California cuisine Archives - Please The Palate
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Pico Boulevard in West LA has been a sleepy street for many years. A few restaurants are tucked along the street that have been there forever. And while I live only one mile from Pico Boulevard, I was not going to Pico very often until Khong Ten opened up. And now there is Pikoh LA, located in the former Chan Dara space, that has added a new life to Pico Blvd. The space at Pikoh is modern, open, casual and inviting. The colors are clean, the decor is minimal and there is fresh greenery placed throughout the restaurant. There is a long bar for counter seating, a dining room separated by plants, the front section for happy hour seating and the main dining room. And there is outdoor seating as well. Pikoh is a perfect neighborhood restaurant. Open all day, they serve breakfast, lunch, happy hour and dinner. But more than having a coffee bar, a cocktail bar and food, Pikoh has delicious, flavorful food that will keep you coming back! This is because Chef Ricardo Zarate, of Rosaline and Los Balcones Studio City, is behind Pikoh LA! And, while this is not another Peruvian restaurant, this all-day casual concept features California cuisines with Peruvian and Asians flavors.
I traveled across the country from Los Angeles to New York, only to end up at a restaurant inspired by California cuisine! What does that mean? It means seasonal produce, lots of vegetables and fruits and lean meats and seafood. And that is what Upland NYC is serving in the center of Manhattan. Upland NYC is built around a California-inspired philosophy that takes heavy cues from the seasons. Chef Justin Smillie was born in rural California and raised in rural New Jersey. His menu honors his background while also showcasing the culinary influences of Tuscany and other places. Upland NYC is a warm and modern open space with large jars of pickling vegetables that line the walls, as well as wine bottles. The kitchen is open but set back a bit from the dining room. As a diner, you can see the kitchen but it is not dominating the space.  
One of my favorite neighborhood restaurants is not in my neighborhood. It is across the city but that will never stop me from going back to Kali.....again and again! Kali is the baby of Chef Kevin Meehan and Wine Director Drew Langley. Chef Meehan worked at Citrine and Patina Restaurant Group before launching his underground passion project Kali Dining. Langley worked as Wine Director at Providence for a decade. He and Meehan had met years prior while together at Bastide and Citrine. With a shared passion for fine dining hospitality, Meehan serves a menu of contemporary California cuisine paired with Langley's creative and concise international wine list in a casual, neighborhood restaurant. The menu at Kali consists of locally sourced seasonal ingredients. While elements of the dishes change seasonally, there are a handful of my favorite dishes that I can find when I am there. Kali offers a five-course tasting menu option for $65 ($95 with wine pairing). But if you are with a group of people, I suggest ordering a la carte. While the menu is not a share-plate menu, with four people you can order a handful of first course selections to share and then select a a few second course selections off of the menu and then share them to get a taste of all of the different flavors.
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