IN THE MIX: Pancake Review with Special Guest, Renowned Television Director and Producer, Jeff Margolis

Last weekend I was extremely fortunate to have Jeff Margolis join me as a Guest Reviewer for Ma’amCakes!

Although Jeff recently (two weeks ago, to be exact) directed AND produced the 19th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, (to which he proudly mentioned, “we finished one second under!”), his resume is richly compiled of popular television shows ranging from “The Sonny and Cher Show,” to HBO’s “Michael Jackson: One Night Only,” “President Clinton’s 50th Birthday Celebration,” and ABC’s “Quincy Jones…The First 50 Years.” While Jeff has worked in television for over 40 years, his award show credits include The Oscars, American Music Awards, The Golden Globes, The Emmy Awards, The Miss America Pageant, and The Academy of Country Music Awards. With that said, as we are right in the heart of Awards Season, you can imagine my astonishment when Jeff agreed to join me as a Guest Reviewer!

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MJJMThrowback to the “Michael Jackson: One Night Only,” special.

As Jeff announced that he wanted to dine at Mel’s Drive-In on Ventura Blvd. and Kester Avenue in Sherman Oaks, CA, I quickly realized this choice was somewhat ironic. Throughout that weekend my dad was back home in NYC celebrating his 60th birthday, and his father (my grandfather, who passed away years ago) was actually named Mel. So, needless to say, this restaurant suggestion was quite sentimental for me. Ok ok, let’s all say a collective “awwww,” it’s alright!

To be honest, Mel’s Drive-In is a spot in which I’ve only visited late-night, so I was looking forward to trying their pancakes for the first time!

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In spite of the above choices, I decided to ask the waitress if there were any other pancake options just to double check – sure enough, not listed on the menu were Whole Wheat Granola Pancakes!

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While I honestly was expecting diner-pancakes that were trying to be “healthy,” I was pleasantly surprised just how good these pancakes were! Not only were they cooked to perfection but they tasted lite, and I didn’t feel disgustingly full after. I then asked the manager how these pancakes tasted so good while still tasting so healthy, and guess what their secret ingredient is? Cinnamon! The Whole Wheat Granola Pancakes might just be the best thing on Mel’s menu – that is, if they ever get added to the menu!

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For Jeff’s breakfast, he chose the classic Buttermilk Pancakes with bacon on the side. “These are really good,” said Jeff, “I’m really enjoying the flavor, and the syrup!” Although Jeff liked his pancakes, I think after seeing just how much I enjoyed mine, we quickly Sonny and Shared so he could do a pancake comparison. “Oh yea, these are great. I do enjoy the Whole Wheat Granola Pancakes more. Both pancakes are good though – mine are very fluffy, and yours have a fluffy inside with a crispy outside. Yeah, both of these are great!” It was only after we both cleared our plates that Jeff informed me he normally doesn’t eat pancakes – he ordered them just for our review. Now that’s a true FanCake right there!

Overall, the pancakes at Mel’s Drive-In were much better than I anticipated. To the Manager, (or Mel): ya might want to think about adding the best meal on your menu to your menu! And speaking of menus, “American Food at Its Best?” You can say that again!

Thank you so much, Jeff, for being a part of Saturday brunch with Ma’amCakes!

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IN THE MIX: Pancake Review with Special Guest, Actor, Michael King

Dec 23, 2012

Last weekend I was very excited to have Mike King join me as a Guest Reviewer for Ma’amCakes!

While some of you may know Mike from CSI, Up All Night, or Last Resort, I’m fortunate enough to call Mike a friend, AND he just happens to be the husband of former Guest Reviewer, Kelle King!

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When attempting to choose a restaurant for the review, our options were pretty abundant considering, (similarly to Ma’amCakes), Mike has quite a sweet tooth. After finally settling on one place, Mike then changed his mind, and arrived at the perfect location: Kings Road Cafe!

