Burger City Grill in Torrance, CA

Do you ever wonder where the word burger derived? I decided to look it up and sure enough Hamburg, Germany is the home of the first hamburger, made from a Hamburg steak (this blend consists of three muscles: chest, shoulder, and back). German immigrants in New York brought the steak into restaurants, then it naturally took a turn during the Industrial Revolution and became more Americanized. It was served first to industrial workers as a “steak” from a food cart. Workers found it hard to eat while standing so this unknown innovator decided to put the meat between two slices of bread. How ingenious, right?

My milkshakes bring all the boys to the yard…

Growing up burgers have always been revered as America’s favorite food. I grew up first with Mc Donald’s, In-N-Out, Carl’s Junior, Jack In The Box, Burger King and Fat Burger. I thought those were the best back then. Then over the years Umami, Fuddruckers, Five Guys, Smashburger, Steak N’ Shake and Shake Shack emerged and elevated the burger game.

Now there’s a new player in Southern California that has been around for seven years, Burger City Grill. I went to their newest location in Torrance, which has been open since January 2017. What’s great about this fast food restaurant is that you have the choice to build your own Hamburger or to choose from the preset menu. Always good to keep options open.

 

Burger City Grill
3605 Artesia Blvd, Torrance, CA 90504
http://burgercitygrill.com/

After a carnivorous trip to Texas, I laid off meat for a week to be sure I would really savor the burgers here. So, when I took that first bite of that juicy burger, it was extra special.

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Doma Kitchen in Marina Del Rey

Although the Westside of LA has plenty of restaurants to choose from, there is a lack in restaurants not owned by corporate chains. I was craving some serious comfort food with that “made from scratch” taste. When I read about Doma Kitchen, I knew it be a great spot to check out, cause “doma” translates into “home” in Slavic. I decided to drop by and taste their take on Eastern European and Central Asian inspired dishes.

Doma Kitchen
4325 Glencoe Ave #8, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
http://www.domakitchen.com/

Owner Angelika Corrente and her little Doma baby

What I love about the space is that it has a duality in character, it has a rustic and a modern feel. The main room gives off a casual vibe with small tables and one raised communal table. In the second room, you feel like you’re in someone’s home.

I am so glad to have met the owner Angelika Corrente because you get to understand the reason and creation of how and why Doma came to be. Chef Kristina Miksyte is a Lithuanian native who supplies Doma Kitchen with all their fantastic dishes.

 

 

Chicken Pelmont Soup

I was there at lunchtime and you can choose from either the brunch menu or the regular menu during that time. If you want to try the best dumpling soup (that I now crave constantly!) order the Chicken Pelmont Soup. These ground chicken dumplings are in a delightful, savory broth topped with fresh dill. It’s the type of soup that makes you just want to drink the soup from the bowl and forget the spoon!

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The Rockefeller in Manhattan Beach

Hey now!

The Rockefeller Gastropub just a few blocks away from the beach and many cute shops nearby. I sat right by their large open window, which is perfect for observing people watching.

The Rockefeller Gastropub
1209 Highland Avenue Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
https://eatrockefeller.com/

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Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern in Santa Monica

When I hear the word “tavern”, my mind takes me back to a bar scene from the TV Show, Cheers. Picture a dimly-lit, confined space with bar stools that make you slouch and not much else to look at. While there’s certainly a time and a place for divey spots like this, there’s also a time and a place to step it up a notch.

Case in point: recently opened Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern, a modern neighborhood restaurant. The spacious, extended patio overlooks the Loews Hotel, JW Marriott Santa Monica Le Merigot and Santa Monica Pier. I checked out JFAT on Ocean Avenue’s Day at the Races earlier in May and tasted the Southwestern Dip and Mint Julep. This time around I tasted a lot more.

Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern 
1733 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90401
http://j-fat.com/locations/santa-monica/ 

Spicy Ahi Poke

Poke is a personal favorite of mine. I have flashbacks of being in Oahu and walking along the beach. The addition of papaya to this Spicy Ahi Poke added more island flair to this appetizer. After one bite I found myself compulsively searching airfare prices to Hawaii.

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Ocean Avenue’s Day At The Races

Ocean Avenue’s Day At The Races, was a culinary walking tour jam-packed with food, drinks and entertainment. Select Santa Monica restaurants, located within walking distance, such as Del Frisco’s, Red O, O+O Sicilian Kitchen and Bar, Chez Jay, Jimmy’s Famous Tavern, and Herringbone and also the Loews Hotel come together and celebrate the Kentucky Derby. Proceeds went to the Surfrider Foundation, which is an organization that is dear to me.

Ahi Tacos by Del Frisco’s

Surfrider Foundation helps protect our beaches and to keep our waters clean. I was fortunate enough to meet and speak with three core volunteers Summer, Josh and Graham from the West Los Angeles Malibu Chapter. My son has participated in beach clean ups before for Dock Weiler (#proudmomma!) so I was happy for him to meet others who are noble in their care for beaches as well.

