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 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 Manhattan Beach Food Tour!

I am so blessed to be able to call the South Bay home. Beautiful views, sunny weather and pure beach side bliss; what more can a girl ask for? I was thus so thrilled to learn about Manhattan Beach Food Tour, a new tour launching just in time for this summer. In this food tour, visitors go on a culinary journey all over Downtown Manhattan Beach.  Being a foodie and a beach cities girl, I was very happy to be part of the very first tour they had today.

Well known for their world class restaurants; Manhattan Beach is the perfect town to try out some of the best cuisines.

We started off our tour with a visit to Paradise Bowls and had the Gaucho Açaí Bowl.

The Manhattan Beach location is the very first location for Paradise Bowls. It first opened in 2013 in Manhattan Beach by UCSB alumni, Alex Graham and Justin Segal. The Gaucho Bowl is tribute to their UCSB days. Gaucho is the UCSB mascot and this bowl would do any UCSB alum proud. It’s a yummy treat with bananas, strawberries, blueberries, açaí and apple juice. This was the perfect start to a the tour.

Our second stop was Jimmy’s Kouzina. Here we had their delicious Cheese Boat.

This fresh baked cheese boat is a great representative of both the Italian cuisine and Greek cuisine that Jimmy’s is well known for. It is shaped just like a Greek sailboat and is topped with a Casera cheese and Parmesan cheese. Casera cheese is a creamy cheese from Northern Italy. I love how they make their own bread here at this restaurant known for both Greek and Italian delights.

The third stop of the tour Simmzy’s. Here we had one of their most popular dishes, The 15 Minute (but worth the wait) Wings!

This was definitely one of my favorite stops of the tour. The wings are not your ordinary wings and definitely worth the wait ;). They have both a little bit of spice and a little bit of sweet! They’re served with Simmzy’s homemade blue cheese dressing. The Simms restaurants are some of most delicious restaurants in Manhattan Beach and it was great to have Simmzy’s as part of the tour. It was even more special to have a chance to try their famous wings.

For our fourth stop, we went to Rock N’ Fish. Here we got to they their Coconut Crusted Mahi Sliders.

Rock N’ Fish is the first full service restaurant of Manhattan Beach restaurateur Michael Zislis. This restaurant is very popular for their seafood dishes and though it’s not often that I have seafood; I just had to try a dish here. I have to say these mahi sliders were a pleasant surprise and very enjoyable. The crispy mahi mahi was smothered with sweet chili aioli and topped mango slaw and avocado. I loved the mix of flavors.

Our fifth stop was our last savory stop of the day; El Sombrero. Who says tacos are only for Tuesday’s? We got to feast on some of Manhattan Beach’s best tacos today!

When entering El Sombrero; the owner’s first greeting is “Welcome home.” “El Som” as locals fondly call it has been a part of Manhattan Beach since 1975. The simple, hometown feel and traditional Mexican food is something that struck out from the moment I waked in. It really did feel like home and I loved their tacos! We got to try their crispy beef tacos and grilled shrimp tacos. Hearty, meaty beef inside with and crisp shell outside; these beef tacos are some of the best tacos I’ve ever had. The grilled shrimp tacos were also wonderful. These were served with soft, fresh tortillas. It is no wonder this place has been a favorite of locals for so long.

It truly was beautiful day and we had the sweetest ending. Manhattan Beach Food Tour’s last stop was Manhattan Beach Creamery. Here we got to enjoy their Cream’wich.

Manhattan Beach Creamery is the home of the original artisan ice cream sandwich. It’s so fitting we got to try their original Cream’wich. It was the perfect sweet ending for a sunny day and awesome tour. The Cream’wich we had was a delightful ice cream sandwich with two chocolate chip cookies and vanilla ice cream in between. The cookies and ice cream are special to Manhattan Beach Creamery. The cookies are from their Karelia Bakery and the ice cream is freshly made in house.

