This Summer, I Scream for Ice Cream

Ice cream has always been one of my favorite guilty food pleasures, and today is National Ice Cream Day so in celebration here are two of my recently discovered ice cream shops that I love.

Last month, my sister and I stumbled upon this lovely ice cream shop on Melrose Avenue in LA called Neveux Artisan Creamery. This place makes all their ice cream fresh, and their flavors are so fun. We tried the toasted marshmallow and salted caramel flavors and fell in love. Check out their other inspiring ice cream flavors.

Ever since then, I have had this never-ending craving for salted caramel ice cream! So when my friend Jacky invited me to her favorite ice cream spot, Carmela in Pasadena, I was so down. I sampled the lavender honey, dark chocolate cacao nib and salted caramel flavors. They were all delicious, but I had to go with the last two flavors. Jacky got the brown sugar vanilla bean and the strawberry buttermilk…but I think she was a little sad she didn’t the salted caramel. Hint: this place is awesome because a one-scoop serving really equals two small scoops, so you can actually try two flavors for the one-scoop price. Score. Carmela also offers ice-cream-making classes with its store founders, which sounds awesome! Carmela has additional locations in Los Angeles, and its ice cream is sold at some eateries as well.

Get out and try one of these yummy ice cream places today…or do what I did and make your own at home! I used this recipe for salted caramel ice cream. Check out the photos below!

Carmela's salted caramel ice cream.

Carmela’s salted caramel ice cream.

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Phase one of the homemade salted caramel ice cream. Lots of time at the stove perfecting the base!

Phase one of the homemade salted caramel ice cream. Lots of time at the stove perfecting the base!

The finished product!

The finished product!

 

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All I Want for My Birthday is Stanley Kubrick

Yesterday marked the closing day for the must-see Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) exhibit that paid homage to the late and great writer, director and producer Stanley Kubrick. The exhibition kicked off last November and quickly drew crowds and press with a wide array of artifacts and relics from the filmmaker’s career.

I went to see the exhibit with some friends for my birthday a couple weeks ago. I could have walked around the exhibit all day! Some of the most memorable pieces from the exhibit were the Korova Milk Bar maids from “A Clockwork Orange,” the dresses of the Grady twins from “The Shining,” the typewriter from “the Shining” and the monolith from “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

Check out my photos below from the Stanley Kubrick exhibit and our brunch afterwards at the nearby Little Next Door.

This gorgeous wall of movie posters greeted us upon our entrance.

This gorgeous wall of movie posters greeted us upon our entrance.

Masks from "Eyes Wide Shut."

Masks from “Eyes Wide Shut.”

A scene from "Full Metal Jacket."

A scene from “Full Metal Jacket.”

Props and scripts from "Full Metal Jacket."

Props and scripts from “Full Metal Jacket.”

The ominous typewriter from "The Shining."

The ominous typewriter from “The Shining.”

The haunting words Shelley Duvall's character reads on the typewriter's page.

The haunting words Shelley Duvall’s character reads on the typewriter’s page in “The Shining.”

A page from one of the most memorable scenes in "The Shining."

A page from one of the most memorable scenes in “The Shining.”

The Grady twins' dresses from "The Shining."

The Grady twins’ dresses from “The Shining.”

Ok, just one more creepy prop from "The Shining."

Ok, just one more creepy prop from “The Shining.”

No Stanley Kubrick exhibit would be complete without Alex's legendary costume from "A Clockwork Orange."

No Stanley Kubrick exhibit would be complete without Alex’s legendary costume from “A Clockwork Orange.”

Korova Milk Bar maids from "A Clockwork Orange."

Korova Milk Bar maids from “A Clockwork Orange.”

Costumes from "Barry Lyndon."

Costumes from “Barry Lyndon.”

Kirk Douglas' costume in "Spartacus."

Kirk Douglas’ costume in “Spartacus.”

The monolith from "2001: A Space Odyssey."

The monolith from “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

More props and relics from "2001: A Space Odyssey."

More props and relics from “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

If you were able to finish the two-and-a-half-hour long masterpiece, "2001: A Space Odyssey," you will remember this piece from the end of the film.

If you were able to finish the two-and-a-half-hour-long masterpiece, “2001: A Space Odyssey,” you will remember this piece from the end of the film.

Stanley Kubrick's research library.

Stanley Kubrick’s research library.

A beautiful day at LACMA!

A beautiful day at LACMA!

Brunch at the Little Next Door, the sister of the Little Door Italian restaurant.

