Hello Blazin’ Hens!

Hello Blazin’ Hens!

With the arrival of spring; it really is blazin’ in the South Bay! The heat is on especially at Blazin’ Hens in Redondo Beach!

Located at Slider Stop; is Blazin’ Hens a fried chicken joint offering Nashville hot chicken, sliders and poutine like tots and fries! I recently had a chance to visit this hotspot and I have to say it was one blazin’ hot time!

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Blazin’ Hens chickens are  Jidori style chicken that they prepare by brining for 24 hours. The chicken is then dipped in buttermilk or whole milk, depending on the cut and it is breaded. They fry the chicken right after you order to ensure the best quality. I really love how the chicken comes out so fresh, juicy and tender!

At Blazin’ Hens you have the choice of a half hen, whole hen, breast and wing, leg and thigh, tenders, wings or sliders.  Their sliders are made with another South Bay favorite; King’s Hawaiian buns.  Chicken spice level include plain (no seasoning), mild (guajillo), medium (cayenne), hot (habanero), x-hot (ghost pepper) and blazin’ (carolina reaper). I got the mild and it already had quite a kick to it! Hot!

To go along with the hot chicken; one can choose from their various sides. It is tots and fries galore here! Choices include regular tots or fries, sweet potato tots, garlic tots or fries, truffle tots or fries, gravy tots or fries, loaded tots or fries, mash and gravy, coleslaw or Nashville tots or fries and San Diego tots or fries (that includes carne asada, avocado, cheddar and jack cheese, cilantro, onions, chipotle mayo, avocado cilantro ranch and cotija cheese).  I really liked the gravy tots! It’s their version of poutine and comes with bacon maple gravy, cotija cheese, parsley and a topping of sunny side egg!

Blazin’ Hens is definitely the place to be this spring! Get your heat on and kick off spring with in the hottest way!

For more smiles, please see my Yelp review on Blazin’ Hens!

 

Hello Howlin Ray’s!

Hello Howlin Ray’s!

Summer is officially here! With temperatures spiking up to 100 degrees plus around LA, we can definitely say the heat is on. It however has been hot at Chinatown’s Far East Plaza since 2015, thanks to Howlin’ Ray’s!

Howlin’ Ray’s originally started out as food truck by a Silver Lake chef Johnny Zone and then in 2015, Johnny and his wife decided to put up shop at Far East Plaza. The rest as many will say his history…hot history.

Lines can be found snaking through the Far East Plaza for hours. It almost seems like everyone in town wants to get their hands on the Nashville Hot Chicken that Howlin Ray’s is all about. How hot do you want your chicken? The spice ranges from country (no heat) to howling’ (can’t touch this 10++).

Hello Kitty Foodie finally met Howlin’ Ray’s recently and I can say the hype is real!

The chicken comes out fresh from the kitchen from a very happy and eager restaurant crew. Watching the Howlin’ Ray’s crew is amazing. They’ve got the teamwork down and their manager Mario can be seen taking the time to say hello to all the foodies.

Chicken offerings are served with white bread and pickles and one can choose from a quarter bird, half bird, skinny jimmy (boneless chicken breast) and wings.

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The fried chicken is piping hot with the skin super crisp and oh so delicious. The chicken itself is tender and practically melts in your mouth. It’s perfect with the soft white bread and pickles that comes with the chicken. Spice level was just right and it definitely was getting hot the afternoon I tried it. 😉 It’s no surprise folks wait for hours for the crunch, the taste and the mouth watering experience.

Howlin’ Ray’s also offers The Sando; their version of the chicken sandwich.

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In between two butter buns is the crispiest boneless breast that is topped with slaw and lots of comeback sauce. Can one say crunch err love at first bite? The boneless chicken breast in this sandwich is amazing. Crispy texture, tender meat; it’s one that you’ll want to come back for over and over. Speaking of come back; the comeback sauce itself is like is lovely treat to foodies. It’s a mayonnaise based sauce with a slight hint of pepper and brings even more flavor to the already tasty sandwich.

Hello flavor! Hello heat! Hello Kitty Foodie loved Howlin’ Ray’s. It’s no wonder the Far East Plaza is so hot! Howlin’ Rays hot.

