Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Haute Khuuture's 4 yr. Anniversary!

I can’t believe I’ve been on this bloggy venture for the last 4 years of my life.  It’s one of those stories that started out innocently enough where a hiatus in work projects kick started me to do 1 of 2 things:  a) Start a blog or b) Win a spot on HGTV’s reality-competition show Design Star.  That was January of 2010, right after I completed the design of this nightclub in Huntington Beach that was a 2.5 year-long project.  I was at a standstill with no new work on the horizon and generally just feeling very sorry for myself without any real direction.  Yup, *cue the violins* y’all.

After having attended the open casting call for Design Star on a whim, I was completely awestruck by having advanced round after round of call backs and phone interviews, eventually landing a coveted spot on season 5 of the show, in which I was promptly sent home right after the first White Box challenge.  I was ill-prepared (actually completely UNprepared would be the correct assessment), timid, shy, and honestly just not right for what would sell on reality TV back then.  Not my finest hour I admit, but what I learned in the process made my strength to succeed outside of scripted design work much more prominent and unwavering to this day. 

If you know me, I’m one of those perpetually passionate goal-seekers whom at any given moment are either learning/ sharing/ crafting/ researching/ reading/ finding new opportunity for creative growth.  Completely driven by an immense wonder of the world around me, I consider myself quite simply just a curious girl.  I thrive in a challenging environment, whether I fail or prevail, it’s the thrill of the chase that resonates in my core and propels me seek new and exciting adventures.

Enter my first post for this here bloggy HERE.  I had just returned from New York, fragile and desperately seeking a creative outlet for all of my design ideas, free from any deadlines, pressures, or plain ol’ judgment, I sought to collect all the findings stored up in my head and dispense them on a personal forum crafted and curated especially by me.  It was one of the most invigorating results to a very disheartening time.  The blog was a catalyst for my creative energy and although Design Star didn’t air until mid-summer, I had a head-start into what I affectionately consider my comeback story.  

Four years, 713 posts, 219 ensembles, 117 Food Porns, 4,002 design pins, and a few dozen online friends later and she hasn’t let me down since y’all.

Just because the network of our blogging community will inevitably change and maybe even diminish throughout the years, doesn’t mean the face of it will.  CHEERS to another 4+ (here’s hoping) years y’all!  Thank you thank you THANK YOU for following along this journey with me!!! There will be TONS of new designs, new series, and new ideas in the works as I’m excited to share every last bit of my crazy life with y’all!  I loveloveLOVE my readers- you’ve made Haute Khuuture what she is today and I seriously can’t THANK YOU enough!

 ….and just for kicks, here’s the episode of HGTV’s Design Star that *spoiler alert!* not only sent me home packing, but created my unrelenting motivation for starting this blog.  Like I said...can’t THANK YOU enough!
Finally OFF to China y'all! Whooooohooooo!!!
I'll be blogging from the muthaland so catch me on FB and IG!
See ya in Asia my loves!

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Baby Blues

Just a quick HELLO with an ensemble post of what I wore to my cuzzie’s baby shower yesterday.  Spent a beautiful SoCal afternoon brunching alfresco style and showering mama with gifts and gab as only her bestest can do.  Will update with food porn this Friday but in the meantime, I haven’t even packed for my trip to China and I’m leaving in less than 24 hours!  Eeeeeeeeeek!  Oman it’s gonna be an ALL nighter…also Haute Khuuture’s 4 year anniversary tomorrow!  When it rains, it friggin' POURS y’all!

 Stay tuned all week as we celebrate my bloggy's birthday from China y'all!

Follow me on Instagram for the latest!
You won't wanna miss all the frenzied FUN!

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Food Porn Friday- Pot

I’ve been bi-county for over a year now and one of the many joys I get out of living right in the heart of Ktown LA is venturing out to the thousands of Ktown eateries all within a 2 mile radius from my humble abode.  Enter Roy Choi’s latest Pot at the newly minted Line Hotel, opened just 2 weeks ago right smack dab in the midst of Wilshire where high-octane energy hustles and bustles morning, noon, and night.  Very much like its neighboring Hollywood Blvd., minus the tourists, double the hipsters.  

