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

Monday, December 8, 2014

LA Weekly's Sips and Sweets

Over the weekend, LA Weekly hosted Sips and Sweets, a new festival that ushered in the holiday season on a sugar-filled note. The event, housed in the Majestic Downtown, brought together desserts from some of the LA's top pastry chefs and cocktails from the city's best mixologists. Translation: two of the great loves this sugar-addicted lush's life. Not even a 10-day strong cold could keep me away from this! Here's a look at the day's sips and sweets.

Zoe Nathan at LA Weekly Sips and Sweets

{An assortment of goodies, including chai donuts and chocolate-dipped macaroons, from my idol Zoe Nathan of Huckleberry Cafe & Bakery}

Republique at LA Weekly Sips and Sweets

{Decadent brownies from Margarita Manzke of Republique}

Valerie Confections at LA Weekly Sips and Sweets

{Peppermint Bark from Valerie Gordon of Valerie Confections}

LA Weekly Sips and Sweets

{Buttercelli Organic Bakeshop}

LA Weekly Sips and Sweets

{Puppy Chow with toasted cashews, chocolate mousse parfaits, gingerbread doughnuts, warm potato rolls, flourless chocolate peanut butter cookies, and spiced bourbon cherry punch from the deliciously over-achieving Sarah Lange of Field Trip and Flores and the Ladies' Gunboat Society}

Nickel Diner at LA Weekly Sips and Sweets

{Apple bourbon pop-tarts from the Nickel Diner}

Mozza at LA Weekly Sips and Sweets

{Tiramisu from Mozza}

Heirloom LA at LA Weekly Sips and Sweets

{Snow Man Profiteroles from Heirloom LA}

Heirloom LA LA Weekly Sips and Sweets

{A closer look at the adorable Snow Man Profiteroles}

Craft LA at LA Weekly Sips and Sweets

{Sticky Toffee Pudding from Craft LA}

BLD at LA Weekly Sips and Sweets

{Cinnamon spiked milkshakes from Mariah Swann of BLD}

ICDC at LA Weekly Sips and Sweets

{Donut holes from Mariah Swann of BLD}

LA Weekly Sips and Sweets

{The most adorable cookies from The Village Bakery}

McConnell's Ice Cream at LA Weekly Sips and Sweets

{Festive seasonal ice cream flavors from McConnell's Ice Cream}

Gjusta at LA Weekly Sips and Sweets

{Coffee and croissant bread pudding from the newly-opened Gjusta Bakery}

Proof Bakery at LA Weekly Sips and Sweets

{A table full of goodies from the delectable Proof Bakery}

Sugarbird Sweets and Teas LA Weekly Sips and Sweets

{Scones from Sugarbird Sweets and Teas}

Roxana Jullpat at LA Weekly Sips and Sweets

{Peppermint fudge from the amazing Roxana Jullapat of Cook's County}

AOC at LA Weekly Sips and Sweets

{This panna cotta with poached pears and pomegranate gelee from AOC was one of my very favorite sweets of the day}

Patina Group at LA Weekly Sips and Sweets

{Liquid nitrogen peppermint meringues from the Patina Group that sent smoke shooting of your nose and mouth!}

Then, of course, there was the "Sips" portion of the event, located in the Reserve, a jazzed-up bank vault downstairs where safety deposit boxes lined the walls.

The Chestnut Club at LA Weekly Sips and Sweets

{"The Incorrigible Uncle Slappy" (El Tesoro Reposada Tequila, amaro lucano, sweet vermouth, Angostura bitters) from The Chestnut Club}

Christiaan Rollich at LA Weekly Sips and Sweets

{The cocktail creation from Christiaan Rollich, one of my favorite mixologists in town, featured bourbon, IPA, walnut liqueur, and lemon}

The Raymond at LA Weekly Sips and Sweets

{The Southern Sling (Basil Hayden Bourbon, meyer lemon, rosemary, infused benedictine, angostura bitters, and meyer lemon zest) from the Raymond 1886}

Sassafrass at LA Weekly Sips and Sweets

{My favorite sip of the afternoon? The Coquito from Karen Grill of Sassafrass: a Puerto Rican eggnog with rum, egg, coconut milk, almond milk, and condensed milk}

Sonny's Hideaway at LA Weekly Sips and Sweets

{Tied for second for me was this cocktail from Sonny's Hideaway, featuring Granny Smith apple, bourbon, lemon, star anise, and Vietnamese cinnamon...}

Bar Harlowe at LA Weekly Sips and Sweets

{...and this "shaved ice" from Bar Harlowe made with Auchentoshan scotch, peppermint, and orange}

I've attended more than my fair share of food festivals, but none have made me swoon like Sips and Sweets. For someone with a sweet tooth as serious as mine, the afternoon inspired visions of sugar plums and craft cocktails dancing in my head.

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Corner Place

The Corner Place

Among my favorite things about living in LA are the bright blue skies and warm temperatures that we enjoy year-round. Months on end of snow and gloom are not for this Hawaiian. However, after weeks and weeks of a heat wave that's kept us Angelenos cloistered in our homes with the air conditioning blasting, I needed a reprieve from the sun. To battle the heat, my gal pal Gastronomy Blog and I planned a double date to The Corner Place Korean BBQ, a Koreatown institution, to dig into a bowl of their famous cold noodles.

