This week better be boring & the LA Times Festival of Books

Oh friends, so much has happened since the last time we spoke. Last week was one of the most chaotic weeks I’ve had in a long time. I had a pretty crummy week outside of the bombings on Monday is Boston. In addition, the whole Watertown standoff actually took place 2 blocks from one of my closest friend’s homes. I was totally on edge all day Friday and was so happy when the police were able to arrest the suspect alive. As happy as I was, the whole situation left me feeling bizarrely homesick and emotional on Saturday. I know it’s weird to say you want to be in a place where tragedy is unfolding. I have so many friends left in Boston. I love the city so much. I moved there by choice when I was 18 and I didn’t leave for lack of love.

Compared to what everyone in Boston went though, how I feel is almost nothing. I tried to spend time just snuggling this baby and tried to keep myself busy.

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In an effort to distract myself, I decided to hit up the LA Times Festival of Books on Sunday. I’ve always wanted to go but for the past three years I’ve had finals around this time and just never got it together to go. I definitely needed the distraction on Sunday to pull me out of my funk so I decided to trek to enemy territory (aka USC) to check out the festival.

So here’s the deal: the festival is free (after you pay $10 parking). There are booths with authors, book stores etc. all over the campus. Then there are various stages hosting free events with various authors (more on that later) and finally there are “conversations” on various topics throughout the festival. The conversations only cost $1 to attend! I was perusing the list of speakers and I saw a panel on Guns in America. The panel featured a UCLA Law professor whose class I never took but whose writing I’ve followed, Adam Winker, and Constitutional Law all star Erwin Chemerinsky. The panel was rounded out by Paul Barrett.

The conversation was very interesting. It only went for 1 hour but I wished it went for two. Professor Winkler started by talking about the history of gun regulation and gun culture. Then the discussion turned to the history and interpretation of the second amendment and the gun regulations that just failed to make it out on Congress. The whole discussion was very fascinating and enlightening. All of their books are going on my must read list.

After the panel I made my way to the food trucks. I quickly decided to grab a pork belly burrito from the White Rabbit Truck which serves Vietnamese food. I sat in the glorious sunshine and ate this delicious burrito.

After lunch I walked around in the sun, checked out the booths and bought some discount books.

I managed to snag some awesome books including the Tartine cookbook! I was actually at Tartine 1 week ago (separate post) and I am pumped to dig into the book.

After about an hour of aimless wandering I made my way to the cooking stage. Ludo Ludebvre was doing a cooking demonstration out of his new book Ludo Bites. Ludo is known for his tiny restaurants and pop up dining. I’ve blogged about it before, but I am a huge fan of the Ludo Truck. Ludo made smoked veal tartar.

Don’t know that I’ll be smoking veal tartar in my kitchen anytime soon but it was great to see Ludo work. He made his own mayonnaise which seemed really easy with the help of a food processor. He also said that he could change the recipe from veal to tuna, which I would consider doing. I’m just not too keen on cooking veal. He also did a Q and A after the demonstration. Ludo really likes to cook with butter. Can you blame him? I love French food and his new restaurant Trois Mec is now on my must try list.

Overall, I had a really nice time at the book festival. I wish I had planned more in advance and attended more of the conversations! I highly recommend checking out this event next year if you didn’t this year.

For the love of bacon

It’s no secret; I’ve gone a bit overboard on bacon recently.

It all started with bacon at the Griddle.

Then there was bacon from Local.

Fake bacon from Real Food Daily.

And finally, post half marathon bacon.

I declared all of these to be the “best bacon ever” within the time frame of a month. I know; I have pretty much turned into a bacon whore. But things went to a whole new level on Thursday.

What happened on Thursday? Well, my new coworkers and I went to happy hour and then a few of us went to Art Walk in Downtown LA. We totally blew off the art in favor of food trucks and based on the line up that they had, can you really blame us? There were two lots full of trucks including India Jones, the Lobsta Truck, the Grilled Cheese Truck, Fry Smith, the Buttermilk Truck and Ludo Truck. Oh yes, it was like a lineup of my all time favorites.

