Friday, December 04, 2009

Reminder: Eat My Blog Bake Sale Tomorrow!

Friends, you may have noticed that we love bake sales here just a little bit. An awesome one, called Eat My Blog, is happening tomorrow, at Zeke's Smokehouse in West Hollywood, organized and stocked by LA food bloggers! I am a lagger and thus am not contributing baked goods, but you can bet I'll be there buying, eating, and supporting the LA Food Bank. These deliciously organized blogger-bakers have posted a menu! So I can sit at my desk and drool longingly over rum cakes, butterscotch budino (oh, baby), lemon curd thumbprint cookies, orange and saffron caramels... There appear to be many vegan and gluten-free offerings, and to balance it out the virtue, an inordinate number of bacon-related sweets. Nice. See you there!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

C&C: Dupont Circle

Cappuccino and Croissant, Dupont Circle Farmers Market Edition. Unfortunately/fortunately, they do not have a coffee vendor at this charming Washington DC farmer's market, as coffee can not be found growing within 150 miles of the market (don't they know caffeine is the exception to the local rule?!). Nonetheless, there is an Illy coffee shop within a walk, which itself was a treat: I love their artist-rendered cups, and the shops don't exist in LA. A worthwhile mini-escape from the Share Our Strength conference, and good caffeine and sustenance to start off my day shucking collards on the farm.

smartbike DC is a Good Thing

Monday, November 30, 2009

Petrojvik Blasting Company at Bar 107

Last night, I saw the Petrojvik Blasting Company play at Bar 107. I was just downtown, but I was also kind of in Williamsburg, and for that matter, kind of in Serbia, too.

Last Sunday, I went to the Hollywood Farmer's Market. As I approached the end of the line, where it dissipates into a Calpirg solicitor, a guy peddling pesto out of a squeeze bag, and a few random stragglers, I heard the sound of horns. The source: a tiny klezmer band, singing and blowing their horns for whoever might pass by. Picture young beastie-boyish faces, suspenders, vests, and cropped trousers; the accordionist peering over his instrument to sing the harmony to the trombonist's earnest melody, as the French horn player simultaneously used his heel to pedal a bass drum behind him. Love.

These guys are the Petrojvic Blasting Company. I bought their album right there for five bucks, and eventually stalked them to Bar 107, the weirdest reddest downtown dive. Did not disappoint.

Klezmer is a secret pleasure of mine -- it's the hoydel-doydelest musical genre of all (and in fact may be the source of 'hoydel doydel' itself), so in the extremely rare cases that it becomes hip(ster), it makes me happy. The Blasting Company -- now 8 strong (including two hornblowing women, but minus the banjo that was there at the farmers market) -- got all the downtown goyishe ladies dancing with their sultry oompa stylings.

The accordionist showed some serious chops, the trombonist continued to belt out unintelligible but endearing words in vaguely-Eastern-European-sounding languages, and they all just put on a good show.

and downtown was all asparkle

(also, they are going to play at the bake sale this year. i just decided. they don't know yet. but they will.)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Share Our Strength Conference of Leaders

welcome to Washington, DC

Last weekend has been so packed with thought provoking moments. Because of the success of No Cookie Left Behind, our own Great American Bake Sale, I was invited to attend the annual conference of Share Our Strength, a far-reaching non-profit dedicated to systematically ending childhood hunger in the United States by 2015. In two days, I heard from philanthropic visionaries, Belgian beer ambassadors, urban garden champions, huge-hearted corporate execs, Food Network personalities, like-minded Angelenos, chefs young and old. I picked collard greens in rural Maryland, was brought to tears on more than one occasion, put a sweet smiling face to a bake-sale name I'd been emailing with all year, ate and drank, then ate and drank some more, and rocked out to the awesome Urban Nation Hip-Hop Choir. Wow, how to break it down...

i love them

Let's do some bullet points, shall we?

