Malibu—> Opera—> Yelp Party

And Malibu traps me yet again! As soon as I walked in the door, I was greeted with a shriek by a girl whom I had never met before. Apparently, it was the K from FinerthingsLA and she yelled, “You’re going to think I am such a nerd, but you’re Josie from Uncouth Gourmands! I recognize your hair!” In total disbelief that my hair was more popular than I was, I replied with a ‘yes’ and we poured ourselves a drink. We talked about blogs, boys, and friends. K is co-author to Finer Things LA, which she and her bestie have been operating for about three months now. Their motto is: A Classy Guide on Getting Drunk and Fat in Los Angeles. I dig this girl’s uncouth ways, and surely, we’re bound to collaborate soon.

The night wore on and we got, what else? Hungry. Next to the Minty, our newest and freshest UG face has been Ms. Veronica in LA. The girl knows far more about what’s hip in LA than I do, and she’s been my tour guide for the past few weeks. As you can see, I showed her my appreciation up above. Anyone that knows me, can vouche that I’m a total carnivore. In fact, I kind of hate vegetarians. I’ve been debating doing a 30-day expose into the life of a vegetarian and documenting it on the blog. However, I’m not sure if I have the discipline for that. Below you can see my last meal – A medium rare piece of pork loin of tenderness – Oops! I mean tenderloin. I think the vegetarian expose will have to wait… I’m not promising anything, either.

See above: It is perhaps the most uncouth moment of the night. Liking her fingers wet after a rare piece of meat, Miss. Veronica is now an official UG.

Speaking of UG staples, Miss Minty, invited me to the opera on Sunday and being the dilettante that I am, I jumped all over the invite on Facebook. I rushed from Malibu to downtown and headed over to see the matinee showing. It was a weird show, but we liked it anyway. From there, we headed to Eagle Rock.

Minty has over 2,000 quality reviews on Yelp, so she had a special invite to the Yelp Elite party in Eagle Rock (and a plus one). Since the show ran late, we missed the first party and met up with everyone at the Black Boar in Eagle Rock. Before we could hit up drinks, we had to tend to more important orders and since food always goes before liquor for this UG, we headed the Vietnamese place on Colorado, Lemongrass. Minty was on camera duty there, so I’ll write about that one soon.

We met up with the rest of the Yelp bunch and partied like rock stars for the rest of the night. We met up with Javier from WeirdTV and I talked him up about beer, OK Cupid, and his new favorite restaurant, Mac and Cheeza in downtown on 8th. M & C comes from the guys that brought you Larkin’s. Apparently, they mix in whatever ingredients to want into your mac and cheese. Anywhere from tomatoes to wild mushrooms. I must check this place out soon. Anyone want to join me?

I got to finally meet Carina’s gay boyfriend, Paul, and I think she may have some competition. Move over, Carina! Josie’s the new gay girlfriend in town. We stayed for a long time, actually and I got to know some of the fabulous people that make up the Yelp Elite mix. I joked at the party that I married into Yelp and when asked who my husband was — I pointed to Minty. See you at the next Yelp party… Or maybe CitySearch…

Takin it to the (Rush) Street and Pole

The Minty, our friend Megan from Drago Centro, and us UG girls had been planning a GNO for a few weeks. We had chosen to do Wednesday night because Minty would just be getting back from Seattle. While we were ironing out the details for our night out, Josie and I received an invite to a Ladies Pole Dancing Media Dinner at Rush Street in Culver City for that special Wednesday. We thought that combining our girls night out with their more sophisticated ladies night was the way to go. Our ladies agreed and on Wednesday we all piled in to Megan’s car and headed to the event. Josie and I have only ever danced on  poles at the Menage or other times when we are a little intoxicado. We never know what to do or how to do it. When we arrived at the event they eased us into something that we are experts at, eating and drinking. There were yummy appetizers spread on the large L-shaped table filled with some of our favorite female bloggers. Caroline on Crack was there, along with my new Citysearch friend Kelly.

Our favorites of the appetizers were these portobello fries with a great balsamic dip. We were thrilled and full from the appetizers and drinks and then the waitress came by and asked if we knew what we wanted for our entree. Why aren’t all media dinners this fantastic? Josie ordered the dish that everyone was talking about the mac n’ cheese and the sausage pizza. They may not have been calorie friendly but they were beautiful and her dishes were getting eyed all night as the women at the table opted to eat something more sensible. After all, none of us knew what was awaiting us upstairs at the pole. Minty ordered the pork chops and I had the shrimp salad knowing that a full stomach would not be able to spin on the pole as freely as I would have liked.

