Adventures

A Cozy Kitchen's Eastside Food Guide

In the words of Chef David Chang: “The best food in LA isn’t made by white people.” Whenever someone comes to LA and wants recommendations, my list is usually a mile long. And I always, always tell my friends to visit a few places (not all) nestled within the corners of Korea Town, San Gabriel Valley and East LA. My favorite part of LA is how diverse it is. I’m not sure there’s anywhere in the country where in one day you can eat ridiculously authentic Szechuan food, Korean food from Seoul and Mexican food from Oaxaca.

If I ever move out of LA, the diverse food and people will be what I will miss the most. It’s what makes this city so beautiful and wonderful and a joy to eat through.

A Cozy Kitchen's Eastside Food Guide

For this post, I teamed up with Square Cash, which can be comparable to Venmo but slightly different. The biggest plus for me with Square Cash is that money can be transferred instantly. That means no waiting 2 to 3 days for it to post to your bank account.

If I go to a restaurant with a group, I usually always offer to pay and have people pay me so I can collect credit card points. (If you have a Chase Sapphire or Amex, you probably love double points on dining out too.)  And because I usually volunteer to pick up the whole tab and then have people pay me, I usually want the money right away so I can instantly pay my credit card. Square Cash is awesome because it does just that. It makes transferring money to friends fast, easy, instant and free.

A Cozy Kitchen's Eastside Food Guide

The guide encompasses some of my favorite “non-white eats” but it also includes my favorite fancy places, too. I love these places! This guide is going to be a multi-part post, but I wanted to start with my favorite part of LA, my neighborhood: the eastside.

A Cozy Kitchen's Eastside Food Guide

Ahgassi-Gopchang – Korean BBQ spot that has the best open air vibes. I’ve been eating here like once a week for the past few months and I am pretty obsessed with it. My favorite thing is the tripe kimchi fried rice—it’s bomb AF.

Alimento – I had my birthday dinner here this past year and the staff is the type that remembers your name and knows that you’re obsessed with the chopped salad (my most Postmate-ed dinner ever!). I especially love the tortellini en brodo (it’s similar to a soup dumpling—incredible), the bagna caoda, pig in a blanket and of course the smoothest, most decadent chicken liver mousse (pictured below).

A Cozy Kitchen's Eastside Food Guide

Bar Ama – Tex-mex food cooked up by Chef Josef Centeno. The cheese dip is so epic. There have been times when I’ve been on diets (yes, I go on those too) and Bar Ama is surprisingly one of my go-tos. I’ll order the large format mole chicken and a few dishes from the veggie section, and I’ll feel leaving great!But if you’re not watching what you eat, then order everything, especially the cheese dip.

Bestia – This is where Josh and I go for special occasions. Chef Ori Menashe makes decadent, delicious Italian food that is amazing, special and interesting but not so weird and fancy where you’re like, what is on my plate. It’s a place that makes you feel good. Make a reservation well in advance because it’s always booked up.

A Cozy Kitchen's Eastside Food Guide

Button Mash – Echo Park arcade/restaurant. The most fun place in my hood. I love the dan dan noodles, the wings and the wine list (put together by my homie and wine person, Whitney Adams). I went a few weeks ago and drank a grapefruit spritzer and played Street Fighter and Mortal Combat; sort of the perfect night ever.

Corazon y Miel – I cannot tell you how many Micheladas I’ve had in my life. Way too many. And this place makes the best one I’ve ever had. Their food draws inspiration from Mexico, along with central and South America. My second favorite thing is their almost-Peruvian-style ceviche that has lots of cubed cucumber and peanuts in it, served with chips. Also, the vibe is so positive and neighborhood-y. I love it.

Dinette – Little casual breakfast spot in Echo Park. I come here all the time, mainly for a quick meeting or breakfast. The waffle is my absolute favorite in the city—it’s a must-order/eat.

A Cozy Kitchen's Eastside Food Guide

Din Tai Fung (I got to the Glendale location but the other two are in San Gabriel Valley) – Every single time I think I’m over Din Tai Fung, I go back and then re-realize how perfect it is. Dumplings and rice cakes forever! Everyone knows about Din Tai Fung but it’s still a keeper.

El Mar Truck – If you ever find yourself sweating on the eastside of LA and want something refreshing and cheap, go here. The ceviche and fish are served in this cucumber crema sauce on a tostada. Sit in the park with a Mexican coke. It’s the perfect $5 lunch.

Grand Central Market– Great for during the day, though they’re open for dinner, too. My favorites are MadCapra, Wexler’s Deli, Egg Slut, McConnell’s Ice Cream and G&B Coffee.

