Pono Burger

dessert - restaurant - salads

Pono Burger has been on my radar since it opened last year; I was invited for a hosted lunch, to see what Chef Makani Gerardi (of Hawaii’s Ultimate Burger) did with the Santa Monica Space…


…housed in a Quanset Hut from World War II.



They’ve got a Wood-Fire Grill…


…where all their burgers are cooked.


The Paniolo – English Smoked Cheddar, Niman Ranch Bacon, Coffee/Bourbon/BBQ Sauce, topped with Buttermilk Beer-Battered Onion Rings…


…The Piku “Fig” Burger – Fermier Brie, Niman Ranch Bacon, Crushed Hazelnuts, Arugula, Balsamic Vinaigrette, and Drunken Caramelized Fig Jam…



…and The Kuawa Crunch – Hook’s 1 Year Cheddar, Housemade Potato Chips, Lettuce, Coleslaw, and Guava Rum Sauce.


My favorite was the fig, though each one was quite juicy, flavorful, and unique.  All of the above were made with Organic Beef; they also have a free-range, antibiotic-free Turkey Patty and a Portobello Mushroom Option.


Another vegetarian item – a Seasonal Salad with a Beet’s “Nest,” Chèvre, and pistachios, tossed in Balsamic Vinaigrette…


…and of course, the fries.

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Last, but not least – dessert – there are several milkshakes on the menu, made from Straus Family Organic Ice Cream.  We sipped on the Seasonal Special – a Pumpkin S’more, complete with hot fudge, whipped cream, crushed Graham Crackers, and Toasted Marshmallows.



Great food, great ethics, great space – kid friendly (with sliders on the menu) and if you want to bring your pooch, they’ve got a patio too!


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Thanksgiving Ice Cream

dessert - holidays - video

If you follow me on social media, you already know where I went 2 weeks ago.

Into the kitchen (and freezer) of one of my favorites – Salt and Straw Ice Cream


…for a sneak peek behind their newest Thanksgiving flavors


…in my latest BuzzFeed collaboration with Abe!

P.S. My new nephew was born this past weekend – Tiger Chen!  My brother Morgan’s 5th.

P.P.S. – Last day to enter the LA Weekly Sips and Sweets Giveaway.

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The ABC’s of Buying New Furniture

ABC's - household - life

It’s been a while since I’ve had to buy new furniture.  But the time has come – couch cushions are a mess, the bed frame is falling apart, IKEA furniture has reached its expiration date.  I asked my friend Star Michael, who happens to be a talented interior designer, for some tips on how to make this transition smooth.


Where’s your favorite place (online or in LA) to shop for quality but affordable furniture?

Dekor LA – for midcentury modern and vintage finds as well as bitchin’ reclaimed indoor swings. The owner Isabelle has a very good eye for the unique and tasteful and has designed her shop to feel warm and inviting, the perfect place to shop for that feeling of home.

West Elm – If you’re on a budget, there’s no sacrifice in style or quality here. I’m always happy when I leave a West Elm because it’s the perfect place to find the items you can sprinkle into any room, whether it be a great pillow, a cool side table, a handsome floor lamp or a new set of bedding – this place rocks, and the people who work there are cute happy hipsters. *winks*

ModCrib LA – The owners Michael and Ebee share a warehouse space that is filled with everything you can imagine, leaning heavily on the midcentury modern side. Great Vintage finds here – often already refinished and reupholstered so you can buy and place easily.

Online – Both “Dot & Bo” and “Bryght” are great for modern furniture. “Ballard Designs” and “Wisteria” are great for traditional finds.

When do you recommend asking someone to custom-make something?

As a designer I’m paid to make almost everything custom, but if you’re doing it on your own, it’s most helpful to go custom if you need to fit the furniture into an awkward space, or if you’ve found something that is enormously expensive and want to have it made at a more affordable price, or if you want to accent a room with a special fabric or pattern that you’ve picked.

How do you get rid of old furniture?

When ridding old furniture, there are a few different options. You can try to sell it online on websites like Craigslist, Ebay or Chairish. You can donate it to a charity for tax credit, or you can leave it on the curb and schedule a “large item pickup” through your trash company. Their contact number would be found on the outside of your trash can.

Do you tip the furniture delivery people? If so, about how much?

If you’re ordering furniture through a larger chain store like Pottery Barn or Crate & Barrel, “in-home” or “white-glove” delivery costs are often built-in to your total in “surcharges,” so it’s not necessary to tip. However, if your furniture is being delivered by a dude with a truck, tipping is necessary, and the amount is at your discretion.

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