I’m Baaaack

IMG_1251Hey everyone! It’s me, I’m back. You may have noticed that I took a little hiatus. Not from eating, but from sharing it with all of you. Not to worry though, I am back.

Here’s the answer as to where I disappeared to.

You know, life got busy, life got in the way, and then I took an extended vacay to my favourite place of all time, Los Angeles. I was just feeling blah and needed a change. What better way to liven up a little than to spend six weeks in the sun? A lovely time was had, full of eating, sightseeing, shopping, beaching, working out, and just living.

I suppose you can call a lot of what I was doing work, since I ate at some of the coolest most delicious places which I am about to share.

*Restaurants featured: Father’s Office, Plan Check, DK’s Donuts, fōnuts, Sprinkles, Churros Calientes, SUGARFISH, Langer’s, Bottega Louie

IMG_1251IMG_1251Let’s get right to it. I’ll start with a restaurant called Father’s Office in Santa Monica. Former Top Chef Masters contestant Chef Sang Yoon is responsible for the food here. The concept is pretty cool. Think bar meets restaurant, but you have to be 21+ at all times. It’s not some grungy bar serving cold deep fried everything with a side of stale nachos. You order your food at the bar, then just have to stand around drinking while waiting for a table. It was very loud, busy, and filled with young, hip people. No substitutions or changes to the menu.

The Office Burger is the star of the show here. Firstly, the medium rare beef patty is served on a baguette, and topped with a mixture of bacon, blue cheese, and caramelized onions then sprinkled with arugula and gruyere cheese. The bun was fresh, the meat was juicy, and the toppings paired extremely well. I thoroughly enjoyed this burger with a side of thin cut fries, crispy brussels sprouts and a green salad.

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Another top LA spot is Plan Check, coincidentally, also known for their burger. The large space on Fairfax is very hip (you’ll see a theme here, most places were very hip), with an open, gastropub feel. I shared the Plan Check Burger, as well as the Smokey Fried Chicken. The burger was served on a crunch bun, which had crispy bits of panko on the outside. I loved that addition. The patty was smothered in americanized dashi cheese, ketchup leather,(!) schmaltz onions, and mixed pickles. The ketchup leather added a very unique texture, combining well with the greasy onions and crunchy pickles. The fries however seemed a bit soggy to me, although the peach ketchup was a refreshing touch.

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The Smokey Fried Chicken is made with jidori chicken, which is a type of free-range chicken delivered fresh directly to the restaurant from the farm. The crispy batter was not too thick and not too thin, which is very important with fried chicken. The chicken sat on smoked milk gravy which had a nice creaminess to it, yam preserves for some sweetness, and spicy pickled okra to wake up the taste buds.

The Cruller Donut was our choice for dessert which was dusted in cinnamon sugar sitting atop cream and fresh bananas.

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As you all know, I have a huge love for desserts, so I am always on the look out for sweet treats. I came across DK’s Donuts, an old school donut shop. They create the “wonut” which is a cross between a donut and a waffle. I tried the red velvet which was topped with cream cheese icing and crushed Oreos. It was soo delicious. I LOVE Oreos, and the fresh wonut and creamy icing really brought it all together. I also tried their version of a cronut, tossed in cinnamon sugar and filled with Nutella!! The !! explains how good it was!IMG_1252IMG_1252

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On a slightly healthier note, I visited fōnuts. Fōnuts are baked, not fried. A variety of different flavours are offered, as well as gluten free and vegan options. I just wanted to try one, so I chose a mini blueberry fōnut. It is remarkable how the flavour and texture was almost identical to a regular fried donut. The glaze and actual fōnut tasted exactly like fresh blueberries, and was a nice light snack.

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On the other hand, and not so light is Sprinkles. You may know of Sprinkles for their cupcakes. However, Los Angeles is the only location where there is Sprinkles Ice Cream. The creations are endless. Crushed cupcakes worked into the ice cream, ice cream sundaes with a cupcake on top, unique ice cream flavours, they have everything! Since I am a huge peanut butter fan, I got the peanut butter cup ice cream drizzled with caramel. This was the best peanut butter ice cream I have ever had. The gooey bits of peanut butter cups and the creamy ice cream literally was a party in my mouth. I actually couldn’t get over how good it was. Seriously, it was that good. The picture does not do justice AT ALL.

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There is a large Mexican population in Los Angeles, meaning there are countless authentic Mexican restaurants. Churros are one of my favourite desserts, so I was quite excited to visit Churros Calientes. This tiny cafe specializes in churros with a variety of sauces. My absolute favourite is dulce de leche anything, so the churros dipped in sugar and drizzled with dulce was absolute heaven. They were thin and crispy, with a rich creaminess from the sauce.

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Back to some savoury stuff now…

I have heard about this restaurant SUGARFISH and how it is simple, yet delicious. Simplicity is sometimes all you need. It allows the flavours and freshness of the food to shine on their own. That is just what SUGARFISH is all about. The sushi and sashimi are extremely fresh and flavourful. The fish melts in your mouth and was so smooth and buttery. There are no crazy rolls here. Even the rice seemed perfect from texture, to temperature, to taste.

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Los Angeles has a number of famous Jewish delis so I decided to try Langer’s. Think any typical Jewish deli, lined up out the door with patrons eagerly waiting to try all different kinds of deli sandwiches, soups, pastries, etc. They are famous for their #19 which is their hand-cut hot pastrami sandwich topped with cole slaw, Russian dressing, swiss cheese on double-baked rye bread with seeds. Of course this is what I ordered. The meat melts in your mouth, the bread couldn’t be fresher, and the Russian dressing, cole slaw and cheese created so many different flavours and textures in your mouth. No wonder this is their famous sandwich!

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One of my favourite restaurants in Los Angeles is Bottega Louie, located in downtown LA. Downtown used to be a ghost town, but is now up and coming and trendy with many businesses opening up. I have mentioned Bottega Louie in my last LA post, but it is worthy of another shout out. The huge, open, gorgeous space is packed every night and for good reason. Their wood burning pizza oven, as well as all their other dishes are out of this world. The pizza we chose was the mushroom pizza topped with Fontina cheese, mozzarella, crème fraîche, shiitake mushrooms, garlic & Italian parsley. The crust is perfectly cooked, thin and chewy.  Along with the pizza we got meatballs which were large, flavourful and sitting in fresh marinara sauce. On the side, we ordered portobello fries which were strips of portobello mushrooms deep fried and served with a basil aioli. I enjoyed this dish sooooo much since the juicy plump mushrooms had a nice crust on them. I literally couldn’t stop eating the basil aioli with everything, especially as a dip for the pizza.

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This is getting lengthy, so check back soon for Part Two!

 

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