French toast is dipped in an egg custard batter and then covered in panko bread crumbs, giving it a super crunchy finish. This dish is inspired by the famous Crunchy French Toast from Blu Jam Cafe in Los Angeles.

This creation idea is, again, brought to you by my brother. Last week, I made Baked Churro Ice Cream Sandwiches after seeing my brother make his version (inspired by the ones from Churros Borough). After I showed him my version, he then showed me his photos of Crunchy French Toast inspired by the ones from Blu Jame Cafe and told me to make it. So I did.

Bracero is the highly anticipated restaurant by Chef Javier Plascencia, a star chef in Tijuana and a leader in the Baja movement, which opened in Little Italy a few weeks ago.

We are big fans of Chef Plascenica’s food and have been eagerly anticipating this opening. While we’ve never had the pleasure of dining at Mision 19, we have dined at Romesco’s several times as well as trying his food at several chef collaboration and tasting events.

The restaurant is divided into two levels. The downstairs is open seating while the upstairs section takes reservations. We had a friend coming to visit and I immediately tried to book a reservation but had no luck getting a table on a Saturday night for this hot new place. However, following the restaurant’s guidance, we arrived shortly before the doors opened and were just barely able to snag a table in the downstairs section. We were there about 15 minutes early and already there was a line and within minutes of opening, it was completely full.

The downstairs section has tables sets for groups of two and four. Anything larger and you’re seated at one of the longer community tables, which is where we ended up with our group.

A few people in our group ordered cocktails and one person ordered a beer. I didn’t take any photos of the drinks. We hit a small snag to start our meal when the beer appeared to be forgotten and we had to ask for it again.

BEEF TONGUE CONFIT WITH SALSA VERDE

First to arrive were our trio of tacos. The finely shredded beef tongue had such a different texture than the normal chewy beef tongue I’m used to. I loved how tender the meat was. The real star though, was the made-to-order tortilla it sat on. I’ve always viewed tortillas as a vehicle for the taco filling, but these tortillas were effortlessly soft and bursting with corn flavor. I could easily just eat a pile of these tortillas.

One of our friends, who grew up eating homemade tortillas and had been a bit doubtful of the high prices set for these tacos, admitted that the tortillas were pretty darn good.

LAMB NECK BARBACOA

Equally enjoyable was the barbeque lamb neck taco. It was juicy, flavorful, and good enough that we ordered two.

After we polished off our tacos, one of the servers arrived bringing us various house-made sauce creations to eat with the tacos. Obviously the restaurant was still working out some kinks since these clearly should have arrived before our tacos did. It is too bad as they were quite good.

WOOD GRILLED OCTOPUS

This flourless almond butter mug cake is just four ingredients and ready in minutes. It is fluffy, moist and you won’t believe it doesn’t contain any flour.

With the hot weather, we’ve been avoiding turning on the oven whenever possible, which is why my mug cake obsession comes in handy. I was craving something sweet the other day and was able to whip this up in minutes. It was definitely satisfying.

The last time I made a mug cake was for my local morning show appearance a few weeks ago, when I demonstrated my flourless peanut butter mug cake. Making this cake brought back memories of that morning’s prep. I was in my kitchen making the finished mug cakes so that the host would have something to taste. I had just finished making the flourless peanut butter mug cake and it was one of the prettiest ones I’ve ever made. It came out even, smooth and just slightly overflowing over the top of the mug.

And then my husband accidentally ate it. Yup, that happened.