Los Angeles Brunch Time: The Church Key

Los Angeles Brunch Time: The Church Key

Recently for a friend’s birthday brunch, I ended up in West Hollywood at The Church Key; this restaurant is a bit outside of my normal geographical stomping ground. I had never heard of the Church Key before, and I was excited to try a new restaurant for brunch; it’s always good to a have a few different restaurants in your arsenal to pick from. To start off, we got the Brioche Donuts. They have a Brown Butter Glaze with a dribbling of Cinnamon Caramel. They were amazing, and something I definitely will get again. Then on the more savory side, we got the Toad in the Hole “Croque Madame.” It comes with two eggs, gruyere fondue, and smoked bacon. It honestly hit the spot to balance out the sweetness from the donuts.

For my entrée, I got the “Another” Avocado Toast. It comes on sourdough with house citrus cured salmon, fennel, oranges, and chives. I added the fried egg added to the dish for extra protein. I loved how all of the different flavors mixed together to make this avocado toast 100% not another basic avocado toast. The combination of flavors in this entrée make it more for someone who’s willing to be adventurous in their food choices, because not everyone loves fennel, but it was truly delicious and worth trying. For the amount of food, you get, I would say that $15 for this delectable entrée is perfectly fine.

 

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Another perk of going to the Church Key, is that they have a great mimosa deal and are very attentive. You get unlimited mimosas for $15.95 vs. $10 for one mimosa- definitely a deal.  They make sure that you always have a full mimosa and if they run out, then they give you other options. For drink service, they have some of the best service I’ve ever experienced. I highly recommend the food and drinks at The Church Key. Bon Appetit!

Chef Time #3: 3 Rounds with Instafood

Chef Time #3: 3 Rounds with Instafood

Honestly, I thought, “how hard is it to bake an egg in an avocado?!” One day, I fell into the deep abyss of Instagram looking at food I would want to cook. I stumbled upon a picture of an egg baked in an avocado. Immediately, I knew that this was the next dish I wanted to master. I found a recipe on All Recipes for egg baked in avocado. In the Instagram pictures, I stumbled upon, and the picture on All Recipes, it looked so effortless to make; however, this was not my experience.

The first time I tried to make it, I didn’t scoop out enough avocado and the egg part over flowed. Also, this happened because I didn’t balance the avocado, so I ended up folding up tin foil and wedging it under the avocado to keep it balanced.

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The avocado over flowing problem also happened the second time I baked the egg in an avocado. This time it happened inside the oven, so I’m thinking the heat affected the baking pan and made it bend or something.

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The third time was the charm. I got my avocados balanced and nothing over flowed. YAY!!!

The lesson I learned from this cooking endeavor was that seeing things on Instagram and thinking that they’ll be perfect the first time you cook them isn’t true. You need to try something a few times, and learn all the hacks associated with cooking the meal.

Here’s the recipe from All Recipes for Baked Eggs in Avocado:

Ingredients

  • 2 small eggs
  • 1 avocado, halved and pitted
  • Any seasoning you want to use

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  2. Crack the eggs into a bowl, being careful to keep the yolks intact.
  3. Arrange avocado halves in a baking dish, resting them along the edge so avocado won’t tip over. Gently spoon 1 egg yolk into the avocado hole. Continue spooning egg white into the hole until full. Repeat with remaining egg yolk, egg white, and avocado. Season as you please.
  4. Gently place baking dish in the preheated oven and bake until eggs are cooked, about 15 minutes.

This is a super easy meal to cook (once you know the hacks for it), and it’s really healthy! Let me know some of your cooking tips below!

Happy Cooking 🙂

Ktown Hidden Gems #2: CottonHi

Ktown Hidden Gems #2: CottonHi

 

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As I mentioned in Ktown Hidden Gems #1, one of my favorite things about Koreatown is that just by walking around you discover so many different places and learn so many different things about where you live. Recently, I discovered CottonHi, which is an organic cotton candy and soft serve dessert place a few blocks away from where I live. The dessert is amazing, and what adult doesn’t love cotton candy?! Seriously- it instantly makes my day better. I’ve had the Tiramisu and Rock’n Pop soft serve cups with coffee flavor cotton candy (it really does taste like coffee). All of the soft serve desserts are under $5; I love an affordable and delicious dessert. CottonHi is always busy when I’ve gone, but the wait is short and you can always get a seat.

If you’re ever in Koreatown in Los Angeles and you’re looking for a unique dessert place, you definitely need to check out CottonHi!

