Monday, October 28, 2013

LA Confidential: Scotch Cocktails in Los Angeles

Although I tend to tipple wines more than beer or spirits, when I do need a good stiff one - a drink, that is - my eye immediately scans a cocktail menu for the selection of whiskies and more often than not, I settle on a scotch.

Although the peaty, smokey flavor of some scotches is too much for your average drinker, I find scotch intoxicating in more ways than one because, like wines, each one expresses its terroir - its origins, its distillation process and its aging characteristics, and  it's that core of authenticity and uniqueness that draws me to these fine brown spirits.

I'm not the only one, either. Once a spirit drunk only on its own, multi-talented mixologists around Los Angeles have been incorporating scotch into captivating cocktails for some time now, so I decided to go out and sample a few for myself as well as finding out what goes into them. I talked to the barsmiths at Kendall's Brasserie and Seven Grand downtown as well as at Ten Pound at the Montage Beverly Hills to get their takes on scotch...and had a little hair put on my chest in the meantime!

Read my full LA Confidential article on scotch here.

For my experiences in scotch tasting, check out these other posts I've written:

Scotch Tastings at Next Door Lounge

The Best Whiskey Cocktails in Los Angeles

Destination Guide to Edinburgh

LA's Single Spirits Bars

Friday, October 25, 2013

LA Confidential: Gourmet Mac 'N Cheese

Can I let you in on a little secret? I actually hate mac 'n cheese. I would never order it for myself when out at a restaurant.

But remember that whole comfort food trend that blew up right around the same time the recession hit back in 2008 where every single restaurant seemed to have a mac 'n cheese menu special - mostly with grated parmesan or truffles or bacon? That was like hell for me because, as a restaurant reviewer, of course I had to try it, and as I said before I hate it.

All I would think is, each bite is an extra 5 minutes on the treadmill tomorrow. Sigh. That said, I would still eat it and I can still appreciate what's good about a dish of mac 'n cheese, and I never say no to truffles, so don't feel too bad for me.

Well, the old dish (it originated in the 14th century!) is still going strong, and I think I'll be plied with various versions as long as I'm a food writer, so we decided to cover some of the best gourmet iterations of this simple treat in the current issue of LA Confidential.

The versions I found at restaurants like Bouchon, MessHall, The Belmont and Melisse, incorporate everything from lobster to roasted garlic to pork belly, and all kinds other tasty morsels, so if this is your dish, read my full article and start making your reservations.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

LA Confidential Magazine: Sugarfish Beverly Hills

This was a fun little article I wrote about the opening of the newest Sugarfish outpost in Beverly Hills and about the sushi chef, Kazunori Nozawa, diminutive of stature but outsize in influence who parlayed the cult following of his Studio City hole-in-the-wall sushi joint into a restaurant fiefdom.

What draws people to Sugarfish is the simplicity of the menu prepared with the freshest fish and Nozawa's signature rice blend and unique sauces, and the new location has a few special features including a private omakase dining room (sort of a restaurant-within-a-restaurant) and an outdoor patio with a wine and sake bar while you wait for your table - no reservations!

Read my full article here.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Frontiers: Petty Cash Taqueria

I've been following chef Walter Manzke's career for a while now, from Bastide to Church & State to his latest venture (for the moment, until he opens up yet another new restaurant, Republique, later this month), Petty Cash Taqueria - an upscale ode to the Tijuana taco joints of his youth.

This isn't your average Mexican restaurant by any means. Some of the specialties I enjoyed were pig's ear nachos, charcoal-grilled octopus tacos with chile de arbol, peanuts, jack cheese and avocado, and the the Y’allAintEvenKnowIt spicy margarita with lemon, curacao, aƱejo tequila and habanero tincture.

Buen provecho!

Read my full review here.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Points Guy: Standard High Line New York Review

I ended up extending my stay in New York City last month, so for the final night of my trip, I was without a hotel room.

I decided to test out a new(ish) app called Hotel Tonight, where you can book last-minute hotel rooms at a discount (though during such a busy week in New York, prices were still high). If you sign up for Hotel Tonight, be sure to enter my promo code, EROSEN11 for $25 in credit on your first stay.

The hotel I ended up reserving is one of the buzzier properties in the city these days, the Standard High Line. It sits on the far west side of Manhattan over the High Line park, and has great views of the city and the Hudson.

I wasn't terribly impressed with my room, but the restaurants/bars were cool and the overall feel of being in a hub of social activity was just very "New York," if you know what I mean.

Check out all the details and my full review here: Hotel Review: The Standard New York City on Hotel Tonight.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Points Guy: Soho House New York Review

Apart from its social club and restaurant elements, Soho House also has some properties with a hotel part to them, and the club in New York is one of them.

I got the chance to stay there last month when I was in New York and wrote up the experience in a review for The Points Guy, which you can find here: Hotel Review - Soho House New York

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

JustLuxe: Castell Son Claret Historic Luxury Hotel in Mallorca

Over the summer, I took a great trip to Europe that including wine-tasting in Rioja and then some sunshine and beach time on the Balearic islands Menorca and Mallorca, just off the coast of Spain in the Mediterranean.

This was actually my second visit to Mallorca, and while there this time, I stayed at a gorgeous newly opened luxury property up in the idyllic hill country of Es Capadella about 45 minutes outside of Palma.

The hotel is actually housed in an 18th-century manor house and has enormous, beautifully appointed rooms, an amazing pool area, a few different restaurants including one by a Michelin-starred chef, and intimate spa with a subterranean pool with a living wall and a crystal-speckled hammam, and tons of other amenities. I'll spare you the details here, but if you want to learn more, read my full review on JustLuxe.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Jetsetter: Ritz-Carlton South Beach

I headed down to South Beach last spring for a friend's birthday party and got the chance to stay at this beautiful hotel that is now housed one of iconic architect Morris Lapidus's flagship projects from the '50's.

I cover the rooms, the restaurants and everything else you'd want to experience on your next Miami getaway.

Read my full write up here: Ritz-Carlton South Beach.