You may have questions about skin tightening for cellulite. You will only be able to answer them after knowing some facts about the process. Skin tightening is a process that is not unique to cellulite reduction. It is also important in the problems of skin firmness. Is actually composed of several processes that you can [...]
Do you have problems with how to reduce stretch marks after weight loss? You simply have to read this page. Reducing stretch marks especially after weight loss is often cumbersome. You may end up sitting in your couch doing nothing about it. The good news is you do not have to suffer the ugly sight. [...]
Happy Easter! We celebrated the occasion with a delicious whole lamb roast at Tender Greens in Hollywood. The lamb was lean but tender and moist. In the spirit of the event, we even tried the heart and liver. Add to that a juicy fish, lentils, asparagus, potatoes, mushrooms, a couple of salads, pea soup, artichoke [...]
I have a new story up on Dinela.com called “An LA Carnivore’s Guide to Veggie Dining.” The biggest delight in writing the piece was the wonderful meal I experienced at Madeleine Bistro in Tarzana. Run by husband and wife team David and Molly Anderson, Madeleine serves fine, animal-free cuisine. Sound like an oxymoron? I was shocked by how tasty [...]
Flora Springs 2005 Trilogy from Napa Valley is our wine pick of the day. I had an opportunity to sample half a dozen Flora Springs wines at a dinner hosted by the third-generation, family-owned winery at Wilshire, one of my favorite Santa Monica restaurants, back in March. The 2005 Trilogy is a Meritage blend of traditional [...]
Potato pizza? Sounds like a far-fetched idea in carb-phobic Santa Monica. I, too, was skeptical, but let me tell you, this creamy pizza with fontina cheese and rosemary is a decadent delight. It’s one of the highlights at chef Jason Travi’s new coastal Italian restaurant, Riva. (Travi also runsFraiche in Culver City.) We started our meal with [...]
Fans of Tender Greens, rejoice. New locations in San Diego (opening in June) and West Hollywood (slated for September) are just the beginning. Owners of the wildly popular, eco-friendly salad spot in Culver City have plans to expand across the city, state and nation. “I think we see ourselves growing sustainably, maybe three restaurants a year,” owner [...]
Huckleberry Cafe, from Chef Zoe Nathan and Josh Loeb, the husband and wife team behind Rustic Canyon, has barely been open three weeks, but word has clearly spread. There was a line out the door today at lunch, despite the rain. Nathan is pretty famous for her pastries, and while Rustic Canyon only had Saturday [...]
We’d like to give a shout out to Lesley Balla, former writer/editor of Eater LA, who is launching a new food blog calledChow Balla. At Eater LA, Lesley pretty much kicked ass — constantly breaking food stories, seemingly everywhere at once. She made Eater LA a must read for food news and gossip addicts. Everyone will [...]
You’ve probably heard the term, “Never trust a skinny chef.” But in LA, chefs often have to be camera ready. You never know when the Food Network might call. This city is full of beautiful chefs serving food to beautiful people, and I’ve always wondered how they manage to stay so trim amid all that temptation. Then [...]
Victor and I had the pleasure of checking out AK Restaurant + Bar this week, another relatively new hot spot on Abbot Kinney in Venice from former Four Seasons chef Conny Andersson. We enjoyed a cool beer tasting featuring a selection of brews from around the globe paired with various dishes. I’m more of a wine [...]
I must have walked past China Beach Vietnamese Bistrodozens of times without going in. It’s an unassuming little spot right next door to a corner liquor store and across the street from the Canal Club in Venice. I have always wondered whether it could be one of those divey, under-the-radar finds. Given that I live only [...]
Vic and I finally checked out the newest hot spot on Abbot Kinney in Venice, Gjelina, which opened over the summer. We walked in without a reservation at 7 p.m. on a recent weeknight and had no trouble snagging a seat the the communal table. (If we had arrived an hour later, we would have [...]
I already have a good phone, so no sale there, but this did succeed in making me hungry. If you enjoyed the clip, give it a vote in this poll. – Victor.
Sincere apologies for our protracted absence. We recently attempted (unsuccessfully so far) to transfer our blog to a new host. And while our Grubtrotters motto is “chow, fun,” we also spent the past month recovering from a decidedly un-fun family health crisis that coincided with our nation’s economic collapse. We’ll spare you the details, but [...]
If you name a place Delizia Cafe, the food had better deliver. Unfortunately, what they call food at Delizia is anything but delicious. Victor and I had been stuck inside our Venice Beach pad most of Sunday and wanted to get outside for a nice walk and to grab a quick bite. I have bladed past [...]
More proof of the power of food to bring two souls together. The LA food bloggers behindOishii Eats and Eat Drink & Be Merry, met and fell in love over food and just got engaged. They detailed their food courtship (with lots of lovely photos) and announced the happy news on their blogs today. Congrats and best [...]
My favorite late summer picnic grub is:
Here is your chance to be on TV. The Food Network is developing a new show called “Eat The Clock” that is being billed as a culinary version of “The Amazing Race.” The program plans to showcase chow buffs in different cities, including Los Angeles. We have the official pitch from the casting execs: Are [...]
You may have noticed I have been missing in action for much of the summer. That’s because I just returned to L.A. from a five-week teaching gig at Northwestern University in Evanston. Make that five weeks of sheer food hell. I was forced to eat most of my meals in the 1835 Hinman cafeteria with [...]
Sierra Nevada beer fans should considerBrooks in Ventura for a special event Wednesday night. For $100 a person, including tip and tax, you get a dinner of five courses, each paired with a different Sierra Nevada brew. We just tried the Southern Hemisphere Harvest Fresh Hop Ale — say that three times fast after you’ve enjoyed a few — [...]
The toasted sesame seeds get shortchanged in the promotional material. SugarFish provides a printed guide to explain the sauces and seasonings that accompany each selection of sushi. For example, the tuna sashimi comes with scallion and ponzu while you can enhance your yellowtail with soy sauce and a few drops of lemon. But aside from the [...]
With Jenny out of town on business, I found myself on a date with a pretty young girl the other night in Santa Monica. Her name is Sophia, and she wanted some ice cream. We were at the Third Street Promenade, which actually doesn’t have as many ice cream options as you might figure. I [...]
