Monthly Archives: January 2012

Jared Levan / Veggies For Dessert

By Contributing Food Editor Jared Levan

Dear Dessert Loverz,

Something tells me that more than handful of you would be down-right frightened if you were ever served crudités for dessert whilst dining out and about. And while that tray of celery and carrots may not an ideal dessert make, it’s actually not that far from something delicious (not to mention sweet). That’s right, I’m talking about desserts that call for vegetables and this past week at In Food We Trust, we’ve been sharing our favorite veggie-laden recipes for all to taste.

Why vegetables you may ask? Well, in most recipes, a dash–in some cases a dollop–of veggies can add some much-desired moisture…which is the secret ingredient when it comes to baked goods. Avocados can be added for creaminess, beets can be added for sweetness (not to mention color). Black beans can even been added to brownies for added decadence and fudgy texture. When it comes to veggies in the dessert, the possibilities are virtually endless.

Vanilla-Zucchini Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting: When my friend Kira heard I was doing a series on veggies for dessert, she said that these cupcakes were a must. After trying them, I totally agree. They’re pretty awesome.

Aunt Mable’s Zucchini Cookies: We had to kind of/sort of/maybe twist a friends arm to get his Aunt Mable’s recipe down on paper…but he eventually caved.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Fresh Lime Icing: This one’s a family recipe, passed down from my grandmother…it’s one of my favorites. Now I’m strangely (or not so strangely) addicted to lime icing.

Can’t Beet Red Velvet Cupcakes with Roux Frosting: No, it’s not a mistake–this recipe truly calls for balsamic vinegar and beet puree. You know you want to try it.

I hope these gratuitous pictures and delightful recipes have inspired you to start including vegetables in each and every dish you make. If not I’ll tell your doctor that you’re not eating your veggies. And then you’ll be sorry.


Jared Levan


Filed under Style

Diesel, I Will Always Love You Even Though You Ripped Off Levi’s

Dear People Who Grew Up In A Normal Place,

You know, often when people ask me what it was like growing up in a National Park (Yosemite), they say things like “Were you raised by wolves? Did you live in a teepee? Are your parents forest rangers?” Unfortunately, the answers to those questions are “No,” “Kind of,” and “Almost.” I did, however, grow up in a “rustic”  cabin in the middle of the woods right next to a huge waterfall. And you’d probably imagine I was running around wearing overalls whilst biting on a piece of straw all the time. That’s not totally true (although I do admit that I was one of the filthiest children that ever existed). When I was in high school, and a terrible human being, I turned into a huge label snob and started buying expensive clothing to wear to my rural high school. In Yosemite, kids start working summers when they’re 14, so we all had spending money all the time and, naturally, I wasted mine on ridiculously overpriced clothes (Sidenote: there was no H&M or Zara at that time, so there was literally nothing cool for guys to wear because everything from J. Crew fit like a sleeping bag).

My favorite brand in high school was Diesel. I loved everything about it. The advertising, the modern, Euro-inspired tailoring of the shirts, and the playful sophistication of the entire lifestyle they were selling. Looking back on it, I must have looked completely ridiculous showing up to my high school (which is in an economically depressed rural town 50 miles away from Yosemite) wearing what I wore. But what is high school for but to look totally ridiculous, right?

I remained a cheesy clothing snob (favorite brands: Diesel, Dolce & Gabbana, and Prada) until I graduated college and started fully supporting myself. Then I never bought anything expensive ever again. That’s not true completely. I splurge every now and then but my main sources of clothing these days are Levi’s, H&M, Zara, and Target (Yes, I admit it, and I’m not ashamed… They have really good t-shirts!). When I was in high school most clothing for guys was lame and the only good stuff was expensive. Now you can find tons of really innovative clothing for, like, zero dollars so it doesn’t make sense to spend tons of money.

That being said, I’ll always have a special place in my heart for Diesel because it was my first foray into really thinking about fashion and taking it seriously. I still love going into the store because I always find something I want, but these days I find myself attracted to more humble brands, both for practical reasons and because I no longer see why I should spend $300 on a shirt that I could find for $50.

Diesel’s latest campaign is work-inspired and casual. Which I like except Levi’s did it two years ago. Here is the runway show of Diesel Spring/Summer 2012:

Below are a few of my favorite looks from the collection.

I’m really into these semi-Hammer pants, but they never look good on me and make me feel, like, totally diapery.

