Boulevard Magazine Issue B208 Spring 2014

Something Old, Something New, Something Delicious, Something True

Three decades of eating our way through town has us loving our dining scene a little more every year. Here’s an affectionate look at some old favorites and newer spots.

Although I have been reporting on our community’s restaurants, trends, buzz-worthy chefs and culinary treasures since 2002, what first  drew me to On The Boulevard Ventura years before was its colorful, comprehensive approach to the city magazine restaurant guide. Everything in good taste, yet with enough spice and flair to remind readers this wasn’t your mother’s L.A. Times food section or L.A. Magazine, as glamorous as that may be.

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In the 30 years we’ve covered restaurants, the increasingly dramatic presentation of food has lent itself to our own ambitions to tempt our readers with the best things out there! So many restaurants, so little time! At Boulevard, one of the most challenging aspects to creating our dining guide was finding restaurants with back stories as fascinating as their menus.

Although the term “comfort food” is now used loosely to define favorite dishes from our youth, it also extends to restaurants that deliver those gastronomic touchstones in new and original ways. Whether you are looking for lighter fare, or a fresh place to soak up the returning sunshine, here’s how Boulevard’s favorite restaurants from past and present are stacking up! 

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Boulevard has embraced local restaurateurs’ road to success and permanence in their communities, via their passion, hard work, and love of food. Meet three visionaries who each took vastly different roads in the restaurant field and ended up in the same place—successful pillars of their communities.

Hungry? Good! The proprietors of Cameron’s Seafood, Trattoria Neapolis and Big Mama’s & Papa’s Pizzeria will not allow you to leave hungry. More importantly, all three restaurants have evolved into a home away from home where customers are extended family. As there is life after lunch and dinner, all of these restaurateurs and their principals are committed to providing other forms of nourishment to their communities, through charitable endeavors and other activities that benefit the local economy and business community.

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The Sherman Oaks outpost of Blu Jam stirs up creativity, comfort food and city cool—and brings it fresh to the San Fernando Valley.

A multi-cultural crowd of people line up for entry into a Ventura Blvd. building that seems fairly unassuming. They run the gamut from proper, preppie families to art school and musician kids to senior citizens and young professionals. The soundtrack includes Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Green Day, and plays loud enough to stir a beat but soft enough to not overwhelm.

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Your patience has been rewarded! Aro Latin is now open in South Pasadena, offering both a comfortable neighborhood eatery, and a sophisticated dining experience, all rolled into one.

Aro Latin is the culinary brainchild of Karan and Candy Garcia Raina. Karan hails from India while Candy brings her El Salvadorian sensibility to Aro Latin. They met in Los Angeles 25 years ago and shared a common passion for great food. After successfully running Radhika for 18 years, Karan and Candy are boldly stepping into the Latin arena to bring these savory flavors to the Southland. Together, they traveled to Mexico and South America to explore their mutual curiosity and love for Latin food. Aro Latin will offer their flavorful discoveries in a modern setting.

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PizzaRev tops its “local hero” business status with national expansion plans … without compromising its neighborly vibe fashioned in the San Fernando Valley.

Can a local business go national, yet remain your friendly neighborhood go-to pizza place? It sure can, according to PizzaRev’s Irv and Jeff Zuckerman.

Even with popular made-to-order chains like Subway and Chipotle, the double father-son team (the Zuckermans along with Rodney and Nicholas Eckerman), knew there was a niche to be filled (or topped off) through custom pizzas and salads. The Zuckermans and Eckermans planted the seeds to their success in Northridge, Studio City and Woodland Hills nearly two years ago. Today, new locations in Burbank and Van Nuys are blossoming. The dough also continues to rise in the Dakotas, Utah, Nebraska, the OC and San Diego.

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Javier, Pablo & Luciano successfully transport the best of Buenos Aires and the Argentine Wine Country to Toluca Lake.

As Malbec has been a good friend to Boulevard, especially in its 30th anniversary year, this was not our first tango at the original Toluca Lake location. Thanks to the commitment of owners Javier, Pablo and Luciano, who continue to build Malbec’s excellent reputation, it is definitely not going to be our last. 

