Citrus Chic: Blood Oranges on the Menu

Sips take on a zesty flair at SoCal eateries.

All sorts of fruits, from apples to lemons and beyond, make cameos during the Christmas season, in both art-pretty centerpieces and photographable bowls and dishes that require a bit of zing delivered straight from the orchard or backyard tree.

But in many places fruit, as a theme, gets stowed immediately after the holidays wrap, when the chilly winds of January and February arrive.

Not in the Golden State, of course; we like our citrus front-and-prominent all year long, especially since many of our regional orange and tangerine farms rev up the tours right around Valentine's Day.

Look to local restaurants around Southern California for sunshiny inspiration in the citrus department. Places from Wildcraft to Fig & Olive are putting blood oranges on the menu, which makes sense, since December into spring is when the juicy Sicilian icon has its proverbial day in the sun.

So you dig oranges but you like your peelable favorites with a bit more hue and oomph? Then prepare to get your orange on at...

Plan Check: The trio of restaurants -- hey there Fairfax, Sawtelle, and downtown -- are currently pouring the Ginger Grant, a palate waker-upper of immense proportions. Thank the spicy ginger in the drink, but also look to the blood orange component, which also gives the libation lots of lift. 

Wildcraft: The inventive Culver City eatery is known for loving on peels and scraps as major centerpieces of a sip or meal, so it is no shocker that its Mama Mia Sangria turns to a certain citrus (spoiler alert: it's blood orange) for flavor. Cabernet sauvignon, brandy, passionfruit, and peach all bring up the rear here, flavorfully.


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Dia de Campo and Fig & Olive Melrose Place: If you haven't had your full fill of blood orange-based beverages, make your way to these two spots for the Dirty Aqua (sparkling blood orange is paired with pomegranate, agua de santa, and cazadores) and The Fig & Olive (organic cucumber vodka is the spirit paired with two types of blood orange, the oil and a puree, in addition to celery, simple syrup, egg white, and lime).

Can a small orb that looks like our nearest star in both shape and color give winter's longer nights more kick? Restaurants around town are taking that path by including the storied citrus in a host of sips. Clearly springtime isn't too far in the future.

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