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…
2019 simply flew by and here we are at the end of the year with my last blog post for 2019. My Year in Review is always one of my favorites to write because it gives me a chance to reflect, remember and share some of my favorite moments of the year! I am truly blessed and thankful.
Hello Kitty Foodie Best Travel Foodie Destinations 2019!
I had so much fun visiting both Portland and Oahu this year! From coffee spots in Portland to breakfast eateries in Oahu; I sure did have a lot of fun Hello Kitty Foodie adventures.
Bistro Agnes in Portland, Oregon was one of my favorite places for dinner.
I had their Truffled Vegetable Pithivier and love this dish with butternut squash, oyster mushrooms, black truffle, leeks, chèvre & comté in a crispy puff pastry. It was even complemented with truffled vegetable demi.
Thai Hub Torrance was a great little Thai place that opened up in the South Bay this year Their Yellow Curry Chicken with tender chicken breast, potatoes, onions and carrot was one of my favorite curry dishes that I got to try.
Shiok; opened up at Rolling Hills Plaza this year and became a quick favorite of mine. I love their take on Asian street food. Their crispy golden baos are awesome! Outside it is a crisp golden brown bun and inside is steamed pork with egg.
The first ever food hall/brewery concept arrived to the South Bay this fall! With two breweries and four food concepts (Mexican, Chicken, Seafood and Burgers); I along with the rest of the South Bay found this the place to be!
Hello Kitty Foodie Best Breakfast Eats 2019!
Kicking off the day with a smile is a must and these breakfast places truly made me smile.
Mochi Donuts was all the rage this year! When Modo Hawaii opened up a pop-up shop at Mitsuwa Marketplace in Torrance over the summer; folks lined up for hours. Their Lilikoi Mochi donut was definitely one of my favorites to eat for breakfast with coffee.
Liliha Bakery in Ala Moana Center in Hawaii was a great place to have Hawaiian style breakfast. I couldn’t visit the Islands and not have Loco Moco. Here at Liliha Bakery; their loco moco had thick gravy, gooey egg yolk and tender burger patties. It was truly ono.
Hello Kitty Best Desserts 2019!
2019 was sweet! From local desserts to tropical desserts in Hawaii; I had one sweet year!
Somi Somi Torrance is an amazing dessert place that opened up in the South Bay this year. I loved their take on Ah-boong. My Ah-boong with ube and oreo ice cream in gold-fish waffle filled with taro and topped off with fruity pebbles, Captain Crunch cereal and graham crackers was amazing. My kinda “fish!”
Pix Patisserie was one of my favorite places in Portland. Their macronuts (French macarons + Donuts) were so soft, sweet and perfect. I should also list this place in the Best Coffee Places list because their lattes were so delightful! Their Oregon Hazy latte is a must try when in Portland.
Urban Plates Torrance is one amazing place for healthy dishes full of flavor. From savory to sweet; they have scratch made food that is so enjoyable. I particularly am fond of their freshly made desserts. They are not only beautiful but tasty too!
Roy’s Melting Pot Soufflé with Lappert’s Ice Cream was definitely one of my favorite desserts during my trip to Oahu! It takes 30 minutes to prepare and comes out so soft and with oozing hot chocolate. It was paired with sweet vanilla Lappert’s ice cream. It was two Hawaiian desserts in one!
Located at The Grove Los Angeles; is Chef Dominque Ansel’s first restaurant venture. Though we did not try his famous cronuts; we were treated to a wonderful unforgettable meal. Their grilled lamb chops dipped in mustard seeds was a savory, delightful entree and is one of the best lamb dishes I have ever tried.
Mix Mix Kitchen and Bar by Chef Ross Pangilinan was one of our favorite places to visit this year. My boyfriend and I tried the “Oui Chef” tasting menu and each dish that came out kept getting more and more delicious. I loved Filipino Chef Ross’s take on adobo. His Pork Cheek Adobo came with with tasty garlic fried rice and chimichurri. It reminded me of home cooked Filipino food.
I got to celebrate Napa Rose for my birthday year and loved every single moment of my dinner there! Our entrees of Pomegranate-glazed Veal Osso Bucco and the Quail Stuffed with Prosciutto Wrapped Summer Peach were executed perfectly and made for a phenomenal dinner. I loved the pleasant surprise of getting a birthday treat with the Pineapple Streusel Crumble Crunch Bar. It was such a sweet birthday!
