Girls on Food

Los Angeles

French-Asian Fusion in Pasadena: Abricott

Recently my boyfriend and I were out and about in Pasadena running errands, and we
decided to look for a new little spot to eat. While searching the internet for something unique-looking we caught a blurb that the chef of one of our favorite Thai places, Daisy
Mint on Colorado Blvd., had opened a new French/Asian restaurant called Abricott. Knowing how great Daisy Mint is we were immediately sold.

Abricott in Pasadena - French/Asian Fusion

Abricott
238 S. Lake Ave. Pasadena, CA 91101
http://abricott.com/

I was blown away the second we walked in the door. On a cuteness scale of 1-10, Abricott Outdoor Dining at Abricott in Pasadenais at about a 12. A huge wall lined with bookshelves, sporadic collages of art pieces and mirrors, a lovely open outdoor seating area, and an amazing special dining room decked out with a chandelier gave the place a cozy and unique atmosphere. I admit to you right now my pictures do it zero justice. It took me forever to order and sit down because I literally had to wander through the entire restaurant first, ooh-ing and ahh-ing over everything.

Special dining room at Abricott in Pasadena.

We ordered at the counter, found a seat, and then an employee came over with our drinks and silverware. Shortly after our salads arrived – a Shrimp Salad with crispy onions, cucumber, and Vietnamese dressing for me, and my boyfriend went with the Steak Salad with avocado, cilantro, and spicy lime dressing.
Grilled Shrimp Salad at Abricott in PasadenaBoth salads were large and fresh. The big shrimp on my salad were delicious, and the Vietnamese dressing was really light and tangy – so tangy it even struck me as tasting a little spicy. I would have loved a little bit more generous offering of toppings on my salad, but then again I’d be happy with a bowl full of just toppings… so there may be no appeasing me there!

steakNow the steak salad… game over. The strips of steak were tender, juicy, and flavorful. I highly recommend it! It was ridiculously good. My poor boyfriend was forced to share.

All in all I was very impressed by the food and atmosphere at this new little place. I can’t wait to go back and try some more of the many dishes on their menu! Heck I’d come here just to sit, hangout, and have a beverage.

Hint Hint: Hinterland in Santa Monica

HinterlandMain Street in Santa Monica is home to more than a handful of the Westside local’s favorite restaurants. A few local/family owned spots have had to close, due increasing rents on this street, which makes us sad. Now, there are a few newer spots popping up and since I’m a Girl on Food, I have to a give them a shot.

 

My mom and my niece were visiting and since my niece, Syd was hoping to see some Hollywood stars, I figured we’d try to scope out Joe Jonas at his new restaurant called Hinterland on Main Street. No luck seeing Joe, sorry, Syd.

Hinterland
2917 Main St.
Santa Monica, CA 90405
http://hinterland.la

I was very impressed by the interior design of Hinterland. It’s minimal and has a “California Coastal” feel to it. Hinterland has an open kitchen, but the noise is controlled. Chopping or dishes clanking never interrupted our night. There’s no liquor here, it’s beer and wine only. I’m okay with that, especially for seafood and other white meats. I started with a glass of sparkling rose, which was beautifully crisp and dry. It paired perfectly with all of my items.

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For the appetizers, we noshed on the PEI mussels and a shishito pepper special. The mussels were drenched in a beautiful sauce. However, the shishito peppers were this table’s favorite. I love shishito peppers because they vary in spiciness. Some are mild and some can be pretty hot. These roasted peppers came with large dollop of burrata cheese, crostini and a green onion salsa. I hope they add this item to the menu it’s just marvelous.

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For my entrée I had the country cut Neiman pork chop. It was perfectly grilled and it maintained its juiciness in each bite. I haven’t had this good of a pork chop since I lived in Sacramento. This dish totally took me back home.

 

 

Hinterland 3My mom ordered the grilled Scottish salmon, which came with farro and veggies. Although I only got a couple of bites, it was so good I wanted to include it too.

