Best Breakfast in Downtown LA


I know that “best breakfast” in downtown LA is a tough call with the eternal competition of the Original Pantry, which has been serving breakfast around the clock since 1924. However… if you want a non-diner breakfast at a sensible hour between 8am and 4PM, go to the Eggslut in the Grand Central Market.

I recommend that you first walk down the counter and take a look at everyone’s food and also eye the people that might be finishing so you can grab their seat as soon as your food comes up. Then stand in line to order. There’s always a line but it moves fast and it gives you just enough time to peruse the 7 item menu. You’ll stand there just long enough to change your mind because while you want a breakfast sandwich, you’re definitely tempted by the Slut. And let’s be honest, who isn’t? I went with the Fairfax above and I have no regrets. Those eggs were softly scrambled with chives and topped with caramelized onions. The brioche had a smear of siracha mayo and I got everything everywhere but it was seriously one of the best breakfast sandwiches of my life. Of course you should also order the Cold Brew because a good breakfast always involves a coffee beverage.

Grab a seat at the bar if you’re lucky and then take your documenting pictures quickly so you can watch everyone else style their food for their Instagram feed. If you’re a real rebel, just dig into that deliciousness and forgo the pictures. I’ll salute your priorities.

The whole experience will take you about 30 minutes at noon on a Monday and you have $2 parking next door for 90 minutes. Walk around the rest of the market and check out the rest of the food stalls. Maybe you need a taco? Go for it.

Berlin’s Checkpoint Charlie

Berlin street artDespite my best efforts I woke up at 3am this morning. While laying there not sleeping I did all the jetlag math – how long have I been asleep, what are the odds I can go back to sleep, can I possibly have gotten enough sleep… etc. and yet still couldn’t sleep. I refused to get up before the sun, but after laying in bed – AWAKE – for 2 more hours, I gave in and got up at 5.

My lovely, albeit incredibly early morning, was diminished by the discovery that my internet router had shut itself down in the middle of the night. It was hiding somewhere I couldn’t find it so I finally gave up on being connected to the outside world and just read and drank tea for a couple of hours before going to yoga.

Wow, Bikram yoga in German. That was something. I’ll devote a post to it this weekend.

Post-yoga I found free wifi on the street, as a traveler does, and stood on the sidewalk for 20 minutes checking my email and letting my air bnb host know that her internet wasn’t working. She’s in Australia, btw, so that’s a bit far for IT problems but I have no contact info for her or people here.

Went home, still no internet. Started laundry in my pocket sized washer but couldn’t figure out the various cycles because the dial has no text and instead depends on incomprehensible pictures.

Berlin washer

I think that fluff in the corner might indicate cotton? What do I suppose the ball of yarn and the feather mean? Finally I settled on something that looked like a cold water cycle and it told me I had an 1 hour and 49 minutes until my wash was finished. How in the world does a wash cycle take almost 2 hours?? Although it gave me plenty of time to find internet elsewhere.

Found a breakfast spot called Factory Girl! where the motto is “New York is King but Berlin is King Kong!” I don’t even know what that means but it’s a cute quirky place with what looks like denim pant legs laid over the chair seats. I waited forever for the most picturesque breakfast imaginable

Factory Girl! Berlin

How pretty is that! The caprese-ish omelette and café au lait revived me, as did the free wifi, until I found out that for the second day in a row Microsoft has decided my email is hacked and they’ve shut me down. What’s the security solution to that? A phone call or a text to my American phone. And what does my American phone not receive while I’m out of the USA? Phone calls and texts.

There’s probably nothing on earth that makes me want to go home like a lack of internet and email. I suppose that says terrible things about my character but one can deal with only so much after waking up at 3am.

I finished my breakfast, walked home, got my computer, found yet another café with free wifi and spent an hour with Microsoft troubleshooting my email. By this point it was noon, I’d been up for 9 hours and had basically accomplished breakfast and yoga. I’ve had better mornings.

Which probably explains why I decided to be a big ol tourist and go see Checkpoint Charlie. I figured that there are a lot of serious historical landmarks here so I should get the silly one out of the way.