The Organization
- Before the conference, I knew SOS was on the childhood hunger front, but only had nebulous details. People, this organization is amazing, and combats childhood hunger on quite literally every front.

fearless leader Billy Shore

- Lobbying: When it comes to government, hungry kids are a voiceless, invisible group. Billy Shore, who founded SOS twenty-five years ago with his sister Debbie, and who's a serious motivational guru, writer of 3 books, and crazy intellectual -- quoting Ulysses and Elie Wiesel in one breath -- is a lobbyist for hungry kids. He educates state governments on federal funds they can be getting, drives them to action on programs to fight childhood hunger.
- Educational Programming: The Operation Frontline program educates people with low income on how to prepare healthful meals on a limited budget -- everything from budgeting and shopping, to cooking and nutrition -- then send students home with a bag of groceries and a battery of recipes so they can recreate the meals for their families. This is the 'teach him how to fish' branch of SOS. I love it. (And we have it right here in LA.)
- They work with existing local organizations, getting them what they need to move forward. A simple example: Hungry kids depend on school breakfast and lunch. But sometimes, kids that take the bus to school don't get there in time for breakfast. SOS suggests serving breakfast in the early part of class. A school counters back that they don't have the janitorial staff required for this. That's where SOS comes in. They bridge all the little tiny gaps that without SOS would be insurmountable hurdles.
- They work with schools, non-profits, faith-based programs, food banks, urban gardens, basically anyone who has something to offer -- they will bring them together.

from a talk on urban gardens...amazing stuff

- Access: The nation has a series of 'food deserts' -- areas so impoverished that supermarkets and farmers markets do not go there, as there's no money in it for them. SOS works with local programs that bring fresh produce into corner stores and bodegas, and supports urban gardens so these communities can grow their own food.

a generous 'taste' of three beers

- Funds: Of course they raise tons of money. They have awesome programs like the bake sale, Taste of the Nation, Great American Dine Out, and more, and they have partnerships with major players like Food Network, Cisco, Corner Bakery, Stella Artois, Domino Sugar... (and many MANY more).

All in all, it was a pretty amazing weekend, with inspiration, information, and fun at every corner. It's not every weekend that a Belgian beer tasting (complete with chocolatey waffel, mini-beer float (honey ice cream and Hoegaarden, for the keeping score at home), and mmmm, Leffe) is followed by a Top-Chef-esque dining challenge where I get to taste it all, capped off with the VP of PR for the Food Network buying me a drink at Eric Ripert's bistro. I firmly believe, despite mathematical intuition telling me otherwise, that a weekend of eating and drinking -- when coupled with talking, learning, thinking, and serving, of course -- can end childhood hunger.

the bake sale crew!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Gwyneth Hearts Treat Street, and other Bake Sale Bites

Dude, bake sales are blowing up.

First, Gwyneth Paltrow, in her weekly how-to-have-a-beautiful-life newsletter Goop (I know. It's like Gwyneth meets Martha. Sometimes silly and over-the-top and way too un-self-aware, and sometimes totally in line with the things I love and feel strongly about. Like Gjelina.), features Treat Street, an awesome neighborhood bake sale that crops up in various corners of Silver Lake to stuff our faces with delicious sweets and good vibes. One of the girls behind Treat Street is Crystal Meers, the editor of DailyCandy LA. Crystal has supported our own No Cookie Left Behind bake sale as long as we've had it -- featuring it in DailyCandy and baking giant piles of cookies for us. Miss Gwyneth is smitten with Crystal and her TNT cookies, and frankly, I can't blame her.

No Cookie Left Behind was nominated for an award! Well, technically, I was nominated for one of Share Our Strength's community leader awards -- but seriously it's about the bake sale. This was so completely unexpected and wonderful, but I'm thrilled that people are recognizing what an amazing thing we created with our bake sale. Guys, did you know that of over 7600 Great American Bake Sales that were held this year, No Cookie Left Behind was number nine in funds raised?! So proud. I'm off to Washington DC tonight for Share Our Strength's Conference of Leaders. I can't imagine the bake sale inspiration that awaits me!

