Hello Taqueria Gardena!

Hello Taqueria Gardena!

Pacific Square in Gardena; home to fabulous eateries such as Sweet Rice and Happy Lemon now has a new addition that will add even more deliciousness to the area. Taqueria Gardena just opened up this December 2019 and it is quickly becoming the go-to spot for tacos.

The new taqueria offers Tijuana style tacos topped with cilantro, onions, guacamole and salsa all on fresh made tortillas. One can get fish tacos, shrimp tacos, cachete tacos, suadero tacos, carne asada tacos, al pastor tacos and chicken tacos. There are even specialty tacos with cauliflower mole, portobello and enoki mushroom, pork belly and spicy fried chicken. Tacos are definitely not just for Tuesdays anymore! 😉

I recently visited and had some tasty taco treats!

I chose to get the al pastor tacos and chicken tacos. The flavor profile on these tacos are excellent. I love the spicy kick; the creamy texture and the chargrill on the meats. For a more fiery flavor; I even added some of their extra spicy salsa that they offer. This extra spicy salsa contains nuts and is made fresh by the same lady who makes their fresh made tortillas.

The tacos here are fantastic but they offer even more! They’ve got quesadillas, nachos and even Mexican fried rice!

Yes; you read that correctly! This taqueria offers fried rice and I knew i just had to check it out. Their version of Mexican fried rice can be purchased con carne (with meat) or sin carne (without meat).

I chose to get it with carne asada and was presented with a beautiful plate of loaded fried rice. It was topped with scrambled eggs, guacamole, chunks of carne asada and drizzles of sour cream. Yum! Similar to the tacos it was full of flavor. Fried rice has never been so unique.

Overall Taqueria Gardena is a great add to my favorite Pacific Square plaza in Gardena. I will definitely be stopping by again in the future (after some Hello Kitty shopping at the neighboring Sanrio Surprises) ;).

For more smiles; please see my Yelp review on Taqueria Gardena.

Hello Eat Fantastic Cafe Torrance!

Hello Eat Fantastic Cafe Torrance!

The origins of Eat Fantastic Cafe have a bit of a Greek touch. In 1979 a man passionate about food left Greece to pursue his dream of sharing fantastic food. He started the very first Fantastic Cafe. Years later his son who had the initials of “E.A.T” brought the first Fantastic Cafe to Los Angeles, California and Eat Fantastic Cafe was born! Now 41 years later; Eat Fantastic has a new location in Torrance, California offering what they’re well known for…fantastic food!

The very first food item that the cafe offered in 1979 were burgers. Shortly after they started introducing more other fantastic foods and some of what I would say are my favorite indulgence foods.

It was in 1981; that they introduced their first breakfast burrito. Breakfast burritos are definitely one of my favorite ways to start off. I just had to check out Eat Fantastic’s version.

I chose to get their Original Burrito that has eggs, choice of meat, hash browns, shredded cheese and salsa. My choice of meat was sausage but other options are bacon or sausage. You can even get all three meats via their Trio Burrito or if you really want to indulge; you could get their Fantastic Burrito which has the three meats and a grilled cheese tortilla.

Eat Fantastic’s Original Burrito was definitely very fulfilling. It’s pretty large and size and perfect fo sharing. I loved the warm tortilla, the oozing shredded cheese and chunks of sausage mixed in with scrambled eggs and hashbrown. It was definitely fantastic.

If breakfast burritos are my breakfast indulgence; my snack indulgence is zucchini sticks. Eat Fantastic has offered zucchini sticks since 1984.

The Zucchini Sticks is one of two of Eat Fantastic’s hand cut sides. The other being onion rings. They are battered and breaded daily. I chose to get mine with a side of ranch dressing but you can also choose to get it with their Fantastic sauce.

Overall the zucchini sticks were a great treat! They were nice, crisp and piping hot. They really went well with the ranch dipping sauce. It was so addictive and so fantastic!

It is so fantastic that Eat Fantastic has a new location in Torrance. This 2020; they’re also supposed to open in Long Beach and Downey. More fantastic food to come! I can’t wait to eat more (fantastic) food!

For more smiles; please my Yelp review on Eat Fantastic Torrance!

Hello The Little Door!

Hello The Little Door!

In busy and busting 3rd Street in Los Angeles; there is a place with two wooden doors. No sign whatsoever; one can easily pass by but beneath those two unassuming doors is a truly enchanting and magical place called The Little Door.

