Friday, September 28, 2012

Peek at the Week - Week of September 24

Peek at the Week - Week of September 24 

Photo: LAist

Yup. The above happened during last year's Carmageddon, a group of friends hopped a fence and had an early morning brunch on the 405. All the warnings and terror struck into the minds of Angelenos proved to be very effective, as Carmageddon's traffic was some of the lightest in the history of Los Angeles transit. This year, the warnings seem less ominous and I fear people are thinking Carmegeddon Shmarmeggedon, "I'm going to take advantage of possibly the second lightest traffic day of all time." We will see. Who knows whats going to happen but personally, I am going to stay as put as can be.

Great food news of the week:
The much buzzed about new rustic chic bar, Phoenix opened its doors this week. Phoenix is from the owners of Surely Goat, one of my Hollywood favorite spots.
Rumor has it that Stone Brewery is looking at opening a Los Angeles location in the near future, I hope it mirrors the San Diego location with a tasting room, brewery and a beautifully set, delicious restaurant.

If you live close to one of L.A.'s fabulous museums, this Saturday is the nationwide Museum Day Live! Below is the list of participating museums offering free admission.                                                

Autry National Center, Los Angeles
California Science Center, Los Angeles
Chinese American Museum, Los Angeles
Fowler Museum at UCLA, Los Angeles
Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach
Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, Los Angeles
Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA), Long Beach
Museum of Art & History, Lancaster 
Otis College of Art and Design, Ben Maltz Gallery, Los Angeles
Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena
Pasadena Museum of California Art, Pasadena
Palos Verdes Art Center, Rolling Hills Estates
Santa Monica Museum of Art, Santa Monica
The GRAMMY Museum at L.A. LIVE, Los Angeles
Zimmer Children's Museum, Los Angeles

Art Platform Los Angeles 2012

Tonight is the opening of Art Platform, the first of the contemporary and modern art fair in Los Angeles. This is running until Sunday the 30th at the Barker Hanger (you know where the yearly Barney's sale is? Yes. There.). 

Have a wonderful, stress free weekend everyone! 

Monday, September 24, 2012

L.A. Beer Week

Happy Monday everyone! Need a little help making it through the dreaded first day of the week? Take comfort my friends, for it is L.A. Beer Week, the perfect excuse to drown your 'case of the Mondays' in a case of beer... well, more like a pint for this gal. L.A. beer culture has been gaining unflappable momentum for quite a while now, with around 12 new craft breweries opening up city wide, craft beer may be on the track to becoming a new hallmark of Los Angeles food and wine culture. Even, local Eagle Rock Brewery bottles are now carried at select, Los Angeles area Whole Foods Markets.
I did my fair share of beer tasting this past weekend at the Septemeberfest event (which had a lot of local beer though no affiliation to beer week) where I snapped the above lovely photo and had grand time. It was also so fitting that it's parallel to Beer Week and left me inspired to take pride in the local breweries of Los Angeles. I'm going to make a personal point to drink local this week, learn and explore Los Angeles brews. It's just too incredible that an individual can take a talent, vision, a lot of blood, sweat and tears to create a business, let alone a brewery, and in my neighborhood? It's only fitting to take pride and support are local marvels. Below I have added the L.A. Beer Week link, there our countless events to participate in and below that, is a handy map from You may be surprised at what is in your neighborhood.  -  A very cool Beer Map of the L.A. area.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Peek at the Week - Week of 17th

Peek at the Week - Week of 17th

This week was incredibly busy with zero time to post, so I've decided that this weekend, my big priority is getting organized for my blog (in between Septemberfest and weekend shenanigans of course).

Say hello to Septemberfest, happening this Saturday in Santa Monica. After my friends and I discovered how amazing beer festivals are, we really don't miss any chances to be at one. 
My beer festival wisdom tips: 
1) Spring the extra $10 to get you VIP access an hour early, before the lines really start to form.
 2) Dress comfy and wear shoes that can be drenched in beer, this will happen. 
3) Don't drink and drive. As I thought at my first beer festival, "there is no way I will be inebriated from the little beer cup the event provides" (about 3 ounces). WRONG. I was so relieved that I still made a safe transportation plan regardless. You will be shocked how fast the beer creeps up on you, be responsible and have plan.
4) Don't forget your sunscreen
5) Eat a little something before you go but know that there will be plenty of food options at the event. 
This event is a drinkeatplay event, which from my experience, are fabulous. 

