New Opening: Prova Pizzeria + DineLA Week

Lorenzo shows us the top pies created at the newly opened Prova Pizzeria.

VIDEO: Lorenzo shows us some of his favorite pies at the newly opened Prova Pizzeria.

During dineL.A. Restaurant Week, we were invited to go behind the counter at Prova Pizzeria and taste West Hollywood’s newest authentic Italian pizzeria.

Upon walking in, there was already a sense of warmth and welcoming. Once I learned the story behind the passionate owners, it made even more sense. Chef Vito and his brother Lorenzo are from Italy, and their passion shows in their warm and welcoming attitude, as well as in their third-generation, 100-year-old family dough recipe.

The dough is a fusion creation, with influences from Sicily, Bari and Naples. As a result, the dough is thin, yet has a nice rise and chew around the edges of the crust:

20150122_145040Lorenzo was on hand to personally show us the ropes behind their mouthwatering pizzas with unique toppings, such as the “La Vito” (pictured) which consists of savory mortadella ham, creamy stracciatella cheese and crunchy pistachios. It was definitely my favorite pie, although the “Margherita D.O.P.” that we also tried — which is on the DineLA menu — was also outstanding.

We also had appetizers such as the Assorted Olives & Taralli (an imported Italian pretzel) and the Speck (smoked prosciutto) & Mozzarella, as well as the Carciofi salad, which had artichokes, arugula and pine nuts. All had a great acidity and tartness to them to balance out the delectable pizzas.

As you can see in the video above, I even got to fire my own pizza in their wood burning oven! Prova is a fast-casual concept, so it’s perfect for lunch, dinner or even a post-night out quality bite.

20150122_145053DineL.A. runs through this weekend (Feb 1, to be exact), so I highly recommend getting yourself over to your favorite restaurant on the list for a special three-course menu at a special price.

However, even if you miss dineL.A., just know that it will be back… and that there is no wrong time to get a taste of Prova Pizzeria. Service, efficiency, authenticity and quality… this place really does have it all, and it made me miss my days in Italy! Lorenzo’s hospitality and jovial spirit really made me feel part of the Prova family, and I can’t wait to get back for another slice — or two — of that “La Vito” pizza!

20150122_145043You can check out Prova Pizzeria’s website for the menu, as well as for more information on visiting the new West Hollywood eatery. Ciao!

 

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VIDEO: Inside Koala Tapioca, Westwood’s Newest Eatery + Boba Spot

TT Koala Tapioca Jasmine Sea Salt Green Tea Boba

The Taiwanese-Vietnamese fusion café concept that started as a food truck just opened in brick and mortar form, right in Westwood.

I decided to take my fellow Bruin friend Anshu along with me to our old stomping grounds to check out the media preview event for the new joint, Koala Tapioca.

Looking back on our four years at UCLA (and plenty of excursions in Westwood), it’s crazy to think how much has changed in the area. However, with the addition of Koala Tapioca to the Westwood Village scene, it’s safe to say that this place is a valuable addition.

Check out the one-minute video for the inside scoop (and sip!) on the hottest new cafe in Westwood.

Check out the one-minute video for the inside scoop (and sip!) on the hottest new cafe in Westwood.

Koala Tapioca was founded by recent UCLA graduates David and Vincent, who had a solid business strategy coming straight out of college.

While their brick and mortar location was in the works with construction and permits, the duo used that time to get a food truck going to do some market testing with their product.

TT Koala Tapioca  Popcorn Chicken

Popcorn Chicken with Fried Sweet Basil

They perfected their food with low overhead costs, while also building a solid social media following in the meantime.

The truck, previously called Koala Tea, was a hit… and now they’re ready to open their doors, with great momentum behind them in the form of loyal foodie fans and Twitter followers.

Banh Mi

Banh Mi

Koala Tapioca offers a variety of unique and traditional coffee and tea drinks (with boba, if you’d like!) as well as Taiwanese and Vietnamese food. The fact that they have free Wi-Fi and board games is just the cherry on top! All I can say is I wish we had this place when I was at UCLA.

Check out the video above for a peek at the tasty snacks and drinks that this awesome little spot in the heart of Westwood has to offer.

