Groundwork Coffee Larchmont

139 1/2 N. Larchmont Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90004

Did you know Groundwork Coffee has a full brunch menu!? My friends and I came in on a weekday and decided to have brunch here as everything on the menu looked amazing! Only a few of their locations have brunch, and the Larchmont one ended up being one of them! We ended up ordering a bunch of options to share, and everything we had was delightful.

Truffle & Sprout Avocado with salad- this was the table favorite and we ended up ordering extra since we kept fighting for the pieces! They come in six pieces on toasted French bread, and the avocado had a subtle hint of truffle which was yummy.

Green Goddess grilled cheese with pesto, avocado, provolone cheese, and goat cheese- we did not like goat cheese so we substituted it out for gouda cheese, and it was bomb. One of the better grilled cheeses I've had for sure!

Parma prosciutto wrapped in arugula, organic eggs, bread- this one was super cute as the poached egg was hidden underneath the prosciutto. Nice combo as you can't really go wrong with prosciutto and eggs! 

Tuna poke bowl- super random to have at a coffee shop but it was surprisingly really fresh and marinated well! I would totally order this again. haha.


French toast- I believe the toast was crusted with sugar which added a nice texture, and I thought that this was definitely one of the better French toasts I've had! They're really generous on fruit as well. 

We also got the vegan fakin' bacon burrito and the poached eggs on avocado with egg, and although I did not try it, my friends really enjoyed their dishes! The dishes that came out were delightful, and I was impressed at how well everything was made. Order at the counter and they will bring out the food for you. So happy I came here- I couldn't have had a better brunch with my friends!

Lifehouse Tonics + Elixirs

7515 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90046

Mud Hut, Love Shack, Greenhouse Chip

Mud Hut, Love Shack, Greenhouse Chip

Life house Tonics + Elixirs is really differentiate themselves from other wellness bar and smoothie places as it uses extremely organic and high quality ingredients to make their drinks! Their tonics are packed with herbs and medicinal mushrooms (like the ones you get at Chinese herb stores) and taste amazing, if not better than regular smoothies!

My friends and I came in after lunch, and we fell in love with the decor. They offer very clean simple lines with cool and neutral colors to complement the store. The teal watercolor wall is gorgeous, and we could not stop taking photos of the shop!

The owner was very welcoming, and he introduced to us the various tonics that he offers and the healthy ingredients in each one.

He gave us samples of his steeped elixirs to try including:

The Bunker which is a light charcoal lemonade that was surprisingly really refreshing.

The Bunker

The Bunker

The Fungi Palmer which is similar to an arnold palmer but they use medicinal mushrooms.

Fungi Palmer

Fungi Palmer

Auga de Jamaica that tastes like a hibiscus tea with rose petals and other types of herbs.

Agua de Jamaica 

Agua de Jamaica 

Ingredients of the Steeped Elixirs

Ingredients of the Steeped Elixirs

In the end, the three of us ended up getting their blended tonics which we fell in love with! I got the Greenhouse Chip which is their most popular drink- it tastes like a mint chip but includes almond milk, cashew milk, mint extract, cacao nibs, wheat grass, barley grass, and more. There was fresh mint that was added to the smoothie straight from their plant, and I couldn't even taste the wheatgrass even though they put a large amount!

Love Shack and Greenhouse Chip

Love Shack and Greenhouse Chip

My friends got the Mud Hut and the Love Shack- the mud hut was similar to a chocolate smoothie but way better- I actually couldn't decided if I like the Mud Hut or the Greenhouse Chip better. 

The Love Shack had pearl powder in the smoothie which is great for the skin/ complexion, and this one was similar to a strawberry smoothie but includes coconut, goji berries, rose water, passion flower, and more. 

The people at Lifehouse are so passionate and knowledgeable of their tonics, you can tell they really believe in a person's wellbeing and the products they offer! Everything from the aesthetics to the taste was perfected to every minute detail. Chinese herbs are typically known to have a bitter and sour taste, but the drinks here don't taste anything like that! So ecstatic to have found a place that offers extremely healthy yet reinvigorating and tasty smoothies!

Menu

Menu

Picnic LA

9900 Culver Blvd 1B
Culver City, CA 90232

Picnic LA is a fantastic spot for healthy and organic food- I am typically not a huge fan of health conscious places, but I thought this was as good as Lemonade, if not better! It is located on the corner of the street and there is a small garage in the back where you can park. Most of the food comes chilled, and all of their dishes are really light which I enjoy. My friends and I decided to order a variety of dishes to try and share, and we loved everything we tried! 

