In our youth-obsessed society, it’s nice to be reminded that many things get better with age. Wine, whiskey, leather boots and cast iron pans all improve as they mature, as do certain cuts of beef if they are “dry-aged.”
At APL in Hollywood, Chef Adam Perry Lang, whose monogram is the moniker of his marvelous steakhouse, knows a thing or two about dry-aging meat. Lang expertly ages his beef in a specially built basement refrigerator for months, producing steaks and chops which are extremely tender, smell like foie gras and have an incredible other-worldly flavor. This is a luxury item like truffles and caviar, with a price-tag to match.
APL also serves tasty chicken, fish and pasta, but unless you don’t eat red meat, you’re making a mistake by not getting the dry-aged beef. The other must-order dinner item is the Iceberg Salad with crumbled Danish blue cheese and a big, thick slice of grilled smoked bacon. It’s the best wedge salad I’ve ever consumed and the perfect intro to a magnificent meat fest. For lunch, APL serves some of the best BBQ in town.
APL is located at 1680 Vine Street, Los Angeles (in Hollywood).
Dining at Freedmanâ€™s is like eating at your Jewish grandmotherâ€™s house, except Bubbe has upped her food game and is throwing a dinner party for Eastside hipsters. The chopped liver is a mousse with figs and hazelnuts. The latkes are shaped like Belgian waffles. And the to-die-for glazed brisket is cut tableside with an electric knife by a heavily tatted and mustachioed man.
Freedmanâ€™s has a fun bubbe chic vibe with spectacular vintage wallpaper and olde tyme light fixtures.Â Â An impressively stocked bar serves cocktails named â€œDeli Callingâ€ (Future Gin, Orange Liqueur, Yellow Mustard, Lemon, Cel-Ray and Herbs) and â€œFull Sourâ€ (Aquavit, Dry Vermouth and Pickle Brine).Â Â To end your meal, the traditional black and white deli cookie has been reimagined with fudge and toasted marshmallow. It will have you kvelling!
Freedmanâ€™s is located at 2619 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles (in Silver Lake).
No longer just for Dickensian orphans or misbehaving blonde girls who trespass at the home of bear families, porridge takes center stage at one of LA’s coolest new eateries.
Porridge + Puffs was previously a Silver Lake pop-up but now resides as a full-fledged restaurant in an airy and bright space in Historic Filipinotown. Here, talented chef Minh Phan creates beautiful gourmet bowls of hot rice cereal, utilizing the fresh seasonal ingredients she finds at the Hollywood Farmer’s Market each week.
You can get order your porridge numerous ways including a version adorned with Grilled Black Eyed Pea Miso, KnK Fruit, Ginger, Numbing Spice Braised Pork Sausage, Chayote in Black Bean Sauce and Rose Onion Pickles. I like mine with Sweet Soy-braised Chicken, Turkey and Mushrooms, as well as Crispy Shallots, Celery Pickles, Edible Flowers and a Hibiscus-shiso Pickled Soft Egg. Whichever porridge dish you select, make sure to get an order of hot chewy rice-flour beignets called “Puffs,” for dunking.
I also recommend the crunchy Asian Herb Slaw with Rau Ram, Shiso, Holy Basil, Peanuts and Sesame. Wash it down with a sweet and vinegary Hibiscus-Rose Shrub. And for dessert, the Brown Butter Mochi with Miso Caramel will leave you saying “Please sir, I want some more.”
Porridge + Puffs is located at 2801 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles (in Historic Filipino Town).
In Los Angeles, the five basic food groups are Fruits, Vegetables, Meats/Eggs, Oat Milk, and Avocado Toast. And the last one is by far the most important. We love our avocado toast in LA and consume it religiously following our Sunday morning yoga and pilates classes. It’s a delicious reminder that we live the good life here in Southern California. Below are my current seven favorite avo toasts in town:
7. Sqirl. The Avocado Toast from Sqirl is topped with Hot Pickled Carrots, Garlic CrÃ¨me FraÃ®che and House Zaâ€™atar. Just like everything else at Sqirl, it’s pretty awesome.
6. TartineÂ Bianco. The Avo Toast at new kid on the block, Tartine Bianco, is actually referred to as a “SmÃ¸rrebrÃ¸d” and topped with JalapeÃ±o, Cilantro and Pumpkin Seeds. It’s served on Tartine Bakery’s Danish Rye Bread.
5. Gjusta. This is a secret off menu item at Gjusta. I love the simplicity of it; the chunky avocado slices, the course salt and the amazing Gjusta Pumpernickel Bread.
4. Le Pain Quotidien. “Le Pain” (pronounced “Pan”), which is how we refer to this ubiquitous chain, is famous for their Avocado Toast. It’s topped with Citrus Cumin Salt, Chia Seeds, and Olive Oil.
3. TheÂ JointÂ Eatery. Ripe avocado slices are served here on a nice thick toasted slice of Brioche. Since this Valley newcomer specializes in amazing seafood dishes, I suggest getting your Avocado Toast topped with what I believe to be the best crab salad you’ve ever eaten in your life.
2. BluestoneÂ Lane. The very best Avocado Toasts tend to to come from hipster coffee chains and the one at Bluestone Lane is no exception. It’s made with a smashed avocado seasoned with fresh lemon juice, salt & pepper, chili flakes & olive oil, and served atop a slice of toasted multigrain bread.
1. AlfredÂ Coffee. Maybe it’s because I like basic things perfectly executed, but this classic Avo Toast is my favorite in the city. It features Watermelon Radish, Sprouts, Grape Seed Oil, Red Pepper Flakes and Lemon, and it’s served on Pumpernickel from The Larder Bakery. The only disappointing thing is it’s available in only one of Alfred’s many locations, the one in Silverlake.
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Tartine in San Francisco is the best bakery in the country and for over two long years I have eagerly awaited the opening of Tartine’s first LA venture. It has finally arrived.
The Manufactory is a collaboration between the Tartine folks (James Beard Award winners Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson) and nationally acclaimed Phoenix pizza chef Chris Bianco. It’s a giant industrial chic complex that houses a production bakery, a coffee roastery, a specialty food market, a coffee and ice cream window, a “Market Bar” that features Chris Bianco’s flatbreads, and an amazing restaurant called Tartine Bianco. The whole magilla is housed in ROW DTLA, the uber cool and newly gentrified shopping and restaurant complex in the warehouses of LA’s historic Downtown produce market.
Not surprisingly, the seasonal menu of Tartine Bianco centers around Tartine’s insanely good bread. The Pork (Rillette) and Pickle Toast with Mustard and Radish (pictured above) and the Chicken Liver Toast with Kumquat and Blood Orange are absolute must-haves. So is one or more of the the SmÃ¸rrebrÃ¸ds, Danish-style open-face sandwiches on Rye Bread. The Uni SmÃ¸rrebrÃ¸d with Kohlrabi, Mustard Seed and Lardo is particularly phenomenal.
If you have room after all those carbs, order the Sweetbreads with Crispy Red Rice, Yam, Fermented Chili Amaranth and Mustard Frill, as well as the Farro & Chickory Salad with Winter Squash and Tahini Yogurt. I also recommend washing your glutinous feast down with one of Tartine Biano’s creative cocktails or a Young Ginger Kombucha with Grapefruit and Star Anise, which is made in The Manufactory’s own basement fermentation room.
The Manufactory and its Tartine Bianco restaurant are located in ROW DTLA at 757 S. Alameda St., Los Angeles (Downtown).