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Kings Road Cafe, located on Beverly Blvd. and N. Kings Road in Los Angeles CA, is actually a restaurant in which I’ve never been! As I hadn’t eaten pancakes in almost two months (I know, right?!), I was definitely in the mood for some good ye olde fashioned buttermilk pancakes.

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Well. Not to be too critical, but I will give this a D for decor (what?! That’s what it starts with!). When re-looking at the photo, you know the pancakes aren’t that memorable when you want to lick your screen upon seeing the bacon and eggs, forgetting about the two buttermilk pancakes underneath. All in all, these pancakes were…decent. They were old fashioned, plain, buttermilk pancakes – or, plancakes, if you will. I have had good buttermilk pancakes before, (what up, Black Cat Bakery!), but these are nothing to write home about. That being said: if you are looking for pancakes when you are hungover, these should be your go-to breakfast. Because they’re plain – yet filling – the buttermilk pancakes at King’s Road Cafe are the perfect meal when you need something in your stomach, but also want to keep it down!

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Hey Mike, you want a side of pancakes with that butter?

Mike decided to go with the Whole Wheat Granola Pancakes with blueberries inside – a combination Kings Road Cafe allowed him to order (nice job, KRC!). “These are freakin’ delicious,” yelled Mike, “I forgot how good they are.” Mike then continued as he said, “Unlike most granola pancakes that are very heavy and weigh you down, these are actually lite. These make you feel good about what you’re eating, and the granola combined with the whole wheat gives you energy for the rest of the day.” Hey fitness gurus, you hear that?? It is possible to eat something as heavy as pancakes for breakfast, and actually still feel making your Saturday productive. “Pancakes are great, but it sucks when an hour later you want to take a nap; I can hike after eating these! That is of course, unless I slather them in honey or syrup.” Na Mike, I think you have enough butter on those bad boys.

At the end of the day, while I’d recommend my buttermilk pancakes mainly if you’re hungover, Mike is ready to trek up Runyon after his. Overall, the pancakes Mike and I ate at Kings Road Cafe were fluffily delicious; some might even say… they were fit for a King!

Thanks so much Mike, for being a part of Saturday brunch with Ma’amCakes! Be sure to check out Mike on the last three episodes of Last Resort on ABC, beginning tomorrow, January 10th.

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IN THE MIX: Pancake Review with Special Guest, Celebrity Makeup Artist, Elle Leary

Oct 10, 2012

This weekend I was stoked to grab some Saturday pancakes with celebrity Makeup Artist, Elle Leary. Elle has painted the recognizable faces of varying talent including Josh Duhamel, Ron Artest, Ellen Page, Paul Rudd, Pat Sajak, Alanis Morrisette, Dane Cook, Jennifer Coolidge, Steve Carrell, Pete Wentz, and more. In addition to this uh-mazing clientele list, Elle has created looks for assorted publications such as, Vogue, Harper’s Bizarre, Nylon, 944, and Out. As Elle is (pretty much) bi-coastal these days due to her demanding schedule, I was super fortunate that she could meet me for some pancakes!

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Although I had several places in mind for our brunch, Elle informed me that she is actually intolerant of pancakes with gluten; needless to say, I had to scratch my original ideas. After violently searching the internet for gluten-free pancake options in LA, turns out the restaurant with the most variety is (where else?) BEA BEA’S! Yes, yes, I know what you’re thinking: I’ve already reviewed here! While I did come across Hugo’s and Jacks n Joe during my gluten-free search, their options weren’t as enticing as Bea Bea’s. If I’m getting an awesome Guest Reviewer for a Ma’amCakes piece, I must take them to the creme de la creme of gluten-free pancake spots!

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So, those (above) were the pancakes I was debating between (obviously I’m going to review pancakes I haven’t previously tried at Bea Bea’s!). In attempting to decide, my thought process went as follows: I do love s’mores, and thought that dish would be a great way to celebrate the end of summer. Or, in recognition of BCA Month, the Pink Ribbon would be appropriate. But, when it came down to that final moment, (you know, when the waitress is patiently waiting for you to make up your mind) I listened to past IN THE MIX guest, Kelle King, as she always told me to “go for the Just For You Pumpkin!”

