Contributions by Anthony Stafford
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, with about a week to go before it’s too late to land the perfect outing. In a city with a surplus of amazing food choices, you’d think it would be simple to just pick a place to have a Valentine’s dinner date, but it’s so much more difficult than that. Take five minutes to give it some thought and consideration, at least. If you’re still scrambling to find a great gift and the right reservation, then you can now consider half of the job done! We’ve got a roundup of some of the best restaurants in LA featuring Valentine’s Day specials across the spectrum of whatever suits your wallet, and taste. The clock is ticking. Dive in and discover your options:
Avec Nous at Viceroy L’Ermitage Beverly Hills
Avec Nous — the contemporary take on the classic French bistro with a St. Tropez vibe, is ready for the day of lovers with their Mediterranean-inspiried dishes. Spanish and Italian touches compliment their Riviera feel, and diners can expect a dosage of European spices to accompany their locally sourced seasonal ingredients. What’s in store for Avec Nous’ Valentine’s Day specials?
A refined yet inviting dining experience featuring a 5 course tasting menu (and optional wine pairing), with appetizers like Lobster Raviolo, Armagnac Cream, and Chili-Chive Espuma; while the entrees include a choice of Seared Scallops, Sweet Potato Purée, Roasted Brussel Sprouts, and Candied Pork Belly. You can view Avec Nous’ entire Valentine’s Day 5 course menu here. Reserve now, as it’s likely to be a full house.
In their own words, “Our passion is defined by our name: Avec Nous – dine with us, drink with us, celebrate with us.” Celebrate your love with Ave Nous!
Category: 5 course tasting menu with optional wine pairing.
Time: 5 pm – 11 pm
Address: 9291 Burton Way, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Cast at Viceroy Santa Monica
When you see what Cast at Viceroy is, and what it has to offer, you’ll most likely be reminded of a movie that features scenes of a luxurious dining experience. Creative food, hand-crafted cocktails, and stylish outdoor cabanas where you can enjoy both, with a side of coastal personality? That should be enough to persuade you into making a reservation, right? If not, maybe you’re picky, but don’t fret.
The Santa Monica restaurant Santa Monica restaurant stars a unique indoor/outdoor scene and commitment to sustainability. Keeping with the trend of healthy eating and fresh, local ingredients, Cast works with nearby farms and prepares their dishes from scratch. Their Valentine’s Day plans involve a specialty dinner paired with a decadent cocktail menu:
Roasted Tomato & Fennel Bisque, Grilled Little Gem Salad, and the Baby Beet & Burrata Salad are just a few starters to get you all warmed up. Entrees include Branzino, Maine Lobster and Tagliatelle, and Farro Risotto to name a few. You can check out the rest of Cast’s Valentine’s Day offerings here, along with photos of the cocktails available for the lover’s holiday. The cocktails by Anuar Chavez, are as dreamy as you can imagine, with chocolates, fruits, and liqueurs — yet their names alone should be enough to entice you: Old Fashioned Love, Cherries on Top/Bubbles on Cherries, and Chocolate Covered Strawberry.
Are you convinced yet? If the answer is “yes,” make your reservation. If you’re still not sure, don’t worry. We’ve still got a few more stops to make.
Category: Specialty dinner & cocktail menu
Time: 6:30 pm – 10:30 pm
Address: 1819 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Love & Salt
The name is clearly an indication that Valentine’s Day should be celebrated here! Love & Salt’s Valentine plans include you and your date, along with a special menu themed “Is it love or lust?” What’s in store? Pasta tasting is being offered as a supplement to the Love & Salt dinner menu, and served by the course to each guest. In addition, themed cocktails and oysters on the half shell are available a la carte. Pasta tasting options include Papparadelle, Potato Gnocchi, 15 layer Lasagna, and Love Letter. Love & Salt’s steamy cocktails, named “Lady in the Ballroom” and “Lady in Red,” will seal your night with a kiss of citrus and mint.
In this appropriate pairing, the restaurant’s story goes fittingly with the season:
“Love & Salt is a story that begins with Cafe Pierre, a restaurant birthed by Guy Gabriele in 1977 to bring a taste of France to Los Angeles’ South Bay. While Cafe Pierre was a beloved part of the community for nearly 37 years, in 2014, Guy and his daughter Sylvie Gabriele, now the owner of Love & Salt, closed the restaurant to bring new life to the iconic space.
Love & Salt is a philosophy: that food needs only two ingredients to be great. It’s a sensibility that informs the feeling in the restaurant and the dishes on the menu — Italian-inspired with Southern California soul. An approachable wine list and classic cocktail program similarly reflect the vibrant SoCal setting of the restaurant, located just steps from the Manhattan Beach pier.”
Make your reservation here.
Dates: February 13 & 14
Address: 317 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
Yardbird Southern Table & Bar
Southern dining meets love at Yardbird, and it couldn’t get any better! Yardbird’s Valentine’s Day offerings consist of elevated comfort food, including appetizers, entrees, “finishing touches,” and desserts. Black truffle lobster mac and cheese, grouper, steak, sea scallops, and red velvet coconut cake are only a few of the impossibly difficult choices you’ll have to make when you reserve at Yardbird.
Yardbird Southern Table & Bar is owned and operated by 50 Eggs Inc., a multi-faceted, full-service creative firm focused on developing irrepressible brands within the hospitality and entertainment industries. CEO, John Kunkel says, “We’ve been blessed with an extremely talented, intelligent and enthusiastic group of people who possess a roll-up-your-sleeves work ethic second to none. That has been, and will continue to be, the driving force behind our success, plain and simple. We have more concepts in the works and our goal is to continue to develop ideas that we’re passionate about. We’re proud to be developing, building and operating the kind of places that we want to share with our families and yours.”