This is a super cute outfit but the fit is horrible. That skinny model looks like he ate too many Christmas cookies.

This look is flat-out cute. I’ll take the hat, the t-shirt, and the cardigan. And the boy.

Sweater: LOVE. Faux-distressed jeans: HATE.

I like that shirt so much I want to put it in a picture frame and stare at it forever.

These are some ads from the Levi’s “Work” campaign a few years ago. I’m not saying that a denim company can never do the whole “we are workers” thing again, I’m just saying maybe they should wait a while before directly copying the Depression-era working-class aesthetic of one of the most famous clothing brands in the world.

I love this ad so much. It’s so pretty and enthralling.

And finally, for good measure, I found this Brad Pitt Levi’s ad randomly when I was researching the other videos. It has, like, nothing to do with anything but it’s Brad Pitt in the most uberglamourous 90z commercial you’ve ever seen.

You’re welcome.



Filed under Style

The Rose Bowl: My Heart Will Go On And On!

Dear Kate Winslet,

Remember that scene in Titanic where you and Leonardo Dicaprio are so cold that you look like this?

Yeah, me neither. It’s been ages since I saw that movie. But the above picture describes perfectly how cold Emily and I were when we showed up to Rose Bowl on Sunday at 5:45 AM. I was pretty much wearing a speedo and a backpack and my teeth were chattering (I think I need to hire someone to dress me in the morning, I’m a total idiot). Emily was dressed more sensibly, but by the end of the morning neither of us could feel our feet. I tell you this not to make you feel sorry for us, but to let  you know how very dedicated we are at beating people to the best deals at the Bowl. We love our clients enough to freeze to death in order to find furniture for them.

We liked this chesterfield for $800. Emily was all “It’s real leather!” and then I was like “No it isn’t.” and then she was like “You ruin everything.” And that was that.

Emily practically started making out with this sofa when she saw it. It’s freshly reupholstered velvet that you just want to stick your whole face in. $750. A steal! We didn’t buy it because we didn’t have a client for it and Emily’s blue sofa collection is getting out of hand. (I’m scared).

If Brian ever asks me what he can do to keep Emily interested, I’m going to tell him to dress up in a wicker costume. I mean, every time that girl sees something wicker she’s all over it. I like wicker too, but I think wicker is a lot harder for dudes to get away with so I tend to run the other way when I see it. This was $300. I had to pull Emily away from it, kicking and screaming.

This was one of those moments when you’re like “Is this cool? Or ugly?” And then you blink and when you open your eyes you realize it’s hideous and feel ashamed for looking at it in the first place. God, why am I so mean today? I think it’s my OrlanDiet. I’M SO HUNGRY!

We bought this delightful table for our equally delightful client. $695.

Who doesn’t love a worn leather suitcase? $20.

Get this: 90 yards of fabric for $90. That’s a dollar a yard! Trust me, I was a math major. (No I wasn’t). And it’s so cool. I hope there’s some left over for me to make Hammer Pants out of.

Little brass table, come to me. $30.

Hi Woven Chair, I just love those turned arms! $75.

Those Kilim pillows are killin’ em! $40/set of 2.

We wanted to buy this coffee table for our friend Corbett but instead we bought it for our other friend Rachna. $300.

We purchased this suave guy for a bachelor pad we’re doing. $135.

These French friends are going to be king chairs at another home we’re decorating. $90/set 2.

Look at these little brass antelope bookends! $40.

We bought this classic dresser for our bachelor pad. I kind of coveted it, but I already have a dresser and it would be rude to steal from our clients. Right? $400.

Dear World, I’m a brass-legged side table and I’m the cutest thing ever. Love, Brass Side Table

We bought these two mid-century chairs for a project we like to call “The Cool House” (because the clients are so cool). We thought the retro fabric on the left might scare the homeowners. So if they don’t want it I’m taking it home. I’ll name him Harold and he will be my new boyfriend. We’ll argue about how he’s such an old fuddy duddy and can’t keep up with the times. Eventually, he’ll undergo a massive surgery so that I will love him again. I’m scared that I just made that story up. The pair cost $600.

Do you think it’s okay for a boy to have one of these crazy big round loungers? Because I really want one. This one was pretty rad. Emily was all “I love the pattern!” and then I was like “EWWWWWWW! That COLOR!” and she was like “I’m not talking about the stupid color I’m talking about the pattern!” and then we were fighting and then we made up and then we hugged. $300.

