Because sometimes you just need a burger. And sometimes maybe you need that burger to be vegan. Burgerlords has got you covered either way. They make what we would call an In-N-Out style burger, served simply with lettuce, tomato, onion, and Thousand Island dressing on a soft fluffy bun. It’s pretty perfect. The vegan option is one of the best meat free burgers we’ve ever had, complete with a nice, melty slice of vegan American ‘cheese.’ A cheeseburger is $5.50 and fries are just $2 which also sort of makes this a steal. The fries are awesome – crispy on the outside, soft in the middle and just salty enough. The window is in the middle of Chinatown’s Central Plaza so you can enjoy your burger at a picnic table in the sunshine while you people watch. The whole set up is very clean and simple. Everything is just done right. Your meal comes in a little paper box with the cutest little toothpick flag proudly topping your burger. They have Mexican Cokes and Topo Chico waters to wash everything down. It is open until 9 during the week and 10 on the weekends so it’s a great place for a quick bite before a game, show or other such fun downtown.
LA is full of vegan places these days but Ramen Hood is the only one serving up warm, comforting bowls of noodle-filled goodness every day. Seriously if you brought a meat-loving friend to this place and didn’t mention it was vegan, they would never know. They even have eggs, which are truly baffling – they look and feel just like a regular egg. Really! We have absolutely no clue what they are made of, but it’s pretty cool. The rest of your bowl is made up of a deep, rich broth (apparently having something to do with sunflower seeds) and piled high with veggies – mushrooms, bean sprouts, scallions – and topped with nori strips and chili treads. It’s delicious. You can add on more of any of those things or make it spicier. There are some sides too – a fresh cucumber salad, pickles plus bahn mi poutine and tofu al pastor. Because why not? Nice to have some indulgent feeling vegan options around for those days when you think you should be healthy but really aren’t in the mood.
These may be the only cookies that could compete with a classic chocolate chip. So so good. Soft on the inside but with a nice crust, they taste rich and comforting. We remember making this recipe when we were little and they always seemed like a very grownup cookie to us and they still seems a bit sophisticated. They only take around 20 minutes to make and they are oh so delicious. A perfect not too sweet treat – pair them with an afternoon latte or cup of tea. These have always seemed festive and Christmas-y, so with the holidays approaching, there is no better time to make them. They also make a great gift for neighbors, friends, teachers etc. They are so easy to make and only go in the oven for ten minutes so you can churn out a ton all at once and it still won’t take you all day. You basically just dump everything into the bowl of a your mixer and you are good to go. Rolling them into smooth little balls and coating them with sugar adds a bit of extra time but they will come out uniform and look very professional. Plus it’s a great job for any little ones who want to help out in the kitchen. Enjoy!
Grandma Josie’s Molasses Cookies
¾ cup shortening or oil (we used canola oil)
1 cup white sugar
¼ cup molasses
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cloves (or nutmeg)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
What to do:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine oil, sugar, molasses and egg and beat well. Add all the dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Roll dough into small balls and roll in sugar to coat on all sides. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
We love this outfit so much! She looks super summery here but with a navy blazer and a chunky scarf, you’d be set for fall. The colors are so rich and lovely. We’ll pair the matching Louie with a sleek all black look – jeans, sweater, coat, and boots because black and navy is maybe the best cold weather color combo. Right?
SANDWICHES. Spanish sandwiches. Pressed on neat rectangles of white bread and thin Euro baguettes. The bread is crispy, the cheese is melted and the whole thing comes wrapped up in brown paper like the lovely little gift it is. This place is basically our dream and opened up in the neighborhood so naturally we go embarrassingly often. First the Bikinis – these come on pressed on white bread cut into perfect triangles. The bikini is thin and easy to eat with all the components evenly distributed. Our fave is the Serrano ham which comes with manchego cheese, the thinnest slices of portobellos and truffle aioli. Heaven. The smoked trout is also tops with a kick form piquillos and picked fennel. The bocatas come on baguettes also pressed and crisp and melty. Our fave is the tuna melt with extra sharp cheddar, shaved fennel and caper aioli. Yes please! The braised short rib is pretty insane too. And then there is the artichoke with olive tapenade and basil. There are a flew flatbreads and salads too which are surely delicious, but we’d recommend starting with a sandwich for sure. Everything comes with fresh green salad on the side, or the daily gazpacho. But you hopefully have room for some patatas bravas on the side because – yum. The space is super cute, everyone is very friendly and its nice and quick. An absolutely perfect lunch.
