cocktails - Please The Palate
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Happy July 2020! 2020 has definitely not turned out the way most of us expected. We are now in our fifth month of the Covid-19 pandemic. And if you have been...

Spring is finally here and yet our lives have changed so much in the last month. As I write my quarterly newsletter, we have been social-distancing and sheltering at home...

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Another New Year's Eve has passed. Some people stay at home, some go out to dinner, others head to parties to toast the new year at midnight. What my friends and I do is what we have been doing since December 31, 2013. For seven years, we head to Big Bar in Los Feliz to celebrate. December 31, 2019 was no exception and that is why New Years at Big Bar is the Please The Palate Pick of the Week. In general, I find New Years Eve to be rather anti-climatic. For some, it is like any other night but for others, there is so much planning and plotting to make the evening different from others because you want to be in the right place at the right time when the clock strikes midnight and the new year starts. But, after all that preparation, it is over in a moment. This is why I love spending New Years Eve at Big Bar. After lunch with friends, we head to Big Bar. Big Bar starts celebrating at 3:00pm and over the next 10 hours, they celebrate for each time zone. That is 10 time zones in 10 hours and each time zone comes with a special cocktail created in honor of the country celebrating. This year's theme had us traveling across time zones and across zones with a Back to the Future theme. The drinks were created by Cari Ha and her team at Big Bar and the menu was designed by Dave Stolte. And of course, the charming Eugene Lee was on hand to take photos.
Is there a better name for a neighborhood restaurant than Neighbor? Seems simple and is the perfect name for the Venice neighborhood spot. Located on the northern end of Abbot Kinney, Neighbor is in the space that once housed Govind Armstrong's Willie Jane. Open since 2017, Neighbor looks a lot like how I remembered the space when I last ate there when it was Willie Jane. The vibe is comfortable, warm and inviting. It feels like being in the living room of a friend. There are two comfy couch areas in the front of the restaurant that lead to a set of stairs. At the top of the stairs is the hostess stand and then a long bar that runs the length of the interior. There are a few tables inside as well but the majority of tables, as well as lounge seating, are outside in the covered patio. It's a Lovely Night at Neighbor Venice
Hands down, one of the best restaurant patios in all of Southern California was Wilshire Restaurant in Santa Monica. When it first opened in doors 14 years ago, I lived around the corner and would frequently dine there. When I moved a little further east, I stopped going to Wilshire as it had become a bit more of a club scene. Wilshire finally closed and now the space is back with Fia and it is fantastic. I had found a parking spot on Wilshire Blvd in front of the restaurant. Instead of walking in the door near the valet, I followed signs down a long walk way. The walkway led me to the very large and gorgeous outdoor patio. Trees and fresh greenery fill the space and tree lights wind up the trees and hang across the open air giving the space a warm and intimate feeling.
When I was asked by the publication Daily Ovation to write a story about holiday cocktails, I reached out to some bartender friends and asked them what they like to drink during the holidays. The last thing I expected was them all saying the same thing....Eggnog. Eggnog is the quintessential holiday drink and with Christmas here, I am sharing the story that originally appeared in Daily Ovation but you can read it here. Tis the season. The holidays are coming. The weather has shifted, and it is getting colder outside. It gets darker earlier in the evening. Curling up with a holiday cocktail sounds like the perfect thing to do so I asked four bartenders around Los Angeles what they like to drink.  Funny enough, they all said Eggnog, which should be no surprise as nothing screams the Christmas holiday more than eggnog.