for October, 2010
Photos courtesy of Jessica Hlavac
Maybe it’s the fact that I’m only 5’1, but I’ve always had a miniature fixation. I’ve even been to a few museums specializing in the subject, and the experience is generally heavenly. Add to that my love of fake food—think plastic sushi displays, fake meat in the freezer at an appliance store, or those faux sundaes they always have in old-timey ice cream parlors—and you can imagine how I felt when I saw Jessica Hlavac’s I’m So Tiny site.
When I asked my brother what he was bringing to my party, and he said “beer and jalapeño poppers,” I thought he was joking around. I’m not going to pretend that I don’t like fried jalapeños stuffed with cheese, but I figured he was being ironic in an I’m-bringing-over-Bagel-Bites sort of way.
Artisanal LA was a food lover’s carnival. The community event held in the Cooper Design Building this past weekend showcased some of LA’s most interesting food artisans with handmade wares ranging from chocolates and baked goods to cheese and pickles. Even better, there were plenty of samples.
The event was a pretty low-key experience–there were no relentless crowds or long lines. Of course, that probably won’t last. This event is sure to become a bigger draw as word of mouth spreads though food-crazy Los Angeles, but this time was blissfully delicious.
Here were some of my favorite sights and tastes from Artisanal LA:
Tartist had one of the most beautiful displays of the day. I believe that marscapone cheese lies below those apples and honey-vinegar glaze on top. Sigh. As if that weren’t enough, all the fruit and herbs used to make it came from Tartist Xárene’s (and her friends’) very own garden. No pesticides or fertilizers used in the growing process and the dairy used is sourced from Santa Monica Farmers’ Market.
Hermon is the most elusive neighborhood in northeast Los Angeles. At least in my mind–I’d never even heard of it until I moved nearby. Just southeast of Highland Park, it’s such a quiet, hidden little area with plenty of house-proud, tree-lined streets.
One new perk in Hermon is the recently opened Pantry Cafe, which sits unassumingly on the corner of one of those aforementioned streets. The first thing you notice when you walk in is that there’s a lot to notice. The decor is pretty eclectic, with a large fake tree, zebra stripes, silly signs, antique trunks, and a loungy couch all taking part.
When Bill Esparza of Street Gourmet LA told me that Oaxaca and Puebla would be battling it out at the 3rd Annual Feria de los Moles, I got pretty excited. A mole showdown? Fat chance I would turn that down.
Held at Placita Olvera on one of the hottest days of the year, the mole fair was a crowded and lively affair. Live music played in the background as we waited in long lines, anticipating styrofoam containers filled with weighty helpings of moles of every variety–verde, coloradito, pepita, poblano, amarillo…you name it, it was there.
This was my favorite plate of the day. The chicken on the left was Oaxacan and the pork on the right was Pueblan. Both were from Antojitos de la Abuelita, a food trailer that can usually be found on Vineland Ave in North Hollywood. The mole pepita was really divine–the gritty texture of the pumpkin seeds (i.e. pepitas) added so much dimension to this rich and spicy mole. We were definitely putting our tortillas to good use, scooping up every last drop.
When my mom went on a UK trip recently, the one thing I begged her to bring me back was McVities Digestives. I’m not usually one for packaged cookies, but these break the mold. Because they’re made with wholemeal, the texture is grainy in a thick graham cracker sort of way, and the subtle sweetness (also reminiscent of graham) is accented perfectly by a thin layer of smooth milk chocolate on the bottom—or dark chocolate if you’re so inclined. I swear, I could eat the whole package in a day, but we’ve been rationing them to make them last longer.
I fell in love with this perfect little cookie the first time I went to London, and they’re a must every time I visit. Sure, you can get them at most of the British stores like The Tudor House in Santa Monica, and I’ve even seen them at Lucky Baldwin’s in Pasadena. But, I don’t know, I prefer to pretend that you can’t.
I want them to remain illusive little cookies you have to fly 12 hours to get.
The 2nd Annual Beer Float Showdown, hosted by Food GPS, went off at Verdugo Bar this past Sunday. Admittedly, the whole beer-plus-ice-cream concept was a little baffling at first, but I can now say I love beer floats!
Simmzy’s Cherry Pie (pictured above), the prettiest of the bunch, was my first float of the evening. It was sort of a revelation since when I first heard about the contest, all I could imagine was stout with vanilla ice cream. Simmzy’s opened my mind by using a cherry Lambic called Brouwerij Verhaeghe Kriek, which was on the lighter side, giving it a soda feel. The ice cream was black cherry brown sugar with lots of tart cherry chunks. I took their advice and let the snickerdoodle garnish soak up the beer—surprisingly awesome.
Here are some of my favorite food articles of the week:
- E*Star LA pairs beer and cheese in the name of victory.
- Hollywood’s Pure Luck has pickle chips! LA and OC Foodventures has the photos to prove it.
- The Gastronomer makes me want to go to Boston for an egg sandwich.
- Eater LA has a list of late night drinking deals because who can make happy hour?
- Food, She Thought seeks refuge from the rain in Bottega Louie.
Have a great weekend and eat good stuff!
I just found out that Monday was National Taco Day, so I figured better late than never. I first heard about Tacomiendo on a The Great Taco Hunt’s top 10 Westside tacos list and was intrigued. We’re privy to some pretty outstanding tacos on this side of town, so most of my forages on the westside tend to lean toward “ladies who lunch” establishments, where I can get a fancy sandwich, an Arnold Palmer and some sort of outrageous baked good. But Tacomiendo does, indeed, make a good carne asada taco.
And by good I mean the tortillas are handmade and super fluffy, the meat has the crispy-tender thing going on, and the salsa bar leaves little to be desired. The tacos are served barebones and garnished with a green onion. I ordered a side of guacamole to dress them up and went for smoky salsa roja on one and verde on the other because that’s the way I do it.
My lunch companions ordered combo plates, which looked only so-so to me, so I think I’ll stick with Tacos Por Favor for my non-taco Mexican fast food cravings, but these tacos are a treat.
11462 Gateway Blvd (Map It)
Los Angeles, CA 90064
The sad fact is that you can’t get a scoop of Thrifty ice cream from Rite Aid at 11pm. I was lamenting this reality while leaving the Belle and Sebastian show at the Palladium on Sunday night when Josh said, “I know a place!” He then lead me to GelatoVino, the latest entry in George Abou-Daoud’s Sunset Blvd. restaurant corner, which includes Delancey (fun!), Tamarind Avenue Deli (delicious!) and Mission Cantina (eh…).
The small, purple-velvet-clad gelataria has two tables, an inventive assortment of flavors, and a wall of dessert wines for pairing. The vibe is very welcoming, and sampling is encouraged to help you choose from options like Campari, Butter Brown Sugar with Bacon, Bulliet Bourbon, Downtown Brown (beer flavor) and Earl Grey. The authenticity of these flavors is pretty stunning, even if some are a little much for a whole scoop.