Aug 062014
 

Summer is, of course, grilling season. I was recently sent a sampler pack of Urban Accents Grill Master Complete Grilling Collection, which has spices and marinades for all your grilling needs!

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There were five packs of “Dryglaze,” which go on to the meat dry, and melt into a beautiful glaze as you marinade. On the grill, it develops a really lovely caramelization. 

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There were also four bottles of different blended seasonings for steak, pork, chicken, or whatever you’d like to season!

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Finally, there were two seasonings for corn on the cob, which I LOVE. I’ve definitely put these to good use!

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S and I really like the chili lime seasoning for the corn – we don’t have a grill, but usually bake corn on the cob in the oven, with a few layers of the husk left on – 350°F for 15 minutes, then I remove the husk and sprinkle on the seasoning!

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Aug 042014
 

Recently, S and I were invited to Cafe Coyote to check out their menu offerings. We’ve received an invitation before to sample some of their monthly specials, but this time we just wanted to try some of their regular menu items.

As always, the place was super crowded – it’s definitely a popular spot in Old Town for Mexican food! While waiting in line for the hostess, I snapped a picture of the lady making fresh tortillas:

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I absolutely loved the handmade tortillas here from last time, and it is so fun to watch her make them!

We were seated quickly, and our waitress brought us some chips and salsa:

Complimentary chips & salsa

Complimentary chips & salsa

I enjoyed the chips here, which were served warm. The salsa wasn’t overly impressive to me, though – it was a bit watery.

S and I weren’t sure if the manager or chef wanted to recommend anything to us, but we just went ahead and ordered some things that looked appealing to us from the “Coyote Favorites” section of the (rather extensive) menu.

Carnitas Plate

Carnitas Plate [$12.95]

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Since we’re pork-lovers, we had to try their carnitas. Flavor-wise, it was decent – but I wish that the meat was a little juicier. Maybe I’m just used to the mind-blowing carnitas from Lolita’s, which somehow manages to be juicy and tender, yet with plenty of crispy bits at the same time.

What I do love here, though, are the accompaniments to the plates – all of them are great, but I especially enjoy the tortillas, which are warm and soft and tender, and the refried beans, which are super creamy and smooth, and have amazing flavor. They’re also pretty generous with the guacamole scoop (you can’t tell from the photo, but it’s a pretty decent amount!). 

Steak Ranchero

Steak Ranchero [$13.95]

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Aug 012014
 

I’ve had All-You-Can-Eat sushi in Las Vegas before and wasn’t super impressed – the fish was just okay, service was slow, and the rolls weren’t too good. However, at my friends’ urging, we visited Sushi Mon on this past trip to Vegas. There are two locations – Sahara and Silverado Ranch – and we visited the Sahara one, which is located off the Strip, sort of near the “Asia-town” area.

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We visited on a Saturday, right as the place opened (11:30AM) – there was no line, huzzah! Why we were already awake at 11 in the morning in Vegas, I’m not so sure, but nevertheless, we arrived with hungry stomachs.

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As you can see, above is the sushi bar. We caught part of the Brazil-Chile World Cup game. The restaurant is mid-sized, with about 10 four-top tables and some seating at the bar. But like I said, it wasn’t busy at all during my visit.

Looking at the All-You-Can-Eat lunch menu, there are a variety of nigiri sushi to choose from, as well as rolls and side dishes. We mostly ordered nigiri – for the best value, and because we weren’t sure how tasty the rolls would be. The price was reasonable – $21.95 per person (before taxes). Below are some of the things we ordered… We definitely ate way more than what’s pictured, but I either forgot to take a photo, or it was “repeat” order because we liked the item so much. 

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Tuna, Albacore, Salmon

Clam, Cajun Albacore

Squid, Cajun Albacore

Of the fish, we really loved the salmon and albacore – they were the freshest and most tasty, in my opinion! The Cajun albacore was quite interesting – it was seared and seasoned on the outside with Cajun spices. It was a tad too salty and overpowered the delicate albacore.

Albacore and "Super White Tuna"

Albacore and “Super White Tuna”

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Jul 302014
 

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. Continue reading »

Jul 282014
 

S and I were recently in Encinitas and decided to check out Kealani’s Cafe for lunch – we’re not too experienced with Hawaiian food (our most frequently-visited place is L&L in UTC… not the greatest). I was pretty excited to try out a new place!

