Ultimate NYE & New Year’s Day Desserts

Here’s a sweet and sparkly treat to say goodbye to 2020 with Tipsy Scoop’s champagne ice cream. This rich and creamy ice cream is made with decadent and award-winning French G.H. Mumm Champagne. Not only is the ice cream spiked with champagne, but also fresh strawberries, black cherry puree, and edible glitter.

G.H. Mumm’s Brut Grand Cordon Champagne is a sparkling wine sourced from over 100 different crus. With a taste like no other, this ice cream is delicious on its own, or in a champagne float for the ultimate after dinner NYE dessert. 

Tipsy Scoop founder Melissa Tavss creates artisanal cocktails inspired by fond dessert memories and turned these special treats into adult celebrations.

On New Year’s Day, start off with a bang scooping from pints of her “Hangover Cure” ice cream. She makes 3 flavors that includes:

  • Ohza Mimosa ice cream: a creamy, refreshing ice cream made with Ohza sparkling wine mimosa and fresh squeezed orange juice.
  • Bloody Mary sorbet: a savory, spicy sorbet made with vodka, fresh tomato juice, horseradish, chilies, and spices.
  • Bacon, Egg, and Whiskey ice cream: their one-of-a-kind, ultra creamy gelato-style ice cream made with whiskey, bacon, and a pinch of sea salt.

Click on Tipsy Scoop to see how you can get some before NYE or afterwards in 2021. Tipsy has also expanded into the retail freezer space, with locations like Whole Foods, Food Bazaar, Metropolitan Market, and Morton Williams

In May of 2020, Melissa released her first ever cookbook, Tipsy Scoop Latest and Greatest Recipes, to share both secret recipes and teach readers how to create their own celebratory desserts. 

Pie + Cake = Zac Young’s PieCaken

Celebrity Pastry Chef Zac Young, one of the Top 10 Pastry Chefs in America, creates a playful take on two of America’s favorite desserts – pie and cake. Known for his final four finish on Top Chef: Just Desserts, as well as appearances on Cooking Channel’s Unique Sweets and Food Network’s Halloween Baking Championship, Young developed The PieCaken in 2015 for a restaurant in New York City.

This talented pastry chef is making The PieCaken for the holidays. His Thanksgiving PieCaken went viral after Kelly Ripa received an email from the restaurant announcing the decadent creation. Ripa said, “this is pretty much the greatest thing that has happened to me, besides the birth of my children.”

The PieCaken has layers of pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and spice cake all held together with cinnamon buttercream and topped with apple pie filling. This tantalizing comfort food is what a lot of people are seeking to enhance their much smaller Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday meal.

Los Angeles residents can pick up a PieCaken at Carlo’s Bakery on 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica. Besides a full PieCaken, you can also order a slice to bring home and enjoy during a smaller COVID-friendly alternative to the traditional Thanksgiving family style gathering.

For those outside of the Los Angeles area, The PieCaken is available nationwide and can be shipped to your home. This one-of-a-kind cake is $99 and shipping is free on Goldbelly

A little bit of Disney Magic at the Bel Air Bar + Grill

 

(Photo by Bel Air Bar + Grill)
(Photo by Bel Air Bar + Grill)

Driving off the 405 freeway onto the Moraga exit, I noticed a striking two-story glass bougainvillea flower window in the front of the Bel Air Bar + Grill. I was invited to a tasting dinner by the owner of the restaurant Susan Disney Lord. She is part of American royalty – the Disney family, and the granddaughter of Roy O. Disney and one of Roy E. and Patricia Disney’s daughters. Her grandfather and great-uncle Walt Disney, co-founded of The Walt Disney Company.

Lord is a true California girl growing up in Toluca Lake, she now lives near the beach and close to her restaurant. Besides owning this restaurant, she is the President of the Roy Disney Family Foundation, participates on the Cal Arts CAP council, and is passionately involved with the Alzheimer’s Association by serving on the Board. She is also a wife, and the mother of five children that include two sets of twins.

