All posts by Nicole

Mint & Basil – Milpitas, CA

Mint & Basil
1741 N. Milpitas Blvd.
Milpitas, CA 95035
http://mintnbasil.com/

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Blueberry Scones with Coconut Flour

I was recently asked to recreate a recipe using coconut flour. I hadn’t ever heard of coconut flour until I was introduced to it by Nuts.com, but I was instantly intrigued because I already knew all the great benefits of coconuts. Coconut flour is gluten and wheat-free, high in fiber, protein, and healthy fats, and it doesn’t spike your blood sugar like grain-based flours do. I have also been delving into the world of coconut – coconut oil spray, coconut butter, coconut coffee, and have been pleasantly surprised but how good this stuff is, so this request just made sense to me. After doing some research, I decided to purchase Anthony’s Coconut Flour from Amazon (here). While waiting for it to arrive, I then had to think about what recipe I could use it for.  My research showed that coconut flour absorbs more liquid than regular flour, and that I wouldn’t be able to substitute it 1:1. I decided to use it on my all-time favorite blueberry scone recipe (here), and after a trial and error round, I was able to create some delicious blueberry scones that were guilt-free! So, I present to you…

Blueberry Scones with Coconut Flour

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Morimoto Napa – Napa, California

Morimoto Napa
610 Main Street
Napa, California 94559
http://morimotonapa.com/

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I bought a LivingSocial deal for a six course omakase lunch at Morimoto Napa for my boyfriend’s birthday; the deal ran me $150.00. I easily made reservations on OpenTable and was more than excited to try out this restaurant. I grew up watching the original Iron Chef series as well as Iron Chef America, and Morimoto has always been my favorite iron chef, ask anyone who knows me! I even have a stuffed penguin named after him. His style of cooking is so clean and simple, yet beautifully artistic and (now I know) beyond delicious. I was ecstatic that this deal came up so that I could finally try his cuisine and fulfill one of my life-long desires!

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ISRAEL! UNIVERSAL YUMS BOX MAY 2015

This month’s box came from Israel! I haven’t had the chance to try all the snacks just yet, but I’ve been impressed with the ones I’ve eaten so far. The kif kef chocolate bar tastes exactly like a Kit Kat, and the toffee fruit chews remind me of hi-chews. The box came with the Pinuki cola dragees unwrapped, so I wasn’t able to try them. I sent the company a picture and they actually sent another one to me sealed, with more fruit chews – win! The cola dragees taste like cola at first, and then you bit into the chewy center and it reminds me of skittles. The ending is a little bitter, which I’m not sure if I enjoy yet, but I’m still going to eat all these up! I can’t wait to try the Bamba and Bissli!

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SCANDANAVIA! UNIVERSAL YUMS BOX APRIL 2015

Here’s my box from Scandanavia – The Daim Toffee were DELICIOUS, as well as the Marianne Chocolate Mints. My least favorite thing was the Salmiakki, which is a salty licorice. I’m not fond of licorice to begin with, so I didn’t have much hope for this…and I could only take one small bite. Not my cup of tea! All the other snacks were delicious, I love the Lar’s Swedish Gingersnaps with my morning cup of tea – it reminded me of biscoff cookies but with ginger in it. Yummy!

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CHINA! UNIVERSAL YUMS BOX MARCH 2015

Apologies for not keeping up to date with my boxes, but now I’ve got 3 to share, starting with March’s box from China!
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Brazil! Universal Yums Box January 2015

Here comes my second Universal Yums Box featuring snacks from Brazil!

Continue reading Brazil! Universal Yums Box January 2015

Isa Restaurant – San Francisco, California

Isa Restaurant
3324 Steiner St.
San Francisco CA 94123
www.isarestaurant.com

I am one lucky gal. My boyfriend actually forwarded me San Francisco Restaurant Week and insisted I chose a place for our anniversary date. I chose Isa Restaurant based on its popularity and wide range of choices on its 4-course prix fixe menu ($40 each). The restaurant is located in the northern part of San Francisco, a little more than an hour from where I live. Parking was available in garages nearby. There was street parking, but I did not want to risk it due to the heavy traffic in the area. We arrived earlier than our 6:30pm reservation so we walked around the neighborhood to window shop at some boutique stores and check out other restaurants in the area. I want to try Saiwalks (Vietnamese Street Food) restaurant that’s right next door to Isa. We arrived a couple minutes early for our reservation but they had no problem seating us right away. It is a very packed and crowded restaurant with a small dining area in the front, kind of like a bar area, and then a larger tented area in the back that reminded me of a cabin.

