Hello Kitty Friends Around the World Tour!

Hello Kitty Friends Around the World Tour!

Beep beep, I was off to somewhere super special today!

Destination: Los Angeles, New York, London, Paris, Honolulu, Tokyo 🌎! Thanks to the Hello Kitty Friends Around the World Tour VIP preview; I had my boarding pass ready to go.

Today I took flight on the Hello Kitty Air and you can too can go aboard the cutest flight to the cutest trip around the world with our favorite kitty!

Hello Kitty is taking over LA Plaza Village starting tomorrow in a full up pop-up experience. It’s a 10,000 square foot space filled with some of Hello Kitty’s favorite vacation spots! Hello Kitty is celebrating her birthday and she’s doing it in style with visiting some fabulous cities.

First on the tour is London!

What is in London? None other than Hello Kitty’s home!

One can even step into Hello Kitty and Mimmy’s bedroom and see their cute closet 😊.

May I borrow a shirt; Kitty? I am headed across the globe.

Next on the tour is New York!

Here you can see the World’s Largest Hello Kitty Pizza!

You can even possibly catch Hello Kitty on Broadway!

After such a savory pizza; how about getting some sweets in Paris?

Hello Kitty Cafe is ready to serve Parisian treats!

J’Amie Hello Kitty!

From glamorous Paris it was then off to tropical Honolulu!

Hello Kitty and friends say “Aloha.”

Gudetama was there on the island too and it wasn’t just eggs being served but another favorite island treat..poke

Last but not least; no Hello Kitty trip would be complete without a trip to Tokyo!

Konichiwa! Hello Kitty is so kawaii!

After such a lovely trip; wouldn’t it be nice to relax and get a manicure? Hello Kitty thought of that too and at the Sky Lounge; one can get a very special treat from OPI.

OPI and Hello Kitty have come together once again to bring the “Let’s Be Friends” collection and select visitors to the Hello Kitty Friends Around the World Tour can get a manicure with the latest shades.

I was instantly a fan of my nails featuring Hello Kitty and Mimmy.

Aside from Sky Lounge; Hello Kitty Cafe was also present to offer some more treats!

Enjoy some caramel or kettle corn popcorn after such a sweet day aboard Hello Kitty Air.

The Hello Kitty Friends Around the World  Tour was truly a dream trip come true! The pop up will be open from September 20 to October 20, 2019! Get your tickets now at http://www.hellokitty45.com

For more smiles and photos of the Hello Kitty Friends Around the World Tour; please check out my latest Instagram stories and posts at www.instagram.com/hellokittyfoodie

Hello Napa Rose Surprise Birthday Dinner!

Hello Napa Rose Surprise Birthday Dinner!

This year my birthday was a extra special as I got to celebrate at a very special place; Napa Rose at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel.  For weeks this was a surprise and I did not know until the actual day of my birthday that this would be where I would be celebrating. It’s without a doubt I was so excited to find out I would be dining here.

Napa Rose is a flagship restaurant of Disney that has gotten many awards since it opened in 2001. Just this 2019 Napa Rose was honored their eight AAA Four Diamond award. Napa Rose has also been recognized by Wine Spectator, the Orange County Register and Southern California Restaurant Writers Guild. They are consistently recognized as a top food ranking Orange County restaurant.

Napa Rose consists of both a lounge and a main dining room. Both spots are quite lovely and I was fortunate enough to spend some time in both. We started off with at the lounge where we had some celebratory cocktails for my birthday. The lounge has a classic yet comfortable ambiance perfect for some summer cocktails. It is filled with mini wooden tables and comfortable chairs. The lounge is filled with Napa Rose’s staple rose.

Our choice of cocktails at the lounge were the Summer Kiss and Napa Passion.

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The Summer Kiss consists of Hendricks Gin, Combier, fresh Lemon Juice, St. Germain, and Absinthe Rinse while the Napa Passion had X Fusion, Parrot Bay Rum, Pineapple Juice, and Strawberry. Both drinks were refreshing and great for a summer evening.

