Bouchon, Beverly Hills

The original Bouchon in beautiful Yountville, CA is a sort of pilgrimage site. When I was there, I had the most wonderful almond croissant, fruity macaroons, and chocolate éclair. As a part of a more balanced meal, however, my parents insisted that we also get sandwiches, which thankfully consist of more than just fat and carbs. Though the sweets at Bouchon usually get all the attention, the sandwiches are also wonderful. Thomas Keller updates the classics with carefully selected ingredients that are just a little different, ultimately creating a flavors that are memorable and completely craveable.

This particular craving compelled me to seek out Bouchon’s Beverly Hills location. I went in the middle of the week before my homework started piling up and before my extra-curricular obligations began to have time commitments more substantial than my classes. It was very sunny and and just humid enough to make dining en plein air a bit uncomfortable. But once the food started coming, the troubles disappeared as quickly as my appetizer, my sandwich, and my dessert.

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King’s Hawaiian, Torrance

Everyone has a handful of restaurants that are destination restaurants; places that are worth the extra long drive and the clearing out of an entire Saturday morning to worship. King’s Hawaiian in Torrance, California is one of those restaurants for me. Locally, their cakes and pastries are a cultural fixture, ubiquitous at any event that calls for a sweet finish. Everywhere else, throughout the country, people devour their signature Hawaiian sweet rolls or bread. A restaurant that has retained its homey, down to earth quality despite being the face of an enormous, million dollar baked good empire, King’s Hawaiian serves well-executed classics and a great variety of Asian and Hawaiian-inspired fare, keeping things tasty and exciting.

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Afternoon Tea at Harrods’ Georgian Restaurant, London

Before I left for London, I researched and researched places all the touristy things I wanted to do and some of the yummy places where I wanted to eat. Afternoon tea was very high up on my list, after all, in my mind it’s so quintessentially English. Websites like Chowhound recommended the Mandeville Hotel, and brief a browse through their menu convinced me to go there. But the day my mom and I wanted to get afternoon tea, we weren’t close to the Mandeville Hotel. It was an awkward in-between time after having spent hours at the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey and before we had to go see Legally Blonde: The Musical, a time that we both agreed should not be spent transporting ourselves to and back from where we were staying (a lovely hotel in Kensington) or unnecessarily wasted trying to find a new landmark.

We had just been to Harrods for the Chocolate Bar the day before and on our way out, we had meandered into a remote part of the children’s floor and found the Georgian. It was our last full day in London. Afternoon tea had thus far remained elusive. Towards Knightsbridge we went (again). And we were there for nearly three, incredibly relaxing, tasty hours.

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2011 LA Cupcake Challenge

Last November, I posted about Cupcake Camp, an event all about eating cupcakes and supporting a good cause. LA Cupcake Challenge is like camp, but on steroids. Yes, each cupcake was mini-sized, but there were nearly 40 different cupcakes. Because my boyfriend and I both went, we left with nearly 80 cupcakes. When they say challenge, they mean it. Though tickets were expensive (a little over $40/person), we both felt that we got our money’s worth and we appreciated the larger space the hotel venue allowed us. We ended up trying only about 20 of the cupcakes while there, but we brought the rest home and froze them for eating later.

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Loaf

Last spring break, I got to visit New York City with family. I wish at the time that I had been a food blogger then, because now I know that bloggers really have the best recommendations as to where to go eat. I relied on Yelp!, which gave me some pretty good options, but I neglected so many landmark bakeries, restaurants, and cafés that I pretty much smack myself every time I think or hear about places like Butter, Per Se, or Magnolia Bakery. I know, right, these places are like really famous and critically acclaimed, so I must be an uncouth cave-dweller, right? I just didn’t know about them when I was a sophomore in college. All I had in my mind was to hit as many art museums as possible while in the Big Apple. Now that food blogging had introduced me to this world, you can bet that I won’t be letting good eats slip by me like that.

Speaking of good eats, this quickbread recipe is from New York’s Baked. It’s in their first cookbook, Baked: New Frontiers in Baking. Now, I don’t know if they’re necessarily dessert frontiersmen as they so claim, but this pumpkin chocolate chip loaf was very very yummy. It was a perfect way for me to redeem myself for my failure to even know of Baked’s existence when I was in New York. Moist and spicy with the luxurious sweetness of chocolate and the subtle richness of pumpkin, this pumpkin chocolate chip loaf is enjoyable at all times of the day.

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Cupcake Camp Los Angeles 2010

Prior to this year, I had never heard of Cupcake Camp. After attending the one in my city, I am so happy that I went! Finally a camp that I can get excited about! Though it felt chaotic at times and the parking fee was an atrocious $20/car (thanks, Los Angeles) my boyfriend and I had a great time shopping around for cupcakes and seeing all the yummy creations everyone brought! Some of the cupcakes were absolute stand-outs, so if you get the chance to check them out in LA, please do so!

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