Just before Glutton Fest 2006, the AIA heaped praise upon the best harbingers of calories at the 2nd Annual Restaurant Design Awards in Santa Monica. Featuring LA-area eateries and LA designers who practiced food presentation elsewhere, the awards recognized both full-service restaurants and a second cafe/bar/lounge category.
Richard Meier’s sharp Cut was the no-surprises winner in the restaurant category, but a second winner was puzzling: the Santa Monica location of Houston’s? (It’s a chain.) The top pick in the cafe/bar/lounge was also a given–Sprinkles Cupcakes (LA’s answer to Magnolia) by Andrea Lenardin Madden. Also awarded were the new dining terrace at LA’s Century City Mall (where there happens to be another Houston’s) and (Wide) Band Nomadic Cafe (about which we can find no information, so it must be truly nomadic).
Judges were architect Hagy Belzberg, Edie Cohen of Interior Design, Heather John of Bon Appetit, and Sean Adams, who had the best quote of all: The designs were completely satisfying “both on a cerebral and a gastronomical level.” Delicious.