Sharetea

Sharetea is a Taiwanese bubble tea franchise that recently opened in San Diego. I’ve had their milk tea in Berkeley before and was excited to hear that they were expanding to SD!

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Our first visit was on Grand Opening Day, June 1. The special promo was buy 1 get 1 free – but it wasn’t until we were close to the front of the line that we learned the free drink was limited to the classic milk tea with tapioca. I didn’t mind too much, but I can imagine some customers feeling misled.

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This mural looks like it was done by the same artist as the one from Infini Tea. There is a little tapioca pearl dressed in the cultural outfit for each of the countries where there’s a Sharetea franchise!

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My favorite was obviously the koala tapioca pearl, representing Australia.

On our first visit, we tried the Okinawa (brown sugar) milk tea, which was quite tasty. But the wait time for the drinks was over half an hour – just for milk tea! It didn’t seem like their line was very optimized, and a bit chaotic. But it was grand opening day, so I sort of expected it.

We returned about a week later, around 10pm on a Saturday night.

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[Los Angeles] Lady M Confections

On one of our LA trips, my friend A suggested that we check out Lady M – I’ve heard of their famous mille-crêpes cakes, layers of paper-thin crêpes with pastry cream in between – and have been wanting to try it for a while. So, I jumped at the suggestion and we headed to the Beverly Hills location.

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The shop was quite small and tucked away in a neighborhood-y area. There were only about 3 small tables inside, and several outside on the patio.

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Sorry for the poor picture quality – there’s the menu for the café. Since we were still pretty full from lunch, we chose to just share 1 slice of the original flavor cake.

Signature Mille-Crêpe [$7.50]

Signature Mille-Crêpes [$7.50]

At $7.50 per slice, this was quite pricey – but it was so delicious. The crêpes were soft and slightly chewy, and the cream inside had a rich vanilla flavor. And there 20 layers in this cake, which was quite impressive. The amount of work that it must take to perfect these cakes justifies the price for me (especially since this would be such a rare indulgence!).

We also brought home a couple of slices to enjoy later. If you order their cakes to-go, you can purchase an ice pack and reusable thermos bag. I forgot how much it cost, though.

Green Tea Mille-Crêpe [$8]

Green Tea Mille-Crêpes [$8]

The green tea version of the mille-crêpes was just as good – my friend A likes the green tea more. It has a nice matcha flavor that adds just a hint of bitterness – the good kind of bitterness that’s associated with tea, of course!

Strawberry Mille-Feuilles [$8]

Strawberry Mille-Feuilles [$8]

I wanted to try the mille-feuilles, which is layers of puff pastry and sponge cake filled with pastry cream and strawberries. Unfortunately by the time we ate this, the puff pastry was already slightly softened, but it was still quite delicious. The sponge cake was moist and fluffy.

Since their cakes are so beautiful, I also took some photos of the ones in their display case:

Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake

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The Incredible Cheesecake Company

Cheesecake is one of our favorite desserts, and we recently visited The Incredible Cheesecake Company in Normal Heights. We’ve actually been a couple of times, but I could only find half of the pictures from each visit… haha.

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It’s a small, family-owned business. There wasn’t much seating inside – just a couple of tables. My first visit was on Valentine’s Day, so there were a lot of people in line for to-go orders. (Also, notice in the next photo that many of the cheesecakes are heart-shaped.)

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The display case held several cheesecakes ready to be sliced to order. They also have more flavors in the back, but those need to be defrosted so it takes a few more minutes.

Each slice is $3.75, which is quite reasonable. The following pictures are from a visit with four other friends, so we tried a pretty large variety of flavors:

Creme Brulee cheesecake

Creme Brulee cheesecake

The crème brûlée cheesecake was basically the original, with a layer of caramelized sugar on top in the style of crème brûlée. I liked the crackly layer of sugar on top and also enjoyed the flavor of the cheesecake itself. It’s not as dense as Cheesecake Factory’s, but still rich and decadent. I also noticed that it wasn’t as tart – they probably use less sour cream as well.

