Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ink Sack

Like most tv food fans I was riveted by the brothers Voltaggio as they battled to the finish of Top Chef. Any appearance in LA I tried to see the chef in action - his Chef America dinner with Iron Chef Morimoto in Manhattan Beach was a once in a lifetime experience. (recap here)

So when Michael Voltaggio announced he was going to open an LA restaurant I was excited, but moreso that he was going to open a small sandwich outlet. I don't eat fast food, and in LA you don't need to and this is why - high quality delicious food that you can take on the run, perfect for me since I'm always out and about.
Ink Sack is located on Melrose right next to Sweet Lady Jane and across the street from one of my fave stores Alexander McQueen in West Hollywood.

As you would expect from a Top Chef the menu of sandwiches is a modern takes on classics. Sure there are reubens and banh mi, but also C.L.T. that's (chicken liver/chicken skin-lettuce-tomato) and a spicy tuna.

I went straight for the fried chicken sandwich - as I always do when I visit a new place and this one was great, fried perfectly, moist, it was almost...too meaty? Blasphemy, yes but the condiments on the sandwiches are so good you almost want more and more of them. No disrespect chicken.

Of all the sandwiches I tried, the stand out to me was their famed Jose Andres. Billed as the 'Spanish Godfather' it's his take on one of my favorite sandwiches in the city, Bay Cities Godmother.

While that one is large almost to the point of unweildy (but still amazing) this one is more compact. Still the amount of flavor packed in there is astounding. Serrano, chorizo, manchego all combine to make one of the best sandwiches I've ever had.

And of course I'm all about presentation and these slick black paper bags look unassuming but inside awaits something very special...

House made chiccarones! There were always chiccarones in the house when we were kids since they were a favorite of my mom. Paired with a spectacular Ink Sack sandwich and a Mexican Coke - that's the perfect LA lunch on the go right there.

everyday 11am-8pm.
8360 Melrose Avenue #107
Los Angeles

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A tour of the Disney archives

My mom was one of the first families to visit Disneyland when it opened back in 1955 and her love of all things Disney was definitely passed down to me.

We would go quite often as kids, sometimes staying for days at a time and it never got old. When I grew up my goal was to work for Disney and that dream was realized when I got to work for Disney Imagineering in architecture. The first visitor I brought to that job was my mom, of course.
 My love of Disney has never waned and I still go to the park every few weeks. So when I got the opportunity to get a rare look at the Disney archives I knew that it would be the perfect 'thank you' gift to my mom for all her years of Disney love.
The Disney Archives is up in Burbank and not open to the public. You can see the iconic building from the freeway but people rarely are able to get onto the campus unless they work there. There is comfortable a mix of old and new on the site with many of the original buildings from when Walt was alive and just starting out.
As you walk down the street at the very end is a familiar street sign. It's been featured in many Disney classics but the funny thing is that is actually has no function, it's merely a prop.

Next to it on  "Pluto's Corner" is a fire hydrant and if you look closely there are three doggie footprints...obvs Pluto is supposedly taking a leak.
So many current movies and tv shows are filmed here, no pictures are allowed inside the buildings but let me tell you when you see names on office doors you tend to do a double take. On this day they happened to be screening Avengers (before the release) it took all I had to not run into that building but there were so many other important things I needed to see.
The famous Disney Legends plaza - where you can see the names, hands, footprints of the creative people who have built Disney into what it is today.
It is also where you can find the iconic Partners statue, the twin to the one located in the middle of Disneyland.
And of course at the end of Legends Plaza, the famous Team Disney building by Michael Graves. The Dwarves holding up the facade is a nod to Snow White being the very first full length animated feature in Disney's history, the movie that started it all.

 In the lobby of Archives is the original  multiplane camera used to make Snow White. It's huge and hard to believe that all those cels were hand painted back in the day.

In the archives every item you can imagine is here, movie and tv props line the walls and there are Disney licensed items from the 50s to now. It's like a step back in time and you can feel the company history all around you.

