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Entries in Breakfast (6)

Friday
Aug312012

Short Cake & Single Origin 

*Post by Mark.

When Short Order debuted in the Farmers Market last winter it was only one half of the equation. Soon thereafter Short Cake was born - a bakery located just a scone's throw from the farm-to-table burger restaurant - making the entire vision of Chef Nancy Silverton and the late Chef Amy Pressman complete. 

Whether grabbing a pastry to go or a more savory meal at Short Cake's counter (think open-faced toasts, salads and sandwiches), market-goers can appreciate an extensive menu of baked goods made with top notch, locally-sourced ingredients like Straus Family Creamery Dairy and TCHO chocolate. And the caffeine is provided by Single Origin Coffee, brewing up a collection of jitters-inducing espresso drinks and hand-brews from Santa Cruz's Verve Coffee Roasters

 

 

If Short Order and Short Cake have breathed new life into an old guard of restaurants and vendors at the market, one needs look no further then their young chefs for the inspiration. Christian Paige embodies the ingredient-driven mission statement at Short Order, while Amy Pressman's vision lives on through Short Cake's head baker Hourie Sahakian. The Glendale-native's passion for baking was discovered by Pressman in a chance meeting at, of all places, the gym. A few short years and a career-change later, Sahakian finds herself entrusted with running Pressman's dream bakery. One need only gaze into the cornucopic glass cases, brimming with unique, alluring treats to see how well she's capitalizing on the opportunity. 

 

 

Nick of Treasure LA and I recently had the privilege to sample our way through Short Cake's glass case. We munched on chocolate chip cookies, walnut shortbread, and house-made jam crumbles (all pictured below) that use jam made specially for the bakery by LA's own small-batch preserve company SQIRL. Let's file this experience as way too much of a good thing... the delicious goodies just kept coming and coming.

 

 

And how about a few signature drinks from the coffee bar with which to wash all the food down? Why not! There's the Salted Caramel and the Affagato, sure... but the highlight of the bunch is Aunt Nancy's Shakerato. The aptly named drink combines whole milk, Pacifica wildflower honey and enough espresso to jump start an eighteen wheeler. Who needs bath salts when you can have four shots of espresso coursing through your bloodstream? This stuff is as good as it is potent. 

 

 

And because the blondies aren't the only ones who get to have fun, Sahakian proudly offers her own creation, the Brunette (below, top). Pinenuts and thyme highlight the rectangular bar, while its darker complexion comes from the use of brown muscavado sugar. We're also treated with cornflake-topped cereal cookies (below, top). My chocolate and peanut butter cravings are sated by a Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar and a delightful triangle that layers two types of chocolate over crisped rice (below, left). And we have two slightly more savory show-stealers in the bacon cheddar and Comté thyme croissants (below, right).  

 

 

To top all this off, we get to share an off-menu Short Order Black Forrest custard shake (below) with Short Cake regular and pastry enthusiast Nastassia of Let Me Eat Cake. While I was lucky enough to head home to nap off the ensuing sugar coma, I'd recommend enjoying the treats in moderation, or along with some of the savory options like a house-made tuna salad croissant sandwich.

 

 

Short Cake / Single Origin Coffee - Mid-City West
The Original Farmers Market
6333 West 3rd St. (Stall 316)
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 761-7976
Hours:  Mon-Sat: 8a-9p  /  Sun: 8a-7:30p

 

Short Cake on Urbanspoon Single Origin Coffee on Urbanspoon

Wednesday
Feb082012

Black Cat Cafe & Bakery

*Post by Angela.

Based on our posts, it would be easy to assume that we never eat at a place more than once. That's mostly true - even if we like a place a lot, there are countless wonderful food adventures waiting to be had, and limited time, money and stomach space. But when we don't have the energy to devote to the quest for new restaurants to try (which happens most often at lunch on the weekends), we do have our neighborhood go-to options, like All About the Bread, Food + Lab, and new-to-the-roster Mendocino Farms. Recently we visited Black Cat Bakery on Fairfax, a potential addition to the weekend rotation.

 

 

Black Cat Bakery is cute as all get-out, exactly the kind of place I could see us visiting often for brunch. The outside patio, with plenty of seating, is a great place to lounge with a canine friend on warm days. Inside, an array of baked goods takes up a substantial portion of the tiny establishment.

 

 

The food here is pretty solid with a nod to the healthy and a tiny twist of the unexpected. For example, we've seen the combination of applewood smoked honey-cured bacon bits, apples, shallots and cheddar before, but never in the middle of a four-egg omelette. The result isn't mind-blowing, but it's nice and different. In contrast, the accompanying skillet potatoes are pretty standard.

 

 

The bibimbop-style farro takes us on more of a left turn. Swiss chard, roast tomatoes, mushrooms, asparagus, fresh burrata, and a sunny-side up egg top a heaping helping of farro for a dish that fills us up without weighing us down.

 

 

Black Cat also does lunch and dinner (though it's never open past 8 - click here for hours), offering a selection of sandwiches and salads.

While we won't write about it again, I wouldn't be surprised if you find us here on a sunny weekend in the future.

