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los angeles


Asian Grill Recipes for your Next BBQ

asian grill recipes as seen on sunset magazine - june 2010

asian grill recipes as seen on sunset magazine - june 2010

If you are looking for something different to grill on your BBQ, why not get inspired by Asian cooking. I would serve the Five-Spice Chicken Noodle Salad into a big bowl placed on a tray. And the tray will also hold the bowl of Chile Lime Dressing. Serving the dressing in individual bowls will be aligned with how they serve food in Japanese restaurants.

And talking about Japanese food, you can’t go wrong if you serve Japanese Tofu Skewers on Soba. It’s healthy! You alternate the nigari tofu with alternating with green onions and shiitake mushroom caps.

These two recipes appeared on the June 2010 issue of Sunset magazine. You will find drink pairings by Sara Schneider online. And they proposed three more delicious Asian grill recipes.

+ Photography by Annabelle Breakey – food styling by Karen Shinto for Sunset magazine


Artisanal Ice Pop Shops in New York and Los Angeles

gourmet ice pops in a range of innovative flavors at the popshop

popGelato, popSorbetto and popYogourt at popbar in New York

It was only a matter of time before people reinvent another childhood classic with gourmet ice pops. Ice pop molds have entered our houses a while ago but it tool longer to see artisanal shops that make handmade ice pops. Spring 2010 has brought his share of the gourmet ice pop shops, at least in New York City. An article of The New York Times listed four newly opened ice pop shops across New York City.

fruit and herb frozen pops by people\'s pops

You get a variety of flavors from the classic fruit and herb ice pops up to an Italian pop version made with gelato, sorbetto or yogourt. People’s Pops like to experiment with flavors. Past flavors included Spiced Rhubarb ice pops, Blackberry & Lemon Verbena ice pops, or Rhubarb-Jasmine ice pops.

gourmet ice pops in a range of innovative flavors at the popshop

If you do not count your calories, you can add toppings and a chocolate coating to your Popbar. I could be tempted by the Pistachio dizzle which is a Pistacho popGelato covered in chopped pistachios and drizzled with premium dark chocolate. Otherwise, I would try the  lighter Strawberry Lemon popSorbetto. Popbar is the first American shop launched by an Italian artisanal gelato maker called Stick House. They adapted their concept to the American market.

I wanted to know if the concept has made it outside New York City. I browsed the Web to see what is happening elsewhere. I found that there is at least one artisanal pop shop in Los Angeles. According to their Facebook page, The Popshop was founded in 2008. They sell their products at several venues including the Studio City Farmers Market during summer. Flavors at The Popshop vary weekly. With choices like Blueberry Lemonade, Chili Chocolate, Cucumber Lime, Lavender Lemon, Lemon Basil, Lime Mint Mojito, Meyer Lemon Ginger, Pomegranate Orange, Spiced Cider, Strawberry Lemonade, and Watermelon Lime, we are far away from the mass-market Popsicles.

And before these newcomers, Paleteria Fernandez offered forty flavors of paletas de fruta (frozen fruit pops) and paletas de leche (milk pops) at their Port Chester shop. I spotted a review on The Wesfoodie’s that dated from 2006.

You will look to be in the know if you serve your own handmade ice pops at parties this summer. I particularly like the idea of making yours with gelato instead of frozen fruit juices.

+ Popbar $3.99 to $4.99 USD – shop located at 5 Carmine Street (at 6th Avenue), NYC
+ People’s Pops $3.50 USD – shop located at Chelsea Market, 75 Ninth Avenue (at 15th Street), NYC
+ The Popshop – with selected retailers across LA – photography by Renee Anjanette as seen on LAist


Organic Blanket and Throw by Heather Heron

hand knotted beach blanket from environment by heather heron

hand knotted beach blanket from environment by heather heron

Canadian-born, LA-based designer Heather Heron proposes exquisite blankets that will sustain a day or night at the beach. Developed with the surf culture in mind, her Environment by Heather Heron collection is luxurious in look and feel.

organic Fringe Throw :: environment by heather heron - lifestyle collection

You want to to snuggle under her organic throw and blanket. The Fringe Throw is made from organic hemp and flax woven together to create this beautiful homespun pinwheel pattern. The Hand Knotted Beach Blanket revives an age-old craft of hand knotting that is rarely done these days in the United States. They are not cheap but with proper care, they can last a lifetime.

About the Collection

She collaborated with Environment Furniture to produce her lifestyle collection. Heather described it in those words:

I designed a collection for Environment Furniture to celebrate the art of living … spirit filled, minimal + adventurous … whether it’s island living or city living …

Heather Heron stayed true to her signature materiel, hemp. She specializes in handcrafted bags and scarfs made with organic hemp textiles, reclaimed vintage U.S. Military textiles, surplus Japanese denim. The products of Environment collection are handcrafted in California.

Her lifestyle collection is available at Provide in Vancouver and at her online store.

