Archive | May, 2011

Weekend Planner: Memorial Day Edition

26 May

I haven’t been this excited for a weekend in a long time. That’s mostly because by 4 pm on Friday, I’ll be completely done with the GRE! This weekend will be full of catching up with friends, doing more writing, and a fair share of drinking and eating.  Here are some suggestions if you still haven’t planned your weekend:

Thursday: Spare Room’s Taste of the Nation LA Boozy Bowling/Connect Four Benefit

Caroline on Crack  is hosting a benefit for Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation at the Hollywood Roosevelt’s Spare Room. For $15, you can fill up on passed appetizers and cocktail punches while playing board games. If you want to bowl, it’s $50 and you still get the appetizers and punch. $25 gets you the food and drinks and you get to participate in the Connect 4 tournament. It looks like it’s going to be a great time with a great group of people for an excellent cause. More details courtesy of Caroline on Crack.

Friday: Psycho & The Birds Double Feature

See two Alfred Hitchcock masterpieces for one low price at the Egyptian Theatre on 7:30 pm.

Saturday: Back to the Future Triple Feature

If Hitchcock is not your thing (which, frankly, I find hard to believe is possible), you can still get your money’s worth at the Aero Theatre with all three Back to the Future’s back-to-back-to-back, starting at 5 pm.  

Sunday and Monday: UCLA Jazz Reggae Fest
UCLA Jazz Reggae Fest

This unique two-day festival on the UCLA intramural field is always a good time. Lupe Fiasco, Talib Kweli, Steel Pulse, Little Dragon, and tons of others are musicians are scheduled to perform. Tickets are still available.

Monday: Second Annual City of Angels Wine Fest, Monday

This Memorial Day, you’ll find me at the Second Annual City of Angels Wine Fest at Music Center Plaza. The Rotary Club is putting on this benefit to raise money to fight homelessness on behalf of Volunteers of America Los Angeles. For $70, you get unlimited wine from a variety of Californian wineries and four vouchers good for food from the always reliable Patina Restaurant Group eateries (Nick + Stef’s Steakhouse, Café Pinot, Kendall’s Brasserie, Zucca Ristorante and Tina Tacos).  The event is from 1pm – 6pm and you can buy your tickets here.

Tuesday: Summer Cinema Series with Beginners

KCET is kicking off its Summer Cinema Series with Beginners, the new film by Mike Mills starring Christopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor. In it’s 16th year, this series provides not only the opportunity to see interesting films before they are released, but it’s also an easy way to support KCET. Mike Mills will also be doing a Q&A. The series is $168 per person for current KCET Members, $185 per person non-members, or you a $20 contribution per screening.

Crawdads on the Loose at Dominick’s

13 May



Every Saturday this month, Dominick’s restaurant is boiling 300 lbs. of Louisiana crawfish and you’re invited to rip these bad boys apart. The Rat Pack hangout dating back to 1948 is ditching the traditional white tablecloths in favor of old newspapers, bringing in kegs of Abita Amber, and bringing some New Orleans charm to their patio.


Dominick’s Menu

Last Saturday, I was able to check out the event for myself thanks to the planning of The Minty. We were joined on this beautiful Saturday by Pepsi Monster and Veronica. As I was sipping my coffee and perusing the menus, I was tempted to start the meal off with some highly-recommended pancakes, but reminded myself that I was there for the crawdads.



I quickly finished my coffee, switched to a refreshing Abita Amber draft, and got excited for the two pounds of crawfish ($10.99/lb) coming our way. My crawfish experiences have been limited, and I have to admit that I don’t find them to be the most flavorful crustacean. However, there is something oddly calming and satisfying about peeling crawfish around a table on a lovely afternoon with good company.


Roast Beef Po Boy

Since a man cannot survive on crawfish alone, we  decided to explore other parts of the menu. I’ve been on an oyster kick lately, so I was happy when the table ordered half a dozen oysters ($12). I enjoyed the Carlsbad Luna oysters at City Tavern a bit more, but these were still refreshing. Learning my lesson after my indulgent brunch at Vu weeks earlier (I was pretty useless the rest of the day), I tried to show some restraint when ordering. Fortunately, Veronica ordered the roast beef po boy ($8) and I was able to steal a bite.  I wasn’t really in the mood for roast beef, especially on a po boy, but I am happy to report that it was damn good roast beef. The table was pretty surprised that the only po boy option was beef, but I later discovered that they were also serving a seafood po boy, it just wasn’t on the menu and we weren’t told about it. Bummer, because it looked great.




