Viewing entries in
Food & Drink

Kendall's Brasserie

Comment

Kendall's Brasserie

Comment Los Angeles, California

I am low-key mad that I never made it into Kendall’s Brasserie prior to 2017. French food has always held a special place in my heart, especially in my teens and early twenties when I was an overzealous Francophile who listened to a lot of France Gall, Serge Gainsbourg, and Françoise Hardy and watched everything Godard, Truffaut, Rohmer and Breillat made. Having never been to France - unfortunately even still - as a youth I romanticized everything about the country. As an adult on the other hand, one who wrote her UCLA senior thesis about the xenophobia tied to the banning of the head scarf in France, my world-view of the country has certainly changed, but my love for their food and culinary practices has exponentially grown.

Prior to my first visit, Kendall’s was not the kind of restaurant I would suggest to friends, as it usually appeared to be filled with older men in business suits and that has never been my idea of a fun time. Recently while at The Broad, I gave Kendall’s another glance and noticed something changed, which made me reconsider my previous notions. I couldn’t put my finger on it at the time, but I’ve since learned the restaurant went through a remodel and are now positioning themselves with the fresher DTLA vibe.

Upon arrival at Kendall's I was quick to notice the restaurant’s beautiful dark woods and white marble bar. The restaurant felt grown and sexy, just as I have imagined brasseries in France to be. The restaurant’s environment was chill for a mid-day lunch, much the opposite juxtaposed to Grand Avenue outside its front doors. There are a variety of dining areas to choose from–romantic and tucked away in a room full of leather booths, bathing in natural sunlight by the windows, al fresco, a seat at the bar, or posted up with your laptop at their new counter with accessible plugs for those needing to charge up during a power lunch. The space reflects much of what Chef Jean-Pierre Bosc loves about his homeland of France–simple, beautiful, and refined. Each year he visits his hometown of Lyon and through the restaurant design process, shared photos of his travel adventures which included plenty of culinary celebrations with friends and family. Kendall's aimed to capture that essense.

 

My recent foray into Kendall's Brasserie made for one of the richest lunches I can recollect. When delving into any French menu, my order typically includes charcuterie, escargot, beef tartare, and steak frites, so that I may gather a thoughtful assessment of the chef's vision. At Kendall's, I was delighted with three out of the four aforementioned. My only true disappointment was my steak, which I asked for medium rare, and was served nearly medium well. Such has become my typical experience with Los Angeles steaks, as I speculate chefs assume most of us don't want blood. I do.

If you’re looking for a elevated cocktail and wine menu, you won’t be disappointed with the restaurant’s options. I haven’t been in the mood to drink, much less on a weekday afternoon, so I opted for a raspberry lemonade, which was made fresh at the bar. I began my savory lunch with a couple small plates – the Deviled Farm Eggs with lemon aioli and Santa Barbara sea urchin and Steak Tartare made with natural beef, capers, and pickled red onion. The deviled eggs, although not my idea, were absolutely delicious. Over the past couple of years I’ve continued to see Deviled Eggs edge their way on to countless menus in Los Angeles, with their peak moment circa 2014. As I mentioned, these were quite good, topped with sea urchin after all, but do they have any business on a French menu? As for the Steak Tartare, perfectly prepared with fresh beef, olive oil, capers, egg yolk and worchester sauce, this dish was so incredibly flavorful that I found myself scrapping every last bit on to my fork despite the anticipation of many dishes ahead of me. I barely touched the bread that accompanied the tartare, as the flavors were so vibrant in each bite, I didn’t want to risk interference. I love tartare–steak, ahi, or otherwise. The flavor of raw meat is something that awakens my senses and Kendall’s delivered in every way. If by chance you are like me and live for steak tartare, you must pull up a seat and enjoy every heavenly bite of this dish.

Up next was Kendall's colorful Heirloom Beet Salad, made with goat cheese bonbons, little gem lettuce, oro blanco, pistachio and Satsuma tangerine. After taking one look at this fresh creation there was no surprise as to why it was the official salad of the Grammys last year. As a long-time beet lover it’s been a thrill to see beets pop up all over the country. Long gone are the days of beet slander warranted by the gross canned creations so many of us remember as children. Dark purples and golden hues were laid before me, my eyes bulging with excitement upon each flavorful bite. Goat cheese bonbons? I was tickled with these babies. It’s an obvious win to have balls of goat cheese to accompany a salad, especially with bright bites of citrus along for the ride. If you’ve experienced this variation before, it’s just as delicious here. It’ll leave a smile on all my beet lovers faces.

