All posts tagged “california

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The Butcher’s Daughter

The Butcher’s Daughter, located on ~uber~ hip Abbot Kinney, is one of the prettiest restaurants I’ve ever been to. With another location in NYC, this vegetarian based restaurant has beautiful decor, a relaxing atmosphere, and great healthy food options.

Once you step in, you’ll already want to throw up from how pretty/hipster/Instagrammable this place is. The interior is all wood, with a ton of natural lighting, gorgeous plants and greenery, and hip furniture.

Even my water was growing a plant.

There is bar seating in the center, tables all around, and even a private table outside in the back. It is spacious, bright, warm, with beautiful gold and marble tables.

I don’t typically go to places that are 100% vegetarian, but after sneaking a peek at the interior, I had to try it out. The menu ranges from breakfast items to sandwiches, salads, bowls, pizzas, and more. The items and ingredients are very healthy, with gluten free options as well.

We started with a pressed juice flight, which they squeeze in house with fresh ingredients like carrots, beets, greens, and ginger. My favorite was the pineapple-jicama-lemon juice. They also offer many smoothie variations, teas, and coffee.

Below is the Surfer’s Breakfast, a breakfast burrito with black bean mole and vegan sour cream (whatever that is).

I channeled my inner (or outer) basic-ness and ordered the Angeleno, which was an avocado toast with strawberry corn salsa, burrata, and chili oil. I’m not used to having a sweet element, like strawberries, on my avo-toast (I usually prefer a poached egg), but the spiciness from the chili oil and salsa, combined with the fresh and very large chunk of burrata, made for one of the best avo-toasts I’ve ever had. Add a little fresh lime, and I was done within minutes.

It’s a very popular spot, and will often have a wait, but GO. It is peak hipster-dome here, from the incredibly gorgeous decor to the delicious and fresh food.

1205 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Venice, CA 90291

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The Waffle

This post is a couple months late and I’m very behind on collecting LA brunch spots since I moved, but here is my very first LA brunch: The Waffle.

The Waffle, located on Sunset Blvd (right by one of my offices, which I later found out), is set up like a diner, and gets fairly busy on the weekends. They serve breakfast ALL DAY, which is always a win.

They offer many of the usual breakfast items, like the classic eggs + bacon + potatoes combo, but their speciality is creating all sorts of Belgian waffles.

The waffles can be ordered with fruit, with savory flavors like the Cornmeal Jalapeño, or with sweet flavors like Chocolate and Tres Leches. They can be ordered as combos (with the beautifully colored home fries and fruit) or a la carte.

They even have a gluten-free option, which was great and tasted just like a normal Belgian Waffle!

The stealer of the show was the S’mores Waffle, which was a special during our visit. The waffle itself had graham cracker crumbles and chocolate inside, and was doused in chocolate sauce and topped with a heaping dollop of marshmallow fluff. I stole some of the sweetness to cover my GF Waffle and damn, that marshmallow fluff is a game changer.

I would definitely go back to The Waffle as they have a ton of options, the waffles are amazing, and they have DOUBLE SIZED MIMOSAS for only $6. You can’t beat that.

6255 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028

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State Bird Provisions

State Bird Provisions is another San Francisco restaurant that is notorious for its insane wait times. Restaurant go-ers must make a reservation 3 months in advance, with every slot filling up as soon as its available online. The trick is to line up before 5pm and wait 30 mins until it opens to be the first seated.

State Bird has a Michelin Star, and is one of the most sought after restaurants in SF. The best way to describe their cuisine, which a hostess stated during my visit, is “Californian cuisine served dim sum style.”

While the space itself isn’t that large, the servers bring around dishes on trays and carts, allowing customers to grab the plates they desire rather than ordering everything off of a menu. While they still have certain items on the menu, such as larger entrees, the charm of State Bird is to be able to eat what you see. Each tray comes around with a price tag, but be careful – it can add up quick.

The majority of items being carried around on trays and on the carts were small bites and appetizers, like the Trout Dip with homemade potato chips above.

Another small bite was the soup dumpling, which albeit it’s large size, was a great texture but lacked strong flavor. Below are the Hog Island Oysters with Kohlrabi Kraut and sesame seeds. The oysters were great but the Kohlrabi Kraut was an interesting topping to a fresh oyster.

Below is the ‘Croque Madam,’ with duck ham and cheddar atop a whole grain pancake. While the duck was great, the portions were a bit small. This item was on the menu.

Some of the other small dishes we enjoyed were the Pork Belly and Sausage.

Below are the Pork Ribs with Black Bean Sauce and Black Garlic. These were very flavorful, and I wish there were more in one serving!

