Baked Empanadas

We’re currently going through an insane heatwave in lovely El Ley. I made these cute things last week when going outside in the early mornings required a fluffy sweatshirt and turning on your oven didn’t seem like an insane thing to do.

In the world of empanada land, I would say that these are more similar to Argentina-style empanadas. The dough is flakey and baked, not fried. I love this dough because while it’s flakey, it’s not exactly like pie dough. It’s more toothsome than that. And the filling is SO good that I often times will just make the filling and pair it with cauliflower rice or something. This is if I’m trying to be healthy. If not, I eat it this way…

Baked Empanadas

Baked Empanadas

Baked Empanadas [click to continue…]

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Homemade Pocky

One of the greatest things about living in LA is my v v close proximity to Little Tokyo. Josh and I go to dinner there all the time and our favorite after-dinner-activity is heading to the Japanese grocery stores so we can raid them for all their candy.

We often times get new-to-us-candy but we always make sure we get all the pocky in all the crazy flavors. I thought about making simple homemade pocky but that’d be boring! Unless you live in a major city (and near a Japanese neighborhood), I’m guessing it’s kinda hard to find all of the crazy pocky flavors. They’re the best ones.

Pocky

Homemade Pocky [click to continue…]

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Eton Mess

in Cakes, Desserts

Eton's Mess

Eton mess is my favorite story because it involves a dog.

The story goes like this: summer-y people go on summer-y picnic and bring a mix of meringue and strawberries and whipped cream. A mischievous dog (picture Amelia type mischievous) jumps up and smashes said dessert. Summer-y people are very very bummed but eat it anyway because dessert is always necessary and they LOVE IT.

Eton Mess is born. I like to think that I made what was most likely in the back of the car, pre-dog. It’s a pavlova cake layered with whipped cream and sliced strawberries.

Eton's Mess

Eton Mess is born. I like to think that I made what was most likely in the back of the car, pre-dog. It’s a pavlova cake layered with whipped cream and sliced strawberries.

It’s something that can easily be put together. Add a few flowers on top and baby strawberries and it’s instantly a dessert that is VERY Instagrammable.

The good news is that it tastes good too.

Eton's Mess [click to continue…]

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Baked Nashville Hot Chicken

Last September I went to Nashville (here, here and here) to work for Renaissance Marriott. Luckily, I was in New York just before that and my friend Ben told me every place to hit up. Prince’s Hot Chicken was at the top of the list and right when I landed, I took my nondescript rental car straight there. I ordered the HOT but immediately regretted my choice when a local woman sat down and told me she would never EVER order the HOT, “it’s too hot for me,” she said.

I was like uhhhh ok. I’m screwed. When it came, I ate it and it was totally tolerable for me, delicious in fact. But, I did grow up with a Peruvian mama who loved eating spicy food so my brother and I, like, love heat.

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S'mores Twists

Remember when I made these pumpkin twists? Those were tite. But that was a different time; the air was crisp, fall spices were in the air, everything was cozy…it was fall.

Right now it’s the opposite. It’s all about bbqs and outdoors and picnics and mosquitos. It’s summahtime. I feel like every year I have the urge to push myself to make some different iteration of s’mores. I basically want s’mores in everything. I want to eat all the s’mores.

This year I decided to take on the French tarte de soleil and turn it into the most American summertime dessert ever.

S'mores Twists

S'mores Twists [click to continue…]

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Honeycomb Sugar Doughnuts

Today is let’s-eat-all-da-doughnuts-day. Or, if you’re trying to eat healthy, is more like stare-at-all-the-doughnuts-on-the-internets-day!

Whether you’re being an active participant or leisurely double-tapping all of the doughnuts you see in your feed, I’m here hoping to contribute to the conversation by the way of these fluffy, deliciously sweet thangs.

Remember when I went to London. Well, while I was there, I strolled through Borough Market since many of you told me to, and I visited Bread Ahead. I happily ate two doughnuts in the freezing cold, while feeling very much like a rich and lucky Oliver Twist.

Honeycomb Sugar Doughnuts

These doughnuts were fluffy and cream-filled. The cream, I believe, was mixed with honeycomb. I thought it was a splendid idea. I loved it so much that I recreated them here, though slightly different.

Instead of mixing the honeycomb in with pastry cream, I made a honeycomb sugar! YASS. Take honeycomb and blitz it with sugar. It’s the most delicious thing in the entire world. And it was all Billy’s idea lol.

Honeycomb Sugar Doughnuts [click to continue…]

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Summer Berry Pie

Summer is riiiiight around the corner. As in, it’s officially kicking off in a few weeks. At the start of summer, I’m headed to Mexico for my best friend’s wedding. I cannot wait. Josh and I are actually staying a few days after the wedding to just live a little and have a bit of a vacation on our own (more on this soon!).

In anticipation of summah being so very close, I teamed up with ALDI to bring you this very summer-y berry pie.

If you’ve been around here for a while, you know that I love pie. And I love pie crust even more. I’ve been wanting to do a very tightly wound lattice crust for a long time, so when I was strolling through ALDI the other day and saw their array of beautiful berries, I knew instantly what I was going to bake up.

Summer Berry Pie

Summer Berry Pie

Summer Berry Pie

The berries were bright and fresh. I bought a few containers and immediately went home to start working on this pie.

Summer Berry Pie

Summer Berry Pie [click to continue…]

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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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Pink Lemonade Bars

Two days ago I put on my best bitch face and walked into a dealership and bought a new car! It’s the most boring, practical car ever but I don’t care because it doesn’t cost me a million dollars every month, it’s inexpensive on gas and gets me from point A to B. But in my dream world, I’d drive one of dhese…

Right now I’m in my very practical car headed to Palm Springs. So many last day of school vibes! While it’s just going to be for the weekend, I’m super excited to just chill for a few days by the pool. Amelia loves PS more than any of us because it means she gets to swim and jump in the pool and swim some more. I also bought a pizza floaty for her to lounge on. Hoping for a good Instagram moment with that one.

Pink Lemonade Bars

Pink Lemonade Bars

Pink Lemonade Bars [click to continue…]

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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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