Hello hello hello! Welcome back to the more free-spirited and way-less-scheduled post on the blog. Here’s what I’ve been cooking, eating, and drinking lately. Bon appetit!
Cast-iron skillets, coffee makers, and jumbo muffin tins - these are three of the most essential kitchen items (among a few others). I bought the jumbo muffin tin specifically for this recipe because I knew, if I wanted bakery-style muffins, they must be jumbo. And they must have the coarse sprinkling sugar on top. Of course. These make the best quick weekday breakfast with a scoop of Greek yogurt and a drizzle of honey, and the best accompaniment to a weekend brunch spread.
I cannot tell you how much I love that Jake and I can cook together. We’ve made homemade pizza (all the ingredients from Trader Joe’s!), sweet potato nachos, pasta with chicken sausage, and a friend-rice-type-thing except with farro instead of rice, annnd even some tahini brownies! This particular night we made a sweet potato hash with spicy chicken sausage, avocado, and goat cheese (my favorite cheese). Yumma!
Grace is my breakfast buddy. We lovvvve breakfast, and when our slow weekend mornings collide, we take advantage! Coffee comes first, always. Black for me, and with a splash of almond milk for her. While we sip, we throw out breakfast ideas - French toast, waffles (those have been off the menu since the day I tossed my cheap waffle maker in the trash), pancakes, banana bread, muffins, avocado and egg toast, and the list goes on. Pancakes win, 9 out of 10 times. Here we have gluten-free blueberry oatmeal pancakes with fresh fruit, Greek yogurt, peanut butter, and maple syrup. These were some of the BEST gf pancakes I’ve ever had! Don’t worry - the recipe is saved and patiently waiting for its turn on the blog.
I’ve lived a 5-minute-drive away from the famous Madonna Inn for the last 5 years, and I’ve only had so much as a bite or two of their well-known cakes. Grace and I drove by it on our way home from the beach one night, looked at Madonna, looked at each other, and just knew - it’s time. Cake time. We scurried inside, 23-year-olds with the excitement of 7-year-olds, and scanned the glass case for the cake that called out to us. Soon enough, we sat in puffy pink barstools at a diner-style counter and scooped forkful after forkful of rich, German chocolate cake into our mouths.
PS - if you’re planning to visit, one slice feeds 2-3 people. Easily.
Jake brought me donuts on my birthday! He’s a keeper. These are all my favorites, and apparently his least favorites - that’s probably a good thing. Apple fritters remind me of my dad, who’d always choose this one on Saturday morning donut runs, and now I think they’re among some of the greatest donuts on the shelves. I discovered old-fashioned and buttermilk donuts in college and love almost equally as much as apple fritters. It’s a texture thing when it comes to donuts, and the fluffy donuts just don’t understand that. Anyway, enough of my donut opinions.
I think summer birthday celebrations should always involve beach views, best friends, and strong, sweet sangria - thankfully, mine had all those wonderful things! Lido at Dolphin Bay provided the beach views and the strong, sweet sangria, and, well, I’ve got the best friends covered, obviously. When everyone asked me where I wanted to go/what I wanted to do on my special day, I think it only took me half a second to pick up the phone and make a patio reservation at Lido. Definitely one of my favorite spots in this area - unbeatable!
We can talk about jumping rope and coloring with sidewalk chalk and slumber parties all we want, but nothing quite brings back the memories of childhood like Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls. I know, I know - a can of processed, sugary dough that asks nothing more of the baker who prepares them than to just open it up and lay them out on a baking sheet, bake for 10 minutes, and then spread this pre-made (who-knows-what) frosting on top? Yeah, those. I’m all for whole grains and vegetables and homemade goodies, but Pillsbury has its own special place in my diet.
On that same sweet note - CAKE. My whole family flew out to California to celebrate my graduation, and I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend. The only thing I asked for (demanded, actually) was cake. To me, it’s almost as important as the loved ones in a celebration. Everyone insisted I couldn’t make my own cake, even though I offered and kind of wanted to honestly, so we stopped at Angela’s Pastries in Paso Robles and picked up one or two or… eleven things. My favorite was the lemon cake, with the carrot cake coming up close behind in second place.
Another celebration necessity - mimosas. Duh. ‘Nuff said.
This burger from Hachè LA gave In n’ Out a serious run for its money. Tender meat, creamy goat cheese, roasted tomatoes, and the (almost) perfect bun, plus a side of fries to share and a tall glass of sangria for both Connie and me. It tasted like it should have cost way more than it did, but I won’t argue with them on that. Girl’s gotta’ budget! And I love a good burger that fits in that budget.
We woke up the next morning, sipped some coffee, and immediately realized we’d need more than just one cup. Connie seems to know LA like the back of her hand, yet somehow we still couldn’t decide on a coffee shop that was both convenient and cute. That is, until we landed on Little Ripper. This is the kind of coffee shop where I’m sure a simple pour-over is just dandy, but next to a Chicory-Cacao house-made almond milk-infused latte sweetened with dates and lookin’ all bougie… well, the latter steals the spotlight in my eyes. Connie ordered the same drink, but with a lavender flavor and hot instead of iced. We loved both!
Between our morning beverages and our evening beverages (shown above), we did a lot of networking, socializing, and working in the midst of all that, so we wanted something with a little extra zing, ya’ know? Connie has had her eye on Sawyer for a while (it’s a bar, not a person) and I can understand why - refreshing atmosphere with light, cheery decor and absolutely delish drinks. We had two! Round one is pictured above: two margaritas, and round two (not shown): was a moscow mule for me and frosè for her. Whenever my next visit to LA is, I’ll be stopping here for sure.
So, that’s that for now. I’ll be back soon with more eats and drinks!