Monday, May 20, 2013


I visited my dad and his girlfriend in Santa Fe. This was my foodie love affair in rough order of carnal, joyful consumption.

Santa Fe Brewing Company chile rellanos... just... shut the front door. I could have slept with that freshly made tortilla like a big, soft quilt.

KAKAWA!!! Drinking chocolate cafe. Inspired by old recipes from Aztecs and Marie Antoinette and the days of our founding fathers. Various flavors with rose, chile, nutmeg, almond...thick, smooth, sweet, simple...uh, sex.  Also they sold chocolates and we got the best damn juicy, tart pomegranate chocolate truffle I have ever tasted. So, like, basically the most amazing store ever.

Henry's Roadhouse. Just... do me now Turkey enchiladas... do me now. It was all honestly perfect.
Then dessert at Henrys': A fudgey, flakey, not-too-sweet salted chocolate caramel tart that just succumbed to our every whim. Tomma decided to SPRINKLE EXTRA SALT ON IT which was a brilliant idea because it was the best thing ever and we made it even better and excuse me I have to take a cold shower now.
El Fine cafe. I LOVED THIS PLACE. I wanted to eat everything in the bakery counter. Including the meyer lemon tart on the far right. (I bought a slice of it after breakfast and SHOWED IT WHO WAS BOSS).
This was my breakfast (burrito) at El Fine. Just... stop it. Fucking stop it. Freshly made hash browns and fluffy eggs...
Here it is again in case you want to look at it up close...helloooo nurse.
Tomma and Dad got the same thing for breakfast it was delish. No memory of what it was called but it had fresh tortilla strips in the scramble and that's enough for me to take a photo of it! AUGH I want to dive into that sour cream!
My love. My love... softest, sweet-spicey-nuanced gingerbread cookie/cake with an old timey print on it that reminds me of the designs on the fences while waiting in line for The Matterhorn at Disneyland.
Plaza cafe. Burger wrapped in a tortilla covered in, yes, that's cheese, and green chile!!! I don't even know if it was *great* but it was *amazing* because it was a burger wrapped in a tortilla covered in cheese and green chile.
(This little corn cake that I took from my dad's plate was also quite delectable and astonishingly tender with little pieces of... say it with me, GREEN CHILE!)
Pasquals. Ok. Time delivers True Love. Because the last day of my trip we ate here for breakast and I WANT TO MARRY IT. Those are bananas, people. And peas. I don't even remember what this was but it was some egg dish with green chile and like.. god, all this other stuff and it's really just impossible to describe how exciting this was to eat. I also got a mocha which was perfecto. Made with mexican chocolate! True Love and sexy chocolate coffee sex. What could be better?

Thank you Santa Fe.

Thursday, March 07, 2013


Ramekin is a new dessert place on Vermont. I love the idea: All desserts - baked things in ramekins, little pies and homemade ice cream - as well as foodie coffee! (By Handsome Roasters). Just the facts, ma'am.  What's not to love? (Except that their existance means that Paradis is no longer there, sadly).

I was very excited to try it, imagining a hot mess of earthly delights and simple pleasures.  A bare bones, bare-backed foodie romp with little room for pomp and circumstance...

Well, while the food itself would probably fit into those dreams, the presentation and "aura" of the whole shebang felt a little off to me, so it's tough to give Ramekin a 100% bonefide sexy recommendation just yet.  It felt slightly cold but aesthetically "correct", you know?  Maybe it was the energy of the people inside, not sure. The amazingly carved communal table was so awesome and made me want to crawl across it, but then my little cheescake was served on an oversized white plate in a very minimalist "high end restaurant" way. (Is that proper term? Ahem.) And that threw me off.

