The Local List

Hungry girl looking for the next adventure.

A healthy option at Greenleaf

Everyone has a New Year’s resolution…and normally it includes healthy eating and a stricter work out diet.  Of course mine wasn’t any different, especially since I have a wedding to throw and 9 others to attend.  So when my fiance and I headed to The Mix/SoCo/OC Mix Mart to scope out some engagement picture options I offered up Greenleaf as a healthy option.

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Greenleaf is a counter walk up restaurant, but with lots of indoor and outdoor seating.  There are five locations, both in Los Angeles and Orange County. It has build your own salads, hot entrees, sandwiches, soups, burgers, pizza – you name it.  It really has something for everyone.  It also has a special brunch menu that includes smoothies, juices and protein shakes.  I also enjoy the organic sodas and alcohol options.

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On this occasion, I decided to get the spaghetti squash pasta with turkey meatballs and a side of kale.  My fiance ordered the cobb salad (which is fabulous).  The salad was huge and quite filling.  The turkey meatballs were really tasty, but the dish was quite small for the price.  I don’t think that I would order it again because I was hungry an hour later.  I haven’t tried other entrees but the salads are always great!

4/5 for counter service, 5/5 for fast casual dining, 3.5/5 for price to size of meal

A New Year, A New Me, a New Life

Welcome and Happy New Year.  I have been quite a stranger this past year.  I left you high and dry.  But friends, I needed to go through some changes to be ready to get back here.  Don’t worry, I still ate a ton, drank some more and went on quite a few adventures.  For starters, I got engaged!!!  Which is always exciting, and always stressful.

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I also decided it would be smart to start a new job.  Which is crazier than planning a wedding but I decided to do both…at the same time.  Like the break up of a boyfriend, it took me some time to get through all this change and I am still learning how to juggle all the things I have going on.  In the meantime, I eat, I adventure, and I learn.  So guys, I am back to share that journey.  And what better place than starting with pizza at 800 Degrees.

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800 Degrees is a fast service pizza place, really the first of its kind before we got Blaze, Pizza Rev, etc.  It is located in Westwood, in good ol’ Bruin territory.  You order one of the 3-4 pizzas at a counter, and then can add on additional toppings (there are many) for a dollar each topping.  Then, your pizza goes into their oven to cook for 3-4 minutes at “800 degrees.”  Get it?

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800 Degrees also offers salads (see above – The Baby Kale Salad), burrata appetizers/small plates, and side dishes.  The meatballs are amazing, and I love the beets and burrata.  The options are endless, and if you can’t pick a pizza, they have specialty pizzas ready for your choosing that are well balanced and tasty.  I prefer the make your own though because I am in the mood for something different every time I visit this place.

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I really love the crust on the pizzas here, and I like how quick you get your food without feeling like it is pre-made.  It doesn’t hurt that there is a great wine and beer selection to help you eat your carbo load.  And when you are done, there is a gelato bar for those needing a night cap!

5/5 for service, 4/5 for fast casual dining, 3.5/5 for price

 

Brunch at Poppy and Rose is not one to miss.

bacon

Los Angeles is not too far from Orange County and every so often I have to drive up and show my parents I am still alive and my under-eye circles haven’t gotten any bigger.  On this occasion, I met my parents for a romantic Valentine’s Day Brunch at Poppy and Rose.

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Another trip into LA

steak and eggs
I know, I know, I travel far too much on the weekends, but I like to have fun.  This past weekend was no different and I headed up to Los Angeles for the day.  I started out my morning at easily the best brunch spot I have ever had – Eggslut.
Gusto
egg, sausage and cheese
view from the counter
steak, eggs, chimichurri sauce, argula

For those that haven’t been to Grand Central Market, it is definitely worth visiting.  Once a hole in the wall locals only spot, trendie LA foodies have started to rent stalls and open up their places in a food cart sort of way.  Eggslut is one of these places and has a counter that you order at then sit at the bar to eat your food.  I ordered the steak sandwich which was legit, and I watched the guy basically pour butter into every part of the steak. (DELICIOUS)  My boyfriend, Phil, ordered one of the breakfast sausage sandwiches.  His by far was the better sandwich.  For $20, we were stuffed and had such a good meal.

cold brew growlers at Stumptown
Next we went to Stumptown Coffee, you might remember it from my Portland report.  This LA one has a VERY different vibe, is totally LA hipster, and totally a place you go for the “scene.”  It was still great coffee but quite pricey.
Gusto
For dinner I met a girlfriend for my birthday (its the beginning of my birth month) at Gusto in West LA.  It was a cute Italian spot full of families, couples, and groups of friends.  The vibe was really nice, and the wait staff was extremely attentive.  The food was really good.  Everything we had was shared plates and homemade Italian plates.  I don’t know what the bill was, but the menu was well priced for what I thought.  It was a little “Beverly Hills” feeling for me but I would definitely come back here for a date or special event.

