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Preview: Silver Lake Boulevard

Silver Lake Boulevard

A native Angeleno eating and traveling throughout our fair basin and beyond.

Updated: 2017-07-12T23:44:03.914-07:00


Echo Park: Two Boots and Ice Cream Store Update


(image) I cannot believe Two Boots has not opened yet! They've been working on it since July of 2007, when I wrote about it here. I passed by the other day after the Holiday Craftacular at the Echoplex and mimed "I want to eat a piece a pizza" to the people working inside. A woman mimed back that they would open in two or three weeks. Torture!

As I peeked inside the soon-to-be ice cream store, the nice gentlemen working on the project let me know that unfortunately the ice cream store will not be, at least for now. The space will house a vintage clothing store - just what Echo Park does not need! Our little family would LOVE a cozy ice cream home in EP. The building owner said he tried unsuccessfully to get Pazzo Gelato but they didn't go for it, too bad!

(These are somewhat outdated pics by the way. It presently looks like it's ready to go!)


Mother's Day Brunch - For Moms and Moms-To-Be


(image) I can't imagine we're going to be entertaining much post-baby, so M and I were eager to host Mother's Day brunch at our home. We went for sweet and savory, with a french toast casserole, arugula, sausage, and gruyere frittata, and a green salad.
(image) The french toast casserole was a risky experiment as I loathe Paula Deen and this is one of her famous recipes. I read that the topping can be too rich but I thought my family could handle it (and they did!). Super easy and made the night before, this dish is a keeper.
(image) M whipped up his delicious frittatas which were light, just salty enough and balanced out the sweetness of the casserole.
(image) After a leisurely rest, we had dessert, fresh fruit and unsweetened whipped cream.

As the sunlight streamed in, we toasted the morning with guava and mango champagne cocktails (and water for me) and celebrated moms and moms-to-be everywhere!

The Park - Echo Park


For one of my last pre-baby dinners, tried The Park the other night with Portia. While our food took a tad long coming out of the kitchen, all in all it's a great addition to Echo Park. The Park is small, loud, and moderately priced and reminded me of a NY-type of establishment. As more and more restaurants move into the hood that are out of our "prepare for baby budget" (ahem, Lot 1), The Park's price points are appreciated, especially given the size of their generous portions.

Just Another Last Minute Reservation at Pizzeria Mozza!


It was meant to be. Gail, knowing us so well, recently got us a Mozza gift card for our 2nd wedding anniversary. We've been going back and forth trying to decide when to use it: pre- or post-baby? I'm sure we'll definitely need a night out after too long with our little one but who's to say when that will actually be able to happen. We're really trying to save $ right now in preparation for baby, so a great dinner out on Gail seems perfectly suited to now. (For more on pre-baby dining quests, see Jonah's extensive posts at la.foodblogging here.)

Our stomachs spoke. M wanted to go to some opening at a gallery on Crescent Heights and Beverly, so Mozza came to mind. After I got home from work we gave them a ring and miraculously they had a 6:15 reservation for us! Yay!

Perfect as usual. We ordered the brussels sprouts which we adore. Like candy. Since I'm pregnant, cured meats are out the window which means the prosciutto bread crumbs are not an option. Honestly, they don't even need them, they're that good. But M gets all of the crumbs, so he's a happy one. We also got the beets with horseradish, which they've been out of the last few times we've been. Really fresh, bright, and sharp. And so Passover appropriate!

Choosing a pizza is especially challenging on the pregnancy diet as almost all of their heavenly pies have some sort of sausage (the lovely fennel sausage - nitrates), cured meat (guanciale, speck, salame - nitrates/nitrites), or blue cheese. So we got what we got last time and enjoyed it just as much: the rapini, cherry tomato, anchovy, olives, and chiles. Divine! The anchovies are packed with Omega 3's which are great for our Lambchop's brain and eye development and they're low in mercury so highly recommended. The pizza was slightly spicy, salty, and just so good. I could have easily eaten four more.

The best part? We have enough left over on the gift card for at least one more dinner! Thanks again Gail!

