breakfast

The Original Pantry Cafe – Breakfast, Done

by Franklin on September 3, 2014

I’ll make this short and simple. I will try to do this blog post a little differently — It will all be pictures less the words. The Original Pantry has been feeding Los Angeles for a long time now. Joining the likes of Downtown eateries Philippe and Cole’s, they are a landmark. The food is plenty and delicious and the diner is always busy. It is cash only. Enjoy the pictures.

Country Potatoes and Eggs.

Cheese Omelet and Potatoes

Pancakes

Plate of Bacon

I came here on the morning of my birthday. My breakfast literally kept me full until dinner time. I started the day right. Heck, I started the year right. Maybe I’ll make this a birthday tradition.

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While this blog post goes live, I’ll probably be in Hawaii for work. I know work and Hawaii don’t really go hand in hand, but trust me, I’ll be working. It will be my first time in Hawaii, so Hawaiian food to me would be the same here or there. I would assume an authentic Hawaiian restaurant would be exactly like Rutt’s Hawaiian. I walked in here, and the vibe was totally old school Hawaiian. Literally everyone there was a local. Then another guy came in for s pick up order and it seemed like he was a regular. I knew we were in for a Hawaiian treat.

The Kalua pork with egg was quite delicious. The eggs were just regular — nothing really special here. The Kalua pork though was exceptional. It was salty, but not too salty. The pork wasn’t dry or overly seasoned. The pork flavor was present and the mixture of fat and lean meat was perfect. This beats any carnitas or pulled pork that is out there.

The royals fried rice was quite nice as well. I am a fried rice lover, and anything mixed with rice is always delicious and convenient. This fried rice wasn’t just all rice with bits and pieces of the good stuff. It had plenty of char sui, Portuguese sausage, eggs, and sprouts. The addition of the green onions gave it a nice savory taste and evened out all of the fatty flavors. This was really a plate of comfort.

The Kalua pork was awesome, the Royale was comforting, but this French toast was something else. There are some crappy French toasts out there, and there are some decent once. This French toast is literally the best in Los Angeles. The bread they use is Hawaiian bread — fitting and genius. This made for a very pillowy bite. Dipping it in some Aunt Jemima, this was equally comforting and delicious. Seriously. Put this on your to do list. In hopes of not overhyping this simple French toast, I will have to try it again soon.

What’s up with Hawaiian food and why is it so comforting for me? Am I part Hawaiian? Some people look at me and always ask me if I am from Hawaii. Maybe I need to have a serious conversation with my mom and really figure out where I’m from. I think it isn’t just me. Something about Hawaiian food is so simple and comforting. Rutt’s really surprised me with their down to earth offerings of classic Hawaiian fare. Trust me when I say I’ll be back for that Kalua pork and French toast.

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The Egg and I – Fuel for the Morning

by Franklin on July 5, 2014

My last trip to Vegas was filled with cheap eats and golf. I think I’ve found the cheapest and tastiest breakfast spot in Las Vegas. Granted, it is way off the strip, but the price can’t be beat, and the breakfast here was exactly what I was looking for. The Egg and I had a diner feel, something that oozes good breakfast food. Most of the items fell under 10 bucks, and it came with a lot of food. This was exactly what we needed to fuel our full round of golf.

I had the Catherine’s Scramble. It had four eggs scrambled with sliced chicken, mushrooms, spinach, feta cheese,
and artichoke hearts. The eggs were ok — something I can make at home. In hind sight, I should have ordered something else. Nonetheless, the scramble was delicious and cheesy. A little dash of their hot sauce and we were in business. With a side of their heavenly buttered rye bread, I was just munchin’ away.

I had a bite of their Eggs Benedict, something a buddy of mine always seems to order. The eggs were nicely cooked and the hollandaise was tasty. What sets this breakfast spot apart from the rest was their ranch potatoes. Cubed up and crispy from frying, the potatoes were like little cubes of French fries. The seasons on these I thing were addicting — a little salty, but good with the somewhat bland eggs. Maybe these are made with ranch seasoning mix? Whatever it was, it was delicious.

The banana nut bread French toast was a huge disappointment. A lover of all things French Toast, this one was much too dense and heavy. A good French toast should haves nice light crust on. The outside and a nice custards mixture on the inside. The banana nut bread is a poor choice for French toast. It was basically just 4 slices of banana nut bread that was cooked over the flat top. Not the restaurant’s fault at all — should have just went with the classic pancake or regular French toast.