Business gained steam for Venice-basedPlatine Cookies in 2004 after being featured on the Food Network. We keep missing that “Food Finds” episode, but we just had the pleasure of tasting some goodies prepared by chef Jamie Cantor, so life is good. Freshness is one of Platine’s calling cards, and that was evident from bite one. Everything is [...]
Not that we’re cracking any kind of huge mystery here, but you know one of the reasons Communism flopped was because nobody had any choices. That’s why we love the spirit of the DeTox-ReTox promotion at the Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills. Every Sunday this summer from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., its blue on blue poolside lounge will [...]
We went back to Mozza Pizzeria recently for the first time in more than a year, and this time we shared the experience with four others — one veteran and three rookies. Here are some of their thoughts: Setting The one major complaint was that the music was too loud, which made conversation more of a strain [...]
Guilty as charged. Jenny was taking a picture from above the open staircase at Anisettewhen chef/owner Alain Giraud raced up to her to ask if she was a blogger. We had popped in for breakfast over the weekend after noticing significant buzz in the blogosphere about Giraud’s new establishment in Santa Monica. Apparently Giraud, former chef at Bastide, had been [...]
I don’t make it to Koreatown very often anymore. An ex of mine used to live there, and I’d rather not revisit those memories. Of course, when Josef Centeno was the chef at Opus, I did occasionally override my aversion. (Incidentally, I can’t wait to try Centeno’s new place, Lot 1 in Echo Park, and I hear [...]
The DCK was better than the STK. There is nothing wrong with that in and of itself. We’re huge duck fans, and Jenny’s order of duck breast with caramelized fennel, shallots and ginger confit was outstanding. But when the restaurant builds its name around the word, it needs to deliver a killer cut of steak. STK fell [...]
We’ve all heard of organic and fair trade chocolate. But there’s a new product on the market called Intentional Chocolate, which has the blessing of the Dalai Lama. In fact, the chocolate itself has been blessed by Buddhist monks and other expert meditators who infused it with good intentions: “Whoever consumes this chocolate will manifest optimal health [...]
A source tells Grubtrotters that hot French Chef Christophe Eme at Ortolan is on the hunt for a TV gig. Eme is married to actress Jeri Ryan so he certainly has the connections. His menu is full of creative genius so he’s got the chops. The only barrier? Some insiders think he needs to soften the heavy [...]
Los Angeles Times critic S. Irene Virbila gives BLT Steak two stars in this week’s Food section. I had my birthday dinner at BLT Steak’s Washington. D.C. location last year, with James Carville, surrounded by a bevy of blondes, sitting a few tables away. The meal was fantastic. Those cheese popovers are unbelievably addictive. We haven’t had the pleasure [...]
LA Times Food Critic S. Irene Virbila rips into Nobu Los Angeles for being more scene than substance. In her weekly review she disses the restaurant for its lack of creativity and for sub-par ingredients. Some of the raw seafood is first-rate, some just a notch above mediocre. But the rice is gummy, and the nori sash around the [...]
It was girls night out at the new Father’s Office at the Helms Bakery Building in Culver City earlier this week. The second incarnation of this insanely trendy Santa Monica-born gastropub opened a month ago to massive hype and lines worthy of holidays at Disneyland. We figured some of the initial frenzy had probably died down by [...]
Wine: Bodega Melipal Malbec. Year: 2005. Country: Argentina (Mendoza region). Price: Under $20. Tremendous value. Notes: Fruity (blackberry) and robust (coffee). We were sorry we only picked up one bottle, a mistake that will quickly be rectified. We enjoyed this wine with baked red snapper in a creole sauce. Lots of bold flavors all paddling [...]
The most memorable part of our lunch atFlame, a Persian establishment in Westwood, was the Doogh Abali. We weren’t familiar with the concept of a yogurt soda. But it stood out on the menu: Orange juice. Snapple lemonade. Green tea. Coffee. Milk. Doogh Abali. It was sour, salty and sparkly all at the same time. [...]
After all of our posts of late about strange meats and speed eating, I thought I’d toss one to the veggie crowd. Walking along the Venice Beach boardwalk moments ago, I stumbled across a little hole in the wall called the Fruit Gallery just off Oceanfront Walk at One Westminster Ave. Waiting inside like a [...]
I sat down with Chef Akasha for a piece on DineLA.com. The Q&A focuses on her efforts to make her Culver City restaurant eco-friendly. But we also wound up chatting about everything from vegetarians to gay men and feng shui. You can check out the interview here, and below are a few extras just for Grubtrotters readers: Jenny: [...]
We wanted to let you know (just in case you have been hiding under a rock) that Father’s Office has opened a second location in Culver City. Of course, you might have already noticed the line of people snaked around the Helms Bakery Building. We doubt that the new spot will actually ease the crowd at the [...]
The ice cream at Scoops is so tasty you want to curse. This is so #$%*# good! When a friend — inspired by our pot gelato posts — invited us for dessert at this ice cream/gelato/sorbet joint on Heliotrope just off Melrose, we were fired up. We had sampled gelato throughout our tour of Italy, and we [...]
Esquire admits that its feature on the Best Sandwiches in America is incomplete. We will help fill at least one gap. The only real downside to Bay Cities Italian Deli in Santa Monica is that the parking lot during lunchtime is the automotive equivalent of a steel-cage death match. Even that hassle is not enough to dissuade devotees of [...]
We live in Venice Beach, and our friends Rob and Ash are near the Grove so finding a casual brunch spot in between can be tough. After searching online, we settled on a place none of us had tried, Cafe Laurent in Culver City. We walked in through the back patio, shaded with large umbrellas, where a [...]
Feeling a bit under the weather, I ordered the spicy chicken soup ($9) for lunch at Axe on Abbot Kinney in Venice. Made with white chicken and rice in a simple, clear broth, it tasted clean and healthy. I’m not usually a huge fan of cilantro so I asked for the spicy relish on the side. But [...]
As the groom, I didn’t get overly involved with the wedding details. But I did insist on one thing: We were going to serve pie, because most civilized people prefer pie over cake. Even if they didn’t, I prefer pie over cake, and I actually had a say in this matter. I only mention this [...]
