Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Fourth of July Fashion!

Of course red white and blue is a necessity on the fourth. And the past few years I've just worn an American flag bathing suit with aviators... But this year were stepping it up a bit.

For a Malibu party at a high end restaurant, I tried to stick to my color scheme without losing the patriotic flair. And I think I accomplished it pretty darn well!

Wishing you a 4th filled with summer ales, grilled hot dogs and flag cupcakes!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Diet Tip - The Skinny Cook

I love to cook - and not always just healthy dishes.  At the holidays I make full fat feasts with decadent desserts.  And when I'm cooking for friends or family that aren't particularly health conscious, I'll load up on the cheese and bread crumbs.

The problem with this isn't that I indulge every once and awhile -- it's that I overeat while I'm cooking - tasting and sampling making sure everything is perfect.

My quick fix is to keep a packet of gum in the kitchen, and utilize it as necessary (like when the brownies are all poured -- but there's a LOT of left over batter).

My better fix is to unwind with a glass of sweet white wine while you bake or an interesting red while you cook.  This will leave you still feeling somewhat satisfied, and keep you from continuously nibbling, tasting, and snacking before dinner.  Plus it sets the mood for a perfectly relaxing evening!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Duplex Restaurant


Atmosphere is perfect.  The porch overlooking third street is romantic with rustic wooden benches and marble top tables.  

The inside is a bit more trendy and posh, while the upstairs level feels more sophisticated and classy. To hold a high power business meeting you can't beat the bar upstairs, to grab drinks with friends the downstairs bar is great, and for a romantic date night chose the outdoor patio or a back corner of the downstairs dining area. 

They have an expansive wine menu and drink list.  The food menu is comprised of a bunch of small sharing plates and some main entrees.  

We opted for a handful of appetizers.  The food wasn't necessarily spectacular, but it was enjoyable and worth trying for a second time. 

Menu stand outs:
Crab cakes - mostly crab with little to no filler, just the way my waistline likes it! 
Beets
truffle fries
caramelized brussel sprouts

Everything else we sampled was tasty aside from the tuna tar tar which lacked flavor and substance. 


www.duplexonthird.com 



Monday, June 10, 2013

Buccatini Matriciana: The best recipe

BUCCATINI MATRICIANA tops my favorites list for Italian delicacies.  And in my personal opinion, there are only two people that have perfected this scrumptious dish.
1. The head chef at Madeo
2. My boyfriend Matt Breliant (who adapted the restaurant from his straight off the Italian boat mom)

For dining out, MADEO in West Hollywood is absolute perfection.  You can never go wrong with their pastas, carpaccios, fresh dover sole.. but if you're looking for a melt in your mouth pasta that will send your taste buds into elation - then you are going to have to go off-menu. Just ask for the Buccatini Matriciana and make sure you do that cute shake of your hand with your fingers pierced together and they are sure to take care of you.  (sidenote: A great menu choice is the salmon and bowtie pasta in vodka cream sauce).



If you're looking to wow guests who aren't vegan, gluten free, or counting carbs (so if you're looking to entertain a dinner party NOT in Los Angeles), this is the ultimate crowd pleaser.


WHAT YOU'LL NEED

1.  Bucatini - a thicker spaghetti perfect for a flavorful thick sauce. Find them at high end supermarkets or specialty shops. Just a box will do.

2. Pomi tomato sauce (or any tomato paste, but I like one with some added sugar)

3. Red cooking wine

4. Heavy Cream

5. chopped and cooked Pancetta (can sub prosciutto, but pancetta gives the pasta a nice bacon flavor & crunch)

6. Olive Oil

7. Onions

9. Garlic Cloves

10. Fresh Herbs (I like oregano and parsley, but really whatever you have)

11. Pecorino 

12. Parmesan 

Optional add ins:  Mushrooms, chopped red peppers, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, salsa, brown sugar


DIRECTIONS:

1. If the pancetta is uncooked, grill in skillet with olive oil, chopped garlic, and one chopped onion until meat is cooked and onions are browned

2. In a separate pot over medium heat a carton of the tomato paste, half cup of cream, splash of red wine (up to 1/4 cup), 1/4 cup pecorino, 1/4 cup parmesan, herbs, 1/4 cup olive oil

3. Slowly stir in the cooked pancetta and onions

4. In a separate pot cook pasta until firm (a tad more firm then you normally like it, as it will continue to cook in the sauce)

5. Drain water from pasta and pour half of the sauce mixture into pasta pot. Stir well.

6. Serve a generous portion of pasta on a plate and top with a spoonful of both cheeses (mixed).  Put the rest of the cheese on the table for guests to help themselves to more.

