Lemon Butter: Best of L.A.'s Theatre Adjacent Restaurants and Bars - August Edition

Lemon Butter is a bi-monthly column featuring choice restaurants, lounges, Happy Hours, and other spots where hospitality is offered, that are convenient to theatre venues throughout Los Angeles. For distances and times given traffic and parking are not factored in. Where available, contact all hospitality venues for valet or parking information and/or reservations.

This month's Lemon Butter covers just a few restaurants in the Silver Lake, South Pasadena, and Downtown LA areas, with one recognized by the Michelin Guide which only just recently returned to Los Angeles!


The Chicken and Waffles at Preux & Proper, Downtown, Los Angeles. Photo by Dan Watkins.

PREUX & PROPER

This Michelin Bib Gourmand awarded restaurant is just a few minute's drive from the Music Center's Ahmanson, Mark Taper Forum, Dorothy Chandler, and Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Executive Chef Sammy Monsour and restaurateur Joshua Kopel bring southern cooking to Los Angeles to their New Orleans-inspired DTLA restaurant.

Cocktails include the Punk Evans comprised of Effen Vodka, lemongrass, ginger, and frozen watermelon balls, an Alabama Slammer featuring Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Sipsmith Gin, yellow chartreuse, lemon, lavender, and grape soda, the Hells Bells made with Real McCoy Rum, ginger peach tea, and lemon, and the refreshing Green Gullah made with St. George Gin, green chartreuse, pineapple, lime, ginger beer and chipotle.

For a starter or bar bites, there's the Cajun “Popcorn” Rock Shrimp with Monsour's buttermilk marinade, cornmeal crust, Creole remoulade, and chunky cocktail sauce,  the Dungeness Crab Hushpuppies with Low-Country Boil Spice, charred Poblano butter, house bourbon barrel-aged green hot sauce, and the Southern Fried Mississippi Catfish that's marinaded in buttermilk before it is dipped in cornmeal and fried, then is served with house pickles, celery salt, and red remoulade.

There are also cool and crisp salads Baby Iceberg such as Pop’s Chop, with North Country bacon ends, heirloom tomato, scallion, Humboldt Fog goat’s cheese and buttermilk dressing, the Chicken Bacon Cobb with house chicken bacon, heirloom tomato, cucumber, hard-boiled egg, queso fresco and avocado ranch, or the OGO Caesar prepared with Monterey Bay seaweed, mustard frills, caper berries, Parmigiano and toasted yellow-eyed peas.

For main dishes there are the fried chicken plates, featuring Chicken & Waffles served with two boneless breasts on cinnamon sugar, cornbread waffles with bourbon-maple, crushed pecans, marjoram, and "really good" butter, Chicken & Biscuit prepared with two boneless breasts and a handmade buttermilk biscuit with charred Poblano butter, Serrano jelly and bourbon barrel-aged green hot, the Nashville Hot served with two boneless breasts, house pickles, Pop’s Slaw on thick cut brioche with a choice of "Hot," "XXX," "Reaper," or "Hellfire" sauce, and a Whole Fried Game Hen comprised of four quartered bone-in game hen with Low-Country seasoning, buttermilk dressing, parsley, scallions and dill, or the Crispy Braised Dr Pepper Wings which include twelve whole wings served with a pomegranate-habanero BBQ, lime crema, and cilantro.

With their South City Fried Chicken moving to Preux & Proper for lunchtime pop-ups Monday through Saturday, Preux & Proper now serves that buttermilk brined chicken in their Southern city-themed sandwiches, like the Chapel Hill topped with “Pop’s Slaw,” Jenny’s pimento cheese, house pickles, and crispy Tarheel country ham. The Greenville, their take on a Club, features that crispy chicken with hickory-smoked chicken bacon, house mayo, gruyère, baby iceberg lettuce and heirloom tomato, The Austin, with Rojo bean hummus, burrata, Javi’s Tia’s Hot Sauce, pickled radish, cilantro, blue corn tortilla crumble, and heirloom tomato, the Nashville seasoned with a Nashville rub, chili oil, house pickles and a sweet and tangy Cookout slaw, and a personal favorite, the New Orleans, with creole remoulade, cajun spice, Thai basil, a fried egg, benne seeds, and ginger-miso BBQ.

