Hello Birthday Cake Frappuccino! Β 

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Last year Hello Kitty turned 40 and this year Starbucks Frappuccino is turning 20! My oh my both Hello Kitty and Frappuccino don’t look that old. It is a fact that Hello Kitty is (forever) in the 3rd grade but Frappuccino sure has grown up through the years.

It was in the summer of 1995, that Starbucks changed the world of iced coffee forever when it introduced the very first ever Frappuuccino across all of its stores in the United States and Canada. The only two flavors back then were Coffee and Mocha! They created the first frappuccinos from iced double-strength brewed Italian Roast coffee. Shockingly, the very first frappuccinos did not even have whipped cream!

Fast forward 20 years later and the flavors of frappuccono sure have evolved. We now have green tea frappuccinos, caramel ribbon crunch frappuccinos, strawberries and creme frappuccinos and the list goes on and on and on. The top five Frappuccino flavors in the United States are actually Mocha, Caramel, Vanilla Bean, Java Chip, and Double Chocolatey Chip. Deliciously dreamy, there seems to be a flavor for everyone! Now for in honor of Frappuccino’s 20th birthday, Starbucks is offering another flavor to their flavorful line up. It is the limited-time Birthday Cake Frappuccino!

Now I won’t deny it, I am sucker for cutesy drinks and the color pink and this limited offering has Hello Kitty Foodie cute written all over it. The drink is a vanilla bean and hazelnut beverage topped with raspberry-infused whipped cream. (Yeah, yeah they had me with the pink whipped cream on top!)

Here’s the Hello Kitty Foodie verdict on the drink: It is indeed worthy of the birthday cake name not because it necessarily tastes like birthday cake but more because it is uber sweet as your sweetest birthday cake! The taste of sweet vanilla is in there (think white cake base) and the pink whipped cream acts as the sweet frosting of the cake. It is sensationally sweet and a treat but not one for every day drinking more for special occasions like birthdays! ;) Starbucks is making sure this drink is for specials occiasions too because they are only are offering it up until March 30, 2015! (Hello Kitty Foodie tip: half off frappucinos tommorrrow, March 30, from 2-5pm if you pay with a Starbucks card!)

Happy 20th birthday Frappucino! Hello Kitty Foodie loves that you celebrated with pink! I can’t wait to see what happens when sweet Frappucino turns 21; :) Hmm  how about a Vegas (hot pink) Frappucino? Hehe! :)

Hello Catalina Kitchen @ Terranea Resort!

It is truly like stepping into a whole new world when entering Terrenea Resort. With it’s breathtaking beautiful views, Terrenea is a wonderful place to simply get away and enjoy life’s beautiful moments.

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I was truly blessed with a beautiful day with friends recently at Terrenea and on this day we got try Catalina Kitchen, one of Terrenea’s eight oceanfront dining restaurants. Catalina Kitchen is at the heart of Terrenea resort. Entering the restuarant, I fell in love with the beautiful flooring, the wooden interior and unique lighting. The outdoor patio is equally as beautiful. Stepping outside, one instanly feels the comforting ocean breeze.

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Catalina Kitchen menu is an array of delicious Spanish, French, Greek, Italian, American and Meditterenian cusine. I chose to get their pappardelle bolognese. It’s a very savory pasta dish with ricotta salsa, mushrooms, rich tomato sauce and braised beef. I was a fan of the big mushrooms and sprinkls of ricotta salsa on top. It really brought a lot of flavor to the dish. It also had a good ratio of tomatos and braised beef.

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Accompanying the pasta dish was red pepper and parmesan cheese. I loved Catalina Kitchen’s presentation of these. They were both in mini pans. It’s such a cute mini representation of the “kitchen” in Catalina Kitchen.

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I chose to end my meal with a nice cappucino. It’s no secret I simply have a coffee crush and perhaps I wanted to experience having sips of coffee oceanside and by the fire. Strong at first sip but sweet towards the end, the cappucino was a good way to end a delcious meal.

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Dining with friends at Catalina Kitchen was very nice and spending time at Terrenea was so relaxing. It was truly a blissful day. A delicious meal in a gorgeous setting and time with friends, I could not ask for a better day.

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It was a beautiful day with my beautiful friends and I am so very thankful.

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For more smiles, please see my recent Yelp reviews on Terranea Resort and  Catalina Kitchen

Hello Lido di Manhattan!

Lido di Manhattan is a place that my friends have frequented through the years. It’s been the perfect place to celebrate special occasions such as birthdays. With their menu consisting of various delicious appetizers, flat breads, pastas and sandwiches, their beautiful classy indoor setting and their pretty outdoor garden, it is hard not to like this place.

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They always start off the meals here with complimentary fresh, warm bread with garlic dip, olive oil and balsamic vinegar dip. A crispy outer crust and a soft base, the bread is a wonderful starter.

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For the entrees, my favorite is their homemade potato gnoochi. It consists of pan fried pesto, roasted tomatoes, carmalized onions garnished with crispy sweet potato. It is perfectly creamy, rich, smooth and oh so savory. The gnocchi has melt in your mouth softness. It is simply divine.

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For their drinks, my new favorite consists of their new flavored iced teas. The strawberry lemonade is so refreshing and sweet. Pleasantly fruity, this sweet iced tea matches nicely with their savory pastas.

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Best part of all, they served their flavored iced teas with these cute mini carafes for re-fills
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Lido di Manhattan is a favorite for my friends and I through the years and for very good reason. From their breads to their pasta, everything is delicious. All our visits here, end with a smile.  For more smiles, please see my Yelp reviews on Lido di Manhattan through the years.

Hello Myung In Dumplings!

If Myung In Dumplings sounds familiar it’s because the K-town restaurant was featured by Anthony Bourdain is show “Parts Unknown” 😊. Since it’s feature on the show, numerous foodies have flocked to the restaurant in K-town. It was even part of LA Weekly’s “99 Most Essential Restuarants of 2014.” Because of it’s popularity the restaurant has opened up a branch in Garden Grove, California and just recently in Torrance, California. I recently had a chance to check out the newest branch.

Similar to other Korean restuarants, Myung In provides complimentary banchan with their dishes. On my trip here, I got to check out two sides. The first banchan I got was a nice and spicy side dish with pickled daikon, cucumber and jalapeΓ±os.

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The other complimentary side dish I tried was the traditonal Korean favorite kimchi.

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I found both banchan to be very flavorful but the pickled daikon was my personal favorite. It had a spicy kick that was a perfect match with the main entrees I got to try.

The first main item I got to try was the Dumpling beef soup. This soup was packed with flavor and packed with ingredients. It came with eight dumplings and glass noodles. With it’s warm broth and fresh dumplings, this soup was so heartwarming for the cold day.

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I also got to try another soup via the Beef short rib soup or Gal bee tang. Similar to the dumpling soup, this also had glass noodles. There are no dumplings in this soup however. This soup came instead with three pieces of beef short rib. This is also a good soup for chilly times. The broth is same flavorful broth in the dumpling soup and the beef short rib enhances the flavor even more

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Last but definitely not the least was the King steam dumplings that I got to try. True to it’s name, these dumplings are “King.” It’s huge in size and filled with plenty of pork and vegetables. I was actually pleasantly surpised at how much meat was packed in these dumplings. They are like Chinese steamed buns or Filipino siopao but I found the main wrapper to be so much softer.

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Overall, I enjoyed trying out Myung In Dumplings. Everything is made fresh and I found it all to be so fulfilling. I can’t wait to try out other items here and it makes me smile just thinking about future dumpling tastings.

For more smiles, please see my recent Yelp review on Myung In Dumplings

Hello Umami Burger: Truffle love!

“Hands touch, eyes meet
Sudden silence, sudden heat
Hearts leap in a giddy world…”

Those are the lyrics of one of my favorite songs from the musical Wicked and it seems appropriate for this week, Valentine’s week.

Love it or hate it, the day of red and pink hearts is coming soon upon us and there are plenty of hearts leaping in this giddy world. For the foodies out there I have something that is sure to make your hearts leap and make you giddy, for this week only, Umami Burger is offering their famous truffle burger for $8. Normally, $12, Umami is offering it for $8 till February 15. How is that for making you giddy? πŸ˜‰

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The truffle burger comes with truffled aioli, house truffle cheese and truffle glaze! It’s a burger filled with plenty of truffle love! Hands touch the fresh bread, eyes meet the thick patty and sudden silence of aww with all that truffle flavor. The heart leaps with this burger.

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To further the giddiness, one should get the truffle burger with Umami’s truffle fries! It’s thin fries with truffle cheese. That pairing is love defined. It’s the perfect pairing like Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, Cinderella and Prince Charming, Hello Kitty and Dear Daniel…haha well you get the point.

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The truffle burger $8 deal is only for this hearts week, so if you’d like to partake in this LOVE-ly deal, you must hurry! Stay giddy my friends! Love, Hello Kitty Foodie ❀️

Hello Pizza Five85!

Happy National Pizza Day!

Today is National Pizza Day and what better way to celebrate it than with a visit to Pizza Five85.

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The first Pizza Five85 opened up in August last year with locations in West Covina and Hollywood and now only a couple months later, they open up their newest branch in the South Bay. Today was the grand opening of in Torrance. Located at the heart of popular restaurant haven, Torrance Crossroads, Pizza Five85 is a new hot spot offering a new way for customers to enjoy pizza.

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The concept of Pizza Five85 is “Assemble your own.” It’s a simple four step process with an emphasis on fresh ingredients.

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The first step is picking your own fresh crust, with a choice between original and garlic, then choosing your sauce; marinara and pesto, followed up your choice of cheese; mozarella, parmesan, feta or ricotta.

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Once your base is made, the fun of choosing toppings begin! They have a variety of meats. They’ve got classic favorites like pepperoni and sausage but also unique toppings like Korean bbq meat and salmon. I also was such a fan of their various veggies! Variety is big here! I saw so many different types of tomatoes and mushrooms!

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After the meat and veggies, it’s time to weigh and bake. It’s 39 cents per ounce. Right after weighing and paying, the pizza gets baked in front of you. It gets baked for five minutes in the oven temprature of 585 degrees (hence the name Pizza Five 85) :). They give a cute little red buzzer button that will light up once your pizza is done baking.

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While waiting, one can enjoy some of their drinks. I love how they have different kinds of iced tea here.

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Soon enough, the pizza is ready and a beautiful, hot, piping pizza is presented! One of the best things about this place is their unique ingredients. I got to try two types of pizza. The first pizza I got to try was my custom made one with garlic crust and a variety of veggies and chicken. It’s my first time to have a custom made pizza with garlic crust. The taste of garlic is distinct at first bite. I also loved all the veggies I got to put on my pizza! I was able to put corn, sautΓ©ed mushrooms, fresh mozarella, tomatoes, eggplant and Shiitake mushrooms. For my meat, I chose a mix of different chicken from Thai chicken with peanuts to Spicy Cajun chicken. It was a pizza that was classically my own and I loved how all my favorites came together to make not only a unique pizza but a delicious one as well. Piping hot crust, delectable and delightful fresh toppings all made one perfect pizza.

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Aside from my garlic crust pizza filled with veggies and chicken, I also got to try a more classic pizza with marinara sauce, sausage, mushrooms, pineapple and green pepper. Once again, this Pizza Five85 creation was a winner. The crust was crispy and each ingredient topping was so savory and tasty!

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I couldn’t imagine a better way to celebrate National Pizza Day today over going to the newest pizza hot spot to open up in the South Bay. I loved assembling my own pizza and was such a fan of their variety of fresh ingredients. Great concept, great ingredients and great tasting pizza. I was full of smiles the whole time I was here. :) Happy National Pizza Day, indeed! ;)

For more smiles, please see my recent Yelp review on Pizza Five85!

Hello Nick’s Manhattan Beach!

I love downtown Manhattan Beach. Beach side, sunny downtown Manhattan Beach is pure bliss and some of my most relaxing and favorite moments are spent there. One of the areas in downtown that I particularly like is the Metlox Center. It’s home to the cute Papyrus store, the refreshing healthy spots Lemonade and Nektar, the oh so sweet Le Pain Quotidien and the recently opened Nick’s Manhattan Beach.

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Popular in Laguna Beach, Long Beach and San Clemente, my curiosity was quite peaked to try Nick’s Manhattan Beach and I finally got the chance today during lunch out with my good college friend.

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We started off our meal with Asparagus Fries. It’s crispy, hot and fresh asparagus spears coated with parmesan. There is buttermilk ranch dipping sauce on the side.

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For our main entrees my friend and I decided to split our entrees. My friend got the Ribeye Melt. In between two crispy grilled sourdough bread was sliced ribeye, swiss cheese, grilled onions and mustard bacon sauce. This sandwich is perfect for meat lovers. The ribeye is packed in there and makes for a pretty hefty sandwich. The grilled sourdough bread along with the swiss cheese is nice! It gives a cheese toast type of feel.

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For my entree, I chose the Buttermilk Fried Chicken. I was simply amazed the moment it came out. It was such a huge, drool worthy dish. It came with whipped mashed potatoes, buttermilk biscuit, country gravy and roasted sweet corn on the cobb. The buttermilk fried chicken was simply divine. It was boneless fried chicken with a crisp outside and tender chicken in the inside. The whipped mashed potatoes were so creamy and soft and the country gravy that topping was wonderfully thick. The buttermilk biscuit was soft and nicely baked and the corn on the cob was sweet and nice. This dish was simply perfection.

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Nick’s Manhattan Beach is nice addition to Metlox Center and a location I am sure to visit again. It’s a beautiful restaurant with divine dishes. Every single minute I was here I was impressed. The location was on point. The atmosphere was lovely. The food was amazing. In a town where fine dining restaurants are abundant and delicious eateries can be found in every corner, Nick’s does an awesome job of standing out in bringing fine dining heart and flavor. Their meals have a home like feel yet with a classy twist. It just brings me a smile when I think about it.

For more smiles, please see my recent Yelp review on Nick’s Manhattan Beach.