Sweet Butter

Sweet Butter ATG FINAL


Where: Sweet Butter
Location: 13824 Ventura Boulevard, Sherman Oaks
Cost: $$


What is it about seeing a line hanging out of a restaurant that instantly makes you feel like you’re missing out? I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but in L.A., anytime you see a group of people congregated outside a dining venue, it’s usually a place you want to be. Aside from word of mouth, it also happens to be the best form of free marketing for an establishment. I cannot tell you how many places I’ve frequented based merely on “line hanging out of the door” advertising. And 9 times out of 10, I can understand the hype. That 1 other time, well

Whenever I find myself driving down Ventura Boulevard on a sunny weekend morning or early afternoon (moon roof open and iPod on shuffle), inevitably, my eye would be drawn to the crowd of people just outside a little yellow building that channels a rustic, welcoming feeling. My eye would then look up and smile at the charming marquee. Sweet Butter. Something in the name just grabs you.

I don’t think there’s anything that I enjoy more than kicking-off a weekend by going out to breakfast. Sadly, it’s not something I get to do as often as I’d like, so I’m particularly picky when choosing a place. I’m all about the food (of course!) but I admit that I’m a sucker for good ambiance. I trust that when my fellow Angelenos feel the need to wait on the sidewalk for a table, it must be for something pretty special. Angelenos don’t typically have the patience to just stand around…especially when you can walk 2 minutes in either direction to find somewhere else to eat.

Sweet Butter Seating _ATG FINAL

{Exterior/The best seats in the house.}

After hitting Yelp to ensure legitimacy, Sweet Butter became the next place to conquer. Though I can appreciate the kind of business that has people so into it that they’re willing to stand on the sidewalk for scrambled eggs, I made it a point to go during their slower time for my inaugural visit. It was a crisp, Friday morning in January around 10:00am, the place practically deserted. In other words, perfect timing.

I was immediately struck by the “homey” feel to Sweet Butter and the use of the space. As you enter through wrought iron gates you’re instantly welcomed by a seating area, doors on either side of it. The one of the left leading to where the magic happens, the kitchen. The one on the right, where you consume and enjoy the magic. It holds the bakery, market, coffee bar, and most importantly, it’s where you order.

Sweet Butter Welcoming Words_ATG FINAL

{Positive words and cucumber-infused water to greet you.}

Sweet Butter Market_ATG FINAL

{Sweet Butter has a charming little market inside, were you can purchase everything from jam to candles.}

Sweet Butter Menu_Interior_ATG FINAL

{Perusing the menu. / Checking out the interior shop.}

The menu is diverse enough to cater to anyone’s needs – whether you’re in the mood for breakfast (served all day), a hearty salad, a sandwich or a wrap. The same attention given to the decor, is equally allocated to the ingredients used on the menu. Sweet Butter’s turkey, chicken, and beef are all free-range or grass-feed. They personally make their own salad dressing, spreads, and pastries in-house using the freshest of ingredients, without preservatives. Are you vegan or gluten-intolerant? Heck, do you need a last-minute gift for the foodie in your life? Sweet Butter’s got you covered.

Swwt Butter Interior ATG FINAL

{Interior. Artisan products for sale.}

Sweet Butter Interiors ATG FINAL

{Coffee bar menu. / Bookshelf full of goodies to purchase.}

Caffeine addicts: I was beyond bummed when I ordered a “vanilla” latte and was told that they don’t make them. (Boo!) The baritsa was quick to try to put a smile on my face and offered their signature “sweet latte” made with simple syrup instead. My frown was instantly turned upside down. She was right. I didn’t miss the subtle sweetness of vanilla, the simple syrup did just the trick – and I’m sure in a much healthier fashion. Admittedly, I’ve been back a handful of times just to stop in and grab a latte to-go.

Sweet Butter Latte_ATG FINAL

{Their sweet latte is to die for. It’s my favorite new place to grab a latte in the Valley.}

I must have passed the wrought iron gates and yellow walls of Sweet Butter on Ventura Boulevard dozens of times over the last few years, always making a mental note that my next girl’s brunch would find me there. Unfortunately, the blessing and the curse of living in a big city with dining options abound, is that it’s slightly overwhelming! I simply never got around to it. I don’t know what it was that made me finally stop being so curious about what was on the other side of the crowded sidewalk. Perhaps it really came down to feeling like I was missing out. And indeed, I was.