Cold Brew and Cold Pressed Juice

Cold Brew and Cold Pressed Juice

For appetizers, we got the roasted beet salad, thai chicken salad, chickpea salad, cauliflower soup, hummus, muhammara (similar to hummus), chinese broccoli, korean bbq cauliflower, iceberg salad, and arugula salad. All of the appetizers were delicious, and my personal favorite was the thai chicken salad as it was refreshing and crisp. My friends really liked the roasted beet as it was paired with a citrus fruit. 

For entrees, we shared the beef meatballs, Jidore chicken leg tagine, Scottish salmon, and shredded pork. The entrees were fantastic; I was obsessed with the salmon! Although it was chilled, the salmon literally melted in my mouth and I could not stop eating it. The meatball was served with polenta and was also very flavorful and hearty which I also loved. For dessert, order the key lime pie! You will not regret it- I was so impressed at this pie I basically finished all of it to myself! 


My friends and I were really impressed with the quality and the fresh taste of the food! We finished everything that we ordered, and could not stop talking about the food after we left. So glad I tried this place- Picnic LA is an up and coming restaurant that will be a huge rival to Lemonade; hopefully they will open a location closer to me!

Rakken Tacos

2444 S Atlantic Blvd

Commerce, CA 90040

Rakken Tacos is a Vietnamese Mexican fusion restaurant that is not too far from Downtown; it was around a 15 minute drive and there wasn't any traffic when I came in during lunch time. Originally, they were a vendor at the 626 Night Market, and after five years, they finally opened their first brick & mortar shop! Everything on the menu looked amazing, and I was really surprised at how cheap everything was. I ended up getting the Rakken six which includes a sampler of all 6 of their tacos, shrimp taquitos, and garlic crab fries all to myself! For drinks, I tried their English Standard tea as this was the only restaurant that offers this brand on the west coast. 

Wonderberry Flavor

Wonderberry Flavor

The Rakken six came out quickly, and I was impressed at not only the presentation, but also the variety and taste of the tacos! 

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1. The Rakken Al Pastor, grilled vietnamese lemongrass pork, spicy siracha, mayo, onions- the pork was tender and juicy, and I liked the slight hint of sour and a subtle kick of spicy the taco offered. 

Rakken Al Pastor Taco

Rakken Al Pastor Taco

2. Yuzu Carne Asada, marinated steak, japanese citrus sauce, onions- A nice twist on your typical carne asada tacos. Love the flavor of the yuzu sauce, and the meat was delicious.

3. Pho, flank steak simmered in pho broth, onions, basil leaves, hoisin-siracha drizzle- I see that some of the reviews complain about the saltiness, but it's kind of assumed when you're eating hoisin sauce. I thought this taco was super unique, and it tasted just like pho but solid form! 

Pho Taco

Pho Taco

4. Butter Shrimp, lemon, pickled purple onions, Rakken house spices- I typically am not a big fan of shrimp, but this was surprisingly my favorite of the combo! The marination of the shrimp was fantastic, and the onions added a nice overall texture. Must order!

Butter Shrimp Taco

Butter Shrimp Taco

5. Mini-bello, portello mushrooms, onions, shiso leaves, spicy mayo- I love mushrooms, so this was an automatic win for me. Love how they incorporate a vegetarian taco on their menu!

6. Chicken curry, Vietnamese yellow chicken curry with coconut milk, pickled cabbage- this reminded me of the authentic vietnamese curry I have eaten at my friend's house. Another extremely unique taco as you typically don't put curry with tortilla! Loved this one as well though.

The garlic crab fries is also another must order for me as the crab was of fantastic quality and the fries were perfectly fried. The owner mentioned that they used Dungeness crab claw meat instead of using snow crab, and you can tell the difference in quality! I wish they had more garlic aioli because I love my garlic, but this was killer! Coming back for these for sure!

Garlic Crab Fries

Garlic Crab Fries

At this point, I was super full, so I only had a little of my shrimp taquitos. The shrimp was basically the same as the taco, so of course it was delicious. Taquitos were nice and crispy on the outside.

Shrimp Taquitos

Shrimp Taquitos

I also ended up getting the Oreo churros for dessert as it was Oreo-branded, and it was the perfect ending. Wish there was more cream inside and more vietnamese coffee drizzle, but that's just my personal preference. 

Oreo Churros

Oreo Churros

I was super impressed at the overall concept and execution as Rakken Tacos nailed everything! The Rakken Six is similar to the sample platter that Guisado's offers, but this one definitely is more unique. The items on the menu are extremely well thought out, and the owner Ken is very passionate about his restaurant. I love how they were able to incorporate traditional Vietnamese food into Mexican style tacos, and I do want to come back and try their other dishes such as the mango shrimp ceviche and carne asada fries. I will be back! 

