IN THE MIX: Pancake Review with Special Guest, Celebrity Makeup Artist & Groomer, Elie Maalouf

Last weekend I was stoked to grab some Saturday pancakes with celebrity Makeup Artist & Groomer, Elie Maalouf.

Elie (pronounced Eli), who moved from Detroit, to NYC, and then finally made his way over to LA, has worked with quite the diverse roster, including: Mariah Carey, Pamela Anderson, Charlie Hunnam, Jason Mraz, Ashley Benson, Courtney Love, Madelaine Petsch, Sofia Black-D’Elia, Sasha Lane, Camila Mendes, Dylan Penn, Angelique Cabral, Simon Helberg and many more. Not only is Elie uber popular in the celeb world, his editorials include Vogue, Interview, InStyle, Elle, Flaunt, Glamour, Tatler, Harpers Bazaar, Marie Claire, Nylon & Paper, and he has completed glam for advertising shoots such as Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, American Eagle, Buckle, Top Shop, Kipling, Dita, Rebecca Taylor, Levis and more. Whew that’s a lot!

As an Agent for hair, makeup, and styling at Tracey Mattingly, you can now understand why I just HAD to sign to sign Elie. And fun fact, in case the last name sounded familiar – Elie is brothers with celebrity Makeup Artist, Joey Maalouf!

As Elie is Vegan, we decided to check out Cafe Gratitude on Larchmont; considering my last Vegan experience, I didn’t have high hopes. But, as with life, the key to happiness is low expectations!

Because there was only one pancake option (I mean, how many vegan pancake options – that are edible – could there really be?), we went with the “Open Hearted,” with fresh fruit & cashew coconut whipped butter.

“These pancakes are major,” said Elie. “I’ve never had Vegan pancakes before, but I would definitely order these again.” I would order them again as well, but not exactly for the same reason. As a pancake connoisseur, I will never LOVE Vegan pancakes – pancakes are meant to have milk & eggs! That said, if I am going to eat Vegan pancakes, I would get them at Cafe Gratitude. There is something to say about eating pancakes where you don’t feel like you’re in a food coma after! Not to mention, the fresh fruit and cashew coconut whipped butter was quite literally, the icing on the cake.

A huge thank you to Elie for introducing me to these fabulous Vegan pancakes, and being a Guest Reviewer for Ma’amCakes! When exiting the restaurant, we noticed the famous Cafe Gratitude sign “What Are you Grateful For?” Well Elie, you better say your agent!

IN THE MIX: Pancake Review with Special Guest, Comedian and Actress, Kim Coles

Right before the holidays, I was incredibly honored to have Comedian and Actress Kim Coles join me as a Guest Reviewer for Ma’amCakes!

Kim, best known for her work on In Living Color, and Living Single, has also appeared on many television shows including Frasier, Six Feet Under, Celebrity Fit Club, and The View.

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Although I typically don’t mention how I meet my Guest Reviewers, Kim and I have a rather cosmic connection, as I actually met her on a night that I lost my job. That evening, I happened to be partaking in part-time promotional work for one of the studios, and my assignment was at The Comedy Union on Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles, CA. Kim, who was performing that night, along with the owner, took me under their wings, fed me drinks, and helped me figure out a plan of action. Of all the nights to lose your job, but still have to work an additional gig, I couldn’t have asked to be around more caring, positive, and hilarious people. For that, she should maybe consider changing her name to Kim Cools.

As fate would have it, a few weeks later I happened to spot Kim at JFK Airport in New York City(!), and to make sure it was really her, I Tweeted her just to confirm. Next thing I knew, I was in a three-way Tweet convo between Kim and Sherri Shepherd that unfolded like this:

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And finally, as I’ve locked myself in my apartment to write this review on a Saturday night (that makes me a serious writer, by the way), low and behold I discovered that today is Kim’s birthday. Coincidence? I think not!

Upon choosing a restaurant for our review, Kim informed me she was eating gluten-free, so I took her to… any guesses?? Bea Bea’s! Not only do they have some of the best pancakes in Los Angeles, but they have the largest amount of gluten-free breakfast options I’ve ever seen; I mean, check out this extensive menu!

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Kim mentioned she had many fond memories in that part of Burbank, as Living Single was shot down the street at Warner Brothers.

