Best Brunch Spots in LA

2Croque Madame and the Regular Breakfast from Republique

This post is long overdue. Brunch is my favorite meal, hands down. I love it so much that I named my blog after it. So it’s only fair that I write a post detailing my favorite brunch spots in Los Angeles. Now the reason it’s taken me so long to write this post is because I didn’t want to just throw together some random brunch list. I wanted to take my time and try a bunch of different places and really figure out which ones were my favorites. Now, there’s always room for improvement and I’m sure I will discover another amazing brunch spot after posting this. However, that being said, these are my top 5 brunch spots as of today.

1. Republique

Oh. My. God. Why did it take me so long to try Republique? I love everything about this place. The food is amazing, and the vibe and interior decor is on point. Everything on the menu is fresh, seasonal and incredibly delicious. The only downside to this place is there is always a wait, but for good reason. This spot is not only my favorite, but also my friends. All of their pastries not only look fabulous but they all taste amazing. Be sure to grab one before you sit down and wait for your meal. Everything I’ve had here is great. My favorite: Croque Madame 

2. Village Idiot

The Village Idiot has been my brunch spot of choice for the better part of last year. There usually isn’t a wait, which is great when you’re starving (or hungover) and in need of some quick, yet yummy breakfast. I have probably been to the Village Idiot a couple dozen times for brunch, and they never disappoint. Their fresh squeezed OJ is so refreshing. They also have the best breakfast sandwich in all of LA. Now I know that’s a very bold statement but I stand by it 100%. I like to sub out the sausage for bacon, and if you love bacon as much as I do I highly recommend it. My favorite: Breakfast Sandwich

The Bloody Royale from Franklin & Co. The Bloody Royale from Franklin & Co.

3. Franklin & Co.

Franklin & Co. will always have a special place in my heart. It was where I discovered my love of Biscuits with Sausage Gravy. Not to mention their bacon is the bomb. Franklin & Co also happens to be known for their delicious Bloody Mary’s. This also happened to be where I discovered my love for Bloodies. All of their Bloody Mary’s are tasty, and if you’re adventurous enough to try their Bloody Royale…do it. My favorite: Biscuits with Sausage Gravy

IMG_6925Brunch Carbonara with a side of Crunchy French Toast at Blu Jam Cafe

4. Blu Jam Cafe

On the same block as the Village Idiot, is Blu Jam Cafe (they also have a location in the Valley). My friends and I have tried to go to Blu Jam numerous times, but there is always a long wait and we’re never prepared to wait that long. But finally, we planned and waited and got into Blu Jam. No wonder there is always a wait. This place is delicious. They have a couple brunch items that are not your typical brunch meals. I highly recommend you getting a plate of the Crunchy French Toast to share. It’s AMAZING. If you’re looking for something a little different, but extremely delicious go to Blu Jam. It’s well worth the wait. My favorite: Brunch Carbonara

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 presetChoco Acai Bowls from Kreation

5. Kreation 

If you’re in one of those rare “I want to be healthy” moods, Kreation is the perfect brunch spot for you. They have THE BEST Acai Bowls I have ever had. Their juices and smoothies are also great. My friends and I go to Kreation after we’ve had a very indulgent weekend. It’s the perfect place to hit the reset button and feel good about the food you are eating. Everything is organic and tastes incredible. My favorite: Choco Acai Bowl

What are some of your favorite brunch spots? Leave them in the comments below!

My Review: Blue Apron

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I’m going to be completely honest here. I’m lazy. Especially when it comes to grocery shopping, which is one of my least favorite tasks. But, on the opposite spectrum: I love cooking. See my dilemma here? That’s where Blue Apron comes in. Blue Apron is a delivery service where you get fresh, pre-portioned and pre-packaged ingredients sent to your door. You get three recipes a week and can decide if you want it for two people, or a family. I opted for the two person meals, obviously because I don’t have a family that I live with. For my first Blue Apron box, I chose the following 3 recipes: Fontina & Preserved Lemon Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Vegetable Bibimbap & Kimchi, and Roasted Butternut Squash with Stewed White Beans, Brussel Sprouts & Gremolata.

My favorite was the Fontina & Preserved Lemon Grilled Cheese Sandwich, with Endive Salad. OH MY GOD. This was seriously the bomb.com. If you’re a fan of grilled cheese, you have to make this recipe. This is definitely something that I will make again. As for the other two recipes, they were good but not my favorite. Being Korean, Bibimbap is one of my favorite dishes. This was a good recipe, but it wasn’t great. It also took a long time to make. The Butternut Squash recipe would be a good alternative for someone that doesn’t eat meat. This had a lot of different flavors and was very unique.

