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Review: Michael's in Santa Monica Still Looks Like 1979, but It Tastes Very 2017

Review: Michael's in Santa Monica Still Looks Like 1979, but It Tastes Very 2017



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The LATimes' Jonathan Gold reviews the Santa Monica stalwart

Leeks and king crab tortellini at Michael's in Santa Monica.

Have you been to Michael’s lately? Because the Stellas are still on the walls, the Charles Garabedian drawings are still kind of naughty, and the guys at the front bar are still drinking complicated things that involve whiskey more expensive than you can afford. It’s all very disco-era until you get out to the tented patio, where it is still pretty late-’70s except that the Robert Graham frieze is as good as anything you’ve seen at a museum lately and the foliage springs eternal; the seaside California we all wish we still lived in, where the people at the next table are just back from the Venice Biennale and you could probably throw together a gallery exhibit featuring nothing more than the customers’ shoes.

But that bowl in front of you — it might contain a bit of chopped summer squash, some cherries, rose geranium-scented cream and crisped grain; a vegetable appetizer that could pass as dessert. The wine in your glass is likely to be an orangey-pink skin-contact white from Slovenia instead of a Napa Sauvignon Blanc, and the bread on the table is dark and profoundly sour. Your last course may have been an uni-frosted spoonful or two of the Japanese custard called chawan mushi; your next may be include pork neck, cauliflower and a vaguely Thai-inflected coconut cream. The chef, Miles Thompson, late of the defunct modernist Echo Park restaurant Allumette, likes dusky greens and splashes of citrus, whole grains and pungent cheese, fermented things and custardy sauce.

Find out why the décor doesn’t need to be updated when the menu is this good in the rest of the review.


Archives

Jewel in Virgil Village. Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

While Angelenos might roll their eyes at the mention of vegan, vegetarianism or gluten-free labels, Jewel could change that perspective with just one visit. Located in Virgil Village (tucked between Silver Lake and East Hollywood), Jewel serves seasonal, local, and sustainable plant-based food that’s both approachable and easy on the wallet. The restaurant opened its doors this past February.

Jewel is the creation of chef Jasmine Shimoda (formerly executive chef of the now shuttered The Springs), and wife Sharky McGee, a Gjelina alum. The duo is focused on offering accessible, healthy and sophisticated plates for the neighborhood.

Avocado Toast at Jewel. Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A

On the menu diners can find cleverly disguised vegan takes on crab cakes, a niçoise salad and even a Philly Cheesesteak. Jewel’s version of the cheesesteak is called the LAPhil, which comes in the form of a wrap. Braised yuba sheets take the place of steak and shiitakes, caramelized onion, pickled jalapeno, cashew fondu and scallion mayo come together to fill out the flavor profile.

This is not the first time the LAPhil has appeared on a menu. It received a cult following when Shimoda was chef at The Springs. Fans of the former restaurant will be excited to see it resurrected at a new location.

LAPhil at Jewel. Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

While Jewel is a plant-based restaurant, the menu is not exclusively vegan or gluten-free, as you’ll find items like breakfast burritos, pizza, noodles and donuts.

Vegan Donuts at Jewel. Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

For now Jewel is BYOB and plans to rolled out a curated wine menu hand-picked by Den Haan from Vinovore, a wine shop steps away from Jewel who supports female winemakers.

Jewel is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday & Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4:40 p.m.

Jewel is located at 654 N. Hoover St. in Los Angeles.


Archives

Jewel in Virgil Village. Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

While Angelenos might roll their eyes at the mention of vegan, vegetarianism or gluten-free labels, Jewel could change that perspective with just one visit. Located in Virgil Village (tucked between Silver Lake and East Hollywood), Jewel serves seasonal, local, and sustainable plant-based food that’s both approachable and easy on the wallet. The restaurant opened its doors this past February.

Jewel is the creation of chef Jasmine Shimoda (formerly executive chef of the now shuttered The Springs), and wife Sharky McGee, a Gjelina alum. The duo is focused on offering accessible, healthy and sophisticated plates for the neighborhood.

Avocado Toast at Jewel. Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A

On the menu diners can find cleverly disguised vegan takes on crab cakes, a niçoise salad and even a Philly Cheesesteak. Jewel’s version of the cheesesteak is called the LAPhil, which comes in the form of a wrap. Braised yuba sheets take the place of steak and shiitakes, caramelized onion, pickled jalapeno, cashew fondu and scallion mayo come together to fill out the flavor profile.

This is not the first time the LAPhil has appeared on a menu. It received a cult following when Shimoda was chef at The Springs. Fans of the former restaurant will be excited to see it resurrected at a new location.

LAPhil at Jewel. Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

While Jewel is a plant-based restaurant, the menu is not exclusively vegan or gluten-free, as you’ll find items like breakfast burritos, pizza, noodles and donuts.

