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Food

Brothers Meatballs Is Hollywood’s New Fast Casual Spot for Gourmet Plant-Based Italian

May 14, 2021

Over the last two years, we’ve seen no shortage of plant-based eateries popping up all over L.A. But with so much of the same, any new development will have to bring something fresh to the table (pun intended!) in order to make its mark. Enter: Brothers Meatballs fast casual Italian in Hollywood.

Brothers Mauro and Sergio Corbia are trusted, decades-long vets in the restaurant industry, with Mauro most notably founding the immensely popular and legendary Mauro Cafe inside Fred Segal. Years later, the duo teamed up to give Sunset Blvd. a taste of their upbringing by way of meals inspired by their mom’s Italian home-cooking. But, with a plant-based kick. Using Follow Your Heart and Violife for their cheese, and a top-secret house-made recipe for their meat, the pair selected the finest ingredients to make up their gourmet alternatives.

The 1960s Italy-inspired interior features real black and white images from the brothers’ photo albums, including shots of their mom hard at work in the kitchen. Additionally, the eatery is adorned with orange and blue-colored seating options, which includes spots at the bar and by the open space looking out onto Sunset Blvd.

When I received an invite for my very own taste test, I jumped at the chance. While not plant-based myself, I cover plant-based options extensively and am always intrigued by the latest developments that continue to arise in this space. With the exception of products that are strictly soy (which is becoming much less common these days anyway), I find plant-based options delicious. Especially when it comes to dairy products, I will opt for plant-based any time I can—especially from a gourmet kitchen.

Upon arrival to Brothers Meatballs, my guest and I (who is also a traditional meat-eater) were asked to take a look at the menu and select what sounded to our liking. We decided to share the cheesy bread with three signature dipping sauces (which came highly recommended—and rightfully so—it was our favorite), the Bianco Truffle sandwich (Brothers meatballs, smoked mozzarella, parmesan, truffle alfredo, basil), traditional pasta with tomato sauce and “cheese,” a Panzanella salad (house-made toasted bread, tomato, cucumber, red onion, oregano, vinaigrette) and, of course, a glass of Italian wine.

If the aforementioned options aren’t up your alley, Brothers Meatballs offers their version of other common dishes, too, including eggplant lasagna (Melanzana), meatballs and “cheese” (Solamente Balls), Eggplant Parm’ and a few other sandwiches.

Not only do the dishes truly taste like authentic Italian home-cooked meals (you really can’t tell they’re plant-based), but all packaging is made from plant-based materials sourced from VegWare, a leader in compostable foodservice products. On top of that, the brothers came out and greeted us. We could even see them whipping up the fresh bites straight from the kitchen. And as an added bonus, they wouldn’t let us leave until we tried both of their mouthwatering desserts (Chocolate Panna Cotta and Limoncello Raspberry Panna Cotta)!

If you like what you see, you can also head next door to Fabiolus Cucina—a Hollywood-based restaurant where brother Sergio serves as Executive Chef and co-owner.

Craving more plant-based options in L.A.? HERE‘s everything to know about Extra Market on Fairfax.

Food

Plant-Based Angelenos Have a Delicious New Meal Service Option That Won’t Break the Bank

April 27, 2021

Meal delivery services can be tricky. With unpredictable schedules, picky palettes and a lack of unlimited funds, it often feels easier to place that dependable Postmates order to get exactly what you want on demand. But as of last week, L.A.’s new Herb & Seed meal delivery changed my thoughts on such services.

A handful of my friends have used meal delivery services regularly, but I’m frequently out and about and can’t necessarily commit to a selection of pre-made meals in a number of days. I’ve also never been wowed by options. From what I’ve seen online, there’s always one part of the meal I’m averse to, or simply the portions look a little too small for my liking. Why order a tiny sun-dried tomato pasta dish that I don’t even like, when, for around the same price (including delivery cost), I can request a mega-order from Zankou Chicken that’s not only satisfying and delicious, but made with all of my preferences in mind?

When a rep for Herb & Seed meal delivery reached out about reviewing their plant-based dishes, of course I agreed. Even if I didn’t end up loving the selections, at least they’d be in my fridge for convenience while saving me Postmates money. I honestly didn’t know what to expect, but I was intrigued, so why not?

The Service

Herb & Seed meal delivery updates their menu options every Tuesday. Each item is entirely plant-based, and delivered on Monday mornings with each meal given a suggested shelf-life of four days. Each order requires a minimum of $54, and delivery is an additional $10 fee.

The menu consists of dinner options ($15.50 each), lunches ($13.50 each), breakfasts ($11.50 each), beverages (juices and latte types; $9.50 each) and extras (dips and cheeses; $7.50 each). The menu is also entirely organic and whole, so only the freshest, purest ingredients need apply! Meals are also cooked and served in sustainable kitchen and delivery products. There’s no use of plastic—only compostable materials.

The Meals

I was sent a VIP media menu of two breakfast items (apple pie overnight oats and berry banana pancakes), two lunch (pesto bowl and rainbow buddha bowl) and two dinner (creamy stuffed shells and chile relleno).

To begin, the ingredients in each meal tasted extremely fresh. Even the rainbow buddha bowl, which was probably the least flavorful of the five (because it was the most raw), was refreshing with each bite. In the case of that dish, the beet hummus was unlike any dip or dressing type I’d ever tried, and it totally completed the meal.

I was shocked over how each item was extremely filling, still tasted fresh after even 4-5 days and had me forgetting there wasn’t a traditional protein in the mix. I typically opt for chicken, steak or eggs in most of my hearty meals, and the richness in flavor and formulations of these ingredients truly made it easy to sidestep what I was used to eating.

What blew me away the most was the formulation of the cashew cheese. There was just no way this wasn’t actual ricotta. The creamy stuffed shells truly tasted like the slightly healthier (but no less flavorful) version of something I would have snagged at Jon & Vinny’s. That same said cheese accounts for much of the deliciousness of the chile relleno. And speaking of creamy goodness, the pesto sauce in the chickpea pasta bowl could not have tasted more like a dairy-rich delight.

The most common ingredients in the dishes altogether were hemp seeds, cashew, tomato and various greens. The dinner dishes both came with a small side salad.

Bottom Line

Plain and simple, if you’re big on home-cooking, this option may not be for you. But if you’re super busy or often too tired (or lazy) to cook, I promise these meals won’t disappoint. If you line them up next to some of their competitors (Model Meals, for example), these are significantly less expensive. Also, to reiterate above, you’re only obligated to spend $54 (+ delivery fee) to place an order (which can get you approx 3-4 meals). And I don’t know about you, but if I go out to eat or order Postmates, one meal (with tax, tip and whatever else) can end up costing $25 each.

If you enjoy eating whole and healthy but you’re not big on plant-based options, as someone who loves a good steak, I can assure you that you won’t even think about the difference. These meals are so fulfilling. There was an excellent variety, and I really enjoyed my culinary experience with each in different ways.

For more mouthwatering content, HERE‘s what you need to know about Whipped, the delicious DIY coffee frothing system!

Food

The Most High Quality Food Court Options You Can Find at Malls in L.A.

April 8, 2021

Ok, we know what you’re thinking: How chic can mall food courts really be? We’re here to tell you that shopping destinations all over LA have stepped up their game in considerable ways—so much so that it propelled us to compile this list of the best food court options in LA malls.

Usually, a trip to the food court means your sole options are McDonald’s, Panda Express and, if you’re lucky, Sbarro. But in 2021, refined eateries provide unexpectedly upscale alternatives that are both fresh and yummy. And with COVID-19 restrictions lifting, you’re absolutely lying if you tell us you’re not craving a trip to the mall.

Keep reading for our list of the best food court options in LA malls!

