March 2014 - Please The Palate
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Lately, it seems with Los Angeles’ evolving culinary culture we are always on the hunt for the latest chef import and newly raved restaurant. And for good reason - LA is giving many other cities a run for their money on the foodie front. But every so often, right under our nose, is a local spot that has been there for years and is often overlooked. We came to find this true when we visited long time establishment Vivoli Café in West Hollywood, right off the Sunset Strip.
  After three months of beta testing and over $200,000 of wine sales, Underground Cellar is live! This is a fun new way for you to experience high-end wines that you might not otherwise buy, or for that matter, have access to. What sets Underground Cellar apart from other online retailers and wine clubs is that they use a "reverse discount" upgrade model, as opposed to the "deep discount" e-commerce model. This means that consumers are rewarded with random upgrades to more premium wines. At the same time, the winery can protect its brands by not advertising their wines at discounted prices. Here's how it works:
When a friend asked me to meet him for drinks in Culver City at the end of January, he suggested East Borough. I had not yet heard of the restaurant and learned that it had been open for less than a week. I found the restaurant on Washington Blvd., just east of Sony Studios and next door to City Tavern, and we enjoyed a few tasty cocktails. I knew I had to return soon for the food, which I did. East Borough is a contemporary Vietnamese restaurant with a first location in Costa Mesa. John Cao and chef Chloe Tran from Costa Mesa have partnered with Paul Hibler (Pitfire Pizza, Superba Snack Bar) and chef Jason Neroni (Superba Snack Bar) to offer Vietnamese flavors and the French-influenced side of Vietnamese cuisine. The staff is exceptionally friendly and very well versed in each dish on the menu. Starting with the cocktails, they are all made with fresh juice and house-crafted items. The cocktails incorporate Asian flavors and spices, such as thai basil, tamarind, ginger and lemongrass. The Saigon Soda (gin, kiwi, vinegar, lime, thai basil), In Eastern Fashion (bourbon, pomelo, chocolate chili bitters), Tamarindo (reposado, tamarind, lime, sriracha salt) were refreshing subtle cocktails. But, the subtlety was enhanced when paired with the spicy flavors of the food.