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
The Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard Celebrates 30 years in Santa Barbara County
Los Olivos, CA – The Fess Parker Winery is pleased to celebrate its 30th year in Santa Barbara County in 2019, a satisfying milestone for the family owned and operated business. In the years since its inception the winery has developed some of the finest vineyard sites in the Santa Rita Hills and Santa Ynez Valley and established itself as a brand popular with wine enthusiasts and critics alike.
Says winery President Tim Snider, “We mark this anniversary with equal parts pride and gratitude – pride for the quality we have achieved with our wines in national and international markets and gratitude for the opportunity to grow our business while remaining family held. By playing to our strengths and focusing on working with the Rhône and Burgundian varietals that grow so well here, hopefully we have set ourselves up well for the next 30 years. We are fortunate to have a tremendous winemaking team under the direction of Head Winemaker, Blair Fox, who celebrates his 15th anniversary with the winery this year as well.”
Winery co-owner Ashley Parker Snider says, “Knowing that a career in Hollywood wasn’t necessarily a long-term proposition, creating a family business that all of us could participate in for generations was important to my dad. Before he passed in 2010, he was incredibly proud of how far we had come.”
Eli Parker – a founding family member and former head winemaker reflects on the occasion: “Our greatest hope is that people who have enjoyed our wines over the last 30 years will continue to enjoy them as part of their own family traditions and celebrations. Even more so, we hope that people just discovering Fess Parker wines will appreciate them as the finest expression of the beauty and bounty of Santa Barbara wine country. Continuing to work together toward this objective as a family is a real privilege.”
To mark the date, the winery has produced limited edition magnums of its sparkling Fesstivity 30th Anniversary Cuvee, a blend of 70 percent Chardonnay and 30 percent Pinot Noir sourced from vineyards the winery developed in the highly regarded Sta. Rita Hills AVA. Only 500 magnums were bottled and they are available for direct purchase at the winery.
To learn more about the Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard, visit https://www.fessparker.com/.
ABOUT THE FESS PARKER FAMILY PORTFOLIO
Since the late 1980s, Fess Parker and his family have cultivated a world-class hospitality portfolio around the beauty and bounty of Santa Barbara County. The Fess Parker Winery is focused on the grape varieties best suited to the region’s unique growing conditions – Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Rhone wines – with its vintages consistently earning 90+ point ratings from top critics around the world.
In addition to a waterfront hotel in Santa Barbara, the family honors their late patriarch’s legacy by hosting guests at the Fess Parker Wine Country Inn in Los Olivos, which also houses The Bear and Star restaurant, featuring refined ranch-to-table cuisine from Chef/Partner John Cox.
For more information, please visit www.fessparker.com.
For all events at The Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard click here
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!
Contributing Editor: Anthony Stafford
Viceroy L’Ermitage Beverly Hills has partnered with Assouline, the luxury collectible book publisher, for an exclusive pop-up boutique ideal for all your last minute gift shopping needs. Located in the hotel’s lobby, the limited-time retail shop will offer Assouline’s newest and most in-demand titles — from now until the end of the year! Each thoughtfully handcrafted book is piece of art in itself, and perfect for everyone on your gift list.
Wine Me Up!
In addition to offering of lovely gifts, Viceroy L’Ermitage Beverly Hills also hosts a complimentary weekly ‘wine hour’ from 5:30-6:30 pm on Wednesdays for guests of the Assouline boutique. The wine hour is welcome to all hotel guests, visitors, and Beverly Hills locals interested in shopping the Assouline space. What better way to knock out some holiday shopping than while sipping wine?
A Christmas Meal To Remember
Finally, both Viceroy Santa Monica’s Cast Restaurant, and Viceroy L’Ermitage’s Avec Nous will be open on Christmas Day for a delicious meal that should not be missed. The Christmas menu for Avec Nous will feature the following 5 courses:
Amuse – Eggnog Tart with Vanilla Bourbon caviar
Soup – Roasted Chestnut, pomegranate, chestnut profiterole with chestnut cream, wild rocket espuma
App – Sous Vide Lobster medallions, Thermador cream, petite sea grass, Black garlic tuile
Intermezzo – Persimmon sorbet
Entrée (of choice):
1 . Lamb Stew, Saffron Fingerling potatoes, baby carrots, kohlrabi,
2 . Black Cod, Roasted Delicata squash, poached baby fennel, Purple potato puree, fennel frons sauce,
Dessert – White Chocolate panna cotta with dark chocolate financier, strawberry fluid gel, blood orange cremeux, pistachio dust, candied blood orange, strawberry powder.