Soon after we were off to the beautiful main dining room. Napa Rose pays tribute to California’s wine country as well as the rose that are in the vineyards of Napa. This was truly reflected in the main dining room. Each table in the restaurant has roses  and the image of the rose is seen in the restaurant’s carpeting, lighting, handrails, chairs and even the staff uniforms. In the main dining area there are murals with showing Napa’s vineyards. There is an amazing wine cellar with over 600 bottles and there is a wall adorned with signed, premium wines by winemakers and vineyard owners.

Napa Rose’s menu changes seasonally and it’s entrees are made from the freshest ingredients of California. Currently their menu is for the Summer 2019 season in the Wine Country.

We started off our meal here with a complimentary bread basket.

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The bread basket included  sourdough, cheese bread, and cracker bread covered with parmesan cheese. My favorite was definitely the cheese bread. It was so soft and delightful.

For our appetizers we chose  the Zucchini Blossom.

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This was one amazing appetizer with golden fried zucchini filled with lemony ricotta cheese on top of zucchini pine nut relish. The litter batter was perfectly crisp and the ricotta would ooze our with each bite. It was a great way to kick off a a meal here.

For our main courses we tried the Pomegranate-glazed Veal Osso Bucco and the Quail Stuffed with Prosciutto Wrapped Summer Peach.

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The Pomegranate-glazed Veal Osso Bucco  was served with Apple-Orange Relish and Sautéed Gnocchi. The Quail Stuffed with Prosciutto Wrapped Summer Peach was complimented with Nectarine Relish and Cornbread Stuffing.

Both dishes were excellent and perfect with Pinot Noir. They were plated beautifully and wonderfully prepared. I loved the unique touches of each dish with their respective sweet relishes to compliment their meats. The quail which was stuffed with a peach slice was amazing. It was savory with a hint of sweet. It was also very light.

For dessert I was surprised with a very sweet treat via a Pineapple Streusel Crumble Crunch Bar.

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The Pineapple Streusel Crumble Crunch Bar. what a coconut vanilla sorbet on top and a coconut creme on the bottom. It was very tropical and was a lovely way to end a wonderful meal here. I loved how it was not too sweet but yet had the nice hint of both pineapple and coconut. There were also some little bits of strawberry dollops on the side

Dinner at Napa Rose was everything I could ask for and it really made for one memorable birthday experience for me. The venue was beautiful, the food was of excellent quality and the memories made were priceless.  I’m so thankful and blessed to have had dinner at such special place for my birthday.
Hello Shiok: Asian Street Food!

Hello Shiok: Asian Street Food!

Shiok: Asian Slang to express awesome, delicious, very tasty, cool, wow! It conveys a feeling of pleasure, happiness and pure satisfaction.

Shiok also happens to be the name of the new restaurant at Rolling Hills Plaza in Torrance, California. The new eatery is appropriately named as they bring to the South Bay some delightful and tasty eats!

Their menu is inspired by Asia’s legendary markets and among their offerings one can find bao, bahn mi and bowls.

I recently got a special sneak peak and was amazed with their bold and bright flavors.

Their baos are my new favorite!

I love the Cripsy Golden Bao.

The outside is a crisp golden brown bun and inside is steamed pork with egg. This is one tasty triple treat.

The Hot Fried Chicken Bao is another fabulous bao that I really enjoyed.

The Hot Fried Chicken Bao is a steamed bun filled with a gigantic piece of fried chicken smothered in sriracha. The fried chicken is topped with Asian slaw, cilantro and jalapeño. I loved the crisp chicken with a fiery kick. This was very fulfilling.

The Nightmarket Bao is another winner.

This savory bao has a large Kakuni-style braised pork belly topped with Taiwanese relish and roasted peanuts! I love how it has crisp roasted peanuts. It gives a nice, crunchy touch to the bao.

Aside from the baos; Shiok has other delights that are part of their “Cravables” menu.

The Veggie Crunch is a great starter that is perfect for vegetarians!

I have always been a fan of taro and this cravable has taro, yam, tofu, mushrooms in fried rice paper. It’s crunch and love at first bite.

Another good starter is their Shrimp Crisps.

Growing up in an Asian household; shrimp crisps were a favorite snack of mine to bring to school. Shiok’s Shrimp Crisps remind me of me of the delightful chips that were once part of my lunch bag. Shiok makes their own house fried shrimp chips and they are amazing!

