Tag Archives: brunch

cookin’ thyme with chef jen

Last month, Chef Jen Story of Cookin’ Thyme personal chef and catering hosted a cooking class for the women from my church where we made we three brunch dishes in our commercial kitchen.

Here’s what we made:

brunchmenu

Chef Jen had all the ingredients and kitchen tools laid out and she took time to explain/demo the process before we split up into groups. Yes, there were lots of eggs and butter. On a sidenote, I took a nap after this class. The delectable meal was food coma inducing.

mise_en place

brulee sauceShe put us to work! The ladies were making a brown sugar/butter reduction for the creme brulee French toast (bakes in the oven). OMG, aroma of warm gooey goodness.

sausageHomemade pork sausage making action.

Check out the finished dishes; vegetable and cheese frittata (12 eggs each tray), French toast, and pork sausage (not pictured).

frittata

done!

Praying for our meal before the chow down. Man, we were starving! Big thanks and shout out to Cathy who made these crafty center pieces. Showcasing just some of the talents of our lovely ladies.
IMG_0120

Chef Jen did an awesome job walking us through the dishes and helping us manage the short time (about 3 hours). She also explained cooking techniques that she picked up in culinary school and her experience in commercial kitchens. Hands down, the creme brulee French toast was my favorite dish I look forward to making. It was soft, sweet, and the bananas Foster w/Grand Marnier elevated the dish (more chef-y). Really melted in my mouth and the frittata resembled a custard texture, so lovely. Perfect complement to the sweetness of the first dish.

I actually was referred to Chef Jen from a friend, Christine of feedmysole who hired her for another event. Chef Jen has her own cooking facility in Lawndale where she hosts events like multi-course meals and cooking classes. Check out her website and facebook page for more details. I loved the experience and highly recommend her! FYI: She was a contestant on the Food Network’s Chopped and the episode airs on April 7th (curious if she took home the 10K prize). Go Chef Jen!

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eat this cafe in hollywood

My friends and I went for brunch earlier this month on a rainy Saturday. It’s hard to imagine rain when we’ve been getting 90+ degree weather just this past weekend. The weather has been so bipolar lately! Despite the weather, some friends and I checked out a brunch place in Hollywood, Eat This Cafe and enjoyed our experience.

inside

Here’s what we ordered (and shared):

Open-faced egg sandwich w/cranberry walnut bread ($11)

Open-faced egg sandwich w/cranberry walnut bread ($11)

french toast

Grand Marnier French Toast ($12)

Truffle cheese and egg panini ($12.50)

Truffle cheese and egg panini ($12.50)

I think we all agreed that the French toast and truffle cheese and egg panini were the best dishes (corned beef hash not pictured). They also have a popular crab eggs benedict but we didn’t try it this time. LA has plenty of weekend brunch spots but this is one of the memorable ones. Others underwhelmed or seemed overpriced. This one hit the spot and they had decent coffee. I also like that they have a self-serve flavored water.

Since it’s a small place, I would suggest coming w/a party no bigger than 4. I think we waited about 30 minutes but we came around 11:30am. Street parking on adjacent streets.

boston: part 1 (good eats)

I was in Boston for about a week earlier this month for a work conference and came the weekend prior to explore/play. My friends (and talented colleagues) and I hung out and had some amazing food. I have so many pictures to share that I’ll devote another post to the sights of Boston. It was actually my second time here but first time really experiencing it on foot. Here are some food highlights:

Our first night in Boston, we took a short bus ride to this Asian fusion restaurant, Myers+Chang. I’m a bit weary when I hear fusion but it was a much needed pick-me-up after a 5+ hour plane ride. Our favorites were the papaya salad, Indonesian fried rice (below, top right, bottom left), and their dan dan cold noodles in a peanut sauce. Despite being a busy Friday night for the restaurant, we had ice waters (noticeably sweating from the humidity we’re not accustomed to) and seated at the window within 10 minutes.

The highlight was meeting Chef Joanne Chang as she came by and asked us how the food was!!! She even liked MY Instagram pic! I’ve been a big fan ever since she beat Bobby Flay on the Food Network’s  Throwdown with her signature sticky buns (keep reading).

