Friday, June 29, 2012

Rose cupcakes at Schat's Bakery

I  go to a lot of bakeries. Almost *ahem*, daily. No matter where I am, if I see a bakery I will always stop in, you never know what tiny gem you might find.

Another South Bay(ish) bakery, is Schat's in El Segundo. They are a full service cafe serving sandwiches, salads, soups etc - but I was drawn in to this Rose cupcake...

So pretty. So delicate. And for $1.50 the price was just right too. A tender white cake with a perfect little rose of tinted frosting on top.

Since El Segundo is just south of the airport, Schat's is a great place to stop and pick up a bite to eat before your flight and a nice place to stop and smell the roses. Cupcake roses.

David Schat's Bakery Cafe
131A W Grand Ave
El Segundo, CA 90245
Neighborhood: El Segundo

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Homemade Pokemon cards

Like most kids, mine have discovered Pokemon. The cards are all the rage at school, with the tv show sort of just being secondary. The cards are where it's at.
While their collection has grown, my boys decided to give it a go on their own and design and develop their own Pokemon. Like most of our After-Dinner-Projects the kids spent time drawing, coloring and cutting to get their Pokemon's power and abilities just right.

They worked so hard on the cards I decided the best idea would be to laminate them to make them as 'real' as possible! I bought this Purple Cows Hot and Cold Laminator and I caught it on sale for just $14.99, what a deal!
It came with a bunch of different sized laminating pockets, and the small ones were the pefect fit. We turned the machine on and slipped the homemade cards in...

...watched them slide out...
...just a little trim...
...and voila! Perfectly homemade Pokemon cards!
The kids loved the results and got to work drawing more, and more new cards. It was like a Pokemon factory up in here! It made all their work a lot more fun and now we have ideas for a ton of new crafts!

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Patisserie Chantilly

I give food tours, don't you know? Well, only to friends who ask. And all the places on my tours are usually little known - or are about to blow up with popularity. Those places are the absolute best.

On this particular food tour we were in the South Bay and I knew that we as a posse of baking bloggers just had to stop by this place and try it out. When I hear a buzz about a bakery I'll generally travel far and wide to try it out, no matter how small the place is...and this place is small.

Patisserie Chantilly is located in Lomita, a small city tucked into the south of Torrance, inside a teeny strip mall. Blink and you'd miss it. But inside, it is wonderous. Clean minimal white walls, the perfect showcase for gorgeous, almost fashionably so - desserts.
Check out their yelp and you'll see consistently high marks. Lots of love for the cakes but what they are known for is their Sesame Choux, listed as one of the 99 Things to Eat in LA before you die by Jonathan Gold. Definitely a different take on your regular ol' cream puff, but sesame is a common ingredient in asian desserts and this one fits right in.

While I did get choux...and macarons...and I was eyeing the cakes, I went straight for one in particular:
The Avignon. It looked like perfect package, or at least a tiny hat. But the description said it all: "An elegant blend of white & milk chocolate mousse with lemon caramel." You sold me on lemon caramel. An interesting combination but it worked perfectly. The dessert was light as air and I tried to savor every small bite.
Patisserie Chantilly is not close to well, anything - but it's definitely worth a stop by if you're in the South Bay. So many cakes to chose from, so little time...

Patisserie Chantilly
2383 Lomita Blvd. ste 104
Lomita, CA 90717

Hours: Wed-Sun 11 am - 7 pm

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


I was invited to the Disney Studios lot to preview the new Disney Pixar movie Brave. I have been looking forward to this movie since they first announced the production and now it's finally here!

The story follows the journey of the Scottish princess Merida, who is determined to carve her own path in life. The movie lived up to the beauty of the trailer. The film is gorgeous and so realistic that you tend to forget you're not watching 'real' humans!

This was Pixar's first film to feature a female protaganist and as a founder of a League of Extraordinary Ladies myself, I have to say that strong female characters are a draw for women audiences of any age.

That being said, my son was excited about the movie - and rightly so, this film was full of action! Riding, chasing, sword fighting and of course...a archery. This is truly the year of the crossbow. With Katniss Everdeen, The Avengers own Hawkeye and now Merida - fighting with skillful weapons is the new black. Let's just say THIS is currently the most popular toy in my house. Yikes.

Aside from Merida being the star, another central part of the story is the setting. Lush forests, waterfalls and dark woods - everything seemed touchable and mystical. The production team truly did their research and brought the beauty of Scotland to life, tree by tree.

The story was heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. It's about growing up, finding oneself and the ultimate mother-daughter bond that is so strong. I teared up several times - make sure you bring kleenex.

It was a fantastic, strong and thoughtful movie. Contrary to past movies where a woman is waiting for a man to change her life (my issue with most princess movies), Merida has become my new favorite Disney Princess because she makes her own story and does it her way. A true Disney classic.

Brave is set for release this Friday, June22.

*Disney invited me to a screening of the movie with no monetary compensation. All opinions and reviews are my own.

Monday, June 18, 2012

new for SDCC 2012!

