Hello Kang Ho Dong Baekjong!

The popular Seoul based Korean BBQ chain has opened up another branch in Southern California! Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong now has a  location in Torrance, California.

The restaurant is named after the owner of the restaurant who is no other than comedian and former wrestler Kang Ho Dong. Walking in, one is greeted with a large cutout of the owner.

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Aside from the cutout, the ode to the comedian/wrestler can be seen in various funny and unique cartoons of Kang Ho Dong.

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The second part of the restaurant name “Baekjeong” comes from the Korean word for “butcher.” This is perhaps to allude to the meat that they serve.

Here at the newly opened Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong, one has the choice of a meat combo or pork combo. Regardless of which one you choose, you must come hungry!

Just like other Korean BBQ spots, this place comes with banchan. Among the Kang Ho Dong banchan that is offered is Baekjeong lettuce and veggie salad, kimchijeon (Korean pancake),  kimchi, gamma jorim (Korean braised potatoes), seaweed and radishes.

Free with the combo offerings is steamed egg, corn and cheese and onion. The steamed egg and corn cheese are already placed at the table.  It is off to the side of the gas and charcoal fired grill setup that they have here. These items cook along side with the meat.

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When the steamed egg is fully cooked, it is awesome. It’s very fluffy. The corn and cheese were also great and one of my favorite sides of the night. I love the melted cheese along the sweet corn.

The combo offerings also come with choice of beef brisket soybean paste stew or kimchi stew.

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I tried the beef brisket soybean paste stew and found that it was nice mix of tofu, beef strips, clams as well as jalapeño.

The cooking of the meat here is done by the staff of Kang Ho Dong Baekjong.

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I chose to get the pork combo which came with premium seared pork belly, premium pork jowl and marinated pork collar.

Once the meat is fully cooked, the staff will let you know.

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The servers will cut the meat into bite sized pieces and place them on the outer part of the grill to keep them warm but slow the cooking.

The meat can be enjoyed with a special dipping sauce that consists of wasabi, onion, jalapeño soy sauce and rice wine.

All the meat along with the banchan will be sure to make you full and content! You will be leaving Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong with a happy tummy and happy smile.

For more smiles, please my Yelp review on the newly opened Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong in Torrance.

 

Hello Brunch @ Salt Creek Grille!

Salt Creek Grille  first opened up Plaza El Segundo in 2007.  With its mesquite grilled menu and hand crafted cocktails, it’s been a favorite for many South Bay locals for lunch, dinner and happy hour. Did you know however that they also offer brunch on Saturdays and Sundays? Every Saturday and Sunday they offer brunch from 10:30am-2:30pm.

I recently got to try the brunch on a beautiful Saturday and I had a very blissful brunch experience. The brunch menu consists of so many delicious entrees that include quiches and special egg and sandwich creations by the chef. Customers can also choose to get the Salt Creek Grille lunch items during brunch.

My brunch experience here started off with their beignets.

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This brunch beignets offering consist of five powder sugar-coated crisp pastry cream-filled apple fritters. The beignets are on top of raspberry drizzle and there is bourbon caramel sauce on the side for dipping.

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These beignets are simply amazing. They come out from the Salt Creek Grille kitchen perfectly fresh. I love how light and fluffy these delightful donuts are.

The next item I got to try is Salt Creek Grille’s newest brunch offering. This is no other than their honey fried chicken and waffles.

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Salt Creek Grille does very well in their creation of this classic salty and sweet dish. Three pieces of juicy honey fried chicken are on top of a thick Belgian Waffle. The fried chicken consists of juicy pieces of chicken breast, thigh and leg. Off to the side is maple syrup for dipping as well as sweet butter for the waffle topping.

My favorite brunch offering during my brunch visit at Salt Creek Grille was the Monte Cristo.

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The Monte Cristo simply blew me away at first bite. This breakfast sandwich consisted of brioche bread dipped in egg batter, tavern ham, roasted turkey breast, swiss and Dijonnaise. At the bottom of the sandwich was raspberry melba sauce and at the top of the sandwich was sprinkles of powdered sugar. There was fresh fruit on the side to compliment the sandwich.

I just found this sandwich to be indulgence at it’s finest. The brioche just had the perfect crispy texture. I love how the flavor of the Dijoinaise enhanced the tavern ham, roasted turkey breast and swiss. The raspberry melba sauce and powdered sugar gave a nice sweet touch.

