line.orange.700 Homegirl Café And Bakery Menu A Must Stop On The Culinary Journey
 • A stop at Homegirl Café in downtown Los Angeles proves to be worth the journey.

When most people hear “Homeboy industries,” they probably think of the amazing changes to peoples’ lives and the contributions to the community by Father Boyle and his team, but you cannot overlook Homegirl Café.
Homegirl Café is located right next to Homeboy Industries. They are not only serving up amazing food but also an amazing atmosphere. The staff is welcoming and friendly, which makes the dining experience that much better. It took me a while to decide what to order because everything sounded delicious.
From the tacos to the sandwiches and salads, I wanted to try everything they offered. It was a hot day so I decided to order a salad. Sounds basic, right?
A basic salad like a Caesar is the last kind of salad you will find on their menu. I ordered the house salad, which came with jicama, strawberries, apples and toasted pumpkin seeds on a bed of baby greens.
I chose a citrus dressing from the multiple dressings they offered. If this salad isn’t the epitome of a summer salad, then I don’t know what is. My salad came in less than 10 minutes and was delicious. All the ingredients were so fresh. The jicama and apples were julienned very thinly and paired so well with the crunchy and salty pumpkin seeds.
For me, the dressing has to be great on a salad for the salad to be amazing. The citrus dressing had to be the best citrus dressing I have ever tried. I loved it because it wasn’t super tart but it was also savory.
food1I can not put a finger on what it tasted like, but I tried recreating the dressing at home but I couldn’t get anywhere close to the flavor. To wash everything down, I ordered a green juice.
I know many people don’t like green juices because they are filled with vegetables, but you have to order a green juice from here.
Our server came by with two green juice samples: spinach with mint limeade and cucumber. I got the cucumber green juice with pineapple and lime.
If there is one food I hate the most, it is a cucumber. There is something about cucumbers that are repulsive to me, but for some strange reason, I love cucumbers in green juices. This drink was so perfect for the hot day and so refreshing. I also loved the mint limeade because you can’t even taste the spinach, so it really is just healthy mint limeade.
If you are still feeling hungry or if you are like me and are full but want dessert anyways, you have to stop by the bakery.
A must try is the cinnamon swirl bread. Imagine if white bread and a cinnamon roll had a baby, it would be this bread. The bread is so soft and buttery with a sweet cinnamon flavor throughout. This bread is amazing on its own, but if you toast it, even if you thought it couldn’t get better, it does! In addition, toasting the bread makes your house smell as though you are baking cinnamon rolls so you have an air freshener for the rest of the day.
I could go on and on about all the things I love about this café and bakery but I will keep it short because you need to go experience it for yourself.
First of all, I love the menu. There are so many amazing dishes to choose from and they offer vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.
I personally really enjoyed this because I am not supposed to eat carbs or dairy, which makes eating out hard sometimes, but I had plenty of amazing dishes to choose from. Secondly, you are giving back to the community and an amazing cause but also getting a delicious meal and a great dining experience.
How could you pass by this opportunity? I am just going to answer that for you because the answer is one hundred percent “you can’t.” Thank me later. If you are like me and have a food bucket list, make Homegirls Café and bakery your priority.
If you have any questions or comments, I’m all ears at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. See you next time!

line.orange.700Crispy Rice And Lamb Add To Complex Menu At Kismet
• A Culinary Journey.

