If you love local food festivals, this is your lucky week! Just a short drive up Rossmore/Vine (or slightly longer walk, but what better way to burn calories) is “Sunset and Dine” tonight from 6-10 p.m. The event showcases food, wine and beer from more than 20 restaurants near Sunset and Vine, Hollywood’s famous intersection that’s now becoming a focal point for food in Hollywood.
“Sunset and Dine” invited the Buzz to a preview the food few weeks ago. We started at Wood and Vine on Hollywood Blvd. with some amazing drinks, appetizers and small plates all shared around a wonderful fire pit on the courtyard dining space. It was the first time we’d been there and were so impressed that we went back last week with some out of town guests. Hollywood is much nicer than it used to be, which is the point of “Sunset and Dine” — to get people back into the neighborhood and see how many food venues are now located there.
“Five years ago, we were looking for an event to bring people back to Hollywood, to show people that new, wonderful things are happening here,” explained Kerry Morrison, Windsor Square resident and Executive Director of the organization that manages the Sunset and Vine Business Improvement District and the Hollywood Entertainment District BID, which have spearheaded the effort to revitalize Hollywood.
Morrison, who has been working in Hollywood for more 20 years, told the Buzz that getting people to come back to Hollywood to try all the new restaurants and experience the new and improved Hollywood ambience, which has been unfolding though the last 20 years of revitalization efforts, is working. “Sunset and Dine” sells out each year. But don’t worry, you can still come.
“Please tell everyone there are still tickets!” said Morrison, who is also passionate about helping address the issue of homelessness that threatens to overshadow the improvement in Hollywood, and which seems to be worsening all over the city. Morrison serves on the board of The Center at Blessed Sacrament and also serves as Mayoral appointee to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) and the United Way Home for Good Business Leaders Task Force.
But back to our “Sunset and Dine”preview.
We started at Wood and Vine at 6280 Hollywood Blvd., which is located at the Taft Building, directly across the street from the Pantages Theatre…which makes it a great place for dinner before the show. They promise to get you in and out if you let them know you have tickets, according to manager Wally Moran, who welcomed everyone with craft cocktails and appetizers on the spacious patio courtyard space behind the building.
Opened in 2011, Wood and Vine is a great spot for summer dining, reminiscent of Manhattan but with a nice, cool LA night breeze. They show classic movies from the 70s and 80s on the shared wall of the W Hotel next door, with pictures, not sound.
We started with a watermelon and tomato salad with watercress, cucumber, pickled watermelon rind, and blue cheese, followed by Chicken and Waffles – fried chicken served on sage-infused waffle with chopped butternut squash and maple syrup on the side. We also sampled the Braised Short ribs with cabbage, cherries, and fresno chile, served over corn pudding and jus…which can all be sampled at Sunset and Dine.
Next, we stopped around the corner at the Chocolate Bar Pastry Cafe , 1635 N. Vine Street. Owner Sylvia Donahue and chef Travis Hamburg welcomed us to their beautiful pastry shop filled with delicious sweet and savory treats. They also have made-to-order sandwiches.
Donahue went to great pains to comply with city regulations to convert the space that was formerly Clara Bow’s dance studio. Feeling guilty for family members left at home, we bought some extras to take home.
Next we walked to Smoke’s Poutinerie at 1552 N Cahuenga Blvd, one of the very few Smoke’s Poutinerie franchises in the U.S., featuring the iconic Canadian dish made of fries, cheese curds and gravy, with seemingly unlimited variations of toppings. Even though we had already consumed way more food than necessary, we had to try it. Who knew French Fries served with gravy and topped with cheese curds could be so good? We stuck with the classic, but others tried the wide range of toppings including peas, mushrooms, bacon, red peppers, and jalapeños, to name just a few. (Note that they even have vegetarian options, including vegetarian gravy.)
The fries are made from potatoes grown exclusively for Smoke’s Poutinerie. They are fresh cut at each restaurant and fried twice so they stay crisp under all the gravy and other toppings. The Cahuenga restaurant serves a 1,000 pounds of potatoes a week. They also host local poutine eating competitions; the next one is coming up on September 10. Serious fans can work up to the world championships!
Last but not least, we ended our tour at the Pie Hole, 6314 Hollywood Blvd, and open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. They serve sweet and savory pies, along with organic coffee featuring house blends that are Rainforest Alliance Certified and roasted locally. They also serve cold brew coffee. Pie Hole staff made small tasting pies just for us, which can be also ordered for special events. We sampled chicken and corn bread and macaroni and cheese pies as well as their signature Earl Grey tea and chocolate ganache pie. The hand made pies are made daily from the owner’s family recipes.
The Sunset and Dine festivities will take place at Blessed Sacrament, 6636 Selma Avenue from 6-10 p.m. tonight. Tickets are $35; kids under 12 are free. Guests can dine and drink as well enjoy a live music concert curated by Amoeba Music and featuring headliner Gabriel Garzon-Montano. Proceeds will benefit the Center at Blessed Sacrament, a local nonprofit working in ending homelessness in Hollywood.
You’re invited to taste all of the above and many much more from the participating restaurants and food vendors:
Blue C Sushi
Cleo at the Redbury
Dandy Don’s HomeMade Ice Cream
Dave & Busters
Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop
John & Pete’s Fine Wine & Spirits
Kiki Made Kitchen
McDonalds of Hollywood
Noodle World Jr.
The Pie Hole
The Well / Vintage Bar Group
Wood & Vine
It’s a great night to eat out in Hollywood!