2019 was one amazing year and I definitely had some wonderful meals with wonderful people this year! Thank you to all those who were a part of my Hello Kitty Foodie adventures this year. I can’t wait to see what 2020 has in store for this Hello Kitty Foodie!
They say “Ono” means delicious in Hawaiian. On my very first trip ever to Hawaii; I can say I definitely had lots of “Ono” eats in Oahu. Join me in this blog post as I reminisce about some of my most ono eats in the islands.
When one thinks of Hawaii; one thinks of tropical weather and the water. Thanks to my hotel; BeachComber Waikiki I was able to soak up the sun and enjoy lots of good eats right by the pool.
Right at the lobby of the Beachcomber; is the Hawaiian Aroma Caffe; a lovely caffe known for açaí bowls, coffee and other treats.
The first thing I got to try here is their Acai Bowl.
Their Acai Bowl consisted of strawberries, pineapples and blueberries all piled on top of frozen açaí. It was a nice, icy treat perfect for a sunny day!
I got to try Hawaiian Aroma Caffe for breakfast too and it was once again pure beachside bliss.
They have various waffles that they serve here and I chose to get the Guava Waffle. This lovely waffle was topped off with fresh fruit, maple sauce and whipped cream. I also got to try their Morning Feast. This was a fulfilling plate consisting of two eggs, three bacons, three Portuguese sausage, salad and toast. It went perfect with their Coco Choco Mocha drink.
Hawaiian Aroma Caffé is well know for their coffee and I loved their drinks too! Their lattes are super smooth and so tasty! So Ono!
Hello Kitty Snacks
Aside from tropical weather and the beach; did you know Hawai’i has lot of Japanese jnfluence? I saw this while visiting the Shriokiya Japan Village Walk at the Ala Moana Center. It was here that I found the most amazing Hello Kitty waffles from Kulu Kulu.
The Hello Kitty Waffles are offered in a variety of flavors and we chose to get it in red bean and matcha. Not only were they super cute; they were super ono too!
I shared some breakfast bliss already earlier with my experience at Hawaiian Aroma Caffe but I got to have even more morning delights when I visited Liliha Bakery.
Located at the Ala Moana Center; I had breakfast here before a shopping day. My morning feast consisted of Loco Moco and a Country Style Omelette with Portuguese sausage!
Loco Moco and Portuguese sausage are well know Hawaiian treats and so I had to make sure I had some during my trip. Here at Liliha Bakery they did it right! The Loco Moco gravy was perfectly thick and went well with the runny egg! The Portuguese sausage was also just right!
Farm to Table
We hear “Farm to Table” all the time now but Hawai’i puts a different meaning to it! When I visited Tropical Farms; I experienced the true farm to table with their famous macadamia nuts!
The farms has a variety of macadamia nut trees and you even crack your own nuts. They have a variety of macadamia nut flavors such as Kona coffee, caramel glazed, Maui onion and honey roasted!
Fine Dining HawaiiStyle
Live. Love. Aloha.
It was a treat yourself kind of trip with experiences at not one but two restaurants by two famed restauranteurs; Michael Mina and Roy Yamaguichi!
Here we were treated to their Signature Duck Fat Fries Trio that came with truffle aioli, sriracha ketchup and garlic herb oil. My favorite dipping sauce was the truffle aioli.
We also had their Waipoli Greens that consisted of shaved vegetables, beet noodles, kukui nuts, Pomegrante molasses. The beet noodles were so unique and added for a nice touch to this salad.
Last but not least we had the most delicious entrees and sides. We had the Washugyu flat iron and Miso Scottish salmon along side their mac and cheese with black truffle and Parmesan and spicy fried rice with five spice pork belly.
The experience at Stripsteak was truly one of the best steak house experiences I’ve ever had!
My other one phenomenal fine dining experience occurred at Roy’s Waikiki! Roy’s Waikiki is by celebrity chef Roy Yamaguchi. I had been wanting to try a Roy’s for awhile now and was so happy to try it at the place where it all started; Hawaii!
Our meal here started with Braised Short Rib Tacos with Avocado Crème. With its crispy shell and tender short rib filling; this was one great starter!
Next up we had the Waipoli Greens. This butter leaf lettuce salad had blue cheese remoulade, spiced maple bacon and stuffed croutons! I loved the sweet dressing and the savory croutons. They matched perfectly!
For the entrees; we had Garlic Buttered Filet Mignon, “Chinese Style” Steamed Opah, Slow Braised Honey Mustard Grilled Beef Short Ribs! Each dish was huge and very fulfilling!
