California Chutney is a fast casual Indian spot in Pasadena that leaves you full and feeling good. Often times, you come out from eating Indian food feeling overly stuffed and full — with lots of bold flavors and rice with meat (my comfort food), one can’t help but stuff their face. California Chutney really hones in on the flavors while keeping the meal sensible and nutritious. That’s their philosophy.

Executive Chef Sunil Lad really takes his creativity to action and produces some wonderful dishes. With multiple tandoor ovens on site, they are able to produce fresh naan every time. I saw the process of making these — the cooks had to be delicate and needed a bit of finesse.

Here we have a naan taco. The naan is a perfect vessel to add almost anything. The Indian flavors in the chicken tikki was bold and fresh. The naan was perfectly warm and balanced — crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside. You can tell they’ve been working on the perfect dough and hit their mark.

The lamb and rice was off the menu, but I can totally see this on the menu in the future. The lamb was perfectly seasoned and had a nice texture. It was soft and flavorful — just a hint of that lamb gamey flavor gave this cut a nice complexity. My weakness is meat and rice, and this dish really hit the spot.

The shrimp skewers in preparation for the shrimp dish was a sight to see. Perfectly cooked in the tandoor oven, the edged were charred nicely and gave a nice flavor to the shrimp. Mixed with red bell peppers, onions and green onions, the dish was a complete success. Spritzing on the cooked lemon made everything perfect. Each bite of the shrimp was satisfying. None were dried out or flavorless. The dish was so healthy and flavorful — I could probably eat this dish with their rice alone and feel very full and still feel good about myself.

The food at California Chutney really delivered what they believe in. All of the dishes were flavorful and healthy. Their ingredients were of the highest quality and you can tell the chefs really take care of the food. Even their chutney bar (not pictured) had a lot to choose from. While other spots nickel and dime you for the specialty sauces, theirs was just out in the open for patrons to enjoy. The interior is fresh and new — it is almost reminiscent of the food — clean, fresh, and colorful.


LA Times The Taste 2015 – Dinner With a Twist

by Franklin on September 17, 2015

Dinner with a Twist was the Saturday night event, and it had a lot more memorable bites and dishes. The flavors were a bit more packed and delicate. The night started around sunset and as night time set in, the event was packed!

Grilled peaches with cheese. #TasteLA

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Love and Salt’s grilled peach was stellar. The addition of dandelion greens and duck salami was great.

First bite for the night is ceviche! #TasteLA

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Coni’seafood made a nice shrimp ceviche marinated in tamarind. The shrimp had a nice texture and flavor that was like no other.

The ricotta cavatelli with Chianina beef. #TasteLA

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The ricotta cavatelli with chianina beef was great. The sauce had a nice depth of flavor and was rich in flavor.

Tuna Crudo from Scarpetta. @ConantNYC your team is killin it!

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Scarpetta’s Tuna crudo with sea urchin sauce was a great bite. The addition of fried garlic and bonito gave it a nice delicate saltiness to the dish. The fish was very fresh and candy like.

The falafel taco from top chef @KatsujiTanabe #TasteLA

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The falafel taco from Top Chef’s Kasuji Tanabe was masterfully prepared. The falafel was crispy and full of deep flavors. I wasn’t a fan of the taco idea, but the taste was definitely there.

I just made sure the last thing I ate was the fresh made mozzarella from @pizzaprova #TasteLA

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Provo Pizza was my all time favorite of the night. It wasn’t because of the pizza, but the mozzarella ball they gave out. It was warm, silky smooth and eating it was just pure pleasure.

Other notable dishes came from a plethora of chefs. Kris Morningstar of Terrine made a great salade landaise with foie gras torchon, gizzards, and shallot vinaigrette. The Raymond 1886 came out with a great scallop dish. I would say 10e Restaurant’s lamb chops were the star of the night. Everything just tasted better at night. Maybe it was the lack of heat and sun. The event at the night events were a lot more packed and lines were quite long. The Taste was such a fun event and always look forward to it every year!


