Sunday, January 30, 2011

How to get a passport in one day!

Last week, we learned that J's grandma had a heart attack and was hospitalized. We scrambled and bought last minute airfare tickets from United Airlines using their "compassion fares". We were all packed and ready to go when realized that I had no idea where my passport was!

Frantically, I searched online and to my surprise and relief, I learned that you CAN get a passport in ONE day if you are lucky enough to live close to one of 14 regional centers.

Thankfully, we live in LA so I was able to go to the Federal Buildling @ 13000 Wilshire Blvd and successfully get a passport on Wednesday. We were on our way to Canada Thursday at 7am.

Here are some links that I found helpful:
Good news! Grandma is on the road to recovery!

Don't See -The American

Although we usually enjoy movies that George Clooney is in, this one was just too slow. If we want to see some brooding, we prefer the teenage angst captured in the Twilight series.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Must See: In a Better World

While in Sundance, we were able to see one screening at the Egyptian theatre in Ogden. We went opening weekend, so tickets for very hard to come by (and we hadn't purchased them in advance). We were able to score tickets during the open ticket period (week before the festival), and although it was about an hour each way commute from where we were staying in Park City - it was totally worth it. We loved this film. It is now up for the Oscar for best foreign film...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Must Eat: The Viking Yurt, Park City, UT

At the top of the mountain at the Park City Ski Resort, we were looking for hot chocolate, and per chance, stumbled upon the most charming yurt! Since we were only looking for a snack, we didn't get a chance to sample all of the menu - however, what we ate was ab fab.

super tasty sausage sandwich!
delicious onion relish
apple strudel - the best since I've had since I was in Germany!

This is another FJ "Must Eat" in Park City - The Viking Yurt. Apparently we aren't the only ones who think so. According to the Today Show, NBC - it is one of the "Most Romantic Places to Propose in America."

The Viking Yurt
2065 Mahre Drive
Park City, UT 84098
(435) 615-9878

Must Eat: Goldener Hirsch Inn, Park City, UT

The food in Park City was fantastic! One of the highlights was the Cheese Fondue @ the Goldener Hirsch Inn. It was a charming and cozy restaurant with a fireplace and romantic atmosphere. We recommend this place as a "Must Eat" in Park City, Utah!

Goldener Hirsch fondue: gruyere, emmentaller, appenzeller & vacherin with green apples & crunchy baguette

Goldener Hirsch wiener schnitzel:

herb spaetzle, caper vinaigrette, caraway glazed carrots, charred lemon & thyme beurre blanc

Goldener Hirsch Inn Restaurant

7570 Royal Street
Park City, UT 84060-5111, United States
(435) 649-7770

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Skiing and Sundancing in Park CIty, Utah

J - loves to ski. Me (F) - not so much.

Afterall, I moved all the way from Boston with the main purpose to escape the snow and the winter! So we compromised by planning a weekend getaway Park City during the Sundance Film Festival where J could ski/snowboard and I could watch films, eat and shop!

Where we stayed: Best Western Landmark Inn
Where we skiied: Deer Valley and Park City
Where we ate: Goldener Hirsch Inn

Some Tips:
  • Hotel prices are inflated for the Sundance Film Festival so plan ahead, and book early! We booked our room in August under AAA rate for $99 a night. By Jan, that rate had gone up to $400 a night!
  • The first weekend of the festival is more chaotic than the second so if you want to see celebrities then this is your best bet. However, if you want to see films, I recommend planning your trip around the second weekend.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Maybe Eat (Unless you are allergic to MSG): Rock Sugar Pan Asian Kitchen, Century City Mall

We got together with a bunch of friends and went out to dinner at the Rock Sugar Pan Asian Kitchen in the Century City Mall. Didn't take many photos, but you can check out their website or take my word that it is a fun and trendy spot. We had a great time! The drinks were delicious and the food was very tasty.

But that was the problem. It was very tasty in a heavy on the MSG kind of way. Unfortunately, I am allergic (dizzy/sweating) to this synthetic flavor enhancer so that was a bit of a bummer.

I would recommend the food here if you are not sensitive to MSG. Otherwise, stick with to the delicious drinks.

Rock Sugar PanAsian Kitchen
0250 Santa Monica Blvd #654
Los Angeles, CA 90067
(310) 552-9988

Friday, January 14, 2011

Maybe Eat: Bottega Louie, Los Angeles, CA

I love Chocolate Souffle. I still remember the first time I had it... in LA, 10 years ago. I was at Moustache Cafe in Westwood when my friend Steph introduced me to the most amazing dessert ever.... the grand marnier / chocolate souffle. It was like marble cake, but 10 times more incredible. The souffle was perfect - poofy and piping hot. We poured the cream in and devoured it. Divine Yumminess.

