Egg Musings

  • My mother hated egg whites. Scrambled eggs had to be perfectly blended. I think of her every time I scramble eggs.
  • On the rare occasions that we’d have breakfast out and we’d order fried eggs, she’d take my yolks and I’d take her whites.
  • I’m told she made a great lemon meringue pie, but I have no memories of her making it.
  • Until quite recently, Baguette ate a lot of scrambled eggs. I would fix one for her each morning and take it to school. Last week, though, her teacher told me that she’d been throwing them away because Baguette wasn’t eating them.
  • After 2015, no California hens can be kept in battery cages; Prop 2, which voters approved and Governor Schwarznegger signed, requires that the animals have enough room to stretch their wings and turn around.
  • I only buy eggs from California.
  • Mr. Sandwich and I like the idea of having a backyard coop, and Los Angeles allows that, but we’re not sure that our back yard is set up to let us have a coop the required distance from other structures and still have a back yard.
  • The farmers market sells eggs from a farm 1-1/2 miles away. They cost twice as much as the most humane eggs I can find at the store, but it’s hard to get more local than that.
eggs in ramekins
Local on the left, store on the right.
fried eggs
Local on the left, store on the right.
fried eggs, waffles, sausage links
Local on the left, store on the right.

The store egg yolks seem to break much more easily. The local egg yolk didn’t break at all. That’s store yolk you see there.

Cooking With Pinterest

I don’t believe in Pinterest guilt. Seriously, if you’re judging yourself by other people’s pins, then it’s time to step away from the computer and go play outside.

For me, Pinterest is primarily an inspiration board. I find things I like the look of, and I pin them. Easy.

But then, in my never-ending quest to streamline my day, I found a couple of recipes that seemed worth trying.

The Overnight Slow-Cooker Oatmeal seemed like a no-brainer. So easy! So oatmeal-y! So made in the slow-cooker!

It tastes just fine, but let me tell you, the cooking spray? Did nothing. I’m pretty sure there are oats welded to my slow cooker.

And the Egg Muffins?

Sure, they look harmless. And, after all, a friend did give me fresh chives. But again with the cooking spray #fail. I have no idea if I can return the pan to a usable condition. Also, they’re like rubber. I ate mine on the way to work; I can’t imagine that Baguette will eat hers. And I don’t blame her.

(And did I mention that I already knew that morning is not the time to experiment? But noooo, I’m going to make it work!)

Now I’m anxious about taking on other Pinterest cooking experiments–because while I really want to make this Chocolate Caramel Tart and these Nutter Butter Truffles (although I’m thinking about using dark chocolate), I can’t help but wonder whether I’ll feel mocked by the results.

What about you? Any Pinterest cooking failures? Or, more importantly, Pinterest cooking successes?

What We Ate on Our Summer Vacation

When we decided we wanted to go back to Santa Barbara, that naturally meant that we wanted to revisit some of the restaurants we particularly enjoyed.

First, though, we decided to cut down on breakfasts out–we rented a studio unit. However, it turned out that what we imagined to be a kitchen was actually a mini-fridge and microwave. I don’t think the place was misrepresented, I think we brought some faulty assumptions. But the mini-fridge did mean that we could pick up a few things at Albertsons and Lazy Acres (which is like if Whole Foods and Bristol Farms had a passionate affair that resulted in a really classy baby) and cut down on our meals out.

So where did we eat?

Some local friends introduced us to Cajun Kitchen, where we ordered a plethora of pancakes, eggs, and sausage. (Just assume we ordered this everywhere unless otherwise specified–one of our goals is to get Baguette to eat, and this meal is pretty much a sure thing.)

El Pollo Rico in Goleta featured BBQ chicken and “tri-tip” (actually skirt steak). Everything was a little dry, but the flavors were great and we did not go away hungry.

We had two dinners at Mesa Pizza Co.–I really liked the crust and toppings here, and Baguette is always a fan of cheese pizza. She’s also a fan of pepperoni pizza, although she’s as likely to discard the pepperoni as she is to eat it.

We also made two trips to Mac’s Fish and Chips Shop on State Street. While most of State could pass for a fairly generic mall that happens to have a street running through it, Mac’s was a find. Between the two visits, we ate fish and chips, bangers and chips, beef and onion pie, clam chowder, and Toad-in-the-Hole. Oh, and mashed potatoes. All delicious. We’ll be back when we’re here next.

