Rae’s Restaurant Santa Monica

I’ve seen Rae’s at 2901 Pico Boulevard in Santa Monica a million times but never went in till recently. Very retro, and the food (we had breakfast) is what you’d expect. I liked it because it’s so photogenic.

Rae's Restaurant's vintage sign.

Rae's Restaurant's vintage sign.

We sat at the counter by the oldey timey kitchen.

We sat at the counter by the oldey timey kitchen.

And the oldey timey chef.

And the oldey timey chef.

Scrambled eggs and potatoes from Rae's in Santa Monica

Scrambled eggs and potatoes from Rae's in Santa Monica.

Pancakes at Rae's!

Pancakes at Rae's!

 

Coffee in L.A.

I go to L.A. just about every month. Sometimes Mike comes with me. There’s a lot to do there and there are always new places to go.

Of course we always go get coffee. Proof Bakery: 3156 Glendale Boulevard, Los Angeles, has fancy breakfast pastries, pretty desserts and great coffee.

Proof Bakery, Los Angeles

Mike and my brother Chris at Proof Bakery, Los Angeles

 

A slice of quiche and a cafe latte from Proof Bakery, Los Angeles

A slice of quiche and a cafe latte from Proof Bakery, Los Angeles

A bread pudding/strata type thing from Proof Bakery. Delish.

A bread pudding/strata-type thing from Proof Bakery. Delish.

Pretty coffee.

Pretty coffee.

Proof Bakery

Proof Bakery

Figaro Bistrot: 1802 N. Vermont, Los Angeles. One of my faves! Fabulous atmosphere and great food. Of course really yummy espressos and pastries, too.

Cafe latte from Figaro Bistrot, Los Angeles

Cafe latte from Figaro Bistrot, Los Angeles

 

House made bread and jam at Figaro Bistrot.

House made bread and jam at Figaro Bistrot.

Of course we always go to Intelligentsia in Pasadena when we’re in L.A!  The interior of this location is the neatest one.

Cafe latte from Intelligentsia in Pasadena, CA

Cafe latte from Intelligentsia in Pasadena, CA

 

Intelligentsia's red star

Intelligentsia's red star

 

Intelligentsia Coffee

Intelligentsia Coffee

The best and easiest coffee cake ever

From Pinterest, of course!

I wasn’t all that jazzed to make this cake because it looked kind of boring. But last night I wanted some dessert and when I asked Mike if he’d rather have brownies, cookies, or cinnamon cake, he chose the cake.

It called for stuff I had on hand and only took about 5 minutes to assemble, so it was great for a last-minute treat.

And it is insanely good. It’s light and soft and just cinnamony enough. It makes about 9 pieces and we scarfed half of it as soon as it came out of the oven. I’m sure we’ll finish it off this morning. It is full of butter, which is probably why it’s so delicious.

The best and easiest coffee cake in the world- cinnamon swirl coffee cake

The best and easiest coffee cake in the world!

Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake

Cake

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Cinnamon swirl

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. flour
  • 2 tsp.  cinnamon

Make the cake by mixing everything together except for the butter. I just used a medium-size bowl and a spoon — no mixer or fancy equipment needed. Then slowly stir in the melted butter (the slower the better according to comments from the original recipe) and pour into a greased 8×8 pan. For the cinnamon swirl, mix all the ingredients together until well-combined. It will be creamy for swirling, not crumbly like a topping. Drop/spread evenly over the batter and swirl it into the cake batter gently with a knife. You just want swirls on top, not to mix it totally into the cake batter. Bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes — start checking it with a toothpick or knife after 20 minutes and then every few minutes after that. It will not be good if it gets overcooked.

While it’s cooking, make the glaze.

Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. milk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Mix it together in a bowl with a fork to dissolve all the powdered sugar.

Then once the cake is done and still warm, drizzle the glaze over the cake.

If you want, you can double the recipe and make it in a 9×13 pan.

Adapted from here, who adapted it from somewhere else.

Are sweet potatoes good with oatmeal?

Yes! It’s delicious and healthy, too.

I’m always looking for ways to have protein at breakfast. I know you’re going to say sweet potatoes and oatmeal don’t have any protein! By themselves they don’t but together, they’re OK. A serving of oatmeal has about 5 grams, a serving of sweet potatoes has about 4.  Add some nuts (3-4 grams depending on what kind and how much) and some milk (4-8 grams depending on how much) and you’re doing pretty well as far as having some protein for breakfast. Plus sweet potatoes have tons of other vitamins and fiber.

Oatmeal with sweet potatoes and almonds.

Oatmeal with sweet potatoes and almonds.

There’s really no recipe for this. It’s pretty flexible. I made some sweet potatoes specifically for this – just wash them, prick them with a fork, wrap them in aluminum foil, and bake them at 400 degrees. They take at least an hour, depending on how big they are — start checking them after an hour — they’re done when they are soft and easy to squeeze. Of course it would be faster if you already had some leftover sweet potatoes on hand.

I made the oatmeal as usual, and added some dried cranberries (optional) while it was cooking. Then once it was cooked I added the cooked sweet potatoes to it. I put it in two bowls, added a pat of butter, some brown sugar, some chopped almonds, and some milk to each bowl. Next time I’ll add some cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, which would be really good.

Sweet potato oatmeal with almonds, cranberries, and brown sugar.

Sweet potato oatmeal with almonds, cranberries, and brown sugar.

