Tag Archives: Brunch

Life Lately

Memorial Day Weekend in Numbers

Hello! How was your long weekend? Mine was an absolute blast, filled with friends and delicious food.

I haven’t done a weekend in numbers post in awhile, so I thought it would be a fun way to round up the weekend.

 

2: Inches cut off my hair on Friday. I was in desperate need of a haircut and I feel so much better (and lighter!) now. Erin, my hair stylist, has the sweetest dog, Gracie, who she sometimes brings to the salon. Gracie recently stayed with us when Erin went out of town, so she was especially excited to see me on Friday, knowing that I would rub her belly nonstop.

Gracie

 

3: Slices of Stella Barra Margherita Pizza I ate on Friday night. This was the perfect way to kick off the long weekend! Not pictured: a shared arugula salad, glasses of rose, and the MASSIVE chocolate chip cookie that Travis bought me after the meal. My tummy was quite content.

Pizza

 

12: (approximate) number of times I told Travis to throw out this grey t-shirt over the years we’ve been dating. He’s had it since high school, but insisted on keeping it (despite the massive holes) because it was incredibly soft. Saturday morning he finally gave in to my wishes and agreed to get rid of it. He then proceeded to tear the shirt into shreds…which we both found way too amusing.

Shirt

Any other ladies out there have to convince their guys to get rid of old clothing? What is it that makes them so darn attached?

 

2: Bottles of champagne consumed by four of us ladies during brunch on Saturday morning. We went to Courtyard Kitchen in Santa Monica (which I’ve mentioned plenty of times on the blog), and I finally took advantage of their BYOB option (no corkage fee!). We all loved our meals and we had SO MUCH FUN together!

Brunch

 

20: Minutes waited in line to get into The Bungalow in Santa Monica after brunch. I’d say this was a record because sometimes it can take up to two hours! Personally, I could never wait that long to go anywhere, so I was glad our group decided to get there early to hop on line before the masses.

The Bungalow

 

1: Matcha Green Tea Latte made by me on Monday afternoon. It was my first time making one at home and it was a great afternoon pick-me-up.

Matcha Green Tea

 

1/4: Pound burger grilled on Monday evening. I ate my burger on a gluten-free bun with caramelized onions, homemade date ketchup and guacamole. We also enjoyed some charred broccoli and pinot noir on the side. What a perfect way to cap off such a fun weekend!

Burger

 

How was your MDW? Did you grill? Tell me one delicious thing you ate!

Life Lately

Valentine’s Weekend Recap

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend spending time with people you love! I’m a sucker for Valentine’s Day – any excuse to celebrate love is a win in my book (yea, I’m as sappy as they come).

Our Valentine’s Day celebrations began on Friday night. Travis had plans to beat me home and surprise me with flowers and a glass of wine waiting for me, but unfortunately (for him) I beat him home, thus foiling his plans. Nevertheless, I was thrilled by my beautiful bouquet and loved sipping on a delicious glass of wine before dinner.

Flowers, Wine

We had a reservation at The Little Door, in Santa Monica. You probably recognize the name because I’ve talked about it on the blog a lot – it’s my favorite restaurant in LA! Over the holidays, my brother and sister-in-law gifted us a very generous gift certificate to the restaurant, so Travis and I were excited to use it for our special meal.

My favorite dish on their menu is the Mezze plate. It comes with one million different tips and small bites of Mediterranean goodness. The bread basket contains pita bread, falafel and spanakopita. Lots of different small bites is my favorite way to eat. YUM YUM YUM!

Mezze Plate The Little Door

iPhone photos taken in dark restaurants always make food look just delightful, don’t they? Nope. Not at all.

Saturday morning I was woken up to Travis carrying in breakfast into the bedroom. He made me our favorite Gluten-Free Buckwheat Pancakes and a big mug of coffee. I was half awake, but I still managed to let out a good squeal out of pure delight. I felt like a very lucky girl that morning.

Breakfast in Bed

The weather was beautiful on Saturday afternoon, so we decided to maximize our time outside and took Bessie on a long walk down the Santa Monica promenade. We stopped at Burger Lounge for a quick bite to eat. I wasn’t too hungry, so I opted for their Fresh Vegetable Salad, while Travis splurged for a burger, fries, and onion rings. While I don’t usually go for fried things, you can bet I helped him finish some of those onion rings!

Burger Lounge

I just love Burger Lounge – it’s a great local spot. For being a fast casual restaurant with a relatively young staff, the service is A+! The staff is all very friendly and attentive, making it a pleasure to dine there. One of the busboys brought us a bowl of water for Bessie to sip on because it was so warm outside. Small gestures like that go a long way in my book.

(Yes, I am wearing shorts and sandals in February).

Burger Lounge

Sunday morning, I walked into the dining room to find the newspaper and freshly picked flowers waiting for me. Travis picked them when he was walking Bessie that morning (sorry neighbors!), and they made me so darn happy. I was definitely feeling the love all weekend long.

Flowers

One of Travis’ best friends from college was in town, so we met up for brunch. Afterwards the group came back to our apartment to hang out. It was so great to see our friend, Dan, and meet his new girlfriend.

Friends

Since the majority of our closest friends live on the east coast, the time we get with them is always so special.

