Secret recipes (and more!) from some of your favorite eateries
Head chef Marcos Aguilar
Sweet Butter in Sherman Oaks is a French-inspired café, bistro and specialty marketplace featuring all outdoor and courtyard seating. They serve fresh, house-made breakfasts, sandwiches, salads and soups. Customers can purchase refrigerated and frozen take-away dishes for lunch and dinner.
Owner Leslie Danelian and her team of highly experienced chefs, baristas, cooks and bakers pride themselves on their freshly baked goods, delicious dishes and relaxed, friendly atmosphere. The bakery team loves to experiment with new recipes. Baking is their passion, and they love sharing this passion with their customers and keeping them excited about new and seasonal bakery items.
An LA native, Leslie has 25 years experience working as a chef, a consultant and food stylist on television, and a caterer. Her head chef, Marcos Aguilar, began working in the food industry as a butcher. From a very young age, he was drawn to the kitchen. His love of food and the fast-paced lifestyle of professional chefs appealed to his sense of adventure.
A home-style cook, Marcos was head chef at the Alcove before beginning his position at Sweet Butter. He loves using fresh ingredients and playing with new flavors. On the rare occasion that he uses a recipe, he makes adjustments to give it a new twist.
When asked what he loves the most about the industry, he replies, “It’s the reaction of the customers. It is rewarding to know someone is enjoying something you made.” Some of Chef Marcos’ favorite menu items include mango gazpacho and chipotle enchiladas. He also loves to make his mother’s shrimp ceviche (see recipe).
Marcos loves spending his free time with his daughter. They frequent the park and cook together. He says that she likes to help with the dishes!
13824 Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks | 818-788-4267 | sweetbutterkitchen.com
Marcos’ Shrimp Ceviche
2 pounds shrimp, cooked,
peeled & diced
1 cup lemon juice
1 pound tomatoes
1 medium white onion
1 habanero chili
1 bunch cilantro
1½ teaspoons dried oregano
1½ teaspoon ground cumin
1½ teaspoon granulated garlic
hot sauce to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 whole avocado
salt and pepper to taste
Mix shrimp with lemon juice and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Dice tomatoes, onions and chili; finely chop cilantro. Mix together. In a separate bowl, mix spices, garlic, hot sauce and olive oil. Remove shrimp from marinade; mix shrimp with the tomato mixture and the dressing. Slice the avocado on top of the ceviche and serve chilled with tortilla chips.
Serves 5 to 6
Executive Chef Judy Han
Mendocino Farms is a gourmet sandwich shop that promotes a farm-to-table philosophy by using local, seasonal ingredients. Classic, regional sandwiches are given a more modern interpretation at a great value. Executive Chef Judy Han balances flavors and textures within each sandwich, just like a fine dining chef would do with each dish.
“We think of the sandwich as a complete meal,” she says. “We pair a rich, savory ingredient with something tart, bright and acidic, and then balance that with something sweet or creamy.”
Chef Judy’s earliest memory is helping her parents in the kitchen of their family restaurant in Chicago. She has worked every position in a restaurant, giving her a true appreciation of the hospitality portion of the total dining experience. She was classically trained at culinary school in Los Angeles and molded by some of the finest chefs in town.
At Mendocino Farms, Chef Judy is committed to working with the best local farmers to promote their efforts and highlight their foods. Some of her favorite local foods include heirloom tomatoes, Asian pears and Autumn Royal grapes.
Her passions include cooking for people, sharing a meal with friends and family, and introducing guests to rare ingredients in a very approachable way. When not at work, Judy enjoys spending time with her two children and family, doing something active outdoors.
Husband-and-wife business team Mario Del Pero and Ellen Chen have owned and managed restaurants for 12 years. As local residents and owners of Mendocino Farms, they are excited to bring their kid and family friendly concept to the neighborhood.
14141 Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks | 818-205-9744 | MendocinoFarms.com
Kurobuta Pork Belly Banh Mi
10 cloves garlic
1½-inch piece of ginger, sliced
1½ cups sake
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup soy sauce
water to cover
3 pounds skinless Kurobuta
4 baguettes or ciabatta rolls
8 tablespoons chipotle aioli
garnishes: pickled daikon and
carrots, julienned cucumber,
cilantro, sliced jalapenos
Heat oven to 300°. Add first 7 ingredients to oven-proof pan with enough water to cover. Cover with a lid and braise 3–4 hours until pork is fork-tender. Remove pork from liquid and chill overnight. Strain liquid and reserve. Cut pork into 1”x½” lardons. Place in heavy-bottom pan and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until edges get crispy and fat is mostly rendered, about 15 minutes. Strain and discard fat. Warm braising liquid and put pork back into liquid.
Cut bread in half. Spread each side with 1 tablespoon aioli. Add 4 ounces of pork. Grill sandwich and add garnishes. Cut in half and enjoy!
Makes 4 sandwiches
Rosti Tuscan Kitchen
Chef Luis Garcia
A Los Angeles neighborhood favorite for delicious, informal Italian dining, Rosti Tuscan Kitchen has been a part of the Encino community since 1995. “Our biggest satisfaction is welcoming a guest back into our restaurant,” says owner Kevin Goldfein.
