Hello Truxton’s Torrance!

Truxton’s American Bistro has finally hit Torrance, California! The popular restaurant specializing in New American cuisine has opened up its third location at Hillside Village in the South Bay! The other two locations are in Westchester, California and Santa Monica, California.

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It took six years before Truxton’s found a home in Hillside Village and now it’s finnaly ready for all of us in the South Bay and beyond. Truxton’s had their grand opening in Torrance this June 9, 2017! Being a South Bay local, I was so excited to try out the newest spot on the hill.

Truxton’s is well-known for their monkey bread and I couldn’t let a visit pass by Truxton’s without it.

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Monkey bread is traditionally known as a soft, sweet, sticky bread that is easily torn away with the fingers and eaten by hand. Truxton’s however does monkey bread a little bit different. It’s not sweet and sticky but instead cheesy and garlicky.  Their pull-apart housemade bread is packed with cheddar cheese and garlic. It’s fresh from the oven and so soft. It’s amazing when dipped in the trio of sauces that comes with. The sauces are marinara, garlic butter sauce or ranch dipping sauce. The marinara gives the monkey bread a sweet tomato touch. The garlic butter sauce enhances the garlic side of the bread and gives it’s a nice, buttery taste. The creaminess of the ranch is a perfect pair to the cheese. This monkey bread is a great starter!

One of the things that I love about Truxton’s is the variety of their menu. They’ve got sandwiches, burgers, pastas, salads, vegetarian dishes and handful of healthful plates I also like that they continuously offer new items and seasonal ones. One my visit here I got to try two of their newest seasonal offerings from their healthful plates.

First off was their Turkish Spiced Chicken.

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The Turkish Spiced chicken dish consists of chicken rubbed in a blend of traditional spices.  This savory dish comes with seasoned Israeli couscous with crispy spiced garbanzo beans, fried shallots, barberries and parsley! I liked the aromatic, spiced chicken. The Israeli couscous was tender and toasted just right. This entree was light and healthy.

The second entree of the night consisted of my personal favorite, their new Spiced Brisket Bowl. This bowl was featured during the LA Times Food Bowl.

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Truxton’s has a very popular 11 spiced brisket dish that consists of slow roasted beef brisket. Imagine that brisket put into a healthy bowl with yummy, flavorful veggies. Hello Kitty Foodies, you don’t have to imagine too much because it is a reality via Truxton’s Spiced Brisket Bowl. The Spiced Brisket Bowl has beef brisket along with couscous and cauliflower rice that is mixed with golden raisins, butternut squash, red onion, parsley and toasted almond, kale, shaved brussels sprouts and pickled onions. White sauce is drizzled all over and it is topped with crispy heirloom carrots.  I truly have a crush on all the ingredients in this dish! The cauliflower rice was light and fluffy and I loved the addition of butternut squash, kale and brussel sprouts. I was a fan of the crunchiness brought in by the tasted almond and crispy heirloom carrots. The brisket brought it a nice, spicy kick to dish. This definitely dish was definitely a highlight.

It’s definitely nice to see Truxton’s American Bistro open up a third location and to see it in the South Bay! I had a wonderful time visiting their newest restaurant. I was full of smiles from dining here and am definitely looking forward to trying more of their dishes in the future.

For more smiles, please see my recent Yelp review on Truxton’s American Bistro in Torrance.

 

 

Hello Whole Foods LA West Yelp Elite Event!

Whole Foods in El Segundo is celebrating 10 years! The amazing 65,000 foot store opened their doors to LA West’s Yelp Elite Squad recently to celebrate a decade of fun eats and enjoyable shopping!

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It was just last Fall 2016, when The 2nd Bar opened up in Whole Foods in El Segundo. This delicious place has vegan, vegetarian and classic eats along with 36 beers on tap, wines by the glass and a Health-Ade Kombucha on tap. Our Yelp Elite event at Whole Foods started off with a lovely dinner here at The 2nd Bar where we got to try some of their dishes.

