Sunday, June 27, 2010

Babycakes Frosting Party

This past Wednesday night Babycakes held a Frosting Party to kick off a new concept: Frosting Parties.  The full text of the press release is below along with some pictures.  The night was a definite success, with tons of cupcakes, donut holes, and a performance by the L.A. Ladies Choir.  The donut holes were AMAZING -- I preferred the cinnamon to the glazed.  Later on, the girls brought out some glazed snow balls which were mind blowing.



It was also great to see Erin McKenna, the owner of Babycakes, who made a brief appearance in Los Angeles for the event.  She's so nice!



Text of press release: "We are having a party on June 24th to celebrate our opening and introduce a new concept to the public: Our Frosting Parties. These events will be held for Bachelorette, engagement, birthday or graduation parties. (Basically, any adult party you could imagine). People will buy out our bakery space for a night. Included in the total will be baked goods, the use of our employees, access to our frosting and frosting lessons from the best (our counter girls). 

We will provide champagne and other cocktails to liven up the party a bit! This will be a unique party idea for the entertainment industry, the chic and the innovative citizens of Los Angeles. We know these parties will flourish because it is special, fun and charming; they will be the type of events that will make people wonder, "how can I top this party?" The bad news is, they won't be able to!"

I was really lucky to have a frosting lesson from the amazing Devra.  Unfortunately I made a little mistake and dropped some frosting onto the table.  I swear it wasn't my fault -- I was holding the knife and the frosting just melted off!  Luckily it was toward the end of the night and Devra didn't kick me out (thanks!).  I can't say that I'm a master Babycakes froster but... hopefully in time I'll be able to improve my skills.

I also finally met Heather after what seems like years of tweeting.  It was great to meet a fellow gluten free blogger.



Do you love it or do you love it?
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130 E. 6th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013 (Map)
213.623.5555
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248 Broome Street
New York, NY 10002 (Map)
212.677.5047


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tia's Bakery

It's been a long time since I was first in touch with Paul, the co-owner of Tia's Bakery.  We had originally planned to meet up back in May so I could check out some of the Tia's products.  Due to a miscommunication (and my exam schedule) we weren't able to connect.  Luckily we finally connected this weekend... and it was just in time.  I did a 14 mile run this past Saturday and was definitely hungry for some gluten free treats, so Paul's timing couldn't have been better.

I first indulged in the Grandma's Chocolate Cake and was blown away.  Wow.  This cake is amazing!  I was hesitant about Tia's Bakery's products when I found out that most of them were refrigerated.  I normally stay away from refrigerated or frozen products, preferring fresh products -- that's why I usually head to local bakeries that carry gluten free products.  But wow, this product may have changed my mind.  It had the texture of a gluten filled pastry.  I may toss that compliment around lightly, but I truly mean it this time: Tia's Bakery's products taste like they had gluten in them.  Better yet, they are all gluten and soy free.  Some of the products are even vegan!

When Paul dropped off the products, he told me a little bit about the company.  His wife, Marilyn, started the company in January 2009.  Marilyn had always been a bakery but had been diagnosed with gluten intolerance (not Celiac, but a gluten intolerance nonetheless).  When she was diagnosed with the intolerance she gave up on baking and people in her family nearly revolted.  What were they going to do without Marilyn's products?  She answered their pleas by starting over from scratch using all natural ingredients to create the best gluten free products she could.  There is no refined sugar in any of the products.

After Grandma's Chocolate Cake I moved on to the German Chocolate Cake, which had a bit of a cinnamon kick to it.  I preferred the Grandma's Cake to the German Cake, but that was just a personal preference.  The Peanut Butter Cookies were gooey and thick; they tasted similar to flourless chocolate cake except... flourless peanut butter cookies.  They were amazing!  The oatmeal raisin cookies were just as good.  It's been so long that I've had oatmeal raisin cookies and Tia's were truly a revelation.

I could go on and on about Tia's Bakery's products, but I strongly suggest you run to the nearest Whole Foods and check them out for yourself.  I suggest beginning with a package of Peanut Butter Cookies and Grandma's Chocolate Cake.  Grandma's Chocolate Cake is spongey, not frozen, and has the perfect texture.