Since there are as many cafés in LA as there are out of work actors, I’m looking for what makes an establishment stand out. Of course, a long line of devotees is a good start, but what more does it have to offer? Sweet Butter creates an experience around food. From the quality ingredients, to the welcoming decor; the artisan shop, to the best latte I’d had in a while.

And you know me, if the latte’s right…I’ll be back.

Overview:

PROS: Great ambiance, quaint market, fresh ingredients, well-curated breakfast and lunch menu, staff friendly, vegan and gluten-free options available, pay before you eat (perfect for when you don’t want the hassle of splitting the bill), and online ordering ready for in-store pick-up.

CONS: Parking is difficult (but when is it not?), coffee is pricey (but worth it), the lunch rush and weekends are extremely busy (I waited 45 MINUTES during my second visit to receive my order), and hard to find a table during rush times.

Swwet Butter Pancakes_ATG FINAL 2

{Mia’s Breakfast: scrambled eggs, bacon, blueberry pancakes.}

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Hollywood Costume Exhibit

Hollywoood Costume_ATG FINAL HEADER


What: Hollywood Costume Exhibit
Where: The Historic Wilshire May Company Building
Location: 6067 Wilshire Boulevard, Miracle Mile
Cost: $20.00


Unlike some years, I’ll remember fondly how I kicked-off 2015…and that’s in-style. Literally. While most likely spent January 1st curled up on the couch nursing their New Year’s Eve hang-over, we found our way through the easily maneuverable LA streets to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences new home on Wilshire Boulevard. Currently inside the historic Wilshire May Company Building, resides a tribute to Hollywood history. The caveat is that this history is told through fabric and shoes, handbags and hats.

Hollywood Costume creates the rare opportunity of introducing movie-lovers to the iconic wardrobe worn by some of the most legendary actors to ever grace the big screen. The exhibition highlights over 150 costumes spanning the Golden Age of Cinema (the late 1920s) to the present day. Its aim is not only to allow the costumes themselves to step out of the screen and into the general public, but to further acquaint fiction with reality by inviting an up-close and personal look at those behind these emblematic looks, the costume designer.

Hollywood Costume ATG FINAL CU{Front entrance.}

The exhibition’s message is clear: without costume designers and what they bring to the table, one of the most pivotal aspects to the cinematic process is valueless. Costumes encourage character development, create a sense of time and place, and most importantly, drive the narrative. Ultimately, without the right look an “actor” is just “an actor,” but with the right attire, an “actor” becomes someone we see as a character, separate from the movie star on-screen. This is why we see Indiana Jones, and not Harrison Ford; why we see Batman, and not Christian Bale; and why we see Dorothy Gale, not Judy Garland.

Hollywood Costume TIX_ATG FINAL{Tickets.}

Like the characteristics of Hollywood itself, the exhibition expressively features a dramatic, and moody approach. Dim, yet strategic lighting showcases the glitz of a dress or the cut of a suit. The room instantly encourages viewers to travel back in time, to when you first met these pieces on-camera. The treat here is not only seeing wardrobe that’s instantly recognizable, but absorbing the words and video interviews of those personally involved with building the looks, reminiscing over how and what it took to create these iconic movie characters.

See the white ivory William Travilla dress that exposed Marilyn Monroe’s legs as she famously stood over the subway grate in The Seven Year Itch (that same dress sold for $4.6 million at a 2011 auction). Stand in front of Julie Andrew’s Mary Poppins costume. See Beyoncé as a “Dreamgirl.” Take a moment to re-visit Julia Roberts’ memorable red evening gown in Pretty Woman. Look at Rocky’s actual boxing shorts. See one of Elizabeth Taylor’s Cleopatra ensembles. Batman, Superman, Captain America, Spiderman, Darth Vader; and Bond…James Bond, all make an appearance. And the highlight, staring at Dorothy’s famous (estimated $3-$4 million dollar-valued) ruby slippers from 1939’s The Wizard of Oz.

