Beat the (Dec!) heat at Neveux Artisan Creamery

It's not often that you get to write about a new ice cream shop -- or artisan creamery, excuse me -- during the end of November. However, considering our LA temps have topped off at 80+ degrees over the last few days, it's truly appropriate. I mean, really, what the heck happened to Fall?

Anyway, I digress... if you're looking to cool down at a hot new ice cream shop, check out NEVEUX Artisan Creamery on Melrose. It opened in early September by owner Leo Neveux. If you're a fan of San Francisco ice creameries Bi-Rite Creamery and Humphry Slocombe, you're in luck. The two NorCal shops served as inspiration for NEVEUX's standard and seasonal flavors, which are creative without going too crazy. Think Salted Caramel, Strawberry Balsamic, Honey Lavender, Rosemary Butterscotch, Blueberry Chevre, Rhubarb Mint, Espresso Caramel, Ginger, Toasted Marshmallow, Coconut Curry Lemongrass, Pepper Peach, Maple Fig, Roasted Banana, Pineapple Sage and Caliente Cinnamon Chocolate, and even the current seasonal flavor, Pumpkin Spice Cranberry.

Those sound so good I'm not sure whether I want to lick them frozen out of a cone or eat them as chocolate-dipped ice cream bars. If you'd choose the latter, get in your car now. NEVEUX has select flavors available as bars dipped in either dark or milk chocolate. Can you imagine the eating a toasted marshmallow ice cream dipped in dark chocolate? It's like a frozen s'more, but hell, why stop there? I'd just stuff the ice cream sandwich between two homemade graham crackers and enjoy. That's like a frozen s'more on crack. Seriously.

Photo Credit: Yibo Studio
It's inevitably get "cold" again, but no worries. NEVEUX also serves espresso, cappuccino, lattés, macchiato, etc. made with coffee beans sourced from Vancouver, Canada-based 49th Parallel roasters. Or, if you need something more substantial with your ice cream, there's another option: have dinner down the street at Chef Eric Greenspan's The Foundry on Melrose, where NEVEUX's ice cream is on the dessert menu.

NEVEUX Artisan Creamery

7407 ½ Melrose Avenue (@ Martel)
Los Angeles, CA 90046
NEVEUX's Facebook page
(no website currently)


RSVP NOW: Esquire's LA Chefs' Dinner at Sotto

As we speak, Playa's Chef John Sedlar, Sotto's Chef Zach Pollack & Chef Steve Samson, and Ray's & Stark Bar Chef Kris Morningstar, each recipients of Esquire Magazine's "Best New Restaurants in America" award, are cooking together in Playa's kitchen to celebrate their joint achievement -- and share their cuisine with Los Angeles food-lovers. If you weren't lucky enough to score a seat at tonight's dinner, the chefs will reconvene at Sotto on Monday, December 5, for the last night of the dinner series with another special $65pp menu.

The five-course menu at tonight's dinner included Huitlacoche Tortelli; Chilaquiles alla Sarda; Fall venison with roasted corn; rabbit with Mole; and chile and chocolate. Sounds fabulous, doesn't it? I can only imagine what they'll do for their final evening, so try to get your tickets like, NOW. And don't complain about the $65 per person entry fee because you're actually saving serious dough by combining the fruits of each chef's labor into one decadent evening.

Want to reserve your spot? Send an email to info@sottorestaurant.com with the following info:
- Your name
- Number of people in your party
- Requested reservation time

Good luck & enjoy!!!

9575 W. Pico 
Los Angeles, CA 90035
(310) 277-0210


Heat Up Your Stocking Stuffers: Jenkins Jellies' Hell Fire Pepper Jelly

I'll admit it: I have a spicy food addiction. Whether it's Jitlada's tear-inducing Thai food or Trader Joe's habanero hot sauce, I have an affinity for all things hot. That said, my favorite spicy foods are those that don't sacrifice flavor for heat's sake. So when I received a jar of locally-made Jenkins Jellies' Hell Fire Pepper Jelly last week, I was in heaven.

