Move over Franzia, there's a new boxed wine in town..and this 1 is actually great! My boyfriend recently picked up a box, yes a box, of Wine 4 White Sangria from Cost Plus World Market for about $15. The box holds about 3 liters of Sangria and lasts for about a month in the fridge. With a little research we found out this wine is bottled by Trinchero Family Estates. Not only is this Sangria a great value, but it's actually delicious! It's fruity with the right amount of sweetness. A very refreshing summertime drink.


Tea Lattes

Ahhh summertime!!! Swimming pools, watermelon, bbq's, the beach, ice cream, and tea lattes. Tea Lattes? In summer? Sure! They are sweet, frothy, satisfying and so delicious!
I kicked my coffee habit when I brought in 2009 and am a full fledged tea devotee! I've always been a big fan of tea, but I used to also drink quite a bit of coffee as well. These days it's green tea every morning during the week and the occasional tea latte. I find Coffee Bean to really excel in the art of the tea latte. They use non fat milk and you can request a sugar free vanilla/chocolate powder that is blended in with the tea for a fairly guilt free treat! I'm slowly making my way through their tea menu and prefer a hot tea latte to the cold, but both are so delicious! So far, I would recommend Coffee Bean's pomegranate blueberry, tropical passion, honeydew oolong, toffee roibos, of course the classic chai, and my personal favorite the moroccan mint (which is mixed with a chocolate powder and tastes exactly like a thin mint cookie)! If Starbucks is more your cup of tea (hehe!) they do a better green tea latte. Check this out at smaller, less commercial coffee/tea houses as well. I think you'll find they are too good to be true...and easy on the waistline as well!

Tea Time at the Bazaar at the SLS Hotel

Welcome to the Patiserrie at the Bazaar at the SLS Hotel! You made a reservation for tea, congratulations! You are in store for a host of delights and surprises for all your senses.

To get started, we offer you world's tiniest scone with strawberry preserves and honey. Ready, set, you only get 1 bite...and....go! We'll also give you a pot of tea...pick your poison and sip wisely as refills are not on the house. Pull out your microscopes folks and you will find a plate full of luscious savory treats! On the far right we have a cucumber roll with cream cheese and tomato seed caviar. Moving on to a beet meringue...pop it in your mouth and feel it dissolve...wow, just like magic! What's this I see, a steamed bun with caviar?? We like caviar, especially with creme fraiche..mmmm. I didn't know you could get white castle in Los Angeles...oh silly me..it's a bun with marmalade and foie gras..well, a sliver of foie...and just like that...you open your mouth and it's gone!Oh but we have 1 more savory treat for you! Are you ready for this, it's salmon roe and cream cheese in a tuile cone...mmm..this we like! It's salty and delicious and gone in 3 bites instead of 2.
In Los Angeles, us ladies who take tea must watch our figure. We prefer small bites of savories and sweets. We can taste and try with all the fun and none of the fat! That's why today's your lucky day ladies! We're treating you to our version of the after eight mint...a puddle of chocolate with a fresh mint leaf waiting for you in the center. Followed by a chocolate hazlenut volcano cookie. Why do we call it a volcano cookie? Because it has a pumice-like texture silly! No molten centers here..that's so 2006! However, we'll give you this very special saffron jelly candy with, you guessed it, melt in your mouth rice paper wrapper! Ta-da! Last, but by no means least...we'll finish your most satsifying meal with a lemon white chocolate.

We sure hope you enjoyed your tea at the Patisserie! Please help yourself to ogle our vases full of candied rose petals, pearls, chocolate sculptures, fantastic Stark design mastery, and all our lovely furniture. We're not shy about how fabulously girly it is here...soak it up!

Yes, I mock my Tea experience here a tad. It really is a lovely space and a visual feast. The food was all quite tasty and unique..more of a treat for my eyes and my tongue..but I won't lead you wrong...grab in n out or something before you head in because you'll still be hungry after!
I took a friend here for tea as an homage to the tea parties of our youth. We had been throwing tea parties for ourselves for more than 10 years...but after a far too long hiatus, it was time to get back on the tea wagon! I had been dying to scope out the hotel and dining spaces at the SLS so figured this was just as good a time as any to do so. I was not disappointed in the least by what I saw. However, when I want tea, I want to be treated like a princess and the only true place to do this is when you go for tea at the Penninsula. So all in all, I enjoyed our tea time...it was hip and unique and I'm glad I can say I have finally been. Back to the ritzy hotels for tea the next time I want to be pampered.


