The second weekend of Coachella tends to be a more timid affair. The first-in-line buzz crowd has already gone, ‘grammed and gotten back to their desk jobs by the end of weekend one, and there are usually fewer celebrity surprises and big name drop-ins as a result. You might say that weekend two is downright relaxed.
Well, perhaps not entirely. There’s still the blazing sun, endless set times and impenetrable crowds to manage. But for those with the discretionary income to enjoy themselves (read: anyone who bought a Coachella pass), it’s possible to make for the desert without overdoing it, even during high music festival season. Spend a little more time near the pool at your Palm Springs hotel, avoid the early traffic by taking in a late lunch, or — better still — spend an evening at Workshop Kitchen + Bar in Palm Springs, drinking cocktails and enjoying the stripped-down interior. You might not make it to the polo grounds at all, but that’s okay.
With its funkily-spelled name and occasional high-minded concoction, Sqirl can sometimes feel like the sort of place that gets Los Angeles put on the map for all the wrong reasons. Sure, the busy storefront space tucked away on the edge of Silver Lake is a bit whimsical, but what cramped boulevard eatery in the less tony parts of New York City couldn’t claim the same attributes?
What Sqirl really is, then, is a bit of a laboratory where fresh, local produce and quality ingredients act as the basis for daily experiments from Jessica Koslow and her team.
Despite what you may think of this slice of town, where West Hollywood bleeds into Beverly Hills and the rich folks crawl along Robertson, there’s no denying the impact of Cecconi’s. An international success by every measure, this globe-trotting upscale Italian stronghold is at once leafy and refined, relaxed and upkept. Even when you couldn’t spot a notable face inside, there’s likely to be paparazzi out front — mostly just wishing they could sneak inside for a bite.
Not that it’s hard, actually. All it takes to gain entry to the marble-flecked front patio is a wallet. But during Cecconi’s five-night-a-week happy hour, you might not even need that; just grab a couple of bucks off the side table on your way out the door, and be prepared to dine surprisingly well.
Fat is a universal language, spoken in every cuisine across the world. It even sits on the tongue the way language does, letting itself be heard in buttery, satisfying tones. That’s what makes Omar’s Xinjiang Halal in San Gabriel so surprisingly approachable: it speaks a common dialect.
There is hardy, often greasy work being done inside the small kitchen that takes up one concealed corner of Omar’s standalone spot on New Avenue in San Gabriel. Little larger than the cook space of a two bedroom apartment, this fiery, sometimes raucous kitchen turns out plates of Uyghur cuisine, a culturally Muslim people with ties across Turkey, Uzbekistan and Russia, though Mrs. Omar herself comes from China, by way of the namesake Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the northwestern People’s Republic. One of more than fifty recognized ethnic minorities across China, the Uyghurs have their own longstanding history, complete with regionally distinct halal foods.
“I can’t say for sure, but I think this place might be heaven.”
That, from an early 20s production assistant fresh out of USC, trying to make his OKCupid date laugh, as they stood in a line that stretched out the front door of Glazed Donut Bistro in West Hollywood and threatened to choke the pedestrian traffic on the sidewalk. She did laugh, and then they both looked down at their iPhones until something else funny came up.
You’ve got to admit this much when it comes to L.A.’s latest over-the-top, simple-but, you know, DIFFERENT, man eatery: Glazed Donut Bistro does hyperbole well.
Goodbye, Westside. Chef Walter el Nagar’s consistently fleeting Italian pop-ups titled Barbershop Ristorante, have been moving progressively east, with earlier stints in Venice and upstairs at the A.O.C. space on West 3rd. Now the chef, known for his work at beach town haunts such as Il Grano, Piccolo and La Botte, is putting down roots in the heart of Hollywood.
For the fifth installment of Barbershop, el Nagar will be serving his modernist cuisine inside The Farmer’s Kitchen on Selma. The extended stint will run Wednesday through Saturday nights, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., until Feb. 15. Barbershop will also forgo their usual timed seatings in favor of a more relaxed reservation policy, inviting guests to belly up to the well-lit bar space to interact with the open kitchen in real time.
Breakfast tacos are a simple concept: scrambled eggs, cheese, some sort of early-morning meat, a four tortilla. So why has it taken so long for Los Angeles to begin embracing the long-held Lone Star State dish?
Thankfully, breakfast tacos are on the rise in L.A. First, there was the outsized version found at downtown’s Bar Ama, chef Josef Centeno’s ode to all things Tex-Mex. Blistered in spots, gigantic throughout and softly scrambled into a forkful of bliss, the larger-than-life introduction for urbanites unfamiliar with the meal has been a success. It’s a talked-about dish now, along with many of Bar Ama’s other Southern Texas specialties, and helped to start a larger conversation about the withering lack of true Tex-Mex flavors in our own Southland.