My 28th annual TicketHolder Awards are now posted on my TicketHoldersLA website in two parts. You can read it below and click here for photos.
Choosing my honorees this year is a real bitch. Almost as many tears shed as Carrie Ann Inaba eliminating a sports figure she finds hot. Yet there’s not much else good to write home about in 2019 besides theatre in El Lay. Between the mess we’re making of our planet and the eye-opening disintegration of everything I’ve championed and held dear all my life, thank Terpsichore it’s been a spectacular year for the creation of theatrical art to help ease the pain and frustration of living in our Trumpian nightmare. And even though I have a whole heap of productions to honor this year, with part of my time spent in New Orleans hosting an exhibit of my paintings and medical issues to tackle that seem to come with the territory at age 348, there were also a lot of noteworthy productions I sadly missed. In my world, it’s definitely been a year to praise some monumental directorial work and a plethora of spectacular ensemble casts; choosing winners in both categories has not been an easy task. And what do you think of the Geffen Playhouse? After too long a period of less-than exciting fare, the announcement in 2017 that Matt Shakman had been hired as the complex’s artistic director guaranteed a positive change and without a doubt, the turn around has been staggering. Two of the company’s casts are tied here for Best Ensemble, two of its masterful set designs are as well, and five of my top production choices for 2019 were presented at the Geffen, including my second, third, ninth, and tenth pick for Best Play and second choice of Best Revival. If I gave an annual award for Best Season, surely the Geffen Playhouse would win this year. As a matter of fact, maybe I should initiate such a thing. As a matter of fact, I think I will.
The Thanksgiving Play, Geffen Playhouse
RUNNERS-UP: The Abuelas, Antaeus; Andy Warhol’s Tomato, Pacific Resident Theatre; Apple Season, Moving Arts; Dana H., CTG/Douglas; The End of Sex, Victory Theatre Center; For The Love Of (or the Roller Derby Play), Theatre of NOTE/CTG at the Douglas; 4.48 Psychosis, Son of Semele; Frankenstein, A Noise Within; Handjob, Echo Theatre Company; The Mountaintop, Garry Marshall Theatre; On Beckett, CTG/Douglas; The Play That Goes Wrong, CTG/, Ahmanson; Sisters in Law, Wallis Annenberg Center
RUNNERS-UP: The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Antaeus Theatre Company; Cats, Pantages; The Cripple of Inishmaan, Anteaus Theatre Company; Happy Days, CTG/Mark Taper Forum; Hello, Dolly!, Pantages; Jesus Christ Superstar, Pantages; Loot, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble; The Ruffian on the Stairs, Los Angeles LGBT Center; Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, Garry Marshall Theatre
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.
https://twitter.com/LemonadeLA/status/1086329199403528194 The counter-service restaurant features a variety of salads, sandwiches, bowls, and hot entrées–items like a Curry Apple Chicken Salad with whole grain mustard & golden raisins, Thai Chicken Meatballs in green curry sauce, a Roasted Mango Chicken with sautéed kale & seasonal vegetables, served over warm, seasoned white or brown rice, or a spicy Pineapple Chicken Green Bean with toasted coconut, jalapeños & jerk dressing.
There are Asian-inspired bowls, like the Ahi Tuna Avocado with ahi tuna, avocado, radish, tangerine, and sesame served over warm, seasoned white or brown rice. served with ginger, shallots, seaweed, & furikake or the Thai Ginger Salmon sweet soy-ginger salmon poke with Thai peanut noodles, served with ginger, shallots, seaweed, & furikake. Sandwiches such as a Turkey ‘El Tijuana’ with jicama slaw, queso fresco, avocado, pickled jalapeños, and jalapeño aioli.
The Classic Mac and Cheese and Avocado and Cherry Tomato salad at Lemonade in Larchmont Village. Photo by Monique A. LeBleu.
