cooking

Holiday Gift Guide

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Whats in your stocking? With the holidays right around the corner I have rounded up some of my favorite things to make your shopping a little easier!

Beauty
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* Mixologie Custom Blendable Perfume Create your own signature scent everyday with these 8 awesome oils or follow one of the fun recipe cards like With A Twist-“For when you are going to chop off all your hair”. This is the perfect gift for any woman in your life.

* Derma E Purifying 2 in 1 Charcoal Mask This is one of my favorite masks because it leaves pores feeling clean and my face feeling soft. Its quick and effective!

* Louvelle Shower Turban In this time of Blow Dry Bars and dry shampoo no one is washing their hair everyday and everyone needs a shower cap. This turban takes it to the next level and is so much chicer then a clear, plastic throw away.

* Nivea In-Shower Hydrating Body Lotion This is brilliant. I thought it couldn’t get any quicker or better then a spray on moisturizer but this takes the cake. Its so quick and easy and leaves me feeling silky soft all day.

* Radical Skincare Starter Kit I am a huge fan of Radical Skincare and this starter kit is the perfect gift for everyone because we all like to try new things! You won’t be disappointed in how this line makes your face look and feel.

* Heliocare Vitamins These anti-oxident vitamins protect you from free radicals and sun damage from the inside out and I feel like they have strengthened my nails too! A great stocking stuffer!

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* PUR Contour Stick Contouring is all the rage right now and this stick is compact and super easy to use if you follow their picture. It comes with a blender and goes on super light and natural. Its the best one I have tried and comes in 5 shades.

* Itiba Lotion in Crucian Spice This lotion is special. It is super hydrating and is hand crafted in St.Croix. The Crucian Spice scent is a warm exotic spice blend that smells like the holidays!

Devices
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*Tria Beauty Hair Removal Laser 4X Why pay someone else to torture you when you can do it yourself? This laser hair removal system really works!

* Spiralizer Wow your friends by making fancy spiralized veggies! Works great with zucchini to use in place of pasta noodles for a healthy take on spagetti!

* reVive Light Therapy Anti-Aging System I am a sucker for any thing that is anti-aging and this little device helps stimulate collagen production to keep the skin plump and youthful. Perfect for the device lover on your list that has everything!

BOOKS
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* Chapter and Verse: New Order, Joy Divison and Me I am a huge music lover and Joy Divison/New Order fan and found it quite intriguing to get inside the mind of Bernard Sumner and the songwriting process.

* The Modern Girls Guide to Life. Revised Edition This revised book is perfect for the modern woman. With information on entertaining, etiquette, housekeeping, basic home repair, decorating, sex, and beauty, this indispensable book has everything today’s young woman should know-but may not!

* The Fire Driven Life: How to Ignite the Fire Of Self-Worth, Health, and Happiness with a Plant-Based Diet I am not currently a vegetarian but found this book to be an extremely well written and informative guide to a heathly lifestyle. You can’t help but fall in love with Vanessa Chamberlin and want to follow in her footsteps to a healthier you. Its the perfect book to inspire you in the new year!

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* Bow Tie Bottle Opener How slick will your man look pulling out a bow tie bottle opener? So James Bond.

* The Carry On Cocktail Set Because every classy guy needs to create his own in-flight cocktail.

* Luxurious Italian Cashmere Socks You won’t know the magic of cashmere socks until you own a pair.

* Sriracha Key Chain Sriracha has long been called “the new ranch” and this key chain size is perfect for the hot sauce addict in your life!

* Kikkerland Classic Survival Tool Cheap and fascinating!

* Arcona Toner Tea Bar This smells earthy and amazing and is perfect for any man who cares about his skin.

ART
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* Weavings by Farron My talented friend Farron makes these gorgeous weavings in all shapes, sizes and colors. Check them out!

* Pins & Nail Stickers by Sara Lyons My friend Sara is so cool and creative and makes super cute pins, patches and nail stickers!

 

A Staycation at The Residence Inn Marriott LAX

Happy Labor Day! Given the holiday, I thought today would be the perfect time to talk about “staycations”. I think that the one night vacation is a thing of beauty. Have you ever tried it? It is a great way to just get away, relax and recharge without going very far or even leaving your own city. We recently spent a night at the new The Residence Inn Marriott at LAX and did just that. It was a fun little mini get away!

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The entire hotel was full of cool, modern LA based art. I especially loved the color changing picture behind the front desk showing a mash up of all things iconic to LA.

