Tag Archives: Cafes & Restaurants mjb Has Loved

missjunebug’s Latest Love: Bottega Louie

Bottega Louie has it going on. Photo by mjb2014
Bottega Louie has it going on. Photo by mjb2014

“Je t’aime, je t’aime toujours, Monsieur B. Louie!” says missjunebug.

All her ladies-who-lunch dreams came true recently at 700 South Grand Avenue where Bottega Louie holds court over downtown Los Angeles. The physical space is large and white; the atmosphere,  lively and inviting. For just a brief moment, missjunebug thought she had been transported to Paris, especially when she got a good look at the patisserie. Row after row of exquisitely decorated desserts and pastries, creamy, fruity, flaky, fabulous!

Just take a look:

A patisserie in Los Angeles worthy of Paris! Photo by mjb2014
A patisserie in Los Angeles worthy of Paris! Photo by mjb2014

Of course, Bottega Louie presents more than pastry. The café has salads, soups, pizzas, pastas, and sandwiches.  missjunebug delighted in the Caprese salad (tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, basil, fleur de sel, cracked pepper & extra virgin olive oil) and the Asparagus and Poached Egg small plate. Believe missjunebug when she says the flavors were not small, nor the portions! missjunebug’s lovely companion (who introduced her to Bottega Louie on their recent field trip) enjoyed the savory Club sandwich. 

Happily, mjb and her dear friend saved room for dessert from the très jolie patisserie! Imagine whipped cream, flaky pastry, vanilla, caramel, and more! Fruit tarts! Eclairs! Beignets! Macarons!  Here’s what they enjoyed:

Oh. my. yes. De. Licious. Photo by mjb2014
Oh. my. yes. De. Licious. Photo by mjb2014

Note the prayerfully folded hands of mjb’s dear friend! Yes! They were thankful to God in heaven for these heavenly desserts!

Brave the 101 and the 110 and get yourself downtown. missjunebug promises you will be transported to another world in of all places downtown L.A. Things are looking up in the City of Angels!

mjbTip: check out Bottega Louie’s welcoming website for further details: www.bottegalouie.com

Texas-Style BBQ in SoCali: Dickey’s Barbecue Pit

A Plateful of Wonderful! Photo by mjb2014
A Plateful of Wonderful! Photo by mjb2014

missjunebug and her trusty Mr.JB checked out a local restaurant recently (Yes, again! They eat out a lot!) that exceeded all expectations: Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in Simi Valley.

This little hole-in-the-wall located in the same center Border’s used to be in on Tapo Canyon Blvd. is unassuming, friendly, and fun. Oh yeah, and the food is great, too! Brisket! Hot rolls! Polish sausage! Fried okra! Coleslaw! Coca-cola (not the P-word)! Free soft serve ice-cream for dessert! There are a ton of other tasty items on their menu board and believe missjunebug when she says that they are truly Texas worthy!

This hot little franchise originated in Dallas, home of the best barbecue in the world: Red’s Barbecue. Nothing tops that family fave that missjunebug grew up on (Thanks, JBDad for all that smokey, wood-fired, ReeDiculously Delicious brisket cooked up in the backyard on long, lazy, humid, pecan tree-shaded weekends. May you r.i.p, Red! XOXO). But Dickey’s gives it a good try and pretty much succeeds in pleasing mjb’s palate.

According to Dickey’s website, “Today, every location smokes all of their meats on-site at the restaurant the same way it was done in 1941. Dickey’s serves up beef brisket, pulled pork, ham, polish sausage, turkey breast and chicken, with an extensive array of home-style sides from jalapeño beans to macaroni and cheese. Buttery rolls are served with every meal along with the complimentary ice cream and dill pickles. And just like always, kids eat free on Sunday.”

What? Kids eat free on Sunday! Way to go, Dickey’s! That’s a family-friendly deal fo sho!

missjunebug hopes you’ll give Dickey’s a try with or without kidlets,  just so you can experience the mouth-watering wonder of a smoke-soaked, juicy barbecue brisket like her dear JBDad used to make. It is a thing of savory wonder!

If you are in SoCali or just about anywhere across the nation, (many Dickey’s franchises have sprung up since 1941!) check out Dickey’s and try the brisket and fried okra–the f.o. tastes much better than you are thinking right about now!

missjunebug visited the Dickey’s at 2902 Tapo Canyon Road Simi Valley, CA 93063
(805) 577-7675, but you can find them in Ventura, Northridge, Pasadena, and a few other SoCali locales. And you better believe they are all over Dallas! Take a quick trip to their colorful website and find out all Dickey’s has to offer. missjunebug is happy to recommend the flavors of her childhood summed up in a smokey brisket! Enjoy!

