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What I’m Loving Now: July 2012

24 Jul

Ass a follow up to my “What I’m Loving Now: June 2012” post, here’s what I’m loving this month! With so many websites and blogs releasing incredible new information daily, it’s impossible to catch everything, so here are my 10 favorite tidbits of the month. Enjoy!

10. This week’s DineLA deals got my craving some seriously good food. I’m talking sophisticated, savory meals, not the sweets that I so often cook up in my own kitchen. Easter LA’s round up of LA’s 20 most iconic dishes is the perfect way to keep treating my taste buds while trying to track down some of the city’s best fare. Two of the the highlights on this list for me are #7: Mozza Pizzeria’s butterscotch bundino, one of my favorite (and the richest) desserts in the city and #20: Jitlada Thai Resturant’s green curry, the dish that I’m most eager to try soon thanks to my obsession with any type of Asian cuisine.

9. This charming “Let’s Sleep Under the Stars” print from TheWheatField captures the true essence of the carefree attitude that summer elicits. The soft twinkling of stars and innocence of the red plaid tent illustrate the perfectly childish fun of summer camp, and show what all of us try to recapture each year as the temperatures climb.

8. This “You Know You’re A Food Blogger If…” list from Eat the Love cracks me up! While Not all 40 of these statements are true for me just yet, it’s good/frightening to know what’s in store for me in the future as I continue working on my blog. I think #20 just may be my favorite…or #10…it’s just too hard to choose!

7. I adore this sweet necklace from TagYoureItJewelry! The tiny pendant is sweet and pretty, but still simple enough to wear everyday.  It’s so refreshing to see romance jewelry without an abundance of hearts!

6. My mouth is watering simply from looking as this delicious Eton Mess Trifle from Sips and Spoonfuls. This trifle layers Middle Eastern rosewater and pistachio meringues with luscious strawberry whipped cream for a desert that looks decadent, yet tastes light and airy. This looks like the perfect end to any summer get-together! I can’t wait to ry out the recipe myself (as soon as I return from Europe that is).

5. I was so impressed by Wes Anderson’s latest indie flick, Moonrise Kingdom. Goose kindly gave into my pleas to go see the unconventional love story of two 12-year-old misfits who decide to run away together and eventually fall in love. We both walked out of the theatre in awe of how the two unlikable protagonists manage to have the audience rooting for them throughout the film. Equally impressive are the stellar performances by Ed Norton, Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand and the young new comers, Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward. The movie has been out for a few weeks, so try to catch it in theaters before it’s gone!

4. I am completely obsessed with Free People’s Indian Enchantment Dress! I wrote a post a while back about how I love Free People’s whimsical, boho-chic aesthetic and this dress is the perfect elevation into formal wear. The wispy, jewel toned fabric is the perfect anti-dote to boring, monochromatic prom dresses. I don’t have any idea what I could wear this dress for, but that doesn’t make it any less beautiful!

3. Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation recently released pictures of the duplex that Frank Gehry designed for the project. Gehry’s four-bedroom duplex is one of the 21 new additions to the ninth ward that he and 20 other leading starchitects have designed. PS the home’s new inhabitants chose the lavender color for their new home, not Gehry himself.

2. On Sunday I was lucky enough to witness an incredible feat of partner yoga while walking with Goose along Santa Monica beach. We saw over a dozen people engaged in this trust-based practice that ended with one of the partners in each of the pairs simultaneously lifting the other partner into a handstand. It amazes me how the yogis can have such a deep conviction in their partner’s ability to protect that they  are willing to attempt an already difficult pose while balancing upon another person. I was nervous about trying aerial yoga because I had to put my faith in fabric to support me, but by placing your faith in a fallible person takes trust to a whole other level.

1. I can’t wait to tryout the wonderful step-by-step tutorial for making my own dinosaur bookends from A Life Worth Living. The gold spray paint is such a chic update to classic children’s toys. I’m thinking of making them with zoo animals to hold up all of the books I’ll be reading as an English Major. Just a few weeks ago I decided to switch my major from architecture to English and Creative Writing, so there couldn’t possibly be better timing for this sweet literary DIY.

