Category Archives: Breakfast

A Breakfast Burrito in LA + Berkeley Eats

I feel like I need to come up with more creative titles for my blog posts. But then how would anyone know what the post is about without reading it? Or maybe that’s the point.

Um. I have no idea what I’m rambling about.

This is more of a catch-up post than anything, because we are now back in Oxford. *gloom* On a happier note, before we drove up to Norcal, we stopped by at Andy’s Coffee Shop in Pasadena for a breakfast burrito. We chose to split this baby, and hooo boy, were we glad we did. It doesn’t look that huge in the picture, but in real life it was about as wide as my bicep. (Which is really big, btw. Like, Stallone-big.)

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Filled with egg, cheese, sausage, bacon, and hash, this burrito was pretty friggin’ delicious. Halfway through my share, I moaned about being done. I set the burrito down and sipped my coffee (which was excellent, btw). Then I picked it back up. Snuck a nibble. Mmm, gooey cheese. Put it back down. Poked at it. Picked it back up and took a bigger nibble. And so on and so forth, until, for shame, I finished it. That one burrito was enough to fill us up for the duration of our drive to Norcal, which is somewhat scary, come to think about it.

Mike’s always yammered on and on about wanting to do “American stuff”, which is kind of a broad term. So far, I’ve managed to fulfill just one American dream: stuff our faces with ridiculously large portions of everything. But this time, I went all out. I got a friend to take us to a shooting range…

Yay, pretty targets!

Yay, pretty targets!

Me loading the revolver like a pro. Okay, not really. My hands were somewhat trembly and I was convinced the bullets would spontaneously combust and blow my hands off.

Me loading the revolver like a pro. Okay, not really. My hands were somewhat trembly and I was convinced the bullets would spontaneously combust and blow my hands off.

And as though that wasn’t American enough, I got us tickets to see a Cal Bears game. The morning after we arrived at Norcal, four of us headed for Berkeley.

Berkeley’s where I did my undergrad. Sometimes I miss those times so much I could choke a bear. It’s also the place where I gained like 20 lbs. (You’ll soon see why.)

First stop: Cheeseboard Pizza.

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Cheeseboard is pretty much an institution. Whenever anyone slams vegetarian food, I prove them wrong by stuffing a slice of Cheeseboard pizza in their mouths. I love that CP only serves one type of pizza per day, depending on what veg are in season. It forces me to try combinations I would otherwise never bother trying. Some combos I prefer more than others, but I’ve never had a bad pizza from CP.

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After Cheeseboard, we headed closer to campus, where we stopped by at Smart Alec’s for sandwiches and fries. Smart Alec’s is a pretty basic college student eatery. Its portions are large enough so most of their dishes can be spread over three meals. Their chowders are thick enough to withstand the standing-spoon test, but what I missed most from Smart Alec’s are the garlic fries. They’re “air-baked”, which I guess means they’re a teensy bit healthier than their deep-fried counterparts, but they’re also really soft and garlicky. Like my meats and my friends, I like my fries submissive and slightly soggy.

After that, we had enough food for a while, so we went around campus reminiscing and blowing money on Cal paraphernalia. Then we went to every Cal student’s favorite midnight snack haunt: Asian Ghetto. The beauty of Asian Ghetto is the free seating in the central space, which means everyone can get food from wherever the hell they want before congregating at one table. I went for an old favorite: Kimchi fried noodles with shrimp from Bear’s Ramen House.

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Spicy, gooey, slightly sweet. . . with a perfectly-fried egg on top. . .there is nothing better than this at 2 a.m. after a hard night of partying studying.

Then it was off to the game. . .

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Where we lost miserably, so the end. >:-[

*cries into pillow at the memory*

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LA Eats Part One: Yahaira’s Cafe, Porto’s Bakery, and Savoy Kitchen

*Note: Please excuse the crappy pictures. I took my small digital camera with me because the thought of lugging my heavy-ass 5d mkii makes my poor back twinge with phantom pain.

We’re in California, aka our favoritest place in the world! *does ten happy jumping jacks in a row*

I did my undergrad in Berkeley and lived in Pasadena for a few of the sunniest, most delicious years of my life. My best friends are all in Cali, and so are my favorite foods, and I’ve managed to infect Mike with enough love for the state that over the past couple of years, we’ve visited twice a year.

The only bad thing about Cali is: there are too many delicious things to eat. Do we go back to our old favorites or look up new places on Yelp? Mike isn’t really a breakfast person, but I’ve been dragging him out to breakfast as often as I can, because that just means it’s one more place we get to tick off our list.

