Counted as my 4th trip to Los Angeles in 3 weeks, I headed up to LA with my cousins mainly to eat (and a little bit of shopping in between). We started in Santa Monica for brunch at Urth Caffe and straight to lunch in Little Osaka (Sewtelle) – yes 2 big meals back to back. Afterwards we headed just around the corner from Tsujita Artisan Noodle LA is Blockhead Shavery for dessert. We were so stuffed after that, we decided to go shopping at the Grove and the Farmers Markets (not to eat).
Urth Caffe – Meal 1
We started the day by heading to Santa Monica for brunch at Urth Caffe; one of the top coffee restaurants in LA. When we got there it was a little confusing when we were trying to figure out where to go and how to order – but there was someone there to guide you through. Dining in and take out are in different line. We got there just before the crowd, order in no time, and found a table out in the back patio area.
We were trying to be mindful of the fact that we were planning to eat all day and got 2 things 2 things to share between the 4 of us. I got the Prosciutto & Cheese Breakfast Panini: 3 organic eggs, mild chicken basil sausage, roasted pepers, roma tomatos, fresh basil, mozzarella cheese grilled on country bread and served with mild tomoto dipping sauce on the side; . I was a little disappointed because I couldn’t taste anything other than the eggs and the panini. The tomato dipping sauce saved the panini was it was a disappointing start of the day. My cousins ordered The Italian Omelet: 3 organic eggs, mild chicken basil sausage, roasted peppers, roma tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella, and with a little salad on the side.
Though Urth Caffe is known for it’s organic fresh roasted coffee, we opted for tea. A simple iced green tea, and 2 cups of Japanese tea latte. The iced green tea was served sweetened and topped with some mint. I wasn’t expecting the tea sweetened since I usually don’t sweeten my tea. As for the Japanese tea latte, that was served with some pretty latte art. Once again this was a tad bit on the sweet side for me; though it was some good matcha.
We walked around Main Street Santa Monica after brunch (waited for a couple stores to open) to give ourselves a little more time before heading to lunch. Yes, another full meal.2327 Main St
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Tsujita LA Artisan Noodle – Meal 2
After going to the Ramen Festival last week, I just want to eat more ramen. For once I chose to skip Daikokuya (my favorite ramen shop in LA) and headed to a ramen shop I have not tried; Tsujita LA Artisan Noodle. Tsujita is a LA branch to a ramen shop in Tokyo and specializes in Tsukemen – a new type of ramen where noodles are served on the side with a broth on the side as a dipping sauce. They also serve tonkatsu ramen.
We were originally planning to get 2 bowls for the 4 of us to share but after waiting for half an hour, we started feeling greedy. Bowls didn’t look very big and from our list of places to go we were not going to eat anything savory until dinner. So when we ordered (before we were even seated inside) we each ordered our own bowl of ramen.
I ordered the Char Siu Tsukimen which basically had everything in it. The other Tsuikmen options did not have char siu or the seasoned boiled egg which ended up being perfect to try out everything but I was just not hungry (since we just had brunch). When the soup was still hot, it was amazing. As the the soup cooled down a little bit it got a little salty. I don’t know if it was because I was just getting full. The tonkatsu ramen looked like it was served in a small bowl compared to most other ramen places but it was a little deceiving once you notice they are using a thinner type of noodle. I was surprised that the broth was so think, my cousin said it almost felt like she was drinking chowder.
Ramen is only served for lunch and expect to wait. They have an annex location across the street, but the menu is different.2057 Sawtelle Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Blockhead Shavery Co. – Dessert 1
As stuffed as were were, we still managed to walk over to Blockhead Shavery Co. around the corner for shaved ice – or for some snow cream. I think it’s a new trend in shaved ice, you’re not going to get your typical hawaiian style shaved ice topped with syrup etc. The ice comes in different flavors: original, green tea, strawberry, black sesame, or other seasonal flavors. You can then choose your toppings and drizzles.
We got a regular sized snow cream to share (we learned that we couldn’t be greedy) for the 4 of us to share. Original flavored snow cream, mango and egg pudding toppings, and drizzled with condensed milk on top. I’ve had this kind of shaved ice (yes, it’s still shaved ice to me) at several other places before but I really don’t remember it ever being this creamy before. It almost felt as though I was eating ice cream.
My only complaint was that we did not order it to go and did not get a cute paper bowl. Because our snow ice was served in a nice bowl and those plastic fro-yo spoons, we had a hard time scooping up our snow cream and toppings. Especially towards the end, there was no way we could eat it with out the assistance of another spoon.
11311 Mississippi Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90025
The Grove and the Farmers Market – Shopping Break
By now we were completely stuffed, and ready to walk off of the food we’d had. We made our way to The Grove and the Farmers Market since I’m the only one that has been there before (and I wanted to go to the Top Shop). We made our round through the mall and then hopped on to their historical (free) trolley that runs through the mall. It was kind of nice sitting on the top deck and hearing a thing or two about the shops in the mall. Yeah, we got a little lazy even though we intended to walk off our food. But why not! We can still be tourists.
One thing that I finally realized after coming this mall several times was that this mall is very similar to the Americana at Brand Mall in Glendale. I was looking for stores thinking they were at the Grove but they were actually at Americana. I think there is better shopping at Americana (more stores that I usually shop at), but then in the end it all comes down to where in town you are. I don’t really think either mall is worth a special trip. Both malls are owned by the same person (or company).
Right outside of the Grove you will also find the Original LA Farmers Market with fresh produce, meat, desserts, and food. We walked through the Farmers Market just to check out what they have to offer. I saw quite a few stalls with long lines though it was not anywhere near a meal time (about 3pm). I’m going to look up what those lines were for and make another trip for more food.
