Search this site
Welcome

**Readers!  I recently moved to the City of Angels.  The good news is that I'm keeping this site alive while simultaneously working on something Los Angeles-centric, as well.**

Welcome to The Lunch Belle, a food website/blog that views the New York City dining scene through the lens - and belly - of a highly opinionated, critical, adorably quirky, and culinary-obsessed thirty-something year old.

For those of you who enjoy highly thorough and traditional restaurant reviews, you may find them located here

But that's not all!  Additionally, I...

  • ~ For tourists, I can help you create itineraries and answer any questions you may have/offer advice for your upcoming visit to NYC.
  • ~ I can consult and/or advise on all of your small and large events.
  • ~ I will assist you with restaurant recommendations.

Just consider me your one-stop NYC - and, most recently, Los Angeles - shop!

Table of Contents
My delicious calendar
Links of Love
Contributions & affiliations

 

 Blogger Black Book Top 100

Thoughtful Plate New York restaurants

Login

Need more streamlined advice?  Shoot me an email with your specific requests:  Lindsay@TheLunchBelle.com.

Monday
Jul142014

LOS ANGELES / Reviewed: Taqueria Los Anaya

Restaurant: Taqueria Los Anaya

  • Cuisine: Mexican
  • Location: 4651 W. Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016
  • Pricing: $ 
  • What's delicious: Handmade chips, tortillas (do NOT come here if you're low-carbing)
  • FYI: BYOB-friendly

 

Being that we were approximately 170-strong in NYC, I decided to start an "LA Mexican Food Lovers' Meetup" in my new town.  After all, this would be the first Mexican food-centric group on Meetup in Los Angeles.  Shocking, right?  Especially in a town that's known for their comida!  Our inaugural lunch was held this past Saturday at noon at Taqueria Los Anaya, located in South LA.

Customers can choose to order their food at a counter, or be served table side.  Our group of five chose the latter.  Upon being seated, our water glasses were filled and drink orders were taken.  I requested chips, salsa, and guacamole for each side of the table knowing that, if anyone ate as much of this stuff as I did, we'd be in trouble.  Quickly.

Each component of the "holy trinity" (chips, salsa, and guacamole) was dynamite.  It was obvious, both to the naked eye and after the very first bite, that the chips were made in-house.  As someone who thinks that pico-de-gallo is a waste of time, I appreciated that this particular salsa, while liquid-y in consistency, boasted healthy nibs of fresh onion, tomato, and cilantro.  The best of both salsa worlds - pico and liquid-y - if you will.  Although one of the members commented that the guacamole was too creamy, I appreciated its simplicity and how perfectly it was seasoned.      

After polishing off more than a handful of "holy trinity" rounds, our entrees arrived.  In true fashion, I ordered the cheese enchiladas with green sauce that were accompanied by rice and beans. 

Both the rice and beans were cooked perfectly, cementing one of the reasons why I moved to the City of Angels.  Perhaps if I wasn't so full, I would have enjoyed the enchiladas more but, at this point in the meal, everything began to lose its appeal. 

I would love to return and re-sample this identical entree, as the corn tortillas were thick and handmade - the Oaxacan cheese, unlike the variety that is used in New York, melted like a dream - and the tomatillo sauce was thick and tangy. 

The best aspect of all, though?  The bill.  My portion of the check was $11.44!  Did I mention that the orders of chips/salsa/guac were on my tab?  Pretty damn good, especially for this pricing-jaded New Yorker.

...

Lindsay, Beverly Hills Bites

Monday
Jul142014

LOS ANGELES / Where to eat: Mid-Wilshire

“Where to eat” is an ongoing list series that will be updated frequently

Pricing key:

$: Price per person, before alcohol, under $20

$$: Price per person, before alcohol, under $40

$$$: Price per person, before alcohol, under $60

… 

Cuisine: American

  • Republique ($$-$$$) One of LA's hottest restaurants boats a spacious, bi-level, loft-like space with floor-to-ceiling windows and a very San Francisco/New York atmosphere.  Whatever you do, make sure not to not miss the seasonal agnolotti (pasta).   

Cuisine: Multiple

  • The Original Farmers Market ($) For those of you who, like me, always pictured a mobile produce caravan under a canopy of tents when you heard the word "farmers market," this place will throw you for a loop.  Imagine a cross between Pike Place Market in Seattle and Grand Central Market in NYC; only much smaller.  There are various food and drink kiosks offering everything from Singaporean lime juice to pulled pork sandwiches. 

...