Learn from my mistake. Do order something more complex than a scramble, and stay away from the cake/muffin style French toasts. Do get their ranch potatoes. It will make your morning. The Egg and I is a good spot for casual breakfast on the cheap. Our next mission is to get them closer to the strip.

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Come to think of it, it’s been a while since I’ve been to Vegas. Saving up for a wedding and paying off student loans isn’t something one should take lightly. As for me, my trips to Vegas have been somewhat not as frequent. Fortunately, I have my blog to remind me of the wonderful places I ate at. One my latest trip out, I visited the Encore and fell in love with the property. Before, I assumed it was exactly these me as the Wynn, but it was quieter and definitely more my style. For a nice brunch, I found Society Cafe. The menu and price was that of a cafe (affordable), but the inside decor was impressive and elegant.

We started off with Pretzel bread sticks with mustard butter. These were perfect as starters. The pretzel had a tough skin and a soft inside. The mustard butter was and is an amazing invention. Fatty butter mixed with the acidic mustard was a perfect condiment for the pretzels. The salty, soft, and mustardy treat was a nice start.

We came here for the ultimate steak and eggs sliders. Though we came at the cusp of breakfast ending and lunch starting, the chef graciously prepared this for us. The bacon cheddar muffin hosted filet mignon, scrambled eggs, and creamed spinach. This really was a treat. I was thinking the steak would be too tough for the delicate ingredients inside, causing everything to spill out. The eggs and spinach was such a nice combination, but the filet minion was soft as can be. It was a very elegant, yet comforting kind of breakfast sandwich.

The Mac N Cheese Bites were quite an indulgence. The Mac and cheese bite by themselves were quite perfect themselves — cheesy and crispy. The truffle dipping sauce just created an explosion of flavors and even more creaminess. This was addicting and probably the mot memorable thing at Society Cafe.

We ended things with the frosted flake french toast. Topped with caramelized bananas and whipped cream, this cinnamon heavy, buttery French toast was such a perfect ending. The little nuggets of frosted flakes created such a crunch. It soaked up all that butter and syrup — a perfect combination of sweet, crunchy, custardy goodness.

I liked Encore’s Society Cafe. The ambiance was nice a chic — it’s definitely an upscale breakfast/brunch dining experience. From the appetizer pretzel bread sticks to the comfort food made classy cuisine, this place has my vote. It doesn’t hurt that it’s at one of my favorite properties on the trip as well. Brunch didn’t get any better on the strip.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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I always wanted to give Blu Jam Cafe a try. I always see massive lines outside on the weekends and heard so much about their breakfasts. As you may already know, breakfast on the weekends is my favorite. It gives a great feeling and gets you through the day of whatever fun things you have planned on Saturday or Sunday. It just wakes you up. Finally eating at Blu Jam Cafe on Melrose, I got exactly what I expected. The food was down to earth and the ambiance was friendly and comforting.

I am a sucker for eggs Benedict. It is probably because of the runny egg yolk. Scratch that — I am a sucker for runny egg yolks, and what better dish to have it that eggs Benedict. The Blu Jam Benedict had poached egg on a toasted English muffin. Amidst all that was black forest ham and crispy bacon. Drizzled with a heaping portion of the tastiest hollandaise, this dish was nearly perfect. The side of potatoes were great with the hollandaise. Everything was just creamy and delicious.

Owner, chef, and sommelier Kamil Majer has something special on the menu. It is her breakfast! Kamil’s breakfast is a pasta style breakfast bowl — It had pan roasted macaroni scrambled with eggs, smoked bacon, ham, garlic, chives, and topped with cheddar. The blend of ingredients was perfectly balanced. The flavors were just hearty and comforting. After a few bites, it got a bit boring — I added a dash of hot sauce to keep it interesting. Maybe adding some tomatoes would have livened it a up a bit. On top maybe some sour cream? Maybe I am just making this into a breakfast nacho bowl aren’t I? Anyways, the bowl is jam packed with ingredients. Just remember the hot sauce.

In a word, Blue Jam Cafe is awesome. The food is so down to earth and it has just enough class to be comfortable. Think of The Griddle Cafe with less “traffic” and more room for your elbows, and of course, smaller portions. Breakfast is such an important part of the day, especially on the weekends. Blu Jam Cafe has the right food and the right ambiance to keep me happy and satisfied throughout the day. Usually packed for breakfast, I can only imagine how it is for lunch and dinner — the latter two would definitely be part of the agenda for the future. Until then, breakfast is always king.

