In Drink, Food, Media on November 2, 2010 at 10:29 pm
Earlier this evening I had the huge honor of speaking at Patric Kuh’s food-writing class at UCLA Extension. Patric wins James Beard writing awards like I change my nail polish. (If anyone’s asking, I’m ditching sold-out-for-fall Chanel Khaki Vert and returning to an oldie but goodie, OPI’s My Private Jet.) So much fun to talk to such a great group—and I hope those of you who migrate over here will let me know as you set up your blogs!
In the meantime, I realize I haven’t talked yet about Los Angeles Magazine‘s AMAZING November issue: “The Ultimate Guide to Mexican Food in LA.” It ROCKS—and it’s on newsstands, so grab a copy while you can. In it, Kuh, the magazine’s restaurant critic, shares his picks for Top 10 Mexican Restaurants. The list includes a few longtime favorites and a bunch I can’t wait to check out. Here’s what his list doesn’t include (and nor should it), but is worth mentioning on this election night: Lucy’s El Adobe on Melrose across from Paramount Studios, a time-honored Mexican café more famous for its clientele than carnitas.
Today Lucy’s is known for subpar chicken mole and cloying Margaritas, but back in the day it was the stage for then-Governor Jerry Brown’s romance with Linda Ronstadt. Lucy’s also acted as his virtual Los Angeles office. And it still features Jerry Brown’s photo prominently (as well as the Pope’s and Don Henley’s). But Lucy’s also has personal meaning: it was featured in heavy rotation during the early dating days with yours truly and Mr. Foodinista for its outdoor patio (one of us was a smoker at the time) and proximity to our respective apartments on Sycamore.
A month after we were married, we ended up buying our first home a mile south or so on the same road we used to take to get to Lucy’s. We can see the Paramount water tower —from our street! And, coming full circle, tonight Wolf Blitzer on CNN is projecting that Jerry Brown is once again California’s Governor. I wish Mr Foodinista and I were sitting at Lucy’s right now to take it all in, pushing around stale chips on a plate, sipping saccharine-sweet margs and toasting to loves old, new and new again.
In Food, On Location: Out and About in L.A. on August 26, 2010 at 2:37 pm
My sister moved to Santa Monica from Napa Valley almost a year ago, during which time she’s been checking off places to see, things to do, dishes to try from her L.A. To-Do list. The latest on that list was bibimbap (a bowl of sizzling rice served with beef, seaweed and veggies and topped with a fried egg) at my favorite spot in the city: Jeon Ju in Koreatown. We started with a refreshing bowl of cold beef broth with noodles—perfect on a summer day.
Then came the main event, the bibimbap. While many places use ground or sliced beef in their version, Jeon Ju uses kalbi (Korean bbq’d beef short ribs, see top photo) and it’s all served in a sizzling stone pot to make the rice extra crispy. I love to add a bit of kimchi and some Cho Kochujang (a spicy sweet chili pepper sauce) to spice things up. Now, I’ll concede that bibimbap might not be the cure to beat this heat, but it is the recipe for happiness.
2716 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles (cross street Vermont), tel. 213-386-5678
In Food, On Location: Out and About in L.A. on May 22, 2010 at 9:15 am
Following a very naughty girls lunch yesterday with Anne and Booth at Bouchon in Beverly Hills—that started with Krug and ended with crème caramel and all manner of butter-drenched goodness in between—I’m mending my ways with a pious lunch today. At the beginning of each week I make a big bowl of red quinoa to keep in the fridge so that I can scoop out half a cup for lunch and add whatever leftovers are in the fridge. Quinoa is one of those super foods—a complete protein, so it’s almost like having a big red, juicy steak but without the fat or guilt. For this version, I chopped up pea tendrils, green onions, a leftover grilled chicken breast, sprinkled some crumbled feta and tossed with half a cup of quinoa and a tablespoon of Bragg’s Ginger Sesame Salad Dressing (recommended by nutritionist Ashley Koff).
It’s a virtuous lunch, which leaves room in life and your waistline for Vouvray-drenched moments like these:
Thank you, Anne, for sharing these photos and being so fabulous that they sent out FOUR desserts. We love you!
