suite soirees: a valentine’s day picnic complete with an epic heartcuterie board

Resources linked below

In quarantine, home really is where the heart is. Spending so much time indoors this year and still wanting to be safe during the pandemic, I decided to move things outside and set up a heart-themed picnic for my SuiteHearts (aka my pre-fiancé, Brian and bestie, Dan).

I first set the scene with a plush faux-fur rug and scattered a few blush and cream pillows around the center table so we could all sit comfortably. Then I created a focal point on the hedge with fabric flowers and a wooden “love” cut out in front of two chairs and a small table as a conversation space.

The drinks, or as I like to call them, “Suite Sips”, were perched on their own marble table for a drink station. I knew I had to have some variety for all of our different tastes so there were two rosé wines, beer for Brian, canned vodka spritz cocktails, and a fun pre-mixed strawberry margarita that fit in perfectly with the pink theme. Of course I turned to Dan and cheekily asked, “Will you accept this rosé?”

For nibbles, I always love to create pretty cheeseboards so I took the Valentine’s Day theme and created a “Heartcuterie” board complete with cheese, crackers, fruit, candies, and deli meats that I wrapped to look like roses. What better way to ask, “Will you brie mine?”

I fell in love with the idea of heart-shaped caprese salad (even though it was a bit cheesy) and was so happy with the way it turned out that I loved it from my head, all the way to-ma-toes. It was super easy to make and really delicious to eat.

For something suite, I hand dipped cherries in white chocolate and rolled them in black sprinkles for an updated twist on the classic chocolate-dipped strawberry. There was also heart-shaped watermelon and crispy vanilla meringue perched on marble pedestals.

I love the way the whole picnic turned out and it was a nice change to celebrate love outdoors. Tell me, do you beleaf in love?

Resources

Love Sign  I  Felt Hearts  I  Glitter Hearts
Faux Fur Rug  I  Pillows  I  Marble Table
Marble Cheeseboard  I  Marble Pedestals  I  Two-Tier Tray
Crackers  I  Heart-Shaped Crackers
Bubblegum Yogurt Pretzels  I  Cosmo Popcorn  I  Meringue
Candy Lips  I  Cosmo Bears  I  Cinnamon Hearts
Rose Wine  I  Rose Wine  I  Strawberry Margarita  I  Beer  I  Canned Cocktail

What snack would you fall for first on this snack board?  Let us know in the comments below.


if you’ve got it, haunt it: how we decorated the building for halloween this year

We’re just here for the boos! My pre-fiance, Brian, loves Halloween. No, like loves Halloween. So when he asked a few years ago if he could decorate the building, it started off innocent enough with a few tombstones. Then came the handmade coffin, then a smoke machine, then a spider the size of a small car. Each year he’s expanded on his, ahem, inventory – I mean display.

Well this year I was in for a surprise when a box the size of our mattress showed up in August. August! What crawled out of that box was none other than a 12 foot tall skeleton with light up eyes. Brian looked like a dwarf standing next to it! He tried to hide his mischievous smirk when he looked at his new toy and then to me to see if I would scold him for his frivolous (and secret) purchase.

I looked him straight in the eye and said, “I am really disappointed in you.” He kind of chuckled under his breath and then I deadpanned, “I am really disappointed that you didn’t buy two.” I mean, come on, I have to admit that a skeleton that can easily peep right into my second floor bathroom window while I’m showering is kind of a cool addition.

Then we added those good ol’ headstones, the car-sized spider, last year’s purchase: a skeleton horse with a new, black, glittery skeleton rider, and pretty much everything else Brian had squirreled away.

We normally confine the Halloween decorations to only the front yard of the building, but since we remodeled and relandscaped it last year and the trees have grown in, our usual set-up had to be reimagined since it would’ve been hidden behind the tall hedge. So we decided to try something new and instead stage it at the entrance and along the driveway of our building this year.

When we decorate for Christmas, I love to hang oversized white and gold ornaments over the driveway and last year we created a more permanent cable system that is reusable and easier to put up than fishing line. So I had this idea that we could repurpose the cables for Halloween and hang bats and skeleton spiders from up above. Brian had the idea to swag beef net “webbing” over the cables so that the spiders looked like they had created a home for themselves. As a final touch, our ghost girl hovers in the center and watches over the building and I like to joke that she’s a potential new tenant that prefers an upper floor.