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Top 8 Dine LA picks

19 Jul

Last night I I had the most delicious dinner with girl friends at Ryan Gosling’s Moroccan restaurant, Tagine. Normally with I dine with friends it’s at CPK or one of the local pizza joints, so going out to a real adult restaurants with amuse bouches to start and a fancy dress code was such a treat! There’s nothing better than catching up with old friends over great food!

This week and next week, DineLA is making it easy for everyone to get a chance to enjoy delicious food from some of the city’s most talented chefs. Over 250 restaurants are offering 2-course lunches and 3-course (or more if they are small plates)  dinners so that you can sample some of the city’s most talked about fare. Prices vary to fit any budget with $15, $20, or $25 lunches and  $25, $35, 0r $45 dinners. With so many options, it’s hard to decide where to go during the 12 days of food sampling, so I helped narrow it down with my list of the top 8 DineLA picks.

Dinner at AOC: This French bistro/wine bar on West Third Street was one of the first restaurants to jump on the small plates trend and continues to craft delicious, seasonally inspired dishes. Their DineLA menu includes a salad with tzatziki, cucumber, and cherry tomato; pork belly, nectarines, ricotta salata, and abbamelle; crushed fingerling potatoes with creme fraiche; and olive oil cake with plums, mascarpone, and pistachios.

Lunch at Asia de Cuba: This Latin-Asian fusion restaurant st the Mondrian Hotel offers incredible views off of Sunset Strip. Yelp reviewers have even described the massive planters on the outside balcony as creating a whimsical “Alice in Wonderland” feel. The lunch and dinner menus are extremely similar, except for the $20 discrepancy in prices. Start with the smoked salmon pancake or the Asian noodle box, then move onto the pallomina of beef or the wild coho salmon. After enjoying the side of plantain avocado fried rice and wokked vegetables, end the meal with a dessert sampler.

Lunch at Babalu: Spend the morning shopping along Montana Avenue (and maybe catching a YogaWorks class at their Montana location) then head on over to this Santa Monica Caribean stand-by. Although it may be known best for its brunch and bakery items, this 5-star yelp restaurant also has tons of savory island-inspired dishes. Begin with the blue crab cake, then move on to the sweet summer corn agnoloti or the vegetarian burger and finish it all off with a slice of the key lime pie.

Lunch or Dinner at Bar & Kitchen: This small bar in Downtown’s O Hotel immediately won me over with the sweet blurb at the top of its menu that claims “we’ve created this menu specifically for you! why? well. it’s because we love you.” After reading something that sweet, how could anyone resist giving the restaurant a try? They incorporate the freshest summer produce into both their greatly varied lunch and dinner menus, so it’s hard to choose which time of day to come. Come at lunch to get the tomato gazpacho with lump crab and the restaurant’s famous shrimp & grits. Or come for dinner and get the tuna crudo with yuzu puree, the sweet corn risotto, and the peach panna cotta.

Dinner at Craft: This is your chance to try the raved-about fare from celebrity chef Tom Colicchio’s Century City restaurant at reasonable prices. The restaurant run by Top Chef’s head judge is quite the place for power lunches, so instead come by in the later hours for a leisurely dinner. Enjoy the more relaxed, peaceful atmosphere while sharing the endive and arugula salad, the ham with fig mosteada, and the diver scallop ceviche with the whole table. Then chose from dishes including the corn agnolotti, Alaskan salmon, and flatiron streak. Finish off the decadent meal with the brown sugar pavlova with peaches and blueberries.

Dinner at Culina: Enjoy the upscale Italian fare of the Four Seasons  in the heart of Los Angles’s hip East side. This restaurant is a real gem because in addition to the beautiful gardens to dine in, the chefs are masters of preparing raw seafood crudos and steamy pizzas alike. Start off with the crudo sampler of intricately dressed ahi tuna, salmon, and yellow tail. Then move onto the delectable Prince Edward Mussles. Next enjoy the Maine lobster farro or the lamb chops. Finish off the meal with macerated stone fruits and house made gelato.