All of Shiok’s cravables are great but make sure to save room for some of the entrees.

Shiok’s Signature Bahn Mi is a must try!

I tried the bahn mi with grilled lemongrass steak. The lemongrass steak combined with Bourbon pate, sriracha aioli, Asian slaw, cucumbers, pickled daikon, carrot, papaya and cilantro made for a tasty sandwich. This was paired with some Shrimp Crisps.

I also got to try some of their bowls. First up was the Asian Street Bowl.

For the Asian Street Bowl one can choose their protein. Among the choices are lemongrass steak, spicy satay chicken or soy ginger chicken. The protein then comes with peanut sauce, shallot ginger rice, baby lettuce, street side corn, Asian slaw, cucumbers, pickled daikon, carrot, papaya, cilantro and fried shallots. It’s an explosion of flavors in one healthy bowl.

The second bowl I tried here was the Zen Bowl.

The Zen bowl is a vegetarian delight consisting of bbq pulled jackfruit, coconut ginger chickpeas, shallot ginger rice, streetside corn, Asian slaw, pickled daikon-carrot-papaya, cucumbers, fresh shallots and cilantro. I love how the jackfruit is tender just like shredded chicken. The bowl is wonderfully healthy and truly does bring some zen ;).

Equal in deliciousness to the bowls is their drinks. They’ve got freshly made teas with fruits and boba. For the special private event; they had the Blue Lagoon and Boba Milk Tea.

I loved how colorful the Blue Lagoon was. It made me feel like I was in an Asian tropical island. The colorful blue and green floral tea was pure paradise. It has a refreshing and exquisite flavor.

The boba milk tea was a classic drink with soft honey boba pearls.

Shiok! I truly was saying Shiok by the end of my meal here.

Shiok: Asian Street Food will have it’s soft opening starting September 7, 2018 and they will have their grand opening on September 28, 2018.

For more smiles; please see my Yelp review on Shiok: Asian Street Food!

Hello El Barrio Neighborhood Tacos!

Hello El Barrio Neighborhood Tacos!

Located on busy Aviation Blvd in Redondo Beach is the equally busy El Barrio Neighborhood Tacos! The taco shop just opened up this summer and officially had it’s grand opening today, September 1. Ever since it’s opening one can see the hustle and bustle of folks coming in and out to enjoy the taqueria.

The brains behind the new eatery are actually two culinary personnel very familiar with the South Bay scene; Ulises Pineda-Alfaro and Jesse Duron. They both work at Umi by Hamasaku, a sushi restaurant located at The Point in El Segundo. Pineda-Alfaro is the chef and Duron is the general manager of the sushi restaurant. Both thought it was time to bring some good tacos to the South Bay and good tacos they indeed brought.

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The menu primarily focuses on eight tacos: Gobernador (shrimp), Carne (mesquite grilled hangar steak), Birria (stewed US Wagyu beef), Al Pastor (split roasted Beelers pork), Pork Belly carnitas (crispy pork belly), Chicken Tinga (Mary’s chicken), Cauliflower con Mole (roasted cauliflower) and Nopal (Roasted cauliflower)

The tacos are all served on housemaid corn tortilla and you can actually see them make the tortillas right there. They are made using masa from heirloom, non-GMO corn raised by a collective of family farms in Oaxaca, sourced through the Sawtelle masa company Masienda. I will have to say these tortillas are the best. Fresh and warm; they’re excellent no matter what meat you choose.

Speaking of meat; each of their meat is perfect topped with sauces or cheeses that truly compliment their flavoring. The Birria; US Wagyu beef brisket comes with oozing tomato salsa emulsion while the Pork Belly Carnitas have tomatillo salsa and cilantro. They’re simply delightfully delicious.

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Aside from tacos they also have Mulitas which are served on two if the housemaid tortillas and come with melted cheese, escabeche and salsa. You can choose one of the eight meat offerings.

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They also have Tortas which are served on artisan Telera roll, shaved lettuce, onion, tomato, guacamole crema, salsa and pickle escabeche. These tortas are gigantic. They’re not only big on size but big on fillings and taste!

No matter whether you want a taco, mulita or torta; you will sure to love this new neighborhood taqueria. The grand opening today is offering 50% off all taco, mulitas and tortas. Adelante on over to El Barrio Neighborhood Tacos!

