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Tigelleria Organic Restaurant

August 22, 2013

Wow, I’ve been gone a long time.  I always seem to be apologizing for not writing more often.  I should just write more so I don’t need to apologize.   I don’t have a real excuse for not writing.  I haven’t mentioned it here but I’m going to be a Mom in a few months!  I’ve been incredibly fortunate and haven’t had any morning sickness or weird cravings at all… so I can’t even blame it on that.  Do you remember my crazy pizza obsession a few years ago?  I think TM was worried that I would get like that while pregnant.  Not obsessed about pizza but weird stuff like dill pickles dipped in peanut butter or beef jerky slathered in cottage cheese.  (BTW, I’ve never tried either of those combinations and I don’t plan on it.)

We ate a lot of good food in July.  TM’s birthday is at the beginning of the month and we celebrated at Tigelleria Organic Restaurant.  It’s close to where we live which was a huge plus since we were leaving on vacation to Canada the next morning.  We booked an early  reservation so we could pack after we got home from dinner and we were the first ones in the restaurant that evening.

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I actually enjoy eating dinner on the early side and beating the crowds.

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We started out with the burrata appetizer.  Whenever I see burrata on the menu, I’m immediately drawn to it and feel compelled to order it.  This one certainly did not disappoint.  It was a silky pugliese burrata; served on broiled organic white bread with organic arugula and tomatoes.  (We did ask if it was made with pasteurized cheese to make sure I would be able to eat it.  There are so many food restrictions when pregnant!)

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I’ve been on board the kale train for a few years ever since I read how good it is for you.  We buy organic kale at the farmer’s market whenever we can and make kale chips multiple times a week to go with dinner.   We don’t usually eat it raw in salads just because we love the taste of kale chips so much but we were both intrigued by the black kale salad.  This black kale was tossed in lemon juice, honey & olive oil with mango, pine nuts & homemade goat & walnut cheese.  It was light and refreshing and I loved sweetness of the mango in the salad.

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TM chose the filetto di maiale as his main dish.  He often gravitates towards duck or pork dishes when we go out to eat and this time he chose pork.  It was a pan-seared pork fillet with pancetta, sage and onions in a red wine sauce.   It came with potatoes and an apple puree’ and roasted chestnuts.   He definitely loved this dish as it was cooked to perfection.  I unfortunately, was not able to taste much of the meat since it was not cooked well done.  (another one of those pregnancy food precautions)

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I ordered the spighe al cinghiale: homemade organic ravioli, stuffed with wild boar slowly braised with organic veggies, herbs and
montepulciano wine.   It was tossed in a white porcini mushroom sauce with a hint of cream and white wine.  The picture makes this dish look small but it was quite filling.  It had an ever so slight “gamey” taste which truly accentuated the fact that I had ordered wild boar.

It was a lovely dinner and I could see us going back again, especially since it’s so close to where we live!

76 E Campbell Ave.   Campbell, CA


April 11, 2013

There is something sweet and calming about the seaside town of Carmel.  It was the first little road trip that Boyfriend (now TM) and I took together when we were living in LA.  We made s’mores using the fireplace in our hotel room, checked out the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Carmel Beach and drove back home on PCH through Big Sur and took a gazillion pictures of the view.  There was something so lovely about that weekend getaway, Carmel has always been a place dear to my heart.  Since then, we’ve moved up to the Bay Area, gotten married and have had many trips to Carmel in between.

Randall invited us to Carmel this past weekend because his sister and BIL were in town visiting from SoCal.  It was supposed to be our “chore weekend” so I had to convince TM that we’re allowed to have a little fun on the weekends and that we could go.  We checked and the restaurants Randall had planned on going to were dog friendly so it worked out perfectly!

Randall chose Casanova for dinner which was labeled as French Italian on Yelp.  The front of the restaurant looked so quaint and cute and I wondered how we would be able to sit eight people and a dog together on their little front patio.  I was shocked when we were led around the corner to the back entrance.  Their restaurant extended all the way and was quite big!  They had a lovely back patio with plenty of heaters for all the tables.

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We all ordered a large order of Gnocchi Casanova to share.  Our server had mentioned that it is one of their signature dishes and it sounded really good.  I had been eyeing it before our server even mentioned it.  Instead of being made with potatoes as traditional gnocchi are, these were made from spinach.  They were incredibly light and had a parmesan au gratin over it that we all dipped our bread in because it was oh-so-delicious.  We even joked about drinking the rest with the spoon because it was that good!  Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of it.

