"Without music life would be a mistake" Friedrich Nietzsche
And these lovely art pieces are by Julene Harrison http://madebyjulene.com
I'll agree with this sentiment, too:
Smart, surprising and fun. Bravo.
Alors, in this installment we look at Liquid Groceries :
Aisles devoted solely to gallon jugs of soy sauce and its myriad variations, and all sorts of bottled oils and vinegars (and "sause"). I found a really nice organic soy sauce that tastes so much more flavorful and earthy than the familiar Kikkoman variety most of us know.
And then there's the beverage aisle:
Aloe Pomegranate sounds pretty intriging, doesn't it? What about Let's Be (Mild)?
Very Zen for a coffee drink, right?
I did try this Korean raspberry wine which was on special last week:
It's a 1/2 bottle size at 4.99. I won't be cranky about the artwork on the label...it's just dandy as a little after dinner palate refresher, like a berry muscato. Also nice to put a few drops in a flute with some bubbly for a noble Kir Royale.
Next up: The Fish and Meat department...OMG. Seriously Amazing.
4317 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90004
When this large supermarket opened some months ago, I noticed there were cars lined around the block to get in. Hmmm, interesting.
On my way home from downtown a week or so later, I needed some cilantro and parsley. Didn't feel like slogging further West through more traffic to Pavilions or Whole Foods. So I stopped in to take a look.
What a discovery. There was parsley and cilantro alright. Nice leafy bunches: 3 for 99 cents.
And bountiful piles of lush produce -- Asian, Latin and otherwise -- for very nice prices, a fraction of what I normally -- or should I say formerly -- would pay for such fresh, green goodies.
An actual market where there piles of RIPE avocados you can use today or tomorrow, 5 pound bags of peeled garlic
All sorts of sprouts, a universe of fresh mushrooms: Crimini, Osyter, Shitaki, Shimeji, Enoki:
This place is a treasure chest of delicious finds -- what do you do with "Gingko", though?
But not everything is a mysterious Asian leaf or vegetable. There are all sorts of great familar items too -- Persian cucumbers, radishes, crates of plump raspberries and other beautiful fruit.
While it is skewed to a Korean clientele, there are lots of Latin products, as well. Occasionally I'll strike up a tentative conversation with someone and ask: "how do you use this leaf ?" Sometimes my fellow shopper won't speak much English and the answer will be: "For dinner." Good enough.
I love this place. One caveat: This store didn't get the memo about not using plastic grocery bags. They give you so many it made me wince. It only reinforced my belief that we all need make an effort to spread the word with our own sensible, easy actions: PLEASE BRING YOUR OWN RECYCLEABLE SHOPPING BAGS and let them see the wave of the future. Next up: Liquid Groceries California Market 4317 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90004
I love this place.
One caveat: This store didn't get the memo about not using plastic grocery bags. They give you so many it made me wince. It only reinforced my belief that we all need make an effort to spread the word with our own sensible, easy actions:
PLEASE BRING YOUR OWN RECYCLEABLE SHOPPING BAGS and let them see the wave of the future.
4317 Beverly Boulevard
Love having friends with great taste in wine. When we get together for a lively meal at home, I take special care to be sure I'm cooking something special -- like boneless duck breasts -- because I know they''ll be uncorking a new treat.
Here are three standouts two in the mid- ranges and one bargain:
It's a zinfandel blend. Rich, round with a lot of raspberry. From Napa.
Got a 93 rating from Wine Spectator for good reason and an "Oh, no! Did we really finish the last drop?" from me. You can get it elsewhere but I really like the friendly helpful people at K & L wines where it lists for $31.99.
Amavi Cellars Syrah
This one is from Washington State (Walla Walla). Also has nice round berry qualities. A little lighter than the Prisoner. Rich, yet not too heavy.
I liked it before I knew it had gotten 92 Points in Wine Enthusiast and 90 Points in Wine Spectator.
We were all oohing and aahing when we thought it was an under $12 bottle.
Turns out it is actually around $25 at most places. While it's not the bargain we thought it was, it remains a lovely and impressive wine when you 'd like to step up.
So here's the deal in this trio:
From Sonoma, this is a REALLY nice everyday wine with a complex layering of berries, raisins and chocolate. It is listed as an unspecified blend but whatever they're doing, it's terrific.
I wish the label didn't scream "I'm aimed at young wine drinkers and I'm CHEAP" because it's a real find and ranges from $6.99-$10 a bottle.
More in this category soon. Cheers!
I was in France a few weeks ago and several people stopped me in the street admiring my watch band. That is not a usual thing. Not for France. For that matter, not for a watchband.
I was flattered but I also chuckled - the band in question: A Happy Accident.
I usually need to replace the band twice a year and end up with a Summer (light color) and a Winter band (yep, a darker one).
About 2 days before my last trip out of town, one end of the Winter band snapped and broke. No time to run to the jeweler to replace it.
I remembered I still had the barely used Summer one stashed in a drawer. White.
I hadn't even wanted a white watch band at the time -- but that was all that was available in a light hue. So the quick fix: Mix the two and presto... The All NewAll year Round Band (and new design sensation). At least they thought it was tres cool in France...
