Lemon Butter: Best of L.A.'s Theatre Adjacent Restaurants and Bars - September 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 and theatres on the Westside in Beverly Hills, Malibu, and Santa Monica!

CHEZ JAY

Photo by Monique A. LeBleu - The Jay Dog at Chez Jay The Backyard, Santa Monica, California, August 13, 2019.

Perfect for pre or after dinner theatre, and nearest the Santa Monica Playhouse and Morgan-Wixson Theatre is Chez Jay.

Owned by Michael Anderson and operated by his son General Manager Chris Anderson, the Historical Landmark in Santa Monica on Ocean Avenue recently opened The Backyard, featuring al fresco dining by the ocean and under the stars.

Designed by Chris Anderson and Nataly Lopez, The Backyard is a comfortable, open space–much like your own backyard–and features picnic tables, couches, Adirondack chairs, a fire pit, wine barrels, hanging vintage lanterns, string lights, and a protective canopy from the noon-day sun, and is fenced in where it abuts Santa Monica’s Tongva Park.

Chef "Memo" Guillermo De Arcos G, having been in the kitchen at Chez Jay, now a landmark restaurant in Santa Monica of over 27 years, recently introduced the new Good Eats menu at The Backyard with starters such as the Peppercorn Maple Bacon, Grilled Street Corn, Southwest Steak Nachos, Truffle Fries, Kimchi Guacamole, Rhode Island Calamari, Shrimp Ceviche Bites, and Baked Clams.

There are also salads, such as the Crispy Calamari Salad, prepared with fried calamari, frisée, romaine radicchio, tomatoes, pickled red onion, and French Dijon vinaigrette, The Cobb Salad served with grilled chicken, romaine, bacon, egg, blue cheese, tomato, avocado, and lemon honey vinaigrette, or the NY Steak Salad prepared with Angus New York Strip, arugula, mixed greens, blue cheese, cranberries, walnuts, pickled onions and balsamic vinaigrette.

The Mains features seafood selections such as the Mahi Mahi Sandwich of grilled filet of Mahi Mahi, lettuce, tomato, onion and tartar sauce on a toasted bun, or the Fish & Chips with Allagash beer-battered cod and french fries. There is also the Chez Burger of a ½ pound Angus beef, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion, served on a toasted bun. There is also the Steak Au Poivre Sandwich with a Peppered Angus NY Steak, cream of horseradish, picked cabbage, arugula on sourdough, Memo's amazing Jay Dog prepared with a grilled 10 inch Wagyu hot dog, tomato, pickles, onions, relish, peppers and mustard on split-top brioche, or the appropriately named Mike’s Melt, in honor of Michael Anderson, prepared with a pressed ½ pound Angus beef patty, melted cheddar, and caramelized onions on rye, and–a personal favorite–the Crispy Chicken Sandwich of fried chicken, house coleslaw, apple, frisée, chipotle aioli, and pickles on a toasted bun.

To finish, you can choose the ultimate comfort food! Chef Memo’s Fried Oreos are crisply fried with a batter, remaining soft and sweet inside. A most decadent dessert!

Cocktails are served at the bar, exclusive to Chez Jay's The Backyard, such as the  Hotel California of Bombay Sapphire, grapefruit, lemon and rosemary, the Chevy To The Levy comprised of mezcal, pineapple, Ramazzotti Rosato, lemon and sage, The Juan Margarita spicy margarita prepared with Casamigos Tequila, jalapeño, cucumber, cilantro and lime, a Pimm’s Cup made of Pimm’s, cucumber, mint, ginger, and lemon, the Dark & Stormy prepared with Gosling’s Rum, ginger beer, and lime, the Never Old Fashioned with Slow & Low Rock and Rye Whiskey, orange peel, Luxardo Maraschino Cherry and bitters, or the Tecate Michelada made with veteran Chez Jay Bartender Petter Wichman’s Wickie’s Bloody Good Mix, and lime with a Tajin rim. Wines by the glass are offered, including the Cupcake Prosecco, Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, Ferrari Chardonnay, Bev Rose, Meiomi Pinot Noir, and the Josh Cabernet. Their beer selections are the Allagash White, Heineken, Santa Monica 310, or Angel City IPA, Palmia Light, Tecate, Angel City Pilsner, Golden Road Wolf Pup, Corona, Bud Light and Angry Orchard.