There are staple sides including the Slaw, Kennebec Fries, a Watermelon Cucumber Salad, Braised Collards, Low-Country BakedBeans, and Preux & Proper’s famous Cast Iron Mac & Cheese.

For dessert, Preux & Proper’s Pâte à Choux Beignets made with “bananas foster” dulce de leche, and powdered sugar, Maria’s Strawberry Shortcake served with a house buttermilk biscuit, brown butter solids, and crème fraîche vanilla ice cream, or Chef Sammy’s Banana Puddin’ featuring candied walnuts, bananas, Nilla wafer, and toasted coconut.

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

PREUX & PROPER - 840 South Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015 - (213) 896-0090

Distance to the Ahmanson, Mark Taper Forum, Dorothy Chandler, and Walt Disney Concert Hall  - (1.5 miles, 9-15 minute drive)


The Mole Enchiladas Poblano at Casita Del Campo in Silverlake, California, June 23, 2019. Photo by Monique A. LeBleu.

CASITA DEL CAMPO

CASITA DEL CAMPO in Silver Lake houses the Cavern Club theatre and is walking distance to the Lyric Hyperion.

Legendary Casita Del Campo celebrating 57 years in Silver Lake serves fresh fruit Margaritas, like the Strawberry and Pomegranate Margaritas made with fresh lime juice, triple sec and tequila, along with flavors like apple, peach, melon, and banana—perfect for Summertime cocktails before a show downstairs at the Cavern Club.

The vibrant and colorful restaurant features homemade Mexican fare like the shareable Casita’s Special with six crispy mini tortillas topped with chicken, beef, beans, jack cheese, sour cream, fresh guacamole, chopped tomatoes, and peppers, the cheesy Enchiladas are prepared with a choice of protein or can be served vegan with a light tomatillo sauce, the Mahi Mahi, grilled and topped with red bell peppers, onions, cilantro, tomatoes and is served with white rice, black beans, and plantains, the Pollo al Cilantro, with fresh cubes of chicken in a butter sauce, with olive oil, spices and cilantro, and the Cochinita Pibil--a pork tenderloin marinated in spices, achiote chili, and fruit juice, slowly baked and served with white rice and black beans. All of their entrees are served with soup or salad, rice, beans, and hot corn tortillas.

Rudy del Campo, a successful dancer on Broadway, Las Vegas and a “Shark” in the film 'West Side Story,” opened Casita del Campo in 1962 with his family. He met Nina del Campo in 1965, where they fell in love. Rudy passed in 2003, but restaurateur Nina del Campo continues to work at the restaurant where she's been in charge of the business since the 1960s. The restaurant, traditionally and festively decorated with moons, Moravian stars, holiday decorations of the month, with “West Side Story” memorabilia throughout, also has glorious enclosed patios which contain Nina del Campo's brilliant artistry—her hand-inlaid glass mosaic tables designed by her and representing Mexican art and culture. These should not be missed in a visit to this landmark Silver Lake restaurant!

CASITA DEL CAMPO - 1920 Hyperion Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027 - (323) 662-4255

Distance to the Cavern Club Theatre  - None. You are there!

Distance to the Lyric Hyperion Theatre  - (0.1 miles, 1 min. drive, 2 min. walk.)


The Chicken Karaage, front, and Spicy Tuna "Tacos" during Happy Hour at Ai Restaurant, South Pasadena, California. Photo by Monique A. LeBleu.

AI RESTAURANT

AI RESTAURANT in South Pasadena, next door to the landmark, re-purposed Rialto Theatre, and very near the  Fremont Centre Theatre and South Pasadena Theatre Workshop is a best-kept secret when it comes to Happy Hour quick bites and a cocktail just before the theatre...or anytime.

One Yelp reviewer referred to the Ai Bar as the "Cheers" of South Pasadena, as the place is indeed that popular with diehard locals, especially during Happy Hours.

