super simple summer caprese salad

I love caprese anything, but all that cheese just makes something so yummy seem so unhealthy.  Last night I got my Farm Fresh to You box** and it was full of tomatoes!  Seriously, 2.5 lbs of heirlooms and a box of cherry tomatoes.  Look forward to a recipe using the heirlooms, but this is one with the sweet cherry tomatoes.
I love bulgar, it makes great tabbouleh salad and is packed full of protein and fiber, with none of the fat.  I love the nutty flavor and now the simple cooking of it, thanks to Trader Joe's 10 minute bulgar.  Tonight I combined these two loves to make this yummy, healthier take on a typical caprese salad.  It's super simple and delicious.

Super Simple Summer Caprese Salad
(serves 2-4)

1 c. bulgar, cooked and cooled
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T balsamic vinegar
1/4 c fresh basil, chopped into small pieces
1 c cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 bocconcini mozzarella ball, cut into small pieces*

1. Mix together olive oil, vinegar, and basil in a medium bowl.
2. Toss cherry tomatoes and bulgar with the oil mixture.
3. Add the mozzarella right before you serve.  Season with salt and pepper to desired taste.
4. Serve over a bed of fresh baby spinach.
*make it vegan by changing the cheese to chickpeas or tofu.

I told you that was simple.

**If you live in a part of California that supports Farm Fresh to You delivery and you are thinking of starting it, use Promo Code 6164 and share my name "Taryn Bone" as the referral.  You get $10 off and so do I!  Thank you in advance!


L.A.: Oh the Places You Should Go

As we find ourselves deep into summer, it is about time for all the visitors to come flocking out to spend time with their daughter/son/friend/cousin/acquaintance who lives in lovely Los Angeles.  My mom just visited, followed directly by a friend of Danny's from undergrad, and Danny's parents will be out next month.  This got me thinking about all the places that everyone not from L.A. thinks they want to go (Hollywood) versus where they should actually go.  So here you have my top 10 things L.A. visitors should do.

1. Venice
A top tourist destination, yes.  Still worth it?  Absolutely.  You must take a quick stroll down the boardwalk to see all the crazies.  If you don't get asked to buy weed from a Doctor in green, hassled to "listen to my new dope track," or see a showing of the street performance of the jumping guys then turn around and do another loop, but make it quick, because Venice has much more to offer.
While on the Boardwalk do not miss Schulzie's bread pudding, a personal favorite of mine, and with so many flavors, I doubt anyone could say this is not the best thing on the boardwalk.  Also check out the skate park, where there are always really great boarders.

2. Bike along the beach, the whole beach.
You can easily include this in your Venice trip, but you must go all the way to Manhattan Beach if you want a few hours of beach time.  El Porto is where you will see some amazing surfers in the morning, and little further south and you won't see any tourists, just beautiful, uncrowded beach in front of multi-million dollar homes.  Once you are done there, bike up to the southend of Malibu to see the beautiful waves crash against the rocks.  For this trip, I recommend parking on one of the side streets in South Santa Monica where they aren't metered, so you can stay all day.  Plus it puts you almost in the middle, so you won't get too tired if you aren't used to biking that many miles (approximately 30 miles, all super easy and on a bike path)

3. Grand Avenue, Downtown LA
This is where all the architecture of Los Angeles is at, at least the big, cultural, "star architect" architecture, but it is worth the trip, nonetheless.  Start at the East end of Grand Park, gazing from City Hall West upward through the relatively new and heavily used park.  Walk through the park and up to the DWP building.  Here, you can walk around the building, admiring Northwestern views across the city.  Go South for the Disney Concert Hall by Gehry and (soon!) the New Broad Museum by DS+R.  Go North for the Cathedral of Our Lady The Angels by another Pritzker winner, Rafael Moneo.

4. The Getty
Great views, nice architecture.  Bring a picnic and enjoy the views.  Oh, this place is a museum?  Who knew...  No one goes here for that and you probably shouldn't either.  Just enjoy the views, they are breathtaking.

5. Griffith Park+Observatory
Go take a hike near the Hollywood sign, see views all around the city, get your workout on and learn a thing or two about the stars.

6. West Third Street Shopping, from the Grove to the Beverly Center
The mecca of shopping and little cafes in Los Angeles.  The Grove and Farmer's Market will be packed with tourists, but sometimes it can be worth it.  There are a number of great furniture stores along 3rd street, along with other designer goods.  The Beverly Center is completely commercial, but if you are into that scene, it is worth it.

7. Main Street Santa Monica (+the pier)
The best part of Santa Monica.  This is the part of SM that quickly turns into Venice and it definitely feels like it.  You can walk around for hours going in and out of cute designer and beachy shops, sip on coffee from dozens of coffee shops and eat at some really delicious restaurants.  My personal fave is Manchego, a tiny tapas restaurant where you bring your own wine or beer, no corkage fee.

8. Little Tokyo
I may be a bit biased because I live here, but there are so many restaurants and bars, little shops selling fun Japanese gadgets, and the best sushi in town.  There's also the MOCA Geffen and The Japanese American museum, among many other things.  Do yourself a favor and eat at Sushi-Gen, Komasa, or Hama.  You will have to wait, but if you like sushi, these places will not disappoint!

9. See a taping of something
Danny and I recently saw the X-Factor taping at the Galen Center next to USC.  I don't watch that show, in fact, I hate all shows like that, but the taping was really fun.  Also, the tapings are FREE!  I've also been to Wheel of Fortune twice, but I was a contestant, so it was maybe a little more exciting than it would have been otherwise.
Sony Studios, Culver City- Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy tape throughout the year, a few days a week.  Taping will be 3-5 hours at a time.

10. Eat from a food truck or other famous chef establishment
Trucks:  Guerrilla Tacos and Coolhaus
Restaurants: Osteria Mozza (Mario Batali), Bestia!!!, and Border Grill (Susan Fineger)