While the food is consistently surprising thanks to a simple presentation contrasted with complex flavors, Malbec’s ambiance and attention to detail continue to play a role in its ongoing success. If you’ve been to Buenos Aires, you will find the establishment does a flawless job in bringing the look, feel and vibe of Buenos Aires’ trendiest neighborhoods—with its warm, contemporary setting. If you have always wanted to go to Argentina, a visit to the restaurant will certainly prime you for the wonders that await in BA’s Palermo Soho as well as bustling wine and restaurant towns like Mendoza.

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Gyoro-Gyoro/Bar of Tokyoand Oto Oto continue to win over customers with their creative mix of ingredients, artistic presentation and attentive service.

Our affection for Gyoro-Gyoro/Bar of Tokyo is not just strong.  It is something that continues to increase with every visit, as what made the Encino restaurant so appealing, just keeps on getting better.

There are changes that we notice even before we sit down.  The menus have been redesigned and the seating upgraded in the main dining room.  While the menu listings have been edited and tightened, some compelling new dishes have been added, such as sea urchin “uni” pasta and two very eye catching new rolls: The Velvety Roll with crab and scallop and the Encino Roll with sea bass tempura and jalapeno soy butter. Kawaba, a craft beer imported from Gunma, Japan, was newly added to the drink menu as a tempting alternative to Asahi, the Japanese brew most American sushi lovers are familiar with.

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Swadisht Khana means “delicious food” in Hindi and that’s what New Delhi is all about—outstanding, traditional cuisine in a brightly modern atmosphere. “A complete dining experience—a feast for the mouth and the heart.”

New Delhi Palace is the oldest Indian restaurant in Pasadena. Owner, Ron Sandhu, has been bringing the savory spirit and essence of India to the Southland for over 30 years, and he really knows what he’s doing. Located upstairs on Colorado, New Delhi Palace serves up the kind of food you would eat at home – if you lived in India. Ron described the cuisine as traditional, but modified to please the American palate. It’s got a kick, but it doesn’t kick you between the eyes. And if you like it extreme, you can get it that way too. The minute you walk in, you can smell that unique blend of Indian spices that means you’re in for a good culinary time.

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The classic American hot dog stand is reinvented in Pasadena, and poised to win over fans everywhere else.

A burger-focused “gastropub” is probably opening its doors somewhere near you as you read this article, and restaurants running the gamut from the regular burger joint to four-star steakhouses are bent on producing the ultimate hamburger. However, three restaurant business mavericks from Pasadena—Hagop Giragossian, Quasim Riaz and André Vener—bred a champion idea: a hot dog-centric restaurant with a modern vibe and a global sensibility.

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After 12 years, Colombo’s Italian Steakhouse has sizzled with Eagle Rock’s best steaks, meatballs, salmon and sides, as well as live jazz performances. It’s a labor of love that founders, Vic and Maeve Parrino, still put their heart and soul into.

Vic’s first job as a teenager was as the dishwasher and busboy for the downtown L.A. location of Colombo’s Italian Restaurant. After learning to make the best pizzas in town, Vic left to get his insurance license, which he still carries. But whenever workers left, the family called him back to fill in, and he always came. Because that’s what Colombo’s is all about—family. Three generations, to be exact.

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Bequeaths Organic Bliss to Toluca Lake

Aeirloom Bakery is fast becoming known for their exquisite pastries and baked goods. Breakfast, Lunch, and Brunch—all of it organically delicious!

Have you ever had an “Oh, my God, I’ve died and gone to heaven” moment involving your taste buds? For those of you lamenting the loss of Toluca Lake’s venerable Chez Nous Patisserie, dry those tears, because the delightful Aeirloom Bakery has arrived.

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True to its roots, Toluca Lake continues to be an oasis of star-studded charm and sophistication.

