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!

Search this site
Table of Contents
My delicious calendar
  • 8/31: the lil' one's wedding
  • 12/24-1/1: London
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.

Tuesday
Jul082014

LOS ANGELES / Where to eat: Westside ‘City’

“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

  • BJs ($) While I cannot comment on the rest of the expansive menu, I will say that BJs famous "Pizookie" (a cookie "pizza") is fcuking DYNAMITE.  Served warm -and with ice cream - there's not a more delicious "comfort food" destination-worthy dessert. 
  • Flores and The Ladies Gunboat Society ($$-$$$) Modern American with a Southern (think Louisiana) bend.  We enjoyed dining al-fresco, and particularly enjoyed the Antebellum White Grits and the Chocolate Mousse Pie.  Note: No liquor license as of yet (just beer and wine - hopefully that will change at some point)
  • Piknic ($) Reliable breakfast/lunch spot with a wide array of cold/hot/grill options.
  • South Beverly Grill ($$) Although it’s technically a chain (Hillstone/Houston’s), SBG is nothing short of reliable, comfortable and, in the parent company’s true fashion, strangely romantic.  With a solid selection of wines, cocktails, and food options for every diner/palette, SBG is always a sure bet.
  • The Stand ($) One of my favorite joints to grab a healthy-ish weekday work lunch.  While they're famous for their beef burgers, I really enjoyed my handmade veggie burger enveloped by a "lettuce bun."  Fabulous breakfast egg dishes that are served all day!

Cuisine: Bakeries, coffee, sweet shops

  • Froyo Life ($) Great array of “serve yourself” flavors and a topping bar with something for everyone.  Last time I was there, I saw Rachel Zoe!
  • Noah's New York Bagels ($) What Houston's is to Hillstone, Noah's is to Einstein Bros.
  • Peet’s Coffee & Tea ($)
  • Starbucks ($)
  • The Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Co. ($) Carbs schmarbs.  The more the merrier, in my opinion.  After all, I knew it was only a matter of days before I would sink my teeth in to a bagel from this joint.  Look, I’d be a liar if I said I wasn’t skeptical; I mean, could they really get the whole ‘Brooklyn water thing’ right?  Actually, TOBWBC makes a near-perfect, New York-style bagel with just enough chew, crunch, and spot-on crust-to-bread-fluff ratio.  Plus, the fact that they carry frozen coffee cubes for your iced beverage (instead of boring old ice) says it all.  Oh, and Larry King is a daily fixture at the S. Beverly Drive location.  You know, if you’re a star-struck fame whore like myself.
  • Vanilla Bake Shop ($) Seriously delicious cupcakes that are made from ingredients of the highest quality.  Even the chocolate icing tastes more robust and intense. 

Cuisine: Grab ‘N Go

  • Mrs. Winston’s Green Grocery ($) If you’re a salad bar connoisseur like I am, this is the end-all-be-all.  The spread here is so notable, that I consider it to be destination-worthy.  Beyond every type of organic green imaginable, think mix-ins that range from  flavored hummus, roasted beets, and crunchy jicama spears to a variety of seasonings and “toppers” that aren’t just limited to croutons.  You’re welcome in advance.

Cuisine: Grocery stores

Cuisine: Japanese/sushi

  • Seiki-Shi Sushi ($) For “mall food-court sushi,” this dine-in/carry-out joint hits the spot.  Enjoy a refreshing green iced tea, sliced cucumber salad, and a spicy tuna roll for under $15.
  • Sugarfish ($$-$$$) This meal changed the course of my life in food.  I had never truly had sushi until this experience!  Are you aware that sushi rice is to be served slightly warm, creating a "melt in your mouth" experience?  Neither did I.  Get. Here. Now.
  • Sushi Kiyono ($-$$) So far, this is my favorite sushi joint in LA.  If you're looking for atmosphere, this isn't the place; but if you want the freshest fish, a selection of beer/sake/wine, and great service, look no further than this Beverly Hills gem.
  • Sushi Sushi ($$-$$$) Decent for a neighborhood joint, but certainly not a destination-worthy sushi restaurant. 
  • Yu-N-Mi ($$-$$$) Of the sushi that I've had in Los Angeles, to date, this is my favorite.  If you're looking for a fancy atmosphere and colorful cocktails, go elsewhere; however, if it's the freshest fish you fancy, look no further than Yu-N-Mi.

