Hello 8th Annual White Light, White Night Event!

Last year, I was very blessed to cover the 7th Annual White Light, White Night Event for South Bay Foodies. It was one of the very first events I ever had to cover as a media guest and one that was truly special. When I got asked to once again attend this year as a media guest for South Bay Foodies, I did not hesitate at all.

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White Night, White Light is a very special evening. Proceeds from the event benefit Walk with Sally’s mission to help out many families impacted by cancer. It is a memorable night filled with lots of love and light, with party go-ers all dressed in white.

Part of this event is the “Taste of Los Angeles.” Several of the South Bay’s finest restaurants are present to give guests a taste of their most delicious entrees. On this particular night, there seemed to be something for everyone.

Ayara Thai was present offering chicken wings and Yum Pla, Thai snapper salad. The chicken wings had a fiery kick bringing some spice to this hot evening. The Thai snapper salad had Yum dressing, tender Thai snapper on top of Chinese celery and a edible marigold.

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Coni’s Seafood brought some seafood delights to seafood lovers via their borrachos/drunken shrimp and tostaditos with smoked marlin pate, shrimp, octopus and seasnail ceviche.

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Doma Kitchen offered breakfast and lunch treats aka brunch for dinner via their kale salad and Belgian waffles. The belgian waffles were a deliciously sweet treat for the evening.

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The Rockefeller served up some savory and deliciously cheesey truffle mac and cheese. It’s mac and cheese for adults ;)

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Hudson House gave out chocolate chip cookies and bourbon milk. The chocolate chip cookies were so soft and delightful.

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Silvio’s Brazilian BBQ brought a savory BBQ chicken salad that was refreshing and light.

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Kincaid’s treated folks to their surf and turf sandwich and key lime pie. I first fell in love with Kincaid’s Key Lime pie at last year’s White Light, White Night Event and this year it was once again love at first bite and an instant key lime crush.

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Four Daughter’s Kitchen offered fresh pita and creamy hummus.

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Salt Creek Grille treated us all with butterscotch custard with salted caramel was divine.

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Last but not least was Torrance Bakery who once again gave meaning to the word wow. Their spread at the White Light, White Night Event never ceases to amaze me. Cakes, cookies, chocolate dipped strawberries…they had it all!

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It was once again another unforgettable night and I am so happy I got to be a part of this sold out event! Not only did I get to try so much wonderful cuisine (a food blogger’s dream), I got to once again be part of something special. Beyond the food and the concert (there was a concert held at the end of the evening by 80′s phenomenon Berlin), there was a truly special meaning behind this night. It was a night of hope, a night to help out kids who have faced the hurt of losing a loved one to cancer. I am thankful to have been able to be a part of an evening that aimed to bring smiles to others.

For more smiles, please see my South Bay Foodies write up on the 8th Annual White Light, White Night Event.

Hello Grand Opening of 2nd Lee’s Sandwiches in the South Bay!

It’s been almost a year since I went to the grand opening celebration of the very first Lee’s Sandwiches to open up in the South Bay in Torrance, California. I had a lot of fun during that event and so when I heard a second South Bay location was opening up, I made sure to be there for more grand opening celebration fun!
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A second location means another location to get Lee’s popular fresh hot baguettes!

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Their baguettes are used for their famous bahn mi sandwiches! I made sure sure to pick up one of those sandwiches when I stopped by the grand opening event. Since it was breakfast time, I chose to get a Bahn Mi Op La or a Vietnamese fried egg sandwich. Lee’s Sandwich’s version is packed with two sunny side eggs, pork slices, house pickle, onion, jalapeno, cilantro and their house mayonaise. A fried egg always brings a little bit more deliciousness to anything and delicious indeed sandwich was. The crispy baguette was perfect for dipping for the messy, yellow yolk oozing out from the eggs. The house pickle brought plenty of flavor! There was plenty of veggies inside. Eggs and vegetable delight!

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A grand opening celebration meant treats for all today! For every bahn mi purchased, folks could choose between getting a free iced coffee or a free baguette! Their fresh baguettes pops out of their ovens every 30 minutes!