We still had a lot of open cables so Brian suggested we hang the faux flame candles that we purchased for another project and didn’t end up using. They had just been sitting in the attic so he drilled some holes and looped fishing line through them so they hung upside down a la Harry Potter. This has been my favorite new element by far this year. To see the soft, warm glow of candles that appear to be floating above the driveway is really quite magical at night.

We tried to create vignettes all along the driveway and for a little property management humor, we set up a spot with a “manager” sitting in a chair holding a “Vacancy Available” sign next to an open coffin with two occupants scrambling for the chance to be interred. A metal arbor with dead tree limbs still attached frames the scene and we added black flowers to the arch of the arbor. We had been storing the arbor that was being thrown away by a restaurant for years when I said, “When else are we gonna use this thing?”

And then, this year, we have a vacant first floor apartment that we’re remodeling so I came up with the idea to create a scene in the windows and use the glow-in-the-dark skeletons that don’t really go with the rest of the outdoor decor. And Brian finally got to put one of those floor fans that tenants always throw out when they move to good use and wired a skeleton to it and turned it on to add some movement.

follow us on Instagram @TheSuiteLifeLA

We have a few more elements to add to finish it all up (a cemetery sign spanning the driveway), but we’re super happy with the skele-fun we’ve been able to conjure up during such a bummer year. To see the kid’s faces when they run down the driveway with their parents is just pure Halloween excitement. #TrickOrSuite, witches!

What’s your favorite part of this year’s Halloween decor? Let us know in the comments below.

All images courtesy of Brett Erickson I Video courtesy of Dan Magro


the one place we always stop when visiting beaver, ut

Stick around for a special 15% off promo code at the end of this article.

This is a one stop light town.  There’s one supermarket, one bar, and one coffee shop.  There’s also only one place we HAVE to stop every time we visit: The Creamery, a huge, glorious church of cheese and dairy.

Opened in 2018 and easily visible from the 15 freeway, the building is new to this old town and looks like Joanna Gaines could’ve designed it with its board and batten black roof, wood shiplap siding, and cute cow logo painted on what could be mistaken for a silo.  It’s a hot spot for both locals looking for a cool treat on a sweltering day or people passing through town wanting a family-friendly place to stretch their legs and grab a bite to eat.

Walking through the double glass doors, you’re greeted with a large dilemma: do you go right towards the gift shop and casual restaurant or do you go left and load up on local Utah-made cheese and ice cream?  We opted to first shop all the quaint country-esque offerings like cheeseboards, blankets, décor, and mugs before heading over to drool in front of the refrigerated cheese case and local fare like crackers, jellies, and sweets.

While Brian went one way and grabbed a cute throw embroidered with his last initial, I went the other way and came back with a marble and wood cheeseboard also emblazoned with a matching E.  And when we saw what the other picked out, we smiled and kissed because we’re both that cheesy.  (OMG, I didn’t even mean for that to be a pun while shopping in a cheese store.)

With our personalized blanket and cheeseboard, we knew exactly what we wanted to do with them: an ATV ride to our favorite mountain meadow for a sunset picnic.

In front of the cheese case, I had the hardest time narrowing down which cheeses to get because they all looked so good (and we ended up with a few more than our cheeseboard could handle).  And I love the fact that all of the dairy products sold at The Creamery are made from milk sourced from dairy farms within a 25-mile radius of small town Beaver, Utah.  That truly lives up to their clever tagline of “Farm, meet table”.

We selected Fair Meadows cream cheese, Troyer black wax extra sharp cheddar, Gossner smoked swiss, Villa Frizzoni asiago, and jalapeno cheese curds.  If you’ve never tried cheese curds, stop what you’re doing and order some right now.  Then, thank us later.


Suite Tip: Cheese curds are a younger, spryer cheddar. They are what cheddar is before being formed into blocks and aged. Cheddar cheese is typically aged from 60 days to 4 years before being sold, whereas cheese curds are eaten straight away.

To round out our romantic sunset cheeseboard, I grabbed some Rustic Bakery rosemary and olive oil flatbread crackers and apricot, pistachio, and brandy artisan crisps for something a little sweeter.  I also picked out a peach amaretto jam and Brian found a mild Italian hard salami and a local-made spicy jalapeno and pineapple jelly to go over the cream cheese and crackers.

On our way to check out, I couldn’t resist a Creamery tote and throwing in some handmade Utah caramels for my parents and wood-carved slingshots for my niece and nephew back home.