This week I finally ate at the infamous Park's BBQ, constantly rated on the top of BBQ and Korean BBQ lists in L.A. It was fantastic! I loved the Beef Bulgolgi and Spicy Mul-naengmyeon. It's a must try! 

If you are looking for a good laugh this weekend, hit up Riot L.A. The brightest of Los Angeles' alternative comedians will be out in full force from the 21st  - 23rd.  

This is a photo from the Los Angeles Lobster Festival, I will have a blog post for you soon, the lobster was great but I just can't recommend attending this event. Details to soon come... 

Another one of my favorite, snap shots of L.A. 


Friday, September 14, 2012

Peek at the Week - Week of September 10th

Peek at the Week - Week of September 10th

Happy Friday everyone! This week has been very busy and I'll be honest, I'm very excited for this weekend to come. 
Here is my Peek at the Week: 

Port of Los angeles Lobster Festival
This weekend is The Port of Los Angeles Lobster Festival in San Pedro. This is the world's largest Lobster Festival and I really can't wait to be there! 

These are the little snap shots I collected over my trip to Portland this past week, it was an amazing time! I have the St. Johns Bridge in Portland, handsome Todd, the gorgeous front scene of the wedding we attended, the most delightful and oldest tiki bar in Portland - Alibi, and our delicious departure meal at George's Greek Cuisine in Burbank.

One of my favorite things is to bring the wonderful people in my life baked goods, either my own or store bought. This favorite habit has really taken me on quite the bakery tour of Los Angeles. I have a favorite bakery for any and every region in the city that I happen to be in at any given moment of receiving good, baked goods, worthy news. My only problem was that I didn't have one near my apartment. How could that be? Then I thankfully discovered Lark, on Sunset Boulevard in Silverlake. They offer delicious cakes, tarts, cupcakes and vegan goods. I highly recommend the Old Fashioned Ice Box Cake that I may have cheated on my diet sharing it with Todd. It was completely worth it. 

On Saturday night, Poolside (which in my mind is the epitome of L.A. summer sounds) will be playing for free at the Getty. I happen to know that some of the coolest cats in L.A. will be there, I'm talking about a  group of my amazing dear friends. 


The L.A. County Fair kicked off last week and will be running until the end of September. Go grab fair food taken to a whole other dimension- fried frog legs, chocolate dipped bacon and deep fried cookie dough- are some of the few outrageous fair fare I've been hearing about. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tri Colored Orzo Salad

Several years ago, my family came to L.A. to visit the then, newly opened, Getty Villa. At the Getty Villa visitors are welcome to bring picnics, the grounds are so amazing that I really don't think there is any better option than parking yourself in the picnicking area and dining alfresco. I made this Tri Colored salad for the first time for that very picnic, my oh my was it a hit. That was about 5 or so years ago. Fast forward to the current day and my family still raves about this salad. Just the other night, after my family reminded me how much they love this salad,  I decided to make it to accompany a lemon roasted chicken for a causal summer dinner with friends. I've always had this recipe tucked in the back of my mind, but the recent pleasure of eating it, I found myself wondering why don't I make this so much more often? It's really delicious. It travels very well and in my personal opinion, it tastes better at room temperature. It's beautiful to look at, light, healthy, bursting with flavors and oh so simple. 

 Tri Color Orzo Salad - Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

  • 1 pound orzo pasta
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1/4 cup
  • 2 cups fresh arugula (about 3 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 12 fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the orzo and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta, cool. Drizzle the pasta with 3 tablespoons olive oil, toss, keep cooling.
Once the orzo is cool, transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and toss gently to combine. Serve.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Adios, Summer!

