Sometimes new loves come from unexpected places. Recently I was invited to try out Robeks’ new smoothie bowls.

Robeks is a franchise that specializes in juices and smoothies. In September, Robeks launched smoothie bowls, created by Dennis Sato, who is actually right here in San Diego, owning the Mira Mesa location. I got a chance to meet him in his store and talk about his creation. Smoothie bowls take the flavors and ingredients from Robeks’ smoothie drinks and turn them into a creamy, cold frozen yogurt-like treat. It sounds pretty simple, but the taste is quite amazing.

Dennis was going into his store one cold winter day when he saw a lot of customers hanging out at a frozen yogurt shop nearby. The cold weather usually slows down business at his smoothie store, so he was curious to note that people would still gather for frozen yogurt on a cold day. Then right after, he happened to come across an article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “The Science Behind Why We Love Ice Cream,” which talked about why people crave the creamy sensation of ice cream products.

From there, he got to experimenting, and came up with the smoothie bowl. The smoothie bowl uses all the ingredients used in the smoothies but with a special formula. First, Dennis had me try a basic smoothie. I chose a mahalo mango. The smoothies here are made with juices and flash frozen fruit. The drink was tasty but basically just tasted like a smoothie. Nothing really special.

Next he created a smoothie bowl with the same flavors. One bite and I was in love. It was all the flavors of the smoothie but intensified. I enjoyed it so much more than the smoothie. I’m a big lover of frozen yogurt to begin with, but what I really loved about this was the natural fruit taste as opposed to the very artificial flavors used at frozen yogurt shops. The creamy texture was very enjoyable as well and there were still little bits of mango inside too.

I had some ripe avocados and some bread crumb mix, and immediately thought of making avocado fries. Soft creamy avocado with a crispy crunchy exterior. Yum.

I previously tried making bacon avocado fries which was really delicious. This time I used this new breadcrumb mix that I received a complimentary sample of as being part of the Foodbuzz Tastemakers program, Kikkoman Kara-Áge Soy-Ginger Seasoned Coating Mix. While it’s suggested to be used for fish and chicken, I thought it would work well with avocado too because soy-ginger and avocados are usually used with sushi.

Osteria Mozza is one of the Mozza Group restaurants owned by Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali and Joseph Bastianich. After sitting on my to-do list for quite a while, FH and I finally got a chance to visit for the first time a few weeks ago.

Osteria Mozza features a large mozzarella bar at the center of the restaurant where fresh mozzarella, burrata, and other cheeses are prepared daily. Chef Silverton can often be seen working at the mozzarella bar including on the night we visited.

The menu is divided into appetizers, first and second courses and dessert. There is also a five course pasta tasting menu for $69 per person offered.

We started out with some cocktails and some complimentary bread.

Bread slices are served cold and solo, with no butter or other type of dipping sauce. The bread was quite fresh, soft on the outside with a nice chewy crust. I enjoyed the bread even without the butter.

We were then given this complimentary bite: ricotta, black olive tapenade on crostini.

I had done my research prior to our dinner experience and knew that the mozzarella bar items were the star, so we started out with two.

Burrata with bacon, marinated escarole & caramelized shallots

I loved the fresh burrata, but found the seasoning on this dish overpowering. The marinated escarole and caramelized shallots flavor was so strong that I couldn’t even taste the bacon. I ended up giving up and just eating the cheese halfway through.