Sunday, May 31, 2009

Lisa turns 40, and feeds us all night!

So one of my clients, Lisa, turned 40 this past weekend. She had a fabulous party down in Venice Beach at Big Red Sun, a totally awesome and adorable landscaping and plant arrangement studio, with a big beautiful backyard perfect for a celebration.

The crowd was an awesomely amazing and eclectic mix of artists, foodies, hippies, and friends. The conversation was never dull, and the laughs were constant and hearty. I am amazed at how many people came to show Lisa how much she was loved, my hope is that, at 40, I'll have at least half the crowd she did.

Venice Wines provided an amazing wine bar, with everything you could imagine, including lemonade and sparkling cider for a non-alcoholic option. My favorite was the Argentinian Sparkling Chardonnay, and the sparkling rose.

Adam accompanied me as my date, and we just had the most fabulous of times.

Baby Blues BBQ took care of the grub, and boy was there a lot of grub.

Living in Atlanta for over a year, I got used to amazing BBQ. In fact, some of the best BBQ I've ever had was at Fat Matt's Rib Shack in downtown Atlanta. But I can tell all you Angelenos, that if you want some GOOD 'Q, Baby Blues is about as close as I've ever come in the West. When asking for sutible BBQ substitutes after I had moved back, a few people had mentioned, "I hear Baby Blues in Venice is pretty good." If I had known how close it came, I would have tried it YEARS ago.

Their Corn Cakes are, most simply put, the most amazing cornmeal based bread I've ever had in my life. Sweet, moist, with just the perfect amount of wow. Their ribs, come second to Fat Matt's, but are still fall right off the bone tender.

We had Baby Back and Kansas City ribs, as well as BBQ chicken, and all were just awesome. Their Mac and Cheese was also pretty much to die for. In fact, I don't really have much of anything bad to say about them. They even had collard greens with bacon, and sweet baked beans. I felt like I was back in the South.

My darling, very pregnant client Nina was also there, looking adorable with her newly trimmed bangs, so we had to have a photo op.

The cake, as amazing as I'm sure it was, I didn't get a chance to try. I was wayyyy too stuffed. BAD FOODIE! BAD BAD!

So thank you Lisa, for an amazing party, amazing wine, and amazing grub. Happy Birthday pretty lady!

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Hookah Dot Com!

So a couple weeks ago, I decided to buy my own hookah set up. In a typical week we would hit up a Hookah Bar at least once, and one time at a Hookah Bar is going to set you back at least $25. You can see how this can and has already added up.

I enlisted the help of my ol pal JimJesus. He's e-famous for being a badass, and he knows his way around a hookah like no other. All of this means he was the perfect person to ask. We twittered (tweeted?) back and forth over a few days, getting ideas and recommendations for my set up and finally I headed down to's Wherehouse in Glendale.

I walked in, with just a tiny piece of paper in my hand from JimJesus, and a vauge idea of what I wanted the end result to be. George helped me, and took me into the showroom, and offered so much amazing advice on every hookah they carry. I had no idea really, of what I wanted, I just knew I wanted it to be amazing, cost effective and somewhere in the medium size range.

This is my baby.

That's right. She's pink.

George also got me set up with a really awesome hose, which is also pink.

Next he took me into the other wherehouse where the keep all the coals, accessories and SHISHA! I setttled on 4 different flavors.

Hookah Freak's Smashing Pumpkin and Scooby Snack, both of which are AMAZING and I will be buying again. And HookahHookah's Margarita and Key Lime Pie, which are both very decent as well, but not as good as the others. Kristi has also made some contributions to the shisha collection with some StarBuzz Blue Mist and Tangerine Dream, which are both awesome on their own, or mixed which is what we usually do. I can't wait to go back and get more flavors.

I opted for the Vortex Bowl, which unlike traditional bowls, the air holes are on the side of a piece that comes up from the center, than on the bottom. This is great for me cuz I tend to smoke a lot of "wetter" shisha, and I find that it likes to drip down into the Hookah. This doesn't happen anymore.

For coals I opted for the CocoNara, which came HIGHLY recommended by JimJesus, and I grabbed some Three Kings quicklights for when I am without a stove or burner. George threw in some of the Shishaco Coals for me to try.

They are very similar to the CocoNara, and a bit less expensive. Both use vegetables and coconut husks, instead of trees so the are eco-friendly, and have less ash and waste. PLUS, they taste like almost NOTHING when smoked. The Shishaco ones have a slight taste, where the CocoNara have NO taste, but both were VERY similar.

All in all my whole set up ran me under $130, and the boys down at The Hookah took very good care of me. If you live in the LA area, make sure you visit the wherehouse and if not, they also do internet orders and ship all over. Thanks Guys! I LOVE MY HOOKAH!!

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I've been working!


Since I switched weekends with Christina, so she could go to ROME! (that bish) this weekend has been insanely busy! Super yay with that, but I am so tired...



I got about $50 in Coffee Bean gift certificates from clients for Christmas, and we don't have many of those in San Diego that are close to me, hence the Starbucks addiction, but here in LA! There is one on my way to work! And the Hazelnut Latte has been helping me get into the swing of things everyday! THANKS COFFEE BEAN!!

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Friday, May 29, 2009

The Arsenal

One of my most awesome friends, Danielle, was in town this weekend and we went out to get a drink at one of our old haunts, The Arsenal, in West LA on Pico Blvd.

We used to visit this place pretty regularly when we all (Danielle, Michelle, Andrea and myself) lived in LA. Here is some proof from the Facebook Photo vault, from 2006.

Yes, that is me with PLATINUM BLONDE hair at age 25.

Anyway, don't mind the digression, hands down, The Arsenal has THE BEST KEY LIME PIE MARTINI in the history of the world.

I can make outrageous claims like this, because after I tried theirs, I would order them at all other bars, hoping to have the same delicious flavor of the first at the Arsenal, to no avail.

Yes! It does look creamy, refreshing and delicious! Yes! That IS a graham cracker crust rim! YES! This martini is LESS THAN $10! It's made with Licor 43, lime juice and whipped cream.

Here's another pic from the vault, Michelle enjoying some chardonnay (some things never change, eh Meeshy?), and me, Key Lime Pie Martini in hand.

Danielle, on this fine evening couldn't decide between a margarita, or a Pom-tini, so when we saw the Pomegranarita on the menu, well, you can only imagine the glee.

I also had worked ALL DAY, and was pretty much starving, so I ordered some bar food. I went with the least greasy and fattening choice as possible seeing as it was like, 11:00pm.

Their guacamole, for not being a Mexican restaurant, was surprisingly good, and their chips were light and crispy. Not the BEST I've ever had, but I would order them again.

All in all the reunion was a good one, and we had a very lovely time, laughing and reminiscing about the time when we were younger, and crazier, and didn't get tired after 2 drinks.

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Hungry Boys are Hungry

So Jim and I have been scheming.

The plan was to introduce Kristi, to his roommate Lee. Simple enough. So yesterday we went over to their apartment to cook dinner, have some drinks and just let the hilarity ensue. I'll refrain from posting any overly silly and embarrassing pictures, or at least I'll try.

A few nights ago, I went over and asked the boys what they wanted for dinner. The answer was an astonding STEAK! MASHED POTATOES! VEGGIES! So... We went to work on a menu.

Kristi was in charge of the veggies, and the garlic bread. I was in charge of steak and taters. Jim was in charge of booze.

Berta's Rosemary Garlic Red Rose Smashed Potatoes;

Red Rose Potatos, about 2-3 for each hungry participant
5-10 Garlic cloves, peeled
2-3 springs of fresh rosemary
Butter (I used 2 tbsp butter and about 4tbsp of spray butter, poured right in)

Wash and quarter the potatoes, and place them into a pot of cold water with the garlic and rosemary. Bring this to a boil and let it cook for about 20-30 minutes, until the potatoes are fork tender.

Fish out the garlic and rosemary, and drain the potatoes into a colander to drain and steam. Letting the potatoes steam is VITAL. Steaming helps excess water drain out of the potatoes, so they aren't mushy.

In a bowl, mash the garlic and rosemary to a pulp.

Transfer the garlic pulp back into the pot on the stove, over medium heat. Add the milk, butter, salt and pepper, and bring to a slow boil, stirring so the milk doesnt burn.

Once the taters have steamed out, and the liquid is boiling, transfer the liquid into a heat proof bowl. Alternate adding potatoes and liquid into the pot, mashing between each addition. Set on low to keep warm until you are ready to serve.

This is the time to make the boys clean the table and get it ready for dinner, thanks Lee!

Kristi's Deliciously Famous Roasted Veggies;

Vegetables of your choice (we used asparagus, broccoli, carrots, zuchinni, squash, onions and lemon)
Olive Oil
Steak Seasoning
(Dried spices work best)

Chop veggies into bite size pieces, and drizzle with oil, and coat with seasons. Place into a preheated oven, at 400* for 25-40 minutes, tossing every 10-15 minutes, until roasted.

Berta's Garlic Herbed Ribeye Steaks;

Ribeye steaks, boneless or bone-in
Olive Oil

Finely chop the rosemary, parsley and garlic and add oil to make a paste. Rub all over room temperature steaks and let rest 15 minutes.

Grill on a HOT grill for 5-10 minutes each side depending on how well done you like your steaks. I have a great way of testing the doneness using the finger test and it can be found near the bottom of this post.

Kristi's Nummers Garlic Bread;

Garlic, minced
French Bread of Sourdough loaf

Heat oven to 400*. Combine butter, parsley and garlic in a pan on low heat until melted.

Brush butter mixture onto sliced bread and place into the oven on the bottom rack for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Enjoy this meal with a Robert Mondavi Pinot Noir, served in only the classiest of plastic goblets from Medieval Times.

Serve up a big helping for each plate...

... and chow down...

...with laughs...

... and good friends.

Finish off the nightcap with some Coronas.

I mentioned he was spoiled yes?

Drunk Elvis also made an appearance toward the end of the night, but that's on another blog entirely.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Banana Bread!

So after the GM Diet, I had so many leftover ripe bananas, I decided to pawn them off on Jim, since he eats one a day for lunch, but he had just bought some and wasn't having it, (Plus they really were too ripe to do much with). He regifted them back to me and suggested that I make him some banana bread instead. The word "Spoiled" comes to mind...

I used one of my abfab recipes from the More from Magnolia Bakery Cookbook. It's a must for Bakeryphiles.

Alyssa Torey, the owner and author says,"Honestly, I was never a big banana bread fan until the idea of adding coconut came to me one afternoon and inspired this recipe, which turned out wonderfully."

You will need:

3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 c canola oil
1 1/2 c sugar
3 large eggs, room temp, well beaten
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups ripe banana, mashed ( I used 4)
3/4 c sour cream
1 1/2 cups pecans, toasted and chopped (See note*)
3/4 c sweetened shredded coconut

*Note; To toast the pecans, place on a baking sheet in a 350* oven, for 15 minutes, until light brown and fragrant.

Preheat Oven to 350*

Grease and flour your pans. I used a silicone 6 mini loaf pan, and it worked well. You can also use muffin tins, a 10 inch tube pan, or whatever you fancy.

In a bowl sift together the flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda, and set aside.

In a large bowl or mixer, beat together oil and sugar until well mixed, add eggs and vanilla and beat well.

Add bananas and sour cream.

Add the dry ingredients, one cup at a time, until just combined.

Stir in pecans and coconut.

Pour batter into pans.

Depending on the size of you pan baking will take anywhere from 30-60 minutes. A full loaf pan will take the longest. My mini loaves took about 40. Just keep checking until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, or with dry crumbs.

Let cool for about an hour and serve with nummers butter, or spray butter (which is what we used.)

So I took two loaves over to Jim's for him and his roommate Lee, and we all devoured them, except that Lee isn't too fond of coconut, so he just had one bite.

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