IMG_9907

Dan and Alexis

IMG_9911

Yagna and Aneesh (+Bessie)

Bessie

Bessie had a great day, too. She loves finding new people to pet her.

Santa Monica Pier

I couldn’t have asked for a better Valentine’s weekend. I’m not off from work today, but Travis is. It’s always tough to head back into the work week after such a great weekend, isn’t it?

 

What was the highlight of your weekend?

Life Lately Travel

A Big Surprise

Weeks of planning finally led up to this weekend’s big surprise. With the help of my mom and brother, I flew home to Boston from Los Angeles on Friday to surprise my dad. My dad is the master of surprises and he loves nothing more than when our whole family is together, so it was great to be able to turn the tables and surprise him for once.

Travel

I took a red eye from LA on Thursday night and landed in Boston very early Friday morning. My mom picked me up from the airport and drove me into the city where we had plans to surprise my dad. His coworker was in on our surprise, which was very helpful because we never would have known his schedule or whereabouts without her assistance.

My dad was scheduled to be in a meeting for a little while, so my mom took me to my beloved Dunkin’ Donuts to grab a small bite to eat. After not sleeping well on my flight, this large coffee was very needed.

Dunkin Donuts

When we received a text message from my dad’s coworker that his meeting was wrapping up, we hurried over to the building, rode the elevator up to correct floor and snuck up behind my dad.

He was stunned! He said he had no suspicions about my visit, which meant our stealthy planning was a big success. After lots of hugs and laughter, my dad (unfortunately) had to go back to work for the day and my mom drove me home.

Family

Boston readers, I feel for you. There is SO. MUCH. SNOW.

Snow

The picture above was from the day I arrived. We had more snow over the course of my visit that now you can’t even see those patio table and chairs!

More snow

Because of the weather, a majority of the weekend was spent inside by the fire trying to stay warm. I loved eating lots of cold-weather foods such as this root vegetable gratin and balsamic-glazed turkey meatloaf.

Dinner

I was so happy I got to see my BFF, Amanda, for brunch at one of my favorite local breakfast spots, Johnny’s. Leaving Amanda always makes me so sad. If we lived in the same city, I know we would be attached at the hip.

Amanda

I also got to spend some time with two of my favorite four-legged friends.

Diesel, my parents’ yorkie-poo…

Diesel

…and Cooper, my brother and sister-in-law’s black lab.

Cooper

My flight back to LA was cancelled because of all the snow, so I got to spend an extra two days at home with everyone. Many people were probably frustrated with the cancellations, but I didn’t mind because two days (the original duration of my trip) would have been way too short!

We were seriously snowed in. Even after you plow the snow, there is no where to put it! Oy.

More Snow

I finally flew back to Los Angeles on Tuesday night.

Boston Logan

After even more flight delays (waaah!) I was thrilled to see Travis AND Bessie in the car to pick me up from LAX. Bessie was so excited to see me, her tail didn’t stop wagging the whole way home. The 70+ degree weather when I landed was also a very welcome surprise!

 

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Breakfast

Spicy Home Fries

Think of the best brunch place you know.

What do you like to get there?

Do they have the best pancakes in town? Do you love their omelet? What about their home fries? Do they do them right? Or are they pretty bad?

The thing about home fries is that when they are good…they’re amazing. You can’t stop eating them and you completely clean your plate…then you eye the plate of the person next you and hope that they won’t finish theirs…so you can.

Am I right?

But, when home fries are bad – you know, soggy and flavorless – you could care less about them and end up pushing them to the side of your plate. You probably won’t even ever go back to that breakfast joint.

Well I am going to show you how to make home fries so good you won’t even need to go out to breakfast.

And it’s all because of one little trick.

It’s something I learned from my all time favorite cookbook, America’s Test Kitchen Family Cook Book.

The trick is to microwave the cut up potatoes before putting them in the skillet. This helps to cook the insides of the pieces before the outsides become overcooked. It will give them a perfect crisp on the outside and a soft inside.

Exactly what you want, right? Yeah, don’t thank me – thank the guys at ATK.

Then you want to add a bunch of spices to the potatoes for great flavor. Don’t worry – I didn’t make them too spicy (I personally wouldn’t be able to handle that).

It’s just the right amount of spice for [most] taste buds.

Spicy Home Fries Recipe

You also want to make sure that they sit awhile to ensure a crunchy outside coating.

Spicy Home Fries Recipe

Make these babies for a crowd – you’ll be sure to impress ‘em.

Spicy Home Fries Recipe

Spicy Home Fries
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes
  • ⅛ cup vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon curry powder (I added more because I like the taste)
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
Instructions
  1. Peel and cut the potatoes into ½ inch cubes (leave the skin on if you want your potatoes to be even crispier). Place in a microwaveable bowl and toss with vegetable oil and lightly with salt and pepper. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Microwave the potatoes of 5-10 minutes (until they are tender, but not falling apart), shaking the bowl every 3 minutes to redistribute the potatoes. Remove plastic and drain the potatoes in a strainer.
  2. Toss the potatoes with the spices.
  3. Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add the butter. When the butter is melted, add the potatoes. Cook for about 5 minutes on one side and then flip. Add the onions and garlic to the skillet. Continue cooking and turning the potatoes every few minutes until they are browned to your liking and the onion is softened (about 10-15 minutes).
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.