And our ATV sunset picnic?  Well, let’s just say it was one of the highlights of this trip.  Brian totally made me melt as the sun slowly dipped behind the trees.  (Yep, still that cheesy.)


Get 15% Off: If you’d like to try The Creamery cheese and products yourself, they ship nationwide.  And now through July 30th, our followers can receive 15% off any purchase of $20 or more with promocode: thesuitelifela.


Shop here now.  (Your purchase helps to support local farm families.)

What’s your favorite type of cheese?  Let us know in the comments below.


suite eats: a green snack board for st. patrick’s day

I love a good cheeseboard.  Any time that I have friends over or entertain, I always like to offer a pretty cheese board or charcuterie plate since it’s easy (and delicious) snacking.  I also love any excuse to get creative and color coordinate.  So with St. Patrick’s Day coming up, I wanted to do a twist on my regular spread and do more of a “green day” inspired snack board full of gorgeous green veggies, fruits, guac, candy, and cheese (obvi).

I headed to one of my favorite stores, World Market, to stock up on all the green treats they had from all over the globe.   (Links to products below.)

I started with my go-to cheese board plate (similar here) that my spread quickly outgrew, so I decided to embrace the idea of making my kitchen island the center of attention and laid everything out there.

First, I placed small bowls that would hold the dips around so that they would anchor the snacks and then started layering in the good stuff.  I made sure to use an odd number of bowls to keep things visually appealing.

Then I grouped the veggies together like green peppers, celery, sugar snap peas, cucumber, and green cauliflower.  To the bowls I added green castelvetrano olives and pesto to dip.

Above the veggies, I added in fruits like green apple, pear, grapes, and kiwi.  I added hummus and a garlic & herb spreadable cheese in the middle so you could dip the veggies or fruit in either one.

Then I found these fun, green guacamole flavored tortilla chips and mounded those by the bowl of guac.  Together they were so good!

I layered in a few other crunchy snacks for texture like “Margarita Crunch” popcorn, wasabi peas, and wasabi almonds before finishing off the snack board with some suite treats.

For the dessert end, I added matcha green tea Pocky biscuit sticks, green tea Kit Kats, apple flavored candies, and green tea chocolate covered macadamia nuts.

And no get together is complete without a good wine to offer guests so I partnered with Winc who delivered four bottles straight to my door and tailored to my tastes.  I took a quick quiz online and my delivery included my favorite, a sauvignon blanc, along with a chenin blanc, sparkling chardonnay, and a red blend.  Having hand selected wine delivered definitely made this soirée easy to plan since I didn’t even have to leave the house or scour the wine aisle looking at labels.  And Winc got it right too – we loved every bottle.

If you’d like to try four bottles of wine for $39 plus complimentary shipping, just use my special code here from Winc.  Your friends may be green with envy with how easy it is.

Resources

Winc Wine
Wasabi Almonds  I  Wasabi Peas Popcorn
Pesto  Olives Hummus Spreadable Cheese
Guacamole  I  Chips
Kit Kats  I  Pocky Macadamia Nuts  I  Apple Candy

What snack would you dive into first on this snack board?  Let us know in the comments below.

 

 


suite sips: halloween-inspired cocktails conjured up by mixologist dan magro

For the last two years, my boyfriend has gone crazy with decorating the front yard for Halloween.  It started off innocent enough with a few tombstones, but then last year he kicked it up a notch with a fog machine, homemade coffin, treasure chest, two-story high spider web, skeletons, hanging ghosts, and a gigantic spider.  So naturally, we also threw a party to go along with the lawn decor because I mean, how could we not?

I like to make everything from scratch so I got busy Pinterest-ing decor and food ideas (you can check out my Pinterest board filled with Halloween ideas here), and then I enlisted the help of my friend and hobbyist mixologist, Dan Magro, to conjure up some signature drinks for the evening.  For those of you who don’t know Dan, he’s the author of Suck It Up: Extraordinary Cocktails for Everyday People so he kinda totally knows what he’s talking about.