I like it, too. Voila!
OK, when I've actually been in town these last few weeks, I've been walking down the block from my shop on 3rd street to this revised Italian resto. But I've been busy. So Miss Virbila beat me to the punch with her review yesterday.
I say, better to have more hurrays for an easy, comfortable, place with the right idea: user friendly menu and pricing.
Not to mention:
Great place for a glass of prosecco or a martini at the bar. A little warm, grilled bread brushed with olive oil always adds to the thumbs up from me.
And what a pretty bar vista it is:
And where there used to be one little slip of a counter there are now 3 little bar areas (nice) and a new addition of a flat screen (not as nice).
Still: Look at this really fresh and zesty Caesar salad: $7.50
And my fave delight:
House made spinach pappardelle ai funghi --no cream -- so you can really enjoy the fresh green flavor of spinach and no drowning the mushrooms in a heavy sauce -- just some herbs and a little olive oil and that's just right for me. $10.50
We like it. Yes:
Never had much use for eye creams --mostly because I didn't see results and I'm pretty low maintenance and who needs more stuff to slather on your face, right?
I found a little sample packet of this eye cream in my drawer-- a little dividend -- after I bought a little pampering gift for a friend's birthday from this organic company. Lightweight and not at all greasy, it has some kind of tingly herb in it which is a nice bonus to help wake up in the morning.
After less than a week of dabbing the last bit of it from the sample packet, my husband said:
"What happened to the circles under your eyes?"
Needless to say, I now am a convert -- at least for this product. My heart sank when I saw it was $45 for a tiny litttle tube but it lasts a few months.
Recently visited the newly opened spot in Highland Park, the Good Girl Dinette, clearly a labor of love from owner chef Diep Tran.
It is a spare clean space. Reminded me of a small, hip school lunch room -- airy and filled with glossy polished plywood tabletops and yellow plastic chairs -- until you see the graceful orchid plant at the end of the sleek long counter at one end and the cozy brick walls and you realize it is a carefully designed space.
A simple menu influenced by Tran's Vietnamese background and diner comfort food, this place is tasty, easy and reasonable.
On the more diner side of the menu, I tried the Niman ranch pulled pork sandwich which was great. Slow cooked and filled with melting combos of rich flavor on a perfectly crusty baguette. Accompanied by spicy fries dotted with little flecks of jalapeno, garlic and and cilantro -- just spicy enough to keep eating and eating and eating.
Also sampled that night for dinner, the chicken curry:
Very hearty and flavorful. Loved that it was served with brown rice and asian broccoli.
Also on the more Vietnamese side, a comfort bowl of chicken pho (Grandma's Pho) filled with chunky pieces of chicken and perfectly cooked noodles in a broth layered in flavor:
You can see from the pictures that they've made smart and stylish choices in their dishware and while the food itself is really nice, the modern, white rectangular plates and generous sized bowls completely enhance the dining experience.
They also offer good glassware, hooray! Equally suited to their fine housemade fruit sodas (Lemon, orange) or the wine you can bring with no corkage, yay!
We had a couple of apps before our mains: Rice Cakes with crispy Tofu and one of the imperial rolls. Both good and they disappeared so quickly I didn't have time to take a picture!
Dessert: Although we were so stuffed, the chef encouraged us to try the Almond Jelly. I am very glad we did. It was terrific. A bit like a dairy free panna cotta with a kumquat syrup, I think. Very nice and light and a great way to finish off the meal.
Be forwarned: Although the prices are reasonable, this place is cash only.
Service: Fine, not swift but really not an issue on our visit.
Good to know: LOTS of vegetarian choices on the menu.
A friendly, delicious casual eatery.
110 north avenue 56
los angeles, ca 90042
Nifty website called Frenchwineclub.com
Two fabulous friends gave a me a monthly 2 bottle delivery as a wedding gift. What a thrill -- not to mention the adventure -- of discovering something new each month. I had so much fun with this gift, I hinted heavily to family members to renew for a birthday or two and switched from the White and Red combo box to two Reds. Since then, I've happily sipped and learned about interesting wines from the Languedoc, Rhone and other areas in the Southwest of France. Devoted mainly to small producers in these regions, the site's wine choices have been pretty consistent, usually quite good and occasionally excellent. All the wines are reasonably priced, usually in the $15-16 range ( they offer 20% case discounts). One recent Red in the very good-excellent category was the Fronton Chateau Cahuzac 2006.
Note the secondary L'Authentique portion of its name...
So that's nice, you say, thanks for the tip. But wait, there's more...
On a recent dinner jaunt with my LA. Global Gastronomy group (more on that later) one member pulled out a bottle of surprisingly good French wine with very limited information regarding its origin.
"Yummy," I said in oh sooo sophisticated winespeak. And it was. Here's what he brought:
L'Authentique as well. I have no idea how or if they are related but this bottle's price? $3.99 . Really.
OK -- not quite as good as its more expensive cousin but still a very nice find. One day I might even divulge where to find it...