Pumpkin Pancakes at Bea Bea's

Now, typically, I very much dislike the end of summer. However. Looking at these beautiful, orange, autumn pancakes really got me to embrace the change of seasons. “Pumpkin pancakes topped with pumpkin cream cheese marmalade and whipped cream” – who would have guessed that translated into “when you bite into this dish, you can actually taste Thanksgiving!”I have reviewed pumpkin pancakes once before at Doughboys; but by a fraction of a turkey-feather, the Just For You Pumpkin Pancakes at Bea Bea’s may have taken the cake – er, pancake.

Upon ordering her meal, because Elle has several food allergies, she stuck with the gluten-free plain pancakes/Jumpin Jacks. Although, because of Elle’s impeccable taste for makeup, style, and high fashion, we’ll just call these “Vintage Couture Pancakes.”

Jumpin Jacks Pancakes at Bea Bea's

I must say, although I’ve never had gluten-free plain pancakes at Bea Bea’s, these looked anything but plain! Elle agreed, when she shouted “um, these are insane!” When taking a Guest Reviewer for breakfast, it’s (obvi) really important that my guest is 100% satisfied. In deciding where to take Elle, I was a bit nervous because of her food allergies; however, once we agreed on Bea Bea’s, I realized I had nothing to worry about! “Seriously, the consistency is almost the same as regular pancakes. It’s SO hard to find gluten-free food that tastes similar to regular food, but these really do!” Phew. During our meal, I noticed Elle poured the entire cup of syrup on her Jumpin Jacks, and then asked our server for another cup. “Oh yea,” she said, “I’m a syrup junkie. When my dad used to make me pancakes as a kid, I’d always pour syrup on, roll ’em up, and eat ’em – but in the comfort of my own home, of course!” Don’t worry Elle, we won’t tell anyone! Besides. Who doesn’t have their own quirky food habits?!

Overall, the Just for You Pumpkin Pancakes at Bea Bea’s may have been a record breaker. As the fall season is upon us, and your tongue is just starting to crave that autumn food, be sure to grab a bite of these bad boys. If you’re in need of gluten-free pancakes, Bea Bea’s is for sure your number one spot. As Elle came all the way from the outskirts of Culver City for the review, I think she can vouch for that statement, as she said “These are definitely worth the drive.”

Thanks so much, Elle, for being a part of Saturday morning brunch with Ma’amCakes! Keep up with Elle’s awesome beauty blog, The Lash Effect, and her YouTube channel, Elle Leary Artistry, where you can check out her super helpful beauty video tutorials!

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IN THE MIX: Pancake Review with Special Guest, KTLA News Reporter, Doug Kolk

Aug 21, 2012

Last week I was very fortunate to have KTLA News Reporter Doug Kolk join me as a guest reviewer for Ma’amCakes! A fellow East Coaster (Wayne, NJ), Doug graduated from Hofstra University and began his career in Binghamton, New York. Shortly after, Doug moved to Fort Myers, Florida where he was a Traffic Anchor for WBBH-TV. Upon receiving a phone call to transfer out to San Diego, California and work as an Anchor for CBS8, Doug jumped at the opportunity. A few years later, (this past April to be exact), KTLA-TV 5 Los Angeles recruited Doug as a Reporter; after Tweeting Ma’amCakes that he isn’t sure where his favorite pancake spot is, I figured I should introduce this Reporter to the world of Ma’amCakes in his new neighborhood.

 

When referring to “the world of Ma’amCakes,” my original plan was to go to The Griddle as they are centrally located, and have some of the most creative pancakes in Los Angeles. However, as Doug informed me the night prior to our review, “Forewarning, I don’t like sweets, and therefore my pancakes come plain,” needless to say, the plans quickly changed. When trying to mask my fear of privately reviewing with this man in the morning (I mean, who doesn’t like sweets?), I instantly thought of Black Cat Bakery, as that is my go-to spot for buttermilk pancakes in LA.

