DineLA happens at least twice a year in Los Angeles; once in the summer and again in the “winter”. A nice selection of restaurants from all neighborhoods have a prix fixe lunch and/or dinner menu selection ranging from $15-25 for lunch and $29-99 for dinner. Dinners are usually 3 to 5 course meals so definitely worth the price. I normally try to make it to at least one of the restaurants during this time. Luckily, this year I was able to try two places.
I created a list of all the restaurants that peaked my interest to try for both lunch and dinner. For lunch, I decided to try Nick + Stef’s Steakhouse. This hidden gem is tucked away in Downtown Los Angeles. Upon arriving, I immediately thought this place would be a good recommendation for the summertime. There’s a bit of construction going on around the vicinity but the outside dining area gives a nice, unobstructed view of downtown and a cute little garden area nearby. There was a good selection for the lunch menu. For the appetizer, I went with the caesar salad. For my main entree, I tried the oak grilled salmon atop marinated kale with a nice chimichurri sauce and my husband went with the short rib (my initial choice but I didn’t want to get the same thing). Neither meal disappointed although I will say the short rib was the better option to me. It is a heavier meal for lunch so maybe it caters to a late lunch goer like myself. The flavors were great and overall I’m glad I was able to make it over to this place.
Oak Grilled Salmon
Braised Short Rib
For dinner, I tried Fin located in Culver City. It’s an Asian-fusion inspired restaurant that offered a good variety for its dinner entrees. $29 got me salmon sashimi, baked crab rolls and an 8oz ribeye with mashed potatoes. Definitely not bad for the price. I loved the smoked soy ribeye. The marinade went perfectly with the steak and it was cooked quite well. My husband decided to be fancy and ordered the filet mignon (not on the prix fixe) but it was good nonetheless. I fell in love with the plum reduction sauce used a base for his dish. Overall, the ambiance was very nice and the food was very good but I must admit the service was kind of slow. Maybe there were more diners out trying the DineLA options during the time I visited. I will definitely be back to try it out again, especially since there’s a speakeasy located in the back called ‘The Alley’. Looking forward to the DineLA summer edition 🙂 . If you’re in the LA area during the next one, I would definitely recommend trying one of the many restaurant options that cater to every type of cuisine you can think of.
If you were able to catch my last post, I talked about completing a fast which basically boiled down to eating only fruits and veggies for 3 weeks. Since I’m a foodie at heart, I love looking for new restaurants to try so I just had to incorporate finding vegan/vegetarian options during this time. I learned that this community is huge and LA offers a ton of restaurants catered to both vegans and vegetarians. I often opted for places that had dishes like a Tex-mex bowl with rice, beans, sautéed vegetables, pico de gallo and guac. Anything with guacamole and I’m sold 😊. This was the simplest route to take food wise and easy to find everywhere. However, I did venture out a few times and stumbled upon some wonderful places. One being Gracias Madre, offering 100% organic, plant based Mexican cuisine.
Gracias Madre is tucked away in West Hollywood on Melrose Ave. I’ve probably passed this place a million times and never noticed it before. It kind of resembles a nice house from the street view but when you walk in you are totally taken aback. The décor and ambiance is just so chic. There was a lounge area with comfy chairs and couches adjacent from the bar area. The outside dining area had communal tables with the heated lamps for those cooler days/nights in LA along with cute little tables for smaller parties. From the outside, the space looked so quaint but once inside it was a huge space and very accommodating for the large crowd in attendance that day.
To stick with my go to bowls that I’d been consuming, I went with Bowl Tres as my entrée. This bowl has quinoa, kale, roasted squash, white beans, peppers, onions and pesto cashew crème. Okay let’s start by saying the roasted squash was the best!!! The kale was also very seasoned and added a nice taste to the overall dish. Before I ordered this, the waiter did let me try the pesto cashew crème and I went for it and decided to order this bowl. I will say I did not know the bowl was heavily dressed with that sauce. I think sometimes dishes are overly compensated with a sauce to make sure we get a good amount of flavor and I probably should of asked for it on the side to be safe. That being said, the sauce did compliment the dish well and I was pleased with this entrée. I heard the drinks are pretty good too so I will definitely be back to give those a try as well.
LA is most known for its warm weather year-round. However, many never mention how cool it gets at night which makes for a perfect time to have ramen. I started having ramen first in New York which makes perfect sense for the weather there. While in LA, ramen seems to be best fitting for a late night when the temperature has dropped to the low 50s or even during lunch on those days when its low 60s. I was on a quest to find the best ramen and so far, I would have to say Kai Ramen has taken 1st place in my books. I ordered Kai’s Red which is salt based and made with skinny noodles, sliced pork belly, a flavored egg, scallions, stripped black mushrooms, dry seaweed and flavored sprouts; also garnished with red onions. If I’m feeling fancy, I make it a combo and have gyoza potstickers, a salad and a drink for an additional $5. For the drink option, please try their homemade lemonade. Just a warning its super sweet but it reminds me a bit of back home when I have it so I always order it with my meal. The flavors they’ve accomplished with this ramen cannot be put into words. The broth is beyond perfect with its hint of spiciness, the tenderness of the pork melts in your mouth and the combination of veggies is so complimenting with the pork and flavor from the broth. I can go on and on about this place. If you’re a ramen lover like me, give this place a try. If you’ve never had ramen and are dying to try it, give this place a try. Kai Ramen does not disappoint. Check out the gallery below.
Coming from the east coast, moreso NYC, it’s always good to find a place with a tasty lobster roll. I remember in the summer mostly always wanting to find the perfect roll. Well here in California, I stumbled upon Frankland’s Crab & Co. Particularly during DineLA week in which they offered a nice lunch combo that included a drink and an ice cream sandwich; double win 🙂
So here we have it. A nice, toasted brioche roll with succulent lobster meat tossed in a melted butter. This sandwich literally melted in my mouth. I mean pure perfection. I was worried about the sandwich not being dressed since I was used to a mayo base but they’ve nailed it over at Frankland’s. The homemade ice cream sandwich was also a hit. Way to top off a cute lunch. As I continue to let you in on my LA food adventures, please mark this one down as a place to try. I will be coming back for sure!
I am a true lover of a good dog; hot dog that is. It’s my go to at the summer BBQ and any sporting event that sells them. So when I saw Dog Haus and they’re specialty hot dogs, I knew I had to give them a try. Not to mention their all beef dogs are served on King’s Hawaiian rolls. This alone should be enough to make you want to try these. Everyone loves that bread!
There are a number of variations to try and I went with the Old Town Haus dog. This one has a smoked bacon wrapped dog with caramelized onions, chipotle aioli, pickled jalapenos and cotija cheese. Take about a specialty! The smoky flavor of the dog mixed with the little extra heat from the jalapenos and sweet yet spicy chipotle sauce was a great combo. I was also able to try one of their burgers. I cannot recall which one exactly by name but it did have a fried egg on it which always works for me. Not forgetting the cheese fries that accompanied this hot dog and burger. Great choice for lunch or dinner and should definitely be adding on your restaurant to do list.