Tag Archives: Food

Craving Driftwood Cafe

14 Apr

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Could something taste so good that it prompts us to eat another meal despite having already eaten? If the answer is no, then try going to Driftwood Cafe in South Lake Tahoe’s Heavenly Village and maybe that answer might change. After ordering and eating a late room-serviced breakfast, my weekend roomie, Dreams, my bf, and I, met up with the rest of the gang for their first meal of the day. While three of us had already eaten, we figured we’d just join the other six on a short walk from the Harvey’s Hotel & Casino to the Driftwood Cafe for the company. After looking at the menu; however, Dreams and my bf couldn’t resist ordering more food. Still feeling full from the oatmeal, fresh fruit cocktail, and fresh banana and blueberry muffins I had for breakfast, I ordered a black tea. Every one’s food came out and since all my friends love to share, I had a bite of Jax’s waffles with strawberries on the left of me, a bite of Dreams’ veggie Quiche across from me, and a bite of my bf’s pancakes with bananas and strawberries on the right of me. I would have been happy ordering any one of those options surrounding me, but I didn’t think I had any more room to eat… I definitely thought wrong because I ended up trying Marshall’s broccoli soup with garlic bread that was passed down from the other end of the table. That had to be the best broccoli soup I’ve ever had. Suddenly, it was as if I hadn’t eaten anything all day as I immediately ordered a cup for myself. I had to let every one else try the soup who hadn’t already, it would have been a crime to keep any one from knowing how good it was. After eating, we all agreed, the Driftwood Cafe is definitely on the crave list. Next time we’re ever in town, that broccoli soup has my name written all over it.

Craving Four Cafe’s Spring Menu

11 Apr

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Shouldn’t we all have a go-to cafe where we won’t end up feeling like “Damn, I wish I didn’t eat that” afterward? At work, we usually get food catered or delivered to the office, and more often than not, I have to tell myself to pass on ordering in on the days when P.F. Chang’s or Mr. Pizza Man is knocking on the door. Not saying I have never ordered food on those days, but even though Americanized-Chinese food or pizza aren’t things I normally crave, I know I wouldn’t be able to eat from places like that every work day even if I did. Luckily, Four Cafe is conveniently located right down the street from my office and takes orders online as well as over the phone. Four Cafe is appropriately named as their menu changes four times a year, at every season, incorporating fresh, local, and organic ingredients into some pretty healthy, tasty, and inventive dishes.

I recently had to pass on some tempting cheese enchiladas that I had the option of ordering and instead, I went on Four Cafe’s web site (www. fourcafe.net) and saw that their new Spring Menu was up. I ordered four things to try: from their small bites, the green curry shrimp crostini (chopped shrimp, green curry aoli and lime topped with cilantro on crispy crouton-like toast); from their salads, the spring greens (little gem, butter lettuce, asparagus, radish, egg, feta, avocado, and nixed the hazelnuts), from their sides, the cous cous (with cherry tomato, kalamata olives, feta, mint, cucumber, and lemon vinaigrette) and seasonal fruit salad (mandarin and naval oranges, strawberries…. pure, natural, sweet goodness). The salad was sooo good, I didn’t need to have it with the apple cider vinaigrette that it came on the side. I love how this place consistently changes things up, so I have new things to try every season. Needless to say, Four Cafe’s Menu is craved on the regular, but after eating, instead of feeling regret about eating a bunch of junk, the food actually feels like healthy nourishment for the body.

Craving Guppy House

6 Apr

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Where does one go for the most uh-mazing, out of this world, brick toast ever? Guppy House is where. A group of friends and I went for some late night eats and treats since GH closes at 2am on the weekends. Ever since having the desserts, I have been thinking about them since. The menu is full of snacks and meals, but the desserts have probably got to be the best things on the menu. We ordered the shaved ice with red bean and taro, which was sooooo yummy. We also shared the Mixed Fruit Double Toast, one Strawberry and one Butter Coconut, with sliced mango, bananas, and strawberries drizzled with hot chocolate fudge. We added two orders of ice cream, strawberry and coffee, and we learned that the ice cream is from Fosselman’s. The portions are ginormous, but we shared everything among the six of us. The consensus of the table was while the shaved ice was noteworthy, the Butter Coconut Brick Toast was unbelievably good. It had the perfect texture, was incredibly flavorful, and I am craving it as I type. This place is going down in our books as a new favorite for desserts with friends.

