Days #16, #17, & #18 in the Pacific Punch

I’ve been eating my way through L.A. Don’t just judge, please because if you had one month, you’d do it too.  Even when I’m not out experiencing the culinary wonders of this experimental city filled with pros who have cornered the market on fresh seafood, local farm ingredients and animals, forward thinking trends and brave ideas come true (at REASONABLE PRICES often times because of the “shared plates” concepts) I’m ordering in or having an ingenious chef deliver boundless plates of salmon, grains, bright leafy greens, veggies, al dente pasta, marinated and grilled chicken and more to my over eager face.  And it’s all healthy and wholesome…so I don’t feel that bad. Usually.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I chewed and swallowed up some of the west side.  Tuesday evening I had the pleasure of dining with a friend’s friend (so now a new friend) at Il Covo, an upscale Italian restaurant of which I cannot stop raving.  I’ve suggested it to at least two couples because it is entirely romantic and intimate boasting IMHO, some of the best lighting and patio space I’ve experienced in L.A even during previous trips.  After doing my research, I learned that this space on West 3rd Street in Los Angeles used to be Orso, a popular restaurant frequented by the entertainment industry, which closed its doors at the end of 2009.  My new friend who had been a fan of the former celebrity-friendly Orso, wanted to try out the now Sean MacPherson-owned establishment, Il Covo.

When we pulled up to the valet (every restaurant has valet-everyone drives in L.A-and inexpensive at that, compared to D.C. prices), the quiet outside looked inviting because you could sense the famous patio. We walked into the darkened villa-style entrance and were graciously greeted by a handsome gent in a suit and lovely lady attired in a chic dress, then escorted to our patio table for our 730pm reservations.  The space was just breathtaking.  A blazing fireplace and a huge tree battled for attention; both won.  From the giant tree, whose trunk I had to step around, hung large lanterns at various levels, high in the sky offering a pseudo-starry sky in the open air.  What I assumed to be heat lamps, rectangular and lit atop the walls, gave us warmth in the chilly night but were just hidden enough to be functional without being obvious.  The set surrounding us during the “early dining hour” (in this town, no one eats before 9pm) looked to be refined; various ages, some in groups, many in couples and the women next to us were obviously two good friends catching up while looking effortlessly stylish.  They were not afraid to dig into their plates because they knew with confidence their trainers the next morning would show them how to work off their meals.

My new friend and I enjoyed pre-dinner cocktails then ordered each dish so we could taste off of each other’s.  He, I observed did what is considered smart by choosing Chef Roberto Maggioni’s specials of the night which included a leafy watermelon salad and a pizza with figs and speck (their brick oven pizzas are ‘to-die-for’ I’d heard, as well as the blackened cod) and I ordered the burrata alla caprese to start and for my main, the beet and Gorgonzola risotto which was red, very dark red, but very delicious and recommended by our server, thankfully. We both ate to our hearts’ content and even shared the chocolate “salumi”and by the time we departed, it was dark with all of the tables filled, full of conversations, drinking of wine and for sure, the finishing of many meals.

Le Petit Four from the restaurant's website

Le Petit Four from the restaurant's website

Wednesday, I partook in a late lunch with a friend whom suggested we meet in WEHO (West Hollywood) at Sunset Plaza’s Le Petit Four, a bright bustling outdoor patio joint which seems always packed with people who enjoyed watching the Sunset Boulevard action.  Parking is easy, since it’s complimentary in the back and you enter from the lot and walk up the stairs through the indoor dining room to the hostess stand all the way on the sidewalk.  No reservations are accepted, but this seemingly always perky place has plenty of room to sit, albeit you may be right on top of the next people (the tables adjoin) and they may or may not be smoking.  Yes, this is one of the few venues where lighting up is allowed, accepted and encouraged (the ashtrays are already winking at you before you sit down).  I found most of the crowd that day around 2pm spoke in a foreign language and looked like they just stepped off a runway or were taking a break from a fashion photo shoot.  In the light of day, I actually felt really dorky, fat and awkward since I weigh much more than a buck and haven’t mastered the art of eating pomme frites, while looking really sexy smoking and speaking in really fast French/Italian/Spanish.

