Saturday, June 27, 2009

Shave Ice = Instant Gratification

I love it when a plan comes together. All the forces of the blogofacebookosphere worked in unison to bring Alon, myself, and Milk shave ice together this afternoon. After a summery salad lunch (I am convinced that Milk has the best selection of the most un-boring salads in town. Their Farmer's Market salad has unusual veg like sliced radishes and snappy green beans, and today's Manchego salad with dates, nectarines and candied walnuts did not disappoint), we were ready for dessert.

We walked over to a table with a gigantic block of ice, bottles of flavoring (dulce de leche, green tea, mojito, and good old sweetened condensed milk are just a few), and jugs of toppings: mango and strawberry, coconut -- chunky with real bits of the fruit, and chile tamarind. Behind the table, the raspado man managed to stay very friendly despite expending major energy to scrape at the giant block of ice, then artfully layer it with the add-ons: I got mango and coconut with a bit of sweetened condensed milk, Alon got mango with chile tamarind syrup, but the winners were Dave and Krystal: both got strawberry with dulce de leche -- a stellar combination, and the prize of the day.

Friends, summer has officially begun.

Milk is at 7290 Beverly Blvd, at Poinsettia.

Summer = Shave Ice

My sister declared on Facebook last night that this is officially the summer of ice cream and shave ice (I find the now-ubiquitous practice of referring to facebook and twitter and other web stuff a little weird, but at least I'm not quoting entire twitter conversations). Fine by me. Then Alon asked her if there is good shave ice in LA. Such a good question, I thought I'd answer it here.

Shave It: This is the answer that Torreh would give. It's a bright, heavily surfery-themed spot, with super-fluffy ice and neon 'flavas' brought in from Hawaii. Next time I'm there, I'm gonna try the Yard Sale: Pineapple, Lemon, and Guava shave ice with macadamia nut ice cream. And with every shave ice sold, a portion goes to Foster A Miracle, a foundation that inspires the future of foster children. You know I like that. There are three Shave-It locations, in Thousand Oaks, Norwalk, and Valencia. Too far for you? Start a franchise.

Half and Half Tea House: I fell in love with this place during 11 in 11 last year. A cozy Alhambra boba spot elevated with thoughtful add-ons (like caramel drizzled down the inside of a glass of boba), funky glassware and a friendly, youthful vibe. The Taiwanese-style shave ice, flavored with brown sugar and served in a giant mound, comes with your choice of toppings, including sweetened condensed milk, honey boba, egg custard, coffee jello, pineapple, red bean, mochi, or ice cream. While you're there, better get a caramel brick toast!

Sidewalk Shaved Ice at Milk: Yesterday's Tasting Table featured a summer special at Milk on Beverly: Every Saturday and Sunday through August, a guy (or girl, whatev) will be outside the shop, shaving ice to order from a giant block, raspado style, and topping it with syrups made from fresh fruit and natural ingredients. Strawberry and mojito sound nice, but I've got to try it with mango and chile-tamarind syrup. Totally going there today. Alonners, wanna come?

[thanks to RJ Malfalfa (who totally has the best name ever) for the photo!]

Monday, June 15, 2009

Bake Sale Aftermath

Full report coming soon, but let's just say this was the perfect bake sale. So much delicious food was donated, all of it was sold (well before 6pm -- sorry to those who showed up late, but there were in fact no cookies left behind at No Cookie Left Behind!), Weather was perfect, it all went off without a hitch, and we surpassed our goal by nearly one thousand dollars! A million thank-yous to the girls that made it happen: Heather, Jodi, Logan, Jessica, Rachel, Annie, and sweet Jeana for helping out all day. Not to mention Chelsea who gave so much of her time (and home) with onesie craft days and jam nights. And a million more to all our wonderful bakers, to Brian for saving the day, to all the bloggers and writers who publicized this thing better than it's ever gotten in the past, to everyone who came out and ate sweets for this wonderful cause, and to dear Tai, who wows us with his generosity and to-the-core goodness year after year. Well done, friends!

(oh, and yeah Lakers!)

Sunday, June 07, 2009


You don't know what a onesie is? Well, you must not be a toddler. It's a simple cotton bodysuit with snaps at the bottom for easy access to diapers. And for the under-one-year-old set, onesies have the cultural impact that T-shirts have for us. It's weird how they can be so wee, and so incredibly important at the same time. But they are.

Yesterday was an amazing day, fueled by onesies. Chelsea and Erin opened up their home to a ton of friends, so we could get together and make onesies, to be sold for charity this Sunday at the No Cookie Left Behind bake sale. First of all, their apartment is a dream: airy and bright, cozy with mismatched furniture and funky art, little corners of unexpected beauty at every turn (seriously I am in awe and envy of the way these two have decorated their space. an amazing eye they have).

And then, they had gone all out on supplies: tie dye, stencils, paints, old felt and lace, iron-on paper to print onto, pom-poms, buttons, potatoes for potato stamps -- we were well-appointed.

And as if this was not enough, there was constant feeding. Brunch to start, then later, Nick grilled carne asada for a feast of tacos and beer. I took the opportunity to make a cornbread custard (You make a cornbread batter, you pour a cup of cream over the top of it, then bake it and serve it with real maple syrup. Um.) from Molly's lovely book, A Homemade Life. Lazy and productive at the same time, surrounded by the cutest piece of clothing ever, people milling in and out throughout the long, slow day, all for the love of onesies. A perfect little day.

Check out all the photos here, and get more info on the bake sale at

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Bake Sale Third Annual!

And without further ado, I am proud to announce that the third annual No Cookie Left Behind Bake Sale will take place on Sunday, June 14, at Scoops! I think it's going to be another wonderful one this year -- we've got a lot on offer. Along with delicious baked goods donated by local home bakers, we've got contributions coming from Lark Cake Shop, CakeMonkey, Spork Foods (vegan!), Large Marge Sustainables, Kiss My Bundt Bakery, Whisk LA, Taste on Melrose, Laurel Avenue Bakery, and more! We're also jammin' this year: there will be jars of homemade jam, in crazy-delish flavors like strawberry balsamic with rosemary. AND! There will be onesies! Hand-crafted No Cookie Left Behind onesies for our littlest cookies.

All the details, updates, galleries, are at the bake sale's website:

See you there!