Jenkins Jellies Hell Fire Pepper Jelly
Jenkins Jellies was started by Hillary Danner, an L.A.-based actress-turned-mom-turned-preserves-entrepreneur who needed a way to keep up with the constant bounty from her backyard fruit trees. If you can't eat 'em, can 'em. She enlisted the help of longtime family friend, Maria Newman, and expertise of Chef Jared Levy, and officially launched Jenkins Jellies. Among the jellies is the aforementioned Hell Fire Pepper Jelly, a "blend of organic sugar, vinegar, pectin, fresh organic and non-organic hot & sweet peppers and cayenne." I'd venture to call it happiness in a jar, especially during the holiday season.

Each jar (available in 4.8oz/$8, 11.9oz/$12 and 16.9oz/$20 sizes) comes affixed with a tiny spoon warning would-be tasters to stir the jelly first. Drats, you can't just dive in? Don't worry, it's worth the 10 second wait. One look at the pepper jelly -- seeds and all -- and you know it's named Hell Fire for a reason. Danner and co. isn't messing around but have managed to balance layers of heat and sweet in a way that works with, well, everything. Which is perhaps why my jar is, well, nearly empty.

Try it with a dollop of goat cheese or creme fraiche on a water cracker...
I started innocently enough: Hell Fire Pepper Jelly on multigrain toast. Then on a toasted waffle smeared with flax peanut butter. Then on water crackers topped with a dollop of chilled creme fraiche to temper the heat. Then, at the behest of Mario Batali, on a ripped chunk of warm crusty bread slathered with soft Pecorino cheese. Good God, that should be illegal. The combination of warm, pillowy bread with nutty Pecorino and the subtle build of the sweet spice was so good I had flashes of hoarding the Hell Fire Pepper Jelly and keeping it for myself. Then I came to my senses and realized I had to share it, lest no one else understand how incredibly great this pepper jelly is.

Jenkins Jellies Hell Fire Pepper Jelly is available online at www.jenkinsjellies.com, in-store at Danner's Studio Root 66 in downtown Los Angeles, and Dean & Deluca specialty stores nationwide. Get one for a friend for Christmas. Stuff a jar in your favorite foodie's stocking. Add it to a gourmet holiday gift basket. Ladle it on top of cream cheese and crackers for a perfect holiday party appetizer. Drizzle warmed pepper jelly over a piece of cheesecake. Or just get one for yourself, stand in the kitchen and eat it out of the jar. I won't judge you.


Stroke of Genius: Cinnamon Roll Pie Crust

If you're the overachieving type when it comes to homemade holiday goodies, you MUST check out this inspired -- and undoubtedly delicious -- pie crust made from miniature cinnamon rolls. I saw it this morning on Tastespotting, one of my favorite, drool-worthy sites, and couldn't resist sharing it with you. It comes from the food blog Taste For Adventure, which begs the question, "Ever find yourself at a crossroads between sweet potato pie and cinnamon rolls?" For all of us lucky enough to answer "yes," this surprisingly easy recipe is for you. I have to give it extra kudos for the step-by-step photo instructions.

Cinnamon-rolled stroke of genius...

...Turned magically delicious holiday pie.


Take A Bao Opens Studio City Location

Last April I wrote about an unexpected place to get a great, affordable lunch in a cool setting: the Westfield Century City mall (of all places). The modern, open-air redesign boasts live music, a sushi bar and culinary options befitting (most) discriminating foodies. My favorite spot in said food court is Take A Bao, which just happens to have opened a second location in Studio City.

While the new 'Bao might not be in a fabulous food court, the free-standing Ventura Blvd. location offers an updated version of Chef Gavin Portsmouth's Asian-meets-French inspired menu. Standards like steamy bao buns are still filled with everything from spicy sesame citrus chicken, BBQ pork, and miso beef, but Muscovy duck leg confit and Banh Mi are new additions. Creative salads like the 8 Veggie and Asian Cobb (my husband's favorite) are joined by a BBQ Chicken, Arugula and Glass Noodle option.

