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Burgertime at Pharo’s.

IMG_7129_FotorPharo’s Burgers is in Alhambra, off of Garfield and Atlantic, riiiight across the street from an In N Out that always has a line around the block. (Pharo’s was actually spotted and added to my list while waiting in said In N Out line.) I’m not gonna lie, the burger was only so-so. Definitely not much compared to what you can get across the street for a little more waiting in a line. But the chili cheese fries? Yea. Those you should  definitley check out. Perfectly spicy, cheesy amazing goodness for $5. As you can see below, I barely touched the double cheeseburger, but those fries were gone in no time. I suggest next time you find yourself in the eternal In N Out line in Alhambra, send your passenger out for a little chili cheese fry starter ;) xo CaitIMG_7133_Fotor

Burgertime at Lucky Boy.

Lucky Boy is a walk-up/take out spot off of S. Arroyo Parkway in Pasadena. Fun fact: It is right across the street from where the VERY FIRST Trader Joe’s opened in 1967 and still stands today!

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Their burgers have thin patties, lots of chargrilled flavor and that good old shredded lettuce. Add in the biggest bag of fried zucchini you’ve ever seen and plan to be full for a good day and a half. The double cheeseburger is pictured here, but I’ve also had a damn good bacon burger in the past. And from what I can see written up about them online, it sounds like their breakfast burritos are some of the best around!! I guess we’ll just haaaaaave to go back!!  xoCait

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Burgertime at In-N-Out.

I’ve been to In N Out countless times, but it just never seems to get old. The double-double is one of my absolute favorite burgers around.  It’s no hidden gem, sure. But they are reliably delicious, affordable and usually pretty quick! (If you live near one and have not been, then you are certifiably crazy, and you should go, right now.)

IMG_5763THIS TIME AROUND WAS DIFFERENT THOUGH. I decided that if I was going to blog about it, I should go big, and get the 4×4. Yep. You heard it. 4 patties & 4 slices of cheeeeese, please! When our ‘Guest Number’ came up as ’44’ I knew it was meant to be.

I love me some In N Out, but I gotta say, I wouldn’t do the 4×4 again. Too much meat. I think maybe a 3×3 would be the way to go? UNTIL NEXT TIME! xoCait

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Burger(&HotDog)time at Carney’s.

Carney’s will always be a special place to me. Yes, Carney’s, the hot dog slinging train car on Sunset Strip. It was one of the first restaurants in Los Angeles that I fell in love with. Why?

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1. Delicious food at affordable prices 2. They have been serving the same thing, in that same spot since 1975 and 3. it’s proven to cure even the worst of my bad moods (and hangovers).

I suggest going with a friend. Each of you order a hot dog. And split a cheeseburger and fries. You can’t lose. xo Cait

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VEGGIE Posole.

I wanted to squeeze one more soup recipe in before Winter is officially over on Friday!

I’ve made this VEGGIE Posole recipe a few times now, and it never disappoints. Traditional Posole is heavy in the pork department. This definitely is NOT. It’s a simple, spicy, slightly sour broth with some beans and hominy thrown in. The real highlight is in all the fun stuff you get to put on top! Cojita cheese, avocado chunks, tortilla chips and fresh cilantro are some of my personal favorites. Shredded cabbage, lettuce, onion or radishes would be great too! xo Cait

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VEGGIE Posole Rojo.
2 dried Arbol chilis
2Tbl oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
6C veggie broth (or chicken!)
1 15oz can pinto beans, drained & rinsed
1 15oz can diced tomatoes
1 25oz can hominy, drained & rinsed
Juice of 2 limes
1Tbl dried oregano
Salt

Soak the chilis in boiling water for 10-15min. Puree the chilis and “some” of the water in a food processor or blender. The amount of water you use doesn’t really matter. It’s all going back into the soup anyway. Maybe a cup or so?

In a big soup pot, sauté the onion & garlic in the oil for 3-5min over medium heat
Add the tomatoes, 2tsp salt, oregano and broth and bring to a simmer.
Add the hominy and beans and bring back up to a simmer for at least 10min or so.
Add the pureed chilis, lime juice, stir!

Best served with LOTS OF TOPPINGS!!

 

Burgertime at Astro Burger.

IMG_5444Astro Burger. Surprisingly enough, there are A LOT of Astro Burgers in Los Angeles. The two that I frequent, and can attest to the delight they will bring you, are this ONE on Melrose and this ONE on Santa Monica Blvd. I thought they were part of the same chain, but after checking the internetz, it doesn’t seem like they are? Strange.

Both establishments are awesome. Both have the delicious fried zucchini pictured below. Both have shredded lettuce on their burgers. And both have lots of veggie options for your burger-hating friends!! xo Cait

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Chai TEA

chai2I got a DIY chai tea kit for Christmas this past year (mine came from Purpose Design) and I’ve been having a lot of fun with it… I highly recommended this set in particular as an impressively beautiful gift. In the past month, I’ve made a batch or two following the traditional recipe included, but because it comes with all of the ingredients packaged separately, you have a lot of freedom to tweak each batch to your liking, adding more or less of each of the chai spices included or swapping out the type of dairy you use. Almond milk was a hit!

chai1My next experiment will be to make a larger, super strong batch with no milk, so that I can keep it a week in the fridge and add the milk as I drink it.

