eat & drink

eat & drink, events

Whitty vegan tees welcome: Eat Drink Vegan hits LA this weekend

May 25, 2017

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Los Angeles takes pride in being a vegan-friendly destination, touting some of the best high-end and wallet-friendly vegan eating in the country. This Saturday, May 27, the annual Eat Drink Vegan festival (formerly the Vegan Beer & Food Festival) will bring all the best vegan eats (and drinks) to one place.

But isn’t beer vegan anyways? Most beers are, but not all. The most obvious example of non-vegan beer styles are milk stouts, which contain lactose. Some Oyster Stouts actually contain oysters. Guinness isn’t vegan either. Of course, all of the 250+ drinks pouring at this weekend’s festival are 100% vegan.

The festival features around 80 breweries curated by Jimmy Han of Beer Belly. There are plenty of local Los Angeles breweries to check off your list, new and old. Los Angeles Ale Works returns to the fold after opening its Hawthorne brewery earlier this year, bringing along a new, experimental brew Blüme Berliner Weisse. Homage Brewing and Cellador Ales are both VIP access only, but both will be pouring some amazing sour beers. If you’re following the hazy IPA trend, there will be a few of those!

Not a fan of beer? There’s also wine, kombucha, craft soda, cold brew and tea. Six of the breweries are cideries offering dry and fruited options – both of which will pair well with this So Cal spring weather.

Food lovers will unite over, well, pretty much anything on the list – you don’t have to be vegan to enjoy these incredible dishes (some of which you wouldn’t ever guess was vegan).

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Eat Drink Vegan festival takes place at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena this Saturday, May 27. Ticketholders receive entry at 2:00pm (12:00 noon for VIP tickets), with the last pour “around” 7:30 pm. Bring a blanket and/or a lawn chair to enjoy the food and plenty of live music on stage.

Tickets are still available here!

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eat & drink

Drink your way through Atwater’s Ozu East Kitchen

April 27, 2016

“There’s a tradition that you never leave a glass empty,” says Paul Yi while fidling our cups with of one of his favorite bottles of sake, Dassai, a high-polish sake with a floral punch. He stays true to his word, attentive at tables around the restaurant and even greeting customers as they walk through the door.

The new Atwater Village restaurant has turned a former upscale grocery market into a brightly lit modern space. This is Yi’s first restaurant, but it doesn’t feel like a first. The menu is sophisticated but accessible, featuring pan-Asian dishes with a focus on Los Angeles’ favorite dish – ramen.

Where to start?

From the menu, Snacks and Starters are perfectly paired with sake, which features three of Paul’s favorite brands and styles. You could go for wine to start, if sake isn’t your thing, but the spice and smokey flavors of food pair so well with the floral/anise punch of, for instance, the Dassai sake.

Sake in hand, the Avocado “Toast” is not what would be expected (practically every LA menu has this) – the toast is a crispy rice cake smeared with an avocado-yuzu spread. The yuzu brings a splash of citrus which compliments the smoked kochujang and just a sprinkle of macha (for your health, you know).

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Blistered Shishitos sit atop a bed of smoked mayo and Japanese plums, thoroughly seasoned and, well, “blistered.” These peppers always go great with beer – usually pretty mild with the occasional super spicy – but in this case it’s a perfect companion to a floral sake.

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The Crispy Rice Cake is listed under Small plates, but is a plentiful helping to share. Don’t be shy – break up that egg and mix it together with the chili vinaigrette and nori for the full effect.

Next up: Beer

“Chicken” Fried Tofu might be the dish I have to order every single time and not share with anyone. The tofu is crispy on the outside and adorned with a salty sweet soy caramel, mayo and spicy jalapeño. It pairs perfectly with a hoppy beer or Asahi; the beer menu features a couple of our favorite Craftsman Brewing beers California beers like Telegraph Brewing.

If tofu isn’t your thing, move on to the Pork Roll – braised pork shoulder, jalapeño miso and pea sprouts wrapped in a scallion pancake. This is a favorite dish amongst meat lovers!

The Kimchi Udon Shrimp is perhaps one of the most unique dishes with a supremely creamy kimchi sauce, udon noodles and perfectly cooked shrimp topped with little bits of spam and watercress.

