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The 10 Best Things I Consumed in 2020

This past year was brutal for all of us, and the restaurant industry was hit especially hard. Like many of you, I have tried my best to support the eateries I love by ordering take-out or delivery. Plus I think we all need delicious comfort food now more than ever to make us feel better and provide a sense of normalcy. As in prior years, I have put together a list of my favorite ten dishes I wrote about (mostly via Instagram lately) during the past year. Here’s hoping for a happier and healthier new year!

Ube Creme Caramel (in the center) from Creme Caramel LA.

10. Ube Creme Caramel from Creme Caramel LA. This Filipino-inspired dessert shop specializes in different flavors of crème caramel. All are amazing but the Ube (purple yam) flavor is my favorite.

Bagels from Maury’s

9. Bagels from Maury’s. We are in the midst of a bagel renaissance in L.A. and these are some of the best. They are ideally consumed hot out of the oven with a scallion cream cheese schmear.

Crispy Soft Shell Crab from Rustic Spoon

8. Crispy Soft Shell Crab from Rustic Spoon. Crunchy, salty and crabilicious, this is my favorite dish at my favorite Valley Thai eatery. It’s served on a bed of Papaya Salad with a sugary Plum Sauce on the side.

Cheeseburger Potstickers from Ms Chi Cafe

7. Cheeseburger Potstickers from Ms Chi Cafe. These jumbo fusion dumplings made with Ground Chuck Roast, Diced Onion and Shredded Cheddar Cheese, and served with Tomato-bacon Jam, were a winning dish for Chef Shirley Chung on Top Chef.

Fried Clam Basket from Connie and Ted’s

6. Fried Clam Basket from Connie and Ted’s. Whole Belly Ipswich Clams are hard to find in LA., and the ones fried up at Chef Michael Cimarusti’s New England-themed restaurant are wicked good!

Bee Sting Pizza with Tomato, Soppressata, Chile, Honey and Basil from Roberta’s

5. Bee Sting Pizza from Roberta’s. Brooklyn’s most hipsterish pizza joint has expanded into Culver City, and this spicy, doughy, cheesy and slightly sweet work of culinary art is not to be missed.

Bread Pudding from B Sweet Dessert Bar

4. Bread Pudding from B Sweet Dessert Bar. In addition to her other incredible offerings, talented pastry chef Barb Batiste serves a rotating selection of 50+ hot bread puddings, each with its own accompanying sauce. My favorites are Salted Caramel, Glazed Donut, Banana Chocolate and Pumpkin.

Lobster Risotto from Melisse x Citrin

3. Lobster Risotto from Melisse x Citrin. There is no better place on the Westside to splurge for a special occasion. This fine dining establishment’s fixed price menu of gourmet delights changes every week and, when ordered to go, includes instructions on assembling each course at home. This heavenly Risotto was from their “Lobster, Lobster, Lobster” set menu.

Dulce de Leche Besito Cookies from Porto’s Bakery

2. Dulce de Leche Besito Cookies from Porto’s Bakery. “Besito” means “kiss” in Spanish and I am head-over-heels in love with these Cuban buttery cookies filled with gooey thick caramel and dusted with powdered sugar.

Uni Pizza with Santa Barbara Uni, Uni Cream Butter, Mushrooms and Truffle Oil from The Joint Eatery

Uni Pizza from The Joint Eatery. This gourmet seafood restaurant and market offers a seafood-themed pizza on Sundays. Every version of this pizza I’ve ordered there has been amazing, but the one that they occasionally make with Uni, Mushrooms and Truffle Oil is transcendent. It’s the best thing I consumed in 2020.

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Filed under Burbank, Culver City, Downey, Glendale, North Hollywood, Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, Silver Lake, Toluca Lake, Valley Village, West Covina, West Hollywood, West LA

Kiss My Hass: The 7 Best Avocado Toasts in LA

In Los Angeles, the five basic food groups are Fruits, Vegetables, Meats/Eggs, Oat Milk, and Avocado Toast. And the last one is by far the most important. We love our avocado toast in LA and consume it religiously following our Sunday morning yoga and pilates classes. It’s a delicious reminder that we live the good life here in Southern California. Below are my current seven favorite avo toasts in town:

7. Sqirl. The Avocado Toast from Sqirl is topped with Hot Pickled Carrots, Garlic Crème Fraîche and House Za'atar. Just like everything else at Sqirl, it’s pretty awesome.

6. Tartine Bianco. The Avo Toast at new kid on the block, Tartine Bianco, is actually referred to as a “Smørrebrød” and topped with Jalapeño, Cilantro and Pumpkin Seeds. It’s served on Tartine Bakery’s Danish Rye Bread.

5. Gjusta. This is a secret off menu item at Gjusta. I love the simplicity of it; the chunky avocado slices, the course salt and the amazing Gjusta Pumpernickel Bread.

4. Le Pain Quotidien. “Le Pain” (pronounced “Pan”), which is how we refer to this ubiquitous chain, is famous for their Avocado Toast. It’s topped with Citrus Cumin Salt, Chia Seeds, and Olive Oil.

3. The Joint Eatery. Ripe avocado slices are served here on a nice thick toasted slice of Brioche. Since this Valley newcomer specializes in amazing seafood dishes, I suggest getting your Avocado Toast topped with what I believe to be the best crab salad you’ve ever eaten in your life.

2. Bluestone Lane. The very best Avocado Toasts tend to to come from hipster coffee chains and the one at Bluestone Lane is no exception. It’s made with a smashed avocado seasoned with fresh lemon juice, salt & pepper, chili flakes & olive oil, and served atop a slice of toasted multigrain bread.

1. Alfred Coffee. Maybe it’s because I like basic things perfectly executed, but this classic Avo Toast is my favorite in the city. It features Watermelon Radish, Sprouts, Grape Seed Oil, Red Pepper Flakes and Lemon, and it’s served on Pumpernickel from The Larder Bakery. The only disappointing thing is it’s available in only one of Alfred’s many locations, the one in Silverlake.

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