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 Oahu!

Hello Oahu!

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.

Beachside Bliss

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!

Breakfast Bliss

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 Hawaii Style

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!

Mele Kalikimaka! I had the most lovely Hawaiian holiday meal at Michael Mina’s Stripsteak in Waikiki!

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!

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Hello Urth Caffe South Bay!

Hello Urth Caffe South Bay!

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

Hello 7 Leaves Cafe Torrance!

Hello 7 Leaves Cafe Torrance!

“Be the change that you want to see in the world.” Gandi’s famous words are around the cups and it appears as well on a “eye chart” decoration at the newly opened 7 Leaves Cafe in Torrance.

7 Leaves Cafe indeed is making a change in the world; the boba world to be exact and I like it! The shop that first originated in Orange County has now hit the South Bay. What makes their drinks so unique is they chop, peel, cook, stir, and press by hand from raw ingredients in order to extract real flavors to use in their drinks.

I love my tea as well as my boba and 7 Leaves Cafe has the quality that I am looking for! My favorites so far include their House Coffee as well as their Mung Bean Tea.

The House Coffee is an authentic Vietnamese style coffee with hazelnut cream while the Mung Bean Tea is jasmine tea with mung bean and pandan leaves. Both drinks are true to their name and the flavor really comes out.

Aside from drinks; 7 Leaves also offers macarons and strawberry croissants! I enjoyed some strawberry croissants with my drink and enjoyed the buttery flaky crust of the croissant and the sweet cream that oozed out from the inside.

7 Leaves is definitely making a change; a good change in bringing quality ingredients to bring out quality food and drinks! I’m happy to see this place now in the South Bay!

For more smiles; please check out my Yelp review on 7 Leaves Cafe Torrance.

Hello Portland!

Hello Portland!

Whenever I visit a new city; visiting their local eateries is definitely on the top of my list of things to do. There’s something wonderful to be discovered by eating and drinking at the places the locals love. This is exactly what I did on my recent trip to Portland, Oregon! Join me in this blog post as I reminisce about some of my favorite eats in PDX!

Coffee and Tea

Did you know that Portland is the 3rd most caffeinated city in the US; following San Francisco and Seattle?  Being the coffee aficionados that we are; we definitely had to make our way to some of the best coffee and tea spots in town!

Stumptown Coffee was the first coffee spot that I thought of when I was first planning my Portland trip. It’s only appropriate that this place is associated with Portland because Stumptown happens to be one of the early nicknames of the city.

We visited Stumptown’s largest cafe, in Portland’s Old Town and tried their Hazelnut Latte as well as their Woodblock Mocha. The Woodblock mocha is made out of Woodblock Chocolate. Woodblock Chocolate is from a Portland Oregon family-run, bean-to-bar chocolate manufactory.

Both the Hazelnut Latte and Woodblock Mocha had rich, bold flavors that were perfect for kicking off a lovely day in Portland. Stumptown Coffee definitely knows their coffee!

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Cafe Umbria was the next coffee spot we tried.  Based out of Seattle, Washington; Caffè Umbria is a full-service, wholesale coffee roaster with Italian roots. Their specialities are authentic Italian espresso.

We visited Cafe Umbria’s Madison Cafe location in Portland. The coffee house at Madison is located in a historic Georgian style building. It is a relaxing and classic cafe that is great for relaxing after visiting the Portland Art Museum nearby.

I throughly enjoyed my Matcha Latte. It had the perfect hint of sweetness and flavor of matcha. I also enjoyed the complimentary dark chocolate that they gave along with the coffee.

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Aside from great coffee; we were also able to try some amazing tea places during our Portland Visit.

Townshend’s Tea Company  is a tea shop with several locations in Oregon. They specialize in several loose leaf tea; black, green, white, chai, herbal; as well as other beverages with tea as the main ingredient.

We visited the location in historic Mississippi Avenue in North Portland. The cafe here  was formerly a 1940s carpentry shop. This made for a unique environment.

For our trip; I chose to get their special Mint Cream Latte. It was made out of half Mt. Hood Vanilla, half organic Peppermint. It was made latte-style like their chai tea. This tea was lovely and reminded me a lot of the Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies. I loved how it had a special Oregon touch via the Mt. Hood vanilla.

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The Spice and Tea Exchange in Portland was one of my favorite tea spots for some to-go coffee for home.

Located at the heart of Portland on Broadway street; they offered an abundant amount of teas. Among their various teas offerings were black tea, green tea, white tea, oolong tea, herbal tea, pu-erh tea and matcha tea.

I chose to get three bags to take home;  Bonita Peach Roobios,  Creme Brûlée tea and Gone Bananas Tea. The Gone Bananas is my favorite, It has sweet flavors of vanilla, banana and rock sugar combined with bourbon and rum extracts. It smells just like banana and has the perfect hint of banana flavor too!

