My Favorite LA Breakfasts

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My Favorite LA Breakfasts

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” Lewis Carroll, Alice In Wonderland

The good news is we have finally gotten the message that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The bad news is many of us eat it on the go. Millennials are fully engaged with breakfast. Me too. It is my favorite meal of the day to eat out. More and more restaurants are serving all-day breakfast. I think we are living in a breakfast boom. I don’t know why but I like spending money on food that I actually know how to cook at home. Here are some of my usual places in no particular order.

The food at Gjusta is delicious but it is also a complete Venice scene. If you live in the neighborhood (as I now do), you know to show up right before lunch or after two and to avoid weekends.

You take a number and wait on line behind some hipster or famous actor. Seeing the fresh smoked fish in the case always gets to me. It is pretentious but worth it. https://gjusta.com

I like sitting outside on the back patio of the Rose Cafe in Venice for breakfast. It is both inviting and trendy. I went with the Neroni style eggs this time and was not disappointed. They don’t take reservations for brunch on the weekend and lines are long so plan your day accordingly. The later you go, the more scooters you will trip over at the entrance. https://rosecafevenice.com

Republique lives up to the hype. The old Campanile restaurant space is still beautiful. It is the place most likely to spot that actor that was in that thing – what’s his name again?

I come for the shakshouka which is of North African origin. Shakshouka is popular in the Middle East and is becoming a national dish in Israel. I’ve had it there often. It is showing up in hip restaurants all over the United States. Shakshouka is a one-pan dish of poached eggs in a spicy tomato sauce. https://republiquela.com

Nate N Als has a long history in Beverly Hills and is supposedly sold. It has been around since 1943 and is a local landmark. The unglamorous delicatessen is filled with locals, tourists and celebrities. It was at Nate N Als where one of the waitresses who had been there forever tied a bagel around my baby’s neck. She told me to put them in the freezer for teething. It was a big help. The food is surprisingly good and I am a fan of the potato pancakes, chicken soup, hot dogs and lox. https://natenal.com

I love all things Melrose and West Third Street.  My kids went to school here for many years. I enjoy breakfast at Toast any time of day. They have all my favorite breakfast foods and cook their eggs in butter – no matter what you ask for. I add turkey bacon, avocado and fruit which is my usual breakfast. It is always crowded and fun and I like sitting both inside and outside with my dog. http://www.toastbakerycafe.net

It is believed that Eggslut has the perfect breakfast sandwich – brioche, cheese, salty meat and an egg. It is simple and beautifully prepared. This sandwich has been the most instagrammed sandwich for a few years.

My favorite thing is a cage-free coddled egg on top of a smooth potato purée, poached in a glass jar served with slices of baguette. It is the best comfort food. http://www.eggslut.com

Farmshop is a very Brentwood restaurant which is better for breakfast than dinner. It is located in the Brentwood Country Market and is part take-out food and pastries. They are known for especially delicious french toast and shirred eggs.

You are probably sitting next to a celebrity with school-age children if you are there on Sunday. http://farmshopca.com

New York Bagel in Brentwood is a neighborhood place. It is dog-friendly and when I got my first dog Basquiat, we came here often. The bagels are crunchy and chewy and don’t need to be toasted. Their pumpernickel raisin bagel is my favorite and tastes of New York.

The servers are friendly and your dog’s water bowl is never empty.

When my daughter was two we used to take my son to school and then go out for breakfast. She was an à la carte orderer. The breakfast specials did not work for her. Her favorite breakfast was one pancake with a side of bacon and fresh fruit.  Walter’s in Beverly Hills, would do that for her in a reasonably cost-effective way and so we mostly ate there. They moved several years ago and I did not start going again until recently.

Some of the same people still work there. It’s totally old school with some healthy options. They refill your coffee cup. The ketchup comes on the table with the eggs. You don’t have to feel embarrassed to ask for it.  Eating breakfast there, I become oblivious to the passing of time.http://www.walters2go.com

Special thanks to my breakfast buddies – Nancy, Chris, Cindra, Elaine, Mary Jane, Neile, Banksy and Ellen.

Fly safe,

JAZ

 

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Eating In Tel Aviv With Ron and Josette

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Eating In Tel Aviv with Ron And Josette

“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him… the people who give you their food give you their heart.” – Cesar Chavez

Americans don’t prioritize eating together. The average American eats one in every five meals in her car and one in four Americans eats at least one fast food meal every single day. Enjoying basic meals with friends and family has many physical and psychological health benefits. In many countries, mealtime is treated as sacred.

I was blown away to discover the food in Israel. It is fresh, innovative and delicious. Israel is now a food destination for me. Ron and Josette are the perfect eating companions and love to cook and eat the food there.

