Weekly Stir Fry: 4-21-10

This week's roundup of dining deals and restaurant specials around Los Angeles, posted directly here on my site rather than LA.com. All the same valuable, up-to-the-minute info, but now you can find it all right here, so enjoy, and get out to eat!

Akasha’s All-Day Earth Day Happy Hour, Thursday, April 22

To celebrate Mother Earth, Akasha will be offering all-day happy hour drink specials this Thursday, with select cocktails, wines and beers at half-price. Among the specialty cocktails is the Strawberry and Guava Margarita ($7) made with Casa Noble Tequila nad local fruit, and the Basil Lemon Drop ($6) made with TRU Organic Vodka, who will donate a tree for every Basil Lemon Drop sold that day. Even the special wines and beers are environmentally conscious. Quivira Sauvignon Blanc ($6) and Grenache ($7) are both biodynamic, and Samuel Smith ($4) is organic.
9543 Culver Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232, (310) 845-1700, akasharestaurant.com

NFL Draft at Katsuya LA Live, Thursday-Friday, April 22-23
It seems like the Super Bowl was just yesterday, but the NFL Draft is already happening this week, and for fans who just can’t wait for the next NFL season to get started on the action, Katsuya at LA Live is offering an extended happy hour from 5:00-10:00pm both Thursday and Friday evenings this week in the hopes of luring avid football fans away from crowded sports bars into the more sophisticated space for treats like $4 draft beers, $5 bottles, and and food specials like $10 baked crab hand rolls, $7 spicy chicken wings, and $9 Kobe sliders, to name a few. And hey, there are several HD flat screens scattered through the restaurant, so you can be sure of having a front-row seat on all the action.
800 Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90015, (213) 747-9797, sbe.com/katsuya

Peju Province Wine Pairing at Napa Valley Grille, Tuesday, April 27
Executive Chef Joseph Gillard will be preparing a fresh seasonal, five-course menu from locally sourced produce to accompany a tasting flight hosted by Peju Province Winery. The meal rings up to $85 per person, and will include dishes like: prime sirloin beef tartare with pine nut relish; warm blue crab bruschetta with sour orange reduction; veal sweet breads with mushrooms, corn succotash and pancetta foam; roasted rack of lamb with toasted farro, grilled radicchio and parmesan-balsamic emulsion; and the restaurant’s popular Laura Chenel chevre tart with Amarena cherries. Hors d’oeuvres will be served at 6:30pm, and dinner starts at 7:00pm. Call for reservations since seating is limited.
1100 Glendon Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90024, (310) 824-3322, napavalleygrille.com

Sonoma in the City at Mélisse, Wednesday, May 5
More often associated with snooty French vintages, Josiah Citrin’s Santa Monica gastronomic temple is instead celebrating Northern California winemakers for the night on May 5, with a four-course menu paired with wines from the Alexander Valley. Diners will have the chance to talk to the winemakers from such big names as Souverain, Skpstone, Stryker and Munselle, and learn about the individual wines, as well as the region in general. Included on the menu: rolled goat cheese with grapes and chopped pistachios; hamachi with celery and Meyer lemon; Maine lobster with porcini mushrooms and eggplant in a rich broth; roasted stuffed quail with forbidden rice, kale and spiced black olive tapenade; rib eye and braised short ribs with Dijonnaise and fava beans in a Bordelaise sauce; and flaky reblochon tart for dessert. Dinner is priced at $150 plus tax and gratuity.
1104 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401, (310) 395-0881, melisse.com

City Sip Home Brewing Class, Saturday, May 15
Part tasting, part class, part pizza party, City Sip’s home brewing class will include fancy beers, fancy pizzas and fancy trivia to get you happily buzzed, and buzzing about starting your own in-house brewery. From 1:00-4:00pm, guests can come and learn everything they’ve ever wanted to know about brewing their own beer, taste 6-8 artisanal ales and lagers, and munch on Two Boots pizza. The class costs $45 per person, and since space is very limited, it is expected to sell out quickly, so call ahead for a reservation.
2150 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026, (213) 485-9463, citysipla.com

New Menu Items at LAMILL Coffee

We’re all for the philosophy of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but even we crave a little variety from time to time. That’s why we were delighted to learn about several new menu items that have made an appearance at LAMILL Coffee in Silverlake. The new dishes include a kimchi flank steak salad with scallions and carrots, cheese and charcuterie plates, a seared Jidori chicken breast with spinach, bacon and twice-cooked sweet potatoes; pork belly ramen with spinach, negi and a soft-boiled egg, and a new dessert of coffee mousse, ice cream, hazelnut streusel and chicory chocolate sauce. Come for a latte, stay for dinner.
1636 Silver Lake Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026, (323) 663-4441, lamillcoffee.com

Elements Kitchen Gets Booze
Pasadena’s Elements Kitchen opened to positive reviews back in January, and now that it’s got its liquor license, those accolades are bound to get even more glowing. The new cocktail menu will be overseen by Michel Dozois, and composed of “elemental” ingredients that creatively shake up classics like the gin rickey, the Gordon’s cup and the mint julep. There will also be a “Dealer’s Choice,” where guests can enjoy a custom cocktail from the bartender based on their choice of spirits and flavors. Elements will also have “First Sips,” pre-cocktail, half-size drinks that will “clear the palate and stimulate the appetite” for $5 each, that will change every day. Thursday night will feature “Liquid Sketches,” where the bar concocts three different cocktails for $5 each, centering on an ingredient such as cucumber or hibiscus. Are you a control freak who needs to know the secret ingredient ahead of time? Follow Elements Kitchen’s Twitter (@elementskitchen) to learn the weekly ingredient first.
37 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena, CA 91101, (626) 440-0044, elementskitchen.com

Ortolan’s New Spring Tasting Menu
Spring is in the air at Ortolan, as Chef Christophe Émé unveils a new three-course spring tasting menu that will be available for only a few weeks. The $40 prix fixe will be available Tuesday-Thursday nights, and will include dishes like: marinated salmon with lemongrass sorbet, ginger and ponzu; seared scallop with English pea coulis, lentil gnocchi and parmesan emulsion; lobster spaghetti with beef jus and white asparagus cream; braised short ribs with risotto and spring vegetables; vanilla-honey panna cotta with strawberry caviar; and chocolate ganache with brownies and chocolate sorbet.Wine pairings are available for an additional $20.
8383 W. Third St., Los Angeles, CA 90048, (323) 653-3300, ortolanrestaurant.com