Home-Grown Veggies

Jalapeno, spicy hybrid and chili pepper, and cherry tomatoes--all grown by David!

Coming soon--key limes, corn and spaghetti squash! 


Word on the STREET

OK, maybe a few words. Or even better, pictures! I went to Street with my lovely friend Kimberly nearly two months ago, and am ridiculously just now getting around to actually posting about it. Don't take that the wrong way--it was great!! Anyway, as mentioned, Street opened in the location of the defunct Dive on Highland, and they've really spiffied the place up! We went during its opening week, and even four days in, on a Thursday night, the place was hopping. With Mozza just a stone's throw away across Highland, that block is really becoming a foodie's haven! Now on to dinner...

Street Menu. The aesthetics of Street are reminiscent of Border Grill and Ciudad--bright
colors and bold patterns, very modern. Love it.

Complimentary Rice Puffs with Indian Spices. This is basically their version of chips and salsa. They were a little sweet, a little savory, a lot cumin-y. Personally not my fave, but it goes with the street food vibe of the restaurant so I'll go with it. What about samosas, though? Good idea, right? Maybe I'll send them a letter about it.

White Wine, served in neat and unique individual serving bottles. The drinks here were bountiful, tasty and pricey. Ain't none of that 2 Buck Chuck 'round these parts.

Turkish Zucchini Spinach cakes-made with puff pastry, a roasted red pepper sauce and a dash of yum. One of those super comforting, simple dishes that anyone would love.

Paani Puri-a combination of potato, chutney and sprouted beans, served with
yogurt cilantro water. This was unexpectedly served cold (on purpose)
and was a bit eh overall. More cumin action happening here.

Kaya Toast. This was quite possibly one of the most delicious and weirdest things I've ever tried.
Basically, it is fried egg covered in soy sauce, served with a sort of grilled cheese.
Only, instead of cheese in between the slices of bread it is coconut jam.
You dip the bread into the egg, and experience nirvana, I'm pretty sure.
This dish is purportedly good for hangovers, but I would happily eat it,
drunk or sober, any day of my life. Seriously.

Kimberly and coworker (now former-two months is a long time. Oops.) He was super fun and on the off chance he EVER sees this, I'm sorry for not remembering your name! You were a neat dude. They're both gearing up to go see Mr. Belding do an art show opening. LA is pretty awesome/random basically all the time.

Our meal was great but not cheap. We spent about $70 each--that includes drinks and sharing several dishes. This is a fun, lively place to check out with friends. This summer would be a great time to go, too-they have a nice-sized patio area for dining as well as the inside room and bar. I'm considering dragging D there on a Thursday night, when they have jazz! There is still so much on the menu that I didn't get to try with KG...

If you're interested to read a little more about the inspiration for Street, Zagat.com had a neat little interview with Susan Feniger that you can read

Talk to you soon, loves!



Raising the Bar at Barbrix

David started compiling a list of things-attractions, museums, restaurants, etc-that we have yet to check out in LA and beyond. I've been (I'd like to think) extremely helpful in piling on the restaurants as I read about them on DailyCandy, Thrillist, Diglounge or any of the other email box fillers to which I subscribe. D may disagree on that point...

So, last Sunday was our 2.5 year anniversary. It may seem silly to some, but we always like to acknowledge little milestones like that. Just wait for Emily & David season! (That's from Halloween through mid-December, in case you were wondering. Gifts and/or parties not required but always welcome.) We thought it would be fun to go somewhere a little more special than the norm for dinner, and went to our ever-growing list for an idea. One of the newest additions is actually one of LA's newest restaurants--Barbrix opened on May 11th. It's so rare for me to actually go to one of these places so soon after their opening, I'm tempted to pat myself on the back...however, I should disclose that I know one of the owners, Adria Tennor. A ringing endorsement from our mutual friend Elizabeth was the extra push I needed to get over there asap.

