Tag Archives: culver city

Fraiche (now closed)

The gorgeous French Chef Ben Bailly calls me his American “Auntie”. If I were 20 years younger (I’m 46) I’d be seriously offended by this, but in all honesty…. I LOVE IT.

Chefs Night Out 2010I met the 28-year-old chef back in October 2009 at Petrossian in West Hollywood, and at first mistook him for our server. Before eating at the restaurant, I read that Ben had previously worked at various Robuchon kitchens around the world, so I just assumed he was much older.

Well, ever since that first dinner of caviar-stuffed steak tartare and foie gras creme brulée, I have praised, tweeted and done my best to support his craft.

In November, Chef Bailly took over the kitchen at Fraiche restaurant in Culver City and I couldn’t wait to check out his new playground. His new dishes (and creative freedom) made his “Auntie” so very proud indeed!

Fraiche Restaurant
We started the evening beautifully with this St. Tropez Cocktail, made with Hendricks gin, lime, lavender oil, and a cucumber ice cube

Fraiche Restaurant
Hamachi Tartare, Shaved Turnip, Lime, Espelette Pepper

Fraiche Restaurant
Vitello Tonnato: Veal Steak Tartare, Arugula, Parmesan

Fraiche Restaurant
Brussels Sprouts with Chorizo, Dates, Almonds, Manchego Cheese and Piquillo Vinaigrette

Fraiche Restaurant
Belgian Endives: Coppa, Apple, Pecans, Goat Cheese, Truffle Vinaigrette

Fraiche Restaurant
Baby Beets: Mizuna, Ricotta, Orange, Pistachio

Fraiche Restaurant
Taglierini Neri, Maine Lobster, Cherry Tomatoes, Basil

Fraiche Restaurant
Bucatini Carbonara, Slow Poached Egg, Pancetta, Parmesan

Fraiche Restaurant
Soft Polenta with Wild Mushrooms and a Slow Poached Egg

Fraiche Restaurant
House Made Agnolotti: Wild Mushrooms with Mascarpone and Truffle Butter

Fraiche Restaurant
Crispy Loup de Mer, Sunchokes Soubise, Crosnes, Salsifi, Mushrooms, Bordelaise

Fraiche Restaurant
Wine pairing by the charming (and informative) Sommelier Paul Sanginetti

Fraiche Restaurant
Truffle Burger, Onion Fondue, Boschetto, Truffle Aioli, Egg

Fraiche Restaurant
Chocolate Coulant with Toffee and Peanut Butter Ice Cream (this just warmed my heart…. THANK YOU BEN!)

Fraiche Restaurant
After dinner tour: Ben showing me the secret vault below the restaurant!

Fraiche Restaurant
Secret stash

Many, many more Fraiche photos including behind-the-scenes, wine and smiles!

Dinner shared with Peter and the lovely Kate Green on 12/12/10

Fraiche Restaurant (This restaurant is now closed)
9411 Culver Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 839-6800

Chef Ben Bailly on Twitter

Fraiche on Twitter

Fraiche on FaceBook

Chef Ben Bailly at Petrossian

All photos of Chef Ben Bailly


Filed under Eating Out, Hot Chefs

Akasha means “enlightening one’s tongue with joy”

Okay, so I made that up… but after two recent visits to Akasha Restaurant in Culver City, it certainly could be the definition!

Tillamook Cheese’s “Loaf Love Tour” 4/1/10

The kind folks at Bread & Butter PR invited me (along with other food-lovers including @EStarLA & @DianaTakesABite) to attend a cheddar cheese event at Akasha Restaurant. FREE CHEESE + AKASHA? I wasn’t going to miss this, so I invited my good friend Charles Thompson to join me. Since Peter’s studio is near the restaurant, he met up with us after work and we spent the next couple of hours eating Akasha’s fromage-filled comfort food.

The Tillamook Press Release stated:
Tillamook Cheese @ Akasha

The Loaf Love Tour consists of a trio of mini-buses that are retrofitted from 1966 Standard VW Microbuses to resemble Baby Loafs of Tillamook cheddar. The Tour will stop at various grocery stores, farmers markets, local retailers and special events to teach consumers about Tillamook’s famous cheddar cheese. The Loaf Love Tour will visit 100 cities in 9 different states throughout the Western U.S. as well as Illinois and Texas.

