(EXPERIENCE MAGAZINE) — JANUARY 26, 2019 — dineL.A. is a 14-day dining event that has more than 300 restaurants participating throughout L.A. The event was held between January 11- 25th. The prix fix menu that dineL.A. features, offers specially priced lunch and dinner menus. This is such a great way to try so many of the amazing restaurants in Los Angeles. We always look forward to dining at new places as well as returning to favorite spots to see what the dineL.A. menu offers. Restaurants that are a bit expensive let diners try a starter, an entree and a dessert. The lunch menus are usually around $30.00 and the dinner menus running around $40. Many dinners were commenting this year that dineL.A. offers such a great value. It seems like many people are participating this year by trying out restaurants that they usually wouldn’t venture into.
As publisher of the Experience Magazine I try to cover a range of some of the best restaurants that take part in dineL.A. I dined out every night during the dineLA Winter Edition for 2019. Here are the restaurants that I had the honor of sampling this year.
The big surprise for dineL.A. 2019 was our visit to Cafe Pinot in downtown Los Angeles. This very upscale restaurant is known for its amazing hospitality and customer service. Executive Chef Philip Martin spoke with me about the special version of their famous Jidori Chicken that was offered during dineL.A. Cafe Pinot is a fine dining California-French restaurant located in downtown Los Angeles.
Cafe Pinot has a luxurious and romantic atmosphere. The food is exceptional. We started with a very upscale presentation of Celeriac Soup. Made with apple, red wine shallot jam, chive and parmesan cheese. It was light and full of flavor. The Fish Crudo was fresh and delicious. For second course, we tried the barramundi that was prepared by Chef Martin. Delicately placed on a bed of forbidden rice there were hints of parsley, parsnip and piquillo pepper.
We had a Gin Chamomile Martini for a cocktail and just soaked in the atmosphere at Cafe Pinot. Chef Martin took the time to sit down and explain the process of the in house made pasta. Chef Martin and I both spoke about our experiences with Jonathan Gold. We both miss him a lot. He was one of the nicest food critics they had ever met and we were both glad to have met him. The service at this restaurant is top of the line. The Experience Magazine highly recommends Cafe Pinot.
I was watching “Curb Your Enthusiasm” the other day when I noticed Larry David sitting in the dining room at Upper West. This iconic restaurant located on Pico boulevard in Santa Monica always serves up a tasty menu. When we stopped by to sample the dineLA menu, Chef Nick came out and chatted with us a bit. I really love Chef Nick’s creations. He always uses the freshest ingredients and comes up with tasty items that can be devoured easily. We sipped on a couple of the signature cocktails from the bar. I had an Apple Spiced Buck which was just delicious. For starters we had the Spinach and Goat Cheese Ravioli. I really liked this dish. Chef Nick has told me in the past that he puts the vegetarian items on his menu to satisfy vegetarians in Los Angeles, and he’s not a vegetarian himself. However, its interesting that Chef Nick comes up with some of the best vegetarian dishes in LA. I was saying this before I even tried the ravioli, and when I ate it, I felt the same way all over again. I love Chef Nick’s vegetarian offerings.
For the main course, I had the Chicken Tawook This dish features a marinated Pittman Farms chicken thigh with yogurt, tomato, chickpeas, bits of apricot and spinach with a salsa fresca. It was served with a house made pita that was really good. For dessert, we had an ice cream with carrot cake that was really tasty. It’s just so much fun to be at Upper West. Upper West’s menu is known for always evolving and changing.
Chef Nick draws inspiration from all over the world. The bar offers a nightly happy hour from 5-7 pm serves refreshing craft cocktails, handcrafted beer, and unique small bites. The bar is a famous as the restaurant. You never know who you’ll see at Upper West. We actually ran into Chef Nick the next night at the VIP lounge for the opening party for the L.A. Art show at the convention center and he was serving up some great tacos.
JIMMY’S FAMOUS AMERICAN TAVERN (JFAT)
JFAT is a creative take on American regional classics. Featuring regional dishes from around the country, this location is a couple of blocks past Santa Monica Pier towards Venice on Ocean avenue. The patio here is popular and great place to soak in the Santa Monica vibe. The service here is top notch. This restaurant really hustles and the staff do a great job.
The 2019 Winter dineL.A. menu was $39.00 for dinner. We started with the Ahi Poke. The tuna and the avocado’s were so fresh. The scallions, papaya, and a touch of sesame were topped off with crispy wontons.
We went on to try the BBQ Spice Crusted Salmon. This wild caught salmon was topped off with creamed corn green beans and crispy onions. Such a great value for Santa Monica. A two course meal for under forty dollars just across from the beautiful Pacific Ocean.
BLUE PLATE TACO
Another favorite that is on Ocean Avenue is Blue Plate Taco. Known for its fresh and light Mexican cuisine. This beachside restaurant has many organic menu items from sustainable farms. Blue Plate taco is known for its variety of fresh crudo and ceviche. The fish served here is premium quality and you can really tell.
The masa and tortillas as well as all of the salsas are made fresh daily. Service was excellent. The server was very attentive, quick and friendly. We tried the $35.00 dineL.A. dinner menu. We started with the tortilla soup for our first course. It was tasty. We really enjoyed the Plate of Two Tacos for the second course. These veggie tacos had corn, kale, goat cheese and a touch of truffle oil. Finally for dessert we tried the Grateful Spoon Gelato. They take the prize for the best seafood ceviche in town, they call it ceviche mixto which consists of lobster, calamari, shrimp, pomegranate, and pickled onion. It came with two crispy round tortilla shells you could scoop with. This was probably one the best first courses for our extensive list of restaurants we went to for dine L.A.
