Allumette Opens in Los Angeles
The new Echo Park restaurant is chef Miles Thompson’s first solo venture
A new small plates-oriented restaurant has opened in Echo Park, and it’s the first solo venture for chef Miles Thompson. He’s opened it along with owners Bill DiDonna and Charles Kelly, in the space last occupied by The Allston Yacht Club, at 1320 Echo Park Ave., near West Sunset Blvd. There’s a 14-seat bar and a 50-seat dining room, and the interior is heavy on the dark wood.
The menu will feature only 12 to 15 dishes nightly, sourced locally from the freshest, most seasonal ingredients, and will feature items meant to be grouped together in multiples of four or six to create a full meal. It’s divided into six sections (Vegetable, Pasta, Fish, Shellfish, Meat, and For Two), and sample dishes include cavatelli with uni ragù, English pea purée, poached mushrooms and fromage noir; grilled octopus with sour apple syrup, cardamom butterscotch potato, and sorrel; and baharat-rubbed lamb sirloin with date soubise, cinnamon labne, and grapefruit.
Cocktails come from Harvard & Stone alum Serena Herrick, and include the Negroni Sbagliato #2 (Punt e Mes, Aperol, Graham Beck Brut, and fresh sage), and Gentleman’s Breakfast (The Famous Grouse, egg white, lemon, and ginger honey syrup topped with atomized Candy Cap bitters and Islay Scotch).
This new addition to the Eastside dining scene certainly seems poised to impress. It’s open daily until midnight.
Ingredient Spotlight: Green Strawberries
When strawberries arrive at markets in spring, brightening folding tables like rescue flares, they affirm the mantra of the seasonal eater: good things come to those who wait. But some chefs have intercepted the fruits before peak ripeness, and now green strawberries, more tart and acidic than their red elders, are showing up on menus at the Beard House and at high-end restaurants around the country.
Whether it signals a new, more subtle shading on the palate of seasonality, or a more elastic idea of what's edible, the trend itself has been developing for a while: in the first season of The Mind of a Chef, aired in 2012, René Redzepi improvised a dish of raw scallops, pea juice, and raw green strawberry slices for David Chang.
The immature fruits are natural candidates for pickling. For his recent Beard House dinner, Miles Thompson of Allumette* in Los Angeles cold-pickled green strawberries in a solution of rice vinegar, simple syrup, lime, and ponzu. Pencil-eraser pink in their centers, the fruits taste like ripe strawberries enrobed in melon. Thompson overlaid them with slices of hamachi.
In New York, pastry chef Erica Ohrling, who recently finished a two-year stint at Brooklyn's Vinegar Hill House and now oversees the dessert program at the Waverly Inn, has spun green strawberry sorbet for her desserts, such as a sesame&ndashalmond cake with green strawberry sorbet, buttermilk, and sesame brittle. " Just raw green strawberries, puréed with a tiny bit of sugar and little water. It tasted like an awakening to spring," she says.
A decidedly niche item, green strawberries can be tough to come by for the average shopper. (And now that strawberry crops are ripe, many vendors might not bother trying to sell them.) If they are available, what's the optimal ripeness for an unripe strawberry? Redzepi insisted that a completely green berry, with no hints of white, is "perfectly unripe." For his pickles, Thompson looks for green outsides and pink insides. Ohrling likes fruit with "little kisses of red or light pink."
Chefs can't always be so picky: a green strawberry won't stay green for long. At the Restaurant at Meadowood, where Beard Award winner Christopher Kostow recently featured a dish of coal-seared squab with a salad of raw and charred green strawberries, the team harvests the berries as soon as they spot them. "In this Napa sun, they get red fast," says the restaurant's Heidi Brown. When it comes to certain good things, it's best not to wait.
(The Allumette team recently announced that the restaurant will close at the end of June.)
Anna Mowry is senior editor at the James Beard Foundation. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.
CaCao Mexicatessen's Bar, Allumette Opens in Jan, More!
EAGLE ROCK— That CaCao Mexicatessen expansion should be complete by mid-February, reports Grub Street. Think a Mexican-themed "forties-style" wine bar serving Baja wines, wines from Mexican-American-owned wineries, and Mexican craft beers. [Grub Street]
ECHO PARK— According to its website, Allumette, the Allston Yacht Club remake cheffed by Miles Thompson, will open in January. [EaterWire]
WEST HOLLYWOOD— On the subject of Troubland replacing Crown Bar, as expected, Hans Goplen, former executive chef at The Farm of Beverly Hills, is involved. Along with partner Jonathan Stevenson. And the property is currently in escrow to become a live entertainment venue with full service food. [EaterWire]
ENCINO— Poquito Mas is taking the former Numero Uno Pizza at 16545 Ventura Blvd. in the complex with Tony Roma's and Office Depot. Should be serving in March. [EaterWire]
The End of Allumette
Yesterday afternoon the news came in that Allumette, the Echo Park restaurant, will close at the end of next month. It's a surprise, certainly, but also almost as much of a surprise that the restaurant lasted as long as it did.