(picture courtesy of:


Dine Out for a Good Cause - 4/17/08


Eating out just to satisfy your hunger? So yesterday. Tomorrow, eat out for a good cause: Dine Out Los Angeles is a one-day LA-wide event where 20% of profits from a bunch of restaurants will go to Aid for Aids. This West Hollywood charity helps prevent hunger and homelessness among people with HIV/AIDS. Participating restaurants in the hood include:

Cha Cha Cha
Cliff's Edge
Casita Del Campo
Brooklyn Bagel Company (love their fresh out of the oven bagels!)

Go on, get eating!

Dine Out LA

Silver Lake/Echo Park Updates: Andiamo and Two Boots


(image) As we've seen time and time again, everything's ready to go at Andiamo except the red tape. I checked in with Anthony (the owner?) a couple weeks ago and he was still waiting for a series of bureaucratic oks. But the menu looks promising (you can check it out here) and it's Pomodoro-esque inside: cute, small, simple and sleek. I'd say it's any day now and not a day too soon! With Michelangelo's supposedly on its way out, we're looking forward to a new Italian in the hood. Also, my husband noticed orange vespas outside... we're thinking they're the delivery vehicles.
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I've been meaning to post about Two Boots for a while now. There's been an enormous dumpster outside the future Two Boots for the past few weeks collecting the innards of whatever was there previously. But it seems like it has a long way to go. Phil Hartman, one of the two owners, reported back in February that they're shooting for a late spring opening. Who knows how great it will be (mixed reviews run rampant in NY) one would think that its location next to the Echo/Echoplex will make it a success.

Bittman's Macaroons


Made these babies while in a Valentine's baking mood last week. While they looked just golden and beautiful naked, I felt the need to enrobe them in some bittersweet chocolate. Hubby and coworkers thought they looked like little volcanos, while two coworkers thought they resembled breasts. As breastfeeding is on our horizon, perhaps that's where my subconscious was.

Anyhow, they were fabulous and incredibly easy and quick to prepare. They are officially on the menu for Passover this year.

I Love Sue Moore and her Dogs


God, I just love Sue Moore.
(image) Here I thought that pregnancy would mean living without hot dogs for nine months as most are preserved with nitrites/nitrates. But no, here comes Sue, former meat forager for Chez Panisse, of Let's Be Frank with her incredible dogs made from the best grass-fed beef. Not only are they lacking scary hormones and antibiotics and no-no nitrites/nitrates but they're also packed with 600mg of Omega 3's which are awesome for my tiny one's brain development. And the best part? They're really, really good. So good it's almost impossible to stop at just one. Sue serves these beauties with caramelized onions and the softest bun along with other traditional fixins. And she must be one of the friendliest folks you could ever meet. You can find Sweet Sue and her cart in the Helms Bakery Complex.

Helms Ave
between Washington Blvd and Venice Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90034 (888) 233-7265 (image)

Almost Guilt-Free Peanut Putter Parfait


Officially, my new favorite dessert is peanut butter parfait made with Fage 0% yogurt and organic peanut butter. Would I rather have a hot fudge sundae? Most likely. But this little lady is really trying to watch it and so the peanut butter parfait was born. Now I must say that the decadent creaminess of Fage yogurt is certainly the secret to this dessert's success. When I'm craving a little texture, I throw in a couple of Fabe's peanut butter cookies which are sweetened with white grape juice. I'm in love. Try it, you'll see what I'm talking about.

(image) Peanut Butter Parfait
1 5.3 oz container of Fage 0% yogurt
1 small spoonful of organic peanut butter (you don't have to go crazy with the PB to have a strong flavor)
2 Fabe's sugar-free peanut butter cookies (optional)

Stir all ingredients and enjoy.

The Search for Chicken Soup in the Hood is Over: Rodeo Mexican Grill


So my honey had a wretched case of some sort of food poisoning throughout the night. I'll spare you the details. After spending the day sleeping and drinking water, he finally got his appetite back and was craving chicken soup.

But the age old question: where to go in Echo Park/Silver Lake for a soothing bowl of chicken soup? He remembered noticing that Rodeo Grill, a Mexican place he frequents often, had such a soup. So off I went to Rodeo. Honestly, we weren't expecting much. I guess we just think of Rodeo for burritos, taquitos, etc.

