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.

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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... " »

oh joy in france / part 1: what we ate in paris... 1 Oct 2013

Oh Joy in Paris | What We Ate

Over the next couple weeks, I'll be sharing photos from our recent adventures in Paris and Lyon. Since we did so much, I'm going to break it up into three different posts starting today with...what we ate! I went to Paris with the plan to gain 10 lbs. from croissants alone. The food in Paris is certainly indulgent and amazing so I had no intentions of leaving anything on my plate. We took Ruby out with us to every meal, so our eating experience this trip did not involve any super fancy restaurants or fine dining but instead a lot of pastries, lunches, and early dinners.

Here are a few of our favorites spots during the trip—with everything organized by the arrondissement (or district) they're located in...

3rd District

Oh Joy in Paris | Merci Canteen

Oh Joy in Paris | Merci Canteen

Oh Joy in Paris | Merci Canteen

Oh Joy in Paris | Merci Canteen

We rarely saw French kids out to restaurants in Paris and were often the only ones seen with children while dining. So our trip to The Merci Canteen was a true exception as it was the only restaurant we went to that had a high chair. We met up with my friend Julie from Famille Summerbelle and her daughter Ophelia for a lovely lunch. If you can believe it, this restaurant (located in the design store Merci) was one of my favorite meals of the whole trip. Everything was fresh, flavorful, and so beautiful.

Merci | 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003 Paris

Continue reading " oh joy in france / part 1: what we ate in paris... " »

{oh joy eats} milk jar cookies... 8 Jul 2013

Milk Jar Cookies | photo by Bonnie Tsang

Milk Jar Cookies | photo by Bonnie Tsang

Milk Jar Cookies | photo by Bonnie Tsang

I'm always on the lookout for special treats to give as gifts for when I don't have time (or the ability) to make them as good myself! So I stopped into Milk Jar Cookies in L.A. recently for a dose of homemade cookie goodness.

Milk Jar Cookies | photo by Bonnie Tsang

Milk Jar Cookies | photo by Bonnie Tsang

Milk Jar Cookies | photo by Bonnie Tsang

Milk Jar Cookies | photo by Bonnie Tsang

Some of my favorite cookies included the Banana Split, Rocky Road, and Chocolate Pecan Caramel. They're the soft and chewy kind of cookie that make you feel like you just came home from school, and your mom surprised you with a special treat!

One of my favorite things about the shop is the story behind it. The owners left their long-time corporate jobs to pursue their dream of opening a cookie shop. Maybe it's because I love entrepreneurial stories or just that it makes me happy when people have a chance to do what they really love. Either way, there is so much joy baked into each and every pillow-soft cookie you'll find here...

Milk Jar Cookies | 5466 Wilshire Boulevard | Los Angeles, CA 90036 | 323.634.9800
(shipping outside of LA available, too!)

{Photos by Bonnie Tsang. My outfit: Dress by En Soie, netted bag c/o And So It Goes, vintage belt, necklace by Anthropologie (past season), shoes from ShoeMint (past season).}

{oh joy eats} marugame monzo in little tokyo... 3 Jun 2013

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Noodles are kind of one of my favorite things to eat. So when there are places that make the noodles fresh to order, I'm there like a kid at a candy store. Marugame Monzo in L.A.'s Little Tokyo makes piping fresh udon noodles, which has long been one of my favorite comfort foods...especially when I'm feeling under the weather.

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The food at Marugame Monzo is simple yet so tasty. And it's a nice comfortable change of scene from the fast pace of a certain long-lined ramen shop next door. While the udon noodles were super fresh and just the right combination of chewy and firm, my favorite dish was actually the pork belly. It was sliced super thin and grilled with a hand torch for the perfect crispy edge. My mouth waters just thinking about it...

Marugame Monzo | 329 E. 1st Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012 |213.346.9762

{Photos by Bonnie Tsang. My pants are by En Soie, necklace c/o 31 Bits, yellow flats by Target.}

my favorite {los angeles} beautiful bites lately... 28 May 2013

Oh-joy-los-angeles-savory-bites-1

Whenever we can, Bob and I try and have a date night at least every other weekend. It's a chance for us to get out, have some time just the two of us, and try out new restaurants in L.A. or revisit some of our regular favorites. And going to restaurants always gives me so much inspiration in terms of different ways food can be presented. It makes me think about food and composition in new ways—something I certainly don't think to do this when I'm cooking at home. So here are a few of prettiest bites around town these days...

This one-bite dish of toro tartare with seaweed salad, flying fish egg, pickled wasabi and micro-greens with quail egg on top from Sushi Yuzu in Toluca Lake is just amazing. Not only does it capture so many textures and tastes in one spoonful, but it just shows you how pretty a single bite can be.

