Kels Eats LA

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Things are a-changing around here.

I’ve given TKOK a bit of a makeover. To be honest, I’ve given my whole self a bit of a makeover. I’ve had some time to think about me and what I want. What I am. Who I am.

And – maybe most importantly – what I want to say.

I’ve realized that one of my favorite things in this world is sharing food with the people I love. I love cooking for them, eating with them, and telling them the stories behind the food & the farmers. I love going to the Farmer’s Market and connecting with the people who nurture our fruits and vegetables from seeds. I love eating seasonally and taking pictures and getting inspired and trying new things.

I also love when people call or text me drooling about a photo that I posted on Instagram of my dinner. I love when people who live across the country start asking questions because of food that I’m discovering and searching out here in Los Angeles. I love when people are in town for 24 hours, they are staying in a certain neighborhood, and they just want to eat the best two or three meals they can get their hands on while they’re around. I love making them lists and itineraries of where to go, who to talk to, and what to eat. I love sharing this bustling Los Angeles food scene with them in any way I can get their hands on it.

I want everyone to have the unbelievable dining experiences that I get to have.

I’m very lucky in this sense. I have worked in the food industry for most of my life now. Food people are my people. My husband is an amazing chef. My friends are cooks, chefs, farmers, restaurant owners, sommeliers, food lovers, and artists. The people I eat with are the people behind the Los Angeles food scene. I have constant inspiration and information from some of the most talented people in the business at my fingertips anytime I need it.

So what do I want to say?

I want to share all of that. I want to make it accessible. I want to poke my head into some of the most amazing kitchens in Los Angeles and tell you their stories. I want to inspire people to think of their food as more than just fuel. I want to bring a little bit of that bustling dining room magic to you – wherever you might live.

My new mission is to take you all with me around Los Angeles as I visit (and revisit, and revisit again…) some of my favorite restaurants. I want to take you with me while I try out new restaurants and foods I’ve never heard of and wander around new neighborhoods. I want you to be able to meet all of the awesome people who make Los Angeles’s food scene sing.

Most importantly, I want you to find a way to be a part of it, yourself. My hope is that my posts of recipes, inspiration, and other food-related tidbits help you to travel to new places with your cooking and dining experiences.

So let’s do it. Let’s eat through LA.

xoxo

 

 

Rollercoaster

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Someone recently gave me a swift punch in the face instead of a nicer, more eloquent, ease-me-into-it nudge.

Figuratively, of course. But damn, it hurt.

Turns out we all have a lot of shit going on in our lives. We all freak out from time to time. And the ones who you want to reach out a hand and pull you out of the muck aren’t always capable of it for whatever reason. Sometimes, no matter how much you just want someone to fix you, you simply have to figure it out on your own. 

You’ve gotta pull yourself out of the damn muck.

It took me a swift punch in the face to wake up to the reality that I have to be prepared – and satisfied! – if my whole world turns upside down one day. That all the parts I thought would be there forever just might not. And maybe I should take inventory from time to time. Maybe I should make sure I’ve got a good grip on me… Just in case. Like an earthquake kit.

(I should definitely invest in an earthquake kit.)

I originally stopped writing because I seriously didn’t have the time. I was starting a business. I was working a job on top of it. I was exhausted. I had no creativity left in me after the day was done.

Then things got tough, and I didn’t write because I was trying to keep it all together. No one wants to talk about trying to keep it all together. I couldn’t even imagine the things I’d have to say. No one would want to read them.

When I admitted that I needed to take a different path, I still didn’t come back to writing. My ego was horribly bruised. All I could think of was that I had “failed”. In my business. In keeping up my side of the finances. In breaking out on my own and starting something cool and fun. I went back to work with my tail between my legs.

And lately, when my next path pulled me out of the darkness, when I got back my footing… I didn’t start writing again because I wasn’t sure what it was all about anymore. I just wanted to write happy things like I used to, and I couldn’t find that part of me that was really excited about anything. I wanted my reemergence into this blog that I love to be shiny and void of all of the guilt and frustration I felt. I struggled to find a clean, fresh start.

Recently, I’ve had some great people in my life ask me some even greater questions. And those questions have stirred something in me. They’ve forced me to face what I was trying to hide or pretend never happened. They forced me to look at myself and figure out what I love and what I don’t. Why I’ve done the things I did and what I gained from it all. They’ve offered me the opportunity to be introspective and think about what is best for me. Where I want to be heading. Peace of mind that I can survive any storm, any ride – and that I’m happy. What does my earthquake kit consist of?

