Saturday Morning News Bites

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C+M at LACMA

I love Saturday mornings, but I’d like them better if some of LA’s boutique coffee shops would deliver an amazing mocha to my doorstep. ūüôā

In any case, here’s a round-up of By The List’s fave news spots this week, in absolutely no order at all. Happy weekending!

Check out this¬†interview with Ted Delgado (owner of Rae’s and Teddy’s Cafe) over at EaterLA. I love diners, ¬†therefore I love diner owners.

LACMA’s summer music programs are in full effect, bringing world music to the masses every weekend. Tomorrow By The List may just attend Latin Music Saturdays! Hooray! Check the calendar for future performances.

Have you jumped on the cronut bandwagon yet? My friend Anna at Huff Po gives us a breakdown of where we might grab on around LA. I want to try Semisweet Bakery‘s version first.

I’m tardy to the party on this one, but I’ve been thinking about visiting the freshly redone Echo Park Lake all week. It reopened in June and I still haven’t made it there. Soon!

Another place I have yet to visit? Superba Snack Bar, and they’re giving away free s’mores this weekend in honor of making it to one year. Literally and figuratively sweet!

Summer is here, which means it’s time to get your Shakespeare on¬†with various local theater troupes, many of which perform under the stars.

New Mid-City Favorite: Top Round Roast Beef

Mid-City is full of great foodie destinations, and another one just opened last week: Top Round Roast Beef, brought to you by  a gaggle of male restauranteurs from popular LA restaurants like 800 Degrees, Red Medicine and XIV.

The pickings are slim, but in a good and delicious way: five versions of roast beef sandwiches, three curly fry options, sundaes, concretes (like a McFlurry), and a fancy soda fountain that allows you to mix up flavors if you like (Fanta + Mr. Pibb, anyone?). The ¬†menu reminds me of In N Out— it’s not about doing a million things, it’s about doing a few things and executing them very well. The decor is no frills, too. Just a faux retro diner sittin’ on the corner of La Brea and Olympic.

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The latest and greatest in Mid-City.

I totally failed to take food photos this time around, as I was too busy scarfing down meat, bread, and cheese. It was SO good! I had a plain roast beef sandwich with au jus— to the point and yummy. Some folks on Chowhound liken it to what Arby’s sandwiches were like long ago. The cheesy fries were a great side, messy and fork-worthy. They’re also not unlike the amazing cheese fries one gets at Shake Shack. Do they sit like a rock in your belly? Sure. But every once in awhile I don’t mind carrying around a stomach rock.

Don’t fill up on sammys and fries, though. The dessert offerings shouldn’t be glossed over. We took the concrete path this time, ordering blueberry pie (literally tasted like obliterated, buttery pie crust in a cup) and the Elvis, a mixture of cookies, banana, and peanuts (a combo that The King supposedly adored). These were pricey at $5 each, but the perfect sweet treat to end the dinner.

Like you needed another indulgent, fatty cafe on your Mid-City hit list, right?

More photos after the jump!

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Chocolate, Chocolate, and More Chocolate

The other day these words actually crossed my lips: “I’m liking fruity desserts more than chocolatey ones lately.” Yikes! This is a big deal. The blueberry pie slice that my husband orders religiously at Sweet Lady Jane is somehow starting to taste better than the chocolate cheesecakes I tend to order, and I never thought I’d live to see the day where fruit conquered chocolate in my book.

That being said, I won’t swear off cocoa products entirely, of that I’m sure. And when I read about a new business opening to Culver City next week, Chocovivo, I got a little excited.

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Screenshot via Chocovivo.com

 Sipping chocolate, truffles, chocolate/cheese boards and more? Yum. Another place for my must-visit list. Soft opening is July 15, full opening a few weeks after that.

 

 

A Foodie Day Trip With Two Pit Stops

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Photo of olives by Dan Shouse via Creative Commons

The weather gods are showing us their good side lately, and all this sunshine is making me daydream of possible quick trips to take with the fam. Our travels often revolve around food as much as sights, but in the case of this day trip, they’re one in the same.

I recently read about Graber Olive House¬†while doing online research for Chow— the¬†husband is such an olive fanatic (he will eat a whole can of black olives as a dinner appetizer) that I immediately got excited. An olive house?! That might even put a spring in that homebody’s step.

Graber Olive House is nearly 120 years old, and it’s basically an old-school (and still-running) olive operation from start to finish: orchards, curing tubs, size sorters, and canning machinery all in one spot. Their big press point is that all of their olives are tree-ripened, unlike so many of the fruits we eat nowadays that are picked long before they’re ripe so that they can age as they travel across oceans and continents. The argument is that tree-ripened produce tastes better, and lots of people think Graber olives are a prime example of this (of course they’re pricier to boot).

