Porto’s Bakery Northridge (Photo Paige Petrone)


  • Story / Photo By PAIGE PETRONE

I’ve been in Los Angeles for over 20 years and had never been to the famous Porto’s Bakery. A very serious offense to some. No joking! This place is legendary. They have six locations with the first official storefront opening in 1976, on Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park. I just had to see what all the fuss was about, so recently I checked out Northridge. 

By the size of the location and the action (or should I say bustling?) in the parking lot alone, I knew I was in for a fun experience. Upon entering I was impressed by both the two extremely large counters displaying all the goodness that they offer, and the very long lines of people waiting to partake. It’s basically a bakery, hence the name, but this place is so much more. Porto’s is perhaps best known for its bread, which was outstanding. You will find croissants, turnovers, and pastries, but also their savory signature potato balls stuffed with cheese and peppers, chicken or ham croquettes, empanadas, and pork tamales. Yum! They have a nice array of fancy cakes to choose from in full or sample size. The bakery/café also offers sandwiches, salads, coffee, and tea, all to enjoy in the dining spaces inside and out. This place is fuss-worthy for sure. I’m so glad that I went! Check it out or go again! 

For locations and menu, click here.

Saffy’s Lamb, Chicken, and Beef Skewers (Photo Kymberly Chase)


  • Story / Photo By KYMBERLY CHASE

Los Angeles chef Ori Menashe and pastry chef Genevieve Gergis, the power couple behind Arts District restaurants Bestia and Bavel, have done it again. Saffy’s, the East Hollywood kebab house they opened in June, is another delicious destination that deeply embodies the spirit of what restaurants in LA can and should be.

Saffy’s is cross-cultural, playful, and welcoming with an open kitchen where you can see wood-fired shawarma and flame-kissed kebabs and marvel at how pure and elemental the cooking is. Saffy’s features middle Eastern traditions with California brightness, Mexican heat, and spices from all over. There are small plates, meat skewers, and a couple of larger entrees. The luxuriously creamy hummus and the mussels in coconut-turmeric broth should not be missed, but save room for a few juicy, marinated kebabs. Cooked over a wood-fire grill that dominates one corner of the dining room, the kebabs arrive on pointy two-foot metal skewers. There are usually five different types available, including plump chunks of pork, bite-sized cubes of steak, and tender minced lamb mixed with pine nuts and parsley. Each one comes with a unique dip — like creamy mint yogurt, dill garlic aioli, or a smoky Chile crisp — and a heap of house-made laffa. Saffy’s is a thrilling new restaurant for 2023.

For more, click here.

Blueys Kitchen’s Avocado Toast



If you travel Venice Boulevard heading to the beach or Downtown Mar Vista you probably have noticed that the corner of Beethoven has been bustling every weekend. For years this corner had the community favorite Hurry Curry whose 2020 departure definitely left a void in our culinary heart. But my friends, Blueys Kitchen has arrived. And the neighborhood has welcomed them with open arms. 

Blueys, with their first location in Santa Monica, has now opened up the new space with a beautiful beach-vibe buildout and has expanded seating out front picnic table style so feel free to bring your furry friend along to bask in the sunshine. Their menu is full of flavors you just don’t get at your typical breakfast joint. I’m torn between the Sweet Squash Pancakes and the Acai Breakfast Bowl – both of which feature house made gluten free granola. Another must try is the Breakfast Burrito stuffed with tator tots or one of their fried egg and bacon options. In the mood for a peanut butter smoothie or a double macchiato – they got you. 

The lunch menu offers a delectable variety of bowls and salads of which the Whirley Bowl is especially intriguing with chimichurri cauliflower rice and hand chopped pineapple salsa. Of course, they have an Avocado Toast, some classic burgers (beef or plant based), and fun sandwiches like the Bad Girl Chicken Sandwich all spiced up with sariracha aioli, salsa roja, lemon slaw and arugula. Thank you Blueys for bringing a fun healthy hang out spot to Mar Vista!

For more, click here.

Drago Centro Downtown LA

Drago Centro

  • By Nina Sventitsky
  • Photo Courtesy of Drago Centro

I recently had lunch at Drago Centro, for the first time since before the pandemic. So much has changed for this Sicilian Italian bastion in the Financial District – most notably that Piero Selvaggio came onboard as managing partner in 2020, after closing the beloved Valentino in 2018. Selvaggio is a front-of-house master and is known for his wine expertise as well as relationship-building with customers. It seems that Celestino Drago and Selvaggio had known each other well for decades, but the opportunity to work together did not present itself until Valentino ended its 45-year run.

Selvaggio brings a focus on service; when he came to the restaurant scene in the 1970s, the US had not seen the kind of Italian white tablecloth service we have come to rely on. He also introduced fresh pasta and white truffles. During the pandemic, Drago Centro went through a major renovation incorporating an extensive patio and outdoor dining. As a result, the main indoor space seems warmer and cozier, yet still has the formality for which it’s known. 

Lunch was simple yet executed very well. A vegetable soup — perfect for that cold day — was followed by a beet and frissée salad. The Papardelle with pheasant and morel mushrooms was beautifully glazed. For drinks, a glass of Gavi and a glass of Barolo were perfect.

For more, click here.