I don't say this dismissively – I'm a fan of chef Miles Thompson's cooking, a fan of bartender Serena Herrick's cocktails, and a fan in general of weird little restaurants in up-and-coming neighborhoods that play by their own rules. But those restaurants are a gamble, always. From the first meal I ate at Allumette I worried that its days were numbered, not because it was flawed (which it was, slightly) but because it was so unexpected.
“I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to explore cuisine at Allumette and can't express enough how much I appreciate those who have championed us over the last year and a half,” Thompson told me yesterday. “It has been an incredible experience.”
Allumette grew out of a pop-up, the Vagrancy Project, which Thompson ran after working at Animal and Son of a Gun. He popped up with Vagrancy at the Allston Yacht Club in Echo Park and so impressed owners Charles Kelly and Bill DiDonna that they offered him the space for his own restaurant. Allston Yacht Club closed and Allumette was born in January 2013. There's no word yet on what Kelly and DiDonna plan to do with the space now.
In every other respect, this had been an incredibly exciting time for Thompson and Allumette. In the past few months, the restaurant has appeared on every major list of L.A.'s most noteworthy restaurants – on our 99 Essentials list, on Los Angeles Magazine's list of the 75 Best Restaurants in town, and on Jonathan Gold's L.A. Times list of 101 best restaurants. It appeared on Bon Appetit's list of the Best New Restaurants of 2013.
Last week, Thompson cooked at the James Beard House in New York City. In previous months, he introduced a tasting menu – only format to the dining room, a move that usually denotes a fair amount of confidence.
Allumette will remain open until June 28, so the good news is that you still have time to check out Thomson's cooking before it goes away. I'm confident it will resurface soon, in one form or another.
Allumette Opens in Los Angeles - Recipes
Antoinette Bruno: How did you get your start?
Miles Thompson: I always cooked, so did my parents. I started getting really interested in food, and I went to a party that my Mom's best friend was hosting. There was really amazing food there—things like salt and acid that home cooks aren't always attune to. My mom asked who the caterer was and her name is Charlotte Berwind. I asked who that was, talked to her, and I wanted to learn how to cook like that. She said, you have to wash dishes first. I did that for two years, working at parties, weddings. After that, I started working the line and I worked for her for six years.
AB: Who's your mentor?
MT: Alex Becker, executive chef at Nobu L.A. when I worked there. I learned everything from him. But the single most important thing was how to be focused and stay calm under pressure. He taught me patience and you learn it on the line by getting things sent back all the time. It's so deflating, but you need the patience to keep going.
AB: How are you involved in the local culinary community?
MT: The farmers market, and in outreach work with Danny Avaro. I do a lot of volunteer work, bringing food to kids who are in the foster care system, and to benefits and bringing kids from the inner city to these events.
AB: If you could do one thing over, what would it be?
MT: I'm so deep in it right now that I can't think of anything. I like where I am. Things I would never do again? I don't know most of those things yet.
AB: Who do you consider your peers?
MT: My mentors are my peers—Vinny, Alex, Frank from Son of a Gun, everyone who works at this restaurant who is more talented then I am. Ari Taymor from Alma, Jordan Kahn, Walter Manzke, Brian and Kris from Hart and the Hunter, Josef Centeno—here in L.A., that's about it. I haven't been out of L.A. that much.
AB: What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to do in your career?
MT: Opening this restaurant. I was running a pop-up out of my apartment for a year. And my dream was to do that and a series of pop-up restaurants in existing restaurants, then open my own. The guys we did the pop-up for here were very impressed and were planning on re-modeling and re-opening.
AB: What's your five-year plan?
MT: Owning a restaurant, most likely in northern California. It would force my food to have to be better. I want to be like Manresa—a destination restaurant. This restaurant is slightly like that—across from a Little Caesar's, in a dark corner, in a neighborhood that's just getting gentrified.
I want to push myself to go deeper into food and to get young cooks who want to work with me and attract people who will travel to eat at my restaurant. Also my fiancé, who's a psychologist, would love to move to North California.
AB: How do you describe your food?
