Restaurants: A Love Story

Sorry for the lack of original posts recently. I have spent the past two weeks more or less on continuous vacation traveling to San Francisco and then Boston. On the flight back to the west coast last night this post that I wrote as a guest blog for Melissa almost a year and a half ago was weighing on my mind. My trip back to Boston was amazing. Long time readers know I went to college in Boston and lived there for 4 years before a moved to LA a little over three years ago. I felt pangs of homesickness for Boston as the plane flew west. I reached into my monogrammed LL Bean tote and pulled out my brie and roasted chicken sandwich from my favorite bakery. The taste of the food was comforting, brought back many old memories and genuinely tasted like home. I was reminded of this post I wrote about why I love restaurants and by extension, food in general. The food I create and the restaurant meals I consume are sort of the mile markers of my life if you will. I never cross posted it here so I thought now would be a good time to share. I hope you enjoy.

***

I have had a lifelong love affair with restaurants. According to my Mother, I went to my first restaurant at the tender age of 1 week old. It was a breakfast place near my parent’s house. My Mother is a fantastic cook but pretty much not a day went by in my youth where I didn’t ask if we could go out to dinner. Why? Who knows! I was ordering chicken fingers with honey mustard at literally every restaurant I went to.

Eating a scone at Blenheim Palace in London, England; May 1989, 21 months old. International foodie. Clearly, I was intently focused.

My love of restaurant dining has stayed with me since my first trip when I was one week old. I have an unnatural love of bread baskets, fancy bathrooms, menus, restaurant décor, being waited on, and all the other trappings of restaurants. Luckily, 20 some years later I found myself living in LA which is basically a foodie playground. I still love restaurants and I make it my mission to go to as many as possible.


So why do I love restaurants?

Trying new types of cuisine

One reason I love going to restaurants is that I get to try new and interesting cuisine. Where else are you going to try authentic Ethiopian food? Sitting around the mesob (which means table) eating delicious meats and veggies on a large pancake-like bread circle is an experience you can’t really have at home. I love trying food I’ve never had before or new and interesting combinations. It helps that I’m not a very picky eater and I trust most chefs to produce tasty dishes.

One of my favorite ethnic cuisines is sushi. There is an amazing sushi restaurant near my parent’s house that produces visually stunning rolls, like this…

It’s supposed to be a turtle! I could never recreate this which, to me, makes the meal even more special.

International dining is always a new and fun experience too! I love French food (probably because I love anything with a liberal application of butter) and dining in Istanbul was delicious and fascinating. The restaurants in Istanbul served all the meals in small plates. There was so much feta, eggplant, olives, chickpeas, and lamb. It was Mediterranean foodie heaven. Plus, international dining teaches you wonderful lessons about other parts of the world. Like if you order a martini with olives in Istanbul you will get this:

Yes. That is a glass of vermouth with a dish of green olives. See! Restaurant dining is a rich, cultural learning experience that allows you to try new things and expand your personal borders!

Getting waited on

No lie, I think one of the main reasons I loved eating out as a child was because I got waited on. It’s sad but true. As kids my brother and I always had to set and clear the table. I hated this chore and used all kinds of trickery to avoid it (spoiler alert: it never worked). Restaurants were a magic place where we didn’t need to clear the table and we were able to order ice cream for dessert. Even at greasy holes in the wall, we didn’t have to lay out napkins for everyone in the family. It was magical.

I still love going to restaurants for this reason. Don’t get me wrong, I love cooking, but it’s nice to not have to do the dishes.

High quality food

Obviously, sometimes we go out because it’s the path of least resistance. It’s late and nothing looks better than fast food. But many times I go out to eat and get a truly special meal, one way better than I could have produced on my own.

Like crispy fried chicken.

A beautiful tart.

Or a decadent dessert.

Yep, drool -> meet the keyboard.

