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Tasty Tidbits: Restaurant News with Loteria Grill (opening!), Mantee, Panera

Posted By Karen Young On February 18, 2010 @ 12:29 am In Food,Restaurants,spotlight,Tasty Tidbits | 2 Comments


Loteria Grill Founder and Executive Chef Jimmy Shaw at his new Studio City restaurant Photo: Karen Young

Loteria Grill Founder and Executive Chef Jimmy Shaw at his new Studio City restaurant Photo: Karen Young

The wait is finally over.  Loteria Grill, one of my favorite restaurants, or better yet, food experiences, is finally opening its doors in Studio City this Friday, February 19 at 11:30 am.  Replacing the old Gaucho Grill at Ventura Blvd and Laurel Cyn Blvd, this is the third Loteria Grill location.

The sleek space is unrecognizable — it’s wide open with soaring ceilings and skylights, white walls are decorated with giant Loteria playing cards, a partial open steel kitchen allows patrons to glimpse tortillas as well as chicharron de queso (cheese that’s been grilled and shaped into a hat) being prepared, indoor foliage and a bar for food and beverage. There’s also an area that closes to a private room that sits 40.

When Founder and Executive Chef Jimmy Shaw opened the original Loteria in the center of the Farmers Market on Third Street in Los Angeles seven and a half years ago, people flocked to the little stand for its authentic take on regional Mexican cuisine. In the summer of 2008, Shaw opened Loteria Grill — a full fledged restaurant in Hollywood — to rave reviews.  Now, the San Fernando Valley will finally get a taste of what real regional Mexican cooking is all about.  Touted as “L.A.’s  Best Mexican Chef” by Bon Appetit, Jimmy Shaw was just featured last week on the Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” for his famous mole (and I wholeheartedly agree).    The liquor license in Studio City is still being processed, but no matter, it’s the same food— infused with a multitude of scintillating ingredients — that everyone loves.  In the meantime, try one of Loteria’s delightfully refreshing and unique non-alcoholic aquas frescas creations (fresh, seasonal fruit drinks).  You’ll be happy you did. (Full restaurant review coming soon) www.loteriagrill.com 12050 Ventura Blvd. Studio City, CA 91604 818.508.5300

Garden patio at night.  Photo: Karen Young

Garden patio at night. Photo: Karen Young

Mantee in Studio City is now serving special lunch offerings ($9.95-$10.95) in addition to their regular menu. The Chicken Plate includes charbroiled marinated chicken breast served with garlic paste, rice, hummos and two pieces of Sarma (grape leaves stuffed with rice and vegetables); The Kashkas Plate has the same sides, but the main course is seasoned ground beef topped with a charbroiled tomato. There are two Vegetarian options. The first features Doma (eggplant stuffed with rice and cooked vegetables, hummos, Mottabal (mashed charred eggplant) and Labne Toom. The second option leads with a Burgol Salad (crushed wheat, parsley, onion, tomatoes and a lemon dressing), Hummos, Bamia (okra cooked in tomato sauce) and Mohammara (a spicy spread made with crushed walnut, red pepper paste and pomegranate molasses.

Other big Mantee news — they are now applying for a liquor license, so BYOB is not happening right now. No matter, the food at Mantee is simply sublime enough to not worry about anything else.   Especially if you are sitting on the back patio. 10962 Ventura Blvd Studio City, CA 91604 (818) 761-6565 www.ManteeCafe.com (Read the full MDF review here.)

New low-fat choices at Panera include this garden vegetable soup as well as smoothies. Photo: Panera

New low-fat choices at Panera include this garden vegetable soup as well as smoothies. Photo: Panera

Panera is adding to its menu with low-cal smoothies and a new low-fat Garden Vegetable soup. The new low-fat smoothies – Black Cherry, Mango and Strawberry – are each under 300 calories, made with organic, low-fat Stonyfield Farm yogurt and are an excellent source of calcium and vitamin C. The new Garden Vegetable soup with Pesto is chock-full of vegetables such as diced tomatoes, sliced zucchini, yellow beans, fresh Swiss chard, cauliflower and bell peppers. Also, beginning Feb 19, Panera Bread will have hot cross buns Friday-Sunday during lent and Thursday-Sunday of Easter week. This Lenten season tradition is made with soft egg bread that melts in your mouth, raisins, pieces of orange zest and the perfect amount of sweet icing on top. Sold individually (.99) or as a half dozen ($5.95). (Note: this is not a low-cal offering!) www.panerabread.com

Karen Young is the Editor/Publisher of My Daily Find.

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