December 2020

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Gjerlina Take Away

Gjerlina Tak Away in Venice

Gjerlina Take Away

  • By Ashley Halverson

Well here we go again… back to take-out only for a few more weeks at least. Fortunately Los Angeles restaurants have risen to the challenge over the last six months and everyone seems to have stepped up their take-out game!

Gjelina on Abbot Kinney has a long history in this department with their Take-Away menu offerings.  Whether or not you’re already a fan of the restaurant – you need to add this to your rotation.   They’re open at 7am daily serving up breakfast delights, coffee and tea.  Sandwiches and salads round out the menu – I’ve heard the Blackened Fish Sandwich is incredible. If you’re a Gjelina newbie then first and foremost you must try one of their wood fired pizzas!  The classic Margherita is always a good choice.  The Escarole with greens, mushroom, red onion, garlic, leeks, mozzarella, fontina and calabrian chiles is a veggie dream. Or go for the local favorite – the Guanciale with tomato sauce, olives, fresno chiles and mozzarella. Craft beer and wine is available for take-away too!  With food purchase only of course.  And your order wouldn’t be complete without dessert – Cheesecake to die for or inquire what their daily cookies and cakes are.  It’s so important to support our local restaurants during this challenging time and it’s important to give yourself a break from the kitchen. Win-Win!

For more details and menu, click here.


Uncle Bernie’s Deli in Encino


  • By Patty Onagan

Need to get your classic Jewish deli fix, then Uncle Bernie’s Delicatessen in Encino is just the spot. During the holidays, my family and I love an excellent comfort meal from this West Valley favorite. We always start with their delicious Matzo Ball Soup filled with juicy and tender chicken, carrots and celery plus a healthy helping of noodles and a huge flavorful matzo ball. Several of our must-have entrees include the Pastrami or Corned Beef Reuben Sandwich (I always get an extra side of Russian dressing) with shoestring fries; Patty Melt on rye with onion rings; Chopped Liver Plate with rye bread, tomatoes, onion and cumbers; and a traditional fresh Turkey Breast Deli Sandwich piled high on rye. Be sure to try their appetizer version of kreplach, a deep-fried pocketful of yumminess! While their Chocolate Eclair, which is baked on the premises, is a popular dessert, we like to share Uncle Bernie’s Fluffy French Toast sprinkled with powdered sugar and cinnamon plus maple syrup (and sometimes with a scoop of vanilla ice cream).

All of Uncle Bernie’s portions are generous that you almost always have leftovers. Takeout and delivery are available, and I look forward to when in-dining opens up as Uncle Bernie’s owner Norman Green and staff add to this delish deli experience.

For more details and menu, click here.

Cheese Boards

Cheesemongers Sherman Oaks Picnic

Cheese Boards

  • By Nina Sventitsky

One drag on our tiny celebrations this year is the absence of the grazing table, but we can still indulge with OTT cheese boards. The genius of the 2020 board is scale and diversity. Find inspiration here and above all, shop local. LA is full of independent cheese and gourmet shops that rely on holiday business, especially now that corporate gift-giving is non-existent. Let the experts help you! Mourning your lost summer at the Bowl? Cheesemonger Sherman Oaks and Milkfarm Pasadena both offer picnic boxes just right for one as a meal. Dine happily on the all-cheese or cheese-and-meat board for 2 from Cheese Store Beverly Hills and pick out a great bottle of wine to go with. Andrew’s Cheese delivers to Santa Monica, Venice, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood. Make your own. Per Pinterest and Instagram 2020 cheese and meat boards are themed, using color and design. Sommelier Jess Helfand uses neutral ivory with blue potato chips, blackberries and blue-veined cheese for a Chanukah board (just add the gelt.) Try a Christmas Day board of red-waxed Edam, country paté and rosemary sprigs; nestle in gold-foiled Ferraro Rocher bonbons as ornaments. Kristin Farrand of La Fromagerie favors domestic cheeses Rush Creek (Wisconsin) and Rogue River Blue (Oregon) this time of year. For stocking up, shop the local stores mentioned above or a Valley secret, Epicurous, a warehouse style gourmet fantasyland.

For more details on La Fromagerie, click here.

Yolanda’s Café

Yolanda’s Mexican Café Simi Valley

Yolanda’s Café

  • By Elaine Petrone

Who says you can’t have fun in Simi Valley? One of the best places to start is at Yolanda’s Mexican Café. Sure, the ambiance and décor are pure authentic faux-Mexican and the service staff are appropriately attired, but actually the menu says it all. It’s pages long and offers a wide variety of traditional choices, many of which you would expect from a Mexican café — tacos, cheese enchiladas, tostadas, and many more of our favorites. The ubiquitous chips are served upon being seated and there is a separate salsa station because after all, some like it hot, and some not so much. But the idea here is to have fun and the best way to do that is to start with one of their specialty drinks — the most famous is their margarita.

Established in 1984, there are now four locations — Simi Valley, Ventura, Oxnard, and Camarillo. Just off the main entrance in Simi there is a sort of Cantina which is another seating area set aside for those eager to enjoy a warm casual setting. The food is delicious, and the servings are generous of course but the drinks and the atmosphere are what keeps diners coming back. Currently there is no indoor dining, but the restaurant is set up with an outdoor patio and for take-out. The phone number in Simi Valley is 805-306-9933.

For menu items and take out options, click here.

What's Hot!

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve adjusted our content this month.

LAArtsOnline now features two NEW pages: BOOKS and EXTRA! We’ll look at what’s hot in the world of books and reading along with some suggestions of EXTRA! things to check out, read about, and do!

Stay positive, stay safe.

Paige Petrone
Founder / Publisher


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