By Aaron Drake
There's no shortage of delicious dishes around town this Thanksgiving. Check out our picks by Frontiers contributor Nick Rufca for bites you won't want to miss!
Fall is finally here, and with it comes a new culinary season that is so much more than pumpkin lattes at the usual coffee chains (although, admittedly, I’m addicted, too). As the weather in Los Angeles steadily grows cooler, popular restaurants are using the year-round farmers markets to their full advantage. Autumn is all about transition, so shift your perspective a bit with this rundown of the finest menu updates, from cocktails to desserts, that the city has to offer.
This ever-expanding salad marketplace is the perfect place to grab a healthy bite during the otherwise belt-widening holiday crunch. Some of the tantalizing standouts on its current fall menu include its version of a niçoise salad with cedar smoked salmon and green beans, a curry salad with cauliflower, golden raisins and almonds, and an apple-braised cabbage and goat cheese slaw. For a dish with more heft, try the sliced turkey braised in cranberry, with the jalapeño bacon mac ‘n’ cheese on the side. Various locations. lemonadela.com
Speaking of widening belts, there’s no better time than the fall to indulge in a rich craft beer paired with a savory sausage. Both are plentiful and varied at Steingarten L.A., the Westside’s cozy German sausage hall. Order up a beer tasting flight, and be sure to include one of Steingarten’s outstanding dark porters. Go with the chicken apple sausage on a pretzel bun topped with mustard and kraut, and suddenly it’s Oktoberfest whenever you want it to be. 10543 W. Pico Blvd., West L.A., (310) 441-0441; steingartenla.com
This Santa Monica staple is a popular after-work drink and dinner destination for good reason—it rarely disappoints. As the weather gets cooler, dining on the spacious, tree-lined rear patio gets that much better. The maple leaf duck breast with black quinoa, confit chestnuts and pomegranate jus is just about perfect under the stars. The Walnut Julep cocktail is a complex but delightful companion for this and so many of Wilshire’s other entrees. 2454 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 586-1707; wilshirerestaurant.com
The artisanal pizza chain has a surprisingly substantial fall menu, including highlights like the sausage and fall vegetable rigatoni pasta, roast pear and ricotta salad and Portobello mushroom panini. You can’t go wrong with any of them, but it’s the addictive roast pumpkin pizza that I find myself craving this time of year. Made with brown butter, sage-roasted winter squash and pumpkin seed oil atop their perfectly charred and airy woodfired crust, it defines seasonal specialty. Various locations. pitfirepizza.com
Fig & Olive
Crostini is the specialty here, and arguably the best in the city. It’s hard to choose favorites, but I’ll venture if you sample the goat cheese, fig, honey and almond and copa, you won’t be disappointed. Pair a few with the Pera au Poivre cocktail, a smooth mix of scotch, maraschino liquor, lemon juice and pear & clove syrup, which will undoubtedly warm you from the inside out. A tantalizing Pumpkin Spice Martini is another seasonal special, but I suggest satisfying that craving with the outstanding pumpkin sage ravioli instead. 8490 Melrose Pl., WeHo, (310) 360-9100; figandolive.com
This place is jam-packed at brunch, but if you haven’t been for dinner, you’re missing both a more-mellow atmosphere and a menu filled with exceptional, healthy versions of classic home-style dishes. Hugo’s Fall Platter is a great option. It includes your choice of sliced turkey, veggie patty, grilled tofu or chicken breast accompanied by an artichoke-red pepper salad, seasonal vegetables, sautéed greens and polenta cakes. The special Artic char is served on top of a butternut squash bisque and black rice. Be sure to save room for the ‘in season’ Apple Pie Martini as well. West Hollywood and Studio City locations. hugosrestaurant.com
Find more fall dishes here.