Hello Sweet Rice Gardena!

Thai Food is definitely one of my favorite types of cuisines. I love angel wings, pad thai and more. I’ve never ever tried Thai breakfast however and thus I was so excited to hear about Sweet Rice; a new Thai breakfast and dessert spot that recently opened up at Pacific Square in Gardena. (Random Hello Kitty fact: Pacific Square is home to the oldest Sanrio store in the US. 😉 ) Sweet Rice also happens to be run by another popular Thai spot in Gardena; Bowl Thai.

I visited Sweet Rice recently and a very pleasant Thai breakfast experience.

First up for my breakfast here was trying out the Jok. Jok is popular in Thailand is a Thai porridge.

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It made by boiling rice until it dissolves and becomes a porridge. At Sweet Rice; they serve it piping hot and it consists of ground pork made into a meatball, century egg, scallions, ginger, crispy noodles, poached egg. They also have patongo a side. Patango is a crispy Chinese donut.

I loved the Jok and am not surprised to see it as one of the most popular dishes at Sweet Rice. The porridge is nicely thick and they put in a lot of ingredients. It had eight tender meatballs. The century egg was also a nice touch!

The other breakfast dish I tried was their Kao Kai Jeow or Thai Omelette.

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Kao Kai Jeow is a common street food in Thailand and here at Sweet Rice; their version is 3 egg omelette with onion, scallions, cilantro.  Customers have the choice of getting it with chicken, pork, shrimp or crab. I chose to get it with chicken.

The omelette was great. It was fluffy with a bit crispiness in some of the edges. It went well with the ketchup and white rice.

Overall I really enjoyed my first ever Thai breakfast experience. Breakfast at Sweet Rice was a “sweet” time.

For more smiles; please see my Yelp review on Sweet Rice.

 

Hello Kitty x World Market Collection!

The world just got a little cuter and that’s thanks to the latest Hello Kitty x World Market collaboration! The two brands have come together to feature a Omatsuri collection. Omatsuri is special Japanese festival rooted in community and culture. The supercute collection has items featuring Hello Kitty and her friends dressed up in traditional Japanese festival outfits.

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It’s definitely hard to choose my favorites from the Omatsuri collection because everything is so amazing! I love the Keroppi, Badtz Maru, Pompompurin and Hello Kitty plushes all dressed up for Omatsuri.

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Hello Kitty and her friends are the stars of Omatsuri in sticky notes, pencil cases and pencils. One is sure to be the star in the office or school with these supplies.

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For lunchtime there are bright bento boxes from the Omatsuri collection. These are delightfully cute for a delicious lunch.

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Speaking of lunch; preparing food in the kitchen will also be super kawaii; thanks to this latest collaboration.

There’s cute coffee cups via mugs featuring Hello Kitty and her Sanrio friends Badtz-Maru, Keroppi, My Melody and Chococat in front of colorful fireworks and lanterns at the festival.

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Little Hello Kitty dishes in the shape of lanterns can be used for various sauces. It’s such a festive dish for food.

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There is also a gigantically cute Hello Kitty cookie jar from this collection. Hello Kitty is dressed up in a special blue and red kimono. She’s in the traditional dress for special Japanese festivities. I will celebrate with Kitty and cookies any day. 🙂

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Speaking of celebrations;  Sanrio and World Market have planned five in store meet and greet events throughout August and September in select cities around the U.S. These meet and greets are for celebrating the brand new collection with no other than Hello Kitty herself.

I went to the first Hello Kitty Meet and Greet and had so much fun meeting Hello Kitty and checking out the cute collection in person. There was also samples of Hello Kitty’s favorite snacks such as Hello Kitty matcha marshmallows and Hello Kitty choco pie.

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Aside from hanging out with supercute Hello Kitty and sampling super yummy snacks, I had a chance to meet celebrated Japanese calligraphy artist Kuniharu Yoshida.

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I love the beautiful calligraphy he made with my name. This was definitely a wonderful treat to meet such a talented artist at the event. We even had a conversation about Hello Kitty’s real name. 😉

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Arigato Hello Kitty and World Market for such a fun time at the Meet and Greet!

