Girls on Food

Culver City

GOF Interview: Brooke Rewa of mylk

There’s nothing more irritating than buying something that you think is good for you and then realizing, it’s not. After the interview below with Brooke Rewa, owner of mylk by Made With Love Wellness Co, I finally decided to look up the ingredients to the almond milk my husbands likes me to buy and… yikes. I can see all the icky ingredients she pointed out to me: added sugars, gums, binders, fillers and oils. Also, when I looked up the nutritional facts, I realized, there’s nothing nutritional to the almond milk I was buying at all.

According to Brooke, “not all plant milks are created equally and just because it’s a plant milk doesn’t mean it’s actually healthy” and after researching many other store brands of plant-based milks, she’s totally right. Originally, juice started as a beverage line under Made With Love Wellness Co, then came the mylk, which has been very successful.  

After mylk was also such a hit at my recent Shared Plates fundraiser for the L.A. Kitchen, and after tasting many of the different flavors from Brooke’s line, I am officially making the switch in my almond milk to mylk and I hope you’ll join me! Check out my interview with Brooke below!      

GOF: Why did you decide to cut out dairy?

BR: Well, I never liked the taste of milk. My parents would make us drink a glass of milk with dinner every night and I would plug my nose and chug mine to get it down as quickly as possible. I cut out dairy when I was in my early teens mostly because I loved animals and as I learned about the practices of most big dairy farms, I got really grossed out. Plus, it never made me feel that well.  

GOF: Do you remember when and how you discovered almond milk?

BR: I was pretty young when I started drinking non-dairy milks but honestly, I started with soy. It was all the rage back then and the most widely known. Freshman year of Collage, I moved to San Francisco and that’s when I found almond milk and there was no going back! 

GOF: When it comes to making your own almond milk recipes, what is the process like for you? 

BR: Making the recipes is my favorite part! I’ve never made a plant milk recipe I didn’t like actually. I always joke, as a kid I never competed in talent competitions because I didn’t really have a talent. But if I could go back to my childhood, with my recipes now, I think I’d have a good chance at taking home some prizes! 

GOF: Have you had any recipe blunders when you were creating your products?

BR: I actually have a strange knack for getting it right (or at least tasty) the first time. Other than the literal messes I make, not really. My staff pretty much cringe when they see me coming for the kitchen as I am definitely very messy in there. I have certainly had a few face fulls of blender contents in my day… putting the lid on is very important!  

GOF: I see you grew up on a farm in New York, what brought you out to LA?

BR: My grandparents actually had their own dairy farm, so I spent a lot of time there. I came to LA after film school to work in film/tv. Health and wellness were my other passions but I had no idea how to make a living pursing a career in those areas. 

GOF: How long did you take you to go from selling at farmer’s markets to selling in shops and cafes?

BR: Selling wholesale was really my plan all along so they kind of went hand in hand. The farmer’s market was great because it paid immediately and allowed me to put money right back into my business. Wholesale accounts usually take anywhere from 7-30 days to pay, so you have to have a little financial support to get those accounts going.  

GOF: Any new flavors coming up that you’re excited about? 

BR: Yes! We are planning for the launch of our new Single Serving and Concentrate Frozen Mylks. Hopefully by January 1st, 2019 you will be able to order Goodmylk to your door anywhere in the US! 

GOF: What is your favorite flavor of mylk or juice? 

BR: Matcha Mylk, always. But Nut Nog is coming, during the holidays, that one! 

GOF: Is there anything in the health/lifestyle world that you’re tired of seeing on Instagram? 

BR: Oat milk. I could go on but instead, I encourage people to do their own research. The oat milks on the market are very dangerous for daily consumption. 

GOF: Are there any restaurants in LA that you think live up to Made With Love standards?

BR: We have a few that we are lucky to work with actually! Joi Cafe, Jewel, Green Table Cafe, Sweet Laurel Cafe, the food and drinks are all on point at these places.  

