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To Live and Pie in Wicker Park

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Welcome one and all to another great blog post from Mastication Monologues!  Things have been picking up as of late since it’s the holiday season.  In between studying and braving the Walking Dead-esque crowds at the mall, I managed to squeeze in a trip to a Chicago bakery that was truly memorable in terms of its concept and approach to classic desserts.  If you’re a sweets lover, strap yourself in for a wild ride!  If not, prepare to be amazed!

The adventure all started back when I received an email from A Baker’s Tale saying that they were huge fans of my blog at the bakery, and they wanted to invite me to an exclusive event for local bloggers.  Naturally, I said yes, and informed Janice that we had some serious business to take care of.  Baked goods business.  I looked it up, and I saw it was located in the Bucktown/Wicker Park area which has been recently gentrified.  What this means is that you can’t walk more than five feet without running into an ironic mustache or fixie bike.  However, the exterior of A Baker’s Tale exuded neither a hint of pretentiousness nor any sort of kitchyness. IMG_7877 Walking in, we were immediately greeted by the employees and eventually the owner, Christine, who’s in the middle of the pic below. IMG_7923 I didn’t know where to look first in this coffee shop+bakery+fun house.  Once more bloggers and vloggers and what have you arrived, Christine explained that she loves literature and baking which in turn translated to the Alice in Wonderland and other literature inspired establishment that surrounded us.  Since I am also a fellow librophile, I couldn’t get enough of the homages to many classic works.IMG_7882 IMG_7884From the classic book prints,IMG_7917 the talking doorknob statue,IMG_7921 whimsical cakes,IMG_7889IMG_7887 IMG_7886IMG_7890 hedgemazed trip to the bathroom,IMG_7929 and the breathtaking tree overshadowing our tasting tables with leaves made of pages from Alice in Wonderland, IMG_7888IMG_7933there was no detail left on the sideline as we quickly made our way over to the tasting table. IMG_7878 I was late, so late, for a very important date…with some bakery!  IMG_7926IMG_7918IMG_7880Surprisingly, there was no door mouse, march hare, or Mad Hatter when we sat down.  As more bloggers began to stream in and take their seats around the table, I was half driven to yell, “Change places!” to get in the spirit of Mr. Carrol’s work, but I decided to focus more on the diverse spread of pastries in front of us like a very late high tea.  IMG_7879We started with a plate of a mini cherry pie, a passion fruit raspberry cheesecake, and a s’more bar.IMG_7924  While none of them made me shrink or grown into a giant like Alice when speaking with the doorknob, they were big on flavor.  First, there was the mini cherry pie that was a version of their normal sized pie.  It was topped with hearts as an homage to the Queen, but I felt like a king with this royally decadent dessert.  The crust was buttery and mixed with the sweet and tart filling to perfection.  I then had the passion fruit raspberry cheesecake.  It was filled with a burst of tropical flavor that was like a mix between an orange, mango, and lime that kind of gave the whipped cheesecake a slight key lime pie vibe on the aftertaste. However, if you’re not into tart flavors, it might be a bit overwhelming for you like it was for my gf, Janice.  As good as these first two desserts were, they were beneath the third option:  the s’mores bar.  These desserts date as far back as the 1930s from a Girl Scout campfire cooking manual, or so the legend goes.  However, A Baker’s Tale version of it presented it in the least messy way possible.  One of my personal pet-peeves with traditional s’mores is how the crunchy graham crackers explode with every bite and can’t keep the blazing hot marshmallow inside to save its own inanimate life.  I quickly learned upon the first bite that these bakers really can work magic.