Vegan Donuts at Jewel. Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

For now Jewel is BYOB and plans to rolled out a curated wine menu hand-picked by Den Haan from Vinovore, a wine shop steps away from Jewel who supports female winemakers.

Jewel is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday & Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4:40 p.m.

Jewel is located at 654 N. Hoover St. in Los Angeles.


Archives

Jewel in Virgil Village. Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

While Angelenos might roll their eyes at the mention of vegan, vegetarianism or gluten-free labels, Jewel could change that perspective with just one visit. Located in Virgil Village (tucked between Silver Lake and East Hollywood), Jewel serves seasonal, local, and sustainable plant-based food that’s both approachable and easy on the wallet. The restaurant opened its doors this past February.

Jewel is the creation of chef Jasmine Shimoda (formerly executive chef of the now shuttered The Springs), and wife Sharky McGee, a Gjelina alum. The duo is focused on offering accessible, healthy and sophisticated plates for the neighborhood.

Avocado Toast at Jewel. Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A

On the menu diners can find cleverly disguised vegan takes on crab cakes, a niçoise salad and even a Philly Cheesesteak. Jewel’s version of the cheesesteak is called the LAPhil, which comes in the form of a wrap. Braised yuba sheets take the place of steak and shiitakes, caramelized onion, pickled jalapeno, cashew fondu and scallion mayo come together to fill out the flavor profile.

This is not the first time the LAPhil has appeared on a menu. It received a cult following when Shimoda was chef at The Springs. Fans of the former restaurant will be excited to see it resurrected at a new location.

LAPhil at Jewel. Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

While Jewel is a plant-based restaurant, the menu is not exclusively vegan or gluten-free, as you’ll find items like breakfast burritos, pizza, noodles and donuts.

Vegan Donuts at Jewel. Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

For now Jewel is BYOB and plans to rolled out a curated wine menu hand-picked by Den Haan from Vinovore, a wine shop steps away from Jewel who supports female winemakers.

Jewel is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday & Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4:40 p.m.

Jewel is located at 654 N. Hoover St. in Los Angeles.


Archives

Jewel in Virgil Village. Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

While Angelenos might roll their eyes at the mention of vegan, vegetarianism or gluten-free labels, Jewel could change that perspective with just one visit. Located in Virgil Village (tucked between Silver Lake and East Hollywood), Jewel serves seasonal, local, and sustainable plant-based food that’s both approachable and easy on the wallet. The restaurant opened its doors this past February.

Jewel is the creation of chef Jasmine Shimoda (formerly executive chef of the now shuttered The Springs), and wife Sharky McGee, a Gjelina alum. The duo is focused on offering accessible, healthy and sophisticated plates for the neighborhood.

Avocado Toast at Jewel. Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A

On the menu diners can find cleverly disguised vegan takes on crab cakes, a niçoise salad and even a Philly Cheesesteak. Jewel’s version of the cheesesteak is called the LAPhil, which comes in the form of a wrap. Braised yuba sheets take the place of steak and shiitakes, caramelized onion, pickled jalapeno, cashew fondu and scallion mayo come together to fill out the flavor profile.

This is not the first time the LAPhil has appeared on a menu. It received a cult following when Shimoda was chef at The Springs. Fans of the former restaurant will be excited to see it resurrected at a new location.

LAPhil at Jewel. Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

While Jewel is a plant-based restaurant, the menu is not exclusively vegan or gluten-free, as you’ll find items like breakfast burritos, pizza, noodles and donuts.

Vegan Donuts at Jewel. Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

For now Jewel is BYOB and plans to rolled out a curated wine menu hand-picked by Den Haan from Vinovore, a wine shop steps away from Jewel who supports female winemakers.

Jewel is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday & Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4:40 p.m.

Jewel is located at 654 N. Hoover St. in Los Angeles.


Archives

Jewel in Virgil Village. Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

While Angelenos might roll their eyes at the mention of vegan, vegetarianism or gluten-free labels, Jewel could change that perspective with just one visit. Located in Virgil Village (tucked between Silver Lake and East Hollywood), Jewel serves seasonal, local, and sustainable plant-based food that’s both approachable and easy on the wallet. The restaurant opened its doors this past February.

Jewel is the creation of chef Jasmine Shimoda (formerly executive chef of the now shuttered The Springs), and wife Sharky McGee, a Gjelina alum. The duo is focused on offering accessible, healthy and sophisticated plates for the neighborhood.

Avocado Toast at Jewel. Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A

On the menu diners can find cleverly disguised vegan takes on crab cakes, a niçoise salad and even a Philly Cheesesteak. Jewel’s version of the cheesesteak is called the LAPhil, which comes in the form of a wrap. Braised yuba sheets take the place of steak and shiitakes, caramelized onion, pickled jalapeno, cashew fondu and scallion mayo come together to fill out the flavor profile.

