Thursday, February 15, 2007

Dainties Cupcakes

Just when I think I am finished with cupcakes, they pull me back in. I checked out the new Danties Cupcakes, located inside Flatbush and J Gourmet company (a catering operation). The refrigerator case separates the catering kitchen from their office, so do not expect a cute little bakery environment like Sprinkles. Danties has two things going for them: a smart little box with a level of holes the cupcakes fit in, preventing them from sliding around, and their cupcakes are unlike the others on the market. All of them are devil's food cake, with a layer of ganache, topped with flavored whipped cream, and a little squirt inside. This is an easy way to offer several flavors without too much work. The creams alone were light and flavorful, especially the blood orange and tiramisu (the chocolate cream was seriously lacking chocolate flavor) but just did not work on a cupcake. The denseness of the cakes really require a heavier topping, like regular buttercream. When you bite into a Danites, the cream deflates in your mouth, leaving you with slightly dry, too dense cake. It is not a pleasing "mouth feel." In fact, these were really disappointing. Not worth the calories, especially at $3 a pop.

Dainties Cupcakes
11058 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025

Sunday, February 11, 2007

My Favorite Tamale

I only started eating tamales in the last year or so, and this chicken tamale with cilantro pesto from Tamara's Tamales is my favorite. Moist, fluffly and a little creamy, it satisfies a sugar/carb craving everytime!

Tamara's Tamales
13352 W Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, Ca 90066

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Pinkberry Marina Del Rey - Now Open

I had some frozen yogurt today at the newly opened Pinkberry in Marina Del Rey on Lincoln and Maxella. I snapped this exterior shot just minutes before the man in the photo stuck a "photography prohibited" sign in the window.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Vincenti Ristorante

I had a nice lunch at Vincenti (not to be confused with its street name, San Vicente) in Brentwood a few weeks back. They are only open for lunch on Fridays, and since we had a large group, we were able to arrange a 3 course prix fixe menu and sat in the private room up front near the (very sleek) bar.

They started us off with a nice bread a cracker selection, served with carrot puree, rather than olive oil or butter. A nice change of pace. Then they brought out an nice little eggplant amuse bouche. Just enough to whet our appetites.

For my first course I choose a simple burrata and prosciutto salad. Although I love this flavor combination, I usually avoid it at restaurants because it is so easy to duplicate at home, but I was glad I ordered it. This would have been enough food right here.

Then came my entree of butternut squash ravioli with asparagus, in the most delicate, thin layer of sauce. The pasta was tender, the filling on the sweet side, and the asparagus cooked perfectly al dente.

Steak with truffles was one of the other choices, and a disappointing one. The shaved truffles looked fantastic, but they were absolutely flavorless. A drizzle of truffle oil would have solved the problem.

For dessert, they gave us a sampler plate, including a rich, dense chocolate cake, cannoli, and pistachio ice cream. All were lovely.

Their regular dinner menu is expensive, appetizers in the teens, and entrees in the 20's and 30's. I think if I return it would be for drinks and appetizers at the bar. I have had cocktials once before at the bar, and the scene was casual and lively.

Vincenti Ristorante
11930 San Vicente Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90049

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Caffe Luxxe

As I walked up to the counter at Caffe Luxxe on Montana Ave., I knew I was in for some good espresso when I saw two Italian men happily sipping their drinks (standing at the counter, Italian bar style). I ordred an espresso machiatto, which was served with a small glass of water, exactly what I crave after finishing their super smooth, sweet and rich espresso. It was just like the espresso in Italy - it gives you a nice lift, without the jitters, and without ripping through your stomach like our coffee usually does. I returned this morning for a cappucino. No drip coffee here, just espresso, and just perfect.

Caffe Luxxe
925 Montana Ave.
Santa Monica, Ca 90403