Free Gelato Day at Wholefoods

What am I talking about? Is there really a free gelato day at Wholefoods? No. But there should be. For what they charge to fill a bag of groceries there should be a consumer appreciation day.

I know I have misdirected some of you but allow me to whisk you away to this far away city known as Denver Colorado, wherein I will tell you a tale that involves an old friend, goat tacos and free gelato. Continue reading

New York Our Dream Land…

First, I’d like to apologize those who actually read our blog… it has been two weeks since our last food blog update… Well, we were in NYC two weeks ago for 5 days, which was awesome (except my company trip), we had so much fun walking around the city, wondering around villages, and Brooklyn…

I have so much to tell you how awesome NYC was… Food wise, NYC MUST have high quality and inexpensive food because of the very serious food industry competition. I mean, you can go to the most expensive restaurant in the city and satisfy your taste buzz, but Zach and I like to go inexpensive and high quality food… So here we go, I’d like to introduce you the three exciting NYC eatery, first the magnificent cup cake!

Magnolia Bakery NYC
Box
Bakery Outside
I was recommended this place by one of my best friends. The first night we were there in NYC, we were wondering around the times square and found this magnificent Cup Cake Bakery! I was planning to visit but it was destiny we just came across to this store. So we did not resist but went into the store immediately and purchased 4 delicious Cup cakes!

Amazing Cupcakes Banana & Carmel Cupkae
We got a Chocolate Cup Cake, Vanilla Cup Cake, Red Velvet Cup Cake, and Banana Caramel Cup Cake. I dived right into the Banana Caramel Cup Cake so I forgot to take picture of this Cup Cake as a whole… sorry… the Cake was so moist, the balance of Caramel frosting and the Banana Cake were just right. Not too sweet but definitely you can taste both main components of this Cup Cake.

A Chocolate and Vanilla Cup Cake were okay, not so exciting… but the Cream Cheese frosting was extraordinary. I noticed that their frosting was not so sweet but just right to compliment the actual Cake.

OMG, Red Velvet Cup Cake… super moist, looks super red devilish, but just right amount of Coco hitting with the creamy frosting… I don’t think I have ever had such moist Cup Cake ever in my life!!

The second amazing eatery in NYC is located at Little Italy… Da Gennaro Restaurant

One of our dearest friends took us there said “The best Gnocchi Ever!” I was really excited because literally I have never had good Gnocchi in my life. The Gnocchi that I had tasted before was always mushy or gummy and too starchy… I made it myself once and that experience was disappointed. Another fact that I was excited about this experience because we were going to eat an Italian food in Little Italy in NYC. I mean it may be the closest you can get to eat the real authentic Italian Food, don’t you think?? Well, with all these exciting facts, we arrived at Da Gennaro Restaurant in Little Italy NYC!

The Italian Feast!
Little Italy Feast
This is something I ordered, which has Gnocchi with Pesto, Fetachini Alfredo, and Totellini Boroneze, just like Italian Flag the meal was nicely presented in the white plate. Guess what I ate first in this plate? Yes, you guessed it right, Gnocchi with Pesto, as our friend describes as the BEST Gnocchi. He was right, it was an amazing Gnocchi, it is soft, creamy, and melt in your mouth. The pest was just right with Basil, Garlic, and Olive Oil… I am sure there is some nuts and cheese in this sauce but it did not overcome the actual Gnocchi taste. It was divined!! Fetachini Alfredo was amazing as well, the cream sauce was soft and light, the pasta was cooked as al dente, and I think it was home made pasta at the restaurant. Tottelini Boroneze, the right amount of Tomato hits the meat sauce with the creamy Tottelini Pasta, it was awesome… Look at this amazing dish one more time. Please go visit Da Gennaro when you are in NYC, you won’t regret it.
Little Italy The Three Amazing Pasta

Last and at least, I was recommended this Pizza place from two of our good friends. This New York Famous Pizza place is located under the Brooklyn Bridge.
Store Outside Grimaldis Outside Tile 2

Grimaldi’s Pizza
The fact was that Zach and I skipped Breakfast and Lunch on this day because we were so excited to go eat this famous New York Pizza in Brooklyn. After the long walk of the Brooklyn Bridge, we were so excited to find this Pizzeria with the ridiculously long line at 2pm.
Long line at 2pm
Line at 2pm
Long line behind us at 2;30pm
Line behind us at 230pm
Well well well, by looking at this long line at 2pm on Sunday, we realized it was a confirmation of the Best Pizza in NYC. So we decided to stay in the line wait for our breakfast/lunch/early dinner patiently.
Hungry Couple
Hungry Couple
We waited for 1.5 hours and we arrived in front of the entrance. We felt that 1.5 hours past right by but the last 5 minutes right in front of the entrance felt another hour of waiting. We got seated and we ordered a large Margarita Pizza and the waiters recommendation of the Pepperoni Sausage and Mushroom Pizza. Also we ordered a Brooklyn Beer and Brooklyn Orange Soda.
Brookly Beverage Brooklyn Orange Soda
You need to ask Zach for the Brooklyn Beer cuz I did not drink it. The Brooklyn Orange Soda was very refreshing not like Fanta Orange… yuck. But you know after skipping breakfast, lunch and walking cross the Brooklyn Bridge, at that point, a glass of Fanta Orange could taste pretty good… ;)

