Sunday, 13 July 2014


One of my favourite weekend expeditions is some early morning exercise before a big brunch.  I’m not sure whether the exercise encourages the idea of brunch, or the brunch is supposed to be negated by the exercise, but I don’t think it really matters. 


After a hike in Will Rogers Park yesterday morning, a girlfriend and I decided to try out the Farm Shop in Brentwood.  It’s part of the Brentwood Country Mart and a word to the wise, the take parking very seriously here – you will be interrogated about your destination as you drive into the lot and you will most likely be given wild waving hand gestures meant as direction when you reverse out of  your space as you leave. 



Farm Shop is my idea of heaven – a restaurant/bar attached to a beautiful little gourmet deli.  Everything’s ridiculously expensive and it’s the type of place you scope out potential rich husbands based on their decision to do all of their grocery shopping in this little slice of paradise.  However, when confronted by a mountain of cheese upon entering a room, I find it impossible to say no to opening my wallet. 



The breakfast menu here is fabulous – a large selection of something for everything with both small and large plates.  It’s not cheap, but having had breakfast in Brentwood the day before, my meal at Farm Shop was only about $5 more expensive and 50 times better.  After much wailing and gnashing of teeth trying to decide what to order, I finally had the salmon rilletes which was amazing and my brunch buddy had the very immaculately presented frittata.  Eyeing off the dishes of everyone else at our communal table, I need to go back and try the pastrami, and the French toast, and the steak and eggs, and the pecan cinnamon bun…etc, etc, etc. 



Farmshop Los Angeles on Urbanspoon


One of my favourite weekend expeditions is some early morning exercise before a big brunch.  I’m not sure whether the exercise encourages the idea of brunch, or the brunch is supposed to be negated by the exercise, but I don’t think it really matters. 


After a hike in Will Rogers Park yesterday morning, a girlfriend and I decided to try out the Farm Shop in Brentwood.  It’s part of the Brentwood Country Mart and a word to the wise, the take parking very seriously here – you will be interrogated about your destination as you drive into the lot and you will most likely be given wild waving hand gestures meant as direction when you reverse out of  your space as you leave. 



Farm Shop is my idea of heaven – a restaurant/bar attached to a beautiful little gourmet deli.  Everything’s ridiculously expensive and it’s the type of place you scope out potential rich husbands based on their decision to do all of their grocery shopping in this little slice of paradise.  However, when confronted by a mountain of cheese upon entering a room, I find it impossible to say no to opening my wallet. 



The breakfast menu here is fabulous – a large selection of something for everything with both small and large plates.  It’s not cheap, but having had breakfast in Brentwood the day before, my meal at Farm Shop was only about $5 more expensive and 50 times better.  After much wailing and gnashing of teeth trying to decide what to order, I finally had the salmon rilletes which was amazing and my brunch buddy had the very immaculately presented frittata.  Eyeing off the dishes of everyone else at our communal table, I need to go back and try the pastrami, and the French toast, and the steak and eggs, and the pecan cinnamon bun…etc, etc, etc. 



Farmshop Los Angeles on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 9 July 2014



I’d been in LA for three weeks before I was subjected to my first ascent of Temescal Canyon.  After a Saturday night of heavy drinking, I blearily decided to keep my promise to hike Sunday morning with two new LA friends.  Half way up, my girlfriend Amy and I were pausing on rocky ledges pretending to pick out our dream multi-million beach house in an attempt to mask our exhaustion.  I love a good hike – really, I do.  But there’s a difference between hiking and torture – with an emphasis on the torture when we finally got to the top of the canyon to discover a fitness group doing their celebratory ‘booty dance’ to incredibly loud, incredibly offensive rap music. 

Straight away, I started a search for less torturous hiking adventures in Los Angeles, of which apparently there are a million.  I recently moved nearby and decided to give Will Rogers Park a visit.  Apart from the exorbitant $12 entry fee to park in the car park, this is the perfect location for a gentle hike that still has great views of LA.  The Inspiration Point Trail is only 2.25 miles long with 325 feet of elevation gain, so you won’t feel like you’re climbing a million office block stairs on your way to a great view of Santa Monica. 



If you don’t fancy a hike, head to the stables instead or lounge on the grass out the front of Will Rogers’ lodge.  No lawn sports though. 





I’d been in LA for three weeks before I was subjected to my first ascent of Temescal Canyon.  After a Saturday night of heavy drinking, I blearily decided to keep my promise to hike Sunday morning with two new LA friends.  Half way up, my girlfriend Amy and I were pausing on rocky ledges pretending to pick out our dream multi-million beach house in an attempt to mask our exhaustion.  I love a good hike – really, I do.  But there’s a difference between hiking and torture – with an emphasis on the torture when we finally got to the top of the canyon to discover a fitness group doing their celebratory ‘booty dance’ to incredibly loud, incredibly offensive rap music. 