The Meet and Greet is a great way to check out the latest collection and meet Hello Kitty and Kuniharu Yoshida. Below is a list of the events happening at a nearby World Market near you. 😉

Saturday, August 17
1:00 – 3:00 pm
Cost Plus World Market
22929 Hawthorne Blvd
Los Angeles, CA

Saturday, August 24
1:00 – 3:00 pm
Cost Plus World Market
1623 North Sheffield Avenue
Chicago, IL

Friday, August 30
6:00 – 8:00 pm
Cost Plus World Market
2040 Redwood Highway
Greenbrae, CA

Saturday, August 31
1:00 – 3:00 pm
2552 Taylor Street
San Francisco, CA

Sunday, September 8
1:00 – 3:00 pm
1313 West Sunflower Avenue
Santa Ana, CA

Each event is open to the public, first come, first served and and is subject to change or cancellation.

Make sure to say konichiwa to the newest Hello Kitty x World Market Omatsuri Collection at your local World Market. Every this is super kawaii!

Hello Urban Plates Torrance!

This August 12, 2019; Torrance will have the grand opening of Urban Plates; a restaurant that specializes in real food made from scratch. The location is perfectly situated at the newly revamped Del Amo Crossing; that is also home to newest 24 Hour Fitness in the South Bay.

There are various Urban Plates locations in California and Washington DC and with each grand opening they pair with a charitable institution that supports the local community. Urban Plates Torrance paired up with  The Volunteer Center; a local South Bay center that has core programs such as Food for Kids. Food for Kids by The Volunteer Center helps provides low income families in the South Bay with healthy meals over the weekend; helping kids be energized and ready for school on the weekday.

I was so fortunate to be a part of a pre-grand opening celebration this weekend courtesy of Urban Plates Torrance and The Volunteer Center. Not only was this event for a good cause; it truly showcased Urban Plates wonderful scratch made meals. Each dish is made out of some of the best ingredients such as grass-fed beef, sustainably sourced seafood, free-range chicken, and fresh produce.

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The first items I got to try during this sneak peak were some of their seasonal soups. First up was the Green Lentil. The Green Lentil has a nice variety of vegetables and spices. There are carrots, bay leaves, garlic, thyme and paprika. All of the ingredients come together for a nice, flavorful broth. I also tried their Tomato Basil. Here at Urban Plates; I loved that they added some coconut milk along with some pesto to make their tomato soup.

The next dish I tried was from their Greens section. The Greens section of their menu consists of hand tossed salads served with scratch made dressing. My choice of salad was their Asian Chicken Salad. This salad was quite a treat. It had lettuce, arugula, organic carrots, green onions, spicy peanuts, large orange slices, red bell peppers, cilantro, crispy wontons and grilled cage free chicken. The dressing was a spicy peanut dressing. This salad definitely had a unique spicy kick to it. It also had a nice crunchy texture thanks to the crisp lettuce, peanuts and wontons.

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For our main dish; we went with one of their hand carved sandwiches. Each of their sandwiches are served on grilled rustic bread and comes with kettle chips. We got to try the Grilled Grass Fed Steak. This was truly one of the best sandwiches I have ever had. It was so meaty and the steak was wonderfully tender. There was a delicious chimichurri aioli smothered on the bread and the meat was topped off with slow roasted tomatoes. Urban Plates definitely knows how to make a good sandwich!

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Last but not least, I had the Urban Cowgirl Cookie for dessert. This cookie is Urban Plates version of a trail mix cookie and had sunflower seeds, oats, dried cranberries, shredded coconut and a bit of nutmeg and cinnamon. It was one yummy cookie that was a perfect ending to one yummy meal!

I am definitely looking forward to trying out Urban Plates again in the near future. I was impressed with their scratch made meals and I could really taste the freshness. I also was an instant fan because they chose to celebrate their opening with helping out the community via The Volunteer Center. Urban Plates Torrance is a true winner.

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For more smiles, please see my Yelp review on Urban Plates Torrance.

Hello John’s Incredible Pizza Carson!

This upcoming July 29, 2019; something incredible will be happening in Carson, California! John’s Incredible Pizza will have it’s grand opening at the Carson Town Center! With over 13 locations throughout California, Nevada and Oregon; this will be the first ever South Bay location!

This weekend, thanks to Yelp Los Angeles I was one of the lucky few who got a sneak peak of the newest John’s Incredible Pizza.

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The place is indeed incredible! They’ve got an all you can buffet that includes an incredible assortment of pizza, pasta, chicken, salad, soup and desserts..

One incredible savory offering was there Spicy Peanut Butter pizza. It’s a pepperoni pizza with peanut butter spread and several peanuts sticking out. It’s definitely unique and incredible ;).

From the sweets selection; I found the churro donuts to be one of the most incredible desserts ever! It was so soft and sweet; a perfect treat pre-playing games!