After assuming Doug couldn’t surprise me any more than he already had, I received another text. “You will also find tomorrow that I bring my own syrup, which is quite a common occurrence.” Um… what?!  Well, then I guess it’s true what they say about the word “assume!” Apparently, Doug schleps around a bottle of syrup because he insists on having pure maple syrup with his pancakes. I will admit I was pleasantly surprised someone could take as much pride in their pancakes as I do; but this is a whole new level, even for Ma’amCakes. Perhaps Doug should begin his reporting segments with “Buddy the Elf, what’s your favorite color?”

When ordering our pancakes, I stuck with my favorite dish at Black Cat, the Buttermilk Pancakes with Belgian Callebaut Chocolate, while Buddy – I mean, Doug – ordered the house made Buttermilk Pancakes.

Seeing this dish puts a smile on my face. Again. Look at those beautifully melted chocolate chips, and the perfectly (perfect meaning not greasy) glistening pancake itself. Black Cat Bakery hands – er, spatchulas – down has the best chocolate chip pancakes in Los Angeles.

To his surprise, Black Cat served their Buttermilk Pancakes with pure, maple syrup. Well, that sealed the deal! Last minute switch from The Griddle to Black Cat? Score, Ma’amCakes. “I’ll take any excuse to pour maple syrup on something, but these are definitely good,” said Doug. Similarly to Ma’amCakes, Doug has a motto about syrup as well: “For maple syrup, I’ll go as far as eating a pile of cooked dough.” I wasn’t quite sure what that meant, as I don’t exactly see eating cooked dough as a punishment; but for someone who apparently won’t go near birthday cake, I guess Doug takes his syrup very seriously!

Thanks so much, Doug, for being a part of weekday brunch with Ma’amCakes! Be sure to catch Doug on KTLA News Channel 5.

IN THE MIX: Pancake Review with Special Guest, Singer/Songwriter, Julia Sinclair

Aug 1 2012

Last weekend, Singer/Songwriter Julia Sinclair joined me as a guest reviewer for Ma’amCakes!

A fellow (Upstate) New Yorker, Julia has been playing the guitar since she was seven years old, and to this day can play the classical, electric, and acoustic guitar, as well as the bass, mandolin, cello, piano, and more! Julia has played at SXSW, and completed a national tour with Mat Kearney and Ingrid Michaelson, as well as an east coast tour with Bryan Greenberg last year. Currently signed with Red Light Management, and living in Nashville, Tennessee, Julia is here in Los Angeles for the summer to finish up her debut album.

For her Ma’amCakes debut, Julia picked Jumpin’ Java located on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City, CA.

I was stoked to try a new spot! That being said, I was even more excited when checking out the creative Ma’amCakes on the menu:

“Wow,” said Julia, “I’m not even sure where to start!” I wasn’t either, actually; I kept debating between the Apple Pancake and the Banana Nut Pancake. Julia then announced, “I’m going to get the Blueberry Pancakes, but I’m not gonna use syrup. Seems like the right thing to do.” Indeed, Julia! After explaining Ma’amCakes’ motto – that a truly delicious pancake doesn’t need syrup – Julia agreed and said, “I’m really picky about my syrup, it has to be grade-a. I’m a purist.” After making me laugh out loud, I started to think Julia and I should join forces and have a You Tube show: we can vlog about pancake reviews, and she could close out with a breakfast song. Hey Marty, hit me up! ; )

After finally deciding on the Banana Nut Pancake… well, I didn’t expect it to look like a potato latke, that’s for sure! (Yes, I am hyper-linking. For all the non-Jews.). But boy, did it taste like anything but!

