Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Griddle Cafe

How does one ever explain The Griddle Cafe? It's a kitschy, but necessary L.A. favorite. My first time there, I ran into LMFAO. Located right on the Sunset Strip (at Fairfax, I believe), its almost too easy to miss this tiny, breakfast-sugar establishment. But you never will, because the wait is always an hour long with a hungry crowd outside to prove it.

You have to approach the Griddle as a blood sugar challenge. If you are healthy, one meal there will bump you up to pre-diabetic. If you are pre-diabetic, you may not survive. For example, a famous dish at the Griddle is the red velvet pancake. You are given a single pancake made of red velvet (as in for cupcakes, yes), the size of a dinner plate and just over an inch deep. They then top that with CREAM CHEESE frosting and powdered sugar.

I give it a B+, because I was sincerely overwhelmed. It's a LOT to handle for a serious breakfast. But it's a must-do. :)

Paper or Plastik

I can't believe I missed blogging about Paper or Plastik!

:) WHAT A GREAT PLACE! In my vision of searching for that great cafe, PoP fits the bill to a tee. Fun crowd. Great coffee. Sexy baristas (I's run by three 20-or-30-something male models). Industrial space. Great windows. Middle-of-the-room iron staircase. Wifi. And it's attached to AND overlooks a dance studio. It's like the coffee gods took a snapshot of all my hopes and desires, and manifested them as a coffee institution. And, to make it even cooler, there's no real sign out front saying that you've found PoP. It just says..."CAFE." How hip.

Great for dates, studying, impressing people with your knowledge of cool places!!!

Planet Earth Eco Cafe

This one is special to my heart, as it was the recommendation of one of my campers from UCLA Unicamp, Razy! For our reunion in Hermosa Beach, we grabbed some coffee at Planet Earth Eco Cafe!

If you're looking to read a book, impress a date, or play hippie for a day, this cute coffee spot is the perfect place to be! The floor-to-ceiling windows gives it a bright and cheerful atmosphere, and the clientele is a fun mix of locals, families, and studiers.'s just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the beach!

Mas Malo

* This is Steph's first post in several weeks. As a result, you'll get a lot of scrumptious pictures and summative remarks, as the memory of specific dishes have long since walked the desolate halls of my mind. :)


We went to MAS MALO as a part of a great friend's 22nd birthday (BUTTERCUP!). What I was told was that it was a Mexican restaurant downtown. What I wasn't told was that it was a super hip, clubby BCBG-ype cocina. The food is AMAZING. Apparently it's the second phase of the mothership restaurant, MALO.

What it's known for: hipster Mexican food. Get the chips especial...which are soggy chips. So warm. So good. MM is great if you're vying for a clubby atmosphere with friends before a night of dancing and drinks. And it's downtown! How can you beat that?!


Housewarming Party!

Portuguese coffee is tiny like Cuban coffee. It's adorable!

Why are we posing with orange juice at a dinner get-together? Cuz we're awesome...

Some Portuguese delicacies: dates wrapped in bacon...

...and bread with ham, turkey, and chorizo.

-- Michelle

Max Caffe -- Upper West Side

One of the perks of summer in New York City is that the weather warms up super fast and lasts all day long. From the moment I step outside of my air-conditioned lobby, the humidity, car exhaust, and grime of America's most frequented city sticks to me in the same way that a dog attaches itself to a fire hydrant without fail.

On a Friday night, I invited a friend to not study. Instead, we decided to make the most of our mind-bogglingly academic "summer vacation". So, we parked ourselves at a table outside and people-watched until the sun went down.

May I just say there are some really cute guys at this cafe???? Like the one sitting next to us all by himself....

I digress. This is a food blog, so I should talk about food, yes? Eh....maybe next time. This time, the things that mattered were good friends and conversation, enjoying the city, and boy-scouting, apparently!

Harry's Pizzeria -- Downtown NYC

On my last day at my awesome, year-long internship, my cool bosses treated me out to a lunch at a nearby restaurant. The chicken parm sandwich tasted delicious. It had cheese oozing out of the perfectly toasted, crunchy bread. The breaded chicken, wedged in-between the provolone and marinara sauce, gave the sandwich a crunchy texture that made this worth the money!


