Food Adventure Collage.

carnitas snack shack. c-level. world famous. woodstocks. terra american bistro. buddies. corbins. casey's cupcakes. mandarin beijing. nazca grill. eiffel tower restaurant. gordan ramsay burgr. in-n-out. bankers hill bar and grill. los primos. bistro sixty. ruth's chris.


... to a place I like to call my very own. *waving hello*

I invite you to enjoy reading about the food adventures that I have with friends, family, and colleagues.

I adore food and I cannot just choose one particular food that is my fave.

Food is really is my favorite. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Le Pain Quotidien [Penn Quarter] - Washington, DC

They do not have a Le Pain Quotidien in San Diego, but they do have a few restaurants up north, like in Newport Beach and Los Angeles.  I actually have not heard of it until it was mentioned by my sis, L, while we were deciding where to go for Sunday brunch during my mini East Coast trip.  L's hubby, MK, says that it can be a bit overpriced for some of the items, but I think it may be costly because they use organic ingredients, which I would gladly pay for any day!  

This restaurant was so cute. It has so many windows.  I love the natural light.  When you walk in through the front doors, it has a selection of food gifts to purchase, including some that were on our big, communal table.  There is a bakery/cafe counter for those wanting a quick, organic pastry and espresso or drip coffee.

Here are some items that are available for purchase and to try at our table - all items are certified organic.  You can also get them online, as well:

Extra Virgin Huite d' Olive Oil ($12.95)

Aceto Balsamico di Modena - Balsamic Vinegar of Modena ($11.95) and
Sirop d'Agave - Agave Syrup ($9.25)

All organic omelettes are served with their signature organic bread and a side salad.

My older sister, S, ordered the Avocado and Tomato Omelette ($11.30).  She ordered it with egg whites instead for an additional $1.25.  The avocado slices were nice and fresh looking.  

L and MK both ordered the Paris Ham and Gruyere Omelette ($12.45).  I did not have a taste of theirs, but they said that they order this all the time since they have Le Pains in Philadelphia.

I ordered the Chicken Chorizo and Cheddar Omelette ($13.20).  It came out really pretty.  I pictured bits of ground chicken cooked down with spices, but it turned out to be a "sliced sausage" omelette.  Regardless, the chorizo itself, still was really good.  

I found my omelette to be a little watery?  I was trying to figure out where it was coming from, but then I remembered that they said there was a little salsa in there.  The side salad was refreshing and light, but the taste of the raw fennel overpowered everything.  I shoved the fennel slices off to the side after a few bites of tolerating the flavor.

Our server brought us a wide selection of their organic jams and spreads to try with our bread.  Shown above is the Apricot Jam ($7.25) and the Blueberry Jam ($7.25).   Goodness, the blueberry jam was so delicious -- tart, sweet, and perfect with the bread.  I loved it so much that I bought a jar to take home with me. 

Here is a shot of the blueberry jam goodness on my bread.

He also brought us Rhubarb Jam ($7.25) - no thanks, Blondie white chocolate spread ($11.25) and an Orange Jam ($7.25).  I only tried the Blondie and it was super, duper sweet, but really, really good.  

On our way out, I felt like I *had* to get a pastry from the bakery counter.  L and I decided to split the biggest chocolate chip cookie ever ($3.25).  


It was as big as her face.  It was crispy on the outside and chewy in the inside.  It was a nice end to the breakfast/brunch we had.

We walked towards the National Mall afterwards, and saw that they had so many food trucks and little vendors selling stuff.  Aww, man.  We were too full to try out some of the local trucks.  Oh, well.  Maybe next time!  We still had a great time at Le Pain Quotidien.

Le Pain Quotidien
2000 P Street NW
Washington, DC 20036

Monday, November 16, 2015

Marie Callender's Holiday Feasts

I cannot believe how fast 2015 is going and that it is November already!  The holidays are coming up really fast and before you know it, Thanksgiving is around the corner (literally, it's next week)!  If you do not want to deal with the cooking and clean up during the holidays, Marie Callender's offers their "Holiday Feasts" for take-out of their complete delicious holiday meals, starting at $99.99. Please see more information below....


