tartine bianco

I was so excited when I heard that the Tartine Bakery group was opening here in Los Angeles. I have a huge soft spot for this San Francisco-based restaurant and bakery, so to have one open so close to me was wonderful news. The Manufactory, as its known, is also conveniently located at The Row DTLA, which is a cute open-air facility with plenty of fun shops and restaurants to pop into. Whether you’re in the mood for a more formal sit-down meal, or looking to grab a quick coffee or soft serve to-go, The Manufactory’s got you covered. There’s The Market for tasty flatbreads and specialty food items, The Ice Cream & Coffee Window for drinks, baked goods and ice cream, Tartine Bianco serving seasonal Cali-Italian cuisine, and finally Alameda Supper Club for a more elevated private dining experience. All of that housed under one roof! The space itself is beautiful too- huge windows that allow light to flood in at all hours of the day- with a super modern, industrial feel, and a large, shared open kitchen.

On a couple recent visits, we’ve dined at Tartine Bianco, the all-day restaurant whipping up all kinds of delights with fresh ingredients from the farmers market. It’s very comparable to its San Fran counterpart, Tartine Manufactory, a place I’ve dined at and absolutely loved. One main focus of the menu is the famous Tartine Bread (duh!), and food good reason. Choose from toasts, smørrebrøds, and flatbreads, or just get the bread basket with a couple of dips and go to town. Oh my glory, it’s honestly some of the best bread I have ever tasted. Baked to perfection, doughy and chewy on the inside, with the perfectly crisp, crunchy crust. Do yourself a favor and order a loaf to-go as well so you can keep the enjoyment going for a couple more days! The rest of the meal did not disappoint either, from the grilled beets with chermoula to the lamb shank with sunchokes to the malted brownie sundae, you really cannot go wrong. And how pretty is that chicken liver toast?! It’s practically a work of art. Click through the slideshow below to check out the rest of our fantastic meal, and get ready to drool! I look forward to picking up some bread and pastries, and perhaps (read: definitely) making a pit stop at the Ice Cream Window for some delicious soft serve very soon!


restaurante tierra caliente

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There’s not much better than a consistently good neighborhood joint. You know the place. The one you can pop in anytime, and while you aren’t expecting to be blown away by anything super out of the box, you can pretty much guarantee a delicious, satisfying meal. In our old hood in Brooklyn, that was Cafe Mogador, and we still make it a point to go back anytime we are in town. Our new neighborhood of Mount Washington has less going on food-wise, but just down the hill in Cypress Park, you’ll find a ton of tasty, authentic Mexican food. Restaurante Tierra Caliente is one place we keep returning, and what’s better is that we can walk there! A bit of Brooklyn in LA ;) This tiny spot has a chalkboard menu up on the wall, and only a few small tables. We like to sit outside amongst the hustle and bustle of the neighborhood, and enjoy our tacos al fresco! Our fave time of day to come eat at Tierra Caliente is in the early mornings before they get busy, as they make a killer breakfast! My huevos a la Mexicana never disappoints, and those homemade tortillas are super fresh and hot off the press! My husband is a fan of the chilaquiles and smothered burritos (among manyyyy other things), but I think next up I need to try the tamales and pozole verde now that the weather is cooling off! So grab yourself a horchata con cafe, why don’t ya, and dig in!


atrium

When I think about #BrunchGoals, Atrium in Los Feliz immediately comes to mind. Both the atmosphere and eats are stellar, which is super important for the makings of memorable brunch! The light-flooded restaurant has a gorgeous- you guessed it- atrium in the center, opening up to a breezy, round bar down below. The entire place is bright and cheery, and I just love all the lush greenery they have growing on display. Now onto the eats- there’s pretty much something to satisfy any and all cravings on this menu. From the light and fresh seeded maple granola to the fully loaded crispy smashed potatoes, you’re guaranteed to find something up your alley. I was all about my (better-than-average) avocado toast on chewy focaccia, and the heirloom cornmeal waffle with whipped burrata and guava jam did not disappoint either! Be sure to snag an order of freshly baked biscuits- the salted honey butter is the perfect complement to those fluffy delights! Scroll through the slideshow to check out the rest of our meal, and definitely stop by Atrium the next time you’re on the east side!