LA Times The Taste 2015 – Field to Fork

by Franklin on September 17, 2015

The LA Times’ The Taste event always follows right after LA Food & Wine and also is during the Labor Day Weekend. This weekend is never good for my diet and is always filled with delicious food and a barbecue on Monday. Field to Fork was the Saturday daytime event. I made my way around and tasted all that the restaurants and chefs had to offer. Some of my favorites are below.

Matcha Donut with cognac apple filling. #TasteLA

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Hinoki and the Bird’s matcha donuts were quite nice. The hint of green tea matcha was subtle but noticeable, and the cognac apple filling was prominent and tasty.

Solid burgers from BOA Steakhouse

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Boa Steakhouse always makes a great burger at these events. The brie in the slider gave a nice creaminess and the fried onions, a nice texture.

These Brussels sprouts… #TasteLA

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The Ingo’s Tasty Diner Brussels sprouts were great. It proved that not all Brussels sprout dishes are the same. The goat cheese and Marcona almonds were a great match.

Vegan stuff..

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Freshology Anson Mills polenta pudding. It had vanilla bean and candied Fresno chile. The texture and flavor was like no other.

Cookin down.. See you again in a few hours! #TasteLA

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Of course, I like the end things with some ice cream. Amorino of Beverly Hills was serving their gelato (not in flower form). It was still good in and cold in the summer heat.

Other notable dishes were Quenelle’s graham cracker Thai tea ice cream. I also liked the fried olives prepared by The Gadarene Swine. Another notable dish was East Borough’s Vietnamese fish sauce wings — it had a salty spicy and fishy taste that was a bit off and addicting at the same time. Everything was very tasty and well prepared. The heat wasn’t unbearable and the food/drinks kept flowing. For me, the overflow of ice cream was all I needed to keep me cool.


5th Annual LA Food & Wine – Lexus Live on Grand

by Franklin on September 9, 2015

The 5th Annual LA Food & Wine Lexus Live on Grand was the highlight of the weekend. Last year, Questlove graced the main stage with his DJ skills. This year, he brought along his band, The Roots with him and put on an awesome concert. The food was definitely happening this night. Good food, wine, and music was the recipe for a great party atmosphere of gastronomic proportions.

Hudson Valley Farms foie gras. Best of tonight's #lafw #lafoodwine

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By far, my favorite of the night, and I think everyone’s night was the Hudson Valley Farms foie gras. Each bite was fatty and smooth, and the tartness from the blueberry and sweetness from the white chocolate was so perfect.

Went for this twice! Doesn't look "pretty" but so flavorful. #lafw #lafoodwine

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Another favorite that I think was underrated was the Guajillo chile crusted baby back ribs. They were wrapped in a roll and dipped in nuoc mam cham which gave it a nice tart and saltiness that was so delicious.

The cowboy sushi was too nice! Having #lafw withdrawals already #lafoodwine

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The most interesting bite would be the cowboy sushi. The raw beef on top of the rice served nigiri style was stellar.

This whole pig bbq display #lafw #lafoodwine

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This whole pig picnic from Barrel & Ashes was a true display of deliciousness.

Other great bites came from Union’s Bruce Kalman. He made a roasted beet tortellini sauced with lemon, poppy seed, and wild fennel. The citrus marinated hamachi with purple potato from chef Patrice Martineau of Montage was unforgettable. Another foie dish was the seared foie gras and pig ear crisp from Hot’s Kitchen. After all of the great dishes, I enjoyed The Roots kill it on stage. The guy with the beat machine was great too. After the concert, I grabbed one more Hudson Valley Farms foie gras and an ice cream for the road. It was such a great night!!!


The Lexus Grand Avenue Night Market hosted by Tyler Florence was a success! With 30 chefs whipping up their special dishes and an overflow of wine and cocktails, the night went on with the tunes of a mediocre DJ. I like to believe the DJ was just “opening” for The Roots the next night.

#lafoodwine First bite of the night is porkbelly!!

