Hotels dig into dinelarestaurantweek

 

DineLA Restaurant Week, the twice year culinary event,  returns  on October 3-8 and October 10-15, 2010) and again January 23-28 and January 30-February 4, 2011. ) with a fresh new twist pairing three-course prix-fixe meals at some of Los Angeles’ premier kitchens with overnight stays at some of the city’s most buzzed-about hotels.

“Locals look forward to dineLA Restaurant week as a chance to experience meals from world-renowned culinary talents including Tom Colicchio, José Andrés, and Gordon Ramsey at a fraction of the price,” says Mark Liberman, president and CEO of LA INC. “We are excited to extend this value to economical epicureans throughout California and nationwide. We want travelers to discover Los Angeles as a world-class dining destination where they can eat and sleep like stars without breaking the bank.”

The new dineLA hotel & restaurant packages offer a range of culinary and travel experiences as diverse as the city itself. From a dinner for two at L.A. Market and a stay at the JW Marriott in the heart of Downtown LA’s  L.A. LIVE to an unforgettable gastronomic adventure at José Andrés’ The Bazaar paired with the sleek sophistication of the SLS Beverly Hills, packages will be available from dineLA partners such as

: JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE/L.A. Market; Le Merigot/Cezanne; Millennium Biltmore/Sai Sai; O Hotel/O Bar & Kitchen; SLS Beverly Hills/The Bazaar; The Hollywood Heights/The Hideout; The Portofino Hotel & Yacht Club/BALEENLosangeles; Westin Bonaventure/LA Prime; W Hollywood/Delphine; W Los Angeles-Westwood/NINETHIRTY; and more.

Reservations are are available online shortly at: www.dineLA.com/RestaurantWeek

DineLA Restaurant Week is served in three categories and three courses  (Deluxe, Premier, and Fine Dining) with specially priced three-course meals for lunch and/or dinner at hundreds of restaurants throughout the city. 

 Lunch Dinner $ Deluxe Dining: $16 $26 $$ Premier Dining: $22 $34 $$$ Fine Dining: $28 $44

Highly recommended (we do it every time) is the $20 rebate from American Express® that cardmembers receive  by registering with the credit card company prior to the event.  You must go out to eat three times to be eligible. 

 Presented by LA INC. and American Express, dineLA Restaurant Week has been designed to stimulate business and introduce new customers to restaurants located in the many neighborhoods throughout LA County. A dineLA Restaurant Week hotel program is being added this year which will allow hotel properties with participating restaurants to offer special dineLA rates and culinary packages, with the goal to increase regional and national visitors to Los Angeles during Restaurant Week.

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A Few of The Divaonthego’s Favorite LA Restaurants

As the Dining Diva and  Diva on the Go, I am often asked what restaurants or places I like best.  So I decided to start making a list.

Here are a few of my top 10 places to dine in Los Angeles. I have quite a few more but I’ll divulge them another time:

Cecconi’s–  When Morton’s stood here years ago, it was the tinsel town spot to go, work the room and be scene (sic). There’s no difference since it became Cecconi’s, except in the décor and menu, of course. The place roars with the young, good looking, and restless crowd. Celebs, industry folk and wanna be’s still work the rooms—there’s a coveted terrace and indoor seating. The food is more reasonably-priced than Mortons was, but just as good. The chic marble, wood and chandeliered Italian eatery caters to a celebrity crowd from lunch through dinner. But just about everybody steps through the front door looking like a fashion plate. It’s loud and lively with great food like wood-oven baked meatballs ($10), ahi tuna tartare, Alaska salmon carpaccio ( $14), eggplant parmigiana ($19), pappardelle with homemade sausage and wild mushrooms ($20), sides of spinach ($6) and Broccolini ($6) and a chocolate cake for $9. The food is moderately high-priced but adult beverages can break the bank. Even a glass of milk costs $6! Man that’s milking the cow. Open daily breakfast, lunch and dinner, brunch on Sunday. 8764 Melrose Avenue, 310-276-5205). 310-432-2000