Barbrix adds to the growing number of restaurants in LA specializing in small plates--basically Americanized tapas. This allows the diner a chance to try out many different things on the menu for the same (or less) cost as just getting one full-portioned entree. As a person who likes to experience many different flavors in one meal, I LOVE places like this.

The menu is a good size, with a lot of option for those of the carniverous persuasion (more MEAT-meat than poultry), as well as flexitarians like us. Here is a little synopsis of the menu items we opted for:

Burrata with artichokes alla romana- Ice cream cheese, as D calls it, is most always delicious. Soft and subtle, with a tiny bit of stretch texturally, I personally think it could the secret to world peace. Marinated artichokes are a close second, so the pairing was pretty much a match made in heaven. It was drizzled with a scant olive tapenade that could have been more of a presence on the dish.

Three cheese plate: rocchetta (Piemonte, Italy-sheep, cow & goat’s milk); Bermuda triangle (Cyprus Grove Chevre, CA-bloomy rind goat’s milk); quickes farmhouse cheddar (Sommerset, England-calico-wrapped cow’s milk)
Perhaps restaurants such as this already expect us to know the difference between a goat’s milk and a sheep’s milk cheese, and that if we order the bleu, we know it’s SUPPOSED to be a little moldy and stinky. However, as we just pretend to know what we’re doing a lot of the time, I would love if they gave suggested cheese combinations, so you can be sure you’re getting a good variety of flavors and textures. I think we did a pretty decent job flying blind, though. The Rocchetta was one of those stinky cheeses and my least favorite. The cheddar was softer than expected but had a round, assertive and mildly sharp taste. The Bermuda Triangle was my fave. It was neat-looking, like triangle-shaped brie with a varied interior color palette, and was creamy and delicious. To me it tasted like a combination of brie and goat cheese. I was tempted to snag the whole log of it that was sitting on the bar. With the cheeses was served some quince and roasted almonds, along with slices of baguette. The sides were great complements with all the cheeses.

Turkish Chopped Salad-To me, this tasted a lot like my tabouli, minus the bulgar wheat and feta. It was really fresh and tasty-the lemon/garlic vinaigrette was perfect. Plus, Mister and Miss Picky ate their respective dreaded cucumbers and tomatoes with nary a whimper. So proud of us.

­Crispy Grilled Polenta- I think it’s pretty much impossible to screw up polenta with creamy mushroom sauce. It’s just a lot of goodness on a plate, you know? I did feel that this one could use a little bit of a kick in the sauce, though, a bit more spice or salt. Cream is delicious but can get bland…

­Farmer’s Plate- I had no idea what a ramp was, and for some reason was envisioning it to be some sort of small fish, like an anchovy. Turns out it’s more like a green onion in looks and texture, and tastes mighty nice pickled. But then, anything pickled is all right in my book. Beets were unadorned but good. There was a third veggie on there, grilled, whose name escapes me-the texture was reminiscent of fennel, the taste that of a bitter brussel sprout. I liked-the boy did not.

We were enjoying our meal (ahem *wine*) so much that we apparently completely missed the earthquake. To our credit, no one else seemed to notice, either. I guess the place was rockin' enough already!  Less than a week old, and it was completely jam packed. I'm glad I made a reservation!

Speaking of wine, we each had a couple glasses of red. For the first round, David opted for the Ca’de Calle ’07 (Argentina) and I had the Babich, Lasin & Pavina, “Riserva,” Alan Bibich ’06 (Croatia). I felt the Babich was a bit too tame--almost watered down--so on the second round I joined D for a Ca'de Calle. It was a richer red, with some faint buttery notes. Mmm. Both wines were $6 a glass, an extremely reasonable price. The prices of glasses ranged from $6-$9 for the most part.

