It's easy to enjoy a lovely day in wine country tasting at different wineries, but there are some obstacles: crowded tasting rooms and lineups of California Cabs, Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs that start melding together. And there are always the questions around navigating wine country and who's going to drive responsibly between tastings (unless you use those spittoons).
The Arts District has a friendly neighbor who invites all of LA over for a convivial cup of tea. And instead of doilies and fine China, you’ll be welcomed by a tea garden entry and then sip from modern, double-walled glass cups inside a lofty space bedecked with wood, stone, and contemporary art. With a selection of over 200 teas, American Tea Room (909 S Santa Fe Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90021) has purveyed teas in Beverly Hills since 2003. They opened this Downtown outlet (a couple of blocks from Bestia) last fall.
Mendocino County and its artsy namesake town are home to some long-standing food stars: Cafe Beaujolais (and its indie Brickery bakery) and the MacCallum House, to name a couple. This famed part of Northern California coast woven between wine country, redwood forests and the Pacific Ocean is a fog-laden destination with a slowed pace and cuisine focused on local, mindful sourcing and worldly inspiration. That means boundless organic vegetables, line-caught fish and winery darlings like Navarro and Roederer Estate paired with hearty meats and sauces.
You'll want to try these updated warm-weather favorites
Mmmm, the sweet-sour-salty refreshment of a margarita. Not only are local chefs and bartenders mixing up the classic with fresh add-ins like cucumber, pomegranate and jalapeño, they’re swapping tequila for mezcal and even vodka. Intrigued? Here are seven of the most enticing creations that we’ve discovered.
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Later Coachella, hello Palm Springs Restaurant Week. Now is the time to visit the desert before temps get too hot. Consider doing something besides staying at your hotel and lounging by the pool all day, and save that for when it’s too hot to do anything else. From May 29-June 7 you can embark on the culinary adventure that is Palm Springs Restaurant Week, where restaurants, hotels, and attractions offer deals and curated menus. I suggest pacing yourself with at least three days and nights, and doing activities in-between meals to work your appetite back up. Here are 10 reasons you should go, and all these listed are offering something special for the event.
5 spots where the scenery is as delish as the dining
With artichokes, peas and mangoes popping up on spring menus, now is the time to eat out in perfectly warm California weather. Here, five restaurants with a killer patio.
Malibu Pier Restaurant & Bar
For the freshest meal on the ocean's edge, you'll want the uni deviled eggs ($18) and smoked-salmon Benedict ($18) under a shaded umbrella, where Pacific breezes keep you just the right amount of chill.
Playa del Rey newcomer Bacari PDR (6805 Vista Del Mar Ln., Playa Del Rey, CA 90293) has been open just over a month and I’ve heard nothing but accolades. Always game for a laid back meal in quaint PdR, I set out to find five winning dishes that make up a well-rounded, super-tasty dinner. I often find myself asking the staff what their favorite dishes are and I also ask what the people’s favorites are. We ordered a mix of this, and found five dishes we would go back for. Pair with red or white, or one of their many craft beers or fanciful cocktails, and this meal will show you why the locals have a new, affordable go-to.
Dinner-party dilemma: You offered to bring the cheese plate to your pal’s house. But you’re running late--and you can’t stomach the snobs at the store around the corner.
Enter Wheel House, a new Culver City cheese shop that’s brimming with over a hundred international and local cheeses and more. A staffer there explained that a great cheese plate has variety, but that doesn’t mean sharp and mild cheddar. Choosing selections from the milk of different animals is this place’s no-fail strategy.
Lap up longer days with eight bright and bold cocktails loaded with farmers' market freshness. Here are our favorite spring sippers, in no particular order.
① Garden Cup at Faith & Flower ($12)
A basil and citrus Pimms cup with a pickled carrot topper and served in a cut crystal glass? Sign us up.
Our favorite doughnuts in L.A.
We never need a special occasion to eat a doughnut. And luckily, L.A. has about a billion ways to find doughy, sugary, indulgent bliss. Here, our favorite fried rings in town, in no particular order.
① Red Velvet at SK's Donuts ($1)
Looks like a dark red Froot Loop, tastes like Depression-era cake. It lingers in your mouth after you've left the strip mall where you found it--in a good way.
Hands down best non-dairy ice cream
Ice cream’s delicious--that’s a no-brainer. But we’re increasingly eating vegan because it’s healthy and animal-product-free. We always thought vegan ice cream was a watery waste of time...until we tried Divine Dips vegan ice cream.
Coffee meets tea in a new beverage craze
Traditionally, there were coffee people and tea people. Now there’s a new crossover caffeine craze: the dirty chai latte, an espresso-and-chai-tea fusion that tastes like a coffee milkshake. The flavor is indeed memorable, with spicy undercurrents of cardamom, cinnamon and black pepper sweetening up the espresso. The caffeine high, meanwhile, is subtle; for something stronger, you’ll want to order it doppio.
California Rancher celebrates barbecue
Local barbecue season lasts long past Labor Day, and we’re planning to serve a local specialty at our next cookout: authentic Santa Maria–style barbecue, by which we mean juicy tri-tip seasoned with black pepper, salt and garlic, then cooked over a red-oak fire and served with spicy pinquito beans.
The cake pop is the new cupcake. The cake/lollipop hybrid has taken over sweet shops and coffee shops nationwide (visit a Starbucks and you’ll see). Now, Gilt City members have the opportunity to create these special confections in the sweet-smelling confines of Teacake Bake Shop’s kitchen. At the intimate baking class, the Teacake bakers will supply you with the ingredients to make cake pops in two of their best-selling flavors: classic chocolate and pink velvet, with coating options including white or chocolate.
Oysters are an acquired taste, but once you acquire it, the benefits are endless. Packed with omega-3 fatty acids, they are a natural protein. They also contain selenium, which combats premature aging, heart disease and arthritis. And that rumor that they’re an aphrodisiac…well we're not sure about that one, but we do know that they're always a perfect starter to any date. Here are eight very different oyster spots for LA sea foodies. Over ice, on the half, grilled, Rockefeller, shuck-your-own - the world is your oyster.
The Westside boasts a smattering of different wine bars, both neighborhood spots and swanky scenes. If learning about the wine you’re drinking appeals to you, then choose-your-own wine adventure among these wine purveyors that all deliver different experiences. Check out our slideshow of Westside wine bars below. Did we miss your favorite? Let us know in the comments.
Chefs dream all winter about spring produce: crisp fava beans, giant artichokes, stacks of asparagus, versatile squash blossoms and precious heirloom tomatoes. When LA's countless farmer's markets are supplying the best of California, the results are some of the most creative and delicious plates you'll see all year. Here are some of the freshest dishes from 10 LA hot spots' new spring menus. Did we miss your favorite new spring dish? Let us know in the comments.
San Francisco has it all: beauty, culture, history and that famous California weather. Oh, yeah - and a killer food scene. Check out our list of SF foodie destinations for any budget, perfect for your next visit.
Bike-Friendly Small Plates
Go Big: Cruise along the waterfront and drop by Boulette's Larder in the Ferry Building to feast on delicious offerings like beignets, seasonal vegetables and a crab omelet. Open for breakfast, lunch and brunch, they offer a private space with a customized menu for an intimate evening affair.