Dinner at Ray’s: This is the place to go for the quintessential evening in LA. Spend the afternoon walking around the Grove, then head on over to LACMA for some museum perusing. Next head to Ray’s, the new farm-to-table restaurant at LACMA, and finish off the night at a concert at the Wiltern. Enjoy charred octopus, squid ink pasta, and market stone fruits at this hip new space that simply oozes culture.

Dinner at Scarpetta: I know, I know, not another hotel restaurant, but the Montage’s modern, seaonally-inspired Italian restaurant Scarpetta really is such a treat that it can’t be left off the list! While the Montage’s other restaurant, Bouchon (another DineLA contributor) usually gets most of the fame, I think that Scarpetta’s delicate preparations make this restaurant the hotel’s real gem. The prices are usually pretty steep, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to try the delicous food at discounted prices. Start with truffled mushroom polenta, then move on to the short rib agnolotti or the mediterranean branzino, and end the evening with the coconut panna cotta with guava soup and caramelized pineapple.

Where are you going to participate in DineLA?

TGIF with Adorable Animals

8 Jun

Silly me for making a strict deadline that I’m now scrambling to meet. As project manager for our class architecture project, I decided that we should all have our work finished by today, and now I’m the one to pay the price. I have to finish an entire elevation plan today so that over the weekend I can combine all of our plans and written documents to form a cohesive pitch. Over the past few days, the weather has been absolutely perfect so taking leisurely strolls with Goose, going to farmer’s market, and gardening have all seemed much more enticing than staying cooped up inside the architecture studio afternoon.

I don’t regret any of those things at all though! It’s life’s simply pleasures that make it worth living. If staying late to work on a glorious Friday afternoon is the consequence of spontaneously enjoying the little things in life, then it’s a price I’m happy to pay.

With the weekend only a few hours away, I know that it can be hard to stay motivated to keep working. I simply can’t wait for the weekend to start! I’m looking forward to going with Goose to watch his brother’s baseball team in a college playoff game, volunteering with Reading for Kids for the first time, going to a yoga class or two, and having sunday morning brunch then hitting up the local flea market with Goose. What do you have planned this weekend?

Well because tiresome work is unavoidable, I wanted to share some adorable animals with you to brighten your day. A smile or dose of laughter is scientifically proven to increase your productivity, so take a few minutes to relax and enjoy!

From The Bedlam of  Beefy

From Pixdaus

From X Stand Your Ground X Tumblr

From Animal’s Look

From The Berry

From Imgfave on Tumblr

From vi.sualize.us

From Hello World

From Imgfave on Tumblr

From I Can Has Cheezburger

From Piccsy

From Pix o’ Plenty

From Buzz Feed

From Dead Fix

From The Design Inspiration

From CuteCute.Us

From Cutest Paws

Miscelaneous May

29 May

After five months of blogging, I’ve come to realize the importance of editing. That’s why many of my photos and ideas for blog posts didn’t actually make it onto ModernAlice. Even still, I wanted to share with you some of the exciting things that I’ve been up to this month. So here’s a compilation of random photos from the past month.

My adorable pooch, Cassie, blending in with the stuffed animals

Making a rainbow at Prom

A recycled owl…how’s that for nature

Architectural paintings at the art show

More recycling with bottle cap furniture

Fun with the Wizard of Oz

Satirical art at its best

Having a blast with my friends at Grad Night where we, the graduating seniors, got to have Disneyland all to ourselves until the wee hours of the morning

My youngest sister having the time of her life climbing the pile of bean bags at my other sister’s outdoor movie party

The perfect tutu that would make any little girl’s dreams come true

Adorable vintage shop on Abbot Kinney filled with vintage treasures

Playful architecture on Abbot Kinney

Awesome cork chair…I want one of these in my home one day

ChakWave juices that blend herbs, spices, fruits, and vegetables to appeal to the seven main chakra energy points

Nobuhiro Sato’s concrete mansion planter that experiments with the ideas of architecture to create lifestyle design accessories

Incredible brick and mortar street art on Abbot Kinney

Unique DIY succulent arrangements and terrariums at The Juicy Leaf

Adorable puppy bowls that would make any spoonful of soup or ice cream even better

Cute wooden bears with absolutely no purpose other than to make you smile

Draw Me A House: A Book of Colouring in, Ideas and Architectural Inspiration

Traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony with my mom for Mother’s Day

 So lovely readers, what exciting things have you done this month? What do you have planned for next month’s summer fun?

