Tuesday, July 17, 2007


I was really looking forward to tasting something special at Vanilla, Santa Monica’s newest boutique bakeshop. Their web site is absolutely wonderful. The gallery pictures of cupcake towers and wedding cakes made me want to go sample product ASAP. Walking in, I felt like I’d stepped into a little girl’s dream playroom. The tiny space is painted the lightest powder pink with shabby chic chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. It’s all very feminine and sweet, as a bakeshop should be.

The only thing they had that day was cupcakes. They looked sparkly and delicious inside the glass case. I tried to order four “Cupcake Babies,” but they’re only sold in 3’s, so I bought six along with one regular size cupcake, and one Cosmopolitan. There are three small tables to sit at inside but it felt a little cramped so I took my treats and headed home for the grand taste test. When I took them out of the box, the bottoms were all sticky with caramel. I licked my fingers and and thought yum but if I'd bought them for a party, I'd be annoyed they were all sticky for guests.
FAVORITE: Mocha Chocolate baby cupcake ~
The Mocha bean frosting was really creamy and not overly sweet. The flavor of coffee was perfectly present and the espresso bean made from chocolate on top made it truly scrumptious. The chocolate cake tasted watery. It’s a strange way to describe cake but that’s how it tasted. It was a bit dry and missing any rich chocolate flavor.

RUNNER UP: The Mom’s Birthday Cake baby cupcake ~
This won in the cake category. The yellow cake was buttery and tasted good alone or with frosting. The frosting was milk chocolate, also really good with a little blue sugar flower on top!

Vanilla Bean cupcake ~ this was chocolate cake with vanilla bean frosting covered in pale green sanding sugar. The cake was dry and bland like it was made with water and not enough chocolate or something. The frosting … I felt like I was eating butter with a little powdered sugar in it. Some might call this creamy, but I call it greasy and I couldn’t eat it. They were better once I put them in the refrigerator for awhile. I solidified the frosting.

Old Fashioned baby cupcake ~ Overly buttery vanilla bean frosting, bland chocolate cake, good whip cream center, crunch white chocolate sprinkles, fun Maraschino cherry on top.

Toasted Dark Chocolate Coconut ~ bland chocolate cake, WONDERFUL CREAM CHEESE FROSTING, a little toasted coconut on top.

Cosmopolitan: A little circle of chocolate cake, about one inch, with vanilla frosting and a modern fondant design. This was the classic LA case of something looking fabulous on the outside but being very average on the inside. Again with the same bland chocolate cake, overly buttery frosting and fondant which tastes like what it is, basically sugar and shortening. Chocolate ganache to decorate would have been a tastier option.

512 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, Ca 90401
Tues-Sat 9am-7pm
Sun 10am – 5pm

Monday, July 9, 2007


Sometimes it’s easy to feel out of touch with our fellow Angelinos. We’re either in our cars alone in thick traffic or trying to look SUPER COOL with our exclusive clique at a trendy new eatery. Whenever I want to feel all warm and cozy with humanity, I head to Runyon Canyon. I guess there’s something about being outside with dogs that make people in LA actually acknowledge each other, smile and greet a perfect stranger.

This Sunday I discovered another such place … the BH Farmer’s Market. Shoppers seemed to have left all attitudes at their mansions or in my case, apartment, and if I’m not mistaken people were truly happy enjoying the simpler things like great weather and fresh food. I started my journey at the Rockenwagner Bakery stand where I positively drooled over what to indulge in. A fresh slice of apple pie with flaky crust covered in cinnamon and sugar or a large square piece of cake known as “Bee Sting or Bienenstich.” The layer of rich creamy custard tucked between thin slices of light white cake was calling to me and topped with a crust of honey almond brittle … well I just had to try it.

First bite, good; custard very creamy and not overly sweet. Second bite; almond crust … um, OK TO DIE FOR! Where had this cake been all my life? For once I can’t quite find the words to describe how gorgeous this dessert tasted on my tongue. Think a silky vanilla crème, browned butter, caramelized honey, almond praline sort of heaven with the slightest bit of crunch.

After devouring the majority of the Bee Sting (4 bites were stolen by my boyfriend) I head off to healthier pastures and buy some big juicy beefsteak tomatoes, mushrooms still dirty from the ground, red onions, red and white carrots, white corn so perfect it looks fake, and a huge bouquet of sunflowers the color of the sexiest sunset you’ve ever seen.

BH FARMERS MARKET ~ Sundays 9am -1pm

9300 Block of Civic Center Drive

(310) 550-4796

Rockenwagner Bakery ~12835 W. Washington Blvd.

Mar Vista, California 90066

(310) 578-8171

Hours: Mon-Fri 8am-3pm; Sat-Sun 9am-4pm

Later that night I made a great tuna salad with some of the fresh veggies: ReCipE BeloW.


Slice corn off cob. Add drained tuna, corn, and all other ingredients to medium mixing bowl. Mix well with fork and enjoy alone or in a whole wheat wrap.

Friday, July 6, 2007

U.N. Burgers ~ flirting with flavor fusion

Hello and welcome to anyone who happens upon my little food blog. This is the debut of yet another way to satiate your appetite for worth-every-bite culinary experiences ... coming to you straight from the kitchens of FoodFlirt 90210, (aka my minuscule kitchen in my apt which just happens to be in the 90210 area code). Here is an original recipe that is healthy and filled with flavor!

U.N. Burgers
name explanation: The flavors in this burger hail from many different countries and mingle together magnificently ... maybe we can learn something from combining culinary cultures :) My burger likes your turmeric ... can't we all just get along?

Makes 4-6 burgers

1lb lean ground beef
1/2 c. chopped white onion
1/4 c. capers
1 tbsp turmeric (dry ground)
1 tsp crushed ginger (I use jar from Trader Joe's)
1/4 c. sweet chili sauce
1 tsp sea salt

Place tin foil on cookie sheet, set aside.
Combine above ingredients in medium size mixing bowl. Use clean hands to mix together, making sure all flavors are socializing with one another. Using a large ice cream scoop (or you can eye it) scoop equal amounts of beef mixture onto tinfoil an inch or more apart. Form each ball into a flat patty, about 3/4" thick. Preheat broiler to medium or 450. Set burgers aside, and needless to say wash those raw meat hands.

2 red bell peppers sliced
1 medium sweet onion thinly sliced

Spray medium frying pan with oil and let pan heat up. Add peppers and onions and cook on high until they have a grilled appearance, about 7-8 minutes. While veggies cook, put burgers under broiler for 5-7 minutes checking OFTEN as it's easy to over cook with a broiler!!! Flip burgers once during cooking process. IF YOU OVER COOK THESE THEY WILL BE DRY. DON'T BLAME ME.

6 whole wheat hamburger buns
1/2 cup hummus
your favorite mustard (I love Trader Joe's Hot and Sweet)
feta cheese crumbles

Once burgers are done (medium rare or how you wish) and veggies are faux grilled, toast buns ... nothing better than hot buns after all. Spread with hummus, mustard and ketchup. Place burger atop and pile on the grilled onions, bell peppers and feta. Eat it, enjoy each bite, and tell me what ya think! Serve with simple green salad or sweet potato fries sprinkled with cinnamon.