Cafe 21 Blog

Around the World with the Javadovs! Barcelona

We kicked off our travels in the beautiful city of Barcelona. With reasonable ticket prices, this meant a full trip for the family was possible. We did not want to leave the kids and wanted them to experience these travels with us, but traveling with a full family is expensive. We were lucky to find […]

Gurza – A perfect Azeri California Creation

Azerbaijani cuisine is very rich in homemade dishes with dough, and minced meat and Gurza holds an extraordinary place as a traditional Azerbaijani dish. With the addition of the Californian citrus kumquat reduction, this dish has transformed to something more, a pure fusion of two worlds, Azerbaijan and the golden state of California. Chef Leyla’s […]

The Evolution of Thanksgiving

Have you ever wondered how Thanksgiving came to be? You’ve probably heard it was a meal shared with Native Americans. While this is true, there is more to the story. Thanksgiving really started out informally. The first Thanksgiving was a traditional harvest festival in 1621 at Plymouth, Massachusetts. Initially meant to be a one-time event, […]

Forró – Music and Dance from Brazil

Forró, pronounced fo-ho, is known today as a type of Brazilian music and partner dance. There are several theories on the origin of the word forró. One viewpoint, held by Brazilian folklorist Luís da Câmara Cascudo, states that word forró is a derivative of the word ‘forrobodó’, meaning great party or commotion. Another theory on the word […]

Milonga – a Celebration of Argentine Tango

A Tango Dance Party Milonga is two things: a music style that originated in the Rio de la Plata region of Argentina and Uruguay in the 1870’s, and the name of an event that is dedicated to the Argentine Tango. The word Milonga is of African origin meaning “many words”. The term originated when African […]

Microgreens – the New Way to Add Your Vegetables

It’s in the Sprouts If you’re a foodie, or simply like good, healthy food, the microgreens trend is for you. Simply put, microgreens are young seedlings of edible vegetables and herbs harvested less than 14 days after germination. The microgreens are about 1 – 3 inches long, depending on the vegetable or herb, and come […]

Delicious Borek

Borek is a very popular dish and with good reason. It has withstood the test of time. Originating during the Middle Ages, Borek is still something that you can find on the streets of Azerbaijan, as well as countries in Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East. This dish has many variations. At its […]

Flamenco Dancing as an Art Form

When you think of Flamenco (fla’menko) dancing, perhaps you picture ladies with swirly dresses and men with white shirts, black vests and patent black shoes. They twirl and spin to a robust Spanish guitar, breaking a sweat with their movements and using intricate, yet dramatic steps. Perhaps you don’t realize there is so much more […]

The Challenges & Opportunities of Owning a Restaurant

As a restaurant owner, there are many behind-the-scenes challenges – and opportunities – that our guests don’t always hear about. In today’s blog post, I will reveal some of the challenges that come with owning a popular restaurant, and how Leyla and I address these challenges and use them to find opportunities to better serve […]

What does “Farm-to-table” Really Mean?

Farm-to-table can be an elusive term. It’s not regulated, like the word “organic” is, and people often have different interpretations and definitions of what it means. I thought it would be helpful to share with you what “farm-to-table” means in a general sense, and how we support the values of farm-to-table dining at Cafe 21. […]

Azeri Food

Leyla and I are from Azerbaijan, which is a country in Eurasia. Azerbaijan is located on the Caspian Sea, and shares borders with Russia, Georgia, Armenia, Turkey, and Iran. Food from Azerbaijan is referred to as Azeri food. Since we’re now serving more Azeri food at Cafe 21, I thought it would be a good […]

We are Catering!

