A Taste of Little Amsterdam

Little Amsterdam Coffee Shop and Art Gallery store front. Photo credit: Little Amsterdam.

Cool.

No super cool.

That’s how many describe the vibe at Little Amsterdam Coffee Shop and Art Gallery in mid – City, Los Angeles.

The little coffee shop that almost wasn’t is fast becoming a hot spot for those who love a cup of coffee in a joint that elicits that Amsterdam feeling of freedom, passion, art and culture.

Entrepreneur and Little Amsterdam Coffee Shop and Art Gallery owner Josh Mock serving a repeat customer.

The once art gallery has been revived with a permanent exhibit of some of the most provocative art pieces from local artist and  imbibed with CBD, the non-psychoactive compound in marijuana touted for its inflammation and pain relieving properties.

Upon request, owner and entrepreneur Josh Mock, 40, infuses any coffee or tea drink featured on his menu with CBD, and his customers are feeling it and along with the coffee shop’s eclectic, artistic vibe.

Chai Tea Latte served at Little Amsterdam. Photo credit: Little Amsterdam.

Flat White, Espresso, Cappuccino, Latte, Piccolo, Macchiato – Mock says he’s got you. He knows his way around an espresso machine. And his mixology skills are on smooth display with his offerings of several exotic iced chai tea drinks and his concoctions of iced juice drinks he calls “LAmonade.”

“Amsterdam Latte is my favorite drink on the menu,” said Mock. It’s basically my four favorite drinks in one – chai tea latte, matcha latte, vanilla latte and caramel latté.  It’s the most popular drink on the menu.”

Mock’s journey to this watercolor canvas of latte dreams has been no crystal stairs.

Left to right: Little Amsterdam Coffee Shop and Art Gallery owner Josh Mock and gallery curator Phree Art.

“This has been a journey. When I went into business I didn’t know a whole lot. What I learned is that compliance issues are very serious. I spend tens of thousands in dollars making building, safety and health modifications, and while making these changes I got evicted three times,” said Mock with a gaze of reflection.  “People go to college and pay a lot to learn what I experienced. I consider this my education,” Mock said adding he hopes aspiring entrepreneurs will learn from his experience.

Today the sound of success is the sweet sound of an espresso machine frothing milk for lattes. Mock couldn’t be happier because Little Amsterdam reopened in late January to a community of awaiting and endearing coffee klatchers, fans and followers who have longed to reconnect with the good vibes and cool connections that had become a part of their daily lives.

Little Amsterdam Coffee Shop and Art Gallery exhibit and coffee shop swag.

Mock hasn’t missed a beat since he reopened or perhaps stoke is a better word. The art that lines the walls is bold and spirited, much like the coffee and tea offerings that have made Little Amsterdam the “spot.” The permanent exhibit is curated by creative director and fashion designer Phree Art (known as Phree), 29, a whimsical and audacious young artist and fashion designer who views the fusion of art and coffee as the gateway to social immersion.

“This is a very intimate space,” said Phree as his eyes moved about the coffee shop and art gallery with a sense of satisfaction.  “When Josh decided to open up the space for events, one of our first events was art an exhibit that featured fashion and jewelry designers.  The turnout was overwhelming and it allowed a lot of artists to manifest their dreams.”

March 14, 2020 flyer featuring one of the many social immersion events held at Little Amsterdam Coffee Shop and Art Gallery.

Mock says Little Amsterdam will also be place to foster creativity in children. His future plans include holding painting, fashion, music and dance workshops.

While success has been a bumpy road for Mock one thing is clear – his quiet, indomitable spirit is unquestionable. Mock says his mother has been a great inspiration and his three children are the reason he has never given up. Having the opportunity to build something that has longevity is everything to Mock. He’s seizing this moment because he wants to make sure his children benefit from his sacrifice and hard work.

Little Amsterdam Coffee Shop and Art Gallery on Yelp.

Little Amsterdam Coffee Shop and Art Gallery will soon turn the page and write a new chapter. Mock is set to soon open a second location with a similar theme on La Brea Avenue and 11th Street. Not content to be a Mom and Pop shop, Mock wants to make Little Amsterdam a coveted destination spot.

