Recharge and Relax at The Springs, Los Angeles

Mural at The Springs

After many months of planning, design and construction, The Springs holistic wellness center finally opened its doors this past weekend. A one-stop shop for your personal well-being, The Springs offers yoga classes, organic cold pressed juices, organic raw vegan food, wellness treatments, and a space to just relax - all under one roof.

The Springs, Los Angeles

The Springs is located in the Downtown LA (DTLA) Arts District and is the brainchild of Jared Stein and Kimberly Helms, who met working on Broadway musicals in New York. While this is their first business, the pair (who are both business and life partners) have applied their experience in managing large scale Broadway productions to create this ‘Urban Oasis’. Stein and Helms first noticed the space in 2012 while touring in LA for work. Two years later, their vision for a holistic wellness community center turned into a reality.

Urban Oasis Design
The 13,500 square foot space was designed to look like a desert oasis, with indoor planters and cement being the main elements of the interior design. The space has such an airy and open feeling, it is hard to tell whether you are indoors or out. Design, Bitches is the company that designed this beautiful space.
There is also a cool graffiti motif throughout center. The artist behind the beautiful murals is Angelina Christina.

Lounge Area

The yoga studio also features a giant graffiti mural and the Yoga Director is Gloria Baraquio. There are 11 different types of yoga classes offered, some of which are Kundalini, Restorative, Flow and Hatha yoga. There are also specialty classes such as yoga classes conducted in Spanish. If you are a hardcore yogi, you may want to consider the All Springs membership, which  includes unlimited yoga, one free monthly infrared sauna session, and 10% off all wellness services, juice and food.

Yoga Studio
Yoga Studio

Yoga Lounge Area
Yoga Lounge Area

Wellness Services
The wellness services here are complete offering reiki, acupuncture, massage, infrared sauna session, gravity colon hydrotherapy, cranio-sacral and The Grinberg Method.

Organic Food and Juice
All juices are organic cold pressed. They have a state of the art cold press machine in the back and bottle their juices the night before. The Forager is highly recommended – a juice blend of apple, fennel, cucumber, basil, cilantro, parsley, dill, lemon and lime. The food menu was designed by Chef Michael Falso (formerly from M.A.K.E.), and features 100% organic raw-vegan dishes. This means that the food is never heated above 118 degrees to retain natural enzymes, and to achieve maximum nutrition. Organic wine and beers are also served.

Juice Bar
Juice Bar

Cold Pressed Juices
Cold Pressed Juices

Pop Up Shops
On your way out, stop at the pop up shop area, a space that is for community use. Currently, the space is occupied with local products and crafts from Atomic Garden.

The Springs, Los Angeles

The Springs
608 Mateo Street
Los Angeles, California, USA
Telephone: 213-223-6226

Nobumasa Takahashi Wasanbon Sugar Skulls

Still looking for unique Halloween items for your upcoming gathering? These wasanbon sugar skulls would make a great conversational piece.

Designed by Nobumasa Takahashi, the sugar skulls are made of wasanbon, a very fine and expensive Japanese sugar with a texture resembling icing sugar. Wasanbon has a buttery creamy taste and can only be made in the Winter months, when it is dry. The sugarcane used to make wasanbon is harvested in December and the sugar is processed no later than February. The production of this sugar is complex, and the entire process takes approximately 20 days and is all done by hand.

Wasanbon means “Japanese three trays”, where at one point in the 8-step process, the sugar is laid out on a tray to be polished. This is done by adding water to the sugar and then kneading it until the sugar crystals are polished into a fine granular texture. Traditionally, this 'polishing technique' was done 3 times, hence the name wasanbon (bon meaning tray and san meaning three).When the sugar is polished, it has to be dried that same day to prevent molding.

The Nobumasa Takahashi wasanbon skulls are offered in a package of 18 pieces - 9 white and 9 black. They are all natural and bamboo charcoal gives the black ones their dark color.

The skulls can be purchased at Spoon & Tamago’s online store.


Plan Check Opening Downtown Location and Oktoberfest Special, Los Angeles

Plan Check, Los Angeles

I’m not sure if I can claim that Plan Check has the best burger in town but they sure do make a dam* good burger!

Featured in Jonathan Gold’s 101 list this year, Plan Check has 2, soon to be 3, neighborhood locations – one on Sawtelle, Fairfax, and on Oct 20th, one on Wilshire. The new location is going to do something a little different by featuring a special Korean BBQ burger made with grilled pork belly and “kimcheese”.

