Magic Words: Bea Bea’s

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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.

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

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Newfound Love for Breakfast: Bea Bea’s

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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!

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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:

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Strawberry, banana, and Nutella Crepe to share.

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Spicy Spring Omelet for me.

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House Quesadilla Omelet for Kevin.

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Cheers to a great weekend, everyone!

Wedding Dress Alterations

The wedding dress Serj perfected!

We are almost at a two-month mark since Kevin and I said our “I do’s” in front of the Stanley Cup winning Los Angeles Kings mascot, Baily (LOVE the sound fo that), and 100 of our dear friends and family. Excuse my cliché but it truly is amazing how quickly time flies. It seems like it was just yesterday that I walked down the aisle … yet, on the other hand, it feels like forever (in a blissful way) that we’ve been married. I seriously don’t remember my life before Kevin.

Many people ask me if things have changed since I went from being single to the other half of the amazing twosome … and I have only one answer for them: it’s been the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I’m not sure if I can say the same for my husband, however. It seems like he has more work to do now – cooking, cleaning, and, of course, going on wine purchasing runs for this needy wife!

I’ve been meaning to write reviews for vendors who helped make our dreams into reality, but life got in the way … but now, I’m determined to give credit where credit is due. So, for the next few weeks, I’ll write reviews for each of the vendor who did a magical job. I’ve heard horror stories about how vendors ripped the couples off, or didn’t do the job that they promised. We got incredibly lucky because every single one of our vendors turned out to be incredible … not just incredible but simply the best in their chosen field.

The first hero that I’d like to showcase is my wedding dress alteration guru, Serj, from Serj Costumes and Tailoring in Burbank.

I was happy with my dress purchasing experience but when the dress arrived, it come way too big. I guess that’s a pleasant surprise for a soon-to-be bride but still, the dress needed some major tweaking to make it fit my body properly. I found Serj on Yelp and decided to go with him because 1. he had amazing reviews, and 2. his shop was just a hop and a skip from my place, and boy, am I glad I did. Because of my work schedule, I had to reschedule our meetings a several times but he was so kind and flexible about it. He was incredibly accommodating and never made me feel guilty for pulling a bridezilla on him.

His shop is clean, calming, and serene. There are no fabric pieces or threads on the floor anywhere, and I appreciated that. Serj is soft spoken and a real gentleman … very attentive and listened very closely to my needs. He explained exactly what he was going to do with the dress and the reasons behind the alternation cost. I never felt like I was being ripped off – at all. I have to admit that wedding alternations are not cheap but with Serj and his mad skills, I would have happily paid a million bucks.

I worked with Serj and another seamstress lady. Although I had no idea what there were saying when they were talking in Armenian, I felt comfortable. She and I didn’t have a real conversation, I ended up liking her very much!

On my third and final fitting, I was asked to bring a pair of shoes that I would wear to the wedding, so that they can get a proper hem measurement. I didn’t have the chance to go buy a new pair so I brought a pair of pretty, but not so special black heels. When Serj saw the shoes, he said this to me: “The shoes are nice, but they look like you’re going to someone else’s wedding, and not your own.”

I don’t think I’ve ever been so impressed with the way someone phrased an advice in such a non-judgmental way. He could have easily said that the pair is not appropriate for the occasion, but he selected well-chosen words that got the point across, without hurting my feelings! That’s when I knew that I’ve hit the jackpot with Serj.

I ended up with this pair of Basgley and Mischka shoes, thanks for Serj!

I know that I made a short story long, but in conclusion, the dress came out to perfection. I couldn’t have been more happy with the way it fit. It truly made me feel like a princess! I highly recommend Serj Costumes and Tailoring for anyone looking to transform the wedding dress into one of a kind. Serj worked in the entertainment industry before opening his own shop so you can see pictures of celebrity clienteles that he’d dressed on the wall.

Thank you, Serj, for making me feel like a princess at the wedding!

Serj Costumes and Tailoring
1707 W Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, CA 91506
★★★★★

Full O’ Life

Breakfast (10:00 a.m.): Smoked salmon sandwich (with onion but no avocado this time) and a cup of coffee with creamer and agave nectar for breakfast. I was bummed that my morning conference call got cancelled today.  I was actually looking forward to this call (it was a staff meeting) since I haven’t talked to some of my teammates in a while. I would hate for it to be March already when we finally exchange the Happy New Year greeting. Oh, the joy of a virtual team!

Lunch (1:30 p.m.): Met up with friend Noelle for lunch at Full O’ Life Natural Food Markets and Restaurant in Burbank. I’ve shopped there before but never ate there so I was really excited. I was also excited to see my former Yahoo colleague to catch up! We had a really great conversation over the salmon plate that I ordered, that came with dinner salad and baked yam. It was a little pricy at about $14.00 (for such a small portion) but it was really delicious.

Dinner (7:30 p.m.): Smoked salmon, onion, and avocado salad and a piece of ciabatta bread for dinner … and two glasses of wine with my sister.  I was having so much fun with her that I forgot to take photos.

Workout:  I worked out with my sister at a neighborhood park / baseball field today. My legs started cramping up so I wasn’t able to do some of the moves and I was extremely bummed.sadI really need to shed some excess weight so I’m not putting too much pressure on my legs and back. A minimum of one hour cardio from now until the Los Angeles Marathon and the wedding … it’s the trainer’s order!