Beginner’s Guide to Nashville

Beginner’s Guide to Nashville

This past weekend, I escaped Los Angeles and headed to Nashville for the long weekend to celebrate my birthday with 207foodie. We didn’t really know what to expect, but we had a great time the five days we were there.

Here are the must- dos for visiting Nashville:

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Pork Sandwich and Fries
  • Try BBQ! Seriously, how can you go to the land of BBQ and not have some?! We went to Edley’s Bar-B-Que, and I got the Pork Sandwich, basket of fries with the most amazing seasoning ever, and to drink I had the Oh Honey. All of them were amazing, and the pork sandwich might be the best pulled pork sandwich that I have ever had.

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  • YOU MUST BRUNCH! We had no idea that brunch was such a big deal in Nashville before our trip, and by the time that we left we were brunched out. On Saturday, we went to Biscuit Love, and it was AMAZING! We split the Bonuts, East Nasty, and Egg Plate…all of which are to die for and will make you have the highest brunch standards for future brunches…nothing will live up to your brunch expectations once you go to Biscuit Love. I also ordered an Iced coffee which rounded off the most perfect meal ever. There typically is a long line on the weekend, but it really does move fast, so don’t get discouraged.

On Sunday, we went to Urban Cookhouse for brunch. This time our goal was a filling brunch, but not as intense as Biscuit Love. We both ordered the pancakes, a cup of fruit, and the Strawberry Lemonade Mimosa. It was simple, but delicious. They have a nice porch to eat on, and it was relaxing to be able to eat outside and just enjoy the Sunday morning weather.

  • Go out! Nashville night life is like no other city I have ever been to. The first bar we went to was McCabe’s Pub, and they have a great late night happy hour and beers are super cheap! Another bar we went to was The Gold Rush, I got a cider and chicken tenders and fries. The food was good, the bartender was really nice, and the kitchen is open late! This is a huge plus because we skipped dinner and sometimes you just need a late-night meal.fullsizeoutput_9b9
  • Go to the Grand Ole Opry! Even though I’m not a huge fan of country music, and I definitely don’t know older country music; I appreciate experiencing historical places and learning new things. The Grand Ole Opry is the longest running radio show- the live show is played over the air and the host really makes it sound like you’re listening to the radio even if you’re in the audience. Hearing the different types of music was cool, and I’m glad I went and learned more about the history of country music.

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  • Take pictures at the murals around the city! There are TONS of murals around the city, and you can find the addresses for the more famous ones online, but you definitely stumble upon cool ones while you’re walking around. The Gulch and 12 South have some unique ones, and it makes walking around more fun because you’re taking in everything the city has to offer.

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  • Do a Nashville Peddle Tavern tour! I think that doing peddle tavern tours is a fun way to explore a city, and experience the night life. Peddle tavern tours usually take you to three or four bars, and you have to peddle from one location to another. This way you get exercise and experience the city! They usually take you to historic or off the beaten path bars, and you get to experience places that locals usually go to and not tourists.

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  • Finally, hit up the restaurant scene! Nashville has a diverse restaurant scene, and you can find basically anything you want. We went to Fin and Pearl for seafood, and it was amazing! We loved the Dip appetizer and salmon entrée, both had amazing flavors. Another restaurant we ventured to was, Marsh House. I loved the three types of oysters I got for an appetizer, the Sweet Jesus, Wellfleet Petite, and Bama Beauty, and the Squid Ink Garganelli was an amazing entrée too.

We stayed in an Airbnb and I think that they are great way to experience a city, you get a feel for that specific neighborhood and what’s around it. I suggest trying to walk around the city as much as possible, because it allows you to notice things you wouldn’t see in a car (like hidden murals!). There are tons of Uber and Lyft cars in Nashville, and the drivers are super friendly and the rides are cheap (compared to Portland, ME and Los Angeles, CA). If you’re looking for a great weekend getaway, then Nashville is a great city for you to visit!

Bon voyage!

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Chicago’s Hidden Gluten Free Cafe

Chicago’s Hidden Gluten Free Cafe

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When you think of food in Chicago, you typically think of meat and potatoes, not a gluten free café. When one of my friends took me to Wheat’s End in December, I was in awe that such a place existed and that it was absolutely delicious. Before I went to Wheat’s End I knew that certain brands of gluten free products were good, and that items on a restaurant menu could be decent, but I never expected to crave gluten free food. I have a pretty sensitive stomach and I recently decided to cut out as much gluten as possible to see if that helped keep things calm; I also can’t have a lot of dairy or rich foods.