Big Fish Little Fish (Westfield Century City, Century City)

Westfield Century City (aka The Century City Mall) is a treasure trove of fine dining options. After all, the shopping destination is the nicest mall in LA. But we’ll save our ode to the hotspot for another day. With that, one of their finest fast-casual establishments is the incredible poke joint, Big Fish Little Fish. Their ingredients and toppings are truly the freshest and most unique, with a plethora of options to boot! From lotus root chips and Hot Cheeto flakes, to bamboo rice, macadamia nuts, sauces and fish galore, prepare to get served.

Bibigo Kitchen (Westfield Century City, Century City)

This Korean-inspired kitchen hits high on our list of musts, thanks to its variety in dishes and flavor. Where else can you get both small plates and chef-driven specialty items at a stop in the mall? Whether you’re in the mood for beef bulgogi or tofu ramen, this should be your first Century City stop as soon as you set foot inside.

Pitchoun Bakery & Café (Beverly Center, West Hollywood Border)

From fresh bread and pastries to healthy salads, sandwiches and soups, this French bakery is a major first-rate food court option at the Beverly Center. Everything is made daily from scratch with organic and local ingredients, two things that are a must for an elegant but affordable mall eatery.

The Melt (FIGat7TH, DTLA)

Sorry guys, if you’re vegan, lactose intolerant or on a dairy-free diet, welp — keep scrolling! But if you love cheese, then like the name of the eatery suggests, you’ve come to the right place. It’s hard not to get distracted as we breeze through the indulgent menu, chockfull of mac ‘n’ cheese variants, dripping hot sandwiches you only see in your dreams and sigh so much more. You’ll probably need to book a SoulCycle bike afterward, a few blocks down on Olive St., but a stop at this San Francisco-famous hotspot is absolutely worth it!

Bazille at Nordstrom (Various Malls All Over LA)

While not officially a food court destination, it’s a mall mainstay nevertheless. One of our writers is a South Bay native, who basically spent her upbringing at Bazille in the Del Amo Fashion Center. Located inside Nordstrom, this casual yet sophisticated joint is the place to go for deliciously upscale cuisine that won’t break the bank. It also doesn’t hurt that it has a complete bar to go with it either💁🏽.

Beleaf Café (Westfield Topanga, Canoga Park)

If you’re vegan, Beleaf Café is the perfect spot. There are truly no better words to describe it than delicious and nutritious. Located inside the Westfield Topanga mall (and possibly still Westfield Century City), this spot has tacos, burgers and nachos that are so healthy, they won’t even count towards a cheat day. In addition to their plant-based entrees, they also carry veggie parfait snack cups! Sounds questionable, but believe us when we say it’s a game-changer in the munchies department.

Coffee Commissary (Beverly Center, West Hollywood Border)

Although this option is more coffee-focused, it still makes our list for its unbelievable breakfast options. Their Texas Tacos, smoked salmon toast and brisket burrito are every breakfast lover’s ultimate dream. Their silky yet bold gourmet coffee also happens to be the perfect complement to these mouth-watering bites.

If you’re a sucker for a classic mall experience, you’ll want to know about THIS drive-through attraction that took place in Westfield Century City’s parking structure.

Food

Definitive Ranking of the 12 Main Celsius Energy Drink Flavors, From Meh to Must Have

March 10, 2021

Celsius energy drinks gained immense popularity in recent years, but the brand has actually been in existence since 2005, gaining some notable momentum in the early 2010s. The Boca Raton-based brand has certainly evolved over time, now with 12 main flavors, spotted at every gym and grocery store in town. With so many flavors to choose from, a Celsius energy drink ranking is the only way to help you weed out what’s worth trying, and what’s worth leaving on the shelves.

Because I’m a diehard Celsius fan—and have been since I discovered it at an HBO gifting suite, of all places, in 2009—I’ve obviously tried every flavor. So I can proudly and confidently break each of them down for you. While no flavor will steer you wrong, some are tastier than others. Keep reading for my definitive Celsius energy drink ranking from meh to must have!

12. Sparkling Grape

Grape is a divisive flavor. Much like cherry, it’s unanimously a love or hate consensus. And, well, I hate it. Ok, hate is a strong word, but I don’t love it. The good thing about grape flavoring is you always know what you’re going to get. There aren’t typically variations of the polarizing taste. So, if you love grape, you’ll love this flavor—but because I’m on the other end of the grape opinion, this gets a placement at the bottom of the list.

11. Cola

Much like the aforementioned grape, if you’re a fan of cola taste, then you’ll be a fan of this flavor. My qualm, however, is when I think of Celsius, I associate it with nutrition and fitness. When I think of traditional soda, well, it’s quite the contrary. I think the two need to be separate. Leave the cola flavor to a can of Coke, and let the remaining flavors cater to energy drinks.

10. Sparkling Fuji Apple Pear

The apple itself here wouldn’t be too criminal, but I think it needed to be paired with something citrusy like orange. The apple-pear combo is a bit too sweet and doesn’t complement as well as I’d like.

9. Raspberry Açai Green Tea

Flavor combinations get tricky when green tea is added to the mix. The taste by itself is totally fine, but when it’s added to another flavor, it doesn’t blend well, in my opinion. I also think raspberry does better when paired with another berry. Plain and simple, this duo just doesn’t do it for me, which is why it’s ranked towards the bottom.

8. Sparkling Orange

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this flavor. Orange is what I’d consider a reliable go-to—you’re never going to crack open a can and regret your decision. It’s safe, which is totally fine, but if you seek to excite the palette, I’d move further down the list.

7. Grapefruit Melon Green Tea

This flavor trio was oh so close to making it to the top of the list! The sourness from the grapefruit and sweetness from the melon was such a pairing—until green tea entered the picture. Unfortunately it lessened the taste’s likability. That said, is it the worst thing ever? No.

6. Sparkling Watermelon

While White Claw’s hotly anticipated watermelon flavor ended up being a fizzled out flop, don’t expect the same result from Celsius. The light summertime fruit’s flavor comes through in full effect, leaving me totally refreshed.

5. Peach Mango

Peach and mango are a perfect pairing. I’m not a fan of mango as a solo fruit snack, but in soft drinks, it adds amazing flavor. And, well, you absolutely can’t go wrong with peach in any way, shape or form. This is a delightfully light and airy duo.

4. Sparkling White Peach

The only thing better than peach? Peach in sparkling form, of course! While other flavors on this list are elevated by a dual pairing, white peach is strong enough to stand on its own, confidently. so refreshing!

3. Sparkling Strawberry Guava

Strawberry and guava are two flavors unanimously beloved. Whether alone or combined with others, these two are always a hit. So, working together as a standalone duo? Oh, perfection!

2. Sparkling Kiwi Guava

The only thing more refreshing than strawberry guava? Kiwi guava! I’m not a fan of either tropical fruit as a whole, but in soft drink form, this is the ultimate pairing. Refreshing? Check. Delicious? Check.

1. Sparkling Wild Berry

When in doubt, go berries. Like, you really can’t go wrong with any pairing of these highly anti-oxidized fruits. This delicious duo of blueberry and raspberry has all the right touches of sweet, sour and everything in between.

Looking for more rankings? Click HERE for my definitive ranking of the 20 best songs of the 2010s.

Food

Our 5 Favorite BIPOC-Owned L.A. Restaurants to Support Through Black History Month and Beyond

February 18, 2021

It’s Black History Month—and based on where we live, it’s important to acknowledge the people, places and things that have made a cultural imprint among the City of Angels’ BIPOC community. A great place to start? The best BIPOC-owned restaurants in LA.

Los Angeles is rich with culture in the kitchen. From vegan and vegetarian options, to worldwide cuisine, this melting pot has something for everyone. Whether it’s plant-based, too-good-to-be-true bowls and wood-fire pizzas, to slow-cooked barbecue and Insta-worthy gumbo, there are plenty of mouthwatering bites around L.A. to choose from. Therefore, highlighting the influence the Black community has made on the city’s culinary landscape in an absolute must.