Making friends

A fun byproduct of going to the same restaurant countless times is that you develop friendships with the owners and the people who work there. As a little girl I always had breakfast at the same restaurant with my dad and we got to know the staff well. They became family friends and every trip home in college was marked with visits to Green Bay Café to catch up. One of my cherished memories from growing up is having a restaurant owner and family friend divide a thick chocolate milkshake into two cups for my brother and I while we sat at the funky, retro inspired bar. It’s the friends we shared these memories with that makes them special. The people you meet and the connections you make build everyday life.

I still love making friends at my favorite eateries and it makes me want to go back. For example, one of my favorite LA haunts, Tavern in Brentwood played host to President Obama last week so of course I stopped in to get all the details over the weekend!

I love soaking in an exciting atmosphere and Tavern was abuzz last weekend. I met several new people and people I ready knew to talk about what went on. Seeing their enthusiasm put a smile on my face. It was exciting and the perfect demonstration of how restaurants can be community centers.

The ritual of eating: food is love

Probably the main reason I love restaurants is that meals out mark all the major events in my life. Lunches and dinners are organized to celebrate graduations, homecomings, reunions, birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions. I can remember what I ate when I was accepted to law school, when I graduated from college, when I turned 21, when I reunited with an influential college mentor, and when I bonded with my best friends. Food, and for me restaurant meals, mark the major occasions in our lives and the minor daily event that bring us closer to people. Meals are a ritual, they bring people together.

Celebrating graduation with friends.

Bonding with blog friends, Amanda and Kaitlin, over sausage. Yes, sausages in a beer garden can be considered a restaurant.

With my best girlfriends in the college’s dining hall, where so many memories were made over meals.

Restaurants and I have an epic romance and I don’t foresee it ending anytime soon.

Slanted Door

The first time I went to San Francisco my good friend Chrissy took me to Slanted Door in the Ferry Building for cocktails and appetizers. The prices on the menu were a little outside the reach of my law student budget, not to mention the restaurant was totally jammed so we were in and out pretty quickly. This time I was back with my Dad to bank roll the dinner. What we didn’t expect (and duh probably should have) is that you need to lock down your table at Slanted Door about a month in advance. Whoops. I needed to get out on a run so I put Dad in charge of figuring that one out.

When I got back he said we could probably get a table if we were there when it opened at 5:30. Yeah, it was the early bird special but it was worth it.

We got to sit outside and had this impressive view…

I was so excited to rip open the menus.

I cannot remember what I had to drink the first time I went to Slanted Door. This time the choice was easy. I ordered a French 75: dudognon reserve cognac and prosecco, lemon; on rocks.

It was so good I ordered two.

As you can tell, we wasted no time establishing that we needed appetizers and entrees and dessert. This is why I like meals out with dad, there are always multiple courses.

We quickly ordered the slanted door spring rolls with pork, mint, shrimp and peanut sauce.

So fresh and so delicious. I love the huge shrimps with the mint.

We also decided to order two entrees and share them. I interrogated the waiter about what the best food on the menu was.

The theme of the food on this trip was seafood. Dad basically had clam fest the first several days of the trip. The waiter recommended the caramelized wild gulf shrimp with garlic, yellow onion and caramel chili sauce and Dad quickly called dibs on it.

Don’t worry I made him share. It was sweet and not too spicy which is good. Totally mouth watering.

I ordered the cellophane noodles with green onion, crab and sesame. What can I say? I was feeling the need for carbs.

Again, so fresh. The ingredients here are just the best. I love the food in San Francisco. Plus, I haven’t had good cellophane noodles in a long time.

The entrees at Slanted Door seem simple but they were both so delicious. The ingredients are fresh and the blend of seasonings is perfect. Nothing was over sauced (ick) or bland.

We tore through BOTH entrees and decided that we needed some sort of dessert. After a big dinner I wanted something light.

Poached peaches with crème fraiche.

This dessert had me a crème fraiche. It was light and delicious and summery. Perfect end to a perfect meal.

