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.

Advertisements

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!

img_2188-2

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.

img_2379-1

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.

img_2418-2

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!

img_2382-3

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.

img_2245-2

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!

img_2416-3

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.

img_2206-3

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.

img_2308-2

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.

img_2426-1

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.

img_2229-3

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.

img_2398-3

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.

img_2211-4

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!

img_2407-3

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!

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.

img_0793

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.

img_0792

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!

img_0794

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!

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.

IMG_0511

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!

IMG_0512

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!

Hello Offset Coffee!

“While it may seem small, the ripple effects of small things is extraordinary.”

Hello 2019! The new year is upon us! I am happy to write about a small new coffee shop that is sure to bring extraordinary eats and drinks to many this new year.

Offset Coffee opened up in Torrance, California just this December 27, 2018. The owners are two locals who simply love coffee. They wanted to share their love of coffee via opening up the only multi-roaster coffee shop in the South Bay.

Walking in, I instantly became a fan of the small and simple cafe. It definitely sets an “offset” type of mood from the hustle and bustle of a busy life. Very simple. Very basic. It’s all about taking a breather and simply enjoying the coffee here.

Their menu consists of various coffee delights ranging from drip coffee to cortado and flavored lattes.  Flavored lattes are vanilla, hazelnut and lavender. They also offer cold brews, Mexican cokes and hot chocolate.

Upon my visit here, my mom and I tried the hazelnut latte and cappuccino, respectively.

img_0191

The hazelnut latte was simply delightful. It had the right hint of hazelnut flavor in the cup. It was nutty, sweet and creamy and a perfect match to the pastries we would also try on this visit.

img_0192

The cappuccino was also great. A perfect starter for the day with it’s rich and bold flavor.

To go along with are cups of coffee, we tried two of their fresh baked pastries. Offset’s pastries are from Bakers Kneaded. Bakers Kneaded bakes daily in Los Angeles organic whole grain breads and pastries from California sourced and grown ingredients.

First up we tried the bombolini.

img_0193

Talk about heaven in a bite. These Italian doughnuts are filled with custard that simply melts in the mouth. It is no wonder these sell out almost daily at the shop.

The next pastry we tried was their almond croissants.

img_0194

The almond croissants have a buttery, flaky crust topped with powdered sugar and almonds. Inside is a lovely almond paste that is simply perfection.

Trying out Offset Coffee was great way or shall I say an extraordinary way to start the new year.  I cannot wait to have more “offset” days.

For more smiles, please see my Yelp review on Offset Coffee,

Hello Calo Kitchen and Tequila!

Ever since Apollo Landing opened up in El Segundo, I have eagerly awaited for what restaurants would be added to the plaza. They were already home to my favorite Philz Coffee El Segundo and Shake Shack; and I was excited to see what other delights would be coming. I’m happy to say that the new Calo Kitchen that opened up is now on the top of my favorite restaurants ever.

Calo Kitchen just opened up this Fall 2018 and it is already one place that I really love and enjoy dining at. It’s a beautiful two-story restaurant with the bottom floor dedicated to an open kitchen and bar and the second floor dedicated to a more private setting with a view. Not only is the restaurant modern and chic; the service and food is top-notch.

I love anything “From The Grill.” My favorite is  their Short Rib Enchiladas. This is the entree that they have me wanting to come back here again and again.

img_0055

The Short Rib Enchiladas are topped crispy onions and home-made creamy short rib sauce. Their short rib sauce truly makes this dish a winner. It brings so much flavor to the dish. I also liked the touch of crispy onions as it brings a nice pleasant crunch to the enchiladas. The short rib inside itself is perfectly tender. This dish comes with rice and their fabulous black beans! (Note: The black beans are also served complimentary with their chips and they are simply to die for. They are made with pork broth and definitely one of the tastiest beans I’ve ever had!)

Another favorite dish of mine is Carmelita’s Ribeye Tacos.

img_0054

These are no ordinary tacos! The ribeye comes in small skillet. There are tender strips of ribeye baked over melted cheese, mushrooms, and onions. It comes with your choice of flour or corn tortillas as well as guacamole, rice and beans. It reminds me slightly of a fajitas yet is different because of the melted cheese. It’s tasty, unique and just simply delightful!

The savory dishes are a winner but one shouldn’t pass off the sweets either. Save room for dessert folks!

img_0056

The churros here are special. They come with a surprise in the middle and as you bite in, dulce de leche filling oozes out. These hot and crunchy churros are then topped with vanilla ice cream drizzled with chocolate. It’s a dessert lovers dream come true!

Even the cappuccino at Calo Kitchen is amazing.

img_0057

The cappuccino has hints of dark chocolate and a perfect way to end a meal here.

Overall Calo Kitchen is one of my favorite places to open up this 2018 and I cannot wait to be here again!

For more smiles, please see my Yelp review on Calo Kitchen and Tequila.

Hello Philz Coffee El Segundo!

I love you to the moon and back….cup of love.

Philz Coffee has officially “landed” in El Segundo! The sixth Los Angeles location just opened it’s doors at Apollo Landing; El Segundo’s premier new hot spot for casual dining.

img_1783

It is no secret that I crush on coffee houses and this new Philz Coffee is very much crush worthy. Right by their outdoor patio one will instantly spot the space themed 9×55’ mural that LA based Artist & Muralist Cloe Hakakian customized for this location. The mural has in bold letters “I love you to the moon and back” and this very much true of how this foodie feels about this new Philz Coffee.

img_1785

Philz Coffee is all about brewing every cup “One Cup at a Time.” Each of their “cups of love”  are crafted to every individual customer’s taste with the goal of making people’s better days. It surely made my day today. 🙂

img_1784

They recommend that the first cup to try is “Philz Way.” Philz Way consists of a cup of love with medium sweet with cream. My new favorite is the Mint Mojito. This drink has fresh mint with just right hint of sweet.

img_1786

The blend that was refreshing, flavorful, creamy and so smooth. I instantly fell in love with my cup of love. It was unique, tasty and wonderful.

In addition to my Mint Mojito; I got to try several of Philz Coffee’s different food offerings.

img_1788

I loved their savory offerings. The Mediterranean Avocado Toast has egg, chives, zatar, olive oil, sea salt and pepper while their Hummus and Tomato Toast has feta, chives and sumac. Both were excellent!

Their sweet treats were equal in deliciousness. From cookies to croissants; every thing paired well with their coffees. Some of my favorites include the white chocolate cashew cookies, the almond croissant and the blueberry muffins.

img_1787

To the new Philz Coffee; welcome to the neighborhood. I am so happy you have landed at Apollo Landing. I love you to the moon and back already ;).

img_1782

For more smiles; please see my Yelp review on Philz Coffee El Segundo.