The Village of Toluca Lake, established by General George Forman back in 1923, is a  fabulous world unto itself. Just a hop, skip and a jump away from major power players Warner Bros., Universal Studios, Walt Disney, ABC and NBC Television, it  boasts a treasure trove of dining, shopping, entertainment, fashion and beauty options for your pleasure. Where (wonder of wonders in L.A.) you can park your car minus meters and wander the heart of the Village at your own pace.

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If Colorado Boulevard is Pasadena’s “Main Street USA,” then Lake Avenue is its
“Rodeo Drive.” Rediscover one of Boulevard’s favorite “roads less traveled” to
experience exquisite dining and shopping that’s anything but ordinary.

Pasadena’s elegant Lake Avenue may be a famous Southern California dining and shopping destination, but to its resident community, it’s home sweet home. Let’s find out what the locals already know!

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A Celebratory Snapshot of Who’s Who and What’s What in Studio City

Studio City, which was home to On the Boulevard magazine for nearly 30 years, has come into its own—not just as one of L.A.’s most livable neighborhoods, but also as one of its most innovative and creative areas.

Why travel to Beverly Hills, when you can enjoy the finest in wining and dining, beauty and fashion, and home décor, right here in Studio City!

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As reflected on one of our early covers in our smaller format, Boulevard has kept its pulse on 30 years worth of fashion, health and beauty trends, never wavering from our quest for the best.

The seasons, they are a-changin’! And with the new season, comes the new color and style trends for 2014, as dictated by top aestheticians, designers and trend-setters. Get ready to spruce up your appearance and your wardrobe with the hottest new looks—with 30 years of love from Boulevard Magazine!

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Spring is in the air and on the runway. While vintage inspired looks are still going strong—stark and surprising contrasts in color, texture and tailoring is what Spring 2014 is all about.

For spring, expect the unexpected as tops, bottoms and accessories will all be combined. Think dainty tea-length skirts paired with daring crop tops, grunge-meets-schoolgirl pairings, and bomber jackets over demure dresses. What better way to burst out of the winter doldrums, than to don the soft-flowing lines and easy to wear street fashions that make springtime so welcome. With that in mind, grab your gal pal, your mom, or anyone who will tag along to ditch the crowded cocoon of the mall and head to the streets for some real shopping.

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Sign of the Times Mixing the Trusted Old with the Trendy New

Home styles are taking on a new color palette for Spring 2014, and it looks like they plan to stick around for a while. Your living space helps to create your frame of mind, and your frame of mind creates your life aesthetic.  Bring your home into the new season with flair!

Ever wonder how new color and style trends are predicted? Color forecasters draw information from the runway, auto manufacturers and the housewares industry. They scour showrooms, trade shows and magazines for trends. They consider what’s happening culturally and how this impacts our national mood. Then they take all of that information and translate it into what colors we’ll be wearing and decorating with in the next year. Here’s Boulevard’s sneak peek.

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It’s open house with the 50th Annual Pasadena Showcase House of Design, and it’s open season on fun as spring arrives in Pasadena, with its farmers markets, arts and culture venues, parks and scenery.

n this, our 30th anniversary issue, let us introduce you to some new places and people, along with some wonderful friends who have been gracing these pages for many, many years. See where you can take in a play, get your car fixed, buy or sell some property, take a famous garden tour, or spend the day at a truly fabulous farmer’s market!

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A Plus Size Boutique - and Plenty of It!

Abundance—for those of us women who have bodies that are not perfectly proportioned, and those of us who wear a size 12 and above (either on the top or the bottom, or both), Abundance is the Holy Grail.

Abundance is one of the very few upscale independent plus-size fashion boutiques in the entire United States. Living in Los Angeles, we are so fortunate to have this unique gem conveniently located on Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks. 

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Note: The opinions expressed herein are those of the various contributing writers, advertisers and artists
and do not necessarily express the opinions of the Boulevard staff or ownership.
All advertiser discounts and specials are subject to cancellation withou
t notice.

 

 

 

Boulevard Magazine, 11684 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, CA 91604 - 323.436.7546