Lemonade also has an assortment of vegetarian hot and cold items, such as a Tomato & Mozzarella sandwich with basil, pesto, and balsamic or a Classic Grilled Cheese with aged cheddar cheese, the Grilled Artichoke Asparagus with snap peas, manchego, arugula, pine nuts, & lemon artichoke vinaigrette, Curried Cauliflower with golden raisins & almonds, New Mexican Chili Roasted Butternut Squash with white corn, lime corn nuts, & scallion ranch dressing vegetarian, or Beet Couscous with red onion, baby spinach, goat cheese, dill, & creamy herb dressing.
For vegans, a Snap Pea Edamame with Watermelon Radish, Carrots, & Sesame Vinaigrette, Avocado Cherry Tomato with pine nuts & lime-cilantro vinaigrette, kale farro, or Red Kale Quinoa with sunomono vegetables, gala apple, colored cauliflower, scallions, & white miso vinaigrette, and a Southwest Vegan Chili with zucchini, squash, red beans.
Lemonade - 626 N Larchmont Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90004 – (323) 464-0700
Cozy for brunch, in time for Pride Month, and nearest the Marilyn Monroeat Lee Strasberg, McCadden Place Theatre,LGBT Center, and just a short jaunt from Theatre Row, the WeHo Bistro starts the day right with an eye-opener like Wicked Bloody Mary or an endless Mimosa to pair with brunch items such a Croissant French Toast made with a fresh croissant dipped in eggs and butter, grilled, then topped with homemade caramel sauce and whipped cream, or their Croque Madame, a French-style sandwich made with ham and melted Emmental Swiss cheese on grilled brioche bread with a sunny side up organic egg on top.
For a leisurely dinner, start with their French Onion Soup dripping with melted and toasted Emmental Swiss cheese and homemade croutons, a French Pate Platter with pork rillette, duck pâté with pistachio, chicken liver pâté and pâté de champagne, or Lamb Sliders prepared with cucumber, lettuce, tzatziki, feta cheese and onions. For sample entrées, there's a Genoa Pasta made with jumbo tiger shrimp sautéed in garlic and olive oil and tossed with spaghetti al dente in a creamy pesto sauce or a Bacon Wrapped Filet Mignon with Peppercorn Sauce comprised of an 8oz Prime Grade Angus Filet Mignon topped with tiny onion rings and served with potatoes Dauphinoise and tomato Provençal.
And for a quick cocktail between shows, you can have a kiki with Jerry’s Kiki cocktail made with Redemption Bourbon Whiskey, or a gild the lily with a WeHo Bistro’s signature Gold Blend, egg white, lemon with gold flakes on top.
Gallery photos by Velvet Media & Marketing.
WeHo Bistro - 1040 North La Cienega Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA 90069 - (310) 657-9696
The restaurant and full bar features a Happy Hour from 4 -7 p.m. daily, and brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, lunch and dinner.
Several unique and Traditional Peruvian dishes are offered such as the Mixto ceviche cocktail, to start, of striped bass, shrimp, octopus, squid, lime juice, onions, choclo – a giant Peruvian corn, and rocoto – a spicy chili pepper. For entrées, there's the Lomo Saltado – a sauteed beef filet with onion, tomato, Lee Kum Kee sauce, Kennebec fries, and rice on the side, the Sudado De Pescado – a poached Mediterranean Sea Bream with tomatoes, cilantro, chives, onions, chicha de jora – a Peruvian corn beverage, the Clasico Striped bass with lime juice, onions, choclo, and rocoto pepper, an Agnolotti De Seco – a homemade ravioli stuffed with lamb, cilantro beer sauce, finished with rocoto aioli, or a traditional Arroz Con Pollo of chicken confit, cilantro rice, salsa criolla, and creamy huancaina sauce.
Los Balcones also has a few vegetarian dishes. To start, there's a Baby Kale Salad with gooseberries, red radish, red apples, walnuts parmesan cheese, and lemon vinegar. Then, for entrées, the Solterito De Quinoa with quinoa, queso fresco, choclo, fava beans, heirloom carrots, cherry tomatoes, red wine vinegar dressing, or the Coliflor A La Nortena – a pan-seared cauliflower with cilantro sauce.
