I am a big fan of boba. I love enjoying a bubble tea with my family and friends and trying out the different flavors of tea and coffee with the chewy tapioca pearls. With LA County still having a Safer at Home order however; trips to the boba shop are a bit more sparse. Thankfully though I can still get my boba fix via C Tea Shop’s Boba Kits!
I first discovered C Tea Shop when they partnered with my one of my favorite IG boba buddies; Bitsy Boba. Bitsy Boba along with with So Cali Boba and C Tea Shop came together for one of Bitsy Boba’s 12 Day of Boba Giveaways. I was one of the lucky winners of Day 8 and the prize pack included C Tea Shop’s Original Boba Kit and 2 of Bitsy Boba’s heart straws.
Being a boba lover; I was so happy to receive this box of happiness! Inside the boba kit was Tapioca Boba package, Coconut Milk Tea Powder, Taro Milk Tea Powder, Vanilla Milk Tea Powder and Black Milk Tea Powder.
I was soon off to making boba at home. The process was fun and quite easy! In a nutshell in consisted of adding tapioca to boiling water, mixing in brown sugar or honey with tapioca and then blending the flavor mixtures with milk. In less than 25 minutes I had myself a lovely and refreshing boba treat right at home.
My favorite boba creation was the Taro Boba Tea. Taro is one of my go-to boba flavors and so I was super excited to try this flavor at home. C Tea Shop definitely did not disappoint with their taro flavor and their boba balls. The taro itself had a nice sweet and nutty flavor. The boba was chewy and soft. Together; the taro tea and boba came together for the perfect drink at home. The drink was very much comparable to some of my favorite boba drinks that I’ve had at some of the local cafes.
Another boba creation I enjoyed was the Coconut Boba Tea! Ooh I was such a fan of this. It gave me the all the tropical feels and made me feel like I was at a beach in Hawaii.
It’s so exciting to be my own Bobarista. I can’t believe how quick and easy it was to make my favorite boba drinks at the comfort of my home. I am super excited to be making more boba drinks in the comfort of my own kitchen. C Tea Shop’s boba kits have so many different flavors. My first kit had four flavors but there’s actually plenty more that C Tea Shop has to offers There’s Almond, Black Tea, Black Rose, Coconut, Thai, Taro and Matcha.
I also really loved using the cute and colorful boba straws from Bitsy Boba! The reusable boba straws add a bit more fun and color to the drink! They’re perfect for drinking these tasty drinks.
I am super excited for my 13th year of the Yelp Elite Squad! My Yelp journey this past 2020 was a very different one from past years.
Pre-Covid; I was able to partake in an awesome Yelp event in February 2020 at Robbins Brothers in Torrance, California. At the Yelp Elite Event : Bubbly and Bling; I said YES! Yes to bubbly, bling and lots of Yelp fun.
Though I didn’t get to dine out as much this 2020; I still found myself writing several reviews to support different small businesses around town.
This 2021; I am looking forward to getting more takeout and participating in Yelp virtual events. It may still be different from past Yelp years but I am still looking forward to discovering new places and sharing my experiences.
2020 truly was a year like no other. I remember during the start of the pandemic getting asked what I would do with my blogging as there would be no more dining in at restaurants. I knew back then that despite the change that I should still blog and take food photos. If anything this year was the year to enjoy the little things, stay positive and support more than ever my favorite small businesses and restaurants.
One of my first posts after the pandemic started was a blog post about saving restaurants/takeout places in the South Bay. This ended up being one of my most shared posts of the year.
Now as we wrap up the year; I wanted to take the time to do a quick round up of some fabulous places that I got takeout this year. Some of the places I have featured in this post are new but I also included some old favorite places as well. As you will see shortly it was still quite a tasty 2020 despite it all!
Saigon Eatery in Torrance, California was one my food discoveries this year. It definitely is on the top of my new favorite places. Their beef pho is pho-nonmenal and a true treat on cold days. Aside from pho I love their egg roll and golden bao sides.
