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!
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.
This place needs no introduction.
Moscow Mule, quite a departure from our usual wine.
Oysters, of course, and Pâté de Campagne.
Steak Frites (for me) and I think this was Sole Meuniere (for Maya).
Flan and Beignets.
Then we were off to watch Britney like a pair of teenagers!
At the Venetian
You know you’re in Vegas when Mario Batali is more powerful than Caesar himself. Seriously, look at this! You turn a corner and there he is, waiting for you, with a pair of his orange Crocs!
Good thing that all his restaurants are pretty legit; otherwise Maya and I would be picking up an overpriced Chinese food at a food court at some sorry mall. And this place lived up to the reputation of Babbo of the West.
Appetizers: Complimentary chickpeas on toast, Warm Lamb’s Tongue, and Grilled Octopus.
Main Course: Seafood pasta and roasted Brussel sprouts
Dessert: Spiced Almond “Tronchetto”and I forgot the name of the other one 😛
At the Venetian
When I was organizing my photo album, I came across a bunch of photos from BFF Maya and my Las Vegas adventure, which took place … wait for it … wait for it … in October 2015!
It’s been more than five months since our trip to the Sin City, but I decided to post them here anyway!
These are the food photos from Chef Daniel Boulud‘s db Brasserie at the Venetian, where we stayed. We ate here the night before during the Happy Hour, and we had such a wonderful experience that we decided to come back for brunch the following day.
Unfortunately, the dining experience the next day was night and day compared to the one we received the night before. 😦 Let’s just say that we wished we went somewhere else for brunch that day so we could have remembered this place fondly in our hearts.
Here’s what we ate: Charcuterie Board; Provencal Caesar Salad; Moulees Mariniere (for me); and Crispy Duck Confit Hash (for Maya).
A lesson learned: A variety is the key to life.
db Brasserie by Daniel Boulud
At the Venetian
My BFF Maya has outdone herself, once again. She sent me my favorite Indonesian treat from Portland! When she used to live down here, she would let me try all kinds of Southeast Asian feast from her homeland, and bacang, with sweet and spicy meat wrapped in sticky or regular rice and steamed in banana leaves, was my absolute favorite.
She sent me a total of four — two made with regular rice and the rest made with sticky rice. I think my favorite was the latter, since I’m a huge fan of the flavor and texture of glutenous rice.
The timing was especially perfect because it was Friday and I just wasn’t in the mood to cook dinner. It was a wonderful way to start the weekend, with the lovely rice treat or two, washed down with a glass of wine.
Thank you, Maya! I love you!
My husband discovered this quaint little French patisserie in Santa Barbara a few years ago. The place is so charming, I imagine this is how Jane’s The Bakery from the movie, It’s Complicated, would be like if it really existed in the lovely seaside town.
Renaud’s Patisserie and Bistro, a small shop tucked away in the corner of a shopping center, is not as flashy or as big as the fictional bakery in the movie, but I would imagine the feeling you get would be similar, with the aromas of buttery croissants and dark roasted coffee beans welcoming patrons walking into the door. It’s absolutely heavenly.
So, ever since the discovery, we’ve been driving to Santa Barbara, just to get our eager hands on the mouthwatering Almond Croissant (and macarons … and apple tarts … and financiers … and …). Those trips were made willingly, of course, but we wished that there was a way to get a hold of the goodies without the 100-plus mile drive up the 101 freeway.
Well, well, what do we know. There was Renaud’s inside the Gelson’s supermarket in La Canada, which is a mere 20-mile drive from our place, THIS ENTIRE TIME!
Sure, a part of me was extremely ecstatic at the idea that those amazing sweets are available just around the corner for us now, but I also did have a momentary “W … T … F” moment, like “Ummm … I would like to get reimbursed for the money I spent on gas all these time, thank you very much.”
635 Foothill Blvd, La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011
What happens in Vegas doesn’t really stay in Vegas.
I usually don’t have any remorse over things that happen in Vegas. Even if I lose a few bucks gambling, or went a little overboard shopping, I’m over it by the end of the trip. But I can’t get over when I overpay for a meal … and Giada De Laurenttis’ signature restaurant, Giada, inside The Cromwell is one hand I totally regret.
I must admit that the food was pretty decent. I won’t say it’s a four star restaurant but the plate of Gnocchi with tomato sauce was simple but flavorful, and the Eggplant Lasagna had the wonderful combination of rich and cheesy flavors. The Spinach and Ricotta pizza was mediocre, at best, but what doesn’t taste good if it’s washed down with a glass of fruity Sangaria?
I think the restaurant perfectly represents Giada herself, or the way I feel about her: It’s gorgeous and there’s no denying that this place has an impeccable taste, but it’s not interesting enough for me to return, especially with the outrageous price tag that’s attached to it. Yes, you’re good but you’re no Mario Batali or even Bobby Flay.
Think: Overpriced California Pizza Kitchen, with below average service. But it does have a nice view overlooking the Vegas strip.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day … and congratulations to all the Los Angeles Marathon finishers today!
At The Cromwell
3595 Las Vegas Blvd South, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Once in a while, I get hit with an intense craving for some nice, juicy gyoza. I like dim sums too but there’s a special place in my stomach for the Japanese-style dumplings.
Today was one of those days so we drove to Benitora in Sawtelle Japantown to satisfy my raging urges. I was tempted to veer off from the original plan and go with the white sesame dan dan tsuke men (ramen with dipping sauce) when I saw the mouth-watering photo on the menu, but I stayed strong and stuck to my initial instinct and devoured Benitoro Big Gyzoa … I was happy with the decision.
2002 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025
It may have topped the America’s Snobbiest City list, but Pasadena is still a gem of a place, filled with some of my favorite things, like Urth Caffe and its beautiful latte art. I think this Twitter logo-like bird is my favorite art to date.
And how about the Oxtail Chili Cheese Fries from Bachi Burger? Just pour a glass of wine and order this and you got yourself an amazing dinner.
Oh, and these mouth-watering spreads from Le Pain Quotidien. My favorites are Noir (Belgian dark chocolate) and Blondie (white chocolate).
And of course, Color Me Mine.
All these establishments are a chain and you can find them in other, less “snooty” areas, but it’s nice to know that I can find all my favorite places in one corner of this quaint little Old Town.