August Hit List


This month’s key word might as well be “bucket list” because that’s exactly what we’ve been checking off. Beauty tips from Rosie-Huntington Whiteley’s makeup artist, Kate Lee? Check. Ice cream socializing with InStyle‘s Fashion Director, Melissa Rubini? Double Check. Becoming best friends with Kourtney Kardashian and Snoop Dogg? Ch– well… almost check; but we did kick it with a certain someone from their inner circle: famed photographer Brian Bowen Smith. Throw in an Upper East Side stroll with Cameron Silver and an LA home visit with Neha Kapur Nayyar and her husband, actor Kunal Nayyar (of The Big Bang Theory), and we’re down right pooped. Not feeling sorry for us, huh? Well, we’re not ones to leave a ‘PHILE behind so we’ve whittled it down to the can’t-miss details from our aforementioned new best friends. Below, it’s all of August’s best recommendations right here, right now.


Clockwise from L to R:

Clockwise from L to R: Inside Kettle Black; Morgenstern’s ice cream; Poké from Chikarashi.

Healthy Hideaway | Simply Fish Grill, LA
*Recommended by Brian Bowen Smith
Chalk it up to humidity, travel or a general desire for beach-ready bodies, but it’s always in the hottest months of the year where we find ourselves craving healthy standbys most. That said, we were thrilled when Brian Bowen Smith introduced us to a little place in Agoura Hills called Simply Fish Grill. “It’s my own healthy staple because it’s easy and fresh every time,” says BBS. “Get the trout with grilled zucchini!” The seafood-centric eatery offers everything from simply grilled filets to seafood burgers and grilled tacos, most of which are under $10 (including one side). It’s pretty much the perfect weekend lunch after hiking through Malibu. (MAP IT)

No Joke Poké | Chikarashi, NYC
*Recommended by CITIPHILE
One thing LA has on NYC is fresh seafood at a fair price– if ever the beloved Sugarfish were to land on the East Coast, its “Trust Me” menu would surely double (if not triple) in cost. Indeed, we’ve learned that over here, similar quality fish (aka Sushi Yasuda, Shuko and Neta) is never reasonable enough to become a daily– or even weekly– occurrence. That is, until Chikarashi, the new downtown poké bar from former Executive Chef of Neta, Michael Jong Lim (BTW, he also logged hours at Masa, Aldea, and Aureole). The small café has bar seating only, though everything is available for takeaway, and features just six bowls: two tuna, two salmon, one fluke and a market-driven selection. The “Goma Shoyu Tuna”, a mixture of Bluefin tuna, chili oil, hijiki, avocado, seaweed and garlic chips, is one of the newly-opened shop’s most popular orders, as is the “Scottish Salmon” with wasabi ponzu, shiso, avocado and tobiko. Its incredibly beautiful Instagram feed is enough to get you there, but its pricing is what’ll get you coming back: bowls are just $14. (MAP IT)

Pizza Posh | Kettle Black, LA
*Recommended by CITIPHILE
Sure, Silver Lake’s no stranger to new restaurants complete with communal seating and hanging wall succulents, but here’s a few things that make the just-opened Kettle Black stand out: an antique bank vault, a former Petit Trois chef, and a floor-to-ceiling bar with an emphasis on craft cocktails (FYI, it’s a 17′ tall space). An under-the-radar project from the neighboring Sawyer team, the just-opened Italian spot took over an old bank building (hence the vault) and features a skylight-decked private dining room and a chef’s counter overlooking its wood-fired oven. Chef Sydney Hunter is in charge of the menu, which given her Petit Trois background, is sure to be full of pizza, pasta and small plates hits. Finally, an Instagram-able restaurant with pedigree. (MAP IT, BOOK IT)

Ice Cream Social | Morgenstern’s, NYC
*Recommended by Melissa Rubini
With summer winding down, we feel it’s only appropriate to end all remaining al fresco meals with a frozen scoop or two, but leave it to Melissa Rubini’s favorite ice cream shop to stir up even more incentive. Benefiting NYC’s Food Book Fair, Morgenstern’s has teamed up with some of the greatest chefs in the city, running special, limited edition flavors for one week at a time. Named its “Heavy Hitters” menu, there are just three summer-inspired collabs left to enjoy: Blanca Chef Carlo Mirarchi’s “The Guy in the Kimono,” a lime-coconut-cilantro scoop available August 15-21, April Bloomfield’s (of The Spotted Pig, The Breslin, etc.) “Banoffee” medley of banana, shortbread, dulce de leche and whipped cream available August 22-Sept 8, and Marlow & Sons’ Andrew Tarlow’s creation of yellow peach and thai basil dubbed the “Irishman’s Peach Ice Cream” which runs August 29-Sept 4. Get yourself here and taste the final flavors of summer the ice–err, nice way. (MAP IT)


Clockwise from L to R:

Clockwise from L to R: Inside Blacktail; Cocktail mis-en-place at The Varnish; Tres leches cake from Blacktail.

