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Wednesday, 03 May 2017 11:16

Margaritas WeHo Style

TASTE News Service, May 3, 2017 - Margaritas became America's most popular drink in the 1970s, kicking Wall Street martinis to the curb, and we never looked back.

Thursday, 12 March 2015 21:30

Do You Want to Know a Secret (Menu)?

petrossian caviar burgerBy: Esther Tseng  Dining in West Hollywood offers even more options than you might realize. We’re not just talking about that coffee house or happy hour that you’ve been meaning to try— your favorite restaurants may offer some off-menu items at that you never even knew about! These insiders-only dishes at five of West Hollywood’s best restaurants reveal the secret side of West Hollywood’s legendary restaurant scene:

BOA SteakhouseBOA Steakhouse is famous for its steaks, but it also offers some secret, off-menu protein dishes that showcase the restaurant’s versatility. Seafood lovers shouldn’t miss the charred octopus taco topped with tangy citrus and chorizo vinaigrette. If you’re more of a burger connoisseur, try the J1-Braised Short Rib Slider. Dressed with BOA’s house-made J1 steak sauce, the slider comes with a delicious cabbage slaw and fried, crispy onions, which add great texture. BOA’s Boneless Chicken Wings are spiced with an addictive blend of cardamom and Espelette pepper underneath a cherry and citrus glaze, a combination that they have to keep secret just to keep on hand!

Petrossian Restaurant & BoutiqueAt Petrossian, Executive Chef Giselle Wellman constantly creates innovative dishes, and lucky patrons sometimes have the opportunity to try her experiments. Currently, she’s transforming Petrossian’s classic burger by replacing the traditional slice of cheese with sheet of pressed caviar, dubbed “Papierusse,” to create a signature caviar burger. Butter lettuce, fried egg, and caviar aioli with French Fries complete the indulgent experience. You can request this hidden treasure either as a full burger or a bite-sized slider.

Gracias MadreGracias Madre‘s Chef Chandra Gilbert initially introduced her winter empanadas as a dineLA exclusive, but she liked them so much that she’ll still prepare them for diners in the know. Made with roasted root vegetables and kale and complemented with tomato habanero jam, cilantro tamarind chutney and cumin lentils, these flavorful empanadas are, like the rest of Gracias Madre’s dishes, completely vegan.

Cecconi’sThe secret, grass-fed steak at Cecconi’s, sourced from BN Ranch, is the chef’s juiciest, most succulent steak. The secret is the cut itself, which varies depending on availability. It might be a porterhouse; it might be a double filet—ask the server to find out what’s freshest. The sides are seasonal, ranging from roast potatoes, peperonata and creamy morel sauce to raw kale, shaved artichokes, parmesan, and rich porcini mushroom sauce.

Salt’s CureThe lunch and brunch menus at Salt’s Cure are legendary for their exquisite locally sourced meats, and one menu item has a reputation that outshines the rest—their bacon cheeseburger with fries. Fortunately, although it’s only listed on the daytime menus, the bacon cheeseburger is also available for dinner—because sometimes you just really need a burger.

By Sheryll Alexander

Brian-Malarkey PicmonkeyCelebrity Chef Brian MalarkeyMondrian’s long-running Asia de Cuba food and beverage offerings are no more as celebrity chef Brian Malarkey of BRAVO’s Top Chef and ABC’s The Taste has brought his acclaimed Herringbone restaurant to this landmark Sunset Strip hotel in West Hollywood. Herringbone (part of James Brennan’s Enlightened Hospitality Group) showcases what it calls “ocean-to-table global cuisine.”

WeHo’s award-winning designer Thomas Schoos is behind Herringbone’s new look. Guests can expect organic glam throughout the hotel’s famed indoor-outdoor space. Some of the rather eclectic designs include a long bar made from upside down lobster traps, chandeliers made from ostrich bones and a dining table crafted from a gold-dipped acacia tree root as well as California casual sectional sofas and firepits for relaxing and enjoying the view.

 

Q & A with Chef Brian Malarkey

Why did you choose Mondrian for your next Herringbone incarnation?"Mondrian Los Angeles is an iconic hotel on the amazing Sunset Strip. As a young chef working at Citrus in LA, I used to drive down Sunset Strip in awe of the rich history of WeHo and it has always been a dream of mine to have a restaurant here."

