Something delish within walking distance of Nokia?
Haven't been to the Nokia, but got tix for Wait Wait tomorrow and need some good eats.
Would love a 6:30-ish happy hour bar, but no good ideas. The alternative is a real meal.
And thanks to the Weinermobile, as I might have taken my wife to the Kodak theater on Hollywood Blvd... (I'm truly geographically handicapped...)
SO jealous you're getting to see Wait, Wait! -- fun!! I work a couple of blocks from LA Live and there are increasingly good options in the area. A newer favorite of many of my colleagues is Towne (NW corner of 9th & Flower). I think I read the owner/chef also started Mi Piace. A wide variety of foods with some interesting twists. I've only been once but was impressed. I work for a large consulting company and it's become a regular for client lunches among my coworkers. Enjoy!
A slightly longer walking distance but doable is Wood Spoon. Two colleagues from Chicago, Dommy and I got out of there with dinner and 3 glasses of Malbec for $57 plus tip. It was an excellent meal. It was A little over a 15 minute walk to the Marriott where they were staying.
So funny! I was at Nokia yesterday and also initially thought it was at Hollywood Highland (which is the Kodak theater). The LA Live restaurants were crazy crowded, but the theater concessions are sparse in terms of variety and $$$$. I bought a "pretzel" for $5 that was actually 1/2 a pretzel. They literally cut it in half and put it in a small bag (to hide the fact that it was 1/2 a pretzel is my guess. $10 for a soft pretzel is pretty radical. Anyhow - good that you are eating beforehand.
We didn't like the enormous Nokia, with its 5000 seats and rigid, wallet, phone, and belt checking security at the door.And unless you had seats in the pit ($150 and up, plus fees), you watched the show on a big TV, admittedly a bigger screen than at home, and except for the crowds, just like at home. (BTW, this Wait Wait show will air on PBS next weekend.)
So Dommy and I went to the same show and had the same dilemma. Since we had done Wood Spoon the night before, we wanted something else. The original plan was to take the train in from Culver City and walk to Colori. Well one of the Expo Trains was disabled causing havoc on the line and we ended up driving. After parking, we went to Colori, only to find a line out the door and the hostess predicting an hour and a half wait. This wasn't going to work, so we moved on.
The next thing we came up with was Bar|Kitchen. We walked in and saw that half the place was empty. There was a sign at the hostess stand basically saying seat yourselves. As we were settling in, the waitress came over to ask if we had a reservation. "No but..........." "Well" she said "let me get the hostess." The hostess said the whole place was booked and she would be unable to seat us for an hour at least. So we bailed on Bar|Kitchen.
By this time it was 7 pm and our show was at 8, so we downgraded our expectations. I was keeping my eye out for the street dog vendors which usually proliferate the streets around Staples but since the Clippers, Lakers or Kings weren't playing, there were none to be found.
Finally we ended up at the one place close to Nokia with quick service, friendly staff, big selection and really cheap. The food was eh, but at this point beggars could not be choosers.
We ended up at Ralphs.
645 W 9th St
Los Angeles, CA 90015
We wound up going to Wood Spoon, and couldn't have been happier. We got there around 6:00, so walked across the street to Pattern Bar for a drink first. And as an aside - they serve their sparkling wine in coupes rather than flutes. I get that they're trying to go with the retro look and feel, but that's just an awful decision.
Back to Woodspoon - we loved it. We started with an order of the potato croquettes, since DH, aka Steve, has never met a potato he didn't like, and weren't disappointed. They were fresh, hot, amazingly light, and delicious. Since we'd never been there before, we decided to ignore the specials (although the salmon looked wonderful), and go with their standards, I had the pot pie and he had the carne de panela. Without going into detail, I was happy, and he was ecstatic.I'd have either dish again, but also want to try lots of other menu items.
Thanks all for the suggestions. We've been to Colori and liked it a lot, but Brazilian sounded more interesting than Italian this time, and we weren't wrong.
Wood Spoon is a remarkable restaurant. Thanks everyone for the recommendation.
Judy's chicken pot pie, the restaurant's signature, was good, but my five star carne de panela -- "the meat was cooking in the pan" -- was truly outstanding. It's kind of a pot roast my mother was never able to cook. The meat was tender and soft, yet parts around the edges were al dente and almost crunchy; the flavor was dense and earthy. The portion was large -- I'm not complaining -- and it probably cooks for days.
Most of the online recipes were in Portuguese. I found one translated calling for "1 kg of cow outside flat," and includes powdered bay [leaf], MSG, paprika, and chili.
The side of greens was peppery and worked well with the beef. A small bowl of black beans were, unfortunately, nothing extraordinary; it was missing a flavor, maybe some cumin. On the other hand, the Polenta was soft and creamy and fresh tasting, with bits of something, either carrots or pepper. I was surprised to see a grilled and split spicy Serrano -- complete with seeds and no apologies -- surrounded by a few rings of sautéed onion. That could have gone nicely in the beans.
The service was friendly and sharp -- someone checked on us during the appetizer (those luscious Potato Croquettes, also specially priced for happy hour) -- and the main course.
The place is small: you can see the chef/owner Natalia hustling in the kitchen and serving when things got busy. And compared to most restaurants, the space is quiet; we could easily chat and actually hear each other.
Judy got the Sangria at happy hour prices -- $6. My $9 Malbec was serviceable, but not a wow. With a tip, we were out the door for $65.
And Judy was right: the Pattern Bar was an okay spot for a quick drink, but otherwise, too loud and too trendy. (The least they could have done is play some Brubeck the other night; I mean, the guy just died.)