Tag Archives: LA

l’amande french bakery

I was recently treated to a tasting of the many offerings at L’Amande French Bakery in Beverly Hills. All I can say is this place is legit! From baguettes to pastries, hot sandwiches to cold and salads to deserts, L’Amande provides traditional French cafe dishes along with boulangerie specialties. The croissants are truly special requiring 72 hours of preparation to produce the perfectly thin, buttery, flakey layers. Don’t believe me? Check out these pics!

cinroll

Escargots aux fruits.

Cute, clean, modern interior with images of Paris and music to match.

Cute, clean, modern interior with images of Paris and music to match.

Pistachio croissant!

Pistachio croissant!

Papillote - flakey light crust with sweet fruit filling.

Papillote – flakey light crust with sweet fruit filling.

Specialty of the month - lavender scone with lemon custard spread. Yum!

Specialty of the month – lemon lavender scone with lemon custard spread. Yum!

Lavender scone.

Lemon lavender scone.

Super legit baguette - crusty on the outside/cloud like interior.

Super legit baguette – crusty on the outside/cloud like interior.

Perfectly prepared Croque Madame.

Perfectly prepared Croque Madame.

Quite possibly the best hot chocolate I've ever had and the only one prepared table-side!

Quite possibly the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had and the only one prepared table-side!

L’Amande French Bakery
9530 S Santa Monica Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 734-8922

2553 Pacific Coast Highway
Torrance, CA 90505
(310) 326-8980

bacardi legacy cocktail competition

Bacardi rum daiquiri.

Bacardi rum daiquiri. Photos by Wade Hammond and Deniz Durmus

I had a great time with my friend Deniz at Monday evening’s Los Angeles regional BACARDI Legacy Cocktail Competition held at No Vacancy in Hollywood. Such a cool event space with a fun secret entrance! There were a wide array of drinks presented such as Possets, punches and cocktails all made with Bacardi rum of course. Here are some highlights from the evening as well as some recipes to consider.

Mixologist Kalani Ben along with the other contestants had 9 minutes to share their story and present their entry.

Mixologist Kalani Ben along with the other contestants had 9 minutes to share their story and present their entry.

San Francisco’s Andrew Meltzer, Jessica Sanders of Austin, TX, and Chicago based bartender, Kalani Ben were awarded a spot in the national finals. Sanders, Ben and Meltzer will join regional winners from the Portland Cocktail Week and in New York competitions at the U.S. finals in Miami, Florida, next February. They will compete for a chance to present their “legacy cocktail” at the BACARDÍ Legacy Global Cocktail Competition in Sydney, Australia, in May of 2015.

One of my favorite drinks of the evening was a clarified-milk posset which was handed to me in a small bottle along with a glass of ice with citrus zest.

One of my favorite drinks of the evening was a clarified-milk posset which was handed to me in a small bottle along with a glass of ice with citrus zest. Premixed drinks can be a gooood thing…

Bacardi rum daisy.

Bacardi rum daisy.

"El Presidente" and "Gauyaba Arabica" with freshly grated Arabica beans on top.

“El Presidente” and “Gauyaba Arabica” with freshly grated Arabica beans on top.

Award Winning Cocktail Recipes:
Jessica Sander of Austin, TX –  LA GRANDIFLORA

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ parts of BACARDÍ Superior
  • ¾ part of Hibiscus Puree (Perfect Puree)
  • ½ part Miele Amaro (Bitter Honey) Syrup
  • ½ part Martini Gran Lusso Vermouth
  • ½ part Fresh Lime Juice
  • 3 drops of Almond Extract

Method:

  • Ingredients are combined in a cocktail tin with ice and shaken until chilled and properly diluted.
  • The cocktail is fine strained into chilled cocktail coupes and then garnished with a thin lime wheel that has been pierced with a dried hibiscus flower and a sprig of fresh tarragon.

Kalani Ben from Chicago, IL – FAMILY TIES

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ parts of BACARDÍ Superior
  • 1 part Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
  • ¾ part Clove Syrup
  • ½  part Luxardo Amaro Abano

Method:

  • Using a hand juicer/press, squeeze 1 part of lime juice and add it to your shaker along with one half of the already juiced lime shell.
  • Then add all other ingredients to your shaker.
  • Add ice, shake vigorously, and double strain into your coupe.

