Sunday, October 21, 2012


A classic New York moment: eating an excellent bagel. At Ess-a-Bagel, each bite of my toasted everything bagel with scallion cream cheese had the perfect balance of crunch and flavor, proving that simple pleasures are often the best. Although it was not my first New York bagel, I had forgotten just how good these things are. Of course, I had to think to myself: why bother in LA?

Now, if I’m being realistic, I will choose to have a mediocre bagel soon because carbs are irresistible, even subpar versions. I will comfort myself by remembering this shining moment, though.

31 3rd Avenue
New York, NY 10022
Phone: (212) 980-1010

359 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10010
Phone: (212) 260-2252

Monday, October 1, 2012

Cafe Gratitude

I find food preferences fascinating. I wouldn't go so far as to call it a hobby, but I really enjoy knowing what friends and family like or don't like to eat. To me, it's a more detailed picture of who they are. So, when we talk about being open-minded about food, it can mean so many different things. My food perspective has evolved over the last few years and I think it has to do mainly with the fact that I live in LA, a city with excellent produce and lots of people who are vegetarian or vegan. While I haven't given up meat, I eat it less than I used to and have even become curious about places like Cafe Gratitude, which serves organic vegan food in Larchmont.

Aside from the vegan aspect, the restaurant menu may require more open-mindedness because of the names of the dishes. Nearly everything starts with I Am. For example, I ordered a berry limeade with sparkling water and mint that was called I Am Inspired (I wasn't able to get a good photo, so didn't include one in this post). So, let's just say, take a break from jaded cynicism when you step through the door and you'll be fine.

I tried the Yo Soy Mucho with quinoa and it exceeded my expectations. Very flavorful and surprisingly satisfying.

Cafe Gratitude yo soy mucho

In case you're wondering if that's hummus you see there, the answer is no. It is cashew nacho cheese, which isn't very dairy-like, but provided a creamy consistency when everything is mixed together. Overall, I really liked my Cafe Gratitude experience. I'm not planning on trying everything on the menu, but will return for what I like to think of as the quinoa burrito bowl. There was a time when I would not have considered eating at a vegan restaurant. But, I've learned by now that being open-minded can lead to some of the best discoveries.

Cafe Gratitude
639 Larchmont Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90004
(323) 580-6383

Information on their other locations can be found here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Huckleberry brisket

I don't know if business is ever slow at Huckleberry. Maybe I will try eating lunch there at 11am sometime and let you know if it's easy breezy. But, even if there's a long line to order, rest assured that your patience will be rewarded once the food arrives.

Yes, I ordered the brisket plate ($12.25) on a warm summer day and it was delicious: tender, flavorful and unfussy. I wasn't expecting such a generous portion! Bread and an arugula salad were also included. I have never paid much attention to brisket before, but this dish felt like a proper introduction. In fact, I want to try cooking it at home once the weather cools down a bit.

Huckleberry arugula

For dessert, raspberry and fig galette ($4.50) that was just sweet enough. One could make a meal out of just their pastries and desserts. So many to choose from. Make sure to save room!

Huckleberry galette

1014 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 451-2311

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I needed a break from the usual. So, a weekday splurge at Kiriko.

Kiriko chirashi
Chirashi Lunch ($18), which included salad and miso soup.

Kiriko salad

Their tamago (egg) was unlike any other version I've tried, almost like sweet bread. This lunch brightened my day and gave me a spring in my step.

11301 Olympic Blvd #102
Los Angeles, CA 90064
(310) 478-7769