And Chef Jeff Mahin Re-Invents Pizza

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.

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Did You Say Mussels?

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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Cooking With A Top Chef

by Sophie Gayot

Remember that dining scene in the movie “The Italian Job?” It was shot at the famous seafood restaurant Water Grill located in downtown Los Angeles. I recently dined there to review the cuisine of newly appointed chef Amanda Baumgarten as she follows in the footsteps of chefs Matt Stein, Allyson Thurber, Michael Cimarusti (now at Providence), and David LeFevre (now at M.B. Post), who have been part of the 20-year history of the restaurant. You can read my review in our Restaurant section.

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405 Freeway Closure at Mulholland Bridge

Carmageddon Did Not Happen

by Sophie Gayot

Today my favorite pilot, my brother Alain, flew me over the closed 405 freeway to see the progress on the demolition of the Mulholland Bridge. Over the past few days, this Los Angeles event has become nationwide news.

I have to say it was very impressive to see the 405 empty of regular traffic. I hope that the drivers of the few cars and trucks that were circulating on it enjoyed their ride, and must feel privileged — and they should. Watch my video to get some great views of the almost demolished bridge.

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Celebrating France

by Sophie Gayot

Did you miss Bastille Day yesterday? Don’t worry! Bastille Day celebrations are still going on this weekend. It’s a great time to visit L’Epicerie Market, a very French restaurant in downtown Culver City, California. The partners are Thierry Perez, formerly of Fraîche, and chef Sébastien Archambault who came directly from France to RH restaurant at the ANdAZ hotel in West Hollywood, where he first got acquainted with the Los Angeles food scene. Watch my exclusive video interview with chef Archambault, who only cooks French cuisine. You will learn what type of French cuisine he prepares, and that you can also shop at L’Epicerie Market whether you are dining there or not.

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