Blog Break

25 08 2009

Hello loyal readers (lurkers and commentators)!

Unfortunately, life happens, and neither Matt nor I have the time to dedicate to Explore and Eat right now. We have a lot going on and we do not have the capacity to update our blog, probably until mid-September.

Until then we will be collecting photos and data and we will start back up once we have the time and energy to maintain our posts.

Thanks for reading–we hope that you’ll join us again in a few weeks or so!


Farmers Market: West Hollywood

23 08 2009

The Farmers Market in West Hollywood was our kind of site seeing. Matt and I walked into the hustle and bustle of the crowded open-air stalls of mostly food and felt like we were home (picture Reading Terminal Market with no roof). This is the perfect mid-day stop for a sampling of fresh and local foods, browsing through souvenirs, and shopping for wine and gourmet ingredients. We even canceled our reservation at Bazaar that evening and instead picked up some cheese, salami, fresh fruit, and a bottle of wine to have for our dinner.





Marmalade Cafe

21 08 2009

On the 8th and 3rd mornings that Matt and I, respectively, were in Los Angeles, we decided it was about time for a hearty breakfast that wasn’t from Yamazaki Bakery. Matt found the adorable Marmalade Cafe in Santa Monica, where we stopped to eat before we went to the beach. 

Marmalade is situated in a row of some cute shops and right across the street from a Starbucks. When we sat down we realized that there are multiple locations of the Marmalade Cafe but since none of them were on or near the east coast, we were ok with its uniqueness.

The ambience was relaxed and homey, kid-friendly, and had plenty of seats at 10:30am on a Monday morning. You can also get food to go.

Our lattes were creamy and tasty. No bitterness here.

Our breakfasts were super amazing. Super tasty, super sized, and super generous with the omelet fillings. Matt chose a steak and eggs version of an omelet made with filet mignon chili and served with Marmalade potatoes and rye bread toast.

My selection had me at avocado. Cheddar cheesy, bacon-y, creamy avocado-y goodness. Topped off with some hot sauce and I was in good fat/bad fat heaven.  The Marmalade potatoes were cooked and seasoned to perfection and those of you who know me can see that the toast made me very happy.

I was very surprised at the fact that there were no public restrooms in Marmalade. We had driven from Downtown L.A. straight to the restaurant and when we got there I panicked. My noble husband asked and they said that “since it wasn’t busy yet” I could sneak into the staff bathroom quickly. But really? No public bathroom at an establishment with a kitchen and table service? Hmmm. Maybe I ask too much.

We were stuffed and happy when we left, ready to face the pier, beach, and ocean air. We were also wondering how we would fit “boardwalk food,” Mexican for lunch, and dinner at Bazaar in our bellies that day. It’s a tough life, being on vacation.

Huntington Gardens

20 08 2009

The Huntington Botanical Gardens is a lovely place to spend a day or multiple days in the Los Angeles area. Matt and I went for an afternoon and we could have easily spent much more time exploring the beautiful and unique gardens and fantastic library.

The entrance fee is $20 per person on weekends and we decided that it was well worth this price. The gardens are extensive, as is the library that we rushed through 30 minutes before it closed.

We were mostly excited about the Japanese Garden, herb garden, and first-edition texts on display in the library. The new Chinese Garden needs a bit of work, and we thought that having a refreshment stand right there gave it a more commerical feel.

Overall, I wished we had more time to explore all of the parts of the Garden and even linger in the library (I usually don’t like anything resembling a museum, and I am not ashamed to admit it). I highly recommend building this into your schedule if you ever visit Los Angeles.


Breakfast Sandwich Recap: The End is Near

19 08 2009

Well boys and girls, my search for the best breakfast sandwich in North Philadelphia took a small hiatus, and now I am almost at the end. Aren’t you excited? Tense with anticipation to see who will take home the crown? I have one more truck on tap to taste and score before the finale, so until then, here are the latest standings:

Bagel Shop: 89
Ali’s: 84
Sexy Green Truck: 81
Ernie’s: 69
Richie’s: 67
Adriatic Grill: 61
Suzi’s: 61
Ray’s: 60
Eppy’s: 56
McDonald’s: 54
Tommy’s: 53

For you new readers, click here for the grading rubric I developed, along with the help of many foodies, to score the breakfast sandwiches. The winner will be revealed next week so stay tuned.

Santa Monica

18 08 2009

I am still living with your ghost
Lonely and dreaming of the west coast

I don’t want to be your downtime
I don’t want to be your stupid game

We can live beside the ocean
Leave the fire behind

Swim out past the breakers
Watch the world die

I am still dreaming of your face
Hungry and hollow for all the things you took away

I don’t want to be your good time
I don’t want to be your fall-back crutch anymore

I’ll walk right out into a brand new day
Insane and rising in my own weird way

I don’t want to be the bad guy
I don’t want to do your sleepwalk dance anymore

I just want to feel some sunshine
I just want to find some place to be alone

We can live beside the ocean
Leave the fire behind
Swim out past the breakers
Watch the world die

Yamazaki Bakery

16 08 2009

I sometimes don’t understand when people say that Asian countries don’t “do” bread. I can only speak for Japan, and I know for a fact that bread is better there. When we were staying in Little Tokyo, the only place open early for a quick breakfast was Yamazaki Bakery in the plaza around the corner from the hotel. Fine with us.


We must have tried everything over the course of a few days: ham and cheese croissant, hot dog wrapped in pastry, ham egg and cheese danish, raspberry cheese stick, and here is Matt showing us the toast made from thick white bread that just can’t be duplicated easily. The yelp! community understands.