Welcome to New York…

Planning a trip to New York?  Fabulous!  But don’t forget there are other places to visit in New York besides Manhattan.  Grab a subway map and a metro card and make your way into the outer boroughs.  I was born and raised in Queens. Attended college in Long Island and lived in Brooklyn for three years. So, my connection with all of New York is  something I always want to share.  My recent visit to the big city brought back wonderful memories. It also made me realize that New York City is way more than Manhattan.

new park pizza sign

My love affair with pizza started from my childhood.  Friday nights were always pizza nights and the possibilities of where to go or order from, were endless.  I still can smell the steam of the piping hot pie that sat on my lap as my mom drove us home.  Once I was equipped with a driver’s license I found myself coming home from work and pulling into the best pizza place for my late night slice.  On Crossbay Blvd in Howard Beach, just minutes from where I grew up in Ozone Park, is the tastiest pizza place in the neighborhood.  New Park Pizza.  Once having tasted their pizza, you wont care how long it takes to get there. You might even consider moving to Queens. That’s how good it  is. And outside of the locals, no one knows about it.    This medium-sized pizza stand houses around 10 tables to eat at both inside and out.  Almost everyone opts for eating in the glass outdoor spot.  During the warmer months, the small parking lot is filled with teens and adults. Leaning on their cars scarfing down slice after slice.  When finished, take a walk back in and

Sicilian slices

have a scoop of rainbow or vanilla chip Italian ice, scooped into a paper cup and licked away.  A word to the wise, get the Sicilian pizza.  It’s hard to describe what brilliance tastes like so I recommend you go and try it for yourself.  The crust has a perfect crisp, not too soft and not too crunchy. The tomato sauce? A hint of sweetness mixed with fresh basil, seasoned flawlessly.  The cheese is the best kind of gooey, never burnt, just a little brown, and always that amazing melted texture. (you know the kind, when you take a bite the cheese pulls in a string from your lips to the slice)!  Outstanding, scrumptious, addictive, since 1956!

718-641-308215671 Crossbay Blvd Howard Beach, NY 11414 http://newparkpizza.com/

Forest Hills GardensOne of my favorite places in Queens is Austin Street!  Spending most of my early 20’s in this quaint neighborhood I have many favorite spots.  From 5 Burro Cafe for Mexican, to little boutiques like Oz, this bustling stretch is an awesome place to visit.  Hop on the Long Island Railroad or take one of the many subway line’s to the prestigious Forest Hills.  Take a walk through the elegant tree-lined roads with divine private homes staring back at you.  Once your feet hit the English Tudor-styled cobblestone square, your in for a great experience.   Mosey on down the bustling street and keep a look out for 70th Rd.  Once there, take a right and your on a small block with about 5 restaurants  stuck together.  Smack in the middle is my favorite sushi place in Queens, Narita!  In high school, even before I started eating sushi, I would always come here for their Japanese food (Japanese Noodles with Veggies in a White Sauce…yum)!  Walk through the small hallway and you’ll find yourself in a packed restaurant.  A tiny bar for patrons to wait for a table, or the long sushi bar for an immediate seat.  Two Habachi tables in the midst of a regular dining room  gives you many options on how

best spicy crunchy tuna roll...ever

to dine.  My favorite spot?  Directly to the right of the hostess stand you’ll notice cubby holes and two steps.  Take off your shoes, plop them in the cubby and take seat in a booth where your feet will dangle beneath.  With super comfy cushions and a bottle of hot sake you’ll feel like your in the comfort of your own home.  The Maki rolls here are endless!  Around 3 full pages of the most interesting rolls I found so far.  Every roll is the name of a girl or funky song.  Definitely start with a small salad.  The menu will say Ginger dressing but it’s not the average orange-colored dressing you’re used to.  This dressing is a creamy white mixture that will leave you wiping your finger in the bowl to get that last bit.  If your ready for the best spicy-crunchy tuna roll EVER then I suggest you make your way to Narita.  Hands down, my favorite spicy tuna roll I’ve had this far!  Not the traditionally diced tuna tar tar mixed with a spicy mayo.  This roll has plump tuna-steak with tempura flakes delicately placed alongside and mixed in a hint of spice.  It literally pops and crunches in your mouth with every bite (I suggest not sharing this roll with anyone)!   The Unagi (fresh water eel) hand-roll mixed with avocado, wrapped in soy paper is so fresh and tasty that you’ll be licking your fingers when finished.  Weather choosing the Karen or the Peggy roll, any choice is a fantastic one !

(718) 263-2999

10708 70TH Rd
Forrest Hills, NY 11375

Parkside Restaurant Interior

Further into Queens is a neighborhood called Flushing, housing Corona Ave.  This is the home of the Corona Ice King! (it’s also featured in the opening credits of the show King of Queens).  No, I didn’t travel to Flushing in the middle of December for ice but I did travel there for Parkside Restaurant.  I have been here, in Los Angeles, for almost 3 years now and before that I was living in Brooklyn, so I guess I forgot what an authentic Queens-Italian restaurant was like.  At 4pm on a Sunday afternoon this place was packed, 2 levels packed with the sun just setting.   The array of pinky rings and napkins tucked in collars were endless and I immediately felt

