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 Brunch at Restoration Kitchen and Wine!

Blessings and Brunch!

Happy Easter Hello Kitty Foodies! Easter is more than just eggs and candy. It is also about peace, love, family and friends. For this easter not only my tummy full but my heart as well as I got to enjoy a wonderful brunch with my mom at  Restoration Kitchen and Wine in Old Torrance, California.

The brunch menu at Restoration Kitchen and Wine just arrived this February. When I heard they were offering brunch, I knew I had to check it out. I had previously dined for dinner at Restoration Kitchen and Wine and was utterly delighted with their savory dishes. I knew brunch would nonetheless be equal in excellence.

Signature dishes on their brunch menu include classics such as french toast, corned beef hash and steak and eggs. There also some special Restoration dishes named after their wonderful staff such as Becca’s Scramble with 3 eggs, sausage, tomatoes, kale, cheddar cheese and multi grain toast  (named after their Kitchen manager, Rebecca Foley) and Wes’ Turkey Sandwich with yuzu mayo, sprouts and multi grain bread (named after co-owner Wesley Takiguchi). Though primarily breakfast egg dishes do appear on their brunch menu; they do have several items also seen on their dinner menu such as their Furikake Fries, Wild Mushroom Flatbread and Slow Roasted Beet Salad.  For my Easter Brunch, I chose to do a mix of their brunch items and some of their dinner dishes.

Easter brunch started off with an order of their Furikake Fries.

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The Furikake Fries are sprinkled with nori komi furikake. The seasoning of mixed sesame seeds and crunchy seaweed bits was definitely a nice touch. The fries were crisp and had great flavor. It also came with a wonderful side of wasabi aioli. The wasabi aioli was unique, tasty and great for dipping. It had subtle wasabi flavor but enough to give a different kick to the aioli.

The fries were a great starter to what followed next. The brunch menu’s savory dish selection is excellent and one is in for a treat with any of their items.

Their signature selection includes different hash dishes.

There is the Corned Beef Hash.

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This hearty dish consists of corned beef, carrots, cabbage, onions and potatoes topped with a sunny side egg. It also comes with multi-grain toast. Who says corned beef is just for St. Patty’s day?

The other hash dish on the menu is the Short Rib Hash.

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The Short Rib Hash is definitely my new brunch favorite. The short rib was perfectly tender and meaty and went well with the butternut squash, green onions, tomatoes and potatoes that it came with. Similar to the corned beef hash, it was also topped with a sunny side egg and accompanied with a multi-grain toast.

For meat lovers, the classic Steak and Eggs on the menu would be the perfect choice.

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Restoration Kitchen and Wine’s Steak and Eggs comes with an 8 oz choice NY steak, two eggs, breakfast potatoes and multi-grain toast. Dinner for breakfast or breakfast for dinner? This is one very fulfilling dish!

From Furkiake Fries to Short Rib Hash and NY Steak and Egg, our tummies sure were full but so were our hearts!

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Each savory dish almost made us too full for dessert but who can pass up a new sweet dish on the menu.

Their Strawberry Shortcake just recently hit the menu and it is a must try for every one who has a sweet tooth.

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This delightful dessert has house made honey biscuits topped with lemon cream, fresh strawberries, vanilla ice cream. Each bite was pure heaven.

It was a wonderful morning to spend Easter brunch at Restoration Kitchen and Wine. Blessings and brunch; I could not ask for more on this beautiful day.

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.

Hello Beach Vibes at Brio LA West Yelp Elite Event!

Four courses. Eight plates. Epic. That is the Yelp elite way.

In my last blog post, I happily announced that I once again am blessed to be part of the Yelp Elite Squad. Just recently I was blessed too to be part of one of the first LA West Yelp Elite events of 2018; Beach Vibes at Brio.

This event was epic  for a variety of reasons!