How to Feed an Army

New Orleans Sno Balls

New Orleans Sno Balls

For dessert, we had the option of four different New Orleans sno balls ($3.25). In an effort to remain abstemious,  and the simple fact that I’m more of a baked goods kind of guy than a sugar and ice fan, I passed on the sno balls but everyone seemed to enjoy their sweet, cold balls. Especially Veronica and Pepsi Monster who opted to add the spiced rum shot for $9.


Sno Ball Fixins

It’s not very often that you get to take part in a crawfish boil in West Hollywood, so consider grabbing a group and heading over to Dominick’s one Saturday in May. And be sure to ask if there are any off-menu items being offered!

Every Saturday in May:  12 pm – 4 pm
8715 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Dominick's on Urbanspoon

City Tavern: Where To Grab A California Beer in Culver City

3 May

Arctic Char

Arctic Char

When word came that the folks behind Rush Street were opening a more grown-up watering hole in my part of town, I got excited by the prospect of having a new place to grab a cold beer and some comfort food. A bit of the initial excitement wore off when the restaurant debuted almost a month ago and I saw that the prices were a bit higher than I was looking for in a neighborhood watering hole. Of course, this didn’t dampen my excitement to check out the place for myself when my friend the Savory Hunter invited me to join him as guests of the restaurant.

Grilled Cheese

Grilled Cheese - Southern Style Pimento Cheese

If the Wednesday night we stopped by is any indication,  it appears that Ken Kaufman, Brian McKeaney and Dave Northrup of Rush Street have another hit on their hands. They were completely booked, with a nice line of people hoping to snag a table. Fortunately, City Tavern didn’t let the place get too crowded like some other spots in town, although it did get a bit noisy.


Oysters, Carlsbad Luna, Vodka Mignonette, Fresh Horseradish

The first few minutes of the meal were spent studying the extensive tap list. With 22 beer taps of all-California microbrews, we decided that ordering a number of tastes ($3-$5) was the way to go.  Once you find a beer you really like (might I suggest the excellent ‘Twelves’ by Black Diamond Brewery, or ‘Blacks Dawn,’ a double imperial stout by Cismontane), you can of course order a glass ($6-$9) or even a growler  to share ($12-$19). Although City Tavern has received quite a bit of attention for their three booths that come with their own taps, I urge you to not waste your time with these. The booths offer only three beers you can find easily elsewhere, while the rest of their beer list is quite impressive.


There is No Such Thing as Too Many Oysters

I let Savory Hunter do most of the food ordering, and there were some definite standouts as well as missteps. One thing that I insisted on ordering was the plate of oysters. My favorite Wednesdays are when I meet-up with Matthew Kang of Scoops Westside and Christina of Food , Je T’aime at the Santa Monica’s Farmers Market and we share a dozen Luna oysters from Carlsbad Aquafarms ($15). Since I didn’t get to see Matt and Christina that Wednesday, I was excited that I could still get the same great oysters, served with a wonderful vodka mignonette and fresh horseradish. Highly recommended.

Another enjoyable plate was the southern-style grilled cheese ($8), packed with plenty of flavor and a little spice. I also enjoyed the generous use of garlic and parsley on the fries ($5).


Crudo - Hiramasa with crushed Coriander, Fennel

Two dishes that I found disappointing were the crudo and the baby carrots. Carrots demand a simple preparation, so “baby carrots – salt roasted” caught my eye. Sadly, the flavors were muddled, probably from way too much butter. The crudo looked appetizing, but lacked any real flavor.

Baby Carrots

Baby Carrots


Fries with garlic & parsley

Fries with garlic & parsley

The meal headed back in the right direction with a solid arctic char and a NY Strip Steak cooked sous-vide to a perfect doneness. The potatoes that came with the olive-oil and stout-poached steak were crunchy salt bombs, but they tasted excellent with my high-ABV beer.

NY Strip Steak

NY Strip Steak - Olive Oil-poached with stout, fingerlings

NY Strip Steak

Mmm... Steak

Overall, I had a wonderful evening at City Tavern. It’s not the type of restaurant you’ll drive across town for, but it’s a nice addition to the neighborhood and it appears that the neighborhood is already embracing it. I’d like to see a dollar or two knocked off of the prices, and it can get a little loud for my liking, but the impressive beer list, comfortable space, and some stand-out dishes make it somewhere I’d be happy to suggest to my friends when they want to meet me for a drink. Now I just need an excuse to swing-by for lunch, since one of the servers really sold me on the sandwiches.

City Tavern
9739 Culver Blvd
Culver City, CA

Fat Spoon on Urbanspoon