Below is the Duck Confit Fried Rice, also ordered from the menu, which might be the best dish we had. The dish was hearty, the duck was cooked well, and there were a multitude of different flavors and tastes, from the furikake to the fried onions and the tender mushrooms.

For dessert, we ordered the Cream Puff with blueberry compote and the Almond ‘Ice Cream’ Macaron Sandwich, with almond ice cream, nuts, and cherry. The ice cream sandwich, along with the Duck Confit Fried Rice, were the highlights of the meal.

The best part about State Bird Provisions is the fact that you can see the options first and grab whatever you want to eat, and the menu is always changing. The family style plates are great for sharing, and the surprise of what’s coming out of the kitchen next keeps the meal fun and interesting. While the dishes were all great, they didn’t seem to follow much of a theme, and there didn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason between the courses. I’m glad I came, but Liholiho still holds the #1 spot!

1529 Fillmore St
San Francisco, CA 94115

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Cassava

Cassava is truly a gem tucked into the corner of Balboa and 36th in the Outer Richmond. The amazing duo Chef Kris Toliao and Yuka Ioroi created Cassava as a unique space that serves California cuisine with a Japanese twist, focusing on a variety of different grains and spices. They have an amazing dinner menu, with dishes like Duck Confit with Heirloom Polenta, Oven Roasted Mary’s Chicken, and my favorite Seared Chinook Salmon. While dishes can be ordered by the item, Cassava also offers a prix fixe dinner menu at $42 per guest, which currently comes with these delectable courses:

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I had the incredible pleasure of being invited for dinner and every single dish was amazing! The items change seasonally, but I still remember the pumpkin panna cotta I had during the fall of last year. I recently went back to Cassava for brunch, and had just as amazing of an experience that I had for dinner.

For an appetizer, we ordered the baked burrata and poached egg, with celery root puree, sautéed swiss chard, and brussels sprouts that is spread onto a crisp toast. The dish is full of garlicky goodness and warm cheese that literally melts in your mouth.

Above is the Barbecue Pork Ribs “Hash,” with potatoes, quinoa, and a poached egg. The dish is well balanced with greens and tomatoes, and the spice mixture reminds me of the tastes of curry flavor and za’tar.

The Pork Shoulder and Fried Egg Open Sandwich is one of Cassava’s greatest creations, with a juicy 12 hour braised pork shoulder, arugula, olive tapenade, and a fried egg served on top of a large hunk of bread. The portions are generous, and the rich pork flavors make me want to eat this for every meal!

Along with the American and Californian dishes, Cassava also pays homage to classic Japanese dishes, such as the traditional Japanese breakfast. It comes with rice, pickled vegetables, salmon, miso soup, and a poached egg in dashi. I don’t eat rice often for breakfast, but this healthy and well balanced meal is a standard breakfast in Japan. I loved every bit of it, and could not get enough of the salmon! Mixing and matching each component of the meal gives you the ability to enjoy each item in multiple different ways.

Cassava is full of amazing flavors and dishes, always using the best ingredients for a fresh and healthy meal. I would go here for any meal, and definitely recommend it for your next brunch or dinner date!

Big thanks to Yuka and the Cassava staff for always being so friendly and hospitable 🙂

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3519 Balboa St
San Francisco, CA 94121

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Coqueta

Coqueta, the Spanish restaurant created by Chef Michael Chiarello, has easily become one of my favorite spots in the city. With its unbeatable location on Pier 5 overlooking the Bay Bridge, its exquisite selection of cocktails and wines, and its mouthwatering tapas, Coqueta is the perfect place for a special occasion or entertaining clients and relatives.

Coqueta’s drink menu features a multitude of wines and cocktails, including gin drinks, tequila, rum, whiskey, etc. The cocktails are all light and fresh, with beautiful fresh flowers and fruits as well as subtle spices and flair. The drink on the right is the Barça Gin & Tonic, with fresh grapefruit and thyme, and the drink on the left is the Salt “Air” Margarita (above).

The menu is split into two sections: hot and cold. The cold side features pintxos and tapas such as Deviled Eggs and Lacinto Kale Salad, as well as my personal favorite, the Salmon Ahumado, which is a slice of smoked salmon laid on top of a layer of queso fresco smeared on a crunchy bite of bread, with a drizzle of truffle honey.

The ultimate starter, of course, is the ham & cheese plate, or in fancier terms, the ‘charcuterie’ plate. At Coqueta, diners can order any combination of meats and cheeses they desire, with choices such as the Jamon Serrano (below), Chorizo, Salami, and cheeses such as Manchego (below). The plate comes with Marcona almonds, an olive oil torta, and little breads with tomáquet.