Step 1: Take a bite

Step 1: Take a bite

Step 2: Enlightenment

Step 2: Enlightenment

Step 3: Devour

Step 3: Devour

The graham cracker base was soft yet substantial and topped with a house-made marshmallow fluff that sported a rich, chocolate accent that tied it all together to perfection.  Plate two wasn’t as over the top in terms of bombastic flavors, but it was a solid entry to the tasting event.  IMG_7907The chocolate chunk and peanut butter cookies (both also were available in gluten free versions at the tasting as well) were good but not great probably because they weren’t the most decadent options.  Case in point, they were overshadowed by the toffee chocolate cheesecake that was presented in a Reese’s peanut butter cup form.  From the Oreo cookie crumb crust to the creamy filling that had ample pieces of chocolate coated toffee and a thin layer of gooey caramel on top, this dessert checked all the boxes for me.  Moving from there, the next plate was the belle of the dessert ball.  It consisted of three, vibrant, expertly-crafted macarons sporting three very different flavors:  pistachio (green), raspberry (red), and elderberry (blue). IMG_7932According to the almighty Wikipedia/internet, macarons originated in Venetian monasteries in the 9th Century A.D. but were brought to France when Catherine Medici, an Italian noblewoman, married King Henry II of France.   Their popularity began to rise during the French Revolution when two nuns in the city of Nancy made the cookies to pay for their rent; however, the original version of these desserts were basically a cookie.  The modern version of the macaron with two cookies and a filled center came about in the 1830s in Paris where it was known as the Gerbet, named after the supposed inventor, or the macaron parisien.  They were then brought over the USA and sometimes confused with the coconut-based macaroon.  Actually, the word “macaroon” is just the English translation for the French “macaron“.  Whatever it’s called, these little morsels went down too easily.  My personal favorite was the pistachio because it was sweet but not too sweet whereas the elderberry one was a bit too saccharine for my palate (surprising, I know).  The outer cookies had that thin, crisp shell that gave way to feathery interiors that led to the thin but incredibly rich layer of flavored cream. IMG_7916 Ils sont tres delicieux!  Finally, there was the somewhat sweet and savory plate.  Whereas the other plates contained straight up desserts, the scone platter mixed it up in terms of flavors and textures.  Scones have an interesting history to say the least.  Their name has many different origins including the Middle Dutch schoonbrood or “pure bread”, the Scots Gaelic’s sgonn or “large mouthful”, or perhaps after the Scottish town of Scone.  They were not as cutesy at they look today because before baking powder, a scone was a large, flat, unleavened oat cake made on a griddle.  Thankfully, A Baker’s Tale did not harken back to the scone’s roots.IMG_7931 The two on display were the vanilla scone and the jalapeno white cheddar scone.  I thought I would prefer the former over the latter, but in reality, it was the opposite.  Yes, both were denser and somewhere between moist and arid that scones should be compared to the aforementioned cookies and cakes, but somehow the savory option won me over.  I personally think it was because it was such a sharp contrast to the mountains of sweet stuff I hoovered up over the course of the tasting, but I was partial to the clear pepper notes that came out in every bite that resulted in me showering the floor with crumbs.  Don’t hate me because I’m so debonair.IMG_7908  I highly recommend the jalapeno scones if you don’t have much of an affinity for all things sugary sweet.

As the night went on and my sugar levels reached their optimum level of satisfaction, we called it quits.  We departed A Baker’s Tale with a warm farewell from the owners and thoughts of the wonderful experience we had the priviledge of enjoying.  I highly recommend a visit to this very welcoming bakery that boasts desserts that are as satisfying as a finishing a great read where all of the ends are tied up and the villains receive their just desserts.  Lucky them!IMG_7937
A Baker's Tale Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The DMK: The Most Flavorful Border in the World

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Burgers, burgers, and more burgers.  What is more Amurikan than a hamburger?  It is one of our quintessential exports among many other items across the globe, and I don’t blame other countries for imitating our homegrown culinary creation.  One of the reasons why I think that hamburgers are so popular is that they are simple.  A slab of meat (or vegetable matter for you vegans or Hindus out there) between two pieces of bread?  It’s the biggest thing since mankind figured out how to slice said bread.  While many would consider something simple to not be worthy of their time, herein lies the genius of the hamburger.  The basic makeup of the hamburger allows plenty of artistic licence for cooks around the world to leave their culinary fingerprints on this common menu item.  While I’ve had burgers in the Memphis, Seoul, and Pyongyang (or at least what I thought was a hamburger) to name a few locations, DMK Burger Bar in Chicago made one of the best ones I’ve had in my life.

