Joan’s on Third for Breakfast

Restaurant: Joan’s on Third

Location: 8350 West Third Street. 323.655.2285

Date: August 20, 2011

Cuisine: American

Rating: Fantastic gourmet shop & cafe

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Another father/son morning rolled around and after a most enjoyable trip to the Peterson Automotive Museum (excellent boy fun) we headed over to Joan’s on Third.

The busy Third Street shop front is pretty much an institution. This is a combined cafe, gourmet shop, and bakery.

 You can pretty much bet on seeing celbrities, or at the very least lots of the beautiful people.

There is a good amount of outside seating.

Cappuccino of course.

My son went for the pancakes.


I had this grown up egg mcmuffin type sandwich. Buttered bread, egg, cheese, and of course, bacon!


Joan’s has some of the best cupcakes around and these are two of my favorites. Coconut and snickers!


It’s worth showing the interior spaces. We have all sorts of really good (but overpriced) gourmet products.


Fresh baked goods.


Cheeses!


Meats!


And even more baked goods. I only photoed a small sampling. Joan has really good taste. There may be a mark up, but there is some serious yummy going on here. That’s what impresses me the most, the general extremely high level of culinary quality of most stuff. The prices can be a shock though.

We’ve used them for catering too. They have all sorts of delicious salads, quiches, and whatnots.

For more LA dining reviews click here.

Eating Modena – Real Fini Breakfast

Restaurant: Hotel Real Fini Via Emilia

Location: Modena, Italy

Date: June 5-8, 2011

Cuisine: Breakfast Buffet

Rating: Typical Italian Hotel Breakfast

ANY CHARACTER HERE

Italian hotels almost always include breakfast. The Real Fini in Modena’s is extremely typical of mid range hotels.


Cappuccino is always available, and unlike in the states is free and not $8. Plus, they know how to make a decent one at nearly any place in Italy.


There are very few hot items, just some scrambled eggs and a meat or two (sausage or ham). But there are lots of typical dry northern Italian cakes and cereal.


A couple fruits.

Yogurts, meats, cheeses. Often regional.

More bread products and jams. There’s always nutella, which makes anything better.


Biscuits and yogurt.


And this unusual selection of different “tinned” meats.


Like this Pate di prosciutto. Better than spam!


And a couple juices.

Click here to see more Eating Italy posts.

Ice Cream & Coffee

Restaurant: Sweet Rose Creamery

Location:  225 26th Ave, suite 51, Santa Monica, 90402  310-260-CONE

Date: April 17, 2011

Cuisine: Homemade Ice Cream

Rating: Very REAL ice cream.

ANY CHARACTER HERE

We were at the Brentwood Country Mart and I noticed this creamery I had wanted to try for a while. They make real homemade ice cream using only the traditional and natural ingredients. None of those emulsifiers and artificial flavors.


The board of flavors.

There aren’t a lot of flavors, but those they have are ver good.

There is even “Caffe Luxxe” coffee ice cream (we’ll see the coffee itself in a second).

This is salted carmel and mint chocolate chip. The carmel was delicious, sweet, carmely, and the fleur de salt on top a perfect contrast. The mint tasted entirely like cream and REAL mint leaves, not that artificial stuff. The chips were nice and rich. The mint in particular reminded me of my Mom’s homemade ice cream from when I was a kid.

My son demanded, “I want chocolate!” so here it is. Rich and creamy.


Caffe Luxxe coffee ice cream underneath coconut lime sorbet. The mix was odd. The coffee was good, but the coconut lime was amazing. It tasted lime Tom Yum Gum (the Thai soup).


Salted Caramel (again).

Then, since it was right here, a quick stop at LAs best coffee place. They have 3 branches actually, all in Santa Monica / Brentwood.

The masters at work.

And the incredible result. These capachinos don’t even taste like normal coffee. The milk is so expertly foamed that it seemlessly blends in to make a completely silky uniform texture. Not a hint of bitterness.

Luxxe also carries Mararons from Paulettes!