Summer Sundays- Oasis Pool Party starting April 10, 2016

9400 W Olympic Blvd
Beverly HillsCA 90212

Get excited, because summer is right around the corner! On April 10th, Viviane in conjunction with Moët Hennessy at Beverly HIll's Avalon Hotel will be hosting their first annual oasis pool party! Enjoy the iconic hourglass pool while snacking on hors d'oeuvres and drinking boozy slushies in a cabana. 

Photo courtesy of @CarolinaKormanPhoto

Photo courtesy of @CarolinaKormanPhoto

This event will kick off Viviane's weekly Summer Sundays poolside from April 17 through September featuring Chef Michael Hung's new California Continental cuisine. In addition, the kitchen will be serving delicious bites such as Alaskan King crab bites, house cured duck ham, smoked chicken tea sandwiches, and more. The hotel will offer diners the benefit of unrestricted pool access through brunch service with $40 minimum (typically reserved only for hotel guests). After brunch at 10 a.m., the day club festivities at the pool will begin from 12-5 p.m. Signature drinks featuring Moët & Chandon, Belvedere, and Hennessy will be offered. Cabanas can also be reserved for $350 (food and drink not inclusive).

Reservations strongly recommended; please call Viviane at 310.407.7791 or visit OpenTable           

www.vivianerestaurant.com

www.facebook.com/vivianerestaurant

www.twitter.com/vivianeresto

www.instagram.com/vivianerestaurant

Lark Cake Shop

3337 W Sunset Blvd
Los AngelesCA 90026

I used to come here a lot as I fell in love with their ice boxes (then I moved away), and upon returning this time, everything was just as consistent as last time, if not better! I came in with a group of friends and got the Oreo & gingerbread icebox, and various cupcake flavors. 

The icebox is similar to a Mille feuille in that they do layer by layer of cream and Oreo crisp. The end results in a delectable fluffy treat that is delicious! Similar to Lady M cakes but lighter and smaller, and in my opinion, more unique. My favorite is the Oreo- you have to try it! 

I also got the chocolate peanut butter, red velvet, berry, chocolate mousse, and coconut vanilla cupcake. The cake part is moist and soft, and there is even filling on the inside! The frosting is perfect- they have amazing cupcakes which I highly recommend. I took the cupcakes home to my roommates and they said it was the best cupcake they've ever had! My personal favorite was the chocolate peanut butter as it was very decadent and rich. 

Lark Cake Shop's specialities will not disappoint; I can see why they've been around for years! The recipes have been perfected and the really know what they're doing to their desserts. They even opened another location in Pasadena, and I'm guessing the quality will be just as good. You know where to find me if I need to get my sugar fix!

Art's Table

1002 Montana Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90403

Why have I never heard of this restaurant before!? Art's Table is located in Santa Monica near the shopping area, and there is a nice outdoor and indoor seating area which is perfect for brunch! My friends and I decided to sit outside as we had a dog, and the friendly server came over immediately to explain our specials and give us his recommendations. Since we had a party of four, we decided to order five recommended dishes to share as everything on the menu looked scrumptious! 

I would also recommend ordering their mixed cocktails as they were all very tasty- our group could not decide which we liked better! 

Cocktails for the table!

Cocktails for the table!

Breakfast chimichanga special with carnitas, crispy tortilla, pico de gallo, Gruyere, easy over egg, guacamole, creme fraiche- this dish blew all of our minds! We literally killed this dish in seconds, and the combination of everything was AMAZING. Imagine the perfect bite of tender succulent meat, crispy tortilla, runny yolk, guac, cream fraiche, and pico de gallo- party in your mouth! This is a MUST ORDER if they have it as it is only served as a special! 

Grandma D'Alessio's Hash with braised short rib, cherry peppers, scrambled eggs, potato hash- this was Chef Mark's grandma's recipe from when he was a kid, and the short rib was so tender and flavorful! I personally really liked the presentation as everything was stacked nicely. It does seem to need a spicy sauce of some sort as I thought ketchup did not pair as well, but it was delicious nonetheless! 

Lobster Benedict, arugula, poached eggs, crostini, black garlic, potatoes- they are so generous with their lobster, I was impressed at how much was included! Egg was perfectly poached, and the black garlic really added a kick to the eggs Benedict. This was my favorite (besides the chimichanga of course) as they do it right here! 

Whole wheat French toast almond and hazelnut crusted, whole wheat bread, greek yogurt orange cream, maple butter- I somehow missed the word whole wheat (not a fan of whole what), so this dish was okay for me. Super healthy though if you're into that! 