I had tried to go to DMK for dinner before, but there was a two hour wait.  So I went there during the lunch hour with Janice, and it was easy enough to get a table.dmk-burger-bar  She had been there before, but I was curious to see what made this burger joint so popular.  Their menu had your basic burgers and sides like fries, but they went above and beyond the standard fare like sliders, bison burgers, and fried okra.  I eventually settled on the number 6 burger ($9), and we split an order of the small cheddar fries ($4).

Our food came out, and I needed a towel with how much I was slobbering.  First, there were the cheddar fries.  IMG_3256While the cheese wasn’t oozing down every nook and cranny of the fry pile, I think it helped the dish since it didn’t cause the fries to become a soggy mess.  The potato sticks were nicely fried with a pinch of salt which harmonized with the silky smooth cheese and sprigs of flavorful onions.  A prelude to the glory I subsequently experienced in the form of my burger. IMG_3258  I didn’t know whether to cross myself, grab a napkin, or bow down to the masterpiece of beef, bread, and Mexican flair sitting across from me.  After admiring my meal, I slid the buns together, I could see a bunch of guacamole peaking out from the bread.  It coated my mouth from bite one, and it was full of the zesty, cilantro tinged flavor I know and love.  The beef patty was thick, juicy, and flavorful with seasonings which were further magnified by the spicy pepper jack, piquant Mexican chorizo sausage, and creamy yet intriguing chipotle mayo.  However, the best part, I thought, was the bun.  I don’t know what it was about it, but it was semi-crunchy, fluffy, and substantial.  All qualities I dream for in a hamburger bun.  I also tried part of Janice’s veggie burger that had a fried, vegetable-based patty that had a spicy kick compliments of the red peppers.  For a meat lover, I still enjoyed this greener alternative.  If you thought my meal was done there, think again, n00bz!  I pushed DMK to the limit by getting one of their signature milkshakes ($5).  I couldn’t say no to the peanut butter flavor while Janice got chocolate.  Both of them were enticing from their chocolate swirls to the thick ice cream that filled the ice cold glasses.IMG_3260  My peanut butter shake was filled with plenty of nutty goodness, and upon tasting Janice’s shake, I felt like Augustus Gloop attempting to swim in Willy Wonka’s chocolate river.  An even better innovation was when we combined our shakes to make our own frozen Reeses peanut butter cups.  It was an all-American meal that red, white, and blue us away.

So if you want some innovative burgers and even better shakes at good prices, hit up DMK Burger Bar!

DMK Burger Bar on Urbanspoon

Burgers That D-Fi Hunger

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Boom!  This is my 160th post!  Thanks everyone for your support, and expect me to keep on supplying quality restaurant reviews far into the future.  So, let’s start with a welcome to Mastication Monologues for first time viewers and long-time fans.  Today’s post is part two of my Florida trip.  My previous post features an off-beat pizzeria that can satisfy even the most square food lover (as if there existed such a thing).  As for today, I’ll still be pushing the boundaries of my culinary fortitude as I recount my visit to BurgerFi, a place that reinvents both burgers and desserts.

