Paper covering the windows at 9887 S. Santa Monica Blvd. in Beverly Hills informs us that we can expect a new French café, Merci Clement to open soon. Not much out there yet, just an undeveloped website and Facebook page. According to the notices on the door, we can look for a menu of specialty coffee, salads, sandwiches, crepes, chocolates, “petit cakes”, and gelato. It looks like they’re planning on opening some time this year…
To the great many of you who have been carefully tracking the progress of LA’s second branch of Paris’ cult macaron shop comes this welcome news: Ladurée threw open its doors at 311 N. Beverly Dr. on Saturday. While I haven’t seen the recently opened outpost at The Grove, this one has a different look and feel than the branches I’ve visited in Paris, London, or New York. The tiny jewel box space is bright and airy with large flowers and lattice on the walls, not paneled and heavily Gallic in theme like many of the others. A cursory glance at the menu shows many of my old favorites, including the Club Champs-Elysees (tomato, eggplant, zucchini, mozzarella, parmesan, and basil on wholemeal bread). And the pastries, cakes, and macarons are as gorgeous as always, and prettily displayed in glass cases, beckoning you to forget all about that New Year’s resolution you recently made…
Correction: I originally reported that the Club Champs-Elysees was on the menu. It is not. That sandwich is apparently only served in Paris and New York. Tofu sliders are this locations meat-free sandwich option.
The popular and always-crowded Whole Foods Market at 760 South Sepulveda Blvd in El Segundo recently opened a new restaurant and bar named The 2nd in a newly constructed space just to your right as you walk in. On offer here are 36 beers on tap, over 12 wines by the glass, and a creative menu of small plates (such as cauliflower nachos, jackfruit “crab” cakes, buttermilk marinated calamari), salads, toasts, sushi, various burgers, and desserts (like boozy gelato). There’s also a happy hour from 4pm to 6pm Monday through Friday, and a brunch. Check out the full menu here.
Popular neighborhood restaurant Spumoni, at 713 Montana Ave. in Santa Monica, ran into a spot of trouble a little over a year ago when a car crashed into the next door Café de Paris and sparked a fire that shut the Italian eatery down. Rising from the ashes, Spumoni threw open its doors last night (Tuesday) for the first time since the fire. Having taken over the Café de Paris space, the plucky always-crowded café is now larger with an extensive remodel. The feel is still cozy and friendly, with a dining room bedecked in warm wood paneling. You’ll continue to find many of the classics on the menu, but if you haven’t thought about Spumoni as a destination in a while, it might be time to reconsider. They built a spiffy wood-fired pizza oven brought from Napoli and flew in a pizza expert, Pizzaiolo Massimo Caso to serve some the crispest (perhaps best) Neapolitan-style pies anywhere in this neck of the woods. We wish them the best of luck.
I first noticed that something new was coming to the space at 11916 Wilshire Blvd. that formerly housed the fusty Western Los Angeles fixture Divita’s Pizzeria back in January, when window paper promised a new restaurant and wine bar brought to us by Vincent and Chase. Then in June, Divita’s iconic sign was changed and let us know the name of the new wine bar: Belle Vie Food & Wine. On Tuesday, Belle Vie (which means “beautiful life” in French) threw open its doors for the first time. The new eatery is helmed by Vincent Samarco and Cedric Nicolas, both of whom have cut their teeth in Paris restaurants. Expect a French-leaning menu (moules, frites, charcuteries, fromages, French wines) that also includes a few surprises like mac and cheese, gravlax, devilled eggs, and “Burgundy tacos“, all served in a cozy, neighborhood bistro and bar with warm service. Check out their website and read more here.
It’s that time of year, when popular vegan chain Veggie Grill unveils its Summer menu. Included on this year’s menu are: hummus and za’atar flatbread, Koreatown tacos, chargrilled street corn, and Thai tacos. Check out the entire menu of seasonal additions to their regular menu here.
It looks like we can expect some big changes soon at the always crowded Superba Snack Bar on Rose Ave. Having left the spotlight that lately constantly shines on Petit Trois, Chef Sydney Hunter has now come on board and is redesigning parts of the menu with help from a new and vibrant sous chef Richard Rea. I’m told that dinner menu changes will be in place by the end of the month and that we should look for more seafood and vegetarian fare. There will also be a serious redo of the lunch and breakfast menus.
Native Foods is celebrating chicken month. No, I’m not kidding. And they are marking the auspicious month with… wings! Yes, nothing says chicken month better than vegan wings so all month-long starting September 4th, they will be offering special varieties of wings including sweet sriracha, Thai peanut, and tangy BBQ. Read more, find a location, or check out their seasonal menu here.
Back in December of last year, we learned from Eater that simplethings, the cozy sandwich shop well-known for their amazing pies, was intending to open a branch in Santa Monica. Simplethings has quietly slipped into the space at 800 Wilshire Blvd., right smack dab on the corner of Lincoln and is now up and running. With three other locations across LA, they offer a menu of sandwiches, breakfasts, salads, and of course pie that you can read more about here.