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Johnny cakes (side order) cornmeal pancakes, Vermont maple butter, mixed berries, maple syrup- now this was divine!!! The cornmeal provided a fantastic texture to the overall pancakes, and with the sauces and fruit, it was bomb! Definitely recommend this if you're looking for something sweet. 

Kale salad with almonds, roasted squash, manchego, lemon- not a big fan of kale but the salad was so refreshing and light! It was way better than I expected. My friend is super healthy and she LOVED this dish- took it home to eat it later! 

For dessert, we split the key lime pie and the mixed berry crumble. Both were fantastic- the crumble was stuffed with fruit and very warm and it was a nice complement to the cold ice cream. The key lime pie was also delectable- the crust was my favorite and I could not stop picking at it! 

My friends and I were raving about this brunch for hours after- it was that delicious. Plates were super artsy which really fit in line with the name of the restaurant, and plating was on point! Chef Mark did a fantastic job designing the menu and the dishes, and I can see why this spot gets super busy! So glad I discovered this restaurant- I need to try their dinner menu next!

Yalla Mediterranean

9516 Culver Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232

Sides of hummus and build your own steak plate.

Sides of hummus and build your own steak plate.

Yalla Mediterranean is a fast casual greek spot that is perfect for a casual lunch! They are based in the Bay area, and own multiple restaurants throughout California. We came in right before the lunch rush, and got almost everything on the menu so that we could try everything. The concept is very similar to Chipotle and lemonade where you build your own plate, wrap, or salad and choose your toppings. When you choose your meat, the employee actually places your kebab on a kebab conveyer belt on the back and it gets cooked as you walk down the line! Super cool- check it out when you come here! 

Kebab Conveyer Belt

Kebab Conveyer Belt

I ordered the steak kebab with a plate (shown above), and I chose the kale salad, potatoes, and couscous as my three toppings. You also get the option of yellow rice, lentils, and roasted vegetables which I got. After the meat is fired, you get your plate- quick and easy. It also comes with a side of pita bread, and ask them for tzatziki sauce (my favorite)! They also have a spicy sauce that goes great with your meat if you like spicy. 

Salmon plate

Salmon plate

Everything I received in my plate was delicious; the steak was juicy and flavorful, and the sides were fantastic! My friend got the salmon plate which he really enjoyed as well. My table also got the hummus plate to share, and I loved the variety of hummus that they offer.

Side of hummus.

Side of hummus.

Secret menu item- GET THE CHICKEN SHAWARMA FRIES. Trust me. Our group killed the fries in seconds! For drinks, I would recommend the pomegranate lemonade; I could not stop drinking it as it was so refreshing! Yay for free refills!

Chicken Shawarma Fries

Chicken Shawarma Fries

Yalla also offers different types of pre-made wraps where you can just choose your meat. We got the Jerusalem wrap which comes with hummus, tomato cucumber, french fries, cabbage pickles, and feta ranch. The wrap we got was delicious; I actually liked it better than the plate- definitely coming back to order this again! 

Jerusalem Wrap with pork

Jerusalem Wrap with pork

For dessert, we got the greek frozen yogurt with baklava and honey. This was the best idea ever, as it was AMAZING. Whoever thought of adding baklava to frozen yogurt was genius! This is another MUST ORDER- trust me- you won't regret it! I'm seriously coming back just for this!

Greek frozen yogurt with baklava and honey 

Greek frozen yogurt with baklava and honey 

The price was very reasonable and food comes out very quickly. I can see this franchise being the next big thing- Yalla Mediterranean definitely knows what they're doing! Seriously loved everything here- next time I'm coming back to try their wraps!

The Black Sheep

Looking for a delicious, juicy burger to satisfy your hunger? Black Sheep can help you solve that! Located right next to Cole's, this restaurant is almost hidden due to its lack of signage and subtle entrance. However, the restaurant was pretty packed when we went, and it seems that locals are a frequent visitor at this gastropub! 

Black Sheep offers wine, beer, soju (bombs), and sake, so they have a great array of alcohol if you want to chill and drink with your friends. They switch out their craft beers on top every week, so there's always something new to try! I got the pear cider which was crisp and light, I actually like it better than the typical hard cider. 

Since we came with a big group of friends, we decided to literally order... everything on the menu to share. Of course, we had to get the renowned Black Sheep Burger, as well as the midnight & banh mi sliders, the cheesesteak, the great grilled cheese, carne asada tots, and the bacon chili cheese fries. 

The Black Sheep Burger with arugula, gouda cheese, bacon, carmelized onions, and garlic aioli was heavenly- everything paired so well together and the meat was so succulent and juicy! I fell in love with this one as it is simple yet amazing. 

