The Original Pantry Cafe is delicious

Original Pantry CafeAt the end of a long busy week in Los Angeles I was wondering town looking for a good place to grab some breakfast. Just a few blocks up from our hotel we found the Original Pantry Cafe. One of the women I was with remembered hearing it was good food, so we wondered in.

I’m a big fan of the diner. I like basic comfort food with no fancy names and no fancy sauces. I love milk shakes and french fries and I really really love breakfast. Butter, syrup, and some kind of thick, rich carbohydrate to soak it all up really starts my day off (or dinner for that matter) with a big fat encouraging smile.

This is a classic diner atmosphere with classic diner charm. There are photos from a variety of dates along with posters decorating the walls throughout. The Original Pantry Cafe has been open since 1924, “never without a customer” and you can even see years of traffic in a spot by the front door… look at all those layers of flooring!

Original Pantry Cafe floor

There are no printed menus, everything is written on a few boards placed on walls around the restaurant. The food choices are traditional all American foods; bacon, eggs, french toast, sandwiches, etc. I was thrilled to also get a tall glass of perfectly yummy raspberry ice tea. Our server was fantastic, our glasses were never empty and we left delightfully full.

Original Pantry Cafe food

Another aspect I love about this place is the price. It’s only a few blocks up from the Los Angeles Convention center on Figueroa, just up from LA Live!. Most of the places we encountered were over priced with mediocre service. I ordered a plate of french toast with a side of bacon, the server brought me scrambled eggs with cheese at no charge (because eggs sounded good but I forgot to order them and he over heard me), yet my total bill was just under $14.

The photo above includes an omelet and hash browns I was luck enough to sit by but didn’t have the honor of tasting, I heard the happy recipient chewing though.

The Original Pantry Cafe in Los Angeles is truly a hidden gem in plain sight.

Original Pantry Cafe outside sign

How do you open a banana?

Well, the end of summer is nearly here which means that soon my little ones will be headed back to school and I’ll actually have more time to post! I’ll have to get up earlier to deal with that whole get-them-off-to-school-early thing, but that’s ok. My kids eat breakfast pretty well and one of their favorite things is bananas.

Now, I’m not a fan of the mushy banana, unless I’m making banana bread. I prefer mine almost green thank you very much, but sometimes they can be hard to open and you end up having to break out the knife or worse, your teeth. Blech!

I stumbled across this great little video this morning and I was intrigued! In retropect, it makes sense…a banana is essentially a seedpod and seedpods open from the end, not from the part that is attached from the tree.

So, how do you open a banana?

Free Starbucks VIA Ready Brew

Starbucks VIAFor a limited time, Starbucks is offering samples of their new VIA Ready Brew which is an instant version of their regular coffee. They’ve come out with two different flavors: Colombia and Italian Roast.

Click here to get your free VIA sample.

You’ll need to sign up for their newsletter to get your sample, but it’s not a frequent thing and you can always unsubscribe later. Try it and let us know what you think…we’ll report back once we get our own sample!

Oatmeal Contest – Breakfast of the Gods!

For those of you who have known me for a long time, you will know that there is one meal of the day that I totally dislike and it’s name is breakfast. I detest the icky sugary cereals that smell like cleaning solutions. I dislike the carb heavy bagels that make me feel tired and sleepy. I HATE runny eggs with a PASSION hotter than a thousand burning suns (which coincidentally would actually cook eggs to perfection). Bacon and sprinkle donuts are about the only things about breakfast that I do like, but you can’t live on those every day without having a heart attack.

Breakfast is a really important meal and one that admittedly I used to skip regularly. That is, until I discovered the one thing I can have over and over and over for breakfast and never get bored eating.


Quaker OatmealYes, I readily admit it. I have a deep and abiding love affair with oatmeal. Sprinkled with maple brown sugar. Topped with bits of juicy tree ripened peaches. Mixed with a liberal handful of fresh plump blueberries. It’s just so darn good! (Plus it’s darn good for you too! Did you know that they have twenty-five years of clinical proof that the soluble fiber in Quaker Oatmeal actually can help lower your cholesterol?)

That’s why I was shocked and ecstatic when the good people at Quaker Oatmeal contacted me about this incredible event they are having and asked me to participate. For 25 days, one blogger each day starting at 9 a.m. CST gets as many people as possible to take a picture of themselves with a specific print out of the Quaker Oats’ man and upload it to the Quaker Oats’ Facebook page and post a link to their photo back in the comments of the blog. The blogger with the most photo/link “votes” at the end of their assigned 24 hour period wins a $5000 donation made by The Quaker Oats Company for a local hunger charity in their area!!

So here’s how it works:

  1. 1. First, you’re going to need a Facebook page. Sorry, no way around it.
    It’s ok…join us! Mine’s here.
  2. Visit Start With Substance to get to the Quaker Fan page on Facebook and to read the official rules.
  3. Once you’re on the Facebook page, click on “Become A Fan” in the upper right and scroll down to download the Quaker Man. Print him out and take a photo or video of yourself with him.*
  4. Upload your photo to the Quaker Fan page and grab the link for your photo.
  5. Post a comment back here on containing the link to your photo on the Quaker Fan page. (THIS IS IMPORTANT!! It’s the only way you count as a vote for me! If you have trouble figuring it out, email me and I’ll try to help.)

I only have the 24 hours between 9 a.m. CST on Monday January 19th to 9 a.m. CST Tuesday, January 20th to get as many link votes as possible, so please, please, please forward this on to everyone you know. There are so many fine, hard working people in my agricultural community of Yuba City that have already been hit very hard by the economy and the food banks are really hurting for donations.

$5000 goes a loooong way to feeding a lot of hungry kids. Please. With a cherry on top.

Also, Quaker has been kind enough to give me two coupons, each good for $1.00 off any 2 Quaker Oats’ products to award to two of you lovely readers (I’ll pick my favorite photos from your submitted links) AND a case of oatmeal for my local food bank! So get posting!!

With many joyful thanks and a tummy full of oatmeal goodness,

*Disclaimer: The photo or video must be taken with your family member(s) or just yourself. Only one photo per person/per email will count. All submissions are subject to the Facebook Terms and Conditions. The Quaker Man logo must remain in intact and may not be modified in any manner. Readers must use the exact download of the image, and all entries need to be wholesome in nature. No nudity, defamation, obscene language or inappropriate, rude behavior in the photograph submitted will be accepted. Compliance with these rules is subject to the sole discretion of The Quaker Oats Company.