By Any and Everywhere | June 6, 2016
Hope you had a great Memorial Day weekend! I spent that Monday afternoon Downtown on the rooftop at the Ace Hotel, also known as the Upstairs Bar. While half of the party was lounging by the pool, I kept it moving thanks to the day’s DJ rotation, happy hour and a newly launched cocktail menu. L.A.’s making attempts to pump up the volume on public transportation, and the new transit menu at Upstairs Bar is a playful tribute to Los Angeles and its transpo-friendly brethren around the world (New York, Paris and London).
L.A.’s section, sweetly dubbed the Line, includes five new drinks, of which I sampled three. The Downtown Santa Monica (blanco tequila, amaretto, creme de pamplemousse, coconut, orange, hopped grapefruit bitters) is described as fruity, light and refreshing and tart and sour. It’s also on the sweet and creamy side, if you like that sort of thing. Next up, the Vermont & Beverly (blanco tequila, watermelon, lime, agave, rhubarb bitters, tajin, black sesame), which is also described as fruity, light and refreshing. It’s akin to biting into a piece of spiced fruit straight from the neighborhood carts. Finally, the Little Tokyo (plum wine, salted honey, douglas fir eau de vie, 13 ponzu, cremant di limoux,
dried chili tincture), which is described as complex and herbaceous. Little did I know this would be my favorite of the bunch. Everyone else in my group ordered the Hollywood & Vine (vodka, cucumber,lemon, 13 honey, lavender, ginger beer) multiple times, so it was another winner. Don’t forget Upstairs Bar also has happy hour Monday through Friday. If you’re going for cocktails, make sure you put in an order of the day’s oysters. They’re only a buck each, which is a great savings on food after blowing half of Friday’s paycheck at the bar.
Speaking of happy hour, Hanjip recently launched a new daily menu featuring food and drink specials. If you haven’t been to Hanjip yet, it’s the new Culver City joint from the Bombet Hospitality Group (Viviane, Faith & Flower and Terrine) who dipped their hands into Korean bbq late last year. The happy hour menu features a handful of dishes, including a golden brown seafood pancake with rock shrimp and bay scallops, shrimp tempura with pickled ginger sauce, sweet and spicy ribs and pork buns with gojuchang glaze. Pair these shareable plates with soju, beer or wine, also discounted. I would suggest a soju shot paired with jicama juice, which may not be the first combination that comes to mind, but just trust me.
If you’re going with a big group, spring for the beef or pork platters that you can grill yourself right at the table. There are a la carte additions, of course, such as pork belly, octopus, bulgogi and ribeye. Supplemental sides on the menu include kimchi fried rice, uni steamed egg, chicharrones with kimchi aioli and the magnificent bone marrow corn cheese. The latter’s a bowl of sweet, summer corn piled around a crackly hot bone, then topped with dancing shreds of bonito flakes and parmesan. Scrape the marrow into the corn, and after one bite, you’ll ask the server for another order. It’s that good. Hanjip’s happy hour couldn’t have arrived at a better time.
Disclaimer: Both restaurants hosted complimentary media previews. All opinions are my own.