Would you believe that they serve an absolutely delicious chicken soup, loaded with hunks of potatoes, squash, and chicken? It's true. Delicately flavored with cilantro and not too salty, we have found our local cold/flu/under the weather potion!


Canele + Neko Case = Pre-Birthday Dinner and a Show


Why had we forgotten about Canele? There's no good reason. After all, it's a superb neighborhood restaurant that's super close to us, affordable, uses farm fresh produce and happy meats (those raised without hormones, antibiotics, free to roam, etc.) and consistently turns out excellent dishes.Sure, the staff sometimes seem a little in over their heads and there's that no reservation policy leading to waits if you get there at a prime time. But this is a neighborhood spot so I'm not looking for polished perfection. We've been twice in the last week, wowed both times by the food and proud to show it off to my in-laws from Berkeley.Last Sunday, I started with a silky and sweet winter squash soup with dates and a tiny dollop of creme fraiche. It fit the cool fall night wonderfully. The choice of the roasted chicken with a corn pancake was a wise one. We ended the night with Canele's flourless chocolate cake with a slightly orange flavored candy on top and served with a huge portion of vanilla ice cream. It was soon clear that a second was in order and luckily they were happy to comply.I have to say it's quite satisfying to be able to say thank you and good night to chef Corina thanks to Canele's open kitchen. Having worked in restaurants where the kitchens were filled with cantankerous characters and almost violent verbal and physical exchanges, it's quite a pleasure to watch the calm and pleasant kitchen staff at Canele.Last night, I started with the Farmer's Market salad of greens, finely sliced shallots, and a creme fraiche dressing. Simple, yet irresistible. Max tried the Pissaladiere, a lovely onion tart. We shared the pork chop, again just lovely with a smooth apple compote, sauteed greens, and braised cippolini onions. And just to go over the top, we tried the pommes anna, a classic potato dish. Finishing again with the chocolate cake, we were off to Walt Disney Hall to see Neko Case, my birthday present from Max.Even though we were in the nose bleed section of WDMH, Neko's voice radiated beautifully throughout the space. Her humble demeanor and cute sense of humor made the night feel intimate and small, even though it's a spacious venue. The first time we saw her, she was opening up for Willie Nelson at the Bowl. While her performance was good, the Bowl kind of swallowed her up. At Disney Hall however, Neko was able to beam her voice into every corner and I swear I could have listened to her for so many more hours. After two encores, the show was over and a fabulous pre-birthday evening came to a close.[...]

Yes, Intelligentsia Was Worth the Wait


Ok, so Intelligentsia officially opened their doors on Friday at noon slowly building into a hectic yet family-friendly and happy evening community gathering in their new home of Silver Lake.As we made our approach to the grand opening party, I was struck by the, forgive me, good vibes emanating from the small groups laughing, smiling, chatting, eating and drinking, and just welcoming Intelligentsia with a warm embrace. The great dj, fruit and cheese nibbles, and free coffee drinks certainly helped put everyone in a giddy mood. The staff were understandably overwhelmed as the place was hopping. But they were genuinely friendly and expert coffee crafters.M and I gravitated toward the famous Clover machines where two Intelligentsia guys were constantly brewing for the endless people in line. I knew it may be a pain in the tuchas, but there's no way this little lady could drink caffeine at 7pm so I asked if I could order a decaf coffee from the Clover. The nice guy who was helping us happily accommodated my request even though I could tell it threw them off for a moment. The coffee was grand, rich, and wonderful.This morning we headed back after yoga and before the area was crazy as this is Sunset Junction weekend. Much more mellow and amazingly already a community hub with young families and a colorful assortment of Silver Lakers enjoying their Sunday morning. Already way overheated, I ordered an iced latte. Whoa, this was unlike any iced latte I had ever consumed: The espresso was strong without any bitterness and it had the most subtle creaminess. Exceptional. My own little coffee snob who adored Intelligentsia during his Chicago days reported this morning's latte was as good as he remembered with a beautifully formed foam.I love the people who work here too. They remind me of my favorite book store staffers: knowledgeable, friendly, authentic, and take pride in their work. I love their patio with an incredible tile. This is not Starbucks, friends. This is a true blue gem. Thankfully they picked our little Silver Lake to settle in.[...]

