Located in the W Hotel Los Angeles in LA’s Westwood Village, NineThirty Restaurant brings modern American cuisine with global influences to locals and visitors alike. At the helm of the restaurant is Executive Chef Dakota Weiss who made a name for herself in 2011 on Bravo’s “Top Chef Texas.” Chat Chow TV sat down with Weiss to learn more about the restaurant, some of her favorite dishes and her popular popcorn venture.
Weiss notes that she used to consider cooking, “opening up a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese,” and has come a long way since then. She now experiments with food and has become much more adventurous with her dishes - but says her parents still jokingly give her a box of macaroni and cheese for every birthday.
At NineThirty the menu changes with the season but some of her favorite dishes include the Drunken Mussels and Squash Carpaccio. Her surprise hit, though, has been her popcorn. Weiss served the popcorn during her Valentine’s Day dinner this year and it was so popular with the guests that many asked where they could buy it so she started “Pop Parlor” to sell her unique popcorn creations.
Curious about how her time on “Top Chef” was? Or what she plans to serve on the restaurant’s Thanksgiving Day menu? Find out all that and more in the video above.
As Angeleno foodies, we've crawled all over the sprawl that is our hometown, exploring the best bites our town has to offer. Imagine our delight when we received invitations to the 8th annual "Food Event", hosted by Los Angeles Magazine, an event featuring dozens of our very favorite chefs and restaurants. It's as if we had a wish-list of all the chefs we'd love to sample in one day, and somehow still had our expectations exceeded. It was truly that grand of an event.
It is of no surprise that this list of restaurants was hand-picked by Los Angeles Magazine's Lesley Suter, perhaps the top advocate L.A. has in bringing prominence to our great and varied food scene. Her articles exploring the cultures and cuisines all across the city have garnered nationwide attention, culminating in a James Beard award in 2012.
And it was with this great anticipation that we and several hundred of our fellow foodies made the trek through the hills overlooking Malibu to Saddlerock Ranch, a picturesque venue with rolling vineyards and exotic animals. White tents dotted the perimeter, each housing one of forty restaurants and eateries. From the south, live music drifted in next to beer gardens serving Stella Artois and Shock Top. Also present were about 20 local vineyards and cellars touting their craft; I was pleasantly surprised by the Zinfandels offered from Santa Barbara's Cordon Winery. We tasted cocktails that played on your tongue with perfect fall flavors.
But of course, at a gathering so aptly named "The Food Event", the food shone brightest. At a central tent, celebrity chefs held hourly cooking demonstrations using ingredients we usually leave to the pros; we caught Chef David LeFevre of Manhattan Beach Post as he showed the audience how to prepare sea urchin.
At the tents, all hands were on deck as chefs and sous chefs churned out dozens of perfectly prepared bite-sized morsels of deliciousness. Chef Ricardo Zarate was all smiles as he presented some beautiful peruvian dishes for his restaurants, Mo-Chica and Picca. The preeminent chef himself, Wolfgang Puck, was on hand with his enduring restaurant, Spago, serving up a delicious hamachi-melon appetizer that had a fantastic texture on the tongue. Ice Cream Lab served up delicious freshly made ice cream, courtesy of a liquid-nitrogen powered cooler. Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo's Son of a Gun took home top honors from the judging panel for their adventurous hamachi curdo dish.
As the sun began to set over the vine-covered hills, you could see the joy on the faces of guests as they began to trickle out, some debating whether their stomach could handle just one more bite of LA's best eats. Others stopped to pose for pictures with camels and zebras on the way back to their cars. From the perfect weather, venue, food, and drinks, there is no doubt that Los Angeles Magazine's "The Food Event" is one of the finest foodie gatherings you'll find anywhere.
Located in Miami’s Brickell neighborhood, Boxpark Miami brings the bustling area a unique dining experience and a menu filled with Florida-centric dishes, house made charcuterie, and local produce. Chat Chow TV sat down with Boxpark’s Executive Chef Matt Hinckley to learn more about his inspiration for the dishes and the restaurant’s out-of-the box (pun intended) offerings.
The menu was created by Hinckley using the knowledge and techniques he learned through his extensive time traveling the globe, as well as his time in some of the best restaurants in South Florida including Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink and Nobu.
“With regard to a lot of the ingredients and the cooking techniques it’s a bit unorthodox,” said Hinckely. “In every kitchen and every place I traveled there’s always something I’d embrace and take with me, and those experience helped put this menu together.”
Boxpark is the first restaurant in Miami that is SPE Certified, and showcases a whole range of interesting dishes featuring rare, hard-to-find proteins. Chicken, as Hinckley notes, is nowhere to be found.
“We only put animals on the menu that I know lived a life that shows respect to the animal and the environment,” said Hinckley.
Vegetarians and vegans fret not, while the menu showcases plenty of meat dishes, it also features a vast selection of well thought out vegan and vegetarian options and makes it a point to cater to the needs of customers living that lifestyle. The dessert menu also echoes this sentiment, with a range of house made sweets that are heart healthy and gluten free.
Curious what makes Boxpark’s bread service so unique? Or want to learn the inspiration behind the restaurant’s unique tasting menu? Find out those details and more in the video above.
Local favorite Pincho Factory recently opened its second location in the heart of Coral Gables. With chalkboard painted walls, reclaimed wood tables and an inviting atmosphere, the restaurant has quickly been embraced by its new neighborhood. Chat Chow TV sat down with Pincho Factory owner Nedal Ahmad and learned more about the restaurant specialities and the inspirations for the menu.
The restaurant gets its name from the skewers - or “pinchos” - that are prominently featured on the menu. Guests can customize them to their liking opting for steak, chicken or shrimp, served in either a salad, rice bowl or pita, with an assortment of sauces and toppings.
While pinchos are the namesake, what has really made the restaurant a dining destination is its over-the-top burgers such as its Toston Burger, which was recently featured on Travel Channel’s “Burgerland,” and its Pastelito Burger. The menu also features a selection of weekly food special depending on Ahmed’s mood.
“The chalkboard specials usually reflect what I’m craving that week,” said Ahmad with a laugh. “Occasionally it’ll have something to do with the season, but usually its revolving around my cravings.
The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner daily, until 1am on Friday and Saturday, and even features a decadent brunch on Sundays serving up items such as Red Velvet Pancakes and Banana Bread French Toast.
Hungry yet? Find out all about these drool-worthy dishes and more in the video above.
Contributed by Ryan Goodspeed
• 3 Blackberries
• 1 oz POM 100% Pomegranate Juice
• ¼ oz Lemon Juice
• 2 oz Bulleit Rye
• ¾ oz Sweet Vermouth (preferably Carpano Antica)
• 1 oz Simple Syrup
• Dash of Orange Bitters
In a mixing glass, combine first 3 ingredients. Muddle the ingredients, then fill mixing glass with ice.
Add next three ingredients. Shake vigorously and strain into a sugar rimmed cocktail glass. Garnish with dash of orange bitters, orange peel and a blackberry.