My friend Richard making the table look small.
If you're going to go with the rustic-wooden-furniture, chalk-board and basic-white-ramekins vibe, give me my cheese cake on a wooden cheeseboard or something, you know? No perfectly drizzled berry coulis necessary. Or, if you want that very tasty berry coulis to be there, just throw that shit over the cheesecake and let me deal with the mess! Or on a piece of parchment paper! A French newspaper!! Hey that's my style. Well, perhaps I'm getting a little silly but you get the jist. I'll buy it if you do. That's what I want if I'm at a place that is kind of marketing itself to be purely for indulging, because it helps me get into it. Or, at least, it helps me not think about "how they are doing it" but let's me just enjoy the ride. If I were ordering desserts from a fancy restaurant I'd get it, and that's great, but I'm not sure which Ramekin is going for and so that kind of affected my ability to get into it. It's like a super hot man that you fantasize about but when you are alone with him he winces at anything that might make him get a little messy. Boo.

So, perhaps it was just my expectations, as well.

In any case, they could just be working out the kinks since it's a new place of course. And maybe I'm just thinking too much of Cafe Vita or The Pie Hole (which I think nail this "rustic sexiness" thing very well).  It could also be that someone at Ramekin is simply caring too much about "gourmet" presentation when they should let the food speak for itself! Because it can! So many things now are "gourmet" in a food truck or a cooler attached to some dude's bike, I think they'd be just fine. In fact, isn't that the definition of the new high-end foodie movement? Let me eat my dessert out of a trough, please. I just might. No, but seriously...

I want them to get it right because their ice cream is so densely/accurately flavored and INCREDIBLE.  It was almost like eating cold, non-ice cream matter. Like how the new breed of coffee tasted after you were so used to brewed coffee.  It was incredible, and kind of didn't make sense but you were pretty sure it was the same thing. EARL GREY and Raw Vanilla were my favorites that I sampled. Also black sesame which is made with almond milk! It's freshy-fresh cold n' tasty in it's consistency, almost like sorbet but still sort of creamy. (Like the slushly basil-seed wonder at Mashti Malones). You know, for th' Vegans!

I went with my friend Richard and we shared the Cheesecake and Berry Cobbler. It was hard to control myself and not eat all of them by myself, but the sizes were still adequate. Though I did secretly wish the cobbler was in a ramekin twice the size of itself.

I wanted to mess it up so badly, in it's tidy little home. It had a delicate, brown-sugary, doughy-crumbly-buttery flavor in your cheek pocket, and a cold/hot melty-ice-cream thing on top which is of course perfect for Cobbler Town. Still, the more I think of it, it would have been nice if it was a tad bigger, or less expensive. It was $6. Again, we have the concept of the "gourmet experience" conflicting with a "let's just grab a sexy little $4 cobbler for dessert" bang for your buck thing. Which would be better I think. Otherwise, you're just going to a place that is serving you "restaurant desserts", which are usually a tad overpriced at about $6-8, when why not just go to the restaurant?

Anyway, I went off again. It's really not a big problem. The Cheesecake was amazeballs. Mascarpone. Yes thanks. I could eat it out of a tube...? Kind of? I didn't mind that it didn't have graham cracker anything, it was goddamn thick, creamy and good. I did feel a little sheepish that I was laying over that sexy wooden table, doing my best to get carnal on it's luscious little body when it was so neat and flower-shaped and tidy. Again! Sigh.

At the end of the whole affair our mess looked like a dragon, see?  Kundalini dragon-women energy is trying to get out, Ramekin! You are so close!

I will be back this weekend with plans to try the MOCHI WAFFLE CONE (I'm not even sure what that means but I love it) and a full-fledged order of ice cream, and/or possibly the chocolate bread pudding.  If I write back that I ended up getting arressted for shooting out those icy lightbulbs, replacing them with a giant fireplace and doing a naked go-go dance on the wooden table, consider yourself warned.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Caffe FRICKIN' Vita. Are you serious? I Love you.

