Kreation Kafe – Santa Monica

2014-02-05 14.29.29

 

Sorry about all the irregular updates. I’m in the process moving to Salt Lake City(!!) right now, but should be back on schedule within the next couple weeks.

But for now, here is the first restaurant installment of my Los Angeles trip.

Our first trip within the city limits was the apparently well known Montana Avenue in Santa Monica. We quickly found parking at one end of the street and started walking up and down the length of it. There were so many cute shops – decieving antique shops that appeared to be thrift stores but had a price range of a collector’s boutique, shops full of clothing that we didn’t dare enter for fear of some unknown entry fee, and so many cafés, juice bars, and restaurants!

It was around lunch time so we had a hard time deciding which of our many options looked most appealing (and was vegetarian friendly). While we wandered and pondered my future roommate noticed that no one seemed to be happy. Or smile. Or even acknowledge other human beings’ presence. She started smiling pointedly at the obvious locals to get a reaction out of them. After realizing that it simply wasn’t working she started to count how many people in LA smiled. The number can be counted on one hand, and we are pretty sure they were visitors like us.

But back to the food. Which gave us HUGE smiles of delight and satiation.

The place we ultimately decided on was the super trendy and very obviously organic–very-vegetarian-if-not-vegan restaurant – Kreation Kafe. I call it obviously organic and etc. because the outside featured a little portal covered in succulents and grasses, the floor was covered with astroturf (though, admittedly that’s not very sustainable or organic…) and the walls were mainly windows that let in all the natural light. What little that was solid wall was covered in yet more small succulents.

Luckily, it wasn’t too busy when we got there and didn’t have to wait at all, but the restaurant was completely full otherwise.

The menu was simple and offered a nice variety of breakfast dishes, sandwiches, kebabs, salads, and juices. All of the juices you never knew existed (and still aren’t really sure what their purpose is) and more. The last two pages was solid small type charts of various juices that the restaurant served – to order. Suffice it to say I ignored that page and stuck with water.

The meal I chose was a chicken and veggie sandwich with a side salad. The chicken was so tender, the veggies nice and fire roasted. It was a delicious gourmet and locally grown meal. The salad was the freshest I’ve had in a while. I don’t normally rave over the lettuces and leaves unless I have a craving, but this. was. good. It might have had the smallest drizzle of some light vinaigrette, but for the most part it was pure leafy joy. I was full and so happy from this meal.

Some of the other options were smoked salmon and tapas plate, scottish salmon and eggs, and veggies kabobs. Each and every one of us were delighted with the food. Enjoying it so much that we barely spoke at all while nomming. You know that’s a good meal.

And at the end of the meal, the waiter offered us complimentary juices in little test tube bottles. I forgot what flavours we tried, but one was minty and one was beety. Not bad, but I still don’t understand the juice craze.

It was a cute place and had quality food. I definitely would not mind revisiting Kreation Kafe next time I’m in the area.

Sort-of-Los-Angeles Adventures

IMG_2845As I mentioned in my last post, I took a trip to just outside of LA to reunite my French study abroad besties. 3 of us were in AZ at the time and decided to visit the 4th of our exquisite group in her hometown of Simi Valley. The first full day there we visited Ventura Beach and Amoeba Records in Hollywood.

IMG_2839

The next day her parents were gracious enough to take us along the coast to visit one of their friend’s vineyards in Paso Robles. The trip was beautiful, although it decided to rain on us. The first rain of the year for them!

IMG_2863 (2)

We even got to sea some marine life. At Morro Rock Bay we braved our way through the drizzle to walk along the cute line of shops selling taffy, candies, ice cream, and knick knacks. Behind one of the restaurants was a little walkway where we gazed at the sea lions arfing on a floating plank in the middle of the bay.

IMG_2858 (2)

 

When we finally made it to Paso Robles it was starting to clear up. We got to enjoy samples of some of the best red wine I’ve ever had (and I’ve lived in France!) and cuddle with an adorable and HUGE St Bernard.

 

IMG_2873 (2)

 

Along the way we had delicious food, graciously treated to us by the parents, which I will be posting about over the next couple weeks!

