I Heart L.A.

I discovered last week that I love Los Angeles. I had never been there before and early Monday morning I returned home on the red eye. I am already asking Nate when we can go back. Next month? Maybe two months? I can be patient just as long as it is soon!

I do have a passion for Chicago so I am not thinking that I'd like to relocate to So-Cal, but L.A. makes for a great vacation. We hiked in Runyan Canyon, people-watched, celebrity spotted, rode bikes on the beach, and indulged in our fair share of tasty treats!

One of our favorite events was exploring the Farmer's Market on 3rd and Fairfax. This market is celebrating its 75th year and it is impressive. Vendors are selling produce, fudge, wine, olives, beer, and some seriously good tacos. Two of my favorite treats on my trip came from the market.

At Loteria Grill, I ordered a Champinones con Epazote taco and was impressed. This was a mushroom and epazote taco. Epazote is a Mexican herb that I found out is poisonous in large quantities but a little bit of this really brought out the depth of the earthiness in my mushroom taco. It was served with chopped onions, cilantro, queso fresco and salsa verde. I am definitely going to try and re-create this from my kitchen here in Chicago.

Also at the market was Little John's Famous Fudge. This is a shop that creates each piece of candy by hand. My favorite of all the delicious samples I had was the toffee. It was simply outstanding. It had a buttery flavor and the crunch was perfect. I bought a pound to take home with me and I sadly lost it somewhere between L.A. and Chicago. I am going to order some to be delivered and I strongly encourage you to do the same. You will not be disappointed.

Nate has been in L.A. off and on these past few months and was craving the lobster and garlic noodles that he had tried a few weeks ago at Crustacean Beverly Hills. This is a famous restaurant whose family recipes are so highly guarded that they have built a 'secret kitchen' within the regular kitchen for family members and staff who have been with the restaurant for at least 10 years. This is to ensure that their secret recipes for garlic noodles, Dungeness crab, prawns and lobster are not made public. We ordered the lobster and the prawns and while they were delicious, my favorite of the evening was the cucumber martini. I am a fan of cucumbers and a martini is one of my favorite drinks. This one was made with vodka and it was so smooth with a slightly sweet aftertaste. I enjoyed it so much we went back the next day for happy hour. This cucumber martini is definitely going to need to be created in my kitchen and the restaurant has promised to send me the recipe. I can't wait!

As soon as I receive my little John's toffee delivery, recreate the Champinones con Epazote recipe, and mix up my cucumber martini I will be able to enjoy a tasty bit of L.A. right here from my Chicago kitchen.

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