We were so lucky that Dave Smith happened to be there that day! Dave, now retired - the first Disney archivist and basically the man who knows all.
He brought out the original Disneyland E tickets, opening day passes and one of Walt's Oscars. Walt Disney has 26 Oscars, more than any other person in history and I got to hold one! It was a thrill and you can tell when people win one that it is truly an honor, I felt special just holding it!

It was great to spend the day at the Disney archives and one that I won't soon forget. It was great to experience it with my Mom who made me the Disney fan I am today.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A few of my favorite things

Lately there a few things I can't live without...

Flight 001 in LA is one of my favorite stores. Even if I'm not traveling I still want everything in the store. Their modern take on the spork is super stylish - fork, spoon and knife all in one, in an array of beautiful colors. These things are tough and durable and I throw them in the kid's school lunches.

Targus Mini Stand iPad
If you're like me and stuck in a technology loop you likely have a computer, laptop, kindle or iPad going, possibly all at the same time. This stand is perfect to hold up your device - sleek and simple (just the way I like things) the acrylic profile is pretty, stable and works perfectly for reading.

Bumble and bumble Seaweed Shampoo
I love this shampoo with all my heart. Yes, it costs more than a regular brand but you can feel the difference. Clean and light it makes your hair feel fresh. All Bumble and Bumble products are amazing but this continues to be one of my favorites.

Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker

Summer is coming. (say that in a Game of Thrones-y voice) With the weather heating up I'm all about ice cream and I love creating my own flavors for the summer time. This is my favorite ice cream maker because it's affordable and compact. Once you get one there's no turning back, you'll want to make ice cream on a daily basis!

Monday, May 21, 2012

We have a HULK

The other day the Baby was assembling (haw haw) Avengers toys and realized...we don't have a HULK! How can this be? I even have a Hawkeye action figure!

Thankfully, instead of begging me to take them to Target, the Kid tempered his brother by coming up with a grand plan to MAKE OUR OWN HULKS! Genius!

Like most of our after-diner-art sessions this revolved around crafts and superheroes, our favorite things!

It was an interesting problem solver - the Kid decided to make his totally from scratch, building the Hulk entirely out of paper. Because we had no green paper he used a crayon and 'made' his own green paper.

Then crushed those up into balls to form the head and body and then made cylindrical arms, etc.

 The Baby chose a different plan of attack. He started off with a green figure as a base, using Humungousaur from Ben 10. As you can see, his work station was mostly snacks.

He then insisted that I fashion purple pants out of paper but they had to wrap around him entirely. Sheesh! I feel like I work in a sweat shop sometimes.

 I used the same idea that I used on the FoodLibrarians' bag for her doll cake (here), where I made a pattern that completely wrapped around the object.

Once the pants were done the Baby made a chest and a Hulk face to complete it.

I'm sure we'll acquire a Hulk action figure soon, but until then I think we came up with a good substitution.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Farmer's Market Fruits

I love this time of year in LA because the weather is perfect for Farmer's Markets. I usually go at least once a week, but shoot for twice. I like to stroll and see what ingredients inspire me to come up with new recipes. The kids love coming with me to the markets because they get to pick out what they like and sample all the fruits and veggies.

The Baby is a little fruit bat, there's hardly a fruit that he doesn't love so that's what usually makes it home with us. Last week blood oranges were abundant and when they cut them open for display they are hard to resist. I took some home to eat and then baked cupcakes with the rest of them.

  Fresh berries. I love the yellow raspberries. I used those in cupcakes too!

 Blood oranges, always beautiful.

 Cherries - a favorite of the Baby's.

 Freshly shelled peas!

 Grapefruit, one of *my* favorites.

 Gorgeous purple artichokes.

Strawberries, the redder the better!

Mmm...ripe, red tomatoes.

I can't wait to see what arrives at the market next week!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

I think O.G. might be the world's oldest (literally) Clippers fan. Do you know any other 92 year olds that talk about Clippers defense incessantly?

