Cafe Midi Pt.4, French Toast, Spinach with asparagus and Campagnarde

Brunch at Cafe Midi with Mr. Borscht and Brother Charlie.  Yes, Cafe Midi is fast becoming one of my favorite hot spots, feel like brunch?  The answer, Cafe Midi.  Need a coffee?  The answer, Cafe Midi.  Need to replace my broken mug?  The answer, Cafe Midi.  Lately it's been Cafe Midi.  And for someone who is at the beginning of a love affair with Midi I have made quite a blunder to the one person I should not have, the creator of Cafe Midi.  I am by no means a clumsy person, quite careful actually, except when it comes to words, let us just say that 'sticking my foot in my mouth' is not an uncommon thing for me to do.  On this weekend brunch I did just that, an insult that wasn't meant to be an insult and was said quite mistakenly rolled off my tongue, and drew somewhat of an offensive tone from the owner who merely walked away as I sat there abashed to what had just happened.  Mortified, I tried to concentrate on my meal only to keep thinking "I can't believe I just said that?!"

And still two weeks later I think, "I can't believe I just said that?!"  But at some point we all must move on and there's no better way to start than to talk of food... from Cafe Midi.

If it's breakfast or brunch you can almost always make a winning bet that Mr. Borscht will order an omelette, this day was no different, he ordered the Campagnarde, an omelette of mushrooms, tomatoes, onions and potatoes that came with a side of fresh greens tossed in a light vinaigrette.  I hate the taste of omelettes when you cannot taste the eggs, Midi's Campagnarde- you can taste the eggs, you can taste each of the ingredients and I think that  is what makes the Midi omelettes so delicious.  Though I wouldn't suggest the Campagnarde Omelette at Midi and this is not because it doesn't deliver but because I truly believe that there is probably a more interesting omelette on the menu, however if Campagnarde is what you like than Midi is definitely the place to get it.

Brunch time, Tummy would like a nice salad, the salad menu at Cafe Midi is a long one and the variety and difference of each salad from another is significant as well as enticing, indeed this makes it rather difficult to choose one.  On this day I opt for the Asparagus salad:  Grilled asparagus, candied walnuts, pear, spinach, tomatoes, goat cheese and fennel all tossed in a light vinaigrette.  Absolutely fantastic!  Each bite was sweet and savory, and the asparagus, candied walnuts and pear was a delight as if a treat with each bite.  It is my first salad at Cafe Midi and it has wet my appetite for all the other salads to be eaten here.

I believe Brother Charlie ordered the star dish of the day however, the french toast.  Two rather thin but thick slices of toast, battered, cooked and then sprinkled with powdered sugar accompanied by scrambled eggs and a side of potatoes.  When taking a single bite of the french toast one can tell the difference between Midi's french toast and "other" french toast lies in the quality of the bread being used.  Truly the best french toast I have ever encountered and would suggest highly as a breakfast entree.

One can say that this post's rave on Cafe Midi's brunch review is a result of guilty-feelings regarding my terrible blunder, let me just say "should you doubt my words today go eat at Midi cafe"... and you shall doubt me NO MORE!

Below is a picture of Brother Charlie, this is the look he gave me when I mistook the owner's son for his grandchild.

And if the creator of Cafe Midi happens to be reading this post... "I'm SORRRRRRRRY!

The Damage:  $58.00 +/-

2 Mochas
1 Black coffee
1 French toast
1 Spinach with asparagus salad
1 Campagnarde

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

Black Cat Pt. 5, BLT

There is one thing that I absolutely hate, food that hurts, and I mean literally hurts.  For example, a sandwich with toasted bread that scratches the roof of your mouth, by the end of your meal you've got a raw mouth-roof plus you cannot say that you enjoyed your meal because you were concentrating with each bite the anticipation of the uncomfortable scratching going on inside your tender mouth.

On this day I ordered the BLT from Black Cat, a layer of bacon, a layer of tomatoes, a layer of lettuce, between two slices of the most violent toast I've ever encountered.  Okay, so I may be exaggerating just a bit about "the most violent toast" part, but I think the fact that this is all I could remember makes it a rather important point.  The uncomfortable scratchiness of the toast reminded me of Captain Crunch cereals when I was a kid.  

