Sunday, 20 April 2014

Birthday Brunch!

This year's birthday festivities brought me & my friends to Abigaile Restaurant in Hermosa Beach. A portion of us decided to do family style and share five dishes. The pao de queijo is always a hit with its chewy, cheesy texture. The others included lemon ricotta pancakes, huevos ranchero con chilaquiles, fried chicken benedict, and spring vegetable frittata. It's really hard to pick a favorite from this meal. To top off a fabulous meal, the restaurant presented a birthday dessert. The lemon curd chiffon cake was tangy and was completed with blueberry compote, almond brittle, & creme fraiche.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Nem Noung

These spring rolls are my favorite, and I could eat these all day, every day. Why can't I live closer to Brodard Restaurant?

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Hot Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwiches

During my trip to Solvang, my friend baked turtle cupcakes, while I baked Mexican hot chocolate cookies. We bought vanilla ice cream, so I constructed an ice cream sandwich. It was a great contrast of spicy and cooling feeling.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Ramened Out

San Diego's RakiRaki is a popular ramen shop in Kearny Mesa. My friend & I shared a spicy miso ramen and a ramen burger. The ramen noodles were soft, and was swimming in rich broth with slices of pork, hard boiled egg, spinach, and fried garlic. The ramen burger was made with two buns made of compacted ramen, and in between were pork belly, and beef katsu patty. It was a mouthful of flavors and textures.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Doughnut Shoppe

Strawberry Donuts
Makes 1 baker's dozen

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Breakfast of Champions

What is one of the best breakfasts I could have? Fresh sea urchin & oysters! My friend and I went to a little seafood stand at the Little Italy Farmers Market in San Diego. They have fresh seafood that you can take home to cook or even eat right there. We had sea urchin, and oysters. They freshly cracked open the Point Loma sea urchin and served it with lemon. It was smooth, creamy, and super fresh. The lemon added a little acidity to contrast the richness. The Carlsbad oysters on the half shell were great as well, but I'll be back for the sea urchin specifically.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Wake Up San Diego

Brunch in San Diego landed us at Park House Eatery. We started with a mimosa flight with four different flavors: apple, strawberry, pomegranate, & blueberry lemon. My friend and I shared the Southwest Crab Benedict, and the ricotta pancakes. The Benedict consisted of two poached eggs, homemade crab cake and tomato atop grilled focaccia. It was finished off with a California chili hollandaise served with roasted potatoes. The well-seasoned crab cake was flaky, and lightly breaded. The chili hollandaise gave a kick to the meal. The pancakes were made with ricotta to make a fluffy delight with lemon zest. It was drizzled with homemade blueberry sauce and with a side of whipped butter. We loved both of dishes, but were only able to finish about a third of it!

Monday, 17 March 2014

Juniper & Ivy

Juniper & Ivy is Richard Blais' brand new restaurant that is named after the two streets it is located between in San Diego's Little Italy. My friend & I were lucky to be seated at the chef's table, which is directly in front of the open kitchen. I started with a blood orange vodka & blueberry riesling cocktail. We were given crudités while we waited for our order. 

First came the carne cruda asada was a large slice of toast topped with steak tartare and four sunny-side up quail eggs. The steak mixed with a little cotija cheese, jalapeño, and green onions. The fresh shaved asparagus with snap peas were dressed in a light lemon vinaigrette. My favorite dish of the night was the sea urchin linguine with razor clams. The pasta was tossed in a creamy, yet not too heavy, sea urchin sauce, with brioche croutons. The strip steak, hailing from Hercules Ranch, was cooked to a medium rare, and served with braised heirloom carrots on a bed of mashed smoked potatoes. It was garnished with a large onion ring with Sriracha ketchup. The steak was super tender, and it almost melted in my mouth. The potatoes were amazing as well, with its buttery texture. We were stuffed, but we really wanted to try one of their desserts. After Chef Blais' recommendation, we ordered the coconut panna cotta. It was light, a little creamy, and refreshing. The Jasmine rice sorbet was one of its kind, and complemented the panna cotta just perfectly.

From left to right, top to bottom: vodka riesling cocktail, crudités, carne crudo toast, coconut panna cotta, shaved asparagus, sea urchin pasta, strip steak

Monday, 10 March 2014

Hei Hei

During our last morning in Solvang, we had breakfast at Paula's Pancake House in downtown. During our wait, we were able to walk around & I bought some cookies as well. After finally being seated, I ordered a glass of fresh orange juice, then the Paula's Special. This included two thin pancakes, topped with strawberries & fresh whipped cream. The pancakes were just slightly thicker than a crepe, and a tad sweet. On the side, I ordered a Danish sausage for something savory. This spicy sausage was made of minced pork stuffed into pig intestines. It provided a good balance to the sweet breakfast.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Souvenir Package

I first tried these clam-shaped cookies at least six years ago when my sister and I first visited Mortensen's Bakery in Solvang. Buttery shortbread cookies are scented with mandarin oranges, sandwiched with buttercream, then dipped in chocolate. We loved it so much that every time I go back, I make sure to stop at the bakery. This time, I bought eight clam cookies to send to my sister, and a florentine cookie for myself.