So much amazing food in Chicago

Some of you might have noticed that we like to eat. For a lot of people, eating is something they do to stay alive. They call it a necessity.

But for us, eating is a hobby.

Lucky for us, Chicago has a few places to indulge us. We’ve been pretty busy, and we’ll talk about some more of these in greater detail later, but for now, here’s a list of some of this city’s amazing food offerings we’ve enjoyed:

  • Uncle Sammy’s: Our first night in Chicago, we were having a horrible time finding a place to park a UHaul truck. At about midnight, we finally found a place and were walking home when we stumbled onto this gem. The Pilgrim is a very fine sandwich.
  • Kitchen Sink: Good, simple sandwiches.
  • Floriole: Adrienne loved it. I thought it was only OK. Quiche, apparently, is to die for.
  • Pasta Bowl: Delicious and affordable pasta.
  • Tzatziki Grill: Excellent Greek place that also has a pretty solid Italian Beef sandwich.
  • Margie’s Candies: It’s like time travel at Margie’s. Egg-salad sandwich and the Terrapin Sundae: Recommended.
  • Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria: Our favorite pizza in Chicago so far. Pizza in Chicago is like barbecue in other towns: Everyone has a very strong opinion. We loved Lou’s, but we’re still open to trying others.
  • Lito’s Empanadas: Delicious — and cheap. For $2.50, one of these little guys is great for a snack. Get two, and it’s lunch.
  • Del Seoul: Weird little Asian dumplings that are oddly addictive.
  • Paciugo: Gelato. Can’t go wrong with gelato.
  • Pret a Manger: This is Target’s cafe. Yes, I know. Why eat out at Target? But you see, here in Chicago, even going to Target is a dining experience.
  • Brown’s Chicken: Fried chicken place in one of the downtown pedways. Scenery wasn’t great, but loved the biscuits and mashed potatoes.
  • Bobtail Ice Cream: An almost-overwhelming amount of goodness.
  • The Edge: Cake!
  • The Grove: More time travel. Open-face turkey or meatloaf sandwich, with bottomless coffee.
  • Red Hen Bread: Tip: Get the day-old stuff for a little less money (same deliciousness, though).
  • Taco Joint: Best Mexican so far in Chicago. Lebanese Pork Taco: must have (available only on Thursdays).
  • Chicago’s Dog House: Our favorite dog place in Chicago so far. Good choices, good service, good prices.
  • Clark Street Dog:  Got caught in a storm and waited it out in here with a couple of dogs and a couple of beers. There are worse places to end up when it’s raining.
  • Red Hot Ranch: Our first hot dogs in Chicago. Our first experience with french fries on a hot dog. Interesting.
  • Big Star: Gourmet tacos. Service was only OK, but the decor was great. After Taco Joint, though, hard to compare.
  • Gibson’s Bar and Steakhouse: Best service of any of the restaurants we’ve been to. A shoutout to our server, who happens to be a Lincoln Park neighbor! Desserts are insane. And tall. You’ll need to share. Oh, and also: $$$
  • Filini: Ultra-modern, ultra-hip dining at the signature downtown building Aqua. Sotto Bosco pizza was impressive. As was the Carciofini spinach dip.
  • Rosebud: Best Italian so far in Chicago. Two must-tries: Penne Bolognese and their Cavatelli Alla Rosebud.
  • Toast: Great service. Outstanding breakfast burrito.
  • Stella’s: Delightful breakfast options.
  • The Bourgeois Pig Cafe: Carrot cake!
  • Goose Island Brewpub: We didn’t eat here, but for some great local brews, it’s worth a try.
  • Dunlays on Clark: $5 Cheeseburger special = delicious.
  • The Burwood Tap: One of the oldest continuously operating bars in Chicago. Really good free food Mondays through Thursdays (my fave was the chicken).
  • Smoque: Been having a hard time finding some barbecue out here, but this was fantastic.
  • Pizzeria Due: After a too-long wait at Malnati’s, we ended up here. Not quite as good as Lou Malnati’s, but if LMs is a 10, Pizzeria Due is a 9. Very good.
  • Portillo’s: Iconic. Worth it for the atmosphere. Still, Chicago’s Dog House wins out.
  • Potbelly Sandwich Shop: Grilled Chicken Mediterranean is a fine, fine sandwich.
  • Matisse: Did not expect deliciousness when we ordered the Reuben Potstickers. We were pleasantly surprised.
  • Do-Rite Donuts: You’ll find lots of Dunkin’ Donuts here, but few local places. These guys do donuts right.
  • Wow Bao: Quirky little place with neat little fluffy dumplings. A must-try.
  • Devil Dawgs: It’s worthwhile to try all of Chicago’s hot dogs.

So much food in this town — how do people here ever get anything done?

Sundaes, treats, floats. Plenty of tasty options at Margie's Candies.

 

If you're after treats, Bobtail is also an excellent choice.

 

What's this? A hot dog? Yes, I guess so. Underneath the french fries, anyway. Interesting technique, Red Hot Ranch.

 

The S'mores cake at The Edge. Cake did not last long.

 

The best Chicago hot dogs, in our opinion. Chicago's Dog House.

 

A very full meal at Smoque BBQ: Chicken, mac & cheese, baked beans, and cole slaw.

 

Carrot Cake! At the Bourgeois Pig.

 

We don't only take pictures of food. We are also capital-A Artists. Or, maybe this is the view after we'd eaten too much and had to lay on the floor. Hard to say.