Hello Matsuri Festival at Mitsuwa Market!

This weekend Mitsuwa Market in Torrance had their annual Matsuri Festival. The Matsuri Festival is a Japanese Festival celebrating Autumn. This festival at Mitsuwa had lots of food for the whole family to enjoy.

Some of the food booths were sponsored by some of the popular Japanese eateries in the South Bay.

Shin-Sen Gumi was offering some of their tasty Yakitori. Choices were Arabiki Sausage, Tsukune (Chicken meatball) or Negima (Chicken thigh and onion).

Tsujita LA was present serving their popular Tonkatsu Ramen. It had tender pork belly (charsiu) with green onions, kikuge and seaweed.

Chinchikurin was present serving their tasty Hiroshima Okonomiyaki. Their Okonomiyaki had 11 layers of green laver, sesame seeds, egg, dried kelp powder and dried bonito powder, batter, noodles, green onions, sliced pork, bean sprouts, cabbage, tempura crisps and Otafuku Okonomiyaki sauce.

After eating some delicious Japanese food; there were lots of Hello Kitty games for the young and young at heart to play. I spotted some cutie Hello Kitty items.

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Matsuri Festival at Mitsuwa Marketplace was a fun and delicious way to welcome this fall season!

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Hello Bahay Kainan/BaBoys!

October is Filipino 🇵🇭 American 🇺🇸 History Month and Bahay Kainan/BaBoys is the perfect place to celebrate. Their menu brings classic Filipino favorites with an American twist.

Bahay Kainan first started off in 2001 as a catering business by Philippine immigrants. Elizabeth and Guillermo Ferido. The served only traditional Filipino food and hence the name Bahay Kainan; Tagalog for “Home Cooking”. In 2016; they added the name BaBoys when their son Guilbert Ferido; a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena; took over as head chef. He added the name “BaBoys.”  The name “BaBoys” has a special twist as in Tagalog it means “Pork” while the “Boys” can is a reference to American young men.

The new name, “Baboys” with a Filipino American twist was perfect for the new Filipino fusion menu that Guilbert Ferido created. Inspired by his Mom’s cooking of lumpia he incorporated the popular Filipino appetizer into a burger and made the Lumpia burger.

The Lumpia Burger consists of a Lumpiang Shanghai Patty in between two Hawaiian buns and topped with slices of cheese, Asian slaw, tomato, scallions and smothered with garlic aioli and banana ketchup. Filipino classic lumpia is often dipped in the popular Filipino condiment banana ketchup and even that is creatively incorporated in this burger.

Alongside the Lumpia Burger; are other Filipino fusion items such as fries topped with Sisig (Filipino minced pork, chopped onion, and chicken liver),  Tocino (Filipino sweet pork) Burrito and Bistek (Filipino beef steak) Onion Rings.

The Bistek Onion Rings are a favorite of mine on the menu. Filipino Beef Steak is a dish I’ve loved growing up. The traditional way is thin slices of beef with lots of onions stewed in soy sauce and lemon juice. Here at BaBoys; they have lots of beef and lots of onions but the onions consist of fried onion rings. There is also garlic parmesan cheese and cotija cheese. It’s Filipino and American cuisine paired perfectly.

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With it’s Filipino American cuisine, Bahay Kainan/BaBoys is the perfect place to eat this Filipino 🇵🇭 American 🇺🇸 History Month.

For more smiles, please see my Yelp review on Bahay Kainan/BaBoys

Hello Sidecar Doughnuts Torrance!

Zoom zoom! Hello Kitty rolled 🚗 into Rolling Hills Plaza in Torrance recently to check out the new Sidecar Doughnuts.

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First established in 2012; the Torrance location  is the fourth Sidecar Doughnuts location. The other shops are Costa Mesa, Santa Monica and Del Mar.

Ever since their first shop in Costa Mesa; Sidecar Doughnuts has been committed to serving the “World’s Freshest Doughnut.” I (along with Hello Kitty 😉) saw this first hand when I visited the new Torrance location. This new location has a big window where visitors can see happy workers busy preparing fresh doughnuts. The doughnuts are fried in small batches every hour. Each doughnut has unique and delightful ingredients such as foraged huckleberries and Niman Ranch bacon. There’s even the the Basil Eggs Benrdict which has a poached egg and Benton’s ham.