 

 

 

 

1506638_10153447180897642_5420279560061261984_nWe ordered the ice cream sandwiches for dessert, which Syd loved because it allowed her to get a little creative with the side of hot chocolate sauce. Everything from the food to the service here was impeccable. Can’t wait to come back!Hint ice cream

Hinterland Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sneak Preview of Wanderlust Creamery in LA

IMG_6357This week I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview of Wanderlust Creamery which is gearing up for their grand opening this Friday. I got to sit down with the owners Adrienne, a food science major and former cocktail consultant, and JP, attorney turned ice cream slinger.

 

Wanderlust Creamery
18511 Ventura Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 91356
http://wanderlustcreamery.com

IMG_6356Wanderlust is one of few shops that is certified as a micro-dairy plant and makes everything in house. They pride themselves on their innovative flavors, high quality, and attention to details. Indeed Adrienne is amazing, she makes everything from scratch, including macarons which will be served as ice cream sandwiches!

 

I got to try 8 of their flavors and can’t wait to go back for more. Read on for what you can expect at Wanderlust, I love the destination inspiration for many of the flavors, including Filipino inspired ice creams.

wanderlustHojicha Burnt Honey– A roasted green tea and darkened honey flavor, this was one of my favorites! The flavors were subtle and elusive enough that you just have to eat more!

Sweet Cream + Coconut Beurre Noisette– A sweet cream ice cream sprinkled with homemade coconut beurre noisette, fried coconut fat solids. If you love coconut this is for you!

Palo Santo.Fresh Mint.Dark Chocolate– Palo Santo comes from a tree in the Amazon, considered a holy tree it is often burned as you might burn sage. It has a subtle minty smell. Combined with the mint and dark chocolate this is not your average mint chip!

Smoky Road– The chocolate ice cream in this Rocky Road inspired ice cream was so rich and creamy! It’s inspired by camping with handmade marshmallows, hickory smoked almonds, and elder smoked sea salt.

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Fig Leaf + Pistachio– This one is inspired by the Mediterranean, using fig leaves instead of the expected fruit.

Pretzel + Carmelized Rye Crumb– I love salty-sweet combos so this was one of my favorites! Sweet ice cream with real pretzels and the carmelized rye crumbs hail from Icelandic cuisine.

Sticky Rice & Mango– It tastes just like it’s name sake and its vegan, Adrienne makes her own rice milk for this delightful concoction!

Earl Grey Sundae– I’m already a fan of earl grey ice cream but adding maldon sea salt and a drizzle of bergamot olive oil just sends this one over the edge!

IMG_6345For added fun try your favorite flavors on one of Adrienne’s handmade cones, you can choose from brown butter, ube, or matcha. They open this Friday in a space which has had it’s own Cinderella transformation. An abandoned Cold Stone, JP and Adrienne have transformed it to a welcoming, bright space. When asked “why ice cream?”, Adrienne simply cites that she loves ice cream which is probably the best reason possible. She also has a little bit of family history, her grandfather was a flavor chemist for Asian ice cream company Magnolia. (That’s also where her grandparents met, at the ice cream factory. It’s just too cute!)  Obviously, Adrienne doesn’t do anything half way, I can’t wait to see where she goes with Wanderlust. Stop by and enjoy some ice cream!IMG_6354

Wanderlust Creamery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The 5th Annual L.A. Taco Festival

The 5th Annual L.A. Taco Festival was held last Saturday in downtown Los Angeles. The hot August day didn’t stop the crowds from heading outdoors to try some of the best tacos from around the city. 18 vendors set up shop in Grand Park and along a portion of Hill Street which had been blocked off just for the event

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Long lines formed at every vendor during the entire festival. Taco lovers waited for 20 – 30 minutes sometimes more just to snag some of the amazing food they’d come to try. Every taco vendor offered something different to the crowd. Some tacos were very traditional by nature; fresh tortillas, grilled meats or veggies and fresh guacamole. Some were a little more unique, with ingredients like ahi tuna or short rib.

Like so many other attendees I grabbed a soda in a glass bottle marked made in Mexico and sipped on it as I listened to the live band playing in the park square. After strolling around the festival for a while scoping out what I just had to try I spotted Guerrilla Tacos. I knew immediately after reading their unique menu that this was the place for me.

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Guerrilla Tacos is a food truck out of Culver City, CA. Their menu changes daily as they seek local produce and sustainable ingredients. For the L.A. Taco Festival they offered a few dishes. I opted for the Sweet Potato taco and the Baby Squash taco.