Unique LA Recap

15 May

What I love most about living in LA (besides the weather of course) is that there is always something to do. Downtown especially is filled with exciting events, restaurants, shops, and attractions. From tracking down the Coolhaus ice cream sandwich truck to watch both the Lakers and the Clippers in second round play off games on the same day, to admiring the architecture was beautiful enough to become the focus of 500 Days of Summer to visiting the monthly Art Walk, Los Angles always has something exciting to offer!

Even while sitting in a downtown parking outside The California Market Center over the weekend, I was lucky enough to simultaneously view Banksy’s “Park” street art and timeless Art Deco gems like the beautiful Eastern Columbia Building. Where else in the country is there such a breathtaking combination of perfect sunshine, poignant art, and historic architecture?! I really do love LA.

Back to the story…the reason that I was sitting in the parking lot is that on Sunday for Mother’s Day I had the pleasure of attending the fourth annual Unique LA Spring Show Downtown with my mom and three sisters. We always love attending these fabulous craft fairs to find super talented local artists and designers. The Spring, Summer, and Holiday Unique LA shows are two of my favorite things to do in Los Angeles. If you live in San Francisco or New York, make sure to checkout the Unique SF Show on June 20 and July 1 or the Unique NYC show that they are hoping to start soon!

There was a $10 admission fee, but a dollar of every ticket goes towards supporting another local organization, CicLAvia, and upon entry each guest gets a canvas tote with art designed by a local artist specifically for the event. At each Unique LA event, the nonprofit organization changes, as does the artist who designs the bags. Unique LA also offers free snacks, a free  photo booth, and a free craft station.

As always, the tremendous creativity of the 325 designers who showcased their work at the event amazed me. This is both the perfect place to pick up a unique, handmade gift for even the pickiest people on your list and a lovely way to spend an afternoon with friends. There are countless booths with beautiful jewelry, hilarious t-shirts, quirky home decor, awesome terrariums, intriguing sweets, upcycled vintage goods, and artsy prints. With so many talented artists in one place, you’re bound to find something that strikes your fancy. The artists are almost all incredibly friendly and they are often willing to negotiate prices with you or give you a better deal if you buy multiple items.

We ended up buying magic wallets made from old books, inventively flavored pickles, earrings, ghost pepper hot sauce, seed bombs, a necklace, and other fun goodies. There were so many great things for sale that it was hard to choose what to buy!

One of the coolest things at Unique LA this weekend (although I didn’t really appreciate it until after I got home), is that they got Caine Monroy, the 9-year-old inventor of Caine’s Arcade, to bring his homemade, cardboard arcade to the event. When we saw the elaborate cardboard set up, my sister was immediately stunned and told me how she cried during the video. Although I has heard of the arcade built by a young boy in the back of his dad’s auto parts shop, it wasn’t until I came home and cried as I watched the video myself that the magnitude of Caine’s creativity and hopefulness really hit me.

If you haven’t heard of the kid genius who became famous overnight, check out Nircan Mallick’s moving video, about Caine’s Arcade immediately….and have a box of tissues nearby.

Santa Barbara Re-Cap

12 Apr

Over the weekend my family, my boyfriend, and I spend a lovely few days in Santa Barbara. We lucked out with the unseasonably warm weather. Santa Barbara is just a 90 minute drive from home, and the relaxed, beachy atmosphere makes it such a perfect escape from reality.

On our way there we took a brief detour to grab lunch and walk around Ojai, a town just twenty minutes away from Santa Barbara. Lunch at Suzanne’s is always a treat because beautiful sculpture and gardens fill the property of the bistro-inspired restaurant. Ojai also had great shops and a lovely park to walk around before getting back on the road.

