La Petite Creperie – Mar Vista, CA

Food Adventures, Los Angeles

One of our favorite Sunday morning routines is to head over to the Mar Vista Farmer’s Market (some weekends we’ll even walk!) and enjoy a leisurely brunch at a local neighborhood hot spot – La Petite Crêperie. A quaint hole-in-the-wall, La Petite Crêperie is decked out in old French country-style wooden decor with cute dish towels for napkins and adorable mini Le Creuset type dutch ovens that have been purposed as sugar bowls. The all-French staff are quick to bid “Bonjour!” and show us to a cozy corner table.

La Petite Creperie - Champignons, Fromage Galette

La Petite Creperie – Champignons & Fromage Galette

First things first, Martin and I both love having iced coffee at brunch. They do not have chilled coffee here but if you ask nicely, they will be happy to fix up a strong Americano and serve that over ice along with milk in a cute little ceramic creamer.

Iced Americano

Iced Americano

If winter is coming, La Petite Crêperie offers an excellent organic French pressed coffee, served in huge Bodum (?) glass coffee presses. The smallest, supposedly a 2-cup, was plenty for us to share. One advantage of going with hot coffee is the ease of which the sugar cubes melt (we had to stir for quite a bit to get them to dissolve into the iced coffee!). Plus it’s just fun to push down on the plunger.

French pressed coffee

French pressed coffee

Since we are dining at a place that is literally named “the little crêpe restaurant,” we, of course, had to order a crêpe or two. I love savory crêpes, listed on the menu under Les Galettes, and selected the champignons and fromage –  a medley of portabello and oyster mushrooms sauteed in butter along with garlic and shallots and served in a buckwheat crêpe layered with melted gruyère. SO GOOD. The gruyere paired perfectly with the earthy mushrooms which, though rich and buttery, were not greasy at all. The savory crêpes are served with a mixed greens salad tossed in a bright and tangy sherry vinaigrette and garnished with cute fresh cherry tomatoes (possibly sourced from the farmer’s market going on just outside!).

Crêpe Champignons & Fromage

Crêpe Champignons & Fromage

Martin is less a fan of savory crêpes (he’s more of a Nutella guy, but more on that later) but his brunch selection is another French favorite – the croque madame. Essentially a ham and cheese sandwich, the croque monsieur (jambon de Paris, gruyère, and béchamel served open-faced on toasted bread) becomes a croque madame with the addition of a fried sunny-side-up egg. It’s hearty and comforting and just the right breakfast to keep you going until dinnertime.

Croque Madame

Croque Madame

If we go the savory route, we are usually too full for dessert. With this in mind, we will sometimes decide to come here for a sweet breakfast of Nutella crêpes and coffee. Nutella and banane (sliced bananas) for Martin, Nutella and fraises (strawberries) pour moi. Each of the sweet crêpes are served with an artsy swoosh of Nutella, a sprinkling of chopped hazelnuts, and a dusting of powdered sugar. Thin, just a bit chewy, crispy on the edges without burning, and with generous helpings of fruit and nutella, this dessert-for-breakfast really hits the spot.

Nutella Crepe

Nutella Crepe

For the iconic Westside experience (at least, it is in my opinion), stop by La Petite Crêperie for its charming atmosphere, delicious crêpes, and reinvigorating hot or iced coffee. Plan to stay for a while (things run at a leisurely pace here) and wander out to the farmer’s market afterward for some fresh local produce and treats. It’s a great way to start the day before going back to Sunday errands (or continuing the weekend goodness by heading down to the beach just 2 miles away!). C’est la belle vie~!

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Check out La Petite Crêperie: lpcmarvista.com

3809 Grand View Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90066

See their Yelp reviews here!

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Speaking of coffee, if you want a chance to score your very own single-serving, pod-based coffee maker just released by Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, hop on over to see our friend at The Actor’s Diet for a giveaway!

DineLA – Blue Stove (Winter 2013)

Food Adventures, Los Angeles

For dineLA Winter 2013 (I know, I’m playing catch-up with my entries), C and I decided to check out Blue Stove for lunch. Blue Stove offered a two-course lunch with a tasting pour for only $15/person. Situated among the clothing racks inside the Nordstrom at Santa Monica Place, the restaurant had a quaint wine bar sort of theme going on. We were seated immediately and received prompt, friendly service from our server.

Blue Stove

Blue Stove

Spicy tuna on wonton

Spicy Tuna on Wonton

Starter: we both ordered the Spicy Tuna with sriracha aioli on crispy wontons. Each hor d’oeuvre-sized bite was also topped with chopped cucumber and a generous mound of masago (cod roe). It was an interesting take on one of my favorite appetizers, spicy tuna on crispy rice. The sriracha aioli could’ve used more kick though.

Jambalaya

Creole Jambalaya

Entree 1 (a): I had my eye on the Creole Jambalaya with shrimp and andouille sausage since we first started perusing menus to select our dining destination! The sausage and spices gave the rice a great kick and the three well-seasoned and beautifully grilled shrimp had awesome flavor. I was pleased with this selection and it paired perfectly with the 2 oz pour of a crisp, refreshing California Chardonnay.

