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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Ramen Yokocho Fest 2014 was HOT

Ramen Yokocho Fest is largest ramen show in the US. It took place on March 29-30 2014 at the Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, CA.  The 2013 events welcomed over 30,000 people in Los Angeles and over 15,000 people in Las Vegas. This year’s festival featured exclusive menus from 14 popular Ramen shops in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Jose, San Diego, and Japan. Ramen bowls were $8 per bowl plus $5 admission to Santa Anita Park and $4 parking.

Let’s take a look at what we tried:

I wanted to see what the Ramen Burger craze was about. Fujin offered the Tonkotsu Spicy Miso Ramen Burger. It was described as “fresh vegetables and a beef patty dressed in spicy miso sauce sandwiched between buns made with tonkotsu-flavored chewy noodles”. The line was long so we decided to stand in that one first. As I got to the front of the line, they ran out of burger patties so we had to wait until more were put on the flat top grill. When I finally got one, it was already falling apart. The ramen noodles were unraveling and it was very hard to eat. I noticed that it was only slightly browned on the outside and not the inside (maybe they forgot to flip it, browning both sides would keep the ramen noodles together). The noodles were also very bland and the burger patty was obviously frozen and preformed. The sauce wasn’t spicy and didn’t really help the flavor of the burger at all. Being my first time trying this “craze”, I was not impressed.

 To read more and see slideshow, please visit:

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mondo Taco now open in Santa Monica, CA

Since December 2012, Mondo Taco has been a frequent stop for me when I’m in the LA County area. Mondo Taco has what you crave - anything that crawls, grows, or swims is combined with their world flavors for unbeatable delights. Proprietor, Sam Spector, has done a really great job with the food which carries through to his employees. You can see their pride in the food through their eyes. In February 2014, Sam made the move from the original, rather compact location on La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles to spacious, upbeat digs in AO retail/residential building on Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica. The new digs include two spacious dining rooms with bright colors and larger kitchen space.

Here’s a sampling of Mondo Taco’s menu:

Homemade Guacamole has a bunch of textures with creamy chunky avocado, zingy red onions, and bright red, sweet tomatoes. It’s great as a dip with tortilla chips or atop your favorite taco! Thumbs up!

Beefeater is braised short rib topped with horseradish slaw. This is my favorite taco! The flavors are so consistent and this time was no different.  The flavor was just as great as I remember and  it was loaded with a healthy helping of tender braised short ribs. Horseradish slaw was also just right with added crunchy cabbage texture. Thumbs up, way up!

To read more and see slideshow, please visit:
Mondo Taco on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Product Review: Cookie Chips

Since the age of 12, Chef Joanne Adirim has been passionate about baking. She set out on a mission 20 years ago to create the most scrumptious desserts. Using her artisan flare, she took her gourmet desserts to restaurants, hotels, and grocery stores. Her journey has led her brand, HannahMax Baking, to nationwide coverage. They use only the best ingredients such as milled cane sugar, pure creamery butter, real eggs, fine chocolates, and pure bourbon vanilla. HannahMax Baking products are free of artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, trans fat, or GMOs.

HannahMax Baking makes a product line called Cookie Chips. The tagline, ”Tastes like a Cookie, Eats like a Chip”, is definitely what you will experience. With a 5 cookie serving and only packing 120 calories per serving, you can definitely eat what you like and not feel guilty. Let’s take a look at the flavors:

Original Cookie Chips are pure brown sugar goodness. Butter, sweetness, and homemade flavors round out this cookie. These were reminiscent of butter cookies or cookie dough ice cream. These would pair well with tea and coffee. Thumbs up!

 To read more and see slideshow, please visit:

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Recipe review from Learning at Home by Rhonda Cratty

Learning at Home is a parent resource that is chocked full of ideas to help children become the best they can be; ideas for helping your child enhance their skills in reading, math, writing, science and more. Daily fun activities make rudimentary subjects seem more than just pencil and paper and provide them with skills for everyday life. There are 48 (four per month) educational learning ideas that can be enjoyed anytime, everyday within the comfort of your own family whether around the Thanksgiving table, in the backyard, or on vacation. The book also includes lists of family friendly books for all subjects, recipes, and games to extend learning.


I tried the Santa Cocoa recipe which is very simple and contains cocoa, sugar, hot water, milk, marshmallows, green sprinkles, and peppermint candy. The only two things I did differently were using small marshmallows and smashed peppermint candy rounds to set off the green sprinkles. The cocoa had strong chocolate, marshmallow, and mint aromatics. The flavor was chocolaty with mint on the back of the palate. From a child’s perspective, I would add a little more cocoa powder and top with whipped cream. I would also pair it with shortbread cookies, cake, or brownies. I had two children try this recipe and they loved it!

Rhonda Cratty has 30 years of experience as a public school teacher, raising children of her own, and writing articles for on-line and hard copy publications within the pages of Learning at Home.

For more information:
Learning at Home by Rhonda Cratty
Purchase your Kindle Edition today! 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Cookbook Review: Great Food! From Great News! Cooking School

It all started when Ron and Carol Eisenberg left the harsh winter life in Cleveland, OH to sunny San Diego, CA with their three kids and two dogs in tow. Ron, a pharmacist by trade, and Carol, greeting card department buyer, decided to open their own retail store called Great News! selling functional housewares and alternative greeting cards. In the 1990s, based on the trends and interest from his customers, Ron decided to focus on cookware and kitchen items. Around the same time, Carol was diagnosed with stage-4 terminal breast cancer. Ron began to research and learned to cook macrobiotic diets to help his wife fight the cancer. In May 1996, Carol passed away. Ron threw himself into the business to build his first cooking school, which is part of what Great News! is all about. During construction, he met Davora Safran. Devora is an artist, designer, and great home cook who loves to entertain. In 2002, Ron and Devon tied the knot. Together, along with a healthy list of contributors, they put together, Great Food! From Great News! Cooking School cookbook. One well known contributor is executive chef for SOL (Newport Beach, CA and Scottsdale, AZ) and Solita (Huntington Beach, CA), Chef Deborah Schneider.

The introduction is chocked full of information for the novice to the seasoned cooked – A Well-Stocked Pantry, Basic Cooking Methods, Useful Terms & Tips, and Measurement Equivalents. The book is broken up by season and then by menus.

In the Summer – Cooking with Beer section, Guinness Chocolate Brownies sounded scrumptious! From seeing sweet recipes and decadent concoctions made with Guinness, I definitely had to give this recipe a try. This recipe was created by Chef Phillis Carey. The recipe was fairly easy. If you don’t have a standing mixer, you’ll definitely need a helper in the kitchen with you when incorporating the wet and dry ingredients together. Helpful hint for the chopped chocolate, put your chocolate bars in a Ziploc bag and use a meat tenderizer or mallet to break into smaller pieces for the melting process. The brownies were a little crumbly, but had the texture of a chocolate truffle. The beer flavor was very subtle, but actually enhanced the dark chocolate flavor. The semisweet chocolate chips were a great touch, not too sweet. Vanilla bean ice cream was the perfect pairing adding cold creaminess to the mix. Whipped cream would also be a good choice too. Thumbs up!