What do you love about West Hollywood as a food, drink and hospitality destination?"I think Los Angeles has an incredible restaurant and chef scene. The overall food culture is so impressive and I’m really excited to be a part of it."

Why is your food based on seafood? What is it about les fruits de la mer that entices you so?"Herringbone is about the “herring” and the “bone.” We really showcase surf and turf dishes; everything from a clam and bone marrow flat bread to smoked salmon tartare. I grew up on the Oregon coast and have always loved the ocean. It’s wild, free and fresh."

What will you offer at your WeHo location that’s different from your other restaurants?"We will be offering more menu items because the kitchen is so large. You’ll see a lot of adventurous and over-the-top surf and turf dishes that we’ve been wanting to try from rabbit and goat to sea urchin and abalone. We’re going to have fun, but also maintain some of the basics like lamb and lobster."

Can you give us some insights into Herringbone’s renovations and decor?"We’ll be taking some elements from Herringbone La Jolla but incorporating several new design details that are a reflection of the hotel itself."

What makes Herringbone the perfect match for Mondrian?"Herringbone’s overall concept is similar to that of Mondrian Los Angeles. It’s somewhat sophisticated and refined, but very fun. The music is great and the vibe is incredible. Herringbone really fits into Mondrian Los Angeles because we’re both all about providing the best possible experience for our guests."

Have you found any WeHo hot spots yet?"Currently, a few of my favorite spots in WeHo are Laurel Hardware and Eveleigh."

Enlightened Hospitality Group manages and operates some of the nation’s top restaurants including Herringbone (La Jolla), Searsucker (San Diego, Austin, Del Mar, Scottsdale) and Gabardine (Point Loma), as well as Stingaree, which is the largest and most exclusive nightlife destination in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter.

Editor's Note: Readers will find links to the website of Herringbone, as well as to the sites of hundreds of other Dining and Lodging options in the Los Angeles area in Taste California Travel's Resource Directory. In our Directory there's also a new guide to “beer-centric” establishments throughout the state.

Monday, 25 November 2013 13:04

West Hollywood Named Most Walkable City

W Hollywood Rainbow Crosswalk Picmonkey

West Hollywood November 25, 2013 - Walk Score, a private company whose mission is to promote walkable neighborhoods, has announced that it has once again ranked West Hollywood the most walkable city in the state of California. The walkability ranking rates any address based on its proximity to nearby amenities, such as grocery stores, restaurants, schools, parks and public transit. With a score of 89, West Hollywood’s walkability is ranked higher than San Francisco (with a score of 84), Los Angeles (64) and San Diego (49)

“With its central location and compact size, West Hollywood is the ideal destination for visitors who want to experience the greater Los Angeles area without a car,” said Brad Burlingame, President & CEO of Visit West Hollywood. “West Hollywood visitors appreciate the safe atmosphere, pedestrian-friendly streetscaping and close proximity of our world-class hotels to dining, shopping and entertainment.”

West Hollywood’s Best Walking Districts

At just 1.9 square miles in size, West Hollywood is one of the most densely populated cities in California, an urban village where people frequently utilize the most efficient transportation mode possible – their feet. To help visitors hit their stride, Visit West Hollywood has compiled a series of curated and themed “Walkable WeHo” walking tours on its blog, as well as a thorough guide to a car-free West Hollywood and Los Angeles experience.

Some of West Hollywood’s most popular walking districts include The Sunset Strip, a 1.6-mile stretch of Sunset Boulevard that is home to many of the city’s premier hotels, shopping and restaurants, as well as legendary music and nightlife venues.

Just a few blocks to the south, Santa Monica Boulevard – part of the historic Route 66 – is home to Southern California’s most vibrant LGBT district, with dozens of gay-friendly restaurants, stores, bars and clubs.

Another pedestrian-friendly destination in West Hollywood is the West Hollywood Design District, consisting of Melrose Ave., Robertson Blvd. and Beverly Blvd. The district, which surrounds the landmark Pacific Design Center, is home to nearly 300 interior design showrooms, fashion retailers, restaurants and art galleries. In 2013, the district launched a streetscaping program that will further enhance the pedestrian experience.

