Hello Momofuku CCDC!

Fast cars in a rush. Busy people passing by. A chilly wind and slight rain. I’m in my black Hello Kitty hoodie at City Center in Washington DC. Cold and hungry on a busy day in DC, the answer to my prayers is right in front of me as I spot the peach logo of Momofuku CCDC.

Momofuku CCDC is one of the restaurants of famed chef David Chang. The original Momofuku is in New York City and there are also branches in Toronto and Las Vegas. Momofuku opened up in December 2015 at CityCenter DC. The Washington DC location has a somewhat personal significance in Chef Chang’s life. He is a Northern Virginia native and his is father once owned two bistros in Washington, DC.

The personal significance to Chef Chang’s childhood brought some special attention to detail in choosing the menu of this location. Momofuku CCDC ended up with some of the traditional dishes that can be found at the other Momofuku restaurants but it also got some creations exclusively made for DC. On this chilly day, I was blessed to try an array of Momofuku offerings.

My meal at Momofuku started off with their famous buns. They’ve got a quite a selection of buns ranging from shitake to brisket. I got the chicken meatball buns.

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The chicken meatball buns are amazing. This small dish consists of two buns filled with a gigantic chicken meatball that is smothered with paprika mayo and topped with spicy  jalapeños and crispy iceberg lettuce. The buns are so soft and practically melt in your mouth. They remind me of traditional siopao or steamed buns that can be found in Chinatown. These are not your classic Chinese steamed buns however because they have a special, unique twist with their fillings. The chicken meatball is super flavorful and there is a little bit of spice brought in with the paprika mayo and jalapeño. It’s spicy, savory and simply mouth watering.

Right after the chicken meatball buns, the pork ramen came out. This soup was the perfect response to the slight rain that was hitting DC that day.

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Momofuku CCDC’s pork ramen is a food item of beauty.  A feast for the eyes and a feast for the stomach,; the pork ramen is filled with pork belly, pork shoulder, poached egg and long noodle. One poke at the poached egg and the yolk comes oozing out into the warm broth and further enhancing the already flavorful soup. Along with the poached egg, there is the delicious pork meat adding to the texture of the ramen. The pork belly and pork shoulder are wonderfully tender and mix well with the long, silky noodles. This soup truly is the cure to the chilly DC day.

The pork ramen and buns are items that can be found at the other Momofuku restaurants but as I mentioned early in ths post, Momofuku CCDC has some special items that were created just for this branch. One of these items it their Braised Fried Chicken dish.

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The Briased Fried Chicken dish is not your typical fried chicken dish.  Crispy fried chicken is mixed in with scallions, cabbage and shallot with a sweet sauce. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever tried. I really enjoyed how the chicken remained crispy despite being in the sauce. It’s delicious and different and I’m so happy that it’s on the Momofuku CCDC menu. It’s a dish that was inspired from one of David Chang’s favorite Chinese restaurants, the now closed Wu’s Garden  in Vienna. Though Wu’s maybe closed, the braised fried chicken lives on and it’s all thanks to Momofuku CCDC.

Everything I tried that chilly day in DC was perfect. I absolutely loved the chicken meatball buns and both the pork ramen and the braised fried chicken were phenomenal.

There I was, a girl just cold and hungry at the City Center DC but thanks to Momofuku CCDC I became a girl warm, happy and just peachy ;). (Peachy just like Momomfuku’s famed peach logo. 🙂

For more smiles and to feel peachy like me ;), please read my Yelp review on Momofuku CCDC.

Hello Kitty x Crap Eyewear!

Summer is just around the corner! Perfect for the sun and fun that will soon be here is a very special collaboration between Sanrio and Crap Eyewear! Crap Eyewear, a Los Angeles based company known for their cute, custom designed quality sunglasses, is pairing up with Sanrio for some super cute eyewear that is inspired by Hello Kitty! 

This June 28, Hello Kitty x Crap Eyewear is launching and it will be sure to make your summer extra kawaii!