Corona Ice King

my lips spread into a smile.  Dine here merely for the experience, especially if your working on a screenplay or book about an Italian restaurant in Queens.  As soon as we were seated a basket of bread (some with meat inside) and oil were place on the table.  While sipping on a carafe of the house red (which was a little too sweet for me ) we order a bunch of yummy apps.  The Crabmeat Avocado Salad has chunks of fresh crabmeat tossed in a light vinegar and oil dressing.  Stuffed Artichokes and sautéed Portobello Mushrooms also graced my table.  I have a deep love for Stuffed Artichokes and haven’t found any that tasted remotely close to my grandmother’s, plus I can’t even make them ! Ugh! So, every time there is a Stuffed Artichoke on a menu I must have it.  This Artichoke’s middle was scooped out and stuffed with seasoned breadcrumbs and melted parmesan cheese, sitting in a bath of oil and lemon juice.  Incredible!  The lemon really mixed well with the thickness of the breadcrumbs and I found myself lapping up every bit.  Next, 3 entrée’s  hit our table.  The Red Snapper in Garlic & Oil, Rigatoni with Meatballs and Scungili and Calamari in Mariniara Sauce.   The Rigatoni and Meatball dish is as authentic as your mom’s Sunday bowl of macaroni.  The Red Snapper was tender and drenched in garlic and oil.  I was super full at this point but managed to eat half of the snapper.  Scungilli.  What can I say about Scungilli that might make you want to try it.  Unless doused in a flavored marinara sauce it may be hard to find a nice taste to it.  Scungilli is a large sea-snail.  I enjoy land snails but haven’t yet found the deliciousness that my mother seems to find in

Scungilli and Calamari

them.  I’m determined to buy them in their shells and practice a tasty recipe.  Although a huge cart of Italian pastries was being wheeled around our stomachs were delightfully full.

10701 Corona Avenue
Flushing, NY 11368-3218
(718) 271-9871

Heading into Williamsburg Brooklyn (my old stomping ground) later in the week, I met Angel for lunch.  I waited for her in one of my favorite muffin places, The New York Muffin!  Since we were meeting for lunch I couldn’t spoil my appetite with a jumbo muffin, but did enjoy a honey, green tea and sat in the window and watched everyone running around, faces wrapped, from the cold.  When I finally see her pretty face coming out from the L Subway, I know it’s time do our favorite thing…eat !  We always loved the BIG salads at Greenpoint

Bedford ave

Coffee House (which I just found out closed for good last week…ugh).  But since the trip to Greenpoint was another bus ride or long, cold walk we decided to stay in Williamsburg.  There are tons of delicious restaurants and cafe’s along Bedford Ave. that any place you choose to walk into is a good choice.  However, just one block over is Teddy’s.   On the corner of 8th and Berry St., parallel to Bedford Ave., is this delicious Bar and Grill.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner Teddy’s is always packed.  Two dining rooms, a large bar with a flat screen tv and a mini stage for musicians, or extra tables if there is no live music.  Remembering my last dinner there with my mom before moving to the West coast, I was so very excited for the Portobello Salad with  Balsamic vinaigrette and the best Stuffed Artichoke I’ve had in  long time.   I was bummed to realize that the menu we

Crunchy Portobello

were given was for lunch and my fav salad and app were only offered at dinner.  Damn it !  Ok, time to find some new items to munch on!  While sipping on a Tempranillo vino, I carouse the menu carefully.  Angel and I decided on a fun appetizer to split and a couple of healthy salads.  The Crunchy Portobello’s appetizer is about 6 meaty pieces of mushroom, battered in a crispy salt, pepper and lemon zest coating.  A soy sauce and very spicy mustard were place in the center of the plate for your dipping pleasure.  We dipped and dipped until each sauce was gone.  Yes it was lightly fried, but at least there was a veggie in the center.  With the array of salads offered it was hard to choose

cobb salad

from, but my eyes kept falling on the Cobb Salad.  I never saw a Cobb that came with peas and corn, my 2 favorites.  Add the eggs and avocado…. I was in heaven!  Crisp Romain and Spinach, a dash of blue cheese and scattered olives.  I opted for no chicken or bacon, keeping it light.   Angel munched on The Gorgonzola Salad!  Red leaf lettuce mixed with field greens and red onion,  tiny grape

gorgonzola salad

tomatoes and creamy Gorgonzola, refreshing vinaigrette topped with red pepper bruschetta. This bruschetta was smeared in a red pepper paste that added the best kick to any salad!  Best pub grub in the ‘Burg.  With our tummy’s full and Angel’s shift not yet ready to start, we scurried across the street

brooklyn ale house

to the Brooklyn Ale House for 2 quick Jamesons..you know to help with the cold.  Love this bar.  Super simple, a slice of free cheese pizza with a cocktail for Happy Hour  and peanuts whose shells you can toss right on the floor was the perfect post dinner spot.
96 Berry St
Brooklyn, NY 11211/ 718 397 9081  / View Menu

103 Berry Street, Brooklyn

(718) 302-981

After lunch I jumped on the L and headed to the city.  Remembering all my transfers correctly, I couldn’t wait to get to my Prince St. stop.  As I popped out of the subway I was greeted with the cold night hitting my face.  I briskly walked to my old