Guisados – My friend Mando owns this place with his dad and he got mad when I didn’t include it but it’s BECAUSE I FORGOT. There are too many good places in LA. I do love this place; and I’ve loved it for such a long time. My favorite thing on the menu is the quesadilla. It’s not a normal quesadilla that you would make yourself after school. Grilled panela is topped with chorizo served on a homemade corn tortilla–it’s blissful.

A Cozy Kitchen's Eastside Food Guide

La Azteca Tortillera – The best flour tortilla I’ve ever had. If you want a cheap, delicious burrito, then go here. A bonus: this past Christmas I came here to pick up masa for tamales and it was literally the most flawless masa dough in the entire world and cost me $5. SUCH A GEM.

Little Sister – A somewhat newly-opened Vietnamese restaurant downtown. I’ve only been once but every single dish that passed by, I wanted to come back to try.

Hama Sushi – There are dozens of sushi places in Little Tokyo; this is my favorite because it’s not SO expensive where I feel like I need to get a second job to support my sushi habit, but the fish is so fresh and delicious. The space is cozy and is very 80s in the best way possible.

Hamji-Park – Pork ribs and pork stew are the two things to order here. They are incredible and perfect in every single way. I’ve been trying to find someone to teach me how to make the pork stew, so if you know someone…

Kazu-Nori – An inexpensive, quick-service hand-roll place. I come here all the time for a fast and healthy lunch and/or dinner. The fish is always fresh and the nori is so crispy that it makes my eyes turn into heart-eyed emojis.

Margume Monzo – If you’re cold and want a bowl of udon with freshly rolled noodles, come here. The udon gets weird; think carbonara, uni, etc., but I get the very fresh, summer-y vongole every time. It’s surprisingly light yet still totally fills me up.

Mexicali Taco – Very casual taco spot that has so much more than burritos and enchiladas. In fact, you won’t find those here. Instead the food is focused on dishes from the Baja-region of Mexicali, Mexico. My favorites are the vampiros, cachetadas and queso fundido.

Night + Market Song – Spicy Thai street food that is so hot but you still keep eating. WHY?!?! It’s loud with bright pink walls and 90s posters of Cindy Crawford. It doesn’t get better.

Pollo a La Brasa Western – The chicken of my childhood! Peruvian rotisserie chicken that’s cooked over burning wood. The green aji (spicy sauce) is so epic. I’m not a fan of most of their sides but the fried yucca and a chicken is the way to go.

O.B. Bear – The best Korean fried chicken in all of Los Angeles. Or at least in my opinion. Go late, order beer and a few plates of fried chicken. The vibe is dive-y and so, so awesome.

A Cozy Kitchen's Eastside Food Guide

Sqirl – It’s become an LA classic. It’s a delicious breakfast. Yes, the lines are sometimes insane but go around 10am on a weekday and you’re all good. Everything is good, and I mean everything, but I have a very soft and loving heart for the brioche toast with ricotta and jam—it’s perfect. Also, the malva bread. They’ll warm it up for you; one bite and you may pass out.

Taco Zone – My late night taco spot. I like the vegetarian burrito and mulitas with al pastor. The women who run this truck call me “mija” when I order and I have a soft spot for that. If I ever leave LA, I’ll probably miss eating tacos in this Vons parking lot the most.

Next up, Part 2 & 3!!

(This post is sponsored by Square Cash, my favorite way to send moniezz. Thanks for supporting the sponsors that keep A Cozy Kitchen cozy.)

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Spring Brunch

One more month of spring! This entire season has been mostly cloudy with chilly mornings and I’ve been fully taking advantage before summer hits.

My favorite early morning spring activity has been hitting up Hollywood Farmer’s Market because the produce is insanely beautiful and delicious-looking. I usually head in with only like five things I want to buy but end up leaving with SO much more. This past Sunday I went with the intention of buying everything spring-like. I succeeded, grandly. I left with fresh elderflower, beautiful asparagus from Zuckerman’s Farm, fava beans, bright purple kale and the cutest most adorable quail eggs.

I’ve thrown a few spring brunches in the past and I have a few guidelines I always follow.

1. Have one or two dishes that can be made ahead. It’s way too much work for one person to make everything the morning of. I made the muffins and lemonade the day before so the day of, all I had to do was throw together the toasts and the hash.

2. The food doesn’t have to be ready when people arrive. I always have to remind myself of this. Delegate tasks. If you need the drinks to be filled or potatoes to be diced, ask one of your friends. They’ll feel useful!

Spring Brunch

Spring Brunch

3. Only serve food family-style. No one needs coursed out meals. Make things that can be served in big pots or in large format dishes. It will make your life SO much easier.

