Saturday, August 27, 2011

Nola - Palo Alto

Hey there! So here it is, my first posting on a local Cali joint, Nola in downtown Palo Alto. Downtown Palo Alto is basically one street (University Avenue) which hosts several restaurants and shops mostly to the well-to-do locals and the Stanford University students. It's really cute actually. And probably the closest thing I'll get to Division St. :/

Nola is a chain from the Avenir Restaurant group that also owns a couple other joints. Here they serve what they call "Cajun con Fusion", a mix of Cajun, creole and southern cuisine. I don't get why so many restaurants these days are "fusion" or "contemporary". Make up your mind and stick to it!

My friend and I both ordered the BBQ pulled pork sandwich. It comes on a pretty boring roll, with bbq sauce, spiced cabbage, pickled red onions, tomatoes and jalapeƱo rings. Not bad, minus the boring bread. I got the fried green tomatoes (not cooked enough) and she got the sweet potato fries (yum-o). For drinks my friend got a really tasty sangria and I ordered a ginger-lemonade concoction that was also pretty good. I think for dinner the prices were just a tad over what I would expect for the food, and the drinks were also over-priced for what you get.

I love the courtyard, very New Orleans. We sat up top and it made for good people watching. All-in all a cute little place. The food is decent, but nothing to rave about. Coming back I might do lunch minus the drinks.

Here is to more dining in the Bay Area! xoxo

Nola on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

{picture of the day}

Sailing in Chicago

So I've decided to showcase my favorite picture's in between restaurant's.  I'm going to be locked in a library for the next couple weeks in Cali, which leaves no room for dining out. And let's be honest, no one cares what I'm eating at home. It's too much trouble to take fancy photos of my kitchen spread anyways. And so it begins. I'd love some feedback from you guys about the idea of going more photographic. thoughts? Happy Wednesday! xoxo

Monday, August 15, 2011


I'm a bit obsessed with Sunday's in Chicago. Especially Sundays that are spent roaming neighborhoods and refraining from checking my watch or phone for hours. This past Sunday Warren and I decided to brunch at LOKal then spend the afternoon checking out some stores. It is a rare opportunity to get him to agree to shop with me so of course I wouldn't turn it down. And also, it's my last Sunday in town before heading back to Cali.

I was excited to try LoKal since I've been dying to brunch the 7$ bottomless mimosa's / or 9$ bottomless bloody's. What a great deal. This is a European-inspired restaurant, as reflected by the menu and decor. We opted to sit at the bar as it not only allows for great people watching but is just plan fun to chat with the staff.

We both got bloody's and man, were they good! I love garnish in my drink but I think for a bottomless option celery and olives did suffice. The bartender informed us he made the concoction himself and half-way through service when they ran out we watched them make more. This mix consisted of siracha sauce, worcester, horseradish etc. A few surprises that tickle your throat but tasty none the less.

For brunch I was feeling a bit full from the drinks so I ordered a LOKal sandwich with fried eggs, oven roasted tomatoes, arugula, smoked polish sausage and a sesame aioli. And Warren ordered the biscuits and gravy with smoked sausage, sundried tomatoes, coriander and roasted potatoes. Mine was pretty darn good. I could have used a bit more of the aioli but the sausage was smokey and yummy with the tomatoes. And his was pretty good, again smoky gravy and the same sausage.

The brunch was elevated by the sausage and sauces that they used. It's not exactly The Southern's brunch, but a bit more Euro if you will. I wanna give props to the staff because half-way through brunch a wave of people started service and they were swamped. I felt so bad I almost wanted to jump behind the bar and help out. They managed to pull it together nicely and we left with genuine thank-you's and goodbyes.  I think I'd come back to brunch with a large group, not sure about dinner though I didn't see anything on the menu that stood out to me.

After brunch we strolled down Milwaukee to the lovely vintage/consignment stores with a little buzz. A lovely Sunday. Hope you had a great weekend!!

LOKal on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

MCA Chicago

After 2 weeks of intense classes I have a month off to study for comprehensive exams. The thought of staying in Cali was a little too overwhelming so I figured I'd come back to Chi for a bit. I know, I know, I just left! But I can't help myself- Chicago summers are too good not to miss. So I've been spending days studying and evenings trying to occupy myself on a budget.

One of the best things about Chicago is that a lot of city-wide events are free. The MCA - Contemporary Art Museum  is my absolute favorite free thing to do in the city. Tuesday nights in fact, are free weekly. And during the summer they have Jazz on the terrace in the back. So I got to check it out once more...

 The terrace was lovely, and sitting out on the grass was very relaxing. You have options for food such as dining at the cafe:  off the menu or their themed buffet (this Tuesday it was France). Then you can sit right next to the band. Or you can get hot dogs and burgers and sit on the grass. We opted for the burgers. And man, they were so mediocre I was annoyed I spend 25$ for food. All of the MCA food is Wolfgang Puck catering but it might as well been street food. Bad street food that is. And come to think of it - I don't think I've ever had good food @ MCA events. I've eaten Puck catering at private parties and they were delicious, but never good food @ the MCA.

 I noted others had brought their own food to the grass area, so that might be something to consider, but be discrete I think the website discourages that.

After the food and a little relaxation on the grass we headed inside for some art. I always feel like the best stuff is on the 3rd floor and I always run out of time! It was ok this time around - I miss the Jeff Koons bunny.

All in all it was a nice night, and something to do. I don't love any of the food the MCA has, ever. So don't be going to try to feast. The art is often confusing and rather abstract but I like it (it's not for everyone). But just being in such a lovely space right in the middle of the city is enough to get me coming back.

You can also check out first friday's which is more about the scene than the art (or food for that matter). And I should mention if you like the MCA enough you can always volunteer for these events. Which is something I do from time to time.

And here is a little video of whats now at the MCA. enjoy! 

Mark Handforth: Plaza Project from MCA Chicago on Vimeo.