Thursday, May 30, 2013

High Rooftop Lounge (Venice)


High (why do I feel like I have your undivided attention all of a sudden) Rooftop Lounge.

It's located inside atop Hotel Erwin.

I made a couple of trips months ago.  Once, in time to watch the sunset (thanks fog)...

...and another time, for a nightcap.

The Hotel is mere steps away from the famous Venice Beach boardwalk and the view is pretty neat from the roof so if you're in the area, it's definitely a place to consider hitting up, at least once.

As you exit the elevator, this is the view that awaits, as you walk the length of the hotel rooftop towards the beach.

But first, make your way to the bar for something to sip while you enjoy the view.

If the weather is warm, they've got you covered with a good amount of cold cocktails.

Like this, Blood Orange Julep.

Or, if it's a titty bit nipply, cozy up with one of these drinks.

I had a Ginger Pear Toddy and it hit the spot.

If you're hungry, they've got some items to nosh on.  We weren't, so we didn't.  And even if we were, I think I'd pass on these and eat downstairs at Barlo Kitchen + Cocktails or go elsewhere.

The lounge is cool and all, worth checking out but not a place for me to revisit often.  It's chill up there with plenty of couches, blankets and heat lamps if you wanna reserve something for you and your special someone, skank, or group.  ;)


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Barlo Kitchen + Cocktails (Venice)


Barlo Kitchen + Cocktails had been just outside of my periphery for some time now.  It was never meant to be a destination spot for me, but rather a pit stop betwixt place A and place B.  And so it was, that Yessie and I stepped foot inside this place as part of our Venice bar crawl.  
We stopped by for a couple of drinks and snacks and left content, especially after receiving our bill!  $13 a piece after a Yelp check-in scored us both a free $10 cocktail.  Oh ya, and then there was the incident where the food runner knocked over my bottle of beer, spilling half over me and the table.  But was it worth it?  If that means I'll get a discount, "spill beer on me every time," I say! ;)

Shenanigans aside, it's a cool spot for a quick bite and drink inside the Erwin Hotel.  I didn't have much to eat and drink but what I had was above par.  

Barlo's small plates menu.

I'd like to return to try the shrimp & grits.

Bacon caramel corn.

The popcorn was good but needed more bacon, especially if the dish is gonna lead off with the word "bacon."  Know what I mean?  Villain's Tavern makes a better version of this snack. 


Vanilla Chai'd Car.




Coronado's Orange Avenue Wit.


 Barlo's pickled eggs.

I was hoping I would have liked this more but it wasn't very flavorful and I dislike salad garnishes not being dressed with something...anything.  Maybe it's just me, but I like to nosh on my salad garnishes.  


The burgers, fried chicken and...well, the whole entree portion of the menu looked great as I saw it coming out of the kitchen.  Once day. 

Truffle fries.

Blue Star's Hef.

Feel free and spill this over me anytime if it means I'll get to finish what's left of it, get another full bottle and have a portion of the bill comped! 

A look inside the quaint hotel bar/lounge.

Schulzies Bread Pudding (Venice)


Very good bread pudding, but served cold.  I like it cold.  I prefer it warm.

It's mushy throughout.  Soft and moist is fine on the inside but I like texture.  Because it's not baked, as far as I could tell from the scoops I tried, you'll get no crunchy bits.  

Both scoops I tried were rich so definitely order some coffee sans sugar or ask for a cup of ice cold milk.   

It's not the bread pudding most of us are familiar with around here, but a close cousin.  It's still good and worthy of another visit.  I wouldn't order more than 2 scoops though - unless I planned on running up to Santa Monica and back.  

A-frame on the boardwalk.

The shop is on the side of a nondescript building.  You order at a window counter and wait while you people-watch or...

...take in some of the local street art.

Razzle Dazzle Razberries.

The day's menu.

Millie Vanilli Bean with a caramel drizzle.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Viva Mezcal! (Los Angeles - Koreatown)


Flyer for the screening of a mezcal documentary.

I was lucky to have received an invitation courtesy of one [real food blogger] Javier Cabrales (The Glutster).  Gracias, 'mano! 


I had been meaning to eat at this Oaxacan restaurant for many years now but it's never really been too high on my list of places to go to to be honest with you.  Now, years later, it's still on my map, just not on my radar.  And even after this visit, I still can't claim to have eaten or even stepped foot inside.


See, the event was held in a backroom of sorts, complete with it's own private entrance.  I imagine the room is used for private parties or special events such as the one I was lucky enough to attend.

The scene halfway through the "screening."

I was under the impression, as I think most of us were, that we would sample mezcal, watch the flick and taste some more after the film.  As it turned out, Viva Mezcal! was played and simply there as background entertainment - volume low with captions.  I was a little disappointed but that didn't keep me from going from table to table and back again to try some fine mezcales.

Drinking vessel our mezcal was poured in.

One of the 7 brands that had as least one bottle to sample.

Another label, a couple more options to sample.

These guys weren't tight with their pours either.  Some brands were literally filling our vessels to the brim.  Some varieties of mezcal were alcohol-forward, others were smoke bombs and some were more nuanced.  In the end, no mezcal brand sucked.  One brand - Wahaka- brought 4 types of mezcal.  I enjoyed their product at varying degrees but I still found something that i thought excelled according to my tastes.  All in all, my favorite mezcal of the night was from Los Amantes Reposado.  It's a perfect sipper as-is or on the rocks.  It's not harsh on the throat and it's smokiness is tempered from having been oaked.  It sells for $65, if you can find it.

Tostadita de guacamole y chapulin.

There was food but only in the form of passed hor d'oeuvres.  The cricket tostada was my favorite.  

Shrimp beignets.

 My second favorite snack was this juicy shrimp fritter.  They also came around with a black bean and queso croqueta and a tostada de guacamole con papa but nothing was substantial enough to catch up to the mezcal onslaught we were facing.

The bar inside the private room.

Drink menu for the restaurant.

Restaurant cocktail menu pt 2.

Wolves of Summer featuring Montelobos Mezcal.

Drink menu for the special engagement.

Dragon de Fuego.

Of the cocktails we drank, this was my favorite.  It was strong enough for a guy, yet delicate enough for a female to enjoy as well.