Baroo, wine stores, Laurel Canyon, Level 8, Carmel weekend, Malibu jewelry, festival tix, MORE
RESTAURANTS • FOUND Table
All grown up in the Arts District
It's hard to overstate the amount of praise lavished on the first iteration of Baroo, a shoestring operation in a Hollywood strip mall where chef Kwang Uh played mad scientist with ferments and pickles. Since shuttering that storefront in 2018, Uh and his wife/partner Mina Park resurfaced in various guises (a pop-up at a flea market, a fast-casual stall in Grand Central Market), but lacked a space that matches their ambition — until now.
The newly opened Baroo in the Arts District is, finally, a capital-R restaurant, with a grown-up hunk of real estate, in a neighborhood quickly establishing itself as the go-to for risk-taking, high-end dining (see also: Yangban Society, Yess, Kato). One can imagine the pressure the couple feels to deliver in these shiny new digs.
What a relief, then, that the new Baroo is a major step up in every way. The prix-fixe menu is a departure from the strip mall’s a la carte setup, with more polished versions of the flavors and techniques that launched them into stardom. It’s a format that allows Uh to flex, deploying more high-end ingredients, like a Peads & Barnett pork collar (served with a "goulash jigae") and wild-caught black cod. And in perhaps the most substantial upgrade, there's now a bar program, focused on lesser-known Korean spirits like yakju and makgeolli, along with a waitstaff well-versed in them.
The vibe is industrial Zen (fitting for a couple who met at a Buddhist monastery in Korea), but far from austere. On a recent Tuesday night, Park floated around the warmly lit room, pouring complimentary sips of locally produced makgeolli, greeting longtime customers who dressed up for the occasion. Meanwhile, Uh bopped around to hand-deliver desserts. It felt like a reunion.
And it’s one you can join. Reservations are relatively easy to come by, for now. If the past is any indicator, you’ll want to get in before Baroo is discovered all over again. –Jamie Feldmar
LA RESTAURANT LINKS: Restaurateur and author Rose Previte planning culinary compound in West Adams • The $149 Sunday brunch buffet returns to Four Seasons at Beverly Hills • Fashion brand Maison Kitsuné opens a cafe in Silver Lake • The best after-dinner drinks.
GOODS & SERVICES • The Nines
Wine stores, west to east
Vin on Rose (Venice, above), strong natural selection plus provisions
Esters Wine Shop (Santa Monica), bar-meets-shop with a small-producer focus
Domaine LA (Hollywood), neighborhood stalwart for European and California wines
Helen’s (Fairfax, Brentwood, Slauson, Beverly Hills), Jon & Vinny’s-partnered fun shoebox of a shop
Lou (Los Feliz), pristine shop owned by an OG of natural wine
Psychic (Silver Lake), east side cool kid magnet
Vinovore (Silver Lake and Eagle Rock), exclusively stocked with women-made wines
Highland Park Wine (Highland Park), wine shop counterpart of Hippo and Triple Beam Pizza
Altadena Beverage and Market (Altadena), mid-century staple, revamped
Additions or subtractions? Hit reply or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
REAL ESTATE • On the Market
Nature is on sale this listing season in the Hills, including at the top of the market, where this Laurel Canyon property bridges indoors and out, plus a whole host of natural design concepts (“Recent research on the positive effects of birdsong on the human brain and consciousness also informs the design approach”). Panoramic glass and solid wood beams pull it all together. On the market since June, it’s asking $15 million.
But one needn’t spend that much to find an array of verdant options. Three more, for your consideration:
→ 7541 Hermes Dr. (Laurel Canyon) • 3BR/3BA, 2642 SF • Nicholas Canyon and city views • Days on market: 6 • Asking price: $2.695M • Listing broker: Stuart Vetterick, Hilton & Hyland.
→ 7692 Woodrow Wilson Dr. (Hollywood Hills) • 4BR/4BA, 3400 SF • Vine-adorned estate on 1.8 acres • Days on market: 42 • Asking price: $4.995M • Listing broker: Josh Flagg, Elliman.
→ 8070 Laurelmont Dr. (Laurel Canyon) • 5BR/7BA, 6074 SF • “The Treehouse HH” • Days on market: 62 • Asking price: $8.488M • Listing broker: Oliver Thornton, Hollywood Estates.
LA WORK AND PLAY LINKS: Southern California home values near record despite high cost of borrowing • Sunset Blvd. may be getting its own Sphere, but don’t call it that • Amazon Fresh unveils redesigned LA stores • New Metro light rail line wants your vote.
CULTURE & LEISURE • Thursday Routine
On the beach and off the grid
KIM DUNHAM, jewelry designer/story collector, Kim Dunham Jewelry
Neighborhood you live in: Malibu
It’s Thursday morning. What’s the scene at your workplace?