Santa Barbara With Mom


My Mom's husband's annual pilgrimage is Hot August Nights, a 10 day classic car extravaganza in Reno. Mom and I usually use his trip as an excuse for a girls getaway, just the two of us and this year we spent a couple nights in Santa Barbara.Our first meal was dinner at Opal on State, a warm little bistro. Starting with cocktails, I had the Mexico City (Hornitos tequila, cranberry juice, lime, and triple sec) and Mom had a ginger mandarin cosmo. Both were excellent and potent. We shared four courses: the phyllo wrapped tiger prawns with a coconut curry dipping sauce to start, followed by a caesar and a salmon encrusted with crab meat. For dessert, a fabulous jack daniel's bittersweet chocolate creme brulee. Overall, Opal was just fine, not amazing but good enough. Highlights were the cocktails which were creative, delicious, and strong and the dessert. Our server was a sweetie, the rest of the staff were friendly and conscientious, and the space was warm and inviting.On Saturday morning, after a long walk along the harbor, we headed over to the Tupelo Junction Cafe on State for breakfast. I had been once before with Germ so I knew Mom would love its homey interior and Southern-influenced dishes. We split the smoked salmon, scallion, and cream cheese scramble with a toasted bagel which was good, I just wished they would have mentioned that it's actually a bagel sandwich. Not a big deal but the scramble made the bagel slightly soggy and a tad hard to eat. But the flavors were there and, all in all, we both enjoyed it. A side of fruit made our breakfast a little more healthy, though Mom isn't a fan of fruit in general - crazy, I know!After a big breakfast and a stroll along State, we made a stop at the Paradise Cafe, one of my all-time favorites, for a snack and a glass of wine. The Paradise is quintessential Santa Barbara: garden patio with flowers and wrought iron, sunny servers, leisurely meals of oak-grilled fish, steak, or their too good burgers. I pray to the restaurant gods that the Paradise never closes (unlike the Earthling Bookshop, my old love driven out by Borders...but I digress).As it was 3pm with dinner on the horizon, we split the grilled shrimp served over red and green salsas. Beautifully and simply prepared, smoky from the oak grill.For dinner, we were having a hard time deciding between the Palace, an old favorite and Square One, coincidentally doors away from each other. The Palace is always a rambunctious time with cajun cuisine in a New Orleans-themed setting. But Square One is fairly new, has an ambitious menu, and seemed like a must. Square One was able to fit us in last-minute so we hurried over.The scene at Square One is serene and elegant yet laid back. Mom and I shared four courses: Sweet Corn Soup Three Ways, Little Gem Salad, Filet of Beef, and Duo of Bananas.I'd say our favorites were the Sweet Corn Soup Three Ways - corn-bacon succotash, corn custard, spiced corn froth and the dessert. Not only did the soup look stunning, it tasted incredible. And the dessert was innovative, beautiful, and delicious.The Little Gem Salad, with anchovy-caper relish, black pepper tuile, parmesan, and garlic dressing tasted suspiciously like an ordinary caesar. And the filet, wrapped with house smoked bacon, escargot bourguignonne, and pommes maxim, was sadly just ok. I'm glad we tried it, but next time we'll go for the party and the beignets at the Palace.Dinner ended pretty early so we were able to stroll down to the Arlington for the last showing of the "Bourne Ultimatum" which, to the surprise of our guys, we loved. And the Arlington is just gorgeous.The weekend's last breakfast, much to my mother's dismay, was a breakfast burrito at the Cantina in Isla Vista. [...]

