JAE and the Chocolate Factory

John Kelly Chocolates are simply the best.  Fair warning, it is hard to enjoy other chocolate after trying them.  They have a boutique in Santa Monica that is right near my bank, so I find myself there frequently for a treat.  They make great gifts by the box and I have  been the lucky recipient more than once.  The pieces are generous and that allows one to be very satisfying.  I was talking about how much I love them when I was in the store a few weeks ago and they suggested that I visit the factory.

The factory is on Hollywood and also has a boutique.  It is a bit off the beaten path and was originally only the factory.  They had so many people stopping by wanting to buy chocolate that they added the boutique.  They also ship nationally (you can order here) and are featured in a number of gourmet markets and fine hotels. You can search for a location near you here.

The Hollywood Boutique

The Cacao Bean

The process starts in a 150 pound kettle.  Each truffle fudge batch is 150 pounds. The truffle fudge is cooled and cut. The bottom and top are coated separately.  Then either a hand drawn letter or salt is added.  They use six different artisanal salts.  They were one of the first chocolatiers to use salt with chocolate in a major way.  They are included with not just caramels as you may have tried elsewhere.  The Peanut Butter with Himalayan Pink Salt is one of my absolute favorites. You can read more about the ingredients they use here.

The belt moves at a nice pace for all the handmade work.  It did make me think of the “I Love Lucy” episode which is noted in several fun posters. The staff of artisans all took  happy pride in their work.

It was such a treat to see the artisans at work.  My family was happy that I made a purchase in the boutique.

My outfit:

J. Crew Necklace

J. Crew Shirt

J. Crew Lookout High Rise Jeans similar here (on sale!) and here

J. Crew Paisley Gemma Flats

Hairnet issued by John Kelly

Enjoy some handmade truffle fudge chocolates today!



Out and About – Bondi Harvest

It has been a while since I did my first and only “Out and About” post.  I am only inspired  to post about places that are unique that I really love.  My previous “Out and About” post is here.  I happened upon Bondi Harvest through Instagram (this best source for finding things in cities you plan to visit and in this case, my own home town) and immediately wanted to share my find. Bondi Harvest is tucked away in a corner of Santa Monica in a parking lot among several production companies.

They are also known for their coffee which is Vittoria.  It is the largest coffee company in Australia and is in several restaurants in the US.  The story of Vittoria is an interesting three generation success story that you can read about here.

It has a great laid back Australian beach vibe that suits the healthy, but super yummy menu. It is very comfortable and serene.

Their shelf game is strong and includes Organic Vittoria coffee, tea by Art of Tea, spices and every surfer’s best friend Dr. Zog’s sex wax (which really reminded me of my high school days and the surf crowd).

They serve breakfast and lunch and are open Monday through Friday from 7 am to 4 pm with breakfast all day.  I opted for one of their tartines and a green smoothie.  The smoothies are not huge (and are also at a reasonable price) so they are perfect with a tartine.  The Sweet Halloumi was my tartine of choice.  It combined avocado toast with grilled halloumi cheese, pistachios and a touch of wild honey  I am always disappointed when places only have huge smoothies and you just want something a little extra with your smaller meal.  When I ordered, I considered the Peanut Butter Bomb, but was encouraged to get the On the Green as it would taste great and I would leave feeling healthy.  That was 100% correct.  The combination was perfect!


I left already thinking about my next visit and, in fact, came back the same day with my son to try the Peanut Butter Bomb.  He was fresh from camp and already in swimwear, so he fit right in with the decor.  He is always happy to help with blog post research when it involves trying new treats.  We both liked it, but I prefer the On the Green as it is packed with greens and still tastes amazing.IMG_8018

My visits to Bondi Harvest helped to satiate the wanderlust I mentioned last week in this post.  Australia is definitely on my travel list.  It was nice to see a different corner of Santa Monica and feel like I had a taste of Australia.  The sign on the fruit basket says it all.  It was real, healthy whole food that left me feeling great and was delicious.


Bondi Harvest
1814 Berkeley Street
Santa Monica, CA 90404

Here’s to eating  healthy whole foods that taste amazing and finding hidden gems in your own neighborhood!