The Little Door restaurant was the winner of the “Best Romantic Restaurant of LA” by the Los Angeles Times in 2016 . It also has been consistently listed as one of the Most Romantic Restaurants in the World. It was on the list in 2017 by Architectural Digest and just this 2020 was listed by Big 7 Travel.

It’s the perfect spot for special occasions and I recently got to celebrate here with my boyfriend on his very special day; his birthday!

Walking through past the two wooden doors; we were immediately amazed by the beautiful ambiance. As we entered; we were seated in their romantic courtyard. It is a garden like setting that had real red stem roses and twinkly lights up above. Each table was illuminated with candles making for a lovely setting.

Aside from their gorgeous atmosphere; The Little Door is well known for their delightful French Moroccan cuisine. Chef T. Nicolas Peter of The Little Door makes his dishes from organic produce from local farmers. His menu is carefully crafted with the best, fresh and seasonal ingredients. We sure were in for a treat this evening.

We started off our meal here with two fabulous appetizers.

We tried “The Mezze” and The Fresh Goat Cheese and Pistachio Tart with a Trio of Roasted Beets.

Both plates were wonderfully plated. They were so colorful and beautiful! Each dish looked to be prepared with the utmost creativity and love.

“The Mezze” was an assorted Mediterranean appetizer platter with hummus, devil eggs, house made pita, flatbread, kibbeh, falafel and spanakopita. It was light, healthy and fresh. It was a great starter to kick off a special night. Favorites included the spankapoita and it’s flaky dough and rich spinach filling as well as the creamy hummus.

The Fresh Goat Cheese and Pistachio Tart with a Trio of Roasted Beets had wild honey, preserved lemon, ginger & argan oil vinaigrette. The tart was my favorite. With it’s crisp crust and creamy filling; it was wonderful. The beets added a nice sweet touch to this dish.

From the appetizers; we then were treated to two wonderful entrees.

I chose to get the Grilled Prime Ribeye Steak with Sel de Guerande, Herbs & Cracked Black Pepper.

The Grilled Prime Ribeye Steak was accompanied with Potato-Leek Gratin and Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate. The ribeye itself was a big portion of juicy, tender beef. The potatoes were soft and delightfully creamy. The brussel sprouts were a wonderful surprise and one of my favorite parts of this dish. They had a slightly burnt crisp offset by sweet pomegranate. Everything came together wonderfully and made for such fulfilling, hearty entree.

My boyfriend had an equally delightful dish via The Mustard and Pine Nut Crusted Rack of Lamb with Madera Wine & Smoked Garlic Demi Glaze.

The Crusted Rack of Lamb with Madera Wine & Smoked Garlic Demi Glaze is one of the most popular dishes at The Little Door. It comes with Yukon Gold Potato Puree and Green Lentil Ragu. I loved how the outer layers of the lamb chops had bits of pine nut, The Madera wine was drizzled all over the plate. Perfect texture; perfect plate.

Last but not least we couldn’t end a sweet dinner without a sweet birthday treat! For dessert; my boyfriend chose to get the Chocolate Pot de Creme.

Their version of the French dessert custard was divine. The chocolate was rich and creamy and topped off with berries. It came with heart shaped almond biscuit was the buttery and perfectly flaky. Love!

The Little Door was definitely a place we will always remember. It made for a very romantic and wonderful evening with their enchanting garden and exquisite cuisine. It was a very special place to celebrate a very special day for someone very special.

For more smiles; please see my Yelp review on The Little Door.

Hello Caps and Corks: C&C Grill!

Hello Caps and Corks: C&C Grill!

Who knew that the best eateries in town could be found in liquor stores? Back in 2013; I shared my OMG moment and excitement when I found one of the best burgers in the South Bay at a liquor store in Redondo Beach. My blog post then was about the The Standing Room; an amazing little eatery inside a liquor store. Now it’s 2020 and I am once again in awe because of another great spot in ….you guessed it…. a liquor store!

Caps and Corks recently opened up in Torrance, California. It’s not your ordinary liquor store because off to the left side of the store is a lovely surprise with C&C Grill; a grill offering breakfast burritos, sandwiches and burgers.

C&C’s claim to fame is their breakfast burritos which they say are the best in town. After trying their “Rise and Shine” burrito; I would have to agree.

