Art Beyond the Glass Sees Fanciful Libation Celebration 

Photos by Ben Brown

Art Beyond the Glass saw another successful year, bringing together a lively community of LA’s bar and beverage professionals in electric and ever-so-festive fashion. The annual event, which is dedicated to celebrating the artistic side of bartenders’ lives—literally—showcases painting, music and all types of performance for a like-minded and rowdy crowd. Throw in endless craft cocktails and vendor experiences that stretch the realm of creativity and you’ve got about as ironically sophisticated take on a college party as you can get. 

Held in the Los Globos Theater, Art Beyond the Glass welcomed an array of classic and up-and-coming drink purveyors that came ready to cater to their seasoned audience. Hendricks Dry Gin commemorated the event’s timing with a ‘midsummer solstice’ that included a number of summery drinks combined with a fully-costumed [read: scantily-clothed] Puck, emblematic of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Ilegal Mezcal was back with hand-injected Jell-O shots (yes, they had syringes on hand). Adjacent to them, Tromba Tequila offered up a sinfully sweet alcoholic melon sorbet topped with vanilla tapioca. 

While Art Beyond the Glass is not necessarily known for food, Maker’s Mark made the day by dressing up their booth as a makeshift In-n-Out and—you guessed it—ordering dozens of In-n-Out burgers for the crowd. Patrons chomped and drank away whilst playing Duck Hunt at the Super Mario Bros setup hosted by Suntory. 

Ford’s Gin went the extra mile by serving their drinks in gigantic ice blocks. Jägermeister promoted its new Jägermeister Manifest, but only for those who deemed themselves worthy by completing a medieval maze in two minutes or less to obtain the key necessary to unlock the libation from its display case. Jack Daniels, which hosted “Lynchburg Crossfit,” served up a drink that supposedly required handstand pushups and burpees to order, but—unsurprisingly—most were able to try it by just asking nicely. 

On the artistic side, Art Beyond the Glass featured a number of live art creations, a silent auction and musical performances. Event proceeds benefited Beautify Earth, an LA-based nonprofit dedicated to beautifying communities through public art. Be on the lookout for next year’s Art Beyond the Glass, taking place June 2020. For more information, visit ArtBeyondTheGlass.com

Hatch Yakitori + Bar Has Thought Up Some Unimaginable Flavors

Hatch Yakitori + Bar sits rather humbly on the ground level of The Bloc, an open-air shopping center in the heart of DTLA where patrons are on constant pursuit of the newest novelties in culinary achievement. Hatch delivers on all fronts, treating guests to meticulously fabricated dishes as innovative as they are beautiful, with other-worldly levels of flavor. It’s ‘so LA’ on so many levels, and somehow fits both young partygoers and nearby residents looking for a relaxing meal under one roof. 

Hatch is certainly in good hands with Executive Chef/Owner Daniel Shemtob, who made his first national splash when he won the Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race and hasn’t looked back since. He’s joined by Co-owners Akarad Tachavatcharapa and Nara Latip, whose collective marketing background birthed the restaurant’s tasteful layout.  

At its core, Yakitori is a Japanese type of skewered chicken. Naturally, the foundation of Hatch’s menu is comprised of intricate compilations that somehow find themselves on a stick. Succulent pork belly, ahi tuna, herb-crusted lamb and an oh-so-good chicken meatballs with an egg yolk and tare dip (you may not be accustomed to raw egg yolk, but will thank yourself for giving it a try) are some of the highlights, along with vegetarian favorites like Brussels sprouts and corn grilled with lime butter. 

Main plates further showcase Shemtob’s creativity and Hatch’s charcoal theme, like the signature and succulent black karaage (pronounced car-ah-gey)—two-day brined chicken fried in squid ink and served with black ranch dip. Or the aged ribeye and potatoes three ways, with wasabi mashed potatoes so fine that they may as well have passed through a coffee filter. A revolving list of house specials keep consistent with the team’s mastery of locking in flavor and presenting it beautifully, with scallop and king crab dishes that came out as works of art.

Somehow, Shemtob found a way to keep consistent through dessert as well. The simply fabulous grilled brownies topped with black sesame ice cream are an absolute must. Pair anything from the menu with a crafted cocktail—they all pack a punch—or beer or sake on draft. For more information visit HatchYakitori.com.

Union Wows with Modern Italian in Pasadena

Union, practically unmarked along its namesake Union Ave. in the heart of Pasadena, has maintained quite the stir across the community since its opening years ago. But this modern Italian eatery has only picked up steam, its modest quarters packed so tightly that another body would inevitably exceed building capacity. So what is it about Union that has people waiting past 10 p.m. for a table? 

The answer to that question, at least as of late, is Executive Chef Christopher Keyser. He takes the helm under Owner Marie Petulla’s mantra of sustainable ingredients and, incredibly, complete in-house production. That means everything from house-made pastas all the way down to house-made cheese and butter. And while the menu doesn’t exactly overwhelm you with options, its breadth is impressive given the tremendous effort needed to create nearly every new ingredient. But create is Keyser’s culinary middle name, and he has certainly mastered his craft.

Case in point is the wild mushrooms, a mind-blowing compilation of its flagship ingredient mixed elegantly into a creamy, velvety, heavenly and wildly addictive polenta and coated with a generous coat of house-made Parmesan. Going on record to list this as one of the top dishes in all of Los Angeles. Keyser’s magic keeps going with a perfectly charred octopus, robust and meaty with a lobster jus to boost its character. Then there’s the pork meatballs, huge and confidently devout of filler, served with house-baked bread. 

Union’s pastas are as forward-thinking as they are decadent, and while they hold only loose ties to their Italian origin, they fit in perfectly with Union’s ‘so LA’ approach. The bucatini is a clear winner, perfectly textured with coarse almonds that add an earthy, smoky essence that triggers grand nostalgia, though it’s doubtful that Mom or Grandma necessarily churned out anything like this [don’t take it personally]. The squid ink lumache, one of the Union’s signatures, is certainly novel and the lobster much appreciated, though the bucatini may still take the cake. 

Carnivores should definitely order the lamb al latte, or milk-braised lamb shoulder. The salt balance is perfected to just about the grain, and the finished product melts in your mouth. 

Pair anything with a selection from a deep wine list, where knowledgeable servers are more than happy to help make the perfect selection. And for dessert, they take that addictive polenta, add sugar and turn it into a budino. 

Union is located at 37 Union St, Pasadena, CA 91103. Open 5–11 p.m. Mon–Fri, 4–11 p.m Sat, 4–10 p.m. Sun.  Avg. Out-the-door price for starter, entree, split dessert and 1–2 drinks is ~$105/person. For more information visit UnionPasadena.com.