Friday, January 31, 2014

Lady Face Alehouse and Brasserie

29281 Agoura Rd,
Agoura Hills

The name Lady Face and the sketch on the restaurant's logo suggest something ultra feminine, dating back to the Renaissance days. It promotes great expectations! Once inside the doors, the spacious ambiance reminds one of a distinctive pub with brewery tanks in full view, but there are some very ladylike touches in art and decor that kind of sneak up on you here and there and take you back to that gentler, artistic period. In the final analysis Lady Face symbolizes a time and place where femininity was beautiful and reigned supreme...and a lady could still lift a pint with the best of them It's a classy yet casual joint quite unlike anything you have experienced anywhere, and, judging from the clientele, it appeals to both men and women from every walk of life. On the day I visited, there seemed to be a power business meeting with four men at the next table, as well as married couples nearby and casual friends of both genders meeting up for lunch. Owned by lovely Cyrena Nouzille, with brewmaster David Griffiths and Adrian Gioia, executive chef, Lady Face lives up to its great reputation and turned my visit into a delectable lunchtime treat.
Celebrating four years in the Agoura Hills location, Lady Face is not a chain, so that kind of uniqueness makes it even more special. In today's world it's hard to find just one place that you can eagerly anticipate returning to without its twin establishment smacking you in the face on the very next corner. The look, the ale, the food are all prepared to suit the gourmet palate. In tandem with the fourth year celebration Lady Face is offering a Belgian quadrupel ale brewed with raspberries. The ale is light, smooth and delicious. About twelve draught ales are brewed on the premises, as well as a half dozen incredible beers. Cask ale is served at cellar temperature and there are terrific happy hour discounts on all of them, as well as on wine and all luscious cocktails, from 3-6 pm Mondays through Fridays.

The philosophy of Lady Face is to serve hand-crafted and artisan products, which means fresh ales, and dishes with 100% natural ingredients prepared at the peak of freshness. What is offered on the menu, then, is only in-season, locally available or California-grown produce.

Well, what sounds fresh and delicious turned out to be just that, as the lunch served to both myself and my guest were 100% terrific. Our affable server Christina was exceedingly helpful in making choices that would not only satisfy my tastes but attract a wider audience and suit some of the varied tastes of my readers as well. I started out with a Lady Face Sangria, fruity and delicious. Even though I proclaimed myself a non-beer or ale drinker, Cyrena insisted on us sampling the fourth anniversary ale, which was indeed light and savory. For my first food selection, I chose French onion Soup, which I had heard was a wonderful choice. What made it different from other French onion soups was the beer stock included that blends to perfection with the onions and gruyere. My next course was a grilled romaine salad with a tangy bleu cheese dressing. As an appetizer my friend and I shared pulled-pork sliders on pretzel buns, which were oh so good. I had the salmon as my entree, and it was the preparation with fingerling potato coins, grilled long oyster mushrooms, peas, caramelized onion puree and lobster saffron emulsion that made all the difference in bringing out the dish's special  flavors. My guest raved about the steak tartare and manila clams. For dessert we shared a scrumptious chocolate torte with vanilla ice cream and Lady Face's specialty bread pudding, smothered with whipped cream.

Other specialties of the house include wood-grilled house-made flatbreads, mac & cheese with salt & vinegar potato chip crust, ale-battered fish & chips. wood-grilled burgers, and sandwiches, including a croque-monsieur and croque- madame. Burgers start at $10 and the salmon entree is only $15. How can you beat these exceedingly reasonable prices!

The presence of the gracious proprietor Cyrena made our visit that much more memorable, as she stopped by our table to introduce us to her restaurant, to bring us samples of her fine ales and to answer any questions. This was to be sure an unforgettable afternoon of fine dining, which I most highly recommend to one and all. Breakfast is served from 11: 30 am to 4 pm and dinner from 4 pm to 10 pm, with happy hour specials  from 3-6 pm and late night offerings after 10 pm!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Giuliano's in Redondo Beach/Torrance

review in February!

