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Reservations Now Taken for dineLA Restaurant Week

Reservations Now Taken for dineLA Restaurant Week

The popular food event returns in January, with the addition of a new $85 experimental tasting menu at participating restaurants

Crossroads is one of the new restaurants participating in dineLA Restaurant Week.

Los Angeles’ popular food event dineLA Restaurant Week returns for the sixth year from Jan. 20 to 31, and reservations are now accepted for the more than 300 participating restaurants. Returning favorites include Crossroads and FIG Restaurant Santa Monica, and a few newcomers for 2014 include eateries Herringbone LA, Mud Hen Tavern, and Allumette. New for January’s dineLA event is also the option for restaurants to offer an exclusive $85 experimental tasting menu.

During the 12-day celebration of LA’s flourishing restaurant scene, diners can choose from a selection of specially priced $15, $20, and $25 lunch menus and $25, $35, and $45 dinner menus. The $85 menu is a brand-new addition to the restaurant week, part of a pilot program arranged by Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board. Designed for those looking to elevate their dining experience, the multi-course tastings are available at some of the city’s most sought-after restaurants. The full list of participating restaurants for this special menu will be released in early January.

For a chance to savor Los Angeles’ cuisine all year long, diners can also enter to win the ultimate "dineLA for a Year" prize. By signing up for the dineLA newsletter, diners are automatically entered to win a restaurant gift certificate every week for one year (at a total value of $2,600).

For more information and the whole list of participating restaurants, visit the dineLA website.


8 restaurants to try during DineLA summer restaurant week

In a city where the weather is perfect almost every day, sometimes we have to define the seasons by events. It's a good thing, then, that DineLA Restaurant Week comes around like clockwork every summer and winter, descending upon the city like a budget dining fairy that doles out $20 multi-course lunches and $40 dinners at some of the best restaurants in LA. The list of participating restaurants is lengthy enough to make you feel FOMO for skipping even one, so we've highlighted the best new restaurants to join the DineLA roster this summer. If you haven't made it to these newcomers yet, make your reservations now&mdashDineLA runs from July 13-26.

B.S. Taqueria: Chef Ray Garcia recently introduced elevated tacos to Downtown's lunch and dinner crowd, creating B.S. Taqueria as a prelude to his newest restaurant, Broken Spanish. The DineLA menu hasn't been released yet, but we're hoping it includes Garcia's fantastic clams and lardo tacos, along with his unbelievable churros. $30 dinner, Downtown, call 213-622-3744 for reservations

Cadet: Cadet opened late last year, but this is the first time they've participated in dineLA. Good thing, too, since their rabbit meatballs&mdasharguably the best dish at this Santa Monica spot&mdashare on their restaurant week menu. Also available: Jidori chicken, tomato tartine, wood grilled shrimp and a couple of seasonal dessert options. $50 dinner, Santa Monica, call 310-828-3300 for reservations

Catch & Release: Come for lunch or dinner at chef Jason Neroni's new seafood spot in Marina del Rey, where you can indulge in an appetizer, entrée and dessert for either $25 or $50. During lunch, the lobster, shrimp and crab salad on a parker house roll is a solid pick during dinner, you can wolf down oysters before choosing from fish and chips, whole roasted trout or a clam bake. $25 lunch / $50 dinner, Marina del Rey, call 310-893-6100 for reservations

Maradentro: The Valley may not be the first place you think to head for seafood, but this Studio City spot has some serious street cred. Jesse Gomez and Jose Acevedo are behind both Yxta Cocina Mexicana and the Mercado restaurant group, and you can find that same quality of food at Maradentro: try their guacamole to start, followed by carnitas, chile relleno or fideo del mar, and either flan or tres leches budino for dessert. $40, dinner, Studio City, call 818-358-3423 for reservations

Redbird: A three-course meal at Redbird for $25? Bless you, DineLA. The normally pricey DTLA hot spot is offering a great lunch deal during restaurant week, with dishes like sweet corn soup, Wyoming trout and stone fruit crisp. It's power lunching on a budget. $25, lunch, Downtown, call 213-788-1191 for reservations

The Running Goose: This new patio restaurant opened on Cahuenga Corridor without much fanfare, but their lunch menu has a burger topped with white cheddar fondue, so we're taking notice. For more adventurous diners, the dinner menu includes blood sausage, octopus and duck confit. Basically, there is no wrong way to order here. $20 lunch / $40 dinner, Hollywood, call 323-469-1080 for reservations

Sambar: Three courses of starters, curries and tandoori, and dessert make up Sambar's DineLA menu, with dishes like kashmiri lamb curry and banana pudding making it onto the list. The Indian restaurant has already made quite a splash in Culver City, so we're thinking restaurant week is the perfect time to check it out. $30, dinner, Culver City, call 310-558-8800 for reservations

White Horse: The drinking scene in Old Town Pasadena is moving away from bro-centric bars&mdashjust look at White Horse, a newcomer that specializes in whiskey and pub fare. Their three-course DineLA dinner includes standouts like a ghost chili cheese mac and cheese, braised short rib tacos and&mdashget this&mdashtwinkies fried in Cola batter. $40, dinner, Pasadena, call 626-583-9013 for reservations


What You’re Eating: dineLA Restaurant Week Picks

Home to Oliver’s Prime Steakhouse, The Grafton on Sunset’s restaurant opened just this April and has quickly become the place where patrons experience fine dining with an intimate ambiance and the occasional celebrity sighting. Be sure to arrive early though and pay a visit to Bar 20, where you can socialize at the hottest new bar on the Sunset strip, featuring modern décor, craft cocktails, a fine wine menu.