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Both tacos were completely new to me and absolutely delicious! The baby squash taco was filled with shredded squash and zucchini. The taco was packed the taco with oaxacan cheese and top everything with chives. Every bite was light and fresh.

The Sweet Potato taco was layered with mashed sweet potatoes, feta cheese, and fried corn. The potatoes had spicy chiles mixed into them which ensured the taco would pack a punch. The feta cheese off set the heat in the most amazing way!

The L.A. Taco Festival was a glimpse of Los Angeles at it’s finest. Grand Park remained busy for hours as Angelenos made their way downtown to eat tacos from around the city as they enjoyed what remains of the summer.

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Website- http://www.latacofestival.com
Instagram- #LATacoFest

Guerrilla Tacos Website- www.guerrillatacos.com/home.html

Artful Eats: The Wallace in Culver City

LA recently had a weekend rainstorm. Call me crazy, but I actually like dining on a patio when it’s raining. Plus, when it rains in LA, it’s so refreshing, especially in a drought. Before seeing a movie, we decided to sit in the downpour rain (covered of course) and enjoy a bunch of small plates.

The Wallace
3833 Main Street
Culver City, CA 90232
310-202-6400
http://thewallacela.com

The Wallace 1Since I didn’t want to miss any moment of The Gift, and I’m notorious for “snooze after booze-er”, I decided to stick with a non-alcoholic drink. Luckily, The Wallace had an ample selection of virgin drinks, something the LA foodie scene is somewhat lacking in. I ordered the Wacky Tobacky, a carbonated beverage that was flavored with earl grey, lemon and tobacco. I know you’re thinking it may taste like that time someone put out a cigarette in your cocktail, but I’m happy to report it didn’t. It reminded me of an Arnold Palmer with a strong sour note to it. The garnish of fresh mint was a great touch.

The Wallace 2The vegetarian plates we started with were as tasty as they were beautiful. The Cauliflower looked less like food and more like art. It’s tough to be the first person to ruin the plating but food has to be eaten.

The Wallace 3
We also ordered the Shishito Peppers, which also had edamame, in a lemon, chilli and pepper sauce. The sauce on this dish sinks to the bottom, so be sure to dip down for more of the broth.

The Wallace 4

My boyfriend ordered the Fried Mary’s Chicken, which was crispy perfection. I love that it came with pieces of white meat and dark meat. It also had an adorable salted house roll (which is hiding in the top right), similar to King Hawaiian rolls and a house-made hot sauce.

The Wallace 5

I ordered the Duck Confit Mole, which had a glorious in-bone presentation. The duck maintained its crispness, despite being covered in a mole sauce. The mole sauce didn’t have the traditional chocolate taste that I’m accustom to, instead, it had more focus on the ancho chile and other mild spices. This was a great take on mole sauce, but I wish it came with a crostini or some kind of bread to soak it up.

The Wallace 7

We couldn’t decide on one dessert so we decided to order two (we behaved and didn’t get any popcorn at the movie theater). The Chocolate Brownie Bar with a toasted meringue and “funfetti” ice cream was the first one. It’s deceptively small; it’s so dense that even between the two of us, one order felt like plenty. The meringues were a sweet and airy extra to have, but we agreed the “funfetti” ice cream was a bit much. I’d suggest pairing it with a French Vanilla or Coconut ice cream, something a little simpler. The brownie should be the star of the dish.

The Wallace 6

The Blueberry Semifreddo was the favorite out of the desserts. The flavors of the lemon curd (which had a frothy texture to it), matcha green tea bits and salted cream all played together perfectly. The blueberry curd rests on top the salted cream and reminds me of a yogurt pop I used to eat when I was a kid.

The Wallace is a great spot in Culver City, which is an underrated part of the LA food scene. The atmosphere is upper-casual and if you’re going to catch a movie at the ArcLight, this is the perfect pre-show spot.

