Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Adventure Time

If you were given a big empty canvas what would you draw? I challenged the kids with that idea one night for After Dinner Art and the Baby (who is now 7 and not really a baby) decided that Adventure Time was the way to go!

I sketched out a giant Finn and told him to add whatever he wanted then went away to fold the laundry.
Each time I walked by he was going full force on another character. Jake. Ice King. Beemo. Most of it was from memory which was impressive because honestly he doesn't watch much tv but he adores the characters and I think Pen Ward is pretty cool myself. So I pulled out the iPad for him to check his colors against the real characters.

It was fun to see his progession and attention to detail. Blank canvases can be an inspiring thing.

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Saturday, November 24, 2012


In Los Angeles there is no reason to eat fast food because the 'fast food' that we have all around us is beyond compare. Hidden in mini malls, grocery stores, off the beaten path, are little jewels of culinary greatness.

I have an affection for fried food, so when I heard that the 'best tempura in Japan' was opening up here in LA it was all I could do to not run there immediately.

Located inside the food court of a Mitsuwa, this place could easily be dismissed. Hannosuke 's menu is very limited, not much choice here - you get what you get and it's cash only too, to make matters more complicated.

But you don't need choice because what they offer is amazing. An assortment of fried food on a large bowl of rice. It's not crispy like the tempura that you might be used to but believe it or not it doesn't have to be. The flavor is what makes this bowl of fried deliciousness shine.

The tempura is fried to order and drizzled with a subtle sweet sauce that brings together the vegetables, shrimp and golden tempura. Along with shrimp, eel or whitefish as options there is a kakiage of shrimp and scallop, a sweet shishito pepper and a soft boiled egg, fried just so.

If you're not an egg fan this isn't for you, because when the egg is punctured the yolk runs throughout the bowl and mixes with the hot rice, fried food and sweet sauce to create a decadent omelet. Even though I'm not a huge fan of runny yolks I couldn't stop eating the gratifying eggy mess.

Ever since my first bite I dream about this tendon bowl at Hannosuke, definitely one of my favorite specialty places in LA.

3760 S Centinela Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90066

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Come with me and you'll be in a world of pure imagination

If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it...in Hollywood and Highland. No, seriously - candy fans, I have been to mecca and it is glorious.

Candy lovers of all ages will be transported to a sugary world at Sweet in Hollywood. On the second floor of Hollywood and Highland right next to the Kodak Theater, award winning window displays will welcome you to paradise.

30,000 square feet of candy awaits including the Wonka boutique - the exclusive home to the Wonka Inventing Room where you can experience the new line of Wonka inspired chocolates, truffles and fudge.
There are 12 separate boutiques, each of them themed out to feature unique candies. You'll see a lollipop forest, a wall of custom colored m&ms, every jelly bean imaginable, even chocolate shoes!
The boutiques even extend outside of the store, including one of the most terrifying yet adorable things ever, a marshmallow shop overseen by the Staypuft Marshmallow Man himself.
At the Candy Lab you make your own custom candy bar. Per the menu, yes you can actually add Hot Cheetos to your candy bar.
There are tasting machines that dispense small 'tastes' of candies for a few dollars. Raspberry Kit Kat bars only available in Japan? Here's your chance to taste one for yourself.
In the dead center of it all is a real Ferrari. What does it do? Power a gumball machine, what else? For a small fee you can 'drive' gumballs over 700 feet of track right into your waiting hands.
That's just the tip of the candy coated iceberg. The back of the store is dedicated to "Sticky" an Australian candy company that hand makes hard candy right before your eyes. Light and sweet, the candies come in every flavor imaginable and are perfect for gift giving. They even do custom orders with your names printed right into the candy!
Then there's the room that scares me - the "Yucky" room where candy is dispensed from toilets and urinals. Um, I'll let you discover that one for yourself.
What I'm doing here is saving the best for last, my favorite room in all 30,000 square feet was the Wonka Inventing Room.

Scenes and sounds from the movie play and you'll quickly noticed that you are totally immersed in the movie. Everlasting Gobstoppers! Wonka bars! Chocolate pencils that really write! A GOLDEN EGG made out of edible 23 carat gold!!
All of Wonka's greatest inventions are in this room along with knick knacks that he picked up from all his travels abroad. The detail of this room is remarkable and a dream come true for fans of the book.
The length of the room is an ornate candy bar, not 'candy bar' though there are those as well, but a candy 'bar' as in an array of artisnal candies inspired by the Wonka. If you remember in the book there were 'Square candies that looked round' here they took a little liberty with that but yes, these are looking 'around' as all the candies have expressions courtesy of edible googly eyes. Each eye defines a different filling.
Along the bar there are gorgeous hand embellished candies from smores filling to potato chip filling. I tasted them all and I when I tried the Snozzberry I just had to say it, 'The snozzberries taste like snozzberries.'

This is truly a candy wonderland, a fantastic destination for tourists and locals alike. The longer you spend here and look around you'll find secret touches you might have missed, very much like what you'd think Wonka's factory would actually be like. As I reluctantly left, I stepped on the giant Nestle Crunch one last time so I could hear the satisfying loud 'CRUNCH' one last time.
Sweet! Hollywood
6801 Hollywood Blvd.
Suite 201
Hollywood, CA

*I was invited by Nestle and WonkaNation to a private reception for this event with no monetary compensation. All opinions are my own*

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Parish

People in Los Angeles fear downtown but they shouldn't - because among the maze of one way streets and heavy traffic are little jewels of amazing restaurants.

