All posts tagged “city

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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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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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Jane the Bakery

Jane is and always will be my favorite cafe in San Francisco, so I could not have been more thrilled when they opened a third location in December! Jane the Bakery, on Geary and Steiner by Japantown, is more focused on the bakery side of the business than the cafe side, a shift from the other two cafe locations (Fillmore & Larkin).

While it still has counter seating and a couple tables, Jane the Bakery is suited more for the to-go breakfast goer, as the bakery offers a larger selection of pastries and desserts, as well as 37 different kinds of fresh baked loaves of bread.

The usual menu of sandwiches, salads, avo-toasts, and breakfast options are still available, but with the limited seating, it may make more sense to grab pastries and coffee to go. At Jane the Bakery, they offer pastries that aren’t at the other locations, including many new creations that are produced right in that space, as well as flatbreads.

I had the immense pleasure of being invited to Jane by Amanda, the owner. She brought out all of these amazing pastries for me to try, like the lemon poppyseed knot, the raspberry danish, and my personal favorite, the cinnamon roll. The pastries are always the perfect amount of flakiness, butteriness, and sweetness, and are truly one of a kind.


I’m taking calculated bites of each of these three pastries, wondering how I’m going to be able to finish them, when Amanda walks out with a plate of two fresh-from-the-oven flatbreads.

These flatbreads were incredible. On the left is the Three Cheese, but with a hint of spice, giving it a bit of a kick. On the right is a seasonal special, which was a sort of Mediterranean style flatbread with tomatoes, cauliflower, and za’atar spices. I loved every single bite. The bread itself was perfectly fluffy with a thick crust, and the toppings literally made my tongue ache for more (especially with the savory flavors from the za’atar spice). One of these would make a perfect lunch meal (with a cookie too, because how could you resist?).

At this point, I’m sitting at the counter by myself with 5 pastries looking like a complete fatass. Amanda brings a to-go box over to me, so I start wrapping things up to take home. As I’m closing the lid, she brings over another plate, this time with an entire meal: the Mango Curry Chicken Sandwich. I’m thinking, how the heck am I going to eat this? But I proceed to take a few bites (because how could I not), and put it into another box to take with me. The sandwich was phenomenal, with the creamy, curry chicken with melted cheese, and it’s definitely something I would order.

I’m finally thinking I’m done when Alex, the Pastry Chef, comes over to me with this beautiful egg tart on a cookie sheet. Now this looks way too good not to eat, so I take a few nibbles, being careful not to break the yolk (that’s for later). This pastry, the Brunch Croissant, is a Jane the Bakery weekend exclusive; it is a baked over-easy egg on a bed of spring onions and Dijon mustard, sprinkled with chives, maldon, and black pepper. This is definitely one of the best things I’ve eaten at Jane so far. The croissant was buttery, flakey, and the perfect home for the silky egg with sweet mustard and onion flavors.

I pack everything up to leave, all of my 1000 pastries, when Alex scoots back over to show me his newest creation before it went into the oven, the Fruit Brioche. This is a pastry with lightly sweetened cream cheese in the middle scented with orange, basil, and lemon, topped with delicately poached blood orange and pistachio around the outside. I’m hoping to go back there soon to try it out!

Jane completely spoiled me with all of these pastries, and while I looked a little crazy having 7 different items to myself, I have absolutely no shame (and honestly I order that much when I usually go anyway). Jane’s third location has only proved how much amazing food they can produce, and I’m very fortunate to have had the opportunity to try everything out!

1881 Geary St.
San Francisco, CA 94115

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Duck & Waffle

Duck & Waffle may be hands down one of the best brunches I’ve ever had. Of course, it’s on the other side of the world and incredibly busy! Perched on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower, 2 floors up from the popular Sushi Samba, Duck & Waffle has the most amazing food and one of the best views in all of London.

The only reservation I could get for the week that I would be in London was a 3:30PM brunch on a random weekday. While it wasn’t packed inside, it was still bustling with people from all over the world enjoying their late-time brunch as we were, or transitioning to the late lunch menu.

As a sucker for all things brunch, we stuck to the classics – the Duck & Waffle and the Smoked Scottish Salmon flatbread.