The Backyard at Chez Jay is open every Wednesday and Thursday from 4pm to 10pm, every Friday from 4pm to 11pm, and every Saturday from 12 noon to 11pm, and every Sunday from 12 noon to 8pm.

The Good Eats menu at The Backyard ranges from $6 to $16, with beer, wine and custom cocktails from $7 - $14. Happy Hour specials at Chez Jay are every Monday through Friday from 4-6:30pm., with dinner starting at 5:30 pm.

CHEZ JAY - 1657 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90401 - 310.395.1741

Distance to the Santa Monica Playhouse  - (0.9 miles, 5 min. drive)

Shows to look for at the Santa Monica Playhouse on Better Lemons' Calendar:

(IM)Perfect
Absolutely Halloween
Binge Free Festival
Binge Fringe Free Festival
Love in Bloom
Magic Monday

Distance to the Morgan-Wixson Theatre   - (2.3 miles, 7 min. drive)

 


DUKE'S MALIBU

Nearest to Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum and the Malibu Playhouse is Dukes's Malibu.

Photo by Monique A. LeBleu - The Crab Cakes at Duke's Malibu by the beach, Malibu, California, August 17, 2019

Named after Duke Paoa Kahanamoku, Hawaii's Olympic Gold Medalist in surfing, Duke's Malibu is a Hawaiian themed restaurant situated on the Pacific Coast Highway with pristine and open views of the Pacific Ocean. The expansive restaurant features a central bar and the Barefoot Bar, which also includes seating at an outside patio.

Inside, through picture windows, the booths overlook the pristine and open views of the Pacific Ocean. On weekends, Happy Hour is in the central and Barefoot bar for those who are awaiting the dinner seating crossover, which begins at 4pm.

To start, there's Crab Cakes of lump crab, old bay seasoning, preserved lemon, Meyer lemon remoulade, or Korean sticky ribs, a Lobster Mac 'n Cheese with creamy white cheddar and ditalini pasta, Crab Wontons with crab meat, cream cheese, macadamia nuts, mustard plum sauce, or the Crispy Coconut Shrimp with Lilikoi chili water for dipping. For salads, there is the Rocket with arugula, Maui onion, bacon, roasted beets, goat cheese, and white balsamic vinaigrette and the Maui Farm Salad of local greens, marinated hearts of palm, pickled mango, Pohole fern, Maui onions, and miso lime dressing.

For the main course, there's the Seafood Hot Pot filled with lobster, shrimp, mussels, fresh fish, coconut cilantro broth, oyster mushrooms, peanuts, served with Jasmine rice, the Furikake Ahi Steak with fire-grilled sashimi-grade ahi, chili oil, truffle unagi glaze, shiitake mushroom, black bean-peanut charred bok choy, served with coconut bamboo rice. The Fish Tacos are with grilled fish, corn tortillas from La Chapalita, tomatillo sauce, cabbage, pico de gallo, queso fresco, and chips, and the Roasted Tristan da Cunha Lobster Tails, which are the “world’s only sustainable lobster tail”, are served with herbed Jasmine farro rice, roasted asparagus, and drawn butter. The Steamed Alaskan King Crab Legs are available in two sizes, served with herbed Jasmine farro rice, broccolini, and drawn butter, and in addition to all this, there are daily fish specials.

For land lovers, there's a Prime Sirloin from the Double R Signature Ranch, with miso brown butter, mashed Yukon Gold potatoes, and broccolini, the Roasted Huli Chicken –an all natural half chicken seasoned with a garlic shoyu marinade and served with horseradish mashed Yukon Gold potatoes, snap peas & summer squash, and the Chef's Cheeseburger of 1/2 lb Angus chuck, brisket & hanger grind, white aged cheddar, bacon dijon aioli, Maui onion jam, heirloom tomato, mixed greens, brioche bun, and served with fries. They also have a vegan option, which is the Lilikoi Glazed Tofu with charred bok choy, shiitake mushrooms, sesame grilled asparagus, served with jasmine rice.

