Hello Bird's Nest Cafe!

Hello Bird's Nest Cafe!

I love discovering hidden gems and Bird’s Nest Cafe in South Central LA; is truly one of them. Nestled close to the Metropolitan Courthouse and the Los Angeles Tech Trade College is Bird’s Nest LA. There’s not many other eateries around and one wouldn’t expect to find such a cafe here. I am so glad however to have found this wonderful and cute cafe.

Bird’s Nest Cafe primarily offers breakfast items such as breakfast burritos and omelettes and sandwiches. They also have burgers, salads and an extensive offering of coffee drinks.

Well known for their breakfast burritos; I chose to get one of these during my visit here.

My chosen burrito was the Upriser. True to it’s name this one burrito that rises to the top. It’s packed with flavor and ingredients! Typically this burrito has bacon but I chose to get it with chicken. Other ingredients included eggs, avocado, pico de gallo, hashbrowns, cheddar and mozzarella. It was very hearty and fulfilling. It was accompanied with a refreshing arugula salad with watermelon cubes and vinaigrette dressing.

Bird’s Nest Cafe also offers several sides to pair with your meals here. I spotted zucchini fries, one of my favorite sides ever, and I knew I had to get it.

I absolutely loved the zucchini fries here! They came out piping hot and fresh. The batter was so flavorful. It came with chipotle aioli dipping sauce that made for the perfect dipping sauce. This side paired very well with my Upriser burrito.

Last but not least; I had to get a latte here. I heard someone say that Bird’s Nest Cafe has the best lattes in town. Being a latte lover; my curiosity was peak.

I chose to get a vanilla bean latte and it indeed did not disappoint. It was smooth, slightly rich and not too sweet. It had just the right hint of espresso.

Bird’s Nest Cafe was an amazing place to visit. I would’ve never expected so much good food and drinks here. It is a true hidden gem.

For more smiles please my Yelp review on Bird’s Nest Cafe.

Hello Oahu!

Hello Oahu!

They say “Ono” means delicious in Hawaiian. On my very first trip ever to Hawaii; I can say I definitely had lots of “Ono” eats in Oahu. Join me in this blog post as I reminisce about some of my most ono eats in the islands.

Beachside Bliss

When one thinks of Hawaii; one thinks of tropical weather and the water. Thanks to my hotel; BeachComber Waikiki I was able to soak up the sun and enjoy lots of good eats right by the pool.

Right at the lobby of the Beachcomber; is the Hawaiian Aroma Caffe; a lovely caffe known for açaí bowls, coffee and other treats.

The first thing I got to try here is their Acai Bowl.

Their Acai Bowl consisted of strawberries, pineapples and blueberries all piled on top of frozen açaí. It was a nice, icy treat perfect for a sunny day!

I got to try Hawaiian Aroma Caffe for breakfast too and it was once again pure beachside bliss.

They have various waffles that they serve here and I chose to get the Guava Waffle. This lovely waffle was topped off with fresh fruit, maple sauce and whipped cream. I also got to try their Morning Feast. This was a fulfilling plate consisting of two eggs, three bacons, three Portuguese sausage, salad and toast. It went perfect with their Coco Choco Mocha drink.

Hawaiian Aroma Caffé is well know for their coffee and I loved their drinks too! Their lattes are super smooth and so tasty! So Ono!

Hello Kitty Snacks

Aside from tropical weather and the beach; did you know Hawai’i has lot of Japanese jnfluence? I saw this while visiting the Shriokiya Japan Village Walk at the Ala Moana Center. It was here that I found the most amazing Hello Kitty waffles from Kulu Kulu.

The Hello Kitty Waffles are offered in a variety of flavors and we chose to get it in red bean and matcha. Not only were they super cute; they were super ono too!

Breakfast Bliss

I shared some breakfast bliss already earlier with my experience at Hawaiian Aroma Caffe but I got to have even more morning delights when I visited Liliha Bakery.

Located at the Ala Moana Center; I had breakfast here before a shopping day. My morning feast consisted of Loco Moco and a Country Style Omelette with Portuguese sausage!

Loco Moco and Portuguese sausage are well know Hawaiian treats and so I had to make sure I had some during my trip. Here at Liliha Bakery they did it right! The Loco Moco gravy was perfectly thick and went well with the runny egg! The Portuguese sausage was also just right!

Farm to Table

We hear “Farm to Table” all the time now but Hawai’i puts a different meaning to it! When I visited Tropical Farms; I experienced the true farm to table with their famous macadamia nuts!

The farms has a variety of macadamia nut trees and you even crack your own nuts. They have a variety of macadamia nut flavors such as Kona coffee, caramel glazed, Maui onion and honey roasted!

Fine Dining Hawaii Style

Live. Love. Aloha.

It was a treat yourself kind of trip with experiences at not one but two restaurants by two famed restauranteurs; Michael Mina and Roy Yamaguichi!

Mele Kalikimaka! I had the most lovely Hawaiian holiday meal at Michael Mina’s Stripsteak in Waikiki!

