Tuesday, June 28, 2011

All work and no donuts make Jack a dull boy.

Best embroidery I've ever seen.
My Uncle LOVES mom + pop stores. I jokingly call him the 'Norm' of the Southland because like Cheers, 'everyone knows his name' when he drops into these places.

Like me, my Uncle loves little hole-in-the-wall places with interesting things and great food and proving that we are related - he also loves donuts. Remember my family visit to a donut buffet? Yeah, that pretty much sums us up.
One of his faves is Primo's Donuts in Westdale. Located on Sawtelle in West L.A., the storefront is so small, I've eaten in that shopping center many a time and never even knew it was there. If you read articles on the 'best donuts in L.A.' their name almost always makes the list.

Nondescript, clean and tiny - this little donut shop is a gem for locals. Not only are the friendly (!) - the counter lady has worked there for years - but the donuts are above and beyond and the coffee is always hot.
Here's the kicker - they are known for their 'Butterflies' donuts. Why this thing is called a butterfly is beyond me. It's not shaped like a butterfly, there's nothing butterfly-ish about it. It's a rolled dough with a touch of cinnamon, not quite a cinnamon roll, but flavorful.
Maybe it's the pretty topping that makes it butterfly-like. It's almost as if they scraped the bottom of the tray of allll the donuts and put it on top of this thing. Look closely and you'll see glaze, crumb, some strawberry bits. My inquiries got me nowhere. Whatever the name is and how it came to be, who knows - but it is delicious.
We obliterated a bunch of donuts - because that's how we roll - and kicked back in a glorious fried coma. The donuts here were great. Not fancy, not healthy - just the perfect melt in your mouth sweet treat. I'll be back soon I'm craving a Butterfly right now...
Primo's Donuts
2918 Sawtelle Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064
(310) 478-6930

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Detroit Rock City

Lately L.A. has become a hot dog hot spot. With new places opening every week it's hard to know what's good and what's hype. On the corner of Sunset and San Vicente, Coney Dog LA had a huge following before it even opened. A Detroit transplant, these dogs are well loved and with investors like Adam Sandler and Tim Allen, the opening was much anticipated.

Hot dogs, great. But I was more interested in the fact that they were carrying a full line of Faygo. I know Red Pop is a tradition but I can't pass up a Root Beer...ever.

Not only is there soda but a full line of beers including Strohs, a Detroit beer and this is the only place in L.A. that has it.

It's hard to get a chili dog to look good in a picture, let me tell you. The hot dogs were good, great snap, flavorful chili and man, do I love onions.

The real deal - Sanders hot fudge sundaes. My friend Hilary - who told me about Coney Dog in the first place, insisted that I get a hot fudge sundae. She was right, that is some damn fine hot fudge...the one drop I tasted.

The kids descended on that sundae like vultures. I'm lucky I didn't get my arm chewed off trying to get my one taste. But it was fantastic. I'm totally going back BY MYSELF to eat my own.

The place is new, clean, has great parking (a rarity in Hollywood) and is already packed with tons of Detroit natives. They were a little pricey for hot dogs, but seeing as how they are located on the Sunset Strip right next to the Whiskey and open til midnight - I see nothing but big business for them.

Coney Dog L.A.
8873 Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

laissez les bon temps rouler

Lately I've been going to Downtown Disney and skipping the park entirely! Maybe it's the summer crowds, maybe I'm trying to avoid my crankiness - but there's lots of fun to be had right outside the park!

Since my family also loves Disney it was an easy choice to have Sunday brunch at Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen. They have a take-out space at Downtown Disney for quick meals, and the sit down restaurant is right next door.

It's a beautiful two story space, with lots of themed out rooms and a huge interior courtyard. It makes you feel like you've stepped right into New Orleans.

They offer a Sunday brunch with live jazz inside and second terrace seating outside. It's actually lovely to sit and watch the Disney crowds filter in on a Sunday morning.

