Oh, the perils of dating. Drunken booty calls, counting the minutes til it’s cool to text back without looking desperate . . . Well, we can’t control all the factors of chaos in the dating matrix, but why not plan a date this Valentines Day where improving your chances of a liaison is written in the DNA of your meal. From classic aphrodisiacs like oysters and chocolate, to uni, caviar, and honey, we dig around for the best places for you to get your best foot forward.
SILVERLAKE | L&E OYSTER BAR
1637 Silverlake Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90026
Get your fillings of the world’s most notorious aphrodisiac at this neighborhood oyster bar. Served up in a multitude of manners—raw, grilled, and fried—you’re sure to find a presentation of the bivalves that’s to your liking. Beware though: L&E does not accept reservations, so give yourself plenty of time to snag a seat.
WHAT TO GET: For the traditionalists, raw oysters are available by the dozen and you can scope out L&E’s daily oyster offerings on their Twitter. Not so keen on raw? You can also get your oysters grilled here. Try them “casino” style with butter, paprika, thyme, shallots, and neuske’s bacon, or get the “oysters L&E” with duck confit, dried sour cherries, chives, and bread crumbs.
DOWNTOWN | Q RESTAURANT
521 West 7th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90014
This recent addition to downtown houses some of the best Edomae-style sushi LA has seen yet, with an interesting backstory: Two western attorneys fall in love with sushi in Japan at the hands of Chef Hiroyuki Naruke. When the Fukushima nuclear disaster hits, they and a fellow lawyer colleague help the beleaguered sushi chef fulfill his dream of opening a sushi restaurant in the U.S., and the rest is history.
WHAT TO GET: Although it may be an acquired taste, uni—otherwise known as sea urchin—is a prized delicacy in Japan, and discerning epicureans around the globe are catching on. With a sweet, buttery, and briny flavor, uni owes its aphrodisiac reputation to anandamide, a neurotransmitter which is reported to activate dopamine production in your brain. You’ll want to go omakase here, but make sure to request uni and you’ll likely be served a San Diego variety of uni much preferred by the chefs over the ubiquitous Santa Barbara kind. For a real sweet-and-savory treat, try their miso-marinated uni.
WEST HOLLYWOOD | PETROSSIAN
321 North Robertson Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048
The Petrossian’s history as a caviar purveyor dates back almost a century when Russian brothers Melkoum and Mouchegh Petrossian relocated from Russia to Paris to sling the fish eggs and elevate the delicacy into the world of luxe, French cuisine. Today, caviar is known world-over and is often viewed as an aphrodisiac not so much for its makeup, but for its elusiveness and expensive pricetag. On top of that, caviar is also said to be a symbol of fertility.
WHAT TO GET: Who knew caviar could be served in so many ways? Whether folded into scrambled eggs encased in an eggshell and topped with vodka cream, or sandwiched in between layers of beef tartare, there’s a presentation to satisfy all—from the novice to the caviar connoisseur. Those willing to shell out can get the Tsar Imperial Caviar Trio: 30 grams each of Tsar Imperial Ossetra, Siberian & Transmontanus Caviar for a whopping $390.
MANHATTAN BEACH | M.B. POST
1142 Manhattan Avenue, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
Chef David LeFevre’s post office turned “social restaurant” is a Manhattan Beach staple, making the perfect setting for a romantic brunch. Communal tables and re-invented down-home cooking make M.B. Post the optimal mix of casual, accessible ambiance and gourmet cuisine.
WHAT TO GET: While fried chicken doesn’t exactly shoot to the top of our aphrodisiac list, the ingredients featured in this rendition are what help this dish make the cut. Laced with honey and truffle, the highly aromatic dish satisfies both the glutton and the epicurean with its crispy exterior, juicy meat, and fragrant sauce.
BRENTWOOD | COMPARTES CHOCOLATIER
912 South Barrington Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90049
From its aroma to its heavenly taste, what’s not to like about chocolate? Whether you like dark, milk, or white chocolate, you’ll find some of the city’s most beautifully presented chocolates here at Jonathan Compartes chocolate emporium. Go ahead and judge a book by its cover, too, because the chocolates here taste as good as they appear, adorned with elegant and colorful patterns indicative of the chocolates’ flavors.
WHAT TO GET: Compartes chocolates come in over 100 varieties, so there’s bound to be at least one chocolate to satisfy even the pickiest of chocolate eaters. Pick something fragrant to maximize the aphrodisiac potential. We suggest the olive oil rosemary, pear cardamom, strawberry balsamic, and smoked sea salt. Compartes also offers holiday and seasonally-themed chocolate flavors, like egg nog or blackberry sage.