The winning dish of the entire meal, however, may have been the ‘Pulpo a la Parrilla,’ the wood grilled Mediterranean octopus with fingerling potatoes and Pimentón olive oil. The octopus was tender and slightly charred, while the potatoes were savory and soft.

For an entree, we ordered the special of the day: the suckling pig with romesco sauce and a small side salad with watermelon radish and citrus. While the pig was a bit on the dry side, the outer layer of skin was sweet and flavorful, and the jus, with the romesco sauce and flakes of salt, added the perfect level of moisture to the succulent pork.

We also ordered ‘Esparragos Trigueros,’ which were juicy with hints of lemon, laid in a bed of romesco sauce that paired well with the entree.

The dessert could not have been better. We started with the ‘Bizcocho de Arroz con Leche,’ which is a warm molten arroz con leche cake with arroz con leche ice cream and huckleberries. The cake resembled a volcano, that revealed an eruption of rice pudding when sliced through the middle. The cake was sweet, warm, and not too rich in flavor, creating the perfect balanced dessert.

The Manchego Cheesecake, however, with caramel popcorn, was amazing, but a bit too rich. It was very sweet with the outer layer of caramel, but with the thickness of the manchego cheese, proved to be a little too on the decadent side. For sweets and cheese-lovers, this dessert is the way to go!

Whether it’s date night or your parents last night in town, Coqueta is an amazing place to go for dinner and drinks, or even a cocktail with some small bites. You can’t go wrong with the Barça Gin & Tonic, or go big with the massive paella!

Pier 5, The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA 94111

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Handlebar Coffee Roasters

On a trip down to Santa Barbara for the weekend, I mapped a out a couple of cafés I could visit to get my caffeine fix – and to find a little piece of home. Handlebar Coffee Roasters, located on a side street off the downtown strip of State St., was exactly what I was looking for. With locally roasted coffee and a multitude of hot and cold drinks to choose from, as well as the long line looping outside the building, I knew I was in the right place.

While the café wasn’t necessarily large, it had outdoor seating, a large community table, and massive windows where light streamed in. At the counter, Handlebar sells small pastries and snacks, and on a shelf to the right, offers bags of coffee beans and teas, as well as different flavors of chai.

A macchiato for my father, a latte for me, and a hot chocolate for my little sister:



Everyone loved their drinks, and we regretted not coming here again the next day!
A direct quote from my father:

Handlebar > Starbucks (duh.)

Established by two bikers turned coffee roasters, Handlebar couldn’t go wrong! It’s definitely worth the visit and is only a short turn off of State St, downtown.

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128 E Canon Perdido St
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

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La Note

La Note is one of the most highly sought-after brunch places in Berkeley. Boasting gourmet French cuisine, La Note most often has wait times of over an hour, and a large crowd waiting outside.

The food was phenomenal. La Note is mostly known for their French pastries, which you can order as a filled basket, and their incredibly fluffy egg dishes, all of which come with their garlic home fries.

Their pastries include croissants, coffee cakes, brioche, tartine, and baguettes. While the basket and a brunch plate might be too much, a select few are great to share – we ordered the Toasted Cinnamon Brioche with Lavender Honey and the Sour Cream Coffee Cake Maison. I was completely taken by the Lavender Honey – the airy Cinnamon brioche dipped in the Lavender Honey was heavenly, with the Lavender leaving a subtle but lasting taste.

The main courses included a variety of egg dishes, pancakes, French brioche (fancy for French Toast), and smaller oatmeal cups. The dishes come with a side of home fries, with meaty garlic cloves as big as the potatoes, and combo dishes include the fluffiest, softest eggs you’ve ever tasted.

Above is the Les Oeufs Lucas, with Scrambled Eggs and Goat Cheese on toast and a side of home fries and roasted tomatoes. Below is the classic Two Eggs + Bacon dish, sunny side up.

I ordered the Cote Est, which was a combo plate with eggs, a pancake, and bacon or home fries. I asked the waitress for the “Swirly Pancake” after seeing multiple people enjoying them. Not only are they incredibly photogenic, but the “Swirly Pancake,” which turned out to be the Creme Fraiche pancake, was creamy and delicious too!

The coffee and eggs completely won me over, and the Creme Fraiche pancake along with the aromatic garlic and potatoes completed this incredible brunch meal. The atmosphere is perfect for family meals and cute dates, with the bustling but gentle wait staff and the romantic French environment. La Note also has a large back patio covered in greenery. This is a place I will definitely be returning to!

2377 Shattuck Ave
Berkeley, CA 94704