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Red Medicine in Beverly Hills has consistently been one of my favorite spots over the last couple years. They changed their menu recently, but the food presentation is still off the charts. I mean, just look at this green strawberry tart (it tastes like a fancy Key lime pie) that resembles a beautiful botanical specimen.

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I love the simplicity of sushi, and the spicy tuna on crispy rice from Katsuya is one of my favorites. Even though it's a L.A. chain, it's always consistently delicious and beautiful.

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For my recent birthday, Bob took me to Alma in Downtown L.A. for dinner. We ordered the tasting menu and here are a couple of the simple, beautiful dishes: a berry crumble, which was presented on just the upper third of the plate, and this light and lovely shrimp dish.

Where restaurants have you guys eaten at lately that blow you away with their presentation?

{Photos by Oh Joy}

{oh joy eats} the service station in los feliz... 16 May 2013

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You know I love food truck nights (it's a great excuse to not have to cook dinner!). We religiously go to On The Lot in Los Feliz every Monday night, and I'm pretty giddy for the summer season and more pop-up food truck events. In fact, a couple of weeks ago, a new one opened up on Wednesday nights on the grounds of what used to be a gas station. The Service Station is an outdoor creative space that has pop-up shops, outdoor movie nights on Saturdays, and a food truck night on Wednesdays. While the food trucks seem to be a rotation of same three, they're solid ones that I really like.

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Some of my favorites include the bacon mac n' cheese from the Flatiron Truck...

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...and parmesan pesto fries and gooey s'mores from The Munchie Machine. We got coconut and salted Caramel S'mores, and they were the perfect way to end our meal. The Mandoline Grill truck (food not shown) is also at The Service Station, and they make great banh mi and Vietnamese noodle dishes. 

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The area is painted with accents of mint green...um, hello, gorgeous color!

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The best part is the huge areas of astroturf for the kids to run around in and the giant bean bags they put out. Ruby has the best time playing with her friends after dinner. It's just a great spot for all of us to enjoy the amazing warm weather and have an easy breezy mid-week dinner.

 The Service Station | 3160 Riverside Drive | Los Feliz, CA 90027 | @3160riverside

UPDATE: Sadly, a few days after this post, I got an email that city permits made it such that they had to close. They are trying to reopen in another area in the near future. :(

{Photos by Bob Cho}

{oh joy eats} goldie's... 23 Apr 2013

Goldie's | Los Angeles

Goldie's | Los Angeles

There's no shortage of spots to have lunch in Los Angeles. But my favorites are places that are casual yet have a bit of character—places you'd want to meet up with friends for lunch to catch up. I recently visited Goldie's in Mid-City West, a newish spot by the owners of Eveleigh, for a mid-day lunch break. 

Goldie's | Los Angeles

Goldie's | Los Angeles

Goldie's | Los Angeles

Goldie's | Los Angeles

My favorite dishes were the avocado on toast, watermelon and burrata salad, and the pork belly and caramelized onion flatbread. Oh, that flatbread was the perfect combination of crispy, chewy, sweet, and salty!

Goldie's | Los Angeles

Goldie's | Los Angeles

I love the contrast of the handsome aesthetic inside with the greenery outside, which creates an indoor/outdoor space that makes wonderful use of the climate here and feels homey yet still very Southern California. And the polka dotted shirts the staff wear are pretty awesome. Where can I get one in my size, please?

Goldie's | Los Angeles

We (especially Jen) loved being surrounded by the wall of flowers as we sat outside. The scent was just incredible on this beautiful, sun-filled day.

Goldie's | 8422 W. 3rd St. | Los Angeles, CA 90048 | 323.677.2470

{Photos by Bonnie Tsang}

my favorite {los angeles} breakfast bites lately... 5 Mar 2013

The Hart and The Hunter | Los Angeles

The Hart and The Hunter | Los Angeles

Since I wake up at Ruby o' clock every day (around 7-7:30 a.m.), I'm always on the hunt for restaurants that open early for breakfast. Most of our favorite brunch places don't open until 10 a.m., and by that time, she's almost ready for a nap! So, I've been on a mission to find some new spots. Here are a few of my favorite breakfast bites around town these days (they open early, too!)...

The trout toast (avocado, smoked trout and pickled onions) and homemade biscuits (buttery pockets of heaven) from The Hart and The Hunter in West Hollywood (shown above).

Viet Noodle Bar | Los Angeles

 Vietnamese breakfast (including this delicious chicken meatball) at Viet Noodle Bar in Glendale.

Egg Slut | Los Angeles

Egg Slut | Los Angeles

The egg and bacon sandwich (the homemade ketchup and brioche bun are out of this world!) and the coddled eggs over mashed potatoes from the Egg Slut truck. 

Do you guys have trouble finding breakfast spots that open early? I swear, L.A. is a town that just starts to get going at 10 a.m.!

{Photos by Oh Joy}

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