Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Above It All: Dining at 71Above

There was a time before Instagram, before the iPhone and before Snapchat. Before rustic "Pinteresty" restaurants that set up shop in an abandoned warehouse of what was then Skid Row. Back before the Clippers started winning at Staples and when the Lakers were champions. Back when the coolest and latest social influencer was just taking the school bus as opposed to taking selfies. Back then, there was Windows Steak and Martini Restaurant. 

Located on the 32nd floor of the AT&T Center, Windows was a place you went for dinner with the best skyline view of downtown Los Angeles. It was a place I would take my wife (then girlfriend) for a nice date night. When it closed down to make room for office space in 2007 (yeah, I'm dating myself), we were sad to see those incredible skyscraper views go. There wasn't anything else like it in LA until now.  

71Above is the newest restaurant located on (you guessed it) the 71st floor of the U.S. Bank Tower, making it the highest restaurant in Downtown LA. The space is absolutely stunning and makes you feel like you're in the swankiest restaurant in some metropolis other than LA. The views - well, let's just say you are literally above it all. 71Above provides the most breathtaking vistas while dining and on a clear day you can see straight to Santa Monica Beach. 

Chef Vartan Abgaryan creates a wonderful tasting menu, 2-course for lunch and 3-course for dinner. For lunch, starters range from light and approachable dishes like hamachi crudo or heirloom tomato salad to more heavy dishes like a beautifully prepared steak tartare. The Flat Iron steak is a perfect dish for a power lunch entree and with the extensive wine list to pair the perfect red with your meal, plus the mile high city views, you'll feel like you're on top of the world. 

Windows was good, but 71Above is great. Once you enter the first elevator, then transfer to the second elevator and reach the restaurant, you know that you're in for a special night. 71Above will be a place for special occasions, incredible date nights, and the most scenic spot for drinks. It's bringing back a time when your dining experience (views, service, ambience, and all) was as important as the dishes being served. 

Heirloom Tomato - 
Marinated Mozzarella, White Balsamic, Basil, Olive Oil, Garlic Crouton 

Steak Tartare - 
Shallot, Mustard, Olive Oil, Truffle, Olive Tapenade 

Flat Iron Steak - 
Grilled, Fingerling Potato Confit, Braised Shallots, Shishito, Cipollini Jus 

Hollywood - Jalapeno, Grey Goose Vodka, Lillet Blanc, Sherry, Grapefruit, Lime.

Downtown - Toasted hazelnut, Old Forester Bourbon, cognac, apricot demerara. 

633 W 5th St., Los Angeles, CA 90071
(213) 712-2683

Friday, August 12, 2016

Where We Brunch in LA

It's morning and you're in bed, slowly waking up. With your eyes still closed you feel your way around the nightstand to grab your phone. You look at the time - 8:31AM! You have to be at work in 29 minutes. But wait, you suddenly remember it's Sunday. As your heart returns back into your chest, you realize you have the entire day to do whatever you want. And what you want to do the most at that moment, is to go out with your friends to brunch. 

But where should you go? That's easy, below is a list of our favorite places to do brunch in Los Angeles. These are the places we always go back to because they have great atmosphere, drinks, and most importantly a dish or two (or three) that we are absolutely in love with. This is what you should be ordering for brunch. 

Ox & Son

Chocolate Bacon Bourbon Pancakes - four things to love all on one plate. Yes, this salty/sweet stack of pancakes is everything you think it will be and more. The flapjacks alone are perfectly executed and melt in your mouth. Add the elements of bacon and chocolate chips, then pour on the bourbon maple syrup for some of the best carb cakes around. 

1534 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 9040
(310) 829-3990


We're already fans of Chef Dakota Weiss. Her fast/casual restaurant, Sweeten Poké in Santa Monica, is one of our favorite places for poké. It's no surprise that Estrella on Sunset is one of our favorites for brunch as well. (Dakota, you're batting 2 for 2). While you should just order everything on the menu, like candied pretzel bacon or Chai Tea Spiced Bread Pudding French Toast, the one dish that you should definitely be eating is the Rolling Stone. Chef Dakota puts a poached egg inside an avocado and wraps it in bacon. The latest interpretation adds prosciutto and truffle as well. If there was a food award for best use of an avocado, this would be it.   