After we were done with our dinner we drank some more liquid courage and headed to the second floor of Rush Street. I had been there once before with Josie and Minty but the place was so packed that time that we just danced somewhat near in the pole on the crowded dance floor. As we got upstairs the scene was very different it was just the girls from the table and we all looked at the pole with a bit of hesitation and nervousness. The founder and creator of Polistic, Katie Marie, was there and sat down to explain a few things to us women. She explained that she used to be a financial planner and that we must forget whatever it is we think about pole dancing because it will be totally different. I was intrigued. She has a studio in Studio City that teaches both sexy pilates and pole dancing and she spilled the beans that we would all be receiving a gift certificate to a free class. I was excited and I figured that if I was going to go to the class I better start practicing my moves now.

The instructors showed us some moves and then they began asking for volunteers. The girls were all a little bit nervous but I loved the Polistic rule that you had to cheer for everyone.

Josie was one of the first to try her hands and legs at the pole.

She did a great job for her first time and, of course, as soon as she finished she yelled “Carina” for me to go next. I quickly pointed to Kelly and started cheers to be changed from my name to hers. Kelly is the Editor of Citysearch LA and a lot of fun so I was pleased that she happily took the next spot on the pole.

After I saw Megan and Caroline on Crack go, I finally decided to hit the pole.

The instructors tell you where to place your hands and legs and as soon as you stick out your hips (i.e. booty out) they give you a little push and you go swinging. It was really so much fun, like a ride or something. I was smiling and when I was on to my second trick the owner told me that she could tell that I was a natural. Of course, later in the night Josie told me that another instructor said that she was the best. They probably say it to everyone but the UGs love to brag and after a quick lesson we are both convinced we are experts.

So there you go, we learned some pole dancing moves and we feel like we are better people for it. It was a fun night just with the girls and now Josie and I are checking our calendars to see when we can go to the Polistic studio for further instruction. From the good cocktails, to the delicious grub, to the pole dancing upstairs Rush Street in Culver City is the place to be on a Wednesday night! Thankfully, for all of you ladies every Wednesday night at Rush is Ladies Night with drink specials, pole dancing lessons, great music, and yummy bites.

We owe a big thank you to  JS2 Communications, Rush Street and Polistic for putting on this fantastic event! You made our Girls Night Out so much better than we ever could have planned. While we were in the car looking through our gift bags, Minty screamed because of the X-Rated fusion liqueur, Josie went nuts for the mirror and lip gloss, and I was thrilled about my Polistic intro class gift certificate and another gift certificate for Focus Self-Defense and Fitness. Awesome, as much as the UG Girls love eating and drinking, it is good to counter balance it with some physical activity.

Neighborhood: Culver City
9546 Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 837-9546

Flash! Lights! Oscar Sunday Parties: Los Angeles Edition

Come on, folks, don’t be lame and stay in on Oscar Sunday. You’re in the city of lights! So get dressed up, revel in the glamor, and celebrate what this city has in store for you when it comes to Oscar themed menus. To ring in the winners, the UGs will be getting all dolled up (unlike last year where we made it a point to look homeless) and will be at the the new JW Marriott at LA Live. However, if you can’t join us then here’s a list of other alternatives:

The Andaz: Carina and I could not believe we waited so long to see Meryl Streep in Julie and Julia and boy were we charmed. Equally charming is the Andaz’s amazing rooftop, which was home to Blogger Prom 2009, and the Yelp Elite Bond Party. The view overlooks the beautiful city and the restaurant atop will be serving a Julie and Julia themed menu and cocktails for two. The price is $90 for two.

Perigourdine Poached Egg (field mushrooms, foie gras, black truffle)
Lompoc Farm Leeks Vinaigrette (black truffle, fresh goat cheese, crispy applewood bacon)
Boothbay Harbor Lobster Open Ravioli
Beef Bourguignonne
Dessert: Dillon Rum Baba Jar

RH at Andaz West Hollywood, 8401 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069

The Vermont: It’s in our favorite hipster neighborhood, Los Feliz. Jessica Gelt reports that Crumble Catering will be doing the 18th Annual AIDS Foundation Oscar Viewing Party. The cost is $45 and $5 of the proceeds will go the charity. The four course will include four of the items served at Elton John’s actual Oscar party. Make ressies. Wine pairing is extra.

1714 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz. 323.661.6163

Elements Kitchen – Pasadena: I haven’t been, but I hope to go very soon. Sounds like a fantastic menu and is reasonably priced at $35 a head.

Eat! Drink! Sunday!
Sunday, March 7th
$35 per person

First Course
(choice of one)

Celeriac & Roasted Corn Potage

Seven Layer Salad
Green peas * Red bell pepper * Celery
Carrots * Scallions * Bacon * Cheddar * Aïoli

Main Course
(choice of one)

Braised Pork Shoulder
Bacon & chipotle baked beans
* Honey glazed corn bread
Spicy mustard greens

Olive Oil Poached Black Cod
Chive spätzle * Caraway brown butter

Butternut Ravioli
Late winter vegetables
* Beurre noisette

Dessert
(choice of one)

Citrus Pavlova
Blood orange sabayon

Chocolate Lava Cake
White chocolate & pistachio filling

The London: A swanky place like The London could only serve swanky Oscar cocktails on a weekend like this. They will be pouring and shaking specialty cocktails which are named and inspired by nominated movies. They are $16 a pop.

