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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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,

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Hello Yelp Elite Black Badge 2019!

Hello YelpLA Elite 2019! I’m happy to kick off this year with some elite news!

From LA to Tokyo in 2018 and 125 reviews later, I am part of the Yelp Elite squad for 2019!

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Yelp has played a very special role in my blogging life ever since I started writing for Yelp in 2008. Now 11 years elite, I can say it continues to be the BEST foodie adventure. I love discovering new places and being able to share my experiences with everyone.

2018 was a fun-filled year with Yelp filled with so many amazing moments.

I was blessed too to be part of one of the first LA West Yelp Elite events of 2018 at the Brio Yelp Elite Event.

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Come spring it was an unforgettable night of dress to impress and dancing shoes  at the Automobile Driving Museum in El Segundo for Yelp LA’s Cocktails and Cars Casino Royale Style .

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Lastly this past fall was one sweet treat to be part of Yelp’s First Look at Randy’s Donuts.

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I cannot wait to see what is in store for 2019!

SYOY at http://hellokittyfoodie.yelp.com

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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 Kitty Holidays at The Bow Room!

What better way to kick off the holidays than a visit to The Bow Room at the Hello Kitty Grand Cafe! It truly was a Hello Kitty happy holiday for this Hello Kitty Foodie as I got to experience The Bow Room not once but twice in one day for tea service and cocktail service in the all newly holiday decorated Hello Kitty Grand Cafe.

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First off was afternoon tea service. Ever since opening up in September of this year; tea time has been a big hit and it’s easy to see why as they have a full up menu of some delicious savory and sweet items.

The tea service is first kicked off with a serving of  fresh fruit consisting of local strawberries and fresh whipped cream with an imprint of Hello Kitty. How sweet it is to kick off the holidays and tea service with this.

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Soon after the strawberries and fresh whipped cream is served; a Hello Kitty shaped three-tier tower filled with Hello Kitty delights comes out.

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The bottom layer of the Hello Kitty three-tier tray is dedicated to savory items. First up, I tried a savory cone with creamy egg salad and paprika.

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Next we tried the pretzel croissant that is filled with smoked salmon and dill cream. This was definitely a favorite during tea time. I enjoyed the nice, smokey flavor of the salmon and the pretzel flavor of the croissant.

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The Hello Kitty shaped milk bread topped with cucumber and dill cream cheese was not only cute but quite tasty too!

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On the second layer of the Hello Kitty three-tier tower was the sweet treats. First off we tried the mini cupcakes. I liked how they look like mini apples. It’s a nice Hello Kitty touch.

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The raspberry macaron were also quite lovely. I also liked the adorable bow on top!

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One can’t have enough sweets or enough chocolate for that matter; and thus chocolate chocolate cake is perfectly sweet treat!

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The top layer of the Hello Kitty three-tier tower was a mix of savory and sweet items!

The buttermilk scones paired well with tea.

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I liked how they served the buttermilk scones with butter and fresh strawberry jam. How cute is it that the butter even has a Hello Kitty imprint?

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The tart shell with cheese mozzarella, vine tomatoes and pesto was another savory treat I quite enjoyed.

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Last but not least were the Hello Kitty and Keroppi mini cakes! I’ve enjoyed these mini cakes before via the Hello Kitty cafe truck. It was really nice to try out these soft little treats again.

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All of the savory and sweet items during tea time are of course accompanied by your choice of tea. Our personal choices were lychee peach; a organic black tea with safflower and notes of apricot and ripe pear and the Japanese cherry; an organic green tea blended with rose petals and essence of cherry. One should add in the Hello Kitty sugar for a special extra touch and sweetness to the drink!

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To wrap up the afternoon tea service; we were given two Hello Kitty gummies.

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Tea Service at The Bow Room was absolutely wonderful but we weren’t done quite yet with celebrating the holidays because we had another reservation in the evening for cocktail service!

It was honestly hard to choose between the different cocktails on the menu that each had an adorable name. We started off with the “Happy Together” and “Picture Perfect.” Both seemed to quite have names symbolic of this Hello Kitty happy time! The “Happy Together” consists of vodka, apricot, lemon, bubbles and also has something “magical” about it!

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“Picture Perfect” was my favorite drink of the night. It consists of bison grass vodka, strawberry shrub, lemon and strawberry popping boba. I liked the unique touch of strawberry popping boba and I also liked how it comes with a souvenir photo!

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Another unique drink was 1974. Named after the year Hello Kitty was born; this drink had classic negroni- gin, cocchi rosa, bitter bianco and an amazing hello kitty ice-cube.

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Lastly the other drink I tried that night was the Small Gift consisting of birthday tea, house-made raspberry shrub, citrus and vanilla soda! I loved the Hello Kitty cup!

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I could not think of a better or cuter way to kick of the holidays than a double trip to the Hello Kitty Cafe Bow Room in one day. Happy Hello Kitty holidays!

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For more smiles, please my Yelp review on the Hello Kitty Grand Cafe.

Hello Silva’s Fresh Eatery and Churrascaria!

Silva’s Fresh Eatery and Churrascaria just recently had their grand opening in Orange County. Silva’s history takes it back to the Brazilian Clubs of the 60s and New York and now they are offering modern Brazilian cuisine right at the heart of Orange County in the South Coast Metro.