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We arrived right as it opened, 11AM on a Saturday. The place was pretty much empty, with just a couple of other customers.

The whole place had very cute decor, with the booths resembling little straw huts! Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of our booth :(

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One corner of the restaurant was actually a little Hawaiian-themed shop, with clothing and souvenirs. It made me feel like a tourist…

Kalua Pig Plate - Mini [$5.50]

Kalua Pig Plate – Mini [$5.99]

S of course, chose the Kalua Pig plate. The plate lunches come in two sizes, regular and mini. I believe the price difference is about $1.50? Anyway, we weren’t feeling particularly hungry that day, so mini sizes it was for both of us. The pork was quite flavorful – slightly smoky, not overly salty, with hints of sweetness. It was quite juicy and tender, and we liked it a lot! Continue reading »

Jul 252014
 

It’s Boba Time is a milk tea/drinks franchise shop that recently opened up on Convoy, replacing the old Yoshinoya spot. Due to S’s deep and undying love for all things milk tea, we had to go check it out.

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The interior was quite cute – one of the walls was a painted mural, and there were pictures and decorations hanging everywhere.

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There’s also an explanatory banner for those who aren’t familiar with boba!

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Jul 232014
 

Today’s post is a little more than a recipe – I am partnering with my blogger buddies in a San Diego Food Bloggers Lemonade Challenge, in support of a wonderful cause – Alex’s Lemonade Stand.

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Alex’s Lemonade Stand is a fundraiser for childhood cancer, and is the biggest fundraiser in California! Since its inception 9 years ago, Alex’s Lemonade Stand has raised over $80 million and funded more than 450 research projects at 94 institutions! They also help families struggling with childhood cancer by providing a Travel Fund and an annual Educational Symposium.

The 9th annual Alex’s Lemonade Stand will be held this Saturday, July 26 from 10AM-6PM in Normal Heights: 3366 Adams Avenue, 92116 at the Masonic Parking Lot. There will be lemonade, a silent auction, prize drawings, kids’ activities, and live music – it is bound to be a super fun event, supporting an amazing fundraiser.

Alex's Lemonade Stand, 2013

Alex’s Lemonade Stand, 2013

Even if you can’t attend, you can donate online here. A $50 donation funds an hour of research – the biomedical research funding climate is not so great right now (I can personally attest to this, as a grad student in this field), and every little bit will help! Let’s help our hosts, the Miller Tribe, reach their goal of $15,000 this year – which would bring their total to $100,000 for the nine years that they’ve been running!

This week, I join my fellow food bloggers in creating a lemon-based recipe, sponsored by Melissa’s Produce. More than a dozen bloggers will be cooking with lemons in support of Alex’s Lemonade Stand. Be sure to check out the recipes on their blogs!

A Purpose Driven Wife
BakeLoveGive
Becky Charms
Confessions of a Foodie
Deleting the Adjectives
Family Spice
Frugal Nutrition
Golden State Mom
Jinxi Eats
Kirbie’s Cravings
Making It Sweet
Recipe Renovator
Sweet Sueshine
The H Blog
This Tasty Life
The Seaside Baker
Three Dog Kitchen

Melissa’s Produce generously provided both regular and Meyer lemons (as well as a bunch of other amazing fruits!) for me to create my recipe. I remembered something that I had seen on Pinterest, a Greek yogurt lemon coffee cake, and decided to make a Meyer Lemon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake.

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It’s basically a coffee cake, but with a layer of lemon cream cheese in between the cake and crumble part.

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I really enjoyed the textural contrast between the crumble topping and custard-like cream cheese layer! The Meyer lemons gave it a wonderfully sweet yet bright flavor – it was my first time baking with Meyer lemon, and now I’m addicted. I’m already planning to make a batch of Meyer lemon curd this weekend!

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S loved the cake, too, and was quite reluctant when I said I wanted to share some with our friends… haha. That’s when I knew that I made something yummy!

Thanks so much, once again, to Melissa’s Produce for providing the lemons for this post, as well as the produce box! Be sure to check out my fellow bloggers’ lemon recipes in the links above! And finally, I hope you’ll support Alex’s Lemonade Stand, whether by attending the event or making an online donation. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Melissa’s Produce to benefit Alex’s Lemonade Stand: Foundation for Childhood Cancer.

