North Hollywood is an up-and-coming area with a little strip of Lankershim Blvd. adding its artsy vibe to an otherwise forgettable area. I work with Lankershim Elementary School teaching preschool yoga, so every now and then, I like to look for new places for coffee or lunch. One afternoon, after Brandon and I walked around the Studio City farmers’ market, we decided that after all that walking we would head over to Summer Canteen for a late lunch. Since Summer Canteen is located in the same area of North Hollywood that Republic of Pie is, we headed over there to pick up some pie. My sister has been wanting a good slice of pie for a while now, so I decided to pick a couple of pieces up and check the place out.
Republic of Pie is a lovely little cafe that’s both quaint and stylish. The décor is antique and precious with a stage for coffee house open mic night and couches for comfortable hanging out sessions with friends or your newest novel. The pastry cases offer a variety of styles of savory and sweet pies as well as other delicious baked goods like homemade oreos, lemon bars, vegan energy bars and much more. We looked over the pies and decided on blackberry peach pie and banana cream. I also took a lemon bar to go as well. The pies came out perfectly packed and expertly sliced.
Along with your pie, they have a full line of espresso drinks and teas for your enjoyment. Both pies were delicious. The blackberry was extremely fresh and the pie crust was perfectly golden and crisp. The banana cream was layered with cream, banana pudding and a layer of sweet brown sugar crumble; it was very rich and decadent. The lemon bar was good. But for my taste, I enjoy them to be a bit more tart than sweet. Overall, the whole place was cute and welcoming and the pie was fantastic. You can take a look at the bakers in the baking room making all the delicious goodies by hand.
My grandma is a very special woman. She’s such a loving, kind, strong and wonderful person and we were very happy to host her 80th birthday celebration for all of her friends and family. Granny has always been the talk of the town and never met someone she couldn’t charm or take a photograph of. Her personality is best displayed when she played Choco, the adorable little bear mascot for Children’s Hospital of Orange County. Her dancing and friendly waves along with blowing kisses to all the children, led her to be requested put on the suit well into her late 70s.
My sister, my brother and I spent countless hours with grandma when we were little. We’d get picked up and taken all the way out to Huntington Beach to stay with grandma for the weekend; some of my fondest memories as a little kid are feeding the ducks at the park, eating toast and tea for breakfast and having French bread and string cheese for snacks. I associate a lot of joyful activities with food as you can see. Grandma was never short on hugs and kisses or presents and spoiling and she’s passed down the fun to my little niece Maleeya. Grandma has the biggest heart and the attitude of someone half her age. Believe it or not, she still cruises out to Vegas in her Corolla on a whim and vacations whenever she can, all between traveling back and forth to come to visit all of us (over 100 miles away roundtrip).
Brandon and I put on a very special catering for all the guests and we were very happy with the outcome. Brandon was in charge of pastries and I helped him assemble some of them, while I took on the savory options, which he lent a big hand in helping with as well. My mom was assigned the snacks department and made our family’s favorite macaroni and potato salad, homemade beans for the chili and mini lemon cupcakes. My sister made the beautiful flower arrangements, all the gorgeous decorations and photo collages. My dad, brother, sister-in-law, brother-in-law and everyone else helped out so much to make this a beautiful, delicious, smooth event for everyone involved. I’m so glad I have this amazing family to call my own. I want to thank everyone who came, who helped, and who made this amazing event happen.
Happy 80th Birthday, Granny! We all love you so much!
Ruthie’s 80th Birthday Party Menu
Chips and Dip
Baby Mixed Greens with Shredded Cucumber, Mozzarella Cheese, Diced Tomatoes, Pickled Red Onions and Blue Cheese Dressing
Entrées: Served Family-Style
Roasted Pulled Pork
Country Spiced Fried Chicken
Homemade Chili Beans
Mashed Potatoes and Chicken Gravy
Peanut Coleslaw with Red and Green Cabbage, Shredded Carrots, Green Onions and Asian Dressing
Roasted Corn on the Cob
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Orange Honey Glaze and Marshmallows
Corn Bread Muffins
Lemon Meringue Pie
Banana Cream Pudding
I’ve been cooking non-stop for the last couple of weeks. Not that I mind at all, it’s really second nature to me and I’m very fortunate to have lots of family and friends to be cooking for during the holidays. It’s probably one of my favorite gifts to give. The day after Christmas is Brandon’s stepdad’s birthday and we planned to have a big feast to celebrate his 50th birthday with family and friends. So after the great Christmas feasts that we had with my family, we were lucky enough to enjoy making dinner for Brandon’s mom and stepdad and some of their friends. The menu featured some of the food that I made for Christmas, including pozole and using some leftover meat that I had made for the tamales transformed into taquitos and flautas with some creamy salsa verde, spicy salsa roja with yogurt, and guacamole for appetizers. Having two chefs in the family is a pretty big advantage. I think both our families are grateful for that!
Happy Birthday Andy!
Cheese Board with Fig Butter and Crostini
Chipotle BBQ Shrimp with Honey Chipotle Aioli
Beef and Cheese Taquitos and Flautas with Creamy Salsa Verde, Spicy Salsa Roja with Yogurt and Guacamole
Antipasto Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Roasted Red Beet Salad with Feta Cheese, Mixed greens and Shallot Red Wine Vinaigrette
Herb Roasted Spicy Dijon and Horseradish Roasted Prime Rib
Roasted Carrots, Peas and Brussels Sprouts
Twice Roasted Potatoes with Sour Cream and Green Onions
Chocolate, Vanilla Wafers and Banana Cream Pie
TUNA TARTARE PICADILLO STYLE WITH SPANISH OLIVES, BLACK CURRANTS,
ALMONDS AND COCONUT WITH SOY-LIME VINAIGRETTE AND WONTON CRISPS
BRAISED BEEF SPRING ROLL
CUBAN BLACK BEAN PAPAYA SALSA AND PORT WINE REDUCTION
CALAMARI SALAD ‘ASIA DE CUBA’
CRISPY CALAMARI WITH CHAYOTE, HEARTS OF PALM,
BANANA, CASHEWS, CHICORY AND RADICCHIO WITH SESAME ORANGE DRESSING
CHAR SUI BEEF SHORT RIBS
CONGRE TOSTONES AND CHILI ORANGE MOJO
MISO CURED ALASKAN BUTTERFISH
CUBAN BLACK BEAN & EDAMAME SALAD AND TEMPURA SHISITO PEPPERS
CUBAN BBQ CHICKEN
THAI COCONUT STICKY RICE, AVOCADO CILANTRO FRUIT SALSA AND TAMARIND SAUCE
PLANTAIN FRIED RICE WITH AVOCADO SALAD
BAY OF PIGS
I believe in over indulgence on thanksgiving and I don’t really make any excuses on this day. The dishes on holidays are so intense. My kitchen is immaculate which is insane because it was a complete disaster all day. Lots of family lots of food…