(Information for the above article supplied to TASTE News Service by Travmedia sources.)

Editor's note: If you're planning on visiting West Hollywood, you can find links to the websites of hundreds of Lodging and Dining options in the Los Angeles County section of Taste California Travel's Resource Directory. Also in the Directory are links to the sites of Southern California wineries and craft beer pubs. 

Monday, 14 October 2013 11:13

Ghost Hunting in West Hollywood

By: Tracy Pattin

Sinatra in 47 PicmonkeySinatra appeared at the Players Club in the '40s

From the glamorous film stars and infamous mobsters of the 1920s, 30s and 40s, to the flamboyant rock stars of the 60s and 70s, West Hollywood is known for its fascinating cast of characters over the decades. They dined, drank, romanced and lived here. Many are gone now, but are their spirits still hanging around? Strolling and partying the night away? According to some…oh yeah.

Here are some great spots to see, hear or feel a spirit or two around town:

1. The Den - 8226 Sunset Blvd.

The bartenders and bar backs insist The Den is haunted. One bar back recently recounted a few spooky incidents–“It’s a little scary late at night after the place is closed and no one is here. I went downstairs to the walk-in refrigerator. I opened the door, put a few things away and shut it. When I started to walk upstairs, suddenly the door opened and shut again all by itself. And these are heavy doors. Another time I heard someone tapping on the stored beer kegs. But no one was there. We think it’s the spirit of a young girl. The creepiest thing is the tiny window downstairs covered in newspaper. That’s where the girl’s spirit has been seen.” So, if you stop by The Den, you might get a good ghost story or two to go with your cocktail.

2. Pink Taco - 8225 Sunset Blvd.

“It’s all about the ghosts on the third floor,”a member of the wait staff says. “Especially the women’s bathroom and the hallway leading up to it.” One of the wait staff took me up to the third floor on an impromptu ghost tour recently. When we walked down the cavernous hall, goose-bumps slowly crept up my arm as we got closer to the infamous spooky bathroom. The building was built in 1940 as Players Club , where stars and mobsters partied the night away. Howard Hughes rented out the entire third floor when he came to dine. Frank Sinatra was rumored to play a set then sneak away through the secret tunnel for a tryst at Chateau Marmont, and then rush back to play his second set. Mickey Cohen and his band of bad boys did some drinking here too (who knows what else they did). No wonder the place is haunted.

3. The Comedy Store - 8433 Sunset Blvd.Lana Turner still PicmonkeyLana Turner

This has been one of the most popular venues on The Strip from the moment it opened as Ciro’s nightclub in 1940. Today, it’s a famous comedy club. But in the wee hours of the morning, it turns back into Ciro’s with ghosts and spirits wanting to party like it was 1940 all over again. There are reports from the employees of piano playing in the Belly Room with no one at the ivories. Wait staff have gone in to set up the room, leave and come back to find candles blown out, and the room reset. Chairs have slid across the main stage. Even a man in a bomber jacket appeared in the daytime in front of one of the comedian/security guards, then vanished right in front of him. Perhaps glamorous film stars like Humphrey Bogart, Lana Turner or Cary Grant are still hanging around. Or maybe a long gone mobster like Mikey Cohen still thinks he rules The Sunset Strip.

4. Book Soup - 8818 W Sunset Blvd.

You’re bound to catch a few ghostly vibes in this historic book store. After all, their next door neighbor (where the newsstand is today) used to house the dead–It was the O’Donnell Mortuary (1920s-1950s). If that isn’t spooky enough stroll past the newsstand, down the “slim magical passageway” to the English cottage and Mystery Pier Books (310.657.5557. 8826 Sunset Blvd)–where all books are first editions dating back centuries. I’ll bet Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Agatha Christie and other famous novelists are hanging around flipping through the pages of their masterpieces.

5.The Rainbow Bar & Grill - 9015 Sunset Blvd.