The layers of the BLT: bacon, lettuce and tomatoes was measly and the over-all taste of the sandwich was very average.  As I sat outside eating this very average BLT I kept thinking about the BLT at the Oaks Gourmet which is absolutely fabulous.  I realized then and there that my BLT cravings could only be fulfilled at one place, The Oaks Gourmet.  I was considerably disappointed to say the least, Black Cat is one of my favorite places to sit and eat comfortably and though this experience is not enough to ban Black Cat forever for they do have many other delicious dishes on the menu... Tummy was looking forward to a yummy BLT this day and Black Cat did not deliver.

A side of fruit with the BLT- fresh and delish!

The Damage:  $20.00 +/-

1 Arnold Palmer
1 BLT w/side of fruit
1 Huevos Rancheros

Black Cat Bakery & Cafe
519 South Fairfax Ave
LA CA 90036
(323) 932.1500

/ Black Cat Pt. 3, Eggsalad Sandwich & Blueberry Pie - July 3, 2011 / Black Cat Pt.4, Chicken & Cheese Enchiladas - September 13, 2011

Monsieur Marcel a.k.a Pain Vin et Fromage

In a past life I must have been French, possibly a beautiful brunette lady standing at 5'9", slim, pale skin, light brown eyes... smart.  Or, I could have quite possibly been a French man, fat but not too fat, stout, cleanly shaven but with messy medium-length hair, bright clear blue eyes and embarrassed by his sensitivity... quite possibly I may have been this French man's French dog, this would have been okay too.  I love dogs.

I say that I may have possibly been French because as you know (if you stayed tune) that recently it was my birthday.  9:00 A.M. Father calls me "I want to take you out to brunch for your birthday, pick anywhere you want to go", I pick Cafe Midi, a French cafe.  Thursday evening Mr. Borscht and I are getting ready for our dinner reservation, he said to me a few days ago, "pick any place you want to go for dinner, it's your birthday", so I pick Monsieur Marcel, another French restaurant.  Yes, I do believe I may have been French in a past life.

Monsieur Marcel is located in the Farmer's Market on 3rd Street, situated in the very south-east corner of the market this charming twinkle-lit restaurant at nights sits right beside the Mr. Marcel store which sells all types of goodies, barrels of olives and of course olive oil, capers, pasta, cookies, wine, Wine and WINE... European candy, vanilla bean.  Then there is also the cheese and meats at the deli, where I also suspect their lunch sandwiches are also made.

Mr. Marcel is the kind of place that serves wine in small short-stem wine-glasses opposed to the large bulbous long-stemmed ones, they serve complimentary crackers and bread and a plate of an assortment of olives.

We decide to begin Birthday dinner with a tapenade sampler accompanied by slightly toasted baguette slices, pictured below from left to right, sun-dried tomatoes (I absolutely love sun-dried tomatoes!) they are sweet and earthy.  Artichoke, there is a hint of lemon that lends a refreshing bite to the earthy flavor of the artichoke.  And then the roasted bell-peppers which is sweet and peppery.  And though I do love sun-dried tomatoes when Mr. Borscht asked me which I liked best... I really could not choose, they were all lovely and different and mouth watering in their own right.

Mr. Borscht's dinner pick?  The infamous Boeuf Bourguignon, which by the way, is absolutely great at Mr. Marcel.  A large shallow bowl filled with chunks of literally, melt-in-your-mouth beef!  Mushrooms.  Thick, earthy, concentrated, dark sauce that makes you feel at home, that makes you feel like everything is going to be okay.  The dish is topped with a small mound of pasta, mix this in.

I've had the Boeuf Bourguignon before but my adventurous nature once again calls out to me to try something new though I absolutely adore the Boeuf Bourguignon here.  I peruse the menu, taking a good moment or three to really look at the ingredients, I munch on some bread, I eat a couple of olives.  I decide on the Bouillabaisse, a French seafood stew.  When I order I have no doubt in my mind, everything at Mr. Marcel's is absolutely, and I mean, ABSOLUTELY, heavenly.