4. Play fun music. Play Drake or 90s hip-hop. Basically pick music that will make people almost want to dance but not really. Leave the Radiohead and more serious music for a dinner-time party.

5. Make clean-up easy on yourself. I like these Glad® OdorShield® Gain™ Original Scent with Febreze® trash bags because they smell so fresh! and actually have a 5-day guarantee (no smell!). Nothing is worse than smelly anything. These are actually the trash bags I use all the time (even before this post) because they are super strong. If you’ve ever had the bottom of a (very full!) trash bag break as you were about to put it in the dumpster, you will understand the scars that go along with that incident. These don’t require you to double bag them for the smell or the possibility of breaking. And if you’d like a coupon (because we all love coupons), here’s one for $2 off!

Spring Brunch

Spring Brunch [click to continue…]

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Naked Juice Cold Pressed Juices

One of my favorite “Live” tips in The Year of Cozy is the page all about “Doing Nothing.” I’m not the best at doing nothing and it’s taken me a long time to feel ok about it. It’s a constant exercise!

The same goes with taking a lunch break in the middle of the day. I usually skip lunch and just snack on whatever I’m making in the kitchen. (This includes babka, cookies and other baked goodies-—not the best move).

This year I’ve been consciously trying to take 10 or 15 minute breaks, eating a small healthy meal or drinking a smoothie or fresh juice. I usually never do a full meal or 30 to 1 hour lunch because I’m constantly dealing with losing light for photos and honestly, I’d much rather take a short break and just power through the work.

But I do find my short break in the middle of the day SO necessary.

Naked Juice Cold Pressed Juices

Naked Juice sent me their new line of cold pressed juices to try and I’m very very into them. They fit the bill perfectly for that short break.

Probably the thing I like the best (besides the taste) is that they last much longer (with no preservatives). The ones I have expire in mid March! DOPE!

Naked Juice Cold Pressed Juices [click to continue…]

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Cookbook Gift Guide

For the Person Who Loves Cozy and Fun Food and Likes to Bake:

Home Baked
The Year of Cozy
Bien Cuit

Grand Baby Cakes
The Violet Bakery Cookbook
The New Sugar and Spice

Fika
Whip It Up
Simply Nigella

fancycookbooks

For the Fancy Food Human Who Loves Restaurants

The Nomad Cookbook
This Is Camino
Slow Fires

Tacos
Hartwood
Sea and Smoke

Cookbook Gift Guide

For the Vegetable Lover Who Always Orders a Latte with Almond Milk

Near and Far
Gjelina
Zahav

My New Roots
Nopi
Crossroads Cookbook

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JenniferChong_Photo

The Year of Cozy came out (almost) two months ago! WHAT!! Time is flying, ladies and dudes. We’re almost on the verge of talking about healthy food only. Almost.

In honor of Cyber Monday, which has always sounded like something that is NSFW, I bring you a bit of a round-up of The Year of Cozy all around the webs.

Billy, my good fren’ and Amelia’s uncle, made the Flaky, Buttermilk Biscuits.

I love the color background. It’s very Acne-ish, isn’t it?

Flaky Buttery Biscuits

Nigella Lawson, the Nigella had some really sweet words to say about The Year of Cozy and I kinda died inside and have not really recovered.

Sarah from The Sugar Hit, inspired by a pie in the book made Burnt Vanilla Peach and Blueberry Hand Pies. Don’t this look like summer goodness?!?!

Burnt Vanilla Peach and Blueberry Hand Pies [click to continue…]

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One Fine Stay - Porchester Square

A few weeks ago I jumped across the pond to London, England. It was everything I remembered as a teenager: charming, quaint at times, chaotic at other times, chilly but refreshing and really, really fun.

I stayed near Notting Hill in one-bedroom flat in Porchester Square. One Fine Stay was nice enough to host me for a few days! If you’ve never scoured One Fine Stay, it’s a design enthusiasts dream. The houses and apartments for rent are BEAUTIFUL and the service is amazing. There’s even an app you have access to with restaurant and shop recommendations, making your experience more convenient.

One Fine Stay - Porchester Square

The kitchen was cozy and inviting. I was maybe just a little obsessed with the combination of reclaimed wood and marble. Isn’t it so perfect?! The pops of yellow are perfection, too.

The white floors throughout the apartment, made it so bright and cheery even on cloudy, rainy days.

I tend to love staying in neighborhoods when I travel because it feels a bit like I’m living there. It allows me to experience the city as if I were a resident, which is pretty nice.

Breakfast at The Ritz London [click to continue…]

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layout
I’ve been very bad about keeping up with the monthly recaps but it’s because the month will fly by and I’ll look back and be like, Meh, I did a lot of nothing, but not October.