XR Bar

drinking spot (and former work place) to find it hadn’t changed a bit.  On the corner of West Houston and Sullivan sits a cozy, convenient bar welcoming all that walks through its door.  XR Bar!  As I entered, my old boss and owner was sitting at the bar and once I was recognized I was warmly greeted.  After a few cocktails to warm up I headed back  out to make my way to dinner.  A few blocks over on Bedford and Downing is an amazing restaurant called Ditch Plains.  Breakfast, lunch or dinner this places satisfies.  They call themselves the New York style Fish Shack.  Once inside your in a small dark wooded room filled with large


booths, some tables and chairs, equipped with a full bar and extensive wine  list.  I haven’t had breakfast there since last year at

oyster shooters

Christmas time, but I know they make a mean Omelette  served with a delicious Frisee salad on the side.  The hash browns are super authentic: a shredded pile of potatoes instead of those cubed potatoes most places try to pass off as “hash browns”.  Any restaurant with Silver Dollar Pancakes on the menu get’s an A+ from me!  As for dinner?  A must!  A great date spot, whether its your first or 10th.  Dark and romantic, an easy-going menu and the prices aren’t crazy either.  Make sure to make a reservation, this place gets lot’s of attention.  Start by ordering the Oyster Shooters, with or without vodka.  A shot glass filled with a plump raw oyster, tangy-spiced tomato juice and a shot of vodka!  Seriously, it’s amazing.   A chalk board filed with nightly specials hangs on the back wall with options such as Salmon, Snapper and a Soup-of-the-Day.  The New England clam chowder is to die for, packed with clams, potatoes and bacon swimming in a thick, creamy sauce.  Oyster crackers are seated at every table for your convenience.  If you see that a dish comes with sweet potatoes you’re in luck.  When a sweet potato is cooked long enough the amount of natural flavor that comes out is unbelievable!  I’m pretty sure Ditch adds a splash of brown sugar to the caramelized onions that’s mixed with the sweet potatoes which makes them that much tastier.  I’m assuming you like mac and cheese, if you don’t that  makes me curious about you.  The Ditch Dog=Mac and Cheese smothering a hot dog that’s laying beneath it!  What?! I

Ditch Dog

know!  Maybe not a choice good for a first date if you want a kiss at the end but a definite must if you brunching with your friends.  The Ditch Plains Lobster Roll served with Sweet Potato Chips, priced at $29, is outrageous !  Chopped , tender lobster mixed with spices and mayo slathered on top of a hot dog bun is so good that ordering it for breakfast is not a bad idea.  I noticed they added Tacos (fish, steak and smoked tofu) to the menu that I can’t wait to try next time I’m in New York!  If you find yourself in SoHo you have to stop by !

29 Bedford [at Downing Street] ny 10014
phone 212-633-0202
delivery 2122192126


Sushi and a show with Karen is a must!  It wouldn’t be a New York

trip without this day.  After a day of Bliss Spa and shopping, Karen and I headed to our favorite sushi spot..Azuki on Park Avenue South.  A free glass of vino and bottle of hot sake with the purchase of any entrée.  Ahh, New York sushi at it’s best.  Funky rolls mixed with fun sauces sipping a cup of hot sake on a freezing cold night.  Once done we headed back on the cold streets of New York to midtown to see a fabulously cast play by the talented Nora Ephron.  Love, Life and What I Wore, much like the book, uses clothing and accessories and the memories they trigger to tell funny

love, life and what i wore

and heart-felt stories woman can relate to.  The cast of 5 rotates every four weeks and its fabulous !  The best trip to the Westside Theater ever !

Azuki – Park Ave South New York, NY 10003…(212) 228-3611 239

407 West 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036-5330
(212) 315-2244

The dreaded night came where it was my last supper before getting on a plane.  Wanting to have one more authentic Italian Queens meal, I opted to stay in my neighborhood where my mom lives, Howard Beach.   As soon as you enter the neighborhood Howard Beach, Matteo’s Restaurant greets you.  With over 9 locations Matteo’s has exquisite service, a beautiful decor and outstanding family style dining.  As we enter the restaurant we were greeted by a Joe Pesci look-a-like and I couldn’t help but smile.  We were seated under a flat screen t.v. that had the Food Network on  (I’m not sure if I’m a fan of this new trend but I’ve noticed restaurants having the Food Network on in Los Angeles and in new York).  While tearing my gaze away from the television I ordered a bottle on vino and had no choice to but to eat a huge slab of soft, warm bread, spreading butter all over.  The menu is family style and 2 choices are given : Half order / Whole order.  When dining with Karen and Tony there is no

artichoke and mozzarella

choice, it’s always a whole order.  We started with the Fresh Mozzarella and Red Pepper app and , of course, a Stuffed Artichoke.  As my search still goes on for the best stuffed artichoke I have to say this is the best one I’ve had n a long

seafood salad

time.  No gimmicky melted cheese on top or having just the center stuffed, every leaf was touched with the deliciousness of toasted bread crumbs mixed with herbs.   Next a delicate Seafood Salad was served.  I say delicate because raw sea foods can be paired with over the top dressings and oils.  This perfect lemony light dressing complimented the calamari and fresh shrimp perfectly, I had to stop myself from eating before I got too full.   It may look weird when your reading a menu and see the word “burnt” but believe me this is how you want your vegetables when dining at Matteo’s.  The other option is a garlic and oil bath but having burnt cauliflower and burnt string beans is ever so tasty.  I may be a bit biased because I usually ask for my toast burnt when I go out for breakfast and I definitely like the crispest parts of foods but seriously try something different, go burnt.  The Dijon Salmon I opted for dinner came with one my favorite veggies, broccoli.  Swimming in a Dijon sauce I was wary that it be over the top in terms of flavor and over cooked.  This dish was spectacular!  I wish I was more hungry by the time it arrived but I definitely did the best I can.  I found that I love soaking the tree tops of broccoli in a creamy Dijon sauce.  Not being able to fit dessert into my body by the end of the meal I opted for a nice cappuccino.