Mussels, clams, large shrimp, a piece of white fish, chunks of potatoes, scallop, onions... saffron.  The broth is flavored with the sea but delicate and delicious.  This is my first taste of Bouillabaisse and though I have nothing to compare it with, my palate is telling me that it is wonderful!

The Bouillabaisse was served with a rouille sauce (mix it into the broth to thicken and spice-up), half a lemon and toasted slices of baguette.

I have yet to be disappointed by Mr. Marcel, it is no doubt my favorite French restaurant in town, lunch or dinner the food is nothing less than great.  Birthday dinner?... Purrrfect.

The Damage:  $60.00

2 glasses of red wine
1 Tapenade Sampler
1 Boeuf Bourguignon
1 Bouillabaisse

Monsieur Marcel
6333 W. 3rd Street (Southeast side of the Farmer's Market)
LA CA 90036
(323) 939.7792

Cafe Midi Pt. 3, Birthday Salmon Scramble

Birthday brunch, yes it was my birthday recently, September 22nd to be exact... Birthday brunch with just Dad and me.  We talked of the future and sat and enjoyed our coffee a mocha for my father and a cafe vennoise for me, the coffee here is splendid as you already know from my last review of Cafe Midi, An Introduction.

My father does this thing where he allows me to pick his food, so today for breakfast brunch I order him what I know he will love, the Maryland Crabcake Poach, it's simply delectable, sitting on top of an english muffin is a layer of sauteed spinach, crabcake, more sauteed spinach and then a poached egg which when cut into oozes the creamy yoke. 

So far, the Maryland Crabcake spinach poach is still my favorite breakfast item at Cafe Midi but due to my adventurous nature I opt for something I haven't had... I look, I peruse, I choose... I order the Salmon Scramble: scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and goat cheese.  The first few bites are moist and delicious, very quickly however the moisture is lost and by the end of the meal my scramble is a little too dry for my taste.  The tangy goat cheese was perfect with the salmon scramble but probably could have used a bit less, every now and then I found myself with a wad of goat cheese and in my experience you shouldn't find yourself looking at a wad goat cheese in your salmon scramble.  The potatoes were yummy as usual, crispy on the outside, moist and soft inside.

At the end of the meal as Father and I looked at our empty plates I said to him, "the Maryland Crabcake Spinach Poach is still my favorite" so, there it is.  The Salmon scramble wasn't by any means terrible, far from it in fact, however compared to the Maryland Crabcake Spinach Poach it really is a very very distant 2nd.

The Damage:  $30.00 +/-

1 Cafe Vennoise
1 Mocha
1 Maryland Crabcake Poach
1 Salmon Scramble

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

Mr. & Ms. Bento by Zojirushi

No more brown paper bags, no more squished lunches!  Be green and starting packing lunches in a Bento Box.  There are plenty of bento box products out there to choose from but I have great experience with the Zojirushi brand, hence today's post on Zojirushi's Mr. Bento Stainless Lunch Jar.  The Bento container includes Durable stainless steel construction with excellent heat retention, 4 microwaveable inner bowls, Washable nonstick coated outer container, spork and cover, and a carry all bag.  There are two different sizes, Mr. Bento includes four containers while Ms. Bento includes three containers!  Too cute.

Here are Mr. & Mrs. Bento

The spork is not shown but does come with the set

Daikokuya Pt.2, Ramen

Leave it to Brother Charlie to remind me it was time once again to visit our favorite ramen spot in J-Town, Daikokuya.  The last time we came with ramen in mind and was diverted to eating a couple blocks away at the Curry House instead due to the wait and their new CASH ONLY policy (which we weren't prepared for).  Maybe it was because we haven't had breakfast or perhaps deep down we  wanted to be the first in line but we decided to head on down at opening time.