Personally, I was so excited to see the cheesy mini-buses in real life. They had been spotted driving around Los Angeles of late, but I hadn’t seen one myself. So cute, they reminded me of delivery trucks in Japan.

What we ate:

Tillamook Cheese @ Akasha
Of course we started off the evening with some tasty Tillamook cheeses and Akasha’s fresh preserves, including kumquat.

Tillamook Cheese @ Akasha
Since it was Happy Hour, I figured I may as well buy myself a cocktail! Loved this RED VELVET MARGARITA: Copas organic tequila, lime juice, blood orange juice, agave nectar. I’m not a fan of sweet drinks, so this was perfect.

Akasha's Mac N Cheese, Fried Chicken
Is there anything BETTER than classic Mac & Cheese with perfectly Fried Chicken? I’d had Akasha’s Mac before but this was my first taste of her chicken. Both fantastic. I put some salad on the plate “for color” in the background, but after one bite I went back for seconds. The cheesy croutons Akasha made were also AWESOME!

Tillamook Cheese @ Akasha
I thought we were finished eating, but then Akasha’s husband Alan asked if we’d tried the Pulled-Pork on BISCUITS… Of course I found room for a few of these!

After the Tillamook folks packed up and hit the road (I waved as they sped around the corner!), we sat with Akasha and Alan over drinks with Sergio (who works with Akasha) and BBPR’s Dyan.

It was such a treat to meet Akasha’s daughter Amrit, who was responsible for getting her mom on Twitter (and you know how much I love Twitter!)… I’ve said it many times before, she’s one of my favorite Chefs Who Tweet! You can follow her at @AkashaRichmond

A special thank you to Dyan Dolfi. (More links below)

LudoBites Fried Chicken Night at Akasha 3/22/10

Jonathan Gold (my favorite food critic) describes Ludo Fried Chicken (aka LFC) as, “a golf ball of brined dark meat fried to a sandy crunch, intensely flavored with fresh rosemary, spurting juice nearly a foot when you breached it with your teeth.”

Ludo’s Chicken Balls are hard to come by, and when news of their “special appearance” hits the internet (by way of Twitter), there’s always a bit of panic in the air. The LudoBites Fried Chicken Night at Akasha Restaurant sold out as quickly as the first, which was held at The Foundry on Melrose back on March 2nd.

What We Ate:

Onion Rings @ Akasha
We started the evening with Akasha’s House Made Onion Rings, which are soy marinated (so vegans can enjoy too), rice flour crusted (dipped twice for crunch), then fried and served with smoked paprika aioli. THE BEST ONION RINGS EVER. I didn’t want to share mine, and I didn’t! (Look for them on Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” CRUNCHY episode.)

Ludo's Chicken Night @ Akasha
We each got THREE pieces of Ludo’s Big, Juicy, Fried Chicken Balls (at the Foundry, it was only two) and choice of sides. Besides the extra onion rings, we shared sweet potato fries and coleslaw.

Mac & Cheese @ Akasha
Our table (which included Peter, Charles and Robert) also ordered Akasha’s Baked Macaroni and Cheese, Organic Swiss and Cheddar Cheese, Roasted Garlic, Bread Crumbs
Pulled Pork Sliders @ Akasha
PLUS Pulled Smoked Pork Sliders. Yup. It was a Ludo/Akasha Food Fest! (A very special thank you to the Delicious one.)

In Hinduism Akasha means “the basis and essence of all things.” In my mind that’s sort of the definition of good, old-fashioned comfort food, and that’s exactly what an evening at Akasha’s feels like, especially after a stop at the fantastic bar. See you there soon!

Akasha Restaurant
9543 Culver Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90232-2618
(310) 845-1700

Follow Akasha Restaurant on Twitter @AkashaCC

Follow Chef Akasha on Twitter @AkashaRichmond

Ludo Bites Follow @ChefLudo

Bread & Butter Public Relations@BBPR

Jonthan Gold on L.A. Weekly Follow @TheJGold

Follow @CharlesGT, @EStarLA and @DianaTakesABite

Best Thing I Ever Ate: Crunchy

My first visit to Akasha


Filed under Eating Out, Hot Chefs

Taste of the Nation 2009


What exactly is Taste of the Nation?