Revisiting Pizza Rev in Studio City

new manager Johnnie Hertlein
On Wednesday January 15 I returned to PizzaRev in Studio City, which had its grand opening 16 months ago, to partake of their delicious hand-crafted pizzas. The last time I was there it was to celebrate the opening in SC and the inclusion of a full array of wine and beer to the beverage menu. This time it was to celebrate a brand new inclusion of low calorie pizzas into the menu in keeping with the start of a healthy New Year.

In case you are unfamiliar with PizzaRev, you craft your very own pizza with the ultimate in fresh ingredients. What a taste treat for Valley residents of Studio City, North Hollywood and Sherman Oaks! Practically right next door to The Counter, where you can create your own burger, you can now craft a delectable pizza and enjoy a glass of wine or beer...and, if you are still hungry, order a specialty dessert pizza.

If you have never crafted a pizza, what this means is that you decide the kind of dough you wish, the type of sauce, cheeses, proteins and veggies to go on your pizza, and just simply tell your server. It’s as if you were making it at home from scratch, only your PizzaRev server will do for you. If you prefer gluten-free dough, it’s yours for the asking; reduced fat mozzarella is a possible choice as well. There is a huge array of proteins like pepperoni, Italian sausage, crumbled beef meatball, ham, crispy bacon, grilled chicken or anchovies. Veggies are also plentiful such as mushrooms, red onions, green bell peppers, tomatoes, pineapple, black olives, basil, spinach, garlic, jalapeno, sun-dried tomatoes and capers. And the new reduced fat pizzas, at 650 calories a piece, may include thin and crispy crust, organic red sauce, low-fat mozzarella, as well as your choice of veggie toppings. Amazing, you can craft a pizza that suits your workout plan to help shed those nasty pounds you’ve gained over the holidays. What could be better?

Moderately priced at only $7.95 each, or hand-crafted salad at $3.95 or dessert pizza at a mere $3.95,  PizzaRev's offerings cannot be beat, considering pizza joint pizzas like Domino's or Pizza Hut cost at least $10-$20, and Papa John’s, even higher. And what makes PizzaRev the best, apart from the reduced price, is the quality. PizzaRev offers only the best ingredients that are fresh and healthy...only the finest meats, veggies, cheeses, sauces and PizzaRev's very own homemade crust made fresh daily. Gluten-Free crust costs only $2 extra; Vegan Cheese, only $1 more.

The service? Unbeatable! Manager Johnnie Hertlein and his team aim to please, giving service with a smile. Hertlein was on hand to greet me and to talk about the amazing pizza ovens which cook your pizza in less than five minutes...that's right, you only have to wait about 3 to 4 minutes before it is brought to your table piping mmm, delicious....the thin cracker-like crust on my BBQ chicken pizza was light, easy to chew and very tasty.

PizzaRev stores are offering a Perfect Pair deal right now, which includes any pizza + participating beer or house red/white wine for only $9.95 daily from 4 pm-8 pm and after 8: 30 pm. And a great Monday meal deal includes 4 pizzas, 4 fountain drinks, a salad for 4 and a dessert pizza, all for only $39.95, anytime after 2 pm.

Stop in at PizzaRev on Ventura Blvd, Studio City, near Laurel Canyon for lunch or dinner or at one of the other stores. There’s also one in nearby Burbank, Woodland Hills, Northridge, El Segundo and Oxnard.. and new stores to open soon in Van Nuys, Pasadena, Mid-City LA and Valencia. Plus, some really hot news: PizzaRev announced a partnership with Buffalo Wild Wings earlier in 2013, and Buffalo Wild Wings will open the first PizzaRev franchise location very soon.

Check the website below for hours of operation and multiple reviews from very satisfied customers...PizzaRev caters your party...and you can order online for faster service: