My name is Elaine and I am addicted to kitchen supplies.

I don’t really need more dishes, but my excuse for going to Dish Depot was to buy two “plain white plates” so that when I take pictures of food there is a nice neutral background. It was a valid reason for me to check out the place that is like Ali Baba’s cavern for all things porcelain at fantastic prices. There is a reason restaurants come here to stock up and replenish their supplies. While I was shopping a couple of restaurant owners were loading up their SUV with four CASES of dishes. If you only need a few, they will sell you a small quantity, so just bring cash and a good eye for quality underneath the dust and stacks. This is not Williams Sonoma or Sur La Table, so don’t expect any kind of order or presentation; keep in mind that the prices are why you are here. If you don’t want to rummage, and prefer your porcelain in pristine condition, don’t come here. If you love finding a steal and don’t mind running your purchase through a dishwasher, you will love it here.

 

 

They also have new and used kitchen equipment, ranging from professional espresso machines to heavy duty safety gloves. Meander and choose at your leisure, then find the small office and pay for your purchase (cash); Sam will ask how you found them and if you are a first time customer he will offer you a gift 🙂

After my haul of two white 12″ heavy porcelain plates and an Italian bar tool, totaling the princely sum of $6, I drove over to the Americana at Brand. I had heard of this mixed residential and shopping center, but had never been. The fake Eiffel Tower made me smile, and the open layout with a grassy fountain area in the center reminded me of the Grove. They even have a track for a trolley (that wasn’t anywhere to be seen).

Nearly all the major brands have stores here, and Nordstrom’s has an upper level outdoor terrace restaurant/bar where I enjoyed the view below along with some calamari.

 After wandering around the entire complex, the only thing I really wanted to buy was this 🙂

 

One of my friends used to live in South Pasadena so she suggested that we meet for lunch at Heirloom Bakery. They have a nice outdoor patio and they are only a few steps from the South Pasadena Metro stop, so it’s a pleasant and easy stop for breakfast or lunch. I chose the turkey panini with fresh spinach and tomato with a schmear of pesto that helped elevate the flavor beyond the ordinary.

My friend chose the quiche of the day and I had a taste so I could write about it. The filling was light but I found the underdone. The fresh tomatoes on the side were a nice touch, but some needed some dressing and a better presentation imho.

My friend ordered the bean salad as a side and this definitely needed some zest and seasoning.

On another evening my friends and I walked over to Communal half a block away from the Farmers’ Market for some craft beers and more food.

They were very generous with allowing us to taste several before making up our minds. I decided on the locally brewed Smog City Amber Ale. We ordered the twice fried Kennebec fries for $5 but they were too starchy for my taste, although my friends liked them.

We also ordered the crispy chicken wings with spicy porter BBQ  sauce and we all enjoyed them $8.

The hit of the evening were the mussels (a special) with a spicy tomato broth and a fabulous garlic toast that was absolutely perfect for either a full meal or for sharing.

Night Market at Grand Park is literally in the middle of Downtown LA, with easy public transportation (Civic Center stop on Red and Purple Metro lines), iconic landmarks, and this week-end, the added bonus of plentiful food options all in one place.

I went with four friends who all love to eat (they wouldn’t be friends otherwise), and we started with Nomad, a NYC transplant that now has not only food, but also a hotel here in Los Angeles.

Menus at many of the trucks were abbreviated for the sake of the festival, but a few signature items remained, and in the case of Nomad, the presentation in color coordinated boxes and shopping bags was a nice touch even though it wasn’t very ecologically minded.

The yellow beets with shaved fennel, chevre, strawberries, and rye crisp was an unusual combination of textures, flavors, and colors. We found this an interesting option for $9, but not sure we would order it again, but we were all glad to have tried it.

There fried fish sandwich with piquillo aioli and cabbage slaw for $11 was enjoyed by everyone, but I would have preferred a higher fish to bread ratio.

We passed the Cousins Lobster truck on the way into the park and one of my friends insisted on trying them, so we got two orders of the lobster tacos for $20 each order of 3.

The bits of Maine lobster were perfect, but the tortillas were terrible, worse than store packaged ones, and even adding a squeeze of lime and tapatio sauce couldn’t save the tiny tacos. We eventually ended up just picking out the lobster bits from underneath the mayonnaise tasting crema.

If you want to drink or enter into the bar areas, you must show ID at the ID booth and get a wristband, so do that when you enter the event (at the booth near the fountain). We got wristbands but once we saw the prices, we opted to leave the event to go get drinks elsewhere (bottled mass produced bottles of beer for $10).

 It looked like everyone was more interested in their social media than the drinks.