Everyone has a favorite falafel and schwarma place in Tel Aviv.

I’ve tried a few and all are fresh and tasty but this one is the one I like the best.  Ha’Kosem (the magician)  (https://www.facebook.com/pages/הקוסם/120889484655916

I have three favorite lunches in Tel Aviv.

Anastasia is a pretty vegan restaurant and I love their soba salad. (even when it is a 106 degrees in the spring) https://www.facebook.com/cafeanastasia/?rf=659709370778134

The Eggplant Parmigiana at Eataleat is so good for lunch and dinner.

I eat it a lot when I am in Tel Aviv. It is the best eggplant parmigiana I have eaten so far.  https://www.facebook.com/ITALEAT/

Adraba was my neighborhood cafe in Tel Aviv.https://www.facebook.com/pages/Caf%C3%A9-Adraba/333288026736287

The people and the coffee are both great but it is the Greek Salad that was my regular lunch.

Kalamata in Yafo is a wonderful place to go for seafood. Overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, the fish is fresh and delicious and the staff is friendly and welcoming.http://www.kalamata.co.il/

One of my all time favorite restaurants anywhere is Mashya in Tel Aviv.

It is always spot on delicious. Let the waiters help you with their favorites. They are never wrong.

 Ron and Josette were skeptical  that i had accidentally found this amazing restaurant.

They loved it as well.  http://www.mashya.co.il/

 Labneh (yogurt cheese) in Israel is something special.

An amazing place to eat it and to try other Druze specialties is at Nachala Ba’Teva in Zalman Junction by the Sea of Galilee. https://www.facebook.com/nahalabateva/

Shabbat in Israel usually means dinner at home with family and friends. In the afternoon there is a huge demand for takeout and Shuk Ha Karmel is crowded and filled with shoppers finding the best ingredients for their Sabbath meal. 

Shabbat with Rina and Eli

Shabbat breakfast  watermelon, salty cheese  and boreks (my favorite)

Shabbat with Ron and Josette

 

Fly safe,

JAZ

Eating In Jerusalem With Dvir

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Eating In Jerusalem With Dvir

“Travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer “Unknown

I am a foodie. Foodie is a cutesy word to describe the passion I feel when eating something wonderful. I particularly love the street food in the Arab quarter of Jerusalem.

The flavors are strong and the ingredients are the freshest.Eating on the streets of Jerusalem involves all your senses. You see, hear and smell the food being made.

Fate and the Internet connected me with Dvir Hollander as our guide in Jerusalem. It turned out that Dvir was also passionate about street food and knew exactly where to go and when. (hollander2000@gmail.com)

We met at lunchtime and we were hungry. When Dvir recognized that we were kindred spirits about food, he described himself as a “ friendly dictator” when it came to where we should eat. We walked through the New Gate and entered the Old City in the Christian Quarter. Immediately we were on the Via Dolorosa listening to the Muslim call to prayer. Our lunch was vegetarian at Lina restaurant. In Israel, the chick pea is clearly the most important legume and the main ingredient of hummus. Everyone has their favorite hummus place in Israel but to me, eating it in the old city is always the best. There is freshly baked pita. It smelled like it came right out of an oven nearby.

Everything we ate at Lina was amazing and we followed Dvir like sheep when it came to food from that point on.

We stop for some halvah near the seventh station of the cross. Halvah means sweet in Arabic. It is a tahini based candy made from sesame butter. I have to admit that I had grown up on packaged halvah and hated it. One trip to Turkey changed my mind about halvah and I loved this fresh one from Al-Amad with its dense, flaky texture and nutty sweetness.

We needed caffeine and Dvir took us to Abu Mussa in the textile market for some thick grainy sweet Turkish style coffee with cardamom. I forgot how much I love that coffee. The taste brings back the memories of being here for the first time with my college friends Susie and Kiki.

At Dvir’s recommendation we have dinner at Chakra. Chakra is a trendy seafood inspired restaurant with fresh-baked focaccia off King George street.

It is delicious. I was hoping to go to Machneyuda the celebrity chef restaurant in the Machane Yehuda Market but even the best concierge and tour guide can not get you in that week so make reservations before you go.

Our second eating day started at Jaffar Sweets for freshly made Knafeh. It is neon orange shreds of phyllo dough drenched in syrupy sugar rose-water and filled with gooey, salty. warm goat cheese.

Knafeh is a favorite at Ramadan and now also a favorite of mine. It’s a must eat in the old city.

I had a blood sugar drop so we stopped for quick, incredibly delicious lamb kabobs from A Shaab.