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My first bite, which was the pork belly above set the mood of the night. A lot of chefs were doing pork belly, and for a good reason. It was delicious! Topped with a zesty sauce and atop a nice crunchy slaw, the dish was a great start.

Hotdog at #lafoodwine?? Banh Mi style.. 'Twas pretty good.

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Another stellar dish was the banh mi hot dog. It had all the great flavors of a banh mi sandwich, with the humbleness of a hotdog. Great combination, and very gutsy to serve hot dogs at LA Food & Wine!

Yuhhhhh… #lafw #lafoodwine #badass

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Another porky dish I liked was Badmaash’s rice and pork dish. The spiced mango pork belly went perfectly with the Bacon Biryani. Pork and rice is indeed my weakness.

Other great dishes included arroz caldo from Eggslut’s/Rice Bar’ Calvin Dunn. Chef Tin Vuong of Little Sister had a great dish of a vermicelli noodle salad with tender lemongrass beef and spices galore. Other favorites included:
- Hamasaku’s Jewelry Box Chirashi bowl
- Superba’s nitrogen candy
- Seoul Sausage’s Chinese Spiced Lamb Belly
- Patina’s Chef Paul Lee’s Dungeness Crab Cone (pictured below)


A.O.C. – Still one of my Favorites

by Franklin on August 23, 2015

A.O.C. continues to be my favorite restaurant in Los Angeles. The food price is right around my budget, new space is larger and has so much character. Suzanne Goin is a legend in LA, and A.O.C. stands on its own. I still remember the day I went to their first location. The food was still memorable, and left me wanting more from the city. Here is the link to the older A.O.C., and back when I was starting this food blog.

The farmer’s plate was so vibrant and hearty. It is exactly what I imagine a farmer would eat. Whatever there was plenty of, grill it, pair it with some nice bread and call it a meal. The summer vegetables included squash and eggplant. the chicpea puree, muhammara, burrata, and grilled toast gave the dish the added flavor and vibrance. I am a meat-eater at heart, but this vegetable plate made me a vegetable lover.

Another healthy and flavorful dish was the grilled peaches, ricotta, and pistachio aillade. The ricotta and grilled peaches were so good together. Adding the pistachios and greens just gave it a nice balance of crunch and bitterness. This was my favorite of the night.

The arroz negro is a classic here and I always get this dish. The squid was cooked so perfectly tender and the saffron aioli rounds out the whole dish perfectly. The green onion gives a nice balance to the rich squid ink and rice.

The halibut dish was spectacular. Paired with tomato, dungeness crab, and horseradish creme fraiche, everything was creamy and fresh. Seafood done simply is all that is required. The acidity from the tomatoes gave the dish a nice bite and contrast from the buttery fish and sea salty crab.

The location is so perfect and steps upon steps better than their last location down the street. The outdoor seating is some of the best in Los Angeles, and the Spanish architecture is prevalent throughout the restaurant. The food is always consistently perfect here and I always come back. I hate going to the same restaurants over and over, but at A.O.C., I don’t mind it much.

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2015 LA Street Food Fest

by Franklin on July 23, 2015

It was my first time covering the LA Street Food Fest, and I gatta say, it was a pretty awesome food festival. Being held at the Rose Bowl, it gave me a chance to literally go around the perimeter and try all of the food samples. Never having been at a football game or on a football field, it was kind of awe-inspiring to stand on the field.

The food selection was really great. The cool thing about the LA Street Food Fest is that the food was really down to earth and simple. Donuts, poke, ice cream, and burgers were some of the samples that vendors had. Some of the stellar items were from Bachi Burger, with their short rib and kimchi burgers. One of my top picks for the event was Free Range’s chicken sandwich. I was quite impressed with Colorado Donut’s display and donut selection. They killed it with all of their specialty donuts and flavors.

The event in all was a success and was glad to have been part of it! I heard in past years, the crowds were unbearable. It looks like the crew at LA Street Food Fest worked out the kinks and made it even better this year. The Rose Bowl is a perfect venue for this kind of thing. The ring shape lets vendors spread out and hungry eaters can eat and drink as the go around the bowl. You can even go on the field and enjoy some food and drinks picnic style.