Black Cat Café and Bakery on Urbanspoon

Thursday
Sep152011

Breakfast Pork Sliders w/ The Bruery's Autumn Maple

*Post by Mark.

If there's one thing we're as passionate about as food and cooking, it's drinking - and, more specifically, drinking beer. Luckily, the two passions are never in competition for our affection and in fact, pair rather nicely with one another. Such was the case when we were invited to participate in The Bruery's Facebook Blogger Invitational and given the chance to create a recipe using one of The Bruery's newest seasonal brews, the Autumn Maple. The home cooks inside of us were eager to get cooking, but the beer drinkers inside of were even more excited to get our hands on a few of these bottles. 

For the uninitiated, The Bruery is one of our favorite Southern California microbreweries. Located in Orange County, the small brewery puts out a bold collection of innovative Belgian-style ales. Their small-batch specialty brews like the Black Tuesday are widely sought after and their seasonal brews are annually anticipated. Such is the case for The Bruery's Autumn Maple, a Belgian-style brown ale that is a unique alternative to the Pumpkin Ales that typically hit shelves at this time of year. Brewed with yams (17 lbs. per barrel), cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, vanilla, molasses, and maple syrup, this spicy, 10% ABV brown ale exemplifies autumn. 

 

 

Having grown up in Vermont, I can't think about maple without thinking about breakfast, so we decided to use the Autumn Maple to help make a sandwich we could enjoy for breakfast (or any time of the day, for that matter). We settled on the idea of pork sliders braised in beer and served with a fried egg, arugula and a maple hollandaise sauce inside a toasted English muffin. 

For Autumn Maple breakfast pork sliders:

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 8 oz breakfast sausage patties
  • 4 slices thick cut bacon, finely diced
  • ¼ cup finely diced sweet onion
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley (or 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme (or 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme)
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup Autumn Maple beer
  • 4 English muffins
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 4 fried eggs
  • Arugula
  • Maple hollandaise (recipe below)

Mix together ground pork, breakfast sausage, bacon, sweet onion, parsley, thyme, cumin, salt and pepper. Form into small patties about 3/4” thick.

 

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush both sides of each English muffin with melted butter and toast in the oven for about 10 minutes. Keep warm until the sandwiches are ready to assemble.

 

 

Brush a grill pan with olive oil. Heat on the stove over medium heat, then add the patties. Without moving them around (so you don’t disturb the searing process), baste the top of patties with Autumn Maple every couple of minutes. After 6-7 minutes, turn the patties over and cook another 5-6 minutes, again basting the top of each patty with Autumn Maple beer. Turn the patties over one more time and cook an additional 1 minute, slightly smushing the patties with a spatula. Remove from heat.

 

 

For Maple Hollandaise:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ cup melted butter

Place egg yolks, maple syrup, lemon juice, and salt in the blender, cover and pulse just once to combine. Open lid, set blender to low speed and slowly pour the melted butter into the blender in a thin stream. Once all the butter is incorporated, keep warm until use.

 

 

For the eggs, heat 1 tbsp of oil and 1 tbsp of butter over medium low heat. Crack a couple of eggs into small bowls, then carefully ease them into the heated pan. Cook for a couple of minutes, spooning the hot oil over top of the eggs and sprinkling them with salt and pepper, then cover the pan, remove it from heat, and let it sit another 5 minutes.

 

 

Place each pork patty on one half of an English muffin. Layer on a fried egg, then a bit of arugula, then drizzle with maple hollandaise. Finish with the top half of muffin. Enjoy with a glass of The Bruery's Autumn Maple Belgian Style Brown Ale. I know we said this was a breakfast post and it's not even noon, but you've earned it.

 

Friday
Jul012011

(How to eat your way through) San Francisco's Ferry Building & Farmers Market

*Post by Mark.

Staying in a hotel in San Francisco's Financial District has its perks. $50 overnight hotel valet parking isn't one of them, but being able to saunter over to the Embarcadero each morning to enjoy the Ferry Building certainly is. Even if we weren't already close, this is an essential destination. The Ferry Building hosts a variety of high-end culinary delights, be you in the mood for coffee, pastries, meats and cheeses, oysters or even dinner and drinks at fine-dining restaurants like Il Cane Russo or the Slanted Door. Come on Thursday or Saturday during the day, and in addition to the gourmet artisanal servings from the brick and mortars, a jaw-dropping farmers market wraps around the entire building that puts Los Angeles farmer's markets to serious shame. Keep your eyes peeled, you're likely to run into a slew of San Francisco's top chefs, rounding out their restaurants' market-driven menus for the week. 

 

 

On our most recent trip to the Ferry Building, we arrived with a checklist of destinations and every intention of turning a walking tour through the building and market into the perfect multi-course meal. 

 

 

We got an early jump on the masses, which meant we also needed to kick things off with a jump start of drip-coffee from Blue Bottle. This was clearly an idea that all the other early-risers in the building had. After about a half an hour in line (below, left), we were sipping away on our pour-overs (below, right).

 

  

 

We also snagged one of Blue Bottle's caramelized 'Beligian Style' leige waffles (below). The attractive treat was far more savory than sweet and gave us just enough fuel to forge towards our next destination.

