Wednesday, March 23, 2011
King Hawaiian Bakery & Restaurant has been on my to-do list of places to check out in LA for over a year now. It is home to the King Hawaiian rolls you can purchase at most supermarkets, but the location in Torrance also carries other baked goodies that are not available elsewhere.
When you enter, to your left is the restaurant and to your right is the bakery section. I went immediately for the bakery. I was amazed by all the different breads available other than the classic sweet rolls I’ve previously eaten. I spent quite a while browsing the bread selection before selecting a few: sweet dinner rolls, rainbow bread and coconut macadamia nut bread.
Here is the rainbow bread. I absolutely love the color and swirls of this bread. I thought this was a sweet bread with food coloring, but it is actually just regular bread. So it doesn’t taste great on its own, but makes a cool looking sandwich.
In addition to bread, they also sell cookies, pastries, donuts, and cakes. I couldn’t resist buying donuts. I have a huge weakness for them. I bought a couple of twisted glazed ones and cake ones, including a blueberry cake one. I thought the donuts were pretty good.
One of the things I was looking forward to most was the paradise cake, which is a chiffon cake made up of guava, passionfruit orange and lime. I originally was going to purchase a small paradise cake. But then I saw these small, undecorated bundts. The bundts were also chiffon cakes but undecorated. Since I wasn’t showing off the cake to guests and I don’t really care for all the icing and frosting, I thought I might as well buy the undecorated bundts, which were only a fraction of the price. (I believe they cost about $6.95 each whereas a small decorated paradise cake is $21.)
The cake was very light and fluffy. I love chiffon cakes. The only flavor on here I really liked though was the guava. I’m not too big of a fan of lime or orange.
King Hawaiian Bakery & Restaurant
2808 Sepulveda Blvd
Torrance, CA 90505
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
I’ve mentioned this before but the BF loves lava cakes. I do too. Piping hot, oozing rich chocolate cake. What’s not to love?
I’ve been wanting to try a nutella lava cake for a while. The original recipe I found had a few too many steps and eggs for my liking. So instead, I decided to play around with a lava cake recipe I have been using for a long time and added some nutella to it.
The cakes came out perfectly. The middle of the cakes are full of gooey chocolate and nutella. I didn’t think it was possible to improve on a lava cake, but the melted nutella makes it even better.
These cakes not only taste great, but are pretty simple to make.
- 4 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup flour
- 6 tablespoons of nutella
- Melt chocolate and butter in microwave, in thirty second intervals and stirring in between until it is completely melted and mixed.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy
- Add chocolate mixture into the eggs. Add flour and mix until incorporated.
- Grease 6 cupcake/muffin molds. Fill each about 3/4 full with batter. Then put a generous tablespoon of nutella in the middle of each.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees F or about 10-12 minutes. The cake should be cooked on the sides but still gooey in the center.
- Remove cakes carefully and turn upside down onto plate. You may need to use a knife gently along the sides of the muffin molds. Serve while warm.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
It’s funny how your food palate changes over the years. There are some places that the BF and I used to love that we no longer enjoy as we’ve now had so many more food experiences. And yet there are other places that you would think would fall into this category that we still keep as part of our dining rotation.
La Dolce Vita is a small Italian restaurant tucked into a narrow strip of downtown La Jolla’s shops. It was where we had our first official “nice dinner date” and where we frequented for the better part of our first year together.
Since then, we’ve never been back. Part of me knew, even without going back to make sure, that this was one of the restaurants that we would no longer love.
After many years, BF took me back for a walk down memory lane. While I appreciated his efforts and liked the idea of coming one final time and enjoyed the fond memories from this spot, I can now absolutely say with certainty that this is one spot we won’t voluntarily be dining at again.
La Dolce Vita is quite small, with a few tables inside and some outside dining as well. The inside seats around 30 or so people, in very tight, cramped quarters. The walls are decorated with giant murals which I would have taken a picture of if I could.
Shortly after ordering, we were given a sun dried tomato dipping sauce and a chunk of hot bread. To my surprise, half the bread was visibly burnt. I was surprised they served it to us anyway. The tomato sauce was actually quite tasty and went well with the warm crusty bread.
We decided to start off with the beef carpaccio appetizer. Our first experience with beef carpaccio was actually here and we have loved it ever since.
The carpaccio that was served to us did not look appetizing. It looked very wet and oily. I was also surprised to find that it was two giant pieces, not cut up at all. We had to cut it up ourselves. The carpaccio was doused in lemon juice and oil. I did not like it and only had a few bites.
For the entree, my eyes were drawn to a grilled T bone steak drizzled with imported black truffle oil. I love truffle oil and almost always order something with truffle oil when I see it being offered. I was informed that they were out of the T bone steak but they had a New York steak. I told them I was fine with the replacement as long as it was made using the same preparation.
When my steak arrived, I knew right away this was going to be disappointing. There was no aroma of truffle oil at all on my steak. I debated bringing this to the waiter’s attention, but in the end, I chickened out. I just wasn’t in the mood to complain about my food. The steak was grilled with visible char marks which you could also taste. It lacked any flavor whatsoever. I told BF it reminded me of a steak I’d be served at TGI Friday’s and he agreed.
The spinach at least was sauteed with oil and seasoning and was pretty tasty. The roasted potatoes were alright, but lacked the crispy skin I enjoy on roasted potatoes.
BF opted for one of the specials of the night, lobster ravioli topped with seared scallops. The wine sauce accompanying the raviolis was good. I felt that the lobster filling had too much other stuff mixed in so you couldn’t even tell it was lobster. The scallops were my favorite part. Overall, his dish came out much better than mine. Perhaps I should have ordered off of the specials as well.
We chose not to get dessert. We were quite ready to leave. As we waited for our check to arrive, something happened that pretty much sealed the fate of this place for us. We saw a giant cockroach making its way straight towards our table.
Now, first I want to make something clear. I’ve read people reviewing restaurants before screaming about cockroaches. It often makes me roll my eyes. Not that I think cockroaches are okay. I just sometimes feel people are being a little overdramatic. When I was in New York City a few years back, there were cockroaches everywhere. It was quite common to see one scurrying into a bar from the outside. In Taiwan, where my parents are from, there’s even such things as flying cockroaches, and it’s always pretty common to see cockroaches outside, inside, etc.
But when I saw this giant cockroach heading toward me, I have to admit I became very very squeamish. I didn’t scream, but I did pick up my feet, as it decided to scurry right next to my chair. Some other customers noticed the cockroach as well and someone must have said something to the waiter.
The waiter responded by looking around for it, and then saying “Oh it must have come from inside.” Yes, he said inside. I think he misspoke. I hope he misspoke. Either way, this was definitely an interesting way to end the night.
Afterwards, BF and I discussed it and realized this was actually the first time we’d ever seen a cockroach in San Diego. I should have taken a picture of it for you all, but I was afraid the waiter might have gotten angry.
La Dolce Vita Ristorante
1237 Prospect St, Ste P
La Jolla, CA 92037