In that cruel manner of climate surprises that Southern California expertly serves up, summer actually feels like it's here. But while temps might be up, the season's activities and psychological mindset is winding down. Here are a few ways to mark the transition to whatever constitutes “fall” in L.A.
The Civilized: Anisette Brasserie is open for Labor Day weekend brunch Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m.-3 p.m., and Monday lunch 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Mention “fin de l'été” to get a complimentary bag of Anisette's madelines. Then relax and let the otherwise fleeting summer memories come rushing back.
Anisette: 225 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica; (310) 395-3200.
The Summer BBQ Swan Song: Good grilling times are also coming to a close at Ford's Filling Station, alas. The Culver City gastropub's last BBQ days are Sunday and Monday from 4-10 p.m., during which the $18 menu includes a tough choice of two meats (chicken, brisket, pulled pork, tenderloin brochette, Tuscan sausage, pork ribs) and two sides (Southern style Tuscan cabbage, succotash, red potato, corn, marinated heirloom tomatoes, baked beans), plus $4 draft beers.
Ford's Filling Station: 9531 Culver Blvd, Culver City; (310) 202-1470.
The Scene: Hit the Strip for the final Katana Red Sun BBQ Garden of the season on Sunday from 5:30 until 11:30 p.m. Happy hour menu includes all types of boozy beverages, apps, sushi, BBQ specials, and Robatayaki skewers.
Katana: 8439 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; (323) 650-8585.
The Splurge: Following an uncharacteristically rainy summer and atypical harvest (Honey, we broke the climate!), early truffles have arrived. Get a jump start on fall with delicate shavings at Cecconi's, along with a heavy dose of Euro-style lounging and people watching. The truffles, from the small Molise region in the Mezzogiorno, are carefully shaved on top of scrambled eggs, over goat cheese pizza, and with Cecconi's house-made pillowy gnocchi, tagliolini, risotto and plin agnolotti. Butter and Parmigiano are the only other accompaniments so as to let these white diamonds truly shine. ($90 serving)
Cecconi's: 8764 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; (310) 432-2000.
The Masses: So maybe the LA County Fair is better at wine, beer, and olive oil competitions rather than the everything-fried-on-a-stick schtick that distinguishes other somewhat comparable gatherings. But it doesn't mean we don't know how to throw a showy traditional celebration like the rest of 'em. The L.A. County Fair starts this weekend at the Fairplex in Pomona and goes through October 4.
The Sunday Night Blues Cure: Even if it's a holiday weekend, Sunday nights can still be depressing. Especially when this one is so close to the start of the school year. Riva's five-course Labor Day Sunday wine dinner is a great deal at $55 per (includes food and wines, plus tax and gratuity), and it features soon-to-end summer gems. Chef Travi's duck prosciutto, crispy seafood stuffed squash blossoms, gnocchi with heirloom tomatoes, seared lamb loin, and milk chocolate cremeux will chase those Sunday bummer vibes away. (Be sure to specify the wine dinner when reserving.)
Riva: 312 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica; (310) 451-7482.
The Community Minded: Slow Food LA sponsors a series of “Eat-ins” on Monday, September 7 to raise awareness of the Time for Lunch campaign to improve the quality of food in schools. Check here for the six public potluck locations and to sign up.