(via Georgia’s Restaurant)

The very first BIPOC-owned restaurant that we truly connected with is Georgia’s! The flavors and texture the restaurant uses in its dishes are simply otherworldly. Whether you’re doing the cooking at home, using the best products on the market (like THIS wet batter created by Chef Jay) or dining out, this city has plenty to offer.

Don’t take our word for it—check out this insane spreadsheet, inspired by food journalist Kat Hong, which lists more than 100 African-American food businesses across the city!

But to help you narrow it down, keep reading for our personal list of the five best BIPOC-owned restaurants in LA to support through Black History Month and beyond.

1. Bludso’s BBQ

A list of the best BIPOC-owned restaurants in LA wouldn’t be complete without this mention. The BBQ joint is well-known, and for good reason: It’s solid! Be sure to place an order ahead as there’s always a wait and items do sell out. Here you can get pulled pork, dry-rubbed chicken, or crave-worthy handmade sausage links. Of course, staples including the brisket are worth a stop at this establishment alone, and it just so happens to be an unspoken favorite. You’ll also want to be sure not to skimp on the desserts! The Peach Cobbler is mind-blowing. It even gives Patti LaBelle’s pies a run for their money. If cooking at home is your jam, you can even order a frozen rack of ribs or frozen Texas hot links, vacuum-sealed to grill at home.

609 N La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

2. Meals by Genet

Not every restaurant has the pleasure of making it onto the late Jonathan Gold’s List of 101 Best Restaurants. This establishment makes the cut on his prestige list and many others, including the Michelin Guide’s California Family Meal. This fine dining destination merges many flavors to the fore-front at once. From a slow-cooked chicken dish (that takes three days to make) to its renowned vegan-friendly sides and the most perfect flatbreads, this restaurant boasts a strong variety in addition to a general appeasing of the palette. Currently they’re only open from Thurs. – Sun., so get your fix while you can.

1053 S Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90019

3. Undergrind Café

Located in a relaxed neighborhood, Undregrind Café is not your average coffee shop. The menu spans from unique lattes and pressed juices to impressive breakfast items which are infused with Cajun flavors. The Bayou Burrito for example is composed of scrambled eggs, shrimp, Cajun sausage, red and green roasted peppers, white onion, hash browns and cheddar cheese. Whatever you order, be sure to try out the sweet cream pancakes!

2713 S Robertson Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

4. Dulan’s on Crenshaw

Dulan’s is a second-generation soul restaurant that’s been serving the community for nearly 50 years! One of their mottos is “Serving you, as you support us.” The menu is chock-full of true Southern gems such as smothered chicken, fried chicken and collard greens which are the backbone of this beloved soul food establishment. This is also one of the few places that does oxtails right! Whatever you order on the menu, know that it’ll be of highest quality. Order online from this local favorite and be sure to save room for the sugar-dusted peach cobbler. 

4859 Crenshaw Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90043

5. Louisiana Charlie’s

This hidden gem in Long Beach serves some of the best Cajun foods you’ll find on the West Coast. The explorative menu thrives off Louisiana staples, including alligator, jambalaya, crawfish étouffée and gumbo. Meanwhile, they don’t ignore Southern classics including tri-tip and mesquite BBQ slowly smoked to perfection. With a prime waterfront location, you’ll feel like you’re right back in the New Orleans bayou!

429 Shoreline Village Dr. Ste H. Long Beach, CA 90802

Looking for even more ways to support the BIPOC community in L.A.? Click HERE!

Food

Whipped Drinks Is a User-Friendly Kit That Makes Delicious, Frothy Coffee in 60 Seconds

February 12, 2021

I’m obsessed with coffee, so any innovative development in the space immediately piques my interest. Therefore, when I was informed of a whipped coffee kit launching this month, I jumped at the chance to get my hands on it first.

Ahead of Whipped Drinks‘ official release, I was invited to the Zoom launch, where the brand’s husband-and-wife founders, Katie and Taylor Angel, gave attendees a demonstration of how to use their DIY froth kit. But everything looks better on camera. Would I be able to figure it out myself, I wondered.

Well, below is everything you need to know about Whipped Drinks’ whipped coffee kit.

The Product

The brand was conceptualized amid the pandemic, when not only was there plenty of extra time on everyone’s hands, but Katie was inspired by the sudden frothy coffee trend on where else—TikTok. Within months, Katie, with the help of her hubby, did her fair share of research and trial and error, and birthed this impressively packaged product.

The $49 kit comes with the following:

  • High-speed frother, batteries included
  • Gilded frothing jug
  • Carton Whip Sticks (contains 10 packets)
  • Recipe book
  • Beautifully wrapped box

Noted by the pair on the Zoom call, the packets are instant coffee (but with a much-elevated kick). The website describes the contents as “premium coffee refined to the perfect texture for whipping.” The 100% Columbian blend is infused with natural cane sugar, luxurious cocoa and a dash of sea salt. The product is gluten-free.

Aside from the kit’s contents, all you need to make your whipped coffee is a spoon, choice of milk, a glass, ice and a tablespoon of water.

The Experience

To be completely honest—I’m terrible at assembling things. And when I saw this called for batteries, I was even more concerned. That said, it’s a convenient touch that batteries are included. Things already started off on the right foot.

While the duo’s demonstration looked simple enough, who knew if I’d be able to tackle this solo. But one quick read-through of the user-friendly instructions, and it appeared to be easy as advertised.

I simply emptied one Whip Sticks packet into the frothing jug, added a tablespoon of H20, and applied the frother for 60 seconds. My result? A delightfully whipped concoction, ready to be devoured. Ah, but first—TikTok! I poured my frothy coffee on top of my iced almond milk, and took to cyberspace to capture the magic (see below!).

@dgidahvz

guess what launches on vday? this 60-second frothy coffee kit. delish! 💁🏻‍♀️☕️ ##coffeeaddict ##diycoffee ##covidcoffee

♬ Fake – The Tech Thieves

Bottom Line

In addition to the fancy factor of these whipped indulgences, the coffee itself is truly delicious. I don’t typically react well to anything made with sugar, but the amount is just enough to heighten the flavor without making it an overly sweet treat. I also wondered if I’d actually experience a much-desired caffeine jolt from one of these bad boys, or if they just tasted good. Thankfully, I got my energy boost!

Depending on how much coffee you drink (I drink a ton), you may go through the packets quickly. But if such is the case, you can purchase 10-pack refills for $24. Perfect for posting on IG, impressing a guest, or simply for the sake of enjoying solo, I highly recommend this impressive kit to any coffee-lover.

My only important note is the frothing can get messy, so be sure to do it over the sink or a towel, and avoid wearing light clothing in the process. Happy whipping!

whipped drinks frothy coffee kit review

Coffee is great during the day, but wine tickles our fancy at night. Click HERE for the best Instagram captions to capture pics of you and your grape-filled goodness!

Food

3 of the Best Places to Get a Steak in L.A. (That Aren’t Steakhouses)

December 4, 2020

Apologies to any vegetarians reading this, but we love a good steak. So of course we’ve driven far and wide for the best places to get steak in LA.

fancy meat dinner on plate with rosemary and fork
(via Unsplash)

And while nothing compares to dining in an actual steakhouse (here’s looking at you, BOA), this may not always appease your accompanying dinner guests. In the case that you have to compromise, we have a few options.

As a lover of fine dining—steak dinners in particular, West Hollywood’s experimental pop artist Adam Cola dishes (pun intended) to skyelyfe about going out in the city, and what he considers the best places to get steak in L.A. (that aren’t steakhouses).

“Since we’re in a city where Old Hollywood nostalgia runs wild, I love the dining and hospitality scene in L.A. more so than other cities because dining here feels more like an experience,” the Canada-bred singer, who just released his new track “Mark Your Mark,” explains. “There’s an ‘industry’ undertone that’s unique to this city. Whether it’s dining next to a big celebrity at Tower Bar on the Sunset Strip or dining at an iconic spot like the Polo Lounge in Beverly Hills, the energy is electric.”

Keep scrolling for Adam’s L.A. steak suggestions, and why these are the spots to know.