Here we were treated to their Signature Duck Fat Fries Trio that came with truffle aioli, sriracha ketchup and garlic herb oil. My favorite dipping sauce was the truffle aioli.

We also had their Waipoli Greens that consisted of shaved vegetables, beet noodles, kukui nuts, Pomegrante molasses. The beet noodles were so unique and added for a nice touch to this salad.

Last but not least we had the most delicious entrees and sides. We had the Washugyu flat iron and Miso Scottish salmon along side their mac and cheese with black truffle and Parmesan and spicy fried rice with five spice pork belly.

The experience at Stripsteak was truly one of the best steak house experiences I’ve ever had!

My other one phenomenal fine dining experience occurred at Roy’s Waikiki! Roy’s Waikiki is by celebrity chef Roy Yamaguchi. I had been wanting to try a Roy’s for awhile now and was so happy to try it at the place where it all started; Hawaii!

Our meal here started with Braised Short Rib Tacos with Avocado Crème. With its crispy shell and tender short rib filling; this was one great starter!

Next up we had the Waipoli Greens. This butter leaf lettuce salad had blue cheese remoulade, spiced maple bacon and stuffed croutons! I loved the sweet dressing and the savory croutons. They matched perfectly!

For the entrees; we had Garlic Buttered Filet Mignon, “Chinese Style” Steamed Opah, Slow Braised Honey Mustard Grilled Beef Short Ribs! Each dish was huge and very fulfilling!

Last but not least we had Roy’s Melting Hot Soufflé! This was a double treat because it was served with Hawaii’s famous Lappert’s Ice Cream! I loved the overall rich chocolate being combined with sweet vanilla!

Whether it be a simple cute breakfast by the pool or a lovely dinner by some of Hawaii’s most famous chefs; I had the most amazing time for my first ever trip to Oahu.

My trip to Oahu was truly filled with “Aloha” in every bite! All the places I tried were so “Ono.” Mahalo Hawaii for one unforgettable food journey!

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Hello Offset Coffee!

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,

Hello Harajuku!

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 Grimaldi’s Coal Brick-Oven Pizzeria!

Hello Grimaldi’s Coal Brick-Oven Pizzeria!

“She eats takeout with china and serves champagne with pizza.”

I’ve always liked the above quote from Kate Spade and walking into the newly opened Grimaldi’s reminded me of this quote.

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One of the first things I first noticed was the cool looking wine bottle chandeliers on the ceiling.

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The next thing I noticed where the red and white checkered tablecloths and the wine bottle candles on all of the tables.

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The whole restaurant has a very New York-ish feel that gives diners a feel that they just stepped into a simple yet sophistscated NYC pizzaeria. (Simple yet sophisticated like the Kate Spade quote from the start of this post ;). The New York-ish feel is very much appropriate because Grimaldi’s originated from NYC.

The pizzeria specializes in coal fired brick oven pizza and this location in El Segundo is the first location in California. It was nice to be able to try this place out today and try out the pizza that made “the Brooklyn Bridge famous.”

My taste of New York started with a personalized pizza that I split with a friend. Straight from the coal fired brick oven, we were presented with a nice pizza topped with their famous Grimaldi’s sauce, fresh mozzarella, pepperoni and mushrooms. It was all on top of a thin, crispy crust.

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To go along with my pizza, I got a latte.They offer illy coffee here. Illy is famous for specializing in espressos and I was very happy with my latte that had rich espresso topped with steamed milk and foam. It was my little cup of happiness.

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For dessert, my friend and I got the dessert trio and chose to get one of each of their popular desserts. Our choices were Grimaldi’s famous cannoli, oreo cookie cheesecake and tiramisu. The cannoli here is famous for a reason. A nice crisp shell, sweet cream filling with chocolate chips made for one good classic Sicilian pastry. The oreo cookie cheesecake was housemade and had a good oreo cookie crust as well as plenty of oreo mixed in the cheesecake. The tiramisu had distinct coffee flavor and very soft, sponge like layers.

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I’ve had my eye on Grimaldi’s ever since I spotted the sign and wrote about it in my very first South Bay Foodies article. I was quite curious to see and taste a little bit of NYC. I’m super happy that today I got to try the pizza, enjoy a latte and get dessert too…all while eating in a very Brooklyn like atmosphere. 😉

For more smiles, please see my recent Yelp review on Grimaldi’s.

Hello Jackson’s Food and Drink Tasting Dinner!

Hello Jackson’s Food and Drink Tasting Dinner!

Things I love: good food, good people and happy smiley moments :)…Thanks to Jackson’s Food and Drink in El Segundo, all those things I love came together last night.

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I was chosen to be one of the lucky to attend a special tasting dinner last night at Jackson’s Food and Drink. Chef Scott Cooper created a tasting menu with some of his newest dishes. Each dish was paired with a glass of wine that Chef Scott personally picked to complement his dishes.