Viva Hot Vegas - Part One


We are never going back to Las Vegas.I've always thought it was too noisy, smoky, and filled with an overabundance of extremely obnoxious people. But it had been a few years and I was lured in by the possibility of restaurant adventures. While the Guy Savoy and Joel Robuchon's of the world were out of our reach, there were plenty of other middle of the road spots to keep us busy.Long story short: We made a fateful decision to walk around in the 117 degree heat, I developed heat stroke, and left early. On the upside we had some great meals, our hotel room was cheap (I got a ridiculous deal online) and lovely, and we didn't lose any money on gambling.But onto the trip report:We stayed on the 31st floor of the Paris Hotel with a view of the Eiffel Tower and the Bellagio Fountains.Our flight arrived at 8am so we were ready for breakfast which consisted of a chocolate croissant and a couple coffees at the Lenotre Patisserie in our hotel. The croissant was so-so, but it eased us into our first morning.After we settled into our room we gambled a bit and then walked to Mario Batali's casual place at the Venetian. Our first long walk which wasn't in terms of distance but the heat and the crowds made it exhausting. Enoteca San Marco's menu is similar to Mozza, is set in the middle of the Venetian near the canals and the piazza, and it's beautiful in a surreal way.M had an iced tea served with a tiny carafe of simple syrup. Loved this!Do you see what I mean about it being surreal? It's charming, pretty, and totally fakeFor our first course, we tried the Insalata di Acetaia, red oak lettuce, egg, prosciutto, cherry tomatoes, pecorino, and sweet balsamic. Sweet, salty, meaty, green. Excellent.Moved onto the pancetta and goat cheese pizza with tomato, carmelized onions, and Coach Farm cheese. Again sweet, tangy, and quite rich.As usual, the service was pure Batali: smart, impeccable, knew every inch of the menu, and sweet and authentic.As we were heading out we noticed there was a Bouchon Bakery. Having room for a post-lunch dessert, we grabbed a vanilla eclair. As you can probably guess, it was perfect.On our way back to the Paris, we stopped by the Flamingo to see the tribute to Bugsy Siegal, who built the hotel which opened in 1946 and started the first Vegas building craze.Home sweet home.To be continued....Mesa Grill, Lotus of Siam, Jean Phillipe Patisserie, and Bouchon.[...]

"15" - New Italian in Echo Park


I thought the news that Two Boots was coming to Echo Park was exciting, but I'm really looking forward to the prospect of a cozy and sparkling new Italian spot in our neck of the woods. As I was leaving Walgreen's this morning, I noticed the space that formerly housed Burrito King had its arches filled in, is painted a deep brown and looked suspiciously sleek.

Pulling over for a closer look I chatted with a couple of friendly construction guys who filled me in on some basic details. 15 is going to serve Italian cuisine and is scheduled to open on August 13. According to my sources, 15 is the owner's lucky number therefore it has become the name of his/her new restaurant. Questions remain: Who is the owner and is this their first restaurant? What's on the menu? Is this the beginning of a transformation of this corner of EP?

As an Eastsider who is enjoying this eastward movement of yummy new spots (Elf Cafe, etc.), I am anxiously awaiting the opening of 15 and will, of course, report back with a review.


Breakfast Burritos at Tacos Villa Corona


I am not a breakfast person. Don't get me wrong, I eat my Kashi oatmeal every morning at work and we usually have some cereal or toast on the weekends. But big, heavy breakfasts confound me.


However, there is one exception and that would be the breakfast burrito at Tacos Villa Corona in Atwater Village. While we usually only eat them every once in a while, they are almost always amazingly good. Max and I like to share the basic with spinach and chorizo which is more than enough for us. This past Saturday we were in the mood and the boys did not disappoint (though they did use bacon, not chorizo).

Kwik-E-Mart - Who Knew?


We were already in the Valley Saturday morning, so I was able to convince Max to come with me to Burbank to visit the Kwik-E-Mart, otherwise known as 7-11 dressed up for the Simpson's movie opening. Gimmicky yes, but irresitable. But who knew it would be so crazy? I thought we'd just stroll in for a quickie look around. Fat chance. There was a line around the corner and when we finally got inside the owner reported similar long lines every day for the last two weeks until 2am! It was a kick and we got ourselves a pink frosted donut, two 6-packs of Buzz cola, and a Squishee.[...]