First dish was the Roasted Brussels Sprouts.

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I’ve always been a big fan of brussel sprouts and here at The 2nd Bar they gave a dish full of crispy, healthy brussel sprouts!

Second dish was the Kale Caesar.

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Similar to brussel sprouts, I also love kale! I liked this twist on the traditional Caesar salad. This salad consisted of baby kale sprinkled with shaved parmesan and rye bread crumbs! Can we say, yum?!

Third course was the Cauliflower Nachos.

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This vegan dish was my favorite offering of the night. It had fried cauliflower with chilies, pico de gallo, cilantro, lime and avocado lime crema. I loved how this crispy cauliflower dish was packed with flavor.

Our last main entree was their NY Steak and Frites.

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A juicy strip loin was served with her butter and french fries! This was a very fulfilling dish.

Along with the savory eats, we sipped to Kombucha cocktail and Domaine de Cala.

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The meal at The 2nd Bar was just the start of the night because soon after we were off to scavenger like hunt throughout Whole Foods! Our mission: to find ten tasting stations and try out the different Whole Foods offerings.

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The ten stations were:

  •  The bakery section: This station was highlighted by French baker Xavier who offered us three types of bread.
  • The specialty cheese section: This station featured cheese blends from Spicy Mo’s.img_0887
  • The specialty drink section featured Buzz Box. These are juice boxes for adults! Who ever thought one could have Long Island iced teas, Whiskey Lemonade or margaritas from a juice box?!
  •  The sushi station had Kikka sushi. They had a vegan firecracker roll, crunchy shrimp tempura, tuna nigiri, salmon nigiri, crunchy shrimp kafir lime and spicy salmon avocado.
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  • The mochi station featured Bubbles Mochi from Hawaii. We got to taste mango, vanilla and passion fruit mochi!
  • The Kogi station had some of Roy Choi’s fabulous kimchi quesadillas. img_0885
  • The Health Aid Kombucha station had more Kombucha flavors for us to try! Pomegrante, ginger, apple…it was kombucha like no other!
  • The juice bar had even more drinks via four refreshing juices.
  • The Beyond Meat station was a true treat for vegans! They had some meaty yet not meat sandwiches for all of us to try.
  • Last but not least was the smokehouse station. They gave us one hearty tasting plate filled with brisket, collard greens, mashed potatoes and Mac and cheese.

Mission accomplished! The Yelp Elites and the ladies of Table 1 made it through the ten course tasting stations! With plenty of giggles, girl talk and happy eats, it was quite a night! Happy 10 years Whole Foods El Segundo!

Just like Whole Foods El Segundo, this Hello Kitty Foodie is also celebrating something very special. This event marks my 1000th yelp review! I could not think of a more perfect way to celebrate than via a lovely and fun night out Yelp Elite style! It was a night full of Yelp fun and smiles!

For more smiles, please sees my 1000th Yelp review  on The Whole Foods LA West Yelp Elite Event!

Hello Mindi’s Kitchen!

Jia Ba Bue?

Have you eaten?

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If not, then why not have a meal at Mindi’s Kitchen. Mindi’s Kitchen is a newly opened Taiwanese restaurant in Torrance, California.  It is located in the same plaza that houses 85 Degrees C and Max Karaoke. (Not a bad location at all because you can get yummy Taiwanese food, then go happily belt out a few tunes next door). 😉

Taiwan was once voted by CNN readers as the best food destination in the world and the city of Taipei is said to have 20 streets dedicated to food. For us folks who aren’t traveling to Taiwan soon however, Mindi’s Kitchen has a nice selection of dishes that will show you what Taiwanese food is all about.

They serve their food here Bento style. The Bentos are served with sides, soup and rice. For the main entrees, they have pork belly (deep-fried or regular) Taiwanese sausage, pork chop, fried chicken filet, 5 spice minced pork, cha-cha BBQ beef, Chia-Yi shredded chicken and popcorn chicken.