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All of the sunglasses from the  Hello Kitty x Crap Eyewear collection will have signature and special Hello Kitty detail! There is a gold Hello Kitty charm logo detail on the temple of the frame.
There are four signature Crap Eyewear styles that are part of this collection.

The Hanoi Weekend  features Hello Kitty’s signature red bow. This will be available in two colorways, Gloss White &  Gloss Black and each will haveGrey Gradient CR-39 lenses

The Love Tempo  features Hello Kitty’s signature bow pattern on the interior arm of the frame. This will be available in Gloss Blue with Grey CR-39 lenses.

 The Wild Gift features a classic, slender cat eye shape. This will be available in Milky Pink Glitter with Gold Wire Wrapped Pink Tint CR-39 lenses

All of the sunglasses will come with a custom Hello Kitty x Crapy Eyewear print sunglass case!

You can find these kawaii sunglasses at at sanrio.comcrapeyewear.com, select Crap Eyewear retailers, Sanrio stores worldwide and the Crap Eyewear Showroom in L.A starting June 28. All styles in the capsule collection have a suggested retail price of $76.

Hello Kitty I got my eye on you. 😉

Hello Local Kitchen Tavern!

I’m just a local girl lovin’ the newest local place in Old Torrance.

I have frequented good ol Old Torrance since I was little girl. From classic Mexican restaurant La Capilla (where my family would celebrate birthdays with a matching Happy Birthday Panchita song) to Old Torrance Coffee and Tea (where I’d relax on Saturdays) to Foster Freeze (where I would enjoy a Twister on a summer days); Old Torrance truly has a special place in my heart.

Now there’s another reason for this local girl to love Old Torrance. Local Kitchen Tavern has recently opened right at the heart of Old Torrance,  at Sartori Avenue.

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Torrance is home for this local girl and home is what Local Kitchen Tavern is all about. From the moment I walked in, I was greeted with warm smiles and friendly hellos. They’ve got a very chill yet classy environment. It feels just like home.

Their menu is filled with classic, great dishes and several have an ode to Torrance such as their Sartori Caesar and Old Torrance Grilled Chicken Club.  All of their dishes are made fresh right when the customer orders.

For starters, I tried the newest favorite for many,  the Bad Aux Brussel Sprouts.

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It’s hard not to see why this has quickly become a favorite! The fabulous brussel sprouts are charred with applewood smoked bacon and glazed with maple balsamic reduction. The dish has a subtle sweetness to it along with a hint of salty due to the bacon. I’ve always been a fan of brussel sprouts and this one tops my list of one of the best ones I’ve ever tried.

For my main dish, I had Dave’s BBQ Meatloaf Tower.

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“Tower” is the perfect name for this dish because it has BBQ meatloaf piled almost as high as Dave’s mountain. Large pieces of meatloaf are on top of a gigantic rustic cheddar ciabatta and then it is layered with mashed potatoes, BBQ jus and crispy onions. Yes, it is big on size but big on flavor too! The rustic cheddar ciabatta is popping with cheesy goodness. The meatloaf is tender and delicious. The mashed potatoes are creamy, soft and simply melts in your mouth! Lastly the onion rings on top have full of buttermilk flavor from seasoned Panko bread crumbs and are perfectly crispy! Be still my heart, it has reached its peak in happiness with this mountain of goodness.

Local Kitchen Tavern just had its grand opening this April 18! I am so happy with this new local spot and I’m sure many other locals like me are excited to have this in the neighborhood.

Welcome to Torrance Local Kitchen Tavern! This Hello Kitty Foodie can’t wait to be back to try more of your delicious homestyle dishes. Thank you for the foodie smiles and making this local girl truly feel like I was at home.

For more smiles, please see my latest Yelp review on the Local Kitchen Tavern.

Hello You Art What You Eat!

Tonight a very special event is taking place at the Greenbar Distillery in the Arts District!
Avital Tours in partnership with Grennbar Craft Distllery is bringing You Art What You Eat, a unique interactive food art experience on the cutting edge of culinary experience design.

