July 1st, 2015 by cleverfoodie

Poppy + Rose: Downtown LA



Alrighty! Here’s a quick post for you, since it’s been a while!


I met up with a friend (and former Pepperdine student mentee- who is now gainfully employed because she did an awesome job while she was an intern!)—to catch up over brunch and wanted to find a new place to hit up downtown.


I took a quick gander at what was open and highly rated on YELP and found Poppy + Rose, the name became a lot more obvious once I got there. It’s LITERALLY directly across the street from the flower mart downtown. A happy accident as I’d always wanted to go to the flower mart, but never actually bothered to look up where it was, and GO.


Needless to say, I didn’t mind in the slightest when my friend texted to say she was running a few minutes late! I ran like a mad woman through the market, and ended up with these beauties!




There are also some amazing orange ranunculus in there- which unfortunately you can’t see in the picture.

My day was made even BEFORE I ate brunch.


I ended up getting their take on corned beef and hash, which is house made (I assumed) blocks of thick hashbrowns served in a big cube, like a casserole, with luxurious pulled pork on top. Add a couple of eggs over easy (so I can polk the yolks and let them run all down the sides, since I can’t eat the whites—I’m a weirdo, I know…) and a beautiful arugula garnish, and voila! Perfect brunch dish!





I love that when I saw this dish I thought, “Oh my word! Beautiful presentation! Tina would love this!” And when I texted her the photo afterwards, her first response back was, “Beautiful presentation!” I had to laugh out loud! I love good friends who also love good food :)

I really can’t say enough for this quaint little spot. So homey, lots of light, quick and easy counter service (they drop your food at your table after you order at the counter and get a number), delightful staff, and lovely eats!

Plus, you can park at the flower mart on the roof, and it’s $4 for 2 hours if you don’t buy something at the flower mart (and I ended up buying a vase for my new pretties anyway). With a maximum fee of $4 for a ‘lost ticket’. Much cheaper than other spots around that area. And easier too.

This may easily become one of my new favorite ‘go to’ spots. Can’t wait to go again!

May 27th, 2015 by cleverfoodie

La Boheme’s Creme Brulee OR The Only Good Thing that Came From High School Culture Credit

It’s hard for me to believe I’ve never posted this recipe before. I guess I was just waiting for the right occasion. Something ‘fancy’ maybe. But while I was thinking about it, I figured I might as well post it today!
Strangely enough, I found this recipe in the early days of dial-up internet, while I was looking for a French food I could make for culture credit in my high school French class.  I recently tried to look up this same restaurant in San Francisco where I originally found the recipe listing, but it seems to have closed in the past 15 years.
Good thing I wrote the recipe down! This is simultaneously one of the easiest and one of the most impressive desserts I know. Creme brulee can be fickle – but I’ve never had a problem with this recipe coming out too runny or too gelatin-ish and firm. It always tastes perfect, and more importantly (to me) it’s always the ideal consistency. Somewhere between pudding and flan—but always silky smooth! In fact, I rarely get creme brulee for dessert when I go out to eat, because it’s tough for me to find a  recipe as perfect as this one.
Try it out for yourself and let me know what you think!
La Boheme’s Recipe for Creme Brulee (as prepared by my 11th grade self)
1/2 qt heavy whipping creme (1 pint)
1/2 qt half and half (1 pint)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup granulated sugar
8 egg yolks
1/2 cup golden brown sugar
pinch of salt
Warm the heavy cream, half and half, vanilla and salt in a sauce pan until it reaches just below boiling.
In a separate bowl, mix the egg yolks and granulated sugar  together until well blended and thick.
Slowly temper the half and half into the egg and sugar mixture. Do this by adding about 1/4 cup of the warmed cream mixture into the egg/sugar mixture and slowly dissolving the sugar. You do this so that the egg and sugar melt together to form a custard. If you pour all the egg/sugar mixture into the hot milk, the egg will cook too quickly and flower in ribbons into the milk.
Once you’ve stirred about half of the cream mixture into the egg mixture, then pour the combined egg/sugar/cream mixture back into the pan with the rest of the cream.  Once the egg/sugar mixture is fully dissolved into the cream mixture (not boiling), pour the mixture into 4 oz ramekins, about 3/4 full. Place the ramekins in a casserole dish or something with sides as least 2 inches high, and then pour boiling water in the dish around the ramekins using a pitcher, to create a water bath for the ramekins. Make sure you don’t get the water in the ramekin/custard mixture. The water should go half way up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake at 300 F for 40 minutes, or until the surface is a light golden brown.
Let the ramekins cool and refrigerate the creme brulee if you are not going to serve them right away. If you refrigerate them, bring them up to room temperature before serving. Either way, to create the crusted sugar on top, sprinkle about 1 tsp of brown sugar over the top of each of the creme brulee ramekins . Place the ramekins on a cookie sheet (no water bath needed) and stuck them under a broiler for 1-2 minutes (watch carefully!). Serve warm.
May 25th, 2015 by cleverfoodie

