The idea was born across the Pacific Ocean in a “land from down under”. In October 2001, Costa Anastasiadis opened the first Crust in Sydney, Australia. There are tons of pizza places in most areas of the world from the big chain pizza stores to the “mom and pop” pizzerias. Costa found a way to blend the two together, yet make pizza a gourmet item with fresh quality ingredients while still using proper pizzeria techniques. The concept spread like wildfire in Australia, opening over 100 stores in Australia in 7 years. In May 2012, Crust made its US debut in the Studio City, CA under the guidance of master franchisee, John de Vries, who will run the franchise growth in North America. The pizza makers all have their different parts to play to make this well-oiled pizza bar machine work efficiently. It’s all open with nothing to hide. You can watch them dress your pizza with artful flair. The restaurant interior is funky and fun just like Studio City with contrasting red, black, and white. This was the perfect place to open the first US location.
White Prosciutto is topped with roasted potato, prosciutto, gorgonzola bleu cheese, and fresh rosemary on a béchamel chardonnay base. Okay, you might be thinking, “potatoes on a pizza?” But it totally works! The potatoes added a nice texture with a baked potato flavor. The gorgonzola punched the flavor out of the park with its zingy pungent flavor. The prosciutto added a luxurious and smoky flavor. The crust was crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside like a baguette – no crust left behind here! Thumbs up, way up!
and Charles Nelson are known for their delectable Sprinkles Cupcakes. These
baked gems evolved from recipes that were developed by Candice’s great
grandmother at her San Francisco restaurant during the 1930s. How about using
these fabulous cupcakes as a base and adding artisan-made, slow churned ice
cream? This concept came to life on May 24, 2012 with Sprinkles Ice Cream.
Since the Sprinkles Cupcakes shop is right next door with a “Cupcake ATM” to
separate them, cupcakes are always fresh and ice cream comes in daily from a
local artisan. The ice cream is made from the finest, local ingredients with no
artificial flavors. Sprinkles donates daily leftovers to food banks. 100% of
the proceeds from their charitable cupcakes go directly to worthy causes, like
children’s hospitals, schools, and Women’s Cancer Research Fund.
Sandwich consists of a generous scoop of your choice of ice cream, sandwiched
between two cupcake tops, (choice of chocolate, vanilla, or red velvet tops).
Check the menu board and look for the red dots that indicate which ice cream flavors
are available that day. This is a fun and inventive way of having your cake and
eating it, too. Such creativity is what makes Sprinkles a standout. We chose milk
chocolate cupcake (Belgian dark chocolate cake) tops with Cherry Vanilla
(imported morello cherries, simmered in California Pinot Noir, mixed generously
throughout pure Madagascar bourbon vanilla ice cream). This just happens to be Charles
Nelson’s favorite ice cream flavor. The chocolate cupcake tops were moist and
rich in chocolate flavor, just like homemade. The creamy vanilla ice cream lovingly
held a vibrant, sweet flavor, with the cherries delivering just the right
amount of tartness. It will put some spring in your step. We found it can get deliciously
messy to hold and eat. A suggestion would be to ask for a cup to make your
eating experience a little easier. You’ll want to savor each bite and not waste
a drop of this ice cream dessert. Thumbs up, way up!
Sundae is made with your choice of ice cream and cupcake flavor of the day. The
salted caramel ice cream tasted exactly like salted caramel but in a creamy,
ice cold form. The ice cream is flavored by caramel, (made in-house and in
small batches), then liberally sprinkled with imported fleur de sel crystals. I
really can’t get over how creamy these ice creams are. The dark chocolate
cupcake (Belgian dark chocolate cake with bittersweet chocolate icing) was
moist and rich in the dark chocolate flavor you crave. The frosting was rich
and creamy. The chocolate sprinkles, looked like shiny, mini chocolate tiles. What
a beautiful touch! Thumbs up, way up!
Velvet ice cream served in a Red Velvet cone. The sweet cream was very rich and
luscious, covering your taste buds in a creamy, velvet coat. The Red Velvet
cupcake (Southern style light chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting) was
moist and had the perfect red velvet flavor you know and love. The pieces of
cake were frosted as well, so you won’t miss out on the sweet cream cheese
experience. The crispy Red Velvet cone was reminiscent of a pizzelle instead of
your run-of-the mill waffle cone. Thumbs up, way up!
not all! Sprinkles also sells fresh baked cookies and brownies. Let’s take a
Oatmeal Cornflake is made with roasted rolled oats and cornflakes sprinkled
with imported fleur de sel crystals. This is a great, salty-sweet cookie. I
liked it a lot because it didn’t contain raisins, common in your ordinary oatmeal
cookies. The cornflakes added a slight crunch and that golden corn flavor. The
salt on top was a nice touch, just a bit too much for my taste. I ended up
dusting off some of the salt. Otherwise, thumbs up!
is an old-fashioned, buttery cookie dusted with sweet cinnamon sugar. This was
the perfect snickerdoodle with the rich flavor you know and love – cinnamon
& sugar goodness with a hint of cream of tartar. The interior was fluffy
and moist. Thumbs up!
