Hello Cherrystones Chili!

Hello Cherrystones Chili!

It’s Super Bowl Sunday and there’s a winner already in my books! Cherrystones Grill and Grotto in Gardena, California got the touchdown in my heart…err tummy šŸ˜‰ with their award winning chili!

Cherrystones has been in Gardena since 1987 and they’re famous for their Hawaiian ono food along with other delicious dishes such as Prime Rib and Chilean Sea Bass. It’s their chili however that they’re most famous for. Their chili won an award at the Malibu Kiwanis 30th anniversary Chili cookout and was voted the best chili and most popular!

This Super Bowl Sunday; Cherrystones offered a variety of specials that included their chili. One of them was the Chili Tamale.

The Chili Tamale is usually only available on Chili Wednesdays but lucky for me they had this Super Bowl Sunday. I felt like the Super Bowl champ with scoring this dish! A soft tamale filled with tender beef was smothered with lots and lots of their flavorful chili and topped off with shredded cheese and some onions. Wow! It is no wonder this chili won awards because it’s some of the best chili I’ve ever had.

Alongside the Chili Tamale; I got some of their Hawaiian Fried Chicken. Once again; Cherrystones wins. The Hawaiian Fried Chicken was so ono. The chicken itself had a nice, sweet flavor.

Touchdown! Score! Cherrystone Chili for the win!

For more smiles; please check out my Yelp review on Cherrystones Grill and Grotto.

Hello dineLA @ Sausal!

Hello dineLA @ Sausal!

Downtown El Segundo is slowly starting to become a favorite place of mine to hang out and dine. From the hip and happeningĀ Rock and BrewsĀ to the healthy and organicĀ Farmstand, I have come to love all the good eats that downtown El Segundo has to offer.

Last year during my birthday, downtown El Segundo opened up Sausal, a restaurant featuring nuevo rancho cuisine with Mexican and Spanish influences. Their inspiration is the wood-fire, smoke and slow roasting technique popularized by the rancheros who once were housed in the land there. Sausal is named after Rancho Sausal Redondo (Round Willow Ranch), which is the farmstead that once was in South Bay and in El Segundo. This restaurant is also the brain child of Chef Anne Conness, of Tin Roof Bistro and Simmzy’s fame.

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I’ve had my eye on Sausal since it opened last Fall. It seemed like a sign for me to dine here especially since they opened the same day as my birthday. I finally got the chance to dine here during dineLA! I am always such a big fan of dineLA because they always have some amazing deals where one can try out some of the most delicious eats around town. When I saw Sausal was participating in dineLA, there was no question that I had to come here.

My dineLA experience started with an appetizer of my choice. I chose to get their oxtail picadillo empanada.

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Three empanadas were presented to me with an accompanying sauce of tomatillo verde salsa. At first bite, I was quite impressed with the buttery, flaky crust. Divulging deeper, my palate was pleased with the tender oxtail that was inside the empanadas. Sausal does oxtail right. The oxtail inside the empanadas was so meaty and rich. Perfection.

My main entree of choice is one of Sausal’s specialty’s their duck tamale with black mole.

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The plating alone made me fall in love with the duck tamale right away. TheĀ duck tamales are encased in corn husk, topped with crumbled cotija and surrounded by mole rich sauce and squares of butternut squash. The tamale itself is filled with tender shreds of duck confit. The duck is amazing and flavorful and the mole sauce enhances the taste even more. I loved the cotija cheese and the butternut squash that added a soft texture and taste to this dish.

Overall Sausal just impressed me with their unique menu and offerings. Both the empanadas and tamale were superb. Who would of thought of oxtail empanadas and duck confit inside a tamale? It’s different and just pleasing overall. I am loving this new spot in El Segundo and it is a definite place, that I hope to visit in the future. There are plenty of smiles to be had at Sausal.

Ā For more smiles, please see my recentĀ Yelp reviewĀ on Sausal.

Hello Porto’s Bakery and Cafe!

Hello Porto’s Bakery and Cafe!

There’s a ray of light shining from above. A beautiful sight. A blissful feeling. An angelic chorus singing….am I in foodie heaven?

Ahh no…I’m only at Porto’s Bakery and Cafe (and that angelic chorus is actually my stomach growling haha)

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I love Porto’s Bakery and Cafe! I also find myself loving each and every thing I try from here. Everything is so heavenly.

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My top favorites are their potato ball and their dulce de leche cookies!

The potato ball is a mashed potato filled with seasoned ground beef. It is breaded and fried.
It is my favorite savory item from this Cuban bakery.

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My favorite sweet item from this Cuban bakery is their dulce de leche kisses. They are light and crispy butter tart doughs filled with dulce de leche and topped with powder sugar. These wonderful cookies simply melt in your mouth.