Stand-out dishes: Grilled Summer Peaches and Burrata Petit Filet Mignon with sautéed spinach and mashed potato Roasted Mary&rsquos Chicken with mustard spaetzle, Granny Smith apple and deconstructed Bread Pudding made with brioche sticks, house-whipped chocolate chip whipped cream, a smooth crème anglaise and “cinnamon smoke” under glass. Serving three-courses for dinner ($45) only. Wine pairing is not available. Reservations are recommended.

Made with the freshest farmer&rsquos market ingredients available, Fundamental LA serves creative Contemporary American Cuisine. With produce that is inspired by the seasons and cooked using precise artistry to bring out the best the ingredients have to offer, the restaurant has made sure to also get beer and wine from their favorite regions to help compliment the meal. Says the restaurant, “Through the food, the wine, and the experience, we’ve tried to create a place where we’d want to dine with good friends. We hope you feel the same.”

Stand-out dishes: Kampachi Sashimi with apple, mustard, avocado, cilantro & chili lime Melon Soup with mint yogurt Roasted Beets with watermelon radish, orange, mache, and goat cheese beignet &ldquoKung Pao&rdquo Sweetbreads with haricot vert, water chestnuts, cashew and basil the &ldquoCalifornia Bouillabaisse&rdquo with monkfish, tiger shrimp, mussels, heirloom tomato and rouille and Yuzu Curd with hazelnut brittle and meringue for dessert. Serving three-courses for lunch ($15) and dinner ($35). Wine pairing available for an additional $18. Reservations are recommended.

Founded by five time recipient of the James Beard Foundation for his accomplishments in cooking, Chef Tom Colicchio of Craft Los Angeles, creates culinary experiences for guests by &ldquoServing delicious food and beverage and warm hospitality whether it&rsquos in a formal dining room or at a picnic table in a parking lot.&rdquo It&rsquos safe to say, Craft Los Angeles is a very far cry from a picnic table though. The space is a true dream to dine in and the food is simply delicious.

Stand-out dishes: Smoked Cauliflower with hummus, sesame and sunflower Petrale Sole with corn relish & green beans Jidori Chicken with cranberry beans & peppers Beef Short Rib Gemelli with Tuscan kale & parmesan and Peach Upside Down Cake or Chocolate Baked Alaska for dessert. The restaurant is serving two-courses during lunch ($25) and three-courses at dinner ($45). Wine / beverage pairing is not available. Reservations are recommended.

(credit: Napa Valley Grille)

In honor of Summer dineLA Restaurant Week, Napa Valley Grille is introducing a special tasting menu from July 14th through the 27th. Executive Chef Taylor Boudreaux will be crafing a rustic prix-fixe two-course lunch ($20) and a three-course dinner ($35) with menu items featuring locally sourced ingredients, delicious handmade pastas and more. The restaurant will be featuring simple dishes from scratch such as a Beer Braised Short Rib sandwiched between an artisan Milk Bun, Clam Capellini with handmade pasta and a truly mouthwatering Bread Pudding which will be topped with housemade marshmallows. Additional dishes will be available as well including a chopped kale salad with quinoa, almonds, parmesan, raisins and a lemon vinaigrette as well as a grilled pork chop with rosemary rub and an apple gallette with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream for dessert.

Serving up modern Cantonese cuisine, Hakkasan offers dim sum with extensive wine and sake programs in a relaxed setting. The exotic sights, sounds and smells only heightens the overall experience making it one of the best places for Asian inspired cooking in Los Angeles. For those looking for contemporary Chinese fare with delectable flavors, this Beverly Hills eatery is the perfect option.

Stand-out dishes include: Hakka Steamed Dim Sum Platter Stir-fry Mushroom Lettuce Wrap with pistachio and pine nut Spicy wild curry prawns with lily bulb and almond flakes Sanpei corn fed chicken claypot and a selection of housemade macaroons for dessert. Serving three-courses dinner ($45) only. Wine pairing available for an additional $35. Reservations are recommended.

For those who closely follow L.A.&rsquos culinary community it will come as no big surprise that Chef Ricardo Zarate&rsquos Mo-chica is on this must-try list. This excitingly vibrant, downtown eatery serves up the most delicious traditional Peruvian comfort food with innovative modern twists.

Stand-out dishes: Chilled Corn Chowder with red pepper choclo relish, watercress and spiced cancha Papa A La Huancaina with yellow and purple potatoes, green beans, black olives, mix greens, pancetta vinaigrette Sudado de Branzino with Aji panca seaweed broth, wilted kale, cherry tomatoes, fried yucca and lime wedge and Tres Leches Cakes with Pisco mascerated blueberry for dessert. Serving three-courses for lunch ($25) and dinner ($35). Wine pairing not available. Reservations are recommended.