My dear blog, I have returned and you were terribly missed. After being horribly sick last week, I crawled out from under my mountain of tissues, pulled myself together and spent the weekend up in Portland for one of the most amazing experiences. Todd had a family wedding and in efforts of keeping his family on the personal side, I will just say that it was such a phenomenal, unforgettable and beautiful experience in which I was so honored to be a part of. As I ride my happy high and adjust back to life, I am thrilled to get back to my blog routine for it is something that I really missed.
As the summer is quickly fading, I find myself in quite the bittersweet dichotomy. I madly love the fall, but if fall didn't exist, I think perhaps, summer would be my new hearts desire. I love summer foods- light, crisp, flavorful and fresh. It's the fall when I start slipping up on my health and steering towards the heartiest of foods, I just so want to be immersed in all things fall, for I love it that much. Then, by the close of fall and the twentieth butternut squash I have eaten, I start to yearn for my summer flavors to be back. As the beach sand grains of summer are slipping through my fingers like an hourglass, I grip on to the last of my favorite summer flavors knowing they will be missed and grow excited for my favorite most exciting time of the year. Today, I have an extremely simple, refreshing and very healthy treat featuring one of my absolute favorite summer fruits: the blueberry. This little blueberry shake does wonders for me while I focus on eating healthy and helps me stay cool during LA's heat waves. We currently are having our last rendezvous together before everything becomes all about pumpkin flavor. 100 calories and your sweet tooth will be satisfied while your waistline shrinks and your body is nourished to your bones.

Purple People Eater "Shake"
1 cup of frozen blueberries
1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk
1 packet of stevia or more to taste

Dump the blueberries, almond milk and sweetener in a blender, blend until smooth. It really couldn't be easier. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sicky McSickerson

Good morning all! Today I am battling a horribly aggressive cold that has been wreaking havoc on my life since Sunday. I have so many great foodie things to share with you but they must wait. I have a mind altered by too much DayQuil and interrupted by restless sleep, blurry vision, burning eyes, constant sneezing and coughing. I'm on the mend though, yesterday I had a sore throat and could barely talk! I promise to post as soon as I am able to get my wits about me, I'm really excited to share the photos I have collected recently. In the meantime, I am living off tons of green tea, Palermo's in Los Feliz, soul warming minestrone soup- delivery (I'd photograph it but minestrone in styrofoam is not so photogenic) and Todd's amazing, nutrient packed dinners of black beans, tomato, peanuts, hominy, lot's of exotic spices, and Sriracha all poured over brown rice. Its really fabulous and the spices feel ultra cleansing against this bug I have. My view and best friend for the past days, is below. Miss Daisy has been right by my side, parked on the couch and snuggling up with me. Clearly, we've been doing tons of sleeping. Stay healthy my friends!


Friday, August 31, 2012

Peek at the Week - Week of August 27th

Peek at the Week - Week of August 27th 

My oh my, it's been a busy week and as I look at this Labor Day weekend, it's even more jam-packed. I'm planning on giving the summer of 2012 the best send off I can this weekend.  It really has been a fabulous one, but I of course am thrilled for my favorite season soon to come, fall. 

The Taste, which is the L.A. Times food and wine festival is underway this weekend. For a die hard KCRW listener, the event on Saturday with Johnathan Gold and Evan Kleiman is thrilling! 

At the bottom of my stair workout in my neighborhood, the Heywood Grilled Cheese Shoppe directly sits. This is proof that the diet gods are very, very malicious but we all knew that. Heywood just opened back in June, I need to make it in on a cheat day to try their classic and gourmet style grilled cheese sandwiches. I've been eyeballing their menu that includes a vegan grilled cheese and the Muy Caliente - pepper jack, jalapenos, fresh cream cheese and tortilla strips on sourdough- oh so enticing. They are also now open until 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. I'll report back as soon as these grilled cheese desires of mine have been fulfilled. 


I'm not exaggerating when I say that every weekend in L.A. offers something great for music lovers. This weekend is FYF Fest that is sure to be awesome with such a great line up. 

This past Sunday, I really felt like a true grown up. Todd and I had a marvelous dinner at the home of our dear friends (the cutest recent newlyweds)  Phil and Nicole. Phil had a lovely bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label that he so generously shared with us while we all laughed late into the night. I love scotch but after my palate has been so spoiled with Blue Label, its so hard to think of drinking any other blend. 
Sigh, thus is life.  

