Quick Hits: Good Enough To Eat

Good Enough To Eat
520 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10024
Hours: Mon-Thu 8:00 AM – 10:30 PM, Friday 8:00 AM – 11:00 PM, Sat 9:00 AM – 11:00 PM, Sun 9:00 AM – 10:30 PM

The name of the venue doesn’t really inspire confidence, but you know what?  It was damn good enough to eat.

Alright, I won’t go too overboard.  Good Enough To Eat is a perfectly decent place to get brunch if you’re in the Upper West Side. It’s a typical NYC eatery that tries its hardest to make it feel like a farmhouse-style diner that you can escape into from the busy streets.  The food hits that comfort food craving if you’re in the mood for that kind of hearty brunch fare.

Much to my delight, the omelette that I ordered had giant nuggets of bacon, not the usual broken up bits that you’ll often get elsewhere. And the waffle lived up to what my friend told me was their claim to fame–though in my opinion it’s really, really hard to eff up waffles. Though what really stood out to me was the strawberry butter that accompanied the homemade biscuits that came with the entrees.

The one flaw of this place was the service–it was slow as molasses. Sure, it could be that our waitress was having a bad day, but I can’t give Good Enough To Eat a top review because of her lethargy.

Quick Hits: Malibu Cafe

Malibu Cafe
327 Latigo Canyon Road
Malibu, CA 90265

Monday: Closed; Tuesday-Saturday: 11:30 AM – 10 PM; Sunday: 10 AM – 9 PM

Malibu Cafe is one of the more unique brunch locations I’ve had the pleasure of visiting.  Located on the Calamigos Ranch, this venue is a bit off the beaten path so you’ll need to plan a bit to get there unless you live in the Malibu/Thousand Oaks area.   The restaurant is mainly all outdoors and looks very much like an adult playground.  Besides the numerous tables for dining there are activities set up such as a giant chess board, outdoor bowling alley, giant Jenga, Cornhole, paddle boats and rowboats, and of course several bars.

This place is a perfect afternoon spot for big groups if the weather is nice out (and let’s be real, SoCal weather is pretty much always nice).  I’ve been told at night the garden lighting in all the trees light up and make for a really cute bistro feel.  The food overall was pretty good, the Mac and Cheese balls were fantastic, but the service could use a little work.  The waiters were very polite and personable, but they took a long time to get us basic things like napkins, water and our check (in their defense they said the credit card machine was down).  Luckily, we wanted to just hang out outside and enjoy the weather anyways so it wasn’t as much of a bother.

Silver Lake, Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles is an interesting place to visit because unlike most traditional cities in the U.S., you have a pretty lengthy drive on the highway to get from area to area.  No quick hop on the metro or nice walk along the river in this city.

So on my past trip to L.A., I extended my visit a bit to stay with some friends in the area of Silver Lake.  Most tourists probably wouldn’t come to see Silver Lake usually; its much more of a residential area for the more alternative crowd.  However if you do happen upon this area, there is a bit to offer, most of which is on Sunset Blvd.

A couple places for brunch

Millie’s Cafe

Probably my favorite of the two brunch places I went to, Millie’s has a really, really extensive menu.  With a lot of outdoor sidewalk seating, this little cafe is a good place to have some good ol’ comfort food while watching the numerous, sunglasses wearing locals stroll on by.  I had the healthy green burrito (very Southern Californian of me right?) that was made of egg whites, guacamole and spinach and comes with a side of fresh fruit.  It was enormous, and actually quite delicious for the “healthy” option.  I’d recommend it, however if you do need the grease and goodness of bacon, sausage, french toast, pancakes etc., don’t worry, they have all that too.  I’ll probably go back and have that when I’m not on a health kick.

Sidewalk seating at Millie’s


For a quieter alternative down the street, give Local a try.  The ambiance is a bit calmer, and their menu is not as extensive.  That being said, for a lazy Sunday type place, Local fits the billing.  There isn’t really any sidewalk seating, but their covered patio is large.

The quieter alternative to Millie’s


Thirsty Crow

Silver Lake, from what I saw, doesn’t seem to be a “going out” type of area, but there are a few places to grab drinks and have a good time.  The Thirsty Crow in particular is quite good.  It’s a very divey, dark place with a speakeasy, candlelit vibe.  Despite its darkness, the place is actually quite vibrant with some great Motown music playing the night I was there.  Outside a chef grills up hamburgers to order while listening to Michael Jackson.  And if you like whisky, THIS is your place.  The whisky list is extensive and you should be able to find one to your liking.

Things to do

Griffith Observatory

Not far from Silver Lake is the Griffith Observatory (as seen in numerous movies including Rebel Without a Cause and The Terminator).  Located at the top of a steep mountain, those of you looking to break a little sweat on your trip should try hiking to the top.  You should be in relatively good shape if you want to try the hike, and be sure to bring water, hats, sunscreen, etc. because there is practically no shade on the trail.  I’d say the hike was very similar to hiking up Masada.  When you get to the top, you can enjoy the exhibits inside the Observatory and there’s a $7 planetarium show that is the perfect recipe for the post-climb collapse.


Quick Hits – The Wayfarer, Santa Barbara

I’m going to take a break from the Australia trip to do a quick hit on Santa Barbara.  Santa Barbara is a great little city with a fun, vibrant wine scene.  We took an excursion out there for the weekend during a work trip to L.A. and had the opportunity to stay in one of Santa Barbara’s newest hotels — the trendy, the fun, The Wayfarer.