During our stay in Delray Beach, Florida, we did a bit of walking up and down the street lining the beach, and obviously there were plenty of restaurants to take advantage of the hungry swimmers and tanners.  One place that caught my attention was BurgerFi due to its modern exterior and warmly lit interior.IMG_2841  IMG_2840 IMG_2839We waltzed past their outdoor patio to find an extensive menu that focused mainly on burgers but also offered hot dogs, sides, desserts, beer, wine, and a “secret” menu that boasted some interesting choices like a quinoa burger for all those vegetarians out there. IMG_2837 I, however, went for the Breakfast All Day burger ($5.25) with a Coke de Mexico to drink ($3).  They employed a buzzer system for orders where I just took my drink back to my table to wait for my burger to emerge from the back like a tasty bear emerging from its den after a long winter.  While it was being crafted, I sat at the table enjoying my Mexican Coke that I had never tried before. IMG_2824 What separates the Mexican Coke from good old ‘Murikan Coke is that the former still utilizes regular sugar as a sweetener.  In comparison, the American entry we now imbibe is laden with unhealthy high fructose corn syrup due to our country’s ability to grow a surplus of corn and the overall bottom line for the company in regard to production costs.  What does this mean for me?  Well, a definite taste contrast for one thing.  While the American Coke could be described as a sweet but slightly acidic tasting cola, the Mexican Coke tasted a bit cleaner with a richer flavor.  Eventually, my burger was ready, and it was slightly frightening. IMG_2825 According to the menu, they start with an Angus burger and then pile on American cheese, hickory bacon drizzled with maple syrup, a fried egg, hash browns, onions, and ketchup.  With the bacon strips sticking out like crimson tongues from the mini-monster sitting in front of me, I saddled up my taste buds and rode into the maw of the beast.

Open wide

Open wide

The crunchy pieces of bacon crumbled beneath my full frontal assault, but I nearly lost my senses as the sweet mixed with the smokey and salty pork sent my head spinning…either that or I had a mini-stroke.

Doing work

Doing work

Once I passed that trial, I moved into the actual burger and was greeted with a liberal douse of egg yolk and meat juice.  This was a testament to the quality of the meat that was grilled to perfection, and the egg that added an extra texture dimension to the meal.  As for the hash browns, they were lying in wait at the bottom mixed up with the onions and ketchup to provide body to the burger.  The only downside was the bun that quickly faded away with each bite, and the aforementioned hashbrown mixture contributed to the burger succumbing to Hot Mess Syndrome or H.M.S.

Lookin' pretty rough

Lookin’ pretty rough

If H.M.S. reaches critical mass, i.e. it’s a matter seconds before your burger falls apart in your hand, then you either have to make the decision to stuff it into your mouth or let it tumble to the table.  Before long, I had reached this point, and I opted for the former option instead of letting it fall into the basket.  This lack of burger integrity left me disappointed and covered in the remnants of my meal like a lion who just polished off a zebra.  Once I wiped the scraps away from my hands and mouth, I decided to go for dessert because I was in vacation mode.  I went over the ice cream options, and I plumped for the O.M.C. or Oh My Chocolate concrete ($4).  This treat was absolutely ridiculous in construction and would probably be a tasty way to illustrate the layers of the earth.IMG_2838  They alternated between layers of chocolate custard and then accompanying layers of peanut butter, chocolate chips, sprinkles, and brownie chunks.  It was as decadent as it sounds, but I didn’t feel sick by the end of it.  It was like eating a giant, liquified Reese’s peanut butter cup with occasional crunchy chocolate chips or chewy brownie bites.  Needless to say, I was greatly satisfied by the meal as a whole as I cleaned up the slobber on the table when I finished.

So if you want to try a burger place that provides high quality and creative meals at a reasonable price, then BurgerFi is the eatery for you!
BurgerFi on Urbanspoon

How Voo You Doo? (Portland, Part 4)

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Well, if you’ve been following the various posts of my Portland adventures, you’ve seen that I’ve been trying to sample a wide variety of foods.  Everything from breakfast fare to haunted pizzerias have gone into Mastication Monologues, and today I’ll be talking about the food experience one must try when in Portland:  Voodoo Doughnut.