I tasted steaks at both extremes of the tenderness scale at Boa Steakhouse in Santa Monica tonight. I started with the 2-oz. premium Japanese Wagyu appetizer. It’s a cashmere sweater of a steak — soft, smooth, expensive and wonderful. For the main course, I ordered the certified organic, grass-fed New York strip, the yogi of steaks, if [...]
The Viceroy’s poolside back patio in Santa Monica is as swank as it gets on the West Side. And we’re big fans of Whist Chef Warren Schwartz’s eclectic palate and focus on seasonal local ingredients from the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market. But the $8 valet fee and lengthy gourmet lunches have always kept busy business midday diners [...]
Seems LA restaurants have noticed the economy is tanking. Table 8 on Melrose feels your pain. It’s offering diners “Recessions Concessions,” a three-course prix fixe meal from chef Govind Armstrong for just $38 on weekdays. Optional wine pairing is an extra $18. Those who prefer the bar scene can order an “Inflation Libation,” a glass of wine [...]
We checked out two new tapas and wine bars last week, Bar Pintxo in Santa Monica and Vinoteque in Culver City. Both were festive, yummy and fun, albeit with completely different menus and vibes. Bar Pinxto is a Spanish-style tapas bar from one of my favorite neighborhood chefs, Joe Miller, of Joe’s in Venice. We stopped in after work [...]
You may have questions about skin tightening for cellulite. You will only be able to answer them after knowing some facts about the process.
Skin tightening is a process that is not unique to cellulite reduction. It is also important in the problems of skin firmness. Is actually composed of several processes that you can choose from depending on the condition you want treated. Therefore, it pays to know more about skin tightening and cellulite, as well as conditions in other parts of the body.
Fact 1: Modern Skin Tightening Techniques
The modern technologies used for non-invasive skin tightening are part of infrared laser, infrared pulsed light and radio frequency. These sets of teams have the ability to develop a simple adjustment on your skin. This is done through the transmission of heat deep into the area. The heat that penetrates the skin immediately causes contraction of the underlying tissues. This is an indication that your body begins to create new sets of collagen. The emergence of new collagen over time will result in a denser skin.
Fact 2: Benefits of Skin Tightening
Numerous non-invasive skin tightening procedures are used to stretch the skin and helps remove signs of aging. In fact, the device has the ability to make the skin on the forehead and cheeks denser. It has the ability to lift sagging eyebrows. You can also increase the skin of the chin and neck with the technique. It has the ability to reduce wrinkles that were formed in the eye region. It also has the ability to reduce the development of cellulite. Finally, you can strengthen the skin of your stomach, buttocks, arms and thighs.
Fact 3: Results from Skin Tightening
Some people can immediately see the result of the process after the initial session. Some of them have at least 40% to 60% progress in the appearance of their skin after first-line therapy. This will result in more favorable results as long as the sessions continue and finish in a year. On the other hand, there are also people who do not render favorable results. Sometimes, skin tightening can occur even after four to six months of treatment. Well, this is because the results depend on several factors. The list includes the type of a person’s skin and the severity of the disease. In some cases, you will understand why non-invasive skin tightening may test only very minimal.
Fact 4: Skin Tightening and Cellulite Reduction
The result of the procedures for skin tightening can be simple, but can also be very clear in getting rid of cellulite. The best results of surgical procedure cannot be developed through machines that stretch the skin, but the problem of youth and adult skin can be remedied effectively through rigorous and continuous sessions.
Since these devices are non-invasive, skin tightening is able to develop a large amount of new collagen, the appearance of the skin will be thicker and stronger.
The end result of stretching of the skin varies depending on the equipment used in the process. Most people can only find obvious redness on the skin that can last for several hours after the procedure. You may also experience some discomfort after the procedure. In a very rare case, minor burns can be experienced.
The best thing is that you should remember that skin tightening effects may vary according to type of treatment used and the extent of the condition that you are trying to solve. You should also make sure you go to a certified therapist who will carry out the treatment for you – if you choose non-invasive or surgical procedures. This is so you can avoid the potential complications of these techniques on your cellulite.
Do you have problems with how to reduce stretch marks after weight loss? You simply have to read this page.
Reducing stretch marks especially after weight loss is often cumbersome. You may end up sitting in your couch doing nothing about it. The good news is you do not have to suffer the ugly sight. All you need to do is try some solutions that offer help for the problem.
Solution 1: OTC Products
There are a number of OTC products from which you may choose from. These OTC products make the stretch mark lighter in terms of color. Although they do not promise to eliminate stretch marks, these have the capacity to make treatment easier for red or pink stretch marks. There are various brands offering the results, at least this is what those who have tried them say about the product.
Solution 2: Surgical Removal of the Stretch Marks
This is not a typical remedy for weight loss stretch marks but when your red stretch marks turn silvery or white, then it is but wise to use this solution for the problem. However, you have to take note that there are instances when incisions made through surgery may result to scarring. This may just aggravate the problem.
Solution 3: Dermabrasion
This is an actual procedure that helps in skin regeneration. Basically, it removes several skin layers. The advantage of this type of stretch mark reduction technique involves the fact that your former pinkish stretch marks will return to its normal color within several days after the treatment. It also allows you to resume work within a week or two after the session. It has some drawbacks though in that results are temporary and may also form scars, darken skin and raise the potential for acquiring infection.
Solution 4: Chemical Peels
Chemical peels are often referred to as the chemexfoliation process. Others also call it by the term derma peeling. If there is one thing to take note of in this special solution for stretch mark reduction after weight loss, that is the fact that it uses several chemicals like glycolic acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid and trichloroacetic acid. This results to controlled wounds since blisters are formed. Eventually, these blisters will peel off thus giving way to a better skin condition. The process, in the end may result to abnormal skin pigmentation especially if the patient is taking birth control pills.
Solution 5: Laser Therapy
Laser therapy is considered as one of the best ways to deal with stretch marks after weight loss. This process can be a solution both for old and new stretch marks. This includes processes such as removal, vaporization and break down of the tissues that cause stretch marks. You are advised to undergo at least six sessions though to experience results.
Now, after knowing more about the solutions you may have to reduce stretch marks after weight loss, the next thing for you to do is to weigh in on each option. All these solutions have their own pros and cons. Some treatments may also offer more benefits than what others may offer. Consider the price of undergoing the treatments as well. From here, you may then decide on what to use to solve your problem.