This is not the first time the LAPhil has appeared on a menu. It received a cult following when Shimoda was chef at The Springs. Fans of the former restaurant will be excited to see it resurrected at a new location.

LAPhil at Jewel. Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

While Jewel is a plant-based restaurant, the menu is not exclusively vegan or gluten-free, as you’ll find items like breakfast burritos, pizza, noodles and donuts.

Vegan Donuts at Jewel. Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

For now Jewel is BYOB and plans to rolled out a curated wine menu hand-picked by Den Haan from Vinovore, a wine shop steps away from Jewel who supports female winemakers.

Jewel is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday & Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4:40 p.m.

Jewel is located at 654 N. Hoover St. in Los Angeles.


Archives

Jewel in Virgil Village. Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

While Angelenos might roll their eyes at the mention of vegan, vegetarianism or gluten-free labels, Jewel could change that perspective with just one visit. Located in Virgil Village (tucked between Silver Lake and East Hollywood), Jewel serves seasonal, local, and sustainable plant-based food that’s both approachable and easy on the wallet. The restaurant opened its doors this past February.

Jewel is the creation of chef Jasmine Shimoda (formerly executive chef of the now shuttered The Springs), and wife Sharky McGee, a Gjelina alum. The duo is focused on offering accessible, healthy and sophisticated plates for the neighborhood.

Avocado Toast at Jewel. Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A

On the menu diners can find cleverly disguised vegan takes on crab cakes, a niçoise salad and even a Philly Cheesesteak. Jewel’s version of the cheesesteak is called the LAPhil, which comes in the form of a wrap. Braised yuba sheets take the place of steak and shiitakes, caramelized onion, pickled jalapeno, cashew fondu and scallion mayo come together to fill out the flavor profile.

This is not the first time the LAPhil has appeared on a menu. It received a cult following when Shimoda was chef at The Springs. Fans of the former restaurant will be excited to see it resurrected at a new location.

LAPhil at Jewel. Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

While Jewel is a plant-based restaurant, the menu is not exclusively vegan or gluten-free, as you’ll find items like breakfast burritos, pizza, noodles and donuts.

Vegan Donuts at Jewel. Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

For now Jewel is BYOB and plans to rolled out a curated wine menu hand-picked by Den Haan from Vinovore, a wine shop steps away from Jewel who supports female winemakers.

Jewel is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday & Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4:40 p.m.

Jewel is located at 654 N. Hoover St. in Los Angeles.


Archives

Jewel in Virgil Village. Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

While Angelenos might roll their eyes at the mention of vegan, vegetarianism or gluten-free labels, Jewel could change that perspective with just one visit. Located in Virgil Village (tucked between Silver Lake and East Hollywood), Jewel serves seasonal, local, and sustainable plant-based food that’s both approachable and easy on the wallet. The restaurant opened its doors this past February.

Jewel is the creation of chef Jasmine Shimoda (formerly executive chef of the now shuttered The Springs), and wife Sharky McGee, a Gjelina alum. The duo is focused on offering accessible, healthy and sophisticated plates for the neighborhood.

Avocado Toast at Jewel. Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A

On the menu diners can find cleverly disguised vegan takes on crab cakes, a niçoise salad and even a Philly Cheesesteak. Jewel’s version of the cheesesteak is called the LAPhil, which comes in the form of a wrap. Braised yuba sheets take the place of steak and shiitakes, caramelized onion, pickled jalapeno, cashew fondu and scallion mayo come together to fill out the flavor profile.

This is not the first time the LAPhil has appeared on a menu. It received a cult following when Shimoda was chef at The Springs. Fans of the former restaurant will be excited to see it resurrected at a new location.

LAPhil at Jewel. Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

While Jewel is a plant-based restaurant, the menu is not exclusively vegan or gluten-free, as you’ll find items like breakfast burritos, pizza, noodles and donuts.

Vegan Donuts at Jewel. Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

For now Jewel is BYOB and plans to rolled out a curated wine menu hand-picked by Den Haan from Vinovore, a wine shop steps away from Jewel who supports female winemakers.

Jewel is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday & Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4:40 p.m.

Jewel is located at 654 N. Hoover St. in Los Angeles.


Archives

Jewel in Virgil Village. Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

While Angelenos might roll their eyes at the mention of vegan, vegetarianism or gluten-free labels, Jewel could change that perspective with just one visit. Located in Virgil Village (tucked between Silver Lake and East Hollywood), Jewel serves seasonal, local, and sustainable plant-based food that’s both approachable and easy on the wallet. The restaurant opened its doors this past February.