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Their iced coffee is another Lee’s Sandwiches customer favorite. It’s a blend of Vietnamese style French pressed coffee with condensed milk. It’s perfectly smooth, nicely rich in taste, giving a morning kick to everyone who drinks it.

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It’s great to have been part of another grand opening celebration of Lee’s Sandwiches and it’s definitely a great feeling to know that another place for delicious bahn mi and iced coffee is in the neighborhood! That definitely brings a smile to this hello kitty foodie.

For more smiles, please see my recent Yelp review on the 2nd Lee’s Sandwiches to open in the South Bay.

Hello Ramen Yamadaya!

With 8 locations in California (San Francisco, Torrance, Culver City, Westwood, Costa Mesa, Sherman Oaks, San Diego and downtown San Diego) and over 600 yelp reviews (almost a 100 from my Yelp friends) in the location nearest me, it comes as a surprise that I’ve never tried Ramen Yamadaya till today.

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Yes, today was the day I finally tried the popular and famous Ramen Yamadaya at their Torrance location. Expectations were high as I stepped into the small little ramen shop with my friend.

To start off our meal here, my friend got a plate of gyoza. Six pieces of soft dumplings were presented to us. Pan fried, the gyoza had a perfect crisp on the outside. Inside, it had a nice, flavorful juicy pork and vegetable filling.

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My friend and I decided to share a ramen combination with ramen, kara-age and fried rice. The kara-age came out first. Kara-age is one of my favorite dishes and I found this place does the delicious dish justice. Hot, fresh and crispy, the chicken was wonderful. It was seasoned perfectly and fried to golden perfection. It came with some very tasty salad. The salad was like a slaw and consisted of shredded lettuce topped with sweet dressing.

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Up next for our meal was the fried rice. The fried rice was excellent and reminded me of some my favorite fried rice dishes that I’ve only found at Hawaiian resturants. Their fried rice here had lots of little pieces of egg, chashu meat and corn! It was so flavorful and perfect with the gyoza and kara-age.

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Last but not least for us was the ramen. We got the tokontsu kotteri. It was rich and fatty ramen with black garlic oil. The pork broth was filled with their original thin noodle, tender slices of pork meat, one marinated egg with with a half baked yolk and sprinkles of scallion. We also got a side of fresh garlic on the side that we pressed and added to the broth. This ramen is one of the best that I’ve ever tried. The broth comes from 20 hours of boiling with pork bone. Thick in cosnistency, rich and creamy and with good garlic flavor all throughout, the broth was excellent. The toppings were like icing on the cake, it added an extra bit of happiness to the already flavorful soup base.

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I was very happy with Ramen Yamadaya. There were plenty of smiles after this meal.

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For more smiles, please see my recent Yelp review on Ramen Yamadaya.

Hello Brickworks Roasthouse & Grill!

Early this year I dined at Manhattan Village’s Brickworks Roasthoast and Grill. It was during the Lent season however and so I couldn’t eat many of their well known dishes. I wrote my Yelp review I was one “happy rabbit” with my wood grilled vegetable sandwich but I was definitely looking forward to trying out some of their other items on that menu. Just recently I had a chance to do that during a dinner out with my friends at Brickworks.

We started off our dinner here with the Charred Poblano and Corn Guacamole with tortilla chips appetizer. This was a very lovely starter. The guacamole has a pleasant mild sweet taste due to the corn that they mixed in. There was also a little cool zest provided by the poblano and onions mixed in. The tortilla chips were light, fresh and crisp.

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The next appetizer we tried were the Devilishly Delicious Deviled Eggs. These deviled eggs were amazing. They had spice and little pieces of bacon on top. Flavorful hints of cayenne spice, little bits of bacon and soft eggs made this heavenly. Yes, heavenly ;)

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My friends got salads for their entrees. One of my friends got the Filet Mignon Salad. It was a beautifully plated salad with chipotle ranch, marinated filet chunks, pine nuts, romaine, corn, roasted peppers, jicamas and black beans.

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Someone else got the Beijing Roasted Chicken Salad. This was another lovely looking salad. It had chinese noodles, persian cucumbers, fresh mango, almonds, green onion and sesame peanut dressing. My friend described it best when she said it was like a lettuce wrap in salad form.

