Elite Urbanite Tries Something New: Monk Fish!

ELITE URBANITE TRIES SOMETHING NEW: MONK FISH!

Alright y’all. So if you saw my most recent instagram reel you’ll see that I finally visited the farmers market by my apartment here in Studio City! Of course, I’ve been to farmers markets before, but prevented me from visiting the one closest to me! When I was living with my folks in Calabasas, there was one close to them as well, but it was pretty “limited” (read as bougie).

Just like the city itself, the selections at the Studio City Farmers Market are so diverse! There were foods and treats of all different origins, and the best part is that there was actual FOOD! So many farmers markets now are all about “products” like selling jewelry and what not. I got fresh fruits and juices of course, but I also got an empanada and some thing called “Monk Fish”.

So for starters I’ve never heard of a fucking Monk fish in my life! I intended on trying the sea bass, because I wanted to try something new (naturally) and asked a few people on the line what would be best to start off with. Wouldn’t you know the lady in front of me ordered the last batch of sea bass!!! Like girl why tell me to try it then. Smh.

So, I asked the guy at the stand what he suggested and he told me to try out “the poor man’s lobster”, aka Monk fish. It is given this name due to it’s similar consistency to lobster meat. The meat that you see above comes from the tail of the fish, so this sucker must’ve been HUGE. Though in recent times, it has become more of a delicacy, Monk fish was the preferred option for people who wanted lobster but unfortunately couldn’t afford it.

For something that ended up being SO tasty it was a rather skin crawling experience to get to the finish line. First off, I never should have googled the monk fish LOL. And because I had to look at it, now you do too! CLICK HERE IF YOU DARE. I had a totally different picture of what it looked like in my head. I thought it was a pretty little chunky fish like Rainbow fish. Boy was I wrong.

When I took it out of the plastic bag to clean off, this son of a bitch still had a fin attached to it! The picture below is me being horrified and Ozzy being concerned for my well being. I’m still shaking. At the end of the day it was pretty tasty though. I had it with a baked potato on the side and drizzled some garlic olive oil – also purchased at the farmers market – on the fish once it was done cooking. Though it was tasty, I kept getting flash backs of it swimming through the ocean with it’s mean mug on. I also thought that because it looked so evil, I somehow was going to wake up possessed or some shit a la Midsommar.

Though the thought of an uncooked Monk fish still makes my skin crawl, I would definitely eat it again. As long as I’m not the one who has to cook it… nevertheless I definitely would try it again, and suggest you do too!

ELITE URBANITE TRIED IT: Catch Los Angeles!

ELITE URBANITE Tried It: CATCH Los angeles

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, I visited your favorite celebrity’s hot spot, CATCH! If you simply google “Celebrities at Catch” pages on pages of results will come up of them walking out of the hotspot looking chic. Even if you follow some of the biggest influencers or celebrities on instagram, chances are you’ve seen them post on their story about their night out at catch. So that being said, I just had to see what it was all about!

When you walk into Catch, there is an awesome mural of some of the most famous and influential celebrities of all time. Then, you check in at the front and the host directs you toward the elevator allll the way up to the rooftop restaurant! Very fancyyyy! My favorite part (and a lot of other’s favorite part based on all of the “photoshoots” you see on IG) was the walkway decorated with all sorts of greenery and flowers. I love seeing restaurants that are dedicated to setting a chic and calming ambiance for their patrons. If you’ve ever been to The Bellagio in Las Vegas, it gives off that same vibe! I took my brother along with me, and we had a reservation for 8:45 pm. The place was pretty poppin’ at that time. Which is such a weird thing to think about now. Busy locations?! Like imagine walking into that now, whew. Being that it is such a popular LA spot, I’m sure they are figuring out the best way to accommodate their guests in the safest possible manner. Also when I had gone there, it was Cinco De Mayo (which I hadn’t realized at the time) so plenty of people were having fun and ordering drinks.