This sandwich was excellent and I was even more impressed when I heard the story behind the Monte Cristo at Salt Creek Grille El Segundo. General Manager  Christina Grenart shared her story behind the Monte Cristo with me. When she was a little girl, she would visit her grandma. Together her and her grandma would share Monte Cristo sandwiches made out of French  toast. When she got older and got married, her husband worked at Disneyland and she would often eat Monte Cristo sandwiches at Disneyland’s French Quarter. The memories of eating Monte Cristo sandwiches with her grandma and enjoying Monte Cristo sandwiches at Disneyland inspired her to bring the Monte Cristo to Salt Creek Grille. She worked with the chef at Salt Creek Grille to make their own version. From the touch of the raspberry melba sauce to the tavern ham, Cristy and the Salt Creek Grille chef perfected this brunch sandwich.

The brunch offerings at Salt Creek Grille are amazing but as mentioned earlier in this post, customers can also partake in many of favorite lunch items during brunch. One favorite healthy options is their fish tacos.

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 The fish tacos consist of mesquite grilled seafood, cabbage slaw and pico de gallo on top of the customer’s choice of corn or flour tortillas. It is accompanied with black beans and  citrus brown rice. The fish inside the tacos are the Chef’s selection.

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This particular brunch day, the tacos had a mix of halibut, sea bass, salmon and mahi mahi. The tacos were packed with plenty of fish. It is definitely a seafood lovers ideal meal.

For beverages at brunch, folks can enjoy many of Salt Creek Grille’s handcrafted cocktails, craft beers or their Stumptown coffee! I tried their Stumptown chocolate cold brew.

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Wow, this chocolate cold brew with milk is chocolate milk and coffee caffeine crazy deliciousness. I loved how the coffee had that nice hint of chocolate. It’s definitely one that will bring a bit of perk to your morning 😉.

The brunch at Salt Creek Grille is great start for any weekend! The entrees are very fulfilling and delicious. Each item is well prepared by the talented chefs of the restaurant and is sure to bring a happy smile to your face. Salt Creek Grille is not only great for lunch, dinner and happy hour but is also excellent for brunch!

For more smiles, please see my Yelp review about Salt Creek Grille’s brunch.

Hello Suburbia!

In the past couple years, Chef Tin Vuong has been making quite a name for himself in the South Bay. It first started in 2012, when he took over as Executive Chef of Abigaile in Hermosa Beach and brought to that restaurant a variety of unique gastropub eats like poutine with braised lamb belly and fried organic egg. Then in 2013, he opened up the pizzeria WildCraft in Culver City and the Asian eatery Little Sister in Manhattan Beach. Shortly after he brought us the Hermosa Beach Mexican beachisde resto Dia De Campo and the classy Manhattan Beach Steak and Whiskey. Last year, Chef Tin Vuong  ventured outside beach cities via the opening of Little Sister LA in downtown Los Angeles. Now this 2016 he brings us his “lucky 7” in the opening of Suburbia in Redondo Beach.

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Suburbia is located at the heart of Riviera Village in Redondo Beach. Alongside with Chef Tin Vuong’s partner Jed Sanford, they bring modern neighborhood eats with an emphasis in new American dishes. In the eclectic menu, one can find favorites from their other restaurants. I recognized Abigaile’s pao de queijo and AB snickers. I spotted a tribute to Little Sister’s popular lobster dish via Suburbia’s S&P Lobster. Suburbia simply has one extensive unique menu filled with Mexican, Asian, Middle Eastern and American dishes.

On my recent visit here, my meal started with a couple of items from their menu’s “first bites and snacks” section.

First up was Suburbia’s fried green tomatoes.

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This starter consisted of five crisp fried green tomatoes accompanied with buttermilk dressing, pimento cheese and pickled peppers. The crispy coating on the outside and soft tomatoes inside made for a light, nice appetizer. This is another offering that was influenced by Chef Tin and Jed’s other restaurants. This dish is reminiscent of Steak and Whiskey’s wedge salad that has fried green tomatoes.

After the fried green tomatoes, we got to feast on Suburbia’s tapas plate.

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Pleasing to the eye and to the palate, was this huge tapas platter filled with various meats, cheese and nuts. There was a bowl of mambas with white sausage along side with jamon serrano, almonds and Manchego cheese.  Mixing in some sweetness to the salt were roasted grapes, fig jam and fig cake.  This platter also had tomato toast and olive torta.

The starters at Suburbia are very fulfilling but they are not to be outdone with the main entrees. One has to save room for the main courses!

The Lebanese Spiced Ground Lamb and Hummus was a favorite for many at the restaurant that evening.

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This dish comes with a bowl of ground lamb mixed with mint, cilantro, pine nuts, walnuts, dukkah and hummus. One the side is za’atar naan. Hummus with a twist, this was one very fulfilling dish.

My personal favorite of the night came in the form of Suburbia’s short ribs.