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Germany! Universal Yums Box December 2014

I have a problem – I’m addicted to subscription boxes. There, I admitted it. I began shopping for Christmas presents and stumbled across the idea of gifting boxes, which I did for some friends. I then decided I would indulge in a few boxes myself. One of the two is Universal Yums, which I was able to subscribe to at a discounted price of $10/month (Regular is $13/month) for the small Yum box, which comes with at least 6 snacks. The larger option is the Yum Yum Box, which is $25/month and comes with 13 or more snacks. The idea is that every month, you get a box filled with snacks from a different country.

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D Bar – San Diego, California

D Bar Restaurant
3930 5th Avenue
San Diego, California 92103
http://www.dbarsandiego.com/home

My weekend getaway trip to Southern California was graced with the fact that I would be coming down during both DineLA and San Diego Restaurant Week. It was a great surprise and I was not going to let the opportunity slip away. Recommendations from friends lead me to D Bar for dinner on a Sunday evening in beautiful San Diego. The $40 Pre Fixe Dinner Menu was enticing, but even more so was the Cocktail Flight for an additional $20. I was on vacation, why not?

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Pepper Candied Bacon

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Inspired by this recipe.

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Gochi Japanese Fusion Tapas – Cupertino, CA

Gochi Japanese Fusion Tapas
19980 E Homestead Rd
Cupertino, CA 95014
http://www.gochifusiontapas.com/

I’ve come here before, it’s not a cheap place, but the quality of food is well worth the price.  You can check out their menu and make reservations beforehand, because they do get quite crowded on weeknights and weekends.  We made a reservation to come at 6pm on a Sunday and they called us a day before to confirm the time.  We were promptly seated upon arrival and was very well taken care of throughout the night.  The waiters and waitresses are all extremely friendly and cheerful, and will help you when you have no idea what you’re looking at on the menu.  Most of their food is fusion Japanese, and I definitely recommend checking out the special items menu, since those change from season to season.

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Stuffed Mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • White mushrooms (I bought a carton of large ones and a carton of small ones)
  • Shredded parmesan cheese (3/4 cup)
  • Cream cheese (6 oz.)
  • Black pepper
  • Garlic
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Panko breadcrumbs

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Pho Across America – A New Blog!

Hi all,

My colleague is on a mission to eat phở in all 50 states, and is documenting and reviewing each visit!  Her ranking reviews take into consideration taste, service, portion size, garnish selection, cleanliness of restaurant, among other things.  All these factors into how excellent the phở experience is.

Her “What is Phở?” page gives a comprehensive overview of the dish that the Vietnamese culture is most popular for.

You can also check out some other articles relating to phở, like “Urban Legends: MSG,” to find out if MSG will really kill you or not.

http://www.phoacrossamerica.com/ 

Join her at her blog to check it out, maybe she’ll visit a phở shop near you.  Definitely will entice any phở-lover’s interest.

pho98 pho

~Nicole

Grill on the Alley – San Jose, CA

The Grill on the Alley
Fairmont Hotel
172 S Market St
San Jose, CA 95113
http://thegrill.com/

The Grill on the Alley in San Jose has special Valentine’s Day dinner meals, so we made a reservation here.  It comes with 3 courses for each person from a fixed menu and is priced starting at $155.  Ambiance is romantic due to the dim lighting and small tables.  Service is excellent.  Below is what we chose for our meal…

Tuna Tartare – VERY fishy, I did not enjoy this.  I had to squeeze some lemon on it to remove the fishy smell.

Oysters – Fresh and delicious, they give you marinara sauce and almost like Italian dressing to put on your oyster.  Wish it came with hot sauce.  So yummy.

Filet mignon with lobster sauce and asparagus – To die for! The steak is among the best I’ve ever had,very moist and juicy, cooked medium rare just the way I like it.  The sauce was creamy and had big chunks of lobster in it.

Salmon with crab meat and asparagus – Equally as amazing.  Salmon was cooked to perfect, but the best part was the crab meat with caramelized onions, it was so tender and fresh crab.  Nothing fishy here.

Strawberry panna cotta – I’ve never had strawberry panna cotta, it’s kind of like Yoplait whipped yogurt, but much more flavorful, with real strawberry chunks in it.  The red vinegar glaze compliments it very well.  Pistachio crumbs sprinkled on top, dessert was my favorite :)

Key Lime Pie – This is the best key lime pie hands down.  The graham crust is so crunchy and compliments the tartness of the pie.  The raspberry sauce helps to cut the tartness of the pie as well.

Highly recommended for Valentine’s day dinner, the menu selections are excellent.  Boyfriend wanted to go somewhere more expensive, but I am so impressed with this place, I am more than satisfied with the food they provided here.  Make reservations early, they fill out quickly.

~Nicole