Overall, I really enjoyed using Blue Apron. I was able to cook both alone, and with friends, which made for a fun experience. I would definitely use Blue Apron again. It’s great for those weeks when you want to experiment with new recipes and are also feeling too lazy to go grocery shopping.

 

My Review: Monday Glow E-Book

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My best friend Catherine, and her older sister Annie put together an E-Book called “Monday Glow”. They created the book to help other girls just like me live their life in a healthy and happy way. I’m always down to try the hippest and hottest new health trends like going to a sweat lodge, or floating in a Dead Sea pool.

When I received the Monday Glow guide, I admit I was skeptical. I’ve tried many different fad diets such as paleo or juice cleansing (Blue Print to be exact), but I was pleasantly surprised to find the guide full of yummy meals with wholesome foods. After a weekend of dining out almost every meal, and going out with friends, I found myself lacking energy and feeling sick on Monday. This detox guide helped me to re-energize and get back on my daily grind.

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My favorite meal from the Monday Glow Guide was Beauty Bowl for lunch. It was filling, vibrant and I loved all the nutritional information that came in the guide. I also loved the Egg Bake, which I’ve made before in a previous post. It’s one of my favorite recipes that Catherine has shared with me.

Overall, I would definitely recommend the Monday Glow guide to any girl who wants to kick start a healthy diet and get back on track after a fun weekend. This is a great guide that has realistic eating expectations, with a lot of delicious recipes.

To get your own Monday Glow, check out Catherine and Annie’s e-book here!

 

 

Chocolate Banana Overnight Oats

1Breakfast is a must have for me. If I don’t eat something by 10:30 I start to get very cranky. I’m also not a morning person so I love breakfasts that are easy to make. This is the perfect breakfast for those who are on the go in the morning because you can make it the night before and it’s ready to eat when you wake up. This is also a great recipe because you don’t really need to measure anything out, just eyeball it and you’ll be fine!

Chocolate Banana Overnight Oats

What you need:

A mason jar, or mug
1 ripe banana
Rolled Oats
Unsweeted Cocoa Powder
Milk (I prefer Almond)

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1. Mash up the banana using a fork.

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2. Add the oats. Be sure to leave room for the milk at the end.

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3. Top everything off with some milk and a spoonful of cocoa powder.

4. Mix your oats and banana.

5. Refrigerate overnight. Enjoy!

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Easy Egg Bake

Hey guys its Catherine from Collective Passions! Today I’m going to be sharing a yummy recipe perfect for meal prepping for the week. This recipe is something I came up with when I was tired of making eggs every single day, why go through that trouble when you can just reheat an egg bake? An egg bake is extremely versatile so feel free to add your favorite veggies and cheeses.

I have experimented with different versions and found this combination works best.

Egg Bake Recipe
1 Carton of Egg Whites
4 Eggs
One medium Zucchini
Half a carton of mini portabella mushrooms
Half a carton of tomatoes (or more depending on your preference)

Optional:
Add any veggie you want: onions, spinach, peppers, etc.
Add cheese on top (highly suggested), I usually add Daiya cheese, but cheddar would taste great as well.

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375
  2. Get out a large bowl, add your egg white carton and four eggs to the bowl
    whisk together and place aside
  3. In the meantime, get our your veggies and start chopping! I suggest chopping the veggies into smaller pieces.1
  4. Add all the veggies with the eggs in the bowl and mix togetherVeggies and Eggs mixed together
  5. Spray a pan (I use olive oil spray, or coconut oil spray) I usually use a large rectangular glass Pyrex pan (about 4 quartz) and pour your bowl into the pan
  6. Spread everything over evenly and add your cheese to the topReady for the oven!
  7. Bake for 30 minutes (add or minus 5 minutes depending on your pan size)
  8. Cut into squares and cool completely before putting it in the refrigerator (to avoid condensation and the egg bake getting soggy)Out of the oven and ready to serve
  9. Enjoy!