Tomboy’s Chili Hamburgers
Tomboy’s Chili Hamburgers in Manhattan Beach, California has always been a family favorite. When I was young I remember visiting here and splitting the huge chili cheese fries with my parents. To this day I love visiting this place with my mom. Our favorite is their chicken salad wrap and zucchini fries.
Niko’s Donuts in Redondo Beach was another new discovery this year. This donut shop opened up right in the middle of the pandemic but quickly became a hit with South Bayers including myself. I love their special touch of steaming donuts first. They have some of the best donuts in the Beach Cities. Their blueberry donuts are a must try.
Mom’s Kitchen in Gardena, California will truly make you say “Oh my Ube!” I love ube and this small business makes some of the best and most affordable ube treats! $10 will get you a dozen fresh ube pandesal. Not to be missed also is their ube flan cupcakes.
Fu Sing is a tried and true place for great Cantonese takeout. It’s no secret that it takes me back to my childhood favorite Tin Sing and I will always love their Hung Shu Wonton dish and their pork egg rolls.
Market Grill in Torrance, California is located at Jon’s Marketplace. Who would’ve thought one could find amazing Mediterranean cuisine at a grocery store? Amazing indeed is this place. I love their Mixed Koobideh.
Addi’s Darbar in Redondo Beach, California has always been a popular Indian restaurant. Despite the pandemic their popularity did not waver. It’s for good reason as they truly offer the best Indian food. Their dishes are full of flavor. Our favorites include their the Tikka Chicken Masala as well as their samosas.
Pinky’s Hot Box
Pinky’s Hotbox in Torrance, California is comfort food at it’s best. Their hot fried chicken sandwiches are so good and a great way to treat yourself! They also got a nice fusion offering via their Longanisa fries.
Ubon Thai in Torrance, California offers some delicious Thai food. Whenever it comes to Thai food; my staple dishes are curry and pad Thai. Here at Ubon Thai; they make some of the best curry and pad thai. The curry is very flavorful with just the right hint of spice. Their pad thai is a great mix of sweet and salty.
Sushimon in Torrance, California was another fabulous discovery this year! I love their Crunchy California rolls. It’s a perfect mix of tempura and California roll. I also love getting their udon soup on a cold winter day.
Caps and Corks
Caps and Corks in Torrance, California is a surprise taco/burrito/sandwich spot inside a liquor store. Their tacos are perfect for not just Tuesday but any day. Their breakfast burritos are also a delicious way to kick off the day! All their offerings are super filling.
Von’s Chicken in Torrance, California is a great place for Korean chicken. I was absolutely thrilled when they opened up in the South Bay. They’ve got both roast and fried chicken offerings in a variety of flavors. Their chicken is always made fresh and so you get yummy, piping hot chicken when you order. Their chicken also comes in the cutest packaging!
El Pollo Inka
El Pollo Inka has several locations in the South Bay; thus making it perfect for takeout. It is a go-to spot for many including myself. I love their different saltados!
Sweet Rice in Gardena, California was listed in the top 100 places to eat at in the country in 2020. They were #8 and I am not surprised at their high ranking. Their Jok porridge is a quite a delight and is filled with meatballs as well has century egg. Yum! It definitely hits my list of top places to eat too!
Not to be outdone from Sweet Rice is Bowl Thai; their sister restaurant. This eatery which is located in Gardena, California as well makes some tasty Thai food! I love their Green Curry and Pad Thai!
King’s Hawaiian Bakery and Restaurant and The Local Place
King’s Hawaiian Bakery and Restaurant alongside their sister restaurant The Local Place offers the most ono eats in Torrance, California. It goes without saying that their sweet treats are a true treat (think paradise cake). Their entrees are also ones that should not be passed up. I love their breakfast dishes. The char siu with the fried rice is my favorite. I also am a fan of their breakfast burrito.
Though 2020 turned out to be a much different year than we all expected; there was still much to be thankful for. I am still very blessed and grateful. I was able to still enjoy good eats with my loved ones as well as support some of my favorite places via takeout.
