Night Market

This weekend is the 626 Night Market. Similar to the night markets in Asia with dozens of food vendors, this is the largest one in the U.S.! I’ve been going for the past few years because I’m originally from the 626 (the area code of the San Gabriel Valley) and have always found the best Asian mom and pop eateries at the Night Market. This year the 626 Night Market team opened their doors for the first time to Downtown LA and Orange County. Here’s my recap of the DTLA Night Market from a couple weeks ago.

mango macaron ice cream sandwich
chicken and lamb skewers
Thai iced tea with a cream popsicle
dragon whiskers, a Chinese dessert
grilled pork belly
melt-in-your-mouth pork ribs
Hope to see you at one of this summer’s Night Market! Oh, and word to the wise, beware of the stinky tofu stench, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the festivities =D
Santa Anita Park
285 W Huntington Dr.
Arcadia, CA 91107
July 18 & 19
Aug 15 & 16
Sep 12 & 13
4pm – 1am
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LA Guide: Doughnuts

Today is National Doughnut Day! So I’ve rounded my go-tos for some of my favorite doughnut spots in LA. I’m a classic, chocolate doughnut lover but I really love any kind of fried dough (I mean, who doesn’t?) Where are you going to celebrate National Doughnut Day?

1. Olympic Doughnuts #14 // A classic donut shop that is open 24 hrs. They’re doughnuts are fresh and satisfy your sweet tooth without being overly sweet.
2337 E 4th St Los Angeles, CA 90033 (323) 263-2365

 

2. Frances Bakery & Coffee // I wouldn’t really consider this a donut shop but I can’t help but love their specialty, the Frances Donut. Tip: ask if they have the strawberry flavor. They slice it in half and fill it with fresh strawberries. Yum!
404 E 2nd St Los Angeles, CA 90012 (213) 680-4899

3. Umami Arts District // Guess what? Umami has doughnut ice cream sandwiches! This one was an apple fritter with vanilla bean ice cream, but they also have a bacon doughnut with maple ice cream. NOM!
738 E 3rd St Lo Angeles, CA 90013 (323) 263-8626

4. Donut Snob // Gourmet doughnuts made with the finest ingredients like Madagascar Bourbon vanilla and chocolate ganache made from Belgian chocolate. Seriously amazing creations like the “Campfire” pictured above, think, the best s’more you’ve ever had.
Deliveries only. Los Angeles, CA (213) 373-4898

5. DK’s Donuts and Bakery // If  you are looking for variety, this is the place to go. They’ve got raised donuts, baked donuts, bear claws, O-nuts, filled donuts, you name it!
614 Santa Monica Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90404 (310) 829-2512

6. Cafe Dulce // They’ve got some unique flavors. I specifically like their spirulina churro which is not a churro like you would think, it’s round, fluffy, chewy and covered in sugar. But spirulina is a seaweed that’s a superfood so it’s healthy, right?
134 Japanese Village Plaza Los Angeles, CA (213) 346-9910

Honorable Mentions:
Donut Friend // Custom made-to-order donuts with lots of vegan options. Just tell them what you want in and on top of your doughnut and your wish is their command!
517 York Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90065 (213) 955-6191

The Donut Man // I would drive out of the way just to get a strawberry stuffed doughnut when they are in season.
915 E Route 66 Glendora, CA 91740 (626) 335-9111

Toast and Coffee

I love coffee meetings. I’ll take any excuse to have a meeting at a coffee shop. Especially if that coffee shop specializes in jam. I came to Sqirl recently with fellow food and fashion blogger Luci of Luci’s Morsels, and of course, we had a little photo shoot.

Sqirl makes their jams from scratch and can take up to 3 days to make! They then naturally preserve them in copper pots made by a local coppersmith. Jam built this house. Not to mention, they have amazing, seasonal dishes that rotate daily. Now they are offering jam classes! Sign me up!

blouse: Target Style // ponte leggings: Uniqlo // bag: Kate Spade // jewelry: Leola Lace // watch: Michael Kors // boots: Coach
(323) 284-8147

Stumptown Coffee Roasters

There aren’t many coffee shops that I would travel for. Actually just one. Stumptown Coffee Roasters. When I was in Portland and Seattle a few months ago it was the number one thing on my list of places to visit. When I was living in New York I would go there often on my lunch breaks. And when I was in Palm Springs a few weeks ago I barred the horrendous heat in search of their iced cold cup of brew. I am so happy they finally opened up a location in the Downtown Los Angeles Arts District. It’s about time!
Kimchi spam musubi croissant by Chef Sharon Wang of Sugarbloom Bakery. One of the delicious treats they offer.
If you didn’t know this, I am fanatical over coffee! Not that I’m addicted (because since my pregnancy I have been drinking mostly decaf). I just love the taste, the smell, the essence of coffee. What I love more actually is the coffee culture. It’s a culture that I can’t describe. When I meet someone who really knows and understands what true coffee is supposed to taste like (not no Dunkin’ French vanilla, with whipped cream and sprinkles crap – sorry Dunkin’ lovers) I feel like I can relate to the purists. I feel like the coffee culture are tastemakers and creatives; they not only understand coffee but their own palate and styles. Like good food and good design, they know that the star ingredient should not be covered up by tons of other ingredients but should excel on its own if not accentuated. I could go into the properties of a good cup but I won’t bore you with the details. I just love the vibe of artisan coffee shops!
I always like to ask people what they drink at coffee shops because I think it is a reflection of their personalities. I normally get a cappuccino – 2 oz. of perfectly roasted espresso with 3-4 oz. of frothy, velvety, steamed milk. What do you think that says about me?
 
