Why I Still Power Lunch
Although I’ve haven’t held a full-time corporate position in the past 3 years, the power lunch is still my default go-to when it comes to meeting with my prospective clients and brands for the first time. The power lunch, by definition, is traditionally viewed as a business meets leisure lunch at an ambient hotspot around town. You might think it’s just a thing that exists in the yesteryears of advertising (a la Mad Men) or for the Wall Street hustler on the daily grind. I am here to prove otherwise. After all these years, this is still my preferred way of meeting in person as it allows for not only a proper introduction but also an opportunity for immersive brainstorming. Emails and DMs are a great way to connect, but a power lunch says so much more about what you can bring to the table, literally. It also conveys how serious you are about the meeting, that you respect their time and their stomaches, too.
The Day Breaker
Baldoria, Little Tokyo
Baldoria, in the heart of Little Tokyo and in close proximity to DTLA high-rises, is a communal watering-hole with an air of refinement without the pretense. Bar seating at the gorgeous black marble counter is highly recommended, along with a round of artisanal cocktails, for a hearty cheers in celebration of a new or sealed deal. For the well-acquainted business partner, order a charcuterie plate, charred octopus pizza and heirloom tomato burrata salad with grilled peaches to share.
The Business Lunch
Bourbon Steak, Glendale
Bourbon Steak is a Michael Mina-owned and operated establishment. Impress your business dining companion(s) with its masculine but airy decor. The bar, situated right next to a grand piano, comes fully stock with any libation you have in mind. As its namesake implies, come for the steak and fries imbued with duck fat. The accompanying sides may be enough to fill up even the most hungry appetites, though, so order in moderation.
Helmed by chef Greg Bernhardt, a culinary renegade with an edge, Paley is a rising player in the realm of power luncheons. With a classic art deco meets modern Mid-Century decor designed by Bishop Pass, the aesthetics are reflected in the carefully curated and experimental menu as well. I recently had the chance to experience some of the restaurant’s farm-to-table cuisine when chef Hugh Acheson played guest chef for the Lexus Culinary LA Food & Wine Festival with a beautiful rendition of smoked pastrami. The robust, fatty pork belly melted in my mouth and disintegrated into divinity. This is where business lunches turn into memorable, off-the-wall dinners.
The weekend Power Brunch
Viviane, West HOLLYWOOD
Viviane is where local California cuisine meets international taste. A team of culinary visionaries is at the heart of what makes Viviane so special — Michael Hung, Stephane Bombet, Francois Renaud, just to drop a few names. Name dropping isn’t the only thing you’ll be doing while here — the continental brunch menu makes it a weekend hotspot for a casual power brunch. Salads are light with a dressy bite, garnished with scrumptious sardines. Get the country buttermilk fried chicken if you are in the mood to share, but don’t hesitate to avoid the biscuits and gravy. When in doubt, go for the specials — like our delicately-seared branzino here. The poolside views ain’t too shabby, either.
Final thoughts? Maybe it's time that my fellow Millennials embrace the power lunch with affection, so Baby Boomers have one less thing to complain about us. Deal? Deal.