Hello The Original Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop!

Hello The Original Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop!

I started the day seeing the Golden Gate Bridge and wrapped up the afternoon with a Golden Gate Ghirardelli Banana Split…..

On my recent trip to San Francisco, one of the sweetest and nicest places I visited was Ghirardelli  Square and the Original Ghirardelli  Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop.

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Ghirardelli Square is located in Fisherman’s Wharf and is home to several different shops and restaurants. Out of all the restaurants however, the Original Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop is my favorite.

Ghirardelli chocolate was founded in 1852 by Italian Domenico Ghirardelli It is now the US’ longest continuously operating chocolate manufacturer.

One of the best things about visiting The Original Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop is you get to see and learn all about how Ghirardelli chocolate is made. Hello Kitty Foodies can view a display of the chocolate making process with the original machinery used from 1852! They still use the same traditions that Domenico Ghirardelli began over a century ago.

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Step 1 is the Cocoa Bean Roasters. At this station os where the outer shell of the cocoa bean are removed. Once removed what is left behind the inside is what they call the nib. These nibs are roasted to give that unique Ghirardelli flavor.

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Step 2 is the Chocolate mills where the heat melts the cocoa nibs into the chocolate liquor. Step 3 is the Melanger where granite rollers mix the chocolate liquor with different ingredients.

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Step 4 is the final step and it consist of conche. This where the chocolate is smoothed out to its final texture.

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I really loved seeing this process done. What I loved even more was tasting the final product! 😉

The Original Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop has a several different treats for Hello Kitty Foodies. They include delicious ice cream scoops, their world-famous hot fudge sundae and various delightful shakes! Since I was in San Francisco, I chose to get their Golden Gate Banana Split! After all when in the Bay, how could I not indulge in their most famous landmark. 😉

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The Golden Gate Banana Split consists of vanilla, strawberry and Ghirardelli Chocolate ice cream on top of a banana. The terrific trio is then topped with crushed pineapple, strawberry and handmade hot fudge whipped cream, diced almonds and a cherry! What a landmark sundae indeed! It is quite a sight and a tasty one too!

Visiting The Original Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop in Ghirardelli  Square was definitely one of the sweetest parts of my San Francisco visit! For any Hello Kitty Foodies visiting the Bay area, I would definitely recommend visiting for a sweet learning experience and a sweet indulgence.

 

Hello Bao Down San Francisco!

Hello Bao Down San Francisco!

Filipino cuisine is making its way to the top of the tastebuds of many foodies. This Hello Kitty Foodie is constantly in awe of all the amazing Pinoy offerings that are popping up every where! On my recent trip to San Francisco, I had the chance to checkout a newly opened gastropub specializing in Asian fusion food with touches of Hawaiian, Thai and Filipino flavors.

Located on Bush Street, next to  Executive Hotel Vintage Court is Bao Down.  It is the former location of Masa’s and All Spice and now is home to this Pan Asian Fusion food restaurant. This is Bao Down’s owners Greg Edwards and Marvin Agustin’s first US location. The original Bao Down is in Vancouver, Canada.

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Walking in, I was instantly mesmerized with the colorful and bright murals that are on Bao Down’s walls. I learned these colored murals were painted by Japanese-Canadian street artist Taka Sudo. He had also created similar murals for Bao Down’s Vancouver locations.

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Just as creative as the murals is Bao Down’s menu offerings.  It’s a traditional Asian food with a bit of pizazz and each dish has unique and flavorful ingredients.

I started off my meal here with one of their steamed baos. This place after all is called Bao Down and it seemed only appropriate that I try one of their signature bao dishes. I chose to try the Big Bang bao.

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The Big Bang bao consists of lechon kawali, carrots, daikon and Filipino sweet and sour sauce. Upon first bite, I could understand it’s name right away. It indeed made quite a bang for my tastebuds. From the soft outside bun to the crunchy lechon inside, it was amazingly delicious. The Filipino sweet and sour sauce brought out so much flavorful to this tender bao.

Up next, I tried one of their popular small plates, the West Coast Lumpia.

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Lumpia is one of my favorite Filipino dishes ever and thus I was quite intrigued to see Bao Down’s take. The West Coast Lumpia was filled with chicken, water chestnut, pickled vegetable and crispy noodles. I love how this starter was served piping hot. It was fried to perfect golden brown. The thin, crisp outside gave a nice crackling crunch at every bite.

For my main entree, I chose the beef rib kare kare.

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Kare Kare, similar to lumpia, is one of my all time favorite Filipino dishes. I have to say though that Bao Down’s Kare Kare makes it to the top of the most unique Filipino Kare Kare dishes I have ever tried. Their version consists of 36oz angus beef short rib, crispy garlic annatto-peanut sauce, crispy shanghai bok chow and XXXO sauce.  The angus beef short rib was gigantic and serving wise this could be good for four people! It was also super tender and one flick of a fork, the meat would come off the bone. The beef short rib was definitely a winner but one of the things I absolutely loved about this dish was the crispy shanghai bok choy! I was such a fan of their tempura bok choy. The buttery batter went well with the other savory sauces of this dish. This Hello Kitty Foodie bows down to this dish from Bao Down. 😉

With the rise in popularity of Filipino food in the United States, it is not surprising to see a place like Bao Down in San Francisco. I am happy to see them offering Filipino dishes with a special fusion flair. With their creative dishes and unique take, Bao Down takes Filipino cuisine to a whole new level.

For more smiles, please see my Yelp Review on Bao Down.