Since Moustache Cafe closed, I have been searching for the replacement souffle. Bottega Louie, in downtown LA, came close... but if my memory serves me correct, it is not quite as good. It may, however, be the best you can find in LA at this time.

On another note, they make some brightly colored and tasty macaroons. Perhaps not quite as good as the ones in Paris at Laduree, but pretty solid for this part of town.

The food @ Bottega Louie was pretty decent and the atmosphere is bustling and fun. I recommend this as a fun spot to meet up with your hipster friends if you happen to be hanging out around downtown LA and/or have a serious craving for some fancy schmancy sweets.

Bottega Louie
700 S Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90016
(213) 802-1470

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Must Eat: Madame Chou Chou, Santa Monica, CA

On Main Street in Santa Monica, we stumbled upon this hidden gem. From the outside, this is a rather unassuming restaurant. But once we stepped inside, we found it charming and tres chic (this is a French restaurant, after all). We were seated on the back patio which was impeccably and luxuriously decorated with chandeliers and fanciful wall paper.

The champagne ($38 per bottle) was delightful, but the food was the star here - it was phenomenal and reasonably priced at $16-22 per entree. Everyone loved their meal. This spot is a sure hit.

Madame Chou Chou
2518 Main St
Santa Monica, CA 90405

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Maybe Eat: Fraiche Restaurant, Santa Monica, CA

Several months ago, Opentable had a promotion where you could buy a $50 gift certificate to Fraiche for $25. Since it is just down the street, we decided to give it a try.

ROASTED PEPPERS ARUGULA & BURRATA Shallots, 12 year old balsamic and extra virgin olive oil. This was quite tasty.

I am a sucker for bolognese. My absolute favorite as at Supper Restaurant in the East Village, NYC. I try it everywhere I go. This one was pretty solid. I give it a B.
J got the steak frites. The fries were really tasty. J enjoyed his steak.

Overall, this was a solid and well executed meal. The only reason why I'm not giving it a "Must Eat" rating is because it seemed a bit expensive for an every day meal (without the discount) and not quite fabulous enough for a super special occasion. Having said that, it is probably one of the better restaurants we have tried in Santa Monica.

312 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Neighborhood: Santa Monica
(310) 451-7482

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Maybe Eat: Warszawa Restaurant, Santa Monica, CA

On the busy main road of Lincoln Blvd in Santa Monica, lies this little restaurant in a cozy vintage SM cottage - Warszawa. We had read pretty solid reviews (4 stars) about this restaurant on, and had been meaning to give it a try.

We started with soup described as the "Famous Warszawa Pea Soup with smoked ham and marjoram." It was smokey and hearty, but quite salty and perhaps even a bit too heavy for our preferences.
Next we sampled their pierogies. We decided to order the mixed plate. You can choose to get them fried or boiled. J is from a part of Canada with a large Ukrainian population, so he is the expert on these. He thought they were delightful, but their presentation perhaps a bit too high end for the comfort food.
For his main dish, J picked the Polish hunter stew which contained various sorts of sausage. He liked it because it was meaty, but I thought it was only okay.

At the end of the dinner, we were satisfied and full. The food seemed a bit overpriced for what you get, but this is Santa Monica, where many things are overpriced. We enjoyed our meal and thought it was good if you happened to be craving Polish food.

We didn't go to the bar, but supposedly the patio has a very happening scene and serves large drinks if that is what you are looking for.

Warszawa Polish Cuisine
1414 Lincoln Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Maybe Eat: Huckleberry, Santa Monica, CA

We sometimes go for breakfast at Huckleberry. There is always a long line to eat here, as it seems to be the hot spot for brunch in the neighborhood. We find, however, that if we come before 10am on the weekend, we can usually order, get a table and eat our food in a reasonable amount of time.

The best dish in my opinion, is the green eggs and ham. It is pretty good, but in my opinion, looks better than it tastes. My favorite is still the egg sandwich over at Gjelina.

The pastries look amazing but I haven't really sampled them so can't really judge. I think I had a scone once, and enjoyed it.

The breakfasts here are good. Presentation is super. But we come here mainly because:
1) it is down the street
2) we don't feel like cooking brunch ourselves (which tastes better)
3) we go early so we don't have to wait.

Whenever we leave, there is always a line stretching out the door. I'm not sure it's worth it to wait that long - but apparently many do.

Huckleberry Cafe & Bakery
1014 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 451-2311

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Cheers to 2011 and living deliciously in LA

During 2010, F and J moved from Boston to Los Angeles. It's been great so far and we are loving our new life on the West Coast! We love to eat and explore new things, so we figured delicious was a great way to describe our life in LA.

This blog is our way of sharing our experiences and passing along some things we learn along the way. Every day is a special day and full of wonder.