For more smiles, please my Yelp Review on El Barrio Neighborhood Tacos and check out the El Barrio Neighborhood Tacos website.

Hello Sweet Rice Gardena!

Hello Sweet Rice Gardena!

Thai Food is definitely one of my favorite types of cuisines. I love angel wings, pad thai and more. I’ve never ever tried Thai breakfast however and thus I was so excited to hear about Sweet Rice; a new Thai breakfast and dessert spot that recently opened up at Pacific Square in Gardena. (Random Hello Kitty fact: Pacific Square is home to the oldest Sanrio store in the US. 😉 ) Sweet Rice also happens to be run by another popular Thai spot in Gardena; Bowl Thai.

I visited Sweet Rice recently and a very pleasant Thai breakfast experience.

First up for my breakfast here was trying out the Jok. Jok is popular in Thailand is a Thai porridge.

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It made by boiling rice until it dissolves and becomes a porridge. At Sweet Rice; they serve it piping hot and it consists of ground pork made into a meatball, century egg, scallions, ginger, crispy noodles, poached egg. They also have patongo a side. Patango is a crispy Chinese donut.

I loved the Jok and am not surprised to see it as one of the most popular dishes at Sweet Rice. The porridge is nicely thick and they put in a lot of ingredients. It had eight tender meatballs. The century egg was also a nice touch!

The other breakfast dish I tried was their Kao Kai Jeow or Thai Omelette.

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Kao Kai Jeow is a common street food in Thailand and here at Sweet Rice; their version is 3 egg omelette with onion, scallions, cilantro.  Customers have the choice of getting it with chicken, pork, shrimp or crab. I chose to get it with chicken.

The omelette was great. It was fluffy with a bit crispiness in some of the edges. It went well with the ketchup and white rice.

Overall I really enjoyed my first ever Thai breakfast experience. Breakfast at Sweet Rice was a “sweet” time.

For more smiles; please see my Yelp review on Sweet Rice.

 

Hello Kitty x World Market Collection!

Hello Kitty x World Market Collection!

The world just got a little cuter and that’s thanks to the latest Hello Kitty x World Market collaboration! The two brands have come together to feature a Omatsuri collection. Omatsuri is special Japanese festival rooted in community and culture. The supercute collection has items featuring Hello Kitty and her friends dressed up in traditional Japanese festival outfits.

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It’s definitely hard to choose my favorites from the Omatsuri collection because everything is so amazing! I love the Keroppi, Badtz Maru, Pompompurin and Hello Kitty plushes all dressed up for Omatsuri.

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Hello Kitty and her friends are the stars of Omatsuri in sticky notes, pencil cases and pencils. One is sure to be the star in the office or school with these supplies.

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For lunchtime there are bright bento boxes from the Omatsuri collection. These are delightfully cute for a delicious lunch.

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Speaking of lunch; preparing food in the kitchen will also be super kawaii; thanks to this latest collaboration.

There’s cute coffee cups via mugs featuring Hello Kitty and her Sanrio friends Badtz-Maru, Keroppi, My Melody and Chococat in front of colorful fireworks and lanterns at the festival.

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Little Hello Kitty dishes in the shape of lanterns can be used for various sauces. It’s such a festive dish for food.

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There is also a gigantically cute Hello Kitty cookie jar from this collection. Hello Kitty is dressed up in a special blue and red kimono. She’s in the traditional dress for special Japanese festivities. I will celebrate with Kitty and cookies any day. 🙂

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Speaking of celebrations;  Sanrio and World Market have planned five in store meet and greet events throughout August and September in select cities around the U.S. These meet and greets are for celebrating the brand new collection with no other than Hello Kitty herself.

I went to the first Hello Kitty Meet and Greet and had so much fun meeting Hello Kitty and checking out the cute collection in person. There was also samples of Hello Kitty’s favorite snacks such as Hello Kitty matcha marshmallows and Hello Kitty choco pie.

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Aside from hanging out with supercute Hello Kitty and sampling super yummy snacks, I had a chance to meet celebrated Japanese calligraphy artist Kuniharu Yoshida.