From German to Armenian food, Los Angeles has every cuisine imaginable. Today, there are many authentic restaurants, but there are also many restaurants that take a cuisine and modernize it. French cuisine modernized at Petit Trois. Italian cuisine modernized at Rossoblu. Mexican cuisine modernized at Guerilla Tacos. I have tried every cuisine modernized in Los Angeles except Middle Eastern, until now.
I am the kind of person that always has to look at the menu before going to the restaurant. I kid you not, I did not know nor could not pronounce at least half of the ingredients listed on the menu. Honestly, not knowing most of the ingredients made the dining experience that much more exciting. Kismet serves their dishes family style. Family style is always great because that means trying more dishes. On the other hand, it is called “family” style, which implies sharing. When it comes to food, sharing doesn’t apply to me.
food bThe first dish we tried was fried cauliflower with a caper yogurt. It is a well-known fact that fried food can make anything taste good. I love cauliflower, regardless, but frying it makes me never want to eat roasted cauliflower again. The caper yogurt was the best part of the dish by far. The tangy, creamy, briny yogurt was such an amazing complement to the fried cauliflower. This dish was definitely one of the best dishes I tried at Kismet. I love how simple the dish is, but also how much flavor is packed in. You cannot go to Kismet and not order this. It will be your biggest regret in life…trust me.
The next dish we tried was the bay scallop crudo with stone fruit, lemon cucumber, green coriander, and pistachio oil. I was very hesitant to try this dish because I don’t like cucumbers, raw seafood, nor scallops even when they are cooked. I loved this dish though! There was something so floral and refreshing about the dish. The scallops were so buttery and tender and paired so nicely with all the other components. This dish was so perfect for a warm summer night.
I always want to try a vegetable dish at a new restaurant, so I had to get the broccolini with labneh (yogurt), macadamia nuts, scallop, and urfa pepper. I could eat a bowl of broccolini cooked with no seasonings and I would love it. Eating broccolini with labneh and all the other seasonings at Kismet has given me a new found appreciation for broccolini. I would never think of eating broccolini with yogurt, but I loved the tangy note and a spicy kick from the urfa pepper. If you are like me and always have to get a vegetable dish, you have to get this and the fried cauliflower.
The next dish we ordered was probably my least favorite. The butter lettuce salad with kohlrabi, basil, and a bergamot vinaigrette was very refreshing, but I also found it very acidic and salty. I would still recommend this dish because there was a lot of flavor, but I would consider getting a fatty or sweet dish to eat with it.
To cut out the saltiness of the salad, we ordered the lamb belly with little gem lettuce, carob, and meyer lemon. This dish reminded me of Korean barbeque and lamb mixed together. The meat was so tender and juicy, but also had a sweet, caramelized outside similar to that of Korean barbeque. This dish complemented the salad really nicely because it was sweet and fatty. You cannot pass this dish up.
I am Asian, so anytime I see rice on a menu, you best believe that I will order it. I love any type of rice, but Persian crispy rice with pepitas, currents, and an egg yolk… yes, please, I will take two of those. The outside is crispy and then you get the creamy egg yolk with the rice, sweet currants, and salty pepitas. I went with three other people, but if you go with more people, you need multiple Persian crispy rices. food3If I haven’t convinced you to order the Persian crispy rice there is something wrong with you as every single table at Kismet had a crispy rice. If you don’t order it, you will regret it when everyone around you is eating it and you feel left out.
I loved every aspect of Kismet. From the décor to all the amazing dishes, all my senses were beyond satisfied. Kismet is so unique and innovative in every way. If you are a foodie like me, add this restaurant to your summer food bucket list or even lifetime bucket list and you can thank me later.

line.orange.700Valmonte Garden Having A Hearty, Healthy Spring
• Most people know the Valmonte school as a place that lives and breathes baseball, but the garden right behind the main baseball field is highly underrated. The farm and garden stretch to 1.5 acres and is managed by Nancy Lemargie. The garden and farm started out as a side of a hill, but now is teeming with vegetables, fruits, plants, chickens, and cats.
Chez Mélange and Bettolino kitchen purchase produce from the Valmonte farm and garden.
Kale is a popular item for the restaurants now, and in the summer, tomatoes and shishito peppers are very popular. The fresh fruits and vegetables along with eggs and plants are able to be purchased on the second Saturday of every month except in April.
Nancy was so kind enough to let me choose some vegetables to cook with. I grabbed some Tuscan kale, beets, rosemary, a lemon, eggs, and baby potatoes. I first made a salad with the kale and beets. I started off by washing kale and chopping the kale into bite sized strips. I then boiled the beets in salted water until soft. When boiling beets, you do not need to peel the skin off before because when they are cooked, the skin slides off. I decided to make a lemon vinaigrette with rosemary for the salad. I juiced half of the lemon, added some olive oil, finely chopped rosemary, salt, pepper, and a little agave syrup. I poured the dressing over the kale and bite sized beets for a simple salad to complement my frittata.
For my frittata, I sautéed some onions and garlic in olive oil over medium-low heat. Once the onions and garlic were cooked down, I added in the baby potatoes which I cut into thin rounds. I then added in some chopped beet greens and some cherry tomatoes. I seasoned the mixture with salt and pepper and then poured the mixture into the bowl. I then whisked together four eggs with some salt, pepper, and a little water. I added the egg mixture into the pan and then quickly added the vegetable mixture back in. I gently mixed the eggs and vegetables so they were combined. I let the frittata cook until the edges were cooked and then put the frittata into the oven to broil, so the frittata was cooked all the way through.
I cannot rave enough about how amazing and simple this meal was. The frittata and salad were so simple which made the fresh vegetables more prominent. It is so obvious when you are cooking with fresh ingredients that the dish tastes better. I only seasoned the frittata with salt and pepper because I really wanted to highlight the taste of the vegetables. I ate at least half of the frittata because it was so delicious.
I don’t know if I can buy produce at supermarkets anymore. It looks like I will be a monthly visitor to the Valmonte farm and garden and I think you should be one too!
If you have any questions or comments, I am all ears, so please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. See you soon!

