Posted tagged ‘dessert’

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

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: Waiola Shave Ice

August 23, 2012

Shaved ice always reminds me of summers in Japan.  There are so many festivals or matsuri in Japan during the summer and they always have shaved ice or かき氷.  I loved eating shaved ice so much that someone (my Mom, grandma, other relative in Japan) bought me my own shaved ice maker!  Back in the day, the shaved ice makers were often designed to look like a popular cartoon character and had a hand crank to shave the ice.

I almost always chose strawberry flavored shaved ice with condensed milk on top.  Besides the fact that I love strawberries, I think one of the reasons why I loved getting strawberry flavor was because it would make my lips red.  It was a way of wearing temporary “lipstick” when I was 5 years old without getting in trouble by my Mom.

Ever since, I’ve ALWAYS gotten strawberry shave ice wherever I’ve gone.  There have been a couple of upgrades over the years… vanilla ice cream on the bottom and then mochi balls.  Every once in awhile I may get green tea if it’s offered.  I thought I had found perfection at Waiola’s with my perfect combination: a large strawberry shave ice with ice cream and mochi balls.  I never had a need or want to venture out and try something different. *Note: it is “shave ice” in most of Hawaii, “ice shave” on the Big Island.*

I’m not sure what got into me this day but I decided to go a little crazy and get strawberry and lychee shave ice, vanilla ice cream and no mochi balls.  The lychee was so refreshing and was the perfect partner for my familiar strawberry.  I. LOVED. IT.

TM went with rainbow: strawberry, vanilla and banana.  I’ve always thought it was odd that he doesn’t get ice cream in his shave ice.

There are two locations but the one on Waiola St. is the original and my favorite of the two.  The ice is so fluffy and smooth and melts as soon as it hits your tongue – it is nothing like a snow cone served on the rest of the mainland.  I have to go Waiola’s a minimum of two times each time I’m in Hawaii, no matter how short my trip may be.  I can’t wait to go again!

2135 Waiola St.   Honolulu, HI

Happy Heart Day!

February 14, 2012

I got this gorgeous box in the mail last Friday from TM.  Actually, the note only said “Happy Valentine’s Day!” with no name on it so I wasn’t sure who it was from.  It could’ve been from Justin Timberlake for all I know. ; )

Valerie Confections was featured on The Best Thing I Ever Ate last December on the Season’s Eatings episode.  Sunny Anderson said these petits fours are amazing and she sends them to her friends for the holidays.  She orders the rose petal petits.

From their website:  “Each rose petal petits four contains 4 layers of delicate vanilla bean cake layered with rose petal ganache and covered in white chocolate. Atop each petits four is a single candied rose petal.”

I tend to always lean towards matcha so I definitely love these.  The green tea flavor isn’t too strong.  The rose petits definitely had a subtle rose taste and the candied petal on top is a beautiful touch.  Each bite was sweet but not overwhelming.  Each treat is handmade to perfection and made with a great attention to detail.  TM was advised to have the petits fours arrive last Friday (even though it is a Valentine’s gift) so they would not sit in a warehouse over the weekend.  I have been savoring each bite and cannot wait to have another tonight after dinner!

3360 W. 1st Street   Los Angeles, CA

Merry Christmas!

December 23, 2011

We’ve been blessed to have had an incredibly busy holiday season so far with lots of friends, family and good food.  We hosted our first party in our new home and were excited to see those who came from near and far.   Marvin and Angelica drove up from Los Angeles the weekend after our Christmas party and were so sweet to bring goodies from Porto’s Bakery.  I had never been there before in all my years living in LA, so I was excited to try it.

They brought potato balls which I forgot to take pictures of… they are mashed potato balls with ground beef in the center of them.  It’s a Cuban dish that I had never tried before but I’m searching for something similar in our area.  They were quite amazing and filling!  I’m sure I’d order potato balls just about every other weekend if I lived in the vicinity.

For dessert they brought this ginormous and beautiful chocolate cake (also from Porto’s) to share with us.  It looks amazingly rich and decadent but it was surprisingly light, if you can believe it.  TM and I shared the cake with dinner guests the next night and then ate the remainder of the cake for days and loved every single bite!

Merry Christmas!

Porto’s Bakery in three locations: Glendale, Burbank and Downey, CA

Reese’s PB Temptations

September 1, 2011

I saw this recipe online last week and instantly knew I wanted to try it.  I’m married to a Reese’s lover and knew it’d be a perfect surprise for him.  TM loves Reese’s peanut butter so much that after every holiday, we are usually scouring the aisles at Target or the regular grocery store for Reese’s candy on sale.  Did you know in addition to the Reese’s eggs for Easter, they also have trees for Christmas and hearts for Valentine’s Day?  These shapes all have a bigger peanut butter filling to chocolate ratio than the regular Reese’s cups.