GOF: How often do you do cleanses? 

BR: I personally do our 3 day cleanse with juice, food and our superfood mylkshakes twice a year.  

GOF: If there’s one piece of advice you have for aspiring business owners? 

BR: Be bold. Think Bigger.  
Made With Love Wellness Co is located in Los Angeles, join me in making the switch from grocery store to locally owned!

Girls on Food’s Shared Plates Event Recap

The Girls on Food inaugural fundraiser with Industrious Century City and some of LA’s finest food and beverage vendors raised over $2,300 for the L.A. Kitchen.

Host Julianne Gabert (Girls on Food) hosted the event on Friday, October 5, 2018 at Industrious Century City. This ticketed event was in affiliation with L.A. Kitchen’s Shared Plates fundraiser, a city-wide weekend of gatherings October 5-7, 2018 to celebrate the power of food in Los Angeles. 100% of all ticket sales and any additional funds raised were donated to L.A. Kitchen.

Despite the L.A. Kitchen’s significant impact and outpouring of support, they have had to acknowledge that their combined philanthropic and earned income has not been able to fully sustain their work and meet the requirements of the loan they took out to build their beautiful facility. This required them to temporarily pause their culinary training and meal distribution programs.

Although they are not going anywhere, this year’s Shared Plates was more important than ever. All money raised through Shared Plates was matched as part of their goal to reach $600K by the end of the year. Although this event raised a total $1,167, through donation matching, this event raised $2,334 total!  

Industrious Century City, a co-working space that also celebrated it’s grand opening 2 night before this event, generously donated the space. Attendees were allowed to explore the upscale Century City offices, which make up the entire 17th floor of the Watt Plaza, freely as they participated in the event.

Attendees participated in a “take one, give one” burrito station, sponsored by Benny Borsakian, the owner of Benny’s Tacos. At this station, guests took half a burrito to eat at the event and donated the other half. Burritos and additional leftovers from this event were delivered to non-profit organization Upward Bound House, and distributed to local food insecure.

Slo Bru Craft Coffee owner Eric Raschka provided guests with bottles of his new decaf cold brew coffee. He also donated his new product, Bru Packs, a line of brew-it-yourself cold brew packs for the raffle.

Lauren Zeiher of the mylk team, supplied guests with servings of their honey, lavender and matcha almond milks. Many guests fell in love with these local plant-based mylks.

Gérard Bertrand brand ambassador Mathias Icard poured the brand’s Rosé, Sauvignon Blanc and their 90 point Cap Insula Red Blend into mason jars, which guests were encouraged to take home.

Wolfgang Puck Catering provided hor d’oeuvres including Butternut Squash Tarts with Caramelized Onions and Crispy Sage, Poached Pear Parmesan Crisps as well as an array of desserts like cookies and brownies.

Co-Opportunity Market and Deli, who’s locations include Culver City and Santa Monica, contributed a full crudités plate and a generous $100 gift card for the raffle.

A Chile Mushroom Quinoa Salad was provided by Beaming Century City. This dish was a perfect side for guests keeping it vegan.

The avocado toast station, provided by AvocaToast by Lizzy with bread by Bread Lounge (special thanks to the team at Kitchen Table app for arranging) was one of the most interactive stations. Caterer Lizzy Cooper has a special connection to L.A. Kitchen having volunteered there several times helping them prep food.

Cheeri Cheeri, an artisanal and vegan Filipino ice cream, were scooped by owner Christy Cunanan on site as well, and ended up being the Instagram image hit of the night.

Additional prizes awarded from the raffle included CHAYA Modern Izakaya, Mee And GreetTŪMBI, Osteria Mamma, and Food Stirs.

Stay tuned for information on any upcoming events here at Girls on Food! 

For more information on L.A. Kitchen, visit https://www.lakitchen.org/.

Los Angeles Mom-To-Be: Julianne’s Top Pregnancy Picks

I’m officially 39 weeks down and I’m ready to pop!