This October was the perfect time for me to visit Sidecar Doughnuts because they have a Fall month specials featuring my favorite pumpkin! They have the Vegan Pumpkin Chai; a Vegan pumpkin cake doughnut, topped with warm-spiced vanilla chai glaze. There is also the Pumpkin Pie and Everything Nice; which is a bullseye doughnut, topped with pumpkin glaze, whipped mascarpone pumpkin mousse, house made ginger snap crumble, roasted & salted pepitas, and Vermont Maple Syrup.

The Pumpkin Pie and Everything Nice was my favorite. I loved how the pumpkin flavor simply exploded out of this delectable treat. The pumpkin mousse oozed out. I also liked the crunch that the ginger snap crumble and the pepitas gave.

Not only did their monthly specials include an ode to the pumpkin; they also had a special donut in honor of Filipino American History Month. Chef Chad Valencia of Lasa LA  partnered with Sidecar Doughnuts to bring us all the Manila Vanilla Sweet Potato.

Sweet Potato in Tagalog is ‘Kamote,”  Chef Valencia took inspiration from kamote cue a famous street snack in the Philippines and created  this sweet potato & vanilla cake doughnut. He then topped it with brown butter-muscovado glaze and Maldon Sea Salt.

At first bite, I instantly tasted the sweet potato and my senses were transported back to the sweet streets of Manila.

Not only will you be treated to the best sweet potato doughnut when you purchase this but you will also be helping a good cause.  A portion of proceeds of every doughnut sold goes to Immigrant Families Together.

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Alongside the fresh doughnuts, Sidecar Doughnuts offers some fresh and tasty coffee too! Their lattes here are amazing. I tried the latte with Jacobsen sea salt caramel and this cup of Joe went well with the doughnuts.

You are sure to smile with Sidecar Doughnuts. Zoom zoom! Roll on over to Rolling Hills Plaza and check out the new Sidecar Doughnuts! I’ll be sure to be rollin in again soon. 🙂

For more smiles, please see my Yelp review

Hello Kitty Pumpkin Patch @ Tanaka Farms!

It is the start of October and Fall is here! As many of my Hello Kitty Foodies know this is the start of my favorite pumpkin season! This year I got to kick off the start of Fall and pumpkin season with two of my favorites; pumpkins and Hello Kitty at Tanaka Farms!

Two years ago on this blog I shared the start of the collaboration between Sanrio and Tanaka Farms in Irvine. Since then the collaboration has brought Hello Kitty enthusiasts to Orange County. At the farm; guests can enjoy a wagon ride around the 30 acre farm that features several wonderful photo ops with Hello Kitty and her friends!

My Melody welcomes visitors to the sweet strawberry fields.

Hello Kitty welcomes guests to enjoy a sunshine filled day where the sunflowers grow!

There’s a U-Pick veggie garden where one can pick seasonal veggies such as radishes! Hello Kitty loves being healthy and picking fresh vegetables!

There’s a giant corn maze where one can see stalks of corn. Hello Kitty is excited to see if you can figure out the maze!

During pumpkin season can see pumpkins of all sizes! Among the pumpkins one can see Cinderella pumpkins, Fairytale pumpkins, Porcelain Doll pumpkins, Jarrandale pumpkins and Polar Bear pumpkins!

The Fall Harvest Festival at Tanaka Farms is every weekend from September 21-October 31. Say “Hello” to Tanaka Farms and you are sure to “Fall” in love with the annual pumpkin patch featuring Hello Kitty and Sanrio friends!

Hello Kitty Friends Around the World Tour!

Beep beep, I was off to somewhere super special today!

Destination: Los Angeles, New York, London, Paris, Honolulu, Tokyo 🌎! Thanks to the Hello Kitty Friends Around the World Tour VIP preview; I had my boarding pass ready to go.

Today I took flight on the Hello Kitty Air and you can too can go aboard the cutest flight to the cutest trip around the world with our favorite kitty!

Hello Kitty is taking over LA Plaza Village starting tomorrow in a full up pop-up experience. It’s a 10,000 square foot space filled with some of Hello Kitty’s favorite vacation spots! Hello Kitty is celebrating her birthday and she’s doing it in style with visiting some fabulous cities.

First on the tour is London!

What is in London? None other than Hello Kitty’s home!

One can even step into Hello Kitty and Mimmy’s bedroom and see their cute closet 😊.

May I borrow a shirt; Kitty? I am headed across the globe.

Next on the tour is New York!

Here you can see the World’s Largest Hello Kitty Pizza!

You can even possibly catch Hello Kitty on Broadway!

After such a savory pizza; how about getting some sweets in Paris?

Hello Kitty Cafe is ready to serve Parisian treats!

