Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fall Cocktails Arrive at Drago Centro

Photo courtesy of FoodGPS
Tonight the new Fall Cocktail list debuts at Drago Centro in Downtown LA.  The cocktails were created by Jaymee Mandeville and Michael Shearin, the head bartender and beverage director, respectively.  The cocktails are normally priced at $12, but for tonight only they are yours for the tasting for only $8.

I am particularly looking forward to the Scottish Cashmere, as Highland Park is a wonderful Scotch and the fig flavor should complement it nicely.  The Hot Bellied .45 should also be a highlight with its bourbon, mezcal and Cocchi all in one stirred cocktail that packs a punch.  Note that the Pinzimonio normally costs $18 - with all the veggies in it, you might consider it to be a health drink.

Enjoy the deal on the drinks tonight.  Personally, exploring this menu sounds like a delicious way to kick off the New Year:

A Penny’s Worth  - Hayman’s Old Tom Gin, Plymouth Sloe Gin, Crème de Violette, Oregano, Fever Tree Tonic

Blessed Bliss - Karlsson’s Vodka, Cardamaro, Underberg Bitters, Fresh Ginger, Fresh Apple, Fresh Rosemary

Hot Bellied .45 – Bulleit Bourbon, Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, Cocchi Americano, Art in the Age Snap, Fee Bros. Lemon Bitters

Lushington – Templeton Rye, Quince Gastrique, Egg White, 25 Year Aged Balsamic Vinegar

Moment of Clarity – Sombra Mexcal, Dolin Vermouth Blanc, Fee Bros. Grapefruit Bitters

No Place Like Home – Campo Encanto Pisco, Art in the Age Rhuby, Fresh Lemon Juice, Fresh Aloe, Fresh Pomegranate Arils

Organized Confusion – Tanteo Cocoa Infused Tequila, Fresh Banana, Fresh Lime, Espelette Pepper Tincture

Scottish Cashmere – Highland Park 12 Year Scotch, Fig & Basil Infused Water, Single Ice Cube

Song of the Siren – Appleton VX Rum, Cruzan Blackstrap Rum, Amaro Cio Ciara, Velvet Falernum, Apry, Sour Cherry Bitters, Fresh Lime

White After Labor Day – Nolet’s Gin, Green Chartreuse, Fresh Lemon Juice, Lavender Water, Egg White, Fernet Branca Mist

Pinzimonio – Jacopo Poli Grappa, Fresh Tomato, Fresh Orange, Olive Oil Foam, Hangar One Vodka, Cucumber Water, Fresh Pepper, Fresh Basil, Assorted Vegetables ($18)

Drago Centro: 525 S. Flower St., DTLA.  Phone: (213) 228-8998.  Website:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tequila 101 at PS 612 on October 3rd

Public School 612 in Downtown LA will be hosting an introductory course on Tequila, aptly entitled Tequila 101 next Monday, October 3rd.  The class will be taught by Enrico Caruso, who was recently mentioned in this publication.  Tasting five tequilas and a Serrano Margarita sound like the kind of education I can heartily approve of.  The cost of the class is $35 and includes a tequila tasting as well as a selection of signature snacks from PS 612.

Alas the course credits in the PS 612 educational series are non transferable to USC or UCLA.  Reservations are required and can be made by phoning the restaurant.

Public School 612: 612 S. Flower St, DTLA.  Phone: (213) 623-1172.  Website:

BlackBoard Eats Prix Fixe Menu @ The Nickel Diner

Blackboard Eats is celebrating its second anniversary by partnering with The Nickel Diner top create a special 3 course dinner for only $30 including wine, beer or soda.  To put the party hat on this deal, the first 20 people who redeem the BBE code at the Nickel Diner get their meals for free, which is something worth blowing your party horn for.

You can get your code here at BlackBoardEats:

The BBE Old School "Frim Fram Menu":

Appetizers (choose one)
Vegetarian white bean soup
“Smac and cheese”
Fried chicken drumette in maple-bacon jam
Fruit and nuts salad
Double-stuffed artichoke

Entrées (choose one)
Chicken and dumplings with Frim Fram sauce
Grilled flatiron chimichurri steak
Vegan sloppy Joe
Buttermilk-brined pork chop

Dessert (choose one)
Root beer crème brûlée
Homemade ding dong
Salt peanut cake
Red velvet cake
Cheesecake plate

Choice of wine, beer, or soda

You should hurry if you want to be one of the lucky 20 diners who get their meal on the house.  If you end up at the Nickel Diner otherwise, Monica's Chicken Pozole is my favorite dish on the menu.