Rose Tea Arnold Palmer – Simple and Elegant



A few weeks ago, I saw this rose tea at the middle eastern kosher market down the street from my house in Los Angeles. After learning that a dear friend LOVES rose tea, I decided to pick up a box for her birthday the following week. The box said “rose chai,” but knowing that “chai” in many cultures is just a word for tea, I figured it would be a plain rose petal only (herbal) tea. When I went to visit my friend for her birthday and drop off her tea, we brewed a pot together and found it’s actually a blend of India black assam tea, rose hips, cinnamon, and coconut. Perfectly blended, not at all bitter, with just a hint of sweetness. In fact, it was sooooooo good, I went to pick up a box for myself the next day!

As a happy accident, when I brewed myself a pot, later that week, I had some left over and thought to chill it. Then, I remembered that I had some fresh lemons in the fridge from a Kristen’s yard. Woot! That’s when the idea struck! “Rose tea Arnold Palmers? I wonder how that would be.”


Um. The answer is AMAZING!!!! It’s so light, refreshing and just a little bit sweet. And a nice way to thin out the home made lemonade, which though very tasty, is a bit too syrupy sweet for me to drink on it’s own. SO, for your BBQs this weekend, try something new for a light afternoon refreshment or pairing with dessert.


For the home made lemonade:

Add equal parts lemon juice and sugar (so, if you end up with one cup of lemon juice, use one cup of sugar) in a quart sized pitcher.

From there, add 4 times the amount of water (so again, with one cup sugar, use 4 cups of water).

Mix well and serve chilled over ice!


This proportion is still a LITTLE sweet for my taste, but is perfect for mixing with other things like sparkling water or iced tea.


For the rose tea, visit your nearest middle eastern market (or Amazon). Brew on the stronger side so that you can still taste it when it’s paired with the lemonade. The brand I used (in the picture) is Wissotzsky. For this tea, I can brew about 12 ounces per tea bag, and it’s still strong enough to use in an Arnold Palmer.

Remove the tea bags after steeping and refrigerate the tea until you’re ready to serve it (plain over ice, or mixed with the lemonade).

Now, while I have access to so many free, good quality lemons, I want to try making ALLLLLL kinds of Arnold Palmers. Maybe I’ll do earl grey next!


Happy Memorial Day everyone! Be safe!

May 22nd, 2015 by cleverfoodie

Fun Food for Memorial Day Weekend: Zucchini Fries

Today will be nice and easy!  With the holiday weekend coming up, I thought I would share a quick and easy recipe that makes a great snack/appetizer for a  BBQ (or inside picnic). Baked Zucchini fries!






I looked at a couple of different recipes, but basically I used 1 pound of zucchini cut into spears (thinner is crunchier! thicker is tender and a little soft in the middle)….
Then dredged the spears in egg wash, and tossed them in Progresso Italian Bread Crumbs. I tried another batch with panko bread crumbs, but they didn’t stick to the zucchini as well, so I’ll stick with Progresso, or more traditional style bread crumbs in the future. Put the coated spears in a single layer on a greased baking sheet and bake at either 425 F or 450 F depending on how crispy you want em and how impatient you are for about 15-20 minutes. 
I did some at both temps and they turned out about the same. To get them more golden, I think next time I will also brush them with melted butter before baking…Some recipes said to turn them halfway through, but I was too lazy and they were still delicious!!!  I like sauces (and dipping things in sauces) so I got a  bottle of parmesan ranch from Trader Joe’s and it was PERFECT! Though I expect BBQ sauce or even some kind of aioli might be nice! 
Have a safe and happy holiday weekend everyone!


