Ice cream Sunday (@ Museum of Ice Cream)
Burgers and beer for breakfast (@ Modern Times Fortress of Raditude)
Pammie, Dennis, Paul and I arrived at the Shake Shack pop-up 30 minutes before they opened, and the line wasn’t too bad. The longest I’ve ever waited in line for food was over 2 hours at Howlin’ Rays in Chinatown, so this 45-minute wait was no bigs. There was absolutely no shade though, so our burgers came with a side of UV! It was worth the tan lines…
Level up (@ Coin Haus)
Leo took Alicia, Ray and me to this beercade in La Mesa last night. It’s in a nice area with an industrial bar and gorgeous resto next door. Things have def changed since I lived there years ago!
I like their system so much better than other barcades I’ve been to. You exchange a credit card for a tapcard and use it to serve yourself beer and play video games. It beats having to wait in line at the bar for $15 drinks or having to use quarters for the games (ain’t nobody got change for that!). When I turned my tapcard in at the end of the night, it ended up being less than $20 to drink some beers and play a few rounds of Contra, Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros and more. The cashier said I was a cheap date! Boys, don’t all come running at once.
Ohhh, so this is what 6am looks like…
Our trip to NYC wouldn’t be complete without me getting us lost on the subway. Again.
Morning view (@ Top of the Rock, Midtown)
I felt a little dirty recording this food porn (@ Bar Moga, Greenwich Village)
Trainspotting (@ Grand Central Terminal, Midtown East)
There are five Shake Shacks in LA, but we still ate here three times during our trip! We even schlepped across town with our luggage on our last day to get one last Shackburger and their limited edition Hot Chick’n when we found out we were flying out of the JFK terminal that doesn’t have a Shake Shack. We’re kind of obsessed.
Rooftop vibes (@ Gallow Green, Chelsea)
I was worried it was going to be humid all weekend, but the weather was perfect for a rooftop cocktail or two (these are both mine).
Melt my heart (@ Raclette, East Village)
This was our favorite meal of the trip (don’t let the fact that we ate at Shake Shack three times fool you). Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, the waitress came back midway through our meal to give us a second scrape!
Tame Impala (@ Panorama NYC, Randall’s Island Park)
This was def one of the smaller music festivals I’ve been to, but Tame Impala brought the big show with their lasers. Our lyft driver thought we were at EDC!
Best $20 I ever spent (@ Magic Jewelry, Chinatown)
Pammie and I got our auras photographed inside a tiny Chinese jewelry shop, and that pink ass cloud = my mind being blown.
Ground Zero (@ One World Observatory, Financial District)
The last time I was here was a couple years after 9/11. There used to be a steel beam cross where this memorial now exists. They did a beautiful job!
Sunday cycle (@ Central Park)
Pammie wanted to ride bikes through Central Park, and it was one of the highlights of our trip! We rode from the Guggenheim to Strawberry Fields and stopped along the way to enjoy the scenery.
Gaining perspective (@ Guggenheim Museum, Upper East Side)
Strawberry Fields forever (@ Central Park)
Before we knew it, it was time to fly home. Anyone who knows me and my sister knows that we’re complete opposites. She’s a Potterhead, while I’m more Homicide for the Holidays! But we always have fun when we’re together. I can’t wait for our next trip!
Cancel my dinner plans (@ Jon’s Liquor)
Museum day with Pammie and this clown (@ The Broad)
I went shopping for pillows, because I literally only have two in my apartment. My mom was like, what do your overnight guests use? I’m not sure
who what she thinks I’m doing in LA, but my life isn’t as exciting as she thinks it is! Pammie and Shi slept over last weekend, and I didn’t have enough pillows for all of us, so my sister had to improvise with the teddy bear I got on Valentine’s Day! 😂 I made it up to her by taking them to Shake Shack twice that weekend. You’re welcome!