I can’t wait for next year’s LA Street Food Fest!


Tacolandia 2015

by Franklin on June 14, 2015

If any city is going to have a taco festival, Los Angeles is going to do it. If any person is going to spearhead this task, it would only be Bill Esparza. This was my first time attending the taco themed food festival, and I was in awe of all the different kinds of tacos everyone presented. The 4,500+ participants got to try food from over 80 vendors.

The Venue:
The event took place at El Pueblo de Los Angeles, just next door to the historic Olvera Street. This was the perfect venue for this type of event. Closing off the streets for the masses of people, everyone had a chance to bounce from station to station. The lines moved quickly to enter the event. Being out in the sun in the middle of the street is the only way to eat tacos.

The Food:
I think we ended up eating about 12 – 15 different kinds of tacos. Some of the stellar and interesting tacos came outside of Los Angeles. I was surprised to see some vendors coming from Mexico and Baja California. The seafood tostada from La Guerrerense from Ensenada was quite memorable. Bar Ama’s pork belly taco and nacho chili cheese sauce was stellar. The most interesting taco has to go to Corazon de Tierra’s duck pate taco. I was sad to have missed Kraken Taco’s grilled octopus taco. As a matter of fact, I was looking for any of the various octopus/squid tacos, but all were gone. Food ran out quickly, and I think that would have been one of the best of the bunch.

The Good:
Other than the delicious tacos, participants were able to drink and over-drink Jarritos! Tacos and Jarritos is just a perfect combination. The venue was perfect. It brought the historic Los Angeles essence into the whole event. Another good is that the lines moved quickly to get into the venue.

The Bad:
Though the lines to get into the venue was relatively quick. Some lines to the actual food was quite unbearable. This was usually caused by food not being prepped fast enough, or fans taking pictures with Danny Trejo :) I know these vendors are producing some quality tacos, so the lines are understood. Though the event was supposed to last until 8PM, most of the vendors ran out of food by 5PM. Respect to the vendors who were still serving food until the end!

On a side note, food events such as these need to serve water. Eating tacos by the dozen and being out in the hot sun, you sometimes just need ice cold water. Jarritos is great, but you can’t beat ice cold water when you are parched.

The End:
This was my first Tacolandia event, so I don’t have past events to compare it to. As far a Los Angeles food events go, it went quite well. The food was quite diverse and the quality was exceptional. Tacolandia 2015 was fun and memorable. I can’t wait for next year’s event!


Remember when Mexicali Tacos used to be on 1st and Beaudry in downtown? Those were the good ol’ days. Things have definitely changed, for the better. Their permanent location on Figueroa is kind of at a hidden spot, and the parking sucks, but the flavors of 1st and Beaudry are still there.

The catchetada is my go to item. With each bite, you get the crisp and crunch, the juicy meat, the melted cheese, and the smokey chipotle aioli. It is all flavor and no messing around. I usually get it with an egg on top, but uhh, cash was an issue. The vampiro quesadilla was all flavor as well. That garlic sauce they put in there is addicting and hits the spot every time. The al pastor taco is leaner than most other spots, but the addition of the sauces gave it a nice flavor. The green is my favorite as it is surprisingly spicy.

Mexicali Tacos remains one of my favorite Mexican spots in LA. The thing is, when they were on the corner, they used to have this charm. Eating al fresco in the LA night, the tacos were more delicious then — parking was definitely easier. Now as the years have gone by, newer and better taco joints are popping up. Mexicali, which was once hot and new is now a classic. It is funny how time flies.

Mexicali Taco & Co on Urbanspoon


Scoops – A Little Brown Bread and Some Sugar

by Franklin on April 10, 2015

Scoops really started it all. I’m obviously not saying they were the first ice cream shop around, but they were around before or during the whole gourmet flavors stage in LA. It’s hot. It’s summer. Why not treat yourself to some Brown Bread Ice Cream?

