Advanced Studies in Creamistry


Fans of this blog may remember my ice cream phase from 2011. This was a gloriously unhealthy period kicked off by the purchase of an ice cream maker and the cookbook The Perfect Scoop. Readers at the time told me that an ice cream maker would just sit on my shelf and collect dust, but they were wrong. It was put to major use for six months and THEN relegated to the shelf to collect dust. i stopped because I was being way too unhealthy, but oh, the memories from that time are vivid and wondrous. I learned so much over those months. For instance, did you know that ice cream is quite possibly the worst thing you could ever put into your body? Of course you did. Watching the cups of cream, then sugar, then egg yolks go into the batter is nothing short of a shameful experience, but you know, it’s what needs to be done. But I digress.

Back to the learning part. As a one-time ice cream expert, I learned about the freezing process. Sugar content, for instance, is a key component. Too much sugar, and the ice cream will melt almost instantaneously. Too little, and it will be hard and crystalline. (Don’t quote me on that: I could possibly have the sugar situation reversed). Oh, and freezing that ice cream? It’s a whole process. First you have to freeze a special cylinder for at least 24 hours; then you have to chill the ice cream batter overnight, and then, only then can the ice cream churning begin. The point is that making ice cream is a long, unhealthy process (but oh so delicious).

This is where Creamistry, a new Beverly Hills ice cream shop, comes into play. Gone are the vats of batter, quietly chilling in the fridge. Instead, Creamistry offers customizable ice creams from scratch, made in seconds via liquid nitrogen. But is it actually any good? Keep reading to find out…

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BANTER BLENDER #111: Bagels, Hollywood, and The Game of Fiasco

Last week, my friend Jessica Ogilvie ( joined me on The Banter Blender for some good old fashioned banter. As usual, the topics spanned a large variety of topics, starting with another lengthy dissertation on bagels: how we like our cream cheese, how we feel about the word “shmear,” and other important observations from our Northeastern Jewish perspectives.

Eventually, we move on to Hollywood where Jessica tells us about a cover story she wrote for “LA Weekly” a few weeks ago about women in Hollywood. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the gender inequality that plagues the film industry.

Finally, we discuss a recent playthrough of the role-playing game “Fiasco” by Jason Morningstar. Yes, role-playing. But this isn’t some retread of “Dungeons & Dragons.” It was our first time ever tackling an RPG, and not only was it one of the funniest nights we’ve had in recent memory, we can’t wait to do it all again. Definitely tune in to hear about this experience.

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Casper Mattress: Unfurling The Dream!


Back in 2002, I stepped into the hallowed halls of a certain mattress retailer named Sit ‘n’ Sleep. It was time for me to graduate from the janky futon I had been sleeping on for the past year and learn what it meant to be an adult. Or at least, a young adult. I was a year out of college, and I was growing up.

That was the first time I had ever purchased a mattress, and I didn’t even know what I was looking for. Did I want something firm? Soft? What did my back need? As far as I could tell, I’d never met a bed I didn’t like. I could sleep on cots, futons, air mattresses, whatever. Just give me something springy with some blankets. Well, I walked out of that Sit ‘n’ Sleep with a $400 queen that seemed to promise a lifetime of beautiful slumber and unwavering happiness.

That never happened.

To my dismay, I discovered that I had purchased a miserable mattress that was entirely too firm for my delicate body. I hated the thing almost immediately, but for some reason I held out hope that I just needed to “break it in.” All I needed was some determination and grit!

Fast forward to summer 2015, and here I was, a 36-year-old man still sleeping on his Fisher-Price My First Mattress™. It had been thirteen years since I had welcomed this dreadful beast into my life, and never did it EVER break in. It would not be broken! The only thing broken was my spirit. Something needed to be done.

And then I learned about Casper Mattresses.

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Destroyed by ‘LA Times THE TASTE’ – In The Best Possible Way


Welp, it’s Friday, and I’ve finally emerged from a six day food coma that would make Rip Van Winkle look like an insomniac. Sure, I’ve been technically “awake” and “interacting” with people, but I think we can all agree that food coma is sometimes a state of mind — one often brought on by a never ending stream of culinary indulgences. It took days for me to no longer carry the guilt and lethargy that came from my recent pig-out at this year’s Los Angeles Times THE TASTE (one of the most awkwardly titled food festivals on the books). I dropped by this food extravaganza over Labor Day weekend and put my media comped pass to good use.

After the jump, see some pics of the bites, nibbles, and general decadence that I partook in.

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The Taste Is Coming! The Taste Is Coming!


Every year The Los Angeles Times hosts the glorious food festival known as Los Angeles Times The Taste, and for the past three summers in a row, I’ve been ever so fortunate to snag an invitation to the newspaper’s test kitchen where massively influential food bloggers — nay, WRITERS — get to preview some of the bites at the upcoming event. For the organizers, it’s a great way to get word out. For the writers, it’s a perfect chance to stuff our faces like a bunch of malnourished baboons. We all win!

