Posted on Feb 23, 2014 under Archives |
Vibrato Jazz Grill
Spearheaded by legendary jazz trumpeter and music producer Herb Alpert, Vibrato Jazz Grill is both a pleasure for the ears and the taste buds. Tucked away in a tiny shopping center at the top of Beverly Glen Boulevard, the 150-seat contemporary supper and jazz club provides a perfect setting where famous musicians and filet mignon merge.
Vibrato Jazz Grill
The semi-circular restaurant resembles a small concert hall where the warm décor of blonde wood walls, corner fireplace and huge red and orange copper orbs hanging from the ceiling is crafted for ideal acoustics as well as aesthetics. The state of the art sound system is housed amidst Alpert’s own abstract paintings, cozy booths, and intimate tables. The menu’s excellent steak and seafood entrees mix well with the stars onstage, providing one of the only upscale restaurants in Los Angeles that features live jazz. I visited just after Valentine’s Day and here is what we tasted:
First came a medley of three of the seafood appetizers, the ahi tuna tartar with shallots, avocado, chives and tarragon, the crabcake and the shrimp cocktail.
Ahi tuna tartare
We also sampled two salads, the roasted baby beet salad with goat cheese, orange, pistachios and beets in a roasted shallot vinaigrette and the butter lettuce salad with Honeycrisp apples, toasted walnuts blue cheese and a green goddess dressing.
roasted beet salad
Bibb lettuce salad
Diners have a choice of ordering a main course and sides or opting for composed dishes that come with sides. Our main courses included a perfectly cooked ribeye and the composed dish of wild organic salmon with a honey-mustard Glaze, organic couscous, Beurre Blanc and crispy leeks.
We also sampled sides of lobster mac and cheese and creamed spinach.
lobster mac n cheese
Vibrato also offers a wide variety of desserts, we sampled the warm bittersweet chocolate truffle cake and the vanilla bean creme brulee with fresh berries. Both were excellent.
Vibrato Jazz Grill is the perfect place for a romantic date, to celebrate a special event, or just to eat some good food and listen to exceptional jazz. Located at 2930 Beverly Glen Circle in Bel Air, reservations at 310.474.9400.
Posted on Jan 31, 2014 under Archives, San Francisco |
Chef Michael Chiarello’s Coqueta
Chef Michael Chiarello, owner of Chiarello Family Vineyards, Napa Style and Bottega in Yountville, opened Coqueta, his first Spanish influenced restaurant, last year on Pier 5 in San Francisco.
Working with chef de cuisine Ryan Mcllwrath, Chiarello spent two years in Spain researching recipes for the tapas inspired menu. Lots of work also went into renovating the space. Tables were raised so diners can admire the ocean view, the outdoor terrace was glassed in to create an enclosed al fresco bar area, a huge wood fired oven was added to the open kitchen, and the inside décor was enhanced with long dramatic drapes and cowhide rugs.
“Coqueta” translates to “flirt,” which references the chef’s playful dishes, drinks and experimentation with a new Spanish cuisine.
The 56-seat restaurant offers a variety of plates. Here is what we sampled when I visited last month.
Pintxos at Coqueta
The Pintxos, one-bite skewers, are a fun way to start a meal and include house cured boquerones; chorizo, roasted artichokes and piquillo peppers; Serrano ham, manchego cheese and apricot conserve; baby beets with cana de cabra cheese, and quails egg with pickled mustard seed and ham.
Pintxos at Coqueta
We also sampled the El Plat Cap which was a nice selection of cured meats served with nuts and a pan de cristal con tomato.
El Plat Cap
Our tapas items began with white gazpacho with marcona almonds, grapes and syrah. We loved this.
Next came the red kale ensalada with roasted squash, fuyu persimmons, and warm rancho cordo.
red kale salad
The tapas also included a nice smoked salmon bite with queso fresco and truffle honey. Yum.
My fave of all the tapas was the chicken and English pea croquetas with cured cara cara orange.
We also sampled the sunny side-up egg with shrimp, crispy potato and a chorizo dressing. This is the most popular dish of the tapas.
egg with shrimp and potato
The grilled albondigas, pork and duck meatballs, with a tart cherry and tempranillo puree were also lovely, as was the grilled shortribs served Catalan style.
duck and port meatball
Larger family style plates include a variety of paellas, we had the classic with bomba rice in a Jamon serrano and shellfish broth with root vegetables, chorizo, gulf prawns, clams and lemon alioli. A must to order.
Other main courses on the menu include a whole grilled branzino, a 32 ounce ribeye and a pork shoulder loin.
Dessert includes a strawberry rhubarb gazpacho in liquid nitrogen, churros, caramel lollipos with popcorn and ice cream sandwiches. We sampled the lollipops and the churros, both were a great end to a fabulous meal.
The cocktail menu is equally inventive, with specialty sangria, mojitos, margaritas and traditional porrons – party pitchers of refreshing libations. We had the festive mojito costa brava with mint, white rum, lime and minted cane sugar as well as the J&T, a non-alcoholic juniper, lime and tonic beverage. I also got to sample a special holiday cocktail, don’t remember what it was but it was delicious.
mojito costa brava and J&T
Coqueta is a perfect spot to wind down with a sangria and tapas and travel to Spain while remaining in San Francisco. Located at Pier 5, The Embarcadero, reservations highly recommended at 415.704.8866.
Posted on Jan 08, 2014 under Archives |
Buffalos at The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch
Last month, The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch unveiled a brand new restaurant and lounge in addition to upgraded guest rooms, expansion of their unique ski-in, ski-out experience and updated spa treatment and relaxation areas.
