While I was traveling through Belize I guest posted on The Hip Soiree about how to set up the perfect party bar. I'm currently trying to figure out how to replicate this at home, much more scaled down, of course. This party gave me a chance to figure this out. Take a look at the post here. I loved this project and Lizzie's blog is fantastic.
Did I ever tell you I have a nice collection of signed cookbooks. My friends know because they helped me move boxes of them when we got our floors redone. I don't have too many, but a few apparently very heavy ones.
My love for cooking and cookbooks happened nearly 19 years ago. My boss was a foodie. He had quite a collection of cookbooks. I was newly married, and really didn't know how to cook much. Pasta was my go to meal. I asked his advice on what cookbooks I should invest in. I'd joined a cookbook club. Then, started the book signings. He'd send me to get a cookbook signed by Julia Child or some other great chef, and would kindly purchase one for me. Thus my love for the cookbook and meeting the author started.
My friend Bekah and I have stood in line more then once to meet Ina Garten and get a few signed cookbooks from her, plus a sampling of recipes from the cookbook. We love these moments.
All of a sudden there are three cookbooks and great stories on sale. Here's what I'm looking forward to reading and cooking from.
First up is David Lebovitz, My Paris Kitchen. If you haven't check out his blog your missing something. Seriously his first book My Sweet Life, made me laugh out loud. His tweets are even hilarious. This book released today. Go get it now at Amazon, I sure will be.
Next up is Molly Wizenberg's book about her restaurant, Delancey that she opened up with her husband. She is also hilarious, have you ever heard her on the podcast Spilled Milk? I literally laugh out loud listening while sitting in the endless traffic on L.A. freeways, and let me tell laughing in that mess is super hard to do.
Last up is one I've been anticipating. Huckleberry: Stories, Secrets and Recipes From Our Kitchen. I literally live 4 blocks from Huckleberry's in Santa Monica. I frequently walk there for a quick lunch or sweet treat. Seriously when she posts on Instagram what she baked that day I drop everything and walk up the street to try it out. I can't wait to read this book. Right now you can pre-order it and I know they'll be doing a book signing soon, I so can't wait to meet these people in person. They own at least four restaurants and an ice cream parlor here in Santa Monica. You can't be more invested in your community then that.
What are your favorite cookbooks?
Well I'm back to the daily grind, still talking about our trip to Belize, I'll have plenty to share about that in the days to come. I think I've sort of set reset, but really i'm just moving at a slower pace right now. I know I have lots of creative ideas, recipes, travel and to do's to share, lots coming your way.
In my mind I'm sitting in the chair above, enjoying the cool Caribbean breeze with my Pina Colada. Reality is I'm sitting at my desk with 2 computers (Mac and PC), an iPad, iPhone, Camera, wires and plugs, all while I'm eating my food and typing this. Oh Reality….BOO! As Da La Soul sang "Back to Life, Back to Reality."
Hope you all have a wonderful week. I still have lots of catching up to do.
We are in Belize. Why did we pick this country to travel to, you may ask? For a few reason, we have good friends who live here and have asked us to come many times. Also we wanted to do a little volunteer work and put forth a few goals to a some young girls about moving where there is a greater need and helping out. So we are here in Belize. I'll share more of my adventures when I return, but see a few images from the variety of things we've already seen and done.
Yes like the rest of those of us who live in L.A. we were woken up at 6:36AM (its still dark at that hour) and we jolted out of bed. I followed SB out of the bed, only it wasn't the way I usually get out of the bed so I proceeded to bang my shin and then we just stopped in the hallway, be holding my shin asking, "where we going" and SB saying "i have no idea." Lets just say our vacation cannot start soon enough.
With that said this space may be very quiet for a few days/weeks. We're off to Belize for a much needed vacation and some fun volunteer work. We're going with another family of 5. I'll try to post pictures on Instagram and maybe get a post in here, but I'm really trying to disconnect as much as possible. I am virtually on my electronic devices 24/7 these days and need to step away and reset my focus. I have a feeling my life will change drastically in the months to year to come. It needs to, and we will totally embrace it. For now enjoy the rest of March and early April.
