Eat California!

Ok when you are out of town you want to experience the flavor of the area, right? One of the last things I want to do when I’m away is cook. And since my blog is kinda foodcentric I would like to share some of the interesting places we went to eat while we were in LA.

First, Jerry took us to Bru’s Wiffle a waffle joint right in the heart of downtown Santa Monica that serves all kinds of interesting waffles, burgers, salads and more. Everything is made from scratch and the portions are huge so bring your appetite! We had chicken and waffles, Bru’s favorite breakfast and a breakfast burrito all VERY good and an amazing drink called the Sunrise, which was a combination of fresh squeezed orange, grapefruit, and carrot juice with a hint of ginger. A wonderful way to start the day. We would definitely go back!

Sprinkles

Sprinkles

Next we took a little trip to CBS Studios and watched the taping of The Late Late Show with James Cordon, so much fun! Then we ended up at The Grove and went to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner, everything was great, absolutely  delicious!  Of course, I had to have some cheesecake, you can’t go to the Cheesecake Factory and not have cheesecake, right? I ordered the turtle cheesecake, it was worth all the extra calories! And while at The Grove we had to pick up a few cupcakes for later at the iconic Sprinkles. We ordered the green tea, the chocolate coconut, the s’more, and chia cupcakes.  I must admit, they were all wonderful but my favorite had to be the chia cupcake, of course you know I am addicted to chia!!!

Norms

Norms

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The next morning we were heading to Fox Studios for Jerry to give us a tour, so we stopped at Norms for breakfast, a down home diner kinda feel. Speaking of diners, we went to Mel’s Diner, one night, after strolling on the Hollywood walk of fame, it seemed fitting! It felt like we were transported back in time! I am not a huge burger fan but I ordered the sliders and the one made with the grass fed beef was amazing!

Pho So 1

Pho So 1

Ok I had heard of Pho, a Vietnamese comfort food, on TV and it was one of my goals to find some out here on the west coast. I have never had it, and all I knew was that it was some kind of noodle soup. Now Jerry and Scott are not quite as adventurous as I am when it comes to trying new foods, so I kinda had to put my foot down! They are pushovers when it comes to me, so I got my way and we went to Pho So 1. It was everything I had hoped for, fresh, delicious, and comforting.  The guys even had to admit they enjoyed it and would eat it again. Yummy, I wish I had some right now! Then off to the La Brea Tar Pits for the rest of the afternoon!

So the next day Scott and I were on our own, Jerry had to work. We went out to find some adventure. We spoke to Elizabeth at the Brentwood Inn, she was awesome! Hooked us up with Uber and suggested a few things we could do. She also told us about a wonderful little restaurant, her husband owned, called Cha Cha Chicken. So we took Uber to the Santa Monica Pier and walked to Venice Beach. Met some amazing artists, bought some cool art, and spent some time people watching. As we were heading back, we were not sure where we were and we were getting mighty hungry! On a whim, we decided to turn and head down this random street, and to our surprise there it was…Cha Cha Chicken! A colorful beach shack with an island flare and wonderful Caribbean food! They are famous for their coconut chicken, yum! They have sandwiches, wraps, salads, and more. I loved the plantains and the watermelon Aqua fresca was so refreshing!

The next day we started off at an elegant boulangerie cafe called La Pain Quotidien. I absolutely loved it! Fresh bakery smells and wonderful atmosphere. They create their menu around seasonal, organic ingredients, which is right up my ally! The food was delicious, felt like I was in Brussels! We ended the day at the Hollywood Bowl with the LA philharmonic orchestra playing the Bugs Bunny symphony! What an amazing evening!

The next day we spent boogie boarding at the Santa Monica beach and strolling down Rodeo Drive. By the evening we were ready for some stick to your ribs kinda food and Scott suggested  BBQ. What? Do they even do BBQ in California? Well despite much joking we found one named Holy Cow and holy cow it was good!

One last place I want to mention is Barneys Gourmet Hamburgers in Brentwood not your typical burger joint. If you are in the mood for a really good burger and truffle french fries, go! You won’t be disappointed!

Barneys

Barneys

Waffle!

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Ok let me just say I am a very health conscious eater. I always try to eat fresh produce and cook with the healthiest, freshest ingredients I can find. Actually my preferred style of cooking is produce based and healthy. I shop local and love the farm to table and slow food movements. I even grow a lot of my own! I am a cook and I hate going out and paying high prices for something that I can make better myself. I fancy myself as a bit of a foodie, I really enjoy healthy deliciuosly prepared food. Even as a child I almost never ate any fast food. Sure I am human and every so often I crave a little junk food, but for the most part, it is not my thing.

So, and I don’t blame them, my friends think I am crazy when I tell them I love a good breakfast at The Waffle House. Now I know it’s not health food and I know it’s loaded with carbs and high in fat but I really do enjoy eating there sometimes. They do offer some lighter options on the menu. I enjoy a good breakfast but I am not always in the mood to get up and start cooking, and breakfast meals seem to require lots of pans and mess. Unless I have a lot of time on my hands I usually just make something quick. So breakfast is my favorite meal to eat out. My friends say ” oh I can’t believe YOU eat there “and they call it the awful house. But honestly the one near my house is always very clean and you know the food is being cooked right in front of you. You can watch them prepare your meal just for you, nothing heated up in the microwave or left over from last night! Since I have worked in the restaurant industry I enjoy watching how efficiently the staff operates, it is like a little assembly line!  I love a good omlete and hash browns. The atmosphere is always upbeat and friendly, always a warm greeting when you walk in the door, also an interesting place to people watch, and the prices aren’t bad either.

Apparently, I’m not alone there are 2100 locations in 25 states in the United States. Most of the locations are in the southeast where the chain remains a cultural icon. The first one opened on Labor Day weekend in 1955 in Georgia. The “Yellow Sign” soon became a familiar landmark. The juke box plays a variety of Waffle House songs, how many restaurants do you know that have songs written about them? They are open 24 hours a day 365 days a year which inspired urban myths such as “Waffle House doors have no locks.” A unique American phenomenon started as just an idea between two guys to serve “GOOD FOOD FAST.” And just a fun fact, since 1955 they have served over 2,501,866,574 eggs so I certainly can’t be the only one that likes a good Waffle House breakfast!

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