Walking up the stairs into the private dining room, Lord was the first person to welcome me. When I remarked about the flowers on glass, she enthusiastically told me about its story.

Lord bought the landmark Bel Air Bar + Grill a few years ago and renovated the building. She commissioned an artist that she has known for about 30 years, Amanda Weil, to make a dazzling first impression of the restaurant.

These two ladies walked a few blocks up on Moraga to gain inspiration from the beauty of this So Cal enclave. They both appreciated the magnificent magenta colors of bougainvilleas growing freely. After taking a few clippings, Weil went to work.
At night, the nearby Chevron gas station’s bright lights, backlight the exquisite flowers on glass creating a visually beautiful moment as you walk in the door.

I told Lord that Weil’s piece is the new Georgia O’Keefe of art on glass. It’s spectacular.

Since Walt Disney founded and created Cal Arts with Lord’s grandfather Roy O. Disney, up in Valencia in the early 1960s, Lord has always had an affinity to the school known as “The Caltech of the Arts.”

Disney staffed the school with an array of his talented artists. Most of Disney’s movies including Frozen, Tarzan, Pocahontas were all made by many Cal Arts students.

(Photo by Jill Weinlein)
(Photo by Jill Weinlein)

Lord displays Cal Art students artwork on the walls throughout the restaurant. They rotate a few times a year or when a piece is sold, with all the money given to the student.

Standing together, Lord and I remarked about Zach Eins piece over the bar and multiple pieces upstairs. This talented artist uses a blow torch to burn images of human eyes and faces on wood. They are exquisite.

After construction took about one year, Lord hosted a “I survived the 405” party and everyone in the neighborhood came to have dinner, drinks and bond.

(Executive Chef Chris Emerling and owner Susan Disney Lord - Photo by Jill Weinlein)
(Executive Chef Chris Emerling and owner Susan Disney Lord – Photo by Jill Weinlein)

New to the restaurant is Executive chef Chris Emerling. Born in Springville NY, Emerling told me that he didn’t dream of being a chef as a young boy, “I wanted to be a snowplow driver, because it looked so cool.” However, as he graduated high-school, he enrolled in the Pittsburgh Culinary School and soon worked in mostly private clubs and high-end French restaurants including a kitchen in Lussaine, Switzerland.

He’s a kind chef, with a beautiful smile, and a perfect fit to work at Lord’s restaurant, because he seems to add a little “pixie dust” to each dish.

Trays of his fish and braised short rib tacos were passed around the room. These weren’t your everyday tacos, the fish was cold house-cured salmon with a crunchy jicama ginger slaw and the short rib tacos were accentuated with a carrot poblano salsa, chipotle and avocado.

(photo by Jill Weinlein)
(photo by Jill Weinlein)

As we sat at a long, elegantly decorated dining room table upstairs, I felt as if I was in a scene of Disney’s “Be Our Guest” in Beauty and the Beast. Multiple servers paraded into the room with long white plates in their hands. Each plate offered three individual appetizers that included a burnt orange colored, pureed, and chilled gazpacho with dill weed. The pixie dust Chef Emerling infused was avocado dots. Next to this amuse bouché was a four-minute poached egg that had a delicious tapenade made with a classic tomato, oil and balsamic vinegar dressing. Last was a luscious burrata topped with Emerling’s housemade duck prosciutto, herb poached mushrooms and sprigs of arugula.

(Photo by Jill Weinlein)
(Photo by Jill Weinlein)

Our next course was a colorful salad sampler trio, including the restaurant’s classic chopped salad that first appeared on the menu back in 1997. SInce it’s a Bel Air community favorite, Lord and Emerling kept it on the menu, and just heightened it with carrots, corn, garbanzos, Parmigiano-Reggiano and a sprinkling of honey balsamic on top. It was a real crowd pleaser the night I dined.