The food here is great, creole (one of our family faves), warm, comforting and full of soul. Adults can order things like Gumbo, Shrimp and Grits - I chose the Crab Cakes Egg Benedict. Good lord was that rich, and oh so delicious! Definitely a Sunday brunch treat. Meanwhile, the kids were treated to their very own buffet!

The boys couldn't be more excited. They love to choose their own food and when it's a breakfast buffet, I know I'll get my money's worth. (Adults can get the kids buffet also for a slightly higher fee.)

They had the standard: pancakes, eggs and bacon - but they also had lunch items such as cheeseburgers, grilled cheese and some of the best cajun fries you'll ever have.

The kicker? They offered on the spot COTTON CANDY. *I* was dying let alone the kids, but I restrained myself since it was for the little ones. (I didn't even tell him to use that cotton candy to block his face, my cousin said he's probably just used to taking pictures like that now, ha!) Topping off a breakfast with cotton candy is not the healthiest end of a meal, but remember you are at the Happiest Place on Earth...or just outside.

The brunch also offers up magicians to come by your table and these guys are good - you have to be to do close up slight of hand. The kids were in awe, or perhaps they were sugar stunned by all the cotton candy I let them have. Hm. Who's to say.

On the regular menu they had some great desserts but one stood out: beignets. You simply can't have a Nawlin's style meal without them. Perfectly fried, warm and COVERED in powdered sugar they are one of my favorite things. Luckily the take-out next door also offers them, in a bag for you to shake violently and dust the puffy dough all by yourself. Just...if you're wearing black be forewarned.

Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen is a lot of fun and has great Creole comfort food. It's a perfect stop before you enter the madness of the parks. And where else can the Baby have a cheeseburger in one hand...and cotton candy in the other. Yikes. Maybe we should go on an all veggie diet for a while...

Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen
1590 South Disneyland Drive
Downtown Disney

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Your love, is better than ice cream

It's hot. Not crazy hot, but hot enough. I predict a summer full o' ice cream...

Here are some of my favorite frozen treat accessories!

Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker (info, here)
My fave ice cream maker. The price is low and it's just the right size, not taking up too much storage space!

Wilton Ice Cream Sandwich Pan (info, here)
An easy way to make PERFECT ice cream sandwiches everytime. Neapolitan, my fave.

Wood Ice Cream Spoons from Webstaurant.com (info, here)
I love these spoons! They are so old-timey and make all your treats fun to eat!

Paper Straws (info, here)
These biodegradable paper straws are so fun and make your dessert drink adorably retro!

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

I love you. I know.

Last year 12 friends and I formed the League of Extraordinary Ladies. The goal was to bring other geek girls together who liked comics, sci fi - all the nerdy things we love. Our motto is 'ordinary women creating extraordinary connections.'

We decided to put together a meetup event, so that other geeky women (and men too) could come together and meet each other and hopefully form new friendships. Saturday night we hosted the event at Meltdown Comics in Hollywood and it was a huge success!

So many people came out, braved the traffic, drove for hours, Grant Imahara even flew in! Aw, that's love. All this just to show their support. It was truly heartwarming.

We had great sponsors, Archaia and ScienceFiction.com - who stepped up and made the event even better.

There were tons of giveaways: amazing graphic novels from Archaia, Think Geek and Comikaze Expo gift certificates, collectibles from QMx and even things from our own talented League.Link

I made a bunch of cupcakes for the evening, cookie cupcakes, red velvet, even cupcakes with the LxL logo (how-to, here).

The most popular cupcakes were the Princess Leia cupcakes (recipe, here)! After all, she is the ultimate geek girl and delicious as chocolate ganache.

Over 200 rsvp'ed on facebook, you never know what that means but in this case people totally showed up, in full force!