Lindsay, Beverly Hills Bites

Monday
Jul142014

LOS ANGELES / Where to eat: South LA

“Where to eat” is an ongoing list series that will be updated frequently

Pricing key:

$: Price per person, before alcohol, under $20

$$: Price per person, before alcohol, under $40

$$$: Price per person, before alcohol, under $60

… 

Cuisine: Mexican

  • Taqueria Los Anaya ($) BYOB-friendly Mexican with the option to order at the counter or receive waiter service.  Decent food, namely the homemade chips, rice and beans and, from what I hear, the tacos.

...

Lindsay, Beverly Hills Bites

Friday
Jul112014

SAN DIEGO / NORTH COUNTY: Where to Eat

“Where to eat” is an ongoing list series that will be updated frequently

Pricing key:

$: Price per person, before alcohol, under $20

$$: Price per person, before alcohol, under $40

$$$: Price per person, before alcohol, under $60

Cuisine: American

  • Beach Grass Cafe ($) One of my favorite breakfast spots in North County.  Think 'pineapple upside-down' pancakes, among every kind of 'scramble' and Benedict you can imagine. 
  • Bluefire Grill ($$$) La Costa Resort & Spa's upscale restaurant serving everything from beef and lamb to vegetable risotto and...wait for it...a rip on traditional Canadian poutine.
  • Claire's on Cedros ($) Wildly popular - and dog-friendly - breakfast haunt in Solana Beach. 
  • Cody's ($-$$) Super cute and perfectly-situated breakfast/lunch joint in the heart of La Jolla.  Grab an al-fresco table for a fabulous view of the ocean
  • Diversions Sport Lounge ($$) Great place to grab a cocktail and light snack in between meals or during the big game.  I'm partial to the margaritas.
  • George's California Modern ($$$) For legit dining in San Diego, this is one of the very best in terms of food quality and progression (staying abreast of current food trends). 
  • Ki's ($$-$$$) Don't let the slow and unknowledgeable service scare you off; Ki's makes both a KILLER roasted chicken and a macadamia nut-crusted mahi-mahi entree.  Appetizers and desserts proved underwhelming.
  • Pacifica del Mar ($$$) A bit tired and overpriced, PdM arguably boasts one of the best locations in Del Mar.
  • Solace and the Moonlight Lounge ($$) My favorite non-Mexican restaurant in North County because of the perfectly-crafted cocktails, wonderful food (including the best grilled fish tacos on the planet), and a great outdoor patio overlooking town.
  • The Med ($$-$$$) Arguably one of the most gorgeous dining spaces in San Diego proper; perfect for the 'lady who lunches.'  ;)
  • Tin Leaf ($-$$) A healthier approach to casual quick-service, complete with wine and beer.  Although orders are placed at a counter, your meal is hand delivered to your table. 
  • Tom's Famous Family Restaurant ($) Delicious, traditional grilled cheese sandwiches and the best ranch dressing I've ever had the pleasure of tasting (random tidbit, I know, but this stuff is *so good* that I ordered a pint to take home). 

Cuisine: Bakeries, coffee, sweet shops

  • V.G. Donut & Bakery ($) Trust me, you will not find a better apple fritter on the planet. 
  • Yogurt Shack ($) What a welcome addition to the otherwise fro-yo desolate territory which surrounds the La Costa Resort & Spa!  Great selection of flavors and more toppings and mix-ins than one would ever know what to do with. 

Cuisine: Mexican

  • El Nopalito Market & Restaurant ($) Tortillas, chips, salsa, and guacamole are a *must purchase* from the retail market.  If it's tacos you're craving, head to the restaurant.  Their shredded beef/hard shell cannot be beat!
  • Haggos Organic Taco ($) Tacos made with extra TLC (in the form of healthier, wholesome organic ingredients)
  • Juanita's Taco Shop ($) My family's long-standing, quick-casual Mexican/taco shop.  I recommend a combo plate with a cheese enchilada, beef taco, rice and beans.
  • Kotija Jr. Taco Shop ($) Another stiff competitor in the North County taco-shop game.
  • Rudy's Taco Shop ($) Another stiff competitor in the North County taco-shop game.

Lindsay, Beverly Hills Bites

Thursday
Jul102014

LOS ANGELES / Best bets from our local farmers' markets

Sure, fruits and veggies are a mainstay at each and every farmers market.  But handmade, artisanal products - at least in my opinion - are rare gems.  These treasures are incredibly unique and, if they taste as delicious as they look, make their particular market worth returning to time and time again.  Such is the case with my growing list of favorites, below.