When we went to Wheat’s End, I decided to have a yolo moment and order and eat anything I wanted to. To start off our feast I ordered a mimosa and a soy latte, because you can’t have brunch without a mimosa and coffee. Next we each got a Popover with mushroom gravy, which was AMAZING! I couldn’t tell that I was eating gluten free, and the gravy perfect- it wasn’t rich and had the right balance of mushrooms and gravy. We split the breakfast potatoes and nitrate free bacon (probably some of the best bacon I’ve ever had). To top off our meal we split a pumpkin cinnamon roll, which hit the spot. It tasted and had the same consistency of a non-gluten free cinnamon roll, and the pumpkin flavor made it the perfect cinnamon roll.

During this meal had more food than I typically eat in two meals, and I didn’t feel stuffed or like I over ate. The food was amazing, and I have been dreaming of it since December and I can’t wait to go back in April! If you’re gluten free and live or are traveling to Chicago, then you definitely need to go to (or live at) Wheat’s End!

Let’s Talk About Goats

Let’s Talk About Goats

2016 was a big year for the City of Chicago and goats. The Cubs FINALLY WON THE WORLD SERIES, breaking the curse of the Billy Goat, and it was the year I discovered Girl and the Goat and Little Goat.

Girl and the Goat

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During my time home, I went to Girl and the Goat with my BFF and her BF, and it was probably my favorite foodie adventure with her. When we initially sat down, it was 10:15pm, and we were just eating dinner. Seriously who eats dinner at that hour- my parents thought we were crazy, but the craze about this restaurant was worth the late dinner time. I immediately noticed the vibe of the restaurant, modern but comfortable, and I knew I was going to like it. Our waiter was probably the most helpful waiter I’ve ever had, he thoroughly walked us through the menu and marked his favorite dishes under each category. This made the experience for two newbies much more pleasant and less overwhelming.

We ended up ordering the Sautéed Green Beans, Roasted Cauliflower, Escargot Ravioli, Pig Face, Goat Belly, and Caramel Corn and Malt Balls and the Dark Matter Pot De Crème for dessert. All the food was AMAZING! Every bite is designed to please each taste bud, and balance each type of flavor (sweet, salty, bitter, etc.). I have never enjoyed each bite of a meal like this before, so it was worth it to wait until 10:15pm to eat. For the amount of food, we ordered and one drink per person, the bill was quite reasonable- which surprised us! Since I loved this experience so much, I made it my goal to go to Little Goat when I came home for the Holidays in December.

Little Goat

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Flash-forward a few weeks, and I’m back in Chicago, and ready for my next exciting dinning adventure. This time my friend and I went to Little Goat, which has more of a rustic diner feel. We arrived a bit early, and went to the bar on the other side of the restaurant to wait. I got the Moscow Goat and my friend got a Pinot Noir. The menu at Little Goat is even more overwhelming/expansive since they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I knew that we had to get the Tempura Mashed Potatoes, but really had no idea for how to tackle the menu. We decided to each find an entrée and then we found some sides that we were intrigued by and just selected three. We ordered the Bi Bim Bop Breakfast Bowl, Bull’s Eye French Toast, Tempura Mashed Potatoes, Goat Chili Cheese Fries, and the Hot Crab Dip.

Everything at Little Goat felt more like eating creatively made and presented comfort food. It was delicious and we definitely over ordered for two people. I would say my two favorite items at Little Goat were the Bull’s Eye French Toast and the Goat Chili Cheese Fries. I loved the combination of flavors in the Bull’s Eye French Toast- sweet, salty, and savory all in one bite. As for the Goat Chili Cheese Fries- I a) had never had goat on fries before b) loved how all the flavors just made one amazing bite. Little Goat is also affordable- just make sure you don’t over order 🙂

If you’re going to be traveling or live in Chicago- I highly suggest that you make reservations at one or both restaurants. If you want to go to Girl and the Goat at a normal time, then you definitely need to book it months in advance. Both restaurants have amazing food, and I suggest that you pick one based off either your desire to try something completely different or if you want more unique comfort food. Happy Eating!

