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Blu Jam Cafe | Sherman Oaks, CA

Blu Jam CafeBlu Jam Cafe

after running around balboa park in the morning (kyle and i did 4.5 miles, while b did his 8 miles. he’s hardcore), we went to blu jam cafe in sherman oaks for our big breakfast after sweat city. thank goodness one opened up near b since we have been putting off trying the one in hollywood because it is packed…all the time.  two things they are known for: crunchy french toast and the french pressed coffee.  amazing.

Blu Jam CafeBlu Jam CafeBlu Jam CafeBlu Jam Cafe

the french pressed coffee.  yeah, so it’s $5…but so very very worth it.  if you are a coffee lover, you must get this.

don’t get turned off by how many people are here in the morning… the text-you-when-your-table-is-ready really helps.  it never feels that long and plus you can just take a walk up and down ventura blvd.

Blu Jam CafeBlu Jam Cafe

crunchy french toast is their signature dish…and rightfully so. the bomb dot com. brioche french toast with a crunchy corn flake crust served with fresh fruit and vanilla bean sauce.  i freaking love this sauce.  you would think that it’s too sweet…nope. just perfect.

Blu Jam Cafe

despite hating eggs, we got the migas.  spicy eggs scrambled with jalapenos, chipotle, beef chorizo sausage, red bell peppers, tortilla chips and cheese.  served with salsa, chips and tortillas.  this tastes great.  doesn’t taste too eggy to me (kyle wasn’t a fan but he still ate it for the protein).

Blu Jam Cafe

pulled pork special.  very tasty.  cant even tell you whats in it…but it was good.

Blu Jam Cafe

  • service: very friendly.  greatest part is that you can leave your cellphone number when you sign in so that they can text you when your table is ready! i love that la restaurants are catching on what nyc has been doing for years! go la! we come at prime time (10am on saturday) but service is always great despite the hecticness. 
  • parking: there is a small parking lot on the side of the restaurant but you will probably have to find street parking (most of which are metered…free on sundays).
  • ambience:  nothing special but very clean.  ample seating inside, outside in the front and then a side patio area which is really cute.
  • overall: we love this new breakfast spot.  i dont need to say much about blu jam cafe since its hollywood location is one of the hottest spots in la.  so the hype is real.  we love it and we love that it’s in the valley.  we will be back.

cheers!

Blu Jam Cafe
15045 Ventura Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
Neighborhood: Sherman Oaks

Categories: Breakfast & Brunch

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By |September 8th, 2013|Food, Photography, Restaurants|1 Comment

Prosecco Trattoria | Toluca Lake, CA

Prosecco Trattoria | Toluca LakeProsecco Trattoria | Toluca Lake

after i came back from a pretty long trek to the east coast and kyle was just coming off a 72 hour shift, we thought… lunch date time! our decision to prosecco trattoria was last minute (and by last minute, we mean but driving down riverside and pulling over).  thank goodness for that guy who puts up with my indecisiveness when im hangry (hungry and angry, get it?).  this ended up being the perfect decision since i think i have found another top ten dessert! more on that later…

Prosecco Trattoria | Toluca LakeProsecco Trattoria | Toluca LakeProsecco Trattoria | Toluca LakeProsecco Trattoria | Toluca Lake

i’m not a huge drinker but after a long week… we just needed a glass of prosecco. isnt that a big glass of wine? or should i say a very full pour?  we thought so too.

Prosecco Trattoria | Toluca LakeProsecco Trattoria | Toluca Lake

they have great olive oil.  kyle and i both agreed.  this reminds me of italy.  oh, we miss you, italy.

Prosecco Trattoria | Toluca LakeProsecco Trattoria | Toluca LakeProsecco Trattoria | Toluca LakeProsecco Trattoria | Toluca Lake

kyle got the farfalla with sweet italian sausage and porcini mushrooms in tarragon cream.  (apologies for the picture.  kyle had a truckload of parmesan cheese dumped on top of his pasta before i could take a clean picture.  rookie.)  he loved this.  pasta was al dente.  this is on the heavier side but he loved it.

Prosecco Trattoria | Toluca Lake

on the day that we went… i want to say there were 6-8 specials.  yep, we were a bit overwhelmed when they were recited to us. one of the many specials was this dish:  scallops with a cantaloupe puree sauce.  i love scallops and i wanted to get this dish but i was scared that the cantaloupe would make the dish uber sweet (good thing our waitress reassured me that it was not).  great, great choice. go me! scallops were done perfectly!  they were nicely glazed and went very well with the light cantaloupe sauce!  yum.

Prosecco Trattoria | Toluca LakeProsecco Trattoria | Toluca Lake

the panna cotta ($6) was glorious.  awesome texture. not too sweet…and berries so that you meet your daily suggested serving of fruit.  i could eat this all day. all day.  nice presentation, huh?  this officially is now on my top 10 desserts.

Prosecco Trattoria | Toluca Lake

  • service:  our waitress was very knowledgable and had some great recommendations. staff as a whole was charming and attentive.  we came here at an odd time (late lunch/early dinner) and were the only ones in the restaurant.  i would assume service would still be great when it gets busy for dinner.
  • ambience:  very cute place.  it’s one of those places that surprises you when you walk in.  when we would drive by on riverside, our reaction was “oh, another italian place” because from the street, this place doesn’t wow you.   inside is obviously an italian theme but not over the top. fresh flowers.  quaint and homey but still very classic and elegant.  go toluca lake!
  • parking: street parking.  some free spots but mostly metered.
  • overall:  this is a great restaurant.  the scallops were amazing. the pasta was everything we wanted it to be. great place to take a date but also great for big groups since they have a larger, darker back room.  also, get a prosecco (or wine they have a large selection) and unwind.  this place is a bit pricey.  $70 lunch (thanks to my $30 scallops). yikes, i know…but sometimes you just have to treat yo self. yolo.

Prosecco Trattoria
10144 Riverside Dr
Toluca Lake, CA 91602
Neighborhood: Toluca Lake

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By |September 7th, 2013|Dessert, Food, Photography, Restaurants|3 Comments

Vietnamese Food @ Quan Hy Restaurant | Westminster, CA

for those of you who don’t know, there is a little section of the oc called little saigon (pretty much garden grove and westminster).  there is a huge vietnamese-american population here.  obviously that means that most (90%) of my family lives here… so i came/still come to this area quite often.

one of my favorite places to eat in this area is quan hy restaurant. so when this restaurant and brodard chateau and brodard (non-fancy) opened up…everyone’s mind was blown.  (yes i speak for everyone in the community. hah!) the opening of these restaurants was a huge step for vietnamese cuisine in general.  there was only one “nice” vietnamese restaurant in la when i was growing up (crustacean in beverly hills but even that isnt traditional every day vietnamese food).

these two restaurants stood out from the rest of the hole-in-the-wall joints in this neighborhood:

  • great interior design:  open space with modern furniture. clean. beautiful.
  • one signature vietnamese dish

their popularity has spread all throughout the oc and into la.  these restaurants are featured on numerous magazines, food reviews, etc.  little saigon, in my opinion, has since then come a long way.  lots of new, modern restaurants are now opening up with the same business plan… and i love it.

anywho, enough of my personal awe of these two restaurants…onto the food!

quan hy is known for their banh beo (small steamed rice pancake).  it is white and usually is topped with shrimp, scallions, crispy fried shallots and served with fish sauce. basically. it’s amazeballs.

Quan HyQuan HyQuan Hy

we ordered the banh beo ($6) with shredded shrimp as one of our three appetizers (three people, three appetizers. aggressive).  again, this is their signature dish so i would highly recommend it!  comes in little dishes so it is great for sharing.  make sure you eat it with the fish sauce.  dont wimp out and neglect to add the fish sauce. it will be dry and pretty much not good.  fish sauce makes it great! (i can drink it. ew, i know)

Quan HyQuan HyQuan Hy

next appetizer:  goi mit ($10). jackfruit salad mixed with shrimp and pork and served with chips.  goi is another favorite.  what is goi?  think a hybrid of salad and coleslaw.  there are so many kinds of goi.  it can be made with cabbage, lotus roots, mango, etc.  i actually tried to make a simple one once (just once).  anywho.  this one is made with jackfruit.  i love everything about this salad.  so tasty. light.  crunchy. great salad for a hot day.

Quan HyQuan HyQuan HyQuan Hy

third app: banh it ram ($7).  think potsticker stuffed with mushrooms, pork and shrimp…all of which lays on a crunchy rice cake.  the potsticker is thick…mochi texture.  the crunchy rice cake was a nice touch if you get sick of chewing the mochi blob on top.  this my mom’s favorite thing to eat btw.  oh, and you eat it with fish sauce.

main dishes:  my dad got the xoi ga quan hy ($10).  translation:  sweet sticky rice (in this case fried) with chicken…”quan hy” style.  you dip this is a soy sauce-like sauce (yeah, i dont know what’s really in it).  it is delicious.  i like the sweet sticky rice.  note that the chicken will have bones. dont expect white meat (this is not the place for that).  since this is fried sticky rice and fried chicken…it isnt going to be the lightest thing on the menu.  full disclosure:  i dont usually order this since i love noodles.  good thing my dad is an adventurous man and usually gets different dishes so that i can taste it and photograph it.  so supportive.

Quan HyQuan HyQuan HyQuan Hy

my mom ordered:  mi quang ($8.50).  yellow noodles with shrimp, pork, veggies, and come chips.  surprisingly, this is a very night dish.  i love it.  noodles are fresh and its delicious! i think this actually has a tomato base.  so good.

Quan HyQuan Hy

so i get bun cha gio thit nuong ($9).  translation:  grilled pork and crab shrimp egg rolls served over rice vermicelli noodles and lots of veggies. this is another light dish to order on a hot day.

why do i like it?  (i) the grilled pork here is great (marinated with lemongrass).  (ii) egg rolls are traditional and uber tasty.  but make sure you eat it right away since it will get soggy if it just sits there.  (iii) i love the veggies.  bean sprouts, cucumbers, daikon and carrots, mint, lettuce, etc.

also, please (i) do not eat this dry and (ii) mix your bowl up.  you must add the fish sauce (do you see the trend in vietnamese cuisine?  fish sauce is a must).  i actually ask for extra fish sauce since i like it to be on the soupy side.

Quan Hy

  • parking:  plenty.  this is in a plaza so there is ample free parking.
  • service:  quiet but quick.  remember that you have to go to the counter in order to pay.
  • ambience:  koi fish, bamboo, deep dark wood accents, and lots of vietnamese touches.  i love the decor.  the restaurant is clean and well ventilated.
  • overall:  the prices here at quan hy are extremely reasonably for the amount of food you get and the upscale yet casual surrounding you get to enjoy. love the food here.  if you are unsure what to get, go for the sig dishes, you cant go wrong.

Quan Hy Restaurant
9727 Bolsa Ave
Westminster, CA 92683
Category: Vietnamese Food

Quan Hy on Urbanspoon

By |August 25th, 2013|Family, Food, Photography, Restaurants|6 Comments

A.O.C. | Mid-City West, Los Angeles

we love when stella visits la (which is actually pretty often since she’s a norcaler who secretly loves socal) because it means we get to eat 6x a day.  we always try to do something “active” when she is here…but we fail every time. every time!

we decided to grab brunch at a.o.c. (it has been on our list for awhile now).  what we got:

  • duck confit hash w/ wild mushrooms & poached eggs ($17) – dish that stood out the most.
  • spanish fried chicken & cornmeal waffle w/ jamon butter & maple syrup ($16)
  • meyer lemon french toast with pistachios, strawberries and candied meyer lemon ($15)
  • roast turkey, mozzarella, green harissa, avocado focaccia sandwich ($14)
  • two eggs w/ bacon, fried potatoes & toast ($12)
  • pork belly, peaches, ricotta salata focaccia sandwich ($15)

note that brunch is served until 3pm.

AOC Los Angeles

the duck hash was yummy.  duck was moist.  the eggs didnt overpower the dish.  i really like this dish.

AOC Los AngelesAOC Los Angeles

i got the fried chicken and waffles (cornmeal waffles) based on the recommendation of our waiter.  i asked for the syrup and butter on the side since i’m more of savory kinda gal and i didnt know how much i would love drenched waffles.  (if i had my way, i would eat waffles with just butter…and if i was feeling a little cray, some lightly sweeten whipped cream).  anywho. fried chicken was delicious!  the chicken was very moist inside and had a good crunch on the outside.

when you eat the chicken with the cornmeal waffle, you really do need the syrup.  it needs the sweet kick.  (my bad).  ok, so i wasnt a huge fan of the cornmeal waffle.  its a strong texture and pretty overpowering.  i put some butter on the waffle but couldnt taste it.  kyle really liked it though.  best fried chicken and waffles?  no.  (my favorite fried chicken and waffles) decent?  yes. get this dish if you are a fan of cornmeal.  this was the heaviest of all the dishes we got.

AOC Los Angeles

the turkey focaccia was refreshing and pretty healthy.  stella got this sandwich since she had a big eating fest the day before.  if you are looking for something light, get this one.

kyle got the pork belly focaccia w/ peaches.  the peaches are different but a good different.    note that this sandwich is on the sweet side so some people may not like this. we were fans.

AOC Los AngelesAOC Los AngelesAOC Los AngelesAOC Los Angeles

onto the drinks!!  this place has a pretty bar… actually the decor of this place is wonderful.  lots of natural light.  hopefully you get to sit in their patio area…beautiful.  white walls with dark wood and arch accents.  you will love this place.

getting a res at noon on a sunday was hard.  good thing they take walk-ins for their communal table.  only con about the communal table is that it is a high table with stools (no back support).

AOC Los Angeles

mimosa with peaches…do it.  it is bomb.  beer selection was good.  obviously they also have a lot of wine selections since this is also known as a wine bar.  shout out to our waiter christiaan who is also the mixologist here.  thanks for the recs!

AOC Los AngelesAOC Los AngelesAOC Los AngelesAOC Los AngelesAOC Los Angeles

  • service:  aoc has great service.  friendly and fast. 
  • parking: valet ($6) pretty pricey if you ask me. if you are lucky, you will find street parking (metered but free on sunday)
  • ambience:  clean. beautiful accents.  light and laid back.  loved coming here on a sunday.
  • overall: aoc is an amazingly cute place.  brunch was good… drinks were great.  brunch here is on the little on the expensive side but if you compare it to other brunch places, it’s pretty market.  for the two of us, our total was $65 (including tax and tip).  we didnt mind though. good food, great company.  we cant wait to come here for dinner!

AOC Los Angeles

AOC

8700 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Neighborhood: Mid-City West

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By |August 21st, 2013|Food, Friends, Photography, Restaurants|6 Comments

Milk Jar Cookies | Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles

Milk Jar Cookies | Los AngelesMilk Jar Cookies | Los AngelesMilk Jar Cookies | Los Angeles

stella came to visit this weekend so that obviously means some food adventures were gonna go down!  we went to milk jar cookies on wilshire after sunday brunch at aoc (to be posted later).  this place is uber cute.  come on, it’s called milk jar cookies.  how can it not be cute? if you need a mental picture of what this place will look like, think: pastels, lots of milk jugs, and cookies on milk glass cake stands.

Milk Jar Cookies | Los AngelesMilk Jar Cookies | Los Angeles

for the six of us, we got a dozen cookies for $30 (we used a 10% coupon we got for checking in)…$2.50 per cookie is pretty market for cookies these days (go milk jar cookies!).  we also got a glass bottle of 2% milk (i mean who eats cookies without milk).

oh, and they proudly serve fosselman’s ice cream… ya know, for those who live for ice cream sandwiches.

Milk Jar Cookies | Los AngelesMilk Jar Cookies | Los AngelesMilk Jar Cookies | Los AngelesMilk Jar Cookies | Los AngelesMilk Jar Cookies | Los AngelesMilk Jar Cookies | Los AngelesMilk Jar Cookies | Los AngelesMilk Jar Cookies | Los Angeles

food: 12 cookies.  we pretty much got every flavor.  cookies worth mentioning:

  • banana split (has chocolate so i did not taste) – this was a big hit.  it was still warm and gooey. 
  • white chocolate raspberry – this was my favorite.  perfectly paired with milk.
  • chocolate raspberry
  • mint chocolate
  • rocky road
  • cinnamon sugar

so these cookies are thick.  not you’re average flat cookie. psh. who eats flat cookies when you can have fat ones?  all of the cookies were crisp on the outside and so soft on the inside (my favorite kind of cookie).  some might find these a little doughy so i get if some people dont become fans but i enjoy them.

cute details:

  • if you decide to get milk with your cookies (obviously a good choice), you get milk glasses with pastel striped paper straws.  (the straws you see in every wedding on pinterest)
  • milk jars everywhere (even the lamps)
  • fresh flowers on each table
  • paper flowers

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  • parking:  street parking.  since it was a sunday, all meters were free.  (score)
  • service:  guys were nice.
  • overall:  we will be coming back to you, milk jar cookies for some cookies and cold milk (obvi).  if you are in the area, i would recommend stopping by and checking it out.

Milk Jar Cookies

5466 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Categories: Dessert, Bakery, Coffee & Tea

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By |August 18th, 2013|Baking, Coffee, Tea, & Bakeries, Dessert, Food, Restaurants|6 Comments
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