May 21st, 2015 by cleverfoodie

Back in Action – and an Update!

Alright, alright, alright. My food blogging has suffered terribly over the past year or so.

I know.

HOWEVER – my writing (in general) has actually been much more consistent. It’s just been spread over a wider variety of areas and topics!  AND I’ve also given a lot more reviews on good eats around LA via my Tastemade videos! It hasn’t left as much time as I might like for kiramisu and my loyal reader(s)  (yes, I know you’re out there reading Lindsay F. )!

So as a bit of a make-up attempt – my goal is to post something every day for the next week. I’ve realized that a large part of writing, or blogging, regularly is not having to make every article super lengthy and perfect. Sometimes the basics and just getting here is enough. Like what I tell myself about going to yoga more frequently. When I think of making myself go to really-hard-crazy-vinyasa yoga more often, I don’t go. BUT, if I start out just trying to get myself to yoga more often in general, even when that means going to some of the easy-restorative-lay-over-a-bolster-and-maybe-occasionally-fall-asleep classes, I go more often, which means that eventually I can add more of the scary-sweaty classes.

To quickly sum up some of the things I’ve been working on in the past year, I have been: growing my consulting business, working with students in entertainment and media at the Seaver Career Center at Pepperdine University and helping the staff there transition to an new industry specialist model, blogging for InternMatch as a career expert, writing blogs for the Seaver Career Center and senior student newsletter, making Tastemade videos like this one, and decorating my apartment.

I would say “re-decorating” my apartment, but the truth is that I never really took the time to decorate any of my apartments to my liking because I always thought I’d do it later, when I bought a house or got married. But after living out in the world, post college, for 10 years – I figured it was high time I decorated for ME. And I LOVE every bit of it. I just bought a new duvet cover on sale at Athropologie AND, it even went further on sale the week after I bought it – so I got a price adjustment. Fancy new decor AND savings, yes my friends, yes!



I didn’t realize it til this morning, but now my apartment feels complete –in that home-y kinda way. And I got the duvet (originally priced at $238) for the final reduced price of $69.95. That’s right. At ANTHROPOLOGIE . That my friends, is seriously like a miracle–and a very special gift just for me :)

In this current season – the theme that keeps coming up is, “value in relationships, valuing yourself , and knowing you deserve good things.” This is something that’s come up in conversations with close girl friends as well, over the past 6 months. In exploring new dating relationships, letting go of old friendships and embracing new ones, together we’ve found that moving more towards good can be just as terrifying as it is wonderful.

I have found that, when I am faced with the career advancement opportunity or romantic relationship that I’ve worked and wished so hard for, for so long, once it is actually within my grasp – it freaks me out. Though I know I’ve worked hard, there’s still that little whispery voice that wonders if I really DESERVE good things. Though I want them, I’m not sure I should have them. That’s why I’m being more conscious of practicing gratitude again. Especially for things that I may not feel that I deserve–the little extras. Mainly things like my boyfriend buying me an Apple TV or my mom visiting for the week and taking me out to dinner every night, and buying me a Le Creuset at the outlet mall in Camarillo. These things that are “extraneous” in my mind, but also demonstrations of lavish love from people who know me well.



So that’s it. That’s where I’m at. I hope you’ll follow me on this journey that will (hopefully) be more consistent–and also more diverse in it’s explorations. For now, I will leave you will a photo of  the second dish I’ve cooked in my fancy Le Creuset (thanks, Mom!)  – a lovely Italian tomato and bread soup that a dear friend has made me for my birthday for the past 2 years in a row. It’s not quite as good as hers, but it’s a good start—and a reminder that perfection isn’t necessary.




January 21st, 2015 by cleverfoodie

Dine LA January 2015

Dine LA 2015



Um, HELLO!!!!

It’s my absolute FAVORITE food time of year in Los Angeles. Winter Dine LA (which IMHO is superior to the summer version). There are more participants, more menu offerings and more options per course. Or at least that’s how it seems to me. I haven’t done any actual numerical research. But I do generally find that I am much happier with my January dining choices (and yes, there are many vendors who only participate in Winter).