One of the dishes I was most excited to experiences was the Porc en Trois, pig in three parts or “tasty pig parts” as they called it. I was most excited to eat this when I first looked at the menu, and after speaking with Chef Jean-Pierre, this was the first thing he mentioned when I asked about the “must-orders" on his menu. Classically French, with head cheese, pig ears, and trotter, this wooden tray of pig treats was quite the savory experience. As a child who spent a lot of time in my Mexican American grandmother’s kitchen, I developed an affinity for pig parts, particularly because of the giant jar of pig’s feet she kept and fed me when I would want a snack. Looking back on that culinary upbringing, I realize now I didn’t full understand what I was eating, all I knew is that is was delicious. Trotter, the French term for pig’s feet, were transformed into crispy croquettes before my eyes and they were a revelation. Never had I eaten pig’s feet in this form and for that, it’s criminal. Although one of the richest pieces of food I’ve consumed in months, it was worth every bite. The flavors encased my tongue, leaving it to linger in my mouth. The richness was delightfully unreal, so much, that I could only indulge in one of them, and even so, I could not finish it. Sometimes greatness only needs to be experienced in a few bites. The headcheese and pig ears were not to be ignored, but the trotter croquettes were hands down the show stopper of the charcuterie plate. 

 

Kendall’s is dropping some of the best French fries in Downtown Los Angeles, and it’s no surprise they take this crown when they are prepared in duck fat and tossed in garlic. They’re perfectly crispy and rich with every bite. These fries are ideal for a glutinous night of spoiling – preferably by a gorgeous man feeding you with this hands (or insert your fantasy here). French Fries are one of my favorite things to eat, although I have limited my intake, and when they’re executed like Kendall’s, it will make you mad at all the terrible ones you’ve consumed before them. Bad French Fries are a travesty, so when you want to treat yourself, come here. Even if you simply pull up to the bar and order a drink with a side of fries, you’ll be glad you did.

Croque Madame should be saved for a special weekend brunch indulgence. When you’re ready to take that dip into Sauce Mornay, you can do that at Kendall's and be happy with your decision. After all that was nibbled on, I was overwhelmed when I saw our server gliding our way with a tray displaying this beautiful sandwich. At Kendall’s, the Croque Madame is made with Jambon de Paris, comte cheese, levain country bread, farm egg, and sauce Mornay. After some research I found that Jambon de Paris is made according to the “traditional French charcuterie recipe for cooked ham." Thinly sliced and tucked under melted cheese, each bite of the Croque Madame is part crunchy, with bits of toasted cheese and smooth with creamy Mornay and melted cheese. This is a rare dish that tastes just as good as it looks. If you've never had the pleasure, try it here, preferably al fresco one beautiful Sunday morning.

For those who are keeping tabs on where to eat escargot in LA, I enjoyed this twist on the classic dish. These burgundy snails rest in a pool of absinthe-garlic butter inside a puff pastry. At first glance they look like pastry shooters, but when served, you'll need a tiny fork to make your way to these little guys. Every element used in this dish is necessary to its perfection, remove one and it simply wouldn't be the same. If you have never had the opportunity to eat snails, I am confident this would make for a pleasurable first experience. It may have taken me a decade to finally walk though Kendall's doors, but now that I have, it will be my pleasure to recommend this French restaurant when someone asks. 

Kendall's Brasserie | 135 N Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012

 
Wild Living Foods

Comment

Wild Living Foods

Comment Los Angeles, California
Wild Living Foods located in Downtown is one of the best vegan restaurants in LA. Vegan avocado toast
 

If you grew up in Los Angeles than you know how much easier it is to access healthy foods, although we aren't without our own food deserts. Our proximity to fresh produce is not to be taken for granted. If you’ve ever found yourself at an airport outside of L.A. searching for a green juice or a mixed green salad, than you know how spoiled we are living here. It’s been a long time joke that our city is health crazed - remember the health food restaurant scene in Annie Hall - but L.A. has long embraced that lifestyle, becoming home to wild cleanses, sprouted beans, cold pressed juices, and some of the best vegan food in the world. Over the years I have embraced all that our city has to offer and having recently switched to more of a plant-based diet, I stay on the search for restaurants that serve delicious and substantial raw, vegan, and vegetarian food.  Love it even more when the cost is not insane. A healthier lifestyle has meant that I feel better, look better, and most importantly have the energy to accomplish the things I need to.

Wild Living Foods is a blessing to Downtown Los Angeles. Although parking is a nightmare unless you have cash to burn, I know I'm going to frequent WLF, if even to run in to grab one of their organic cold-pressed juices with names like Cayenne West, A Tribe Called Red, and ASAP Yams. Although I I found the Yams name to be sus initially, I sat down with one of the owners, a WOC, and she explained that one of the goals of the space was to make food approachable and accessible to brown and black communities, who so often feel excluded when it comes to healthy restaurants in Los Angeles. With names inspired by major players in rap, she hopes it'll motivate more people to reach for a juice instead of less healthier options. I must add that the ASAP Yams, made yams, carrots, fuji apples, green apples, cinnamon and nutmeg is one of the best juices I've had in L.A., and served in an eco-conscious glass bottle.

Richard Torres and Lizbeth Sanchez, also owners of The Holy Grail, have long been involved with the hip hop community and they've seen their passion project come to life with Wild Living Foods. Interestingly while at the restaurant I ran into a rapper’s manager, a well-known artist, and a Project Runway alumni which lead me to believe this is quickly becoming the spot for creatives working and living in Downtown. With lots of natural light streaming from the windows, ample seating, and a casual vibe, this is a great place to link for a meeting, a quick bite to eat, or to take a reprieve from your daily grind. Whatever your purpose, it'll be served here. And the food is good.