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The first course of the night was a corn chowder soup with roasted pastille chile and queso fresco. It was paired with Villa Sandi Prosecco from Italy. The corn chowder was very thick and creamy with lots of little pieces of corn for a little bit of sweet and chile for spice. This soup actually had more of a spicy kick to it. The queso fresco on top helped balance the flavor more. The Villa Sandi Prosecco was my favorite wine pairing of the night. It was light, slightly fruity with a touch of apple flavor.

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The second course of the night consisted of a baby beet salad with greens, goat cheese, mandarin oranges and glazed pecans. The dressing was a citrus vinaigrette. There was also a little bit of rice wine vinegar added in to enhance the citrus flavor. This salad was the favorite of many that night. Juicy, large red beets, sweet mandarin oranges, crunchy pecans and soft goat cheese made for a very flavorful, colorful salad. This salad was paired with Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.

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The third course was a surprise course! We were originally going to have only five courses that night but Chef Scott came out with a new soup that he said we must try! I’m so glad he decided to do this because this course was one of my favorites. It was a tomato soup made out of chicken stock. It was garnished with sour cream and croutons. I’ve always been a fan of tomato soup and this one was one of the best I’ve had. It had a rich, marinara like flavor. It was so nice and heartwarming, making it perfect for a slightly chilly night.

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After the soups and salad were the main entrees. First up was the seafood entree consisting of seared sea bass with braised and grilled fennel, Pernod sauce and couscous with silvered garlic. As some may know, I do not like seafood and when this first dish came out, I could instantly smell the strong fishy flavor (eek). I was brave though and tried just a little bit of the Mexican white sea bass. From my very teeny tiny bite of the sea bass, I found the fish to be slightly hard. My non-seafood loving self moved on to eating the couscous and the fennel. I liked the crunchy fennel as well as the light, fluffy couscous. I was actually happy to have a little bit of the wine pairing, a Flora Springs Chardonnay from Napa Valley to help offset the strong fish flavor that this dish had.

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The next main entree was milk braised pork chops with homestyle gravy and creamy polenta. It was paired with Clos du Val Pinot Noir from Carneros, Napa Valley. Chef Scott told us for this dish pork shoulder was braised for three hours and one could instantly tell at first bite because the pork chops were so tender. I also loves the fried sage that garnished the pork chops. These pork chops went very well with the creamy polenta. I really liked the creamy, fluffy and very savory polenta. The Clos du Val Pinot Noir was the only red served that night.

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Last course or the night was a very amazing and intense dessert. It was Simon’s almond, bacon, toffee bread pudding with maple whipped cream. Simon is one of the chefs at Jackson’s and this dessert is one of his most special. It’s very unique. Lots of maple whipped cream topped a soft bread pudding. There were also plenty of crunchy almond, bacon and toffee. How appropriate the dessert had a little bit of bacon because my Hello Kitty twin Michelle was also in attendance at this dinner. Michelle is not only my hello kitty twin but also my fellow dessert fan/bacon buddy. Michelle and I have always bonded over dessert and foodie discoveries and this dessert both made us go ooh and ahh. Honestly I could not get through all if it. It was very good but also very sweet. Although the bacon made it unique, I think I could have gone with just bread pudding and a little bit of toffee.

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The yummy dessert needed some hot beverages to offset all the sweetness and so it was perfect that Jackson’s offered us Intelligentsia cappuccinos and lattes.

The cappuccino was beautifully presented. Tastewise, it had a slightly strong bold flavor.

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I preferred the latte! Simple, rich, tasty flavor, it made for a great ending to this six course dinner.
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I really enjoyed the tasting dinner at Jackson’s Food and Drink. I got to enjoy some tasty new dishes as well as converse with some other foodies. It was a night of many happy smiley moments :). Thank you so much Jackson’s Food and Drink for inviting me and letting me be one of the first to try some of your new dishes!

For more smiles, please read my recent Yelp review about the tasting dinner at Jacksons’s Food and Drink.

Happy National Coffee Day!

Happy National Coffee Day!

Coffee, tea or hello kitty? Happy national coffee day everyone! One coffee for me and another for you ;).

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I simply love waking up to the sweet aroma of coffee in the morning. Sitting down and enjoying my sweet cup of cappuccino along with pastries from the local farmers market on weekends is one of the times during the week that I love the most.

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I actually am a fan of coffee anytime and anywhere!

Whether it be enjoying a sweet French vanilla at Ihop

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Or enjoying an afternoon cup of tiramisu coffee while reading a book at Old Torrance Coffee and Tea

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or enjoying a iced coffee at night while eating bahn mi at Lee’s Sandwichs

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Coffee time and hanging out with family and friends is the best! It’s such a warm, comforting feeling sitting down with a pumpkin latte or cupcake flavored coffee. I love starting the mornings with a freshly brewed cup or ending the day curled up with a book in one hand and a cappuccino in the other. There is a perfect coffee for every occasion.

To end this blog post, I wanted to “espresso” myself and wish all my readers all a whole “latte” love! Thanks for being sweet and reading this post. You all are like the cream to my coffee and you make writing such a cool beans experience :). Have brew”-tiful day and take time to smell the coffee!