Brunch at the Little Next Door, the sister of the Little Door Italian restaurant.

It was pretty busy! Make a reservation.

It was pretty busy! Make a reservation.

Spanish frittata. So good.

Spanish frittata. So good.

My sister's French toast. 'Twas a hit.

My sister’s French toast. ‘Twas a hit.

Enjoying brunch on a cute garden-like patio, complete with a pond and fountain.

Enjoying brunch on a cute garden-like patio, complete with a pond and fountain.

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April and May in Photos

Hi, there. It’s been about an eternity since I’ve done a post! Here are some photos of what I’ve been up to and where I’ve been lately ;)

Brunch at La Grande Orange Café in Pasadena…It was yum!

How to Destroy Angels at the Fox Theater in Pomona on April 10.

How to Destroy Angels is fronted by Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor and his wife, Mariqueen Maandig.

How to Destroy Angels is fronted by Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor and his wife, Mariqueen Maandig.

One more from How to Destroy Angels.

One more from How to Destroy Angels.

First time at Bruxies in Brea. This is the buttermilk fried chicken bruxie with chili honey and cider slaw.

First time at Bruxies in Brea. This is the buttermilk fried chicken bruxie with chili honey and cider slaw.

A visit to Downtown Santa Ana, near Gypsy Den and Grand Central Art Center.

Sake House Miro in Los Angeles. My new favorite spot for Japanese cuisine and sushi!

Sake House Miro in Los Angeles. My new favorite spot for Japanese cuisine and sushi!

Just another beautiful day in Los Angeles on Sunset Boulevard.

Just another beautiful day in Los Angeles on Sunset Boulevard.

Swingers Diner. Best late-night eats. Ever.

Swingers Diner. Best late-night eats. Ever.

Breakfast with friends at Rialto. Always perfect.

Breakfast with friends at Rialto in Fullerton. Always perfect.

Annnd Rialto also was showing one of my fav '90s TV shows, "The Adventures of Pete and Pete."

Annnd Rialto also was showing one of my fav ’90s TV shows, “The Adventures of Pete and Pete.”

The Black Angels at the Glass House on May 18.

The Black Angels at the Glass House in Pomona on May 18.

I took an employee from my company's Indian office out for a wild night in LA!

I took an employee from my company’s Indian office out for a wild night in LA!

Shintaro. Def legit sushi in Hollywood.

Shintaro also plays a silent Japanese film for ambiance. So cool and fun.

Shintaro also plays a silent Japanese film for ambiance. So cool and fun.

Ajay learns how to use chopsticks.

Ajay learns how to use chopsticks.

Shintaro sushi love.

Shintaro sushi love.

Hollywood Walk of Fame. Ajay meets MJ. Sort of.

Hollywood Walk of Fame. Ajay meets MJ. Sort of.

Ajay meets the King.

Ajay meets the King.

Jack Daniels shots at Hooters. How much more American can you get?

Jack Daniels shots at Hooters. How much more American can you get?

Memorial Day massages, manicures and pedicures at Beverly Nails. Amazing!

Memorial Day massages, manicures and pedicures at Beverly Nails in LA. Amazing!

First visit back to Disneyland in a year!

First visit back to Disneyland in a year!

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What I Wore: Pasadena, My Anchor

I recently had a long day of dates with friends in Pasadena. I used to work in Pasadena, so a group of my ex-coworkers and I planned a lunch date at Margarita Jones. Then I met up with Jacky, and we did some shopping around Old Town Pasadena and shared an amazing burger at Hook Burger.

I’ve been meaning to wear this tan-and-white anchor-print skirt I discovered at a thrift store months ago. I just really wasn’t sure what color of top would look best with it. This mustard sweater seemed to do the trick. And I even had some anchor earrings to complete the look!

Top: Forever 21
Skirt: Thrifted
Shoes: Steve Madden
Handbag: Steven by Steve Madden
Earrings: Forever 21
Lipstick: Vegas Volt and Crème de Nude by MAC

Oh, and then there was this…so good!

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Lazy Oxen and Lots of Surprises: Lazy Ox Canteen in Los Angeles

I now know why they call this place the Lazy Ox Canteen. Because I felt like a fat, lazy ox when I left the restaurant. But really, Lazy Ox Canteen is a great spot near Little Tokyo in downtown Los Angeles that serves delicious and sinful creations with some unexpected surprises…

When I was in Los Angeles for work a few months ago, my friend Chachi and I checked out the restaurant that Los Angeles magazine and food critics have been raving about for months. After lusting over the photos Lazy Ox Canteen’s photo album on Yelp, I was ready to see what this place is all about.