Andrew Meltzer of San Francisco, CA – CUBAN COBBLER

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ parts BACARDÍ Gold
  • ¾ part Palo Cortado Shery
  • ½ part Pear Williams Liqueur
  • ½ part Fresh Lemon Juice
  • ¼ part Honey Simple

Method:

  • In a mixing glass or tin, combine BACARDÍ Gold rum, sherry, pear liqueur, lemon juice and honey syrup.
  • Add ice, shake, and strain over fresh ice into a chilled collins glass or large tumbler.
  • Insert a straw.
  • Garnish with a thin slice of pear on the inside of the glass and top with seasonal berries and mint sprigs.

the strand house

First Course - Smoked Norwegian Salmon ‘Pastrami’ Brioche, Pickled Beets, Horseradish Snow, Mustard Greens

First Course – Smoked Norwegian Salmon ‘Pastrami’ Brioche, Pickled Beets, Horseradish Snow, Mustard Greens

I was fortunate to attend a 6 course dinner at The Strand House in Manhattan Beach The dinner creatively highlighted Executive Chef Greg Hozinsky’s inspiration from his stay in Norway. The event featured seafood flown in from Norway specifically for the event sponsored by the Norwegian Seafood Council. Often restaurants at beachfront locations don’t try very hard because they can rely on their gorgeous views to attract customers. I can’t express in words how surprised I was at the caliber of Hozinsky’s cuisine. Fortunately, I took pictures.

Executive Chef Greg Hozinsky of The Strand House

Executive Chef Greg Hozinsky of The Strand House

Amuse-Bouche - Nordic black cod, celery sauce, white truffle

Amuse-Bouche – Nordic Black Cod, Celery Sauce, White Truffle

Second Course Pan Roasted Fresh Norwegian King Crab Brown Butter Broth, Sudachi, Corn Pudding

Second Course – Pan Roasted Fresh Norwegian King Crab Brown Butter Broth, Sudachi, Corn Pudding

Third Course Norwegian Halibut Smoked Sunchoke Puree, Matsutaki Mushroom, Cauliflower,YuzuKosho,Hijiki

Third Course – Norwegian Halibut, Smoked Sunchoke Puree, Matsutaki Mushroom, Cauliflower, YuzuKosho,Hijiki

Fourth Course Venison Strip Loin Huckleberries, Root Vegetable Mille-Feuille, Grilled Chicories

Fourth Course – Venison Strip Loin, Huckleberries, Root Vegetable Mille-Feuille, Grilled Chicories

Fifth Course Fried Brioche with Lingonberry Whiskey Sabayon, Pistachios

Fifth Course – Fried Brioche with Lingonberry Whiskey Sabayon, Pistachios

Sixth Course Warm Almond Apple Cake Geitost, Brown Buttered Apples, Cardamom Ice Cream

Sixth Course – Warm Almond Apple Cake, Geitost, Brown Buttered Apples, Cardamom Ice Cream

Pastry Chef Stephanie Franz

Pastry Chef Stephanie Franz

 

emporium thai cuisine

Crab curry is just one of the more uncommon specialties at Emporium Thai  Cuisine

Crab curry is just one of the more uncommon specialties at Emporium Thai Cuisine

Located in Westwood, Emporium Thai Cuisine asserts its originality by specializing in southern Thai fare. You will find items not typically found at other Thai restaurants in the LA area. It does however share many similar specialties with the well know Jitlada restaurant and this is no coincidence. Founder of Emporium Thai Cuisine, John Sungkamee’s two siblings own Jitlada and many of the shared recipes were taught to them decades ago by their mother.

I love the depth and complexity of the spices used in the dishes and you won’t find the homemade chile sauces anywhere else in southern California. This is definitely a place to step out of your comfort zone and order something other than Pad Thai. Items not to be missed: Crying Tiger Beef, Coco Mango Salad with Fried Tofu, Pad Prik King with Crispy Pork, and Spicy Mussel Soup. If you have the opportunity to chat with the owner, do so. John will warmly welcome you into Sungkamee the family.

Crying Tiger Beef soooo good!

Crying Tiger Beef soooo good!

Pad Prik King is served with fried tofu or or crispy pork belly.

Pad Prik King is served with fried tofu or or crispy pork belly.

Khao Yam is a southern Thai rice salad with grated coconut and dried shrimp.

Khao Yam is a southern Thai rice salad with grated coconut and dried shrimp.

Coco Mango Salad with fried tofu

Coco Mango Salad with fried tofu

Astoundingly gracious host and owner John Sungkamee and me.

Astoundingly gracious host and owner John Sungkamee and me.

tart at farmer’s daughter

Tart

Tart, located within the Farmer’s Daughter Hotel in Los Angeles recently showcased its new summer menu as spring comes to an end. The menu emphasizes fresh seasonal ingredients with creative riffs inspired by the diverse heritage of Angelinos . Chef Nick Erven has an unfair advantage over the competiion because Tart is located a stones throw away from the historic LA Farmer’s Market. The vegetables were as fresh as they come and the pork belly melted my heart and in my mouth.

Black Ballin' Punch. It'll get you and a few friends happy!

Black Ballin’ Punch. It’ll get you and a few friends happy!

Yummy pickled summer squash with lavender.

Yummy pickled summer squash with lavender.

Tart_summer_menu

Outdoor seating and fireplace!

Outdoor seating and fireplace!

Fresh pea tendrils make this grilled peach and burrata salad so unique.

Fresh pea tendrils make this grilled peach and burrata salad so unique.

Heirloom tomato salad.

Heirloom tomato salad.

Scotch Egg Tartare.

Scotch Egg Tartare.

Tart at Farmer’s Daughter
115 S. Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036