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I always make sure to get those two items from Porto’s Bakery and Cafe whenever I purchase something from here. However through the years, I am finding more and more new heavenly things to try.

On my latest trip I got to try their tamales. These Cuban style tamales are filled with pork. The outer layer is perfectly soft and the pork inside is so tender. It’s fulfilling and hearty.

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The most blissful surprise however was dissevering that Porto’s has a full coffee bar offering hot, iced and ice blended beverages! I’d never known that Porto’s offers coffee drinks! I truly was in heaven with this discovery and I found myself with the best drink ever with the dulce de leche latte ice blended. It has espresso, dulce de leche, vanilla and steamed milk. This was love at first sip. The espresso can be tasted right at the initial sip and then slowly the sweetness of dulce de leche will kick in. Ahh that angelic chorus err stomach is humming again with the thought of that sweetness. It is the sweet feeling of satisfaction.

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Porto’s Cuban Bakery and Cafe is foodie heaven indeed. My love for Porto’s has grown through the years and each and every time I’ve gotten something here, I am full of smiles.

For more smiles, please see my Porto’s experiences through the years via my Yelp reviews on Porto’s Bakery and Cafe.

Hello Flavors of Belize!

Hello Flavors of Belize!

I love discovering new restaurants and I love it even more when I discover it because of my friends! Tonight, I got to try a new place and it was all because of Yelp and my great Yelp friends. We went to dinner out at Flavors of Belize in Los Angeles. It is a place I would have never found myself and I am so thankful for my foodie friends for a night of new cuisine. It was my first time ever to try Belizean cuisine and so each dish was a nice surprise of deliciousness for me.

Our meals started out with complimentary chips and beans. The beans were slightly spicy, thus making it a bit different from beans I am normally accustomed to. It was good and indication of the other yummy treats we had in store for the night.

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We tried several appetizers tonight. Garnaches was the first dish we tried. It is homemade tortillas topped with refried beans, Belizean tomato and onion sauce and cheese.

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The bean and cheese topping was plentiful and perfect for the crispy tortilla base. This was one light but tasty dish.

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The next appetizer, salbutes, was also very tasty. Salbutes is masa tortillas that are fried and topped with shredded chicken and cabbage, cilantro and tomato sauce.

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Similar to our first appetizer of garnaches, these salbutes was topped with so much goodness. There was plenty of shredded chicken and cabbage sauce! They are very generous with their toppings here!

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Fish panades was the third appetizer we tried. I don’t eat seafood so I cannot write too much about this one. My friends did enjoy these fried masa tortillas stuffed with fish and topped with onions. I tried a little bit of the crust and did like how flaky and crispy it was. 20130824-220738.jpg

The last appetizer we had, were the best in my opinion. The meat pies were my favorite appetizers.
They are filled with spiced ground beef. They say these are a Belizean favorite and I can definitely see why! Crispy outside and savory inside, these are perfect mini treats!

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After the appetizers, it was time for the main courses and just like the appetizers, they were super fulfilling! The generous toppings on the appetizers should have given me an indication of how big their portions were. When the tamales came out, I was even more surprised. These were some gigantic tamales. It was filled with chicken and wrapped in a banana leaf. It was one very big and savory traditional Belizean tamale!

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We got oxtail for our main course. Chunks of oxtail and a lot of carrots were served to us in large bowls.

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We ate the oxtail with several side dishes such as rice and beans, potato salad, white rice and beans.

The rice and beans were good mix of white rice and minced beans.

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For the non bean or non rice eaters or those who don’t like them mixed, Taste of Belize had some dishes for them as well.

We did get a side of beans too (sans rice).
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We also got white rice (sans beans).
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As if we didn’t have enough carbs already, we also got potato salad ;). I’m glad we did get potato salad though because this was one of my favorites! I liked the slightly sweet flavor of the potato salad here. It had a very homemade like taste.

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All of the sides were great and good combined with the oxtail.
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We ended the night with some great deserts!

We first tried the fried plantains. I always enjoy places that serve this dessert. Here, they were nicely soft and sweet.
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The owner, Kendrick, gave us some complimentary milk cake. It was yellow cake topped with homemade caramel.
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We were also give complimentary coconut tarts. I really liked these cute, simple but yummy tarts. They were not too sweet and had just the right amount of coconut.

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Tonight was a great night of new food and meeting new friends! My first try at Belizean food was an excellent one and I am so thankful to have experienced it with some fellow foodies and good friends!
To read more about my experience at Flavors of Belize, please read my Yelp review here:
http://www.yelp.com/biz/flavors-of-belize-los-angeles#hrid:7dBZmtswnldv7BcP0rBXtQ