Lemon cheesecake

Lemon cheesecake

I didn’t try this lemon cheesecake, but I did have the key lime flavored one before and really enjoyed it. The key lime really brightened the cheesecake, yet was still perfectly creamy.

Cookies & Cream cheesecake

Cookies & Cream cheesecake

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Trinitea

S and I are always on the lookout for new milk tea shops, so when we read about Trinitea on Kirbie and CC‘s blogs, we decided to try it out. Although we’re rarely in Hillcrest, we found an opportunity to visit after having lunch at Streetcar Merchants.

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The place was quite spacious, with the ordering counter tucked away in a corner and lots of tables. I think they’re trying to make it into a cool “hang out” spot, with board games and wifi and whatnot.

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Close-up of the menu. They have pretty much the “standard” milk tea offerings as well as a bunch of coffees, blended drinks, and flavored teas. …

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85C Bakery Cafe

A couple of months ago, the famous Taiwanese bakery 85°C Bakery Cafe opened a location in San Diego! I’ve visited the Irvine location (the first store in the U.S.) several times in the past, and I was really excited to finally see a store here in SD.

85C Bakery Cafe

85°C is located near the intersection of Balboa Ave & Genessee Ave, in the Vons shopping center. There wasn’t much of a line during our first couple of visits, although I’ve read accounts of really long waits to get inside!

I wanted to get some pictures of the interior, but it was really crowded which didn’t make for good photos. I’ll just share some pics of my haul from my first 2 visits:

Egg Tart

Egg Tart

Coconut Custard Roll

Coconut Custard Roll

These are two of S and my go-to’s – the egg tarts from 85°C are better than all other ones I’ve had in various bakeries around San Diego (Paris Baguette, Pangea, 99 Ranch Market). The shells are flaky, and the center is a smooth and rich custard. S also really loves the coconut custard roll cake, simply because he’s a fan of vanilla and coconut.

Pork Sung Bun

Pork Sung Bun

Cheese Dog

Cheese Dog Bun

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Streetcar Merchants of Fried Chicken, Doughnuts & Coffee

We recently learned about Streetcar Merchants of Fried Chicken, Doughnuts & Coffee through Eater SD. Unfortunately, getting sick over the holidays meant that fried chicken plans had to be put on hold, but we made a visit as soon as we started feeling better, hehe.

Streetcar Merchants

Streetcar Merchants

I’m not sure why they picked such a mouthful for the name, but at least it’s quite clear what they sell.

Streetcar Merchants

The first word that comes to mind to describe this place is… hipster. So we were actually initially quite skeptical about the fried chicken. There are three “styles” – Southern fried, Korean twice-fried and glazed, and Nashville “hot” chicken. I really wanted to try the hot chicken, but since I still had a cough, it probably wasn’t a good idea that day. So we got “quarter birds” of the Southern and Korean styles. The fried chicken is made to order, so there was a slight wait, but it wasn’t too bad.

Southern Fried Chicken - Quarter Bird Dark [$8]

Southern Fried Chicken – Quarter Bird Dark [$8]

Southern Fried Chicken

I was a tad disappointed that quarter bird only meant two pieces, so we had to split them between three of us (we were dining with our friend). However, the fried chicken itself did not disappoint – the batter was perfectly crunchy, the chicken was juicy and tender and flavorful – I really enjoyed it.

K-Town Twice Fried Chicken - Quarter Bird Dark with Molasses Wasabi BBQ [$10]

K-Town Twice Fried Chicken – Quarter Bird Dark with Molasses Wasabi BBQ [$10]

The K-Town twice fried chicken was less spectacular in my opinion. There were a variety of sauces to choose from, and we picked the molasses wasabi BBQ – initially we had asked for it on the side, but they messed up and gave it to us already glazed. Oh well. I didn’t like this as much.

