Most of the baked goods I make are made from scratch, but I’ve never fully transitioned out of baking brownies from a mix. I find the from scratch recipes to be a little complicated and often the brownies don’t have that chewy texture that the box mix ones produce every time.

I came across a recipe that promised to be super easy, leaving no excuse to bake from a mix. It also promised me chewy and fudgy brownies. So of course I had to try it.


After my dinner last year at Cafe21, I really wanted to come back and try their popular brunch. I wish it hadn’t taken me so long to make my way over again because Cafe21 is now my favorite brunch spot in San Diego (slightly edging out Snooze).

What I really love about this place is that there are so many items I would recommend, whereas I normally only have one or two favorites at all my other brunch spots.

Alcohol is often a big part of a brunch menu but the Cafe21 booze options are particularly enticing. We love their sangrias, but on one of the visits, the Bloody Mary cocktails caught my attention.

The Bloody Mary’s are packed with so many ingredients, it’s like a meal in itself. We saw several people who ordered the prosciutto Blood Mary and while that was tempting, I chose this one:

Prawn Star Blood Mary

This was a gigantic concoction and caught the attention of all the neighboring tables around us. I was thrilled. The Bloody Mary glass itself dwarfed in comparison to the large prawn. This was a fun drink to try. The Bloody Mary was tasty though did have any shrimp elements in it. The prawn was simply steamed. I probably should have asked for some cocktail sauce to go with it.

Sangria Flight

Cafe21 is also known for their Sangrias, which line the wall of the entrance. We can never choose just one flavor, so we like getting the flight, which lets you sample all six.

Filet Mignon Omelet

I think I make a pretty mean omelet so I tend to be critical of the omelets served at brunches and rarely order them. I chose to try the ones here because they are served in cast iron skillets. I enjoyed mine tremendously. The eggs are super fluffy. This version was stuffed with chunks of tender filet mignon, goat cheese, peppers. It’s not a traditional omelet since the ingredients aren’t folded inside, but it still worked for me.

Just as I was dozing off to sleep one day last week, this image floated into my mind of a mini Nutella pizza. I immediately had to force myself to get up and jot down the idea for fear I might forget by the time I woke up. I have no idea why it came to my mind in the first place, but I’m happy it did.

I’ve seen pizza places slather some Nutella on pizza dough sticks before, but I’ve never seen Nutella pizza presented quite this way. I love how they came out.