Thursday, December 28, 2017

Bowl & Barrel

So cool to have one of work's parties at Bowl and Barrel.  In case you don't know what it is, it is a bowling alley with higher end bar and food, of course.
This is the cheese plate for the party, the bread is nice and warm.  There are 5 kinds of cheeses, with honey and dried fruit.
For the meat plate, they have 4 kinds of cured meat, house made mustard, and cucumber.  Yes, we made mini sandwiches of course.
What you MUST try, is this awesome pretzels.  You must think, what's the big deal on the pretzels?!  Well, first of all, they are huge.  Then they have their house made mustard, and this is a whole thing of cheese.  Frankly, I didn't want to share the cheese with anybody but since there are 3 pretzels and it would are too obvious if I hog it all, I had to do the polite thing.  

For parties, they have special pricing for food and drinks along with the lane rentals.  They go by 1/2 hour, so book accordingly.  Once you go the party started, their servers are pretty attentive about getting you your drinks, your shoes and you lanes set up.  So you can enjoy the evening without fussing with the scoring machine.

Bowl & Barrel
797 Sorella Ct
Suite 118
Houston, TX 77024

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Sushi Sakura Express

Was just here at Sushi Sakura Express back in July.
But since I have a LivingSocial credit expiring soon, thought what the heck.  Need to head to that direction of town anyway.
I like that they have decent size sashimi that's not an arm and a leg.  This is black pepper tuna sashimi.  Came with its own sauce and it's nicely done, not too spicy, but just enough for the crunchy crust.
Scallop, I like the it's fresh.  Doesn't taste fishy or slimey at all.
Rock and Roll.  All of their rolls on moving sushi plates are 4 pieces as opposed to typically 6 or 8 pieces.
They have hot items from the back kitchen.  Veggie tempura, egg rolls...etc.
Also fruits and dessert when you're ready, just grab.

So, going back to our seating strategy... when we went this time, lunch hour was in full swing.  My previous theory about sitting by the opening from the chef's area was shot because there were patrons there already.  So, they seated us to the right of the opening, which means, we had to wait for the food to travel towards the front before coming down towards the back.  I will say, it helped with the hot food from the kitchen but not with the sushi which travels the opposite direction.  So, my tip: if you can't sit at the chef's opening to load the sushi; try to sit by the door around the T, you're bound to get first dips on the sushi.

Sushi Sakura Express
1014 Wirt Road
Ste 263
Houston, TX 77055

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Downtown Disney - La Brea

Went back to La Brea after a long day at Disneyland.
It helps that this is the restaurant right in front of the tram stop to the parking garage.
Started out with an Arnold Palmer (half tea and half lemonade).  Yes, that's my Pooh ears!
Shared a Pizza, which was good for 2 people share.  
Saw that they had onion soup and just had to try it.  I just love the cheese all over the bowl.  Wish it crusted a bit more, but the bread in there soaked up the soup nice and dandy, no complaints here.  They can also make some dishes gluten free, just ask them for the gluten free menu.

So the trick about going there end of the day: most people want to go to there before hopping on the tram.  Cut your day short and go to dinner.  If you ended up going during peak hours, make sure you put your name down asap, leave one person in line and take the little to check out the kiosks, fountains, and there's a big o' Disney Stores to keep everyone busy.  Frankly, they are pretty quick on the seating.  They have more seating outside, but they do have heaters all around, so no worries.

La Brea
1556 Disneyland Dr
Anaheim, CA 92802

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to you and your family!
May you feast on the yummiest with the ones you love most!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Disneyland - Dole Whip

As we were approaching the Enchanted Tiki Room, I know my chance for Dole Whip is about to come.
Lots of people stood in line not knowing what it was because the side is blank, but lines at the park is the norm nothing out of the ordinary until you come up to the counter.  (Tip: there's an inside line to the building structure.  Typically, it's for the convenience of the Tiki Room attendees while they wait for the show to begin, but lots of time people just didn't know there's a line open as well at the back.)
At the stand they have, pineapple spears, fruit bowls, Dole Whip soft serve, and Dole pineapple juice.
I went for the kill, and got the Dole Whip Float, which is the mix of the soft serve and the juice.  So my tip to you is this: the Dole Whip by itself is good, the pineapple juice by itself is good, but when you combine the 2 together it's a lot of sugar and different kinds of sugar at that.  So, it's very different taste, even when you mix it all together.  So, take it from me, get them separately.  I will say this, it is a Must-Have experience here at Disneyland.

