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IN THE MIX: Pancake review with special guest, Writer & Director James Gunn

Last weekend I was incredibly fortunate to have Writer/Director James Gunn join me as a guest reviewer for Ma’amCakes!

Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, followed by a brief stop in New York City to earn his MFA in creative writing from Columbia University, James moved to Los Angeles fourteen years ago to pursue writing and directing. Since his long trek across country, James has both written and directed major screenplays including Slither, and Rainn Wilson/Ellen Page comedy Super, and has written horror/sci-fi flick Dawn of the Dead, comedy Scooby Doo, and many others. 

For his Ma’amCakes debut, James picked Studio City hot spot Hugo’s, located on Riverside Drive. Yes, I know what you’re thinking: I’ve already done a review at Hugo’s! Well True Ma’amCakes Followers, to switch it up a bit, I decided to get the wackiest pancakes on the menu! Can you guess which ones?

Uh, maybe a better question is… where the hell are the pancakes? “Do you know where the pancakes are on this menu,” said James, “I seriously can’t find them!” Well James, the only reason I knew where the pancakes were located is because I had the same issue five months ago. I’m so flattered Hugo’s took my suggestion of separating the pancake options from the eggs, instead of burying them on the bottom of page three.


If you haven’t already guessed, in honor of my obsession with summer and all-things tropical, I went with the Roasted Pineapple-Coconut Pancakes, while James went with the All-American breakfast of Buttermilk Pancakes and a glass of milk:

I figured since I was dining with such an artistic Director, I’d get the most artistic Ma’amCakes on the menu. After a few bites, I realized that the reason these pancakes were so good is because they contained the proper amount of ALL their ingredients. After using the Dewey Decimal System to find the ingredients on the menu, I re-read “topped with sliced bananas, toasted slivered almonds, and coconut.” I found it interesting that the roasted pineapple was cooked inside the pancakes, while the remaining ingredients were on top. I myself am shocked to say this, but guess what Hugo’s? I wouldn’t change a thing about the placement of these ingredients! The only suggestion I have about these Ma’amCakes is they should be fluffier - I personally would rather be more overwhelmed with pancake, than with fruit. 

While James’ Buttermilk Pancakes (with a glass of milk) was very traditional, the side of raisins? Not so much. In fact, looking back now, it actually looks like there are bugs on his plate. “These pancakes are really good,” said James, “but yeah, I could do without the raisins.” Well apparently the pancakes were really good, because when I looked down fifteen minutes later, they were gone! “I can’t believe I ate the entire plate. That’s probably the most I’ve ever eaten in one sitting!” While the raisins were the only thing left behind, I do give Hugo’s props for trying to make a somewhat boring dish, interesting. 

Overall, it was another successful Ma’amCakes review at Hugo’s. As far as the Roasted Pineapple-Coconut Pancakes: the fruit was fresh, the coconut did its job of bringing me back to a day on the beach, and the pancakes took me home. When asking which pancakes he’d try next time, James replied with “the pumpkin pancakes!” Good choice! In fact, I might have the same. 

Thank you so much James, for being a part of Saturday morning brunch with Ma’amCakes! Be sure to check out James’ newest project, video game Lollipop Chainsaw now in stores. 

Guess who’s gonna be my next guest reviewer??

I’ll give you a hint. It has something to do with this movie… 

IN THE MIX: Pancake review with special guest, Photographer & Equestrian Kelle King!

Last weekend Photographer/Equestrian Kelle Deeter - whoops, I keep forgetting she just got married and became a KING! - joined me as a guest reviewer for Ma’amCakes!

Kelle, Photographer and Owner of KelleDPhotography, has made quite a name for herself around LA. Shooting anyone from professional dancers, to up-and-coming actors, Kelle knows how to capture smiles of even the furriest friends! Although talented behind the camera, it is Kelle’s zealous passion for animals (in particular, horses) which has earned her a title of 5-Time National Champion in the Arabian Horse Division!

For our Ma’amCakes review, Kelle picked Toluca Lake joint Paty’s Restaurant, located on Riverside Drive. 

For some reason I was expecting there to be only a couple of pancake options, so you can imagine my surprise when I saw this excitingly diverse menu:

Note to pancake lovers: when having difficulty choosing one dish… combine ‘em! “I’m going to have the Multigrain Pancakes with Blueberries,” said Kelle. After taking a few minutes to decide, I went with the Bada-Bing Cakes, but asked for the chocolate chips inside the batter, and kept the bananas atop. Although re-looking at this menu… I think I’m gonna have to go for the Butter Me Not Cakes next time, right?


Bada-Bing Bada-BOOM! These pancakes hit the spot Friday morning. The chocolate chips were melted perfectly into these delectable pancakes, and the bananas were amazingly fresh. I wish the batter was a little less greasy, but other than that, these pancakes were great. The whipped cream topped on the side was a bit… strange. As this blog is PG I will try and keep it that way, but; based on this image, it looks like someone visited the actual Bada Bing and got a little too excited, if ya know what I’m sayin’! I do appreciate the creativity though. Maybe the whipped cream needs to be a little more “whipped” next time, and a little less runny? Onto the Multigrain Pancakes! 

"The blueberries are as fresh as your meal’s bananas," said Kelle, "and the pancakes are delicious and on the healthy side!” It makes me laugh when guest reviewers are surprised there can be healthy pancakes (see my review with guest star Helen Slater, for example). Being in Los Angeles, (one of the biggest locations with dieting “issues”/requests), the city is our oyster - er, pancake! And yes, health(ier) pancakes are possible!

After completing her meal (well, most of it), Kelle’s words of wisdom for future Paty’s visitors included, “You definitely need to come with an appetite! I kind of wish they had an option for two pancakes, instead of three. I hate wasting food!” While we all know which Ma’amCakes I’d get on my next outing, Kelle is interested in ordering the “Banana Berry next time!”

Overall, the pancakes at Paty’s were really good. That being said, the best pancakes I’ve had in LA with the chocolate chip batter + bananas-on-top-combination was at Jinky’s Cafe in Santa Monica. However, I definitely recommend Paty’s Ma’amCakes, and look forward to my next visit!

Thanks so much Kelle, for being a part of Friday morning brunch with Ma’amCakes! Be sure to keep a lookout for Kelle’s new business venture, a photo book combining her love of horses and photography called, Tails of the Ring! In the meantime, for anyone looking for amazing headshots of themselves, their children, pets, or families, reference this Ma’amCakes review and receive 20% off your first photo session! Just email Kelle at KelleDeeter@gmail.com.

Ma’amCakes is officially a DOT COM! Get ready for a total re-vamp. Monetization, here we go!

Ma’amCakes is officially a DOT COM! Get ready for a total re-vamp. Monetization, here we go!

CHECK IT OUT! Happy Hour LA picked up on Ma’amCakes’ review with Michael Girgenti, and posted the review on their Headlines front page!

Be sure to check out the front page of #HappyHourDigestion inclusive of Ma’amCakes review with Michael before it gets lost in the shuffle! 


IN THE MIX: Pancake review with special guest Michael Girgenti

Last weekend actor/rapper Michael Girgenti joined me as a guest reviewer for Ma’amCakes!

Originally from Chicago, Michael made his debut in the film industry when he wrote, co-directed, and co-starred in mob-drama, Azienda. As the character Lloyd, Michael is currently prepping to shoot Cadillac City, (a Breakfast Club meets Ferris Bueller’s Day Off type of film), and you can also catch him at many local LA venues, including the world famous Whisky A Go Go, where he raps with his group, Codename Ghost.  

For his Ma’amCakes debut, Michael chose Glendale restaurant, Conrad’s

Now, this restaurant wasn’t quite what I was expecting… I didn’t realize it was a diner. Well, it kind of reminded me of a diner you’d see in a senior facility. In fact, as Michael and I are used to going places where they check ID, I figured the only ID they’d ask for at this joint was an AARP card.  

That being said, Michael and I were here to review some Ma’amCakes, and that we did!

As there weren’t too many pancake options, Michael ended up choosing the Short Stack, while I chose the Strawberry Hot Cakes with (what specifically said) topped with strawberries.

Well, these looked delicious, but why say “topped with” when you’re just going to put them on the side? Come to think of it, Conrad’s did have some directional issues, as I also asked for this coffee from their table-tent menu:

But I, instead, received this delightful drink:

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining - it was actually pretty funny, and quite tasty! Although, it wasn’t so funny when they charged me $5 for the ice coffee I didn’t order. I mean, we’re not exactly in Starbucks, people.

Anyway, that being said, the pancakes were pretty good!

With the strawberries on the side, Michael & I pretty much ordered the same meal, but you can tell how good the pancakes tasted from their coloring alone! “Yeah,” said Michael, “they do taste like traditional, American pancakes,” (or what I call diner-pancakes), “and they’re really good, mainly because they’re so fluffy.” I agreed with Michael, the fluffiness is certainly what made them special. I can’t remember the last time I finished an entire plate of pancakes, but I sure swept the plate at Conrad’s!

Michael also added, “I like the pancakes better with the fruit, for sure.” The strawberries made the meal tastier, especially with their just-picked freshness!

Overall, the Ma’amCakes at Conrad’s were pretty good for “traditional, American pancakes.” That being said, if we ate all that butter in the image above, Michael and I would be leaving with a similar medical-record as of some of Conrad’s patrons! “The best part about this restaurant,” said Michael, “is they serve breakfast 24 hours a day!” That is definitely a plus. ‘Cause when I want Ma’amCakes at 3:00 in the morning, Conrad’s has the exact type of pancakes I’d be craving.

Thanks so much Michael, for being a part of Sunday morning breakfast with Ma’amCakes! Be sure to check out Codename Ghost’s new mixtape Low Key Famous coming out this summer on Datpiff.com.

Check out a Yelp comment from the Blu Jam Cafe CHEF, Kamil, in response to my review with Jodie Sweetin! 