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Chillin in the lobby…

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The lobby is very comfortable and spacious and offers plenty of places to sit and relax and is also where they serve their FREE hot breakfast in the morning! They have a flight monitor, luggage scale, and FREE WIFI throughout the hotel which is convenient for travelers.

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All of the rooms are fresh, spacious suites with large live/work areas and full kitchens. You are encouraged to bring your own food and beverages but if you don’t have time you can have them grocery shop for you! There is even a bbq area out by the pool. If you would rather just pick up a bite to eat there they have 3 of my faves…Starbucks, Jersey Mike’s, and Z Pizza. Our room had a 180 degree view of airport runways which is perfect for aviation geeks!

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Lounging by the fire pit at night with a glass of wine is the perfect way to enjoy the outdoor space and unwind!

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One of my favorite parts of this one nighter was the robot butler. He is a prototype that they are trying out. I requested a shower cap in the morning and this showed up at my door. I was impressed and he was so darn cute. Its the future people, get ready!

I would highly recommend a “staycation” at The Residence Inn Marriott LAX if you are looking to relax, have work to do or have an early flight to catch. It’s conveniently located blocks from the airport with a free shuttle every 20 min., is close to the beaches that you can access by their Ocean Express Trolly, and close to the 405 for easy access into LA.

Have you had a “staycation” lately? I would love to hear all about it!

 

It’s All About The Pizza

I have been a pizza lover ever since I was a little girl and learned to appreciate all the different types and styles at a young age. Thick crust, thin crust, round, square, cheese, no cheese…there are so many ways to make a pizza! I have gone through many phases of favorites in my life and these days I feel like you can’t go wrong with a good margherita. Sometimes I jazz mine up with raw garlic and or black olives but the same 3 classic toppings always remain the same. Cheese, sauce and basil. The secret is to only use the best ingredients you can find like Rustic Crust Ready-Made Crust (they have 9 delicious crusts to choose from including a Gluten Free and my favorite Crispy Thin Crust) and their Pizza Sauce that is all natural. Its a great base to start with and then you can get as creative as you want with the toppings. I recently whipped up this margherita and it was dee-lish!

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That was sooooo easy and so tasty!

You can find everything you need from Rustic Crust here!

If you need some pizza inspiration here is a list by The Daily Meal of their top 101 pizza joints in the US! I have been to #4 and #6 and can say that they are both amazing and have inspired me in the kitchen!