line.orange.700New Food Trends Roll, Dip Into New Year
• Happy New Year everyone! At the end of every year, people like to look back at what they accomplished over the year and set goals for the new year. In my case, I like to look back at all the food trends of the year and look forward to new food trends.
One big food trend I noticed this year was rolled ice cream. If you have never heard of this trend, basically cream and other toppings are poured onto a very cold plate. Then, they chop up the ingredients and make a flat layer.
Finally, they roll the ice cream and add toppings. I had to try this trend, so I went to 8 degrees Celsius in Gardena.
I ordered the key lime pie flavor, which is my favorite dessert of all time. Rolled ice cream is very different from your typical ice cream. The rolled ice cream is very hard and, in my opinion, had less flavor. I love the creamy texture in ice cream, so not having that component in the rolled ice cream was disappointing to me. The rolled ice cream wasn’t terrible but I think it’s hard to replace a classic scoop of ice cream.
Another big food trend I observed over the year was toasts. Avocado toast has been super popular for awhile now, but there are new toasts emerging. I do have to say that avocado toast is quite amazing and the possibilities are endless. I love my avocado toast topped with picked onions, everything but the bagel seasoning from Trader Joes, tomatoes with feta cheese, a fried egg on top, or with balsamic vinegar. I saw that almond butter toasts and peanut butter toasts gained popularity over the year also.
food.aOne of my go-to breakfasts during the week is peanut butter toast with bananas. Sometimes, I even drizzle some honey over it and sprinkle some chia seeds on top. I have also seen people top their nut butter toasts with raspberries, strawberries, and chocolate chips. Another kind of toast I personally like is hummus toast. Hummus toast is so easy and perfect for breakfast or a snack.
I like my hummus toast plain because I think the flavors are amazing as is, but you can always spruce up your toast to your preferences.
The last big food trend I saw this year were bowls. Whether it be smoothie bowls, poke bowls, breakfast bowls, or grain bowls, bowls were a big part of 2018. Smoothie bowls are super refreshing for breakfast and are a great way to get your fruits and vegetables in. I love how easy smoothie bowls are.
I take about a cup of any fruit I like and blend it with half of a frozen banana and I have a smoothie bowl in seconds. I top my bowl with granola, honey, fresh fruit, coconut shreds, and chia seeds and my mornings are off to a great start. I love bowls of any kind but grain bowls have to be my favorite. Grain bowls have everything you need in them from carbs, to protein, to vegetables, to fats. They are so easy to make and so customizable to anyone’s taste. My favorite grain bowl is from Superba Food and Bread.
The bowl contains kale, egg, almonds, brown rice, and avocado. The bowl is so simple but so balanced and perfect for lunch and dinner.
2018 brought me many amazing food adventures and I can’t wait to see where 2019 takes me on my culinary journey. If you are interested, I have started a food account on Instagram @culinaryjourneybyalexis where I post about my food journey every day.
Please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have any questions or comments.

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The Latest Edition No. 262

Video Webcast KQH 2018