Once we were seated there was sooo much food to choose from. In my older age, I’ve really started to LOVE seafood. I guess I got it from my momma’s genes! So needless to say the decision was pretty tough. Luckily, the style of the restaurant is that everything on the menu is made to share, so my brother and I ordered the California Roll, Truffle Sashimi, Lobster Mac & Cheese, Crispy Shrimp, and King Crab Tempura. And boy was is amazzzing. Actually I’m drooling over it now just thinking about it.

I’m glad I finally made my way to Catch LA and got to see what the hype was all about! I can’t wait to bring my friends here when the world opens up again. I know once my New York girls finally visit this is a place they’d love to go to. Based on the location and popularity of this upscale West Hollywood Restaurant, it might cause a bit of a dent in your wallet (if ya know what I mean $$$!) But who cares, YOLO right?! Do the kids still say that??? Anyways, if you’re ever in the West Hollywood area and you’re in the mood to spot some celebs, make a reservation at Catch! Tune in next week for another Tiff Tried It!

Creamistry!

CREAMISTRY

It’s the weekend so you know what that means! Time to treat yo’ self! Unfortunately with this lockdown, most things have been closed. Actually, just today I tried to get some Creamistry, turns out it’s still closed. Someone needs to explain these lockdown rules to me because…

Anyways, Creamistry is not just your ordinary ice cream shop. The ice cream is “made to order”, meaning you are able to pick the base, flavor, and toppings you want for your ice cream. There are over 60 options to chose from, so once you decide on what you want they make your ice cream right there in front of you! They fuse the ingredients together using liquid nitrogen which is pretty interesting, but it’s better than eating processed ice cream that has been on the shelves for months!

My personal favorite thing about Creamistry is that they have options for people who can’t have dairy! For years I had been trying to find a non-dairy ice cream that actually tasted like ice cream without all the weird ingredients, and I finally did! My favorite thing to order at Creamistry the coconut base with oreos and a waffle cone.

There are plenty of locations popping up around Los Angeles, so if you spot a Creamistry in your area pop in and give it a try!

TOM’s Flagship Store & Coffee Shop

TOM’s Flagship Store & Coffee Shop

As a broke college student, living on campus on the weekends were rough. When my friend and I needed to escape the stressful school environment, we would hit up Abbot Kinney. If you’re looking for a cool place to unwind, and want a change of scenery, TOM’s Flagship Store is the place to go. Located about 10 minutes away from Loyola Marymount on Abbot Kinney, TOM’S Flagship Store is a super chill spot to grab coffee (or if you’re like me, tea), study, and even shop. There is something for everyone in this surprisingly large coffee shop. They sell cold pressed juices by the company Juice Served Here, Organic Tea and Coffee brewed by the TOM’s brand, as well as a large selection of shoes, sunglasses, and handbags by the brand. The employees here are very friendly and said they would love to see more Loyola Marymount Students come in. As I sat in the coffee shop, I heard music from the likes of Major Lazer, The Beatles, Alabama Shakes, Arctic Monkeys and many other bands that had me constantly re-opening my Shazam app. The tunes in this hidden gem are pretty appealing to someone with an eclectic ear, much like myself. The rustic decor allows for a very cozy environment, making you feel as if you were vibing out in your own living room. Though parking is minimal, I highly suggest you take the time to check out TOM’s Flagship store one weekend. And if you’re up to do a little discovering, Venice is definitely a nice place to walk around once you finish up your tasks!

Ayesha Curry’s Cook Book “The Full Plate”

Ayesha Curry’s Cook Book “The Full Plate”

If you’re like me, you’ve ran out of things to cook and are tired of eating the same shit over and over again. I am also a weakling and am allergic to all things dairy and tree nut related, so that doesn’t give me many options (thanks immune system)…

So once I saw Ayesha Curry announce she was releasing a cook book I preordered that sucker back in June! And boy am I glad I did!!! The title of her cook book is “The Full Plate” because as a mom of three and wife to superstar NBA player Steph Curry, she doesn’t have much time to cook elaborate meals. I don’t have any kids nor am I married, but I am something even better, a lazy single 25 year old woman!