After dinner we went on a long walk to digest. I had a massive food baby after all this food. I highly recommend Slanted Door. It was one of the best meals that we had while traveling. If you can’t get in for a meal, try to check out the bar and order at least an appetizer.

Bru Haus: So Close and Yet So Far.

Brentwood is known for many things but a happening night life scene is not one of them. Despite this there are a handful of bars along Wilshire my friends and I like to frequent occasionally. So when my friend Gwen suggested dinner at Bru Haus before going out Saturday night I was excited to check it out.

source

If you follow me on twitter, or read this blog or have talked to me for more than 1 hour you know that there are two things I feel very passionate about: tater tots and sweet potatoes.

Thus, when I opened up the menu and saw sweet potato tots I nearly broke out into my Carlton Banks happy dance.

I also easily decided to order an IPA: Widmer Brothers Drifter Pale Ale.

I will give Bru Haus credit for having a killer beer list. Probably the best beer list in all of Brentwood (really, it isn’t a competition). I choose this one from the IPA section of the menu. Honestly, I mostly chose it because it was the cheapest option. It was just OK. It wasn’t that hoppy- kind of a letdown. However, it was $6 and I drank 2 so clearly it wasn’t that awful.

The major disappointment though?

When the sweet potato tots arrived I asked for ketchup. However I was told there was no ketchup. Only “Beet-chup”.

OK. Let’s break this down for a second.

I consider myself to be down with food snobbery. It’s not like I live for it or love it. I can be happy with fast food, at a greasy spoon or at Tavern. When I go to Father’s Office I do not care one lick that they don’t have ketchup because they have the most awesome aioli ever. I’m generally a roll with the punches kind of girl. I like food. I’m not too picky. I actually love beets. I have been known to roast a beet in my day.

However, this beet-ketchup is an abomination. Not to be dramatic, but it really wasn’t my favorite and I didn’t feel like any of the aiolis made up for it. It kind of ruined the sweet potato tots for me.

Overall: Great beer list (but didn’t love the Widmer Brothers), sweet potato tots (but maybe sneak in some ketchup packets from the Mc Donald’s across the street?), and great outside seating. I will probably make another appearance at Bru Haus. I mean, you can’t go to Cabo Cantina every night I suppose. But I would choose a different beer and have to figure out how to better negotiate the ketchup situation.

Ok blog readers: Beet Ketchup. What say you about beet ketchup?

Let Freedom Ring.

The rumors are true: I survived the California Bar exam and am now a free woman!

Image

At the Getty.

I have so much to say about the bar exam. I plan to sit down, reflect and write something thoughtful and potentially useful. However in the meantime I will say this: easily the most challenging thing I have ever done. I would gladly run another marathon before I would retake the California Bar Exam. Three days, 6 hours a day is a long time to be thinking intensely about the law. I think I broke my brain last week. Despite this I stayed calm, cool and collected. There were no tears, meltdowns or panic attacks. Having my mom here helped a lot. I could have probably done it without her but it would have been much more painful.

Overall, I am very happy the exam is over and I am beyond ready to start the next chapter in my life.

Immediately following the exam I got martinis with mom. She bankrolled several rounds of drink and onion rings at Tavern. Random people in the bar were congratulating me. It was amazing. After not eating all day (or really, much all week) and my tolerance of alcohol gone to nothing the past two months three martinis put me more or less under the table and I was in bed sleeping by 10:30 pm like a Grandma.

For my first day of freedom I decided that I wanted brunch at Clementine…

Followed by shopping in Santa Monica. I haven’t blogged about it but due to some combination of stress, yoga, and just eating less I have managed to lose a pant size and two shirt sizes since graduation. I’m not sure if the reduction in stress will lead to weight gain but in the meantime I was in dire need of clothing that actually fits. I got new jeans, a belt and a bikini plus some smaller shirts. I like wearing pants that aren’t baggy.

Then we hit the Getty. I’ve been dying to check out their special exhibit on Herb Ritts.

