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Sqirl

13 Dec

Sqirl, a tiny café located in the Virgil Village neighborhood of Los Angeles, has single-handedly fostered my passion for breakfast. Sqirl started as an artisanal jam company, using rare, local produce to create unique flavorings. Think Cranberry-Bourbon and Santa Rosa Plums with Flowering Thyme. Owner Jessica Koslow has applied this same vibrance and ingenuity to her breakfast and lunch café. I mean, just look at the spread. Every dish is colorful and interesting, combining flavors and textures in ways that speak to your pallet.

Brown rice bowl with sorrel pesto, poached egg, and crumbled feta.

Since discovering Sqirl over the summer, I visit on a weekly basis, indulging in rice bowls topped with delicately poached eggs, small-batch baked goods, masterfully-crafted coffees, and brioche toasts. Located off the beaten path, the café offers an intimate and cozy vibe, with eclectic background music and casual bar seating. Despite the decidedly unpretentious setting, Sqirl’s staff is serious about food and crafts each dish with impeccable attention to detail.

Brown butter blondie with raspberry and Tahitian vanilla bean jam.

The brioche toasts anchor the menu and showcases Sqirl’s wonderful jam. Being a nut butter enthusiast, I love the gritty almond-hazelnut butter slathered on top of a thick slice of brioche, and sealed with a layer of glossy peach jam. You can swap out the nut butter for house-made ricotta or rich chocolate ganache sprinkled with fleur de sel. While you may be tempted to raise your eyebrows at the heaping amount of marmalade, fear not. Unlike the cloying, overly-sweetened varieties available at grocery stores, these jams render flavor and freshness, with pieces of whole fruit still intact.

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If that isn’t enough to convince you to visit, the coffee is excellent. Since developing a taste for lattes a few months ago, I crave them on a daily basis. Sqirl not only serves a delightfully creamy latte, but a killer cappuccino with house-made almond milk.

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Sqirl
720 North Virgil Ave.
Ste. 4
Los Angeles, CA 90029
(323) 284-8147
sqirlla.com
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Monday – Friday, 6:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Saturday – Sunday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

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Weekly Snapshots

8 Nov

Lunch at one of my favorite places in L.A. I have an entire post dedicated to this lovely spot coming up. In the mean time, can any locals guess where this is?

As the end of my first semester of college draws near, I have been swamped with endless reading assignments and essay deadlines. I cannot believe time has passed so quickly–my weeks spent mostly in the library, nose buried in a pile of books. My workload has not allowed for much experimentation in the kitchen, nor have I longed to do so, quite honestly. While I maintain a healthy diet, my meals have slipped into a monotonous pattern dictated by simplicity and efficiency.

This past week, anything that I could pile onto whole wheat toast (homemade tuna salad, almond butter and bananas, and scrambled eggs with basil) qualified as dinner. My breakfasts have been sad repeats of a granola bar and fruit, usually wolfed down while power-walking to class. So this weekend, I look forward to indulging in foods I crave during the school days. This means obligatory visits to my favorite breakfast café and the newly opened Din Tai Fung Dumpling House in Glendale. That’s what weekends are for, right?

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Every week, my mom surprises me with a different, hand-made flower arrangement in my room. One of the top three reasons I love coming home (after a good, long shower and clean sheets).

Flatbread pizzas from The Bread Lounge in the Downtown Arts District.

Homemade salad topped with the most perfectly soft-boiled egg. Eggs add richness and satisfaction to any vegetarian meal.

My family and I went out to our first dinner in months at Connie & Ted’s in West Hollywood. It doesn’t get much better than classic American desserts, done right.

Weekly Snapshots

18 Oct

While I mourn the end of summer and its ruby red strawberries and juicy tomatoes, Fall foods excite me. I love hearty soups and roasts, spice cakes that fill the kitchen with an enticing aroma, and all things pumpkin. When pumpkin puree lines the shelves at Trader Joe’s, I become giddy thinking about all the possibilities: pumpkin bread my sister and I have made every year since second grade, pumpkin pancakes, and pumpkin sheet cake with cream cheese frosting.