And finally, EAT MY BLOG. A handful of LA bloggers are hosting yet another bake sale, this time to benefit our own Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. This one will take place on Saturday, December 5, 10am - 4pm, at Zeke's Smokehouse in West Hollywood. It's "an opportunity for the blogging community to give back to those in need,” and you know I like that. Get all the deets at gastronomyblog!

Friday, October 23, 2009

facehunter goes to israel

The Facehunter
, one of my favorite street fashion bloggers (think of him as The Sartorialist's younger, funkier, partyboy brother*), spent 4 days in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and put up 5 bajillion photos on his personal blog. Really enjoying seeing these streets of these two cities, that are so close to my heart, are home to much of my family, and that I've neglected visiting for way too many years now, through his eyes.

Oh, to be walking down the Tel Aviv boardwalk, mushroom "pizza" from Abu Lafia in one hand, limonaana in the other..

Or on the breezy patio of a cafe, eating the breakfast above (well, actually, I'd probably order shakshuka...)

Check it all out here!

* Guys, I bought the Sartorialist's book last month (and dear sweet Nigel got Mr. Shuman himself to sign it for me!), and I can't put it down. Like, I've gone through it front to back at least 4 times. A million amazing photos of interesting-looking people. AKA tannaz-crack.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


so i went away there for a bit, eh? once the guilt of not writing wore off, i thought it was the end of this little blog. now that i sit down though, i really enjoy the feeling of writing here again. but, we should talk about some things. when i first started this blog, i was pretty clueless. i had no concept of the community of bloggers that already existed here in los angeles, i didn't really have a direction, i couldn't really take a decent photograph. i just knew i had some things on my brain that i needed to unload on, well, whoever might listen. things like the glory of maple syrup and chinese tea mug technology, the etymology of various sausage words, or the cozy wine bar down the street. and oddly enough, people started to listen.

but then a few things happened. first, facebook happened. anything i've ever wanted to express could now be broadcast to 500 people at the click of a button. additionally, i discovered eater. their thorough, informed reporting of the minutiae of the los angeles restaurant scene made my sporadic musings about random local haunts seem irrelevant and well, kind of pointless. (of course, this is before they let go of lesley. these days, eater's just another tinny voice, but now we have grub street and squid ink to fill the gap.)

at the same time, my own perspective changed. sharing the fun events that i am lucky enough to be a part of was initially really exciting, but now, spouting details of my humble weeknight meals seems a little too my-what-a-good-boy-am-i (thought i gotta say -- the gruyere biscuits with mushroom gravy that i made for dinner the other night were pretty damn blog-worthy).

and then at some point, people started looking to me as an authority on restaurants. i enjoy dining out now and then, but i really try to eat at home as much as possible (i'm really into eating at home -- mine or yours -- right now). and i'd like fancy restaurants to stay a special thing. and the prospect of saying something bad about a restaurant in a public forum seems like too much for me -- in most cases, i don't think i'm qualified to potentially help make or break a local business. also, i hate taking pictures in restaurants! it's weird, and ruins the moment, and they usually end up coming out bad anyway.

so, where does this leave me? well, i don't think all kinds of yum is over. i still find inspiration all the time -- though lately it's been found poring through websites like apartmenttherapy and designsponge (and particularly, style-files. all those raw woods and white walls and stark spaces! too good.) more than any food blog! and amazing things -- foodish and otherwise -- continue to abound. i've yet to post about an awesome vacuum coffee maker demo with a soon-to-be household name in my now-former kitchen, nor the modern desert dreamland that is the ace hotel in palm springs, nor a recent tamalepalooza with a real mexican abuelita (and her mother!) and our own adorable little baby girl mascot -- amalita the tamalita, or the award i was nominated for (what?!) in honor of my bake sale prowess (i'm not kidding about the last one, and yes, this is amazing).

right now, though, these are lofty ambitions. i just moved, and mostly i'm spending my time doing things like letting bon iver waft through my airy living room while i just stand in the middle of the as-yet-furnitureless space, breathing slow and taking it all in. so, i have to just go with the flow on this one. i'll see you around here soon enough, and in the meantime, let's have dinner. your place or mine?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Tannaz Sassooni is...