Kabob is taken seriously in the Arab Quarter and each restaurant has their family recipe for preparing it.

I was not leaving the old city for Yad Vashem and the Israeli Museum without falafel. Israelis feel as strongly about their falafel as they do about their politics. We get falafel and hummus from Abu Achmed. The falafel which is made of chick peas is right out of the fryer – hot and crispy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside. Of all the falafel I have eaten in Israel, these are the most special.

The hummus (because you need chick pea sauce to put on the chickpeas) is outstanding. It comes with a lemon tahini sauce that would be great with anything. The taste of the freshly baked pita bread makes everything even better.

We drink fresh pomegranate juice and more cardamom Turkish coffee from Haj Faraj. We relax for a few minutes and enjoy the coffee and his hospitality and more sight-seeing.

It’s clear that in a few days I have become addicted to roasted Arabic coffee with cardamom.The scent of coffee from the Sandouka  brothers shop is overwhelming. I buy some to take home.

The fragrant smell of spices wafts through the air as Dvir takes us to Sea of Herbs. Sea of Herbs is run by two Palestinian brothers Isaac and Jacob. They sell spices, herbal teas, health and wellness products and natural remedies. As we watch Jacob expertly mix the spices, we are brought into his world of remedies and flavors and buy many things to try at home.

Today’s lunch is at Arafat. Everyday this tiny restaurant serves up a surprise meal. It is a no choice, simple, delicious menu. When the lunch is ready, queues appear out nowhere. When they run out of food, lunch is over.Today’s meal was lamb meatballs in a tomato broth (kefta in Greek) vegetables, rice and hummus. It was filled with local people and in the know tourists.

Summers in Greece when I was young have made me a bit of baklava snob but I am alway hopeful. it is the world’s most famous middle Eastern/Mediterranean dessert. Many countries take credit for baklava. It is filo dough drenched in sugar syrup or honey. We stop at Alaseel Sweets for a bite of the delicious pastry on our way out of the old city.

There is much conflict between the Arabs and the Israelis. The links between food and peace are easy to see with people living in conflict areas. Traveling, eating fresh, local food in the Arab market and looking in the eyes of people who prepare the food makes you believe that human beings do have the capacity for peace. Thank you Dvir for including all this delicious food in our visit to Jerusalem.

Fly safe,
JAZ

Los Angeles Restaurant Standbys

Los Angeles Restaurant Standbys

“In Los Angeles, everything is 100% organic, except the people.” Kris Kidd

I’m a foodie and my first choice is to try a new restaurant. There are certain restaurants that I often return to because they are comfortable and consistently delicious. They are always crowded and fun. The list is in no particular order.

Matsuhisa was opened in 1987 by Nobu Matsuhisa.  I had been there a few times but I  was not much of a fan of raw fish in the eighties. His cooked food was amazing. Many trips to Japan later have really made me appreciate raw fish and  his attention to quality and detail. Nobu Matsuhisa  was responsible for bringing sushi culture to the forefront in America. The restaurant is always packed and delicious https://matsuhisabeverlyhills.com/

Angelina Osteria feels very authentic. An osteria is a casual eatery similar to a neighborhood tavern where one enjoys rustic Italian food alongside carafes of wine. Chef Gino Angelini understands this. I have never had a meal here that wasn’t cooked to perfection.  The sea bass baked in salt is impressive. https://www.angeliniosteria.com/

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Charcoal is the newest restaurant from Josiah Citrin, a Westside local best known for his French restaurant Mélisse. It is more casual and near the beach with an open kitchen, craft beer and ambitious cocktails. The best dish might be the charred cabbage with tart yogurt and sumac. The Goldster also loved the vegetable dishes. I have been there a few times and  so far it is always spot on. I am a big fan of the peanut butter chocolate cake. https://www.charcoalvenice.com/

Gjelina is on everyone’s favorite restaurant list. No matter what time of day you arrive, it is always packed. People love the pizza but I prefer the small plates and salads.  It says on the menu ‘changes & modifications politely declined.”  If you are a sauce or dressing on the side person, don’t go. They aren’t kidding.

Tsujita Sushi is the third Tsujita restaurant on Sawtelle Blvd. Ramen fans queue up at the other two noodle bars. I’ve had the omekase dinner a few times and it is interesting and tasty. It is high-end sushi and  starts at 120 and up. I prefer the more cost friendly lunch special and often run in and sit at the sushi bar. There are various rice bowls topped with fish. They are artfully presented  and contained lovely, fresh and unexpectedly generous pieces of fish. It is my go to lunch place when I am in that area. The Goldster is a fan.

