Fraiche in Culver City
The LA food scene is hot right now, which more or less means you are constantly hearing about great new restaurants you can't possibly get into. The solution, it turns out, is easy: Dine on Spanish hours. L.A. is an early town, but most of the trendiest new joints are open late. After 10 p.m., during the week at least, you can actually drive to the restaurant of your choice, toss the keys to the valet and stroll inside to tell the hostess, "Table for two, please—no reservation." The odds of success are good, especially if you're willing to eat at the bar (which, in any case, is always the most foodie-cool spot to be). In the past week, this technique has worked perfectly at Mozza (the toughest 8 o'clock reservation in town) as well as at the brand-new Comme Ca (a baby Balthazar from Sona chef David Myers) and critic's favorite Fraiche in Culver City, which is worth a special trip just to bargain shop from the fetching wine list. Ask co-owner Keith Fox for a suggestion. The other night he produced a delicious 2004 Burgundy—it was so good that I hesitate to reveal which one—for $39.