Now I need to stop eating food for a while…

Eggslut on Urbanspoon

A cheap(er) trip to Naples

I recently visited Pizzeria Ortica in Costa Mesa for some good ol’ pizza and Italian food.  I grew up on this type of food so I would arguably say I have a pretty good palate when it comes to Italian.  Pizzeria Ortica pleasantly surprised my expectations, but the service did not.

My family was in town so we all got together for a meal, and I chose this spot.  It had gotten mixed reviews on yelp, but like I said – I love Italian.  The food was really good.  The pizzas are huge and very tasty.  They are Napoli style so they are thin crust and baked in an old oven.  The Marguerite was probably the best – plain old traditional style, but the sausage ones were quite good too. 

I got the mussels which were probably the worst thing that we ordered.  The sauce was unreal, but the mussels themselves were pretty chalky (luckily I didn’t get sick).  Dipping bread or pizza crust into my sauce was enough to fill me up.  The appetizers were really quite spectacular – meatballs, bruschetta unlike any I have ever had (cannellini beans on bread?), pork cheek, and my favorite – prosciutto, peaches and burrata.  For those who have never had burrata cheese, you are missing out.

The biggest complaints are that it is overpriced and the service is horrible.  $18 for a pizza is just ridiculous, come on guys you aren’t Mastro’s, you need to price yourself closer to CPK and you will be POPPIN’!  We had the worst server ever.  She was such a b*tch and wasn’t pleasant and there was some confusion about apps at first and then drinks and then she waited forever to take our order.  I know we were a large group so I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, but I advise you to not stop here if you are in a hurry (just in case).  If this place dropped their prices by like $5 and got better servers, this restaurant would be bumpin’.  But I mean, what do I know? I only eat out A TON…..
3.0 for excellent food but terrible service and terrible pricing…I think I will try happy hour next time to see if it is worth putting this place into my eating routine.

Day Trip to LA

I traveled to LA a few weekends ago to catch up with my family and some friends from college.  Los Angeles is a great place for a day trip.  The museums, the art galleries in Culver City, Downtown LA bars and clubs, and of course my favorite – the restaurants.

Venice Canals
My parents live near Venice, so I grew up in a very unique area of the world.  Lots of different types of people: families, hippies, homeless you name it.  Well now its the trendy spot and Abbot Kinney is the place to be.  (On a sunny day, you won’t even be able to walk down the street it’s so crowded!)
I started off my day at Zinque on Abbot Kinney and Venice.  It’s a very trendy spot that serves brunch on the weekends.  We ordered a burrata sandwich (added prosciutto), an egg-white frittata, homemade granola and yogurt, and a tomato mozzarella panini.  The burrata sandwich was the best thing we ate, I could barely keep the sandwich to myself before my family ate it all.  I also feel weird about saying this because I am never “that girl” but the granola was un-freaking-believable!  It was not too chewy, not too hard and the  tart yogurt brought out enough sweetness of the granola.
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Later that day, I had dinner at a restaurant called Picca.  It was in an unassuming location at the edge of Beverly Hills where my old dentist’s office was.  Pretty weird pulling up, and had to valet as there was NO where to park legally.  (All permitted parking and no lots.)  I was really unimpressed by this place.  It’s supposed to be Peruvian, but it kind of was just a hot mess.  Additionally, the service was HORRIBLE!  The hostess even told my friend that she was a liar!  (Long story, but eventually my friend proved her wrong.)  It’s a place to be “seen” but its not worth your time, or money.
First Fridays at Abbot Kinney
Tourist Tip: A fun sunny day adventure is walking around Abbot Kinney, window shopping, and grabbing a bite to eat.  Or if you make it on the first Friday of the month there is a food truck festival.