Los Angeles

FrontofGrillWhen relatives come for the holidays in the words of the Eagles, it can be “heaven or it can be hell”. In our case it was delicious!

My favorite Aunt and Uncle escaped the blistering cold of NYC during this past holiday season and came to visit my family and get a bit of LA sunshine. My uncle is a man who loves his food. It is second only to his wife, my aunt who he’s been married to for 32 years and he is still as gaga and giddy as a love struck teenager. It is quite beautiful to behold. As is his wide eyed appraisal of a good menu.

It is fortunate, indeed, that my uncle has done very well financially so he can indulge in both of his passions; spoiling his wife and satisfying his taste buds. Living in NYC and traveling the world they eat in the best restaurants so needless to say when they come to LA, we eat well. Since they stay at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel and enjoy driving in LA traffic about as much as we do, we confined our restaurant hopping to Beverly Hills.

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Image Artisan cheese in the display case, turkey meatloaf you wish you could make at home, fresh lemonade that’s just the right amount of sweet and sour,  strawberry jam for sale on the shelf, Nicky (and Paris) Hilton at the back table but nobody cares because the Chinese chicken salad is perfect and everyone else has too much to do. Did I mention the cupcakes?! It’s the perfect place to stop when you’re busy, when you barely have time for lunch, but it’s also, the perfect place to hang out.

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mozza2go.jpgSince our very first visit to Pizzeria Mozza (Christmas Eve 2006), Peter and I have continuously wished for two things: That Mozza would offer a Pizza-to-go / Delivery service, and that Nancy Silverton would make a pizza with chicken liver, guanciale and burrata. If you love Mozza’s Chicken Liver Bruschetta, then you’d understand how amazing this dream pie could be. When I learned (via @Foodwoolf on Twitter) that “Mozza 2Go” was OPEN, I immediately texted my husband and wrote, “DO NOT MAKE PLANS TOMORROW!”

Peter had Friday off from work, and up to that moment, we had no actual plans for the 3rd of July. I searched online to find an opening time for Mozza 2Go, but the closest thing to actual hours listed (at that time) was an Eater LA article stating that, “the first order accepted at noon and the last order at 11:00 pm”.

Thinking there would be a line around the block (hey, it’s Mozza after all!), I told Peter we should plan on getting there by 10:30 AM. I figured we could order a pie, eat it there and then do some shopping at the Grove afterwards. There’s a Mac Store at the Grove… and Peter was obsessed about getting his new iPhone. All I wanted was to check out the new Mozza 2Go. It was a “win win” situation for sure.

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pch.jpgI love food. And I love going out to eat and trying new places. And I love talking about food. In fact, I love food so much that whenever I'm eating I actually try not to get too full so that I'll be able to eat again in another two hours—which is something I think I inherited from my mother. When I was a kid, I thought it took five hours to get to Santa Barbara from LA because she would take the Pacific Coast Highway and stop to eat three times. (If you are not familiar with the geography of Southern California, it shouldn’t take more than an hour and a half to get to Santa Barbara).

But despite that fact that I grew up in a household where it was the norm to discuss what we were going to eat for lunch during breakfast (even if breakfast was at 12pm), I am not a foodie. I hate restaurants that pile food into thimble sized pyramids in the middle of oversized square plates. And when things like soup are served in shot glasses (unless you're Hatfield's and then you can do whatever you want). But the other night when my lovely boyfriend realized that not only did he not owe extra taxes, but he was getting a hefty refund, I wanted him to take me somewhere nice to make up for all those nights of sopitos at Poquito Mas while he anticipated paying what he thought was going to be a huge bill from the government. It turns out my step-dad is not the only man in my life who can’t do his own accounting. No offense, Alan.

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joes9.jpgJoe’s restaurant on Abbot-Kinney in Venice, California is a delight and a deal.  Michelin thinks so, having just given this French-California gem a star.  And my entire family agrees, and we are not always the most agreeable foursome.  Our recent love affair with Joe’s began when I took my husband there for his birthday lunch several weeks ago.  A friend joined our table.  We ordered from a three course prix fixe menu that ran about $17.00.  There was also a two-course lunch with many choices that was much cheaper.  The dishes were innovative and fun, reminiscent of my favorite French or Bay Area menus (Larkspur Inn, Aqua, French Laundry).   Even the bread was incredible.  The service was great and, important to me, flexible and easy. 

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