We bought this ugly old vinyl ottoman for $60. But guess what, this ugly old vinyl ottoman is going to be reupholstered in sumptuous linen and is going to be the most glamourous coffee table ottoman ever known to man. So there.

We thought this dresser was cute. But it was an actual piece of junk so we passed. Literally falling apart before our eyes. $125.

I don’t know why I took a picture of this. Probably because it was so disgusting. Reupholstered they’d be totally cute Hollywood glam, but who let their cat EAT these things? I mean, just imagining what happened to them is giving me nightmares. $300/pair.

We found these fun French jugs. They’re big, and weren’t cheap. Sometimes you gotta pay the price. $160/set 3.

All in all, it was the most fulfilling day of our lives. Once the sun came up, the freezing weather subsided and was replaced by warmth, fun, and about five million people eating hot dogs right in front of my face. Afterward, Emily, Corbett and I went to Secret Lunch (at a location SO secret, no one will ever find it) and talked about how we’d remember our day at the Rose Bowl forever, and would someday tell this legend to our grandchildren and their grandchildren. No we didn’t. We talked about boys can clothes and the mall. We’re only human.



Filed under Decor, Style

I Am A Teenage Girl From Japan Who Likes Weird Things

Dear Diary,

Like many teenage girls in Japan, I love all things graphic, bright, and cartoony. Yesterday, I went on a crazy shopping spree at Target and was reminded how much I like cartoon-inspired objects. In particular, I was struck by a mug in the shape of a whale (which happened to be in my favorite color aqua). It titillated me because I find it both revolting and completely necessary. At first I thought it was too cheesy and disgusting to buy, but then I thought to myself that if I saw it at Cerealart, I’d totally want it. This mug cost me $3.99 and it was worth every penny. I liked it so much I bought one for myself and one for a new friend (who threw it in the garbage as soon as I left her apartment. Probably). Can you imagine not being filled with joy whilst drinking from this ridiculous mug?

Target has some other weird/cute stuff right now, including this cookie jar. That mama elephant looks like she’s about to eat her baby.

This candy jar terrifies me. Thus, I want it.

I’m a fan of Takashi Murakami and Yoshitomo Nara, which probably explains why I like these weird, subversive cartoony objects so much. In fact, I have both these Nara pieces in my apartment:

Cute Clock.

Cute puppy in a teacup.

If you aren’t familiar with Cerealart, you should check them out. They sell all sorts of glamourous artist editions and a ton of fun objects (including those below) made by artists whose actual work is too expensive for, like, anyone to afford.

I like this adorable brass tooth by David Shrigley.

Also, I need this sign by Maurizio Cattelan:

Keith Haring coasters. Gimme.

If I smoked I’d totally want this ashtray by Yoshitomo Nara.

I guess the moral of the story is that I love weird cartoony objects. And so should you.



Filed under Decor, Style

Hommemaker Jared / Hommemade Meatballs + Brussels Sprout Arrabiata

By Contributing Food Editor Jared Levan

Dear Meatballerz,

Winter is the best season to enjoy a nice juicy meatball and some delicious brussels sprouts. Unless of course you’re a vegan (in which case avoid the meatballs). If I could eat brussels sprouts every day, I totally would. So I’ve put together these wonderful recipes for you to enjoy over the weekend. Or whenever you want. It’s up to you!

Homemade Meatballs

Recipe created by Jared Levan

1 Lb. Ground beef tips
1 Clove fresh garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh oregano, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. pork fat, rendered & chilled
1 Cup small bread cubes
1 Large egg
½ Cup half & half or whole milk
1 Tbsp olive oil
Sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper

Combine bread cubes and milk (or cream) in a small bowl and set aside, allowing the bread to absorb all liquid. In a separate large mixing bowl, combine ground beef, garlic, salt, pepper and oregano. Working with your hands, thoroughly mix all ingredients.

Add chilled pork fat, breaking into small pieces to incorporate. Add egg and mix until the mixture comes together. Add reserved soaked bread cubes and lightly mix with hands until just incorporated. Roll into 2-inch round meatballs (makes ~10).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in medium frying pan and brown the sides of the meatballs over high heat. Transfer meatballs to oven and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Brussels Sprout Arrabiata

Mmm, brussel sprouts.

