Coffee Review: Rocks & Gravel “Til Brooklyn” Full City Roast

Pardon The Punctuation… Just got my hands of some of Rocks & Gravel’s lovely full city roast. Made it in the aeropress so I could extract as much flavor as possible. If I could describe a coffee as chewy this would be it. Chocolatey and full bodied. This one will definitely light a fire under your ass in the morning. At about $13 a bag it’s a no brainer.

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Nothing says “Te Amo” like some Te Amo Ice Cream in The Fridge

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Pardon the punctuation…I recently discovered “Te Amo” ice cream while attending the last LA Underground Market about a month ago. It’s a tough job but I decided I need to sample more of their amazing product and get the word out there. They make small batch artisan ice cream and boy can they do it well. Best part is if you live in Los Angeles you can have it delivered to your door. I love the opportunity to introduce new and amazing products that I think you guys will enjoy. Here’s what I had.

Strawberry Balsamic: With balsamic reduction and pink peppercorns. Just a delicious and elegant blend of flavors. The balsamic reduction gives just enough sweet and tart to entice the palate.

Pistachio: With chopped pistachio. If you’re a fan of pistachio ice cream this may the best one you’ve ever had. Yummy chunks for pistachio made me smile with every bite.

Butter Pecan: With clusters of candied pecans. The are huge chunks of yummy and crunchy pecans in every bite. Could have eaten a gallon of this stuff.

Toasted Coconut: With toasted coconut flakes. You can taste the freshness of the coconut in every bite of it. By far my favorite of the bunch. This was a touch one to share but I managed.

If you live in Los Angeles and you want to order some for yourself contact Andrea@teamoicecream.com and order some. I think Whole Foods needs to get their butt together and put “Te Amo” on the shelves ASAP. The only bad part about writing this is that I have no more of it in my freezer to eat right now. When Oprah finds out about them they’ll be on her “Favorite Things” list.

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I wonder what’s in this bag?

Choices

Yummy

Oh pistachio how I love thee

Look at all those candied pecans.

My Favorite

“The Continental Club” A Must in DTLA

Think Outside the Take-out box - and SHOP NOW!

Pardon The punctuation…The Continental Club at the J. Parkinson room in downtown Los Angeles is more than a bar…it’s a place to escape from the concrete jungle of DTLA. A place to seek refuge from your long day. The elegant decor is reminiscent of bar in London and the music reminds me of the lounges in my hometown of Miami. With excellent bartenders like Mauricio and Avery be sure to know that every cocktail gets the TLC it deserves. Had the pleasure of sampling some of their libations and here’s what I had.

The Perfect Manhattan: Rye whiskey, dry and sweet vermouth, orange, angostura bitters, and scorched orange oil. Just a killer Manhattan. The scorched orange oil makes all the difference. It’s all about the little details.

Gordon’s Cup: London dry gin, fresh lime juice, crushed cucumber, sea salt, and cracked black pepper. Yummy fresh flavors. The pepper gives it a nice bite on the finish.

Continental:London dry gin, sweet vermouth, yellow chartreuse, and absinthe. All the initial flavors are great but the absinthe is not to my taste. If you like absinthe this is the one for you.

St James: Mt. Gay Black Barrel Rum, fresh lime juice, star anise, and pine apple syrup. This rum drink kicks ass and will put you on your ass. I’m usually not a huge fan of anise but it blends well in this cocktail.

Boulevard: Bourbon, Campari, sweet vermouth, and orange bitters. This is their interpretation of a boulevardier. Sometimes the boulevardier can taste medicinal but theirs doesn’t. Elegant and well balanced.

Avenue: Rye, apple brandy, fresh lemon juice, pomegranate and passion fruit syrups, and orange blossom essence. If this is a chick drink than I’m the biggest chick ever. Could have had 5 of these…would have felt it in the morning but screw it! They’re amazing! If you like a shaken cocktail make this one that you order.

The Continental Club hits it out of the park in every way. The drinks, service, ambiance, and decor are all top notch. I think I found where I’m going to celebrate my birthday next year. You should hit them up when you’re in DTLA. They’re open seven days a week.

