The wondrous flavors of New Orleans have assimilated with the Angelino palate through Preux & Proper, bringing a quaint-yet-stylish, casual-yet-classy taste to on one of DTLA’s busy thoroughfares. ‘Colonel’ Josh Kopel and Executive Chef Sammy Monsour have created a masterful experience with Cajun-inspired dishes and elegant SoCal panache, striking patrons with a cultural intrigue that gets this place popping night after night.
The humble entrance off Spring Street transports you straight to NoLa, frozen drink machines and all. Walk up the stairs to enter Proper Dining Hall, where everything on a plate sticks to its Cajun roots while the bustling bar, lounge and dining area screams hip LA. Craft cocktails go far beyond NoLa’s hurricanes [the drink, to avoid any confusion here], such as the rising sun, with Japanese whisky, egg white and yuzu; the voodoo queen, with Jamaican rum and jerk bitters; and the mezcalarita del diablo, with ancho syrup and chipotle. Step onto the restaurant’s small balcony after a few of these and you may see someone down below asking for beads.
Preux & Proper dishes out sizeable portions, with featured shared plates like the grilled yellow street corn, a take on Mexican elote, as well as a chicken liver pate that spreads beautifully over grilled baguette. The southern fried section, however, really takes it home. The fried whole game hen, essentially a high-end version of chicken and biscuits, is a meal to remember, with a sweet, crunchy coating, fluffy biscuits and a honey finish that makes it all come together. For an additional splurge, go for the 36-hour prime boneless beef rib, a melt-in-your-mouth indulgence complemented beautifully with mashed yams and crispy parsnip chips.
Preux & Proper is located at 840 S. Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90014. Open 4 – 10p Mon – Wed, 4p – midnight Thu, 4 – 11p Fri/Sat and noon – 9p Sun. Avg. out-the-door cost for split appetizer, split charcuterie, entrée, split dessert and 1 – 2 drinks is ~$105/person. For more information call (213) 896-0090 or visit PreuxAndProper.com
The Dolly Llama is Downtown LA’s newest destination to hop on the Instagram dessert craze. Menu and decor alike were without doubt conceptualized for the sweet-toothed paparazzi, allowing anyone seeking likes and followers to show off bright colors and nostalgic flavors. And yes, the bubble waffle ice cream cones, waffle sticks in every sugary iteration taste great.
The process is simple: choose your waffle type, then choose from a myriad of toppings and sauces, plus ice cream if applicable. Each option gets one sauce and two toppings. The Dolly Llama’s signature is certainly the bubble waffle ice cream cone—a homemade waffle with bumps instead of pockets, set in cone form, filled with ice cream and topped with various accouterments including whipped cream and cotton candy. The ice cream is truly standout, with flavors like horchata, red velvet and cookie monster that are as decadent as they are creative.
Those seeking lighter fare, however, can opt for an original waffle or a waffle stick, which eats like a corncob. The Dolly Llama also serves milkshakes, bottled soft drinks and hot cocoa, hot-chata and hot vanilla. Regardless of your choice, trust that the staff will show off meticulous attention to detail.
Canisters of candy, bright cereal boxes, dressed up bubble waffle cones, neon lights and of course paintings of a llama donning sunglasses give The Dolly Llama a modern feel with a touch of old school, perfectly matching the menu.
The Dolly Llama is located at 611 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90014. Desserts range from $6 – 8. Open noon to midnight 7 days a week. For more information call (213) 283-8615 or visit The Dolly Llama online.
Locali is a direct response to LA’s growing demand for quick, healthy dining. Meat is available on Locali’s broad menu, but ironically is more the exception than the norm given the restaurant’s dedication toward all things vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and other iterations of hip-and-trendy restrictions. The franchise continues to grow, and offers an experience that appeals to both the health-conscious and the broader market.
Hot sandwiches, cold sandwiches, salads, quinoa bowls, toasts, and an array of drinks and smoothies provide a plethora of options for guests to indulge without feeling quite as sinful.
It’s the all-day breakfast, however, that takes center stage. The badass breakfast sandwich is the killer choice, served in decadent fashion with rich taste and consistency that would surprise just about any meat and cheese lover that it’s vegan. The brekkie burrito is another favorite and another big surprise, served piping hot with an excellent chipotle mayo.
For meat eaters that wouldn’t have it any other way, the Vernon delivers what you’re looking for in a buffalo chicken sandwich, albeit with a melted vegan cheddar that’s just as rich and bubbly as its traditional counterpart. The Reuben is another hot specialty made with zesty turkey. In all cases, the paninis come out with bread crisped to perfection.
If you’re going to smoothie, the warrior is a must. Made green through spirulina and maca, the warrior bears odd resemblance to a mint chocolate chip milkshake. Considering the nutritional benefits, the $11 price tag seems much more justifiable.
Vegan and gluten-free desserts include fresh-baked cookies and whoopee pies. Locali also has serves beer and wine, as well as a plethora of kombuchas and other health-oriented drinks and packaged goods.
Locali has locations in Venice, Hollywood and West Hollywood, as well as Downtown Los Angeles [Localita and the Badasserie]. Open 8 a.m. – 10 p.m. 7 days a week. Average out-the-door price for entrée and smoothie is ~$28/person. For more information visit Locali online.
Benjamin Brown is a seasoned restaurant writer and hospitality consultant, serving up SoCal's hottest food news and reviews.