L.A.'s best booze-infused food


One of the most spectacular culinary combinations—besides somebody getting peanut butter in someone else's chocolate and vice versa—is any food that has liquor as a main ingredient. What a win-win for foodies and boozehounds! If you happen to like your liquor in solid form, here are some places to get it in Los Angeles.


Bistec Campero at La Fonda De Los Camperos


After a few bites of this New York steak that's grilled to order and smothered in a rich, strong tequila sauce, you might be tempted to drop those pesky inhibitions and join the floor show with the Grammy-winning Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano ensemble. That's not as mortifying as it sounds. On Thursday nights, diners at this historic restaurant a few miles west of downtown L.A. are encouraged to sing with the band. You can tell everyone you sang at the first mariachi dinner theater in the world. If you remember your performance.


Soft Shell Crab with Drunken Sauce at The Drunken Crab


Nope, the name of this North Hollywood restaurant doesn't refer to what people will be calling you after you eat here. Just be sure to order the soft shell crab (or the lobster, or shrimp, or any other shellfish on the menu) seasoned with "drunken special sauce"—a tasty concoction made with tomatoes, garlic, butter and, most importantly, beer. A good selection of craft and bottled beer (as well as wine) is also served in liquid form at this casual crab shack, if that's your thing.


Penne Alla Vodka at The Sit-Down

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The bad news: As with most penne alla vodka dishes, at least half of the alcohol in the sauce evaporates as it is cooked. The good news: Screw it, it's still delicious. The penne pasta with oh-so-creamy sauce, crushed tomatoes and basil by Sicily-born chef Maurizio Iacono is served at this farm-to-table cafe in Hollywood four different ways: the traditional style, oven baked with cheese, with chicken or with shrimp. You'll only find alcohol in the pasta here, by the way, so for liquid refreshment, you'll need to BYOB.


Drunken French Toast at Nighthawk: Breakfast Bar


The Restaurant Genius Award, assuming there is one, should be bestowed upon whoever came up with the brilliant idea of serving breakfast in a bar. The Nighthawk Breakfast Bar in Venice has plenty of dishes to soothe that hangover-to-be. One of the most heavenly is drunken French toast with pear brandy and mascarpone mousse. Be sure to wash it down with spiked cereal milk—you can order Cinnamon Toast Crunch with spiced rum, Honey Nut Cheerios and bourbon, and/or Froot Loops and vodka.


Just about any dessert at Cake Buzz

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You know what's even better than cake, if that's possible? Cake that's infused with booze, like the Banana Crunch made with banana liqueur and rum. Or the Chocolate Martini with vodka and chocolate liqueur. There's a big selection of full-sized cakes (hey, you don't have to let anyone know you're eating the whole thing yourself) and mini ones at this Redondo Beach bakery run by Sean Allen, appropriately known as the "Cake Bartender." The friendly staff is happy to give out samples if you just can't make up your mind over which decadent dessert to buy.



Laura Goldman is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer. Check out her i Still Love Dogs blog and follow her on Twitter.