Hey everyone! I’m Lizzie from The Hip Soiree and I’m visiting today to talk to you about party decorations. YAY! I’m so glad to be here!
Ahhhhh…party decorations. I think I can safely say they are one of my most favoritest things in the world. I’m pretty sure it comes from my love of making DIY projects and the lack of space I have to display them. Party decorations are a way to make something grandiose. I mean, you don’t want it to look like Party City just barfed all over your house. You just want to pick a few things to really wow them. Who doesn’t like to knock some socks off? No one, that’s who.
When someone asks me to help plan a party, the first thing I do is talk to them about a theme and color scheme. And by “theme,” I don’t necessarily mean an overt theme like “I want a PRINCESS party!” (I don’t get that request very often, although I kinda hope I do because I AM A PRINCESS!) Mostly it’s a vibe. Believe it or not, not everyone wants a baby shower to have pink or blue crepe paper streamers everywhere or baby circus animals. Some people just want a relaxing party with their friends before their life turns to chaos. With gifts, of course. They’re not crazy.
After we settle on a color scheme and vibe…I hit Pinterest and start a board. Let’s pull some ideas together and see what we come up with! For example, the party I helped Tanya with was a gold, modern cocktail party. (Side note - I honestly don’t remember what we did before Pinterest. Did people use real bulletin boards for stuff like this? Or did they print things out and put them in a folder? That sounds HORRIFIC!)
Once some things have been pinned to the board, I pick my favorite concepts and run with them. For example, I found a tutorial on how to make a 4” ornament, but figured out a way to make it a 24” hanging centerpiece I call an Atomic Star (Tanya calls it “The Disco Deathstar.” Everyone better hope that thing doesn’t explode because it was basically a glitter bomb just WAITING for an excuse to blow.)
Here are some examples of things I’ve made out of plain, old paper:
I also like to jazz up things that can be kinda boring. Like table centerpieces. Don’t get me wrong, I love flowers, but they’re expensive! I’ve made things like paper peonies, felt billy buttons and origami flowers. Or how about embroidered tablecloths or table runners (like the gold sequined one pictured above)? Simple and different.
And then there are decorations like these super spikey (read: deadly to the touch) modern sea urchin orbs.
It doesn’t have to specifically scream party, just amp it up a bit! And, to me, it’s touches like these that makes a good party into an awesome party. My two cents.
Now if I could just cook, I’d be an unstoppable force. Oh, Tanya….
Can I just say I had a blast with this project for Kleenex. For one I am in love with these little packages and have been taking them all around Los Angeles. These on-the-go packages have seen some of the major sites in L.A.. I had one design to take me around and it just happened to SOOO be me, and my friends for that matter. They just complemented every purse, jacket and outfit we had on. You can seriously have your pick of multiple designs that fit in with your personal style. Take a look at www.Kleenex.com/style to find the ones that are so YOU.
We took this package with us to the LaBrea Bakery, Griffith Observatory, the Gamble House in Pasadena and even up to the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood. Even the men can rock the Kleenex on-the-go packages with serious style.
My orange purse just made this package pop out, I really loved it and take a look at the inside to, even that has style.
I just so happen to love Raymond Chandler novels and he writes L.A. Crime Noir so well. Ieuan below just pulled this mood off to a tee.
Kleenex will be hosting a reveal event on March 17 at Grand Central Station in NYC where they will be unveiling the new Kleenex brand designs live with Isaac Mizrahi. Anyone can stop by the event to learn more about Kleenex brand’s 90 years of Kleenex Style, be the first to see the designs and have a chance to win some cool prizes.
This is a sponsored post by Kleenex Brand. However, all opinions expressed are my own.
The past two weeks have been a bit of blur, but also amazingly eventful. We had guests for two weeks visiting from the UK. It's a friend I've had since we were 12. Penpals, do you even know what that is? Before the days of email, texting, skype, facetime, we wrote letters and lots of them. We'll she and her husband haven't been in L.A. for over 11 years, so they were due for a visit. Over the next couple of weeks, maybe even one post before we are off to Belize, I'll share a few of the sprinklings of what we've been up to and where we went.