I’ve loved Ritts’ work for years. I remember first seeing his photos in my Mom’s Vanity Fair Hollywood coffee table book when I was young. When I was 13 I started to read Vogue and Vanity Fair. Many of Ritts’ photos have appeared in both magazines.

The exhibit was mostly made up of celebrity portraits, fashion photography, nudes and some of his commercial work. Lots of the photos were in black and white and are iconic.

I really love this one:

 

 

 

 

 

 

and this one:

Everything is so luxe and glamorous. I want to live in that world. The exhibit is around until August 26th so check it out while you still can.

After we strolled the gardens, had a fantastic dinner at Tavern (twice in two days!) and then I went out with friends.

Being done with the bar didn’t really hit me fully until yesterday when I was enjoying my day off without guilt that I should be doing something else. Next week is going to be all about cooking, the farmers market, yoga and catching up with all my classmates. Cannot wait.

Thanks for all the comments, texts, tweets, and facebook posts. It really kept me going over the days of the exam. Ya’ll are the best!  

Plan Check

I’ve made a really obvious recent discovery: The LA Times website has an entire section devoted to food on the Westside! How did I not figure this out sooner? Obviously, the second I figured out that this section of the site existed I read all the entries that have been posted in the past year.

In one of the more recent entries there was a description of Plan Check, a new gastropub in the Sawtelle area in Los Angeles. For those not familiar, Sawtelle is basically referred to as Little Osaka. The area is near the 405 and boasts tons of delicious restaurants featuring Asian food, specifically lots of Japanese food. There are two Japanese grocery stores and shops. I have come here in the past for noodles, sushi, and boba tea.

Plan Check popped up on some of the twitter feeds of foodies in LA I respect so it obviously shot to the top of my “must try” list. Obviously I enlisted my friend Kelly to check it out with me. She was in the second she heard that the former executive chef from Umami Burger was behind this bar.

Kelly and I went early on a Wednesday and had no issues getting in. We immediately plopped down in a booth and interrogated the drink menu. I decided on a Little Osaka Sour, which is a whiskey sour with sake!

I’ve probably been ruined by living in cities but $9 doesn’t seem that bad for a special cocktail. This drink was similar to a traditional whiskey sour and it was strong! I got my $9 worth.

Kelly had this one night only drink that I forgot the name of but it was pretty.

Kelly is more or less my dining soul mate. We like all the same things and we both like to split our dishes to maximize the food we get to try.

We started with the beet salad with whipped goat cheese, spinach and balsamic vinegar because, you know, whipped goat cheese.

Whipped goat cheese is the food of the gods. I highly recommend this dish. It reminded me of summer and it was light. Plus did I mention the whipped goat cheese? Yep. Delicious way to start the meal.

Kelly and I wanted to try one of the burgers and one of the entrees. I am not a huge fan of eggs but I took a chance and ordered the Chef’s Favorite burger. The burger is cheese two ways, bacon two ways, ketchup leather, sunny fried egg, hot sauce. Behold!

I feel like that parmesan crisp on top is a dead giveaway from Umami. This was delicious! I was quite pleased. It wasn’t overly eggy or hot saucey. It was super baconey and cheesy. These aren’t words but don’t worry about it. I would order this again. Once we cut into the egg the yoke went everywhere which I really liked. I would order this again.

We also tried the fried chicken.

Crispy skin, gravy and yams. This was also quite good. The skin was crispy and the meat was very moist. Note that when you order the fried chicken there is also a fried chicken sandwich which I want to try when I go back.

I gleaned from yelp that the fries aren’t that great but the veggie chips are delicious so that’s what we ordered as a side. They came with guac and were delicious. Perfect size for sharing.

For dessert there was only one thing we wanted to try: house made donuts.

I was overcome with excitement when they came out to the table and I ate them before I got a picture. Whoops.

Cinnamon sugar deliciousness.

I would totally come back to Plan Check. It’s near where I live, has great drinks and enough menu options that I want to have again, or try for the first time. I didn’t have one but there is a great local beer list for those who want beer and there are several other cocktails I still want to try. Definitely will be making a return trip to Plan Check!

