Mouthful of Sunshine

Satisfaction in every bite

Beats of Red Salsa – Don Memo Mexican Restaurant

February 25, 2012

Don Memo Mexican Restaurant, Philadelphia PA
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Tamales de Rajas
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A night out with the beats and editors of the DP. The food was great, especially the warm, freshly fried tortilla chips with the red and green salsas (and they were free!). The red salsa was hot and spicy, my favourite EVER! The green salsa with tomatillos was very light and refreshing. The freshly made guacamole were also great with lots of cilantro. I had so much chips (they were just OH SO GOOD!!!) that I did not order the planned chicken enchiladas with mole sauce. Ah well, saves me a reason to go back.
The Tamales de Rajas – I picked red salsa because I loved the spiciness of the flavour – was good. The masa was nice and had a nice, mellow texture. I’m not a fan of the potatoes inside but the vegetables were good and had flavour, although the rest of the dish (the masa, pork, and potatoes) lacked flavour as there was just not enough sauce in it. The pork was also too dry for my liking. It was not as outstanding as the chips, salsa, and guacamole that’s for sure.
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A Blissful New Year – Starbucks

January 1, 2012

Starbucks, Richmond BC
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Cranberry Bliss Bar
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I have to say, this holiday season, I have not been to Starbucks much. This is in part due to too many calories on many of its products. Once I returned home, however, I could split a delicious snack or coffee with Mom. I could not wait to get my hands on their Cranberry Bliss Bar – my favourite since last year. I still remember working at Starbucks last Christmas and drinking too many Caramel Brulee Lattes and devouring Cranberry Bliss Bars, Lemon Poppyseed Loafs, and Nanaimo Bars. Ahhh, those were good times!
This year, they certainly improved on their holiday campaign. The characters are cute, are they not? And the cranberry and yogurt? Well, they were just as delicious and chewy! Oh, and let’s not forget those white chocolate chunks!
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On the Road and in the Air – Starbucks

December 18, 2011

Starbucks, Chicago IL
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Rocky Road Cake Pop
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While waiting for my connection at O’Hare International, I was not interested in the food court at Concourse C. Starbucks though? That I was definitely up for. A hot Skinny Peppermint Mocha and Rocky Road Cake Pop was just about perfect. I love their holiday specials. I also have a soft spot for cake pops and I’ve tried their Tiramisu, Birthday, and Peppermint Brownie but have never tasted the Rocky Road one. Turns out it was just as delicious, even though I’m not a huge fan of nuts with chocolate. It was still delicious! A nice little snack. Now onto their Raspberry Truffle. And good thing I tried the Rocky Road before they stopped making them!
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A Spiced Up Birthday – Artisserie Chocolate Cafe

October 13, 2011

Artisserie Chocolate Cafe, Philadelphia PA
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Pumpkin Cheesecake
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On my first birthday away from home, I had dinner with Dana at SangKee where I ate ZhaJiang Noodles. That was delicious, but unfortunately I didn’t get a picture. I did make sure I got a pic of my cake though – a very delicious pumpkin cheesecake. Perfectly spiced, sweetened, and cute! I treated Dana to a cheesecake too, as I was in a celebratory mood. Also a bit bitter, without my parents. But nonetheless, the spice worked. A little bittersweet, a moment to savour.
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Red & Black in Vegas – Starbucks

June 21, 2011

Starbucks, Las Vegas NV
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Chocolate Raspberry Cake Pop
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This was at the Starbucks in Luxor, by the 4A/B elevators near the front desk and lobby. We passed this one while walking from Mandalay Bay to Excalibur and I saw this delicious looking cake pop except it wasn’t the regular kind. I can’t remember the official name, but I’ve never seen it elsewhere, so it was a special treat for at least Vegas. It was delicious, needless to say. The cream inside and the chocolate was they best part. Mom enjoyed the raspberry though!
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Best Ramen Ever – Naniwa-Ya Ramen

January 5, 2011

Naniwa-ya Ramen, Honolulu HI
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Spicy Beef Ramen
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This was at the Makai Market Food Court in Waikiki’s Ala Moana Center. Okay, so maybe it’s not the best ramen ever. The noodles were still tender. I think this was the spicy beef one. Anything with spicy soup is always good. I guess it was just because while away from home, Mom and I always crave that Asian taste. To not have to eat Subway or pizza was great. It definitely satisfied that little Asian cuisine bug permanently lodged in our stomachs. Even mediocre noodles (as long as it’s chewy and al dente Asian-style) will do the trick!
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Asian Fast Food in Hawai’i – McDonald’s

January 5, 2011

McDonald’s, Hilo HI
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Local Deluxe Breakfast Platter
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Surprisingly, Hawai’i’s McDonald’s offers Asian breakfast platters with SPAM (this trip was my first time trying it), sausage, scrambled eggs, and rice. Soy sauce is also available. Like WOW. We had so many of these during our vacation. The rice was actual, legit rice. Very nicely cooked. I love scrambled eggs and the meat was tender and chewy too. So glad they had this in Hawai’i but we all really wished it was available elsewhere in North America too! I guess there are just not enough Japanese tourists on the mainland.
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Squadra di Equestre – La Viola Ovest