The Duck & Waffle blew Chicken & Waffles out of the water (and I LOVE Chicken & Waffles. But I love duck more). The Duck & Waffle, the namesake of the restaurant, was a crispy leg confit and fried duck egg on top of a Belgian waffle with a mustard maple syrup on the side. While incredibly flavorful and filling, I could definitely eat 6 of these in one sitting. I could see why this is the favorite dish of the restaurant: the meat was tender and rich, with perfectly runny yolk and a fluffy Belgian waffle. The mustard maple syrup flawlessly tied the sweet and savory flavors of the dish together.

The Smoked Scottish Salmon flatbread was another mind-blowing favorite for me, as I’m addicted to all things smoked salmon. The flatbread was light, with the perfect amount of creamy shmear, and topped with pickled cucumber and sprigs of dill. I could have eaten 6 of these as well. With the Duck & Waffle.

The third dish on the table is the Puy Lentils, ordered by my vegetarian friend that doesn’t understand brunch (sorry Becca 😘 ). However, I’m glad she did because it was delicious! Although I wouldn’t order 6 of these (I’d be too full from the other two x 6), the combination of spinach, sweet onion, yogurt, miso, and nasturtiums (I had to google that, it’s the little edible flowers) was a sweet and savory surprise that went perfectly with the house bread (which looks almost like a flatbread too).

The brunch, however, would not have been complete without this view!

Duck & Waffle overlooks ‘The City,’ aka London’s Financial District, with the giant Gherkin (a pickle shaped building) right next to it, and a view of Tower Bridge, Tower of London, the Thames, and St Paul’s Cathedral on the opposite side. It was absolutely incredible and slightly terrifying at the same time, knowing we were casually sipping wine and eating a 3:30 brunch 40 floors high.

I would definitely recommend, or more like order you to book a meal at Duck & Waffle, if not for the delicious food at least for the amazing view!

Heron Tower
110 Bishopsgate
London EC2N 4AY
United Kingdom

PS. Dress well 😉

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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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Skool

 What brought me and my friend to Skool, tucked into a section of the Design District of San Francisco, was the Uni Flan and our obsession with seafood. Skool offers ‘Seafood with Japanese flair,’ and offers meals all throughout the day, with Vegetarian and Gluten Free menus as well. Many of the dishes they offer are rich and use fine meats and seafood, such as the Roasted Duck, Kobe Beef burger, and Squid Ink Spaghettina.

We had a late brunch, and of course ordered a boozy brunch drink (Hibiscus Prosecco – which was amazing) and the Uni Flan.

It was definitely worth coming here JUST for the Uni Flan. We hadn’t even gotten our entrees and we were already sold. The Uni Flan was a soft, light Sea Urchin flan topped with Ikura (Salmon Roe) and Fresh Uni, the perfect mixture of salt and cream. While Uni can be a hard sell (you either love it or you hate it), spread onto the small bites of crispy baguette, it was the perfect savory appetizer with the ‘seafood flair.’

For my main course, I ordered the Ton Toro Cassoulet, which was almost like a light chili with Braised Pork Cheek, a Poached Egg, white beans, and pickled jalapeños in a tomato sauce. When ordering it, I wasn’t exactly sure what would come out, but the Braised Pork Cheek was incredibly flavorful and tender with crispy outer edges, the egg was poached to perfection, and the pickled jalapeños gave a slight Mexican flavor to the classy bowl of chili I was consuming. I liked it so much that I tried to recreate it at home, but of course it wasn’t the same!

My friend ordered the Smoked Salmon Benedict with Avocado, and I have never seen such a lavish benedict! The English Muffin was topped with Spinach, Avocado, and bright slabs of Smoked Salmon, covered in a Crimini Cream sauce, a rich and creamy twist from the typical Hollandaise sauce. Don’t let the dark color of the sauce turn you off of this decadent benedict!

We were both definitely very impressed with Skool, with its rich flavors and vibrant colors, and are looking forward to coming back for brunch or trying their dinner menu! With a full bar and great patio seating, Skool will be a hot spot for SF brunching and dining.

 1725 Alameda St
San Francisco, CA 94103