For dessert, the Picarones, a Peruvian sweet potato beignet, tropical fruit syrup or a Chicha Morada, a traditional Peruvian beverage made from purple corn & spices.
Los Balcones - 1360 Vine Street, Los Angeles, CA - (323) 871-9600
Distance to The Broadwater - 0.4 miles via Santa Monica (10 min. walk/1-3 min. drive)
800 DEGREES/SUNSET & VINYL
Within walking distance to The Montaban and the Pantages is 800 Degrees in the Sunset + Vine mall. The street-level restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating with a dog-friendly "Bark Park" patio. Also, tucked away upstairs above the restaurant, is Sunset and Vinyl, a cozy speakeasy bar that features you-pick-and-play-it vinyl. The bar is a warm and comfortable, circa 1970s, living room-style atmosphere, complete with window views that looks upon one of the city's most famous intersections.
800 Degrees makes hand-stretched, wood-fired Old World pizzas, sandwiches, salads, and Rotisserie Chicken served with their signature sauces and a host of sides, such as Roasted fingerling potatoes, Brussels sprouts, hummus, farm Greens, and Quinoa Tabbouleh.
There are six different “in-house” sauces made to accompany their roasted chicken – the Peruvian Jalapeno-Cilantro Sauce (reminiscent of a Peruvian "Aji" sauce) made with jalapeños, cilantro, lime, mayo and garlic, a Barbecue Sauce, a Tahini Sauce of tahini paste, garlic and olive oil, the Spicy Tomato of uncooked Roma tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and Calabrian Chile, and the Calabrian Chile Aioli includes with the Italian chilis blended with herbs, spices and aioli, and the Piri Piri Sauce – a blend of citrus, chilis, garlic, onion, herbs and olive oil.
The local-made Burrata cheese makes a good starter and is served with the Cherry Tomato & Pesto, the Prosciutto & Strawberry or the Beets & Balsamic.
There a several signature pizzas to order from, such as the Quattro Formaggi – their “Bianca” with mozzarella, smoked provolone, gorgonzola & fontina, finished with wildflower honey, a BBQ with rotisserie chicken, BBQ sauce, smoked provolone, peppadews, red onions, and cilantro, a Tartufo of a Bianco with truffled pecorino, wild mushrooms, roasted garlic, and arugula, or a Prosciutto & Burrata – a lassic Margherita topped with Prosciutto di Parma and local burrata.
Gallery photos by Monique A. LeBleu.
Or you can make a custom pizza from a large selection of unique toppings, such as Bianca pizza with butternut squash and caramelized onions or a Margherita topped with sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms and roasted garlic. Good for keeping away the vampires!
They also has a selection of beer and wine for the inside and patio dining.
Sunset & Vinyl has craft cocktails such as the Master Cleanse of gin, ginger, carrot and lemon or a Dance or Die with Mezcal, pineapple, Aperol, and lemon, and a daily Happy Hour from 6 - 8 p.m. with $5 well drinks and draft beer and $6 for a glass of wine.
Lemon Butter is a bi-weekly 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.
Their fresh, healthy menu includes salads like the "Fantastic", a Torta Española Chopped Salad with a chickpea frittata, roasted red pepper, escabeche, cashew mozzarella, sun-dried tomato pesto, and toasted almonds, an assortment of Bowls such as the "Humble," an Indian Curry Bowl with red lentil dal, spinach, roasted garnet yams, coconut mint chutney, spicy tomato jam, and brown rice or quinoa, or entrees like the "Elated," with Mole Abuelita Enchiladas made with mole tempeh, corn, black beans, roasted tomatillo sauce, cashew queso fresco, avocado, coleslaw, and escabeche.
