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your go to girl for everything yum in Los Angeles

Alli411 is your go to girl for everything yum in Los Angeles. She makes a sport of going to new restaurants and reviewing them here. None of the meals here were comped. All were paid for, so you get her honest reviews.

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Copa d'Oro

 217 Broadway
Santa Monica, CA
 

A Cup of Gold

LOVE the Copa, Copa d’’Oro. (I can’t seem to get Copacabana, that Barry Manilow song out of my head when I think of the name). It’s a mellow, cozy Mediterranean vibe: terracotta hues, high ceilings, tile floors, handsome wooden bar on the left side, comfy sofas and chairs, exposed brick, high ceilings. There are two make out or conversation alcoves, slightly hidden. Of course they are occupied when I’m there. Grab those first if you can.

I’m introduced to Vincenzo Marianella the master mixologist (previously at Providence) and asked what kind of drink I like. “I’m not a big drinker”, I tell him. “Beer, wine, or bubbly are my usuals. I’d like something light and sweet”. (I’d already had a couple of drinks at dinner.) He comes back with this delicious concoction, perfect for my taste, yet something I haven’t had before. It’s so good I don’t even ask him what it is. I just keep sipping. When I finish I notice 2 deep purple, practically black grapes sitting on the ice in my glass. Popping them into my mouth the sweetness clears the alcohol from my mouth. “Nice touch” I think.

Owner JC later tells me about the concept, market fresh cocktails. There’s a menu of fresh fruits, veggies, and herbs from the Santa Monica Farmers Market to mix with spirits. Design your own or let the mixologist delight you. There’s even a drink with red peppers, sweet with a little edge. I’ll have to have that one when I return, along with a bite from their bar menu.

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A.O.C.

 8022 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA
 

Another Outstanding Chow at AOC

Buddy and I have an annual tradition of having our holiday feast at A.O.C. on 3rd Street. We finally got around to meeting there this week and it felt like Christmas all over again. I just love the place (and Buddy). Good food with a good friend, it’s a recipe for a lovely evening.

We started with the Goat Cheese, Dried Figs and Saba, a creamy goat that we spread on the delicious bread. We ate that with the Assorted Fra’mani Salumi, two types, both good. It reminded Buddy of Italy. They sell it at most cheese shops around the city.

The Hamachi “Crudo”, Avocado and Pomegranate- fab-u-lous!!!! The fish was so fresh, seasoned to perfection; the combination of the three worked marvelously. It was the star dish of the evening, just as good as the scallop and mango dish I had at The Bazaar.

The Sweetbreads, Sunchokes and Truffle Butter were cooked crispy to perfection. Buddy was in heaven. The Sweet Potatoes with Bacon and Romesco, WOW! The down home portion had a full bodied, earthy taste. It went really well with the 2006 Flowers Wine.

By the time we finished our meal I was stuffed. We shared the Mexican Chocolate Pot de Creme with Caramel Cream and Spiced Almonds and were a bit disappointed. The chocolate was very light and the cream quite rich. After a couple tastes we stopped eating it. We’d decided we didn’t want to waste the calories on it (as if we were counting calories).

OK, so here’s the thing, ordering here is really important. I’ve been here a number of times and have tried some dishes I would not recommend. Those are the Fried Tetilla, Quince Paste and Romesco as well as the Arroz Negro with Squid and Saffron Aioli.

On the other hand, the Roasted Dates, Parmesan and Bacon is out of-this-world. We didn’t order it this time because we already were ordering other pork dishes. I do highly recommend ordering it though. It is simply sublime. For photos go to www.alli411.com.

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Whole in the Wall Burger Joint

 11058 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA
 

Best Burger

WITWBJ’s beef burger wins the best burger award in my book. A well-seasoned, 8 oz. meaty burger served on a pretzel roll (you gotta try the pretzel roll) is the way to go. The house-made zucchini pickles are tasty, and I don’t even like pickles . The casual, whole in the wall decor is in sharp contrast to the first rate gourmet burgers. Located in an obscure location behind Winchell’s Donuts, it is worth a visit.

Beef Burger

Amazing 8 oz. Juicy burger on a fab pretzel roll.

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The Bazaar @ SLS Hotel

 465 S La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA
 

Best Meal of the Year

Molecular gastronomy has finally come to Los Angeles! Best of all, it is served on the same menu with traditional Spanish cuisine. This is, well… food heaven by my standards. The meal I had at Bazaar was tres exciting. Before this meal I’d had more exposure to molecular gastronomy theoretically then actually tasting it, so this was a big event and I was not disappointed.

There are 2 sides to the menu, Rojo and Blanca. Rojo contains traditional Spanish cuisine, Blanca non-traditional. Each dish is served tapas style, in smaller portions, the perfect size for 2 people dining together. Knowing that that the avante-garde cuisine would be more satisfying as a dining adventure when I was not experiencing hunger pangs, I ordered some traditional Spanish fare to start with, so that I would not be hungry when we tasted the Blanca dishes.

The Jamón Ibérico de bellota and Croquetas is on the Rojo side of the menu. The hand-sliced, acorn-fed, free-range Ibérico ham was divine. A friend from Barcelona told me that the ham Andres imports is not available anywhere else in the US. It’s good!

The jamon was served with a brown bread with tomato spread, a Catalan dish served in almost every restaurant in Barcelona. Brown bread is rubbed with garlic then topped with olive oil and tomato pulp. When I was in Barcelona last summer I remember it being a bit different, same components just less oil and tomato on the bread. This was still very good. The Croquetas de Pollo were excellent: perfectly crisp outside and creamy inside. I could fill up on just croquetas alone. Luckily I did not. The rest of the meal was my most exciting meal all year. Really.

We started with Olives Ferran Adria, FA being his teacher, the molecular gastronomy guru in Barcelona. It looks like an egg yolk, only green as an olive. The inside was filled with an olive tasting liquid. They were served on porcelain spoons. The instructions we were given: slide it onto your tongue then press your tongue to the roof of your mouth. As I did so the salty liquid exploded in my mouth. It was an unusual almost pornographic sensation. One of those things you want to try at least once for the experience more than the taste. For full post view http://www.alli411.com

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