Howard Beach
155-10 Crossbay Blvd.
Howard Beach , NY 11414
phone 718.322.2606
Matteo’s Family Style Ristorante Italiano & Catering

Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn are beacons for delicious cuisine.  For you Manhattanites , take a chance,  travel to a certain part of Queens you would never had ventured to, and not the ‘cool up and coming’ part, like Long Island City.  Go to Howard Beach or Bayside, get lost , find your way again.  People tend to think they need to leave the country to have an amazing food experience.  You don’t!  Just venture out of your comfort zone and see where your taste buds will take you.  There are plenty of more places that didn’t I hit in up, since I was only home for 10 days.  Go find them ! Make sure you tell me where they are….



Forget about the mediocre food, hung over crowd and “I think im cool and original because I have a tattoo on the back of my neck” waitresses at Swingers.  Right down the block is a perfect little restaurant sitting all by itself awaiting your arrival.  House is the best café I have dined at in a while.  Very original breakfast items (served any time of day) , amazing apps and entrees for dinner. Not to mention a pretty extensive wine and beer list.  Sitting inside is your best bet. So make a reservation (even if the chick on the phone says it’s not necessary).  During the day you’ll be inside a cute café watching the Food Network on a flat screen t.v.  And by dinner time,  the setting becomes dramatically different.  The lights go dim and jazz music plays amid the low rumble of conversing patrons.  The wait staff is super attentive (not so much if your seated outside) and the manager helps pick up any slack which is always a plus.  Although this restaurant only opened a little over a month ago, it is already packed with hungry people.

My first time at House was for breakfast and it had only been open for a week.  Being the only patrons in there Stony and I were graced with the presence of a complimentary Orange pancake.  Such a different take on an old classic.  By replacing milk with orange juice in the batter, these pancakes were super light and fluffy.  A bunch of fat blueberries are scattered throughout and the syrup is authentic, not sticky like the bottled kind.  Burrata Caprese Omelette ? Yes please!

creamy burrata

Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese, made from mozzarella and cream. The outer shell is solid mozzarella while the inside has both mozzarella and cream, giving it an unusual, soft texture.*  This wonderful cheese in slipped inside an egg omelette then scattered with yellow and red tomatoes, topped with a hint of fresh basil.  As you cut deeper into the omelette the creamier the cheese becomes.  If your not a cheese fan go for the Bruchetta, Poached Eggs.  Super light and tasty.  Two pieces of lightly toasted brioche-wheat are cut just right, to fit 2 perfectly poached eggs on top.  A wonderful smashed potato placed on the side of your plate has crispy skin and seasoned with fresh herbs.  My absolute favorite is the Vegetable Frittata!  Served like a slice of pie this European omelette is loaded with farmer’s market

veggie frittata

veggies.  Yellow beets, carrots, turnips and more, each bite is absolutely delicious (kinda reminds me of the way Thanksgiving tastes).  From Turkish tea, to lattes, fresh oj and house made lemonades, your breakfast will be a fab treat.

Since House is walking distance from my house, I decided to walk over one night.  Good thing there are 2 tall bar tables in the back because the entire place was packed and it was only 7:00pm!  I snagged the last bar table sat back and watched the bustling restaurant at work.  Not being that hungry, I ordered a few appetizers and a couple of glasses of wine.  There is a super long wine list consisting of: an in-house list, a Captains list (which is a special “off menu” list) and retail wine (to-go) at a 45% discount !  Amazing!  I enjoyed sipping on one of my favorites, an ’07 Monastrell from Spain.  The Monastrell grape is used to make strong, dark red wines (and rosés), are tannic (more dry), high in alcohol content and has wild-earthy flavors with a touch of red fruit.*  Stony sipped on an ’05 Garnacha from Spain.  The Garnacha grape is generally spicy, berry-flavored and lacks tannin and acid.*  As our first app came out I couldn’t wait to dig in.  A cast iron, black pot was set between us and filled with delicious mussels in a light cream broth with diced onions,garlic and carrots.  Mussels can be chewy and


tasteless, but these were melt in your- mouth good.  Two huge slices of bread are served with this and I highly recommend dipping and soaking the hell out of your

eggplant bufala

bread in the broth.  The Eggplant Bufala came out next in another funky looking cast iron dish.  I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to eggplant parm because I like the way I make it over anyone else’s.  Piping hot, this dish was basically an eggplant sandwich, which is an interesting way to serves an appetizer, or tapas.  It wasn’t overly fried so I was able to scoop out the flesh of the eggplant and enjoy it alone.  The sauce fell short and the cheese wasn’t as melty, but again I really like the way my family and I make tomato sauce, so anything else usually doesn’t interest me.  The mini cheese plate was fun.  Fresh ricotta and bufala mozzarella drizzled in a light oil with a thick piece of soft, warm bread.  Yum !  I’m super stoked to go back for more!  On the Specials Board was a Lobster Roll that sounds divine and a Polenta with Marscapone Cheese appetizer – a must!

Open from 8 am to 11 pm your sure to have a fab meal! House is a home for good food!

8114 beverly blvd, los angeles 90048


7 days a week
8 am to 11pm

Helpful Hints

* always make a reservation

* sit inside if possible

* try a tasty wine or beer on tap

* ask for a fish taco so that they finally put it on the menu!

* valet available at night, plenty of parking during the day


An authentic Italian meal is definitely hard to find, especially in Los Angeles.  Growing up in Queens NY, I often feel a little snobby when it comes to Italian food.  Just having spent a 2 week holiday in Queens, I had the best Italian food one can eat: my mom’s, my grandmother’s and my aunt’s.  I’ve yet to find the restaurant that makes a sauce like these women do which is why when I want Italian I just whip it up myself.  That was of course until I ate at Terroni.