Ozu Kitchen Kimchi Udon Shirmp

It’s no secret that Angelenos LOVE their noodles. One simply cannot dine at Ozu without a bowl of ramen and a glass of cold, dry beer. There are three main options – pork, miso (vegetarian) and chicken. The Pork Ramen is a clear winner; slightly lighter than other versions you’ll find around the city (Paul likes to keep the menu light), it’s broth is still rich in flavor accompanied by pork belly, ajitama egg, pickles and mizuna. The Chicken Ramen has plenty of flavor but the Miso Ramen has my vote for uniqueness with tofu, spinach noodles, mushrooms, pickles and mizuna.

Without a doubt, wine is the main star on the drink menu at Ozu – the list is extensive, concentrating mainly on French and Spanish varieties; the minerals of the wine complimenting the fatty, salty and spicy flavors of the menu.

Dining is casual at Ozu and the price reasonable. Lunch is now served from noon-3:00 pm Tuesday-Sunday and features Bento Boxes with meat and vegan options accompanied by pickles, salad, miso soup and rice.

 

eat & drink, events

Sriracha Festival coming soon to Chinatown

September 29, 2014

sriracha-festival-los-angeles-chefs-restaurants-2014Now that we’ve survived the sixth annual LA Beer Week (phew!), it’s time to start planning for the next great beer adventure! Luckily you don’t have to wait too much longer.

The Second Annual Sriracha Festival is coming up on Sunday, October 19 from 3-6 pm in the Central Plaza of Chinatown. That red, spicy stuff recently became an icon of Los Angeles after Irwindale resident complaints almost led to a shut-down of its factory. Thankfully, the factory is still churning out the stuff (chili processing/grinding was in August) and this festival is a great way to celebrate.

Buy your tickets soon – regular admission is $59, while VIP will cost you $90 but you’ll get reserved seating and an hour early admission.

Click here for tickets.

eat & drink, events, happy hour

LA Beer Week kicks off in just a week

September 13, 2014

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It’s already starting to feel like LA Beer Week! Even though we have a few more days to go, Eagle Rock Brewery debuted its pale ale Unity (the official beer of beer week) at its taproom on Friday, and our dance cards from September 20-28 are filling up quickly.

What is LA Beer Week?

If you’re new to the scene, LA Beer Week is a celebration of the Los Angeles craft beer culture for one week each year. Bars, breweries, restaurants and other venues host events throughout the week and all over Los Angeles – tap takeovers, music and beer entertainment, dinners/pairings, cask events… you name it!

The events themselves are not hosted by the LA Beer Week organizers – they are hosted by the venues themselves, so any beer/food or ticket purchases must be made through that venue. But all LA Beer Week participating events are posted on the official website, so the best way to see if there’s something in your neck of the woods is to click here and filter through the calendar.

Otherwise, there are a few things we’re really looking forward to on the east-ish side of town if you’re over here, including:

Continue Reading…

eat & drink

Beer blogging adventures with Firestone Walker: Part 3

June 12, 2014

This is part 3 of 3. Read part 1 here and part 2 here.

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After a delicious lunch at the Firestone Brewery, we’re back on the bus for a super top secret “surprise.” We arrive at Villicana Winery, where owners Alex and Monica Villicana have not only set up a beautiful, long table on the lawn for dinner, but they’ve got something special inside.

They greet us with a palate cleanser of not anything wine-related, but with vodka, lime and dill. A quick rundown of the winery: the 13-acre winery only produces about 2,000 cases annually of nine different wines. After sipping on our palate cleansers, we’re still wondering where this is leading… where does the beer fit in?

Villicana is also home to an extremely unique craft that you don’t see at wineries – a distillery! They call the brand RE:FIND because they actually refine saignée (the runoff grape juice removed prior to fermentation), turning this juice into spirits like brandy, vodka and gin. It’s sustainable, eco-friendly and practically genius – typically about 10-30% of the entire production of wine goes down the drain before the even start making the wine. Some wineries turn the juice into a Rosé. Ultimately, RE:FIND collects about 20,000 gallons of juice from the 16 wineries in the Paso Robles area.