Café Gratitude - 639 N Larchmont Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90004 - (323) 580-6383
Photo by Monique A. LeBleu - The Tortellini with ricotta cheese and green asparagus coulis at a Media Tasting, KASS Wine Bar + Restaurant, Los Angeles, California, January 29, 2019.
Debuting just this month and now open is KASS Wine Bar + Restaurant by Michelin starred Chef Christophe Émé. KASS' 40-seat dining room and wine bar on La Brea is just off of Wilshire's Miracle Mile, close to Theatre Row, and conveniently close to the newly remodeled Lyric Theatre. A beautiful, intimate spot for quick bar bites featuring an assortment of French cheeses and charcuterie with a glass of wine before the show, a relaxing glass after on the patio, or an anytime leisurely lunch or dinner.
Émé, of Iron Chef America, serves a rotating menu based on market fresh produce with openers such as the salad of Baby Beets with black lentils and aged Comté cheese, a Farro Risotto with celery root, kale, and Morel mushrooms, or the grilled octopus with baby fennel, Yukon potato, and red bell pepper coulis. Some suggested entrees are a Farro Risotto with celery and morel mushrooms, Tagliatelle pasta with Braised organic Beeler pork ragù, Tortellini with ricotta cheese and green asparagus coulis, a "Chicken Cooked in Clay" served with wild mushroom sauce and green asparagus, or an Oxtail Parmentier—a smooth-layed French cottage pie of potatoes, bone marrow and Burgundy truffles. Some appetizers and openers, such as the Beet Salad, Ceviche or Kusshi oysters, and chilled desserts like the Chocolate Tart accompanied by chocolate sorbet, may be served on the restaurants unique and visually stunning chill plate—a water-filled concave envelope of glass.
Of their collection of wines—characterized as "Energetic," "Fruity," and "Muscular" for whites and "Bright," "Juicy," "Earthy," and "Plush" for reds—available by the glass are a "muscular" white Domaine Dupasquier, Roussette de Savoie, Savoie 2013, a "pink" such as the Vinca Minor, Carignan Rosé Sonoma County 2017, a "Bright" red Domaine de Majas, VdP Côtes Catalanes Carignan Blend Roussillon 2017, or an "earthy" red 2016 Brovia, Dolcetto d'Alba 'Vignavillej.'
Nearest the Marilyn Monroeat Lee Strasberg and a short jaunt from Theatre Row, Norah provides elegant fare such as fresh oysters, Cauliflower Croquettes, or Cast Iron Corn Bread, to start, with entrees such as the Uni Butter-poached Shrimp with smoked tomato, scallions, and cilantro on toast, a wood-grilled Whole Sea Bream with chermoula, shaved celery, grapes, and sumac, or an 8oz American Wagyu Zabuton served with crispy fingerlings and black garlic chili oil. Dishes for vegans and pasta lovers, such as the Pumpkin Cavatelli, with Brussels sprouts, miatake mushrooms, pomegranate and ricotta salata, Maltagliati with fresh tomato, summer squash, shelling beans and ricotta, or Black Truffle Potato Gnocchi with truffle conserva and shaved black truffles.
At its adjacent lounge bar of cozy candle-lit elegance, Le Fête bar director David Kupchinsky serves craft cocktails such as his "Le Daiq" of Rhum JM, Calvados, Genepy des Alpes, house triple lime cordial and lime, the "Le Spritz" of Lillet Rose, Cava, house rhubarb-sage gastrique and tonic or the "Le Frappe" of Rhum JM, housemade Matcha coconut cream, orange juice, pineapple juice, and Small Hands pineapple gum syrup over crushed ice.
Norah/Le Fête gallery photos by Monique A. LeBleu.