In the meantime, we are up for a serious vacation of our own. With a complete overhaul of our bedroom, a party thrown on one of the rainiest weekends we've ever had in L.A., working, posting, and being a full tour guide, we are ready for a vacation. Which is sort of what we'll be doing starting next week in Belize. I kind of feel like I'm at a crossroads, which that picture kind of conveys. I seriously need to set a reset button on my life. Which I hope unplugging for two weeks we'll allow me to do. Thanks to all my readers for sticking around while I try to catch up on life.
That has to be the longest title ever, but there is so much to say about these brandy infused chocolate truffles that I rolled into shredded coconut, OH MY! This recipe is adapted from Alton Browns recipe on Food Network. I made these for my friend Deborah's photo styling project, here, but of course was able to sample a few myself before delivery. Here's the recipe and my notes.
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp light corn syrup
1/4 cup of brandy
1/2 cup cocoa powder (Valrohna cocoa powders is what I use to roll the chocolate truffles in)
Shredded Coconut (Trader Joe's brand is what I had on hand to roll the truffles in, but you can use any brand)
Place finely chopped chocolate and butter in a glass mixing blow and mircrowave for 30 seconds. Remove, stir and repeat the process one more time. Set aside.
Heat the cream and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Remove from heat and pour the mixture over the chocolate, let it stand for no more than 2 minutes. Stir gently with a rubber spatula until smooth and creamy. Here's the boozy part, pour the 1/4 cup of brand into the mixture and stir. You can pour the mixture into a square glass backing dish or leave it in the glass bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour.
For rolling out the truffles I'd suggest using a small ice cream scoop. I used and melon baller and it was hard to get the chocolate out of the baller (is that a word, well it is now), so I switched to a small teaspoon and used my warm hands to roll the truffle balls. Next time small ice cream scoop like this one from Target.
Once formed you can roll them in the cocoa powder if you want them covered only in that, but I opted for rolling them in shredded coconut. Let me tell you the texture and brandy taste is exciting and surprising. Enjoy!
I was invited by Kleenex to celebrate their 90th anniversary, which means they've been around since the 20's, as in 1920, so this is ItSweet and Stylish look at how their cool designs work fabulousely in my humble home. I've been using Kleenex for most of my life. Their brand has become synonymous with facial tissue. We don't ask "do you have a tissue," but we do ask "do you have any Kleenex" and we automatically know what we want, they are clearly an industry leader.
Kleenex continues to show their innovations by partnering with Isaac Mizrahi, whom I adore, so this is naturally a no-brainer for me to talk about. He's got personality and style up the wazoo. Together they will introduce four new and unique designs to the Kleenex Expressions line of products, these are affordable and high-quality designs that will complete your home.
Most of the time we think of Kleenex only when we're sick, which incidentally I did this week, while writing this post, and let's just say my Kleenex came in handy. But seriously don't you always have these on hand. Now you can add these stylish boxes to any room decor.
My bedroom was dark and cozy to start off with and this particular box went perfect in the room with all my personal accessories.
Then we painted and brightened the room up, incidentally not for this post, and now look, this amazing design goes fantastic in the room. Seriously there are so many great designs for just about any decor. My side of the bed and the other more masculine side of the bed.
And finally this box looks fantastic in my office, right next to Mr. Hamatoro.
Additionally, Kleenex is hosting a sweepstakes on the website through March 7th, 2014 called, “Catwalk or Kleenex?” You can win a trip for to to NYC and $5K spending, seriously, can I go with you? Oh and you might get to meet Isaac. I die!
To enter, visit www.kleenex.com/style and answer a series of questions asking you to identify which design is Kleenex brand and which design is from the catwalk. By taking the short quiz, consumers are automatically entered to win an all-expense paid trip for two to New York City to find his/her Kleenex brand style with a famous designer. The winner will also receive $5,000 spending money for a NYC shopping spree. Entry is open January 13, 2014 through March 7th and limited to once per promotion period.
This is a sponsored post by Kleenex Brand. However, all opinions expressed are my own.
