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!

Friday, October 25, 2013

[Happy World Pasta Day] Buca di Beppo - San Diego

In honor of World Pasta Day (October 25), I was invited to Buca di Beppo to experience their homestyle Italian dishes.  I have been to "Buca" (what I call it for short) a few times in the past, mostly for work parties. It has been a while since the both of us have been to Buca so it turned out to be a nice little date night for the hubs and I. 

We had a reservation at the Buca location in downtown.  Upon arrival we were greeted very warmly from the hosts before taking us to our table.  Our host took us through the kitchen, as part of the route to the eclectic dining room.  They even have a dining table that faces the kitchen - which I have never dined at. 

They seated us at the Frank Sinatra booth. This was the shrine of him to the left of the booth. 

I forgot how fun the restaurant is decorated -- with many old pictures and trinkets. There is so much to see. On the ceiling was a very cool wine bottle collection. 

To start, M ordered an Italian beer on draft, called Peroni based on a recommendation from our excellent server, Zo.  Oops, I forgot to take a picture of it and he started drinking it.  

For salads, entrees and pastas, Buca has two sizes -- small (serves 2-3) and large (serves 4-6). Everything here is served 'family style' and they have HUGE portions, even for the small sizes. 

We received Italian bread with the traditional olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The bread was soft and chewy. The olive oil was fruity in flavor. The combination of oil and vinegar was perfect with every bite of the bread. 

We love a good Caesar salad, especially M. I knew we had to get one since I already knew for a fact that they have a a really good one here. We ordered the small Caesar salad ($12.99). The table side presentation was new to us -- which Zo told us that it is a new thing there, only a couple months old. 

He mixed in their homemade Caesar dressing, garlic croutons and Parmesan cheese....
*stir, stir, stir....*

Ta-da!  Seriously, this small salad can easily serve four people... 

Instead of the mozzarella garlic bread (which we went back and forth on), we ordered the Artichoke Florentine Dip ($13.49). Oh, this was so good.  I loved that the dip did not have chopped spinach. It contained green, fresh spinach leaves. Yummm... 

The dip was served hot. It had fresh spinach, artichokes, chopped roma tomatoes -- all swimming in a creamy mozzarella and provolone sauce. The Parmesan crostini were buttery, crunchy and just perfect for dipping. I enjoyed every bite. 

Our main course arrived --Prosciutto Stuffed Chicken (small - $23.99).  Think of a 'chicken parmigiana meets chicken cordon bleu.' So, a small serving comes with three, yes, three breasts stuffed with proscuitto and mozzarella, topped with marinara sauce and served on pesto cream sauce. 

Elvin, the manager, cut through the chicken breast to show us the stuffed goodness...

Oh, yeahhhh. Seriously, the chicken breast was super moist. The outside of the breast was crunchy, the proscuitto was salty, the cheese and pesto cream were creamy-- so many layers of flavors and textures! Hands down, the best dish here.  We chose this dish because of the picture on the menu, haha. 

Elvin told us that this is one of most popular dishes and that the prep staff pounds out and stuffs the breasts by hand every morning. 

We made the right decision and ordered the side order of the spaghetti marinara ($7.99) as opposed to their 'small' serving. It easily satisfied the both of us and it complimented the chicken perfectly. We even had some leftover. Simple deliciousness. The pasta was cooked al dente and the sauce tasted like fresh tomatoes, garlic and oregano. 

CANNOLI!!!  The dessert menu was on our table the whole time and there was a picture of these babies on there. I kept eyeing them -- I think M was too.  
Chocolate Chip Cannoli ($9.95) is what we ordered. Mmm, the shells were crispy and the cannoli cream was not too sweet, however, the entire dessert was sweetened nicely by the chocolate chips in the cream - even though you cannot see them in the picture.  It was a wonderful way to end our meal. 

Wow. Talk about food coma!  Buca di Beppo really does serve delicious homestyle Italian food.  We will definitely be back!  M and I left with happy tummies and with an overall excellent customer service experience. 

Special thanks to the Buca di Beppo staff, especially Elvin and Zo, and to BRAINtrust.

605 6th Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101

Disclaimer: The meal was complimentary.  All opinions expressed in this blog post are my own and I was not paid to write this review.  

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

[Vacation] Gordon Ramsey's BurGR - Las Vegas, Nevada

Continuing our summer 2013 Las Vegas trip... um, yeahhhh, this post is WAY overdue. 

Our good friends, J and J, were also in the Vegas for a couple days. They stayed at the cool Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino, which is where I picked our dinner meet to be -- Gordon Ramsay's BurGR

I love Gordon Ramsay, mainly because Masterchef is one of my favorite food competition shows, next to Top Chef. He is passionate about food, outspoken, can be perceived as mean, but I enjoy watching him. 

This restaurant appeared in one of the challenges this season on MasterChef.  Yum, who doesn't love a good burger -- so M, my hubs, and I wanted to check it out. 

We met J and J at the YOLO bar (haha) for a drink while we waited for our table. They got a text from the BurGR hostesses when our table was ready.  

This is the cover of the menu.  This, I do not get, nor do I understand - haha.  Oh, Chef Ramsey....

Above is a list of the burgers offered at BurGR.  The prices in orange are for those who have a Harrahs Total Rewards card.  You can view their complete menu here.  I used mine for our party so we got the discounted prices!  Yeah!

