A Sunday Brunch at Copper Blues Oxnard!

I think it is safe to say I love me a great Sunday fun day brunch. There’s nothing like knowing you can enjoy that extra hour (or two) of sleeping in and lounging, then still be able to catch a great late breakfast or early lunch paired with a Mimosa or Bloody Mary. Michael and I were able to do just this when Copper Blues Rock Pub and Kitchen invited us out to see what makes their brunch ROCK harder than any others!

Following a gorgeous drive up Highway 101 to Oxnard, we arrived at the city’s beautiful shopping center. Boasting department stores, movie theatre, top notch dining and, of course, Copper Blues and their partner, Levity Live Comedy Club. Which are conveniently located next to one another.

Entering Copper’s feels more like a rock club than a restaurant, but don’t be fooled: They know how to do both, and how to do it right. Murals and portraits of famous musicians adorn every wall (Amy Winehouse, John Lennon, Keith Richards, just to name a few) while the ladies room had framed song sheets of such hit songs as Blondie’s Call Me. Everywhere you turn in Copper’s, there is something to see. And, that is to say nothing of their food.

Beautiful fountain and views out front. Photo: Michael Farah.

Copper’s is very gluten free friendly! Photo: Michael Farah.

Getting to chat with the Management team, I was fascinated to learn that EVERYTHING at each Copper Blues is made daily from scratch. From the Bloody Mary mix  to their apple and fennel sauce, it is made with love in house. Thus, making each bite taste more like a home-cooked meal than a restaurant.

While I opted for an order of their endless mimosa (which I was warned is mostly champagne. I wasn’t complaining), Michael was eager to take advantage of their Build-Your-Own-Bloody-Mary bar! Your server brings you your glass with ice and alcohol, then you’re off on your own to make your concoction however you like. Less mix, more bacon? More spice, less celery? It is all up to you. Not being a big fan of the spicy favorite, I had to try Michael’s (which mind you had bacon in it. I tried that too and it was an epic moment of flavor) and for once, I found a Bloody Mary tolerable. I think it is all about the mix and Copper’s does an excellent recipe.

While we awaited our main dishes, the team insisted we try their brunch staple, Bibimbap. Having not had this dish much, I was intrigued. At first look, it appeared to be some hot rice with an egg on top. After one bite? I could have ordered 2 more bowls of this! Filled with savory flavor and spices, kimchi and the option of bacon (Vegetarian for me), their Bibimbap was delicious and certainly a signature dish.

Bibimbap. Photo: Michael Farah.

Cajun Shrimp Benedict. Photo: Michael Farah.

While we awaited our breakfast plates, the live music set began. At Copper’s, they are not joking when they say they are a Blues Kitchen. Behind their full bar that looks out onto the restaurant, a stage rests there, right in the middle of the action. As the great Sunday morning band began, they combined dynamic energy while taking great takes on popular covers that made them their own. An energetic and fun cover of Sunshine in my Pocket while sipping my 2nd (or 3rd) Mimosa made for a great afternoon!

Michael ordered The Cajun Shrimp Benedict while I tried out the Smoked Salmon Omelet with a side order of their Potato Latkes. That is correct, friends, they have Potato Latkes that ARE gluten free! Along with that apple and fennel dipping sauce, I had to ask if the accompanying sour cream was also made in house. I was shocked its one of the few items that is not! Not being a huge sour cream fan, this was delicious and fresh.

Both our seafood dishes were hearty and just what we needed given the bottomless alcohol we were enjoying. Along with Copper’s weekly brunch, make sure to check them out for their “Wine Down” evenings, karaoke and fun to be had before and after you catch some comedy next door.

I am so excited to have a new go-to spot for brunch, and can’t wait to return to Copper’s. Visit them HERE and make sure to let them know Along Comes Mary sent you! ūüėČ xo


A Gluten Free Haven at Linn’s Restaurant.

During my time living up on the Central Coast of California in the Santa Ynez Valley, I always loved any chance I got to head to Cambria. Cambria is 30 miles north of San Luis Obispo, and 230 miles south from San Francisco. A humble, small town, Cambria is known for their stunning Moonstone Beach, as well as their annual Scarecrow Festival and a great Main Street drag of restaurants.

One of their dining staples is the absolute gem of a cafe, Linn’s. Linn’s Restaurant is known for their “Olallieberry”; a Youngberry crossed with a Loganberry. The primary fruit grown on their beautiful farm nearby, a Olallieberry tastes similar to the Knotts’ famous Boysenberry, or blackberry. While very tart, it did not provoke any crazy¬† “lip smacking” and was a great sweet treat…on the MANY dishes I recently got to experience on a visit to Linn’s!

Heading in on a rainy Sunday, we were quickly greeted by our Hostess, Kim and while the place was bustling, she assured us it would be less than a 20 minute wait. We were so engrossed with their bakery and gift shoppe that it felt more like a 5 minute wait. All decked out and ready for the holidays, Linn’s shoppe may not be ample, yet, they manage to have enough variety and beautiful adornments that you feel inside a proper department store.

Just a glimpse of their gift shoppe.


Gluten Free Olallieberry Muffin

We were soon escorted to our cozy corner table with a great window view of the rain coming down and the locals enjoying a stroll under their umbrellas. Mr. Linn himself, Aaron, soon came over to greet us and was an absolute delight to chat with. A Cambria native, The Linn’s have been operating their restaurant and farm since the 1980’s. If you want to know anything about Cambria and their townspeople, go have a chat with Aaron and he can fill you in on the what/where/when of the town. Great guy!

They’re also not shy to encourage you to try the entire menu. I was very excited to head to Linn’s as nearly everything is gluten-free (or they will gladly assist you if an item is not). Aaron’s Mom has Celiac, so they know first hand the excitement¬† you feel when you hear “Olallieberry Chocolate Brownie Cake….Gluten Free” or, my personal favorite: warm bread baskets that are gluten-free brought to your table.

We began our food journey with one of their most famous appetizers, their Ocean Rose Farm Abalone. Having not recalled experiencing Albalone, I was anxious to see why this is such a special dish. One bite, and I knew. Locally sourced Albalone from nearby Cayucos is served with two hazelnut encrusted medallions, lemon-thyme beurre blanc and a decadent jicama-jalape√Īo slaw. While not a gluten-free dish, simply mention if you need it to be, and they adjust the encrusted medallions for you. Perfection!


Moon Stone Beach Omelette.
Photo: Michael Farah.

Hearst Ranch Hamburger.
Photo: Michael Farah.

With so much already having gone down (chats with the locals, gluten-free galore, great coffee, great atmosphere), it was time for Mike and I to make our big decision: Whats for lunch?! I decided to take advantage of a late breakfast (Weekends they serve it until 2pm, other days, 12p) and try one of their favorite omelettes, The Moon Stone Beach with an abundance of Shrimp, Dungeness crab, tomato, green onion, mushrooms and Swiss cheese. While Mike decided on an old reliable: their Hearst Ranch Beef Cheese Burger with fries.

The Moon Stone omelette was to die for. The seafood so fresh, I would imagine it could have been caught that morning, while the flavor combinations of the cheese and veggies enhanced it perfectly. Mike enjoyed his burger, and the presentation was gorgeous and made it hard to want to dig in (Just a little….).

We were very stuffed by the time we had many options for dessert coming our way….check out what Aaron and staff insisted we try….

Photo: Michael Farah.

Photo: Michael Farah.

See all this, folks? Mike and I were able to get it all down…and, as some of you know, I am a Type 1 Diabetic. I am pleased to say with the proper amount of insulin injections that day, I was able to keep my sugars in a¬† good range! I truly thought this could be my last supper. Death of a sugar rush. And, what a great last supper it would have been! ūüėČ

First up, was that irresistible chocolate brownie concoction, followed by their famous Pecan Chew Cookie Delight with Linn’s Pecan Chew Cookie, Brazilian Coffee ice cream, house made caramel sauce, candied walnuts and just a little real whipped cream. Bravo!

¬†While I could continue to share my love for Linn’s, I will end here, and trust that you will do yourself a favor and head to Linn’s next time you are in Cambria. Learn more about them HERE and make sure to tell them Along Comes Mary sent you! xo
(*Disclosure: I was a guest of Linn’s Restaurant in exchange for this feature. All opinions are my own and it was a phenomenal experience!)


Lunch at Vintage Enoteca with the Cast of Don’t Think Twice!


After seeing Don’t Think Twice, I had the pleasure to head¬†¬†out to Vintage Enoteca on Sunset Boulevard to meet Mike Birbiglia (who not only write and directed, but, also stars in the film as Miles), Keegan-Michael Key and Kate Micucci and get their insights on their roles, and find out when they knew they had “made it”….

For Micucci, who makes up half of the awesome comedy/singing duo, Garfunkel and Oates, it was when she could buy her favorite sweet treat! “I love raspberries yet they’re expensive and I would always have to pick apples instead” she explained, “I remember the day I bought raspberries and ¬†didn’t look at the price. I thought,¬†oh my god I’ve made it! ”¬†

Having so many diverse, artistic projects, and even loving to sand sculpt, I asked her if there was a moment in her life that first sparked all of her talents. Micucci recalled growing up in a very financially poor family, in Pennsylvania, and that once a week her Mom would let her pick out one thing at the store, and it was always the arts and crafts store when little Kate took advantage of that one purchase.


While I admit I was not too familiar with Key’s work, his interview¬†left me so, so inspired.¬†“It’s a movie about when you get to a certain point in your life (and think), when do you realize that some of the dreams you’ve set up for your life or the story you have set up for your life, and the way its going to go, and when it goes in a different direction: What does that mean? How are¬†you going to navigate the rest of your existence?” He explained, ¬†“We kinda get to that place where you think uh oh? It hasn’t happened yet, (but)¬†It’s also defining what does success mean to you? If you’re happy and fulfilled is that enough to be happy, or is it not until you achieve X or Y.”

Both stars also admit that being able to do what you love and safely pay the rent is also huge…or, in Key’s case, as long as he had money for food and beer, he was good! “If money is important to you,¬† don’t be an actor” he advised. Good advice!

For Director/Writer?Star of the film,¬† Mike Birbiglia, success has evolved for him over the years. “I think in my 20’s”, he told us, “success meant this one thing like having a sitcom, or a movie career. Then,¬† in my 30’s I started to have this realization that success doesn’t have to be this one thing. It can be anywhere on the spectrum, and that was a pretty free-ing realization, having always been chasing a brass ring.”

After completing his first film, Sleepwalk with Me, Birbiglia sat down to begin work on Don’t Think Twice, entitling it “Instructions for Movie #2.” Once again, I was inspired and felt validated for some feelings I have had lately as I get older. One of his must’s for making his second film? “No ass holes on the crew or in the cast. I¬† realized how short my life is with my first movie and that I only want to work with people who are great. I check references a lot” he laughed.

Love this shot from Don't Think Twice's Facebook page. Selfie time with Keegan-Michael Key and Mike Birbiglia.

Love this shot from Don’t Think Twice’s Facebook page. Selfie time with Keegan-Michael Key and Mike Birbiglia.

While having a great sense of himself, Mike is also working on what he feels are some weaker points;¬† “Ask the person why they want to do this film, and don’t lead them to their answer.” he said, “A big flaw (of mine) is finishing people’s sentences.” Seems natural, given his strong background in improv comedy.

Another element of Don’t Think Twice that I loved were the shots of New York City. Birbiglia truly captures his characters ups and downs on their journeys while also capturing such vivid, stunning shots of Manhattan. He explained that while the big budget studio films have talent scouts and locations are very planned out, there is nothing like the joys of simply walking around the city with your Cinematographer to discover great film spots.

Having the opportunity to meet these fantastic individuals was so rewarding, and our luncheon was not too shabby, either. Vintage Enoteca is a very intimate, un-assuming wine bar in West Hollywood. I love their tag line: In Wine, We Trust. With small bites and some terrific wines and beers on hand, I was pleased to see that they also offer brunch and a generous happy hour. I will be back!

Don’t Think Twice is now playing in New York and Los Angeles, with more dates and locations on the way shortly. Bravo! xo


Brunch at The Federal Bar in North Hollywood!

A topic I have been wanting to make a series on Along Comes Mary has long been features and reviews on a Los Angeles staple: Sunday brunch. Look around you anywhere in LA and you will see what I mean. So many of the fabulous eateries among our city limits offer amazing brunches each weekend, complete with the brunch must: Mimosa! Lucky for me, it¬†was just one of my best friends birthdays and she decided on brunch at North Hollywood’s Federal Bar. Music to my ears!