This is a guest post from by Rachel Dawes. Rachel spends one-fourth of her day working on her figure and the rest of the day as a loving wife and mother to her sons. Aside from fitness and nutrition, Rachel also loves to spend her time writing and upcycling pre-loved items. Don't let her demeanour fool you, though, as Rachel is also a fan of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and just started to enroll in a mixed martial arts academy near her area.
The cupcake has been a ubiquitous trend over the past few years and spawned a ton of TV shows like Cupcake Wars that stars little morsels of joy engaging in battle with other cupcakes. But we live in a society where a simply delicious dessert can make anyone’s conflict-ridden day seem like a dream and one should be immensely grateful for that. This 2014, there are exciting (and oh so yummy) trends that can make any sweet confection its most saccharine version yet. But before getting too excited and consuming many unnecessary calories, this is the perfect time to bake and explore all the possibilities this year has in store for us.
Cakes aren’t just all about presentation and decorations. Sometimes it’s what's inside that counts and those Peek-A-Boo cakes are the epitome of this. These cakes look deceptively simple on the outside, usually with just plain fondant frosting but a medley of colors and flavors await.
Another baking trend that has been widely publicized is artisanal marshmallows. Don’t underestimate these seemingly light treats because they come in the form of plenty of flavors that range from vanilla bean to rosemary like those in Three Tarts in New York.
Another trendy flavor that’s been everywhere from Krispy Kreme’s doughnuts to the more dainty and sophisticated Laduree macaroons is indubitably the salted caramel. You can find them in brownies, puddings and plenty of other desserts as well. Along with those exquisite macaroons, the éclair is also a fine specimen where the best can be found in Fauchon Paris. There are also artisanal jellies, jams, doughnuts that are making some interesting flavor profiles this year. With all this is mind, we are sure that 2014 is going to be one sweet roller coaster for foodies out there!
So a while back I made these Chocolate Peanut Butter bars for a book swapping party here. Since then I've made them a few more times and am now getting to a place where I'm perfecting the recipe. Plus I had a good excuse this week as I was commissioned to create these for a photo style shoot my friend Deb was doing with VivaVantage paper towels.
Seriously Chocolate AND Peanut Butter, I think this probably goes down as my favorite flavor combo. It's like making sure you have two things that match, makes me think of this quote from the movie Friday when Chris Tucker is looking for something to eat, "No sugar? Y'all ain't never got two things that match. Either y'all got Kool-aid, no sugar. Peanut butter, no jelly. Ham, no burger." And now we can add "peanut butter no chocolate." Accept we have BOTH. Here's the recipe with a few of my notes on what I have found that works best and a note on what I 'll do the next time around. And don't be afraid that it's 3 layers, it's really not that hard to make.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
Ingredients Bottom Layer
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
5 tbsp unsweetened cocoa (I use Valhrona)
1 egg, beaten
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup coarsely crush pretzels (I find the thinner salted versions work better than the thick ones - I only had the thick ones for the shoot above, but that's my lesson learned)
If you have a double boiler use that to melt the butter, sugar and cocoa. I use a metal bowl over a lightly simmering pot of water (water should not touch the bowl).
While bowl is still over the water, add the beaten egg a little at a time until the mixtures thickens.
Remove bowl from the heat and add the graham cracker crumbs and crushed pretzels. After they are well mixed press the crumbs into a flattened layer an 8x8 cake pan. I use square non-stick baking pan and line it with two pieces of parchment paper crisscross, this makes it easier to get the bars out of the pan for cutting the squares. Set this aside while you start the middle layer.
Middle Layer Ingredients
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled.
2/3 cup powdered sugar, sifting this first is good to get any clumps out.
1 cup smooth, natural peanut butter (no salt added) I like Laura Scudder's.
1/2 tsp salt (only use if you bought unsalted PB, otherwise adjust to taste.
1 tsp vanilla
Add peanut butter and melted butter together in a small bowl, mix in sugar, salt and vanilla until it forms a thick paste. Now it's time to add the peanut butter over the bottom layer of chocolate pretzel goodness. I have thought about doubling the peanut butter layer as I'd like a bit more thickness, so I might try that next time. Now put all of this in the refrigerator while you make the final Top layer. This way the peanut butter has time to get a little stiff, otherwise it's hard to spread the final chocolate layer on top.