8800 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 652-6613

Love & Salt

Maybe it's the ocean breeze, the laid-back vibe, or the row of great restaurants, but Manhattan Beach is our usual go-to neighborhood for brunch and we always end up at Love & Salt. Chef Michael Fiorelli and team make sure to create a tempting menu serving dishes like ricotta pancakes with blueberries and lemon curd. They also make some of the best morning drinks in town. Be sure to try our favorite coffee cocktail in LA aptly named "#ineedcoffee." You must order the Duck Egg Pizza at Love & Salt which combines pancetta,  panna, potato, Rosemary, mozzarella and parmesan. When you break the egg yolk, it adds a creamy, silky element to this breakfast pie. 

317 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
(310) 545-5252

The Hart and the Hunter

When Chef Kris Tominaga returned to Palihotel's The Hart and The Hunter, he made sure the biscuits were as good as you remembered them. We would drive across town just to order these flaky, buttery biscuits that are served with condiments like house-made jams, maple butter, and pimento cheese. With starters like this, you know that the brunch game is strong. Plus add bottomless champagne for $15 (at the time of this writing) and you're set for a great weekend brunch. 

Palihotel Melrose, 7950 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 424-3055

The Attic

If you're in the LBC, you need to stop by the Attic for brunch at least once in your life. It's an old craftsman house converted into a restaurant serving amazing Southern influenced food with bottomless mimosas and outrageous Bloody Mary's. Probably the best place to take a Bloody Mary fan. You can build your own with combinations of different spirits and garnishes like bacon or a short rib slider. Plus order their famous Mac-N-Cheetos (mac and cheese with flaming hot Cheetos) and be prepared for the best food coma before 12 noon. 

3441 E Broadway, Long Beach, CA 90803
(562) 433-0153

The Church Key

Sometimes you just want donuts for breakfast, but eating them in a dirty strip mall next to a laundromat isn't your idea of a relaxing weekend brunch. Visit the Church Key on Sunset Blvd for your ultimate donut brunch fix. These brioche donuts with brown butter glaze and cinnamon caramel will be some of the best donuts you'll ever have.

8730 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069

Malibu Farm Pier Cafe

If you’re looking for a true farm-to-table eatery that serves fresh organic food and comes with an ocean view, then drive up PCH until you get to Malibu Farm. Helene Henderson’s cafe on the Malibu Pier is a perfect place to enjoy simple and delicious food. For breakfast there are dishes like quinoa oatmeal, farm scrambled eggs and Swedish mini pancakes. Order an Apple-Kale Juice and you won't see green juice the same way again. It's that good. 

 23000 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265
 (310) 456-1112

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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Italy Is Closer Than You Think - Escape to The Resort at Pelican Hill

You remember that Italy trip that you’ve been planning for ages? You know, the one where you’re at a seaside village staying in a villa perched on a hill that overlooks the water? It’s the trip where you are eating hand made pastas and drinking luscious velvety rich DOCG wines. This is the luxurious trip you have been waiting for and you only need to travel about an hour away from LA when you’re visiting The Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Beach. 

The Resort at Pelican Hill is one of the world’s finest Five-Star, Five-Diamond destinations offering service and luxury like no other. Sitting on 504 acres with magnificent ocean views, the opulent Italian Renaissance architecture, inspired by Palladio, transports you from California City hustle to seaside Italian village harmony. It’s your escape to a beautiful serene coastal setting where authentic Northern Italian cuisine, luxurious poolside cabanas, award winning spa,  and premier golf courses await. This is your ultimate getaway. 