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Avital Tour is known for creating 4-course progressive dining experiences. They do food tours where you get to try different courses from breakfast to snacks  at  different restaurants.  From trying the foods to going to different kitchens to chatting with chefs, owners, and culinary experts, they create a social dining experience.

You Art What You Eat is Avital Tour’s first ever event! It is an interactive experience of food, art, and unique flavors!  There will be a variety of interactive food tastings. One can try pop chocolate balloons, contribute to an edible Jackson Pollock-esque community masterpiece via scooping up glazes with Blue Star Donuts, create your own cocktail stencils and pipe your own cheesy creations onto savory shortbread and more!

This event is from 7-9pm Thursday, April 20th and will be $25 per person.

The event will include an open bar so all food and drink is included.

Hello Unicorn Frappuccino!

Three years ago, I wrote a post here on Hello Kitty Foodie about the limited edition Starbucks  Birthday Cake Frappuccino. In that post, I  wrote “I am sucker for cutesy drinks and the color pink and this limited offering has Hello Kitty Foodie cute written all over it.” Fast forward to three years later and once again Starbucks has reeled me in with another cute, pink drink; the Unicorn Frappuccino! As much as I though the Birthday Cake Frappuccino was special, the Unicorn Frappuccino is special with a capital S.

Unicorn food is the latest “It” trend in the foodie world.  Yes, food inspired by the mythical creature with horns is popping up every where. There’s unicorn toast, unicorn cake and even unicorn noodles. Now Starbucks is offering the Unicorn Frappuccino.  Starbucks describes the drink as the following:

The flavor-changing, color-changing, totally not-made-up Unicorn Frappuccino. Magical flavors start off sweet and fruity transforming to pleasantly sour. Swirl it to reveal a color-changing spectacle of purple and pink. It’s finished with whipped cream-sprinkled pink and blue fairy powders.

Magical flavors? This Hello Kitty Foodie is sold and I found myself going to the nearest Starbucks at lunch time! I ordered it from my phone, stepped into Starbucks and there it was, sitting in its majestic glory.

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I will admit that I was impressed at the first sight of the drink. I did not expect it to come out like this at all. It really is beautiful. The purple beverage with swirls of blue is definitely eye-catching.

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Swirl the drink around with the classic green straw and you get a lovely pink hue. It’s almost too cute to drink.

Hmm but how does it taste? First sip, I instantly tasted a fruity flavor with hints of mango. A couple more sips and I started to  taste the sourness of the drink. Mixing and swirling a bit more and the drink became a bit more tart. My palate tasted the vanilla  whipped cream last. It’s definitely a very unique and not like no other Frappuccino I’ve ever had. It is unique just like a unicorn. 😉 Magical…perhaps.

The magic of the Unicorn Frappuccino will be available only for a limited time! It is available from April 19-23. It’s worth a try and definitely worth a picture perfect magical moment ;).

Hello Brunch @ Baran’s 2239!

Baran’s 2239 has been on my list of places to try ever since they opened up in 2016. Their co-owner and executive chef, Tyler Gugliotta, is a South Bay native-born and raised in Torrance. Similarly owners Jonathan and Jason Baran are residents of Redondo Beach. Being a local, I’m all about supporting restaurants in the South Bay :). 

Aside from their special tie to my South Bay hometown. I was very intrigued with Baran’s 2239 overall and their tie to great food.  The Barans family is no stranger to food. Their family owned the famed Brothertons Farmhouse on 2239 E. Colorado Blvd in Pasadena for over 50 plus years. The 2239 in the Baran’s restaurant name is homage to the Farmhouse’s restaurant.  The Farmhouse was home to many hometown favorites in Pasadena.  Baran’s 2239 is taking its queue from that fabulous restaurant and serving up some amazing dishes that the whole South Bay and beyond is buzzing about!

Just last month, Baran’s 2239 recently started serving brunch. I am a big fan of brunch and Baran’s 2239 brunch was simply calling my name! All of their offerings are made from scratch and in-house. Their seasonal and locally sourced food is provided by Gugliotta’s family farm, Weiser Farms.