Category: Special menu served Feb 14 – 17
Address: 8500 Beverly Blvd #112, Los Angeles, CA 90048
Umami Burger x Coolhaus
Contributing Editor: Anthony Stafford
It’s that time of year when pretty much everyone is optimistic and ready to make a positive change in their lives. From the gym to the dinner table, chances are high that many new year’s resolution will involve diets, fitness, and health. If you happen to be one of those people (and even if you’re not), we’ve got the perfect can’t-miss event of the month that will spice things up before those resolutions become a bore.
For a whole week — from January 17th through January 23rd — Daily Harvest is bringing their Refueling Station pop-up to Los Angeles. The best part? It’s free and open to the public at the Westfield Century City!
What is Daily Harvest?
Daily Harvest is a direct-to-consumer brand delivering delicious, nutrient-rich, fruits and vegetables that are frozen at the source, and chef-crafted for taste and ready in minutes. They recognize that the speed at which we live today often forces us to turn to quick, unhealthy choices. From gas stations to convenience stores, our options are filled with foods that lack the nourishment we need at the price of instant gratification. That’s why Daily Harvest has created this Refueling Station as a food oasis for busy people to disrupt their overbooked schedules and remind them that they can nourish their bodies with good food that won’t slow them down. The perfect way to stick to your new year’s resolution a bit longer, right?
The pop-up’s chic take on a retro gas station is a physical manifestation of Daily Harvest’s greater mission to take care of food, so food can take care of you. Visitors will be able to sample the brand’s growing portfolio of good, clean food, including smoothies, breakfast bowls, harvest bowls and cookies! In addition, guests can purchase Daily Harvest cups offline and in person, and partake in engaging programming, like on-site nutrition coaching, swag giveaways, and other surprises!
In November 2018, Daily Harvest opened their first-ever Refueling Station in NYC, which was a huge success.
When To Visit?
Dates: January 17th – 23rd
Time: Open to the public from 11:00AM-8:00PM daily
Address: Westfield Century City; 10250 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90067
Contributing Editor: Anthony Stafford
OWYN stands for “Only What You Need,” and their new line of 100% plant-based nutrition and protein bars have arrived just in time! The bars are not only dairy-free, but also gluten-free, non-GMO, and nutrient and superfood dense. In addition, the OWYN line of snack bars are incredibly flavorful — whether for breakfast, dessert, or anywhere in-between! OWYN has secured unbeatable taste, superior nutrition, and the cleanest nutrient profile amongst the many bars out there. It’s the perfect way to start out the New Year: on a health-positive note.
Available in 5 different flavors, the vegan-protein bars combine pumpkin seed, pea protein, and chia seeds, so you can benefit from a complete profile of all 9 essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein) which help in maintenance and development of muscle, hair, skin, and nails. OWYN bars range from 10-11 grams of protein — the perfect amount to fuel all of your on-the-go needs, whether pre-workout, post-workout, at work, or busy and on-the-go. OWYN plant-protein bars have a macronutrient profile with a superior protein to sugar ratio, when compared to other bars with a similar amount of protein. OWYN’s protein bars contain 10-11 grams of plant protein to deliver all 9 essential amino acids and naturally occurring BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids) to enhance muscle recovery and promote optimal daily health. The plant-based bars are tested by two third-parties to ensure no top 8 allergen contamination too!
As if everyone’s wishes have been granted, we can all enjoy a 100% certified vegan, certified Gluten-Free, 100% plant-based protein bar that provides superior health benefits and never, ever, ever compromises on taste! OWYN has achieved delicious nutrition made for active and healthy people on-the-go, who care about what they put in their body and where it comes from. Even more, the plant-based protein bars provide “Only What You Need,” with a great macronutrient profile. With this sweet option, you’re set to get your year, or new diet started off on the right foot— whether Keto, Vegan, Vegetarian, or anything else!
*OWYN is Gluten-Free, dairy-free, soy-free, peanut and tree nut free, egg-free, non-GMO project verified, kosher, free of all artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, low sugar content, vegan.
Contributing Editor: Anthony Stafford
Umami Burger never lets us down, and once again sets the bar even higher for what we can expect from them. The world-renowned premium burger chain just introduced some exciting holiday promos to satisfy all of our cravings this season, and they go beyond sweet, sour, salty, and bitter, in their typical fashion. A word coined by the Japanese, Umami is a powerful force behind many food cravings and Umami Burger is serving up some of the most crave-able creations in the industry. For a limited time, Umami Burger is launching “Industry Nights,” gift card promotions, and more at their DTLA location. Read below for details on each special occasion, and how you can take part.
Industry Nights: An Insider Party
Beginning Friday, December 7, 2018, through Saturday, February 2, 2019, Umami Burger DTLA will offer a 1/2 off menu on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 p.m. to close (times may change). The Industry Night is solely for other local businesses in the food/beverage arena, and all you have to do is show a pay stub during the 1/2 off times. This special get together for industry insiders is not only a great way to bring the community together, but the industry itself.
Give and Receive, All at Once
For the rest of us who may not be industry insiders, Umami Burger still finds a way to make us feel special — but for a far more limited time! From now to December 31, 2018, Umami Burger will practice its “give and receive” gift card promotion. At participating Umami Burger locations, when you purchase $100 worth of gift cards, you’ll receive a free $25 gift card! Now that’s gifting, AMPLIFIED! This gift card promotion runs from November 23 (Black Friday) through December 31, 2018, so you’ve still got a bit more time!