Yesterday I failed miserably at my attempt to have a coffee and do work at Groundworks cafe. And thank God for that. Because I stumbled into a coffee cloud land. Or out of one and into an alternate-fantasy Universe that I will now call Caffe Vita. 

I decided to venture out of the coffee capitol of LA (East LA) because I oddly craved Groundworks' brick walls. Big time. I also felt like being in a not-entirely-hipstered-out atmosphere, as well as drinking a "regular" cup of dark coffee that maybe wasn't brewed in a science beaker. (I love current coffee culture, but when it comes to plain coffee I am  happy with Peets or Starbucks because I like it very dark and I find the wonderful elements you get with Clover or Siphon brewing is sometimes just too light or nuanced for me, especially when I want a Garfield-style, hair-raising, bracing cuppa Joe).

After driving in circles (and traffic) looking for parking in Hollywood for over half an hour, I ambled home in a coffee-craving tizzy, debating all the places I could go that would give me what I wanted. Nothing was quite right. This Goldilocks needed her Wee Bear-coffee shop.  As the sun set and dusk settled in blue and purple on the hills, I sat in my car waiting to turn on Hillhurst but not knowing where I was going. I may have begun to whimper.

During this Bourgeois torment, I noticed some commotion through an open door at "that corner place that I remember seeing was supposed to be a coffee joint at some point".  Namely, Caffe Vita. Right at the intersection of Sunset Blvd. and Sunset dr.

Time to dive into the unknown. :) (Random tip: do that)

Walking there I knew it was right. The air was nice and cold, and I laughed as I passed by the giant brick wall that is Rudy's barbershop, the same building that is shared by Caffe Vita. Ask And It Shall Be Given!

I walked in, having no clue what I was in for and the vibe was excellent! I felt instantly happy and calm. It was welcoming and warm. It had lots of light, but still cozy, with that modern metal-and-wood look. The people who worked there were smiling at me in a real way; everyone seemed positive and pleasant, talking at the tables and enjoying their coffee.  The barista girl was adorable and genuinely nice, and when I stumbled to the counter and said "I jus' wanna cup of coffee, do you have like, clover, or different ways of brewing?" - prepared to have to choose my price-tier of coffee extraction methods - she said "well we just do one brew for the day, it's French Press (great) and today it's Sumatra (GREAT!)".

I said it was for here and she reached for a big-ass beautiful ceramic mug asking if that's what I wanted. YESYESYES!!  It was like being at a diner or Peet's but with the added foodie-joy of getting high-quality, indie-roasted beans.

Here is a photo of the mug from So sorry I didn't take my OWN photo that day but this is just what it looked like.  God I love simple, earthy, sexy things.

They are a Seattle-based roasting company but plan to have a roaster in the cafe itself. I'm trying to contain my delight!

If that wasn't all enough fun, when I went to pay she said "oh and it's free, it's our grand opening so we're giving coffee away all day today!".  WhhhaaaaAAAAT??!!

Cloud land. Heaven! It was just what I had envisioned, thinking I'd end up at Groundworks, yet somehow better. Little did I know I would be steered into a higher-consciousness level of coffee-enjoyment that night.

Kids, trust the Universe. If things aren't working out and find yourself driving away from your goal, having no idea where you are going, stay open, keep your eyes on the prize and let your dreams get delivered to you.

Oh ya, and the Sumatra was ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS. I dare say perfect.

No I'm saying it. It was perfect.  PERFECT!

Not just because it was rich and dark without being bitter, but because it was what I wanted. I can't think of a better place to go then the place that miraculously gives you exactly what you want. 

To be continued...(with more photos)!

Caffe Vita (the new place to go before or after a Vista movie, yay!)
4432 W Sunset Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 661-6535

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

I'm Back, Pho Sho'!

    There are very few things that can substitute for a lack of sex. And/or Love. In fact, there might just be two things that I have found that do the trick. One is dancing and the other is eating good food.