I gave Dan free rein to be creative and he was mindful to incorporate our “Spiders & Skeletons” theme that had a black-and-white color palette so that the drinks matched and didn’t feel out of place.  He decided on two different cocktails (I love an over achiever) with one being tequila based and the other being vodka based.  Both were equally delicious.  And you know it’s a good cocktail and a good party when Dan and I had to do an emergency refill of the dispensers halfway through the night.

arachnophobia

Ingredients

  • 2 oz blanco tequila
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 3/4 oz agave nectar
  • Activated charcoal* (don’t worry, it has no taste or grit)
  • Spider-infused ice cubes^ (optional)

Directions
To make spider-infused ice cubes, simply freeze a washed plastic spider in a large ice cube tray like this one.

To make the cocktail, in a glass, muddle one 265mg capsule of activated charcoal, thoroughly extracted.  Combine remaining ingredients in a shaker filled with ice.  Shake vigorously and strain into a rocks glass.  Serve over one large spider-infused ice cube.  

bone marrow

Ingredients

  • 1 oz citrus vodka
  • 8 fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 1 oz ruby red grapefruit juice
  • 1 oz ginger turmeric simple syrup
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • Gummy bones or skull candies for garnish (optional)

Directions
In a glass, muddle raspberries with vodka until thoroughly extracted.  Combine with remaining ingredients (except gummy candies) in a shaker filled with ice.  Shake rigorously and strain into a martini glass, making sure to catch any raspberry seeds.  Garnish with skull or white bone gummy.  We used these cute “vampire” teeth and skull candies from Sockerbit.

Which scary good cocktail do you want to try first?  Let us know in the comments below.

Disclaimers:

^ Plastic spiders are not to be consumed and can be a choking hazard if not securely frozen in large ice. Do not use small cubes as the ice melts faster and the black spider will be hard to see in the darkness of the cocktail.

* Activated charcoal can, in certain circumstances, absorb medication’s active ingredients (such as birth control) before your body gets a chance to. Consult your doctor if you are on regular medication of any kind before consuming activated charcoal.


playlist: apartment hunting

Apartment hunting in LA can be stressful, so we wanted to make it a bit sweeter by creating a playlist to get you pumped about looking at all those potential new pads.  Our playlist picks are all inspired by Los Angeles with nods to our favorite city or renting.  Check out the lyric highlights below.

Imagine it’s the weekend and you and your bestie just finished brunch at Republique.  You’re in the car headed to the first of many appointments to look at apartments when all of a sudden you hear, “I knew my rent was gon’ be late about a week ago. I worked my ass off, but I still can’t pay it though.”  If that beat doesn’t get you through any beige wall disappointments, the rest of our playlist will.

Let us know your favorite song from our playlist in the comments below or chime in with any of your fave LA-inspired hits we may have missed.  And then check out our tips for scoring the perfect apartment.

“Time of Our Lives” – Pitbull featuring Ne-Yo
“I knew my rent was gon’ be late about a week ago
I worked my ass off, but I still can’t pay it though.”

“Pretty Girls” – Britney Spears featuring Iggy Azalea
“Hey, don’t you know that it’s always the same?
From Australia ’round to LA
You can betcha’, wherever the girls go, boys follow”

“You and I” – Lady Gaga
“We got a whole lot of money but we still pay rent
‘Cause you can’t buy a house in heaven”

“Lullaby” – Shawn Mullins
“She grew up with the children of the stars
In the Hollywood Hills and the boulevard”

“My House” – Flo Rida
Open up the champagne, pop!
It’s my house, come on, turn it up”

“Walkin’ in LA” – Missing Persons
“Walkin’ in L.A., nobody walks in L.A.”

“California Gurls” – Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg
“California girls, we’re unforgettable”

“Fancy” – Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX
“I’m so fancy, you already know
I’m in the fast lane, from L.A. to Tokyo”

“California Love” – 2pac featuring Dr. Dre
“California… knows how to party
In the city of L.A.”

“LA Love” – Fergie
“Uh, tell ’em where I’m from
Finger on the pump make the sixth straight jump from SoCal
Hollywood to the slums”

“I am a Good Girl” – Christina Aguilera from the Burlesque soundtrack
“My address today, L.A. by the way
Above Sunset Strip, the Hills all the way”

“All I Wanna Do” – Sheryl Crow
“All I wanna do is have some fun
Until the sun comes up over Santa Monica Boulevard”

“American Boy” – Estelle featuring Kanye West
“Take me on a trip, I’d like to go some day
Take me to New York, I’d love to see LA.”