J’Amie Hello Kitty!

From glamorous Paris it was then off to tropical Honolulu!

Hello Kitty and friends say “Aloha.”

Gudetama was there on the island too and it wasn’t just eggs being served but another favorite island treat..poke

Last but not least; no Hello Kitty trip would be complete without a trip to Tokyo!

Konichiwa! Hello Kitty is so kawaii!

After such a lovely trip; wouldn’t it be nice to relax and get a manicure? Hello Kitty thought of that too and at the Sky Lounge; one can get a very special treat from OPI.

OPI and Hello Kitty have come together once again to bring the “Let’s Be Friends” collection and select visitors to the Hello Kitty Friends Around the World Tour can get a manicure with the latest shades.

I was instantly a fan of my nails featuring Hello Kitty and Mimmy.

Aside from Sky Lounge; Hello Kitty Cafe was also present to offer some more treats!

Enjoy some caramel or kettle corn popcorn after such a sweet day aboard Hello Kitty Air.

The Hello Kitty Friends Around the World  Tour was truly a dream trip come true! The pop up will be open from September 20 to October 20, 2019! Get your tickets now at http://www.hellokitty45.com

For more smiles and photos of the Hello Kitty Friends Around the World Tour; please check out my latest Instagram stories and posts at www.instagram.com/hellokittyfoodie

Hello Napa Rose Surprise Birthday Dinner!

This year my birthday was a extra special as I got to celebrate at a very special place; Napa Rose at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel.  For weeks this was a surprise and I did not know until the actual day of my birthday that this would be where I would be celebrating. It’s without a doubt I was so excited to find out I would be dining here.

Napa Rose is a flagship restaurant of Disney that has gotten many awards since it opened in 2001. Just this 2019 Napa Rose was honored their eight AAA Four Diamond award. Napa Rose has also been recognized by Wine Spectator, the Orange County Register and Southern California Restaurant Writers Guild. They are consistently recognized as a top food ranking Orange County restaurant.

Napa Rose consists of both a lounge and a main dining room. Both spots are quite lovely and I was fortunate enough to spend some time in both. We started off with at the lounge where we had some celebratory cocktails for my birthday. The lounge has a classic yet comfortable ambiance perfect for some summer cocktails. It is filled with mini wooden tables and comfortable chairs. The lounge is filled with Napa Rose’s staple rose.

Our choice of cocktails at the lounge were the Summer Kiss and Napa Passion.

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The Summer Kiss consists of Hendricks Gin, Combier, fresh Lemon Juice, St. Germain, and Absinthe Rinse while the Napa Passion had X Fusion, Parrot Bay Rum, Pineapple Juice, and Strawberry. Both drinks were refreshing and great for a summer evening.

Soon after we were off to the beautiful main dining room. Napa Rose pays tribute to California’s wine country as well as the rose that are in the vineyards of Napa. This was truly reflected in the main dining room. Each table in the restaurant has roses  and the image of the rose is seen in the restaurant’s carpeting, lighting, handrails, chairs and even the staff uniforms. In the main dining area there are murals with showing Napa’s vineyards. There is an amazing wine cellar with over 600 bottles and there is a wall adorned with signed, premium wines by winemakers and vineyard owners.

Napa Rose’s menu changes seasonally and it’s entrees are made from the freshest ingredients of California. Currently their menu is for the Summer 2019 season in the Wine Country.

We started off our meal here with a complimentary bread basket.

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The bread basket included  sourdough, cheese bread, and cracker bread covered with parmesan cheese. My favorite was definitely the cheese bread. It was so soft and delightful.

For our appetizers we chose  the Zucchini Blossom.

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This was one amazing appetizer with golden fried zucchini filled with lemony ricotta cheese on top of zucchini pine nut relish. The litter batter was perfectly crisp and the ricotta would ooze our with each bite. It was a great way to kick off a a meal here.

For our main courses we tried the Pomegranate-glazed Veal Osso Bucco and the Quail Stuffed with Prosciutto Wrapped Summer Peach.

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The Pomegranate-glazed Veal Osso Bucco  was served with Apple-Orange Relish and Sautéed Gnocchi. The Quail Stuffed with Prosciutto Wrapped Summer Peach was complimented with Nectarine Relish and Cornbread Stuffing.

Both dishes were excellent and perfect with Pinot Noir. They were plated beautifully and wonderfully prepared. I loved the unique touches of each dish with their respective sweet relishes to compliment their meats. The quail which was stuffed with a peach slice was amazing. It was savory with a hint of sweet. It was also very light.

