Hello The Depot Torrance Birthday Celebration!

Hello The Depot Torrance Birthday Celebration!

This year with the pandemic; I wasn’t quite sure how my birthday would be. I however got the most wonderful surprise dinner from my boyfriend when he ordered from The Depot Torrance.

The Depot has been in Torrance for 29 years! First opening up in 1991; it has been a favorite of many South Bayers for celebration special occasions. Being a South Bay native; I had never tried this place and thus was excited to be able to try it for my birthday.

We started off the birthday dinner with their famous bread basket.

The Depot’s bread basket comes with cheese rolls, regular rolls, crispy cracker bread and banana bread. The bread is accompanied with regular butter and garlic pesto butter. My favorites from the bread basket are the cheese rolls and the banana bread. The cheese rolls go really well with the garlic pesto butter! It’s so flavorful.

I loved how the bread is not too heavy and it still gave room for some appetizers that my boyfriend had also prepared. (A special mention to my boyfriend Jay who also prepared the most delicious stuffed mushrooms and eggplants!)

For our main course; we had  filet mignon and lamb chops alongside yam mashers, sautéed mushrooms, zucchini and herbed asparagus.

The filet mignon and lamb chops are some of the best that I’ve ever had. The cuts were so tender! They were cooked just right. The meats also went really well with the yam mashers and veggies. I absolutely loved the yam mashers. They were soft and creamy with just the right flavoring of sweet potato. The mixed vegetables were also quite amazing. The asparagus, spinach and zucchini were quite tasty. Every single item on the plate was excellent.

Though we did not physically dine out this year; I can say that my birthday dinner this year was still one of the best birthday dinners I’ve ever had. I can truly see why The Depot is so popular for all these years. Their food is just perfect for special occasions.

For more smiles; please see my Yelp review on The Depot 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 Napa Rose Surprise Birthday Dinner!

Hello Napa Rose Surprise Birthday Dinner!

This year my birthday was a extra special as I got to celebrate at a very special place; Napa Rose at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel.  For weeks my boyfriend keep this as a surprise and I did not know until the actual day of my birthday that this would be where I would be celebrating. It’s without a doubt I was so excited to find out I would be dining here.

Napa Rose is a flagship restaurant of Disney that has gotten many awards since it opened in 2001. Just this 2019 Napa Rose was honored their eight AAA Four Diamond award. Napa Rose has also been recognized by Wine Spectator, the Orange County Register and Southern California Restaurant Writers Guild. They are consistently recognized as a top food ranking Orange County restaurant.

Napa Rose consists of both a lounge and a main dining room. Both spots are quite lovely and I was fortunate enough to spend some time in both. We started off with at the lounge where we had some celebratory cocktails for my birthday. The lounge has a classic yet comfortable ambiance perfect for some summer cocktails. It is filled with mini wooden tables and comfortable chairs. The lounge is filled with Napa Rose’s staple rose.

Our choice of cocktails at the lounge were the Summer Kiss and Napa Passion.

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The Summer Kiss consists of Hendricks Gin, Combier, fresh Lemon Juice, St. Germain, and Absinthe Rinse while the Napa Passion had X Fusion, Parrot Bay Rum, Pineapple Juice, and Strawberry. Both drinks were refreshing and great for a summer evening.

Soon after we were off to the beautiful main dining room. Napa Rose pays tribute to California’s wine country as well as the rose that are in the vineyards of Napa. This was truly reflected in the main dining room. Each table in the restaurant has roses  and the image of the rose is seen in the restaurant’s carpeting, lighting, handrails, chairs and even the staff uniforms. In the main dining area there are murals with showing Napa’s vineyards. There is an amazing wine cellar with over 600 bottles and there is a wall adorned with signed, premium wines by winemakers and vineyard owners.

Napa Rose’s menu changes seasonally and it’s entrees are made from the freshest ingredients of California. Currently their menu is for the Summer 2019 season in the Wine Country.

We started off our meal here with a complimentary bread basket.

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The bread basket included  sourdough, cheese bread, and cracker bread covered with parmesan cheese. My favorite was definitely the cheese bread. It was so soft and delightful.

For our appetizers we chose  the Zucchini Blossom.

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This was one amazing appetizer with golden fried zucchini filled with lemony ricotta cheese on top of zucchini pine nut relish. The litter batter was perfectly crisp and the ricotta would ooze our with each bite. It was a great way to kick off a a meal here.

For our main courses we tried the Pomegranate-glazed Veal Osso Bucco and the Quail Stuffed with Prosciutto Wrapped Summer Peach.

