May 2009

palate—May 2009

edited by Lora Zarubin

Bottega Louie restaurant downtown los angeles peden+munk


Bottega Louie’s white-marble ceilings and grand scale may make you think you’re in Milan, but the 10,000-square-foot space is actually a one-stop gourmet destination in downtown L.A. where suits and skateboarders converge. There’s classic Italian fare—osso buco, pasta fagiole and spaghetti bolognese—as well as such inspired improvisations as meatball sliders and small plates of, among other offerings, asparagus with sautéed egg and roasted beets with goat cheese. The wine list offers pleasant surprises: The 2005 Gaja Ca’Marcanda “Promis” Toscana comes in at $88, but it’s a steal for the quality. The crisp white 2007 Veltliner Abazia di Novacella Alto Adige ($35) went well with my margherita pizza, and who doesn’t love a Sangiovese Piazzano “Ventoso” Toscana ($30) with a tomato-based starter or entrée? Unlike many restaurants, this place also offers a full breakfast menu: frittatas, smoked salmon, lemon ricotta pancakes and a range of pastries. The ambitious eatery is still young and needs some time to get all its wheels in sync. But given how solidly Bottega Louie came out of the starting gate, it’s a sign of good things to come. 700 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, 213-802-1470.

Umami Burger with Melville Verna’s Estate Viognier


Revere the burger? Die-hards hit Umami Burger, where the eponymous offering is 100 percent Nebraska beef with shitake mushrooms and Umami ketchup. And bring your own vino. I suggest a 2008 Melville Verna’s Estate Viognier ($24)—the crispness and full-bodied fruit is perfect with meaty bites. 850 S. La Brea Ave., 323-931-3000.

Hangar One’s chipotle-infused spirit


For a spicy twist on hand-crafted vodka, try Hangar One’s chipotle-infused spirit, produced in an old military shed in Alameda. Here’s how: Place the vodka and shot glasses in the freezer. For each, shuck a fresh small oyster like a Kumamoto and pour in the oyster and its liquor. Top with an ounce of chipotle vodka and shoot immediately. Repeat.

Ovopur water-filtration system


The porcelain, metal and glass Ovopur water-filtration system offers a stylish alternative to water in plastic bottles. The eco-conscious filter is composed of activated carbon, bioceramic pellets and quartz crystals. And with an 11-liter reservoir, you can quench a whole lotta thirst. $725. Turpan, 225 26th St., Santa Monica, 310-451-9500.

tasting table online los angeles food forum


For dedicated foodies, finding the pulse of L.A.’s epicurean scene is as easy as logging on to Tasting Table. No hodgepodge of blog posts here— sign up, and you’ll get a highly curated daily quick-hit missive delivered to your inbox. It’s rife with fascinating insights into the world of food and the people who live there.