MT: Avante-garde comfort food. It's soulful cuisine based in craftsmanship with a means toward artistry, while remembering everything has to be delicious. My philosophy is that it all has to be fun. It has to make you smile. One way I know a dish works is when people try it and smile when they eat the dish. It's nice.
AB: What is your philosophy on food and dining?
MT: Food must me delicious. Food must be fun, as must dining. Yet there must be an aspect of theater, surprise, suspense, and challenge. Why dine out if not to be entertained and excited? If not to feel the tempo changes of acid and sugar as you dance across a dish or through out a meal? To feel the pulse or focus of your fellow diners. To leave with your head swimming with new flavors!
AB: What are you most proud of?
MT: As silly as it sounds, I’m most proud of writing down every recipe that I’ve encountered in my career. Surely it’s no award or honor. For those I’m also very grateful, however it has allowed me to build my own cuisine from all of the influences that I’ve been fortunate to have been touched by. And through that, it has allowed me to make the food that continues to inspire me to work harder every day and push for a greater cuisine still.
AB: What’s your sustainability ethos and the steps you have taken to achieve them?
MT: We aim to be as sustainable as possible, and achieve this by utilizing ingredients that for the most part are grown within 350 miles of the restaurant, using the most modern—and ancient—farming techniques, including organic and biodynamic styles. We work directly with farmers and contribute to their sustainability with composting and oil recycling projects. We work with proteins that are sustainable as well, all humanely raised and slaughtered with respect and raised in ways harmonious to the land around them. When using wild proteins, we steer clear of any that are endangered and attempt to use those protein sources that could feed the world, were they not so looked down upon by most, notably skate and squid. All of our usable trim is recycled for internal use (family meal) and the byproducts of our former dishes are re-imagined into the components of the new—as seen in the black-garlic confit oil used in the octopus dish. The confit was used on a former cauliflower dish.
300+ Deals: dineLA Restaurant Week Opens
By Alysia Gray Painter &bull Published January 19, 2014 &bull Updated on January 20, 2014 at 12:26 pm
There are no downsides to saving cash on a good meal. Are there? Tapping chin, thinking. Nope. None. Zero.
But when you have over 300 places to save cash at, and over 300 excellent, multi-course meals to choose from, an inability to choose may be the stickiest wicket of the entire enterprise.
But choose you should, if you'd like to give dineLA, our region's gigantica Restaurant Week, a go. Oh, it lasts a substantial amount of time, nearly two weeks, so you shouldn't feel too pressured on selecting an eatery you've wanted to sample. But chop-chop, as they say don't let it end.
What to do, where to go and what to see
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That ending? Friday, Jan. 31. The start? Monday, Jan. 20.
As with past dineLA events, there are fresh headlines, fresh chefs, and new ways to take advantage of all of those discounted prix fixe menus, menus that showcase what the restaurant does best. One of the main stories of this go-around is the finer diner level of participants.
CUT, Melisse, Patina, Spago, and Valentina are all participating in what dineLA terms a "pilot program" this time around. Yep, the flat-ticket price is higher than what you'll find elsewhere during the dineLA run -- that cost is $85 -- but consider that these spots are le creme de la creme. Call it a nifty way to slip into some haute cuisine action for under a hundred.
As for the other prix fixe prices? Those are going to run $15, $20, and $25 for lunch and $25, $35, and $45 for dinner. And, again, that isn't just an entree, but two or three set courses, typically involving a starter and/or sweet at the end.
Yep, your sticky wicket -- the inability to land on one or two spots you've wanted to try -- begins now. But begin you should, because restaurant weeks don't come around too often.
This isn't a sticky wicket, though: Making advance reservations is key. Everyone wants in on good food and saving cash, so everyone'll be filling up seats. dineLA is many excellent things, but spur-of-the-moment-y it really isn't. Best pick your eatery days before heading out the garage, keys in hand and fine dining on your mind.
HATCH Opens in Los Angeles
Ariane Goldman is one smart mama. The beautiful brains behind HATCH, chic maternity clothes for all, realized that mothers-to-be were a massively underserved market. Goldman started to realize that fashionista moms needed a stylish outlet, and so HATCH was born. Now with a booming business, (and some very famous fans!), HATCH is taking LA.
Before Hatch, chic maternity clothes were so hard to find! Tell us about the brand's story!
AG: In 2010 I was pregnant for the first time and frustrated by the lack of stylish clothing options in the maternity market. I didn&rsquot want to spend money on something that was disposable or that made me feel super dowdy. I wanted to celebrate my changing body, not hide behind it. Following the birth of my daughter Charlie, I launched HATCH in an effort to create stylish, easy, timeless maternity solutions as well as become a trusted resource for women who wanted to feel beautiful, confident and stylish during one of life&rsquos most rewarding yet challenging moments. When I was pregnant, I felt like no one was speaking to me, so I decided to start the conversation.