It’s hard to capture the breadth of what’s contained in the exhibition in words. Unfortunately, photography is not allowed inside the galleries. I shot the exteriors, but the following images are courtesy of The Academy to give you a taste of what’s inside:

Titanic_Costumes_ATG FINAL

{Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack Dawson / Kate Winslet as Rose DeWitt Bukater, Titanic, 1997}

The Birds_Costume_ATG FINAL

{Tippi Hedren as Melanie Daniels, The Birds, 1963}

Superman_SuperHeroes_Costumes_ATG FINAL

{Front: Chris Evans as Captain America / Henry Cavill as Superman (2013)
Top: Christopher Reeves as Superman (1978)
Back: Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man / Christian Bale as Batman}

Pretty Woman_Costume_ATG FINAL

{Julia Roberts as Vivian Ward, Pretty Woman, 1990}

Star Wars_Kill Bill_James Bond_ATG FINAL

{Daniel Craig as James Bond / Harrison Ford as Han Solo / Uma Thurman as The Bride (Kill Bill)}

Social Network_Argo Costume_ATG FINAL

{Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg, The Social Network, 2010 / Ben Affleck as Tony Mendez, Argo, 2012}

Indiana Jones_ATG FINAL

{Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones.}

Meryl Streep_Costumes_ATG FINAL

{A special tribute to the range characters played by the incomparable Meryl Streep. Looks from The Iron Lady, It’s Complicated, Mamma Mia, and Out of Africa.}

American Hustle_Costume ATG FINAL

{Amy Adams as Sydney Prosser / Christian Bale as Irving Rosenfeld, American Hustle, 2013}

Needless to say, it was an unforgettable way to spend my first afternoon of 2015. Nearly three hours later, we emerged, filled with a rich and renewed appreciation for costume design. It’s pretty astounding when you think about how much clothing impacts a film and your memory of it. I don’t necessarily recollect every aspect of a film, but can instantly be transported to that world (or a time in my life) when seeing even a short clip of a sweeping camera movement over an iconic costume.

Hollywood Costume does a phenomenal job of curating and combining my two favorite “F” words: film and fashion. It salutes and elevates key players and key moments in the art of cinema.

Just a note that if you plan to visit Hollywood Costume, that it is a timed exhibition. This means that guests are admitted into the presentation at designated time slots on specific days to prevent over-crowding. It’s encouraged that you buy your tickets in advance on-line. (Hint: use promo code “MayCo” for a special discount).

The exhibition closes Monday, March 2nd.

Get there quick…you won’t regret it!

Hollywood Costume Program_ATG FINAL

{Program.}

Hollywood Costume Exterior_ATG FINAL

{Full exterior, Wilshire May Co. Building. Saying goodbye after an incredible day.}

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*Interior photo sources via The Academy website press kit.

We All Scream For Ice Cream

Salt&Straw_Header_ATG FINAL{Feast your eyes on Chocolate Gooey Brownie ice cream.}


Where: Salt & Straw
Location: 240 North Larchmont Boulevard, Larchmont Village
Cost: $$


Just a few doors down the street from “The (over-hyped) Best Iced Latte in America,” rests one of the newest additions to Larchmont Boulevard, and it’s quickly becoming the ice cream spot in town. It’s not unusual to see the line hanging out the door into the wee hours of the night; as Angelenos happily fork over their hard-earned money for a slightly expensive, yet decadent, brain freeze.

Salt & Straw Exterior _ATG FINAL

Originating in The Beaver State (that’s Oregon, if you didn’t catch my attempt to be clever), Salt & Straw aims to take a beloved American indulgence to a new level. You might be asking, how does one do that exactly? If you think about it, unlike certain treats, ice cream couldn’t be a more accessible delicacy. If you’re in dire straits in the middle of the night to deal with a crappy day by drowning your sorrows in a tub of ice cream, a trip to your neighborhood grocery store happens to also have the added benefit of welcoming you with more options than you’ll ever need. And yet, I can see why scoop shops, like Salt & Straw or Sprinkles Ice Cream, might withstand the test of time…and the abundance of accessibility.