Someone told me today, “Stop waiting for the rollercoaster to stop. Declare that something has to change.”

So here I am. Fresh start.

There are still going to be ups and downs and back wards and forwards and upside down loop-de-loops. I have decisions to make and plans to define, but I need to stop delaying and declare that I must start again. I’ve got to run alongside the car and jump in while it’s still rolling on the tracks. Because it’s never going to stop. Life isn’t going to slow down and stop happening so I can think about things or feel better about what path I’m on. Punches are going to keep getting thrown. I don’t want to wake up in six months and still be stuck where I am. I want to keep moving forward.

You’ll be seeing a lot more of me around here.

Step one. Complete.

xoxo

 

Peace for Paris

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Just the other day, I turned to Brad and said, “Why are some people so bad?”

He obviously didn’t have an answer. I think I was talking about someone’s bike getting stolen or someone robbing a store in town.

I was exhausted with all of the hurt in my world. I was weary with finding forgiveness and searching for the good behind the ugly in people. Why couldn’t people just think of how their actions effect others? Why couldn’t they take a moment to consider the trials they’d never faced in their lives that someone else is struggling through? Or imagine that the way they live their life is unique to them and their happiness, but that it doesn’t necessarily suit every other person out there? Lend a hand to make things a little less turbulent rather than throwing another bump in the path. Life is hard enough on its own without people hurting each other.

Writing it out, it feels like a question a child would ask. I know hurt. I know people who are hurting. Terrible things happen to people, and they don’t always choose to react in positive ways. I suppose that a negative reaction might come with some kind of rush that blocks out all the terrible that is happening in their lives – if only for a moment. It happens on all scales. From tiny to massive. The stolen bike or the store held at gunpoint fell somewhere in between.

I’m not naive. Human beings don’t always make great choices.

But I am a person who loves people. I stand for love. I stand for acceptance. I stand for everyone being able to have their own opinion and make their own choices. I stand for people reaching for their goals and dreams. I stand for everyone’s story being different, and there being a place for everyone to live out their stories in peace.

No matter how hard I try to understand what horrible things must have happened to the people who committed these heinous crimes in Paris yesterday, no matter how dark the spaces my heart searches to in order to feel some compassion, I cannot come up with one logical reason for a human being to point their weapon at a crowd full of innocent human beings enjoying something I love – music – and murder them. I cannot come up with one reason why their lives showed them this particular path and they chose to follow it and act in that way. I cannot imagine anything so black and terrible that it could justify this. Nothing justifies this. Nothing.

My heart is broken. For Paris, for the world. And while I leave the larger fight up to the people in charge, I will push through the darkness by continuing to open my heart to people in need. I will live and love without fear. I will go to concerts and dance to the music to remember those who lost their lives. I will keep doing good to try and balance out those people who choose the bad.

Peace for Paris. Peace for the World.

xoxo

Welcome, Autumn

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I was at work yesterday when the clouds rolled in and the rain started to fall. The wind picked up and it turned into a dreary, wet, cold autumn day.

Well, finally.

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Autumn is such a romantic time of year in my eyes. There are warm smells coming from the kitchen. There are cozy sweaters and comfy scarves. There are cuddles under blankets and snuggles to keep warm. There are steaming hot chocolates and spiced ciders. There is a crispness to the air that sharpens your step and there are colors surrounding you that set fire to your eyes.

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It’s the time of year for your favorite, comfiest sweater, a wooly pair of socks, and scarves for days.

It’s the time of year to put away the rosé, the crisp whites… and break out he big, full, juicy reds.

It’s the time of year to buy a big hunk of meat and roast it on low for hours and hours so the whole apartment smells like tomatoes and garlic and herbs and juices.

roustabout wine pot roast

Thanks for finally showing up, autumn. I can already tell you were worth the wait.

xoxo,

kels

Simple, Salty, Peanut Butter Cookies

I’m not really one to go out of my way to make gluten-free treats.

That’s not to say I’m against it, I just really like gluten. I like how it holds pie crusts together. I like how it forms those beautiful layers in puff pastry. I like how it makes bagels chewy and pizzas firm and crisp.

Plus, it doesn’t wreck havoc on my body. So my love affair with most things gluten continues.

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But sometimes I make something truly delicious, and as I’m stuffing one more of that delicious something in my mouth I happen to think, “You know what? This here is gluten free!”

And viola! I call it healthy.

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But I wouldn’t want it to be too healthy, because then I wouldn’t be sure whether or not to call it a treat.

