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.
Hot wings, New York-style pizza, and Philly steak sandwiches may be the signature foods of the east coast, but it's hard to imagine any restaurant treating them with more reverence than west-coast franchise Alondra Hot Wings. The eponymous wings are the house specialty, hot and slathered in one of 18 sauces. Ranked on a scale from mild to atomic—which requires a waiver to order—the sauces also include flavors such as lemon pepper, spicy barbecue, maple syrup, and thai chili.
Alondra's other major influence is written all over the menu—and the walls. Mug shots of famous mafiosi hang throughout the dining room, and the owners are so fascinated by the subject that their website even offers tutorials in mob history. Also from that old Italian-American milieu: pizzas built on from-scratch dough, bearing names such as The Godfather—a hearty amalgam of four meats—and the Little Italy, which flecks chicken breast with basil. Draft beer and wine help mouths cool down after biting into a hot wing or almost insulting the ghost of Al Capone.
Yaks make life in the Himalayas more bearable: they carry cargo through mountain passes, provide wool for cold-weather gear, and draw plows through the unforgiving earth. They also make some delicious dumplings. Known as momo, this delicacy is just one of the many found at Tibet Nepal House, where clouds of garlic, cumin, saffron, coriander, and cinnamon give life to 14 different vegetable curries, seafood stews, and hearty rice and noodle dishes. The kitchen's multitalented clay oven can slowly roast pieces of marinated lamb, turn Play-Doh currency into a reality, and bake loaves of dhopzi?traditional bread made from stone-ground whole-wheat flour. Diners enjoy their entrees with a selection from the variety of in-house wines or an Indian or Himalayan beer. Traditional teas stand ready to accompany any meal, with steaming cups flowing from pots including the herb-laced masala and the organic darjeeling. In addition to sating nighttime appetites, Tibet Nepal House hosts a champagne brunch on weekends and serves a lunch buffet throughout the week.
Sometimes off-the-rack menswear just won?t cut it. Sometimes momentous occasions call for flattering lines and tailored comfort. Sometimes a man just wants to look good. When these times arise, the staff members at Le Monsieur snap into action. They specialize in custom-made suits hand-designed by clients, who choose everything from fabric pulled from a library of more than 10,000 swatches from Zegna, Dormeuil, and Loro Piana to accents including buttons, lapel shapes, and linings. Tailor-ready suits by top menswear makers such as Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, and Joseph Abboud complement the custom offerings, joined by a robust selection of trousers, sport coats, and Gitman dress shirts. Though the selection may seem daunting at first, staff members take that into account; personal shoppers can help clients find garb that fits their style, and closet-cleanout specialists can rid wardrobes of unflattering pieces.
At La Luna Negra, the re-creation of Spain's rich culture extends far beyond the menu of distinctive Spanish tapas. It's also found in the eatery's colorful decor, which includes lush floral murals that fade into plumes of red and purple. Inside the space, performers stamp to evening flamenco shows and weekend live music. Diners may also enjoy mountain views from the patio, or host a private party in the upstairs room, which hosts music and dancing on Friday and Saturday nights. The hot and cold tapas are a show in themselves, as diners often decide to share these small plates of spicy chicken and saut?ed shrimp garnished with cheese and fresh fruit. To cleanse the palate of salmon fillet or saffron-laced paella, diners sip house-made sangria and wine or press and hold each taste bud until it reboots.