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The door to cocktail enlightenment.

What a beautiful space

Bull dog pillow is a nice touch.

and now for the bar

The Perfect Manhattan

Boulevard

Avenue

Gordon’s Cup

Coffee Review: Heart Roasters Ethiopia Chelelektu

Think Outside the Take-out box - and SHOP NOW!

Pardon the punctuation…Here is probably the shortest coffee write up ever. I’m hungover as hell and just tried Heart Roasters Ethiopia Chlelektu coffee. The flavors are bright, delightful and I even got a hint of lemon in the aroma. Heart roasters woke me up from a booze coma today and I thank them for it. If you have the chance to try any of their roasts I vouch for this one as a solid buy. Next time I’m in Portland I’ll have to check them out in person.

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Ocho at the Hotel Havana: “The Best Little Happy Hour in Texas”

Think Outside the Take-out box - and SHOP NOW!

Pardon The Punctuation…San Antonio isknown for the Alamo and for sports arenas whose air conditioning doesn’t work. Now it can be known for something else!!! A great happy hour place just blocks away from the riverwalk. Ocho restaurant is located at the stunning Hotel Havana. I definitely have to stay there and review it in the future. I heard about the spot by taking to social media and asking my audience where I needed to go that wasn’t a douchey tourist trap. They answered and I’m so glad I asked. On the happy hour menu you’ll find $4 mojitos and a handful of $5 appetizers that will fill the belly. The tostones, quesadilla, and salsa were the shizzzzznit and I don’t say that lightly. The decor, food, and cocktails seemed curated like a fine museum. If you’re in San Antonio make sure you check out this spot for an experience that will transport you to a happy hour wonderland.

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Mojito

Wine Wednesday Review of Red Cap Vineyards 2008 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

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Pardon The Punctuation…Howell Mountain makes some of the best wine in Napa Valley. Red Cap Vineyards 2008 estate Cabernet does not disappoint. The fruit punches you in the nose right when you sniff the glass. Ruby red in color with soft tannins and a cleansing finish. This wine is big, bold and has all the characteristics you have from this stellar region of Napa. The Yum Yum Foodie approves. If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on a bottle drink it and send pics to make me jealous. Wish I had a glass of it now.

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Review: Mundaka in Carmel

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Pardon The Punctuation…for those of you who have been following me for a while you know how much I love me some Spanish tapas. Specially a place that offer authentic Spanish food. Mundaka restaurant in Carmel, California offers just that. Hidden in a tiny courtyard in the heart of downtown Carmel sits this quaint spot. In a part of the country where you’re surrounded by people discussing which private jet they own it’s nice to find an unpretentious place like this. Right when you walk in you’re greeted by a leg of “Jamon Iberico” which will make you smile every time. My server Robert was outstanding, knowledgeable, and really loved his job. A+ all the way. Here’s what was for dinner.

Patatas Bravas: fried potatoes, brava sauce, aioli. A solid version of a traditional tapa. The potatoes tasted freshly cut and the brava sauce was excellent.

Croquetas: Applewood smoked bacon,olive, bechamel. These were okay. I’m more of a fan of the traditional Spanish croqueta with jamon serrano instead of the applewood bacon. Also it had a little too much bread crumb for my taste.

Garbanzos: fried garbanzo beans, white truffle salt. Perfectly made Spanish garbanzos. As far as I’m concerned if you had to only order one thing to munch on with with a beer this would be it. The truffle salt was a nice touch. I can’t to make them at home and add the truffle

Hamburguesa: mini lamb burger, pickled cauliflower, truffle fries. This was a delicious plate. The lamd was perfectly seasoned and the fries tasted fresh like my grandmother used to make them. Yummy.

Calabacin: Summer Squash, toasted almonds, manchego. A nice vegetarian dish. Could have used a little more manchego.

Butterscotch Crema Catalana: The butterscotch worked really well for this interpretation of crema Catalana. Nicely torched sugar on top with that rich custard…yum.

Pan Con Chocolate: All I’m going to say is that I could eat this for breakfast lunch and dinner. The sea salt brought out the intense flavors for the chocolate.