+ Organic Fringe Throw $295
+ Hand Knotted Beach Blanket $395


An Outdoor Entertaining Space Like in The Movies

dramatic views of the sunset plaza residence in los angeles

dramatic views of the sunset plaza residence in los angeles

This feels truly like Hollywood, on a good way. Imagine how easy it should be to throw a party with such dramatic views as your backdrop. Yes, I am in awe with that Sunset Plaza house designed by Assembledge.

upstairs terrace lounging area of the sunset plaza residence designed by assembledge

The pool area and the upstairs terrace were designed for someone who likes to host pool party. They are ideas to steal here if you are redesigning your backyard. I am particularly fond of the long benches. It is not hard to build something similar. You can always reduce the cost by opting for cheaper type of wood that you will paint.

sunset plaza residence swimming pool at night :: los angeles

I am sure that I saw the Sunset Plaza house used in a movie or a TV show. Do you recall which?

+ photos: Assembledge


Lemon and Rosemary Chicken | Pollo Arrosto recipe

Lemon and Rosemary Chicken recipe | pollo arrosto by Evan Kleiman of Angeli Caffe in Los Angeles

Lemon and Rosemary Chicken recipe | pollo arrosto by Evan Kleiman of Angeli Caffe in Los Angeles

I can rarely resist a tasty simple to make lemon chicken recipe.  This is why I share the aromatic roasted chicken recipe by Evan Kleiman of Angeli Caffe in Los Angeles. I spotted his recipe on Saveur.

The recipe is something that you can make after a day at the office, if you do not mind eating later. While it marinates for an hour, you could relax, train with the Wii Fit or pick up fresh vegetables at your local fruit and vegetable store.

The recipe called for a whole chicken cut in 8 pieces. You can easily adjust the recipe to cook the number of pieces you need to feed your family. Or bring the leftovers for lunch at the office the next day. Or use the remaining meat to prepare a homemade chicken soup.

Side Dishes

I would serve the Pollo Arrosto with steamed broccoli, boiled green beans or an arugula salad with a lemon olive oil vinaigrette. I use 2 parts of lemon juice for 5 parts of peppery olive oil and season to taste with freshly ground pepper and fleur de sel. Nothing complicated but it tastes incredible!

+ Pollo Arrosto – Lemon and Rosemary Chicken recipe on Saveur – photos by Andre Baranowski


Mr. and Mrs. Owl Cupcakes for this Valentine’s Day

lady owl :: the owl cupcakes are back in a valentine's day gift box by blue cupcake

lady owl :: the owl cupcakes are back in a valentine\'s day gift box by blue cupcake

I love the Valentine’s Day gift box designed by Blue Cupcake. Her owl cupcakes look so adorable. The dozen cupcakes comes with a lady own, a mister cupcake plus cupcakes decorated with a group of flowers or a heart. The 12 cupcakes come a gift box with a personalized card. This is all yours for $40.

Pick-up is available from their bakery in Van Nuys. Since you already know that I am a huge fan of Bleu Cupcake, seeing those made me wish that I was living in the Los Angeles area.

+ photo: Blue Cupcake


More Designer Hotels

bulgari hotels in milan

I introduced the Missoni Hotel a couple months ago for their bold use of colors in a bedroom. Missoni is one of many designer brands who joined the hospitality market.

These days, the fashionista can do more than decorate her home with designer’s bedding and cushions, or entertain with tableware from the same fashion maven than the clothes she wears at her dinner party. The next frontier is to fully experience a designer style by staying in an hotel room. Seriously, I am all for stylish, well-designed hotel rooms. I am tired to see the generic hotel rooms. When I travel, I want a better experience that will inspire me. That is the main appeal of the boutique hotels.

Elle Canada listed 9 designer hotels from established fashion houses and hip designers. If you wish to stay in an interior designed by Christian Lacroix head to Hotel Du Petit Moulin. You could enjoy a night in a Bulgari Hotel when you visit Milan or or the remodeled Mondrian designed by Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz when you go to Los Angeles.

+ more at Elle Canada
+ photo via Bulgari Hotels


Silk Lanterns Elevate the Garden Party

silk lanterns for garden weddings by flite

Inspired by the fabulous work of LA-based event design Flite, I examined how to best use silk lanterns in a garden party to get a stunning effect. It starts with the superb Vietnamese silk lanterns, which are a lot more sophisticated than Chinese paper lanterns.

silk lanterns garden wedding in violets by flite

When you are hanging lanterns, mix the shapes and alternate colors. Pumpkin, diamond, teardrop, balloon, cocoon shapes work well together. I encourage you to mix solids and patterns within a hue family. A two-color palette is more elegant. For the garden wedding in violets, you can broaden the scheme by adding a few pink lanterns. I think this installation was really successful.

