I adored Chef Ari Taymor's intimate and exceptionally heralded Downtown Los Angeles restaurant Alma, and was deeply saddened when it shuttered this past October. But my family was delighted to take advantage of its temporary, three-month residency at The Standard, West Hollywood (through February 2016) for our first-ever Christmas Eve dinner cooked by someone other than my mother, a gourmet chef in her own right. Returning to its pop-up roots, Alma's former 10-course tasting menu has now been adapted to an à la carte love song to seasonal, Southern Californian food -- and when our waitress advised that our 7-person party could comfortably enjoy the menu in its entirety, we did just that (plus an extra order of the ridiculously tender and delicious Jidori chicken, per my father's request). The menu itself is detailed in its entirety in my photos below (minus delightful almonds with wild fennel and Clark Street bread with Alma's house-whipped butter), and Chef Taymor's inventive, brilliant approach to food ensured that my dining-mates and I would have the merriest of Christmases. The frozen duck liver with smoked maple, coffee granola, and carrots still reigns supreme as my favorite dish, but every small plate -- from English muffins with uni, burrata, and caviar; to grilled octopus with new potato and black garlic; straight through to dessert, which for us was strawberry, almond, and chamomile shortcake -- displayed why Chef Taymor has received each and every accolade he's been awarded. Alma loses nothing in the translation from its former, narrow and petite Broadway locale to The Standard's 24/7 Restaurant's retro-styled diner, and I certainly look forward to returning before the end of Alma's residency (and to what the restaurant has up its sleeve for its next potential move!). Merry Christmas!