Hello Munch!

Hello Munch!

I’ve always been a fan of macarons! There is something just so special about the delicate French confectionery. The crisp cookies and jam in between simply spells happiness. It was thus a very happy discovery for me when I spotted Munch at the Torrance Farmers Market.

Trays of colorful, cute pastel colored macarons were on display and I could not help but stop. Lemon, vanilla, nutella, red velvet, salted caramel….ahhh! Wait what is that I spot? Buko panda, leche flan, ube? Oh my! Munch has Filipino flavored macarons! Spotting the various flavors simply had this Hello Kitty Foodie sold on trying these macarons out!

Two of my favorite Filipino desserts ever are leche flan and ube and thus it simply was meant to be that these would be the first two macaron flavors I would try from Munch.

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I tried the Leche Flan macaron first.

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With its soft base, creamy texture and sweet top, leche flan is one very popular egg based Filipino dessert and my personal favorite. I was quite intrigued to see how Munch create the Leche Flan macaron style. I’m happy to say that equal to the Leche Flan dessert, the Leche Flan macaron is sweet and soft.  The delicate macaron reminded me of Leche flan’s lightness and deliciousness.

The Ube macaron was the next macaron I tried.

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I was simply amazed with this macaron. Munch knows ube. This macaron not only had the bright purple color of ube, it had the sweetness of the purple yam as well! It was truly purple yam love at first bite.

It didn’t take long for me to convinced that I was munch happy munching on these delightful macarons and I eagerly looked forward to my next visit to the Torrance Farmer’s market.

I definitely wanted to try more of Munch’s Filipino flavors and on my next visit I tried another one of Munch’s signature favorites, the Buko Pandan.

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Buko Pandan is a Filipino dessert made from young coconut meat and Pandan leaves. I was quite curious to see how Munch would bring incorporate this delicious dessert into their macarons. Right at first bite, I knew right away this was a Buko Pandan macaron. The flavor of young coconut is instant. It is impressive.

Another Filipino flavored macaron that I tried was Munch’s calamansi.

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Honestly before I tried this macaron, I was wondering if it would be too sour. It was thus such a pleasant surprise when I tried it. It had just the right citrus flavor. It was very refreshing and not too strong in sourness at all. It actually instantly became a new favorite of mine.

Sans Rival is another Filipino flavor I tried on my third visit.

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Sans rival is a Filipino dessert cake that is made out of buttercream, meringue and chopped cashews. Here at Munch, I love how they have the roasted cashew flavor of the cake in this macaron! The buttercream is present as well. It is a cake turned macaron.

Now Munch has some amazing Filipino flavors and it’s definitely my go-to place if I want some Pinoy macarons but I knew I also had to try their other flavors as well. They’ve got quite a list of popular flavors that are non-Filipino based such as vanilla, nutella, salted caramel, white chocolate raspberry and black sesame.

This Hello Kitty Foodie absolutely fell in love with the white chocolate raspberry macaron at first sight.

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It has a beautiful pastel pink shell and inside the cream filling is white chocolate with a dash of raspberry. This is really delightful and one of my personal favorites!

The black sesame is another crowd favorite that is also one very good macaron.

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When I think of black sesame, I always think of black sesame ice cream. Thanks to Munch however now when I think of black sesame, I may think of macarons now. Their black sesame macaron has the same sweet, nutty type of flavoring of black sesame that I find in ice cream but even better.

Munchin’ on Munch’s macarons has made this Hello Kitty Foodie very happy! I’m looking forward to trying out many of their more amazing flavors on my next visit to the Torrance Farmers Market.

For more smiles, please see my Yelp review on Munch Bakery.

Hello Lemonade Del Amo!

Hello Lemonade Del Amo!

Now squeezing at the Del Amo Fashion Center  is the new bright and happy restaurant, Lemonade.  Lemonade is a popular fast-casual restaurant chain serving healthy, seasonal foods, refreshing beverages and sweet treats in a marketplace/cafeteria like setting.  There are over 20 locations all around  California and this one at Del Amo is the newest branch.

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The concept at Lemonade is simple and fun. One can mix and match across their menu.  The menu consists of items from the various sections: Marketplace, Leafy Greens, Land and Sea, Sandwiches, Hot Dishes and Desserts.

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As one steps into the Del Amo location, they are greeted instantly by friendly smiles as well as colorful array of fresh cuisine.  One is free to browse through the various sections and get samples. Skipping the line to move to one area is also totally acceptable. It’s fast, friendly and fun.

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The first section of the line is the Marketplace. The Marketplace is actually one of my favorite food sections. This is where they have all their signature seasonal salads. It features a variety of their marketplace vegetables. There are freshly made vegan, vegetarian and protein filled fresh salads.  Some items currently at the Del Amo location are the Vegan salads: Hearts of Palm Savoy Cabbage, Red Quinoa and Fuji Apple and Curried Cauliflower, the Vegatarian salads: Kale and Red Pear, New Mexican Chile Roasted Butternut Squash and  Shaved Brussel Sprouts and Dates and the protein salads: Pineapple Chicken and Green Beans and the Smoked Tri-tip and Fingerling Potatoes.