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Sam also got into the chai spirit this winter and picked up a chai masala spice mix at a holiday party that The Peacock Apothecary was a part of at the LA Soho House. Nimita, who runs an Indian Ayurvedic catering company out of Santa Barbara, was not only one of the sweetest vendors we met all day, but the food she was sampling out was deeeelicious. And the chai tea? Some of the best! The nice thing about a spice mix is it cuts your prep time in half and is easier to throw together in the morning before work! If you are interested in purchasing her chai masala mix for yourself, email Nimita directly (nimita@cox.net).

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The recipe that she suggests is as follows:
Boil one cup of water, add 1 tbs of loose black tea, 1/4 teaspoon of chai masala and two teaspoons of brown, organic sugar (or sweetener of your choice). Grate one inch of ginger and add this to the mix if you want extra zing. Allow all this to boil together for a minute. Add 1/4 cup of organic, whole milk or non dairy of your choice (Sam votes you try raw milk). Allow to reach a boil. Strain tea into a cup.

xoCait

Rainbow Chip Frosting Wannabe #1

IMG_5483You may or may not know, but Betty Crocker discontinued their Rainbow Chip frosting at the end of 2013. Needless to say, people got upset, myself included. Hundreds of thousands of people took to the internets to try to get Betty Crocker to reverse their decision… Heck, even Katy Perry got involved! But as of today, it’s gone from grocery store shelves and eBay shops (where I saw it selling for $30+ a tub?!) So what’s a girl to do? Google it, and improvise.

Rainbow chip is the classic frosting pair to the ever famous Funfetti cake, with the sprinkles mixed into the batter. It has tiny, soft morsels of rainbow colored goodness mixed into the white frosting. I remember this cake combo appearing at countless birthday parties growing up. The taste is truly nostalgic for me in all of its super sweet manufactured glory. In college, I used to eat it by the spoonful, no cake needed (I promise I don’t do that anymore).

The trick would be to get the consistency, flavor and vibrant colors all just right.

Enter RAINBOW CHIP SPRINKLES by Wilton.

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Wilton’s Rainbow Chip Sprinkles happen to be little bits of chocolate, covered in a bright colorful candy shell. When mixed into any (store bought or homemade) vanilla/white frosting, they give you the perfect color and shape of the little bits of the OG Rainbow Chip. The hitch is, they are crunchy, not soft and chewy like the real thing is supposed to be.

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My experimental frosting was delicious, yes, but the bits remain crunchy until Day 2. A two day old cupcake is definitely not a bad thing, but by then, the colors also begin to run and spread across the white frosting. They look and taste great. And I HIGHLY recommend trying this trick out. But it just wasn’t perfect.

IMG_5484I’ll be testing out a second idea to replicate this timeless favorite next month. So, stay tuned if you’re a cake nerd like me! xo Cait

QUICK TIP: use leftover rainbow chip sprinkles to make yourself a cheery ice cream sundae! xo Cait

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Burgertime at Pie ‘n Burger

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PIE

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‘N BURGER

For February, I’m going to feature a long time favorite burger joint of mine, Pie ‘n Burger. It’s a classic burger that can only be found in good old classy Pasadena. It first opened in 1963 on California Blvd., just east of Lake. And there it still stands! A truly old school diner, with mostly bar seating at their original 70s style formica bartop, complete with wooden swivel chairs and a menu (including at least 20 types of pie!!) permanently posted on the wall. I have had lots of Pie ‘n Burger in my 30 years of life, seeing as my Grandmother introduced me to this place at a young age. But there’s a simple reason we keep coming back… the cheeseburgers are DELICIOUS. The patty, the bun, the whole package will not disappoint. I promise. And if you don’t believe me, then Ill let Zagat and Jonathan Gould convince you.

 Ps. They cater too. xo Cait

Chicken Noodle soup.

Like I mentioned a few weeks ago, alongside my recipe for Minestrone, Winter always reminds me of my love for soup. With the start of a New Year inevitably comes my resolution to save money, waste less resources and get back to healthy eating. Soup is the perfect answer to keep me on task with all of those things AND it makes great leftovers for my never ending search to keep my lunch box interesting!! I tweaked this recipe slightly and reproduced it below. It is a truly classic chicken noodle soup, but could easily be spiced up or veggies changed for variety. xo Cait

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CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, peeled and diced
8 celery stalks, diced
8 carrots, diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 bay leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 quarts chicken stock or broth
1 dollop Better Than Bouillon (optional but definitely recommended)
3 cups cooked chicken, shredded or diced
2 cups wide egg noodles

In a large pot over medium, heat the butter and olive oil. Add the onion, celery, carrots, garlic and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables soften, about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the stock and Better Than Bouillon and simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir in the chicken and noodles and simmer until the noodles are cooked, about 10 minutes more. Discard the bay leaves. Season to taste.

Jar up the leftovers and bring to the office for lunch!

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