Cassia 

Cassia is a restaurant I’ve been trying to go to for ages. The good reservations are all taken weeks in advance, so my dinner started around 6:30/6:45ish.

The actual space is indoor and outdoor, with beautiful high ceilings and tables that are filled by time, not by space. Something I truly appreciate.

The must orders include Kaya toast (Coconut Jam, Butter, Slow Cooked Egg), Green Papaya Salad (with a kick!), Kon Loh Mee (Egg Noodles, Chinese Broccoli, Ground Pork, Pork Belly), and  Spicy Wontons.

I highly highly recommend eating at Cassia. It’s all over all the best new restaurant lists, and well deserved. The service is top notch as well.

Cassia
1314 7th St
Santa Monica, CA 90401img_7734

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Westbound DTLA

One of my favorite new watering holes downtown is Westbound, located in the monstrosity that which is One Santa Fe. They have a limited, yet delicious food menu. My faves include the Foieffle and Oysters. They also have an amazing late night happy hour that begins at midnight.

Oysters with Grilled Watermelon Ice, Lemon Oil + Mignonette, Basil

Gravlax Cone with Roe, Charcoal Cone, Goat Cheese, Dill

Foie N Waffle – Brioche, Coffee, Maple, Naval Orange Compote

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Osso DTLA

LA Weekly called Osso the best restaurant you aren’t eating at, and I couldn’t agree more. I stopped by yesterday for the second time, and it did not disappoint.

Located in the Arts District where the One Eyed Gypsy is located, it’s a nice hang for dinner or drinks. When you walk in there’s no host, or there hasn’t been the last two times I’ve been by which is a bit weird, so you seat yourself. The cocktails are delicious (I had a whiskey sour) .

MUST ORDERS: Sugar Snap Pea Salad. Couldn’t believe how good this was. Creamy thanks to a yogurt and dill dressing. We inhaled this dish. Live Diver Scallop. Served in the shell in kolhrabi, mandarinquat, and lemon basil. Absolutely divine. I have never had a scallop this fresh ever. Skilled Fried Chicken (not pictured), allow 45 minutes to order this deliciousness. Tagliatelle (not pictured) – house made pasta with meyer lemon and pistachios. So fresh and clean tasting.

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Kusshi Oysters. Rye Brownie.

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Little Pine – Silver Lake

Little Pine is quaint restaurant in Silver Lake. It’s owned by Moby, vegan, and 100% of the profits go to charity. Don’t let the veganism scare you, the food is delicious!

Must orders: Mac & Cheese, Cookies & Milk (I ordered Strawberry Milk).




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Birch – Hollywood, CA

It’s been a long while since I had a meal at a new restaurant and was blown away. That day finally came when I tried Birch during DineLA. First off, the deal was incredible, whether or not the food was good. 3 entrees + a cocktail or glass of wine for $39. I easily would’ve done this if it were $49 or even $59, as DineLA menus rarely include wine or cocktails.

Highlights: anything with Curry, Chicken Live & Fois Gras, Salmon, and cocktails (I ordered the #7, not pictured.)

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Underbelly get in my belly.

On my recent trip to San Diego, I tried a hip ramen spot in North Park, Underbelly. Might I add that after all these years going to San Diego I finally understand why North Park is called North Park. Duh.

Underbelly is a cute little (big) joint, with tons of seating and fireplaces for when it gets chilly. I ordered the Kimchi Pickles and the Tonkotsu Ramen (with two eggs). They take more of an Americanized take on their dishes, so the Kimchi Pickles weren’t over the top spiced or anything, but still pretty good. The Tonkotsu Ramen actually tasted a bit more on the healthier side – which made me wonder about the broth. Usually you “know” you’re eating some super unhealthy ramen when you’re in Little Tokyo in LA, but this didn’t have that overly fatty taste. I’d definitely try it again, as they have meatier options such as “Belly of the Beast” that has oxtail, brisket AND short rib in it.

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Bad Review for Alma. Sorry not Sorry.

I never write anything negative on here and only post about things I LOVE….but after getting an email from Resy this morning about Alice Waters’ favorite restaurants in LA, it got me a bit angry. I actually agree with her picks of Mozza, Sqirl, and Gjelina but absolutely not Alma.

First off, of course Alice Waters is going to get impeccable service at Alma – but if you’re “no one,” (LIKE ME!) that is likely not the case. She probably didn’t have to wait FIFTY minutes past her reservation time to be seated.

That being said, I’m simply reposting my Yelp review for Alma, Bon Appetit’s Best Restaurant in America 2013::

I was really really excited to try Alma. There was nothing getting in the way of enjoying this meal!

We arrived promptly at 8:30 PM for our reservation. After about 15 minutes I looked around at the 12ish tables and it didn’t look like anyone was leaving anytime soon. 5-10 minutes later the hostess said it’ll be “about” 10 more minutes.

A lesson in customer service to Alma: PLEASE be honest when you’re throwing out numbers like that. You don’t have a full bar and we would’ve gladly went across to the Ace, grabbed a cocktail or two and come back if we were simply told that the way was going to be much longer. Seriously. Don’t fucking lie.

Finally we were seated at 9:20 and I was HANGRY, angry and annoyed at this point. We were here for my friend’s birthday which is the only reason I didn’t throw a full on tantrum at the staff.

My friend wanted to try the Market Menu – which I have a confirmed email from Alma saying that they would have it. They didn’t. There were guest chefs from Bucato so they only had the 8 course menu. Strike 2.

The service was very sub-par. This price level is up there with Son of A Gun, Providence, Bestia, Mozza – the service should be at that level. I felt like I didn’t really know who my server was and one of the food runners was like “Can I put this plate down?” when my friend was trying to finish her oyster.  RUDE. You don’t work at Red Robin but maybe you should. Much better service at other places in the area – Preux & Proper, LA Chapter (even though the food isn’t that great), Terroni, The Gorbals, Wood Spoon to name a few.

I didn’t get to write down all the descriptions of the food mostly because I inhaled them immediately and partially because they were mumbled at me, but we had:

oysters
artichoke
uni + english muffin
tofu beignet
some kind of fish
sunchoke soup
pasta
another kind of fish
lamb
fluffy ice cream/icey/foamy dessert

My favorites were: oysters, artichoke, sunchoke soup, 2nd seafood dish. Nothing was that memorable and that’s what I was really hoping for.

It still wasn’t nearly as good as I was hoping seeing as how this is Bon Appetit’s Best Restaurant in America 2013.  Absolutely not worth $95 and an hour wait.

Here’s some photos of the food I begrudgingly ate.

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