A Girl’s Night Of Craves & Savors

2 Apr

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Don’t girls just wanna have fun? If fun means eating good food with the most entertaining company possible, than we definitely had a ton! It was a girls rule, boys drool night, but I have to admit I did a little bit of drooling… over some good eats at Baco Mercat and Syrup Desserts in downtown Los Angeles, where I ate with my girls Face, Jax, and Di. Normally a completely booked restaurant, we tried our luck and walked in into Baco without reservations. We put our name on the wait list and were told we would have to wait 45 minutes for a table. After a pointless 10 minute walk to get some tea before dinner and just as we walked into Syrup to order something, the restaurant texted that our table was ready… It may have been a blessing in disguise because while looking at Syrup’s menu, we were all on the verge of ruining our appetites (if that’s even possible), but we vowed that we would return after dinner.

At Baco, we ordered and ate the modern Spanish tapas that we’ve heard so much about. We ate family-style and shared the “caesar” brussels sprouts, squash blossoms, spaghetti squash with corn puree, the “double mushroom” Coca, which is a flatbread that Baco is known for, and my favorite of the night, the hamachi crudo. While the food was great, Jax commented that with all of the hype she’d heard, she expected “a miracle” in her mouth. Well, what I found that most of the magic happened at Syrup Desserts, which is an expresso bar and dessert cafe that offers a variety of pastries, signature iced teas, famous waffles, and more. We were super anxious to get back to Syrup and when we returned after dinner, we ordered two of the Syrup Signature Belgian Waffles, which is also a Syrup favorite, which has strawberries, bananas, Nutella, and French Vanilla Bean Ice cream (one without bananas), the Dulce & Banana Belgian Waffle, which as bananas and blackberries, caramel sauce, Vanilla sauce and instead of the Dulce de Leche ice cream, we substituted for the Blackberry Jasmine ice cream, and the Banana with chocolate chip Sweet Liege Original. We definitely savored our desserts there and time spent together.

Since it was such an awesome night to savor, full of cravings and QT, we agreed that “Girls Night” will be implemented on a regular basis, preferably and at least monthly. Any suggestions?

Easter Brunch Cravings at bluEmber

31 Mar

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When we’re craving so many things for Easter brunch, what’s better than a buffet? After Easter Mass at Sacred Heart Church in Rancho Mirage, by bf and I headed to meet the rest of his family for brunch at blueEmber in the Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa. For the first time ever, we had to listen to the sermon outside though a doorway since the church was at maximum capacity. There were over 300 people in the church lobby alone. We had direct access to hear the mass from one of the back doors, but all of that standing in the dessert sun really built up an appetite. Luckily, we had reservations for a brunch buffet and big-time cravers, such as myself, were able to eat as much as our hearts desired.

The seafood station was filled with pacific coast oysters, snow crab legs, crab claws, mussels, poached shrimp, and a selection of smoked salmon. The salad station offered heirloom tomato, buffalo mozzarella, pesto bordeaux spinach, shaved radish, dates, grilled green beans, cous cous, grilled artichokes, olive tapenade, tabbouleh, chopped parsley, cucumber, truffled mushroom, grilled asparagus, baby swiss chard beets, pickled carrots, walnut brittle, blue cheese, chilled seafood, shaved fennel, picholine olives, assorted greens, artisan cheeses, and a variety of vegetables and dressings. The soup station had clam chowder and smoked chicken soup with small bread bowls, and the carving station had a chef slicing pork steamship and beef wellington. There was a station of hot items, including farmers market roasted vegetables, organic squash, short rib hash, roasted potatoes, crab cake benedict, brick oven chicken, pan roasted barramundi, grilled ratatouille, and hedgehog mushrooms. All children ages 5 and under (which applied to the twins) ate free, and there was a children’s buffet with mini pizzas, spaghetti and meatballs, chicken tenders, lasagna, and local vegetables. There was also an omelet station, where chefs made custom omelets with an assortment of vegetables, meats, and cheeses. There was plenty of fruit, and the dessert station was out of control! On display were french belgium waffles, seasonal berries, cafe tiramisu, cheesecake, apple tart, white chocolate mouse, mini french pastries, creme brulee, panna cotta, rasberry and chocolate cake, chocolate pralines, chocolate truffles, mini hot cross buns, and chocolate covered strawberries.

The bluEmber Brunch buffet had a great variety, and since the weather was beautiful, dining on the patio was that much more enjoyable. Not to mention, the resort is beautiful and offered an Easter egg hunt for the children (which was the 3rd egg hunt this weekend for the twins). For family fun in the sun, the desert rarely lacks in sunshine and it’s resorts always cater to families so like this weekend, the fun never ends.

