Weekly Stir Fry: 5-12-10

I took a little hiatus last week, but here it is in all its glory, my weekly Stir Fry roundup of bonanza restaurant specials and dining deals around Los Angeles. Some really fantastic happy hours, cooking classes and cocktail contests going on in May!

Caché’s Midnight Happy Hour

Turning happy hour on its head, Josiah Citrin’s Main Street bistro is now offering a special happy hour on Thursday-Saturday nights from 12:00 midnight through 1:30am…because sometimes you just want the drinks at the end of the night to be cheap. As part of the deal, the restaurant will be offering special cocktails like the Kiwi Reve with Akvinta Vodka, St. Germain, Kiwi, Thyme and Bugey Cerdon for just $7, other well drinks and wines by the glass for $7, and beers for $4, plus a selection of their signature mason jar snacks including the one with duck confit and the one with eggplant tapenade for discount prices. Don’t rush, the restaurant will be offering its after-hour happy hour indefinitely.

3110 Main St., Santa Monica, CA 90405, (310) 399-4800, cacherestaurant.com

Cooking Class With Fergus Henderson at Ciudad, Saturday, May 15

For the grand total of $95 per person, foodie fanboys (and girls) can take a demonstration cooking class in “nose-to-tail eating” from one of the culinary world’s international superstars, Fergus Henderson, of London’s St. John Restaurant. The class fee includes a multi-course lunch, cocktails, and a recipe booklet, and will run from 11:00am-1:00pm at Ciudad downtown.

445 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA 90071, (213) 486-5171, ciudad-la.com

The People’s Cocktail Contest at Drago Centro, starting Monday, May 17

Chef Celestino Drago, and sommelier Michael Shearin, are hosting a contest to determine their summer cocktail list starting on Monday, May 17, and running for four weeks. Aspiring mixologists and amateur drinkers are invited to submit original recipes for a s hot at making it onto Drago Centro’s cocktail menu. Here’s the catch, competitors must do it via Twitter, so each recipe must be 140 characters or less, and Drago’s Twitter (@DragoCentro) followers will be asked to use a new secret ingredient each week. Cocktails will be judged on the presentation including name, appearance, aroma, taste, creativity, and compatibility with Drago Centro’s cocktail list. The winner will be announced each Friday on Twitter, with the final four invited to a “mix off” at the restaurant where the final “People’s Cocktail” for the month will be determined. So start that muddling and mixing.

525 S. Flower St., Los Angeles, CA 90071, (213) 228-8998, dragocentro.com

Sake Pairing at Takami, Tuesday, May 18

Starting at 7:00pm next Tuesday, Takami Sushi and Robata Restaurant in downtown LA is hosting its first sake pairing dinner with a variety of premium Japanese sakes paired with tableside-prepared courses courtesy of Executive Chef Stan Ota. The special spirits include Ichisima “Silk Deluxe” Junmai paired with an unagi ratatouille (!) on crips wonton; and Yuki no Bosha “Cabin in the Snow” Junmai Negori paired with robata duck breast. Connoisseurs and neophytes alike will find something to make them shout banzai! Seating is limited to 35 guests, so reservations highly recommended, dinner will be $59 per person not including tax and gratuity.

811 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90017, (213) 236-9600, takamisushi.com

Alejandro Fernandez Wine Dinner at The Bazaar, Tuesday, May 18

Culinary whiz José Andrés is hosting master winemaker Alejandro Fernandez at The Bazaar at the SLS Hotel for a special wine dinner marking the 25th anniversary of the first international shipment of Fernandez’s iconic Tinto Pesquera Tempranillo from Spain’s Ribera del Duero DOC. No word on the special menu yet, but with a hefty price tag of $200 per person including tax and gratuity, it’s bound to be memorable.

465 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048, (310) 246-5545, thebazaar.com

Wilshire Launches Cocktail Program

One of LA’s best known cocktail consultants (how would you like to have that job title?) has conceived of a new, market-based cocktail menu to match Chef Andrew Kirschner’s much-lauded cuisine. The menu debuted last week, and every Thursday, Straus will be the resident bartender mixing up his dozen new drinks. On the list? The Tequila Spa with Paqui silver, red grapes, cucumber, lemon and lime; Thai Afternoon with coconut milk and water, Han Soju, Thai basil and ginger beer; and the Sweet n Spicy with Cabana Cachaça, cherry preserve and jalapeno. We’ll be honest, we’re kind of over the corny names already, but how can you turn down a Pear Passion with Xante, Navan, cardamom and lemon juice?

2454 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 586-1707, wilshirerestaurant.com