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A couple of weeks ago I initially heard about this promotion with Red Medicine and Lincoln, where you would get a complimentary dinner if you test drove the new Lincoln MKZ. Personally, I hate driving and I hate test drives, but I’ve been wanting to go back to Red Medicine for some time now. In fact we were planning on going there in the next week for my boyfriend’s birthday, so with this promotion, it was just perfect timing. I was still hesitant because I thought it would be tedious to complete the test drive, so I put off making my reservation until a few days ago. I luckily managed to snag a cancelled reservation, provided that I could fill a four top. So I called the Vinhja and said he HAD to join and then texted Alex to see if he was interested. We all had that hesitation of “is it worth it” – and the answer now, is yes. It was so worth it. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined what an amazing (free) dinner we were in for!

The Lincoln MKZ’s were conveniently parked at the restaurant, and with instructions to arrive at least 15 minutes before the reservation, the pre-meal process was a breeze. Answer a few questions before, go for a drive around the block (Alex drove, we all admired how fancy the car interior was), answer some questions after, and go into the restaurant for dinner. I’m pretty happy with my Ultimate Driving Machine, but if anything this test drive opened my eyes to how nice and fancy the new Lincoln is. It has a build in cooler and there’s something powerful about the engine that the boys were talking about.

I thought the dinner would be simple, three courses maybe. So imagine our surprise when we sat down to an 8 course menu and were informed that it included two drinks. Plus included on the menu were most of my favorite Red Medicine dishes plus a couple I had been wanting to come back and try. Wow.

The boys ordered cocktails of course. The Vinhja started with this red drink.

Alex enjoyed this drink which you had to shake yourself.

I didn’t get pictures of the rest of the cocktails (2 were included per person) because I was too busy eating. But, the boys throughly enjoyed them. Soon our first course arrived:

FAVA RILLETTE – yogurt, meyer lemon

I couldn’t stop eating this. It was so good.

BRUSSELS SPROUTS - shallots, fish sauce

I’m not a fan of vegetables or brussels, but I loved these. They tasted so good.

CRISPY SPRING ROLLS – dungeness crab, lime

I know it’s simple, but I’ve ordered these the last two times I’ve eaten here. Love.

CHICKEN DUMPLINGS – caramelized sugar, confitures

Another one of my go-to dishes at RM. Love these!

YOUNG POTATOES – sake lees, butter

These were perfect.

ALASKAN HALIBUT – grilled over japanese charcoal

Very nice.

IMPERIAL WAGYU BEEF BRISKET – braised for 36 hours with palm sugar & fish sauce

My favorite dish of the night. So tender, this is something I had always wanted to try.

COCONUT BAVAROIS – coffee, peanut

One of my new favorite desserts within the City of Angels. This was amazing.

I feel so lucky to have been able to attend this dinner with my friends. There were a lot of LA food types there that night, and it was nice to run into some friends old and new. Thanks you to Lincoln for hosting this dinner. It was definitely a memorable experience. I’m still on cloud 9. I had been to Red Medicine twice before, but tonight I got to try so many dishes that I will definitely be going back for.

Red Medicine

8400 Wilshire Blvd

Beverly Hills, CA 90211
(323) 651-5500

Now, this is the story all about how my life got flipped-turned upside down and I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there, I’ll tell you how I became Lady Ducayne…

It all started in 2006 or 2007 when, after a lifetime of good eats and constantly giving restaurant recommendations to random strangers (I’m OG Yelp, son – but refused to be Elite because that would mean revealing my real name) and to friends, I was encouraged to make a blog. Since I am stubborn I thought yeah, I’ll make my own site! And I STUPIDLY used iWeb. I wish I could blame my stupidity on my youth, but reality is I’m a total Apple fangirl – for life! Anyway, all my iWeb files were saved on my OG first generation (stupidity strikes again) MacBook Air. If you know anything about the first generation MacBook Air is that it came with a MAJOR hinge issue that Apple denied at first, and later became a recall. In order to get it repaired you had to jump through a dozen hoops and fit a certain criteria. It was a nightmare. Finally I was able to secure a repair, dropped my computer off, and when I got it back they fixed the hinge (spoiler alert it broke again 6 months later) they did a complimentary checkup, discovered something was off and did a complete wipe. Awesome, except my iWeb files were there! Nooooooooooo! So anyway, I lost the ability to access iWeb and I was pretty sad about it but figured the universe (and Apple) didn’t want me to have a blog so I sulked, watched Gilmore Girls (can you believe Sookie, of all people, became the breakout star?!?!) and Yelped occasionally.