Wherever you end up on Oscar Sunday, please know that the UG Girls love you and we don’t care that Mo’nique doesn’t shave her legs (although I can’t wait to see it in a dress).

A Rekindled Romance in Highland Park

Carina gets irritated with me because I tend to crave the same thing over and over again and often times that means wanting to go the same place repeatedly. When I like something, someone or someplace, I instinctively want to frequent it all the time. Which, I presume, is an obvious sign of gluttony or obsession. This was so the case on this particular lonely Sunday afternoon. I had absolutely nothing to do and so I decided to head back to my old stomping ground and visit a little place that I always adored but had not visited in years Villas Durango, the Yucatan place in Highland Park. The little ramshackle hut on York Blvd. between Ave 56 and Ave 58 opened up its doors about 6 years in to my 8 year relationship with ex-boyfriend, whom we will name “The Saucier.” This was also about the time when sadly things began to get sour for our love. I remember going to Villas Durango and loving the food and loving the people. The jukebox, which played loud rancheras, never missed a beat and the large Diego Rivera’esque fresco on the wall made for a fully immersed environment. I was in love with the place, and not to be mean, but rather honest, I was almost always unhappily in love with my partner. It was a sad moment in time for us.

As soon as I stepped in the door, it was akin to one of those moments when you are immediately transported back to a feeling and a place. I was greeted by the same team of women that served me years ago. I think they remembered me, and if they didn’t, they did a great job of making me feel at home. They were just like I remembered, only older. It was a cold Sunday and they brought me my regular hot water and lemon. I proceeded to order from their newly expanded menu. I first ordered a prodigious sample platter (which is my favorite dish and their most authentic).  In my interest to satiate a new craving, I decided to order something new so I opted for the chicken gordita. It was small and inexpensive.

The first thing that came was the gordita. It looked as though it was prepared with love. The masa shell looked like it had just the right amount of oil to be delicious and the dismembered dark chicken meat was tainted with a touch of red sauce. I thought I was in for a treat. I took a bite and was sadly disappointed. It was a modest offering in terms of flavor, but I looked forward to what lay ahead. Next up, my entrée. The plate arrived and boy did it look great. The plates came with Yucatan chicken prepared three ways and all topped with achiote. I didn’t miss a beat and devoured it promptly along with the black beans and rice. The meal didn’t come with plantains, but the kind chef gave me a few silvers along with some Mexican crema. All of the food was amazing. However, while there, I couldn’t help but feel bittersweet about my return. After all, the last time I was there I was miserable. I am in a better place now, but any ending brings about sadness of what once was. One thing is for certain, my love affair with the food in Highland Park will never die.

P.S. I couldn’t remember the name of this establishment and I owe a big thanks to our Twitter friends: GoodGirlLA and HLP90042 for helping us out. Also, according to the Highland Park expert the food at Villas Durango is more Durangoese cuisine than Yucatanian. Good2know!

What’s Bubbling and Brewin’ Around Verdugo Road

Our social lives were once again made possible by our bff, Twitter. Speaking of which, do you think in 2010 twitter talk will become the new baby talk? Twello twits, what’s tweetin’? Anyway, the owner of Rosso Wine Shop found our post on Montrose and wrote this:

@uncouthgourmand If the UG Headquarters is in Montrose how come you have not visited us in Sparr Heights @rossowineshop?!

It was a good question and actually I was talking about visiting some local wine shops for an upcoming budget wine post. Rosso is blocks away from our office and Josie and I arrived just in time to try some champagne. The special occasion of the night was their open house which featured neighborhood businesses. Bashan restaurant is neighbors with Rosso and they offered some complimentary small bites for the occasion including tuna tartare, cauliflower soup, and a braised pork sandwich. All were delicious and that will definitely be a restaurant to check out when the UG are back in the money.

The star of the night was the wine shop that was everything you imagine a neighborhood wine shop should be. If you read our Montrose post you know that this area has earned a place in our heart and it was reaffirmed at the wine shop when I ran in to the couple that I sat next to at Fork only days before. I am now a member of the community. Rosso owner, Jeff, was charming as he poured us some bubbly and it is clear that he is living his dream of bringing reasonably priced wine to this foothill neighborhood. It says on their site that they are a “neighborhood wine shop for the disenchanted Trader Joe wine-buyer, social nomad and local wine enthusiast.” I think that is exactly what LA needs more of and it was a fantastic neighborhood find. I hope they didn’t mind meeting us because I am pretty sure we will return often to grill them on all of our wine questions.

