Grilled Cheese and L.A. Hipsters

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Location: 3337 West Sunset Boulevard, Silver Lake

The one part of town that I can’t say I spend much time in is with my east side L.A. hipsters (shout out to my friends in Silver Lake and Loz Feliz!). Admittedly, if I’m writing a blog about life in L.A., they should get more of a representation, especially since this side of town is really on the up-and-up and driving a lot of the trends. Luckily, my boyfriend heard through the grapevine about Heywood: A Grilled Cheese Shoppe and we happily crossed through Hollywood-land into Silver Lake territory. What better reason to leave our neck of the woods than to sit outside on a sunny afternoon and indulge in the comfort of a good grilled cheese sandwich? I couldn’t think of one. And the following snapshot of my meal confirmed I made the right decision:

(Feel free to click the picture to see the awesomeness up close and personal). 🙂

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{Caprese:  mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, roma tomatoes and a light walnut pesto spread on sourdough bread. Hello! Yummy!}

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What Pinkberry did for frozen yogurt, Umami did for burgers, and Sprinkles did for cupcakes, Heywood is doing for the universally loved grilled cheese sandwich. You can custom make your own cheesy number or order from the fixed menu. Since grilled cheese and tomato soup are like peanut better and jelly (well – close enough), I thought the spiced tomato soup dipper (delish!) and the spring mix salad rounded out the components for an amazing meal. I have nothing but great things to say about this place (other than the water is clearly not filtered, so prepare for that awesome tap water taste – yuck!).

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{Interior.}

Finally, good news for my wheat intolerant and vegan friends, Heywood thought of you too with gluten free bread and vegan cheese and butter options. Even better news for late night partiers, those leaving that poetry reading with nowhere to go, the girl who didn’t want to eat on her first date in front of the man of her dreams, or those who just need some comfort food, Heywood is open until 3am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I’ll see you there!

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Georgetown Cupcake Comes To L.A.

Location: 143 South Robertson Boulevard, Mid-City West

The opening of a new cupcake shop is almost (read: almost) as exciting as opening a Christmas present. What will the store look like? What flavors do they have? How well dressed (read: decorative) will the tiny cakes be? More importantly, how awesome will the experience be when you take that first bite?  Let’s just say I wasn’t disappointed.

Georgetown Cupcake couldn’t have picked a better location to open its doors a little over a week ago. The shop sits on the very trendy, very busy, and VERY expensive Robertson Boulevard shopping district (read: rich people’s playground), Beverly Hills adjacent.

All my questions were finally answered a few days ago after a long anticipated wait, when we stopped in for an afternoon treat and unwrapped Georgetown’s sweet present. The store was very simplistic and welcoming in design; lots of white walls, with minimal artwork (all pictures of cupcakes, of course), hardwood floors with only a few tables in-store to sit and enjoy your frosted covered carb.

My favorite thing about Georgetown was the display of cupcakes sitting right in front of you, fully stocked, and perfectly organized in a way that made you want each and every one of them. One of my pet peeves with Sprinkles and other major cupcakeries in town is when you walk into the store and the bakery display is nearly empty, instantaneously making you feel like the flavors you want are already out of stock for the day (many times they are, other times they haven’t replaced stock yet). Not at Georgetown, they didn’t even grab our order from the counter display as they had tons of cupcakes sitting on racks behind the counter. Cupcakes everywhere! This made me happy. 🙂

{Cupcakes everywhere!}

Since I was between pumpkin pie feedings left over from Thanksgiving, with more than half a pie to still get through, I splurged on just one cupcake this time around – the lemon blossom. This cupcake was amazing; moist, flavorful, and my favorite part, lemony.

{Lemon Blossom.}

{First bite.}

I will add for my wheat intolerant friends, that my boyfriend didn’t seemed as impressed with his gluten-free lava fudge cupcake. He had issue with the frosting, and while saying that he would come again, he left Georgetown still a loyal fan of Cupcakes Couture in not so close-by Manhattan Beach for his wheat-free fix. I, on the other hand, literally had an internal dialogue in my head talking myself out of buying another.

When I’m done digesting all of the food I ate over the long holiday weekend, and detox all of the pumpkin pie still sitting in my body right now (too much info?), I’ll be back.

Welcome to L.A. Georgetown! I’m sure you’ll like the weather.