Here Comes the Ibride

Ibride is a great line of mostly whimsical graphic home decor items, including trays, wall panels and serving pieces, with a very cool website as well. I had been eyeing these trays for some time at a local shop in Culver City, Lundeens (which you must swing by and try, I dare you, TRY to leave empty handed), and thought I had resolved to keeping these on my wishlist. I was lucky enough to stumble across a sale featuring a few Ibride items on Velocity Art and Design and snagged a serving tray of my very own! I'm celebrating it on a shelf in my bedroom, but I look forward to serving tea and scones on it at some point.


Ludo Bites

I love girls nights out and had a really great one a few weeks ago at Ludo Bites at Breadbar on 3rd Street.

My love for Bravo is unwavering, well maybe not unwavering because I could really do without Law & Order and West Wing, but as far as the Bravo programs go Top Chef is a favorite. Naturally Top Chef Masters would be right up my alley as well. After seeing the episode with Ludo, a girlfriend and I made a reservation to check out Ludo Bites.

The concept is based around small, shareable plates. We started with the polenta over oxtail beef with black truffle.
To satisfy my insatiable tomato craving, we devoured the heirloom tomato salad with feta mousse.

And then took down 2 little shrimp with rosemary and sweet and sour emulsion and daikon slice.

I'm eating up as much foie gras before it is illegal in CA in the next few years. We had the seared foie gras with cornbread cake, passion fruit and verbena.My favorite dish of the night was definitely the mighty scallop perched atop potatoes crowned with carmelized bacon and port creme. Really a standout.

As all goodthings come to an end, we finished up with chocolate mousse 2 ways. The darker scoop had a jalepeno finish and the other was a nice dry chocolate mousse.

It was a top notch meal! Ludo even makes the rounds to say hello to all the patrons.

Better hurry to catch him before he leaves Breadbar next month!


What do lemon bars and mussels have in common?

Ahh yes, Valentine's Day. Lovers everywhere hurry out to book reservations at their beloveds favorite spot. Not in my book! This past Val-Day, we stayed in and made a delicious bowl of mussels of fettucine with bruschetta and lemon bars for dessert! Sure I'm biased, but these mussels rival the best of the best. They are THAT good!

We start with chopped onions, garlic, parsley, shallot, some thyme, and as much wine as you like.. whatever you don't use for cooking, you get to drink while your broths boils up.
Mussels require timing. It pays to take the time to prep ingredients so when your broth is aromatic, you pop the mussels in and they are done as soon as they open.
A good crusty loaf of your favorite bread is mandatory. You don't want to leave any broth behind.

And then we dine!

As a treat for my man, I made lemon bars the night before. I also picked up some chocolate covered strawberries from Whole Foods (Not worth the trouble to make my own when I only wanted 2.) Lemon Bar recipe here, courtesy of Joan's on Third. These are heavenly!

Great dinner! Last year's v-day menu was a really good burger. No pics of that, so I guess I'll need to make it again. Includes a chipotle mayo, balsamic tomatoes, arugula, gruyere and blue cheeses, ground chuck on onion rolls. It's not the Father's Office burger, but it's a good one!

Passover dessert dilemma!

What to make for dessert for Passover? This is always an issue! My dad makes a killer flourless chocolate cake that I could make, but that's really one of his signature desserts and a girl needs to come into her own and make her own impressive desserts. With the help of Smitten Kitchen I found another take on flourless chocolate cake that I thought I would try my hand at. I needed something that would wow- and I think this did the trick.

Forgive the mess and the less than stellar photo quality on these! The cake turned out great. The cake was light and chocolatey. I love a good whipped cream frosting and I added some raspberries for color and refreshment. This cake got me the oohs and aahs I was hoping for!

You can get the recipe here.

LA Weekly's Gold Standard

Forgive me for all the backtracking, but there's too much to post about. Even if it's a few months old, it's still going up!

Pulitzer winning food critic, Jonathan Gold, hosted a food tasting event with LA Weekly a few months ago at Smashbox Studio's in West Hollywood. Mr. Gold invited 20 of his favorite restaurants to showcase a dish for hungry Angelinos and this was not an event to miss!

