Back to Reality

I fought the urge to go to Urth Caffe this morning and settled on a more appropriate 85 Degree Bakery in Old Town Pasadena, and enjoyed a cup of coffee with a small cranberry and cream cheese bread for breakfast today.

I saved about $20 compared to the mea culpa breakfast I had the other day. And that’s with additional goodies I picked up for my husband and my daughter!

I know this is hardly newsworthy but I just had to share my excitement with the world, or the 7 kind people that actually read my blog!

Breakfast Mea Culpa


I had a total, “oh crap,” mea culpa moment the other morning at Urth Caffe.  Just take a look at the receipt and please weep with (or for) me.  I just spent a whopping $26 on breakfast. Twenty six dollars! Seriously, who spends that much on breakfast FOR ONE, right?  I’m convinced that an Alien came down and temporarily took over my body when I was making my order.

Well, an Alien or not, the mistake was made.  And while the Nicoise Salad with smoked salmon nestled in lightly dressed bib lettuce was satisfying, it wasn’t worth as nearly as much in my opinion and I’m still regretting that I splurged so much on something I thought was mediocre, at best.


As I was walking away from the cash register feeling defeated, and with a significantly lighter wallet, I told myself that I will not be returning to Urth Caffe for a while.  I still love this place but it was time for me to reevaluate my spending.  As I was saying this to myself, a barista brought over my Moroccan Tea Latte with this foam art …


OMG, this is unreal. This has to be the cutest foam art I’ve ever seen. I’m convinced that Urth has some sort of technology where it detects customers that’s thinking about parting and lure them back with this cute-as-a-button puppy drink.

Darn you, Urth, darn youuuuuu!

Yes, I will be back next week.

Episode 1: One Minute Gourmet: Huckleberry Cafe

I have decided to combine my two obsessions – making short videos and dining out – and create a video series called “One Minute Gourmet.”

Each video will feature my dining experience, with footage of the restaurant interior, what I ordered, etc., in 60 seconds or less. It won’t be anything fancy but I hope you enjoy it!

Episode 1 features Huckleberry Cafe in Santa Monica. I wrote about the cafe back in 2011 and I still adore this place, four years later.  My favorite dish here is Lentil Ragu.  It’s pretty amazing, especially topped with its homemade hot sauce.

Without further ado, here’s the video!

Entourage and Urth Cafe

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Kevin and I watched Entourage (movie) earlier this summer. We used to be into the HBO show, aka Sex and the City for men, at one point in our lives but we lost interest at around Season 4 and we stopped watching it altogether.

We went to the movie anyway because we had gift certificates to iPic Theatre in Old Town Pasadena and it seemed like this was the kind of movie that we can watch care free, like, if we fall a sleep, we don’t have to kick ourselves afterward. The movie didn’t receive a raving review from the critic but I thought it was fun, and it was a nice way to catch up with our old buddies on the silver screen. It was also nice to see a cameo appearance by the Los Angeles Kings players, although I suspect that noone but Kings fans recognized them.

After we watched the film, Kevin and I decided to catch up on the rest of the TV show, so we purchased the remaining seasons on Amazon Prime and binge watched all the episodes that we had missed (which, by the way, became available for free on Amazon Prime Instant Video only a few weeks after we paid a pretty penny for each missed season. evil)

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One thing I noticed while salivating over Ari’s super hotness was how much those boys loved Urth Café! They frequented this organic coffee and tea house so much that it should have been the fifth character in the show. Well, the product placement totally worked because I’ve made a trip or two (well, four, but who’s counting?) to its Pasadena location in the last few months alone.  Here are the pictures from my last outing — Green Tea Latte and Egg Salmone.

And here are some from the other outing:

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Darn you boys!  This place is amazing but it ain’t cheap!