My friend showed up and we had the opportunity to chat, people watch (this was one of his go-to spots) and dig in.  He dove into his pasta dish, one of many on the expansive menu that I knew I’d eventually try (going back there Thursday for lunch) and I worked on my divine chopped salad with grilled chicken, avocado, tomato, artichoke, cucumbers, olives & Emmenthal cheese.  Did I lick my plate clean? For all intents and purposes, ahem, yes I did, thank you very much.

Thursday night was not so hot from the meal perspective.  We had a group dinner with my friends Whitney (a D.C. transplant) and her new husband Byron (an Aussie) both of whom are personal trainers, Mark and Sarah from NoVA who are fortunate to have a home in Beverly Hills so they can, like me, get away from the D.C. weather (though they are of the “new baby, have to dinner dine and dash by 8pm” set – they call themselves “boring”), Michael the writer/director, Lindsay, and Britt a television talent producer for Conan.  Unfortunately, we ended up with reservations at the new Rosa Mexicano locale, back in WEHO on Sunset.  Frankly, while the space was cool enough, the food and service was average.  For those at the table who were new to the New York based chain, I only could recommend my go-to order: 2 pom margs and the guac, medium heat.  When in D.C. across from the Verizon Center, I only order that. No seriously, because I’ve ordered other dishes before and have not been blown away and frankly, in So Cal, individually-owned Mexican eateries are where’s it’s at, not at a New York based chain.

Anyhoo. Post-dinner the group dispersed and Lindsay and I took a quick spin (behind a lot of Thursday night Sunset Boulevard traffic) to the Four Seasons on Doheny, where once we’d caught a glimpse of Mel Gibson smoking a cigar in a patio booth with another gent looking old and well…old.  There was a live band jamming out oldies but goodies to the (speaking of old) crowd and we found a cozy nook by the fireplace for a bit, observing the crowd and watched a few interestingly not-quite-fully-dressed young women in super high-stilettos strut by before we chose to sit outdoors on the patio, perhaps in the very same booth that said old-looking cigar smoking actor once sat. I have to say, the service at the Four Seasons has always done me right and usually the people-watching is stellar, but tonight, it appeared to be off.  Our lovely server told us that live music nights were soon to be a thing of the past as the property was about to embark upon DJ-only evenings. “We’ll see how it goes,” she said smiling and shrugging. “But definitely come back!” she went on encouragingly. I was pretty sure we were the closest ones to her age that night and she was probably only in her 20′s.

So what other non-food related highlights were there during Days #16, 17 & 18? Well, Wednesday evening I ordered Maria’s Italian Kitchen , stuffed my face (are you getting a theme here?) and watched every episode of this season’s Curb Your Enthusiasm” with pure unadulterated delight, even LOLing a ridiculous number of times. And even though I’d met Larry David in person at the Kennedy Center years ago (when honoring Steve Martin for the Mark Twain Award) and he was just as evil as he portrays himself to be in his show, I still am a #1 fan of “Curb”.

More to come. But now I must finish my wine on the terrace where I’m writing and silently lament my looming departure on the 31st.  Oh and there’s “Bachelor Pad” tonight ….

About Pamela Sorensen:
Pamela Lynne Sorensen is the founder of Pamela’s Punch, a leading source of information for the “who, what, when, and where” of Washington, DC’s elite social, professional, and philanthropic scene, which she founded in November of 2006. In 2012 she launched Pacific Punch, based in Los Angeles. Pamela comes from an extensive background in sales and business development from a variety of industries, has been involved with charities and fundraising for a number of years and holds several Board and leadership positions. She currently resides in Arlington, Virginia and when she’s not out on the town, she’s reading or writing while sipping fine wine, or traveling the country and the world ISO adventures, beauty, fun, food, style, libations, music, and the good life. Follow her on Twitter at @pamelaspunch.
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