I came for brunch here on Easter Sunday and it truly was a blessed and beautiful meal!

The meal with my family started off with trying their daily special donuts and muffins.

Today their fresh made donut of the day was the Creme Brûlée Donut.

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When the creme brûlée donut came out it, it came with the cutest Easter surprise! Baran’s 2239 pastry chef added a homemade little peep on the side. Not only was the peep cute it was delicious as well. It was made out of lavender. (Sorry cute peep, I ate you hehe!) It was the perfect pair to the creme brûlée donut. The creme brûlée donut was so soft and tasty. One bite and the sweet creme brûlée filling oozed out.

Alongside the donut, we were served their Strawberry Cheesecake Muffin.

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This again was one amazing pastry creating! The strawberry cheesecake muffin had fresh strawberries inside and it was accompanied with delicious cream cheese on the side. It was just like a cheesecake but in muffin form. Hmm who can say no to cheesecake in the morning? 🙂

For the main entrees, we got their Smoked and Spiced Chicken and Waffle.

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Baran’s 2239 is well-known for their fried chicken. Their fried chicken here is prepared in a very unique way. It is first smoked and then fried, and afterwards coated with a soy sauce and chile. Normally the fried chicken is served solo for dinner but for brunch they beautifully pair it with a crispy waffle, pecan sauce and candied nuts. The flavors of this dish simply fall out. You have the smoky, sweet and spicy chicken alongside the sweet, buttery waffle. It is brunch bliss with this dish!

Our second entree for Easter Brunch is one of Baran’s 2239 most popular dishes, their Indian Egg.

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The Indian Egg is Baran’s 2239’s version of the Scotch Egg.  The Indian Egg is a dish consisting of a soft boiled egg that is wrapped in a ball of lamb sausage. It is served with yogurt, cucumber and curry jus.

I am not surprised that the Indian Egg is so popular with every one. I love how it is lightly fried and how perfect the egg is soft-boiled. The flavors of the lamb alongside the creamy yogurt and spiced curry are without a doubt pleasing to the palate.

Easter is a time for new beginnings and my brunch trip here with family is a new beginning of a new tradition of coming to Baran’s 2239. I cannot wait to return and indulge in more of their delicious dishes!

For more smiles, please see my Yelp review on Baran’s 2239.

Hello Kitty Mini Cafe at Westfield Santa Anita!

From the Hello Kitty Cafe Truck to the Hello Kitty Cafe Pop-Up Container, it’s been Hello Kitty Foodie happiness all over! I am so excited and happy to sprinkle a bit more Hello Kitty Foodie happiness via sharing the news of the first Hello Kitty Mini Cafe opening up.

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The Hello Kitty Mini Cafe will be opening to the public this Friday, April 7th, at Westfield Santa Anita shopping center in Arcadia, California. The super cute pink and white small will be right at the Central Court on the first floor of the mall!

Hello Kitty and her friends will welcome shoppers with goodies made fresh daily. Among the delicious treats will be yummy pies, tarts, cookies, pastries and cakes. Many of the signature menu items are similar to those offered at the Hello Kitty Cafe Pop-Up Container. There will also be special seasonal treats throughout the year. Along with the delectable sweets, the Hello Kitty Mini Cafe will serve up a variety of hot and cold beverages! There will also be collectible Hello Kitty Cafe merchandise including t-shirts and mugs.

I am so excited for opening of the Hello Kitty Mini Cafe! I cannot wait to visit and hope to see many of you Hello Kitty Foodies there!

Grand opening festivities will take place FridaySaturday and Sunday and the first 50 people in line each day to receive a  complimentary beverage of their choice and the first 100 people in line each day in line will get a commemorative “small gift”, to celebrate Sanrio’s ‘small gift, big smile’ philosophy.

Hours for the grand opening of the Hello Kitty Mini Cafe Hours are as follows: Friday 4.07 11am – 10pmSaturday 4.08 10am – 10pmSunday 4.09 10am-9pm!