18 Year Balsamic-Beyond the Olive & The Market

May 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

Walking into The Market

A few days ago I introduced The Market at Santa Monica Place. Everything sounded so good on the website; I was excited to see what those gourmet vendors had to offer.

The Market is located in a strange place. It’s on the food court level of Santa Monica Place (an outdoor mall). When you arrive on the third floor, you find restaurants, an indoor food court and another indoor area for The Market. (There are too many choices! It unnecessarily caters to everyone. Because of this, business was not good for anyone.)

Walking into The Market, on the right, you’ll find an area where they feature different local vendors on a rotating basis. This week they had jams and spreads, middle eastern desserts and olive oils and vinegars.

From the permanent vendors, I had a $3.00 cookie from The Cookie Guru. It was fresh out of the oven and delicious, but too expensive. THREE DOLLARS! I also tried N’ice Cream’s Mango Lemon and Chocolate flavors. If I were to go for artisan ice cream, I’d rather have Carmela’s.

What I did enjoy was the aged balsamic from Beyond the Olive. It has a thick syrupy consistency with a sweet finish. It works well with salads, breads and desserts.

18 year balsamic vinegar

I bought the 375ml bottle for $20 and you can bring the bottle back for refills at a discounted price.

18 year balsamic with toasted bread & arugula

Though I enjoyed visiting The Market, I’m not sure how often I would visit. I wish they had more variety and incorporated the farmer’s market in that space.

The Market at Santa Monica Place

May 22, 2011 § 1 Comment

photo taken from the Market site

photo taken from the Market site

The Market at Santa Monica Place had its grand opening yesterday. It’s a collection of artisan, gourmet vendors that sell all types of food items.

Despite having some of the best foods in Los Angeles, this market is the first of its kind. It reminds me of the ferry building market in San Francisco or Vancouver’s Granville Island market.

I’m excited it’s here and I hope it’s successful.

Here are the vendors taken directly from the site. 

Ann Ryan, Beth Stockwell & Deb Kimble

A sweet treat from the streets of Malibu, Beachy Cream brings its retro-chic, organic ice-cream sandwiches to The Market.

Aurélie Vachresse

Made with the highest quality organic ingredients, the Cookie Guru bakes cookies that are crispy, yet chewy and gooey. These gourmet delights are paired with delicious flavored organic milk, which provides a unique twist on a classic pairing.

Christian Toxboe

From Denmark to Venice to Santa Monica comes N’Ice Cream, superior gelato and sorbet made fresh every morning with organic ingredients and fresh seasonal fruits.

Clémence Gossett & Hadley Hughes

The brainchild of a French pastry artist and an accomplished Southern cook, The Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savories offers 3- and 4-hour classes, chef demonstrations, special events, cookbook signings and more.

Hans Röckenwagner

Long-time favorite L.A. baker, Hans Röckenwagner, brings an enticing soufflé bar and a fresh selection of breads, pastries and more to The Market at Röckenwagner Bakery.

Jenny Barker

Join her celebrity clientele and experience a fresh take on floral design, including one-of-a-kind arrangements and fun classes, at Jenny Barker’s Magical Blooms.

Julia Faller

At Benedetta, each holistic skincare formula is made in small batches using certified organic and biodynamic ingredients, many California grown.

Mark Cannon & Elliot Rubin

This market, kitchen and café specializes in artisanal foods and farm-to-table cooking – and the results are always delicious.  The Curious Palate features unusual culinary items from around the world.

Piero Selvaggio & Nico Chessa

Primi Al Mercato offers small plates of unusual and creative pastas and more, made fresh on the spot – to enjoy at The Market or take home – from Valentino’s Piero Selvaggio.

Piero Selvaggio, Cesare Casella & Luciano Pellegrino

Joining Primi Al Mercato, acclaimed Santa Monica-based restauranteur Piero Selvaggio brings a second eatery to The Market called Norcino, meaning “The Butcher.”  The concept combines charcuterie plates with premium cheeses that will be served in a sushi-inspired fashion.

Richard Karno

A Westside favorite, groundwork coffee company brews certified organic, fairly traded, single origin and custom-blended coffees, including Banda Geisha, Black Gold, Bitches Brew and Angel City.

Terry Perretz

Artisan, gourmet chocolates – always handmade by the company’s French chocolatier – star in L’Artisan du Chocolat’s new location at The Market.