Ever since I’ve been watching the Travel Channel regularly, which has been a very recent practice, Voodoo Doughnut has always managed to pop up on some sort of wacky food program or just general tourism show.  Why would that be?  Well, Voodoo Doughnut isn’t your typical mom and pop bakery.  This franchise delves into the darkest realms of the occult religion and comes up with some culinary creations that only a the craziest houngan (voodoo priest) could imagine.  Not only that, but this establishment allows people to be wed through their shop.  Tie the knot with a couple knotted cinnamon twists?  Only at Voodoo Doughtnut!  They offer basic, non-legal weddings for $25 all the way to the “Whole Shebang” package for $6,600 that includes airfare, hotel, legal ceremony, and a tour of Portland.  I could go on and on about what makes this place so unique, but I was surprised to hear Portland natives’ reactions to my delight in going to Voodoo Doughnuts.  Most were begrudgingly accepting of this bakery like it’s the popular kid who’s really loud and obnoxious yet everyone wants to be his/her friend.  While others seemed to be happy that I tasted probably the most popular part of the Portland culinary scene.  This general joy was reflected in the omnipresent line I saw outside their original location at 22 SW 3rd Ave.IMG_3857  They’re open 24/7 aside from major holidays, but I heard from a friend of a friend who is a native of Portland that back in the day they used to hold very odd hours like 11 pm to 4 am, close for two hours, and then open from 7 am to 9:23 am or something like that.  Seems like they know how to pounce on financial opportunities while still maintaining their extremely strange vibe.  Doughnuts’ prices range from 95 cents to $3, and they only take cash! 

My Voodoo Doughnut experience started after another bizarre experience that involved me going to a 21+ mini-golf course.  I could only liken it to a mix between a hands-on arts gallery and a fun house which included CO2 powered 50 caliber golf ball guns, a low rider, and a scratch and sniff wheel to name a few holes.  Once I made my way through the course, I knew I had to take the plunge and get my Voodoo on.  It was raining, so I was in full Deatheater mode with my black jacket’s hood up as I walked up to the line that was snaking past the barriers.IMG_3860IMG_3861  Thankfully, it didn’t scare my new friends I made in line who took the form of a large bachelorette party.  It made the wait go by faster as we talked about travel, and eventually I stepped foot in this hallowed ground of creative snack cakes.IMG_2640  Their menu was as eclectic as their decor as I didn’t have any clue what to get.  I saw most people were ordering a dozen doughnuts each, but I didn’t really want to end up as round as a doughnut by the time the night was over.  After attempting to ask what the girls in the bachelorette party would recommend I should get, they all seemed deadset on the bacon maple bars…boring.  I know you can get those in other doughnut shops in the USA.  So, I first went with Voodoo Doughnut’s signature voodoo doll doughnut since I felt obligated to try it.  Then, for my second choice, it was extremely tough to choose.  The Mexican hot chocolate really was calling to me along with the Butterfinger chocolate and Marshall Mathers doughnuts.  However, one won out as I made my choice:  the O.D.B. (Old Dirty Bastard) doughnut.  I had no clue what was on it, but I picked it since it pays homage to ODB, the Staten Island rap group Wu Tang Clan’s wackiest, most drugged out, and quite possibly mentally handicapped member.  I present Exhibit A and Exhibit B.  Requiem in terra pax, dawg.  If this doughnut was as crazy as him, I expected a real treat, and a treat I did receive.  I ate one for breakfast the following Friday and Saturday, and the Voodoo Doll doughnut went first.  First, it wasn’t as neat as I was expecting the doll to be since it didn’t seem to have a face or any sort of discerning facial features.

Looks like I'm cursing a cyclops.

Looks like I’m cursing a cyclops.

There still was the pretzel driven into the torso of the doll which might have been an omen of my fiery food downfall later in my trip…tastewise, it was great.  The yellow dough was soft and spongy with a mainly neutral taste with hints of its buttery upbringing.IMG_2650  This allowed for the thick, rich milk chocolate frosting on top and gory, sweet raspberry jelly inside to sanctify this food sacrifice to Baron Samedi, lord of the Voodoo underworld a.k.a. my stomach.  As for the Old Dirty Bastard doughnut, it seriously was as over the top like one of ODB’s freestyles.

IMG_2654

I’m all about that C.R.E.A.M.

