Summer = Food Fests & Ice Cream

Bonjour, mes beaux amis!food gps rib festival 2014, los angeles, bbq, barbecue, ribs, salt and straw, scarpetta, corazon y miel, picnik, spice table, mexicali taco and co, escala, portland, ice cream, summer, summertime food, food festival, In the last ten years, Los Angeles has grown into its own right as a true culinary destination with never-ending choices of cuisine.  Aside from our proud food truck heritage, LA has also become known for its food festivals, and the list of new summer festivals celebrating food keeps growing.  There’s the Grilled Cheese Invitational, the LA Taco Festival, the LA Street Food Festival, and most recently the first annual FoodGPS Rib Festival. Continue reading

DineLA Restaurant Week In Session!

Bonjour, mes beaux amis!dineLA, restaurant week, los angeles, dine LA, american express, amex, dining, restaurants, summer, discounted menus, new restaurantsIt’s that time again – DineLA’s Restaurant Week!!  I cannot wait to check out a few old favorites who I haven’t visited in a long time, like AOC, Craft & Piccolo, and I’m also looking forward to checking out the newer kids on the block like Willie Jane, Night + Market, and The Wallace.

No matter what your dining-out budget, you can find some great deals during DineLA’s Restaurant Week.  Continue reading

Taste Of What’s To Come

Bonjour, mes beaux amis!betty's pie whole, encinitas, california, desserts, personal pie, savory pie, wedding, weddings, planning, catering,The weekend has been busy thus far with wedding things, decisions and fun stuff like TASTINGS!  Even though I’ve been counting down to our wedding date in October, I don’t think I’ve shared that we are actually having a second reception in November closer to home in San Diego!  So yes – it’s been double duty for us as far as planning is concerned… exhausting, chaotic but also ridiculously awesome and tremendously fun!  Not to mention – we’ve gotten the chance to sit through TWO TASTINGS!  Yeah, the wedding planning doesn’t suck. Continue reading

Biênvenue, République.

Bonjour, mes beaux amis!

It’s an early Saturday morning here in LA, and it’s going to be a busy weekend for me with all of the wedding stuff.  But my better half and I kicked off the weekend perfectly with a Friday night dinner date at LA’s République.  We’re still talking about it – and planning our next visit.

Continue reading

{On A Questlove for Fun}

Bonjour, mes beaux amis!

If you’re here in the US, you are most likely gearing up for your 4th of July weekend, hopefully filled with plans of barbecues, outdoor fun, friends & family, and of course catching some fireworks somewhere.  So to help you get through these last couple days before the holiday, I thought I’d share a couple exciting events happening here in Los Angeles, as well as a personal task that I’m adding to my ‘to-do’ list.  That personal task may involve lots of hoop-jumping and most likely a number of LESS-than-likely scenarios, but hey – a girl can try!

First, here’s a list of some exciting happenings in Los Angeles during this holiday weekend! Continue reading

{Eastbound & Definitely Not Down}

Bonjour, mes beaux amis!!

The past week has been whirlwind for me with travel, introducing my parents to my parents-in-law, and finalizing more wedding details. Needless to say, life has been hectic recently. But there’s no feeling like finding a home away from home in another great city, and for me that city is Philadelphia!  I have experienced some incredibly heartwarming and inspiring moments in Philly in between all the recent hectic times, and it’s those moments that have moved me to appreciate everything I have presently and the many blessings to come.

The best way to show my appreciation of those blessings is to share them with others – so, voilà! Continue reading

Je Veux Y Manger: The Best Restaurants On The Planet

Bonjour, mes bons amis!

Restaurant magazine, 50 Best restaurants in the world, world's 50 best restaurants, culinary experiences, Spain, Girona, Denmark, Copenhagen, New York, Chicago, Yountville, Paris, France

Restaurant Magazine’s 2013 List!

In case you haven’t heard, prestigious and international authority Restaurant magazine released its annual list of the World’s Best 50 Restaurants. For the last three years, Copenhagen has proudly been the home of reigning Noma, known for its molecular gastronomic experiments (they make edible dirt…) and breaking the stereotype for what Scandinavian/Nordic food is widely thought of. There ain’t no meatballs at Noma!

But Bravo! to Girona’s El Celler de Can Roca, dethroning Noma’s three year reign and returning the culinary crown to Spain, in the same way legendary El Bulli managed year after year. The three Roca brothers – Joan, Jordi and Josep – have worked to redefine and set the bar for culinary and pastry techniques, creativity, authenticity and overall mind-blowing food. Or so one would expect from the best restaurant in the world.

After reviewing Restaurant magazine’s list, I’ve come to realize that I have a growing list of places to visit, not just because I love traveling and collecting international passport stamps, but for the chance to perhaps enjoy some of these unforgettable transcendental culinary experiences!

