Posts Tagged ‘tequila’

NYC to Los Angeles: Foodie Reflections

April 28, 2015

It’s really hard to believe that it’s been almost two years from this date that I have touched this blog.  My last entry was right before I enjoyed Camp Blogaway in California and I dreamed about being here since that time. Fast forward and my journey has led me here to the city of Angels as of this past July.

I love blogging and I love writing. I love food. None of that went away when I wasn’t blogging here, but there was always a little sensation, a passing comment or curiosity peaked when I mentioned that I have a blog related to the culinary adventures I had documented here. Those little moments kept the blog alive for me even while I wasn’t faithfully writing.

So with that in mind, after a nearly two year respite of writing here, it only makes sense to me to share you with, dear readers, a journey from nearly 10 years in NYC to one in Los Angeles, a place I had wanted to be and now am, on this greater journey called life.

I was really fortunate to have experienced all the culinary delights I had the chance to explore in New York City – from City Lobster to Bell Book & Candle, Kaia Wine Bar, The London, Social Eatz, Koi, B. Smith’s, Dardanel, and my all time favorite (yes, I’m revealing it!) David Burke Townhouse, to name a few – these are not only the places I remember and have documented, but the moments I truly cherish in looking back on the delicious experiences – culinary and company wise, almost as if they were yesterday.  I remember exactly who I was sitting with and what the experience was like. After all, good food is supposed to take you right back to that moment you experienced it, right?

I don’t have a verdict yet on NYC vs. Los Angeles like you might be wondering as I’m still new-ish to Los Angeles, I can give you some compare and contrasts.  The biggest is certainly the distance. While in NYC you can easily get from delight to delight, Los Angeles is a bit harder in that way as it is very spread out. Both NYC and Los Angeles boast great chefs and great establishments so those are a fair comparison, and there are definitely hidden gems in both cities.

So what are some of my favorite haunts in Los Angeles thus far? Read on…

Greenbelt (36 Pier Avenue, Hermosa Beach, CA) – Greenbelt serves everything using local farmer’s market produce and the dishes are delicious for it. I’ve now been for brunch, lunch and dinner and can tell you that you can’t choose a wrong item on this menu.  Depending on what meal you’re going for, I recommend the Grilled Avocado benedict with basil hollandaise. Best part? No bread and you get the healthy fats from the avocado with other great seasonal vegetables that’s filling and it’s also gluten-free for those who have any allergies. Lunch?  Go for a shared pizza like the burrata, mushrooms, fresh tomatoes, basil and pesto. Simple and yummy. Dinner?  I love tuna so the Grilled Yellowfin Tuna with coconut black rice, shitake mushrooms and thai curry is great. Spicy alert on this one though, so the faint beware.

Grilled Avocado Benedict

Grilled Avocado Benedict

Grilled Yellowfin Tuna

Grilled Yellowfin Tuna

Uncle Bill’s Pancake House (1305 Highland Ave., Manhattan Beach, CA) is the ultimate comfort food. I went on a weekday holiday with friends which was great as only on weekday holidays and weekends do they serve the eggs benedict which was delicious.  We also opted to share a side of what they are famous for – pancakes (when in Rome, right?) with coconut and chocolate chips. And for the view alone, the picture says it all.

Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict & Coconut Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Uncle Bill's

Uncle Bill’s

Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach

Others not pictured?

Mediterraneo (73 Pier Avenue, Hermosa Beach, CA) because of its can’t beat shared apps like the Deviled Eggs with harissa oil, Roasted Dates prosciutto wrapped and stuffed with cambozola blue cheese (my favorite on the menu), Polpette beaf meatballs with San Marzano tomato sauce and parmagiano (really you can’t go wrong with anything here), in addition to the very carefully crafted cocktails, do yourself a favor and check it out. Plus you can walk off dinner as you’ll be right by The Strand for a lazy afternoon or crisp evening beach walk.

Manhattan Beach Post (1142 Manhattan Ave., Manhattan Beach, CA), it’s called a “Social House” for a reason. It’s always busy. And the food and scene is why. I also came on a Sunday for brunch when it’s likely at its peak. But it’s entirely worth the wait starting with some Bacon Cheddar biscuits with maple butter like the tasty ones at Red Lobster (but better) and for shared plates like the French Toast stuffed with house ricotta, bartlett pears and candied almonds and the benedict (yes of course I had to try it, lest you forget the name of my blog).  What else is cool?  The fact that the menu changes seasonally and on the whim of a chef. Can’t hate on that.

Zinc at the Shade Hotel (1221 N. Valley Drive, Manhattan Beach, CA) come for brunch, walk the beach later. Or come during the week and enjoy one of the festive cocktails like the Are You Man Enough? with the Patron Silver Tequila, Veev acai spirit, agave, lime and muddled jalapenos or for a less spicy option the Aviation with gin, lemon juice, maraschino liqeur and creme de violette.