Straight away, I started a search for less torturous hiking adventures in Los Angeles, of which apparently there are a million.  I recently moved nearby and decided to give Will Rogers Park a visit.  Apart from the exorbitant $12 entry fee to park in the car park, this is the perfect location for a gentle hike that still has great views of LA.  The Inspiration Point Trail is only 2.25 miles long with 325 feet of elevation gain, so you won’t feel like you’re climbing a million office block stairs on your way to a great view of Santa Monica. 



If you don’t fancy a hike, head to the stables instead or lounge on the grass out the front of Will Rogers’ lodge.  No lawn sports though. 



Wednesday, 18 June 2014


I was going to ride all the way from Venice to Santa Monica.  I've done it before, honestly.  It's not far.  But my legs started to hurt a few blocks short of Pico and I gave up on the notion.  My aching legs clearly needed a lunch break so I slipped into Thai Teak for the first time.  It's just a little kiosk with super cheap vegan Thai food, sharing the space with Three Gems juice. 


 Apparently half of the crowd wandering up from the beach had had the same idea and I soon found myself sharing a table with a quickly changing selection of bikini-clad foreigners sipping on juice and sucking down noodles.


This is not life-changing food. It's cheap and cheerful and you eat it on a paper plate at tables lined with rolls of paper towel, but the dishes are reliable Thai staples that are great for a grab and go lunch on a summer day.  



I didn't really need juice as well, but I'm a sucker for juice. Three Gems is separate to Thai Teak but they go well together - as did my spicy mint noodles and green juice.  

http://thaiveganism.com/


I was going to ride all the way from Venice to Santa Monica.  I've done it before, honestly.  It's not far.  But my legs started to hurt a few blocks short of Pico and I gave up on the notion.  My aching legs clearly needed a lunch break so I slipped into Thai Teak for the first time.  It's just a little kiosk with super cheap vegan Thai food, sharing the space with Three Gems juice. 


 Apparently half of the crowd wandering up from the beach had had the same idea and I soon found myself sharing a table with a quickly changing selection of bikini-clad foreigners sipping on juice and sucking down noodles.


This is not life-changing food. It's cheap and cheerful and you eat it on a paper plate at tables lined with rolls of paper towel, but the dishes are reliable Thai staples that are great for a grab and go lunch on a summer day.  



I didn't really need juice as well, but I'm a sucker for juice. Three Gems is separate to Thai Teak but they go well together - as did my spicy mint noodles and green juice.  

http://thaiveganism.com/

Monday, 16 June 2014



I’m obsessed with plantains.  Obsessed.  I see them on a menu and order them instantly.  So I saw the menu for Sage, picked out the first dish I saw featuring plantains, and raced there as quickly as I could.  The Mar Vista/Culver City border isn’t exactly the prettiest part of LA, but if you’re sitting outside at Sage in the middle of the day, sheltering in the shade and sipping on home-made lemonade, it’s easy to pretend you’re in a garden oasis away from the urban sprawl. 


I ordered the Brazilian bowl – quinoa, black beans, kale, avocado AND guacamole, salsa and big slabs of pan-fried plantains.  In a moment of insanity I ate too much and didn’t leave enough room for Kind Kreme ice cream.  Obviously I just need to go back for a vegan ice cream date.  





Sage Organic Vegan on Urbanspoon



I’m obsessed with plantains.  Obsessed.  I see them on a menu and order them instantly.  So I saw the menu for Sage, picked out the first dish I saw featuring plantains, and raced there as quickly as I could.  The Mar Vista/Culver City border isn’t exactly the prettiest part of LA, but if you’re sitting outside at Sage in the middle of the day, sheltering in the shade and sipping on home-made lemonade, it’s easy to pretend you’re in a garden oasis away from the urban sprawl. 


I ordered the Brazilian bowl – quinoa, black beans, kale, avocado AND guacamole, salsa and big slabs of pan-fried plantains.  In a moment of insanity I ate too much and didn’t leave enough room for Kind Kreme ice cream.  Obviously I just need to go back for a vegan ice cream date.  





Sage Organic Vegan on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 14 June 2014


Another Kind of Sunrise has been on my ‘to do’ list for some time.  I’m embarrassed to say that it stayed on the ‘to do’ list for so long, in part, because I couldn’t find it.  One night, standing outside the Tasting Kitchen, I saw the sign for Another Kind hanging from a post and realised, finally, that it was one of a collection of pop up stores at the back of an old house on Abbot Kinney. 


Deciding that it was finally time, I walked up to Abbot Kinney, sidled down the tiny alley to the tiny open kitchen that is Another Kind of Sunrise.  They specialise in simple handmade, natural, cereal-based food (granola, muesli, muffins etc) and are famous for their butter coffee – literally fresh brewed coffee blended with ghee and coconut oil.  As I sat by the counter, waiting for my Acai bowl, a half dozen patrons wandered in, exclaimed that they had been persuaded to try this butter brew by a local shop owner who had waxed lyrical about Another Kind. 