The ice cream shop isn’t really fancy. This somewhat hole in the wall joint just focuses on one thing — ice cream. Their unique, but now somewhat common flavors keep this place afloat. At only 3 bucks for a heaping scoop of ice cream, the delicious flavors keep attracting old and new customers. What did I get? I always get their brown bread — just regular ice cream with bits of waffle cone inside. I also had the sweet potato burnt sugar. Those two would be my favorite together.

Their ice cream is a little soft and melts easily, but I was done in less that 2 minutes. Three bucks well spent, I’d say.

Scoops on Urbanspoon


Hula Dog – Stuffed Bun Hot Dog from Hawaii

by Franklin on March 26, 2015

Oh, I miss Hawaii. The soft ocean breeze, the relaxed attitude, and beautiful coastal scenery — I love it all. When I saw Hula Dog at Newport Beach, I was instantly intrigued. They sell Hawaiian style hot dogs, lemonade, and shaved ice. I came in for a quick snack and drink. They basically get their in house made bread rolls, and the cool part is, they stick it inside a hot rod which heats up the bun from within, and create a hole for the hot dog to be inserted. Their topping and sauces range from fruit relishes from the island.

I ordered the bacon taro bread with polish sausage, topped with their secret garlic sauce and guava relish. From what I expected and what I actually got was very different. I was expecting a warm, chewy, doughy bread with hints of bacon and taro. The bread was very stale and pretty much broke. It had little flavor, and definitely no bacon or taro flavor. The sauces didn’t really help moisten everything. The hot dog sausage itself was very good. It have a nice beefy flavor and a good snap. It was juicy, and no too salty.

The lemonade was quite refreshing. Freshly squeezing the lemons really made a difference. It wasn’t too sweet, it wasn’t too sour or tart. It was just a refreshing, cold cup of lemonade. Perfect, actually.

Hula Dog was somewhat of a letdown. If it were exactly what I had imagined, it would have been quite spectacular. Imagine that perfect hot dog sausage wrapped in a nice chewy bun, filled with a tropical fruit relish — now that would be awesome. It was a good thing to wash down everything with the lemonade. They seem to be a popular thing in Hawaii, but maybe lost something when it made its way over here. Nonetheless, you still have the beach to enjoy, and I guess a hot dog and a lemonade at the beach isn’t too bad.

Hula Dog on Urbanspoon


Newcomb’s Ranch – Canyon Ride and Pancakes

by Franklin on March 22, 2015

The roads are clear, and the roads up Angeles Forest are asking for some action. One morning, some buddies and I decided to take our cars up the mountain caravan style. With some spirited driving, we made it to Newcomb’s Ranch, a biker and car enthusiasts stop up the mountain. Most stop by to have breakfast, chit chat about their bikes and go along their way. It was great to see this community and enjoy breakfast while at it. The food wasn’t really great, but the pancake was memorable.

The sloppy mess was just that, a sloppy mess. The chili and beans on top of the eggs was a mess, and some rice would have been perfect. The hash browns were not something I enjoyed. It was basically just cooked shaved potatoes.

My eggs were cooked nicely, and the bacon was a good match. Bacon and eggs is always a sure thing — only of the hash browns were good. No crisp, no buttered bits of goodness — they were just kind of there on the plate. Masked in ketchup and hot sauce, I made the most of it.

The pancakes really saved this breakfast. After enjoying my eggs and bacon, I always like to treat myself to pancakes. Theirs was surprisingly fluffy and had the perfect attributes of a good pancake. It was light, tasty, and absorbed the syrup just right. It was great with their coffee.

I know the breakfast was a bit boring, but the pancakes were quite memorable. We really don’t drive up the mountain for some of the best breakfast around, but the experience was great. Getting away from the city and enjoying the drive up the beautiful mountain was a treat in it of itself.

Newcomb's Ranch on Urbanspoon


LA Weekly’s The Essentials

by Franklin on March 16, 2015

The LA Weekly’s The Essentials event was a first time for me. I love going to food events because you can try a number of things from many different chefs and restaurants. The Essentials was held at California Market Center in downtown LA. More than 40 restaurants participated and fed the masses of people. When I say masses of people, these are a lot of people. The lines were a bit insane — I think we waited almost an hour until food touched our lips. Once we got up to the main floor, it was all smooth from there.