 I’ve learned a lot about K-towners this year, namely the fact that peeps living in this part of town (Korean or other) are SOOOOO proud of their hood.  I mean what’s not to love:  Downtown LA just a few miles south, Silver Lake right under the 101 to the east, Weho and Bev Hills just a short drive north, and SoCal beaches just yonder out west.  Choi’s come a long way from his infamous Kogifood truck developing further food concepts with Chego!, Sunny Spot, A-Frame, and now back to his Ktown roots with Pot restaurant, café, and bar/lounge (named after Korean hot-pot soup).

The newspaper-style menu is broken up into various sub-categories of hot pot soups, street fare, sides, and noodles.  Our group of four opted for something from each category and since we were seated at the bar/expedition kitchen, we missed out on the communal hot pot dining (served at regular table-tops) but took advantage of the sights and scene from our cozy little corner hobnobbing with the staff, prep cooks, and even Mr. Choi himself. 

Check out some sample dishes below as Choi takes you on a journey through Korea, from the eyes and palate of a true Angeleno.

Old School with marinated prime-rib bulgogi, noodles, kimchi, scallion, sesame.  The hot pots have various sizes ranging from “Me, Myself, and I” a “single-serving” style that can easily be shared amongst 4 (our pick) to medium/large/and extra-large servings.  My dining style is always to order as many dishes as I can, keep the orders small in size, that way I get to sample flavors from every category.  I half-expected this soup to taste a bit Westernized for the American palate, but I love that Choi grounded the flavors in familiar territory, no doubt tending to his hood and all its partisan residents.  The smoky broth, bold seasonings, and blend of braised gogi mixed with the spicy kimchi made for a heart-poundingly awesome meal in itself.  I love how rich the flavors were, all the better to wash down our soju with.

Endless banchan mix of sliced cucumbers, bean sprouts, spinach served ‘round the clock.  Freebie combo very indicative of what every other Ktown establishment offers.  Except that they charge $1-$3 for kimchi, unheard of in these parts but hey, someone’s gotta pay the overhead to keep this place up and running, right?

K-town caviar, daikon, smoked sesame, and Serrano.  Our least favorite dish of the night.  The texture was a mix between a chunk of tuna and coagulated corn meal, tough and chewy, and not chopstick friendly to say the least.  You’re forced to spoon chunks away from the meat as it didn’t break easily to the touch.  Fishy flavors complemented this dish, so if you’re not into chicken from the sea, I would definitely not recommend this.

 Baby anchovy with fish cakes and jalapeno:  LOVE this little side dish, the anchovies were chewy and crunchy with a slightly salted flavor that works wonders with some beer.  

As did the spicy dried squid that we kept re-ordering.  The chopped scallions were a simple, but bright touch to these street fare staples, elevating it from Mom and Pop shop to fancy hotel dining.  Two must orders!

Poke Me with yellow fin tuna, edamame, sea beans, Maui onions, smoked sesame, and shoyo vinaigrette (top) Kush with Asian greens, radish, fruit, pine nuts, and mustard dressing (bottom).  While both salads were very fresh and flavorful, I preferred the variety of textures in the Poke Me with the sweetness of the onions balancing out the savory soy sauce.  The Kush was a bit milder in taste, but both refreshing nonetheless.  It’s just a matter of preference between the two.

Shorty with braised galbi, chestnuts, dates, taro, carrots, turnips, scallion, and sesame.  For those of you who like your galbi jjim sweet and saucy, this one’s NOT for you.  Almost like a cross between an herb-flavored Mongolian hotpot and Vietnamese Bo Kho (beef stew) I really loved the bold, almost Chinese medicinal-like flavors of this soup.  Simple, savory, and best of all clears your sinuses with just one spoonful, how many of your beef stews can attest to that quality?