In a nutshell, it’s because when heading to specialty places such as these it’s in “the event” of it all. It’s in the getting in the car with a destination in mind. It’s in the anticipation of a rewarding treat. It’s in the gazing at the menu, deciding what you want. It’s in the tasting of the samples. It’s in the ambiance. But ultimately, it’s in the product itself – usually served with the freshest of ingredients and thoughtful presentation.

Suffice to say then, that Salt & Straw makes ice cream an event.

Salt&Straw_Exterior_Interior_ATG FINAL{Exterior/Interior seating areas.}

On a dreary, late Saturday afternoon a few weeks ago, we paid a visit to see what The Beaver State famously had years before us Angelenos, a Salt & Straw. With much luck, and I’m sure fortuitous timing (everyone was likely at the mall finishing up some last-minute Christmas shopping), we found the place nearly deserted. In fact, we were in and out in a matter of minutes, thanks to no line!

What immediately feels distinct about Salt & Straw, compared to your more typical scoop shops, was the easy and inviting ambiance. This was achieved through carved wood; and warm, moody lighting. The space isn’t very big, and there isn’t much seating; but for the short time you’re inside, it certainly leaves an impression.

Salt & Straw_Interior_Counter_ATG FINAL{Interior/counter.}

For just over $4.00, I walked out of Salt & Straw’s welcoming shop with a scoop of Chocolate Gooey Brownie ice cream (pictured above) in hand. While the price is reasonable if you’re headed in for a solo treat for yourself, or on a date, it can certainly add up if dad decides to take a family of four out for ice cream and everyone wants a double scoop.

That being said, one spoonful was literally all it took. As the ice cream hit my tongue, I could taste the love that went into every aspect of it. It wasn’t until I got home and did a little research, that I realized the detail put into what ultimately, might come across as a simple scoop of ice cream. Turns out, the chocolate used in its base is from organic Holy Kakow Chocolate products, and the brownies are baked fresh, infused with marshmallows to give them a special fluff…and this dedication to quality is before they’ve even churned it together to make the final product!

Salt & Straw is regarded for their use of locally sourced, fresh ingredients; but also for their eclectic flavors. Admittedly, I went with a safe flavor for my inaugural visit, but take two will find me bolder to try some of their more creative options: Avocado & Strawberry Sherbet or Ojai Olive Oil & Burnt Orange Marmalade. Then again, I can get behind their Central Coast Champagne Sorbet, too.

They keep their popular permanent “classic” flavors on-hand at all times. The great news is that they’re also constantly rotating their selection, introducing new flavors every month to keep the menu fresh; and to keep Angelenos coming back, forking over their hard-earned money for a slightly expensive, yet decadent, brain freeze.

And this, my friends, is how you beat ice cream accessibility. It’s the big “event” taking place in Larchmont Village at the moment.

Well played, Salt & Straw. Well played.

Salt&Straw_IceCreamcase_ATG FINAL{Order your favorites to-go by the pint!}

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Mixtape Monday: Holiday Hits

Happy December! Happy Holidays!

Coming off a relaxing, yet productive Thanksgiving weekend here. I finished a book, started another one; caught an “interesting” (for lack of a better word) film, The Babadook, at the Silent Movie Theater; successfully completed our “Rocky” movie marathon (gosh, do I love that series!), made it to The Grove for some much-needed holiday cheer, and ate more ham than is probably legal! Suffice to say, all is well at the moment. I have to admit, I’m anxious for the next few weeks to pass. I CANNOT wait for a more proper vacation, where I plan to unplug for 3 full weeks. Ahh!

Until then, why not enjoy what makes this time of year so special, the magic of the holidays! I’m kicking off December in-style with a little Christmas music today. I made a holiday mixtape with some of a my favorites last year and think it’s the perfect way to get in a festive mood.

Listen along if you’d like! Please hit the link noted just after the jump or click here and enjoy!

Have a great week. x

All That Glitters

Collage

It’s official. Some light holiday decorating and a weekend filled with watching some of my favorite holiday movies and it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! I thought it would be fun to curate a list of some of my favorite Christmas songs – old and those that are destined to be new favorites. My two “go-to” Christmas CD’s have always been Mariah Carey’s Merry Christmas and Josh Groban’s Noel. There are also some great tracks on Celine Dion’sThese Are The Special Times that are nostalgic to Christmas when I was a teenTo mix it up a bit, I decided to check out new releases from both Kelly Clarkson and Mary J. Blige. I have to say, I think Mary’s new holiday album, A Mary Christmas, will make it into rotation for years to come! And Kelly Clarkson’s Wrapped in Red has solid tracks…

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Talk About Scary!