Prepping for the birth of my first baby (it’s a girl!) was already pretty stressful but I wanted to share some of my discoveries that made my LA pregnancy relatively smooth.

BEST BABY PREP AND EDUCATION

Even after I read What to Expect While You’re Expecting, I still felt so overwhelmed about my upcoming birthing process. Like many others, I tend to learn better by having a teacher go through everything with me. I won’t mention the name of my health insurance provider, but after taking one of their complimentary workshops, which consisted of watching a dated promotional video with a nurse who just seemed “over it,” I decided I needed to find something more welcoming.

Photo by Morgan Pansing

I heard about Loom, a childbirth education center, from a friend of mine, who even after her childbirth still takes development classes there. After touring the minimalist (but still warm and welcoming) center in the Mid-Wilshire part of LA, I instantly felt so much more comfortable here.

I have taken both the Prepped and Accelerated classes and the Infant Feeding Basics class. What I like about these classes is that the instructors teach in a way that’s approachable, there’s no such thing as a “stupid question” and you’re encouraged to share what you’re going through. The sharing is is building the growing parent community there.

From taking these classes I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders, and I’m so much more prepped for the big push!

Use promo code GOFXLOOM10 to deduct 10% from the cost of any class or service, valid until 5/16/18

BEST ONLINE MATERNITY SAVE AND SPLURGE 

Ingrid & Isabel, my favorite maternity clothing, has 2 different lines available. The line that I would consider a “splurge” is available at select boutiques (like Mom’s The Word, in the Beverly Grove area) and the “less expensive” but still super stylish line is available at Target. I stocked up on items from both and had plenty of chic but comfortable options.

My favorite items are in the image above
Cozy Wrap
Active Legging with Crossover Panel

BEST BABY SHOWER LOCATION

So here’s the thing—I did not plan my baby shower—it was a total surprise! I don’t have much to compare baby shower locations to, but I can note that this beats any baby shower at a house. This surprise party planned was by my mom, my best friend Marcie and #plusonebae and they nailed it with the location at The Culver Hotel. I’m a regular here, so I was stunned that they were able to keep it so secretive!

The party was held in The Studio, a part of the Parisian Room, which is elegant and perfect for a smaller gathering. The food and beverages were served buffet style with bottomless mimosas for everyone (except me!). The brunch service was prompt and attentive, and our server was kind enough to take many pictures of the whole gang together without

BEST FOOD DELIVERY SERVICE 

I decided to test out a couple of delivery box services and my favorite so far has been one of the leading services, Blue Apron. Meal prep boxes are great for busy weeknight meals, especially when it’s just me at home cooking for one. It’s also a great way to shake up your cooking routine, cause as much as I love being in the kitchen, I suffered from “pregnancy brain” during all of this! I just wanted to pick something up and eat it rather have to come up with a menu—but with Blue Apron, that’s taken care of for you!

Whole Grain Pasta & Beef Bolognese with Romaine Salad (relax, that’s just juice to the left)

My favorite meal that I cooked from this box was the Whole Grain Pasta and Beef Bolognese. The serving size says 2, but it was much more ample than that.

I realized from testing Blue Apron during pregnancy that my husband and I will be using this delivery system when I’m nursing, cause I’m positive I will need a break from coming up with my own recipes!

 Blue Apron- Get $40 Off Your First 2 Boxes!

BEST SWEET TOOTH CURBER

I picked up my first batch of Bare Snacks at my local Target and fell in love with all the different flavors! These treats are oven-baked when the fruits are at their ripest, bringing out the best flavors. They’re also non-gmo and B-corp certified. My favorite fruit chips were the Chocolate Coconut Chips, made with unsweetened coco powder and sweetened with coconut nectar. The Granny Smith Apple Chips were also tart perfection.