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For my entree, I got the prime rib dip. I’ve had my eye on that sandwich ever since my first trip here and since I couldn’t eat it then, I had to try it this time around. It was one packed sandwich with plenty of tender shaved prime rib. It came with an awesome rich beef jus for dipping and crispy shoestring fries on the side. The bread of the sandwich was hot and fresh and the prime rib was slow roasted to perfection. It was hearty, meaty and yummy.

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Dinner at Brickworks Roasthouse and Grill with my friends brought plenty of smiles this Monday night!

Hello Mom’s Baked Filipino Desserts!

My mom has been on a baking kick recently! She’s been experimenting with various Filipino kakanin. Kakanin is Filipino term for Filipino sweet delicacies. They are sweet desserts that typically include coconut milk and sweet rice. One special main ingredient that is never missing is love. These desserts are always made with a labor of love. They’re typically served at family parties and special occasions.

One of my favorite Filipino desserts that my Mom has recently made is
cassava. Ingredients she used for this sweet dessert are: 2 packages of grated cassava, 2 cans coconut milk, 1 can condensed milk, 4 eggs and macapuno strings. First up for making this was she preheated over to 325F.
She then mixed all of the above ingredients in a mixing bowl and then poured it into a rectangular pan. After baking for about 30 minutes, she topped the cassava with the macapuno strings, spread it evenly and then put it back in the oven for another 30 minutes. The result of this was a wonderfully soft cassava cake. I loved the overall soft consistency of the cake throughout and the macapuno strings on top were a nice touch! It gave a perfect sweet kick!

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The other Filipino kakanin that my mom recently experimented making is karioka! Karioka is a sweet sticky rice ball deep fried. Ingredients for the main rice ball are 1 cup sweet rice flour, 3/4 cup coconut milk, 2 cups cooking oil and 1 cup shredded coconut. For the outside glaze, ingredients are 1/2 cup coconut milk and 1/4 cup brown sugar. My mom didn’t have any shredded coconut and so she went with a using kaong instead. Kaong is sugar palm fruit in syrup. To make this dessert, she mixed the sweet rice flour, coconut milk and kaong and then from the mix formed little balls. Each dessert ball was then deep fried until golden brown. The glaze was made separate. The coconut milk was boiled and then brown sugar was added. Once the glaze sauce thickened, the karioka balls were dipped in. The result of this was a nice, sweet karioka. Outside it had the perfect crisp and inside it had a sweet mochi like texture. The kaong was a pleasant twist giving the karioka an extra little sweet kick right in the middle of the dessert! This was my mom’s first try making these cute little snacks and she did an awesome job. They were yummy! :)

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I’m very proud of mom and love how she’s learning to make all these Filipino desserts! All of the ones she’s made so far have been a success and have brought out some smiles at our family parties! Yay mom & yay to happy desserts! :)

Hello Hermosa Beach Fish Shop!

Picture perfect Friday in the city of Hermosa Beach, the city of beach side bliss. With sunny skies, fresh air, the cool ocean breeze coming towards me, today I was at the heart of Hermosa Beach at Pier Avenue. Pier Avenue for me is where beach side happiness starts because it’s down this street that you find the cute boutiques, fun beach shops and delicious eateries. It’s the street of beach smiles. Now right at the start of Pier Avenue, there’s another reason to smile because of newly opened Hermosa Beach Fish Shop!

The original fish shop restaurant is from my other favorite beach side bliss city, San Diego, via Pacific Beach Fish Shop. It’s sister restaurant is now in Hermosa Beach as the Hermosa Beach Fish Shop! The Hermosa restaurant has only been open for a couple months and plenty of people on their way to the pier are already flocking to this new beach eatery. I was super flattered and honored when I recently received an invite to dine at Hermosa Beach Fish Shop as a media guest.

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I dined at Hermosa Beach Fish Shop today and the very first thing I noticed was their menu. The menu is perfect for any Seafood fan! Folks dining here have the choice of selecting which seafood and marinade they want and whether to have it as a taco, salad, sandwich or plate! The menu also has plenty of sea options such as chowder, ceviche, oyster shooters.