Although a modest assortment at their full bar, their collection Japanese beers are choice, as is their sake and Chef Fumito's select Japanese whiskeys. Their house Chardonnay (typically Hess) is a good value at $5.50 a glass, as is the "Ai Tai" of Bacardi Light rum, pineapple, lime, orange juice and Almond Orgeat syrup, with a float of Myers Dark rum at $8.

Happy Hour and the best deals are Tuesdays through Saturdays 4-7 pm., and Sundays 5-7 pm, which features a variety of specially priced items that can make a fantastic “tapas” style shareable dinner with bar bites such as the crispy fried Chicken Karaage, the Grilled Shishito peppers, the Ika (squid) Tempura, Mussels prepared in white wine, garlic & olive oil, the spicy Tuna Poke marinated with a seaweed salad, and the ever-popular Spicy Tuna "Tacos" on wonton tostadas.

Some of the sides include String Beans sautéed with Garlic Sauce (which is the same sauce for the off-menu Garlic Edamame, if you ask for it), Steamed Asparagus' served with a miso-based dipping sauce, Steamed Spinach sautéed with garlic and served hot or cold, Okra served Tempura, or steamed Shumai dumplings (Deep fried or steamed), the Agedashi Tofu, a deep fried Tofu in broth, and fried shrimp, squid, scallop, and other assorted Tempuras.

If you are lucky, Fumito San might have the melt-in-your-mouth Lamb Chops during Happy Hour, which come with a garnish of a very creamy mashed potato salad and dipping sauce. When he has it, this is a must have!

Aside from lots of hot plate combinations and sushi to order, Ai Restaurant is one of the last Japanese Restaurants to provide “Love Boats”–large table-service boats filled with preset and to order sushi assortments. There are also assorted “Don” or Rice Bowls with ebef, Chicken Katsu, Tempura, and unagi, and Udon Noodle Bowls of beef, chicken, Tempura, Nabeyaki, or Soba with Tempura.

Cut rolls are relatively simple, such as the Yellowtail & Green Onion Roll, Jumbo Shrimp Tempura Roll, or the seasonal Soft-Shell Crab Roll, along with assorted Sashimi to order and Chirashi Bowls (Mixed Sashimi over Rice.)

Word of warning: as a family run business, the restaurant is incredibly busy during lunch and large groups sometimes take longer to serve. The restaurant is closed on Mondays.

Itadakimasu!

AI RESTAURANT - 1013 Fair Oaks Ave, South Pasadena, CA 91030 - (626) 799-0534

Distance to the South Pasadena theatre Workshop  - (450 ft, 1 min. drive, 5 min walk)

Distance to the Fremont Centre Theatre  - (0.2 miles, 2 min. drive)


Angel Kay Sedia's Always On Chico's Case

The infamous Chico's Angels will be opening their latest edition of their riotous, outrageous, hilarious, long-running (15 years!) series of Charlie's Angels drag homage - CHICO'S ANGELS 2: LOVE BOAT CHICAS on March 28, 2018. The self-proclaimed leader of these too, too funny Angels, Kay Sedia, managed to spare us some seconds of her most precious time between her many costume fittings, wig stylings and Tupperware functions. We even finagled a few moments from Kay's alter ego, CHICO'S ANGELS co-creator Oscar Quintero.

Mucho gracias for doing this interview, Kay Sedia!

You have worn many a bright colored dress and a huge wig in all your performances in CHICO'S ANGELS since 2003. Do you have your own personal Versace? Or do you sew your frocks yourself?

No, I have my own Versage. Her name is Carol, and chee has a quinceañera shop on Western. Please don't be jealous or try to approach her because chee is exclusive to me.

Just how many wigs is 15 years worth?

Worth one million dollars, if I had put a number to it. But I say I have about 35 wigs.

How much time needs to pass before you become emotionally unattached to them that you can throw them out?

10 minutes.

With all the shellacking, er, hair spray, how long does a set to your raven locks keep? A week? A Show? The run???

Just depends how active the cho is. Some have last for five minutes, and there are some that last for ten years. It just depends on the amount of work I'm willing to do for the cho. A few of them last ten minutes, but most of them hold their curls for ten years because I'm lazy.