Toca Madera

I always enjoy the scene at Toca Madera. the aesthetic of the restaurant is very sexy. Also, their Carne Asada is top notch. 

Il Cielo

While this place might be known for its pasta and lovely romantic garden, the filet here is to die for.

Culina

I like dining in hotels. The Four Seasons Beverly Hills is such a beautiful one, and is home to one of the best hotel restaurants. Their NY Strip is delicious.

For more fine dining in L.A., click HERE for our review of Ocean Prime in Beverly Hills.

Food

Best Instagram Captions for Pics of You and an Ice Cold Beer

November 17, 2020

If you’re reading this, there’s a pretty good chance you live for sipping an ice cold brewski. If such is the case, you obviously need the perfect beer Instagram captions to flaunt your favorite hobby all over social media.

If an ice-cold, yeast-filled beverage is everything your heart desires, keep reading for the seven best quotes to use as beer Instagram captions.

(Instagram via @campbellhawk)

For that mirror selfie of you holding up—what else?—a beer:

“I’ve only been in love with a beer bottle and a mirror.” 

-Sid Vicious

For the pic of you covered up in sweats while sipping beer:

“I’m gaining weight the right way: I’m drinking beer.”

-Johnny Damon

For the shot of you clinking beer bottles with a pal:

“In a study, scientists report that drinking beer can be good for the liver. I’m sorry, did I say ‘scientists’? I meant Irish people.”

-Tina Fey

(Instagram via @friscowildpitch)

For the shot of you sipping beer with no cares in the world:

“Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer.”

-Dave Barry

For the cheeky pic of you looking all dolled up with a brew in hand as your best accessory:

“Milk is for babies. When you grow up, you have to drink beer.”

-Arnold Schwarzenegger

(Instagram via @savain016)

For the photo of you clearly a bit tipsy from one too many brewskis:

“24 hours in a day. 24 beers in a case. Coincidence? I think not.” 

-H.L. Mencken

For the shot of you staring adoringly at your stash:

“To some it’s a six-pack. To me it’s a support group.” 

-Leo Durocher

If you love beer as much as we do, click HERE for six delicious hard ciders you need to try immediately!

Food

Get to Know Fairfax’s New Plant-Based Eatery, Extra Market, Inc.

October 23, 2020

Launching a business amid a pandemic is obviously hard enough. Doing so during the height of the Black Lives Matter movement and its accompanying riots… in the thick of the chaos? Sounds impossible.

Skateboarder and $ clothing designer Jamie Story was on the verge of opening his plant-based eatery Extra Market, Inc. Then the unthinkable hit the Fairfax District of where his spot is based. Following a new plan, the multifaceted artist is well into fall with a successful new business under his belt.

Jamie spoke to skyelyfe about his challenging launch experience and how Extra Market, Inc. stands out from the slew of other vegan dining establishments in L.A.

Photo Credit: @sdj

skyelyfe: What was your experience initially launching a new business at the height of rioting on Fairfax?

Jamie Story: I’m not sure any experience could prepare anyone to open amid whatever was or is happening now. When the protests were happening here it was more fear of possible destruction of what we’d been building over the past year. My friend hit me at 1 p.m. Saturday and said I should check my spot and they were going to march up Fairfax. I was totally unaware they started at noon. I rushed down and had to seal up a ceiling door. When I came out, the protests were heading up the back alley. We were lucky, though many of our neighbors were not. It made an already difficult time much rougher. The whole neighborhood came together to rebuild, and some are still working to get open. Foot traffic is slowly picking up every day.

Photo credit: Benjamin Story

SL: What made you decide to open your restaurant in the area you chose?

JS: Fairfax is a familiar neighborhood. I’ve worked with many of the brands on the block over the years.

SL: How does Extra Market differ from other popular vegan eateries in L.A.? 

JS: Extra Market is more of a conceptual project that will be collaborating with other restaurants, brands, artists and more. Once things get back to whatever the new normal is, we’ll be able to utilize our back space for galleries, events and pop-ups. 

SL: What are the restaurant’s specialties?

JS: That would be up to the customer. We’re excited about the burgers and people are excited about our pickles. More and more people are ordering a burger with a salad as opposed to burger, fries and soda. We offer the balance of indulgence and health. You can have Chili-Cheese Fries and a Broccoli Salad so you can have a little less guilt. Also everything is plant-based, and offering items like pressed juice and ginger shots brings healthier options to the block. 

Photo credit: Jamie Story / Extra Market, Inc.
Photo credit: Jamie Story / Extra Market, Inc.

SL: How did this project come to be?

I’d been looking to open a restaurant, but only if it was kind of the right space and time. This just felt right, being able to balance my creative and culinary sides. I’ve been making many of the dishes you see on the menu for my family and friends for years, and I grew up working in kitchens in New York. I was initially nervous, but I’m really proud of what I’ve built, and the feedback has been amazing.

SL: Who are some of your influences in the foodie/restaurateur space?

JS: Anthony Bourdain.

If you’re looking to explore more spots unique to the City of Angels, then you’ll appreciate THIS list of L.A. shopping gems a tourist wouldn’t know!

Food

6 Crisp and Delicious Hard Ciders to Try This Fall

September 20, 2020

Whether you consider yourself a connoisseur or you’re looking to expand your alcoholic palette, it’s time you go for a crisp and refreshing hard cider.

There’s also no better time than the present to embrace the brisk and delicious specialty flavors they come in for fall. Scroll through below for all our top seasonal picks below!

1. Foggy Ridge Handmade Cider: $10.99

Touted as a true artisan hard cider made from uncommon apples, this beverage is a cooler months must. It’s handmade and can be enjoyed with your favorite tomato bisque or harvest soup.

2. Wolffer Estate No. 139 Dry Rosé Cider: $15.99

I mean, do we ever leave rosé off the list? 💁🏽. This epic choice is white cider with a rosy and sweet twist. We also deeply appreciate that it comes in both a bottle and a can.

3. Virtue Cider Michigan Apple: $9.99

If you prefer a dry champagne, you’ll love the taste of Virtue Cider’s Michigan Apple. With a hint of oak, it’s your go-to for a sweet but slightly sour vibe. Luckily, it’s sold in packs, so stock TF up.

4. Original Sin Hard Cider: $11.99

The name of this brand alone makes it an instant buy. They have an overwhelming amount of options including their original and black widow flavor. If you don’t bust these out in October, you’re just doing everything wrong.

5. Woodchuck Amber Draft Cider: $8.49

Major shoutout to Vermont for making the elite of hard ciders. It’s fermented with champagne yeast for a little extra punch, which is completely unique to them. This is the only kind of mixing we’ll ever approve.

6. Austin Eastcider’s Blood Orange Cider: $9.99

We adore Austin Eastcider’s blood orange flavor for its zesty notes of citrus and the tartness of a variety of apples. It’s bittersweet but tastes divine with brunch or your after dinner dark chocolate. This is aimed at fans of sour beer for sure.

Now that you know what to buy, HERE’s how to caption your fall beverage photos.

Food

The Best Instagram Captions For All Your Fall Cocktails

September 17, 2020

Whether you’re warm and cozy by the fire with wine, or out on the porch with a crisp cider, we’ve pretty sure you want to capture the comforting moment on Instagram.

Scroll through below for all the cute, snappy captions you’ll need for your boozy autumn nights! 🍂✨

For when you’re mixing a new pumpkin-based cocktail that isn’t pumpkin spice:

“Stressed, blessed, pumpkin obsessed.”

– Unknown

For an autumn-seasoned rum cider cocktail pic:

“Spice, spice baby.”

– Unknown

For your warm and delicious mulled wine post:

“Warm drinks, warm heart.”

– Unknown

For the basic white wine photo with a blanket:

“The only thing getting lit this weekend are my fall scented candles.”

– Unknown

For your next glass of wine paired with your favorite gourd:

“Squash Goals.”

