breakfast

Little Next Door – Parisian Brunch

by Franklin on February 15, 2014

Find your passport, grab a plane, and fly over to Paris. Grab brunch at your local brasserie, and there is your European/French breakfast with freshly baked bread and all the classics. Instead, drive down 3rd Street near Crescent Heights and you will be at Little Next Door. The French inspired brasserie is spot on with the colors, cuisine and bakery selections. I enjoyed the food and Little Next Door is a great contender amongst the many breakfast spots in this area.

We started things off with a caramel latte. Doctors say, drink water in the morning to jump start your internal organs. Well, caffeine does the same, except really fast. Coffee Latte over water always! We missed the latte art, but this large cup of caramel latte was delicious. Not too sweet, the coffee flavor was pure and delightful. It was creamy, delicious, and all I could wish was to have had this last with our dessert.

We were treated with some delicious bread. One could only assume this was all made in house. It was light, airy and perfect with the olive oil and balsamic mix. The mixture was sweet, acidic, and was zesty from the herbs and garlic inside. I was glad there wasn’t a lot of bread that was served — that would have been bad.

The Croque Madame is almost the perfect breakfast. It is cheesy, has ham, and of course, a runny egg on top. The grilled ham in this one was really nice in quality. You could taste the freshness and the actual pork flavor came out. This open faced sandwich made with whole wheat bread was a covered in amazingly melted and toasted cheese. The combination with the simple vinaigrette salad was satisfying. The simplicity of this dish is what made me enjoy it.

Eggs Benedict is another one of those classic brunch menu items. We opted for the Wild Mushroom Eggs Benedict. I appreciated the lightness and delicate Hollandaise sauce. It usually is a bit on the sour side or rich with too much butter. Theirs was just a compliment to this dish. The mushrooms were the star — it had a good bite to it with an earthy flavor. The egg was poached perfectly, and the egg yolk was warm and running. I appreciated that the bread was toast with crust cut off instead of an English muffin. This made it easy to cut and eat with a fork. The side house green salad went well with this dish.

Of course, we had to finish things off with macarons. My favorite was the caramel, something the waiter picked out for us. The other 3 were total misses. I tried a bunch of macarons in my day, and these were just so-so. The inside was moist, but a little too moist, almost wet. The outside crust was nice, but the inside was a bit off. A good macaron has a nice firm outer crust, and the inside should be light, then dense as you chew. Their flavors were ok, but the texture was a bit off. I wish I had a chance to try some of their other pastries and baked goods.

Little Next Door does a good job in bringing France to 3rd Street. The decor is on point, and the food items are delicious. I could only imagine food in France to be only slightly better (maybe a little more than slightly). It was relaxing eating brunch outside, people watching and seeing the cars wiz by on the street. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but it is safe to say breakfast is king here.

Little Next Door on Urbanspoon

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Serendipity 3 is a famous stop for tourists in Las Vegas. Situated central to the Las Vegas strip, it sits just outside Caesar’s Palace. The colorful pink and whimsical design makes Serendipity 3 a fun place to eat. Known for their Golden Opulence Sundae, the $1000 dollar, word record holding as the most expensive dessert, the restaurant isn’t quite high end. The atmosphere is fun and casual. I remember going here when it first opened, and though the decor received an upgrade, the food and service seems to be stagnant. Nothing was out striking or extraordinary. It’s still a fun place to grab a bite and dessert in the form of a frozen hot chocolate. Popularized by the movie Serendipity, the NY base was where it all started.


The ABC burger seemed like the only legit burger here. ABC, meaning Avocado, Brie cheese, and caramelized onions made this burger what it is. The picture really makes it look small, but it was a bit larger than that. The amazing part was the blanket of melted brie over the top. It gave the burger a nice silky texture, as did the avocados as well. The caramelized onions gave a nice savory note, and everything worked perfectly together. They accidentally gave us regular fries instead of the sweet potatoes like we ordered. I liked their version of the sweet potato fries because of its sweetness. Each fry had a nice sugary crust.


We all come here for one thing only — that is their Frrrozen Hot Chocolate. It is a hot chocolate mix, mixed in with crushed ice and topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. It’s not really an ice cream, and isn’t overly sweet. The chocolate flavor shines in this bowl, and the pure cocoa is the star. If you are looking for a sugary indulgence of a dessert, this is not for you. If you like chocolate flavor, and like it cold, then this is perfect!