Though Manhattan Beach Creamery was the official last stop of the day. We actually had a very pleasant surprise at the end when our awesome tour guides, Lauren and Amanda gave us a customized surfboard cookies from Becker’s Bakery.

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The surfboard cookies are Becker’s Bakery’s signature cookies. I was so touched to receive these cookies! They were customized with my name as well as one for my mom; who was my guest for this tour. It was also special because it represented Manhattan Beach so beautifully.

It truly was a special day! I loved bonding with my mom in one of my favorite cities and it was lovely to be a part of the first ever Manhattan Beach Food Tour! The tour really showcased the beauty and diversity that Manhattan Beach has to offer.

For more smiles, please see my Yelp review on Manhattan Beach Food Tours.

Hello Philz Coffee El Segundo!

I love you to the moon and back….cup of love.

Philz Coffee has officially “landed” in El Segundo! The sixth Los Angeles location just opened it’s doors at Apollo Landing; El Segundo’s premier new hot spot for casual dining.

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It is no secret that I crush on coffee houses and this new Philz Coffee is very much crush worthy. Right by their outdoor patio one will instantly spot the space themed 9×55’ mural that LA based Artist & Muralist Cloe Hakakian customized for this location. The mural has in bold letters “I love you to the moon and back” and this very much true of how this foodie feels about this new Philz Coffee.

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Philz Coffee is all about brewing every cup “One Cup at a Time.” Each of their “cups of love”  are crafted to every individual customer’s taste with the goal of making people’s better days. It surely made my day today. 🙂

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They recommend that the first cup to try is “Philz Way.” Philz Way consists of a cup of love with medium sweet with cream. My new favorite is the Mint Mojito. This drink has fresh mint with just right hint of sweet.

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The blend that was refreshing, flavorful, creamy and so smooth. I instantly fell in love with my cup of love. It was unique, tasty and wonderful.

In addition to my Mint Mojito; I got to try several of Philz Coffee’s different food offerings.

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I loved their savory offerings. The Mediterranean Avocado Toast has egg, chives, zatar, olive oil, sea salt and pepper while their Hummus and Tomato Toast has feta, chives and sumac. Both were excellent!

Their sweet treats were equal in deliciousness. From cookies to croissants; every thing paired well with their coffees. Some of my favorites include the white chocolate cashew cookies, the almond croissant and the blueberry muffins.

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To the new Philz Coffee; welcome to the neighborhood. I am so happy you have landed at Apollo Landing. I love you to the moon and back already ;).

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For more smiles; please see my Yelp review on Philz Coffee El Segundo.

 

 

Hello Orveganic!

Located in Lawndale, California is what is a hidden gem in every sense of the word. Orveganic Coffee House and Protein Bar is at the corner of a small dead end street and can easily be missed but missing this place would truly be a sad thing for it is well worth a visit.

Orveganic just opened up this past March 2018 but they are no stranger to offering healthy and tasty treats to the South Bay and beyond. They are the brains behind Healthy Butter; nut butter that can be found in several different Farmers Markets around Southern California. Taking the same kitchen where they produce Healthy Butter; the owners decided to expand and open up Orveganic; a cafe offering organic, plant Based and gluten-free dishes and drinks.

I had the pleasure of coming to this cute cafe and loved it the moment I came in. Chic and comfy are perfect words to describe the interior where they have light oak wood benches and tables. There are colorful pillows along the seating and a good display of their various offerings.

Coffee houses are always my crush and I knew I had to try out one of their coffees. Their coffees have even been chemist tested and there are 0 out of 418 chemicals and pesticides. Each of their drinks are even packed with lots of protein! For my drink choice, I chose to get the Cinnamon Vanilla Maple Latte.

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The Cinnamon Vanilla Maple Latte was truly a wonderful way to start off my meal here. Warm and nutty; it was packed with healthy goodness.

For the entrees; my friend and I chose two of their more popular dishes; the TexMex Tofu Scramble and the Almond Chardonnay Cheddar Alfredo.