This recipe is super easy to make, it’ll take less than 20 minutes to prepare, and is perfect for on the go. Have you ever made an egg bake or egg muffins before? Leave it in the comments.

xoxo Catherine

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Avocado Pesto Cream Pasta

Hey loves! It’s Catherine, today I am back to Guest blog and share another delicious and easy recipe perfect for summertime. I just recently moved to Raleigh, NC so I know first hand cooking in the heat is dreadful and turning on the oven is a huge no. This recipe is light, dairy free and can be modified with all different types of pasta and ingredients. 1Photo Cred: OhSheGlows

 Avocado Pesto Cream Sauce over Pasta
(Adapted from OhSheGlows)

  • 2 servings of pasta (could be regular, whole wheat, spelt, brown rice, quinoa)
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 or 2 garlic cloves
  • Basil leaves (fresh about 5-6)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil with salt, so the pasta doesn’t stick, cook your pasta according to the directions on the package.
  • While your pasta is cooking, get out your food processor or blender/ Vitamix
  1. Add the basil and garlic to the food processor and pulse
  2. Cut your ripe avocado in half, remove the pit, and scoop out both sides into the food processor along with your lemon, olive oil, salt, and pepper
  3. Process all of the ingredients until the sauce is smooth and creamy, if it is took thick add some water or more olive oil
  4. Place your pasta in a bowl and place the avocado cream sauce on top

2Photo Cred: OhSheGlows

(Optional: add in spinach, mushrooms, chicken, broccoli, asparagus anything your heart desires)

  1. Serve and Enjoy!

This recipe is so flavorful and a staple for putting together a quick dinner in less than ten-fifteen minutes, I promise you will love it. Let me know if you try it out! Leave it in the comments, until next time.

Xoxo Catherine

Follow Catherine on Instagram @cmarchet

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Zucchini, Squash and Quinoa Salad

Hey Guys! My name is Catherine, today I will be a guest blogger for GirlsWhoBrunch! It’s no secret that I got the gig because I am besties with the fabulous Esther Collins who created this chic blog. Yes, we have been friends for 17 years and counting, the proof is in the pic!

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So before I dive into what I am sharing today, I will give you guys a little background to who I am and what inspires me. I am currently living on the east coast, New York to be exact, and finishing my MBA.

I have always been passionate in expanding my knowledge in all facets of my life including education, fitness and healthy eating. I love to find healthy recipes and new creative ways to think outside the box and experiment when it comes to cooking. Who doesn’t love delicious food that nourishes the body and makes you feel good and look radiant?

Today I am here to share a recipe I came across on PopSugar, I have to admit I am obsessed with their app. This recipe for Zucchini, Squash and Quinoa Salad combines all different flavors of vegetables, dried fruits and fresh herbs, it is a must have recipe.

So lets get started!

First you will need these delicious Ingredients

3 bay leaves
Salt, to taste
2 cups quinoa
1/4 cup olive oil
2 small zucchini, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 butternut squash, peeled and diced
2 bunches green onions, chopped
1 cup dried apricots, diced
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup fresh mint, chopped
1 lemon

*Keep in mind this recipe serves 10 people, so you may want to half the recipe.

  • Firstly, you will want to chop your apricots, mint, cranberries, parsley, and green onions and place them to the side.
  • Boil 4 cups of water and season with bay leaves and salt in a sauté pan. Once the water has boiled go ahead and add your quinoa and return to a boil. Don’t forget to reduce the heat and cover the saucepan; let this simmer for about 20 minutes, until the quinoa absorbs the water.
  • While the quinoa is cooking, heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan to cook your zucchini and squash, sauté until lightly brown and add salt and pepper for taste.
  • Secondly, once your veggies are browned and cooked, and your quinoa is ready to go, add quinoa to a large bowl with the zucchini and squash.
  • Stir into the large bowl your pre-chopped, onions, apricots, cranberries, parsley and mint. It should look like this:
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  • Lastly, grate your lemon peel and add in your lemon juice and stir!

From: Epicurious.com

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This recipe may look intimidating but it is super easy to throw together, and most importantly a crowd pleaser! I served this for thanksgiving and everyone loved it. The best part is its only 221 calories per serving with 6.7 grams of protein. So what are you waiting for? Go unleash your creative side and give it a shot, I promise you wont be disappointed!

XOXO, Catherine

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Food Fare 2015

 

IMG_1023Last night we went out to support Planned Parenthood at the 36th Annual Food Fare, at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica. We started the night out at the VIP reception where we were served a variety of hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and wines. Our favorite was the Strawberry Mango Mojito by Infuse Vodka.

IMG_1005After the reception, we entered the Barker Hangar. Inside were over a hundred booths set up by some of LA’s top restaurants and bars. We started at one end and made our way through the entire hangar, taking a bite of literally everything in sight. There was almost every cuisine imaginable from Japanese to Italian, American, Mexican and the list goes on.