It’s that time of year, when popular vegan chain Veggie Grill unveils its new Spring menu items. Included on this year’s list are: fresh pea + asparagus soup: banh mi salad; spice market bowl (Moroccan-spiced and grilled tofu, sautéed asparagus, sweet peppers, leeks, roasted corn, faro, chard, beets, golden raisins, with a preserved lemon vinaigrette); and a strawberry and rhubarb parfait. Check out the entire menu of seasonal additions to their regular menu here.
Back in late February, I told you about an ABC application posted on the vacant space at 1519 Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica that used to house The Parlor. The applicant was listed as Estate 1519, which I assumed was a working name. Well, as it turns out, the new restaurant will indeed be named Estate as indicated by the sample menu that they recently posted in the window. According to the Yelp page, Estate is up and running (possibly a soft opening) as of this week and the (positive) reviews are trickling in. The menu, designed by Chef Hisashi Yoshiara (Buddha’s Belly) appears to be an eclectic mix of Asian influences and Californian cuisine that you can check out in the photo below.
Tonight (Wednesday, March 11th), at 7pm, Obica in the Century City Shopping Center is hosting a Giropizza Party. What exactly does that mean? For $30 (beverage and tax not included), you well get a slice of every pizza that rolls out of the oven until you cry for mercy. Choices will include classic pizzas, as well as freshly invented varieties and dessert pizzas as well. But you will need to call and make a reservation as space will be limited. Call (310) 566-2452 just as fast as your fingers can dial to secure your spot.
Just in time for all those flagging New Year’s resolutions, Veggie Grill has rolled out its new “Mindful Living” menu. The concept is a focus on items that are “lower in calories, high in protein, nutrient dense, energy packed, and flavor-full”. Included are: banh mi salad, tres chickin’ tacos + black beans, chargrilled veggie + penne salad, and many more choices that you can read about here.
Beaming opened in the completely redone sunny space at 1426 Montana Avenue in Santa Monica yesterday (Tuesday January 6th). This is the third branch of the organic superfood cafe that offers a menu of juices, smoothies, salads, bowls, and baked treats. Look for an upcoming branch to open in West Hollywood later in the year, but until then, read more here.
Die-hard fans of über famous chef Thomas Keller can once again rejoice. Bouchon Bistro in Beverly Hills is bringing back the cult-producing buttermilk fried chicken served at another Keller landmark, Yountville’s Ad Hoc. You can procure the popular poultry, served with “seasonal accompaniments” on the first and third Monday of every month. Read more about Keller’s empire here.
Rapidly-expanding vegan chain Veggie Grill has rolled out its new winter menu. Included on the seasonal menu are: crispy portobellos, chargrilled veggies and penne, a glazed tofu banh mi, Sonoran winter bowl, kale and white bean braise, and other items. Check out the full menu and read more here.
Well that didn’t take long… Back in June, I told you about a new “superfood” concept restaurant poised to take over the space at 1518 Montana Ave. in Santa Monica that used to house pizza restaurant BricoLA. And by some miracle of planetary alignment (for that’s what’s needed to open a restaurant this quickly in Santa Monica), Kye’s opened yesterday (November 5th). Look for varied menu of salads, shakes, smoothies, breakfasts offerings, and their proprietary “kyerito”, which is essentially a wrap of such favorites as BBQ pork, reuben, paleo tuna, as well as many veg and vegan options such as bean taco, and “Nahm Jim“, the latter consisting of “assorted veggies, herbs, lotus root, woodear, Nahm Jim fish sauce or Veg Nahm Jim sauce, hemp seeds, macadamia nuts, sliced almonds, red/black rice blend, and nori” (whew!). Read more and check out their complete menu here.
Starting this weekend, mozzarella-specialist Obika in the Century City Shopping Center is launching its first ever brunch from 11:30am until 4:00pm Saturday and Sunday. Promising a menu of “Old World and New World” dishes, they are upping the ante on the classics with a few new twists including pancakes as prepared by the ancient Romans, and French toast in the manner of Sardinian tradition. And to kick off their inaugural weekend, they are pouring complimentary mimosas. Make your reservation by calling (310) 556-2452.
Scotland aficionados, lovers of Scotch whiskey, and adventurous eaters will all be thrilled that West LA’s Upper West with Bruichladdich Islay Single Malt Whiskey is hosting a special dinner on August 14th. Starting at 7:00pm, the inventive 5 course meal will be paired with various Scotch Whiskeys and include at least one course of something called “Haggis Mousse” (hmmm…). Cost is $70 and you can score your rezzie by calling (310) 586-1111.
Today (August 1st) through Sunday, Native Foods is bringing back its legendary classic Reuben Sandwich consisting of slices of Native Reuben Seitan piled on New York rye with homemade sauerkraut, horseradish cheese, and chipotle sauce. Available this weekend only, you can read more and while you’re at it, check out their summer menu here.