- moving to los feliz
- moving to the cutest apartment in the history of life
- listening to move shake drop (the flo rida mix) over and over and over again.
- actually had to go into the bathroom at work to dance more than one time this week. seriously!
- wanna come to Little Dom's for brunch?
- distractingly obsessed with apartmenttherapy (from whom i stole the photo above. hello, dream kitchen)
- maybe i should go on who wants to be a millionaire? (ooh.. or don't forget the lyrics!)
- Can Not Wait for beatles rock band. ohmygod.
- will happily take any extra le creuset kitchenware off your hands
- kind of wishes she could have kevin's kitchen table from panama
- going to miss her bethie
- unable to fathom how she used to post on this thing every day
- smeg. smeg. smeg.

Monday, August 17, 2009

I Heart The Gorbals

There's a part in Jesus is Magic where Sarah Silverman, trying to counter the stereotype that Jewish women aren't sexy, sultrily describes slipping into a slinky negligee, then breaks into a ridiculous, flailing "hoydel-doydel" song and dance.

Can you think of a more hoydel-doydel name for a restaurant than The Gorbals? The whatnow?

The Gorbals is the new restaurant of Ilan Hall, former Top Chef winner and Scottish-Israeli New Yorker. When I first heard the name, I had to snicker at his folly, but when I read about the restaurant's namesake -- the neighborhood in Scotland where Ilan's dad grew up among a diversity of poor, outcast immigrant groups -- its unsexiness became lovable. Then when I heard what the restaurant would be serving: "old Jewish food date-raped by bacon," I was totally smitten. Admittedly, my fascination is more about cleverness than deliciousness; after all, Ashkenazi food doesn't exactly strike me as haute cuisine, but then again, Ilan won Top Chef -- obviously he knows some things about food.

This place is not open yet (though according to Eater LA, it should be opening within the week), but apparently there was a preview a few nights ago. Manischewitz flowed and irreverent bacon-wrapped matzoh balls rolled. And, thank goodness, Ilan's beautiful bubbe was in the house.

The Gorbals is at 501 South Spring St. downtown. Opening soon.

Friday, August 14, 2009

San Francisco Highlights: The Snozzberries Taste Like Snozzberries!

i love the sf muni logo

[more about panama in a bit. today though, san francisco.]

San Francisco is one of my favorite LA-getaway destinations. I have a few good friends who live in the bay area, and we always have a good time. Catching up on all the time we miss each other, eating and drinking really well (and really, a lot) never fails. This trip was no exception. In town for Jana's baby shower (bebe is a girl! welcome Amalia!), our Bay Area weekend seemed to focus on real flavors: simple preparations of exellent ingredients. Nothing flashy, nothing overdone, just snozzberries tasting like snozzberries.

In a world of grande half-caf low-fat double macchiattos -- two pumps and room for cream -- there I was standing in line, about half an hour, for a simple cup of drip coffee. Ample time to notice that the sign at the produce stall next door described one of their heirloom tomato varieties as 'tomatoey'. Really all we want from a tomato, right? So I guess that's why I was waiting in line -- for the most, well, coffee-y coffee I know: Blue Bottle. It's a humble stall, and there's nothing fancy about their paper cups or the brown bags in which they sell their beans, but the laser focus is on the coffee itself. And what makes coffee-y coffee? Well, organic shade-grown beans, ground and brewed, or sold, within 48 hours of roasting.