The five American restaurants are obvious and easy must-try’s:

  • Eleven Madison Park (5), Per Se (11), Le Bernardin (17) and Daniel (29) in New York are relatively easy if I plan my future trips right!
  • My boyfriend promised that he would take me to Chicago’s Alinea (15) which he said was one of the most exquisite meals he has ever enjoyed.
  • Yountville, CA is still in the Top 50 with French Laundry (47), and is an easy and beautiful six-hour drive or quick flight/shuttle into the Napa wine country. Consider it done!

I can hardly wait to return to France after je laisse mon cœur dans Paris, falling in love with her last fall, and now that I’m determined to parler Français, the universe is paving a road for me to also experience SIX more best restaurants in and around Paris. Not to mention that Spain, Germany and Switzerland are all close neighbors, just a quick plane ride or lovely train ride away…

IMG_5247

Paris, fresh markets, cuisine, culinary experiences, Restaurant magazine, World's Best 50 Restaurants, France, Paris

Paris’ fresh markets are undeniably part of the reason for its culinary reign.

Now, I just need to get that money tree growing in my backyard…

If money were no object, which restaurants and places would you travel to FIRST, SECOND, THIRD, etc?

Je travaille à voyager!!

(Will work for travel!!)

♥ – LBH

A Sure Bet In Santa Monica

Bonjour, bon ami!!!

The last week has been quite crazy and chaotic, and it has kept me away from my blog.  So much has happened, both good, bad and other.  The GREAT news is my mom is feeling better, and we’re hopeful that the doctors can find the cause and best treatment for her blood pressure.  But I’m so very excited about some incredible recent developments!!  My career path has taken a most amazing slight shift towards another one of my biggest passions: music.  So get ready for some fab blog posts about my passion for awesome music, which goes so well with my fashion, design and art loves.

During my week of absence, the boy and I dined at Jiraffe (yes, with a “J”), a fabulous Santa Monica restaurant that should definitely be added to your go-to list for LA dining.

jiraffe restaurant los angeles DineLA california french fusion santa monica giraffe
{jiraffe}

**Apologies for the low quality images – I only had my camera phone with me while dining, but I can assure you the quality of the food was exponentially better than it looks!! 🙂

Jiraffe has been a Santa Monica sure bet for dining since 1996.  Offering a delicious and inspired menu of French dishes with local Californian influence, Jiraffe manages to pleasantly surprise diners with unexpected and unpretentious flavor combinations.  Here are the mouth-watering DineLA play-by-plays:

crispy potato wrapped big eye tuna appetizer prix fixe dineLA restaurant week jiraffe french california fusion cuisine santa monica
{crispy potato wrapped big eye tuna}

~ delicious with some great unexpected flavor combinations.  Great start to the meal.

stuffed vermont quail mashed potatoes appetizer prix fixe dineLA restaurant week jiraffe french california fusion cuisine santa monica
{stuffed vermont quail over mashed potatoes}

~ perfectly cooked, tender and tantalizing… should have been called an appe-teaser!

wild mushroom and aged gouda ravioli entree prix fixe dineLA restaurant week jiraffe french california fusion cuisine santa monica
{wild mushroom & aged gouda ravioli}

~ although the raviolis are hard to see in my poor photo, I can tell you they were wonderful.  The earthy combination of the mushroom and gouda in a blanket of creamy sauce was delectable.

scottish salmon caponatta entree prix fixe dineLA restaurant week jiraffe french california fusion cuisine santa monica
{scottish salmon caponatta}

~ the salmon was light and moist, and the caponatta sauce was an explosion of fresh basil, parsley, garlic and lemon.  I wanted to lick the plate clean.

choolate truffle cake mousse dessert prix fixe dineLA restaurant week jiraffe french california fusion cuisine santa monica
{chocolate truffle cake}

~ it was like warm molten lava cake, but lighter and not as overpoweringly sweet. Heaven.

fresh baked chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches dessert prix fixe dineLA restaurant week jiraffe french california fusion cuisine santa monica
{fresh baked chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches}

~ moist cookies and creamy ice cream.  We were just missing the cold milk!

caramelized banana cream pie dessert prix fixe dineLA restaurant week jiraffe french california fusion cuisine santa monica
{caramelized banana cream pie}

~ this was by far one of the best desserts I’ve had in a long time.  And this is coming from a proud chocola-holic.  I could eat this dessert everyday.  The bananas weren’t overly ripe or sweet, the cream filling light, and the crust was flaky and perfect.  It was all just perfect!

