Oh Joy

parent's night out... 12 Jun 2014

Room Forty / Los Angeles

Room Forty / Los Angeles

Room Forty / Los Angeles

Before I became a parent, I said I would never become one of those people who doesn't get to hang out with my friends as much. But it totally happened. Life changes, you get busier, and you have to make a way bigger effort to maintain friendships—especially with other friends who have kids. Because, chances are, they've been too busy to make plans, too. Bob and I are usually pretty good about having date nights, but it's more rare that we get to see a handful of our friends all together in a kid-free and relaxing adult environment.

So I thought it would be fun to gather a small group of our friends who are parents together to have a nice dinner out all together at Room Forty's tasting room at The Fig House here in L.A. It was a way to have a private dinner that was cozy enough to feel like we were at someone's house without all the clamour and difficulty of a big reservation at a restaurant.

I chose a mix of friends who didn't all know each other super well but had a couple things in common in addition to being parents—everyone was creative in some way and at least one person in the couple was a self-employed business owner.

Room Forty / Los Angeles

Room Forty / Los Angeles

Room Forty / Los Angeles

To start off the evening, I thought it would be fun to have wrist corsages for the girls and boutonneires for the guys to really relive the days of our youth. It brought me back to my first date with Bob—the senior prom! Botany Flowers made some beautiful wildflower versions for each place setting, and we had our own "Bachelorette" moments pinning them on.

Room Forty / Los Angeles

Room Forty / Los Angeles

It's funny to hear what goes on in a dinner with ten parents—from labor stories to our shower habits to drooling over the food which was way more amazing than anything we'd be having at home.

Room Forty / Los Angeles

Room Forty's chef, Libry Darusman, created an amazing menu for us to enjoy which included these drool-inducing dishes:

-Gin agar noodles with green olive bolognese and blue cheese

-Fennel soubise, house-made tofu, compressed pear, regianno foam, and crystal flower

-Diver scallops, raw coco mustard, butter popcorn tortellini, and puffed black rice

-Black cod, beet duxelle, nicoise pain perdu, red wine butter, and tomato foam

-Gazpazzo consommé with smoked street cart fruit

-Rib eye cap, cheek pastrami, shitake tartare, smoked corn jam, carrot confit, and pea ice cream

Room Forty / Los Angeles

All topped off at the end with this S'mores made of graham soil, chocolate and coffee ganache, housemade marshmallow, and hickory smoke. I'll be sharing the recipe for this with you guys next week as it's too good not to duplicate at home!

Room Forty / Los Angeles

At the end of the night, we got to hear how the chef made various dishes (um, like the butter popcorn tortellini!) which is such a treat and something we never get to experience at a regular restaurant. There's nothing like getting a custom catered dinner on an intimate scale. With full bellies and refreshed minds, we all came out of it feeling like we had such a special night just for us and walked away with a stronger connection to everyone else we dined with that night. Catching up with friends over food is probably one of my favorite things to do ever. Thanks so much to Room Forty for the amazing meal and beautiful space to have our dinner.

I hope our night out will inspire you to make time for yourself and make a special night out to reconnect with your nearest and dearest.

P.S. As a catering company Room Forty's primary function is private events, but as big believers in community, they’ve opened up their tasting room for private dinners like the one I hosted. If you're in Los Angeles, it's a treat I hightly recommend.

{Dinner by Room Forty at the Fig House, flowers by Botany Flowers, photos by Ryan Haack.}

{oh joy eats} sweet rose creamery... 12 May 2014

Sweet Rose Creamery / Los Angeles

One of my favorite Los Angeles ice cream shops, Sweet Rose Creamery, has made its way to a more central location—hooray! Ice cream is literally one of my favorite things on earth, so shops that offer one-of-a-kind and seasonal flavors are always a must in my book.

During this visit, we got the cinnamon buttermilk sherbet with mandaquats and carnival sprinkles. It was creamy and tart with a nice touch of cinnamon as contrast, I couldn't stop eating it. In combination with the matcha green tea ice cream, it was a perfect and unexpected pairing.

Sweet Rose Creamery / Los Angeles

Sweet Rose Creamery / Los Angeles

Sweet Rose Creamery / Los Angeles

In addition to ice cream, they also carry a nice selection of pastries. We had the sticky bun with walnuts which was super light, buttery, and flaky—like a croissant—with the magical addition of the sticky caramel sauce on top.

We're expected to have a heat wave this week in L.A., so it just might be another excuse to go back!

Sweet Rose Creamery | 7565 Beverly Boulevard | Los Angeles, CA 90036 | 310.260.2663

{Photos by Casey Brodley for Oh Joy}

{oh joy eats} eggslut in los angeles... 30 Apr 2014

Eggslut Los Angeles

One of my favorite things in life is an egg sandwich for breakfast. There is something so soothing, so filling, and so wholesome about having eggs in the morning. It feels like a somewhat healthy meal (even if surrounded by butter and crispy bacon). I've visiting the Eggslut truck before, but so happy they now have an actual location open every day of the week at Grand Central Market in Downtown Los Angeles.