In other news: I have a week and a half left of law school class. Who let that happen?! I also was a beast on my 10 mile run yesterday finishing it in an hour and 33 mins. The last time I ran ten miles nearly that quickly was in the Rock n Roll San Diego 1/2. Not sure I’ll be able to bust my PR in Pasadena next month but fingers crossed. These training times bode well.

San Francisco Treats

Oh kids. Buckle up for an insane post. I have been to the promise land (San Francisco) and the food is good!

Why did I go to San Francisco? Well, normally I wouldn’t go out of town once during a semester let alone twice, two weeks in a row. Last week, after coming back from Chicago, I made the decision to go to SF this weekend. My law school friend Chrissy has been living in SF externing and my college roommate and treat soul mate Carolyn was also going to be in town to run the Nike Women’s 1/2 Marathon. When another friend agreed to carpool it became clear that this trip was meant to be.

I drove up Friday, checked in with friends in Berkeley and went to a pot luck in the city. It was an awesome night and there are no photos.

Except this one:

Saturday, however, I made up for it. Chrissy and Kelly brought me to the San Francisco Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Building.

It was love at first sight.

I even tried a new variety of apple: Hawaiian apples! It was sweet and crisp. In addition to the regular farm stand items they also had prepared food and the venders inside the Ferry Building.

Chrissy started me off with what was probably the greatest thing I’d ever eaten (Note that I said that statement a lot yesterday).

The first item we ripped into at 10:30 was this amahzing Porchetta sandwich with arugula from Roli Roti. The three of us split the sandwich and it was far and away the best pork sandwich I’ve ever consumed.

Crunchy, saucy, spicy perfection. We all split it and it was so so so so amazing. I would have this weekly if I lived nearby.

Then we moved to another stand, El Porteno.

First we got an empanada. I chose cheese and caramelized onion and again, we split it.

Again, cheesy perfection. I loved it and couldn’t get enough.

Chrissy they said that the dolce de leche cookie looked really good and maybe we should split it. This is why I’m friends with Chrissy. Obviously.

This was a delicious buttery cookie with dolce de leche caramel in the middle. It was as good as it looks.

Once inside I made sure to make a pit stop at Blue Bottle Coffee.

I’ve had this place on my radar for a while and, as a coffee aficionado, I couldn’t wait to check it out. The wait was long but I knew I had to try this coffee so I persevered and stayed in line. It was so worth it.

Smoothest latte of my life. Love this and if I lived in San Francisco I would probably quit Starbucks and Coffee Bean cold turkey and only drink this. I know that is an extreme statement but it’s true!

After the Farmer’s Market I said goodbye to Chrissy and Kelly for a while and I went on a walk through San Francisco to meet Carolyn at, where else, a bakery.

When I travel I really like to wander the city I’m, absorb the spirit and stumble upon new things. The walk to the bakery was three miles so I got to see a lot of the city everything from the Mission to city hall to the tenderloin which is famous for crime, drug use, and Hastings law school.

Streetcars.

City Hall. This building reminded me of Milk and made me want to run for office so badly it’s not even funny.

Trees near city hall.

Houses in the Mission.

After a long walk I made it to my destination, Tartine Bakery.

Tartine came heavily recommended from several people and Carolyn had already made one trip there so I knew I was in for some delicious eats.

I hopped in line and salivated at everything in the case.

Carolyn had already warned me about the croque monsieur and I knew that in addition to treats I HAD to order it.

I was not disappointed.

This may be one of the best things I’ve ever had to eat. A bold proclamation but I feel confident making it.

This sandwich is an open face sandwich with béchamel, gruyere, thyme and pepper. I want another right now so badly.

Oh, and it was topped with heirloom tomatoes.

Carolyn soon joined me and we ate our treats.

First I had a chocolate walnut cookie. Obviously, it was delicious.

We also got some delicious macaroons.

How adorable is it?

