A passion for food + fashion

Posts Tagged ‘valerie confections’

Thankful for You

In Food, Recipes on November 13, 2016 at 9:23 pm


Oh, hi there! It’s been a while. Thank you guys for continuing to visit the site (we are at almost a million views!!!!). So where have I been? I’ve been cooking, a lot, over on my Instagram feed. But with Thanksgiving approaching, which is my very favorite day of the entire year, I had a little more to say! This year we’re celebrating with a few of our favorite friends and combining two family traditions, and I can’t wait. I started planning the menu a few weeks before Halloween (like around Labor Day) but wasn’t allowed to talk about it out loud until November rolled around.

I’ve ordered our BN Ranch Heritage Turkey from Gwen Butcher Shop, which comes with Curtis Stone’s homemade cranberry sauce. And I’m buying the pies. There I said it. I ordered one of these Winter Luxury Pumpkin Pies from Valerie Confections, which uses roasted ‘Winter Luxury’ pumpkins and is topped with whipped cream.

pumpkin pie

I had planned to make a pecan pie for my husband, because it is the only thing he wants at Thanksgiving really, but then I got to talking to my barista the other day and learned that Go Get ‘Em Tiger is making Brown Butter Pecan Pies with toasted California pecans, brown butter sauce and a whole wheat crust. Whoa!


So what else will be on the table? This incredible Mushroom Thyme Gravy, for sure. It’s vegetarian and make-ahead. I put it together in the morning and keep it warm in a thermos all day.


Both families are making a stuffing, and I’m going back and forth between three options for ours. Stay tuned! Mashed potatoes, check. Green beans, roasted carrots, check. My husband is grilling Brussels sprouts which he tosses in parm, and our friend Justin is mixing up Whiskey Sours and Shrimp Cocktail while we all cook. Would love to hear your must-haves for Thanksgiving, particularly if you have any favorite stuffing recipes.

Sisters of Los Angeles

In Design, Drink, Fashion, Food on December 15, 2012 at 11:22 am

SOLApencilsHere’s a smart idea. If you want something done, ask someone who’s busy. If you want something done well, ask three working women with kids. Such is the story of SoLA—Sisters of Los Angeles—founded by architect Barbara Bestor, designer Karen Alweil, and fashion publicist Sara Stein, all of whom are moms. This summer, the trio launched their colorful SoLA collection of groovy goods, which highlight those places most sacred to Angelenos—neighborhoods, canyons, beaches and, yes, our freeways—and L.A. design at its best, or what Bestor describes as “Southern California nature and street culture, kustom kars, Ed Ruscha sunsets, Griffith Park flora, printed materials blown up.”

It’s all so, so good! Scroll down for a Q&A with the stylish sisters, but first my picks for any last-minute holiday shopping on your list. You can find SoLA’s goods at Kitson, Ron Robinson – Fred Segal, The Getty, MOCA, The Downtown Library, Venokado, Firefly in Venice, and Yolk.

SOLAcanyon glassesI love these Canyon Rocks Glasses, handmade in Los Angeles using organic ink. Or how about Santa using one of these oversized Hollywood totes to deliver presents this year?

SOLAbagIf I were Santa, I’d skip the milk and cookies and hope that a plateful of SoLA’s gorgeous Valerie Confections Chocolate Candy Bars (particularly the dark cherry and chocolate, available at Venokado in Santa Monica and West Hollywood) had been left by the mantle with a wee dram of Talisker…


How did SoLA begin?

Barbara: I had lunch with Sara and Karen at Little Dom’s and we had a lot of iced tea and got very excited and that was that!

Favorite Los Angeles canyon?

Sara: I love Runyon Canyon—it is a place for people and their dogs (I have two rescues LUKE & LEIA). And just like all the best places in LA., you never know who you might see. But Beachwood is near & dear to my heart. I escaped there after a bad breakup—it is a place to disappear and redefine yourself.

Barbara: Elysian Park

Karen: Too hard to pick just one. Mailbu for the beach. Laurel reminds me of my childhood. Benedict because it is so much fun to drive and explore.

What piece of clothing or accessory is in heaviest rotation right now?

Sara: Saltwater Sandals & Superga Sneakers & Rachel Loren earrings my husband gave me.


Barbara: Roman Kremer for Camper wedges, Isabel Marant zipper jacket

camper wedges

Karen: Grey Blazer from Uniqlo, Rachel Comey wedges and an FFS necklace

ffs vulcanite necklace

What five things will we always find in your closet?

Sara: Muji Striped Sweater, Odd Molly tops, Matta dresses, Madewell t-shirts & white denim (I never met a white jean I did not like)

madewell t-shirt

Barbara: fancy tshirts black, fancy tshirts navy blue, black jeans, leather bracelet, dark jackets

Karen: dark denim jeans, Matta dresses, blazers, always in search of the perfect t-shirt and always a pair of platforms


What five things will we always find in your refrigerator?

Sara: Manchego cheese, 1% organic milk, red grapes, my mom’s salad dressing, Fage yogurt with honey

Barbara: sharp cheddar, avocados, 2%milk, iced decaf coffee—homemade, apples

Karen: Salami, salami, cheese, more cheese—stinkier the better, and iced tea

Favorite piece of luggage?