Again, I am so happy Stumptown expanded to Los Angeles.  I’ve been waiting for this for years! They are still in their soft grand opening until they have all their systems in place. Keep an eye out for their grand opening soon to come!
806 S. Santa Fe
Los Angeles, CA 90021
everyday 7am-6pm

Make Fall the Season to Cuddle

The power of social media. This past weekend I had my first mooncake because I saw it on several Instagram posts. I have always wanted to try one since I can remember watching a specific Reading Rainbow episode and LeVar Burton did a story on a girl and her family eating mooncakes for mid-autumn festival. Yea, I grew up on KCET and proud of it! It’s insane how photos can take our memories back. I remember seeing how beautiful the mooncakes were on that episode and wanting to try one.

 

 

On a whim I dragged Andrew to Chinatown with me at 9pm Saturday night, a couple days after mid-autumn festival, hoping to find a bakery that still had them and was still open. We drove through the few streets in Chinatown until I spotted a bakery that had their neon light still lit up, “OPEN.” We walked up but unfortunately, it was already 9:10 and the shop had locked their doors. Bummed, (actually I was the bummed one because Andrew didn’t want to go in the first place) we began walking back to the car and around the corner we saw the owners unloading a shipment from the side door! We asked if we could buy some mooncakes and Hallelujah! They were kind enough to let us in and buy a few.

After coming back from our scavenger hunt, I did a little research on what exactly they were (because I apparently go on these hunts without even knowing what it is I’m getting) and what mid-autumn festival was. It’s a beautiful Chinese holiday celebrating the moon and sharing these cakes with loved ones. The different embossing of these pastries are so gorgeous it’s no wonder I mentally remembered them as a child. Typically, these are cut into wedges to share and to reveal the salted duck egg in the middle which represents the full moon. The filling varies from chopped nuts, to red bean, to lotus seed paste. Densely sweet while the yolk delivers a little kick of saltiness but oddly, perfectly balanced. The consistency of the filling is smooth and the pastry layer is so thin it really is only there to hold everything together and look pretty. Paired with a strong tea or coffee, this treat is a perfect reason to cuddle up with someone you love while gazing at the moon and stars.

Octoplace

Guess what? My friends over at Octoplace.com chose me as their featured foodie! How exciting! We spent a day together, and I took them to my favorite places in the Arts District Los Angeles.  I talked about my blog, the group I organize, the LA Food Bloggers, and my tips for snagging crossaint-donuts in my hood. You can see where I took ’em and read all about it on their blog!

Thanks Octoplace for choosing me as your featured foodie! I can’t wait for the new Octoplace app to launch!

photos by Puno

Hinoki & the Bird

There are restaurants that you love, and then there are those that you want to tell all your friends about over and over again.  Hinoki & the Bird is one of those restaurants you want to keep talking about over and over again.  The ambiance, the decor, the drinks, the food, and even the bathrooms! I couldn’t stop raving about the decor in the bathrooms when I sat down to my table.  As soon as you walk in the scent of Japanese cedar lightly perfumes the air.  Their large, open patio makes this place a perfect setting for warm summer nights and enjoying dinner and drinks al fresco.

I organized a LA Food Bloggers dinner here with a few bloggers from Octoplace.com, In My Red Kitchen, and Volted Magazine.  The restaurant was kind enough to plan a prix-fixe meal for us.  At the end of the meal the restaurant manager asked which was our favorite plate, and I was literally speechless.  The creamy pumpkin toast, the insanely crispy fried chicken, and the California kale salad done 3 ways were all sticking out in my mind.  I couldn’t pick just one! It would be unfair to all the other star dishes.

pumpkin toast with miso jam and goat cheese {$11}
salt and pepper calamari with ajwain-tomato jam {$13}
crispy marinated chicken with aioli {$14} | Griffith Park swizzle with bourbon, mint, lime, bitters, and absinthe {$14}
California kale crispy and raw salad with curried almonds and pecorino cheese {$12}
This salad was so memorable that I still think of it to this day.  Kale done 3 ways, fried, raw, and braised made a delicious, complex salad with different textures that never got boring.  Ellen, from In My Red Kitchen actually recreated this salad after our dinner.  I’ve been thinking of recreating it also but would rather pile it with baked kale chips instead of fried.
grilled drunken duck breast with persimmons {$24}

I paired the drunken duck with a side of the roasted yam with mild chilies, peppers and crème fraiche {$9}.  The duck was tender and perfectly rendered of the fatty skin.  My husband had the Scottish salmon {$24} which I couldn’t get a great picture of but was one of the best cooked salmons we both have ever had (I finished his plate off).  He paired it with the grilled organic rice lightly glazed with a bit of soy {$5}.

We all finished the meal with homemade mochi ice cream.  Not even close to the ones you get in your freezer aisle!  It was obvious the mochi was freshly made. The different flavors of the ice cream and spices were so intense and all went well together. Miso mochi with butterscotch and togarashi was for the salty/sweet dessert lovers. The chocolate mochi with curry and caramel was more middle of the road, not too sweet but decadently chocolatey.  My fave, the dulce de leche mochi with cajeta and toffee was the sweetest of the three, a perfect way to end a meal {all $4 each}.

If you plan on visiting this restaurant I suggest that you make reservations at least 2 weeks ahead of time.  I plan on visiting again soon to try the lobster roll which recently made the list to the Best Lobster Dishes to Eat Right Now in LA by Eater.

Wanna see what the other bloggers wrote and ate at this meal?
An Inexperienced Chef from Hinoki and the Bird – Octoplace.com
Review: Hinoki & the Bird – In My Red Kitchen

Hinoki & the Bird
10 Century Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90067
Neighborhood: Century City
(310) 552-1200