NY Pizza Invasion Continues: Two Boots Pizza Coming To Echo Park


Say what you will about the blogosphere, I love my regular Eastside blog stops: Atwater Village Newbie, Franklin Avenue, Chicken Corner (a great Echo Park blog), and the Echo Park Historical Society. Catching up on the latest Echo Park news, I noticed this post on EPHS's blog:The owners of this commercial building on the southside of Sunset Boulevard between Lemoyne St. and Glendale Blvd. recently exposed part of the metal facade to reveal some of the original brick walls and stone arches of the building (see the black and white photo, courtesy of Mary-Austin Klein and Scott Fajack). The owners, which also run the popular Echo nightclub, recently won the backing of the EPHS to remove a section of the facade as they renovate part of the building for a pizza parlor. They need a final OK from the city before they can take off the rest. They do not have immediate plans to restore the arched windows or the remainder of the facade but we would expect the results will have nearby residents asking them to take the rest of that cheesey metal siding off and let that building's historic beauty shine through. We hope they listen.I'm sorry, there's a new pizza parlor moving into the hood? Joy! A call to the Spaceland folks confirmed it and provided more details. Two Boots Pizza is going to occupy a space attached to the Echo, which as the post described, is shedding its tacky exterior to reveal its historical charm. But more on Two Boots. Their website describes it as:...New Orleans cooking with pizza and beer in a funky, family-friendly environment, TWO BOOTS (the boots representing the geographical shapes of Italy and Louisiana)...New Orleans cuisine and pizza is this girl's idea of a perfect combination. How does this work exactly? We're talking blackened catfish po'boys, strombolis, jambalaya, and chicken parmesan heros. And their pizzas? With cornbread crusts and names like The Newman (soprassata, sweet italian sausage on a white pie), The Bayou Beast (BBQ, shrimp, andouille, crawfish, jalapenos, and mozzarella), and my favorite pizza name so far, The Dude (cajun bacon chesseburger pie - tasso, ground beef, cheddar, and mozzarella), Two Boots is obviously not your standard pizza joint.Reviews (professional and bloggers) seem mixed, but I'm willing to give Two Boots a chance, especially since they're going to be within walking distance from home. Others here, here, and here.They have six NYC outposts including one in Grand Central Station and another on Bleecker. I believe this is going to be the first Two Boots outside of NY and I officially welcome them with open arms into the hood.[...]

A Lovely Summer Evening


A few Saturdays ago, Jess and Jed hosted an absolutely lovely and mostly vegetarian dinner party at their home in Silver Lake.Jess made lentils which were delicious, hints of cinnamon and curry. Sometimes lentils just hit the spot and are so comforting. These balanced out the meal perfectly.Jed manned the grill, expertly preparing and serving the meaty portobello mushroom burgers.David Korty had his opening that night at China Art Objects so I believe everyone saw his show before heading to he dinner party. As we were leaving the show, we bumped into Brett and Jen who were driving into the parking lot. Now Jen is indeed quite the cook, but I couldn't believe she drove around town with Mario Batali's cookbook on her lap. Turned out that they had just realized the dinner party was a potluck and were planning their last minute dish which, of course, turned out to be fabulous. Below, grilled shrimp. Simple and summery.For dessert, Max made strawberry shortcakes with a lemon verbena infused whipped cream from the Chez Panisse Fruit cookbook. A perfect end.[...]

The Foodie Blogroll


I'm so honored and excited to be a new member of the Foodie Blogroll. Created by a professional food critic, travel writer and food blogger, the FB is a community comprised of folks who love food. If they're anything like me, they love eating it, talking and writing about it, making it, dreaming about it, and plan trips around it. Basically, these are my people. And I'm looking forward to getting to know them through their blogs. You can find the lovely Foodie Blogroll in the bottom right hand corner of my blog. Bon appetit!

