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.
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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!
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!

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!

I also got a sweet hello kitty lollipop as a extra birthday treat!

I noticed however one is actually Mimmy (Hello Kitty’s twin) and not Hello Kitty! Can you tell which?

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.