Top Layer Ingredients
5 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips (I love bittersweet or just straight dark chocolate bars for this layer, but use any fine chocolate you like)
1 tbsp unsalted butter
Pink Himalayan salt (or any fine sea salt)
Again if you have a double boiler use that to melt the chocolate and butter. I use a metal bowl over a lightly simmering pot of water (water should not touch the bowl). Stir until smooth.
Now take the pan from the refrigerator and pour the chocolate mixture over the peanut butter layer and spread it evenly. Then return to the refrigerator about 10 minutes. (top should be a little soft still). Sprinkle light with the Himalayan salt and return the the fridge and let it completely cool until it becomes hard.
Take out the parchment papered bars and cut into squares or rectangles. I've done both and wrapped them in paper with twine for a special presentation, but it's faster to just cut in and eat it, sooooo good. I have a batch in my fridge now that I keep gnawing at, enjoy this perfect match of flavors.
So I'm giving props to SB, because he's a great cook and made this amazing Tuscan Vegetable Stew last week. He may one day make a written appearance on this here space, though I doubt he'll commit to a fully in-focus image of himself, but one can always hope. For now we'll show his cooking creations.
Last week, while we actually HAD weather, drizzling rain and colder Cali temperatures he decided to make a stew. This recipe was from a March 2013 issue of Bon Appetit it's called Italian Vegetable Stew. The only change we made is adding in Spicy Italian Chicken Sausages from Whole Foods (SB doesn't eat pork or beef, so this is a great alternative). We wanted a little more flavor and meat in our stew, however on it's own this stew would still be really flavorful. We removed the casing from the sausage, roughly chop them into bit size pieces, then brown them in the pot your using for the stew (one day that pot will be a Le Creuset or Staub, for now we use All-Clad). Remove the sausage and start in on the rest of veggies as specified in the recipe in the link above. Once all the ingredients are stewing we added the sausage back in and let them cook a little more and fully flavor the stew.
The Bon Appetit recipe is from Brandon Jew of Bar Agricole. Ironically I tried to go to Bar Agricole when I was last in San Francisco, but got there too early and it wasn't open. But if this recipe is any indication of his food there, I'm am going to make sure I stop in next time we visit San Francisco. Enjoy this stew on a cold afternoon.
Are you more productive when your busy? I am. On this Mindless Monday, I realized while my mom was visiting how busy I really am. She said to me "when I was younger I could do all the things you are doing." I was thinking am I young enough to be doing all the things I'm doing? Let's just say, I'm enjoying the chaos and loving the creativity. Above is a look back of my adventures via Instagram from January, I'm a bit late posting it, but like seeing each month what I've done, it makes me appreciate the 30 or so days that wiz by.
This month and next are really going to push me creatively Watch out for a contributing post to another site, maybe a story of making chocolate truffles for a photo shoot my friend is styling and a sponsored post or two by some brands I met up with last month. I'm excited about them all for different reasons. It's the next step in my blog journey and will help me maintain this little creative space I enjoy so much. Happy Monday my friends!
Do you take notes? I do, just about every week. I find that my attention span is smaller and smaller, ant-like. My note books are a combination of images and text. I create word pictures from what I'm hearing and I draw the speaker, all this helps me concentrate on what is being said. I saw a woman do this next to me at Alt, so I know I'm not alone. Sometimes when it's a really good story, I'm fully engaged watching, listening, I want to take the journey with the speaker, and then I put pen to paper and start to draw the story. These days, with my camera in hand on my phone, I find taking pictures works the best. During our Food Styling photography class at Alt, it was all about the pictures.
What did we learn? We could have made this an all day class. But it was only a few hours at the most. Our two photographers, Joy Uyeno and Lindsey Johnson suggested only using things that make the food look good, but still edible (i.e. spritz of water on salads, no unnatural glazes.) We know we all want to eat this food after we shoot it.