Tonight's Dinner: Salmon Cakes with Roasted New Potatoes and Mixed Lettuces with Radish, Avocado, and Red Onion


As previous posts have indicated, my husband Max regularly impresses me with his culinary skills. Our weeknight dinners are almost always delicious, healthy, and beautifully presented.
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Max hit it out of the ballpark tonight. The salmon cakes were accented with cilantro, scallions, celery and a hint of tabasco. Moist on the inside with a perfectly crunch on the exterior, I could have easily consumed five. We got these tiny new potatoes at the Hollywood Farmer's Market yesterday. Max roasted them and lightly sprinkled a little fleur de sel over them. Perfect. Served with a light salad with a citrus vinaigrette completed a most wonderful Monday dinner.




We're on the 2, headed to Zeke's, one of our go-to places for sometimes good, sometimes heavenly BBQ. Is Zeke's the best or our favorite Q in LA? No, but on a lazy Sunday, when we don't want to risk traffic on the 10 (for Phillips) and we just want a comfy family cafe, Zeke's fits the bill.And Honolulu Avenue in Montrose always inspires fantasies of small town living.Slightly overdressed Caesar but sharp and garlicky.And.....the money shot! These happened to be some mighty fine baby backs. Zeke's new smoker has made an incredible difference in the quality of their ribs.Zeke's Smokehouse 2209 Honolulu Ave., Montrose 818-957-7045[...]

Delilah's Bakery


Delilah Bakery in Echo Park is an adorable, neighborhood spot featuring old-fashioned baked goods and a community vibe. It's absolutely a sweet spot and a welcome addition to the hood, but I thought everything we tried was a little less than fabulous.Shown above, we tried the red velvet cupcake, a peanut butter cookie, and some sort of nutty cheesecake bar. They were good, but I felt I could do better. The peanut butter cookie tasted a bit bland, slightly peanutty and a little floury. The red velvet cake was pleasant, but the frosting seemed a bit thin and drippy. And the cheesecake bar was extremely rich without any discernible flavor. I really wanted to fall in love with the Delilah Bakery, but I don't feel the need to rush back.[...]

Mother's Day - Joe's in Venice


We took Mom out for an absolutely lovely brunch at Joe's in Venice. The last time I dined at Joe's was Father's Day ages ago and it was wonderful to return on a sparkling and warm Sunday.I can't recall the name of our server, Julie or Kelly perhaps, but she was exceptional. Down-to-earth, knowledgeable, and helpful, she attended to our needs without ever seeming to hover. We tried the Bella Mama, an intoxicating morning cocktail.I had forgotten what a beautiful space Joe's is...the light filtered in softly, the birds chriping, very serene.Mom and Les tried the Tortilla Espanola, a baked omelet filled with corolla potatoes and onions, greens salad with lemon vinaigrette.I think Max had the winning plate: House-smoked trout with poached eggs on dill onion toast, dill hollandaise and trout caviar - wonderful!The Spring French toast with a rhubarb compote and cream cheese ice cream looked good on the menu and it actually was pleasant, but after one bite I was over sweet and craved salty.For dessert Mom went straight for the richest and decadent chocolate crunch cake, and Max and I both had the (I think it was...) cappucino flan. Les, who was allergic to at least one ingredient in each dessert, settled for homemade strawberry ice cream.[...]



For some reason, it seems like folks either love or hate Oinkster in Eagle Rock. Chef Andre Guerrero, of Max and Senor Fred, opened Oinkster in March 2006 with the intention of creating "slow fast food." In other words, fast food that is prepared with slow food ethics: carefully and consciously crafted food using the highest quality ingredients. We adore it and are more than happy to pay a little more for their smoky pulled pork sandwiches and burgers. But there is a very vocal camp of detractors who a.) don't think the food is so great and b.) it's just too much to spend on fast food.

Now, let me just say that I have never been thrilled with their version of belgian frites. When I think belgian frites, I think something like what the now-closed Benita's Frites used to whip up (I really miss Benita's!). Those fries were crispy, salty, soft and pillowy on the inside....kind of like what Jonathan Gold desrcibed in his recent glowing review of Oinkster. Maybe they cooked up some amazing ones for Mr. Pulitzer, but we have never experienced the fries he described. But, we do appreciate the house-made ketchup and garlicky aioli. But I digress. Yes, it is more expensive then say, McDonald's but the quality is so far superior that it's more than worth it.

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