First off, sad news, everyone. The MUNCH LA food truck event for this weekend has been canceled. I'm unsure why, but at least it seems that it will be rescheduled, so I will be sure to look out for any new dates. Here is the official statement from the event:
Due to unforeseen circumstances, MUNCH LA regretfully has to cancel its event on Saturday, September 18th, 2010. MUNCH LA deeply apologizes to our supporters for any inconveniences and we hope to reschedule our event soon. In the meantime, full refunds on tickets will be available. Please let us know if you have any questions and we will keep you posted.
But now ...
Good news, everyone!
It's almost time for DineLA again! October 3 - 8 and Oct. 10 - 15, local restaurants will offer sweet deals to take advantage of. Lunches will be offered for $16, $22, or $28 depending on the place, and dinners for $26, $34, or $44 depending on the place. It's a great time to try places that ordinarily wouldn't be on your agenda for reasons of price or location, or whatever.
My recommendations for this year:
Angeli Caffe - Lunch and Dinner at the lowest price point. Menu still TBD. Honestly, Angeli Caffe is a good deal at any time of the year, but it can also be one of those staple places that you forget about because it's just always around. It's a good excuse to go back if you haven't been in a while.
BLD - BLD is offering a $26 dinner. The menu offers a choice of appetizer, main course and dessert. BLD is another low key option that offers a chance for an amazing deal. If the weather isn't too cold yet, you can even bring your doggie and eat outside. If you're missing Grace, maybe BLD can comfort you a little.
Comme Ca - If you have not tried Comme Ca yet, this is a great opportunity. Both lunch and dinner are offered at the highest price point, menu is still TBD. This is a great place to bring people that you want to impress with really nice food but you don't want to freak them out with a snooty atmosphere or strange menu choices. I brought my whole family here and it was a complete success. The food is all simple and familiar but prepared impeccably and the wine list and cocktails are top notch.
Eva - Eva is pretty much my favorite restaurant at the moment, I cannot recommend it highly enough. Mark is an awesome guy and he is always offering good deals, but this takes away the effort of looking for them yourself. A three course dinner for $34, and the food here has never let me down. I definitely recommend the chicken and the lemon cake, but any choice is probably the right one.
Jar - If you love Mad Men and you haven't been to Jar then you need to go right away. Put on your Don Draper suit or your Joan Holloway wiggle dress and go there. The atmosphere is somehow both modern and retro, both classy and perfectly comfortable all at the same time. Their DineLA menu offers three courses for $44, with choices for each course. Do not let the traditional food choices fool you, I would never recommend any place that was bleh. As long as you like meat, you are in for a real treat.
Little Next Door - If you are anything like me, it doesn't take too much to get to the point where you feel like you desperately need a vacation. We can't always just pop off on our travels, but a meal at the Little Next Door is a reasonable alternative. It really feels like you've gone to another country when you eat there, and chances are the people next to you will be legit French to provide some immersion. For DineLA, they offer lunch and dinner at the lowest price points. There's no reason not to go here, unless you just absolutely hate French stuff, and then I feel sorry for you.
Lucques - There's pretty much no excuse not to have gone here yet - Lucques' Sunday supper already offers a very good deal every single week. But maybe it's just not convenient for you to go at night or on the weekend. But maybe ... if you work in the area, here is your opportunity. Lucques is doing a lunch for DineLA, menu still TBD, three courses for $28. Treat yourself. :)
Rivera - Rivera is a trek for those of us who live in a more westerly direction, but it's well worth it. It's also a bit of an upscale dining experience, so DineLA offers a good opportunity to try it without having to splurge so much. They are offering lunch and dinner at $28/$44 respectively. They also specifically have a veg option for those herbivores out there. Make sure to have some tortillas and even though it's extra, you should probably try at least one of the quality cocktails they have going on. It will be worth it.
Susan Feniger's STREET - STREET is a really fun place to eat. It's best to be daring and try even the weirdest sounding stuff because that stuff is often the most surprisingly great. For DineLA, they are offering lunch and dinner at the middle price range. The menu represents a sampling of their regular offerings although if you choose the lunch, you get one of chef Susan Feniger's specialties - a braised beef taco.
The Bazaar - I would definitely recommend everyone experience The Bazaar at least once. It's a really fun and surprising experience and a good way to ease into trying some more "avant garde" food because you have plenty of traditional options as well. The upside to this DineLA offer is not only the price ($44), but the sheer number of options. You get to choose from a long list of options rather than just a few so picky eaters have less reason to turn down this format. In particular, the "appetizer" portion offers you a choice of one "crazy" option and one traditional option so that you can try both and compare. Be sure and vist the patisserie for a candy after your meal and check out the very interesting gift shop or whatever that is.
So those are all of my favorite places, but there are a lot more options. You can check out if your favorite restaurant is doing something, and look for menu updates on the DineLA page.