Cupcakes (no Cashmere)

In celebration of tiny cakes everywhere and one of my favorite blogs, after having spent lots of time researching my passion for carbs topped with icing and taste testing my behind off; here are my thoughts based on my quest to uncover some of LA’s best cupcakes. Clearly, I haven’t tried every single cupcake in this great land, so I’m basing this list off of the places I’ve personally frequented.

Cupcakes Couture
Location: 916 Manhattan Avenue, Manhattan Beach
BY FAR the most delicious and best dressed cupcakes in LA!  I stumbled into
this oasis of sweetness when hanging out on the Manhattan Beach Strand one Saturday afternoon nearly a year ago. It’s a trek to get down to the South bay for me, but MY GOODNESS, it’s worth every traffic light and hassle to get there. The shop is well designed, the girls that work the counter are sweet, and the concoctions are the best. Nearly every cupcake has a sweet filling in the center, always tastes fresh, and NEVER disappoints. This place also has THE BEST gluten-free selection (which makes my boyfriend very happy) that I’ve come across if you struggle with an intolerance to wheat. My favorites are the Cupcake Wars reality TV show winning Lemon Blueberry, Strawberry Cheesecake, and the Sunday Mimosa (only served on Sundays, get it!?!) 
Sprinkles
Location: 9635 Santa Monica Boulevard, Beverly Hills

THE place that started it all, well, at least in my opinion. This is what I think of as the originator of the cupcake craze in Los Angeles – like how Pinkberry spawned the frozen yogurt movement. I can’t recall how I first heard of this place, but it remains an oldie but a goodie in my book. Sprinkles’ forte has always been location, location, location; oh and the cupcakes are moist and delicious! They have one the largest selections of flavors but rotate them out depending on the day, as seems to be the case with all places. Beware the place is small and the line LONG. Their best invention yet? The cupcake ATM if you want to grab a cupcake at 2:00am. Great ones to try: Lemon Coconut, Red Velvet, Strawberry, and Pumpkin.

Frosted Cupcakery
Location: 1200 North Highland Avenue, Hollywood

If I can’t make the trip to Manhattan Beach or Beverly Hills, Frosted comes in a close third. The cupcakes more than cover it in a pinch, but I so desperately wish that Frosted would catch up on the flavor selections! They stick with pretty safe choices. Their shop seems to run of cupcakes quicker in my experience than with other places, and the treats themselves are very good, but I find they don’t have quite the same punch. The best thing about this place? The price! These guys run under $3.00 each, which is a steal! What scores additional brownie points? Their awesome ice cream cupcakes. I’m a huge fan of their red velvet and cream cheese cupcake filled with vanilla bean ice cream!

Vanilla Bake Shop
Location: 10250 Santa Monica Boulevard, Century City

My latest taste test on the cupcake front comes from Vanilla Bake Shop. I’ve noticed the shop for a while now when checking out a movie or shopping at the Westfield center; and have been in before a few times to check out the place, but had never purchased anything (which is so unlike me.) I have to say this place is aptly named, it was a very “vanilla” experience. I hate to call this out, but the person working the counter was pretty dismissive (coloring in fact) when I walked-in recently. Further to that, they only have 6 flavors to choose from on any given day. I went with a safe Vanilla Bean and did enjoy the cupcake. It satisfied my sweet tooth but they lose points for not much variety on any given day and poor service. Perhaps it was an off day. I was also told that a gluten-free selection was in the works and would debut in May of this year, but nothing yet.

Crumbs
Location: 6801 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood

Love the name, pretty blah when it comes to the cupcakes. I do like how decorative these guys are, but for some reason, I get a “straight out of a box” taste from them. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you just want sugar, and you don’t really care how or in what format, so these will more than handle your needs, but the fresh taste wasn’t quite there for me. Dare I say they were a bit too sweet as well?  I love that they have multiple locations around the city. I count 6! Then again, because they have so many locations, maybe this alludes to why quality lacks in their cupcakes. It seems they’re more into design, which is super important, but I’m also about my tongue doing the happy dance on contact.

With that, I’m now seriously craving a cupcake and I don’t care which location it comes from! If you have a hidden treasure on the tiny cake front that is missing from my list, please do let me know! I’m always looking to gain 5 pounds (said no one ever!)