It started with a traditional yeast-raised ring doughnut with the same dough as the Voodoo doll along with a similar chocolate frosting on top.  Then it got extra dirty with the giant, crunchy chunks of Oreos heaped on top that were then tricked out with a generous drizzling of peanut butter. IMG_2653 It was like eating a giant Reeses peanut butter cup cake with Oreos on the inside.  Needless to say, it gave me the gangsta power to walk up a mountain to see the Pittock Mansion (a great non-food related sightseeing area in Portland).

So if you want to try probably the most touristy spot in Portland with some tasty desserts (although some Portlandians might say otherwise), get yourself down to Voodoo Doughnuts or else you will be cursing the day you decided not to go.
Voodoo Doughnut on Urbanspoon

It’s Peanut Butter Jelly Time!

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Welcome to another edition of Mastication Monologues!  I’m quickly writing this post since I have to get started on creating my summer camp for school, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to be all business when it comes to the food.  Yesternight, I met up with my friends, Carolyn and Ravi, in Seoul, and we stumbled upon Burger Hunter located at Wonchang Building, 25-1 Mugyo-dong, Jung-gu (중구 무교동 25-1 원창빌딩) in Seoul.  Here is their website.  I was quite hungry from lunch at school since the only filling things they had were tentacles, chicken that was mostly bones, and some fruit.

When we came in, it was decorated like an old-fashioned, 1950s American diner but with a lot of crazy road signs on the walls.  As I was scanning the menu, I saw that they offered a wide variety of burgers, including a vegetarian mushroom burger, and accompanying sides.IMG_0471  You can either get the burger alone or as a set which includes a soda or ade like strawberry-ade (lemonade+strawberry=you do the math) and fries.  However, my starving wandering eyes landed on the PB & Jellousy Burger.  I got it with a side of potato crisps.  Then I had to wait for my strange concoction to be made, and I was overjoyed when my buzzer went off to pick up my food.

When I sat down with it, it was like seeing a new civilization.  Sure, I know it’s a burger like I’ve seen before, but its garb and customs were completely foreign to me.IMG_0472  I peered at its innards to find two strips of bacon, strawberry jelly, and a moderately sized glob of peanut butter.

So wrong, yet tastes so right

So wrong, yet tastes so right

I finally took the plunge by sinking my mighty incisors into it and found a strange flavor bonanza that was quite satifying.  While the concept of it might make burger purists cringe, the actual combination is quite ingenious.  When you move past the velvety bun, the savory and smoky elements of the burger and bacon, respectively, synergize with the sweet and salty of the jelly and bacon, respectively.  Even if you will never have the chance to try Burger Hunter, I recommend trying PB and J on your burgers.  Even though I thought I couldn’t take any more, I was still hungry since the burger was Korean sized, i.e. about 3/4ths the size of an American burger.  So, I went for the Zeus burger which wasn’t too intimidating.  True, it was piled high with a patty, a slice of cheese, guacamole, onions, and some potato straws, but it didn’t possess much girth.IMG_0474  That was the main problem with the Zeus burger; it was too tall which led to the bun being eaten before all of the other ingredients which led to the equivalent of a landslide on my plate.  Not the most attractive thing to eat for your first date, but it was tasty nevertheless.  There was a downside to the burger which was the overpowering flavor of the guacamole and onions that drowned out most of the other flavors.  It was a Royal Rumble where a few players had their own personal grab for glory.  Overall, I left a very satisfied customer though.

So if you’re looking for a great Western burger with a bit of funk or a little junk in the trunk, make your way through the concrete jungle to find Burger Hunter.

A Doughnut by Any Other Name Would Taste as Sweet

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Hello to all out there in the food world coming back again for another helping of culinary wisdom from Mastication Monologues.  This month’s adventure I will be explaining the fundamental deliciousness of a breakfast place by me with an odd name serving up breakfast standards with unique twists.  The establishment in question is called Juicy-O which can be found at various places around the country, but the location I went to is at 6300 Kingery Highway , Suite 418, Willowbrook, IL.  This restaurant has been around for a couple of years now in the strip mall by my house, but the two times I have been in there have been quite interesting.