Just when I thought my week couldn’t get any worse 😩
My favorite wings EVER are from this Portland transplant. I thought that I had seen all I needed to see during my last two trips to Portland, but I have half a dozen reasons to go back now…
(@ Punchbowl Falls)
(@ Multnomah Falls)
(@ Cheryl’s on 12th)
(@ Voodoo Doughnut)
Are there tears baked into this oreo crust, be honest (@ The Pie Hole)
Puff puff pastry (@ Mr. Holmes Bakehouse)
This peanut butter powdered donut with habanero blackberry jam will change your life.
Because Mondays. And car accidents. (@ Randy’s Donuts)
All that and dim sum (@ Din Tai Fung)
Jessie and Abe bought a legit pizza oven for their backyard and hosted their first
bumble workshop pizza party of the summer this past weekend.
I’m not sure if it’s because most of my friends are in relationships, or because Jessie’s husband calls me “baby boo” sometimes LOL, but my friends are intent on finding me a baby boo of my own! They set up my bumble profile while I scarfed down breakfast pizza, chamango paletas and hell or high watermelon. I obliged them and swiped right on a few “entrepreneurs” (srsly, what do you do for a living?), but only the girl can initiate the convo within 24 hours after you’ve been matched before the connection disappears forever. Seeing that I never approach guys first and wait till the eleventh hour to do anything, this may not be the best dating app for me haha. I may need a few more bumble workshops thinly disguised as pizza parties to convince me otherwise!
What kind of meat do they serve at this booth? (@ Tacolandia 2016)
Write it down, take a picture, IDGAF (@ Arts District Brewing Company)
It took me 4 hours to drive down to San Diego for Christine’s baby shower, and I arrived with less than an hour left to partake in the taco cart. After stuffing myself with 5 tacos (the 5th one was a mistake!), I was told that the taco guy was staying an extra hour, and I didn’t need to eat all those tacos in record time.
At least the taco vendor didn’t mistake me and my food baby for the pregnant celebrant (sorry, Jessie! LOL).
Gingerbread ale and memory jars (@ Common Theory Public House)
I spent my holiday vacation back home in San Diego making memories with family and old friends.
Just after Christmas, my cousin and her family were involved in a devastating house fire that took the life of her daughter and everything they owned. It has been a difficult year for my family in general, and this tragedy solidified 2015 as the worst year ever! Hopefully 2016 is kinder to us all. A friend of the family set up a GoFundMe account if you would like to make a donation to help.
My dear friend, Jay, also lost his mom over the holidays, and I met up with him and friends I haven’t seen in forever at her memorial. I love seeing these guys, because no matter how much time has passed, we can all still pick up right where we left off. The highlight of my day was when Pammie and I walked into the chapel and Jay’s brother greeted us with arms wide open and a simple, “Bitches.” Classic Rome. Jay trying to give me dating advice was a very close second. The lowlight of my day had to be when my ex-boyfriend brought his fiancé and his parents to the memorial, and all I brought was my extra holiday weight. LOL. Just kidding. (I brought my sister, too.)
My resolution this year is to be better about staying in touch with family and friends. I have a tendency to close myself off, and I’m trying to work on that. You really never know when you’re going to lose your loved ones…
When you give your friend LA’s finest taco sweater, and she gives you Mexico’s best-selling taco book…
CRANBERRY BLISS COOKIES
Adapted from Gimme Some Oven
FOR THE COOKIES:
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries
FOR THE FROSTING:
1 (8 oz.) bar cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup white chocolate chips, melted in the microwave or double-boiler
2 tsp. orange extract
3 cups powdered sugar
FOR THE TOPPING:
1 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
1/4 cup white chocolate chips, melted in the microwave or double-boiler
TO MAKE THE COOKIES:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt until well-blended. Set aside.
Using an an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla and the eggs one at a time, beating in between to incorporate. Then reduce the speed to low, and slowly add in the dry ingredients. Increase the speed to medium, and continue beating until well-combined. Fold in the white chocolate chips and cranberries, and mix until just-combined. (Do not overmix.)