BEST ITEM I HAD NO CLUE I NEEDED

I learned (from my Prepped and Accelerated class at Loom) that it helps during labor to utilize a balance ball. Upon a run to T.J. Maxx, I got lucky and found a Gaiam Balance Ball Chair and I’ve been straightening my core and pelvic floor while running Girls on Food during the day.

Image via Amazon

It’s very easy to start slouching during pregnancy, since you’re carrying so much more weight than usual and I would say that this helped prevent my posture from getting too slouchy. I also didn’t struggle with my back as much as other moms have complained to me about.

BEST FACE OIL

I wish I could give my baby girl the credit for my glow, but I should actually credit Josie Maran’s Argan Moonstone Drops Makeup Priming and Highlighting Oil. I started using face oils when I noticed my usually dewy skin was getting a bit dry (common in pregnancy).

Image via Sephora

Not only is the lemongrass fragrance lightweight and doesn’t clash with my other perfumes, the holographic glow didn’t break me out at all! My skin texture has improved a lot since I started using this oil, and I plan to continue use after pregnancy.

BEST “SOFT COCKTAILS”

Peter Piper

First off, major props to Nomad Hotel for not calling them “mocktails”! LA’s latest renovated historical landmark (love the art deco) has a fantastic array of soft cocktails in addition to their fantastic bites. There are 6 different soft cocktail options and my favorite was the Peter Piper, with pineapple, lime, black pepper, passionfruit and white balsamic vinegar. It was everything I’d imagine a pregnancy craving cocktail would be, due to the tartness of it. So if you have a mom-to-be in your life, you must take her here!

 Be sure to follow Girls on Food on Instagram @girlsonfoodblog

Renzell: The Perfect App For Fine Dining Lovers

The world of foodie apps is like the wild west right now. Developers are striving to become the next big thing, but few apps offer anything unique to stand out from just being a local restaurant directory. I thought I had seen it all with these apps, until GOF blogger Marcie told me to check out an app called Renzell and it has since become my go-to restaurant directory app.

Cocktail from Redbird in LA, a restaurant you can survey on Renzell

Why Renzell?

It’s for those with impeccable taste –  What separates Renzell out from the other apps is a restaurant directory that is specifically hand-picked by Renzell staff of fine dining establishments in major metropolitan cities. This app isn’t here to help you find a new coffee shop, it’s to help you find the perfect special occasion spot. Think Marea in NYC, Redbird in LA and Alinea in Chicago.

Be undercover –  Members can rate restaurants anonymously through their surveys, which are scored based off overall numbers, no long write-ups required. Their surveys are broken down into categories like ambiance, service, food and cocktails. What I love about this so much is that it’s not public what scores users gave, so I can quietly and candidly score spots. See full list of restaurants here.

Prove it – There is also more accountability in the scores than other review apps. Members are encouraged to show proof of dining by providing a receipt from their visit. This makes me feel better when I read the scores, cause it’s lessening the likelihood of fake reviews.

Get rewarded! – The more you survey and/or provide proof of receipt, the more goodies you can get! Recent rewards include Starbucks gift cards, SoulCycle classes, a month of free Spotify premium and so much more.

With membership benefits, secure anonymity and consistent app functionality, I will consider myself a “lifer” Renzell member.

  • Featured image – Strozzapreti from Marea in New York, a restaurant you can survey on Renzell

Joey Wölffer’s The Road We Travel Pop-Up Shop at Platform LA

A couple of my favorite things: Wölffer Rosé, Wölffer No. 139 Dry Rosé Cider and jewelry!

Whenever I’m in NYC and dining out, I always order a glass of Wölffer Estate’s Rosé and/or my absolute favorite, the No. 139 Dry Rosé Cider. It’s very common to find in NYC restaurants and bars. I’ve always wanted it to come over to the West Coast though!

While Californians still can’t purchase Wölffer Estate wines in their own state, we do have time to shop for new clothes at Co-Owner Joey Wölffer’s pop-up, The Road We Travel at Platform LA. Joey curates a Hamptons-meets-boho collection from an array of her favorite luxe designers.