Happy Easter! We celebrated the occasion with a delicious whole lamb roast at Tender Greens in Hollywood. The lamb was lean but tender and moist. In the spirit of the event, we even tried the heart and liver. Add to that a juicy fish, lentils, asparagus, potatoes, mushrooms, a couple of salads, pea soup, artichoke tarts, fruit and veggie skewers, dessert tarts and two types of beer: Golden Spike light ale and Red Hill Red amber ale from the Tustin Brewing Company. It was great meal all around, and our 15-month-old son devoured everything. Except the beer, that is. So glad he’s a good eater and didn’t make a scene or jump into the fire. (He wanted to.) Max doesn’t like to sit still, but he definitely inherited his parents’ appetite.
I have a new story up on Dinela.com called “An LA Carnivore’s Guide to Veggie Dining.” The biggest delight in writing the piece was the wonderful meal I experienced at Madeleine Bistro in Tarzana. Run by husband and wife team David and Molly Anderson, Madeleine serves fine, animal-free cuisine. Sound like an oxymoron? I was shocked by how tasty and filling the food was. David Anderson is a bit of a vegan genius. A veteran of five-star restaurants, he was the only student in his culinary school class to get an A in butchering, although he temporarily lost his voice from the stress.
My favorites were the artistically presented beet tartar, the grilled lemon rosemary seitan and the chocolate souffle. Don’t ask me how he does the souffle without any eggs or milk. Like I said, he’s a genius. If you’re looking for something a little less fancy, he also makes comfort food, including a surprisingly delicious veggie version of the Big Mac for lunch. I brought the leftovers home to Victor, who is the biggest fan ofFogo de Chao‘s all-you-can-eat Brazilian steakhouse that I know. He devoured the vegan cuisine and licked his fingers.
If you can’t imagine driving to the Valley for a vegan meal, then wait six months. The Andersons are currently securing financing and looking for a space in West Hollywood to launch a new vegan restaurant by the end of the year. The new place will be “bigger, with a bar, more of a scene kind of place,” says co-owner Molly Anderson. It will also have a new name.
The Andersons have no plans to close Madeleine, but they are considering making it a more casual restaurant to fit with its Valley setting. Whole Foods is opening up nearby, and Yoga Works is coming in across the street. So they want to capitalize on the post-yoga crowd. Right now, hungry yogis sporting Hard Tail and mats may feel out of place at a fancy restaurant with tablecloths.
As a fledgling yoga teacher who worries about the environment, I’m trying to incorporate more vegetarian meals into my diet. Madeleine makes that easy. When the food is this good, you don’t miss the meat. We swear. – Jenny
Madeleine Bistro, 18621 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana; 818-758-6971.
Flora Springs 2005 Trilogy from Napa Valley is our wine pick of the day. I had an opportunity to sample half a dozen Flora Springs wines at a dinner hosted by the third-generation, family-owned winery at Wilshire, one of my favorite Santa Monica restaurants, back in March.
The 2005 Trilogy is a Meritage blend of traditional Bordeaux varietals, 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 4% Malbec mainly from the Komes Ranch estate vineyards surrounding the winery. The wine spent 22 months in new French oak barrels, and it’s wonderfully rich, full-bodied and balanced.
The best wine of the night was actually the 1996 Trilogy, but that one is a lot harder and more expensive to get your hands on at this point. The ’05 Trilogy retails for $65, but I found it online here for as little as $39.99.
The family behind Flora Springs owns 650 acres of vineyards in Napa Valley, a total of 10 vineyards in five appellations: Rutherford, St. Helena, Oakville and Carneros. All the vineyards are sustainable, and 20% are certified organic, with another 240 acres to be certified this year. A full 90% of the grapes used in the Flora Springs red wines are from organic vineyards. That means no spraying of harmful chemicals. Instead, they use natural methods such as cover crops, hawks and owls to control problems such as pests.
A quick summary of our dinner to whet your palate: We started with a delicate hamachi seasoned with ponzu and wasabi, which was paired with Flora Springs 2007 Soliloquy Sauvignon Blanc. That was followed by ricotta gnocchi with hedgehog mushrooms, cippolini onions and chestnuts, which we enjoyed with the 2007 barrel fermented Chardonnay. For our third course, we savored a rich and delicious moroccan spiced lamb stew with fregola sarda (a healthy pasta from Sardinia), cauliflower, piquillo pepper harissa (a hot sauce) and banana raita (a cool, yogurt-based sauce). This dish was accompanied by the 2006 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. And finally, we sipped the ’96, ’99 and ’06 Trilogy wines with some artisanal cheeses before capping off the evening with a dessert of pain perdu with meyer lemon, huckleberries, port reduction and vanilla ice cream. Yum. — Jenny
Potato pizza? Sounds like a far-fetched idea in carb-phobic Santa Monica. I, too, was skeptical, but let me tell you, this creamy pizza with fontina cheese and rosemary is a decadent delight. It’s one of the highlights at chef Jason Travi’s new coastal Italian restaurant, Riva. (Travi also runsFraiche in Culver City.)
We started our meal with the crudo, thin slices of raw fish similar to sashimi. A dorade with sea salt and olive oil melted in my mouth, followed by fluke with mint and blood orange. Very nice. Next we tried the tradizionale pizza with San Daniele proscuitto, tomato arugula, red onion and pecorino romano. I’m a huge proscuitto fan so I was shocked to discover that I enjoyed the potato pizza more. The proscuitto was sliced a bit thick for my taste, and there was something so rich and wonderful about the potato pizza. Pure comfort food.
Our group of four also shared three entrees, including the pork chop, which was moist and tender. Mine at home never are. I wish I knew the secret. (Writing that, I realize I sound like that cheesy Folgers commercial from the 70s. “Jim never has a second cup at home.”)
The shellfish diavolo (the last pic of the post) was a messy mixture of lobster, mussels, clams and squid in a hot tomato sauce. The dish also contained fregola sarda, which was a new one for me. It’s a toasted breadcrumb-like pasta that’s apparently better for your blood sugar levels than most starches. Not sure if it made up for the potato pizza, but nevertheless. The dish was just OK. Not as much kick as I had expected.
My favorite entree, by far, was the lamb spezzatino (pictured below), a rich, comforting dish with a wonderful smoky flavor from the mozzarella. Definitely a winner, and it worked well with the 2004 Barbaresco.
