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michael falso

Food

3 Cocktails (and Accompanying Bites) You Must Try in L.A. This Summer

July 22, 2015

I usually stray from specialty cocktails and opt for wine or vodka-soda because of the headache-causing overload of syrup and sugar in many drinks. But, at three incredible L.A. restaurants, I recently had the pleasure of trying several different beverages that were refreshing and flavorful, without weighing me down.

After much thought, here are the three cocktails (paired with equally delicious bites) that I insist you must try this summer:

TheSpringsCocktail1. The Strawberry Sake-Tini at The Springs in downtown L.A. is one of the most refreshing beverages I have had in a while. Made from natural ingredients, this sake cocktail tastes everything like the most delicious vodka-based libation. If you recall, I first tried the wellness oasis’ sake cocktails back in April – and with the change of season, they are still nailing their concoctions.  The vegan restaurant just launched its new summer menu, courtesy of Executive Chef Michael Falso. And my beverage of choice went delightfully alongside the samosas, which tasted straight out of my favorite Indian restaurant, sans the grease and heavy taste. Other highlights from the summer menu include, squash blossoms, “cheese” plate and beet tartare.

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The Springs

608 Mateo St.

Los Angeles, CA 90021

213.223.6226

DistrictCocktail2. The Hot Asian at The District by Hannah An has the perfect kick of spice and dash of sweetness without being overbearing on either end. This satisfying sip is made from lemongrass-infused Loft and Bear vodka, organic Vietnamese chili agave and fresh squeezed lime juice, garnished with lime zest and Vietnamese chili. I enjoyed my beverage with a chicken satay starter (the accompanying peanut sauce is out of this world!), a side of flavorful Chinese broccoli and a main course of District Wok Lobster. The upscale Vietnamese eatery serves portions that are every bit as filling as they are delicious!

The District by Hannah An

8722 W. 3rd St.

Los Angeles, CA 90048

310.278.2345

Esterel_Cocktail_Skyelyfe3. The Myrtille Smash at Sofitel Los Angeles hotel’s Esterel is my favorite beverage to sip on outside in the beautiful garden terrace of the newly renovated restaurant. Made with Bulleit Rye whiskey, blueberry jam, lemon, simple syrup and black walnut bitters, this unique concoction by mixologist Ferrari Watts pairs wonderfully with the menu’s highly touted zucchini beignets, grass-fed ribeye with summer vegetable succotash and Anson Mills grits.

Esterel at Sofitel L.A.

8555 Beverly Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90048

310.358.3979

Beauty Food

Sake Is the Sip of the Season at The Springs, DTLA’s Wellness Oasis & Raw Vegan Restaurant

April 21, 2015

Springs4Give your mind a break from the hustle, bustle and one-way street insanity you associate with Downtown L.A. and take in the calming, zen atmosphere of The Springs, a total detour from the DTLA stereotype.

The urban wellness oasis and raw vegan restaurant – located on 608 Mateo Street – just celebrated its six-month anniversary over the weekend, and I had the pleasure of being invited to come in for a first-nibble of chef Michael Falso‘s latest tasting menu, paired with an array of brand new sake-based cocktail recipes ranging from savory to sweet – all made with variations of The Springs’ popular pressed juices. I enjoyed my meal to the sounds of live music playing by a few-person band in a back corner just away from the dining area.

Springs2My personal pick of the appetizers and dishes were the rangoons, which were small, but flavorful and fulfilling beyond belief. Made with coconut wonton, “old bay” cream cheese, bell pepper, celery and sweet chili sauce, it was pretty clear off the bat that these bites would be worth savoring.

Springs3

Other noshes included a “Reuben” – which definitely got its point across with its Caraway “rye” bread, marinated mushrooms, Thousand Island dressing, sauerkraut and dill pickles – along with a seaweed Caesar salad, a nacho salad, a cashew cheese plate and two desserts. That sweet pea cake and black chocolate cake with vanilla bean “ice cream” I absolutely could not put down.

The beverages (I still can’t believe sake was the only liquor ingredient in all of them!) were seemingly endless. And the variety was impressive! I tried everything from a pickled jalapeno-infused Desert Flower (my favorite) to a Smokey Mountain, which resembled a Manhattan.

Had I come in a little earlier, I would have taken advantage of one of the various forms of yoga the spot has to offer, or I would have relaxed with a massage or infrared sauna treatment. In fact, going back to a post I wrote a few weeks ago about wellness deals in L.A., The Springs offers free meditation once a day at 1:00 p.m. on weekdays, led by Gloria Baraquio.

Springs1For $59 a person, you can get your very own taste of The Springs. Chef’s tastings are subject to change daily, but the restaurant’s full menu offers a slew of breakfast options (served all day), desserts, snacks, salads, entrees, coffee beverages, you name it. Check out all of the options here.

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