  • 1). It was my first elite event ever as a Yelp Black Elite (woohoo here’s to 10 years and counting!)
  • 2). It was in the South Bay (woohoo hometown!)
  • 3). It was a four course dinner with eight plates (woohoo full of deliciousness!)

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Upon arrival at the venue, we were all given complimentary pink cosmos. It truly was the start of a special night!

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For the savory treats, we first were all treated to some small plates.

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Chopped salad had tomatoes, grilled corn, cucumber, smoked gouda, marcona almonds, avocado, lemon vinaigrette and chile lime ranch. This was healthy, crunchy and tasty. The chile lime ranch stood out and brought so much flavor.

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Roasted beets and whipped feta was the other small plate for our starters. This had red and gold beets, macron almonds and lemon vinaigrette. The red and gold beets were the perfect color for us Yelp elites (hmm doesn’t it remind you of the Yelp badges? 😉

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Third small plate of the night was a favorite for many. The Shrimp n Grits had black pepper shrimp along with creamy smoked gouda polenta. It had a curry like flavor that was out of this world!

From small plates to entrees, we sure were in for a treat that night!

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First up was the Bucatini Pomodoro. This lovely vegetarian dish had san mariano tomatoes, basil and burrata. The huge burrata topping was wonderful!

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The Skirt Steak was the other main entree of the night. Two 8 oz steaks prepared medium and topped with chimichurri were served to us Yelpers. Tender and tasty, it was a true treat!

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Alongside the two savory dishes, we were also treated to some frites accompanied with sriracha ketchup, creamy horseradish and sweet chile aioli!

But wait there’s more…..

How could we end the night without a bang? We got not one but two desserts!

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For closers that evening, we had a Warm Berry Cake that was toped with vanilla gelato and berry compote and Brio’s Gooey Chocolate Cake that was topped with hazelnut gelato, nutella crispies and whipped caramel! It truly is sweet to be elite!

Four courses. Eight plates. Happy Yelper!

2018 Epic Yelp Year, here we come!

 

Hello Birthday @ Madre Oaxacan Restaurant & Mezcaleria!

I’d like to start off this blog post with a special thanks to all the Hello Kitty Foodies who sent birthday greetings, texts, kind words and love! You have all really made me feel extra special and loved on my special day 💕. My heart is filled with happiness ❤️.

I truly had a wonderful birthday spent with family and friends and I got to experience dining at the newly opened Madre Oaxacan Restaurant & Mezcaleria in Old Torrance.

Madre specializes in cuisine from Oaxaca, Mexico; a city that is located in Southwestern Mexico. Oaxacan cuisine is similar to other Mexican cuisine but they have a more variety in terms of ingredients used in their dishes and this is due to the influence of the state’s diverse geography and indigenous cultures. Some of their most popular dishes have chocolate, Oaxaca cheese and mezcal.   To start off my birthday dinner, I had one of the more traditional Oaxacan dishes; the Tlayuda.

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Tlayuda is a popular snack food in Oaxaca and it is what some may call a Mexican pizza.  Here at Madre, they have various different Tlayuda and I chose to get their Tlayuda El Nopal. The Tlayuda El Nopal consisted of a very large thin, crispy tortilla that was topped with aciento paste, black bean paste, cabbage, avocado slices, radishes, tomato, quesillo, chorizo, tasajo and cecina.  It truly was a dish like no other. I enjoyed the crunchiness of the thin tortilla and the flavors of the quesillo, chorizo, tasajo and cecina.

The second dish that I got to try for my birthday dinner was their Mole Coloradito.

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There are several states in Mexico that claim to be the origin of mole and one of them is Oaxaca. Oaxaca happens to be best known for their mole and so I didn’t want to pass up trying one of the mole dishes here. As I stated earlier in this blog post, chocolate is a well used ingredient in Oaxacan cusine. This is seen in Madre’s Coloradito dish. This entree consisted of chicken with red mole, made from toasted chiles, nuts, seeds, spices and Oaxaca chocolate. It is served with rice and tortillas. The mole sauce is thick with a bit of sweetness. There is also a hint of spice in this dish because of the chiles. It is great topping for the rice and also enjoyable with the tortilla. The flavor of Oaxaca chocolate hits the palate instantly with a bit of a sweet kick and then the spiceness hits right after.

