Nowadays our calendars seem to be a colorful collage of scheduled meetings, charity events and soccer practice; and finding free time is almost impossible to do. While live-in chefs are something only the Oprahs of the world can boast, companies are making personal chef service easier for those who always seem to be on the move.
Fresh Dish, an on-demand personal chef service, offers LA’s residents the option of having a chef cook up dishes in the privacy of their home for any occasion. Not only will they do the prep work and cooking, the chefs will also make sure to do the clean-up while you entertain. Fresh Dish hosts a roster of 100+ chefs, hand-picked from the culinary world, many professionally trained or owners of their own businesses. Among their team are also those who’ve also worked with celebrity clients and others who’ve worked at top local restaurants. As your personal shoppers, they ensure that each meal is sourced from the freshest local supplier and prepared for your specific dietary needs. Chefs can be booked with a 24-hour notice so hosting last minute dinners is never an issue.
Ok, so ramen isn’t exactly new to the food world. However, this year it’s been growing in popularity with its flavorful bowls of noodles, kimchi and pork dumplings. The soupy dish may only seem great for those cold days of the year (about ten or so in LA), but we’re all for them in any weather.
Bringing ramen to a new level, Tsujita LA Artisan Noodle specializes in tsukemen, a dipping ramen served with a thick broth on the side for dipping. Zagat rated the Japanese restaurant as its #1 Best Noodle Shop Around LA. Served only at lunchtime, tsukemen’s tonkotsu broth is cooked for 60 hours before seafood gets added to it for thickness. Its richness comes from pork, bits of wood ear mushrooms and scallions giving it a distinct flavor. Yet, if you’re hoping for the basic noodle dish, Tsujita serves traditional ramen as well with a less thick and salty version of the soup. Either way, the hearty portions aren’t for the faint of heart and as a local’s favorite, you’re guaranteed a wait at the door.
This next trend may be a little more surprising, but it’s been popping up in food trend reports this year. Popcorn — the little snack that could — is being heralded as 2013’s snack of choice. But these aren’t your everyday popped kernels. Makers of this bite-sized treat are getting creative with their flavor combinations. The undercover whole grain is becoming an elevated bar snack that is moving into more refined dining and being used as croutons on savory dishes.
Chefs like Andrew Kirschner of Santa Monica’s Tar & Roses restaurant are also serving up the movie-time favorite and adding their own unique twist. While getting a table there is getting harder and harder these days, once inside you’ll find it was well worth the wait. Chef Kirschner’s menu oozes with style and distinctive character. Guests can start off with a glass of red wine and pair it with the popcorn appetizer mixed with crisp bacon, brown sugar and chili. This dish has quickly become a favorite and must-have for those who frequent the establishment.
But, if you’re just looking for the tasty snack without a fine dining setting, Popcornopolis has you covered. Located in Universal City, this treat central features 19 different selections of popcorn with flavors like Cinnamon Bun, Peanut Butter ‘n Chocolate, Honey Barbecue and Rocky Road. Sealed in high-quality tins and made fresh daily, the crunchy snack will stay tasty for up to six months.
This year, the culinary cool-kids are noshing on one of the country's newest 'it' food — the cauliflower. Being touted as the new kale, this super food is being barbecued, broiled, rubbed with spices and roasted for a taste that is anything but plain.
A chef-driven restaurant, The Playground in Santa Ana is comprised of small plates highlighting culinary traditions worldwide and making use of the plant. Be prepared to share dishes though, as the minimum party size for dinner is four people. And what better dish to share than cauliflower nachos? With an ever-changing menu, when this dish is being offered its best to order it up before it goes away. Imagine fried cauliflower, pickled jalapeno pico, cheddar and cilantro crema — hungry yet? This creative spin on nachos is among the many artful offerings at The Playground.
From the mind of Orange County’s own Jason Neroni, a chef who’s worked at Spago, Le Cirque, Blue Hill, 10 Downing in New York, Club 33 at Disneyland and most recently Osteria la Buca in Hollywood, Superba Snack Bar in Venice was born. Contrary to its name, the eatery is not a snack bar but rather a neighborhood joint based around small plates. Paired with owner Paul Hilber of the Pitfire pizza chains, the beachtown restaurant boasts Italian-inspired dishes without duplicating actual Italian recipes. Superba’s specialty is their massive cauliflower T-bone seared and spackled with a puree of basil, citrus and olives. Its thick cut and flavors get as close to meat as any vegetarian dish can hope to get, and a healthier option at that. With its communal feel and food inspired experiences, this restaurant is definitely one to check out.
So, while you’re meandering the streets of Hollywood hoping for a Ryan Gosling sighting, stop by some of these spots to see what all the fuss is about. Go ahead, we’ll wait…or maybe we’ll join you.
Nicolle is an award-winning writer and Travel Editor using her expertise in the industry to write about luxury travel around the world. You can find her daily searching the web for the latest trends, best new hotels and most beautiful destinations to visit and share with her readers. She's been featured on The Huffington Post, Hard Assets, AMD Entertainment and Remy Martin. In 2014, she was v...(Read More)