Overall, Riva has a nice, upscale vibe, far less touristy than most of the other places near the Third Street Promenade. It’s got a bar and a pizza bar, and the place was buzzing all night. With Mozza, Gjelina and Riva, I think LA’s reputation for having crappy pizza is finally an anachronism. — Jenny
Fans of Tender Greens, rejoice. New locations in San Diego (opening in June) and West Hollywood (slated for September) are just the beginning. Owners of the wildly popular, eco-friendly salad spot in Culver City have plans to expand across the city, state and nation. “I think we see ourselves growing sustainably, maybe three restaurants a year,” owner David Dressler told Grubtrotters. “We don’t see there being a cap to the number of stores. There are opportunities for 20 to 30 from Northern California to Southern California and one-offs in other parts of the country.”
The reason for such massive expansion? Long lines outside the Culver City location are a huge clue. While many restaurants are suffering during the recession, Tender Greens had its best month ever in April (boosted by Earth Day, perhaps) and sells $3 million worth of food a year. “We see a hole in the marketplace,” Dressler says. “There are not a lot of places for good, affordable, healthy food, where you can get a great organic plate for $10. The lion’s share of our business is within three to five miles. People are just so time-crunched, they don’t want to spend 15 minutes in the car to go to lunch.”
Dressler is looking for locations with lots of foot traffic from homes and businesses, as well as outdoor space for sidewalk cafes and plenty of parking. “We’re looking at Burbank and Tarzana, Hollywood and maybe Santa Monica…We’ll get to Santa Monica eventually, but it’s a slightly more difficult restaurant market.”
So could Tender Greens turn into the next Pinkberry or even Starbucks? Whatever you do, don’t use the vile C word. “We may have multiple locations, but we don’t see ourselves as a chain,” Dressler says. “Our goal is to build a company that believes wholeheartedly in sustainability. We’re not trying to build a behemoth.” – Jenny
Huckleberry Cafe, from Chef Zoe Nathan and Josh Loeb, the husband and wife team behind Rustic Canyon, has barely been open three weeks, but word has clearly spread. There was a line out the door today at lunch, despite the rain. Nathan is pretty famous for her pastries, and while Rustic Canyon only had Saturday morning breakfasts, you can buy her goodies for breakfast and lunch every day at Huckleberry Cafe. (Saturday breakfasts at Rustic Canyon are kaput now.)
The cafe occupies a bright, casual space, perfect for Santa Monica, while the menu focuses on “locally sourced, farm-driven” foods, such as salads, sandwiches, soups, rotisserie meats (free-range Jidori chicken, of course, and duck on Thursdays) as well as all kinds of breakfast treats. Also perfect for Santa Monica. There’s a communal table for those who want to mingle with neighbors, a growing trend in LA. I arrived just after 11 a.m. in the mood for a hearty breakfast, but I’d just missed the cutoff. Instead I ordered the one savory, breakfasty item on the lunch menu, a fried egg sandwich with Niman Ranch bacon, gruyere, arugula and aioli on two thick pieces of freshly baked country bread ($9.50). Delicious. The caffe latte hit the spot, too.
I also brought home some moist turkey meatballs in a tomato sauce and three prepared salads, one with farro (a type of wheat), english peas and feta; one with tangy broccoli and one with crunchy/sweet sugar snap peas ($12.75 for the trio). All fresh, healthy and tasty. Thumbs up for Huckleberry Cafe. Not that they need it. – Jenny
We’d like to give a shout out to Lesley Balla, former writer/editor of Eater LA, who is launching a new food blog calledChow Balla. At Eater LA, Lesley pretty much kicked ass — constantly breaking food stories, seemingly everywhere at once. She made Eater LA a must read for food news and gossip addicts. Everyone will miss her there, but Balla junkies need not despair. In addition to her new food blog, she’s now editor ofTastingTable LA, a new e-mail newsletter. So sign up for the latest food dish.
And while we’re on the topic of food sites, I must offer a ridiculously, embarrassingly — I hate adverbs, but in this case, they’re warranted — belated thanks to FoodDigger.com, a cool new site that hosted us at a dinner back in October at the all-you-can eat Brazilian churrascaria steakhouse Fogo de Chao. There we were lucky enough to meet fellow food bloggers Wandering Chopsticks, The Foodie Traveler, Teenage Glutster, kevinEats and Famished L.A.
Vic and I first visited Fogo together in Chicago six years ago after a group of fellow journalism instructors had a contest to pick the restaurant for a night on the town. Victor, who had visited the Fogo outside Dallas, won the contest with his campaign of “unlimited salad, unlimited meat. Did I say unlimited?” Its proximity to the Blue Frog karaoke bar was also a plus. Since then, we have make a habit of visiting the Chicago Fogo nearly every summer, and I’m happy to report that the Beverly Hills outlet offers just as gluttonous an experience.
We keep thinking that any day now, they might not let us come back…that Victor’s picture will be hanging behind the hostess stand like a Wanted poster. Anyone who has seen him in action knows that he could easily put Fogo out of business with his appetite for bacon-wrapped filet mignon, rump roast, garlic beef, lamb chops and chicken legs. I love the concept of little green and red coasters that tell the gaucho servers when to swoop in with their swords of meat. The start of the meal is always like a meat swarm, truly a vegan’s worst nightmare. Eventually, things calm down, but about an hour after everyone else has finished, Victor usually has his coaster still on green. He calmly chews his meat and asks for more. He has earned such a reputation among our friends that they have urged us to name our first child Fogo.
The man truly has a bottomless stomach, but he does have a strategy. Eat a hearty breakfast, and then nibble the rest of the day and work out hard at the gym mid-afternoon to keep the metabolism revved and to build up an appetite. The classic rookie mistake is overloading on the salad bar, which is tempting because it’s so extensive and tasty. Take it easy there, and save room for the big-ticket (i.e. meat) items. You can always go back to the salad bar. And while the cheese puffsare delicious, they can fill you up fast. You want to get your money’s worth, and Fogo ain’t cheap. Take just one bite for flavor, and don’t forget to save room for the tres leches cake and the papaya cream. There’s no shame in having to waddle out. — Jenny.