Another favorite was the Waldorf “Escoffier” salad. Don’t visualize a chunky mayonnaise salad, this one is pure elegance. In the 1930s, Auguste Escoffier was one of the world’s greatest chefs. A group of men in the Jantzen suite at the Hotel Waldorf-Astoria formed an epicurean organization who gathered at the Waldorf regularly and called themselves, “The Friends of Escoffier.”

Emerling’s Waldorf salad is not flat, but rises above the plate. Instead of chunky apples, his apples are sliced long and thin to peek out. Instead of celery, Emerling chops celeriac which is the bulb that grows from the stalks. Celeriac is the heart and soul of celery, offering a delicate and vibrant flavor to this fine dining dish. California walnuts are sprinkled around and then glistened with a delicate and vibrant 3880 French Escoffier secret sauce that only Emerling knows how to make so well.

(Photo by Jill Weinlein)
(Photo by Jill Weinlein)

Seafood dishes include grilled salmon that is half cooked and boosted with lemon, lovage – a herb that a few chefs are foraging in the local foothills, and dash of cream. It’s served with a potato and fennel sauté.
The scallops were served with four root vegetables that included carrots, kohlrabi, onion and celery. The roots change based on what chef selects at the markets. He makes a divine pickled pineapple to complement the scallops and drizzles an orange citrus emulsion before dusting it with a cilantro and red pepper luster. Emerling also creates this same sauce for the Market fish of the day.

Meaty entrees include a pan roasted juicy chicken with preserved cranberries and a delightful rosemary hash with chicken gastrique. His tender, slow braised pork cheeks were served with sweet potato gnocchi and peas, while his red wine braised short ribs are cooked for hours and served with roasted rainbow carrots, garlic mashed potatoes with charred poblano chilies to intensify the flavors.

(Photo by Jill Weinlein)
(Photo by Jill Weinlein)

For dessert you must order the lemon tart with an Italian meringue. I didn’t care for the coconut infused chia pudding, however I know chia is the new ingredient to upgrade desserts. Expect to see more chia seed dishes on menus across Los Angeles, because they are high in fiber, high in omega-3’s, and plump up in liquid giving diners a satisfying fullness.

At the end of the feast, I walked back to my car, and noticed just behind the restaurant, a little cafe named The Shack. Owned by Lord, it’s a great alternative for to-go food from the same fine dining kitchen inside the Bel Air Bar + Grill. The Shack opens Monday through Friday for breakfast, snacks, soups, salads, sandwiches, coffee, smoothies and shakes from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Great-Uncle Walt and Grandfather Roy must be smiling with pride at Susan Disney Lord. Her winning culinary destination is an ideal spot to meet family and friends who live in the San Fernando Valley, or to go to before or after a UCLA basketball or after exploring the Getty Center.

The Bel Air Bar and Grill is open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Happy Hour is available the same days from 4 to 6 p.m. Brunch is on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner is served nightly at 5 p.m. $$- $$$ 662 N. Sepulveda Boulevard. (310)440-5544.

Top 10 Favorite Restaurants in Los Angeles for 2014

We have enjoyed some wonderful meals at restaurants throughout Los Angeles. As devoted foodies, our team IMG_0980selected a repertoire of new and old dining establishments that provide creative fare, that is beautifully presented by attentive service, in an inviting atmosphere. Here is our list of honorees from some unique dining venues:

#10 Sonoma Wine Garden – Executive Chef Garee Battad, Sous Chef Jefferson Reyes

Located up on the third-floor dining deck of Santa Monica Place, the atmosphere offers the quintessential sunset viewing spot to have a glass of wine with a farmers market fruit and cheese board. The creative cocktails by the talented mixologist Rob Floyd go nicely with Reyes’ lamb meatballs served over linguine. Open for lunch, weekend brunch and dinner nightly. 395 Santa Monica Place, Ste. #350. (424)214-4560.

