Friday, August 30, 2013

Luxbite and N2 Extreme Gelato Collaboration!

In celebration of Hari Merdeka, Malaysia's Independence Day, Luxbite and N2 Extreme Gelato have collaborated to each bring you a delicious sweet treat, featuring a loved Malaysian ingredient...sweet coconut kaya.

If you don't know what Kaya is, it's a Malaysian coconut jam, made of coconut milk, eggs, bit of sugar, bit of pandan leaf and a whole lot of patience (I've watched my grandma sit for hours at the stove, patiently stirring and stirring....). It's commonly had on toast for breakfast with a nice big chunk of butter (...might be why it's hard to keep the weight off whenever I'm visiting Malaysia...).

I'm not typically the sort to do posts like this, but since it's only available this weekend (last day is the 1st of September), I figured I should share my pictures of Luxbite's Kaya goodness before the time limit was up! 

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At Luxbite, they're offering a Kaya gelato sandwich, the Kaya gelato having been made by N2 Extreme Gelato, served between two big macaron shells and a bit of drama. 

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For $10, it makes for a nice little treat to share between two (or you could have one each if you're a bit greedy). Having the liquid nitrogen poured over the top hardens the macaron shells a wee bit, but really, all is forgiven when you discover the honeypot of Kaya hidden in the gelato. Oh have mercy!

I haven't visited N2 Gelato in Fitzroy yet, but they're offering up a Kaya toast gelato, injected with warm Kaya from Luxbite, which looks all levels of amazing on their Instagram feed.

So eat Kaya and happy Merdeka day to all Malaysians!

38 Toorak Road
South Yarra

N2 Extreme Gelato
329 Brunswick Street

Franco Choo's

Disclosure: I was invited to dine as a guest of Franco Choo's

Franco Choo's is one of those places that has been on my radar forever, but just hasn't been high enough up on the list for me to actually make to. 

Which really, is a huge mistake on my part, because what a gem I've been missing out on!

Caryn seems to be my go-to girl when it comes to Italian restaurants, although it's always a pretty good fit as I don't know many other people who love shellfish and pasta as much as she does. I'm serious. 

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It was a cold and nippy night out, and stepping into Franco Choo's at 6pm, with my coat tightly clutched around me, was such a relief as the warmth rushed out and quickly ushered me in. 

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The space was tiny, but adorable, probably fitting a maximum of 15 people or so and reminded me quite a lot of the sweet little French bistro I had my 20th birthday dinner in Paris (gosh that was a little while ago now), with crates for shelves, and a few quirky little touches, giving it a personality all it's own. 

No written menus here, turn your head instead to look at the blackboard menu, with a small selection of Italian entrees, mains and desserts neatly written up. The menu changes once every three weeks, with the chef and owner, Steven Choo keeping it seasonal and market relevant.

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Despite the fact that Steven had already chosen our menu for us, our waiter carefully took us through what was on the board and explained what all the foreign terminology was and how everything was cooked, which meant Caryn and I had rather rumbly tummies by the end of it because everything simply sounded delicious!

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A spot of bread and a dash of red wine started us off, Caryn happily downing two pieces of it, which I assume means it's quite tasty (I held off to keep space for the rest of the meal).

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Our first entree was a ricotta gnocchi with cauliflower, brown butter and sage. There's usually pine nuts too but Caryn's allergic to those, so we kept them out.

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Oh my goodness, the ricotta gnocchi was generously sized, which meant it was just beautifully light with a lovely fluffy texture to them. The ricotta, with cauliflower topped with brown butter (happy sighs!) was just heavenly. Comfort food, but not the overly heavy sort. And really, brown butter anything is instantly pretty top tier.

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The orecchiette with free range aylesbury duck ragu, red wine, tomato and porcini was also just delightful. Caryn and I kind of loved the chunky, hand-made feel to the orecchiette, gives it a rather rustic quality. Having a slightly thicker pasta went nicely with the duck and ragu, just absorbing all that delicious red wine jus. 

