Happy Thanksgiving! Now it’s time to shop.
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We mapped our Louie Loves LA board and this is what it looks like. The Pinterest maps need a bit of polishing, but we do like this visual version of our favorite local spots. And it makes a very handy city guide for any upcoming visits. (Or to pass along to visiting guests.) Easy to browse, click and explore. Let us know what you think we’re missing.
Follow Louie Loves LA and all our other boards right here.
We make a giant 8+ hour playlist every year for Thanksgiving. This is necessary because if left to their own devices, my parents will play James Taylor on repeat for days. New James Taylor. They think he is a new artist who they discovered five years ago which is maddening on so many levels. To avoid this painful situation, we prepare a mix of classics, which in our family means Rolling Stones, Beach Boys, Phil Collins, Sam Cooke and Elvis, with whatever new stuff we’ve been listening too over the past year. Right now that means HAIM, CHVRCHES, Boy, Disclosure, the new Cut Copy and other current hits without overly offensive lyrics. There is a little something for everyone and the mix of familiar and new is perfect background music for cooking, lounging, roadtripping or whatever your holidays have in store.
On Spotify - Thanksgiving 2013
Old Fashioneds or Back in Fashions as our brother calls them, are the quintessential winter cocktail. We have an annual pre-Thanksgiving/Friendsgiving/Fake Thanksgiving here in LA every year and we always start the night off with a round of Old Fashioneds. Since we’ll be whipping these up tonight, we thought we’d share our favorite recipe. Made with bourbon, the Old Fashioned is instantly warming and has just the right amount of garnish to look festive with out looking silly. Seriously, they just look like they should be sipped in front of a roaring fire, somewhere cozy with good friends. And if you make these for new friends, they are likely to become good friends. An Old Fashioned looks impressive but is really quite simple and everyone should know how to make one. We like this recipe with simple syrup because it makes it easy to make large quantities at once. You can even make up a pitcher ahead of time. When making simple syrup for Old Fashioneds we like to add a little orange zest for extra flavor. See below for instructions and our preferred brands. Cheers!
A Perfect Old Fashioned
3oz Bourbon or Rye
1oz Simple Syrup
2-5 dashes of Angostura bitters
Orange slices for garnish
Cherries for garnish
Muddle orange and cherry (this means mash up with a wooden spoon) in the bottom of the glass. Fill glass with ice. Add bourbon, bitters and simple syrup and stir.
The booze – Bulleit and Maker’s Mark are perfect standard bourbons for this. My grandmother’s favorite was Old Crow. (We call these Old Olds when made with Old Crow.) If you want to go with a rye or are feeling fancy, we like Mitcher’s – bonus, the bottle looks Christmasy and festive.
The simple syrup – You can buy simple syrup (Stirrings makes a good one) but it is stupidly easy to make. Combine equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and cool completely. You can make this ahead of time and keep it in the fridge. As noted we like to add orange zest for Old Fashions.
The bitters – You can pick up Angostura Bitters at your liquor store or Bev Mo. You’ll recognize it by the label that is too big for the bottle. This is not something you can skip, but as you use just a few drops, a bottle will last forever.
The cherries – Any Maraschino cherry will work but we like the Luxardo brand. They have a rich, less jarring red color and the packaging is adorable. Tillen Farms is another natural brand that doesn’t contain red dye.
We were first drawn to this photo because we really want a pair of mirrored shades for winter and these ones are so good. We love the sporty meets classic look this guy has going with the bright shades and chocolate brown jacket. (We also love that he’s carrying a man clutch.) In Louie form the bright blue zipper is a perfect accent on our rich brown leather. We’ll follow this guys lead and pair it a classic navy blazer thrown over a gray sweatshirt.
Click here to buy.
Tasting Kitchen is a Venice gem and perhaps our favorite restaurant in that whole city, but for some tragic reason we hadn’t been in months. After a recent visit remedied this, our love has been renewed and we’ve vowed to visit on a regular basis. The gnocco fritto alone is reason enough to set up a weekly reservation. You should order these immediately when you sit down. Little pillows of fried dough, these things are magic. They are warm and dusted with sea salt. Tear them open and fill up the pocket with paper thin slices of salami and prosciutto and a scoop of fresh buratta. Heaven. While it is tempting to order several rounds of these and call it dinner, we recommend ordering an assortment of dishes from all areas of the menu to share for the table. Your server will direct you to the proper amount of food. You really can’t go wrong with large plates like salt roasted branzino and hanger steak with bone marrow toast – yum! BUT do not skip the pasta. It’s all made in house and even the simplest sounding varieties will have you cleaning the plate. We’re pretty sure we didn’t leave one speck of food on our plates the entire meal. Another standout aspect of Tasting Kitchen is the cocktails – first they have them which is a rarity on Abbot Kinney and second they are dangerously good. Current favorite is the Road Runner with mezcal lime and fennel. The menus get switched up every few weeks – all the more reason to come back again and again. See you there.
