Thursday, May 13, 2010
If you follow me on twitter, you might have read my tweets this past weekend about eating fish tacos, riding in Chevy cars, and wondered what the heck I was talking about. Well last week, I was contacted by the a PR company for Chevrolet, inviting Boyfriend and I to join their Best of Tours in San Diego, where they would be checking out fish tacos. All the food would be paid for and we would get driven around in various new Chevrolet cars.
After receiving the invitation, I looked into it a bit more. It seems Chevrolet has recently launched these Best of Tours around California (they've done one in SF and one in LA), where they invite some local bloggers to take a tour of some sights and foods in their city, while riding in Chevrolet cars. (I guess Chevy has realized the power of food bloggers!)
I'm really glad I was invited, as I had a great time. This past Saturday was absolutely gorgeous, the perfect day to be out and about on a food tour. Through this event, I got to meet bloggers I didn't know about, bloggers I have talked to but never met, a food writer whose column I read, and a bunch of other great people. I also got to visit some food spots I normally wouldn't because of hard to find parking (and not having to worry about parking or driving), and I got to ride in some pretty cool cars.
Chevrolet coordinated with local food blogger Susan from Food Blogga. She picked the taco places we would be heading to. Our first stop was South Beach Bar and Grille in Ocean Beach. I usually never venture to OB during the weekend because it gets so crowded. But with drivers in each car, they simply dropped us off and went somewhere to wait for us while we go our food.
I made it a point to try to ride in a different car on every stop. So the first car I chose was the Equinox. It felt like your standard SUV. I did like that there were tv screens on the back of the front seats.
As expected, South Beach Bar & Grille was packed. We ended up having to huddle around one small table.
At each place we would be sampling two tacos. The two tacos from South Beach were humongous. If all the tacos were going to be like this, I knew I'd definitely be in trouble. Chevrolet had provided us with some tupperware to bring back food, but the tacos at our first stop were so big, they would have barely fit in the containers. One taco was battered and fried. The other was simply grilled. I believe both tacos contained mahi mahi as the fish. The tacos were doused with tons of salsa, sauce and there was a thin layer of melted cheese at the bottom of the tortilla.
I enjoyed the grilled one better because it was super moist with lots of flavor. All in all though, I liked both tacos.
While each car had a professional driver, we were encouraged to drive
the cars if we wanted to. I don't know that much about cars, unless
it's a hybrid. When I scanned the list of cars that would be provided, I
only really recognized one: the Camaro, which I knew from the
Transformers movie. I had told Boyfriend that there would be a Camaro on
our trip and that he could test drive it. He replied with "why would I
want to drive?" Of course, when we arrived that day to the event and he
saw the Camaro, all he could do was talk about how he wanted to drive
the Camaro! So for the next car, we rode in the
Camaro with Boyfriend driving. I have to admit, it was pretty cool
stepping into a flashy car. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to snap a picture of the outside of the car.
A bunch of people were walking around
in OB and were checking out the car when I got in, and I got a certain
thrill pretending that it was my car or Boyfriend's car.
Our second stop was the Brigantine Seafood Restaurant in Point Loma. It was a nice change in atmosphere. At Brigantine, they had a whole patio section set up for us. It was great to be able to sit down and properly enjoy our tacos. Unfortunately, they only offer one fish taco on their menu, so we were given two of the same taco. Here, the tortilla was made of corn, and I liked the taste of the corn tortilla a bit better than the flour one. The fish was just alright for me. A bit on the small side compared to South Beach. I wasn't a fan of the huge amount of cheese sprinkled on top . There wasn't as much salsa on the tacos either.
For our next ride, I chose to ride in the Malibu. It reminded me of any other mid-sized sedan. Not nearly as thrilling as the Camaro.
Our third stop was Blue Water Seafood and Grill in Mission Hills. By this time it was almost 3, so I was surprised to find that the place was still packed. They were so packed that they didn't have room for us. They just gave us two bags of tacos and sent us on our way. So we ended up eating in the parking lot, some people ate in the back of the truck.
Here, we were served a mahi taco and a yellowtail taco. Both were grilled, and you could taste that the fish was fresh. The mahi taco had sauce, the yellowtail did not. However, I felt they were both slightly overcooked. I also felt that the taco had too much raw cabbage. I did like that they grilled the tortillas.
After Blue Market, I chose to ride in the Silverado truck. I didn't realize how big the truck was until I tried to get in. I literally had to climb into the truck because it was so high. I had to jump to get out too. Probably my least favorite car because of the difficulty getting in and out.
Our last stop was World Famous in Pacific Beach. It was really the perfect way to end the tour. The view of the beach in PB was so gorgeous. We were all pretty stuffed by this point. Here, we got shrimp and fish tacos. I ended up picking out the fish and shrimp and leaving the rest of my tacos. I wasn't a fan of the flour tortillas here, but I did enjoy the battered shrimp.
On our way home, I got to ride in the Traverse, which has three rows of seating. It was nice and comfortable having so much room. Of course, being a Chevrolet tour, we did get educated a bit on the cars. I thought this would bother me, but it didn't. Like I mentioned, I'm pretty into fuel efficient cars ever since having to do some research in high school on finding alternative fuel sources. I was surprised to learn some interesting things, like the fact that Chevrolet is coming out with an all electric car next year, the Volt, and that it has a sedan right now, the Cruze, which gets 40mpg.
All in all, it was a pretty fun adventure. I was so stuffed by the end and I had leftovers. There were a couple of surfers that were with us for the trip, and they managed to eat all the tacos at each stop plus extra. Amazing. Thanks again to Chevrolet Best of Tours and Food Blogga for organizing such a fun event!