I admit to not having many girlfriends, as I was a bit of a tomboy throughout school, which has sort of stayed with me (despite 5 inch heels existing in my life now), but the few girlfriends I do have, I'm able to ramble on with for hours, as was the case with Caryn. And since we were so busy chit chatting about shopping, America and potential birthday dinner locations, it was a surprisingly quick transition to mains (although, as said, we were busily gossiping away). 

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Slow cooked lamb shoulder with anchovy and garlic marinade with roasted potatoes and a lemon and egg sauce. Again, this just smelt like heaven and grandma's warm hugs in the kitchen. The lamb had been cooked for 3 to 4 hours, making it incredibly tender and so aromatic, with a healthy punch of salt from the anchovy to cut through the richness. The lemon and egg sauce was a curious addition, but definitely added a lightness to the palate. 

And god. Potatoes. Why are you so golden and so good? Why are you so good but so evil on my hips? Why?

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I could see Caryn completely eyeballing the seafood brodetto placed in front of me (as mentioned she's sort of a fiend for anything shellfish), with barramundi, king prawns, mussels and fregola (a pasta that's kind of shaped like bigger couscous) in a saffron and tomato broth. Ah, that broth, it smelt so good, gently wafting up with the scent of the ocean…and a touch of tomato, keeping it tangy and bright. The mussels were sweet, and I loved the texture that the fregola added. Not a heavy dish, but still quite hearty. Reminded me a bit of a bouillabaisse in terms of flavour. 

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On the side a warm beetroot and pumpkin salad with goat's cheese and walnuts, did not go unappreciated. Simple, but so lovely. 

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For dessert we were served up an almond cake with chocolate ganascia (I think that's how it was spelt…), salted caramel popcorn and blood orange. To be honest, whilst the cake should have been the star (or so I assume) with it's roughly cut charm, it was all about that scoop of chocolate next to it, dense and glistening in all it's smooth chocolatey richness. I wanted a bowl of it, even if I wouldn't be able to finish it. Goodness. Whilst I don't normally like orange and chocolate (one of the few chocolate combinations I dislike), the blood orange definitely was a nice little aid to cut through the richness. 

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Between the two of us, we couldn't finish this. Isn't that tragic? It always breaks my heart when a dessert defeats me with it's richness…surely I've trained better than this!

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But then again we also had the budino (there was another word before it but I can't read what it is in my photo of the menu...) with quince macarelleta, pistachios and mascarpone to contend with as well…which also surprised me in being the dessert that I picked at more towards the end of the night, when tummy space was precious. Warm desserts aren't usually my thing, but this baked custard goodness, warmed my heart with it's pillowy and light texture, but distinctly sweet and eggy flavour. The light touch of mascarpone and the zesty quince were lovely additions as well. 

Caryn and I could have talked at Franco Choo's all night. Although it was quiet when we first started dinner, as we arrived at 6pm precisely, we were the only table for a while, but by 7:30pm it was almost a full house with a mix of walk-ins and bookings. I was hoping to have an opportunity to meet Steven himself, but I imagine he was kept quite busy in the kitchen there!

And busy kitchen, means tables needed to be freed up, so we were very, very gently and apologetically asked if we could wind things up, which Caryn and I were only more than happy to, having received incredibly friendly service all night (and plenty of well timed wine top ups) and with our full bellies of delicious food.

Franco Choo's is such a gorgeous little spot off the main strip of Chapel Street. I would like to say it's hidden, but it's clear the locals know it and love it, as the full house indicated on a Saturday. I love that the menu is mixed up every 3 weeks, and on a whole very much has that homely Italian essence, but with just a slightly dressy edge. 

When I worked as a waitress, I was always told that the customer should feel like they are in your home. 

At Mr Choo's, it certainly felt like that.

179a High Street

Franco Choo's Italian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013


The more involved one gets in the food blogging community, the busier the social calendar tends to get.

