If you ever have the chance to meet or work with Big Sunday founder David Levinson, you are in for a treat. Since 1999, Levinson has been leading volunteers of all ages in helping those in need. From babies to seniors, Levinson and his team are matchmakers offering opportunities for those seeking to help others in the community. I call him Mr. L.A., because he offers everyone he meets a smile, laugh and feeling of worthiness.
One Friday evening, my husband and I joined Levinson and his wife, Ellie, at All Day Baby for dinner. Levinson told us that he previously enjoyed brunch at the restaurant and really liked the food, and was excited to experience dinner at the small and casual restaurant in Silver Lake. We smiled, laughed and had a very good meal.
Chef Jonathan Whitener opened All Day Baby with Lien Ta in 2019, after opening their endeavor Here’s Looking At You in Koreatown. Ta is co-founder of RE:Her, a nonprofit devoted to the advancement and empowerment of women restaurateurs. Not only is All Day Baby a restaurant, it also has a nice cocktail bar and bakery counter filled with sweet and savory delights. Visit on Wednesday or Thursday to enjoy one of their $9 martinis.
The bar makes pretty and creative cocktails that include the ADB Painkiller made with aged rum, passionfruit liqueur, coconut cream and a splash of pineapple and orange juices with a strawberry float. I was about to order one until our server announced that the mezcal margaritas were $9, so we ordered a round to sip with a plate of crispy hushpuppies.
Made from a batter of cornmeal and scallions, the hushpuppies are deep-fried and served with a pleasing smoky maple butter. We eagerly broke them open and spread soft butter onto the warm biscuit and watched it instantly melt. Next, a plate of deviled eggs with blue crab arrived with a creamy and slightly spicy dynamite sauce that lingered pleasantly on the tastebuds.
The chicory salad received high marks around the table with its smoked pecans, sliced apples, goat gouda and a delicious honey mustard vinaigrette. Two other dishes we enjoyed with the margaritas were the signature queso fundido and tostada de carne cruda.
Queso fundido, a flavorful, fondue-like molten cheese dip was served in a hot black skillet. Made with melted white, semi-hard Oaxacan cheese, chopped onions and minced smoked longaniza sausage, it was served with flour tortillas. We happily spread a spoonful onto a tortilla, rolled it and took a bite. It was so delicious that we all wished there were more tortillas.
Chef Whitener has a flair for creative Southern California Mexican cuisine, especially the tostada de carne cruda. A crispy shell holds raw brisket and an intense Mexican black salsa made with roasted tomatoes and peppers, creating a deep dark salsa negra color. Smooth avocado balances the flavors, and cilantro plus a squeeze of lime give the tostada an earthy and acidic finish.
Other comforting and popular dishes include the crayfish etouffee with jasmine fried rice, scallions, baby corn and lap xuong, and oyster pot pies filled with seasonal oysters, mushrooms, leeks and bacon.
Some of the heartiest dishes on the menu are the 20-ounce New York “steak ’n taters” with a special ADB steak sauce and fries, and the smoked pork tomahawk chop with mustard and dill flavored beans.
Diners can sip boozy and creamy milkshakes for dessert or try pastry chef Thessa Diadem’s delights, such as purple yam (ube) coconut pie with a flakey crust, chewy brown butter chocolate chip cookies, key lime pie and German chocolate marshmallow pie.
To kick off 2022, All Day Baby is offering smoked whitefish dip with a malted chive waffle, plus one ounce of classic black osetra caviar. The restaurant has also added sea bream schnitzel with lemon to squeeze on top for pescatarians.
This week, the restaurant is serving a special JFC-OTOTO dinner through Jan. 14, available on Tock. Chef Charles Namba and Courtney Kaplan, from Tsubaki, are collaborating with All Day Baby. For $58, the dinner for two includes a five-piece bucket of buttermilk and sansho fried chicken, daikon salad, ume shiso vinaigrette, cabbage slaw with sweet potato vinegar, shrimp and macaroni gratin, and a biscuit from All Day Baby with spicy honey butter. To order, visit exploretock.com/tsubaki.
Almost everything on All Day Baby’s menu is available for takeout and delivery. The restaurant offers outdoor, indoor and bar seating for dinner from 5 to 10 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday. Breakfast, weekend brunch, lunch and happy hour are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. All Day Baby is closed on Monday and Tuesday. $$. 3200 Sunset Blvd., (323)741-0082, alldaybabyla.com.
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