Archive for the 'Mediterranean' Category

Dune – Los Angeles (Atwater Village)

Dune - Atwater Village - Los Angeles

The Astronomer, June, and I made our way to Dune for lunch last Sunday. I’d been meaning to check out this highly touted Atwater Village falafelria since it was opened earlier this year by the folks who run Elf Cafe.


June really liked Dune’s outdoor seating and fast-casual service, while The Astronomer and I appreciated that our spread arrived quickly. Efficient service is one of the perks of waiting a solid six months before trying a “hot” spot.    

Dune - Atwater Village - Los Angeles

The menu here is awesomely simple, offering just a trio of sandwiches, a few composed plates, and a smattering of salads and snacks. The Astronomer and I ordered a little bit of everything and enjoyed leftovers the following day.

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Falafel Arax – Los Angeles (East Hollywood)

Falafel Arax

Before diving into the best dishes of 2014 for my annual roundup, I have one final restaurant to review: Falafel Arax.

Falafel-Arax - East Hollywood - Los Angeles

The Astronomer, my mom, and I made our way here for dinner while Baby Girl was still stuck in the hospital. While we would’ve preferred to bring our sweetie home straightaway, we couldn’t have asked for better dining options around the hospital. We’re all about the silver lining around here.

Falafel-Arax - East Hollywood - Los Angeles

For well over 25 years, Falafel Arax has been dishing up Armenian delights in the heart of East Hollywood’s Little Armenia. Our dinner began with a requisite helping of beet-stained pickled turnips and potent pepperoncinis.

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Avec – Chicago

Avec - Chicago

While it might seem silly to down four doughnuts just before dinner, it was necessary for survival in Chicago, where no reservation policies are the norm at the most popular spots in town.

Case in point: we arrived at Avec at half past seven on Saturday night and were finally seated near 10 PM at one of the cramped communal tables. Such is the life of a foodist in the Second City. #FirstWorldProblems.

Avec - Chicago

Opened in 2003, Avec serves a Midwestern interpretation of Mediterranean classics in small plates fashion. “Taking its cue from the regions of Southern France, Italy, Portugal, and the coast of Spain, Avec’s cuisine reflects the aromas, flavors and colors of the Mediterranean,” according the the restaurant’s website.

Chef Koren Grieveson helped open the restaurant in 2003, earning the James Beard Award for Best Chef Great Lakes in 2010. In 2013, Perry Hendrix, took over the kitchen.

Avec - Chicago

To start, an order of Avec’s famous chorizo-stuffed medjool dates with smoked bacon in a piquillo pepper-tomato sauce ($12). These meaty mouthfuls were sweet, spicy, and tangy all at once. Beautiful stuff, and maybe even worth a two hour wait. Maybe.

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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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