Since you will need a large number of lanterns to make a statement, it is often best to rent them. Plus, they will do the installation for you, including doing the wiring if your party continues after dark. An event design studio with a remarkable portfolio is Flite located in Los Angeles, California. Looking at their portfolio is a treat.

complementing shapes and tones lanterns

If you wish to do it yourself, you can find sources online. Vi Gallery sells 4 shapes of Hoi An Silk Lanterns in two sizes (medium $20 USD large $30 USD) in an array of colors. For a larger selection, check Asia2you, a retailer based in Wisconsin that ships everywhere. This is where I found these beautiful parasol lanterns.

hoi silk lanterns

+ Silk Lanterns by Flite – Photo credits for my first collage: top left photo by Cat Gwynn and Ben Hoffman, top right photo by Louis Felix, second row photos by Mark Carolin
+ Orange pattern prosperity lantern on sale at $33.95 USD
+ Solid Orange prosperity lantern on sale at $31.15 USD


Tips to Make Your Own Ice Cream Sandwiches

ice cream sandwiches

To get the wow factor, I suggest you set up an ice cream sandwich bar where your guests can select their own cookie and ice cream combination. This means that you have several options when you wish to serve ice cream sandwiches at a party:

  • Make everything from scratch – it is wonderful but who has the time
  • Bake the cookies and buy premium ice cream  or Buy the cookies and make your own ice cream- it is manageable for many
  • Buy the cookies and premium ice cream – the no-fuss way

I say to do whatever fits your skills and your schedule. Make sure to serve the ice cream sandwiches in either ordinary waxed paper or go the extra miles and get professional grade food paper. You can make your cookies square, round or any almost-square shapes. For a kid birthday, use a butterfly cookie cutter or a castle cookie cutter.

I attached photos of professional made ice cream sandwiches to know what to aim for. Paul of Sweet Paul shows us that waffle cookies adds a twist. I like the look but I prefer the taste of real cookies. The New-York bakery Milk and Cookies sells 6 flavors and plus the flavor of the week.

Coolhaus Concept

Two Los Angeles girls in their twenties start selling ice creams at festivals on their converted postal truck. Instead of paper, Freya Estreller and Natasha Case imagined the Coolhaus ice sandwiches in edible wrapper. Made of rice paper, the wrapper can be branded with soy ink. This is a cool idea for events. They twitter their truck location.

You can order the sandwiches straight off the menu or mix the flavors to your liking. This is one thing that you could do if you are having a big bash. Assembling an ice cream sandwich only takes a few seconds.

1. Waffle and strawberry ice cream sandwich by Sweet Paul
2. Coolhaus $3 USD without edible wrapper, $3.50 with edible wrapper- more photos on Yelp
3. Milk and Cookies $4.95 USD


More Adorable Cupcake Towers by Blue Cupcake

fabulous cupcake tower creations by blue cupcake

It is not the first time I featured the work of Julie Desmeules of Blue Cupcake. What can I say, she never stopped to amazed me. I wish I was a guest at those parties. For grown ups, have a look at one of her Cupcake Wedding Tower and the Bon Voyage! cupcake she did for herself before going to vacation.

For Kids Birthdays

Julie excelled at sculpting animals in fondant. This Noah’s Ark Cupcake Tower was designed for the first birthday of a little boy called Noah. Two by two go the hippos, elephants, turtles, lions, and many more! For each specie, she crafted a male and female version.  This is an easy theme on which to build a birthday kid party.

A 3-year old girl has her Cinderella princess party. She requested a glittery coach on the cake. You have to be close to see the glittery powder on the coach.

Now Available Daily at Lot 44 Coffee

Since last Monday, July 20, 2009,  her daily baked classic flavor cupcakes such as red velvet, chocolate, coconut and vanilla are sold at Lot 44 Coffee in downtown Los Angeles. There will be many seasonal flavors as well. She served the very popular strawberry cupcakes at the event. I wish her all the best with this new venture.

+ Blue Cupcake

HOME + GARDEN MODERN architecture

Cory Buckner’s Triumph at Restoring Mid-20th American Architecture

life in suburbia LA

Since we are celebrating Canada Day and the Fourth of July this week, let’s talks about preserving our cultural heritage. Our history is also expressed through residential architecture. After all, how we imagined and designed our neighborhoods and the houses we are living in is linked to what is going in our society. They reflect our values.

The Story of Crestwood Hills in West LA.

historic cultural monuments LA

As you can see, those were affordable housing with a modern architecture. They were part of a community initiated by the Mutual Housing Association. The community is better known as Crestwood Hills in West LA. Out of the 150 houses that were built, a lit bit more than 30 houses still exist today.

There is hope to protect that era since so far 16 homes in Crestwood Hills are currently declared Historic-Cultural Monuments by the City of Los Angeles thanks to the initiative of architect and Crestwood Hills Association board member Cory Buckner. This post-war II modern housing community was designed by architect A. Quincy Jones and Whitney R. Smith.

revival movement of mid-century housing in Crestwood Hills, West LA

Cory Buckner worked as an architect of several restorations and alterations of these houses to bring them back to their original glory. She also published a book about the work of A. Quincy Jones. Buckner lives with her husband in one of the original houses. She worked hard since 1996 so that Los Angeles recognized the historical value of the mid-century houses in Crestwood Hills. I am glad that she succeed. I would love to live in one of these houses.

I invite you to read an old article on Dwell about the story of this community and the efforts of Cory Buckner. The photos by Darcy Hemley come from the article on Dwell.

+ Blog of Crestwood Hills
+ Cory Buckner
+ A. Quincy Jones by Cory Buckner $22.76 USD at