Signature Amsterdam LAmonade, refreshingly good.

You may not be a barista or mixologist like Mock, but perhaps you might want to try your hand at making his Amsterdam LAmonade, which he has modified so you can make it at home.  It’s a popular drink and there’s good reason: it is refreshingly good.  The mixture of  juices combined with vanilla and a lemon and honey simple syrupy elevates this drink to something  just beyond lemonade.  Give it a try and think Little Amsterdam thoughts with each sip.

Exterior Little Amsterdam Coffee Shop and Art Gallery.

Little Amsterdam Coffee Shop and Art Gallery is located at 1412 S. Redondo Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90019. It is open Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Follow them on Instagram at @little.amsterdam.coffee for upcoming events.

Little Amsterdam LAmonade

  • Servings: 4 to 6
  • Difficulty: Very easy
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A refreshingly delicious, iced drink.

Ingredients


1/2 cup honey
1 cup lemon juice
1 cup pineapple juice
1 cup of your favorite peach nectar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. To make the simple syrup, combine honey, vanilla extract and 1 cup water in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the honey has dissolved; let cool.
  2. In a large pitcher, whisk together simple syrup, pineapple juice, peach nectar and 5 cups water.
  3. Place in the refrigerator until chilled.
  4. Serve over ice.

A post Valentine’s Day sister friend recipe

Easy Lemon and Parsley Panko Salmon served here with Mac and Cheese and and seasoned string beans.

I’ve had my share of loves and lovers.

I have no regrets.

The gift of Valentine’s Day

There is something about Valentine’s Day that makes me focus less on the love I’ve lost, but more on the love that I have.

It hasn’t always been that way.

Yet experience is the best teacher and gratitude keeps a heart humble.

My friendships with my sister friends have been a great source of strength, comfort and beauty in my life. God only knows the value they bring to my life , and to be honest I haven’t been the best in letting them know.

Left: My Bestie Anne Dunn. Right: Me, Veronica Hendrix

A sister friend for life

Anne Dunn is one of those sister friends. I’ve known her for nearly 30 years. I started out working for her at the Los Angeles City Commission of the Status of Women where we used our legislative bully pulpit to advocate for fair and equitable treatment of women and girls in all aspects of their lives.

Those were the days for sure. We made a difference and played an integral role in shaping the policies and laws that affect the treatment of women and girls not just in the city of Los Angeles, but the state and nation.

Today our lives have taken different paths, but the friendship and bond we forged has been unbreakable and enduring over the years. She is my bestie and thank goodness the best sounding board I have, not to mention her wise wit and thought provoking wisdom I so appreciate. We all need an “Anne” in our lives.

A sister friend recipe

Recently Anne and I hung out in my kitchen. Our task was to create a quick and tasty entrée that could be served “sister style.”

Meyer lemons from Anne’s bountiful, backyard tree. The best lemons ever.

We didn’t tinker around too much because when you start with salmon and the most amazing Meyer lemons from her backyard tree, you better believe deliciousness will be the result.

The salmon recipe we created is moist and flavorful. The grated lemon zest in the Panko bread crumb topping is subtle and the lemon marinade that is basted on the salmon before the Panko is pressed on the surface elevates the lemony flavor to delectable heights. Plated, this recipe serves about six sister friends.

Close up of Easy Lemon and Parsley Panko Salmon. So moist and delicious.

So here’s something you can consider. After you enjoy your Valentine’s Day with your sweetie, children and others that you love, perhaps you can gather a few of your sister friends and invite them over for a post Valentine’s Day sister friend meal. I bet they will not only jump at the opportunity, but a few of them would probably be willing to be your sous chef.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you and all your beautiful and amazing sister friends. Drop me an email and let me know about your gathering. And lastly, if you would like the recipe for the Mac and Cheese and seasoned green beans, let me know. It was an absolutely delicious and soul satisfying meal.

Easy Lemon and Parsley Panko Salmon

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Very easy
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An easy and delicious salmon recipe with a lemony twist.