Here are the Pizza Margarita & Pepperoni Sausage Mushroom Pizza.
Best Margarita Pizza Pepparoni Sausage Mushroom
No wonder why people want their pizza. The Pizza Margarita was amazing with the intense Tomato Sauce, Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, and Basil. The Tomato Sauce tested like fresh Tomato, Mozzarella Cheese was creamy and slightly tangy, and Basil was very aromatic. The crust was very thin that crunchy, it was an amazing pizza I have ever had.
Margarita Slice Thin PizzaCan you tell by this pic how thin the crust is?
The Pepperoni Sausage Mushroom Pizza recommended by the waiter was amazing as well. The Pepperoni tasted amazing itself. The Pepperoni and Sausage were not greasy like you imagine. It seems that the oil from the meats incorporated with the mushroom and the thin crust, which balanced really nicely. I usually do not like two meats on one pizza but this was an exceptionally tasty meat Pizza!

Oh I miss you NYC. Zach and I are actually thinking about moving to NYC. This city has such a wonderful history and great food! People are actually pretty nice. Right after we got back to Denver, I stared looking for an apartment in NYC and jobs. :) :) :)

Well, we hope to go visit NYC soon again or move to NYC soon… :) until then, we’ll keep dreaming about the NYC life.

Happy Eating!!
Mrs H

Le Central the BEST French Restaurant in Denver

Friday 10/16, right after work, we wanted to go out right away after the work to start out weekend fabulous! We thought about going to get a gourmet burger… that’s not so fabulous… thought about going to the Cherry Creek North, they usually have great restaurant selections… but then we did not want to drive all the way to the Cherry Creek North….

Then, I had this vision of “Moules et Frites”…. Ahhhhh “Le Central” Zach agreed immediately, which we started driving that direction.

When we get there around 5:30pm, the restaurant was nearly empty (Lucky~!) So we were seated right away and our fabulous weekend has begun.

We ordered L’ Ail, Le Brie, et Les Croutons as an appetizer, which is a baked whole garlic head, Brie cheese, and small toasts.
L' Ail, Le Brie, et Les Croutons
The baked garlic was like butter, spread the garlic and brie cheese onto the toast, sprinkle with diced Tomato and basil… Yummy~!!! It is so simple but yet the flavor of the roasted garlic, brie, tomato and basil was bold. What a great starter! Zach had some red wine, which was sweet for me but enough dryness with it for Zach :)

I ordered Moules Portuguaise, the steamed Mussels in this fantastic broth with Portuguaise Sausage, diced tomato and bottomless potato fries!
Sorry, these pictures suck because the lighting of the restaurant…
Moules Portuguaise
This is addictive. Even though I was quite full from the appetizer but I could not stop eating… As you can see how much mussels they serve, I have to say this is a one of the lightest dishes.

Zach ordered Cassoulet du Central, which was lamb, onions, and duck confit simmered with Provence herbs and white beans, topped with grilled pork sausage and gratineed with bread crumbs, like casserole.
Cassoulet du Central
All the meats looked so tender and perfect for the cold fall night. I’ll ask Zach to write about this dish later on!

After the meal, we thought about stopping the dinner right there but the waiter asked us “Would you like to look at the dessert menu?” and I said “I’ll just wanna look at the menu…” Well, you all know there is no “Just look at the menu”… we ended up ordering La Creme Brulee.
La Creme Brulee
The custard was creamy and had a good taste of vanilla. The surface of the custard was very crispy caramelized sugar crust. This sounds very sweet but it’s not… just right amount of sugar in this dessert. I could eat the bucket of this…

All these dishes and 3 glasses of wine, it was less than $60.00. I have to say “What a deal!!”

The atmosphere of this restaurant is cozy but yet romantic :) For the special occasion or just for fun, try Le Central for the Best French Food in Denver~!

Happy Eating!
Mrs. H

Trip to Los Angeles – Day 2

We started the Day 2 in Los Angeles at Manhattan Beach. There was sea fog at the beach… so it was kind of chilly and gray…

Here is the happy family minus me (cuz I was taking this pic, obviously…)
Foggy Manhattan Beach

Even with the sea fog, it was fun being at the beach, smell the salty ocean wind, hanging out with sea gulls and my brother and his wife :) I grow up surrounded by the beach so this was difinetly a great treat for me.

