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I’m On An All Carb Diet: Tartine Bakery & Cafe

21 Jan

Tartine Bakery is nothing short of amazing.  Anyone living in the Mission or Castro areas of San Francisco, has witnessed the line of bread and pastry fiends wrapping around the outside of the bakery on any given day of the week.

Tartine’s hubby and wifey co-owners, Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson, come equipped with years of culinary experience, have studied century-old baking methods in the French countryside, and even have a James Beard award for Outstanding Pastry Chefs under their culinary belts.  Since opening Tartine in 2002, these dynamic bakers have definitely proven themselves to be the rustic bread masters of the Bay Area.

Watch Chad Robertson speak in depth on his background, baking techniques and unyielding passsion for creating that perfect loaf of bread:

Evidenced by Tartine’s daily crowds, Robertson and Prueitt have been able to hone their craft and truly deliver – their skill and love for the art of baking shines through in the quality of food Tartine consistently delivers.

Assortment of open-faced croque-monsieurs on freshly-baked country rustic bread

Complete with oven roasted tomatoes, béchamel, gruyere, thyme and pepper – topped with either smoked Niman Ranch ham or seasonal vegetables

This is what Tartine does to people…Steph clearly can’t keep the sheer excitement from bursting out of her eyeballs

Excellent coffee and espresso as well

Just a sweet little post savory-meal treat

Banana Cream Tart: flaky pastry coated in dark chocolate with caramel, pastry cream, and lightly sweetened cream

1-2-3…GO!  Nobody talk for the next 15 minutes, thanks.

Enfin, Tartine is conveniently located near beautiful Dolores Park – which has rapidly become one of my favorite places to lie in the sunshine, people watch, and work off my well-earned food coma with a vengeance…
600 Guerrero Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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Ludo Ludo LudoTruck!

7 Sep

Chef Ludo Lefebvre has undoubtedly made his culinary mark here in Los Angeles.  Upon completing his 13 year culinary training in France, Chef Ludo immigrated to LA in his early 20’s and quickly became executive chef at acclaimed local restaurants, L’Orangerie and Bastide.  Soon thereafter, Ludo was a top contender on Iron Chef and Top Chef Masters and created his infamous LudoBites – a “touring” restaurant event where the Chef takes over an existing restaurant’s space for roughly a month and works his culinary magic for LA foodies.

When he’s not busy planning his next LudoBites event, Chef Ludo also has his LudoTruck.  Serving up tasty finger food with a unique twist – this massive, bright-red kitchen on wheels is difficult to miss when cruising the LA streets.  Although Ludo has described his culinary style as “French with an international flavor,” for me, LudoTruck is the perfect diversion from Chef Ludo’s traditional gourmet fare.  This time, he takes tasty standard American staples (fried chicken, wings, slaw and fries) and infuses them with French-based sauces, spices and methods of preparation that subtly enhance and exceptionalize the standard food truck experience.

LudoTruck Menu:

Provencal Pepittes (fried chicken bites crusted with breadcrumbs and herbs de Provence)

Honey-Garlic Glazed Wings

Crunchy Buttermilk Strips

Ludo’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich (with cole slaw and béarnaise mayo on toasted pain de mie)

“Perfect 3-day French-Fries” & Ludo’s Cole Slaw

Homemade Sauces:  BBQ, Béarnaise, Honey-Whole Grain Mustard

In the Midst of Delish Food Domination

Follow LudoTruck on Twitter @LudoTruck, to see the next time you can score these treats in your area!

One Delish Dish at “WoodSpoon”

19 May

Being that I don’t venture out to Downtown LA as much as I’d like to, I’ve completely missed out on great places such as this tasty Brazilian hideout for far too long.  My dinner at WoodSpoon gave me a million reasons to explore Downtown eateries more often – WoodSpoon serves an assortment of freshly grilled Brazilian meats, fried dumplings, juicy burgers, short rib stews, handmade chicken pot pies and of course, Sangria to wash it all down.  Since Brazil has had centuries of immigrants bringing their respective cuisine and cultures from every corner of the globe (i.e. Portugal, Spain, Germany, Japan, Italy and Lebanon), there is no shortage of remarkable food in this country. Restaurant owner and Brazil-native Natalia Pereira, successfully provides amazing homemade Brazilian comfort food with all locally farmed, quality ingredients.  

WoodSpoon

Brazilian Sausage w/rice, beans, plantains and collard greens

Pork Burger w/roasted cabbage, onions on toasted potato bread and yam fries

Don’t let this messy looking mound fool you, this perfectly prepared burger is nothing short of mind-blowing.