Rank
Name of Pizzeria
Type of Pizza
Place
1
Frank Pepe’s
White Clam
New Haven, Connecticut
2
Di Fara
Classic Round Pie
Brooklyn, New York
3
Roberta’s
Margherita
Brooklyn, New York
4
Pizzeria Mozza
Squash blossoms, tomato, burrata mozzarella, tomato sauce
Los Angeles, California
5
Sally’s Apizza
Tomato Pie
New Haven, Connecticut
6
Flour + Water
Margherita
San Francisco, California
7
Louie and Ernie’s
Sausage Pie
Bronx, New York
8
Buddy’s Pizza
Motor City
Detroit, Michigan
9
CoalFire Pizza
Margherita
Chicago, Illinois
10
Joe’s
Cheese
New York, New York
11
Pizzeria Bianco
Margherita
Phoenix, Arizona
12
Papa’s Tomato Pies
Sausage
Robbinsville, New Jersey
13
Modern Apizza
Italian Bomb
New Haven, Connecticut
14
Totonno’s
Margherita
Brooklyn, New York
15
Pequod’s
Deep Dish with sausage and pepperoni
Chicago, Illinois
16
Patsy’s
Cheese
New York, New York
17
Gino’s East
Cheese Deep Dish
Chicago, Illinois
18
Co.
Popeye
New York, New York
19
Motorino
Brussels Sprout
New York, New York
20
Tony’s Pizza Napoletana
Margherita
San Francisco, California
21
Paulie Gee’s
Regina
Brooklyn, New York
22
John’s of Bleecker Street
“The Boom Pie”
New York, New York
23
Grimaldi’s
Pepperoni
Brooklyn, New York
24
Kesté
Kesté
New York, New York
25
Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria
Chicago Classic
Chicago, Illinois
26
Antico Pizza Napoletana
Pepperoni
Atlanta, Georgia
27
Apizza Scholls
Apizza Amore
Portland, Oregon
28
Lucali
Pepperoni
Brooklyn, New York
29
Una Pizza Napoletana
Margherita
San Francisco, California
30
Lombardi’s
Pepperoni
New York, New York
31
Lorenzo’a and Sons
Cheese Pie
New York, New York
32
Al Forno
Margherita
Woodinville, Washington
33
2Amy’s
2amys
Washington, D.C.
34
Pizzeria Delfina
Salsiccia Pizza
San Francisco, California
35
Denino’s
Sausage
Staten Island, New York
36
Santarpio’s
Mozzarella, Sausage, Garlic
Boston, Massachusetts
37
Umberto’s Pizzaeria & Restaurant
Grandma Pie
New Hyde Park, New York
38
Pete’s New haven Style Apizza
New Haven
Washington, D.C.
39
Delorenzo’s Tomato Pies
Tomato Pie
Robbinsville, New Jersey
40
Gjelina
Lamb Sausage
Los Angeles, California
41
Rubirosa Ristorante
Vodka
New York, New York
42
Emily
The Classic
Brooklyn, New York
43
Sotto
Margherita
Los Angeles, California
44
Pizza Domenica
Calabrese
New Orleans, Louisiana
45
Varasano’s
Nana
Atlanta, Georgia
46
Serious Pie
Sweet fennel sausage, roasted pepper, provolone
Seattle, Washington
47
Providence Coal Fired Pizza
Rocket
Providence, Rhode Island
48
Galleria Umberto
Cheese Pie
Boston, Massachusetts
49
Harry’s Pizzeria
Shortrib
Miami, Florida
50
Pizzeria Paradiso
Bottarga
Washington, D.C.
51
Colony Pizza
Sausage Pie
Stamford, Connecticut
52
Regina Pizzeria
Giambatta
Boston, Massachusetts
53
Gino’s of Long Beach
Special Pizza
Long Beach, New York
54
The Cheeseboard
Changes daily
Berkeley, California
55
Coppa
Salsiccia
Boston, Massachusetts
56
Lee’s Tavern
White Clam Pie
Staten Island, New York
57
Zuppardi’s
Special
West Haven, Connecticut
58
Matchbox
Fire & Smoke
Washington, D.C
59
Hog & Hominy
The Prewitt
Memphis, Tennessee
60
Pizzeria Lola
Korean BBQ
Minneapolis, Minnesota
61
Bru Room at Bar
Mashed potato and bacon
New Haven, Connecticut
62
Pizzaiolo
Rapini and housemade sausage
Oakland, California
63
The Original Tacconelli’s Pizzeria
White pizza
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
64
Ken’s Artisan Pizza
Margherita
Portland, Oregon
65
Home Slice Pizza
Pepperoni and Mushroom
Austin, Texas
66
Osteria
Parma
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
67
Domenick & Pia’s
Pepperoni
Waterbury, Connecticut
68
Pizzeria Uno
“Numero Uno”
Chicago, Illinois
69
Double Mountain Brewery
Asparagus Pie
Hood River, Oregon
70
Barone’s Famous Italian Restaurant
Frank’s Special Pizza
Los Angeles, California
71
Metro Pizza
Milano
Las Vegas, Nevada
72
Brooklyn’s Pizza
Cheese and Tomato
Hackensack, New Jersey
73
Pizza Rock
Margherita
Las Vegas, Nevada
74
Ernesto’s
Ernesto
Boston, Massachusetts
75
Ernie’s Pizzeria
Plain Pie
New Haven, Connecticut
76
Area 4
Clam & Bacon
Cambridge, Massachusetts
77
Pizza Moto
Margherita
Brooklyn, New York
78
Amore Pizza
Plain Cheese Pie
Flushing, Queens
79
Punch Neapolitan Pizza
Margherita
St. Paul Minnesota
80
Otto Pizza
Mashed potato, bacon and scallion
Portland, Maine
81
Pi
The Delmar
St. Louis, Missouri
82
Star Tavern Pizzeria
Thin Crust
Orange, New Jersey
83
Pizzeria Beddia
Tomato, mozzarella, old gold age cheese, extra virgin olive oil
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
84
Roseland Apizza
Plain Pie
Derby, Connecticut
85
Sal’s Pizza
Sicilian
Mamaroneck, New York
86
Margot’s
Margot-rita
Brooklyn, New York
87
New Park Pizza
Cheese
Howard Beach, Queens
88
Pizzeria Vetri
Tonno
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
89
Tarry Lodge
Goat Cheese
Port Chester, New York
90
Pizza Man
Pizza Man Special
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
91
Zaffiro’s Pizza
EBF “Everything But Fish”
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
92
Cane Rosso
Zoli
Dallas, Texas
93
The Backspace
Pepperoni Americano
Austin, Texas
94
Pizza Delicious
Cheese
New Orleans, Louisiana
95
Pizzeria Locale
Funghi
Boulder, Colorado
96
Micucci’s Grocery
Sicilian Slab
Portland, Maine
97
Tony’s Place
Tomato Pie
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
98
Artichoke Basille
Artichoke Slice
New York, New York
99
Piece
Pepperoni and banana peppers
Chicago, Illinois
100
800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria
Margherita
Los Angeles, California
101
Ghigiarelli’s
Red
Old Forge, Pennsylvania

Have you been to any of these and if so, what do you think?

