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Taylor Henriquez

Taylor Henriquez

Taylor Henriquez is a food and drink freelance writer who is always thinking about her next meal. Check out where she's eating next at her blog: Word

Listings and reviews (3)

Bar Clacson

Bar Clacson

4 out of 5 stars

Bar Clacson has answered the prayers of Downtown Los Angeles imbibers who have been seeking a watering hole refuge that isn’t a speakeasy, a dive bar or a night club. A bar where you can show up as you are and get to know your bartenders, enjoy pieces of bruschetta with your beverage and play a game of pétanque (France’s version of bocce ball). It has all the makings of your neighborhood Cheers, but with French, Italian and American influences. While the theme could be considered kitschy, it works, thanks to the all-star roster of hospitality gods overseeing Bar Clacson: Cedd Moses and Eric Needleman of 213 Hospitality (Normandie Club, Arts District Brewing Company), Eric Alperin of The Varnish, and Richard Boccato of Dutch Kills and Fresh Kills Bar in New York City. It’s safe to say that these guys know how to create a successful beverage program, so instead of ordering a beer on tap or a glass of Lambrusco, order from the cocktail menu which boasts specialty drinks that accommodate every spirit preference, as well as low-alcohol (ABV) spritzes. Bar Clacson is the type of place you can picture yourself celebrating birthdays, hosting happy hours, or enjoying a date or a low-key evening with friends. Pretentiousness and indifference doesn’t exist here, among staff or patrons. And for that to be found in Downtown L.A., we say, amen. Vitals Good for: Day drinkers who need a stiff beverage after waiting in line at Egg Slut—Grand Central Market is only a few feet away. Though in

Melrose Station

Melrose Station

2 out of 5 stars

Speakeasies in Los Angeles are a dime a dozen. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all, with the exception of a few standouts. Melrose Station, the latest speakeasy to arrive on Melrose Ave., hopes to make the cut, and has the ingredients to deliver: craft cocktails made by dedicated bartenders, a sleek and sexy interior, and a hidden entrance inside the least likely of places: the Glass Hookah Lounge. Upon arrival, make your way to the host and announce you’re here for Melrose Station (while you can make a reservation or request an invitation online, neither is required to be admitted). Once inside the hookah bar, you’ll be led through a dark lounge, where the only things visible are clouds of Piña Colada-scented smoke and the whites of eyeballs. A host appears and summons you to a bookshelf that is (surprise!) a secret passage that leads into the speakeasy. Inside, Melrose Station is a vision of glass, marble, wood and light. It’s bright, so don’t expect too much privacy with your date. You might as well park it at the bar where you can talk to the friendly bartenders and watch them experiment with smoked citrus peels and infused spirits. This isn’t a bar attached to a hookah lounge where guests can stumble in after a night of blowing smoke; Melrose Station is its own operation and wants to be taken seriously. Unfortunately, it’s hard to take a $16 cocktail named “Just Berry Me Already,” made with rum and triple sec, and topped with powder-sugared berries, seriously. In fa

Sassafras

Sassafras

3 out of 5 stars

It has been said that Hollywood is the West Coast equivalent of Times Square: neon-flashing lights, creepy costumed characters and camera-strapped tourists. But five blocks south of the theme park Hollywood has become is an unassuming stretch home to the bayou-themed Sassafras Saloon. No wait, there’s moss hanging from the ceiling, so we’re in Savannah. And whoa, did someone drop a house in this bar? Sassafras is a bayou-themed, Savannah-esque, Old West saloon that’s got a little bit of everything for everyone: from a new cocktail menu that caters to a wide selection of spirits, to musical and burlesque performances that are guaranteed to entertain.  All of the bars owned by 1933 Group (Highland Park Bowl, La Cuevita, Thirsty Crow) are meticulously decorated, and Sassafras is no exception. Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by a dolled-up doorman and waved entry into the lanai, where hanging plants generously adorn the walls and windows. Keep it moving—there are about three additional side rooms and lounge areas (all embellished with Southern relics and antiques) for you to explore. Sassafras Saloon is spacious, and provides plenty of room to watch that night’s live band performance (typically jazz, but sometimes blues and DJ sets). And if you’re really lucky, the unassuming bar-back working Sunday nights will join the band onstage to tap dance, serving us all a reminder that we’re still in Hollywood, where everyone is a star. Vitals Good for: Impressing out-of-town folks that w

