Monday, December 14, 2015

LA Weekly's Sips and Sweets

Over the weekend, LA Weekly hosted its second annual Sips and Sweets, a holiday festival featuring some of the city's best bakers and mixologists. This year's event, which took place at The Reef in downtown LA, served as a delicious toast to the holiday season. Here's a look at the evening.

Pitchoun Bakery and Cafe at LA Weekly's Sips and Sweets


{Pitchoun Bakery and Cafe}

Pitchoun Bakery and Cafe at LA Weekly's Sips and Sweets


{Pitchoun Bakery and Cafe}

WP24 at LA Weekly's Sips and Sweets


{Chocolate and Earl Grey torte with spiced blackberry jam and forbidden rice from WP24}

WP24 at LA Weekly's Sips and Sweets


{Chai ice cream sandwiches with gingersnap cookies from WP24}

bld and ICDC at LA Weekly's Sips and Sweets


{Donuts from bld and ICDC}

Cake Monkey at LA Weekly's Sips and Sweets


{Cake Monkey}

Broken Spanish and BS Taqueria at LA Weekly's Sips and Sweets


{Mexican wedding cookies with cajeta from Broken Spanish and BS Taqueria}

Broken Spanish and BS Taqueria at LA Weekly's Sips and Sweets


{Pear and cheese empanadas from Broken Spanish and BS Taqueria}

Superba Food and Bread at LA Weekly's Sips and Sweets


{Two "ceviches" from Superba Food + Bread. The savory ceviche was a welcome addition to the sweet line-up!}

Senoritas Tamales at LA Weekly's Sips and Sweets


{Black bean and cheese tamale from Senoritas Tamales}

Craft at LA Weekly's Sips and Sweets

{Craft}

Belcampo Meat Co. at LA Weekly's Sips and Sweets


{Belcampo Meat Company}

Ledlow at LA Weekly's Sips and Sweets


{White pepper ice cream sandwiches from Ledlow}

Designer Cookies at LA Weekly's Sips and Sweets


{Beautifully decorated sweets from Designer Cookies}

The Nickel Diner at LA Weekly's Sips and Sweets


{The Nickel Diner}

McConnell's Ice Cream at LA Weekly's Sips and Sweets


{McConnell's Ice Cream}

Salt and Straw at LA Weekly's Sips and Sweets


{The standout sweet of the evening: pineapple sherbet with Rice Krispies crackers, toasted marshmallow fluff, and black truffle gummy bears (!!!) from Salt and Straw}

The event also boasted over 20 different cocktails from some of LA's top restaurants and mixologists.

Terrine at LA Weekly's Sips and Sweets


{Mr. Menotti's Cold Coffee Grog (Chairman's Spiced Rum, Atlantico Rum, Skippers Rum, cold brew coffee, and vanilla Fernet-infused whipped cream) from Terrine}

Sonny's Hideaway at LA Weekly's Sips and Sweets


{Diospyros (persimmon, ceylon black tea, lemon, clove, and Courvoisier) from Sonny's Hideaway}

Corazon y Miel at LA Weekly's Sips and Sweets

{Ron y Nata (Cruzam rum, Mexican chocolate sauce, and cardamom whipped cream and cacao salt) from Corazon y Miel}

Faith and Flower at LA Weekly's Sips and Sweets


{Spanish Milk Punch from Faith and Flower}

Hatchet Hall at LA Weekly's Sips and Sweets


{Darth Apple from Hatchet Hall}

Hinoki and the Bird at LA Weekly's Sips and Sweets


{Pumpkin Coconut Faux Nog (Knob Creek Bourbon, pumpkin, coconut cream, coconut milk, and Fernet) from Hinoki & the Bird}

Alexander's Steakhouse at LA Weekly's Sips and Sweets


{Holiday Nog from Alexander's Steakhouse}

The Pikey at LA Weekly's Sips and SweetS


{The Pikey}

EP & LP at LA Weekly's Sips and Sweets


{Grandma Got Rum Over by a Reindeer (Cruzan rum, coconut milk, lime, chocolate, and mint) from EP & LP}

Butchers and Barbers at LA Weekly's Sips and Sweets


{Butcher's and Barbers}

My top two sips of the evening were served up by the Varnish and the Lucques Group (AOC, Tavern, and Lucques). These were so tasty that they called for seconds.

The Varnish at LA Weekly's Sips and Sweets


{Warm Milk Punch (Courvoisier, Demerara sugar, clarified milk, and lemon juice) served with a mini chocolate shortbread cookie}

The Lucques Group at LA Weekly's Sips and Sweets


{The Wirebird (Courvoisier, pineapple juice, lemon juice, kola syrup, Rollich and Duggan bitters) from the Lucques Group}

Even for those with a serious sweet tooth and cocktail cravings, can you have too much of a good thing?... After attending Sips and Sweets, I can safely say that the answer is an emphatic "no." Happy holidays!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Leona


Leona

While I occasionally lament the lack of seasons in LA and find myself dreaming of trees filled with vibrant, fiery hues, I'm certainly not mad at being able to brunch beach-side well into the fall. So, with my scarves and flannel shirts tucked away until, I don't know, December maybe, I ventured to Venice for some sun, ocean breeze, and an indulgent brunch at Leona.

A stone's throw from the beach, the recently opened spot from chef Nyesha Arrington serves up what she's dubbed "progressive California cuisine"-- a menu informed by the diversity of LA's cultural melting pot (take, for example, Arrington's kimchi "latke," which deliciously melds Korean and Jewish cuisine). The result is a menu that feels at once both casual and elevated by thoughtful, well-executed details.

