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Tasty Tidbits: Food and Restaurant Comings and Goings in the 818

Posted By Karen Young On January 6, 2011 @ 12:06 am In Featured,Food,My Daily Find,Restaurants,spotlight | 3 Comments

BY KAREN YOUNG

One year gone and another one in. 2011 is out the gate with new eateries coming in replacing the old. Could it be the year of the hookah, the even bigger and better burger, more farmhouse style gourmet marketplaces, more Italian and decadent sweets? Check it out. This looks like it’ll be an interesting year for food in the 818.

Diana Sproveri's Lollibakes in Tarzana are a perfect bite of confection and cake.

WHAT THE HOOKAH?: Two new Mediterranean restaurants recently opened in Sherman Oaks with hookah menus. Vibe Café, which replaced The Weiner Factory, is a small café with an outside patio filled with custom-made furniture and a fireplace. Middle eastern music plays in the background. Happy Hour from 5-8 pm features a choice of hookah flavors for $9.99. Athenea Bar replaced Spazio, a longstanding upscale restaurant, also with indoor and outdoor dining, DJs and live bands. Inside is very ‘loungey’ with dark woods and leather couches. Entrees ranges from $13-$24, Sandwiches $8-$9 and salads and pastas $8-$14. They offer a few dozen hookah flavors, such as kiwi, pomegranate, tangerine dream and pumpkin pie.

SWEET: Swirls Desserts moved from the Westfield Sherman Oaks Fashion Square to a brick and mortar location on Ventura Blvd right next door to My Daily Find coffee fave, The Coffee Roaster. Swirls replaces Nola Ice. Cupcakes are the featured star here, but also available in the dessert repertoire are Belgian Chocolate flown in from Brussels and fresh baked cookies, truffles, dark chocolate cherries, candied orange peels. Check out their special packages. Selected delivery is available in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley. 11am to 10pm Mon – Fri; 11am to 10pm Saturdays;11am to 9pm Sundays. 13569 Ventura Blvd. Sherman Oaks.

Diana Sproveri has brought her infamous  Lollibakes, the little balls mixing cake and confections on a stick, to her newly opened Tarzana bake shop. As a walk in the simply designed shop, lollibakes and cupcakes are available, however, if you want a custom cake, you need to order it.  Lollibakes are called the “perfect bite,” and at $2.50 a pop, they’d better be — and are! 18641 Ventura Blvd. Tarzana (between Reseda and Tampa) 818-344-4900

ITALIAN STYLE: Mulberry Pizza opened their fourth location in Sherman Oaks (in the former Slices), just a stone’s throw east from the Galleria and just a couple miles away from its Encino location. The SO  location is smaller, but that doesn’t stop them from serving up some of the best pizza this side of NYC. 15136 Ventura Blvd. Sherman Oaks. 818-784-8880.

Just opened in Sherman Oaks two weeks ago, replacing Watercress, is La Cava, a quaint Italian restaurant with Tuscan influences and a pedigree—restaurateur Armando Pucci was a partner in such well-known Los Angeles eateries as La Buca and Il Piccolino (liquor license is pending). 13565 Ventura Blvd (east of Woodman) Sherman Oaks 818-981-1517

COMING SOON: Yes, we keep talking about it, but  Umami Burger from restaurateur Adam Fleischman, is definitely opening its fifth location (and first in the 818) of  the famous gourmet burger next to Mexicali in Studio City with an “old Hollywood” theme and a full bar. We’re taking any day now…okay, maybe a couple of weeks, but the wait will be worth it.

Charlies Pantry, a gourmet bakery, kitchen and marketplace owned by the family behind Silverlake’s Dusty’s Bistro is opening at the end of January  directly below California Pizza Kitchen in Studio City.

Century City’s Take A Bao will be making Studio City its second home with a targeted opening date in summer 2011. Owner Brent Stein says it’ll be the “first freestanding Take A Bao with a larger menu” — with baos full of all kinds of stuffings, rice bowls, noodles and more.  According to Stein, they will have a seasoned chef from New York who is retooling the menu with a price point which will remain affordable (nothing over $14), as well as an extensive beer and wine program.

News on the sweet front is the impending opening of My Daily Find fave Xtreme Desserts, famous for those Red Velvet cookies, in the Studio City Trader Joe’s center.

In Sherman Oaks,  Los Angeles restaurant proprietor Greg Morris (Spanish Kitchen, The Belmont, The Oaks Gourmet Market and Olive at The Grafton) is opening a second outpost of his La Cienega based Oak Fire Pizzeria with an expanded menu that includes pizza and paninis out of a woodfire oven, along with craft beers and select California wines.

Over in Toluca Lake, Melina and Christian Davies ( investors with Nancy Silverton’s Mozza2Go) are opening  Olive and Thyme with a January 24 target date. An upscale gourmet shop and eatery in a farmhouse style, this venture also involves principals from Valerie Confections and The Beverly Hills Cheese Store.

WE BID ADIEU: Sadly,  the first closure of the year will be Wine Bistro which has been a Studio City staple for over half a century. For nearly 20 years, the French bistro has been owned by J.B. Torchon.  As of press date, the details of the closure are still pending.  Word on the street is that the people behind MDF fave The Local Peasant are coming in with a new concept. Exact closing date is not known yet.  We’ll keep you posted.

Stay tuned….

Karen Young is is Founder/Editor of My Daily Find. Email: Karen@mydailyfind.com

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