Mac's Fish and Chips Shop

If you haven’t had McConnell’s ice cream, you may be able to find it in a Whole Foods near you. We were able to go to their actual brick-and-mortar location, and were not disappointed. While Baguette was intrigued but reluctant to share either Mr. Sandwich’s Golden State Vanilla or my Santa Barbara Strawberry (in a waffle cone, no less), she eventually mustered the courage to take a taste of my ice cream–at which point she yelled, “It’s a party!”

So, naturally, we went back for another party the next night.

By the way, Mad Dogs may have great hot dogs, but I’d pass on the shave ice. It’s not real shave ice–what they’re selling is essentially a sno-cone, and believe me, there is no comparison.

Our return visits were a mixed bag:

Farmer Boy, while one of our favorites last year, dropped from “leisurely” to “so slow we tipped badly.” The food was fine, but not good enough to make up for the incredibly slow service. I was on my third cup of coffee before the meal came, and that included waiting for the fresh pot–and a side order never showed up at all.

We were happier with Garrett’s Old Fashion, with fast, friendly service and good food. It was a marked contrast to the previous morning at Farmer Boy. When we made a final trip on our way out of town, not only did we again get fast service, but the waiter remembered that I’d ordered an extra egg for Baguette the previous day, and asked if I wanted that again. If we lived in Santa Barbara, I’d be a regular.

But I can’t decide: should I be happy or sad that Baguette can open a mini-fridge without assistance?

Holiday Traditions: Roundup

I hope all of you had a very Merry Christmas–unless you don’t celebrate it, in which case I hope you had a very nice day. We can all use nice days.

When I was a child (and a teen, and an adult), I was famous in my family for what we called my “Christmas nap.” I’ve never been one for naps, unless I’m sick. Or it’s Christmas. Apparently this dates back to my infancy, when I got tired partway through opening presents and decided to take a nap. This happened. I’ve seen a photo.

So yesterday we woke up for what was our first Christmas morning in our own home (normally we alternate between Mr. Sandwich’s parents, who are local, and traveling to my side of the family, who are not. We had prepared by pulling out the sofa bed; we already have a developing tradition called “Saturday Night Sofa Bed,” and we decided to extend it to “Christmas Morning Sofa Bed.” I got up a little ahead of everyone to cut up ham (I had made a ham on Friday) for scrambled eggs, and we ate eggs with ham, and apple bread. Then we piled onto the sofa bed to open presents.

Next up: Elmo. A lot of Elmo. Baguette has a cold and clearly feels terrible, so we’re letting her watch more TV than usual. Maybe this isn’t perfect, but, hey, what do you want to do when you have a cold? Curl up in bed and watch TV. She’s no different.

After a while, though, it became clear that she was exhausted and sad (she would cry at the end of each “Elmo’s World”), so we bundled her into the car and drove about 10 feet before she fell asleep. We kept driving for a couple of miles in the hope that it would help her stay asleep. And it worked! When we got home, I piled up sofa cushions and laid her down between me and them. The dog snuggled up on my other side, and we all had a nice, relaxing afternoon as she slept for several hours and I read The Hunger Games.

It’s worth noting here that what this means is that Baguette stole my Christmas nap. But when was the last time I got to read for two hours straight? I don’t know, either.

Once she was up and fed and bathed and changed (into another fleecy sleeper–sick babies don’t have to dress for dinner, IMO), we headed over to Mr. Sandwich’s parents’ house for dinner. After a meal of tri-tip, mashed potatoes, carrots, and brussels sprouts, we opened more gifts and watched a renewed (if still fussy) Baguette run around the house.

I’d like to keep the family, food, and Sofa Bed. Baguette and I both vote to skip the colds next time. But to wind everything up, here are a couple of holiday exchanges from the House of Sandwich:

When Mr. Sandwich got home from his bike ride, I told him how crazy the process of undoing the Fisher Price Noah’s Ark packaging was making me. A moment later, he’s tossing plastic zebras over to me.

Me: How did you do that?

Mr. Sandwich: I think three-dimensionally.

Me: Thanks, Captain Kirk. Now, HOW DID YOU DO THAT?

#ThisIsWhatHappensWhenTrekkersMarry

On whether or not it’s worth making another trip out for gifts on Christmas Eve:

Me: You know I’m very materialistic and not all about the love.

Mr. Sandwich: I give you my love.

Me: I want the thing, dammit.

Bru’s Wiffle–A Waffle Joint

Don’t ask. I do not know what “wiffle” is supposed to mean. And yes, I checked their website.