Eggslut Los Angeles

Eggslut Los Angeles

And then this coddled egg over potato purée poached in a glass jar—it's like savory breakfast by the spoonful. If you're an egg lover or egg sandwich fan, you must go. They have one of the best egg sandwiches I've had (and I've had a lot of them).

Eggslut | Grand Central Market | 317 S. Broadway | Los Angeles, CA 90013

{Photos by Casey Brodley for Oh Joy}

{oh joy eats} pine and crane... 10 Apr 2014

Pine and Crane / Los Angeles

Pine and Crane / Los Angeles

Pine and Crane / Los Angeles

Pine & Crane is my newest go-to spot. I've been there four times in the last ten days. It's a casual, quick, and super tasty Taiwanese-Chinese restaurant in Silver Lake. I almost don't want to tell you about it in fear that it will get too busy, but you guys know I want you to eat well, too ;)

Pine and Crane / Los Angeles

Pine and Crane / Los Angeles

Pine and Crane / Los Angeles

Most of the produce is sourced from the owner's family farm, so everything is super fresh and local. Some of my favorites include the spicy shrimp wontons, the trumpet mushrooms, and the scallion pancake. Oh, they also have boba milk tea which is a rare find in Silver Lake!

Pine and Crane / Los Angeles

And by the way, it's super kid-friendly. I've gone with Ruby every time I've been there and our crew of friends that consists of both toddlers and tiny babies. Pine and Crane just feels like a spot you can just show up to and get an authentic and delicious Chinese meal. 

Pine and Crane | 1521 Griffith Park Blvd. | Los Angeles, CA 90026 | 323.668.1128

currently snacking on... 11 Feb 2014

Bramble Bakeshop in Echo Park, Los Angeles

Bramble Bakeshop in Echo Park, Los Angeles

After yesterday's announcement, I seriously cannot thank you guys enough for your support and excitement! Short of my wedding day and the day Ruby was born, it was one of the best days ever.

Now back to regular programming...I'm not vegan, but living in LA I've come across more and more vegan bakeries that are surprisingly good. There's a new bakery in Echo Park called Bramble Bakeshop who makes the prettiest vegan baked goods I've ever seen. My favorite are these lemon linzer cookies—tart, sweet, and crunchy—they're like a lemon pie all scooped up in a perfect little cookie. And these smoked almond brownies which are so fudgy and delicious...

{Photo by Oh Joy}

{oh joy eats} breakfast at république... 27 Jan 2014

Oh Joy Eats / République in Los Angeles

Oh Joy Eats / République in Los Angeles

It can be really hard to find good breakfast spots that are open during the week. So when the new L.A. hot spot, République, decided to offer breakfast in addition to dinner, I had to see what it was all about. And, guys, I am hooked. While they don't serve savory breakfasts yet, the sweet breakfast they offer is off the chain. These are some of the best pastries I've had in Los Angeles. Period. Crème brûlée donuts, canelés, cookies, éclair, homemade breads...all so fresh and melt-in-your-mouth good. Get ready to drool...

Oh Joy Eats / République in Los Angeles

Oh Joy Eats / République in Los Angeles

Oh Joy Eats / République in Los Angeles

Oh Joy Eats / République in Los Angeles

Oh Joy Eats / République in Los Angeles

The space itself is gorgeous, too. It's light and airy and full of beautiful, architectural details...

Oh Joy Eats / République in Los Angeles

Oh Joy Eats / République in Los Angeles

Oh Joy Eats / République in Los Angeles

They also have some of the most comforting morning beverages like Hong Kong Milk Tea, Vietnamese Coffee, and a slew of others that aren't your everyday coffee and tea selections. I've been there twice in the last week if that says anything...

République | 624 S. La Brea Avenue | Los Angeles, CA 90036 | 310.362.6115

{Photos by Casey Brodley for Oh Joy} 

my favorite lobster rolls in {los angeles}... 15 Jan 2014

Son of a Gun lobster roll

Lobster rolls are probably my favorite kind of sandwich. It can be really hard to find a good lobster roll on the West Coast, so once I find a good one, I keep going back for more. Here are a few of my favorite lobster rolls in L.A. right now...

The tiniest lobster roll in all the land is from Son of a Gun. It's bite-sized, buttery perfection and should not be shared.

Son of a Gun | 8370 W. 3rd Street | Los Angeles, CA 90048 | 323.782.9033

Blue Plate Oysterette lobster roll

I tried the lobster roll from Santa Monica's Blue Plate Oysterette at a lobster roll showdown called the Lobster Rumble a couple months ago, and they had my vote for best lobster roll that night. The roll has the perfect mix of butter, salt, and creaminess with just the right touch of herbs and spices.

Blue Plate Oysterette | 1355 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90402 | 310.576.3474

Salt Air lobster roll

Finally, a great lobster roll to share is this bun of goodness from Salt Air in Venice. It's a pure and simple lobster roll that tastes fresh, light, and just creamy and buttery enough. Get it with the mushroom toast, and you'll have a meal that's seriously legit.

Salt Air | 1616 Abbott Kinney Blvd. | Venice, CA 90291 | 310.396.9333

So, are you guys drooling yet? Do you love lobster rolls as much as I do? And if so, what are your favorites where you live?

