On a typical holiday weekend, travel would probably be on your agenda. Due to COVID-19, many people are sticking close to home this Labor Day. Here are five fun, new ways to indulge safely while evoking memories of the U.K., South of France, Japan and even the East Coast.
Lunch on The Terrace at The Maybourne
Luxury British brand The Maybourne Hotel Group, of Claridge’s and The Connaught fame in London, has recently reopened in the old Montage space on Canon Drive. For dining, The Terrace still has the ample patio space overlooking the garden square and Mr. Brainwash sculpture. Local Executive Chef Kaleo Adams, who has a pedigree from the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Proper in Santa Monica, was brought in to spearhead the kitchen and Mediterranean-inspired comfort menu.
“I’ve spent the better part of the last two decades fostering close relationships with some of the best producers in California,” Adams told the Courier. “Locally-sourced ingredients are the foundation of this menu. To celebrate the incredible bounty we have at our fingertips, I’m excited to be serving fresh, seasonal dishes that guests and locals want to enjoy every day,” he said.
To that end, they serve Half Moon Bay crab and peaches, smoked trout salad with Carpinteria avocados and grapefruit, a decadent homemade corn agnolotti with black truffle, whole branzino or Snake River Farms filet mignon with black garlic butter. Start the meal with a Beverly Hills G&T that includes St. Germain and Laurent-Perrier Champagne or a glass of rosé from their own wine label, Chateau La Coste in Provence and you will feel magically transported to France.
Dinner and a Movie Under the Stars
If the drive-in movie trend is not for you, the Westfield Century City has embraced the open-air movie concept in its atrium plaza with a big screen in a plant-filled setting.
Social distancing is on point with chic yellow cabanas dotted around the space where the “Come See” movie series runs through Sept. 11. Book a cabana for the family and ticket holders will receive a complimentary goodie bag from Pixi Beauty and Sugar Factory, face masks, a no-touch tool key and hand sanitizer, plus a $25 surprise dining gift card to go towards a picnic-style dinner during the movie (some of the options include Eataly or HRB sushi).
And, to keep the family fun going, Trivia Nights will also be coming to the cabanas later in September once the movie series ends.
Expert Sushi in Robertson Plaza
Across the street from the Chanel boutique on Robertson, Sh?wa Hospitality has brought Sushi TAMA to Los Angeles. The premium offerings were curated by Chef Hideyuki Yoshimoto of the world-renowned Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo. When indoor dining is allowed again, there is a sleek wooden counter-bar for watching the action, but for now, this spot on the edge of the Robertson Plaza offers outdoor patio and sidewalk seating along with a robust to-go menu.
The menu of freshly caught fish includes a rotating selection of sashimi, maki, temaki and nigiri constructed into dishes with high-quality nori and rice from Japan. Carryout offerings are simple preparations designed to travel well, including donburi rice bowls topped with pristine cuts of fish and a do-it-yourself temaki kit featuring a variety of sashimi with fillings such as ikura and cucumber, portioned sushi rice and toasted nori. An omakase nigiri set (10 pieces) is also available for $45. They also carry a small but excellent selection of sake by the bottle or a refreshing lemon and soju cocktail to go.
Pints on a British Pub Patio
Michelin-star Chef Brendan Collins of Fia in Santa Monica has gone back to his British roots with Market Tavern at the Original Farmers Market.
Acclaimed musician and bar owner, Gary Twinn, teamed up with Collins to bring his “fantasy pub” to life and change the misconceptions about British cuisine on their sizable patio. “My vision was to combine the contemporary London gastropub experience with the sex appeal of a hip L.A. eatery, throw in a bit of rock n’ roll music, sports TV, and situate it at my favorite place to hang out,” said Twinn. “And, where else can you get a Michelin-star chef making your fish and chips?”
Pub dishes with a California twist include savory pies, such as the vegan-veggie friendly “Impossible Shepherd’s” or bangers and mash with “Beyond Sausage.” And, those fish and chips are a hearty portion of beer-battered rock cod (large enough for two) and hand-cut potato chips with house-made tartar sauce. For dessert, Chef Collins also rolls out a rich sticky toffee pudding cake topped with caramel ice cream or a lighter, fruit-forward Eaton Mess. For beer, expect plenty of specialty imports from across the pond, along with the debut of Market Tavern Lager, developed in partnership with Figueroa Mountain in Santa Barbara.
Collins also brings back his famous Sunday Roast from 12 to 4 p.m. every Sunday with roast beef and horseradish, roast chicken with sage and onion stuffing, or lamb leg and mint sauce with all the trimmings, including Yorkshire pudding.
Don’t miss the giant wall collage that pays homage to 60s and 70s British musical greats such as The Rolling Stones, The Clash and the Sex Pistols shot by iconic photographer Dennis Morris. “It has everything I love about a good pub–the food, the ambiance, a great pint, and a friendly face,” said Collins.
Champagne Cart Courtyard at the Beach
Shutters on the Beach has been a major draw for a Santa Monica escape for decades. The Courtyard at 1 Pico has the same seaside appeal. The newly opened venue features cozy sofas and small tabletops strategically placed in the central tree courtyard, surrounded by romantic hanging lanterns and candlelight.
Chef David Almany and Corporate Food and Beverage Director Franck Savoy (son of three-star Michelin Chef Guy Savoy) have completely transformed the hotel entrance, which is reminiscent of a breezy patio at a stately home in Martha’s Vineyard.
“Our guests as well as our local customers are loving the number of alfresco options we now have between Shutters on the Beach and [sister property] Hotel Casa del Mar. It was my goal that each outdoor venue would have its own unique personality, menu, and ambiance. They had to be true culinary experiences,” said Savoy.
A roving Champagne cart brings kir royale cocktails to the table or sparkling rosé to accompany whole fish entrees, pasta dishes or lighter plates of grilled prawns on a bed of Greek eggplant or Hamachi crudo garnished with jalapeño. The chef’s popular salted caramel popcorn sundae also makes an appearance on this menu for an indulgently sweet summer ending.