Potluck Friday at the office for Thanksgiving!
Boba Tea, a Tawianses tea-based drink with tapicoa pearls, first stole my heart while I lived in Hong Kong. There’s an overwhelming amount of tea spots in the city, and just like the rest of Hong Kong being quick and convenient is a must. But now its been a couple years since moving back to the states, and I still long for that delicious milky tea. And good boba tea can be hard to discover. Thankfully I’ve stumbled upon a place serving up some authentic boba teas.
The Tea Station is one of many spots in Irvine serving up boba milk tea. They offer up some tasty authentic Taiwanese grub as well. Their menu can be overwhelming at first glance, with over a 100 different types of tea and combinations of fruit jellys and boba. │Check out their menu here │ What makes this place great is their boba, little black spheres of chewy goodness, are perfectly cooked (yes cooked) to just the right softness and full of flavor, I usually find this to be the downfall at other tea spots. I continuously ordered the Honeydew Milk tea, with it’s hint of tea and the right amount of sweetness, and always made to order..not from a powder drink.
Ahh Monday.. we meet again. And so soon?! I must admit, Monday mornings have that feeling of a fresh start! The weekend has come to a close.. laundry is done, the fridge is stocked, weekend dreams have faded away and I’m looking forward to what the new week brings.
But new breakfast ideas can be tough to come up with and not to mention it can quickly become expensive when you grab something on your way into the office. So lately I’ve been looking for something to match that refreshing feeling of a new week, and I found it in a berry from Brazil.
I knew the moment I tasted that oh so refreshing smoothie acai bowl that I’d found the quintessential energizing breakfast for the start of the week. Acai bowls are a mix of cold acai, fresh fruits, crunchy granola and naturally sweetened with agave nectar. Thankfully, Orange County is now teeming with smoothie shops and hipster cafes offering up these breakfast bowls, but buying one everyday would waste time and money. So I searched some recipes and found it relatively easy to recreate once I gathered the ingredients. The acai smoothie packs, made by Samzabon, can be found at most health food stores, I was lucky to find mine at Costco, and with 10 in a box for $10.00.
Acai berries make their way from Cental and South American and are usually touted as having weight loss, anti aging and super food benefits, heck I’m sold.! Acai Bowls are made by blending acai berries, almond milk, banana and topped with hemp seed, fruits and my favorite addition ..agave nectar. I like to think of it as having acai ice cream for breakfast.
R E C I P E
- 2 Sambazon smoothie packs
- ½ banana
- 1 cup strawberries
- 1 cup almond milk
- ¼ cup frozen mango
- ½ banana
- 1 cup berries
- 1 tbl. Agave nectar
- ½ cup hemp granola
- Blend all the bowl ingredients together.
- Cut up berries and banana for topping
- Pour acai mix into a bowl or large cup, top with agave nectar, berries, banana and granola.
Recipe Adapted From : Samzabon Acai Bowls
Cold nights somehow make me craving a michelada, that fantastic concoction of beer, tomato juice and spices. There’s an infinite number of recipes to make one of Mexico’s most popular drink, but often I find its done incorrectly or with a lack of passion. It breaks my heart when a michelada is made with bloody mary mix and a salted rim, oy. So when I’m craving one at home on a cool fall night, I figure I have a better shot of making one myself than trying to find one local…
Web searching and rounding up the ingredients I did had, maybe making here and there substitutions and adding a splash more of this and that, I threw all the players in a mug and presto! A michelada I could be proud of! Perfect amount of all the right things that make micheladas that beer with a bite; I undoubtedly could have used less chili powder on the rim, but what the hell, I said it was a cold night.
I N G R E D I E N T S
- 1 can of Mexican beer. I happened to have Modelo
- Equal parts to beer of Clamato juice // get the spicy kind if you can find
- 1 tsp. Tabasco // if you just have regular Clamato
- 1 1/2 tb. of lemon juice
- 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 1/2 tsp. of soy sauce
- 1 tsp. pico de gallo seasoning
- Chili powder
- In a large cup, add a handful of ice. Add lemon juice, clamato juice, (in goes the Tabasco if needed) and beer and shake or stir around.
- Then add the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and pico de gallo seasoning, give a good stir.
- Next rim the mug or a highball glass. On two two small plates, add some lemon juice on one and the other a mix of the pico del gallo and chili powder. Go from lemon juice to the powder, pour in the michelada cocktail and add fresh lime.
It may be my favorite moment of travel, ah, that first cup of coffee in a new city, there’s nothing quite like it. Whether I’m be stepping off a plane after a long red eye, enjoying an early morning in the hotel or wandering into a local coffee shop, I always seem to remember these brief moments of stillness. The calm before the storm, if you will. I’m usually waiting for my coffee to cool, as I get to gather my thoughts, plan out the day, and observe the morning hustle. More importantly its the only way I can start a new adventure.
Ok, so you really go to Seattle for the coffee…and probably the seafood. But as I was walking down Pike St., I was mesmerized by this giant science project looking thing going on at Beecher’s Handmade Cheese. The continuous spinning, mixing and swirling of fresh milk, being made into cheese right before my eyes drew me inside; well in line, which wrapped around the front outside. World’s Best Mac N’ Cheese seems to be posted everywhere, and with that being the only thing on the menu besides sandwiches, it wasn’t a tough choice. Mac N’ Cheese and cheesy bread, I quickly reminded myself this was a vacation..
With my bowl and bread in hand I headed to a small row of bar stools liningthe wall of the extravagant cheese process, unfortunately there wasn’t two seats available, so we headed outside I grab a seat on the curb. So there we sat, facing the bright sun of Seattle, eating what claimed to be the best Mac N’ Cheese in the world and commentated on some of the most interesting people watching as well. Moments like these remind me how much I love to travel.
Puerto Nuevo │ Mexico
Living farthest south in Orange County, I have the luxury of being only an hour and half from the Mexican border. And there’s really no better reason to cross over for the lobsters in Puerto Nuevo. Plus its a guilty pleasure of mine to cross over any border. Today I’m headed down south with a car full of friends ready to consume the best lobsters on the West coast.
A few minutes into Mexico and we hit the toll road taking us sailing along the baja coast. Beach towns hug along the waters edge as we make our way to the dusty streets of Puerto Nuevo. Open shops line two main streets, as vendors shout and hustle lines, “Mexican Macy’s!” “My uncle made this just down the street”. Trying to get past one without a free pair of earrings deemed to be a challenge to my friends, who couldn’t resist..even if it was the very first shop.
Down at the water’s edge we found an all brick restaurant, Angel del Mar, with a stunning ocean views. It would be hard to miss this place with its large deck overlooking the rocky coastline. Out in the open sun, we sat and enjoyed chips and fresh salsa, octopus ceviche, coco locos, beer…and of course the view.
Ahhh macarons…If there is a better way to end a Ramen lunch I haven’t found it. These tasty morsels come in 13 flavors and 13 colors at Layer Cake Bakery in Irvine. But I’m a total creature of habit when it comes to dessert its either chocolate or vanilla please; although I opted for the pick 7 and was suggested flavors such as lychee, pistachio and rose. Most were handed out among colleagues, but saved the best two for myself.
If you haven’t tried one of these Asian cookie delights, don’t to be deceived by the hard outer shell, these little babies pack a punch for your taste buds, the crunchy outside is quickly met by the chewy ganache filling, which is quite the deadly combination.
Ahi Tartare│Nick’s Laguna Beach
A go-to favorite place of mine, Nick’s in Laguna Beach, offers some of the best eats in this compact beach city has to offer. From the daily soups that leave you wishing it were always Friday (Clam Chowder day..my favorite) to the rare brick ice served with the tastiest of whiskeys, Nick’s has always been an absolute staple of mine. Whether friends are in town, or I’m looking for that quick drink amongst the chaos of tourists.. I constantly find myself ducking in here and looking for a high-top table next to the bar. These are the best seats in the house, just barely big enough for two. Over the past weekend I had a friend in town, so here I was. One of my favorite dishes is the Ahi Tartare, which is offered as an app, but I’ll easily settle for it to be my whole meal. Simple and delicious, it’s a great meal to share…or just do what I do and pull the plate closer and enjoy all to yourself!