TM ordered the Filet Duo as his main.  It was a pan-seared filet, short rib crepinette with polenta.  It had a Provencal topping and beef jus.  I only tried the short rib but it was incredibly soft and flavorful.  TM said it was better than the filet.

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Three of us at our table chose the seared jumbo scallops as our entree.  It came with mascarpone and black truffle risotto, spring pea & carrot ragu and a beef jus.  The scallops were cooked perfectly and honestly, almost anything with mascarpone and black truffle has got to taste amazing.  The risotto was no exception.

I loved the food and ambiance at Casanova.  We go to Carmel so often, I can definitely see us going to Casanova again.  It was a huge plus that they allow dogs on their patio and even bring out a water bowl for your pup!

between 5th Avenue and San Carlos Street  Carmel, CA

Island Eats: Fresh Catch

February 22, 2013

I know I’ve written about poke before but this was our first time to Fresh Catch.  I used to think all poke was good poke.  I wasn’t picky since I couldn’t eat it any time I wanted to.  Beggars can’t be choosers!  But I have now found a favorite place to get poke and I don’t know if I can ever love it as much as I do at Fresh Catch.

We had heard about Fresh Catch from friends so it was on our growing list of places to eat when we were back in Hawaii.  Luckily, there is a location in Kaneohe really close to where my in-laws live.  As we walked up to the door, we noticed signs pointing out that this restaurant was going to be featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives with Guy Fieri.

There were so many different kinds of poke to choose from, I was in heaven.


I ordered a small poke bowl which is your choice of poke with steamed rice.  I kept it nice and simple with spicy ahi poke.  The fish was so fresh and tasted so good, I was sad that I had ordered such a small bit of it!


Fresh Catch has an extensive menu with a ton of different plate lunches with lau lau, beef stew, fried rice and more.  I will keep going back for the poke though.


We went here for lunch on our second to last day in Hawaii.  We loved it so much that we actually went back a few hours later to eat more poke again as a snack!  We were headed to a friend’s wedding so we went back in our wedding attire before we went to the ceremony.


Poke Paradise indeed!

We left Hawaii the next day to come back to the mainland.  Before we left, we made a stop at Fresh Catch for our last meal.  We learned our lesson and this time we got a bigger poke bowl.  Mine is on the left.  I got spicy ahi and spicy salmon.  TM got shoyu salmon and smoked tako poke.  The owner, Reno Henriques, dives for his own octopus and the smoked tako poke is one of the most popular flavors.  I have decided this place is a “must go” any time we are back on the islands!

two locations, we went to: 45-1118 Kamehameha Hwy  Kaneohe, HI

Remembering Jill

January 24, 2013

I lost my dear friend Jill almost two weeks ago.  The past few days have been rough trying to process what happened and wishing I could have talked to her one last time to tell her how much she means to me.  We lived a few blocks away from each other when I lived in LA and we shared many meals, desserts, walks and shopping trips in those years.

We both loved to walk and eat so we’d often walk around Wilson Park or around our neighborhood for miles and when we got tired, we would stop somewhere to eat dinner.  Jill loved dessert so sometimes dessert would be before dinner, if we saw a place that had a good red velvet cupcake or if we passed by a 7-11.  She sure loved Slurpees too.

I know I’ve written about Liliha Bakery before but I wanted to write about it again because I know Jill liked this place.  It’s open 24 hours so it’s a great late night place to go and every time I’ve gone, it’s been packed.  No matter what time of day it is.  Jill used to like eating their grilled potatoes!   Just remember that it is closed on Mondays.  We had to learn the hard way on prior trips back to the islands.

I’ve actually only eaten real food here once.  They have a long counter and even at 4 in the morning, it’s hard to get a seat.


I always come here to get cocoa puffs.  It’s a cream puff with chocolate pudding inside and chantilly frosting on top.  I think the last time we came, we bought a couple dozen to take back to my in-laws since we were having people over.  They were gone amazingly fast.  TM and I only had one each that night so we went back another time to get more.

Jill, you will always be missed and never forgotten.