Click to add a blog post for The Wallace on Zomato

Hot Buns in the City: Angie’s Wieners

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This weekend I got to meet Angie, the bubbly and enthusiastic proprietor of the Angie’s Wieners (follow on Twitter @AngiesWieners for daily locations) food truck. Her truck features grass-fed, private label, gourmet dogs with options for chicken, beef, polish, vegetarian and their newly added andouille. The dogs are a fantastic 12 inches long and are served on brioche buns with a tasty selection of toppings. Angie gets her buns from Homeboy Industries, an organization that provides training and support to former gang members and the previously incarcerated. Angie herself has a primarily female staff manning everything from the register to the grill.

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I got to try the Femme Fatale and the Producer on Polish. The Femme Fatale is made with Angie’s chicken dog and covered in ranch, hot sauce, chipotle aoili, and blue cheese. I’ve never had blue cheese on a dog before but I am hooked! The bun is probably the best hot dog bun that has ever existed, I do love me some brioche. The Producer is a little more classic with sauerkraut and spicy mustard. The sauerkraut was a perfect balance to the spice of the dog and mustard. You can bet I’m trying a “Happy Ending” next time I see Angie! It’s a bread pudding made with those awesome brioche buns.

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The Femme Fatal
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The Producer

DSC03985Angie has a fun outlook and her pin-up branding is bright and cheery. I love her sense of humor, the nod to Old Hollywood, and the motto “The Biggest Wieners and the Hottest Buns” is giggle worthy.  She said that men and women, young and old have a laugh at the branding while enjoying her gourmet dogs. When asked about plans for a brick and mortar location, she admitted that there is a chance at one in the future, she also hints that one day you might be able to pick up a pack of “Angie’s” in your local supermarket.

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Special thanks to James Roddy for the photos covering the event.
Angie's Wieners Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Spotlight on the Brewers & more at BEERS Fest in DTLA

This weekend I was able to attend BEERS fest in Los Angeles, brought to fruition by BEERS magazine. The festival featured craft brewed beers, food trucks, contests, and a live DJ! The cold beers were perfect for the sweltering SoCal heat and we got to chat one on one with a few of the brewers.

Solarc Brewing

Hailing from local (to Los Angeles) Highland Park Solarc Brewing caught my eye with their beautiful crescent moon logo. What are truly beautiful are their beers. Make sure to try their Belgian Gruit ale called “Dunes” which features herbs such as wormwood, mugwort, and turmeric and comes in at 6% abv. They don’t yet have a tasting room but you can find their beers at local shops such as Sunset Beer Co.

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Escape Craft Brewing

Husband-wife team Josh and Melissa would love to welcome you to their Escape Craft Brewing tasting room in Redlands to try what they call “complex beers for advanced palettes. Indeed their beers are special from the iced coffee wannabe Midnight Express (seriously no chocolate stout has ever been THIS good), the delightful orange blossom nose of the Redlands Nights blonde. They put an emphasis on local ingredients and invite you to visit Wed-Fri from 2-9:30pm, Saturday 12-9:30pm, and Sunday 12-6pm.

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Firemans Brew

What pulled me into the Firemans booth was their unique story. Based in Los Angeles they were started by two Firemen after extinguishing a brushfire in the Glendale Mountains. Now they are available in over 15 states, have over 100 firefighter investors, and a percentage of the proceeds go to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. You can find their beers in Fresh n’ Easy, Ralph’s, and at Dodgers Stadium.

 

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Sweet Amsterdam Dessert Truck

To finish the day we visited our friends at the Sweet Amsterdam truck. General Manager Alia recommended the S’mores Wafel, which come on their stroopwaffles as well as their Poffertjes, which will as she said “ruin normal pancakes forever”. If you need to beat the heat, they also have some pretty legit local-made gelato. Bonus: chatting with the super sweet couple that owns the truck!

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Special thanks to James Roddy for the photos covering the event.

Fresh Pasta Workshop at The New School of Cooking

After a hike at Baldwin Hills in Culver City, I stumbled into New School of Cooking Cafe for a coffee. When I left the cafe, directly next door I saw a huge kitchen with a plethora of tools and I totally geeked out. I had to see what was it was all about, so I popped my head in an office part of the building. This is how I learned there was a professional culinary school in Culver City, The New School of Cooking Academy, which is really exciting cause I’ve been flirting with the idea of entering some sort of culinary program. I got even more excited when their staff member told me they offer weekend workshops for hobbyist cooks and gave me a schedule. I went home and researched the classes they offer and I was blown away with the variety of workshops. The workshops that caught my eyes were Essential Knife Skills, Artisan Bread Making, Sausage Making and Baking With Chocolate. While these all sounding amazing, I decided to take the Fresh Pasta Workshop. I’ve had it in my head for so long that pasta is such hard item to make and that I could never do it. I was so wrong.

