Thursday, March 19, 2009

Restaurant Bargain Dining For Savvy Recessionistas (Recessionistos)

On the bright side of the downward-spiraling economy, many local restaurants are thinking creatively and giving extra perks for their guests to take advantage of. I like to think of them as “the toy in your cereal.” It’s a small surprise, makes you smile and starts your day with a spring in your step. Savvy recessionistas (and recessionistos) can wine and dine at Los Angeles’ best restaurants for a major bargain if you can keep track of all the recession deals and plan accordingly.

Our restaurant clients are thinking outside of the menu to help everyone get through this downturn and drive business. Fortunately for us, it works out in our favor. Recession or not we still need to eat and eat well! I recommend keeping a Google Calendar of drinking and dining deals, that way you can keep all the various deals organized and know where to save your bucks on any given night. Here are some of my favorite recession-friendly dining deals from our restaurant clients that help save moo-lah while filling your bell-lay:

Grilled Cheese Workshop at Patinette at MOCA – Craft your own gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches for only $5. Choose your bread, cheese, extra and sauce. Choices include whole wheat bread, rye bread, walnut currant brad, fresh mozzarella, chipotle cheddar, Fontina, goat cheese, grilled onions, bacon, dill pickles, basil pesto, yuzu aioli or garlic aioli.

Pot Roast Sundays at Tender Greens – Old-fashioned pot roast dinners for $10 every Sunday. Coleman Farms beef short rib “roast” braised in red-wine sauce with Yukon gold mashed potatoes and your choice of side salad or vegetable.

Free passed appetizers during happy hour at RockSugar Pan Asian Kitchen – If you can snag a seat at the bar for happy hour, Chef Mohan will send out a selection of passed appetizers for you to nibble on and try. The lacquered bqq ribs are worth fighting for.

Free valet during lunch at Maggiano’s Little Italy at The Farmer’s Market at The Grove – Everyone in LA knows that the parking situation at The Grove is bumper to bumper during lunch time, so Maggiano’s at The Farmer’s Market at The Grove offers their lunch diners free valet between 11:30AM and 3PM. Slip in a little lunchtime shopping while you’re at the Grove or catch a movie and woohoo free parking!

Bottomless mimosas during brunch and bottomless wine carafes everyday $15 at Ivan Kane’s Café Wa s – Bottomless = all you can drink! That’s $15 for all you can drink mimosas and wine carafes, best deal in Hollywood. Throw in a few canapés to soak up the drinks and meander over to ArcLight Hollywood afterwards to catch a matinee flick.

Hobo night on Mondays at Café Wa s, grilled cheese and French fries for $10 at Café Wa s – More grilled cheese and crispy French fries, my favorite comfort food. Another cheapo deal for delicious, gourmet grilled cheese. Add $15 bottomless wine carafe and you’ve got yourself a recessionista party.

Buy one entrée get second entrée for $1 at La Grande Orange Café in Pasadena on March 23 and 24 – $1!! I can’t even buy a pack of gum for $1. A dinner for two is basically half off for a delicious, fresh, organic meal.

Late night happy hours at CASA from 9PM to 12 midnight – Happy hour typically ends by 6:30 or 7PM and I never actually make it there before then. At CASA, their late night happy hour offers night owls a chance to take advantage of their discounted made-from-scratch margaritas. Uno. Dos. Tres. TEQUILA!

No corkage fee at all Patina Restaurant Group properties and at La Grande Orange Café – Corkage fee be gone. Another pesky fee that has been banished by the good folks at Patina and LGO, go ahead and enjoy your special bottle of wine without having to shell out extra bucks.

For more recession busting deals around town, check out the Los Angeles Times Food section’s Daily Dish blog and search for “recession busters”
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Posted by Christina Wong, Account Executive, Foodie

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