I followed the recipe almost to a tee except I cut down a little on both the regular and brown sugar.  These still turn out pretty sweet without a full cup of sugar.  My mini muffin tin holds 24 so I filled that up and used a regular muffin tin to do 12 more.  The ones in the regular muffin tin turned into cute, flat cookies but of course, they tasted the same as the minis!

36 Reese’s Miniature Peanut Butter Cups
1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
a little less than a 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar (not packed)
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat your oven to 375.  Remove the wrappers from the Reese’s and set aside.  I had TM help with this step because it actually took longer than I thought.  Spray a mini muffin pan with cooking spray.

Beat the butter, sugar, brown sugar, peanut butter, egg and vanilla until fluffy with an electric mixer.  In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients together – the flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and beat.  Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and drop into the muffin cups.  They should not be flattened.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until they are puffed up and lightly browned.  They are so adorable when puffy!

After removing them from the oven, press a Reese’s into the center of the cookie.  Let them cool completely in the muffin pan.  They actually took a long time to cool and even after they were removed from the muffin tin, the chocolate was very melty.  I stuck them in the fridge and they tasted oh-so-good!  I’ve given quite a few away but the rest are for TM.

The entire time I was working on these, I had this adorable little face looking up at me asking me to share.  I was sad that I couldn’t!

Strawberry Panna Cotta

May 26, 2011

I love when the days get longer and the nights are warm enough to go without a sweater.  Those nights haven’t come yet as it was just raining yesterday but June is a few days away so I’m ready.

Summer reminds me of fresh strawberries and tomatoes picked from the garden, barely making it to the sink for a quick rinse before being devoured.  There is nothing like being able to go into your own yard and picking part of your own meal for “free.”  We’ve got quite a set up this year now that we have a yard.  Tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, and almost every herb imaginable have been planted and I hope to see some baby versions of these sprouting soon.  We even have part of a lemon tree since our neighbor’s branches reach over the fence into our yard!

The last time I planted strawberries, ants kept taking bites out of them and it was more pain than it was worth.  I can’t blame them for loving these sweet rubies because strawberries barely last more than a couple of days when they’re in our fridge.  I eat all of them alone because TM doesn’t care for fresh strawberries.  (How in the world I married him, I’m not sure. lol)

When I saw this simple recipe for panna cotta  in the Parade section of the newspaper, I cut it out and saved it in my recipe folder.  I can’t believe it took me almost two years to try it but when my Mom brought me baskets of fresh strawberries, I decided to make a strawberry version of it.

The ramekins I used are larger than the espresso cups the recipe calls for so I got four servings out of it.  TM requested only one fresh strawberry to top his panna cotta because that is all he could appreciate.

Strawberry Panna Cotta (adapted ever so slightly from Parade)

2 Tbsp cold water
1 1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 containers (6 oz. each) light strawberry yogurt
1 Tbsp honey
fresh strawberries, for serving

1. Pour cold water into a microwave-safe cup and sprinkle with gelatin. Wait 5 minutes; heat it in the microwave for 15 seconds. Gently whisk the cream and gelatin together, then add the yogurt and honey.

2. Divide the mixture among 6 espresso cups or small glasses. Chill for at least 3 hours. Run a knife around the edges of the cups to unmold the panna cottas onto plates.  (I obviously didn’t do this step.  I was trying to avoid extra dishes to wash!)

3. Mix the strawberries with the sugar. Spoon an equal amount beside each panna cotta.  (I also skipped this step.  The strawberries were naturally sweet on their own and didn’t need additional sugar.)  Serve.

I plan on making this again.  And again.  And again.  Until the end of strawberry season.  (That will be a sad day!)

Michael’s Genuine take 1

August 10, 2010

After our scrumptious appetizers at OLA, we headed over to Michael’s Genuine in the Design District for dessert.  I hardly have any idea of what we Boyfriend ate here.  I was so full I could hardly concentrate.

The food scene in Miami reminded me a lot of New York.  It was almost 10 PM when we got to Michael’s Genuine but it was packed with people still coming in behind us.  I was worried we wouldn’t get seated but the host gave us one of the best seats in the house!  We got to sit at the “chef’s table” and watch most things get cooked and served.  I had fun watching things go into the oven.  The menu is split up into small, medium, large and extra large plates that are meant to be shared, tapas style.

Boyfriend wanted to try the pig ear salad and wow, there was a lot of pig ear in this baby.  I tried one of these crispy, flavorful things and had to stop because I was so full.

Off of the food menu, I was most interested in the crispy rice cake.  It had Florida rock shrimp, chorizo, manchego and a fried organic egg on top.  Unfortunately, this was probably the most disappointing dish we ordered.  The flavors just didn’t seem to mesh well for me and I didn’t care for it.