Continue Reading…

eat & drink

My Sour Valentine

February 14, 2013

The best Valentine’s Day plans always seem to arise from you and the one you love, doing something you both love, not what others tell you you should be doing to commemorate the day. Why shell out for roses if the only time your lady likes them is when they’re floating in a Randall? Then something like Avery Sour Valentine dinner at Blue Palms Brewhouse comes across your radar, and you know a couple of beer geeks like my husband and I suddenly have got plans. So what if it was a day early?

The entire six-course dinner and beer pairing was tailor-made for geeks of various stripes. While Blue Palms has always had great pub food and one of the best tap lists in Los Angeles, I had no idea what a food geek proprietor Brian Lenzo was until he unveiled this amazing menu.

Between each course he went into great detail about all of the care that went into each element and how he chose to pair the food with Avery’s sours. Hand-cranking vanilla ice cream while slowing adding the discontinued Avery sour Immitis into the mix, finding the perfect cut of venison for the carpaccio, exposing cucumbers to lactobacillus for pickles…. Brian and his team really went for the gold on this, his first food and beer pairing dinner. It’s always delightful to see a sweet guy like Brian beaming and totally in his element, you can really feel the love.

Continue Reading…

eat & drink, just beer

Stone Brewing Pasadena store officially open

October 22, 2012

Stone Brewing Pasadena store

The city’s craft beer scene just got a new addition – Stone Brewing’s new flagship store in Pasadena is now officially open for business.

We got an opportunity to enjoy several Stone brews last Thursday night for the store’s pre-opening happy hour celebration. The bar’s 24 taps feature the 16 year old company’s regular brews, plus a few specialties/seasonals like Mint Chocolate Imperial Stout and “Enjoy By” IPA (which you’re supposed to drink within 30 days of its release).

There is plenty of Stone merchandise on the shelves, from t-shirts and hats to mustard and glassware. You can also fill your growler, pick up some bottled brews, or rent a keg. We recommend grabbing a glass of Russian Imperial Stout (or even the smoked Stout as it’s a favorite) and sitting outside at one of the patio tables. There are a couple of restaurants as well as the Metro stop, so there’s plenty of people watching!

As we left, there were more than 50 people patiently waiting in a line, empty growlers in hand. Probably pretty happy to not have to drive all the way to Escondido or Oceanside for their favorite beer. All we actually needed to do was hop on the Metro from Chinatown, and the store is literally a stone’s throw from the platform (no pun intended).

And speaking of the Metro, this is a great way to get out to this area of Pasadena and have all the great beer – Congregation Ale House and Lucky Baldwins are just around the corner, along with Haven Gastropub and Kings Row also not too far away. It’s a cheap and easy ride, just make sure you don’t miss the last train home!

Stone Brewing Co. Store is located at 220 S Raymond Ave. Ste 103. Pasadena

Big crowd outside waiting to fill their growlers

Mint Chocolate Imperial Stout

eat & drink

Honey, bring home a bucket o’ chicken?

July 6, 2012

Today is National Fried Chicken Day! And even though about a quarter of Americans eat this kind of stuff every day, fried chicken is a luxury in our household – a special occasion to indulge one night just every once in a while. And forget KFC – our favorite local establishment for our fried chicken night is Dinah’s Fried Chicken, located in Glendale but close enough to Atwater Village that it’s a short drive (there’s also a “Dinah’s Restaurant” on Sepulveda Blvd.).

The “Family Special” includes 10 pieces and two medium sides for just $20 – not bad for a fresh-fried and extremely delicious meal plus leftovers, which honestly are my favorite (who doesn’t like cold fried chicken for breakfast?). The chicken is deep fried and pressure cooked at the same time, giving it a nice moist inside with a super flavorful and crispy outside. We usually go for a side of mashed potatoes and gravy, but you can’t ever leave Dinah’s without a side of Pineapple Cole Slaw. Also on the menu to pair with the fried chicken: Potato salad, french fries, bean salad, fruit mellow, mac salad, corn on the cob, and mac ‘n cheese.

Hungry yet?

If you’re more adventurous than we are, LAist also recommends the fried liver (which is, of course, chicken liver and not the now-banned duck liver). They’ve also got seafood offerings, including shrimp and fish, and fried gizzards.