Those seeking Mediterranean fare for Restaurant Week will be quite satisfied with the menus CAFE del REY has designed for this two-week event. Taking pride in using robust, yet clean flavors, Southern California&rsquos premier waterfront dining destination is spotlighting a few of Executive Chef Chuck Abair&rsquos most popular dishes.

Stand-out dishes: Spiced Carrot Soup with curry crème fraîche Truffle Pizza with truffle cream, caramelized onion, truffle peeling and fresh thyme Steak Sandwich with arugula, horseradish cream, crispy onions and brioche bun Seafood Paella with couscous, mussels, scallops, assorted fish and piquillo pepper and Cherry Lemonade Semifredo with cherry compote and streusel for dessert. Serving three-courses for lunch ($25) and dinner ($45). Wine / beverage pairing is not available. Reservations are recommended.

(credit: Tagine Beverly Hills)

The &ldquoMoroccan hideaway in the heart of Beverly Hills,&rdquo has designed an absolutely incredible dinner menu this summer for dineL.A. Chef Ben&rsquos special creations perfectly captures the warm vibe of Tagine Beverly Hills as he welcomes guests to dine on his modern take of traditional Moroccan cuisine. There is no denying what a special place Tagine Beverly Hills is as diners often find themselves already thinking about what they will be ordering their next visit even before the small plates are served!

Stand-out dishes: Maine Lobster served with French Fries New Zealand Lamb Chops marinated in the seven spices, sautéed Brussels sprouts, shiitake mushrooms and green onion and Lemon Sorbet with fresh fruit of the day on a bed of champagne. Serving three-courses dinner ($45) only. Wine / beverage / signature cocktail pairing suggestions available for additional. Reservations are recommended.

Focusing on seasonal ingredients with all natural, organic, grass fed and hormone-free cuts of beef, Michael Mina&rsquos Bourbon Steak, is not only known for their exceptional flavors, but their unique table side presentations and &ldquoTreat Trolley&rdquo filled with beautiful desserts. One more unique cart to keep your eye out for is the Bourbon Cart available with flights smoked table side.

Stand-out dishes: Wood-Grilled Lamb Meatballs with fingerling potato, broccoli rabe, roasted eggplant and romesco Brentwood Corn Velouté with grilled prawn, Padrón chile and cilantro, Brandt Farms Bavette Steak with whipped potato purée, horseradish and parsley salad Braised Pork Belly with miso butterscotch, charred spring onion, lacinato kale and white grits followed by Vanilla Custard with marcona streusel for dessert. Serving three-courses for dinner ($45) only. Wine pairing available for an additional $20. Reservations are recommended.


12 Best Deals You Gotta Try During dineLA Restaurant Week Summer 2016

Get ready, dineLA Restaurant Week Summer 2016 is approaching with 300+ restaurants participating. Set menus with multi-course meals starting at $15 per person. dineLA Restaurant Week begins July 18th through July 31st. You’re in for a treat.

You’ll find dineLA Restaurant Week is collaborating with all the trendy casual LA food joints along with some of the best top-notch gourmet restaurants. Since LA is so spread out, it is very difficult for restaurants to reach out to the whole So-Cal community. So thanks to dineLA, they have made it possible for all Angelenos to experience LA specialty restaurants with set price menus and an interactive online presence. dineLA Restaurant Week is a chance for all Angelenos to connect with their city and explore all of its culinary options.

Photo courtesy @dinela via Instagram

This year, dineLA is partnering up with California Avocados to showcase LA’s best chefs skills and passion for Avocados used in their own unique recipes.

dineLA deals include set price lunch menus for $15, $20, or $25 and dinner menus for $29, $29, and $49 per person.

It’s pretty ambitious and a little daunting to try all 300+ restaurants, so we are here to help. Get ready & take notes. The best deals and #foodporn photo ops are as follows:

1. Sunny Spot

Photo courtesy of dineLA & @marycostaphoto via Instagram

Sunny Spot is located on the border of Venice and Marina Del Rey. Sunny Spot is an adorable neighborhood joint with unique interior design. This brunch spot is one of the most popular places to go for a Sunday morning feast. You must try the Whipped Ricotta toast on dineLA’s menu.

2. Fritzi

Photo courtesy @daily.dankness via Instagram

Located in DTLA’s Arts District, you’ll find the most incredible burger and wood-fired rotisserie chicken. You gotta try to the chicken with a Fritzi Potato Waffle on the side. Chef Neal Fraser does not disappoint.

3. Gracias Madre

Photo courtesy of @theandylu via Instagram

In the heart of West Hollywood, Gracias Madre is celebrating plant-based food inspired by the kitchens of Mexico. It is a Vegan’s dream come true. Everything is made with locally grown and organic ingredients. It’s a popular spot so I recommend making a reservation.

