LAUREL HARDWARE - drunken young adults + good food

The other day, my dad and I went to go see "Snowpiercer" in West LA. The film is absolutely incredible and tells the story of a post-apocalyptic world in which the only remaining survivors live on a train that constantly travels around the earth. The treatment the train passengers receive is dictated by their wealth, and as expected, this creates a lot of problems. I don't want to give too much away, but I highly recommend this movie - you should definitely try to see it if it's playing in any theaters near you.

So what does this movie have to do with "drunken young adults and good food"? On the way to the theater, we drove by Laurel Hardware, a restaurant that has been on my "PLACES TO EAT" list on my phone for about a year now. 

look at these awesome stairs!

I first learned about Laurel Hardware when I was browsing Tasting Table's website. What further drew me to the foodie spot was the fact that a certain Harry Styles goes there almost every time he's in LA. Now, I need you to really listen to me here. I know I've brought up Harry in a couple of my posts now (my May Haul video, and now, this). That being said, my obsession with One Direction has pretty much died down. But old habits die hard. 

Laurel Hardware was originally a hardware store (wow, who could have guessed?!) but the space has been refurbished to perfection. And when I say perfection, I mean the place literally looks like it's come straight out of a Crate & Barrel catalog. The back patio area resembles a casual backyard setting, with couches, an olive tree, tall hedges, and a tall black picket fence. I mean, this obviously isn't your average backyard vibe. Definitely typical of West LA, though. Everything about the restaurant is actually quintessentially LA. 

The $14 salad pictured above and the drunken, freshly 21-year-old adults stumbling all over the place, giggling about their tattoos and the hottest local gay clubs? Very LA. I'm not complaining though. I loved the food and the ambiance was...lively. I don't even really know what was in my salad. I know it was called the Heirloom Tomato salad and it had romaine, incredibly flavorful heirloom tomatoes, sunflower seeds, and then some cheese I didn't recognize (almost like feta, but not at briney), and a very unusual but tasty dressing. 

My dad, who was originally hesitant about the restaurant and actually planned to skip dinner, ended up getting a burger. I ate his fries, and they were amazing. Perfectly crispy and well-seasoned without being overdone.

After the salad and fries, I was content, but my dad was left wanting more (a very good sign - he's hard to impress in the culinary department). He wanted to look at the dessert menu, boldly claiming that if that desserts weren't good, then the restaurant would be a complete failure in his mind. Eek.

With our (very expensive) parking meter running out (thanks, LA), we rushed to pick the chocolate brownie and buttermilk panna cotta, resolving to share the two.

Unfortunately, the brownie was covered with crushed hazelnuts, so I wasn't able to have any (I'm allergic to nuts) and my dad took that while I took the panna cotta.

Actually, that's a lie. I risked my life for a taste of the corner of the brownie that didn't look like it had any nuts on it. Whoops, there's another lie. I'm being dramatic. I'm not fatally allergic to hazelnuts. Just pretty allergic.

But I stuck to my dessert and fully enjoyed it. The panna cotta was creamy but not overwhelmingly so. That's one of the things I love about panna cotta. It's rich, of course, but not as rich as creme brulee. The blueberry compote added a summery lightness to the creamy dish, and the cookie crumble on the side tied everything together by providing a new textural component. Another touch I really enjoyed was the light drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Not too overpowering, these two traditionally savory components really enhanced the blueberry flavor. 

Afraid we would be given at $70+ parking ticket for parking past the 2-hour time limit, we quickly finished our desserts and headed out for the movie, which again, I highly recommend.

Needless to say, I'll be back at Laurel Hardware soon enough (coincidentally, at the same time as Harry Styles, maybe? Just kidding). Next time, I should probably wear the most expensive, yet simultaneously young-adult hipster outfit I can put together. Did I mention I saw a mother with her teenage kids there who was wearing floral print hotpant-style shorts from Brandy Melville, and Prada sunglasses? I need to step up my game.

FOOD LAB + hello everyone!

I'm so excited to have started this new blog! So before I tell you all about

Food Lab

and how amazing it is, here's a bit about me.

five facts:

1. My name is Caitlin Miyako Taylor. (Miyako - I'm half Japanese)

2. I just graduated from high school. (finally!)

3. I am obsessed with healthy cafes (I have a substantial list in my phone of places I want to eat at)

4. I can touch my nose with my tongue (gross, or cool/unique talent?)

5. I 


 love black clothing. 75% of my wardrobe is probably black. You really can't go wrong with black. Yes. Ok.

So there we have it. As you may have gathered from my 5 facts, I love cafes. While some of my friends don't understand my cafe obsession at all, gawking at my list of places to eat, I do have Marina on my side. She's on the same page as me, meaning we both have our organized lists of food spots around the US (but mostly in California), organized by location. 

Since I graduated less than a week ago and want to keep busy during the summer, I made plans to cross off some of the eateries on my foodie bucket list. I enlisted Marina's help, and together, we set off for Silver Lake, an artsy nook in LA, for

 a bite at Food Lab.

The Food Lab menu is fairly simple, serving mostly sandwiches and salads for lunch and dinner. After poring over the generous selection of items, I narrowed it down to the Grilled Chicken and Avocado sandwich, which was served on ciabatta bread with queso blanco and sundried tomatoes.

After taking pictures of our food for a solid 5 minutes, we dug in. 

I mean, look at that concentration. We take our foodie adventures



(That's Marina)

My sandwich was AMAZING. Definitely very California-inspired. 

The creamy avocado worked perfectly with the tangy cheese and salty tomatoes, and everything was wonderfully encapsulated in a crusty ciabatta shell. Was that a weird description? I'm just trying to say that it was great, and I will definitely be coming back here.

And this is me.

[My mouth is actually watering right now. And it's 2:40am. Why do I do this to myself?]

I think I (in an animalistic state of hunger) polished off my entire meal in about 10 minutes, whereas Marina ate like a proper human being and took a more reasonable 20 minutes. I should probably learn to pace myself better, because after finishing my sandwich, all I could do was sadly look at Marina's sandwich while we talked, wishing I still had mine. It's truly a thrilling life I lead.

Yup. Demolished.

You should go check out Food Lab, too!