For starters, I was thrilled to see all of the different drink recipes in the book. I typically stick to my cranberry and vodka or my prosecco, but I think the quarantine is a good excuse for me to test out my bartending skills. I’m most excited to try out the “Dirty Flower”, which consists of bourbon, creme de violette, lemon juice, and cherry syrup. As well as the “Jamaican Mama”, which has rum, cognac, orange juice, lime juice, grenadine, with aromatic bitters and cinnamon for extra flavor. I also can’t wait to try out different meals such as citrus glazed salmon, grilled corn salad, tomato & tomatillo soup, and lamb loins with a side of sweet potato mash. YUUUUMMMM! If you’re looking for some quick, yet flavorful meals… go out and buy The Full Plate now!

Leo & Lily

LEO & LILY

One of the best spots to eat in my neighborhood is Leo & Lily! (Check out their menu here!) Their website describes the food as “hearty, healthy, and affordable”, and it’s exactly that! This quaint little eatery is located right off of Ventura Boulevard and is impossible to miss. The owners Morr and Guy are always very warm and friendly, which is important when visiting a restaurant! Leo & Lily is open from 7:30 am to 3 pm during the week and 8 am to 4 pm on the weekends. If you haven’t been to Leo & Lily yet I’m sure you know someone who has! 

Everything on the menu is fresh and delicious but of course I do have my go-to items. I looooove their avocado toast. It’s made with your choice of egg, sourdough bread, a side of Israeli salad, and of course, avocado! Depending on how hungry I am I might order a side of their delicious roasted potatoes too. And the best part is… they serve breakfast all day!!!

When I’m in the mood to get something different for lunch I’ll order the Roasted Marinated Chicken Breast sandwich without the Cheese and Pesto. As someone with pretty severe allergies, it’s always hard to find restaurants that have good food that doesn’t include either nuts or cheese. Luckily nothing here is pre-made so the adjustments are easy and always appreciated! 

Now I haven’t even gotten to the best part….. there are bottomless mimosas on the weekends… I REPEAT… BOTTOMLESS MIMOSAS! Not only are there mimosas but there are different flavors, I absolutely love their Raspberry mimosa (maybe a little too much!)

If you weren’t already sold on this restaurant I hope you are now. If you ever happen to be in Woodland Hills, grab a bite to eat at Leo & Lily! 

El Tejano

EL TEJANO

My quarantine situation isn’t too bad. I’ve got everything I need, food, workout videos, Netflix, etc. But some days I’m so eager to go meet my friends at the bar and throw back some drinks! It’s one of the best ways to de-stress in my opinion. When I was living at my parents house, I was so far away from all the bars that my friends were regulars at every weekend, so it was always hard for me to hangout. Now that I’ve moved, I’m just a quick 10 min away from everyone and everything! Howeverrrrrr we are in month 38409238 of quarantine, so I haven’t even been able to appreciate my proximity to all these fun places. Sad times.

Hands down my FAVORITE bar in the area is El Tejano. It’s spacious, has great music, fun games to play, and most importantly, the food drinks are amaaaaazing! Needless to say, I was thrilled when I found out this North Hollywood hotspot was only a seven minute drive away from my apartment!

Looking at the menu, one would think the food and drinks are a bit pricey. But once they bring out the HUGE servings, you’ll realize you’re getting your money’s worth. I know some places are open to guests, but I’d rather stay home and be safe in my own apartment for now. However, as soon as the coast is clear… I’m SPRINTING to El Tejano!

Support Female & Black Owned Businesses!