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite“Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation Los Angeles is one of 55 events across America dedicated to ending hunger in America. Each summer, LA’s hottest chefs and mixologists donate their time, talent and passion at the Taste of the Nation event at Media Park in Culver City to raise the critical funds needed to end childhood hunger by supporting our local recipients.” more info

Tickets cost $125 this year. Where does the money go?

“In Los Angeles, 100% of ticket sales will be divided among five charities that are working to end hunger. Among them are Los Angeles Regional Food Bank and Los Angeles Coalition to End Hunger & Homelessness.” more info

Was it worth it?

ABSOLUTELY. Besides supporting the wonderful cause, we got to eat some delicious samples from some of L.A.’s top dining spots including (to name a few): Akasha, Angeli Caffe, Animal, The Bazaar, Beso, BLT, Church & State, Craft, Fig, Ford’s Filling Station, Fraiche/Riva, Gelato Bar, Grace/BLD, Jar, Katsuya, Mozza, Rivera, XIV Michael Mina and more!

If you missed it this year, please enjoy these photos… and definitely think about joining the fun in 2010.

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite
The first booth at Taste of the Nation? My pals at the Bazaar!

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
The Bazaar’s Jamon Iberico

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite
The Bazaar’s Felix Meana next to the Liquid Nitrogen!

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite
Lucas Paya making the Nitro Margarita with Salt Air

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite
Nitro Margaritas with Salt Air

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite
Tomatos with Liquid Mozzerella Pipettes, Liquid Olives “Ferran Adria”

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite
The Bazaar’s Chef Jorge Chicas

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite
First row of restaurants at Taste of the Nation

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
Ford’s Filling Station’s Booth

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
Ford’s Filling Station’s Meyer Angus Beef Sliders with Hook Cheddar Cheese

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
Confit Duck with Farro and Cherry by Fig Restaurant

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
Locanda Del Lago’s Vitello Tonnato: Roasted and Sliced Veal Tenderloin in Creamy Tuna-Caper Aioli

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite
The always cheerful Chef Walter Manzke (Church at State) with his awesome PIG burgers!!

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
Rivera’s BEAUTIFUL Tortillas Florales with Verde Shrimp Salsa by Chef John Sedlar

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
On the grill: Rivera’s Tortillas Florales

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
Katsuya’s deep-fried roll of Tuna & Foie Gras with micro greens

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
Katsuya’s Tuna Chirashi

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
XIV – Michael Mina’s Sweet Corn Soup (with pork belly)

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
Craft’s CRISPY Pork Belly with Summer Corn and Tomato Medley

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
Nobu’s Famous Miso Marinated Black Cod with Butter Lettuce

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
Lobster with Caviar and Potato Gaufrettes

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
Simon LA’s Ahi Tuna with Fava Bean Puree and Tomato Olive sauce

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
Gelato Bar’s Allessandro Fontana, Gail Silverton and Joel Gutman (love the Lemon-Basil)

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
Akasha Restaurant’s Meyer’s Hanger Steak, Mcgrath Farms Red Butter Lettuce, Heirloom Tomato, Mustard Oil, Shaft Blue Cheese Bacon Dressing

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
Chef Akasha Richmond of Akasha Restaurant.

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
Jar’s Chef Suzanne Tracht (currently on Top Chef Masters) : Roasted Pork Belly with watermelon salad

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
Jar’s Crispy Roasted Pork Belly

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
Animal’s Amberjack, Nectarine, Jalapeno, Citrus and Mint

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
My favorite dessert in Los Angeles! Mozza’s Butterscotch Budino (with the rosemary pinenut cookie on the side). It’s sweet, it’s salty and the cookie crunch make it perfection!

Taste of the Nation '09, MyLastBite.com
Mozza’s Nancy Silverton in photo.

Event Date: Sunday June 14, 2009

Share Our Strength / Taste of the Nation

Los Angeles Regional Food Bank

Los Angeles Coalition to End Hunger & Homelessness

Suzanne Tracht on Top Chef Masters

Akasha  |  Angeli Caffe  |  Animal  |  Bazaar

Beso  |  BLT  |  Church & State (website error)

Craft  |  Fig  |  Ford’s Filling Station

Fraiche  |  Gelato Bar  |  Grace  |  Jar

Katsuya  |  Mozza  |  Rivera  |  XIV Michael Mina

All my Taste of the Nation ’09 Photos on Flickr


Filed under Food Events (festivals, classes, etc.)