Ingredients

Salmon
2 to 2 ½ pound salmon filet (skinless featured in this recipe)
baking sheet
parchment paper

Panko coating
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon chopped curly leaf parsley
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest (firmly packed)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil

Vinaigrette marinade
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon honey
½ teaspoon prepared Dijon mustard (Trader Joes brand featured in this recipe)

Directions

    1. Gather all your ingredients.
    2. Preheat oven to 375 Fahrenheit.
    3. In a mixing bowl add and stir together Panko bread crumbs, chopped parsley,grated lemon zest, salt, garlic powder and sugar.
    4. Drill olive oil over mixture and blend thoroughly with a fork. Set mixture aside.
    5. In  a separate small mixing bowl, make vinaigrette by adding lemon juice, olive oil, salt, honey and Dijon mustard.
    6. Whisk with a fork or wire whisk until blended.
    7. Place salmon filet on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Generously brush salmon filet with vinaigrette.

      Salmon filet oven ready.

    8. Spread the Panko mixture evenly over salmon filet covering the entire surface, and lightly press the Panko mixture on to the surface to make sure it stays on.
    9. Place baking sheet in oven and bake at 375 Fahrenheit  for 25 minute until lightly brown.
    10. Remove and serve “sister style” (family style) with lemon wedges.

A Super Bowl Recipe that scores extra points

Sweet and Southern Ground Turkey Meatball Sliders on whole grain and pumpernickel dinner rolls.

The fix is in for Super Bowl 54.

It’s going down on Sunday, February 2, 2020 at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.

Demi Lovato will belt out the national anthem and Jennifer Lopez and Shakira will dazzle us with halftime show performances.

It’s gonna be a helluva game with the San Francisco 49ers going up against the Kansas City Chiefs who have not made a Super Bowl appearance in 50 years.

About 100 million people will be watching the game, along with the New England Patriots organization whose run as the Super Bowl “usual suspects” was interrupted this year by the Tennessee Titans.

Are the Chiefs hungry? You better believe they are.

And this game will require some good grub to take you from the opening coin toss to the final touchdown.

Sweet and Southern Ground Turkey Meat Balls in Sassy Sauce.

My Sweet and Southern Ground Turkey Meatballs are just the addition you need for your Super Bowl menu line up.

The grated sweet potatoes and fresh chopped spinach makes them super moist and a healthy choice. The homemade Sassy Sauce recipe is rich and flavorful with a lovely sweetness. These tasty little meatballs can be served as appetizers or as sliders on your favorite dinner rolls.

Sweet and Southern Ground Turkey Meatball plated as an appetizer.

Keep them warm on the sideline in a Crockpot. Keep some grated Parmesan cheese, chopped Pepperoncini peppers, fresh chopped parsley and scallions at the end zone and there will be no delay of game.

This recipe is a touchdown with extra points.

Sweet and Southern Ground Turkey Meatballs

  • Servings: 28 to 30 meatballs
  • Difficulty: you can do it
  • Print

Moist and tasty turkey meatballs in a delicious sauce.


Ingredients

Meat Balls
2 pounds ground turkey room temperature
½ teaspoon Chipotle Chili pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½  teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dried chopped onion
½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
½ cup panko bread crumbs
½ cup fresh chopped spinach, firmly packed
½ cup fresh grated sweet potato, firmly packed
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg

Directions

Chopped spinach and grated sweet potatoes.

  1. Gather all your ingredients.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, add ground turkey and all listed ingredients. Using a fork or your hands, gently mix until all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.
  5. Form into 28 to 30 balls and place on to a parchment lined baking sheet.

    Sweet and Southern Ground Turkey Meatballs hot out of the oven and ready for Sassy Sauce.

  6. Place baking sheet in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove and add to Sassy Sauce.
  7. Serve as appetizer or as sliders. Garnish with grated Parmesan and fresh chopped parsley.