Tracy Hof, Molly Brink & Susan Brink

Experience this hip and eclectic wine shop and also discover unusual, beautifully packaged gifts. A tasting room adds to the excitement of this new location of the West Hollywood favorite, Venokado.

Farmers Market

May 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

Photos taken from L.A. City Farm blog

Yamashiro Restaurant: 1999 N. Sycamore Ave., L.A. CA 90068

Thursday Nights 5:00 – 9:00PM

I’m excited to experience this Los Angeles market. It re-opened April 7th. It’s more than a traditional shop for your food farmers market. You park on La Brea and Hollywood and take a free shuttle up to Yamashiro restaurant. There you should find an amazing view of the city while shopping for veggies and enjoying some wine. I’ve heard you can bring your own for a $20 corkage fee. There are also several vendors that serve food.

If you don’t want to go for the market, it will still be a great place to have dinner overlooking L.A.

Here’s the list taken from the L.A. City Farm blog.


Cookbook, Vegas & Contest

May 2, 2011 § 1 Comment


chef Tal Ronnen and Kathy Freston making creamy asparagus soup

The reason why I went to the Los Angeles book festival yesterday was to meet vegan chef Tal Ronnen. I was so excited to hear him speak and buy his book because he graduated from my future school (The Natural Gourmet Institute). He cooked for Oprah during her vegan cleanse and for Ellen & Portia’s wedding. I love his new book (the conscious cook) and am excited to try some recipes!

meeting chef Ronnen @ book signing

« Read the rest of this entry »

LA Times Festival of Books (Cooking Stage)

May 1, 2011 § 1 Comment

I am so excited that the festival changed it’s location to USC! It’s free to attend, but might be a pain to find parking. That shouldn’t be a surprise if you are a LA native. I hope you had a chance to check it out. If not, come today!

“The festival was an immediate success and has become the largest and most prestigious book festival in the country, attracting more than 140,000 book lovers each year.”

My excitement is not so much for the books, but for the people coming to present on the cooking stage.

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books website

It started yesterday, but today is when all the cool presenters come. Check out the program schedule below. I’m amazed by the chefs that are coming. Exciting!

Cooking Stage
11:00 AM
  • Kathy Freston & Tal Ronnen, Authors of Veganist & The Conscious Cook
  • Cooking Demonstrations

Comment: Tal went to the culinary school I’m going to in the Fall (the natural gourmet institute) and worked for Oprah!

12:30 PM
  • Thomas Keller, In Conversation with Russ Parsons
  • Author of Ad Hoc at Home

Comment: Thomas Keller is a great chef and opened The French Laundry among many others.

2:00 PM
  • Duff Goldman, Author of Ace of Cakes: Inside the World of Charm City Cakes
  • Talk and Q&A

Comment: Duff Goldman and his team make crazy cakes!

These aren’t books! It’s a cake!

3:30 PM
  • Fabio Viviani, Author of Café Firenze Cookbook
  • Cooking Demonstration

Artisanal LA event

April 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

Last year marked the first year of the Artisanal LA event, which brings together local vendors from Los Angeles. It was there that I discovered my favorite chocolatier- chocovivo. Delicious! The absolute best chocolate I have ever had. I’m a fan of pure dark chocolate.
“We stone grind our chocolate using lava stones just how it was done over 2000 years ago.  It’s minimally processed to maintain the purity and nutritional value.  Our chocolate is made fresh every week. We don’t use any flavorings, extracts or additional cacao butter.  It is 100% whole bean chocolate using whole ingredients.” -chocovivo website


I’m so happy that I found chocovivo! Though the price is on the higher end at $6 for under 3 ounces, I’d rather eat chocolate more infrequently if I can have this chocolate.

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to go to the event this year. I will be in New York! I’m there for a week to check out my future culinary school- The Natural Gourmet Institute. This is where some of the best veg and vegan chefs trained. I will also be meeting Chef  Amanda Cohen, who graduated from there and is the chef/owner of Dirt Candy. The only veg chef ever to be invited on Iron Chef. Excited!

photo taken from gothamist

For those of you in town, the Artisanal LA event will be awesome! You should definitely go and check it out! $10 pre-sale and a million free samples when you’re there. Why wouldn’t you?!? Delicious! It’s like Costco, but better and without the lady asking you where your mom is and whether you’re allowed to eat what she’s serving. Or did that only happen to me when I was young? Or was that only at my Chinese dominated Costco. I guess I’ll never know.

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