In case you wondered, the waiter brought the one dessert we didn’t order on the prix fixe menu, but said it was ours to enjoy anyway.  We certainly didn’t NEED the extra dessert, but we definitely didn’t turn it away either!  Not to be forgotten or overlooked was the excellent service we also received.  Our waiter was pleasant and warm, and made our wonderful evening all the more wonderful.

On your next trip to LA, be sure to swing by Jiraffe for a guaranteed fabulous meal.  I can’t wait to get back there soon.  And as a matter of fact, my new career path has brought me within blocks of Jiraffe – this could be a bad great thing!!

See you there for dinner, bon ami!!

LBH

Eighth Time’s A Charm…

Bonjour, bon ami!!!  Happy February!!!

I hope your first month of 2012 was a great start to a great new year!  January was definitely eventful – lots of home improvement and organization projects, and even though I still have some work to finish, I am extremely happy about what I’ve accomplished thus far.  After Super Bowl Sunday, I’ll have my Sundays back to finish up more of the projects on the list!

Meanwhile, here in LA we’ve been celebrating DineLA Restaurant Week for the last week, something I’m always looking forward to.  Last night’s treat was an exclusive dinner at one of LA’s hottest nomadic eateries, LudoBites 8.  Although not a participant in DineLA, this is the eighth iteration of the pop-up restaurant.  For any who aren’t familiar with the name Ludo Lefebvre, he was a featured Top Chef Master during its second season, and locally in LA he has been known as a French culinary genius-slash-down to earth rockstar for over ten years.

Thus, until this eighth round of pop-ups, getting a seat or two meant being ready at your computer on the day and minute that reservations opened, and refreshing your page over and over again, hoping you could be a lucky winner (a la Ticketmaster!!).  But FINALLY… my number was called and I was fortunate enough to be one of the 5% who successfully snagged a reservation via raffle (BEST and most fair idea thus far).  LB8 definitely proved to me why this reservation was SOOO difficult to come by.  And the wait was worth it: check out the mouth-watering pictures below!!!

ludobites ludo bites 8 chef ludo lefebvre pop up restaurant los angeles lemon moon dineLA restaurant week menu
{delectable menu}
ludobites ludo bites 8 chef ludo lefebvre pop up restaurant los angeles lemon moon dineLA restaurant week scallops truffles
{bay scallops with truffle}
ludobites ludo bites 8 chef ludo lefebvre pop up restaurant los angeles lemon moon dineLA restaurant week monkfish liver cucumber pickled mustard seeds
{monkfish, cornichons, mustard seeds}
ludobites ludo bites 8 chef ludo lefebvre pop up restaurant los angeles lemon moon dineLA restaurant week big eye tuna somen noodles delicious
{my favorite: big eye tuna over somen noodles with Tahitian vanilla}
ludobites ludo bites 8 chef ludo lefebvre pop up restaurant los angeles lemon moon dineLA restaurant week wagyu beef carpaccio raw pickled radish snow sliced red white beets eel
{wagyu beef carpaccio with radish snow}
ludobites ludo bites 8 chef ludo lefebvre pop up restaurant los angeles lemon moon dineLA restaurant week brioche sweet yuzu butter delicious
{brioche with yuzu butter}
ludobites ludo bites 8 chef ludo lefebvre pop up restaurant los angeles lemon moon dineLA restaurant week jidori chicken parmesan foam walnut sauce tender juicy delicious
{jidori half chicken with parmesan foam}
ludobites ludo bites 8 chef ludo lefebvre pop up restaurant los angeles lemon moon dineLA restaurant week
{pop-up kitchen & great staff}
ludobites ludo bites 8 chef ludo lefebvre pop up restaurant los angeles lemon moon dineLA restaurant week
{lemon moon, host of LudoBites 8}
ludobites ludo bites 8 chef ludo lefebvre pop up restaurant los angeles lemon moon dineLA restaurant week light fixtures
{moon-like light fixtures, appropriately so…}

ludobites ludo bites 8 chef ludo lefebvre pop up restaurant los angeles lemon moon dineLA restaurant week kitchenludobites ludo bites 8 chef ludo lefebvre pop up restaurant los angeles lemon moon dineLA restaurant week kitchen

ludobites ludo bites 8 chef ludo lefebvre pop up restaurant los angeles lemon moon dineLA restaurant week
{executive chef and gracious host Ludo Lefebvre}

 If you happen to get an opportunity to try Ludo Bites during a future iteration, you will thoroughly enjoy it.  The flavor profiles were delightful and very unexpected, a combination of classic with new, all on a platter free from pretentiousness.  AND for those in or around LA, you can always chase down Ludo’s food truck for a taste of his talent.

I have a couple more restaurants on my DineLA list this week, and I can’t wait to share more delicious greatness with you!!

Until then, bon ami, have a wonderful week!!!

LBH