S T A Y 

Over 200 spacious bungalow guest rooms and suites, as well as 128 Villas are available to call this place your new home away from home. They are lavishly appointed with large walk -in showers, deep soaking marble tubs, fire places framed by Italian limestone, and hand-crafted wood beam ceilings to give an intimate residential ambience. Of course one of the best features has to be the private terraces with incredible ocean views. This truly is your well-appointed Italian home for the length of your stay. It has everything you need including modern amenities like MP3 ports, wireless internet, and a superb Bose sound system. Staff members make sure that your Nespresso machine and wet bar stay fully stocked. At night, you can fall asleep peacefully to the glow of the fire place and the comfort of your 500-thread-count sheets on the most comfortable bed you have ever slept in.

The Resort features the largest inventory of luxury two-, three- and four-bedroom Villas that are available for daily rental.


Dining at The Resort is just as impressive. The resort’s signature restaurant, Andrea Ristorante, offers Tuscan-influenced Northern Italian cuisine with an extensive wine list that is sure to please the casual enthusiast as well as offering you rare vintages. Chef Marco Criscuolo sources seasonal ingredients and creates flavorful classic Northern Italian dishes. Pastas are hand-crafted in a one-of-kind, temperature-controlled “Cucina della Pasta” (pasta room) that stays at a constant temperature. Yes, they’re serious about their pasta and oh, is it so good. The must-order item to start, is the table-side risotto that’s finished in a large wheel of parmigiano-reggiano. Also the off-menu carbonara is one of the best pasta dishes you’ll ever have. 

Barrel- aged Acquerello risotto with forrest mushrooms prepared table side.

Ahi tuna cone
Prime filet mignon with roasted heirloom carrots, asparagus, turned potatoes and peppercorn sauce.

For a Napa-inspired menu, Pelican Grill features innovative seafood, steak and wood-oven pizzas, and Sunday brunch offers à la carte California cuisine. Chef Luke Turpin creates fresh comforting California classics. For lunch, try the off-menu steak sandwich with grilled onions, gruyere, and arugula. The ahi tuna tartare with Meyer lemon, avocado, cucumber, scallion and sesame oil is the most refreshing start to your lunch.

Tuna Tartare

The more casual Coliseum Pool & Grill is a perfect place to sit poolside during brunch and enjoy a delicious lobster scramble and French Press coffee or perhaps a mimosa. The serene and casual ambience is a great way to start your day. 

Lobster scramble.


The amenities at Pelican Hill are outstanding and simply some of the best that you can find at any word class resort. The Coliseum Pool, inspired by the timeless curves of Rome’s famed landmark, is one of the largest pools in the world. With more than one million hand-cut glass mosaic tiles and 136 feet in diameter, it resembles a precious gem in the midst of the beautiful architecture around you. Treat yourself to a day at the Five-Star Spa, that’s more than a place to enjoy a good massage, helping you restore health and balance through the ultimate personalized care. The golf club, designed by Tom Fazio, boasts 36 holes with stunning ocean panoramas and is consistently ranked among the best in prestigious annual lists. 

Your Italian seaside getaway is waiting for you. The Resort at Pelican Hill is a one-of-a-kind experience that takes you 6,000 miles away without ever getting on a plane. Italy is a lot closer than you think. 

22701 S Pelican Hill Rd, Newport Coast, CA 92657
(855) 467-6800 | www.pelicanhill.com

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Special thanks to The Resort at Pelican Hill for collaborating with Hungry in LA. As always, the content and opinions expressed here are entirely our own.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Food, Luxury, and Southern Charm: Exploring Charleston

Maybe it's the Southern charm, or the historic buildings. Perhaps it's the rich history and culture, or the aqua blue beaches with warm waters of the Atlantic. Maybe it's the fact that things slow down here and like the similar effect of "island time" in Hawaii, you're on "Southern time" a relaxed pace now. Those are all great reasons to visit South Carolina, but my top reason has to be the incredibly good food that can only come from the South and more specifically - Charleston. 

