Monday, July 30, 2018

Talenti Coffee Chocolate Chip Gelato

Attention coffee lovers. If you haven't had this Coffee Chocolate Chip Gelato made by Talenti, you better add this to your grocery list. It is so incredibly delicious and not too sweet. You can really taste the coffee.  It is the perfect way to end any meal.

Just make sure you don't eat too much of it late at night or you may have difficulty falling asleep. If you accidentally do eat too much of it and you find yourself sleepless, by all means, have another scoop. You might as well be productive.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Mendocino Farms Sandwich Market

This restaurant was not my choice. It was my son's choice as it was on the way to the airport when I had to drop him off. The reason I say it was not my choice is that it looked too much like a restaurant that would serve nothing but healthy and low-calorie food which could never excite me. It was a beautiful evening and I was hoping the ambiance would make me love the food.

We both decided to split a salad and a sandwich. He picked the Avocado & Quinoa Superfood Ensalada. The avocado sounded good but the quinoa didn't. The salad had a lot of items in it; Chopped romaine, curly kale, quinoa & millet, housemade "superfood krunchies", black bean, roasted corn & jicama, red onions, cilantro, cheese, grape tomatoes and avocado with a chipotle vinaigrette. The Nam's Charity Chicken Bahn Mi looked interesting; Vietnamese-style chicken, lemongrass relish, Asian pickled slaw, cilantro, sweet chili sauce with chili aioli. While waiting for our meal, we sampled a beet salad which was free. I love beets but this failed to impress me.

The salad arrived and it looked pretty. There was so much stuff going on that I figured it was to take your attention away from what you were eating. I was busy trying to figure out what I was eating with the different textures. It was not bad but it wasn't great either. The sandwich was much better though nothing compared to the last Bahn Mi I had which was at ink sak.

This is a great restaurant for people that are health conscious or Vegans. Would I return to Mendocino Farms? I don't think so but that's just me. The restaurant is located at "The Point" in Manhattan Beach, California.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Fishing With Dynamite

It's countdown to the end of dineLA; this coming Friday is the last day one can take advantage of prix fixe lunches and dinners. Sujata and I have one good thing in common. We both like raw oysters so when we saw the dineLA Menu for Fishing with Dynamite which included oysters, we decided to go for a late lunch/early dinner. We had several choices for our first course. Raw Bar Platter which included 2 oysters, 2 scallops, and 2 shrimp. They also had New England Clam Chowder and Hamachi. The fourth choice was a Tomato & Tuna Tonnato Toast with capers, fennel, basil, sherry vinegar. I was all set in ordering the Raw Bar Platter till the gentleman next to me dining alone suggested I try the Tomato & Tuna Tonnato Toast. He has had it in the past and assured me I would love it. I usually would not take a stranger's suggestion but he sounded so convincing that I thought: what the heck!

Boy was I glad I listened to the gentleman. He was right on. It was so delicious. I had my doubts when I first glanced at it. It looked too healthy, something a vegetarian might like. I shared a small piece with Sujata. She preferred her raw bar. She did give me one of her baby oysters which was delicious. The only thing they could have done better is cut the tomatoes smaller because it was very hard to eat. After a couple of bites, everything just fell off the wonderful toast so I cut the tomatoes in bite-size pieces. The tonnato sauce was wonderful and the capers went very well with the 2 kinds of tomatoes. I enjoyed that so much that I forgot that our entreés have not yet arrived.

Sujata ordered the Maryland Blue Crab Cake which we both have had before and was outstanding with the whole grain mustard remoulade. I  had the Softshell Crab Po Boy with Cajun remoulade and some Fries. I did not have room to finish all of it so I ended up not eating the bread since I already had quite a bit of bread for my appetizer.

The dineLA menu included their famous Key Lime Parfait; Graham cracker crust, kaffir lime meringue. It was a bit tangy and just delectable. Another perfect lunch; all for $25!

Fishing with Dynamite is a great seafood restaurant. It is located at 1148 Manhattan Ave. in Manhattan Beach, California. It's a very small restaurant. You sit next to strangers, the noise level is high and parking is sometimes a problem since it's by the beach. No romantic lunches or dinners here, just plain good food.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Mediterraneo Restaurant

I had the pleasure of having brunch with a dear old friend, Father Michael. I haven't seen him in years only because one has to go on the much dreaded 405 Fwy. and then the 101 Fwy, which isn't any better to end up in Thousand Oaks. I finally thought it's now or never so we decided to meet for brunch on a Saturday when the freeway gods are a bit kinder.

We ended up going to Mediterraneo Restaurant which was really nice. It is located on private property with a working vineyard on 17 acres of land which includes a lake and a golf course.
We got to the restaurant before 11 a.m so lunch was not yet being served which meant we had to stick to the brunch menu. Father Michael ordered the Classic Eggs Benedict and I opted for the Crab Cake Benedict. There weren't any complaints from either of us and we both had no problem cleaning our plates.