Who could pass up on an extravagant 5-course meal like this on Christmas?! More details for these special opportunities, like pricing, hours, and location, can be found below:
Restaurant Name: Viceroy L’Ermitage Beverly Hills – Avec Nous
Offerings / Pricing: 5 course tasting menu, $85 adults, $65 child
Dinner Hours: 5 – 11 p.m.
Restaurant Name: Viceroy Santa Monica – Cast Restaurant
Offerings / Pricing: Regular service
Dinner Hours: 5 – 9 p.m.
Photos / Story Contributions by Anthony C. Stafford & Joshua Pinkay
Let the Festivities Begin
The Grand Weekend of Taste of sbe kicked off on Saturday, with a Veuve Clicquot Rose and Whispering Angel Brunch at Cleo Third Street — a first for Los Angeles! Brunch at Cleo was followed by one-of-a-kind activities and events that included a private shopping experience with Harry Winston on Rodeo Drive, a cooking class and a Farewell Brunch at Doheny Room. A percentage of proceeds from all ticket sales benefited the local Make-A-Wish Chapter where sbe will grant the wish of a vacation for a few winning families to the Bahamas for an incredible experience at the new SLS Baha Mar resort. Lincoln also escorted VIPS all weekend in their luxury fleet of vehicles.
Our Taste of Cleo Third Street
Brunch at Cleo’s is arguably a treat that everyone needs! Often times, many are faced with the question of “what to eat?” and are seemingly forced to choose from “the usuals”. However, Cleo achieves what many restaurants have a hard time mastering, and that achievement is American favorites with a Mediterranean twist. Brunch began with a choice of numerous cocktails and Pure Leaf teas. If there was one word to describe the featured cocktails from Ketel One, that word would be “impeccable”. Ketel One offers a special type of spirit: made using the natural oils of the fruits listed in the ingredients, sugar-free (and no artificial sweeteners or flavors), no carbs, and extremely light — at just 73 calories per cocktail!
Light and refreshing are the go-to words at one sip, and the flavors of the Cucumber and Mint; Peach and Orange Blossom; and Grapefruit and Rose cocktails are comparable to drinking an icy, crisp Badoit with a hint bitters, and fruity, herbal flavors. Simply put, these cocktails taste just as good as they look, and are not your everyday spirit!
After our variety of palate-awakening beverages, an assortment of mezzes were presented, including a “masabacha” style hummus made with chickpeas, cumin and lemon; babaganoush, containing smoked eggplant, sumac, and pepper; a delicious lebaneh of feta, za’atar, and extra virgin olive oil; and finally a beautifully plated watermelon and feta salad decorated with mint leaves and shaved cucumber. This appetizing assortment brought vinegary bitterness, blended smoothness, and natural sweetness all into quick succession as one taste was followed by another. For us, the authenticity of these dishes brought on vibrant memories of Italy’s countryside, just outside of Venice, where life is slower and like the dishes before us, prominent in flavor and culture.
As we were pulled deeper into the ever-boldening tastes of our entrees, it was also time to welcome some familiarities. At a glance, an easily identifiable plate: 3 eggs and bacon — but with a twist. Soft, scrambled eggs and thick-cut bacon had a new happy family of twice cooked potatoes, roasted green tomatoes, and tzatziki and toast. And the Wagyu Cali Burger sounding all too familiar, yet presenting a new look and taste, topped with cheddar, thick-cut bacon, avocado, tzatziki, sauerkraut, a fried egg, and a side of fries. Cleo served heaven on plates, and the menu went on to include other amazing entrees, like Red Shakshouka, Smoked Salmon Benedict, Avocado Toast Benedict, and a Quinoa Breakfast Bowl. Finally, the Chef’s Selection for dessert surprised us with baklava, panacotta, sticky taffy pudding, mandeleine cookies, pâte de fruit, crescent cookies, and melt-in-your-mouth sour cream-glazed donuts.