As I previously stated this night was made possible entirely by Twitter. I read early on in the day that Verdugo Bar was going to be serving the first pours of Eagle Rock Brewery brew. This was huge news because for the last year I have been following the progress of Eagle Rock Brewery on their blog and Twitter and find myself fully invested in this story and their success. Josie and I arrived at around 7:30 and despite being at Verdugo Bar before this was my first time driving there and arriving sober. I saw Josie’s car already parked and so I parked next to it, knowing that she beat me and was already inside. I saw a group of people of standing by a lit building with christmas lights and started walking towards the crowd. I heard yelling in Spanish and beer bottles being thrown. Clearly I was not at the right place, and these lights were from a house. I called Josie who walked outside from across the street and laughed at how I missed the enormous cocktail sign. She already ordered us are Eagle Rock brew, which was a black mild ale called Solidarity. I felt honored to be served the first batch and since we were one of the first 20 people to try it we got this awesome commemorative glass with the logo.

Leave it up to Josie to sit next to someone important and she was seated right next to Chris Spradley, the LA Craft Beer Examiner. Josie showed off her beer knowledge with IPA definitions that he already knew and I showcased my beer girly-ness in saying that my favorite beer was the lavender one from The Bruery and La Fin Du Monde from Unibroue. It was great fun to talk beer. I was telling the Beer Examiner that my main problem with beer is that I drink it too slowly and then it gets warm and I no longer want it and he said that most beers, like Solidarity, should be served a little more at room temperature. Who would have known? This was the first batch of Solidarity and while I am not the biggest fan of dark beers, Josie is, I still drank the whole thing. Chris introduced us to the Eagle Rock Brewers who were busy tasting and making sure that their baby was perfect. As I have known from the blog this is a family operation headed by father and son. The son, Jeremy Raub, was sure that he already met us at the LA Craft Beer Fest but honestly we remember very little of that day. The father, Steve Raub, was quick to point out that he was Vice President and that it was his son that was President. It was such a sweet family dynamic and it was so nice to hear their story. Steve started brewing at home as soon as Jimmy Carter lifted the ban and once Jeremy was married and moved in to his house he asked his dad to make a celebratory brew and the rest is history. That is the greatest birth of an enterprise since our baby, Uncouth Gourmands, was born on the trains of Europe. Relax, I kid. Anyway, as far as first batches go, this brew was pretty tasty and this is coming from a girl that likes her beer as she likes her men: light and fruity. There was a strong roasted coffee and chocolate aroma and definitely was something I’d drink again. In the next few weeks they will be launching 2 more brews. The next one will be a crisp Belgian-style beer and the final in the trio will be hoppy, floral, extra pale ale. With all of their beer bases covered we are excited to sample the trio and may even get a tour of the brewery soon.

When it comes to wine shops, brews, and bars on Verdugo Road we are in completely solidarity and wish them all the best of luck. We will be back and we are hoping that you all have plenty more to serve us!

The Big O: October

uncouth gourmand girls

October is the month of many good things: my birthday, the completion of my graduate studies, the start of many new UG businesses, Halloween and Dine LA Restaurant Week. This past Friday, the second day of October, had all of the usual suspects. Lunch at the Jonathan Club with our business partner Chuck and later Shabbat dinner at Barrett’s house. One exciting addition to this particular October Friday was our newest member of the UG crew, programmer extraordinaire, Alex from Germany. We wanted our full team of empire builders to meet and, most importantly, eat together. Chuck has connections at all place but especially at his fancy club. The Downtown Jonathan Club is missing something that Beach club is not, the cute ultra talented Chef Benjamin. We met Chef Benjamin on our first trip to the JC Beach in August when his foie gras caused Josie to utter, “If God made butter…” This Friday was no food exception to Chef Benjamin’s talent. Per Chuck’s request he came up with a menu on the fly that blew the UGs mind!

calamari, ahi and scallop, and urchin

duck and stone fruit

The first course for the table was a calamari looking linguine that at first glance I could have sworn was udon noodles. It was served with something I had never seen before a piece of seared ahi fused together with a fresh scallop. If only the UGs knew this fusing technique, we would never be in need of a Friday night date. The new species of fish was then topped with sea urchin, which was awesome and I haven’t had since my trip to Tokyo last year. This dish showed Benjamin’s creativity and skill. Josie, of course, threw the man another curve ball of the afternoon by declaring that she could not have any shellfish. I think we can all remember when Chuck and I almost killed her with the Shrimp Incident. We would get a higher percentage with her gone, do you blame us? Relax, I kid. I love Josie in the most enormous platonic way a friend can love a friend. Anyway, in order to keep my other UG 1/2 with a pulse, Chef Benjamin created some duck with stone fruit. I imagine it was great as not a bite was offered to the rest of the table.