Serendipity 3 is an awesome place to be. The colorful wallpaper and interesting nick-nacks make it a fun destination. Close to the Bellagio Fountains, Caesars Palace, and anything central to Vegas, it’s easy to “stop by”. Honestly though, not everything was all fine and dandy. Some of the waiters were kind of sketchy. One waiter tried to serve us water from a table who didn’t want them. The burger bun was a bit on the dry side. And honestly, the restaurant keeps getting the interior/exterior changed — that could be a good thing or a bad thing. Fine tuning these things and maximizing this prime real estate could really help solidify this restaurant.

Serendipity 3 on Urbanspoon

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The best place to have breakfast is near the water. It is and has been a long time dream of mine to live near the water. I imagine waking up Saturday morning, walking or riding a bike with my family to our local cafe. The cafe wouldn’t necessarily over look the ocean, but it would be really close. The smell and the vibe of the ocean takes over and you have a relaxing breakfast. The cafe can’t be a Mecca either. No line. No hustle and bustle of waiters and patrons. Just a small cafe with no noise. After breakfast, a troll to the beach for a swim, and I am set. This to me is a perfect start to a Saturday morning. At Alta Coffee in Newport Beach, this dream felt close enough to reality.

I ordered the Bueno Bowl. It had layers with tortilla chips, black beans, potatoes, bacon, cheese, and scrambled egg. It was topped with salsa, and avocado and sour cream. This dish reminded me of Kamil’s Breakfast at Blu Jam Cafe, minus the pasta. The Mexican inspired bowl of breakfast items was a good balance of carb and protein. The bacon did a good job of flavoring everything, and the avocado did its job of bringing everything together. This was perfect with the help of their hot sauce, Gringo hot sauce. Surprisingly, it was a good mix of spices and had the right amount of tang. Props to the Gringo!

To keep up with the Hispanic theme, I ordered the South of the Border Omelette. The addition Ortega chilies, hominy, and jack / cheddar was an interesting mix. Garnished with salsa, sour cream and avocado to finish it off, the omelette was delicious and seemed healthier than most. The best part of this dish was the homemade toast with strawberry jam. Something about homemade bread is so comforting.

We finished things off with a dessert drink — toffee latte. Topped with whipped cream, chocolate, and toffee bits, the drink was sweet and hit the spot. The toffee bits were my favorite — I am sucker for anything that resembles caramel. The drink came in a mug that I would find at my own home. That kind of charm and character is hard to find nowadays.

Alta Coffee is just like in my dream. It is near the water, they serve awesome breakfast and great lattes. The weather was perfect, as was the food and service. I just felt like at home here. Too bad I had to get in my car, and drive really far to go home though. I guess the dream of waking up, walking toward the water and finding myself having the “regular” is a dream. The future is still far away — it’ll happen.

Alta Coffee & Roasting on Urbanspoon

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When it comes to Filipino food, there isn’t much selection in Los Angeles. Though more than most cities, my go to Filipino restaurants are slim to none. You have Max’s, though very much a chain, still produce pretty good fried chicken and traditional dishes. One little gem I found in Hollywood is LA Rose Cafe. It is a not so small, not so big Filipino restaurant that doesn’t look like one on the inside or outside. The name hints a small breakfast joint, and the inside looks somewhat like a hotel lobby. The food though, was classic and hit the spot.

To me, tocino and garlic fried rice is comfort food. Though I didn’t grow up in a Filipino home, I still had meat and rice almost daily. The sweet caramelized port goes so well with the garlic rice. The tomato and onion vinegar slaw helped cut down the richness of the pork so perfectly. I just wish it had eggplant in it as well. The egg, mixed in with the rice was a perfect “breakfast” component. This was classically prepared and oh so delicious.

For our “lunch” portion, I had the classic pork adobo. I remember as child, my grandpa would make this whole vat of chopped up pork bits, simmering in a bath of soy sauce and sugar. The end result was a seemingly endless amount of pork and rice. This dish was just like that. The pork wasn’t dry at all form the long cooking process. It kinda just pulled away from each other. It seemed like it was missing something. This dish did need a Korean element — kimchi.