Checkpoint Charlie

To be fair, Checkpoint Charlie is an important part of Berlin’s history as it was a major crossing point through the wall. But now it’s a giant tourist attraction where those actors in uniform will pose for pictures with you and stamp your passport with fake East/West Berlin stamps. Also, McDonalds.

And the remains of important things like signs

Checkpoint Charlie Berlin

And sad remnants of the wall for photo ops

Berlin Wall

I didn’t expect to enjoy the Museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie

Museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie

which started as just two rooms in 1962, right after the wall was erected, as a human rights protest. Now it’s a major tourist hub and has expanded to a four floor edifice detailing the entire world history of oppression since 1950 by covering each wall with giant panels of text. That’s a lot of reading my friends…

However, the Berlin Wall is a pretty good example of good guys hanging out while evil flourishes. I mean, I understand why the world was reluctant to strengthen Germany after their part in the world wars but still, 30 years of Soviet oppression? And those 30 years… my God. Just one long dark stretch of demonstrations and riots by the desperate East Germans followed by imprisonment and executions followed by protests and pleading by the West German chancellor to have someone, anyone really, step in and help abolish the Soviet rule.

The madness brought out some real heroes though, like this guy Hasso Herschel who helped over 1000 people escape East Berlin and was better known as a great restauranteur. That’s my kind of guy. Or the diplomats who smuggled people out in the trunks of their cars and the guy who built a zip line with homemade rope “chairs” and got his whole family over the wall. Fantastic stories from a very dreadful time.

I spent a long time in that museum just trying to wrap my head around the sequence of events that led to the building of the wall and then the tearing down. I’m still thinking about it and wondering how many other kinds of oppression are happening right now, the stories of which I might encounter in a museum someday. Sobering.

I bought postcards with alleged pieces of the Berlin Wall attached to them that I’m 99% certain are fake. But still, they stand for a time when the right set of imperfect leaders finally stood up and did something about evil and oppression. And they succeeded.

Checkpoint Charlie Museum

Kid Friendly Boston

Boston has a lot to offer visiting families. It’s an extremely walking friendly city and the train line – the T – has an extensive web throughout the city. If you’re only in town for a short time, here are some of the high points your kids will enjoy.

The Paramount

Boston is a little bit short on good breakfast places downtown, unless you want to eat at a hotel. Fortunately, The Paramount is situated in the Beacon Hill neighborhood and is open 7 days a week. It’s a tiny place with an open grill so you can eat and watch the cooks at work and they cleverly control the crowds by requiring everyone to stand in line to order food  cafeteria-style before sitting down at a table. The food is fresh and delicious and even crowded I still enjoyed the experience and the breakfast sandwich. Parents can get a mimosa and the banana caramel french toast is pretty incredible.

The surrounding Beacon Hill neighborhood is charming with lots of shopping if you’re up for that; and if you’re staying at a downtown hotel, you probably walked through the Boston Common or the Public Garden on your way to The Paramount.

Boston Common

Take some time before or after breakfast to enjoy this park because it’s small enough to be thoroughly enjoyed in a short time and provides a shady respite from the sun during the Boston summers. The landscaping is lovely, the children’s carousel and the swan boat rides each cost $3 and last about 15 minutes and if your kids were into the book Make Way for Ducklingsthey’ll enjoy seeing the duck statues commemorating the story.


After breakfast and the park, I’d recommend visiting one of Boston’s great museums. Perhaps the Museum of Science?

Science Museum

That’s a huge kinetic sculpture designed like a mousetrap with balls that roll down sliding boards, dislodge clock gears and start chain reactions. It’s also one of the few non interactive exhibits at this Museum of Science, which was designed with elementary and middle school kids in mind. The interactive exhibits include an exploration of nanotechnology, a wind lab, fossils and skeletons to touch and put together, scientific studies on perspective and light projections, a butterfly garden, live animals, map creation and so much more. There’s a lightning show several times a day where high voltage lightning is simulated to demonstrate the principles of electricity. With the IMAX theatre and the planetarium as potential add ons to your admission ticket, it would be easy to spend the whole day here. However, you can also spend a couple of hours, see some highlights and catch a lightning show and be on your way. Tickets will run you between $20-55 per person, depending on how much you want to see, but you get a lot for your money.