We parked in a 1-hour parking lot designated for a row of stores (which of course we were not going to) and ducked and weaved between and behind cars with a slight tremble in the heart afraid that the very tall 7' parking security man would spot us... and as tall as he is, thankfully, he did not see us.  Down the street and around the corner we went, surprisingly, there were already people waiting outside of Daikokuya, somehow I wasn't all too surprised.

Some would say there is no atmosphere in Daikokuya, I say that there is, I love the posters and pictures and random decor!

Daikokuya is now CASH ONLY!!

Brother Charlie craves ramen today and who wouldn't with such a cold, sounding nasally, stuffed up and watery he felt that hot broth and some noodles would do him some good.

You cannot see through the broth, it is a tannish color with almost a milky texture, but when you slurp it up you'll find that the flavor is subtle yet distinct, rich and smooth as it goes down and damn delicious.  There are a different variety of ramen out there and to my knowledge it's all about the broth, at Daikokuya they serve ramen with pork broth, hence you will find a good slice or two of bacon in your bowl.  Along with the bacon you will find your ramen bowl floating with loads of green onions, crunchy bean sprouts and bamboo shoots.

Brother Charlie loves to pile on the ginger

The noodles are not mushy but firm yet soft.

Pork bacon, it tastes a lot more delish than it looks.

I'm sure I don't have to tell you how great the Ramen here is, after all there was a line even before Daikokuya opened.  It is the ramen here that is most popular and most likely what keeps people coming back for more.  No doubt my brother enjoyed his bowl of ramen today and though it may not have cured his cold I'm sure it made him feel better somehow... though he did sound a tad bit worse afterwards.

The Damage: $ 18.00 +/-

1 Ramen
1 Shredded Pork Bowl

327 E. 1st Street
LA CA 90012
(213) 626-1680

Black Cat Pt.4, Chicken & Cheese Enchiladas

It wasn't at all your average enchilada nor what you would consider your authentic enchilada.  black beans with four small corn tortillas rolled and filled with chicken and cheese, topped with red chili sauce that was more sweet than spicy with mounds of freshly sliced romaine, red onions, bell peppers and a sprinkle of feta cheese for that salty-cheesy zing.  

The enchiladas reminds me very much of the Black Cat Huevos Rancheros.  It is different for sure there's no doubt about that, and can be best described as an Americanized-Elitest enchilada, and though to some this may be a travesty of all enchiladas, in all honesty, it was delicious.  

Sometimes it helps to keep an open mind and to accept things for what they are, and from there you can move on to really experiencing things with an open heart- one needs to take such an approach to the Black Cat Enchilada.  Once you can get past the fact that it's not a Mexican enchilada but a creation that came forth from it only then will you be blessed with what an American-Elitest enchilada tastes of.

So should you be feeling a little adventurous and open-minded one day go and try the Black Cat Enchilada.

The Damage:  $26.00 -/+

1 Coffee
1 Arnold Palmer
1 Huevos Rancheros
1 Chicken & Cheese Enchiladas

Black Cat Bakery & Cafe
519 South Fairfax Ave
LA CA 90036
(323) 932.1500

/ Black Cat Pt. 3, Eggsalad Sandwich & Blueberry Pie - July 3, 2011 / Black Cat Pt. 5, BLT - September 28, 2011

Village Pizzaria

The other night I met a girlfriend of mine at the Village Pizzeria on Larchmont, a girlfriend of mine that I speak to not as often as I like.  We ended up at the Village Pizzeria because it's delicious and affordable, the atmosphere comfortable and casual.  Unfortunately, afraid to seem rude I did not whip out my handy dandy camera as I usually do and snap away, so of course the next day I convinced Brother Charlie to have some pizza for lunch.

The walls are lined with framed photographs, apparently the owner of this small hole in the wall pizza joint is a big fan of baseball.

There are two-seaters along the side, and while the front of the pizzeria can only accomodate up to roughly 10 or 15 persons there is also additional seating outside.

Neon signs and available beer in the bottle and on tap is on display.

Brother Charlie ordered a 9" lunch combo which comes with a garden salad and a 9" pizza, he opts for ham and pineapple (AKA Hawaiian pizza).  The crust is thin but not crispy yet still firm enough to hold, the sauce is slightly sweet, the pizza here is absolutely fantastic!  I think I've found my favorite pizza joint in Los Angeles.