 Mr. Chow — What can we say about this wildly popular Hollywood hangout that hasn’t been said in the last 30 years. In case you haven’t heard. It’s simply one of the best Chinese restaurants in country where classic dishes are served in a clubby, lively setting by an impossibly efficient wait staff. A favorite haunt of tinsel town’s old timers and young, up and comers, Mr. Chow’s panache is equally divided between the superb food and it’s room working clientele. Sometimes there’s so much table-hopping going one wonders when these people eat. From won ton soup to noodles, fried rice and Peking duck, everything’s delicious here, go with a large group and order lots of dishes. Dinner daily, lunch is served Monday through Friday. (344 N. Camden Drive, Beverly Hills, 310-278-9911. www.mrchow.com/beverlyhills.

 Spago– Celebrity uberchef Wolfgang Puck’s penultimate power spot caters to a coterie of regulars straight from the pages of Hollywood’s elite A-list who go as much to enjoy the fantastic food as to be seen and “work the room”. Be sure to order Puck’s famous designer pizza starters and then prepare to feast on some of the finest crafted California cuisine in the State. Celebs pretty much get first dibs to primo patio seating and 8 o’clock reservations. Every morsel of Spago’s ever-changing menu is a culinary delight. Dinner daily, lunch Monday-Saturday. (176 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, 310-385-0880. www.Wolfgangpuck.com).

Mastro’s– Steaks prepared to perfection take top billing at this chic restaurant (as do many of its famous people who frequent it). Stained glass, rich woods and deep colors provide a provocative atmosphere where carnivores can enjoy 40-ounce porterhouse, 18-ounce Kansas City strips, veal porterhouse or other cuts of tender beef. Side dishes are equally yummy, especially the Gorgonzola macaroni, sautéed mushrooms or French fries. There’s relaxing upstairs bar/lounge where you can enjoy generous sized drinks while before or after dinner. Dinner served daily, no lunch. (246 N Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, 310-888-8782, www.mastrossteakhouse.com

 Matsuhisa–  Sushi gone wild should be Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s motto with the dozens of delicious offerings on his vast menu. Not only will this prove the best Japanese food you’ve ever eaten, this side of Asia anyway, it most likely will prove the most expensive. It’s not easy getting a reservation at this tiny spot; so do check with our concierges. (129 N. La Cienega Blvd., 310-659-9639, http://www.nobumatsuhisa.com). Koi Asian fusion gone exotically, exceptionally wild could be the theme of this outstanding, hip and happening, celebrity packed dining emporium. The feng shui-styled dining area adorned with Buddha’s, bamboo and Zen-like ornaments provides the perfect showcase for each glorious dish. The crispy salmon salad or tangy tuna tuna tartare are the star starters and the Kobe filet mignon or Toban Yaki black cod lead the entrees. Dinner daily. (730 N. La Cienega Blvd., 310-659-9449).

Wilshire Restaurant– An over-the-top interior designed by Thomas Schoos combined with young eye candy fashionistas and brat pack celebrities makes this a great place to see and be seen. And the food’s pretty good, too. The décor creates a seductive tableau defined by dark woods balanced by canvas-covered ceilings, exaggerates images reflected from antique mirrors and sheer curtains billowing in breezes of the open-air patio. Recessed nooks and crannies provide intimate seating for romantic occasions enhanced by torch lit flower boxes, blazing candles perched on walls, sideboards and tables and intricate latticework. There’s even a posh cigar lounge to enjoy an after dinner smoke or cognac. The seasonally changing farm fresh cuisine is consistently good with choices from veal short ribs to black bass and Maine lobster. (2454 Wilshire Blvd., 310-586-1707, Open Monday through Saturday for dinner Monday through Friday for lunch. www.wilshirerestaurant.com).

Crustacean — Shellfish lovers will literally eat this place up. As its name implies, crustaceans are the name of the game here, served in an aquarium-like atmosphere—the fish tank is actually built into the floor and functions as a walkway from the entrance of the room to the tables. Bring a crowd so you can sample everything on the menu. It’s all good. Open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner. (9646 Santa Monica Blvd. South, Beverly Hills, 310-205-8990).