I immediately made a beeline for this.

Better than I remembered.

My coworkers tried Buttermilk, India Jones, Fry Smith, and Ludo. Then we decided to was time to try CoolHaus. I’ve never been to CoolHaus before so I definitely wanted to check it out.

And then this happened.

Browned butter and candied bacon ice cream. The ice cream was like a supped up version of your traditional vanilla. The bacon added a little something extra but it wasn’t a literal bacon taste. I love browned butter and I think that it deepens the flavor of pretty much everything. I would get this again but there are so many other great flavors at Cool Haus but next time I think I would try like fig and balsamic.

As for the winner of best bacon? Not going to lie, RFD’s fake bacon is pretty killer. In the real bacon division I have to give it to the Coronado. The bacon was thick and tasted so good after 13.1.

Bieres De Champagne

The other fantastic part of vacation, besides running, cooking and unlimited yoga is spending time with friends I haven’t been able to see in a while. Wednesday night met up with Kelley and Kaitlin at the Eagle Rock Brewery for a Women’s Beer Forum on Bieres de Champagne. I’d never been to the Eagle Rock Brewery before. It’s totally off the beaten path (as in it doesn’t really have a store front) but the main room was nice and inviting. We were in a back room for the event.

You can kind of see the actual store through the glass. We felt like we were in a fish bowl. OR were they the ones in the fish bowl? Yeah, think about that for a little while.

The room we were in had barrels and other beer type things.

The event was focused on beers brewed with the Methode Champenoise. This is a traditional method of making sparkling wine and is adapted here to the making of beers. The technique creates a higher level of effervesance from a secondary fermentation that occurs after the beverage is bottled. Further, the emphasis of this process is to remove as much of the solid yeast sediment as possible to achieve a higher level of clarity. Champs + beer? SIGN ME UP! The beer even came in Champagne bottles.

We tried a flight of 4 different beers. Once they were poured people made a bee line for booze.

The first beer was Dues, which is bottled in Belgium. It had notes of pear, cider, cumin, cinnamon, honey, light fruit, lemon grass, and baking spices.

I really liked this one, and the girls and I decided we could totally taste the honey (prefect for Kaitlin).

Ting, from the Eagle Rock Brewery told us all the details about the beers in between tastings.

We also got these handy cheat sheets…

The second beer, Maltose Falcons Brut from Woodland Hills, CA was my favorite. Of course, because it’s my favorite it’s also the one that is rare and isn’t commercially available. It’s made by a home brewery group and is only made once a year. You know what that means? It’s different and special every time! I love exclusivity.

So crisp, so tasty.

The third beer was very different! Liefmans Curvee-Brut from Belgium was deep, bright and red. It was dark cherry-like with a hint of tartness. The flavor was tart and had a bit of sweetness.

It tasted like grape soda and was good and different.

The fourth and final beer was Malheur Brut Noir from Belgium. Honestly, I don’t remember many details from this beer. I know I drank it and enjoyed it!

Cheers!

According to my cheat sheet this had notes of tart cherries, cotton candy and spicy fermentation character. Sounds good to me!

It was great to catch up with Kaitlin and Kelley. I haven’t seen them in like a month.

Yay for lady time and blog talk! These are some awesome ladies.

After 4 beers I needed to feed the beast (my belly). Luckily there was a food truck waiting outside for us!

The truck was called Almoosal and featured Vietnamese sandwiches. I ordered one with beef, arugula, caramelized onion and tomato. It also came with sweet potato fries and a garlic sauce.

I loved every bite!

Overall, the Eagle Rock Brewery knows how to throw an event! I would love to return for another Wednesday night event. They run them once a month and I would love to return to the actual brewery sometime. They seemed like they had a lot of interesting and affordable flights and parking was easy, which is such a blessing in LA. Overall, a fantastic vacation Wednesday!

Have you ever tried Bieres de Champagne?