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For more smiles, please see my Yelp review on Howlin’ Rays.

Hello Momofuku CCDC!

Hello Momofuku CCDC!

Fast cars in a rush. Busy people passing by. A chilly wind and slight rain. I’m in my black Hello Kitty hoodie at City Center in Washington DC. Cold and hungry on a busy day in DC, the answer to my prayers is right in front of me as I spot the peach logo of Momofuku CCDC.

Momofuku CCDC is one of the restaurants of famed chef David Chang. The original Momofuku is in New York City and there are also branches in Toronto and Las Vegas. Momofuku opened up in December 2015 at CityCenter DC. The Washington DC location has a somewhat personal significance in Chef Chang’s life. He is a Northern Virginia native and his is father once owned two bistros in Washington, DC.

The personal significance to Chef Chang’s childhood brought some special attention to detail in choosing the menu of this location. Momofuku CCDC ended up with some of the traditional dishes that can be found at the other Momofuku restaurants but it also got some creations exclusively made for DC. On this chilly day, I was blessed to try an array of Momofuku offerings.

My meal at Momofuku started off with their famous buns. They’ve got a quite a selection of buns ranging from shitake to brisket. I got the chicken meatball buns.

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The chicken meatball buns are amazing. This small dish consists of two buns filled with a gigantic chicken meatball that is smothered with paprika mayo and topped with spicy  jalapeños and crispy iceberg lettuce. The buns are so soft and practically melt in your mouth. They remind me of traditional siopao or steamed buns that can be found in Chinatown. These are not your classic Chinese steamed buns however because they have a special, unique twist with their fillings. The chicken meatball is super flavorful and there is a little bit of spice brought in with the paprika mayo and jalapeño. It’s spicy, savory and simply mouth watering.

Right after the chicken meatball buns, the pork ramen came out. This soup was the perfect response to the slight rain that was hitting DC that day.

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Momofuku CCDC’s pork ramen is a food item of beauty.  A feast for the eyes and a feast for the stomach,; the pork ramen is filled with pork belly, pork shoulder, poached egg and long noodle. One poke at the poached egg and the yolk comes oozing out into the warm broth and further enhancing the already flavorful soup. Along with the poached egg, there is the delicious pork meat adding to the texture of the ramen. The pork belly and pork shoulder are wonderfully tender and mix well with the long, silky noodles. This soup truly is the cure to the chilly DC day.

The pork ramen and buns are items that can be found at the other Momofuku restaurants but as I mentioned early in ths post, Momofuku CCDC has some special items that were created just for this branch. One of these items it their Braised Fried Chicken dish.

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The Briased Fried Chicken dish is not your typical fried chicken dish.  Crispy fried chicken is mixed in with scallions, cabbage and shallot with a sweet sauce. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever tried. I really enjoyed how the chicken remained crispy despite being in the sauce. It’s delicious and different and I’m so happy that it’s on the Momofuku CCDC menu. It’s a dish that was inspired from one of David Chang’s favorite Chinese restaurants, the now closed Wu’s Garden  in Vienna. Though Wu’s maybe closed, the braised fried chicken lives on and it’s all thanks to Momofuku CCDC.

Everything I tried that chilly day in DC was perfect. I absolutely loved the chicken meatball buns and both the pork ramen and the braised fried chicken were phenomenal.

There I was, a girl just cold and hungry at the City Center DC but thanks to Momofuku CCDC I became a girl warm, happy and just peachy ;). (Peachy just like Momomfuku’s famed peach logo. 🙂

For more smiles and to feel peachy like me ;), please read my Yelp review on Momofuku CCDC.

Hello Back Home in Lahaina!

Hello Back Home in Lahaina!

It’s always nice to be back home…..

I last dined at Back Home in Lahaina a couple of years back. With life’s busy schedule, I haven’t had the chance to be back until recently during a lunch with friends. I must say I truly enjoyed myself and found myself thinking how there really is no place like home….

Our meals here started off with some delicious appetizers via lumpia and spam musubi.