Haircut:  I don’t know what came over me but I cut my bangs the other night in the bathroom. I’m not sure what to think about my new hair-do just yet. I think I was a bit depressed last week because it was my birthday week. Birthdays are meant to be a celebration but I get a little emotional during this time of year. And I missed the dinner party that my parents planned for me last Saturday because I thought I was coming down with something.cryBut I’ll get over it in a few days and I’ll be back to my usual, cheery self hopefully very soon.

I know it’s a little narcissistic of me to post pictures of myself, but I wanted to put the before and after shots here for my records.  Please forgive me.

Velvety Goodness: Yummy Cupcakes

I feel truly blessed that cupcake shops are everywhere in the Los Angeles area. From Sprinkles Cupcakes in Beverly Hills to Dots in Pasadena, and even Baby Cakes in Downtown, Angelenos can find wonderful cupcakes virtually anywhere in town. I am even more blessed because Yummy Cupcakes, the shop I feel makes one of the best cupcakes in town, is a mere mile from where I live. Not that I would, of course, but if I wanted to walk, I can certainly do it in less than 30 minutes. It’s really amusing that this place is located on Magnolia Blvd. Maybe this place should be called Magnolia Bakery instead (which, by the way, is opening in LA soon).

I find it interesting that we all have our own favorite shops and how different our taste preferences / opinions are — even for a little dessert as innocent as a cupcake. I was talking to someone the other day who is absolutely head-over-heal in love with Violets Cupcakes in Pasadena but I find cupcakes there to be pretty yucky. I gave the place several tries, only to be disappointed time after time. She swears by it but I just don’t get it. Everything there is way too sweet and greasy for my taste. Some of my friends think Dots is blah, although I think its Red Velvet Cupcake with Cream Cheese Icing and Pumpkin Pie Cupcake (with the same amazing frosting) are one of the best in the world.

Many of us, however, seem to agree that Yummy Cupcakes is pretty darn good. Maybe it’s because this shop hasn’t received the kind of rave other places have gotten and is still managing to keep its existence pretty low-key … but whatever the reason, this place is mighty divine.

Yummy Cupcakes doesn’t have fancy flowers made out of fondant resting atop a luscious frosting and most of the items on the menu are pretty straightforward, yet a Red Velvet Cupcake (my ultimate favorite and a barometer that measures how good the place really is) tastes like what a red velvet should taste (light but moist, and never too dry), and the frosting is fluffy and satisfying without being too rich and sweet. This is actually the only place that makes me want to try something other than a Red Velvet and that’s saying a lot!

I hosted a lunch party this afternoon and bought a few cupcakes from there. Out of these selections, I found the Chocolate Mint Chip (chocolate cupcake with peppermint buttercream, pictured on upper right-hand corner) and its signature Yummy Cupcake (chocolate cupcake with pink vanilla buttercream, pictured on upper left-hand corner) to be my favorites (after the Red Velvet, of course).

If you’re in the Burbank area, or in Santa Monica, check this place out. You won’t be disappointed.

Yummy Cupcakes
2918 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, CA 91505
There is another store in Santa Monica, on 313 Wilshire.
★★★★★

French Cafe for the Young at Heart: French 75 Bistro

frenchAs a kid, I always hated getting stuck in the “kid’s table” at parties. You remember those tables, don’t you?  They were the ones in the dark corner where your parents stick you in with other smelly kids while they and other grown-ups indulged in good conversation and way better food than what we kids got.  While sitting on a cheap plastic chair and enduring annoying brats pulling my pigtails from each direction, I promised myself that I too will sit at the grown-ups’ table someday and enjoy a party with dignity.

Twenty-some years later, equipped with maturity (although questionable at times) and a bank account (if you can call it that), I now had the luxury to seat myself at a grown-up’s table with my grown-up friends.

The table we grown-ups selected tonight was in French 75 Bistro, a little French restaurant tucked away in the lobby of an office building in Burbank. We sat ourselves at the (fake) candle-lit bar and ordered fancy champagnes and cocktails, along with fancy appetizers. As I took a sip of Pomegranate Kir (a bubbly with pomegranate juice … yum), I realized that I had finally made it. I was not a kid anymore! I was da shit, ya’ll!  I was all GROWN UP! Hooray!

Then, on the way to the ladies room located in the back of the restaurant, all my beliefs came to a shatter. On the other side of the bar was a REAL French restaurant – an elegant, sophisticated, upper-class dining room where they served dishes like Filet au Roquefort and “Luxe,” (filet mignon and lobster beignet with béarnaise sauce) to people dressed up in fancy dresses – a far cry from the order of happy hour French Fries we were sharing at the bar. Here, in a pair of beat up jeans and raggedy sweater, I was once again back in the dark corner of the room.  I never felt more like a kid.

But when I returned to the table and looked at my friends, I realized that this was where I belonged — at the kids’ table — and there was nowhere else I’d rather be. We were crazy, loud, playful, happy, carefree and completely childlike, and I loved everything about it. Maybe I’ll never become one those elegant, sophisticated, mature women that I always wanted to be, but that’s okay because the kid’s table is where the real fun is.

Check out what the kids ordered:

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Lobster Bisque with Sweet Paprika Cream

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Dungeness Crab Cake with Corn-Pepper Sauté, Spicy Provencale Aioli

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Spicy Tuna Tartare with Avocado, Crispy Sesame Wafers, Chile Sauce

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‘Bistro Burger’ — 8 oz. Ground Angus Sirloin on Toasted Brioche Bun with French Secret Sauce and Roquefort, Cheddar or Gruyere Applewood Smoked Bacon upon request

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Crepe

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Bread Pudding

French 75 Bistro

3400 W. Olive Avenue, Burbank, CA 91505

★★★★☆