Bourbon Steak – Glendale

Bourbon Steak - Glendale

Glitz. Glam. Glendale! Can you dig it?

Bourbon Steak - Glendale

I made my way to The Americana at Brand last week, the epicenter of Glendale’s aforementioned glitz and glam, for a very special dinner celebrating Chef Michael Mina’s newly opened Bourbon Steak and the upcoming Vegas Uncork’d. Both merited plenty of wine and red meat.

This is Chef Mina’s 18th restaurant and the 5th Bourbon Steak; there are additional locations in Scottsdale, Washington D.C., Miami, and San Francisco. The space feels incredibly swanky with an impressive patisserie up front, plush leather seating throughout, and a grand piano by the bar.  

Bourbon Steak - Glendale

The evening’s menu featured a diverse selection of dishes highlighting Bourbon Steak’s contemporary approach to classic American fare. There was plenty of meat and seafood, of course, but also very thoughtful and interesting starters and sides. [See full menu here].

Back when Chef Mina’s XIV was alive and kickin’ on the Sunset Strip, these duck fat fries were a happy hour mainstay. Fried crisp-golden, the shoestrings were served with house-made ketchup, barbecue sauce, and truffle aioli.

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Gracias Madre – Los Angeles (West Hollywood)

Gracias Madre - West Hollywood

While driving home from dinner at Gracias Madre last week, my mind kept coming back to the idea of comfort zones. Namely, how my food comfort zone is calibrated a lot differently than other people’s. I feel perfectly at ease in a dingy restaurant where no English is spoken and offals are served, but take me to a fancy vegan joint in a ritzy part of town, and I feel a little like a fish out of water. 

One man’s comfort zone is another’s uncharted course.

Gracias Madre - West Hollywood

I stepped squarely out of my element for a taste of Gracias Madre, a much-buzzed-about and beautifully appointed restaurant specializing in vegan Mexican fare. Chef Chandra Gilbert opened the first Gracias Madre in San Francisco in 2009 along with Café Gratitude founders Matthew and Terces Engelhart. She formerly worked at Alice Waters’ now-closed Café Fanny in Berkeley and Cowgirl Creamery and Greens Restaurant in San Francisco.

The restaurant sources its organic produce exclusively from Be Love Farm in Vacaville, as well as from local farmers markets.

Gracias Madre - West Hollywood

While my dining companions Diana and Valentina sipped spicy cocktails to start, I began with a cool glass of horchata ($5.50). Made of almond milk instead of the traditional rice milk, the agua fresca had a thicker consistency than I was expecting. Considering that horchata is naturally vegan, I found the ingredient swap unnecessary, especially since the end product wasn’t nearly as refreshing.

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POT – Los Angeles (Koreatown)

The Line Hotel - Koreatown - Los Angeles

POT is addictive. After my first hit last Tuesday night, I was jonesing for more this past weekend. Two visits in less than the span of a week, and the restaurant isn’t even officially open yet! Like I said, POT is addictive

POT at The Line Hotel - Koreatown - Los Angeles

Tucked inside The Line Hotel in Koreatown, POT is the latest, greatest restaurant from Chef Roy Choi.

After years of innovating bold flavor mash-ups aboard the Kogi Truck and at Chego, A-Frame, and Sunny Spot, Roy is drawing upon the traditional dishes that he grew up eating at home, as well as at his parents’ now-closed restaurant Silver Garden, at POT.

Koreatown and Korean food through the eyes of an American with Korean blood.

POT at The Line Hotel - Koreatown - Los Angeles

Printed on tabloid-size newspaper, the menu here is spectacular both in form and function. There are plenty of signature hotpots, of course, as well “Other Things” and “Other Other Things” to round out a proper K-Town feast. Come here with a crowd that likes to share and doesn’t mind a whole lot of double dipping.

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The Ordinary – Charleston

The Ordinary - Charleston, South Carolina

For our final meal in Charleston, an extra-ordinary dinner at The Ordinary.

The Ordinary - Charleston, South Carolina

Our party of six was seated on the second floor of the former bank building, offering expansive views of the “Southern seafood hall” and oyster bar. I do believe that the award for the city with the grandest dining rooms goes to Charleston!

Adam Nemirow and Chef Mike Lata, the team behind Charleston’s beloved restaurant FIG, opened The Ordinary last year. The menu highlights the “merrior” of the Coastal Carolinas and the East Coast, according to the restaurant’s website. 

The Ordinary - Charleston, South Carolina

I’m not quite sure how Hawaiian rolls ($4) fit into the local “merrior,” but no matter… As soon as I spotted them on the menu, I knew they had to be mine. Though not quite as sweet as King’s Hawaiian Rolls, these were warm, fluffy, and benefited from a generous slathering of butter.

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