Craving & Savoring A Home-Cooked Meal From The Heart

27 Mar

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Sometimes, doesn’t love seem to find it’s way into our hearts through our stomachs? After a day of work, going to language class, then Bikram yoga, just when I thought I’ll probably just make a juice or something quick before bed, my bf made us dinner. Earlier in the evening, when I was out, Peter from a food service that we usually order from, Personal Gourmet, paid us a visit and my bf was able to purchase enough food to fill the freezer in the garage for our dinners and the occasional impromptu BBQs. My bf, Mr. Grill Master Flex, made crave worthy lobster tails, stuffed sole fillets stuffed with scallops and crabmeat, with a side of sweet butter corn. The first thing my bf learned about me is that I love good food, and without food, I almost fade to the point of no longer being functional. Dinner was made with a lot of love, and I was able to share it with the guy I love. Some of the simplest joys are the sweetest moments to savor, and this was one of them.

Craving Khan Toke Thai House

24 Mar

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Since when did San Francisco streets get so busy to the point where it takes half an hour to find parking on Geary Blvd? I’ve been asking every one who lives in the City who still lives here because I either forgot how long it takes to get somewhere or find parking, I’m overly optimistic in what can be done in a certain amount of time, or SF has become increasingly more crowded and congested. Maybe it’s a combination of all three… I made reservations at 7pm at Khan Toke Thai House, one of my favorite Thai restaurants of all time. My brother introduced me to this authentic Thai restaurant years ago, where the ambiance and service is as memorable as the food. Like most every other plan I made this weekend, I make a time recommendation and I’m the one who ends up running late. I called to push the dinner reservations I had with my family to 730pm, but by the time I finally parked and walked in the door, it was 8pm. Luckily, the restaurant wasn’t packed and reservations were probably not necessary. Not very many people know about this somewhat hidden gem; from the outside, Khan Toke doesn’t really look like much. As soon as we walk in, the decor and set up makes us feel like we’re in a home. An attendant, dressed in traditional Thai attire (just as all of the serving staff), at the door takes our shoes (so it’s best to wear socks) and we’re shown to our table in one of the several sections of the restaurant . The tables are low to the floor and it appears as though we’re all sitting on the floor, but there is a space cut out underneath the table for normal, comfortable seating.

I was craving a Thai tea, which I drank almost all of before dinner came. My mom, dad, brother, nephew, and I ordered family style, although with not every one had everything due to dietary restrictions and food allergies. We started off with the Sa-Te: beef and chicken charbroiled skewers served with peanut sauce and cucumber salad, Paw Pear Tod: deep-fried spring rolls stuffed with tofu, silver noodles, and vegetables served with sweet and sour sauce, Tom Yum: Spicy and sour lemongrass soup with mushrooms, tomatoes, cilantro and tofu Som Tum: shredded green papaya salad with carrots, tomatoes, green beans and ground peanuts, and Young Lady Salad: Green salad with grilled tender beef mixed in lime dressing, onions, cucumbers and tomatoes. For the main course, we had the Mus-A-Mun: Beef in red curry, peanuts, onions, sweet potatoes and coconut milk, Gaeng Ga Ree: Yellow-curry, sweet potatoes, vegetables, tofu, and coconut milk, Broccoli Gra Tiam: Broccoli sauteed with fresh garlic sauce, Pad Siew: Wide rice noodles sauteed in a dark soy with broccoli and egg, Pad Thai: stir-fried rice stick noodles with ground peanuts, tofu, bean sprouts, egg, and prawns, and side orders of brown rice. For dessert we had the Mango with Sticky Rice.

The food at Kahn Toke never fails to please and was just as good as I remembered it. That sentiment was validated when my 10- year-old nephew, whose severe food allergies (to fish and nuts to name a few) has lead him to become somewhat of a finicky eater, commented on how much he enjoyed his dinner. I guess driving around for parking on Geary Blvd was all worth it, but I guess the optimism should remain focused on cravings satisfaction and not really on any parking gods to bestow divine intervention on saving on lot fees (or prevention from walking several blocks in the chilly nights of San Francisco to pay those fees…. if, and only if, you actually made it to an open lot).

Craving & Savoring My Dinner Date With Rache

23 Mar

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CaffeGreco

Isn’t it counterproductive for a server stop us from ordering food? I can never understand when placing an order, servers always say “Ok, I think that’s just too much food.” It happens way too often… I had a dinner date with one of my favorite persons in the whole world, Rache, and made reservations to The House. I tried to look up Asia de Cuba’s phone number on my iPhone, but discovered that it was closed; however, the search engine took me to The House, an Asian Fusion restaurant with really great reviews. I was late to our reservation (damn Aritzia, bad time management, and difficulty getting a cab in Union Square San Francisco; note to self, gotta work on the first two pronto!), but luckily Rache is very forgiving and there was already a small plate of sweet pickled cucumbers on the table. To share, we ordered three of the specials that weren’t on the menu, the yellow tail sashimi with salsa, the seared scallops, and clams in curry sauce. From the Menu, we also ordered the white shrimp and chinese chive dumplings, and two entrees: the mushroom rice with grilled prawns topped with shaved bonito and the grilled sea bass with garlic ginger soy that comes with green beans and garlic noodles. We had to convince the server that we were going to finish what we ordered and her response was “Well, all I’ll have to do is pack everything up when you can’t eat any more.” The food was delicious! To the server’s surprise, there was nothing to pack. Never judge a girl’s appetite by the size of her stomach. Looks can be deceiving.

