Monday, October 27, 2014

Say "Oui" to the Crossants at L'amande in Beverly Hills.

Like the object of affection at hand, I'm going to make this short and sweet: L'amande produces one of the best croissants in LA. Sure, the people of Torrance (Torrencers? Torrencites? Torr Towners?) have known this since 2012, but not the rest of us. Not until the très French bakery opened their 90210 doors on Little Santa Monica in the late summer and introduced the Brandon and Brendas to their deliciously authentic wares. 

L'amande is very serious about their croissants. So much so they each take a ridiculous 72 hours to make. That's three days. A whole long weekend bender. All to pump out voluptuous, crescent-shaped pastries of love. The key to it all? This dough laminating machine that you don't see many places west of the Atlantic...

The schmancy laminator enables the bakery to produce massive amounts of croissants, all consistently shaped, layered and flaked. L'amande uses the machinery for a plethora of flavors, but you'd be remiss to not order one of the two below (or both, which is the smartest decision you'll make this year)...

The Pistachio Croissant is a stunner. Sticky like a good nut-filled croissant aught to be, the Pistachio 'ssant is crispy and flaky, but not too crispy and flaky. The interior environs almost a sponge-like consistency, but only in a very good way. And the pistachio filling is magnifique.

The Raspberry Cream Cheese Croissant is also nothing to sneeze at either. The bakery's top seller at both locations, L'amande stuffs the croissant with a healthy portion of house-made raspberry compote and fluffy cream cheese. They then top it off with a light powdering of confectioners sugar.

Simply put, the croissants make you want to throw on a beret, a striped scarf and read some Hemingway - or whatever French stereotype you adhere to. They're that good. And L'amande is a very welcomed, affordable addition to the Rodeo/Beverly couloir.

Check out the rest of their menu here.

9530 S. Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills.
Open daily, 8 am - 6 pm.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ideal LA Food Day (Westside and Eastside Editions)

The rad new restaurant recommendation start-up, Rex, very graciously/foolishly decided to interview this guy. I told them about my ideal LA food day - both a Westside and an Eastside edition, along with my overall food recs.

You agree with me? Or do you now absolutely hate me?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The 12 Pumpkin-Stuffs I Consumed in 48 Hours at the 2014 Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival

Two years yonder I attended the grand gourd mecca that is the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival and digested a whopping 11 different pumpkin-flavored food and drink items in a mere 48 hours. It was a recklessly delicious sojourn that I felt in my tummy for some days to come afterward. Thus, being the reasonable, responsible and civil adult that I am, I returned to the Fest this year with one goal in mind: CONSUME 12 PUMPKIN-FLAVORED FOOD AND DRINK ITEMS.

And that's exactly what I did.

Here are the 12 pumpkin-stuffs I consumed in 48 hours at the 2014 HMB Art & Pumpkin Fest (in the order in which they went down my gullet)...

1. Pumpkin Pie Taffy (Half Moon Bay Salt Water Taffy Co.) - I actually sampled the taffy at a restaurant hostess desk within an hour of arriving in town Friday night. I don't think I can understate how awesome this taffy is - with a very real pumpkin-y taste. Left with nary a choice, I later stopped by HMBSWTC to pick up two bags worth.

2. Pumpkin Pie (Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Fest) - Signs throughout the Fest touted their pumpkin pie as the best on planet Earth. While I wouldn't go that far, the hyperbole wasn't that far-fetched as the pie was rather exceptional and probably the best pumpkin-stuff at the actual Fest.

3. Anderson Valley Brewing Company Fall Hornin' Pumpkin Ale (San Benito House) - AVBC makes some of my favorite beers AND I'm obsessed with pumpkin beer. This seemed like a slam dunk. Unfortunately I found the Fall Hornin to be a little too dark, therefore heavy, for a sunny outdoor afternoon and a little sparse on the pumpkin aura that I had hoped for.

4. Pumpkin Bread (HMBA&PF) - The pumpkin bread was pretty stellar. A very buttery, sugary crust and a nice fluffy pumpkin cake. Would I have happily downed a whole loaf in one sitting? Maybe.

5. Mavericks Pumpkin Harvest Ale (Half Moon Bay Brewing Company) - The annual official beer of the fest, the Mavericks Pumpkin Harvest Ale is everything the AVBC pumpkin beer isn't: lighter, tastier and packed with pumpkin essence. I'll just be frank: I drank a few of these. 

6. Pumpkin Cookie (HMBA&PF) - This pumpkin cookie was so meh and insignificant I can barely remember anything about it. Think of it as the Josh Hartnett of pumpkin cookies.

7. Pretzel with Sweet Pumpkin Dipping Sauce (HMBA&PF) - This was basically a salted Super Pretzel with a side of pumpkin pie puree... AND I LOVED IT.

8. Khoresh~ E Kadoo Tanbal (Cafe Gibraltar) - Cafe Gibraltar is beloved up and down the San Mateo County coast for its authentic fine dining Mediterranean fare. After a day of eating pumpkin sweets, a real meal seemed in order. And, of course, I ordered the pumpkin stew. Thick, heavy on spice and packed with real pumpkin pieces, it was a top notch dish.   

9. Pumpkin Waffle (Half Moon Bay Lodge) - The hotel courteously offered gratis continental breakfast and on Sunday morning they brought out pumpkin waffle batter. Although you can see I suck at making pretty waffles, it still tasted really pumpkin-y and much better than expected from a free hotel bfast.

10. Pumpkin Spice Latte (Half Moon Bay Coffee Company) - You know I started the Sunday festival festivities with a Pumpkin Spice Latte. While not the best I've ever had, certainly better than 'Bucks.

11. Pumpkin "Scone" (HMBCC) - For a place that makes solid lattes, HMBCC certainly makes peculiarly bad scones. Even more insignificant than Saturday's pumpkin cookie, I'd describe this scone as Josh Hartnett's Stand-In.

12. Pumpkin Gnocchi (Sam's Chowder House) - At my final stop before leaving town, I did not expect Sam's, a long-time popular seaside seafood shack, to have anything pumpkin. However (possibly capitalizing on the pumpkin-crazed idiots like myself in town for the Fest), they DID in the form of a side: pumpkin gnocchi. And they were surprisingly good for a random side at a seafood joint. 

And finally, a picture of my dog in front of the HMB sign right before we hit the road back to LA...