In Food, Media, On Location: Out and About in L.A. on May 19, 2010 at 6:55 pm
Is there any better way to spend a lunch hour than slurping pho with a favorite friend? Today, my friend Lizzie (author of awesome new blog, Tomboy Style) and I hit Pho Cafe on Sunset for some steaming bowls of Vietnames pho—beef soup with rice noodles, basil, lime, bean sprouts and peppers. I like to get the #13 with free-range chicken instead of beef, and a side of Silver Lake hipsters in requisite knit caps on a sunny LA day:
Pho Cafe also serves a mean iced coffee with condensed milk.
Perfect fare for discussing our home office routines, namely what Lizzie listens to while she works. For the inside scoop, head on over to Herman Miller’s LIFEWORK blog, which today features Lizzie’s home office and play list. Rock out.
Photo by Lizzie Garrett Mettler
In Fashion, Food, Media, On Location: Out and About in L.A. on April 23, 2010 at 9:57 am
Yesterday morning I found myself with a few hours to kill on the west side while getting Mr Foodinsita’s car serviced, and so I walked over to my favorite breakfast spot in Santa Monica, Huckleberry Café. I ordered an ENORMOUS bowl of trifle (which they passive aggressively brought with two spoons) and settled in with a cup of coffee and The Unexpurgated Beaton: The Cecil Beaton Diares as He Wrote Them 1970-1980. It’s a tough call on which is more delicious—the divine raspberry-soaked cake with a gooey mess of whipped cream and custard, or the viciousness with which Beaton describes a television appearance by his aging friend Marlene Dietrich. I wish I could share a taste of that trifle, but instead here’s a sampling of Beaton, unexpurgated:
Even for a hardened expert like myself it was impossible to find the chink in her armour. All the danger spots were disguised. Her dress, her figure, her limbs, all made to appear like those of the youngest. When one thinks of this old doll rattling on and coining in the money, and then when one thinks of Greta, lined, grey, unhappy, never doing anything to stave off boredom, one wonders that they are of the same stuff. I sat enraptured and not a bit critical as I had imagined. The old trooper never changes her tricks because she knows they work, and because she invented those tricks she must be given credit for being a virtuoso in the art of legerdemain.
“You know me,” Marlene is fond of saying. You don’t. Nobody does—because she’s a real phoney. She’s a liar, an egomaniac, a bore, but she has her points. She’s never late, she’s generous and she’s, as a performer, on a grand scale in a period of pygmies.—Cecil Beaton, 1973
Marlene Dietrich, photographed by Cecil Beaton, 1936
In Food, On Location: Out and About in L.A. on March 11, 2010 at 5:47 pm
Today constituted a perfect afternoon. I met one of my besties, Missy Suicide, for lunch at one of my favorite restaurants, Loteria Hollywood. Is there any better way to fritter away a lunch hour than nibbling on griddle-toasted cheese wrapped in corn tortillas, followed by spicy shrimp tacos with avocado and crema (above)?
The restaurant, per usual, was packed. LA Weekly‘s Jonathan Gold was enjoying a michelada at the next table with Los Angeles Times Magazine editor, Nancy Clare. Owner Jimmy stopped by and said the new Studio City location will be getting a liquor license any day now. (Word on the street is there’s a 45 minute wait to get in—go early!)
After lunch, Missy & I walked back to the new Suicide Girls offices off Hollywood Blvd., where the crew was preparing for their celeb-studded premiere tomorrow night. As if the day could get any better, Missy gave me an adorable SG baby doll nightshirt (ooh la la!) and this saucy deck of cards. Score! You can purchase SG gear on the website by clicking HERE. Thank you, Missy!!!
In Food, On Location: Out and About in L.A. on February 5, 2010 at 5:33 pm
Today it is pouring, and I mean, POURING in Los Angeles. After fighting my way through hellacious traffic from a morning meeting over in Santa Monica, I met my friend Trisha for lunch at Petrossian in West Hollywood. Let’s just say that if you ever need a little sunshine on a dreary day, this just might do the trick. We started with a glass of Champagne, and I kind of can’t believe what fabulousness happened next. Let’s start with blini with trout roe:
We also each had a bite of salmon roe and some classic caviar. I love the different textures and flavors from dark and rich to sweet and juicy.
