Saturday, July 29, 2006

Bluebird Cafe

I checked out the Bluebird Cafe in Culver City, tucked away on National Blvd, down by the Hayden Tract. Very cute and charming, with an covered outdoor patio, long banqette table and an open kitchen. They offer several salads, sandwiches, panini and cupcakes (!).

We shared a perfectly crisp (I always order them well done) Gruyere and prosciutto panini, along with a spinach and goat cheese salad.

I couldn't resist trying their red velvet cupcake - one of the best I have had. They frosted it with a thin, light, creamy, cream cheese frosting, much like Royal Icing. The cake was a beautiful dark red, baked to perfection. Much better than Susiscakes! They also offered carrot, lemon, vanilla and chocolate cupcakes.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Obon Festival

Spam Sushi

The other day I went to my favorite Obon Festival at the Venice Hongwangju Buddhist Temple in Mar Vista on Centinela and Braddock. I grew up just a couple blocks away and have been attending the festival since I was young. The highlight of the menu this year was the Hawaiian staple, Spam sushi. I talked my friend into getting it so I could photograph it for my faithful readers. I did not taste it - maybe I will work up the nerve next year. Lamb's tongues: YES, Spam sushi: NO.




Susie Cakes in Brentwood

Susie Cakes, an old-fashioned style bakery on San Vicente in Brentwood just opened this week, and I was lucky enough to be there on their first day. However, I was unlucky enough to have forgotten my camera, so I went back today and shot some photos for y'all. (There was a woman there taking photos with her camera...another blogger, perhaps?) I think we finally have a totally fabulous cupcake place on the westside! What makes them different? All them have a little squirt of frosting inside. And the frosting is just sweet enough, unlike those wonderful, but diabetic-coma-inducing cupcakes from Magnolia, and the cake is nice and fluffy, unlike Sprinkles denser versions.

She also has an amazing Whoopie Pie, vanilla frosting sandwiched between two soft chocolate cakes, of which I couldn't stop fantasizing about during my spinning class tonight! She offers a few cakes, such as German chocolate, lemon, strawberry, and red velvet. She has some puddings, cookies, and even an icebox cake of chocolate wafers layered between whipped cream. Go check it out, but be prepared: those cupcakes are $3 each.

Susie Cakes
11780 San Vicente Blvd @ Barrington

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Wilson, One More Time

Ok, this is the last Wilson post, I promise. I went there the other night for a light dinner before hitting the nearby art galleries down the street on Washington Blvd in downtown Culver City. They were fully booked, and we did not have a reservation, so we sat in the very pleasant front patio area. My friends and I shared a bottle of Farella-Park Sauvignon Blanc ($24), and shared every appetizer on the menu. The highlight of the appetizers was the lamb's tongue. Braised for a couple of hours, then cubed and skewered on a sprig of rosemary, they were wonderfully soft and tender, with just the mildest "organy" flavor. The appetizers were a little on the small side, quite a contrast to their large lunch portions. All the dishes were very creative and executed perfectly. Check out some photos:

Shrimp and almond stuffed squid
Tea smoked whitefish salad
Citrus marinated halibut
Ground lamb skewer
Lamb''s tongue
Chocolate banana crepe

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Rockenwagner Bakery in Mar Vista

Not long after closing his Santa Monica restaurant, Hans Rockenwagner has opened a bakery in Mar Vista, called R. They carry all the same pastries they have been selling out of their stall in the farmer's markets, and at Peets Coffee, with the addition of some sandwiches (which can be heated in a panini press) beverages, and some gourmet items like German coffee, Nutella, teas, candy and even pumpkin seed oil.

The sandwiches are wonderful. On my first visit I had a ham and cheese sandwich, toasted in the panini press. It was so perfectly crisp, due to the layer of cheese placed on top of the sandwich before pressing. The second time I had it, it was toasted, but not pressed in the panini press, and it was on different bread, but still delectable.

All of their pastries are rich, dark, textured and big. Wolfgang Puck once said, "more color, more flavor," and he was right, as Rockenwagner demonstrates.

R Bakery
12835 Washington Blvd., Mar Vista, 310-578-8171

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Wilson Restaurant Grand Opening Party

Wilson in downtown Culver City had their grand opening party tonight, and I was lucky enough to attend. They have been open for lunch only for a couple of weeks (see my review), and will begin serving dinner Friday July 7th. At the opening party they cleared out the tables in the main dining room, and served hors d'oeuvres, wine and desserts. Here are some pics:

Porcini Cakes

Tea Smoked Whitefish Crostini

Brie, Avocado & Oven Dried Tomato Crostini

Mussel with puy lentils & chorizo