Chef Luis Garcia, who has been with Rosti for 17 years, believes in simple, authentic, Tuscan recipes made with fresh, locally grown ingredients. House specialties include thin-crust pizzas and Pollo Al Mattone—brick-pressed chicken rubbed in fresh Tuscan herbs. Rosti also serves fresh and unique salads, delicious soups and a selection of homemade pastas.
An ideal restaurant for families, Rosti offers a kids’ menu with chicken, pasta and pizza options for $6.99 including a beverage and a cookie. Rosti also give back to the neighborhood with sponsorships, donations and participation in public libraries, local Little Leagues, dozens of local schools and organizations.
The entire menu is available for dine-in, take-out and delivery. Additionally, Rosti Catering can accommodate any size group, including office lunches and cocktail parties. Rosti’s delicious Tuscan fare can also be customized to fit clients’ palates and special dietary needs with gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian menus.
A big part of Rosti’s success is a family work environment and committed team members—30 of whom have been with the company for more than 5 years, 15 for more than 10 years and 8 for more than 15 years.
In 2008 Rosti was acquired by KBG Dining Group. Under new leadership, Rosti has completed a total brand rejuvenation including a new menu, a third Rosti in Calabasas, and a fourth Rosti location in Northridge soon to come.
16350 Ventura Blvd. in Encino | 818-995-7179 | RostiTuscanKitchen.com
Pollo Al Mattone
Our signature Pollo Al Mattone is marinated overnight in fresh rosemary, sage, garlic and olive oil, then grilled under a Mattone brick, imported from Tuscany.
whole chicken, cut in half
½ ounce olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
1 teaspoon chopped sage
2 garlic cloves, chopped
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
Place all ingredients in a bowl, cover and marinate overnight. Heat grill on medium-low to 400º. Season the grill with oil and a pinch of salt. Place chicken on the grill breast-side up. Flip the chicken, breast-side down. Cover with the Mattone brick and cook for 20 minutes. Flip the chicken, breast-side up. Cover with the Mattone brick and cook for 20 minutes.
Tuning Fork Gastropub
Head Chef Jason Bedassie
Tuning Fork is a gastropub that serves craft beer, small production wines and seasonal “Food of the People” 365 days a year in an environment that evokes a “groovier” time. The restaurant’s goal is to maintain the highest standards with their cuisine, libations and service at all times—without pretension.
Tuning Fork Gastropub was conceived during a homebrew session by three life-long friends who grew up together in Michigan. Joseph Kuras, Martin Heynen and John Baldwin each moved to Los Angeles separately and, once reunited, began regular homebrew sessions together. Drawing on their experience in the hospitality industry, they agreed to open their own eatery where they could share fresh food sourced from local ingredients, celebrate the ever-evolving art of craft beer, showcase sustainable U.S. vineyards, and provide an atmosphere that evokes the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll and good vibrations.
A native of London, head chef Jason Bedassie started his career after graduating from New York Culinary Institute at the age of 19. Working alongside some of New York’s finest chefs allowed him to hone his skills and develop an eclectic palate. Jason’s first job after relocating to Los Angeles was working with vegan chef Ann Gentry at Real Food Daily. He then transitioned into private catering before joining Tuning Fork.
With a passion for flavorful and satisfying food, Chef Jason utilizes fresh, local, farm-to-table ingredients to offer something fun for everyone—from the burger lover to the most compassionate vegan.
12051 Ventura Place in Studio City | 818-623-0734 | tuningforkLA.com
Garam Masala Salmon on Red Quinoa Swiss Chard Salad
2 bunches of cilantro
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 clove of garlic
2 cups baby spinach
½ cup white wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
salt and pepper
1½ cups olive oil
4 cups rainbow Swiss chard
1 garlic clove minced
2 cups cooked red quinoa
2 cups diced roasted butternut
¼ cup toasted pepitas
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
1 tablespoon garam masala
2 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
To make Cilantro Spinach Vinaigrette, blend first 6 ingredients (through coriander) with 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper for 20 seconds. Add oil in a steady stream until blended. Sauté rainbow chard with garlic, salt and pepper. In a bowl add quinoa, squash, Swiss chard, pepitas and oregano; toss with ¼ cup of vinaigrette. Marinate salmon with garam masala, salt and pepper. Grill to desired temperature. Serve atop quinoa salad drizzled with vinaigrette and sprinkled with oregano leaves.
I recently took a “Sushi & Sake” class offered by the Studio City restaurant Laurel Point. It was fascinating. The teacher, Chef Michael Stewart, taught me numerous things I didn’t know. And then he prepared some of the best sushi I’ve had in here in the Valley. Here, I share 10 things I learned that […]
Mendocino Farms’ expansion plans in the 818 continue to grow. The sustainable, eco-friendly, “farm-to-table” brand, which most recently opened in Sherman Oaks, is set to open in Westlake Village at the end of 2014. The eatery will be part of a larger remodel of a shopping complex anchored by Gelson’s at Westlake Boulevard and Agoura […]