Halibut cheeks and lump crab risotto

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The second course was risotto, which for the fish eaters was laced with addicting amounts of lump crab and paired with halibut cheeks. By the way, I apologize in advance, if ever I am served halibut I will say, “I am eating it just for the halibut”. I am pretty sure I am the only one that thinks I’m punny (or for that matter, funny). Josie remains moronically oblivious (0k, maybe just unimpressed) by my self-amusing puns and just rolls her eyes; my love of puns remains unrequited. But as the author of my own jokes, “my charming” verbal wit is not in vain because they bear fruit here on the UG blog. Am I the only one laughing right now?

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The third course the whole table was able to enjoy. It was  beef with pickled cucumber and  apple slices. It was all unbelievable and packed a strong wasabi pow, which we all enjoyed. I, a hardcore pickle addict, went nuts and said that I could eat a whole container of those was shocked when upon leaving the JC Chuck provided us with not one but two containers full of those vinegary delights. Total side note, my freshman year in college I was living in the dorms with one of my best friends from Tokyo who would love to make me cucumber salad. Every Sunday, we’d go rollerskating on Chandler Blvd. then roll in to Ralphs to buy 4 cucumbers and 2 bottles of champagne to accompany our weekly Sex & the City nights. It wasn’t until recently that I realized that this might be an odd sight. I was an Uncouth Gourmand, long before Josie and I ever coined the name for it.

Josie cheesecake

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poached pear and chai creme brulee

cookies and creme

chocolate banana cake

I don’t know what has gotten into Josie but my savory girl has grown a sweet tooth. Either that or she realizes that our Fridays with Chuck may be the only substantial four course meal she will have all week. She has now become the girl that will have one of everything when the dessert cart rolls around. She was delighted by the cheesecake. I had the chai creme brulee with a poached pear that blew my mind. Josie and I both devoured Chuck’s cookies n’ creme dessert and I, a produce poacher, stole some bananas from Alex’s chocolate and banana cake. By the way, if you get Josie drunk enough she will disclose a scandalous story about me and my favorite word fruition.

Jonathan Club Beach

BIG NEWS: Our brilliant technology mastermind, Alex, has agreed to help the UGs in launching something very cool in the near future. We can’t disclose too much now but check this and our Twitter for announcements. We are going to need some testers in the beta stage and want you, uncouthies, to be part of the unveiling. Let’s just put it this way, our ideas and his talent stretch beyond the amazing ocean views at the beach club. Stay Tuned….

funny bumper

We left the Jonathan Club after a record breaking 5 hour lunch. Traffic was horrendous and let’s just say one UG was ready to throw another UG out of her car when all of the sudden we were saved. Did we get a message from the divine? Nope, even better we found the pickled cucumbers in my car and found a hilarious psuedo bumper in the parking lot that Angelenos like to call “The 10” during rush hour. We stunk up my car with the smell of vinegar and got our hands more than sticky in the process but it was well worth it as we were instantly back to our laughing selves. After taking the 110 to then end and arriving in Pasadena we made a stop at Bev Mo for some kosher beer, He’Brew -The Chosen Beer, for Shabbat dinner later that night. One second out of the car and blocking the middle of the road we see Chuck, who left his own club hours earlier to get back to that thing called a “job”. He was more surprised to see us then we were to see him and he said, “Didn’t you girls drink enough at lunch?”

Barrett, our business mentor and my religious guide, played rabbi for the day and we wanted to celebrate with a few l’chaims with the Friday Night Live crew. Barrett often tells me to stick to kosher meat and was thrilled when I brought a Jewish date to dinner. My date was shocked that we were the kind of girls that arrive for dinner at 11p. He doesn’t know us at all. It’s always right between the fish course, which Josie can’t eat, and the meat or dairy course and shotgunning. Josie cut open a Bud(lite) and competed like a champ. She is the only girl I know that doesn’t mind a wet shirt, even when a wet t-shirt contest is not involved.

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after beer bong

kosher lasagna

As we see most Fridays, Barrett’s girlfriend and her cooking talent are always impeccable. She out does her self every shabbat with a different theme. So far we have had kosher kabobs, Chinese, and Indian themed dinners. This October Friday had the Italian theme and with that came two amazing lasagnas. In order to be kosher, they had real cheese but fake meat. I wouldn’t even have known. Josie and I both went nuts over the white lasagna and took more than our fair share.