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Nate’s Korner is small, hidden, and though closer to Irvine than anything, it is in Santa Ana. It’s in the middle of nowhere, and that is what I like about it. It all started with Qwik Korner, a nice little convenience store. They then ventured out next door and made Nate’s Korner. Popular for their breakfast sandwiches and burritos, I was excited to try it. Entering the small establishment, I ordered my sandwich and burrito and went next door. There, I bought some drinks and snacks, and I was on my way.

The sandwich was impressive. The bread was soft and cut thick. It had a crusty, but not too hard crust, and the white was soft as clouds. The ham was fresh and and the egg was cooked nicely. The melted cheese was gooey and coated the eggs nicely. I know. I can whip this up at home in 5 mnutes. For some reason, theirs was just a tad tastier. It must have been that thick fluffy bread.

Nate’s Korner is a special place in Orange County. It’s a small little kitchen with a convenient store right next door. They specialize in breakfast sandwiches and burritos. Their breakfast burrito was amazing as well. Filled with bacon, potatoes, egg, and cheese, the burrito was hearty and delicious. Everything about it was filling. One thing that it did need was a little more seasining . Adding a little hot sauce did the trick. Though it isn’t a popular spot where lines go outside the door, the food is simple and filling. Yeah, stuff like this I can make at home, but any time you need your breakfast fix away from home, Nate’s got it for you.

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Grub – Crack Bacon on Everything

by Franklin on January 30, 2013

Grub in Hollywood is a quaint little house on the corner of Seward and Barton. The once a house turned restaurant is small and has a lot of charm. Even the floor boards creek when you walk on the wooden floors. Mostly popular as a breakfast destination, Grub has ventured in serving dinner for about 3 years now. I had the pleasure of having their DineLA menu for dinner, but my feelings for the food was torn. The theme of my 3 course meal was, “Crack Bacon.” I ordered everything that had this bacon in it, and to be honest, it wasn’t as tasty as I thought.

Things started off with carrot sticks, cucumbers, and pretzels. It was a nice start and the ranch dip was good. It was my first time having pretzels and ranch, but it was tasty. I suppose it was a little different than bread and butter.

We started things off with an appetizer — the crack bacon quesadilla. It was smaller than I thought and didn’t have the traditional taste a quesadilla has. The cheddar cheese was lacking as a good quesadilla should have copious amounts of cheese. The roasted onions was a good flavor between the spinach tortilla, and the sour cream was much needed. The crack bacon inside was plenty, but the flavor was different. It was more sweet and had an interesting flavor of tumeric in it. The flavors together were interesting, but not for me. I would have liked a regular, cheesy quesadilla with regular bacon. That would have been killer.

Denise’s famous mac and cheese had crack bacon inside, unfortunately. The spiral noodles, not one of my favorite when it comes to mac and cheese, was flabby and overcooked. The cheese sauce was watery and had little flavor. Crack bacon to me, is too sweet. I don’t know if you can imagine eating a sweet mac and cheese, but it is unpleasant. The cayanne inside was nearly missed as a little kick would have been beneficial. The fresh mixed greens salad was delicious though. The hommade champagne lemon viniagarette was fragrant and lively. Each bite was exciting and the viniagarette was citric and flavorful.

Cyndi’s Luscious Chocolate Bacon Sandwich was exactly as the title states. It was just plain white bread with chocolate and crack bacon inside. This time around, the savory, yet sweet bacon was fitting. The sandwiches were toasted nicely and the chocolate and bacon inside was sweet and tasty. The cholcate sauce over the sandwiches as well as the whipped cream made this a knife and fork job. The alomnds also was a nice touch that gave it a crunch. It wasn’t an elegant dessert, but it was filled with this sweet crack bacon.

Grub to me is more of a breakfast place. The fact that it is a nice little house with so much charm, dinner seemed unfitting. All of the items seemed a bit awkward and out of place. The dishes and bowls were colorful and seemed more breakfasty than anything else. I would love to come to this place for breakfast. Entering a quiant little house for morning breakfast? Pancakes, bacon and eggs? Bring it on! Dinner on the other hand, was not welcoming.

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Sometimes, I want plan a day and become a tourist in my own city. I want to sign up for The Price is Right, be an audience member of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, hit the beach, and go eat at all of the popular restaurants. A day in LA would’t be complete without a nice start of a hearty breakfast. In need of an early breakfast before my Los Angeles adventure, Toast on 3rd street was a perfect spot for this. Located in the Mid-Wilshire district, it was central to all of our popular destinations. This also meant that Toast is a celebrity hot spot, or used to be at least. Though we didn’t see anyone famous, a quiet breakfast was more enjoyed.