– Unknown

For your ghastly Halloween delights:

“It’s just a bunch of Hocus Pocus!”

– Unknown

For the shot of your refreshment with an autumn-themed garnish:

“If you don’t like fall, you can leaf me alone.”

– Unknown

Need some more fall cocktail content? HERE are the best autumn drink recipe videos we found on TikTok!

Food

Here’s How to Make the Best Fall Cocktails, According to TikTok

September 5, 2020

Ah, fall. It’s truly the most beautiful time of the year when breezy weather, apple picking, oversized sweaters and boots rule all. 

As you bust out the blankets and prepare for the holidays, you’ll obviously need a cocktail in hand every step of the way. Below, find all the best seasonal spirits and how to make them, according to TikTok.

1. Spiced Rum Caramel Coco

A drink and dessert all rolled into one? Sign us right up. This quick, easy hot chocolate is packed with spiced flavor and fall deliciousness. Adding caramel corn on top makes it the go-to guilty pleasure of the season.

2. Pear Drop Cocktail

We live for a refreshingly fruity, yet light cocktail. If that’s also your jam, try this lovely pear drop. It features banana liqueur and bitters, surprisingly—but it adds an unexpectedly enjoyable flavor you can’t find anywhere else.

3. Apple Gin Garden

If apples are more your thing, you have to try this Apple Gin Garden with elderflower, apple juice and gin, of course. Adding floral notes to the mix gives it a rich and elegant flavor. This one’s for enjoying that fall breeze on your balcony or porch in the evening.

@hangreen_22

Gin Garden 🍓🥒 Gin, Elderflower Syrup, Cloudy Apple Juice, Soda #cocktail #cocktails #gin #fyp #fypage #tipplesandtonics

♬ original sound – hangreen_22

4. Apple Cider Cocktail

What’s a fall cocktail roundup without at least one apple cider refreshment? Crisp cider combined with orange slices and vodka equals instant autumn delight.

5. Pumpkin Spice Cocktail

We’ve all grown wary of the over-advertised pumpkin spice flavor, but hear us out on this one. This sweet little cocktail also has Irish cream, vanilla ice cream and a cinnamon stick for extra punch. And let’s be honest, adding alcohol to any classic flavor will always makes it worth your time.

6. Frosé

We don’t know about you, but rosé is a must for us to kick off the season. Why not dial it up by blending it with fresh strawberries, ice and a touch of vodka? It gives this classic sweet wine a little zest that’s perfect for fall get togethers.

Food

Best Instagram Captions for All Your Margarita Mischief

July 24, 2020

Margarita Monday is absolutely a must… and Tuesday, and Wednesday.

Okay, but seriously, all days should be margarita days. Although you may be spending less time out and about this season given coronavirus conditions, it doesn’t mean you have to skimp on what’s truly important in life.

Scroll down below to find Insta caption inspo for all your tequila-infused shenanigans this summer!

For every Taco Tuesday post with your trusty marg in hand: 

“Life isn’t always tacos & tequila, but it should be.”

 –Unknown

For when you’ve had one too many cups of coffee leading up to cocktail hour:

“Coffee keeps me busy until it’s acceptable to drink margaritas.”

–Unknown

When you realize your late night margs turned into early morning regret:

“I didn’t text you, tequila did.”

–Unknown

For a fabulous Friday kick-off post:

“Take life with a grain of salt, a slice of lime and a really big margarita.”

–Unknown

For a cute and classic saying, but make it tequila:

“But first, margaritas.”

–Unknown

For when you have no qualms about really kicking back after a long work-from-home day:

“Know when to give up and have a margarita.”

–Unknown

For when you’re feeling preachy, but not judgy:

“Two wrongs don’t make a right, but two margaritas usually do.”

–Unknown

Food

Every Necessary Instagram Caption for Photos of You Sipping Wine

June 9, 2020

If quarantine has taught us anything, it’s the value of a solid wine collection. 

But even when we aren’t social distancing, wine gets us through pretty much anything. Whether it’s Cabernet, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc or whatever else you’ve got in store, these are all the captions you’ll need to display your next-level assortment🍷✨.

(via Unsplash)

For any and every Zoom wine night: 

“Wine a little, laugh a lot.” —Unknown

For when you’ve sampled a few too many from your stash: 

Gone with the wine.” —Unknown

When you need an excuse for your current drunken state: 

“Everything happens for a Riesling.”It’s All Chic to Me

For when you need a glass to accompany your Bachelor marathon: 

“Will you accept this rosé?” —Unknown

For an ‘every last drop counts’ post:

“You can’t sip with us.” —Unknown

Just after your inner Martha Stuart emerges and you whip up dessert with your beverage: 

“I’m currently on cloud wine.” —Unknown

For the times you’re definitely not sipping wine on the clock: 

“Working nine to wine.” —Unknown

For turning off the news and going full hermit mode: 

“Either give me more wine or leave me alone.” —Rumi

Food

Most Refreshing Instagram Captions for When You’re Sipping White Claw

April 3, 2020

With coronavirus-induced quarantine in full effect, many of us are doing the unthinkable—gasp—drinking alone.

But if you’re like us and trying to maintain some sense of responsibility during these haphazard times, you’re sticking to good ol’ White Claw.

The crisp and delicious hard seltzer has captured the hearts of many in recent years—so much so, that it inspires more-than-impressive quality photos of the beverage on Instagram. And what’s a gorgeous photo without a cute, clever caption to go along with it?

Regardless or whether you’re quarantining or finally able let loose in a group, below are the most refreshing Instagram captions for when you’re sipping White Claw!

For that photo of your girls night in:

On weekends, we drink White Claws.”

―Unknown

For when your crew starts to get greedy:

“Catch these Claws!”

―Unknown

For an exceptionally charming pic with your pup and a White Claw:

“Please keep your paws off my White Claws.”

―Unknown

For when you’re double-fisting:

“Nothing can stop the claw.”

―Unknown

For when the overused ‘hot girl summer’ caption needs a revamp:

White Claw Summer.”

―Unknown

For an extra rowdy bachelorette party:

“Ain’t no laws when you’re drinking Claws.”

―Trevor Wallace

For when you’ve had two too many😅:

“White Claw wasted.”

―Unknown

For when you need to finesse a White Claw into your healthy diet:

“Low sugar, no spice, but everything nice.”

―White Claw

Food

The Only 5 Main Ingredients You Need to Make It Through Whole 30 Successfully

March 31, 2020

Doing Whole 30 during coronavirus-induced quarantine is quite the divisive topic.

Some say it’s the best time to do it because you’re locked away in your home with no outside distractions or temptations, and nothing to do except cook. Others say you’re bored out of your mind and all you want to do is drink, while sitting on the couch, eating Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, watching Tiger King. Another big issue of discussion is obtaining the necessary ingredients to cook appropriate meals for the program. With grocery stores scarcely stocked, it can potentially be a big issue.

(via Brooke Lark / Unsplash)

But as someone who completed the program (for the fourth time!) all of this March, I can tell you it’s completely doable. Not only did the clearheadedness brought on by the experience help me get through this first month of isolation, but because I cooked almost every meal from scratch, I really got acquainted with my most commonly used foods, what’s most versatile, most flavorful, most immune-boosting and what can last you the longest.

Sure, there are plenty of fun ingredients to have around that you don’t necessarily need. For example, I had a several cans of pumpkin puree lingering from fall. I hopped on to Pinterest (as I did with pretty much all my ingredients) and found out ways to make use of what I had. Suddenly it was a springtime Thanksgiving in my kitchen. But ultimately, there were only a handful of staples I felt it necessary to have on hand at all times.

With the exception of spices (you must carry an array of spices—they’re a game-changer), below are the only five main ingredients you need to make it through Whole 30 successfully.