One of my weeknight meals this week was Aloo Gobi, an Indian cauliflower and potato dish. It called for a long list of spices, which I admit, I have a very extensive spice collection but this recipe called for black mustard seeds which I did not have. Off to the Spice Station I went. This spice market is literally right down the street from me, located on Sunset Boulevard and tucked away behind a beautiful little courtyard. When you enter the store, it is a real delight, hundreds of spices, stored in beautiful jars displayed on shelved walls. An excellent source for your spice needs! 

Have an excellent and safe Labor Day weekend everyone! 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Buon Giorno, Baci Cake!

Years ago, while in college my sister studied abroad in Prague, Czech Republic. During this magical time of her life, she had the opportunity to travel all over Europe, in between her studies of course. This is where I speculate that her love of the Italian chocolate candy, Baci derived. My sister has adored these morsels for as long as I can remember, justifiably so, they are truly delicious. Hazelnut with a creamy nutty chocolate center covered in chocolate, these little sweets (which the word Baci means "kiss" in Italian) are certainly something that titillates the lips. For her birthday I wanted to make something very special, just for her, so why not make a Baci cake? I'll admit, its not the most beautiful cake I've ever seen but that's ok with me as long as it tastes great. For the cake I used Ina Garten's Beatty's cake recipe, which is a tried and true chocolate cake go-to recipe for me but I added Baci and hazelnut flavors, which the result was a success! Baci flavored cake... I think that's a slice of heaven for you.

Baci Cake - adapted from Ina Garten

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups good cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 tablespoons Nutella 
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

  • 6 ounces of Baci bars (I got mine at World Market)
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup of chopped hazelnuts

  • Directions
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pansSift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, vanilla. almond and nutella. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Coarsely chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.
In a large bowl beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the almond and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Stir in the hazelnuts. 

My awesome new cake holder! 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Light Coconut Mango Curried Pork

One of the most masochistic things I have ever done to myself was to start a diet in the midst of having an active food blog. It poses many, many obvious hurdles, but as much as it taunts me, at the end of the day, it is a very good thing. I cook a lot of my dishes for other people, I get the joy of preparing the meal, a taste to make sure its a delicious-blog worthy recipe, then whisk out the door and away it goes a loved one's home. I love providing food for people and concocting dishes especially for someone based their favorite flavors so this system is quite fulfilling. I have learned balance, moderation, sharing and some added self discipline. I have also brushed up on my low fat cooking skills because let's be real, I can't give away all of my food, I need to eat too! This dish, was one for myself. Diet friendly, very quick, very easy, it served as the perfect weeknight dinner that I also could pack for lunch the next day. I love Thai food, but on a diet ordering Thai in or going out is pretty off limits, so to make my own at home is very satisfying. I really enjoyed the flavor of the curry in this recipe. It can be made in a million different combinations: chicken, tofu, shrimp, you name it, different veggies, mix it up and enjoy!

Light Coconut Mango Curried Pork 

Adapted from Cooking Light
(1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmedPam 2 teaspoons red curry powder, divided (or to taste)
1 cup sugar snap peas
1/3 cup light coconut milk
1 tablespoon fish sauce (or to taste)
1 fresh mango, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup sliced green onions, divided
lime wedges 

Cut pork into 1-inch cubes. Grease a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat (I used Pam to cut calories and fat but oil would work of course). Sprinkle pork evenly with 1 teaspoon curry powder. Add pork and sugar snap peas to pan; stir-fry 3 minutes.Combine coconut milk, fish sauce, and 1 teaspoon curry powder, stirring well. Add milk mixture to pan; bring to a simmer. Stir in mango and 1/4 cup onions; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat. I served this over 1 cup of brown rice, with 1 1/4 cups pork the mixture. Sprinkle each serving with 1 tablespoon of remaining 1/4 cup onions. Serve with lime wedges.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Guest Writer: Erica Sardarian - Portlandia!

Happy Monday, my dears! Today I have an extra special treat for everyone, a fabulous piece written by the outstanding Erica Sardarian on her summer adventures in Portland and Seattle. Enjoy!