Kimchi Fried Rice:  Bibimbap the way it was meant to be served.  Piping hot, crisped and charred, with 2 over easy eggs to scramble with.  AHMAZINGGGGGGG!  My only gripe is that the stone pot didn’t stay hot long enough to scorch the rice after the first helping.  If there was a way Choi can devise this sucker with a temporary burner underneath, you’d get the crunchy layer at the bottom with every bite.  Order 2 small ones instead of one large serving; it’ll save you the trouble of talking shit between scoops ;D

La pièce de résistance:  Saltwater- Salt-brined and dried croaker/pine mackerel.  Every Korean joint serves up some variation of this fried fish staple, yet somehow, some way, Choi has managed to out-smoke/out-fry/ out-season his competitors in this department.  The mackerel was beautifully charred with a crunchy and light texture, with no signs of any oil whatsoever from the first to the last drop.  Us SoCal gals sure do LOVE our fried foods but without all the greasy fat!  ACES in my book, a definite MUST order!

 Roy Choi standing guard over the main dining area at Pot (top)
Draft Beer and ginger toast at Pot Cafe in the lobby of the Line hotel (bottom)

3515 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90010
(213) 368-3030

*Insider’s tip:  The Line hotel’s grand opening was at the beginning of this year with Pot Cafe and Pot bar not far behind and Pot Restaurant opening just a couple of weeks ago on March 25.  Expect a large crowd and long lines as the restaurant does NOT accept reservations.  But don’t fret my pets, there’s plenty of people watching to do as the open floor plan of the lobby allows you to see and be seen from every geometric angle of the modern spatial design.  Grab an uni cocktail (yes, uni!) at the circular Pot Bar or a super-yummy Asian childhood staple of sugar-buttered ginger toast at the Pot Café while waiting for your table.  Waitresses clad in striped spandex 80’s gear complete with fanny packs serve the communal bar lounge while a mix of Tony Rich Project and Mary J.Blige filter the air with 90’s flashback beats.  All-in-all a raucously good time in Ktown where if you’re from these parts of LA, everyone (seemingly) knows your name!  Good food, good drinks, good company, sounds like the perfect night out to me!*

Happy Happy Friday y'all and as always...
Bon Appétit mes amis!

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Coachella- Ella- Ella

Bummed that another year goes by and I can’t cross Coachella off my growing bucket list.  It’s always been a dream to get down and dirty on the music scene as I did wayyyy back when in my late teens/early 20’s raving adolescence away.  Alas I awake and realize DUDE, it’s a whole decade later, I’m a decade (YIKES!) older and the desire to partake in all the desert Palm hoopla has only intensified over the years.  Thank goodness my upcoming travel plans to China during this time will make up for my hardcore FOMO.  

A little roundup of all the possible ensemblesAfter all, half the fun’s in getting dressed for the occasion!

Can you hear those beats thumping away already???

 Anyone attending Coachella's Music Festival this year???  
Untz Untz UNTZ!!!  YOLO y’all!

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Trendspotting: Floral Wallpaper

My love for large scale floral will never waiver.  I’ve been known to install wall-to-wall (and sometimes ceiling!) clad coverings with the prettiest blooms and abstract buds that instantly transport you into a fantasy land far, far away.  Imagine coming home to a space decked out in a dreamy landscape every day.  Takes wanderlusting to a whole ‘notha level if you ask me…or you can simply check in with my clients whom I’ve had to fight tooth and nail with to get these pretty petals up.  But in the end, the pro prevails luvahs!  I can visualize space long before the end product so where clients may lack the imagination and courage when it comes to specifying materials, I, my dear, have understood it all along.  ;D

Moral of the story:  ALWAYS trust your designer!  hehe 
Well, the ones with exceptionally bold taste at least.

Maybe in a super chic powder room where the small space demands attention…

 Or on the focal wall of your living room with interesting architectural detailing…
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Natural daylight truly allows these walls to come to life...
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Imagine a wistful night’s sleep after seeing these flowers blooming in the boudoir…


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Whatever your preference, use wallpaper where you want the most impact!  
If you’re apprehensive about taking the plunge, keep the color story light and neutral so you have a bit of breathing room when it comes to designing the space around it.

Where could you imagine using this in your own home?

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