The New School of Cooking Academy
8690 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232
310-842-9702
http://www.newschoolofcooking.com

Ken 1

Ken 2This workshop was taught by Chef Ken Lee, a graduate of Dublin School of Catering and a “Top Chef” season 1 contestant. He started off by teaching us how to make traditional pasta dough. Semolina and all purpose flour, with 2 – 3 large eggs are needed. I loved that I could see in a mirror above him, what exactly he was doing. There is also a screen for when instructors cook on the stove.

volcano do

He prepared his “volcan-dough” (I seemed to be the only one calling it) effortlessly.

volcano do2Then he used a standard fork to gently beat the eggs into it the flours, creating his firm pasta dough. After a lot of kneading and adding flour, this creates the finished product, which is rolled out thin enough that if you blow under it, it will lift.

 

pasta

After he did a demo on making the pasta, it was time to get cooking. We were assigned tortellini, cappelletti, ravioli and tagliatelle pastas.

suppliesFor this workshop, classmates work in pairs in the training kitchen. I kind of felt like a “Top Chef” contestant myself, since I didn’t know my partner, Cheryl, before this. I felt like we were on a mission to impress the other classmates, so the pressure was on. Luckily, Cheryl is a regular student at NSOCA, so she was able to show me the ropes around the kitchen. The assistants Alyssa and Imran were also very helpful if we had any questions. The students are assigned a different style of pasta with a different sauce and/or filling.

sauceCheryl and I were assigned tagliatelle with a brown butter and rosemary sauce. The fresh ingredients for the sauce was nicely prepared for us.

 

 

 

volcano doughballI know my volcan-dough isn’t as professional looking as Ken’s, but it was also my first one, so go easy on me!

 

 

 

 

 

doughball

And besides, the end product is what matters, and my doughball was pretty sexy. While Cheryl wrapped our doughboys in cellophane, I finely chopped our rosemary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

brown butter sage sauceThe time came to hop on the stove and get saucy. At a medium-low heat, the butter sauce started as a yellow color, which me a little concerned, cause it’s not the prettiest color. But then, once it cooked more, it turned into a lighter brown, with a cream foam bubbling, which is more appetizing. Whew!

 

rollingAfter the sauce was made, we let it cool and moved on to rolling out the pasta dough. Oddly enough, this was my favorite part (second to tasting), using the rolling pin made me feel like an honorary Italian Grandma. Rolling is also a great workout, my arms totally feeling like I pumped iron.

After the dough is rolled out thin, it’s time to cut the pasta. I’m already in love with KitchenAid mixers, but I never used the pasta roller attachment.

 

 

pasta cuttingIt’s a little tricky cause if the dough moves over to the side, it can throw the cutting off balance. So make sure you’re paying attention when you gently assist it through.

 

 

 

boilAfter the pasta boils in hot salted water and cooked al dente, it was time to taste. While our pasta was certainly the best (I’d be a traitor if I didn’t say that!), the other top two dishes were the tagliatelle with peas in a panchetta sauce and the meat filled raviolis in a marinara sauce.

brown butter pasta

After this workshop, I don’t think I’ll ever buy pasta from the store again! I’m now sold on always making it fresh, cause it really does taste better that way. I cannot wait to take another workshop and get more educated, so I can provide my foodies with more exclusive Girls on Food recipes!

Read more at The New School of Cooking Academy here: http://www.newschoolofcooking.com

Click to add a blog post for New School of Cooking Cafe on Zomato

LA’s Sweet Escape: Sweet Amsterdam Food Truck

In one of my previous posts, I mentioned being a part of a private “Los Angeles based women only” group on Facebook. This group is intended for networking and friendship making, but sometimes we get a little off topic with dating/sex advice, politics and pet relocations. I try to stay out of the drama (although it can be entertaining to read) and focus on finding some of the coolest LA female professional foodies out there. One of the members, Alia Schrader, mentioned in a post that she manages a food truck, Sweet Amsterdam, so I decided to drop by. Dessert sounded amazing and I love supporting new business, so I decided to get a sugar rush.