If you’re in Carmel make your way over to Mundaka. The family atmosphere will make you a customer for life.

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Fried Garbanzos

Patatas Bravas

Jamon Iberico

A little Pesquera never hurt anyone…

Lamb slider…yum

Crema Catalana and Pan con Chocolate

Yo Ho Ho And A Bottle Of John Watling’s Rum

Pardon The Punctuation…Rum, rum, rum and more rum…The only thing about a pirate’s life that I would have enjoyed would be the rum. I recently acquired a bottle that would make Jack Sparrow Jealous. John Watling’s rum is produced at the historic Buena Vista State in Nassau and aged for up to 5 years. Floral notes on the nose and with vanilla and cola on the palate with a smooth finish. This is the perfect rum to sit on the porch and sip with a fine cigar. They also offer tours of the distillery in the Bahamas. Definitely on my todo list for the next time I’m in the islands. If you’re an enthusiast this is one for your collection.

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Wine Review: Pesquera 2007 Crianza

Pardon The Punctuation…I’m going to do a quick write up for one of my favorite wines you can buy. It’s not cheap..about $30 but it will knock your socks off. Tinto Pesquera comes from the Ribera Del Duero region of Spain. This tempranillo based wine are aged a minimum of 18 months in American or French oak and bare an intoxicating ruby color..hints of jam, berries, black currants and have one of the smoothest finishes in the biz. I absolutely love this wine. Just click on this silly pic if you want to order one so you can see for yourself.

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Delicious

Review: “La Dolce Vita” Restaurant in Beverly Hills.

Pardon The Punctuation…In a city filled with overrated restaurants where it seems all a chef needs to be considered successful is a sleeve tattoo, sits a gem of an italian restaurant “La Dolce Vita.” A favorite hangout of old blue eyes himself…if you don’t know who old blue eyes is then you need to stop reading this right now and google it..there is a charm about this place that takes you back to the days when service at a restaurant actually mattered more than your waiters handlebar mustache. My waiter Maurilio was outstanding. I felt like Frank Sinatra the service was so good. Walk through the door and you are taken back in time…in a good way. The northern italian menu is made from scratch and the flavors reflect that. Here’s what I had.

Caprese Salad: This is your traditional caprese salad with some of the freshest mozzarella I’ve ever had. The aged balsamic vinegar makes all of the difference in this dish and really elevated it.

Polpette De Vitello: slow cooked veal meatballs with spaghetti tossed in a basil marinara sauce. From scratch is the key here. Everything tastes like there’s an old italian lady in the back chopping tomatoes. The meatballs are as good as it can get and the basil marinara is chunky and loaded with flavor…my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Steak Sinatra: USDA prime 8oz. filet mignon with sauteed peppers and a rich chianti demi glace. How can you not order a dish that has Sinatra’s name on it? I felt like if I didn’t order it someone with a pinky ring would make if an offer I couldn’t refuse. The steak was perfectly cooked. Tender, juicy, and medium rare as hell. Quality beef and TLC are prevalent throughout the dish. The sauteed peppers were a nice touch and the chianti sauce brought everything together.

Panna Cotta: Served with fresh berries. Not too sweet and the texture of it was perfect. I shit you not this is the best panna cotta I’ve had in Los Angeles.

Tiramisu: Made fresh in house and tastes like it. Having worked at a great italian restaurant in Miami in my younger days I’m kind of a critic of tiramisu…not to kick a dead horse but also the best tiramisu I’ve had in Los Angeles. The right amount of moisture in the cake and none of the flavors are too overpowering. Could have eaten seven of these.

Whether you’re looking for a great date spot or just some amazing italian food, La Dolce Vita does it right. From the service to the food and even the ambiance…you can’t go wrong dining here. The food is not cheap by any means but it’s definitely worth every penny. Sorry for the dark pictures guys but I did not want to disrupt the ambiance and spirit of Sinatra with my camera flash.

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wine.com

He’s always watching…

Caprese

Veal Meatballs with Pasta…wow

Steak Sinatra

The Perfect Panna Cotta

Tiramisu