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Donuts

Aside from being well known for their coffee; another treat that Portland is known for is for their donuts! In fact; they are home to not just one but two famous donut shops! We of course got to try both 😉 during this trip.

Voodoo Doughnuts was definitely the one donut I shop I did not want to miss. I had several people recommend this place when I first mentioned I was going to Portland.

Located in Portland’s Old Town district; it was definitely be an adventure coming here. There is even the large “Keep Portland Weird” sign right across from the location. As eccentric as it’s surroundings are; so is the shop itself with it’s pink decor and giant donut hanging from the ceiling.

We chose to get the famous Voodoo Man donut as well the Guava Colada. The Voodoo Man donut was filled with raspberry jelly and is topped with chocolate frosting and a pretzel stake. The Guava Colada had guava jelly and was topped with vanilla frosting, flake coconut and a toothpick umbrella. The donuts were tasty and not too sweet.  I can definitely see why they are famous! They’re not only uniquely cute but scrumptiously delicious.

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Bluestar Donuts is the other famous donut shop in Portland. I had previously tried Bluestar Donuts when their California location opened up in Abbot Kinney. I however didn’t want to miss the place where it first originated from; Portland!

I tried the Bluestard Donuts location at Mississippi Avenue. It was a cute and small shop that offered several of their regular favorites as well as one of kind items.

For this trip we chose to get the Chocolate Almond Ganache and Meyer Lemon Key Lime Curd. The Chocolate Almond Ganache is brioche ring glazed with dark chocolate made from natural cocoa powder. It is topped with chopped salted Marcona almonds. The Mayor Lemon has their signature brioche  stuffed with a curd made from Meyer Lemon and Key Lime purees. The outer shell is dusted with powdered sugar. For chocolate lovers and lemon lovers; these donuts are for you. Bluestar definitely brings out their flavors with their donuts!

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Savory

From coffee, tea and donuts; my Portland trip couldn’t be complete without trying some of their famous restaurants for brunch, lunch and dinner. I was fortunate to try some of PDX’s well known restaurants; with two even being headed by James Beard award winning chefs!

Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen was one of the first spots we got to try in Portland. It is a popular spot in downtown Portland famous for their pho, banh mi & other Vietnamese favorites.

For lunch we tried the Papaya Salad, Crispy Rolls and Coconut Chicken Curry. The Papaya Salad was definitely a favorite. With it’s julienne green papaya, shrimp, peanuts, bell peppers, onions, basil, & lime vinaigrette; it was so refreshing for a hot day in Portland. The Crispy Rolls and Coconut Chicken Curry paired well together for a nice light meal.

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Umami Cafe located at the Portland Japanese Gardens was another amazing place we tried for lunch in Portland.

The cafe is located in the heart of the garden and is designed after Kyoto’s Kiyomizu-dera temple. Surrounded by the beautiful trees and plants; it is such a serene place to enjoy a mini meal.

I truly enjoyed the Hojicha with Fried Rice. Their Hojicha tea comes from the Tokyo-based Jugetsudo tea company, while their yakitori chicken style fried rice comes from the Japanese food company, Ajinomoto. It’s a perfect light meal after walking around the beautiful gardens.

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Tasty n Alder located in downtown Portland is an amazing place for brunch, lunch or  dinner. This modern steakhouse is super popular and always has a line. It is definitely worth the wait though.

Tasty n Alder lives up to the “Tasty” in it’s name and has some truly amazing dishes.

My favorite entree here was the Duck…Duck….Steak! It consists of lovely double R Ranch teres major on a stick and it is complimented with potatoes confit in duck fat, onion sour cream and a sunny duck egg. The steak was cooked just right and was so tender. The potatoes were amazing.

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Bistro Agnes in West End, Portland was definitely a favorite in our books. We loved everything in this cafe that is headed up by 2017 James Beard Award winning chefs Greg and Gabi Denton.

We were treated with Amuse Bouche; complements of the chef. We loved the creamy  soup that the chef gave. We had also had Warm Asparagus appetizer with morel mushrooms and gratineed sauce bearnaise. The starters were wonderful but there were even more treats awaiting in the main courses. For our entrees; we had the Mussels Mariniere, Beef Short Rib Bourguigon and Truffled Vegetable Pithivier. The Truffled Vegetable Pithivier was my dish and it was mouthwatering to say the least. I was in love with the butternut squash, oyster mushrooms, black truffle, leeks, chèvre & comté in the  puff pastry that was complemented with truffled vegetable demi. Je t’aime Cuisine Francaise.

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Higgins  in downtown Portland was the next James Beard awarded restaurant that we tried.  Higgins is owned by Greg Higgins; a James Beard award winner of Best Chef Northwest.