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The Pomegranate-glazed Veal Osso Bucco  was served with Apple-Orange Relish and Sautéed Gnocchi. The Quail Stuffed with Prosciutto Wrapped Summer Peach was complimented with Nectarine Relish and Cornbread Stuffing.

Both dishes were excellent and perfect with Pinot Noir. They were plated beautifully and wonderfully prepared. I loved the unique touches of each dish with their respective sweet relishes to compliment their meats. The quail which was stuffed with a peach slice was amazing. It was savory with a hint of sweet. It was also very light.

For dessert I was surprised with a very sweet treat via a Pineapple Streusel Crumble Crunch Bar.

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The Pineapple Streusel Crumble Crunch Bar had a coconut vanilla sorbet on top and a coconut creme on the bottom. It was very tropical and was a lovely way to end a wonderful meal here. I loved how it was not too sweet but yet had the nice hint of both pineapple and coconut. There were also some little bits of strawberry dollops on the side

Dinner at Napa Rose was everything I could ask for and it really made for one memorable birthday experience for me. The venue was beautiful, the food was of excellent quality and the memories made were priceless.  A very special thanks to my awesome boyfriend for planning this surprise! I’m so thankful and blessed to have had dinner at such special place for my birthday.

Hello Avenue Italy!

Hello Avenue Italy!

I recently a wonderful birthday dinner at Avenue Italy.

Located in Rancho Palos Verdes is Avenue Italy; a restaurant offering authentic and delicious Italian cuisine by  Chef Mario Zanetti. Chef Mario was previously Lead Chef for La Stada Restaurant in Los Angeles and now he heads up this wonderful restaurant. Avenue Italy is also the sister restaurant of another favorite South Bay place of mine, Yellow Vase.

Having my birthday dinner here was truly a wonderful experience. The place transports you right into the heart of Italy with its beautiful setup and decor as well as their amazing Italian cuisine.

We started off our meal here with  Caprese e melanzane.

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This starter came with three lovely tomatoes stacked with grilled eggplant and fresh mozzarella. It was then topped off with pesto. This simple Italian dish was a perfect first course. The grilled eggplant was nicely grilled and not charred. The spread of pesto was just right and not overwhelming. It gave the right amount of flavor to the dish.

Our second course consisted of the Beet salad

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This salad was one of my favorites of the night. It had mix greens topped with oven roasted beets, candied walnuts, dried cranberries and feta cheese. The dressing was a house balsamic vinaigrette. I am a big fan of beets but in many other restaurants, I have noticed beets tend to be large pieces that end up becoming the star of the plate. Here at Avenue Italy, they made their salad so that the beets would mix perfectly with the other ingredients. Small square beets were mixed in with the candied walnuts and dried cranberries and the feta cheese was sprinkled on top. Together these ingredients made of a sweet lovely salad.

For my main course, I chose to get the waiter’s recommendation, Pollo e prosciutto

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It was chicken rollatini with prosciutto and rosemary and vodka sauce. It was served with seasonal vegetables and roasted yukon potatoes. I originally was afraid that the prosciutto may overpower this dish but it did not at all! In fact there was just slight hint of prosciutto and the chicken was main star of the dish. It was tender and perfectly flavored with the rosemary and vodka sauce. I also loved their flavorful roasted yukon potatoes. This was great dish paired with their white chardonnay.

What’s a birthday without a birthday cake or dessert? Our last dish of the night was Avenue Italy’s tiramisu.

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Tiramisu is a classic Italian dessert and here they really did this Italian delight justice. The coffee-flavoured Italian dessert was delightfully light. Wonderful flavor of cocoa with just the right hint of liqueur-spiked espresso and sweet mascarpone and whipped cream. This was truly a perfect ending to a wonderful birthday dinner.

Avenue Italy was simply lovely and I loved celebrating here.
Hello birthday freebies!

Hello birthday freebies!

I love the month of September because it is my birthday month and during my birthday month I get lots and lots of emails and mail of birthday freebies at various places! As the month of September comes to a close, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite birthday freebies, I have found through the years.

Hof’s Hut birthday club mails a free breakfast, lunch or dinner entree with purchase of equal or greater value and a free cake (chocolate or carrot)

Hof’s Hut is well known for their breakfast and so I often choose to use my birthday freebie on one of their yummy egg breakfast offerings like this spinach and bacon frittata
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The free Hof’s hut carrot cake is a sweet treat at the end

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Souplantation Club Veg has buy one, get one free entree.

The Souplantation salad bar is delicious and healthy!

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Rubio’s beach club gives a free meal up to $7.

I love the chicken and steak street tacos.

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Veggie grill grill club gives a free entree.

The thai chickin’ wrap with sweetheart fries is delicious!