News (5)

5 New York-based restaurants you can find in Los Angeles, and 5 more coming soon

5 New York-based restaurants you can find in Los Angeles, and 5 more coming soon

People always like to point out the differences between Angelenos and New Yorkers. Generally speaking, one set is portrayed as cool, calm and collective—except when on the 405—and the other is direct, driven and difficult. But if there’s one thing they can agree on, it's their love for smashed beef patties and crinkle cut fries at a “little known” placed called Shake Shack, with lines and wait times to prove it. New York chefs and restaurateurs have been paying attention and are opening Los Angeles outposts of their most buzzed about restaurants and food markets. Check out some of the most hyped up New York-based restaurants that have already opened in L.A., and those that are on the way.   Open Serafina: If you like slurping pasta in the vicinity of celebrities (on either coast) you’ll enjoy Serafina, a Northern Italian influenced restaurant that serves a variety of thin-crust pizza, pastas and risottos. By Chloe: It was only a matter of time before plant-based restaurant By Chloe hit the West Coast and entranced vegans and non-vegans alike with their tempeh-lentil-walnut-chia burger and sweet potato and cashew-based macaroni and cheese.  Rao's: Good luck getting a reservation at the original Rao’s in East Harlem. The Hollywood outpost is a much better bet. Try the lemon chicken and the meatballs.  Erin McKenna's Bakery LA: Gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free—no problem. You won’t miss those ingredients in the cookies, cupcakes and donuts found at Erin McKenna’s Bakery LA.  T

10 delicious breakfast spots in the San Fernando Valley

10 delicious breakfast spots in the San Fernando Valley

Jonesing for a tall stack of buttermilk pancakes or a three-egg omelet with all the fixings? Don’t count out the San Fernando Valley the next time you’re going out for breakfast or brunch. Unlike the more publicized (and highly Instagrammed) spots in Los Angeles proper, you’ll typically find shorter wait times, parking options—sometimes even lots—and locals who don’t have DSLR cameras strung around their necks. The following restaurants serving morning eats are known lovingly by locals and brave out-of-towners alike. Head across the hill and see what the fuss is about, before the crowds attack.    1. CiCi's Cafe: If your sweet tooth begs to be soothed, look no further than CiCi’s Cafe, where you’ll find dozens of pancake options like green tea tiramisu, s'mores and piñacolada. The waffle and french toast lists are equally extensive. 18912 Ventura Blvd, Tarzana 2. Donny's Breakfast Spot: A newcomer to Sherman Oaks, Donny’s Breakfast Spot boasts Southern standbys, including salmon croquettes, catfish, cheese grits and sweet tea. If you're extra hungry, try one of the specials, like the Big Derrick Special (two eggs, grits, two pancakes and chicken drumettes). 13701 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks 3. EAT: EAT is one of those restaurants that has a little bit of everything, for everyone: from eggs Benedict and breakfast pastas, to pancakes and french toast. This is your go-to spot when the group can’t decide what to eat. If we had to suggest just one, we'd say get the Killing Me Softl

