Tag Archive for: Allston Yacht Club


Not too long ago owners Charles Kelly and Bill Didonna closed Echo Park Avenue restaurant Allston Yacht Club, and tonight is much-anticipated debut of the duo’s new restaurant, Allumette.

French for “matchstick,” Allumette is certainly going to “light up” the Echo Park dining scene with a destination for foodies and even budding foodies (like myself). Even after the months of renovations, any AYC fan would recognize the space. But new lighting dark wood, and partitions separating the dining areas give it a new more “serious” vibe to accompany the epicurial menu, composed of small tasting plates with a seasonal focus.

Led by chef Miles Thompson (formerly of the pop-up Vagrancy Project at AYC, among others), the food is both adventurous and accessible. The Fried Oyster comes decorated with Kimchi ranch dressing and a deliciously crunchy Asian Pear mignonette that bursts of flavor with each bite. The Bitter Lettuce dish is simple and un-fussy, the smoked soy cream a unique dressing and a tasty starter. The Grilled Octopus with a sour apple syrup drizzled on top is so not the rubbery stuff of failed Octopus dishes of my past experience at other restaurants. And the Boneless Whole Sea Bream with bouillabaisse sauce – a $40 dish but a meal for two – is any seafood lovers dream.

If the fancy food isn’t enough, there’s a fancy (also accessible) drink menu to boot. Designed by bartender extraordinaire Serena Herrick from Harvard & Stone, the cocktail list is eccentric (but not in a bad way!). If you like bitters, try the Last Ango with Angostura Bitters, rum, Orgeat, pineapple gomme, and lime – it is heavenly. For a hot day, Red Letter Day is light and refreshing with rum, vermouth, Orgeat, lemon, soda water and Yuzu bitters. To warm up your insides, try the Smoking Gun with Mexcal, Cynar and Calisaya, and a brandy-soaked cherry at the bottom. Another favorite is the You Live Only Twice, which has both Sake and Gin, tangerine, peppercorns, and lime.

And for dessert, the Cheesecake Mousse will thrill any palette, but there’s also Red Velvet Cake and Citrus Curd.

In terms of what to expect, vegetarians and the un-adventurous beware – if you’re not willing to break any rules (or in my case, secretly looking up some definitions on my smart phone under the table), this might not be the place for you. There are only 15 dishes, and limited seating at only 30 guests per evening, and substitutions are “politely declined.” If you’re expecting to be wined and dined, you won’t be disappointed.

Time will tell if Echo Park is ready for a such an epicurean dining adventure, and we hope Allumette is here to stay. As Zagat put it so nicely earlier today, “If Jonathan Gold thinks the local hipsters are taking to Cortez in droves, that restaurant has met its match.”

Allumette is located at 1320 Echo Park Ave. Call (213) 935-8787 for reservations (recommended). Open at 6:00 pm, Tuesday through Sunday.

More photos after the jump!

Fried Oyster

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Figgy Pudding. Photo courtesy of AYC.

Allston Yacht Club recently won a bit of a battle with the City of Los Angeles – a permit hearing on Thursday, October 27, 2011 ended in the restaurant’s favor, granting it an exemption from the city’s strict parking requirements. This means you won’t find a valet posted out front, and while you might have to look for your own parking, there’s usually plenty of it around.

In addition to the change in parking conditions, they also received a conditional use permit to serve food on the patio, extend hours to 2:00 am on Friday and Saturday, legalize happy hour and the advertisement of alcoholic beverages, and limited entertainment inside the restaurant.

But not a whole lot will change around AYC just yet (they are still tying up some loose ends), except of course for its new fall menu. We missed the holiday cocktail tasting, but LAist got a stab at the libations, which included the Accursed Fruitcake (Applejack, ginger beer, apple cider and “inebriated fruits”), Hot Spiced Cider (two types of rum, Canton Liquer) and the Figgy Pudding (fig infused bourbon, egg white, egg nog, cinnamon simple syrup, nutmeg). If you don’t get a chance to try these before the holidays, you might impress some Turkey day guests by trying some recipes AYC provided last year.

We’ve also heard on the grapevine that they’ll be expanding their beer selections, which seems natural as there’s a lot of beer competition in Echo Park these days.

If you’re hungry, AYC’s fall menu includes some delectable updates, including: Warm mushroom salad, double fried Korean style wings (pictured), Dashi whitefish stew, mussels and house made sausage with white wine and garlic. While we normally enjoy the Wicked Wednesday deal (plates are just $5), write this might require a little date night tonight!