I decided against the coffee as it was about 100 degrees, but my Acai bowl was better than any I’ve had in a long time – they’re so often sickly sweet sorbet muck that’s come from the ice cream aisle at the supermarket, but this was a fresh and creamy blend of acai berries , cashews and coconut milk, topped with berries, banana and a very big scoop of 'paleo' granola (so basically just nuts).  Delicious and ridiculously filling. 

My only complaint would be that there’s virtually nowhere to sit in the shade and when the sun’s high it’s incredibly hot for those who want to sit in the alley and enjoy their acai goodness.  Get it on the go or jump into the dog fight for the single bench in the shade. 



Another Kind of Sunrise has been on my ‘to do’ list for some time.  I’m embarrassed to say that it stayed on the ‘to do’ list for so long, in part, because I couldn’t find it.  One night, standing outside the Tasting Kitchen, I saw the sign for Another Kind hanging from a post and realised, finally, that it was one of a collection of pop up stores at the back of an old house on Abbot Kinney. 


Deciding that it was finally time, I walked up to Abbot Kinney, sidled down the tiny alley to the tiny open kitchen that is Another Kind of Sunrise.  They specialise in simple handmade, natural, cereal-based food (granola, muesli, muffins etc) and are famous for their butter coffee – literally fresh brewed coffee blended with ghee and coconut oil.  As I sat by the counter, waiting for my Acai bowl, a half dozen patrons wandered in, exclaimed that they had been persuaded to try this butter brew by a local shop owner who had waxed lyrical about Another Kind. 


I decided against the coffee as it was about 100 degrees, but my Acai bowl was better than any I’ve had in a long time – they’re so often sickly sweet sorbet muck that’s come from the ice cream aisle at the supermarket, but this was a fresh and creamy blend of acai berries , cashews and coconut milk, topped with berries, banana and a very big scoop of 'paleo' granola (so basically just nuts).  Delicious and ridiculously filling. 

My only complaint would be that there’s virtually nowhere to sit in the shade and when the sun’s high it’s incredibly hot for those who want to sit in the alley and enjoy their acai goodness.  Get it on the go or jump into the dog fight for the single bench in the shade. 


Monday, 12 May 2014


A woman's girlfriends are a precarious and often unpredictable commodity.  Sometimes they’re there for you when you need a shoulder to cry on.  Sometimes they pick you up at an ungodly hour in the morning when you’re drunk and can’t get a taxi.  Sometimes they take you firmly into hand and tell you to step away from THAT particular boy/girl. 

I’m the girlfriend that shows up at your house with a big box of home-made cookies.  Not particularly that practical or useful I know, but it’s what I do best. 

Last year a friend of mine was under the pump with work and university, so I baked a round of these cookies in the hope they might fuel her through another night spent hunched over paperwork.  The next morning she texted me to tell me she’d eaten every single one. 

Because so many of my friends are gluten free, dairy free, or both, I’m used to cooking without flour or dairy.  These are my favourite GF/DF cookies ever. 

This recipe is adapted from a recipe I read on the Minimalist Baker, and Dana had adapted it from the Sprouted Kitchen Cookbook.  So it’s not an original recipe…but it’s not the recipe it used to be.    



Almond Cookies with Cacao Nibs and Coconut
1 ½ cups almond meal
¼ cup cacao nibs
½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp sea salt
¼ cup agave syrup
1 egg
3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
½ tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 190 C / 375 F. 

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the almond meal, cacao nibs, coconut, baking powder and salt. 

Whisk together the coconut oil and vanilla, then add this mixture to the dry ingredients.  Stir together with a wooden spoon until well combined. 

In a separate bowl, beat the egg until foaming and pour into the cookie mixture.  Stir gently to combine.  Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.  Don’t be tempted to skip this stage!

Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Shape the dough into walnut-sized balls and place on the baking tray.  Flatten the dough balls just a little with the back of a wet spoon. 

Bake for 10 minutes. 

Let the cookies cool just a little before eating every single one of them before dawn. 






A woman's girlfriends are a precarious and often unpredictable commodity.  Sometimes they’re there for you when you need a shoulder to cry on.  Sometimes they pick you up at an ungodly hour in the morning when you’re drunk and can’t get a taxi.  Sometimes they take you firmly into hand and tell you to step away from THAT particular boy/girl. 

I’m the girlfriend that shows up at your house with a big box of home-made cookies.  Not particularly that practical or useful I know, but it’s what I do best. 

Last year a friend of mine was under the pump with work and university, so I baked a round of these cookies in the hope they might fuel her through another night spent hunched over paperwork.  The next morning she texted me to tell me she’d eaten every single one. 