I also learned from their website that those canned olives we all played with on our fingertips as kids are oxidized to that deep and consistent black color. Unoxidized olives (like those cured at Graber Olive House) won’t all be the same color, but rather an array of red, green, and tan shades. Kinda cool!

The house is just 40 miles away from LA in Ontario, so it makes for an easy day trip. You can email to set up a tour of the entire grounds any time of year, but it sounds like fall is the best time. There are also various gift shops full of fancy food items. 315 E. Fourth Street, Ontario; 800-996-5483

Stop number two: The Donut Man, a stand on Route 66 that’s just¬†18 miles from Graber. I haven’t had one of these delicious looking treats myself, but from what I hear they are some of the best donuts in So Cal, and fresh strawberry donuts are available all of spring!¬†915 E Rte 66, Glendora; 626-335-9111

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Photo of Donut Man strawberry donut by Space Pirate Queen via Creative Commons

Seriously?! Take a look at this crazy photo menu. If that doesn’t get you drooling in about five seconds, you must be a robot.

The road is calling me to the Inland Empire.

4 Items at Pa Ord in L.A.’s Thai Town

Adventurous eaters flock to Pa Ord¬†for the¬†1)¬†boat noodles, a funky soup with broth that’s thickened with pork blood and full of offal. I’d never tried the it until this week, but I felt like I had to given that the dish is mentioned on practically every LA Weekly “You Have To Eat This Now” type of list,¬†and while once was enough I’ll admit that it wasn’t terrible in taste. If you have a sliver of Andrew Zimmern in you, give it a shot.

It’s not just the boat noodles that keep people coming back to Pa Ord, however. Garret Snyder wrote it best, saying that Pa Ord offers “the Bitches Brew of Bangkok cuisine.” Though I won’t personally equate a bowl full of unmentionables to anything put forth by Miles Davis, I understood the metaphor when I went back for seconds and thirds of 2)¬†larb, spicy ground pork mixed with lime, mint leaves. Packed with flavor (and spice), I felt sad to be sharing the dish four ways. Something to note: They’re not joking around when they label something spicy on the menu. Even if you ask for a specific dish to be prepared mild, it will burn your tongue. No matter what.

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We also sampled the 3) Thai sausage and an order of 4) crispy pork and veggies. That pork was really crispy. I’d call it overdone really, but others in our party dug it, so. To each his own. I ate all the pork-flavored choy, and it was heavenly.

It’s not the best place to dine if you’re a vegetarian, but you could go and stick with the papaya salad and some stir fried veggies over rice. Throw in some Thai iced tea or coffee for good measure.

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Classic Eats At Apple Pan

3/14 was National Pie Day apparently (which makes me laugh for various reasons), and by coincidence I had plans to visit Apple Pan with an old friend. We didn’t talk about the irrational number (you’re shocked by that, right?); we talked about future travel plans, career beginnings, and of course of the deliciously classic food we were about to gobble from one of L.A.’s most beloved mainstays.

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As much as I like modern cooking and food presentation, I have just as much love for paper-wrapped burgers and Diet Coke in a cone. Throw red swivel stools, cooks in paper hats, and antique cash registers into the mix and I’m a happy girl. Even if you don’t think Apple Pan is among the best burger purveyors in Los Angeles, you’d be hard pressed to name a place that offers a similar dining experience, one that throws you back into the 1950s in as real a way. I love the lack of pretense at the u-shaped counter; no one’s there to people watch or impress, just to eat good food. Plus, I’m an old soul at heart. I feel like I’d fit more neatly into an older time, and something about Apple Pan makes me feel right at home, as cliche as that may sound.

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Here’s what I order for a quick meal at AP — and I do mean quick, because part of the schtick here is that the waiters are as grumpy as my 90-year-old grandpa and don’t like lollygaggers taking up their seating. Once your food is down the hatch, pay the check and adios.

1. Steakburger w/ cheese

2. Fries

3. Soft drink

4. Slice of homemade apple pie, a la mode PicMonkey CollageApplePAn2

California & L.A. Love: Four Items To Love

I’m obsessed with maps and city skylines. To me they symbolize energy and adventure. That instance when you take in a city from afar or open a fresh map in a place you’ve just landed… man, those are moments to live by.

I also love things that scream California or Los Angeles, because both are so tremendous and awesome and there’s always more to explore. Here are four Cali/L.A. items I’d buy in a heartbeat — well, three items I guess, because we already own the poster (couldn’t help myself). ūüôā

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LA print from Ork Posters

California stamp from Paper Pastries (via Cup of Jo)

Pillow from Etsy shop lovecalifornia

Watercolor tote by Isabelle Dillard via Society6