Double Fried Korean Style Wings. Photo courtesy of AYC.

I have to admit, I’m a little bit of a tequila snob – so forget the Gold Room’s tequila shot + taco special (no offense, I’m also a semi-vegetarian but refrain your judgment….). It’s all about AYC.

Tuesday night was the first night of Allston Yacht Club’s newly established nights of TNT – otherwise known as tequila night Tuesdays/Thursdays. $5 gets you a Jalapeno Margarita, a shot and sangria, or a daily special on Tuesdays. Thursdays are $5 for their “ball of infusion” – which is better than it sounds (their infused drinks during the holidays are just an example of why this is good stuff).

Today’s “ball of infusion” featured drinks? Fig Bourbon in their “Yacht Club Old Fashioned,” Peach-Steeped Dark Rum in the “AYC Dark and Stormy,” and finally Blueberries, Ginger, Dragon Chili and Polish Vodka in a Collins, unless otherwise requested.

We also really like AYC for the Wicked Wednesdays – all menu items are $5. Not to mention, it’s a low-key restaurant with plenty of seating at the bar – my favorite view!

See you there!

If you’re an avid reader of Echo Park Now, you’ll know how much I love margaritas. And I love drinking them in Echo Park – especially today, which is National Margarita Day!

The obvious margarita place is El Compadre for the very strong and tart flaming margaritas. If you’re looking to try something new and start a new tradition, you can also check out Allston Yacht Club for the debut of a new margarita, the Tamarita.

For just $6 on Tequila Tuesdays, the Tamarita is made with housemade tamarind syrup and fresh lime juice.

They also have the best Jalapeño Margarita – and trust me, I’ve tried them all over, and they are to die for! Tuesdays are Tequila Tuesdays, so you pay just $6 for either of the margaritas.

Here’s the Tamarita recipe, courtesy of AYC:

2 oz. tequila
1 oz. lime juice
3 tablespoons tamarind syrup

Combine with ice in shaker. Shake madly and pour into highball glass rimmed with salt and garnish with a wedge of lime.

To make the Tamarind syrup:


  • One box Thai tamarind pods, husked, de-veined and seeded, or 3 oz. tamarind paste
  • 3 oz. piloncillo or brown sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks

Simmer tamarind paste in at least three pints of water with cinnamon and sugar. If using the pods, push paste through a strainer and discard seeds. Simmer until reduced to a quart of liquid and cool. Syrup will thicken considerably.

A thoughtful expression, photo from Garcetti's Facebook page

That’s right, Echo Park resident and our Council District representative (and fellow fan of Masa) Eric Garcetti will be the speaker of honor at the next Echo Park Chamber of Commerce Meeting.

Come early to guarantee your seat, order an awesome spicy margarita from and Allston Yacht Club staff member, and ask questions!

When: Thursday, February 17 from 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm.

Where: Allston Yacht Club at 1320 Echo Park Ave.

Follow Eric on Twitter, and what the heck – follow us too.

Happy 2nd Birthday, AYC!

Celebrate with the amazing bar/restaurant on Thursday, January 27 and take advantage of their two-for-one menu special. Enjoy some wine or a cocktail, some birthday cake, and the super awesome AYC staff and owners (seriously, everyone there is really nice!).

Flickr photo by Rachel Carr

Allston Yacht Club

Three wines and four courses for $50. Seatings at 6:30 and 9:00 pm. Reservations recommended. Check the AYC Facebook page for the menu.

Bootie LA New Year’s Eve at the Echoplex

With DJ Paul V., DJ Shyboy, Lady Tigra, and R.A.I.D. Dance Crew. Balloon drop, champagne toast at midnight, photobooth, oisemakers, hats, and mashups. “Best of Bootie 2010” CD give-away for the first 300 through the door.

9:00 pm – 3:00 am. 21+, $10 cash before 10:00 pm, $20 after. View website.

City Sip LA’s bottomless glasses of bubbly

$25 gets you bottomless bubbly! Reservations recommended for parties of 4 or more. Designated Drivers drink non-alcoholic beverages for FREE!

9:00 pm to midnight, $25 per person.

The Echo

Hang the DJs plus Club Underground New Year’s Eve Bash hosted by Scarlett Casanova with live performances by Nite Jewel and Kenan Bell. DJ sets from Hang the DJs/Club Underground selectors, with guest DJ DJ Alex Transistor (AM/FM).