On the corner of Curson and Beverly this no-reservation restaurant sits perfectly poised awaiting your arrival.  Need to wait for a table? Take a seat at the bar and sip on an Espresso Corretto , spiked with Grappa or Sambuca, or allow the savvy bartenders to pour you an exquisite glass of vino.  Daily selections of food and wine are displayed around the restaurant on chalk boards and the wine picks are always on point.  For the more daring wine drinker take a peak at the selective wine list that the Sommelier has put together.  My absolute fav red wine is the VinoBarbaresco, made from the Nebbiolo grape.  The typical style of a Barbaresco has the aroma of roses or violets with flavor notes of cherry, truffles, fennel and licorice (yum)!  Never be afraid to ask your server or bartender for a taste of vino before purchasing a glass or bottle.

Once seated get ready for an amazing array of food to grace your table!  Looking over the menu is definitely going to confuse you and your absolutely going to need to dine here at least 3 times to get your list of favorites started.  There will be a loose insert inside the regular menu featuring specials for the night.  The grilled eggplant, rolled and stuffed with fresh mozzarella is drizzled with a sweet, basil marinara sauce, the kind I never thought I’d taste again after my grandma Jean passed away.  So deliciously homemade tasting I found it hard to share this appetizer with my date.  With that being said I definitely needed more food pronto.  If you’re a fan of mushrooms then the Funghi Assoluti is a must!   This Arugola salad is mixed in a light oil, topped with perfectly baked Oyster Mushrooms.   These mushrooms have a light coating of crusted Parmigiano and are soaked with an amazing balsamic glaze, leaving your palette with a warm, sweet taste-sensation!  Caprese salads can be boring but definitely not at Terroni.  Market fresh yellow tomatoes diced and herbed with fresh basil and oregano, lay alongside Mozzarella Di

Caprese Con Mozzarella Di Bufala w/ Oil Drizzle

Bufala.  As to not alter the milky texture of the Bufala this salad is not served with balsamic vinegar, but with a light drizzle of oil.  Are you a meat lover?  At an additional cost, add some Prosciutto di Parma to your Caprese for the ultimate meat and cheese plate!

Pasta lovers beware, your about to head into the Primi section of the menu.  With fourteen different pasta dishes to choose from you’ll feel deliciously overwhelmed.  Each dish is made fresh to order with homemade pasta.   The Mezze-Maniche alla Norma is the perfect dish for a first experience.  Not too complicated, this simple Rigatoni is in a light tomato sauce with grilled eggplant, basil, garlic and topped with shredded Ricotta Salad.  Ricotta Salad is solid ricotta cheese that’s unbelievably tasty.  Because of this dish I now buy a block of

Mezze-Maniche alla Norma

Ricotta Salad when making pasta to grate over the top!  The Spaghetti ca’ Muddica is packed with intense flavors.  Homemade Spaghetti with anchovies, black olives, cherry tomatoes, capers, parsley and toasted bread crumbs.  Even if you think your not an anchovy person I highly recommend you try this dish.  The anchovies flawlessly blend in with the other ingredients.  There is no strong fish taste here,  just an array of flavors that work so well together when combined.  The black olives do not overwhelm the dish like most olive dishes do but compliment the tartness form the capers.  Toasted bread crumbs in a shaker was always seated next to the grated cheese at my grandmother’s dinner table and to be able to order a spaghetti dish the same way is such a delight!  Don’t bother asking for a dish with or without something, there are NO changes with anything on the menu.  Be a taste risk

Tagliatelle and Wild Boar Rague

taker and try something you wouldn’t normally eat, you may be surprised.  Especially when there is a Taglatelle and Wild Boar Ragu special !

Pizza lovers should take a seat around the chef’s table and watch the masters at work.  Served Southern Italian style, all pizzas come uncut.  So bring your carving skills to the table.  The Margherita Pizza is not only tasty but one of the most traditional Neapolitan Pizza (pizza napoletana). Authentic Neapolitan pizzas are made with the tastiest ingredients like San Marzano Tomatoes which grow on the volcanic plains to the south of Mount Versuvias.  At the top of their menu Terroni has an asterisk stating * Our tomato sauces are 100% DOP San Marzano.   The dough for each pizza is kneaded by hand and later, is formed by hand without the help of a rolling-pin.   The pizza must be baked for 60-90 second in a 485 C stone oven with an oak-wood fire. Neapolitan pizza has been given the status of a “guaranteed traditional specialty” in Italy.

Margherita Pizza

With crispy, flakey and tender crusts any topping will do on these pizzas. If your a goat cheese lover you have to try the Da Do a Da which is topped with tomatoes, mozzarella, goat cheese, eggplant and roasted red peppers.  So much is going on with this pizza in the flavor department.  Creamy goat cheese mixed with sweet tomato sauce while biting into a roasted pepper is so mouth-wateringly good.  Crispy eggplant mixed with melted mozzarella is the perfect accompaniment to this not so traditional brick oven pizza.  Never feel bad to ask for grated cheese, especially here.  In a plastic container equipped with its own shaving tool comes a block of parmesan cheese that you can grate yourself over any dish!  If your a spice lover, a colander of red-hot peppers mixed with olive oil is also available.

Weather your Terroni experience is lunch or dinner your stomach thank you.  Fresh ingredients being enjoyed in a fun environment is always a fabulous choice to me!