As soon as I saw Adria’s favorite ginger shortcakes, with berry compote and whipped cream on the menu I knew we would have to have dessert. Another good thing about these small plate places--it takes more to stuff yourself, so you(ok, I) usually have room for dessert. This one stayed on par with the rest of our meal-the shortbread wasn't too sweet, with a nice touch of ginger, and the berries retained much of their tartness. It was pretty perfect in its simplicity. I'm now determined to recreate something similar at home, but I'm thinking peaches instead of berries. Don't doubt me, I have all the ingredients! 

All in all, our experience at Barbrix was a very positive one. Aside from a couple of snags that are destined to come with growing pains (they forgot to bring us two of our dishes for quite some time) we had a really great meal and got an early look at what promises to be one of LA's most popular new hip spots. Do go check it out-the menu varies from week to week, so you may not see all the things we had, but I am betting you'll find something you love.

2 Dozen Roses for 2.5 awesome years



Monkeying Around

Wow, I am all about the punning in my Titles, eh? Hey, I have never claimed to be a pithy wordsmith...my talents lie very much in the land of the long-winded.

Last night we got to attend a free screening at Landmark offered to KCRW members (so glad I joined for many reasons!) with a bunch of like-minded public radio listeners. They screened "Away We Go," a really funny, sweet film about a couple expecting a baby and their journey to find the ideal family home. I haven't seen "North" but I imagine it to be sort of similar to that, except with sex. And
pregnancy. And humor.

Post-movie, I was inspired by Maya Rudolph's great performance...and started craving sweets. OK, so I was craving Reeses Pieces before the movie even started. But, really, what self respecting theatre doesn't sell Reeses Pieces??

And no, I'm not pregnant. 

Anyhoo. I turned down every place David offered to take me for dessert on our way home. We were almost at our door when I remembered Umami Burger, a fantabulous burger place right around the corner from our house. It deserves and will get its own post, but the reason we went there was because they offer dessert goodies from both Cake Monkey and Milk (another delightful post-worthy spot). I've been wanting to check out CM for a couple years and after seeing that we could get them at Umami, and reading this, we finally got to try a couple creations last night.
The wrapping left a little to be desired--but I guess it gives me hope that such a simple design wouldn't deter LA hipsters (and me) from digging in

We had our choice of three treats: Yo-Hos, Raspberry Red Velvet Cakewich and Peanut Butter & Marshmallow Cakewich. The PB&M was the obvious choice, especially with my Reese's craving. Against my better judgment, I agreed to also get the RRV. Trust your instincts, people...I was not a fan. It had a sort of medicinal/cleaning products flavor. Could just be me. D thought it was all right.

I'll just stick with the PB&M, thankyouverymuch. Oh Lord. A dark chocolate shell covered the layers of fluffy vanilla cake, creamy peanut butter frosting and marshmallow. The innards would probably be cloyingly sweet on their own, but
 coupling it with the richer chocolate coating sold me. Have I mentioned how much I love our neighborhood and all the walking distance deliciousness that surrounds us?
Sorry for the artlessness of this pic-they tasted way better than I am making them look.

Let's talk again soon, hmmmm?




My current snack addiction

Forget all those other superfruits...I am hooked on mangosteen! Imagine a very mild berry taste, with the occasional crunch of an almond (the fruit's seed).

(image borrowed from http://www.cbgarden.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/image/mangosteen.jpg)

Who knew freeze-dried tropical fruit could take such a hold? I just polished off a bag from Trader Joe's in about five minutes. All I know is, if Pink(crack)berry starts offering it as a topping, I am in serious trouble.

Now, where can I find some of this stuff FRESH? My mouth's feeling a little chalky...


K-Tacos, Late Night Style

Lizzy, my favorite li'l sis, has been bugging me about updating this. She's not even a follower (ahem!) so I don't know how she knows I haven't updated. Hm.

It's not just L's exhortations that got me back on here today. I've missed you, m'dearies! Life has been crazy of late, and honestly doesn't seem to be letting up, but I have been baking and eating a lot and know you're all dying to know the deets! So. Today I want to tell you a little story about the Kogi Taco Truck.