“Beverly Hills” – Weezer
“Beverly Hills – That’s where I want to be!
Living in Beverly Hills”

“Free Fallin'” – Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
“I wanna glide down over Mulholland
I wanna write her name in the sky”

“Girls Girls Girls” – Motley Crue
“Girls, girls, girls
Dancin down on the Sunset Strip”

“I’m in LA Trick” – LMFAO
“Drink all day, play all night
Let’s get it poppin’, I’m in LA trick!”

“The Way That You Love Me” – Paula Abdul
“It ain’t your heavy connections
It ain’t the Hollywood game”

“Let’s Go Crazy” – Prince
“So when you call up that shrink in Beverly Hills
You know the one, Dr. Everything’ll-Be-Alright”

“Moment 4 Life” – Nicki Minaj
“South side Jamaica, Queens and it’s crazy
Cause I’m still hood, Hollywood couldn’t change me”

“Forget You in LA” – Poema
“Or maybe I’ll try out the West Coast
And forget you in LA”

“Party in the USA” – Miley Cyrus
“I hopped off the plane at L.A.X. with a dream and my cardigan”

“Obsessed” – Mariah Carey
“Sayin’ we up in your house, sayin’ I’m up in your car,
But you in LA, and I’m out at Jermaine’s.”

“Under the Bridge” – Red Hot Chili Peppers
“Sometimes I feel like my only friend
Is the city I live in the city of angels”

images: summer glau


brighten up your apartment with a bouq

the grace bouq
There’s nothing we love more than coming home to fresh flowers.  They instantly brighten up any room, smell amazing, and give your apartment that whole “put together” vibe.  So when we heard about The Bouqs (pronounced just like bouquet, but without the “et” at the end), we just had to try out their blooms.

The Bouqs makes sending fresh flowers to your apartment (or a friend) easy and affordable. Their signature bouqs come from Equador and are grown on the side of an active volcano which means lots of sunshine and nutrient rich soil (let’s just hope that volcano keeps a lid on it so we can keep getting our shipment of flowers, ok?).  The blooms are cut when you order them and are shipped directly to you instead of sitting in a warehouse cooler like at a regular florist, which means that they’ll last longer.  And each bouq is reasonably priced at only $40 and includes shipping!

We ordered the “Desperado” with hot pink roses and purple filler accents and when prompted if we wanted to double the amount of flowers we received for only $10 more, naturally we said yes! Who wouldn’t want more roses at that price point?

Our shipment arrived the following week in a long gray box and included flower food and directions on how to arrange our bouq to make sure that they lasted as long as possible.  We wasted no time in arranging the roses in a vase and brightening up our desk in the living room. We even upcycled some pretty glass bud vases (reed diffusers in their previous life) and spread the bouqs around to perk up the bathroom and bedroom too.

If you’re a planner (or a bit forgetful), you can even sign up for their “concierge” service where you can arrange to have flowers shipped automatically on important dates, like mother’s day or your boss’s birthday.  If you just want to keep your apartment looking cheerful and put together, you can also subscribe for regular deliveries to your doorstep either weekly, monthly, or every few months.  We think that’s a pretty sweet way to brighten up any room.

Check out The Bouqs here and tell them that The Suite Life sent you.

Do you love fresh flowers in your apartment?  Let us know your favorite kind in the comments below.

 

images: the bouqs


dineLA restaurant week: the 10 spots not to miss

One of the best ways to experience all that LA has to offer in regards to dining is dineL.A.’s highly anticipated Restaurant Week.  Kicking off this week and continuing through next weekend, dineL.A. showcases over 350(!) restaurants throughout this gorgeous city that offer up a special prix-fixe menu for lunch and/or dinner at amazing prices.  With lunches ranging from $15-$25 and dinners ranging from $30-$50, now is the perfect time to try a new restaurant, hit up a fave, or finally taste something from the kitchen of that high-end place that you’ve been dying to try.

Since we dine out a lot, we thought we’d share a few of our favorites.  Here are our top picks for places to dine that we’ve tried and tested and highly recommend:

connie & ted's lobster roll

1.  Connie & Ted’s – fresh seafood & cocktails

Lunch $25   I   Dinner $40

We are lucky enough to live within walking distance to this salty gem.  Make a res during dineL.A. and be sure to choose their lobster roll from their dineL.A. menu served hot with drawn butter and choose the scoop of their homemade ice cream.  If peanut butter or butter pecan is an option, do it!  Trust us.