May 2021 be a fruitful and better year for us all! Let’s start off the year with some good vibes and good eats; shall we? 😉
Hello Kitty says “You can never have too many friends” and similarly “you can never have too many masks ” 😷.
2020 was certainly a surprise “Year of the Masks”. I never would’ve thought that I’d be owning so many different masks. Through it all though I found myself supporting and meeting some wonderful folks and businesses who helped keep the world a little more safe. As we wrap up this year; I share with you some of these awesome small businesses that helped make the world cuter and lives a little bit safer.
Hello Kitty Eatz on Instagram is run by two sisters in Southern California who love Hello Kitty and food. It didn’t take long for me to be friends with these two girls who loved two things I love too! Their love of Hello Kitty also was shown in the masks they sold and so of course I became an instant fan. They had Sanrio masks for every occasion and Hello Kitty was prominently featured. Their Tokidoki x Hello Kitty masks are my favorite!
Based out of Ewa Beach, Hawaii; Ohana Gift Shop brought a little bit of tropical and safety to our lives via their masks! I loved their different Hawaiian based patterns. Aside from a touch of aloha; they also offered some cute Hello Kitty masks. I love the classic Hello Kitty design. Last but certainly not least; they just started offering up mask chains! Their mask chains are beautiful and it’s no surprise as Ohana Gift Shops also owns Maimoda Jewelry.
Mommee Gee is a Filipino family in the South Bay who has an abundant amount of masks offerings. She has sports, designer, Disney and Sanrio! Part of the proceeds from their masks sales go to typhoon victims in the Philippines. My favorite mask from Mommee Gee is the one featuring Hello Kitty and her favorite apple.
Cinmonxxdesigns in New York is a life long Hello Kitty fan and collector. Their masks offerings include Marvel, Pokémon and of course Sanrio! I love how their Sanrio masks feature classic characters like Joey; Hello Kitty’s best friend!
Hello Kitty, sparkle, shine and be safe! That’s what Thee Blingologist from Southern California does. She brings a bit of brightness and safety to your every day with the masks she blings out. I love how she put some bling in a pretty in pink Hello Kitty mask for me!
All of the above were some small businesses I supported this year. They were all very nice businesses who care about the community. No matter what mask you wear; just remember it’s showing you care.
So let’s all be safe and wear a mask & if you’re in need of one do check out the businesses above. 😉
It’s no secret that I love coffee cafes and I also love boba. I was thus happy to hear about Cafe Pruvia; a lovely new cafe spot that specializes in both coffee and boba. Cafe Pruvia just opened up this May 2020 in Pacific Square in Gardena, California. Behind the cafe are three brothers from Manhattan Beach; Tyler, Kyle, and Cody Nakazaki. Tyler, Kyle and Cody wanted to have a spot that would cater to both boba lovers and coffee lovers. This is definitely my kinda place.
Unfortunately due to the pandemic; I’m not quite able to sit at the cafe, relax with a warm cup of coffee or refreshing boba like the old days. Nevertheless I was still able to enjoy some takeout from Cafe Pruvia recently.
My recent takeout consisted of two of their boba drinks from their Cafe Pruvia specials; the Taro Swirl with Boba and the Honeydew Swirl with Boba.
These drinks are absolutely gorgeous. They’re frappes swirled with house-made whip cream and then topped off with more whipped cream.
Not only do the drinks look good; they taste quite good too. It’s no surprise as the owners really studied what would be best for the menu. The whipped cream gives the perfect creamy texture. It’s very smooth. The flavors of the honeydew and taro are just right. It’s not too sweet and you really get the taste of honeydew and taro respectively. The freshly made boba is chewy and soft. The drinks are very well made.
Cafe Pruvia is a nice spot to get some quality drinks. Though one cannot sit and enjoy drinks at their neat cafe; their takeout is not a bad option at all. I’m happy to support this coffee/boba spot and looking forward to another delightful drink from here in the future. Coffee; next!