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This entree gives new meaning the word tenderness. This dish has the most tender short rib that simply melts with the touch of fork. The amazingly soft meat was accompanied with anson mills grits, charred kale, raclette and horseradish cream.

Just like all the other restaurants of Chef Tin Vuong Suburbia is simply superb! I have heard in planning Suburbia that Jed Safford wanted a restaurant where he can enjoy a variety of meals with his kids. With it’s globally inspired dishes, Suburbia is indeed a perfect place where friends and family can come together. There is something for every palate.

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Suburbia, the modern-day neighborhood eatery, welcome to the neighborhood!

For more smiles, please see my Yelp review on Suburbia.

Hello Honey and Butter!

Just recently my favorite macaron shop Honey and Butter opened up at the Irvine Spectrum.

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I first fell in love with Honey and Butter macarons via macarons from their original location in Costa Mesa. Their French macarons are truly special. They make out macaron shells out of California almonds and their macaron fillings are made out of fresh fruits and freshly ground hazelnuts and pistachios. They also have the cutest character macarons I’ve ever seen.

When I heard they were opening up a second location at the Irvine Spectrum, I was so excited because it would be another place to get some amazing treats.

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Walking into the Irvine location, I instantly could tell that this was a happy place.

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One cannot help smile at the cute decor all around.

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There are various Disney and Sanrio tsums tsums and plushes.

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I actually found out these are from the owner’s personal collection.
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The cute decor is equivalent to the cuteness of their offerings here at Honey and Butter. They serve the traditional French sweet meringue-based confection in a variety of colorful, flavorful treats. Popular flavors include Sea Salted Caramel, Milk & Honey and Cookie Butter. Their most popular macarons however lie in their  specialty creature macarons.

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Every day Honey and Butter offers up a different macarons shaped in assorted characters. Some days it is a Hello kitty macaron. Other days  it is Mickey Mouse. Breaking Bad and Harry Potter have been on the list as well.

Hmm I am partial to their kitty macarons (I wonder why hehe.😉 )

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Aside from offering traditional macarons, there is something new being offered at the Honey and Butter and this is none other than their Creamarons! Creamarons are macaron ice cream sandwiches. The sandwich can be made out of their traditional macarons or their character ones.

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I got a kitty creamron filled with birthday cake ice cream and topped with gummy bears and frosted flakes on my visit here. It had to be the cutest macaron sandwich ever. It was also one of the best ice cream sandwiches I’ve ever had as well. In between the rich and creamy vanilla birthday cake ice cream were chunks of real birthday cake. The toppings of frosted flakes and gummy bears made it an even more special treat! Macaron happiness indeed.

It really is all about happiness at Honey and Butter. From the happy atmosphere of the shop to their cute fresh treats, one cannot help but smile! I’m so happy to see a second location open up and I’m looking forward to trying more of their macarons.

For more smiles, please see my recent Yelp review on Honey and Butter .

 

Hello Kitty Cafe Pop-Up Visit!

The day all of us Hello Kitty Foodies in Southern California has finally arrived with the opening of the first ever Hello Kitty Cafe Pop!

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It seemed like only yesterday when I wrote on this blog  a post about the upcoming cafe pop up and now it’s finally here. Cuteness overload and hello kitty happiness has hit California! Just this last July 15, 2016, the cafe pop up in the form of a pink metal shipping container had its grand opening at the Irvine spectrum.

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I recently had the chance to visit the cafe and absolutely fell in love.

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The Hello Kitty Pop-Up cafe is every Hello Kitty Foodie’s dream come true. The outside alone is super kawaii. With a little gate embossed with bow ties,  a pink and white canopy and a gigantic hello kitty light on the top, it’s the cutest cafe in town!

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Right at the side of the cafe, where folks can place their orders, Hello Kitty herself is there to greet her cutie foodie fans.

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The cafe has so many delicious offerings. They’ve got sweets, drinks and espressos! How about a birthday cake consisting of vanilla bean cake, sprinkles and butter cream or a strawberry streusel tart with fresh strawberries, toasted streusel and butter tart crust or Mama’s apple pie that has assorted apples, cinnamon and buttery pie crust?  Picking what sweet treat to get was perhaps one of the hardest decisions I had to make that day! Hmm could I just have one of every thing please?😉

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Not only are the sweets and treats cute but their packaging is super kawaii as well. The sweets box is very similar to the look of the pop-up cafe itself. The box is a “little cafe” with Hello Kitty and friends My Melody, Badtz Maru, Keroppi and Purin.

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Hmm speaking of friends, Hello Kitty’s friends were not missing at the Pop-Up Cafe because of course they were there to support their favorite Kitty friend.

