Monday, October 17

Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey

Last weekend, we spend a day trip in Monterey for a friend's birthday. The weather could not be more perfect for a seaside hang out. The morning started at Water + Leaves, a coffee shop on Fisherman's Wharf. Pretty much the coolest blank-plus-blank name ever, right?

Frankly,  I never expected Monterey to have something so cool. My past visits to Monterey have never been so hip. It's a nice place that I think of older retirees enjoying. But I really dug the vibe of this coffee shop.

You can't beat the ocean view on the patio while enjoying a morning latte and almond croissant. This little guy approves.

Happy Hour oysters all day on a Saturday is also hard to top. These oysters were $99c each at Abalonetti on Fisherman's Wharf. Fresh, sweet, briney. Divine!

We had to pair our oysters with something of more sustenance and the calamari did just the job.

Shortly after, we left Fisherman's Wharf and met up with our friends. It concluded a good relaxing morning on the wharf for our unit. And Little guy look great in his nautical outfit.

Tuesday, October 11

Tender Greens - Palo Alto

In my previous post, I had written about new openings in Palo Alto recently. The city already has a health conscious demographic which made newcomer, Tender Greens, a perfect fit for the Stanford Shopping Center. Tender Greens is a sit down restaurant specializing in salads, although you do order at the counter. Unlike Pluto's or other salad bars where you choose your own ingredients, there are already set salad combinations designed to have complimentary flavors. Tender Greens recently invited me and my husband for a complimentary lunch. 

($2.75) Agua Fresca - you can't go wrong with watermelon juice. It's always refreshing. 

($12.50) Tuna Nicoise - seared albacore tuna with baby greens, tomato, potato, capers, green beans, quail egg, olives, sherry vinaigrette, and a slice of buttered garlic toast.
I was very happy with my selection. There are large pieces of fresh tuna, sweet tomatoes, and the portion size was very filling. That garlic toast is so good. I highly recommend this dish and would get it again.

($12.50) Backyard marinated steak sandwich with butter lettuce
The ingredients in this sandwich were all high quality and wonderful on their own. The steak pieces were large and cooked perfectly and the roasted peppers were a nice addition. It just lacked a flavorful sauce to bind it together well. There is an aioli spread which tasted bland. 

($4) Side of red quinoa salad with radish, cucumbers, pickled radish (?), and a garlic toast.
This is definitely a side I would order again. Quinoa is a healthy grain to fill up on while feeling very light. They seasoned it lightly and enhanced with the other vegetables. Again, the toast is wonderful.

Our whole meal

($2.50 each) salted caramel with white chocolate, and chocolate chip cookies
For dessert, our waiter brought out warm cookies. They are the BEST. Just absolutely, the best. Chewy, soft, perfect. Salted caramel is better than chocolate chip although the choc chips were also one of the best choc chip cookies I've had too.

The food at Tender Greens is really fresh and tasty if you are into healthy salads. Although the price is expensive, it is Stanford Shopping Center and you can easily make a salad worth $12.50 with all the add-ons at Pluto's, which I consider to be in a similar category. The line gets very long at lunch even though it moves quickly. I highly recommend the tuna nicoise salad and also to finish your meal with a cookie. Why not? You deserve it after eating healthy salads.

Thursday, October 6

The Habit Burger Grill Introduces ‘Golden Chicken Sandwich’

Debuting a Fried Chicken Option for the First Time
New Sandwich Available for a Limited Time Only
For the first time ever, Habit Restaurants, Inc. is introducing a Golden Chicken Sandwich nationwide. The Golden Chicken Sandwich is the perfect addition to The Habit menu that is known for its variety, quality and value. This Golden Chicken Sandwich ($6.25) starts with a fresh, filleted chicken breast that is hand-dipped into house-made seasoned flour and buttermilk, not just once but twice, before being fried to perfection and custom made to order. This extra care gives the Golden Chicken a crunchy, flavorful crust while keeping all the juiciness. The Golden Chicken Sandwich is topped with a new spicy red pepper sauce and served with fresh sliced tomato, lettuce and tangy pickles on a soft toasted bun. “Better burgers are truly just the start at The Habit, and this new Golden Chicken Sandwich complements our overall menu of high quality, deliciously custom-crafted food and gives guests another favorite item to enjoy at The Habit,” said Adam Baird, executive chef at The Habit Burger Grill.

Wednesday, October 5

True Food Kitchen - Palo Alto

Palo Alto's dining scene seems to be ramping up with new restaurants lately. Even some of the chain restaurants have a worthwhile menu. True Food Kitchen is one of the latest newcomers. True Food Kitchen has multiple nation-wide locations and boasts a healthy menu that follows the anti-inflammatory diet from Dr. Andrew Weil. The restaurant is located in the Stanford Shopping Center and has a huge space with natural lighting. It is definitely a family friendly, sit down restaurant.

The recent preview opening of True Kitchen gave me a chance to try their menu for lunch.

($13) Wild Caught Albacore Tataki - avocado, jalapeƱo, toasted sesame, yuzu ponzu
My meal started with a tasty appetizer of seared tuna in ponzu. I ate every single piece including the jalapenos. The avocado might actually be the pureed dots. This dish was great.

($5) Pomegranate Chia Limeade - evaporated cane, pom chia
I rehydrated with a refreshing non-alcoholic pomegranate limeade with chia seeds. A wonderful, healthy drink.

($8) Daily Market Soup - roasted cauliflower
I wasn't a huge fan of this one because there was a gingery taste to it. It's fine otherwise and the portion is quite large for a soup.