Butter Pretzel Chip is a creamy, all-natural peanut butter cookie generously
studded with semisweet callebaut chocolate chips and crushed pretzel twists.
This was a really good combination of salty and sweet. This flavor would work
really well in Hawaii. The pretzels added a wonderful crunch and saltiness. I
would’ve liked smaller pretzel pieces but I loved the robust peanut butter
flavor. The chocolate chips added a creamy sweetness. Thumbs up!
Chip is morsels of semisweet callebaut chocolate chips folded into a buttery
golden-brown cookie. This is the best chocolate chip cookie ever! It tastes
like one your grandma would make. It’s moist and full of homemade goodness –
eggs, sugar, butter and chocolate chips. The form is perfect too – a little
lumpy and full of homemade love. Thumbs up, way up!
Chocolate is a fudgy dark chocolate cookie baked with fine callebaut cocoa
powder and chocolate and loaded with chocolate chips. This was like brownie
cookie, like a delicious happy accident that Grandma created. Thumbs up, way
scoop is waiting for you at Sprinkles Ice Cream!
Candace Nelson judge the country’s best cupcake bakers on “Cupcake Wars” on the
Food Network. Check out the schedule and tune in!
On Saturday, September 15, 2012, excited fairgoers waited in anticipation for gates to open at the 2012 Northern California Renaissance Faire. Once the gates opened, music and Elizabethan English was spoken almost entirely. My trusted pirate led me through the crowd of first timers just stunned in amazement by the reenactment of the actors, transporting them to this 15th century English village. The actors were just amazing. We saw a lot of familiar faces from the Renaissance Faire in Southern California.
The layout of the faire was much better than SoCal’s with areas of shade, like Sherwood Forest. When you’re wearing period attire, shade is definitely your best friend. Lots of “fyne” wares were being sold ranging from costumes to incense burners to jewelry. This is a great opportunity for both first timers to start their costume for next year as well as long-time faire goers who want to add to their wardrobe.
What we did with this one was prepped the spinach and mushrooms, made a roast chicken, and fried up fresh bacon. We stored a each ingredient in their own container in the refrigerator. When it was time to eat, we topped each salad just before eating. This recipe lasted us a week for two people. The prep once method is a winner in our house. For our hot summer weather lately, it's a fast, cool, refreshing dinner.
If you try this recipe, let me know what you think of it.
Unfortunately, the sauce is too strong for the salmon and completely overpowers it. You can't tell what kind of fish is under it. Don't get me wrong, the sauce is really good, but not on fish. I think this would work so much better on chicken. Salmon is the type of fish that you want to savor the flavor, not cover it up.
We made some homemade, fresh cut French fries, corn on the cob, and steamed broccoli and cauliflower. All in all, it turned out to be a good meal.
If you try this recipe, let me know what you think.
Engine Co. No. 28 was originally built in 1912. At a cost of $60,000, it was the most expensive Los Angeles fire station of its time. Serving the downtown are for over 50 years, the station ended its service in 1969. In 1983, a 5-year preservation and renovation project transformed the rundown building with a beautiful interior and rustic exterior. Engine Co. No. 28 reopened again in 1989, as a restaurant. From the street, you can see the dual archways where fire trucks would race out on a call. The interior has high ceilings and you even see where the fire poles once stood as the large circular cutouts still remain. You even see historical gear and firehouse memorabilia on the walls. Chef Chris Hora is at the culinary reins of this engine company now and dishes out bold, in-your-face food, with a little bit of rock n’ roll. He’s a bold and in-your-face in person as well, reminding me of Tony Bourdain when he was younger. Chef Chris’ culinary palate is spot on, no unnecessary sauces, dips, or salt necessary. Each dish comes out of the kitchen perfectly flavored and seasoned causing your taste buds to be ready and at attention for the next flavor call.
Beet Salad includes baby arugala, aged manchego cheese, and cumin scented honey. This is a market-fresh salad at its best. The arugula was fresh and peppery. The beets were roasted to perfection making them sweet and tender. The cheese added a little salty and slightly creamy flavor to the mix. Pickled sliced onions were a tangy surprise. The cumin honey added a hint of sweetness yet tied all of the ingredients together. Thumbs up, way up!