I spotted everyone’s favorite roly-poly penguin, Tuxedo Sam there. He was of course dressed in his best bow tie!

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Right by the pick up window was the whole gang! Badtz Maru, Pompompurin, Chococat, Tuxedo Sam, My Melody, Keroppi and Mimi! Every one loves the Hello Kitty Cafe Pop-Up!

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Speaking of the pick up window. Hello Kitty Cafe Pop-Up’s pick up window has to be the best and cutest pick up window ever.

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It was at this super kawaii spot that I picked up all my hello kitty treats.

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One of my favorite treats from the cafe is the strawberry cake.

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The strawberry cake is a vanilla bean custard cake with butter cream and fresh strawberries. It has little hello kitty red bow ties and hello kitty faces all around. It is almost too cute to eat!

I said almost too cute😉 hehe because one definitely needs to try this cake. The vanilla bean custard cake base is very moist. The butter cream gives just the right amount of sweetness too.

A perfect pairing to the strawberry cake is the strawberry mint lemonade.

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Filled with fresh strawberries and mint, this lemonade is the perfect for those hot summer days!

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The Hello Kitty Cafe Pop-Up will be at the Irvine Spectrum for a full year and I am sure to be back for more treats and sweet times in the future. This cafe simply spells out happiness. There are so many delicious treats featuring our favorite girl Hello Kitty. The whole place is just so, so special.  Cute. Happy. A dream come true. I could not help but smile from ear to ear during my visit here.

Do come visit the Hello Kitty Pop-Up Cafe and be hit with hello kitty happiness the moment you come🙂. Have a sweet day!

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For more smiles, please my Yelp review on the Hello Kitty Pop-Up Cafe! It’s my 900th yelp review and truly something special and dear to me🙂.

Hello Founding Farmers!

It is always a joy to travel to different cities and discover new eateries. I find that dining at different restaurants gives me a little bit of history of each city I visit. On a recent trip to the East Coast, I found myself at a restaurant with a unique story and foundation. This restaurant is no other Founding Farmers.

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Founding Farmers is owned by more than 40,000 family farmers. Their story began in 2005 when the members of North Dakota Farmers Union (NDFU)  were looking to see how the food they harvest could be brought directly to consumers. These farmers banded came together to start an upscale, farm-to-table restaurant chain and Founding Farmers was born.

Founding Farmers serves American inspired real food and drink. American classics are introduced in their own special farm way. Their most popular item on the menu is Spicy Fried Chicken and Jefferson Donut.

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This dish is for folks who really want to indulge. The fried chicken in this dish is served piping hot and there is indeed a bit of spice when one eats it. It is served with macaroni and cheese and green beans. The mac and cheese has large elbow macaroni that is coated in the creamiest cheddar cheese. The Jefferson donut is similar to a cronut in fluffiness and the interior is a sweet Maple cream. I really enjoyed this dish and can see why it is so popular.

For those looking for a healthier option, they do have various salad and seafood dishes. One such dish is the Campfire trout with Lemon Butter

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This seafood dish comes with sweet & sour tomato, spinach and mashed potatoes. It’s a light, healthy dish that is farm fresh.

Aside from the savory items on the menu, Founding Farmers has their own pastry studio where they offer homemade pies and macarons.

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As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog post, I love traveling to different cities and trying various unique restaurants. I love the story of Founding Farmers. The passion of the farmers to bring the best farm fresh quality foods to every one is inspiring. The quality of their entrees can definitely be seen and I’m very happy to have visited their restaurant during my travels.

For more smiles, please check out my Yelp review on Founding Farmers.

Hello Creamistry Torrance!

Now Freezing in Torrance!

With the temperature rising these last couple days, one who reads the first statement in this latest blog post may think I’ve gone crazy. It is true however my dear readers that it is now  freezing Torrance, thanks to the newly opened Creamistry.

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Creamistry is the newest ice cream shop to hit the South Bay. They make customized ice cream out of liquid nitrogen. Milk particles stay in small pieces at -321 F. As the liquid nitrogen evaporates and clouds of liquid nitrogen come out. The result is a rich, smooth, creamy ice cream.

Folks have a choice of 50 different flavors along with more than 50 mix-in toppings. Sizes range from single, double, to nitroshakes. Bases range from premium, organic, sorbet and coconut.

Customers can choose to create their own or there are specialty creations already pre-set. I am a big fan of the specialty creations!

On my first visit here, I chose to get the “Strawberry Bond.”
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Yes, Hello Kitty Foodies its freezing in Torrance! Check out the newest Creamistry to find out for yourself😉.
For more smiles, please see my Yelp review on Creamistry.