One thing to note about Jumpin’ Java is that they actually have quite a crepe-selection. As a result, the Banana Nut Pancake tasted like the perfect combination of a crepe and a pancake. Now personally, I am not the biggest fan of crepes (check out my Talladega Nights posting), and unlike popular belief, pancakes and crepes really are two separate treats. That being said, I did enjoy this combination from Jumpin’ Java. The pancake had just enough crispiness, fruit-freshness, fluffiness, and texture. Kudos to Jumpin’ Java for putting such a unique spin on the Banana Nut Pancake breakfast.

“This looks so good,” said Julia, “I like that they give you a lot of butter – some places are stingy with that.” Julia enjoyed her syrup-less pancake as she stated “Yeah these are awesome, and I don’t need syrup.” Well, they’re good in my book then! As Julia was describing her love for the Blueberry Pancakes, she said “These have the perfect amount of cakiness, as they aren’t sticking to the roof of my mouth.” Julia also agreed about the way the pancakes were cooked as she said, “They combined the crispy and fluffy very well. I’m impressed.” You’re right, Julia. I too am impressed.

Overall, the Ma’amCakes at Jumpin’ Java were excellent because you could taste the hard work and care put into the batter. The best part about Jumpin Java (besides the pancakes) is they serve breakfast ALL day and ALL week, AND some of the pancake dishes give you the option of two vs. four pancakes. It’s as if Jumpin’ Java has been following Ma’amCakes’ reviews, and placed one suggestion per review within their menu! Jumpin’ Java has officially been added to my list of favorites.

Thanks so much, Julia, for being a part of Sunday brunch with Ma’amCakes! Be sure to check out Julia’s EP Slow and Steady now on iTunes, her You Tube channel Julia Sinclair Music, and look out for her debut album this winter.

IN THE MIX: Pancake Review with Special Guest, Writer & Director, James Gunn

Jul 26th, 2012

Last weekend I was incredibly fortunate to have Writer/Director James Gunn join me as a guest reviewer for Ma’amCakes!

Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, followed by a brief stop in New York City to earn his MFA in creative writing from Columbia University, James moved to Los Angeles fourteen years ago to pursue writing and directing. Since his long trek across country, James has both written and directed major screenplays including Slither, and Rainn Wilson/Ellen Page comedy Super, and has written horror/sci-fi flick Dawn of the Dead, comedy Scooby Doo, and many others.

For his Ma’amCakes debut, James picked Studio City hot spot Hugo’s, located on Riverside Drive. Yes, I know what you’re thinking: I’ve already done a review at Hugo’s! Well True Ma’amCakes Followers, to switch it up a bit, I decided to get the wackiest pancakes on the menu! Can you guess which ones?

Uh, maybe a better question is… where the hell are the pancakes? “Do you know where the pancakes are on this menu,” said James, “I seriously can’t find them!” Well James, the only reason I knew where the pancakes were located is because I had the same issue five months ago. I’m so flattered Hugo’s took my suggestion of separating the pancake options from the eggs, instead of burying them on the bottom of page three.

Anyway!

If you haven’t already guessed, in honor of my obsession with summer and all-things tropical, I went with the Roasted Pineapple-Coconut Pancakes, while James went with the All-American breakfast of Buttermilk Pancakes and a glass of milk:

I figured since I was dining with such an artistic Director, I’d get the most artistic Ma’amCakes on the menu. After a few bites, I realized that the reason these pancakes were so good is because they contained the proper amount of ALL their ingredients. After using the Dewey Decimal System to find the ingredients on the menu, I re-read “topped with sliced bananas, toasted slivered almonds, and coconut.” I found it interesting that the roasted pineapple was cooked inside the pancakes, while the remaining ingredients were on top. I myself am shocked to say this, but guess what Hugo’s? I wouldn’t change a thing about the placement of these ingredients! The only suggestion I have about these Ma’amCakes is they should be fluffier – I personally would rather be more overwhelmed with pancake, than with fruit.