In an effort to fend off my innate pear-shaped physique, I tried to show some sort of restraint during this week’s preview, but unfortunately, I tend to get Requiem For A Dream eyeballs around food; so it was basically a lost cause. Check out some pics of me pigging out after the jump…

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ADVENTURES IN DOMESTICITY: Chocolate-Caramel Layer Cake Insanity


When it comes to eating healthy, I’m not always known for my self-discipline. Sure, I had a month this summer where I stayed away from all carbs, breads, and otherwise joy-inducing foods, but generally, I’m in a constant state of declaring healthy intentions while simultaneously shoving Kit-Kats into my face. This past week was no exception. Things started off in a dark (read: wonderful place) when a visit to the Orange County Fair resulted in sublime consumption of funnel cake, chocolate dipped ice cream cones, and various other diet-adverse items. I swore I would do better for myself, but of course, things rapidly spiraled out of control.

You see, the latest issue of Cook’s Illustrated appeared in my mailbox, and in its monochromatic pages was a recipe for Chocolate-Caramel Layer Cake. Suddenly, hearts appeared in my eyes and Tchaikovsky’s love theme from Romeo & Juliet blared all around me. I had to make this. I had to! But I couldn’t, especially not during this week of county fair gut reparations. Besides, why would I just make a CAKE for no reason?

And then fate came calling. Turns out I had plans to attend a game night at the end of the week, and as luck would have it, that game night was now being upgraded to a birthday celebration for my friend Lodric. I was told I was on cake duty, and far be it for me to deny that responsibility. The planets had aligned: I had the perfect excuse to make the chocolate-caramel layer cake.

It was on.

But was it worth it? Keep reading to find out…

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BANTER BLENDER #109: Emmys Noms, Caitlyn Jenner’s Speech, LA Complex, and Fiasco

New episode is up! Finally!!

Angie Thomas and I chat about Emmy nominations, Caitlyn Jenner’s ESPY speech, transgender stuff, and the overlooked series, “LA Complex.”

There’s also chatter about the games Fiasco and Viticulture as well as the cinematic experience known as The DUFF.

Come listen!

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BIG BROTHER PHOTOCAP: Love Wins… and So Does Trashy TV


Do you smell that? It’s the faint aroma of self-tanner, rancid meat, and self-pity. It can only mean one thing: Big Brother is back!!! Yes, America’s favorite summertime tradition has returned, and I could not be happier. For too long has my life been without vapid, beautiful people, but that all changed this week when CBS unleashed about 35 new faces on us. There was Clay, the gorgeous Texas native who has happily ascended to the dreamboat throne vacated by Cody last season. And then there was… Clay. And Clay. And more Clay.

Okay, fine. There are other cast members too. Audrey is Big Brother’s first transgendered houseguest, which is pretty cool. And John is Big Brother’s 453rd self-appointed rock ‘n’ roll houseguest, which is less cool. We also have resident nerd Steve (currently at the top of my faves), resident muscle nerd Austin (also at the top of my faves), and resident cookie enthusiast Jace (nowhere near my faves).

There are more — many more — but I’m not going to get into it. Most of these people seem promising, which is of course how all seasons begin: promise, followed by some early spats, which lead to a few predictable weeks of evictions, culminating with a mid-season explosion or two, and then finally settling into a quiet final stretch. Here’s to hoping things are more thrilling than last year’s dull parade to the finish line.

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Climbing “K2” with Kim Richards


K2 is the second highest mountain in the world, and according to Wikipedia, it is affectionately known as Savage Mountain due to its extreme fatality rate. About one in every four climbers die, and if you’re a woman, be extra careful: K2 is notoriously misogynist. It wasn’t until 1986 that a lady ever summited K2, and in the subsequent eighteen years, every woman who tried DIED.

Naturally, K2 is the perfect setting for a board game.

Enter “K2,” a nifty game that sees players guiding two unlucky adventurers up (and possibly down) the eponymous mountain. Along the way, our little mountaineers face inclement weather, altitude sickness, and general fatigue — all in an attempt to earn glory and skirt death. It’s not an easy feat, but my friends Jim, Jess, and PT seemed up for it. After the jump, enjoy highlights from our dramatic expedition.

Spoiler alert: not everyone survives…

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BANTER BLENDER #108: Louis Virtel Talks About Snapping on Jeopardy and Going Viral

Comic and journalist Louis Virtel ( joins Ben Mandelker (, Watch What Crappens podcast) to tell us everything about his recent appearance on “Jeopardy,” which subsequently went viral. From the application process to life atop Reddit, Louis shares the whole experience.

After that, it’s just an avalanche of banter, most of it pertaining to Madonna, Whitney Houston, Garbage, Annie Lennox, and many more. It’s a fun episode, and perhaps the longest one yet. Enjoy!

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