Cover and refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour. Then place dough by rounded tablespoon-fulls onto a baking sheet that has been prepared with parchment paper, at least 2.5-inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly golden around the edges. Remove pan, and transfer the cookies to a cooling rack until cool. Repeat with remaining dough until all cookies are baked. Wait until cookies reach room temperature before adding frosting and toppings.
TO MAKE THE FROSTING:
Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together the cream cheese and melted white chocolate until combined. (**Be sure that your cream cheese REALLY is at room temperature before adding the white chocolate. Otherwise the chocolate could seize up.) Add in the orange extract and mix until combined. Then reduce speed to low and add the powdered sugar. Mix until incorporated. Then use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl, and beat once more for 1 minute on medium speed until the frosting is smooth. You can add more powdered sugar for a thicker frosting.
Spread the frosting on the cooled cookies. Then immediately sprinkle the frosted cookies with the chopped dried cranberries. And use a fork to drizzle on the frosting, swishing it back and forth over the cookies.
For Friendsgiving this year, I made an oxtail ragu that would bring you to your knees. It took me five hours to cook, and I didn’t finish until three in the morning! It was worth it, but I’ll probably never make it again (just like the chocolate babka I made in 2012). I hope you enjoyed my tender meat, because that’s the last time you’re ever gonna eat it! Ha.
The best part about driving from LA to SD Thanksgiving weekend was making a pit stop at NYC’s Halal Guys in OC! The worst part? Everything else.
You should be writing this down (@ Whole Foods Market DTLA)
Brunch in the barrio with these babes (@ ¡Salud!)
Tacos always taste better in the hood. You know it’s gonna be good if you hear gun shots exiting the freeway (shout out to Tacos Arabes in Boyle Heights!).
PDX ♥ LA (@ Pok Pok LA)
My favorite wings EVAR are from Pok Pok in Portland, and now they’re in LA! If you didn’t have a reason to visit me before, I can give you half a dozen now…
WARNING: This beer is cold af, you guys (@ Wood Handcrafted Pizza)
Anthony and I kept it weird (@ Austin City Limits)
My trip was cut short due to my grandma’s passing, and Anthony had the time of his life those first few days without me. He hit up the Dirty Sixth with Austin locals he made friends with and ended up giving one of them my Friday wristband. They saw all the bands I wanted to see. I’m bummed I missed Tame Impala and Leon Bridges among others, but luckily I didn’t have to wake up at an ungodly hour on Saturday and wait with him in that 4-hour line for Franklin. Day-old brisket reheated in a hotel microwave and eaten in my chonies still tasted better than any BBQ I’ve ever had in California!
I flew in Saturday night and met up with Anthony at an Irish pub downtown. Fado is the official US soccer bar in Austin, and it’s surrounded by gay bars on 4th Street. My uber driver was convinced he was taking me to see my gay friend once I told him where I was headed LOL. I mean, it would explain so much… After US lost to Mexico, we hit up Firehouse (a cool little speakeasy inside a hostel) and Rainey Street. I loved, loved, loved it there. Rainey Street is a block of old houses converted into themed bars. We stayed till last call, and all I remember from that night is a lot of Ludacris and stanky legs. You don’t realize how drunk you are until you’re walking the hotel halls in nothing but your dress slip looking for a beverage machine so you could wash down some tylenol at three in the morning.
We didn’t wake up early enough to stand in line for BBQ before the festival on Sunday, but we stopped by Torchy’s Tacos before we made our trek to Zilker Park. There was a lot of walking. Like. A LOT. Before, during and after the festival. In nearly 100 degree heat. And in sandals that had 0% arch support (but were 100% cute, obvs). This was definitely not Portland where we had a local friend with a car, ample public transportation, and weather that was 50 degrees cooler. The highlight of my day happened just before BØRNS’ set when the sun disappeared behind the only cloud in the sky for half a minute and everyone cheered. BØRNS, Sylvan Esso and Hozier’s sets were very close seconds. So were those two snow cones we each had.