You’ve probably heard the term, “Never trust a skinny chef.” But in LA, chefs often have to be camera ready. You never know when the Food Network might call. This city is full of beautiful chefs serving food to beautiful people, and I’ve always wondered how they manage to stay so trim amid all that temptation. Then one night while watching late-night TV, I ran across Ford’s Filling Station’s new chef, Kristi Ritchey, in an infomercial for Barry’s Boot Camp. She was touting the fact that she’d lost 100 pounds.
I decided to dig a little deeper and came up with this piece that will appear in Monday’s LA Times. The answer, of course, is working out really hard and watching what you eat — unless you’re Table 8 Chef Govind Armstrong, who is blessed with an inability to gain weight no matter what he eats. But what surprised me most is how many chefs refuse to eat their own food.
Here’s Page Moll, chef at the beachcomber Cafe in Malibu: “I’ll make you a great crème brûlée or flourless cake, but I’m not going to eat it.”
“Every dish we do we taste over and over,” says Sona and Comme Ca Chef David Myers. “You get sick of it.”
I suppose I can identify. Back in college, I had a summer job at Billy Bakers in San Pedro. Oat bran muffins were all the rage at the time. For years after leaving that job, I couldn’t eat another muffin. The thought made me cringe. In fact, the first muffins I truly have enjoyed since then were the fresh ones baked every day on a recentWilderness Safaris trip to the Kalahari Plains Camp and the Okavanga Delta in Botswana. Enough time and distance from the saturation source, I suppose. Plus, those muffins were goooood.
So if cooking is an appetite suppressant, maybe those who want to lose weight should get a job in a kitchen. Then again, if you have a serious sweet tooth or issues with impulse control, that strategy just might backfire. Here’s Kristi Ritchey: “There were definitely times after a workout — I’m not going to lie — there were a few days when I ate cheesecake for breakfast.”
Good to know that chefs are only human. — Jenny
Victor and I had the pleasure of checking out AK Restaurant + Bar this week, another relatively new hot spot on Abbot Kinney in Venice from former Four Seasons chef Conny Andersson. We enjoyed a cool beer tasting featuring a selection of brews from around the globe paired with various dishes. I’m more of a wine gal, but Victor, given his many years as a sports reporter (and now editor of the website SportsFanLive.com), is definitely a beer guy. Beer snob may be a better term. He won’t let me touch his collection of Sierra Nevada Celebration Ales. In any case, we both thought the concept of beer pairing was an entertaining change of pace.
My favorites were the complex German pilsner Konig paired with a chilled seafood appetizer, and the Japanese Hitachino Nest white ale, a light, bright and citrusy compliment to the perfectly cooked duck breast in a black pepper honey gastrique. Vic was partial to the Cupaca Mexican pale ale, which he described as “fruity and hoppy.” The Sing Ha lager was decent, but nothing special, given that I’ve had it at dozens of Thai restaurants before. The Vietnamese pilsner Hue just didn’t hold up in this crowd when it came to flavor, strength and complexity. And the Belgium ale Maredsous 8 was too sweet when I first took a sip but tasted great with a bite of mac & cheese.
Our first reaction to AK as a whole was mixed. Given the timing of its opening, the similarities and proximity to Gjelina, I couldn’t stop myself from comparing the two. It didn’t help that it was a frigid night, and we sat close to the door, which wouldn’t close all the way on its own. We were cold. While drinking cold beer. Vic kept getting up and shutting the door himself. The overall feeling of the place left me cooler than Gjelina, even though it was hopping. Perhaps it’s the mid-century modern design. The original Earo Saarinen chairs are incredibly stylish and comfy. And the glass walls overlooking bamboo, the glass-enclosed fire feature, the communal tables in the bar are all very lovely. But I found the spare, clean lines of mid-century modernism a bit chilly on this winter night. The little upstairs nook of a terrace looks a lot cozier and more private, and I think I would have preferred it.
The food, too, was up and down. Both of our entrees were wonderful. The duck and the king salmon with grilled fennel and a honey mustard glaze were both outstanding – moist and tender. The plating was gorgeous, the flavors divine. However, the steamed blue mussels starter was disappointing. Not terrible, but again, the ones at Gjelina are such much better. The dish needed something, maybe garlic? Spanish chorizo in the sauce was a little tough and chewy, although I have to say the tiny toasts covered in pistachio parsley pesto were a great idea. The buratta cheese and prosciutto appetizer with marinated peppers is always a favorite, and the cheese was silky and smooth. But it just didn’t wow me. And while the mac & cheese with chorizo, ham and manchego was yummy, the ricotta gnocchi was just bland. The crunchy texture of the chestnuts didn’t help the dish at all. Again, I couldn’t help but compare it to Evan Kleiman’s amazing ricotta gnocchi at Angeli Caffe, which we served at our wedding. Her buttery gnocchi is so wonderful that eating it is almost an orgasmic experience. This gnocchi inspired in me a Larry David-like expression of ambivalence, which frankly, I don’t know how to spell. “Eehhhh?” That’s the closest I can get.
Of course, I’d rather have a mediocre starter and side dish than a bad entree, and the entrees definitely delivered. So did the desserts. The chocolate obsession was filled with a river of gewey molten chocolate. Mmmm, mmmm. It was almost identical to a dessert I ate at the Four Seasons in Bora Bora two weeks ago after winning a four-night stay there as a door prize at a party. (Mom always said I was lucky.) Given Andersson’s Four Seasons background, I suspect he knew he had a winner on his hands with that one. The raspberry sorbet was also delish.
I’m not going to be too quick to judge AK just yet. Andersson is Swedish, and I have yet to try his Swedish dishes, such as the meatballs and the salmon gravlax — both of which the Los Angeles Times food critic raved about in her recent review. So I’ll be back to AK, I’m sure. On a warmer night next time. And perhaps I’ll try the wine. —Jenny
I must have walked past China Beach Vietnamese Bistrodozens of times without going in. It’s an unassuming little spot right next door to a corner liquor store and across the street from the Canal Club in Venice. I have always wondered whether it could be one of those divey, under-the-radar finds. Given that I live only a couple blocks away and have never heard any of my neighbors talk about it or seen any of them in there, I didn’t have high hopes. Still, you never know. Vic and I wanted to try something different, and we didn’t want to have to get in the car. I looked the place up on Yelp, and the reviews were unusually mixed, a five-star review, followed by a one star, averaging three overall. I asked my sister, a fellow Venetian, if she’d been there, and she said the soups were OK. So we decided to check it out.