Alongside with the traditional Oaxaca food I got to try that night, I had a virgin Madre margarita.

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Madre is not only a Oaxacan restaurant but a Mezcalaria as well. Mezcal is a spirit distilled from mash made out of the steamed hearts of various species of agaves. Madre’s cocktails and spirit selection is by Barlingual. Similar to the food that they serve, Madre’s cocktails are crafted uniquely with premier ingredients.

To top the night off and make it even more special was I got surprised with a very special birthday treat courtesy of Madre via Platanos Fritos!

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My platantos fritos dessert consisted of fried plantains topped with cream and condensed milk. It was such a sweet and special birthday treat and filled my heart (and tummy hehe) with happiness.

I truly had a wonderful birthday and enjoyed dining at the newly opened Madre Oaxacan Restaurant & Mezcaleria. Once again, a thanks and hugs to all of my beloved family, friends and Hello Kitty Foodies and a special thank you to Madre for making my birthday extra special.

Hello Fu Sing!

They say first love never dies. Whether that is a true statement for folks it can be up for debate but for my foodie heart it is indeed true. I often get asked where my  favorite restaurant is and for many years, it was difficult to answer simply because my favorite of all favorite restaurants, Tin Sing was gone.

Tin Sing was a popular restaurant in Gardena that was established in 1964. It was popular with many folks in the South Bay and one that my family and I would frequent for various family occasions and dinners. I grew up loving their famous entrees such as pork egg rolls, pakkai, and hung  shu wonton.  When they closed in 2004, I, along with many others were devastated. For many years, I simply could not find a place that offered the same quality and delicious Cantonese style food that Tin Sing offered.

Fast forward 2017 and I hear about Fu Sing, a newly opened restaurant specializing in Cantonese cuisine, in Torrance. My curiosity  turned into pure delight when I learned the owners of Fu Sing are the cousins of the owners of Tin Sing. These cousins trained at Tin Sing while it was still open and thus they knew the recipes of my favorite, beloved Tin Sing dishes.

Upon visiting Fu Sing and glancing at their menu, I found it was indeed true! Many of my favorite Tin Sing dishes from back in the day were there. The memories of times spent with my dad at the old Gardena restaurant instantly flooded my mind and my heart and I was off to ordering some of our family favorites.

The very first thing I ordered here was the Pork Egg rolls.

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Tin Sing’s pork egg rolls were simply the best! I never found any egg rolls quite like those until now. Fu Sing does a wonderful job with their pork egg rolls. Just like Tin Sing, the egg roll wrapping was wonderfully crisp and a had a wonderful buttery taste. The filling was packed with flavorful ground pork.

The next dishes I ordered here consisted of two entrees that my family and I would always get; almond duck and hung shu wonton!

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Fu Sing once again did a brilliant job in recreating a classic favorite. Their almond duck consists of tender pieces of duck in the most savory sauce. It is topped with loads of crispy almond. This dish is perfect over white rice. The duck simply melts in your mouth.

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Hung shu wonton was my second favorite Tin Sing dish as a child. (The first was the egg rolls). It looks to once again become a favorite of mine as an adult, thanks to Fu Sing. I really enjoyed their version consisting of bbq pork, snow peas, carrots, bamboo shoots and wontons. The flavor is on point and so are the big, chunky wontons.

Lastly, I order Fu Sing’s Cantonese Style Chow Mein with  shrimp, bbq pork and chicken.