For dessert I was surprised with a very sweet treat via a Pineapple Streusel Crumble Crunch Bar.

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The Pineapple Streusel Crumble Crunch Bar. what a coconut vanilla sorbet on top and a coconut creme on the bottom. It was very tropical and was a lovely way to end a wonderful meal here. I loved how it was not too sweet but yet had the nice hint of both pineapple and coconut. There were also some little bits of strawberry dollops on the side

Dinner at Napa Rose was everything I could ask for and it really made for one memorable birthday experience for me. The venue was beautiful, the food was of excellent quality and the memories made were priceless.  I’m so thankful and blessed to have had dinner at such special place for my birthday.

Hello Shiok: Asian Street Food!

Shiok: Asian Slang to express awesome, delicious, very tasty, cool, wow! It conveys a feeling of pleasure, happiness and pure satisfaction.

Shiok also happens to be the name of the new restaurant at Rolling Hills Plaza in Torrance, California. The new eatery is appropriately named as they bring to the South Bay some delightful and tasty eats!

Their menu is inspired by Asia’s legendary markets and among their offerings one can find bao, bahn mi and bowls.

I recently got a special sneak peak and was amazed with their bold and bright flavors.

Their baos are my new favorite!

I love the Cripsy Golden Bao.

The outside is a crisp golden brown bun and inside is steamed pork with egg. This is one tasty triple treat.

The Hot Fried Chicken Bao is another fabulous bao that I really enjoyed.

The Hot Fried Chicken Bao is a steamed bun filled with a gigantic piece of fried chicken smothered in sriracha. The fried chicken is topped with Asian slaw, cilantro and jalapeño. I loved the crisp chicken with a fiery kick. This was very fulfilling.

The Nightmarket Bao is another winner.

This savory bao has a large Kakuni-style braised pork belly topped with Taiwanese relish and roasted peanuts! I love how it has crisp roasted peanuts. It gives a nice, crunchy touch to the bao.

Aside from the baos; Shiok has other delights that are part of their “Cravables” menu.

The Veggie Crunch is a great starter that is perfect for vegetarians!

I have always been a fan of taro and this cravable has taro, yam, tofu, mushrooms in fried rice paper. It’s crunch and love at first bite.

Another good starter is their Shrimp Crisps.

Growing up in an Asian household; shrimp crisps were a favorite snack of mine to bring to school. Shiok’s Shrimp Crisps remind me of me of the delightful chips that were once part of my lunch bag. Shiok makes their own house fried shrimp chips and they are amazing!

All of Shiok’s cravables are great but make sure to save room for some of the entrees.

Shiok’s Signature Bahn Mi is a must try!

I tried the bahn mi with grilled lemongrass steak. The lemongrass steak combined with Bourbon pate, sriracha aioli, Asian slaw, cucumbers, pickled daikon, carrot, papaya and cilantro made for a tasty sandwich. This was paired with some Shrimp Crisps.

I also got to try some of their bowls. First up was the Asian Street Bowl.

For the Asian Street Bowl one can choose their protein. Among the choices are lemongrass steak, spicy satay chicken or soy ginger chicken. The protein then comes with peanut sauce, shallot ginger rice, baby lettuce, street side corn, Asian slaw, cucumbers, pickled daikon, carrot, papaya, cilantro and fried shallots. It’s an explosion of flavors in one healthy bowl.

The second bowl I tried here was the Zen Bowl.

The Zen bowl is a vegetarian delight consisting of bbq pulled jackfruit, coconut ginger chickpeas, shallot ginger rice, streetside corn, Asian slaw, pickled daikon-carrot-papaya, cucumbers, fresh shallots and cilantro. I love how the jackfruit is tender just like shredded chicken. The bowl is wonderfully healthy and truly does bring some zen ;).

Equal in deliciousness to the bowls is their drinks. They’ve got freshly made teas with fruits and boba. For the special private event; they had the Blue Lagoon and Boba Milk Tea.

I loved how colorful the Blue Lagoon was. It made me feel like I was in an Asian tropical island. The colorful blue and green floral tea was pure paradise. It has a refreshing and exquisite flavor.

The boba milk tea was a classic drink with soft honey boba pearls.

Shiok! I truly was saying Shiok by the end of my meal here.

Shiok: Asian Street Food will have it’s soft opening starting September 7, 2018 and they will have their grand opening on September 28, 2018.

For more smiles; please see my Yelp review on Shiok: Asian Street Food!