Thursday, July 21, 2011

Where to Eat: Westwood LIVE @ Napa Valley Grille

One of my all-time favorite restaurants in Westwood is Napa Valley Grille. It’s an upscale yet animated restaurant that seems to always attract a diverse crowd, ranging from the conservative academic types to business professionals; from longtime local residents to curious roaming tourists; from wine connoisseurs to food aficionados, and everything in between.

And with amazing California-inspired seasonal fare and top-notch wines, it’s no surprise that so many people like myself absolutely adore this restaurant.

Last month, I found but yet even another reason to continue my love affair with Napa Valley Grille: I discovered its dynamic Westwood LIVE series* festivities. It transformed itself into a bubbling social soiree, complete with a wooden barrel wine tasting station and an interactive bruschetta-building installation close to the entrance, and the “med-student-by-day-DJ-by-night” DJ AJA spinning music on the outdoor patio.

Inquisitive bystanders like myself vigilantly watched Chef Joseph Gillard (pictured below) create mini-bruschetta work of arts, incorporating plenty of fresh, inventive toppings, such as a zesty fava bean spread and a rich garlic aoli, pictured below. Adjacent to this station were complimentary wine tastings for two Sauvignon Blancs and two Cabernet Sauvignons from the Napa region. Happy hour also went all night long, from 3 p.m.-7 p.m. and then 9 p.m.-12 a.m., featuring $4-$8 for beer, wine, cocktails and appetizers.

Napa Valley Grille will be concocting even more alluring activities and culinary adventures to enjoy for the next Westwood LIVE series installation this upcoming Thursday evening. Just like last month, there will be complimentary wine tastings, a DJ on the outdoor patio and an extended happy hour. But this time around, instead of a bruschetta-building station, Chef Gillard will give us a glimpse into his Midwestern roots by offering a $5 Beef Short Rib Sliders Duo (pictured bottom right) and PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon) beer combo.

So head over to Napa Valley Grille to bask in this lovely 75-degree California summer weather on its outdoor patio, all while hearing lively music and drinking complimentary wines. It’s the perfect place to start – or to finish – your Westwood LIVE escapade every third Thursday of the month.

See you there soon!

Miss Wilson’s Tips

- *So what is the Westwood LIVE series? In a nutshell, this non-profit series falls features a community of restaurants, art galleries, shops and bars offering discounts, music and specials throughout the night. Visitors are highly encouraged to walk around and to frequent as many of the participating places as possible. It’s similar to downtown’s Artwalk, but it’s more “Westside” (think a little more upscale… a lot more subdued).
- The happy hour menu has a lot of tasty appetizers. My top picks would be the Chopped Kale Salad ($4), the Turkey Meatballs ($4), the Pan Roasted Local Padron Peppers ($4) and the Garlic herb Fries ($4).
- Don’t skip dessert! The restaurant recently added seven new summer-inspired desserts, including a decadent Iced Mocha Panna Cotta (pictured below) and a to-die-for Coconut Lemon Meringue Tart.
- Aside from the superior wines and the first-class dishes, I’ve fallen madly in love with the restaurant’s endearing ambiance. There are so many unique little nooks and crannies to dine in; it’s always fun to see where you’ll end up.

For more information:
Napa Valley Grille
1100 Glendon Ave., Ste. 100
Los Angeles CA 90024

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