Los Angeles

breadbarBread.  I love it, especially when it’s well made.  But I freely admit that I try to avoid it.  I’m of a certain age and weight when the dangers of too much free carb styling can take a toll.  But how hard is that to do now?  It’s really hard with all the neighborhood bakeries opening all over town.  Yesterday I checked out Bread Lounge in DTLA.  Tucked away on the southeast corner of 7th and Santa Fe the location is an indication of just how much DTLA is thriving. 

I walked in on a Friday during late lunchtime and it was filled with people dining in and taking out.  If you park in the back and walk through to the front the first display you see is packed with all manner of packaged sables, biscotti and other little nibbles.

The production area is on display to your right and there is bread everywhere from large boules and batards to skinny crusty baguettes and a good selection of whole grain and white sturdy sandwich breads.  And of course there are the small coffee cakes and viennoiserie that we’ve come to expect.  

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tartI love breakfast.  Pancakes that taste like cookie dough at Hedley's, Huevos O'Groats, I'll even drive to Ventura for the chorizo skillet at Golden Egg or go to Barney Greengrass in New York for nova, onions and eggs.  So I was excited to try Tart, the cute cafe next to the Farmer's Daughter hotel on Fairfax.

It's adorable inside.  Quaint, cozy, the owner, who looks like Yosemite Sam, bouncing around in an apron, like someone's dream of what a breakfast place should be.  So I didn't mind that we got seated right next to the door on a particularly chilly Angeleno day.  And I didn't even mind that it took almost a half an hour to get our coffee.  It was Saturday, and they were busy.  But the coffee was burnt and watery.  Like it was scraped from the bottom of the dispenser. 

I returned it and ordered a cappuccino to compensate. It took twenty minutes to arrive AND it came with lipstick smeared all over the mug.  Not mine, by the way.  I sent it back, and suggested that since it had been forty five minutes and there was no sign of our food, maybe we should abandon ship...

My friends weren't having it.  They'd waited this long and we were starving.  So we waited.  And waited.  And waited.  A concerned bus boy finally came to check on us.  When our food finally did come, it was a disaster.  I honestly don't know where to start. 

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kogi1.jpgUnless you've been living under a rock you've likely heard of Kogi BBQ, LA's twitterific Korean-Mexican fusion truck. If not, allow me to introduce you. The Kogi BBQ fleet, now three trucks strong, travels all over LA, from Torrance to Glendale, on a day-to-day basis, informing the public of their locales via everyone's new fave social network, Twitter (@kogibbq).

On weekends Kogi occupies the kitchen at Venice's Alibi Room. This is where I first enjoyed the delicious fare, but as my BFF Brendan was recently in town and we decided to hit up one of their trucks, the way it's meant to be. We accidentally arrived early , which was a blessing in disguise as it took no time for quite a line to grow behind us.

We kept it real by ordering two beef short rib tacos, two spicy pork tacos and their Kogi special, a spicy pork, Jack cheese quesadilla topped with Kogi's new salsa verde.

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artisan-cheese-gallery.jpg So, I was like, driveen in the valley ‘n’ stuff? And I like drove past a shop that said Artisan Cheese Gallery, ‘n’ stuff? And I was like “wait, did I just, um, this is like the valley, ok?  And I think I jist saw sometheen with the word ‘artisan’ on Ventura Blvd.”.  No way, right? So, I go “maybe I’ll jist turn around and check it out, right?” So, alls I wanted to do was see if I dint eemagine it? 

So anyways, I turn around and park and go in.  Let me tell you darlings, it was as if a magic wand was waved over me, imbuing me with all manner of sophistication.  This was no ordinary cheese shop. It was a ‘gallery’ indeed. The light streaming in from the street reminded me of my days spent in the South of France (NOT). Wooden shelves lined with cheeses that were in their natural habitat of room temperature beckoned for my palate to take the journey.  A sliver of Boschetto with Black Truffles from Italy brought on such a surge of ecstasy through my body, I could have used something to hold on to. A bedpost, perhaps?  I closed my eyes with rapture as I allowed Brie Nangis from France to slowly dissolve on my tongue.

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hmsqueenmary.jpg This year on my summer vacation I actually played tourist in my own home town. I've lived in Los Angeles for 20 years – never thought I would be here this long – and have pretty much seen/done everything over the years. Or so I thought. With keyboard at the ready, I searched the Internet for attractions that would appeal to both adults (me and my sister) and our 16-year-old niece, sort of a child, until you have to pay for her. 

Since the trip was for her birthday and she loves animals, especially sea creatures, the Aquarium of the Pacific was a must-stop. I had no issue with driving to Long Beach, but the aquarium is not that big and I didn't want to go down and back in the same day, as we'd assuredly end up spending more time in the car than experiencing the wonders of the deep.

I knew the Queen Mary was right across the bay and figured that would be an interesting thing to see, too. (Well at least for the real adults.) There's nothing wrong with learning a little something on your vacation, right?

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