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Feb 11, 2010 08:50 AM

Century City eats

So for the next few days I will be staying in Century City attending the California International Antiquarian Book Fair. I would like place for breakfast & dinner since lunch is usually provided for particpants. Please give me suggestions. I am staying at a motel next to the Westfield Mall and I really would not like to drive anywhere.

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  1. Definitely Clementine for breakfast. I also eat at Mrs. Winston's everyday, and they have a great oatmeal bar with plenty of fresh fruit in the mornings if that's of interest. For dinner, Craft is right there and if you're on a budget, just eat at Craftbar. There's a Houston's in the mall which I always think is solid and Pink Taco, despite its horrific name, has some surprisingly good fare (I especially love their tortilla soup).

    1. Lots of eating places in the Century City mall and most of it is not traditional mall dining.

      Craft is across the street on Avenue of the Stars. There are a handful of other eating places on the other side of the Plaza.

      1. If you like Ramen, the Food Court at the Mall just got an Ajisen Ramen which is quite good. I second the recco for Clementine as well.

        1. Thanks for the suggestions. Theonly places I've eaten before are the Korean place Sorabol & Gullen. While both are very good it gets boring. So I think I'll try Ajisen Ramen tonight (I've eaten at the branch in Rowland Heights and it's good) Breakfast at Clemintine (I love the idea of a oatmeal bar) and Friday night dinner at Craftbar (It's what I can afford). Now I see a place listed on the Westfield site called Toscanova is it any good? I was thinking that for Saturday night. The pasta with boar ragu sounded good.

          11 Replies
          1. re: SeaCook

            The oatmeal bar is actually at Mrs. Winston's. Mrs Winston's is a fantastic salad/sandwich/soup bar, if you've never been. Actually, the best one I've ever seen. I also love Clementine for breakfast and don't think you can go wrong either way.

            We have to eat at Toscanova a lot for work and I think it's fine. It's basically non-objectionable Italian food that I find a bit pricey for what it is.

            1. re: mollyomormon


              Where is Mrs Winston's and Clemintine? I don't see them listed on the Westfield website Chandavkl posted.

              Thanks for the clarification.

              1. re: SeaCook

                Clementine is awesome; it's not located in the mall, but just north across Santa Monica next to Johnnie's Pizza.

                1. re: SeaCook

                  Neither are in the food court at the mall. Clementine is on the north side of Santa Monica Blvd. and probably about a 5-10 minute walk from the mall:

                  Mrs. Winston's is in the 1999 Ave. of the Stars building that is kitty corner from the corner where Craft sits.

                  1. re: mollyomormon


                    If I am standing at the entrance of the Hyatt (where the Fair is held) and looking across the Ave of the Stars where would I see Craft/Craft Bar?

                    1. re: SeaCook

                      You can't actually see it from the entrance of the Hyatt because it's in the courtyard right behind the massive CAA building across Avenue of the Stars. If you turn to your left, you'll see 1999, Ave of the Stars, where Mrs. Winston's is located. And if you turn left from where you're standing and walk north on Avenue of the Stars, you'll hit Santa Monica Bld, which you can cross to get to Clementine. Hope that helps!

                      Oh, and I'll be at Craftbar on Friday night so maybe we can say hello if we're there at the same time!

                      1. re: mollyomormon

                        I won't not be there till after 9pm.

              2. re: SeaCook

                I thought the Ajisen in Century City fell way short of the branch in San Gabriel, so I'd be interested in your take.

                1. re: Chandavkl

                  I will report on Tuesday. Is there a prticular ramen you suggest I try? I have had the premium pork ramen with a side of BBQ pork. Also any sides etc. you suggest

                  1. re: SeaCook

                    Well they do have a chicken ramen in chicken broth.

                  2. re: Chandavkl

                    I never had it in SGV.
                    I would say it very fine; the broth maybe wasn't quite as good as Daikokuya or Santouka but I enjoyed it quite a bit. For the location I would say it is a miraculous addition.

                2. Thursday arrived at my seedy but safe motel across from Century City and proceeded to the dining terrace at the Westfield Mall. Per Ciao Bob I went to Ajisen Ramen. However when I got there I was not in the mood for chicken ramen as Chandavkl suggested. I wanted meat! So I ordered the beef ramen. Although saltier than the broth at the RH location it was not unpleasantly so. It was a good bowl of ramen and did what I wanted it to, sate my appetite. I won’t go over breakfast or lunch because a) overslept and skipped breakfast. b) Lunch was ho hum hotel food. Now dinner was an entirely different matter. After working 12 hours working at the Book Fair I was in need of good food and good service. Per mollyomormon’s advice I went to Craftbar. I was tired and hungry beyond measure. I was graciously seated at a table in Craftbar. Mollyomormon I have no idea if you were there. I didn’t spot anyone how looked like your picture. OTOH you could have been standing right in front of me and I wouldn’t have noticed I was that tired and hungry. I would have been good company. Now onto what I ate.