 Lots of beautiful art on trucks

 and some had windows so you could see them preparing your food.

 Choices included everything from BBQ cupcakes.

The Super Market section entry with all the most tempting food options was in the VIP section requiring an entry ticket of $10, but we had started at the other end and by the time we finished our two short rib burritos $7, spicy pork tacos $2.50 each, and black jack quesadilla $8 from Kogi, we were satiated.

Dessert was getting a picture with Roy Choi 🙂

Like many people who never see things that are famous in the place where they live, until this year, I had never seen the Rose Parade live, nor gone to the Bradbury building. The first floor is open to the public, so next time you go the Grand Central market, walk across the street and take a look 🙂

The elevators still work!

 

 Even on a cloudy day, the skylights brighten up the center courtyard.

 

So many places to eat in Grand Central Market, so I stopped by La Tostadaria for a light and filling snack; they only take cash unless you buy more than $10 worth of food, so my octopus tostada just put me over the barrier.

As octopus tostadas go, this was the best I’ve ever eaten, with tender marinated octopus and fresh crunchy vegetables on top of a beautifully fresh tortilla. It was marked with two peppers indicating it was spicy, and halfway through eating I started blowing my nose and thanking my stars that I did not add any more of the habernero sauce that was available at the counter! I would gladly order this again, but with a cool fire dousing drink to go along with it….I must remember that here in LA a warning for spicy means business!

I’ve missed my French marchés ever since I’ve moved back to the US 😦 Now that I live on the other side of town, the ones I knew and loved in Santa Monica are too far away for me to go to on a regular basis, but thankfully the South Pasadena Farmers Market is an excellent alternative. The market begins at the Metro stop for South Pasadena, so I saw it on a ride one day and made it a point to go once some friends said it was the best in the area.

There are many food trucks clustered around the road adjacent to the Metro stop, so if you are hungry, you will have plenty of options.

 

 

 

 These tamales contain no lard and are all freshly made by the family behind the counter.

 

 

 

 This sandwich was a specialty from the Gastobus.

 Peruvian plates.

 Crepes, both savory and sweet.

 Ice cream and sorbet in unusual flavors.

 You can also take food to go.

 

 

If you run out of cash (some vendors take credit cards), there is an ATM at the center of the market.

Local and organic produce abound.

 

 

 

 

 

 Flowers may not be edible, but they are pretty 🙂

 Many merchants sell things like vinegars, oil, and honey.

There’s live music as the sun sets.

 

Little Sister in DTLA is across from Bottega Louie on 7th Street, but unless you are looking for it, you will miss the discreet signage and miss the mouthwatering flavors hidden inside this small space. My mouth has been dancing in joy ever since I found this place and I look forward to every meal there just as I look forward to every trip 🙂

I asked my server her favorite dish and I ordered it; grilled prawns, cabbage mix, mango, cucumber, onion, cashews in a lemongrass cilantro dressing. It’s a much bigger serving that it seems and it could easily have been my lunch with the complex and layered flavors and textures.

The pork, shrimp, and crab dumplings with a spicy black vinegar dressing, chive, spinach, and peanuts was so  tender and savory especially with the extra sauce on the side that I didn’t want to share any with my dining companions.

 The sauce could be a  savory cocktail 🙂

The rice paper pho banh cuon beef and beef tendon, herbs, lettuce, pickled onion was a melody of textures and flavors that combined like an accomplished band, bringing in elements of silky rice paper, with sweet spice and chewy tendon.

My least favorite was the spicy lemongrass chicken with garlic and dried chilies which had depth but not to my taste for the combination of spices.

Very little on the menu is over $15 and they have sandwiches, rice and noodle dishes, as well as congee for those who want more starch. It will take awhile to eat my way through their menu, but it’s a challenge I would like to accept!

Yelp Elite Members get wonderful perks like free tickets to Absinthe LA!

These are some of the pictures and videos, but it’s a much better experience in person 🙂

It’s a bawdy (over 18 only), funny, acrobatic, entertaining show where you will not be bored, but not recommended for anyone easily offended!

 You can park in the West Garage ($10-$30) and just go upstairs, or take Lyft and/or the Metro.

 There was a free photo booth where you could sit and send your picture to social media or email.

 While waiting for the doors to open, I sat down for a pic:)

The theater in the round seats about 500 and in the middle of the week for the early show, 400 came.

 That is a guy on top of 7 levels of chairs!

 These guys were my favorite act!

 A couple worked the silks in a beautiful aerial dance.

 Two acrobats and a metal circle rose and swung in a sensual dance.

 This show is only for 18+ because some acts were definitely not for minors (but fun for adults)!

 The “Bodyguard” for the MC had a few unexpected talents.