Last but not least we had Roy’s Melting Hot Soufflé! This was a double treat because it was served with Hawaii’s famous Lappert’s Ice Cream! I loved the overall rich chocolate being combined with sweet vanilla!
Whether it be a simple cute breakfast by the pool or a lovely dinner by some of Hawaii’s most famous chefs; I had the most amazing time for my first ever trip to Oahu.
My trip to Oahu was truly filled with “Aloha” in every bite! All the places I tried were so “Ono.” Mahalo Hawaii for one unforgettable food journey!
A couple years ago after Hello Kitty Con; I visited for the first time Urth Caffe in downtown LA. They made me a latte with a Hello Kitty design and I instantly became a fan. Now five years later, Urth Caffe has opened it’s 9th location and it’s in the South Bay! Yay!
This actually is not the first time the caffe has had a location in the South Bay. A fun fact is that the very first Urth Caffe location was in Manhattan Beach, California in 1991. That first branch was very successful but unfortunately closed. Now the popular caffe known for heirloom, organic coffee and tea and farm-to-table eats is back at the heart of the South Bay in Hawthorne, California! A grand opening was held just this October 27, 2019.
What makes this new South Bay location so special is this their commissary and cafe is co-located. All of their baking, cooking, catering and coffee roasting is done at the Hawthorne facility. There’s a large open window right next to the caffe where visitors can personally see the Urth Caffe coffee roasting process.
I recently visited and was in complete awe of the gigantic location. I loved seeing the organic coffee roasting and the fresh bread being baked. I also got to enjoy breakfast there with my mom and it was indeed morning bliss.
The Urth Caffe latte was as good as I remembered. It also was beautifully decorated. I didn’t have a Hello Kitty design on mine but it definitely made me smile. It was a ray of (coffee) sunshine that simply made my day!
My choice for the latte was the Spanish latte. This sweet, creamy caffé latte inspired by coffee in Barcelona is one of their most popular drinks! My mom chose their Honey Vanilla latte. Her lovely latte consisted of natural vanilla, a touch of honey, espresso and steamed milk.
For breakfast, I chose to get the Chicken Pesto Omelette.
It was a three egg omelette with grilled chicken, pesto, mozzarella and goat cheeses. It came with a side of fresh bread and a nice serving of locally grown mixed greens salad. The omelette was very fulfilling and it made for a great first meal of the day!
We also go to try their Nutella Girella Bun.
This bun was simply divine. It was a flaky, buttery croissant with Nutella spread, hazelnut ganache and roasted hazelnuts.
It was one amazing morning visiting Urth Caffe and I knew then that I would be back soon.
Two days later I decided to check Urth Caffe out for lunch. Lunch was as delicious as breakfast.
I really love how their dishes are so healthy. My boyfriend chose the healthy Caravan Kale Salad.
This was one beautiful salad consisting of organic Tuscan kale, organic red quinoa, Persian cucumbers, roasted yams, red onion, pita chips and fresh mint. It was tossed in their pomegranate vinaigrette and then topped off with ricotta salata cheese.
For my lunch entree; I chose their ever so popular Chicken Curry sandwich.
I chose to get this in a pita bread. The pita was stuffed with chicken breast, raisins, onions, celery in a curry sauce & mayo. It was very tasty and fulfilling.
Whether one is kicking off the day with breakfast here or taking a lunch break or simply on a coffee run, Urth Caffe is definitely the new place to be in the South Bay!
For more smiles please see my Yelp review on Urth Caffe South Bay.
This November 25, 2019; Manhattan Beach will hold the grand opening of the 18th ever Urban Plates location. I first became a fan of Urban Plates when they opened up their Torrance branch earlier this year. Well known for their made-from-scratch meals using ethically-sourced ingredients; I fell in love this Fall with their food.
Similar to the opening of the Torrance location, Urban Plates Manhattan Beach held a a pre-grand opening celebration where they paired with a charitable institution supporting the local community. Urban Plates Manhattan Beach paired up once again Torrance-based nonprofit The Volunteer Center. It was an evening of good food all for a good cause!
I’ve loved Urban Plates ever since I tried their Torrance location. Favorite Urban Pltes dishes of mine include their Curry and Tofu Vegetable Braise, their Antioxident Salad and their Hummingbird Cake. The same great taste can be found at Manhattan Beach but there is even more as they also have added a new Plant Based Bowls menu. This includes vegan and gluten free delightful dishes! This menu is only at the Manhattan Beach location and not the Torrance one.