The dark and mysterious restaurant is on the small side, and it’s bustling with young professionals on an average weeknight. The dark wooded restaurant has lots of candles glowing throughout, and of course, oxen décor pops out here and there. My favorite was the wall treatment in the restroom, featuring a mural of cartoon-style oxen and flowers.

Like many restaurants, the menu does change, so just because you saw that amazing hand-torn egg pasta with a sunny-side egg and brown butter on Yelp doesn’t mean it will be there when you dine. Insert my sad face.

The polenta was full of cream, but it was so good, I didn’t even care. Amazing. We devoured the bowl of creaminess that was topped with mushrooms and curry. The broccolini had a great taste; the crispy soy coating was very similar to the broccoli I had at Top Chef winner Ilan Hall’s restaurant The Gorbals. Still not quite as amazing as Ilan’s but very good and flavorful.

Oh, and the unexpected surprises? There were a few. First off, we ordered the eggplant nachos. We were intrigued by the concept. We had imagined some kind of elevated nacho dish with eggplant chips. When the dish arrived, that wasn’t exactly what we saw. Well, the eggplant chips were there, but they were covered in honey and yuzu cream, which was basically like ice cream. Yes, frozen ice cream that obviously was melting.  It was bizarre, but it still made me curious enough to eat it. The biggest unexpected surprise, or cruel trick, was the potato salad. My fat-girl-at-heart self was expecting creamy potato salad like you’d get at a summer BBQ. But what did we get? A green salad topped with mustard seed and roasted potatoes. Womp womp. The mustard taste was a little too strong for my liking, so it ended up being my least favorite dish.

The finale was the 8 oz. Lazy Ox burger, which was…exquisite. Don’t judge me for being so happy about a burger, ok!? It was perfectly cooked, and the accompanying red pepper aioli and steak fries were the cherry on top.

Fun oxen mural in restroom.

The polenta.

Chachi worshipping the polenta.

The broccolini.

Eggplant nachos.

Potato salad.

8 oz. Lazy Ox burger.

Me beaming with love for the 8 oz. Lazy Ox burger.

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Pie ‘n Burger: A Slice of Southern California History

Sometimes I wonder if I should rename this blog the Burger Blog, because I find so many places in Southern California that serve amazing burgers. When I worked in Pasadena back in 2007, I discovered Pie ‘n Burger. The small restaurant, which opened in 1963, is hidden just off of Lake Avenue, on California Boulevard—not far from Old Town Pasadena.

This restaurant may appear rundown at first glance, but don’t be fooled by the simple exterior. The wood-panel walls, Formica counter tops and swivel stools make you feel as if you’ve walked on to an episode of the Brady Bunch. And it’s awesome.

As you sit up to the countertop, you have a front-seat view of the cook flipping burgers on the grill and the waitresses preparing orders for other patrons. I’ve even heard that many of the cooks and waitresses have been there since the ’60s and ‘70s, adding even more history to the establishment.

Now, the burger.

I don’t even know what it is that makes Pie ‘n Burger’s cheeseburger so darn amazing. It must just be the perfect combination of meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato and thousand-island dressing on a soft bun. And the fries are always hot, crispy and delicious.

The prices have remained relatively low over the years, so two people can eat for about $25, which reminds me…this place only accepts cash or checks, so plan accordingly! Pie ‘n Burger is definitely one of the gems of Southern California, and if you are a burger lover, you owe it to yourself to stop by sometime.

P.S. Yes, I realize I have totally neglected to mention the “Pie” in Pie ‘n Burger. The truth is, many people rave about it being yummy, but I wasn’t very impressed. In the restaurant’s defense, I’m not a huge pie lover to begin with…unless it’s chocolate, which they don’t have. Their chocolate cake was a little dry last time I tried it, however, next time I really want to try the strawberry cake. Mmmmm.

My last visit on Election Day 2012.

With my friend Jacky getting ready to go to burger heaven.

 

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OC Mart Mix: If Etsy Was a Mall in Orange County

You should know by now what a huge fan of the unique I am. I don’t fully appreciate mass-produced clothing and goods as much as handmade, vintage and/or made-with-love items. That is why I was so excited when my friend Tammi introduced me to OC Mart Mix in Costa Mesa–a mall of sorts that houses a variety of independent artists and sellers of handmade and unique goods. As an addicted buyer and seller on Etsy myself, this shopping venue is just for me!