{Photos by Oh Joy}

{oh joy eats} hinoki & the bird... 7 Nov 2013

Hinoki and the Bird | Photo by Bonnie Tsang

Hinoki and the Bird | Photo by Bonnie Tsang

Hinoki and the Bird | Photo by Bonnie Tsang

Living in a great food city with new restaurants popping up weekly, it can be tough to keep up with what's hot and new here in Los Angeles. While I'd love to visit a new place every weekend, life takes over and it's just not possible. I've been wanting to have dinner at David Myer's new restaurant, Hinoki & the Bird, since it opened earlier this year but reservations aren't easy to get or the only reservations times available are just not doable (dinner at 10pm—no thanks!). My solution is to go at lunch instead—it's less busy, a great sampling of the dinner menu, and so much easier to get in!

So Bonnie and I went to have lunch at Hinoki & the Bird to see what all the buzz was about. My favorite dishes of the meal included these two appetizers (above)—a lobster roll with green curry and Thai basil and the chili crab toast with spicy cucumber and coriander. Each bite was full of Asian-inspired flavors, yet light and savory.

Continue reading " {oh joy eats} hinoki & the bird... " »

family-friendly spots in los angeles... 16 Oct 2013

Oh Joy | Family-Friendly Los Angeles

When I first moved to Los Angeles, someone told me, "L.A. is what you make of it." The city is rich in so many different things—food, culture, music, shopping, nature, etc. that it really can be whatever you want it to be. For me, I've made L.A. into a town full of great eats, amazing local and indie designers, and a place where my daughter can learn and thrive from all the things L.A. has to offer. Today, I am sharing four of my favorite family-friendly spots in this city—all of which are free or inexpensive to enjoy.

Oh Joy | Family-Friendly Los Angeles | LACMA

Oh Joy | Family-Friendly Los Angeles | LACMA

Oh Joy | Family-Friendly Los Angeles | LACMA

Oh Joy | Family-Friendly Los Angeles | LACMA

LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) | While I love art, I find so many museums to be too precious and too quiet. I need to be able to take my family to a place where kids are allowed to roam free and enjoy their surroundings just as much as the adults do. Ruby loves the giant noodle exhibit at the LACMA so we often find ourselves going there to visit that exhibit. They offer free art classes every day in the children's gallery. And on Sundays, the LACMA has Family Day where families can tour the museum for free.

Oh Joy | Family-Friendly Los Angeles | LACMA

Oh Joy | Family-Friendly Los Angeles | LACMA

Afterwards, we love getting a bite to eat at Ray's at Stark Bar. It's fresh, healthy, delicious, and has items that feel fancy yet still totally kid friendly.

Oh Joy | Family-Friendly Los Angeles | Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round

Oh Joy | Family-Friendly Los Angeles | Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round

Oh Joy | Family-Friendly Los Angeles | Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round

Oh Joy | Family-Friendly Los Angeles | Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round

Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round | Griffith Park is full of so many amazing little adventures. As you may have seen from our trip to Paris, Ruby loves merry-go-rounds, so we love bringing her here. It's only 10 minutes from our house and such a nice change from our usual afternoon playground trips. They also have popcorn and treats a plenty to add to the fun.

Continue reading " family-friendly spots in los angeles... " »

oh joy in france / part 3: what we did in lyon... 9 Oct 2013

Oh Joy in Lyon

Oh Joy in Lyon

During our trip to France, we spent five nights in Lyon which is just a couple hours of outside of Paris by train. Bob had a conference for work there, so it was mostly Ruby and I hanging together most of the day, and Bob joined us in the afternoons when he was done work (hence why he is wearing such fancy outfits in most of these photos).

Oh Joy in Lyon

Oh Joy in Lyon

We rented an apartment in the 6th district in Lyon through airbnb. It was perfect for what we needed—spacious, cozy, relatively toddler-safe, and close to grocery stores, parks, and restaurants. Since it was on the 6th floor, we made sure that it had an elevator so that we wouldn't be huffing it every day. However, the elevator was comical. It just barely fit the three of us when all squeezed together.

Once we crammed ourselves in and out of the elevator, here's a what we did while in Lyon...

3rd District

Oh Joy in Lyon | Les Halles de Lyon

Oh Joy in Lyon | Les Halles de Lyon

Oh Joy in Lyon | Les Halles de Lyon

One of my favorite places to visit in any city is an indoor food market with various vendors and purveyors of every kind. Similar to the Reading Terminal Market in Philly or the Ferry Building in San Francisco, Les Halles de Lyon is a food lover's dream with stalls aplenty. We bought some amazing cheese and charcuterie there that topped any cheese and charcuterie we've ever had in the States.

Oh Joy in Lyon | Les Halles de Lyon

Oh Joy in Lyon | Les Halles de Lyon

We even found the tiniest macarons in all the land at the Richart shop there. Ruby loved them because they were just her size!

Les Halles de Lyon | 102 cours Lafayette, 69003 Lyon

Continue reading " oh joy in france / part 3: what we did in lyon... " »

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