Tia's Bakery is definitely one of my favorite brands now.  Oh, and I apologize for the lack of pictures -- I basically devoured each of the treats and wasn't able to resist in time to take pictures.

Do you love it or do you love it?
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Tia's Bakery
Found in these locations

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Original Thai

Way back in March I received a tip from Emily about a Thai place in North Hollywood that will use wheat free soy sauce in preparing all of its dishes.  Naturally I couldn't resist trying this place out... even thought it took me a little while to get there.  Hey, don't blame me -- the valley is FAR for us people on the other side of the hill!  And yes, I can practically hear you saying it's the same distance either way but when you live on this side of the hill it's hard to muster up the energy to cross over.  I can feel my Valley readers hating on me right now...  I'm sorry!  Don't hate me!

I finally made it to Original Thai last week with my friends Anna, Rochelle, and Hilary.  After weeks of trying to make something work with our four busy schedules, we set a time and date that worked.  I was a little hesitant to recommend this place because of a sweeping generalization I normally make about restaurants: if they have pictures of the food on the menu, it's no good.  I was hoping that I would be proven wrong by Original Thai (and also hoped that I hadn't steered Hilary, Anna, and Rochelle in the wrong direction with my choice).

We dove into our dinner by starting off with an appetizer of steamed vegetables as we had all brought our appetites after long days of work.  Hilary and I agreed to split the Pad Thai and Pad See Ew.  

So was the Pad See Ew worthy of an "ew"?  No, definitely not.  Was my use of such a horrible pun worthy of an "ew"?  Probably.  Please forgive me.

Both of the dishes were wonderful and everybody at the table agreed.  It's been so long since I've eaten Thai food that I can't offer a great comparison.  What I can say, however, is that our waitresses at Original Thai were extremely helpful and knowledgeable about which dishes I could and could not order.  I really appreciated that as I weaved my way through the large menu.

Overall we had a great dining experience at Original Thai.  It wasn't overpriced, was delicious, and was entirely gluten free.

Do you love it or do you love it?
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11363 Riverside Drive
North Hollywood, CA 91602-1268 (Map)
818.506.0789

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

New Babycakes T-Shirts and Video!

Check the video out -- and yes, the tees are available here in Los Angeles!


BabyCakes NYC: A Day in the Park and Summer T-Shirts Revealed! from BabyCakes NYC on Vimeo.


Do you love it or do you love it?
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Babycakes
130 E. 6th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013 (Map)
213.623.5555
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248 Broome Street
New York, NY 10002 (Map)
212.677.5047

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Pizza Cookery

Last week I went with my friend Lindsey to check out The Pizza Cookery.  Truth be told I had a long day at the office and was not looking forward to battling the Los Angeles traffic to make my way out to the other side of the hill, but at the end of my meal I was certainly glad that I made it out there.

I'm not sure when I first found out about The Pizza Cookery, but it's been on my list of places to check out for quite some time.  When I finally got around to sorting through my bag of treats from the Celiac Disease Foundation Conference, I noticed a Pizza Cookery menu along with a gift certificate advertising the restaurant's gluten free and vegan options.

After sitting down, Lindsey and I embarked upon the mission of deciding what we wanted to order.  The restaurant's gluten free breadsticks are provided by The Sensitive Baker so I knew I couldn't resist ordering those.

 Lindsey and I decided to split a large pizza with artichoke, garlic, and tomatoes.  We were also both happy to learn that the restaurant uses Daiya cheese.  Daiya is a great, vegan friendly cheese that is free of soy, gluten, dairy, whey, and nuts.  I was first introduced to Daiya by Fresh Brothers and have been a fan ever since.

When the pizza was served I was pleasantly surprised by its size -- this would definitely be enough for the two of us.  The flavors were also great and the Daiya cheese went perfectly with the toppings we chose.  I also found the prices to be reasonable at The Pizza Cookery, something I can't say for all gluten free pizzas.  The restaurant does not make its crust in house; it is instead made by a company in El Segundo and shipped to the restaurant.  I liked the crust and didn't find it to be obnoxiously thin and crunchy as many gluten free pizzas are prone to being.  I thought the crust, paired with our excellent choice of toppings and Daiya cheese, was a great example of a delicious gluten free crust.