IMG_1459

#9 Open Sesame – Ali Kobeissi

This full-service, casual restaurant serves some of the best Lebanese cuisine in Los Angeles. Our favorite dishes include the grilled halloumi cheese with sliced watermelon, skewers of lean beef and lamb, smokey garlic baba ganoush and the fried cauliflower pita sandwich. Kobeissi has another Open Sesame in Long Beach and is passionate about using the best products for his classic dishes with a contemporary twist. Open daily at 11 a.m. 7458 Beverly Blvd. (323)525-1698.

#8 Crossroads – Founder and Chef Tal Ronnen, Executive Chef Scot  DSC_0096Jones

The elegant supper club serves vegan and vegetarian dishes that will convert almost every carnivore in town into eating healthier. Ronnen makes his buttery cheeses with almond and macadamia milk. Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres and actor James Caan are all huge fans and dine here often. Make reservations for their Sunday Brunch to try their Bloody Mary rolling cart, Crossroads Benedict and fried “chicken” with waffles. There is a full bar and wine and beer list. Open for lunch during the week starting at 11:30 a.m. Dinner is served daily at 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday Brunch begins at 10 a.m. 8284 Melrose Ave. (323)782-9245.

#7 smoke.oil.salt – Executive Chef Perfecto Rocher

The scent of the wood burning oven lures foodies into this Spanish tapas and wine establishment. So does Perfecto’s multi-course paella dinners on Sundays for $49 per IMG_8645person. Partner Stephen Gelber offers some rare Spanish wines for guests poured by the glass using the Coravin system. Order the black skillet filet with a light artichoke omelet topped with a mosaic of sliced pickled fennel, celery, mint and cauliflower. Another must-try is the butcher’s filet of lean Iberico pork wood-fire grilled to seal in the succulent flavors. Dinner is served Tuesdays through Sundays from 5:30 p.m. to midnight. The Wine Bar menu is served until 2 a.m. 7274 Melrose Ave. (323)930-7900.

#6 DOMA – Executive Chef Dustin J. Tranibabt-beets-Doma

Visually stunning dishes come out of Trani’s kitchen, from grilled octopus to braised veal with crispy polenta. His special handcut pasta dish is coated with garlic, tomatoes, Dungeness crab butter and Parmesan cheese. Etheral light pasta pillows are dusted with truffle sauce. The restaurant offers pre-theater dinners for guests seeing a show at the nearby Wallace Annenberg Center of Performing Arts. The four-course meal is $38 per person. Open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday at 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday for dinner at 5 p.m. 362 N. Camden Drive (310)277-7346.

#5 Plan Check – Executive Chef Ernesto Uchimura

DSC_0293This is a fun gastropub with three locations in Los Angeles serving savory burgers, innovative cocktails and comfort food. Uchimura incorporates an Asian flair to his pastrami sandwich with Kimchi mustard spread on to layers of double smoked pastrami, Swiss cheese and a sunny fried egg on top. The Plan Check burger has Americanized Dashi cheese with Uchimura’s famous ketchup leather, and schmaltz onions on a crunchy bun. Diners love the short rib pot roast, French fries cooked in beef tallow and sprinkled with smoked salt. Try the cruller donuts filled with cream and fruit. They offer a variety of draft beer, wine and Japanese whiskey. Open seven days a week from 11:30 a.m. to closing at 351 N. Fairfax Ave. (323)591-0094 and 1800 Sawtelle Blvd. (310)444-1411. Opens at 11 a.m. at 1111 Wilshire Blvd. (213)401-1616.

