Because it Needs to be Said!

Every now and then I come across something that I hold in very high esteem, whether it be an opinion, a style, or a cookie. For the past six weeks, it's been a cookie. Now I know it's weird to be so crazy in love with something that is gone in sixty seconds, but in this case $3 can buy happiness (and buy it again and again when it's gone!) For a super thin, chewy, chocolatey delight you all must try this perfect treasure at Gjelina Take Away on Abbot Kinney. (GTA) I go there every week and buy at least 3 or 4. Cookies are wafer-thin, gooey, and filled with tons of chocolate and oatmeal.After trying this cookie you will never go back to any other! I have 2 left and I'm not sharing! Gjelina Take Away 1427 Abbot Kinney Blvd. Venice Hours: Sun-W: 7a.m.-10 p.m. Thur-Sat 7 a.m.-11 p.m.

You know that it's one of those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer when you roll out of bed because someone's ringing your cell at 8:30 a.m. and you're still in a dead sleep. My day has pretty much gone along in that mannner and I have to say, I rather enjoyed it. Today I was responsibly irresponsible. That is, I did what I needed to do, but I did it whenever I wanted to. I started off the day by greeting the mobile glass repair guy in my pajamas. I forgot he was coming to fix Ashley's car window at 8:30. I'm sorry if I scared him. But since I was up, Ashley and I decided to clean her room. And I do mean clean. This kid has enough give away clothes and text books to dress and educatate a small nation. After that I needed nourishment; I mean it was 12:45. I grabbed a huge handful of Rainer cherries. Now if you are not familiar with Rainer; they are the Prima Donnas of cherries! Rainers are sweet, beautiful, plump and tasty and only available during June and July. Named after Mount Rainer in Washington state, these delacicies were developed in 1952 by Harold Fogle. Rainers are yellow with a pinkish red blush and differ from Bing cherries in that they bruise much more easily and have yellow flesh. Rainers are a cross between Bing and Van. But the cherries weren't enough to fill me up. No, I responsibly knew that I was still hungering for something else. I knew I had to go to Michael's before my 4:00 appointment and it was already 1:30. Michael's on Fallbrook always warrants a stop at Old Navy. (It's summer, I need tanks!) I had to plan my time well. (Responsible). So, ahem, where were we? Oh, yes, I was hungry so I stopped in at De Soto Pharmacy & Jerry's Soda Shoppe. The 1950's style counter is so inviting that I had to take a seat. Kitschy items like vintage Coca-Cola napkin holders line the counters and make the atmosphere all the more authentic. Soda glasses, sundae dishes, banana split dishes, mugs, and of course, a milkshake maker line the back counter. I ordered my lunch, a Milk Chocolate Sundae ($4.25) with Lappert's (Hawaiian) vanilla ice cream, real whipped cream, jimmies, and a cherry. (Irresponsible) For the record, this was one of the best ice cream sundaes I have eaten. Our server was friendly and helpful. Truth be told, I am going to go back for another this week. (Irresponsible). It is such a rare hidden gem and fun place to take kids who don't have never experienced this kind of old-fashioned goodness! Tomorrow I am going to try to be more responsible. I might eat a sandwich for lunch. Maybe. Jerry's Soda Shoppe inside De Soto Pharmacy 20914 Roscoe Blvd. Canoga Park (818) 341-9515 Hours: Mon-Fri.: 9 a.m.- 7 p.m. Sat 9:00 a.m.- 5 p.m.

 

Recommended: Sundaes, Ice Cream Sodas, Banana Split, Ice Cream

You know it's summer and I know it's summer when I can actually post a rave about a taste test. My brother-in-law and I did a Reese's vs. Butterfinger test a while ago because both of us will use any excuse to eat chocolate. "I was researching for my blog!" I exclaimed to him. Ever the sharp-questioning attorney that he is, he wanted in. "Well, you need a second opinion; it's only fair." he counter argued. So there you have it, the beginning of the Great Reese's vs. Butterfinger Taste Test. Now (Hershey's) Reese's Peanut Butter Cups have always been a staple in my house. I stock them in the freezer, in my candy jar in miniature form, and always give them out on Halloween. But new on the shelves this January from Nestle came smooth and crunchy Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups. So what's a peanut butter and chocolate lover to do? Compare and contrast friends, compare and contrast. We started with the the tried and true Reeses Peanut Butter Cups in thier original state. Reese's are round while Butterfinger's are square. Reese's insides are yellowish while Butterfinger's are orange, just like the candy bar. Reese's inside has a bit more of a nutty flavor, while Butterfinger has more of a buttery taste. Reese's come in a frilly paper cup, but Butterfinger comes naked. So which one wins? They both do! Each is just different enough enough to warrant buying both. They are both monumentally delicious! I still can't make a decision so I just buy two. Make sure to put them on your "to try" list this summer! 

If you've ever been to the Ferry Building in San Francisco or to Chelsea Market in New York, you're going to love this mini version of a foodie's paradise. Located on the corner of Victoria and Chapala, there is a New York/San Francisco vibe in this Santa Barbara gourmet market place. Anything and everything your heart desires in the way of gourmet food can be found under one roof. Practically all food and wine is locally sourced and handcrafted using artisanal ingredients. Walk in and to your right is my new favorite, Rori's Artisinal Creamery. Organic ice cream made from hand-selected ingredients like bananas, and brown sugar or vanilla and malt are at the top of my list. ($3.95 single). This is hands down one of the best cones I have ever tasted, and yes I did get both flavors. Moving on, our next stop was Crazy Good Bread Co. We bought a loaf of handcrafted Country bread ($6), a tin of original shortbread cookies ($7) and a blueberry muffin (about $2.50). Next I went crazy in Forager's Pantry a true gourmet grocery store. Produce is gorgeous, but it was not produce I was seeking out. It was Rustic Bakery's Cheese Coins ($6.99) in the savory cheese flavor. (all the others have walnuts, pecans, or pesto) These are impossible to find. Cheese, butter, and flour are perfectly balanced to make these bites of heaven worth the hefty price tag. Aged gruyere, Fiscalini Farms (love) cheddar, and reggiano parmesan make anything taste good, right? We drooled over the gorgeous offerings at Belcampo Meat Co. The humanely raised meats and poultry are what's being served at my next dinner party. Wine + Beer offers a wine tasting selection from handcrafted wines and beers to wines from all over the world. Stop in and pick up a bottle or try a flight. If you're like me you can spend an entire afternoon here. Pace yourself my friends. There are many other places here to eat as well. Check out Santa Monica Seafood (yes it's the one from Santa Monica!), Culture Counter (yummy cheese and salumi), Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar, Enjoy Cupcakes, Flagstone Pantry (natural food), il Fustino Oils and Vinegars, Green Star Coffee, Juice Well, The Kitchen (a rotating chef's kitchen), and The Pasta Shoppe. This place is fun with a capital F! Santa Barbara Public Market 38 West Victoria @ Chapala Santa Barbara (805) 770-7702 Hours: Daily 7:00 am- 10:30 p.m.

 

Recommended: Rori's, Forager's Pantry, Crazy Good Bread Co. 

 

Have you ever experienced a dinner so perfect, so close to heaven that you will never forget it, ever? Even some of my fellow Yelp Elites have to admit that this is the best restaurant in Los Angeles! Never mind that it didn't make the Michelin Guide (LA is has not been a part since 2008), it at least deserves a place among the illustrious San Pelligrino 50 Best Restaurants in the World. No luck here either. (Sadly, no LA eateries made this list. What is this world coming to?) However, I am giving Providence my own rating of 5 Yelp stars and one of my top 50 restaurants.

So it was our second anniversary dinner. (We alsways celebrate week day anniversaries at Carbon Beach Club). The beautiful little restaurant on Melrose and Cole is unlike anything I've ever experienced. Patrons are made to feel as though you are being "waited on" by your own butler. This is the epitome of fine dining. Service is phenomenal and every detail is attended to.

You can start with a specialty cocktail ($15) like the Insane Bolt angustora bitters, Smith and Cross rum, luxardo maraschino, fresh lime, and orgreat, or a glass of beer or wine (prices vary $8-$60) but it's more fun to order the wine pairing menu. Without further ado, on to the food. All dinners are available only as tasting menus. We began with the restaurant's signature amuse bouche, the Dark and Stormy. Black rum, lime juice, and ginger bring a lively burst of flavor in a jellified form called reverse spherification. This  is a very cool molecular way of cooking and I'm not about to try it at home! Slide the D&S off the spoon and call it a cocktail! Our next amuse bouche was the Scallop Nasturtium. Fresh diced cured scallops and crunchy sushi rice are served in a nasturtium wrapper. This was one of our favorites dishes! Our next delight, "Chips and Dip" was one of the most delicious dishes I have ever tasted. Crispy salmon skin served as the chips while lemon creme fraiche acted as the dip. Pea soup made from a roasted halibu bone was a bit salty but then again, so am I.  The breads were fantastic. The bacon brioche is stellar and the Nori bread is so different that we had to order more. Top either with the housemade Normandy butter, and you don't need anything else! But wait, we haven't even gotten started! The Maine Lobster with blood orange is tender and sweet, and is a perfect starter. King Alaskan Salmon accompanied by the most flavorful fava beans ever cooked, was also sheer perfection. For dessert we had the Chocolate Marquis which is possibly created by an angel. Chocolate sorbet, flourless chocolate cake, candied nibs, and chocolate chantilly should be the perfect end to a perfect meal. But it wasn't the end! After this our awesome server brought beautiful madelines and peach jellies. The madelines evoked my feelings about Proust's Remembrance of Things Past.  I've always had a great long-term memory and remember eating madelines just like these as a kid. Be prepared to shell out a lot for this meal, but know the excitement and the memories will be worth it! Dinner begins at $100 per person, $140 with wine pairing (4 Course Providence Market Menu) $140/$210 (6 Course Providence Market Menu) $215/$290  (Signature and Seasonal Menu). I didn't say it was cheap, but it's life changing! Providence 5955 Melrose Avenue Los Angeles (323) 460-4170 Resrervations Required. Hours: Mon-Thurs: 6:00 pm-10:00 pm, Friday 12:30 pm- 2:00 pm, 6:00 pm-10:00 pm, Sat: 5:30 pm-10:00 pm, Sun: 5:30 pm-9:00 pm

 

Recommended Dishes: Um...everything!

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