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Jaywalking in L.A. - News and Gossip of the Restaurant World

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chef eric greenspan at hotel wilshire roof

Chef Eric Greenspan at the new Rooftop dining room at Hotel Wilshire.

We have two wonderful dining recommendations at opposite ends of Wilshire Blvd. In the mid-Wilshire corridor, the boutique Hotel Wilshire has opened at 6317 Wilshire Blvd., and it is drawing much of the adjacent LACMA museum crowd. What makes it somewhat unique is the Rooftop Dining Room (323-852-6000), with food supervised by Eric Greenspan of The Foundry, one of the city's top chefs. (His Pancake Lasagna is a standout on the luncheon menu, and he innovates some spectacular Grilled Cheese sandwiches.) The stunning 360 degree views make this a picturesque dining-and-drinking experience, especially on a sunny day or starry night. At the Santa Monica end of Wilshire is the popular Wilshire Restaurant (2454 Wilshire Blvd., 310-586-1707), where one of my favorite young chefs has taken command of the kitchen and is turning out some of the most delicious, tantalizing food in the city. Nyesha Arrington is a beautiful black/Korean woman who has Josiah Citrin (Melisse) and Joel Robuchon as mentors, and we first encountered her at Cache, where she made her mark and won our heart. A full review will follow shortly but if you are seeking a deeply satisfying dining experience, tell G.M. Nick Fielding we sent you; this will work for you...

Nyesha Arrington at Wilshire

Nyesha Arrington is the vastly talented new chef a Wilshire Restaurant.

A.A. Gill, one of the great food writers of this world, makes an argument in the Sunday London Times that there is no such thing as 'Italian food.' He says, "Italy is a country united by language and religion and divided by almost everything else. What it can boast is a plethora, a diaspora, a minestrone of regional cuisines." He ends his diatribe by saying the best Italian food comes from London. And I've heard the same from restaurateurs in New York and L.A. I would still prefer dining in Rome, Florence or Venice to any other place... Gill is also the writer who just claimed there is no such thing as 'ethnic food,' but that is an argument for another day...

I'm constantly asked to recommend Japanese/sushi restaurants, and apart from my passion for Nobu's legendary Matsuhisa, I have taken to giving up my secret sushi hangout, which happens to be a few hundred feet from my home. Sushi Dokoro Ki ra la translates as 'special place to eat sushi,' while Ki ra la means 'sparkling like a gemstone,' which it does. This smart little spot is at 9777 South Santa Monica Blvd. in Beverly Hills (310) 275-9003, directly next door to La Dolce Vita and the Budget rent-a-car lot. They have valet parking at night and daytime you enter the city lot at Roxbury and walk over. Superb meals, reasonable prices, charming staff... Nikki Haskell gave me a sample of Omega XL, which is described as a powerful essential fatty acid combination from the pristine waters of New Zealand. Essence of green-lip mussels from a clean bay in that country, distilled into a fish-oil capsule. Can't tell yet if it works, but I'm hopeful...

A woman named Laraine Stuart has a website called forurdogonly.com, and we bonded at the Zoo screening over our love for all animals. She is a dogwalker, cat sitter, medicine-giver, does transportation to vets, stays in your home. "Your pet is in good hands" is her motto, and I highly recommend her services...

Taylor Boudreaux is the new Exec Chef at Napa Valley Grill, and we know from his time at Puck's catering that he is a whiz, so expect many new things at this always-popular Westwood haven. Tell G.M. Tracy Thayer that we sent you...

I'm hooked on Pom Wonderful's new cranberry juice. Tart, sweet, deeply thirst-quenching, it's a real winner, and extensive research indicates its very healthy for you also...

The Orient-Express Company made a smart move in attracting Ali Kasikci as their Regional Managing Director for North America, Mexico and the Caribbean. He is a deeply-experienced hotel exec (Peninsula, Montage) and will oversee the rebirth of El Encanto Hotel in Santa Barbara, their first West Coast property. Hope he can headquarter here in L.A....

caviar sheet

Petrossian Papierusse is a less-expensive way to flavor your food with real caviar.

caviar powder samples

Caviar Powder samples on several foods.

Armen Petrossian is a young older man, the patriarch of the caviar empire bearing his name, a conglomerate of caviar procurement and retailing which spans the globe. What I find intriguing about him is that he is ever-inventive, never settling for the obvious but always looking to push the frontiers of -- caviar, the elusive, elegant and expensive ingredient which we covet. Lately he has pushed the caviar world into new territory with two new products, a pepper-like grinder containing caviar pearls which you dust onto foods ($88), and a sheet of pressed caviar ($48) which you can cut into thin strips and put on different foods. Both are available at the Petrossian Store (and excellent restaurant, 321 N. Robertson. A great gift for hard-to-please friends...

Why am I the only Chelsea Handler fan among my friends? Love her irreverent humor. Switching back and forth between her and Jon Stewart four nights a week. (He's not on Fridays)...

Been searching for a copy of the Salvador Dali Cookbook for several years. Found one at the most wonderful used book store up at the Beverly Glen/Mulholland shopping mall next to Vibrato. It's called Dragon Books (2954 Beverly Glen Circle, 310-441-8545) and you will love this shop...

Old friend Chef Alain Giraud has finally gotten his dining/bakery emporium open, and Maison Giraud is packed with happy diners (1034 Swarthmore Ave., Pacific Palisades)...

My bst friend is Jon Bon Jovi's lawyer, so I follow the singer's activities closely, and applaud him for his latest culinary achievement. He opened an eatery called Soul Kitchen in Red Bank, New Jersey, and instituted a policy of "pay what you can." It's a wonderful alternative to fast food, with dishes like gumbo, beet salad, roast chicken and bbq salmon. Anyone who can't make a cash donation can volunteer services instead. It's an idea which can play elsewhere...

South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa is a fabulous, happening place, especially in this festive season, and worth a visit just to see the new Cartier location, the newly-reopened Victoria's Secret shop, and the Longchamp's shop from Paris. Plus there are several extraordinary dining spots here. A woman named Debra Gunn Downing, the Executive Marketing Director, has helped make this a wonderland in the southland.

To subscribe to Jay Weston's Restaurant Newsletter ($70 for twelve monthly issues), email him at jayweston@sbcglobal.net