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.
We sat at the counter by the oldey timey kitchen.
And the oldey timey chef.
Scrambled eggs and potatoes from Rae's in Santa Monica.
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
1 1/2 cup flour
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup butter, melted
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.