Vicente — Now that’s Italian! Authentic old country cooking with California flair is served at this charming, outrageously popular Brentwood restaurant. It’s the food that contents, from pizzas and pastas to artfully prepared vegetables, and the service that satisfies. Open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner. (11930 San Vicente Blvd., 310-207-0127, www.vincentiristorante.com).

 Melisse–  The perfect spot for special occasions, Melisse is all about food and ambiance. We always catch a few young couples obviously celebrating their engagement, or even getting engaged. Dinners are leisurely. Plan on spending two or three hours savoring super chef Josiah Citrin’s California/Mediterranean cuisine, which he says is “based on classical French techniques” and all natural ingredients, which he buys from local farmers. . This is the restaurant that foodies and food critics rave about and rightly so. Citrin’s food is fantastic. There are tasting menus (Highly Recommended) or a la carte choices that range from sweet pea soup with Greek Yogurt mint mousse; risotto done with asparagus and morel mushrooms in a red wine reduction; ricotta gnocchi; amazing white asparagus, wild king salmon that’s to die for, a trio of veal loin, veal spare rib and braised shank that makes your mouth sing with every bite. Carnivores will love the various Wagyu Kobe beef selections done with truffles or shiitake mushrooms. And everybody will dig desserts like sticky toffee pudding with mocha malt ice ream, coffee Tia Maria and orange consommé; raspberry-apricot tart with pistachio bavarois and raspberry sorbet that was awesome; or the lemon gratin with sugar crisps, mandarin crepes and vanilla caramel shake. Bring a big appetite folks you’re in for a treat. There’s a great wine list, but if you go for the tasting menu, it’s wise to defer to your waiter for pairings. Although somewhat pricey, the $95 three course-tasting menu is actually a bargain when you consider the quality of the food and presentation. Not exactly for the budget conscious, Melisse is designed for lovers of fine food. Not to worry if you’re new to the gourmet game, the wait staff is great and will patiently walk you through the menu. 1104 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-395-0881, www.melisse.com.

Bon Appetite!

Movie, Dinner & Free Parking For $60 Offered for Special Date Night At the Grove LA

Date night at LA’s Grove: a movie, dinner and free parking for $60 a couple

 Hey, what a deal. A movie, dinner at any of 7 restaurants and free valet parking for $60 a couple at the Grove at LA’s Farmer Market. The special, on-going promotion tagged, “Date Night”  can be booked by calling the Grove’s concierge at 323-900-8080. 

 I just booked Morels French Steakhouse & Bistro for my husband Richard and I for Thursday night. We liked the menu that includes a choice of two starters: Romaine heart salad, roasted beet salad, organic mesclun of French onion soup; two entrees: fish & chips, chicken & mushroom crepes, buccacatini au meatballs, or turkey escalope; and one dessert: crème caramel or berry cobbler. I’ll let you know how it goes.

 When you call tell them what movie you want to see and the time, and when  and where you’d like your dinner reservation booked, they do the rest. You can eat before or after the movie. Whatever time you select you won’t have to wait in line to get into the theater, as you pass will allow you to walk right in. You’ll need to reserve your Date Night with a credit card. Caveat emptor: if you don’t show up your credit card will be billed for the full price, so be sure to cancel if necessary.

 When you arrive at the Grove, go to the Concierge station and they will present you with a special package that includes a certificate and tickets. According to David Swift, head of marketing for the Grove, “We’re hoping this will be a staple at the Grove.” “We’re trying it out to see how it works.” Sounds pretty good to me since movie tickets alone run $15 and that’s 30 bucks a pop right there.