Saturday, the UGs flew solo as it was my last weekend of my MBA program and I had a billion pages to read. I then spent all of Sunday day at school continuing to work vigorously. Josie on the other hand still partook in the typical UG weekend. Parties Silverlake, Tony’s bar, and getting Dine LA restaurant week off to a great start with a meal at Asia de Cuba. Am I jealous? Maybe a little but have no fear we met up Sunday night at karaoke with our downtown crew. We had been to the Brass Monkey once before but that time was a Friday night and was late. This time it was early on a Sunday, it wan’t quite as bustling but the bartender did refer to us as the “Giggle Puss Corner”. I stayed long enough to find Waldo, aka Kane, and listen to John, from the charity event and party bus, bolt out a Neil Diamond (The Jewish Elvis) song. I even stayed long enough to add some dangerous songs to the pile for suicide karaoke but left before I had to draw from the assortment. Josie told me she pulled, “I Touch Myself” and while I am sorry I missed it, my fingers are crossed that it will end up on Facebook or YouTube.

Brass Monkey

karaoke

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Josie and I both seemed to have very good luck last night, as we learned today while gossiping as our cars were being washed in Highland Park. FYI, the UGs getting their cars washed is the surest chance that it will rain in the next few days. We have better odds than any weatherman.

I have been wearing pearls in each of my ears since I realized a few years ago that it would make me one step closer to being a First Lady. Josie who wore a pearl necklace (no euphemism) last night has discovered that it is her lucky charm as well. Anyone who reads our posts knows that her dating luck has not been cashing out lately, but maybe October is her month. *fingers crossed* By the way, about halfway through karaoke she lost most of her pearls on the floor but the magic had already happened. We were planning on starting Dine LA Restaurant Week tonight but a cash flow problem made us opt for something slightly more reasonable and Josie took me to her old stomping ground Chicos in Highland Park. It looks a yellow shack from the outside and is just as charming on the inside. Vitamins and digestion pills line the shelves and murals adorn the wall. The owners recognized Josie right away and we were made to feel right at home. We shared some albondigas soup and a chicken torta. I was immediatly impressed by the homemade tortillas and chips and there salsa. It was a perfect size meal and the meal came to under $15 for two. Beat that Dine LA!

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Final Thoughts: It is my, Carina’s, birthday on Monday, the 12th, and we need help brainstorming on what to do. I have my last class on Thursday night and then I am a virtually free woman. We need some help with 3 things:

-Anyone have any great weekend plans/ideas? We will share ours when we have some. In other words (or in UG salacious fashion), “we’ll show you ours, if you show us yours.”

-What restaurants on Dine LA Restaurant Week are worth trying? Anyone want to take out the UGs? Next week we are open for all lunch and dinner options. Sorry we are shameless and building an empire is tough on our wallets.

-The UGs still need Halloween costume ideas, have any? Of course, we are a dynamic duo and need costumes that showcase this.

How Could You be So Tartless?

cafe wa s uncouth gourmands social domain drink eat play

As time passes it has become more and more apparent that there are many of you that are truly invested in our lives. So as time elapses, I feel less hesitation in divulging more and more about our personal lives, especially after being the recipient of so much kindness from so many of you.  As I look back on the fun-filled weekend that Carina and I had, a strange thought occurred to me –What if Carina and I had never met? It was a sad ponder…We have a co-dependent relationship which (on a daily basis) keeps us considerably amused, educated, and entertained. Below are last weekend’s UG misadventures.

bread olive oil & vinegar

wine goblet

Gale’s: Thursday was a “rough” day for the UG gals, and by “rough” I mean ridiculously relaxing. Carina had been busily working at school and I had been needing the time off, so some TLC was exactly what the UG girls were in need of. At any rate, we kicked off the afternoon by visiting a previously missed lunchtime spot, Gale’s, from there we perused around Old Town Pasadena, tried two new (sadly very dry) Dot’s cupcakes flavors and a 21-Choices frozen yogurt. A mouth full? Not for these girls. When does your metabolism start slowing down again? Gale’s is a local favorite and the UG girls couldn’t agree more. What other people might have found “defective” at Gale’s, we found to be most charming. Sure when it’s busy your drinks and bread take 20 minutes to come, but we were in no hurry and we figured that given that large of a lunch crowd, there had to be something interesting going on with the food. We were right, indeed! I had the French Dip and Carina the Caprese sandwich. Bottom-line: A great place to take an adventurous grandmother because despite the gaudy decor (see pics below), the food was really good, but by no means cutting edge. The locals are friendly and inclined enough to reach out to their table neighbors and offer good conversation. Good stuff is going on at Gale’s.

caprese sandwich

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***Above and below are mural pics of the Ladies Room at Gale’s. It just so happens that my grandmother loves dogs and roses, too 😉

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From there Carina headed to school and I had dinner with a friend on the westside. It was my first time at Ford’s Filling Station and I seriously could not have been happier. Of course, we ordered too much food and I most definitely enjoyed every last crumb. I would recommend the mac and cheese, the cured meat plate, and the rapini. The dishes are artfully-crafted California-Mediterranean works. The food is simple and well executed. FFS earns two thumbs up from this gourmand, but don’t worry eager readers, you will get a full review soon after I take the wife. Speaking of the wife, Carina and I met up later that night and visited Carmine’s in South Pasadena to try their draught beer. A friend from the Apple Store works there and recommended we try the place. The UG girls had a round of drinks and despite being stuffed like sausages, we also tried the battered onion rings from the bar happy hour menu. The place was filled with happy El Sereno locals, all of whom were very nice and welcoming to us despite their biker exteriors.