This has been in the works for a long time. We are pleased to announce that we are now catering events at our restaurants and off-site. We are so excited! Back when we were just one restaurant, we catered a lot. Office meeting and parties, birthdays, weddings, large celebrations, fundraisers and more. We love setting […]

The Best Hummus

Leyla loves to make hummus, as you can see in this video: Hummus is so healthy. It also makes a great base for different seasonings and flavors. Hummus can be very colorful, blended with different spices, vegetables and herbs. Leyla likes to experiment with different combinations of vegetables and spices. She likes to see what […]

The Best Salad Dressings Recipe

Today, we are going to talk about salad dressings. It may seem like a simple topic but it’s really much more than a “sauce” put on a salad. At Cafe 21, we make our salad dressing from scratch. We prefer vinaigrette of various flavors because they best bring out the taste of the vegetables without […]

Sangria – with love

One of our specialties at Cafe 21 is our Sangria. We spend a lot of time picking the right wines with the right notes and flavors. We make sure our fruits are fresh and whole and as pesticide-free as possible. Our Sangria is the result of a lot of investment in time and love to […]

Steak and Egg Dutch Baby: from Old World to New

Today, I’m going to talk about one of my favorite breakfast items: A Dutch Baby. While Dutch Baby’s originated in Germany and were traditionally served as pancakes made from eggs with lemon juice and powdered sugar, they have evolved over time to become both savory and sweet. If you see a Dutch Baby, it almost […]

Making your own Home-made Mozzarella

Today, I would like to give you an easy recipe for your own Mozzarella Cheese. Mozzarella is very good with Caprese salads, pizzas and as quick appetizers, combined with basil or as a simple cheese ball ingredient mixed with herbs, spices, and nuts. Mozzarella most usually comes in two consistencies – hard or soft. Hard […]

Growing Organic Herbs

Today, I would like to tell you how you can grow organic herbs of your own, indoors or outdoors. Herbs make good “starter plants” if this is your first time trying your hand at organic gardening because they are easy to grow. All you need is to follow the process below and give them a […]

What Pesticides Do to Food

Today, I will be discussing pesticide residue in foods, and how those residues can affect people. First, it is important to understand how pesticides are used and the differences between various types of pesticides. Pesticides, as their name suggests, protect crops from pests, which can include weeds, insects, fungi, and germs or infections. They can […]

The Best Ways to Choose an Olive Oil

Today, I would like to talk about how to select which olive oil to purchase and use in your cooking. Extra virgin olive oil is the best grade of olive oil, so that’s a good term to look for. But, as with many elements of cooking, consumer marketing, and life – there are nuances. Look […]

Making Alcohol Infusions with an Organic Twist

Leyla and I are committed to serving you delicious food and drinks, made with locally-sourced organic ingredients. In this post, I’ll focus more on the “drink” part of the picture, and share how to make alcohol infusions using organic ingredients (specifically, an apple vodka infusion). To get started with infusing, you’ll need to have: mason […]

Why California Bans Some Foods From Crossing the Border

Recently, a friend of mine tried to bring cherries from Oregon to California and was told he could not. I found this fascinating and thought I would share with you why California bans certain foods from entering the state, and examples of some banned foods. Essentially, California is protecting against the introduction of environmental and […]

How We Implementing New Menu Items

Leyla and I take great pride in our menu offerings, which we carefully craft to be mouthwatering and flavorful, as well as good-for-you and socially conscious. We use locally grown, organic ingredients, hormone-free meats, and yeast-free bread. When we are considering adding a new dish to our menu, we know it needs to fit in […]

Why Clarified Butter is Better

For this blog post, I would like to explain the difference between clarified butter and regular butter, point out a few health benefits of clarified butter, and share how Leyla makes it! What is Clarified Butter? To better understand what makes clarified butter different from regular butter, let’s talk about regular butter first. Butter, unlike […]

It’s All in the Yogurt

I would like to talk about yogurt and yogurt-based drinks that are very popular in Eastern cultures. Ayran it’s a yogurt drink, that has different names – Doogh, Tan, Lassi – it is served chilled to accompany a tasty lunch in Turkey or early dinner in Azerbaijan, or maybe late breakfast in Iran and India. […]

Coral Tree Farm Organic and Fresh

Local Organic Farm I want to share with you how Leyla made food out of ingredients exclusively from Coral Tree Farm produce. This farm is conveniently located off the I – 5 interstate and  Rancho Santa Fe exit. I knew she would take on this project as she always challenges herself. The food had to be […]