Happy Halloween ATG FINAL 3


Happy Halloween, One and All!

The last day of the week, of the month, and of the rest of 2014, as we know it, is here. The countdown to the end of the year starts now, and that’s because from here on out, it’s just one thing after another. Go-go-go, celebrate-celebrate-celebrate season is here. I’m excited! Yet, it’s a bit overwhelming to realize that I distinctly remember what I was doing a year ago on this exact day. As cliché as this saying has become: “time flies!” And this is certainly the case from now until just after the new year if you ask me. Talk about scary!

That aforementioned cliché expression comes with some of my favorites things to do that seemingly pile up into the last two months of the year: the AFI Film Festival, my boyfriend’s birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas (which comes with a much-needed and very welcome record 20-day holiday break this year – yay!), New Year’s, then an anniversary with said boyfriend. Not to mention that FINALLY the better caliber and more Oscar-worthy films flood the market.

(Why the industry waits until the end/most expensive time of year to further suck money that you already don’t have to see the good stuff, I’ll never understand.)

Needless to say, I can’t wait for the festivities ahead, but no need to rush. Time will get us there…whether we like it or not.

So, let’s focus on the situation at hand.

I’m looking forward to another low-key Halloween this year. I don’t get Trick-or-Treaters….and this is beyond a-okay with me. (That means more candy for me!) Tonight, as of writing time, the plan is dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant, followed by a scary movie marathon at home. However, this is totally dependent upon how Google Maps looks later this evening. I’m quite concerned about how much more congested my beloved LA streets will be as the sun sets. Seeing as how it’s not only Halloween, but Friday night, I don’t anticipate that I’ll get very far in my car, which isn’t how I’d like to spend my Halloween. Therefore, this plan might quickly change to ordering pizza over a scary movie marathon. Whatever plan we go with, sounds perfect to me.

Whether tonight finds you decked out at a party, home with someone special, or in bed early because you hate Halloween, have a great time!

Take a deep breath, the seasonal craze is upon us. Talk about scary!

Have a lovely weekend…

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Image source:
Happy Halloween Theme” by Ariom P, used under CC BY / Modification: text added to original.

Halloween Is in the Air

Happy Halloween week, boys and girls! Finally, I’m in the Halloween spirit! It took awhile to get here, but the weather is cooling and the sun setting earlier, creating the perfect ambiance to finally welcome fall…and all things spooky to LA. I’ll admit what really put me in a festive place was having my first official fright night of the season – paying a visit to what has to be, hands down, one of the best haunted mazes I’ve ever been in last night, the Sherwood Scare. You might recall last year’s visit to the Sherwood Scare, where I raved and raved about what a great cause and a great time it was. This year was no different. It did not disappoint. I was happily spooked by the time we left and ready for Halloween.

What is it about a good scare that just gets a gal in the mood? In honor of Halloween week, I’m sharing 5 good frights and lots of good laughs to get us ready for the big night this Friday.

Until then, beware….Halloween is in the air!

#1.

#2.

#3.

#4. I’ve shared this video on my site before, but if you live in LA (or are aware of the culture here) this bears sharing again! Classic.

#5.

Have a great week! x

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Mixtape Monday: SF Bound

Mixtape Monday Logo ATG FINAL

Hi guys! I’m likely fighting my way through LAX to make my flight as you read this. It’s always such a “to-do” to fly these days. Is my carry-on packed right? Is my bag under 30 pounds? Are my liquids less than 3 ounces? Will my checked luggage arrive safely? Do I have everything? Oh, and don’t forget to wear slip-ons….airports just love making you take your shoes off.

As such, I need a new playlist to rock out to during my work trip to San Francisco. Here’s a random mishmash of tunes that should make the trip all the more delightful. Jam along if you’d like.

Now off to the fun part – filming! Have a great week!

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*Image courtesy of Flickr used under CC BY / modification: text added to original