Cheesy Breakfast Latkes Made Easy

Photo: Liz Rueven

Photo: Liz Rueven

Frozen shredded potatoes are about to make your Chanukah latkes (aka potato pancakes) a whole lot easier. Yes, we used easy and latkes in the same sentence because this shortcut will leave your knuckles intact and your mound of grated potatoes looking bright instead of that dreaded tawny purplish hue.

Ready?   Continue reading

Cold Brewed Teas & Cocktail Brews

sangria RRH

Katy Morris

Our favorite ladies of Leaf & Ardor Tea Co. never stop brewing!

They’ve concocted a selection of refreshing, unique and healthy new tea blends that “mimic the moods of summer”. Drop these easy to use tea saches into a pitcher of cold water for the perfect iced drink. Leave the sachet to brew (see how gorgeous they are?!) for a morning pick-me-up or evening cocktail.  We’re sharing all the chill news plus recipes today.

Don’t miss our great give-away later this week! We’ve reached out to our our fave glassblowers at Simon Pearce and we’re including an elegant pitcher to serve these cold brews from. Fruity sangria or fragrant tea? You chose! You’l be serving it in style, either way. Continue reading

Savory French Toast Elevates Mom’s Day Classic

Photo: Sang An

Photo: Sang An

Classic French Toast doesn’t take much to prepare. And we would never knock it as a great starter recipe for young kids wanting to thrill Moms with breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day.

In fact, it never crossed our minds to stray from the basic challah soaked, cinnamon laced, eggy breakfast fave that we all love. Paired with fresh summer strawberries and local maple syrup, we were always happy (we thought) to use up thick slices of delicious challah that were on the path to becoming stale by Monday.

Until we found a completely out of the box recipe for Savory French Toast with Seared Tomatoes and Za’atar Butter in Modern Jewish Cooking; Recipes and Customs for Today’s Kitchen by Leah Koenig. Continue reading

Here’s to Authentic Mexican Goodness- SALUD


Next time you’re in SOHO (NYC) and wondering where to get a “not a big deal” kinda meal, wander west and onto Thompson Street to find authentic, organic, and very vegetarian friendly Mexican eats and smoothies at SALUD. Gluten-free and dairy free? You’ll have an easy time here. Continue reading

Noshing Around the Lower East Side, NYC

What’s wrong with this pic? Answer in comments section!

I love a good walking tour almost as much as a hands-on cooking class. So when Jennifer Abadi sent me her Syrian cooking class schedule along with dates for Context Travel’s “Jewish Cuisine and Culture” walk on the Lower East Side, NYC, I was ready to zip on my warm boots, grab a proper winter hat and prepare for a big nosh fest.

What I found was that having an expert lead me from one culinary landmark to the next, while sharing historical and social history of the neighborhood where my grandparents lived in a tenement upon landing at Ellis Island, left even this knowledgeable New York eater to some thrilling new tidbits to chew on. Continue reading

Waking Up to Vegetarian/Kosher Friendly Cafes in Newport Beach plus Blueberry Pancakes


The oh-so true adage that it’s all about location, location, location was as clear as the impossibly azure sky as we pulled off PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) between Laguna Beach and Newport Beach soon after landing at LAX. We headed straight for the beach, hankering for that quintessentially California view of the  sunny southern coast.

Too many sporty convertibles passed us while we ogled the Pacific, so we pulled off the road for a good long gaze at the very California view. Below the 80 foot drop, descending through dense shrub and lush patches of thick grasses, was a wide open view of sandy beach stretching 3.2 miles and protected by the CA. state parks, known as Crystal Cove State Park.

It was the perfect introduction to what would be our favorite place in the sand, aptly named  The Beachcomber.


The next morning, with jet lag on our side, we scrambled out of bed early enough to see the sunrise, parked across PCH and walked down to the beach before the Beachcomber opened at 7 AM.