Marie Callender’s Feasts Provide Everything You Need for the Perfect “Home-Cooked Holiday Meal”

The holiday hustle and bustle is upon us, and Marie Callender’s is ready to take the stress out of the season!  Guests can choose from FIVE delicious Holiday Feasts and more than 30 of Marie Callender’s legendary pies.  Easy online ordering is available at www.mariecallenders.com.

The Holiday Feasts serve between four- eight people and features a complete dinner with all of the trimmings and, of course, a Marie Callender’s signature Pumpkin or Apple Pie.  All Feasts are conveniently packed and ready to go. All you need to do is heat, serve and enjoy – it’s that easy!

Marie Callender’s five Holiday Feasts include: 
  • Turkey Breast Feast ($99.99) – An oven roasted turkey breast with all the feast trimmings, serves four- six.
  • Ham Feast ($109.99) – A bone-in spiral cut quarter ham and chipotle-pineapple glaze topping with feast trimmings, serves four- six.
  • Ultimate Whole Turkey Feast ($119.99) – A whole roasted turkey with all the feast trimmings, serves six-eight.  
  • Ham and Turkey Combo Feast ($139.99) – A roasted turkey breast and Marie Callender’s bone-in, spiral cut quarter ham with chipotle-pineapple glaze topping and all the feast trimmings, serves six-eight.   
  • Ultimate Ham & Turkey Feast ($149.99) – A whole roasted turkey and Marie Callender’s bone-in, spiral cut quarter ham with chipotle-pineapple glaze topping and all the feast trimmings, serves six-eight.  
Each Holiday Feast from Marie Callender’s comes with the following delicious sides:
  • Apple-Sage Stuffing
  • Fire-Roasted Yams (with Cranberry Streusel Topping)
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Fresh Mashed Potatoes
  • Turkey Gravy
  • Chef’s Vegetables        
  • Fresh Baked Cornbread
  • Whole Pumpkin or Apple Pie
  • Marie’s Special Blend Coffee
A la carte options include:
  • Bone-In Spiral Cut Quarter Ham ($39.99)
  • Oven-Roasted Turkey Breast ($36.99)
  • Whole Roasted Turkey ($49.99)
Happy eating and season's greetings!

* Image provided by Marie Callender's.  

Saturday, November 14, 2015

[Recipe] Six Ingredient + No Sugar Banana Bread

M, my hubby, quit sugar recently and he had such a sweet tooth.  He says he got it from when I was pregnant because I craved sweets all the time.  Okay, hubby, sure. *smirk*  I have made this banana bread before but it includes sugar and vanilla extract.  I decided to omit both ingredients and add an additional ripe banana to compensate.  I was curious to see how it would turn out.  

This recipe is a little variation of this banana bread recipe I found on Simply Recipes.  My usual 'with sugar' recipe includes 1/2 cup of brown sugar, as opposed to 1 cup of granulated white sugar.  Alas, here is the recipe for my Six Ingredient + No Sugar Banana Bread.  Oh yeah, break out your mixing bowl and a spoon.... no mixers needed! Yeah!

Six Ingredients:
  • Four (4) ripe bananas - I use organic
  • 1/3 cup of melted, unsalted butter
  • One (1) egg - I use cage free
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees,  Spray a loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.  In a large mixing bowl, mash four ripe bananas with a fork.  Slowly drizzle and stir in the melted butter (I melted it in the microwave).  Add one egg, the teaspoon of baking soda and a pinch of the kosher salt.  Mix together.  Add the flour and mix thoroughly ensuring all the flour is incorporated into the wet ingredients.  Pour the bread mixture into the loaf pan.  Bake for about 45 minutes.*  Use a toothpick to check to see if it is done (the toothpick will come out clean).  Cool for about 15 minutes.  Carefully remove from the loaf pan and use a serrated (bread) knife to cut into slices.  Store in air tight container.

* - Cooking times in the oven vary.  My oven over-bakes stuff, so I usually shave off 5-10 minutes from a recipe and always check to see if it needs additional time in the oven.   The Simply Recipes recipe says it will take about one hour, and to check at 50 minutes.  

Hello, delicious banana bread!  This recipe is super simple to make.  The natural sweetness from the bananas and knowing that there isn't any added sugar makes it even better.  M loves it so much that he already ate half of it by himself,  I love a slice warm with a little butter.  Try it and let me know what you think.  ENJOY!