The box next to “Travel to Portland (Oregon, not Maine)” on my places to go, people to see list has never been checked off…until now that is. My best friend, my travel confidant if you will, and I were excited to take a long awaited trip to the City of Roses. Everyone I spoke to immediately lit up as soon as the word Portland popped up. “Try Voodoo Doughnut,” a visceral reaction from all my foodie friends. And then there was, with excitement, “Portland has the highest strip clubs per capita than any other state in the U.S.,” mentioned by a male friend of mine of course. Unlike most trips, I opted not to strategically map out our day hour by hour. Instead, I chose to go with the flow. Not an easy task for a self-proclaimed planner like myself.

We arrived at PDX and immediately headed to our home for the next four days, the Ace Hotel ( It was perfect. A hipster hide out with character and most importantly a delicious coffee shop conveniently located downstairs. We dropped off our bags and decided to explore the city. The first day, we pretended to be locals, sans tattoos, drank locally brewed beer and listened to a local live band perform in the Pearl District. The next morning we woke up and, like tourists, decided to take the trolley around town where we really got to see the sights of the city. The trolley company, called Big Pink Sightseeing Company (, was owned by a husband and wife team who donate part of the proceeds to cancer research. The owner was sweet as pie. Our first stop was the Japanese Garden. It was breathtaking. Oregon is known for its greenery but this was just amazing. We hopped back on, sporting our colorful sunglasses and headed toward NW 23rd street where we stopped off at Public House, nestled in a small street in the area filled with cute coffee shops and little boutiques. We sat outside with a glass of rose’ and enjoyed some cajun hummus. For dessert we opted to go to the ever so popular Salt and Straw (, highly recommended by my good friend, Kendall in addition to her long list of favorites. The line was out the door but moved rather quickly. I tried the almond brittle with salted ganache. Heavenly.

After our trolley tour, we headed back to Pioneer Square in the center of the city referred to as the “living room” of Portland, where we grabbed sandwiches and watched E.T. under the stars. “Phone home…” It was perfect. After the film, we decided to grab a quick drink at Clyde and Common in our hotel. Our mixologist handed us the eclectic menu and I chose to taste test second base- a mix of vodka, grapefruit, lime juice, combier pamplemousse, peychaud’s bitters. The second taste test was the Kingston club- a mix of drambuie, pineapple, lime, fernet, angostura, and orange peel (pictured below). We also ordered from the late night menu- popcorn with pimenton. The drinks were delicious and the popcorn was to die for!

The next morning we had breakfast in the “breakfast room” of the hotel. A tiny, quaint little space serving boiled eggs, muffins, cheese, prosciutto, and salami- very European.  We rented a car and drove to Multnomah Falls, which was again breathtaking and beautiful. Instead of staying in Portland another night as planned, we decided to take a trip to Seattle. Why not? It was only a three-hour drive. We hopped in the car and arrived at our destination in less than our estimated time. We had a lovely sushi dinner at Japonessa and a fun-filled night out in Downtown, Seattle where we hung out with locals and I indulged in a late night Seattle dog- hot dog, mustard, and cream cheese for $5! (yes, cream cheese-no onions). We visited the original Starbucks, went to Pike’s market, and had the best bloody mary brunch at Toulouse in Queen Anne. Salmon scrambled eggs and beignets for breakfast? Sure, why not.

This was an amazing trip and yet another place to cross off on my list. Highly recommend the Ace Hotel! Sad I didn’t try Voodoo Doughnut, the line was out the door and around the corner, every time we made an attempt. There’s always next time. Seattle was my absolute favorite. Great town with an east coast feel.

Fun Facts-Portland!
-No sales tax! -Portland has more microbreweries inside their city limits than any other city in the world.
-Portland is the 23rd largest city in this country. 3rd largest on the west coast.
-Portland was almost called Boston, Oregon
ortland is home to Voodoo Doughnut, a 24-hour doughnut shop that offers — in addition to a crazy selection of doughnuts — legal wedding ceremonies.
-The Portland Saturday Market is the largest continuously operating open-air crafts market in the United States.
-Powell's City of Books, occupying an entire city block, is the world's largest independent bookstore.
-Oregon is the only state (in addition to New Jersey) where you can’t pump your own gas

1. Seattle dog- mustard, cream cheese $5! (no onions like the original)
2. The original Starbucks (Seattle) 
3. Salmon scrambled eggs with potatoes (Seattle)
4. Beignets from Toulouse 
5. Bloody Mary from Toulouse

Friday, August 24, 2012

Peek at the Week - August 20th

Peek at the Week - The Week of August 20th

Happy weekend my lovelies!