Dive Bar Done Right | Frolic Room, LA
*Recommended by Brian Bowen Smith
Ask Brian Bowen Smith to fill you in on LA’s best-kept secret and you’re in for a wild, albeit unforgettable night. “I’d suggest hitting Frolic Room, then heading to Jumbo’s Clown Room,” says Bowen-Smith before adding a, “You’re welcome!,” for a quintessential LA experience. The Clown Room is a whole other story (it involves strippers and rock n’ roll), so we’ll let you research that one yourselves. Frolic Room, though, is one of the oldest dive bars in Hollywood– it’s neon sign has been lit since the ’30s– and besides its infamous jukebox, its décor includes photos of the iconic movie stars who’ve passed through it all these years. Thanks to owners who value authenticity, the bar has never managed to turn into a tourist trap, but rather it remains the tried-and-true neighborhood standby it’s always been. (MAP IT)

Sips & Bites | Blacktail, NYC
*Recommended by CITIPHILE
Last year, FiDi’s The Dead Rabbit was crowned best cocktail bar in NYC (not to mention second best in the world) by the World’s 50 Best Bars list which means the team’s newest cocktail den will surely be the most buzzed-about bar to open this year. Inspired by the exodus of American bars to Cuba during Prohibition, The Dead Rabbit owners Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry dreamt up BlackTail, an old-timey watering hole complete with Cuban food and cocktails either straight from the 1920s-50s or modernized riffs on classics (they’re broken down into sour, punch, highball, old-fashioned and cocktail categories). Situated in Battery Park, it’s the perfect place for a post-work green tea pisco or a spirited “rum and coke” (theirs is made with Puerto Rican rum, Italian Amaro and champagne), plus there’s live Cuban music and a full menu of crowd-pleasing plates. (MAP IT)

Speakeasy | The Varnish, LA
*Recommended by Kate Lee
Where does a celebrity makeup artist go when she’s not painting the faces of Hollywood’s beautiful people? “There is a great place downtown called The Varnish that I love for happy hour; it is a tiny speakeasy located at the back of a restaurant called Coles,” Kate Lee tells us. “They are careful not to let too many people in as there is only one mixologist and he is super meticulous. They make the best Old Fashioned in town.” One of the more under-the-radar projects by spirits legend Sasha Petraske (of NYC’s Milk & Honey), we’re inclined to trust Lee. This storage-room-turned-speakeasy is right up our alley. (MAP IT)


Clockwise from L to R:

Clockwise from L to R: The Class by TT; Inside Neue Galerie; Post-massage sushi at Tomoko Spa

Culture Crush | Neue Galerie, NYC
*Recommended by Melissa Rubini and Cameron Silver
When two CITIPHILES single out a particular place in the same month, there’s likely a reason to pay attention. For Melissa Rubini, the Upper East Side’s Neue Galerie is her go-to place to relax and unwind; for Cameron Silver, it’s where he shows out-of-towners what NYC has to offer. “It’s a really a fantastic museum with lovely dining options,” he says. Most excitingly, the museum is currently exhibiting “Selections from the Permanent Collection,” showcasing Austrian fine and decorative arts including Gustav Klimt’s infamous painting Adele Bloch-Bauer I (aka “The Woman in Gold”). The show runs through September 19th.  (MAP IT)

Work It Out | The Class by TT, NYC
*Recommended by Melissa Rubini
 “I get bored easily so I am always switching up my routine,” says Melissa Rubini when we prodded her for end-of-summer workout motivation (go figure, as beach days dwindle so do our hours in the gym). “But I do love The Class by TT,” a 75-minute “mind-body experience” based in Tribeca. Think Body by Simone-meets-yoga-meets-meditation where sweating it out is just as important as letting it out (screaming and/or other emotional releases are encouraged). Given that we’ve been clocking in far more than we’ve been posting “OOTO” notices this summer, maybe that’s exactly what we need. (MAP IT)

Unwind | Tomoko Spa, LA
*Recommended by Cameron Silver and Neha Kapur Nayyar
Touted as, “the greatest massage spa of all-time” by both Cameron Silver and Neha Kapur Nayyar, Beverly Hills’ Tomoko Spa has a rather impressive reputation among our contributors. Then, too, is the spa’s list of regulars– VIPs like Jessica Alba, Bella Thorne Gwyneth Paltrow and Mindy Kaling– all of whom come to see Tomoko’s founder, Tomoko Kurono. Outfitted with minimalist décor, handmade pottery and printed robes, the Japanese spa is every bit of a treasured oasis; after its couples’ massages, Kurono even serves a meal of fresh sushi and potted tea. (MAP IT) CP


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