[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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Iceskimo

Iceskimo started out as a pop-up shop serving snow-shaved ice, or snowflake ice. I’ve visited the pop-up shop several times last summer, and they finally opened a brick-and-mortar store in October last year. Unfortunately, I wasn’t around for the grand opening weekend, and after that I just was never in the mood for a cold treat – until one recent day when the craving for snow ice suddenly kicked in, and I finally got to check out the store!

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Too bad it was already dark out when I went… the building is painted a really lovely shade of blue, and the little round logo is quite adorable.

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They’ve changed things up a bit – now, you can “build your own snow” – basically pick a flavor, and add any amount of toppings from the toppings bar. Most of them are what you’d see at a frozen yogurt shop, actually.

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Betty’s Pie Whole

While we were in Encinitas last month, S and I wanted a snack and decided to check out Betty’s Pie Whole, sister bakery of Elizabethan Desserts. Upon entering, I immediately fell in love with the saloon-style decor and bright feeling of the place.

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We arrived in the late afternoon, and quite a few of the pie offerings were sold out. We looked through the display cases and still found a few that we wanted to try!

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Sorry for the glare… blargh.

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We picked two mini pies – one savory and one sweet – to enjoy at the restaurant, and took one home for later.

Boyd's Break-the-Fast Pie [$5.95/individual pie]

Boyd’s Break-the-Fast Pie [$5.95/individual pie]

This was one of the few savory pies that they still had left – it has eggs, potatoes, turkey bacon, smoked poultry sausage, and cheese, all baked into a biscuit crust. At first I was quite skeptical of the biscuit crust, but it actually turned out to be quite good – the crust was flaky and buttery, less firm than a traditional pie crust, but definitely created a “breakfast-y” feeling. We thought that it would have been better if they used pork bacon and sausage (of course), but still enjoyed it a lot.

Key Lime Pie [$5.95/individual]

Key Lime Pie [$5.95/individual]

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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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5-Minute Mug Cake Book Giveaway

I’ve got another giveaway for you guys – as my holiday gift to you, I guess? Haha. My blogger friend Kirbie of Kirbie’s Cravings recently published a book, 5-Minute Mug Cakes: Nearly 100 Yummy Microwave Cakes. The recipes are as easy as you can imagine, and yes, the cakes really do come together in five minutes or less, and most of them feature simple ingredients so that you can really get your cake fix any time.

5-Minute Mug Cakes 

One of my favorite recipes from this book is the 2-Ingredient Flourless Nutella Mug Cake – recipe here. Unlike the rest, this one actually is best if you follow all the instructions and let the cake sit for a couple of hours after making it, so that the flavors can meld together nicely. (However, I totally understand if you can’t resist and sneak a bite right out of the microwave… I may have done the same.)

5-Minute Mug Cakes 

Flourless Nutella Mug Cake 

This book is a great gift for yourself or a loved one for the holidays – you can pick up a copy in Barnes & Noble as well as your favorite local bookstore, and there are a number of online retailers (including a Kindle version at Amazon). And, as I’ve mentioned, I’m giving away a copy here on my blog!

To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post with your favorite type of cake. For 1 bonus entry, follow me on Instagram and leave an additional comment telling me that you’ve done so, and with your Instagram handle. The giveaway will end Thursday, January 1 at 5:59PM PST. I’ll be using random.org to select a winner and contacting him/her by email. Good luck!

South Bay Food Crawl

Warning – this is a long post, with TONS of pictures! :)

A few weeks ago, CC of Pink Candles at Ridgemont High took Mary, Jake, and T (of This Tasty Life), and S and me, on a food crawl around the South Bay! I was really excited because I knew that there would be plenty of stops with Mexican food – one of our favorite cuisines. Plus, I’ve always wanted to explore some more of Chula Vista and Imperial Beach.

Birria Fernandez

Birria Fernandez

 Our first stop, bright and early at 9:30AM, was Fernandez Restaurant and Catering, located near IB – CC mentioned that there would be a line as early as 9AM, and indeed there was already a small crowd. We arrived later than everyone else – they had already sat down, ordered, and worked through the first batch of tortillas… oops.

Birria de Res [$9]

Birria de Res [$9] 

This is definitely the specialty here, a rich and hearty stew with shredded beef (res). The soup was just so flavorful, adn the meat was incredibly tender.

Birria Fernandez 

These tortillas took forever to arrive at our table, but well worth the wait – possibly some of the best tortillas I’ve ever had! As you can see, they’re dipped with the birria broth, adding extra flavor. 

Birria Fernandez 

I constructed my own taco, with the shredded beef, onions, and cilantro. The birria also came with radishes and limes – I gave my taco a good squeeze of lime juice. It was so delicious! I think all of us wished that we could have eaten more here, but we also knew that there was plenty more good food up ahead.

Fernandez Restaurant and Catering
2265 Flower St, San Diego, CA 92154
http://www.fdzcatering.com/

Mariscos Isaac

Mariscos Isaac 

Our second stop was just a short distance away, at the Mariscos Isaac seafood truck. Apparently, this is a new location for this truck – I’m geographically challenged so I’ll just link to CC’s post for you to figure out exactly where we are, hehe. 

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Seafood Consommé

Seafood Consommé

The seafood consommé is free here! A really nice little gesture to give us something to munch (slurp?) on while we wait for the food. It was served piping hot, which I didn’t really expect and almost burned my tongue off – but trust me, I’d rather have piping hot than lukewarm! It was on the salty side but very flavorful. S stayed away from this since there was shrimp.