This week, I celebrated a chilly Fall night with homemade white bean soup. Beans are life-chaging when it comes to cooking in college. They are simple, versatile, and very filling. My roommate and I enjoyed this soup alongside a loaf of crusty bread and great conversation.

I would love to know, what do you cook to celebrate Fall?

The garden in my front yard feels like a magical wonderland.

I loved building these custom-made pies from Blaze Pizza.

Less-than-scorching temperatures prompted a visit to my favorite shabu-shabu house in Downtown L.A.

A casual morning drive behind a horse carriage. My suburban hometown is becoming the next NYC.

Weekly Snapshots

5 Oct

For eighteen years, I avoided coffee like the plague. I would crinkle my nose at its bitter flavor and lingering aftertaste. I did not realize that I had been missing out on a revolution.

In recent years, artisanal coffee shops have popped up around the country and changed the way Americans consume this ubiquitous beverage. These intimate operations have designed a social coffee experience, encouraging you to mull over a ceramic cup with friends rather than rush out the door with a watered-down brew. So when Portland-based roaster Stumptown opened a store in Downtown Los Angeles, I had to check it out. I admired my barista’s attention-to-detail and savored the creamy, nutty flavor of my almond milk latte.

On a completely different note, I’ve been on a baking streak these past few days. I haven’t yet transitioned to cozy seasonal flavors, but look forward to picking up some gorgeous apples from the farmers’ market this weekend and breaking out my Fall spices.

A custom-made espresso machine featuring oak inlays, antique brass finishes, and gold leaf detail.

These jazzed-up, browned butter blondies were a hit at my cousin’s birthday party. Side note: the corner piece is always the best piece.

Fun fact about me: I’m not a frosting fan. Why mask moist, deeply chocolatey cake with a pound of sugary buttercream? I prefer the minimalism of an orange-cream cheese or chocolate glaze, topped off with dainty fresh berries.

Simple lunches are the best lunches. Also, who doesn’t love a good cheese plate?

My mom makes the prettiest bouquets with flowers from our garden. They always put a smile to my face, but especially when I’m working in the kitchen.

Semisweet Bakery

17 Jun
The 7 Up pound cake is moist and tender, dusted with a thin layer of powdered sugar.  


Food makes memories. Some of my best meals involve gathering around a table with friends and family, talking and laughing for hours, and sharing incredible dishes. I love to cook and bake because great food creates the most enjoyable experiences. 

Whenever I eat grilled fish, I remember my family’s trip to the Mediterranean, where our lunch was sourced fresh that very morning. Macarons and croissants transport me to the streets of Paris, strolling leisurely and peeking into the display window of every patisserie I passed by. The desserts at Semisweet Bakery in Downtown Los Angeles bring me back to my childhood, with classic American favorites like chocolate-banana bread, decadent layer cakes, and strawberry pocket tarts.

A generous slice of blueberry cornbread- 
the perfect balance between sweet and savory. 

Semisweet is a charming shop nestled into a bustling Los Angeles street. The decor pays tribute to the 60’s, with checkered tile tables, baby blue walls, and vintage accessories. Peering at the menu offerings made me nostalgic for the types of desserts I used to love as a kid- Oreos, Thrifty ice cream, and molten chocolate cake. 


After much deliberation, I ordered the 7 Up pound cake, blueberry cornbread, Samoa macaron, and the traditional and PB Crunch Ding a Lings. All were excellent, but the pound cake and the PB Crunch Ding a Ling definitely stole the show. A Ding a Ling is Semisweet’s rendition of the iconic Ding Dong- a chocolate snack cake filled with cream and dunked in chocolate glaze. You must try the peanut butter version, which satisfied my sweet-salty-crunchy-chocolately craving all at once.

Semisweet’s prices are also very reasonable given the top-notch quality and generous portions, a major advantage for someone who can never make up her mind on what to order. So visit this quaint bakery for delicious American treats that will make you smile. 


Semisweet Bakery 
105 East 6th St. 
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 228 9975
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Tuesday-Thursday, Sunday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Friday-Saturday, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.