You are sure to be incredibly amazed and full at the end of your meal here!

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The incredible fun continues on at John’s Incredible Pizza’s game area. Their game area is called Fun World and includes 100 games, rides and attractions. Some of the most popular is their Boogie Bump (bumper cars), Glow Golf, Kiddie Land and roller coaster!

The grand opening will have a free $100 fun card for the first 100 guests. Doors open at 10am and the KIIS FM morning team and the IncrediBear will be there!

For more incredible info on the new John’s Incredible Pizza in Carson; please see my Yelp review on Family Fun at John’s Incredible Pizza.

Hello Mix Mix Kitchen Bar!

Just this May 2019; Michelin released the first ever California statewide list of Bib Gourmand selections. The list highlights “exceptionally good food at moderate prices.” One of the restaurants listed was Mix Mix Kitchen and Bar.  Located in Downtown Santa Ana, Mix Mix Kitchen Bar is the global inspired restaurant concept by famed Chef Ross Pangilinan. The restaurant is not new to earning recognition. In 2017; they also Orange Coast Magazine’s 2017 Restaurant of the Year!

Chef Ross Pangilinan was previously the executive chef at Leatherby’s Café Rouge at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa. In 2017; he opened up Mix Mix Kitchen Bar. Since it’s opening; the restaurant has earned both awards as well as the hearts of foodies from all over.

Chef Ross Pangilinan’s dishes have a hint of Filipino flare and European touch. The menu is filled with unique and tasty dishes and one of the best ways to go while visiting is trying out their “Oui Chef” tasting menu. For $65; diners get to partake in 5 dishes personally picked by the chef himself.  I got to try the “Oui Chef” tasting menu recently and had the most amazing time!

Our meal first started off with Chicharrones and spicy vinegar.

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Chicharrones; a classic Filipino snack; was the perfect starter for our big meal.  The Chicharrones were thin and crisp and great when dipped in the Datu Puti vinegar; a well known Filipino vinegar.

Next up; we were presented with several of Mix Mix’s famed snacks..

First was the Seared Albacore Tostada & Filipino ceviche.

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The Seared Albacore Tostada came with avocado, seaweed, Japanese dressing, sriracha aioli, radish on top of a round crisp tostada. On the side was the Filipino ceviche with coconut lime dressing, tangerine, avocado, Thai chili and bits of pork crackling.

One of the nicest things I liked about the Oui Chef tasting menu was it was customizable to guests. One guest can have a different dish versus the other if the other guest has different dining preferences (non-pescatarian, vegetarian etc).

Since I am non-pescatarian; I was presented with a lovely plate with Chorizo & Potato Croquettes and Bacon Wrapped Date.

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The Chorizo & Potato Croquettes came with jalapeno lime aioli, Oaxaca cheese while the Bacon Wrapped Date came with harissa yogurt, Marcona almonds. Both were lovely and full of flavor! I loved the softness of the croquettes and sweetness of the date.

The snacks did not end there as next was a plate of Heirloom Tomato and Watermelon salad to share.

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This had watermelon, tomato, candied pistachio and white balsamic gastrique. Pieces of crisp toast were placed on top. I loved how they made this seasonal dish with watermelon. It was so refreshing for a summer night.

Next up were several selections from Mix Mix Kitchen Bar’s small plates menu.

The first was Short Rib Bao Buns.

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It is rare to find bao buns at restaurants and I have to say that this is one of the best that I’ve ever had! It was packed with braised short rib topped with pickled onions and cilantro. It also had ”pho” cream which gave a pho like taste to great small plate!

Pork Cheek Adobo was followed as our next small plate.

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Adobo is a famed Filipino dish and one knows a Filipino restaurant is good based off their adobo! I am happy to say Filipino Chef Ross definitely knows his adobo. This small plate was delicious and was accompanied with tasty garlic fried rice and chimichurri. It reminds me of home.

The dish served with the Pork Cheek Adobo was the restaurant’s Market Fish selection dish.

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The Market Fish was a lovely looking plate. The fish was roasted barramundi and it was accompanied with Spanish beans, Spanish chorizo, zucchini and pickled chili emulsion. Healthy and delightful are two words that come to mind.

Soft Egg Raviolo awaited our palates next.

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The Soft Egg Raviolo had a soft cooked egg in the middle of a large disk of stuffed black pepper pasta, topped with herb ricotta,  guanciale, parmesan and brown butter. The egg yolk oozed out of the middle as I sliced this delectable dish. The ravioli itself was so soft and cooked perfectly.