Some time later, I was encouraged to make a big girl blog using WordPress. At first I was so over it, I didn’t know how to use WordPress or to blog like the rest of the world and iWeb had failed me. Then one day I was probably at home bored, sat down and set up this site, as you see it today, in about 20 minutes. That includes the header which I always meant to change up but didn’t.

At first this blog was for my friends and I really thought they were the only ones reading it, and by reading I mean scrolling through and seeing the photos. It wasn’t until the last two years or so that I’ve randomly heard people talking about “Lady Ducayne” around the SCV. Its weird to hear that “Lady Ducayne” told you about a place. I always get embarrassed, but the person never knows I’m there because I never show my face on this site. I never reveal my real name or where I work, and guarding that information is very important to me because of the nature of my job. I don’t go into a place and announce myself…that’s ridiculous. Instead I just go out to eat, and sometimes I happen to have my camera on me, sometimes not.

So, to those of you that have been reading this site for years but never comment, thank you for reading (or skimming, or scrolling through). This whole Lady Ducayne thing kind of just took off and became a THING around SCV.

Which brings me to a special announcement! I often get asked to contribute and write for other sites, but I was always scared to put myself even more out there. This site is MY little safe haven where I can voice my viewpoints without angering sponsors or advertisers. Then when SantaClarita.Com came knocking I thought hmmm…why not. If its good enough for Jeff Wilson then its good enough for me.

So a couple of times per month I’ll be posting a column exclusive to that site. It will be less personal and straight to the point and feature local SCV eats of my choosing. Sorry local businesses, you still can’t pay to get a good (or bad) review out of me! However, I’m always welcome to suggestions on places to visit.

-Lady Ducayne

Maru closing was a tough loss for the SCV. Truly. It was way ahead of its time, and light years ahead of anything anyone is currently slanging in the city. With that being said, its time to move past it, because there’s a new tenant that has taken over the vacant Maru space on Town Center Drive.

Thelma’s and Luis (hokey, cheesy, or awesome, I can’t decide) opened up with new tables, chairs, linens, artwork, a mirror, and a menu with asian flavor. By now everyone and their mother knows that Luis Diaz was executive chef at Chinois on Main under Wolfgang Puck. Anyway, I remember when Thelma’s Morning Cafe first opened up it was GLORIOUS! Like having our own little neighborhood Chinois right around the corner. I had many memorable dinners there with my family. Over time, the menu started changing and it became more mainstream. I didn’t go back for years until a few months ago when I stopped in for breakfast. It was pretty busy, but then again aren’t most breakfast places in SCV always packed?

Fast forward to a month or so again when I first heard rumblings through the grapevine that Luis Diaz was going to open a refined version of Thelma’s Morning Cafe in the vacant Maru spot. It would be open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and it was going to be more like fine dining. I was excited because I thought maybe they would have those Chinois-like dishes again and it would fill the void left by Maru and bring some REAL fine dining to this town. 

At the Sierra Pelona Wine Festival a few weeks back, I had a chance to look at the dinner menu since they were one of the vendors. As someone who drops serious money on food and eats at amazing restaurants quite often, I felt the prices were a bit steep. Entrees were on average $20-$27 and appetizers were like $14ish. You know what else is steep? Rent at the Westfield Awesometown Mall, so I figured that’s why it pricey. I guess I had just hoped the quality would match the price tag. Shrug.

They do have Happy Hour from 3-6pm. Some of these items (hot wings, spring rolls, chicken/beef skewers) are not on the regular menu. We were a little late for HH but its nice to know its there.

They will also be having a Mother’s Day Special, which is a good value considering the regular menu prices. You actually save a lot!

Here is what our table ordered:

Potstickers ($10)

Thelma’s Burger ($8)

My menu was the only one at the table that said (the other ones didn’t have this written on it) that the burger comes with a “haystack” of bottomless fries…but our soggy fries came in a bowl and when we were done eating them we were never offered more. So YMMV on this one.

Sea Bass ($24)

New York Steak ($27)

The two above entrees were perfectly cooked and full of Asian flavors. The burger, however, left much to be desired. Having said that, the one positive thing about the menu is that there is something for everyone. If you want to have a simple dinner you can order a burger or a sandwich from the lunch menu (available at dinner time) and those items are reasonably priced. If you feel like having a baller night out in Awesometown and paying a hefty premium for your dinner, then you can do that too. So yes, its a bit expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. You have options. A lot of parties came in, sat down, looked at the menu, got up, and left. So the reason I’m being so honest in this blog post is so that you know what you are walking into. Also, they don’t have a website and are lacking in the social media category. It was hard to figure out what days they are open, what their hours are, what the specials are, etc. I think a website (even a simple one) is so essential these days. Wix makes it easy! It only took me 30 minutes to make Rustic Eatery’s website! Fact.