Source:  Thank you to Simply Recipes for initially getting me to make banana bread to use my overripe bananas!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Brigantine Seafood and Oyster Bar [Lunch] - Point Loma

The Brigantine Seafood and Oyster Bar in Point Loma (Shelter Island) has been in San Diego since its opening in 1969.  I have visited this location a few times and I have to say, I really enjoy it for their fresh seafood and for their prime location near the water.  When M and I dated, he lived in the area so we used to take weekend walks to Shelter Island, including a few visits to the Brigantine for lunch and when his parents were in town.

For this particular trip, we had a family reception and Brigantine was the perfect place to accommodate our large group.  Note, I was not able to record how much eat lunch entree was, thinking they would be on the website.  Sorry! I do know that they were all between $10-$14 each,

My mom ordered the Pork Belly BLT.  This sandwich was so large and great for sharing!  It basically was a regular BLT since there was only bacon in there (not large pieces of braised pork belly, which I was hoping for... for her, haha).  It was served on toasty, buttery sourdough bread, with crisp tomato, and greens.  It still was delicious.  The bacon was crisp.  I loved all the crunchy components of this sandwich.  It sounds like it was my entree, huh.  Yeah, my mom gave me half of it.  Yum!  The sandwich also came with coleslaw and homemade kettle chips  Double yum!

My dad ordered the Lobster Roll.  My dad was a couple seats away from me and he eats fast, so I did not have a chance to have any of his.  I was able to capture a quick picture of it before it was devoured.  It looked amazing, though, with those crunchy fried onion on top of the sweet lobster.  He opted to have the aioli on the side.  This sandwich also came with the kettle chips and coleslaw.  

My sister ordered the Soft Shelled Crab Sandwich.  I was not able to taste hers, but it looked pretty good and she said it was delicious.  The bread looked warm and crusty.  The soft shell crab looked crispy too.  I think she ordered steamed vegetables on the side, instead of the usual chips and slaw.

Oh yes, this is my dish.  I cannot, repeat, cannot pass up a plate of Fish n' Chips.  I love the dish too much!  As you can see, it comes with three fresh pieces of white cod, tartar sauce, french fries and creamy coleslaw.  The fried pieces of fish arrived were still crispy in texture when I made myself a bite.  I added a little bit of the tartar sauce for each bite of the white, flaky fish.  So good.  I am a coleslaw lover, too.  I love it for its tang, crunch and acidity.  

The kitchen plated my fish n' chips very lovely, that I had to take a picture of it this way, which I rarely do.

I really enjoy the lunch menu here, more than their dinner menu, which is a tad pricey.  The staff is very friendly and were really accommodating with our large group.

The Brigantine Seafood and Oyster Bar
2725 Shelter Island Drive
San Diego, CA 92106
(619) 224-2871

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Otello - DuPont Circle, Washington, D.C.

I took a mini trip with my older sister's family (S) to Washington DC and we met my younger sister (L) and her hubby (MK), in DC, as they are Philadelphia residents.When there was confusion whether someone made a reservation at Founding Farmers, we ended up being "reservation-less" on the Saturday night we arrived in the east coast.  Luckily, L found Otello on Yelp.  

The entrance of Otello is so unassuming and if we were not paying attention, we would have passed it.  Right up the stoop, we were taken to a cute, Italian restaurant in the Dupont Circle area of Washington, DC.  The tables were clothed with the familiar checkered tablecloth.  The restaurant had icicle lights inside, a full bar, and a larger banquet room in the back.

Our large group was served some fresh bread with olive oil.  Because we had a really large group, I was only able to take pictures of food for half of the table. We all were starving, so I wanted to dig in, too!

L and MK shared everything they ordered and the kitchen was nice to put them on separate plates. They both started with a simple romaine and tomato salad (not pictured), Insalata Mista ($8.50) and the Tortellini Al Basilico ($13.95).  The dish was a plate of multi-colored cheese-filled tortellini in a light tomato sauce that is seasoned by basil.  

They also shared the Mozzarella In Carrozza ($9.50).  Oh, man... crispy, deep fried mozzarella topped with a garlic and parsley butter.  It was not your typical mozzarella sticks... this was the real deal.  The cheese was warm and gooey and I loved the crunch from the breading.

