Today’s Contender: Nancy’s Fancy by Nancy Silverton
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Flavor: Butterscotch Budino
The Butterscotch Budino at Nancy Silverton’s Pizzeria Mozza is undoubtedly one of my favorite desserts in town (one she stole by the way from restaurant Jar and then made famous) and now she has interpreted that same amazing dessert into a gelato version. WOW! Just WOW! It’s f-in amazing. Rich and thick and smooth and creamy. Winner Winner Chicken Dinner! And it’s available in your grocery store — although I hear scoop shops are in the works.
There isn’t anything Nancy Silverton does that isn’t the best in class. I dream of her pizza. Now she’s tackled my other favorite food and it too is worthy of dreams. Even though super rich, I couldn’t stop eating it. You will be marveled at the texture — and let’s face it, ice cream or gelato is all about the texture. This version is like nothing I’ve ever had in the smoothness category. In the richness category, it’s akin to Magee Beer’s ice cream from Australia (another grocery store favorite). The flavor is deep yet subtle, sophisticated and luscious. Well worth the $8.99 price tag for a 4 oz container.
Next her Roasted Banana flavor . . .
Not from LA? For mail order Fancy Nancy’s go here.
My biggest fear when I travel alone, is figuring out how to get around without getting terribly lost, looking like a tourist or heading completely in the opposite direction and giving up on my destination altogether (which I have done more than I care to admit). Hello Citymapper! How did I not know you existed?!
Because of my fears, I have become a huge planner when I travel. When I went to Prague many years ago pre-sophisticated smart phones, I packed my itinerary tight and had every tram journey planned & printed from point A to point B (I just love a city with trams!), even pre-booked taxis before I left home for trips farther afield. In Auckland and Melbourne (my oft-repeated destination) their transit systems have comprehensive apps that give you point to point instructions. And even in NYC, I find myself relying on Google Maps for subway or walking routes. Well no more . . .
As I started planning for my next trip to Lisbon – where I don’t speak the language, where transit system apps and quite frankly decent cross over transit maps don’t exist, where I seem to have chosen a hotel for which the closest form of transportation is a jam-packed tourist tram with waits up to an hour long and where hills upon hills can make walking a daunting task, I feared not only my usual woes but that my Uber bill would skyrocket out of control.
Then somehow, I stumbled upon CityMapper as a result of my 800th google search on how to get from said hotel to various points around the city. Boom! The best thing I have ever seen. Simply put in your starting address, your go to address — choose by clicking on a map or entering an exact address — and you get options galore with detailed English instructions and even step by step notifications if you wish. Save addresses, send meeting spots to friends, sync between devices, see what’s nearby. It’s everything you need for just about any major city, all in one simple to use app.
Now, I plan to leave for Lisbon without detailed pre-planning, just a list of places I want to see, a rough outline by day and I’ll figure it out on the fly.
When you don’t want sugar or dairy but you do want creamy goodness try some Hakuna Banana. Happened across this perfectly lovely frozen treat in my local Whole Foods store. Turns out it’s the creation of two Angelenos and while only available in the general Los Angeles area for now, look for it to go wide one day soon. It’s the no fuss nice cream you’ll love at first bite. Available in four tempting flavors:
Yummm! Yummm! Yummm!
Join the Sqirl Jam Club: 2 jars of scrumptious jam made in Los Angeles, delivered every other month for 4, 6 or 12 months. Yes it’s $15 for each tiny jar but it’s the bomb!
Row 1 (left to right): Aesop products & the lovely stores they sell them in | natural light flooding into my home | a Duxiana mattress
Row 2: my favorite piece of art — a printed mailer received from a vendor in the early 90’s floating in a frame. it makes me smile to this day | ice cream in any form but especially one of the crazy flavors from Gelato Messina | Vogue Living Australia magazine — i have a 20+ year collection!
Row 3: morning hikes in the Santa Monica mountains | a good mid-century modern staple like this Saarinen dining table | Australia — just 19 when I first visited, my heart has belonged to the land down under ever since ♥♥♥
Everybody who sees the window shade in my office wants to know more about where I got it. I’ve shared the source before but something about seeing it in context makes all the difference. A stunning solution for hiding a most unpleasant view. And while shown above at night, during the day, back lit by the window, it glows like a light box — pretty fantastic I have to admit.