If you happen to be vegetarian, well, Dickey’s may not be for you, unless you don’t mind just eating awesome side dishes! In which case, skip looking at the cool cow chart below and check out the menu board for sumptuous sides!

Brisket in the beef cut chart.
Brisket in the beef cut chart. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It's Looking Up at Dickey's! Photo by mjb2014
Things are Looking Up at Dickey’s! Photo by mjb2014
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Aroma Coffee and Tea Company! Good for mjb!

Al Fresco Dessert! Perfect! Photo by mjb2013

missjunebug and a dear friend made their way from SoCali suburbia to a hipper, cooler, vibe-ier locali: Aroma Coffee and Tea Company. What fun! And what fine food.

missjunebug is on a mission to try every tuna melt she meets up with on the menus of her restaurants of choice. Aroma’s Tuna Melt with swirly black and white rye bread, yummy tomatoes, and delicious tuna fishes did not disappoint. missjunebug’s friend had an Asian noodle-y salad that looked exotic and colorful.

The Aroma menu is complex, interesting, and it offers breakfast fare and a fair amount of lunch and dinner items that you just can’t go wrong in choosing. missjunebug found the Buenos Dias, Los Angeles! section particularly intriguing but she passed on the enticing South of the Border flavor in her on-going pursuit of the Perfect Tuna Melt!

After the meal, missjunebug and her dear friend made their way back to the pastry case that graces the entrance to the charming restaurant, an erstwhile home with vintage touches and many tucked away, comfy tables in which to enjoy a fresh repast. Her friend ordered the Princess cake, a many-layered, custardy delight; missjunebug made a beeline to the Bee Cake. Believe missjunebug when she says It be good!

The next time you want to escape the fast food joints, the burger stops, and the other links in the restaurant chain, hop in your car and head down to Aroma Coffee and Tea Company for delicious food and fun. You’ll find them at 4360 Tujunga Ave. Studio City, California 91604 • Ph: 818.508.0677. Hours: Mon – Sat 6am to 11pm / Sun 7am to 11pm.

When you’ve eaten your fill of fab food, take a stroll down Tujunga and pop into the local boutiques for a little shopping, window or otherwise. missjunebug found a nice pair of earrings for a nice price while her friend found a lovely handcrafted skirt.

The perfect end to a perfect day.

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Cow Cookies! missjunebug Loves These!

The other day missjunebug had a few pieces of art work to pick up from her fave framer in Ventura: Gonzalez Framing. They’re located on 4160 Market St. #4 Ventura, CA 93003 (805) 477-0749. She’s had many, many pieces framed here and has never been disappointed in their work. They are perfectionists, and they use the best materials to protect and to enhance special art pieces.

Here’s one she recently had framed. Won’t it look great in her newly painted kitchen? Oh. my. yes.

What a great framing job for missjunebug's chickens! Thanks Gonzalez Framing!

So what does this have to do with Cow Cookies? Well, right after missjunebug picked up her awesomely framed art works, she realized it was time for a little lunch. Right around the corner (practically) from Gonzalez Framing is Royal Bakery & Cafe. This little gem of a lunch spot is located at 4726 Telephone Rd. Ventura, CA 93003 (805) 658-6030. They have a wonderful menu including soups, salads, sandwiches, quiches, pizza, desserts, and coffee. What more could you ask for on a cafe menu? missjunebug had the divine Tuna Pesto Melt on French bread. Such a delicious mix of tuna, red onion, celery, and pesto, topped with melted cheddar and toasted to perfection. She suspects all the menu items are equally delightful to the taste buds.

Which does finally bring her to the Cow Cookies. These big and tender iced gems are shaped like dairy cows each marked with its own pattern of cow spots. Cute! Clever! Fun! and Delicious! She took six of them home with her in a congenial little box.

Check out two of her Cow Cookies and then check out Royal Bakery & Cafe a.s.a.p. You won’t be sorry. Especially if you rustle up some Cow Cookies to take home with you!

Cow Cookies Rule! Photo by mjb2012
Each Cow Cookie has its own unique design! Photo by mjb2012

 

A nifty box for Cow Cookie transport! Photo by mjb2012
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Happy Mother’s Day! from missjunebug

Tiny Hands! Great Heart! Thanks TinyJB! Photo by mjb2010
Tiny Hands! Great Heart! Thanks TinyJB! Photo by mjb2010

missjunebug wants to wish every mother the very best day this Mother’s Day! She plans to spend her morning having Mother’s Day breakfast at her favorite breakfast cafe Pete’s Breakfast House in Ventura. Search this blog for her review of Pete’s done a while back if you haven’t been to Pete’s yourself for the best waffles and side of bacon ever.