Magic Words: Bea Bea’s


The surest way to get me out of bed before noon on the weekend is for my husband to yell, “Bea Bea’s!” from the other room. I don’t usually see a day light until well past 10:00 a.m., (Saturday and Sunday are my days off from the toddler) but with those two magical words, I’m up, dressed, and ready to go.  Time is crucial since the only way to get a table at this super popular breakfast / lunch joint in Burbank without having to wait five hours is if we get there before 9:00 a.m.

The food there is worth it, especially the yummy smoked salmon plate. And I can always go back to bed. And I did.


Here’s Kevin’s Sicilian Omelet with corned beef, pastrami, mushrooms, basil, tomato, and parmesan cheese.

Breakfast in Crib: Nutella Crepe


Pon Pon recently celebrated her second week birthday! I still can’t believe how quickly time flies.  It seriously feels like it was only yesterday that I pushed the little munchkin out into this world!

Although the baby’s weight is back to the birth weight (which is a major milestone  biggrin ) and she is growing every day before our eyes, it’ll be at least another several weeks until she gets to go outside in the crowd. Unfortunately, this means that going out for weekend breakfast is out of the question … but there’s no need to cry over it. Instead of going out, we decided to bring the breakfast to our bed (not literally, of course, since our bed is now filled with swaddle blankets and all things baby) by whipping up a Bea Bea-inspired dishes at home!

And guess what? We saved about $40 by cooking at home, which can definitely kick start Pon Pon’s college fund … or not. lol


Nutella Crepe
(Makes about 4 large crepes)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1-1/2 cup milk
1 egg
Corn oil (or any oil with no flavor – I don’t recommend using olive oil for this)

Garnish (for one crepe):

Nutella (about 2 tablespoon for each crepe)
1 banana, sliced
1 strawberry, sliced
2 tablespoon, agave nectar, syrup, or honey
1 tablespoon powdered sugar


① Mix the flour and sugar in a bowl. Add milk and egg, and mix well with a whisk.

② Lightly oil the frying pan with corn oil over medium low heat. Scoop the batter onto the pan, and spread the batter evenly by tilting the pan while the batter is still thin.


③ Let the batter cook for about 1 minute, or until the surface is lightly golden. Flip and cook the other side for another minute or so. Remove the crepe from the pan and place it on a plate. Repeat steps ② and ③ three more times to make a total of four crepes.

④ Generously smear one side of crepe with Nutella. Fold the crepe into three, like folding a letter, and place it on the plate with folded side down.

⑤ Place the banana and strawberry slices on top of the crepe. Drizzle with agave nectar, and sprinkle powdered sugar.

The verdict:  I really liked the consistency of the crepe — bouncy without being tough and overly chewy.  There’s a perfect amount of sugar to make it subtly sweet but not too overwhelming.

This was inspired by a recipe from a Japanese site, Cookpad, where regular folks can submit their own recipe.  The recipe called for one cup milk but I found that it needed a little more liquid.  The crepe turned out a little like pancake with only one cup … so I added extra 1/2 cup to thin out the batter.  It got much better once I added the extra milk.

Eating crepes make me want to go back to Paris!


I made scrambled eggs with American cheese, with bacon on the side (we like to boil our bacon instead of frying them — I know, we’re strange) to go with the crepes.

We had to spring forward one hour for Daylight Savings Time this morning.  Oh boy, do I miss that one hour we had …  cry

Italian Sausage and Brie Frittata


After getting pampered by my incredibly kind and supportive husband who cooked, cleaned and nursed me back to life after returning from the hospital (as well as change the baby’s diapers and swaddle her after each feeding like a champion that he is), I decided to return the favor by cooking him a hearty breakfast.

I had some good Brie and Italian sausages hidden in the refrigerator (since I could not eat them during pregnancy) so I decided to toss them into a Dutch oven and make a frittata! I love Le Creuset because I can cook everything on the stove top and throw it into the oven, without having to transfer everything into an oven-safe casserole dish! These days, a quick and easy cooking is the only way to go!