The Black Sheep Burger

The Black Sheep Burger

Midnight Sliders with pork sausage, hashbrown, fried egg, cheese, chipotle aioli- this is like a breakfast slider, but for dinner, and it is just fantastic. The hashbrown adds a nice crisp to the overall slider, and they really nailed this one!

Midnight Slider

Midnight Slider

Banh Mi Sliders with sweet pork, carrots, daikon, chinese sausage, vietnamese mayo- this was actually my friends' favorite! The sausage actually went really well with everything! 

Cheesesteak, short rib, grilled onions, hot peppers, mushrooms, cheese wiz- this was the surprise of the night, as it was better than I thought it would taste! The quality of the short rib was amazing, and with everything combined, this was personally my favorite! I could not stop eating this sandwich. 

Cheesesteak 

Cheesesteak 

Great Grilled Cheese with meat, melted cheese, bread- this one was solid! Not as remarkable compared to the other sandwiches though. 

Great Grilled Cheese

Great Grilled Cheese

Carne Asada Tots- this was my favorite side as the meat and the sauce made the tots super flavorful. I loved the combination of everything together! This is a must order to pair with your burger. 

Everything we had at The Black Sheep highly surpassed my expectations; the pictures don't do their burgers justice! I was impressed at how juicy and flavorful their burgers were, and I love how they rotate their beers often. Next time around, we definitely need to check out their sausages- they have a good variety that we have not managed to tap into.

Ashland Hill

2807 Main St
Santa Monica, CA 90405

What a cute little spot in Santa Monica! Ashland Hill is more of a casual brunch spot- you order at the counter and bring your number to find a table to sit at. There are beautiful strung lights in the back as well as a canopy covering all of the tables so you won't be basking in the heat. They do serve alcohol here- beer, wine, champagne, and sangria. After ordering, my friends and I grabbed a table, and the food came out within minutes. 

Ashland Benedict with smoked salmon, poached eggs,avocado, roasted tomato & garlic, smoked paprika hollandaise, and roasted tomatoes- seriously love the hollandaise on the Benedict- it had so much more of a kick than a regular hollandaise! I love how they incorporated avocado in the benedict; the combination of everything was delicious! 

Cinnamon toast brunch, French toast with cream cheese orange marmalade, cinnamon butter, apricot raisin compote, maple syrup- another fantastic dish. The French toast had cream cheese in the middle which added a nice creamy texture to the toast, and I loved the cinnamon butter! 

Main St hash with 2 eggs, lamb & pork potato hash, 2 eggs, tomato, and grilled ciabatta with chimichurri- the lamb flavor wasn't overwhelming (typically I don't like lamb) when mixed with the pork, and it was a nice light dish I enjoyed. The ciabatta adds a nice touch. 

Avocado and roasted tomato toast, goat cheese, lime, Thai chili, pickled pearl onion- this was my favorite dish from here! This is not your typical avocado toast; the roasted tomato and goat cheese added really rich and creamy flavors to the bite. Topped with the chili and onion, this is a must order! Each comes with four mini pieces- perfect for sharing.

Leo's loco moco with pork sausage, kimchi rice, and sunny side up egg- we all killed this dish within minutes as it was so good! The kimchi was super flavorful and the pork was delicious. This is the perfect entree for one who is not looking to eat too much! 

We also got a side of fries and chicken apple sausage which was yummy, as well as a cast iron blonde Browne which was SO GOOD. The salted caramel brownie had chocolate chips and ice cream on top, and this was the perfect dessert as you get a combination of hot and cold, soft and crispy, and just goodness all around! 

My friends and I had an amazing time here; brunch was fantastic, the decor was cute, and there was great hospitality at this restaurant. It was totally worth the drive out to Santa Monica for us, we'll be back!

Cavatina Tasting Event

Sunset Marquis
1200 Alta Loma Rd
West Hollywood, CA 90069

Photo by CavatinaLA.com 

Photo by CavatinaLA.com 

Cavatina, located in the beautiful boutique hotel Sunset Marquis, gave me a truly unforgettable experience that was unlike any dinner I've had. Upon entering the hotel, we walked through several sections of beautiful decor until we reached the garden in the back. The restaurant is located in the middle of the garden past the bridge, and has a gorgeous atmosphere with open air rafter ceilings that is perfect for a date night. The space is actually very open and large, and Cavatina can host private events with up to 250 guests.

Cavatina has just welcomed Jonathan Kim as the new Executive Chef of the restaurant. With more than 10 years of industry and culinary management experience, he will be joining James Bear Award-Winning Chef and restauranteur Michael Schlow in bringing a fresh and bold California cuisine that focuses on smile high quality ingredients.