Alternatively, you could spend the morning at the Museum of Fine Arts


The MFA is vast with gorgeous curation, I especially loved these red walls, and a collection of world renowned works by Jackson Pollack, Renoir and Van Gogh. It’s not an easy museum to navigate in a short period of time, however, with stairs and elevators only in a few designated spots; so, if you go, be prepared to spend a couple of hours wandering the floors. Kids under 17 get in free and adult admission costs $25 unless you go on Wednesdays after 4pm when all admission costs are voluntary.

How about lunch?

Back Deck

I like this restaurant called the Back Deck. It’s right by the Boston Opera House, their salmon cobb salad – above – is fantastic as are their grilled chicken wings and their macaroni and cheese. They have an extensive kid’s menu with small salad options and a whole alternative gluten-free menu as well as gigantic windows that they open in good weather so it feels like eating in the open air.

Alternatively, if you want to eat somewhere that’s classic Boston and on a lot of tourist “must see” lists, you could check out this place:

The Union Bar

The Union Oyster House is one of Boston’s oldest restaurants, it’s right on the Freedom Trail and in a beautiful old building . To be honest, I think the main appeal of this place is historical. The building is on the National Historic Register and and they claim to be America’s oldest restaurant, established in 1826. However, their raw oysters come on a plate with no frills and not a lot of care in the preparation (chips of shell in the oysters…) and I haven’t heard many good things about the rest of their food either. I would recommend this place as a novelty visit only or perhaps for a beer in the late afternoon so you can try the Samuel Adams Colonial Ale brewed only for them.

In the afternoon, try one of Boston’s biggest attractions, the Duck Tour:

Duck Tour

You’ll see these rolling boat/trolleys all over Boston, run by two companies, the Duck Tours and the Super Duck Tour. Each company does a driving tour of some historical sites including Faneuil Hall, Boston Common, Copley Square and Qunicy Market and then the trolleys splash into the Boston harbor and become boats so you can continue the tour from the water and see sites like the USS Constitution. We had a great guide on our Super Duck Tour and it was novel to see Boston from land and sea. The tour takes about 90 minutes and tickets range from $22-23 for kids and $33-35 for adults. Check each company’s website to see their itineraries so you can decide what you’d like to see.

Either before or after your Duck Tour, go to the Marriott’s Custom House Tower for the best aerial views of Boston

Clock Tower

There’s a “donation” of $3 to go up into the tower unless you’re a guest of the hotel (the money goes to the Children’s Miracle Network), but the views are worth the price, especially on a sunny day. If you go at 4PM there’s a tour of the clock tower and some historical information included, but you can go up into the tower at any point in the day just to see the city.

I recommend one of my favorite Boston restaurants for diner, the Barking Crab.

Barking Crab

Set in a red and gold striped tent right on the edge of the water, the Barking Crab serves gloriously fresh seafood at long communal picnic tables with rolls of paper towels and paper plates. I had a warm lobster tossed in drawn butter and served on a roll and it was incredible. Families can order whole lobsters, buckets of crab legs or clam bakes that come with chowder, potatoes and corn. This is a super casual restaurant with views of the harbor and it’s one of the best places in town to eat fresh seafood.

Boston has a lot of attractions and this blog features just a small portion of what’s available in town. It’s the perfect city for a families who like historical monuments, buildings and activities and in the summer the weather is beautiful and the water activities are great fun.

Chicago Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Chicago’s has a lot of great places to eat. Here are a few more.

Fat Elvis Waffles

Fat Elvis Waffles

I wrote a long post raving about my trip to Girl and the Goat a little over a year ago so of course I was going to check out Stephanie Izard’s new restaurant, Little Goat Diner. The fat Elvis waffles with bacon bits, banana slices and peanut butter foam are incredible. The smoked pork toffee milkshake was also incredible. Be prepared to wait for a table, however, because they don’t take reservations. And perhaps they should? It is Stephanie Izard and even though it’s just gussied up diner food, waiting an hour to get it takes the shine off the experience a bit. I really liked the airy open space of the restaurant and  the  inventive things she’s doing with the menu (tempura mashed potatoes? Oh yeah!) but for now I’d go back to Girl and the Goat because waiting an hour for that food seems much more reasonable.