Cuisine: Mediterranean

  • Momed ($-$$) Seriously legit “Modern Mediterranean” cuisine served in a laid-back atmosphere with indoor/outdoor seating and a full bar.  I was particularly taken by the addictive ‘Avocado Hummus’ and the Khachapouri flatbread (<– Don’t try to pronounce it, just order it.  Trust me.).

Cuisine: Mexican

  • Don Antonio ($-$$) Being that this was/is Speidi's favorite restaurant, I had to check it out for myself.  Via delivery.  Here's the verdict: I really enjoyed the handmade chips and salsa and, while I found the red enchilada sauce to be too mild and, perhaps, canned, the enchiladas, themselves, were tasty, as was the rice and beans.  I was underwhelmed by the horchata, but I suppose that's the price I paid for having an iced drink delivered. 
  • Pink Taco ($-$$) Spacious indoor/outdoor bar area and dining room; fabulous happy hour boasting an attractive array of eats and drinks for under $10; and, best of all, they serve homemade chips and chile-con-queso! 

Cuisine: Pan Asian

  • Sen Asian Kitchen ($) A bouquet of pan-Asian dishes, including sushi, are offered at this Century City fast casual restaurant.  Conveniently located near my office, I enjoy a a fresh sushi roll and delicious side of sautéed spinach with garlic at least once/week.

Cuisine: Salads

  • Geenleaf Gourmet Chopshop ($) A bit too pricey for my taste, but you cannot beat the organic, high quality ingredients.  While there is the option to "make your own salad," it's not a visual production; you tell the expediter what you want, and it is prepared for you behind the scenes in the kitchen.  A bit different from what I'm typically used to.

Cuisine: Steakhouse

  • Mastro’s Steakhouse ($$$) Stereotypical Beverly Hills steakhouse…only this one delivers.  Stay away from the $20 cocktails and opt for an affordable bottle of wine (think along the lines of the $33 Sterling cabernet).  Whether you choose surf or turf, don’t miss the Gorgonzola Mac & Cheese.  And the celeb/cougar spotting!

Lindsay, Beverly Hills Bites

Tuesday
Jul082014

LOS ANGELES / Single and the City: Am I Maleficent?

…so, about two nights ago, I begrudgingly went to see Maleficent with my mom, my sister, and my sister’s fiancé.  As you probably know by now, the movie is based on Disney’s classic, “Sleeping Beauty,” a film that I obsessively watched so often as a child, I could recite each line – and reenact every scene – by heart.

From about the first twenty or so minutes in to the film, I realized that there were some serious moral stories behind the fairy tale.  Is that news to you all?  If not, I wouldn’t be surprised; I’m always the last to know/figure anything out.  It reinforced the fact, at least in my jaded world, that we were all once happy-go-lucky little girls who naively went about our days smiling and dancing.  That was, until a boy came around and broke our hearts.  And, for some, it only took that one heart-break for us to quickly build an iron-clad wall/barrier so that no one else could ever hurt us, again.  Just like Maleficent, herself, we went from sweet and doe-eyed to vengeful, calculating witches who refuse to forgive, trust, or let anyone else in to our cold, lonely worlds.

male

When the movie ended, both the credits and this famous song began to play, simultaneously.  And that’s when I lost my shiz.  I’m kidding.  Kind of.  But I couldn’t stop the tears that were uncontrollably streaming down my face.  Eck.  Why the hell was I crying?  It was a G-rated movie, for god’s sake!  Was it because I hadn’t heard that song since I was a pure, innocent four-year old who played dress-up and knew every word to that said song and movie?  Or was it because I finally realized, at the ripe age of thirty-three, that I, too, had spent the past sixteen years imprisoned by my own protective wall/barrier?

As much as I didn’t really want to see Maleficent (I’m not much of a film buff these days, unless it’s a documentary), I’m really glad that I did.  The movie made me realize that, if I ever want to find love, I have to try even harder to knock down the barbed wire and thorny bushes that surround my heart.  For I certainly cannot let another sixteen years fall by the wayside.

Have you seen Maleficent yet?  If so, what are your thoughts on the film?  I’d love to hear from you!

Lindsay, Beverly Hills Bites

Tuesday
Jul082014

LOS ANGELES / Where to eat: Meals on Wheels (Food Trucks)

“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: Ice Cream

  • Coolhaus ($) For a fellow colleague’s fifteenth anniversary with the firm, the Coolhaus truck was hired to cater a one-hour event at the office.  Artisanal ice cream sandwiches were customized for each guest from an assortment of freshly-baked cookies and unique flavors of ice cream.  After having learned that their pre-packaged items can be found at local retailers, I cannot wait to get my hands on some more of Coolhaus’ sweet treats!