David Myer's Sona put out some salmon bites- a french sushi if you will.

Palate Food+Wine did a pork belly over polenta, but the pork belly of the day that stood out to me was from Animal. I didn't get a picture of that one due to chaotic lines. Animal is high on my short list of places to check out.

Holly paella batman! The ladies of Ciudad and Border Grille put this out- it was a highlight for me. A good paella goes a long way!

Providence put out these stunning chocolate bon bons! Beautiful and delicious! Meanwhile, I'm watching Michael Cimarusti on Top Chef Masters. Represent LA Michael!

Another crudo, this time from Drago. Thanks to the elapsed time from when I ate this goodie, I don't remember what it is. Shame, shame!

It was a tough day for picture taking, but some other notable dishes were from Lou on Vine, Pizzeria Mozza (their incredible caprese salad with burrata), Alcazar's mediteranean food, Babita Mexicuisine (the guy's who throwdown against Bobby Flay with their chile rellenos...and they were SO good!), and Annisette did a take on duck l'orange. MMM MMM GOOD!


I took my first trip to Seattle in May with my boyfriend and it was such a great trip! I was impressed with the cleanliness of the city (when you live in Los Angeles, a city's cleanliness standards are not held high), friendliness of the people, cool architecture, the fresh fish and so many amazing restaurants!

We arrived in time for lunch with empty tummies and headed straight to Beecher's Cheese Shop and ordered the "world famous mac n' cheese" and a turkey sandwich. The mac n' cheese was record setting in my book!

After we refueled we were ready start checking out the famous Pike's Place Market. Yes it's busy and touristy, but you HAVE to go! We snacked on a small bag of the Daily Dozen Donuts. I was told I absolutely had to try them, so I did. They were good but not as mind blowing as I had hoped.
We spent a few hours exploring the downtown area and visiting the Nordstrom flagship store. For dinner we headed up to Quinn's in Capitol Hill to grab a few beers and a light dinner. We tried the mussels (I love mussels, but more on that in a later post) and an oyster po boy sandwich. Saldy, no pics of the food. Forgetfullness happens after a few beers!
Day 2- We headed over to Mario Batali's parent's Salami store- Salumi. We heard there would be lines, so we got there early. We lined up about 20 minutes before this place opens and luckily were only a few people in, but the line must have gotten about 30 people deep before they even opened for lunch. We knew this would be some serious Salumi.
This is a serious sandwich people- sharing is caring. We should have only had 1 sandwich for the two of us, but as usual, we were ambitious and our eyes were bigger than our stomachs.

Before & After.

Residents of Seattle- I could not be more awed by your library. I covet! Coolest public building probably in the country!

We walked over to a sculpture garden that was also awesome. Then I crushed the Space Needle!

After crushing the most well known structure in Seattle, we headed over to the University of Washington for a Built to Spill show. Thanks Doug for being the singer of 1 of my favorite bands and arranging to play in our honor while we were in Seattle. You're the coolest!

Reservations at Campagne were awaiting us for that evening. Beautiful view of the harbor and a wonderful meal! Gougeres, Short rib and roasted duck leg.

Day 3- Good morning and hello Crumpet Shop! I believe this to be my first crumpet experience. It left me wanting more. This is a wonderful gem just up the street from Pike's Place Market. To know it is to love it!

Dinner time! We found a place of the water (name escapes me) for some no frills fresh seafood. Oysters, clams, sushi and check out this cranberry (or was it raspberry??) mojito!

Day 4- We found oursevles at Victrola Coffee on Capitol Hill enjoying lattes and a scone. Beautiful foam art and not a bad scone either!

Seeing the REI flagship store was great! We walked for a few hours and grabbed a few tapas at Txori, here are the albondigas and stuffed squid.

This was our last afternoon in Seattle and we had some time to kill before heading to the airport. We stopped for a sampling of teas.

Had our final lunch at Pike's Place Chowder. It was delicious! We went with the traditional New England Chowder and a crab sandwich. They ship this chowder and I'm considering getting in on this. It's a little hot with the summer heat wave, but there might have to be some chowder this fall.

We loved Seattle! I leave you with these beautiful peonies!
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