When I saw popcorn chicken as one of their offerings, I knew I had to try this bento! Popcorn chicken is one of my favorite Taiwanese dishes.

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Mindi’s Kitchen’s popcorn chicken bento came with lots of tender and crispy popcorn chicken pieces! It was accompanied with scrambled egg, tofu and veggies. Popcorn chicken is normally a snack but I love how Mindi’s Kitchen made this into a full meal!

Though newly opened and with a full menu, Mindi’s Kitchen is already looking at adding more items to their menu. Coming soon will be Mindi’s Lion-Head Meatball Bento. I’ve heard this is a favorite of owner Mindi’s father in law and now she is going to share this with all of us. Although it’s not quite yet on their menu, I was able to get a chance to try it when I visited.

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Mindi’s Lion-Head Meatball consisted of two very large pork meatballs. They were over 6cm in diameter. They were not only huge in size but huge in taste as well. I loved the overall tenderness and the oozing flavor. These meatballs were great with the accompanying veggies! I can’t wait to see this rawring its way permanently onto the menu.

Jia Ba Bue? If not, then what are you waiting for! Mindi’s Kitchen is open and ready to serve you Taiwanese food that is sure to make you smile.

For more smiles, please see my Yelp review on Mindi’s Kitchen!

Hello Swirl Softserve!

“Ice cream makes everything better”

Sometimes all we need is some brightness and smile to help us through the day and what better way than ice cream. There’s a cute little shop that recently opened up in Hawthorne, California that is doing just that; bringing smiles. Swirl Softserve is all about making life a little more sweet (and better 😉 through ice cream.

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Swirl Softserve specializes in soft serve, sundaes and Stumptown cold brew coffee. They even offer non-dairy to vegan ice cream. There truly is a treat for every tastebud here! Happiness for all! 🙂

They offer a variety of yummy flavors. Among the flavors I’ve seen are vanilla (an old favorite), pineapple (hmm rumor has it, that it tastes like Disneyland dole whip), java chip (who doesn’t love coffee) and blue monkey (a blue colored birthday cake). From classic favorites to unique flavors, one cannot help but smile with the variety.

When I visited Swirl Softserve, I was definitely in need of some cheer and their blue monkey ice cream did just that. It’s not only bright and cute on the outside, it’s creamy and delicious too! It truly did seem ice cream can make everything better.  😉

Swirl Softserve gave me the smile I needed that day, and I’m sure it will bring many others smiles as well! Do checkout the newest soft serve shop in the South Bay and you’ll be reminded that life is sweet. 🙂

For more smiles, please see my Yelp review  on Swirl Softserve.

Hello Georgetown Cupcake!

Good Ol’ Georgetown! There are so many visits to visit in this historic town. Among the many sights to see are the Old Stone House, Kennedy Homes, Tudor Place, Historic Churches and Georgetown University. No trip to Georgetown however would be complete without a visit to Georgetown Cupcakes.

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The famous cupcake shop opened in Georgetown in 2008. Since then founders and sisters Katherine Kallinis Berman and Sophie Kallinis LaMontagne  have expanded their cupcake empire to include locations in Bethesda, New York City, Boston, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. Georgetown Cupcakes was also the star of the reality show enter of a reality  “DC Cupcakes” that ran on TLC from 2010 to 2013.

Soon after touring the historic sights of Georgetown, I went to M street where Georgetown Cupcake is located. Spotting the bright pink signs, I happily made my way into the cute cupcake shop.  There was an abundant of delicious cupcake offerings that day. Their most popular, the red velvet cupcake, was of course offered. They also had some delicious offerings such as double milk chocolate birthday cupcakes, raspberry lemonade cupcake, lemon blossom cupcakes and coffee cookies and creme cupcakes.

After having quite a time deciding what to get, I chose to get their green tea butterfly cupcake and their raspberry swirl cheesecake cupcake.