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I love the beautiful calligraphy he made with my name. This was definitely a wonderful treat to meet such a talented artist at the event. We even had a conversation about Hello Kitty’s real name. 😉

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Arigato Hello Kitty and World Market for such a fun time at the Meet and Greet!

The Meet and Greet is a great way to check out the latest collection and meet Hello Kitty and Kuniharu Yoshida. Below is a list of the events happening at a nearby World Market near you. 😉

Saturday, August 17
1:00 – 3:00 pm
Cost Plus World Market
22929 Hawthorne Blvd
Los Angeles, CA

Saturday, August 24
1:00 – 3:00 pm
Cost Plus World Market
1623 North Sheffield Avenue
Chicago, IL

Friday, August 30
6:00 – 8:00 pm
Cost Plus World Market
2040 Redwood Highway
Greenbrae, CA

Saturday, August 31
1:00 – 3:00 pm
2552 Taylor Street
San Francisco, CA

Sunday, September 8
1:00 – 3:00 pm
1313 West Sunflower Avenue
Santa Ana, CA

Each event is open to the public, first come, first served and and is subject to change or cancellation.

Make sure to say konichiwa to the newest Hello Kitty x World Market Omatsuri Collection at your local World Market. Every this is super kawaii!

Hello Urban Plates Torrance!

Hello Urban Plates Torrance!

This August 12, 2019; Torrance will have the grand opening of Urban Plates; a restaurant that specializes in real food made from scratch. The location is perfectly situated at the newly revamped Del Amo Crossing; that is also home to newest 24 Hour Fitness in the South Bay.

There are various Urban Plates locations in California and Washington DC and with each grand opening they pair with a charitable institution that supports the local community. Urban Plates Torrance paired up with  The Volunteer Center; a local South Bay center that has core programs such as Food for Kids. Food for Kids by The Volunteer Center helps provides low income families in the South Bay with healthy meals over the weekend; helping kids be energized and ready for school on the weekday.

I was so fortunate to be a part of a pre-grand opening celebration this weekend courtesy of Urban Plates Torrance and The Volunteer Center. Not only was this event for a good cause; it truly showcased Urban Plates wonderful scratch made meals. Each dish is made out of some of the best ingredients such as grass-fed beef, sustainably sourced seafood, free-range chicken, and fresh produce.

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The first items I got to try during this sneak peak were some of their seasonal soups. First up was the Green Lentil. The Green Lentil has a nice variety of vegetables and spices. There are carrots, bay leaves, garlic, thyme and paprika. All of the ingredients come together for a nice, flavorful broth. I also tried their Tomato Basil. Here at Urban Plates; I loved that they added some coconut milk along with some pesto to make their tomato soup.

The next dish I tried was from their Greens section. The Greens section of their menu consists of hand tossed salads served with scratch made dressing. My choice of salad was their Asian Chicken Salad. This salad was quite a treat. It had lettuce, arugula, organic carrots, green onions, spicy peanuts, large orange slices, red bell peppers, cilantro, crispy wontons and grilled cage free chicken. The dressing was a spicy peanut dressing. This salad definitely had a unique spicy kick to it. It also had a nice crunchy texture thanks to the crisp lettuce, peanuts and wontons.

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For our main dish; we went with one of their hand carved sandwiches. Each of their sandwiches are served on grilled rustic bread and comes with kettle chips. We got to try the Grilled Grass Fed Steak. This was truly one of the best sandwiches I have ever had. It was so meaty and the steak was wonderfully tender. There was a delicious chimichurri aioli smothered on the bread and the meat was topped off with slow roasted tomatoes. Urban Plates definitely knows how to make a good sandwich!

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Last but not least, I had the Urban Cowgirl Cookie for dessert. This cookie is Urban Plates version of a trail mix cookie and had sunflower seeds, oats, dried cranberries, shredded coconut and a bit of nutmeg and cinnamon. It was one yummy cookie that was a perfect ending to one yummy meal!

I am definitely looking forward to trying out Urban Plates again in the near future. I was impressed with their scratch made meals and I could really taste the freshness. I also was an instant fan because they chose to celebrate their opening with helping out the community via The Volunteer Center. Urban Plates Torrance is a true winner.

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For more smiles, please see my Yelp review on Urban Plates Torrance.