As a treat, we finished off with their bread pudding. This was an impressive and delicious bread pudding to say the least. It was perfect! Soft custard inside, nice crisp crust outside, caramel all over, and strawberries on top – scrumptious. Did I also mention, no raisins FTW! With each bite, I made sure to have some caramel on it. Instead of having whipped cream as the “lube”, it sat on top of a pool of pudding/custard. It was all so sweet and wonderful.

LA Rose Cafe was affordable, and the experience was just pleasant. The servers were so nice and friendly and I just felt comfortable. The decor and design of it all needed a little updating, but I think it gave it a nice charm. I am a sucker for meat and rice, and LA Rose Cafe gave me what I wanted.

LA Rose Cafe on Urbanspoon

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Peppermill Restaurant is amazing and it’s such a unique place. One section of the restaurant is a lounge, called the Fireside lounge. Inside is a bar and seating area for drinks and food. In the middle sits a fire pool where guests can gather and sit around. Neon lights are everywhere. On the main dining area side, you have a typical diner that is flashy and designed to the maximum. The neon lights are a bit toned down and the natural light is able to come in. Waitresses in a skirts a little too short come around in diner style uniforms. The whole experience was quite special.

As we were waiting for our table, we decided to hang out at the Fireside Lounge. Sitting in front of a fire and bubbling pool of water, we enjoyed a nice cup of hot cocoa. Not only was it relaxing, but the neon lights and fire water craziness was kind of trippy. With lights and mirrors everywhere, you get a bit lost in this place.

Not only is the diner aesthetically spectacular, but the food is great too. The one thing everyone mentions about Peppermill is the portions. Never have I ever complained about having too much food, but really, Peppermill over does it on the food. I mean, one dish can probably feed up to 3 hungry girls, or just 1 Frank. I wasn’t able to finish my food, and I was full to the maximum. Nobody has ever eaten here and said, “Hmm, I’m still a little hungry. Who wants dessert?” That is crazy talk. I have never seen portions this big! I guess that is what the Peppermill is all about — good diner style food with huge portions.

I ordered the Maserati omelet. Maserati being an Italian car company, this omelet was done Italian style. Filled with sausage, jack and cheddar cheese, mushrooms, and Italian meat sauce the omelet had a lot of flavor. I never thought of putting meat sauce on a omelet, but it made sense. The mushrooms were hearty and the sausage and meat sauce made this full of protein. If that wasn’t enough protein, this omelet packs it in with 10 eggs. Yeah. This omelet was made with 10 eggs. 3 eggs is enough for an omelet — 4 or 5 eggs is a lot — this one had TEN! Even so, this omelet wasn’t “eggy.” The jack and cheddar cheese melted nicely, but the sprinkled of parmesan cheese made this Italian to the max. It was hearty and after a few bites, I was tired of it. It was just a lot of food. Just to add to the madness of a lot of food, there was a huge heap of hash browns on the side. Unfortunately, they were good — crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. A perfect mix of ketchup and Tabasco made them even better. Oh what a breakfast.

To add to the gorge fest was the Southern Fried Steak and Eggs. I had to get the southern fried steak — we were in a diner after all. The steak was fork tender and I didn’t need a knife. The breading was perfect and crunchy, but the country sausage gravy was a bit tiring. I jazzed it up with some more Tabasco. And yes, I put some on the hash browns and eggs as well. This was a lot of food, almost to a point where it was sickening. A lot of fruit and vegetables is one thing, but a lot of starchy potatoes with a lot of fried beef lathered with much too rich country sausage gravy was just horrifying. I packed all the food in a to go box and left.

This place is for the hungry — really hungry. Actually, the really hungry still won’t finish this stuff. Only athletes and swimmers like Michael Phelps will finish these meals. Definitely over 2000 calories, (> 3000?) these meals are definitely meant to be shared. Though the food was memorable, only because of the size, it was still a fun experience. The lounge was relaxing and different, and the dining area was fun to be a part of. And of course, it was crazy to see all of these oversized plates with mounds and mounds of food. Peppermill is open 24-7, so you can enjoy this place any time. I’m pretty sure the crowd is different at night and might consider it next time.

Peppermill Cafe & Lounge on Urbanspoon

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