Solving the minimum wage Rubik’s Cube
LA Weekly chats with Leona owner Nyesha Arrington about minimum wage, among other things, in this cool and freewheeling interview. It’s a pretty honest look at what it takes to successfully run a restaurant in these uncertain times (particularly with labor costs rising), while still caring for your staff, being conscious of your price point, and not selling out.
Among the points being touched on is the idea of going tipless with a service charge, or building those costs directly into the price of the food as listed on the menu. In short there are no good solutions, it seems, just a number of ways for everyone to try and figure things out on their own.
Westwood’s plan to keep those college kids fed
LA Weekly takes a look at the sudden influx of quality Chinese (and Chinese-American) food to the Westside, calling out the students of UCLA as needle-movers for the trend. Places like Qin West and Northern Cafe have ushered in a new era, and most nights those places and others are absolutely packed with students.
David Chang is back in town
Looks like Mr. David Chang is back in Los Angeles, this time dining out at Cassell’s in Koreatown. It’s a great place for him to be checking out (and comes with a ton of history), but according to him the modern era — complete with one hell of a patty melt — might just be its best iteration yet.
More best new restaurant accolades
Great news for fans of lists, as the end of any year provides ample opportunity to sort through the muck and mire to find the best of what’s out there. This time it’s Thrillist compiling an esoteric run-down of great places to drink, dine, and hang out on a patio. One big surprise comes right up top (spoiler alert), with vegan restaurant Erven again earning an overall best new restaurant nod from the publication. You’ll recall that Erven also took the top spot in LA Magazine’s overall rankings.
Bar Nine Collective’s ambitious new sustainability plans
Bar Nine Collective in Culver City keeps aiming for the stars, at least where their sustainability efforts are concerned. The popular coffee space has for a while now been engaging customers in a glass cup return policy, wherein drinkers can snag a to-go glass cup, then return it on their next visit, gratis. Now they’re actually upping the ante by giving guests a discount for every glass to-go cup they return (25 cents per drink), and for anyone who comes in and leaves with their own takeaway reusable cup. It’s small but important, and helps keep down the tremendous waste that can accumulate from disposable paper cups in the coffee industry.
Watch LA LA LAND at the Four Seasons
New Lionsgate film LA LA LAND is already getting great reviews, and now on Tuesday, December 20 you can see the flick for yourself as part of a Dinner & a Movie series happening at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills. The fixed menu is $89 per couple and includes food from Culina and the film, with two seatings over the course of the evening. Make your reservations directly with the restaurant.
More on Commerson, La Brea’s beguiling newcomer
There’s more than meets the eye with Commerson, the quiet dinnertime newcomer just south of Wilshire Boulevard on La Brea. Sure, the place serves up plenty of trends, but is being run by Sascha Lyon, who spent time everywhere from Daniel in New York to Balthazar (and was at the W here in LA for years). Beverage director Judson Stone comes from Philadelphia’s Steven Starr empire, and sommelier Sam Rethmeier has been at Chi Spacca, but first studied at Boulder, CO icon Frasca Food & Wine. The full opening menu for Commerson is below, and it’s exactly the sort of upscale easy eating this emerging corner of the city has been actively seeking for a while now.