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The green tea butterfly cupcake is absolutely beautiful. It’s the perfect cupcake for springtime. It’s a green tea and citrus-infused cupcake with green tea-infused buttercream frosting. It is topped off with candy and yogurt-covered pretzel butterfly. I really liked the touch of the yogurt covered pretzels. The sweet crunchy pretzel went well with the green tea infused buttercream frosting.

My favorite however had to be the raspberry swirl cheesecake cupcake however. It is a raspberry swirl cheesecake baked with fresh raspberries and a graham cracker crust, topped with a Madagascar vanilla buttercream frosting and a pink fondant flower. This cupcake looks simple yet it is packed with delicious flavor. It was truly love at first bite when I bit into the crispy graham cracker crust at the bottom. The cheesecake itself was delightfully creamy and light. This truly was one of the best cupcakes ever.

In a town where there’s so many wonderful sights to visit, Georgetown Cupcake is a breath of fresh air. It’s a sweet place with sweet treats for locals and tourists. Their cupcakes are sure to bring a smile to anyone visiting Georgetown.

For more smiles, please read my Yelp review on Georgetown Cucpakes

Hello Bad Saint!

The rain is starting to pour down hard in downtown DC but there’s already a line forming at 3226 11th St and the restaurant isn’t even open yet. The line grows longer by the minute till it reaches the corner and maybe even past the corner.

This is a typical scene that is in front of Bad Saint almost every night. Bad Saint is a very popular Filipino restaurant in Northwest Washington DC. Since it’s opening in 2015, folks from all over DC and beyond have lined up for hours to get in. The place is walk ins only and does not take reservations. There are only 24 seats inside. Being named on Bon Appetit magazine’s #2 New Restaurant in America, a seat is a most coveted spot for many.

I came to Bad Saint on a windy, rainy day in May. It was an hour before opening. The lady in front of me smiled when I said I was from California and she mentioned I came on a good day because the line wasn’t around the corner YET. I along, with the couple behind me eagerly counted the folks in front of us to see if we would make a cut in the first seating. Whew! It looked like we did but barely.

When 5:30pm hit, it still took a couple of minutes before they let folks in. I suddenly spotted a bunch of folks get out of a car and head towards the restaurant. It turns out they paid someone to stand in line for them. (Yes, you did read that right. I said “paid” and that is how crazy it is that people want to get in here). Despite the big new group, I likely was still able to make it through in the first seating. Thank goodness!

Walking in, the restaurant is dimly lit. Most of the seats consist of stools along counters, and there are only two tables that accommodate parties up to four. When I was given the menu, I was surprised to see the menu was small. It turns out they don’t have a permanent menu but instead a menu that changes constantly.  The menu consists of 3 portions: Gulay (vegetables and salads), Isda at Iba Pa (fish and more) and Carne (meat).

Braving the rain I decided to make the most of my visit by trying a variety of their dishes. From the Gulay section, I chose to get Adobong Dilaw. From the Carne section, I chose to get Adobong Puti and Pancit na Hipon.

Before the main orders came out, the folks at Bad Saint, gave complimentary green mangoes and bagoong (shrimp paste).

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I thought this starter was a nice way of introducing Filipino food to folks. The pungent and salty fermented shrimp paste along with the sour unripe mango is a very familiar Filipino side dish.

Soon after this, the two adobo dishes came out. Up first was the Adobong Dilaw (yellow adobo).

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Dilaw means “yellow” in Tagalog and this indeed was a yellow colored dish thanks to turmeric. Mixed in turmeric sauce was cauliflower and kabocha sauce. It had a curry like flavor to it and was unlike any Filipino dish I have ever tried. It was unique and delicious.  This dish was perfect along with their complimentary purple rice. I loved the turmeric sauce all over the rice. Tasting this, I knew already it was worth coming here.

The Adobong Puti (white adobo) was up next to hit the taste buds.