I honestly wish we hadn’t. We spent only $22 on dinner, and it still feels like we were cheated. One Yelper had raved about the five spiced chicken so I ordered a plate that also included a fried egg, a salad and some rice. Vic ordered chicken pho, which is the Vietnamese version of chicken noodle soup. I must confess, Vietnamese is probably my least favorite of all the Asian cuisines I’ve tried. I have happily eaten my way through China, Thailand and Cambodia, and I’m a fan of Japanese, Korean, Indian, Singaporean, Malaysian and, occasionally, Filipino cuisine. Vietnamese food has always seemed a bit bland in comparison. There are exceptions, such as the excellent pho (tripe and all) at Pho Hua in Mountain View, Calif., or even the nice bowl of chicken pho I had earlier this year at a place named Absolutely Phobulous (seriously) when I was stuck in Encino after a meeting. But even when I lived just a couple blocks away from a Vietnamese neighborhood in Chicago, I only ate there two or three times, and in more than a decade in So Cal, I have never made the drive to the OC for the best stuff in the LA area.
Regardless of whether you’re a Vietnamese food buff or a novice, though, it’s hard to imagine how anyone could enjoy the chicken I was served. I don’t know what gives chicken that rubbery quality. Overcooking, maybe? Whatever it is, they have mastered the technique at China Beach. The chicken must not have been made to order because it came out in about about 5-10 minutes. The menu described the chicken as falling off the bone, but I had a hard time tearing the tough meat free. The side salad was basically bland iceberg lettuce with some carrot slices. The rice was … well … a pile of plain white rice. Vic wasn’t as unhappy with his pho. He described it as “standard” and “passable.” When I tasted it, the broth seemed too sweet, but he didn’t seem to mind.
In case you are thinking of checking it out for yourself, be forewarned, the tiny parking lot is a nightmare. There’s almost no way to head south when exiting that little lot. You’re better off parking somewhere else and walking. Better yet, take my advice and skip it altogether. It’s not worth the hassle. — Jenny
Vic and I finally checked out the newest hot spot on Abbot Kinney in Venice, Gjelina, which opened over the summer. We walked in without a reservation at 7 p.m. on a recent weeknight and had no trouble snagging a seat the the communal table. (If we had arrived an hour later, we would have been among the masses hovering behind us… waiting.) I enjoyed the rustic communal table because we actually got a chance to meet and mingle with some of our neighbors. In fact, the couple sitting next to us offered us a slice of their gruyere, arugula and carmelized onion pizza, which was delicious. Not Mozza delicious, mind you, but tasty nonetheless. “Very French onion soupy,” as Vic put it.
In fact, everything we tried at Gjelina was satisfying, and I loved the experience of the place almost as much as the food. It was full of artists, casual chic Venice hipsters, even a couple families with kids. One of the guys down at the other end of the communal table compared it to AOC. It reminded me of being in New York. A real neighborhood spot. The design of the place is gorgeous. The floor is made of brick, while the ceiling is reclaimed wood from a barn. The walls are painted and decorated with a delicate, laser-etched design. There’s a beautiful back patio with a fire pit and a window onto the kitchen. Next to that is a tiny nook of a lounge with a lamp made from wine bottles. Even the bathroom fixtures are cool. Guys behind the bar chop vegetables plucked fresh that day from the farmer’s market and make salads beneath an unusual lamp featuring an variety of odd-sized lightbulbs. The restaurant is mainly lit by candles in the evening, giving it a nice glow.
We started with a bottle of organic French Syrah, a Chateau Messiac Minervois from 2006. At $42, it was actually the least expensive bottle on the list. The only bottle they offered for less ($38) was sold out. In this economy, they really should have a few more affordable bottles (and glasses) for those who have seen their 401Ks cut in half. The restaurant is still doing such a brisk business, they probably don’t feel the need to cut anyone a break. (Note to Gjelina, it’s tough to stay the hot spot forever. We’re in an economic crisis, dammit. Wake up, and help us out a little, here.)
For dinner we ordered the grilled raddichio, bacon, fontina and tomato confit pizza from the wood-burning oven. A guy sitting at the far end of our communal table described it as “a saltine of a pizza,” and I must admit, it did have an impossibly thin crust. I could practically see through it, and I suspect that even the strictest low-carb dieter could eat this pizza. It was served with a side plate containing small piles of crushed red pepper, grated Parmesan cheese and dried oregano. The flavor was wonderfully smoky, both from the bacon and the wood-burning oven. (Beware: The couple sitting next to us mistook a woodchip from the embers that made its way onto their plate for a French fry and bit into it.)
Vic and I also shared the Sonoma duck leg confit with cavalo nero, lentils and currant vinegar. The duck was sweet and juicy and the lentils quite vinegary. It was an unusual combination, but it worked. When we finished, Vic was still hungry so he tried to flag down the waitress to order more. By then, the place was so packed that it took at least 10 minutes to find her. We capped off the evening with Jidori chicken livers and onions on grilled bread. It’s not the traditional way to end a meal, but Vic is carniverous and needed a little more meat on his bones. He actually grew up eating liver and onions, and while I find chicken liver a little mealy, he gave the dish — and the entire evening — a big thumbs up.
We made our way back for a second Gjelina visit last week, when my parents were in town. This time, our group of six arrived even earlier and took over most of the communal table. My sister looked at the menu and complained that there wasn’t a single item except the pizza that contained a word she didn’t know. Pretentious, was her thought. Personally, I don’t mind an interesting menu because I like to ask questions and learn something new. But she does have a point. There’s also no sign outside the restaurant, which always seems pretentious to me.
Starting with the charcuterie plate (pictured above), we enjoyed duck prosciutto, sweet soppresatta and bresaola that were all so thinly sliced, they melted on your tongue. Split between six people, the portions could have been more substantial, although we ordered so much it didn’t matter. We followed that with a divine salad of arugula with marinated tomato, bacon and ricotta salata. All I can say is, yum. This is not your typical skinny gal salad. Next we tried three more pizzas: a margherita with gioia mozzarella and burrata, another with mushroom, goat cheese and truffle oil, and finally one with lamb sausage, zucchini, tomato, asiago and pecorino. Mom’s clear favorite was the mushroom (pictured below), although I thought the smell of truffle oil was so overwhelming that the taste was almost a letdown compared to the scent. The lamb sausage was my top pick, and Vic chose the margherita. So you pretty much can’t go wrong with the pizzas.
