I Ate Los Angeles!

I just returned from a crazy weekend trip to L.A. to visit my high school best friend and celebrate our 40th birthdays in a glorious way that would have made our teenage selves proud! We stayed at  a boutique hotel on Venice Beach, shopped at The Grove and ate at rock star chef restaurants. We visited the Burbank farmers market, drank Intelligentsia coffee, ordered one too many cocktails and talked about everything and nothing for two solid days – a luxury we haven’t had since our children began constantly interrupting our cross-country phone calls.

Now I’m home – and I have a book to write, a Luscious release party to plan and a zillion other things to do. But before I dive into the usual, I’m going to enjoy my memories one more time with you…

Berry lust! I almost bought a flat to eat all by myself.
I snapped this one for my Heirloom lovin’ husband.

We had fantastic pastries from Porto’s for breakfast – guava strudel, mango empanadas, meat pies and my favorite, potato balls. Think shepherds pie, deep-fried! For lunch, we went to Mozza, a restaurant partly owned by the great bread and pastry guru, Nancy Silverton. Unbelievable.

First, the deep-fried squash blossoms filled with ricotta. Crunchy batter. Salty, juicy cheese with the perfect kiss of nutmeg.
Next a pizza that was thin crusted yet wildly airy-crunchy around the edges, with guanciole, escarole, radicchio, and an egg – all bathed in anchovy oil. Salty-licious bliss!
Finished with a strawberry-rhubarb sundae. Must remember to make almond brittle for my desserts in the fall. My mouth is watering, remembering the luscious pleasure of the strawberry ice cream swirling with the tang of rhubarb. Mmmm.

After some beach walking, we were ready for a cocktail. Not just any cocktail. This:

Berries muddled with tequila, oregano tincture, lemon and my amazement. I had more than one. Who wouldn’t?

I didn’t take a picture of dinner but I’ll paint a picture in your mind: goat cheeseburger with tomato marmalade and bacon caramel. Oh yes, I did. We keeled over after that.

The next day we started with window shopping in Venice Beach and this:

It’s cappuccino. It’s art. It was accompanied by my indecision. I couldn’t decide whether to have a twice-baked hazelnut croissant, which I imagined would be like an almond croissant, but wicked, or a thyme comte croissant. The Intelligentsia barista told me I was having both. So I did. Both great. Hazelnut best.

Lunch at Surfa’s. Flowers in my salad! Shopping in Hollywood, then dinner at Red O, Rick Bayliss’ restaurant. I got the molé enchiladas because Gia is making mole in the book I’m writing now. Delicious! I was running out of room but it didn’t diminish my pleasure in the beauty of my corn and goat cheese tamales, my spicy pomegranate cocktail or the habanero salsa that blew our heads off. (And when I looked out the window, would you believe I saw that my childhood friend Hal Sparks was headlining at The Improv across the street?! Los Angeles is huge but the world is small.) The molé looks a lot simpler than it tastes.

Chocolate. Chili. Cinnamon. Mystery.

My dear friend of my heart showed me her city in food. We’ve known each other for more than half our lives now but most of those years have been spent apart – college, culinary school, living in different cities, marriage, children, jobs…life. It was amazing to catch up and be able to integrate our now-selves with our then-selves and carry our friendship into the next half of our lives. Shining our hearts forward. Living…learning…and eating!

2 Replies to “I Ate Los Angeles!”

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