SUPPORT FEMALE & BLACK OWNED BUSINESSES

Most of us know that black people have been fighting oppression for hundreds of years. But recently the #BLACKLIVESMATTER hashtag began to trend more frequently than it’s initial inception seven years ago. Besides emailing all of the local legislators and donating to numerous go fund me’s, you can also support Black businesses in effort to show your support for the movement. I’ve compiled a list of a few Female & Black owned businesses below, check them out and give them some love!

1. BLACK PIN MAKER LEAGUE | IG: @blackpinmakerleague – This IG page features black and brown companies that create patches and pins. This is a great way to add a little flair to a denim jacket or a cute backpack!

2. DIME NAILS LA | IG: @dimenails_la – This luxury nail salon is loved by many in LA! Located in the trendy and deeply cultured area of Fairfax, their unique designs are truly a standout in the booming nail industry. I’m hoping to get in there soon and get these tortoise shell nails done, such a cool look!

3. SATYA + SAGE | IG: @satyasage – We’re spending a lot of time inside these days, what better way to bring in the good vibes than with these products from Satya + Sage?! Everything is handmade and eco-friendly, take some time to “slow down + create your sacred space” as their page says.

4. VANILLA BLACK COFFEE | @vanillablackla – “Once you go black, you’ll never go back” is the catchy pun printed on all of their coffee cups. Coincidentally, this is something I say on my hinge profile as well. All jokes aside, if you need your daily caffeine fix, Vanilla Black Coffee in Echo Park is the spot! This quaint coffee shop is the perfect place to go if you want to start your day off right.

5. A A K S | IG: @a.a.k.s – I personally like to be able to standout in a crowd of people (pre-covid of course), and these colorful bags are the perfect way to do so! Each bag is hand-crafted in Ghana and available for purchase online with shipping available around the world.

6. POPPY + ROSE | IG: @poppyandrosela – Just looking at these photos made my mouth water. I miss brunch SO much, sigh. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day because of all the different options, luckily Poppy + Rose didn’t miss a single one! I can’t wait to make this my go-to Sunday brunch spot with the girls.

7. LAND OF GOLD | IG: @thelandofgold – Dainty jewelry, is the best type of jewelry. Especially when it’s layered! Land of Gold by Havilah is the perfect mixture of earthly and etherial. Plus, gold jewelry with ALL shades of brown skin looks bomb AF!

Check back in the next few weeks, I will be posting more black owned businesses. Until then… happy shopping!

Beetle House LA

BEETLE HOUSE LA

We are in month four of quarantine, and one of the things I miss most is going out for drinks with friends. As of yesterday, California’s bars and restaurants have shut down again. I recently moved from the desolate lands of Calabasas to lively, yet humble, Studio City and was excited to try all of the nearby restaurants and bars — until COVID-19 came along.

One of the places I was most looking forward to visiting is Beetle House LA! Beetle House is a Tim Burton themed restaurant with locations in both NYC and LA. If that wasn’t enough to convince you to go, it is both Black AND Female owned!

One of my favorite movies of all time is Beetlejuice, so I was already excited just after hearing the name. I was even more thrilled when I saw that everything on the menu is within the theme as well! For instance, you can start off with some Frankenfries as your appetizer. Then for your entree you can choose from several options such as the Big Fish, Sweeney Beef, or Edward Burgerhands. Wash that all down with The Beetle’s Juice or The Big Fish Bowl (for 2!), and if you still have room for dessert, order the Chocolate River Cake. Their NYC menu reads that all of their produce is “sourced locally from 100 percent innocent humans captured wild on the streets of NYC.” All jokes aside – all of their meats are chemical free, and they have vegan and vegetarian options as well!

Even if you aren’t a big Tim Burton fan like myself, this is a fun and exciting place to go, especially in these heavy times. I’m hoping the lockdown ends soon so I can finally visit Beetle House LA. If you happen to be in the New York area once the quarantine lifts, check out Beetle House NYC! Until then, stay safe, wash your hands, and wear a mask!