Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Spicy Sausage and Peppers Over Rice

Last week I made this  hearty (but healthy) recipe and dined out on the patio to enjoy one of the last few nights of summer. I used a whole package of turkey kielbasa, added red bell pepper, skipped the pimento, and used white onion instead of red, but I think this recipe is a hit with or without my adjustments!
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 cups water (I used chicken broth as usual)
  • 2 turkey sausage links, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic*, or to taste
  • 3/4 red onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 3/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons diced pimento
  • crushed red pepper flakes to taste
  • Cajun seasoning to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  1. Pour brown rice and water into a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until rice is tender, about 40 minutes.
  2. Preheat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add turkey sausage, and cook until well browned on the outside, and no longer pink on the inside. Remove cooked sausage, then stir in garlic and onion. Cook for a few minutes until the onion softens and begins to turn translucent. Add green pepper and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Pour in half of the vegetable stock along with the tomatoes and pimiento. Season to taste with red pepper flakes, Cajun seasoning, and pepper. Cook until the liquid has almost completely evaporated. Stir in sausage with remaining vegetable broth, and simmer until all is hot. Serve sausage mixture over brown rice.               

* By the way, have you seen this ?? I just think these are the coolest little contraptions (since I despise mincing garlic.)


As an LA resident, I spend a lot of time driving sitting in traffic. This past Sunday, I decided to take the train for a quick visit up to San Luis Obispo to visit my sister. My experience was quite lovely. Not only did I catch gorgeous ocean sunsets on the way there and back, but I also got to chat with friendly travelers and catch up on some blog and magazine reading. Public transit = Success.

(Elle, coconut water, and Toms.. what more do I need?)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Los Angeles, I Love you.

(One man's love letter to LA. Too cute not to share with my fellow Angelenos!)

You met her at a bar.
She was a perfect 10.
Actress. Model. Dancer. Whatever.

You’ve seen her in pictures, watched her on TV, and heard about her from friends but you always wondered. And now she is right in front of you, but there’s just one problem, she’s a raging bitch.

She rarely pays attention to you.
She makes you feel insignificant.
She hates your friends.
She hates your apartment.
She hates your car.
She is always looking over your shoulder at someone else.
She four squares everything.
She loves TMZ.

She makes it really hard to love her.

Her name is Los Angeles.

I am part of the rare breed of Native Los Angelenos, yes we do exist. I grew up in the neighborhood of Atwater Village (you know that strip of land in between Intelligentsia and Armenia). After 27 years of living and growing up in this town I can say I hated it. I was sick of the traffic, $14 martinis, the Ed Hardy, the yogis, the vegans, the valley, everything. So I moved away. I moved to Connecticut for a glimpse of the countryside, the “better life”. I worked there for 2 years, paid super low rent, and spent weekends in New York. But about half way through that endeavor I realized I missed LA.

I missed the culture.
I missed the style.
I missed the 24 hour restaurants.
I missed the music.
I missed living in a place where “limited release” movies were actually released.
I missed the weather.

There was a period during winter in Connecticut when I didn’t see the sun for two weeks. I decided to get in my truck and drive south until I hit sunshine (it took 3 hours). While I met some amazing people in my time in the Northeast I knew it wasn’t for me.

And so I came back to California. I took an almost 40% pay cut to come back to the Angel City because I missed her.

I came back to her culture.
I came back to her fashion.
I came back to her culinary mecca.
I came back to her art.
I came back to her opportunities.