For another luxury snack, check out gourmet macarons.

Paulette Macarons

Store: Paulette Macarons

Location: 9466 Charleville Boulevard at Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90212 310. 275 0023

Date: March 30, 2011

Cuisine: French Macarons

Rating: Very niche, but some of the best macarons I’ve tasted

Only major metropoli like LA, NY, and San Francisco can support places like this. A dedicated French macaroon bakery! I’m not exactly sure why it is that macarons have taken off (at least in LA) during the last year or two, but they have. Not that I mind, I’ve always been a fan of french baking and macarons specifically. I enjoy the some texture and intense flavors. Previously I would only get them in the petite fours courses at very high end resteraunts, now I can have them with the incomparable Cafe Luxxe coffee — or here.

They had 13 flavors on display when I went in. I tried 11 of them. These are decadent little treats, but not exactly “good value” at $19 for 12!

You can get little towers of them if you are so inclined.

Here is my little $19 worth. General notes: the texture was nicely soft, and the fillings distinct and generous. These were a bit firmer and less spongy than some macarons, but still marvelous, probably 8/10 on texture, 10/10 on flavor. The really great thing about these macarons is how intense the flavor is.

Left to right:

1. Peanut – Like a little nutter butter.

2. Colombian Coffee – one of the weaker flavors. Good, but I would have preferred more intense.

3. Sicilian Pistachio - also a little mild, but certainly pistachio flavored, like one of the bands of spumoni ice cream.

4. Carmel and Salt – Amazing, although perhaps Tavern (SEE HERE) makes a slightly punchier variant. The carmel itself was wonderful.

5. Sweet Wedding Almond – Amazing too. This had that perfect marzipan almond taste. Not something everyone might love, but I certainly did.

6. Coffee again

7. Violet Cassis – Really yummy, intense, and interesting. Flowery and fruity all at once.

8. Passion fruit – 9/10 for intensity (more is more with passion fruit).

9. Caribbean Chocolate – The middle was delectable, the outside merely good.

10. Lemon – intense and nice, like a lemon tart.

11. Rose – wow. I loved this one. Like the almond, not for everyone, but tasted like Turkish Delight or Persian wedding treats.

12. Coconut – very nice fresh toasted coconut flavor.

Quick Eats: Kreation Kafe

Restaurant: Kreation Kafe

Location: 1023 Montana Ave. Santa Monica, CA 90403. (310) 458-4880

Date: January 21, 2011

Cuisine: Modern Mediterranean

Rating: Tasty and modernized take on kabobs and mezzas

 

On the once bustling Montana (now home to more than a few empty stores) is this little med cafe. They have tables out front and a patio in back. The interior space is tiny. The food is very fresh and organic.

The Menu.

Someone else’s salads.

“Eggplant Dip Flavored with Tomatoes, Red Onion and a touch of Garlic.” Basically Baba ghanuosh, but very fresh. With almonds and a crunchy fennel salad.

Yogurt Dip Persian Garden Cucumber with diced Shallots, Fresh Mint, Dill and Parsley.” A really good example of the type. Very fresh, with the bright intensity of the Yogurt front and center. There isn’t a lot of garlic here like in a tzatziki.

It all goes nicely with the Persian style flat bread.

“Smoked salmon, various salads, olives, cucumber tomato, red onion, cream cheese, capers.” All very fresh.

“Braised Beef Short Rib Plate.” Like chunks of good tender pot roast. Kind of a cross over between a kabob and Shabbat dinner.

“Braised Beef Short Rib Sandwich.” Same thing, on a roll.

Usually I get the “Niman Ranch Ground Beef Kabob” here, which slathered in the yoghurt sauce is pretty awesome.

Another nice thing about this place is that it’s only a block from Cafe Luxxe, which has hand’s down the best cafe expresso in Los Angeles. This is the most incredible cappuccino, without even the slightest hint of bitterness. It isn’r even hot, body temperature, with the micro foam blended in all perfect. Just goes down easy.