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Urth Caffe -- Santa Monica, CA

Urth Caffe has several locations in L.A. My friend and I happened to visit the one in Santa Monica that day. When you visit the Santa Monica branch, be sure that you park your car in a space that does not require a permit. Also make sure that none of the parking signs are obscured by trees. The Santa Monica MeterMaid is neither kind nor forgiving.

Okay, back to Urth! What is that green goop in my mug, you ask? Moroccan Tea Latte. It tastes like green tea and cinnamon blended together. Isn't the decoration pretty?

Speaking of "pretty," Urth Caffe caters to Angelenos. It's typically a place to "star gaze"...except for the day I was there. Also, the Urth Caffe in Santa Monica is more relaxed than the other one I went to in West Hollywood. Maybe you'll have better luck when you try this place out!

-- Michelle

Yellow House Cafe

This coffee and tea place is cute. It is bright yellow on the outside. It looks like a garden inside.

Plus, there's a button on the wall that patrons press to call the waiters. A button! The good thing about this button on the wall is that waiters promptly arrive when you call them.

The waiters also come to the table when you don't press the button and arrive somewhat awkwardly at the table. Two minutes after Steph and I place our orders for a latte and Blueberry Jasmine tea, respectively, our endearing server shuffles to our table and asks, "What can I get for you?"

I stare blankly at him, confused, my eyes darting to that button on the wall.

"Oh, we didn't press the button," Steph clarifies.

Yellow House Cafe definitely pays attention to detail, from the button to menu to the comfy armchairs in the waiting room.

The address is 234 South Oxford Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90004. The website is Even the website is adorable.

Cacao Coffee House -- West LA

The images of Cacao don't do this coffee shop justice. It's a really cool place to read, study, or just chat with friends.

Which I did, very loudly, at 1 AM in a half-empty joint.

The employees are really chill and very friendly. Also cute! Therefore, this place comes highly recommended, especially since parking is not a problem in the early morning hours.

I enjoyed Cacao because of the ambience, not the actual drinks. I could have ordered something more potent than hot chocolate, but I didn't. I liked the artwork on the walls and the shabby-chic wooden tables.

My friend suggested the shop, and she's a coffee addict. I trust her taste. I couldn't have asked for more than a tasty hot chocolate and good conversation at 1 in the morning.

Want to see the place for yourself? Go to 11609 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90025 or visit the website at

-- Michelle

Korean food with some of my favorite semi-Angelenos

A restaurant that caters to locals with a Korean name that is difficult to find on city streets is definitely worth experiencing. 2528 West Olympic Blvd. is in the heart of L.A.'s Koreatown. The waiters continually filled our teacups with delicious, ice-cold tea to balance the strong flavors in our dishes.

This restaurant is known for its pork and has a plaque to prove it. So, order the pork! We ordered three dishes, but our table was full with side dishes. Come to this restaurant hungry if you want a full dining experience!

-- Michelle

Milk -- West Hollywood, CA

If you have ever spent even a minute with my family, you know our lives revolve around food. In just one sunny morning in Los Angeles, we went to Bea Bea's, Portos, and Milk.

It's fun to drive around and sample different eateries. However, it's difficult to tease these places apart when I'm trying them out one after the other.

Milk supposedly serves milk that tastes really different from American milk. It's richer and creamier, as if it were from a European city or Hong Kong. I couldn't taste the difference, myself. However, that expensive glass of milk came in handy when I stuffed a molasses cookie in my mouth.

That was a bad idea. The molasses cookie should not have been devoured like a regular cookie because it was too sweet to be eaten all at once. My cousin said, "It tastes like Christmas in a cookie," and she was right. Part gingerbread, part sugar cookie, and part caramel, it was worth savoring slowly.

If you visit Milk and don't want to try the milk or the molasses cookie, there's also Blue Velvet Cake and different kinds of shakes. To save time before you go, check out your options online beforehand so that you don't waste time gawking at the choices in front of you when you show up in person. There are too many choices, so I would recommend researching before visiting.

