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Food + Lab

First off, if I am writing about it, I liked it.  I don’t write bad reviews.  If an experience was poor, I will tell the manager and/or owner.  Hopefully it will help them to improve.  I had a great experience at Food + Lab and I want to tell you about it!

I went to Food Lab yesterday for lunch with my friend, Holly.  It was Holly’s choice and I had never heard of the place or been there before.  Holly had seen it and wanted to try it but had never been there either.  Holly is a chef, so I enjoy going out to eat with her.  She knows her stuff!  I can ask her anything.  She is discriminating about food and restaurants, understandably so, and she has a love of food that I can appreciate.  Yesterday was fun!

The Location

Food + Lab is on Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood. They have another location in Silverlake and they do catering.  There is parking in back.  They have a few sidewalk tables on the street side, seating indoors and a lovely patio in back.  We sat in the patio.

The Restaurant

I really liked what I saw at the Food Lab!  I was impressed with the lunch menu and I wanted to try everything!  You order at the counter and they bring the food to your table.  There is a case of cold salads and the kitchen is visible.  They have shelves of candy and nuts that they prepare and package there.  Everything is in little tubs and bottles and I thought it was clever, food and a lab.  I get it!  The counter service was helpful and charming.  Everything was clean and inviting.  I ate my share (plus one or two) of the sample chocolate covered fruit and nuts while I ordered and waited for my receipt.  Yum!

The Food

I really did want to try everything!  The first thing on the lunch menu sounded amazing to me,  ORGANIC CURRIED CHICKEN WITH LINGONBERRY CHUTNEY ON RAISIN WALNUT.  OMG.  My mouth was watering.  I always like to read the whole menu before I decide.  It was a good thing I did.  Because after reading about the TURKEY BREAST WITH BRIE, PEAR, and HONEY, the CUBAN STYLE PORK LOIN, GRUYERE, HAM, PICKLES & MUSTARD ON CIABATTA, and the SMOKED SALMON WITH CREME FRAICHE, CUCUMBER & LIME ZEST ON WHEAT, I saw it all the way at the bottom of the menu.  I will admit, I am a sucker for grilled cheese.  Any grilled cheese.  My brother makes the best.  I make the second best.  I died and went to Heaven when I tried the “Brie Melt” from The Grilled Cheese Truck (it comes with Double Cream Brie, Bourbon Chicken, Maple-glazed Yams, and Candied Walnuts on Rosemary Bread.)   So, I had to try this . . .

GRILLED CHEESE: GRUYERE, TALLEGIO & RACLETTE ON 5 GRAIN W. CARAMALIZED ONION & GRAINY MUSTARD!

It was amazing!  I must confess, I was talking so much with Holly that I only got one bite in when it was warm and gooey.  It had just enough of the rind from the brie in it to suit my taste, but Holly didn’t like that.  It was heavy on the carmelized onion, which was fine with me!  The five-grain bread was sliced thin and lightly toasted to perfection.  The grainy mustard was served on the side, which made me happy.  I didn’t end up trying it with the mustard, it was so good and I talked so much, I forgot.  I ate half of the sandwich there and took the other half home.

The salad we tried was off menu, it was chopped kale with shredded cheese.  I thought it was yummy and had a nice zest to it.  It was very fresh and colorful.  It was a good pair with my sandwich.  Holly had a chicken sandwich with a buffalo sauce on a ciabatta (I think, because I didn’t see this on the menu) that I tasted.  It was good, just enough spice for me.  But nothing prepared me for the experience I had yet to come.

I took the long way home on my trek back to the Valley from Hollywood.  While I was driving through the canyon, I reached over and opened the little Food + Lab box that I had on the passenger seat.  I reached in and grabbed a quarter of my sandwich.  It was surprisingly warm from sitting in the sun, I guess.  Just a bit warmer than room temp.  So, the cheese was a good consistency and was just a bit chewy.  To my delight, just a smidge of the grainy mustard had grazed the side of the crust.  I took the perfect bite.  In my mouth danced all the flavors that had been marinating together in that box.  I was blown away by the sweetness of the carmelized onions, the creaminess of the brie and other cheeses glued together, the tanginess of the mustard and the nuttiness of the seeds in the bread (reminiscent of pine nuts) and the way everything melted in my mouth was like rich butter.  I savored every last bite of that sandwich on my ride home through the canyon. Those flavors enhanced an otherwise perfect sunshiny top down ride on my favorite road!  It was so unexpected and thoroughly sinful!