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Although really, I don't know if many can compete with the Queen of sweets, Daisy from Never Too Sweet! We had planned our dinner about a month in advance since she was in Asia, and when she got back, I headed off a week after! Since she also had weekend trips lined up though, she was going through her list of friends she was catching up with in the days following and I was flabbergasted! Such a pleasantly hectic schedule! But she's so lovely, so it's so easy to see why everybody wants a slice of her time! 

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For our catch up, we made our way to Epocha, snuggled into a lovely Victorian house just before Carlton turns into the city. The interior is kept warm and cosy, a marble fireplace with some gorgeous silverware present brings a touch of the traditionally English and gorgeously old school, whilst viridian green chairs and colourful tiles in the middle of the tables bring almost a summery vibe, reminiscent of Greece. 

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Which, when you hear the background of the owners makes complete sense. Our waiter explained that one was English and one was Greek, which means you also see influences from both cuisines in the menu (the owners apparently like to outmuscle each other to include more of their cuisine on the menu). Epocha means 'a new or distinctive era', which is a good reflection for how this modern European menu reads. 

And boy, does this menu read well. Daisy and I were at absolutely lost on what to order, as we kind of wanted everything. Which is just really unfair. 

We eventually got there, and as I sipped on a glass of wine (Daisy stayed with water since she was driving), we discussed blogging, desserts and well…blogging. I mean really, what else do you expect us to talk about? 

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We were presented with a small loaf…or maybe bun, or more like a hybrid between the two, of gorgeous dark rye bread, which was warm, soft and fluffy with a delicious nuttiness to it. Reminded me of when I was in Germany and I would buy loaves of the stuff for breakfast. 

Then of course, we (or I) simply had to have the chicken liver parfait. Oh my. And why not?

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Simply presented, it looked as if the liver parfait had come from a much bigger batch, generously lopped into a little bowl. It looked pillowy and light, which it was in texture. So smooth too. The flavour was rich and full, with a naughty touch of alcohol still present. Long after Daisy had decided to put down the knife, I was still going at it, gliding it over crispy and crunchy croutons, over and over again. Love this stuff!

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A beetroot salad with goats curd, honey and walnuts, was quite refreshing, I absolutely loved the soft goats curd and the toasty walnuts. Surely you can never go wrong with gorgeously sweet beetroots?

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For something a little more substantial we got the veal, sage and rosemary faggots with bubble and squeak. Now before you start throwing your hands up and asking why I'm referring to homosexuals…I'm not. Faggots are a traditional English dish, usually made from offal, typically pork, but not in our case! 

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So faggots are essentially like hand shaped sausages, but without skin. Ours came with little tails of rosemary on a bed of diced potatoes and carrots with peas. The meat was just lovely, with a luscious little bit of fattiness to it which was pleasant, I imagine it's a dish that could be quite dry, but not in this case! Well seasoned too. 

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With that, we ordered the cauliflower cream on the side…which is literally as it reads. I couldn't believe how fine and smooth they managed to get the cauliflower! The texture was like a potato puree, I had never seen cauliflower so creamy like this. And so rich in flavour too! 

Although our savouries looked quite light, they were relatively filling, but Daisy and I were eating strategically so we could have plenty of dessert later…and cheese!

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And goodness, what a cheese tray we had to choose from! Whilst I was eyeing off the blue veined goodness, we opted to share a lovely firm cheddar from Ireland or Scotland (forgot which), which came with the biggest lavosh I've ever seen in my life, and a selection of dried fruits. It tasted quite matured, without the bite that younger cheddars tend to have, which made it a nice easy cheese for slowly nibbling on while continuing to gasbag over this and that. 

Before long though, we had to retire from the cheese so we could move on to dessert, which he had been eyeing the whole night as it had been floating from table to table, the little flirt. 

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Seriously. What a masterpiece! 

Daisy and I hardly knew what to do with ourselves, telepathically trying to figure out if we could actually just keep the whole thing on our table!

