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.
With the new year comes all sorts of dieting, fitness goals and abrupt changes to accomplish being “a better YOU”. I’ve never really been into resolutions for the new year or implementing new life goals for the new year. However, this year my aunt spoke with me about the Daniel Fast and asked me to participate along with her. Since she told me this 2 days beforehand, I agreed to fast but with modifications. I had to mentally prepare for this thing you know since it started on New Years day. I decided to eliminate all meats, bread and sweets for the duration of 21 days and I started this commitment on January 2nd.
Just to give you guys a little background about me, I absolutely love food! It’s kind of my thing being a foodie and all. I jot down restaurants that I see on my drive home, follow other foodies and see their suggestions and pretty much indulge in anything food related. So, to commit to this fast was a big deal for me. The first couple of days were a bit tough because I didn’t realize how much stuff I consumed that had bread as the base and neither did I realize I ate so many sweets. After the harsh first few days, my body became acclimated somewhat quickly. The mornings were simple. My favorites were fruit and smoothies. For lunch and dinner, I normally sautéed veggies and I ate a ton of sweet potatoes and avocados. While on this fast, I learned about various vegan and vegetarian restaurants in the LA area too. I hadn’t paid attention before but there are a lot of options if you’re a part of the vegan community.
On the last day, I called my aunt and told her I made it through the fast. I will be truthful and say I had 2 French fries and 2 alcoholic beverages during the 21 days. I didn’t commit to giving up fried foods or alcohol but those kind of fall in that “don’t eat category” when I thought about this fast so I just gave those up as well. Water became my best friend and now I just go for water more now as my first beverage choice as I should anyways. I haven’t even indulged in coffee since the fast ended on 1/23 and I feel pretty good about that since I normally start my day with a fresh cup of coffee. The fast helped me to see and appreciate a lot of principles that I normally don’t pay attention to. Discipline, faith and commitment are the biggest ones I would like to mention. We often doubt ourselves and say we can’t do or commit to something before we even try. I was so proud of myself throughout this journey because to be frank it was quite tough to go out and order the “healthy food” or all veggies or NOT stop by neither of the 100 donut shops in LA you pass everyday. I can say I feel better energy wise and overall I just feel more connected and in tune with myself. Now I will not say I’m not eating meat again but I will be mindful of the intake of it along with other things that I was so use to consuming before. I’m a continuous work in progress so here’s to a better me!
It was my dear friend’s last day with me at our job and we decided to do a celebratory lunch for her new opportunity and success within her future endeavors. Midtown can cause quite a headache sometimes when looking for different lunch options. On this particular day, we decided to take a stroll down 6th ave and see in fact what we could find. Our lucky winner would be this cute little restaurant, L’Amico, located inside the Eventi Hotel. The menu is a mix of both American and Italian and offers a number of great dishes.
The ambiance was so cute! I could not stop talking about. The table setting, rustic-chic décor and overall atmosphere had us sold already. We could care less about the food at this point but luckily it matched how we felt about this place thus far. I went with the scallops over a rosemary-apple puree along with sunchokes and capers. The blend of flavors that this dish brought was absolutely amazing! OMG!!! The scallops were seared perfectly and the puree added such a nice touch of flavor! Definitely a great choice for lunch. My friend went with the salmon avocado dish which included a charred kale dressed with lemon oil. Such a fresh dish for fall and also an excellent choice. Equally as delicious as mine although I think my entrée would have to be my favorite out of the two.
L’Amico did not disappoint to say the least. In fact, we now wish we’d discovered this place sometime ago. I believe the menu is seasonal so hopefully you are able to catch this place in time to try the tasty dishes we had. If not, I’m sure the winter menu would be just as delicious. Definitely give them a try when in Midtown New York.