For more smile; please see my Yelp Review on Cafe Pruvia.
When Covid-19 first started earlier this year; there were several restaurants that had just started their business. One of these businesses was Saigon Eatery in Torrance, California. Thankfully they were determined and their persistence paid off; now becoming a favorite go-to place for pho for many South Bayers including myself.
I am a big fan of Saigon Eatery! Their pho is some of the best pho in the neighborhood. Pho choices include beef, oxtail, chicken and shrimp. My favorite is the beef pho where one can choose two types of meats from ribeye steak, brisket, boneless short rib and beef ball.
Their pho is excellent. The entire bowl is filled with delightful aromatics. The green onion, white onion and cilantro really enhance the flavor of the beef broth. They’re not stingy on their meat and loved the thin, lean slices of boneless short rib and tender beef balls.
Aside from pho; one should not forget about their side dishes such as the golden bao and the egg rolls
The golden bao is golden indeed with it’s slightly charred gold fried outside. Inside is a ground pork, onions, mushrooms, hard boiled egg and Chinese sausage. It’s like a mini meal in itself. It’s very fulfilling.
Saigon Eatery’s egg rolls are also a wonderful side. Similar to the golden bao; these were fried to perfection and served nice and crisp! I loved that they made it traditional with rice noodles inside.
Last but not least if one wants the ultimate caffeine kick then one must try their Vietnamese iced coffee.
Vietnamese iced coffee is known for being strong and if you want that caffeine kick; Saigon Eatery’s Vietnamese iced coffee will certainly do it for you! I don’t think I’ve had stronger Vietnamese coffee. It sure is the perfect way to wake you up. 🙂
2020 is a year when so many small businesses are struggling and thus I am all for supporting new eateries like Saigon Eatery. I very happy to see them doing well and hope to be back for a good bowl of pho again soon.
For more smiles; please see my Yelp review on Saigon Eatery.
I’m so excited that I donut want to hide it! Randy’s Donuts has just opened their sixth location ever as well as their second location in the South Bay! Today Randy’s Donuts opened up just off Hawthorne Blvd in Torrance, California.
Two years ago I wrote about the first Randy’s Donuts in El Segundo at Apollo Landing. Similar to the El Segundo location this Torrance location has many of their famous world class donut flavors. They’ve got their popular Glazed Raised. They have their unique Maple Raised Churros. They even have the colorful Fruit Loops donuts. There is donut for every tastebud.
With the grand opening today; they will be offering free Glazed Raised donuts from 6am to noon to every one. After noon; one can get a free Glazed donut till 8pm if you follow them on their Instagram .
For more smiles; please see my Yelp Review on Randy’s Donuts Torrance
Back in 2018; I wrote a blog post about the newest Happy Lemon in Gardena, California. The new boba spot was quick to become my happy place. I absolutely love their boba. (Favorite boba drinks include the Purple Taro Milk Tea with Taro Ball and Green Milk Tea with Strawberry Trifle and Crystal Boba )
Fast forward two years later; Happy Lemon Gardena is bringing even more happiness to Pacific Square as well as more happiness to my tummy and heart ;). They are now offering Sunmerry Bakery cafe goodies! Several Happy Lemon locations in California already partner with Sunmerry Bakery and so it’s definitely nice to see them also be paired up here at the Gardena location.
Sunmerry Bakery had originally started in Japan and was brought to Taiwan in 1986. Their speciality is combining Japanese baking techniques with Taiwan flavors. Two delicious cuisines are combined to bring some delightful baked goods.
This November 2020; Happy Lemon Gardena had a safe, socially distanced soft opening celebrating their new partnership with Sunmerry Bakery.
I picked up a few baked goods at the recent soft opening and needless to say I am once again a very happy girl. Among my choices were Shiitake Cheese, Bolo, Mochi Taro and Mochi Black Sesame. I love Japanese baked goods but Sunmerry definitely kicks it up a notch by adding that Taiwanese twist. These baked goods were perfect with my favorite boba drinks.