Styling. Some great suggestions on props, antique stores are a good start or do you buy one napkin, one bowl, one fork at places like West Elm? I do. Texture matters, cloth napkins are best. How about showing the ingredients you used in the food. Make the picture live, like you just ate it, or are about to. Don't be afraid to take a bite and then take a picture, it can be a little messy, this makes it real.
Have you found that treasure trove of antique mismatched silverware, how about an old wood patina cutting board, these are great pieces to include. It takes a while and some room to build a collection of props. I once had a photography assignment that we had to use 3 objects, metal, paper, texture and fabric. I loved this project, because it made push my creativity and was a nice departure after the Fashion shoot we did. I still own those props from umpteen years ago.
Lighting. Natural all the way, I tend to take my pictures in the morning light and right before sunset, I do get some great light in my kitchen and living room at these times. My bedroom get's some great light mid-day, so once I get a few more surfaces (slate, more wood options) that I can move into there, that might be my mid-day spot. Great tip came from someone that suggested natural daylight bulbs, you can buy and replace in all your lamps. If you happen to only be able to shoot your food when the sun has set, or your space isn't well lit, this is the way to go. If you have the money and space a strobe flash would be great. You'll probably at the very least want to purchase black and white foam core as bounces for light and flash. They really do make a big difference.
Here's Joy getting this amazing Raspberry tart set up for a shot. Love how she should us a simple way to get the napkin in there. Grab it from the middle and just let it naturally fall and lay it down, no fancy folding. Seriously how easy is that, and looks great. Loved this class and all the fun little tidbits. Seriously this needs to be a whole day session, which would include eating everything too. I think this may be another investment that I make this year for myself. Taking another food photography class, investing in the right equipment and of course, all year long I'm on the look-out for props.
And lastly, above is my assignment shot from the 3 objects, paper, fabric, metal and texture. Not bad for my first time, I had to search through my archives to find this image. I think this is the image that made me want to do more of this type of photography. It's not a bad thing to look back at what we've done and critique ourselves. Maybe we realize that wasn't that bad, or maybe we see "man why would I have ever taken that image and posted it."I think I have more of the later these days. Learning a little patience when it comes to content creations is a good thing.
Are you ready for a PieVenture thru a few local L.A. spots? We've been dreaming about doing this for nearly 8 months. Finally while I was off during the winter break we made this little PieVenture happen.
First off, I am super excited to introduce Sara Darouian to my readers. She's the illustrator behind the beautiful map I commissioned for this post. She's a talented graphic designer, who just got what I was looking for after only a few email exchanges. Please contact her for any illustration needs. Here's her site and her contact info: firstname.lastname@example.org
So SB (Surfer Boy = Husband) and I went on this PieVenture. Let's just say I love the way he says Pie (P-eye). And he knows one of my favorite pie places to go to is Polly's Pie. They use to have one in Santa Monica, but it's gone and replaced by a Panera, so not the same. Twice a year we end up near a Polly's, so I indulge in my favorite burger, the Polly Burger and a piece of cherry pie. This place has special meaning. When I was a kid every Tuesday night my mom and a grandfatherly man named Frank Finnegan (Can you tell he was Irish), would go and eat pie. I loved those moments. He has since passed away and mom lives in New Mexico. So knowing how much I love Pie, SB and I saw the opportunity to go on a local L.A. PieVenture.
First stop was PieHole. I know you just LOVE that name. This place is located in the art district of downtown L.A. and with no traffic is really only 20 minutes away, with, give it an hour.
I asked a few people in line what there favorite pie was, I heard Mexican Chocolate and the Chocolate Crostata, because that one was just all pure chocolate. Second favorite was the Earl Grey Pie, I knew I probably wouldn't get this at the other two places so I choose that one. SB chose the Apple Pie. He said it was too thin of crust and he wasn't a fan of the sprinkles of sugar on top. I kind of liked it myself.
Close up of the flavorful Earl Grey Pie. This was perfect, I'm always worried that the Earl Grey tea leaves will take over the rest of the pie, like the Lavendar Panna cota I had once and tasted like soap. But this pie did not disappoint. And can you see the thin layer of chocolate at the bottom. Bonus! Can you just see the fluffiness in this pie.
