Naya Restaurant Brings Serenity to Silver Lake
Los Angeles is a great place to find exotic menus. The diversity in each community is now shown through a lot of neighborhood restaraunts but few usually look the part. Naya Sunset which just opened this last November 2011, is not just a lounge and restaurant it is an Exotic Destination. Once you open the curtains to the main dinning room you enter a completely different dream like serene world. As we sat and talked over dinner we joked about how we felt some exotic beach awaited us outside, I mean I guess we can consider silver lake a bit exotic lol. Its lounge is not any less impressive, the design is Spacecraft inspired, the feel is dark, sexy, sophisticated, sensual, pretty much what LA destinations are known for.
The environment of any restaurant always sets the mood on a night out. So whether you will be having dinner with friends, celebrating a birthday night there, or having a drink before hitting the scene, it is crucial to pick the “right spot.” As I looked around I realized Naya Sunset was that destination setting the scene for all occasions. Birthday Girls with cocktail dresses, matching the sexy white lace billowing from the ceiling, arrived for dinner and drinks at the lounge. Couples enjoyed dinner and ate inside booths, which I like to call ”private cabanas” and we enjoyed our social night out sharing stories of travel and art, as expected by the silver lake community.
Their menu was a mix of traditional Indian plates its menu is “Chef Imram’s personal take on Indian cuisine; modern, California-influenced, and Indian-inspired.” Naya is the dream of owner Dr. Michael Everest and Chef Imram Ali Moohki who “wanted to create and serve a new, updated version of the Indian cooking they knew by heart. Thus Naya, meaning “new” in Hindi, became the name. This is the type of menu is a bit different than other well known Indian locations, it welcomes anyone to share in the experience of Indian cuisine and we respect that.
Ella and MJ Favorites: Coconut Prawns: Jumbo shrimp, coconut milk, curry leaves, BLACK RICE, 18
3705 West Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Neighborhood: Silver Lake
Ray’s & Stark Bar Participates DineLA Winter Restaurant Week
Could not conclude 2011 without stopping by Ray’s & Stark Bar, named one of Esquire’s Best New Restaurants of 2011. Stomach Life was invited to check out Ray’s & Stark Bar towards the end of the year, where Chef and Owner of Playa , John Rivera Sedlar; Chefs and Owners, Steve Samson and Zach Pollack of Sotto, came together for three nights to create a six- course exclusive culinary experience. The experience was one we do not mind repeating, and we are excited to know that they are participating in DineLa Winter Restaurant Week this month! Sunday Jan. 22- Friday Feb.3rd. Join in the experience and check out their unique menu specifically for DineLA restaurant week > MENU.
The location is enough to make you want to stop by and not just because it sits right behind the “Urban Light” exhibit that was seen in the “No Strings Attached” movie starring Natalie Portman or Ashton Kutcher , but because it sits inside of LACMA’s courtyard, a hidden treasure destination that some Angelinos forget is there.
Ray’s & Stark Bar opened this last year and fits perfectly into LACMA’s modern contemporary theme. The ”Los Angeles County Museum of Art, known as LACMA, has collections that encompass the geographic world and virtually the entire history of art.” Ray’s and Stark Bar builds a similar feel and builds around our favorite idea which is, interpreting food as an art form, and their dishes are beautiful.
“Ray’s and Stark Bar has been hailed by Esquire as “One of the best new restaurants of 2011” and by the Los Angeles Times as “a feast for the senses.” The Mediterranean-inspired menu includes dishes from the restaurant’s wood-burning oven and grill, with an emphasis on farm-to-table, seasonal fare from executive chef Kris Morningstar. To drink: seasonal cocktails, a California-centric wine list, and artisan beers and spirits.”-www.raysandstarkbar.com/
They have a unique menu that is constantly changing so no no fear of boredom there. My favorite welcoming attraction about the restaurant is their outdoor patio and bar with tasteful well deserved drinks and comfortable seating areas for social groups. We love to note perfect go to “date night” spots, and this is one of them. The chic contemporary designs welcomes the intellectual couple and individual.