The restaurant also has every topping imaginable... or at least, I was lead to believe as such, as there was no actual listing of toppings.  I wouldn't say the service was top-notch as our waitress didn't seem particularly knowledgeable about gluten free issues, but she was helpful enough to bring us over the restaurant's binder of gluten free/vegan information so we could sort it out for ourselves.  Perhaps it was better that way, as we were able to examine for ourselves the gluten free and vegan options the restaurant had.

I would definitely visit The Pizza Cookery again save for one issue -- its far from me!  I'm not sure if I see myself headed out to Woodland Hills often, but at least now I (and you) know that there is a great gluten free option.

I also have to give a big thanks to Lindsey for being super nice and sending me home with two bags of gluten free groceries!  Her loss of soy in her diet is my gain, as I took a lot of the goodies we were given at the Celiac Disease Foundation's Annual Conference off her hands.

Do you love it or do you love it?
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The Pizza Cookery
6209 Topanga Canyon Boulevard
Woodland Hills, CA 91367 (Map)
818.887.4770

Monday, June 14, 2010

Eat My Blog Charity Bake Sale

This Saturday, June 19th is the Summer 2010 Eat My Blog Charity Bake Sale.  It will be held at Tender Greens in West Hollywood, at the corner of Santa Monica Blvd. and Hancock Ave.  The event will be from 10am to 4pm with all proceeds going to the Los Angeles Regional Foodbank.

Gastronomy Blog has posted a full menu of items, conveniently marked gluten free and vegan.  Check out the menu here

For you gluten free eaters, I would recommend going early, as the number of gluten free options is limited.  I went last year and was able to snag some great peanut butter chocolate cupcakes-- I'm looking forward to the "Muddy Buddies" at this year's event.

Do you love it or do you love it?
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Eat My Blog Charity Bake Sale @ Tender Greens
8759 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069 (Map)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Red O

I was a big fan of Top Chef Master's first season, particularly the episode featuring Zooey Deschanel in which the challenge was to make a gluten free, vegan dinner for Ms. Deschanel.  The winner of that season, Rick Bayless, is a Chicago mainstay (although his Frontera salsas are available nationwide).

When I heard the new that Mr. Bayless would be opening a restaurant here in L.A., I knew I had to get a reservation.  This past Sunday my friends Travis, Evan, Allison and I went to Red O for the first time, thanks to Travis' impeccable reservation making abilities.  I had driven by Red O on my way to get a haircut at Rudy's down the street and was surprised by the exterior architecture.  Make no bones about it, Red O announces its presence near Melrose & Crescent Heights (close to the trendy Fred Segal boutique) -- you can't miss it.  Just as important, of course, is the interior architecture.  I think I've been to some great restaurants here in L.A., but Red O was definitely my favorite for its decor.  I felt like I was transported to Miami, complete with white wood ceilings, ceiling fans, palm trees inside the restaurant, a gorgeous bar area (complete with seats that are swings hung from the ceiling), and an awesomely comfortable couch table at which we were seated.

Unfortunately I have to add my own minor complaint: no shorts allowed for men.  I'm totally for a no shorts policy, don't get me wrong, but when I was forced to go home and change into jeans I became a bit frustrated.  My shorts weren't cargo shorts, they weren't jean shorts, they were clean cut khaki shorts.  But fine, they are trying to keep a dressy ambiance, okay.  But then how does the Manager justify letting a woman in whose dress was showing her private parts to everybody in the restaurant?  Seems to me that if I'm now allowed in my (perfectly appropriate, everything covered) shorts, then women should be held to the same standards.  This paragraph is a non-gluten free rant on the sexism of fashion and the inexplicable lack of dress code application to both sexes... hope you enjoyed it.