The new Plant Based Bowls menu is not the only new thing as Urban Plates Manhattan Beach restaurant is actually going be debuting something else very special this holiday season. They are going to be a launching a #GoodIsServed social media campaign. Urban Plates will be delivering 100 meals to local first responders on Thanksgiving Day and along with this the restaurant is telling their fans to also share their “do good moments” this holiday season. With every Instagram post that shows someone’s own “do good moment” (tagging @UrbanPlates and hashtagging #GoodIsServed), the restaurant team will also donate a meal to the The Volunteer Center. Urban Plates will donate up to 500 meals as part of this campaign.
Urban Plates continues to amaze me not only with their great food but with their great heart that goes with helping the local community. #GoodIsServed
For more smiles, please see my Yelp review on Urban Plates Manhattan Beach.
The first ever multi-concept brewery and food hall in Torrance, California has opened up. The soft opening was held on November 2, 2019 and a ribbon cutting was held on November 13. Today; November 18, 2019; they had an official grand opening party!
The Brews Hall consists of two breweries, a full bar and four food concepts. It’s the brain child of famous South Bay restauranteur restaurateurs Michael and David Zislis and Dave Furano. These three restaurant gurus then partnered with Comedian George Lopez and sports broadcaster Colin Cowherd.
The two breweries inside are Buzzrock Brewing Co; a four-vessel, 20-bbl brewhouse with 17 fermenting vessels and 12 serving vessel custom designed by Michael Zislis and brewmaster Justinian Caire and George Lopez’s Ta Loco Brewing Co; a brewery offering Mexican-style beers.
This place is not just for beer lovers however as foodies will love all the food offerings that they have.
Foodies who love fried chicken will love Chicken T.W.I.LI (The Way I Like It). They’ve got sandwiches, tenders and wings; just the way you like it!
I tried their Fried T.W.I.LI and it instantly hit the top of my list of best sandwiches I’ve ever tried. It consisted of a huge crispy buttermilk fried chicken patty smothered with remoulade, topped with tomatoes and lettuce and sandwiched between two buttery buns. No need to go all the way to the South to have good fried chicken because you can find it right here in the South Bay!
Tacos aren’t just for Tuesdays because George Lopez’s Chingon Kitchen offering tasty tacos and other authentic Mexican cuisine every day at The Brew Hall! The menu is based off of George’s grandmother’s traditional recipes and one can enjoy fresh guacamole, tacos, burritos and even loaded Cabo stuffed potatoes.
I tried the Crispy Tacos with citrus marinated chicken. It was topped with lettuce, cheese, cream and salsa mexicana. It was was crispy, delightful and definitely something to “taco” about.
Take me out to the Ball Game and to The Herd. The Herd by Sports broadcaster Colin Cowherd brings to The Brews Hall some burgers, bets and brews! Here one can catch the latest games and scores in multi-screens that are the backdrop of the counter where folks will place their order.
Bases are loaded with the Bases Load Fries with fries, bacon, cheese, green onions and garlic aioli. It was definitely a home run with these tasty and savory fries!
Last but not least is Rock N’ Fish Grill! This place is seafood lovers paradise with various fresh fish offerings including fish n’ chips and cornmeal battered crispy fish sandwich. They also offer Rock N’ Fish’s famous New England Clam Chowder.
The Brews Hall offers something for everyone. Whether it be a group of friends who want to enjoy happy hour or a family of four who want to bond over burgers and fries; The Brews Hall is the place to be!
For more smiles; please see my Yelp Review on The Brews Hall.
This Thanksgiving 2019; hot sauce lovers will have something extra to be thankful for as Gringo Bandito releases their 10th special edition, 2019 Private Reserve. This will be their final Private Reserve hot sauce with only 350 available. It will be released Thursday, November 21st at 9am PST!
This exclusive hot sauce has a tasty blend of red fresno and habanero peppers. This years; Special Edition Private Reserve will be released in two different package tiers; Super Duper or Cheapskate. The Super Duper package includes a bottle with a warm purple label printed on silver foil material. It will be placed in a wooden pine box with a clear cover. The premium package will also will have an extra bottle of Private Reserve (Cheapskate) along with a specially printed 4”x3” patch, t-shirt and two limited guitar picks. The Cheapskate option will be a bottle with a small label.
One lucky customer who buys the Super Duper package will be chosen at random to receive an extremely rare (#1 of 1) giclee print of this years Private Reserve label signed by Dexter Holland.One can purchase the Private Reserve starting on November 21 at www.gringobanditostore.com