Cuisine: Seafood, American
Neighborhood: West Hollywood
8171 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood 90046

Connie & Ted’s: Menu & Reservations

AOC_Farmers_Lunch

2.  A.O.C. – cheese & charcuterie

Lunch $25 (Monday-Friday only)

We had lunch here last weekend and decided to make it one of our go-to dining out staples.  With a cheese and charcuterie plate offered on their dineL.A. lunch menu, that’s reason enough for us to go again.  And again.

Cuisine: Californian
Neighborhood: Beverly
8700 West 3rd Street, Los Angeles 90048

A.O.C.: Menu & Reservations

jicama wrapped guacamole

3.  The Bazaar by Jose Andrés – the showstopper

Dinner $50

This is our #1 pick for our favorite restaurant in LA!  The dining experience is fun and playful with tapas-style small plates being served like their bite-size “Philly Cheesesteak” made with decadent Wagyu beef or their innovative jicama wrapped guacamole which inspired our immediate need for a mandolin in our kitchen.  (True story.)

Cuisine: Spanish
Neighborhood: Beverly
465 South La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles 90048 (located inside the SLS Hotel)

The Bazaar: Menu & Reservations

fig and olive

4.  Fig & Olive Melrose Place – fresh mediterranean

Lunch $25   I  Dinner $50

The food here is super fresh, imaginative and was a hit with our entire family (that’s hard to do!). The space is warm and beautifully decorated.  Grab a seat on the enclosed patio if you can and be sure to enjoy all of their different olive oils with each dish.

Cuisine: Mediterranean
Neighborhood: Beverly
8490 Melrose Place, Los Angeles 90069

Fig & Olive: Menu & Reservations

gracias madre

5.  Gracias Madre – vegan mexican 

Lunch $20   I  Dinner $30

Ok, so maybe “vegan” and “Mexican” don’t sound like they go together.  We mean, can it really have authentic Mexican flavors without meat and cheese? Gracias Madre is up to the challenge and killing it with every delicious plant-based bite.  Try one of their “snow cone” cocktails and order the empañadas.

Cuisine: Mexican, Vegan
Neighborhood: West Hollywood
8905 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood 90069

Gracias Madre: Menu & Reservations

Jar West Hollywood pot roast

6.  Jar – modern retro cuisine

Dinner $50

The decor is fashionably retro while the food was more than modernly mouthwatering.  Order their famous pot roast or savor the salmon for your main course.  You really can’t go wrong with anything on the updated traditional menu.

Cuisine: American
Neighborhood: Beverly
8225 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles 90048

Jar: Menu & Reservations

mud hen tavern chicken waffle croquettes

7.  Mud Hen Tavern – a foodie’s playground

Lunch $25   I  Dinner $30

We went just last week and are still craving that ahhhhhmazing sauce from their chicken, bacon and waffle croquettes.  When you’re looking over your shoulder to make sure no other patrons catch you sopping up the sauce with a spoon, there’s no shame in this menu’s game.

Cuisine: American (new)
Neighborhood: Hollywood
742 North Highland, Los Angeles 90038

Mud Hen Tavern: Menu & Reservations

red o

8.  Red O by Rick Bayless – modern mexican

Dinner $50

We’ve got a soft spot for Mexican food and then when you tell us that this place serves a mean spicy jalapeño margarita, we’re jumping in flan first!

Cuisine: Mexican
Neighborhood: Fairfax
8155 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles 90046

Red O: Menu & Reservations

rocksugar

9.  Rocksugar Pan Asian Kitchen – banana custard cake

Lunch $15   I   Dinner $30

This is basically our excuse to say that we need to go shopping or see a movie at the Century City mall (even though we don’t actually do either and just really need that banana custard cake). Each plate we’ve ever tried is filled with tons of flavor, is always consistent, and the decor is gorgeous.  Order the crispy samosas or the Indian stuffed flatbread and end your meal with the caramelized banana custard cake.  Every.  Single.  Time.

Cuisine: Asian Fusion
Neighborhood: Century City
10250 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles 90067

RockSugar Pan Asian Cuisine: Menu & Reservations

the village idiot melrose

10.  The Village Idiot – a great lively little bar

Lunch $15   I   Dinner $30

Belly up to this fun and inviting bar and restaurant that’ll remind you of that trip to London you took after college.  The atmosphere is welcoming and the food is hearty.  Try their roasted apple and arugula salad and the braised pork pie with a sweet ending of warm sticky coffee cake.  And don’t forget the pint of beer, mate.