We can all name great food cities in the US; New York, Chicago, San Francisco, LA, but Charleston? Yes! Charleston has become one of the premier cities for great food. Reason enough for foodies from all over the world to have the desire to visit. And with so many restaurants and places to explore, you're probably asking your self, Where are the best restaurants in Charleston? or What are the best hotels in Charleston? Below are some must-try recommendations for hotels and restaurants that I personally tried on my most recent trip last month. 


Zero George 

If you want to stay in the most unique, luxurious, boutique hotel, Zero George is your perfect place. It's located just few blocks away from the busyness of Downtown, all while maintaining enough distance to feel like you can escape and relax in a quiet and remarkably beautiful setting. 

The eighteen studios and suites are located in a beautifully landscaped locale surrounded by three Charleston residences and two brick carriage houses that date near 1804. Original elements such as pine floors, high ceilings, and classic piazzas are still present throughout the property. Southern charm, sophistication, and elegance are all a great understatement when describing this place.

The hotel's decor brings together this Southern sophistication with contemporary touches. Rooms are elegantly appointed with fine linens and new furniture that is reminiscent of that time period. A convenient Nespresso machine is readily available in your suite but you'll want to explore the complimentary European-style breakfast located in the bar/restaurant each morning that consists of smoked trout, deviled eggs, fresh made biscuits and house-made jams.  

The beautiful courtyard and large porch invite you to stay and relax while sipping a refreshing rosé during the evening wine hour. If you want to explore Charleston, the hotel offers complimentary bicycles equipped with baskets that are perfect for riding to all the restaurants and boutique shops along King Street. Also make sure to take a ride to the famous Rainbow Row - a picturesque block of historic pastel colored houses right by the waterfront. 

The staff and owners are available to meet all your needs. There is not one single detail that is left out in your experience. Everything from welcoming you at check-in with a glass of champagne, to being very knowledgeable about restaurants and recommendations. There is a high standard of professionalism yet it also feels like your among family and friends. There really is a sense of genuine attentiveness and you can tell everyone you meet is vested in giving you the best experience possible. 

I can absolutely see why Zero George was named one of the top 5 foodie hotels in the world by Condé Nast. The property offers intimate cooking classes, hosts a wonderful evening wine hour, has one of the better cocktail programs in the area, and the very talented chef that helms the kitchen has received much acclaim for his market-driven dinners. Zero George is a foodie traveler's dream come true. 

0 George St, Charleston, SC 29401

The Spectator Hotel

You're a socialite and you love to be in the middle of all the action. If you were visiting LA, you would stay on the Sunset Strip. If it's Chicago, then you want to be right on Miracle Mile. I get it, and that's why if you're in Charleston and wanted a chic hotel with all the shops, restaurants, and lounges of the French Quarter right outside your door, The Spectator Hotel has got you covered. 

From the moment you arrive and have the door opened to you by Mr. Paul, a gentleman donning a three-piece suit and a bowler hat, you are immediately transported to the golden age of the roaring twenties. The hotel looks immaculate and makes you feel as though you're in a scene from the Great Gatsby. Think of a newer hotel with all of today's comforts and modern amenities like bath towel warmers and Nespresso machines, but has a Southern charm and 1920's vintage ambience. Even your room key looks like an old key but the leather strap is quipped with an electronic FOB to grant you access to the elevator and your suite. 

The hotel has high standards to meet all the expectations of their guests. The personalized butler service is unlike anything you can experience in Charleston. And every morning there is a complimentary light breakfast brought up to your room so you can ease into your day with fresh brewed coffee and ham biscuits all while listening to speakeasy/prohibition era jazz from the hotel's playlist. There is no restaurant on the property, but you have the entire French Quarter at your disposal and countless of options within walking distance. The hotel bar that resembles a study with books residing on dark mahogany wooden shelves, serves well crafted cocktails to a sophisticated and vibrant crowd. 