Boozy Brunch

One of my favorite weekend pastimes is meeting friends for brunch. Last weekend I went to a place in Los Angeles called Messhall. I’ve been a few times, but this time was by far my favorite. First of all, the outdoor seating is super nice and they specifically sat us under a heating lamp to make sure we stayed warm. They also have small pit fires at some of the table to keep you warm. To start off our never ending meal, we spilt an amazing doughnut. It was fresh out of the oven, and they only made a few.

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Doughnut 🙂

My favorite part of brunch are the beverages, seriously, I love all of the refreshing and light brunch drinks. Typically, I’ll get a mimosa, because who doesn’t love them?! However, this time I decided to expand my horizons and I got the French 75. I picked the version with Gin because that sounded more refreshing and I loved it.  The French 75 has Gin or Cognac, champagne, lemon, and sugar. It paired nicely with the doughnut and my coffee. When you order a cup of hot coffee at Messhall, its Stumptown, so it has a rich strong coffee taste.

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Coffee & French 75

For my main course, I got the Pumpkin Pancakes. Usually, I am a plain pancake kinda girl, but since I was in the mood for trying new things, I went and tried the most basic menu item. The Pumpkin Pancakes were just as light and fluffy as their regular ones, and I love the flavor the pumpkin gave them. The pancakes come with candied pecans and marscapone whipped butter. I definitely plan on getting the Pumpkin Pancakes again!

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Pumpkin Pancakes w/candied pecans and marscapone whipped butter

Other perks of Messhall are the amazing staff, I haven’t had a single server or hostess who was ever rude, which I think is a great component of this restaurant. Also, the feeling of the restaurant is super relaxing, everyone from groups of friends to families dine there. The atmosphere in general is very calm, and feels a bit rustic. Finally, valet parking is only $5, which is a steal in Los Angeles! I highly recommend Messhall to anyone looking for a calm place to brunch in Los Angeles 🙂

 

SoCal Foodie

When people think of SoCal, most people don’t think about all of the delicious food that exists in Los Angeles. Seriously, one of the best parts of living here is all of the amazing food, and I love trying new places. The first place I love is one I’ve already blogged about, Salt and Straw. I am mildly obsessed with it, and I think they have the best ice cream I’ve ever had. Once December rolled around, I had to try their December flavors. I got the Peppermint Cocoa and Butter Roasted Chestnut, but I loved all of the samples I tried.

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Peppermint Cocoa and Butter Roasted Chestnut

Another one of my go to places is In-N-Out. I don’t eat beef, but I love their Grilled Cheese, Milkshakes, and Animal Style Fries. I think the Grilled Cheese at In-N-Out is one of the best I have ever had, so everyone should try it.

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When I want Mexican Food, I have two go to places. One of them is Malo, which is located in Silverlake. I like this restaurant because they have some unique taco options. I really like the Mashed Potato Tacos. Since I don’t eat beef, I enjoy finding good options that I can eat at restaurants. This past time, I tried the fish tacos, which were delicious as well.

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Mashed Potato Taco, Fish Taco, White Wine Sangria, and Chips and Salsa

If you live in SoCal or are visiting Los Angeles anytime soon, I highly recommend each of these places!

Sometimes I Can Cook…

Since I graduated from graduate school, I have been trying to learn how to cook more. One of the dishes I wanted to master was stir fry with chow mein. This past attempt was my best one, and I was extremely surprised based on my track record. For the stir-fry, I used chicken, mushrooms, bean sprouts, chopped white onions, and water chestnuts. I cooked the chicken in a bit of garlic olive oil and teriyaki sauce. Then I cooked the vegetables in soy sauce. Then I mixed in the chicken with the cooked vegetables. In a separate pot, I made the chow mein. Overall, cooking this meal took about 15 mins and it was simply delicious. I encourage anyone who is cooking challenged to attempt making stir-fry. Bon Appetite!

 

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Savory Sushi

Yesterday night, I tried a new sushi restaurant called Tsuri. It is located in West Hollywood, and it is phenomenal. I started with the Scallops and Unagi sashimi, and both were flavorful and made perfectly. For my main dish, I had the Alba Alba Roll. It has albacore, a garlic ponzu sauce, and cooked onions on top. The roll was amazing, but it was spicier than the server said it was. I cannot handle eating spicy food, so it was a bit of a struggle for me to eat it.

My cousin got the spicy tuna and California Rolls, and she loved both of them. All of the ingredients in the rolls we ordered tasted very fresh, and we loved our meals. I highly recommend this quaint and delicious restaurant.

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Scallops and Unagi Sashimi

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Alba Alba Roll