  • dineLA lunch $25 for one drink, one starter, one entree, and one dessert
  • dineLA dinner $39 for chips, two starters, two entrees, and one dessert

4. SUGARFISH

Photo courtesy of @jennymichellely via Instagram

dineLA is featuring 10 SUGARFISH locations in LA. SUGARFISH sushi will melt in your mouth. Their mission is to provide Japanese cuisine in its purest form. SUGARFISH always leaves me satisfied with its traditional flavor and its simplicity. Your life is definitely not complete unless you’ve tried SUGARFISH. It’s dank AF.

  • dineLA lunch $20 for five different sushi
  • dineLA dinner $39 for one starter, one sashimi, five sushi, & two hand rolls. YAS

5. Pizzeria Mozza

Photo courtesy of dineLA & @marycostaphoto via Instagram

Pizzeria Mozza takes pride in their pizza with their renowned crust. Pizzeria Mozza’s crust is chewy and crunchy all at the same time. Your options vary from Sicilian Oregano & Extra Virgin Olive Oil Pizza to Fennel Sausage Pizza. It is almost better than the pizza in Italy. Normally the stuff on their menu is pretty expensive so I’d definitely take advantage of the dineLA deal.

6. Cafe Gratitude

Photo courtesy of dineLA & @marycostaphoto via Instagram

Cafe Gratitude is located in three hip Los Angeles areas: Larchmont, Venice, and Downtown. This vegan experience is as humbling as it is delicious. Cafe Gratitude is all about bringing the restaurant goer to the elements and their inner strength. All of the dishes are named starting with I AM and then filled in with a positive quality: festive, brilliant, celebrating, bountiful, sweet. This earthy atmosphere certainly translates into their food. They use only Plant based ingredients.

7. The Federal Bar

Photo courtesy of @thefederalbar via Instagram

The Federal Bar, located in NOHO Arts District with some of the best bar food in the San Fernando Valley. The Federal Bar’s menu is continuously changing and always keeping up with the current food trends. Don’t miss out on their MCO Burger, a beef patty with garlic aioli topped with an egg or their Tuna Tataki both on dineLA’s menu.

8. The Smoke House

Photo courtesy @consumingla via Instagram

The Smoke House is my grandparent’s favorite steakhouse. Established in 1946, Smoke House has a special aura from a different age. The local Burbank community continues to dine at The Smoke House, determined to keep it alive. The Smoke House was the hottest place for actors, producers, and anyone in the industry back in the 60’s. Don’t miss out on their World Famous Garlic bread. You can even get it shipped to your door.

9. The Wallace

Photo courtesy @thewallacela via Instagram

The Wallace is located in the heart of Culver City serving seasonally inspired dishes. It is a beautiful culmination of fine dining and fresh ingredients. At The Wallace, the flavors are as colorful as the food is. I’d go to The Wallace just for a dining experience. A must try from the dineLA set menu would have to be their Alaskan Halibut with celery root. This entree is as beautiful as it tastes. However, everything you order at The Wallace will be at the highest standard of quality.

10. The Little Next Door

Photo courtesy The Little Next Door via Facebook

Located in West Hollywood, The Little Next Door offers an intimate French cuisine experience. From mouthwatering Braised Lamb Shank “Tajine” to Prosciutto and Local Burrata Cheese, you’ll be leaving The Little Next Door feeling fabulous. Don’t forget to pick up their delicious warm French chocolate croissants to go.

11. Sage Organic Vegan Bistro

Photo courtesy @dinodigital via Instagram

Sage has some the best vegan food in Los Angeles. You must go try Sage while the deal is hot. One thing you have try there, which is on the set menu for dineLA, is their cauliflower chicken wings. This will make you believe in veganism. Another must try would be the Bahn Mi Tacos. This Californian twist on the classic Vietnamese sandwich is my fantasy.

12. Sarita’s Pupuseria

Photo courtesy @lapetite.italienne via Instagram

In DTLA’s Grand Central Market, you’ll find Sarita’s Pupeseria serving Salvadorian cuisine. Their menu consists of a dozen different pupusas, fried plantains, fried yuca, and stews. LA Weekly has deemed Sarita’s Pupuseria as the 10 Best Pupusas in Los Angeles. There’s nothing like a warm stuffed pupusa.

Photo courtesy of dineLA & @marycostaphoto via Instagram

It’s time to Eat Fabulous. Get out there and enjoy these amazing deals. You’ll fall in love with Los Angeles all over and over again.


DineL.A. Restaurant Week

Join us for dineLA Winter Restaurant Week from Friday, January 17th until Friday, January 31st. Available daily from 5 to 10pm.

Enjoy a special tasting menu for $59 per person (excluding tax & gratuity). Visit www.saddlepeaklodge.com to make your reservations.