I’ll say this off the bat, The Wayfarer is not the cheapest place you’ll stay.  Full disclosure, we were able to get a great rate for a room because our friend’s husband works for Pacifica Hotels, the company that manages The Wayfarer.  Now that being said, you will be able to find a full range of rates due to the fact that it’s technically a hostel.  It’s a very, very swanky hostel, but still technically a hostel.  Because of this, you’ll be able to get a bed in a male only/female only dorm for only $50 a night.  But if you want a private room, it’ll cost more depending on when you stay.

From everything I saw, it’s worth the price no matter what way you want to stay there.  The location is fantastic.  You’re within walking distance of the beach, wineries and the shitshow that is State Street.  The rooms are brand new, and in some of them there’s a great murphy bed that comes out from above the king size bed, making it look like a bunk bed/cruise ship cabin.  Yes, I was the overgrown child who got to camp out on it.  There rooms also come with free wi-fi and flat screen HD TVs.

The pool area is small, but comfortable enough.  There is also a communal kitchen where each room gets their own pantry space with plenty of kitchenware for everyone to use.  In the common area, you’ll find giant sized Jenga and Connect Four.  Free breakfast is available every morning as well.

Places to go around The Wayfarer?  Check out The Lark for the Hand Rolled Pappardelle with Crispy Braised Lamb.  For brunch, The Brewhouse is the only place that offers brunch on Saturdays as well as Sundays.  The brunch area looks a little like a mess, but don’t be scared off.  The food is actually quite good and the chefs make pretty much made-to-order anything.  For wine, head out to Kunin Wines for a tasting where they offer a Classic Tasting and a Syrah Tasting.  You can also check out O’Malley’s for a good regular bar scene, and the Wildcat if you really want to end your night like you’re still a 20-year-old UC-Santa Barbara student (The Wildcat I don’t exactly “recommend”, but it you’re in that place where you want to be that way, well, then it’s there…).

In the end, with the beautiful 80 degree temps and sunny weather, there wasn’t really anything that you could do in Santa Barbara that’d be wrong.

Kafe Leopold’s

3318 M Street Northwest
Washington D.C., DC 20007
(202) 965-6005

Open Mon-Wed,Sun 8am-10:30pm; Thu-Sat 8am-12am

Now that the spring weather is starting to slowly come upon us, I like to try and take advantage of any restaurants with outdoor seating.  So on the first comfortable Sunday of March, my buddies and I tried to find a place to have brunch in Washington, D.C. and decided on Kafe Leopold‘s.

Located off the main drag of M Street in Georgetown, Kafe Leopold’s is a yuppi-ish, European joint with clientele that falls under the category of either having western European decent and/or upper middle class Georgetowner.  Needless to say my friends and I don’t really fit into either one of those categories, so we were sort of out of place (but not uncomfortably so).

With the goal of trying to get one of the tables outside, we came upon Kafe Leopold’s and the couple dozen other people trying to do the same thing.  There are about twelve tables on their patio, however only about five of them can accommodate more than two people.   And by the way, the outdoor section is dog friendly if you decide you want to bring your pooch along.

My party was hungry enough that we decided to pass on waiting for outdoor seating and signed up for first available.  The wait was long; we were told 30 minutes and it ended up being more like an hour.  The host was apologetic and checked in on us several times, which softened the irritation a little, but still an hour wait was a pretty long time.  We couldn’t really blame anyone however.  Sunday brunch is a time to lounge around and enjoy the company of the table you’re at, so we couldn’t really fault the current patrons who were enjoying their meals slowly.  Like I said, the clientele was very European.

When we did get seated, we were taken indoors.  The interior will remind you of a IKEA dining room, with a lot of white space all around and the solid, modern looking furniture.  The only hint of color was a curious orange couch in the middle of the room which reminded us of Gaudi’s bench in Park Guell in Barcelona.  There was also a fairly large display case of mouth watering pastries and cakes sitting there and teasing our rumbling stomachs.

Once seated, we ordered a few appetizers and bunch items.  I had a Mrs. Palmer cocktail (Sweet Tea Vodka, Lemonade, and Ginger Beer I think) which was the best part of the meal (sadly).  The croissant I ordered (I succumbed to the temptation of the pastry display) was buttery, flakey, and quite good, but nothing special.  We ordered a prosciutto platter as an appetizer as well, which was alright as well, except for the fact that it annoyingly showed up with our main dishes.

My $15 chive and cheese omlette however was pretty boring and I probably could have made a much better one myself at home.  The omlette came with a small green salad and three small pieces of toast (which added up to maybe one piece of white bread), and those didn’t really pair that well with the eggs.  One of my friends ordered the same thing and had the same reaction.  Our third friend had the Belgian waffle with chocolate and he too was underwhelmed by his meal because the waffle itself was no larger than a frozen Eggo waffle (probably better to get your brunch waffles at Belga Cafe in Eastern Market).

Bottom line: All in all, the experience wasn’t horrible, but it’s not worth it unless you get the outdoor seating on a nice day.  But I’m always willing to give a restaurant a second chance and I might go back to try their regular lunch/dinner because those menu items did look much better on other customers’ tables.  C+