...

Lindsay, Bevery Hills Bites

Sunday
Jun222014

LA Woman

My dear readers, 

Believe it or not, I recently moved to the City of Angels.  The good news is that I'm keeping this site live while I simultaneously work on something Los Angeles-centric.  Have a look-see: Beverly Hills Bites.  

The hope is that I can eventually merge the two websites together.  If you have any brilliant ideas to make this transition easier, please advise!  I'm a total stress case.  In the meantime, thank you for stopping by and I appreciate your continued patronage!

xoxo, 

The Lunch Belle / Beverly Hills Bites

Wednesday
May212014

Completely unBAREable

As if packing up the past 10-years of my life in NYC and moving to the West Coast wasn't stressful and difficult enough, Completely Bare wanted to wedge that proverbial knife even deeper...

In February, after having been a client for the better part of a year, I purchased a 6-pack of laser hair removal sessions from Completely Bare.  For those of you who don't know about laser hair removal, you have to wait 6-weeks in between sessions.  So, if you do the math, it would take 36-weeks to complete a 6-session package.  To date, I've completed two sessions and have my third on Friday. 

Rewind 1-month ago: I recently returned to NYC from a long weekend in LA.  I had just made the incredibly emotional decision to move across the country at the end of May, when my lease was due to expire.  In closing out and scheduling the cancellations of my utilities and other services, I contacted Completely Bare to see what I could do about my three remaining sessions (remember, one has to wait 6-weeks in between sessions).  The conversation between me and Carol, one of the managers, went something like this:

Me: "Hi Carol, I'm moving to LA at the end of May.  After my session on May 23rd, I will have three remaining.  I am not going to be able to use them, as I was informed that you do not have West Coast locations."

Carol: "OK, I can offer you one of two solutions.  You can transfer your credits in to another person's name, or we can extend the time frame to a year and you can use them when you come back to NYC."

Me: "Thanks, but I will not be coming back to NYC every 6-weeks or even 3-times in the next year.  I do not have to travel for work, and I certainly cannot afford to return merely for laser hair removal sessions.  If I send you a copy of my California lease, can I get some sort of refund?  This was not something that I planned when I had initially purchased this package.  Clearly."

Carol: "Sorry, but even giving you the two options I offered is normally something we don't do.  I cannot offer you a refund."

After trying to sell my remaining sessions to friends and coworkers, no one bit.  So, in utter desperation, I put a listing on (gasp) Craigslist.  I cannot afford to eat hundreds of dollars!  Thank you, Completely Bare, for making this process Completely UnBAREable.  Shame on you!

 

~~~

Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle

Thursday
May152014

The Lunch Belle is moving...to the west coast!

Dear readers,

A week ago, today, I celebrated my 10-year anniversary in NYC.  And, coincidentally, I also did something rather 'life changing': I signed a lease for an apartment in Los Angeles.  Commencing on June 1st!  That's right, folks, I'm moving away from my beloved Manhattan in exactly 2-weeks from today. 

Both friends and coworkers, alike, keep asking me if I have grown tired of NYC.  And the answer is a wholehearted "hell no."  I love this city more than my own life; it accepted me with open arms, forced me grow in more ways than I could have ever imagined, allowed me to very proudly and happily relish in my authentic self, and so, so much more.  I am, without a doubt, a New Yorker to the core.  I live and breathe Manhattan and proudly bleed "Big Apple" red.  However, I have come to the point where I desperately miss my family - who reside on the west coast - and my rent has forced me out of the building where I lived for the past 7-years.  It was those two factors that initially got the wheels in my head turning about a potentially major move.  Then, the idea of having more square footage, a washer/dryer, and a dishwasher began to seduce me.  Pair all of that with 365 days of picture-perfect weather, palm trees, "dog beaches" for Lucy, and the fact that there are only 0.78% more women than men (as opposed to NYC, where there are 9.61% more women than men).  I mean, I would be an idiot not to go, right?   

This is not, by any means, my exit from blogging.  I'm currently at the stage where I'm deciding whether to write about my west coast adventures on The Lunch Belle or, like this move, pick up and start anew.  I'd love to hear what you think/prefer!

So, for the next few weeks, I may be a bit quiet, but please stay tuned for what's to come.  I can't wait for you to take this new and exciting journey with me!

~~~

Until we eat again and very loyally yours,

The Lunch Belle

Page 1 ... 2 3 4 5 6 ... 137 Next 6 Entries »