Before I knew it, it was Monday and time to check out. Anthony hit up the gym in the morning while I stayed my ass in bed. We ate lunch at Valentina’s Tex Mex where Anthony had brisket tacos and I had a beast of a beef rib with the most beautiful smoke ring. We strolled down South Congress afterwards and drank micheladas for three hours at a bar inside Hotel San Jose. We got to the airport early to watch the Chargers lose, and I asked the TSA guy if the Starbucks was before or after the security gate. He ruined my mom’s life and told me that there’s no Starbucks at all, because Austin is all about supporting local businesses. I get a Starbucks mug for my mom whenever I travel, and she’s just gonna have to be happy with the mug I got her during my layover in Phoenix!
All things considered, I’m glad I was able to take a break from life and escape for a couple of days. I’ll def be back to explore this weird little town again.
Micheladas under the blood moon with Deane and Isadora (@ Block Party)
You dim sum, you lose some (@ Kang Kang Food Court)
My mom and my sister visited me in LA this weekend, and we had Filipino, Chinese and Vietnamese food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And since that wasn’t Asian enough, we took pictures of our food and posted it on instagram.
I don’t even know why I ate that much food…
Poutine… pickle chips…
My future child, ladies and gentlemen.
New York in Vegas (@ Shake Shack)
Keeping the party going (@ Zymology 21)
At lunch today, our waiter told me he really liked my glasses when we first sat down, and later brought me some hot water, lemon and honey because he said he heard me sniffling. Deane said he wanted my dick, but I’m pretty sure he just wanted the tip ;)
S/O to Ryan @ CPK Manhattan Beach! You are one supreme slice.
Brought to you by the letter A (@ Alfred Coffee)
¡Salud! (@ Broken Spanish)
Happy birthday with sprinkles on top! (@ California Donuts)
These donuts were almost as cute as my favorite 4-year-old ♥
I don’t know what’s sadder—is it that part of my job as a web designer at Skechers involves creating e-blasts for the cafe inside our office building (how else would you know that tomorrow’s special is chicken tikka masala?!), or that while googling BBQ photos to use for their 4th of July special, I immediately recognized this spread from Smoke City Market???
If you’re looking for the key to my heart, a platter of smoked BBQ beef ribs will unlock all the mysteries.
Highlight of my day: After lunch with my coworkers @ Pitfire, the cute cashier slipped me a free jumbo chocolate chip cookie on my way out.
I met up with my coworkers outside afterwards, thrust my cookie in the air and was all like, “FREE COOKIE, BITCHES!” Our excitement was short-lived, though. When we got back to my car, I had two parking tickets—one for an expired meter (my friend paid the wrong one) and another for not having a front license plate (I mean, if my car was meant to have one, it would have come with holes drilled in it).
I owe the City of Manhattan Beach $96 for that free cookie!
Chicken and waffles with my woes (@ The Tasting Kitchen)
Love when the girls visit me in LA, if only for brunch and chisme!
Stuffed with tacos and wrapped in a mexican blanket (@ Tacolandia)
Today was a good day.
Juice flight-ing this cold (@ Verve Coffee Roasters)
Spicy Pork Belly Ramen (@ Ramen Champ)
I only eat ramen when I’m sick or when Shi is in town. Today it was both!
Love when she visits ♥
Much needed sick day after working overtime every day this week with a cold! Somebody please bring me more donuts and be the big spoon.
You bring a donut to one marathon and no one ever lets you forget it.
(But still bring those donuts though.)
Day ruined (@ Smoke City Market)
I still had my beloved beef rib and brisket. Best BBQ I’ve had so far in LA (and in life!).
Day ruined, part 2 (@ Churro Borough)
The last time Deane and I tried to eat Churro Borough, they sold out at the pop-up they were having at our beloved Ramekin (RIP!). Now that they’ve set up a brick and mortar at Ramekin’s old spot, they’re even more popular! Hopefully we’ll get to have churro ice cream sandwiches again before we’re on social security.
