Los Angeles Dining Guide and Must-Eat Interview for The Murmur App, a world-wide guide on where to eat as suggested by selected taste-makers.
Tell us about yourself and starting Dine x Design…
I had been writing about food for a few national websites as well as my own site called The Cuisinerd for several years, but decided to re-brand and launch Dine X Design in March of 2014 as a place to express my interest in the unique cross-section of design and food culture. The site also gave me an online home for my consulting business, which over the last couple of years has shifted to include more than just recipe development, but also styling and photographing shoots for the likes of HGTV and even re-branding and designing websites for more food-focused clients.
Dine X Design not only reflects what I do for a living it also gives me a platform to share my exploration into the creative side of food: be it local makers and handmade table top items, the behind the scenes of cookbook design, or style profiles focusing on different types of people in the culinary-centric industry. It’s been an incredibly well-received project so far and I hope to continue inspiring a deeper conversation about the visual details that go into our desire to entertain at home while creating a food community that has interests extending further from the home table.
Kristin, describe your ideal day in Los Angeles…
A perfect day for me involves something I like to call “city-grazing”. Basically small bites throughout the day while walking around a few favorite neighborhood spots. The day would definitely start with a low key brunch followed by a leisurely walk (around Huntington Gardens, The Atwater Farmer’s Market, Echo Park Lake or even The Silverlake Junction) followed by a few more snacky stops…maybe an ice tea pastry pop-in, a sidewalk gelato or a bag of spicy street fruit from a cart. The day would round up with a stop into McCalls’ or Fish King to pick up a few key dinner makings and a swing through Silverlake Wine for a little at-home weekend happy hour. Ending back home with a magazine, a glass of rosé and watching the sun set over my view of Griffith Park from my front yard. Bliss!
Don’t leave LA without eating… at The Grand Central Market. Granted it’s changed immensely over this past year, but there are still some great original vendors mixed in with exciting up and coming stalls. It’s an exciting and bustling culinary experience that will have you grazing different types of food for a good part of the afternoon.
Share with us some of your current favorite spots for…
Date Night? All’acqua recently opened up in my neighborhood and I’ve been spending Thursday or Friday nights with my husband there on the regular. Whether you are in the mood for shared small bites, a thin pizza, or a rich ragu pappardelle – they have something for everyone and a very impressive wine list. I love grabbing a seat at the bar to watch the kitchen action.
Happy Hour? For me, It isn’t happy hour without an outdoor seat in some late afternoon sunshine. I love Vinotecca in Los Feliz for sharing ceviche over a glass of wine and good conversation.
Coffee? The coffee scene in LA is exploding right now. I feel like each week there is a new place to check out, I absolutely love it! My go-to is Proof Bakery, I like to take a creative break and walk at some point during the day through my neighborhood and I usually stop in for a quick cappuccino or an afternoon mint ice tea….of course it’s nearly impossible to pass up the pastry case so be prepared to cave in.
People Watching? Where in LA isn’t good for people watching?! I always joke that all you need is a busy sidewalk and a glass of wine…the visual entertainment will shortly follow.
Brunch? Little Dom’s consistently returns as a weekend favorite. I prefer to sit at the bar and order the speck breakfast pizza and the avocado gem lettuce salad with a sieved egg…I may or may not be eavesdropping on the bartender’s conversations with neighboring brunchers.
Cocktails? Bar Stella, not only for it’s good looking ambience and outdoor patio, but they are still the only place I’ve been to in LA that can make a proper White Negroni, or any bartender’s choice cocktail using Suze for that matter.
Quick Bite? Village Bakery in Atwater Village is my remote office at times during the week. Get a scramble or a tuna sandwich with an ice tea, bang through a few emails and enjoy the sidewalk for a quick breakfast or lunch. Perfect no-fuss neighborhood spot, grab a fresh loaf of bread to go on your way out.
Adventurous? Langua Tacos at “Midnight Taco” – actually, I think it’s really called El Gran Burrito…clearly my name comes from the time of day best to eat there.
Under the Radar? Everyone needs to experience Cafe MAJI at least once…it’s located in an unmarked gymnasium in Arcadia, where you literally have to sign in at the gym’s front desk before heading upstairs into the cafe. Order the Snow Affogoto – a tower of cotton candy on top of vanilla ice cream that melts with a pour over of espresso – it’s a delightful experience. Perfect little stop in if you’re visiting the nearby Arboretum & Botanic Gardens.
Go-To? Baco Mercat. I dream of their blistered okra dish – it’s really about the small plates there. So vibrant and fresh – I was once even quoted calling Chef Centeno the “Viceroy of Vinegars” because I find his balancing act of acids to be unlike any other menu — and my love for that man’s food is still as strong as when they first opened.