I got to try the New Mexican Chile Roasted Butternut Squash and the Smoked Tri-tip and Fingerling Potatoes. I was a fan of both Marketplace salads. For the Mexican Chile Roasted Butternut Squash; I really  liked the chile lime corn nuts and the scallion ranch mixed in. The Smoked Tri-tip and Fingerling Potatoes was excellent as well. This salad had a healthy mix of tri tip, avocado and potatoes  that were all flavored with chipotle vinaigrette.

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The next section that one will hit in the Lemonade line is the Leafy Greens. Here it is a continuation of healthy veggies but with a focus of salads tossed to order. Currently ready for tossing at the Lemonade Del Amo location are Thanksgiving Greens, Baby Artisan and Gem Romaine and Butter and Red Oak Leaf Lettuces.

Up next are the Land and Sea options. Here one can choose from their chicken, beef and fish dishes. There’s poke, ahi tuna and salmon for the seafood lovers. For those who prefer beef and chicken, Lemonade offers a Coffee-Ancho Rubbed Skirt Steak as well as Buttermilk Chicken. I’ve had the Buttermilk Chicken before at another location and could not pass it up here at Del Amo! One can get the Buttermilk Chicken a la carte or get it as a sandwich in the next section which is the Sandwiches section.

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After the Sandwiches section, one will find themselves at the  Hot Dishes area. Here one can get braised, roasted and rotisserie meats and pair them with a variety of hot veggies, chilis, mac and cheese and soups. The savory items in this section are simply amazing. I found myself trying the very drool worthy Soy Roasted Chicken Thighs with Thai chile mango glaze. I had this with Vegetarian Chili and basmati rice. It was very fulfilling and delicious to say the least. The Soy Roasted Chicken Thighs were perfectly tender and the mango glaze gave it a nice, sweet touch.

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Lemonade does not only do savory but they do sweet as well. One cannot pass up the dessert section here! They’ve got cute “Pick Me Ups;” small jelly jars filled with favorites like Pumpkin cheesecake with chocolate caramel, Lemon Meringue Pie with Graham Cracker Crumble and Chocolate Mint Grasshopper Pie with Chocolate Wafer Crumble. They also have cupcakes, cookies, bars and macarons! The macarons are my personal favorite because they’re gigantic!  These treats are sure to satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth.

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Last but definitely not least, one must try their lemonades here at Lemonade. This place is called Lemonade for a reason. At Del Amo they have the flavors of  Old Fashioned, Pomegrante Tarragon, Coconut Apple and Kaffir Lime, Cucumber Mint,  Blood Orange and Watermelon Rosemary. Each lemonade is unique and tasty. My personal favorite is the Blood Orange. This one is very refreshing and sweet.

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Lemonade at Del Amo is a wonderful new addition to the South Bay. With an abundant array of healthy foods; one can easily get a quick yet very fulfilling meal.

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There is something for everyone here. The place also promotes both healthy and happy. One cannot help but be happy at cheerful and bright place offering fresh dishes. Lemonade is sure to make many smile not only this holiday season but in the next years to come.

For more smiles, please see my Yelp review on Lemonade Del Amo.

Hello Honey and Butter!

Hello Honey and Butter!

Just recently my favorite macaron shop Honey and Butter opened up at the Irvine Spectrum.

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I first fell in love with Honey and Butter macarons via macarons from their original location in Costa Mesa. Their French macarons are truly special. They make out macaron shells out of California almonds and their macaron fillings are made out of fresh fruits and freshly ground hazelnuts and pistachios. They also have the cutest character macarons I’ve ever seen.

When I heard they were opening up a second location at the Irvine Spectrum, I was so excited because it would be another place to get some amazing treats.

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Walking into the Irvine location, I instantly could tell that this was a happy place.

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One cannot help smile at the cute decor all around.

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There are various Disney and Sanrio tsums tsums and plushes.

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I actually found out these are from the owner’s personal collection.
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The cute decor is equivalent to the cuteness of their offerings here at Honey and Butter. They serve the traditional French sweet meringue-based confection in a variety of colorful, flavorful treats. Popular flavors include Sea Salted Caramel, Milk & Honey and Cookie Butter. Their most popular macarons however lie in their  specialty creature macarons.

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Every day Honey and Butter offers up a different macarons shaped in assorted characters. Some days it is a Hello kitty macaron. Other days  it is Mickey Mouse. Breaking Bad and Harry Potter have been on the list as well.