And don’t forget to celebrate National Fried Chicken Day by pairing it with a nice cold one. We usually go for a tall glass of German Pilsner; the crisp, slightly dry, and light-bodied lager goes perfectly with the spices on the crispy chicken skin. If you’re looking for something a little heavier than a Pilsner, don’t go too dark – an amber ale or Oktoberfest will also go nicely.

Glendale Location

The bucket sign

10 piece bucket. It appears to be a small bucket, but for two it lasts!

Fried chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, pineapple coleslaw

Dinah’s Fried Chicken is located at 4106 San Fernando Road, Glendale, CA

eat & drink

Faux Pas Bistro opens tonight in West Hollywood

May 3, 2012

Tonight is the grand opening of Faux Pas Bistro – a newly renovated California-French inspired restaurant on Fairfax and Third in West Hollywood. We happily attended the media cocktail party on Monday night for a sneak peak of the restaurant’s new look and new menu.

Designed by Kris Keith of Spacecraft (the same guy who did Mohawk Bend), Faux Pas Bistro has a much more open floor plan than previous restaurants – the patio has turned into the bar area, the bar into the lounge area complete with darkly-lit red vinyl booths, and the main area is now more casual with open-air dining. The two-story waterfall and frosted asian-style windows have been replaced by red and white brick and a revised entry-way, making it look like a much different building than it was before.

The menu is Californian inspired by French Cuisine, with bistro classics (comfort food!) served up by Executive Chef Oz Ramuco, including onion soup, mac n cheese, chicken cordon bleu, sea bass almondine, croque monsieur, and pizettes. We immediately became buddies with a staff member named Paul, who raved about the menu and made us promise to return.

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Passed appetizers at the cocktail party included a tasty but not exciting Tuna Tartare on Endive, melt-in-your mouth Pizettes, beef sliders on a brioche bun, and a Croque Monsieur (ham and cheese) Lollipop. A variety of wines and punch also kept us from thirst, as well as Guava/Jalapeno and Blood Orange mimosas.

Right now, they’ve got just four beers on tap, including Napa Smith, Green Flash West Coast IPA (a popular choice), Blue Moon (ouch!), and Boont Amber Ale. Thankfully there’s a La Fin du Monde and a few other bottled options if those don’t float your boat. But this establishment feels less like a beer spot, the ambiance might tempt you to order a fancy cocktail like the self-titled Faux Pas (Vodka, Plum Puree, Citrus Juice and Apple Cider).

Arrive with three or more people in your car and get complimentary valet. And starting June 4, they’ll open at 11:00 am for brunch and will include a Mimosa Bar – six different varieties of bottomless mimosas until 6:00 pm.

We suggest a little sage burning in the new space to clear all the bad juju from previous establishments. We’re all too familiar with this location’s ever-changing restaurants: Years ago it was a tiki restaurant, then Yi Cuisine and Celadon (we worked as bartenders at both), then a Thai food spot. Hopes are high – Manager Jessica Davis told us the restaurant is here to stay.

Faux Pas Bistro is located on 7910 W. 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048
Open Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 6:00 pm – 12:30 am
facebook.com/FauxPasBistro
For reservations call (323) 424-4767

beer to-go, cocktail time, eat & drink, happy hour, just beer

What to expect from Girls Who Like Beer

April 25, 2012

At last! The launch of Girls Who Like Beer. An idea that sprouted a couple of years ago as an excuse for me to drink more… beer!

Not your typical Los Angeles resident, I’m a northern California mountain girl who knows how to build a camp fire and kick back (or keep up) with the boys. A former bartender, a graphic designer, and a budding foodie, I’m an experienced Angeleno living in the neighborhood of Echo Park. And the most important thing?

I don’t diet, I’m not experienced with lipstick, and the high heels are currently collecting dust. But it’s not just about beer – it’s about the lifestyle of beer-lovers, a rustic girl’s guide to Los Angeles. Who’s got the best happy hour? The strongest margaritas? Belgians on tap? Bar food to die for?

This website is a personal endeavor – you may get glimpses into my life – as well as a place for fellow beer-loving Angelenos to contribute. For those girls who say they don’t like beer – ditch the fufu girlie shots at the bar (no Red Headed Slut shots here), and get to know the carefully crafted brews that make life worth living and Los Angeles worth exploring.