Tiki Juice Bar
Disneyland - Adventureland
1313 S. Disneyland Dr
Anaheim, CA 92802

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Disneyland - Red Rose Taverne

Alright, finally at the Disneyland proper and caught the parade on our way to Fantasyland.  (psst, the key to catching the parade is know when it's starting and hang out behind Matterhorn before you get to Fantasyland but can see the Small World, the parade has to go pass you and not much traffic and nice seatings on the sides)
Fantasyland is the most popular part of the park, all the classic rides are here.  Tea Cup, Alice in Wonderland, Pinocchio, Dumbo, Snow White, the Carousel, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, and Peter Pan.

So, it's appropriate to see the Red Rose Tavern in the middle of the park.  (Tip: if you sit outside, that's near the characters entrances, we've caught Gaston, Alice & Madhatter, and Merida). 
I got the kids gluten free pizza.  Knowing all good and well that the kid will never finish eating it, which I'll end up having.  I didn't even bother to get an entree, it'll just mean that I'll have to eat mine and his together.  Anyway, I wanted to save room for the Gray Stuff. 

Tip: if you have dietary condition, as you walk up to any of the quick service, let them know, they do have a separate menu that list out items for you.  And no, the Gray Stuff is not gluten free.
So, as the song goes, try the gray stuff they're delicious, don't believe me ask the dishes.  That song just kept running thru my head.  Oy!

Anyway, the gray stuff is really gray colored butter frosting.  The little pearlized balls are like Sixlets, they're crunchy, but that's mixed with the red crunch and some Oreo cookie crumbs.  The inside: it has raspberry, which is held up by red velvet cake and standing on top of a cookie at the bottom.  As pretty as it looks, it's a lot of butter frosting on the cake.  I like red velvet fine, but not sure about that much frosting.  

The inside was once Gaston's Pub, so it's still very pub-ish feel.  However, there are murals of Beauty & the Beast, and stain glass from the story, quite nice.  Plenty of seatings inside and outside, and as mentioned before, the outside seating is right near the entrance for characters, so we have seen a lot of them coming and going.  The Tavern is set to be temporary, tentative till February 2018, but no confirmation as of yet.

Red Rose Tavern
1313 S. Disneyland Dr
Anaheim, CA 92802

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Disneyland - Lucky Fortune Cookery

Dining at any Disney Parks, for something sit down, you really do need to have reservations.
Since we don't have a reservation, we ended up at Lucky Fortune Cookery at the Pacific Wharf.
How it works is you pick your protein, which are beef, chicken or tofu.  Then, you pick your sauce or style.  They have Mandarin Orange (in picture), Spicy Korean, Thai Coconut Curry, or Teriyaki.

The Mandarin Orange, was more dried than I liked.  There are some veggies hidden under there and then a big bed of rice.  I may have wanted the Spicy Korean if they have more sauce.  
Anyway, key to eating at Disney is either plan ahead or if you're going to wing it, bring some patience, because those lines are just as busy as the ones at the rides.

Lucky Fortune Cookery
Disney California Adventure
Pacific Wharf
1313 S. Disneyland Dr
Anaheim, CA 92802

Monday, December 18, 2017

Disneyland - Flo's V8 Cafe

We were right by Cars Land in Disney California Adventure
Decided to fuel up at Flo's V8 Cafe.
Even their tables have the V8 logo, great details.

The entire interior is decorated like a 50s diner, checker floor board, car-like seatings. 
This is the Roast Beef & Cheddar sandwich.  It was supposed to come in a garlic bun, but I think that's a regular burger bun.  The roast beef wasn't bad but the melted cheddar is too watery, and the taste is very uneven.  I ended up taking the meat out of the buns and ate it with the cole slaw, which was pretty good.  My mom had the spare rib and it was pretty good.

How it works: you enter, and they hand you a menu, you look at it, when you're ready, they direct you to the cashier that's available.  Then go to the counter and they will hand you your food.  The system is pretty well organized.  They do have staff helping you if you have multiple trays but not multiple hands.  They also do a pretty good job in cleaning up after as well.  Of course, take lots of pictures and enjoy the Cars decor.

Flo's V8 Cafe
Disney California Adventure - Cars Land
1313 S. Disneyland Dr
Anaheim, CA 92802

Thursday, December 14, 2017

La Brea

First day at Anaheim, and decided to walk around for a bit.
Right as it gets dark, there's an Italian/Bakery with a small line.  Figured everything else has a line, might as well give it a shot.  Majority of the seating is on the outside patio area, but they do have heaters, no fear.
I got the Penne Pomadoro, penne pasta with sausage.  You can request for gluten free pasta, and that bowl of pasta is plenty.  Nice and warm under the heater with some pasta.  They also offer pizza, assorted salads and huge bowls of soup.

I will say, when it's dark is when people exit the parks.  Since the restaurant is situated across from the tram that people take to go back to the garage, they do get a longer line in the evening.  So, either beat the crowd or be prepare to wait.  That goes for all the restaurants in Downtown Disney, besides the crowd that comes to hang out, you also have to consider the folks that exit the parks too.  Bring patience or entertainment for the little ones.  They also have sandwiches to go, if you want something quick and not sit down.

