Monday, September 14, 2015



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.

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


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.

{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.

{Grilled Nueske's Bacon}

{Korean Latkes with Creme Fraiche and Scallions}

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

{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)}


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

 {Beautiful brunchdom}

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


Escala at LA Weekly's Burgers and Beer


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. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Mid-Week Insta-Nom: Atticus Creamery + Pies

With spots like Sweet Rose Creamery, Carmela Ice Cream, and icdc, the Beverly Grove area isn't exactly hurting for dessert...but I'd never say "no" to another sweets shop in the 'hood. The newly opened Atticus Creamery + Pies serves up small batch ice cream, fresh mini pies with chilled cream, mousse, custard, and cheesecake fillings, as well as cookies and coffee. Among my favorite flavors of ice cream I sampled were honey honeycomb, cereal & milk (made with a Frosted Flakes base with Rice Krispies), and the raspberry champagne sorbet, and the picture-perfect mango and lemon lavender pies had me swooning. It's pie o'clock somewhere. 

Atticus Creamery + Pies
6015 W. 3rd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90036

*Food was hosted.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Late Night Menu at Terrine


Confession time: my late nights almost inevitably end just about anywhere I can get my hands on a cheeseburger and fries-- the greasier, the better and, if bacon is involved, so be it. In part, this is because it's a winning combo post-carousing but also because options are limited in the later hours of the night. Well, classy drunks, meet Terrine's late night menu.

Terrine-- from chef Kris Morningstar, restaurateur Stephane Bombet, and manager/wine director Francois Renaud-- serves up dishes inspired by French classics and with a Californian sensibility. The spot's new after-hours menu features rustic, hearty dishes to satisfy your late night cravings as well as several craft cocktails (in case you're not done yet) and is available from 9:00-11:00PM Sunday through Thursday and 10:00-12:00AM Friday through Saturday. Here's a look.

Late Night Menu at Terrine


{Pimms Pong: Pimms, Contratto, Ramazzotti, and Beefeater}


{Rosewater Sour: Rain Vodka, Lemon, Noilly Prat Aperol, Rosewater Cordial}

Oysters at Terrine

{Market Oysters}

French Onion Poutine at Terrine

French Onion Poutine at Terrine

{Onion Soup Poutine}

Chicken Liver at Terrine

{Truffled Chicken Liver Toast}

Pork Belly at Terrine

{Crispy Pork Belly w/ Spicy Mustard and Frisee Salad}

My favorite bite of the evening was the Onion Soup Poutine, the rich, cheesy, carb-a-licious mash-up of your drunchie dreams, with a close second in the Croque Cubano (smoked ham, capicola, gruyere, and pickled fresno chili relish [not pictured]). Comforting and deeply satisfying, the after hours dishes hit the spot-- although we probably should have indulged in a few more of those cocktails...

8265 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 746-5130

*Food and drink were hosted.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

In-N-Out: It's What Valentine's Day Dinner's All About

Valentine's Day dinner at In-N-Out followed by a movie is a long-standing tradition for me and Justin. Our annual fuss-free outing began early in our relationship to ease the pressure that comes with the holiday and to spare ourselves from overpriced prix-fixe menus (we met in college, after all) and over-crowded restaurants (see Serious Eats' take on why you shouldn't dine out on Valentine's Day here).

photo (20)

Seven years later, February 14th will always mean Animal Style cheeseburgers and celebrating our relationship in a low-key, quirky way that feels uniquely "us." This year, we're seeing Fifty Shades of Grey... but only because Justin vetoed my top choice of Fight Club at LACMA. Either way, nothing could top last year's screening of Titanic at the Los Angeles Theater, a restored movie palace in downtown LA, complete with themed cocktails, a stringed quartet, and an awesome photo booth set-up. 

Whether you're coupled up or celebrating special friends and family, I wish you a happy Valentine's Day full of love, laughs and delicious eats. 

For In-N-Out locations:

Fun Valentine's Day movie screenings around town:

Fight Club at LACMA

Casablanca at the Silent Movie Theater

Breakfast at Tiffany's at the Egyptian Theater and the Los Angeles Theater

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

L'Amande French Bakery

L'Amande French Bakery

During my time in the City of Angels, I’ve succumbed to many LA tendencies—an obsession with green juice, an affinity for “hiking” in Runyon Canyon with my rescue dog, and, admittedly, the list goes on—but there’s one I’m proud to have kept at bay: a fear of carbs. Bread and pastries have special place in my heart, and L’Amande French Bakery seemed like a good place to get my fix during a recent brunch outing.

L'Amande French Bakery

L'Amande French Bakery

L'Amande French Bakery

The charming Beverly Hills bakery offers breakfast, lunch, espressos, and coffee and prides itself on its handmade baked goods, especially its meticulously-prepared croissants, which take 72 hours to make. The floor-to-ceiling windows create ideal lighting conditions for ogling the goods.

L'Amande French Bakery

Justin kick-started his morning with a Mocha while I sipped on and swooned over a rich, orange-infused Valencia Hot Chocolate. My favorite touch: an extra side of chocolate for drizzling.

L'Amande French Bakery

Pain Perdu at L'Amande French Bakery

Justin ordered the Pain Perdu, made with thick slices of house-made pain de mie which were wonderfully crusty on the outside and pillowy within and finished with sliced almonds and a dusting of powdered sugar. He topped his French toast with the side of fresh strawberries and bananas and cleaned the plate.

Croque Jeunne Homme at L'Amande French Bakery

Despite my sweet tooth, I always go savory at brunch and opted for the Croque “Jeune Homme,” a play on the classic croque madame with smoked applewood bacon, scrambled eggs, and a thick layer of gruyere on the pan de mie. Although I missed the yolky goodness of the fried egg that tops a traditional croque, this version still hit the spot.

While there isn’t a shortage of brunch options in my neighborhood, the more the merrier, I say. Especially when carbs and chocolate are involved.

L'Amande French Bakery
9530 South Santa Monica Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 734-8922

L’Amande French Bakery on Urbanspoon

*Food was hosted