C&C’s “Rise and Shine” burrito is definitely one of the best burritos I have ever had. The “Rise and Shine” burrito is packed with goodness. It has shredded jack and cheddar cheese, eggs, hash browns and salsa. You could even add up to three meats (bacon, ham, sausage) along with avocado and jalapeños. You can also choose to go healthy with subbing egg whites. Vegetarians can also partake in a veggie burrito with onion, bell pepper, tomato, mushroom, shredded jack and cheddar cheese, eggs, hash browns and salsa.

I got it with sausage and it was so hearty! It definitely was perfect for rising and shining.

The good eats doesn’t stop with the breakfast burrito however as they offer several delightful sandwiches as well. Their sandwich categories are: “Hot and Heavy Subs”, “Grilled and Cheesy,” “Cold Hearted Subs, ” “Basic “B*tch Cheeseburger” and “Sweet Nothings.”

The “Hot and Heavy Subs” consists of hot sandwiches with unique names such as “Not So Plain Jane (roast beef)” “Big John Stud (pastrami and turkey),” and “Phat Albert (pastrami).”

I chose to get the “Philthy Philly Cheesesteak.”

The “Philthy Philly” is indeed one messy err philthy sandwich. It’s oozing with juicy cheesesteak and melting provolone. One can also get it with cheese whiz. It is also loaded with mushrooms, onions, sweet peppers and drizzles of mayo. It was meaty and delightful. It’s definitely hot and heavy!

If you prefer cold over hot subs; then the “Cold Hearted Subs” are for you. They’ve got a variety from Turkey to A.L.T (avocado, lettuce, tomato). There’s also The Italian Job with genoa salami, pepperoni and cappy (spicy ham.)

The “Basic B*tch Cheeseburger” is a single or double cheese burger with American cheese, lettuce and tomato. Something tells me this isn’t no ordinary cheeseburger!

The “Grilled and Cheesy” Sandwiches are various grilled cheese sandwiches. You can get a grilled cheese sandwich in traditional grilled cheese way or with meats such as pastrami, bacon or ham. One can even added flaming hot cheetos! Oh my!

Lastly they’ve got “Sweet Nothings” via a PB&J Sandwich and Nutella and Banana Sandwich.

Sometimes the local liquor stores have the best surprises err best burritos/sandwiches in town. 😉

For more smiles; please see my Yelp review on Caps and Corks: C&C Grill!

Hello Japanese Food Expo 2020!

Hello Japanese Food Expo 2020!

This January 25, 2020; a very special event happened Loews Hollywood Hotel in Hollywood, California. Right at the heart of Hollywood; the Japanese Food Expo 2020 took place. Visitors got to experience authentic Japanese food, drinks, performances and cultural experiences.

This event was presented by the Japanese Food Culture Association and there were over 30 boothes showcasing premium tastes from Japan, Tokyo Street Food, Japanese sake and beer and Japan tourism.

The Japanese Food Expo this year had the very popular Sake and Beer Alley.

Showcasing 20+ premium sake brands; one could taste various sake of all kinds of flavors from pineapple to lychee to honey citrus. There was also popular beers from Sapporo, Suntory and Asahi.

The Sake Alley was amazing but not to be outdone was savory foods. The expo had so many savory delights.  There was sushi, chicken karaage, curry, okonomiyaki, noodles and more.

One of our first stops was Cup Curry.

There was rice on the bottom, curry in the middle and cheese on top. It was the cutest curry cup ever and one tasty one too!

Another fun stop was the Karaage Stick booth.

Chicken karaage is definitely one of my favorite Tokyo street foods. Here at the 2020 Japanese Food Expo; the karaage stick had a unique touch. It consisted of two pieces of Japanese fried chicken karaage and one marshmallow all drizzled in sushi sauce. It was different and delicious!

Sushi of course could not be missing at a Japanese Expo.

There was plenty of sushi to go around courtesy of the Suzumo International Corporation. Fresh seafood made for yummy eats.

There was also Chirashi from JFC International Inc.

Chirashi sushi is “scattered” sushi. Here at the Japanese Food Expo the scattered mix was in a bowl of rice with vegetables and lots of fish

Another delightful booth featured okonomiyaki; the traditional Japanese food pancake.

Made from Osaka style Okonomiyaki flavor; this was indeed something food expo visitors were sure to like! (Trivia: the word Okonomiyaki is derived from the two words:  okonomi, meaning “how you like” and yaki meaning “cooked.”

Aside from the savory; there were plenty of sweet treats all round as well.

