Franco is a find, with its cozy, garden-like dining rooms impossible to discern from its storefront exterior. Located on a trendy strip of Melrose Avenue, the trattoria is a piece of classic Italy right in the center of bustling Hollywood. Everything about the experience is authentic. For starters, guests walk through the kitchen to get to their table, which gives them a chance to say hello to the cooking staff.

Executive Chef/owner Franco De Dominicis, as his name suggests, was raised in Italy. He trained at the Accademia delle Arti Culinarie di Napoli, and went on to apprenticeships in France, Spain, Germany and London. After moving to Los Angeles in the late ‘90s, he served at the executive banquet chef at the Jonathan Club in downtown LA and later as executive chef for the nearby Biltmore Hotel. What this means is that De Dominicis brings decades of catering experience to his intimate 4-year-old restaurant. Franco’s has a capacity of 90, and both the canopied indoor space and the outdoor terrace are available for buyout individually or together. The menu features the cuisine De Dominicis grew up with, including house-made pasta (with gluten-free options), pan-seared branzino and roasted chicken breast stuffed with spinach, apricot and plums. Off-site catering is also available.

To the annals of great bakery hybrids like the cronut, duffin and cretzel, add the churro croissant from Los Angeles bakery Pitchoun! A flaky pastry dusted with cinnamon sugar and filled with vanilla custard cream it combines French sophistication with the childlike joys of theme park eats. Originally put on the menu for the month of November, the churro croissant has been extended through January and, perhaps, beyond.

 

Just when you think there's nothing new in the world of breakfast cereal comes this innovation from chef Joey Maggiore, owner of the three Hash Kitchen breakfast spots in Scottsdale, Arizona: cereal shooters. Maggiore creates a boozy take on the milk that has been soaking in a bowl of Captain Crunch, Cocoa Puffs, Fruity Pebbles or Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Added to the frothy milk are, respectively, hazelnut liqueur, coffee liqueur, fruity vodka and spiced rum.