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This dish was more of a traditional Filipino tasting dish. It had chicken, pork belly ramps along with cane vinegar.  With its savory sauce of vinegar, garlic and soy sauce, adobo truly is a dish that has put the Philippines mark in international cuisine and Bad Saint knows its adobo.

The third course of the night consisted of Pancit Na Hipon (shrimp noodles).

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Bad Saint’s Pancit Na Hipon had glass noodles, pork belly and shrimp. I loved the long silky noodles that was mixed in with pork belly and shrimp along with peanuts. It had a bit of spice to it. The spice kick hits your palate instantly but is very delicious.

Last but not least, was dessert. Bad Saint doesn’t have a dessert menu but they do offer a complimentary dessert in the form of fried suman (rice cake).

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Their suman reminded of another Filipino dessert, turon (banana egg roll). This treat was a caramélized baked mini plantain with rice.

I was very happy to land a coveted seat inside the small restaurant that rainy night. The dishes at Bad Saint are excellent and it makes my heart truly happy to see a Filipino restaurant doing so well. It’s especially special to see it doing amazing at the nation’s capital. Thanks to Bad Saint for putting Filpino food in the forefront of the food industry. The long lines people see every night (even on rainy days, like the night I went), there truly is a good reason for it. 😉

For more smiles, please see my Yelp review on Bad Saint.

Hello Milk Bar DC!

After feeling just peachy from my trip to Momofuku CCDC, I could not help but go to the neighboring Milk Bar DC. No trip to Momofuku, would be complete without a trip to the Milk Bar, after all ;).

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The Milk Bar is where sweet dreams are fulfilled and walking in, I was already in a sweet state of bliss as I could smell the sweet aroma of fresh-baked cookies and cakes. Cookies! Cakes! Soft Serve! Truffles! Happiness!

Perhaps one of the hardest decisions ever was choosing what to get at the Milk Bar but then with the sweetness in the air guiding me, the answer was easy! How about a little bit of every thing? This is sweet heaven after all and no judging ;).

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From the cookies, I got Milk’s Confetti Cookie, Blueberry and Cream Cookie and their Cherry Rose Cookie.

The Confetti Cookie was an old favorite that was taken out of the menu late last year but just in time for my Milk trip, it came back! Confetti is associated with a party and this cookie will indeed bring a party to your mouth! The cookie itself has a vanilla base that is mixed in with rainbow sprinkles. It’s just a rainbow of happiness right for your tastebuds.

The Blueberry and Cream Cookie has a sugar cookie dough base that is topped with bits of milk crumbs and lots of dried blueberries. It reminded me of a blueberry muffin but a in a cookie form! This cookie was true blueberry bliss!

The Cherry Rose Cookie was very special because it is a an exclusive cookie at Milk Bar CCDC. I am loved this cookie because it s an ode to one of my favorite things in DC: cherry blossoms! It’s a fruity meets a floral combination with freeze dried cherries, milk crumbs and rose water essence with a final layer of dusted cherries on top. Just like cherry blossoms, this cookie was only in DC for a limited time. I am so glad I got to try it on my trip.

A kitty cannot live on cookies err bread alone hehe and thus I tried out their soft serve!

For the soft serve, I tried their cereal milk soft serve. This is the true breakfast for champions. It is creamy ice cream that is made with milk, cornflakes, brown sugar and they add in a pinch of salt. It really is like milk at the bottom of a bowl of cornflake cereal.

Last but definitely not least was their Crack Pie. The Crack Pie has been a pie I’ve been wanting to try for a very long time. At first bite, I knew it truly was worth the wait! The buttery flavoring of the pie is perfection and simply melts in your mouth. The toasted oat crush is chewy and tasty! It is unlike any other pie I have ever had.  I can definitely see why people can get addicted to this Crack Pie.

If Momofuku made me feel peachy, then Milk Bar simply made me feel heavenly. It was a sweet heaven of sweet treats and I cannot wait to be back at Milk Bar one day.

For more smiles and to feel heavenly as well, please see my Yelp Review on Milk Bar DC!