Originally it was The Mermaid Club (built in the late 1920′s) then became The Villa Nova in 1933. “Old Hollywood” stars drank, dined and even danced here. No wonder the place is haunted. Rachel, a Rainbow employee, took me on a mini ghost tour recently. She took me upstairs into the attic-like bar where all the ghost action is. She described how she organizes her cash register before her shift, comes back a few minutes later and it’s completely reorganized (no one else was around). As she was grabbing a glass to tell me about another ghostly maneuver, suddenly the glass flew out of her hand and broke on the floor. “See? This is what I mean. The glasses get whipped around and shattered all the time up here.” Then she pointed to yet another spooky attic area. “Look over there. That used to be known as “Vampire Lair. It’s supposedly haunted too.”

After you’ve had your fill of The Sunset Strip haunts, take a little stroll down the hill to Santa Monica Boulevard and the famed Barney’s Beanery for a little more West Hollywood Ghost Hunting:

6. Barney’s Beanery - 8447 Santa Monica Blvd.

The Doors at Barneys Beanery PicmonkeyThe Doors at Barney's Beanery barLots of paranormal activity has been reported in this very old establishment (built in 1927).The cook swears that a keg moved on its own in the walk-in refrigerator. That same cook supposedly freaked out about the constant ghostly visits and transferred to another location. Then, one of the wait staff felt as if someone was tugging on her skirt while she was in the same walk-in refrigerator.

A skeptical restaurant manager saw an apparition more than 20 times floating across the hallway in front of his upstairs office. What sold him on all this ghost stuff was the fact that the motion detectors were never triggered. The staff has also reported seeing a shadowy figure outside the office bathroom. So who could be lurking around? Maybe Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison are having a little fun at their old haunt. Janis was known to have had drinks there the night before her death.

Editor's note: This article was provided to TASTE News Service via Travmedia.com. For more information about West Hollywood try www.visitwesthollywood.com. If you do plan on going, check out the Los Angeles County section of Taste California Travel's Resource Directory. In it you will find links to the websites of hundreds of Lodging and Dining options, as well as links to sites of Craft Beer specialists in the area and Southern California Wineries.

West Hollywood Pick Up Line photo Picmonkey

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – September 7, 2013 – The City of West Hollywood has launched “The Pickup Line,” a trolley service that offers free and fun transportation to WeHo's legendary nightlife and dining hotspots, while enabling visitors to enjoy a green and car-free Los Angeles experience. The weekend nighttime trolley runs along Santa Monica Boulevard on Friday and Saturday nights from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. The Pickup debuted on August 16, and has attracted more than 1,400 riders per weekend.

“The Pickup is our newest effort to make West Hollywood even more walkable,” said West Hollywood Mayor Abbe Land. “One of my favorite things about this city is that you can walk to so many places, and this will help you go even further. Now, you can party like a VIP – get picked up and dropped off right in front of your favorite destinations along Santa Monica Boulevard.”

“The official launch of the Pick-Up brings an entirely new level of fun and convenience to the WeHo party scene,” said West Hollywood Mayor Pro Tempore John D’Amico. “It's free, it's convenient, it's about fun and it’s about time. Use the Pick-Up every Friday and Saturday night,” continued Mayor Pro Tempore D’Amico.

The PickUp Line is a four-mile long loop with stops every two to three blocks, offering passengers a lift every 15 minutes. The goal of The PickUp is to provide an alternative to the automobile and bring an energetic and playful transit option to one of West Hollywood’s busiest nighttime districts.The PickUp aims to steer riders to popular local venues with its flirtatious take on public transit. The soundtrack onboard The PickUp will be a mash-up of the prolific beats of Derek Monterio, one of West Hollywood’s talented DJs.

Riders of The PickUp will enjoy perks that will make the switch from car to trolley well worth it. VIP entry to The Abbey means no waiting in line to get into the world’s most notorious gay bar; plus two-for-one Abbey breakfasts before noon. Micky’s, is offering no cover and priority admission. Hugo’s has one free appetizer with entrée for PickUp patrons. Riders getting off at Fubar get one $1 drink and a stop at Here Lounge gets PickUp riders half off their first drink. New perks will be added throughout the pilot program.

Editor's note: Information for this article supplied to TASTE News Service from Travmedia sources.

Sunday, 20 May 2012 22:37

City of Angels Welcomes LGBT Visitors

CSW WeHO SMALL 4703736256 eede4766e0 zOn Christopher Street in West Hollywood.

