WRITTEN BY: JAKE PALUMBO | PHOTOGRAPHED BY: COREY CRITSER
One of the particular trends we’ve noticed is the emergence of multi-dimensional cocktails that have a little something extra—something dare we say—edible. We scoured LA County from Long Beach to Tinseltown looking for the hottest (and most delicious) “drinks you can eat.” The bartenders at these seven Los Angeles bars and restaurants are pushing the boundaries of their craft, creating dazzling culinary cocktails that blur the line between food and beverage. Whether you’re someone who loves to eat your drink or just a foodie who appreciates a decadent spectacle, these trendsetters are sure to have something for you.
SEALEGS WINE BAR
(LAX Terminal 2) www.sealegswinebar.com/sealegs_lax
“It kind of happened organically, ” says amiable SeaLegs Wine Bar VP of Operations Omar Khashen as he spears a maple frosted donut above the wide mouth of a Mason jar. “The crowd is young and a lot of fun. We wanted to make some drinks to complement that energy.” As he finishes explaining the origin of SeaLegs’ wildly attention- grabbing brunch cocktails, he dips a hefty garnish of fried bacon into my Donut Don Bloody Mary and slides it over. Essentially a meal in itself, this pastry laden bloody packs a wallop with four ounces of Svedka dumped into a large Mason jar of spicy mary mix. Thanks to the ingenious suggestion of a friend who runs a local donut shop, the Donut Don Bloody Mary is not complete until it is topped with a full, freshly frosted donut. A tantalizing hybrid of sweet and savory, this donut draped bloody will seduce your taste buds with a full body massage that will certainly alter your idea of what a “well-rounded” breakfast really means.
The resounding success of the flagship’s maiden voyage has lead to SeaLegs’ incredibly exciting new expansion to LAX. After a rigorous application process, SeaLegs won out the highly sought after position in Los Angeles International Airport Terminal 2, over more than 600 other applicants. After its debut in the spring of 2015, SeaLegs LAX will be offering the luxurious relief of hand-selected fine wines, craft beers, craft cocktails and a rotating seasonal menu of shared-plates to world-weary international travelers. Designed under the theme “Dripping in Jewels, ” the lavishly decorated 1, 800 square foot space is set to feature glistening Swarovski crystal light fixtures, and a radiant wine cellar display that is sure to bring some much needed glamour back into air travel. SeaLegs LAX is also set to make history as the first restaurant to offer wine storage lockers at the airport, where passengers on the go will be able to conveniently store their favorite wines.
THE GOLDEN STATE
426 N Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036 323.782.8331 www.thegoldenstatecafe.com
When I spoke to owner and founder of The Golden State, James Starr, who runs the popular West Hollywood burger and fries joint, with buddy and co-founder Jason Bernstein, he told me that the magical idea to toss a hefty scoop of ice cream into his beer mug came to him while he was in college. Unlike many culinary creations inspired by the late night hi-jinks of leisure loving coeds, this “Animal House” concoction was a keeper, and he’s been making them ever since.
The Golden State Beer Float goes like this: First you take a pint of mighty Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout poured from their tap of rotating popular craft beers. On its own, the Old Rasputin is a formidably rich and flavorful brew. Dark and malty with resounding tones of chocolate and coffee and a bready sweetness that gives it a satisfyingly filling body, the Old Rasputin is not one to be overpowered by the rich and creamy ice cream. Instead, its bold flavor acts as the perfect complement. Next, you choose your flavor of smooth gelato, which ice cream aficionados will be happy to learn is provided by Scoops, one of LA’s most beloved creameries and ice cream laboratories. I went with a generous wallop of toffee caramel, which I would highly recommend.
What happened next is something I wish I could do every day for the rest of my life. It was just me, the beer float, and a long silver spoon. Before the ice cream starts to melt, you have two different tastes that gracefully complement each other. You don’t know whether to sip or spoon, so you go back and forth, which is delightful. If you sip, you get the malty beer with a sweet hint of ice cream. If you spoon, you get the ice cream with a veil of Rasputin. However, once the ice cream begins to melt, something wonderful happens. The carbonated bubbles work their way into the melting ice cream, infusing it with additional flavor that creates its own new and unique taste. The dreamy swirl becomes a veritable milkshake hybrid of two of the greatest things on Earth, the result of which is immensely refreshing and delicious. Perfect for the summer beer drinker or anyone with an aching sweet tooth, it’s truly a blessing that The Golden State Beer Float is available every day of the week in this fine city of ours.
Owner James Starr came up with the idea for the Beer Float while he was in college.
