While meandering the winding streets and hidden walkways of Paris in 1990, Mike Farwell stumbled across a small bar near the Louvre named Willi's Wine Bar and became enamored with its menu of seasonally inspired cuisine and thoughtful wine pairings. After years working with wine at restaurants and wine bars, he decided to import the concept, teaming up with chef Claud Beltran during their shared stint at Madeleine's Restaurant to create Noir Food & Wine. Farwell draws on his wine knowledge and Beltran on his culinary expertise to craft menus that work together beautifully, much like a straight-laced police officer and a loveable canine in witness protection. Farwell's constantly updating wine list features a stunning 600 bottles—of which nearly 150 are California pinot noir—43 different wine flights, and more than 50 vintages poured by the glass.
Beltran adds a Cajun twist to the Mediterranean-inspired cuisine to complement Farwell's wine selections, earning him praise from the Los Angeles Times in 2009 for "turning out some of the best cooking of his career." The menu features a rotating selection of seasonal dishes such as seared Hudson Valley foie gras with rosemary apricots and white-pepper honey as well as a selection of charcuterie and artisan cheese. The restaurant earned a "very good" to "excellent" Zagat rating for food quality and service as well as a place on its Best New Restaurant in LA survey.
A natural rock fountain quietly bubbles its wine suggestions to patrons as they clink their glasses together on the spacious outdoor patio. The cozier main dining area features rows of dark-wood tables covered in crisp, white cloths and a series of posters from Willi's Wine Bar on the chocolate-hued walls. Each Monday, the wine bar fills with enophiles for events including wine classes, winemaker dinners, and live entertainment.
The Slaw Dogs owner, Ray Byrne, probably didn't realize at the time that the Thai coleslaw he brought to a barbecue would become the inspiration for a business featured on ABC and mentioned in Travel + Leisure. According to a Food Network spot on The Slaw Dogs, Byrne tossed some of his extra slaw onto a hot dog and realized that he'd made a tongue-shattering discovery. With that slaw dog as his guide, he opened a hot-dog joint where his original discovery stars on the menu, jazzed up with accents of satay dressing and sesame aioli. But unlike Alexander Graham Bell, who invented the telephone and then pretty much sat around eating Cheetos and playing scratch-off lotto tickets, Byrne isn't satisfied with a single invention. In fact, LAist praised Byrne for his ability to "take seemingly clashing flavors and make them work together," as evidenced in the Green Monster dog with garlic salsa verde or the gigantic TNT Super dog, a tortilla-wrapped spread of bacon pastrami, beer chili, and fries.
The Slaw Dogs also lets patrons build their own dream dogs out of 11 different franks, 10 sauces, and more than 50 toppings, such as kimchi, goat cheese, or truffle oil. The possibilities are almost endless; a group of Caltech students recruited by the Food Network calculated a whopping 35 quintillion total combinations.
Devan and Reena Shah, and Tek Mehreteab are passionate about tea. By sourcing leaves from eight regions in India, China, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, and Japan, they are able to proffer more than 300 standard and specialty varieties online and inside Chado Tea Room. The name Chado, taken from the Chinese cha, meaning "tea," and the Japanese do, meaning "path," speaks to the owners? strict standards for their product. Many of their green, black, white, and oolong teas are USDA-certified organic; the Shahs also stock unique varieties such as Chinese pu-er teas and hand-tied blooming tea balls. In addition, they brew special house blends for morning, afternoon, and evening, helping customers find the right blend to start the day or serve to bats that have invaded their home.
Staffers pair teas with an array of cream-topped scones, cookies, cakes, and roasted savory sandwiches during teatime at Chado's three tearooms. Though each location is decorated differently, the same three-tiered sandwich platters and steaming pots of tea travel between panda paintings hanging in the Los Angeles location, underneath strings of holiday lights at the Pasadena location, and between ceiling-high wooden shelves stocked with mugs, filters, teapots, and bags of loose-leaf tea at the Hollywood location.
Steven Paperno, raised in the kitchen of his parents' delicatessen, has been working with food all his life. By the age of 18, he already owned a food manufacturing company, a job that took him all over the Americas. While in Central and South America, he sampled some of the cuisine and found himself dreaming of bringing those small-village flavors to America. So, he sold his company in order to start a new one, one dedicated to infusing organic, local ingredients with the flavors he tasted abroad. He called the new joint Sharky's Woodfired Mexican Grill.
Inside any Sharky's location, the chefs use certified-organic beans and rice to complement flavorful Mexican entrees. Guests can observe cooks in the open kitchen as they prepare all-natural chicken with no added hormones and all-natural Angus beef. Wild-caught seafood is hand-selected for quality and chosen according to the recommendations of the West Coast Seafood Watch, which aims to prevent overfishing by encouraging restaurateurs to buy sustainably caught seafood. Mesquite grills and stone-fire ovens lend their kiss to each dish on the menu, locking in the flavor that Steven so wished to re-create without the hassles of a trashcan fire.
At Scarlet Tea Room and Fine Dining, the tea services represent both a treasured English tradition and a modern form of celebration. Here, groups gather beneath a chandelier flecked with vibrant red accents to indulge in five-course meals. Their loose-leaf steeped beverages—which range from a sweet and lemony French verveine to a smoky Chinese lapsang souchong—complement a selection of bite-size desserts and light sandwiches stuffed with savory fillings such as prosciutto, aged white cheddar, and sun-dried-tomato spread. The afternoon tea service also includes housemade scones and berries romanoff, a fruity dessert served in a dark-chocolate cup.
On Friday and Saturday evenings, the award-winning kitchen staff prepares small plates of shareable dinner fare such as grilled skirt steak with marinated mushrooms, sautéed gnocchi with walnut-arugula pesto, and Fijian kingfish crudo with grapefruit and green papaya. To celebrate special occasions, such as Valentine's Day or Father's Day, diners can order specialty cakes for pickup or visit the dining room for a romantic concert or saucy burlesque performance by Queen Elizabeth.
redwhite+bluezz, a nightly confluence of wine, contemporary American cuisine, and live jazz music, won the Best Live Music Club and Best Wine Selection awards from Pasadena Weekly in 2011. Divided into The Grill and The Vintage Room, the decorated eatery fuels feasts with a menu of grilled beef, seafood, and chicken dishes alongside platters of artisan cow, sheep, and goat cheeses and trays covered in charcuterie, some cured in-house. Seasoned sommelier Russ Meek complements the eats by crafting his signature flight menus, which offer pairing suggestions from the expansive wine list, 40 of which are available by the glass. Sounds of humming horns, rattling drums, and strumming guitars reverberate in the jazz club, where heralded local musicians perform every night and during Sunday brunch. Dedicated to enriching entertainment, redwhite+bluezz hosts a slew of monthly events, including 90-minute flight school sessions that document the history, background, and embarrassing middle school stories of local wines.