While James’ Buttermilk Pancakes (with a glass of milk) was very traditional, the side of raisins? Not so much. In fact, looking back now, it actually looks like there are bugs on his plate. “These pancakes are really good,” said James, “but yeah, I could do without the raisins.” Well apparently the pancakes were really good, because when I looked down fifteen minutes later, they were gone! “I can’t believe I ate the entire plate. That’s probably the most I’ve ever eaten in one sitting!” While the raisins were the only thing left behind, I do give Hugo’s props for trying to make a somewhat boring dish, interesting.

Overall, it was another successful Ma’amCakes review at Hugo’s. As far as the Roasted Pineapple-Coconut Pancakes: the fruit was fresh, the coconut did its job of bringing me back to a day on the beach, and the pancakes took me home. When asking which pancakes he’d try next time, James replied with “the pumpkin pancakes!” Good choice! In fact, I might have the same.

Thank you so much James, for being a part of Saturday morning brunch with Ma’amCakes! Be sure to check out James’ newest project, video game Lollipop Chainsaw now in stores.

IN THE MIX: Pancake Review with Special Guest, Photographer & Equestrian, Kelle King!

Jul 18th, 2012

Last weekend Photographer/Equestrian Kelle Deeter – whoops, I keep forgetting she just got married and became a KING! – joined me as a guest reviewer for Ma’amCakes!

Kelle, Photographer and Owner of KelleDPhotography, has made quite a name for herself around LA. Shooting anyone from professional dancers, to up-and-coming actors, Kelle knows how to capture smiles of even the furriest friends! Although talented behind the camera, it is Kelle’s zealous passion for animals (in particular, horses) which has earned her a title of 5-Time National Champion in the Arabian Horse Division!

For our Ma’amCakes review, Kelle picked Toluca Lake joint Paty’s Restaurant, located on Riverside Drive.

For some reason I was expecting there to be only a couple of pancake options, so you can imagine my surprise when I saw this excitingly diverse menu:

Note to pancake lovers: when having difficulty choosing one dish… combine ’em! “I’m going to have the Multigrain Pancakes with Blueberries,” said Kelle. After taking a few minutes to decide, I went with the Bada-Bing Cakes, but asked for the chocolate chips inside the batter, and kept the bananas atop. Although re-looking at this menu… I think I’m gonna have to go for the Butter Me Not Cakes next time, right?

Anyway!

Bada-Bing Bada-BOOM! These pancakes hit the spot Friday morning. The chocolate chips were melted perfectly into these delectable pancakes, and the bananas were amazingly fresh. I wish the batter was a little less greasy, but other than that, these pancakes were great. The whipped cream topped on the side was a bit… strange. As this blog is PG I will try and keep it that way, but; based on this image, it looks like someone visited the actual Bada Bing and got a little too excited, if ya know what I’m sayin’! I do appreciate the creativity though. Maybe the whipped cream needs to be a little more “whipped” next time, and a little less runny? Onto the Multigrain Pancakes!

“The blueberries are as fresh as your meal’s bananas,” said Kelle, “and the pancakes are delicious and on the healthy side!” It makes me laugh when guest reviewers are surprised there can be healthy pancakes (see my review with guest star Helen Slater, for example). Being in Los Angeles, (one of the biggest locations with dieting “issues”/requests), the city is our oyster – er, pancake! And yes, health(ier) pancakes are possible!

After completing her meal (well, most of it), Kelle’s words of wisdom for future Paty’s visitors included, “You definitely need to come with an appetite! I kind of wish they had an option for two pancakes, instead of three. I hate wasting food!” While we all know which Ma’amCakes I’d get on my next outing, Kelle is interested in ordering the “Banana Berry next time!”

Overall, the pancakes at Paty’s were really good. That being said, the best pancakes I’ve had in LA with the chocolate chip batter + bananas-on-top-combination was at Jinky’s Cafe in Santa Monica. However, I definitely recommend Paty’s Ma’amCakes, and look forward to my next visit!