I start work pretty early, since my designs are all produced in New York City, where I split my time. The sun rises out the window and I can see the water in the distance, so it’s worth getting up. Thursdays are always busy, since I want to make sure everything ships before the weekend, and any designs I’ve worked on are ready for the client.
What’s on the agenda for today?
Starting my day at Good Point Pilates. Working on a new jewelry collection that early next year, when clients will be able to shop via my website with shorter lead times. I’m also working on a ritual line of products, to inspire slowing down, and being more deliberate in our lives. Of course, there’s always a custom project in the mix. And checking in on production.
Any restaurant plans today, tonight, this weekend?
I love to cook, so that happens most nights. It’s hard to leave the beauty of Malibu and miss an evening beach walk with my dog, George. When I do go out I usually stay local, which is very limited, but my husband and I love driving through the canyon to The Old Place. If I venture out I usually go to Venice and eat at Dudley’s Market, Felix, Superba, Night & Market Sahm and the recently opened Atla — their New York location is one of my go-tos.
How about a little leisure or culture?
For the most part, weekends are about nature — and always a Saturday morning stop by Thorne Farms to pick up fresh, local produce and bread from Varsity Bakers. I recently went to painter Filipa Tojal’s opening at Sage Culture Gallery, a light-swept industrial space in DTLA. The show was gorgeous and hung in natural light. It really embodied the feel of California.
Any weekend getaways?
We have a truck camper and like to go off-grid and into nature. On very special occasions, I book a stay at the San Ysidro Ranch, but most of the time, I just go for lunch, which is almost as good. A meal there feels like you’re on a fancy European vacation.
What was your last great vacation?
A trip to Egypt for my 50th birthday with the Prior Group and Sibella Court. Everyone should put Egypt on their travel list. It’s otherworldly, it’s the only place I’ve ever traveled that I fall short with words to describe… you just need to see and feel it.
BARS & NIGHTLIFE • First Word
Level 8: Downtown’s new sensory overload
The Skinny: An eight-venue extravaganza atop the new Moxy Hotel Downtown L.A. from the all-fun-all-the-time Houston Brothers.
The Experience: Approaching the entrance, a long line of decked-out revelers wait their turn to be brought inside the 30,000 square foot circus and through a labyrinthine of hidden alleys and doorways.
A few highlights from the dizzying experience:
Mr. Wanderlust, a dark, brooding piano bar/library accessed through a bookcase, serving braised wagyu beef ‘cigarettes’ and chicken karaage, with close-up magician Micah Cover entertaining the bar.
Maison Kasai, an upscale version of Benihana. Go back three spaces.
Lucky Mizu, through another secret door (this one in a fireplace), a shabu shabu restaurant with ethereal live music via a 40-foot earth harp that hangs from the ceiling. The menu was confusing if satisfying; sake helps.
Around a bend, Sinners y Santos (above), Level 8’s nightclub with its own wrestling ring that lowers over the main bar. Amazingly, the juxtaposition works.
Outside on the roof, Golden Hour with a fantastical rotating carousel bar, a pool, and sunset views. Breathe deep.
The Verdict: The theme here is bewilderment. Or astonishment. Or sensory overload. Or all three. –Paul Feinstein
→ Level 8 (Downtown), 1254 S Figueroa St.
GETAWAYS • Monterey Peninsula
A jet-set weekend in Carmel
Carmel-by-the-Sea doesn’t seem like the most convenient choice for a weekend jaunt, but the twice-daily LAX to Monterey route on United gets one there in 40 minutes flat, well worth it if the destination is Chez Noir, which opened late last year downtown in a white clapboard house. A recent dinner was spectacular, featuring a multi-layered seasonal tomato terrine, passion fruit-topped grilled oysters, and a stellar cocktail list. The restaurant, which already has a Michelin star under its belt, just shifted to a prix-fixe menu (with a handful of raw bar add-ons).
You’ll need a place to stay: Le Petit Pali has two cute, stylishly renovated properties in the heart of downtown. For oceanfront cliffside views, consider the old-school, elegant Tickle Pink Inn. –Kira Fisher
GETAWAYS LINKS: Will a Hard Rock Hotel land in Long Beach? • WSJ’s best and worst airports of 2023 • Clear rolling out new facial recognition process, eliminating need for iris scan or fingerprints • United tweaks elite status for 2024 • The decline of the Centurion Lounge.
CULTURE & LEISURE • Festivals
Darker Waves Festival, Huntington Beach Pier (Huntington Beach), Sat @ 12p, VIP, $295 per
ComplexCon, Long Beach Convention Center (Long Beach), Sat/Sun @ 11a, VIP Weekend, $700 per
California Festival: Takács Quartet, BroadStage (Santa Monica), Fri @ 730p, orchestra, $100 per
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