The cafe is elevated  just a few steps up from the sand and is the ideal spot to ease into the day, take a midday break for lunch or retreat under the heat lamps for dinner. Twelve tables are squeezed onto the deck  (umbrellas, fleece blankets and heaters are thoughtfully provided) and another few along a wraparound porch where spillover from lunch and happy hour lands.

My favorite breakfast dish was Smoked Salmon Flatbread, a deconstructed twist on bagels and lox. Green chile cream cheese is the foundation for thinly sliced smoked salmon, capers, pickled red onions, hard  cooked eggs dotted with micro greens and capers.

With music of the 20’s and 30’s and the crashing waves keeping time, the day was starting out just fine.

Try the Blueberry Lemon Ricotta Pancakes as a carbo loading alternative. The slightly tangy, light batter oozes with fresh berries and is worth the calories.

Just across the street from the beach is a shopping center where Bear Flag Fish Co. became our go-to lunch spot for super fresh, quick, casual lunches. Beach wear is expected and acceptable.

Bear Flag is fish market, taco joint, and great salad place all at once. Seating on the sidewalk alongside the parking lot? We got over it quickly as panko grilled fish tacos bursting with freshly chopped cabbage and house made pico de gallo beckoned us day after day when we tired of the beach.

Hastily handwritten boards list the freshest fish choices of the day and surfing videos are entrancing. Sides of avocado, black beans, brown rice and sauteed veggies all cost $1-2 so we had ourselves a fiesta.

We quickly integrated Zinc Cafe and Market into our rhythm as it is vegetarian, making it all fair game for breakfast and lunch. While table service is provided, it’s fine with them if you order from the market side and bring it to a table yourself.

Deviled eggs, house baked scones dotted with berries,  and breakfast burritos were highlights early in the day. Freshly baked fruit cakes and tartes are irresistible.

Lunches of personal sized chipotle sauced pizzette, easy sandwiches with runny brie and seasonal arugula or vegetable packed lasagna had us feeling happy to have landed in this veggie heaven.

Ready to whip up something special for breakfast?  Check out Susie Fishbein’s recipe for light and fluffy blueberry pancakes, below. Thanks, Susie, for sharing this treat from KOSHER BY DESIGN LIGHTENS UP.

Watch for part 2 of Newport Coast,CA. fave spots next week!  We found some great choices!

Blueberry Pancakes

makes 8 pancakes

Blueberry Pancakes

From Susie Fishbein: "Feel good in knowing that these pancakes are healthier than most. Most pancakes do not contain as much protein (milk, eggs, cottage cheese) or antioxidents from blueberries."

Susie suggests finding your own preferred balance of flour combinations, considering whole wheat pastry flour, white whole wheat, wheat or all purpose.

If using straight whole wheat, you may need to stir in a little milk to thin the batter.


  • 1/2 c. fat free milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 T sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 T canola oil, divided
  • 2 T water
  • 1 c flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 c fat free cottage cheese
  • heaping 1/2 c blueberries
  • fat-free sour cream
  • light pancake syrup


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk the milk, egg, sugar, vanilla, 2 tablespoons oil, and 2 tablespoons water.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet.
  4. With a spatula, mix in the cottage cheese and fold in the blueberries.
  5. Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.
  6. When the skillet is hot, drop the batter by 1/4 cup measures. An ice cream scoop works well.
  7. Cook for 3 minutes until golden: flip and cook another 2 minutes.
  8. Serve with fat free sour cream or light pancake syrup.


Recipe and photo courtesy of Susie Fishbein, KOSHER BY DESIGN LIGHTENS UP, 2008.

Breakfast in Haifa & Israeli Chopped Salad

When we discovered the Villa Carmel Hotel on a shady, tree lined street off the main drag in the busy Carmel center, we were grateful.  As visitors to M’s native Israel each year for more than 30 years, we had stayed in nearly every other hotel in Haifa, and disliked them all.  Cavernous lobbies, kids running amok, outdated color schemes and tired furniture prevailed. Continue reading