I’ll be the asshole eating donuts at the 12-mile mark (@ La Jolla Half Marathon)
So proud of my little marathon runner, Shi! Just one more till that triple crown…
Cubanos on the curb (@ Animal)
Jon Favreau and Roy Choi hosted an El Jefe pop-up from one of my favorite movies tonight! Chef was everything, and so was this sandwich (and so was this soundtrack!).
Strawberry rhubarb empanadas in the making (or shall I say, mmmpanadas!).
Because when one of your friends has surgery after a career-ending fútbol injury, you bake them a little post-op pick-me-up!
These tasted like heaven… I still have to drive them down to San Diego this weekend, and I don’t know if they’re gonna make it, tbh.
Get the recipe HERE.
Make a donation of $10 or more to sponsor my participation in San Diego Humane Society’s Walk for Animals and receive a bag of homemade beer bones made with repurposed spent grain locally sourced and generously donated by LA craft brewery, Progress Brewing!
You can donate HERE. Please put your address in the “Personal Note to Walk Participant” field if you want dog treats. If you’re in LA or SD, I can probably just meet up with you :)
I battle my obvious love of dogs on a daily basis.
I can’t watch a cute puppy video on youtube without clicking on all the related videos. Next thing I know, I’ve lost three hours of my life watching 103 videos in a puppy surprise playlist and have been crying for at least two of those hours. Just kidding. (I cried for all three.)
When Pammie asked if I wanted to do a walk for animals, I immediately said yes without knowing any details other than dogs were somehow involved. Her office organizes this huge fundraiser that includes a bake sale where homemade dog treats are sold for donations, and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to combine my love for dogs with my love for baking and get involved.
I reached out to some local LA craft breweries, and Progress Brewing in El Monte was generous enough to donate some spent brewing grain towards my cause. I drove out to what the dude described as “east of east los” with nothing but a 5-gallon bucket and a friend to witness my death in case the dude chopped me up into little pieces and dumped my body in the mash tun (I did meet him on the internet, after all).
Kevin, the co-owner of Progress Brewing, was actually a really nice guy. He asked if I preferred “Black IPA” or “American Red” doggy biscuits! Ha. I went with American Red, obvi, since I’m not a fan of IPAs. Dogs are also allergic to hops, so if you’re going to repurpose spent grain, make sure the brewery didn’t mash hop the batch you’re getting.
It’s best to use the spent grains within the first few days after brewing, otherwise they’ll go bad. I used a FoodSaver and froze them in portion-sized bags for storing and later use, since they gave me around 40 pounds of grain.
Here’s a simple, all-natural recipe if you want to try making these at home:
- 4 cups spent grain
- 2 cups organic barley flour
- 1 cup natural peanut butter
- 2 organic eggs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all of the ingredients and mix with your hands until a thick dough forms. Roll out the dough on a generously floured surface and cut out shapes with cookie cutters like this cute dog bone.
Line the biscuits on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, then reduce temperature to 225 degrees and continue baking for 2 hours. Cooking them the additional time at the lower temperature will help ensure they dry completely, extending their shelf life.
The dried biscuits will keep for 2 weeks in an airtight container and even longer if you freeze them in zipper bags. You can give them to your dogs straight from the freezer as a cool summer treat, or, if you’re in LA, in the dead of winter when it’s 90 degrees out!
I woke up before the sun on a Saturday to go hiking and eat vegetarian food with Deane, Ledi and Isadora (@ Kitchen Mouse).
I don’t even know who I am right now.
Excuse us while we eat our feelings (@ The Hart and The Hunter)
Sunday adventures with this slut (@ Eggslut)
He took me to Home Deeps to get a tire pressure gauge and made sure my car was safe to drive, but he also took me to Compton to get BBQ for dinner. Idk if he wants me to live or die, tbh.
Pretending it’s 1991 and helping Shi refuel after her half marathon (@ Cafe Topes)
Morning brews (@ Benchmark Brewing)
Fried chicken, doughnuts & coffee with Chel & these clowns (@ StreetCar Merchants of Fried Chicken, Doughnuts & Coffee)