$10 presale ($15 at the door) gets you free champagne! 9:00 am – 2:00 am

The Park Restaurant

Two six course menus, one vegetarian and one omnivore, for $60 per person, including a glass of champagne. Menu includes items from butter poached lobster to griddled pecorino with truffles and walnut agrodolce. Contact The Park for the full menu and hours. Reservations recommended.

Taix French Restaurant

Regular menu items will be served along with specials,such as jumbo shrimp cocktail, crab cakes with lemon aoili, Alaskan King Salmon, and more. Click here for the full menu.

Serving from 4:00 – 11:00 pm. Reservations suggested.

Other spots

El Compadre and Barragan’s are doing business as usual on New Year’s Eve (probably same goes for the Gold Room and Little Joy).

A lot of shops and restaurants will be closed for the holiday, and others will close early so make sure you call ahead:

  • Masa will close at 9:00 pm
  • El Prado will be closed New Year’s Eve and Day
  • Xoia is closed until January 4, 2011

Keep checking back as we update you on New Year’s Eve, Echo Park style!

AYC's Spicy Margarita

Hopefully things are starting to wind down at the office as the Christmas holiday approaches, so it’s time to start taking out your employees, employers, and/or clients for some holiday libations. Allston Yacht Club in Echo Park has a great selection of not just wine and beer, but also spirits.

You say tequila, I say tequillllllla

Take, for example, the most excellent jalapeño margarita, which I wrote about in my best-of margarita article last September. Starting tonight, AYC is adding Tequila Tuesday to its weekly specials, where you can get any tequila beverage for just $6 all night.

The spicy margarita is included with the special, along with the Basement Window (tequila, Kahlua, pomegranate and lemon) and their newest concoction, the Hipster’s Holiday (tequila, pomegranate molasses, almond syrup, bitters and ginger beer). Or you can try the “TT combo,” a shot of tequila plus a housemade sangrita chaser, also for $6.

Mellow holiday drinks

If tequila isn’t your thing, try the Baci (“kiss” in Italian), a cocktail with vodka, chocolate liqueur, Frangelico, chocolate-covered hazelnuts, and rimmed with a sugar/cinnamon/cocoa powder/allspice mix.

There’s also the Accursed Fruitcake, served on ice but will warm your tummy with brandy, gold rum, apple cider and “inebriated fruits.”

Couch potato?

If you prefer to stay at home, you can try mixing up those last two on your own by checking out the recipes after the jump. Just make sure you give AYC the credit.

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As mentioned in my sneak peak the other week, I am in love… with Echo Park’s margaritas! A little disclaimer: I did not go to margarita school, I am just a self-proclaimed aficionado because I have had and created a lot of margaritas. There are several spots in Echo Park you can sit and enjoy my favorite mixed drink, but these are the best ways to enjoy margaritas in our small neighborhood:

Barragan's Margarita

#3: Barragan’s made the top three, but isn’t really my favorite. It’s a very, very popular spot and the best deal in town with the $2.50 margaritas served up every Wednesday night. The back patio is cozy and service is great, but the margarita snob in me keeps it from taking a number one spot. They have the necessary variety of tequila options, but the margarita mix was a stock margarita mix from a plastic, labeled bottle, so the margaritas end up being a lot sweeter while I’m more partial to enjoy a more tart mix.

This isn’t to say you shouldn’t go for a margarita at Barragan’s, as one of our readers pointed out in the comments section of my first post agrees with a commenter who doesn’t like a high price tag: “I agree, $8 and waaay west of Alvarado doesn’t count. I’m all for Barrigan’s very LARGE and VERY TASTY margarita on the rocks WITH SALT at a decent price. And I can walk there…!” It’s completely true – margaritas can certainly get expensive! But it seems Wednesdays are the time to go to Barragan’s – we spent $9-10 for each margarita plus tip for mid-shelf tequila.

#2: Allston Yacht Club serves up a lot of delicious mixed drinks, wines, and recently added a couple of taps for craft beers. As an ex-bartender myself, I always sit at the bar and chat with the always friendly and well-versed bartenders.

AYC's Spicy Margarita

At AYC, order the Spicy Margarita. It’s mid-shelf tequila, fresh lime juice, agave syrup, and muddled jalapeños – but not too much. The jalapeño leaves a little heat in the back of your throat, and gets a tiny bit stronger and you drink it down. Overall, it’s refreshing and delicious, and worth the $9. But with happy hour prices Tuesday through Saturday from 5:30-7:00 pm, the $5 you’ll spend is more than worth it! Did I mention they also have a cozy back patio?