After lunch, Father Michael showed me around as we walked by Stonehaus, a charming outdoor restaurant that serves, wine, salads, pizza, and sandwiches. I was surprised at how pleasant the weather was at the time when it was hot in Los Angeles.

I would like to go back to the Westlake Village Inn and explore this 4 diamond property sometime and maybe spend the night there or leave late at night because the drive home takes 2 hours. Mediterraneo Restaurant is located at 32037 Agoura Rd. in Westlake Village, California.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Doritos Tacos at Taco Bell

Jody, my hairdresser just informed me that she tried the Doritos Tacos at Taco Bell and they were super delicious. I was supposed to have some leftover spaghetti tonight but the way she described the tacos, I thought one more day will make my spaghetti taste better so tonight would be a taco dinner.

I had her write down what I was to order and this was a smart thing to do because there are so many different tacos and it was too confusing. So I ordered two of the Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos Supreme and one Crunchy Taco Supreme. Note: supreme is always better at least in my book. I couldn't wait to get home to taste and see the goodness of these tacos.

Jody was absolutely right. They were mucho delicioso. The delicate salty doritos were thin and crispy. It was like biting into a piece of Belleek fine china. I ate one and then had the Crunchy Taco Supreme which was also very good with sour cream in it. Then I went back to my third taco, the Doritos but this time, I added a bit of sour cream; hallelujah! The calories if you are interested in was not bad. They were all 190 calories each. A total of 590 calories for dinner with a glass and a half of Rosé Champagne. What more can one ask for? .........Dessert.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Cynthia's White Birthday Luncheon

It was that time again. The ladies were invited to Cynthia's home for lunch to celebrate her birthday. We are always excited when we get invited not just to see what gourmet food she has prepared but to see her presentation and table setting. For party favors, she gave us all a large bottle of white tea & fig hand soap from London.  We were all present except for Sandi who is ziplining somewhere in North Carolina.

The ambiance was perfect. Sure enough, her presentation was impressive as ever. The attire was to be white; only Mertz and Cynthia had white outfits. The rest of us just had white tops which had to do.  She started us all with a cocktail she made previously that was such a hit; Lemon-Thyme Prosecco. She prepared some Deviled Eggs with mascarpone, Dijon mustard, horseradish and some mayonnaise. She made two kinds of sandwiches: Tomato Butter which had onion and clover, on a Brioche bread. The other sandwich was called Benedictine Cucumber which included red onion, cream cheese, mayonnaise, and bacon. She made some of those on Brioche Bread and some on Milk bread. The sandwiches were light and super delicious. For a salad, she had Marinated Beans with Celery and Ricotta Salada which is apparently hard to find (Whole Foods carries it).

On the table, she had some Macarons and Canalé from Trader Joe's. Those were just teasers because she had baked a Lemon Cake (from Trader Joe's) and she claimed she put a ton of butter in it. That made it buttery and yummy naturally. She also created another dessert; Blackberry Summer Pudding. That was absolutely divine. The only thing I didn't eat was the edible flowers. I thought it best to leave them be. Cynthia informed us that all the recipes were from Food Network.

In the end, when none of us could eat or drink anymore, Cynthia was presented with the singing Birthday Cake and the "Happy Birthday" tiara. We all can't wait till next year to see what's in store for us! I think we should hire her to plan our future parties.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Kantaro Sushi

Another discovery by my son; Kantaro Sushi. He has never been there but he claimed the reviews were great and it was close to home. They only offered Omakase which is "Chef's Choice". One must  have reservations in order to dine there. This little restaurant is located at a strip mall in Torrance.

We got there shortly before 7:30 p.m. and found the Chef at work. The place had a few tables, not all full and we were greeted and seated by the sole server, a very charming and polite woman. There was a sign that explained what Omakase meant.

We split a large bottle of Asahi Beer, now that I know it is the perfect drink that goes with sushi. Our first course was a plate each of Sashimi. This was the most impressive presentation I have seen. A large Black Snapper with Tuna and Monkfish Liver. My son and I were not fans of the monkfish liver. Both fish were delectable. Our server informed us that later, they would fry the Snapper since half of its meat was still attached to one side.

Our first sushi arrived: Toro from Spain which I absolutely loved. I could have eaten 10 pieces of that alone. The other was also delicious, Amberjack from Japan. The next plate had a piece of Halibut from Korea and Mirugai (giant clam). We were warned by our server not to put any soy sauce on these, just some lemon. We took her advice and we did enjoy them. Then came a plate with my favorite item, Uni from Santa Barbara and another favorite, Ikura, Salmon Roe. My son told me he was not particularly fond of Uni but before I could ask him to hand it over, he ate it!

