Sunday, April 29, 2012

All My Favorites: Banzai Bowls, Seabirds, and True Food Kitchen

Yesterday, I had the best Saturday!  I got to hang out with my favorite people and eat some of my favorite food in Orange County.  

The day started bright and early at Banzai Bowl in Laguna Beach.  The boyfriend and I enjoyed breakfast at the beach watching a ton of surfers, paddle boarders, and cute dogs.    

This is the Maui Sunrise Bowl from Banzai Bowl.  A Banzai Bowl is an Acai smoothie (along with other fruits) with fun, chunky toppers such as granola, bananas, and strawberries.  This is a SMALL size!  It is more than enough and costs around $6.95.  You can make substitutions as well and swap in almond milk, or add spinach to get some of your greens in for the day.  

This bowl was refreshing in the hot sun and started my day off in a healthy direction.  There are three locations of Banzai Bowl - Costa Mesa, Laguna Beach, and Huntington Beach.  You should check them out! 

For lunch, my sister and I headed to Irvine's Great Park for the Artisan Food Festival.  The festival itself was a little smaller than I had imagined and was mostly either food trucks or booths representing restaurants.  They did have demonstrations but they were spread out over the afternoon.

What the festival did have was my favorite food truck in Orange County - Seabirds.  Seabirds is a vegan food truck which uses fresh local ingredients.  They often tweet that they just picked up certain vegetables from Tanaka Farms that morning and will incorporate them into their lunch menu.  

The best thing there is the jackfruit tacos.  Yes, I did say fruit tacos :)  They take jackfruit and slow cook it until it falls apart in a meaty texture.  It is then seasoned and added to dishes like these BBQ jackfruit tacos.  They were topped with cole slaw and housemade pickles!.  Check out their schedule here.  

After the food festival, my boyfriend and I headed to my favorite shopping mall - Fashion Island.  It was a beautiful day in Newport Beach to walk around and shop.  We had an early dinner on the patio at True Food Kitchen.  I had an amazing salad - the Farmer's Market Salad - which was a mix of kale and mint with asparagus, avocado, peas, artichokes, and manchego cheese, all in a champagne dressing.  I also split the Sundried Tomato and Olive Pizza with Milos.  This is my FAVORITE Pizza.  Its a thin crust pizza topped with pesto, sundried tomatoes, salty olives, and cheese.  Perfection!  Although True Food Kitchen started in Arizona, this restaurant is the embodiment of Southern California food and lifestyle. 

What could top an awesome food day like this - SPRINKLES CUPCAKES!
 I had a coupon for a free cupcake that expired soon - so we cashed it in on the way home.  Dark chocolate banana for me and coconut for him.  I was only going to eat half but..... I'm sure you know how that ended! 

Hope you get to enjoy some of your favorite foods this weekend!  And be sure to check out these great Orange County eateries!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Philz Mint Mojito Iced Coffee

My friends Marko and Sarah can officially move out of Berkeley because I now know how to replicate the BEST coffee drink I have ever had!

Philz Coffee's  Mint Mojito Iced Coffee has ALOT of fresh mint leaves and a really frothy creamy consistency.  Philz Coffee is known for their "one cup at a time" philosophy - they brew all their drinks one cup at a time and will custom blend a coffee to your preferences.  They have several locations around San Francisco and the South/East Bay.  Now they just need one in OC/LA.

While I patiently wait for my next trip to NorCal, I decided to make my own.

All you need is 3 ingredients:
 - Fresh Organic Mint
- 1/3 cup Cold Espresso
- 1/4 Natural Bliss Creamer in Sweet Cream flavor

Note : While Philz uses coffee, I like espresso, specifically Lavazza Rosa.  My boyfriend brews ALOT of it using a Bialetti stovetop espresso maker and then stores it in this handy jug.  Then I can just take some espresso, ice, and water to make an iced americano whenever I like!)

Note: Natural Bliss Creamer is an all natural creamer with the perfect proportions of cream to sugar.  It has no funny ingredients or hydrogenated oils like other creamers do!  

1)  Add approximately 10 mint leaves into the bottom of your cup.  Muddle them to release the flavor.
2)  Add 1/3 cup espresso
3)  Add 1/3 cup water and 1/4 cup natural bliss creamer.
4)  Enjoy with ice cubes and a straw :)

It tastes even better while working on your "apartment garden"

I think I need to plant mint now so that I have access to this drink 24/7!

EDITED TO NOTE:  I tried just making an iced americano (cold water and cold espresso) ans adding mint - it was incredible!!!  And has no calories or fat!  :)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Trisha Yearwood's Brownies with Coconut Frosting


  Life Tip:  Do not watch Trisha Yearwood's Southern Kitchen at 8:00 am because you will be thinking of these brownies ALL day long and then have to make them ASAP. 

While I do love country music, I am not particularly a Trisha Yearwood fan, but I did enjoy her show.  Plus, her Brownies with Coconut Frosting were divine.  Its an old fashioned recipe with a cooked frosting - reminds me of something my Nanie would make. 

 Milos and I are on a coconut kick lately, so I thought these would be fun to try.  They are NOT healthy for you - but I made a few substitutions to rationalize making them :)
    The recipe from Food Network is here , but I.....
                    1)Used Earthbalance soy-free vegan spread instead of butter in the frosting and brownies
                    2)Used whole wheat pastry flour in the brownies

Substitutions didn't seem to affect the recipe/taste!

Since I was at Whole Foods getting yet another tub of Earthbalance :)   I got the ingredients to make Angela's Salt and Vinegar Chickpeas!  I have been dying to make these for ages and they were better than I imagined :)  Recipe here.

I had quite the smell combination in my house this afternoon between chocolate and vinegar! 

While I was in the kitchen, I hardboiled some eggs to color tonight with Milos for Orthodox Easter :) 
The good thing about Othodox Easter is that all Easter related products are discounted 70% off at Target since it was the week after this year. 

I did all of this while I sipped my fav flavor of kombucha (Guava!) and listened to the "Mandy Moore" station on Pandora.  Look what popped up!

 I miss the old Jesssica Simpson - I wanted to be just like her - married to Nick Lachey and everthing!