Hmm I am partial to their kitty macarons (I wonder why hehe. 😉 )

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Aside from offering traditional macarons, there is something new being offered at the Honey and Butter and this is none other than their Creamarons! Creamarons are macaron ice cream sandwiches. The sandwich can be made out of their traditional macarons or their character ones.

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I got a kitty creamron filled with birthday cake ice cream and topped with gummy bears and frosted flakes on my visit here. It had to be the cutest macaron sandwich ever. It was also one of the best ice cream sandwiches I’ve ever had as well. In between the rich and creamy vanilla birthday cake ice cream were chunks of real birthday cake. The toppings of frosted flakes and gummy bears made it an even more special treat! Macaron happiness indeed.

It really is all about happiness at Honey and Butter. From the happy atmosphere of the shop to their cute fresh treats, one cannot help but smile! I’m so happy to see a second location open up and I’m looking forward to trying more of their macarons.

For more smiles, please see my recent Yelp review on Honey and Butter .

 

Hello Mango Madness at Trader Joe’s!

Hello Mango Madness at Trader Joe’s!

Every October time frame, my hearts beat a little faster thanks to Trader Joe’s. During that time of year, Trader Joe’s has an incredible variety of pumpkin treats for every one to joy. I didn’t think that Trader Joe’s could make me that giddy with any other time of year until now….

Yes, Trader Joe’s has done it again! They’ve made this foodie fall in love and happily leap to their store this summer! It may not be October yet and they may not have pumpkin mania but they have the “Summer of Mango!”

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Ahh mango! Mango is one of my favorite fruits. The sweet fruit is the perfect healthy dessert and one that every one should eat. Among the benefits of mango are they help clean the skin  alkalize the body and aid in weight loss. I honestly think I eat mango every day.

When I saw Trader Joe’s was having variety of special of mango treats for the summer, you bet to my local Trader Joe’s ASAP. I was not disappointed and found my Trader Joe’s indeed had mango madness all throughout the store.

Similar to pumpkin season at Trader Joe’s, the hardest thing for me that day was picking what mango treats I wanted. There was so much mango love at the store. Mango gummies! Orange peach Mango juice! Mango Babka! Mango Joe Joes! The mango selection was endless and I wanted to buy every thing haha! At the end of my trip, I did pretty good job in my mango haul!

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It was the Mango Joe-Joe’s that first caught my eye and ended up being the first mango item I tried.

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Trader Joe’s famous cookie wafers with cream in between has been mango-nized for this special time of year! It is all mango. The cookies are mango flavored and the cream is mango flavored. Trader Joe’s even made out of mango purée, mango powder, and natural mango flavor. Right at first bite, I could instantly taste the mango! It’s mango cookie heaven.

Next Mango-licious treat that made my heart skip a beat was the Mango Bar Bites.

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Now I love lemon bars. When I spot lemon bars at a party, it’s the first dessert that get. It was therefore pure bliss when I saw Trader Joe’s Mango Bar Bites.  These Mango Bar Bites are fully baked sweet treats. The top consists of a soft and creamy sweet, tart mango puree with passion fruit and shaved coconut. The bottom is a thin, baked buttery crust. From the fruity top to the crisp crust, these Mango Bar Bites are amazing.

The sweet Mango love continued on with my next purchase. I could not help but get the Mango macarons.

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I’ve always been a fan of Trader Joe’s macarons!  From Trader Joe’s Dozen Macarons Variés that features six flavors: Apricot, Coconut, Fig, Salted Caramel, Lemon, and Pistachio to their Pumpkin flavors, I am a fan. Now their latest macaron offering is the Mango macarons.

Similar to their Trader Joe’s macaron predecessors, these Mango macarons are amazing. The outside consists of crispy and chewy almond-based, meringue orange hued cookies. Inside is a vibrant, sweet filling of mango ganache.  Talk about one fabulous French confections. Ooh la la, I am in love.

I will honestly admit, I was tempted to put more mango desserts in my basket that day. The Trader Joe’s mango sorbet bon bons and mini mango pies were calling my name but I decided to be good (can’t promise for how long 😉 ) and the last mango item I purchased that day were the Mango O’s.

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There’s nothing like starting off the day with a mango treat and this cereal is one that just spells cereal crush with a capital C. It’s whole grain oat cereal with the sweet taste of mango. The cereal itself has sweet-tart mango purée embedded in the O’s and then alongside them are pieces of freeze dried mango. It is one sweet and tart breakfast delight with a crispy crunch. Trader Joe’s sure knows how to start the day off right!

Soon after that mango haul, I ended up coming back for more mango treats!

I got some mango gummies!


These mango gummies come in passion fruit, yogurt and mango flavors. They’re the perfect sweet little treat.

I also got some mango mints.


These mints are sugar free yet full of mango flavor.

All of the mango-licious items that I bought have made me so happy. What can I say…I found summer love via a bit of mango madness at Trader Joe’s. O Mango, o mango, I think I love you.