TT Koala Tapioca  Snacks Drinks Spread

You can find more information on visiting Koala Tapioca here. Stay tuned for a Dine LA Restaurant Week new opening post coming soon. Cheers 🙂

Behind The Scenes: Haché LA Now Serving Sirloin Steak Burgers In Silver Lake

Hache LA Header

As I’ve been away doing some research through Halloween weekend exploring Vegas to scout some of the best eats to bring to you all (anything for research!), my first meal out when I got back to L.A. was also an amazing one.

It was a juicy sirloin steak burger in Silver Lake at Haché LA, to be exact… with my fellow Tastemakers (see video below)! Could it get any better? I think not.

Chef and owner Mick Schepers from Mick’s Karma Bar is behind this new L.A. burger spot, and although the menu here at Haché LA is similar to his Irvine location, there’s a lot more he can do in this Silver Lake space.

He plans to serve a vegetarian patty soon, as well as bring back his liquid nitrogen-frozen ice cream made from a rich, creamy custard base.

Check out below to find out what makes these juicy burgers so unique, and get a peek into the kitchen to see how they make their all-sirloin patties:

Watch as chef & owner Mick shows us the secret to his amazing ground sirloin burgers!

Watch as chef & owner Mick shows us the secret to his amazing ground sirloin burgers!

Interesting fact from the man himself: The original Mick’s Karma Bar in Irvine used to be a coffee joint, and then they transitioned to juice. However, the burger they also served there went viral on social media to the point that they scrapped everything else on the menu to only serve a handful of his famous burgers with thick-cut fries, as well as some refreshing drinks like their strawberry basil lemonade (see video above).

You can taste Haché LA’s ground sirloin burgers with all the trimmings at 3319 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles.

Stay tuned for more L.A. eats as well as part one of a Las Vegas dining series!

New Restaurant Sneak Peek: Contemporary Indian Cuisine At Cardamom L.A.

Copyright Tanaya Ghosh 2014

Here’s the scoop behind the newest Indian restaurant to hit the scene in Mid-City, Cardamom L.A. The restaurant takes residency where India’s Oven long stood. What’s different, you ask, when one Indian restaurant replaces another in the same location?

The answer lies in the contemporary twist on Cardamom’s menu and decor, as the Pani Puris are served in shot glasses, the chef brings experience and cooking techniques from the UK, and the colorful abstract paintings on the wall are even hand-painted by their own team.

Last Wednesday, I was invited to attend a pre-opening media dinner for Cardamom L.A., where I got a taste of the new fare with my friends Karen, Rachael and a number of other fellow food writer & blogger friends. Being an Indian-American girl who could fluently speak their same language, it apparently was a pleasant surprise for the owners.

To be even more festive (it’s not every day I get to attend a food event of my own people!), I even wore an Indian kurti top to dinner :). The hospitality was amazing, and Chef Choudhury warmly invited me to take a peek at the behind the scenes cooking action in the kitchen. Here’s your Desi scoop, in the latest one(ish)-minute Tanaya’s Table episode:

Check out the Pani Puri, Peshwari Naan, Chicken Tikka and more in the video above.

Check out the Pani Puri, Peshwari Naan, Chicken Tikka and more in the video above.

Chef Choudhury takes pride in using the freshest ingredients, never frozen or canned. He travels to India to personally source fresh whole spices, which he brings back to grind in-house. He then uses these freshly ground spices to season each of the 100-plus items on the Cardamom menu. I also learned that the restaurant uses a tandoor oven powered by charcoal instead of the standard gas, resulting in a smokier, richer flavor.

Although I was born in SoCal, being of Indian ethnicity I must explain that contrary to what some may believe, Indian food is not just rich chicken tikka masala and buttery naan. There are so many types of Indian cuisines from numerous regions throughout the subcontinent, including lighter, non-spicy everyday dishes. Cardamom’s extensive menu represents the unique cuisines of many of these parts. Whether you are a vegetarian, meat lover or seafood fan, there’s something for everyone at Cardamom L.A.

My favortites included the presentation of the Pani Puri, as they had the traditional spiced tamarind water in the glass, and the crispy shells sitting atop, stuffed with potatoes and chickpeas (see a demo of how to eat it in the video above). I also loved the Peshwari Naan, served fresh from the tandoor, stuffed with sweet coconut, raisins, dates and nuts. And for spice lovers like myself, Cardamom doesn’t skimp when it comes to their savory fare. They bring the heat, if you want them to.

Cardamom is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, and is located at 7233 Beverly Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90038. For more information or reservations, visit cardamomLA.com.