First Course - Choice of One
-Beets & Burratta: Sour Cherry Mustard, Pickled Grapes, Piquant Herbs, Puffed Wild Rice
-Pink Lady Apple Salad: Endive, Watercress, Roasted Apple, Candied Pistachio, St. Agur Blue Cheese, Cider Vinaigrette
-Butternut Squash and Lobster Bisque: Cognac Cream & Garlic Croutons

Main Course - Choice of One
-Wild Game Trio ($20 Supplement): Chef&rsquos trio of wild game with individual accompaniments
-Bison Shortribs: Smoked Miso Potatoes, Blistered Asparagus,
-48 Hour Sous Vide Rib Steak (medium temperature only): Balsamic Grilled Onions, Potato Puree, Spinach, Red Wine Jus
-Faroe Island Salmon: Beets, Wasabi, Smoked Avocado

Dessert Course - Choice of One
-Banana Bread Pudding: Huckleberry, Banana, Croissant, Vanilla Ice Cream
-Sorbets: Trio of House Made Sorbets
-Chocolate Pots de Crème: Triple chocolate chocolate custard, chocolate hazelnut crumble, penuche


8 new restaurants to try during dineLA Restaurant Week

It's come around again, this bi-annual, two-week affair when restaurants across the city craft prix-fixe menus for your dining pleasure. Are you getting a good deal during dineLA Restaurant Week? Sometimes. Do the restaurants include their best dishes? Eh. If we sound a bit blasé, it's only because this event has become a tad predictable, with a list of participating restaurants that changes only slightly. This winter, however, is a different story. We've honed in on the newcomers and what they're bringing to the table. Eight of them happen to be outstanding options, whether this is your first dineLA or you've done dineLA a few times before. All of them opened for business since summer's dineLA event, and some of them even made our list of the best restaurant openings of 2014. What we're trying to say is, you're going to want to make reservations now (dineLA runs Jan. 19-Feb. 1).

Bacari PDR: This Playa del Rey newbie may be best known as a wine bar, but its food is nothing to scoff at. Start with a cheese or salumi platter, then choose two cichetti: poached shrimp, pork belly skewers, a bacaro burger and seared scallops are all on hand. Finish with either bread pudding or malabi (rosewater custard), all while enjoying a 90-minute open bar. $40, dinner, call 310-439-2100 for reservations

Hutchinson Cocktails & Grill: You want steak. You also want Indonesian food. This is where you can get both. The three-course meal starts with your choice of appetizers (papaya and mango salad, mushroom spring rolls, pork belly lettuce cups or beef tartare), then offers both steak and Indonesian entrées for the main course (we recommend the beef rendang). End with chocolate mousse cake, key lime cheesecake or coconut ice cream sandwiches for dessert. $50, dinner, call 310-360-0884 for reservations

Alimento: We were hoping that the dineLA menu at Alimento would feature their exceptional tortellini in brodo alas, that wasn't in the cards. Instead, the Silver Lake hot spot asks diners to pick three of the following dishes: cauliflower almond soup, scallop crudo, cracked farro salad, winter chicory caesar, baccala, fussili, polenta almond cake and carnaroli rice pudding. Get the rice pudding. $30, dinner, call 323-928-2888 for reservations

Brilliantshine: It's a shame that Brilliantshine's dineLA menu doesn't come with cocktails this is, after all, Julian Cox's baby. But there's plenty to keep you distracted: halibut ceviche or farmers market veggies as a first course, lomo saltado with French fries or squash relleno as a second, and lucuma bolis or dulce de leche for dessert. $30, dinner, call 310-451-0045 for reservations

The Gadarene Swine This is one of those places where a vegan and a meat-eater can both emerge feeling like they've had a phenomenal meal&mdashand thankfully, chef Lee is featuring some of his star dishes on the dineLA menu. For lunch, choose either a sourdough and crushed tomato or honey fried olive stuffed olives appetizer (pick the olives!), then select two from the following: hummus, roasted carrots, strawberries and champagne, or blackened cauliflower. Move onto vegetables in a box, roasted mushrooms or hand-rolled pasta, then finish with an indulgent pear pie for an extra $9. For dinner, the appetizers remain the same, but a six-course chef's tasting menu follows&mdashincluding the pie. $25, lunch $50, dinner call 818-508-5500 for reservations

Butchers & Barbers: The newest venue from the Houston Brothers is not a bar, but a restaurant&mdashand a pretty one at that. They've joined dineLA with a four-course dinner menu, featuring appetizers like a pear and arugula salad or smoked trout with celery root hummus, and vegetable-heavy sides like butternut squash and roasted cauliflower. For an entrée, choose between crispy duck breast or king salmon before finishing with a flourless Mexican chocolate cake. $40, dinner, call 323-461-1464 for reservations

Stir Market: Food halls are on the rise, and Stir Market, LA's latest such venue, has jumped on the dineLA train this winter. A three-course meal includes dishes that range from crispy pig tails to green goddess salad, chicken pappardelle to eggplant and sweet potato lasagna, and blood orange sorbet to croissant bread pudding. $30, dinner, no reservations

Dia de Campo: A surf lodge-inspired Mexican eatery? Sure, we'll take it. This Hermosa Beach newbie is offering a four-course dinner, with dishes that alternate between sounding off-the-wall and delicious: salmon tostadas, chocolate duck quesadillas, and shrimp and chorizo enchiladas, to name a few. $50, dinner, call 310-379-1829 for reservations


Guide To dineLA Restaurant Week – Summer 2015

One of the most highly-anticipated culinary events of the summer in Los Angeles is the annual dineL.A.&rsquos Summer Restaurant Week brought to you by The Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board. From July 13th &ndash 26th, 2015, diners around the Los Angeles area can take advantage of special lunch and dinner menus, as well as exclusive dishes, from hundreds of applauded L.A. chefs at notable restaurants over the course of two weeks.

dineL.A. makes it possible for even foodies on a fixed budget to experience the wonderful culinary community Los Angeles is famous for. This year, over 300 restaurants are offering special dining experiences at three price points where guests can enjoy lunch at their favorite restaurant for $15, $20, or $25 or head to that hotspot they&rsquove been dying to give a whirl for dinner specially priced at $30, $40, or $50 per person.

