Orange, Almond & Apricot Biscotti

You know the best thing about having sisters? It’s like having mandatory friends – friends who visit and bring you food. You know what’s even better than a sister? A little sister who likes to bake, which mine does. Hallelujah! Baby sister Bee was in town a few weekends ago to deal with some grad school applications and she brought me up some fresh baked biscotti!

When she was just a little tot in elementary school, I remember her attempting to bake lemon bars by herself one Saturday morning and being absolutely crushed when they came out terribly. So adorably sweet. Such terrible, terrible burnt lemon bars.

Well, she’s come a long way from those days! Because these biscotti were absolutely addicting. They were dense and doughy but crispy on the edges. Each bite was chock full of crunchy almond bits and chewy sweet pieces of dried apricot. They probably should have been a bit crispier, but Bee says she may have over done it with the orange juice. Remind me to tell you another time why we always called her the juicer growing up!

I killed about four of them and then decided later that evening that they would go great with jam. So cue some last minute midnight jam making! Nothing fancy – I had a bag of frozen mixed fruits (namely strawberries, peaches and pineapple) that I use for smoothies. I threw some of those in a pan with some orange juice, a bit of stevia, and some cinnamon. Soften, smash, reduce and voila! Jam!

I let it cool in the fridge overnight and treated myself to some biscotti and jam with my coffee the next morning. Yum! Anywho, if you don’t have a little sister to do your baking for you, try out this recipe she used: Orange, Almond & Apricot Biscotti.

Some tips from baker Bee if you do:

  • Bake at a higher temp. It takes much longer to golden than expected.
  • Measure out your juice.
  • Cut smaller pieces on the diagonal if you want to get the full 24 slices.
  • It’s a super sticky dough. Get ready to put use some elbow grease.

Happy Eating! xo.

Met Her At A Bar | Miracle Mile

I was lucky enough to have a couple weeks off this holiday season – a rarity in the 9-5 office adult world. It was kind of surprise time-off so I didn’t have time to make any big plans. Instead I spent lots of time with family and peppered in one-on-one friend dates in between. Friend dates should be a more frequent and celebrated thing. I absolutely love them. Anyways, this particular day a friend and I opted for a morning hike through the Hollywood Hills followed by brunch. We were originally trying to go to République, but even on a Tuesday morning, that seemed to be impossible.

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Way too hungry to wait an hour or more, we went a couple blocks down to Met Her At A Bar. Honestly, I was so hungry I wanted literally everything. Figured I would settle for something a little savory, a little sweet and ordered the You Wake Me Up Happy.  As you can see above, that’s a classic waffle with maple syrup and berries and all the proteins on the side. Proteins weren’t mind-blowing, but that waffle was perfectly crispy on the edges and fluffy in the middle. I ate every bit of this.

My friend ordered the Bello Bello Wafflebello Sandwich, a portbello waffle sandwich with tomatoes, arugula and a side of syrup. I didn’t get to try hers because quite frankly, I had enough on my plate. She also ordered a Hibiscus Cooler, but didn’t seem too impressed with it.

It’s a tight space with communal seating and an order-at-the-counter style. I wouldn’t necessarily go out of my way to get there, but if you’re in the area, it’s a pretty great brunch option! There’s plenty of sandwiches and heavier lunch options as well.

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I felt obliged to provide some photo evidence to prove we somewhat earned our brunching that day, ha. The weather was perfect for this short hike up to Wisdom Tree and the Hollywood sign. Here’s to many more friend adventures!

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Cafe Vida | Culver City

Cafe Vida | Black Coffee
Two coffees straight up!

I wish brunch was some hidden secret that only the lucky few got to know about. Unfortunately, brunch is pretty much a lifestyle for Los Angeles foodies and all the good spots are a far cry from secret. Cafe Vida is one of those places. Right in the heart of Downtown Culver City, this Latin-New American cafe always has a crowd. Expect at least a thirty minute wait even if you roll up in the earliest of brunch hours on a Sunday.

Their fresh-squeezed juices and smoothies are super popular menu items. They’re good, but honestly, a little overpriced. So I skip the blended greens and always start with black coffee. They keep you topped off all brunch (yay for being way too over-caffeinated) and give you two tiny thumb-sized muffin bites to go with it. They’re itty-bitty, but so sugar packed that they go great with a straight-up cup of joe.

Cafe Vida | Brunch
Passed on the powdered sugar & butter, that makes this healthy right?

Every time I come back, I tell myself I’ll try something further down on the menu. I never make it past the pancakes. Namely the brown rice pancakes. I’m a sucker for crispy, crunchy, warm your heart pancakes covered in berries. So my go-to is the turkey burger scramble (gotta get those ‘teins) with a side of brown rice pancakes. You can’t go wrong with their blueberry corn cakes either, a little grittier, just as tasty.

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The boyfriend, on the flip side, has never gotten the same thing twice. Though he never makes it down the menu either. He almost always orders whatever brunch special is available that week. Wet burritos, skirt steak benedicts, banana french toast… whatever the new shiny food is for the week. It’s usually a “latin” twist on a traditional brunch food or a brunched up version of a latin dish. I keep putting latin in quotes because this is hip LA latin-inspired more than it is a diverse array of latin food. We’re talking chilaquiles, huevos rancheros and some sort of taco and burrito. That’s about as far as it goes. Donde estan mis pupusas y ceviches?

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This week was the short-rib breakfast burrito. Delicious! I was spooning off some of that burrito sauce to drizzle all over my scramble.

Disclaimer! If you’re already miles beyond hanger though, skip Cafe Vida for the day. The kitchen can be pretty slow getting food out. Even just getting your coffee can take a good ten minutes. That being said, the waiters and hostesses are all friendly faces (even when you ask them for a fifth tiny pitcher of syrup – no shame).

TL;DR? 

Service: Attentive, friendly but slow.

Food: Not quite “latin”, but delicious nonetheless.

Parking:  Plenty of meters and paid lots within a five minute walk.

Wait: 25 min – 1 hour

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