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Eventually we settled on two desserts, a triple chocolate gateaux with honeycomb and salted caramel profiteroles. Maybe not super creative, but incredibly classic and incredibly delicious.

The chocolate gateaux was just a treat with a mix of chocolatey textures, brownie, mousse and ganache, with a beautifully strong cocoa flavour. None of this super sugary stuff here! Whilst honeycomb makes for a pretty typical combination, I really did love the crunch it brought. 

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I also very much appreciate how generous Epocha was with the caramel on the profiteroles. Messy to pick up, but completely finger licking good! The puffs were so light with a smooth and light custard inside as well. 

By the end of the night, I don't think Daisy or I really wanted to head off, as we lingered over the last bites of gateaux and continued exchanging ideas and thoughts. I always find my conversations with Daisy so inspiring! Epocha really has created a very welcoming and homely environment and dining experience. I really enjoyed having a tray of cheeses and tray of desserts to choose from, as I felt it broke down the formality that is usually present, and instead of teasing your brain with words of sweetness, the eyes are brought into the decision making process as well. Along with many giggles, oohs and aahs. 

The food throughout the whole night just beautiful, our waiter so friendly and helpful, providing efficient but discreet service that meant the night had a very comfortable flow to it. Epocha perfectly bridges casual and fine dining for me, to create a very pleasant and relaxed experience, and is something I would love to see a lot more of. Probably one of my top dining experiences this year, it's really no wonder that these guys recently just got promoted to one hat! Congratulations!

49 Rathdowne Street
Carlton 3053

Epocha on Urbanspoon

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Friday, August 23, 2013

America - Los Angeles - Running Around Town

After keeping it simple with taco trucks, doing the tourist rounds at Universal Studios and Hollywood, it was time to get a tiny slice of the finer side of Los Angeles. On the agenda was a bit of brunch, a bit of Beverly Hills, a touch of Venice Beach, and dinner with a friend. It's a long post, but I didn't want to break it up. Cause it's my blog. You'll listen to me…or not…please stay? 

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After two days of not really having proper breakfast's, I was totally hyped up for eggs. All of the eggs! I consulted Yelp and discovered that one of the most popular brunch places was just a block away, although as mentioned earlier, the block's in LA are very big and it was a solid 15 minute walk, which led to much hunger. 

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And since we naturally picked one of the more reputable places for brunch, it meant that similar to Melbourne, there was a generous queue. Le sigh! Much hunger! 

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Blu Jam cafe is located on Melrose Avenue, which upon first glance I can tell is much hipper and cooler than Beverly Boulevard, with a smattering of other (far less crowded) cafes in the distance and a healthy mix of cute and hip little boutiques all around (although not open at 10:30am in the morning unfortunately (or fortunately if you're Brad)). 

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e were eventually seated under the little awning outside, which was perfectly blissful in the practically constantly perfect Californian weather, and because I could also go a little gaga over all the cute dogs that were out and about. One of them even had a dog leash made of plastic hotdogs. Nawwww.

During the duration of my stay in the states, I learnt that brunch is a bit of a funny affair. Whilst in Melbourne I'm used to brunch usually being available all day, everyday, just about everywhere, there surprisingly aren't as many places that do this in the states, with brunch being conducted in very limited hours only on the weekend. Weirded me out yo.

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Also, in California, hot sauce is an expected condiment on the table at all times.

Blu Jam Cafe was one of the few spots that offered all day breakfast. And man, that meant a lot of eggs. Like. A lot. The menu was huge!

You could go from healthy and all protein, with options like 'Muscle Beach' that came with six scrambled egg whites (?!) to completely indulgent with a 'brunch carbonnara' (should you feel like risotto for breakfast) or a crunchy French toast that was out at almost every table and totally ginormous. 

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I mean heck, even look at this latte, I was floored with how big it was, Brad's hand looks tiny next to it! I don't think Brad knew quite what to do with this much caffeine. 

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Feeling the need to clean out my system after barbecue chicken and burgers from the day before, I kept it nice and clean with a carrot, apple and celery juice. Thank you California and your love of freshly pressed juices. Everywhere. All the time. Yum.

