Free Dessert Day!

If my love for Top Chef met my sweet tooth and they gave birth to a child it would be Top Chef: Just Desserts, which premieres tonight.  And to celebrate the joyous occasion, Bravo and OpenTable are teaming up with restaurants around town and giving you free desserts today. Yes, FREE!

 There are over 120 restaurants participating in the event, including some of those helmed by our favorite Top Chefs. All you need to do is make reservations to dine through OpenTable and you will receive a free dessert for each 2 diners the table with the minimum order of 1 entrée.  The full list can be found on OpenTable’s website. But to save you some time looking through that long list here are our picks:

  • Border Grill: any dessert off regular menu
  • Larchmont Grill: lavender infused white chocolate cake with raspberry crème (yum!)
  • Nobu: banana caramel soy tobanyaki
  • Osteria Mamma: panna cotta al caffe
  • Taste (both locations, a favorite stop of ours): any dessert off regular menu
  • The Yard: a special surprise dessert from CJ

 So set your Tivo’s and head to dinner, score some free dessert, and then head back home in a food coma to crash on the couch and tune in to the premiere.  Top Chef: Just Desserts airs tonight at 11pm (right after the Top Chef finale -Go Angelo!).  Looking through the list of contestants, I’m rooting for Danielle Keene – but mostly because she’s from LA (and living in Pasadena, my hometown) – plus she has experience at Campanile, AOC, Water Grill and Wilshire so I think her chances are pretty decent!

For more info on Top Chef: Just Desserts – www.bravotv.com/

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All-Night Happy Hour + Top Chef = Heaven?

2013 Update: CLOSED

If you have learned anything about us by now you know that we love happy hours and we love Top Chef.  Living in LA we are fortunate to be able to eat at many Top Chef (and TC Masters) contestants restaurants – Stefan’s at LA Farm, Border Grill/Ciudad, Street, Red-O (Rick Bayless, we heart you), the list goes on and on.. Anything Top Chef is definitely a finer thing to us, and even better is when we can score Top Chef eats on the cheap. Enter: The Yard in Santa Monica.

The Yard is CJ from Season 3’s gastropub (gastropubs – yet another thing we love), and although he didn’t win the season he is a great chef not to mention he’s pretty cute (in case you were wondering…which you probably weren’t).

The best part about The Yard – happy hour of course! Happy hour is daily from 5-7p but tonight (Monday), happy hour runs alllllll night long.  HH at The Yard features $5-$6 bites (calamari, mini burgers, pulled pork sandwiches, fish tacos), $5 wine and cocktails, and $3 beer. Which right about now is sounding like a great cure to my case of the Mondays (is it just me or are the Mondays just that much worse in the summer?).

If that isn’t enough to convince you to try The Yard, they have a lot of other great deals and events, which pretty much give you a reason to visit every night of the week:

*Wine and Beer tastings with food pairings every Wednesday at 7p

*Grilled Cheese nights every Thursday with specials on gourmet grilled cheeses

*Late night menu with food and drink specials every Friday and Saturday from 11p-1a

*Brunch (not bottomless….boo, but they do have pitchers of sangria and bloody mary bar) every Saturday and Sunday from 11a-3p

The Yard. 119 Broadway. http://www.theyardsm.com

TV Makes Us Hungry

Planning on popping open a bottle of wine, floppin down on the couch, and watching Top Chef Master’s this Wednesday? If not, you should because it’s a great show!!… (though we aren’t quite as keen on host Kelly Choi… we still love Padma more.)

We’re really excited for this year’s season because it features quite a few LA chefs. So not only can we watch them make really cool creations in an amazingly short period of time, we can actually visit their restaurants and TRY their amazing food (which is crucial, since after watching this show you will find yourself STARVING at 11pm.)

Usually ‘Master’ Top Chefs run pretty pricey spots, but as luck would have it this year’s LA based contestants all offer special menus with great Happy Hours, special menus, and discounted drink prices. So head over and eat up! Then you can be all the more emotional when you watch your fav chef get kicked off/win because you’ve TRIED their food and know it’s way better than some jerk’s from NYC.

(Drinking wine always makes us more emotional when we watch TV…)

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Best Happy Hour for AFTER you watch Top Chef:

8oz Burger Bar– 7661 Melrose Ave CLOSED

Master Chef: Govind Armstrong

(Late Night HH: 10pm – Close, M-Th)

* $4 Select Wines, $4 Select Beers, $4 Select Apps

We think the $4 Hummus platter is the best bet on the HH food menu, but their regular burgers aren’t over priced either – we recommended the ‘Melrose’ Burger ($8) or the BLT ($7), …Happy Hour also served from 4-7pm Weekdays (M-F)

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Best Happy Hour all Around:

Street – 742 N. Highland

Master Chef: Susan Feniger

(HH: 4pm – 7pm, M-F)

* $5 Select Bites (DELICIOUS!), $5 Select Wines, $5 Select Cocktails

The HH menu changes but we LOVED the Kobe beef chili dogs and the small little decanters of $5 wine.

