I am super excited for my 13th year of the Yelp Elite Squad! My Yelp journey this past 2020 was a very different one from past years.
Pre-Covid; I was able to partake in an awesome Yelp event in February 2020 at Robbins Brothers in Torrance, California. At the Yelp Elite Event : Bubbly and Bling; I said YES! Yes to bubbly, bling and lots of Yelp fun.
Though I didn’t get to dine out as much this 2020; I still found myself writing several reviews to support different small businesses around town.
This 2021; I am looking forward to getting more takeout and participating in Yelp virtual events. It may still be different from past Yelp years but I am still looking forward to discovering new places and sharing my experiences.
2020 truly was a year like no other. I remember during the start of the pandemic getting asked what I would do with my blogging as there would be no more dining in at restaurants. I knew back then that despite the change that I should still blog and take food photos. If anything this year was the year to enjoy the little things, stay positive and support more than ever my favorite small businesses and restaurants.
One of my first posts after the pandemic started was a blog post about saving restaurants/takeout places in the South Bay. This ended up being one of my most shared posts of the year.
Now as we wrap up the year; I wanted to take the time to do a quick round up of some fabulous places that I got takeout this year. Some of the places I have featured in this post are new but I also included some old favorite places as well. As you will see shortly it was still quite a tasty 2020 despite it all!
Saigon Eatery in Torrance, California was one my food discoveries this year. It definitely is on the top of my new favorite places. Their beef pho is pho-nonmenal and a true treat on cold days. Aside from pho I love their egg roll and golden bao sides.
Tomboy’s Chili Hamburgers
Tomboy’s Chili Hamburgers in Manhattan Beach, California has always been a family favorite. When I was young I remember visiting here and splitting the huge chili cheese fries with my parents. To this day I love visiting this place with my mom. Our favorite is their chicken salad wrap and zucchini fries.
Niko’s Donuts in Redondo Beach was another new discovery this year. This donut shop opened up right in the middle of the pandemic but quickly became a hit with South Bayers including myself. I love their special touch of steaming donuts first. They have some of the best donuts in the Beach Cities. Their blueberry donuts are a must try.
Mom’s Kitchen in Gardena, California will truly make you say “Oh my Ube!” I love ube and this small business makes some of the best and most affordable ube treats! $10 will get you a dozen fresh ube pandesal. Not to be missed also is their ube flan cupcakes.
Fu Sing is a tried and true place for great Cantonese takeout. It’s no secret that it takes me back to my childhood favorite Tin Sing and I will always love their Hung Shu Wonton dish and their pork egg rolls.
Market Grill in Torrance, California is located at Jon’s Marketplace. Who would’ve thought one could find amazing Mediterranean cuisine at a grocery store? Amazing indeed is this place. I love their Mixed Koobideh.
Addi’s Darbar in Redondo Beach, California has always been a popular Indian restaurant. Despite the pandemic their popularity did not waver. It’s for good reason as they truly offer the best Indian food. Their dishes are full of flavor. Our favorites include their the Tikka Chicken Masala as well as their samosas.
Pinky’s Hot Box
Pinky’s Hotbox in Torrance, California is comfort food at it’s best. Their hot fried chicken sandwiches are so good and a great way to treat yourself! They also got a nice fusion offering via their Longanisa fries.
Ubon Thai in Torrance, California offers some delicious Thai food. Whenever it comes to Thai food; my staple dishes are curry and pad Thai. Here at Ubon Thai; they make some of the best curry and pad thai. The curry is very flavorful with just the right hint of spice. Their pad thai is a great mix of sweet and salty.
Sushimon in Torrance, California was another fabulous discovery this year! I love their Crunchy California rolls. It’s a perfect mix of tempura and California roll. I also love getting their udon soup on a cold winter day.
Caps and Corks
Caps and Corks in Torrance, California is a surprise taco/burrito/sandwich spot inside a liquor store. Their tacos are perfect for not just Tuesday but any day. Their breakfast burritos are also a delicious way to kick off the day! All their offerings are super filling.
Von’s Chicken in Torrance, California is a great place for Korean chicken. I was absolutely thrilled when they opened up in the South Bay. They’ve got both roast and fried chicken offerings in a variety of flavors. Their chicken is always made fresh and so you get yummy, piping hot chicken when you order. Their chicken also comes in the cutest packaging!
El Pollo Inka
El Pollo Inka has several locations in the South Bay; thus making it perfect for takeout. It is a go-to spot for many including myself. I love their different saltados!