I have Yoga not too long after lunch and so opt for a salad thinking it'd be a tad bit lighter, I guess it might have been, just a tad bit.  I ordered the Antipasto salad:  romaine lettuce, sliced bell peppers, kalamata olives, feta cheese, artichoke, tomatoes, sliced salami.  This is the second salad I've had here so far, so far both times were fantastic!  Like I already said, I think I've found my favorite pizza joint in Los Angeles!

Here is Brother Charlie, I just want to ask, does he ever change his shirt???
I swear he's been wearing this over the past couple of weeks.

The Damage:  $20.00 -/+

1 Cola
1 Antipasto Salad
1 9" lunch combo with ham & pineapple

Village Pizzeria
131 N. Larchmont
LA CA 90004
(323) 465.5566

Your Place, the best Thai in Santa Barbara

Monday afternoon Mr. Borscht and I took leave of our relaxing long weekend in Big Sur and once again drove the familiar route back home along the coast, Hwy 1.  Lucia, Plaskett, Cambria, Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo, Pismo, "Bye bye all" I thought to myself as they whizzed by one by one.  By the time we were entering Santa Barbara it was dinner time, and Mr. Borscht and I did not have to debate where to go to fill our hungry tummies.  Your Place!

No not your place, Your Place.  Best thai in town, in Santa Barbara that is.  Mr. Borscht and I used to live in Santa Barbara for some years and would come to Your Place often, it was one of the few reasons we were sad to leave this beautiful yet boring town.

The sign in the entry way read 'Please wait to be seated', we waited.  The waitress who I'm sure is the daughter of the owner of this little thai restaurant recognized us immediately and said "hello", I would have been more enthusiastic about this little reunion but quite frankly I hadn't the energy and I couldn't feel my ass which was becoming a little worrisome at this point.

The decor is very Thai, or what I think to be very Thai and undoubtedly what everyone else thinks is very Thai.  The tables are already set with a caddy of hot peppers should you need any additional tangy spice for your entree.

We decided to order what we usually used to order, to start, the Thai BBQ Chicken.  Marinaded and then grilled and served with sweet & sour sauce.

I always add a bit of chili peppers on the chicken, delish.  Warning:  if you do not like slightly dry chicken forego this starter for the meat is a bit dry.

I do not feel like soup on such a warm day but Mr. Borscht has a thing for the coconut soup at Your Place and so orders a cup which is very much a bowl.  Sliced mushrooms, basil, bits of lemon grass, spicy oil, cilantro herb and of course, coconut milk.  The bowl can easily feed two comfortably and I'm amazed that Mr. Borscht has finished off the entire bowl himself.

One of our favorite dishes is the Chicken Eggplant dish that also includes sliced red bell peppers and basil, the sauce is brown and slightly sweet.  The chicken is good, not dry nor too moist, and the eggplant is soft and melt-in-your-mouth.

Next, Garlic Pepper Beef.  If you are a newcomer to Your Place the Garlic Pepper Beef is a must try, strips and chunks of beef marinaded in a garlic pepper sauce and topped with fresh cilantro, it is mouth watering.  Like it's name Garlic Pepper Beef tastes very much like garlic and pepper, this is my favorite dish at Your Place.

I see many people come in to Your Place and eat a whole single entree themselves and without any rice! Here's a couple of guidelines to eating at Your Place, this will make your experience much yummier:

1.  Eat family style with all entrees at the center of the table

2.  Eat rice with your entrees, on your plate top your rice with the entrees, 
everything will taste infinitely better

3.  You may drink tea during your meal, 
but make sure you drink a small tea-cup or two after you are done eating, 
this will help you digest

The Damage:  $46.17

Jasmine hot tea for 2
Thai BBQ Chicken App
Chicken Eggplant
Garlic Pepper Beef
Rice for 2

Your Place
22 North Milpas St #A
Santa Barbara CA 93103
(805) 966.5151


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...