 
Wild Living Foods one of the best vegan and raw restaurants in LA. Organic cold pressed juices LA.
 
Best vegan restaurants in LA. Wild Living Foods is one of the best raw restaurants in LA. Vegan tacos in LA. Best food blogs LA.
 

WLF is a fully organic, plant-based living foods restaurant. Aside from the quinoa, no dish is prepared over 118º, keeping vital nutrients and enzymes in tact. This means every dish consumed is nutrient dense; instead of catching the itis, you’re going to feel great after your meal. You won’t want to take a nap, but rather, feel energized for the rest of your day. You will feel replenished and nourished, quite possibly even questioning why you’ve been eating junk your whole life. 

At Wild Living Foods they have signature salads, quinoa bowls, and a build-your-own station, but on my first visit, I chose to order straight from their kitchen menu. The Spicy Tuna Roll is a revelation! Made with almond tuna, tomato, mustard, barbecue kale chips, spicy chipotle mayo, avocado, red cabbage and romain lettuce, this roll is unlike anything I’ve ever had and I wish I could eat it every day. When you go to WLF, this should be the first thing you order. It is fresh and delicious, made to order, with a major crunch in each bite. You’re going to think you’ve lost your girl NJ when I say this, but I love kelp noodles, and I have for a long time. For this reason, I could not pass up the Rad Thai, made with marinated kelp noodles and seasoned vegetables, tossed in a creamy turmeric sesame sauce, tipped with orange lime zest and teriyaki dressing. This was an actual dream in a bowl, packed with bright flavors and ingredients. The noodles were delightfully bouncy and the cream sauce in which they were tossed had me moaning at the table. One thing to keep in mind when you order dishes like the ones described above, don’t assume it'll taste like the original that inspired them. It's fine, they’re brilliant in their own way.

I wouldn’t be living my best life if I didn't order the Wild Living Food’s version of Avocado Toast, made with crushed avocado, brazil nut cheese and tomato, on spouted almond toast. Cannot believe I am going to utter these words, but although I loved the flavor of this dish, there was too much avocado, and it over-powered the other ingredients. I still very much enjoyed it though, don’t get it twisted. I'd never tried sprouted almond toast, so that was fun. Rounding out the rest of the meal was the Pablo Burger made with a homemade burger patty with freshly made cashew cheese, mustard, ketchup, stacked with lettuce, red onion, tomato, pickles, served on onion bread. Had I only ordered this, I am not sure if it would be filling enough for an entree, but despite it's unfamiliar appearance, all of the flavors worked together nicely, especially the notes of homemade ketchup coming through. The onion bread felt more like two thin discs, which made it hard to hold together, but it didn't compromise the flavor, only it's design.

 
Wild Living Foods located in Downtown is one of the best vegan restaurants in LA. Vegan pad thai aka Rad Thai is a must order.
 

Let’s talk about Lettuce Eat Tacos, made with cashew cheese, pumpkinseed chorizo, marinated kale, avocado, walnut taco crumble, chipotle kale chips, red cabbage, cucumber, tomato, topped with sour cream, pepita and hemp oil, served on a romaine lettuce leaf. I love tacos of all kinds, including ones wrapped in lettuce and these beauties were a bounty of fresh ingredients perfectly matched up. I absolutely love food that is crunchy, the sensation always takes it up a level for me, and each bite satisfied that urge. I could've used a bit more salt in the mix but that aside, these lettuce-wrapped tacos would be ideal for lunch or dinner, especially if you're transitioning into a plant-based lifestyle, but don't want to feel hungry after.

Everything at Wild Living Foods is made from scratch – they have an industrial juicer, blender, and hydrater to name a few. The tiles lining the floor are hand-poured and sourced from Nicaragua. The food is organic and non-gmo, with better price points because you order at counter, and the cost of a hostess and server is removed. Open from 8am - 11pm, this is one of the few places you can enjoy raw and vegan throughout the day. The culinary team is led by Executive Chef Belinda Wei, Chef de Cuisine Alex Gomez, and sous chef Abel Gomez, with Santino Rice as the man behind the beverage program. With the philosophy of "Food is Spirit" and "Food is Medicine", I can get behind a restaurant who aims to improve the well-being of their customer through their thoughtfully crafted menu. 

Wild Living Foods | 760 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90014

 
Wild Living Foods best vegan restaurants in LA. Downtown LA vegan restaurants. Raw and vegan desserts.
Odys + Penelope

Comment

Odys + Penelope

Comment Los Angeles, California
One of the best shrimp and grits in LA can be surprisingly be found at Odys Penelope in Mid-City. Made with cauliflower, this recipe is unique. Odys+ Penelope
 
Odys Penelope located in Mid City Los Angeles, is one of the coolest designed restaurants in LA. Odys + Penelope.
 