Sweet Rice in Gardena, California was listed in the top 100 places to eat at in the country in 2020. They were #8 and I am not surprised at their high ranking. Their Jok porridge is a quite a delight and is filled with meatballs as well has century egg. Yum! It definitely hits my list of top places to eat too!
Not to be outdone from Sweet Rice is Bowl Thai; their sister restaurant. This eatery which is located in Gardena, California as well makes some tasty Thai food! I love their Green Curry and Pad Thai!
King’s Hawaiian Bakery and Restaurant and The Local Place
King’s Hawaiian Bakery and Restaurant alongside their sister restaurant The Local Place offers the most ono eats in Torrance, California. It goes without saying that their sweet treats are a true treat (think paradise cake). Their entrees are also ones that should not be passed up. I love their breakfast dishes. The char siu with the fried rice is my favorite. I also am a fan of their breakfast burrito.
Though 2020 turned out to be a much different year than we all expected; there was still much to be thankful for. I am still very blessed and grateful. I was able to still enjoy good eats with my loved ones as well as support some of my favorite places via takeout.
May 2021 be a fruitful and better year for us all! Let’s start off the year with some good vibes and good eats; shall we? 😉
I’m so excited that I donut want to hide it! Randy’s Donuts has just opened their sixth location ever as well as their second location in the South Bay! Today Randy’s Donuts opened up just off Hawthorne Blvd in Torrance, California.
Two years ago I wrote about the first Randy’s Donuts in El Segundo at Apollo Landing. Similar to the El Segundo location this Torrance location has many of their famous world class donut flavors. They’ve got their popular Glazed Raised. They have their unique Maple Raised Churros. They even have the colorful Fruit Loops donuts. There is donut for every tastebud.
With the grand opening today; they will be offering free Glazed Raised donuts from 6am to noon to every one. After noon; one can get a free Glazed donut till 8pm if you follow them on their Instagram .
For more smiles; please see my Yelp Review on Randy’s Donuts Torrance
I truly miss traveling! How nice would it be to visit Naples, Italy; the birthplace of pizza. Alas though I can’t visit Naples now; there was a way I got to eat Naples style gourmet pizza. I didn’t even have to travel outside the country much less outside my city!
Thanks to Felice Italian Catering; Naples came to me. ;). Felice Italian Catering has been bringing authentic Naples style pizza to the cities of the South Bay (Redondo Beach, Torrance, Manhattan Beach, California) since 2016. The pizza is made in a traveling wood fired oven and so you’re guaranteed not only authentic pizza but a delicious, fresh pizza too!
They’ve got a variety of different pizzas such as classic favorites pepperoni and cheese. You can also get the pizza that was born in Naples; the Margherita. (A fun fact; the Margherita was named in honor the queen of Italy when she visited Naples in 1889.) The Margherita pizza of Felice Italian Catering is one out of eight specialty pizzas. The other eight include The Chef’s Special (sausage, banana peppers, basil, red onions, pesto drizzle, garlic), the Chino Special (pepperoni, sausage, basil, red onions, jalapeños), BBQ Chicken, Greek, Spicy Hawaiian and the Blanca (ricotta, cherry tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, garlic).
Aside from pizzas; Felice Catering also offers bbq, Buffalo and garlic parmesan wings. All wings come with a side of ranch.
I chose to get a combo with the Chef’s Special pizza, bbq and garlic parmesan wings and ranch dressing.
I really liked the Chef’s Special. I loved how they had equal spread of sausage, basil, red onions, banana peppers, pesto drizzle and garlic. This pizza definitely made me want to visit Italy even more. I loved each and every topping on this pizza. There’s something really special about savory sausage with cheese and slightly sweet banana pepper. Even the sauce was on point. I loved the mix of pesto along with the classic tomato sauce.
The wings were equally as delicious. I liked both the bbq and garlic Parmesan wings but the garlic Parmesan was my favorite. I loved the crispness of the wings. The garlic flavor was not too overwhelming and it was enhanced by the sprinkles of Parmesan cheese.
Though I won’t be traveling to Naples anytime soon; I am quite happy that I got a taste of Naples without even boarding an airplane. 😉
For more smiles; please see my Yelp review on Felice Italian Catering.
Donut hesitate head on over to Redondo Beach now! Just this summer Niko’s Donuts opened up in Redondo Beach and it is quickly becoming a favorite among the locals.
Niko’s Donuts is owned by Niko Chea. His donuts have a special touch as they do a different first step when making their donuts. They first steam the donuts. This slight change to the process is time consuming but definitely pays off as the donuts come out so fluffy.