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I honestly don't know why Brad and I decided to get two dishes. I had been quite clear before we left that we'd just get one thing and share it between the two of us when we went out, since we were expecting gigantic proportions…but y'know…that never happened. And so we were faced with two of the biggest breakfast plates I had ever seen in my life. 

Like I don't even know.

I think my food might have gone a bit cold from me just gaping at how big it was. 

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I ordered the 'Migas', a spicy combination of eggs scrambled with jalapenos, chipotle, beef chorizo sausage, red bell peppers, tortilla chips and mozzarella, topped with tomato salsa and served with corn tortillas and a mountain of fried potatoes. 

Where do I even start? It wasn't that spicy to begin with (although not particularly surprising) but man, was it moreish. Can more of Melbourne brunches please have a Latin American flair? I want the crunch of tortilla chips, the fresh and lively jalapenos, the herbs, and the zesty tomatoes all enveloped in the outrageously fluffy scrambled eggs, which were just perfect really. 

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And I mean, look, I'm not into potatoes for breakfast, but that's more because I'm worried about my hips, rather than being fussy over my palate. So although I tried to resist, it's kind of hard to go past deliciously golden potatoes with a touch of crisp skin and a sprinkling of rosemary. Urghhhhhh. So good. 

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Brad got the Breakfast Quesadilla, with grilled chopped chicken breast scrambled with eggs, tomatoes, spinach and cheddar in a grilled flour tortilla, topped with avocado, homemade salsa and sour cream…also served with potatoes.

I didn't have a lot of his quesadilla, but I did love how cheesy it was. Although I shouldn't because we're having it as breakfast, but I guess my body clock would have been in dinner time at that point, so I guess that's okay. Maybe. Shh.

Needless to say, although we were both determined to finish, we didn't. 

Which meant that a long walk was sorely needed to aid digestion which we took down to the La Brea Tar Pits (about a 30 minute walk away), something Brad had read about. It's a totally random but really interesting spot of history, as in this particular area, tar has seeped up from the ground for tens of thousands of years. As such, being tar and often covered by leaves and dust, it has trapped a lot of ancient animals in it and preserved the bones of these animals as well. 

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With these Tar Pits, the bones of mammoths, dire wolves (Game of Thrones anybody?) and sabre toothed cats, amongst many others, have been found here, which is pretty darned cool when you think about it. 

The tar pits don't smell so sexy tough, but fortunately there's a big park to wander into, and a museum should you be further interested in the history. 

Brad and I decided it was time to move on though, and since our next destination was far…but not too far, we decided it would be a good opportunity to give the application 'Lyft' a try, and gauge how much a longer trip might cost us.

You've probably heard of 'Uber' in Melbourne, the limousine service you can use by booking and paying through your iPhone, whilst this service is also available in Los Angeles, 'Lyft' is also quite popular and after trying it out, I totally loved it!

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Basically you open the app, and let it know where you want a car to pick you up from. Once a car has been booked (which usually is a matter of minutes) you'll actually see a little icon of the car making it's way to you and an estimate of how long it'll be. Totally brilliant!

You'll also know for sure whether it's your car or not, as it'll rock up wearing a bright pink fuzzy moustache on the front of it.  And then you fist bump your driver as you climb in, maybe a bit cheesy, but it's part of protocol to make you feel at ease and create a connection with your driver. 

We had our first driver Luna, take us to Robertson Boulevard, a 10 minute drive away, and along the way we talked about where we were from, the more detailed workings of Lyft (she even gave us a promo code to use for our first time!) and once she learned that I was into food, promptly started rattling off a healthy list of places to check out. 

And also conveniently pointed out where the new Georgetown Cupcakes store was. Ah. We could have definitely been friends. 

After that, it was a simple matter of bidding farewell, climbing out of the car and confirming the amount to pay with credit card via the app, and rating our driver (apparently if you rate anyone 3 stars or below, you'll never be matched with them again!).