In the mood for something creamy, I ordered the Eggs Florentine. The bottom of the dish was sourdough bread — layered on top was sauteed spinach and poached eggs. This was then topped with mushroom spinach cream sauce. The spinach scream sauce was piping hot and nearly burned my tongue. The creamy mixture with the rich egg was a treat, but the whole dish was kind boring — it was single noted. In hind sight, I think a bit of hot sauce would have jazzed up the dish a bid. The side of sweet potato fries helped with the crunch factor. Toast is known for their sweet potato fries, and they somewhat met their reputation. It was crispy and flavorful, and not too overly sweet. I don’t know if that is a good thing or not, but I liked that it was more savory than sweet.

With all this savory, we needed something sweet. The perfect remedy for this was their stuffed french toast. Layered with banana pudding and topped with caramelized bananas, and walnuts. Possibly eating the best french toast ever, this was more of a dessert than a traditional french toast. Eating this in the morning, I knew I was doing something wrong. It was rich, sweet, but not too sweet. Decadent, yes. The banana pudding was perfect with this. Having the taste of banana cream pie from the pudding and fresh bananas was amazing. The caramelized bananas gave it a nice brulee flavoring. The walnuts were much needed as it gave it a nice textural crunch and were my favorite part. This dish would have failed if it wasn’t for the walnuts. Syrup is not needed at all either. Any regular french toast with syrup just doesn’t seem special anymore. This is the real deal.

No, I didn’t try the toast at Toast. We didn’t to do any of the Los Angeles stuff either like going to the Price is Right. We didn’t see any stars, witness any gang activity, or an earthquake. What we did do was experience Toast. It had the right amount of casual dining and upscale service. The food was delicious and at times, exceeded my expectations. I do want to try their brunch on the weekends though. I heard great things, and if it is anything like their normal menu, I have no doubts about it. As for the whole LA tourist experience, we will leave that for the visitors.

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On Sunday, August 5th, the 2nd Annual LA Weekly Pancake Breakfast was held at the Vibiana. The venue was perfect. The historical building of 130 years was gorgeous and the event was spectacular. Curated by Fred Eric of Fred 62 and Tiara Cafe, the event was filled with many of my favorite restaurants — Auntie Em’s Kitchen, Meals by Genet, BLD, Canele, Hungry Cat, and LAMILL Coffee just to name a few.

As we were waiting to get into the venue, we were all excited to enter. We were handed a nice coffee mug and given BirchWare forks. This would soon be my tool for eating for the next 2 hours. Upon entering the main venue, the architecture of the interior was amazing. Attending this former Cathedral church building after church on that Sunday morning was kind of a double take for me. In awe of it all, I was just ready to eat. Some of my favorites were the pork belly and pancake from Tiara Cafe. The bread with hangar steak and egg on top from Good Girl Dinette was awesome too. I was begining to find myself liking the food only with meat on top as it didn’t stop there. The salmon topped pancake with dressing from The Hungry Cat was possibly my favorite. The freshly cooked salmon and the cool dill dressing on top was a nice mix. Korean food was even represented by Kobawoo — they had some awesome kimchi and seafood “jun”, Korean bean curd pancakes.

It was cool to see Chef Diana from BLD come out to the event. We last met at my winning from the tweet-a-dish a few months back. Her classic blueberry pancakes were refreshing — it was a pancake breakfast after all. The pancakes as well as the sweet creations from Nickel Diner, The Village Bakery, and Euro Pane were awesome with coffee. Hearing lots of buzz about LAMILL Coffee, I was excited to try a cup. It was hot so I tried some of their iced coffee and it was so delicious — my Mc Donald’s iced coffee seemed pretty lame at this point. Handsome Coffee Roasters even made me a cup of some fine espresso with a latte heart on top. All this good coffee and pastries were making me full.

The event was fun. I even got to get a nice goody back from Tokidoki. Inside had some random toys, books, music and a shirt. I was able to grab one of the last ones! Everything culminated into a perfect morning and afternoon of great food and drinks. I went home stuffed and happy with a nice goody bag. I immediatey went home to work on the pictures. Rarely do I ever do post-production on my food pictures, but this was a special occasion (I accidentally shot in RAW mode). I hope you enjoyed the overexposed pictures.

Special thanks goes out to Urbanspoon for hooking up the tickets! I am glad I checked my email.

Cheers!

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