We were given a card that mapped out all 7 places we needed to visit and had to have checked off on our list. Once you complete the card, you have the opportunity to bring it back to the main booth at Del Frisco’s and be entered in a drawing to win a night stay at The Shore Hotel. Who wouldn’t want to win staying at a cool, chic and hip hotel right on Ocean Avenue?

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Ocean Avenue’s Day at the Races: Celebrating The Kentucky Derby and Raising Funds for the Surfrider Foundation

How can you not get excited for a culinary crawl that celebrates the Kentucky Derby and raises funds for the Surfrider Foundation? I know I am!

Restaurants and hotels along Santa Monica’s premier oceanfront street come together for Ocean Avenue’s Day at the Races, a culinary walking tour to celebrate the Kentucky Derby and raise funds for the Surfrider Foundation on Saturday, May 6, from 12-5 p.m.

Come out and support by purchasing a ticket for $40 here (a portion on all ticket sales will benefit Surfrider Foundation).

This crawl will begin at Del Frisco’s Grille with their signature Ahi Tuna Tacos and a complimentary Mint Julep courtesy of American Born. Then we’ll trot along for food and drink tastings at each of the participating locations and watch the race at 3:34 p.m.

Food offerings include classic Sicilian meatballs at O+O Sicilian Kitchen & Bar. Julianne recently checked out this new-ish spot and I’m excited to try all the Sicilian goodness myself! Then we’ll race off to try Corn & Goat Cheese Tamales at Red O, Oysters Rockefeller at Herringbone, Chicken and Beef Empanadas at Shore Hotel and more. 

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Venice Art Crawl Presents Music Connects Us: Photography & Art Show

The Venice Art Crawl, a music fundraiser organized by an all-volunteer non-profit organization that is part of the Venice Chamber of Commerce, took place outside of Venice for the first time. Now in its seventh year, the art crawl has moved to Runway at Playa Vista, not too far from the beach. The 3800 square foot installation space is connected to Hal’s Bar & Grill, which used to be located in Abbott Kinney. Funds raised will go to preserving the arts of Venice and keeping it alive within the community. Over 70 artists had their work displayed, and DJs Arabian Prince and Betty Nguyen spun their jams in the background.

The moment I walked into the Runway at Playa Vista, I naturally gravitated to Neely Shearer, an author and curator who was welcoming to guests. She showed me the ropes around this event. I saw several pieces of art displayed I found interesting. Local and international artists, in addition to street artists, were represented. 

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Venice Art Crawl Presents Music Connects Us: Photography & Art Show on 4/20

The Venice Art Crawl (VAC) is pleased to present its 7th annual Anniversary Fundraiser event, Music Connects Us: Photography & Art Show on Thursday April 20, 2017 at the Runway at Playa Vista, 12746 W. Jefferson Blvd, Playa Vista, 90066 from 6-10PM. The event will take place at the Runway, transforming a 3,800 square foot space into an urban art installation. Over 70 local and international artists will be featured, including Miles Regis, Spaik, Plastic Jesus, Guy Webster, Balloonski, and more!

VIP tickets include a sit down dinner at the new Hal’s Bar & Grill Playa Vista. General admission tickets are also available. Tickets can be purchased at www.veniceartcrawl.com for the “VIP Dinner and Art Show” package for $200 and the “Art Show” alone for $40.    

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Spring Has Sprung: Chef Zach Geerson Hosts a Journeyman’s Preview Dinner at Citizen Kitchen, in Hotel Fullerton

The colorful dining room at Citizen Kitchen, where Chef Zach hosts the Journeyman’s dinners

Journeyman’s Food + Drink is a restaurant that will be opening up in a few months (alongside Citizen Kitchen) at the Hotel Fullerton in Fullerton, CA. Executive Chef Zach Geerson (of Citizen Kitchen) will be spearheading Journeyman’s and is giving his fans a taste of what’s to come, with his private wine pairing dinners. If you are wondering why it’s going to be called Journeyman’s, Chef Zach explains, “We thought it was embodying how we feel about our craft to say that we are constantly Journeymen.”

Journeyman’s 
1500 S. Raymond Ave, Fullerton, CA 92831
http://www.hfullerton.com/dining-en.html

Chef Zach has already hosted three precursor wine pairing dinners since November of last year. The first dinner series, “A Trip to Spain” embodied dishes reminiscent of a vacation in Spain such as the Tortilla Española Spanish, Grilled Octopus, Paella en Su Tinta, and Quail in Grape Leaf.

Chef Zach and TinTin

The second series was called “Five” because it consisted of five dishes, using five ingredients, cooked five different ways. The main ingredients that were consistent of the dishes were duck, almond, beet, cocoa, and honey. I thought the most unique dish was the Almond Bisque. One wouldn’t think that the ingredients chosen would go well together, but they did. The Beet Salad was very flavorful. I am not a huge fan of beets, but lately, they’ve been growing on me. Next, there was the Cocoa Agnolotti and the texture of that pasta was incredible. The Duck Breast was outstanding- I could have had that as my main entree and be satisfied. Now to my surprise the Honey Red Velvet Cake also contained the five ingredients, and I did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did. You could taste just a hint of the smokey duck.

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