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LA (WEST HOLLYWOOD): SHUT UP. CACAO SMOOTHIE.

By Nora Zelevansky / July 11th, 2011

Eveleigh

As many of you may know, if you've hung out with me in the last six months, I've developed a somewhat bank account draining obsession with the smoothies from Earth Bar.  It's basically a high-end health food/vitamin store with hemp and almond milk smoothies that rock my world — the people are lovely, the smoothies are delicious and you get to feel virtuous cause it's all healthy and makes you pretty and stuff.  What more could you want?

There are other Earth Bar locations in Equinox gyms around the city, but the one I frequent is the only standalone location: If you find yourself in the neighborhood of Kings Road & Santa Monica, try the Radiant Skin, Amazon Immunity or the quinoa cereal with coconut — SO GOOD!  It's also sort of a secret celeb spot randomly.  Partially, I think I just love it because creamy milkshakes and smoothies have been a no-no for me, since I realized I was lactard.  Now I can actually eat them again thanks to almond and hemp milk!  Thank goodness for weirdo health food trends.

ANYWAY … after a Franklin Canyon hike this weekend with Andre and our friend A.L., she and I couldn't think of anything else but having one of those smoothies.  That's when she informed me that new(ish) nearby restaurant Eveleigh had hired a smoothie chef previously from Earth Bar to work during brunch.

This is a little embarrassing to admit, but Andre and I had dinner the night before with M. & P. at the same place.  The outdoor setting is great — all pretty, minimal/casual and outdoors.  I had a delicious Pisco Punch cocktail and we shared a salumi plate with fried bread and hot olives with haloumi (shut up!).

So, we decided to go for brunch too.  And I was more than glad that we did because I got to sample their Cacao Nut Date smoothie with young coconut meat, coconut water, sweet cacao nibs, cinnamon, vanilla stevia and vanilla hemp milk (above).  HOLY SHITE.  It's all I can think about now.  It's a bit grainy in kind of a yummy textured way and the cinnamon takes it over the top.  Damn.  I want one now.

A.L. said it reminded her of a healthier Frozen Hot Chocolate from Serendipity in NYC, which is HIGH PRAISE in my book.

Anyway, I wanted to cry and throw a tantrum when a server took my smoothie away with a sip left.  But I held it together.  Cause that's just how I roll.  I'm quite mature.  Also, I live close by.

xo – N.

NYC (AND BEYOND): THE BEST EXCUSE FOR NOT POSTING WHILE IN NYC

By Nora Zelevansky / September 28th, 2010

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My poor little chickadees!  I left you without so much as an explanation!  I'm in the Big Apple (see above very literal image translation) and am sadly Wifi challenged.  I never planned to stop posting this week!

Oh well.  Everything happens for a reason and, in this case, the reason must be that I need a damn break from you people.  Nooooooo.  Just kidding.  I love you guys and I'm sad that I can't share all my delicious finds from pulled pork sandwiches at Building on Bond to boots on Smith Street.

BUT, that said, I'll have lots to talk about when I return to hot ass LA, where apparently The Drewser is literally melting into oblivion like some kind of wicked witch.  Don't leave, Andre!  Don't evaporate!

In the meantime, look out for my story on Mondette about experiencing brunch at Dominick's and don't be shy about checking my FB page for updates about the Womack sitch.  (For instance, how is he only 27 years old?  Could US Weekly be wrong? GASP!)

In the meantime, stay dry and cool, no matter what coast you're on.

xo – N.

LA (CULVER CITY): THE BEST BRUSSEL SPROUTS COOKED IN BACON

By Nora Zelevansky / June 25th, 2010

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As sometimes is my sad fate, when I visited new gastropub Waterloo & City (from the former Palihouse chef) pre-opening to research a Daily Candy story, the kitchen was not fully functioning.  So, while I got a sneak peek at the menu and the decor, I didn't get to sample the goods.

So, I was psyched to hit the new spot with R. after a Rodarte event at Abbot Kinney's Mona Moore shoe store last night.  The restaurant was hopping and one of the sweet owners served us DELICIOUS sherry from his own personal stash, but the highlight was definitely the above Brussel Sprouts w/ Bacon, which were perfectly crispy on the outside and rich with the meat's flavor.

They're so good, you'll hardly believe you're eating your veggies.  Then again, bacon has that effect, I suppose.

W & C just started serving brunch too, so hopefully I'll check that out soon (plus I need to go back for the squash blossoms and the truffle fries).  Let me know if you have a chance to beat me to the punch!

xo – N.

LA (HOLLYWOOD): THE BEST POTATO PANCAKES WITH SHERRY APPLE BUTTER

By Nora Zelevansky / May 3rd, 2010

MERCANTILE

As spring and summer begin (depending on the coast) and we all get a little itchier at our desks, why not start the week by dwelling on the weekend?  Let's take a second and talk about brunch.

I may have confessed this before, but, if not, I am not such a breakfast food person.  Yes, I know.  Gasp all you want.  Prattle on about Eggs Benedict and pancake stacks, if you must.  Even with the best french toast and scrambled egg intentions in mind en route to brunch, I generally end up ordering a cobb salad or turkey sandwich, generally accompanied by french fries.

Even hungover in college each weekend, I'd stuff my face full of BLT, french fries and diet coke, instead of the omelettes and Belgian waffles favored by my friends.

Because the menus are usually more limited therefore, I shy even more often away from swankier brunch spots with fussier, smaller menus.  So, when A.L. suggested that we hit The Mercantile post Runyon Canyon hike on Saturday, I was luke warm about the idea.  I'd been dying to try the place for lunch or dinner, but brunch?  Not so much.

Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong.

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Okay, okay.  So, I DID end up ordering a more lunch-like option in the above Fennel Crusted Albacore Salad, but seriously how could I turn down anything with Black Olive Vinaigrette?  It was incredibly flavorful and delicious.

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A.L. & Andre went for delicious options too: the above Crab Hash with Bernaise Sauce, which is made with blue crab.  Andre checked in advance, being a snobby crab dude and all.  A.L. had the above House Smoked Trout with pickled onions and yellow beets.  The trout was sort of along the lines of a great white fish salad, but even more flavorful and, of course, the beets and pickled onions do wonders to create texture and variation.

BUT the piece de resistance had to be the above Potato Pancake with Sherry Apple Butter and sour cream, which was crusty and crunchy and perfectly cooked and had this whole sweet and salty simultaneous vibe with the incredibly delicious apple butter.  I mean, we could NOT get enough.

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Sadly, my pictures of the interior, which is really quite simple, but pretty, didn't come out.  But it's very modern with a yummy larder full of olives, gourmet sodas and the like.  Drinks arrive in mason jars.  Does that illustrate the vibe?  I feel like it does.

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Anyway, for dessert, I couldn't resist a canelĂ© from the pastry area (that would be next to the homemade ice cream).  It was possibly the best version I've ever tasted–perfectly burnt and sugary on the outside and eggy and warm on the inside.  It  literally tasted like creme brulee in a solid form.  I made Andre and A.L. try it (twist their arms) and they both freaked out.

So, all and all, Mercantile was a success, as brunch spots go.  But you know all I can think about it is stopping in for lunch (both their Reuben and Sloppy Joe sound INSANE).

xo – N.