Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Five Things - Los Angeles Edition

1. Sprinkles Cupcakes

The most adorable ATM on the planet. That is, until they create a puppy ATM? Actually, that's just cruel.
The cupcake craze of recent years shows no sign of slowing down, and despite many copycats, no one has beat the original king (or maybe more fittingly, queen?) of the cupcake shop, Sprinkles. Due to a perpetual line out of their Beverly Hills door, they recently created a cupcake ATM, which is genius due to both its convenience and novelty.

My older sister, Michelle, worked at Sprinkles during her UCLA days, and our little sisters who are visiting from Israel had it on their Los Angeles bucket list, so visiting the cupcake chain was an inter-generational, sweet experience.

Plus, Sprinkles opened their own ice cream shop next door, which I definitely have to try next time! They had me at red velvet ice cream cone. Uh huh, *drool*!

Romy and Maya retrieving their cupcakes!

Me with my black and white cupcake.

Clockwise from left: red velvet, cinnamon sugar, banana, black and white.

2. Family Time

I guess this is a universal favorite thing, but it's made all the more sweet when family is separated by distance. It's been great living in the same city as Michelle since I moved back to Sacramento, but we've missed our little twin sisters dearly since they moved to Israel last year. They're at a great age (13) where they have adorable questions like: "Is driving a car like driving a bumper car?" and "What is contouring anyway?"

Having lived in Los Angeles their entire lives before Israel, they miss LA culture - the beach, Pinkberry, hiking at Tree People - so they created a bucket list of destinations (mostly food-related) that created a fun-filled outline for our trip together.

Added bonus: our cousin, Eleanor, had just returned from the Peace Corps after two years in Mongolia! It's amazing how much more mature and confident she's become. Just when you thought a personality couldn't get any better, Ellie goes and proves you wrong. What an amazing metamorphosis!

Eleanor just as she returns home from Mongolia. I'm so glad I got this shot.

Romy, Maya, Eleanor, and me at a Santa Monica beach.  (Michelle is behind the camera).
Hiking at Tree People. So many memories here!

3. The Santa Monica Farmers' Market (specifically, pluots!)

A hybrid of plums and apricots, pluots are my favorite of the summer stone fruits. So juicy and sweet, they're more like sweet plums than tangy apricots. Nom nom nom.

4. Lemonade

Back when I lived in LA, I worked on trendy Abbot Kinney Boulevard. Although it was named "the coolest block in America" by GQ this year, there weren't a whole lot of quick, affordable lunch options for us office workers. Enter Lemonade - gourmet salad buffet extraordinaire! Self-described as "seasonal Southern California comfort food," it can always be counted on for fresh, healthy salads and unusual lemonade flavors. I'm pictured below with Peach Ginger.

5. Summer Salads

One of my favorite foods is salad; I never get tired of them. There are so many possibilities, they're easy to throw together, and duh, they're good for you. Summer salads are the best because there's so much good produce in season which allows you to get creative.

For one of our family dinners during our LA trip, we all pitched in for a homemade Mexican fiesta. We love doing theme meals! Too bad I didn't photograph the tasty veggie enchiladas Michelle made, but here's the simple recipe for this bombasia salad.

 The Labis' Fiesta-in-My-Mouth Salad
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Freshly shucked sweet corn
  • Red Onions
  • Avocado
  • Feta cheese or crumbled queso fresco
  • Cilantro
  • Spinach, arugula, or mixed greens
 Dressing: Olive oil, lemon juice, coarsely chopped cilantro.

I think salads look prettier before adding greens.

The finished product - with spinach.
 Till next time, Lala Land!


  1. aw i feel so honored to be mentioned in your super cool blog! your photos are awesome and i love how you put it all together. Had such a great time spending my first 3 days back with you exploring LA. miss you!

  2. Thanks, Ellie, I miss you too!

  3. You and Mitch would go on my Top 2 List for my LA favorites blog post. But I would need a blog to do that, instead I'll use your comment section.

  4. Gina! I'm so honored that Michelle and I made the cut. You're definitely in our bay area list. Let's just do everything in lists from now on. That sounds doable and not at all annoying right? :)