515 N. Kuakini St.   Honolulu, HI


December 21, 2012

I’ve been MIA for a while and I was planning on updating last week.  Last Friday to be exact.  But in light of everything that happened in Newtown, CT, it doesn’t seem right to blog about what I just ate.  I’m still at a loss of words about the tragedy and am still so, so sad for the children whose lives are gone and their families who are suffering during this time of year.

I watched “The Year with Katie Couric” on TV the other night.  I love watching recaps of the entire year.  Some events seem like they happened yesterday and some seem like they couldn’t have possibly happened in 2012 because it feels that long ago.  Katie covered Superstorm Sandy, the Aurora massacre and the Sandy Hook tragedy as well as covering celebrity romances, the Presidential race, Royal Jubilee and even the crazy song / dance “Gangnam Style.”

Out of the tragedy Americans have suffered this year, there have been moments of heroism, courage and selflessness that has come out of it.  I hope people can be kind to one another and that Ann Curry’s “26 Acts of Kindness” is not short-lived.  I hope we can love one another and savor the moments we have been given.


I didn’t intend on this post being a sad one.  I have been doing a lot of reflecting lately and am looking forward to time off work.  11 glorious days without having to stress about commuting and work piling up!  I’ll be back in January with a lot of recaps to post.  We’ve eaten quite well the past month or so and there is a lot to update.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

San Francisco Giants, National League Champions!

October 24, 2012

The San Francisco Giants have beat the odds and have made it into the World Series!   They’ve had a crazy journey so far in the post season and I can’t wait to see how they do tonight in Game 1 of the WS!!

Even though AT&T Park lets you bring your own food and non-alcoholic drinks to the park, we usually end up buying food there.  I may be biased but the food is pretty spectacular at the park!  We discovered Club Level and ever since then, TM doesn’t like to sit anywhere else.  They also have food there that isn’t sold in other parts of the stadium.

One thing we always get is an order of Gilroy Garlic Fries.  You can smell them almost everywhere in the park and they are a fan favorite.  My most recent favorite thing to eat at the ballpark is the Crazy Crab sandwich.  It will cost you a pretty penny at $16, but it was well worth it in my opinion.  The sourdough bread was nicely buttered and grilled and the crab sandwich had beautiful sliced tomatoes on it.

We’ve gotten the caramel apple fries a couple of times.  I think it’s a cut-to-order Granny Smith apple sliced into “fries” covered with warm caramel sauce and crushed peanuts for $5.

Almost any seat at AT&T Park gives you a great view.  I love looking at the San Francisco Bay in the background in between innings.   It is one of my favorite places to be on a Sunday afternoon! (or any day for that matter!)

Did I mention we’re going to Game 2 tomorrow?  So exciting!  GOOOOO GIANTS!

24 Willie Mays Plaza   San Francisco, CA

Dining in the City: Beretta

October 4, 2012

Most MLB teams have a dog day at least once during the season where they allow you to bring your favorite canine to the game.  I can’t think of a better combination than being at a Giants game with TM and my pup!  Since we were in the city, we decided to find a restaurant with outdoor seating so we could all dine together after the game.  Enter Beretta.

Everything we ordered was pretty impressive but our starter was amazing.  Every element of this dish had something I love: burrata cheese, walnuts, mushrooms, truffles and honey.  Put it all together on some fresh bread and it’s heaven.  If we go again, I would definitely order the burrata bruschetta on walnut bread with mushroom truffle honey.  I would even consider ordering two!

We had heard the portions are on the smaller side so we also ordered gnocchi with porcini & smoked pancetta as another starter.  The gnocchi were light and airy and had great flavors from the mushrooms and pancetta.

I chose the saffron with osso buco risotto as my main dish.  The osso buco was tender and flavorful and the risotto was cooked to luscious, creamy perfection.

TM chose the hanger steak alla siciliana.  It come with onions and broccoli rabe on the side.  His meat was cooked nicely and was very peppery, which I liked.

I loved the ambiance of this restaurant – it looked very trendy inside.  The pizzas I saw other people order looked amazing so I would definitely want to go back and try one.

1199 Valencia St.  San Francisco, CA

Back in the 808: Alan Wong’s

August 31, 2012

We had heard so many wonderful things about the food at Alan Wong’s that we decided to check it out for ourselves.  The restaurant itself is located on the third floor of an office building with not much of a view.  Once inside, we were brought an iPad that had the drink and food menus on it.  Some of the dishes had pictures we could look at to get an idea of what we were ordering.