Nevertheless, Bru’s Wiffle–A Waffle Joint (BTW, seriously? A subtitle for your restaurant?) serves up some interesting fare. They have dessert waffles (in fact, the menu leads with them–is this their biggest draw, or just a quirk like “wiffle”?), lunch options (they close at 5, so I guess they just can’t tolerate dinner), and breakfast served all day (unless it’s dinnertime).

So I’m snarking the presentation, but how was the food? Pretty good. I’m often underwhelmed by Belgian waffles (so light! so crispy! so flavorless!), but this one wasn’t bad. I ordered the Aloha, which was a waffle topped with scrambled eggs, bacon, and pineapple. I’m not sure the pineapple added a lot–fresh would have been better–but the eggs and bacon were excellent.

Also, it came with the largest mug of coffee I’ve ever seen in a restaurant. So, win-win.

Waffling

Yesterday was Baguette’s first morning in day care. It was a success, and I wasn’t really worried, but there was a bit of separation anxiety. Mine, naturally.

Fortunately, I had scheduled brunch with a friend. We decided to try out CiCi’s Cafe, reputed to have excellent breakfasts.

The menu is enormous; it reminded me of the menu at the Country Pancake House, one of my favorite breakfast spots when I lived in New Jersey. My friend ordered Strawberry Valentino Crepes, and I ordered The Jumbo Jet–waffle, eggs, and ham.

In the end, the crepes and the eggs were good. The ham was a bit dry, and the waffle was, well, disappointingly bland. I would go back, but I’d try some of the ingredient-packed pancakes–maybe the Say Trick or Treat, or the Aloha Pineapple. I think I’d have trouble choosing between those two.

Bill’s Cafe

If you’re in San Jose and wondering where to have breakfast, you might want to drop in at Bill’s Cafe. Located in the charming (and expensive) neighborhood of Willow Glen, Bill’s offers up the basics and beyond.

Our table wound up with oatmeal, pancakes and eggs, and corned beef hash. I ordered the Eggs Cordon Bleu, a twist on Eggs Benedict with ham, Swiss cheese, scrambled eggs, and Hollandaise sauce, all served on a croissant. That was agreed to be the standout (lucky me!). And the coffee and fresh-squeezed juice were good, too.

But there were any number of omelettes, skillet breakfasts, and scrambles that I’d be delighted to try. It’s probably a good thing I don’t live in San Jose.

Bread & Porridge

This morning we had breakfast at Bread & Porridge in Santa Monica. I’ve eaten there a couple of times, and had good memories of it, but Mr. Sandwich had never been there before. Today it was a toss-up between this and Snug Harbor a few doors down.

This visit was less satisfying. Mr. Sandwich’s pancakes were fluffy, but dry and bland, and I found my cilantro sausage to be a bit too spicy and the eggs underdone (his were fine). Plus somehow the breakfast cost a fortune. ($3.15 for a cup of coffee? Really? I wish I’d checked that before I ordered it.)

On the plus side, Mr. Sandwich had a celebrity sighting; Dylan McDermott walked in shortly before we left. But on the whole, I’d recommend Snug Harbor instead. I’ve even seen Liv Tyler there.

We’re Cooking with Gas

Sandwich Père and Sandwich Belle-mere came to visit this weekend, and today Aunt and Uncle Sandwich joined us. As you might imagine, there was a lot of food.

Friday night the four of us went to the Canoga Park Yang Chow. We’ve been to the Chinatown location several times, and were delighted to find that the closer location also has fantastic black bean sauce, as well as excellent dry sauteed string beans.

Saturday morning found us at Vip’s, reputed to be John Wooden’s favorite diner. I’ve yet to see Coach there, but if he comes for the pancakes, then it’s clear that his expertise extends far beyond sports. (My favorite pancakes in L.A. are still at Rae’s Diner in Santa Monica, but Vip’s are worth repeat trips.)

That evening, following a trip to the ER that turned out just fine, we ordered pizza from Brooklyn Pizza. One medium pepperoni and one medium Hawaiian later, we were sated. Another of our Westside favorites was The Coop, which had excellent New York-style pizza; Brooklyn Pizza seems like an excellent alternative.

Today was a whirlwind of cooking, to meet a variety of dietary requirements and preferences. Fortunately, I was able to find a menu that met everyone’s needs. So what did I cook?

For brunch:
Sour cream coffee cake
Scrambled eggs
Bacon
Sausage links

For dinner:
Rosemary-ranch chicken skewers
Mashed potatoes
Grilled bell peppers and onions
String beans

Why, yes, I am exhausted.