October was the month that The Year of Cozy finally hit shelves. OOOF! SO MANY FEELINGS! It’s been a crazy month. So much work. So many emails. But I have to say, the feelings have been amazing. I’ll be doing a whole post on The Year of Cozy all around the web soon! But every day I check out the hashtag on Instagram and the fact that a family was inspired by the book to go on a fall picnic, like, makes me hormotional. If I think about it too long it makes my eyes well up and my stomach feel all fuzzy. I’m really, really grateful this month.

Tillamook_2 [click to continue…]

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TheYearofCozy-Flyer

Hi! Let’s hang out together! When? This Friday, October 23rd, from 6pm to 9pm.

I’ll be downtown at Poketo. There will be free ice cream from Tillamook. Fine wine. And lots of wine and cheese. Think like adult lunchables. Unfortunately no Capri Sun. :(

I’d love to finally meet you and hang out!

xox
Adrianna

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Dear Amelia!

Happy Birthday. You’re one year older, one year wiser, more cute and hopefully a bit calmer. Because man, were you a psycho as a puppy.

Grain-Free Dog Mini Apple Cakes

Sometimes when I look at you I wonder if a human has ever loved a dog as much as I love you. I sometimes wonder if my love can be so strong it can hurt you. And then I think about how bratty and spoiled you are and I begin to think yes. :(

Regardless, I have a whole lot of things to thank you for. Here’s an on-going list.

1. Thank you for sitting on my feet and keeping them warm.

2. Thank you for waking me up every.single.morning v v early. This means I never have to set an alarm and am more productive so I can make more money to buy you bones.

3. Thank you for always eating all the crumbs off the kitchen floor. Because of you, I have to sweep a whole lot less…except for your hair, which is a whole other thing.

Grain-Free Dog Mini Apple Cakes

4. Thank you for barking when we sometimes hear scary noises. Maybe you’ve scared a robber or two away, who knows.

5. Thank you for always sitting next to me when I’m crying.

Grain-Free Dog Mini Apple Cakes

6. Thank you for loving peanut butter as much as me…and bread and popcorn and tortilla chips.

7. Thank you for needing lots of walks. I’m better off now.

Grain-Free Dog Mini Apple Cakes

Grain-Free Dog Mini Apple Cakes

8. Thank you for having paws that smell like Fritos. They always remind me how much I love those chips.

9. Thank you for being so friendly with strangers. It’s a reminder that strangers are good and a person can never have too many friends.

10. Thank you for loving so freely and openly and reminding me that the smallest moments in life are the ones I should keep close.

Happy Birthday, Amelia!

Grain-Free Dog Mini Apple Cakes

Grain-Free Dog Mini Apple Cakes

This recipe is adapted from the Grain-Free Doggie Doughnuts I have in The Year of Cozy. I basically doubled that recipe and BAM. Cake!

This recipe is completely grain-free, using garbanzo flour (just FYI it’s way cheaper at the store than on Amazon, I just included this link as reference). High in protein and cheap in price, it’s a good alternative. This cake bakes on a Baking Sheet” target=”_blank”>half baking sheet and then you cut the cakes out using a round cutter. If you don’t have a cutter that’s circular, you could also use a knife and make little square cakes. SO CUTE!

The frosting is a combination of Greek yogurt and honey. It has no thickener in it so it’s a bit runnier than human frosting. This cake is topped with a bit of unsweetened coconut flakes.

This is either a very inspiration recipe for you or you think I’m incredibly strange and weird. And you’re right. I’ll be back on Wednesday with a human recipe that’s pretty near and dear to my lil’ heart.

xo
Adrianna

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The Year of Cozy: Fan Joy Box

The Year of Cozy: Fan Joy Box

I teamed up with FanJoy to bring you all of my favorite things from The Year of Cozy in one box!

In the box, you’ll get:

1. A (2 ounce) bag of Stumptown Coffee. (As you know, coffee is life!)
2. A pair of gold crafting scissors. (I used these for pretty much every DIY in the book.)
3. A “SO HANGRY” t-shirt. (This is inspired by the kitchen banner DIY in the book that says this. Basically, this phrase is an expression of my soul.)
4. A pretty box of matches from The Social Type.
5. The Year of Cozy book signed by me and Amelia.
6. A personalized note from me.

The Year of Cozy: Fan Joy Box

The Year of Cozy: Fan Joy Box

The box retails for $49.95 and is limited edition (meaning: there aren’t that many!)

I’m super excited about this box because it feels like the book coming to life. I love all these items, especially together, especially the t-shirt. I hope you love them too!

xoxo
Adrianna

The Year of Cozy: Fan Joy Box

The Year of Cozy: Fan Joy Box [click to continue…]

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