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I came here with my mom because she is a big seafood fan. We started off our meal here with a cup of Fish Shop Chowder. It’s clam chowder with a twist because it’s clam chowder with smoked andouille sausage. I really enjoyed this soup! I liked the thick, creamy broth and I was such a fan of the smoked andouille sausage. I thought this touch was great. The chunks of sausage brought extra depth and flavor to the soup!

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Our other starter for this meal was the lobster lumpia. This was also a nice little appetizer! Little crispy fried egg rolls are filled with shredded lobster! It was served with jasmine rice and sesame sweet chili dipping sauce.

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My mom chose to make her own fish entree. Her customized dish consisted of sea bass with garlic butter marinade and sides of six grain rice and seasonal vegetables. It was a very healthy dish with the grilled sea bass. I got to try the six grain rice and found it be well seasoned and flavorful.

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I got the crab cake sandwich with a side of house cut onion rings. The crab sandwich was filled with a big crab cake, caramelized onion and a horseradish remoulade. I was impressed with this crab cake sandwich. The crab cake itself had a crisp crust on the outside and a creamy filling on the inside. The caramelized onion and horseradish remoulade made for a nice relish. The onion rings were a great side! The onion rings here are made fresh to order and so they come out nice and crispy. They hand batter each. The batter has a nice, buttery like flavor to it. I am a fan of these onion rings!

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Hermosa Beach Fish Shop is a nice addition to happy little Pier Avenue in Hermosa Beach. I truly enjoyed this sunny Friday today because of my lunch here. Thank you to Hermosa Beach Fish Shop for inviting me to try out your restaurant. My mom and I both left with big smiles on our faces. This place is sure to bring even more smiles to the street of beach smiles, Pier Avenue, in the city of beach side bliss, Hermosa Beach. :)

For more smiles, please see my recent Yelp review on Hermosa Beach Fish Shop.

Hello The Standing Room Hermosa Beach!

From a small stand inside a liquor store in Redondo Beach to a full fledged restaurant in Hermosa Beach, The Standing Room is all grown up!

I still remember my very first visit to The Standing Room in Redondo Beach and my blog post. The Redondo Beach location is a spot where you would not expect to find a gourmet burger spot. It’s inside a liquor store and in a small corner. No tables or seats, just a simple place to order a burger to-go. That is The Standing Room in Redondo Beach.

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Fast forward to June 2014 and The Standing Room has now opened up a sister restaurant in Hermosa Beach. It’s a total change from a corner spot in a liquor store because it’s now a full up restaurant complete with a full bar offering various beer and wine specialties. It’s the grown up version of the the original spot in Redondo Beach. ;) The Hermosa location has a wooden interior with dark brown seats and tables, flat screen tvs and a bar. There’s also a lot of hockey love via a giant LA Kings wooden sign and a “Go Kings Go” plaque hanging above the bar.

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The menu here is a little bit smaller than their Redondo Beach location but all the favorites are on the menu such as the crowd favorite truffle parmesan fries. The Standing Room’s Truffle Parmesan fries are the best to be found in the beach cities. They’re fresh, crispy and have the perfect truffle flavor with plenty of parmesan cheese sprinkled throughout.

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All the popular burgers from the Redondo location are also present here in Hermosa. For my trip here, I tried the Hapa burger. It comes with a thick burger patty that is topped with a fried egg, spring mix, onion, sesame leaf and scallion in spicy vinaigrette, Korean aioli and gouchu-q.

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I found the Hapa burger to have the perfect mix of sweet and savory. It’s very unique. It’s a traditional American burger but with an Asian twist via the Korean aioli and the gouchu-q. The gouchu-q is similar to bbq sauce but with korean paste. The fried egg gives even more flavor to this already intense burger. The egg breaks the moment you slice the burger and the egg yolk, mixed with the Korean aioli, gouchi-q and the spicy vinaigrette makes this a very saucy, messy and tasty sandwich.

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It’s nice to see The Standing Room have a new spot open in Hermosa Beach. The Redondo Beach location has been popular for years and for very good reason! I am quite sure that this new Hermosa Beach location will also become quite popular! Same tasty burgers but new vibe, new scene!

For more smiles, please see my recent Yelp review on The Standing Room Hermosa Beach.