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The TexMex Tofu has peppercinis grilled tofu with tomatoes, red peppers, onions and garlic. It is topped with avocado seed guacamole and is served alongside warm corn tortillas. I loved the mix of ingredients in this dish. The soft tofu along with the tomatoes, red peppers, onions and garlic were simply wonderful. The avocado seed guacamole was creamy and definitely a nice touch. One can really tell it is healthy and homemade. It really reminded me of home cooking.

The Almond Chardonnay Cheddar Alfredo was my favorite entree of the day! Who knew pasta could be healthy and tasty at the same time. This is not your typical pasta dish and instead something very special. This cheesy and yummy dish consisted of sautéed scallions, mushrooms and garlic mixed with almond mealk, cashew butter, chardonnay cheddar cream cheese sauce all over sorghum and quinoa fusilli. I loved the overall creaminess and taste of “cheese.”

I was quite full after the latte and the entrees; but I’m so glad that I tried one of their desserts! For dessert; they offer mealk shakes, chia pudding, raw jam yogurt and raw ice mealk (their version of ice cream!) I chose to get their raw jam yogurt and it sure was a treat.

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From the outside; the raw jam yogurt looks simple but inside a pleasant surprise awaits! It is made with cashew cheese yogurt and raw seasonal fruit jam with a hint of maple. I loved the fruitiness that instantly hit the palate. It has a passionfruit taste and was definitely one of the most unique and best desserts I’ve ever had.

This place is truly a gem. Every thing I tried was wonderful and surpassed by expectations. I loved how they’re able to turn in various healthy ingredients into such tasty treats. I was smiling the whole time here 🙂

Small and cute; it can be easy to not spot Organic. This place however is definitely one that Hello Kitty Foodies and friends should check out. From their fresh, hearty and healthy treats; one is sure to smile just like me.

For more smiles, please see my Yelp review on Orveganic.

Hello The Grail Churros & Ice Cream.

“Not all who wander are lost.”

Wanderlust is defined by the strong desire to wander and for this Hello Kitty Foodie, I often find myself wandering to the hottest and sweetest spots in town. Such was the case when I found myself “wandering” to The Grail Churros and Ice Cream shop in Redondo Beach.

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The Grail Churros and Ice Cream is a new sweet shop that recently opened up in Riviera Village in Redondo Beach. Specializing in churros and ice cream, it is truly a gem of a place. The fact that their name is “The Grail” is perfect; as it symbolizes the prize at the end of wandering.

Each of their offerings here is indeed a prize. One has the option to choose between a sixteen inch churro stick with dust, glaze and toppings, a cup/cone of ice cream or even a combination of churro and ice cream via their Sahara tent; ice cream plus churro or their sandstorm; churro ice cream sandwich. They also have signature churros via their matcha churro, campfire churro, magic wand churro or the churro con cafe. The campfire churro is similar to a s’more; with the churro dusted with honey graham crackers, glazed with melted marshmallow and drizzled with hot fudge and mini marshmallows. The magic wand is indeed magical as it glazed with purple cosmic dust and is sprinkled with colorful stars.

The ice cream choices here are equally as fascinating as their churro. They’ve got yummy classics like cookie dough and butter pecan as well as exotic flavor like Ube (purple yam) and Langka (jackfruit). Perhaps one may be surprised with the Filipino flair in their ice cream. The Pinoy touch is no coincidence as The Grail is partly owned by the half Filipino Sakr brothers. The Sakr brothers are also the brains behind another South Bay favorite;  Torrance Civil Clothing.

If choosing between churro and ice cream is hard; the Sahara tent or sandstorm are perfect choices. The Sahara tent is one sixteen inch churro with one scoop of ice cream while the sandstorm is a churro ice cream sandwich with one scoop of ice cream, choice of dust and one topping. Dust options are matcha, signature cinnamon, spanish espresso or cosmic; a lovely purple dust topping. Toppings include honey graham crackers, sprinkles, m&ms, captain crunch cereal and more delights.

