Pasadena, reservations at 626.568.3900.
Posted on Mar 30, 2014 under Archives |
Chef Bruce Kalman spent a year perfecting his pickling talents prior to opening up Union with partner Marie Petulla, a new restaurant located in Old Town Pasadena.
Chef Bruce Kalman
Kalman, a James Beard nominated Rising Star Chef, winner of both Chopped and Knife Fight, has plenty of experience. He is alumna of celebrated restaurants including Park Avenue Café in New York, Spiaggia in Chicago, Il Piatto in New Mexico, Chelsea’s Kitchen in Phoenix, The Misfit in Santa Monica and The Churchill in West Hollywood.
His new 50-seat bar and eatery is rustic and comfortable with a cement bar, exposed brick, wood tables and chairs and a huge chalkboard features the nightly specials as well as a famous Alice Waters quote, “Let things taste the way they are.”
The Northern Italian fare does just that, while adding California ingredients to traditional dishes. I stopped by to sample all of the delicious food and here is what Janie and I ate during our very lovely tasting menu. Our appetizers included house made charcuterie and pickles.
We also loved the warm olives with calabrian chiles, smoked nuts and parmigiano reggiano cheese.
Chef Kalman’s pastas are all handmade. We sampled the tagliatelle with “head and shoulder” pork ragu and gremolata and orecchiette primavera, green spring vegetables, basil and ricotta cheese.
Our main dishes were also exceptional and included a remarkable porchetta with heirloom potatoes and a salsa verde as well as a Pacific halibut with potatoes, fennel, olives and blood oranges wrapped in parchment. We also loved this presentation.
Desserts included a gianduji chocolate budino with cocoa nib, truffle salt and a Ligurian olive oil and lemon verbena panacotta with balsamic pickled strawberries and ameretti cookies.
Union is located at 37 East Union Street in Old Town, Pasadena. Reservations at 626.795.5841.
Posted on Mar 25, 2014 under Archives, Los Angeles |
Nancy Silverton, Nancy Oakes, Waylynn Lucas, Naomi Pomeroy and Dominique Crenn
Last weekend, LA Live hosed the first All-Star Chef Classic, a three-day event featuring over 28 renown chefs.
Saturday included two events. I attended the first, the “All-Star Lunch”, which celebrated women in the culinary industry with a five-course lunch prepared by chefs Nancy Silverton, Nancy Oakes, Waylynn Lucas, Dominique Crenn and Naomi Pomeroy. The event was held in the custom built Restaurant Stadium which housed roughly 270 diners. French pastry chef Florian Bellanger and master maitre d’ Donato Poto hosted the event.
Chef Lude Lefebvre
Special guests included Ludo Lefebvre, Pierre Meneau and Marc Meneau.
The five-curse menu began with a carrot, mushroom and hazelnut herbed crème fraiche mousse by Chef Naomi Pomeroy.
The second course was Chef Nancy Silverton’s lovely gem lettuce salad with a dressing of champagne vinegar, shallots, lemon juice and olive oil. It was accompanied by labneh toast. This was my fave of the day.
salad and labneh toast
The third course was Chef Nancy Oakes’ seared scallop over polenta al negro, topped with uni, crab and lardo panzanella.
scallop with polenta al nero
Next came Chef Dominique Crenn’s lamb topped with preserved lemons and cabbage. We loved the dried cabbage on top.
lamb with umeboshi consumme
The afternoon lunch ended with Chef Waylynn Lucas’ dessert of a buttermilk cake topped with textures of grapefruit, pistachio and coconut.
Buttermilk cake with grapefruit, coconut and pistachio
Posted on Mar 09, 2014 under Archives |
Vodkas in the VODBOX at Nic’s
Once the famed hangout of Rat Pack crooner Dean Martin, Nic’s in Beverly Hills still attracts the young, rich and famous.
The restaurant has a cool dark ambiance which is both trendy and relaxing. Here celebrities sit side by side with locals in an intimate setting where diners can enjoy great food, excellent martinis and a trip to the famous VODBOX.
Our Vodka Ambassador at Nic’s VODBOX
I recently visited the Beverly Hills hangout with my friend Janie to check out their new VODBOX.
The VODBOX, located in the back of the restaurant, is a walk-in freezer filled with hundreds of bottles of vodka. Before entering the 28-degree room, guests can choose a faux fur coat and hat to keep them warm while sampling different flights of vodkas. Three samplings cost around $21 and bottles are kept in stylish white open leather lockers. Owner and vodkateur Larry Nicola has brought some of the luxurious vodkas in the world to be housed in the VODBOX, where top tier selections include Russian Standard, Jean Marc XO and Jewel of Russia.
Janie and I in the VODBOX
Diners can also order vodka or a vodka martini at the bar or while dining.
Nic’s offers a wide variety of dishes ranging from comfort food to extravagant items. Here is a sampling of what we had during our tasting menu:
Ramaki Duck Pate
We started off with the Ramaki duck pate, served alongside pickles and toast. Then came some lovely bite sized baked potatoes with creme fraiche and caviar. We loved these.
baby baked potatoes
We also sampled lobster beignets with habanero nasturtium drizzle, these were okay in our opinion but a little pricey at $15. Next came some lovely cruditee with a whipped artichoke, tomato and basil dip.
Our fave of the entire night came next, French fried artichokes with a malt vinegar and Aji Amarillo aioli. These were fantastic. Worth a trip if only you get these and check out the VODBOX.
I of course had to try Nic’s oysters, sauteed on spinach with walnuts and garlic. These were also very good.
Next came the main courses. We shared the gnocchi with morel mushrooms and champagne cream, the Guiness braised beef short ribs and the rib eye Japonaise with wasabi miso butter, crispy shitake and potatoes.
Desserts are also delicious and include the sundae with a toasted marshmallow on top which we sampled.
Other decadent desserts include dark chocolate and black cherry bon bons, bison bar with pecans and crème Chantilly, and a variety of dessert martinis. Nic’s is located at 453 North Canon Drive, reservations at 310.550.5707.