If we can’t sip on a glass of Wölffer Estate Rosé in LA, we can at least dress like we do! I had a moment to chat with Joey about this pop-up among other things.

Joey Wölffer and myself!

Joey Wölffer at Platform
8830 Washington Blvd, #101, Culver City, CA  90232

JG: How will this pop-up be different from your Sag Harbor and Nantucket locations?

JW: My ascetic is always the same. But LA is sophisticated and glamorous, so for this pop-up, I added a little sparkle to my boho ascetic. I haven’t been able to showcase here, so I’m very excited for that. When Platform reached out to me, I thought “to be amongst these other brands is so great.”

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Pasta Sisters in Los Angeles Expanding to Culver City This Fall!

The type of businesses I love to feature on Girls on Food is family-owned businesses where the food is so tasty, that they’ve earned an opportunity to expand and are on the brink of something bigger. Pasta Sisters in Los Angeles embodies just that- their dine-in deli and pasta shop is growing into a second, and much larger, location in Culver City this coming Fall.

While I eagerly await their future 90 seat Culver City location to open in the Helms Bakery (it’ll be walking distance from me!) I decided to stop into their main shop on W. Pico Blvd. and try the famous spaghetti dishes I’ve been reading so much about over the past two years.

Pasta Sisters
3343 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90019
http://pastasisters.com

Their current location, in an unassuming strip mall, is small, but it gets packed! I came in on a weekday around 4 pm, all the tables were full, and there was a line for the to-go food. As I was taking images of the interior, a regular customer of theirs was curious to know what I was photographing. I told her about the write-up, and she let me know that Pasta Sisters supplies their pasta to a nearby school on Fridays for their lunches. This may have been the first time I was impressed with a restaurant for doing good before I tasted just how good the food was.

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Exclusive Tour: Larder Baking Co. in LA

Editor note: This tour is not open to the public, this was a private tour 

In the Fall of 2013, I moved from Venice to Brentwood (fun fact: very close to the Nicole Simpson house). I absolutely loved wandering around San Vicente Blvd. Four years later, the long and winding street continues to be packed with restaurants, coffee shops, boutiques, pilates studios- it’s all upscale, but not in a flashy way.

I discovered The Larder at Tavern one day on a whim, in a gutterpunk top and sweats. I was just looking for a cheap cup of coffee. Little did I know I was wandering into what would become a regular spot for me and maintains a lot of respect from this foodie.

The Larder at Tavern is attached to a low-key but still beautiful restaurant Tavern. The Larder is even more casual serving coffee beverages, breads, deli foods, salads, sandwiches, desserts and more. I ate there a lot and everything was always phenomenal but the bread always stood out to me.

Sourdough –
Photo by Meagan McCall

The Larder’s breads and pastries are supplied from Larder Baking Co which is owned by Chef Suzanne Goin (James Beard award winner) and restauranteur Caroline Styne (James Beard nominated). Since 2008, Nathan Dakdouk has been serving as Master Baker and supplying baked goods to Goin and Styne’s other spots Lucques, AOC and Tavern as well.

 

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Public School in Culver City: An Education in the Art of Food and Beer

“We’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that’s all.” – Andrew “The Breakfast Club”

Public School
9411 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232
http://www.psontap.com/locations/ps310/

Time for class!

Whether or not your high school experience was your glory days or you were an outcast, it’s tough to not appreciate Public School’s “stroll-down-memory lane” theme. Everything, from the happy hour called “Recess”, to the Mead composition notebook-inspired menu design, the times tables wall decor in the bar, is all reminiscent of your average American high school.

Is Public School a chain-restaurant? Considering it’s owned by Grill Concepts (Daily Grill and The Grill On The Alley) with physical headquarters in Woodland Hills, CA and they have 4 different restaurants with over 30 locations, I think it’s safe to place Public School in this category.