Sunday is L.A.'s first ever Fried Chicken Fest, I curse my diet! 

I swapped out my regular coffee for this Espresso Blend at Trader Joe's, mixed with Almond Milk and Stevia, I am quite in love. 

I've been keeping my eye on the new Charm City Cakes on Melrose Avenue for quite a while now and this morning, it was bustling. Opened about six weeks ago, the Baltimore bakery by chef Duff Goldman, opened shop on the west coast making the same outrageous cakes that one sees on the Food Network's Ace of Cakes but also, something new. Something very exciting, something that I can't wait to plan a girl's night out for: Cakemix, the Color Me Mine of cakes. Decorate your own cake with choices of a 6-inch or 9-inch round cake ($36- $52), in flavors of red velvet, marbled chocolate with vanilla, chocolate, vanilla, carrot or a special of the week filled with frosting flavors of vanilla, chocolate, cream cheese, or the special of the week. Then decorate! 

pop-up dinner!

 Pop-Up Dinner L.A., is throwing L.A.'s inaugural mass picnic at a secret location in Los Angeles on Saturday night, 5-11.  The location will be revealed through e-mail hours before the event. All white attire is required and guests have the choice to bring along their own tableware, food and beverages, or have a catered meal from a local chef. 
Tickets are:  $28 for the meal $78

Dating back for 50 years, the Manhattan Beach Pro Volleyball Series is this weekend. This event is primo for sports lovers, pro people watchers and partiers alike.  The event will be all weekend, Sunday will be the Semi-finals and finals located just south of the Manhattan Beach Pier and tickets are FREE.

Have a wonderful weekend my friends! 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon

Confession: I feel a little crazy putting this up on my blog. With the exception of myself, I'd bet that there are not very many foodies/bloggers/anyone that saw the movie Julia and Julia, that hasn't had their go at Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon recipe. Last week, was Julia Child's 100th birthday, I put a little post up on my blog about it and really didn't plan on much more. Yet, the week continued and oddly, I just couldn't get Julia off of my mind, her memory is such an inspiration. Due to this "Julia-mania,"  I decided to dedicate a long Saturday to cook up Julia Child's hearty Boeuf Bourguignon for Todd. What you most likely have heard about this recipe is true: it is really phenomenal but it does, literally take all day to complete. I didn't think much about what I was signing up for when I first started browning my beef, even reading through the recipe it seemed no more labor intensive than other dished I've tackled in my lifetime, but don't be fooled. If one attempts this recipe, have a good 4-6 hours to dedicate to the kitchen. I even thought I'd be able to watch a horribly predictable Lifetime movie while cooking this, but the divide of my attention, my brain was spared and my focus was only on my dutch oven. Was it all worth it? In the words of Mr. Big, ABSOFREAKINGLUTELY. This is a recipe that I would love to know by heart and whip up on rainy days. Todd said it was his new favorite thing I have ever made and no, he really doesn't say that with everything I cook, this is only the second time he has been so moved. I served it over very simple mashed potatoes. I cant wait until the fall and winter to make this again (I know, I was totally seasonally inappropriate) for Todd or for lucky company-  this is the perfect dish to share and is even better on day two.

** Note that the recipe only calls for 3 cups of wine, you will have one left over for yourself, I think its mandatory to drink wine while cooking a Julia recipe. 