There’s one small glitch, some restaurants offer three full courses a person, others are providing full entrees but shared appetizers and/or desserts. It gets a little confusing. The menus are posted on-line at www.theGroveLA.com , you’ll need to navigate it a bit. Go to the bottom of the home page and watch for the changing photos, then hit the one that says, “Date Night.” The 640,000 square foot, Art Deco’ Renaissance -style Grove is located between West Third Street and Beverly Blvd. In addition to movies and restaurants, the complex houses shops and boutiques anchored by Nordstrom. Call: 888-315-8883 for general information; 323-900-8080 for concierge services.

New Year’s Eve at Michael’s Santa Monica

  Just got this message from  Michael’s Santa Monica, one of my favorite places for super delicious and romantic dinners.  The perfect, candle-lit spot for couples to ring in the New York–or to give her a ring….


Come celebrate New Year’s Eve 2009 with an awesome party at Michael’s Santa Monica. The joint will be jumping, looking more beautiful than ever. The drinks will be flowing, with Champagne included with your meal.

And the kitchen, led by executive chef Mikey Stern, will be humming, producing special menus featuring our renowned fresh, seasonal, regional California cuisine. General manager Mike Nicol and sommelier Andrew Turner will provide great service and wine advice about our award-winning wine list.

Take your pick of two separate seatings:

First Seating (reservations available between 5:30 pm and 7:30 pm): 5 courses, $95 per person
(exclusive of tax and gratuity), including one glass of Champagne. (Click Here To View Menu)

Second Seating (reservations available starting at 8 pm): 6 courses, $175 per person
(exclusive of tax and gratuity), including free-flowing Champagne and dancing past
midnight to music from renowned jazz musician Don Allen and his band. (Click Here To View Menu)

For reservations, please phone Michael’s Santa Monica at 310-451-0843.
Or make your reservations through .

Tables are limited, so please book quickly.

We hope to see you here for a great New Year’s Eve Party!

 

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Michael’s Santa Monica | 1147 3rd Street | santa Monica | CA | 9043

The Diva Does the Miyako Hybrid Hotel

When I stepped into the new Miyako Hybrid Hotel it felt like I’d left LA and gone to Japan. 

 Gracious kimono-clad receptionists greeted us softly with welcome smiles. The lobby speaks the Orient and everything about the highly-stylized 208-room reflects a yin and yang serenity.

 Hard to fathom such graciousness smack amid a bustling commercial area in Torrance, California, 25-minutes from downtown Los Angeles and a stone’s throw from LAX. We actually went to the hotel to sample the much touted Gonpachi Restaurant Sushi Bar & Lounge.

 We decided to tie it in with an over-night to see exactly what a “Hybrid Hotel” was all about. The whole experience proved rather pleasant. Your basic business traveler facility, there’s no pool or recreational facilities, but a spa and fitness center are in the works, and there’s free Internet connection, two computers available to guests, and shuttle service to and from the airport.

Unless you’re doing business at one of many Japanese corporations (Toyota, Honda and the like) that line Western Avenue, or need a place to plop on a LAX layover, you might be better off just going to Miyako to sample the Japanese fusion cuisine offered at Gonpachi.

The Diva loved her room.

 Comfortable and beautifully appointed , the bed actually engulfed us into a wonderful night’s sleep.   Nice touches include  coffee makers, ultra fine linens, 46 inch flatscreen TVs,, luxurious soaking tubs in which I indulged for a long bath, heated water bidets, and a special system that shuts off electricity when you leave the room (with the exception of a special plug for cell phones etc).

The management prides itself on being “green” and makes special other efforts such as labeling trash baskets for recycling and changing sheets every three days.