What's the most exciting thing about being a female founder?
AG: The idea that I&rsquom not only setting an example for my daughters but that I&rsquom in the company of other women who are forging the way and driving this new frontier. Women who can do it all - be moms and be successful entrepreneurs. And we&rsquore relying on each other for the support and the insight to make it OK.
Meghan Markle wore one of your pieces! Was that a dream come true?!
AG: We were so excited to see the Duchess of Sussex choose HATCH for her first official maternity ensemble. It was a big surprise and incredibly flattering. Our Eliza Dress is a bestseller because it&rsquos a great all occasion piece. It&rsquos comfortable yet totally appropriate to wear everywhere, pregnant or not. I love the way Meghan styled it and that it fit her perfectly. I also love that she isn&rsquot afraid to embrace her baby bump. She looked chic, comfortable and effortless.
What have been some other huge moments for you and the brand?
AG: Last January we launched our beauty line, HATCH MAMA. Every product in the collection is non-toxic, mama-safe + made from the best plant-based ingredients out there.
Also, in October of 2017, we opened our first retail store at 17 Bleecker Street in New York. We also opened a store in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles at the end of last year. It&rsquos been an amazing journey to watch as our stores bring a layer of connection and community to HATCH that&rsquos super meaningful. We host events at both stores, where we&rsquore educating, informing and connecting women, pregnant or not. We&rsquore bringing in doulas to discuss birth options, lactation consultants and sleep-care professionals to help with the struggles of having a newborn. We&rsquore interviewing leading experts in the maternal and wellness space. You name it. With our stores, we&rsquore growing from a two-dimensional, direct-to-consumer brand to a three-dimensional, meaningful destination where women can find the information and emotional support they need.
And, of course, Meghan Markle wearing our Eliza Dress was an amazing way to kick off 2019!
What are some of your favorite spots in LA?
AG: Farmshop at the Brentwood Country Mart (and across from our Brentwood store) for all my meetings, tenoverten for the chicest all-natural mani/pedi experience, Pace for both food and vibe and for catching up with all my friends.
What are you most excited about for 2019?
AG: As we continue plowing through our next collection of beauty essentials, I&rsquom super excited to help HATCH MAMA grow to have its own identity within the marketplace. We&rsquore also continuing to grow our retail presence in select cities across the country. That combination of community + great product is an important, 360-degree moment for us. Overall, my vision is to make sure HATCH reaches as many women as possible, whether online or through our physical retail locations.
Vindaloo Jackfruit Wrap, anyone?
Customers at the Jackfruit Café can order items such as the Jackfruit Burrito, which features jackfruit, rice, and beans, a variety of different Jackfruit Wraps, such as the Vindaloo Wrap pictured above, with cabbage slaw, cilantro, turmeric, and paprika plantains, and a Jackfruit Soul Platter, which comes with rice, cabbage, beans, and pasta, and can be ordered in the BBQ, Curry, Jerk, or Vindaloo preparation.
If you’re not a fan of jackfruit, the café might think you’re crazy, but they still have your back — you can order any of their several Cauliflower “Chicken” bowls or a combination of any of their $5 sides, which include options like vegan pasta, collard greens, plantains, sautéed cabbage, and more.
Ludo’s Porchetta Dinner @ Gram & Papa’s (Los Angeles, CA)
Ludo has been popping up here and there while finalizing details of his LudoBites 8.0 to come in January. Last week I found him cooking paella at DomaineLA this week I found him making his way across Europe, preparing an Italian-inspired porchetta dinner. The dinner was a collaborative effort, with the recipes being Mike Ilic’s, owner of Gram & Papa’s. Ludo executed his menu.
Gram & Papa’s is probably best known for hosting LudoBites 4.0, 5.0 and 7.0, so I suppose it’s not at all a surprise to find Ludo popping up here. The $33 three-course dinner, centered around a porchetta sandwich, was titled Un Petit Porc. Apparently, this little piggy went to the oven.
As with anything Ludo touches nowadays, reservations were hard to come by. After about 41 minutes of calling repeatedly, Remil was able to snag a table and graciously invited me to join his party (joining Joanna of LA in Stilettos and my coworker Yury). Three times were available (6:30, 7:30, 8:30) and we got the first one. We were lucky to have that later seatings were delayed a bit.