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Lumpia is a favorite and classic Filipino appetizer. Being Filipino, I was pleased to see Back Home in Lahaina sticking to the traditional Filipino egg roll. Their version was packed with meat and vegetables just like how my mom makes it home. 🙂

For my main entree here I chose to get a combination of Lahaina fried chicken and beef katsu. My combo plate came with macaroni salad, ramen salad and chicken sausage fried rice.

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The Lahaina fried chicken has always been a favorite of mine. With its crisp, sweet batter and tender chicken; this Hawaiian fried chicken has delicious written all over it. The beef katsu was also another crunchy, delightful meat. Both paired well with the fried rice. Back Home in Lahaina has several options for their fried rice and I chose to get it with chicken sausage. It was very fulfilling. Last but not least was their ramen salad and macaroni salad. Both are very flavorful but it is the creamy, soft macaroni salad that wins me over every time! The whole meal just reminded me the comforts of home cooking and happiness with the ohana.

Aside from the drool worth savory eats, Back Home in Lahaina has some amazing desserts. Baked right it house, they have quite a variety. The cookie offering itself is amazing. They have  Kahelani cookies, rainbow cookies, Kylie’s paradise cookies, peanut butter cookies, chocolate crunch cookies, Mauna Kea cookies and Choco-coco oatmeal cookies! There is a cookie for every sweet tooth.

My favorite is the Mauna Kea cookies. The powdered sugar on top of the crisp shortbread is simply to die for!

If you’re more of a cheesecake or person versus a cookie person, than have no fear because there’s plenty of dessert offerings for you too! They have Haupia cheesecake, chocolate delight cheesecake and jello cheesecake. They also have Haupia cake.

The Haupia cheesecake and Haupia cake is great for anyone who loves coconut. The cake is so soft and moist and consists of angel food cake along with some coconut cake. The chocolate delight cheesecake has rich, chocolate mousse that is perfect for the chocolate lovers in the world. Last but not least is the jello cheesecake. This one is my personal favorite. I love the layer of jello on top of the soft cheesecake and crunchy crust.

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To go along with my savory and sweet eats here, I had a nice refreshing glass of passion orange guava. This drink is great for hot days like today.

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Back Home in Lahaina was an amazing place for dining with friends today. From their appetizers to their entrees and to their sweets, there was something tasty for every one! It truly is nice to be back home ;). Being back home makes me smile. 🙂

For more smiles, please see my recent Yelp review on Back Home in Lahaina.

Hello Nick’s Manhattan Beach!

Hello Nick’s Manhattan Beach!

I love downtown Manhattan Beach. Beach side, sunny downtown Manhattan Beach is pure bliss and some of my most relaxing and favorite moments are spent there. One of the areas in downtown that I particularly like is the Metlox Center. It’s home to the cute Papyrus store, the refreshing healthy spots Lemonade and Nektar, the oh so sweet Le Pain Quotidien and the recently opened Nick’s Manhattan Beach.

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Popular in Laguna Beach, Long Beach and San Clemente, my curiosity was quite peaked to try Nick’s Manhattan Beach and I finally got the chance today during lunch out with my good college friend.

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We started off our meal with Asparagus Fries. It’s crispy, hot and fresh asparagus spears coated with parmesan. There is buttermilk ranch dipping sauce on the side.

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For our main entrees my friend and I decided to split our entrees. My friend got the Ribeye Melt. In between two crispy grilled sourdough bread was sliced ribeye, swiss cheese, grilled onions and mustard bacon sauce. This sandwich is perfect for meat lovers. The ribeye is packed in there and makes for a pretty hefty sandwich. The grilled sourdough bread along with the swiss cheese is nice! It gives a cheese toast type of feel.

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For my entree, I chose the Buttermilk Fried Chicken. I was simply amazed the moment it came out. It was such a huge, drool worthy dish. It came with whipped mashed potatoes, buttermilk biscuit, country gravy and roasted sweet corn on the cobb. The buttermilk fried chicken was simply divine. It was boneless fried chicken with a crisp outside and tender chicken in the inside. The whipped mashed potatoes were so creamy and soft and the country gravy that topping was wonderfully thick. The buttermilk biscuit was soft and nicely baked and the corn on the cob was sweet and nice. This dish was simply perfection.