verdine

Ok, y’all. I have a lot of praise to sing about Verdine. Not only is this spot serving up some super fresh and flavorful plant-based food in Houston, Texas, but it was opened by none other than my best friend! Chef Stephanie Hoban launched Ripe Cuisine a few years ago, and what started out as a humble farmers market stand soon grew into a popular food truck, and has now been relaunched as a successful (and beautiful!) brick and mortar restaurant! To say I’m proud of my bestie is a huge understatement. Now, although I love my veggies, I’m no vegan; nor is anyone in my family. However, that doesn’t stop us from enjoying all the plant-based eats that Steph whips up on a regular basis. Verdine satisfies herbivores and omnivores alike- there’s truly something for everyone! The menu changes seasonally, and there’s always some fun globally-inspired dishes to try. I’m partial to the Spinach Dosa, filled with hearty turmeric potatoes & green lentils, and served with a zesty cilantro-peanut chutney! Equally delish is the Beet Falafel Bowl, a take on a classic hit from her food truck. Drizzle tahini sauce on anything, and I’m a happy camper ;) You obviously can’t go wrong with her signature Bistro Burger, which features a housemade organic lentil-walnut-mushroom patty and cashew “chevre” cheese! Just don’t forget to order a side of sweet potato fries (served with raisin-sweetened ketchup!). If you’re in the mood for tacos, you must try her slow-cooked & smoked jackfruit carnitas. They’re bright and just bursting with flavor thanks to the roasted corn salsa and chipotle aioli. Yum! Trust me, you won’t leave hungry or unsatisfied after a plain ‘ol boring salad- but you won’t leave feeling uncomfortably full and weighed down either. Getting to enjoy tasty, vibrant eats while also doing good for the planet while you’re at it? Win-win! Next time I’m in town, I have to get back to try her cauliflower crust pizzas at dinner too! I absolutely cannot wait!


fiona bakery

Fiona Bakery was a cute little cafe in West Hollywood serving up seasonal dishes and baked goods that truly allow California’s bounty to shine. I say was, because unfortunately I just got word that they closed their doors for good this past Sunday! Such sad news, to be honest. But with crazy high rent costs and never-ending competition, the restaurant industry is a super difficult place to find success. Ever since I first spotted their sesame butter toast on Instagram, I knew I had to check it out. So when I stopped by for lunch with a good friend recently, the aforementioned bread was obviously ordered. I’m pretty much obsessed with anything involving sesame or tahini, and this did not disappoint. I loved the sweet and savory vibes going on- the sea salt honey was the perfect complement to the creamy sesame butters and chewy, yet fluffy brioche! After ogling over the beautifully impressive pastry case (and vowing to return to try more items soon), we decided to balance things out with a couple of their fresh salads. I loved the Vietnamese-meets-Cali-influenced menu- both the shredded cabbage & chicken salad and little gem salad were bright and flavorful. The menu also featured rice noodle salads and savory sweet potato pancakes- not to mention classic banh mi sandwiches that my husband absolutely adores! Those cookies stacked high in the pastry case (and the carrot cake!) continue to call my name to this day as well. Although I’m super bummed Fiona has since closed its doors, I remain hopeful the team will open another spot soon!


hippo

I love discovering tasty, new-to-me places in my (or a close by) neighborhood. Hippo in Highland Park had been on my radar for a while now- multiple friends had raved about it, and I couldn’t help but drool over their Instagram. So when we had good friends in town staying with us recently, I knew just the spot for dinner. Nestled off the busy street, just behind Triple Beam Pizza (another fave!), Hippo’s rustic, Italian-American vibes make it seem very New York to me. Perhaps that’s why I liked it so much from the moment we walked in, but once we tasted the food, it truly won me over. The bread basket of housemade focaccia was perfectly crusty and chewy, and I strongly suggest you start with the burrata di bufala (imported from Lazio-Italy!), served with even more delicious, carby goodness. I was a huge fan of the veggie starters- from the cool haricot verts with serrano chili toasted hazelnuts & Frenchie vinaigrette, to the griddled cauliflower with cauliflower “tahini” & walnut raisin caper relish, the flavors were truly unique. Of course, several housemade pastas are on the menu (and worth an order!), including the semolina spaghetti with guanciale, tomato & spicy pickled peppers, as well as the winter squash cappellacci with browned butter, sage & amaretti! Carefully handmade pasta, perfectly cooked to al dente, truly makes all the difference. Be sure to check out the rest of our meal in the slideshow above- there were honestly so many noteworthy dishes! We actually already had plans for ice cream after dinner, so I didn’t get a chance to try Hippo’s desserts- but there’s always next time! Post-baby, I’d like to go back for “Hippo Hour”, their version of happy hour, for some tasty small plates and a cool cocktail as well!