Who can resist some crispy sweet & spicy pork belly?  Boyfriend can’t, that’s for sure… especially if there is kimchee involved!  This mixed in with some peanuts and sprouts made for an excellent combination.

Now the real reason why we went to Michael’s Genuine was for the dessert.  We knew this had to be an amazing place if THREE people mentioned THREE different menu items in the same episode of The Best Thing I Ever Ate!  Iron Chef Michael Symon chose the popcorn & peanuts dessert for the “sweet tooth” episode.  It’s a chocolate peanut butter candy bar with buttered popcorn and ice cream.  It didn’t sound all that spectacular but the salty / sweet combination sounded intriguing.  (I usually love my french fries dipped in ice cream!)  This dessert wasn’t bad but I’m not sure it’d be worth ordering again.

Scott Conant chose the tangerine creamsicle pot de creme as his dessert.  I wasn’t too interested in trying it but Boyfriend couldn’t wait to get his hands on it!  I took one bite and I was sold.  I absolutely get what Scott was saying.  The one listed on our menu was orange and tasted exactly like a creamsicle in the middle of summer.  I don’t know how each element of this dessert goes so incredibly well together but you take a bite of the doughnut, dip it in the blackberry tarragon jam, and swipe it across the cream and this one bite will take you back to your childhood.

There were so many other dishes that came out that I want to try.  Now that we know what’s popular (we literally saw the wood roasted cauliflower with parsley sauce, wood oven pizza and steak au poivre too many times to count!) we know exactly what to order when we go back. Until then, I’ll be dreaming of the orange creamsicle pot de creme…

130 NE 40th Street   Miami, Florida

Totally weeeiiirrrdd ice cream

March 25, 2010

By weird I mean prosciutto weird.   Pistachio bacon ice cream weird.  And peanut butter curry weird.   I got sucked in by another episode of  “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” and headed over to Humphry Slocombe for some dessert.  This episode was about the totally unexpected flavors you wouldn’t expect to go together.  Hence the prosciutto ice cream.   If you remember, Boyfriend couldn’t wait to try out Boccalone after seeing it featured on the show.  When Chris Cosentino mentioned his Boccalone prosciutto was mixed in with ice cream at Humphry Slocombe, Boyfriend couldn’t wait to try this out either.

Humphry Slocombe has tons of flavors which get rotated everyday.  They usually offer twelve a day.  Luckily, prosciutto was one of them the day we went!  Boyfriend went with a scoop of prosciutto and ancho chocolate.  Let’s just say the prosciutto ice cream was very weird and interesting.  I don’t know how I feel about meat mixed in with ice cream. There was a little heat to the ancho chocolate but the sweetness of the chocolate probably counterbalanced it.

Kio got “Jesus Juice.”  It is the red wine and Coca-cola flavored sorbet on the right.  I had a little taste and distinctly tasted the red wine flavor.  It was strange tasting red wine in ice cream form.

I love ice cream too much to have my experience ruined by a weird flavor.  I was boring and got Blue Bonnet Vietnamese Coffee ice cream.  It was delicious!  I think we’ll probably stick to Bi-Rite in the future though.

The sign was chained to the lamp post in case someone tried to steal it.  All in all I’m glad we went and I’m glad I tried little tastes of weirdness.

2790 Harrison St.  San Francisco, CA

Saint Cupcake

January 22, 2010

Ummm, did I mention we also ate cupcakes this day?!?

Saint Cupcake on Belmont was a quaint little place.  You feel like you stepped into someone’s house with a bunch of antiques and cupcakes are sold in the back.  So cute!

I got a hot fudge with vanilla cake and  Boyfriend got the peanut butter / chocolate cupcake.  Elisa and Matt got red velvet and said it was the best of them all.  They probably weren’t the best cupcakes I’ve had but I loved the store they were sold in!  The cake was a little on the dry side but I loved the frosting to cake ratio.  Other places have too much frosting.

We did have one negative experience here.  We parked at Zupan’s across the street and did a little shopping.  When we came out, there was a young couple who asked us for money because they needed gas.  We quickly put our head down, mumbled an apology and walked across the street.  The whole time we were in Saint Cupcake, Elisa felt guilty for not giving them money.  The couple moved and stood right outside of Saint Cupcake so Matt mentally decided to give them a couple bucks.  As we were shopping in the store, we noticed the couple had come inside.  The girl walked out right in front of us carrying a big pink box from Saint Cupcake!!!  When we walked out, the couple were a few steps away but the girl deliberately turned and came back to ask us for money again!!  All while holding her box of cupcakes!!  How can she look us in the eye and ask us for gas money while holding a box of cupcakes she had just bought?!?  Unbelievable.

3300 SE Belmont @ 33rd  Portland, Oregon

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