dineLA @ Akasha

dineLA invites you to eat your way across Los Angeles and you could be served a Golden Dish that unlocks 100,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® Miles!

Anyone who regularly reads my blog knows I’m a total foodie. But what is a ‘foodie’ exactly? The dictionary defines it as, “a person with a particular interest in food; a gourmet.” I think it’s deeper than that. A foodie is someone with an immense appreciation of food. All types of food. I can grub on a sloppy chili cheeseburger from one of the many old-school, walk up burger joints that line LAs main strips. I’m talking about Queens or Tommy’s not Fat Burger or In-and-Out. Just as easily as I can sit down at a french fusion four star restaurant with a tasting menu and wine pairing.

To me food is about trying new things, finding comfort in the classics and more importantly sharing the experience with family and friends.

I love dineLA. It’s is a great excuse to get out and try some new places, or revisit favorites for a deal on prix-fixe lunch and dinner menus. I’ve written about dineLA before. You can read past posts here…and here. For two weeks, LA restaurants offer a taste of what makes their restaurant unique and special.

I had to pick my husband up at LAX right in the middle of rush-hour. Rather than sit in the car for an hour, I found a dineLA restaurant nearby where we could catch-up and wait out the traffic. Thank you Akasha. First of all, I was already in love with the name. (Anne Rice and Aaliyah fans know what I’m talking about.) When I viewed their dineLA menu online, I was smitten. I need to mention that you don’t have to order off the dineLA menu just because an establishment offers one. In fact your entire table doesn’t have to order off the same menu. If one person wants to, great! If others want to order off the regular menu, you have that option too. What I like about ordering off the dineLA menus is that it gives you a good idea of the restaurants core theme. Like getting a glimpse into the chefs brain. With restaurants that offer seasonal menus, even more so.

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My husband’s flight was slightly delayed and Akasha’s host was very understanding. They had no problem pushing our reservation. We arrived in Culver City, parked in one of the numerous nearby parking structures and walked to the restaurant which was as packed as one would expect for a Friday night. The front section is a cafe serving both sweet and savory bites alongside locally roasted Intelligentsia coffee.

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Passing the gorgeous dark bar on our way to the back half of the restaurant you can’t help but be drawn to the open kitchen, tall ceilings and industrial decor.

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Akasha is located inside the renovated historic Hull Building. The design of steel, wood and brick appear both starkly modern and warmly inviting.

Time for cocktails! My husband chose the signature Akasha drink. A vodka/cucumber concoction. I went for the Garden Gimlet with Spring 44 Gin. We have a little contest when ordering cocktails. We sip our own, then sip each others and decide who chose the best drink. This time, I win!

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Garden Gimlet (L) and The Akasha (R)

The dineLA menu offers a choice of one of three appetizers, entrees and desserts. I had a hard time choosing but eventually settled on the yellowtail ceviche, charred chicken masala, and mango chesesecake. I can’t express how happy I am to see dessert options. Many times on a prix-fixe menu you only get one option for dessert. More often than not, it’s chocolate cake, or chocolate mousse of some kind. Which is divine for most people, but I’m one of those weirdos that doesn’t like chocolate.

I recently traveled to Costa Rica where I ate my fair share of ceviche. I was a little skeptical of the pickled mango/yellowtail combo, but it worked beautifully. The sweetness of the fish paired so nicely with the fruit. I love how the taro chips were so thinly sliced. They provided just enough crunch for texture without overpowering each bite.

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Yellowtail ceviche, salsa toreado, avocado, cucumber, pickled mango, taro chips.

I never shy away from spicy food. Especially well balanced, not hot just for the sake of being hot, spicy food. So I gleefully bit into the fresno chilis topping my charred chicken masala. Whoa! Those babies pack a punch. I ordered a Cass Estate Viognier to wash down my piquant entree and continued eating. The succulent chicken, cooling creamy yogurt sauce and buttery green lentils made for an all together very balanced dish. Don’t get me wrong, it is spicy. But in a good way. Plus the spice level makes you slow down. Savoring each bite before going in for more.

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Masala charred chicken, green lentils, pickled lemon, citrus yogurt, fresno chili.

I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. I’m way more of a savory foodie than sweet. I don’t enjoy cake, brownies, or cookies. But I do love pie and cheesecake. Growing up, my Aunt Maryann would make New York style Cheesecake from scratch every Christmas. My mouth is literally watering as I’m writing this. It was thick and creamy with those perfectly brown crusty bits on the edges. Delicious! So my love of cheesecake runs deep. Akasha’s mango cheesecake with a gluten-free gingersnap crust was luscious. Light and fluffy as far as cheesecakes go. In fact, it was so good that I almost forgot to take a picture before diving in. Oops…bad blogger. Accompanied by a dark roast espresso, my night was complete.

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Mango cheesecake, gingersnap crust (gluten-free)

Akasha’s dineLA dinner menu is only $39/person tax, drinks and gratuity not included. It is available Monday through Thursday 5:30 – 9:30pm and Friday 5:30 – 10:30pm

dineLA runs through July 27th and includes more than 300 particpating restaurants. Click here to see the full list. Who knows, you may get lucky! American Airlines is a partner in the dineLA Golden Dish Giveaway. Where one lucky diner will be served a Golden Dish that unlocks 100,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® Miles.

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