You were born in 1999, out of pageantry necessity. Were you a product of immaculate conception? Or did you have 'help' in your creation?
No one can say they do anything alone, specially in the world of drag. Ju always need jur mentors. I had some help from some very fancy gay peoples in Hollywood - mainly Glen Allen, James Gray and a bunch of other queens.

Which would you pick as your moonlighting job - being a Chico's Angel? Or a top-selling Tupperware Queen?
Well, I tell ju! Tupperware is my yob, I enjoy it. CHICO'S ANGELS is my pasión. So ju decide! They both pay the bills. One just stores my food better.

Can I speak to your alter ego Oscar for a few moments? You can interrupt, er, join in, when you get the urge, OK, Kay? 

Si!

Oscar, did any particular person inspire your creation of Kay Sedia?
She is inspired by many women in my family. My mother, my aunts, and my sisters. Kay is a combination of them with the majority inspired by my mother. My mother was the most self-centered woman you've ever met. She was the life of the party and a bit clueless about how self-absorbed she was. But you loved her anyway.

What cosmic forces brought you and Kurt Koehler together to create CHICO'S ANGELS, aside from the wonderful Mr. Dan?

We were sitting next to each other and we were on our way to see the Plush Life. We met through the same circle of people. We didn't know each other that well and he told me about a project he was working that was called "Super Fag." I told him I had done this alter ego/superhero Kay Sedia, which was called "Taco Chick." My friend Glen was also sitting with us and mention it was similar to "Electric Women & Dina Girl" — yet like "Taco Chick & Salsa Girl." We all started laughing. Later, Kurt cast me in this film and that is when we started talking about CHICO'S ANGELS. Cut to about a year later, Kurt called to ask if he could direct CHICO'S ANGELS and I said he could direct it if he would help write it. AND... that's when the world of CHICO'S ANGELS began.

Okay, Kay, back to you... Describe your relaxation attire? Heels, si or no?
My cha-cha pumps are everything to me. They can help me climb walls and they can make me look sexy when I'm laying on the bed. Cha-Cha pumps are everything.

Do you prefer performing live on the Cavern Club Theater stage or shooting video on location?
I feed off the audience. I feed off their energy. I feed off their nachos if they have them on their table! There is nothing like a live audience for me. 

Which of your past CHICO'S ANGELS cases was your favorite?

We now have done five cases on stage and I would say my favorite would be a combo between the one where we are high school hookers, and when we go on the Love Boat. I just love the Love Boat one because of all disco music. I guess ju could say they're my twins. I love them both equally.

Tell us what you like most about Frieda Laye?

Chee's slutty and chee doesn't apologize. I aspire to be like Frieda because ju know, I'm a hopeless romantic and I have to fall in love. Frieda can spread them open, give it away and then walk away to the next guy - I wish I could be like that. Chee's my spirit animal.

Is there any quality you admire most about Chita Parol?

There's very little I admire about Chita Parol. Chee's so mean and so jealous of all my sexiness on a daily basis. But if I have to admire something of her - I admire her jealousy of me.

You've had Charo in your show, si?

Ches.

Tell us about your experience with Senorita Charo.

Speaking about spirit animals, chee is definitely my spirit animal. What I find so espiring about Charo is that chee carved out a little niche for herself in this crazy entertainment business that is predominantly Anglo. Charo is a classically trained guitarist, but even chee says "Cuchi-Cuchi!" took her to the bank. That's what I admire. I'm funny, I'm sexy, and I'm gonna let it take me to the bank, too.

What celebrity would you like the Angels to solve a case for?
Jaclyn Smith… That angel hasn't come to the cho.

Where do you find your CHICO'S ANGELS Hotties? Do you have a lengthy audition process?
Ches! We have a farm in Hollywood that's called "Chico's Estates!" That is where we groom them. We teach them how to learn lines, flex, and workout. Our one main acting technique for the Hotties is how to take their shirts off. It's a hard class, not many can do it. Frieda has to cho them how using her teeth, but it gets dangerous for her, chee swallows -- too many buttons! Chico usually tries to get the young actors as soon as they arrive here to LA. I can't tell ju how many have fallen in love with me. It's so sad, but I understand, my beauty is a curse. 