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I was actually looking for another Tin Sing noodle dish that I loved; the Beef Mun Yee Mein. Alas, they do not have that at Fu Sing but this noodle dish comes close. It’s not quite braised in sauced like Tin Sing’s Mun Yee Mein but it is still quite packed with flavor thanks to the mix of meat and veggies in it. The noodles also are long, silky and soft.

It is true that Tin Sing will forever have a special place in my heart. Eating there with family holds so many dear memories for me. Tin Sing will always be my first restaurant love. Though Tin Sing is gone however, I am happy to see Fu Sing now open. The newly opened Fu Sing is now making a place in my foodie heart and I am looking forward to new memories with this new place.

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For more smiles, please see my Yelp Review on Fu Sing.

Hello Truxton’s Torrance!

Truxton’s American Bistro has finally hit Torrance, California! The popular restaurant specializing in New American cuisine has opened up its third location at Hillside Village in the South Bay! The other two locations are in Westchester, California and Santa Monica, California.

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It took six years before Truxton’s found a home in Hillside Village and now it’s finnaly ready for all of us in the South Bay and beyond. Truxton’s had their grand opening in Torrance this June 9, 2017! Being a South Bay local, I was so excited to try out the newest spot on the hill.

Truxton’s is well-known for their monkey bread and I couldn’t let a visit pass by Truxton’s without it.

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Monkey bread is traditionally known as a soft, sweet, sticky bread that is easily torn away with the fingers and eaten by hand. Truxton’s however does monkey bread a little bit different. It’s not sweet and sticky but instead cheesy and garlicky.  Their pull-apart housemade bread is packed with cheddar cheese and garlic. It’s fresh from the oven and so soft. It’s amazing when dipped in the trio of sauces that comes with. The sauces are marinara, garlic butter sauce or ranch dipping sauce. The marinara gives the monkey bread a sweet tomato touch. The garlic butter sauce enhances the garlic side of the bread and gives it’s a nice, buttery taste. The creaminess of the ranch is a perfect pair to the cheese. This monkey bread is a great starter!

One of the things that I love about Truxton’s is the variety of their menu. They’ve got sandwiches, burgers, pastas, salads, vegetarian dishes and handful of healthful plates I also like that they continuously offer new items and seasonal ones. One my visit here I got to try two of their newest seasonal offerings from their healthful plates.

First off was their Turkish Spiced Chicken.

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The Turkish Spiced chicken dish consists of chicken rubbed in a blend of traditional spices.  This savory dish comes with seasoned Israeli couscous with crispy spiced garbanzo beans, fried shallots, barberries and parsley! I liked the aromatic, spiced chicken. The Israeli couscous was tender and toasted just right. This entree was light and healthy.

The second entree of the night consisted of my personal favorite, their new Spiced Brisket Bowl. This bowl was featured during the LA Times Food Bowl.

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Truxton’s has a very popular 11 spiced brisket dish that consists of slow roasted beef brisket. Imagine that brisket put into a healthy bowl with yummy, flavorful veggies. Hello Kitty Foodies, you don’t have to imagine too much because it is a reality via Truxton’s Spiced Brisket Bowl. The Spiced Brisket Bowl has beef brisket along with couscous and cauliflower rice that is mixed with golden raisins, butternut squash, red onion, parsley and toasted almond, kale, shaved brussels sprouts and pickled onions. White sauce is drizzled all over and it is topped with crispy heirloom carrots.  I truly have a crush on all the ingredients in this dish! The cauliflower rice was light and fluffy and I loved the addition of butternut squash, kale and brussel sprouts. I was a fan of the crunchiness brought in by the tasted almond and crispy heirloom carrots. The brisket brought it a nice, spicy kick to dish. This definitely dish was definitely a highlight.

It’s definitely nice to see Truxton’s American Bistro open up a third location and to see it in the South Bay! I had a wonderful time visiting their newest restaurant. I was full of smiles from dining here and am definitely looking forward to trying more of their dishes in the future.

For more smiles, please see my recent Yelp review on Truxton’s American Bistro in Torrance.