Hello Mix Mix Kitchen Bar!

Just this May 2019; Michelin released the first ever California statewide list of Bib Gourmand selections. The list highlights “exceptionally good food at moderate prices.” One of the restaurants listed was Mix Mix Kitchen and Bar.  Located in Downtown Santa Ana, Mix Mix Kitchen Bar is the global inspired restaurant concept by famed Chef Ross Pangilinan. The restaurant is not new to earning recognition. In 2017; they also Orange Coast Magazine’s 2017 Restaurant of the Year!

Chef Ross Pangilinan was previously the executive chef at Leatherby’s Café Rouge at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa. In 2017; he opened up Mix Mix Kitchen Bar. Since it’s opening; the restaurant has earned both awards as well as the hearts of foodies from all over.

Chef Ross Pangilinan’s dishes have a hint of Filipino flare and European touch. The menu is filled with unique and tasty dishes and one of the best ways to go while visiting is trying out their “Oui Chef” tasting menu. For $65; diners get to partake in 5 dishes personally picked by the chef himself.  I got to try the “Oui Chef” tasting menu recently and had the most amazing time!

Our meal first started off with Chicharrones and spicy vinegar.

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Chicharrones; a classic Filipino snack; was the perfect starter for our big meal.  The Chicharrones were thin and crisp and great when dipped in the Datu Puti vinegar; a well known Filipino vinegar.

Next up; we were presented with several of Mix Mix’s famed snacks..

First was the Seared Albacore Tostada & Filipino ceviche.

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The Seared Albacore Tostada came with avocado, seaweed, Japanese dressing, sriracha aioli, radish on top of a round crisp tostada. On the side was the Filipino ceviche with coconut lime dressing, tangerine, avocado, Thai chili and bits of pork crackling.

One of the nicest things I liked about the Oui Chef tasting menu was it was customizable to guests. One guest can have a different dish versus the other if the other guest has different dining preferences (non-pescatarian, vegetarian etc).

Since I am non-pescatarian; I was presented with a lovely plate with Chorizo & Potato Croquettes and Bacon Wrapped Date.

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The Chorizo & Potato Croquettes came with jalapeno lime aioli, Oaxaca cheese while the Bacon Wrapped Date came with harissa yogurt, Marcona almonds. Both were lovely and full of flavor! I loved the softness of the croquettes and sweetness of the date.

The snacks did not end there as next was a plate of Heirloom Tomato and Watermelon salad to share.

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This had watermelon, tomato, candied pistachio and white balsamic gastrique. Pieces of crisp toast were placed on top. I loved how they made this seasonal dish with watermelon. It was so refreshing for a summer night.

Next up were several selections from Mix Mix Kitchen Bar’s small plates menu.

The first was Short Rib Bao Buns.

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It is rare to find bao buns at restaurants and I have to say that this is one of the best that I’ve ever had! It was packed with braised short rib topped with pickled onions and cilantro. It also had ”pho” cream which gave a pho like taste to great small plate!

Pork Cheek Adobo was followed as our next small plate.

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Adobo is a famed Filipino dish and one knows a Filipino restaurant is good based off their adobo! I am happy to say Filipino Chef Ross definitely knows his adobo. This small plate was delicious and was accompanied with tasty garlic fried rice and chimichurri. It reminds me of home.

The dish served with the Pork Cheek Adobo was the restaurant’s Market Fish selection dish.

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The Market Fish was a lovely looking plate. The fish was roasted barramundi and it was accompanied with Spanish beans, Spanish chorizo, zucchini and pickled chili emulsion. Healthy and delightful are two words that come to mind.

Soft Egg Raviolo awaited our palates next.

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The Soft Egg Raviolo had a soft cooked egg in the middle of a large disk of stuffed black pepper pasta, topped with herb ricotta,  guanciale, parmesan and brown butter. The egg yolk oozed out of the middle as I sliced this delectable dish. The ravioli itself was so soft and cooked perfectly.

Our following starter plate was a surprise. It was the Rabbit Guitar Pasta.

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The pasta itself is representative of guitar strings and hence the name “Guitar Pasta.” On top was shredded meat that at first we were debating whether it was chicken or pork. It turned out to be Fryer Rabbit; a lean young rabbit with fine-textured white meat. This dish is not on the menu but a special of the restaurant. It was definitely one of their more unique dishes!

At this point; we were getting quite full but up next was the main entree; New York steak and Lamb.

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Once again; Mix Mix Kitchen Bar got it right! Both meats were cooked medium and were so tender. Accompanied with brussel sprouts and potatoes; it felt like we were at high end steakhouse. The lamb was another off the menu special.

The desserts were a sweet ending to a very special tasting menu. We got not one but two of their famous desserts.

First up was the Chocolate Fondant.

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Our waiter described this as a lava cake like type dessert with passion fruit cream, salted caramel on the side. The chocolate itself was so rich and smooth. It was dark chocolate at it’s finest. The passion fruit cream gave a nice, sweet offset to the dark chocolate.

Our last but definitely not the least dessert was the Tropical Verrine.