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I think Friday will always be a Jonathan Club-Chuck kind of day. Chuck, our mentor and newly named business partner, took the UG ladies and our lawyer, Ranjit, to the JC downtown to discuss our LLC and a new business venture. Upon arrival we were greeted with Chuck’s always welcoming bottles of booze. We should know better than to drink mid-day, but Chuck always brings the good stuff and being the poor UGs that we are, we always welcome the opportunity to try new fancy wine. If it wasn’t for Chuck who would feed us on Fridays? Thanks, Chuck! This visit to the JC brought us a new friend, Khrysta. Khrysta, a vivacious restaurant PR consultant and a good friend of Chuck, joined us for lunch. From lunch we headed off with Ranjit and Khrysta to Provecho, a new Mexican restaurant/bar/lounge in downtown. There is hardly any signage but upon entering the decor is very impressive. There is a full ceviche bar, chandeliers, and a fully equipped bar with a ton of rare tequilas. We didn’t try the food but the cocktails were awesome! Carina had the watermelon mojito and I had the house margarita. We will definitely be back to try the food soon.

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Provecho

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Provecho

After meeting the head chef, the manager, and a freakishly tall Amazon woman who looks more like a supermodel than a pastry chef we all toured the lavish facilities. We ended up spending a few hours at Provecho getting far too drunk to drive home and decided that from there we’d go for round three and hit up Little Toyko for a hearty bowl of sukiyaki. Ranjit, who is a brilliant investment banker, lawyer, and writer got far too tipsy to…well, walk…proved to be the funniest character of the hour. He requested his sukiyaki with a raw egg and when it came he completely forgot and cracked it thinking it was hard boiled. It is nice to know that the UG lawyer is as uncouth as his clients.

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After a long day of our lawyer kissing Carina on the cheek, drinking midday and wandering through downtown, we figured it best to go home and rest for a bit. Suddenly, after months of pining for a particular love interest, I got a call from him inviting me over for a fig tart. Was this really happening? Was the bad Josie love luck changing? I jumped at the opportunity thinking I knew that fig tart had to be a euphemism for something. Despite being in yoga clothes I headed to see “him,” who for the purpose of anonymity we will call “Mr. Fig,” in downtown. I called Carina when I was en route to the mystery boy’s house to tell her the “good” news and that expectations were high. She told me that a male classmate just asked her to come over and take a shower. What, a man was nude in her house?!?! I was one upped. No man wanted to be naked in my house. Unbelievable!

Sadly, my visit to “Mr. Fig’s” house was just that, a fig tart and a very PG make-out session. I’ve tried to analyze my own cravings for him but when he’s around my heart seems everywhere at once and my own desire for him blinds me. When it comes to my “Mr. Fig,” I seem to have shit for brains. Sometimes I really feel like Carrie Bradshaw, who despite being having a fully functioning brain, seems to be totally blinded by Mr. Big. Carina and I both know that my “Mr. Fig” and Carrie’s “Mr.Big” have too many tragic things in common. “Mr. Fig” seems completely uninterested and I need to give up. I don’t know why but everything has to be a f-in challenge for me and “Mr. Fig” is a prime example of my f-ing condition. That’s the last time that ever happens! In fact, I’m erasing his number from my phone as we speak.

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We, Carina and I, both ended up at Barrett’s at 1A, which is normally the time they begin the eating process of Shabbat dinner. Barrett’s girlfriend is great and always gives a theme or a twist to her dinners. They have ranged from kosher kabobs to kosher Chinese and on this particular night it was kosher Indian food. My disappointment at “Mr.Big’s” was settled by kosher sangria, two plates of curry over rice, and a very nice guy named Nathan who gave me a sympathy kiss on the cheek. As soon as Carina arrived at our chosen (get it, chosen people? That’s all I hear about anymore and frankly I want someone to choose me) Friday destination loft she said, “Raise your hand if you ever had a boyfriend named Nate/Nathan” both of our hands went in the air and Barrett also raised his hand as to be part of the cool crowd. That particular Nate/Nathan heartbreak is something only the UG girls can share. To “my” Nathan, if by the off shot you’re reading this, I’m sorry and I miss you. If you are “Carina’s” Nate we miss our drinking buddy and the man that always let us finish his plates of food.

