Ready to Go!

Vien Café

6118 West Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90035, PH: 323.651.2888

http://www.vien-cafe.com/

Pricing: $$-Moderate

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A couple of months ago I wrote a post about my experience giving pho another try. I had tried it once before and was thoroughly unimpressed, but when I tried a pho restaurant in Hollywood, I feel in love with the delicious Vietnamese soup; I could not wait until my next pho experience. So when I was deciding where to go for this week’s foodie venture, somewhere where I could get a good bowl of pho was the first thought that popped into my head. I came across Vien Café in the Mid City area of Los Angeles, and decided to go check it out.

Inside Vien Café

Inside Vien Café

So a brief disclaimer…I really hate to blog about bad experiences, but everything in life is not amazingly awesome, and it is the same in the blogging/foodie venture world; it is only fair that I share both experiences. My experience at Vien Café was NOT the best. 😦 As soon as I walked in, I was greeted (if I can call it a greeting) by a rather impersonal host/server. Honestly, it made me uncomfortable and I wanted to turn around and walk out; however I needed something to blog about, so I forced myself to stay.

I first ordered a Thai Iced Tea, but I also wanted to order a glass of water, but the impersonal waiter was gone before I could say “tea.” I was apprehensive about asking for the water when he came back.

Pho Tom– The pho I ordered that day had a chicken broth base with the rice noodles, shrimp and black mushrooms and was almost $10. It was definitely good, but it was not as great as the pho I had in Hollywood. I added the sriracha, hoisin sauce, sprouts, basil and lime-juice, which enhanced the flavor.

Pho Tom

Pho Tom

The good thing about Vien Café is they have the Pho on The Run, which is their takeout, half portion of pho served during their lunch hours, for only $5.50. They also have a wide variety of other dishes to try including, spring rolls, rice plates, buhn mi (Vietnamese sandwiches), vegetarian options, and desserts. I wanted to try one of their desserts, Crispy Vietnamese Apple or Banana Fritters, but after I finished my pho, I was READY TO GO!

If I’m ever in the area, and in the mood for pho, I may try Vien Café again; I just hope there is a different server working.

Wee Bit O’Irish

My cool pin that made me feel a wee bit o'Irish! :-)

My cool pin that made me feel a wee bit o’Irish! 🙂

Everyone loves an Irish, Black girl…right?! Okay, confession: to my knowledge, I do not have any Irish blood in me, but on March 17th, and the weekend preceding, I was indubitably a WEE BIT O’IRISH as I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in and around Los Angeles.

Over the weekend, my friend Alicia, her cousin Jasmine, and I had a blast being out and about for St. Patty’s Day. First, we went to Tom Bergin’s in Los Angeles; they have been famous for their Irish Coffee since their establishment in 1936. Although it was a cool, laid back vibe at Bergin’s, we were looking for a more “lively” crowd and headed over to Santa Monica’s Busby’s West. As soon as we entered Busby’s we were in our element as we walked into a sea of green and heavy bass of hip-hop beats. We were so sad, when the party ended soon after we arrived; I guess we did not have much of that Irish luck. 🙂

Alicia, Jasmine and I

Alicia, Jasmine and I

However, Monday, March 17th, the day St. Patty’s Day actually fell on, was a lot less eventful. I knew I would not be partying, but was still feeling a WEE BIT O’IRISH; so what better way to satisfy that feeling than with food? I had always heard how “Irish” corn beef and cabbage was, but was curious about what other traditional Irish dishes were out there; luckily, I stumbled across the Dublin Coddle (recipe from Food.com is below).

The dish is named after the capital of Ireland, and the city it is most often associated with. Traditionally the dish was made to rid the home of left over meat on Thursdays (at one time, many people in Ireland were Catholic, whom do not eat meat on Fridays); all of the ingredients were thrown into a large pot that had a tight lid, with a little bit of broth, and sometimes made with Guinness. The ingredients would coddle, or be steamed together for three to fives hours, which allowed all of the flavors to really infuse each piece of meat and vegetable.

This dish is incredibly hearty, and tastes amazing! It is kind of a cozy-winter’s-night type of meal, so I suggest that you get to your local market as soon as you can, so that you can prepare this dish before the weather gets too warm. If you like beer, be sure to grab some Guinness to drink with this meal.

The only thing I was missing on Monday was a tasty loaf of Irish Soda Bread to accompany the Dublin Coddle, to sop up the delicious gravy the dish makes. Here is a link to a recipe for Paleo Irish Soda Bread from my foodie friend and fellow blogger Allie at Sweet Potato Bites (she also has recipes for a traditional Irish Soda Bread, and a Gluten-Free Irish Soda bread).

I made a couple of minor adjustments (marked with asterisks) to the recipe I found on Food.com:

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I’m sorry, I did not take a picture of every step as I was cooking, but here are a few pictures I took when layering the ingredients:

Layering the meat and veggies...

Layering the meat and veggies…

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After three hours…

Up Close & Personal

Up Close & Personal

I hope you try and enjoy this meal! It will definitely make you feel a WEE BIT O’IRISH any day of the year!

Sláinte!

Cookie Crush

Cookie Casa

8116 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048, PH: 310.922.6396

https://www.cookiecasa.com/

Pricing: $/$$-Inexpensive/Moderate

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Hi Friends,

We are so sorry we did not have a post for you all last week. The weather was crazy, and the power went out; therefore the WiFi was down, so we could not upload a post. However, this week we have a great Foodie Venture to share with you all!

Cookie Casa is a cute little bakery on Beverly Boulevard; you may miss it if you are not paying close attention. Cookie Casa has a pretty good variety of delicious looking cookies, cakes, cupcakes and bars that fill the storefront. We were in a cookie mood, so we were in cookie heaven the moment we walked in the door.

Mexican Hot Chocolate (Stef): This cookie was such a unique cookie.  I was intrigued by what I imagined the cookie would actually taste like; would it really be like the spicy Mexican version or more of the traditional hot chocolate that we all know and love? Turns out that this delicious chocolate cookie had just the right amount of spice to make my taste buds go wild! This cookie is definitely for those that love the rich flavors of chocolate.

Stef couldn't wait to eat it!

Stef couldn’t wait to eat it!

Oatmeal Butterscotch (CoCo): I saw the name of this cookie in the case, but there were no cookies behind it (we went a bit later in the day); I thought I was out of luck on this venture, but then the heavens opened up, and I was told there were some that had just come out of the oven. My heart skipped a beat. I was handed a warm Oatmeal Butterscotch cookie, and my life literally changed when I took my first bite. This has to be the best oatmeal cookie that I have ever tasted. It was soft, and buttery, and the butterscotch was the perfect addition. I’m sad I do not live close to this bakery; then again it is a blessing, because I know I would be there every day for this cookie, and would consequently need to be checked into a cookie rehab! 🙂

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Cookie Casa is a must-stop cookie shop; we think we have a COOKIE CRUSH! We cannot wait to go back for these cookies, and to try their other delectables. 🙂

-The Chick