The new Buffalos restaurant features a seasonal menu focused on local ingredients, specifically showcasing grass-fed buffalo and bison dishes. Guests can enjoy buffalo steak and eggs, bison burgers, bison chili, bison tartare, bison sheppard’s pie, and bison ribeye in addition to a variety of entrees including rack of lamb, seared sea bass and steamed mussels. Here are some of the items I sampled while I was there.
We started with appetizers of bison tartare with mustard, capers and a quail egg, a bison salad and buffalo wings.
Main courses included a starting entree of a lovely ranch lamb chop with baby carrots and rosemary.
We also were served a bison shepherd’s pie with ugly goat potatoes, gravy, carrots, peas and mushrooms. This was my fave of the night.
We also enjoyed Little Snake River mountain trout with a couscous salad and champagne vinaigrette and a bison ribeye with beer battered onion rings.
In addition to highlighting bison dishes, another unique feature of the restaurant is their Colorado crafted draught and bottled beer program featuring the finest locally created beers. Diners can enjoy a beer paired meal or opt to order from the restaurant’s specialty hand-crafted cocktail menu.
Design elements of the restaurant include an open kitchen, carved rock pillars and a wooden beamed ceiling. All of the items Chef Daniel Bouza served us were fantastic.
The new exclusive Bachelors Lounge also opened in December, offering guests a place to relax while enjoying imported cigars, hookahs and signature cocktails in the indoor area next to a large modern fireplace or al fresco in the covered and heated smoking lounge. Cozy and comfortable outside seating provides stunning views of the surrounding mountains, while the inside area offers live music.
The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch is also home to Wolfgang Puck’s Spago, offering new seasonal winter menus as well a chef’s multi-course tasting menu. Here is what I sampled when I visited.
tuna and hamachi sashimi
Appetizers include a fresh tuna and hamachi sashimi, a spicy tuna tartare with avocado, ginger, and sesame wonton chips, and a mixed green salad with apples, fennel, blue cheese and candied walnuts.
spicy tuna tartare
mixed green salad
Our main courses included wild Alaskan King Salmon with pancetta, clams, fennel and a leek puree, mushroom agnolotti with black truffle, goat cheese, mascarpone and parmesan, and Wagyu short ribs with toasted farro and winter root vegetables. All dishes were outstanding, with our fave of the night being the incredible short ribs.
Alaskan King Salmon
Waygu short ribs
Dessert was a traditional Kaiserschmarren, a pancake with strawberry topping.
The resort’s renovated look embraces the “parkitecture” design style inspired by the great mountain lodges of the Western United States, including earth tones, contemporary artwork and sophisticated furnishings. The updated design in the impressive rustic Great Room centers around a three-story stone, wood-burning fireplace and throughout the 180-guest rooms and suites.
The large open club room showcases food and drink options throughout the day and provides a nice relaxation area for Club guests.
The resort has also expanded their renowned ski valet services located steps away from ski lifts. Guests can use the ski valet to pre-warm boots and prep skis so equipment is ready to go when needed. At the end of the day, guests equipment is cleaned and stored. Apres ski, visiotrs can enjoy the outdoor heated pool and Jacuzzi, firepit and gourmet s’mores.
outdoor heated pool
The award-winning spa has also been refreshed with updated treatment rooms and relaxation areas, centered by the rock-lined grottos featuring steam, sauna and hot and cold plunge areas. For a perfect winter getaway, head to The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, reservations at 970.748.6200 or http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/BachelorGulch/Default.htm.
Posted on Nov 15, 2013 under Archives, Interviews, Other interesting people |
Singer, producer, and composer Steve Tyrell was born in Texas and grew up in Houston’s 5th Ward. As a teenager, he performed in local R & B bands and at 19 he landed a job as a staff producer in New York at indie label Scepter Records. Tyrell was soon promoted to head of A & R and promotions and began to work with some of America’s greatest songwriters; Burt Bacharach, Hal David, Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann and Carole King. After recruiting fellow Texan BJ Thomas, Tyrell produced his hits, “Hooked on a Feeling,” and Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head.”
In Los Angeles, he co-founded Tyrell –Mann, a music supervision company, and continued to produce Grammy-Award winning songs for movies and also music for television. He returned to singing in 1991, with a cameo performance of “The Way You Look Tonight,” for the movie Father of the Bride. That eventually led to a ten albums, most featuring standards.
Tyrell recently performed three nights at Catalina Jazz Club to promote his latest album, “It’s Magic: The Songs of Sammy Cahn.” The album’s thirteen songs salute Cahn who was one of the top songwriters of the 20th century. Classics that Cahn co-wrote with Jimmy Van Heusen, such as “Come Fly With Me,” “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head,” and “Teach Me Tonight” are included.
“The album coincides with this year’s centennial of both Cahn and Van Heusen and illuminates a musical legacy,” said Tyrell. When asked why he chose to work on a tribute album to the songwriter, Tyrell explains, “Frank Sinatra recorded 87 of his songs, he was nominated for 27 Academy Awards and won four times, but most people don’t know who he was. They only know the songs he wrote.”
In his latest tour to promote the album, Tyrell places emphasis on the importance of songwriters. “Sammy wrote songs for the Rat Pack era. He spoke for that period of pop culture, louder than anyone else did.”
Tyrell will be back at the Catalina Jazz Club in February 2014. I sat down to chat with Tyrell about his latest album and upcoming projects.