Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.




East LA Meets Napa

on August 10th, 2011
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Pork carnitas taco

Pork carnitas taco

by Barnaby Hughes

Have you ever paired spicy tacos with a Napa Cabernet? This combination works surprisingly well! At “East LA Meets Napa,” dozens of Latino-owned Napa Valley wineries poured their wines alongside tacos, tamales and enchiladas served by East LA restaurants. Held on July 8, 2011, among the beautiful colonial-style courtyards of Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, this food and wine tasting event benefitted AltaMed, a health care network serving Southern California. Live salsa music added to the Latin sabor, giving couples an excuse to dance the night away.

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Crispy pork belly

Crispy pork belly

by Meryl Pearlstein

In the heart of New York’s Little Italy, you’ll find a bit of the determined immigrant spirit taking hold in an entirely new manner. Down a few steps through an unmarked door at 149 Mulberry St. sits an über-cool drink emporium with cuisine that’s as exciting as anywhere in Manhattan or Brooklyn.

The brainchild of chef Michael “Kiwi” Camplin, formerly of Boqueria and one of the most charming New Zealanders you’ll ever meet, The Mulberry Project seems almost a throwback to Prohibition days, with a speakeasy setting that’s at the same time lush and welcoming. Black cushion banquettes or stools at the shiny metal bar are the seats in demand to watch the parade of cocktails and little plates that comprise a meal here (as well as the beautiful clientele who have discovered this gem). Charming and knowledgeable Italian and French bartenders skilled in molecular mixology create cocktails from a list of fresh fruit and herbs – you give a hint of the type of base you want (vodka, tequila, gin) and your mood, and they’ll do the rest.

Continue reading “Get in the Mix at The Mulberry Project” »

by Sophie Gayot

UPDATE 05/13: Stella Rossa Pizza Bar has changed its name to Stella Barra.

When I read the bio of chef Jeff Mahin, I was intrigued. By the age of 27, he had trained at The Fat Duck in England, Nobu in New York and Arzak in Spain. Mahin is now making pizzas in Santa Monica, Calif., for the reputable restaurant group Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises (among 41 dining concepts, they own Everest, a 2011 Top 40 US Restaurant, and L2O, a 2010 Top 40 US Restaurant). He is also a partner in the company. I decided to head to Stella Rossa Pizza Bar and see what these pizzas were all about.

Continue reading “And Chef Jeff Mahin Re-Invents Pizza” »

Did You Say Mussels?

on August 02nd, 2011
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by Sophie Gayot

I had to fly to Paris to discover a French restaurant in downtown Culver City, California! How did that happen? On the plane, I happened to be sitting next to the father of Cécile Cornic, who with her husband Sébastien, owns Meet Restaurant. He told me how successful it was, and how Sébastien wanted to open more places, so I dined there upon my return to Los Angeles. I finally understood what Cécile’s father was saying about the bistro. In LA, you cannot just open another restaurant because the first location is successful; you have to have a concept. And there definitely is one here: mussels!

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