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El Pollo Loco gives a free leg and thigh combo or chicken tostada for birthday celebrants!

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Black Angus Prime club gives free dinner up to $19.99 value with purchase of an additonal entree of equal or lesser value.

Aside from their popular dishes like prime rib and steak, Black Angus has seafood and pork dishes like grilled prawns and smothered grilled pork chops

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The birthday cowboy cookie comes out freshly baked and is one of my favorite treats!
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La Capilla mexican restaurant gives free entree (#1-#4 on the menu) on the day of your birthday.

Their chicken tacos are very fulfilling! The taco is loaded with tender chicken, lettuce, cheese and tomato. There is generous portions of rice and beans too!

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La Capilla also gives a free flan that makes this a muy bien birthday for this panchita.

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Jersey Mike’s gives any regular sub and 22 oz fountain drink on the day of your birthday.

I really liked the cheesesteak at Jersey Mike’s.
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The birthday drink is refreshing and great match for the free sandwich.
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Benihana
gives a $30 certificate for the birthday celebrant.

This one is one of my favorite birthday freebies because you can get an appetizer, entree and a dessert! $30 gets you a lot of food.
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Ihop offers a free meal up to $7.99 with a purchase of an equal or lesser value meal.

I love their breakfast offerings at Ihop! Crepes, pancakes and so much more await my birthday breakfast every year!

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Hometown buffet has a buy 1 adult dinner and 1 beverage, get a free dinner free offer.

The buffet offers a lot of various goodieS.

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Nothing Bundt Cakes gives one free bundt for the birthday celebrant!

I tried their flavor of the month white chocolate blueberry.

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Which Wich gives one free regular wich.

I tried their thank you turkey because I love turkey and am thankful for this birthday freebie.

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King’s Hawaiian gives one free entree (with a purchase of an entree) plus a free slice of cake.

Breakfast at King’s Hawaiian always makes me happy

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The free paradise cake makes me smile even more.

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King’s Hawaiian’s sister restaurant The Local Place also offers a free entree and your choice of cake.

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Baskin Robbins gives a free 2.5 oz scoop

A free scoop is always nice and yummy

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Capriottis gives a yummy brownie that has little chunks of cookies.

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The above birthday freebies have made me smile through the years. I hope you too will get to try these places out during your birthday month! This post is my birthday gift to you dear readers :).

Happy 65th birthday Marie Callender’s Restaurant and Bakery!

Happy 65th birthday Marie Callender’s Restaurant and Bakery!

Happy 65th birthday Marie Callender’s Restaurant and Bakery!
Through the years, I’ve gotten to try different goodies from Marie Callender’s such as pumpkin muffins and my favorite banana cream pie. Their baked goods have been a part of various occasions and celebrations with family and friends. This month it was Marie Callender’s turn to celebrate when they turned the big 65! That’s right, friends, Marie Callender’s has been a part of our lives for 65 years!20130630-145634.jpg
No birthday celebration would be complete without birthday cake and Marie Callender’s definitely had one special cake! Their speciality pie of the month was their celebration cake pie!
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I got to try this limited edition special birthday cake and special indeed it was. It was moist confetti cake with a layer of creamy custard above their fabulous crispy pie crust. It was then topped off with sweet whip cream and colorful sprinkles! It was a hybrid of cake and pie and it was delicious! I am a member of Team CakePie now! Marie Callender’s sure knows how to celebrate a birthday!

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Hello Kitty foodie wishes Marie Callender’s a very happy birthday! Here’s to many more years of yummy dishes, muffins, cakes and pies!

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Hello Strand House Birthday celebration!

Hello Strand House Birthday celebration!

For my first food blog entry, I wanted to feature about something special. I celebrated my birthday today with some of my closest Yelp friends at one of my favorite spots in Manhattan Beach, The Strand House. The Strand House was a great spot for a birthday brunch because we had a wonderful view of the beach. Aside from an amazing view, they offer all kinds of yummy foods from the savory to the sweet.
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My main course for my birthday celebration was the Eggs benedict. It had house made Canadian bacon on top of two English muffin. I loved the crispy edges on the English muffins and the bacon. I was also very fond of the creamy hollandaise sauce that covered the mufins. On the side were crispy round potatoes.

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I also got to try some of the entrees that my friends chose. I tried the belgian waffle with blueberry ice cream and the Margherita pizza with a thin crust.

At the end I got special birthday doughnuts. There were three types of donuts: blueberry glaze, vanilla bean and caramel with fleur de sel. It came with a nice birthday candle. It was such a sweet and lovely birthday treat!

Thank you to my fabulous foodie friends for the Yelp love and sweet birthday!

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For more smiles, please see my recent yelp review on The Strand House.