It was a fantastic night of great friends old and new and I hope that everyone's geeky friendships continue on. Now onto Comic Con!**

**I'll be in Small Press at SDCC again this year, table N10. Stop by. I'll have cookies.

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Where troubles melt like lemon drops away above the chimney tops

Do you hear that sound? It's the sound of the last day of school and the first day of summer! Depending on how you look at it, it's either the sound of sweet butterfly wings...or screeching peacocks.

It's been quite a year and it's hard to believe it's over so soon. I don't know how teachers do it, I give them so much credit. It's hard work to have that much patience and be able to teach these kids all that they do.

As a sign of appreciation and a goodbye, I made cupcakes! I decided on something 'happy' so rainbows were in order of course.Link
I packed them all up and we gave them to the teachers. Here's to the end of a successful year...but now we have a jam packed summer ahead. Yikes. I need a vacation...
Rainbow Cupcakes recipe, here.

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Hermione: Harry, there's a reason the symbol of Slytherin house is a serpent. Salazar Slytherin was a parselmouth, he could talk to snakes too.

It's my fave time of year, time to sign up for the Summer Reading Club! As a kid I remember my mom taking us to the library every summer to start the Summer Reading program. We spent a lot of time in the library, maybe that's why my mom eventually became a librarian later in life. Hm.

I read a lot during the summer, the books I loved most had colorful imaginative illustrations. I also read and re-read TONS of cookbooks. Seems like I spent all my time in the cookbook/party planning section.

Now that the Baby is five and can FINALLY read, I feel like the door has opened up and we can do even more things. The summer reading program is fantastic because it encourages kids to keep up with their studies in the summer, but more importantly they get to explore new worlds through books and have lots of fun!

For the kick off party at the Library they brought in an animal expert who showed off a bunch of animals - one from every continent.

There were the usual cuties, pigmie albino hedgehog...

...and then the not so cuties. Legless lizard, anyone? Ew.

And the piece de resistance, a GIANT BOA CONSTRICTOR. You should have heard the squeals in the audience! When the animal expert asked who wanted to touch the snake, The Kid made a straight beeline right back to me as if someone had yelled 'fire!'- no way, no how. Meanwhile the Baby lined up as fast as he could and even started speaking Parseltongue. Er...nerd therapy, line one.

When the party was over we headed to the children's book section and picked out the books to start our summer reading. I got kids cookbooks and the Baby got a book on snakes...of course he did. Nothing like hearing your child yell across a quiet library: "Look mommy, it's eating a dead rat!" Yeesh.

**update to this post: the Kid woke up at 6am yesterday and ended up reading 14 books. It's going to be a lonnnngg summer.

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Thursday, June 09, 2011

Little Twin Stars

My friend is having twins!

I think that's pretty awesome, I can't even imagine the shock it must be to take a look at your first ultrasound and see TWO babies. I got invited to the baby shower and immediately started thinking about a gift...

I decided to put together a pretty practical basket, I know late night feedings are going to rough especially with two - so I filled the basket with quick things to eat or make. Miso soup, salted seaweed and of course Oreos and chocolate, what else would you crave in the wee hours of the morn?

I soon realized she actually does need two of everything. Yikes! Double stroller, two high chairs, two sets of bibs - wow, it's A LOT. Having just one kid at a time you tend to take for granted that you can just do hand me downs for the next one - not when it's two at once!

I bought her the obligatory 'cute outfits' one boy and one girl since she's having one of each (!) and then went the realistic route and put in a bundle of plain ol' tees that will be totally messed up in no time.

The shower was held in the backyard of her sister's gorgeous home. The lunch was AMAZING, they really went all out. I love when people put a lot of thought into a party menu because it really is the best part of any event. Of course we played those familiar baby games...

Man, I lost horribly on the 'guess the baby food' game. It all looks the same to me: gross. But I totally rocked the 'celebrity baby names' and got 12 out of 15. Yay me!

It was a fun time and I'm so excited to see two little ones come into this world. The last part of my gift...Sleeping Baby Cupcakes! A sweet way for her to kick off this new life adventure!


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