S's boyfriend, A, ordered the Rulata Di Pollo ($19.75), which is a roulade of chicken breast stuffed mortadella, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese.  It came with a nice, rich sauce and roasted potatoes.  

This was my dish!  I was so hungry from the lack of nutrition from flying all day (we were at the airport at 4am!) so I decided to get something pretty darn delicious and blog-worthy... because it's not your usual Chicken Parmigiana ($24.95).   This was listed on the chalkboard list of menu specials and not on the regular menu.  The dish also has eggplant under the hot, melty mozzarella cheese.  The eggplant added another depth of flavor.   The spaghetti noodles were a bit thicker than the usual spaghetti noodle, and I absolutely loved it!  The tomato sauce was surprisingly light and it just went well with the chicken and the pasta.  I just kept eating, eating and eating.  It was so good!

The other half of the table enjoyed Fettucine Alfredo ($16.50) and Capesante Alla Diavolo ($22.95), which was sea scallops in a spicy tomato cream sauce, served with angel hair pasta.

All in all, we loved our experience here.  The staff was so friendly and the ultimate vibe of the restaurant was wonderful.  One day, we'll make it out to Founding Farmers, but we were very happy to have found Otello.

1329 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 429-0209

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Grove Steakhouse at the Viejas Casino & Resort - Alpine

M and I celebrated nine years of marriage bliss in August this year. We absolutely love steakhouses, especially those at the local Indian reservation casinos. We also enjoy going to steakhouses on our anniversary because steak is one of my favorite foods, and is considered a special treat.  We have not tried the Grove Steakhouse at the Viejas Casino & Resort in Alpine, so we were pretty excited to go.

The Grove is located near where the buffet used to be in the non-smoking area of the casino.  There is a small check in stand where one host/hostess stays behind.  She led us in to a small door on the left through the dining room.  

We were started off with a complimentary sliced baguette and different spreads.

From the top to the bottom, salted butter with olive oil, sun dried tomato spread, and pureed white bean.  All spreads were delicious and were a great start to the meal.  The white bean reminded me of a hummus. They sure were a nice surprise with the bread, as opposed to those cold small packs of butter.  

Executive Chef Yadira Perez brought us an amuse bouche consisting of salmon tartare.  It was a perfect, fresh bite.  Our server told us that they were all excited to have Chef Perez in the kitchen, as she started earlier this year.

Next, as a palate cleanser to get ready for our delicious entrees, we each received a tiny dish of lemon sorbet with a raspberry coulis.  Yum!

M does not eat red meat.  His go-to dish is the Chilean Sea Bass ($35.00) whenever we go out.  The succulent fish was served with enoki mushrooms, bok choy in a soy broth.  The fish just melted in my mouth.  

For the first time ever, I did not want a big ol' rib eye steak, my absolute favorite cut of steak.  I love, LOVE steak.  Instead, I ordered the 6 ounce petite filet mignon ($28.00).  It was cooked to a perfection (medium temperature) and it was impressively delicious. 

The filet came with a carrot puree, caramelized onions and a garnish of bone marrow, which I tried, but could not eat (boo, guess it truly was for garnish, haha).  The carrot puree was sweet and, yup, tasted like carrot, which is not my favorite thing.  The onions were a perfect, crispy accompaniment to every bite of my filet.

Steak frites (aka steak and french fries) is my favorite dish ever, so I had to order the truffle pomme frites ($7.00) to eat with my filet.  They were crispy and light.  The truffle oil was just a perfect touch and did not overpower the taste of the fry.  

We ordered the steamed broccolini ($6.00) for an additional side and to round out our meal.  It came with shaved garlic chips.  Steamed veggies, anywhere, are a hit and miss -- these did not disappoint, as they were still a perfect crisp, but not underdone.

For our anniversary dessert, they gave us a complimentary chocolate cake with vanilla bean ice cream.  They were so sweet to do that for us.

Once we received our check, we were served these two cute white chocolate truffles.  They were the perfect end to the a great night to celebrate our nine years with M.  Between the bread, sides and the filet, I did not miss the rib eye at all.  I did not feel overstuffed and I had my craving for steak frites satisfied.