1. Cauliflower

This versatile veggie is the ultimate breakout star of Whole 30. I went from attempting mashed potatoes cauliflower my first time doing the program, to making cauliflower smoothies and mastering the art of cauliflower rice during this fourth go. The best thing you can do for yourself (mid-Whole 30 or otherwise) is stock up on bags of pre-diced cauliflower. Trader Joe’s has aplenty. I recommend non-frozen if you want to make rice or mashed cauliflower. And then purchase a bag of frozen if you want it for your smoothie. This veggie blends with everything seamlessly, so your smoothie won’t smell like anything but berries!

2. Broth

This brings me to my next ingredient… if you hop on the cauliflower bandwagon, you’ll need broth of some sort by your side at (almost) all times. I personally opted for chicken broth, but really any full-flavored broth will do. This ingredient is crucial to mastering cauliflower rice. I posted a lot about this on Instagram Story, as it’s a very underrated, overlooked necessity. In the past, like many others shared with me, I depended on olive oil to cook my tiny cauliflower pieces, but it was never enough to cook all the way through, and always left the pieces burnt. Additionally, broth can make a fantastic addition to a homemade sauce or sauté recipe, a soup, a mash, you name it. If you have plenty left over, just pop it into Pinterest and see what you can strum up with what you’ve got.

3. A Protein or Mixed Veggies

This is a given, but important to note anyway. Having a meat of some sort or mixed veggies will make up the crop of your heavier meals. These are great to soak up the sauces you make, to slather with spices, to place atop coconut rice or mix in with zucchini noodles. It’s important to remember that soy products aren’t allowed, so if you don’t eat meat, grab on to the most versatile, flavorful veggies (mushrooms, onions and bell peppers were my go-tos this time around). Also, you can use any meat, so take advantage of that freedom (though some are encouraged more than others and you still need to read the labels for nitrates, sugars and other unapproved ingredients). I didn’t touch beef or pork, but I ate a lot of chicken and turkey bacon.

4. Eggs

Much like No. 3, it’s probably a given that eggs are key to this plan. But you’re forbidden from (most) baking, so it’s not like you need eggs for your favorite paleo banana bread loaf. Eggs, during this eating regimen, are like an old reliable friend you can call on either when you’ve got nowhere to turn, or you want to spice up the party. I had my standard moments of whipping up a turkey bacon, mushroom, onion omelette; whereas, other times, eggs were great to place atop cauliflower rice and stir-fried veggies. I’m pretty sure you don’t need me to sit here and explain all of eggs’ uses—just be sure to keep ’em handy!

5. Full Fat Canned Coconut Milk

Much like cauliflower, canned coconut milk isn’t necessarily something we actively seek out at the grocery store unless a specific recipe calls for it. Well, take on a month of Whole 30, and this coveted item will be at the top of your list. If you’re making any rendition of a cream sauce, this is your go-to. But I also found that even an unnoticeable drop here and there was called for in so many recipes.

It’s important to note the difference between Coconut Cream and Coconut Milk—they’re indeed similar, but will alter your recipe if you get the wrong one. If you can’t get both for whatever reason, always go for the milk because sometimes the top layers of the can will have the creamy consistency you can use if a recipe calls for the cream. Also, emphasis on canned and full fat. Full fat cans of these consistencies are what’s required for the majority of these recipes, so make sure you stick to them because they differ immensely from what you typically add to your coffee.

Food

Best Quotes to Use as Instagram Captions for When You’re Drinking Alone

March 17, 2020

We understand social distancing is a safety mechanism during these unsettling times, but it can also be extremely dull, and frankly, quite isolating—especially on holidays like St. Patrick’s Day, birthdays, weekends, days that end in “Y”?

All we want to do is go out and let loose with friends, but given our current circumstances, it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen any time soon. Some might frown upon boozing alone, but we’d say the times are callin’ for it at this point.

But are you really having a blast drinking alone, though if you don’t post about it on the ‘gram? These captions show you don’t need a bar to say hakuna moscato.

For when you’re living your best work-from-home life:

“Work is the curse of the drinking classes.”

― Oscar Wilde

For when you’ve finished absolutely every available season of RuPaul’s Drag Race on Hulu:

“There comes a time in every woman’s life when the only thing that helps is a glass of champagne.”

― Bette Davis 

View this post on Instagram

The best medicine 😋 • • • • •

A post shared by Mrs Natalie Chadd (@nataliechaddashian) on

For when it’s been a lackluster day and you’ve officially hit wine o’clock🍷:

“Either give me more wine or leave me alone.”

― Rumi

For your post-meditation pick-me-up:

“Drink happy thoughts.”

―Unknown

For when you’re re-evaluating the year’s goals and plans:

“Stop and smell the rosé.”

―Unknown

For when you just need a break from the news:

“We all deserve an alcoholiday.”

―Unknown

For your very adult shut-in lunch:

“Might be water, might be vodka.”

―Unknown

View this post on Instagram

This is what we call an adult lunch. 🍞🍓

A post shared by Milk & Honey Liqueur (@realmilkandhoney) on

Food Featured

How You Act When You Drink Alcohol, Based on Your Zodiac Sign

December 4, 2019

When you don’t want to completely blame it on the alcohol, call out the cosmos as the culprit instead!

Drunk actions are definitely sober thoughts, and nothing brings it out more than your astrological makeup. Whether you’re a feisty fire sign or seriously in-your-feelings water sign, read on below for what kind of drunk you are, based on your zodiac sign.

(Valfré via Instagram)

Aries (March 21-April 19)

Fire, passion and strength are traits you bring into your every day life, Aries, but when adding alcohol to this fabulous cocktail, it can bring out a bit of aggression. Of course, you never mean to hurt anyone, but your feisty nature can make or break a night out if you’re not careful. Chug your tequila sodas with some water now and then. It’ll ease the burn inside and out.

(Valfré via Instagram)

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

Stubborn, but beyond steadfast, you’re the real champ of the night, Taurus. No one can match your marathon-level drinking skills. When everyone else has their head over the toilet by the end of the night, you’re still sipping Jameson & Ginger like its nothing. We want you as our all-the-time drinking buddy from now on, you weekend warrior.

(Alexa Evans via Instagram)

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

Easy-going, adaptable and outgoing, you are the social butterfly of the group, Gemini. Your wing man/woman skills are also totally unmatched, but your indecisiveness might cost you a few numbers for yourself. We applaud your flirting abilities, but try to narrow it down to one cutie for the night. Drama tends to follow you constantly so the less conflict when tipsy, the better.

(Valfré via Instagram)

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

Let’s keep it real, Cancer: You’re emotional as can be when you’re sober, so add shots to the mix and the floodgates burst open. Social media is not your friend during this time. Too many chances you’ll be triggered by your ex’s latest post. Be sure to have your real ones around you when the waterworks start and you should be golden. #Selfcare.

(Alexa Evans via Instagram)

Leo (July 23-August 22)

You’re no stranger to the spotlight, Leo, so it’s no surprise you’re the center of attention with a few drinks in you. You’re the biggest flirt, the most drunk and the adventurous leader steering where the night goes. Nothing can stop you and everyone wants to be around you—soak it all in.

(Valfré via Instagram)

Virgo (August 23-September 22)

Being a Virgo, you’re definitely the reasonable, responsible member of the bunch. Never one to step out of line, you’re the three-drinks-max pal who holds everyone’s stuff and makes sure no one is left alone. Not all heroes wear capes, amirite?

(Alexa Evans via Instagram)

Libra (September 23-October 22)

You live for a night on the town, Libra, so it makes complete sense you try to introduce your friends to as many new people as possible while out and about. You thrive on creating harmonious relationships, especially new ones. Will the real Cupid please stand up? (Hint, that’s you).

(Valfré via Instagram)

Scorpio (October 23-November 21)

If you haven’t heard by now, you’re full of contradictions, Scorpio. You can be the best and worst of both worlds—independent or clingy, loving or icy, authoritative or delicate. But most of all, you’re intense in everything you do. This can go either way when there’s booze involved. At least you can say a night out with you is never predictable.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21)

Your magnetic personality, great sense of humor and endless quest for the best celebration make you the perfect person to knock a few back with. That said, some might also get exhausted going out with you since you’re constantly bar-hopping and moving from crowd to crowd. It’s cool Sag, we know you crave that freedom and adventure, just make sure your crew can keep up.