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However, the UG girls are better than fine and are on to new things. Saturday we had a great girls night out. I was thrilled when Carina told me that she got us in to the Thrillist New Castle party. Free beer, free cupcakes, and free valet…oh yeah! As we were taking our sweet time getting ready we checked our new best friend, Twitter, and saw that Caroline on Crack said that the lines were bad. We opted for a pre-party drink at one of our local favorite spots, The York in Highland Park. I was hungry despite a long day of working/eating at a catering company and grabbed some tacos at the next door taco place. It was delish but when we finally arrived at the Hollywood and Vine party destination I realized that we had two big problems. First, the party was being closed down by a fire marshal and they were over capacity. Secondly, my wallet was completely lost. After everyone was kicked out we ran into our good friend Dan, the founder of Drink:Eat:Play and John (or as Carina incorrectly refers to him, David) of SocialDomainLA. We met John/David at a dinner with FoodGPS but we never knew that he was good friends with the Dan. The guys accused me of faking the lost wallet…I may be broke but I am not that smart. Carina and I used the bathroom at Eva Langoria’s place Beso, it was a very stylish decor but their bathroom was pretty much a sauna. The bathroom attendant told us she has been losing a ton of weight in the climate.

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After our stint at Beso we went to Ivan Kane’s Cafe Wa S with Dan, John, and Kara of SlifePR. I don’t know how the UGs got among this who’s who in Los Angeles food and drink events, but we were damn happy to be there. We had great cocktails. I was almost banned after stealing countless olives and oranges from the bartender’s stash but have no fear I told them my name was “Carina Ost”. After we got our car from the free valet, I discovered that my wallet was nowhere. It was after 1:30 in the morning and the only possible place of my wallet’s whereabouts was the little taco joint, El Chapin Restaurant. I knew they closed at 2A and Carina got me there at 1:56A. Thank our lucky UG stars my wallet was there and found by a very sweet little boy. It was untouched and they refused any kind of reward I offered. It made me so grateful! They make awesome tacos, breakfast, and they are more honest than any other place I know.

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The next morning was Sunday and we had a very special brunch date with a VIP TV Executive. I really tried to be on time but, unfortunately, 2 closed lanes of the 101 and a standstill 110 freeway made these UGs a half an hour late. We did the walk of shame to the best table in our brunch spot Taste. Carina and I both did the very reasonable prix fix brunch menu for $14. She had the tortilla soup and the mint chicken salad with fries. The fries were interesting because the were like potato shavings, I should know, I stole most of hers. I had the mixed greens and after asking to be surprised with the entree I got huevos rancheros. The food was good, the mimosas were never ending, and the manager even came to our table. It was a good food experience and a well-priced brunch in West Hollywood.

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A couple of bottomless mimosas in for the UG girls, our friend/VIP TV executive told us that he was really into pies and cookies. Look at that, he knows we are heavy into food and chose that as a topic of conversation. When will the UGs get so thoughtful? Anyway, Carina jumps in and says, “I have the best cookie you have ever had….”. I look at her and she tries to correct the sentence saying that it is in Pasadena….too bad she lives there…and isn’t helping anything. Upon hearing this I laugh uncontrollably and somehow manage to spit creme anglaise all over this nice man. Uncouth!

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John/David from the other night called (surprise suprise) Carina and invited us to a house warming party after brunch. It wasn’t his house and we knew no one there besides the man with two first names but obviously we went anyway. We walked into this place and were greeted by countless claps and warm welcomes. I got a cup that said Creepy Guy and felt right at home. We also found two girls that just met one another but looked completely related.

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After mimosas and wine what else would a UG want? A $5 vodka tonic. I was supposed to see the new Chanel movie with a male friend and wanted more time with Carina so I invited her to dinner with us. Unlike me, she doesn’t like being the third wheel, so she invited her date from the previous day. My friend and I left early to catch the movie but that didn’t stop me from eating ridiculous quantities. We got the cheap cocktail and a full table of KBBQ at Shin in Hollywood.  I left for the movie and somehow Carina was asked out on a third date…three days in a row. I call the injustice card, wasn’t September supposed to be my month?

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After the movie, my friend drove me to Carina’s where my car was parked. We chatted a bit and she let me borrow the first season of Californication, as she was watching the 3rd season premiere. I must say, the show is pretty f-ing good. I was considerably amused (and tortured) by the amount of direct and indirect sexual scenes. It’s hard to see people, even if on TV, having sex. Oh Californication, I’ve never experienced such agony! Your scenes stab and brutalize my loveless life.

Awkward turtle silence – P.S. That’s the sound of my phone not ringing right now. *Sigh!*

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