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Any Fin is Possible: Fin in Culver City, CA

One of the best things about the LA scene is the casual approach to dining. Back in my hometown of Sacramento, it was rare for us to dine out. And when we did, we dressed up. I’m talking heels, nylons, and dresses. We felt that if we were going to enjoy fantastic food, we had to dress-to-the-nines to be considered respectable to the restaurant.

Fast forward to today. I’ve made it past the 3-year mark in LA, and I have zero qualms about showing up at a fantastic restaurant like Fin in Culver City in my cute casual clothes.

And alone. Another thing my parents would probably feel strange about. I see solo diners all the time in LA, but I don’t recall ever seeing a table for one growing up.

Enough with my random tidbits.

Fin2I finally checked out Fin, in Culver City. Fin has a lovely interior, and the staff is super friendly, even if you’re alone and in casual clothes.

Fin
12223 W. Washington blvd, Culver City, CA 90066
http://finculvercity.com 

I got there around 5:30 PM, which the perfect time cause you can order items from the happy hour and the main menu.

All the items on the happy hour menu, which includes food & drink, are under $10, which is pretty rare in LA. In fact, all the happy hour drinks are under $7. Westsiders, this should be your new happy hour haven!

Fin1As much as I wanted to stick with happy hour drinks, Justin, my fantastic server, told me about the Basile Night cocktail. Made with Plymouth Gin, elderflower liqueur, lime, and muddled basil it was right up my alley. It’s the perfect balance of a girlie cocktail and a less sweet one, but I’m all about the herbal finish from the basil. So refreshing!

I started with two bite-sized treats.  The Tuna Jalapeño Crispy Rice, and it’s the best on their happy hour menu. First off, their spicy tuna mix is beautiful, as you can from the image. Unlike most places that give you a pre-mixed glob of spicy tuna, you can see the details of scallions and spices they incorporate at Fin. The fried rice square also had a chewy rice center and wasn’t hard throughout, like past experiences I’ve had with this dish. The jalapeño on top adds an extra kick of greatness.

Fin3
Tuna Jalapeño Crispy Rice

Fin4The next smaller item I ordered, the Spicy Yellowtail Handroll was a special, but maybe if we all order it and tell them how much we love it, they’ll add it to the menu. The chef’s spicy blend didn’t overwhelm the yellowtail, and the portion size is perfect for an entree pre-game.

Justin told me that the most popular dishes are some of the starters, so I ordered the Citrus Truffle Salmon Sashimi from the cold starters selection and the Seared Beef Carpaccio from the hot starters selection. Best of both temperatures.

Fin8The carpaccio was a large portion, perfect to share with friends. The seared fillet mignon topped with crispy fried shiitake mushrooms and a truffle chive dressing. So delicious.

The salmon sashimi was by far my favorite item at Fin. The salmon sashimi is served with a ponzu sauce, drizzled with a white truffle oil, topped with black truffle shavings and garnished with micro greens. The combination of the flavors of citrus and truffle was to die for, and the fatty salmon soaks it in perfectly. Tip: If you have to take a doggy bag home, the sashimi is even better soaked in the juices overnight. Trust me.

Fin7
Citrus Truffle Salmon Sashimi

Fin5One of the perks of being a Girl on Food is sometimes, if I ask very politely, the Chef will allow me to sample a taste of an item. It doesn’t always work out, but Justin sweet talked him into letting me try a taste of the Pumpkin Tempura. The slice pumpkin is lightly battered and fried to crisp, then topped with a magical curry salt. Seriously, if I had more room, I would order two of these! The pumpkin is so soft and sweet, but that curry salt makes this side extra special.

Blushing Geisha
Blushing Geisha

Fin6

After all these savory dishes I had a serious sweet tooth… and it was a cheat day… why not a cocktail with dessert? I tried the Blushing Geisha, which is plum wine, Rock Sake, Yuzu juice and a lychee fruit (I’m a sucker for anything with lychee on a stick). I also ordered the Coconut Pineapple Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream. What a perfect ending. The frosting on the cake was so creamy and beautiful- what a perfect way to end this!