She’s pretty sure the topic of conversation she will have with Mr.JB after they talk about how great the food is, is how blessed she is to have the two most wonderful sons on the planet, ElderJB and TinyJB. She’d change that little poem of TinyJB’s to say Father in heaven/Whose love is divine/Thanks for the love/Of sons like mine.

missjunebug wanted to share with all her readers, especially the mothers, this very lovely homage to motherhood created by her TinyJB when he was, well, tiny! A long day ago (as ElderJB used to say) some very resourceful Sunday school teacher at her dear HTLC helped TinyJB make this wall hanging as a Mother’s Day present. missjunebug has this very special and crafty memento hanging in her laundry room to cheer her while she does that most motherly of chores, the weekly laundry.

On this special day she also remembers her own dear mother, the lovely JBMarie who taught her so much about motherhood and loved missjunebug and her JBbro with the best kind of love there is: unconditional.

To all the mothers out there, Happy Mother’s Day!

missjunebug recommends that you continue to love with the love that knows no bounds or conditions: the love of a mother for her child.

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Japanese American National Museum’s “Textured Lives” is Rich in History!

Lovely Japanese Silk Fabrics mjb Spotted in Her Trip to Japan Last Year  Photo by mjb2009
Lovely Japanese Silk Fabrics mjb Spotted in Her Trip to Japan Last Year Photo by mjb2009

missjunebug and her p.i.c. the lovely r.h. escaped the confines of their respective homes and hit little Tokyo in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday to engage in some serious retail therapy and take a history lesson or two offered up at the Japanese American National Museum.

The retail therapy came first. missjunebug and the lovely r.h. have their priorities in order!! They enjoyed looking at the amazing work of Georgeanne Alex, Karen Brock, and Kumiko & Yoshiko Imoto, artists who have a flair for recycling. By that missjunebug means this talented trio take their inspiration from beautiful silk kimono fabrics to create their own original art, accessories, and clothing. The trunk show concludes Sunday, April 25.

As you may know, missjunebug is a big fan of recycling in all its forms, but this reuse and repurpose mantra is elegant and inspirational beyond measure! (pun intended, natch!). It was as easy as pie to find accessories worthy of purchase. missjunebug was particularly pleased with her approach. Wouldn’t these little kimono-clothed purses make great Mother’s Day presents for missjunebug? The lovely r.h. agreed! missjunebug is all about saving time and trouble for her Mr.JB. Now his Mother’s Day shopping on behalf of ElderJB and TinyJB is done! And the lovely r.h. found a purse that matched her tastes perfectly! Score x 2!!!

The next stop was the awesome gift shop adjacent to the Japanese American National Museum. Fun x some more! missjunebug found lovely floral cards, a secret stocking stuffer for Mr.JB for Christmas (always thinking ahead, mjb is!), the coolest koi socks made (yes, that’s right…koi socks), and the most gorgeous scarf ever (3rd Mother’s Day giftie for Mr.JB to wrap up for mjb!) which missjunebug will use to cover her follicle-ly challenged little junebug head. (Don’t ask. missjunebug doesn’t talk about serious issues on her blog.) mjb and the lovely r.h. were even checked out at the gift shop register by one of r.h.’s dear friends! A little mini-reunion ensued thanks to earlier connections on facebook made by r.h. and her fine friend.

Retail therapy concluded happily, missjunebug and the lovely r.h. paid the reasonable 9-dollar entrance fee into the Japanese American National Museum to experience Textured Lives Japanese Immigrant Clothing from the Plantations of Hawai’i.

The story in a nutshell: Before World War II, the Japanese women working in Hawai’i on pineapple plantations found they needed to modify their hand-made, carefully dyed and painted kimono to deal with the new working conditions they faced. The solution was pretty brilliant. They cut up their kimono and transformed the fabric pieces into more practical plantation attire while still managing to maintain a strong sense of their Japanese-ness. They met their harsher working conditions with ingenuity and artistry and practicality. A pretty fierce trio of attributes!

missjunebug and the lovely r.h. came away with a new-found respect for the work these Japanese immigrant women did and the creative cultural expression they kept alive in a foreign land.

If you find yourself in downtown Los Angeles before May 30, 2010, consider stopping by the Japanese American National Museum 369 East First Street 213-625-0414 www.janm.org. for the thoughtful exhibit Textured Lives. It is a rich tapestry of culture, identity, and adaptation at its best.

One more tip: Don’t miss teatime at Chado Tea Room! Delicious sandwiches, scones, cakes, and a kagillion types of tea from which to choose! missjunebug and the lovely r.h. recommend the Kenyan!

