100th post! Birthday dinner at The Churchill

This year I spent my birthday with some close friends, who are a group of pretty amazing people! We got a table at The Churchill, which has great food and an impeccable atmosphere.

The Churchill is located on 3rd street amidst other unique restaurants and cute shops. The atmosphere was laid back yet refined with a rustic/industrial hybrid feel. With an outdoor patio and an eclectic mix of seating arrangements inside (my favorite was the table where we sat – a long dinner table made of wood complete with two wooden benches), this place is just as much about atmosphere as it is about food! We started off with a bottle of wine, which is half off on Tuesdays! The menu provided so many amazing options that it was difficult to choose. Since we wanted a little bit of everything, we ordered a few different plates to split.

The macaroni and cheese was rich and creamy with a hint of poblano spice. The dish added a unique flair to a traditional childhood staple. The half chicken was served atop a bed of tomatoes, green beans, arugula and mushrooms. The savory taste had a buttery goodness to it that reminded me of a home-cooked meal. We also enjoyed a ricotta and arugula pizza, which had a thin, flaky crust along with meatballs in a homemade tomato sauce.

To end the meal, we all had birthday cake flavored shots, which were to die for! I don’t like vodka, but whatever they used I absolutely loved. The shot smelled like it tasted – the warm vanilla scent of birthday cake. Our server was kind, responsive, fun and made sure that we had a great time. I will definitely return to The Churchill!
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Sutton Place Cookies

Sutton Place Cookies handed out samples at last weekend’s Tastemade barbecue, and I couldn’t help but be immediately drawn to the adorable design.

Owner Alix Scarlott started this cookie company from her home kitchen in Sutton Place, a neighborhood in Manhattan. Alix baked for her own enjoyment, until people started inquiring about personalized orders. It was then that she discovered this could turn into a profitable, fun business.

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I loved this mint green and purple-checkered cookie design. The cookies are so beautiful; you just want to take some time to admire it before taking the first bite. The sugar cookie is classic and home-style tasting – not too sweet and with a nice consistence of crunchy at first and lightly moist in the middle. The simply sweet taste combined with the unique design makes these cookies special. I would be super excited to order a batch of these for a birthday party, Christmas party or Valentine’s Day!

Wondering how you can order Sutton Place Cookies for yourself? Well since this is a relatively new business, you will need to contact the owner directly at alix4@me.com. The kitchen is based out of Playa Vista (west LA) in Alix’s kitchen, so you’re guaranteed that nice homemade flavor! Generally she requests orders two weeks in advance and a minimum order of three dozen cookies. The average costs ranges between $2.50 and $5.00 per cookie depending on cookie size, the design, wrapping and delivery. Check out Sutton Place Cookies for your next event!

Summer BBQ @ Tastemade!

Last weekend, my friend Mark and I attended a fun, lively summer barbecue hosted by Tastemade.

If you haven’t heard of or checked out Tastemade yet, you’ve gotta! Think of a young food channel meets the playful food section of Buzzfeed. This fresh, hip company creates awesome videos (both instructional and conversational) about food. Tastemade also recently launched an amazing app any foodie will absolutely love! (I’ll discuss the AMAZING app in more detail in a separate post)

The event took place outside the Tastemade studios in Santa Monica, complete with live music by a country/bluegrass band! Chefs from YouTube’s best bbq channels cooked up delicious bite sized treats, while attendees tasted and voted on the best food! Honestly, everything was delicious, so casting the votes was a hard decision. The ice cold drinks, diverse selection of barbecue and even some homemade ice cream made it my food heaven. Check out some pictures I snapped at the event:

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Look at all that meat!

Look at all that meat!

Delicious sides- cole slaw, black eyed peas and potato salad

Delicious sides- cole slaw, black eyed peas and potato salad

Ice cold beer with naan, bbq and chutney along with bbq skewer... so yummy

Ice cold beer with naan, brisket and chutney along with bbq skewer… so yummy

 

Three Weavers, an LA microbrewery with BOMB beer

Three Weavers, an LA microbrewery with BOMB beer

Smooth, creamy homemade ice cream by McConnell's Ice Cream

Smooth, creamy homemade ice cream by McConnell’s Ice Cream

Mark and I reppin' Texas with the flag

Mark and I reppin’ Texas with the flag

 

 

 

 

 

Badmaash LA

I love what’s happening downtown! New restaurants are popping up at a fast rate, revitalizing the area that was once only a business district. A friend of mine recently discovered Badmaash LA, so a group of us tried it out!

The first thing I noticed about Badmaash was the awesome vibe – with a friendly staff and hip, modern decor, I knew this place was going to be a dining experience. My group sat in the lofted second floor of the restaurant. The walls are painted chalkboard and are filled with various Hindi sayings and random drawings. Bollywood film posters adorn the walls, giving the place a modern feel.