Odys + Penelope, located in the bustling La Brea District and conceptualized by the talented duo Chefs Karen and Quinn Hatfield, has been feeding the neighborhood for a little over two years now. From the outside you could surmise that O+P offers a cut-above Los Angeles dining experience and that you should have a little more cash in your pocket if you planned on dining in, but make no mistake, it's not going to break the bank. The times I’d pass by this beautiful space I was either leaving a Sonos Studios listening session or hitting street wear boutiques, and the vibe inside always appeared to be unique to the space. A very chill ambience far removed from all the noise on the street. Each time I would peer in, I'd get a glimpse of servers walking with beautiful dishes and at least one low-key celeb enjoying a glass of wine.  

Brunch is serious in Los Angeles. Forget the slander of the early 00s, as read in Bourdain’s 2001 “Kitchen Confidential” where he revealed all the nasty details behind weekend brunch. That was 16 years ago and the stories didn’t take place in the brunch capital of America, where menus are now being fine tuned to satiate weekend debauchery. I love brunch because it can be an interesting way to gauge whether or not I'd like to return for dinner. If the service is good and the dishes executed well, I am more prone to put down the cash for dinner. If it falls short, I don't feel like I wasted much.

We walked in to Odys + Penelope on a Saturday morning. I was drawn to the concrete and glass design of the exterior and although I love the severity and coldness of cement, I appreciated the warmth that exuded from the blocks inside the interior of the space. The restaurant was filled with natural light, dark woods, and high ceilings. There was a partially exposed area of the kitchen (a personal favorite) adorned with piles of firewood and citrus. The chef's counter made entirely with a beautiful slab of concrete popped with bright orange chairs. The space was originally a printing press and was re-imagined by designer Alexis Readinger of Preen Inc. The space is best articulated as modern rustic, and most definitely after my own heart.

 
Martine Syms enjoys the frisee and smoked trout salad at Odys Penelope brunch. Best food photography. Best LA Food Blog. Odys Penelope. Top 10 food blogs.
 

I stay on the hunt for a brunch banger and Odys + Penelope had a couple, not to say the meal wasn’t without some misses. My favorites were so good though, I would absolutely return to order them again. In fact, if I were writing a “Best Pancakes in LA” guide, their cornmeal ricotta pancakes with Pudwill blueberries, salted butter and maple syrup would be near the top of the list. While eating those pancakes I was simultaneously in heaven while low-key mad that I’d never had them before. Had I been asleep on cornmeal pancakes all these years? Had I eaten them before but they simply weren't memorable? I don't know. The flavor of each pancake was so delicious I barely needed butter or syrup–but let’s not get it twisted, I did enjoy a little slather and splash of both. There are countless restaurants skating by on mediocre pancakes in Los Angeles, acting as if people don’t know the difference between good and bad. Quite possibly, they don’t. I do, and I am telling you now that it's criminal if you don't add them to your must-eat brunch list. They were light and fluffy, with a a slight hint cornmeal grit. I loved them.

Quality shrimp and grits are not easy to come by in our city but when the stunning dish arrived at our table I knew I had made the right choice with my order. I put my classic grit standards aside for this brief moment as these “grits” are made with cauliflower. Don’t roll your eyes but riced cauliflower is one of the LA food trends I can get behind; it’s healthier, while not compromising flavor. Grilled prawns and cauliflower grits with smoked paprika butter, my goodness. Creamy with each bite and bursting with robust flavor, the prawns just the right kind of crunchy. I would order this many times over.

 
Avocado Toast at Odys Penelope. Where to eat avocado toast in LA. Top 10 Food Blogs. Top blog sites.
 
Adobo rice bowl at Odys Penelope.  Where to eat brunch in LA. Odys + Penelope. Top 10 Food Blogs. Top blog sites.
 

For those who’ve been following my perpetual avocado toast hunt, I am disappointed to report that there were no surprises here. This dish was the standard issue of what I typically make at home, but with a superior bread. I didn’t feel special eating it. No one was putting me on to something new and exciting. If I’m taking time out for a long Saturday brunch, I seek to enjoy meals that I can’t easily make at home. I read it’s description on the menu – grilled focaccia avocado toast with house ricotta and cherry tomatoes - but you already know what you read is not always what you get. I was hoping there’d be some exotic salt or surprise ingredient. The bread was excellent, the produce and cheese on point, but if this is what you’re already eating in your free time, skip it here. If you're not an avocado toast hound, then you'll love it.

The Adobo Fried Rice bowl was hyped majorly, before I went in for brunch and while seated inside the restaurant. As a Latina, I am no stranger to adobo, so it’s been wild seeing it become so popular amongst a different group of people. I remember last year a championed food magazine called it the hot new ingredient and POC rolled their eyes in unison. I was excited to see on the menu and was curious about its execution, especially since there’s a cult following for the other one down the street. The presentation of this bowl is undoubtedly delightful and one of the more substantial brunch options. This dish looks glorious as it makes its way to the table, so there's much excitement when it's actually placed in front of you. The eggs were perfect, the rice done well, but I found myself relying on the sauce entirely for the bites of flavor. Not disappointed with the adobo boldness in the slightest, bringing a slight sensation to my tongue but this is one dish I’d need to try again, to fully commit. I heard they also have a dinner option which piqued my interest.

