Jul 2019

Union – Pasadena

Union - Pasadena

When Chef Bruce Kalman decamped from the kitchen at Union, Vetri alum Christopher Keyser stepped in without missing a beat. Following in the footsteps of a beloved chef is no easy task, but when the new person in charge has a clear culinary point of view along with the passion and skills to back it up, the results can be even better than before.

Union - Pasadena

Although Chef Keyser has been in charge for the past year or so, I only recently got around to coming in for dinner with June and The Astronomer. The current menu feels familiar enough for regulars, smartly retaining crowd-pleasing favorites, but there’s new energy at every turn.

Union - Pasadena

First up was the burrata served with pesto rosso, mixed herbs, and crostini ($16). While The Astronomer and I fought over the scratch-made cheese, June hogged the house-made bread.

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Jul 2019

Otium – Los Angeles (Downtown)

Otium - Downtown Los Angeles

I liked my first dinner at Otium well enough, but I loved my second dinner even more. Chef Tim Hollingsworth has hit his stride in the three years since I last visited, and the food and drinks coming out of the kitchen are some of the most thoughtful and delicious in the city.

Otium - Downtown Los Angeles

My friend Liz and I came in for a weeknight dinner. The dining room was a lively hub of noise and conversation filled with neighborhood worker bees unwinding and a few families fueling after a visit to The Broad.

Otium - Downtown Los Angeles

Crafted by Chris Amirault, all of the specialty cocktails this evening employed a different culinary technique. My Rhumble in the Jungle ($15) with Rhum J.M. Gold, fermented pineapple, chartreuse, and salted almond highlighted the joys of fermentation.

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Jul 2019

Tsubaki – Los Angeles (Echo Park)

Tsubaki - Los Angeles (Echo Park)

To celebrate our ninth wedding anniversary, The Astronomer and I booked a babysitter and a table at Charles Namba and Courtney Kaplan’s Echo Park izakaya Tsubaki. We also procured a tagine and cooked some lamb in it, in case you were keeping tabs on all the festivities.

Tsubaki - Los Angeles (Echo Park)

The menu of simply composed and deftly executed small plates didn’t let us down this evening. From pristine cuts of amberjack sashimi to start, to grilled chicken oysters somewhere in the middle and the finest pork porterhouse to finish, let’s get started on the rundown.

Tsubaki - Los Angeles (Echo Park)

First up were thick and cool slices of kanpachi ($26), which arrived topped with a ponzu gelee, an apple-ginger oroshi, and fresh shiso.

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