Boeuf Bourguignon 

This recipe is adapted from "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck (Alfred A. Knopf, 1961)


One 6-ounce piece of chunk bacon
3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 pounds lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 carrot, sliced
1 onion, sliced
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups red wine, young and full-bodied (like Burgundy but I used a Bordeaux)
2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups brown beef stock
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves mashed garlic
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf
18 to 24 white onions, small
3 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 sprigs of thyme
1 pound mushrooms, sliced


Remove bacon rind and cut into lardons (sticks 1/4-inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long). Simmer rind and lardons for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts water. Drain and dry.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Sauté lardons in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a flameproof casserole over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.
Dry beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Heat oil in casserole dish until almost smoking. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and sauté until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the lardons.
In the same dish, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the excess fat.
Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly. Set casserole uncovered in middle of the oven for 4 minutes.
Toss the meat again and return to oven for 4 minutes (this browns the flour and coves the meat with a light crust).
Remove casserole and turn oven down to 325 degrees.
Stir in wine and 2 to 3 cups stock, just enough so that the meat is barely covered.
Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove.
Cover casserole and set in lower third of oven. Regulate heat so that liquid simmers very slowly for 3 to 4 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms.
Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with one and one-half tablespoons of the oil until bubbling in a skillet.
Add onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling them so they will brown as evenly as possible.
Add 1/2 cup of the stock, salt and pepper to taste and the herbs.
Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but hold their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove herbs and set onions aside.
Wipe out skillet and heat remaining oil and butter over high heat. As soon as you see butter has begun to subside, indicating it is hot enough, add mushrooms.
 Brown lightly, remove from heat.
When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan.
Wash out the casserole and return the beef and lardons to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms on top.
Skim fat off sauce in saucepan. Simmer sauce for a minute or 2. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.
If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons stock. Taste carefully for seasoning.
Pour sauce over meat and vegetables. Cover and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times.
Serve in casserole, or arrange stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles or rice. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Crafted: Located in Warehouse No 10 in San Pedro

My heart swoons for you, Crafted. A couple of weekends ago, Todd and I went down to check out  the newly opened (June 29th of this year) Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles. Crafted is a permanent handcrafted marketplace located in San Pedro. I had been hearing so much buzz about it I was dying to check it out. I'm a die hard Etsy fan and order most of my items from the site, but often I am too excited or inpatient for what I order, the wait can be a little taxing. Fear not my friends Crafted is here to save the day: if Etsy existed in a physical sense, this would be it. With countless vendors with original artwork, jewelry, goods for children, artisan food and crafts there is something for everyone. I am counting down the days until I go back for a second visit to start my Christmas shopping, I seriously saw something for everyone on my list, and buying from Crafted, one has the confidence that the item is as original as it gets. Every vendor we met was so kind; it was so amazing to admire an item and chit chat with the artist, then to be able to purchase it and have the item in your home? Quite spectacular. Todd and I shopped light, as we were just scoping it out, leaving with a piece of art that we are both so in love with and a box of amazing macarons from Soft Peaks, which we devoured before we got back on the freeway.  I could have bought something from each and every vendor to be honest. Crafted far exceeded my expectations, in my mind I thought we would come across some tacky items or goods that just weren't well made, as would be expected from any craft market, but no, every item I saw had beauty, taste, and oozed with artistic nature and creativity. I highly recommend the trip to Crafted. Go.Check it out, you wont regret it. 

  • Food is sold outside by local food trucks, I think everyday is different but we LOVED our lunch from Auntie's Fry Bread and Let's Roll It
  • There are a lot of events at Crafted, I suggest following them on Facebook to stay informed. Wine tastings, beer tastings, Etsy events... there seems to always be something happening
  • Parking is easy, it was free for us but I've heard $5 is usual, in the lot right past Crafted, its a two minute walk from the car
  • Even better, I failed to mention, Crafted itself is FREE 
  • Todd and I got amazing postcards from some of the vendors that were having giveaways that day, don't be shy to strike up a conversation, you never know what give aways and special offers might be happening the time you are there. 
  • On our way out a DJ was setting up, I think this is quite common at Crafted. 
  • Don't forget your sunscreen if you plan on eating outside at the food trucks! 
  • Very family friendly
  • Hours: Fridays 12pm to 8pm, Saturdays and Sundays 10am to 7pm


Handmade children's toys, clothes, succulent wall art, amazing all natural macarons from Soft Peaks, and handmade candles. 

Hepp's Salt, rated a top 10 of Los Angeles Artisan Food 

Craft Area

The food offerings are from local food trucks, the Bulgogi Quesadilla from Let's Roll It and The Original and The Hunter from Auntie's Fry Bread- WE LOVED all of them!