We first started out with drinks before moving on to our tasting. Chef Kim sees cooking as a creative tool in which customers are able to experience his passion and personality through food, and we definitely saw that through the variety of courses that we tried.

First off, Kusshi oyster with fennel and caviar: I love kusshi oysters, and this dish was no exception. The fennel and caviar added a nice touch of flavor to the freshness of the oyster, and it was the perfect amuse bouche.

Scallop crudo with nori oil, powdered sesame, radish, hijiki, and pickled apple: This was one of my favorite dishes; the scallop was super fresh and light and the texture of the powdered sesame, radish, and oil complemented the scallops well. The apples added a nice tang to the scallops, and the contrast in crunchiness and softness was great.

Albacore poke with dragonfruit jelly, black rice paper, Tobiko olive oil, and Serrano chili: Although I did not like the jelly texture with the poke, everything else was delicious. The black rice paper added a nice light crunch to the poke, and you can really taste the different flavors that was integrated into this dish.

Hamachi with peppers, onions, garlic pureed together, avocado mousse, masago, and Serrano chili vinegar: Another favorite of mine as the serrano chili added a nice kick to the fish along with the smooth, creamy avocado. The hamachi was cut to a precision, and I could not have enjoyed this dish any better.

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Chorizo lobster and shrimp, crispy black rice, almonds, aioli, onions, asparagus: This dish was phenomenal in texture, and the combination of everything really enlightened my taste buds.

Kimchi risotto with crispy pork belly, quail egg, crispy shallots, green onions: I had so many favorite dishes! This one sealed the deal with me as I love how the chef was able to turn a simple risotto into a Korean inspired dish that tasted phenomenal. And of course.. eggs are always a win.

Last but not least, the dry aged prime rib eye, chestnut puree, purple cauliflower, truffle beurre monte, veal jus: Another fantastic dish. The salt didn't overpower the meatiness of the steak, and it also did not saturate the mouth with the heavy salt feeling one could get from a steak. Instead, this juicy and flavorful dry aged was lightly salted and tasted just right.

On to the dessert! Crème fraiche cheesecake with dulce de leche, espresso ice cream: This cheesecake was the perfect dessert as it was light and fluffy. I loved the pairing of the ice cream as well as the bits that added a nice crunch.

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Hazelnut streusel, chocolate bits, berry ice cream: This chocolate streusel was very rich and decadent, and it offered a nice contrast to our cheesecake.

James Beard Award-Winning Chef Michael Schlow brought creativity and taste that is unparalleled to other California cuisines in LA. Everything from the atmosphere, the service, presentation, and the food was impeccable, and I could not have had a better night. Thank you Ghost Media for the invite as well Cavatina LA for hosting! For more information on Cavatina, visit their website here.

GD Bro Burger

2321 E 4th St
Santa Ana, CA 92705

I love a good burger, and GD Bro Burger definitely does it best! Located in Santa Ana where Toros Burger used to be, GD Bro has changed the definition of your average burger and turned it into something spectacular. There is a giant menu on the wall to your left while walking in, and I ended up ordering everything as my friends couldn't decide what they wanted. 

Italian Stallion with mozzerella sticks, pepperoni and spinach, pizza sauce, and ranch- Mozzerella sticks are yummy, and mozzerella sticks in a burger!? So down!! This burger is like a hybrid baby of a burger and pizza, and it was totally unique. I'm glad I tried this as the mix was surprisingly good! If you love pizza and burgers, get this one!  

Italian Stallion

Italian Stallion

Juan and Only with Jalapeno cream cheese, pico de gallo, and avocado chipotle mayo- They have the option of the regular golden brown buns or the raspberry buns, and we decided to get this burger in the regular bun. This one was one of my favorites as the flavor of the pico de gallo and the jalapeno really added a nice kick to the burger. The meat was super juicy and flavorful, and we killed this burger within minutes. 

Juan & Only

Juan & Only

KBBQ Poutine Burger with mozzerella cheese, kbbq shortrib, homemade gravy, and chives- This one was recommended to me by a friend, and it was also another fantastic burger. The kbbq meat added a sweet and tangy flavor to the burger, and it really finished off the burger well. Definitely order this if you're a giant kbbq fan! 

KBBQ Poutine Burger

KBBQ Poutine Burger

Consuela fries- we added a fried egg to this, and we loved it. The fries come with pico de gallo, avocado, and sauce, and it was delicious. I would highly recommend ordering this with your meal to share with friends or all to yourself if you can finish it. I wish I tried the other fries, but there's always next time! 