Ok, ok, you’re asking where are all the places not at the beach?  Don’t worry, my friends, I have you covered!

Check out:

Taste on Melrose (8454 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood, CA) – their tagline is “eat, drink, indulge” and that my friends, you can do. I came with some friends who also happen to be awesome work colleagues and we shared the calamari and Pommes Frites with garlic aioli and remoulade. They have great dishes all around whether you’re going healthier with a grilled natural salmon, or more indulgent like the Rigatoni Bolognese I tried.  Fun fact: Grilled cheese night is every Tuesday and you can add their housemade Pommes Frites for only $5. Yep.

Sugarfish by Sushi Nozawa (Multiple locations, I went to 4722 1/4 Admiralty Way, Marina Del Rey, CA) – You can’t explain this sushi, you just have to try it for yourself. It’s served warm and melt in your mouth worthy. I know what you’re thinking. After I was in NYC for so long, can it get any better?  But this truly is an experience.  If you’re really hungry, go for the Nozawa Trust Me. It’s worth it. It includes organic edamame, tuna sashimi, albacore, salmon and yellowtail sushi, halibut sushi, Toro hand roll, Blue Crab hand roll and the daily special.

041 Bacaro (9552 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA) Chef Conrad came from NYC so that’s almost enough to be said there, but there is true Italian love in this food. Try the roasted brussel sprouts or french fries with truffle oil to start (or both if you’re sharing) and the entrees speak for themselves though I enjoyed the risotto with mixed wild mushrooms. It’s like a slice of Little Italy NYC. Go.

And of course there are more to come.  Have a must try place for me to check out?  Feel free to comment here whether you’re an Angeleno or just know some great spots here in the City of Angels.


Gen Art Film Festival

April 19, 2010

Kicking off on April 7 (aptly) , Gen Art hosted “7 premieres, 7 parties” as part of its 2010 Film Festival presented by Acura ( In its 15th year, the festival celebrates emerging filmmakers and talent and has been attended by a variety of celebs including Zoey Deschanel, Tom Everett Scott (whom I had the chance to meet following the premiere of Tanner Hall- more details below), Alec Baldwin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and more.

Gen Art Film Festival 2010

Upon arriving, I was of course intrigued by the beverages and snacks available. Don Julio sponsored the bar and Popcorn, Indiana (yes, it’s popcorn and Popcorn, Indiana is a town 20 miles southwest of Bloomington) provided the popcorn in both kettlecorn and original movie theater flavors.  Drinks included tequila inspired concotions with reposado, anejo and others. I opted for the “Secret World” which featured reposado, spiced cider, fresh lemon and agave nectar.

Don Julio


Popcorn, Indiana

After getting my beverages and popcorn for enjoying the short and premiere on Monday, I found a seat.  The theme of the evening was “Ladies Night” celebrating women in film and their unique point of view. The evening was dedicated to the Adrienne Shelly Foundation (, a non-profit organization dedicated in loving memory to the uniquely gifted actor and filmmaker Adrienne Shelly who wrote, directed and acted in three feature films, “Sudden Manhattan,” “I’ll Take You There,” and “Waitress,” which premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival as part of her repertoire.

Kicking off the films was a short called “Daughters” directed by Chloe Zhao who called the project “a personal film and a  really adventurous experience.” The film follows Maple, a 14 year-old girl living in China who is forced into an arranged marriage.

The premiere was “Tanner Hall” which made its U.S. premiere at the festival (having debuted at the Toronto Film Festival in 2009) and directed by Francesca Gregorini and
Tatiana Von Furstenberg (yes, DVF’s daughter).  The directors, both of whom call each other bff’s, said, “This film is about friendship in a lot of ways and how it’s shared is grueling and exciting. What moved me the most is how much goodwill and generous with time, talent and resources.” The film starred Rooney Mara as Fernanda (she also won the Rising Star award on closing night and reminded me A LOT of Natalie Portman) and Tom Everett Scott  as Gio of “That Thing You Do!” and other projects including Law & Order, Cashmere Mafia and Southland. The film profiles four teenage girls who attend an all-girls boarding school in New England and their coming of age stories. The film was provactive, thoughtful, disturbing and enlightening – I thorougly enjoyed it!  It also won the Grand Jury Award for Best Feature at the festival (which came with a $10K prize).

To cap off the evening, I headed over to the afterparty at Avenue at 116 Tenth Ave. at 17th Street ( where I had the opportunity to sample some additional Don Julio tequilas, meet the actors and industry folk and toast the team at Gen Art for a great success. 

Don Julio

With Tom Everett Scott

Tanner Hall Grand Jury Award for Best Feature