For dessert we shared the tiramisu. Not sure the price on this one since they didn’t have a dessert menu. Thelma’s Cafe is still open in Saugus, so now they have two locations. The mall location offers breakfast so I’m sure it will be packed. I just don’t know their hours.

Thelma’s and Luis

24250 Town Center Drive

Valencia, CA 91355

I remember the night I first tried Baco Mercat…and it was love at first bite. I was at the DTLA Artwalk in late 2011, and I knew Baco was coming…but not sure when they would be open. It just so happened that they decided to soft open that night. It was all about being at the right place and the right time. Since then I have been to back to Baco many times with various friends and my man of course. I remember when I first took him to Baco it had only been open a few months and told him that it was one of my favorite places, I was worried that maybe he wouldn’t like it. Turns out I had nothing to worry about, he’s a Baco fan.

The other night, he had to go to DTLA to pick up his new Hedley & Bennett apron (my man is a chef…I don’t think I’ve ever revealed that on this blog before – pretty fitting right?) and decided to have an impromptu date night by taking me to Baco Mercat.

Some time ago, when I last went to Baco I had ordered a bunch of other dishes besides my usual original baco, and was so disappointed. Its been a long time since I’ve been back, but this time I decided to just stick with my usual. The baco is a flatbread sandwich with crispy pork belly and carnitas. It is one of my top five dishes within the City of Angels. I could eat one of these everyday. So good.

Here is what the inside of the original baco looks like. There are some greens and an amazing sauce. The baco has tomato but I don’t care, its THAT good.

I’m not sure why I’ve never blogged about Baco Mercat…I have tons of photos from various meals in my Flickr photostream…but on this particular night we had a new dish that I’m absolutely in love with. I love bone marrow, and I’ve had it at Bestia, Mozza, Father’s Office, in menudo, and many other places. But this preparation was different…on the menu it said “crispy bone marrow” and curiosity got the best of me.

What followed was beyond my wildest dreams. Fried bone marrow served with lentils and grapes. So buttery…so different…so amazing. This trumps shrimp toast from Son of a Gun as my favorite dish in LA right now. Wow. Its not for everyone but if you love marrow and want to try it in a different preparation, head over to Baco Mercat asap. This. Wow.

I love Baco Mercat. I love Bar Ama. I love DTLA.

Baco Mercat

408 S Main St

Los Angeles, CA 90013

(213) 687-8808

My friends and I all have a Dink’s story…I have my own…but I wont bore you with the details of the bagel that I waited around for about 20 minutes only to THEN be told that the bagels weren’t ready. That was a long time ago. I’ve eaten at Dink’s a couple of times…years ago…but because of all the stories (and not to mention currently rocking two point five stars on Yelp) I haven’t been motivated to go back.

Recently Dink’s became a topic of conversation because they added a bar with beer. I don’t drink beer, but today when a $10 deal came across my radar, the Vinhja and I decided to go check it out. Today only, to launch the first day of their new bar, one could get one pound of their St. Louis BBQ Rib Tips and one of their new 20 beers on tap.

Since I don’t drink, we figured that Vinh could have my beer. It was the bartender’s first day on the job so she was a little nervous and still in training, so she thought we just wanted one order of ribs to share…because that’s what we ended up getting. But, it was fine, we didn’t want any more rib tips…

Anyway, they have new beers on tap, and if you are into that sort of thing, then you can be like the other guy at the bar who stopped in for a quick drink.

The cases by the entrance are gone, so not sure if they are still slanging bagels here, but you can definitely get some at one of their other two locations in Valencia.

Dink’s Deli

Valencia Westfield

As I talk to people around town, it becomes apparent that there are two types of SCV residents. Those that know Newhall Refinery is coming and those that haven’t heard of it. So hopefully this short blog post will enlighten some readers.

Lately in LA there have been gastropubs popping up left and right. Little Bear, The Parish, Freddie Smalls, Public School, Waterloo and City, Rush Street, and of course my favorite…Father’s Office, which started the trend years back. You might think its ironic that I frequent gastropubs since I don’t drink beer, but then you might not know what a gastropub is. Essentially, a gastropub is a small plates, elevated bar food type of restaurant. Another component is that they have a pretty cool craft beer list. These beer lists mean nothing to me since I know nothing about beer, but the Vinhja always seems to be impressed since he’s the beer guy around here. Me? I just go for the food.