We took the time to look at each menu so you don&rsquot have to and here are a few suggestions for lunch and dinner. No matter where you end up, you&rsquore bound to have a wonderful experience.

Gracias Madre does an exceptional job at creating delicious Mexican cuisine with a twist: all dishes are 100% organic, vegan and prepared using the fresh ingredients grown locally, but most importantly, they are made with love. Carefully selected and inspired by traditional Mexican family recipes, the dishes at Gracias Madre are passed down from friends and family from generation-to-generation. What we&rsquore eating: Make sure not to pass up the dineLA exclusives like the Mango & Avocado Salad with chipotle vinaigrette Summer Empanadas and Key Lime Mousse with cashew coconut cream and tequila reposado sauce. $20 per person

Get ready to be delighted because under the careful guidance of Chef Hiroshi Shima, Sushi Roku has created a three-course lunch menu in preparation for this summer&rsquos dineLA. At first glance, it will certainly be a challenge to choose just one dish from each course, but no matter what you decide on, you simply cannot go wrong. Depending on your appetite, begin with the Albacore Sashimi with chili oil & garlic aioli or Edamame Hummus Pita Chips followed by the Mixed Seafood & Vegetable Tempura or &ldquoJi-Dori&rdquo Free Range Chicken, but whatever you decide, make sure to save room for the Mini Chocolate Volcano and you can thank us later. $25 per person

Serving &ldquoBrunch for Lunch,&rdquo The Churchill is the perfect spot to break bread with friends on the sidewalk patio, or inside thanks to it&rsquos exciting menu, extensive list of handmade signature cocktails, and 20 regional craft beers on tap. Known for seasonal American cuisine, The Churchill are staunch supporters of local farming and sustainable fishing which are featured on the special menu. To really experience these fresh ingredients and heightened flavors you simply have to try the fresh Avocado Toast with burrata and tomatoes either Southern Fried Chicken &lsquon&rsquo Bacon Studded Waffle, or the legendary Churchill Burger which dreams are made of. $20 per person

Pause for a moment and go grab the phone because you need to make a reservation for lunch right now at Wolfgang Puck. This menu is off-the-charts. It&rsquos unheard of scoring a lunch anywhere in the uber-swank Bel-Air area for this price, let alone one created by a world-renowned superstar chef. All about healthy California cuisine, you can expect to dine on appetizers like a beautiful fresh Summer Harvest Bean Salad and a Tempura Soft Shell Crab Sandwich served on a Hawaiian nori roll, with Yuzu-Kosho aioli for the main course. The three-course menu is $25 per person and a sommelier wine pairing is available upon request.


Reservations Now Taken for dineLA Restaurant Week - Recipes

Due to sheer laziness, dineLA Restaurant Week didn’t really happen for me. Well, almost. I originally had three reservations in place (at Dakota, Tokyo Table, and Chaya Brasserie) throughout the course of the food-fest. I was a little hung-over and tired the day of the Dakota reservations, which was too bad since that’s a place I’d been meaning to try. But the damp weather, and being wrapped-up in my blanket in my room, kept me from venturing out to Hollywood that day. Who leaves the Westside anyway? The night of the Tokyo Table reservation was also a bust. I wasn’t feeling it after the long week at work, and neither were my friends. Luckily, I was able to push through with the reservations at Chaya Brasserie in Beverly Hills.

I’d gone to Chaya several times before, but always for their ‘industry’ happy hour – which isn’t bad at all. The one and only time that I was actually there for dinner prior didn’t actually happen. It was for my birthday two years ago, and I was drunk out of my mind from happy hour, and we basically couldn’t wait around to be seated. (That was the same night we saw Michael Vartan hanging out at the bar at Chaya.) We moved the party to Sushi Roku on Third St., and I barely ate my sushi. I don’t remember throwing up, so that must’ve meant the night was decent. That’s another story, though.

Anyway. Two Mondays ago I had gone to a taping of Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann with the roomies and Ekie, who was visiting from home. The show/taping was absolutely lame, aside from watching the actual performances. Again, another story. After the taping, we were famished, and had the reservations at Chaya. We made it right on time for dinner, and we got right to it. Libations were flowing, and the prix fix menu looked pretty good. Two of us chose the lobster ravioli for our appetizer, and the other two had the shrimp gumbo. Yum. The 'gumbo' girls enjoyed their bowls quite much, and Ekie and I were lovin’ the ravioli – two raviolis (is that how you spell that?) stuffed with steamed lobster meat. They were showered in a delicious pesto sauce. It was absolutely divine. Our main course followed –with three of us ordering a Cajun-grilled sea bass over kale and basmati rice Nicely prepared, and perfectly cooked. The fish practically melted in our mouths. Ekie was the lone soldier who got the boneless short ribs, which was sweet and tender – an excellent choice. It was definitely yum-azing. For dessert, we each ordered an ‘ice cream sandwich,’ which was basically vanilla ice cream with chocolate shavings sandwiched in-between two chocolate chip/walnut cookies. It was very simple, yet amazing. Surprisingly, we were very full after the rounds of drinks and food, and we left Chaya Brasserie with a good feeling. The place is most def a “sure thing” when it comes to fine dining. A sure hit, and our out-of-town guest was pleased.