To begin, why exactly is this restaurant named, “Juicy O”?  I soon found out when I walked into the door with their walls that are covered in small picture frames containing comical pictures about the importance of  enjoying a good breakfast in a society that seems to be even more fast paced with each passing year.  It also gave off a vibe of being more along the lines of an old-fashioned diner that prides itself in its freshly squeezed O.J. (that’s orange juice= the Juicy O in question), I’m not talking about the other type that tries to run away in a white Bronco haha).  I digress, here is an example of their homely wisdom about the universality of breakfast and the integration of various cuisines:

E Pluribus Unum tasty breakfast

As we were seated quite promptly, we received our menus that were quite profuse in terms of variety and the bright colors that inflamed the senses as soon as you looked at the front of it

The Book of Deliciousness

I was immediately surprised that they served bubble teas given that the only time that I have had them was when I was in a restaurant that specialized in Asian cuisine, but I guess they were reaching out to all possible markets when designing the menu.  They got the Latino market as I naturally gravitated towards the Southwestern favorites since I always do crave something spicy/something with tortillas to eat.  However, whilst I was attempting to make my choice there was something that made me bow down to the greatness of this place.  The waitress proceeded to place a bowl of small donut holes covered in cinnamon sugar in front of us…for free!

Donuts of the Gods…complete with divine cinnamon sugar

This definitely blew the standard basket of bread out of the water at any Greek run restaurant, and my giddiness was confirmed as I took one succulent bite of these expertly and lightly fried donut spheres of excellence.  Before I could realize it we had destroyed the entire donut population like settlers decimating the buffalo on the Western plains.  We should have paced ourselves because the second bowl wasn’t free, but it focused my mind again which eventually settled on chilaquiles, which is eggs with chicken, tortilla chips, and salsa all mixed in a bowl.  Initially I was worried about my choice given the fact that earlier in my life I ordered enchiladas in a similar place which lets just say did not end muy bien.  However, the dish was surprisingly tasty since the tortilla chips were not too soggy, the eggs were not runny at all, and the spicy salsa did not cover the flavor of the other elements of the dish but rather brought them out to their full potential.

My second, more recent, visit was pretty much the same deal with the donuts, but I decided to get something a bit more traditional with a twist since I thrive on finding new foods to try or variations of universal favorites.  Thus, the Elvis French Toast caught my eye (price: $9) due to the fact that it had French toast, bananas, and peanut butter (three of my favorite foods in the world since I eat pb and banana sandwiches everyday), so I thought it would be a match made in heaven.  I also tried their famous, freshly squeezed orange juice which was tasty and tangy, but definitely not worth the $5 price tag it supposedly demanded.   Eventually the moment of truth arrived when I’d be face to face with a Rock and Roll legend in French toast form, and my mom also ordered Bananas Foster French toast due to her obsession with New Orleans cuisine.

At first glance, my Elvis french toast looked like his ’68 return special when he was rejuvenated through the use of black leather and sweet sideburns kind of like this:

The Resemblance is Uncanny to…

The King of French Toast

Sadly, this dish was as bland as his characters in his many movies, and it just left me bloated/disappointed at the end of it all (R.I.P.).  The syrup did add a hint of flavor to the peanut butter, but overall it was too many neutral flavors cavorting in one dish which never really grabbed a hold of my palate and said, “I Want You, I Need You”.  Instead I was just left with Suspicious Minds…alright, pun fest over.  My mom’s choice, the Bananas Foster French toast, was the same pattern where the presentation overshadowed the quality:

A Taste of NOLA for Breakfast

I enjoyed the bananas more than with the French toast which was bland overall, but the fruit had a nice coating of a cinnamon sugar glaze which would satisfy anyone with even tiniest of a sweet tooth.

Overall, I would recommend Juicy O to anyone who wants to try some new variations on breakfast favorites, even if they aren’t that satisfying sometimes.  On a closing note, the establishment only stays open till 3 p.m., so if you’re uncertain about going, take the everlasting advice of a soulful Mississippi boy, “It’s Now or Never”.

Juicy-O on Urbanspoon

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