    When you don't have a steady income or a boyfriend, it's hard to get either (the good sex or the good food!) so I haven't been out to eat for dinner for a long time. I remember to keep dancing, one way or another, but if I ever splurge on food it's for take out, and I end up sitting alone in a similar fashion as when I cook at home. AKA staring at the TV for company.

    So when I got a particularly intense craving to make love to some Pho from Pho Cafe on Sunset tonight, I couldn't resist dining in. I had been on a long walk around Silver Lake reservoir with it's grey and slightly pink, cold and foggy sky, and sitting in that bright, long, savory cafe with a hot steaming bowl of Pho beneath me was exactly what I wanted.

    I took a shower, turned it to cold for a brief minute before getting out and drove down sunset with a warm/cold tingle all over my skin and a faint rumble in my stomach.  Miraculously, I got a parking spot in the lot. Having been used to writing in cafes lately as well as being self-conscious about being alone, I brought a notebook along just in case I wanted to work. Or...ahem, look like someone who didn't have a hard time finding a dinner date. But as soon as I sat down and tunnel-visioned myself into that menu, I knew my work wouldn't have much of a chance. And I realized there is nothing quite as nice as being 33 with a hungry stomach and a warm sweater and not giving a damn that you're alone because you are sitting in a bright, welcoming restaurant about to remember how to live your life.

    Eggs rolls with mung beans, good-oily and warm with piles of lettuce, mint, lemon grass and... other green leaves, unidentified, I ate merrily like a starving orphan child. I had decided to spend $20 maximum and you can easily spend less than that at Pho Cafe and get a wonderfully hearty and soothing meal.  So that exciting pre-dinner indulgence was also excitingly practical!

    Shortly after the glorious appetizer arrived came my #13; Free range chicken and ginger and noodle soup. In a big, white, steaming bowl waiting just for me. "Yes, my pretty, I see you there, I will get to you soon" *munch, crunch, shlerp, scrumnch" on the egg rolls and "lickety smack" on my fingers. My notebook sat idling underneath utensils and extra dishes for dipping sauce. Then I brought the big bowl of Pho towards my body slowly and started in on that. With all the multitasking I do in a day, even if it's just staring at the computer and getting lost in pseudo-important emails, I had forgotten how enjoyable, sexy and lovable it is to just EAT. Not at home, but SOMEWHERE. Around HUMAN BEINGS. Like it mattered. Like I was a part of the world. This is what happens when you spend too much time on a computer and come up for air. It was divine.

    I tore off pieces of basil leaf from the stem and sprinkled them over the broth, calm and serene like a Panda Bear, waiting for the Pho to cool down.  Bean sprouts, hoisin sauce, too, and a squeeze of lime thank you very much. I had all the time in the world. The photo doesn't do it justice since it was taken with my little flip phone, but maybe it imparts what all the color and warmth a simple meal can bring you when you focus on eating because you're hungry, and nothing else. Mmm I could eat it all over again.

    There may not be anyone in my bed at the moment, but my heart certainly feels a bit more relaxed tonight after having this meal. Oh how I underestimated you, Food! How could I have forgotten!?

    If you're single or you're stressed and spending lots of time at home lately, don't let yourself forget how to enjoy a good meal. Turn off the phone, take a deep breath, look down at what your eating, and get back in the game. That's the secret to good sex and Love I think, and as it turns out, of course, good food too.

2841 Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, 90026
(213) 413-0888

Thursday, April 21, 2011





I just had the best chocolate ice cream I've ever tasted. I somehow managed to stop eating it and run home to take these photos.

Handmade Scandanavian ice cream!

This all-of-a-sudden-new-favorite-place o' mine, Paradis, just opened in the old Pinberry spot on Vermont. Their second store after opening one in Montrose.

Yes, I will have this before my dinner, thank you.

Organic chocolate from Denmark

The taste is so rich and faintly complex but still so damn classic I want to go outside and start...looting stores with a Care Bear Stare or...climbing on a tree branch and belting out a song from Moulin Rouge while wearing a top hat.