Jewel is the creation of chef Jasmine Shimoda (formerly executive chef of the now shuttered The Springs), and wife Sharky McGee, a Gjelina alum. The duo is focused on offering accessible, healthy and sophisticated plates for the neighborhood.

Avocado Toast at Jewel. Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A

On the menu diners can find cleverly disguised vegan takes on crab cakes, a niçoise salad and even a Philly Cheesesteak. Jewel’s version of the cheesesteak is called the LAPhil, which comes in the form of a wrap. Braised yuba sheets take the place of steak and shiitakes, caramelized onion, pickled jalapeno, cashew fondu and scallion mayo come together to fill out the flavor profile.

This is not the first time the LAPhil has appeared on a menu. It received a cult following when Shimoda was chef at The Springs. Fans of the former restaurant will be excited to see it resurrected at a new location.

LAPhil at Jewel. Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

While Jewel is a plant-based restaurant, the menu is not exclusively vegan or gluten-free, as you’ll find items like breakfast burritos, pizza, noodles and donuts.

Vegan Donuts at Jewel. Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

For now Jewel is BYOB and plans to rolled out a curated wine menu hand-picked by Den Haan from Vinovore, a wine shop steps away from Jewel who supports female winemakers.

Jewel is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday & Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4:40 p.m.

Jewel is located at 654 N. Hoover St. in Los Angeles.


Archives

Jewel in Virgil Village. Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

While Angelenos might roll their eyes at the mention of vegan, vegetarianism or gluten-free labels, Jewel could change that perspective with just one visit. Located in Virgil Village (tucked between Silver Lake and East Hollywood), Jewel serves seasonal, local, and sustainable plant-based food that’s both approachable and easy on the wallet. The restaurant opened its doors this past February.

Jewel is the creation of chef Jasmine Shimoda (formerly executive chef of the now shuttered The Springs), and wife Sharky McGee, a Gjelina alum. The duo is focused on offering accessible, healthy and sophisticated plates for the neighborhood.

Avocado Toast at Jewel. Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A

On the menu diners can find cleverly disguised vegan takes on crab cakes, a niçoise salad and even a Philly Cheesesteak. Jewel’s version of the cheesesteak is called the LAPhil, which comes in the form of a wrap. Braised yuba sheets take the place of steak and shiitakes, caramelized onion, pickled jalapeno, cashew fondu and scallion mayo come together to fill out the flavor profile.

This is not the first time the LAPhil has appeared on a menu. It received a cult following when Shimoda was chef at The Springs. Fans of the former restaurant will be excited to see it resurrected at a new location.

LAPhil at Jewel. Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

While Jewel is a plant-based restaurant, the menu is not exclusively vegan or gluten-free, as you’ll find items like breakfast burritos, pizza, noodles and donuts.

Vegan Donuts at Jewel. Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

For now Jewel is BYOB and plans to rolled out a curated wine menu hand-picked by Den Haan from Vinovore, a wine shop steps away from Jewel who supports female winemakers.

Jewel is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday & Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4:40 p.m.

Jewel is located at 654 N. Hoover St. in Los Angeles.


Archives

Jewel in Virgil Village. Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

While Angelenos might roll their eyes at the mention of vegan, vegetarianism or gluten-free labels, Jewel could change that perspective with just one visit. Located in Virgil Village (tucked between Silver Lake and East Hollywood), Jewel serves seasonal, local, and sustainable plant-based food that’s both approachable and easy on the wallet. The restaurant opened its doors this past February.

Jewel is the creation of chef Jasmine Shimoda (formerly executive chef of the now shuttered The Springs), and wife Sharky McGee, a Gjelina alum. The duo is focused on offering accessible, healthy and sophisticated plates for the neighborhood.

Avocado Toast at Jewel. Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A

On the menu diners can find cleverly disguised vegan takes on crab cakes, a niçoise salad and even a Philly Cheesesteak. Jewel’s version of the cheesesteak is called the LAPhil, which comes in the form of a wrap. Braised yuba sheets take the place of steak and shiitakes, caramelized onion, pickled jalapeno, cashew fondu and scallion mayo come together to fill out the flavor profile.

This is not the first time the LAPhil has appeared on a menu. It received a cult following when Shimoda was chef at The Springs. Fans of the former restaurant will be excited to see it resurrected at a new location.

LAPhil at Jewel. Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

While Jewel is a plant-based restaurant, the menu is not exclusively vegan or gluten-free, as you’ll find items like breakfast burritos, pizza, noodles and donuts.

Vegan Donuts at Jewel. Photo Credit: Christina Champlin / We Like L.A.

For now Jewel is BYOB and plans to rolled out a curated wine menu hand-picked by Den Haan from Vinovore, a wine shop steps away from Jewel who supports female winemakers.

Jewel is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday & Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4:40 p.m.

Jewel is located at 654 N. Hoover St. in Los Angeles.


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