Boots, brews, and barbecues unite at the first annual Smoke & Saddles Festival. Guests don their rodeo finest to sample eclectic dishes from eateries including the Blue Table, The Latigo Kid, and Hugo's Restaurante, and partake of sips from the likes of Dirty Tequila and The Lab Brewing Company. Live music ensures a night of rootin', tootin', and perfectly timed boot-scootin'. And the party is for a good cause—proceeds benefit Free Arts for Abused Children.
Guido's Restaurant hasn't changed much since opening in 1979. It hasn't had to. The same fireplace still crackles by red booths that are both plush and spacious. The same carved wooden statues and floral accents line the walls and support the bar. And the same deep-stained hardwood columns and wine racks add a smoky sophistication, recalling a mountain lodge or Winston Churchill's childhood treehouse. When cast in low light, these exude nostalgia to create a vintage atmosphere ideal for dates or family meals.
The food is equally classic—Northern Italian recipes that have found their way from generation to generation. The authenticity is apparent in their ingredients. Swiss chard and fresh basil sink into the ravioli di magro, whereas white wine and porcini mushrooms complement the pollo toscana. And if that taste of wine isn't enough, high-end and more modest varietals from California and across the globe can be fetched from the cellar.
At Riviera Calabasas, chefs draw from local, seasonal ingredients to create dishes inspired by Italian, French, and Spanish cuisine. They even add Asian and South American twists. The result is a menu that features recognizable pillars, such as pasta, steaks, and fish, decorated with delicious flourishes. Chefs coat tender fillets of Scottish salmon in a crisp potato crust, garlic-infused lobster sauce, and vegetables that are seasonal—like freezing rain in winter or falling down despite wearing a classy outfit in winter. And Riviera Calabasas brings plenty of class to the table: white linens drape tables, and earth-tone walls reflect the warm yellow light of fixtures hanging over black-and-white booths in the carpeted dining area.
A full bar showcases wines by the glass, imported and domestic beers, cocktails, and cordials, whereas Sunday brunch presents eggs benedict, a pancake bar, french toast, and breakfast pizza. The Riviera Calabasas team doesn't neglect its guests' health concerns, though—its alternate menu catalogs a slate of gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian options.
Morsels of grass-fed skirt steak, short ribs, and filet mignon sizzle on tabletop grills. Sweet caramel sauce runs down the sides of flan con dulce de leche. Light breading crisps atop a whitefish fillet. Each night, kitchen staffers, led by chef Mauro Sandoval, fill the warmly-hued dining room at Buenos Aires Gardens with the savory sights and smells of authentic Argentinian fare. Outside, strings of incandescent bulbs sway above an umbrella-shaded patio as waiters test the deftness of their carrying arms by juggling bottles from the eatery’s wide selection of South American wines.