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Creative Sparks

AYWM 15: Journal Prompt – Bright Ideas: Cultivating and Capturing Good Ideas

by C. A. Kobu on April 9, 2012

In last week’s post, we talked about fearless living and looked into ways for working our courage muscles.

(See my response to the prompt here:  https://mizmeliz.com/2012/04/20/what-does-fear-look-like/ )

This week, on the other hand, is all about ideas and creative sparks.

The exciting theme of this module is “Bright Ideas: Cultivating and Capturing Good Ideas.”

As Michael Michalko says,  (I found this to be poetic and profound. . .)

“When you surround yourself with images of your intention—

who you want to become or what you want to create—

your awareness and passion grows.”

My awareness and passion grows. . . yes!  I recall my mantra . . .

“I commit my passion to my cause, knowing that passion is the power that creates new life, new joys, and new accomplishments for myself and others.”

And ideas are the marrow of creative intention.

At the same time, they are the wild horses of our minds.

They hate to be fenced in. So if you want to capture them and help them grow into beautiful projects, you have to use other methods.

This week, I got together with Dyana Valentine, who is a fiery instigator and idea midwife, and Tom Evans, who is known as the wizard of light-bulb moments. We discussed methods for sparking creativity, capturing ideas and turning the right ones into projects.

I’m Not Sorry

By Dyana Valentine

There is something I really want to say to you about the way that we could decide to move through the world.

We could decide that today we would not apologize for who we are.

We could decide that every time we say, “I’m sorry,” today, we say, “Wait, wait let me think about that. Am I really sorry? Or did I mean excuse me? Or did I mean I’m afraid?”

Let’s clarify what we mean by that.

And lets move through the world without apology where it’s not due.

What is your story of “I’m not sorry”? Write about it.

(See my response to this prompt here: https://mizmeliz.com/2012/04/23/i-am-fat-and-i-am-not-sorry/ )

Think about the creative ideas you’ve executed (or thought about executing) so far and those you are cultivating today. Which ideas are you not sorry about? Express your feelings by writing or painting about not being sorry about your ideas and sticking up for them.

The rest is me. . . Okay, here I go!

I feel the need to expand on the creativity portion of the prompt.  I wrote about not being sorry which was empowering and sustained me for awhile.  But to move forward with the A Year with Myself exercises, I wanted to discuss cultivating my creativity and following through on my ideas.

Here is one example that comes to mind of how I was not sorry for my idea and for sticking it through.  The way my husband and I recently celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary came about in a somewhat unusual process.  There were many options and we discussed it from time to time over the past year.  We talked about going on a trip, taking a romantic holiday, going out to dinner, taking the family out to dinner, hosting a dinner for a larger group at a restaurant, lots of things.  We finally made a decision that turned out to be a great idea, one that became a creative gift for me. 

My husband suggested that to cut costs we could have a small dinner party at home with our family and a few friends.  I think my eyes lit up because I could almost see my excitement reflect on his face.  To him a small dinner party is no big deal.  Friends, family and food.  Fantastic!  To me, there is no such thing as small, and “dinner party” has the word party in it, it’s implied.  I am having a party!  Yay!  I love parties!

I starting cooking up some creative ideas right away.  I bounced some thoughts around with my most creative cohorts.  My best friend, Chef Holly Markman (of http://hollyshomemade.com ) and I talked about what could be served and she agreed to help. My brother-in-law, who dabbles in decorating and is an event coordinator, asked me my all time favorite question. . . (cue the dramatic music!)

“What is your theme?” 

(Hee, hee – of course I have already thought about this!!) 

“I want either Parisian or Tuscany.”  I answered.

He was in.  We decided on “A Tuscany Dinner Party.”

The rest of the family offered their support and promised to help clean up and set up so we could have the sit down dinner in our back yard. I immediately started making the guest list, working out a menu, the whole routine.  I’ve got this down and I couldn’t be happier!  My all time favorite creative outlet is event design.  I’ll get an image in my mind of how I want it to look and feel and I don’t stop until I’m there. 

This dinner party idea had been a wild horse in my mind for a very long time.  I pictured our family and our closest friends all together, sitting outside in our backyard at a beautifully dressed table, under a canopy, aglow in candlelight, eating a delicious meal.  It was not what my husband was imagining when he uttered the words, “dinner party.”  Perhaps he just said, “dinner at home.” I heard dinner party because that was my heart’s desire.  And he was fine with it.  My design came to be with a lot of help from our loved ones and it was a wonderful way to celebrate our anniversary!  My celebration started the moment I started planning!  I may have spent too much time, money and effort on what was supposed to be simple and cost efficient, but. . . I am not sorry!

Christopher Taylor Lopez, photograhy