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Once again; Chef Ross Pangalinan pays homage to his Filipino roots with this dessert that is a twist on the Filipino halo- halo. It had coconut panna cotta, macadamia nuts and tropical fruit and mango sorbe and ube ice cream. Definitely save room for dessert as this sweet treat is pure heaven!

Oui Chef experience at Mix Mix Kitchen was the most amazing culinary experience. I can definitely see why this restaurant won Orange Coast Magazine’s 2017 Restaurant of the Year and is on the list of Michelin Guide California 2019 Bib Gourmand. Chef Ross Pangilinan along with Chef de Cusine; Ross Harris came up with some of the best dishes ever and provided us with a dining experience we will never forget! Oui Chef!

For more smiles; please see my Yelp review  on Mix Mix Kitchen Bar.

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Hello Citrus City Grille: New Summer Offerings!

 

Citrus City Grille  in Old Town Orange was built in 1996 by three friends who wanted to bring a modern restaurant that would become a neighborhood destination. Since it’s opening; Citrus City Grille has become just that; a place where neighborhood friends gather for modern, contemporary American cuisine with a touch of Mediterranean.

Their menu consists of an amazing array of sandwiches, steaks, salads, tacos, soups, cocktails, wines and more. Just in time for the summer they are offering a summer special every day of the week. These nightly summer specials begin at 4pm:

  • Monday Pasta Night – Buy 1 pasta dish get 1 free
  • Tuesday Payback Night – Half off your entire food bill
  • Wednesday Wine Enthusiasts Night – Large selection of half off wine bottle list

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  • Thursday Beer Enthusiasts Night – Half off all beer
  • Friday + Saturday Night – Preset three course meals at just $25

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  • Sunday Night – All restaurant industry half off your food bill

In addition, Citrus City Grille always has their popular Happy Hour that runs daily during afternoon and evening hours and a $10.95 lunch box available for dine in or take out.

Summer smiles and Hello Kitty Foodie happiness are sure to be found at City Grill!

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 The Foodie Space!

Being the Hello Kitty Foodie that I am; my friends, family and boyfriend know that I always need take a picture of our food before we eat! “Wait; let me take a picture first” is common words they’ll hear from me ;). I love my family, friends and boyfriend for always being so patient while I take a picture before we eat. ❤️

It was thus a foodie dream come true for me to get an invite to The Foodie Space for Yelp Elite Week!

The Foodie Space is a special pop up that is currently at Del Amo Fashion for a limited run. Here foodies can take photos to their hearts content with an abundance of interactive art exhibits that are all food related!

Food has always been a pizza of my heart so The Foodie Space was my place to be!

My mom is my favorite foodie buddy and she is all that and dim sum for coming with me to this foodie fun place!

We had a lot of fun take photos all pho the love of food!

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The Foodie Space was pretty quali-tea and I loved it like I love boba :).

Check out my Instagram @ @hellokittyfoodie for more of my fun pictures @ The Foodie Space!

You can also check out my latest Yelp review to learn more about #YelpxFoodieSpace experience!

Hello Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute Matsuri Festival!

The Matsuri festival is an annual festival held at the Japanese Cultural Institute in Gardena, California. It’s a festival that celebrates Japanese culture and heritage and brings the community together for fellowship, friendship and good food.

The year’s festival was a lot of fun and offered some of the tastiest cuisine ever.

The Yakisoba booth was right up front and made for quite a welcoming booth for those entering the festival. Not only did the delicious aroma of the Japanese noodles attract visitors; so did the loud chants and songs of the vendors at the booth.

The Chicken teriyaki booth was one of the most sought after booths of the festival. Their chicken baos were fabulous and a tasty and true hit!

Spam musubi is always a favorite dish in Japanese and Hawaiian culture. I saw a lot of folks buying the snack and I too could not resist purchasing some of the authentic Hawaiian treat that they offered.

There were also lots of sweet desserts for folks. Aside from shaved ice, they also had taiyaki, imagawayaki and Okinawan andagi! Imagawayaki flavors included an and blueberry. I loved how fresh and hot the imagawayaki and andagi were. The sweet deep fried andagi buns were delicious!

I loved coming to the Matsuri festival this weekend. It was an awesome time having a foodie trip around Japan right here in Gardena, California.

Hello Kitty 45th Anniversary Special Exhibition @ Corey Helford Gallery!

Today, Saturday, June 29, 2019 a very special exhibit is being kicked off at the Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles! The Hello Kitty 45th Anniversary Group Show
will be starting off an exhibit at the Main Gallery.

 

Artist Okuda San Miguel - for Hello Kitty 45th Anniversary Group Show

The artists featured in this exhibition will feature our favorite girl Hello Kitty along with her fabulous friends in various forms of art that include painting, sculpture and animation.

Artist Andrew Brandou - for Hello Kitty 45th Anniversary Group Show

Today’s launch event on June 29 is open to the public and is for Hello Kitty fans of all ages. Attendees will enjoy special surprises on opening night including prints of select 45th anniversary artwork and appearances by Hello Kitty.

For more info please visit Corey Helford Gallery website and Sanrio website for the latest information. The Hello Kitty 45th Group show will be from June 20-August 3, 2019.

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…