The Federal Bar is no stranger to me.¬†I love their happy hour and every dish I have had there has been excellent. Located in North Hollywood’s “NoHo Arts District” on Lankershim Boulevard, you will find an array of eclectic shops, bars and coffee houses to get cozy in. What sets The Federal Bar apart is their spacious building and diversity; upstairs is¬†not one, but two bars you can utilize should you book an event there in either their intimate VIP room or in the wide open concert hall where most nights you can be treated to music or stand up.

Downstairs is their restaurant…and, two MORE bars for all your boozing and grub needs. They don’t take being called a “bar” lightly!

Our entertainment was great, too.

Our entertainment was great, too.

It was my first time checking out their brunch offerings, and, despite it just being a page, they have a lot of goodness to select from….even gluten-free pancakes. They were not on the menu, but, they do have them! A dish that caught my eye was their Salmon and Bagel Board; in-house smoked salmon, bagel and cream cheese and all the fixings. I asked our waitress if it would be possible to try that gluten-free, and, her suggestion was to substitute the bagel with one of their gluten-free hamburger buns. We both agreed it probably would not be as epic so, alas, I passed.

What I did decide on, though, was perfect. Their Scramble Stir Fry. I got a HUGE portion of their red quinoa (so, so good, folks) with veggies galore (mushrooms, carrots, peas, even brussel sprouts) and scrambled eggs on top. Delicious and very hearty. I must be getting old as I appreciated the fact that I had a power breakfast, and not a stack of sugary, carb loaded pancakes!

If breakfast burritos and eggs Benedict are not your thing, they do offer their lunch menu during brunch, beginning at 11:30am.

Our service was also great. Our waitress was very attentive and kept a great eye on us all (We were a party of 10). Our friend who ordered their bottomless mimosa would barely finish his glass and she was like a NINJA ensuring that his glass never got, well, bottomless.

Scramble Stir Fry

Scramble Stir Fry

While I passed on mimosa (I know, I know), for $12, you can get your bottomless fill on. For $30, you can get 2 brunch entrees and 2 bottomless mimosa. This, to me, is a STEAL and I now know where to recommend weekend brunch should Mike and I ever want to go, or if I want to catch up with a friend.

Due to the popularity of The Federal Bar’s weekend brunch, they do ask that you enjoy yourself for a maximum of 2 hours. Completely understandable, and a good idea if you are going bottomless on your “fruit juice.”

The Federal Bar was such an awesome afternoon, and I can’t wait to return. Tell me, where do you recommend I try for brunch in LA? xo

Brunch at Downtown Disney’s Tortilla Jo’s!

Tortilla Jos5

While nothing compares to the magic of going inside the theme parks of The Disneyland Resort, did you know you can have fun, shop and dine outside of the parks? When Disney’s California Adventure opened in 2001, they also unveiled The Downtown Disney District which boasts an array of incredible shops like World of Disney (Imagine The Disney Store on major steroids), The Disney Vault (Loaded with couture boutique specialties) and Build-A-Bear Workshop, Casual dining like Jamba Juice and Wetzel’s Pretzels ¬†then, for a fabulous experience at the Anaheim resort, there are several sit down, fine dining options.

Thanks to Gigasavvy, I got to experience Downtown Disney’s Tortilla Jo’s weekend brunch this past Saturday¬†and let me tell you, brunch is good enough, but, add in bottomless mimosas and their famous¬†margaritas? Heck yes!

Tortilla Jos

Upon entering Tortilla Jo’s, you definitely take note of the bright, hacienda like decor to the restaurant and cannot help but feel HAPPY with the red and yellow colors to their walls and the gorgeous tiles below you. I was directed upstairs to my bloggers soiree, which is where they hold their private events (perfect for a reception, birthday, meeting…) and you’re even treated to a separate bar. It was also fun¬†to be able to peek downstairs ¬†from up top and watch the venue prepare for the day.

Tortilla Jos2

Torilla Jos3

While Tortilla Jo’s is known for their authentic Mexican cuisine everyday, weekends find them offering their fabulous brunch that has all your faves like huevos rancheros, pancakes and chilaqules ….as well as cinnamon french toast, cobb salad and a dish I cannot wait to try next time: tequila cured salmon. All entrees are just $14 and include¬†fresh fruit and desserts featuring mini apple chimichangas and churros.