The Misfit Restaurant + Bar is a great spot for cocktails, food and atmosphere. They serve unique and creative craft cocktails.The Misfit, is in the historic 1929 Clock Tower Building in downtown Santa Monica.
This is a wonderful place that features a farm to table restaurant and bar only steps away from the beach and the Third Street Promenade. We dined upstairs and could see below that the bar was busy and a nice local gathering of people. Misfit had a great dine L.A. menu with a very good variety from which to choose from. We had the baked gnocchi with butternut squash, tomato and bread crumbs. This was so tasty. We also had the mushroom risotto. This melted in your mouth with flavors all blending very well. We had Grateful Spoon Gelato for dessert. Perfect portions at Misfit. We will be back for sure!
Known for their cold-pressed juices, Kreation Kafe in Brentwood also offers a line of convenient grab-n-go salads, raw wraps, homemade soups, and delectable desserts. The puddings in little half jelly jars are are delicious! For dineLA, we had the Hot Tapas Sampler. It was so good. We also had the grilled corn with rosemary,potatoes, forbidden black rice and sautéed spinach. There dine L.A. menu was very generous in regards to portions. The hot tapas sampler was huge!! We also got to try the hummus (delicious) garden salad with baby greens, tomato, carrots, fennel, celery, avocado and a house vinaigrette. We tried the DeStress juice which was full of anti oxidants. It was sweet and had strawberries and coconut. We were so happy to see Kreation Kafe taking part in dineL.A. 2019!
First off Dukes is kind of a retreat besides being a great restaurant and we got a booth that looked out at the ocean so you really cannot beat that in terms of the view. We started out with Duke’s Mai Tai which is made with two kinds of fresh pineapple juice and two kinds of rum. They give a really large speciality glass and it is huge.
We had the charred snap peas which consisted of local radish, burnt pineapple vinaigrette, specialty almonds,and brie. For our entree we had the vege red curry which was coconut red curry, local veges, jasmine rice and fresh herbs. This was a really delightful and authentic dish bursting with flavors. We also had the roasted Dukes fish which had a basil lemon glaze, pomegranate vinaigrette, roasted broccolini and herbed jasmine farmed rice. Both entrees were great. For dessert we had the flourless chocolate cake which is chocolate ganache, sea salt, seasonal fruit compote, and ice cream.
After dining we went over to the bar area where they had nice Hawaiian music with some hula dancers. Dukes is a destination in Malibu and it was hard to leave because of the great ambience. The service is really great and the staff are very friendly. If you want to have a great lunch or dinner and be right by the ocean go to Dukes!!
The Experience Magazine stopped by to sample the dineL.A. menu at Art’s Table in Santa Monica.
This well known spot on Montana has an elegant atmosphere and a friendly staff. Arts Table serves new American cuisine. We chose the Tony Montana Corn for starters. This is cuban style charred corn with cilantro aioli, chili oil, queso fresco and lime. and Art’s Garlic Guacamole Toasts. The charred corn was sweet and I Ioved every bite!
“The good old days are now,” is something founder Art Verge used to say. Art was a fifth generation Santa Monica resident. He was a teacher, a beach enthusiast and restaurateur Art, known as “Sonny” loved to cook and entertain. Everyone was welcome at Art’s table and this restaurant still personifies that feeling.
The last course was dessert.We had the Croissant Bread Pudding. This dish was full of the quality ingredients that other dishes at Art’s Table is known for. Great food at Art’s Table. The service and atmosphere is perfect for a night out or dining alone. The Experience Magazine will return to try other dishes.
At their Dine L.A dinner we had the sake sampler flight which was Tozai Typhoon, Kanbara, bride of the Fox, Konteki, tears of dawn, each one having its own distinct flavor, 1 was hot the other 2 cold. It was a very nice presentation with cards giving the info you need to know of the ingredients and region.
For the starter we had some traditional miso soup and seaweed salad.
For the main we had the Karaage Fried chicken which was really good and came with a spicy mayo dressing. the prep was beer battered which gave it the great flavor. We also had some vege skewers.We had some green tea ice cream and it was a great Dine L.A. dinner. They really got a great combination down of different tastes for dinner.
1212 SANTA MONICA
1212 was so busy for the dineL.A. The dinner menu we had to go there for lunch which was the only dine L.A menu we had for lunch. There lunch menu was as good as the dinner menu which we saw was not the case with a lot of other establishments serving lunch and dinner.
For our first course we had the roasted truffled pumpkin. It had fresh truffle, a carrot puree,asparagus and candied walnut. The thing that was great about this dish was that the ingredients all brought out the flavor of the pumpkin which is the way it is supposed to be.
For our second course we had the miso marinated black cod. it had pee wee ume shiso potatoes.
CAFFÉ ROMA – Beverly Hills
Cafe Roma is located in the heart of Beverly Hills and we went on a nice day and were able to sit outside and watch as a young lady took off from her parked space in her new Lambo Very relaxing space to enjoy a drink and our Dine L.A dinner.
For our appetizer we had the insalata mare, warm seafood over frisee lettuce my favorite type of lettuce which has a great texture and went well with the seafood.For our main course we had the cavatelli al fruti de mare. This was a great house made pasta that went really well with the seafood. The owner greeted us and explained the region from Italy where the pasta originated from. very friendly staff and a really great Dine L.A menu. We had there house sorbet for dessert and were also offered a regional wine that went with our main course. We highly recommend dining here when you visit Beverly Hills.
It was such an honor to sample all of the creative dineL.A. menus for dineL.A. 2019. We look forward to this summer’s dineL.A. 2019!