Feast your eyes on these pancakes. The Griddle Cafe, as seen on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, located on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood is known for their huge pancakes. As soon as we walked in we saw the size of these griddle cakes. I have never in my life seen such ginormous pancakes. We sat down and ordered just one pancake for the two of us because truthfully, we wanted to be able to eat again that day. Our choice was the Cinnamon, Banana, Brown Sugar Streusel pancakes. They were huge, fluffy, sweet, and satisfying. The two of us barely made a dent in these, and still left feeling quite stuffed.
Later that day we were feeling hungry again, so we decided to grab a bite at Toast Bakery Cafe. This restaurant is pretty well known by locals and tourists and is quite a trendy spot. It has been featured on shows such as “The Hills”, “Entourage” and “Rachel Zoe”. Whether you stop in for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, there are plenty of options to choose from. Since it was kind of an off time to eat, Jonty and I just shared a delicious, fresh chicken wrap with a side of fries.
I do enjoy eating healthy, as hard as it may be to believe. Fresh pressed juice and juice cleanses are all the rage these days, and I have been jonesing to try Pressed Juicery in Los Angeles, which is a trendy hot spot, and celebrity favourite. I was in need of a little refresher, so I chose the “Greens 2” and “Greens 3”. They contained kale, spinach, romaine, parsley, cucumber, celery, apple, lemon, and the Greens 3 had ginger added to it. To be honest, they are not the best tasting things, but they are drinkable and extremely healthy and nutrient dense.
Dinner time had come around and we decided on the well-known, supposedly amazing, Asian fusion spot called Katsuya. Located in the heart of Hollywood this chic, trendy, bustling restaurant is packed every night. We arrived without a reservation, so we had a drink at the bar while we waited about a half hour for a table.
At first glance of the menu, we knew we were in for a treat. For appetizers, we ordered the sashimi salad which was mixed greens with a spicy, creamy ponzu dressing, topped with the chef’s selection of assorted sashimi. The freshness of the fish, paired with the raw vegetables was a refreshing start to the meal. The next dish is what Katsuya is most famous for, the Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna. After the first bite, it was clear why it is their most sought after dish. Picture white rice, fried to a crispy texture, and topped with a mixture of raw tuna and spicy mayo. The taste was explosive. I could use one of these right about now!
Wagyu tenderloin was next. Now, I am not exaggerating when I say this, but I can confidently say that it was one of the best steak dishes I have ever had. It was slow roasted and served with soy au jus. The sweetness, juiciness and perfect texture really made this stand out.
As for rolls, we ordered a yellowtail roll, spider roll, and another Katsuya favourite, the Rock Shrimp Tempura roll. This roll was a spicy tuna roll on crack, since it was topped with rock shrimp tempura tossed in a creamy, spicy sauce. These rolls were out of this world, and some of the best I have ever had.
After all this eating, it was time for some physical activity. California is known for it’s amazing hiking trails, so we chose the beautiful, quiet Topanga Canyon in Malibu. However, we did need some fuel before this journey. We stopped at a local Manhattan Beach favourite called Uncle Bill’s Pancake house. Our seat on the patio with the ocean as our backdrop and the sun beating down on us could not have been more perfect. Since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, we went all out. We both ordered eggs, mine with hash browns his with fries, which each came with either pancakes, toast or muffins, so between the two of us, we got all three! On top of all this, Jonty ordered a chicken, apple sausage. Our table was barely big enough for all this food. The pancakes were fluffy, the muffins were moist and full of flavour, and the whole meal really hit the spot.
Along the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) in Malibu is this little fish shop called the Reel Inn. We stopped by and enjoyed a platter of fried goodness on the back patio. Delicious calamari, shrimp, haddock, and french fries filled our bellies.
Here is some proof that we actually got some exercise (along with a breathtaking view)!
If you ever go to LA, you must visit Venice. Some really cool restaurants and shops can be found around here. For dinner, we picked Gjelina, based on wonderful reviews and recommendations. The atmosphere is dark, almost industrial, with a trendy vibe. While waiting outside for our table, I spotted the canoodling couple, Adam Brody and Leighton Meester! Anyways, back to the food. We were seated on the gorgeous outdoor patio, furnished with wooden furniture, and vines growing along the walls. Sadly, I didn’t get a picture of our pizza, which was topped with mushrooms, goat cheese, fontina cheese and truffle oil. They are all cooked in a wood burning oven and come out a little bit burnt, but regardless it was still enjoyable. Next was the hanger steak with chili, lime, mint and spring onions, which were all grilled and cooked perfectly. Our other choices were salt and pepper frites with romesco (nut and red pepper-based sauce) and a garlic aioli, along with kale which seemed almost BBQ’d, topped with a yogurt, ricotta sauce, shaved fennel, and macadamia nuts. The kale was a little burnt for our liking, but the crunch and nuttiness from the macadamia nuts and the unexpected creaminess from the sauce brought it all together. The fries however were unreal. Thin, crispy and salty, just how I like them.
*sorry, the picture isn’t so great, it was dark outside and I really don’t like using the flash…
The next day we headed to Santa Monica and decided on Bubba Gump Shrimp Co, since Jonty had always wanted to try it and it was located right on the pier, overlooking the beach. Another fried platter for us (FML!), which included hush puppies, fried fish, shrimp, and french fries.
After walking along Venice Beach, we were starting to feel a little peckish. We stopped by the take-out window, Schulzies, which is a little bread pudding shop. We chose a small sampler which is three flavours, in which I chose, original, blackberry, and caramel. It was incredibly sweet, amazing, and rich, so the size was perfect for us to share. That being said, next door we came across a sashimi place called Poke Poke. This was an unexpected, yet incredible discovery. We chose spicy tuna on top of brown rice. The fish was so fresh, the sauce was perfect, and the healthy brown rice made us almost lick the bowl clean.
***Almost done, I promise!
Finally, what has been the topic of conversation, our dreams, and our imagination, finally became reality. It came time to try the one and only Rocoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles.
Jonty and I love chicken and waffles, but have always wanted to try the original, famous hot spot. Naturally, we ordered a ton of food. Fried chicken, waffles, cornbread, mac and cheese, chicken sausage, and french fries. When it all arrived, we dug our faces right in and didn’t look up. We were in actual heaven. The chicken was obviously amazing, juicy and fried to perfection, along with a thin, yet buttery waffle. I love cornbread, and this just tasted so traditional, especially with a spread of butter. The mac and cheese also tasted like it was right out of the south, so creamy and cheesy. This meal was so indulgent and highly anticipated that I literally felt like this was our last meal on Earth. Thankfully it wasn’t (as you will see below)!
Nate ‘n Al is a deli in Beverly Hills, who is visited quite often by Larry King. Just like any Jewish deli, it is usually packed, serves huge portions, and has very outdated decor. Jonty and I could not decide which meat we wanted, so we got the best of both world’s with the Reuben sandwich, which was piled with corned beef, pastrami, swiss cheese, Russian dressing, and coleslaw. A side of skinny fries, a side of fat fries, and a side of turkey bacon and we were off to the races. This deli did not disappoint, even though we have our fair share of traditional delis in Toronto.
One last trip to Uncle Bill’s, In N’ Out and Randy’s the morning of our flight and we were off to the airport with two very full, yet satisfied bellies.
There you have it folks, two long, detailed posts about how we stuffed our faces in my favourite state, and hopefully gave you some ideas if you ever want to travel there!