For our 10 minute ride, it cost us $10, which already included a tip to for Luna. We used Lyft an additional 2 or 3 times during this trip and we loved the service every time. The only downside is that you, and the driver, have no way of knowing how much it costs until you get to your end destination, you leave the car and the amount is brought up on your phone. But for the most part, we thought it was always reasonable, for a much friendlier and less stressful experience than taking a cab (also cheaper)! 

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So. About these Georgetown cupcakes. They're originally from Washington, DC, with the founders being the stars of the reality show 'DC Cupcakes'. I had heard often heard people comparing Georgetown Cupcakes and Sprinkles Cupcakes (which I have the fondest memories of from my last visit in 2010) and was quite excited to get to try them both in the same day. Cupcake overload suckers!

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The Georgetown Cupcake store in Los Angeles, was pure elegance, with tiers of cupcakes neatly stacked in a spick and span white store, with marble countertops and a touch of pop art for some colour jazz. 

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It wasn't long before I became acquainted with a gluten free peanut butter chocolate fudge (say it fast, I dare you) cupcake, and clearly, I was just beaming from ear to ear. The Americans know their icing. Oooh do they. I honestly don't think you would be able to tell that this was a gluten free cupcake, maybe slightly denser than regular flour, but gosh, it was so rich and just bursting with cocoa-y, peanut butter goodness. When they say peanut butter chocolate fudge, they mean fudge. In cupcake form. Urgghh.

After happily patting my newly formed food baby belly, Brad and I strolled along Robertson Boulevard, which is supposedly an area where the paparazzi tend to hang out and therefore celebrities (or the other way around, whatever). Whilst we didn't see any of the latter, I found Robertson Boulevard quite charming, with a nice mix of big end brands and cute little boutiques, which kept the area fresh and interesting to wander around. 

From there Brad and I were like, awwwwwww, it's not that far to Sprinkles, we just gotta go down Santa Monica Boulevard…….

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…Uh. That turned into a 45 minute walk. But at least it was absolutely gorgeous, since we were in Beverly Hills after all darling, and the lawns were manicured and the trees matured, full and shady. I also gotta earn those cupcakes somehow right?

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…or ice-cream. As we walked by a stretch of ever-so-chic boutiques and cafes, my eye couldn't help but be immediately drawn to the Ice-Cream Lab. Decked out in bright blue, with white fixtures, I found myself getting closer…and closer…until I was pushing the door open, throwing Brad a cheeky little "but I have to!" look over my shoulder at the same time. 

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With a name like "Ice-Cream Lab" it could only be liquid nitrogen ice-cream. Only. 

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I opted for a Raspberry Swirl, with fresh raspberries, vanilla bean and white chocolate. Yum. Yum and yum. I loved the texture from the raspberries, the seeds giving a bit of grit to the super smooth ice-cream. The white chocolate was a nice pairing, especially when accentuated with a bit of a vanilla, giving it a very elegant and not overly sweet flavour. 

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We then wandered over to the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM, where I proceeded to lose my shit. I was freaking out. Brad couldn't figured me out as I thrust my camera onto him so he could video me ordering my cupcake via the cutest pink terminal you ever did see. 

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You simple go through the options, press the one you want to buy, swipe your credit card and then a little camera on the inside, follows the crane as it goes and gets your cupcake. Genius. Pure genius. And just so much fun.

If you missed watching it earlier, here's the video of the whole process again!

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I'm still in love with the gluten free red velvet cupcake from Sprinkles, for being gluten free, I found it so light and fluffy and the perfect level of sweetness, although I did detect a tiny big of graininess in the frosting this time around. Personally, I still preferred the Sprinkles cupcake over the Georgetown one, just due to the texture. 

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Rodeo Drive is located just around the corner, home to all of the big, luxe and beautiful…price tags that is. In the summer sun, it was kind of glaring to walk down, as the street was impeccably clean and impeccably white, which meant loads of glare. So Beverly Hills right?

