Another supersized post since it was a crazy month with travels (if you missed my Hawaii food guide, check it out here).
My favorite recent eats are now after the jump!
I didn’t know anything about Birdies when I stopped by except that they have a weird sounding mix of donuts, coffee, and fried chicken. I was, however, completely blown away by their food. I loved their unique selection of donuts that come out fresh every 2 hours. You can also sample any (and all) of their flavors. I tried almost all of the donuts they had that day but went home with their horchata twist with dulce de leche, triple dark chocolate, and cinnamon toast streusel. They have other flavors like candied bacon maple and lemon thyme pistachio. Their fried chicken is something that I would definitely go back for. The batter was light and crispy and the chicken was juicy (even though it was a breast – what??). I got the Birdie’s Spicy which has ghost pepper mayo in it. I’m sort of a weak person when it comes to spicy (even though I love it) but it was sooo good I ate the whole thing anyway while my mouth burned off (honestly, it wasn’t overly spicy and I would definitely get it again). I want to go back and try their plain fried chicken or chicken tenders!
The location is in a quieter part of downtown (closer to the Staples Center) and the map didn’t quite mark exactly where it was so I got a little lost (the building that maps had marked had mostly closed stores and Yelp marked it IN the alley). It is the last shop before the alley. There are cash lots close by as well as metered street parking. The decor is very cute and industrial-chic. While there are some bar areas to sit, this is mostly a small, grab-and-go spot.
Birdie’s Spicy (fried chicken sandwich)
Horchata Twist with Dulce de Leche (donut)
Bon Vivant Market & Cafe is literally that: half market, half cafe. While I’ve been to many “market & cafe” spots, they tend to be either much more of a cafe or much more of a market. This was truly split down the middle, which I loved. They serve tons of drink and food options and have a brunch menu as well as dinner menu. Jenny and I started off with some hot drinks: Earl Grey tea latte & Pirate Chai! Both were pretty good. I went in craving fried chicken & waffles and mac & cheese (even though it was 10 in the morning) so we started with that for food. The fried chicken & waffles came out with bacon maple syrup and homemade butter which were the stars and really took the dish to another level. The fried chicken was surprisingly chicken breast but the batter was super crispy and light and the breast wasn’t overcooked so it was really good. As far as the mac & cheese, their manager said it was his favorite dish there. It had SO much cheese and the macaroni was more of an agent to hold the cheese together than the other way around. I absolutely loved it. Served with our food, we got their freshly squeezed orange juice which was perfect, a cucumber martini which was refreshing (they have a full, large bar), and a bloody mary which was spicy and so fitting for brunch. They also made us a cheese & charcuterie board from their market selection. It was super pretty, delicious, and served with bread and homemade butter. You can actually purchase their cheese and charcuterie plates as a picnic set which is great for summer!
The location is decorated to be rustic and is actually very large. The market wraps all around the back and sides. There are tons of tables inside as well as outside. There is even a fireplace and couch you can cozy up on. Along one side is a huge, full bar. On the weekends, they offer live music. There is metered parking right in front or you can drive around the corner and park in residential.
Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
Fried Chicken & Waffles with Bacon Maple Syrup
Macaroni & Cheese
Cheese & Charcuterie Board
15500 S Broadway St, Gardena, CA 90248
Eatalian is a South Bay favorite. The owners are from Italy and the food is delicious. They serve a wide variety of items but I always go for their pasta or pizzas. I really love their carbonara and lasagna as well as their Scagliarini pizza (mozzarella, arugula, prosciutto, and parmigiano) but this last time I just got the Gibo (simple sausage). They have a gelato bar so you can go make your selection after dinner, too!
To be honest, the location is super strange. It’s in a warehouse in the middle of an industrial area. They do have a small parking lot that fills up quickly but there is tons of free street parking if you go for dinner since no one is around at the other warehouses at that time. It still has that barebones warehouse feel and is very simple. There is a smaller sister restaurant more toward the central portion of Gardena and another sister restaurant in Culver City now.