We kicked off our meal here with a lovely Roasted Beet Carpaccio with black sheep fresh cheese, horseradish,  pomegranate molasses, sumac and pistachios. For our entrees we enjoyed the specials of the night; Hangar Steak, Pan Seared Pacific Cod and Salmon. I loved the rich sauce in my Hangar Steak; it was so savory and flavorful.

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Sweets

It just wasn’t savory treats we enjoyed because we also had some sweet treats that made our trip to Portland even sweeter!

Portland is well known for Salt and Straw but we decided to go with a different route by trying Wiz Bang Bar; the soft serve bar that is sister to Salt and Straw.

Located at the fabulous Pine Street Market in Portland; this spot was perfect after walking around during a 98 degree day in Portland!

I was also ecstatic to get to try two Portland favorites combined in one because they were offering Blue Star Old Fashioned Donuts soft serve. It definitely had that donut taste.

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Pix Patisserie was the best spot of all. This hidden gem on Burnside street is a little slice of France that landed in Portland. For us, this is the best dessert and coffee spot in Portland!

They have the most amazing lattes. The Oregon hazy latte is simply the best. It has the perfect hazelnut taste and it tasted so fresh. The Fleur de Sel latte was also a winner with the lovely caramel taste.  They have amazing macarons but the must try is their Macronuts. Macronuts are a combination of French macarons and donuts. The Macronuts are made fresh and come out piping hot and oh so soft. I am still dreaming of my visit here and wish to be back!

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Portland was truly a wonderful time and I loved each and everyone of our culinary adventures here! Hello Kitty Foodie loves PDX! Till next time…

Hello Steelhead Coffee Torrance!

Hello Steelhead Coffee Torrance!

Steelhead Coffee hits the South Bay!

The popular coffee shop that has two locations in Long Beach and a location in Laguna Hills has now hit Torrance!

There’s nothing like having some freshly brewed artisan coffee to kick off the weekend and that’s just what I did on a fine Friday that marked the end of the work week.

Steelhead Coffee’s location in Torrance is cute and small. It’s located at the lobby of the office of the Daily Breeze Newspaper. With a very minimalistic design, I could definitely see how this would be a great place to simply enjoy a warm cup of coffee.

Their menu consists of drip coffee, cold brew, cortado, lattes and cappuccinos. One can add vanilla, lavender, caramel and chocolate to their drinks too.

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I found their caramel latte to be so smooth. It was not too rich but yet perfect for a slightly sweet kick to start off the morning.

Asidefrom their coffee and tea offerings, Steelhead also offers various pastries from Bakers Kneaded; a wholesale Los Angeles bakery that offers organic whole grain breads and pastries.

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I instantly became a fan of their almond croissant. With its crispy, flaky skin on the outside topped with sliced almonds and almond paste in the inside; this croissant was the perfect pairing for my caramel latte.

The food offerings doesn’t stop however with bread and pastries because there is more at Steelhead Coffee! The Steelhead Kitchen offers a variety of freshly made hot dishes such as congee, avocado bread and even a Steelhead burger!

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I got to try their congee and was amazed at all the wonderful ingredients in the bowl. The rice porridge had fresh persian cucumber, kimchi, sriracha mixed in toasted sesame and soy sauce and topped with soft-boiled egg.  It was definitely one of the most special rice porridges I’ve ever seen or had!

It is no surprise Steelhead Coffee has been such a hit in their first three locations.  From their sweet sips to their savory treats; one is sure to smile and have a an amazing start to the day!

For more smiles; please see my latest Yelp review on Steelhead Coffee Torrance.

Hello Newberry Coffee and Tea!

Hello Newberry Coffee and Tea!

Coffee, Tea and Newberry!

There’s a new place in the South Bay to get a good cup of coffee for cold days  or an iced cold boba for chilly days.  Newberry Coffee and Tea just opened up this January 2019 in Torrance, CA! Newberry Coffee Roasters gets all their coffee beans from Brazil, Columbia, Indonesia, Panama, Guatemala and Hondura and they roast their coffee locally in Los Angeles weekly. Being a big coffee and boba fan, I had to check this place out.

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Since it was a rather warm day in Los Angeles, my eye was on their Favorite Blended menu. Two in particular caught my eye; the Caramel Frappe and the Taro Milk Molly

For those looking for a great day kickstart, the Caramel Frappe is one that I recommend! With espresso,  caramel, coffee jelly and oreo; it’s the perfect blend of coffee and sweet. I liked the hints of caramel within in the espresso. Typically espresso drinks can be a bit too strong for me but here they do it just right.

The Taro Milk Molly has milk, taro, panda boba and custard. This one is a classic boba drink for those who like simple and sweet.

The frappe and molly were just two of the drinks that I enjoyed. They have many more in their Favorite Blended menu but you can also customize and make your own!

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It’s always nice to see a nice new coffee shop. Newberry Coffee and Tea Company hits the spot for when craving some coffee or boba!

For more smiles, please my Yelp Review on Newberry Coffee and Tea Company!