(Valfré via Instagram)

Capricorn (December 22-January 19)

You’re always in control, Capricorn, so it’s only natural no one would know just how drunk you are after the six shots you had. You’re determined to outdrink everyone else because you’re just used to coming in first. No shame, someone with ambition always gets it done.

(Alexa Evans via Instagram)

Aquarius (January 20-February 18)

Original and independent, you’re always a great conversationalist. This amazing quality is only amped up when you have a few drinks in you, with people hanging on your every word. But, you know what else is taken to new heights? Your tendency to be temperamental. Keep your anger in check or your fun exchanges could quickly lead to arguments, yikes. 

(Valfré via Instagram)

Pisces (February 19-March 20)

Your deeply sensitive and loving nature is brought to a new level when cocktails are involved. You feel it all, Pisces, and we can’t say we’re mad at you for it. Sometimes, you just need a solid night to let it all out, no judgment here.

(Alexa Evans via Instagram)

Food

I Surprisingly Left Guilt-Free After Indulging at 3rd. St. Italian Spot No. 10

January 7, 2019

Ah, January…

The month you’ll see no one anywhere because everyone (at least in L.A.) is trying to be healthy and basically refuses to leave the house. But hey, date nights still happen, and I was totally shocked to find out you can actually do Italian and leave without unbuttoning your pants.

I was recently invited to a tasting at new(ish) restaurant No. 10 on 3rd St., and I went into the experience a little nervous because I started my new year’s health resolution a couple months prior to Jan. 1, so holiday season overindulgence wasn’t something I really anticipated. That said, I’d worked really hard on my commitment to eating healthy leading up to mid-Dec., so I figured a one-meal splurge was not only deserving, but also wouldn’t kill me.

When I sat down with a friend of mine at the dim-lit establishment, I noticed various groups of people. There were obviously the duos on dates, but there were also groups of friends and even people there for work holiday parties. Also, given the prime 3rd. St. location, it’s definitely set up to attract a younger, trendier clientele, but a bit less sceney than its neighbor Toca Madera (but rest assured, this spot has a photo booth).

When it came time to order, I was immediately impressed with how easy it was to spot relatively healthy options (amid indulgent ones, too, if that’s what you came for!)—even without having to make substitutions. Over the last year, octopus has become my go-to dish, and it’s made me quite particular about its taste. I’ve got to say, No. 10’s version (Polpo: charred mediterranean octopus, broccoli, grapefruit, yogurt, crispy chickpeas) just might have Viale dei Romani’s beat! Topped off with one of the light side salads, this was the perfect appetizer combo to tide me over before the main course, without filling me up too much.

Next up during the guilt-free dining experience was the main dish (Galletto: organic brick chicken with acorn squash, king oyster mushroom, marinated kale, salsa verde). As we all know, variations of even the whitest meat can rack up the calorie count based on sauces or sides. I was truly shocked when my plate arrived looking truly as described on the menu. I finished my full plate and still left room for a sweet nibble.

When it comes to desserts, go big or go home. While I want the rest of the meal to be on the healthy side, if I’m going to dive into something sweet, it better be indulgent. And that’s just what I got when my friend and I split the apple tart.

All in all, No. 10 really has something for everyone. And though its ambiance sets the tone for date night, I’ve gotta say I had the perfectly enjoyable outing with just my friend.

Food Angelenos

6 Hidden Gems to Visit in the West Hollywood/Beverly Hills Area If You Want a Fancy Cocktail

December 13, 2018

Even the most hidden spots don’t stay under the radar for long in the bustling, social cities of West Hollywood and Beverly Hills.

I mean, how many dates have you gone on at places with nondescript entrances a la Roger Room?

But even so, we’ve still managed to dig up a few remaining gems in 90069 and 90210—ones that serve up libations to be remembered (well, that is, depending on how many you drink!).

Whether you’re feeling a quiet date spot, strive for the highest quality liquor, or are just a sucker for a dreamy patio, we rounded up the six best hidden gem spots in Beverly Hills and West Hollywood if you want a fancy cocktail.

Chamberlain Bistro at the Chamberlain Hotel – West Hollywood

Located just off Sunset Blvd. (yet tucked just far enough away), the beautiful outdoor patio at the newly renovated Chamberlain Hotel is beyond perfect for sipping a few cocktails day or night. And in addition to their Hollywood-inspired libations, you also can’t go wrong with their risotto fritters and hand-cut Fries, yum.

(The Chamberlain via Instagram)

THE Blvd at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel – Beverly Hills

With seriously lush sofas and a Plaza-style chandelier, THE Blvd at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel is definitely an underrated spot. Whether you want to feel like a Breakfast at Tiffany’s character or just want to people watch, you can do both these things in style by grabbing a drink at their 18-foot onyx bar. It’s casual.

(THE Blvd via Instagram)

Crescent Lounge – Beverly Hills

Warm summer nights are best spent at this airy villa-style terrace, located inside the boutiquey Crescent Hôtel. It’s the elegantly furnished patio we’ve only seen in our dreams. It’s a super versatile spot that can host anything from a birthday brunch or wedding shower to a classy and casual GNO. Tastebuds beware: Drinks are strong and pungent!

(Crescent Hotel via Instagram)

CITIZEN – Beverly Hills

Sandwiched between some of the stuffier spots in 90210, this beautifully decorated bar and restaurant is a much more laidback addition to the area, making it easy to overlook. But it’s absolutely worth checking out. Their extensive food menu will send you straight to heaven, and their Avocado Toast cocktail (so L.A.) is one of the best and unlike anything we’ve ever had before.

(CITIZEN via Instagram)

The Club Bar at the Peninsula – Beverly Hills

It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle when located on Santa Monica Blvd., but the Club Bar at the Peninsula shouldn’t be overlooked. If getting away from all the noise along the street isn’t already enough of a selling point, you should also stay for their impressive wine list.

(The Peninsula Beverly Hills via Instagram)

£10 (Ten Pound) at the Montage Beverly Hills – Beverly Hills

Tucked away on the Montage’s second floor, £10 is a go-to spot for any true whiskey lover. You’ll experience finely aged cocktails and old-style décor that’s reminiscent of the early 1920s. Who needs a speakeasy when you can get the same vibe at a sleek and modern hotel?

(The Montage Beverly Hills via Instagram)

Food Featured

I Completed Whole 30 (and Lived to Tell About It)—Here’s Everything You Need to Know

November 7, 2018

(via Pixabay)

Much like our home electronics, sometimes our body is in need of pressing the reset button.

This was the first year in the last six that I didn’t do “Sober March,” my annual designated month of sobriety. By completing “SM,” I’m not only abstaining from alcohol, but am therefore way more mindful of my eating habits, too. It’s a nice way to break things up during the year. Despite not following through with my usual plan, I had no intentions of doing a replacement month. But by the time July rolled around, I noticed my overindulgence across the board was getting the best of me.

Rarely in my life have I had a significantly positive relationship with food, and here I was finding myself back in the place of dread. Come early August, I knew I needed to change things. I knew I needed a break from eating crap, consuming alcohol and going out a lot. Not only that, but with fall approaching, I really wanted a clear head. I wanted to feel good, and I knew I wasn’t doing things to get me to that place.

So there it was. I decided I was going to embark on Whole 30—and there was no way I was cheating. I’m funny like that. Pretty extreme. Like I’m either all in or all out. In addition to no alcohol for 30 days, Whole 30 also requires the elimination of dairy, gluten, soy, chickpeas, peanut products, artificial sugar, added sugar, baking and more. We’re required to read every single label. Like you can’t even have a dash of soy sauce.

Believe it or not, I found every single part of the process enjoyable. In fact, I’m getting a little sentimental writing this. While it was nice to finally be a little more social again, the feeling I had on the program was unlike any other, and I look forward to taking on the experience again.