I’m sure by now you know I have the biggest sweet tooth in the world and I’ve been wanting to try Lark for a long time. They are mostly known for their large cakes that you can buy whole or their cupcakes (I tried their berry, chocolate, and chocolate peanut butter). Their cupcakes are pretty good but honestly, the one thing that stood out to me and the reason why I’m writing about it is their ice box cake. The traditional ice box cake is whipped cream with thin layers of chocolate cake and is not overly sweet or heavy. It’s so light it falls apart if you try to touch it. I wish I had 500 to eat right now!
They have a couple of locations (Silverlake & Pasadena) and this location is on Sunset right next to Alfred’s Coffee. It looks really small on the outside but once you get in, it has enough space for a lot of product displays as well as several tables (one with a gorgeous teal couch). There is metered parking on Sunset or you can turn around the corner and try to find free street parking in the neighborhood.
Traditional Ice Box Cake
Picnic LA is a New American spot that has awesome vegetarian and vegan options. They like to use locally sourced ingredients and grass-fed meat so everything tastes fresh. Lindsey and I got a ton of things to share and it was all good across the board. Their Scottish salmon was something Lindsey really likes and it was thick and came with a dill sauce which is one of my favorite herbs. Also got: The Garden of Little Gem salad, Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad (new and really flavorful), Weiser Farms Fingerling Potatoes (so good – one of my favorites from the lunch), Racho Gordo Chickpea Salad, Jidori Chicken Leg “Tagine,” Jicama Fishless “Ceviche,” and Grass Fed Beef Meatballs.
The interior is light and full of lots of warm, woods. I love the minimal design! It also is cafeteria style as far as selecting your foods but it feels so much more elevated. They have lots of seating (all indoor) and a lot of the tables are communal. It’s perfect if you want something healthy and quick. They also have curbside pick-up which is really cool if you want to order ahead and are in a rush. They have a tiny lot in the back or there is free street parking.
Weiser Farms Fingerling Potatoes
Jicama Fishless “Ceviche”
Grass Fed Beef Meatballs
I wish I could’ve taken a million photos of the food here because everything was so delicate and beautiful (and delicious, of course). But, alas, it was dinner time and got dark very quickly. This was my first Providence experience and is one of the top ranked restaurants in LA and even in the US. It is heavily seafood-based and Asian inspired. I went for Jenny’s birthday/graduation so we went HAM and did their 20+ course Chef’s Menu. Everything was unique and fresh. Their menu changes according to the season and I didn’t write down everything we had because I was busy having fun and celebrating but if you can make it here and have money to spend, DO IT. There are different menu options (from 4 course to the 20+ course) but it’s all planned so I don’t recommend it if you are super picky or not into seafood.
The interior is plush and fancy. Come dressed to impress! They have a valet service or you can do street parking. One thing that I also noticed was how great their plates/serving ware was. I wanted all of it.
I had no expectations when dropping into this relaxed, French-inspired bistro on a busy corner in WeHo. They focus on quality ingredients and you can really tell. As we went for bunch, we opted for more breakfast-y items. As a starter, I got the rose petal mimosa which was a special for the day. The avocado burrata toast was super good. It had SO much burrata (one of my favorite cheeses) and there were so many flavors on what is usually a simple dish. We also got their filet mignon with eggs (their take on steak and eggs). We ordered the steak medium-rare and it came out… medium rare. I find it hard that places actually cook the meat properly and they did a fantastic job here. The winner for me was their croque madame with truffle fries because they used a croissant instead of brioche per their recommendation. If you don’t know, croissants are one of my favorite things on this planet so this really made my day. After I told them how much I like croissants (haha), they brought me out a fresh one to eat with their homemade butter and strawberry jam. They found the way to my heart.
They had a DJ outside (it wasn’t overwhelming, though, which is great) and the overall ambience was relaxed and light. I also looooove that they have their own parking lot in the back with free parking!