 We sampled Gonpachi early in the game—it had opened only two weeks prior to our visit, December 2, 2009. We were told the menu and the wine list weren’t yet completed. Named after “Shirai Gonpachi”, the main character of a Kabuki, a form of traditional Japanese Theatre, the restaurant has an authentic edge. We ordered several items and enjoyed every attractively presented bite from the house, hand-made soba and udon noodles, to plates such as Sunomono –thinly sliced japanese cucumber in tosazu, Meiji Tofu, silken tofu with shibazuke sauce, crispy fried chicken with ponzu sauce, Gindara Saikyo Yaki–grilled miso-marinated black cod, kobe beef and mushroom cooked in hoba leaf (this was particularly fantastic), mixed seaweed : sweet sesame vinaigrette, Red Snapper Carpaccio with blueberry, garlic chips and yuzu kosho(also amazing), Kobujime–thin sliced halibut sashimi on kelp with daikon radish and red chili peppers (couldn’t get enough of this but had to save room), Flying Dragon–spicy tuna roll topped with unagi tempura and guess what? Cheese cake for dessert that was outstanding. It‘s definitely worth checking out when you get a yen for really good Japanese cuisine. And, if you’re really into all these Asian, check out the adjacent Mitsuwa Marketplace—where you can pick up anything from Japanese spices to fresh fish, takeout food, clothing and even Shiseido cosmetics. Miyako Hybrid Hotel, 21381 S. Western Avenue, Torrance, 310-212-5111, www.miyakohybridhotel.com.

Since I’m sure  you’re curious, “Hybrid” according to the company suggests eco-friendliness which is carried through with solar-powered electrical system, environmentally responsible and recycled construction materials. Miyako refers to “a flourishing center of business and entertainment.” Miyako Hybrid is the newest member of the well-respected Japanese hospitality chain.

The Diva’s Picks for Holiday Dining, RH at Andaz is a good start

With its open, airy design and mid-century vibe, RH at Andaz West Hollywood provides a whimsical yet  sophisticated setting. So relaxed and yet urbane, it offers a fun place to sit back and enjoy some creative cuisine with friends or family.   Executive Chef Sebastien Archambault, master of  market-to-table menus has concocted some festive meals to enjoy during the yuletide season…

 Christmas Eve – Thursday, December 24, served 3 to 11 p.m.

RH will offer a festive four-course menu featuring Chef Archambault’s own family recipes using California’s ingredients. Price is $65 per person (tax and gratuity not included).

Aperitif:  Foie Gras Crostini, plum and fig chutney, pineau des charentes

1st Course:  Boothbay Harbor Lobster Parmentier, garlic, sea beans and salmon roe

2nd Course:  Seared Santa Barbara Halibut, artichoke hearts, gold chanterelles, baby spinach

3rd Course:  Foie Gras-Stuffed Petaluma Chicken Breast, butternut squash,

chestnut and chicken jus

Dessert:  Bûche de Noël

Christmas Day – Friday, December 25, served 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Christmas Brunch will be served along with a festive menu of “spirit-filled” cocktails. RH’s customary brunch items will be offered, including favorites like French-style Scrambled Eggs with smoked salmon and dill; Breakfast Salad; Homemade Crispy Duck Confit; and Gary’s Artisan Pork Sausage. (The restaurant will also be open for dinner with its customary menu.)

New Year’s Eve – Thursday, December 31

  • 1st Seating: 5 p.m.
  • 2nd Seating: 8 p.m.

Bid farewell to 2009 by indulging in Chef Archambault’s celebratory four-course New Year’s Eve menu. Reservations required. Price for the 1st Seating is $70 per person; 2nd Seating is $110 per person, which includes Champagne toast at midnight. Tax and gratuity not included.

Aperitif:  Poached Fanny Bay Oyster, smoked salmon, tiger lemon jelly

1st Course:  Hudson Valley Foie Gras Terrine, plum and fig chutney, warm homemade brioche 

2nd Course: Seared Diver Scallops, butternut squash, chestnut and celery,

chicken jus, black truffle

3rd Course:  Roasted Petaluma Duck Breast, porcini, gold chanterelles,

sautéed baby heirloom potatoes, garlic and parsley, pineau des charentes sauce

Dessert: Homemade Dillon Rum Baba, bourbon vanilla whipped cream

 Happy New Year…forgetabout football and head out to the RH at Andaz between 10 AM and 5 PM for some good eats…

Enjoy  brunch chased down by some  detox cocktails  such as a green smoothie, mint berry juice and fresh limonatta, or more adult beverages like RH BloodyMarys, Margaritas, Martinis or screwdrivers.