Sara: my husband is the traveler so I steal from him whatever I can

Barbara: Clare Vivier leather travel bag (actually I don’t have one yet but I ASPIRE to have one, in navy blue, and then I can be fabulous).

clare vivier duffle

Karen: Flight 001 Spacepaks


Five things you always bring on vacation…

Sara: My children Noah & Maggie, the game Apples to Apples, my iPad, Dr. Robin Sun Screen (for the kids and me), my running shoes


Barbara: Bea and Charlotte—my teen queens, books, tennis stuff, too much weight in my suitcase

Karen: My husband Daniel, my son Gabriel, music, ipad, magazines and of course too many shoes

SoLA iPad cases, image via apartmenttherapy.com

SoLA iPad cases at YOLK, image via apartmenttherapy.com

Favorite cocktail?

Sara: Hitching Post “Cork Dancer” Pinot Noir

Barbara: vodka soda or maybe a dark and stormy if I am on Block Island

Karen: Kettel one straight up with a twist

i love l.a. because…

Sara: I can BBQ my Thanksgiving turkey in shorts and a t-shirt! (and I do it every year as you know with my dad’s Red River BBQ Sauce)

Barbara: it is the funnest place to live and the most creative place I know.

Karen: It’s home and the most beautiful and inspiring place all year long

Ask the Foodinista: Holiday Shopping

In Design, Food on November 20, 2010 at 1:19 pm

Dear Foodinista,

Please bestow upon us your great wisdom…what the hell are you buying for all those little holiday gifts this season seems to suddenly require? The babysitter who only comes five times a year and the housekeeper and the twelve teachers at preschool? Gift cards always seem so crass, and I am stumped for something I can actually afford, that they will actually enjoy.

Signed, Venice Beach

Dear Venice Beach,

Your email arrived at a perfect time. I’ve been putting together some gift ideas for the holidays, which I will start to roll out this Monday. But let’s start today with a few ideas that won’t break the bank. If you run in foodie crowds, and I know you do, look no further for the perfect holiday gift: Rancho Gordo Heirloom Beans. The packaging is gorgeous—just wrap with a little rafia bow—and these heirloom beans are sure to make any cook simply giddy. And at $5 a bag, the price is right.

If you need to step it up a little, I’d hightail it over to Heath Ceramics on Beverly today or tomorrow as everything in the ENTIRE store is 20% off. Like these beautiful bud vases, $25 (less 20%). They come in any number of gorgeous Heath glazes. There were also charming tea towels, wooden servers and Weck jars (below). I stocked up on a bunch this morning, because it’s always important to remember yourself when shopping for others.

For the babysitters, teachers and others who make daily life all the more sweet, I’ll be heading to Valerie Confections. Valerie’s four-piece chocolate box ($13) is every bit as delicious as it is pretty. Or if chocolate isn’t their thing, check out this sweet little box of four petits fours. If Valerie or Stan is behind the counter, be sure to tell them the Foodinista said hello. And that she is cooking up her next excuse for ordering one of Valerie’s ludicrously divine rose petal cakes.

Valerie Confections Rose Petal Cake

In Food on September 27, 2010 at 5:53 pm

Saturday night we celebrated my sister Claire’s birthday—and celebrate we did! Starting with pink Champagne and potato chips with crème fraîche and caviar at our friend Lizzie’s, followed by a three-tier seafood tower situation at Hungry Cat, and culminating in a Valerie Confections Rose Petal Cake back at chez Foodinista. I do not exaggerate when I say it is now my favorite cake on offer in the entire city of Los Angeles! This is where Alice Waters of Chez Panisse and I part ways: Waters recently special-ordered a chocolate cake with candied mint from Valerie, and added that after trying Valerie’s candied basil she might steal that idea for Chez Panisse. So while Waters ponders which of Valerie’s cakes with candied herbs she wants to heist, I’ll be keeping this rose petal number all to myself. This is the second of these cakes I’ve ordered from Valerie in as many weeks. Proof positive:

Thank god we have a little of Claire’s cake leftover, because turns out it is also spectacular with a cup of coffee for breakfast. Happy Birthday, Claire!

Bullock’s Wilshire Tea Room Coconut Cream Pie

In Food on July 24, 2010 at 9:55 am

© Robert Trachtenberg via tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com

Back in what I like to call my “fashion past,” friend, documentary filmmaker and fashion photographer extraordinaire Robert Trachtenberg and I made a lot of pretty pictures together. But perhaps none so delicious as the above, which appeared on T Magazine‘s blog several weeks ago, along with a fantastic story about Valerie Confections “vintage cake” revival of some of LA’s most beloved desserts (think Brown Derby Grapefruit Cake or Chasen’s Banana Shortcake).  Those of us lucky enough to live in Los Angeles know Valerie’s chocolates all too well, and word is spreading fast. In fact just this week Alice Waters popped into the shop and loaded up on Valerie’s mint mendiants, liquid caramels, nut toffees, preserves, and Champagne (my kind of girl).

But back to this coconut mass of heaven. Ever since I saw Robert’s story, I’ve had this coconut cream pie on the brain. And so finally—at 5 o’clock on Thursday evening—I caved and tried Valerie’s recipe. By 9 pm Mr. Foodinista and I were eating a slice of the best (if not as pretty as Robert’s) coconut cream pie I can remember. Oh, and guess what I had for breakfast?

Note about recipe: look for cream of coconut in a liquor store or in the booze aisle of the grocery store (if you live in a state like California where you can buy such things at the supermarket). It comes in a can and apparently is used for piña coladas and the like: