Hello Tacolipino!

“Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in a Filipino restaurant anymore.” (Hehe, that’s my spin on the famous line from the Wizard of Oz.)

Tacolipino is a Filipino restaurant but it definitely not your typical Filipino restaurant because this restaurant is a Fil-Mex restaurant offering Filipino  fusion dishes with a Mexican twist.

Yes, the fusion even begins with the name of this place. “Taco” + “Filipino”  = “Tacolipino.”

The influence of Mexican cuisine can be seen right from the start as they offer up complimentary chips and salsa to all guests.


Their menu has a little bit of Filipino and a little bit of Mexican and some dishes are mix of both. For example, they’ve got sisig tacos, burritos with bistek beef and nachos with adobo chicken.

I was quite curious to try a fusion dish and chose to get Fries with Cheese and Chicken Adobo.


I liked this twist on the classic take of cranes asada fries that is often found at Mexican restaurants. There were lots of tender chicken adobo and drizzled on top was lots of cheese that reminded me of Cheese Wiz.  This is one unique appetizer. The incorporation of chicken adobo brings some Filipino flavor to a dish that normally would not have any pinoy taste in at all. This fusion dish is quite nice.

The other item that I got to try from Tacolipino is their sisig.


Though they offer their sisig in their tacos and burritos, I chose to get the sisig separate. I did this because they also offer garlic rice here and I love combining sisig and garlic rice together.

I love the presentation of their sisig here because it comes out in a sizzling platter and right on top is a sunny side up egg! Crispy sisig combined with egg is always a delightful dish.

Though I enjoyed my sisig with my garlic rice, I can definitely see this being good on tacos and burritos.

It’s refreshing to see how Filipino flavor is incorporated into Mexican cuisine. Tacolipino does a nice job in combining two cultures into one.

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


Hello Ramen Demo & Workshop by Chef Andy Matsuda!

I’ve always been a fan of ramen and have always wondered what it would be like to make ramen at home. When I heard I would be a getting a chance to be a guest blogger and attend a Ramen Demo and Workshop  at the Sushi Chef Institute, I was so excited.


I’ve been looking forward to this class and today was finally class day!

The Ramen Demod and Workship was taught by Chef Andy Matsuda. Chef Andy is the CEO and chief instructor at the Sushi Chef Institute as well as the director of the Los Angeles Branch of the World Sushi Cup. He’s been sushi chef in  various restaurants around the US from Santa Monica to Aspen to New York. It thus was such a honor to attend one of his classes and meet him.


Chef Andy started with giving us a little history of ramen. I learned that different regions specialize in different types of ramen. The miso type of Ramen is from Northern Japan while in Kyushu, Japan the popular ramen is Tonkotsu. The new version of ramen is in Tokyo, where they have Tsuke-men.


After learning about the different types of ramen, it was time to learn how to make ramen!

The first step is making the base stock. The base stock is made out of pork bone and chicken bone. The bones are boiled in a gallon of water for 20 minutes to wash out the blood and clean the bones. After cleaning, the bones are cooked in ice water with ginger, garlic, carrots, green onion/beets and apple. This is cooked for 2 hours.

The second step is the chashu making. Chef Andy used 2lbs of pork belly that was grilled by fry pan for 5 to 10 minutes. A sauce for marinating the chashu was also made out of dark soy sauce, mirin, sake, sugar and garlic. This sauce was simmered for two hours at medium heat. After the pork belly was pan fried, it was put in the marinated sauces for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Up next was making the various toppings. Black mushrooms were put into sake and water drained. This was flavored with salt and sesame oil. Bok choy was cut in half and boiled in water. The eggs were kept outside for 30 minutes. This is so that the egg yolk is not too cold. After the 30 mnutes, the eggs were then put in boiling water with table salt  for 7 minutes and then put in ice water before cracking.

Chef Andy showed us four different types of ramen during this class.

Each type of ramen uses one tablespoon of condiments of sesame oil, grained garlic and pork fat along with two cups of base stock.

The first type of ramen showcased was the sho-yu ramen. This salt ramen included the above condiments and base stock with 2 tablespoons of salt.

The second type of ramen shown was the Tonkatsu ramen. A condensed Tonkatsu was used.

A spicy version of the Tonkatusu was also shown. For the spicy version, spicy chili oil made out of chili peppers and sesame oil was used.

Lastly Tsukemen ramen was shown. Tsukemen has 1/2 Tonkatsu and 1/2 soup with extra chunks of chashu. For this ramen, only one cup of the bass stock was used. The soup is for dipping on the side.

This ramen demo and workshop was so informative and I was really happy with every thing I learned. From this class I came to really appreciate the art of making ramen. I can’ wait to try making ramen at home in my hello kitty kitchen (perhaps a future hello kitty foodie blog post)😉.

Thank you to Sushi Chef Institute and Chef Andy Matsuda (and special thanks to @losangelesfoodie on Instagram for this opportunity.)



Hello Kitty Cafe Pop-Up Coming Soon!


It is no secret that I love, love, love the Hello Kitty Cafe Truck.

When I first tried the Hello Kitty Cafe Truck during last year’s Hello Kitty Con, I was in pure bliss! I loved every thing from the kawaii hello kitty macarons to the super pretty petit cakes! Every thing was not only cute but delicious as well.

I am thus beyond super excited to hear about the expansion of the popular truck with the debut of a temporary cafe pop up.



At the end of November, the Hello Kitty Cafe Pop-Up will be making its way to the  Irvine Spectrum Center in Irvine, CA!

I’m so excited to see this cafe because just like the Hello Kitty Cafe Truck I know it will be super cute. The temporary pop-up cafe is designed within a metal shipping container and will be offering up all the yummy and kawaii goodies from the Hello Kitty Cafe Truck! Yes, my fellow foodies, we will all once again be treated to cute mini cakes, colorful kawaii macarons, delightful doughnuts and bow shaped water bottles that will feature Hello Kitty and her friends, My Melody, Keroppi, Little Twin Stars, Chococat. Aside from old favorites, the cafe will bring out more sweets with more Sanrio characters and they will offer daily tea service, artisanal sodas and specialty coffee drinks brewed using Portola Coffee Lab coffee.

The pop-up cafe is an awesome spot for busy hello kitty fans who may just want to get a quick snack or for those who want some time to relax and get away. It is perfect for every hello kitty foodie out there.  Hello Kitty and her friends will welcome customers into the coffee shop space with bold character graphics that will decorate the entire pop-up cafe. There will be a couple high top tables for foodies to enjoy their sweet treats. It will cute and colorful happiness all over.

The Hello Kitty pop-up cafe will be open from late November and into next year.  A permanent Hello Kitty Cafe will be opening in an undisclosed Southern California location in late 2016. I will be sure to share more with my Hello Kitty Foodies in this blog so stay tuned. You also stay up-to-date on with the news of pop-up cafe and Hello Kitty Cafe Truck appearances, by following on FacebookInstagram & Twitter.


Hello Rubio’s Torrance Grand Re-opening Party!

Today Rubio’s Coastal Grill in Torrance had  a grand re-oepning party!

The store recently was remodeled to get a fresh new look. The new Rubio’s has a nice modern feel with light brown wood interior and bright lighting.


There’s also a nice new look for the salsa bar as well!


The menu is a mix of new and old. There are the old favorites  like fish tacos, salads and enchiladas. The grilled chicken enchiladas are my favorite. I loved the big tender pieces of chicken inside. It goes well with the citrus rice.

There’s also new offerings such as their Surf and Turf combo. The Surf and Turf combo comes with Langostino lobster tacos and steak tacos. This is a nice new addition for those who want a little bit of seafood but want steak as well.


I was happy to see the return of a classic favorite, the chicken tortilla soup. It has marinated grilled chicken in chicken broth along with Rubio’s salsa fresca , Mexican rice and cheese. I loved how there was fresh avocado, crisp chili-lime strips and cheese on top. This tasty soup is perfect for chilly nights like today.


It was truly a fun night full of delicious eats! Happy Grand Re-Opening Rubio’s Torrance from Hello Kitty Foodie! :)


Hello Kitty Foodie Meets err Eats Gudetama!

I have a confession to make…I have a new crush. He’s not one you’d think would normally be my type. He’s lazy, unmotivated and always feels blah. Nevertheless he’s a cutie and he’s captured my heart. Who exactly is my new crush…well it’s no other than Gudetama, the lazy egg, Sanrio’s newest character!


At the end of October, I happily wrote a post about the upcoming collaboration between Plan Check Kitchen and Bar and Sanrio where Plan Check would be offering a special menu featuring Gudetama. Ever since I wrote that blog post, I’ve been eagerly awaiting the day I would get to try this special menu featuring the oh so cute Gudetama. I fully intended to eat my crush up! Haha.

The happy day finally came recently when I visited Plan Check Kitchen and Bar Downtown.


Just walking up to the restaurant I saw a lot of Gudetama love!


The lazy egg definitely took over Plan Check. He was everywhere!

I saw Gudetama just lying around (He’s probably contemplating his fate of being eaten by his many fans! Haha!)


I saw him cracking jokes! (He’s probably trying to make the best of his fate of being eaten by laughing! It’s always better to laugh than cry!) 😜


I even saw good ol’ Gudetama inside the restaurant watching all his fans who came to eat him! 😉


I apparently am not the only one with a crush on this lazy egg because there sure were a lot of people at Plan Check Kitchen and Bar ordering the specially developed Gudetama-inspired menu.


I was all decked out in Hello Kitty gear that day but the server knew instantly that I was there for Gudetama and she quickly took my order.

Soon enough I was presented the first egg-licious delight via a orange-ginger egg cream soda.


On top of this drink is white foam that is made from egg whites. The color of the soda is nice sunny color that looks like yolk. This is a drink that ginger fans would enjoy because I tasted the hint of ginger right from the start. The orange gives a nice citrus flavor that balances out the ginger but ginger is definitely what is prominent in this drink. It is different and unique, just like Gudetama!

The next item that was the served was the appetizer for this multi-course meal. The starter consists of crispy blanket egg, soy sauce egg, spicy pork belly sausage and miso aioli.


I loved this appetizer right from the start. The golden brown panko crust on the outside was perfectly crisp! The miso aioli was all around.


Slicing into it, I could just hear the crunch! Once sliced, I loved the layers of egg and spicy pork belly sausage. This dish is supposed to represent Gudetama, sleeping in a crispy warm blanket. Sorry to disturb your sleep, Gudetama but I was hungry and you were too delicious not to eat up! 😉


Next up after the starter is the main course consisting of two beef sliders with sunny fried quail egg, cheese two ways, bacon two ways, ketchup leather and hot sauce.


These sliders have to be the cutest sliders I have ever seen. The sunny fried quail egg has Gudetama’s face.


I’m going to admit, I was a little sad staring at that face. It was almost as if Gudetama was saying “Don’t eat me, I am your cutie crush.”


I felt a slight sadness slicing into my slider (and gasp saying goodbye to my egg friend) but my sadness was soon surpassed with delight because the sliders were delicious. Plan Check is famous for their burgers and these sliders is a good indication of why. The meat in the sliders were prepared just right. The beef was perfectly cooked and the bacon was crispy. The cheese and ketchup leather brought lots of flavor. There was hot sauce but the spice was subtle. These sliders were very fulfilling.

Last but definitely not least to this multi-course meal was the dessert. The dessert set consisted of chocolate custard pudding and an apricot thumbprint cookie.


The apricot thumbprint cookie looks like a Gudetama over easy egg. This cute egg looking cookie was my favorite of the two desserts. It had a nice shortbread flavor and the apricot in the middle was a sweet touch.

The chocolate pudding though was not far behind this cookie in terms of making an impression on me. I simply adored the Gudetama design on top. It reminded me of coffee foam art. I found myself actually going around the design and eating around the corners first. Any one who loves chocolate will like this because the pudding was full of rich chocolate creaminess.


It was truly a pleasure for this Hello Kitty Foodie to meet err eat Gudetama! Gudetama makes me smile and this lazy egg will always be in my heart err on my sleeve (since my my meal came with an exclusive Gudetama Plan Check t-shirt).


For more smiles, please see my recent Yelp review on Plan Check Kitchen and Bar.

Hello Doma Kitchen!

“Doma” means home in the Slavic language and at Doma Kitchen.


Walking into Doma Kitchen’s new Manhattan Beach location, I instantly felt a home like atmosphere. Their new restaurant is small and cozy. There is wooden tables and chairs and a couple little pillows on the wooden benches to make sure customers are comfy.

Their menu also has a very home like feel as well. They offer traditional Eastern European cuisine as well as a little bit of classic American favorites. Whether one wants to Chicken and Waffles or Borshct, a Ukrainian style soup, there seems to be something for everyone.

I came during brunch with a friend and  we chose to get something from the brunch menu and from the regular lunch menu.

From the brunch menu, we chose to get the Eggs and Mushrooms Tartine.


This was an open faced sandwich consisting of two fried eggs, shiitake mushrooms, basil pesto, manchego cheese on top of rye toast. It was accompanied with a mixed greens salad with carrots and grapes. The tartine was very good. The rye toast was soft. The flavor of the shiitake mushrooms really came out and mixed well with the pesto and manchego cheese. Once you break the eggs, you have one messy, tasty and just wonderful breakfast delight.

From their traditional menu, we chose to get the Pelmeni or Chicken Dumplings in Broth.


The Pelmeni is one heartwarming soup with a chicken broth base. In the soup is Siberian style housemade dumplings filled with local cage free chicken. It comes with fresh dill and side of sour cream. If there is any soup that could define home, this would be it. The broth is warm and perfect for a chilly day. Light, soft and filled with lots of tasty chicken, the dumplings inside were perfect companions to the broth. If I just close my eyes, I can imagine myself sitting by a warm fireplace having this soup in the comforts of a European home.

From the comfy interior to the unique, tasting fresh made food, I definitely felt the heart and home of Doma Kitchen. Home and heart, this made me smile.

For more smiles, please see my latest  Yelp review on Doma Kitchen.

Hello and Happy National Sandwich Day!

Hello and Happy National Sandwich Day!

There is no better way to celebrate National Sandwich Day than having a yummy sandwich from the sandwich place that simply makes me happy. That place is no other than Mendocino Farms.

Mendocino Farms is my happy sandwich place. Everything about this place is happy. Their sandwiches are made with the freshest ingredients from the best sources. What I simply love about this place though is the uniqueness of their sandwiches. These sandwiches are not your ordinary sandwich. Just at first bite one can taste their distinct flavor.

The first sandwich that I got to try for National Sandwich Day clearly shows just how special and unique Mendocino Farms is.  I had the “Not So Fried” Chicken Sandwich.


Just from the name alone, this sandwich had me intrigued. It is a chicken sandwich that has sliced chicken breast rolled in Mendo Krispies and comes with herb aioli, mustared pickle slaw, tomatoes and pickled red onions. This is all in between crispy ciabatta bread.  I loved the chicken rolled in the Mendo Krispies. It brought the crisp to the chicken that is normally found on fried chicken. It’s healthy and different!.

The other sandwich I got to try on this special sandwich day is the latest Chef’s pick and my new favorite, the Short Rib Sunday Supper Trencher! This is an open faced sandwich just oozing with goodness.


On this sandwich is tender braised short rib in Mendo’s “Sunday Sauce,” red wine and tomato gravy. On top of the short rib is kale, carrots, onions, celery, herbs, horseradish ricotta and Mendo Krispies! All of these ingredients blend together for savory goodness with a special touch of crispiness!

Today was indeed a day full of smiles! Thanks to Mendocino Farms for helping me celebrate National Sandwich Day! #MendoEatHappy for this happy hello kitty foodie!