We decided, however, to take the treat up another notch.

Clearly, Carolyn and I sniffed out soft serve ice cream like a couple of bloodhounds. It was from Bi-Rite creamery across the street from Tartine.

This is good.

But this….

Is even better.

We sat down in Dolores Park, got a second hand weed high and ate our treats.

Pure excitement.

After treats we stumbled upon $2.50 sangria, had a drink and then made our way back to Chrissy and Kelly’s for dinner.

But first we had a friend photo shoot.

I love everything about this.

Then we went to Slanted Door for appetizer and drinks with Chrissy and Kelly…

And Osha for a pre race dinner for Carolyn. We had Thai food. I enjoyed dinner, my friends and was too busy having fun to take pictures. Even though there aren’t words I promise it was delicious. After dinner I said bye to Carolyn, foam rolled my legs.

Chrissy and I took her dog Penny on a long walk through Chinatown to North Beach, areas of the city I hadn’t seen. On the way home we were part of a police chase! You can read about our police chase here. Literally, we were standing on a corner one moment and behind a police line the next!

This morning I woke up and had to leave pretty early. I took one final spin through the Ferry Building this morning. I helped myself to another Blue Bottle Coffee and went to Il Can Rosso for breakfast.

I almost never order eggs but something told me to get the slow scrambled eggs with crescenza, chives, and garlic crostini.

I know, I know I keep saying this but these eggs are the best eggs I’ve ever had. They were drippy, cheesy and chivey plus the bread was fantastically toasted and added a bit of crunch.

Looking at this picture, all I want to do is lick my computer screen.

Don’t you?

I had no problems polishing this off.

And with that my first trip to San Francisco was a wrap! I wish I could have stayed longer and seen more but it was a great first trip to San Francisco. I foresee many more trips north in my future. I’m off to face plant in my bed because I have to go back to school tomorrow. All good things, like all good dishes, have to come to an end.

Chicago Eats

I ate a ton of delicious food while I was home in Chicago last weekend. For the most part I didn’t really blog my eats. I wanted to chill out with my family and not worry about photographing everything I ate. There were some important eats that needed to be documented. I also thought it would be a good idea to put some food on the blog before you start thinking that I’ve completely turned into a running blogger.

First, let me introduce you to cider donuts! I woke up Friday morning prepared to carb load on donuts. Runner’s World told me to.

I have been on the hunt for cider donuts since I moved to LA. What makes this cider donut so special you ask? Well, despite the fact that it just looks like a simple cinnamon sugar donut, in reality it is so much more. Yes, there is cinnamon sugar on the outside but the donut is made with apple cider giving the cake itself a little something extra.

See…

It makes the difference. I promise the sugar and the cider flavor are perfection together. I actually ate two because it’s been two years since I was able to eat cider donuts. Every bite was amahzing.

One more gratuitous photo?

Sure!

After eating donuts (and making a pit stop for cupcakes) my Mom and I finally made it to the expo to pick up my bib and peruse the booths.

First we took care of business: picking up my bib, verifying my d chip and taking pictures.

Then we noshed on gratuitous free things. Lara bars for me and peanut butter for Mom. We also picked up a shirt that has a map of the El train and says “run like El“. Best shirt ever? Hell yes.

After we went to Manny’s Deli for sandwiches and potato pancakes. Manny’s was heavily tweeted about by @mayoremmanuel (the fake Rham Emmanuel twitter account which I followed religiously) and was a fixture of my Mom’s working life when she worked down town. I had a huge corned beef sandwich. It was epic!

The next day we headed back downtown to pick up the little bro! The boats were going to winter storage.

After securing the brother we went to another Chicago classic for breakfast: Lou Mitchells.

Girls get Milk Duds at Lou’s. We also ate unphotographed donuts while waiting in line. They we not cider but they were so delicious: simple little donut holes with a light dusting of powdered sugar.

I decided to order the Katherine Classic breakfast: pancakes with a side of breakfast potatoes.