So far, the Grove Steakhouse at the Viejas Casino is our new favorite casino steakhouse, not only for their fabulous food, for for their diamond customer service and little surprises (amuse bouche, the palate cleanser, and the truffles at the end).  Also, like most casinos, if you have a players card, there is a dining discount.  For us, it was 20% off (not on alcoholic drinks, though).

It was a very nice and romantic celebration for the hubby and I!

The Grove Steakhouse at the Viejas Casino & Resort
5000 Willows Road
Alpine, CA 91901
(800) 847-6537

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Big Kahuna's - Imperial Beach

This is a mini post for the single meal I had at Big Kahuna's in Imperial Beach.  We had family in town and they wanted to go somewhere that was not a fast food restaurant, that was close to their house in IB, and good for groups and children.  I found Big Kahuna's on Yelp and told everyone where to meet.  

Big Kahuna's is located in the shopping center to the left just before you enter the 75 highway onto Coronado Island.  Given that my parents (and my son) are picky when it comes to dining out, this was the perfect place to go since they have an array of Hawaiian plates and dishes.  Hooray for steamed rice and saimin (ramen noodles)!

I love Hawaiian plate lunches, mainly because they remind me of the plates my mom used to make us when we were growing up.  We always had steamed rice, a meat (like chicken adobo, beef steak, lumpia), and macaroni salad or coleslaw.

At Big Kahuna's, I ordered the Chicken Teriyaki and Kalbi Ribs (short ribs) combination Hawaiian plate ($10.95) so J and I can share.  What I loved about this plate is that the chicken teriyaki came with bits of sweet pineapple.  The addition to the scallion (green onion) makes every dish even better to give it that mild onion bite.  Both meats were grilled really well and they were so flavorful.  The macaroni salad was good and not overdressed with mayonnaise.  Three scoops of sticky rice were more than enough for one person, but because J and I were sharing, it was a good portion.

If you are ever in Imperial Beach, I suggest coming here for a plate lunch before hitting the beach and pier.  It's also near Stardust Donuts (if you're lucky that they are open, you have to get the best glazed yeast donuts in San Diego!).

Big Kahuna's
600 Palm Avenue
Imperial Beach, CA 91932
(619) 429-5224

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Bubba Burgers - Hanalei, Kauai [Hawaii]

Burgers.  Wait, what?  In Kauai, there is a burger there that I still crave for its simplicity and flavor.  Bubba Burgers!  There are three locations on the island of Kauai -- Hanalei (north), Kapaa (central), and Poipu (south).   We rented a house in Hanalei and we were lucky that the Bubba Burgers was located a short walk across from our house.  I will be the first to admit that we ate there twice during our trip.  Yum!

All Bubba burgers are made from Kauai grass fed beef and served in a toasted bun, Bubba relish, and diced onions.  The patties are thin -- they start off with a 1/6 pound patty (Bubba Burger), 1/3 pound (two patties - Double Bubba), and the Big Bubba (1/2 pound - 3 patties).   Bubba suggests that you do not get lettuce and tomato on your burgers because since 1936, they have never served the burgers with them.  But, for a $1.00, you can order lettuce and tomato (but they cannot guarantee its freshness since they have them shipped from the mainland).  They also have chili burgers, hot dogs, fries, onion rings, taro burger, and a grilled chicken sandwich on their menu.

Here is my Double Bubba ($6.00) -- this is the standard burger for an "adult".  The single Bubba burger ($4.00) is perfect for kids, like my little boy, as it comes with a tiny 1/6 pound patty.   Each burger is pretty simple - cheese was extra ($0.35), relish, fresh onion, ketchup and mustard.  It was so good. It reminded me a homemade burger that my mom would make  The beef was seasoned well and I loved the tang from both the relish and mustard.  Both M and I ordered Double Bubbas with cheese.

We shared an order for french fries ($2.75) and onion rings ($5.00).  

The french fries, I can tell, were of the frozen kind, but they were still pretty good.  Especially when you have to have french fries with burgers!  

The onion rings were super crispy on the outside and soft and sweet in the inside.  I liked them better than the french fries.  

Bubba is a good place to get something quick in paradise.  They make simple, good food and they make food pretty well.  The staff was really friendly, too!  

Bubba Burgers (Hanalei)
5-5161 Kuhio Hwy
Hanalei, HI 96714
(808) 826-7839

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