LA's trademark industries — entertainment, fashion, art, design and cuisine, among others — have been magnets for creative gay and lesbian trendsetters for more than a century. And by their sheer numbers and substantial influence, these pioneering men and women have left a permanent, positive and gay-friendly legacy on LA's culture, political climate and sense of community.

LA's gay scene goes back to before Christopher Isherwood wrote about it in A Single Man (reborn as the 2009 Tom Ford movie). That story was set in the 1960s, when there was a Stonewall-style riot in LA, two years before Stonewall. The Advocate magazine was born here, as were America's first gay church and synagogue (Metropolitan Community Church and Beth Chayim Chadashim). If you know PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) moms or dads, you can thank LA for them, too.

Outfest, the LGBT film festival that takes place each July, is the city's largest and longest-running film festival of any kind, celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2012. Theater companies citywide stage productions of gay interest (the Celebration Theater in Hollywood specializes in gay-themed productions), and the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles has set national standards since 1979. There's even a gay bus tour offered by Out & About Tours for those wishing to learn more about LA's gay history. But it's not just history. LGBT life in this county of 10 million people continues to be as diverse and dynamic as the City itself, with sights, sounds, tastes, languages, nightlife and adventures for every visitor. In fact, there is not just one gay neighborhood in this glittering metropolis. They dot the region. You could spend an entire week just exploring unique and engaging gay and lesbian enclaves throughout the City.

LA's original gay neighborhood is Silver Lake, along and around Sunset Boulevard, northwest of Downtown and east of Hollywood. Amid Silver Lake's rolling hills, trendsetters mix with one of America's most ethnically diverse populations in pillbox-sized homes, hip clubs and friendly bars.

At the center of Silver Lake is the cluster of low-key chic boutiques called Sunset Junction. Browse for star-worthy leather messenger bags, handbags and duffel bags at Dean or museum-quality barware at Bar Keeper; or try out restaurants like the hyper-locavore Forage, the Kitchen for comfort food done right, German sausages at Berlin Currywurst, brunch at Dusty's, or LA's favorite Cuban guava-cream cheese pastry at Café Tropical. You can also visit the site of that pivotal, pre-Stonewall riot, which took place in 1967 at 3909 West Sunset Boulevard. The building now houses a laundromat, but a Black Cat logo marks the spot.

After dark, Akbar is a den of alt-cool, gay but straight-friendly, with Moroccan-inspired décor, a jukebox filled with hip-again oldies, theme nights from craft-making to "Bears in Space," and a dance floor. Up Hyperion Avenue, rock with the go-go boys at busy MJ's, or listen to talented pianists and singers at The Other Side piano bar. Drag acts from Chico's Angels to Jackie Beat camp it up at the Cavern Club Theater, inside Casita del Campo Mexican restaurant.

And, of course, there's West Hollywood, also known as WeHo — the gay and lesbian capital of the world, where fully 50 percent of the resident population identify as gay or lesbian. "Boys Town" along Santa Monica Boulevard is the disco-beating heart of gay Southern California. Here, LA's Gay Pride Parade and festival takes place each June, and half a million costumed revelers gather for the annual Halloween Costume Carnaval along Santa Monica Boulevard. The rest of the year, it's busy day and night with cafés, gyms, restaurants, bars and dance clubs.

An evening in WeHo might start over margaritas and mingling at Marix Tex-Mex restaurant — barely more than a covered patio but always a big gay party — or power-lunch with power-lifters from the nearby gyms at the local chicken chain Koo Koo Roo. For something more upscale, ramble down the Boulevard to chichi Eleven or Revolver video bar, or dance to the thumpa-thumpa-thumpa of Rage or Micky's. Not your scene? How about bingo hosted by drag queens at Hamburger Mary's?

Then there's The Abbey, a world unto itself. What started as a simple coffee shop has grown into practically an empire of flavored martinis served by eye-candy staff in an indoor-outdoor setting with Goth-gone-wild décor.

Nearby, Hollywood's gay scene reflects its diversity. Arena Night Club and Circus Disco are favorites among LA's large Latino community. The Faultline attracts scruffy men, especially at Sunday Beer Bust on its patio.