Dinner and a… Show
Taste of sbe: Grand Dinner at Skybar at Mondrian Los Angeles with Rolling Stone
to benefit Make A Wish
Rudy Mancuso, Maia Mitchell, Trey Songz, Emile Hirsch, Sara Sampaio, James Kennedy, and his girlfriend, Raquel Viss — just a few big names who partied with sbe this past weekend at the Mondrian Los Angeles. Other attendees of this special weekend event included, but was not limited to, Fred Durst, Lady Victoria Harvey, Emmy nominees Kelly Jenrette and Melvin Jackson Jr.; Bianca Blanco and John Savage — along with sbe nightlife leaders Frankie Delgado, Dean May, Nick Montealegre, Josh Richmond; and sbe’s Disruptive Group COO Sebastien Silvestri.
This long list of names, and more, celebrated Taste of sbe’s Grand Dinner at Skybar at Mondrian Los Angeles — one of sbe’s international award-winning venues and mainstay destinations. The evening served a purpose beyond partying, and benefitted the Make A Wish Foundation, in partnership with Rolling Stone Magazine, Lincoln Motors, Evian, Fever-Tree, and Diageo.
With 100 guests in attendance at the epicurean showcase, each enjoyed 7 delicious courses courtesy of sbe’s incredible restaurant roster, including Cleo, Katsuya, Carna, Umami Burger, Diez y Seis, Makoto, SLS, and Fi’lia. With sbe’s renowned chefs on hand from all over the world, bellies were bound to be full. Chefs Martin Heierling, Katsuya Uechi, Danny Elmaleh, Makoto Okuwa, Jose Icardi, Yoshi Migita, Diego di Lao, Renata Ferraro, all were in attendance, and brought down the house with their featured courses. The extravagant plates included Otoro Tuna Tartar with Imperial Caviar & 24 Karat Gold, Hand Folded Tortelloni with Celery Root And Black Truffle, Wagyu Gyoza, and ‘The Frenchie’ burger by Chef Daniel Boulud. Guests at the Grand Dinner sipped on a bevy of signature cocktails courtesy of Diageo, as well as Dauo Vineyards. Chief Operating Officer of sbe’s Disruptive Group, Sebastien Silvestri; and Mike Kallhoff, President of Make-A-Wish, completed the evening with a toast for the group at the end of dinner. Following the Grand Dinner, New York Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton joined the guests and headed to HYDE Sunset for an epic after party hosted by Trey Songz.
The Party Continues
Heading across the country to Miami, the second Grand Weekend runs October 25-28, starting with Celebrity Taste at SLS South Beach on Thursday evening. Guests can expect participation from The Bazaar by José Andrés, Leynia, Katsuya, Fi’lia by Michael Schwartz, Makoto, and K Ramen.Burger.Beer. Saturday’s temptations include an interactive Sushi Making Class and lunch at Katsuya South Beach followed by a Grand Dinner inDelano’s iconic lobby complete with special live performances. The weekend concludes in style with a Farewell Brunch at Diez y Seis.
The final Grand Weekend takes place on the private beaches of SLS Baha Mar resort in The Bahamas, from November 15-18, where the coveted ticket on Friday night provides access to a one-of-a-kind tasting event at Bungalow Pool. Chefs in attendance will include Dario Cecchini, Michael Schwartz and Danny Elmaleh — topping off
with an after-party at Bond Nightclub and a special guest performance. On Saturday, guests will experience a Grand Dinner White Party, held on the private Baha Mar Pier. A Farewell Brunch at Cleo Mediterráneo on Sunday brings the memorable weekend, and three-weekend event to a close.
Join The Festivities
Individual tickets are available for each event throughout all three weekends, ranging from $55 to $500, as well as all-access packages. The weekends are presented by Rolling Stone, Heineken, Lincoln, Fever Tree, Diageo, Moet Hennessy, The Patron Company (Bahamas only), Pepsi and Red Bull.
For further information visit www.sbe.com/tasteofsbe and follow #tasteofsbe, #worldofsbe and #thisisbeyond to unlock your passport for the finest experiences that sbe has to offer.