Il Pastaio has become a Beverly Hills landmark. It is always packed. The restaurant  has a large menu and pasta is the star which makes sense because the translation is the pasta maker. There are also really delicious and interesting salads, seafood and steak.  I consistently have good meals here and would probably eat there more often if it was not always so crowded. http://www.celestinodrago.com/

Republique definitely lives up to the hype. Every dish I had at dinner was some of the best food I have ever tasted in LA.  It is one of my favorite places to take out-of-town guests. The food and lighting are very instagram friendly as well. I love it for breakfast and lunch. The salted caramel chocolate cake and the shakshuka are worth the traffic.  http://republiquela.com/

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Sycamore Kitchen is described as New American cuisine. It is a breakfast and lunch place in the Mid Wilshire area. It is not a brunch place. Breakfast ends at 1130. They have amazing pastries and coffee. The egg tartine is one of my favorite breakfasts and served all day. I like all the salads and sides. The line moves pretty quickly and you don’t have to wait long for a table.  http://thesycamorekitchen.com/

Baco Mercat’s food is always fantastic and creative. The restaurant is named after the baco sandwich (on flat bread and served in a bowl ). I like the ‘original” one when I am eating meat. I crave the brussel sprouts (really, they are that good).The owner and chef Josef Centeno has a few restaurants in the old Bank district downtown. They are all amazing. I also love Orsa And Winston. All the foodies in LA will agree with me on this one. (baco sandwich)  http://www.bacomercat.com/

Rose Cafe is  very new stylish Venice. I love it. It’s a big restaurant,  hipster designed with plenty of takeout food and parking. There are  interesting healthy breakfast choices  eggs with sweet potatoes , avocado and greens,  superb pastas at lunch and dinner and elaborate beautiful main courses. It is delicious all day dining and my new neighborhood go to restaurant.  http://rosecafevenice.com/

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Fly safe,

JAZ

My Ten Favorite LA Restaurant Dishes

My Ten Favorite LA  Restaurant Dishes In No Particular Order 

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world”. JRR Tolkien

Sea Bass Ceviche at Lonzo’s Bakery Restaurant http://www.lonzosperuvianrestaurantbreadcompany.com/

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Turkey Burger at Golden State http://www.thegoldenstatecafe.com/

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Charred Cabbage with Yogurt and Sumac at Charcoal https://www.charcoalvenice.com/

Pasta Al Pomodoro at Ponte (formerly the Pasta Al Pomodoro at Scarpetta)  http://thepontela.com/

Roast Chicken with Panzanella and Olives at AOC http://www.aocwinebar.com/

Salmon Sashimi with Dried Miso at Matsuhisa https://matsuhisabeverlyhills.com/

Any hot dog at Pinks http://www.pinkshollywood.com/

Shakshuka at République http://republiquela.com/

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Glazed Donut hot out of the oven at Krispy Kreme https://www.krispykreme.com/

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Caesar Brussel Sprouts at Baco Mercat http://www.bacomercat.com/

Fly safe,

JAZ

I Don’t Eat Meat Except When I Do

I Don’t Eat Meat Except When I Do

“Life is too short for self-hatred and celery sticks.’ Marilyn Wann

I’m not a meat eater. I can live without bacon. I don’t have a plant-based diet. I’m not a vegan or a pescetarian. I don’t have a superior I’m going to be healthier than you while saving the planet attitude. Meat is just never my food of choice unless it comes in a casing or is ground.  It is my occasional secret guilty pleasure. I’ve switched to chicken sausage and  turkey burgers in public but the truth is that it is just not the same.

I’m not even an ethical carnivore. Can one still be spiritual and eat the occasional ground meat? Even if it is not grass-fed, free range and organic? I pride myself on being an honest person. Is it dishonest to be a secret fast food eater?

Once in a while I need a real burger. I want an In N Out Burger or a Pink’s real hot dog every time I drive by. I rarely go in. Comfort food  is comforting – as long as you don’t overdo it. I’m not buying the 24 pack of hot dogs or burgers at Cosco. There is a difference between getting McDonald’s for dinner or scarfing down a bag of cookies or pint of ice cream so fast you didn’t enjoy it.

Quarter Pounder with cheese is my go to when necessary comfort food. You can’t beat McDonald’s prices and it’s only 600 calories if you were counting calories at a fast food restaurant. I feel like McDonalds is getting better at making their burgers look good and hiding the grey meat in the middle so you can’t see it. I notice when McDonalds says Deluxe it means they  add lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise, because apparently nothing adds class like mayo.

