I had passed Coffee Tomo on Sawtelle many times, en route to NongLa for pho tai, headed to Tsujita for tsukemen ramen, and along the way to Blockheads for saved ice with condensed milk, boba, and red bean. But, for some reason, I never stopped into Tomo, despite the small cafe’s perpetual crowd. Though it was on my list. Just recently, per the suggestion of a friend and after two bowls of tsukemen and miso ramen from the new ANNEX across the street, we decided to drop by for 6pm dessert and coffee. I had no idea that this was the home to sweet potato and red bean lattes, kind of amazingly delicious sweet and savory artisan pretzels with large chunks of wonderfully crisp salt, and the above pictured brick of bread. On the menu Tomo calls this specimen “Honey Butter Bread,” and it’s just that. A toasted challah bread-esque chunk drizzled with a caramel sort of honey, cinnamon, and whipped cream. Naturally, after attempting to eat such a thing, and after those sweet lattes (which by the way do not contain any coffee whatsoever), we needed a coffee beverage to cut the sweet. Thusly, we tried two separate drip coffees (forgot which ones). Excellent as well. Coffee Tomo, 11309 Mississippi Ave., LA; 310-444-9390
Seems like nowadays almond milk is available almost everywhere, though I continue to wonder why Whole Foods only stocks commercial brands which generally contain ingredients I don’t care to ingest. I am guessing it has something to do with the short shelf life (usually 3-4 days) of the homemade stuff I love. One of my favorite almond milks, or I should say mylks, is made by Jeff Leaf aka the Mylkman in Venice. Jeff mixes fresh Thai coconut water and raw organic almonds for one of the best milks I’ve found. Another close contender is Rejuice's almond milk, made with raw almonds, raw honey, coconut water, and cinnamon. This morning I tried Almond Milk LA, a new raw organic artisan almond milk company launched in January and presently delivered throughout LA, sold at Lindy & Grundy (Friday to Sunday), and available at the Santa Monica Sunday farmers market. In addition to a recently launched chocolate milk, there’s plain sweetened and unsweetened versions. Each contains raw organic almonds, filtered water, pink himalayan sea salt, and raw organic sage honey in the sweetened version. But, I should add, the sweetness is very subtle. Drawing on the nostalgia of old school milk delivery, I love Almond Milk LA’s simple but super cute packaging. Each quart costs $16-$18.
Some days you just need a scoop of ice cream. Or five. Scoops Westside, a mecca of exotic, inspired ice cream flavors, today hooked me up with the following: Red Velvet, Salty Almond Honey, Banana Caramel Brownie, Cashew Malt, and Kabocha Burnt Sugar. Pro tip: Order an affogato with Heart espresso and Brown Bread ice cream. You’re welcome. Scoops Westside, 3400 Overland Ave, LA; 323-405-7055
Spago in Beverly Hills has a pretty fantastic bar menu, which launched about two weeks ago. And actually, it might be one of the best bar menus I’ve tried. As is the main dining room dinner menu, the list of bar bites is Asian influenced with items like mini pork and leek dumplings, perfectly crisp and juicy “Karage” deep fried boneless chicken and - though not exactly Asian - a “Pastrami on Rye” sandwich with Wagyu brisket and Russian dressing. Really, really delicious. But out of every bite on the menu, my favorite plate was an Indian-inspired dessert of kulfi ice cream pops with pieces of fresh strawberries and Thai basil stuck into a bed of caramelized, toasted almond slivers. Kulfi is basically an Indian version of ice cream, super dense and creamy, and generally made with evaporated milk. Spago pastry chef Della Gossett uses a surprisingly simple recipe with LOTS of cream in place of the evaporated milk. These ice cream bars are a fantastic summer dessert, use the recipe below!
Spago’s Vanilla Bean Kulfi with Strawberries, Thai Basil, and Candied Almonds
10 cups heavy cream
3 cups whole milk
1 cup sugar
2 vanilla beans, scraped
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pour cream, milk, and sugar in large pot. Add scraped vanilla bean seeds and pods. Bring cream mixture to a boil and turn down heat and continue to cook until liquid is reduced by about 2/3. Add salt. Strain through fine sieve. Chill kulfi and pour directly into ice cream pop molds. Add pieces of fresh strawberry and Thai basil syrup. Pop out of molds and serve atop almonds.
