Monday, December 22, 2014

Chocolate in Chocolate

I just have to share what I had for breakfast this morning.  I had it at L'Amande Bakery in Torrance.
First let me break it down.  I ordered a chocolate croissant and the thick French chocolate which is served with whipped cream.

I then proceeded to scoop all of the whipped cream and slowly letting it fall into the cup of the thick French chocolate. I then gently mixed it but not all the way, I wanted some cream to stay afloat.

The next step is critical. I held the the croissant with both hands and tore it apart, admired the nice flaky layers of my croissant before dunking the piece without the chocolate into the hot chocolate.  It was delicious; a very rich flavor.  I took turns of dunking and not dunking and I immediately concluded that I preferred the ones bathed in the hot chocolate. My thought was it would be too sweet or too rich. was, but I didn't seem to mind it. It gave me the energy to withstand my dance lessons with Piero and Tom!

I would like to thank Nayeli, my server at L'Amande for holding the croissant for me so I could take the picture. She was very helpful.

L'Amande currently has 2 locations; one in Torrance at the Rolling Hills Plaza and the other in Beverly Hills.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Royce' Chocolates Just Landed

Everyone rejoice! It's about are now able to buy Royce' Chocolates in the U.S. in the state of California in the city of Torrance. They are available at J. Sweets inside Mitsuwa Market at 21515 S.Western Avenue.

For those of you who have never heard of the Japanese chocolatier that makes these smooth, velvety little "nama" chocolates, see my previous blog on these heavenly treats.

Additional locations of Royce' Chocolates in California are in Irvine, and San Jose. I found out that they also have a couple of stores in New York.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Talenti v.s. Magnum

I have previously blogged about these 2 sinful ice cream bars. The Magnum comes in different flavors but I have only had the Double Caramel. The ice cream base is vanilla bean and this is dipped in a chocolate coating with caramel sauce and milk chocolate. Before Talenti came out with their version, I was addicted to Magnum.

Talenti is slightly different as it is mainly sea salt caramel dipped in rich dark chocolate. This is also quite addicting. Today as I was looking for Talenti I bumped into my old friend Magnum. Since I haven't had it for a long time, I was curious to see if Magnum still ruled. The only way to find out was to do a side by side taste test.

So it begun.... a bite of the Talenti then a bite of the Magnum, then another bite of Talenti and back to Magnum.  I concluded that the Magnum was a bit heavier and richer which is or isn't necessarily good or bad unless you count the calories. The Talenti was lighter. Both were delicious in it's own way. I was enjoying them and could have finished both till I added the total calories. Had I devoured both, I would have consumed a total of 540 calories, 65 mg. cholesterol, 53 g.sugar; the plus side....3 g.fiber!

Conclusion: There is no clear winner here. They are both very good and you find them in the ice cream department on your nearby supermarket.

Thursday, December 11, 2014


While shopping at South Coast Plaza this weekend, I spotted Sugarfina the candy store. I have heard of this so called "gourmet" store so my friend and I went in to investigate. The store looked cool decorated in colors of blue; somewhat reminiscent of Tiffany's.

They had all sorts of candies, chocolates in different flavors. The salesperson informed us that we could sample anything we wanted. We did sample a few and some were better than others. We both particularly liked the Champagne Bubbles which reminded us of nonpareils but had the consistency of a gummy bear, not to be confused with the Champagne Gummy Bears which supposedly has real champagne in them as opposed to the bubbles which only has the flavor.

We then tasted the the Bacon Toffee which we both liked. The sea salt caramel did not excite us. I ended up buying a small box of the Champagne Bubbles, and a box of the Bacon Toffee. I also bought a bigger box of the Peanut Butter Toffee for a friend that loves anything peanut butter.

The sales person put everything in one bag. I asked for an extra bag since the bigger box was going to be a present. He informed me that I would have to buy the extra bag. I was appalled! They had nice packaging but they are too cheap and stingy to give out bags. I bought 3 boxes so technically, they should be able to give out 3 little bags. I often buy things to give to friends so they can sample what I've discovered.

I have read comments on yelp on how people correlate Sugarfina to Tiffany's.  This is an injustice. No matter how inexpensive an item is at Tiffany's, they never skimp on their gift bags. Why?....because Tiffany's not only sell quality.....they do have class!