Their menu has both Brazilian and international cuisine that is curated by Chef John Vega; formerly of Roy’s Newport Beach. Diners get to experience dishes made out of organic and locally sourced ingredients. Dishes include delights such as Pincanha Skirt Steak, Feiojada and Biro-Biro Brazilian fried rice. There’s even an option for a “All You Can Eat Feast” that includes a customized meal from the Chef’s Table as well as other ordering options.

Aside from the savory Brazilian dishes Silva’s offers a variety of fine wines, beers and signature Brazilian cocktails.

Silva’s is perfect for a casual dine in, classic dinner or special night out.

Hello Harajuku!

On my recent trip to Japan, Harajuku was the top of the list of one of the most fun places I visited. It is internationally the center of Japanese youth culture and fashion and not only was the visit colorful and unique but it was quite a Hello Kitty Foodie adventure as well!

My number one reason for coming to Harajuku was to visit Reissue Cafe! Reissue Cafe is world-famous for their latte art! 💕☕️.  Reissue is home to latte artist, Kohei Matsuno.  He uses foam and chocolate to make the cutest 2D and 3D latte creations ever! My choice of course was Hello Kitty!

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Reissue is located a little off Takeshita Street; the main street in Harajuku that has their famous boutiques. Soon after I visited Reissue, I instantly spotted Eiswelt Gelato! Eiswelt meaning “ice world” in German; had its first store open in Westminster, California in 2016. What makes Eiswelt so special is their character gelato. You can get gelato shaped in cute animals like a teddy, piggy, chicken and bunny! It is only in Japan however that you can get a froggy! I had to get the froggy of course because it was very similar to one of my favorite Sanrio characters, Keroppi! For the froggy gelato, you can choose to either get mint or matcha flavours. I went with matcha; in true Japanese spirit!

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One doesn’t visit Harajuku without trying their famous crepes. Marion Crepes first opened up in 1976 as one of the only crepe shops in Harajuku.

Marion Crepes started their crepe revolution in 1976 as one of the only crepe shops in Harajuku. They serve have Japanese-style crepes that are filled with delicious ingredients. I chose to get their Strawberry and Banana Chocolate Cheesecake Cream Crepe! The crepe itself was so soft. It is made with a secret recipe and is truly mouth-watering.

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Last bu definitely not least;  I visited Pompompurin Cafe! Pompompurin, the Sanrio yellow golden retriever actually has three cafes in Tokyo but the original one is in Takeshita-Dori in Harajuku. The cafe is supercute and filled with bright yellow and brown tones to match PomPomPurin and their menu is filled with Pompompurin inspired dishes and drinks. My choice was the Pompompurin Cafe stew which had a combo of three different stews; carrot stew, squid ink stew and purple sweet potato stew that was topped off with cutest 3D Pompompurin rice 💛!

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Harajuku was definitely a cute and colorful culinary Hello Kitty Foodie adventure! I loved visiting all the various cafes and eating the most kawaii creations ever!

 

Hello Sanrio Store Visits in Tokyo!

Aside from flying on the Hello Kitty plane, visiting Sanrio Puroland and staying at the Hello Kitty hotel room one of the most memorable things I did in Tokyo was visiting the five recommended Sanrio stores in Tokyo. Sanrio Japan has a list of all the Sanrio stores in Japan and there were five they featured and recommended. It became my goal while visiting Tokyo to visit each and every one.

My first visit was the Sanrio Gift Gate Ikebukuro Store. Located near the JR Ikebukuro Station and near Sunshine City in Ikebukuro is this two story Sanrio Gift Gate. It’s a really cute store with a staircase that features Hello Kitty inspired paintings on the wall and a large Hello Kitty plush at the top.

My next Sanrio visit was the Hello Kitty Japan in DiverCity Tokyo Plaza! This is located in Odaiba and I really enjoyed this store because they Odaiba specific items. One of my favorite souvenirs was a Hello Kitty Japan Odaiba tote.

I also liked the Hello Kitty Japan in DiverCity because they had  Hello Kitty cafe selling Hello Kitty pancakes, donuts and drinks right next to it!

I next stopped at Hello Kitty Japan at Tokyo Skytree Town Solamachi. Tokyo Skytree in itself is an amazing place to visit because it is the world’s tallest tower at 634 meters! There are various stores and restaurants but the Hello Kitty Japan of course was my favorite to visit.

My fourth Sanrio visit was the Sanrio Gift Gate in Shinjuku! This one had a cool looking store front because there is a gigantic Hello Kitty mosaic statue!

Last but not least was my Sanrio visit to Sanrio World Ginza. Ginza is considered to be one of the most expensive, elegant and luxurious streets in the world and Sanrio World Ginza is equally elegant with a special sparkly entrance with Hello Kitty and My Melody made out of Swarovski. This is the largest Sanrio flagship store in the world and this store is two stories. The lower floor is dedicated all to Hello Kitty and includes a Swarovski Bling Me Shop as well as nail shop! The Swarovski shop inside Sanrio World Ginza is truly special and filled with many beautiful items.

Mission accomplished in visiting all the Sanrio Japan recommended stores! Each store is was uniquely kawaii in their own special way. I loved visiting them all and it made my Japan trip even more special.

For more smiles, please see my Yelp review on Sanrio Gift Gate IkebukuroHello Kitty Japan OdaibaHello Kitty Japan Tokyo Skytree Town SolamachiSanrio Gift Gate Shinjuku and Sanrio World Ginza.