To ease the dissapointment of not being able to dine at Willows Inn on Lummi Island during this trip to Seattle, I treated myself to happy hour and two dinners on Saturday night. Not to sound like a complete lush, but nothing makes everything all better quite like a few rounds of cocktails!
We started off the evening at Bathtub Gin, a speakeasy hidden in a downtown alley that came highly recommended to us by our server at The Corson Building. After taking full advantage of their half-off special, we moved on to Essex in Ballard for more adult beverages and a bite to eat.
Brandon Pettit, the chef and owner of pizzeria Delancey next door, opened Essex with his wife and business partner, Molly Wizenberg of Orangette, last summer.
“The Delancey Street and Essex Street subway stops in New York share a station, so Essex seemed a fitting name for the restaurant sharing a façade with Delancey,” according to Ms. Orangette.
We arrived at the bar before the sun had fully set, so seating was relatively easy. We pulled up two seats at the counter and proceeded to order our “first” round. While my darling Astronomer stuck with the beers on tap, I was in a cocktailing mood.
My salted margarita ($10), sparkling and on tap, was comprised of reposado and a combination of orange, grapefruit, and lime juices. Tequila-based cocktails always treat me right.
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Pssst! Can you keep a secret? From now until March 31, Playa and Rivera are offering a special three-course menu as part of Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980, the hugely ambitious initiative that tells the story of the birth of the Los Angeles art scene.
“Art as an Appetizer,” a collaboration between chef John Sedlar, artist Ron Cooper, and mixologist Julian Cox, is a one-of-a-kind menu inspired by artworks featured in Pacific Standard Time.
The secret menu is available for $34 at Playa and at $44 at Rivera during dinner to customers who show proof of admission to any Pacific Standard Time engagement or ask for the “Pacific Standard Time Secret Menu.” I was able to test run the menu this past weekend at a media event held at Playa.
Master mixologist Julian Cox has designed three unique cocktails for this special affair. All cocktails are priced at $12. The “47 Chevy in Wilmington, CA,” a crisp, tart, and refreshing sip, is comprised of mezcal, agave nectar, St. Vincent Orgeat, passion fruit, fresh lemon, and lavender foam.
It was inspired by Oscar Castilloʼs “47 Chevy in Wilmington, CA” (1972), which is featured in “Icons of the Invisible: Oscar Castillo” at the Fowler Museum, UCLA.
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An article penned by Frank Bruni inspired The Astronomer and me to bus it to Ballard for dinner at The Walrus and the Carpenter. We had a beast of time scoring a table at the adorable seafood shack, but everything was smooth sailing after that initial hurdle. Our meal here turned out to be not only the most memorable of the trip, but one of my favorite of the year. Seafood and cocktails—what could be better?
Located in the newly restored Kolstrand Building, The Walrus and the Carpenter is the vision of Chef Renee Erickson (Boat Street Café, Boat Street Pickles) and her partners Jeremy Price and Chad Dale. Together they’ve achieved their goal of building a restaurant serving the “highest quality food and drink in a space that is stripped of pretense and feels like home.”
The Astronomer and I were seated along the back of the restaurant with views of the elongated bar and open kitchen.
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It just so happened that Lien and I supped at Sotto the same day that Jonathan Gold’s glowing review of the restaurant hit news stands. Using his article as our personal crib sheet, we loaded up on lardo, passed on pizza, and saved room for a cannoli. From beginning to end, it was a memorable and delectable meal, one that continues to linger in my mind even though weeks have gone by.
Chefs Steve Samson and Zack Pollack opened Sotto earlier this year along with restaurateur Bill Chait. The two previously worked at Pizzeria Ortica together and established it as one of Orange County’s top restaurants.
Here, at their first Los Angeles restaurant, the focus is on southern Italian fare. The menu includes Neapolitan pizzas, handmade pastas, and lesser-known regional specialties.
My date consulted with the sommelier for her wine pairings this evening, while I reached for the cocktail menu. I started with “Dem Apples,” a perfectly autumnal creation with bourbon, fresh pressed apple, Clear Creek pear eau de vie, fresh lemon, and cassia-infused honey ($12).
Continue reading ‘Sotto Restaurant – West Los Angeles’