Larchmont Bungalow (Los Angeles, CA)

Nuts for nachos!

Mobbed every Sunday brunch, many people forget about Larchmont Bungalow when heading out to dinner. At night, this spacious café become a quite sanctuary for a casual meal with friends.  The menu is fairly meat heavy, but a pretty hand written board highlights all their NEW vegan options! The obvious choice is the easy to share Vegan Nachos ($9.95). Light and crispy homemade tortilla chips are topped with vegan cheese (Daiya, the best band out there), whole black beans and thin slices of fresh jalapeno. With the perfect amount of salt and heat we could not stop eating the nachos, especially when loaded with the pico de gallo and fresh guacamole.

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La Note (Berkeley, CA)

There's never enough room for all the good eats!

When you visit Berkeley, you’re faced with many tempting options, from South Indian chaat at Vic’s to Michelin-rated California cuisine at Chez Panisse. Be sure, however, to reserve at least one morning for my absolute favorite brunch spot in the East Bay—La Note. In my college days, I spent leisurely hours between classes nibbling on baguettes with raspberry jam in the dappled light of the garden patio. Today, their provincial French breakfast plates are just as I remember them…easily worth the 500 mile drive from Los Angeles.

The colors are not accidental! It's as delicious as Christmas morning!

My favorite dish is the elegantly simple Tartine Mistral ($7.5). A skinny toasted baguette—slathered with *just enough* goat cheese—then  topped with mounds of basil chiffonade and slick roasted peppers. Despite its minimalism, every mouthful is an event. With each bite, the crisp baguette crust crackles in your mouth, followed by a clingy pull of wooly white bread. As the sharp goat cheese prances over your tongue, sweet peppers burst between your teeth and your nose fills with the fragrance of fresh basil. It’s an edible symphony! Continue reading