Kind of a cute logo, though somewhat disturbing at the same time.
Boston Lettuce Salad
Course one was a rather simple salad of lettuce, green onions and radishes. Clearly, Ludo kept it light in anticipation of the rich porchetta to come. Knowing him, I bet the holiday colors were no coincidence.
Whole porchetta roasts were periodically coming out of the rear kitchen, to be carved up in front. The smell was intoxicating!
Ah, what we’d all been waiting for. I’m far from an expert on porchetta sandwiches, but I really enjoyed this one. Chunks of herb-scented (rosemary!) pork were sandwiched between toasted halves of bread. The bread is integral in a sandwich like this I found this one to be soft and yielding, but also with some toasty texture. There was a nice balance of lean pork and flavorful fat, and the dipping sauce (some type of jus?) made a huge difference, softening the bread and adding some extra depth of flavor. Being a little nitpicky, the pork could’ve been a little more moist and I would’ve liked to have seen more of the crispy skin regardless, this was one tasty sandwich. When Joanna was too full to finish half of hers, I took it and scarfed it down.
Four sides were available to accompany the sandwich.
This was a plate of broccolini, well-seasoned with a nice crunchy texture. There was a subtle heat in here too. I was glad to get a little more greens in my diet to balance the meat and carbs.
The creamy beans were decent, sitting in a rich tomato-based sauce. Nothing particularly standout, but it was a good bean dish.
While the cheese and corn flavors were on point, I found the polenta to be overly thick with a glue-like consistency.
The favorite for me were these potatoes. Really crispy, yet still fluffy on the inside, I couldn’t have asked for more. Well, except for more potatoes.
Roasted Apple and Vanilla Ice Cream
Dessert was this interesting dish of a roasted apple. The flesh was fairly soft throughout, sitting in a rich caramel sauce that filled the plate. A scoop of vanilla ice cream completed the dish. Familiar flavors, though I was looking for some texture.
I came for a porchetta sandwich and Ludo delivered, preparing what I thought was a delicious and pretty well-executed version. I don’t think the other courses/sides quite lived up to the highs of the sandwich, but the flavors did fit in and helped complement the sandwich. As much as I enjoy some of Ludo’s unique creations, lately I’ve found just as much satisfaction in comfort foods that are slightly elevated with Ludo’s touch. I’m thinking of the fried chickens and souffles, as well as the paella and porchetta as of late. One wonders, if he does open up a permanent restaurant someday, if he will consider a more comfortable, homey concept as well.
Los Angeles Hot Spot
At the tender age of 25, chef Miles Thompson is already revolutionizing the Los Angeles dining scene with his intriguing spin on avant-garde comfort food. Originally a pop-up concept, Thompson&rsquos build-your-own-tasting-menu experience has matured into a sought-after restaurant offering progressive haute cuisine.
- Hors d'Oeuvre
- Crudités with Nori, Yogurt, and Buttermilk
- Potato Chips with Smoked Whitefish, Persian Cucumbers, and Chives
- Torpedo Onion Panisse with Meyer Lemon Mustard, Hibiscus Onions, and Cilantro
- Potato Salad with Furikake Aïoli, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and Katsuobushi
- White Americano Cocktails with CapRock Bitters and Blackberries
- Kampachi with Palm Sugar Vinaigrette, Caper Salt, Bordelaise Cracker, Green Strawberries, and Cherry Tomatoes
- Weingut Niklas Schiava 2011
- Uni with Pistachio Panna Cotta, Pickled Grapes, Yuasa Shoyu, Spring Onions, and Radishes
- La Marea Albariño 2011
- Lamb Belly with Tsume, Fermented-and-Burnt Brassicas, Grenache Vinegar Marshmallow, and White Soy Watercress
- Les Rocher des Violettes Cabernet Franc 2011
- Pork Trotter Dashi with Egg Yolk, Farfallini, Lemon Zest, Hazelnuts, Kinome, and White Pepper
- Cismontane Brewing Company Deciduous X.P.A.
- Cucumber&ndashCondensed Milk Ice Cream with Quince Vinegar, Juniper Meringue, Chamomile Crème Fraîche, and Milk Chocolate&ndashChicory Feuillitine
- Orchard Sour with CapRock Peach Brandy and Chamomile
Tickets to events held at the James Beard House cover the cost of food and a unique dining experience. Dinners are prepared by culinary masters from all regions of the United States and around the world. All alcoholic beverages are provided on a complimentary basis and are not included in the ticket price.
Watch the video: Εικόνες Λος Άντζελες - Περπατάμε στη θρυλική Λεωφόρο των Αστεριών