We all decided to try different things here…

Fish Taco (Pescado) [$0.99]

Fish Taco (Pescado) [$0.99]

Marlyn [$3.25]

Marlyn [$3.25]

The fish taco wasn’t too special but yummy nevertheless. We also wanted to try the marlin because we haven’t seen it anywhere else so far – the fish was very smoky and rather salty. Still delicious, though. Also, the taco was huge.

Isaac [$3.50]

Isaac [$3.50] 

Gobernator [$3.50]

Gobernador [$3.50]

CC and Mary both opted for shrimp tacos – CC chose the “Isaac”, the truck’s namesake taco, which included grilled onions and peppers. The gobernador was a regular shrimp taco, which had pico de gallo and two generous slices of avocado! The shrimp was cooked perfectly for both tacos, and I really loved the flavors of the “Isaac” taco.

Mariscos Isaac
(Located near Bobar 2 Liquor Store)

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Snacks Series: B. Toffee

I was recently sent some samples of B. Toffee, which is an award-winning toffee brand! The company is in Newport Beach, California – I love local businesses, so I was quite grateful to try out their tasty treat!

B. Toffee

B. Toffee

The toffees are packaged so beautifully! I totally believe in “eating with your eyes first”, and when these arrived I couldn’t help but admire how “delicious” it looked!

B. Toffee 

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DiningOut San Diego’s 10th Anniversary Party – Part 2

As promised last week, here’s Part 2 of my recap of DiningOut SD’s 10th Anniversary Party, held at The Headquarters at Seaport District! I started off the evening with drinks and tacos from Puesto, and moved on to the courtyard, where several other restaurants and shops had booths set up with samples.

The first one we came across immediately captured my attention – a table full of desserts from Seasons 52!

Seasons 52 desserts

Seasons 52 desserts

I’ve dined at Seasons 52 once, but didn’t get the desserts. They looked so adorable in the shotglasses!

Ghiradelli Chocolate S'more

Ghiradelli Chocolate S’more

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake

Mocha Macchiato

Mocha Macchiato

Red Velvet Cake

Red Velvet Cake

Meyer Lemon

Meyer Lemon

J and I decided not to be overly gluttonous, so each of us chose one of the dessert shots. He immediately went for the Red Velvet, which was quite good (although I didn’t like the raspberry). I had a hard time deciding between, well, pretty much everything, but in the end, the toasted meringue atop the Meyer Lemon cake won me over. The lemon cream was smooth, bright, and not overly sweet, and the meringue added a lighter texture to the whole “dessert shot.” I would definitely order this again in a flash!

We moved on to the next table – Venissimo. I love this cheese shop and was excited to try out their samples!

Venissimo owner

Venissimo owner

The owner himself (I didn’t quite catch his name) was manning the station. There were several platters of cheese samples and tartlets!

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England Farmhouse Cheddar, Mini Apples in Calvados

Farmhouse Cheddar (England), Mini Apples in Calvados

loved these mini apples! I think soaking them in Calvados (an apple brandy) intensified the flavor 100 times! The Farmhouse Cheddar paired nicely with the apple. 

Abbaye de Belloc (France), Lychees in Passion Fruit Liquor

Abbaye de Belloc (France), Lychees in Passion Fruit Liquor

We circled back to Venissimo a little bit later, and they had a different cheese for sampling – the Abbaye de Belloc, which is a rich and creamy sheep’s milk cheese. I’m not a fan of lychee, though, so I’m not sure how the pairing was.

I’ve saved the best offerings from Venissimo for last, though… these little mini tarts!

Gorgonzola Dolce with Lavender Confit

Gorgonzola Dolce with Lavender Confit

Bucherondin , Hazelnut-Cacao Nut Butter, Honey-Almond Cherry Jam

Bucherondin , Hazelnut-Cacao Nut Butter, Honey-Almond Cherry Jam

The Gorgonzola dolce one was so good – well, if you’re a fan of stinky cheese. I thought that the pungent cheese was perfectly offset by the lavender confit, and the texture was so luscious and creamy. I totally went back for 2 more of them. The other tartlet was on the sweeter side, made with Bucherondin, which was a mild goat cheese with a brie-like texture. Both of these were really yummy, but oh man, that Gorgonzola. (S is probably feeling really relieved now to have been out of town… he can’t stand stinky cheeses, haha.)

Venissimo selections!

Venissimo selections!

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[Baking] Lemon Meringue Pie-lets

It’s summer, and I am currently obsessed with lemons. I’ve been thinking of new ways to use lemon in my cooking and baking, but the other day, I had a craving for just good old lemon meringue pie.

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And then I thought, why not make mini versions? Because mini pies (or as I like to call them, pie-lets) are adorable. And I do love things that are delicious and adorable!

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I adapted a simple lemon meringue pie recipe from one of my favorite chefs, Alton Brown, and made it miniature-sized! The meringue part didn’t come out as pretty as I had hoped – I should have piped it instead of simply spooning it over the lemon curd – but it was yummy, and that’s all that mattered in the end, I suppose.

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As you can see, the meringue tops are baked until browned, which is the way I like it. However, if you prefer the meringue top a little less baked, you can always shorten the baking time by a couple of minutes.

I used a mixture of Meyer and regular lemons in this recipe, to lessen the acidity, and thus reduced the sugar by a little bit. One of my friends thought that it wasn’t sweet enough, but the sweetness was just right for my preference. If you have a sweet tooth, I’d recommend adding another 1/6 cup of sugar.

I thought that I’d satisfied my lemon craving after making these, but it did just the opposite – now I’ve got ideas for even more lemony desserts! I’ll be trying them out in the upcoming weeks and hopefully sharing them with you!

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