visit with the iggys

Yesterday, I visited my best friend Jeanette and her family. A visit with the Iggys almost always results in trying new food and having a mega good eats day. Yesterday was no exception.

After hanging out at their house a bit, we made our way to Sanuki no Sato. I had to ask William for the restaurant’s name about 4 times.. but inside was cozy with giant white lanterns hanging from the ceiling. We were seated in a corner booth and I took a look at their very easy and simple Japanese/English menu. I wanted soup noodles for sure, but choosing one wasn’t easy. Everything sounded good! I finally went with nabeyaki udon which basically had everything in it. Shrimp tempura, vegetables, seaweed, mushrooms….

When my food arrived, there was a bowl of rice with tempura veggies on top. I was like, wow! Awesome! I tried a bit, and it was super good. We later found out, they had put Mia’s dish on my tray. Ha! She ended up getting her bowl of rice of course..

The udon was perfect. Broth was kept super hot because of the little pot, all ingredients blended so well. I ate the whole bowl. I didn’t think I could, but I did and it was awesome.

When we were finished at Sanuki no Sato, we went to Mitsuwa. Jeanette had places she had to show me. Specifically, MOCHICREAM & Lupicia – a tea vendor. Mochi can be unbelievable cute and pretty. Just look at those mochi doughnuts! I am pretty sure everything in the case was fake and for show, but the real things actually looked (and tasted) just as good!

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Of course I had to buy some. The girl was giving me instructions on how to keep them, and I basically nodded and smiled. I think she was telling me that they needed to defrost a bit and had to be eaten within 24 hours. Well, that wouldn’t be a problem!

At Lupicia, I bought loose leaf tea – paradise green, melon oolong and momo. I can’t wait to turn them into iced teas!

I think I could’ve easily spent a few more hours in the store. And probably spent most of my paycheck. :O

On the drive home, we stopped for soft-serve at Fosters Freeze. Ice cream on a rainy chilly day – does this only happen in California? I doubt it, but it seems like such a natural thing to do.

Picture perfect vanilla cone. It soothed my throat and made me wish it was a hot sunny day that I could spend with my friends outdoors, by the beach! Funny how food can do that to me. So can music.

It was an excellent Saturday!

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El Rodeo

Perfect meal at El Rodeo in Palm Desert. After a hot day visiting Living Desert we found this little place on Yelp. Best surprise visit.

Super fresh salsa and chips. A spicy refreshing chavela to wash the chips down and my taco plate was excellent.

I wish they weren’t almost two hours away!

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A Day of Eats with LeiLei

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My friends spoil me every year for my birthday. This past Sunday, Leilei took me on an OC eat fest.

For lunch, we went to Bruxië and had waffle sandwiches. Before you get nuts, the waffles are light and airy and toasted perfectly. Or baked. Whatever it is, it is crunchtastic. We chose roasted mushroom with goat cheese. Combo of deliciousness right there!! Plus the arugula? Oh my word. That made for a quick and easy bite before we braved the many aisles of Daiso.

After hours of shopping, we ducked into Nordstrom’s Cafe Bistro for a bit of girl talk and a strawberry shortcake. Can you say fresh whipped cream kicks my ass? That thing was delectable sweet and light but buttery. What am I talking about? I have no idea. Just eat it if you have the opportunity.

Look at its beauty!

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Last but not least, we had dinner at Umami Burger. Yes I know. I have heard all of the hype and I went in with lowered expectations to avoid potential disappointment but it turns out that was unnecessary.

Umami (or ooooh mommy as my brother-in-law has nicknamed it) delivered the goods.

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I had the house burger – hello Parmesan crisp! And Leilei had the ahi burger. Both were cooked just right and paired with their sweet potato fries? We were in eaters’ bliss. The quartet of dipping sauces – yes I just said that – was also fantastic. Their house ketchup is addictive. The only one I couldn’t handle was the diablo. Fire in your face. But in the best way possible.

Thanks to Leilei for yet another gastronomical adventure day!

Happy 2nd birthday Alexander!

Taco man.
Those two words instantly add incentive to going to a kids’ party at the park on a day with upper 90’s temps. But of course, it’s ultimately about the kid right?

Right.

So, the tacos.
Al pastor, pollo and carne asada. Yeah, I’m breaking out the Español. Mildly spicy salsa, generous squeezes of lime and crunchy radishes make tacos taste even better. I tried one of the roasted chiles and realized I’m not that hardcore.

Strawberry Fanta Fanta. C’mon. You know the jingle.

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Kale & Quinoa

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I’ve been eating a lot of quinoa lately. Ever since trying it years ago in Portland, I was hoping to become better at preparing and incorporating quinoa into my diet. My first time, I bought a packaged box of quinoa, cooked the whole box, ended up with an entire potful that I eventually tossed because it wasn’t cooked properly and I was so sick of eating it.

I stayed away from quinoa until it started showing up in all kinds of salads at Whole Foods and I was seeing it used more and more in restaurants. Becoming more familiar with its versatility is what drove me to try cooking it again.

A couple of weeks ago, I visited the bulk section of WF and bought about three cups of royal red quinoa. I came home, found a recipe and set out making my first batch since 2009.

It came out perfect.

Since then I’ve made two more batches which I’ve used in salads and have eaten as a substitute for oatmeal. My love for quinoa has been reinstated.

Today’s salad:
curly kale – cut into small pieces with kitchen shears
half cup of cooked royal red quinoa
halved grape tomatoes
sliced sweet peppers
homemade lemon vinaigrette
– juice from 1 lemon
– 2 tbs olive oil
– 3 tsp smoked sea salt
– dash of chipotle seasoning
– pinch of sugar

I tossed the salad with the dressing, topped it with fresh chèvre and half a bunch of kale made enough salad for two people.

Definitely going to be experimenting a lot this summer. Next, I want to try beets!

Masei Masei

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LL and I wanted to get drinks from Half & Half tea house but the line was ridiculously long. I spotted this place, Masei Masei next door and we decided to give it a try.

They had lunch specials so I went for the shredded chicken with cold noodles and LL ordered the salmon with rice tea.

Our lunches came out with little side dishes and miso soup. We also received free drinks! I had iced matcha tea which was quite good.

Lunch was delicious. I liked it a lot. Atmosphere was a bit dark and music a bit too loud, but I definitely want to return and try their skewers.

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