So, I added chocolate chips! Because, well really why not.IMG_3281 IMG_3301

This recipe is an ever so slight variation on smitten kitchen’s version. Initially, I just wanted something sweet and salty. I realized how easy it was to make. (5 ingredients!) And then, I added chocolate chips. (make it 6 ingredients…)

I almost didn’t post this because the lighting in my kitchen was so awful, but shoddy photos aside, I recommend making these as soon as possible. I have so far brought them to work, to my hair stylist, and to my neighbors who so generously lent me their car when ours broke down. (damn you and your tricks 2015!)

I haven’t heard one single complaint yet.

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I mean they’re packed with peanut butter and they’re gluten free so… they’re basically granola bars, right?!

xoxo

kelly IMG_3284

Salty Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies
variation on smitten kitchen’s recipe

makes about 30 cookies with my #40 scoop

1 3/4 cups (335 grams) packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups (450 grams) smooth peanut butter
1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips
Coarse-grained sea salt, to finish

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the light brown sugar and eggs until smooth. Whisk in the vanilla extract, then the peanut butter until smooth and completely incorporated.

Freeze the dough in its bowl for 15 minutes, stirring it once halfway through. Scoop the dough into balls — I use a 1 2/3 tablespoons or #40 scoop. Place on prepared pan. I liked mine to look like tiny cooked balls of dough, so I put them back in the freezer for another 10 minutes before baking. If you would like yours a little more spread out, they are ready to go!

Sprinkle the dough balls with coarse-grained sea salt just before baking. Bake for 14 to 15 minutes, or until golden at the edges. Let cool on hot pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before eating to get the best final texture.

Fall(ish) Market

It had been a month since I made it over to the Wednesday Market.

No idea how that is possible, but it was true. Our refrigerator was bare. The only fruit we’d been eating were bananas, and they certainly aren’t local.

So we braved the heat. I threw on a skirt because I couldn’t bear wearing pants. We went to check out whether the calendar or the weather was right about which season it actually was.

Turns out, even the market was a little confused. But we walked away with end of summer tomatoes, beginning of fall figs, flowers, little gem lettuce, bacon and sausage, apples, peppers for days, and a few squash for good measure.

I’ll admit, I’m ok with this October heat wave if it means tomatoes will stick around a bit longer. But I really, really can’t wait for sweaters and boots and comfy warm clothes…

xoxo

kelly

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Clicky

image by dani desbordes at http://www.danidesbordes.com/
image by dani desbordes at www.danidesbordes.com

It doesn’t often happen that any of us have a lot of free time anymore, right?

Usually, my free time comes around 1am. Brad and I have just gotten home from work. We make ourselves a late night snack. We crash – tired but not sleepy-tired – onto the couch and just veg out for an hour (or until one of us falls asleep) to Jimmy Fallon or whatever series we are hooked on that week. (Currently, How to Get Away With Murder. So freaking good. I would lose a night’s worth of sleep for this one.)

But I can almost always find time for my blog roll. Sometimes it’s over eggs in the morning. Sometimes it’s while I should be getting ready for work. Sometimes it’s while I’m distracting myself from researching or writing something.

Scrolling through all the posts and articles is a chance to be inspired, motivated, learn something new, and catch up with what is going on in the ever creative world around me. It is like the newspaper that I edited with articles that are tailored just for me – baking, wine, design, news, restaurants, travel, recipes, current events, with a bit of entrepreneur talk thrown in there. And while I’ll post a link every now and then that wildly moves me, I thought I’d share a few of the stories that stuck with me this week.

Check it out. Get clicky.

Take a risk. Even if it doesn’t land you in the place you thought you’d be, it sure is a more interesting path.

One of my sister’s childhood friend, Dani Desbordes, is making amazing things. Jewelry, paintings, things for Anthropologie. (nbd…!!) I have one of her repeating patterns as my desktop background right now!

I once had a spaghetti and meatball pizza. This takes that to the next level. #pastaaddict

Brad & I are dreaming of finally taking our honeymoon this spring (5 years later!). I have had this ABM Travel guide to New Orleans up on my iPad for months now… I’m also digging their Palm Springs travel guide and the one about Nashville. Decisions, decisions…

And, obviously, we are traveling to eat. Loved this take on how to Eat Like A Chef On The Road.

I felt the funk during this Mercury Retrograde. Looking forward to harmony and compassion with the New Moon.

More podcasts to add to my list of what I listen to when I’m baking! Especially that Alex Baldwin one. What?!

xoxo,

kels