Sweet Amsterdam
For locations, follow their social media pages
Instagram: @SweetAmsterdam
Twitter : @Sweet_Amsterdam
Facebook: http://facebook.com/sweetamsterdam

Sweet Amsterdam 1
The ladies of Sweet Amsterdam

I read on their social media pages that this truck specializes in Dutch waffles and pancakes. To be honest with you, I wasn’t too sure what to expect. Previous to my Sweet Amsterdam experience, I didn’t know of Dutch waffles and pancakes, but I’m always game to try something new! The owners Farhad Faqiri and Jessanne Oliva actually never had formal kitchen training. They met through friends, and decided to quit their 9 to 5’s and turn their passion for food into a business. If they keep this up, I don’t think they’ll be going back to their day jobs anytime soon.

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The making of a wafel

There are 4 different wafels (not waffles, there’s a big difference) to try. I started with this summer’s most popular item, the S’mores Wafel. This hot dessert sandwich starts with the stroopwafel, pronounced strope-Waffel, which is a very thin, lightly crunchy, fresh off the iron dough that has caramel baked in the middle. Now, you can stop there and enjoy that alone. Or, you can be like the majority of their summer LA patrons and s’more it up with flamed marshmallows, Speculous brand cookie spread and chocolate syrup.

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The making of a S’mores Wafel
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The complete S’mores wafel

You can watch a video of the creation here. The stroopwafel has a better flavor than the American tradition of graham crackers, which always just crumbled on me. I’m now having memories of the graham cracker crumbling on me and the hot marshmallow burning me – OUCH! This dessert is a more sophisticated flashback to your summer camp. And no finger burns!

Classic Poffertjes
Classic Poffertjes

I didn’t think it could possibly get better than the S’Mores Wafel but it did. I tried Poffertjes, pronounced puff-er-chess, for the first time. Appearance wise, they look like a smaller, less round ebelskiver, with the same texture. Flavor wise, it’s on the savory side, like a mix of a pancake and a beignet (or as I liked to call them as a child, “snowy mountains”).

Sweet Amsterdam 2Most customers order the Poffertjes either with Nutella or the classic style, which is served with butter and powdered sugar. I ordered my Poffertjes with powdered sugar, butter, a side of maple syrup and a scoop of salted caramel gelato. No, I wasn’t stoned. It was just recommended to me and… when in Rome, right? Or in this case… when in Culver City, right? If you’re a lover of sweet and savory together, like I am, this is a heavenly treat for you. The iciness of the gelato goes beautifully with the hot poffertjes, for a dessert feel and dipping the poffertjes in the maple syrup has a breakfast feel to it. All flavors mixed together are also just an epic dessert explosion. Their gelato is provided by Gelato Lounge in Marina Del Rey, which will probably be reviewed on here soon.

sweet amsterdam coffee

To wash all the sweetness down, they’re now selling their own cold press coffee, which is served in a cute mason jar. They offer traditional cold press black coffee, molasses coffee and molasses coffee with unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Soon, the wafels will be sold in various locally owned coffee shops in LA. Be sure to keep up with them on social media to find out where and when. I believe they’ll be expanding into another truck very soon, so hopefully, LA will have double the locations to choose from.

Instagram & Twitter : @SweetAmsterdam
Facebook: http://facebook.com/sweetamsterdam

Sweet Amsterdam Food Truck Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

La Poubelle and Other Spots on Franklin Ave in LA

I had a blast being an improv student at UCB.

The infamous UCB
The infamous UCB

Although I trained at UCB’s new Sunset Blvd location, students are required to see performances at their original location in Franklin Village, a neighborhood in Los Angeles. This is the original UCB location, where the magic happened. Franklin Ave has a cute strip with shopping and food. I finally had an afternoon to explore this area in depth and had a blast doing so. I started with happy hour specials at La Poubelle.

