Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Eat in Berkeley: Café Clem

Les Oeufs Lucas with steamed-scrambled eggs, crème fraîche, goat cheese, basil, roasted tomatoes, and parsley

Like Elmwood Cafe, Café Clem is one of those popular Berkeley brunch spots I'm surprised I haven't tried until recently. Located on Kittredge between Shattuck and Milvia in Downtown Berkeley, this cafe and bakery is known for their Provençal cuisine. Since it's owned by the same folks as La Note, which I reviewed for brunch and dinner, you know you're in for a treat. I visited with the lovely Brandy of Will Bake for Shoes, who was actually one of my first subjects way back when and a member of the exclusive club of blog veterans.

I ordered Les Oeufs Lucas, which was made up of steamed-scrambled eggs topped off with crème fraîche, goat cheese, basil, and parsley with their signature roasted tomatoes and toast on the side. The eggs were fresh, and the crème fraîche and goat cheese combination gave them another tangy dimension.

The next time I stop by I might try one of their mouth-watering baked goods, which range from carefully assembled tarts to flaky croissants and other French staples.

Café Clem is a great place to enjoy a book from the Central Library right next door over a cup of coffee or to catch up with close friends over brunch.

Café Clem
Website | Facebook | Yelp
2020 Kittredge St., Berkeley, CA 94702
Open: Monday - Friday 7 - 6, Saturday - Sunday 8 - 4

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Eat in Berkeley: Elmwood Cafe

Poached Egg Sandwich with organic heirloom tomatoes, Niman Ranch bacon, an organic poached egg, herbed mayo, and arugula on sliced Acme sourdough bread

I've known about Elmwood Cafe since they transitioned from being Ozzie's Soda Fountain in 2010. However, it wasn't until a few weeks ago that I finally visited this quaint College Avenue cafe with my pal Kim of Kim's Kitchen Sink.

I ordered a cappuccino and the Poached Egg Sandwich, which came with tomatoes, bacon, a poached egg, and arugula on sliced Acme sourdough. Both were pretty good. Like their lattes, the cappuccino was served in a large cup and was prepared perfectly. The egg sandwich was also very good. The herbed mayo united all of the flavors well and the ingredients were fresh. It was a good choice for a noon brunch.

I also enjoyed Elmwood Cafe's outdoor seating, one of the main highlights of eating there at brunch. It feels like a cafe you'd find on a cobbled European street.

I will definitely be returning soon. Pretty much everything on their brunch menu and their baked goods looked appealing. Kim confirmed these suspicions wholeheartedly.

Here are more photos from Elmwood Cafe. Nom.

Elmwood Cafe
Website | Facebook | Instagram | Yelp
2900 College Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705
Open: Daily 7am - 10pm

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Eat in West Hollywood: La Conversation

Classic Salad Nicoise with ahi tuna, green beans, red onion, new potatoes, Roma tomatoes, hard boiled egg, Nicoise olives, and balsamic vinaigrette

Tostada Salad with iceberg lettuce, black beans, feta, onion, tomato, cilantro grilled corn, and grilled chicken on a baked flour tortilla

Eggs La Conversation with scrambled eggs, croissant, and filet mignon


After walking by La Conversation for years, I finally visited this French cafe and bakery a couple weeks ago. Located on the West Hollywood side of Doheny north of Santa Monica, La Conversation is known for serving a variety of omelettes, salads, pastries, and more.

I tried the Classic Salad Nicoise with ahi tuna, green beans, red onion, new potatoes, Roma tomatoes, hard boiled egg, Nicoise olives, and balsamic vinaigrette. It was pretty good. All the ingredients were fresh, prepared perfectly, and tasted great together. They gave me a generous portion of seared ahi tuna. My mom enjoyed her Tostada Salad, as did my brother like his modified Eggs La Conversation. I also had a cappuccino with the most foam I've ever had. It was stronger than I'm used to, but I'm definitely not complaining.