If you’re on the Westside, be sure to check Fin out, especially for that Happy Hour! 

Make Out in Culver City: Our Favorite Plant-Based Cafe

To the surprise of some of you I truly and madly love vegetables. It almost feels funny to say it out loud; I know you guys don’t picture me as the kind of girl that eats her greens but because my favorite plant-based restaurant is celebrating their first year I wanted to share with all of you this little piece of healthy heaven.

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Make Out Culver City
9426 West Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232
http://www.makeouteveryday.com

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Make Out is located in a 1920s building in the heart of Culver City. The place is modern chic and what I like the most is that it has a very inviting café vibe. It has an array of big tables and -be warned- once you hit the couch you will not want to leave. The menu is full of healthy nutritious food mostly vegan and raw, and you will be able to enjoy juices, smoothies and/or a full meal. The beauty of it is that it doesn’t matter what you eat either way you will be doing your body a favor.

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To start my meal, I ordered the Kombucha. It was fizzy, refreshing and came in a bunch of flavors I had pineapple. And the special of the day: the Nachos Fiesta. The Nachos were made with blue corn tortillas, vegan cheese and pico de gallo. I think that they should add the Nachos permanently on the menu because they were so tasty.

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After that, I wanted to try some of the soups. And because I’m a good Mexican, the first soup I tried was the bean soup. Let me tell you it was so comforting; there is nothing like having freshly made bean soup when it’s cold in LA. Then I had the Squash soup. It had crunchy pepitas on top, and it was so incredibly creamy that it is hard to believe that it was dairy-free.

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From the small plates section on the menu, I decided to have the Spicy Carrot Roll made with nori better known as seaweed, jalapeño “cream cheese”, cucumber and avocado. What an inspiring take on sushi! It was soft on the outside and crunchy on the inside. The plate was not only beautiful, but the roll tasted splendid.

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I proceeded to try the flatbreads. I went with the Pizza flatbread that has Sundried Marinara, Pistachio Pesto, and Macadamia Ricotta. I’m telling you that Ricotta tasted like the real deal!! Followed by the Fennel flatbread. This one has baba ganoush, mint, lemon, and capers. Both of the flatbreads were delicious, but I was particularly taken with the Fennel flatbread. I I have never had a flatbread like that, it was good simple ingredients in a very innovative way.

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To end my meal I wanted to try the Kelp bowls. So what is this Kelp thing? It is a kind of brown seaweed that is super high in nutrients. Best of all it is fat-free and gluten-free. Kelp is typically referred as noodles although they don’t taste or feel like pasta. I love them, so I tried the Almond Kelp bowl that comes with kelp noodles, carrot, lime, ginger and spicy Almond. As soon as I tasted it, the first thought that crossed my mind was Pad Thai. It tasted like the healthy version of that. Then I had the Pepper Kelp Bowl. It has black pepper, olive crumb, and snap peas. I had not had this one before, and it was delicious. It tasted like the best Alfredo pasta (minus all the fat and carbs) that you’ve ever had; it was creamy, complex and so savory. I was so impressed with this bowl.

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I was super lucky because I got to try the new desserts that are coming soon to the menu thank you Make Out. First, I had the Raw Cheesecake Fudge. This little beauty is dipped in raw cacao. And it tastes just like it sounds: amazing. And then I had the Coconut Chocolate Hazelnut Mouse. Creamy, chocolaty, nutty…it was gorgeous. I can only describe it by how I felt and I was invaded by deep sadness when I had the last scoop. I just didn’t want it to end.

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As you can see, I completely pigged out at Make Out. To be honest, there is not a thing on the menu that isn’t exciting. The food is healthy, flavorful and very creative. Best of all you are doing something good for your body every time you eat like this. I am so happy that Make Out is celebrating its anniversary I wish them many successful and healthy years!