Thanks so much Kelle, for being a part of Friday morning brunch with Ma’amCakes! Be sure to keep a lookout for Kelle’s new business venture, a photo book combining her love of horses and photography called, Tails of the Ring! In the meantime, for anyone looking for amazing headshots of themselves, their children, pets, or families, reference this Ma’amCakes review and receive 20% off your first photo session! Just email Kelle at KelleDeeter@gmail.com.

IN THE MIX: Pancake Review with Special Guest, Actress Jodie Sweetin

Jun 19th, 2012

This weekend I was incredibly fortunate to have actress Jodie Sweetin as my guest reviewer for Ma’amCakes!

Jodie, best known for playing the adorable and witty Stephanie Tanner on Full House, was a television icon for my generation; so you can imagine my elation when she graciously agreed to review Saturday morning Ma’amCakes!

For our review, Jodie and I decided to check out Melrose hot-spot Blu Jam Café as, somehow, neither one of us had ever been there for pancakes!

“I’ve been here for lunch before,” said Jodie, “and we ordered the single-Blueberry Pancake dish for my daughter, Beatrix. She loved it. I can’t wait to try the pancakes, I’ve heard good things!” As had I.

As I decided to go with the Blueberry Pancakes, Jodie went for the Breakfast Trio, which included eggs, French Toast, and sausage; but by the end, we split everything!

Viewing these pancakes again makes my mouth water; if you look at the glisten on the blueberries, you can see just how fresh the fruit is. Upon her first bite, Jodie agreed as she stated, “These pancakes are very fluffy, and the blueberries are really fresh, not tart.” Jodie was definitely right about the fluffiness of the pancakes. Sometimes as you make your way towards the middle, pancakes can be under-cooked, or oppositely, crispy; however, these delicious pancakes stayed fluffy all-throughout.

My only critique was the pancakes were a bit dry, and I actually had to apply a hint of butter and syrup. Sorry Blu Jam, I know you’re thinking “How-Rude!” but as we all know Ma’amCakes’ motto by now: a truly delicious pancake does not need butter or syrup, and should taste amazing on its own.

Overall, the Blueberry Pancakes at Blu Jam Café tasted like Mom’s homemade pancakes: fluffy, fresh, and refreshing. And I’m sure the “milkman and the paperboy would plug them on evening TV.”

Thank you so much Jodie, for being a part of Saturday brunch with Ma’amCakes! Be sure to follow Jodie on Twitter, and check out her memoir UnSweetined.

IN THE MIX: Pancake review with Special Guests, BreakfastForDinner

Jun 1st, 2012

After getting to taste their delicious Speculoos Pancakes, BreakfastForDinner boys Michael and Raul joined me last weekend as guest reviewers for Ma’amCakes!

Michael and Raul’s YouTube channel, BreakfastForDinner, has almost 200,000 video views, and the videos typically show the boys in quite a scandalous position: in front of the stove, cooking! I was fortunate enough to have the boys cook me an amazing pancake dinner a couple weekends ago. Check it out:

BreakfastForDinner has videos featuring the boys cooking anything from pies to bacon pancake smoothies, so what better than to have them as guest reviewers!

For our Ma’amCakes review, we decided to go to Michael’s favorite pancake spot in LA, Figaro Bistro, located on Vermont St. in Los Feliz, CA.

Upon entering the restaurant, considering Michael’s exact words were “I hope you’re ready for this, girl,” my expectations for these pancakes were, needless to say, pretty high.

As a group we made it fairly easy for the chef, as we ended up ordering three orders of the Pancakes!

I must say, these pancakes were actually quite tasty and shockingly, I’ve never had pancakes like this before: first of all, I’ve never seen pancakes cut like mom’s grilled cheese special she puts in your lunch bag. I do give Figaro props for creating a unique arrangement of a typically boring dish! Second, the pancakes tasted a bit too much like muffins, instead of ma’amcakes. Fortunately for Figaro, I love muffins! And it’s definitely nice to have an option for pancake-tasting muffins.