My favorite "Take A Bowl:" Spicy Sesame Crispy Chicken

Want something with a little more heft? New hearty dishes on the over-the-hill's menu include Yellow Curry, Shrimp & Tofu with tiger shrimp, chili aioli; Roasted Market Fish in banana leaf with coconut-kaffir broth and broken rice with wok-charred snap peas, Chinese eggplant, bok choy, finger chilies and Thai basil; and Thai Style Fried Chicken with twice-fried half chicken, Asian vegetable slaw, sizzling basil-chili dressing and garlic lime aioli. To drink, a full alcoholic bar is highlighted by craft beer on draft, beer floats (I'll take a Coffee Toffee Stout Float, please), and vodka basil lemonade.

Take A Bao

11838 Ventura Boulevard
Studio City, CA 91604
(818) 691-7223


Grub For A Great Cause: L.A. Loves Alex's Lemonade Culinary Cookout

This is seriously near and dear to my heart. If you're looking for plans this weekend, look no further than L.A. Loves Alex's Lemonade Culinary Cookout this Sunday, Nov. 6 at Culver Studios. Host chefs Susanne Goin, Caroline Styne (Lucques, Tavern, A.O.C.), and David Lentz (The Hungry Cat), along with honorary hosts Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka, and emcee Jimmy Kimmel are using food as a weapon in the fight against children's cancer.

Yes, this event will have tastings from the creme de la creme of our nation's superstar chefs at every turn, celebrity appearances from the big and small screen, and a too-good-to-be-true auction (Napa Valley Cookout for 10 at Robert Mondavi's house, anyone? Or how about a spectacular dinner for 12 made in your home by celeb chefs Jonathan Waxman (Barbuto), Michael Cimarusti (Providence), Matt Molina (Mozza), Michael Tusk (Quince), Paul Kahan (Blackbird), and Josiah Citrin (Melisse Restaurant) and paired with 100-point Robert Parker rated wines? If that's not enough, foodie-filled trips to Japan, Seattle, NYC, NOLA, Phoenix, San Francisco are also on the block.)

But most importantly, 100% of proceeds from each tax-deductible $175 General Admission and $400 VIP ticket will go to fund Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer. I know, I know -- the tickets are anything but cheap, but here's the deal. As someone who has visited Cedars Sinai's Samuel Oschin Cancer Center nearly 100 times in the past two and a half years, I can't explain the gut-wrenching feeling you get when you see a small child suffering from cancer. That's not to take away anything from how hard it is to watch my own husband get poked, prodded and hooked up to chemotherapy infusions, but to watch the tear-streaked cheeks of a 3, 4 or 8 year-old child who has to endure painful shots, losing their hair, and endless rounds of medication is beyond heartbreaking.

Cancer in any form is horrendous. It steals our most loved ones right before our eyes, much too soon and far too fast. We need to find a cure and we need to find it now. Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer is trying to do just that. That said, is $175 a lot for a food event ticket? Sure, it's up there. But is $175 a lot when it comes to giving someone's child, someone's little brother or sister, or your child's best friend another chance at a long life? I don't think so.

If you need extra incentive, let me drop a few names of the participating celeb chefs and mixologists to tantalize your taste buds (and loosen that grip on your wallet):
Vintners, ticket sales, ALSF donation and parking details after the jump...

Fukuburger Opens: A Vegas Truck Lands In Tinseltown

The rule is, "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas," but Fukuburger owner Harry Morton doesn't play by the rules. His first restaurant venture, the innuendo-heavy Pink Taco, migrated from Scottsdale to Los Angeles just a few years ago, and now his Vegas-based Fukuburger (pronounced Foo-Koo) truck is following suit with a brick & mortar venture in Hollywood.

Fukuburger may have ditched the truck but it hasn't abandoned its Vegas-based ingredients, serving a menu of beef burgers made with Larry's Great Western Meats. Burgers range from the "Lucky," "Egg," "Pig," "Mushroom," and "Spicy." Simple and self-explanatory. There's also the obligatory "Crispy Chicken" sandwich for the beef averse, but don't balk. It comes with Fuku's signature (and addictive) crack sauce. Sides include Furikake Macaroni Salad, Jazz fries (make sure to add gravy and crack sauce) and whatever else the chefs' have up their sleeve that day. And for dessert -- wait for it -- shaved ice.

Hungry yet? Check out (Fuku)burger porn below. Just make sure to wipe your Fuku drool...

Fuku Burger | Fuku-patty topped with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickled red onions, wasabi mayo and drizzled with Fuku-sauce.