First up is Yahaira’s Cafe.

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We share as many of our meals as we can, since portions in Cali are bigger than our tummies. We opted for the Lomitos Scrambled: Tender pork stewed in tomato, garlic, and scrambled into eggs. Served with guac, home fried potatoes, and tortilla. It doesn’t look pretty, I know, but it’s actually pretty frikkin’ good, especially when you take the time to lovingly shmear guac evenly onto the tortilla before piling the pork, egg, and potatoes to make the perfect bite.

For lunch, we went to my absolute favorite bakery: Porto’s. Porto’s is a must for anyone visiting LA. No arguments about it. The pastries are always freshly-baked and they keep their prices low.

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This is what I literally dream about when I’m not in LA. Seriously, I’ve dreamt of their cheese rolls and woken up with drool all over my pillow. These babies are amazing little pillows of perfection. Creamy ricotta cheese hugged in an airy roll of puff pastry and topped with sugar before being baked to a crunchy caramelized state.

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They are so deceptively light that I used to inhale three of them in one go. At 70 cents per roll, this won’t hurt your wallet either. But now that my metabolism isn’t what it used to be, I have to limit myself to just one roll at a time. One roll that’s always gone too soon. 😦

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Since cheese rolls aren’t like, a sound source of nutrition or whatever, we also ordered a pan con bistek. Marinated steak, potato sticks, grilled onions, tomatoes, and mojo (Cuban garlic sauce) on Cuban bread. Maybe it’s because their pastries are so amazing, but I always find Porto’s sandwiches a bit lacking. Don’t get me wrong, they’re good, but . . . not mind-blowing. They need more sauce, for one. And they’d be better if they were warmer.

Next time, I’m just gonna gorge myself on the cheese rolls and the flan bread pudding.

For dinner, we headed over to yet another old favorite: Savoy Kitchen.

Everyone says the best Hainanese chicken rice is in Singapore, but I sooo disagree. And I’ve eaten chicken rice at more than a dozen locally-acclaimed spots in Singapore, so I know what I’m talking about, dammit. Anthony Bourdain once said that Hainanese chicken rice is regarded with almost religous fervor in Singapore. Ask a group of friends where the best one is to be found and it won’t be long before they devolve into a loud (friendly-ish) argument over the answer. Everyone has their own favorite place and feels equally strongly about it. This is absolutely true. Savoy Kitchen is mine. And if you disagree, I will sit on you.

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The chicken is always perfectly cooked so the meat is fork-tender but not so soft that it has no bite to it. Same with the rice. Richly-infused with garlic, chicken, and ginger, the rice is fluffy, flavorful, and dangerously easy to shovel into your mouth. It comes with dark soy sauce, homemade chili sauce, and homemade garlic/ginger oil mix. I ignore the soy sauce and chili and go straight for the garlic/ginger. This garlic/ginger oil thing is, for me, what pushes Savoy Kitchen into the lead. It’s fresh, savory, and so lip-smackingly good I always find myself picking at it, licking it like Nutella even after all the rice and chicken is gone.

And I wonder why my jeans are always tighter after a visit to Cali . . .

Whatever, it’s so worth it.

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Bircher Muesli

Yay, new food blog!

Recently I’ve been trying to cut down on the amount of carbs I eat. It hasn’t been too difficult cutting carbs out of lunch and dinner, but when it comes to breakfast, I tend to crave something sweet (read: scones and French toast). For a while I tried having omelette for breakfast, which was yummy, but left me feeling somewhat unfulfilled. Then I stumbled upon a compromise: Bircher Muesli.

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The beauty of Bircher Muesli is you can add whatever the hell you want to it. The most basic Bircher Muesli recipe contains:

-Plain yogurt

-Grated green apples

-Oatmeal (I add just enough oatmeal to give the yogurt a bit of texture. If I wasn’t cutting back on carbs, I’d add enough so that a spoon left in the muesli will take a looong time to fall.)

-A slosh of apple or orange juice (Again, I minimized the amount of juice I put into this week’s muesli, because juice is fucking wolf in sheep’s clothing when it comes to carbs.)

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I was lucky enough to find fresh pomegranates at the market today, so this week’s muesli is filled with pom seeds, along with a bit of raisins (yea yea, I know raisins are loaded with sugar. Bite me.) and toasted almonds and walnuts. It wasn’t until I’d mixed the walnuts up with the almonds that I remembered something crucial: I hate walnuts. How the hell did I forget that? Oooh well. Apparently they’re good for you, so mkay walnuts, you get a pass this time.

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Yusss, breakfast.