8719 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
For awhile we didn’t get these shoes. People said they were so comfortable but aren’t all sneakers comfortable? And we had some trouble with the sole at first. So thick and white. Why? But eventually after a few trips that involved us running the entire length of JFK airport in ankle boots, everyday sneakers seemed like a pretty good idea and we would never/could never bring ourselves to wear our actual running shoes with jeans. Just no. (Even though they are also Nikes and not hideous.) So we caved and picked up a pair of Roshes and instantly realized that everyon else was right and we had been idiots. They are in fact INSANELY comfortable. That thick white sole is a like a bouncy pillow. They weigh nothing. And the inside sole has little ridges on it that are somehow like some mini foot massage. This is probably not intentional, but we love it. So the lesson here kids, is of course, that you need Roshes too. And now they come in 100s of color combos and of course you can design them yourself with Nike iD (love us some customization). They have a FlyKnit version now and an amazing fleece line made of fluffy sweatshirt material. Pretty much the only thing that could make these even more enjoyable to wear. Hooray! And now you can change the sole color too – tons of options and you can even make it color blocked or marbled. Go bold, go all black, keep it clean with just a bright swoosh – the options are endless. We want ten more pairs.
We love this dressed up take on plaid. And every dressed up take on plaid really. And the flannel shirt + pencil skirt combo is definitely our favorite version. This look is made even more wonderful with the classic red, blue and tan shades. Love. We’ll copy this formula and pair the matching Louie with some equally classic plaid, a sleek leather skirt and some velvet slippers for a fall look that works for pretty much any occasion.
The Now just opened last week and we already know we’ll be spending serious amounts of time there. This place is the massage spot we have always dreamed of. It’s insanely cute and cozy AND reasonably priced. Yes please! The treatments are $35 for 30 minutes or $60 for 60 minutes. Not bad at all. And the experience is ten times that of similarly priced places that usually feel either a little gross or too sterile. The Now on the other hand is beautiful. All white with calf hair rugs and fluffy sheepskin everywhere. They have a few different services to choose from. The Now is a classic full body massage. This is what we tried and it was absolutely perfect. You are not in a private room, but in your own little walled off area, with a heated massage bed, Moroccan rugs and gentle wave sounds. It’s heavenly. Other options – The Healer which is more of an energy situation, The Stretch – good for sore muscles and flexibility, The Travel – to balance and reset, plus The Upper – head focused, and The Roots – for feet and legs. You can choose an aromatherapy oil to add on or an eye mask – perfection. Plus they are open until 10pm everyday making it easy to squeeze in some workday relaxation. Cannot wait to go back!
We’ve done some nerdy Louie Loves before but telling you about our favorite domino game may take the cake. But with the holidays on the horizon you’ll likely be spending large amounts of time with relatives you only see once a year. This game is perfect for killing time and really works for people of all ages. Pretty sure the box says age six and up. That said, some of our relatives view this as a game of intense strategy and skill (at least when they are winning). In reality it is probably 95% luck and 5% strategy. Or maybe that last 5% is just paying attention. Either way it doesn’t require so much focus that you can’t chat and enjoy some drinks and snacks while you play. But when you win, you feel entitled to a bit of bragging. You can play with any set of double twelve dominoes but we highly recommend purchasing an official Mexican Train game because then the dominoes will be color-coded. This means they are pretty but more importantly you don’t even have to count! Woohoo. Just match the colors. The game works with just two players or up to eight. Another bonus, each round goes pretty quickly and you can play as many as you want so opening it up doesn’t mean a serious time commitment. New players can join in any time. The only thing that would really prohibit children from playing is how much your family tends to swear when playing only mildly competitive games. It’s really fun and highly addictive. Also good for weekends with friends and naturally a perfect gift to bring with you on such trips. You’ll be a hero. And yah, no idea why it is called Mexican Train.
Buy our preferred full size version here. And travel set here.
Alright so Wanderlust has amazing yoga and mediation and the space is beautiful and they have memberships. Or so we have been told. We just go for the food. It is all really pretty though, we an attest to that. And it was opened by the people who run those Wanderlust festival things so they definitely know their yoga. But back to the food, they are open all day serving breakfast, lunch and snacks, plus pastries and smoothies. You can pick up juices too. Everything is organic and vegetarian options are everywhere but so are eggs and cheese and you can add salmon, chicken or steak to anything. It is refreshing to health conscious fare that caters to meat eaters too. At breakfast we like the savory take on oatmeal with mushrooms, Parmesan and a fried egg and the avocado toast. Generally we find order avocado toast at restaurants semi absurd but this version is tops – complete with soft-boiled egg and radishes. They also have premade overnight oat type things which are just the right amount of sweet and perfect if you are on the go. We’ve become addicted to the mango smoothie. With turmeric, keifer, flax, ginger and coconut milk it filled with good for you things and so so delicious. Later in the day we go for the black rice bowl or the kale Caesar with salmon. They also have Tom’s coffee and bone broth from Bel Campo. Everything just seems very fresh. Which is maybe because they also have a garden in back growing herbs and kale and such for your dish. Sooooo even if like us, you do not participate in yoga or meditation of any kind, Wanderlust is still for you! Check it out.
