Jennifer Sommer is The Dish. Want to know where to eat, take your favorite date, impress your clients from out of town? Just ask Jennifer or check out her directory. She cuts through the clutter and only her favorite eating, drinking and cooking discoveries are featured here.
Hi there. Me again.
After many months full of eating, drinking and baking lots of granola, I am back to share what I have loved thus far in 2015. Here is what you may have missed. And remember, catch my day to day discoveries by following me on Instagram at jennifer_sommer. I am even hastagging so you can keep track of where to go next. (That means using the # symbol to tell you my picks by location. i.e. #SommerinDTLA #SommerinVenice etc.) Like it. Tag it. Go.
Just opened but already jam packed. It is where flocks of upscale Westsiders go to drop serious dough on Petrossian caviar, grand shellfish platers, foie gras, and Japanese wagyu. But the stand out for me and reason I will return is charming and eloquent Beverage Director David Vaughn. I learned more here about wine in one night than I have at any restaurant in years. And yes that was after plenty of it. BTW, did I mention the call your own spirit julep to start and tableside matcha service to finish? www.baltaire.com
So this isn’t a regular on the hot lists. Nor is Blue Daisy getting Instagramed like Sqirl or Republique, but the breakfast here is just as worthy. And by that I really mean the Zucchini and Eggs served with a side of hollandaise and the perfectly Parisian crepes, which can also be ordered gluten-free. I was beyond thrilled to have a friend share this, her go-to spot, and now mine. Stop in before or after your Wednesday Santa Monica Farmers Market trip and you have the makings for a perfect mid-week treat. www.bluedaisycafe.com
Cocktails? On point. Above you? The hippest apartments listed on AirBnB just steps from famed Hollywood Blvd. But what about the food? Awesome. Butchers & Barbers is the first of cooler than cool Houston brothers’ spots to place a focus on the food in addition to the venue and the drinks. Chef Luke Reyes is an up and comer making this your new must stop when hitting Hollywood. Late night menu too perfect for pre or post No Vacancy. www.butchersandbarbers.com
If there is one thing you must taste immediately, make it a taco from Chef Wes Avila. His truck, parked most days in the uber-hip Arts District, is without question one of my top spots to eat in Los Angeles. Always tapping into local products (the day I went he had just taken delivery of a local shark from fisherman/diver Stephanie Mutz), his classical training is displayed through tacos that are simply beyond. www.guerillatacos.com
In full disclosure I went in for a media preview dinner and have yet to be back for regular service. However based on the meal I experienced which included a platter of their “Oystas” with signature apple cucumber mignonette, killer beef tartare (maybe it had something to do with the truffled egg), Chicken Fried Duck Confit and truly calorie worthy desserts, I am eagerly awaiting my next visit certain to include an O&S Burger with Kennebec Fries. Unless of course Chocolate Bacon Bourbon Pancakes and Sunday brunch gets me first. www.oxandson.com
Taking over an iconic LA restaurant can be a bit daunting. However, the old A.O.C. has proven no problem for is new tenant, Pistola. Gorgeously appointed and packing in the power players of Los Angeles, it has quickly made itself home here in LA. And the fact that food by Chef Vic Cassanova is on point with service to match, makes it easy to love. Not to mention their new L’Aperitivo Italiano “happy hour” menu from 5-7pm. http://www.pistola-la.com
Ice cream is one thing. Ice cream from Salt & Straw is another. And now that summertime is here, you have no reason not to make a stop or Palisadians, a drive across town. Especially with LA’s finest chefs and restaurants partnering on limited seasonal flavors. Roy Choi’s Fluffernutter anyone? Get it before it’s gone. www.saltandstraw.com
Sunny Blue Super cute. Super fast. Super satisfying. A tiny storefront on the up and coming stretch of Main Street (yes, it is stealing a bit of thunder from overrun Abbot Kinney) that is perfect for a quick bite. Southern California’s only spot for handcrafted omusubi, essentially Japan’s answer to a sandwich. Order two or three, sip on some complimentary tea and cozy up to the counter. Next stop? A visit next door to the newly opened A Real Treat candy boutique or a stroll up the street for some Three Twins ice cream. I didn’t say this had to be healthy too. www.sunnyblueinc.com
Sushi Tsujita Certainly you can make a date night out of it and go big with the chef’s signature Omakase menu OR do like I do and go for the killer Bara-Chirashi, a bowl of sushi rice topped with high-quality sashimi and a side of miso soup. Go early though as there are only 15 available each day. http://sushitsujita.com
The Chestnut Club Walk in. Ask for Max. Drink what he tells you. He has a unique knack for immediately calling out your liquor profile and matching it brilliantly. He pegged me as a Diamond Back Lounge kind of girl. My new favorite watering hole or as the website says, “the best bet for a good time.” Yup, spot on. www.thechestnutclubsm.com
Terrine While the quintessential Los Angeles see and be seen patio is enough of a scene stealer (come fashionably dressed), the food by acclaimed chef Kris Morningstar is the focus here. French classics with a California touch; start with the Assiette de Charcuterie, an order of the herbed spaetzle or farro, the boudin blanc and a large platter of rabbit or lamb and finish with your own personal birthday cake. Candle and all. www.terrinela.com
As I watched our friend, a Londoner who fancies himself (and is) quite the food expert, literally lick the roasted carrot plate clean of every last trace of goat cheese, kumquats and argan oil it became clear that aestus is not just a hot new opening for Santa Monica’s up and coming food scene. Rather aestus is poised to become a classic worthy of attention far beyond the 405 and the 10 confines. Chef Alex Ageneau, formerly of Patina and The Royce, has created a brilliantly paired down menu that will please both the plate-sharers and the entree-lovers alike. My husband, aforementioned friend and I, forks flying, couldn’t choose a favorite from our dinner of the “sea” sar dip (the ultimate crudite plate), the warm octopus salad (I always order the octopus and you should too) and the fire roasted 1/2 chicken (finally no longer a protein relegated to the banquet hall.) All made fast friends with a bottle of 2012 Bonaccorsi “Fiddlestix” Pinot Noir chosen from owner/sommelier Kevin O’Connor’s wine list which, not-surprisingly, includes many of his own wine and a favorite of mine, Lioco. Top this all off with the expertise of bar manager, Marissa Grasmick, and you too will be absolutely hooked.