On to the vegetable section of the menu, the braised collard greens with smoked tomato were too salty for Mom, although just right for someone with a salt tooth like myself. In fact, on the second visit to Gjelina, I realized one of the reasons I liked the place so much is that almost every dish is finished with a liberal dash of sea salt. The grilled raddichio with balsamic and sea salt was a smoky, salty winner all around. Even our decadent butterscotch pots de creme for dessert had sea salt on top to cut what otherwise would have been a cloying degree of sweetness. For those who are salt sensitive, prepare for swollen ankles.
My sister’s favorite dish of the night was the roasted beets with greens, walnut oil and goat cheese — pungent and vinegary. My father and my sister’s boyfriend voted for the PEI mussels (tiny, but nice and plump) with chorizo, tomato, white wine and grilled bread. The dish had a garlicky bite, and again, the flavor combinations were a little odd, but that wasn’t a bad thing. I also enjoyed the wood roasted brandade — one of those pesky words that needed an explanation. It was basically a salt cod dip with cream and potato whose flavor the waiter described as similar to clam chowder. This comfort food dish was a bit heavy for some on Thanksgiving week, but I enjoy anything that’s the food equivalent of a soft blanket. We washed it all down with a 2005 Red Rhone and capped off the evening with a cranberry apple tartin that had firm chunks of fresh fruit. Not too cooked and not too sweet.
I’d be remiss not to mention that my mother thought our server was extremely appealing. “Did you get a look at our waiter?” she asked halfway through the evening. “Soooo cute!”
“I didn’t think he was so cute,” my Dad huffed. Nevertheless, we all walked out feeling fat and happy. – Jenny
Gjelina, 1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd., 310-450-1429
I already have a good phone, so no sale there, but this did succeed in making me hungry.
If you enjoyed the clip, give it a vote in this poll. – Victor.
Sincere apologies for our protracted absence. We recently attempted (unsuccessfully so far) to transfer our blog to a new host. And while our Grubtrotters motto is “chow, fun,” we also spent the past month recovering from a decidedly un-fun family health crisis that coincided with our nation’s economic collapse. We’ll spare you the details, but aside from being homebound making soups and stews and wallowing in despair, it was not the wisest or most seemly time to be spending money eating out.
But things are looking up on all fronts. The country has hope, and so do we. Onward, as Victor says. So to mark our return, I thought I’d share some thoughts on a story I wrote for DineLA.com calledHamburgers — The Recession-Proof Food.
To research this story, I sampled burgers all over the city. I tasted the classic steakburger at Apple Pan, the frozen-in-time Westwood joint with its cranky counter men wearing paper hats. I tried Five Guys, the East Coast chain with a cult following rivaling that of In-N-Out here, which just opened its first SoCal spot in Carson. I tried two of the fancy 8 oz. burgers from Govind Armstrong, who breaks down the meat on premises and ages it in a Himalayan salt locker before grilling it over oak wood. I spent a pretty penny concocting something special at The Counter in Marina Del Rey. And of course, I have eaten the animal style burger at In-N-Out, the Fatburger, The Original Tommy’s dripping mess of a chili burger and the famous Father’s Office burger.
Each of these burgers has its charms. Father’s Office still wins the prize for best burger at any cost. However, I have a new pick for best gourmet burger at a value. And let’s face it, we’re all looking for a bargain these days. Unless you live in the neighborhood, you probably haven’t stumbled across Hole in the Wall burger joint in West Los Angeles. Believe me, the name is appropriate. The address is on Santa Monica Blvd, but it’s tucked behind a Winchell’s Donut shop in the strip mall on the southeast corner of Santa Monica and Sepulveda. To confuse you further, the entrance is actually on Bentley. You’d never find this place if you didn’t know it was there and might not even if you do.
But it’s worth the hunt. The owner, chef Bill Dertouzos, was the founder of Dainties Cupcakes, but he turned his attention to burgers when the cupcake competition grew too intense. “The city got flooded with cupcake stores, and every month I saw my market share cut in half,” says Dertouzos. Hole in the Wall shares space with his catering business, hence the odd location. The burgers here are not fast-food cheap, and you can’t get as many choices as you will find at The Counter. But the quality is incredible, and as Dertouzos points out, do you really need 300,000 burger combinations? He tried offering some fancier cheese options, such as brie, but they didn’t sell so well.
So now he sticks to the basics. You can get a beef, turkey or veggie burger on a pretzel, whole wheat or old-fashioned bun for $7.95. Pick from have a handful of topping options. Dertouzos makes his own pickles and condiments. The burgers are thick and delicious. The turkey burger, with its distinct fennel flavor, is so juicy that it’s hard to believe it’s turkey. His fries are made from Kennebec potatoes, and don’t get me started on the sweet potato fries. You’ll be eating it all at a casual sidewalk table.
I’m sure I won’t settle LA’s burger battle here. If you want your burger with gruyere in a fancy setting, head to The Counter with its modern decor and wine bar. If you want to step into the past and taste an old-fashioned classic, try Apple Pan. But if you want a great gourmet burger without the frills or the Father’s Office pricetag, head to Hole in the Wall. You heard it here. – Jenny.
–Hole in the Wall, 11058 Santa Monica Blvd., at South Bentley Ave., 310.312.7013
–Father’s Office, 1018 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, 310.736.2224; 3229 Helms Ave, Culver City, 310.736.2224
–Five Guys, 20700 Avalon Blvd, Carson, 310.515.7700
–In-N-Out, multiple locations, www.in-n-out.com
–The Apple Pan, 10801 W. Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, 310.475.3585
–8 oz. Burger Bar, 7661 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, 323.852.0008
–The Counter, 2901 Ocean Park Blvd, Santa Monica, 310.399.8383; 4786 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey, 310.827.8600
–The Original Tommy’s, multiple locations, www.originaltommys.com
Photo of a burger from The Counter