#4 Perch – Executive Chef Gerardo Benitez IMG_0326

After taking two elevators up to the 15th floor before arriving on the rooftop of a historic art-deco building in downtown Los Angeles, guests are treated to spectacular 360-degree view of Los Angeles while sitting at tables on the outside patio or near a blazing fireplace. Twinkling lights provide a festive ambiance. Chef Benitez prepares cuisine with French flair, like boeuf Bordelaise, steak with frites, Bouillabaisse, scallops, ravioli of rabbit and delightful fromage and charcuterie plates. Bring out of town guests here at sunset to show off our magnificent city. Open Monday through Friday at 4 p.m. for Happy Hour and at 5 p.m. dinner is served. On weekends, Perch opens at 11 a.m. for brunch and later dinner service. Live music and lively bar scene keeps this place open until 2 a.m. during the weekend. 448 S. Hill St. (213)802-1770.

Connie.Teds_.Lobster#3 Connie and Ted’s – Executive Chef Sam Baxter

Named after the award-winning Michael Cimarusti’s (Chef and partner) grandparents, this classic crab shack in West Hollywood offers some of the freshest seafood in town. Looking for oysters on the half-shell? A platter filled with Kumamoto from Washington, Matunuck from Rhode Island and Beau Soliel from New Brunswick are available. So are peeky toe crab cakes, and soft shell clam steamers bathed in butter and clam broth. Their lobster roll can be ordered hot or cold. Enjoy this fare with bottled or draft craft beer or with a glass of wine from California, Washington, Oregon or France. Spiny sea urchin can be spread on toast, and their Hook burger is better than most. Open for dinner only on Mondays and Tuesdays from 4 to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Saturdays Connie and Ted’s is open for lunch and dinner from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday it’s open from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. 8171 Santa Monica Blvd. (323)848-2722.

#2 Whisper Restaurant and Lounge – Executive Chef Anthony Jacquet

Located at The Grove is Rick Caruso’s romantic restaurant that offers an engaging American menu with an international twist by Chef Anthony Jacquet. Last summer, Jacquet was selected amongWhisper-Lounge.-Tuna-Tartareover 30 talented chefs across the U.S. by the Taiwan Tourism Bureau to participate in an immersive culinary journey throughout Taiwan. He was one of three esteemed chefs selected. To celebrate his arrival back to Whisper Restaurant and Lounge, Jacquet is offering a new dish from Jan. 5 to Feb. 5, 2015 – a Taiwanese influenced Berkshire pork belly bun with housemade Hoisin sauce, pickled Fresno peppers, five-spice candied peanuts and a sunny fried quail egg. Other winter fare includes his slow-cooked short rib pot roast, Australian lamb burger, and whole grilled sea bass. Tuesdays they serve a Maine lobster roll on a brioche. Happy Hour is everyday from 3 to 6 p.m. Open Sunday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to midnight. 189 The Grove Drive, Suite F-90B (323)931-0202.

#1 Scratch Bar – Executive Chef Phillip Frankland Lee

Sitting at the bar and having an 11-course tasting meal prepared right before your eyes by a talented chef is a memorable experience. The 11-course menu at Scratch Bar is filled with innovative Cheff-Lee-Margartiasmall plates including “oyster, mussel, egg, belly, smelt, head, prawn, escolar, duck, chocolate and vanilla,” as the menu reads. Some of our other favorite dishes include a shooter of sake-enhanced green mussel and avocado mousse with a sea urchin. Another favorite is the bone marrow roasted in a hollowed out sourdough bread with pickled red onions and shimeji mushrooms. Desserts are prepared by Chef Lee’s beautiful wife Margarita. Open nightly at 5 p.m. 111 N. La Cienega Blvd. (310)289-8010. This article was published in the Beverly Press and Park LaBrea Newspapers on January 1, 2015.

Crepes + Kitchen French Sweet Delights

DSC_0791The first thing I noticed when I entered Crepes + Kitchen on Wilshire Blvd. near La Brea Ave. was the friendly greeting from the owners Yafit Barades and Jacqueline Soletzky. These ladies are genuinely nice to every person who walks in their door. They are also passionate about dogs and have a jar of treats for their furry friends who walk up to the glass door. These ladies work with No Kill LA and are always happy to help a customer looking to adopt a dog.