The movie industry films here because its 70 degrees and sunny every day so you can work year round. While other parts of the country have snow, heat waves, and humidity I rarely go a day without sandals on my feet. You can take your tornados and I’ll keep my earthquakes (we don’t even look up from our iphones for less than a 5.0). Each neighborhood has it’s own personality may it be from the hipsters in Silverlake, the key grips in the valley, the plastics in Beverly Hills, La Raza in Boyle heights, or the stoners in Venice. Sure there is ubiquitous traffic that everyone complains about but that’s only from people that don’t actually live here. People that live here accept that its part of the package deal and don’t complain about it. It would be like New Yorkers complaining about that weird smell in the subway or all the graffiti. Celebrities that constantly complain in interviews about how everyone here is “so fake” might want to re read their job description and then hang out with a different crowd. There are real people here and I have seen them in these streets that I know so well working as a Paramedic. I have rubbed elbows with them at In N’ Out, we have waited for our Grande soy sugar free vanilla lattes together, and I have cheered with them at the upper deck of Laker games. So don’t belittle my city celebrities, a city that has brought you so much.

Most tourists hate this town too but LA is like a fungus, it grows on you. There is no immediate visual pull like San Francisco, or history like Paris, or skyline like New York. There is no real town center like most any other city of the world. Think about it, what do you tell out of towners to do once they get here? I have no idea either. Besides Hollywood blvd. there is no Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty, or Wrigley FIeld. When they ask you where to stay you say, “it depends”. When they ask you what to eat, “it depends”. Each neighborhood has a personality as does each cuisine and each person here. While we may not have many marquee attractions, what we do have is a bunch tiny pieces to the mosaic that makes up this great city.

Don’t get me wrong though, as with any relationship you sometimes hate each other. The parking, pretentious hostesses/bouncers, cupcakes, greenpeace volunteers, menus that tell you what’s NOT in your food (no preservatives, gluten-free, no dairy, flourless, etc.). Sure she may nag you, tell you to take out the trash, or ask you if you think these pants make her look fat but this is the place you, me, and that guy next to you in the Prius have chosen to live.

This is where I grew up and this is my town, and if you don’t like it get the fuck out, because traffic here is a bitch.

Los Angeles, I love you.

Eternally Yours,
Chris Backley

Monday, September 12, 2011


As I'm sure many of you know, September 8th was the third annul Fashion's Night Out. I love the initiative of retailers and shoppers coming together worldwide after hours to celebrate a shared passion for fashion. In support of the event, I decided to pay a visit to some of the smaller shops on Main Street in Santa Monica near my apartment. Below are a few pictures of the adorable storefront and party festivities at hip'tique.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


It's been a busy week and trying to transition back into work mode after a 5 day trip has not been an easy task. Miami was incredible, and while we made sure to enjoy the beautiful beach and (ridiculously) warm water, there was still plenty of  exploring of Little Havana, the Bayside lifestyle, Coconut Grove, and all of the art deco architecture that contributes to that Miami character and energy. Here are some instagram* snapshots from the vaycay. (More to come from the Nikon)
Pool party ready
Gazpacho and a Cuban steak sandwich
Rooftop pool party at the Gansevort
Empenadas at El Cristo on Calle Ocho
Cigar shopping
Refreshing mojitos and daiquiris at the marina
Cabbin it
SushiSamba: Beef Maki Roll bacon, boniato, rocoto jam, soy-garlic jus
Tuna Ceviche coconut, tomato, serrano, grapefruit, cilantro
 Samba Dromo Roll maine lobster, mango, tomato, chive, crispy rice, soy paper, peanut curry
Night out at Arkadia
East coast seafood on the water
South Beach

*Add me on instagram! @hi_im_jess

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Overpackers Anonymous

I'm notoriously a [shameful] overpacker. I find that when eyeing my wardrobe for travel, I often consider all possible occurrences and situations that I will [obviously] require the perfect outfit for. Last year after an incredible 2 weeks in Italy, France, and Spain, my travel high came to a screeching halt when I  had to pay an extra £150 (approximately $200) to the airline to fly my overstuffed suitcase safely back to the states. This was the point when I realized I had a problem... and I needed help. Since then, I have made a serious effort to pack lighter, and be more realistic as to what the 'necessities' really are when traveling. Below are the items that are coming with me to South Beach tomorrow. I hope you all have a fabulous holiday weekend!