Cool minimal decor and I loved their menu. Kraft paper rolled down on the wall. Easy to update and just simple. I would love this my kitchen for menu plans or shopping lists. Average price for piece of pie (PPP) = $6, heftiest of the three pie places we visit.
Next up was House of Pie. Not to far away from DTLA in the city of Los Feliz. This is the place that started the idea of the PieVenture, when we were on our way to Griffith Park here, we saw this and said, "we need to go there and have some P-eye!" This is the day that SB named it our "PieVenture" he owns the copyright to that term!
SB had the Bavarian Chocolate Pie. This was a big piece of pie, tall and lightly whipped with drizzles of chocolate. We about got into a PieFIght at this place. I wanted to take the picture of SB's fork going into the pie, but his hand kept getting in the way, so I had to art direct. He wanted to eat the pie, it was about to be a Pie Smack down. The waiter told me "let the man eat his Pie." I told him, hey this is part of the PieVenture, taking the pictures along the way. This got everyone talking about what we were calling this escapade, they all agree and PieVenture was the right call and wanted to know where we were going next. Can we say we might have to have PieVenture meet-up next?
You must know that Cherry Pie is my favorite pie EVER. My friend Carolyn makes a mean, [which = GOOD] Cherry Pie and Polly's Pie has a really good one. But this is now top of my list of REALLY good Cherry Pie. Do you see the sugar crystals on top of the basket weave crust, yum. They warmed this up without me even asking. I declined the a la mode part. And glad I did, it was a MOUNTAIN of ice cream that they were serving. So if you like your pie that way, which I don't, this is the place for a generous serving of a la mode! PPP = $4.50. Cheapest of the three.
Last stop for the day was Republic of Pie. This is in North Hollywood. This wasn't to far from House of Pie and a natural stop in our circular adventure, from the Westside. This place is really cute inside, and bigger than you think. There are about three sections to the area. This is also the only of the three that has live music and you can apply to play live on Music Mondays. Incidentally we ran into some friends who live in the area and love coming here for breakfast. Our trip was only a sweet pie adventure, no food or savory pies, which only means we'll need to go back to try those ones.
So Republic of Pie is known for their Chocolate Bread Banana Pie. But this pie was HUGE, and we were on our third stop, I could barely fathom it. So I decided to get the smaller Chocolate Cream Pie, this was a rich thick dark chocolate pie, very dense and very good. I could barely eat much, so I took this home and enjoyed it the next day while watching Downton Abbey.
SB chose the Peach Pie, although I tried to talk him out of it since January is hardly a time for in season peaches. However, he liked the glutinous texture, I didn't like this at all, but I'm a snob for making these type of pies when the fruit is in the peak of their season. Presentation was great for both these pies with twirls of caramel and chocolate. PPP = $5.25.
We ate a lot of pie, but I have my limits, so you see above the variety of to go boxes of pie. Next time your in L.A., or if you live here, why not go on a little PieVenture, take some friends, order some sweet and savory pies, enjoy the people watching and conversation, and be ready to take a few home while your at it. Enjoy!
You know when you stumble upon something great and you didn't even plan it. Well today was one of those days. I started off on the trek to Muji in Hollywood, which isn't really that far away, but in L.A. traffic it can be an eternity.
So on my way I saw that the La Brea Bakery was open. I had read that Nancy SIlverton was opening up this bakery 25 years after she started this business. She owns two other restaurants, Pizzaria Mozza and Osteria Mozza. Both on my list of favorite places to eat in Los Angeles. Not to mention all the awards she has one, just go look her up on Wikipedia, she's amazing. So I made a mental note to stop by on my way back. And glad I am.
Little did I know that today was the GRAND OPENING. Seriously my timing was perfect, well almost. I saw people coming out with bags of baguettes, jumping for joy and super full of from all the goodies they had partaken. Funny thing is I only really wanted a cup of coffee, that wasn't Starbucks, and a french baguette.