 RH Restaurant & Bar at the Andaz West Hollywood,  8401 W. Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA,    reservations: 323-785-6090, web:    www.andaz.com

The Diva Did McKenna’s on the Bay in Long Beach and liked it

 The Diva Did McKenna’s in Long Beach

At the suggestion of my friend Bob from Long Beach a group of friends and I went to lunch at McKenna’s on the Bay in Long Beach. We wanted a spot on the water. It was our first time and we were delightfully surprised by chef Arthur Gonzalez’s creative cuisine. And even more taken aback when my husband asked our waiter if he could have a seared Ahi sandwich (which wasn’t on the menu) and the chef fixed one perfectly. I had halibut fish and chips and asked if they could substitute the sweet potato fries for the chips and they did without a second thought. The Cole Slaw slide was as good as I make it, and that’s saying a lot. One friend had sushi rolls, another the Ahi salad, and everyone was happy with their choices. The prices are moderate, my meal was $16, not sure what the perfect cappuccino cost though because another friend treated and I never looked it up. We all skipped desert, but now I wish I hadn’t. Anyhow I highly recommend the place with its great views of the Bay and assorted sail boats, catamarans and boats plying the McKenna’s on the Bay, 190 Marina Drive, Long Beach, 562-342-9411. http://www.mckennasonthebay.com. close friends and I spent one of the best New Year’s Eve at the Island Hotel years ago when it was a Four Seasons. W The Diva Did McKenna’s in Long Beach At the suggestion of my friend Bob from Long Beach a group of friends and I went to lunch at McKenna’s on the Bay in Long Beach. We wanted a spot on the water. It was our first time and we were delightfully surprised by chef Arthur Gonzalez’s creative cuisine. And even more taken aback when my husband asked our waiter if he could have a seared Ahi sandwich (which wasn’t on the menu) and the chef fixed one perfectly. I had halibut fish and chips and asked if they could substitute the sweet potato fries for the chips and they did without a second thought. The Cole Slaw slide was as good as I make it, and that’s saying a lot. One friend had sushi rolls, another the Ahi salad, and everyone was happy with their choices. The prices are moderate, my meal was $16, not sure what the perfect cappuccino cost though because another friend treated and I never looked it up. We all skipped desert, but now I wish I hadn’t. Anyhow I highly recommend the place with its great views of the Bay and assorted sail boats, catamarans and boats plying the McKenna’s on the Bay, 190 Marina Drive, Long Beach, 562-342-9411. http://www.mckennasonthebay.com. e booked suites and partied all night because no one had to drive home The hotel changed names and management soon after, but retained its elegance and charm. The food under chef Bill Bracken is still fantastic. Spa treatments are top notch, the fitness center fits the bill, the swimming pool and deck area is divine and well it’s all good. So if you feel like ringing in 2010 in style check this out: For New Year’s Eve the Island Hotel will feature performances by Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. beginning with a cocktail reception from 8 to 9 PM featuring Asian delights like made-to-order Sushi, sashimi, California rolls, Peking duck, pot stickers and dim sum and that some. Super chef Bill Bracken (one of my favorite chefs) will also be fixing his famous Mac and Cheese Times Three–Classic, with Laughing Bird Shrimp and Crispy Sweetbreads. Don’t fill up, because that’s not all folks. Dinner’s served from 9 to 10:30 PM A feast of: Panko-Crusted Dungeness Crab Cake with Baby Beets, Shaved Persimmons, Blood Orange Vinaigrette Duet of Pan-Roasted Veal Chop & Roasted Maine Lobster with Yukon Gold Potatoes and Forest Mushrooms Trio of Decadent Chocolate and Mignardises Then settle back for a night of dancing and reveling with Grammy Award-winners Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. followed by a midnight champagne toast. Price is $795 per couple plus tax and tip. Add $100 for premier seating and $200 to spend the night. Island Hotel Newport Beach, 690 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, California 92660-6431, 888-321-4752. http://www.theislandhotel.com