Our following starter plate was a surprise. It was the Rabbit Guitar Pasta.

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The pasta itself is representative of guitar strings and hence the name “Guitar Pasta.” On top was shredded meat that at first we were debating whether it was chicken or pork. It turned out to be Fryer Rabbit; a lean young rabbit with fine-textured white meat. This dish is not on the menu but a special of the restaurant. It was definitely one of their more unique dishes!

At this point; we were getting quite full but up next was the main entree; New York steak and Lamb.

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Once again; Mix Mix Kitchen Bar got it right! Both meats were cooked medium and were so tender. Accompanied with brussel sprouts and potatoes; it felt like we were at high end steakhouse. The lamb was another off the menu special.

The desserts were a sweet ending to a very special tasting menu. We got not one but two of their famous desserts.

First up was the Chocolate Fondant.

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Our waiter described this as a lava cake like type dessert with passion fruit cream, salted caramel on the side. The chocolate itself was so rich and smooth. It was dark chocolate at it’s finest. The passion fruit cream gave a nice, sweet offset to the dark chocolate.

Our last but definitely not the least dessert was the Tropical Verrine.

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Once again; Chef Ross Pangalinan pays homage to his Filipino roots with this dessert that is a twist on the Filipino halo- halo. It had coconut panna cotta, macadamia nuts and tropical fruit and mango sorbe and ube ice cream. Definitely save room for dessert as this sweet treat is pure heaven!

Oui Chef experience at Mix Mix Kitchen was the most amazing culinary experience. I can definitely see why this restaurant won Orange Coast Magazine’s 2017 Restaurant of the Year and is on the list of Michelin Guide California 2019 Bib Gourmand. Chef Ross Pangilinan along with Chef de Cusine; Ross Harris came up with some of the best dishes ever and provided us with a dining experience we will never forget! Oui Chef!

For more smiles; please see my Yelp review  on Mix Mix Kitchen Bar.

Hello Citrus City Grille: New Summer Offerings!

 

Citrus City Grille  in Old Town Orange was built in 1996 by three friends who wanted to bring a modern restaurant that would become a neighborhood destination. Since it’s opening; Citrus City Grille has become just that; a place where neighborhood friends gather for modern, contemporary American cuisine with a touch of Mediterranean.

Their menu consists of an amazing array of sandwiches, steaks, salads, tacos, soups, cocktails, wines and more. Just in time for the summer they are offering a summer special every day of the week. These nightly summer specials begin at 4pm:

  • Monday Pasta Night – Buy 1 pasta dish get 1 free
  • Tuesday Payback Night – Half off your entire food bill
  • Wednesday Wine Enthusiasts Night – Large selection of half off wine bottle list

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  • Thursday Beer Enthusiasts Night – Half off all beer
  • Friday + Saturday Night – Preset three course meals at just $25

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  • Sunday Night – All restaurant industry half off your food bill

In addition, Citrus City Grille always has their popular Happy Hour that runs daily during afternoon and evening hours and a $10.95 lunch box available for dine in or take out.

Summer smiles and Hello Kitty Foodie happiness are sure to be found at City Grill!

Hello 7 Leaves Cafe Torrance!

“Be the change that you want to see in the world.” Gandi’s famous words are around the cups and it appears as well on a “eye chart” decoration at the newly opened 7 Leaves Cafe in Torrance.

7 Leaves Cafe indeed is making a change in the world; the boba world to be exact and I like it! The shop that first originated in Orange County has now hit the South Bay. What makes their drinks so unique is they chop, peel, cook, stir, and press by hand from raw ingredients in order to extract real flavors to use in their drinks.

I love my tea as well as my boba and 7 Leaves Cafe has the quality that I am looking for! My favorites so far include their House Coffee as well as their Mung Bean Tea.

The House Coffee is an authentic Vietnamese style coffee with hazelnut cream while the Mung Bean Tea is jasmine tea with mung bean and pandan leaves. Both drinks are true to their name and the flavor really comes out.

Aside from drinks; 7 Leaves also offers macarons and strawberry croissants! I enjoyed some strawberry croissants with my drink and enjoyed the buttery flaky crust of the croissant and the sweet cream that oozed out from the inside.

7 Leaves is definitely making a change; a good change in bringing quality ingredients to bring out quality food and drinks! I’m happy to see this place now in the South Bay!

For more smiles; please check out my Yelp review on 7 Leaves Cafe Torrance.