What I got was passed around delicious pastries and this was before I even ordered my coffee and was urged on by the staff to try all the other goodies. Can you just say SCORE!!! Only thing I missed out on was the free baguettes, they had all been given to the press before I got there, so close, yet so far. How can I get my a blogger press pass? Nancy, George anyone? Oh yeah George, met him, he has worked for Nancy for 20 years. They are very good friends. I love meeting people like this. He told me of the story when he first started working for her, it was a "bring your kids to work" day. So he put them on a stool and showed them how to work the cash register. Oh to be a kid in a bakery with a world class bread and pastry chef for a mother....what a dream.
What I got was the lead image above, a Chocolate Eclair, so amazing. I can't wait to go back. That was followed up by a Sunshine Twist (with light glaze and orange zest), a Fleur Macaroon, that was an unbelievable surprise of flavor, a Brownie that I think melted in my mouth, a Pine Nut Macaroon, and an Almost Oreo cookie.
Those were just the sweets. I did get my Cappuccino, and also sampled the apple fennel salad and red quinoa salad along with a slice of artisan pizza. I watched these guys above make pizza, they were so patient with the dough that just looked so soft and perfectly made. I got to talking to them and they are only 2 weeks into the job, making some amazing creations. Working with guys who have been making pizza's since they were 16. I can't wait to come back.
Here's the best part it was all free. Since it was the grand opening they were giving everyone free samples of there food. SCORE!!!
Nancy was there, but I just missed her, though I did take a picture of her fleeing the scene.
And one more bonus, just as I was driving away I caught the entire staff and owner cutting the ribbon. I laughed all the way home. If I had planned this out, it would have never happened so well. I told all my friends about it tonight, I've already got converts and an excursion planned to La Brea Bakery this weekend.
What do you know about Snapchat? I've barely paid attention to this app, but have heard that loads of teenagers love it, so I've kind of steered clear. After having my share of selfies from ALT it's hardly something I see myself using. So what is this app? You take a picture, draw whatever you want on it, send it to a friend and voila, they have 10 seconds to view "before this picture will self destruct."
So why the appeal of Snapchat? I like the Fly or Die segment on Techcrunch about this app. As they said, teenagers are separating their Virtual and Real selves. These kids have grown up on Facebook, their Virtual self. Images here are permanent, so the pressure to look cool and really care about every image is high, same goes with liking things that you really don't necessarily like, but you do it to look cool. I know you have teenagers following you on Instagram and they will like ANYTHING you post.
As for Snapchat, this is the Real self. With the less pressure to create a lasting image, Snapchat images apparently disappear in 10 seconds. You can snap your everyday life, with seemingly no consequences. Call me a skeptic, but do we remember Monica Lewinsky and her emails, nothing really EVER disappears online. Plus with all the recent problems, even today with snapchat going down for 30 minutes, and images sent out, but never received by user, then WHERE ARE THEY GOING? Also mentioned over and over again is there truly concern that sexting will be an issue on Snapchat with this 10 second "destructable" image?
I think there is a caution for these kids on social media and their selfies especially when you start hash-tagging the death out of them with things like #amIsexy #doyouwanttodateme, etc. Look at the pool of images your putting yourself in, do you really want to be associated with those people, do you really want that attention? I think it's best to look at the root of the issue with these kids and for parents to be balanced about it. Give them freedom in small doses, slowing release the spring, but be informed and aware of the dangers of social media.
Now enough of that soapbox. What's the deal with the Tina Fey and Amy Poehler joke at the Golden Globes this month?
“A lot of nominated shows this year are actually on Netflix. House of Cards. Orange Is the New Black. Enjoy it while it lasts, Netflix. Because you’re not going to be feeling so smug in a couple of years when Snapchat is up here accepting Best Drama.”
Is it that Hollywood and Silicon Valley are converging? Is it that Netflix won it's first ever Golden Globe? For Netflix they started off delivering content already made, now their in the business of creating original content and getting awarded for it on the way. This is why Netflix will last as opposed to the bygone era of Blockbuster.
Will Snapchat start creating original Emmy/Oscar winning content? Will the movie only be 10 seconds long? Let's watch carefully and see how this convergence works itself out.
So are you Snapchatting, is that even the right word? Or maybe your kids are, what do you think? Would love to hear a dialog about this.