Banchan at the Corner Place

An assortment of banchan, including bean sprouts and kimchi, kicked off the meal. While the quality and freshness of the small dishes weren't quite on par with my go-to Korean spots, they satisfied our munching needs until our lunch arrived.

Banchan at The Corner Place

{More banchan}

Bulgogi at The Corner Place

For this visit, we decided to test drive our buddy Midtown Lunch's assertion that four is the magic number here and followed his recommendation: a large bowl of Dong Chi Mi Gook Soo soup ($9.00) plus an order of bulgogi ($23.00).

Naengmyun at The Corner Place

In the Dong Chi Mi Gook Soo, noodles, matchsticks of cucumber, diced green onions, and slices of tomato swam in a wonderfully vinegary clear broth. Flavorful, refreshing and cold, this soup made with a closely guarded secret recipe hit the spot. They even divvied up the oversized bowl into four individual servings for us. I've dreamt of this soup countless times since this meal while melting in the heat.

Cooking Bulgogi at The Corner Place

To ensure that we filled up, we also ordered and grilled up an order of bulgogi, which wasn't a superb version of the dish but completely enjoyable.

Once we added tax and tip, our tab totaled around $40.00. For four people-- and four stuffed people, at that. Looks like four is the magic number, and The Corner Place's Dong Chi Mi Gook Soo is the magic dish to battle scorching temps.

The Corner Place
2819 West James M. Wood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90006

Corner Place on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 25, 2014

The LA Weekly Pancake Breakfast

"Breakfast is how we write the first sentence of the narrative of our day," says Evan Kleiman, chef and host of KCRW's Good Food. As one of LA's many brunch-obsessed citizens, I say amen to that! The story of my Sunday began with airy pancakes, flaky croissants, and crisp bacon at the LA Weekly Pancake Breakfast, a breakfast-lover's dream curated by Kleiman at the Park Plaza Hotel.

LA Weekly Pancake Breakfast

{Coffee mugs and forks greeted guests at the LA Weekly Pancake Breakfast}

The Pancake Breakfast vendors were grouped in several different areas of the hotel, including an outdoor patio and a grand ballroom. 

LA Weekly Pancake Breakfast

LA Weekly Pancake Breakfast

LA Weekly Pancake Breakfast

Since booze and brunch go hand-in-hand, a bar served up libations for the pancake-eaters. 

Dozens of vendors from some of LA's hottest restaurant served up their takes on breakfast and brunch plates. 

Salt's Cure at the LA Weekly Pancake Breakfast

{Oatmeal Griddle Cakes with Cinnamon Butter from Salt's Cure}

Pez at the LA Weekly Pancake Breakfast

{Red Quinoa Oatmeal w/ Dates, Vanilla Crema and Cinnamon Walnuts from Pez}

Secret Chinese Delivery at the LA Weekly Pancake Breakfast

{Mushu Pork w/ Scallion Pancake from Secret Chinese Delivery}

Farm Shop at the LA Weekly Pancake Breakfast

{Croissants and Meringues from FarmShop}

57 at the LA Weekly Pancake Breakfast

{House-Made Rolls w/ Lardo from 57}

Good Girl Dinette at the LA Weekly Pancake Breakfast

{Chicken Handpies and Chilled Coconut Maple Oatmeal from Good Girl Dinette}

Metro Cafe at the LA Weekly Pancake Breakfast

{Scrambled Eggs w/ Dill from Metro Cafe}

Locali at the LA Weekly Pancake Breakfast

{Vegan Breakfast Sandwich and Kale Salad from Locali}

Goldie's at the LA Weekly Pancake Breakfast

{Blueberry Oatmeal from Goldie's}

Here's a look at some of my favorite bites of the morning:

BLD at the LA Weekly Pancake Breakfast

{Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes from BLD}

East Borough at the LA Weekly Pancake Breakfast

{Vietnamese French Toast w/ Saigon Cinnamon, Strawberry Compote and Condensed Milk from East Borough}

Huckleberry at the LA Weekly Pancake Breakfast

{Brown Rice and Quinoa Pancakes w/ Milo and Olive House-Made Sausage, Caramelized Onions, Fig Jam and Creme Fraiche from Huckleberry}

Valerie Confections at the LA Weekly Pancake Breakfast

{French Toast with Maple Syrup, Butter, and Fresh Berries from Valerie Confections}

EggSlut at the LA Weekly Pancake Breakfast

{Pancake, Eggs, and Bacon from Eggslut}

Jist at the LA Weekly Pancake Breakfast

{Chashu Hash Skillet w/ Pork Belly from Jist Come Home}

A-Frame at the LA Weekly Pancake Breakfast

{Chocolate Pancakes from A-Frame}

Wexler's Deli at the LA Weekly Pancake Breakfast

{Eggs and House-Smoked Salmon from Wexler's Deli}

For a big time fan of AM indulging (like me), the event was a dream come true, offering all the elements of a successful brunch-- sweet, savory and boozy. I'll dream of these eats all week long.