Saturday, April 7, 2007

Vinoteca Wine & Beer Bar

A plea to my friends for happy hour ideas led to this great one from Amy. I have visited the bar, but have not yet had the opportunity to appreciate their happy hour. Amy assures me she is up to the task and we will conquer it together next week...stay tuned for the review.

In the meantime, a quick call to the restaurant gave me the specifics: From 4:00pm to 7:00pm all appetizers and some entree's are 50% off. Also offered is a special wine selection, although I didn't get the prices.

If you beat me there, please send me a review!

Vinoteca Wine & Beer Bar 1968 Hillhurst Avenue, Los Angeles

Marie Callender's Grill on Wilshire

For some reason when tourists come into L.A. one of the top attractions on their list is the La Brea Tar Pits. My cousin came down to visit from Seattle and unfortunately it was something he wanted to check out. We took the drive in, struggled with traffic, and almost sacrificed life and limb to find a parking spot...only to find a small oily pit off Wilshire filled with 4 plastic dinosaurs. Pathetic.

Disappointed and by this time totally starving, we wandered down the street and stumbled upon an L.A. icon that is vastly overlooked in the "what new restaurant opened this week" mentality of this town.

What Stasha, another chain restaurant? Oh yes, but not just any chain...the best darn pie chain ever! Marie Callender's. Their flagship store Marie Callender's Grill located on Wilshire in the Miracle Mile has a decor that takes you right back into old Hollywood and, if you sit in the bar or on the lovely patio during the right time, you will find some old Hollywood prices.

Happy hour runs Monday through Friday from 3:00pm to 7:00 pm. It includes: $2 OFF All Wine, Draft Beer & Cocktails and all appetizers are half price. With Jumbo Coconut Shrimp, Spinach and Artichoke Dip, Mac and Cheese, plus a lovely grilled veggie plate drizzled with a balsamic reduction; you can't find a better place to meet up with friends before heading out to a free museum day!

Marie Callender's Grill 5773 Wilshire Blvd Los Angeles, CA

Would You Like Some Culture With Your Cocktail?

Who says that nothing is free? Well...ok...a lot of people do in Los Angeles. However I have made it my goal to find inexpensive and free things to do in this city and in the spirit of that I wanted to share this list of FREE DAYS at local museums!
I will keep the link in "my favorite things".

Heading to the Miracle Mile? Check out this happy hour before going to the museums.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

McCormick & Schmick's

I was flying home to Seattle a few years ago on Alaska Airlines and as a promotion they handed out to all their passengers a $50 gift certificate to McCormick & Schmick's. "Wow!" I thought to myself, "$50! I could eat like a queen!". My friend Justin and I decided to hit up the one on 4th ave. in Seattle. $100 later (not including the gift certificate) we stumbled out of the restaurant stuffed, but bewildered on how we were going to pay our rent next month. We knew we were in trouble when it stated on the menu that the prices were fixed for that date. I had never heard of the term "Market Price" before that cold day in July.

Yes, it's cold in Seattle in July...get over it.

If only someone had told me that they have some of the BEST happy hour deals, I would have been able to keep my apartment. So good, in fact, that they offer it at two different times during the day. I know what you are thinking...chain restaurant, ew...but seriously, give them a shot.

From 3:30pm to 6:30pm then from 9pm to 11pm you will find $1.95 menu items including a full 1/4 lbs cheeseburger and fries, beef skewers and salmon spring rolls to die for. Drinks are still pretty much full price, but the food is worth it.

I recommend the restaurants on Rodeo Drive and in El Segundo. I was turned off by the bar in Downtown L.A., as was my friend Jen unfortunately, thus causing her to veto any attempts by me to get her to meet me there. Damn those foodies!

McCormick & Schmick's, various locations throughout the U.S.

The List

To date, here is the list of reviewed happy hours by region:

Miracle Mile
Marie Callender's Grill

Santa Monica
The Penthouse @ the Huntley Hotel
Monsoon Cafe

Joseph's Cafe

South Bay
McCormick & Schmick's

Beverly Hills
McCormick & Schmick's

Los Feliz
Vinoteca Wine & Beer Bar

Mediterraneo, Hermosa Beach

Bill and I discovered this little tapas gem on one of our "I don't want to drive all the way into L.A. let's stay in the South Bay just once" kinda moods. Located on the pier in Hermosa Beach, Mediterraneo is a find in the middle of a frat boy haven. Sushi style menus are handed out upon arrival and to order one must write in the amount of each item one is choosing. Hand this over to the bartender and in minutes (literally) you are rewarded with a buffet of tasty little tapas. From Polpette (tiny little meatballs in a spicy tomato sauce) to Chorizo Bilbao (grilled spanish sausage with grapes) to an amazing Spicy Black Bean Hummus, you won't be disappointed. And the best part is Monday through Friday from 5 to 7 select tapas are 2 for 1 and drink specials are $2 draft beer (the good stuff, no bud light here) and $3 house wine (one white and one red and last I heard the red was a Malbec). Follow the link to the full menu.
On the downside, like I said before this is a frat boy oasis with tons of sports bars crowding your views of the ocean, parking can be a bit tricky, the bartenders are way surly (which after a couple drinks becomes a bit charming) and it's all the way the hell in Hermosa Beach.
I promise you, however, that if you make the trek down it will be well worth it.

Mediterraneo 73 Pier Ave (Cross Street: Hermosa Avenue)
Hermosa Beach, CA 90254