189 The Grove Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90036
The Original Farmers Market
6333 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Milk – Dessert 2
Now that we’ve walked off some of our brunch,lunch, and dessert were were ready for another round of dessert. A short drive away from The Grove in Fairfax is Milk known for their macaroon ice cream sandwiches. According to my cousin, the flavors they have change all the time so when you get their check out the glass freezer and see what flavors are available. Everything is labeled on the glass with a white maker.
We each got one expect for Yunti since she would much rather just take a bite (she doesn’t actually eat desserts very often) – so that’s 3 flavors to try. The size of these things are probably 3 times the size of the macaroon ice cream sandwich I got at the Boiling Point a couple weeks ago. I got the salty caramel; I was expecting the sea salt caramel kind of flavor but this one was a little different. You can definitely taste the salt and I wanted a little more caramel than salt. With that, my macaroon ice cream sandwich was a little too big for me. I would much rather them be smaller allowing me to get more than one flavor. As for my cousins, they got toffee and thai tea. After a bite of each, let’s just say I’m coming back for the thai tea.
7290 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Melrose Ave – Shopping Break
We were still not ready to eat nor did we want anymore sweets by now. So we drove to Melrose Ave to walk around and do a little more shopping. It’d been years since the last time I was in the area and the only thing I really remembered were Kid Robot and Johnny Cupcakes so I put those addresses in the GPS. After walking a couple blocks, we were bored and didn’t see much. I don’t think we were walking around the right block for some fun shopping. I guess I should done my homework before heading over there.
Yellow House Cafe – Coffee Break
After a quick stroll down Melrose Ave (and driving past Pinks Hotdogs – I want some!), we headed to a coffee shop in Koreatown since we planned to have dinner in the area. Yellow House Cafe is literally a yellow house. After going inside, you can either have a seat in the house or out in the backyard. I would definitely recommend sitting outside, next to a fire pit (if it’s cold). The backyard / patio area looks pretty big and service is typically Korean. They have the bell for you to ring whenever you need anything and they won’t bother you otherwise.
It’s always fun to go to a coffee shop and not be served paper or plastic cups. I got an iced coffee and it came in a cute glass mug topped with some mint leaves (brings back the memories of my sweet green tea from Urth Cafe). The other drink we got were also served in nice glass mugs or nice tea pot and matching cups. As usual I got to have a sip of everyone else’s drinks. The hot cafe mocha was actually really good – you can definitely taste the coffee and the mocha. I don’t like it when you can’t taste any coffee. Yunti and my other cousin each got a pot of green tea and blueberry jasmine tea. Both were good tea. I couldn’t tell if it was loose leaf tea or from a tea bag though.
As we were hanging out at Yellow House Cafe we noticed a lot of people ordering food, and everything looked really good. The portion sized looked pretty big too. We all decided that we would be back for food next time. As for this time, were were heading out to dinner next.234 S Oxford Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90004
Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong – Meal 3
Honestly, I’ve only been to 1 place for Korean BBQ in Koreatown and that is Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong. I’ve been coming back ever since my friend (she’s Korean) took me out to lunch here last year and I’ve been back several time since. I’m told it’s one of the best in Koreatown. And I guess the wait, kind of confirms it? We waited a little over 2 hours (though we were quoted 100 minutes. During our wait, we managed to walk across the street to City Center on 6th (where Zion Market is located) for a little bit of shopping. We managed to kill some time there, but we still spent a majority of our time outside of Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong waiting. We were also told that the wait was longer than usual that night because people were just not leaving.
When we were finally seated, the table was already set for us with side dishes etc. We ordered the “Chadolbeki” thinly sliced prime brisket on top of pork combo which included “Kajib Seng-Samgyupsal” seared pork belly, “Hanjeongsul” special pork neck, “Gochujang Daepe Samgyupsal” spicy thinly sliced pork belly, “Kaljib Seng-Moksal” seared pork butt, and Kimchi stew. Everything came in some pretty big portion sizes, and the meat is alway super yummy! One of my favorites apart from the meat would be the eggs that cooked on the side of the grill. It’s always a yummy treat.
My biggest complaint for the night (apart from the crazy wait) was the fact that vent at our table was not working. Poor Yunti looked like she was crying all through dinner from the smoke. I just might be willing to wait a little longer to make sure we are seated at a table with a vent that works.
Note that as usual parking in Koreatown is no fun, lucky for us valet parking is only $2 (plus tip) after validation. That’s not bad at all – just a little more than what you would pay at a meter for a couple hours.3465 W 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90020
Bottega Louie – Dessert 3
Our last and final stop before going home was Bottega Louie, located in downtown Los Angeles. We were actually trying to go to Syrup Desserts because none of us had been there before but we couldn’t find parking so we headed to Bottega Louie instead (since it was also on our list).
The place looked like it was split up into 3 sections; restaurant, cafe bar, and bakery. It may have been because of the high ceilings, but the place was loud. It really felt as though I was walking into another Extraordinary Desserts (in San Diego) or something. Though the desserts did not look at fancy, you will find a big case full of macaroons.
We didn’t stay long, it was the end of the day and we were ready to go home (it’s a 2 hour drive home). We got a couple boxes of macaroons to take home. 5 macaroons (in a pretty box) for $12.50. We got:
- Raspberry with raspberry ganache and raspberry jam
- Pistachio with cicillian pistachios and white chocolate ganache
- Earl Grey with earl grey infused milk chocolate ganache – My Favorite!
- Grand Cru with dark chocolate genache – Yunti’s Favorite
- Vanilla with Tahitian vanilla infused white chocolate
700 S Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90017