Helpful Hints

*Terroni does not take reservations; either get there early or wait at the bar

*There are NO substitutions on any dish

*Funky English to Italian CDs are played in the bathroom

*An old black and white movie always is shown on a screen near the ceilings with subtitles

* All pizzas are served Uncut

* Be sure to ask for the fun do-it-yourself grating cheese

Open 7 days a week

9:00 to 23:00 Sunday through Thursday

9:00 to 24:00  Friday and Saturdays

7605 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 954-0300


lA fabulous neighborhood restaurant that’s always available for your dining pleasure.  From brunches to dinners Taste offers a new American cuisine with a hint of Mexican influence.  The perfect spot for two friends to chat over brunch and an even better first date setting.  Dimly lit with two separate dining rooms inside for a more intimate evening or a lively patio outsides where you can have a smoke while sipping on delicious wine.  Have some house guests you want to impress but don’t want to empty your wallet?  Head over to Taste where this eclectic menu has something different for everyone!

Having had brunch here multiple times I have narrowed it down to two favorite dishes.  The Breakfast Panini is outrageous !  Packed with scrambled eggs, applewood smoked bacon, creamy goat cheese, caramelized onions and oven dried tomatoes this panini is pressed perfectly the way a panini should be.  Not a bacon lover? No problem! Taste doesn’t mind leaving something off or adding a tasty treat on.  The Crab Cake Benedict is another must!  Yes benedict’s are on the heavy side but this is well worth it. Toasted brioche bread topped with homemade crab cakes, 2 perfectly poached eggs burst open with oozing yolk cascading over all the right parts of your dish!  Switch the breakfast rosemary potatoes for some mixed greens so you don’t feel overwhelmed with carbs. Don’t forget to ask your server about the Bottemless Mimosas!

After a long work day the last thing on your mind is cooking.  During a much needed lunch break give Taste a call and make reservations for that night, you wont be sorry.  Weather it’s a hearty meal or light snack Taste is here to please.  Charcoal-Grilled

Blackened Salmon Salad

Blackened Salmon Salad

Artichoke with White Balsamic-Tartar Sauce is the perfect start to a meal (however I wouldn’t recommend this for a first date as artichoke may stick around in a random tooth-a quick trip to the restroom to make sure your pearly whites are still pearly is always a good idea).  The most scrumptious is the Ahi Tuna Tar Tar.  Piled high on your plate this Tar Tar is mixed with fresh Dill, chopped Avocado, diced Jicama and held together with a Spicy Aioli.  Have a glass of water next to you because your tongue will need a refresher after this dish.  Recently dining here with a friend in town we chose the Fresh Vegetable Pizzetta with plump Tomatoes , seared Peppers,



Mint Pesto on toasted flat breads.  Washing this fab appetizer down with a bottle of Terrezas Malbec was the perfect complement.  Moving on to dinner I went with a favorite of mine- The Blackened Salmon Salad.  Mixed Greens, scattered with Capers, Fresh Herbs and Slow Roasted Tomatoes are lightly tossed in a White Balsamic, which I’m considering my new favorite vinegar.  Angel chose the Ravioli which changes daily and is always a tasty choice.   The perfect helping and beautifully presented, this Ravioli had a Mexican twist.  Stuffed with shredded chicken mixed with Queso Fresco a light Pesto is drizzled on top and avocados strewn about the plate.  This Southwest dish dances on your tongue making you realize how fabulous fresh hand-rolled ravioli is !  When

Mahi Mahi

Mahi Mahi

dining with Stony the Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi Mahi is a favorite.  A tasty white fish lay atop Wasabi Pureed Potatoes, Julienned Vegetables and a Citrus Miso Sauce.  The macadamia nut and spicy wasabi mixed perfectly with the flaky white fish, your taste buds will be heightened.

Fresh fish , homemade pastas with Kobe meat balls, salads and brunch eggs to die for, this restaurant has it all!  You’ll be leaving thinking..I will remember every taste.

Taste on Melrose     8454 Melrose Avenue
West Hollywood, CA 90069
p: 323.852.6888
Mon. 5:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.Tue-Thu. 11:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Fri. 11:30 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Sat. 10:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Sat. 5:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Sun. 10:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Sun. 5:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Helpful Hints

* Make reservations for dinner or brunch

* Happy Hour Menu available

* Valet parking

* You can bring your own wine for a corkage fee

* Full bar available

Cobras & Matadors

msSome may not be too familiar with Tapas cuisine, but for those that are you know how delicious sitting around the  table can be.  Tapas is the name of a variety of appetizers or small snacks, mostly in Spanish cuisine.  Tapas has come around to most Mediterranean cuisine mixing different ideas together such as Spanish-Italian.  These dishes can range from olives or cheeses to small portions of fish or vegetables.  Eating small snacks throughout your day is best for the metabolism, carrying these tactics into your dinner can not only boost your energy through the night but can be quite tasty too !

Cobras & Matadors has a few locations and living near the one on Beverly, I’ve visited several times.  Small and simple inside, with wooden tables and chairs, you feel at home when walking through the doors.  One of my favorite aspects of this tapas place is bringing your desired wine or beer.  The quaint deli next door, Potato Chips, is where you can choose your spirit and as long

as the server sees the receipt the $5 corkage fee is waved!  However, another way to get around the corkage fee, and I discovered this accidentally, is having a bottle with a twist off cap.  A Buil & Gine Pinot Noir will have just this and only priced between $16 to $25 a bottle.  As your sitting amongst couples and groups of 5 to 6 everyone is excitedly popping their bottles of beer open and pouring wine for each another.  Making a reservation, especially after 8, would be a good idea as to not have to wait outside on the side walk.