After gaining widespread popularity as a frat house favorite, this big pint on campus graduated with Starr and when the time finally came to open The Golden State’s doors, the Beer Float’s place on the menu was a no-brainer. Surprisingly, Starr says his invention flew under the radar for the first couple months until an exposé in LA Weekly blew the lid off the subject. Since the secret’s been out, they can’t make the beer floats
1050 S Flower St, #102 Los Angeles, CA 90015 213.749.1460 www.riverarestaurant.com
Get ready kids, because this next one is a rattlesnake. Couched within sight of the Staples Center in Downtown LA, you’ll find the Southwestern/Latin inspired Rivera. The sleek and stylish décor of the spacious dining room justly reflects the contemporary sophistication of the bar’s masterful cocktail menu which was created by renowned LA mix-master Julian Cox.
When I told the bartender I was there to try the Barbacoa, he raised his eyebrows and asked me if I had eaten yet. I told him I hadn’t. “Good, ” he said. “You’re not going to need to after this.” He then proceeded to measure, pour and muddle like a mad scientist. First, he tossed in four twinkling slices of fresh lime and russet strips of blushing bell peppers into the metal mixing glass. Then, he poured a diverse cavalry of complexly complementary syrups, viscous agave nectar, aromatic ginger, and an acidic splash of lemon juice, topping that off with a scoop of chipotle puree to add the piquant kick of a bucking Spanish stallion before viciously muddling the whole concoction in the mixing glass, releasing the cannonball fire of flavor. Lastly, two ounces of artisanal Mezcal Vida add a smoky dimension that would knock Butch Cassidy out of his boots. Once it’s shaken and poured into a cocktail glass, the colorful mixture is topped off with a smoked beef jerky garnish for good measure.
Rivera Restaurant has a special “Tequila Chair” for sipping fine tequila. The luxurious oversized chair is composed of the restaurant’s “R” logo.
3441 E Broadway, Long Beach, CA 90803 562.433.0153 www.theatticonbroadway.com
While the colorfully creative dishes play to The Attic’s lovable appreciation for having fun, their down-home dedication to serving up high quality American southern comfort food with a flair of New Orleans Creole, complete with the trappings of all the warm, cozy feelings associated with it, is dead serious.
Today, however, the stars of the show are not French Creole inspired entrées or a SpongeBob inspired Crabby Patty (that’s on the menu). No, the highlight of this article is a lumbering, awesomely Hulk-like, mutation on the familiar hangover cure and brunch staple, a beverage so massively mountainous, that it blurs the lines between food and beverage. I’m talking of course, about the mighty, the proud, and the arterially intimidating, Meaty Man Bloody Mary.
This circus sideshow freak of weekend beverages is a towering monstrosity featuring bacon-infused vodka, a house mix spiced up with demi-sauce and jalapeno Tabasco, a garnish of fried bacon, speared cornichons and Slim Jim stuffed olives (yes, that is correct), and of course, an entire short rib slider, complete with smoky BBQ sauce and harpooned above the mouth of the glass on a homemade bun. Oh, and don’t forget the celery salt rim. If you don’t have your appetite when you order this formidable cocktail, you’ve got nothing at all. For those with the foresight to arrive with an empty, unburdened stomach, the Meaty Man Bloody Mary is a righteous WWE SmackDown of savory, spicy, meaty and juicy, whose delicious tag team of flavors will leave your hunger down and out for the count.
The Meaty Man Bloody Mary is just one of five extreme variations to hit the brunch time menu at THE ATTIC. The BBQ, The Basic, The Veggie and The Baja all have their own special qualities that will knock your socks off. If one of these fine specimens fails to rev your engine, The Attic invites you to take matters into your own hands and customize your own behemoth bloody.
861 N La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90069 310.388.1888 www.bartongtherestaurantla.com
To call Barton G. an experience is an understatement; much like saying Lady Gaga is a recording artist. It is far more appropriately a sparkling production, an extravagant event, a crystal ball. Fitting right in with the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, this La Cienega hotspot is its own theatrical production that demands the delighted attention of all five senses. The whimsical decoration of the dining room itself, with its golden chandeliers, flush draping curtains, and pink lights, is reminiscent of some fairytale ballroom. The table settings, with each napkin folded into a little chef’s coat, resting upon a shimmering silver platter, are their own alluring works of art.
Much like the restaurant itself, the Diamonds Are Forever is an enthralling performance that aims to dazzle and amaze. The production of this cocktail begins far before anything is shaken or stirred. It starts with the futuristic fabrication of its coup de grâce, the citrus vodka popsicle, which the bartender sets to preparing as naturally as he slices limes. Looking more like a process to be undertaken in an underground scientific laboratory, the vodka is first dumped into a metal cauldron, which is equipped with a honeycomb of metal test tubes, each with a wooden stick protruding from it. Then, a steaming metal thermos of liquid nitrogen is poured in with a hiss, freezing the vodka upon contact into cylindrical frozen treats. Once those are frozen solid, the bartender begins to prepare the rest of the cocktail by taking fresh basil, Angostura bitters, tart Japanese yuzu, Grey Goose, lemon, and triple sec and dry-shaking them in a mixing glass. “There’s no need for ice when you’re shaking it, ” the bartender told me. “The nitrogen will make it cold.” He then proceeded to pour the mixed contents of the shaker into a salt and pepper rimmed martini glass.