Industrial design graduate Spencer Nikosey is the creative mind behind the premium leather goods that make up KILLSPENCER. This past Thursday was the grand opening of his Silverlake Workshop. At this shop pieces are handmade by a group of in-house skilled craftsman and also offers a bespoken program where Items can be made in-demand to the specifics of the customer’s needs.
All of KILLSPENCER products are designed and manufactured in L.A. and Spencer’s commitment to strive for well-manufactured high quality products represent what’s best about this city. On display at the opening were Items ranging from small accessories to sporting equipment, but it’s his utility backpack that continues to be the signature piece of his brand. After all, it’s the backpack that made Spencer’s personal project into his full time business. Below are some of LAC’s favorite items from the opening.
WRITE MY WORDS, ndsıpǝ poʍu, punoɹɐ llɐ, and srawkcab (UPSIDE DOWN, ALL AROUND, and BACKWARDS); communicate words with a different aesthetic. That’s exactly what JOSH RAAB set out to do in publishing theNewerYork. theNewerYork is a explorative platform for experimental format to communicate innovative literature and art, set to launch it’s 3rd annual issue at it’s interactive performance feast, The Literary Carnival III. Artfully refined and designed, the new issue brings another collection of curated stories and art with the purpose of exposing a revolution in the short narrative. We spoke with Raab to give us insight into what makes Al∂®mîng Lî†£®å†u®£.
LAC: You want writers to be daring. How would you suggest they do so?
JR: Start with form first, content second. Instead of being inspired to write a story about a girl or an event, start with what literary form you will write in. For instance, I’m going to write a story in the form of a Craigslist ad, a bar tab, a kid’s book report, a legal contract, and so on. And within the form you choose, try and fit in a narrative and a story. Not only does choosing a literary form beforehand make the writing process easier but it can often lead to a more dynamic, expressive, and beautiful story than a standard poem or short story.
LAC: What are some literary trends that you have seen that are overdone?
JR: The book or poetry reading is perhaps the most unfortunate literary trend. You read some lovely lines, a wonderful, mysteriously beautiful story in the privacy of your own room and then suddenly you’re in a public place watching the sad, sap who wrote it inanimately mumble it into a microphone. Snore fest, this is the most unoriginal and overdone way to promote a good story. Hence theNewerYork’s Literary Carnival.
LAC: Who are some daring writers in Los Angeles that we should be keeping an eye out for and why?
JR: Pretty sure he is from LA: PrintedInternet.tumblr.com is some of the weirdest, prettiest, coolest story telling you will ever see. He prints out popular websites, edits them, and then pastes them back together to tell stories.
Mark Z. Danielewski because he has been at it for 30 years and he shows no signs of slowing down. His work doesn’t always succeed, which is a hallmark of being a daring writer. His work is fantastic.
Heiko Julien (who is in Book III of theNewerYork) because he plays with crazy forms (lots of Facebook stories) and does so without being as cynical and snide as much of the Alt Lit out there.
LAC: What is the power of short literary forms?
JR: Short forms can experimental without being obtuse. Instead of a 200 page essay about the psychology of aardvarks that only 6 people will ever finish; you can have a 2 page piece on the psychology of aardvarks that thousands of people will make it through and enjoy. In short, you don’t have enough room to bore the reader.
LAC: What about Los Angeles makes it a unique backdrop for what theNewerYork is doing?
JR: As far as I can tell the literary scene is disorganized and shapeless. You all have Literary Death Match but I went to my first the other day and it was a superficial joke of socialite tomfoolery. You have the Moth but I’m not so sure that is literary. You have Zine Fest but that isn’t distinctly literary or experimental either, it’s just a trade show. As far as I can tell, there are no events like The Literary Carnival.
Los Angeles is a huge, popular city, that, unlike New York City, is not saturated with books and publishing. Pardon the cliche, but it seems to be the wild wild West of literary publishing. We are excited to set up shop here because there is a whole population of writers and readers who want badly to find literary community. We can experiment, grow, and be free in Los Angeles without the pressures of nostalgia and institution that stunt places like New York. Hence, theNewerYork.
LAC: What has inspired you, personally, to be a daring writer?
JR: Personally, I’m not the most daring writer. I can write a good flash-fiction from time to time but in creating and editing theNewerYork I see myself as building a stage for better more seasoned writers. The more important question is what inspired me to be a daring publisher. Working at a couple large publishers in New York City I became insanely critical of everything they did: from their deals with authors, to publicity, to content, to printing, to aesthetic, etc etc. I found it all old and whiny and this inspired me to stand up and change it.
Catch Raab and other Newer Yorkers this Saturday, August 24th, at theNewerYork Literary Carnival at the Lyric-Hyperion Theatre & Cafe.