Happy "Aloha" Hour provides items that range from $6 to $15 in the Barefoot Bar, with lunch in the main dining from $8 to $19, and for dinner, from $8 - $18 for starters and $16 to $51 for entrees.

DUKE'S MALIBU - 21150 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265 - 310.317.0777

Distance to Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum - (9.7 miles, 15 minute drive)

Distance to the Malibu Playhouse - (11.6 miles, 15 minute drive)


Photo by Monique A. LeBleu - Vinoteca Wine Bar at the Four Season Beverly Hills, California, August 23, 2019.

VINOTECA

Nearest to The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts and the Beverly Hills Playhouse is Vinoteca.

Adjacent to the prestigious Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, Vinoteca is a standalone dining and drinking destination and great for Happy Hour.

Vinoteca's bar and outdoor patio accommodate hotel guests, locals, and movers and shakers of the entertainment world, featuring all of the hospitality and amenities that you would expect from a Four Seasons Hotel.

Chef de Cuisine Luca Moriconi’s menu at Vinoteca provides easily shareable bar bites, crisp pizza breads, hot wings, fried stuffed olives, oysters on the half shell, and a variety of wines, beers, and cocktails.

Happy Hour at Vinoteca features a special food item and specialty drink, and are offered for every day of the workweek.

Mondays start with $1 Oysters and $10 rosé. Tuesdays they have $1 Spicy Chicken Wings and $5 bottled beer. The market oysters are often Pacific or Pacific Northwest, which couple well with the rosé or a nice brut. Served with a creamy Gorgonzola dipping sauce, the Spicy Chicken Wings are a beautiful sweet-spicy mix that pair well with a cool, crisp beer.

On Wednesdays they offer 50% off of Wine Bottles selected by Sommelier David Gary which is served with a complimentary Cheese Plate for each bottle ordered. On Thursdays, Chef Moriconi features selected Pasta and a glass of Prosecco for $7 each, and on Friday's they offer M&M – a crisp Pizzetta Margherita and a Margarita each for $7.

Should you choose to expand on your meal, either before or after the theatre, there is also the fine dining option of the adjacent Culina.

Outside of the Happy Hour specials at Vinoteca, bar bites, pastas, pizza, and panini's range from $9 to $24.

VINOTECA - 300 South Doheny Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90048 - 310.860.4000

Distance to The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts - (0.7 miles, 4 min. drive)

Shows to look for at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on Better Lemons' Calendar:

LOVE ACTUALLY LIVE

Distance to the Beverly Hills Playhouse  (1 mile, 6 min. drive)



JOAN OF ART - FILM, FOOD, COMEDY - WHAT COULD BE BETTER

Okay so if you do only one thing this weekend, you must go see 'Bohemian Rhapsody" I absolutely loved it. At the press screening I attended, the audience consisting of guild and press must have applauded for over five minutes which is really something for them. If you're not a fan of Freddie Mercurio you will be after you see this sensational film.

This is the story of the man with a man with a vast craving for sex and drugs and rock ‘n' roll, and who had an abnormally debauched X-rated lifestyle, But that's not important in this biopic. British singer, songwriter and record producer Freddie Mercury — frontman of Queen, the band that fused rock with camp, opera, disco, pop, and the film title's eponymous theatrical ballad — is one of the greatest rock stars of our time and this entertaining film shows you why.

You get to see the creative process of Mercury and the band — how they came to write their songs, how they got their ideas — which helps us understand the group's deep connection to each other. Anthony McCarten's screenplay chronicles the meteoric rise of Queen starting in the 1970s up until their astounding performance at Live Aid at Wembley stadium in 1985 (that recreated scene alone is worth the price of admission).