With 25 Tapas to choose from, plus extra specials each night, it will be hard to make a decision.  Having had close to everything

Roasted Eggplant Crostini

Roasted Eggplant Crostini

on the menu any decision made will be a tasty one! The Roasted Eggplant Crostini is by far my favorite!  Seasoned eggplant, pureed with fresh basil sitting on top of a Woodoven cooked crostini, comes 3 to an order and presented on a mini slab of wood.  Complimented with a drizzle of Balsamic Syrup, a spoon full of a spicy red pepper mix and thinly sliced radishes, this $7 dish is anything but simple.  I find myself running my finger down the plate to lap up any remaining balsamic syrup.  Not your average

Wood-fire Flatbread

Wood-fire Flatbread

potato croquettes the chef goes a step further and whips up a bowl of Salt Cod Croquettes with a creamy aioli served in a mini mason jar and spoon to match.   Don’t let the title ‘Wood-fired Flatbread’ trick you, this is a mini pizza cut into 4 slices with thinly sliced Sopressata, Mushroom and Onion pieces with Marscapone cheese on top.  If you happen to a veggie lover, which I definitely am, the Wood-fired Asparagus is a must !  My second favorite dish here,the asparagus is cooked with crumbles of peanuts, walnut oil and sprinkles of Grana Padano (Grana Padana  is a fabulous cheese from Italy and has been around since 1135 making it the first hard cheese ever !).  Having grown up on lentils with pasta I had to have the staple dish that was always in my house.  However these weren’t your average lentils.  Instead of being soft they remained in there uncooked form, only being sauteed in a pan and retained this crunchy feeling.  Mixed with green

Pan Roasted Whitefish

Pan Roasted Whitefish

onions and a sherry reduction, these had my taste buds hooked with a touch of salty, sweet and crunchy.   The Pan Roasted Lake Superior Whitefish is one of the best prepared dishes.  A small but meaty piece of white fish served piping hot is the center of attention while Canolini white beans swim around with fresh watercress and capers in a tomato broth.  Try to get all components of the dish in one bite and experience the light broth mixed with tart capers soft white beans and sauteed cod.  Delizioso!

When your looking for great food at a low price with a simple dining atmosphere Cobras & Matadors awaits!

7615 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 932-6178

Mon-Thu. 5:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Fri-Sat. 5:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.

Sun. 5:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Helpful Hints

* $5 corkage fee

* $5 corkage fee waved if you buy next door at Potato Chips or if you have a twist off cap

* Small inside so make a reservation

* Wine glasses are short, waterglass look-a-likes, so don’t expect a glass with a stem


headerOh wine and cheese, why are you such temptresses?  With your creamy white skin and your burgundy river of delight.  I find myself walking pasting Froma a little too often these past few weeks.  Living 2 blocks away isn’t helping much either.  The ultimate wine and cheese shop thats not just a shop but a place to stay and enjoy.  When coming across these hidden pleasures always allow yourself the chance to experience something different.  Not yet overly exposed , although open for 2 years, Froma is tucked away amongst the overpriced shopper’s row on Melrose.  You may have a double take while browsing designer windows and suddenly seeing 2 faces staring back at you with tipsy smiles sloshing around their glasses of vino.   With me being the tipsy smiler, I’ve seen passerby’s reactions- stepping away looking up at the sign and not knowing what to do just was walk on starring back at my wine glass half empty.  If you find yourself in this very situation just walk in ! Have a look around and get completely engrossed with everything Froma has to




Upon entering the narrow shop, your eyes immediately take in the large deli case filled with meats and cheeses.  Big chalk boards above the counter tell you everything that’s being offered that day.  To the wall left of you, the most boutique looking pastas, sauces and spices.  Paired with mason jars are pickled veggies and homemade crushed tomatoes.  Exquisite hand made pastas that you definitely won’t find in your local Ralphs, and delicious freshly baked baguettes.  On the far wall , bottled sodas, waters and some homemade yogurt and granola.  The best part of this little shop of fabulous? The six small counter spaces where you can sit enjoy some wine and cheese.

Smokeed Salmon with Creme Fraiche and Capers

Smokeed Salmon with Creme Fraiche and Capers

My first few visits were exactly the same for I was fearful to stray from the cheese and crostinis.  With Joanie in town and much needed catch up time, we ventured down the block and took a seat by the deli counter.  Ordering a Bordeaux and a Pinot Noir we browsed the menu.  Plat de Fromage – your choice of 3 to 6 cheeses and for a bit more in price you can add the Charcuterie: cured meats and French pate.  We chose a plate of 4 cheeses and selected 3 of the fabulous Crostini.  From 11 to choose from it was difficult but the end resulted in Burrata cheese with Sundried Tomato , Smoked Salmon with Herb Creme Fraiche and Gorgonzola Dolce with Bosc Pear and Raw Honey.  Can I write OMG like im 12? Because that’s the only way to describe everything!  The Burrata was cold and creamy against the firm Sundried Tomato with a fresh

piece of Basil smacked right in the middle.  The Smoked Salmon was the perfect following, thinly sliced with a dollop of creme fraiche and a little burst of protein.  Gorgonzola with pears and honey? The best sweet tooth quencher! The natural sweetness from the pear is even more powerful when honey is added and the tart tasting cheese is the perfect compliment.  Don’t worry about choosing the wrong cheese for your cheese plate, its chosen for you by a cheese expert, which is exciting because you will probably taste cheese you wouldn’t have picked for yourself.

