Cafe Dulce + Spitz – Little Tokyo (Downtown L.A.)

Spitz and Cafe Dulce is nestled in Little Tokyo just outside Downtown Los Angeles. With a gorgeous backdrop of the city skyline and colorful hanging lamps, Little Tokyo is an ideal place to spend an afternoon or night out.

For a wonderful outing, start off with some coffee at Cafe Dulce. They serve Lamill coffee, so I’d say go to this outlet rather than Lamill itself (see past Lamill post). The cafe also has delicious looking pastries, including maple bacon donuts and several types of rotis. The staff is also very friendly.

Walk around the various vintage and cultural stores in the area – there are a lot of hidden treasures. Then head to Spitz for lunch or dinner and prepared to be stuffed. The Doner Kebab combo is the best deal – $10.50 for a huge sandwich, side and drink. I recommend the Classic Sandwich (beef and lamb) + Mediterranean Style + Sweet Potato Fries. The sandwich is fresh and light yet filling, while the fries are the perfect combination of sweet and salty. Do NOT disregard the sauce in the plastic cup placed in the basket. It is absolutely delicious with the fries and sandwich! If you go during their busiest time (7-9pm) it will be loud and pretty crowded, but you will surely find a place to sit. Try sitting outside if you want to have nice conversation.

Café Dulcé on Urbanspoon

Spitz on Urbanspoon

Blue Moon Fried Chicken

I’m a Texas girl and…

I love fried chicken. While I am not a huge fan of beer, it perfectly complements chicken. Here is a very simple recipe for Blue Moon marinated fried chicken (I used the seasonal Harvest Pumpkin Ale… sooooooo good!)

First off, you’ll want to prepare this about 4-6 hour before you fry the chicken. Gotta give that chicken enough time to soak up the beer.

1) Combine dijon mustard, garlic cloves, salt, pepper, rosemary and one bottle of Blue Moon into a medium sized bowl (I don’t give exact measurements because I like experimenting!). Place two chicken breasts in the marinade and refrigerate for 4-6 hours (or more!)

2) Beat an egg in one bowl and pour flour in another bowl. Pour some of the beer marinade into the bowl with the egg.

3) Heat olive oil in pan on stove.

4) Dip the chicken into the egg, making sure all sides are covered with egg.

5) Dip egg covered chicken into bowl with flour. Cover the chicken on all sides with flour.

6) Place flour covered chicken in the pan when the oil is hot. Fry for about 20 minutes on medium low, turning chicken over every 5 minutes or so.

7) Serve with a vegetable side or a baked potato and enjoy!

Nutella Pizza

Nutella makes any dish better! The first creative use I saw was Bacaro’s Nutella panini – sweet bread, Nutella, and strawberries/bananas. My grandmother makes a delicious dessert pizza, so I decided to put a spin on it. This has been done before, but this is my way 🙂

First combine the flour (2 + 3/4 cup), salt (1/2 tsp) and baking powder (1 tsp).

In a seperate bowl combine melted butter (1 cup) and sugar (2 cups) until smooth. Beat in two eggs and add vanilla extract (2 tsp).

Slowly pour and stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture until it forms a dough.

Spread a tennis ball sized piece of dough on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes.

Spread Nutella on the cookie, leaving an inch perimeter to give it a pizza-y look. Cut fresh strawberries, place them on top and enjoy!

Lucy’s Drive In(La Brea + Pico)

I miss my Texas drive through Mexican food favorite, Taco Cabana.

But alas, this is California and good Mexican food is hard to come by, in my experience. I had driven past Lucy’s countless times, and the other night when I was driving home from acting class at 10 p.m. I had an urge.

Cheese Enchiladas + Horchata = $11.00 … pretty pricey for fast food Mexican, but ohhhhhh was it good. The red sauce was nice and sweet and there wasn’t an overwhelming amount of cheese. They give you a little salad and some tortilla chips and the portion is huge so I guess this justifies the price! The horchata was great, but then again I have never had bad horchata. I will definitely return to Lucy’s if I want Mexican food pronto!

 

Lucy's Drive in on Urbanspoon

Lamill… Why you so pretentious?

Now, I knew Silver Lake is full of  hipsters. I knew as I was driving down Silver Lake Blvd what to expect… but I gave it a chance since the people at Elf Cafe are so darn sweet.