July is coming up fast and once again I will be at Comic-Con in San Diego! If you are one of the 150,00 people going, stop by justJENN designs in Small Press table N-10. I will have stationery, O.G. comics and this year something new:

Comic recipe cards! They come in a pack of four: an appetizer, side dish, main dish and dessert. The idea is that there will be more cards in the future (hopefully) and all the recipes will be interchangeable so you can put together your own meal plans - all with O.G. comics keeping things light along the way!

This first set of cards will be debuting at Comic-Con in a few weeks. Stop by, pick these up and say hi - there might be cookies for purchasers... See you at SDCC!

*Can't make it to Con? The cards will also be available online*

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Buena Vista Street - DIsney's California Adventure

This weekend I got to go to a special sneak preview of Cars land at Disney's California Adventure.

They opened the doors just for us and we got a full run of the place, food, stores, rides - it was all amazing and I'm sure you'll see several pics starting now before the park opens to the public next week. (I've posted several on my twitter.)
But I want to focus on something more which was near and dear to me and that's Buena Vista Street. We got a look behind those walls that have kept the renovations secret for so long...
The front entry to California Adventure - it's a Main Street redux. While Disneyland's Main Street is a recreation of Walt's hometown, the DCA main street is his memory of his initial visit to Los Angeles.

The buildings, outfits - all the details are a freeze frame of Los Angeles in the 1920s. At the end of the street there is a recreation of the Carthay Theater where Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs world premiered, and if you remember from my Disney archives visit (here) that is the movie that started it all.
I think I'm especially drawn to this area because I spent YEARS of my architectural life working on Disney's Main Street U.S.A.s but also because I'm a Los Angeles history buff, my love of LA is why I got into architecture. While other cities make fun of our 'short history' there are so many wonderful things that LA was built on. Just driving around this city with O.G. in tow and you can feel what it used to be like when she talks about the old days.

The Imagineers did a great job renovating the original boring 'hey we're California' vibe of Sunshine Plaza that once opened up DCA. Now there's a feeling of comfort and nostalgia and when the Red Car starts running it will feel even more homey. (Red Cars were common on LA streets in the 1920s and took the place of what we use now: freeways, traffic. Ugh.)
Disney opened up the entrance for us to take a look and wander. Perhaps it was because we were the only ones allowed in - but the flow was smooth, easy. It made me want to sit a while and relax. The stores were filled with new never before seen merch for the launch like these adorable Mickey Conductor ears - a true collectible.

I bought a few pairs and the kids wore them throughout the day - everyone in the park kept stopping us and asking where we got them. They are going to be a hit once they start selling, that's for sure.
At the end of the street is a candy shop, ice cream store, Starbucks (very LA) and a sandwich shop. The best part being the ample seating. You read that right - no more fighting for seats, thank goodness. 

The new entrance is a great turn around for this Second Gate and coupled with Cars land, DCA is going to be *the* place to be this summer.

I know my little conductors will be there...

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Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Ghirardelli at Disney's California Adventure

The big news at Disneyland - DCA - is that Cars Land opens next week. Slowly but surely the walls are coming down in other parts and new attractions are opening.

Poor Tortilla Factory, I knew you well. Years (I mean, YEARS) ago my colleagues worked on designing the Wharf area so it was sad to see Tortilla Factory go, but change is good. I will miss those stacks of free tortillas on my birthday.
In it's place is the new Ghirardelli Ice Cream shop - the LA version of the famous SF ice cream store. As touristy as it is, I always stop there when I'm in the Bay Area. There's no way I'm missing ice cream, no matter what the weather.

The Disney version is much smaller and doesn't feel as grand. The San Francisco store is packed due to the touristy nature of it, but it also boasts an impressive selection of chocolates and chocolate making.

The idea of showcasing the chocolate making stays true to the original DCA 'let's see how manufacturing works' concept. Here's how tortillas are made, here's how bread is made - anyone remember the Fortune Cookie Factory at California Adventure? Blink and you may have missed it but having worked on it, it was one of the most anticipated attractions and it was gone as quickly as it was built due to lack of interest. Too bad.

Here at the DCA Ghirardelli while there is chocolate making to be seen, I noticed a lot of guests passing by and not really taking it all in. Maybe they just wanted their ice cream! Heck, that's why I was there.

I took my two year old nephew who wanted nothing more than chocolate ice cream and that's what he got! I chose a 'Strike It Rich' - butterscotch hot fudge sundae. So. Good.

My only disappointment was that it was jammed into a plastic cup as compared to the lovely glassware they have in San Francisco, but I get it - we're at a theme park not a 'real' sit down restaurant. The plastic cups make it portable for you to go about your Disney day. It wasn't pretty, but it sure was delicious.

The Ghirardelli is a nice change up to the Wharf area and a good stop for a snack during the day. I'm sure it will thrive once the park is completed and if anything, they hand you free chocolate at the door, who can beat that?!

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Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Lady Fassbender

I made this for my friend Drea. It makes every day a happier day.