Odys + Penelope is committed to local and sustainable products. The restaurant uses prime meats and their poultry is free range and contains no antibiotics. They serve dinner 7 nights a week and brunch on Saturday & Sunday. Walk-ins are welcome.

Odys + Penelope | 127 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

 
Preen Inc restaurant design. Odys Penelope restaurant designed by Preen Inc. Cool restaurant design LA. Modern Rustic. Rustic Chic. Odys + Penelope. Top 10 Food Blogs. Top blog sites.
Odys Penelope brunch. Where to eat brunch mid-city. Where to eat brunch in LA. Odys + Penelope. Top 10 Food Blogs. Top blog sites.
 
Best Pancakes in LA. Best Pancakes in Los Angeles. Odys Penelope Brunch. Odys + Penelope. Top 10 Food Blogs. Top blog sites.
Destroyer

Comment

Destroyer

Comment Culver City, California
Avocado Toast at Destroyer

Avocado Toast at Destroyer


I want to eat food that surprises me. Surprises are one of my favorite things, if you’re looking for ways to win my heart in 2017. Plates that I haven’t seen conceptualized and successfully executed, pairings that never crossed my mind–that’s what excites me when I sit down at a new restaurant, especially if there is hype surrounding it. You can supply all the Instgrammable walls and vignettes you want, get “influencers” to post about your restaurant, but if if the food is the same old thing you saw at last week’s hot spot, where’s the respect? The meal is irrelevant if the chef isn’t pushing the culture in any way, shape, or form. 

I was excited to eat at Destroyer. When I heard Jordan Kahn had opened another restaurant, curiosity washed over me. One of the best dishes I’ve ever eaten in Los Angeles was at Red Medicine, and although that restaurant pissed off a lot of people, I had the time of my life the one and only time I ate there. Would’ve dined there more if I was gupaed up; thankfully I was put in charge of my former studio's dinner, in which I  chose Red Medicine so I could finally experience Kahn’s menu while simultaneously putting on my co-workers. For as long as I live, I will never forget the bowl of Heirloom Rice Porridge I enjoyed there. I think about it often and my heart longs for it.

Destroyer is quite the scene for a restaurant with limited in-door seating and I like it. I’m sure the outdoor seats will pop off once it starts to warm up again. The design of the space forces you to interact with the people around you, something too many restaurants avoid in Los Angeles. It’s now more important than ever that we get to know our neighbor. You feel me? During our lunch a British woman overheard our conversation about my incredible culinary experience in London and we immediately began chopping it up. That’s the kind of communal vibe I want to see more of in 2017. 

 
Freshly baked pastries at Destroyer

Freshly baked pastries at Destroyer

Organic Hen Egg with Crispy Potatoes and Mushrooms

Organic Hen Egg with Crispy Potatoes and Mushrooms


I want to eat food that surprises me. Surprises are one of my favorite things, if you’re looking for ways to win my heart in 2017. Plates that I haven’t seen conceptualized and successfully executed, pairings that never crossed my mind–that’s what excites me when I sit down at a new restaurant, especially if there is hype surrounding it. You can supply all the Instgrammable walls and vignettes you want, get “influencers” to post about your restaurant, but if if the food is the same old thing you saw at last week’s hot spot, where’s the respect? The meal is irrelevant if the chef isn’t pushing the culture in any way, shape, or form. 

I was excited to eat at Destroyer. When I heard Jordan Kahn had opened another restaurant, curiosity washed over me. One of the best dishes I’ve ever eaten in Los Angeles was at Red Medicine, and although that restaurant pissed off a lot of people, I had the time of my life the one and only time I ate there. Would’ve dined there more if I was gupaed up; thankfully I was put in charge of my former studio's dinner, in which I  chose Red Medicine so I could finally experience Kahn’s menu while simultaneously putting on my co-workers. For as long as I live, I will never forget the bowl of Heirloom Rice Porridge I enjoyed there. I think about it often and my heart longs for it.

Destroyer is quite the scene for a restaurant with limited in-door seating and I like it. I’m sure the outdoor seats will pop off once it starts to warm up again. The design of the space forces you to interact with the people around you, something too many restaurants avoid in Los Angeles. It’s now more important than ever that we get to know our neighbor. You feel me? During our lunch a British woman overheard our conversation about my incredible culinary experience in London and we immediately began chopping it up. That’s the kind of communal vibe I want to see more of in 2017. 

 
The Kitchen Inside Destroyer, Culver City

The Kitchen Inside Destroyer, Culver City


Now that I’ve transitioned into a power bitch who meets people for breakfast, I was excited after peeping Kahn’s am menu before pulling up to the spot. If you love good web design– I do–take a look at Destroyer’s page, which I believe is the first indication of the taste level we’re working with. Inside, there is a video projection of the seasonally-changing menu. While other restaurants continue to pat themselves on the back for their basic ass designs, Destroyer actually comes through with Japanese minimalism and thoughtful plates, mugs, and accoutrements. Although the menu is labeled as Scandinavian-style breakfast and lunch, the aesthetic is very much Japanese. I also took note of the nod to Korean-owned Baroo (a personal fave) with a wall of preserves, herbs, and fermenting foods.