Consuela Fries

Consuela Fries

Lemonade- they offer watermelon, pineapple, and cucumber spinach. We ended up ordering all three, because after trying the samples, we fell in love! They were all so refreshing, but my personal favorite was the watermelon lemonade. 

Last but not least, a red velvet milkshake to top off our meal! The milkshake looks smaller than in photos which is good as it is a very heavy drink to finish. We couldn't finish it, but it was pretty good! It is more on the sweet side though; I enjoyed it as I love sweets, but my friends thought it was a little too sweet. 

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GD Bro Burger has the whole package down in terms of food, drinks, desserts, and service. The cashier checked up on the tables after we got our food which was unnecessary but really nice. The quality of the meat in the burger is the most important part for me, and they do it right here. The thought and creativity they put in their burgers really show here, and I'm glad the execution is as great as the concept. I wish there was a closer location to me in LA as Santa Ana is so far! Can't wait for the Long Beach opening though!

Moulin

1000 Bristol St N
Newport Beach, CA 92660

What a cute place for brunch! This spot reminds me of a French version of Joan's on Third (in LA), with all types of food, pastires, and alcohol for sale as well as brunch you can eat there. After wandering around for a bit, we decided finally order a croque madame, a charcuterie plate, as well as a bottle of champagne and orange juice. There is indoor and outdoor seating, and we sat outside as the inside was full.

Although they do have bottomless mimosas ($18 ish per person), I find that buying a bottle is cheaper ($15) plus a glass of orange juice. The three of us had three glasses each, and it was more than enough for us. 

The food came out shortly, and the charcuterie board was beautifully presented. The proscuitto was shaped into a rose, and there was also salami, pate, three different types of cheese, and various fruits, sides, and bread and butter. For $20, this board was totally worth it as everything tasted delicious and the presentation was gorgeous. 

The croque madame was also stellar as it was nice and crunchy on the  outside while soft and cheesy on the inside. This is one of the better croque madames I've had, and we also killed this dish. 

With a cute environment, quick service, and great tasting food, you really can't go wrong with Moulin. I wish this was closer to me though, as I would probably come here once a week if I could. Hopefully they'll open one in LA one day!

Trois Familia

3510 Sunset Blvd
Los AngelesCA 90026

Trois Mec, Petit Trois, and now Trois Familia!? Chef Ludo, Jon, and Vinny are stepping up their game! Came here around 12 pm for a quick lunch and there was a short 10 minute wait. The seating here is at picnic tables so it is communal hence the "familia" aspect. Everything looked amazing on the menu, and we ordered three dishes and two drinks to share between the two of us.

The Fat Albert and Horchata was $6 each, and although it is homemade, we thought it was way too pricey for a small drink. It was good though, but not worth the $6. 

Churro French toast with Salt & Straw Vanilla Ice Cream and Mexican Chocolate- best French toast I've ever had (but I'm not a big fan of French toast). The inside was sort of like an Asian sponge cake but it was extremely juicy flavorful. We both were shocked at how it tasted because we did not expect the juiciness. Definitely a must order- try for yourself type of dish. 

Beet tartare tostada, cornichon, lime, avocado milk ($12.25)- Okay both of us read BEEF tartare not beet.. awkward! Although it was unexpected, the crunchy tostada with the soft and slightly sweet beet was a great contrast, and we enjoyed this dish.

Last but not least- the Crispy hash brown chilaqulies, sunny side up egg, cotija, salsa macho ($9.75)- This was highly recommended by the server, so of course we ordered it. This dish was more like an appetizer, but it definitely did not disappoint. The hash brown was fried perfectly, and the outside was golden brown and crispy. The sauce was like crack sauce... it was AMAZING. With the combination of the runny egg, you can't go wrong with this dish! Another must order for me.

I love how Trois Familia incorporated a modern touch with traditional Mexican dishes. As a small casual joint located in Silver Lake, I definitely did not expect the food to be mind blowing. Trois Familia does follow the format of its sister restaurants with it's very ordinary appearance on the outside. Tip is already included, and we paid about $26 a person for lunch (it was the drinks... I swear). I'm really glad this restaurant is close to my work and home; I need to try their other dishes!

Pearl's Sunset Strip

8909 Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069

This restaurant, located on the rooftop of a two story building, boasts a gorgeous atmosphere with beautiful employees and people. They seem to really emphasize on the looks here, which makes sense as we are in Hollywood. The view does overlook the streets of Hollywood, and there is a covering on top so if there is rain- there isn't really an issue. We came in with a reservation for three, and sat down a few minutes after they prepared our table.