The Tasting Kitchen
1633 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Venice, CA 90291
Click here for menus.
Everyone seemed to love the Brussels Sprouts recipe we shared last Thanksgiving, so we thought we would reveal another fave this year – Pumpkin Mushroom Soup. We are not those people that become obsessed with pumpkin in October and look for it in all forms of food and drink. In fact, other than this soup, we only like pumpkin in pie form. The key being that it is not too sweet, or not sweet at all really. It also so easy to make that we wonder why we don’t make it year round. It will also make your kitchen smell amazing. This recipe, I believe came from a cooking class my parents took in the early 70s – stick with the classics – so it does not exist in internet form anywhere but we’ve copied it below for you here. It says to serve it in a hollowed out pumpkin which of course seems so 70s, and which of course we have never done. (If you want to do this, there are surely 1000 photos of hollowed out pumpkins filled with various foods on Pinterest right now. Reference those.) We serve this as a small first course right when we sit down, before the hit the buffet. I think we usually do 4x the recipe below for around 20 people so it would likely serve 4-6 as is. Enjoy!
Pumpkin Mushroom Soup
1 onion, sliced
¾ cup green onions, sliced
½ pound mushrooms, sliced
1 16oz can pumpkin puree
4 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper
spring of parsley
½ teaspoon sugar
2 cups half and half
parsley, chopped (for garnish)
Saute the onions and green onions in butter until limp and then add the sliced mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes and then add the pumpkin puree, stock and seasonings. Simmer for about 15 minutes, then remove the bay leaf and sprig of parsley. Stir in half and half and simmer for a further 10 minutes or so. Adjust the seasonings to your taste. Garnish with chopped parsley.
We whipped up an exclusive limited edition version of our Isa Beach Tote for our friends at Winnifred Beach. The boys at Winnifred make what they call sport-utility bathrobes and what the New York Times calls “A comfortable postshower coverup that also functions as a rugged trench that you won’t get arrested for wearing on the street.” So yah, they’ve made it (sort of) socially acceptable to walk around in a robe all day. We’re not sure if this makes them adventurous free spirits or just lazy, but either way, the robes are really nice. For their tote we sourced vintage rip-stop nylon in a camo print to compliment their robe’s olive shade. It’s lightweight and folds up to nothing but is super durable. Win, win, win. Head over to the Winnifred Beach site to get yours and consider the robe as a gift for all the stylish loungers in your life.
A red turtleneck paired with a red coat sounds like it would be seriously wrong, but in this shot, it looks insanely awesome. We really hope she’s carry a bright red bag to complete the look. And soooo of course, the all red Louie is essential for creating your own head to toe red look. We may start with just jeans, red sweater (obvs Equipment cashmere), all red Louie – you know, ease in.
Click here to buy.
We’ve mentioned a few other of our preferred show going spots in LA, but the Troubadour really may be our favorite. It was one of the first places we saw a show in LA and we vividly remember walking in and immediately thinking ‘this is the best place ever.’ Actually we remember thinking “Are we at The Bait Shop? meaning the fictional venue on The OC, that was always sold out but never too crowded and where you could easily get a drink. And that is still how we would describe it. Even when you are as far away from the stage as you can possibly be, it is about the equivalent of being 10 rows back at any other show. And this is with no elbowing and drink spilling and general annoying concert struggles – hooray! We love that there are three separate bar areas too. This is perfect for when you arrive a few minutes ahead of the band you are actually there to see. You can have a drink upstairs or in the front and still hear the music with out feeling bad because you are chattering away why the die hard fans sway and nod with delight. A win for everyone. Of course, they have a great line up of bands too. Over the years we’ve seen so many great shows there – Cold War Kids maybe 5 times, Hot Chip back in the day. Some shows sell out super quickly so be sure and sign up for their newsletter to stay on top of it.
9081 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Check out the calendar here.