Italian Sausage and Brie Frittata
(Serves 4)


1 head of broccoli
1 medium onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 tablespoon garlic, finely chopped
3 large tomatoes, diced
10 eggs
¼ cup milk
2 Italian sausages (you can dice, or remove the meat from the casing)
4 oz Brie, or your favorite soft cheese, chopped into small pieces
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
3 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
Olive oil
Salt and pepper


① Pre-heat the oven to 375 degree F. Beat eggs and milk in a bowl and set aside.

② Sauté Italian sausage, broccoli, onion, and carrots with olive oil in a Dutch oven, over medium heat, until slightly tender. Add garlic. Salt and pepper to taste.

③ Add Brie into the egg mixture and pour it into the Dutch oven and cook for about 25 minutes in medium-low heat. Gently mix the egg mixture with vegetables. Be careful not to make it into a scramble egg and burn the bottom.

④ The egg should be slightly cooked on the side and bottom. Add tomatoes (I like to add the them at the end so that they keep their shape and texture) and Parmesan cheese and put the Dutch oven in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until the eggs are completely cooked. Sprinkle parsley and serve with toasts.

The verdict:  I thought the frittata was delicious! It was very hearty and satisfying, thanks to all the delicious vegetables packed into this dish!  I especially liked that I can use any leftover veggies and meats sitting in the refrigerator for this, which makes it perfect for the much needed fridge cleanup.  I would love to make one with mushrooms, cauliflowers, spinach and perhaps corns next time.

Newfound Love for Breakfast: Bea Bea’s


Kevin and I had a craving for some thick, juicy steak last night but instead of rushing to the nearest steakhouse, we went to a grocery store and picked up ingredients to make a wonderful weekend dinner for two at home. We ended up getting four pieces of flavorful New York steaks, two potatoes, a bag of string beans, zucchini, and a gallon of ice cream for less than $10 per person (with lots of leftovers). This decision saved us a good $80 total. As a reward, we decided to treat ourselves to extravagant breakfast the next day.

We’ve been eyeing on Bea Bea’s in Burbank for weeks now, ever since Kevin found this lovely breakfast join tucked away in a suburban shopping center on Yelp. We attempted to eat there not too long ago, but the line was too long so we had to go elsewhere. This time, we got there early enough around 9:00 a.m. and got seated right away when we arrived.  We got really lucky!


I always ponder on a question – whether a person can change. I’m a believer that one can suppress certain tendencies (like addictions) with some serious effort and the willingness to change, but it’s very difficult to eliminate or “cure” them altogether. One’s taste and preference, however, can be changed more easily if the influence for the change is greater than the reason for one’s likes or dislikes. For instance, I was never a fan of breakfast. Eggs, potatoes, and toasts are okay, but they were never enticing enough for me to want to get up early in the morning to eat, especially on precious weekends. But being married to a breakfast lover and the fun that accompanies the time spent over weekend breakfast eventually made me fall in love with omelets, hash browns, and getting out of bed early. I now look forward to exploring new places for breakfast with my husband!

Our new favorite is Bea Bea’s. For a very casual coffee shop, the price is pretty high. Pancakes and Crepes were each more than $10 per plate, and the breakfast plates cost the upward of $15. But boy, were they worth it! Because of the price, this is probably not the place that we can dine very single Saturday, but we’ll definitely be back for some more early morning goodness. The service was quick and the food was exceptional.

Here’s what we enjoyed:


Strawberry, banana, and Nutella Crepe to share.


Spicy Spring Omelet for me.


House Quesadilla Omelet for Kevin.


Cheers to a great weekend, everyone!