The Parish is at the intersection of Spring and Main on 9th, for years it was an odd little corner but what it does have going for it is fairly light traffic downtown traffic and it's surrounded by an abundance of both street and lot parking.

Housed in a tight corner the restaurant is quite open and inviting. The windows and front patio offer a lot a cozy sunlight that brighten up the small interior. The seating is open and first come first served - getting there the earlier the better is your best bet because closer to 11 it starts to fill up fast.

The Parish breakfast menu consists of various breakfast biscuits and baked goods. Of course the Fried Chicken Biscuit was calling my name. The biscuits are a decent size and quite filling. Other items include sausage or bacon biscuits and vegetarian options. Nice and fluffy, the biscuits are lovely - just as decadent alone as they are bookending a perfectly fried piece of chicken smothered in maple dijon piled high with pickles.
But why stop there? A side of beignets is where it's at. Three of them lightly fried and heavily dusted with powered sugar just like I like them.

The other pastries options are just as fantastic. What looks like an ordinary cranberry muffin is surprisingly moist and fluffy, almost cake-like studded with tart, fresh cranberries.

But the standout was the maple scone. Most restaurants scones are hit and miss, some are dry and flavorless but this one...this one I think I'd drive by just to pick up one of these maple scones and nothing else. Sweet maple glaze coated a dense (but not dry) flavorful scone. Perfect with a coffee or one of their offerings of Chado tea.
The restaurant closes at noon then reopens for dinner at 5pm. I must come back because upstairs is a huge seating area with a large open bar and tables that look like a cozy living area. All I could think was that this would be a great place for a party.

The Parish opens at 7:30am to feed the downtown residents and if you catch it just right it's fairly quiet with plenty of seating. The night menu is gastropub fare which I'll have to come back for, but I can't imagine not spending a quiet Sunday morning in the downstairs area with a biscuit and a few beignets. Definitely my favorite place for a quick downtown brunch.
The Parish
840 S Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015

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Thursday, November 08, 2012

Display only

The Baby has been hanging these signs all over the house. It wouldn't bother me so much except for that infographic of the person being electrocuted. I'm very wary of what I touch around here nowadays...

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Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Toe Bang

An unfortunate name, but I will say this - Toe Bang is one of my favorite lunch places in all of Koreatown. It's a big drinking spot at night specializing in Korean Soju but lunch is more my thing.

Tucked into a private plaza in Koreatown, blink and you'll miss it. With entry from side streets you're almost transported into a tiny village and not just because of the stone tiled street, there's a freakin' water wheel in the front patio!

 The interior decor matches the exterior as everything is made of wood from the walls to the tables and chairs. The window walls are exposed to the outside. i.e. bring a jacket!

The weekday lunch special is where it's at. For a mere $9.99 you not only get a choice of hot stew but it's paired with a main dish of your choice with options for meat eaters and vegetarians alike.

When the food arrives you also get this metal gift box of a rice and egg bento, like a little gift of food.  Everything is perfectly cooked and delicious but feels like a buffet, especially when you're eating alone.

In addition to all of this, the meal comes with a good array of Korean banchan (side dishes) and even a free iced coffee! The amount of food for the price can't be beat.

Sometimes I'm reluctant to share my secret favorite places but I do want them to stay in business. Plus who can resist asking your friends if they want to go out to Toe Bang?? 

Toe Bang
Chapman Plaza
3465 W 6th Street
Los Angeles, CA


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Monday, November 05, 2012

Die hard fan

O.G. went to the hospital last week with some pretty bad injuries. The doctor said any other 91 year old would have never survived. Pain doesn't stop a SUPER FAN.
(click to biggie size)

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Sunday, November 04, 2012

City Target

Back in the old, oldddd days my roommate used to work at Seventh and Fig, so named because it was a shopping area at the corner of 7th street and Figueroa. There were stores and it was well used but the layout never really quite worked. With the bulk of the shops underground, viewed as you walked by from street level above it was dubbed 'the toilet bowl'.
Cut to 20 years later and things have changed. The development of downtown is thriving and gentrification demands the mecca that everyone wants...Target!

And so City Target was introduced and somehow in all those years they changed the name from 7th and Fig to Fig and 7th, which I don't quite get and it doesn't have a very good ring to it. Still, the location brought nostalgia for me and I had to go check out this new City Target to see it for myself.
As is always important downtown, parking is everything and as you enter from the massive parking structure on 7th you are greeted with this futuristic walkway leading you to your shopping destination.

All in all the Target is basically the same as any other, it's just 'City' because the footprint is streamlined by about 20,000 square feet, though you won't notice that much of a difference unless you're a Target addict. Hm. Which I am.

All the basics are there: grocery section, home wares, pharmacy - though but one things for certain, the items are targeted (hilarious) to the inhabitants of that particular area. So it will be interesting to see what items pop up over at the new soon to be opened City Target at the Beverly Center.
Since I do love all things LA I liked the fact that there was a section just for LA-ish items right at the front of the store. This is a perfect place to pick up that omiyage you need to take back on trips or just to find things to show off your love of Los Angeles.

In the whole of the shopping center, soon to be open stores include a Sprinkles and a Mendocino Farms so this location is definitely looking out for some future traffic. I am pretty pleased with this City Target and because of the great location I know I'll find myself stopping here quite a bit. However the exterior will always look toilet bowl-esqe to me:
City Target 735 S Figueroa St Los Angeles, CA 90017

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