Crispy Dark Cherry Beef

Crispy Dark Cherry Beef

Entree 2 (c): My dining companion selected the Crispy & Spicy Dark Cherry Beef. She said the sweet and spicy flavors of the glaze were delicious but the texture of the beef was chewier than she would’ve preferred. I imagine her beef dish paired well with the Italian Barbera she selected for her tasting pour.

Ultimate Chocolate Cake

Ultimate Chocolate Cake

Dessert was not included in the $15 dineLA lunch offering, but we were enticed by our server’s description of the Ultimate Chocolate Cake, consisting of two layers of moist chocolate cake sandwiched by a filling of Nutella, drizzled with a rich chocolate ganache and topped with a dollop of fluffy chocolate mousse. Oh so decadent and very, very good. The sprinkling of fleur de sel added a great contrast to all of the sweet elements.

All in all, we enjoyed our meal. Honestly, its department store location is a bit of a turn-off, but for a casual tapas and wine experience, I could see myself returning to try items from their regular menu. Its mall location did have one important advantage — ample parking!

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Check out Blue Stove:

222 Broadway St
Santa Monica, CA 90401

See their Yelp reviews here!

Tout Sweet Patisserie – San Francisco, CA

Food Adventures, San Francisco

My apologies for the delay of this post! Life has been absolutely crazy for us, but we’re back to blogging. I can’t believe it’s been exactly one month today since Tout Sweet had their official grand opening.

Smack in the middle of a Macy’s department store

We were so excited when we heard that Yigit Pura of Top Chef: Just Desserts was finally opening up his dream bakery in his hometown of San Francisco the weekend after Labor Day — the same weekend we were planning to be in SF for the Late Night Alumni show at Ruby Skye and the Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival. Call it destiny! Tout Sweet Patisserie is situated on the third floor of the Macys in Union Square and is just the most adorable storefront. Cute IKEA-fied cafe area, beautiful display of plated desserts, piles of pastries, colorful rows of macarons, and of course, very friendly staff working behind the counter.

This photo does not do justice to the alluring display.

We wanted to try everything but ended up with 5. It was our first stop of the day, so what follows was technically… the breakfast of champions.

Florence – citrus vanilla panna cotta with grapefruit Campari gelée

The one that stood out to me was the Florence — a citrus vanilla panna cotta topped with a grapefruit Campari gelee. It turned out to be Martin’s favorite – so much so that we ordered a second one before we left! The panna cotta was creamy and not too sweet, and the gelée added a slightly bitter note. Wonderful flavor profile!

Petit Tout Sweet – a layered chocolate cake with fluffy chocolate mousse

We also got a slice of their namesake cake – the Petit Tout Sweet, a flourless chocolate cake layered with chocolate mousse and topped with a dark chocolate glaze. The layers were decadent and light at the same time, and the glaze… oh the glaze… It had a uniquely velvety texture and we both agreed it was our favorite part of the cake.

Chocolate chip cookie sprinkled with sea salt

Martin inquired the girl behind the counter about whether they had a basic chocolate chip cookie. If that’s your thing, try the one here at Tout Sweet — it’s topped with fleur de sel and has generous chunks of quality chocolate. Our only regret was not asking for it warmed up so we could enjoy that fresh-out-of-the-oven experience.

St. Honore – three profiteroles glazed with caramel

Very pleased with our first round of selections and not yet ready to leave, we asked for a suggestion for a light and interesting dessert. They immediately suggested the St. Honore, essentially a cluster of three profiteroles sitting atop a triangle of puff pastry, dipped in hardened caramel filled with vanilla custard and served with vanilla Chantilly creme. We were given very good advice also – don’t be afraid to dive in! Taking a bite of a whole cream puff and its base of phyllo yielded a wonderful crunch enhanced by the crystallized cracking glaze. The gold flakes were an interesting touch but really didn’t add anything in terms of flavor.

Colorful macaron display

Our fifth dessert that morning was a second Florence. Yup. It was that good. However, we brought home some very colorful macarons (my favorite was the MeMe – the cookie part was a swirl of hot pink and neon green!). Unfortunately we can’t speak to the flavors of the macarons as we gifted them to our friends and family as souvenirs.

Nutella brioche – I should have gotten more than just one!

I also grabbed a lone nutella brioche that had called out to me as soon as we walked in. Despite a long journey being jostled around in my backpack as we trekked up Lombard Street (yes, on foot), it survived the flight back to LA and still tasted delicious! It’s like a chocolate croissant taken to the next level. Plus, it’s adorably round in shape and really, chocolate hazelnut spread makes everything better!

We went the second morning after they opened, missing the crowd of media and paparazzi (yay!) as well as the presence of the owner Yigit (boo!). While the prices were a bit steep (especially if you order as much as we did!), we felt the quality and the flavors were well worth it. Definitely a go-to spot for the next time we return to San Francisco! If you haven’t checked it out yet, please do — they’ve had a month now to iron out the kinks, plus I hear they’ve build upon their menu and now feature savory brunch-y items as well.

By the way, take a look at the back of the staff shirts if you see someone turn around :) We had a “you know you’re nerds when…” moment when we were surprised and excited to see sucrose!

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Check out Tout Sweet Patisserie: toutsweetsf.com

Macy’s Union Square
170 O’Farrell St, 3 Fl
San Francisco, CA 94102

See their Yelp reviews here or follow them on Twitter @toutsweetsf!