Ray’s & Stark Bar; Mediterranean 5905 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Neighborhood: Mid-City West
Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza, American; El Segundo, Los Angeles
“EAT WELL, FEEL GOOD”
Organic Arugula & Pear Prosciutto Pizza: gorgonzola, organic arugula salad
tossed in Balsamic Basil dressing 12
Brie Cheese & Truffle: Oil Fresh sautéed wild mushrooms 12
Hummus: Evoo, grilled herb flatbread 8.5
Chilled Roasted Vegetable Salad: Organic spinach, fresh mozzarella, edamame, artichoke, yellow tomato, red bell pepper, red onion, fresh organic basil, lemon, balsamic vinegar, evoo 10
Polynesian Crab Stack: Mango, pea shoots, organic cucumber, tomato, red
onion, avocado, peanuts, spicy ginger lime dressing 13
Ahi Poki Chukka:, soy sauce, green onion, sesame oil 11
Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza, American; El Segundo, Los Angeles
“EAT WELL, FEEL GOOD”
Cotton Candy: Dusted with cocoa powder 4.5
Messy Sundae®: Vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, walnuts, whipped cream 8.5
Corkbar; American; Downtown Los Angeles
Red or White?…is what the waitress would ask me after I decided that instead of my regular cocktail, I would step up my sophistication level and drink some wine.
MJ and I recently became fans of wine but like most people that drink wine for the first time, we had no clue how to order it. When the waitress would ask what kind of wine we wanted, we would say, “red”, then she would read out these complicated names, in which I would turn to her and nod at the “House Cabernet” selection because not only was the price affordable, but it was an actual name that i recognized. With time I learned a few other trusty wines that friends would recommend and I got a little better at ordering it. The problem I found was that because wine was linked to some sort of sophistication level, it was a bit intimidating to even try it when you didn’t know what to try.
It wasn’t until recently that I learned a lot more about it. Everyone kept mentioning the name “Corkbar” to me. Most of my good friends that have been lofting in downtown religiously stay up to date with the new downtown restaurants, which LA desperately needs more of, and told me I had to check out this new spot. “It’s super chill”, “It reminds me of the spots they have in Santa Barbara”, “You have to try their appetizers and wine, it is sooo good!”, they would say.
So we did, and in true “downtown” flair we trained it once again. Hoped on the Los Angeles Subway, Blue Line towards the Staples Center (PICO stop), a few blocks from Corkbar.
We loved it! A nice size establishment bright and warm at the same time. Cool wood deco and wine modern shelving, “Wine Country meets chic”, says Caleb co-owner of Corkbar, as he describes the decor. The best part about it is you get the California wine experience for a GREAT price. Their wine selection is categorized in their drink menu making it easy to maneuver through. I personally called it the “bible of California wines”, I was almost tempted to take one with me! ”What I specifically liked was that it was not intimidating at all and anything goes sneakers and jeans, perfect for the train ride back, or the suit and the loose tie, perfect for the after work happy hour.”-Ella
”We created Corkbar with a simple mission in mind: re-create the California wine tasting experience.”-www.corkbar.com
Happy Hour! Monday thru Friday, from 3pm-7pm. Draft beer discounts, half-off appetizers, wine specials, and more!
Corkbar; American; Downtown Los Angeles
Click for Corkbar Menu
Banhmi Sliders; Ground pork, ginger, cilantro, garlic, carrot, daikon
on mini challah bun, served with side of sriracha. $15
w/Wine: Riesling, Sparkling, Albariño, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon
With green lentils, grain mustard and herbed butter. $17 Ella
w/Wine: Marsanne, Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc
Fish Tacos; corn tortillas, seared cod breaded in cornflakes,
housemade remoulade, pico de gallo, and limey cabbage. $12 MJ
w/Wine: Chardonnay, Rosé, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Sparkling
** Test Kitchen Tuesdays! Chef Thomas tests an appetizer-sized portion of a new, market-driven dish not available on the regular menu,
for only $2.