For my full review go to StageandCinema.com/2018/10/23/bohemian-rhapsody

Now after seeing such an excellent film, you probably will be hungry and want to go somewhere to not only discuss the movie to to stuff your face. And for that I highly recommend this fabulously delicious establishment...SAGE VEGAN BISTRO. it has three locations:

  1. 1700 West Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles
  2. 4130 Sepulveda Blvd. Culver City, West Los Angeles
  3. 41 Hugus Alley in Pasadena.

Yes it is vegan/plant based but I've taken several of my carnivorous friends here and they have absolutely loved it. To check out their menu, make a reservation and find hours of operation go to SageVeganBistro.com
So you've eaten, seen an awesome film and now how bout some comedy. What better way to end the weekend. On Sunday I will be at The Comedy and Magic Club in Hermosa Beach where Jay Leno will be performing. I've seen him perform several times and he's really funny...very different than on his t.v. show. Let's just say he lets go of his 'All American Personality.
The club's beachside location has long made it a favorite destination for comedians and audience members alike.  Many of the top comics in the industry continue to call this their home club.
Jay goes on at 7:00pm. To purchase tickets or to find out more information please go to their website at ComedyAndmMagicClub.com.
So whether you chose to try some new kind of food, see a film about a rock and roll icon or a comedy icon, wishing you a really good time.

JOAN OF ART - Art in Pasadena, Protest, Eating Vegan, and the Heritage Square Museum

There are many great events going on this weekend but the ones I'm really interested in are all about 'art'. First I have to say if there's something I really want to see, I'll drive hours (well at least a couple of hours) to see it. So my first stop this Friday evening will be in Pasadena to see ART NIGHT.

This is a free evening "of art, music and entertainment as Pasadena's most prominent arts and cultural institutions swing open their door. Begin your journey at any of their 19 participating cultural institutions where free shuttles will be waiting to transport you to your next destination I was there last year where over 29,000 people experienced the excitement of ArtNight." according to their website. I loved it so much that of course I'm going back. To see the venues participating go to ArtNightPasadena.org.

Oh and I guarantee all this exploring will give you an appetite so I suggest you start the evening with a bite at one of Pasadena's very cool cafes. One of my favorites is MY VEGAN RESTAURANT located at 633 South Arroyo Parkway, Pasadena. Their phone number is 626-578-9017 and their website is MyVeganRestaurant.com.

Even if you're not a vegan you'll find plenty of delicious food to eat. Another awesome place is GREEN EARTH VEGAN CUISINE which is a family owned spot offering vegan dishes from America, Italy, Mexico, China, Thailand and Vietnam. They're at 37 S. Fair Oaks Avenue in Pasadena and their web site is GreenEarthVegan.com. Phone number is 626-584-0268. I've eaten their several times and have never been disappointed. In fact, right now just thinking about them is getting me hungry.

Now on Saturday evening I will be downtown for another art event which is more on the political side. Considering it's almost time for the mid term elections, this is a very important and inspiring place to be. It's called ART SHARE L.A.

Opening Reception for Protest
10/13/2018 7:00 PM—10:00 PM

ART SHARE L.A. is excited to announce a show that is politically inspired by the creative marches and protest signs as well as text based work. It is entitled appropriately, PROTEST. The event runs from Saturday the 13th until November 4th. It was inspired.

The show was created to motivate, provoke, inspire and most importantly get people talking. As Art Share L.A. likes to say 'Let's use our words.'. The show features 20 local artists. They are located at 801 East 4th Place, Los Angeles. Their phone number is 213-687-4278. To learn more about this fabulous group go to ArtShareLA.org.

Finally Sunday I'm taking a trip back in time to The Heritage Square Museum. "This is a living museum that explores the settlement and development of Southern California during its first 100 years of statehood. The eight historic structures located at the museum constructed during the Victorian era, were saved from demolition and brought here." Besides these incredible homes decorated with authentic victorian furniture, there's even a drugstore where you could buy a soda for 25 cents and a hot fudge sundae for the same price. Oh, if you want nuts, it was a nickel extra.

Heritage Square Museum is located at 3800 Homer Street Los Angeles. For more information go to HeritageSquare.org

Whatever you choose to do this weekend, have a great one.