Tortilla Jos4

Tortilla Jos3

Then, for just $10 more, you get the reason why most of us love brunch: The bottomless mimosas. You get them coming to your table for an hour. If a¬†mimosa¬†isn’t¬†your thing, they have their famous margaritas, beers, coffee and tea to have, as well, including a cinnamon coffee. I got to try out their peach and mango margaritas and I can assure you I am already thinking about which to try next time ūüėČ

Whether you’re an Orange County local, visiting Disneyland, just in need of a weekend brunch to catch up with friends at¬†or perhaps somewhere to grab a bite¬†before a movie at Downtown Disney’s AMC Theatre, Tortilla Jo’s is THE place to head to, and, you’re just steps from Disneyland. What could be better?! Check them out HERE and learn more.


What to See in Southern Oregon!

In this ongoing series sharing with you all that I possibly can on my recent trip to Rogue Valley in Southern Oregon with The International Food, Writers & Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA), I am today sharing with you some recommendations surrounding Medford, Oregon & nearby Central Point. Read on & I hope you enjoy! xo

STAY/EAT (& coffee, too)

While some may feel The Inn at the Commons is a great local, simple hotel in Medford, do NOT let it fool you as some of my favorite meals were at this very location. While guests can enjoy an ample buffet breakfast each morning (eggs, bacon, bagels, fruit, oatmeal, coffee, juice, tea, & it goes on), everyone visiting the gorgeous Rogue Valley can enjoy the treats to be had at Larks Restaurant. I had a phenomenal brunch at Larks, with my entrée being a Smoked Salmon Hash Scramble. Yes, that is as great as it sounds. Larks is open for lunch & dinner, as well as happy hours & that brunch I cannot stop talking about. (Wait til you try their French pressed coffee from Good Bean Coffee. Some of the best java I have experienced, & this is based on drinking for nearly 20 years!)

Lily Belle


Lilly Belle Chocolates

Lillie Belle Chocolates


In nearby Central Point, a small “mini mart” so to speak of treasures is to be seen out on North Front Street off Highway 99. Lets start off with the historic Rogue Valley Creamery Shop. Thriving since the 1930’s, this creamery also has their dairy farm nearby & boast some of the best blue cheeses you will find. Just looking at the countless awards placed throughout their store, it is easy to tell that you are in great hands at The Rogue Valley Creamery.

Next door you will find the chocolate store I now recommend as one of the best I have seen. And, you’re talking to a gal who has been to some amazing candy factories & shops from California to New York. Lillie Belle ¬†Farms Artisan Chocolates¬†was started as a fun little hobby, a whim, by Jeff Shepard. A guitarist at heart, who has toured with such legends as The Grateful¬†Dead, asked his daughter, Lillie, & his wife, Belle, if he could name some homemade truffles after them & try his hand at selling them at the local framers market. Fast forward 10 years later, & you have one of the best chocolatiers in Oregon with his very own store front. ¬†Producing such wild truffles as tequila infused & raspberry marzipan, this shop is both eclectic & making some fabulous creations. A stop for all!

The awesome-ness inside Lilly Belle.

The awesome-ness inside Lillie Belle.

Rogue Valley Creamery

Rogue Valley Creamery


Along with chocolate & cheese, you will also find a wonderful wine tasting room in the complex. Ledger David Cellars have been producing some of the best¬†Chenin Blanc, Malvasia Bianca,¬†Sangiovese & Tempranillo varietals in Southern Oregon since 2007, I absolutely loved the Sangiovese, which has a special “punch” to it thanks to the tannins. Notes of strawberries made this a great, bright red. All of the whites were outstanding, yet their Chardonnay, with a subtle oak, was just perfect to me. Notes of citrus, pineapple, I appreciated its mild sweetness.

Ledger David Cellars' Tasting Room

Ledger David Cellars’ Tasting Room

Have you been to Southern Oregon? What were your highlights? ūüôā



Lunch at Mexicano LA!


What comes to mind when you think of Mexican food? If you’re¬†like me,¬†it might be chain restaurants and drive thru’s offering 99 cent tacos made in a nacho chip tortilla. While Mexican is easily my favorite kind of cuisine, I was introduced to it in the most authentic way possible this past weekend on behalf of a luncheon at Mexicano arranged by The International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA).