Allow us to introduce you to the best slippers ever made. They are made in Maine. And made to order just for you. Quoddy makes lot of shoes. Mostly manly boots and other outdoorsy items – they come from Maine after all. The boots are amazing and would be a fabulous gift for the gent in your life, the topsiders too. For the ladies, they offer a slightly smaller range or styles, and the clear winner here is the ring boot. It’s called a boot and totally acceptable to wear outside, BUT you can/should/obviously will get it lined with the fluffiest sheepskin ever which means this ‘boot’ is really the best pair of slippers you will ever own. And you will own them for years. They last forever, and Quoddy will loving resole or repair them for you should anything go wrong. Very nice people up there in Maine. When we purchased our cozy pair, there weren’t many options – you could choose lined or unlined and maybe pick the sole material. Now there are SO MANY CHOICES. You can customize your whole boot! Soooooo made in the USA, customizable, and made to order? Hmmmm yes, definitely ideas we support here at Essex. As we said, the sheepskin lining is really not an option; you must get it. But as far as the other things are concerned – there are now twenty-one different leathers to choose from for the upper, and three sole varieties. You also select the colors for the sole, thread, and hardware. So fun! And the lining now comes in black too. We seriously might have to design another pair – maybe all black – even though ours are perfectly worn in and in great shape. So what you should do immediately is design your dream pair and then very unsubtly hint to everyone around you that you need these for the holidays. Because you do. We pretty much never take them off when we are at home. And actually we even travel with them. Chilly feet can really ruin a vacation right?
*If you want yours to look like ours go with – Whiskey leather, dark crepe sole, natural thread, antique brass hardware, white sheepskin lining.
Who knew burgundy leather overalls could look so cool? We’re into this whole look but the unexpected color pairing is definitely the best part – no reason burgundy can’t partner with brighter hues. This combo is soooo good for fall! We’ll pair the matching Louie with a classic look – jeans, boots, and a cozy sweater.
Another one on the healthy side of things. Beaming has all the juices and smoothies you could want plus other good for your food – salads, soups, vegan baked goods. The menu is a little overwhelming at first because there are so many options and each one lists all the amazing things they will reportedly do for your body it quickly gets difficult to choose. Because obviously you want a metabolism boost, and something to help detox, and something that’s anti-aging right? All in one really tasty smoothie. They can actually probably do that for you because after you choose a smoothie there are also tons of super food add-ins not to mention Beaming’s own custom protein blends. See? Sooo many options. But don’t worry, you can tell them what you want – taste or benefit wise – and they will steer you in the right direction. We also love the elixirs, which are coconut water based with other good for you things mixed in – chia, turmeric, spirulina etc. They are light and hydrating and seem sort of alike a natural version of Gatorade. (We despise coconut water on its own and these blends do not taste of it at all – yay!) So along with all of that there are some really tasty salads and soups, acai bowls, and oatmeal for when you need an actual meal. We recently tried out one of their cleanses so we’ve now sampled a wide variety of the offerings and were never disappointed. The thai salad is a definite fave. And while we haven’t tried too many of the baked goods, they all have extra protein in them and the cookie is shockingly tasty. The cashew brittle is another great on the go treat. Ok so to sum up – everything here is pretty delicious and pretty healthy so WIN!
605 N. La Cienega Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
We’ve been fans of Malo since our early days in LA and as we tell everyone constantly they have the best Caesar Salad in the city. But it doesn’t matter what we’ve order, every meal there starts with a huge basket of chips and their Burnt Habanero Cream Salsa. It’s incredibly spicy but impossible to resist so basically we keep wolfing down chips while our mouth is on fire. (Margaritas help with the heat obvs.) We’ve always wanted to recreate this goodness at home but assumed that would involve slow roasting peppers and sourcing hard to find Mexican ingredients. The one day we stumbled on this recipe claiming to mimic Malo’s trademark goodness. We were quite skeptical. It seemed too easy. So few ingredients, just a couple of beyond-easy steps. This could not possibly be all that was required to whip up this restaurant fave at home. We tried this out when making a giant mountain of nachos for a party this summer. We figure the nachos would be delicious on their own so this accompaniment was not crucial. On this first go round we didn’t even have all of the very few ingredients required and it was still incredible. We couldn’t believe how close to the original it tasted. And while we doubt Malo’s actual recipe is anywhere near this basic (and uh probably involves actual habanero peppers), we’re happy to have this filed away for parties. It’s equally great with nachos or just a bag of chips. Perfect for game watching and tailgating and of course any Mexican fiesta.
(Something Very Close To) Malo’s Burnt Habanero Cream Salsa
What you need:
16oz container of sour cream or Mexican crema
1 can chipotle in adobo peppers
1 cup fresh cilantro
1 ½ tablespoons honey
What to do:
Blend everything – cream, cilantro, honey, juice of the lime, and the peppers from the can (but not the sauce) in a food processor (you could probably use a Vitamix too).
That’s it! If you want it spicier add some of the sauce from the peppers.