La Poubelle 1

La Poubelle
5907 Franklin Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90028
323-465-0807
http://lapoubellebistro.com

I love the Parisian bistro atmosphere at La Poubelle. I have been here for dinner and although it’s very good, I wanted to show off their Happy Hour. All food and drinks on the Happy Hour list are under $8, with a bottle of Rose as the exception (even that is only $16). This is such a steal for Los Angeles, so my girlfriend and I had ourselves a feast.

Swingset Cocktail
Swingset Cocktail

I had the Swingset Cocktail, which is made with champagne, strawberry and rhubarb shrub and has Pop Rocks in it! I felt like I was a little girl again when I heard it crackle, you can watch the video here: La Poubelle. This cocktail is fizzy, fun and only $6 on Happy Hour. My friend ordered the Ancho Daiquiri, which is ancho chile liquor, lime juice and cilantro syrup, also only $6. It’s a little odd to have a Daiquiri without rum but it does have a nice kick from the chile liquor.

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Ancho Daquiri
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Bruschetta

We started with the Bruschetta, which was $5. It seemed a little small, even for a happy hour portion, but it was tasty. The tomatos were very fresh and it’s tough to go wrong with burrata cheese on anything.

Warm Chicken Confit
Warm Chicken Confit

For only $6, this is a pretty great plate. The crispy chicken sits on ciabatta and is topped with yummy pickled onions. It sounds simple but it’s very good and perfect to share.

Mac & Cheese Gratinee
Mac & Cheese Gratinee

This is the most decedent dish we ordered. Their mac & cheese is made with comte, mozzarella and a béchamel sauce. This was also $6 and stuffed us up. It’s so rich and creamy. We couldn’t possibly order more after, but we did have another round of their fantastic cocktails.

This is such a great spot to eat at before a show at UCB. Here are some other spots on Franklin Ave worth checking out.

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The Oaks Gourmet

  The Oaks Gourmet
1915 N. Bronson Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90068
323-871-8894
http://theoaksgourmet.com

Around the corner from La Poubelle is The Oaks Gourmet, a quaint speciality food shop specializing in what I call “picnic food”: Meats, cheeses, beer and wine. There is also a fantastic selection in mixers, olives, chocolates and pasta supplies. There is a coffee bar and they serve sandwiches out of their deli. This is a great spot to grab a sandwich before a show at UCB if you’re in a rush and don’t have the time for table service.

The Daily Planet
The Daily Planet

The Daily Planet
5913 1/2 Franklin Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90028
323-957-0061
http://thedailyplanetbookstore.com

The magazine selection at the book store is amazing. You can find the usuals but they also feature a lot of foreign fashion, news and cooking magazines. I could gaze through their selection all day long. They also sell fashion books, fun stationary and candles. This is a great place to get your gifts.

Counterpoint Records and Books
Counterpoint Records and Books

Counterpoint Records and Books
5911 Franklin Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90028
323-957-7965
http://counterpointrecordsandbooks.com

This used bookstore has a heaping selection of cookbooks. I found so many classics and a few newer ones at low prices. They also have a wide variety in vinyl records. Plus, if you’re a geek for VHS, this is a great spot to load up. I found copies of “Cry-Baby”, “Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Harold and Maude”.

There’s also a coffee shop, sushi spot and women’s boutique in this strip. The parking is always a little tough at night, best to valet at that time.  So, there’s a lot to do before and after a show at UCB. You really could make a day out of Franklin Ave.

La Poubelle Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Indian Taco Tuesday: California Chutney in Pasadena

I have a confession to make and I must come out clean about this so there are no questions about it in the future I’m addicted to tacos: soft, fried, corn or flour. I am a tacoholic at heart. I love them in all of its forms and presentations. So when I heard that California Chutney was serving naan tacos I had to have it.

California Chutney
45 N. Raymond Ave
Pasadena, CA
(626) 396-6947
http://www.calichutney.com

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California Chutney is located in the heart of Old Town Pasadena just north of Colorado Blvd. The place is modern, bright and minimalistic. It is introducing a new approach to traditional Indian food by adopting the “ordering in line” kind of method that we all know so well. You stand in line and order exactly what you want in your naan taco, bowl or roti burrito.