In Santa Barbara we stayed at the wonderful Four Season’s Hotel, which is laid out in a breathtaking ranch style. Unlike Los Angeles where most hotels are about ten stories high, nowhere did this hotel exceed two stories. The expansive property of the hotel is full of winding rows of spacious hotel rooms and beautiful landscaping. We enjoyed the tastiest Easter Brunch here with a seafood bar, 10 types of pickles, omelet station, dessert display, and traditional breakfast fare. After Brunch the hotel had an adorable egg hunt, gardening station, candy bar, and array of games.

A few blocks outside of our hotel, we were able to walk to the quaint little street of Montecito, where there was a lovely nursery, delicious gelateria, a few nice restaurants, and a number of cute stores. It is the perfect place to go when we want something to do without the hassle of getting in the car and driving somewhere.

In Santa Barbara we walked along Sate Street, their main downtown shopping area with stores including Free People, Urban Outfitters, a record store, Nordstoms, Lush, the Gap, and many more. We also went into WhoDelicious, a whimsical cupcake store that is any child’s dream come true. The architecture around State Street was breathtaking with intricate old school ornamentation that combined the classic buildings of Downtown LA with Spanish flair.

While in Santa Barbara we also went to the Botanical Gardens, where we wandered around the crystal-clear lake, fields of fresh flowers, and forests of massive trees. Wandering through the massive open space made me forget about being so close to the city. It really was a wonderful escape!

Restaurant review: Lukshon

27 Mar

A while back, I posted about one of my favorite restaurants, the Bazaar. Now, I want to share another LA hotspot with intriguing food and a wonderful atmosphere: Lukshon, chef Sang Yoon’s  effortlessly cool Culver City eatery that serves up inventive South-East Asian fare.

Old-school flashing sign that greets you as you approach Lukshon

Old-school flashing sign that greets you as you approach Lukshon

Located in alleyway behind Helm’s Bakery, Lukshon oozes minimalist-cool. Although it is just a few hundred feet from Father’s Office, a popular high-end burger joint by the same chef, it seems isolated in its own Asian zen. The one-year-old resturant has already made quite a name for itself as one of Zagat’s picks for the top five new restaurants in Culver City.

Charming outdoor terrace

Charming outdoor terrace

Ana Henton of MASS Architecture and Design won a 2011 AIA Restaurant Design Award for her design of the reaturant. She expertly establishes a minimalist interior that is effortlessly chic. Guests can enjoy the view from the beatiful fireside patio, observe the chefs in action from the bar seats, dine at surprisingly elegant communal tables, or snuggle into cozy booths. The low-key furnishings allow the reinvented street food to take center stage.

From Daily Candy

From Daily Candy

Yoon applies his European culinary training to create mouthwatering combinations of seasonal vegetables, fresh seafood (there’s meat too, but I’m a pescatarian, so I can’t vouch for its quality) and exotic spices. Here are my list of recommendations for when you visit.

 

Chinese black mushrooms

Chinese black mushrooms

Green papaya salad

Green papaya salad

Tea leaf salad

Tea leaf salad

Crispy coconut rice cakes

Crispy coconut rice cakes

Butterfish

Butterfish

  • Crispy Coconut Rice Cakes with pandan and shallot chile jam
  • Chinese Eggplant with fennel raita, tomato sambal, and eggplant “fries”
  • Hawaiian Butterfish with pickled watermelon radish, daikon, nahm jim, and rau ram
  • Chinese Black Mushrooms with maitake, woodear, chanterelles, and mustard greens
  • Prince Edward Island Black Mussels with green chile rempah, coconut, tapioca, thai basil, and lime

If you’re a tea lover like me, make sure to order a pot of one of their delicious teas too! They serve them in beautiful Asian teapots with the cutest little teacups.

Free desserts!

Free desserts!

Instead of pestering guests with baskets of free bread that causes people to fill up before the actual food arrives, Lukshon serves people freebees that they actually want: house-made sparkling water and a trio of desserts that varies from night to night.