By Nora Zelevansky / June 15th, 2010

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"Meatball" is my name.  Sometimes "Meathead."  Well, at least according to my father.

As is sometimes the case with such nicknames, it's hard to know whether one is being insulted or complimented.

Since I happen to LURVE meatballs, I choose to take it as a compliment.  As for "Meathead," well, that's just nonsense.

Anyway, I was psyched to arrive in NYC to discover that "The Meatball Place on the Lower East Side" is all the rage.  While it's hard for me to imagine any meatball more amazing than a Bay Cities one, I am ALWAYS up to try a tomato sauce slathered sub.  Plus, M. even mentioned the new spot before I ever even left L.A.!

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So … with that in mind, preggers Z., J., preggers S., C. & I headed to The Meatball Shop on Stanton.  Whether you're a fan of the place or you think it's over-hyped, the reality is that it's insanely popular.  The wait can be an hour long (though for us it was only 20 minutes).

We sat at the communal tables and tagged plastic menus with whiteboard markers, choosing items like a pork meatball sub on baguette with that day's special basil pesto sauce and the above beef meatball sub (held together with ricotta cheese) with classic tomato sauce (or spicy meat!) and fresh mozzarella!

There's definitely a choose your own adventure situation here: you can eat tiny one meatball-sized sliders, subs with yummy side salads or a "Smash" on a brioche bun.  I don't really do brioche buns, if I'm honest.  It's just not my thing, but the baguettes for the subs were crusty and chewy in all the right ways.

The picture I took of my pork meatball situation is sort of lackluster, but …

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In an attempt to be good to their babies, the pregnant girls had some spinach, which was not so exciting.  But the white beans with garlic bread crumbs tasted like olive oil heaven and the "Daily Greens" were delish.

We also ordered the day's special meatballs, which were corned beef and cabbage flavored (I mean, for real?) over rigatoni with classic tomato sauce–also quite good, I thought.

Of course, being a lactard, I had to pass on their famous ice cream sandwich, but the girls had one brownie sandwich with mint ice cream and one chocolate chip cookie version.  Though they all liked the cookies, they were divided on the ice cream flavor.  Z. thought it tasted really fresh and yummy, while J. & S. thought it tasted like "grass" or "a mojito."

Full disclosure: S. really doesn't like most things that are green.

Green like the envy you feel at my cool "Meatball" nickname.  You can't have it all.   But you can have a meatball or four.

xo – N.

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By Nora Zelevansky / February 5th, 2009

(Parisian "Macarons" from Paulette Beverly Hills at OMEGA on Rodeo Drive)

In LA this season, a V.I.P. event without Voss Water and Parisian "macarons" is like, well, a V.I.P. event last season without cupcakes and champagne (which I still insist is a sickeningly sweet combination BTW, as I blogged back-in-the-day for Variety's The Stylephile).  Anyway, point is, those colorful little almond-infused sweets are a must (even though the occasional lavender one borders on soapy).

So, with that in mind (and frankly because the colors were so pretty in the above pic from a Rodeo Drive OMEGA jewelry/watch press preview), below is a guide to my top LA destinations for Parisian macarons (***or "macaroons," as the case may be):


1. BOULE: I've already blogged about Boule's life-changing fleur de sel eclairs, which–in the first weeks after I discovered them–I would go buy under the pretense of "sharing them with friends" and then promptly eat them all myself.  Well, Boule makes pretty extraordinary macaroons too.  And, at their new La Cienega atelier, you can actually watch them create confections, while you nibble away at flavors like Rose Water, Pistachio and, yes, Sea Salt Caramel.  YUM.


(Okay, so this isn't quite macaroons, but Little Next Door's Sweet Gouter basket above comes with macaroons)

2. LITTLE NEXT DOOR: This chic, pretty spot (the adjoining cafe to top LA eatery Little Door) is a lovely place to sit.  And, actually, the pastry chef was, at one point, the pastry chef at Boule, so . . . there you go.  With little art nouveau-style tables, a wine wall and authentically French waiters (or at least gifted LA actors), Little Next Door is a bit like being transported to Paris.  And, when in Paris, eat Parisian macaroons!  Mais oui.


3. LA PROVENCE: One of those surprising LA mini-mall finds, La Provence Patisserie & Cafe has an old school family owned business vibe: warm and festive with feminine pastel-touched decor.  You just know that these macaroons were created with love, using someone's great grandmother's secret recipe (maybe not, but let me imagine).  Buttercream-filled flavors include Lemon with fresh squeezed curd and Coffee with espresso reduction.


4. PAULETTE BEVERLY HILLS (pictured above): Paulette is known for the beautiful packaging that accompanies her "macarons."  And, thanks to this week's event, I can vouch for the vibrant colors, pretty sugar-filled dishes and, well, the slightly tart deliciousness of the Raspberry flavor.  Also, Paulette is dedicated almost entirely to macaroons, so that's certainly a vote of confidence.


5. MILK: Okay, so at Milk, they do something a little bit different and I am OBSESSED: Parisian Macaroon Ice Cream Sandwiches.  Yup.  For reals.  And, for lactards like moi, there's even a Strawberry Sorbet one, which might sound super sweet, but it's actually tart.  If I wasn't milk-challenged, though, I would surely go for the Grasshopper with mint ice cream and a mint Parisian macaroon dipped in chocolate.

And, since this post was inspired by said Omega event, I'll just show off a little bling too (below):


Like my rose gold and diamond watch?  It's just a little out of my price range, but it sure looks sparkly with my engagement ring:)  Maybe for our first anniversary.  Whaddya say, Andrew?

xo – N.

***I'm mostly going with the "macaroons" spelling, instead of "macarons," unless the above spots do otherwise.  I mean, I don't want to be one of those people who says "Buda PESHT" or suddenly rolls their "r"s dramatically when the word "burrito" comes up in a sentence, you know?  Just saying.