Are you considering the program? Or are you simply just curious about my experience? Keep reading for eight things you need to know about Whole 30—from someone who completed it and lived to tell. And for a bunch of the recipes I made on the plan, check out my Whole 30 Pinterest board!

1. It’s a Lot of Commitment

While posting all of my recipes on Insta Story, I had several friends become inspired and eager to give the program a try. Well, none of the ones I talked to made it past a week. And quite frankly, I get it. I made it through because I’d been mentally preparing myself for a month leading up to it. It’s not something you decide to do on a whim. It also requires cooking most of your meals from scratch. For people who have around-the-clock jobs and/or kids or roommates/partners, it’s not ideal. I’m single, I live alone and I am gratefully done with work once I leave the office. Therefore, I had time to mosey on over to Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods after work and get down and dirty in the kitchen each night. It was a lot of fun for me, but I can see it being too time-consuming and restricting for the average person.

2. It’s Not Cheap

While you’re definitely saving money by not drinking and going out to eat, being on the plan requires you to cook most of your meals from scratch, and with not just any old ingredients. So I was definitely grocery shopping more frequently and buying the cleanest of items. While you can get a lot of Whole 30 staples at Trader Joe’s (coconut products, cauliflower and chicken were my main go-tos), there’s some stuff that can only be purchased at Whole Foods ($$$).

3. If You Follow the Plan Correctly, You’ll Have Skyrocket Energy

No joke, every single day of Whole 30, I woke up at 6:30 a.m. It was wild how my body was up and at ’em. I couldn’t fall back asleep if I tried. I usually did a full face of makeup and felt pretty good about my outfit choices before heading off to work. My level of confidence and excitement while on the program was unlike any other. My head was so clear. The glass was consistently half full. It felt really good. And it lasted all throughout the day. I do miss that empowering feeling around the clock.

via Pixabay

4. The Second You End the Plan, Your Energy Dissipates

It’s pretty crazy that as quickly as your body suddenly develops energy on the plan is as quickly as it can fade. Even just one day off the program (I think I ate a light dressing that had a dash of sweetener in it), I was back to wanting to sleep in.

5. Moving on to Paleo Is the Most Sensible Post-Program Transition

You don’t plan on doing Whole 30 longer than 30 days, and you don’t want to dive right back in to bad habits, so what do you do? Paleo (at least for as long as you can maintain it) is the most sensible option. It was crazy because I was invited to a tasting at Harriet’s in West Hollywood a couple days after I finished the program. While I knew I couldn’t dive back into eating and drinking anything in sight, I did think that a sip here and a nibble there would be ok. Whoa, I was wrong. The food was absolutely delicious (no complaints there!), but my body wasn’t used to eating the dairy, sugar and wheat that I was served, and I could definitely feel it. Since that day, I’ve stuck primarily to a Paleo plan.

6. Whole 30 Isn’t Made to Be Sustainable Longer Than 30 Days

I totally thought I’d maintain Whole 30 longer than 30 days, but really, with how strict it is, the creator of the program does not expect people to extend that time. As I mentioned, it requires reading literally every single label, and for the most part, if you can’t pronounce an ingredient, you can’t have the product. While I absolutely plan to do Whole 30 again, right now Paleo feels right.

7. You Learn So Much About Food and Cooking

I’ve never cooked so much/eaten so healthy in my entire life. Getting my hands dirty in the kitchen and playing with spices and detailed recipes was so much fun for me. Obviously I love food, so getting a chance to put together delicious dishes that were actually good for me was so rewarding. Like you’d seriously be surprised with how creative you can get. It was so cool. Pinterest was my best friend. I kept all of my recipes and I still plan to make them. Obviously some things turned out better than others, but overall, I was proud of my concoctions.

8. Weight Doesn’t Just Melt Off

Like most people, I thought I’d be like three dress sizes lighter once I completed the plan. Welp, not so! I mean, granted I looked a lot less bloated, which makes sense considering I wasn’t drinking or eating bloat-inducing food. But I’d be lying if I said my clothes fit me a lot differently. I probably lost 5-7 pounds overall. I also didn’t work out as much as I could have (I know, I know), so I think I could have had a different outcome had I done so. That said, I felt really good in my skin during the experience, so a ton of weight loss or not, I was in my most confident state.

Food

I Tried Everything on the Menu at The h.wood Group’s New Rooftop Lounge Harriet’s

October 8, 2018

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Preview(opens in a new tab)Add titleI Tried Everything on the Menu at The h.wood Group’s New Rooftop Lounge Harriet’s

Harriet’s is West Hollywood’s fall gift.

Serving the public since Sept. 26, the John Sofio-designed rooftop lounge—which sits atop the upcoming 1 Hotel West Hollywood—boasts the best panoramic view of the city since Soho House opened years ago, just a few blocks West. But while you don’t need a membership at Harriet’s, unlike the aforementioned hotspot, you’ll still need to slip past a velvet rope in order to take in the picturesque scenery.

Yes, much like most of The h.wood Group‘s predecessors, including The Nice Guy and Delilah, you won’t get a glimpse of the ambiance without a hard-to-come-by reservation. That’s why I was absolutely thrilled to recently be invited to a chef’s tasting at the upscale establishment, where I had a chance to nibble and sip on literally the entire menu, created by Chef Lord Maynard Llera (bites) and Justin Campbell (beverages).

The menu is short, but very sweet (pun intended)—as the specialty cocktails are incredibly fruity and flavorful. The bites are light but filling—the perfect combo for the quintessential Angeleno seeking just enough fuel to make it through a boozy night out, without consuming food coma-inducing portions.

My personal favorite of the cocktails is the Garden Party, a refreshing Belvedere vodka-based beverage, that also includes St-Germain, cucumber and fresh lime juice. As for the bites, the Salmon Flatbread—with its heavenly whipped mascarpone— won me over overall, but the magical, Horseradish Crema that accompanies the shrimp in the Laughing Bird Shrimp Cocktail, is like nothing I’ve ever tried prior.

And although the location is technically a bar/lounge, this is no place to go if you’re looking for an order of chicken wings!

Harriet’s

8490 West Sunset Blvd.

West Hollywood, CA 90069

Open Daily 5 p.m. – close

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Harriet’s is West Hollywood’s fall gift.

Serving the public since Sept. 26, the John Sofio-designed rooftop lounge—which sits atop the upcoming 1 Hotel West Hollywood—boasts the best panoramic view of the city since Soho House opened years ago, just a few blocks West. But while you don’t need a membership at Harriet’s, unlike the aforementioned hotspot, you’ll still need to slip past a velvet rope in order to take in the picturesque scenery.

Yes, much like most of The h.wood Group‘s predecessors, including The Nice Guy and Delilah, you won’t get a glimpse of the ambiance without a hard-to-come-by reservation. That’s why I was absolutely thrilled to recently be invited to a chef’s tasting at the upscale establishment, where I had a chance to nibble and sip on literally the entire menu, created by Chef Lord Maynard Llera (bites) and Justin Campbell (beverages).

The menu is short, but very sweet (pun intended)—as the specialty cocktails are incredibly fruity and flavorful. The bites are light but filling—the perfect combo for the quintessential Angeleno seeking just enough fuel to make it through a boozy night out, without consuming food coma-inducing portions.

My personal favorite of the cocktails is the Garden Party, a refreshing Belvedere vodka-based beverage, that also includes St-Germain, cucumber and fresh lime juice. As for the bites, the Salmon Flatbread—with its heavenly whipped mascarpone— won me over overall, but the magical, Horseradish Crema that accompanies the shrimp in the Laughing Bird Shrimp Cocktail, is like nothing I’ve ever tried prior.

And although the location is technically a bar/lounge, this is no place to go if you’re looking for an order of chicken wings!

Harriet’s

8490 West Sunset Blvd.

West Hollywood, CA 90069

Open Daily 5 p.m. – close