Below are my top picks for this go-round, including a peak of my first dinner, from last night at Upper West.


Upper West 

3 courses (including dessert!)/ $40 dinner/Santa Monica

Could you be excited to eat the $20 lunch menu at Upper West during Dine LA? Sure. But you’d be missing out if you skipped DINNER!

I went last night, and am prepared to say confidently that THIS dinner tops my list of ALL the DINE LA meals I have had in the past 3 years. Yup. My boyfriend who was with me agrees that this was an exceptional meal! This is also a good time to remind you to do DINE LA with a friend or significant other. Aside from the fact that food is a great bonding experience, it also lets you pick more options per course if you’re a good food sharer—so you can try more things! See, totally practical.


Andy at Dine LA





What do you need to get here? Hands down the Coffee Crusted Kurobuta Pork Tenderloin. This is one of the top meat dishes I’ve ever had. In my life! I was completely taken by surprise–this is definitely the ‘dark horse’ candidate that came up and bit me from behind (and I’m glad that it did!). We also shared the Short Rib, which is would certainly eat again. It’s just that the pork, with the apple and jalepeno chutney and the goat cheese potatoes (which were not recognizable as anything but a magical pile of some secret side dish from another dimension) is the perfect flavor combo. Seriously. You NEED this.

We also had the lamb crepes (good, but  a little too gamey tasting on the lamb) the burrata salad (solid!), and shared the carrot cake ice cream sandwich (do yourself a favor and get this one!) and the bread pudding (one of my top 3 bread puddings ever). All around, great choices for each course, and one of the most satisfying meals I’ve ever had (in case you didn’t get that before). The service was superb, and I can’t wait to go back. I think Upper West may now officially have taken the place of Baco Mercat as my current favorite spot in Los Angeles. Apologies for the poor photo quality, but it was kinda dark in there and I since I’ve just scooped Andy up, I don’t want to freak him out too badly yet by making him light my foodie shoots with his phone flashlight. That will have to wait til at least Dine LA date #2.

upper west apps
bread pudding
carrot cake


I also learned while I was there that they have Happy Hour daily, and all night on Mondays! Plus a prix fix menu option every Weds night $36 for 3 courses. Well worth it!


Faith and Flower (Modern California)

3 Courses (including dessert)/$25 lunch/$50 dinner/Downtown

After being blown away at the opening of Terrine LA , I can’t WAIT to finally get over to Faith & Flower  (same owners).  And for those on a more modest budget the $25 lunch offering (also 3 courses) looks very promising as well. If you can get over there for lunch (or ‘mysteriously disappear’ from work for a ‘work lunch’) I would highly recommend this place. Haven’t been yet, but have heard nothing but amazing reviews from all my favorite foodie friends.


Da Pasquale Trattoria (Italian)

3 Courses (including dessert)/$30 dinner/Beverly Hills

I’ve been here before and  I would gladly go again! The most authentic Italian food (and atmosphere) I’ve experienced outside of Italy! Make sure you make a reservation! Once they are seated for the evening (as per usual in Italy) you are expected to enjoy your evening, and they don’t turn tables over much. Once you’re there for dinner, you’re free to stay for the evening and enjoy the food and conversation. Well worth it! Add a glass of their Pinot Noir or a Tuscan Red for about $10.


 Mud Hen Tavern (American)

3 Courses (including desser)/$25 lunch/$30 dinner/Hollywood

Though I wasn’t necessarily a huge fan of Susan Feniger’s STREET, the offerings at Mud Hen Tavern are more up my alley (and more diverse as far as options). Might have to go for lunch AND dinner so I can sample the lemon poppyseed pancakes AND Wood Roasted Pork with Biscuit.


Badmaash Indian Gastropub (Indian/Mexican Fusion)

3 Courses (including dessert)/$30 dinner/Downtown

This spot has been on my list for a while. While their Tikka Masala Tacos are not currently on the menu (they have been swapped out for Tikka Masala Poutine—everyone is doing poutine now, apparently)—but I love Indian food, and I still want eat here anyways.

Go forth and tell me what is GOOD people. I’m counting on you to help me cover all these spots (and others that I have yet to cross off my list!)