Located in the heart of Los Angeles at The Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw Plaza, Owners/Chefs, Jaime and Ramiro expand their repertoire for a new audience and continue to redefine what many people think constitutes Mexican cuisine;¬† ‚ÄúWhen we create a dish, it is always rooted in our history,‚ÄĚ Jaime says. ‚ÄúPerhaps it‚Äôs inspired by the tamales my grandmother used to cook every Sunday, or the way Ramiro‚Äôs mother would keep tortillas warm in a wicker basket when bringing them down to the river to her husband after he was done fishing.‚ÄĚ


After years of cooking bold and traditional Mexican food together at La Casita Mexicana restaurant in Bell, California, Jaime Martin Del Campo and Ramiro Arvizu are affectionately known jointly as Jaime and Ramiro. Among some of the biggest stars in the Mexican cooking world, this wonderful duo has brought the authentic flavors and heirloom family recipes of their signature Los Angeles-area restaurant to Baldwin Hills.

Walking into Mexicano, I felt transformed to a beautiful and inviting cantina and fine diner, with the walls adorned with gorgeous, vibrant colors and paintings to ponder over as their friendly bar staff pour you on of their signature cocktails.

Starting out, I began with a Placero, which boasts lime, cactus syrup, chicharron, pork rinds(!) and for the alcohol of choice, Mezcal. I will admit, the pork rinds threw me! While I removed them right out, I do feel they, along with the chicharron, made the savory flavors this drink has. Upon first smell, it had a very strong leather-like¬†scent yet it turned out to be quite satisfying. When I decided to try out a Anticuado, with Tequila, orange bitters agave, orange and lime zest, I was expecting a very Mary drink; citrus infused with a subtle taste of the tequila….folks? This drink will blow your socks off! The strong tequila along with the orange bitters make for a very intense drink.

Did you know crickets are also common on traditional margaritas?!

Did you know crickets are also common on traditional margaritas?!

As we moved on to a heavenly first course of appetizers Queso Fundido , Guacamole Al Tequila and Ceviche, I had to give in and find myself a chorizo free zone on the topped queso! I managed and it was absolute perfection; 3 traditional, Mexican queso cheese melted fondue style. It was very creamy, but not overly heavy.

Ceviche I had awhile back, and this dish made me wonder why I have not had it more often. With jalape√Īo peppers, carrots, onions, tomato and cilantro¬†soaking in¬†this bowl of raw white fish, this is the perfect¬†lighter option to consider. And, as far as the guacamole…I must say…Jaime and Rimero are GENIUS to be so generous with the tequila! It added an extra “pop” to a well-balanced favorite, & made it go even further on the “Must have” list.

Guacamole & fresh hard corn tortillas

Guacamole & fresh hard corn tortillas

For lunch, I got to try their Shrimp Enchiladas, wrapped in fresh corn tortillas and covered in salsa verde. The salsa verde tasted fresh, and the tortillas warm and soft. Next up, they brought out their Valentina Shrimp. Prepared with an aromatic tomato sauce, it was a hard decision to try to decide if Valentina or the Al Mexcal Shrimp won my heart more. Cooked with sweet and sour orange, chile de √°rbol and agave, I felt this was slightly more compatible on my palette after the drinks & enchiladas I’d enjoyed.

Valentina Shrimp

Valentina Shrimp

And, what’s an authentic Mexican lunch without dessert?! Following all the countless plates of home-made goodness, we were treated to coffee with cinnamon, churros, 3 cheese flan and Grandma’s Rice Pudding. The rice pudding was flavored with caramel and ¬†cinnamon, making me awfully tempted to pour some in my coffee, or the other way around.

As a huge lover of flan, this was definitely one of the best I’ve ever had; loaded with creamy, full flavored cheeses and covered in sauce, it melted in my mouth with subtle notes of vanilla.

Flan & rice pudding. Yum!

Flan & rice pudding. Yum!

I’m already planning a return visit to Mexicano. They’re located at 3650 West Martin Luther King Blvd, their web-site can be found HERE. xo

(*Disclosure: I am a proud member of The IFWTWA, who arranged this luncheon on behalf of a feature. All opinions are my own.)