Amazing Mix Plate - Coxinha, Potato Croquette, Portuguese Croquette, Pastel Portuguese, Kibe

Showcase of Brazil’s Popular Street Foods (aka little delish fried treasure balls)

Coxinha: Shredded chicken and spices

Potato Croquette: Mashed potato and cheese

Portuguese Croquette: Potato salted Cod

Pastel Portuguese: Dumpling stuffed with shrimp, coconut sauce

Kibe: Bulgur wheat, mint and ground beef (Middle Eastern inspired)

*All served with a tasty green chili pepper/cilantro mayo dip

Inside a Coxinha

Brazilian Chicken Pot Pie - fresh out of the oven, so fresh it scorched my starvingly impatient mouth

Sorry Marie Callender but WoodSpoon has got you BEAT in the Chicken Pot Pie department

Doesn’t get much better than moist grilled chicken wrapped w/perfectly crisped bacon.
Very simple, colorfully cute and clean decor – reminiscent of an authentic Brazilian eatery w/a little LA twist

Loved the food, coziness and everything about WoodSpoon!  I shall return with a quickness.

Click here to read more on the chef’s unique upbringing and how it shaped her beliefs on what constitutes a top-notch meal.   

107 West 9th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015
213.629.1765

Finally tasted the elusive Gjelina – worth the wait

12 Apr

So here lies the long-awaited Gjelina verdictit was an amazingly savory and scrumptious dining experience.  The restaurant has a modern, yet warm feeling to it, mainly comprised of wood and brick decor and dimly lit antique light fixtures.  There are distressed wooden tables inside and a cozy courtyard out back (complete with lap blankets and heaters for people like me who are freezing if it’s under 75 degrees out).  The space has a lot of great character, the service was good, and the FOOD, ohhhhh the food…

Just to be clear, if I could have gotten a sample platter that consisted of everything on the menu I would have done so in a heartbeat.   The dinner menu was a mixture of Italian, French, and to my delight, even some North African cuisine.  It was beyond difficult to narrow things down, but here’s the breakdown of what we feasted on:

Salad – Grilled asparagus, frisee, pancetta vinaigrette, topped with a crispy fried egg and parmesan shavings

“Vegetable” – Salt and pepper fries with romesco and aioli dipping sauce (I know, a fried potato is a sad attempt at ordering a vegetable side, but they were irresistibly perfect!)

Charcuterie – Jidori chicken liver pate w/spicy greens, balsamic & grilled bread

Main Plates

  • Pizza w/Gruyere, caramelized onion, fromage blanc & arugula
  • Pork Meatballs braised in tomato and red wine w/parmesan & grilled bread

Everything we had was beyond amazing, but I’d have to say my top two faves were the chicken pate and the braised meatballs.  The flavors in each dish came together effortlessly and left you hoping for just one more bite…

Also big hits that I will be sure to order during my next visit:

  • Braised artichokes w/burrata, mint-pistachio pesto & crispy shallots
  • Mussels w/spicy chorizo, confit tomato, white wine & grilled bread
  • Braised chickpeas with greens, cous cous, harissa & spiced yogurt
  • Grilled housemade Merguez (North African spicy lamb sausage) w/sauerkraut, red onion, caraway & mustard
  • Mitake mushroom toast w/creme fraiche & truffle oil

Gjelina’s chef/owner, Travis Lett, has had an appreciation for organic and locally grown produce years before it was fashionable among the LA masses. Gjelina’s menu incorporates Lett’s long-standing belief that creating dishes based on seasonal availability and only the freshest ingredients will result in happy customers and a highly successful restaurant.  Alongside co-owner Fran Camaj, Lett opened Gjelina less than 3 years ago in late 2008.  It has since been featured in Vogue, was awarded 2nd best new restaurant by Los Angeles Magazine and has 4 stars on Yelp with nearly 800 reviews.

I’m ecstatic that this place didn’t stay a secret for long among Venice locals and LA foodies, and I will definitely be back for the tantalizing Gjelina experience very soon!

   Gjelina ~ 1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd ~ Venice, CA ~ (310) 450-1429

Please adopt me Tony Bourdain!

3 Apr

Bourdain’s No Reservations trip to Vietnam where he discovers some Cao Lao to die for and feasts on an amazing Banh Mi

For those of you that don’t already know of my minor obsession…for me, Anthony Bourdain is the ultimate bad ass chef and food connoisseur.  He is an author and world-traveler with an honest, unbridled passion for food and cooking.  Bourdain went from working in seafood restaurants in college, to running some of the greatest restaurant kitchens in New York City. Nowadays, Bourdain mainly focuses on his show, No Reservations, where he travels to far off lands and immerses himself in the history, customs and cuisines of the locals.  Whether he is writing, cooking, traveling or chowing down on some good eats, Bourdain always stays true to his dynamic convictions regarding life and cooking, and above all, the man can spot quality cuisine anywhere in the world.

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