Among my personal favorites are Niko’s buttermilk donuts, blueberry donuts and apple fritters. The apple fritters is a tried and true favorite. It has nice crisp outer edge and, soft inside with sweet apple filling. The buttermilk donuts similarly has the perfect fried crisp. Last but not least is the blueberry donuts that are so soft and sweet.
Niko’s donuts not only has donuts but croissants, cronuts, burritos and even chicken bakes. It’s nice to see a shop that offers a variety of good donuts and more. It’s even nicer to see a new spot open up in the South Bay. 🙂
For more smiles, please see my Yelp review on Niko’s Donuts.
Satori Thai is the latest restaurant to open up in the South Bay! Just this September 24, a new restaurant opened up in Torrance, California. With so many restaurants and small businesses closing; it’s such good news to see a new spot pop up in the local community and I was more than happy to help support this new spot recently.
Sartori Thai offers a variety of many of our favorite Thai dishes! The owners get their supplies right from Thailand and so you are sure to get some great authentic Thai food. Among the yummy dishes on the menu are chicken satay, kra thang thong, papaya salad, chicken lab, curry, pad see ew, and pad thai. I can never pass up a place that has curry and pad thai! Those are my favorite Thai dishes.
Both the curry and pad thai are part of the lunch specials too. The lunch specials are a great deal because it comes with a side salad and egg roll.
I chose to get they yellow curry with chicken and the pad thai lunch special. Both dishes are my go-to Thai dishes whenever I try a new Thai place and I was curious to see how it would be here.
Sartori Thai’s yellow curry is a traditional Thai curry cooked with coconut milk, potatoes, carrots, onions, and topped with fried onions. Traditional Thai curry is my favorite type of curry. Sartori Thai definitely nailed it with the curry broth. It had just the right hint of coconut and was perfect over white rice.
Their pad thai was traditional rice noodles with stir-fried chicken and shrimp egg, diced black tofu, bean sprouts, and Chinese chives. It was mixed in Sartori’s own house-made sweet and sour pad thai sauce. It came with crushed peanuts, carrots, and sliced lime for extra flavoring. Their pad thai was also on point. It was delicious and not too sweet. I can easily see this being their staple dish and one that will quickly become popular!
Sartori Thai is located in Old Torrance right on Sartori Ave. If you are in the area; do support the newest South Bay restaurant to open up in town.
This year with the pandemic; I wasn’t quite sure how my birthday would be. I however got the most wonderful surprise dinner from my boyfriend when he ordered from The Depot Torrance.
The Depot has been in Torrance for 29 years! First opening up in 1991; it has been a favorite of many South Bayers for celebration special occasions. Being a South Bay native; I had never tried this place and thus was excited to be able to try it for my birthday.
We started off the birthday dinner with their famous bread basket.
The Depot’s bread basket comes with cheese rolls, regular rolls, crispy cracker bread and banana bread. The bread is accompanied with regular butter and garlic pesto butter. My favorites from the bread basket are the cheese rolls and the banana bread. The cheese rolls go really well with the garlic pesto butter! It’s so flavorful.
I loved how the bread is not too heavy and it still gave room for some appetizers that my boyfriend had also prepared. (A special mention to my boyfriend Jay who also prepared the most delicious stuffed mushrooms and eggplants!)
For our main course; we had filet mignon and lamb chops alongside yam mashers, sautéed mushrooms, zucchini and herbed asparagus.
The filet mignon and lamb chops are some of the best that I’ve ever had. The cuts were so tender! They were cooked just right. The meats also went really well with the yam mashers and veggies. I absolutely loved the yam mashers. They were soft and creamy with just the right flavoring of sweet potato. The mixed vegetables were also quite amazing. The asparagus, spinach and zucchini were quite tasty. Every single item on the plate was excellent.
Though we did not physically dine out this year; I can say that my birthday dinner this year was still one of the best birthday dinners I’ve ever had. I can truly see why The Depot is so popular for all these years. Their food is just perfect for special occasions.
For more smiles; please see my Yelp review on The Depot Torrance.
It’s been five years since The Point had their grand opening in El Segundo. Since their opening in 2015 they have continued to bring a variety of premier restaurants and shops. This 2020 is no exception! Just recently; Van Leeuwen Ice Cream opened up shop at The Point.
Originating from NYC; Van Leeuwen offers premier “healthy” ice cream. They’ve got classic flavors made out of milk, cream, cane sugar and egg yolks along side vegan flavors made with cashews or oats, coconuts and cocoa butter.