Between Hollywood and West Hollywood lies the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the most extensive and encyclopedic collection of art west of Chicago. In seven buildings on extensive lush grounds, right next door to the "only-in-LA" La Brea Tar Pits, visitors can experience the works of groundbreaking gay and lesbian artists, including William Burroughs, Marcel Duchamp, David Hockney, Jasper Johns, Annie Leibovitz, Robert Mapplethorpe, Catherine Opie, Robert Rauschenberg and of course, the inimitable Andy Warhol.

From LACMA, it's just a short jaunt over the hill to Studio City, gay hub of the San Fernando Valley. Oil Can Harry's is an institution (since 1968) for country line dancing and retro disco nights. And new this year to the Valley is the upscale Rain nightclub. Rain gives bar-goers fresh entertainment seven nights per week from some of Southern California's top promoters and tastemakers. Patrons enjoy everything from drag shows, musicals and acoustic sets to '80s, '90s and Top-40 hits and electronic dance music. Rain features a custom, state-of-the-art video and sound system. In addition to gay-themed entertainment, Rain features a world-class, Cuban-inspired tasting menu born from a collaboration between two renowned celebrity chefs.

Finally, what's a trip to LA without the beach? Will Rogers State Beach (affectionately known as "Ginger Rogers") in Santa Monica has been a gay hangout since Isherwood and his kind lived just up the nearby canyon. A few miles down the coast in Venice Beach, Roosterfish has been serving honest drinks at honest prices to the men of the beach since 1979. (It's on the downtown chic Abbot Kinney Boulevard.)

And on LA County's southern shore, Long Beach is a lesbian and gay hub in its own right: Classic nightspots include Ripples (recently featured on Bravo TV's Tabatha Takes Over) and the Silver Fox.

 

TAG-Approved hotels in Los Angeles County

LA offers many hotels that are TAG-Approved, which means they meet six LGBT welcoming qualifications, including enforcing policies that are non-discriminatory due to sexual orientation, fair treatment of homosexual employees and their domestic partners, and giving back to their communities. Below is a listing of several TAG-Approved hotels in LA and their neighborhoods:

Andaz West Hollywood, West Hollywood

Chamberlain, West Hollywood

Elan Hotel Los Angeles, West Hollywood/Beverly Center

Four Points by Sheraton Los Angeles Intl Airport, Los Angeles International Airport Area

Hilton Checkers Los Angeles, Convention Center/Staples Center/Nokia Theater

Holiday Inn Long Beach Airport, Long Beach

Holiday Inn Santa Monica at the Pier, Santa Monica

Hollywood Hotel, Hollywood/Silverlake/Universal Studios

Hotel Angeleno, a Joie de Vivre Hotel, West Los Angeles

The Huntley Hotel Santa Monica Beach, Santa Monica

Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, Century City/Beverly Hills

The London West Hollywood, West Hollywood

Luxe Hotel Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills/Los Angeles

Maison 140, Beverly Hills/West LA

Montage Beverly Hills, Beverly Hills

The Mosaic Hotel Beverly Hills a Gemstone Property, Beverly Hills/Los Angeles

The Orlando, West Hollywood Adjacent

Palomar Los Angeles - Westwood, a Kimpton Hotel, Wilshire Corridor/Westwood

The Redbury @ Hollywood & Vine, Hollywood

Renaissance Montura Hotel, Los Angeles, Los Angeles International Airport Area

Residence Inn by Marriott Beverly Hills, Los Angeles/Beverly Hills

Sheraton Agoura Hills Hotel, West San Fernando Valley

Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles, Los Angeles International Airport Area

Shore Hotel, Santa Monica

SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills, West Hollywood/Beverly Hills

Sofitel Los Angeles, West Hollywood

The Westin Bonaventure Hotel and Suites, Downtown

Thompson Beverly Hills, Beverly Hills

W Los Angeles, Westwood

The Westin Long Beach, Long Beach

 

(TravMedia.com contributed to this article)

 

Editor's note: Links to the websites of hundreds of lodging and dining options in the Hollywood/Los Angeles area can be found at Taste California Travel's Resource Directory.

 

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