Another passion for the two women is coffee. “Behind every successful woman is a substantial amount of coffee,” reads a sign on the wall. They sell great coffee by Longshot, an Australian roast based in Los Angeles. It’s a lighter roast than most American coffee chains and offers a subtle mocha flavor with a natural sweetness. Coffee comes in 8 oz. and 12 oz. sizes with a hot drip, espresso, Americano, traditional Macchiato and lattes. I started with a Chai Latte as I looked over the menu.

These charming ladies have been friends for years and share a common passion for food. They took over a crepe stand at the Brentwood Farmer’s Market five years ago. Soon they opened stands in three other farmer’s markets, including the Gene Autry’s parking lot and South Pasadena.

They made crepes to order, sold coffee and French bakery items. They also did an “old-school” trade with the farmers. If the farmers gave them fresh produce, they would prepare delicious crepes for them to eat.

Barades is an expert crepe maker, and I tasted her Italiano with turkey, melted mozzarella and cheddar, fresh spinach and basil, tomatoes, roasted peppers and pesto. The
DSC_0794thin crepe is served folded at the bottom and open face at the top revealing a colorful array of ingredients.

Barades grew up in Israel and has fond memories of going to a crepe shop located next to the town’s movie theatre. They sold sweet crepes made with Nutella and a scoop of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream with whipped cream. “It was an ideal treat after seeing a movie,” she said.

Soletzky is a master in salads and dressings. Her tuna salad is made without mayonnaise and instead mixes three different mustards with olive oil, lemon juice, artichoke, salt and pepper and lets it marinate overnight. I tried the tuna on a crispy French baguette and grilled in Panini machine brining all of the delightful flavors together.

All of the bread and pastries are from France Bakery on Fletcher near Silverlake. They deliver fresh almond and regular croissants, muffins, whole wheat and French baguettes along with a savory rosemary bread at 4 a.m. every weekday morning. “Whatever we have left at the end of the day, we give to our neighbors. We don’t like to waste food,” Barades said.

I sampled four of Soletzky and Barades salads and enjoyed each immensely. The organic Asian salad with chicken offers a dressing with a touch of peanut butter for sweetness. It also has paprika and cayenne to give it a hint of heat. The sesame oil soothes the flavors.
The couscous salad with housemade balsamic vinegar dressing offers a nice crunch of the cucumbers, orange bell peppers and ripe tomatoes. Kalamata olives give this salad a zing.

The Mediterranean salad is filled with chopped farmer’s market vegetables with Feta cheese. The Tahini dressing is made with soy sauce, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar.

DSC_0800While eating, I admired the artwork hanging on the walls. I learned that the pieces were made by friends they met while working at the Gene Autry Farmers Market. One large piece in red and white has the words “Make Life Delish” with little white forks and knives in the background. Another says, “Cest La Vie.”

The cold display case offers patrons a peek of the salads made for the day. There are wraps available in sundried tomato, spinach or regular tortillas depending on the day.

While Barades was preparing two different sweet crepes to try, an attractive woman and her black French bulldog, Brasky, walked up to the glass door. Brasky looked in to see if his favorite human friends were inside. “There is our mascot,” Soletzky said. “Every French café needs a French bulldog.”

Barades made a simple cinnamon sugar and butter crepe with powder sugar that was a light and sweet treat. Barades also made a Nutella crepe with sliced strawberries and bananas topped with whipped cream. It was presented beautifully and tasted even better than it looked.

As I left, this darling duo gave me the same warm goodbye that they give their customers and a well wish to have a great day. Not only is the food worth coming for, but these gals make everyone who visits feel special and at home.

Open right now Monday through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Soon they may extend their hours and open for the weekends. Come in and meet some of the friendliest IMG_7278neighbors along the Miracle Mile, while enjoying their delicious French fare. $ 5223 Wilshire Blvd. (323)933-3403.

This article was featured in the Beverly Press and Park LaBrea News on April 3, 204

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