#1: El Compadre. I’m pretty sure you knew this was coming – El Compadre is a given. The ambiance is well-matched for margarita drinking, Dodger games are always on, and the bartenders are the best. At a dining table, margaritas come in their famous style (flaming), while at the bar they come sans flame (which is fine with me!). I always order a Cazadores Reposado margarita on the rocks with salt, knowing the good tequila will be more expensive, but boy is it worth every penny.

El Compadre

Cazadores Reposado is my favorite margarita tequila. Aged in oak casks, it’s certainly not a tame tequila and becomes well-balanced in margaritas. It’s particularly delicious when you have a good margarita mix, which El Compadre definitely does. They’ve had the recipe for 30 years, and try as I might I could not coax any ingredients out of the bartender.

Why pay more than a few bucks for a good margarita? Well, let’s put it this way: one margarita and you’re feeling good, two and you’re set (plus no hangover)! Why drink the several of the cheap stuff when you can have just a couple good margaritas, and enjoy it in the process?

Hopefully this helps your margarita choices in Echo Park. Remember, the bottom line is this: Good margarita mix, good margarita! And I don’t want to leave out the other guys, so the other spots you can get margaritas include the Short Stop, and, once the license goes through, even Rodeo Grill. Enjoy, and remember to walk home if you can!

Note: I pay for all of my drinks to ensure there’s no favoritism involved.

AYC's Grilled Cheese Sampler

Guanabana with gin

Last Tuesday night was Allston Yacht Club’s first Grilled Cheese Night in honor of National Grilled Cheese Month, and we think they’ve got the right idea serving up a four grilled cheese sampler to gear up for the Grilled Cheese Invitational on April 24.

The happy hour drink of the evening was called something along the lines of a fruity gin concoction, consisting of guanabana nectar, gin and lime with a campari float. It was a really refreshing drink after walking around Echo Park earlier in the evening.

As far as the sampler went, I wasn’t surprised that it was delicious (most of the menu items at AYC are well-prepared). The samplers went like this: White cheddar cheese with green chili pepper, goat cheese with basil pesto, Swiss cheese with balsamic roasted onions, and feta cheese with olive tapenade and roma tomatoes, all served on a soft, buttery french baguette. My favorite was the feta with tapenade, and I was most surprised by the cheddar with green chili peppers (I don’t normally enjoy green chili peppers, but the balance between cheese and chili was just right). Overall, the experience was delightful, and the service excellent as always.

Don’t miss out – the next Grilled Cheese Night is on Tuesday, April 20. They’ve also revived some new happy hour specials: from 5:30 – 7:00 pm, house wine, imported beers and selected cocktails are $4, and four rotating snack selections for $4 each.

Allston Yacht Club is located 1320 Echo Park Ave.

AYC Grilled Cheese

In celebration of National Grilled Cheese Month, Allston Yacht Club will be hosting two Grilled Cheese Nights this month on Tuesday, April 13 and Tuesday, April 20. The restaurant will be serving a sampling of four different grilled cheese sandwiches for just $10. I’ll be headed over tonight for the first Grilled Cheese Night, and will be sure to let you know how it goes!

Also, Chef Mike D. will be creating a different grilled cheese sandwich every week—that’s 52 different grilled cheeses per year. The last grilled cheese sandwich I tried at AYC included an olive tapenade which, despite my date’s initial reservations, was incredibly delicious.

Allston Yacht Club will also be participating in the upcoming Grilled Cheese Invitational in Los Angeles on April 24, where some 300 competitors will vie for bragging rights for who makes the BEST grilled cheese sandwich. An estimated 8,000 grilled cheese fanatics are expected to attend.


The LA Times Daily Dish posted a mouthwatering tid-bit about the Bacon and Eggs martini at Echo Park’s Allston Yacht Club. According to the article, the martini is made from “house-made bacon-infused vodka and garnished with a pickled quail egg.”

We recommend going to AYC anytime, but you can also check out the article for the recipe if you want to try it at home.

Some of us over here aren’t fond of bacon, but do let us know what you think!

Allston Yacht Club owners Bill DiDonna and Charles Kelly
have started writing a restaurant and food-related blog on the Huffington Post. The first installment, “Adventures in the Restaurant Business,” was posted on September 29, 2009, and can be found here. Good luck and we’ll keep following the blog!