6 Whole Wings - Southern style [$12]

6 Whole Wings – Southern style [$12]

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Thanksgiving in Texas: Seven Mile Cafe

Over Thanksgiving, I visited my family in Texas – it was a really nice long weekend filled with delicious food and fun times (many of which I documented on my Instagram). One of the special things that I did during my trip was spend some time hanging out with my big sister in Denton, where she lives. Her boyfriend is a manager at Seven Mile Cafe, one of the city’s popular brunch spots, so of course I had to check it out.

Seven Mile Cafe

There are actually two separate buildings to the cafe – a coffee shop and restaurant, and we stopped by the coffee shop first.

Seven Mile Coffee

Seven Mile Coffee

The cafe serves both a house roast and Stumptown Coffee. The baristas, who are friends with Sis, recommended the Stumptown rotating single origin, which happened to be Guatemala.

NOLA Iced Coffee and Pour-Over Coffee

NOLA Iced Coffee and Pour-Over Coffee

Sis got the NOLA, which is sweetened cold brew with milk. I don’t have much experience with cold brew, but this was nice and refreshing.

After getting our coffees, we walked over to the restaurant, where we were presented with the difficult choice of what to order! Sis was really excited and wanted me to try everything.

In the end, we decided on…

Pulled Pork Breakfast Tacos

Pulled Pork Breakfast Tacos

These breakfast tacos were awesome – stuffed with tender and flavorful pulled pork, scrambled eggs, cheese, and hash browns – yes that’s right, hash browns. Really crispy ones. So good!

Benny Sampler: Eggs Florentine and Chicken Apple Sausage Benny

Benny Sampler: Eggs Florentine and Chicken Apple Sausage

One of the things that I thought was really neat was the “benny sampler” – you can choose any two from their selection of Eggs Benedicts. I tried the Eggs Florentine, which had sautéed spinach and tomatoes, and the Chicken Apple Sausage – I enjoyed both of them but preferred the chicken apple sausage a bit more! Both were served on a toasted biscuit instead of English muffin – the biscuit was great, but I still think that I prefer my benedicts on the muffin. The hollandaise sauce was served on the side and was rich but not overpowering. Finally, the benedicts come with a side of hash browns, or an upgrade to smoked gouda grits for an extra 75 cents. Oh boy, that was a really hard decision for me… in the end, I chose the grits. It came out a bit dry – sis and her boyfriend said that the grits are better first thing in the morning – but it was still super yummy. I loved that they sprinkled green onions on top!

Pineapple Upside-Down Pancakes

Pineapple Upside-Down Pancakes

Lastly, we had to try some of the famous pancakes. Sis and I had the HARDEST time deciding what flavor to get, and in the end, we picked the pineapple upside-down. I loved the caramelized pineapple chunks inside and the cinnamon butter that was served alongside. Initially I was also worried that it would be too sweet, but it turned out to be perfect. I haven’t had such good pancakes in quite a long time.

Overall, I had a really wonderful time at Seven Mile Cafe. It was great to finally get to know my sister’s city a bit better, and this was just one of the several great meals we had together. Many thanks to Sis for bringing me here, and Sis’s boyfriend for cooking some delicious food for us! For any DFW-area readers out there, if you’re ever up in Denton, be sure to check out this place for brunch!

Seven Mile Cafe
311 W. Congress St, Denton, TX 76201
http://www.sevenmilecafe.com/

Le Parfait Paris

Reminder: Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a copy of 5-Minute Mug Cakes, which ends on January 1st!

I was recently invited to check out Le Parfait Paris, a French dessert shop/café located in downtown San Diego. Since S isn’t a fan of desserts, I took my bestie “A” as my dining companion! We took one look at the menu and photos of the place and were immediately super excited to visit.

Le Parfait Paris 

We were quite fortunate to secure a parking spot right across the street! I usually have the worst parking luck.

Le Parfait Paris 

loved the giant bear – it stands at 92 inches tall! – and the simple yet festive Christmas decorations.