6 places that serve adaptogenic lattes for better health

6 places that serve adaptogenic lattes for better health

Leave it to Angelenos to begin their day with a warm mug of fungi, roots and herbs. The latest beverage trend to wake up Los Angeles doesn’t include tea or coffee, but adaptogens: naturally-occurring substances that help our bodies regulate and manage stress. Typically produced in powder form, restaurants and juice bars are adding these remedies to hot beverages and creating adaptogen tonics and “lattes.”   What are you most likely to find in a cup near you? For starters, Chaga, Ashwagandha and Rhodiola. Rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda, adaptogens are generally said to strengthen the immune system, decrease anxiety and fatigue, and increase mental performance. Specific herbs, like Ho Shou Wu, are even said to raise libido. Can your juice cleanse do that? Here are six places where you'll find adaptogenic lattes in L.A. The Butcher's Daughter (Venice): If you’re already coming to The Butcher’s Daughter to photograph the avocado toast, you might as well order a glass of their Mexican Cacao Elixir, made with raw cacao, cayenne, maple, steamed almond milk and reishi mushrooms. 1205 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice Cafe Gratitude (Larchmont, Arts District and Venice): Our favorite affirmation-naming cafe has two more declarations to share: the Restored Adrenal Latté made with ashwagandha, cordyceps and gynostemma tea, and the Immortal Ayurvedic Latté made with reishi, shilajit and mucuna pruriens–a coffee substitute. 639 N Larchmont Blvd, Los Angeles. Additional locati

The best restaurants in L.A. for former New Yorkers

The best restaurants in L.A. for former New Yorkers

New York City can no longer claim to be the epicenter of great American dining. In food and dining press, Los Angeles has been in the running for decades—but you already knew that. So it’s no surprise to come across former New Yorkers living in Los Angeles; trading in snow for sunshine, and sardines for spelt chocolate chip cookies. Sometimes the best cure for homesickness is food, and in this case, it means black-and-white cookies, hot pastrami sandwiches and New York-style pizza. Thankfully, Los Angeles is a city that has it all and then some (e.g. spelt). Just don’t ask us where to find a dollar pizza slice, we’re still looking for that West Coast unicorn. Bea’s Bakery for black and white cookies: Visit Bea’s Bakery in Tarzana and you’ll be greeted with a selection of challahs, danishes, rugelachs and cakes. That all may look enticing, but head straight to the black-and-white cookies: cake-like treats covered in chocolate and vanilla icing. 18450 Clark St, Tarzana The Bun Shop for buns: Momofuku set off the bun trend on the East Coast, but the Bun Shop is where you’ll find your West Coast fix. Purists will like the pork belly bun, but try the tomanko bun with fried tomato, cucumber, mixed greens and pesto. 151 N. Western Ave. Langer’s Deli for pastrami on rye: Langer’s claims to have the world’s best pastrami, and after you try their hot pastrami sandwich with coleslaw, Russian dressing and Swiss cheese, you may agree. Plus, you can soak up a piece of L.A. history while yo

10 delicious mocktails that will help you get through this dry January

10 delicious mocktails that will help you get through this dry January

If you’re one of the brave souls who decided to temporarily abstain from alcohol after two months of holiday excess, you’re in luck. Dry January no longer has to suck when you live in a city with restaurants and bars that build non-alcoholic drinks into their beverage programs. Now, you can choose beverages with seasonal shrubs, house-made syrups and juices, all made with the same detail and care as their alcohol counterparts. Who knows, maybe you won’t miss the alcohol and extend dry January for another month or two. Ah, who are we kidding? Let the countdown to February begin! In the meantime, head to the following restaurants and bars to get your mocktail fix.  Bacari PDR: Most bars and restaurants just replace alcohol with club soda in cocktails. Normally, we’d say that’s cheating (and never nearly as good), but Bacari PDR’s Strawberry Fizz, made with muddled strawberries, lime juice, simple syrup and sparkling water is so good, you won’t miss the vodka. 6805 Vista Del Mar Lane, Playa del Rey Birch: If a true diet reset is what you need, then Birch has you covered with five new non-alcoholic beverages meant to restore and rejuvenate your system. Try the #001, made with turmeric, ginger, honey, lime and coconut milk. 1634 N Cahuenga Blvd, Los Angeles Cha Cha Chicken: If you have the chance to pick the place, choose this BYOB Caribbean spot and order a seasonal agua fresca, like the mango-guava. Your dinner companions can spike it with rum if they must. Cha Cha Chicken, loca

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