OK, I actually saw that happening outside Vermont Restaurant on my walk back from Rite Aid.

A man singing a song from Moulin Rouge, perched in a top hat like a theatrical chimp in one of my beloved trees. Wailing his heart out. With a spotlight blasting on his face. What magic is this?! And what the hell could I ever dream up that could immediately top spontaneous musical theater in a TREE!?!


$3.50 for once scoop. Beyond worth it.

The woman who happily urged me sample many flavors (*Elderflower*Strawberry*Cinnamon*Peanut Butter* all incredible), is also the wife of the chef who apparently gets up at 3am every morning to make a variety of ice creams for the day, from hundreds of choices in their flavor-repertoire. True family operation. All natural too... fresh, creamy, yet very fine.

What a life.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

When you want to flip out - Banana Sour Cream Pancakes!!

We may have vastly opposing spiritual viewpoints (he's a devout Christian and I bend to Buddhism) but one thing's for sure, my friend Chris and I LOVE GOOD FOOD.

Correction, not just good food, but, of course, SEXY FOOD. Preferably of the sugar-based variety.

We've been friends for about 7 years now, punctuating our "tell me about your love life" visits with late-night pie binges or frozen yogurt runs. Everything we do, come to think of it, revolves around food.

Most recently we lounged around my tiny apartment eating wedges of dark chocolate topped with soft, raw honey. SHUT. UP. I knew he liked desserts, but from that moment on, I knew Chris would never fail me in the food lust department. I think the sight of someone losing it over a piece of chocolate with honey on it would make any foodie well-up with pride.

However, we may have topped ourselves, ol' Chris and I.

This last friday we needed to catch up on our love lives yet again, so Chris offered to make me a meal. Being that we are who we are, we ended up making pancakes with sauteed, cinnamon-sugar apples and bacon. Sounds simple enough, but look at this mother-freaking monster of pancake-tastic glory:

Yes, that is bacon crumbled over the pancake. Apples and cinnamon cooked in brown sugar and butter, IN the sour cream pancake COVERED in more butter and maple syrup and a last minute improvisation of slivered almonds. I had three. Then we switched to pancakes infused with a bananas fosters filling.

Then I went home and wanted to die. But not without crying, wondering "why am I so TIRED??" and laughing maniacally, first.

After a hard days work like that, I had to make sure to let everyone know how they, too, can enjoy such orgi-tastic bliss. I owe it all to the best pancake recipe I have ever found. This recipe comes courtesy of Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa), and I kiss those bare feet, in spirit, for it.

These are soft, tender little cakes that sit like brown-buttered cloud pillows on your plate.
With Thanksgiving coming up, this is a great recipe to try since we'll be gorging all weekend anyway, right?!

Follow her directions closely, they never fail.

Then praise Jesus. Or Buddha. Or just be thankful you are blessed enough to be eating something so ridiculously wonderful and unnecessary.

Banana Sour Cream Pancakes
yield - 12 pancakes

1 1/2 cups flour
3 tbls. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup plus 1 tbls. milk
2 extra large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
unsalted butter
2 ripe bananas plus extra for serving (or whatever fruit you want, yo).

Sift together the flour , sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, milk eggs, vanilla and lemon zest. Add teh west ingredients to the dry ones, mixing only until combined.
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat until it bubbles. Ladle the pancake batter into the pan to make 3 or 4 pancakes. Distribute a rounded tablespoon of bananas on each pancake. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until bubbles appear on top and the underside is nicely browned. Flip the pancakes and then cook for another minute until browned.

Wipe out the pan with a paper towel, add more butter to the pan, and continue cooking pancakes until all the batter is used. Serve with sliced bananas, butter and maple syrup.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Day at The Luxury Chocolate Salon - My Favorites


People, what better substance is there on earth? It makes children do this, and it makes us feel like children who are doing this. Honestly.