7. Great Sides:  Last time we made this dish we served it with fresh baked baguettes, a fresh lemon and herb dressing salad with cucumbers, tomatoes and avocados over spring greens and corn on the cob. For appetizers: a truffle dip with crackers and mozzarella, tomato and prosciutto.  Dessert was bright macaroons and fresh fruit!






BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!

This pasta is AMAZING the next day.  My favorite is to pan fry left overs in a skillet and serve with the extra sauce you saved from the night before.

In my perfect world I would crack two fried eggs over this pasta and serve with french bread for a delightful breakfast feast.
The Next Day - Frying pan delight! 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Best Frozen Yogurt in Los Angeles #Froyo


I'm not a connoisseur of many things.. but I know my frozen yogurt spots.  I've swirled, sampled, topped and experimented my way throughout Southern California and after years of research this is my BEST FROYO list.  Enjoy.

1.  Toppings.  But not the one in Beverly Hills.  You have to take a trip to Pacific Palisades to enjoy the best diy froyo place in the world.  This place is not for anyone suffering from ADHD or you'll also soon be suffering from an intense stomach ache.  They literally have everything from limited edition mike and ikes to potato chips to apple crisp.  Dozens of nuts, candied, granola, fruit - everything you could dream of to put on top of their creamy and delicious rotating flavors. 

2. Toppings.  Beverly Hills.  It's no pacific palisades.  But they have peanut butter sauce.  And I'm a sucker for peanut butter.

3. Menchies.  They'll make you a warm waffle cone dipped in chocolate on command.  Need I say more?

4. Pinkeberry.  Can't mess with a classic.  Plus now they have greek yogurt with a nice protein kick.  And a Kiddie size only sets you back 100 calories or so. 

5. Yogurtland.  Another classic.  Snowflake Mint during the holidays is blissful but I love their tart flavors too. 


There are plenty of other froyo spots -- but I honestly have tried them all and no others are worth mentioning.  If you want good frozen yogurt, the five above will without fail cure your cravings!  

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Le Pain Quotidien


Don't get me wrong.  I enjoy Urth Cafe just as much as the next socialite, but that doesn't mean we should disregard Urth's less crowded (and less pompous) neighbor, Le Pain Quotidien

What to order:  I come here for their bread baskets, which are served with signature raspberry and apricot jams and (drum roll) white chocolate, dark and regular hazelnut spreads.  Other signature dishes include the baked goods (with an asterisk on the chocolate croissant), the tartines and the Mediterranean plate. 

Location: the Beverly Hills location is fine.. but the outdoor seating leads much to be desired if you've ever visited the Melrose location.   At Melrose you feel like you're in a bed and breakfast, sitting on a large wrap around porch it's a perfect spot to relax over a latte. The outback patio offers a little more privacy for someone hoping to coop up with their computer or a good read.  Oh and bring fido.  The outdoor seating is very dog friendly. 



Sunday, June 2, 2013

Truffle Hunting #truffleaddict

On my relentless quest for truffle satisfaction in Los Angeles I have had the pleasure of enjoying quite an eclectic array of truffled dishes.  Here's my short list of favorites thus far.

PACE: four cheese truffle pizza. swoon.  Only a special so call ahead!

KOI: Salmon carpaccio with black truffles and citrus glaze.

BOUCHON: Truffle popcorn (happy hour special)

UMAMI: Truffle Burger.

BEVERLY HILLS CHEESE STORE:  Truffle infused cheese. literally heaven.

BLT: Truffle Fries

MAESTROS: Truffle and Crab Gnocchi

And I'm still on the search for the best truffle mac n cheese.