                  I was offered both the regular and bar menu as well as the beer & wine list. I selected a beer from Northern California Mendocino I think. It was the one at the top of the beer list. The bar menu consists of snacks, salad, small plates, flatbreads and desserts. Price range from $5.00 to $9.00. I selected a salad of little gem (a cross between romaine and butter lettuce) and gorgonzola. The salad was lightly dressed with lemon vinaigrette accompanied by heirloom cheery tomatoes, picked sliced shallots (a la Yucatan pickled onions) and crumble of gorgonzola. It was a very harmonious combination with pickled shallots cutting richness of the gorgonzola just right. The lettuce was buttery in flavor and crisp. The best of both worlds. It was a nice light start to a simple late supper. Next I ordered the marrow bone.

                  Now I love marrow bone. I love its deliciously unctuous texture and flvor. The marrowbone at Craftbar was dressed with a supreme of Myer lemon, capers and flat leafed parsley. A classic combination. It was paired with snippets of thinly sliced toast, again classic. The flavor was rich and clean. As I was enjoying my marrow bone It came tome that a nice single malt scotch would be good to accompany my dessert (a chai panacotta with dates and spiced pear). So I asked if they had a list of single malt. The waitress promptly brought me a list. There many fine single malts on the list so I settled on a 10 year old Tobermory form the Isle of Mull. I had had a 15 year old Tobermory at a single malt scotch tasting at the Cal-Tech Athenaeum last month. I wanted to see how this one compared. If you want a a single malt to pair with a desert particularly a chai spiced panacotta this is the one. On a scale of 1 to 10 It’s a 6 for sweetness and 2 for peattiness. The scotch gave just right touch for the spiciness of the chai panacotta and the spiced pear. Yet not too sweet to make the majool dates cloyingly sweet. It was a very satisfying meal.
                  The service was wonderful, warm and gracious. When my check arrived so did some extra goodies! Compliments of the pastry chef the waitress said! There was a mini chocolate cookie just warm enough for the chip to be still gooey accompanied by a tiny flavorful cake of lemon, huckleberry and almond flour. Next to them a small bowl of yummy caramel corn. I thought it couldn’t get any better when the waitress brought my change she gave me a bag of their made in house granola. That night I went from feeling like a mess to a queen.

                  Next morning I went to Clementine’s for breakfast. It turned out to be around the corner from the motel I was staying at. I had a couple of ham & biscuit sandwiches, small orange juice and a coffee. The bicuit was a bit dry perhaps from being in the open air but, the apple butter, brie and country ham made up for the dryness. Again the lunch was not something to write home about chesses crackers etc. in the book dealer’s hospitably suite. I noticed the suite served breakfast so I decided to save my breakfast money and use it for dinner the next two nights instead. So I ate Tosconova. I know Mollyomormon you said it was pricey but I was intrigued by that pappdarelle with wild boar ragu. It was very busy and every table taken so I was instructed to seat myself at the counter. I was seated right in front of the salad/pizza oven station. Now some of you would think this would be a terrible seat to have. But not to me! I was entertained my whole meal watching salad man and pizza guy at work. It’s amazing how quickly and efficiently they both work. The pappdarelle with wild boar ragu was delish, wide fresh pappdarelle pasta with a rustic sauce with chucks of tender boar meat. This was paired with a glass of chanti. No dessert no starter for I had decided to have my last supper at Craftbar the next night.
                  Now to my last meal at Craftbar. The hostess saw me coming and opens the door for me. That is truly gracious service. I had set my sights on two dishes I didn’t try the first time. One was a beet salad, the other the crispy pro belly. I had the same beer again. The two dishes arrived together. The crispy pork belly had a jalapeño vinaigrette. The vinaigrette was a good foil to the pork belly’s richness. It was like butta! They earthiness of the heirloom beets complimented the unctuous of the pork belly. I recognized a couple varieties of beets I grow in my own garden! To end the meal I had originally decided to have a cheese plate but when I saw the panacotta. A different one from Friday night! Crème fraiche with rhubarb and mint. Panacotta junkie that I am I had to have that. Delsih again! Creamy, piquant, and minty. There was a mint sauce colouis and a rhubarb colouis. This time a chocolate flourless cake went back to the motel with me. Craftbar made a very bad Book Fair bearable.
                  Thank you to all who made suggestions it made a lousy Book Fair better.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: SeaCook

                    And thank you for reporting back! I was only at CraftBar on Friday night until 8 or so but I'm really happy you enjoyed it. And also happy you liked Toscanova. People in my office love it, but I think I'm biased against it at least partly because I just don't enjoy Italian food all that much.

                    1. re: mollyomormon

                      Have to echo the praise for CraftBar - went last weekend; it was excellent all around. The cocktails were excellent (and not weak :) ), although pricey ($14-15). Was really impressed to see the goodies at the end of the meal - a little platter of desserts and two packages of granola/trail mix. Nice ambiance too.

                      1. re: mdpilam

                        Although the coctaiIs look yummy, I stuck with beer for that reason. I agree mdpilam praise to Craftbar. I was impressed as you with those little desserts at the end and the granola to go. Very classy

                      2. re: mollyomormon

                        No cuisine is for everyone. But I have been to Italy to Tuscany (Florence) and the food at Toscanova was on par with what I had there. The thing about Italy is the food even in train station cafeterias is better than most Italian foodin the US. Tahnk you very much mollyomormon for the tip about Craftbar.