When repeating restaurant locations for a review, I typically try to order pancakes I’ve yet to experience from the menu, and Bea Bea’s is no exception. So, during this outing, I went with the Pink Ribbon.

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Talk about In Living Color! The freshness of the strawberries, blueberries, and bananas is making my mouth water all over again; throw in the pancakes, and I might start licking my laptop screen! The Pink Ribbon pancakes at Bea Bea’s are everything you’d imagine them to be, and more. But what’s the best part about these pancakes, you ask? The fact that they don’t need a drop syrup. After all, Ma’amCakes’ is motto is: that a truly delicious pancake doesn’t need syrup.

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Kim decided to go with the Pooh’s Sunrise (which, FYI, is on the back of the menu), so that she could incorporate bacon and eggs into her meal, and also asked to switch the maple syrup for agave. Kim definitely enjoyed her food. “These are amazing,” said Kim. “And the best part is that they don’t make my tummy hurt, like typical pancakes can do.” When asking Kim which pancakes she would try next time, Kim replied “Either the Chocolate Tuxedo or the Chocolate Fantasy.” With those choices, I’d be perfectly happy to be her partner, er, pancake in crime for the next outing!

Thank you so much, Kim, for being a part of Saturday brunch with Ma’amCakes! Be sure to check out Kim’s Gratitude Journal, and for those of you in the LA area, you can see Kim in her one-woman show at the Pasadena Fremont theater on February 21st and 22nd, as well as her performances at The Comedy Union.

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“Sunday Worthy” Gluten-Free Pancake Recipe

Check out Gluten Free Goddess’ DIY Sunday morning pancake recipe!

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For more of her Gluten-Free recipes, click here.

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!”

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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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Check out this Awesome Care Package I Received from Birch Benders! Can’t Wait to Test out these Samples. Future Partner? Hope So!

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Pancake Review at: BEA BEA’S

Jan 8th, 2012

On Saturday I visited Bea Bea’s on Pass Ave between Oak St. and Alameda in Burbank, CA. The slogan on both their storefront and menu, “Breakfast is Everything,” is a perfect description of the class, creativity, and savor Bea Bea’s puts into their food. While I wasn’t quite in the mood to trek all the way to Burbank for breakfast, the drive was beyond worth it.

The menu above pretty much speaks for itself. For a pancake-lover to attempt to choose only one dish off Bea Bea’s menu, is like asking a child to select their favorite toy in FAO Schwarz. Our server mentioned their most popular pancake was in fact the Just For You Pumpkin; but while I was debating between the Super Star, S’mores, Pacific Island, and Banana PB Crunch, I ended up choosing the Summer’s Dream.

Although I was very much anticipating my pancakes, I also had a craving for eggs as well. Luckily Bea Bea’s, with its intensely diverse menu, gives you such option:

It was at this point I combined the Summer’s Dream with Pooh’s Surprise, a dish I’d like to coin the phrase for: Dream Pooh. Props to Bea Bea’s for this opportunity- not all restaurants allow you to combine a specialty pancake with an egg breakfast. If at all, you’ll typically find this option with plain-pancakes only.

Now for the review:

Summer’s Dream was pure decadence. Although I am a fan of Nutella (a topping typically more popular on the east coast) I’ve never had this with pancakes. The breakfast was a wonderful combination of flavor and texture.

The best part about this dish was that each item was just as amazing by itself, as it was together. The pancakes themselves may be the best pancakes I have ever had- and considering this is my second review, the bar has now been set pretty high. The pancakes are doughy, but not too filling, and cooked just right. As if they were just picked from a field and placed on my breakfast, the strawberries tasted incredibly fresh.  And the Nutella was the perfect topping to this specialty breakfast.

My only additional comment is that while I’d never before had mascarpone cream- this tastes like whipped cream combined with cream cheese- I’d say the dish needs way less than the scoop provided. When putting a small dabble on my bites of Summer’s Dream, I realized it was all I needed- if that, at all. The dish in itself is wonderful- and filling- enough, and I felt the addition of the mascarpone was in fact, too much.

All in all, Bea Bea’s may officially be my favorite pancake stop in Los Angeles. The staff is incredibly nice, and while there is usually a slight wait for a table, the food comes quickly enough. Also, the option for gluten-free and/or vegan, makes Bea Bea’s even more special; this is certainly an option that not many restaurants have.

The drive to Burbank is well worth it, and Bea Bea’s got it right: Breakfast IS everything.