I thought Akasha Restaurant was a vegan restaurant. Looking back in my 2008 calendar, I actually made several dinner reservations, then postponed going because I thought the meal would consist of only organic veggies.

It’s not that I don’t like my vegetables because I do. It’s just that I simply HATE the idea of going to a place that only serves things like portobello mushroom burgers and quinoa pudding.

To be perfectly frank, I think I got confused because I kept reading that Akasha was a “green” restaurant. Some of the amazing “green facts” listed on their website include:

Sources: Farms, ranches and fisheries that are guided by the principles of sustainability, local produce whenever possible.

Standards: Natural and organic ingredients with no artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, trans fats, nitrates, hormones or antibiotics.

Water: In-house water purified and bottled with the Natura system.

Spirits, Wine & Beer: Many organic, sustainable and bio-dynamic selections on list.

Materials: American Clay, no VOC paint, sustainable insulation recycled ceiling material, reclaimed finishes, recycled glass tile, reclaimed barn wood recycled fiberglass insulation, beeswax finishes, local limestone.

Furniture: Organic leather, hemp fabric, sustainable wood.

Bathrooms: Reclaimed wood stalls, waterless urinals, auto shut off sinks, biodegradable soap, high post-consumer toilet paper / paper towels.

Jeans: Levis Eco 100% organic cotton jeans

Shirts & Tee Shirts: 100% organic cotton

To-Go Cutlery: Wheatware™, biodegradable, made from wheat (link to complete list below).

Yes, Akasha Restaurant is “green”, and downright beautiful as well. But Akasha restaurant is NOT, and has never been a vegan restaurant. 

They serve BEEF (hell, yes!): The best short-ribs I’ve ever had, cooked “asian-style” with star anise and ginger.

They also serve lamb: Decadent little Niman Ranch lamb sliders topped with feta and tomato chutney. And fyi… I’m not a big lamb fan, but I would order Akasha’s mini lamb burgers again and again.

The two seafood dishes I tried were fantastic. Perfectly seared albacore and wild pepper scallops with forbidden black rice risotto.

Quinoa? Yep, it’s on the menu, but I didn’t order it on my first visit. Maybe next time, but only if I’m having a big, comforting plate of juicy, pork chops as well!

Akasha Restaurant, MyLastBite.com
Awesome Cocktails: 
“Slumdog Passion” (left), tru lemon organic vodka, passion fruit puree, pineapple juice, blood orange & agave. “The Akasha”, made with crop organic cucumber vodka, pineapple & cucumber juice, martini style.

Akasha Restaurant, MyLastBite.com
Deep-fried Chickpeas (very similar to Animal!)

Akasha Restaurant, MyLastBite.com
In photos clockwise from bottom left: La Quercia Prosciutto Pizza (oregonzola, fig, caramelized onions, wild arugula), Asian Style Braised Shortribs (star anise, ginger & pink peppercorns, parsnip-potato puree, baby spinach, scallions), Organic Macaroni and Cheese with toasted bread crumbs, Niman Ranch Lamb Sliders with sheep’s feta, local arugula, tomato chutney . (We were so hungry, I was rushing the camera. I will get BETTER photos on my next visit I promise! ) 

Akasha Restaurant, MyLastBite.com
In photos clockwise from bottom left: Escalavida on a mushroom puree with truffle salt, Togarashi Seared Albacore (bibb lettuce, daikon, carrots, avocado, coconut cashews, spicy sweet chili sauce), House-made Onion Rings (rice flour crusted, smoked paprika dipping sauce), Decadent Chocolate Dessert.

And Finally… Why do my pups love Akasha?

Because she sent home a bag of home-made, delicious doggie biscuits!
Dog Cookies from Akasha! MyLastBite.com
Top left: Harrison (white), Miss Martini (black) and the baby… little (blonde) Maxwell!

Akasha! MyLastBite.comAkasha Restaurant
9543 Culver Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 845-1700 

Website (with menu)

OpenTable (free reservations)

Dining Date: 4/19/09 (Dinner with Julian, Wendy and of course, Peter)

Cmplete list of Akasha “Green Facts” here

Akasha on Urbanspoon


Filed under Eating Out