Another breakfast option? Naturally.

Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes

Go to Carriage House and eat fried green tomatoes while sitting on the porch. Modern low country food in Chicago. Who knew?

Goatsnake Burger

Goatsnake Burger

A friend of mine wanted to go to Kuma’s Corner because Lady Gaga liked the burgers. Well, I’m with her because the burgers here are divine and the atmosphere is all rock and roll and edgy attitude. So, if you like your burgers with a side of Black Sabbath, go to Kuma’s Corner. It’ll be a wait but it’ll be worth it.

Or perhaps you’re a lady who lunches without dripping burger sauce down her arms? Then go to NoMI at the Park Hyatt for sushi.

Spicy Tuna Roll

Spicy Tuna Roll

Elegant lovely atmosphere, elegant lovely food and elegant lovely people. Plus a fantastic view of Miracle Mile and all the shopping you’ll want to do afterwards.

Seared Bay Scallops

Seared Bay Scallops

If you want classy classic Chicago for dinner, you really need to go to Blackbird. Paul Kahan is one of Chicago’s best chefs and his tasting menu at Blackbird is extensive and luxurious. Treat yourself. Have a 10 course meal and add wine pairings. You only live once and while you live, you should definitely eat at Blackbird.

After dinner, how about a glass of champagne and some live music?



How do you feel today? Are you radiant with a rich maturity or perhaps you’re refined, expensive and classic? Order your champagne to fit your mood, get a few late night nibbles and settle in for a relaxed evening at Pops.

Then take a wander through Millennium Park on your way home.

Chicago Skyline

Chicago Skyline

Cheers to my favorite city!

The B Line

Tucson, AZ

I’ve been to B Line before but never for breakfast. It’s a charming little cafe with a simple breakfast menu of a few crepe and egg dishes as well as several sandwich options. Since they have a killer pastry selection including some really delicious looking pies, I opted for a simple breakfast sandwich with chiptole salsa

Tucson, AZ

Tomato, egg and cheese + Book + Coffee = Delight

Tucson, AZ

And 4 berry pie with real whipped cream = Extra Delight

Tucson, AZ

All B Line’s food is great, as is their parent company’s food at Time Market (home of the best tuna sandwich in Tucson) . I love that B Line makes their pastries in house and they have beer on tap.

Tucson, AZ

It’s the perfect place for a lazy morning. Order something decadent, get a seat by the window and watch the 4th Avenue pageantry pass by.

May’s Counter for Breakfast

Happy late St. Patrick’s day!

Tucson, AZ

St. Paddy’s day is associated with many things but none of them involve good looking food. This St. Paddy’s day breakfast is no exception.

Tucson, AZ

Yes, that’s a green waffle.

My breakfast didn’t look much better

Tucson, AZ

Corned beef hash, eggs, grits and a biscuit the size of my truck.

I took a friend of mine to May’s Counter for breakfast because she happened to be in Tucson on March 17th. I’d been to May’s before and they have great outdoor seating, cheerful speedy service and giant plates of food.

The biscuit was the best part of my meal, tender and falling apart and clearly made with plenty of butter. I didn’t love the corned beef hash, even though it was made in house. I like hash with bigger chunks of meat and potatoes and maybe onions. This was shredded hash browns mixed with bits of corned beef.

And, as I remembered this weekend, their breakfast options are rather uninspired and there’s little to no attention paid to the presentation. Plus their coffee isn’t that good. I think dinner is where they excel. I know they have live music occasionally, their dinner menu is more extensive and interesting and the fried chicken is great.

I don’t know that I’d recommend them for breakfast. I like them enough to go back for dinner, but don’t take out-of-town guests. It’s not a place that impresses.

Tucson, AZ

Tomorrow: yoga thoughts. I know! It’s been forever! I’ve been saving up all the good stuff.

See you then.