“Put some of that apple compote on,” yelled Michael. These were awesomely unique pancakes, and the apple compote – which I normally don’t like – sealed the deal. (I probably liked the compote with these pancakes because they tasted like muffins!).

As Michael was chewing, he spat out “I love the contrast between the fluffiness and the crunchiness.” “Agreed,” said Raul, “and the consistency is amazing.” I also agreed with Michael as he sated “It’s like you’re biting in to a fancy, expensive pastry!”

Upon completing our meal, Michael and Raul asked if the chef could explain how exactly the pancakes were made – especially about the fluffy/crunchy contrast – but unfortunately, we were told that’s “a secret recipe.” Shocking.

Overall, the Pancakes at Figaro were very tasty and unique. If you’re looking for pancakes that taste more like muffins than yes, these are the best plain pancakes in LA! While I did enjoy these pancakes, Raul and Michael: I enjoyed your Speculoos Pancakes way more.

Thanks BreakfastForDinner, for being a part of Sunday brunch with Ma’amCakes!

IN THE MIX: Pancake Review with Special Guest, Model, Rich McKeown

May 2nd, 2012

This weekend I was fortunate enough to have my NYC friend, model Rich McKeown, join me as a guest reviewer for Ma’amCakes.

Rich has traveled all over the world to model, and shot for brands such as Diesel, Dolce & Gabbana, and Calvin Klein. Over the years, Rich has signed with top modeling agencies Ford ModelsDNA Model Management, and is currently signed with L.A. Models.

As Grub (located on Seward Street in Hollywood) Tweeted me earlier in the week to try their “Berry, Berry Good Pancakes,” I figured this would be a great spot for our review!

Something you may not know about this restaurant is that Grub is actually located inside of a house! If this isn’t special enough, one of my favorite treats about Grub is that while most restaurants provide bread while you’re waiting for your meal, Grub provides a little bowl of cereal!

Don’t believe me?

Those are just a couple of reasons why this breakfast spot is a little hidden treasure in the outskirts of Hollywood.

In taking Grub up on their pancake recommendation – and because there’s only one option on the menu – Rich and I decided to order the “Berry, Berry Good Pancakes.”

The first thing I noticed about these pancakes, besides the pink butter, was how thin they were. Considering I recently reviewed The Griddle’s thick and heavy pancakes, these pancakes from Grub were almost more like crepes. Personally I like my pancakes a bit thicker – but I definitely recommend these pancakes if you want to eat something a bit lighter and healthier.

Rich also commented on the thinness of the pancakes as he said, “Wow these are the thinnest pancakes I’ve ever seen, and they smell amazing.” He continued to point out the colorfulness of the plate saying “Is that sorbet? Or is it pink butter? I’ve never seen that before!” To be honest, neither had I. I referred back to the menu to read that the pink butter is actually Raspberry Butter! “Yeah the butter is semi-sweet, and a delicate treat.” Rich was spot-on with his critiques! And I very much agreed. Nice touch, Grub!

These pancakes were a perfect combination of the blueberry, almond, granola, candied ginger, butter, and powdered sugar. “These are very good,” said Rich, “Light and sweet, and not cakey at all.” While I only put a dabble of syrup on the pancakes – after all, that is Ma’amCakes motto of what constitutes a great pancake – Rich noted “These do hold syrup really well.”

Overall the Berry, Berry Good Pancakes at Grub were berry berry good. The ambiance of the plate alone – the fruit, plate, butter, and pancakes – set a colorful palate even before the first bite. When asking Rich what type of pancakes he’d like to see on the menu in the future, he replied “definitely peanut butter.” Up for the challenge, Grub?

I very much recommend this unique breakfast spot for your weekend Ma’amCakes, so be sure to visit Seward Street for some excellent grub!

Thanks, Rich, for being a part of Sunday brunch with Ma’amCakes!