You too can install window shades or make murals, wall hangings, pillows, lamp shades, ceramic tiles and more from a plethora of images available at Surface View out of London. They hold the rights to images from many of the worlds great museums like London’s National Gallery the home of my classic image, “The Surprise”.
You can choose from one of their standard sized solutions (a slightly cheaper option) or customize to nearly any size, crop and finish. It’s really quite simple using their online design tool and although they say 14 day delivery, be prepared for a slightly longer production time frame (up to 4 weeks) if you’re overseas.
There you go. Happy Shopping!
Petit Trois, Los Angles
718 Highland Avenue, West Hollywood
It’s been voted the #1 restaurant in LA. That’s because it’s seriously good! I ate there. I dreamt about it. I woke up wanting to go back. Need I say more? Ok, I will:
- The drinks: Fresh and imaginative and curiously strong.
- The Bread & Butter: They say a restaurant is judged by its bread offering. This is perfection. Crusty warm baguette served with salty salty French butter.
- The Moules Frittes: That broth! And the best part, a piece of broth soaked bread waiting for you at the bottom of the bowl.
- The French Onion Soup: Oh so rich and full flavored. Cheese, cheese and more cheese. Quote of the night, “There’s no going back to Trader Joe’s onion soup now.”
- The Omelette: The stuff dreams are made of. This may sound strange but it tastes like buttered popcorn only with the texture of smooth and silky, perfectly cooked eggs filled with creamy cheese. And the bibb lettuce accompaniment — exactly the salad I ate in France every day when I summered there in ’85.
- The Chocolate Mousse: Sickeningly rich in a good way. Not too sweet and decadently smooth, topped with copious amounts of freshly whipped cream. My insides were shaking (that’s no lie)
And you wouldn’t guess it being in LA, but the restaurant is wholly unpretentious. It’s all about the food here. Just 20 stools, in a simply decorated, dark space (pictures are hard to achieve but skip that part and just eat) with a bustling open kitchen. You’re greeted with hellos from the bar tender and kitchen staff when you walk in like you’re seeing old friends. The portions are more than ample — actually quite large — and the prices fair.
See you there because I will definitely be a regular.
Pizza Hot Spot: Mulberry Street Pizzeria Where: Beverly Hills, California Type: New York
What’s hot: Huge and perfectly thin pies. This is the best New York style pizza in Los Angeles. The ultra thin crust is topped with a layer of chunky tomato sauce and just the right amount of cheese. Due to the thinness, the very large slices fold automatically in your hand and disappear all too quickly. Rumor had it, once upon a time, that they imported their water for the dough from the Big Apple. But we all know that’s not true. It’s just good pizza done right. Eat in.Take it to go. Grab a slice or a whole pie. I’m actually glad they don’t deliver east of Fairfax or I’d eat this good stuff far too often.
Today’s Contender: Saffron & Rose Ice Cream
Location: 1387 Westwood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA
Flavor: Amazing Almond & Caramel Crunch
This is the real deal my friends! All natural organic Persian ice cream in the most intriguing flavors — white rose, cucumber, mango, guava, espresso bean, lavender, saffron pistachio and so many more. The woman behind the counter not only made me try most everything in the case but provided pairings that had to be eaten together which is how I ended up ordering a small cup with 1 scoop of Amazing Almond and 1 scoop of Caramel Crunch. It was creamy and soft, maybe a bit too sweet, but oh so good.
I was there mid-afternoon on a Thursday and there was a steady line the entire time. This place is a not so secret gem and I can only imagine a huge crowd on weekend evenings. Oh and look at the orange bio-degradable spoons they use — they’re ORANGE and they make me smile.
I think I will have to visit many more times to find my favorite flavor. Although I’ve already gotten a start by bringing home a pint of pomegranate to enjoy later on. It’s a seasonal flavor nearing the end of season so I just couldn’t resist.
With an ice cream boom happening in Los Angeles, I think this place tops the list in my book. It’s hot outside. We all deserve a little ice cream treat.