La Brea Bakery
Downtown Disney
1556 Disneyland Dr
Anaheim, CA 92802

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Honey & Butter X Tokidoki

Yet another post about macarons, because they are awesome.
Happens that when I was there, they were doing a collaboration with Tokidoki.
How cool that they have a super wall with Tokidoki characters?
They're known for characters macarons.  The right ones are their normal characters, the far left ones are Tokidoki.  They charge more for special or bigger characters.  They do have a rule that there's a limit on how many you get and they release them around noon.  Don't be surprise that if they have a line out the door.  You can see what they're rolling out on their Instagram.
So, what did I get: of course macs, panda mac, and tokidoki mac, a Tokidoki pin, and other Tokidoki swag.

It's a super fun place to be and wish they have one Texas, but that's good enough for me.

Honey & Butter
633 Spectrum Center
Irvine, CA 92618

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Honey & Butter

If you're a true macaron fan, you would've had Honey & Butter on your radar.
Not only that their macarons tastes good, they also do character macs.
Hi Totoro!  Just chilling at the store?
Another Totoro to teach you all about how to make macarons.
Wow, talk about a Tsum Tsum collection.  This place has them all and then some.
Here's their macarons selections.
They also has tea and pins.  I got the Jasmine tea and of course some macaron goodies.
Out of the ones I got, I want to share the unique one that I wanted to share.  That's the French Toast Crunch.  And how cute are those mini toasts.  You do taste the cinnamon from the filling.  That's pretty clever. 

They have your standard flavors, but they also have unique flavors, like Churros, Milk and Honey (which I'm told that's a popular one amongst fans), Fruity Pebbles and Oreos.  The trick is that they're around the corner of Old Navy at the Irvine Spectrum Center (which is close to the middle of the shopping center).  If you want the special characters they release them at Noon.  Don't be surprised, if it's a popular theme, they do have a line out the door waiting for them.  The other thing is that because it's so popular, they do limit how many you can get.  More on that, next post.

Honey and Butter
633 Spectrum Center Dr
Irvine, CA 92618

Monday, December 11, 2017

Hello Kitty Cafe

So we were coming back from Carlsbad back to LA, and had to pass Irvine.  
Quickly find the Irvine Spectrum Center and go visit the Hello Kitty Cafe.
Super cute decor.
Dessert display case, they have macarons, tarts, cakes, pocket pies and cookies.  All the Hello Kitty goodness.
Got me a Passion Fruit Iced Tea, super cute napkins and cups to match.
Chocolate Opera Cake, cute touch with HK chocolate on top.
Check out the details on the side, it's Hello Kitty and desserts printed on the chocolate slices.
Since I spent enough, they have a rewards program and I earned a cup of mocha.  Too cute!
No no, Keroppi, that coffee is mine!

The store is a container converted to a store.  It is situated by the Ferris Wheel, and can't really miss it, because it's pink and right in front of the constructions of the new section of the Spectrum Center.  

Parking is pretty convenient, they have a garage which is a short walk from everything.  Highly recommend taking some time and enjoy the California sun.

Hello Kitty Cafe
670 Spectrum Center Dr
Irvine, CA 92618

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Beach Plum Kitchen

For breakfast, we found Beach Plum Kitchen.
It's super cute and actually very popular with the locals.  It's actually on the 2nd floor or the back end of the shopping center.  Parking can be a challenge, depending on when you go.
Beach Plum, not a common name, and they bother to tell you why.  You can read it here.
Saw lot of recommendation on coffee, so got a mocha.  Purrty... it tastes good too.  Perfect amount of chocolate and milk ratio.  Nice and hot.
I got the Ben's breakfast burrito with pork belly... whoa!
That's a lot of food... you can see the pork belly, very nice and tender and juicy.  Eggs, not sure how they fit the potato, cheese, and pepper in there.  But it went very well with the Salsa Verde.  I'm typically a fan of the tomatillo salsa, but it was a tad too spicy for me and I'm a whim.  There's a lot of food, towards the end I was just picking on it.

The place is very popular to the locals, a lot of them come here for their regular gathering; we were lucky to be seated right away, but by the time we get up, there was a line out the door.  There was some confusion on the servers assignments, but luckily our server was astute and picked our table up.  Strangely, we got our food before we got our coffee, not sure what the set up is, just thought that was strange.  They also sell home made jam, and you can ask them for a sample.  By the time I remembered that, I had already stuffed my belly with the burrito and didn't get to try it, but next time for sure.

Beach Plum Kitchen
6971 El Camino Real
Ste 201
Carlsbad, CA 92009