[Photo: David Fox]
I recently dropped by True Food Kitchen at Santa Monica Place to try out the restaurant’s new menu, and on the dessert list I stumbled upon a coconut banana chia seed pudding. I am a big fan of chia seeds since they’re incredibly healthy (rich in omega-3 fatty acids), and if I can eat a dessert that is also good for me, than why not? The pudding was absolutely delicious, with a mix of bananas, coconut, and just the slightest hint of sweetness. I reached out to TFK and luckily they shared the very easy below listed recipe:
True Food Kitchen’s Banana Coconut Chia Seed Pudding (serves 4)
2 medium bananas (about 10 ounces)
2 1/4 cups coconut cream
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla paste
squeeze fresh lemon juice
3 ounces chia seeds
Combine first six ingredients in blender and puree until smooth, about 1 minute. Add chia seeds, blend on low to combine. Transfer to bowl and let stand 20 minutes. Stir to mix. Refrigerate over night. Lasts two days.
More nail art inspiration. Somewhere over the rainbow…
How cute is this wallpaper?! Last night at the Palihouse premiere in Santa Monica I commented on the property’s whimsical choices of amazingly fun wallpaper … only to discover that the brand, Abnormals Anonymous (kind of amazing name) is actually based here in Los Angeles, specifically in Marina del Rey. Check out all the fun designs here, from puffy fish (aka mr. blow - love this one) to lobsters (lobby) to gossiping elephants (also amaze).
I’m about to disclose a secret. A secret hangover cure, that is. All throughout college, after nights of copious alcohol consumption at fraternity parties, I would turn to my dear friend blue Gatorade to hydrate and refill my depleted electrolytes. Now though, I try to avoid all artificial colors and flavors as much as possible, and on a whim I discovered that that weird green drink sold at Whole Foods and Equinox works like a charm to remedy a hangover. I’m a big fan of Gorilla Life, which is basically water and chlorophyll, sweetened with either honey or agave. To me it sort of tastes like grape juice. It’s kind of pricey at $5 a bottle, but to offset a hangover, it’s so worth it. Somewhere at some point, I heard that chlorophyll works to cure a hangover (you can even buy chlorophyll water from Pressed Juicery), and being that chlorophyll is a main ingredient in Gorilla Life, it all makes sense. Supposedly the chlorophyll acts to oxygenate cells and stimulate blood circulation. Without getting too technical, I can tell you from personal experience this stuff works! And, it’s really good for you, too. If it’s not for sale at your local Whole Foods, order Gorilla Life here.
A few months ago I found myself at my good friend Dana’s West Hollywood apartment. Dana is a stylist from Toronto and recently moved back to LA (we were roommates when I first moved to LA) after a few years in Canada. After perusing racks of clothing she had pulled for an upcoming shoot, I noticed a super cute pair of slippers tossed into a corner. When I inquired as to where she had procured these adorable beige leather slippers, she told me they were from Canada and not for sale in the US. I told Dana I wanted a pair and that I would add a sole to them and wear them as regular shoes. Fast forward this month, Dana gets them for me as a birthday present, I slap a sole on ‘em, and now every time I wear them I receive tons of compliments. Also, they are the most comfortable shoe ever! My exact moosehide moccasins are not for sale via internet, however I did find this very similar version for sale right here ($95CAD). Like mine you’ll have to add a sole, but nbd!
My latest designer obsession is Morgan Carper. The Brooklyn-based clothier has a knack for combining colorful ethnic prints in boho-chic style, totally up my alley. Her Spring collection was inspired by a trip to Rajasthan, India, and her pieces depict the colors and landscape from abroad. Two of my favorite pieces are this flap back periwinkle blue top and a white and beige ikat dress I can’t seem to find online. In LA, Morgan Carper is sold at Satine, but you can also check her out at OfAKind.