Le Parfait Paris 

Le Parfait Paris 

Le Parfait Paris 

Le Parfait Paris 

Before us were beautiful display cases of all their desserts and baked goods. We really wanted to try everything!

Champagne Cocktails [$12 each]

Champagne Cocktails [$12 each]

But first, alcohol. Hehe. I can’t remember the exact names of these, but the one on the left is infused with rosemary and raspberry, while the one on the right has hibiscus and nectar. These champagne cocktails are apparently a new addition to the menu, and they were quite good. 

Cheese Plate

Cheese Plate

The cheese plate was served on an adorable wooden board resembling a tree trunk cross-section! I really wanted one of these boards for my home after seeing this… haha. Anyway, there were five cheeses offered: Brie, Port Salut, a goat cheese, a blue cheese, and Petit Basque. I’ve actually had the Petit Basque and Port Salut before, and ended up enjoying those two the most.

Soup du Jour

Soup du Jour

A and I are mushroom-lovers, so when we saw that the soup du jour had wild mushrooms, we both wanted to try it. Sorry for the weirdly-focused picture! I actually got a new camera lately and am learning how to use it, haha. Anyway, the soup was quite creamy and had a strong mushroom flavor. We thought that the consistency was a bit too thick and was borderline “dip” territory instead of soup. 

Smoked Salmon Benedict [$5.50]

Smoked Salmon Benedict [$5.50]

The last savory item that we decided to share was a smoked salmon benedict. (There was also choice of Canadian bacon or roast beef.) What made it unique was the croissant base, instead of English muffin! A liked the croissant, but I actually still prefer the English muffin for my eggs benedict – the croissant was too crispy for my liking. The hollandaise sauce was great, though, and the egg was perfectly poached. …

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Lofty Coffee Co.

A couple of weekends ago, I was in Encinitas with my friend A, and she recommended checking out Lofty Coffee Co., a very hipster coffee shop.

Lofty Coffee

It’s located by The Lofts apartments, which look really nice and overlook Moonlight Beach! I briefly daydreamed about living here… hehe.

As I said, this place has a total hipster vibe, which reminded me a lot of San Francisco and Berkeley.

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From the looks of the menu, the speciality here is espresso – S and I were pretty big coffee drinkers/snobs in college, and we could talk to you all day about different beans, how many minutes you should steep, pour-over vs. French press, filter size, grind size, etc. And we would have scoffed at espresso drinks, haha. But after starting grad school, we’ve actually been drinking less coffee, and I started enjoying my occasional latte.

I did notice that they have Kyoto-style cold brew, which piqued my interest. Japanese cold brew is essentially using cold water to extract the flavors of coffee, with a really long steep time – often overnight. Lofty had a pretty elaborate set-up for their cold brew:

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Iceskimo Revisit

I posted about Iceskimo, a summer snow-shaved ice pop-up shop, just a couple of weeks ago, and S and I have already made several revisits because we really loved the snow ice there! 

We visited with a couple of friends so that we can try more flavors… haha. Yes, I will steal your food if it looks good.

Matcha Green Tea

Matcha Green Tea: green tea snow, slow-cooked red bean, mini mochi, condensed milk [$4.75]

My matcha-loving friend gravitated towards this one immediately, and I had a few bites. I liked the snow a lot! The green tea flavor was pretty strong, and the texture was nice and fluffy. As for the toppings, I thought the mini mochi was not bad, but I’m not a fan of red bean so I mostly stayed away from them. There was a good amount of condensed milk to sweeten the snow just the right amount.

Summer Love

Summer Love: original snow, fresh strawberries and mangoes, condensed milk [$4.75]

“Summer Love” refers to the harmony between strawberries and mangoes, both of which are in season in the summer! Another friend chose this one, and I loved the flavor of the original snow (milk flavored). Both of the fruits are quite fresh and sweet, and I liked this one a lot as well. It made me want to try their “seasonal special”, mango snow ice with fresh mangoes….

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