Check out a Yelp comment from the Blu Jam Cafe CHEF, Kamil, in response to my review with Jodie Sweetin

Celebrate America’s 236th birthday with creative #Ma’amCakes! Happy 4th of July!

Check out the new Ma’amCakes front/back business cards!

Check out the new Ma’amCakes front/back business cards!

Pancake Review at: Sonoma Wine Garden

Yes, I know what you’re thinking. “They have pancakes?!” Well, Sonoma Wine Garden located on top of Santa Monica Place in Santa Monica, CA actually has quite the weekend brunch menu!

Having visited Sonoma Wine Garden for a friend’s birthday, I was already looking forward to the bottomless Bellinis; seeing Ma’amCakes on the menu, however, was just the syrup on the pancake!

So, this menu is pretty much the “Where’s Waldo” of pancakes, but check out the first dish “Kaiserschmarrn,” and voila! Ma’amCakes. Having never tried this “Austrian specialty” before I was a little hesitant, but also delighted, to try something new. 

Um. Where are my pancakes, and why is there a spoon on my plate - er, bowl? A Ma’amCakes first! Never in my life have I seen pancakes served this way. First bite, here we go!

Interesting… very interesting. As per the menu above, Kaiserschmarrn consisted of a caramelized Austrian pancake soufflé with raisins and roasted apples. I could definitely taste all of the ingredients. However, to my disappointment, the dish tasted much more like caramelized apples and raisins, with a hit of pancake dressing. In other words, this dish tasted more like the toppings, than the actual main course. Having never tried Kaiserschmarrn it is somewhat difficult to review, as I have nothing to compare it to; that being said, when comparing this dish to the rest of the amazing  Ma’amCakes in this city… you can’t even really call these pancakes. With the apple and raisin flavoring, this is the kind of dish you eat in the fall season, before going on a hay-ride.

On a positive note, the whipped cream in the jar was a perfect addition for this dish. The thickness of the cream perfectly balanced the pancakes, and I probably ate more of the whipped cream than that of the Kaiserschmarrn. That ain’t good news for a pancake review, people. 

Overall, I highly recommend the Sonoma Wine Garden for brunch, particularly for a special occasion on a beautiful summer weekend. That being said, the Ma’amCakes, not so much. I must say I do actually have some Austrian in me, but have never had Kaiserschmarrn in me before last weekend. I appreciate Sonoma’s attempt to host pancakes with a bit of a twist; but this is Los Angeles, people, and we want a fork on our plate, and at least want an option for more traditional pancakes - especially to soak up the bottomless Bellinis. 

Happy First Full Day of Summer! Celebrate with creative Ma’amCakes!

Happy First Full Day of Summer! Celebrate with creative Ma’amCakes!

IN THE MIX: Pancake review with special guest Jodie Sweetin

This weekend I was incredibly fortunate to have actress Jodie Sweetin as my guest reviewer for Ma’amCakes!

Jodie, best known for playing the adorable and witty Stephanie Tanner on Full House, was a television icon for my generation; so you can imagine my elation when she graciously agreed to review Saturday morning Ma’amCakes! 

For our review, Jodie and I decided to check out Melrose hot-spot Blu Jam Café as, somehow, neither one of us had ever been there for pancakes! 


"I’ve been here for lunch before," said Jodie, "and we ordered the single-Blueberry Pancake dish for my daughter, Beatrix. She loved it. I can’t wait to try the pancakes, I’ve heard good things!" As had I. 

As I decided to go with the Blueberry Pancakes, Jodie went for the Breakfast Trio, which included eggs, French Toast, and sausage; but by the end, we split everything!

Viewing these pancakes again makes my mouth water; if you look at the glisten on the blueberries, you can see just how fresh the fruit is. Upon her first bite, Jodie agreed as she stated, “These pancakes are very fluffy, and the blueberries are really fresh, not tart.” Jodie was definitely right about the fluffiness of the pancakes. Sometimes as you make your way towards the middle, pancakes can be under-cooked, or oppositely, crispy; however, these delicious pancakes stayed fluffy all-throughout.

My only critique was the pancakes were a bit dry, and I actually had to apply a hint of butter and syrup. Sorry Blu Jam, I know you’re thinking “How-Rude!” but as we all know Ma’amCakes’ motto by now: a truly delicious pancake does not need butter or syrup, and should taste amazing on its own. 

Overall, the Blueberry Pancakes at Blu Jam Café tasted like Mom’s homemade pancakes: fluffy, fresh, and refreshing. And I’m sure the “milkman and the paperboy would plug them on evening TV.”

Thank you so much Jodie, for being a part of Saturday brunch with Ma’amCakes! Be sure to follow Jodie on Twitter, and check out her memoir UnSweetined.

Happy Father’s Day weekend to my father, the Urologist; if he could create fun pancakes, these are the #maamcakes he’d make for us!

Happy Father’s Day weekend to my father, the Urologist; if he could create fun pancakes, these are the #maamcakes he’d make for us!

Guess who’s gonna be my next guest reviewer??