Dinner didn’t give us enough time to catch up and hang out, so we walked down Columbus and passed by all of the busy Italian eateries and friendly shop owners and keepers trying to promote some patronage to their establishments. We ended up at Caffe Greco for some Black Tea and I had an Italian dessert, a Strawberry Bambino.

The night was awesome, I was able to savor a great night with all that I was craving – good food, and more importantly, time with Rache. What I treat!

Craving Mama’s Lu Dumpling House

20 Mar

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So what does one get at a dumpling house who doesn’t eat pork? Not the dumplings because every single one of them has pork, but if you’re a meat-eater, then Mama’s Lu in Monterey Park is definitely known for making some great ones. I did; however, get to partake in the green onion pancake, scrambled egg shrimp, Shanghai rice cake, and a dish of my favorite vegetable in the whole world, On Choy. As a bonus, it’s actually more expensive to buy in the supermarket and make at home than it is to order already prepared. I always crave On Choy, but it’s not always in season, not every Chinese restaurant has it, and it’s not particularly easy to describe.

When I saw the menu, I was really excited that they listed On Choy (or Ong Choy), also known as Kang Kong, also known as Ipomoea aquatica on Wikipedia, also known as water spinach in English, and also Kong Xin Cai in Mandarin, which is pronounced kong shin tsai. This translates to something like “hallow heart vegetable;” however, I’ll save everyone from my attempts to elaborate on the tones because even if I did know what the tones should sound like (in my mind, but it doesn’t always come out of my mouth correctly), my Mandarin instructor has communicated that I need “special attention before class,” “more practice,” and asks if it’s “ok to correct me,” which happens frequently. Most of the time, I end up saying something completely different from what I mean to say just when I pronounce something with incorrect tone. Learning a new language can definitely be a humbling experience, especially for some one who isn’t used to not doing well in a class. Well looking on the bright side, what I lack in those skills of pronouncing the Chinese food coming out of my mouth, I make up for in actual Chinese food going into my mouth and eating, which I would classify myself as an expert in. It appears that I am learning Mandarin just to order food, which is a justifiable assumption, since I do love Chinese food; however, knowing several names to this vegetable actually occurred before I even started learning… from several years of trying to order this dish and from explaining what vegetable I am referring to. In this day and age, we can save those painful moments of rambling off several different names just to see if a place even serves the dish that I have now officially wrote an essay on, and leave it to our trusty smart phones with pictures that don’t usually get lost in translation. Or you can try Mama’s Lu.

Craving Robata Jinya

18 Mar

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Has a server ever taken an order and asked if what we’re ordering is for the whole table when in fact it isn’t? Well, I guess that’s what happens when you put us in front of a menu from Robata Jinya, where my bf and I ended up ordering twice as many things than the two couples we had dinner with combined. Thanks to our Yelping friends and fellow food lovers, Marshall and Face, it has been proven, yet again, that a 4 stars or over rating on Yelp (with a significant number of reviewers of course) never fails. Despite not being a fan of driving through West Los Angeles traffic, the trek over the westside was well worth it for the good food and of course the good company. From the Robata-Yaki menu, I tried the Cherry Tomatoes, Shishito Peppers, Chilean Seabass, Maitake Mushrooms, and Eggplant. I tried the Yellowtail Sashimi Japapeno Citrus Soy from the list of Sashimi, the Jinya Mixed Green Salad, the Spicy Creamy Shrimp Tempura, and the Butter Lettuce Cup with Miso Black Cod from the list of Tapas, and the Crunch Roll and Baked Crab Roll (that we ordered again after finishing the first one) from the list of Roll Sushi. We also ordered the Shrimp Toast from the list of Specials after trying a bite from our friends’ order. If all of that didn’t sound like a lot of food, we also had Ramen, Japanese noodles in broth, which is what the restaurant is known for. I had the Vegetable Pottage Ramen: thick soups with mushed vegetables carrots, potatoes, onions, Soy beans, baby leaf, and I added all of the toppings: JIDORI Ni-Tamago (Free Cage Soft Cooked Egg), NORI Dried Seaweed, and Mushrooms. The Vegetable Ramen also happens to be the only type of Ramen that can’t be ordered in a half size; however, it turned out I didn’t need the half order since I finished the noodles. Maybe next time, we’ll save some room to try something from the list of Desserts, and there will definitely be a next time. Domo Arigato Mr. Robata (Jinya)!