Check out Milk at 7290 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036 or go to

Portos Bakery

Okay...I may have fibbed. Bea Bea's is a great brunch place -- but that doesn't stop me from grubbing afterward. :/

"You have to go to Portos!," my cousin insists while we're still at our table waiting for the brunch bill.
"Now? We just ate. What's Portos?"
"It's a pastry shop, and it's sooo good."
"But I'm really full."
"But you can get snacks for later."
"But I'll be eating again later, anyway."
"You can get some pastries to go, for your friends."

Thinking about how I arrived empty-handed at 2 AM to crash at Steph's apartment, I figured that might actually be a really good idea.

And, oh-my-goodness, it was.

Not only is Portos swanky-looking and scene-y, its pastries are unique and affordable. I walked in thinking I would end up paying a lot for a small box of pastries because Portos looks like a shop that would charge customers a lot for a little. I didn't purchase very much at all, but I definitely got more than I bargained for.

The rows of baked goods are simply overwhelming. Guava-cheese pastries, red velvet cupcakes and Florentine cookies stand out. Also, the servers are used to getting overwhelmed customers, so they patiently take their time with each person in line by letting them sample some pastries!

The servers don't rush the customers at all and make them feel as if their orders are really important. Despite this, the line still moves fluidly, and people still come into the shop no matter how busy it is. I wish every bakery was like Portos.

If you want to visit Portos, I would recommend not eating much beforehand. The address is 3614 West Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, CA. Check out the website here:

-- Michelle

Bea Bea's -- Burbank, CA

Bea Bea's is better for brunch than breakfast. You'll slip into a food coma afterward, so you should just give your stomach a rest and skip lunch! Thanks to my cousins for showing me this awesome, local eatery!

Honey Soy starts off the morning well! I'll try making this at home. :) My only criticism of the drink is that the mug is too small compared to the portions of food.

The Bea Bea's Omelette makes you feel full for the rest of the day. I could eat only half because it was incredibly filling. Plus, I had half of a three-layer stack of chocolate chip pancakes smothered with cream and brownie bits. That might have contributed to why I couldn't finish the whole omelette...

Bea Bea's doesn't have a website, but it has favorable reviews on Yelp and UrbanSpoon. Fun fact: if you type in "Bea Bea's" on Google, you can get a link to Miley Cyrus.

-- Michelle

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Coming to a City Near You...

It's summer and you know what that means! No bikini-wearing preparations here; just copious amounts of food! Get ready for a weeklong extravaganza of restaurant-hopping from various cities in the U.S.

Why one week? Unfortunately, that's how long summer break is now that I am no longer a kid.

But that doesn't mean I can't eat like one. :D


Cheeburger Time Warp

Waiting for a table? Wait in style....

My cousins, the ones whose wedding I blogged about back in October, treated me to a fab lunch!

My Chocolate-Oreo-Butterscotch shake. (I think I overdid it.)

The first onion rings I've had since middle school! Sooo good!!!!

Anyone got a DeLorean? Cheeburger in White Plains, NY makes me feel like I should put on a poodle skirt and order Coca Cola that comes in a bottle. The walls are bubblegum pink and proudly display movie posters and icons from the 1950s. A cut-out of Marilyn hangs on the girls' bathroom door, and a cut-out of James Dean leads into the broom closet.

Quirky, but really entertaining.

This over-the-top burger joint does not disappoint. Aside from the decor, the menu aims to impress. Cheeburger is no ordinary restaurant; there are no burgers on the menu. You can make your own by combining ingredients listed on the menu. Invent your own Salad! Invent your own Cheeburger! There are different sized burgers: Our Famous Pounder, The Delirious, The Serious, The Semi-Serious, and The Classic.

The trait that makes Cheeburger stand out: being able to invent my own milkshake or malt. I can choose from three long columns of options ranging from brownie batter to watermelon. Just looking at the menu made me full, and I didn't even eat breakfast that morning.

I ordered a Semi-Serious burger (one step up from the "beginner" burger) with lettuce, Provolone, and an onion ring. From now on, I'm just going to put onion rings in my burgers if the restaurant doesn't include them like Cheeburger does. It really gives the burger a nice edge! As for the milkshake, my Chocolate-Oreo-Butterscotch mix tasted delicious. Next time, I'll try a watermelon-key lime pie-Caribbeam Rum combo next just to see how far I can mix ingredients without feeling queasy.

Feast your eyes on this food coma at