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Botanica’s Chefs Talk About the Challenges of Opening a Restaurant

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Plus why LA’s Chinese food scene has surpassed everyone else in the U.S.

A covered restaurant patio lined in tables.
Botanica Silver Lake
Jakob Layman

Moving across the country to open a restaurant

Botanica’s founders Emily Fiffer and Heather Sperling talk about the history of their Silver Lake restaurant on Healthyish, opening up about how they left dream jobs to do a vegetable-driven eatery. There are some odd statements like how the food world in 2014 hardly looks like it does today, mainly with #metoo and how vegetables hadn’t taken over menus. The first is true, but the second perhaps wasn’t as much of a change for market-driven Angeleno diners. Still, the push toward a more holistic approach to dining and cooking perhaps wasn’t as prevalent a mere four years ago when they set the wheels in motion to open, but perhaps the owners are happy to take part of the credit for being in the middle of a trend toward healthier eating.

Chinese food rules in LA

David Chan, perhaps LA’s most notable Chinese food historian, goes into why LA’s Chinese food scene wasn’t always the best in the country, but now reigns supreme. It all starts with a look at the first regional cuisines that came here, and how LA’s scene has allowed for various regions to take hold, especially in San Gabriel Valley.

A brunch with a view

WP24 has finally commence brunch service, with two separate seatings priced at $75 apiece for 11 a.m. and another at 1 p.m. Children 12 years and under cost $25, and there’s basically an all-you-can-eat buffet with multiple stations, plus coffee, tea, and juice. Any booze costs extra, but some dishes include dim sum, hand-rolled sushi (as opposed to machine rolled?), eggs benedict, and Belgian waffles.

A new Blue Bottle on the Westside

Tech-heavy Santa Monica, which already boasts a Philz Coffee, will have a new Blue Bottle Coffee starting December 2. Located on 2439 Main Street, the shop will give away coffee ahead of its debut on December 1 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with food and merch for sale that will benefit the LA LGBT Center. Update: Blue Bottle will reschedule the community day and will announce a new date.

A French-style Christmas in West Hollywood

Holiday festivities are already in full motion, with Barbette in West Hollywood offering a Christmas Eve and Christmas dinner on the docket. Christmas Eve sports an a la carte menu from chef Robert Flaherty with stuffed quail with pomegranate, scallops with wild mushrooms, and a complimentary glass of bubbly for all diners. Christmas Dinner is a $55 a person prix fixe with boeuf bourguignon or veggie pot au feu plus a slew of sides. For that dinner, a Bûche de Noël comes for dessert.

Hanukkah at APL for eight days

Starting December 2 and going until the 10th, APL in Hollywood will serve Hanukkah specials like potato latke with sour cream and compressed apples ($9) or brisket with pommes puree for $26. For a sweet bite, chef Adam Perry Lang will serve fritters with raspberry jam at $8 a plate.

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