Holy crap so good! Potatoes were perfection and the pancakes oh the pancakes! These were some of the best pancakes I’ve had in a while. So light and topped with butter and a little bit of syrup. Oh my goodness best breakfast in Chicago!

I also had coffee, obviously.

Carb load complete.

You know what happened the rest of the weekend…

I ran a marathon!

Here is a gratuitous finish line photo…

And with my brother…

And nearing the end…

And this is what it looks like between mile 26 and mile 26.2 when you’re crying and about to finish a marathon. In case you were wondering. I know you were.

Did I mention I ran a marathon last weekend? Ha. Get used to looking at them.

As this post demonstrates, I love eating in other cities.

Guess where I’ll be eating this weekend?

Yep, I’m taking my first trip to San Francisco! In addition to continuing my post marathon victory lap I will be eating with my treat soul mates Carolyn and Chrissy. Should be a fantastic weekend!

Go nuts for fonuts

LA is home to some interesting food trends, like $3 bite sized tarts. When I heard from my friend Danielle that there was a new dessert trend in town I knew we had to check it out. Fonuts is pretty new and located on third street. I love third street so I was all over making the trip. In fact, while in the car I got my daily Tasting Table news letter which actually profiled fonuts. We’re so on trend it hurts.

The outside is super clean cut and cute. I love the yellow bench.

I should probably explain what a fonut is! Fonuts are baked doughnuts. They taste like a light cake and come in numerous different flavors. Some of the flavors are both vegan and gluten free for my GF buddies! Fonuts also serves coffee drinks.

See that delicious chocolatey thing? Yep, its gluten free friends.

The interior of fonuts is pretty minimal which I really liked.

However my favorite touch was the old oven being used as a coffee station.

Am I weird for wanting an old oven over a new oven? I hope not.

Danielle and I decided to celebrate Friday by getting two fonuts each and splitting one each.

I picked cinnamon sugar (for later) and strawberry for Danielle and I to split.

Danielle made the wise decision of taking Hawaiian home and picking maple bacon to split!

We know how much I love bacon.

The bacon fonut was delicious and also twice the size of all the other fonuts. It was cakey and sweet with bacon on top. I would totally order this again.

As I mentioned before, we also shared the strawberry.

The strawberry wasn’t as cakey as the maple bacon but it was still pretty good. It was sweet but not too sweet which, I think, is sometimes an issue with strawberry flavored things. When I got home I had the cinnamon sugar. It was sweet and cakey. Again, like the strawberry, very simple and delicious. I literally inhaled the cinnamon sugar. While it wasn’t a flashy flavor it was so simple and delicious.

I enjoyed an iced latte.

Overall, I really like fonuts. I’m not going to lie, when I heard about fake donuts I raised my eyebrow a little bit but I have to admit I am a convert. I really like the flavor and while it was baked and not fried it still tasted like a treat! This is a good trend I am so down with.

What do you think is the weirdest food trend? I feel like LA is home to food trends like fusion tacos, cupcakes, and tart fro yo.

Wally’s Cheese Box

Since my little bro is in town I’ve obviously been using it as an excuse to try different restaurants. I’ve heard that Wally’s Cheese Box in Westwood has great grilled cheese and would you believe that I haven’t been here before? It’s been on my “to dine” list for a while. Wally’s is a wine shop and cigar shop in addition to the cheese shop which serves grilled cheese and has spreads, cheese, breads, and olive oils.

We know how I feel about a specialty cheese store. Love.

David and I pretty quickly figured out which grilled cheese we wanted and then looked around the shop.

I mentally bookmarked several items that I want to go back for like burrata cheese (roasted peach and burrata cheese is totes happening at some point), bacon jam (OMG!), olives, aged prosciutto, and bacon!

I. Love. Cheese. So. Much.

After a short wait we got our grilled cheese. We decided to split the truffle grilled cheese and the ham, mustard, and gruyere cheese. We went to the picnic benches out back and tore into the truffle grilled cheese first.