When Tammi and I visited around Christmas time, we stopped in on many boutique-like shops. Lots of pretty and special jewelry, scarves and dresses. Other fun places include some cute children’s clothing shops, antique shops, a cheese shop, an oyster bar and more.

The highlight of the trip was the Portola Coffee Lab, a coffee shop that takes their java so seriously that it’s almost like science experiment to concoct the perfect brew. The coffee shop is constructed in the round style, and its entire set up is similar to that of a lab. The baristas even wear lab coats! All the coffees have various brewing techniques that go above and beyond the typical insert-coffee-and-hit-start methods we see everywhere. I had the iced mocha, which is made with homemade ganache. It was perfect and delicious. Tammi and I also shared their rendition of a breakfast burrito, which was also yummy, however, Portola Lab’s attempt at making the burrito “elevated” took away some of the traditional gluttony we appreciate in a typical breakfast burrito. And it was missing hash browns. I mean?!

If you’re looking for a place to find a one-of-kind gifts for loved ones—or yourself—you should definitely check this place out.

 

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Venturing to the Inland Empire: Breakfast and Things That Dripp

I recently journeyed out to the Inland Empire (East of Los Angeles) for a day full of fun with friends. The first stop was one of my favorite spots, the Claremont Village. There I took my friend Heather for a belated birthday breakfast at Walter’s Restaurant and then we did some thrift store shopping afterwards. I previously wrote about another gem found in Claremont Village, The Back Abbey, which is just down the street. Walter’s Restaurant is a charming little restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. It looks very small when you first center, but there’s a huge and inviting patio area out back. There are so many yummy options on the menu, but this time I tried the Corn Cake and Black Beans with some sausage paddies on the side. Heather had one of their omelets (I think it was the Feta Cheese Omelet one) with hash browns. Walter’s also has a champagne brunch buffet on Sundays, which I heard is amazing.

After a long afternoon of shopping, I met another friend in Chino Hills for sushi at RA. Then we discovered one of the cutest coffee and dessert places called Dripp! They have lots of fun and delicious coffee drinks, such as the Affogato: a scoop of premium ice cream drowned in a shot of hot espresso. The mocha was amazing—both hot and cold versions. Dripp also serves homemade ice cream sandwiches, which come in various flavors. You can definitely taste that they are using high-quality ingredients in their products, which is always a win for me. The unique décor and architecture in this place will definitely fuel your conversation (just look to my photos below to see why). Right now, Chino Hills is the only location, however, the Dripp website now let’s you vote to suggest where the next location should pop up. Right now, Fullerton is winning. How convenient for me!  

Walter’s breakfast. Yum.

Awesome architecture.

Lockers and metal furniture.

Iced Mocha.

Oops?

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Rialto Cafe: Why Breakfast is the Most Important Meal of the Day

I decided long ago that breakfast was my favorite meal of the day, whether you eat it at 8 a.m. or 8 p.m., it’s always the best. I’ve been meaning to write about Rialto Cafe in downtown Fullerton for a long time. It’s the perfect combination of ambiance, style and simply amazing food for great prices. The cute sign for this restaurant is what drew me in initially when I wandered in here. When I entered and settled in, it was love at first sight.

I recently went to donate blood one Saturday morning, so stopping here first was the perfect opportunity to indulge and not feel too guilty. My most favorite thing to eat at Rialto is the Egg in the Nest, but this time I got the Steak and Eggs. My sister Liz got their famous Stuffed French Toast, which is made with a French baguette and lots of yummy fruit, whipped cream and crème anglaise. Everything they serve here is delicious and very reasonably priced. And do not even get me started on their super amazing hash browns!

Check out the photos from my last couple trips to Rialto Cafe below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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OC Goes Umami

Life in Orange County just got a little sweeter. For the past few months, Umami Burger has been rapidly expanding its business, adding seven new locations throughout Southern California since my last post about the popular burger joint. I was pleasantly surprised last month when I stumbled upon the new Anaheim location right down the street from my house! This could be dangerous. Umami Burger also added OC locations in Costa Mesa and Laguna Beach.   

My friend and I had an impromptu dinner at the Anaheim restaurant last week. I have a feeling the locals have not yet learned about Umami Burger’s amazing-ness because business was super slow—unlike the Los Angeles locations. Check out the yum yum photos below.  

Manly Burger (top) and the Greenbird

Yummy fry sauces: Roasted Garlic Aioli, House Relish and Jalapeno Ranch.

Truffle Beet Salad. It was aight. Stick to the burgers.

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