Caleb Wines of Corkbar sits w/StomachLife.com
I had the opportunity to sit and chat with one of Corkbar’s owners Caleb Wines (appropriate last name right?). He shared the inspiration behind Corkbar, schooled me on the chemistry behind good wine, and he encouraged me not to shy away from the wine experience. Caleb shared his thoughts on the foodie culture and his thoughts on eating socially.
What word would you use to describe the Corkbar menu? “Eclectic”, he said. You won’t find a complicated new gastronomic menu here he added, in other words u wont have to squint at your food and guess what it is? I asked, and as we both laughed about it he assured me i wouldn’t need to do that.
“We are dedicated to bring our love for wine to Southern California….70 wines by glass and dozens more by the bottle…a dozen artisanal beers and farmer’s market fresh food menu.” -Corkbar.com
This is when I knew that the owners behind Corkbar truly understood their consumers. The “inspiration behind Corkbar”, Caleb added, “was to bring what we experienced on our vacations while wine tasting here to Los Angeles. All the owners are from Los Angeles and if you are from L.A., you know there is nothing like Corkbar around. Unlike other downtown chic bars where, “you can barely read the menu because of the lighting in there”, Caleb jokes, Corkbar serves the same quality food and drinks in a more RELAXED atmosphere.
Its nice to see downtown expand and when I asked Caleb how he felt about the foodie craze he said, he loved it. The best part of L.A. food is you can eat great tasting food straight out of a “paper bag” or “ some fine china”. Whether it’s an expensive French cuisine where they serve art on a plate, that he also personally enjoys, or the classic the Tommy Burgers, people are enjoying the food experience and talking about it because “Good is Good” he added.
We ended with his thoughts of StomachLife’s take on enjoying food socially and how important that was to him. He said “Corkbar is all about enjoying food socially.” You never really see someone enjoying a whole bottle of wine if its not with friends.” Wine is meant to be enjoyed with friends and family and that was the point of creating a place like Corkbar. Their appetizers and entrées are big enough to share along with their wine. The music is even hand picked by the owners, music they have enjoyed together and music that helps add to the atmosphere. Selections of rock, jazz and latin play in the background as you enjoy the Corkbar social experience. ..and that is exactly what we did truly enjoyed the experience.
As we ended our interview Caleb ended with some wise words we can all use after a long day…“When in Doubt drink more wine”- Caleb …..
A personal thanks to Mary Park, Caleb and the Corkbar staff.
PLANET RAW; SANTA MONICA, CA via Javier Laval
“World renowned raw food chefs Juliano and Ariel have created a 100% organic raw vegan food outpost unlike any other. Our recently revamped menu is a virtual world tour of perfectly spiced America, Indian, Italian,Japanese, Mexican and Thai cuisine. Fresh, organic produce is delivered daily for the chefs to create sweet smoothies, savory appetizers, sumptuous salads, warm soups, sushi, entrees, delicious desserts and herbal elixirs that will tantalize your palate.”
Jalapeno Poppers: Breaded Jalapenos, Cashew Cheese & Marinara sauce $7.50
Vegan Mylk Shakes: Choc/Strawberry Mix & Maca Mint Choc Chip $7.95ea.
Taco Salad: Greens, Avacado,Cashew Cheese, Sour Cream,Flax Chips & ground mushrooms $14.95
Mach Nachos: Shredded Greens, Sourcream, Cashew Cheese, Flax Chips, Salsa $14.95
Pho 36 ; Vietnamese ; Los Angeles
Fresh Spring Rolls Lettuce Wraps 4.95
Chicken Pho-ga w/Vegies 7.95
HillStone; Santa Monica:
Hanging at HillStone’s in S.M. with the the Sushi makers
Rainbow Roll $16
Nirvana; Beverly Hills, CA
Happy Sunday @ Nirvana’s Happy Hour, “Bliss Hour”
One word, Karma Sutra! is the sexy vibe inside of the Nirvana Lounge in Beverly Hills. The entrance alone is intriguing. The decorative carved and rustic wooden door gives you the feeling that it will lead you to a secret location. As you open the door you are welcomed by tasteful Karma Sutra art work, and the rest of the Lounge is very much like a small elegant Indian retreat. Environment is everything to us because it sets the mood for your food experience. But when the environment + $$ + food AND service is outstanding it is definitely something to share with the world. It is extremely difficult for most restaurants to satisfy all that criteria. Nirvana satisfies all this criteria and had first timers like ourselves, addicted to more.
