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There's a lot of farm-to-table restaurants these days, especially in California, but how many have a direct connection to a farm? Farmhouse, located at the Beverly Center, is actually owned by local farmer Nathan Peitso from Kenter Canyon Farms. Just to give you a perspective on the farm, I read that more than 20 years ago chef Alice Waters was getting lettuce from Kenter Canyon Farms (founded by Nathan's mother) for her salads at Chez Panisse, so yeah.

Now Nathan Peitso has opened a true farm-to-table restaurant in Beverly Hills, with Chef Craig Hopson heading the restaurant.

While eating in Beverly Hills is not known to be cheap, you should know that Farmhouse has a seasonal Harvest Menu that is three courses for $48 per person. You can choose from 3-4 options from each course. This is quite a nice deal to have in this area!

We ended up ordering a la carte but with a mix of items that were available on the prix fixe menu and not. We started with the Beets and burrata with pomegranate vinaigrette ($16)

This is a classic combination - and isn't the presentation just beautiful? You can tell from the photo how fresh the beets were.

Lightly cured albacore, marinade of vegetables, chili, coriander, citrus

Despite the chili and coriander garnish, the flavors didn't overwhelm the albacore.

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Los Balcones has been revamping both their locations and each one is different. I recently reviewed the Mestizo cuisine at Los Balcones Studio City and now I checked out the Los Balcones in Hollywood. The Hollywood location has recruited Chef Michelangelo "Miguel" Aliaga to helm the kitchen.

Chef Aliaga hails from northern Peru but he started his cooking career in Florence, Italy. In LA, he's worked at various Italian restaurants including All'Angelo and Cecconi's. Now, at Los Balcones he's able to combine his two roots. Los Balcones' menu still has the classic Peruvian dishes you'd expect to see like lomo saltado and ceviche, but he's also melding Peruvian and Italian cuisines in others.

During my visit I mainly stuck to the Peruvian-Italian dishes so I can try what the chef is getting creative with, except for the beef heart anticucho I got for the appetizer. I just have to get beef heart anticucho when I see it.

Anticucho (grilled beef heart, panca pepper, potatoes, rocoto sauce, $16)

When they do it well like they do here and the beef hearts are tender, you can't go wrong.

Agnolotti de seco (homemade ravioli stuffed with lamb and cilantro sauce, finished with rocoto aioli, $20)

A classic pasta dish but with distinctly Peruvian flavors with the rocoto aioli. This is a great representation of how the two cuisines work together.

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Back Bay is a bit of a touristy area of Boston with Prudential Center, Copley Square, and more, but that doesn't mean there aren't bars worthy of your visit. Here are some of my favorite places to grab a cocktail in Back Bay.

OAK Long Bar + Kitchen

Oak Long Bar is the bar at the Fairmont Copley Square. Since it's a swanky hotel, so is the bar. The drink prices reflect that as well, but it's home to one of my favorite drinks in Boston: the Smoked Chai Manhattan. You can read more about the bar here.

Nahita

Nahita is worth a visit for the gorgeous interior alone, but fortunately the cocktails match the interior. The cocktail menu changes seasonally and there's usually a clarified milk punch on the menu (which is one of my favorite things!)

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What is hamburg? In Japan, don't confuse hamburg ("hambagu") with hamburger ("hambaga"). Hamburg / hambagu is actually like Salisbury steak. Hamburg steak is a patty of ground beef that originated in the town of Hamburg in Germany, but has become very popular in Japan (after German immigrants brought it there) since the 1950s.

In LA, there's now a place in that specializes in this. Tokyo Hamburg at the edge of Koreatown, as the name suggests, serves Japanese style hamburg. Here, the ground meat comes seared on the outside but still raw inside. It is served with a sizzling stone on the side, and diners are supposed to take small pieces and cook them on the sizzling stone. ($13.99 for the original hamburg)


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These days, it's hard to find time to go grocery shopping. Thankfully, there are a few grocery delivery services out there. I recently got to test out Milk and Eggs, a service where you can order farm fresh food online and they'll be delivered to the LA and OC area. What's different about Milk and Eggs is that they get their food from the farms, butchers, bakers - basically the foodmakers directly instead of sending someone to buy your food from other grocery stores.

They're delivered in these reusable bags (which they'll pick up on your next order). If you want to save money, they also have curated farm sampler bags.


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I've never been to Veggie Grill previously. Since I'm not a vegetarian, I don't really seek out vegetarian restaurants, especially a chain. But I recently tried some of their new spring menu items and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised.

We started with some spring pea guacamole. This spring I've been all about the peas - they've just been so good. This pea guacamole - served with plantain chips - was no exception. It was fresh and sweet thanks to the in-season peas.

There's also the Spring Farm Salad with pea tendrils, baby kale, rosemary "chikin", campari tomatoes, dates, watermelon radish, croutons, feta "cheese", sunflower seeds, and avocado dressing


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Even though Marina Del Rey hasn't really been LA's foodie destination, there's one place that's been consistently busy since they opened more than 20 years ago. The restaurant shut down for a bit, but thankfully reopened. Killer Shrimp got their popularity from their namesake dish (more on that later) and has expanded into a spacious space with a harbor view in MDR.

So, the killer shrimp. The original signature dish is a bowl of shrimp in spicy cajun-style broth and served with a French bread. Now, you can choose shrimp, crab, lobster, or all of the above. I tried the one with shrimp, crab, and lobster for $38.

The shrimp and dipping the bread into the spicy tomato-based broth is definitely the best part, though!

They now have a full menu beyond the killer shrimp dishes now. We tried the scallop "sashimi" appetizer (it was seared, so not technically a sashimi)


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I should've written this post earlier, but hopefully you caught my Instagram post about the Gin and Tonic Festival at The Bazaar that's going on for the month of April! If not, you still have a week or so to go check it out.

There are seven different G&Ts on the festival menu, the most impressive of which is the Vacuum Siphon ($40 and serves two). You can order this to custom make your own gin by choosing the botanicals, herbs and spices you want, but the bartender will also have suggestions as to what combinations would work well.
This is usually only available at the bar, where the gin will be made right in front of you using a siphon and dry ice. Basically, the gas created from the dry ice creates pressure that pushes the liquid to the upper chamber, where it is infused with the botanicals.


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Accomplice Bar in Mar Vista first made it onto the go-to list of LA cocktail lovers thanks to Gabriella Mylnarczyk's fun drinks. But even though she recently left the bar, the cocktail program is still going strong thanks to the great bartenders there that collaborated on the latest menu.

Some of my favorite drinks from the current menu include Matchamaker (rice washed Kikori whiskey, yuzu liqueur, coconut rum, matcha, aguafaba). It's a tropical whiskey sour that had a pretty complex flavor profile!

Red Hook (rye, punt e mes, maraschino) is a great drink for those who prefer a more spirit-forward drink. It's nicely balanced.


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One normally associates the all-you-can-eat Brazilian churrascaria, Fogo de Chao, with leaving full after a night of meat feasting. But for spring, Fogo de Chao has added some menu items for those that might want to eat a bit lighter (it's still all you can eat, though, so it's all up to you how light or heavy you want to feel!)

Among the new menu items is the pork picanha. This is pork that's been prepared the same way as Fogo's picanha (one of their best meat items, if you ask me).

There's also linguica, a lightly spicy pork sausage with garlic, red pepper, and onion.


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