The bread was white and simple but the cheese was warm and oh so melty.

Despite his facial expression, David enjoyed it.

The cheese from David’s half melted into the plate. So much delicious truffley cheese!

Oh course, I did not want to let any cheese go to waste…

I have no shame.

Seriously. I have no shame. There was so much cheese! This was a great grilled cheese and it is going to be my new finals comfort food.

Then we had the ham and mustard.

Because there was ham in the sandwich there was less cheese. It was a serious concession but we still loved this sandwich. The bread was perfectly grilled and the mustard was a delicious Dijon.

I mean, how could you not want to eat this? Beautiful!

In sum, I will be making another trip to Wally’s soon. It’s a great place on the Westside for cheese and specialty items, I really need to try bacon jam obviously, and I need to check out the wine store too! Take it off the to dine list! I’m actually working on an NEW to dine list. Get excited!

What is on your to dine list?

Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles

Saturday night was an interesting night. A bunch of my co workers and I had the opportunity to attend the Justice Ball, hosted by Bet Tzedek. The event was held at the Palladium in Hollywood and Nelly (yes, the rapper) headlined. Oh yes. Nelly as in the rapper known for “Hot in Heree” and “Country Grammar” (I love the classics, duh).

Before the Ball we headed to a bar called The Well. The Well has happy hour (!) on Saturday (!!) until 9 pm (!!!). Obviously, we had no problems hanging out there! I also got a lovely reminder that running 8 miles means you need to eat something more substantial than quinoa with beets for dinner. Around 10 we made our way over to the ball.

Get it? Like “Nellyville” the album but Justiceville?

The Justice Ball is a fundraiser hosted by Bet Tzedek, a legal non-profit in LA. The interns at my office scored free tickets for being free labor awesome. The event was a typical fundraiser: drinks, a DJ, dancing, silent auction, and various booths. Once of them was producing flip books. I ran into a couple friends from law school and my co workers and I looked at the prom decorations.

Like this light up gazebo:

Oh yes. It was just like prom! Around 11 we realized that there was still an hour before Nelly and the St. Lunitics would grace us with their presence. The group felt like we were kind of done with the ball and then my co worker Jennifer made a magical suggestion: Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles. Game. On.

Roscoe’s is an LA institution. They serve many things but are world famous for their Chicken and Waffles. Going to Roscoe’s has been on my LA to do list for a while and I was so excited that the Ball was a block away from the Hollywood location. We didn’t have to wait that long before we got a table.

Roscoe’s menu features many Southern and breakfast items. Obviously what I wanted to eat was a no brainer. I was also STARVING due to eating quinoa post 8 mile run. Really wasn’t using my brain when I made that decision. Roscoe’s isn’t fancy and doesn’t have much of an ambiance which really is what makes the ambiance special. There were plenty of groups of people just hanging out, having a good time and joking around. The vibe was comfortable and down home. Seriously. Love.

Clearly I ordered fried chicken and waffles. I’m not one to mess with perfection.

OK, so this meal isn’t really anything special to look at but let me break this thing down for you: crispy skin on the fried chicken with the moist meat and a waffle with a gob of butter on top. You know how some waffles get that icky waffle mix taste? You know what I’m talking about. Let me tell you, this waffle tasted like pure moist butter. It was amazing.

You know what makes amazing even more amazing? Wrapping fried chicken in a butter drenched waffle.

That, my friends, is some serious food porn.

Oh, and I got a side of mac and cheese because I just kinda felt like it.

More food porn. This mac and cheese wasn’t too rich or creamy making it the perfect Roscoe’s side dish.

Overall, I very much enjoyed my time at Roscoe’s. I don’t think I’ve really blogged about it but my love for soul food knows no bounds so I was more than happy with Roscoe’s! Definitely a LA landmark everyone should visit at some point. I think I need to take my Bro when he visits!

Do you love soul food? I could eat fried chicken, mac and cheese, collard greens, okra, and sweet potato pie every day for the rest of my life.