 Talented cast and crew deserved their standing ovation.

A few of the extraordinary performers in action!

The Last Bookstore is the largest and likely the most famous bookstore in Los Angeles, so enjoy today’s photo post until you are in the area and able to experience the magic of this place in person 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pictures speak volumes, and I get many ideas about where to go eat from my Instagram feed. The first time I went in, two other people also came in for the first time because of the pictures we had seen on Instagram:) I follow Eat Bearded on Instagram and Armen is one of the chefs/co-owners of Mini Kabob.

Ovakim and Alvard welcomed me as if I had entered their home when I came into the eight seat restaurant; the place is so small that the couple dining at the table closest to the door opened it for me from their seats!

They serve high quality food, done with heart and skill that can only come from people who love what they do, and they treat everyone as a new friend or old one, depending on whether it’s your first visit or thousandth time. I’ve now become a regular, introducing friends to the place, so now I feel like this is my home away from home:)

The first time I went in, I asked Ovakim what he recommended, and he said “Get the chicken breast” so I did and it was the most mouthwatering moist version I have ever eaten. The rice, onions, and grilled tomato and jalapeno were perfect compliments to the chicken and basmati rice. All this for under $15 and nearly enough for two meals!

When I saw the steak and salad, I knew I wanted that combo on another night, and it did not disappoint, with tender meat and a refreshing green crunch all for under $20.

The Lule minced chicken mixed with a bit of pork and spices is a slighter smaller meal especially paired with salad instead of rice, but big on flavor.

Or you can opt for half rice, half salad.

If you can’t decide, you can order a combo plate with chicken thigh, chicken lule, and pork, also with salad instead of rice if you prefer. I found the pork a bit dry, but still tasty.

The lamb chops are a big plate, and I ordered half salad, half rice to get a completely “balanced” meal, but it was so big I would only order this to go next time; this is the most expensive item on the menu coming in at slightly over $20.

Perhaps my favorite part of any meal here is the delightfully light garlic sauce that is served with every meal. I would eat this everyday if I lived closer to Mini Kabob 🙂 They make it fresh daily, along with their hummus.

 The lavash bread comes from a nearby bakery, and it is the only thing they do not make in house.

I’m part of the extended family now 🙂

Meeting someone in Los Angeles can be a daunting task, especially when you must drive across town to do it. Even choosing to meet halfway in the middle of the day can still lead to chaos. People say there are no accidents or coincidences, so when I was supposed to meet a friend at noon at the Hotel Angeleno, traffic and rain conspired to have me enjoy the views and food alone.

It was my first time in this circular building, although I’ve driven past it numerous times on the 405 going in and out of the San Fernando Valley. I will definitely stop by the next time traffic is crawling and I want to be above the mess rather than in it. If you stop by during Happy Hour, they have nice bites and drinks with the view and a $7 parking fee.

Since I was there in the afternoon, after the normal lunch hour, there weren’t many people and I had a choice of seats with a view. I chose the ones with cushions a bit further away from the windows, but there were hotel guests who chose otherwise. I had a glass of Pinot Grigio as I waited for my friend, but as I got updates that the trek from the airport was going to take at least 90 minutes, I decided to order lunch.

It’s been awhile since I’ve had the classic salad Crab Louie, and I was happy to see the large portion of crab and vegetables arrive. For a hotel, this was a very correct dish, with real crab (canned), and local vegetables, including heirloom cherry tomatoes. The dressing was a green goddess instead of the traditional Louie, but it was tasty enough for me to use it all with some additional salt and pepper to perk it up. Lunch was fairly priced for a hotel with a view; with my wine and tax, my total was $38; this is a non tipping hotel, so everyone is paid a living wage by the hotel from the maids to the waiters and bartenders.

By the time my friend finally arrived, it was time for Happy Hour and since I had only eaten a salad, I got the ceviche. It was a bargain for the ingredients and the unusual green chips made me think it was St Patrick’s Day, but it could have used some tapatio or zesty spice.

I got to see my friend’s room that had a view overlooking the condos on the other side of the freeway.

The bed looked comfy with modern touches like a lit headboard and USB plug in ports.

The desk area carried on the same modern theme and included numerous ports built into the wall. There was a safe and mini fridge hidden behind the placards, water and snacks at reasonable for hotel prices. There was even a little coffee/tea maker with Wolfgang Puck coffee and Numi organic green tea.

 

The bathroom had several nice amenities, including a robe, toiletries, and three sets of towels for one person!

 

 

I think the coolest part of the hotel is the emphasis on them doing things a bit differently, from the non tipping policy to the unusual shape of the building; they definitely are not square 🙂

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