February 3, 2012

La Viola Ovest, Philadelphia PA
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Linguini Al Marinaio
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My first ever BYO. It was with the Penn Equestrian Team, or rather Squadra di Equestre in Italian. A wonderful evening spent with the girls, I must say! Although a bit pricy, I was definitely pleased with this restaurant. I felt like seafood, so this was the perfect dish. I substituted the linguini with whole wheat pasta. They made it a bit undercooked, as some noodles were al dente and some a bit harder. But, it is to my taste. I’ve always preferred my pastas as chewy as possible without being raw. I also like it when they clump a bit. I don’t exactly love food that are too easy to eat. The sauce was quite tasty, the seafood done very well. A few more shrimp and a few more pieces of salmon would have been nice, but the dish was very tasty. I also feel that for the price, compared to some of the other pastas they offered, this one was definitely worth it, as there was more pasta and a lot of seafood, for only a few extra dollars. I would definitely go back and try their tagliatelle. It was so thick it looked delicious with the salmon and blush sauce!
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From the DP Dinner Plate – The Inn at Penn

January 21, 2012

The Inn at Penn, Philadelphia PA
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Classic Caesar Salad
Parmesan and Herb Crusted Boneless Chicken
Chocolate Dome
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First time attending the DP Banquet, I was totally underdressed so I had to rush back and change. At least I had a thick enough dress, and paired with leggings and boots, I was not cold and shivery on that snowy evening.
The catered meal was average. The Classic Caesar Salad was less than ideal. I did not even get any croutons on my plate. It was just a couple of tossed leaves staring up at me. No cheese, no nothing. After the somewhat bland rolls, it was not surprising.

The entree was Parmesan and Herb Crusted Boneless Chicken. I was still in my ‘plain chicken breast for protein’ phase so I was glad it was a large lean chicken breast. The crust was almost tasteless, the herb and cheese extremely bland. So, I got rid of that, only eating the chicken breast and sauteed spinach. The potatoes were bland too so I didn’t really touch it.
The dessert was definitely the best part of the meal, though far from ideal. The chocolate cane on top was good, the white and milk chocolate mix. The chocolate mousse was alright and the raspberry truffle centre was quite good. The biscuit on the bottom though was again a bit bland. At least this was visually appealing.
Overall though, I guess catered meals just don’t compare with single entrees at restaurants. But to get a free ticket to the event, and finally learn what the DP is all about, it was a good evening.
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1st Ever Restaurant Week (in Israel!) – Zahav

January 29, 2012
Zahav, Philadelphia PA
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Hummus Tehina & Laffa

Salatim
Grilled Duck Hearts
Lamb Tongue
Hazelnut-Date Rugelach
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My first ever Restaurant Week in Philly! I missed the opportunity in September and will never do so again! Our house sponsored this event so we only had to pay $10 for the $20 lunch and Zahav was absolutely amazing. I have never had Israeli food, nor have I tried good hummus and tehina.

The appetizers were delicious. The Hummus Tehina & Laffa was a clear star at the table, wonderfully traditional and comforting. The laffa with its seasoning was so warm and soft and chewy… the kind of baking I approve of! The hummus was delicious with the olive oil and chili seasoning.

The various Salatim had distinct tastes. My favourites were the beets and carrots. There were also cabbage, eggplants, and cucumbers. Each was marinated nicely, mostly with a combination of sweet and tangy tastes. They were all quite mushy but were still refreshing nonetheless.

I decided to go all the way so I ordered the Grilled Duck Hearts as my second course. Where else are you going to ever eat duck hearts? I’m fine with any part of an animal that I will usually eat. The hearts were quite hard to chew but definitely tender enough. I like having to work at my food as long as it is still tender and moist. The onion puree that came with it along with the turnip salatim were also perfect complements.

My third course was also wild and crazy – Lamb Tongue. It was perfectly grilled, tender, and the texture was lovely. It was like a very chewy sausage but with a touch of lamb flavour. Very delicious. At least it did not look like a tongue even if it did come in long strips. The apricot marmalade in the dish was also a nice balance.

Finally, I decided to go the traditional route with the Hazelnut-Date Rugelach. I’m not a fan of phyllo pastry so I did not pick the baklava. But I do not regret it. The rugelach was warm and soft, and the hazelnut-date filling was sweet but not overly sweet. So warm, such a good aroma coming off of it. The Turkish coffee ice cream that it came with was also delicious, as it had a very nice texture to it. Not the usual creamy, smooth texture, but more of a rough, grounded coffee. It was not sweet, more coffee-flavoured than sweet. A great ending to such a wonderful meal!

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