I was wrong. Silver Lake is, and will always be, infested with hipsters listening to bands with ironic names and wearing bowler hats/thick framed ray bans. Lamill is no exception.

The one thing I will scream hallelujah about is that there is a parking lot behind the store – hallelujah! I walked into the back door with my boyfriend – we were there to have a nice cup of coffee at the end of our valentine’s day celebration. First shocker, this place is a…restaurant? and coffee bar? It was confusing. I think it should be one or the other. Either be a restaurant or be a coffee house. The environment is too upscale and stingy… it’s hard to enjoy yourself when there is no comfortable couchy place to sit. We even tried to sit down at a table with our to-go drinks and the hipster guy monitoring the floor comes up to us and tells us that part of the room was closed. But other people were sitting in the room… this rubbed me the wrong way so I immediately left.

I will say, I had a nice iced chai… it had masala curry spices, milk and sugar. My boo had an iced mocha, made with dark chocolate which was nice, but Bourgeois Pig nails the mocha every time. But the decent drinks don’t win me over after the terrible atmosphere and customer service.

I won’t return to Lamill… sorry hipsters!

 

Lamill Coffee Boutique on Urbanspoon

23rd Street Cafe (USC Area)

23rd Street cafe is one of the well-known restaurants in the USC area. So after 3 years of being here, it was time for me to try it.

The portions are huge and most are only $7.99! You’ll have plenty for dinner and leftovers for later. If you go with someone, get two plates and split (as custom in the Indian dining tradition). Pictured below is Aloo Gobi (potatoes and cauliflower) and chicken curry, both delicious plates at 2rd Street Cafe. Along with the dish, they give you rice, yogurt, naan and daal (lentils).

 

23rd Street Cafe on Urbanspoon

Spicy Mayan Monday

Ever since I had a spicy mayan mocha at Chuao in San Diego, I became obsessed with all things spicy/chocolate.

So when I discovered this Spicy Hot Cocoa at Trader Joe’s I dropped it straight into my shopping cart, no questions. It is great as hot chocolate, but I have found two other uses.

1) Spicy Mocha – I use my Keurig brewer to make a single cup of dark coffee, then add a small scoop of the spicy mixture. Spicy chocolate coffee… what could be better?

2) Spicy Chocolate Brownies – use a standard recipe for brownies, but substitute the unsweetened cocoa powder for the spicy hot cocao mix. These brownies are delicious – just a hint of spice.

Best Trader Joe’s purchase yet!

HauteLook

Every morning I check HauteLook deals.

A friend from my internship referred me last summer and since then I have made two (but amazing) purchases from HauteLook.

First, a Romeo and Juliet Couture sweater for $39.00 (originally $99.00 if I remember correctly). The line echoes the styles of Blake Lively from Gossip Girl and are very easy to wear – loose and with earthy color tones that make matching easy.

Second, I purchased these Lucky Brand booties for $72.00 (originally $139.00). The heel is about four inches, but they are so comfortable. I would not recommend them for a night of walking, but they are definitely comfortable for walking short distances or standing for a long time.

I see more Hautelook purchases in my future… the deals are amazing. Furthermore, their customer service is top notch. I used the instant message service on their website to ask a question and they responded immediately and nicely. Happy shopping!

 

 

J.Crew Student Discount

This information is glorious.

Yes, J.Crew gives a student discount… 15%!

So I got this sparkly yet simple bracelet that would have cost me $18.50 plus tax for $17.17

The bracelets come in strings of magenta, orange, yellow, sea foam green (pictured), and dark blue. They are dainty and can instantly class up any outfit.

“Beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity” – Plato

Philippe’s (Chinatown)

Any time I’m near Union Station, I hit up this place for their famous 10 cent coffee and french dipped sandwiches.

The coffee is good, nothing spectacular but how can you pass it up when it’s so cheap? The french dipped sandwiches are awesome. I have tried the turkey and the ham, but I would have to say the ham sandwich is my favorite. I’m not quite sure what french dipped means – but basically they dip both interior sides of the bread in some sauce…it’s delicious. Try the special sauce located on every table but be careful not to use too much… it’s horseradish so your nostrils will sting!

Expect this place to be busy every time. With the awesome food and great prices, no wonder it’s always swarming with people.

Philippe, The Original on Urbanspoon