Do you know what your boss Chico is planning for you in the near future?

Chico's next assignment for us has us doing our variety cho. Later in the year, we will be back to celebrating our 15th anniversary on the stage with our original episode. There have been rumors that we might be moving to a “bigger” theater. Gil, there is a lot of good stuff coming up, and we definitely want to make our CHICO'S ANGELS feature film this year. Chico better make it happen soon, because I'm getting bored.

With LOVE BOAT CHICAS returning to the Cavern Club Theater at the Casita Del Compo beginning March 28, are you expecting your Angels aficionados to relive their LOVE BOAT experience and shout out your lines with you?
Thees is a scripted cho and does not include audience participation people! There is NO shouting out, unless ju're yelling, "Kay, ju are so SEX-EEEE!" By the way, I know that, so keep it that to jurself. (Kay is blushing)

And on a closing note, please share with your fans how you stay the "Pretty One" of the Angels? What's your diet and beauty secrets?

My diet consists of a lot of chips & salsa. I also do a guacamole mask which then I eat with the chips - it's almost like a two-for-one facial. Honestly, I try to do as little as possible in the arena of exercise. It's too much work, and I don't like it, and it hurts. Sexy is as sexy is. I can't help it.

Mucho, mucho gracias, Senorita Sedia! I look forward to laughing out loud at you and your fellow Angels. Hmm, I mean laughing with you and your fellow Angels, while oogling your latest CHICO'S ANGELS Hottie.

For ticket availability and show schedule through April 8, 2018; log onto ChicosAngels.com


Chico's Angels' Frieda Lays It All Out For Ju

Chico's Angels latest VIVA LA CHICAS! A CHICO'S ANGELS VARIETY HOUR CHO will be premiering May 23, 2017 at The Cavern Club Celebrity Theater inside the Casita Del Campo Restaurant. A loving spoof on the 1970's hit TV series Charlie's Angels, Chico's Angels recruits three gorgeous, comedic Latina drag queens as the crime-solving private ai-yi-yi's. We had the chance to catch up with the blondest one Frieda Laye between her beauty regime rituals.

Thank you for taking time out between doing your hair and nails for this interview, Frieda.

CHICO'S ANGELS is all of 14 years old. So you, Frieda, didn't start with its conception, your alter-ego Danny Casillas did. What role did Danny play in CHICO'S ANGELS's birthing?

I think he were Bossman. I don't know, I weren't there.  He prolly don't played it as good as the guy who play it now, verdad?

What were the circumstances that Danny originally connected with you?

I used to be taller when Edward Alvarado played me.  Then, there was a scheduling thing, so they called Danny.  I think Kay & Chita liked me no taller than thems, so Danny stuck as me.

 Who in his past does Danny tell you, you remind him of, Frieda?

He say I remind him of Goldie Hawn mix with Xaviera Hollander.  They both very happy peoples… and blond.

Frieda, do you and your alter ego ever argue?

Jes, sometimes can't decide: jock strap or panty hose!

I bet you win most of the time, si?

Jes!  I need coverage there, if ju know what I am meaning!  We don't want to lose all of stage right, verdad?

Does Danny come to Casita Del Campo with you? Or do you drive to the Cavern Theater by yourself?

We drive together and sing the show tunes real loud with the windows down!

Does Danny pick you up? Or don't you want anyone to see him at Casita Del Campo?

He picks me up, but I make him dropping me off where Fountain turn into Hyperion.  Then I walk up alone, without him to embarrass me and I also, tambien look real eco-illogical, ju know?

Frieda, do you get jealous when Danny does someone else? I hear he does a mean Herve Villachaise in Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center's THE MISMATCH GAME.

He can do whoever he want, I know he will NEVER do as many people as I have!

I read in your bio, Frieda, that you were born in La Frontera de Chihuahua, Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. You were left under the door mat of a convent, Las Hermanas de la Madre Guadalupe de los Chavos. Were the nuns there mean to you?

