Archive for the 'Echo Park' Category

Brunch at Winsome – Los Angeles (Echo Park)

Winsome - Los Angeles (Echo Park)

Not last Sunday but the one before that, a most lovely brunch was enjoyed at Echo Park’s Winsome. With spring weather in full effect and the jacarandas in bloom, the setting could not have been any more perfect. Dining al fresco was a must.

Winsome - Los Angeles (Echo Park)

Opened in February of this year, Winsome serves a new American menu by former Rustin Canyon chef Jeremy Strubel, and pastries and desserts from former Republique chef Leslie Mialma. This team is stacked.

The interior, which made me swoon with its swivel stools, open kitchen, and idyllic patio, comes from Wendy Haworth Design. Whether you’re dining inside or out, Winsome’s space feels great to be in. 

Winsome - Los Angeles (Echo Park)

The Astronomer and I sipped on house-made agua frescas ($5 each) while we perused the menu. I selected the horchata made from quinoa, wild rice, and toasted almonds, while he went for the cucumber and kaffir lime.

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Valerie Echo Park – Los Angeles (Echo Park)

Valerie Echo Park - Los Angeles

The birthday girl usually gets what she wants, but Sunday brunch at Cortez just wasn’t meant to be last week. As we approached the usually bustling scene, we were greeted with dimmed lights, chair-topped tables, and a short but effective note stating that the owners had high-tailed it out of town in celebration of the restaurant’s first anniversary. Congrats to them, too bad for us.

Needless to say, alternative plans had to be made on the spot.

Valerie Echo Park - Los Angeles

We briefly considered getting down at Guisados or popping into Xoia, but the birthday girl desired sweet nothings and savory somethings from Valerie, so that’s just what we had.

Valerie Echo Park - Los Angeles

Valerie Gordon and Stan Weightman Jr. opened this Echo Park outlet earlier this summer following the launch of their lunch counter inside Downtown’s Grand Central Market.

The food and drink served here is a “less precious” take on traditional afternoon tea. Y’all know how I feel about afternoon tea…

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Brunch at Cortez – Los Angeles (Echo Park)

Cortez - Los Angeles (Echo Park)

You won’t find decadent French toast or overstuffed omelettes on the brunch menu at Echo Park’s Cortez, but what you will find, inspired Mediterranean fare, is quite possibly even better.

Cortez - Los Angeles (Echo Park)

Marta Teegan, the owner of nearby green grocer Cookbook, opened Cortez after years of hearing from neighbors and customers that she really ought to have a restaurant. In the spirit of Cookbook, Cortez serves locally grown organic produce, sustainable seafood, and pasture-raised meats. The room is as simple and comfortable as they come.

Cortez - Los Angeles (Echo Park)

My brunch-mate Kat and I sipped cava mimosas ($11) to start, a bubbly, zippy reward for enduring the horrendous traffic to get there.

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Allumette – Los Angeles (Echo Park)

Allumette - Echo Park

Chef Miles Thompson, who launched The Vagrancy Project last summer, has found a permanent home in Echo Park in the building formerly occupied by Allston Yacht Club. During his twice-a-week pop-up in this very space, the former executive sous chef at Son of a Gun dazzled diners with creative and beautifully plated fare like John Dory with boba, miso, and shiitake and chorizo with grapefruit and Robiola on toast.

While the culinary residency was short lived, it managed to catch the attention of Allston Yacht Club’s owners Bill DiDonna and Charles Kelly. Allumette is a joint venture between the two seasoned restauranteurs and the young chef. Consider this pop-up completely permanent.

Allumette - Echo Park

Allumette’s forward-thinking menu is comprised of two dozen small and thoughtful plates that fall under the categories of “Vegetable,” “Pasta,” “Fish,” “Shellfish,” “Meat,” “For Two,” and “Dessert.” Diners are encouraged to either indulge in the Chef’s tasting menu or select 4 to 6 dishes to create their own tasting experience.

I, along with my dining companions Darin, Pat, and Christina, decided to go the family-style route in order to taste as much of the menu as possible. In certain instances where a dish was literally a bite or two, we doubled, tripled, or quadrupled our order as needed.

Allumette - Echo Park

Before diving into the food, we sampled a few cocktails crafted by Serena Herrick. I selected the “Smoking Gun” ($11), a super-strong brew comprised of Vida mezcal, Cynar, and Calisaya. Since The Astronomer wasn’t around to tow me home safely, I kept my sips to a minimum.

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