Sugarfina has a lot to learn. If they want to join the "big boys" they have to act like one. Needless to say, I will not be shopping there anymore.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Speculoos Crunchy Cookie Butter

It took my nephew Andre from the Philippines to make me buy this jar of cookie butter from Trader Joe's.  He informed me that this was quite popular in the Philippines even if they don't have Trader Joe's. It is apparently being sold at some specialty stores over there.

That made me very curious so the last time I was at Trader Joe's with him, I had to buy a jar. The consistency is very much like peanut butter.  I bought Thomas' English Muffin (original sourdough) and toasted it the following morning. I then spread some of the cookie dough on it and made sure all the nooks and crannies got their share of the spread. The verdict: Delicious! I recommend you eat this with a slice or two of your favorite strong cheddar cheese.  A strong cup of coffee with it was a perfect breakfast.

Not everything at Trader Joe's is good. This was not bad at all. I am sure it would go well with bananas, apples and a few other items. You can get this at your nearest Trader Joe's.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Thick French Chocolate

If you've never had the "real" thick French chocolate from L'Amande Bakery, you have been missing something amazing. If you've never had the hot chocolate at the infamous Angelina in Paris, here's your chance. It is thick and very rich. This isn't for the people who are always on a diet. With the cold weather approaching, now is a good time to enjoy this wonderful drink.

I took my nephew and his daughter to the bakery for their first breakfast at L'Amande Bakery. My nephew had the Croque Jeune Homme, another incredible dish; see previous blog: and his daughter Sab, ordered a chocolate croissant. After several bites, Sab's dad Andre, dipped the croissant in the thick chocolate and when she had that bite, I knew she was on to something special. After that, Andre gave her a bite of his Croque Jeune Homme and dunked it in the chocolate. I had nothing to dunk as I already finished my breakfast so I had to have a bite of her croissant with the thick chocolate. I had to agree with Sab's remark: "It's so yummy"; and yummy it was. It didn't stop there, a piece of bacon found it's way into the chocolate and that was enjoyed as well. I wanted to try that but since there was not enough bacon, I thought I would just wait and order my very own Croque Jeune Homme next time and do my own dipping.

One might think that chocolate on chocolate would be overkill but you have to try it the next time as it is truly delicious. I am just surprised why I didn't think of it before. I am glad my nephew did. I guess there is some truth to the saying: "The acorn does not fall far from the tree."

L'Amande Bakery has 2 locations; one in Torrance at the Rolling Hills Plaza and the other at S.Santa Monica Blvd. in  Beverly Hills .

Monday, November 24, 2014

Little Dom's

I have always wanted to eat at Little Dom's as I have read nothing but good things about it.

Today, a group of us visited the L.A. Zoo and after a couple of hours of walking we all thought we needed to eat somewhere good and close by.  My brother googled restaurants and when he mentioned Little Dom's, I thought it was a perfect opportunity.

We got there at 2:00 p.m. and thank God, they were serving lunch till 3:00 p.m. I wanted to order the Fried Oyster Sandwich with crispy speck, arugula and spicy mayo but no one was interested in splitting that with me. The reason I wanted to split the sandwich is because I also wanted to have a pasta dish.

The Homemade Spaghetti with wild boar bacon "Carbonara" and the black pepper & pecorino, better known as Cacio e Pepe sounded very good. It was an easy choice for me. I split both with Sandi. Cindy, Gary and Andre had the Cacio e Pepe. Andre's daughter Sab, wanted a Pizza Margherita and we were all happy as we knew, there was no way she could finish a whole pizza!

Both Spaghetti dishes came and the first thing we noticed was that the servings were small. The carbonara was delicious with the pieces of wonderful bacon. The spaghetti could have been more aldente but otherwise, Sandi and I were very happy with it. The black pepper & pecorino was a disappointment. It had enough pepper but not enough pecorino. It was edible only after we dumped a ton of parmesan cheese. I suggest someone from Little Dom's pay a visit to Il Pastaio in Beverly Hills and order the Cacio e Pepe so they can get a better idea of what it should taste like.

Sab's pizza was a hit. The pizza was thin, very simple and delicious. The crust was fell apart when you bit into it as it was brittle and a bit burnt; the way we all liked it. None of the desserts excited anyone so we all decided to skip it.

Little Dom's is located at 2128 Hillhurst Ave. in Los Angeles.