A little more adventurous the next visit, a superb Artichoke and Roasted Red Pepper Omlette was prepared for me,

Froma Panini

with definite Julia Childs customs, lot’s of butter and still a tad runny.   Stony decided on a panini, the Espagnola with Serrano ham, Spanish cheese and Roasted peppers, while a friend in town chose the Ham, Egg and Cheese panini.  The Espagnola was perfectly executed with spice from the ham and pepper colliding with the melting cheese.  As far as breakfast sandwiches are concerned you can’t stray too far from a ham, egg and cheese (unless your me where I’d add some salmon or blue crab).

As I sit here now sipping on a Chateau La Croix Martelle, Gran Reserve 2000, I’m most satisfied with Froma’s cafe-cuisine and the ‘pick of the week’ wine.  Owner Francine Diamond has definitely chose a winner this week with 44% Syrah, 30% Grenacha, 20% Mourvedre, 6% Cinsalt and aged 18 months in Oak Barrels, this wine is intense.  Paired with pasta, cheese and eggplant is a fabulous choice as well.

Picnic Baskeet

Picnic Basket

From breakfast and salads to cheese and wine this European meats LA cafe is hard to beat.  Stop in for a bottle of vino for your dinner or some cheese for an antipasta! A wonderful reminder : every 3rd Saturday is an outstanding wine tasting from 5 to 7!  Bring your inner Sommelier out to play!

7960 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(P) 323‐653‐3700
(F) 323‐653‐3703 http://www.fromaonmelrose.com

Hours: Open 7 Days/Week
Monday –Saturday: 9:00 a.m. To 8:00 p.m.
Sunday: 10:00 a.m. To 7:00 p.m.
Ask about our Wine & Cheese tasting, first
and third Saturday of the month

Helpful Hints

*everything is to stay or to-go

*picnic baskets available

*catering available

*every 3rd Saturday wine and cheese tasting




After a long week of working and putting together a new house a home cooked meal can be far from your mind.  Searching for clothes still in suit cases , paint cans everywhere and landscapers milling around outside your windows? It’s a must that on your day off you run out the door into your air conditioned car and head out for well deserved brunch.  In Hollywood brunch is nothing to joke around about.  If by 11 o’clock you haven’t at least started driving towards a restaurant you have just pushed your waiting time from 20 minutes to 45.  Who the hell wants to wait 45 minutes for brunch on a Sunday morning?  You’re either very hungover or exhausted from a shift that ended at 2 !  Think about these factors around Thursday afternoon and simply call ahead to make a reservations.  If your not a reservation person and like to wing it, trying winging it around 10 am before the overly-dressed-for-brunch crowd gets there.

Heading to BLD bright and early on a Sunday is a favorite of mine to do.  Sober or hungover I throw on a huge pair of sunglasses, a cute sun dress and make my way to brunch !  Sitting inside is a much better option.  It’s clean and crisp looking

Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes

Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes

and sitting outside means no mimosas!  Everyone that comes to BLD for brunch is thinking of one thing.  Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes!  I know I’ve written about Little Dom’s Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes and while those are delicious, BLD’s pancakes are super delicious and twice the size!  As your entree or just another dish on the table to be split by everyone if you have not tried these pancakes yet you have no idea what your missing.   Served with Berkshire Maple Syrup , not the sticky-sugary kind,  these pancakes come pipping hot with whipped butter !  If you’d rather start your day on the protein side, there are 14 different Egg dishes to choose from – including a Tofu dish.  From Frittats or Scrambles to Benedict’s and Florentine’s your eyes will dash from dish to dish.  After choosing the perfect egg dish you get the lovely choice of deciding between the Spanish Chorizo Homefries, Olive Oil Fingerling Potatoes accompanied by home made English Muffins (yum!), Cream Cheese and Chive Biscuits, Sourdough, Briouch or Multi Grain breads !  The choices here are endless and it’s easy to stay on the low-cal side.  Substituting the potatoes for a side of mixed greens or fruit is always an option, never a small portion and always fresh and tasty.

Mushroom Frittata

Mushroom Frittata

My two favorite fittata’s are the Summer Vegetable filled with plump yellow tomatoes, mozzarella and fresh herb pesto sauce or the Wild Mushroom packed with creamy goatcheese, pea tendrils and shallots.  Both executed perfectly the way a Frittata should be – crispy on top , soft on the bottom with the ingredients splashing around deliciously in the center.  After a forkful of exquisite eggs reach across the table for a helping of luscious  pancakes and let the blueberries melt on your tongue while maple syrup floats down your throat.  An array of organic coffee , tea and several Bloody Mary choices your brunch will leave you thinking about your next trip to BLD.

Bloody Mary

Bloody Mary

Offering special promotions like Milk-Shake Madness, pastry chef Mariah Swan gets creative with creamy concoctions , even adding a shot of Jack to spice up your shake !  Heading out for a picnic? No need to cook, just pick up your Picnic Box before your special event for a no fuss lunch !  Call ahead and ask when Chef Diana’s next Barbecue Smoke Night is!

If its breakfast, lunch or dinner your craving is satisfied here at BLD !

7450 Beverly Boulevard   Los Angeles CA   90036     323 930 9744

Sunday – Wednesday: 8 am to 10 pm     Thursday – Saturday: 8 am to 11 pm

Helpful Hints

*always make a reservation or get there an hour before the normal rush

*definitely get the Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes

*if you take a seat at the bar order a Crepe and watch the masters create one right in front of you!

*love the coffee press or honey holder? go ahead and buy one !