Sunday Breakfast: Larchmont Bungalow


Kevin and I had Sunday breakfast at Larchmont Bungalow in the lovely mid-city neighborhood with even lovelier friends Matt, Liz, and Baby E . The last time I saw Liz, she was still pregnant with Baby E. Thirteen short months later, Baby E grew up to be an adorable little boy who walks and eats solid food!biggrin


It’s amazing how fast babies grow up. In a mere year, an infant who you bring home from the hospital, fresh out of the mommy’s womb, grows into a toddler, and in the blink of the eyes, leaves home to go to college. Veteran parents always advise us newbies to enjoy and savor every minute we spend with our children because they grow up so fast. Watching the little Baby E blossom into a little person made me realize how true that is, and how precious each second is to parents.


The breakfast was fabulous.  This is the first time in my life that I’m not overly concerned about the amount of calories I consume, especially during this time of the year when the world is attempting to kick-start a healthier lifestyle as part of the New Year’s resolutions. I do try to be careful that I eat a balanced diet for me and the baby, of course, but I don’t beat myself up if I eat something wacky and perhaps unhealthy, like Red and Blue Velvet Pancakes, once in a while, which, by the way, were completely bizarre but surprisingly delicious.

I’m also extremely thankful for the ever-shrinking stomach. Now that Pon Pon is starting to push against my insides, I can’t eat as much as I want to, which helps me control my consumption. It’s like having a natural gastric bypass to shrink my stomach.


Here’s the Seafood Lover’s Omelet that I ordered, packed with lobster, shrimp, and fresh blue crab, with a side of green salad and pumpernickel toasts. It was pretty pricey at $14.95 but I enjoyed every bite of it.


Kevin had the Meat Sensation Omelet.

If there’s a place like Larchmont Bungalow in our neighborhood, I’ll be there every day!  It was a perfect Sunday morning spent with wonderful friends and a precious little munchkin, over great good … and it wasn’t even 11:00 a.m. yet!

Urth Cafe and Les Miserables


Kevin and I enjoyed our Saturday morning breakfast at Urth Café in West Hollywood today. We were in the neighborhood to attend a free private screening of the movie, Les Miserables, at Pacific Design Center and stopped by this popular cafe for a quick bite before we headed over to the show.

It’s been a while since I last visited this particular location — before HBO’s Entourage made it more popular than it already was.  We were able to find seats quickly because it was still early, but the place was already packed with families and LA actor- and writer-types at 9:00 a.m.


I ordered the grilled vegetable omelets


… and Kevin ordered the beef hash plate.

I think I like the lunch selections better than breakfast (panini sandwiches, salads, soups, etc.) but the eggs and a side salad were pretty good. I didn’t order my favorite Spanish Latte but got the hot coco instead. I hate to tell you but it was pretty bland and tasteless. I was surprised because all its other coffee drinks are usually phenomenal.

IMG_3336Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” I love this quote and I’ve experienced this to hold true in many occasions in my life – big and small. I believe that when you really want something and if the intentions are good, the stars somehow align in your favor. It’s the universe’s way of letting you know that you’re on the right path.

Well, the universe aligned today! I’m a huge fan of the musical, Les Miserables, and I’ve been dying to watch the new movie that is due out on Christmas day.

And from somewhere, somehow, the tickets to a free screening of the movie mysteriously landed on our laps! Okay, it wasn’t a real mystery as to where they came from (thank you, Kevin’s boss!) but the fact that they came to us is much more than a happy coincidence!

I’m not going to bore you with my detailed thoughts on the movie except to say that it’s brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. It’s difficult to translate the intensity of the stage onto a screen, but this amazing ensemble of casts (the best casting I’ve ever seen) does it flawlessly. Expect to walk away surprised, touched, and delighted, and fall in love with Les Miserable for the first time or all over again.  I predict Oscar nominations and possible wins for Hugh Jackman and especially Anne Hathaway.

I really think the hard core Les Mis musical fanatics will walk away satisfied, knowing that the justice has been done to the much loved original version. I’m so going to go see the movie many more times when it opens in two weeks!

My favorite musical + my favorite actor (Russell Crowe) = 2-1/2 hours of pure awesomeness.razz