Served upon a crystal studded saucer bearing the glamorous likeness of Marilyn Monroe, with popsicle at the ready, the Diamonds Are Forever cocktail is almost ready for its close up. The show is about to begin. The bartender lifts his container of liquid nitrogen above the glass and pours a healthy serving into the emerald concoction. There is a loud splattering hiss and a rattling drum of bubbles bursting like Pop Rocks. Thick plumes of mist rise from the mouth of the glass and descend all around until the drink is completely engulfed in a dense magical fog. As the drink freezes, the clouds of the vapor dissipate and the drink stands upon its plate like a smoking gun looking as magical and enchanting as a sorcerer’s potion.
The over-the-top presentation of certain dishes includes extravagant props. The steak comes with a four foot long fork, the popcorn shrimp comes to the table in an actual popcorn machine, and cotton candy comes as the hair of a statue of Marie Antoinette.
LITTLE KNOWN FACT:
Barton G. is the manifested dream of the world-renowned events creator and restaurateur Barton G. Weiss, whose flagship restaurant in Miami recently celebrated its 10th year of success on the fashionably wild South Beach. Weiss gained international praise and recognition for his intuitive ability to throw a great party, and after seeing Barton G. in action, it’s obvious that his talent for entertainment has been fully employed at his restaurant.
117 Winston St, Los Angeles, CA 90013 213.628.2000 www.themust.com
A quick peek at The Must’s menu sums up their refreshing philosophy that is at once both light-hearted and sophisticated, showing that you can take quality seriously without having to take yourself too seriously. Names like “Cholo Fried Rice” and “Yo’ Mama’s Chicken” give a fun-loving flair to the creative complexity behind Executive Chef Drew Coleman’s inventive approach to comfort food.
It was this same jovial spirit that inspired the creation of The Must’s colorful brunch sensation, The Sorbet Sparkler. Tired of serving just another boring mimosa in an expansive cosmopolitan sea of bottomless brunches, Thomas and Den Haan created The Sorbet Sparkler to make a cool splash on their own brunch menu. As most strokes of genius are, the idea behind the Sorbet Sparkler was a simple one: instead of juice, just add a glistening scoop of fresh fruit sorbet to each glass of Champagne. The magically delightful result is a glass that looks like something that might be handed to you at Tinker Bell’s wedding—a bubbling, frothing concoction of pastel sweetness and celebration. The deliciously soft iceberg of sorbet sits like a frozen jewel atop a sparkling golden band of Champagne. It then begins to melt artfully into its tart bubbling seabed, unleashing its refreshing fruity flavor for all weekend brunchers to behold.
For people new to The Must, The Fluffernutter (peanut butter, marshmallow fluff and bananas on grilled brioche with dark chocolate ganache) is a local favorite that is a must try.
The Must’s fiercely loyal, neighborhood patrons watched the doors of their favorite downtown hotspot close over a property dispute in 2010, but the disenfranchised regulars could take comfort in the ambitious promise of proprietors Coly Den Haan and Rachel Thomas, who vowed that The Must would re-open once again. Their eager customers didn’t have to wait long. In 2013, The Must reopened its doors at its new Winston Street location and has been gaining momentum ever since.
ALFRED COFFEE & KITCHEN
8428 Melrose Pl
Los Angeles, CA 90069 323.944.0811 www.alfredcoffee.com
Quietly nestled in the shimmering shade of the tree lined alcove of Melrose Place, you’ll find Alfred Coffee & Kitchen. The strikingly beautiful and unequivocally hip clientele speak to the legitimacy of the trendy vibe the shop seeks to facilitate. That isn’t to say its ultra chic attitude is in any way overbearing or obnoxious in the annoying manner that has become associated with many “hip” coffee shops these days. On the contrary, Alfred’s exudes a cool that is tastefully subtle and unpretentious.
While it certainly is inviting, I didn’t come to Alfred’s to finish the first act of my screenplay or discuss my ideas for a new tech startup. I came to try Alfred’s off menu sensation, the Alfred Cone. So what do @thefatjewish and the Alfred Cone have in common? The answer is, they both became famous on Instagram. After catching a glimpse of the delightful pick-me-up, it’s easy to understand how it only took a few carefully filtered snapshots to take the Alfred Cone from culinary obscurity to viral Instagram foodnomenon.
As my espresso steamed in its chocolaty basin, the shining chocolate rim of the cone began to sparkle deliciously as it melted. The cross-thatched integrity of the cone held true as I licked the melted chocolate from my lips after each sip and when it was all over, the container was mine to devour.