Hello Island Flavor Cafe!

Summer is in fill swing. Sun’s out and it’s time for some vacation fun. An island vacation would be perfect. Perhaps Hawaii? 😉 If a Hawaiian vacation isn’t in the plans any time soon; have no fear because Island Flavor Cafe in Torrance is here to bring Hawaii to you.

Island Flavor Cafe is a new a cafe offering us the most ono dishes ever. (Ono means delicious in Hawaiian). They have all the (Hawaiian) local favorites such as oxtail soup, spam and loco moco. Their breakfast grinds actually includes not one but three loco mocos (regular, roast pork and chicken katsu). They also have daily specials. Some specials in the past include pork lau lau, hamburger curry and sweet and sour spare ribs.

On the day I visited their special was the Beef Curry Stew.

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The Beef Curry Stew is one tasty Hawaiian treat with tender beef, potatoes, carrots and lots of curry sauce. The curry sauce has a homemade feel and it goes perfect with the white rice.

The main speciality of Island Flavor Cafe however is the Furikake Chicken.

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This dish is unlike any other and I was definitely both intrigued and delighted by it. In this past I have had many food dishes such as fries sprinkled with furikake; the dry Japanese seasoning that has sesame seeds and chopped seaweed. It is only here that I got to see it sprinkled over chicken. Their version of Furikake Chicken is delicious! The chicken itself is perfectly fried to perfection. The fried chicken is topped with a nice sweet glaze and sprinkles of furikake. It’s very flavorful and definitely ono.

Hawaii maybe 2,479 miles away from Los Angeles but the taste of the islands is not. Island Flavor Cafe in Torrance will bring a bit of Hawaii to you along with some ono kine grindz 😉.

For more smiles, please see my Yelp Review on Island Flavor Cafe.

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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 once again to the charming Gardena Bowl Coffee Shop!

When I first came to Gardena Bowl Coffee Shop for Easter brunch earlier this year, I instantly became a fan of the charming coffee shop offering homestyle cooking. If breakfast was good, lunch and dinner had to be great as well and I made a note to come back to check it out. I recently came back and indeed their lunch/dinner entrees are just as delicious!

All of their dinner entrees come with green tea and a miso soup.
Their miso soup is delightful. The warm broth is tasty and not salty like other miso soups. I was also pleasantly surprised to see vermicelli noodles in the miso soup. The vermicelli noodles add a nice touch to the soup. It brings a little more depth to the soup.
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One of the entrees, I really wanted to try here was the tempura. A coworker mentioned to me how huge their tempura plates were and my curiosity was peaked! On my trip here with my friend, we ordered the tempura dinner and was indeed impressed. The plating is beautiful and there is a good array of crispy tempura. There is shrimp and various veggies such as bell pepper and zucchini. The tempura was served piping hot and simply delicious!

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The other entree I got to try was the karaage and beef teriyaki This Japanese dish was another winner. Their karaage similar to the tempura was fresh. I loved that the instant crunch at first bite. It came with a tasty potato macaroni salad. The crispy karaage and the creamy potato macaroni salad were the perfect pair. The beef teriyaki in this dish was excellent as well. The tender beef with sweet teriyaki flavor went well with white rice.

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Gardena Bowl Coffee Shop continues to be one of the most charming spots in the South Bay for me. Their homestyle cooking continues to make me smile.

Hello Egg-licious Easter Brunch Hawaiian Style!

Happy easter everyone! 🍳😊!

It is far from being a fancy brunch place. It’s a little hole in the wall as many would say but nevertheless Gardena Bowl Coffee Shop made for a nice place for a happy Easter Brunch place.

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Gardena Bowl Coffee Shop is a place frequented by many folks who want to enjoy classic homestyle cooking. Their speciality dishes is a hybrid of Japanese, Filipino and Hawaiian dishes.

For today’s happy Easter meal, I chose to get the Hawaiian Royal. It is Gardena Bowl Coffee Shop’s signature dish. It has Portuguese sausage, chashu, green onions and egg over a bed of rice with teriyaki sauce. It was one hearty meal with plenty of tender Portuguese sausage and savory chashu. The teriyaki sauce adds a lot of sweetness to this dish.

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My mom chose to get the bacon fried rice with eggs over easy. Little pieces of bacon mixed with the eggs and the stir fried rice made for casual yet satisfying breakfast dish. It was egg-licious and equally egg-celent as my Hawaiian Royal dish.

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My mom and I were not alone in choosing this place for Easter Sunday eats as several other families were also there enjoying the Hawaiian fare.
It’s not your typical place to enjoy Easter brunch but for a place that offers homestyle Hawaiian fare, this place was breakfast bliss on Easter morning.
Though this place is simple and small, their savory dishes have made Gardena Bowl a staple in the South Bay and one that is sure to bring more smiles for many more years.

For more smiles, please read my recent Yelp review on Gardena Bowl Coffee Shop.