Our server brought us a fancy iPad for browsing the cocktail menu. M ordered the Jalapeño 'Rita ($12.00) because not only does he love a good margarita on the rocks, he loves spicy food.

The Jalapeno 'Rita tasted exactly like a classic margarita, but with a hint of the jalapeño pepper to hit the tongue at the end.  

We started off with two appetizers to share.  The Beer Battered Maui Onion Rings ($8.00) were thick, crunchy and sweet. They were served with a chipotle ketchup and a cheddar ranch dip. Mmm, cheese. 

The Jalapeño Poppers ($11.00) were served in these super cute shot glasses with the same creamy cheddar ranch dip. Out of the six they served us, our server told us that one of them was a "fiery" surprise. We ate them one at a time -- waiting for our mouths to burst into flame, but after the first five, nope. Our server watched as M decided to take the last one; which, of course, we all thought was the spiciest one... but, NADA.  We all had a good laugh because whoever ate the "one", ate it like it was nothing.  

J ordered her simple, but classic American Burger ($12.00) -- with their signature bun, american cheese, crisp butter lettuce, pickles, onions and tomatoes. 

M's theme for the night was definitely spicy between the jalapeño margarita and the poppers. He ordered the Damnation Chicken Burger ($13.00) as his 'no beef' alternative.  It had a fiery hot mayo, Maytag blue cheese and a carrot + celery slaw -- definitely a play on a buffalo wing, my hubby's favorite food in the entire world. 

My Farm Burger ($14.00).  What got my attention... duck breast bacon, English sharp cheddar and a fried egg. 

It was delicious, however... it was rich, on rich, on RICH.  Did I mention that this was very rich?  There was nothing to cut through all the savoriness -- like cole slaw, pickled veggies, or even tomato slices.  Still, it was really flavorful from the seasoned beef patty and rich egg.

Of course, we had to have their truffle parmesan fries ($10.00) served with chipotle ketchup and truffle aioli.  Yum, these were good, but I liked the sweet potato fries ($8.00) better.  I loved the sweet potato fries with the dusted powdered sugar.  

I thought it was interesting that only the cocktail menu and the dessert menu were on the iPad -- not the food menu?  We were given the iPad again to review their dessert menu.  They have these pudding shakes that is their specialty dessert item.   We decided to order the #4 Oreo ($8.00). 

Also, Gordon Ramsey is known for his sticky toffee pudding so I knew I had to try one of his Sticky Toffee Pudding Push Up Pops ($6.00 for two), .  In one of this past season's MasterChef's episodes, he made the sticky toffee for a wedding reception.  It looked so good.

I tried to get all fancy and take a picture of both of the dessert images on the iPad and it just came out blurry. FAIL.

I had asked our server to split the shake into four, she said, no (of course, it was a silly question)... but duh, since we were two couples, I should have asked them to split it into two -- I have seen it done via the pictures on Yelp.  Ooopsies.  The Oreo pudding shake is basically a traditional Oreo milk shake at the bottom and then topped off with creme brulee pudding and an Oreo cookie. Personally, I thought it was just okay.  The pudding was really thick and it was pretty impossible to sip it through the straw.  There was nothing "brulee'd", just the custard, basically.  Everyone was over it after a single taste, so I ended up with a few more sips/bites and I was pretty much done too.  

They usually prop up the two pops to make a nice presentation, but the server said she had to make it "to-go" because they ran out of the stands in the kitchen.  Maybe it was a hint for us to leave, just kidding.  Anyway, don't ask me why I did not even hold it the right way and take a picture of it.  Here it is, upside down on the table, haha.  Way to go, me.

The sticky toffee pudding pop was delicious!  Think of a thick, caramel-y, toffee cake with cold salted peanut ice cream (what? MMM).  M and I loved it. 

I was happy that we went here.  We will be back!  They also have these "Devil Dawgs" I would like to try and believe it or not, "Honey-Pig Bao Buns" (pork belly *drool*).  

3667 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, NV 89109

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Pies, pies, PIES - Whole Pie Sale Through 10/31/13 [Marie Callender's]

Marie Callender's Whole Pie Sale* is BACK!  You know, pies are what I buy instead of birthday cakes and I always get them here. The pies at MC are soooo delicious. You can even buy a handy dandy pie slicer there. 

Now through Halloween, October 31, MC is offering more than 30 varieties of their sweet, yummy pies for only $7.99. 

Marie Callender’s irresistible selections include: 
  • Apple: Sliced apples, sweetened and spiced with cinnamon.
  • Banana Cream: Fresh ripe bananas, rich vanilla cream, fresh whipped cream or a fluffy meringue.
  • Berry: A variety of only the finest plump, ripe berries, baked in this double crust pie.
  • Blueberry: Blueberries enhanced with flavorful apples
  • Cherry: With juicy, tart, red cherries.
  • Coconut Cream: Coconut folded into our rich vanilla cream.
  • French Apple: Our traditional apple pie with a crumbly cinnamon streusel topping.
  • Lemon Meringue: Slightly tart, slightly sweet, topped with a light golden meringue.
  • Peach: With thick sliced peaches.
  • Pumpkin: Our famous pumpkin pie has just the right amount of spice.

Don't miss out!!! 

*Pie Sale excludes cheesecakes, seasonal fresh fruit pies, and promotional pies. Please visit www.mariecallenders.com for a complete listing of pies.  Image provided by Marie Callenders.
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