Overall, the food is good ‘ol American comfort food.  But the traditional menu has a few items that are the chef’s interpretation of regional flavors such as the Smokey Fried Chicken, an ode to Southern cooking, which consists of Jidori fried chicken, smoked milk gravy, yam preserves and spicy pickled okra.

The name Plan Check was influenced by the history and activity near its first location, which was adjacent to the Building and Safety Department. Designers, Architects, and Engineers would go to the Building and Safety department to submit their plans for review for permitting and hence became the inspiration for the restaurant’s permanent name.

The PCB, aka Plan Check Burger, is a really solid burger and is the item that is closest to the restaurants original roots – a perfectly seasoned patty with Americanized Dashi cheese, a slice of ketchup leather, schmaltz onions, pickles, and a crunch bun. They have a great list of craft beers, cocktails and whiskeys to help you wash down the meat and grease.

According to LA Eater, Plan Check at the  Fairfax location will offer Oktoberfest specials through the month of October. Only 15 are served a day and for $15, you can get a pint of Licher beer with a burger and brats mash up special. Don’t delay, the early bird catches the worm.

PCB (Plan Check Burger)  - Dashi Cheese, Ketchup Leather, Schmaltz Onions, Pickles

Southern Fry
Southern Fry - Smokey Fried Jidori Chicken, Spicy Green Pimento Cheese, Duck Breast Ham, Pickles 

Pickled Veggies

Kale Salad
Baby Kale "Caesar" Salad

1800 Sawtelle Blvd
Los Angeles, California, USA
Telephone: 310-288-6500
(Other locations on Fairfax and Wilshire)

Plan Check Kitchen + Bar on Urbanspoon

Italian East Meets West at Scopa Italian Roots, Los Angeles

Fresh Oysters

With so many great restaurants in LA, Scopa Italian Roots in Venice somehow slipped behind the scenes. Open for nine months now, the absence of a restaurant sign (and purposely done so) makes it is easy to walk or drive by without noticing it at first pass. Scopa relies on word of mouth and feels confident enough to do so.

An upscale Italian eatery, Scopa’s menu might look a bit generic at first glance. The food, however, is anything but. Their dishes carefully blend both bold and subtle tastes, creating layers and layers of flavors to discover. The team behind Scopa are no rookies. Their resume rhymes off places like Black Market in Studio City, Pour Vous in Hollywood, and Harvard & Stone. Their Chef, Antonia Lofaso,  has also made multiple appearances on Top Chef. The concept behind Scopa’s Italian food is East meets West. Chef Antonia Lofasa, having grown up in Jersey, combines her Cali influences with her Italian-American upbringing in Jersey.

To give you an idea of how much we enjoyed Scopa, a group of us all went there for brunch one morning, and then went straight back for dinner a few hours later! 

They have an extensive drink and wine list, offering pages and pages of cocktails, whiskies, aperitifs and more to choose from.

Here is my force rank of all of the dishes we had with the best dish listed first:

  1. Veal Chop Milanese - "cooks garden" sorrel, dandelion greens, cress
  2. Soft Eggs - Italian sausage, cavolo nero, peppers, onions, polenta
  3. Manila Clams & Uni - toast, parsley, garlic
  4. Scallops Oreganata - garlic, parsley
  5. Chitarra Pasta - pecorino, black pepper
  6. Roast Chicken - creamed polenta, kale, calabrian chilies, shallots
  7. Fresh Oysters
  8. Italian Hero Sandwich - copa, prosciutto, salami, salami, provolone, lettuce, olive oil, vinegar
  9. Prosciutto and Burrata - olive oil, grapes
  10. Italian Chopped Salad - salami, imported provolone, ceci beans, oregano, peperoncini, radicchio, artichoke, red onion, roasted pepper
The first five on the list are must have's! It was incredibly hard having to force rank them, but there you go. The veal chop is only available for dinner and the soft eggs are only available for brunch. Their pasta was a perfect al dente and the simple rich sauce just made it heavenly.

Hero Sandwich
Italian Hero

Veal Chop
Veal Chop Milanese

Prosciutto and Burrata
Prosciutto and Burrata

Chitarra Pasta

Roasted Chicken

Manila Clams
2905 Washington Blvd
Venice, California, USA
Telephone: 310-821-1100

Scopa on Urbanspoon