Because so many of my friends are gluten free, dairy free, or both, I’m used to cooking without flour or dairy.  These are my favourite GF/DF cookies ever. 

This recipe is adapted from a recipe I read on the Minimalist Baker, and Dana had adapted it from the Sprouted Kitchen Cookbook.  So it’s not an original recipe…but it’s not the recipe it used to be.    



Almond Cookies with Cacao Nibs and Coconut
1 ½ cups almond meal
¼ cup cacao nibs
½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp sea salt
¼ cup agave syrup
1 egg
3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
½ tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 190 C / 375 F. 

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the almond meal, cacao nibs, coconut, baking powder and salt. 

Whisk together the coconut oil and vanilla, then add this mixture to the dry ingredients.  Stir together with a wooden spoon until well combined. 

In a separate bowl, beat the egg until foaming and pour into the cookie mixture.  Stir gently to combine.  Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.  Don’t be tempted to skip this stage!

Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Shape the dough into walnut-sized balls and place on the baking tray.  Flatten the dough balls just a little with the back of a wet spoon. 

Bake for 10 minutes. 

Let the cookies cool just a little before eating every single one of them before dawn. 





Sunday, 20 April 2014

I have a friend from LA-acting-school-days who looks a lot like Sigorney Weaver.  I mean ridiculously like Sigorney Weaver.  So, for the sake of this post, we will refer to her as Ms. Sigorney. One of our favourite haunts in LA was the Westwood Native Foods Café.  The first time we ventured there together, Ms. Sigorney spotted Timothy Olyphant having lunch with his family and nearly lost her s**t she was so excited.  When we both went back to our respective islands (Vancouver and Australia), she would send me messages asking me to meet her at Native Foods.  I once replied that I would make the journey if she could promise that Timothy Olyphant would be there – preferably wearing a cowboy hat.  She offered to show up wearing the cowboy hat instead.  Native Foods is seriously the kind of place you dream of when you’re far, far away from Los Angeles. 

Today, as I went into Native Foods for the first time in a couple of years, I wished Ms. Sigorney and her cowboy hat were there when the ridiculously large plate of Native Nachos was placed in front of me.  Seriously, this dish is huge and I had previously only shared it.  But it was also so delicious that I had to ask a waiter to take it away before I made myself sick, eating past endurance! 


Native Foods is the institution I point everyone to when they display a distrust of vegan food. I can’t blame them, because there is a lot of bland, unimaginative, or heavily processed vegan food out there.  Also, I grew up in a country where vegans and vegetarians are largely distrusted as possible creatures from out of space.  What I love about Native Foods is that everything is so fresh and even the tempeh and seitan are made on site.  No nasty chemically processed and plastic packed fake meat at Native!  And then there are the free refills, which are my downfall, especially when it comes to the Watermelon Fresca.  If I hadn’t devoured so much of my delicious nacho plate, I probably would have stolen off with the peanut butter parfait too…..next time….



Native Foods Cafe on Urbanspoon

I have a friend from LA-acting-school-days who looks a lot like Sigorney Weaver.  I mean ridiculously like Sigorney Weaver.  So, for the sake of this post, we will refer to her as Ms. Sigorney. One of our favourite haunts in LA was the Westwood Native Foods Café.  The first time we ventured there together, Ms. Sigorney spotted Timothy Olyphant having lunch with his family and nearly lost her s**t she was so excited.  When we both went back to our respective islands (Vancouver and Australia), she would send me messages asking me to meet her at Native Foods.  I once replied that I would make the journey if she could promise that Timothy Olyphant would be there – preferably wearing a cowboy hat.  She offered to show up wearing the cowboy hat instead.  Native Foods is seriously the kind of place you dream of when you’re far, far away from Los Angeles. 

Today, as I went into Native Foods for the first time in a couple of years, I wished Ms. Sigorney and her cowboy hat were there when the ridiculously large plate of Native Nachos was placed in front of me.  Seriously, this dish is huge and I had previously only shared it.  But it was also so delicious that I had to ask a waiter to take it away before I made myself sick, eating past endurance! 


Native Foods is the institution I point everyone to when they display a distrust of vegan food. I can’t blame them, because there is a lot of bland, unimaginative, or heavily processed vegan food out there.  Also, I grew up in a country where vegans and vegetarians are largely distrusted as possible creatures from out of space.  What I love about Native Foods is that everything is so fresh and even the tempeh and seitan are made on site.  No nasty chemically processed and plastic packed fake meat at Native!  And then there are the free refills, which are my downfall, especially when it comes to the Watermelon Fresca.  If I hadn’t devoured so much of my delicious nacho plate, I probably would have stolen off with the peanut butter parfait too…..next time….



Native Foods Cafe on Urbanspoon

Blog Archive