Valentine’s Dessert

2-4-2015 6-25-28 PM

This is seriously the most simple sweet treat! It’s perfect for Valentine’s Day because A. festive colors duh! and B. you get to look all fancy/sophisticated for a fraction of the price and effort. Now we’re talking! I honestly think Valentine’s day is silly and overrated (nobody wants to wait in those nasty lines for a rezzie at a crowded restaurant!). Soooo in my book, it’s all about pampering my friends/loved ones and baking delicious treats and writing goofy, meaningful cards to show everyone how much I love them. I know, I know, sorry. Really it’s about the sweetheart candies and Dora Explorer cardboard cutout cards that you buy last minute at Ralphs! SO FUN!!

But seriously, make these. They’re yummy and really pretty and the strawberries (and dark chocolate?) are good for you!

What you need:

♥ Marshmallows (pink and white for festive effect)
♥ Chocolate (dark is best, but get crazy and go for a white drizzle, add chopped almonds, etc!)
♥ Strawberries
♥ Toothpicks (or skewers if you want to make dessert kabobs!)

Roll the tip of a mallow into your yummy melted chocolate, take a taste test, and repeat. Kidding-not-kidding about the taste test part. I like to only dip the mallows because they’re amazingly easier to coat in chocolate than strawberries, but if you’re a profesh, go ahead and get a little fancy!  Then, skewer your kiddies together on a toothpick and lay cute-ly on a serving dish!

Voila!

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Restaurant Review: Church & State

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Restaurant Name: Church + State 
Location: 1850 Industrial St, Los Angeles, CA 90021
Halfsies Rating: ★★★★★
Halfsies Bank: $$$$
Genre: French Great for: Date night

This place is fantastic for a glass of wine and some appetizers. If you’re going all-out, its great for full on dinner as well, but trust me when I say you won’t be able to move after a full meal at Church + State. 

The ambience is simply magical: with rustic wood, artsy lights, and a flare of French decor, the dimly lit restaurant is small and cozy enough to have you feeling that you jetted off to Europe, just for dinner. On spring and summer nights (or heck, pretty much any night in LA), long tables are set in the outside area to allow for dining under the stars.

I advise getting here early if you don’t have a reservation, because if you show up past seven you’ll be standing in the doorway, tortured by the delicious aromas that won’t be yours until you’ve long been salivating.

Another plus of getting here early: the chef loves passing out goat-cheese puff pastry, and boy am I a sucker for anything bread and cheese. Follow that with the standard bread board (served warm with a butter so thick and creamy that even French natives won’t be unphased), and you’ll be full before you’ve even put in your order.

For the cultured wino – this is your place. I’m a happy camper on any night that = a glass of pino noir (there are so many good ones to choose from) and an order of escargot. Don’t make the mistake of thinking appetizers are meant to be just that – apps can go a long way and completely fill you up! 

My go-to items: Escargots de Bourgogne en Croûte (or breaded escargot for you non-francophiles), Os à Moelle (roasted bone marrow), and one of their many “tarts” which are basically fancy french pizzas. 

For the less adventurous, not to worry: there are plenty of more mainstream options, like mac&cheese, french onion soup, salads, and various chicken, salmon, and duck entrees. 

Near the up and coming arts district of DTLA, when you’re done with your meal you can stroll the surroundings of the restaurant and stop in one or more local bars/boutiques! Date night at it’s finest. 

OR, just stay at the bar (below). It’s.so.freaking.cute!!!! ♥

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Restaurant Review: Zengo

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Restaurant Name: Zengo
Location: 395 Santa Monica Pl, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Halfsies Rating: ★★★★★
Halfsies Bank: $$$
Genre: Tapas
Great for: Brunch

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What we loved: $39 brunch includes unlimited tapas & drinks for a two-hour period

What we’d improve: If you don’t make a rezzie, tough luck. We wish there were better accomodations for walk-ins, but this place is so great, we’re actually okay with making brunch plans ahead of time.

What we’d recommend: Ask your server to bring out an assortment of dishes, proportionate to the number of guests you have at your table. Once you’ve tried everything on the extensive brunch menu, you can request seconds (and thirds) of your favorite items!! I’m in love with the empanadas, brussel sprouts, sushi rolls, yucca fries, and meatballs!!

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Be forewarned… on weekends Zengo is known for DJs spinning hot tunes! It can get loud, but is a perfect way to keep the party going on Sunday Funday!