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Everything was so delicious that it was hard to choose favorites. However, if we had to pick; we loved the lobster sliders from Blue Plate, the ancini from Pizza Antica, the Strawberry Refresher from Ventura Spirits (the only domestic vodka distilled from strawberries – AMAZING) and the gelato from Pazzo Gelato. We also finally got the chance to try a Pink’s Hot Dog…and now we understand why the line is always a mile long down La Brea.

IMG_1022Overall the event was a huge success, raising tons of money and awareness for Planned Parenthood and making our stomachs happy. This was also the perfect way to spend my birthday, because who doesn’t love endless supplies of food and alcohol.

 

Plated Review

FullSizeRenderA new years resolution for myself this year was to learn to cook. I’m not the best when it comes to cooking, but I’m pretty good at following a recipe. Plated makes cooking easy. It’s is a delivery service that provides fresh ingredients to your door, proportioned out to make an easy and delicious meal. After finding a coupon code online, I decided to give Plated a try. I was able to pick 3 dishes, with 2 servings per dish for $24. The meals I decided to try out were Chicken with Miso Soba, Beef and Butternut Squash Tagine, and Szechuan Pork with Green Beans and Rice.

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The Chicken with Miso Soba was definitely my favorite dish out of the three. I never realized how easy it was to make soba noodles, definitely something I will be making more of in the future. The only thing I would have changed about this recipe was the amount of ginger that it used. I like ginger but it was a little overpowering at times. However, this dish was very fresh and light, but also very filling.

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Tagine. When I first heard the title of this dish Beef and Butternut Squash Tagine, I thought…’What the heck is tagine????’ Apparently it’s a stew with spiced meat and vegetables. I’m a huge proponent of butternut squash, so I was immediately intrigued. Making this dish was great because my apartment filled up with this gorgeous aroma of exotic spices. The potatoes and butternut squash took a little longer to fully cook than the recipe said, so just keep your eye on it. The beef was also slightly tough. If I was to remake this dish, I might try a different type of beef,  a ground beef could even be good. Overall, I enjoyed this dish and it’s definitely simple enough to make again.

FullSizeRender (1)The last meal I made was the Szechuan Pork with Green Beans and Rice. This was by far the easiest to make. I really enjoyed this dish because of the simplicity of the ingredients. It’s something that can easily be recreated, and still managed to taste good. This was especially good with extra Sriracha!

Overall, I really enjoyed Plated. The meals were fairly easy to create for someone who isn’t a pro at cooking. Everything tasted great, and it was a good way to try out recipes that I normally never would have thought to make on my own. I also was surprised that although it says there are only two servings per recipe, I was able to portion it out to about 3 different meals (perfect for leftover lunch!). Pricing-wise, each dish comes out to $12, however you need to order two plates per meal so it comes out to being $24 per recipe. I don’t think I would continue to have a monthly subscription with Plated, just because if I’m going to spend $24 on one meal, I might as well go out to eat. However, I do think that this would be fun to try every once in a while to get used to cooking new recipes.

If you want more information on Plated, or want a discount on your first try check out this referral link https://www.plated.com/invites/942de4.

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Nana’s Lasagna

DSC_0859Why is it that grandmothers make everything better?! I swear even sandwiches taste better when my Nana makes them! I spent the weekend on Coronado at my grandparents amazing condo, and my Nana suggested we have lasagna for dinner. My mind immediately jumped to the family-style Stouffer’s meal I used to live on in college. She obviously scoffed at the idea of preparing a frozen meal for her grandchildren, and pulled out this family recipe for a much more gourmet version of the classic dish. Whole wheat noodles and cottage cheese, over ricotta, make for a (slightly) healthier, but just as yummy lasagna!

Nana’s Lasagna

1 medium onion, diced

1 shallot, diced

1/2 green pepper, diced

2 cans tomatoes (1 drained, 1 undrained)

1 can tomato sauce

1 tablespoon oregano

1/3 cup Italian seasoning (we used fresh parsley, rosemary, & thyme)

1 jalapeño, chopped

6 oz. mushrooms

1 can chopped black olives

1 lb. ground beef

2 boxes lasagna noodles

20 oz. cottage cheese

16 oz. mozzarella cheese, sliced

Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Saute onion, shallot, and green pepper. Combine with rest of ingredients (besides meat, noodles, and cheese) and simmer for at least an hour. Meanwhile, brown meat, adding to sauce, and boil noodles. Grease large baking dish. Line with noodles and layer with cottage cheese, sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, respectively. Repeat, etc. ending with mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover with tinfoil and bake for 45 min to an hour, until heated through.

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