 

 

Our next stop was Boccalone, San Francisco's premiere stopover for all things pork-related. "Tasty Salted Pig Parts" is both an efficient and enticing description of what you're getting yourself into.  We'd had more than our fair share of Boccalone meats the night before at Incanto (and if you squint, you can see a Food Network poster featuring Incanto Chef Chris Cosentino in Boccalone's store (below, left)). Before we left, we eyed their tasty meat cones (below, right).

 

 

We walked out with a handful of purchases (below) to bring back to Los Angeles with us. Angela found some head cheese, lardo (for only $20 more we could've gotten the Lardo Iberico de Bellota, which is imported from Spain and I'm sure would've totally been worth it) and some spicy Nduja sausage. The head cheese would make a great snack later, and Angela made a fantastic meal using the Nduja and lardo

 

 

Oh yeah... and I got one of their Salumi Cones (below) - the perfect pre-breakfast treat with which to stroll further down the Ferry Building. 

 

 

With *only* a coffee, waffle and meat cone in my stomach, I was starting to get hungry for breakfast and stopped in to Sidekicks. This is Cowgirl Creamery's sandwich-dealing right arm, located next door to the creamery. Their sandwich de resistance is their gooey grilled cheese sandwich. I was drawn in by the special egg and mozzarella sandwich (below), which featured hard-boiled farm eggs with creamy buffalo mozzarella cheese. Unfortunately, the sandwich was sorely lacking in the mozzarella department. 

 

 

Next up? Far West Fungi, the storefront for a family-owned farm, which is equipped to handle all of your fungal needs. 

 

 

Our main intention was to get our hand on some of their dried candy cap mushrooms (below, left). Candy caps have a unique taste and smell very reminiscent of maple syrup. The mushrooms have even inspired an ice cream flavor at Humphry Slocombe, and Far West carries pints and popsicles (below, right) of it in their freezer.  We just made our own version of the ice cream at home, but H.S.'s version is spot-on - smooth, creamy, and never in a million years would you guess it's made from mushrooms. 

 

 

On Thursdays and Saturdays the real treat is outside at the Farmer's Market. Not only will you find all the fresh produce you could ever dream of, there are also all sorts of vendors slinging lunch options. We were drawn towards 4505 Meats on the lookout for some of their world famous, melt-in-your-mouth chicarrones (we ended up taking three bags home with us). 

 

 

Their bacon maple breakfast sausage sandwich (below) comes with aged gruyere, an over-easy egg and peppercress, served on a housemade griddled bun. It was delicious, filling and messy.

 

 

I can't imagine a better way to spend a Thursday or Saturday morning then gorging myself on such inexpensive, amazing food with a backdrop as beautiful as this (below).

 

 

Boccalone on UrbanspoonFar West Fungi on UrbanspoonBlue Bottle Coffee on Urbanspoon

Cowgirl Creamery on Urbanspoon4505 Meats on Urbanspoon

Monday
Jun132011

The Griddle Cafe

*Post by Mark.

It's 8:15 on a Sunday morning and the line is already snaking out the front door onto Sunset. Luckily we're close enough to walk, though rolling out of bed early enough is the tricky part. By the time morning is in full swing, The Griddle Cafe is already bustling - packing elbow-to-elbow diners into the tiny West Hollywood Cafe like calories packed into the red velvet pancakes.

 

More diners yet are squeezed around the bar, where we spotted Jeff Goldblum brunching with his girlfriend. This is the kind of place I imagine Europeans assume that Americans eat at on the regular. The crowd shovels mountainous caloric concoctions into their mouths. As we perused our menus, the gentleman besides us licked a plate of eggs benedict clean before moving onto a towering plate of frisbee-sized pancakes smothered in cream and nutella. The (shockingly slender) gentleman made it about 5/6th of the way through the pancakes before giving up. This was clearly the place to be if you wanted 10,000 calories inside of you immediately.  

 

 

Angela stayed away from The Griddle's carb-ier menu choices, settling on the omelette 'Pomodoro' (below), which was loaded with fresh chopped garlic sauteed with tomato, basil and parmesan, and came with hash browns and garlic bread. She added some shrimp, which were good-sized and almost surprisingly nicely cooked. While the omelette itself was very tasty and well-seasoned, Angela would have been happy to leave off the accompanying potatoes, which tasted a little stale and fairly bland. The portion size was pretty generous, still probably a more balanced meal then some of the Griddle's more ridiculous options.

 

 

Speaking of those ridiculous options, I made the ill-advised decision to get the 'Peanut Bubba' crunchy french toast (below). I've had breakfast for dinner before, but this was dessert for breakfast. Dipped in a peanut butter crunch and then grilled, the hearty portion of french toast is practically a garnish to the... um... dollop of cream melting overtop. My meal was really tasty, but way too sweet for me (yes, even me) to enjoy the whole thing. I should've offered the rest to the ambitious gentlemen seated next to us. 

 

 

The short walk there became a long waddle on the way home. 

The Griddle Cafe on Urbanspoon