Sassy Sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup chopped bell pepper
½ cup chopped red onion
1 clove chopped garlic
29 ounce can tomato sauce
8 ounce can crushed pineapple
2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
3 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 ½ teaspoons salt
3 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

Directions

  1. Gather all your ingredients.
  2. To a sauce pan set on medium heat, add olive. Once heated, add bell pepper and onion.
  3. Sauté the mixture 4 minutes, stirring constantly, until lightly brown. Add chopped garlic to mixture and sauté 30 seconds. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
  4. Cover sauce pan and simmer 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add meat balls.

Note: sauce and meatballs can be kept warm by placing them in a Crockpot set on warm setting.

 

 

 

Three variations and one wish for a Happy New Year

My traditional New Year’s Dinner: Black-eyed peas, sauteed greens with corn, oven fried chicken. Not shown: cornbread – but it’s a must have.

Au revoir 2019.

This past decade has been head spinning.

Here’s a trip down memory lane of a few events and advances I remember most from the decade of the 10’s:

  • Rideshare services, music streaming services and Amazon (Prime) changed our lives.
  • Barack Obama was elected the first African American President.
  • The Real Housewives franchise dominated reality TV.
  • Pot legalization began and cannabis became the hot, new economy.
  • Domestic terrorism became part of the American lexicon.
  • The Ebola virus emerged and measles made a raging comeback.
  • American’s favorite dad fell from grace and the phase “me to” became a call to action.
  • The nexus between climate change and natural disasters became analogous.
  • Smart phones outsmarted us and controlled our lives.
  • Two royal weddings took place.
  • Lady Gaga wore a meat dress to the Video Music Awards.
  • Same sex marriage became legal.
  • DNA services connected our ancestry dots.
  • Lebron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers in dramatic fashion.
  • Kobe Bryant retired from basketball.
  • Some of my favorite music icons left
    • Amy Winehouse
    • Whitney Houston
    • Prince
    • David Bowie
    • Tom Petty
    • Aretha Franklin
    • Natalie Cole
    • Donna Summer
    • Dick Clark, everyone’s favorite “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” countdown host

Of course there has been so much more of greater significance that has happened, but just riffing off the top of my head, these are the things that came immediately to mind.

It’s been a helluva a ride and we must lean in, press forward and bid this decade ado.

Tradition matters

So now –  let the 20’s roar!

But you know you can’t enter the new year and brand new decade without partaking in the most essential and hallowed new year’s tradition – eating your lucky black-eyed peas.

The folklore of eating black-eyed peas dates back to 500 A.D.  Steeped in the ritual of the eating the little black-eyed legume is the promise of prosperity. And that sentiment and belief has remained throughout the ages.

A recipe recap

I have opined about the history of this sacred pea of promise and over the years,  I have posted three variations of preparing them with this one intention – that you and yours have a beautiful and prosperous new year. Below you will find these posts. Just click on the bolded text and that will take you to the recipe.

Cali-fied Caviar picture

Cali-fied Caviar is a new spin on Texas Caviar

Move Over Texas Caviar, time to get “Cali-fied”– this post features a California spin on Texas caviar which was created by Helen Corbitt for her guests at a New Year’s Eve event in Houston, Texas. It is served cold and can be a side salad or appetizer.

picture of Easy black-eyed peas seasoned with sesame seed oil and butter.

Easy black-eyed peas seasoned with sesame seed oil and butter.

Your lucky pot of peas 2.0 Hacked – this post outlines a black-eyed pea hack that is easy and quick to make. It is  served warm and has a delicious and unexpected delicate flavor.

picture of A traditional pot of black-eyed peas with summer savory.

A traditional black-eyed peas recipe with smoked turkey and summer savory.

Get your lucky pot of peas simmering for the New Year – this post is all about that traditional pot of peas. But it gets a little help from summer savory, better known as the “bean” herb.

My hope for you

It’s going to be a bright and gleaming 2020 decade. Here’s hoping the new year brings you:

  • clarity in your purpose
  • sharpness in your thinking
  • acuity in your intentions and actions
  • range of sight for good health and meaningful relationships

Now  that’s 2020 vision.

Happy New Year my foodie friends.  May you cook fearlessly and eat well!