Upon my trip here, I chose to get a sandstorm dusted with cosmo dust, paired with langka ice cream and topped with Captain Crunch cereal. Sugarlust indeed.

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Not all who wander are lost…for sometimes it leads you to a sweet prize.

For more smiles, please see my Yelp review on The Grail Churros and Ice Cream.

 

Hello Stonefire Grill Torrance!

Stonefire Grill is all about community and family. First started by sisters Mary and Maureen Harrigan in 2000, this fast-casual dining concept quickly grew to nine Southern California restaurants and now it’s opening up its 10th location in Torrance, California.

I recently had a chance to check out the newest location and quickly became a fan. It is the perfect restaurant to enjoy good eats and good times with family and friends.

Stonefire Grill has quite an extensive menu that has items every one in the family can enjoy. They’ve got pizza, sandwiches, pasta, signature salads, grill items and more. There is some thing for every taste bud.

I started my meal here with their chicken tortilla soup.

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The chicken tortilla soup is garnished with jack cheese, cilantro, avocado and tortilla chips. The small is a pretty fulfilling bowl that is sure to warm your heart and your tummy. They’ve also got a large that is perfect for sharing.

Speaking of sharing, perfect sharables are items from their grill section. From chicken to meat and seafood, Stonefire Grill’s grill items are slowly cooked overnight and finished over a live mesquite fire for their sauces. Each item is made to order and comes with a salad (Garden Caesar, Cartwheel or Greek), a small side item and 2 freshly baked breadsticks.

The breadsticks are Stonefire Grill’s signature item and is one that should not be missed when coming here.

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Breadsticks are freshly made and come out so soft and warm. Marinara sauce and buttermilk ranch are available as dipping sauces. I tried it with buttermilk ranch and instantly fell in love.

It was hard not to be full after the soup and breadsticks but I just had to save room for their grill items. My personal favorite from the Grill menu was their boneless chicken breast and tri-tip.

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The chicken can be garnished with mesquite bbq or lemon garlic. I chose to get my dish with lemon garlic. It was one of the tastiest chicken dishes I have ever had. The chicken  was perfectly tender and I loved the lemon zest it was flavored with. There were also small chunks of garlic on top that added a nice but subtle garlic flavor.

As for the tri-tip, one can get it with mesquite bbq or pepper garlic topped with gorgonzola butter. I chose to get it with mesquite bbq. Just like the chicken breast, the tri-tip was a winner. The beef cut was lean and every thing about the meat was on point. It was flavored perfectly and matched well with my side of garlic mashed potatoes.

The grill menu is not just about meat however because one can also enjoy some items from the sea. The Meditteraean sea bass is a Stonefire Grill favorite.

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It comes with sustainably farmed Branzino with fresh lemon, olive oil and red chili flakes and is served with a bed of farro salad. It’s a beautiful, healthy plate.

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The Farro Salad comes with farro, caramelized onions, basil, parsley, green onion, walnuts, parmesan, lemon and olive oil. I liked the mixture of ingredients. Each truly stuck out and enhanced the farro fabulously.

It doesn’t end with the savory items here however because Stonefire Grill has some awesome sweets as well!

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Their desserts are made from family recipes and are prepared every morning. They’ve got their signature carrot cake, cheesecake, fudge brownies and cookies. Each item can be served as a half or as a full.

The carrot cake was my personal favorite.  It was so moist and complete with walnuts and creamy cream cheese frosting. The heavenly cheesecake was indeed heavenly and nicely topped with fresh blueberry sauce. The fudge brownies were also great. Soft and chewy, it was chocolate bliss.

The food is something everyone can enjoy and it’s a great place to share some good meals. I also noticed that everyone at Stonefire Grill was pleasant and willing to give a hand; just like family. In fact when I came, tip proceeds went to the Pediatric Therapy Network. This place truly is about the community.

Stonefire Grill has it’s grand opening in Torrance tomorrow, February 6.

For more smiles, please see my Yelp review on Stonefire Grill Torrance.