($27) Sustainable Seabass - broccolini, sugar snap pea, roasted mushroom, whole grains, lemon-umami emulsion
The seabass was cooked beautifully. Slight crisp on the outside with flaky, juicy filet on the inside. All the roasted mushrooms were fantastic and the broccolini was tender. The lemon-umami emulsion was milder than expected but the other ingredients are so fresh and flavorful that the sauce doesn't need to do much.

($7) Apple Goji Crisp - almond crumble, vanilla ice cream
My already large meal ended with the apple goji crips which was baked apple and goji berries with a crumble on top. I'm not sure if the vanilla ice cream is home made. It sure tasted like it. I recommend this dessert and any others on the menu that come with ice cream.

Monday, October 3

DoorDash is Delivering from The Bywater

Earlier this year, I was very impressed with the fried chicken from The Bywater in Los Gatos when I had a chance to review it for Metroactive. Last week, DoorDash gave me a chance to try The Bywater's fried chicken which is a new offering for their service. The food and delivery were complimentary to me and these opinions are my own.

I chose a weekday delivery around 6:30-7PM. The delivery was prompt (early actually) and everything went smoothly. The chicken arrived still hot and crispy even though I live a bit farther from the restaurant. Here is about half the portion after plating.

The chicken was put in a reusable plastic container. Two large breast pieces. They were juicy inside, crispy and crunchy on the outside. I was very impressed with how this held up during delivery and pleasantly reminded of when I had it in store. You can order it for $22 in the store but it only comes with a small cup of butter beans. On DoorDash, for $28, you get it with red beans and rice. This came out to two portions for me, or maybe slightly over one portion for someone with a larger appetite.

The red beans and rice were served in this container. It's a heavier portion of red beans and sausages with smaller portion of rice. If you want, to split this into two portions, you can cook up more rice. But like I said before, everything served as it is delivered is already filling.

Everything tastes as it did in store which is great. I'm impressed with how hot the food stayed, and how crispy the chicken was. From order to delivery, everything went smoothly. There is currently only one entree and one drink available from The Bywater on Doordash right now. To check if your address is within the delivery zone, check out the DoorDash website. They aim for a radius of a 15-20 minute drive.

Thursday, September 29


SCOTTSDALE – (September 27, 2016) P.F. Chang’s is rolling out a Free Sushi Day this Thursday, Sept. 29 in select Northern California restaurants. This one-day promotion invites dine-in guests to enjoy a free Spicy Tuna Roll or California Roll in Walnut Creek, Emeryville, Sunnyvale, Fremont, Pleasanton, Monterey, Palo Alto and San Jose, California. P.F. Chang’s sushi rolls are hand-rolled to order and made with sushi-grade seafood, fresh julienned vegetables and 100% U.S.A-grown rice. They’re also just 600 calories or less each.

“Our hand-rolled sushi gives guests one more reason to love P.F. Chang’s,” said Dwayne Chambers, chief marketing officer for the company. “We’re offering guests in eight of our Northern California locations a chance to try it for free.”

Guests can take advantage of the offer at participating restaurants by presenting a Free Sushi Card, showing the Free Sushi Roll advertisement on their phone or simply mentioning the promotion to their server. Offer is valid all day, September 29, 2016, in-restaurant only. Catering and to-go orders do not qualify. Offer is limited to one free roll per guest but is not limited to a maximum per table. It cannot be combined with any other offer, including Happy Hour or Chang’s For Two.

Wednesday, September 28

Austin 2016 Photo Diary

Two years ago, I went to Austin, TX for the first time to attend my first BlogHer Food Conference. It would be my first of three BlogHer conferences. The experience was my first exposure to the business of blogging and seeing how people can make money doing what they love. I came back daydreaming about an alternative career where I call the shots in my daily life. Since then I've decided not to blog full time but now I know what the pros and cons of this lifestyle would be. I highly respect professional bloggers.
A few weeks ago, I returned to Austin just to have a good time with some girlfriends. The city is still great and especially more so when I come without a schedule of events. Here are a few shots.

From the Westin Hotel downtown

The Capitol Building at night. It's a yuge Pokestop.

Chicken and fried okra from Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken

On one of our strolls through the city, we discovered this art installation made from lobster rope and paint by Orly Genger at Waller Creek Trail.

The following are from the uber cool Hotel Van Zandt

We loved hanging out at the pool side bar of this hotel so much that we came back the next night. This hotel is absolutely gorgeous and has such a unique decor.

And now for all the food we ate. First we had to try authentic Austin style barbecue at Terry Black's Barbecue. The ribs and brisket were especially tender and juicy.

Before our hike the next day, we ate brunch at South Congress Cafe
This beautiful caprese salad tasted only just ok. Everything else was great.

More barbecue ensued at the fancy Lambert's Downtown Barbecue. It was all good yet not as authentic as Terry's because this seemed to be a more fancy place.

Great iced latte at Irie Bean Coffee Bar on Lamar.

After a late night out, we had cravings for burgers and P. Terry's was the only place open. It happens to be an Austin original. It was alright. Not as good as In N' Out.

Before going out on one of the nights, we had a happy hour dinner at Hightower on 7th Street. It's actually not up high at all so I'm not sure where this name comes from. The food was just ok. 

After dinner, we stopped by Prohibition Creamery for dessert where they served boozy ice cream flavors or ice cream in a boozy float. Yums. Here we chatted up the waitress and her friends who eventually recommended us to Hotel Van Zandt.

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