Gregg Hunter’s Newspace


According to their press rep, the owners of the downtown LA Water Grill searched extensively coast to coast for a new executive chef but ultimately discovered Amanda Baumgarten already working as a sous chef in the Grill’s own kitchen. A classic fish story, but congratulations to LA’s native Amanda who trained at Le Cordon Bleu in London before cooking at Patina Melrose, Melisse and Ford’s Filling Station. Other Water Grill chef alumni since 1991 include dining scene “movers” Matt Stein, Allyson Thurber, Michael Cimarusti and David Le Fevre.

Famed for fresh fish and seafood, Michelin Star Winner the Water Grill sits proudly at 544 S. Grand Ave. in the Pacific Center. Next time you get that fishy feeling, indulge in lunch or dinner. For reservations, visit

A pair of Valley Village veterans perpetually toted the Palate to the venerable greasy spoon Phil’s Diner in NoHo before the place closed over a decade ago when the railroad car built in the ‘20s was boarded, but is about to re-open at a new location at Lankershim north of Magnolia Blvd. With the same historic décor but, gratefully, a new, mostly organic menu… My friends will surely regret the loss of those greasy burgers.

There’s only one word that describes the ambience at The Local Peasant and that word is loud. The spacious gastropub at 14058 Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks serves pub fare with a full bar. The food is tasty and cheap and things can get intense on a busy nite — of which there are many. Insert your ear plugs and try the fish and chips or the slow cooked short ribs.

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The Curious Palate

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