It didn't take us long to get down the whole thing, since Brad's not into shopping at all, which means I start feeling a tiny bit guilty when I start ogling at a window for too long. It's kind of crazy to see some of the people who spend all this money on this branded stuff, not have any style at all though. Such a shame. 

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From there, we grabbed another Lyft ride, with an actress trying to make it out in the cutthroat Hollywood industry (that was a rather interesting discussion with her), down to Venice Beach, to see yet another side of LA. 

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Although a little bit crazy, Venice Beach is still undeniably beautiful, with it's white sands and blue perimeters. I particularly enjoyed walking down the pier, and getting away from the crowded thoroughfare, and stopping to watch the skaters do their thing. There was one kid who was absolutely incredible, totally taking everyone else's thunder!

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We escaped Venice Beach and wandered down to Abbot Kinney, which our previous Lyft driver had recommended we make our way to eventually, to escape the touristy-ness of Venice. And indeed it was a much cuter area, with a bit of a Fitzroy vibe, but with more beach influence thrown in. We stopped by Willie Jane and tucked into a couple of refreshing beverages. Happy Hour in the states is so cheap and so awesome. Yes to $5 glasses of wine.

Following that, we had one of our most interesting Lyft rides, on the way back to our hostel, as the driver was a screenwriter, who had spent a year with NASA to learn about global warming for a project he was commissioned on, which unfortunately fell through. Even still, he retained all he had learnt and we had rather in-depth conversation about global warming, new technologies that were being developed and how to look into changing people's mindset about the whole thing. I learnt a lot!

To wrap up our incredibly long day (I know, looking back through this post is kind of ridiculous), we had dinner with a friend of mine, also a budding actor who has previously been on Survivor, who I had met on my last trip to the states. We met up at Katsuya by Starck in Hollywood, as I had previously fallen in love with Starck's fit out for Kong in Paris. All the ghost chairs. Mmmm.

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Katsuya in Hollywood, was a much slicker affair than Kong, in a dim setting, blown up back-lit pictures of a beautiful woman's features, with neon lights and the odd neon light here and there. It was honestly a bit of a shame the restaurant was so dark, as you didn't get to see much of the interior! 

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Honestly, I won't go into too much detail over this dinner, as although the setting was fairly swanky, and we had plenty of sake to keep us happy, for what we paid I found it to be just an okay dinner. I was quite disappointed to see the few sushi rolls we ordered didn't hold together at all, unfurling upon touch in to a mass of rice and seafood. Sad.

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The tuna was dressed in great flavours, but the tuna itself was a bit underwhelming, with a bit of what I would describe as a chalky texture. Similar situation with the scallops, I enjoyed the pairing with the kiwi, but the scallops themselves seemed a little depressed, they're not looking their sexiest. 

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I did however, very much enjoy the black miso cod, which was naughty, smooth, rich and oh so succulent (and a lot less than Nobu), and the other fried fish main we had. 

On the whole though? Not really worth if for the food. Although, the place was bustling, pretty much at full capacity, and girls were streaming through the doors in their teeny cocktail dresses and sky high heels. This is a place to be seen, but not to eat. It's all style (what style that is is also some of the dresses I was seeing) and no substance.

Post dinner, we hit up the AV Night Club with my friend and his friends, where I continued to discover that there must be no one actually doing any desk work in Los Angeles as everyone we met was linked to the Hollywood industry in some shape or form. It's kind of bizarre.

And since everyone is in the Hollywood industry, everyone loves to drink. And party. And be seen. And wear tiny tiny dresses, spike their hair up and drink a lot of vodka. 

A lot of vodka.

To wrap up, let me tell you. Way too much vodka. Way too many visits to the hostel bathroom. The LA life? At least I made it back in one piece, and no mess. Sigh!

7371 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles

La Brea Tar Pits

9461 S Santa Monica Boulevard
Beverly Hills

9635 S Santa Monica Boulevard
Beverly Hills

6300 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles