Breakfast at Lulu's

Some mornings it's just too early or your too hung over to want anything fancy or with a twist, sometimes... Sometimes!  You just want to be in comfort and that usually includes not having to make difficult decisions and when it comes to Tummy that means eating simple food.  Brother Charlie and I found ourselves at such a place this morning, Lulu's Cafe.

Lulu's Cafe with it's cute rustic Italian decor sits rights on the corner of Beverly Blvd and N. Detroit Street, it's front door facing the corner toward La Brea with their 4-top and 2-top wooden tables lining both, Beverly and N. Detroit.  With it's blue awning and everything else the restaurant is quite charming.

On a Tuesday morning Lulu's Cafe is not buzzing and packed with hungry tummies as it is on the weekends, I'm thankful.  We are able to grab a seat right away and make the most of the emptiness by grabbing one of the largest tables there, the table is a sitting nook with a built in wooden bench up against the the window.

Perusing through the breakfast menu smallish red print up at the corner of the menu catches my attention, it reads "All breakfast items before 11:00AM Mon-Fri $7.95" I glance at the clock, it is 10:30AM and now I am really excited- I always love a good deal!

Brother Charlie orders a Breakfast burrito with a side of home-fries and a cup of Mocha, the Mocha is not bad at all, Lulu seems to have her own twist on the Mocha as there seems to be a hint of vanilla in it.

The breakfast burrito contained eggs, black beans and cheese - it was simple and tasty in a simple way.

Coffee monster!

I opt for the 2-egg breakfast combo, two eggs over-medium, french toast, rye toast and a side of fresh fruit.  The eggs?  Were eggs of course, the rye toast crunchy, the french toast deceivingly good and the fresh fruit was pretty amazing with fruit to surprise you, pineapples, blackberries, strawberries, grapes of course, and mango?!  What the?! - It was great, I always love me some extraordinary side of fresh fruit, that mango really took me by surprise, as you can see.

And though I would be stretching it to say that the food was "fantastic!"  The food was good and simple, and that really hit the spot today, because like I said, some days you're just not in the mood for anything fancy.

The Damage:  $19.85

1 Mocha
1 Breakfast Burrito with home fries
1 Breakfast combo with French toast, fruit and rye toast

Lulu's Cafe
7149 Beverly Blvd.
LA CA 900036
(323) 938.6095

Cafe Midi Pt. 2, The First Breakfast

Saturday morning Mr. Borscht and I decided to have a late breakfast at Cafe Midi, it was now my chance to get a taste of the food for I already know that their coffee here, whether it be the Vennoise or the Mocha, iced or hot, is great.  I called and made breakfast reservations for 10:30AM only to arrive and find out that reservations were not needed at all.  Outside the tables on the sidewalk at front of Cafe Midi sat bare, as well as the tables inside.

We sat down and got right down to business.

Naturally we both started with coffee,
"Two mochas please"

The fabulous Mocha

Mr. Borscht is about to know what fabulous tastes like

Mr. Borscht ordered his first mocha at Cafe Midi, I sat across him very excited for his first experience, and found out what I already knew, he loved it.  Mr. Borscht is an omelet man, an omelet is what he usually orders for breakfast anywhere else in town and today is no different, in a way it makes it the perfect dish for him to gauge the food here at Cafe Midi since he's had omelets everywhere else in town as well.  Today, the Peasant omelet, mushrooms, onions, potatoes and Brie cheese.  The mushrooms were cooked into the egg, rosemary potatoes, creamy Brie cheese and carmelized onions.  Mr. Borscht has ordered this particular omelet elsewhere just recently (at Figaro Bistrot), which I had my complaints about and so when he decided to order the Peasant Omelet I was... a bit dissapointed.  Thankfully however, I was pleasantly surprised.

My first meal at Cafe Midi, I had a rather hard time choosing what to order, I took my time and opted for the crab cake with spinach and poached egg on an english muffin.  The wait did not take long, the plate was set before me and the first thing I did was... just... stare at the beautiful creation, it looked like art.  My eyes ran down it, poached egg, the white stood out bright on top of the spinach and sat high on top the crab cake that looked deliciously crunchy.  I couldn't wait to dig in and didn't wait for long as a matter of fact.  The combination of the creamy yoke, soft spinach and crunchy crab cake was absolutely divine.  The tastes were perfectly suited for each other, neither of the ingredients being too much stronger than the other, the poached egg, spinach and crab cake all sang subtle and harmonious. 

Though I find it hard to speak of my experience with the side of potatoes after having given this eloquent rave about the crab cake, I will say this, the potatoes crunchy on the outside, soft and moist inside with just a hint of rosemary.

Though this is but my first breakfast at Cafe Midi I can say this, that my impression thus far is that the food here is subtle in taste, not too much salt, not too much pepper, not too much sauce, not too many herbs, not too many spices- I think this is just wonderful.  Eloquent dishes that stand on their flavors alone proves that there is a real kitchen at work behind closed doors where true flavors of key ingredients are used to create art for the tongue!

The Damage:  $41.00

2 Mochas
1 Crab cake with Spinach and Poached Eggs on an English Muffin
1 Peasant Omelette

Cafe Midi
148 S. La Brea Ave
LA CA 90036
(323) 939.9860

Outdoor Cinema Food Truck Festival

This past Saturday Mr. Borscht, Brother Charlie and Tummy piled into the car and headed west on Wilshire towards La Cienega Park where we were to meet my sister (the Energizer Bunny), her husband and her two kids Mr. Fidgets and Little Dumpling.  There at the park enclosed in the baseball field along the fence was a long line of food trucks and on one end a huge blow-up screen, tonight aside from the music entertainment to start the event was to show Indiana Jones and The Raiders of the Lost Arc.  Were most of these people here to eat from the food trucks or were they here to camp out and watch a film?  I was here, of course to eat from the food trucks.

There were Korean food trucks, Mexican food trucks, Canadian food trucks, American food trucks, food trucks for Deserts, food trucks for Snacks, food trucks for the healthy!  And of course they wouldn't be serving food truck food if each and every one of them didn't have a twist to the menu, there were sashimi burritos and dirty spaghettis to name a couple.

I always tell people whenever I get the chance, and here's my chance to tell you what I tell them, "a lot of the time when you can't make a decision it has very little to do with your options and has more to do with having too many options."  My saying was proven this Saturday at the Outdoor Cinema Food Truck Festival when I saw Brother Charlie from across the park aimlessly trying to figure out what to have for dinner, he had been looking at all the food trucks for over thirty minutes and walked the line of food  trucks TWICE!  Finally he decided on the Burger Bus, a big fat burger with guacamole and bacon as well as all the usual trimmings, and though the burger did look absolutely delicious he was less than enthused by the dry meat patty and stated with a disappointed look, "it's not that good" - and somehow I wasn't at all surprised, I had yet in my life to come upon a food truck with actual good food.

Can you spot Brother Charlie?

I already knew that eating something healthy was out of the question, so I went ALL OUT and got a Mac 'n Cheese topped with Chicken and some kind of BBQ sauce from the food truck called Barbie's Q.  I have this preconceived notion that food from food trucks are overly flavorful as a result from all the oil, cheese, butter and fat being used, the mac 'n cheese I had from Barbie's Q proved me completely wrong and taught me a life long lesson... food can very well taste like NOTHING!  How can I say this, the mac 'n cheese tasted of nothingness, I tasted no cheese nor pasta (which I have to say was the worse texture: mushy).  All I was able to taste was the BBQ like sauce, which by the way also had a funny texture, not a creamy BBQ sauce but a grainy BBQ sauce!  Needless to say all I had was about five bites which already was five bites too many and threw the rest away.

From the same truck Mr. Borscht ordered a BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich, this was many times better than my soul-less mac 'n cheese but still... not quite.  The lesson learned here for us is quite simple, no go on Barbie's Q food truck.

I do believe my sister's husband had better luck with food choices, he went ahead and ordered himself a grilled cheese sandwich with bacon from the food truck Rebel Bites who specialize in dirty spaghetti (whatever that is) and grilled-cheese like sandwiches.  It was cheesy, the bread toasted, the bacon salty and of course oilyyyyy- none the less however, tasty, for food truck food.

From the Cheeseball Wagon we snacked on cheeseballs that was served with a side of ranch.  You could barely taste the cheese but they did have quite a nice crunch to them and really, who doesn't love the thought of eating fried cheese dipped in ranch?  As for me, I'm still trying to figure out whether I really liked it or if it was simply the idea of eating fried cheeseballs.

I'm convinced however that the only individuals that really loved the food from the food trucks were the little ones.

Mr. Fidgets gave his pepperoni pizza a thumbs up
while Little Dumpling simply said "Awww- I wants more!"

In a city like Los Angeles where food truck businesses thrive due to the busy city life there are indeed many to choose from.  I don't usually frequent food trucks and the couple times that I have I found them to be generally too oily, too fatty, too salty... too over-the-top.  And even though I know this to be generally true of food trucks, I was still surprised that I was unable to find even one food truck at this event with food that I could stand behind.  

There are two lessons I can pass down to you from this experience: 

1.  If you're going to be eating at the food truck get what the food truck specializes in.  If the food truck is called the Burger Bus get a burger, not a salad, besides, your not eating at the food truck for your health.


2.  You will always get better tasting and better-for-you food at a food establishment, so if you can help it, avoid the food trucks.  (Instead, trying getting a sandwich at a deli which will roughly be about the same price anyways!).

Lastly, the Outdoor Cinema Food Fest will continue on for two more Saturdays (August 27th and September 3rd), showing different films and with a different line up of food trucks, go check it out.  If you're not a fan of food trucks that's absolutely fine, your own food and drinks are allowed, I will make sure to bring my own next time!  The festival is held at different locations so please check in with their official site if you're interested... and have fun!

Cafe Midi, An Introduction

I've been frequenting Cafe Midi more often than I can write and finally I am sitting and ready to write my first review on Cafe Midi properly titled An Introduction.

There are no secrets between us!  Or so I would like to think, let me first begin by saying that I first came to dine at Cafe Midi about 6 or so years back with an ex-boyfriend (the kind of ex-boyfriend that goes down in history as the one mistake you made in your entire life), I can say surely that the only good thing he left behind was the introduction of Cafe Midi, let me move on and say that I remember thinking how great the food was.  Now let me confess, I haven't been back to Cafe Midi since that one first time because of 'you know who, he who shall not be named' (yes, I am a Harry Potter fan).  And after many years of staying away as far as possible to anything remotely related to 'you know who', on a whim Brother Charlie took a u-turn too fast to be legal and then parked his janky truck in a lot with a sign that clearly stated 'No Public Parking' (in large red bold letters no less) and walked me over to Cafe Midi.  And so after many years, I once again found myself at Cafe Midi, and it was I have to say, like I've never been here before- thank goodness for that, for I may have ended up sprinting out the door screaming with my hair on end from all the terrible memories of 'you know who'.

And now that there are surely no secrets between us for how can one be even closer to another after a confession of a relationship-related mistake?  These are confessions not easily made by a girl, lady or woman... okay, let us move on.

Navy blue seats, tables and umbrellas line the outside of the sidewalk at front of Cafe Midi, walking in through the glass doors you come upon a store?  Yes, a store, a rather charming store of hand-picked furnishings, books on interior decor and cooking, dinnerware, serving ware, knick knacks for general household ambience and etc... and all in an organized clutter, an organized french-like clutter- whatever that mean!  But really the only way I can properly describe it is that.

Move onward to the back of the store where a cafe bar and a line of tables set the rather small dining area.  Here, black and white pictures framed in wood decorates the white-washed, brick stoned walls, along with the cute yellow tiled flooring and the blue accented cafe one can't help but feel that France has been concentrated into this space, like orange juice in the freezer section in those cylinder cans that state on the bottom, "made from concentrate", but of course the difference is that Cafe Midi's 'French concentrate' is much more charming and much more yummier, if you even dare to compare.

American Rag clothing store is interestingly enough connected to Cafe Midi

He really shouldn't make faces like this,
one day he'll find that it has frozen thus
and then where will he be? Most definitely not handsome

As Brother Charlie and I were here simply to nurture our daily caffeine need we took seats at the counter.

Brother Charlie is a serious caffeine monster and so he opts to get the Cafe Vennois which is simply a shot of espresso with whipped cream.  The Cafe Vennois is strong and will take you to a land of buzz where one can obviously feel the caffeine coursing through their veins, thus if you need to wake this small cup of espresso topped with whipped cream is just the thing you need and is... absolutely delicious.

Cafe Vennois

Iced mocha & blueberry marzapan tart

Summer time in Los Angeles is hot and so I order an iced mocha with a side of blueberry marzapan tart.  The iced mocha is delicious however if you can bare the heat as well as a hot drink I suggest going for the hot mocha for it is much more chocolatier and tastes like divine hot chocolate, the hot mocha here is without a doubt the best mocha I have ever had.

The blueberry marzapan tart.  The crust a bit hard, the marzapan I could not really taste, perhaps this was due to the very blueberry-tasting blueberries, in whole this breakfast desert was not very sweet and to some like Brother Charlie and I this is a good thing... I confess!  I did not like the blueberry marzapan tart very much, I love blueberries and I love marzapan but neither of those two ingredients really called out to me during this experience.  Undoubtedly there are better pastries and breakfast deserts to be had here, do forego the blueberry marzapan tart.

To round it up, the coffee was fantastic, I will be coming back and quite frequently I imagine.

The Damage:  $13.00 +/-

1 Cafe Viennois
1 Iced Mocha
1 Blueberry Marzapan Tart

Cafe Midi
148 S. La Brea Ave
LA CA 90036
(323) 939.9860

The Oaks Gourmet fine foods & Spirits

Tuesday afternoon Papa Tapeworm and Brother Charlie picked me up for brunch, we were in one of those adventurous moves we so often find ourselves in and decided on a place Brother Charlie had heard about called The Oaks Gourmet.

Brother Charlie very often likes to frequent 'hole-in-the-wall' places, indeed very often these are the places that serve the best of food, so... never having been to The Oaks Gourmet I was expecting something similar except the name of the place seem to say otherwise "THE Oaks - Gour~met", sounds more swanky than 'hole-in-the-wall', I sat patiently in the car awaiting our destination.

The Oaks Gourmet was indeed small like a 'hole-in-the-wall' restaurant but it wasn't at all 'hole-in-the-walll-esque'.  The restaurant had a separate cafe counter from it's deli counter and to top it all off sold a large variety of beer and wine... otherwise known as spirits.

The place was charming and swimming with customers that can best be described as hipsters, except these hipsters obviously had money as this wasn't the cheapest place to purchase Tummy filling goodies and thirst quenching liquids.  It was indeed an older hipster crowd as well, unlike those 20-something hipsters you find Silverlake infested with, these were semi-sophisticated, entering middle-age "I've got my life together" hipsters.  Hmmm... Strike #1: I'm not quite sure I like the crowd?  But I wasn't here to mingle, I was here to eat thank-goodness for that!

The wine wall


Cheese and salami

Brother Charlie picking his nose, how unsanitary!
I really wouldn't put it past him to wipe it on his shirt.

Receiving our food after a few minutes of waiting we soon found that finding a spot to eat here was rather difficult, the community table sitting only 6-8 persons inside was full and all outdoor tables (and there weren't many) were also fully occupied.  And so Brother Charlie, Papa Tapeworm and I found ourselves sitting at the counter area on the stools at front of the restaurant deli/store, this would have been okay had the 85+ degree sun was not burning a hole right through the back of my shirt.  Sitting there for only five minutes I can feel my body wanting to sweat... and sweating while eating really isn't my thing, nor is it anyone else's I don't think: Strike #2.

The counter and stools at front of the wide window- this is where we sat
yes, not very ideal for a hot day

Now let us discuss the real subject we are here for, food. Brother Charlie feeling very brunchy ordered a breakfast burrito, they had a couple of different varieties of the breakfast burrito but he opted specifically for The Oaks Bacon Breakfast Burrito, this included Black Forest Bacon, Eggs, cheese and spring onions.  Other than Brother Charlie's complaint that it was a bit too small in size for a breakfast burrito I do believe he rather liked it.  And may I add, that he was grasping the beautiful burrito with his unwashed boogery hands!

I, feeling more like lunch decided to get the Ultimate BLT, how can I put this?... The BLT was truly ultimate, in other words: hands-down THE BEST BLT I've ever had... IN- MY- LIFE!  Yes, not kidding nor exaggerating, it was that delicious- absolutely yumMY!  

And I can tell you exactly what it was... the Black Forest Bacon was sweet with just the right amount of fat to crisp/crunch ratio (you know what I speak of), the thick slices of avocado, the creamy camambert cheese introduced the right amount of tang to each bite, the roasted shallot aioli- I know sounds weird, but was more sweet than shalloty, and last but not least the large slice of heirloom tomato for that juicy freshness.  Many great ingredients each special in their own right came together to create the bestest of the best BLT.

Brother Charlie had a bite and I do indeed believe I saw a flicker of disappointment that he had chosen to get the Breakfast Burrito instead of the Ultimate BLT.  Hence I will say this, to any of you who find yourselves at The Oaks Gourmet for the first time, order the Ultimate BLT.

The small side of slaw that came with my sandwich

And so, though the crowd of middle-aged hipsters with money that seem to frequent The Oaks Gourmet is less than ideal, and the fact that during lunch there really is no place to sit and enjoy your food- in spite both these things The Oaks Gourmet is worth going to because it simply does best what it's supposed to do, serve delicious food.

The Damage: $18.00 -/+

1 Ultimate BLT
1 Oaks Bacon Breakfast Burrito

The Oaks Gourmet
fine foods & spirits
1915 North Bronson Avenue
LA CA 90068
(323) 871.8894

The Fish Market seafood market & restuarant

If you've read my last post on Bubba's Smokehouse BBQ you'll know that Mr. Borscht and I were in San Diego for a day over the weekend visiting my sister and her family on vacay.  Mr. Borscht and I succumbed to my sister's plead to have dinner before leaving on our hour and half road trip back home to good 'ol Los Angeles.

The hotel that my sister and her family were staying at was right near the harbor located downtown which was also conveniently located near many a good seafood restaurants and stores, tonight we would feast at The Fish Market!  I do love me some seafood whether it be crabs, lobsters, oyster shooters, halibut WHATEVER! I love it all!

The restaurant was large and spacious with seafood restaurant decor, there was definitely a lot to look at, lines of pictures of seafarers, fish and fishers hung on the walls.  A mural on a tiled wall pictured a fish mongers life and significantly the mural was located behind the fish monger counter where lines of fresh fish laying on beds of ice welcomed hungry tummies walking into the restaurant.

Across the fish monger counter sat many at the Oyster Bar which interestingly enough also served sushi and sashimi, I was really beginning to like this place.

Hot crusty bread was served with butter.

Mr. Borscht wasn't very hungry as we had a rather late and big lunch at Bubba's Smokehouse and so opted for something small and simple, the New England Clam Chowder in a bowl, oddly enough The Fish Market did not have clam chowder in a bread bowl which I think should be on every seafood restaurant menu.

The clam chowder was creamy, not thick and chunky as some are, never-the-less it was tasty.  The clam chowder was no Wow-er and was far from the best chowder I've had, but even an average chowder can taste very good.

And though Tummy wasn't starving by any means I wasn't going to let her stop me from enjoying a good meal at a seafood restaurant near the San Diego harbor, I ordered the shrimp and lobster seafood Louie salad.  I've had the Seafood Louie at other restaurants located far from the harbor that was better, this isn't to say it was absolutely terrible for really, it was just an average tasting Seafood Louie.  I suppose my high hopes were dashed, I naturally assumed a seafood restaurant on the harbor would undoubtedly have the best tasting Seafood Louie... sadly, it didn't.

And through the dazzling bombardment of sea decor and pictures along every wall, and the enticement of the oyster bar and fish monger counter that screams at you that this is the place of fresh seafood, this seafood restaurant, sadly, didn't deliver.  Was I wrong to expect really yummy seafood for my tummy because this restaurant was on the harbor?  I think not.  And perhaps the seafood here is as fresh as it gets and the recipes are truly where the problem lies- no matter though, because you still receive sub-par seafood dishes.  And sub-par may be good for those young couples who can easily trust that the seafood is spectacular through the dazzling affects of the decor and the water view but for tummies like me who would rather be dazzled from the tingling in the palate... this seafood restaurant just won't do.

The Damage:  $30.00

1 Bowl of New England clam chowder
1 Shrimp & Lobster seafood louie
1  Shirley Temple

The Fish Market
750 North Harbor Drive
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 232.3474


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