This was one of the rare times I struggled with what I wanted to order on a menu, as every option on the wall had me curious. Again, not a boring restaurant. I was encouraged to try a few dishes so that I could fully experience breakfast. This is what I ordered: Raw Oatmeal / Spice Bread / Organic Hen Egg / and the Avocado Confit.

First to the table was the Avocado Confit with toasted country bread, sprouted rye seeds, kale oil and herb puree. You know ya girl is the ultimate sucker for avocado toast. What can I say? I’m a Mexican American whose grandparents had an avocado tree, we put avocado on everything. This deconstructed beauty had me inspecting it closely, with charred onion on top and underneath, a pile of toasted rye seeds taking shelter in a small pool of kale oil. I have an interesting relationship to bread now, considering I’ve been studying what makes it good and most importantly, having eaten enough great bread at this point, to know these were legit slices of toast. Most of us are eating garbage bread in Los Angeles–all across the country actually–and I am tired of it. Bad bread makes me physically sick. Destroyer’s bread is baked in-house and the pastries are quickly snatched up by end-of-morning. 

Up next was the Raw Oatmeal with almond milk, red currant and vanilla. On top of this palm-sized bowl laid a frozen disc of Skyr Yogurt, which slowly melted as I ate the hearty cereal. As I dug layer-by-layer into the oatmeal, elements like red currants began to reveal themselves, much to my enjoyment. Although I typically prefer my oatmeal hot, this cool treat would be an ideal breakfast on a warm Spring day or the perfect mid-day snack. It was creamy, without the help of dairy, and I appreciated that.

 

The most beautiful of the bunch was undoubtedly the Organic Hen Egg with crispy potatoes, mushrooms, chervil and tendrils. This was another dish I was delighted to unearth its layers, with quinoa as the dividing points between greens, crispy potatoes, tiny mushrooms, and lastly a yolky egg at the bottom of it all. With the fresh greens sourced from a biodynamic farm in Topanga Canyon, it’s dishes like these that act as reminders of why it is so amazing to live in Southern California, with access to quality produce. The farmer in which Destroyer sources many of his products from, shows up about twice a week and they base the menu off what is delivered, which includes avocados, citrus, and on occasion, exotic fruits. A majority of these farmed foods are grown under organic practices, which is important in this landscape more than ever.

For breakfast dessert, I turned to the Spiced Bread with creme fraiche, black currant and wood sorrel. I typically would’ve passed on spice bread as it’s always a bit extra for my palate, but it was a surprise delivery at the table, compliments of the house. I’m thankful it was bestowed upon me, but not simply for its beauty, it was in fact a delightful treat. The crème fraîche complimented the spice, taking its usual intensity down a notch, and played nicely with both the black currant and wood sorrel, that so perfectly laid atop the cream. The precision alone demanded my respect. I can’t say that I’ve ever eaten wood sorrel (the small leaves pictured above), which elevated my dining experience simply by putting me on to something new. The bread was moist, dense, and full of flavor. When i was finished, I was so impressed it had me thinking about the the other baked goods so beautifully displayed on the counter top. What else was I missing out on?

Destroyer |3578 Hayden Ave, Culver City, CA 90232

 
The Cannibal

Comment

The Cannibal

Comment Culver City, California
Tartine at The Cannibal, Culver City

Tartine at The Cannibal, Culver City


I have been receiving press and party invites to The Platform for a minute now, but it wasn't until I was asked to come eat at The Cannibal, that I made the drive to Culver City. If you don't live in this part of the city I'm sharing with the utmost confidence, the Everything Pretzel is worth the drive alone. Our city is hurt when it comes to good pretzels, we should be grateful The Cannibal is making this. Philadelphia we are not. 

The Cannibal joins the ranks of some of the best designed restaurants in Los Angeles, at the hands of Studio MAI, naturally. I recently wrote about my love for this design co. after a stay at the South Congress Hotel in Austin, Texas. The rustic dark woods paired with moody blues and lots of natural light evoked the feeling of restaurants I've cozied up at off HWY 1 along the California Coast. Transformative spaces are my absolute favorite. Known for their meats, butcher shop, and over 400 beers on their menu - which you can see in their floor-to-ceiling cases upon entering - I didn't anticipate that their vegetables and breads were going to be my favorites at lunch.