We went to Cafe Luna for Saturday brunch in Cambridge (top left, bottom right). I ordered their lemon ricotta stuffed mascarpone pancakes with lemon curd. Probably one of the best brunch dishes I’ve ever had. These were so light and fluffy, perfect for the hot day with my iced chai latte. Julie had the lobster eggs benedict (bottom right). Doesn’t it look savory and decadent? She was saying how fresh the lobster was in her dish. We were very impressed by this small sidewalk cafe (which was packed on a Saturday morning, as good ones should be). The owner was so friendly and kind to us as we learned he’s originally from OC.

brunch and meyers

Day 2 continued: Flour Bakery in Cambridge. A few blocks from Cafe Luna is one of 3 Flour Bakery locations. The first one opened in 2000 and has become an integral part of the city. Chef Joanne Chang has not only the bakeries, her restaurant, and also 2 cookbooks to her empire :). Despite our stuffed bellies, we HAD to sample their desserts. They’re famous for their sticky sticky buns (below). OMG! Very gooey and a generous amount of pecans. I also had a chunky lola cookie (choco chip oatmeal cookie w/coconut and pecans), which was even better! I found the cookie recipe online and baked them last weekend (foolproof!).

I bought home some goodies from this bakery including coffee beans and their signature granola, both taste so good I wish I bought more. My parents really liked their coffee beans for a smooth taste (says a hint of chocolate, but I can’t tell). What’s interesting about Chef Joanne’s background is she graduated from Harvard w/a dual Bachelors in economics and mathematics to work as a management consultant only to realize her true passion was becoming pastry chef. If you’ve ever baked, you understand the art and science of baking. How cool is that?

flour bakery

We also explored the South Boston as our conference was a short walking distance to this up-and-coming area (NPR just did a story on this area). We found this gem of a restaurant, Sportello, one of Chef Barbara Lynch’s restaurants (she has 8 or 9 eateries and mentored the last Top Chef winner). The concept of the eatery is casual Italian diner with countertops covering most the restaurant and an open kitchen + bakery. It’s so cute and inviting. Most notable was their handmade gnocchi and tagliatelle with bolognese sauce. The simplest dishes are the hardest to pull off and they make it look effortless. Shout out to our server Ethan who was amazing.

sportello

I love exploring new cities because you stumble upon places that locals frequent like Barrington Coffee Roasting Company, a few doors down from Sportello. A simple cafe with high quality coffee. Their iced coffee hit the spot on those hot summer days. We also made room for cannolis at Mike’s Pastry in the North End after a full meal. $3.50 for a pistachio cannoli in a small, always crowded Italian pastry shop (cash only).

mike's pastry

Hope this gives you a little taste (no pun intended) of good eats in Boston. Stay tuned for Boston part 2 later this week. Too much good content to cram into one post.

good eats in san diego

San Diego may not be known for being a foodie town like SF or LA but I’ve done my fair share of scoping out the good eats having gone to UCSD and since then for weekend trips. What can I say? The company and the picturesque landscape just makes the food taste that much better.

It’s one of the most awe inspiring and somewhat hidden spots in La Jolla, check it out when you’re in the area. And while you’re at it, grab brunch at The Mission and try their french toast or rosemary potatoes (Hash House is so overrated).

And this Moroccan treasure, Cous Cous in Hillcrest (sorry about the dark pic)

And of course, there’s always room for dessert, right? Tantalize your senses at Extraordinary Desserts. I love their beautiful/decadent cakes and gourmet teas.

The Mission | 1250 J St, San Diego, 92101

Cous Cous | 3940 4th Ave, Suite 103, San Diego, 92102

Extraordinary Desserts | 1430 Union St, San Diego, 92101

*Claire De Lune Coffee Lounge | 2906 University Ave, San Diego, 92104

The last one isn’t pictured but I love it’s funky Alice in Wonderland feel. It’s the kinda place where you can sit for hours and no one will bother you 🙂

:: Check out my foodie friend, Cindy’s blog post about SD food.