The Nickel Diner: 524 S. Main St, DTLA.  Phone: (213) 623-8301.  Website:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Meet the Finalists in Table 20's LA's Best Bartender Competition

Table 20 is hosting the second annual LA's Best Bartender Competition on Sunday October 9th.  Five finalists were selected in three ways: an online competition which Joe Brooke of Next Door Lounge won, gaining him the title of People's Choice; a Karlsson's Cocktail Challenge this past weekend at 1886 in Pasadena, which Brian Summers of Harvard & Stone and Daniel Zacharczuk of Bar | Kitchen won; and lastly a Judge's selection in which the judges selected the top two bartenders who had not already become finalists.

Finalist Joe Brooke

Here are the Table 20 LA's Best Bartender Competition finalists

Joe Brooke, Next Door Lounge - People's Choice

Justin Pike, The Tasting Kitchen - Judges' Selection

Brian Summers, Harvard & Stone - Karlsson's Cocktail Challenge Winner

Devon Tarby, The Varnish - Judges' Selection

Daniel Zacharczuk, Bar | Kitchen - Karlsson's Cocktail Challenge Winner

The finalists will be judged by a Murderers' Row of talent including Matthew Biancaniello, last year's winner of the competition, Dale Degroff, known as King Cocktail and a legend in the global bartending community, Johnny Iuzzini, the pastry chef at Jean Georges in New York City; Marcos Tello, the head of the US Bartenders Guild Los Angeles, mezcal-lover Bricia Lopez and writer Jessica Gelt.

General Admission tickets are $25 and go on-sale this coming Monday.  The event will be held on Sunday October 9th from 3 - 8 pm at Elevate Lounge in Downtown LA.  You can purchase tickets here:

Elevate Lounge:
811 Wilshire Blvd, 21st Floor, DTLA.
Sunday October 9th, 3 - 8 pm

Stay tuned for more details.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Rebirth of Cool: The Bon Vivants Rock the Radio Room

Tonight, after a long hiatus, the Radio Room returns to the Edison.  The Radio Room brings guest bartenders from across the city and country to shake cocktails at the Edison for a single night.  Tonight's Radio Room is a real treat as it brings back The Bon Vivants, a trio of raconteurs including local barman Alex Straus of Hemingways and Scott Baird and Josh Harris of San Francisco, behind the bar slinging drinks and making mischief.  As a bonus Neyah White, the Yamazaki brand ambassador from San Francisco will also be on hand to make his Blind Samurai.

Tonight's Radio Room continues the San Francisco connection with the participation of Chef Chris L'Hommedieu of Michael Mina's restaurant group, who ran the 4 star kitchen at Michael Mina's flagship.  I have eaten L'Hommedieu's food numerous times in San Francisco, and Los Angeles is in for a treat.

If you are afraid of heights, don't look up and watch Kinetic Theory do their aerial maneuvers.  I will be too busy sampling the cocktails and munching on the food to get so distracted.  This promises to be a party that will be spoken about for a long time, so don't miss it.

Admission is $10 and the Edison has a dress code, so bring some cash, wear some nice threads and be prepared to have a killer time.

The Radio Room at the Edison: 108 W. 2nd Street, DTLA. Phone: (213) 613-0000.  Website:

Thursday, September 1, 2011

See Julian Cox at The Art of Mixing at The Taste this Friday

Julian Cox (right) with fellow mixologist Ryan Magarian
One of the highlights of The Taste, the food, wine, spirits and culinary adventure set to land in Los Angeles this Labor Day weekend, is sure to be The Art of Mixing, a party and seminar by Julian Cox, the mixologist behind such cocktail programs as Rivera, Playa, Sotto and Picca.  He will be leading a cooking and mixology demonstration along with Chefs Ricardo Zarate of Picca (pictured below) and John Sedlar of Rivera.  The festival is sponsored by the Los Angeles Times and Food & Wine magazine, so they have been able to get heavy hitters like Cox to participate.

The Art of Mixing will be held on Friday evening from 9 pm - Midnight at the Paramount Studio Lot in Hollywood.  Tickets are $125, but you can get tickets for only $75 with discount code LAT, which makes this an excellent value.  KCRW DJ Jason Bentley of Morning Becomes Eclectic will be mixing (songs not drinks) to get the crowd in the mood for some delicious cocktails.

What does your ticket get you?  Aside from the demonstrations, which begin  promptly at 9:45 pm, you get unlimited tastes of food and drinks from dozens of restaurants and wineries/spirits makers.  The list of participating restaurants includes a variety of delicious spots such as hot Mediterranean newcomer Mezze, Zarate's Picca, Atwater Village's Canele and downtown sausage fest Wurstkuche among many others.  There is no risk of you going thirsty with options such as boozy snow cones from Damian Windsor's Ice Ice Shavie, rum from Ron Abuelo, Original Moonshine and more liquor and wine than you could shake a cocktail glass at.

I hope to see you all there as it promises to be a blast.  Tickets can be purchased here.
Learn More: The Art of Mixing:

Ricardo Zarate