Traditional Japanese Kimono: Pre-Repurposing a la Textured Lives!! Photo by mjb2009
Traditional Japanese Kimono: Pre-Repurposing a la Textured Lives!! Photo by mjb2009
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Great Grilled Cheese!

Grilled Cheese to Cry For!!  Photo by mjb2009
Grilled Cheese to Clamor For!! Photo by mjb2009

missjunebug has been trying to watch her calories lately and all she can think about is the great grilled cheese sandwich she had a few weeks ago at Ruby’s Diner in Palm Springs. missjunebug has a real thing for the great grilled cheese sandwich, one of the definitive comfort foods. Another great place for great grilled cheese is the Cheesecake Factory where one grilled cheese sandwich is large enough to feed a family of four and have some leftover. mjb exaggerates only slightly.

Of course, there is always the make-your-own grilled cheese sandwich which may be the best one of all because it comes straight from the pan to the plate to the mouth still hot and melty. Oh my yes, that’s the best.

Now missjunebug expects that everyone knows how to make a perfect grilled cheese sandwich. After all, it’s just two slices of bread buttered on the outside and pretty much any cheese you choose in between. Throw in a pan sizzling with butter and voila! What could be simpler? missjunebug has just one thing to add: her secret ingredient. She spreads a very thin layer of Miracle Whip on the bread before adding the cheese! It provides just the slightest piquant edge to what otherwise might be a tad too bland. Trust her! She knows what she’s talking about!

Even though April is past and with it National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Month, it’s not too late (or too early!) to start practicing for next year’s celebration! Say cheese please and get grilling!

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A New Mantra: Let’s Do Breakfast

mjb's menu favs  Photo by mjb2009
mjb's menu favs Photo by mjb2009

mjb and mr.jb sometimes follow up a Friday Night Pizza Special with a Super Saturday Breakfast Out. In fact, we did that very thing Saturday morning heading up to Ventura to join the locals at Pete’s Breakfast House at 2055
E. Main Street. mjb was introduced to Pete’s about 6 months ago by a friend.

For that auspicious introduction, missjunebug will be forever grateful.

Pete’s Breakfast Cafe is the best breakfast place in all of SoCal (with the possible exception of The Griddle Cake on Sunset Boulevard if you have a ridiculously huge and decadent appetite or you are exceedingly hung over or both, but mjb digresses and will save TGC for another post).

Pete’s great service starts as soon as you enter the door. If you show up after 9 a.m. or so, you might have to sign in to wait for a table because the house will be hopping by then. No worries. Big blue mugs of hot coffee are set up for you to serve yourself. Have a seat in the little foyer and make yourself comfortable for just a brief wait or you can take a quick peek at the colorful mural in the back of the cafe that provides a whimsical visual summary of the last few decades of American cultural history. The staff are friendly and seem to really enjoy the work they’re doing. mjb got permission from our multi-tasking waitress to take a few photos capturing the casual, laid-back ambiance of Pete’s Breakfast House.

Let’s see. What else? Oh yeah, the food is AWESOME! The breakfast menu offers all the usual favorites and many dishes you’ll only find at Pete’s plus daily specials. You cannot go wrong with any of the menu choices.

That said, mjb is only here to talk about two items on the menu: the perfect waffle and the perfect side of bacon. Why? Because that’s all she ever orders. Why? Because it is the best waffle and the best bacon west of her fav. Waffle House in her beloved Big D little a double l a s.  And you know what that spells (Dallas, you numnut).

A more tender-crisp waffle there never was. Fill up each nook and cranny with the generous butter cup Pete provides or skip the butter all together. It’s such a good waffle, it doesn’t even need it! But pour on the syrup anyway–only one kind–maple for the true waffle afficianado, not those girlified IHOP flavors-on-crack varieties. Cut up some bite-sized squares and dig in!

As for the side of bacon, it almost qualifies for a main course in itself: four hang-off-the-edge-of-the plate pieces, crisp, smokey, and oops, they’re gone! Yes, they are that good. In the meantime, that coffee in the blue mug is topped off just often enough. The wait staff keeps tabs in a friendly way without being obtrusive or obsequious. What more could you ask for?

A reasonable price? Hell, yeah.

Open for a great lunch? That too.

mjbTip: When in Ventura, do as the locals do: Breakfast at Pete’s Breakfast House 2055 E Main St.

Doesn't she look happy to be working at Pete's? You bet! Photo by mjb2009
Doesn't she look happy to be working at Pete's? You bet! Photo by mjb2009
Our friendly waitress & happy customer & the nice register guy Photo by mjb2009
Our friendly waitress & happy customer & the nice register guy Photo by mjb2009
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