And then came what Trisha dubbed the ultimate Super Bowl dip: caviar, dill and cream cheese spread topped with more caviar and served with paper thin purple potato and sweet potato chips. I mean, can you imagine?
Then came my absolute favorite, a soft-boiled egg with toast points smeared with pressed caviar. Okay, so pressed caviar is AWESOME. It’s what they do with the “dregs” and is essentially a paste of 100% sturgeon caviar that has been concentrated and is super intense. A little goes a long way. I bought a little 30 gm jar (1.06 ounces; $63) and am going to spread it over grilled ribeyes tonight. Woohoo! If I have any left over, will toss with pasta for lunch tomorrow! Or maybe I should just go this route for breakfast:
And because we hadn’t had quite enough caviar, and because Trisha knows the chef (the very young and talented Benjamin Bailly, formerly of L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Vegas), we had dessert. Topped with caviar. Think of this as a beignet with salt caramel, but instead of a beignet you have a fried blini and instead of salt, you have a dollop of caviar. Whoa. Thank you, Trisha, for a totally decadent and delicious lunch!!!!!
In Drink, Fashion, Food, On Location: Out and About in L.A. on January 22, 2010 at 11:05 am
© Jar Restaurant
Last night to celebrate my lovely husband’s birthday, we cabbed it in the pouring rain to JAR on Beverly. It’s a favorite spot thanks to its cozy, clubby atmosphere, fantastic bar and comfort food done right. It’s where we went the night we found out I was pregnant back in 2007, and where we had dinner the evening before I went in for a scheduled C-section to welcome Tiny G into the world. But this time, I was able to drink! I started off with their signature Manhattan, made with Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon, Vya Sweet Vermouth and Angostura Bitters. And a cherry of course. My husband predictably ordered a Ketel One and tonic. Here’s what we had (brace yourselves): crab deviled eggs, fried squash blossoms, 1/2 dozen oysters, rib eye (me), Kansas City steak (he), braised Brussels spouts, Japanese purple yams, hot fudge sundae (he) and the best chocolate pudding (me). Oh, and there was a bottle of Morey St Denis involved. Oops! And what did Mr. Foodinista want for his birthday? It makes a girl proud, a pair of crazy Stubbs & Wootton velvet evening slippers. They are a little aggressive, however humorous. Personally, I think The Foodinista’s Father-in-Law—whose shoe collection is to be envied above all others, I’m not kidding—might raise a brow. We’ll have to test that out next month when we visit.
In Food, On Location: Out and About in L.A. on December 14, 2009 at 7:40 pm
Since we’ve known each other, my husband and I have spent every New Year’s Eve together at Lucques, including the New Year’s Eve upon which we got engaged, after which we rushed over to a party at our friends Booth and Adam’s house. This year we are heading back with Booth and Adam, and my sister, Claire, and OH MY GOD. I’m so excited about the low-country menu! Check it out! And what to wear? After a visit to Club One in Savannah with my cousin Stefanie several years ago (photos sooo not appropriate for this blog even though I was wearing a favorite gauzy Gaultier top and Stefanie sparkled in gold lamé), I’m thinking feathers are appropriate. And of course we’ll be toasting to the Lady Chablis!
In Food, On Location: Out and About in L.A. on November 17, 2009 at 10:34 am
thyme café + market © thyme inc
This weekend, my sister and I met our cousin Stefanie for lunch at a new café in Ocean Park called Thyme, which opened last month. It has sort of a Joan’s vibe with lots of white subway tile, charcoal accents and marble countertops. And the menu features similar fare, including a chicken taragon salad sandwich—which I tend to order whenever I see one. When I’ve gotten this at Joan’s, I’ve been disappointed by the bread, which tends to be on the dry side. Here at Thyme, every aspect of the sandwich was FANTASTIC. Smaller slices of hazelnut raisin bread, so a manageable sized sandwich, and with the perfect ratio of tarragon. I would (and now will) drive across town for this sandwich. My sister had an equally superb egg salad sandwich and Stefanie tried a trio of grilled salmon salad, orzo salad and a third that’s escaping memory (I think it involved snap peas?). And we each got mini cupcakes for dessert with some good, strong coffee. Please, please go check this place out and let me know what you order!
mini cupcakes © thyme inc