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Last weekend, I made mini donuts covered with chocolate ganache. They were a huge hit. It made me want to try out other recipes. Surprisingly, I had a hard time finding a baked donut recipe that wasn’t a “cake” donut. I finally found this recipe by Beachlover Kitchen.
This recipe was easy to put together, about as easy as the mini baked yogurt donuts I had made previously. The dough was a lot thicker though, and really sticky. It made it hard to put the dough into the mini donut pan. So my donuts ended up not coming out as perfectly shaped as the first time. The dense batter also maintained its pale color for a long time, so I had to bake them a couple extra minutes because I didn’t like how pale the dough was.
The nice thing about these donuts is that they are more solid than the other ones I made. While the other ones came out with holes on top, and needed to be decorated, these donuts looked pretty cute even before they were decorated (I didn’t have time to take pictures of them before I decorated.) I also enjoyed the taste of these donuts a little more. When I sampled the previous mini donuts I made, I only liked them after adding the chocolate ganache. This new recipe, the donuts tasted pretty good on their own. Once the chocolate ganache was put on top, the two recipes tasted very similar though both in texture and taste. Perhaps this one was a bit sweeter.
I ended up enjoying both recipes.I’ll probably keep using both until I find a preference for one over the other. Last time I made mini donuts, I had this urge to put sprinkles on top even though I normally don’t like sprinkles on my donuts. So this time, after dipping them in chocolate ganache, I also put on some colorful sprinkles.
I never thought I would have so much fun with my mini donut pan. I own the Norpro
Mini Donut Pan. I plan on making some more desserts with it soon.
Mini baked donuts (recipe found on Beachlover Kitchen)
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup granuated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tsp corn oil
4 tbsp yogurt
1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Whisk flour and baking powder in a medium bowl, then combine with sugar.
egg one at a time with milk, oil, yogurt and vanilla extract until well
blended. Then combine with flour mixture,mix vigorously until well
3. Lightly spray donut pan with oil. Pour batter into molds up to 2/3 full.
4. Bake 10 -12 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched and donuts are golden brown.Remove from
oven and let it cool down before glaze or cinnamon and sugar if
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1. Heat heavy cream in a small pot. Be careful to not let it boil over. Once it begins to boil, remove from the stove.
2. Pour heavy cream into bowl of chopped chocolate. Stir and mix until chocolate is completely melted.
3. Let ganache cool for a few minutes before drizzling donuts with
glaze or simply dipping the tops of the donuts in chocolate ganache
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
227 W. Valley Blvd.
San Gabriel, CA 91776
If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know I'm pretty obsessed with mochi. So a few weeks ago, when Food Librarian twittered about eating mochi pizza, I knew I had to try it. You can read about her post here. After reading her post, I had to go to LA right then and there. Luckily, Boyfriend was game to go. (Though that might have been because I told him that they served ninja pizza there as well. I don't know why but he is really into ninjas. He and his friend are always calling each other "ninja.")
Strawberry Cones is a pizza chain in Japan, that has recently come to the US. There is a location in San Gabriel Valley and a location in Little Tokyo. The restaurant was actually really small. You could only seat about 20 people, so it looks like they do most of their orders to-go. The color of the logo reminded me a lot of Dominos.
The mochi pizza has rice flour mixed into the crust, but the crust isn't chewy. The crust is more like a thin pizza crust. Some of the pizzas also have pieces of mochi mixed in with the melted cheese, and these are chewy. A lot of people have asked me if the mochi is sweet. They don't use the mochi you are used to eating as a dessert, but rather the unsweetened type. There are quite a few toppings to choose from, and you can also choose to do half and half.
We ended up choosing to do a teriyaki chicken and seafood genovese.
I enjoyed the chicken teriyaki. I wasn't as much of a fan of the seafood genovese. The salmon on it was super salty, like smoked salmon. The mochi pieces blended in well with the teriyaki mochi pizza. It added some chew, but not too much to distract you. And I liked that it was covered with nori. The teriyaki one is one of their most popular flavors, and I can see why. Somehow all the ingredients just seem to work really well together.
We also ordered a ninja pizza, which derives its name from the black crust. I don't know much about it, but according to the poster on the wall, the crust is made of chikutan. The crust was less chewy, had a bit of a drier taste. We chose half and half, mochi mentai and pizza edamame.
I enjoyed the mochi mentai. There was lots of nori pieces on top and the inside had lots of cooked roe eggs. I wasn't much of a fan of the edamame. There were shrimp and edamame and lots of mayonnaise. I didn't like the taste of the mayonnaise in the pizza.
There were four of us sharing the two small pizzas. Each half had four slices, so we each got to sample one slice of each. Normally, half a small pizza wouldn't be too much food. But rice flour is quite filling, and these pizzas really sat in our stomachs. We probably should not have planned to try the mochi pizza so early on in our eating tour because it really slowed us down.
For the pizzas, you can choose either thin crust or pan crust. We chose pan crust on both our pizzas, but it was still pretty thin and not puffy and doughy like your typical pan crust. I don't know what the thin crust was like, but it seems like it couldn't get much thinner than this one.
All in all, the pizzas were interesting. I didn't love it as much as I have loved other mochi creations. But it was definitely fun to try and say I've experienced mochi pizza. If Strawberry Cones was closer to me, I would stop by sometime for pizza, but I didn't love it enough so that it would make my list of places I must stop at when visiting LA.
One of the nice things about this place was that they provided complimentary tea and coffee. Strawberry Cones also offers pasta and some appetizers.
You can read about the other places I ate at during my LA trip that I have already blogged about: Pa Pa Walk and Mama's Lu. The conclusion of my LA eating trip is coming soon!