Cuisine: American (new)
Neighborhood: Fairfax
7383 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles 90046

The Village Idiot: Menu & Reservations

For the full list of restaurants participating in dineL.A.’s Restaurant Week, click here.  

For more of our favorite restaurants to try in LA, visit our “dine” section and check out our thoughts on places like Animal and Eveleigh.

 

photos: food republic, aaron cookboy meets girl meets food, fig and olive, the suite life, jar, mud hen tavern, locale magazine, la restaurants, la weekly


giveaway: win dinner for two at re creo’s next supper club

re creo giveaway dinner

***This contest is now closed.  Thanks for entering!***

Congratulations to Eva Fleur Mora Dragoo! We hope you enjoy dining at Re Creo Supper Club!  Be sure to let us all know how the dinner was in the comments below.  Enjoy!

As a holiday gift to you, on December 5th Re Creo will bring Christmas in Peru to Los Angeles at their monthly underground supper club and you have the chance to join them!  The crew over at Re Creo Supper Club was kind enough to provide us with a pair of tickets to give away on The Suite Life.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Here’s how to enter for a chance to win…

  1. Sign-Up.  Enter your name and email address below.
  2. Comment.  Leave a comment below telling us about your one favorite restaurant in LA (besides Re Creo, of course).
  3. Wait. We’ll announce the winner on Tuesday, December 2nd!

Bonus: All entrants to the giveaway will receive a secret offer from Re Creo!  (Because what’s more underground than a secret and a surprise?)

_________________________________________________________________________________

Don’t want to chance it?  Make sure that you’ve got a seat at the table and RSVP for the December 5th dinner are.creo.supperclub@gmail.com.  Just be sure to do so by November 30th as spots fill quickly.

Check out our recent article on our experience at Re Creo to see what the prize includes.

 

 

And a special thanks to everyone over at Re Creo Supper Club for making this giveaway possible!


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This giveaway is open to US residents 21 years of age and older.  Winner will be contacted via email. If our team does not hear back within 24 hours, a new winner will be selected in your place.  Limit one comment per entry. Multiple comment entries will not be considered.  This giveaway ends at midnight PST on December 1st, 2014.  Re Creo Supper Club was kind enough to provide us with the tickets to give away to you guys! (Thanks so much to everyone at Re Creo for making this possible!!) This is not a sponsored giveaway.
photos: Sarah Lockhart and Tim Ryon

re creo: an underground supper club where the experience is out of this world

ReCreoSupperClub_Dinner

If you think you’re a foodie in LA, you haven’t tasted anything yet.  We were lucky enough to be invited to join Re Creo Supper Club at their monthly dinner in September and the whole experience from beginning to end was unique foodie fun.

First off, you’ve got to be an insider on “The List” in order to score an invite to this amazing shindig (don’t worry, we’ve got you covered and you can sign up below).  Because the venue is intimate, often times at the chef’s home, seats are limited.  You can RSVP as a single diner or a couple and once you’re confirmed, you’ll be sent a confirmation with the details including the time, address, and any other insights (we were told not to wear heels because of the flooring on the roof at last month’s location).

When we arrived downtown, we were among soaring vintage bank buildings of the 1920’s and were buzzed up to the penthouse level at the address we were given.  The whole thing felt mysterious and exciting.  We were going some place we’d never been, to have dinner with people we don’t know, to be served a nine-course menu where we were at the complete mercy of the chef.  To say that we were intrigued is an understatement.

Once we ascended the spiral staircase to the private rooftop terrace, we were greeted by Executive Chef & Founder, Jean Valcarcel, shaking up our complimentary “welcome cocktail” of raspberry, rocoto (spicy pepper), and rosemary.  Then we were left to take in the 180 degree view of the Los Angeles skyline, peruse the handwritten menu for our most anticipated course (hello, root beer braised short rib), and get to know our other Re Creo diners while a groovy mix of tunes played in the background.

Re Creo is a play on the Spanish word “recreo” which means “to have fun, entertain, enliven, or delight” and the evening’s guests, ambiance, and food made sure that the night lived up to that definition.  The conversations flowed easily and we loved how welcoming every guest was and how eager they were to get to know each other.  There were no wallflowers here, just a mix of really cool down-to-earth people who were hungry like us.