DineLA Restaurant Week is back and other food events in the Los Angeles area

Winter is upon us and dineLA Restaurant Week is back to heat things up for local foodies.

The 14-day event will highlight some of Los Angeles’ best restaurants with specially priced lunch and dinner menus ranging from $15-$50.

In the South Bay, Abigaile will be serving a Vietnamese pho poached organic chicken salad, escargot poppers, poutine, Moroccan lamb kibbeh and Snickers bars, while Shore Public House in Long Beach plans to serve crispy brussel sprouts, pan seared Atlantic salmon and chocolate turtle bread pudding for dinner.

For lunch, check out Fundamental LA’s menu, which includes smoked brisket and Fijian albacore sandwiches, fire roasted tomato bisque and s’mores.

And these restaurant offerings are just a small sample of what’s to eat during the ever-growing dineLA program.


Ani’s dineLA Restaurant Week Vegetarian Roundup

dineLA is an exciting 2-week dining event created by the Los Angeles Convention and Visitor Bureau (aka LA, INC) to introduce diners to hundreds of neighborhood restaurants throughout Los Angeles County. LA’s a huge county full of many great spots for food and drink. So, to help filter through over 300 participating restaurants, dineLA’s invited me to call out a few restaurants offering vegetarian dineLA menu items. I live in West Hollywood, so most of my recommendations are for spots in my area.

For dineLA, participating restaurants offer a fixed 3-course menu for lunch and/or dinner…a great way to taste popular dishes. If a restaurant offers only 1 or 2 vegetarian items on their dineLA menu, many will let you order just those vegetarian items, so do ask. You’ll also find a few vegan and almost raw items too.

With so many great dineLA restaurants, it was challenging to choose just 10! Here’s a few vegetarian items to look for. If you prefer vegan, ask to leave off the dairy. It’s that simple. Click each link below to view their dineLA menu:

  • Akasha – Chef Akasha and I share a similar outlook for living a life that’s eco green, treading lightly on our planet Earth. Her dinner menu includes a Black Kale Salad, Olive Oil Croutons, Sheep Cheese, Meyer Lemons Vinaigrette – I love kale for it’s texture, color, flavor, and potent nutrient profile. Meyer lemons have a sweeter, less acidic flavor that the more common store bought lemon varieties. Akasha’s desserts sound yummy too: Salted Caramel + Chocolate Fudge Sunday (sounds so gooey and decadent), Pineapple Upside Down Cake, and a Flourless Tiramisu (I always like to choose flourless as a gluten-free option). Akasha is a sustainable business that was built using reclaimed materials, is lit with LED lights, and uses hemp material for their aprons.
    View Akasha’s menu
  • Bar + Kitchen – Located inside the O Hotel downtown LA, this spot has a wonderful ambience. For lunch, they’re offering a Watercress + Endive Salad with Pears, Maytag Blue Cheese, Walnuts, Honey Sherry Vinaigrette which sounds amazing as the sweetness of pears and the bitterness of endives pair well together. Also, a Roasted Mushroom Toast with fried egg and whole grain mustard. For dinner, they’re offering a Butternut Squash + Ginger Soup with Creme Fraiche and Spiced Pepitas (super seasonal), Farrotto (aka farro) with roasted broccoli, aged white cheddar, and crispy shallots. Farrotto mimics risotto, and is a thick and chewy whole grain similar to barley. Desserts are the same of lunch and dinner, choose between a Banana Pudding, Warm Chocolate + Peanut Butter Cake (peanut butter and chocolate, yum!), and Butterscotch Pot De Creme.
    View Bar + Kitchen menu
  • BLD – Owner and Chef Neal Fraser and I both had recipes featured in the Food + Wine Magazine’s Annual Cookbook, which was how I first discovered BLD, a great spot for comfort foods. BLD always offers vegan items on their daily menu. Vegetarian items on their dineLA dinner menu include a Roasted Carrot Soup Grapefruit Salad with Fennel, Avocado, Pecorino Cheese, and Tangerine Vinaigrette and a Butternut Squash Gnocchi. Now that’s an antioxidant and vitamin C blast from beta carotene, grapefruit, and tangerine…yum. Desserts include a Warm Monkey Bread with Bourbon Creme Anglaise (Monkey? I must figure out what this is, love monkeys!) and Banana Caramel Ice Cream, or a Bittersweet Chocolate Pudding Parfait with Peanut Butter Pudding.
    View BLD menu
  • LexingtonSocial House– Owner Junella Chin is a fellow Cornell Alumni, and on their dinner menu they’re offering a Local Beet Salad with Tangerines, Pistachios, Arugula, Aged Goat Cheese, and Lemon or a Local Apple and Pomegranate Salad. Packed with vitamins and antioxidants for boosting our immune system for the winter months, a farmer once told me we should be eating a pomegranate daily for its vitamins and nutrients, to boost our overall health. So, the Apple Salad will help me eat more pomegranates! For the main, Parpardelle with Kale Pesto…love Kale! And dessert is a choice of Apple Tart, Monkey Bread (I’m year of the Monkey and love everything Monkey!), or Flourless Chocolate Souffle with and Almond Milk Cream (dairy-free, perhaps gluten-free too, nice!).
    View LexingtonSocial House menu
  • Loteria! Grill – Hollywood – Owner and Chef Jimmy Shaw tells me since most of his food is meat stock based, he is offering optional vegetarian/vegan sauces. For lunch, Esquites with corn, crema, guse anejo, onion, epazote, and chile Chile Relleno De Quesillo O Picadillo (the red sauce has meat, so ask for the green tomatillo sauce that’s vegan) and desserts include Helado De Chocolate O Chongos, Guava Cheesecake, and Poached Pear. For dinner, he’s offering a puree of Chile Poblano an interesting Hibiscus Flower Salad that sounds beautiful Ensalada De Milpa Asada and 3 desserts to choose from including Crepes, a Rum Custard Ice Cream (recipe inspired by Nuns of the Convent of Santa Clara in Puebla, how intriguing) and the Guava Cheesecake.
    View Loteria! Grill – Hollywood menu
  • Penthouse at the Huntley – This is one of my favorite spaces as it sits at the top floor of the Huntley Hotel with amazing view of the ocean and Santa Monica. I’m forever grateful to Exec Chef Seth Greenburg for inviting me in to spend the day with him in his kitchen teaching me his molecular gastronomy techniques. The lunch menu has several vegetarian items including a Romaine Hearts Salad with Sourdough Croutons and Lemon-Caper Dressing. I love capers, which are a pickled vegetable and a great source for probiotics that aide digestion. Spicy Tomato Capellini and 3 desserts to choose from including a Chocolate Lava Cake, Creme Brulee, and Profiteroles.
    View Penthouse at the Huntley menu
  • Ray’s and Stark Bar – Bravo to Exec Chef Morningstar for being named Best New Restaurant 2011 by Esquire Magazine. Chef Morningstar has a garden where he grows some of his green and herbs behind the restaurant. Dinner items include Little Gem Lettuces, Truffled Rice Agnolotti with hen of the woods mushrooms and wild arugula, yummy Aged Nantes Carrots and choice of 2 desserts: Chocolate-Peppermint Mousse or Johah Gold Apple Crumble or Variations of this week’s market citrus. I was stoked when Morningstar told me his boss Master Chef Joachim Splichal gave him a copy of “Ani’s Raw Food Essentials” to use while designing recipes and menus for Google campus.
    View Ray’s and Stark Bar menu
  • RH at Andaz West Hollywood – I was taken to this restaurant recently and was pleasantly surprised to see that about a third of their menu is vegan, with a “V” denoting vegan items placed throughout their menu. For lunch, Vegetable Soup Caesar Salad Truffle Grilled Cheese with Fries (I love truffle anything!) Portabello Mushroom Burger with Fries and an Agnolotti Pasta. For dinner, Vegetable Soup Heirloom Tomato Salad with Burrata and baby arugula. Heirloom tomatoes have been open-pollinated, are not hybridized, and are not genetically modified. Truffle Risotto with wild mushrooms (I love mushrooms for flavor and they have been used for centuries in Chinese Medicine to boost immunity). For dessert, choose between Apple Tart or Chocolate Cake.
    View RH at Andaz West Hollywood menu
    – Owner and Exec Chef Simon is all about making his diners happy, and is super accommodating with substitutions and requests. So just ask to leave out the cheese or dairy if you’re looking for vegan. For lunch, Market Roasted Vegetable Kale Salad with Fennel Pollen and a Sherry Vinaigrette Mascarpone Polenta and 3 desserts: Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Vietnamese Banana Creme Brulee, and House Made Kit Kat (omg, yum!). For dinner, Spinach Salad with dates, persimmon, blue cheese and a warm sherry vinaigrette. Desserts include Warm Goat Cheese on Toast with Frisee and toasted almond and citrus zests, Sea Salt Chocolate Pot De Creme, or a Lemon Poppyseed Cake with Blueberries.
    View Simon LA menu
  • Tar Pit – Chef Jason Fullilove (great last name!) has moved over from Campanille to revamp the Tar Pit menu, and is offering 2 vegan dishes on his dineLA dinner menu including a Terrine of roasted vegetables, caramelized kumquats, and plantains or a Pasta with winter root vegetables, roasted tomato, and bitter greens. Love kumquats this time of year for their tart flavor, beta carotene, and vitamin C. Choose from 3 desserts including Bandy Chocolate Cake, Bananas Foster topped with toasted marshmallow (whoa), and Apple Tart Tatin.
    View Tar Pit menu

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