Event Partners:
Alex’s Lemonade Stand
Adams Avenue Business Association
Blind Lady Ale House
FM 94.9, broadcasting live all day
Melissa’s Produce

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Jul 212014
 

A few weeks ago, I visited Common Theory Public House for their grand opening - I had a really great time there, but I did not get to experience the full menu since they had a limited special menu for the grand opening weekend. S and I went back for another visit recently with some of our friends to check out their other offerings!

I’ve already shared photos of the restaurant in my first post, so I skipped those and went straight for the food this time. 

Daily Special: Ahi & Scallop Poke [$13]

Daily Special: Ahi & Scallop Poke [$13]

The Ahi & Scallop Poke on the daily specials board attracted my friend’s attention immediately. She was pretty surprised when this dish came out, though – it was more of an appetizer than an entrée. She said that although it tasted pretty good – she especially liked the scallops – it wasn’t worth $13, and definitely wasn’t filling enough for her as a meal.

Pork Belly Katsu, served with a candied jalapeño and hoisin molasses sauce [$9.5]

Pork Belly Katsu, with candied jalapeño and hoisin molasses sauces [$9.5]

One of our friends has tried this before and decided to order it again.

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Jul 202014
 

Today’s post is on something non-food-related! I was contacted by a PR company to share about a ticket-vending site, ScoreBig.com.

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It works basically like Priceline’s bidding for hotels – except with event tickets! You select the event that you’d like to attend, your preferred seating area, and submit a bid for tickets. You’ll be notified instantly if your bid is accepted, but if it’s rejected, then you’ll have to wait 24 hours before putting in a new bid. There’s a useful little meter underneath the bid input box, to show your chances of success. 

The site is very intuitive and user-friendly. I was excited to see that Chargers and Padres tickets were being offered – I love NFL and have been wanting to watch a Chargers game, so I’ll definitely bidding for tickets soon!

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One of the best things about ScoreBig.com is that there are no convenience or processing fees, which can normally get pretty expensive. One of the downsides, however, is that there aren’t too many San Diego event tickets being offered yet. They are in the process of expanding, though, and there are a lot of events available in Los Angeles. (The company is headquartered in LA, so that’s probably the reason.) I’m looking forward to seeing new events being added on in the future!

Check it out here! ScoreBig.com

Disclaimer: I received a $100-off discount for my next purchase through ScoreBig.com, which I plan to apply toward my Chargers tickets. All the writing in this post is my own!

Link Love!
Mary from This Tasty Life also recently tried out ScoreBig.com. Check out her review here!

Jul 182014
 

Recently, S and I had a nice weekend getaway in Las Vegas with a few friends – Vegas is our favorite place for a mini-vacation, actually… it’s close enough to drive there, but it’s just far enough away that I can really take a break from the stresses of life, haha. We’ve had several “fine-dining” meals in Las Vegas, including Fleur and Lawry’s Prime Rib. On this recent trip, we made reservations at Bouchon Bistro, one of Thomas Keller’s restaurants. I’ve been wanting to try it for a long time and was really looking forward to the meal!

We stayed at the Palazzo hotel, so it was an easy walk over to Venetian, where Bouchon was located. I felt shy about taking photos of the restaurant, for some reason. It was pretty crowded and lively.

Complimentary Bread, Butter, Pistachios

Complimentary Bread, Butter, Pistachios

We started off with some complimentary bread and butter, and… pistachios? Interesting, but pretty neat. I was a little disappointed that the bread wasn’t warm – I had pretty high hopes for it since my friend raved about his visit – but it was still a nice bread.

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I love pistachios and couldn’t help eating them! In Chinese, pistachios is called “Happiness Nut” – the word “happiness” is composed of the characters for “open” and “heart” – which is kind of like a pistachio, with their cracked shell. Makes sense, no? I always thought that the Chinese name for pistachio was really cute.

We decided to share three entrées, a cheese plate, and an order of foie gras, which you can’t get in California. 

Terrine de Foie Gras de Canard [$49/5 oz]

Terrine de Foie Gras de Canard [$49/5 oz]

The foie gras was served with toasted baguette and sea salt – I didn’t feel like it needed the salt, since it was plenty flavorful already. The foie was so rich and creamy; I absolutely loved it and savored every bite. I did feel like sharing a 5 oz portion between four people was a bit too much, though – we didn’t want any of it to go to waste, but it was so rich that it actually filled us up before our entrées even arrived.

Fromage du Jour - 3 pc tasting portion [$15.25]

Fromage du Jour – 3 pc tasting portion [$15.25]

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