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I had the Cali Naan Duo and for my first taco I went with the braised chickpeas and tandoori chicken with cucumber yogurt raita. It was so flavorful. The tandoori chicken was spicy and well balanced with the cucumber raita. For my second taco I had the Paneer Tikka with the roasted chili chutney. I was delightfully surprised to see that the Paneer had kale instead of spinach. The chutney was spicy almost like a Mexican salsa. It was delicious.

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One of the things I liked the most about this place is that they make naan to order. They have a modern tandoor oven where they carefully bake the naan for the tacos. You can see the whole process through the glass window.

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The place also has a chutney bar. There you can help yourself to all the chutney that you want I certainly spend some time trying all the flavors. My favorite chutney was the fresh cilantro and the mango ginger.

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California Chutney is a nice alternative to Indian food in Pasadena. There is nothing like this in the area and the food has all the Indian flavors you want with a modern twist. The place is vibrant, the servers are super friendly and most importantly the food is really good at a reasonable price. Who knew that naan tacos could be so yummy definitely a good option for taco Tuesday.

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California Chutney Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

An Evening of Sliders and Beer at the New School of Cooking in Culver City

We all know the torture of watching the Food Network – seeing skilled chefs create delectable looking dishes and not being able to get so much as whiff let alone a taste of their beautiful creations. It’s every foodie’s dream to jump head first into their favorite cooking show. The Slider and Beer Pairing Demo at the New School of Cooking + Cafe in Culver City made this dream a reality for this foodie on Friday night.

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 New School of Cooking
8690 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, Ca, 90232
(310) 842-9702
http://www.newschoolofcooking.com

New School of Cooking has offered hands-on classes in Culver City for 15 years. From its Pro-Series to its recreational classes that any novice can navigate, New School of Cooking offers a wide array of themed classes and wealth of knowledge for anyone.

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Walking in and seeing the top-notch facilities, I knew I was in for some serious cooking! I could hardly wait to see these stoves fired up and ready to grill some mouthwatering burgers! I most definitely was not disappointed.

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On the menu for the night were four delicious sliders to be expertly paired with five different ales. Without too much frill, the classroom was set up so that a perfect view of the grilling magic could be clearly seen by each student.

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The first round was a classic All American burger. Our expert instructor, May Hennemann, Senior Chef Instructor at the New School, advised using a less lean type of beef, such as chuck, for the best flavor. Simply seasoned with salt and pepper on a bun dressed with a spicy Dijon-Mayo mix, pickle and cheddar cheese, this burger hit the spot!

This classic was served with El Segundo IPA (India Pale Ale). The bitterness of this hoppy brew went nicely with the kick of the Dijon-Mayo blend.

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Next we went a bit south of the border with the “Spice of Life” slider, aptly named for the fiery chipotle mayo that dresses a beef patty with ooey-gooey Queso Fresco mixed right in.

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And this is when things got really out of the box. The next slider up was the Quacking Pig – 50% ground duck, 50% ground pork and 100% tasty! Instructor May made sure to advise that when doing this at home, you get duck that has been ground with the skin on, sealing in an extremely rich flavor.

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Dressed with Mostarda di Frutta, a sweet Italian condiment made with candied fruit, with Brie cheese on a Hawaiian roll, this unconventional burger was reminiscent of thanksgiving – akin to a turkey burger with cranberry sauce. Totally decadent and scrumptuous to the last bite. This slider was paired with an almost sweet Samuel Adams Summer Ale.

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Last but certainly not least we came reluctantly to the last slider of the night – the “Lambinator”. This patty was made, as the name might suggest, from ground lamb leg and shoulder with feta cheese and scallions mixed in. The bun was dressed in hummus spread and a slice of Persian cucumber giving this slider the real Mediterranean treatment.

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The robust flavor of the lamb paired nicely with the richness of two Red Amber Ales that were served –  Coronado Brewing Company’s Mermaid’s Red and Petrus’ Aged Red, which had a delightful cherry sweetness to it.

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This pairing was the unanimous class favorite.

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I, personally, loved them ALL.

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So, if you have any level of curiosity about cooking, eating, or just food in general, New School of Cooking is definitely the place to explore. Whether you want to have a hands-on experience, just want to see and taste expert cooking or would like to have a private party, they have a class for you. Availability can be found on their website, http://www.newschoolofcooking.com or on giltcity.com .

And when you go, come prepared. You’re going to want to take notes!

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