Monday, May 23, 2011

Carnish Culture:!!!

Today is a very special day.

It marks the launch of an exciting new endeavor I've secretly been working on for the past couple of months with some very talented and wonderful people.

Created by the ever-lovely Joy the Baker, I give you Homefries, the first independent podcast network dealing with what's really important: Food, wine, simple living, parenting, lifestyle and entertainment!

I am honored to be involved, co-hosting a entertaining podcast called the The Table Set with two of my absolute favorite bloggers Andy & Greg (@windattack & @sippitysup). We will discuss pressing issues regarding party menus, clever decor and foxy cocktails. We'll hopefully alleviate the party planning concerns that keep you awake at night. And laugh a little too.

Watch our intro video and start listening!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Croquer: Rosewood Tavern

And so George Abou-Daoud has done it again. Yes, he may have yelled at me when I snapped shots for my Mercantile piece, but the prolific owner also of District, Bowery, Delancey, Mission Cantina, Gelatovino, and Tamarind Deli has opened yet another rustic industrial-chic watering hole-cum-dinette. This one with a tight focus: Steak and Scotch. (Immediately, I like it).
Fresh to the Fairfax Village strip dominated by Animal and the Golden State, Rosewood Tavern resurrects the airy digs formerly of the Black Sea Russian restaurant, and by the noisy din of the room, not without some raucous leftover ghosts.
The bar bypasses specialty cocktails (though they do have a full bar), instead focusing on a hefty collection of Scotch and Irish Whiskeys and 28 craft brews on draught - From Eagle Rock Brewing's Solidarity to O’Hara’s Irish Stout, Eel River Triple Exultation to New Orleans' Abita Amber.
Opening night was expectedly nuts. We wove through the din and saddled up at the bar. Work week strain called for a stiff drink, so I ordered a 14 year old Oban Single Malt Scotch on the rocks. After that, the wait hardly bugged me. Wait - what wait?

From our table, it was clear the opening night staff was beyond weeded by the rowdy TGIF drinking crowd. But more importantly, they were sweet as rhubarb pie. I was once on the opening staff of the Doug Fir restaurant in Portland (took to first table, in fact!) - Thus - I will never complain on an opening night (yes, the computers WILL go down - and did).
That said, nothing took as dreadfully long as was promised. The food came out in little time, or so it seemed (thanks again, Scotch).
We started with the Horseradish Deviled Eggs. Standard fare, but welcomed all the same. Nice bite from the horseradish.
The Chicken Liver Mousse Crostinis were more of a revelation, texturely enhanced with sprinkled crushed walnuts and ever-so-slightly sweetened with drops of port reduction.
It's a steak place, you gotta get the Iceberg Wedge. More of a slab, this wedge is drowning in tangy bleu cheese dressing, bacon and spring onions - with extra bleu crumbles for good measure. Because we can.
My friend Michael's New York Strip Steak was basically perfect. Amazing seasoned sear, perfectly mid-rare, adequate marbling bursting with succulent flavor. Swoon. The side of Brussels sprouts with bacon literally and figuratively lived in its shadow. But neither of us cared.
My Beef Tenderloin was a gorgeous baseball of meat threatening to burst. Juicy and expertly prepared - an impressive cut of lean meat. The side of asparagus with Hollandaise sauce was a charming accoutrement.
It didn't arrive until the plates had been cleared, but our glasses of Old Chub Scotch Ale (8% ABV, from Colorado's Oskar Blues Brewery) were still welcomed, and sweeter than expected so made an apropos dessert. With brown sugar and nutty coffee notes, it carried less peat than a Scotch barrel-aged ale suggests, but again, so what? It's Friday. Steaks were had. Smooth Scotch. Everything's A-OK.

Rosewood is open Sunday-Thursday, 5PM-midnight, Friday and Saturday, 5PM-2AM.

448 N Fairfax Ave. Mid-city 90036; 323.944.0980
Rosewood Tavern in Los Angeles on Fooddigger

Buvare: The Bar at Cliff's

I've always been a fan of the hidden Silver Lake oasis Cliff's Edge for luxurious weekend brunches (you know, the kind that end with wine). Then last year, owner Dana Hollister tried her hand at the downtown speakeasy game and won the hidden category (yet again) with with her far-outlying whiskey lair Villains Tavern.
For her next trick, Dana is starting at the home and shaking things up in the oft-ignored interior dining room at Cliff's Edge (with a patio like that, who would choose to eat inside?). A truck load of reclaimed wood paneling, beaded opium den chandeliers, and some rustic elbow grease later The Bar at Cliff's is born.
Former Seven Grand and Villains barman Dave Whitton is at the helm, offering a deceivingly classic list. But the Devil's in the details - The Margaritas are kissed with cucumber, the Manhattan with yuzu, and the Cosmopolitan with Cabernet and lavender bitters. I was delighted to see the New Orleans' Carousel Bar-born Vieux Carre cocktail present - An intoxicating preparation of Courvosier VS, Rye, Carpano Antica, Benedictine, Peychaud's and Angostura Bitters. To soak up the liquor, Chef Hugues Quintard's menu of bar bites includes various crostini, duck foie gras parfait, smoked trout rillette, moules frites, and of course charcuterie.
The kitchen closes at 10pm, but the bar stays open until 2am.
Finally, some late night class in the 'hood.

3626 W Sunset Blvd. Silver Lake 90026; 323.666.6116

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Buvare: Learn About Wine

I love wine. But you will never hear me say that I KNOW about wine.
Sure, I've learnt some over the years about your usual suspect regions, a handful of grapes, wine trails I've explored and some makers that dazzle me. However I think a lack of declarative confidence is common for many tenderfoot wine enthusiasts. No secret - It's an intimidating world.

That's where Ian Blackburn begs to differ. Since 1995 his Learn About Wine empire has been educating and encouraging the enjoyment of wine through its website, videos, and diverse programs spanning from Wine Camp to regional tours, 101 intro classes to a L.A.W. school BAR exam for a Junior Wine Executive credential.

This week comes the latest in Learn About Wine’s flagship wine tasting series: The 2nd Annual STARS OF PASO ROBLES, featuring more than two dozen of the leading wineries from this up and coming wine region. The winemakers will be present, pouring over 100 of their most prided wines and explaining their craft.

You may register for the event at
100% of the silent auction proceeds benefit the TJ Martell Foundation, and funds children's cancer and aids research and Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

Friday, May 13, 2011 7:00 PM - 9:30 PM
Via Rodeo at Two Rodeo
Via Rodeo Dr.
Beverly Hills, California 90210

$75 Advanced Purchase
Two for $140
$69 Taste & Vintage Members
$100 at the Door
for tickets visit or call 310.451.7600

Below are some of my favorite wines from the extravagant STARS OF NAPA VALLEY, the last L.A.W. tasting event I was lucky enough to attend at the Peninsula Hotel last month (thank you Greg of Sippity Sup for the recommendation!). I got to learn firsthand how intimate these gatherings are, and connected with several winemakers over their exceptional vintages.

The extraordinary 2007 SOLO Cabernet Sauvignon.
The bright Bordeaux-style 2007 Virage Napa Valley (71% Cabernet Franc, 24%Merlot, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon) was almost as charming as Virage winemaker Emily Richer herself!
The elegant full-bodied Robert Biale 2007 Like Father Like Son Petite Sirah.
There was a lot of talk about the offerings from Veedercrest, who tapped some special reserve bottles.
Probably my across-the-board favorites came from T-Vine Cellars, whose bold 2007 Zinfandel, jammy 2008 Syrah and sublime 2008 Grenache simply blew me away.