Recipe created by Jared Levan

1 Lb. fresh brussels sprouts, cleaned and sliced lengthwise
1 Can (28 oz.) whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes, chopped + juice
½ Medium Spanish (yellow) onion, chopped
2 Cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. fresh oregano, finely chopped
1-2 Tbsp. tomato paste (not canned!)
1 Tbsp. anchovy paste or oil-packed anchovies, finely chopped
1 ½-3 Tbsp. red chili flakes
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. sugar
Sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper

Toss brussels sprouts and ½ of the olive oil in an oven-safe baking dish and place under hot broiler, tossing occasionally until lightly charred and crispy. Remove from oven and reserve.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a sauce pan over high heat. Saute onions until translucent. Add minced garlic and saute for 1 minute then add tomatoes and juice. Season with salt, pepper and chopped oregano. Reduce to medium-low heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, covered. Stir occasionally.

Add reserved sprouts, chili flakes, tomato paste, anchovy, balsamic vinegar and sugar. Stir and simmer for an additional 20-30 minutes on low heat, covered. Place into a serving bowl and serve warm.


Jared Levan

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Filed under Style

I’m Seriously Sweating These Seven Sweaters

Sweaters Can Help You Achieve That Youthful Aloof Look

Dear Los Angeles,

How do I love thee, let me count the ways… Except I have a bone to pick with you. Why is it 85 degrees in January? Here I am sweating in my apartment, trying to come up with design plans and all I want to do is wear a sweater and maybe see a raindrop or two. I know this whining is probably totally annoying to anyone reading this in a cold place, sitting in front of their computers shivering like the Little Match Girl, but I really wouldn’t mind a few more months of wintry weather before pool party season. My fantasizing about sweaters has led me to some online shopping. And here is what I found.

This sweater reminds me of one my mom knitted for my dad in the 70s. Totally classic and comfy looking. Topman, $84.

This one has the same vibe, but in tasty navy. Levis, $100 (on sale).

This is also from Levi’s, which is maybe my favorite clothing company in the whole world. I’m loving the festive snowflakes, wishing I could see some snow soon… $100 (also on sale).

This is a totally dorky picture, but don’t you love that color? I do. Ralph Lauren, $410 (on sale from $895, what a bargain, right. Not).

I love this Native American-inspired pattern on the sweater. Those 90z Abercrombie & Fitch pants? Not so much (Sidenote: a friend of mine recently outlawed us all from tucking our pants into our boots. Thoughts? I’m agnostic on the issue). Ralph Lauren, $185.

I love how white, tidy, and perfect this one is. And the sweater isn’t bad either. Ralph Lauren, $265.

Because the Ralph Lauren sweaters were giving me sticker shock, I had to end with something a little more attainable. I love myself a hoodie. And this one is knitted, which makes it even more luxurious. H&M, $35.

If you’re looking for me you’ll find me in my apartment, fantasizing about sweaters, sweater weather, and hommes in sweaters. Because there really is nothing more glamourous in the whole world. Sigh.



Filed under Style

Around The Apartment

Dear Apartment,

I’m enjoying you these days after I spent a full 24 hours cleaning you like a crazy person (think Annette Benning in that crazy cleaning scene in “American Beauty” or the crazy mom vacuuming in “Requiem For A Dream). You got really dirty over the last month of New York travel, holiday hoopla, and work craziness. Below are a few of my favorite spots in my apartment.

My very favorite place is my bed. Because it’s so comfortable and cozy. This is the view I see every morning. The palm tree outside my window is named “Henry” and he greets me every morning. Just kidding I’m not weird enough to have named my palm tree. Or am I? Either way I love him very much.

This is my dining room. My favorite thing in there is the chairs. Luckily I can stare right at them through the glass dining table.

This is a weird painting in my bathroom. It’s from a series of paintings I made where the subject is falling (or floating, you decide!). Coincidentally, this is what I want my body to look like after my January diet (it’s called “OrlanDiet,” expect and annoying post about it soon).

One time, I went crazy and bought tons of airplants. Now they are all over my apartment and boy are the thirsty. They, like, always want something to drink and are exhausting to take care of. Especially in California where humidity doesn’t exist.

This is my bathroom. I have this fantasy where there is so much art in my apartment that one night it smothers me in my sleep.