The Luxury Chocolate Salon in Pasadena has been around for only 4 years, and I've been lucky enough to go 3 times. Most recently, LAST SUNDAY! Whee!

This story begins a few years ago when I met a really nice woman named Diana Malouf at The Chocolate Salon. We got to talking enthusiastically about chocolate-making and her fledgling chocolate business, Ococoa. Today I'm happy to say she is doing really well with Ococoa, and was exhibiting for the second year at The Chocolate Salon.

Ococoa is a really unique company, making
delectable chocolate butter cups - not just peanut butter (which by the way is the best I've ever had) but flavors like sesame fig (drool) sunflower honey and macadamia guava!! That's all different nut-butters folks, how cool is that? Rich comfort food meets exquisite gourmet.

She was gracious enough to get me in for free this year so I could stuff myself silly and report to all of you. Thank you Diana!

I regret my camera battery died before I was able to get a better photo of the Ococoa booth, but she (and most importantly, her butter cups) will be at Artisanal LA Downtown, October 23rd and 24th. So go try some and buy some!

Of course, there were more chocolates to try. So after stopping off at Ococoa, I strolled around and found a few favorites. Behold:

My newest and most favorite this year was Amella Caramels, covered in chocolate and made with cocoa butter. HOLY BANANAS!!!! I could not believe how fresh and chewy-chewy-tastic these caramels were! Caramels are pretty much the sexiest thing ever, when done right, and these brought me to the brink of madness. Dense, smooth, melting... that slight give and creamy bitterness from the chocolate shell around it... GLLLAARARARGGGG! Even the way they were cut in little squares got me all pumped up and happy.

The passion fruit flavor was by far the best. It was like drinking a freshly squeezed glass of juice. The white chocolate covered carrot cake (carrot cake!!) was also a unique and tasty treat. I love their box design too. Do me now Amella Caramels. Do me now.

A favorite I r
emember from last year was back again - Clarine's Florentines. If I had more money I would buy these in droves and pass them out for Christmas. Chewy, crunchy and nutty-sweet, they do one thing and do it so well. Light almond brittle coated with chocolate. Bliss.

Marti Chocolates
is another favorite from years past. Local to LA and home of the unforgivably sexy goat cheese truffle, they are truly unique. Yes. Yes. I said goat cheese. I didn't get a great photo, but since they are local you can hopefully go check them out yourself! The centers of their truffles are the most fresh and bright and gooey I think I've ever had, with the best flavors expressing the company's ties to the Phillipines: citrus, durian and mango. Super drool.

Then there was The Chubby Chipmunk

I'm so used to seeing tidy little hand-painted truffle squares ala France, that these big, decadent globs of chocolate took me back a bit. They were sampling the truffles dug-out and displayed on tiny spoons, almost like ice cream. They were so rich and intense, immediately melting and creamy... it got me all excited. The toffee crunch and New York cheesecake flavors were my favorites. Cheesecake truffle!!! Lord how I dreamt of shoving one of those golf-ball sized babies right between my teeth and chomping down with glee. Or swallowing one like a python eating an egg, and just let it melt in my throat. *droool*

The Chubby Chipmunk's truffles are the opposite of the hip, French style confectionary we've all gotten so used to seeing, and for that I'm grateful. As much as I respond to tidy, artistic beauty, we all need to be reminded that getting dirty and going for the extreme from time to time (preferably more than that) is really the best way to live. Owner Mary Tautkus further inspired my earthy motto when she told me a story about the first time she was making truffles with her chocolate tempering machine. The thing had broken in transport so it malfunctioned in the middle of it all, leaving her with a bowl of melted chocolate. Of course she did what any reasonable chocoholic would do: scoop it out and smear it all over her face and hands. That, my friends, is a woman after my own heart.

Now go eat some chocolate and enjoy it. And for the love of God, get it all over your face.