We were invited by our friend @Wilson’s Where to Guide to enjoy Nirvana’s, Bliss Hour, happy hour Sundays 5pm-11pm. Nirvana happy hour menu is perfect for first timers if you have never tasted Indian Food, because it is just enough for you to experience the different tastes of India. It is perfect for date nights, when you want to slightly impress a girl but not scare her away with a complicated menu. And Lastly it is perfect for a Sunday get together, where you simply want to play catch up with the girls before your work week begins. The seating is exceptional, unlike many happy hour spots that have such uncomfortable seating arrangements, like your only option is standing at the bar, Nirvana really offers an actual lounge experience. Bliss hour is exactly what you get as you sit and relax on their white leathered beds and burgundy drapped canopies and enjoy some of their tasty drinks.
We tasted their whole appetizer menu. Their Samosas were served with of course the must have, Green Chutney sauce, both minty and spicy to match all the other appetizers at our table. Stuffed Mushrooms and the Lamb were one of Ella’s favorite. Since she is new to the Indian experience, she does say that the chutney sauce was equivalent to what her salsa is to her tacos. Now as for the drinks, we liked, ALL OF THEM, but there were some favorites. The Karma Sutra, Nirvana and Mango Mojito were delish! The use of fresh fruit mixed in their drinks was key in preventing an overly syruped cocktail.
Overall the Happy Hour Experience was excellent, the kind owner and staff were very attentive and welcoming. Special Thanks to Amber and Haute Living for the special invitation.
RFD; Santa Monica, CA
RFD (Real Food Daily) is an organic vegan restaurant in Los Angeles all their food is made with fresh organic ingredients; it attracts not only your common vegetarian but celebrities, and other “sometimes” vegetarians who are simply looking for a good healthy meal! There are two locations in California one is in Santa Monica and the other in West Hollywood.
We stopped by for dinner at the Santa Monica location and after sitting in traffic we were pleased to have one of their hosts greet as at the door with a smile. As we entered we automatically felt at home, their café vibe is not intimidating at all and their dessert displays stimulate your palette. As they walked us to our seat it truly felt like a dinner table and the waitress greeted us making sure that we were comfortable, she even offered to turn off the air conditioning unit by us. The hardest part about a vegetarian restaurant for us is the menu because we are very new to the vegan experience but as we grabbed the menu it did not take us more than 5minutes to quickly decide on what we wanted. They have great monthly specials and an attractive starter menu. After ordering Mj began to snap away, being that we are food bloggers, pictures are a must! Well, unlike other restaurants, RFD welcomed the creativity.
When our food arrived, TV Dinner & the Not-Chos we couldn’t believe that there was no actual meat on our plate, the presentation was great, and it visually satisfied us meat eaters. NOT-CHOS are a must have!!!! The best part of the food was that we did not fall under the dreaded food coma, it was healthy and energizing. Not only was the food great but the trend setting environment opens positive and interesting conversations at the dinner table. Again, thank you RFD and our friend Melissa Hebeler for introducing us to some more great food. J
Home; Los Feliz, CA
This is one of MJ and Ella’s favorite lunch spots. It is a great mid day meeting spot but their outdoor cabana’s can be a great highlight for a dinner date. With Vista Movie Theaters around the corner you can enjoy a $6.50 matinée and then head to Home’s Lunch Happy Hour for some yummy food and great tasting Mimosas, $4 (Along with all other Well Drinks %50 off)