My favorites were Coni’Seafood‘s shrimp, octopus, scallop ceviche and Providence/Connie & Ted‘s raw oysters. The creative award goes to Saint Martha‘s for their uni tataki on seaweed “Doritos”. Mélisse‘s wagyu beef béarnaise was memorable. Spago‘s pork belly bánh mì was quite delicious. The pork belly was melt in your mouth wonderful. Curtis Stone plated some white asparagus pain perdu w/foie gras mousse form his restaurant in Beverly Hills, Maude. Also the blue crab rolls from Kiriko was memorable.

The event was filled with food and drinks. After waiting in line for some time, the reward was quite worth it. Can’t wait for next year!


Senor G has everything you want in a Mexican joint. It had some good chips and salsa, a huge burrito with fresh ingredients, and is right next to the beach. Located in Playa del Rey, the location is quite nice and the small space was perfect.

The tortilla chips and salsa was awesome. The chips were ok, but the salsa was spectacular. It was as if they just made it right then and there. The tomatoes were fresh and the flavor was just right. Something about the salsa was just so addicting.

I ordered the Carlito’s Way burrito with beans on the side. It had chopped skirt steak, grilled onion, cheese, guacamole, and rice. The skirt steak was prepared fresh on the flat top grill. Each bite was meaty and hearty. The guacamole was fresh too, probably made not too long ago. The burrito had great taste and flavor, but had one minor (huge) problem. After 2 bites, the burrito fell apart. One huge pet peeve of mine is a burrito that can’t stay together. Even the largest, most packed burrito should stay together if wrapped correctly.

Senor G was a nice pit stop before the beach. The spot is nice and the salsa was really memorable. Every ingredient is fresh and is given so much attention. I didn’t get a chance to try a smoothie at G’s Juice next door, but will definitely have to come back for some.

Senor G's on Urbanspoon


Smashburger – A Classic is a Classic

March 7, 2015

The first time I had a Smashburger was in La Jolla at La Jolla Cove Beach. This was year back, before any locations made its way near Los Angeles and Orange County. It was delicious then, and it is delicious now. The fast casual experience from a burger joint was new and exciting. The fresh [...]

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Hambone’s – That BBQ Got Me

February 24, 2015

Good southern barbecue is hard to come by. Either the sauce isn’t right, the meat is dry, or the sides just don’t cut it. Stumbling upon Hambone’s in Bellflower, I was onto something delicious here. The look was right and the smell was intoxicating. This is that soul food — this stuff sticks to your [...]

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EMC Seafood – Oyster and All for Happy Hour

February 20, 2015

EMC Seafood seems like a fish out of water in K-Town, pun intended. With a clean cut interior and a fresh menu of seafood offerings, there is no smidgen of K-Town funk. Don’t get me wrong — as a Korean with a love/hate relationship with Koreatown, restaurants in this part of town seem to replicate [...]

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Best Fish Taco in Ensenada – Baja Style

February 17, 2015

It is Tuesday! That, for me means tacos! What is not to love about a taco? When you have the perfect tortilla, the perfect fillings of meat, veggies and sauce, it is so delicious. Fish tacos are hard to come by. It’s easy to get a carne asada taco right, but to get a good [...]

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Eggslut – Quick Lunch, Long Line

February 10, 2015

Call someone a slut, and you are asking for trouble. Take someone to Eggslut, and you are just the best friend ever. I remember having Jury Duty (the worst) and we were on our lunch break — I headed straight to the Grand Central Market. It is great to see Downtown flourish and the revival [...]

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Cafe Gratitude – Vegans are People Too

February 6, 2015

Super Bowl is a day of feasting, and not in the sense of a holiday meal, but in a snacking and binge eating sense. We Americans put down nearly 30 million pounds of chips and over a billion chicken wings. A single chicken can only make four pieces of chicken wings — that calculates to [...]

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