Hanging with The Chori-Man in Culver City

I’d like to say I’m introducing you to one of Culver City’s little-hidden secrets. However, nothing about this man is little. He’s got a big personality, and his chorizo has an even bigger taste! Take it from me; I fancy myself a sausage/chorizo fan (you might say fanatic)!

While apartment hunting a little over a year ago, I discovered one of my new favorite spots, Del Rey Deli Co.! This little gem of a deli deserves its own blog post, so I’ll leave that for another time.

But while there, I was pleasantly surprised to find out they cure their meats and also serve chorizo made by the Chori man himself … Who was cheffin’ it up behind the counter.

Chori (his nickname) can be contacted by email at raygozachorizo@gmail.com or by phone at (424)239-4486.

chori manAs usually happens with me and food, I formed a quick obsession. I follow him on Instagram @thechoriman … And I love watching his successes! A year later The Chori-Man (Humberto Raygoza) is making it on his own. You can find him every Saturday at “The Wall” farmers market in Downtown LA 9 am to 2 pm. Here he can be found making his chorizo into tacos and burritos. In fact, his green chorizo burritos scored him a place in the top 10 list of the best burritos in L.A. on L.A. Taco.

Find him there and tell him Alia sent you! He also delivers to a handful of local restaurants and you can special order from him with a minimum order of 5 lbs.

Onto the meat!

The chorizo comes in 5 varieties and can be custom ordered made with chicken or soyrizo. I opted for the Mexican Zacatecano Red because it’s spicy… and so am I. The Chori-Man insisted I also try the Tolucan Green Chorizo, also a Mexican variety. It’s kind of like the Red’s-not-so-hot brother, but as you get to know him you love him for his solid and reliable taste. You can purchase the chorizo in a traditional sausage casing or one pound bags. I chose the Red and Green because I had a few ideas in mind, including egg dishes. Yes, I was already thinking about breakfast before I had even made dinner…

IMG_1356Chorizo day 1: Eggs are another food obsession of mine, and I was anxious to try the green chorizo with my other love. One of my favorite easy to make treats is eggs made in a muffin pan. Usually, I make a turkey bacon basket or a cup out of prosciutto. But you know what I heard, “Chorizo is the new bacon.” These little babes are so easy to make, and the presentation is always excellent. Partnered up with avocado, cucumber, tomato, cilantro, garlic and cayenne salad, I was in heaven. Not wanting to neglect my new love, I made cups out of both the green and red chorizo.

IMG_1358The little souffle cups are made by simply scrambling the eggs and adding a little salt and pepper, and they pop up just perfectly. My little-baked ones are simply that, just a cracked egg in the cup and baked at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

 

 

 

Chorizo day 2: Anyone who knows me knows how much restraint I am practicing writing this post and only making minimal dirty jokes! If you don’t know me yet, I will just say I should come with a warning!

IMG_1271So… I may have had balls on my mind! I’m a huge fan of meatballs and was excited to try out chorizo balls, as I was sure these would be my new favorite. Usually, I would bake them, however, on Chori’s suggestion, I fried them in a little extra virgin olive oil, so I could save the juices and saute some zucchini in it. WHOA!!! While my zucchini was sauteing, I slow cooked black beans with quartered cherry tomatoes, diced scallions, garlic, and cilantro.

Once plated I laid down a bed of the zucchini, a ladle of the black beans, topped with chorizo balls and sprinkled with cubed avocado! This dish was AMAZEBALLS!!! All puns are fully intended…

So, let me tell you this chorizo, is hot! Spicy in all the right ways, but not so much that you can’t taste all the wonderful flavors. It complimented but didn’t overpower! Here’s the other beautiful thing, it was light. Not so dense that you wanted to play billiards with the leftover balls, a common problem I find with regular meatballs. In fact, there were no leftovers at all!

To sum up this experience…
No matter how you shape it The Chori-Man’s chorizo will not only meat your expectations, but exceed them! (I know… I know)