I've surrendered to the fact that if there's a tartine or avocado toast on a menu, I am going to order it. The heart wants what the heart wants. The Smoked Tuna Tartine with herbs, dill aioli, and fennel was a true hit. Bread baked in-house, tuna smoked in-house, and dill flavors coming through on every bite on the equally crispy and soft bread. The fish was simultaneously delicate and substantial, and although I wasn't planning on finishing my portion of this dish, it was so delicious I had no other choice. It paired nicely with the Blistered Shishito Peppers and Roasted Beet Salad I ordered on the side, both vibrant vegetable options

 
Everything Pretzel at The Cannibal

Everything Pretzel at The Cannibal

The Cannibal Deli Case

The Cannibal Deli Case


I have been receiving press and party invites to The Platform for a minute now, but it wasn't until I was asked to come eat at The Cannibal, that I made the drive to Culver City. If you don't live in this part of the city I'm sharing with the utmost confidence, the Everything Pretzel is worth the drive alone. Our city is hurt when it comes to good pretzels, we should be grateful The Cannibal is making this. Philadelphia we are not. 

The Cannibal joins the ranks of some of the best designed restaurants in Los Angeles, at the hands of Studio MAI, naturally. I recently wrote about my love for this design co. after a stay at the South Congress Hotel in Austin, Texas. The rustic dark woods paired with moody blues and lots of natural light evoked the feeling of restaurants I've cozied up at off HWY 1 along the California Coast. Transformative spaces are my absolute favorite. Known for their meats, butcher shop, and over 400 beers on their menu - which you can see in their floor-to-ceiling cases upon entering - I didn't anticipate that their vegetables and breads were going to be my favorites at lunch.

I've surrendered to the fact that if there's a tartine or avocado toast on a menu, I am going to order it. The heart wants what the heart wants. The Smoked Tuna Tartine with herbs, dill aioli, and fennel was a true hit. Bread baked in-house, tuna smoked in-house, and dill flavors coming through on every bite on the equally crispy and soft bread. The fish was simultaneously delicate and substantial, and although I wasn't planning on finishing my portion of this dish, it was so delicious I had no other choice. It paired nicely with the Blistered Shishito Peppers and Roasted Beet Salad I ordered on the side, both vibrant vegetable options.

 
The Cannibal Burger

The Cannibal Burger


The Cannibal's burger had been really hyped up, maybe so much it didn't quite hit like I had anticipated. With red onion, onion soubise, provolone on the softest of bun, it's not the kind of classic burger that holds the most special place in my life but I am 100% open to the ever-growing burger options in Los Angeles. The bun was perfect, the blood and fat in the patty on point, but the seasoning did not come through as I am accustomed to. Because all of the elements were at play, I'd like to try this burger again.  

It was a strong meal which is why I am eager to return to experience The Cannibal's dinner menu, with a more meat-centric attitude in mind. There's a Pozole Head Cheese on their Charcuterie menu that has me quite curious in addition to Charred Baby Octopus and of course, the Dry-Age Rib Eye. And if you've been looking for half a pig's head, they also have that on their dinner menu as well. For all the true beer lovers out there, you should check out their weekly beer classes (only $25), which covers an introduction to beer making, contemporary beer topics and a proper tasting which I've heard will have you feeling lit. 

The Cannibal | 8850 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232 

 
Bar at The Cannibal

Bar at The Cannibal

Civil Coffee

Comment

Civil Coffee

Comment Highland Park, California
 
 

Civil Coffee is only a few cities over from where I live, so coming in for a latte was a no-brainer. I had recently been talking to my friend Kenturah Davis about Highland Park food options so I suggested we meet there for coffee and breakfast one morning. Located on Figueroa Blvd, one of the main drags in Highland Park, the first thing I noticed when entering Civil Coffee was how bright and beautiful the space was. Kenturah and I both ordered the bacon shitake mushroom avocado toast (vegetarian), and I added a organic soft-boiled egg to my plate. Our coffees were on-point, the mood right, and we spent the next four hours chatting about traveling, music, and art. As we sat there stimulated for hours, I took notice of the clientele that walked through the door, who are clearly a part of this "new" Highland Park. Being a Mexican American woman from 12 minutes away, it was noticeable how quickly this community is changing. One of my major fears - for communities like Highland Park, Boyle Heights, Lincoln Heights - is that Latinxs are going to be squeezed out entirely to make room for luxurious new spaces and avocado toast.

As soon as I got home I started texting a friend of mine who lives in Highland Park to give her a full report as I began to upload my photos from breakfast. I started in on gentrification and going on about gringos, when she interrupted to say, "did you know Civil Coffee is owned by two Latino brothers?" I clenched my chest. Dios mio! Then she slam dunked on my brain when she said "the interior was designed by a Latina who is also a Highland Park resident." Thank goodness for friends who will remind you why real journalism matters. I took to the web to gather any nuggets I could about Civil Coffee, because with this new information, I was totally hyped to read about the Latinx business owners! Better yet, I decided I would return the next morning to chat with the brothers myself.

 
 
 

On my return to Civil Coffee, both Alex and Alan (the owners) recognized me from the day before, mentioning they had seen me taking lots of photos. I introduced myself and began telling them why I had to come back, and that I was hoping I could chat with them. They graciously said yes.