Now, back to gluten free food!  Unfortunately no pictures of the meal; after my experience with the bouncer I decided to play it safe and not get in trouble with the food photo police.  My friends and I started off at the bar with a few drinks; I went with the Sangria on the recommendation of Travis and Allison.  The drink was good, but I later feared that a liquer used in it was not gluten free friendly.  Next time, I think I'll stick with the Mexican Mojito... even though it was very strong.  It's not that I like my drinks weak, mind you, but I don't want the alcohol I drink to overpower the food I eat.

Once we were escorted to our table we were able to kick back and relax.  We had an amazing location in a back corner of the restaurant with an enormous round table for only four of us.  We were seated on a beautifully comfortable couch and were a bit seperated from the rest of the restaurant by a large black mesh screen.  I know that I'm not doing the restaurant's beautiful decore justice (those drinks really got to me) so check out Eater LA's writeup for interior pictures of the restaurant

I wasn't particularly hungry so I kept my eyes trained on the left-hand side of the menu, full of small plates.  I asked the waitress for her recommendation between the taquito and the tamale.  She suggested I go for the tamale, as it was a more unique dish than the taquitos.  When I mentioned that I could not eat gluten, I detected a slight wince from my waitress.  Combined with a nut allergy at my table, I could tell we probably wouldn't be her favorite for the night.  She quickly recovered as I asked about the tamales and taquitos and told me that the tamales, taquitos, and sopes were all made from a corn base.  She also said she would check with the chef on anything I ordered, but that to the best of her knowledge those dishes shouldn't present any issue.  I went with the Goat Cheese tamale and was certainly not disappointed.  The tamale was unbelievably delicious and the presentation was great as well.  The ingredients tasted fresh and were interesting.  I really enjoyed the tamale and would definitely go back to try the chicken tamale or, if I were feeling hungrier, one of the larger plates.

I was really happy with the knowledgeable waitstaff at Red O who effortlessly helped me choose a delicious gluten free option.  I would definitely recommend this place to any gluten free eater in LA -- just don't wear shorts!

Do you love it or do you love it?
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Red O
8155 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90048 (Map)
323.655.5009

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

PureFit Nutrition Bars

I'm not sure whether PureFit was exhibiting at the 20th Anniversary Celiac Disease Foundation Conference or if PureFit was included in the list of goodies in the reusable grocery bag conference participants were given, but either way I know I made it out of the conference with a new favorite treat.

Regular readers know that I love ThinkThin bars, but there is one glaring problem with them: they melt!  They are covered in chocolate so they are just the way I like my protein bars -- disguised as dessert.

PureFit bars have a bit more of a crunch to them than do ThinkThin bars, but have the distinct advantage of not melting (and it says so on the packaging).  Over Memorial Day weekend I went camping in Sequoia National Forest and brought a bunch of PureFit bars with me.  They were definitely lifesavers for the long hikes we took.

I would definitely recommend these bars to anybody traveling and in need of a good protein bar.  They won't melt, they have a great taste to them, and they are definitely substantial enough to keep you going for a full day's worth of activities.

Do you love it or do you love it?
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PureFit Nutrition Bars
On Sale at these Los Angeles locations (Store Locator)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tasty Bite Products

My friend Larissa recently recommended that I check out Tasty Bite's products.  I was a little hesitant when I checked out the website -- Indian food from pouches?  I would normally pass over such a suggestion but I know that Larissa is a girl who loves food.  We've eaten together in New York, Istanbul, and Athens and whenever the place is her choice it's always a delicious meal.

Tonight I tried out the Vegetable Korma and it was super simple to prepare -- just tear the bag, stick it in the microwave for 90 seconds, and press start.  I bought an Imusa rice cooker yesterday from Bed, Bath, and Beyond and decided to use it to complement the Vegetable Korma.

The meal was delicious!  The Vegetable Korma was unbelievably great.  Again, I was initially hesitant about Indian food from a pouch but wow, Tasty Bite definitely delivered on the flavor.  Pair your Tasty Bite with some rice and you'll have a full meal that is very simple to prepare.   I'll definitely be stocking up on these when school starts up again.

Perhaps the best part is that the products are clearly marked "Gluten Free" above each individual bag's Nutrition Facts.  Make sure that the product you're interested in is marked gluten free; many of the products are also vegan and kosher.

Do you love it or do you love it?
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Tasty Bite