I first discovered Kogi's existence a couple months ago at the authenticity of food lecture. As mentioned in the original blog, this was an event brought to fruition by the Zocalo lecture series. (I mention this mostly because I didn't supply the link last time, which was totally my bad.) As threatened, I did join Twitter just to follow the truck--I was just so amazed at this living, breathing example of viral advertising! Blame my time at LL for that. However, we hadn't actually made the leap to trying the increasingly infamous tacos. I'm an old woman, people. I need to go to bed at 10PM!

Finally, though, we decided to take the plunge. I was in SoPas for a production of Faust (which was very good-you should check it out!) on Saturday and on a whim decided to see where the Kogi truck was going to be that night. Lo and behold, this was posted:

ROJA: 1PM-3PM@The Brig - Abbot Kinney and Palm in Venice;6PM-9PM@Buena Park - tbd;10:30PM-1AM@Eagle Rock - 4372 Eagle Rock Blvd.

Roja is one of their two trucks; the other is Verde. I wondered briefly if one was superior to the other, but whatevs! Eagle Rock...just a few miles from the opera! I ordered David to eat lightly so we would be in top form.

We arrived at about 10:40--found a parking spot just around the corner--walked up the hill--

and waited.

There were around 25 people in front of us in line. It was a pretty young crowd, I'm guessing mostly Occidental College peeps and maybe some adventurous fellow Trojans. There was a smattering of older folks too, which kind of perplexed as the night went on.

Still waiting.

The line continued to grow after we arrived--it was probably about a block long. Compared to the crowds at Pink's, this was child's play. Except the line wasn't moving.

Honey, it did say 10:30, right?

You get the picture. Finally, around 11:15 or so, we moved up about two feet. And so on. Those smart (?) enough to get to the truck uber early began to walk by (smugly, imho) with their tightly aluminum wrapped containers-no one was eager to risk their hard-earned nosh getting chilled by the cool night air.

Eventually we reached the front of the truck, and were actually able to view the menu. They offered four fillings for tacos or burritos: short ribs, pork, chicken and tofu. Each taco is a recession friendly $2. We opted for three each of the chicken and tofu. After about a second of arm twisting, I also convinced D to go in for the Chef's special of the night, a Chocolate Brownie with spicy peanuts. Dinner for less than $20 is always welcome!

Oh, what time was it? Yeah...12:30. Ish.

So, was the food worth it? Let's begin with dessert, since it's what we ate first: The brownie was extremely fudgey and decent, but pretty lacking in the spice department--a little disappointing considering it was the Chef's special. The chicken and tofu tacos were both tasty. According to the Kogi site, "All our tacos are topped with: sesame-chili salsa roja; julienne romaine lettuce and cabbage tossed in Korean chili-soy vinaigrette; cilantro-green onion-lime relish; crushed sesame seeds; sea salt; and garnished with lime wedge, orange wedge and red radish wedge." It's a long list, but everything on there is minimal and makes for a really delicious, flavorful blend. The chicken was nicely grilled but again a little lacking in spice. The tofu was better, a bit spicier (maybe because it's more of a blank slate than chicken?) but too soft. I think my main complaint is that I wish they used firm tofu rather than silken.

Honestly, there are VERY few things in this world I believe are worth waiting around for two hours in the chilly night air on a street corner in LA. I don't regret checking this out, though. I'm happy we went, and would like to go again...but I think next time maybe we'll check out an earlier stop closer to home. If you have some time one night, I would recommend you check it out too! You've been warned.

So sorry I didn't take pics of our experience, but the ones on the Kogi website are better than any my camera would take anyway. :) As I said at the beginning, I have been keeping busy with (mostly) baking projects, and will post some pics for your gandering pleasure.

Back to work I go! I'll be back soon, I promise (my fingers may or may not be crossed as I type this).