It brings up a cherished memory of how much my son and his friends enjoyed going to McDonald’s. Waiting in line at the drive through, I think about all the Happy Meal toys we collected and all the Chicken McNuggets they consumed. I was not allowed to eat sugar or junk food as a kid which is why I crave it. I made sure it was a part of my children’s childhood.

Stored in my brain is the memory of when McDonald’s came to Brooklyn. I went with my boyfriend and all our friends for the first time. We  cut classes to have lunch there and ordered everything so we could try it. I believe everything was Filet of Fish, Cheeseburger, Hamburger and Fries. If there was chicken it was not McNuggets and no one ordered it. We thought it tasted good and was definitely cost-effective. There were no fancy burger options then. I take the first bite and I see them all dressed in their cool seventies fashion once again.  

And of course there was the movie Pulp Fiction. “What do they call a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in Paris? They got the metric system. They don’t know WTF a quarter pounder is. They call it Royale with Cheese”’

I  call it the taste of memory.

Fly Safe,

JAZ

Foods I Ate In A Day On A Road Trip Through New Zealand

Foods I Ate In A Day On A Road Trip Through New Zealand

“On the road again. Goin’ places that I’ve never been. Seein’ things that I may never see again. And I can’t wait to get on the road again” Willie Nelson

When it comes to eating healthy on a road trip through New Zealand, the struggle is real. Most people look for food that’s quick and convenient when traveling. There is typically neither time or patience on your side. You have to make do with the options available in the time and space you’re given. Unfortunately, New Zealand doesn’t cater to healthy fast food though gluten-free has come to even the smallest town. 

Breakfast. Breakfast is usually included in many hotels outside of the United States and often served buffet style. Ours ranged from light to full breakfast. I tried to fill up at breakfast eating scrambled eggs (often greasy and not that warm), yogurt (some flavor in a container), fruit, coffee, tomatoes and avocado if available. I  would take apples or bananas if I saw them for the road.

Morning Stop New Zealand makes great coffee so there was always an interesting coffee shop wherever we stopped. Sometimes the coffee was more interesting than other times.

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If I was already car sick, I would have a donut or scone. New Zealand food is very influenced by the UK. Carbs, diet coke and sweet hard candy help me with carsickness.

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I drink a lot of water and I am happy to say that I saved money because New Zealand has the best tap water. I just refilled my bottle where ever we stopped.

Snacks  There is something about being on a road trip that makes you want to eat the kinds of foods that you would never eat at home. Orange cheese chips (called Twisties), Burger Rings (chips that taste like a burger?) and unidentified dried meat in a package look appealing – especially when you are in another country with different snacks.

I bought almonds, walnuts and kiwi fruit. I  bring vitamin C bars, gum, hard candy and Jelly Bellys from home.

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Lunch   We always stopped somewhere that had shopping or photo ops so I wanted to eat fast and not spend the time sitting. Every roadside restaurant serves quiche and mince and cheese pies. Pies are a staple of the New Zealand diet and everyone is eating them.

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Pre made sandwiches seemed to be the healthiest quick option most of the time.  Ham and cheese on white bread with lots of butter – sometimes toasted was my usual lunch. One day somewhere on South Island, I went to a bakery that had sandwiches. I saw a loaf of wheat bread. I asked for ham and cheese on wheat bread without butter. They said that they only made the ham and cheese on white bread.  It was my Jack Nicholson Five Easy Pieces moment.

“You have wheat bread. You have ham and you have cheese.”

“Yes, but we only make the sandwiches on white”, said the girl behind the counter.

“Well, I’d like a loaf of wheat bread – throw it away except for two pieces and I will have the ham and cheese on wheat, hold the butter.”

She said that she would speak to her manager.  She did not look happy but returned with my request and only charged me for the sandwich – best sandwich of the road.

Afternoon stop.  I was usually sleeping after my sandwich and needed a good New Zealand  coffee and something sweet. Hopefully, it would be a banana. Sometimes it was chocolate covered kiwi fruit, Pineapple Lumps( chocolate covered pineapple marshmallowy thing), chocolate covered marshmallow fish, Jaffa (chocolate covered in red hard candy), ice cream or yogurt blended with fruit, pie or Anzac biscuits (oatmeal biscuits from WWll).

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Dinner On long driving days, dinner was tricky. I wasn’t always hungry. Sometimes I would have a proper New Zealand dinner. I loved those green lipped mussels and fresh salmon -or a Maori Hangi – (could be chicken fish, pork, lamb potato, cabbage  and root vegetable such as kumara) cooked in the steam in the ground.

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 Other times dinners were Egg McMuffin, wine and cheese, protein bars, fruit and yogurt,  Fergburger or pizza.

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The thing about a road trip is that the same exact eating starts all over the next day.

Fly safe

,JAZ