There was Japanese Style Popcorn that you could make savory or sweet to your liking.

Toppings for customizing your popcorn included curry honey sauce, miso honey, yukari butter and furikake butter.

Dessert delights awaited at the Matcha Soft Serve station.

The Matcha Soft Serve was topped with rice crackers “arare!” Arare is bite-sized Japanese crackers made flavored with soy sauce.

Another favorite Japanese dessert is mochi. At the Japanese expo they were serving some scrumptious strawberry mochi.

The mochi had a giant strawberry in the middle and was topped with read bean paste.

Pear- Yokan by Niigatta was one delightful treat all the way from Japan

Le Lectier Pears are grown on the banks of the Shinano river in Japan. Once they are harvested, Yokan by Niigata adds a sweet bean mixture making for a soft texture and a lovely taste.

One very popular booth was Traditional Japanese Candy Art performed by artist Candy 5.

Candy 5 was making each delicate and unique sculpture by hand and molding them. She was making customized candy art of people’s pets as well as cute character favorites. Hello Kitty love!

Speaking of cute characters; one highlight of the was the event was being a contestant of the onigiri character bento completion.

It was 15 minutes to design your own onigiri characters. My hands were shaking the whole time hehe! I didn’t win but I sure did have a lot of fun. I chose to make Hello Kitty with her boyfriend Dear Daniel.

The Japanese Food Expo was one great event! It was amazing to see and taste so many exquisite Japanese food creations and drinks. Oishi! I can’t wait for next year ;).

Hello Bird’s Nest Cafe!

Hello Bird’s Nest Cafe!

I love discovering hidden gems and Bird’s Nest Cafe in South Central LA; is truly one of them. Nestled close to the Metropolitan Courthouse and the Los Angeles Tech Trade College is Bird’s Nest LA. There’s not many other eateries around and one wouldn’t expect to find such a cafe here. I am so glad however to have found this wonderful and cute cafe.

Bird’s Nest Cafe primarily offers breakfast items such as breakfast burritos and omelettes and sandwiches. They also have burgers, salads and an extensive offering of coffee drinks.

Well known for their breakfast burritos; I chose to get one of these during my visit here.

My chosen burrito was the Upriser. True to it’s name this one burrito that rises to the top. It’s packed with flavor and ingredients! Typically this burrito has bacon but I chose to get it with chicken. Other ingredients included eggs, avocado, pico de gallo, hashbrowns, cheddar and mozzarella. It was very hearty and fulfilling. It was accompanied with a refreshing arugula salad with watermelon cubes and vinaigrette dressing.

Bird’s Nest Cafe also offers several sides to pair with your meals here. I spotted zucchini fries, one of my favorite sides ever, and I knew I had to get it.

I absolutely loved the zucchini fries here! They came out piping hot and fresh. The batter was so flavorful. It came with chipotle aioli dipping sauce that made for the perfect dipping sauce. This side paired very well with my Upriser burrito.

Last but not least; I had to get a latte here. I heard someone say that Bird’s Nest Cafe has the best lattes in town. Being a latte lover; my curiosity was peak.

I chose to get a vanilla bean latte and it indeed did not disappoint. It was smooth, slightly rich and not too sweet. It had just the right hint of espresso.

Bird’s Nest Cafe was an amazing place to visit. I would’ve never expected so much good food and drinks here. It is a true hidden gem.

For more smiles please my Yelp review on Bird’s Nest Cafe.

Hello Yelp Elite Black Badge 2020!

Hello Yelp Elite Black Badge 2020!

Hello and thank you Yelp LA! Yelp Elite 2020! I’m super happy to be part of Yelp Elite squad 2020.

This is my 3rd year with a black badge, my 12th yelp elite badge and my 13th year being a part of Yelp overall 📝

When I look back at my old reviews; sometimes I laugh 😂 (I once wrote a review about a hockey team), sometimes I say “OMG” 🤦‍♀️ (my first Yelp event was a karaoke event) and sometimes I just fondly reminisce of some very memorable moments ♥️ (lunches with family and friends).

This past Yelp year; I got to be part of the Yelp Elite event at Stonefire Grill and it was indeed a fun event with Yelp friends and yummy food. I can’t wait to see what this next Yelp year brings.

Thanks for following my journey along on Yelp! The Yelp journey this 2020 continues on…

SYOY (see you on yelp) @ http://hellokittyfoodie.yelp.com