For a list of all California Certified Farmers Markets in the area, click here.

 

Farmers market: Century City

  • Bond Bar Specializing in both handmade chocolate bars and these crazy delicious, multi faceted and textured "smores bars," this little stand's products blew me away.  Whatever you do, don't miss the dark chocolate/coconut bar.  Think Mounds...on crack.  And steroids.  At the same time.
  • Joie Et Macarons  Dare I say that Joie's salted caramel macarons are better than anything I've had in New York and, gasp, Paris?  It's true, folks.  Owner, Amanda Campbell, and her sister make each and every component from scratch.  Right down to the almond flour that creates that perfect cookie "crunch."  I also recommend the dark chocolate variety!

Farmers market: The Original Farmers Market

  • Short Cake Check to see if they have their amazing Verve Coffee brownies/bites.  They are bitterly rich and dark chocolate-y in taste and fudgey in texture.  Dynamite!

...

Lindsay, Beverly Hills Bites

Tuesday
Jul082014

ORANGE COUNTY / Where to eat 

“Where to eat” is an ongoing list series that will be updated frequently

Pricing key:

$: Price per person, before alcohol, under $20

$$: Price per person, before alcohol, under $40

$$$: Price per person, before alcohol, under $60

Cuisine: American

  • Bandera ($$-$$$) Situated under the Hillstone restaurant umbrella, Bandera evokes the company's traditionally dim, somewhat romantic atmosphere and reliable eats and drinks. 
  • Splashes ($$$) This is my favorite restaurant in Laguna Beach.  What's not to love (...except the prices and the noise level)?  Seaside dining and cocktails/wine at its absolute best.
  • Summer House ($$) Intimate, yet warming and inviting, Summer House is the perfect venue for a casual family - or date - meal in the neighborhood.
  • True Food Kitchen ($$) Healthy food that doesn't suck.  Period.  The location at Fashion Island in Newport Beach comes equipped with a spacious outdoor patio and...drum roll, please...alcohol! 
  • Wilma's Patio ($-$$) My favorite spot on Balboa Island boasts a multi-faceted menu with something for everyone.  I am particularly fond of their Mexican cuisine.

Cuisine: Bakeries, coffee, sweet shops

  • B Candy ($) One of the cutest candy shops that I've encountered in a very long time, not to mention legit.  Why do I say that?  Because, in addition to candy, they carry an assortment of delicious, handmade frosted cookies and uniquely flavored, artisanal ice creams.  I highly recommend the cookies (my favorite is the frosted surf board).
  • Cafe Lucca ($) While I cannot comment on the rest of the menu, Cafe Lucca's handmade gelato is, without a doubt, the best I've had in the country. 
  • Portola Coffee Lab ($) The closest thing to an artisanal NYC coffee shop this side of Brooklyn.  I recommend the "flat white," which is similar to a Cuban cortado (espresso and warm milk).
  • Sweet Jill's Bakery ($) Fudge and chocolate chip cookie dough-topped brownies.  Need I say more?  Didn't think so.

Cuisine: Japanese, sushi

  • Sota Sushi ($$) While we didn't particularly enjoy the rolls, Sota'splated dishes are fantastic, namely the carpaccios, and the "sizzles."

Cuisine: Mexican

  • Avila's El Ranchito($-$$) Traditional Cal-Mex at its best; no frills, just solid plates of delicious - albeit greasy - Mexican food (just the way I like it).
  • Sol Cocina ($$) Come here for the views and the location; stay here for the gratis chips, salsa, and black bean dip.

Cuisine: Steakhouse

  • Fleming's Prime Steakhouse ($$$) Although it's a chain, Fleming's runs its steakhouses like tight, well-oiled ships.  You can depend on a sexy, masculine-modern atmosphere, skilled and knowledgeable employees, a nice array of wines and cocktails and, most importantly, tasty grub.    
  • Mozambique ($$-$$$) Perfectly situated, multi-level space boasting a rooftop with one of the best unobstructed ocean views of Laguna Beach.  Menu is a bit confused, it seems, as the restaurant is more of a mish-mash of global cuisines; not a traditional/proper "steakhouse."  Are there even steaks offered on the menu? 
  • The Bungalow($$$) Quite possibly, my favorite steakhouse in the country because of its unique, "non-chain" atmosphere, steaks so tender that you could cut them with a fork, strong cocktails, and excellent sides.   

Lindsay, Beverly Hills Bites