Norah/Le Fête - 8279 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA 90046 - (323) 450-4211
This new and cozy burger bistro has a spacious bar and generous patio area decorated with an updated post-modern feel. For breakfast, the spacious patio enclosed bistro-style restaurant features items such as the Blueberry & Orange Ginger Ale Cakes with orange crème fraîche, bourbon maple syrup, the Stuffed Brioche French toast with peanut butter, caramelized bananas, with seasonal berries and maple syrup, or the Mediterranean Hash with skillet-roasted sweet potatoes with pearled onions, chickpeas, Santa Barbara olives, oven-dried tomatoes, and Mediterranean Four Spice, topped with two poached eggs or without (Vegan option.) For lunch or dinner they offer the Spoonfed Burger with Gruyère & Blue Cheese, bacon balsamic caramelized onions, Heirloom tomato, pickles, butter lettuce, and aioli on a potato bun, served with crinkle cut fries and curry ketchup, the Eggplant Sandwich with grilled cold-smoked eggplant, broccoli sprouts, heirloom tomato, pickled red onions, lemon avocado mash, grilled whole grain bread, or the Fuhgettaboutit flatbread pizza with prosciutto, mozzarella, tomato sauce, arugula, and shaved parmesan, just to name a few options.
Bar Joe features craft cocktails such as their "Draft Pimm's Cup" made with Pimm's, Chartreuse, ginger, and cucumber, a "Carajillo Collins" of Grey Goose Vodka, Liquor 43, and cold brew coffee, or their spicy "It's An Old Fashioned!" of Street Pumas Scotch, maple, cacao, and cayenne. Perfect for brunching before matinee performances are a range of white and pink sparkling wines, their "Bellini" of Ugni Blanc, peach cordial, and St. Germaine, their unique take on a "Mimosa" of Cremant, orange juice, and orange oil from their signature collection of artisian oils and essences—the latter of which are also featured in their generous list of Mocktails.
Spoonfed/Bar Joe gallery photos by Monique A. LeBleu.
Spoonfed/Bar Joe - 959 Seward St, Los Angeles, CA 90038 (corner of Seward and Romaine in Hollywood) - 9323) 347-7000
Distance to The Broadwater - 0.5 miles via Santa Monica (10 min. walk/1 min. drive)
Wood & Vine
Walking distance from The Montaban and directly across from the Pantages is Wood & Vine, nestled at street level in the landmark Taft Building at one of the most famous corners in Hollywood. The restaurant has a direct and birdseye view of the Hollywood Pantages Theatre, designed with a loft view that also overlooks both the central dimly lit dining room and its spacious bar, as well as a lounge on the enclosed back patio with cozy seating around the central fire pit and conversation corner.
With plates for sharing, Chef Rick Sipovic's menu features openers such as a "Kale Caesar" with anchovy vinaigrette, shaved egg, Reggiano, and sourdough croutons, Chef Sipovic's own "Scotch Eggs" with pickled onion, beer mustard, and cornichon, or "Shrimp and Grits" with green chili cheddar grits, pan jus, and friese. For vegans, "Impossible Meatballs" served with spicy red sauce, plant-based spaghetti, and vegan mozzarella. And for dessert, "The Butterscotch" with house butterscotch, maple ice cream, and a sweet thyme crumble, Sour Cream Donut Holes dusted with cinnamon sugar and served with vanilla sauce, or a Peach Cobbler with smoked bourbon maple ice cream.
Craft cocktails are served throughout the space, such as the "Sage Advice” of Belvadere vodka, sage simple syrup, Campari, and grapefruit, "The Color Peach” with Hennesy, DiSarrono, Giffard Peche de Vigne, lemon, simple syrup and egg white, or "My Other Lover” with Mezcal, lime, simple syrup, peach bitters, sage and blueberries, or a Black Manhattan” of Larceny vodka, Amaro Averna, Angostura bitters, and black cherries.
Plates are shared family-style and a 20% service charge is included in lieu of tip. The menu can evolve, so be sure to check with the restaurant for updates.
Wood & Vine gallery photos by Monique A. LeBleu.
Wood & Vine - 6280 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028 (at Vine Street at The Taft Building) - (323) 334-3360
Distance to Pantages - 425 feet (across the street (2 min. walk)