October 15th, 2014 by cleverfoodie

McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream : Grand Central Market





This is a post to honor my dear friend (and fellow ice cream lover!) Victoria–who just moved to Montreal a few months ago for an awesome new Producing job in Animation.


The last time we hung out while she was still in LA, we went to McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream. Holy Cow. It was amazing.






For one thing, I had never been to Grand Central Market in Downtown LA before…WHERE HAVE I BEEN???!!!!

This place is amazing! Feels a lot more like an outdoor market in Seattle or San Francisco. Very fun, and lots of variety. I’d seen random posts and videos by other foodie friends about McConnell’s the previous week, and so Vicky and I decided to go check it out before she left town.


The folks who work there are patient and let you taste everything (we did, I think, taste everything…) And this is what I ended up with…





That is 2 scoops of CHURRO ice cream, one scoop of Sweet Cream and one scoop of Marionberry with Lemon. Um, yes. That is correct. You need to go here and try this -ish out! Though the ‘double scoop’ pictured here is really 4 SCOOPS ( each full ‘scoop’ is 2 scoops). And they make their ice cream with like 800% butterfat or some other such nonsense, so it’s quite filling. Next time I will get the flight which is 3 ‘half scoops’ (ie: slightly smaller than regular full scoops) instead.






All the flavors were great, but the carmely-chunky-chewy Churro ice cream was definitely my favorite.


We had a lovely visit, and I’m sad to say my friend is now living somewhere where the outside world probably feels a lot like the inside of one of these scoops of Churro ice cream. Come back to LA soon Vicky!!!





August 27th, 2014 by cleverfoodie

Open Sesame!

Okay, okay….it’s a bit delayed (again!)—but here is my review for the one spot I managed to hit for DINE LA a couple of weeks ago.


Open Sesame is a lovely spot in the Melrose neighborhood, and lots of neighborhood street parking before 6pm! The portions were huge, the spices – divine, and the ambiance is so SO lovely!

I certainly recommend it if it’s on Dine LA the next round.


For more looks at the food and my thoughts, check out my Tastemade Video review!



July 20th, 2014 by cleverfoodie

Taste on Melrose: or TASTY on Melrose?!


Another great dining experience from my DINE LA excursions last July. Taste on Melrose.


Truly a delightful meal with so many flavors and textures! The mac and cheese was ok. But the lamb burger with pickled onion and the lemon pot de creme with blueberry compote were EXTRAORDINARY!

I went to catch up with my dear friend Susie (the non-compliant vegan) and she said the seared Ahi sandwich was also lovely!

Sadly, noneof those options are available this time around – BUT for $20 this spot gives you more choices in that you get 2 of 3 courses (appetizer, main and/or dessert). For dinner, pay $35, get additional options per course and try one of each of the 3 courses! Not too shabby! Parking can be ugly, but hit lunch during the week and it’s not so bad. Make sure you look at street cleaning signs though, lots of parking in the area is limited to only an hour or so!

The good thing about the same foods not being available? All NEW foods to try! WIN!


And go with a friend! A good excuse to try new foods and catch up! Here’s one of my favorite people Sues, modeling her peach poundcake. Delicious!






July 18th, 2014 by cleverfoodie

Da Pasquale Trattoria : A Dine LA All Time Fave!




Da Pasquale Trattoria is one of my favorite Dine LA experiences yet! I hit the dinner special (only $25 for 3 courses!) last July and was SO glad I did. I must admit, I had more than a little apprehension going to an Italian restaurant in Beverly Hills. But the reviews were so great, they peaked my curiosity.

The food, atmosphere and staff are the most authentically Italian that I have experienced outside of Italy. One of the few places outside of Europe where, if you take less than 2 hours for dinner, the staff might think that you dislike the food/service. The entire place is SO welcoming and the food is exquisite! And the glass of Tuscan red I had (a simple house favorite) was one of the best I have ever tasted. And I HAD to snap a picture of the specials that were hand written by out waitress. AH! A simple bit of art. I love looking at handwriting samples. Especially when the words relate to food!

Truly outstanding dining experience! Go and relax with a friend–and prepare to experience what REAL dining was always meant to be! Since they let you take your time, they don’t have as many dinner openings as other places that turn their tables over quickly. So make a reservation ahead of time and you’ll be set! We made a reservation same day and had no problem!