Their brunch menu has a nice array of items to choose from, and we ended up ordering a chicken and waffles, lobster tacos, and eggs benedict- one salmon and one fried chicken. The eggs benedict you can mix and match which is super cool! We also ordered a bottle of champagne which comes with a mimosa kit. 

The mimosa kit is like every girl's dream- the presentation included flowers, fresh fruit, passionfruit and berry syrup, orange juice, and swirly straws to drink your mimosa out of. I love what is included as we got to mix and match with whatever we want! Super cute concept and execution! 

The food was great; nothing spectacular, but it was delicious nevertheless. I really enjoyed my lobster tacos and the sauce that was used for the tacos. The eggs on the benedict was poached perfectly, and the fried chicken and salmon offered a nice variety in taste. The chicken and waffles was good, but I preferred my tacos over that. 

Pearl's is the perfect brunch spot for a cute girl's day out and for anyone, really. I would recommend making a reservation in advance as it does get packed during brunch. With food, presentation, and decor on point, there's nothing negative about this restaurant! Definitely going to return to enjoy the overall atmosphere and the mimosa kit.

The Halal Guys

3033 Bristol St
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

After having The Halal Guys in New York and falling in love (to the point where I brought three bowls back to Cali for myself), I was beyond ecstatic to hear that a Halal Guys has opened in SoCal! The main difference is that Halal Guys is a street cart in NYC, and is a brick and mortar shop out here. It is a little more pricey than the one in New York, which makes sense as they do have an actual shop they have to pay rent for as well as the shipment of the sauce. Other than that, everything is essentially the same; the sauces are even shipped from New York to maintain the consistency in taste! 

There is a TON of hype surrounding the chicken and rice bowl, but it's really just a damn good meal that will be sure to satisfy you. I usually get the mix bowl with lamb and chicken, which is in my opinion, the best. The chicken and lamb are full of flavor, and each bowl comes with long grained orange rice with the side toppings including lettuce, tomatoes, and pita. I usually love drenching my food in the white sauce (their white sauce is like crack to me), and I always put a little too much red sauce to spice things up. The red sauce is a little deceiving as it is SUPER spicy, so if you can't handle it, don't put too much on there! 

I've been dreaming of eating Halal Guys again ever since I left New York, and that dream has finally turned into a reality. I'm so glad that Halal Guys is now only a 45 minute drive away instead of a plane flight across the nation. I was lucky enough to have a friend bring it up to LA for me all the way from Costa Mesa, and it tasted just as amazing as the one I had in New York. Can't wait to visit the actual shop and eat it fresh!

Sweetfin Poke

829 Broadway
Santa Monica, CA 90401

This may be my new favorite poke place! Came in after hanging out in LA and there was a short line. After waiting for a bit, someone took my order (like In-N-Out style where there is a person in line who takes your oder for you) and I paid for my meal which was around $14. 

I got the Spicy Yuzu Salmon bowl as recommended by the cashier with bamboo rice, and it was AMAZING. You can add additional toppings for free, and I recommend the crispy garlic, crispy onions, and cucumbers. The fish was marinated perfectly and I loved the contrast of the tanginess of the yuzu. The fish was fresh and cut perfectly, and there was a good amount of food in the bowl. The rice was also very unique and tasty, and I was so impressed with the overall taste of the bowl. So glad I got the large size! 

Too bad this poke spot is too far from me, but it is a good thing as I will save money! Can't wait until I get my hands on this again.... Hopefully it will be soon!

Eveleigh

8752 W Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069

What a beautiful brunch spot to dine in! When you enter through the front, it feels as if I just walked into a magical garden. The patio was simply amazing- with strung lights and a beautiful view. Perfect spot for a girl's brunch date! 

Since we came early at 10 am on a Sunday, we were seated immediately in the patio. Thankfully, it wasn't hot; the weather was perfect! I ordered the smoked salmon toast with a side of avocado, and my friend ordered the corned beef hash (Bubble & Squeak) with truffle fries. 

The food came out quickly, and I was delighted at the presentation. It fits the environment, if that makes sense as the food looked dainty and delicious. The truffle fries with the aioli were the perfect start to the meal- not too heavy and a nice tease to our entree. My salmon toast with eggs and cream cheese was good; it was nothing special but it was a solid brunch dish. The avocado added a really nice touch to the dish. My friend's corned beef hash was yummy. I'm usually not a big fan of corned beef, but Eveleigh knows how to make their hash. The egg was the perfect complement to the corned beef and fingerling potatoes. 

This spot is an amazing place to brunch in terms of atmosphere, decor, and presentation. The food was solid as well, and I can see why this is a popular brunch spot! Glad I finally made the trek out to West Hollywood to try this place!