After my favorites came more wonderful stuff. Mini Chirashi (means scattered) mainly sushi rice with a variety of chopped vegetables and fish. This pretty presentation had a shrimp in it and we were instructed to place the shrimp's head on a little plate. We were then asked if we would want it on our soup later or did we want it fried. The answer was pretty much a no-brainer....FRIED of course. The next course was our old friend the Snapper but this time he was fried. One word; Yummy! Then came another surprise, the shrimp head. I normally do not eat shrimp heads or suck their heads but this was an exception. It was so crunchy and delicious, we both loved it. We were nearing the end, the Hand Rolled Salmon Skin together with Tamago, egg stuffed with apricot. This was very different and interesting but edible. Just as we thought we were done, they served us Miso Soup which was a nice finale following all that food.

Dessert was not exciting for me. Ice cream which was included in the Omakase had only two flavors; Green Tea and Red Bean. I dislike green tea and am not too fond of red bean. This Omakase is an experience and not to be missed, however, there is one drawback. The carpet is quite dirty, its cream color shows all the black spots all over. They really should do something about that. They have been in operation for 27 years and it shows. If you can get passed ignoring this, you'll love this place. For your information, they do have an A from the Health Department.

Kantaro Sushi is located at 1542 W. Carson St. in Torrance, California.

Friday, July 13, 2018


My son discovered this little gem in Torrance and it's been 2 years since I was there last.  My only friend that likes sashimi is Yvonne. I told her about Nozomi and how good it was, but we never found time to go until a few days ago. We sat at the bar for convenience since we had planned to have the Omakase- the Chef's choice. Yvonne talked me into having a beer. She claimed that was the only thing good that goes well with sashimi and sushi. I am not a beer drinker but I was game. We split a large bottle of Asahi. She was right. They started us with a Miso Soup and their House Salad; both delicious, and a dual gateway to the coming feast.

This time, instead of serving us the sashimi one at a time, they had them all laid out on a plate. Yvonne and I had one each which was overwhelming when you get to see them all together. I was so excited that I forgot to take a picture of the plate. I ended up calling that afternoon and speaking to our server, Jenny and asking her if she would be so kind as to take a photo of the Omakase plate and send it to me. Her manager Shoko did a wonderful job of fulfilling my wish. Each and every piece of sashimi was mouth watering especially my favorite, the uni. It was my lucky day because it turned out that uni is the only item that Yvonne does not like, so I got to eat hers. It's almost as if I heard a chorus of angels singing "Hallelujah" as she dumped hers on my plate.

Everything was perfect; but if I were to critique something, it would be the fact that they served all the pieces in one plate instead of one at a time. The reason being, we would have more time to savor everything as opposed to stuffing each one after another in our mouths, leading us to miss the anticipation of guessing what was to come next. Although the Sushi Chef told us the names of the fish as he presented the plates to us, we immediately forgot which was what. I must mention that their fish comes directly from Tukiji and Fukuoka, Japan.

Nozomi is located at 1757 W. Carson St. #L in Torrance, California.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Golden Peach Honey Mascarpone Cronut

Last month's cronut flavor from Dominique Ansel (father of the original cronuts) was Guava Passion Fruit. It was truly out of this world. I knew that July's flavor was going to be peach honey mascarpone so I  made plans to get a few of the cronuts. I had friends put in their orders from me. The only problem is that there is a limit on how many of these babies you can buy. If you recall from my last blog, they didn't want to sell me 8 cronuts but I begged and pleaded since I drove all the way from Palos Verdes. I was told that you could place an order on the website which I looked into right away. The next problem is you could order 6. I had my friend Sujata order the 6 ( which were really for me and my friends that placed orders), and I ordered 6 as well.

My plan was to have lunch at Dominique Ansel and after lunch, we were going to buy however many cronuts they can sell us and only after that would we give our receipts to pick up our prepaid cronuts. There were no lines when we finished our lunch which was a good sign. They would hopefully sell us more than the allowed 2 per person. I asked for 4 and it was not a problem. Sujata ordered 4 as well. The cronuts were beautiful and I couldn't wait to try one but I had to restrain myself and wait till I got home.

The cronut was very good, still better than all the cronuts I have had in the past but I must say that it did not surpass the Guava Passion Fruit Cronut; last months' flavor. If you haven't had the guava passion fruit, you will still like this one. Though the peach jam was delicious, it lacked the tang that the guava had.

Let me give you an idea of what is involved in buying a few of the cronuts: I pack a couple of coolers in the trunk of my car and put some of the prepacked frozen ice. I strategize the timing. We have an early lunch so we can get the cronuts and leave the Grove ASAP.   As soon as I get home I very carefully wrap each cronut in parchment paper and then put them in Ziploc freezer bags. I then make my calls to people that may want to pick up their loot. I had 3 people come and they had planned to eat theirs for dessert after dinner. I talked them into having it at my home while still fresh. It was nice seeing their reaction. My labor was well worth it.

Dominique Ansel Bakery is located at the Grove on Fairfax by the Farmer's Market.