This is a little table in my bedroom. It belonged to my great grandmother and has been all over the place with me. The architectural drawing above it is one of my favorite things in the whole world.

This is in my dressing area. I think I want to paint this whole area a dark dramatic color, I just can’t decide what. Maybe peacock blue.

So yeah, that’s what I’ve been staring at around the house. Many improvements to be made so stay tuned.



Filed under Decor

Shopping With Emily: Get Your Hand Off My Brass!

Dear Emily,

Well it certainly was a fun and exciting holiday season this year. It was the best of times, it was the best of time, but thank goodness it’s over. I mean, REALLY. We have so much to do it’s not even funny. And by “so much to do” I mean so much to buy.

One of our clients is really into gold and brass. In fact, Emily and I spent three days in her house going crazy with gold accessories, gold spray paint, and gold leafing. I have a secret desire to paint every single thing in my apartment gold (down to my toothbrush). It’s an addiction. Spray painting something gold makes it automatically more exciting. Try it. If your husband is sitting next to you, paint him gold and watch how sexy he becomes (yum!). It’s just a scientific fact that gold things are way more attractive than non-gold things. I need to calm down. But I can’t.

Ok, so I found this cute little brass lamp at Wertz Brothers (one of our fave resources for vintage furniture). Nothing too special but a good deal at $49 because they’re usually around $250 if they’re good. And they look very handsome next to a reading chair. Just like me.

I can’t tell what I think of this one. I think it’s either disgusting or awesome, which probably means it’s cool beyond comprehension. It’s also $29. Whut-WHUT?

I liked this for one of our clients who needs a new filing cabinet. It’s totally functional even though it has so much age and character to it. Like your mom. $195.

Trunks are kind of like benches, you can never have too many of them because they fill awkward empty spaces so nicely and are a nice place to put thing (like tea kettles and copies of your various restraining orders). $199.

There were a few cute mid-century desks. I like this one but not as much as another one below.

I like these turned legs. I feel like this would be a cute desk for a lady if it were spray lacquered white. $499.

This was the desk I liked. The asymmetry really says something to me. It says, “Hey Orlando! I’m me, and even though I’m not symmetrical, I’m a delight! Come sit and write The Great American Novel!” $499.

I never knew I had a thing for drums, but apparently I do. This one is humongo. 3′ wide. Well I guess that doesn’t sound so humongous. But, it’s pretty big for a drum. I kind of want it was a coffee table or a large side table. $349.

Pretty classic chrome nesting tables. $199.

I feel like this disgusting sofa would be totallyhot reupholstered. And [GASP!] it has brass legs! $399.

This chaise is ugly and looks like a whale, but if we took off the skirt and made the cushion slightly less inflated, it would be good for our French country client. That plumpness of the cushion reminds me of how I felt after Christmas dinner and for most of my teens. Blub. $795.

This DISGUSTING find is from Goodwill. It was $99. But get this, it’s a sleeper! And guess who has been looking for a sleeper for, like, ever? ME! So I’m the proud new owner of a revolting sofa! I literally made barfing noises for three minutes when I saw it because it was so dirty and disgusting. But don’t worry, it’s at the upholsterer right now getting new foam, new down filling, a new mattress, and then being covered in uberglamorous peacock blue velvet. Purr!

This is from Ikea. $299 and not bad, right?

How cute is this wicker chair from Ikea? Emily is much more of a wicker hoarder than me, but even I think this is cool. And it’s new, ready made, and $119. 

This is also from Ikea. Another sleeper.  The secret about most sleepers is that they are totally ugly and gross, so when you find one that’s not bad it’s kind of exciting. We’ve been looking all over and they’re either 5 million dollars or they look like gargoyles inside of the Michelin Man inside of a hot air balloon. Uglez McGee. This one is $849.

This we found on Craigslist for a happy client. $500, super comfy.

I’m kind of obsessed with these chairs from CB2. I want them to go with my new sofabed. They’re kinda steep for CB2 ($399), but they’re way sturdier than most versions of this chair and the leather is a good color. Gimme.

I think this CB2 pendant is cute too. $249.

And I can’t tell if I love this one or if I just love that it’s brass. $179.

And finally, both of us liked this white sconce from West Elm. It’s cute and basic. Why not!?! And it’s $79. HOW?

So yeah, that’s what we’ve been shopping for. Pretty exciting, huh? Everybody calm down!



Filed under Decor