Speaking of boba; I also found a very special and unique dessert here; boba egg pie! I love boba and I love egg pie and so this dessert was truly meant for me. It has egg pie topped off with several boba pearls and a wafer straw cookie. Yummy! Sunmerry makes me so happy!
Happy Lemon Gardena was always my happy place but even more so now.
For more smiles; please see my updated Yelp review on Happy Lemon Gardena
I truly miss traveling! How nice would it be to visit Naples, Italy; the birthplace of pizza. Alas though I can’t visit Naples now; there was a way I got to eat Naples style gourmet pizza. I didn’t even have to travel outside the country much less outside my city!
Thanks to Felice Italian Catering; Naples came to me. ;). Felice Italian Catering has been bringing authentic Naples style pizza to the cities of the South Bay (Redondo Beach, Torrance, Manhattan Beach, California) since 2016. The pizza is made in a traveling wood fired oven and so you’re guaranteed not only authentic pizza but a delicious, fresh pizza too!
They’ve got a variety of different pizzas such as classic favorites pepperoni and cheese. You can also get the pizza that was born in Naples; the Margherita. (A fun fact; the Margherita was named in honor the queen of Italy when she visited Naples in 1889.) The Margherita pizza of Felice Italian Catering is one out of eight specialty pizzas. The other eight include The Chef’s Special (sausage, banana peppers, basil, red onions, pesto drizzle, garlic), the Chino Special (pepperoni, sausage, basil, red onions, jalapeños), BBQ Chicken, Greek, Spicy Hawaiian and the Blanca (ricotta, cherry tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, garlic).
Aside from pizzas; Felice Catering also offers bbq, Buffalo and garlic parmesan wings. All wings come with a side of ranch.
I chose to get a combo with the Chef’s Special pizza, bbq and garlic parmesan wings and ranch dressing.
I really liked the Chef’s Special. I loved how they had equal spread of sausage, basil, red onions, banana peppers, pesto drizzle and garlic. This pizza definitely made me want to visit Italy even more. I loved each and every topping on this pizza. There’s something really special about savory sausage with cheese and slightly sweet banana pepper. Even the sauce was on point. I loved the mix of pesto along with the classic tomato sauce.
The wings were equally as delicious. I liked both the bbq and garlic Parmesan wings but the garlic Parmesan was my favorite. I loved the crispness of the wings. The garlic flavor was not too overwhelming and it was enhanced by the sprinkles of Parmesan cheese.
Though I won’t be traveling to Naples anytime soon; I am quite happy that I got a taste of Naples without even boarding an airplane. 😉
For more smiles; please see my Yelp review on Felice Italian Catering.
I have always been a fan of the McDonald’s app because they’ve got some amazing deals. Just recently I discovered not only another great deal but some new items as well.
McDonald’s McCafé has debuted 3 new items; the apple fritter, blueberry muffin and cinnamon roll. To celebrate the debut; they are offering a really good deal on their app. With any purchase of a hot or iced coffee; you can get one of their new McCafé Bakery items for free!
These new bakery are a great way to kick off the morning. They’re the perfect pair with McCafé coffee. I am always up for a treat alongside my favorite McCafé premium roast coffee!
For those who like a little sweet treat in the AM; I recommend getting either the apple fritter or the cinnamon roll.
The apple fritter is pure goodness with a combo of apples and cinnamon in a donut that is topped with a lovely glazed icing. Meanwhile the cinnamon roll is a huge roll of cinnamon delight with lots of icing.
For those looking for a bit more of a traditional breakfast treat; the blueberry muffin is for you.
The blueberry muffin is just right in size and has lots of blueberries baked in. It also has an amazing streusel crumb topping.
No matter which of the three you choose; you’ll sure to be lovin’ it!The promo for the free McCafé Bakery item with purchase of a beverage ends tomorrow, November 9, 2020. Happy sweet eats Hello Kitty Foodies!