Born in Mexico and raised in Glendale and Burbank, the Morales brothers have been hustling hard in the coffee world for years. Before opening Civil Coffee, they were pouring up at parties and events with their very own cart, while simultaneously running a coffee program at a cafe in Hollywood. How did their love of coffee motivate them to get them to where they are today? After becoming fans of Intellgentsia during its heyday, they moved to Portland to study the art of coffee and cut their teeth. Interestingly, the coffee they are brewing in Highland Park, Heart Roasters and Cova Coffee, are both Portland favorites.  Upon their return to L.A., they were among the original team at Handsome Coffee under the guidance of Tyler Wells, whom they speak so positively about as a mentor in the coffee landscape. 

Building up to their opening, Civil Coffee began serving up free cups of coffee to the people of Highland Park on the weekend. They teamed up with Panaderia Delicia, a local panadería, to serve complimentary pan dulce with their brews; they were simultaneously connecting and building with their neighbors while announcing their arrival. That's the kind of entrepreneurial spirit I appreciate! Seeing fellow Latinxs grind (no pun intended) and thrive while being considerate of their community is something that inspires and motivates me to the utmost. The Morales brothers' hard work and focus is undeniable, and I look forward to giving them as much business as I can.

Civil Coffee | 5629 N Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90042

 

 
Estrella

Comment

Estrella

Comment West Hollywood, California
 
 

When I walked through the doors of Estrella I was immediately taken aback by the decor, which spoke so deeply to my semi-secret bohemian sensibilities. I turned to my pal Jacqueline Schneider and said, "this is a scene out of 70s Laurel Canyon." Everything felt so right and I had to know what design team was behind the incredible thoughtfulness of this space. The design props goes to Studio Collective, who have impressed me many times over with The Landsby, Giada Vegas, and The Spare Room. Estrella takes its name from a Joni Mitchell character in her 1970's "Ladies of the Canyon", with the aim of creating a space reminiscent of the bungalows in which the artists and their muses commingled. The space is warm and inviting, with cozy seating inside and plush seating outside, surrounded by fireplaces and chandeliers. You quickly feel removed from the Sunset Strip, which Estrella is located on, and that's what I enjoyed most about this restaurant.

Breakfast has been my thing as of late, so I made reservations for 10:45am, although I didn't realize the kitchen stopped serving eggs at 11. It's an ideal meeting spot – power breakfast, anyone? Easily transform your table into your very own personal office space, as they come equipped with outlets and USBs.

 
 
 

Estrella lured me in with their decor and hours of operation, but it was time to get a feel for the menu. I ordered 4 dishes to accompany my smooth vanilla latte and Jacqueline's cappuccino, both made with Verve Coffee. Three egg dishes, all varying in egg states, made their way to our table: Soft boiled egg with brioche, asparagus | Poached eggs puttanesca with potato cake | Frittata with butternut squash, goat cheese, sage, truffled pumpkin seeds and Orange ricotta pancakes with almonds, toasted coconut to satisfy the small sweet tooth in me. Savory for breakfast is how I do, but I always love sharing a sweet treat.

The Poached Eggs Puttanesca was the star of this breakfast spread, with the pancakes a close runner up. Each bite of the puttanesca offered a bright taste of tomatoes and one slice into the poached eggs delivered the kind of yolk porn that illicit unspoken desires and some side-mouth drool.  "Alla puttanesca" in Italian means "in the garbage style" or "in the whore's style" and I am here for that. As for the pancakes, the natural orange essence really shined through. If you enjoy an earthy citrus flavor you should definitely give those a look. I wouldn't order the frittata or soft boiled egg again, as they were both underwhelming. Overall, the beauty of the space made for a lovely breakfast. It made enough of a positive impression on me that I'd be interested in seeing what they serve up for lunch.

Estrella | 8800 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069

 
 
Coachella Dining

Comment

Coachella Dining

Comment United States
 
 

Coachella 2016 was something else. I had just got off a plane from London, did my laundry, repacked my bags and headed towards Indio geared up for the 3-day weekend. The festival invited me to the desert to experience their culinary options and I was hyped. I had heard that Coachella had been gradually stepping up their food game, so I was curious as to what I was going to find while bouncing around the grounds.  Almond milk lattes, poke bowls and fried chicken sandwiches by Free Range – this most definitely shit on the dusty ass pizza slices and questionable hot dogs I once knew at music festivals.  

I got hooked up with a press pass, VIP bracelet and a special invitation to attend one of Outstanding in the Field's incredible dinners hosted in the Rose Garden. I was welcomed to indulge in all my food desires while watching Rae Sremmurd, Vince Staples, SZA, and Death Grips. The only thing that could've topped all of this would've been a back massage by MC Ride. Still holding out, truthfully.

Outstanding in the Field absolutely delivered. I had previously experienced this open-air feast in a private citrus orchard in Central California one Spring day back in 2015, so I had anticipated nothing but greatness. This particular 4-course meal with wine pairing came with a $225 price tag. Although seated at a 200-seat table curving around any given landscape, it always manages to feel like an intimate dinner; truly unlike anything else. At Coachella they spared no beautiful detail and had two seatings each night, with six dinner options for those seeking a elevated culinary experience under the desert sky. 

Coachella | 81-800 Avenue 51, Indio, CA 92201