Van Leeuwen has a motto of “a life without anything good is bad” and they truly make “good – good” ice cream. I tried their vegan Cookies and Cream Caramel Swirl for my first visit and it was definitely out of this world excellent. It’s a creamy vegan ice cream with Tahitian vanilla bean, dark chocolate chip cookies sandwiched with cream filling and house made caramel. It was wonderfully smooth with a nice hint of coconut milk that I did not expect. It was unique and tasty! I will never view vegan quite the same again!
Van Leeuwen is definitely a good addition to The Point and it’s opening is just in time for these hot summer days! What are you waiting for…get to The Point as the best vegan ice cream awaits you there ;).
Just this February 2020; I wrote about Caps and Corks a newly opened liquor store in Torrance, California that was offering some amazing food via breakfast burritos and submarine sandwiches. Their food quickly gained a lot of popularity in the South Bay community and beyond. Now there’s another reason for foodies to rejoice as Caps and Corks recently just debuted a new LA Street Foods menu!
It was just Cinco de Mayo this week and the timing could not have been more perfect to try the new tacos that are part of their LA Street Foods Menu. It was a double celebration as it was not only Cinco de Mayo but also Taco Tuesday!
They offer three types of street tacos; carne asada, pollo or al pastor. All the street tacos are on corn tortillas with the customer’s chosen meat along with toppings of cilantro, onion and spicy or mild salsa.
Happy Cinco de Mayo indeed as these tacos were quite tasty! I tried all the meats and thought each one had it’s own unique flavor. I would have to say though my favorite was the Al Pastor as I thought the seasoning really stuck out. The pork was also perfectly tender. I will definitely be back for these tacos regardless of whether it is (taco) Tuesday or not.
Another reason for me to come back to Caps and Corks is to try the rest of their new LA Street Foods menu. In addition to tacos they have burritos; quesadillas and hot diggity dogs! Yes! You read it right they’re offering a variety of different hot dogs offered the same way as what you’d find at your local LA street vendor back in the day (pre-quarantine!) and yes this includes bacon wrapped hot dogs!
The new additions to Caps and Corks menu are definitely a fiesta for the tummy and can’t wait to try the other offerings.
Today is Easter; a day of prayer, renewal and hope. As we continue to pray for an end to this pandemic; we also continue to move forward as a community. One way to help bring hope to the many restaurants impacted in our communities is via ordering takeout or delivery.
In my next series of blog posts; I wanted to share some of my favorite restaurants that are offering great takeout deals.
One of the top restaurants on my go-to for takeout is Mo-Mo Paradise in Torrance. I first discover Mo-Mo Paradise back in 2017. The restaurant specializing in Japanese hot pot became a favorite of mine. I was not alone in loving this restaurant as there was always a crowd and a wait every single day.
With the pandemic; Mo-Mo Paradise like many other restaurants had to find innovative ways to offer food to their many customers. For the first time ever they launched a new delivery and take-out option.
First to debut on their new delivery and take-out menu were their bowls. For $9.95 customers have the choice of the Beef Shabu Curry Bowl, Beef Sukiyaki Bowl, Pork Tonkotsu Bowl, and Kimchi Pork Bowl. .
Their Beef Shabu Curry bowl is one of my favorites because it consists of their very popular savory curry that is normally part of their AYCE side buffet. For the to-go option they pile on rich curry over layers of thin sliced braised beef, caramelized onions and carrots. It is definitely fulfilling and very tasty!
I also like their Beef Sukiyaki bowl. It is a different take of their Beef Sukiyaki hot pot. Instead of a broth they have a rice bowl topped with thinly sliced beef, gobo, onions, carrots, king oyster mushrooms, napa cabbage, kale, mushroom, tofu ginger, green onions and a egg.
If one is craving for something more similar to their traditional Shabu Shabu menu; Mo-Mo Paradise has that too! They recently added to their delivery and takeout menu; Shabu Shabu and Sukiyaki sets.
This Easter Sunday I ordered a shabu shabu set and it made for the perfect Easter feast. Right at the comfort of our home; we were able to cook and enjoy the yummy Japanese hot pot.
Each set is $45 and comes with choice of broth (tonkotsu, kimchi, sukiyaki or shabu shabu), choice of two meats (beef chuck eye roll, short plate or kurubota pork shoulder) choice of two sides (rice, udon or ramen), vegetables, sauces and condiments. One can also add a la carte such as pork meatballs.
Right now Mo-Mo Paradise even has a great deal of giving 10% off your order.
Needless to say all of our lives have turned upside down during this crisis. One of the things that remain constant however is love of family and support of community. Through different takeouts such as what Mo-Mo Paradise has to offer; I am still able to enjoy some of my favorites at home with family and at the same time be able support local eateries.
For more smiles, please see my Yelp Review on Mo-Mo Paradise Torrance.