It’s Autumn in Los Angeles. Well, actually, it’s Autumn everywhere. Except the Southern Hemisphere. It’s Spring down there. I think. The point is that we — as a global community — are in a different season than we were, say, two months ago, and to celebrate the leaves changing color from green to slightly less green, The Corner Door in Culver City, CA has trotted out some autumnal cocktails. What better reason to head all the way down to this nifty gastropub for a media-comped meal, replete with cinnamon smoke and beignets.
Photos after the jump…
Three of this fall’s seasonal cocktails. On the left is the enigmatically named “Grandma’s Pack of Cigarettes.” It’s a slightly sweet, then somewhat bitter, and finally kind of spicy cocktail made with rye, punt e mes, crème de cacao, and coffee chili bitters. Definitely a peculiar quaff. In the middle is the “Bitter Giuseppe” made with bourbon, blended Scotch, Cynar, and Benedictine. It was a shade too medicinal for me, but my dining partner loved it. I was most partial to the rightmost cocktail — the Hoodlum. Made with Armagnac, housemade pumpkin beer liqueur, and peated clove tincture, this libation definitely hit all those warm, spicy fall notes we enjoy this time of year.
As an added bonus, the Hoodlum comes with a little pumpkin beanie made from orange peel and a clove (I think). I always prefer my cocktails to arrive in costume. Credit to mixologist Beau DuBois, both for the creation and for having a great name.
Jicama tacos. Filled with mango, black garlic, candied lime, pink peppercorns, and feta, I naturally assumed jicama would be in the mix too. But no! The jicama is actually the taco shell. That’s right: those aren’t tortillas you’re looking at. Those are thin slices of jicama. Brilliant! (Tasted great too)
How to change-up the standard roasted brussels sprouts offering? Fry them too! Yup, these bad boys have been roasted AND fried, but most importantly, they’ve been topped with a tangy, delicious sauce — possibly a balsamic reduciton. A real winner. Totally, absolutely delicious.
Grilled cheese. Specifically, cocoa butter, pecorino, Asian pears, and wasabi arugula. Sounded promising, but this poor sandwich was a misfire. Why? Well, just take a look. There’s barely any cheese on it! With just a light smattering of pecorino, this sandwich barely qualifies as a grilled cheese. Sure the Asian pear is great, but there’s simply not enough cheese to make the (very) greasy bread enjoyable. I didn’t feel like I had just enjoyed a guilty pleasure. I just felt guilty.
Meatballs. The pros: enjoyed the sauce, especially as it mixed with the dollops of burrata in the dish. Cons: my meatball, while flavorful, was on the dry side. Not a deal-breaker though.
Things get back on track in a big way with the TCD Burger (TCD = The Corner Door, for those of you who are acronym-impaired). Topped with cranberry and red onion jam, this rich burger is perfectly cooked, and oh so decadent. Unlike the grilled cheese, this is grease that I feel good about.
Oh hey, it’s another cocktail. This one is the “Lumberjack Liquor Cabinet,” which is an alluring mix of bourbon, apple brandy, maple syrup, and cinnamon smoke — ie. smoke that comes from a cinnamon stick that is literally set on fire. I unfortunately felt this drink was not more than the sum of its parts initially, blasting me with an intense flavor of BOOZE. However, as the ice cube melted, it smoothed out the cocktail, which suddenly became RILLY good. Still, I think it could benefit from a splash of cider.
Things wrap up with a lovely bowl of mussels in a green curry sauce. It’s actually a perfect note to end on: light, boldly flavored, and spicy. Very spicy. I wasn’t expecting this sort of heat in Culver City. Thankfully, the Corner Door provides plenty of toasted bread, which both soothes the pain… and then brings more of it when you inevitably dip a chunk of it into that addictive sauce.
The waiters seemed positively giddy about serving these beignets to us for dinner. And for good reason. These fluffy bits of fried dough were hot, airy, and — dare I use the word yummy? The real star, however, was the dipping sauce, which proved to be deeply chocolatey and also spicy, thanks to a dusting of cayenne. When the beignets were gone, the spoons came out, and we ate the sauce as if it were pudding.
Memo to future diners: don’t wear black if you plan on eating the beignets and their powdered-sugar exteriors. You can’t really see it in this pic, but I was covered in white specs.
The Corner Door
12477 W. Washington Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90066
Sunday through Wednesday 5pm – 12am
Thursday through Saturday 5pm – 2am
Every Day 5pm – 7pm