I feel like I drank more coffee in a weekend in San Francisco than I do in 2 weeks at home. But there was so much good coffee everywhere, I couldn't help it! And often it was served in Heath Ceramics -- at the courtyard at SFMOMA, at Jana and Juan's cozy table (thanks bridal registry!), and again at her shower. Even the dishes at Chez Panisse (more on that below) were Heath. Once again, sturdy, classic designs and nothing fussy.

salsicca pie

The same was true at Pizzeria Delfina (Oh sweet Pizzeria Delfina, with your 4 tiny tables and red Italian tile bathroom, how I love you!).

panna pie

The pizza that has recently gotten the most attention there is the panna pie, so pared down that it even eschews cheese, opting instead for a decadent pour of heavy cream before going in the oven (balanced with a bit of shaved parmesan once it's out). But when all you've got is cream, excellent crust, and a simple tomato sauce, you can taste freshness. Turns out freshness tastes pretty good.
the counter at teeny pizzeria delfina

As does their albacore tuna conserva, served over watercress with white beans. Take your first bite, and the taste of great extra virgin olive oil steals the show. It's all about the basics, kids.

the wood-burning oven at Chez Panisse

And then was there Chez Panisse* (I tell you, we go large in San Fran). Nothing showy about this place (so much so that part of me still feels like it was Aidan's parents' house in My Big Fat Greek Wedding -- boring white people food), but still there were some very special flavors going on here: the duck confit's simple presentation belied its flavors: perfectly browned duck skin around tender dark meat, with a fresh kumquat relish, tart and bright, to cut its richness. Same goes for the wild nettle pizza and rhubarb tart. A few ingredients at their freshest (whether tomatoes, coffee, or snozzberries) and solid culinary know-how go a long way.

* Chez Panisse, whose website has gone from homespun to oddly fancy and French in the time between my coming home from San Francisco and right now.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Panama City, I like you

Since I started writing this little blog many years ago, something big has changed. It's called Facebook. That thing is the blog to end all blogs. You post pictures and thoughts and musings and curses with the click of a button. It takes zero effort! So, by the time I get around to posting here about things, like say a trip to Panama, I've kind of already gotten it out of my system.

Lucky for you though, I am endlessly verbose. I'll find a way -- 112 photos, 1 video, and countless status messages, comments, likes, and super-pokes later -- to make it fresh. Besides, I haven't told Facebook a single word about what I ate in Panama. That's all for you, baby.

Now then. I can tell you what I didn't eat: Panamanian food. Oddly enough, my trip -- 4 wonderful nights spent between Panama City's romantically retro Casco Viejo area and a barely-walled hut on a Carribbean island that's a forty-minute boat ride out from the nearest town -- included more cases of gourmet European takes on the local bounty of seafood and produce than anything traditionally Panamanian. That tells a story of modern Panama though: laid carefully over the country's own rich heritage, international prospectors and expats are taking Panama in new directions (as in, shopping malls and bennigans. yikes.).

Let's start in the city. Here's the deal with Casco Viejo: beautiful colonial buildings now in ruins. Colorful, grand buildings, many are which are roofless, windowless, completely gutted, and overgrown with moss and grass (sad, but wonderful for an afternoon's exploring). In the last few years, though, the artists have figured out the area's potential, and cropping up among the ruins are stately restorations housing art spaces, jazz clubs, wine bars, and more.
the insane view from kevin's apartment

We had the luckiest hookup in history, and stayed with friend-of-a-friend (and our new best friend) Kevin, a Chicagoan with a top-story apartment in the heart of Casco Viejo: rooftop balcony, midcentury furnishings, art and books strewn everywhere, a baby grand in the window (!), and air conditioning to boot. Kevin is in the process of restoring a delapidated 3-story building into an art space: gallery, studios, cafe, bar. Basically, Kevin is the coolest person in Panama. No, seriously.

