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!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

[Product Review] Holiday Gift Ideas from UncommonGoods

I am very excited to share with you a website called UncommonGoods, where they have really fun trinkets that can be described as, well, "uncommon."

UncommonGoods was founded in 1999 in Brooklyn, New York, and offers handcrafted gifts that are unique in design and items you cannot find at a regular, chained department store.  I describe UncommonGoods as a "virtual handcraft fair."  UncommonGoods provides a platform for artists and designers.  The company is committed to sustainability, which is something I value personally. Kudos to them!  About one-third of all of their products are made with recycled and/or upcycled materials.  They are also a founding B Corporation.  According to the Our Story section of their website, "the Certified B Corporation seal means that a company has undergone and passed a comprehensive screening questionnaire, which evaluates areas including company governance, environmental practices, and impacts on the local community."

I reviewed three items taken from the following categories:
Here is what I found from the Stocking Stuffers category....

Can you guess what it is?  Because I have holiday candy in there, a lot of people guessed it was an open "Santa bag".  It is an Unzipped Glass Zipper Bag ($16.50)!

Yup, now I will always have visitors in my office because of the candy.  They have all complimented how the candy jar is super cool-looking and have never seen anything like it.

Check out the entire list of all UncommonGoods stocking stuffers: http://www.uncommongoods.com/occasions/christmas-gifts/stocking-stuffers

The next item in this review is perfect for entertaining and perfect for those who love math (a.k.a. mathletes), like me....

i eight sum pi plates ($35.00).  WHAT?

These cute little plates are perfect for a little treat, especially for pie.  What you do is serve a slice of pie during the holidays and cover up the equation.  After your guests finish, they will see the equation!  You can have your guests decipher and solve the equation to see who the real 'mathlete' is.

Then, they can turn the plate over and see the answer.  I LOVE these plates.  The set comes with two dessert plates.  They would make a great gift for your math-loving friends.

You can find these plates and other cool gifts under $50.00 here:

The final product I tried is 45 Second Omelet Maker ($25.00).   The diameter of the dish is only about 5 1/2 inches, so the omelet would be perfect on bagels and English muffins.

The picture of the UncommonGoods card at the beginning of this blog post is actually a "Maker Story" card for his dish.  Tony Holman is a master in pottery skills and creates his pottery masterpieces with functional and decorative shapes.  No two pieces are exactly alike since they are hand crafted.  So cool.

Here are the directions for the omelet dish.  I decided to make it more exciting by making my own omelet creation!  

I chopped up green bell pepper, yellow onions, and grabbed a large handful of organic baby spinach leaves.

I sauteed the onion and bell pepper in a saute pan with a little canola oil; added salt and pepper.  I added the spinach after a few minutes.

I beat one cage free egg in a small bowl.

After the vegetables cooled, I added half of it to the bowl with the beaten egg.  I sprayed the dish with canola oil spray before I poured the egg mixture into it.  

Here we go, 45 seconds in the microwave.

Ta-da!  Nice, huh?  Okay, because I think I overdid it with the vegetables (I think they weighed the egg down), that it was not done all the way through.  I put the dish in for another 30 seconds and it came out perfect!  Note, microwave times will vary.  It is all about trial and error.  Find the perfect time with your microwave and your ingredients.

Here is the cooked through egg.  Yum!  This is definitely BAGEL READY.  But, I did not have any bagels (booo), but I did serve it with my crispy potatoes and locally made sourdough.  Yum.

I tested the dish out without any ingredients and just the egg.  The dish worked perfectly, cooking the egg.  

I put the remaining vegetable mixture on top of the perfectly cooked egg.

You can find the 45 Second Omelet Dish and other gifts under $25.00 here: http://www.uncommongoods.com/gifts/by-price/gifts-under-25

UncommonGoods is a such a wonderful website to purchase special and unique items for your friends and family, especially for the holidays.  Browse the website because I guarantee you that you will find something you will love yourself or even love to give to someone.  Guess what?  It is not too late to purchase for the holidays!  Click here to see the 2015 holiday shipping information.

Thank you, UncommonGoods!

Happy Holidays!

**Disclaimer:  I was contacted by UncommonGoods and the items reviewed in this blog post were complimentary.  I was not compensated for writing this post.  All opinions and reviews written on this blog post are my very own.

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

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