The highlight of the visit was seeing the restaurant's interior. It's a lot larger on the inside with its high ceilings covered with red and white striped wallpaper that resembles fabric waving in the wind. Along the walls, you'll find a few paintings, porcelain vases and plates, and elaborate chandeliers hanging from above. Within their bakery display cases, there's a wide selection of éclairs, tarts, cakes, and other treats.

When we visited, we noticed that there were many Europeans patronizing the cafe which seems like no coincidence. After all, La Conversation feels like more of slice of Paris than a bakery on the Westside. I will have to try dessert the next time I stop by this quaint cafe.

La Conversation
Website | Facebook | Yelp
638 N. Doheny Dr., West Hollywood, CA 90069
Open: Monday - Saturday 7 - 7, Sunday 8 - 4

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Eat in LA: Churros Calientes

Churro Grande filled and topped with dulce de leche

Churros Largos with a side of sweet condensed milk for dipping

A couple weeks ago, I tried Churros Calientes with my pal Jing. Located on Santa Monica between Sawtelle and Barrington, this West LA churro place serves the sugary treat as well as paninis, salad, coffee, and other fixins.

I tried the Churros Largos with a side of sweet condensed milk for dipping, while Jing had the Churro Grande with dulce de leche carefully added on top and inside. Both of our desserts were very good. Their Spanish-style churros are made fresh-to-order and sweetened with just the right amount of sugar. My more traditional churros were complemented by the sweet condensed milk perfectly. Jing ordered one of the must-try dishes: the Churro Grande with a cup of hot chocolate on the side. Made with high-quality organic cacao beans, it is little wonder why their hot chocolate is so good.

Besides sweet condensed milk and dulce de leche, you can also add chocolate, guava, or strawberry sauce to your churro. They also serve a variety of coffee drinks that look delicious in their own right. The next time I stop by, I'll try the Churro Grande with a cappuccino.

What have you tried at Churros Calientes?

Craving more photos from Churros Calientes? Of course.

Churros Calientes
Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Yelp
11521 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90025
Open: Tuesday - Friday 5:30 - 10:30, Saturday - Sunday 11:30 - 10:30

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Eat in LA: Tsujita LA Artisan Noodle

Char Siu Tsukemen ramen with char siu (barbecued pork) and a seasoned boiled egg

A couple weeks ago, I visited Tsujita LA Artisan Noodle with my buddy and food whisperer Jing. This West LA restaurant on Sawtelle has been crowned one of the best ramen places in the city on various lists (like this one) and has found a fan in Los Angeles Times food critic Jonathan Gold.

I ordered the main attraction: the Char Siu Tsukemen ramen with barbecued pork (char siu) and a seasoned boiled egg. What makes this ramen different from what I'm used to is that it has its own way of being eaten. As you can see above, the noodles, pork slices, and lime come in one bowl, while the broth is separate. What you do is dip a mouthful of noodles into the broth with your chopsticks and then eat it as usual. As Jonathan Gold touched on in his review, the broth is very thick and contains a lot more than meets the eye, namely the perfectly boiled egg, more pork, green onions, and everything else that makes the broth so flavorful. Since the broth is very greasy and concentrated, it is served on its own. After you finish about half of the noodles, you can add the lime juice into the broth. Although, according to my waiter, you should be absolutely certain you want to do so, since it will change the broth's taste entirely. You can then continue eating the soup as before, or, ask your waiter to dilute the broth if you'd like to drink it.

This ramen definitely lives up to its hype. The broth is slow-simmered for sixty hours, after which point seafood is added to give it an extra sweetness. The pork is nice and fatty, complemented by the thick, oily broth. I would definitely order this dish again.

If you're planning to visit, try to stop by early because this spot seems very popular. If you've visited Tsujita LA, what did you order?

 Tsujita LA Artisan Noodle
2057 Sawtelle Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90025
Open: Daily 11am - midnight

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