The restaurant is quite small and dark so my pictures do not do our meal any justice.  Everything we ate was amazing, from the warm bread with a dijon chili aioli to our cocktails to our entrees and dessert.  In fact, the complimentary bread was so good with the aoili that I ate too much of it and made myself sick.  Lesson learned.


I will leave you with one of our favorites of the night.  TM had ordered the prix fixe menu and while everything that came out as part of his meal was great, this whole tomato salad was surprisingly divine.  The tomato itself is skinned, sliced and placed back together onto the plate.  It was beautifully ripe and the li hing mui ume vinaigrette around it brought it up a notch.

We are headed back to Hawaii tomorrow for a wedding!  While Alan Wong’s isn’t on our itinerary this time around, we do have many other places we plan on trying!

1857 S King St.  Honolulu, HI 96826

Back in the 808: Shimazu Store

August 28, 2012

Although Waiola’s is definitely my favorite place for shave ice on the island, I did want to try out the Shimazu Store and see what it was about.  Inside the store, there are many signs stating the rules for ordering your shave ice.  (There is also a sign which states no pictures so I have no pictures of the inside of the store.)

First you must tell them what size shave ice you want.  The small is a large and the large is a giant and “The Larry” is just ridiculous.  The Larry is the size of about four smalls put together.  TM and I shared a small and it was more than enough because the small is about the size of my head.

Shimazu Store offers an assortment of unique flavors like durian, mojito, creme brulee, red velvet, peanut butter, haupia, and more!   I chose green tea with haupia sauce on top.  I am so glad we got the plastic holder for 25 cents.  It was worth it not to have our entire shave ice crumble to the ground.

Make sure you go early since there is not much parking and follow the rules on the signs so you don’t get yelled at.  Order your size, extra toppings, with or without ice cream, pay for your shave ice (cash only) and THEN tell them what flavors you want.  It was almost “soup nazi” status but worth it in the end!

330 N. School St.   Honolulu, HI

Back in the 808: Ethel’s Grill

August 24, 2012

I love hole-in-the-wall restaurants.  There are plenty of great ones in Hawaii, you just need to know where to go.  Ethel’s Grill is in an industrial area in Kalihi and you would probably drive by it unknowingly if you weren’t looking for it.  They don’t have designated parking so we drove around and parked down the street.  We made a point to go early (around 11:30 AM) to beat the lunch rush and I am sure glad we did.  The dining room is tiny, maaaaybe it seats 20 people altogether.  We grabbed the last two seats.

The dining area is quite frankly, a mess.  There were boxes stacked in random places that we had to weave between to get to our table.  Their menu is hand written with markers on pieces of paper and inserted in binder sleeves and specials are taped up randomly on the wall all over the place.  It doesn’t get more local and homey than this!  We sat at a table next to these signs which I found amusing.  I love how there is no option to buy a size S t-shirt but they go up to 2X, 3X and 4X!

Each lunch order includes a side salad, rice, miso soup and a choice of fruit punch or iced tea.  This was an amazing deal considering each lunch dish was only about seven or eight dollars.  You also have the option to “sumo size” any meal for $2.50 although the regular potions are quite big already.

I ordered the Japanese hamburger steak.  There are two types of hamburgers in Japan that differ based on the pronunciation of the word.  One is a hamburger as we know it in America between two buns with ketchup and other fixings.  The other is served with rice on the side and usually grated daikon radish and a sauce on top.  Every restaurant has their own version.  This one had grated daikon and daikon sprouts with a ponzu sauce over it.

The ahi tataki sashimi is fresh tuna that is lightly seared and served on a bed of bean sprouts.  It is drizzled with some sesame oil and some of Ethel’s garlic shoyu sauce.  All for 5 bucks!  It was a steal and TM and I shared this starter.  Just about every single table in the restaurant had an order of it.

TM went with the deep fried pork chops that came smothered in a sweet garlic sauce.

Ethel’s is a neat little find that I am glad we tried.  Definitely go early if you can because there aren’t many tables and it looked like they filled up quickly.

232 Kalihi St.   Honolulu, HI

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