When we were finally ready to eat, the sun was just starting to sink behind the beautiful backdrop of buildings as event coordinator, and second half of Re Creo, Tinh Tran, welcomed us to dinner.  Marketing director, Angela Wagner, encouraged guests to post pictures of their evening on social media by using hash tag #ReCreoSupperClub which totally made us foodie-obsessed photogs feel more comfortable taking annoying pics of every course.  And each one was worthy of an upload along with the accompanying hash tags #delicious and #moreplease.

the spread

  • Welcome cocktail: raspberry, rocoto, & rosemary martini
  • Seared albacore tuna ceviche, coconut milk leche de tigre
  • Papa rellena, aioli verde, pickled red onions
  • Green pea & mint gazpacho, pea tendrils
  • Parmegiano regiano custard, spiced carrot salad, golden raisin puree
  • Korean steak tartare, frisee, quail egg
  • Sea urchin paella, cherry tomato escabeche
  • Cauliflower truffle shooter, thyme oil
  • Root beer braised short ribs, miso mashed potatoes, tangerine chermoula
  • Earl grey white chocolate bread pudding, lemon curd sauce

top nosh

Do we have to choose just one?  That’s usually not our first thought when we sit down to describe our favorite dish, as there’s usually a clear stand out.  In the nine courses we were served over the span of a few hours, each dish was equally mouth-watering.  Alright, alright, we’ll choose one. And it’s probably not the one you’re thinking we’d choose.

Our “most-anticipated” dish was definitely the root beer braised short ribs with miso mashed potatoes and tangerine chermoula.  We’re not even sure what a chermoula is, but we do know that there wasn’t a drop left on any of our plates that night.  The meat was hearty and as it melted in your mouth you could taste the underlying sugar of the root beer which gave it a slightly sweet finish.  The miso mashed potatoes were creamy and complimented the sweetness of the soda while the tangerine added some acidity and tartness.

Our “top nosh” honors go to the parmegiano regiano custard with spiced carrot salad and golden raisin puree.  This was such a unique dish!  I mean, who serves a cheese custard with carrots? Who plans a menu and says, “I’ll whip up a savory cheese mousse and pair that with carrots scented with cinnamon and cardamom?”  A creative culinary genius, that’s who!  The custard itself was smooth and creamy, similar to a really good Mexican flan dessert, but instead of a sweet treat, you’re biting into a savory cheese concoction with a crispy parmesan chip on top. Chef Valcarcel said it was the most difficult dish to make, but it was by far the easiest for us to eat.

may we suggest

  • Get on their invite list.  The only way into this awesome evening is by signing up for their email list to make sure that you’re first in line to score a seat.  They also post about the dinners on their social media pages, but in-the-know people like you will get first dibs on the coveted spots.  You can sign up below.
  • RSVP for their October 25th dinner now.  Reservations close on October 19th for their Brothers Grimm-inspired Halloween offering promising their “most macabre event of the year”.  Chef Valcarcel invites you to follow his trail of breadcrumbs through an edible journey through the darker side of our childhoods – it’s an opportunity to face your fears, and then eat them!  Mmmwwaaahaahaaa!
  • BYOW.  While Re Creo serves up the fare, you’ll need to plan ahead and bring your own wine since alcohol is not included as part of the evening. (Except for that sweet welcome cocktail, of course.)  How many bottles and what type of wine you bring will depend on you and your taste.  And keep in mind that you’ll be sitting next to some cool new people and offering them a taste of your skillfully selected vintage is always a crowd pleaser.
  • Bring cash.  At the end of dinner you’ll be given an envelope in which to discreetly pay for the evening.  While prices vary depending on the month’s menu, expect it to range anywhere from a suggested cash donation of $75 to $125.  This includes all courses, complimentary cocktails, tax, gratuity, and overall experience.  At $125, that’s an average of a little over $10 a course with tax and a 20% tip.
  • Bring Re Creo to you.  If you can’t make it to one of their dinners in downtown, bring the unique experience and amazing food to you by having them cater your next event. Whether it’s a small birthday dinner at home for your friends or a larger cocktail party for the office (book ’em now before the holidays), Re Creo is able to make your event a one-of-a-kind culinary adventure.

the specifics

Re Creo Supper Club
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To receive an invitation to their next dinner on October 25th, or future dinners, sign up here:

Also be sure to check out our posts on Eveleigh on Sunset and Animal on Fairfax for even more great places to eat in LA.

photos: Sarah Lockhart, Tim Ryon, The Suite Life