Tamago "Egg" Burger | Fuku-burger with Furikake, Teriyake & wasabi mayo finished with crispy onion strings and fried egg.

Chicken Katsu "Crispy Chicken" | Panko encrusted chicken with shredded cabbage finished with "crack sauce" and Katsu sauce.
More burger porn after the jump...


Larry's Venice: A Legit Gastropub In Venice Beach

Venice Beach is growing up... at least when it comes to foodie options. Case in point: Larry's Venice, an open-air, (nearly) beachfront joint regularly packed with locals (gasp!) and a menu filled with sophisticated fare. Don't believe me? Stop by during the day and join sun-worshippers on Larry's expansive patio, sipping craft beers and noshing on fried chicken Caesar baguettes and pork cheek "BLTs." At night, the sun-worshippers make way for hungry young professionals and Venice locals, unwinding while enjoying pizzas and house made charcuterie plates. Friendly banter takes place under the night sky, aglow from countless string bulbs and Larry's mosaic-tiled fireplace. 

Larry's Exterior (Photo Credit: LA Times)
While it might sound too good to be true for a beach boardwalk notorious for European tourists, West Coast juiceheads and hallucinating hippies, Larry's Venice was a long-time in the making. Mark and Erwin Sokol -- Hotel Erwin pioneers -- joined forces with Waterloo & City Chef Brendan Collins to bring Venice Beach a legitimate gastropub dedicated to serving more than just hot dogs and pizza slices on the boardwalk. 

Duck & Pistachio Pate | Seasonal Marmalade, House Made Pickles, Toast

Potted Chicken Liver & Foie Gras Parfait | Sweet Potato Jam, House Made Pickles, Toasted Brioche
Collins' menu, all priced from $8-$15, is affordable yet inspired, filled with the chef's signature pates, charcuterie, small plates and, dare I say, a selection of pizzas whose crust outperform those of a certain N. Silverton. At the bar, craft beers abound. Twenty six, to be exact. Even my beer snob husband would be impressed with the selection. 

Brussels Sprout Pizza | Bacon, Parmesan, Chili Vinegar

Shrimp Diablo Pizza | Roasted Poblanos, Cilantro

Bacon & Eggs | Sous Vide Pork Belly, Asparagus, Egg
While Larry's has only been opened since mid-August, Collins' menu has very few misses. His vision for the small yet satisfying menu clearly benefits from his professional chef experience just a few miles east in Culver City. Potted chicken liver and foie gras parfait comes complete with sweet potato jam, house made pickles and toasted brioche. Shrimp Diablo pizza makes good on its name, delivering a touch of heat tempered by wisps of cilantro. Brussels sprouts atop a crisp, bubbly pizza crust intermingle with bacon and chili oil, turning a traditional side course into a killer meal. 

Seared King Scallops | Pistou, Basil, Snow Pea Salad

Braised Colorado Lamb Shank | "Acini de Pepe"

Bacon-Wrapped Organic Salmon | Roast Beets, Gnocchi, Horseradish
A cleverly named bacon and eggs feature sous vide pork belly topped with asparagus and a meticulously cooked egg. And one look at the braised Colorado lamb shank and the meat practically falls off the bone into the bed of "acini de pepe" pasta below. Green curry mussels were among the best I've had, packed with ginger, Fresno chile and a sauce made for soaking charred bread. Desserts are fun and filling, from a DIY ice cream sundae with homemade maraschino whipped cream and candy toppings to Collins' tried-and-true sticky toffee pudding. 

Sticky Toffee Pudding

DIY Ice Cream Sundae | Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, Maraschino Whipped Cream, Gummy Bears, M&M Candies, Chopped Nuts

Crumble | Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
So grab some friends and an appetite and head down to the boardwalk. Sip on boutique brews and order a few pizzas, the mussels, charcuterie and perhaps an entree. A few bites of each will do. Some food for thought: while Larry's might be changing the foodie scene, it hasn't cracked the code behind Venice's terrible parking situation. Tip: Valet is available in front of the restaurant on Windward Ave. 

Larry's Venice
24 Windward Avenue
Venice, CA 90291

Larry's is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. 
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