 

Interview With Chef Anthony Goodwin of Bottega Louie

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Bottega Louie is one of my all time favorite restaurants in downtown LA! The beautiful decor, decadent pastry counter and consistently delicious food have kept me coming back time and time again. When I heard they had a new chef who was doing interviews you bet I had a few questions for him!

1) As an already established Chef coming into an already established restaurant what will change? Any new dishes?
Like any situation I need to see what works and what doesn’t. My style of food is very approachable with clean, clear flavors. When I create a dish I do my best to highlight the feature of the plate. The goal is to build flavor and compliment the food, not mask it. I will do my best to be smart about changes, looking at the current platform and see how we can grow it. One of our new dishes is a whole grilled branzino. It is a great example of the food I like to make. Visually appealing, simple, and full of flavor. And you dont need instructions on eating it or a dictionary to figure out what it is.

2) The Bottega Louie Chicken Parmesan is my all time favorite! Will it still be on the menu?

For now the parm is here to stay, but if we can make it better that is our goal. I always evaluate the dish and see if it is the best we can do before we change it or remove it from the menu.

3) How long have you been a Chef and what initially inspired you to become one?

I graduated from culinary school 20 years ago. Like most chefs it started at home, I spent most summers with my grandparents and they lived in a rural part of New Jersey. At that time it was nothing but farms. Our food was picked fresh everyday. I grew up with a true farm to table experience. When I was little my grandmother would drive us to a farm, I would walk to the farmers door, knock and ask for a dozen eggs. Within a couple minutes she would give me the biggest fresh brown eggs you ever saw. There were times we would go to other farms and if the farmers were busy in the field, we would choose what we wanted and leave the money in a basket. The long and short is, it is a combination of all of these things along with how much fun my grandmother made it to cook and enjoy our dinner. She would get me excited about what we were going to eat in the morning. There was something very pure about all of it that made me love it.

4) What stands out in your mind as your best food memory or meal you have ever had?

Ironically I have eaten at some if the best restaurant in the world including cellar at con roca, literally the the #1 rated place in the world, but my best memory goes back to picking food fresh from a garden. I spent time in the mountains of Spain at a friends family house. We bought sausages from a local butcher, picked our vegetables from their garden and grilled our food on a fire built from grape vines. Drank some cheap wine and relaxed. Thats one of my top meals ever!

5) What would be your “death row meal”? Mine would be my husbands grandmothers tacos!

My grandmothers bolognese, in all these years of cooking I still can’t make it better than her.

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If you haven’t been to Bottega Louie put it at the top of your list! It is located at 700 South Grand Ave.

 

Food! Food! Food!

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Curtis Stone’s fingers sprinkled this Foie Gras with asparagus dust at last weekend’s food fest in LA!

Everyone knows what a foodie I am! I love to eat and explore new restaurants and LA is quickly earning its place on the food map! There are new restaurants popping up every week and events like last weekends food tasting called The Essentials with over 50 of LA’s hottest restaurants offering bites of their best fare. Our first stop was at the Maude booth where Curtis Stone himself was serving up a delicious and beautiful Foie Gras. It was so much fun! Here are a bunch of food trends, new restaurants and good eats for 2015!

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Photo by Wade Hammond

Chef Trends of 2015 from CPK Chef Brian Sullivan

Do me a flavor and flavor my salt Infused with anything from pinot noir to fresh herbs, chile, citrus, Sriracha, Jack Daniels, dried mushrooms, coffee and muchmore. Garnish a piece of meat, add a surprising salt rim to your cocktail or make a few jars to give to mom for Christmas.

Eggs on eggs on eggs Fried eggs might be the new bacon next year in the sense that they will be on everything. Pizza, burgers, ramen, salads, French fries…2015 will be the year of the chicken.

 Ancient grains, growing up without growing old Ancient grains have been around for as long as it sounds, but they can be used in so many different ways that they can be continually reinvented. From farro to quinoa, these super grains add an abundance of nutrients and variety to a meal.

Excuse me sir, there’s an avocado in my cocktail Culinary cocktails will continue to be big and we’ve only tapped the tip of the ice bin with ingredients like avocado puree, candied ginger, cucumber, fresh berries and herbs and beyond. Also, keep an eye out for more hand-crafted, non-alcoholic beverages. No alcohol, no problem.

You get more bees with infused honey Infusions are the perfect example of how creative you can get with different but complimentary flavors in unexpected ways. From the bold, balanced spiciness of Chipotle or Serrano honeys to the delicate sweetness of lavender honey, the options here are sure to be sweet.

Where is my food coming from? Local sourcing will continue its rise of relevance and importance, because the demand for real, fresh and healthful food as never been higher. Another important factor in sourcing is sustainability – for example, sourcing fish from areas that are not overfished or growing your own herbs.

 Produce, Produce, Produce The more unexpected and rare, the better. Heirloom carrots of purple, yellow and pale white add a unique twist to an old favorite. Peppery red watercress or bitter greens totally amp up the flavor in a salad. And speaking of salad, baby kale has unseated its leafy big sister as the new organic star.

Veggies roasting in an open hearth (Jack Frost nipping at your nose)How you cook something can be just as exciting as what you are cooking. Roasting veggies in an open hearth produces a wonderful caramelized texture and flavor. And it’s not just veggies. Roasting fish and meat in a hearth, as opposed to grilling or searing, is a great way to achieve slow-building, intense flavor, without over-drying.

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From unique dishes to spacious outdoor patios, here are the top 5 dog-friendly restaurants in Los Angeles from CareBooker.com founder Jennifer Fernandes:

1.Alcove Café & Bakery: Cozy up in the Alcove café located in two historic bungalows serving updated versions of American classics, hand-crafted cocktails and artisan baked goods. Also, enjoy some smooth alcove-original chocolate while your dog enjoys the surrounding garden patios.

2.The Oinkster: Classic fast food favorites with high quality flavors from The Oinkster in a relaxed and modern atmosphere and has been featured on “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.” Known for their juicy burgers, crispy Belgium fries and other American classics, The Oinkster is a pet friendly favorite for local dog owners.

3.The Waffle: A stylishly modern eatery in the center of Hollywood, The Waffle serves innovative and exciting dishes in a “comforts of home” environment. They specialize in waffles for you and “woofles” for your pet to enjoy on the giant breezy patio.

4.BLD: BLD Stands for breakfast, lunch and dinner and is a true neighborhood spot for locals and visitors. BLD serves simple and delicious comfort food throughout the day with friendly service and welcoming outdoor seating for pets.

5.Eveleigh: Featuring a seasonal farm-to-table approach, Eveleigh is a neighborhood restaurant and bar with artisan cocktails offered by the pitcher. They offer a special weekend brunch and pet friendly patio for families to gather on Sunset Blvd. and enjoy the city.

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For serious foodies mapping out their next Michelin-rated dining experience, Michelin has created a new series of premium maps to quickly find the top-rated restaurants listed in the latest editions of the U.S. MICHELIN Guides Right now they have one for New York, Chicago and San Francisco. $9.95

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As the world’s leading luxury food magazine, FOUR has revealed the Top Ten Restaurant list as a reflection of the essence of fine dining. FOUR’s acclaimed list includes dining venues that are located across the continents. Featuring restaurants in North America, Europe and Asia:

#1 | Eleven Madison Park | Daniel Humm
#2 | André | André Chiang
#3 | Hof Van Cleve Restaurant | Peter Goossens
#4 | Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare | César Ramirez
#5 | Il Mosaico | Nino di Costanzo
#6 | Fäviken | Magnus Nilsson
#7 | La Vie Restaurant | Thomas Bühner
#8 | Sushi Shikon | Yoshiharu Kakinuma
#9 | Steirereck Restaurant | Heinz Reitbauer
#10 | Per Se | Thomas Keller

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Last but not least…airport food! For a long time LAX has been seriously behind the times when it came to good, interesting food that was a reflection of the great city. Now, they have finally updated some of the terminals like the Tom Bradley International Terminal where you can find Petrossian, a Champagne and Caviar bar. Terminal 4 has a Kogi BBQ food truck and Terminal 5 has a Loteria Grill. My favorite smaller airport, The Long Beach Airport, recently got a makeover and has a wide variety of local food to choose from including a wine bar. I would highly recommend flying through there any chance you can!

 

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