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Nick’s Manhattan Beach is nice addition to Metlox Center and a location I am sure to visit again. It’s a beautiful restaurant with divine dishes. Every single minute I was here I was impressed. The location was on point. The atmosphere was lovely. The food was amazing. In a town where fine dining restaurants are abundant and delicious eateries can be found in every corner, Nick’s does an awesome job of standing out in bringing fine dining heart and flavor. Their meals have a home like feel yet with a classy twist. It just brings me a smile when I think about it.

For more smiles, please see my recent Yelp review on Nick’s Manhattan Beach.

Hello Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles birthday lunch!

Hello Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles birthday lunch!

When it came to where to celebrate my birthday with friends, they chose to take me to a place I had never tried before. They took me out to Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles. Since it was my first time ever to try this place out, I was quite curious how it would be. I love chicken and waffles and this place is well known for that. Several celebrities frequent it and it is so popular that both LA times and NY times have written about this place.

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One of the first things I noticed is that they have a variety of creative combo drinks with equally creative and cute names. They have a “sunset” drink with lemonade and fruit punch. It really looks like a sunset with it’s orange hue on top of the drink. They have a “sunsrise” drink with lemonade and oj. Similar to a sunrise, a bright yellow color sits on top of this drink. The drink I chose to get was the “eclipse” drink. The “eclipse” is a combo of lemonade, oj and fruit punch! I loved the cute color mix of this drink. It goes from red to orange to yellow in color. It is so pretty! I was delighted even more at first sip. It was a yummy drink that matched well with my entree.

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For my entree, I had no doubt in my mind that I was going to get chicken and waffles. It was only a matter of which chicken and waffle combo I wanted. I ended up choosing Scoe’s. It comes with a 1/4 chicken and 2 waffles. I asked for gravy on the side. I really enjoyed my entree. The fried chicken came out nice, hot and crispy. It was also good for dipping in the gravy. The waffle was so tasty and paired with the chicken. It was thin but big in size! They give two waffles! It was actually the waffles that were my favorite. It just had a good sweet flavor to it. A sweet treat to match the savory chicken.

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I found this place a nice place for good eats with good friends! The food is tasty and and very fulfilling. I’m super happy and thankful to my friends for treating me out to a LA hot spot that is world famous.

For more smiles, please my see my recent Yelp review on Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles.

Happy National Fried Chicken Day

Happy National Fried Chicken Day

Happy National Fried Chicken Day!

I’ve always thought it was interesting that several foods have days in their honor :). Fried chicken is a staple at many holidays, picnics and parties and so it seems only appropriate that there would be a day to honor this scrumptious, crispy delight!

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In honor of National Fried Chicken Day today, KFC had special $5 buckets of their tasty fried chicken! They gave several pieces of their drumsticks and thighs. Customers had the choice of choosing between their original recipe or extra crispy. I try not to eat the skin off the fried chicken so it didn’t make much difference to me but I decided to choose the original. Winner, winner chicken dinner! Yay to celebrating National Fried Chicken day with some good ol’ KFC!

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Hello BamBiBu!

Hello BamBiBu!

BamBiBu is a nice new little spot in Redondo Beach. I found this place thanks to Yelp and was excited to try it out. I’ve been on a ramen run for the longest time and when I heard about his new spot, I had to try it.

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Walking in, I took notice right away how cute this place was. One wall is filed with origami of different sizes, shapes and colors! It adds such a neat and happy vibe to this restaurant!

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When my friend and I sat down we were served our menus, drinks and the cutest chopsticks ever. The chopsticks were wrapped in origami paper! It’s a neat concept! The chopsticks match their origami decorations.

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The menu here is comprised of starters (edamame, koro koro french fries and seaweed salad), rice sets (chicken teriyaki, karaage, tonkatsu and chicken katsu), ramen (tonkotsu, miso, shoyu, tsukemen), sushi and gyoza.

We decided to start our meal with gyoza. We got the regular gyoza which is filled with ground Berkshire pork, cabbage, brown onion, green onion, chives and special homemade seasoning. The gyoza was freshly made and fried. It was soft and very tasty! I find it neat and interesting that the pork used for their gyoza filling is imported from Canada!