Now onto the menu. I’m a huge fan of Indian food so I geeked out over the various dishes that combine Indian flavor with other known dishes – the first thing that caught my eye was the Masala Fries! As the tradition when we go to Indian restaurants, my friends and I split a few dishes. For three people, 5-6 dishes was about right to be full by the end. We ordered the Masala Fries, Butter Chicken Samosas, Papri Chaat, Seekh Kabaab, and Butter Chicken.

The portions are small, but big enough to split and have 3-4 bites per person. My favorite dish was the Seekh Kabaab because of the spice and tenderness of the meat. The Masala Fries were basically fries with Indian Spices, good but not something I would order again.

Overall, I think Badmaash is a great place to hang out with friends, order some Kingfisher beer and have a few bites to eat. The atmosphere and the small plates make it a good place to relax and have fun. However, if you are looking for Indian food with big portions, more variety and a more traditional flavor, check out some other places around LA such as India Sweet House or India’s Flavor in Glendale.
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Cucumber Mint Water, My LA Summer Heat Remedy

I shouldn’t be complaining about the 88 degree weather in LA when my family in Texas is dealing with a whopping 102 with humidity! But still!

Since moving to West Hollywood, I’ve been able to take frequent trips to the surrounding grocery stores. Today I had an urge to drink something other than coffee or tea so I picked up some fresh mint and a cucumber.

I’m hesitant to call this a recipe because it is oh-so simple. My process for making this cucumber mint water was easy –

1. Fill a mason jar with water.
2. Wash and tear some mint leaves.
3. Wash and chop some cucumber.
4. Put 2 + 3 in the water, seal and refrigerate until cool.

What other water infusions have you tried? I’d love some ideas!

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Coffee For Lila

It’s been a minute!

I’m back to posting since I’ve taken quite a long break. I wanted to start by sharing a video I produced at USC for a science film competition a few months ago. My coffee obsession has only increased since learning the science behind the process… hope you enjoy!

3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

One of my freshman year roommates taught me how to make these simple peanut butter cookies. This is by far the most simple cookie recipe… all you need is:
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg

Mix the three ingredients in a bowl, place the dough in chunks on a cookie sheet, then pop them in the oven at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. These are so simple and taste best when they’re fresh out of the oven but have cooled for about 5 minutes. If you have a cookie craving late at night but don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen, this is the perfect treat.
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Mendocino Farms – now at FIGat7th

I’ve seen several Mendocino Farms throughout LA, but never had the chance to try it out. A few days ago, the newest Mendocino Farms (located in the beautiful FIGat7th shopping center in downtown LA) gave away free dinner for one night as a practice run. During my break from work, I ran over there to grab the free grub. First of all, the staff is SO nice… I was greeted warmly at the door and felt a lot of excitement from the employees. Next, I sampled some curry cous cous which was incredible… so much spice and rich flavor that reminded me of India.

I ordered the BBQ Pulled Pork sandwich for my main course, I mean how could I not when I saw this description:

slow roasted, shredded pork in a chipotle BBQ sauce, applewood smoked bacon, housemade pickles, farm house cheddar, mustard pickle slaw, potato salad spread on panini grilled Dolce Forno soft roll

The sandwich was just incredible. I mean it’s genius that they put the potato salad between the bread – the combination of flavors reminded me of a 4th of July cook out. I’ll definitely return for this sandwich and other delicious sounding items on the diverse menu. A+ Mendocino Farms!

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This Thought Catalog article offers some interesting insights about India from the American perspective. I certainly feel the same way about most of the points the authors make. We may have different customs in America, but it doesn’t make us better than other countries; every place is different. India helps you see the world from a different perspective, it makes you more thankful for the things you have, but it also makes you appreciate and gain a better understanding of how other people live.

Rose + Cardamom Cookies

I had been dying to make a dessert with rose syrup ever since I had rose falooda at Rajdhani’s in Artesia. But who knew you could make rose cookies? Yesterday I was thinking about my two favorite sweets associated with Indian dessert making – rose and cardamom – and how I wanted a recipe that incorporated both. During my Internet search, I was shocked to find a few different rose-cardamom cookie recipes. Along the way I found an amazing blog entitled A Brown Table – which is great news for me since I love cooking Indian food! Here are some pictures of this cookie making adventure, thanks to the recipe from A Brown Table.
A note to those not familiar with where to get rose syrup and cardamom – I recommend Rooh Afza rose syrup which can be found at your local grocery store or any Indian grocery store. The original recipe calls for cardamom seeds, but I just used ground cardamom from Target.
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