So, in Newhall Refinery, they are advertising themselves a true gastropub. That “Academy” in Canyon Country doesn’t count. Newhall Refinery being a gastropub means that the food is going to be sophisticated and not what you find at your local bar and grill. Most people are excited about this place because of the beer list, but I’m excited because FINALLY we are getting a restaurant that does food like the kind I have to drive to LA to eat. I sincerely hope Newhall Refinery can pull it off and we aren’t all left disappointed.

It is going to be located in “Old Town Newhall” only a few doors down from the Canyon Theater Guild. When people hear this, they get so excited that there is going to be some variety along main street. I’m excited I have a reason to drive to Old Town Newhall! Fingers crossed.

So as part of the whole Old Town Newhall revitalization project, the city has organized these Senses on Main events for about a year now or so. I went to my first event last month and it wasn’t that exciting. They do this every third Thursday, and last week was the kickoff for the Cowboy Festival. Also? Newhall Refinery was going to have a booth and my friends wanted to check it out. We met up a little after 7 and then we all hung out, walked around, ate, and just talked. The Mikes, Larry, Hsiawen + fam, and Jason, and I also saw some students and co workers.

There was quite a crowd on this particular night! So many people dressed up, activities for kids, bands playing, and even a mechanical bull! My friends got fancy craft beer from the Refinery booth that they said was great, and Larry even bought a t-shirt which he put on right away. Later I found out that the Refinery sold out of both. I’m telling you, I predict this is going to be the newest IT spot in town…but we’ll see if the food is good and its not just about the beer.

By the time we left Senses on Main and headed over to trivia (Friendly Valley Social Club won first, duh), the crowd had grown and it was really a good time had by all. We ended up having to wait over an hour and half to get food from one of the burger trucks, which includes waiting in line and then waiting around for our order to be ready. Then we had to find a table to stand at to eat. As we stood around we remarked that we can’t wait for the Refinery to open up so we can actually sit down and eat our food on Senses nights, but I’m pretty sure its going to be the toughest seat to snag on those third Thursdays.

Senses on Main

Old Town Newhall

Third Thursdays

I will preface this post by saying I enjoy a good farmers market. The one at the Ferry Building in San Francisco is my ULTIMATE, followed by the Santa Monica Farmers Market, but I do enjoy going out to the various markets and seeing how similar or different they are. For years I had ignored the COC Farmers Market, but I had heard my friends talk about it, and especially how it had grown over the years. I can’t even remember the last time I went to the farmers market out here in Awesometown, but I wasn’t impressed back then, so I never went back for YEARS. A few months ago I went to the SCV Street Fair also held at COC and it was a joke. Not a farmers market, and mainly food trucks (most of which were leaving because it was so deserted) and a couple of vendors. In my smirk, I thought this was what the market would be like…until last week, when my perception changed.

With so many of my friends paying weekly visits to the Sunday farmers market, I woke up last week determined to check it out. I got there around 10ish, and met up with Mike, Larry, Catherine, and more. I also saw two coworkers, and its apparent that this is the place to be on Sunday mornings in Awesometown. Everyone looked so happy, customers and vendors, and best of all? This was a LEGIT farmers market with many of the same vendors one would find at the SaMo market! This wasn’t anything like the joke of a market that takes place in Newhall…

Today I woke up so excited to go back to the market with one objective in mind: Harry’s Berries which I had missed out on last week. I got there around 10ish again, and quickly learned why people head out to the market much earlier…stuff sells out! Maybe next weekend…

So as I leave you with these images from the market, I strongly encourage you to check it out for yourself. So many families out enjoying the SoCal weather and supporting local farmers. Many people are swayed because they think that shopping at a farmers market is much more expensive than the grocery store, and that isn’t necessarily the case.

Most of the restaurants that I frequent in LA are farm to table, which means that it costs a little more but they have relationships with local farmers and the food is just better. It makes me wonder how many of our local restaurants are locally sourced. Maru Sushi in Valencia was the only place where Jason, the chef, actually went to the SaMo farmers market weekly. I don’t know of anyone else in town doing this. I wish more local restaurants would…something to think about. Maybe Newhall Refinery will lead the way…

Greens.

Root Veggies.

Fresh juice.

Herb starters! Only $1 each!

Asparagus.

Parsley.

Oregano. Thyme. Rosemary. Sage.

Fresh Herbs. Pesticide free and only $1.50!

Squash Blossoms! Like at Mozza!

Fava Beans.

Artichoke.

COC Farmers Market

Sundays Only

6455 Rockwell Canyon Rd
Parking Lot 8
Valencia, CA 91355

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