Local and Thirsty Crow Bar

Doesn’t that just look mouth-watering?

The Thirsty Crow is an old timey bar on West Sunset Blvd. The inside is dark lights and aged wood with barrels and character in ever corner. Their mascot is a cartoony crow that you can find here and there in nooks and crannies.

The most unique part of the setup is the food service. Right next door is a small crêpe restaurant called “Local.” There isn’t much to it, but the menu offers delectable options besides crêpes. There are also wraps and salads and burgers. Once you have ordered and paid, you get a number and head back over to the bar. Then you get to sip at your drink while waiting for your food to be delivered.

I ordered the Albóndigas Burger with spicy fries. This was exactly what I’d been craving in a burger for ages. It was moist, bursting with delicate flavors, and a delightful texture. The fries were crisp and had the slightest hint of heat. It was such a delightful meal.

To accompany the meal, I ordered a Sloe Gin and Tonic. I had no idea what Sloe Gin was, but cherry flavoured gin was not what I was expecting at all. The drink was quite nice though! Almost too sweet, but refreshing all the same. And at the bottom? Two black cherries!

Overall, I found this place quite fun and charming. If I were living in LA it would be one of my go-to places.

JiST Café

In Downtown Little Korea there is a brand new and very trendy café. The menu is very simple and Japanese inspired, and you can tell the ingredients are local and caringly picked. JiST is the name of the game.

The menu ranged from Oatmeal with quinoa to the fluffiest pancakes ever to Chashu with 6 minute eggs.

I ordered the The Hangover Cure – an omelet with tender and easily shredded beef short ribs, a rich gravy-like sauce, and a cheddar cheese, with a side of breakfast potatoes perfectly seasoned and cooked with sautéed peppers and onions and a coffee cake.

You can sit inside or outside on the patio and enjoy the view. And they have a self-serve water service right next to the register. The inside was really neat – one wall red brick, the facing wall a geometrical puzzle design of wood pieces, and plants everywhere. On the ceiling are those jointed desk lamps attached to the posts

Korea Town food times! Bento Man is an awesome little quick…

Korea Town food times!

Bento Man is an awesome little quick serve place right around her corner. I had the Chashu (pork belly) Miso Ramen and it was some of the best ramen I’ve had! T. and L. tried the Shrimp Tempura Udon and the Chicken Teriyaki. Everybody was really thrilled with their food!

The dumplings are from a Korean Mall a few blocks away from T.’s place. We were the only non-Asians in the entire shopping center, but the Korean servers were so nice. The lady who manned the booth we ate at was super sweet and utterly excited to know we white girls liked kimchi. And for 6 bucks we got 12 sizeable dumplings, slices of some sweet yellow vegetable or fruit, what we determined was probably a cauliflower and veggie purée and a side of dipping sauce.

Anybody know what the sides were called and made of? Let me know please!

Guisados – The Best Tacos in LA

T. is very lucky because her roommate is a foodie and knows many other foodies who give epic restaurant recs.

First, I need to tell you that the every restaurant we’ve been to has been set up the same way – there is a counter for ordering your food and then a separate dining area. Sometimes the food is delivered to you and sometimes you pick it up from a second counter. But we have yet to eat at a traditional restaurant with servers taking our orders.

Which I actually don’t miss that much at all.

This was the first place we experienced the new set up. Guisados has a variety of very tender and delicious fillings for their soft corn tacos. Anything from pollo con mole to chicharrones to queso to pescado. EVERYTHING. So, presented with so many options, I picked the sampler plate and then we all sat in the porch seating behind the kitchen.

Pictured above, it comes with 6 2in tacos in the flavors of your choice. I chose Calabacitas, Pollo con Mole, Tinga de Pollo, Chuleta en Salsa Verde, Cochinita Pibil, and Chorizo. And they brought out a side of spicy cream sauce, as well.

Everything was very succulent and bursting with flavor. Each bite carried a spicy warmth and every filling was unique and different. My favorites were the Tinga, the Pibil and the Calabacitas, but none of them disappointed.