I need to update this comic but it's quite fitting especially today since there's a game and I doubt I'll be able to pull her away for a Mother's Day lunch. I think I'll bribe her with tacos. Clippers and tacos - O.G.'s ideal Mother's Day.

Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Supahcute Dream Team Show

This Saturday night is the opening reception for the Supahcute Dream Team art show! Supahcute is a great blog that finds the cutest of cute in art, toys and brands. The artists that she finds and posts are always amazing and she really does her homework by going to all the shows and cons to find the coolest things.

The curated art show will be at Leanna Lin's Wonderland - a super sweet store located in Eagle Rock. Leanna Lin is another talented curator of all things kawaii and together with Supahcute they can rule the world with cuteness!

This Saturday will be the opening nite party but if you can't make it the show will run from May 12 - June 24. Not only did I design the logo for the show but I will also have a pop-up shop at the store! The party will have tacos, sweets and be a whole lot of fun! Stop by and take a look at the amazing artwork and make some purchases to support local artists!

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Screen Free Week

 Last week was 'Screen Free Week' at school. Last year it was called 'Turn off TV week' but this year not only can't the kids watch tv, but no movies, video games or cell phone games. It's supposed to get the kids to 'unplug' and think of other things to do and be more active.

Turn off tv week isn't so bad since I don't allow my kids to watch that much, nor do they spend that much time gaming. But the phone  is another story. I do hand it to them to play a few games while we're waiting for afterschool classes, in line at the store, etc.

 Participating in Screen Free Week isn't mandatory but I always encourage the kids to do it. There's so much to do and so many ways to be creative -  tv is really low on the priority list. You were supposed to keep a log of what you did all week afterschool instead of watching tv. Some of the activities we came up with was art projects, going to the park, making things out of recycling, reading book and baking muffins. That was all my idea  of course.

Only the Baby's class was participating in Screen Free Week but the Kid was a champ and didn't watch tv either. He deserves a medal for the stuff he has to put up with. Not only did the Kid abstain from watching tv, but he volunteered to think up an activity for the Baby while I made dinner. When I asked him what they did he said, "We made homemade grappling hooks like Batman." Of course they did. My children, ladies and gentlemen.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

I love Pocky!

I'm a huge fan of Pocky, I ate it all the time as a kid and now my kids love it too. It's a great snack but I also use it in baking and recently even made Pocky Ice Cream.

Back in the day there was only chocolate but now there are so many more options! Striped Pocky, Mango Pocky, Matcha Pocky, Men's Pocky (it's bittersweet chocolate), vanilla Pocky, Hello Kitty pocky - and here are just a few more that I am lucky enough to find on the regular in my local store:
 Good 'ol Strawberry Pocky. A favorite of the Baby's...and Yoda.
 Thomas Pocky! The kids loved this when they were toddlers and really, really, reallllly into Thomas trains.
 Almond Pocky is a sophisticated treat. Lots of texture and crunch.
 Pumpkin Pocky, a rare seasonal treat I used these in my Boys Day cupcakes!
This is my fave: GIANT POCKY! I used these as edible Mr. Pointy's when I did the Buffy the Vampire Slayer birthday party. People loved them!
 I love these because they made the Pocky sticks into HEART SHAPES! OMG the cuteness!
Salty Pocky is a newcomer, with the whole salty-sweet trend on the rise, it's a given.
This is the latest to hit the shelves here in America, Panda Pocky. Too adorable. Basically a cookies 'n cream Pocky but the white+black is so obviously Panda-esque how could you not buy it?
Peanut Butter Pocky! Now if only there was a Jelly Pocky...
Cheesecake Pocky, and it's rare too. I have no idea what that means.
Mango and Pineapple flavors are popular right now and make up this Tropical Pocky flavor.
Pocky has never been so adorable!

I'll keep posting them as I see them out in the wild, I'm always looking out for the newest ones!

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