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We dipped our gyoza in vinegar and chili oil. The chili oil added quite a kick to these dumplings because it was spicy!

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I chose to get the Karaage set. First up for the set was the miso soup! The miso soup was served nice and hot. It was very flavorful. I liked that it had several little pieces of tofu inside

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The set comes with white rice but I chose to substitute the white rice with chashu meshi. The flavored rice was filled with tender pieces of sweet chashu. It had a distinct taste of soy sauce. This rice was very tasty.

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The miso soup and the chashu meshi is already a lot of food but the Karaage set has even more food! There were several pieces of Japanese style fried chicken marinated in ginger, shoyu and garlic. On the side were a coleslaw type salad and pasta salad. The crispy chicken matched well with the yummy chashu meshi as well as the side salads. I liked how the chicken was crispy on the outside but soft in the inside.

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Aside from the karaage set, I got to try a little bit of my friend’s shoyu ramen. I liked that it was chicken broth. It also had tender chashu pork. The ramen was filled with thick noodles.

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Overall I liked this little new ramen spot in Redondo Beach. It has a cute and clean atmosphere, their offerings are neatly presented and their food is tasty!

For more smiles, please see my recent yelp review on BamBiBu.

Hello Jollibee!

Hello Jollibee!

Ever since Jollibee was first introduced to the United States, I’ve had a fascination with trying their different offerings. Perhaps its the feeling of being in the Philippines (Jollibee is a popular food chain in the Philippines) or it’s likeness of having home cooked liked breakfast meals (yummy -silog (meat+egg) breakfasts or maybe it’s the convenience of having quick yummy Filipino dishes, I don’t quite know where the fascination comes from but Jollibee has grown on me a lot! It wasn’t always my favorite place but through the years, I’ve come to quite like this little Filipino chain with its cute red bee mascot!

I love coming to Jollibee for breakfast! They have different -silog offerings. You have your choice of different meat breakfasts that come with egg, tomato and garlic rice.

I’ve tried the longsilog. They give two pieces of the longanisa/sweet sausage!
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I’ve also had the tocino or sweet pork! The pork is very tender, sweet and not fatty at all!
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The joy at Jollibee does not stop at breakfast though because they are quite popular for their chickenjoy or fried chicken!

I love getting the fried chicken with sweet potato fries! It comes with a gravy dipping sauce that is perfect to dip the crispy chicken and fries in.

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Jollibee also offers different Chickenjoy perfect combos! I like the chicken with spaghetti. It is a sampling of two of the most popular offerings at Jollibee!

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The spaghetti at Jollibee is one of my favorite Filipino spaghetti offerings! It has the sweet banana ketchup flavor in their sauce and then it is topped with Filipino hot dogs and cheese.

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Last but definitely not the least, I really like their pearl coolers or boba here! Right now there is a “weekday chill” offer of buy one, get one free ube pearl coolers! It is perfect for their warm days.

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I’m happy to see Jollibee has grown and improved throwing the years! This improvement at Jollibee has definitely brought me joy :).

For more smiles, please see my recent yelp review on Jollibee.

Hello Ramen Hayatemaru!

Hello Ramen Hayatemaru!

I’m on the quest of finding even more good ramen places in the South Bay! After reading some of the Yelp reviews and seeing this place feature in the LA times food blog, I decided I needed to try this place out.

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I came here during happy hour time! Both the regular menu and happy hour menu are filled with lots of good treats and yummy deals!

My friend and I each got the half white miso ramen. The white miso is one of the more popular items according to Yelp. (You can either get a whole size or half size but we chose half in order to save room for appetizers ;).

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My friend and I had to get an order of gyoza! It was a must try because it was a special mention in the LA times food blog! They are soft and filled with delcious ground meat.

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The best appetizer we ordered however was the fried chicken! These were served hot and crispy. It was super tasty! I love how they were flavorful without being salty. I know I will be ordering this again on a future trip!
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Yay to another good spot in the South Bay! Yelp and the LA times food blog never fails to point this foodie in the right direction :).

For more smiles, please see my recent yelp review on Ramen Hayatemaru.