The Spectator Hotel
67 State St, Charleston, SC 29401


Zero Restaurant + Bar

You can't stay at Zero George and not dine at the restaurant. Even if you were staying outside of Downtown Charleston, you would need to drive in and visit Zero Restaurant + Bar. The ambience is like no other. You can dine inside the beautifully refurbished Charleston-style home, but you'll want to sit outside and enjoy the warm Summer night dining al fresco. 

Intimate tables are spread out through the open courtyard where soft candlelight glow illuminates the dining area. The staff is attentive, friendly, and professional. You feel as though you have been invited to a supper club in an intimate space. The cocktail program must be one of Charleston's best kept secrets. Make sure your first round is a "Smoke On The Water" - bourbon, coach di torino, Lairds Applejack brandy, black walnut bitter, and a smoked iccube - an excellent well balanced cocktail. 

Chef Vinson Petrillo and his team create beautiful and flavorful dishes that are prepared with locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. The menu changes frequently but whatever you order, it will pair well with one of the many boutique wines or craft cocktails available. The upscale experience in a charming location make this one of the top picks for dining in Charleston.

 0 George St, Charleston, SC 29401

Cannon Green

One of you loves modern and contemporary restaurants, the other loves classic, rustic, and charming suppers. Cannon Green gives you the perfect classic-meets-cosmopolitan ambience in Downtown Charleston. The modern take on classic Mediterranean cuisine is the star here and only the freshest available local ingredients are used by Chef Amalia Scatena. The emphasis of farm/ocean-to-table cooking shines through in the flavorful dishes. A must try is Chef's raviolo - picture a large ravioli with duck egg, spinach, ricotta cheese, brown butter, and garlic chips. 

Head on Prawns with pepper confit, salsa verde, and crispy garlic.

103 Spring St, Charleston, SC 29403


Husk is everything you picture when you hear someone say Charleston. The space is a refurbished home with a wrap-around porch and black shutters. Right in front on Queen street you can see a horse-drawn carriage taking visitors around downtown. Oh, and the food? Some of the best in town. 

Expect Southern style comfort food with an elevated essence here. That means the fried chicken plate, is quite possibly the best fried chicken you'll ever have. The burger, made with a bacon/beef blend, has been on several "best of" lists. Also, staying true to its Southern roots is an extensive whiskey/bourbon list that includes a lot of rare bottles. 

76 Queen St, Charleston, SC 29401

Hominy Grill

If you're going to have breakfast/brunch in Charleston, make it Hominy Grill. The quaint little space located in a residential neighborhood has expanded, but even with the extra seats, there's still a long wait on weekends for this Charleston staple. Your go-to's will be the housemade banana bread, shrimp & grits, and a sandwich called the Charleston Nasty that consists of two buttermilk biscuits, fried chicken, cheddar, and lots of sausage gravy. A food coma is inevitable. 

207 Rutledge Ave, Charleston, SC 29403

Wise-Buck Smoked Meats

Wise-Buck Smoked Meats is a new joint serving...well, smoked meats of course. The place is super casual with picnic tables on the patio and several canned and bottled brews. The menu is simple and straightforward, pick from your choice of meats a la cart and add some side dishes like charred zucchini, smoked corn on the cob, or the light yet flavorful potato salad. If you're craving a sandwich, you can't go wrong with the Carolina-style pulled pork with broccoli rabe. 

Pulled pork sandwich, potato salad, and smoked corn on the cob. 

Wise-Buck Smoked Meats
23 Ann St, Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 306-0101

Tattooed Moose

An extensive craft beer list and a sandwich that has its own fan club? We're in! Tattooed Moose has two locations and visiting the original dive bar in Downtown is a must. Mike's Famous Duck Club is a legend and deserves to be in a league of its own. The famous and addicting triple decker is a combination of duck confit, applewood smoked bacon, hickory smoked cheddar, lettuce, tomato, red onion, and delicious globs of garlic aioli, all on grilled sweet Hawaiian bread. While you're at it, grab a side of duck fat fries, they are perfectly crisp and seasoned and the only fitting side to an outstanding sandwich like this. 

Tattooed Moose
1137 Morrison Dr, Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 277-2990

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