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Best Lunch Deal:

Cuidad – 445 S. Figueroa St. CLOSED – Now Border Grill, Revised HH menu..

Master Chef: Susan Feniger

(Lunch Deal: M-F, 11:30am – 3pm)

During the work week Ciudad offers a delish ‘Quick Lunch’ menu. For just $10 you get the day’s featured entree + beverage + a double chocolate scooter cookie – YUM! We are currently craving Monday’s ‘El Cubano Pressed Sandwich’.

Also Available: Happy Hour (M-F, 4-7pm), $3 Tacos, 1/2off mojitos, margs, & more!

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Best Wednesday Pre-Show Dinner Option

Campanile – 624 S. La Brea Ave

Master Chef: Mark Peel

‘Soup Kitchen Menu’, Available Every Wednesday for Dinner

We wrote about this deal a couple months back: $22 for a 3-Course dinner that includes the ‘soup of the day’, a main course (choice of steak, bass, or veggie trenne), and ice cream for dessert. There are also a few specially priced cocktails on the Soup Kitchen menu for just $7/ea.

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Best Spot for Wine + Late Night Bites

The Tar Pit– 609 N. La Brea Ave

Master Chef: Mark Peel

(Daily 5pm – 2am, Dinner menu served until midnight)

This relatively new rum-centric loungey spot on La Brea also features an AWESOME wine list where each bottle is only $38. Some of these bottles would cost as much, if not more, if you bought them at the market!  So this is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy some great wine, at a reasonable price, in a swank atmosphere. The menu also offers tasty bar bites and full entrees, all for under $20.

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Best Spot You Can’t Eat At Because Resy’s Are FULL

Ludo Bites 4.0 – 227 E. 9th Street

Master Chef: Ludo Lefebvre

Open: April 8th – May 28th, Tues – Sat: 6-9:30pm

Chef Ludo is opening up his pop-up restaurant yet again this month – this time Downtown at Gram & Papas. Unfortunately, reservations filled up within a few days, so you’ll have to wait until the next pop up (or for the next food truck fest) to try Lefebvre’s famous fried chicken.

Downtown tonight: Art + Alcohol

…and maybe a pig.

If you are looking for something to do tonight head Downtown for Art Walk, which falls on the 2nd Thursday of every month.  And after roaming the streets checking out art and installations, make sure to head to the Gorbals for their Thursday night Reverse Happy Hour.

On Thursday nights (tonight!) from 10:30p-2a, the Gorbals has a reverse happy hour featuring half off all beer and wine.  Which is a pretty good deal considering the beer is usually around $5 and wine around $10/glass.   The restaurant will also have live music, a local LA ‘jazz’ band.

The Gorbals is a unique place to say the least, the food is supposed to be a mix of Scottish and Jewish cuisine, whatever that means…bacon wrapped matzoh, fish and chips, manichewitz-braised pork belly.

Even more interesting tonight, Gorbals’ chef Ilan Hall will be roasting a whole pig on the sidewalk outside the restaurant (pending city approval). Should be a great night Downtown…

The Gorbals.  501 S Spring St. www.thegorbalsla.com

www.downtownartwalk.org

Bottomless Mimosa Guide: Cafe Was

*** 10/2011: Unfortunately this place has since closed ***

TGIF!!!! Even though it’s raining, it is Friday, thank god. And it’s Super Bowl weekend! If you want to get your boozing started early on Sunday before the big game, what better way than with bottomless mimosas?

This week’s spot: Cafe Was in Hollywood.  Owned by Ivan Kane (nightlife veteran), Cafe Was is a sort of French themed Bohemian joint (think Moulin Rouge, “Elephant Love Medley”….I love that movie).

On Saturdays AND Sundays, Cafe Was has bottomless champagne, mimosas, screwdrivers or bloody marys for $15.  And their brunch menu sounds pretty good, featuring the standard brunch fare, some french items and heartier lunch-type options.  They even have crepes (my fave! with nutella!).

Cafe Was also seems like a great spot to check out on any other night of the week, they have a piano in the middle of the room and almost always have live music.  Something different from the usual scene in Hollyweird.  They have bottomless carafes of wine every night for $15 with purchase of an entree and have different weekday specials (grilled cheese special on Mondays….half price wine on Wednesdays).

Seems like a larger venue so reservations may not be necessary but they are always suggested.

Cafe Was.1521 N Vine St. (323) 466.5400.  http://www.cafewas.com/