Leona
{Beachy with banana leaf pillows out front; chic with plush banquettes and pendant lighting in back}

Leona

Dedicated brunchers know the importance of selecting the right drink. For caffeine lovers, the modestly named "Leona Coffee" is a must. Unlike your average iced cup of joe, this sweet, creamy version boasts condensed milk, coconut milk, nutmeg, and cinnamon. *Swoon* If you're looking for something boozy, both the Prickly Pear and Passion Fruit mimosas were big hits at our table.

Leona
{Prickly Pear Mimosa, Passion Fruit Mimosa, and a Leona Coffee with condensed milk, coconut milk, nutmeg, and cinnamon}


Among my favorite dishes was the California Benedict with crisp, deep-fried soft-shell crab, crushed avocado, a velvety tomato hollandaise, and a perfectly poached egg. This beach-inspired update to the classic Eggs Benedict was both satisfying and Instagram-perfect. I also adored Le Burger, which nodded at French onion soup with dijon onions and melty gruyere cheese. In fact, I enjoyed this more than a highly pedigreed burger with a similar concept across town... Rounding out the order was a stack of Brown Butter Pancakes dressed up with sea salt vanilla butter and finished with whipped coconut that delighted even this die-hard savory bruncher.

Leona
{Grilled Nueske's Bacon}

Leona
{Korean Latkes with Creme Fraiche and Scallions}

Leona
{California Benedict with Softshell Crab, Crushed Avocado, and Tomato Hollandaise}

Leona
{Brown Butter Pancakes with Whipped Coconut and Sea Salt Vanilla Butter (P.S. if gluten's not your thing, these babies are made with brown rice flour, oat flour, and teff flour)}

Leona

{Le Burger with Gruyere Cheese, Dijon Onions, and Seasonal Pickles}

 {Beautiful brunchdom}

Leona
123 Washington Blvd.
Venice, CA 90291
(310) 822-5379

*Food was hosted.

Monday, August 10, 2015

LA Weekly's Burgers and Beer

Over the weekend, LA Weekly hosted Burgers and Beer, a brand new event celebrating one of the most glorious pairings in the food world, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. As a gal who'll never turn down a burger and an ice cold craft brew (and a USC Trojan, to boot), I've been looking forward to this food fest since it was announced, and the day did not disappoint. Here's a look at Burgers and Beer.

LA Weekly's Burgers and Beer

{The festival took place at the LA Coliseum. Fight on!}

LA Weekly's Burgers and Beer


Coliseum at LA Weekly's Burgers and Beer

{Tables with umbrellas lined the entrance to the Coliseum}

Hache at LA Weekly's Burgers and Beer

{The Karma Burger from Hache}

Little Dom's at LA Weekly's Burgers and Beer

{Burger with burrata and bacon from Little Dom's}

Pono Burger at LA Weekly's Burgers and Beer

{'Alekina Burger with organic, grass-fed beef, chimichurri, organic avocado and sweet potato chips on a toasted brioche bun from Pono Burger}

The Hungry Cat at LA Weekly's Burgers and Beer

{The Hungry Cat}

Badmaash at LA Weekly's Burgers and Beer

{Lamb Burger from Badmaash}

Pie 'n Burger at LA Weekly's Burgers and Beer

{Pie 'n Burger}

Messhall at LA Weekly's Burgers and Beer

{Messhall}

Escala at LA Weekly's Burgers and Beer

{Escala}

Slater's 50/50 at LA Weekly's Burgers and Beer

{Slater's 50/50}

The beer options were, shall we say...extensive. I loved sampling sips from such a diverse group of craft breweries and getting to taste everything from a molasses ale to a pineapple cider. 

LA Weekly's Burgers and Beer

LA Weekly's Burgers and Beer

{Strand Brewing Co.}

Angel City Brewing at LA Weekly's Burgers and Beer

{West Coast Wheat from Angel City Brewery}

Ace Cider at LA Weekly's Burgers and Beer

{Pineapple Cider from Ace}

A couple of sweet options dotted the event. 

Jenny's Ice Cream at LA Weekly's Burgers and Beer

A handful of burgers stood out as the best of the festival for me.

Barrel & Ashes at LA Weekly's Burgers and Beer

{The pickle and the chicharrones from Barrel and Ashes sealed the deal for me here}

Belcampo Meat Co. at LA Weekly's Burgers and Beer

{This simple but well-executed, crisp, buttery slider from Belcampo Meat Co. hit the spot}

Casey's at LA Weekly's Burgers and Beer

{Ditto for this burger from Cassell's, dripping with Thousand Island Dressing}

Animal at LA Weekly's Burgers and Beer

{Boner Burger with jack cheese, marble rye, caramelized onion, poblano chili, and 420 sauce from Animal}

Seoul Sausage at LA Weekly's Burgers and Beer

{Kalbi Burger from Seoul Sausage}

In addition to boasting a stand-out line-up of burgers and brews, the afternoon ran impressively smoothly: lines were manageable; tables and chairs were stationed throughout; trash cans were plentiful; water coolers were well-stocked and other non-alcoholic drink options were also on-hand. As a festival vet, I can tell you that these seemingly minor details make all the difference for attendees. In fact, the day was so deliciously enjoyable that I'm nowhere near burger-ed out. I think a full-sized version of that Cassell's burger is in the near future for me.