I don't know if they were mean… Is it mean to making ju eat jur macaroni portrait of La Guadalupe for dinner… without queso?

What did they do to you to make you rebel against everything they taught you?

They maked being good a chore.  I decided, once I leaved there, that I would let my body tell me what es good, and not my head.   And not the little plastic Mary statue they put it my room, either! It talked en the night!

I guess you can give the nuns credit for the fabulous way you ended up today, wouldn't you say, Frieda?

No. They were stupid.  I gib credit to my natural instinks, my stubbornness and reruns of Los Facts of Life. That Miss Garrett were crazy, but she knowed how to drive a lesson home, ju know?

If I had to guess which Charlie's Angel was your inspiration, I'd say Farrah Fawcett's 'Jill Munroe.' Right?  

Jes!! How ju knowed?

What color blonde do you like to keep your Farrah wings?  

I actually finded a color by la Señorita Clairol call Halo Gold 236.  So use that …and a spray of the peroxide, or two.

In the many shows that I've seen you in, your hair and make-up's always so plastered perfect. Never a hair out of place, a lip smudged or an eye unlined. Reminds me of the episode of Charlie's Angels where the three of them, outfitted in prison denim, escape into the ocean and come out completely dry and immaculately coiffed. So, for the discerning Jill-wannabes out there, would you share your make-up tips on presenting a perfect 'Jill' face?  

Es all about jur color inspiration!  For me, I like to thinking an angel eated too many Eskittles and throwed up on my eyelids!  Then, once ju have all jur colors in place, pat it down with powder mix with cornstarch and spray it over with hairspray.  Then add more hairspray to jur hair.  4 times.  Then it all stay in place!

How long did it take you to get used to walking in platform cha-cha heels?

I learned since I were a little children in the convent and they maked me wear high heels to swat flies all the ways up to the ceilings!

How would you describe your unique sense of style?

Well, I thinking, ‘What would Goldie Hawn wear if she barrow something from Veronica Castro?' and then I think ‘what is real easy to take off fast?'  and I go from there.  

 Where can your fans get your clothes?  

Sometimes, ju can't find that at T & A Maxx, so I design my stuff and have Carol the Quincenera dress maker lady make it.

Frieda, I have to ask. Do you have a diploma?

No, I getted el DipTet shot for that when I were 5.

In school, what did you major in? 

Lee Majors.

Come on, Frieda! I bet you're smarter that you let on. Sometimes you're the one who solves the crime Chico sends the Angels to crack. What's your IQ?  

I think O+, but I not sure.

Tell us your favorite characteristic of your close friend Chita Parol?

Sometimes she misses hitting me when I duck good enough.

And what about your closer friend Kay Sedia?

Sometimes, she remember me and Chita are there.

Will there be a new case to crack in VIVA LA CHICAS! A CHICO'S ANGELS VARIETY HOUR CHO? Or is this a "Best of CHICO'S ANGELS" compilation? 

It's what they call a “Clip Show” where we play clips from previful episodes.  Ju know, like the shows used to do en the TV when they runned out of ideas, but were contracted to do 32 episodes.

What can the Cavern audiences expect in this CHO?

Singing, dancing and a STRANGE Surprise! ('STRANGE,' Hint! Hint!)

Frieda, if you could have one wish for you and your fellow Angels, what would you wish for?  

More chirtless hunky suspects!

If you could only have one wish and it was just for you, what would you wish for?

I would wish for world pieces, and a bed that change its own sheets every day!

Frieda, if you could have only one wish and it was for Danny, what would that wish be?

That he find a boyfriend!  Pobrecito, he gonna die alone, verdad?

Hopefully, this has been as fun for you as it's been fun for me. Mucho gracias, Senorita Laye!  

Aye! It were more fun than putting Pop Rocks candy en my panties!

For ticket availability (May 25th through 28th) to see Frieda and co-detectives Kay and Chita mess up, I mean, solve some cases, log onto www.chicosangels.com Ju gonna laugh!