cow's tongue carpaccio and grilled shrimp with tamarind sauce at Manolo Caracol

Our first night there, we went to Manolo Caracol. Ten-course tasting menu, Andalusian owners (and thus, delicious Spanish house wine, of which we partook generously), focus on local, seasonal ingredients and lots of fresh seafood. Highlights: tiradito de dorado (freshness incarnate), shrimp with tamarind sauce, Kevin's velociraptor impression.

our guitarrista in Plaza Bolivar

Then, we had a mojito in Plaza Bolivar. Plazas might be the best thing ever. Walk a couple blocks to a grassy public square, sit at one of the surrounding tables served by Ego Y Narciso restaurant, sip some minty goodness, enjoy a serenade by a sweet gentleman wandering among the tables with his guitar, take in the balmy summer night surrounded by others doing the same. We liked it so much we came back on our last night in the city -- for sangría at Casablanca restaurant on the other side of the plaza.
La Casona
And then, we went to la Casona. La Casona de las Brujas is yet another building dedicated to art, music, culture, youth. We went to the bar. Dark and gritty, with weird things dangling from the super-high ceilings and strange images projected on one wall. Brought Kevin's friend Rafa home with us, stayed up until 4am on the balcony drinking wine and talking crazy (6am flight to Bocas the next morning notwithstanding. I'm not smart.).
A few days before leaving for this trip, I ran into Tai (owner of Scoops) at Golden State and mentioned to him that I was going to Panama. He told me to look out for a particular ice cream shop there: apparently one of Scoops' rotating art exhibits -- a set of photos of an impressive array of ice cream scoops -- was taken there. I remember these photos -- they really were great -- but no way was I going to search the country for this place. But lo and behold, seeking reprieve from a sudden thunderstorm, Rachel and I ducked right into it! Turns out it's a fancy French ice cream shop in Casco Viejo called Granclement, and the back wall is lined with a million ice cream scoops. Try the coconut sorbet (and avoid the fresh basil ice cream; it tastes like pizza).

We did make a quick stop in Cafe Coca Cola, purportedly the oldest cafe in the city. It's as close as we got to actual Panamanian food, not to mention cute old men in hats that looked like Buena Vista Social Club. All I had was a cafe con leche, but it was solid.

OK. That's enough for tonight. Island roundup to come in a subsequent post. In the the meantime, from my vantage point, Panama was incredibly picturesque, and I managed some gorgeous photos. Check them out.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

panama! and beer-float-off!

friends, i'm off to panama tonight (go on, sing the van halen song), but if i were to be in town on sunday, july 26 at 3:30 pm, i'd be at the LA BEER FLOAT SHOWDOWN. golden state/scoops crazy delicious concoctions versus bottlerock/milk's own innovative contenders. you'll drink a lot, you'll eat a lot of ice cream, and proceeds go to 826LA, which is a lovely organization.

get all the details here, including how to get discount tickets.

hasta next week!

[thanks to Dan4th for the photo]

Friday, July 17, 2009

Happy 75th Farmer's Market!

This week marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of Farmers Market, my home away from home on Third and Fairfax. While I'm sad to have missed the Taste of Farmers Market event Tuesday night (which, oddly, no other blogger seems to have attended either), I did drop in to catch a few minutes of their early morning birthday party yesterday. A quaint event, with Farmers Market 'royalty' like the adorable Phyllis Magee sharing memories on a stage built in the parking lot, a bunch of local kids doing a card stunt, a drill team, and a marching band.

Showing trademark hospitality, there were self-serve coffee jugs and cupcakes for attendees -- was I in cosmopolitan Los Angeles or in Mellencamp-small-town America? Hard to say, which is precisely why we love the Farmers Market (and the LA Times agrees, beautifully).

There are lots of festivities all week, check it out here! And if you care about such things, there is currently a special edition of the Larchmont Chronicle available at the Farmers Market right now, filled with stories, interviews, and factoids from the all the market's vendors (not to mention some answers to the mystery of the adobe). Lots of sweet history.

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