After we wonder around the beach, we found this Italian restaurant at the Manhattan Beach called Pasta Pomodoro (www.pastapomodoro.com)
Pomodoro Restaurant

The store interior was very simple and clean with the color of Red and White. The menu was pretty simple and reasonable. My sister in law ordered a Small Lasagna but it was huge. And all the entree we ordered came with a side ceaser salad, which was pretty big plate as well. My sister in law’s meal was the cheapest (about $6.50) and most delicious among all of our dishes. So here is the picture of her wise choice Small Lasagna & Salad.
Small lasagna at Pomodoro Ceaser Salad at Pomodoro

I don’t have a good comment on this restaurant either bad comment. It was an average Italian Restaurant. I guess the price wise, they were quite reasonable.

So after the Manhattan Beach, we went to get some grocery at the Trader Joe’s on Sunset Blvd. (http://traderjoes.com/) I LIKE Trader Joe’s. This store makes me smile BIG! Their own branded products are well selected and customer friendly price! We usually buy their Pecan Pralines and yes we bought two boxed this time. They are sooooooooooooooooooooo good and sinful but worth it, cuz it is only $4 ~ $5.
You cannot buy Pecan Pralines at other organic markets for this price.

Trader Joe’s Pecan Pralines
TJ Pecan Pralines

I hope that Trader Joe’s will open their stores here in Denver Metro Area. I cannot wait for their arrival!

The other store that we went was Nijiya Market Japanese Organic Grocery store. (www.nijiya.com)
They have variety of bento box (lunch box) with organic rice and vegetables. They even have some sushi (Maki & Nigiri) which are reasonable and great quality. We got some of sushi box for our appetizer for the night.

Nijiya Sushi
Sushi from Nijiya

After the shopping, we went to my brother’s house and we decided to make some dinners. My sister is law is from Osaka, where the Okonomiyaki is very famous for. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okonomiyaki) We had enough ingredients that she made her famous Osaka Style Okonomiyaki for our dinner. Sorry everyone, I wish I had her recipe but I don’t… so here is the picture of what Okonomiyaki looks like…

Osaka Style Okonomiyaki
Okonomiyaki by Sister in law

The best description of Okonomiyaki is a savory pancake. The pancake that has thin sliced pork, shredded cabbage, and some other Japanese ingredients. And eat with this bbq kind of sweet and salty soy base sauce with mayo on the side. It is delicious! There is a Hiroshima Style Okonomiyaki but I like Osaka Style better.

Here is the brothers having good time with Japanese Beer Kirin & Okonomiyaki!
Brothers at the House

Overall, Saturday was full of events with good meals! Especially my sister in laws famous Okonomiyaki was really really good, completed my day! I cannot make Okonomiyaki as good as my sister in law, but when you visit our house, I can cook Osaka Style Okonomiyaki for you!

Happy Eating!
Mrs. H

Santa Fe’s bread basket

While on vacation, local fare is of course the first goal for any committed eater. This past weekend I took it upon myself to explore the offerings of south-western cuisine in Santa Fe and to my delight and surprise its just as good as the south-western cuisine in Denver.

I expect that when you go to a state that is geographically closer to the origin of many of exclusive Mexican dishes, there should be a difference in color, taste and texture in the food. The most significant difference between these dishes served there and here is freshness of ingredients. For the most part, portions and cost seem to be negligible.

After hearing from a local that Tamasita’s had some amazing Carne Adovada, I couldn’t help but make that my very first stop on the flavor town express. The Adovada in a very red, spicy, stew like sauce that seemed to be apart of the actual cooking process. There were healthy sized chunks of pork shoulder, I am assuming, that were in fact tender but a little on the dry side for a stew. The usual sides were available but the refried beans weren’t anything to write about really.

However, Tamasita’s shining star that night was their original margarita. As your tastes change the margarita becomes something of a gem with the right preparation. Fresh lime juice, tequila and some salt. Simplicity, has really outdone itself. The drink was crisp and bright the tequila was almost sweet and not overly dry. Top shelf stuff.

The other cantina that I was able to experience was the Coyote Cafe. The rooftop cantina features the same menu as their eat in restaurant but has slightly deflated prices to accommodate the adobe pub like atmosphere. The first thing that was enjoyable was the wait staff. Prompt, humble, polite and truly customer comfort focussed. As a matter of fact we had really exceptional service everywhere we went.

So the fried wrap standing up had two types of meet and two sauces, Pork with the red sauce and chicken with the green and both were very well matched. The sour cream and guacamole was really smooth and fresh and flavorful. But the real surprise was the dessert.

Three little cups, each one filled with a unique custard take on some classic Spanish and American tastes. There was a chocolate cake like cup, rice pudding with pecans and raisins (which no one at the table would eat except me. the texture of the rice was too much for my Japanese companions.) and a banana flan custard of sorts that was like eating a creamier version of the banana vanilla wafer pudding most enjoyed by youths growing up in the south.

Overall, good. If I had stars the Santa Fe experience would only receive 3 out of 5 for lack of true distinction outside of ingredients. Preparation and flavor were all comparable to several restaurants I frequent in Colorado.

Happy eating,

Zach