Strawberry Cones and Pa Pa Walk, San Gabriel, CA

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Strawberry Cones Pizza (San Gabriel, CA)
A few weeks ago, the LA Times Food Section's article "In LA, pizza goes global," mentioned Strawberry Cones, a new Japanese pizza place in San Gabriel. Immediately emailed JustJenn and said we need to go. They have Mochi Pizza. And if it has mochi, I'm there.

Strawberry Cones Pizza (San Gabriel, CA) Strawberry Cones Pizza (San Gabriel, CA)
Strawberry Cones, a chain in Japan, has unique pizzas. They have 200 outlets in Japan and one in Canada. This San Gabriel restaurant is the first franchise in the United States. A different franchise owner just opened one in Little Tokyo. They sell pizza and pasta; we had the pizza.

Strawberry Cones Pizza (San Gabriel, CA)
While waiting for our pizza, Jenn's son colored Red Tornado. Recently, he kicked my butt in an intense game of Disney Memory. I've been practicing at home getting ready for a rematch.

Strawberry Cones Pizza (San Gabriel, CA)
The most popular one is the Teriyaki Mochi Chicken Pizza. The crust is made with rice flour and the pizza is topped with chicken pieces, small pieces of mochi that melt into the crust, onion, teriyaki, cheese, mayo (the Japanese put mayo on really don't notice it), and topped with nori (seaweed). This was definitely my favorite pizza. ($11 for a small)

Strawberry Cones Pizza (San Gabriel, CA)
Is that crust gray? Yes, it is a Ninja Pizza. It uses powdered chikutan, Japanese bamboo charcoal that is supposed to be mineral rich. We got a 1/2 and 1/2 pizza: Avocado Salmon (above) and Mochi Mentai (below). I wish the avocado salmon was double avocado instead. I didn't care for the salmon - it was a little like lox on your pizza. ($12.80 for a small)

Strawberry Cones Pizza (San Gabriel, CA)
This is the Mochi Mentai pizza. I saw the mochi, and didn't even think about the Mentai. Mentaiko is marinated roe of the pollock fish. It is salted and gives it a seafood flavor. I love seafood, but I probably wouldn't get this one again because roe isn't top on my list of favs. However, I do love the nori on all the pizzas. Life is better with nori.

Pa Pa Walk Restaurant - Brown Sugar Milk Snowy
After our trip to Strawberry Cones, we walked through the entire little complex...including visiting the Hilton Hotel (you know, hotel bathrooms are always the nicest). We stopped at Pa Pa Walk for this awesome Brown Sugar Milk Snowy.

They have two types of yummy frozen desserts: Shave Ice and Snowy. Shave ice is the usual - finely shaved blocks of frozen water. But the Snowy is super finely shaved blocks of milk, coffee, green tea flavor. We got the milk snowy with "toppings" - that are actually served UNDER the mound of snowy ice! We got mochi balls (of course!), almond tofu jello, red beans, pudding and condensed milk. I love, love all things shave ice - more than ice cream! I know that is crazy to some people, but I think shave ice is much more refreshing on a hot day. Sweet and cool.

If you are in San Gabriel, check out these two places. And see JustJenn's post about our trip.

Strawberry Cones (Suite 118-B): (626) 293-1852
Pa Pa Walk (Suite 148-B): 626-281-3889
227 W. Valley Blvd. San Gabriel 91776
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Chockablock Cookies - Tuesdays with Dorie

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Chockablock Cookies - Tuesdays with Dorie
Chockablock Cookies

For this week's Tuesdays with Dorie selection, my blogger buddy MARY of Popsicles and Sandy Feet picked Chockablock Cookies on page 86 of Dorie's book, Baking: From My Home to Yours.

Chockablock Cookies - Tuesdays with Dorie
My blogger friend Mary is awesome! Mary wrote to me back in September 2008 about an upcoming trip to Los Angeles. I gave her some food recommendations, and we have exchanged DVR shows. Mary and I are friends who never met in person but share a cool name and a love for Mad Men (see our Mad Men salute here and here). Mary stalks, I mean, has met Dorie Greenspan on numerous occasions in Connecticut. How lucky is she?

Chockablock Cookies - Tuesdays with Dorie Chockablock Cookies - Tuesdays with Dorie
Chockablock Cookies - Tuesdays with Dorie Chockablock Cookies - Tuesdays with Dorie
This was my experience with these cookies:

1. I used pecans, walnuts, dried apricots, dried cranberries, raisins, chocolate chips.
2. Of course, I skipped the coconut strands. Yuck.
3. Oh, molasses. I love molasses.
4. Easy to mix together.
5. Scoop, drop, bake.
6. I got over 50 cookies using a medium cookie scoop (12 on a ½ sheet pan). (continued...)

Chockablock Cookies - Tuesdays with Dorie
7. I’ll just have one. You know, to make sure they are okay to give out at the library.
8. Well, this one is a little darker than the others (different batch). I’ll try that one too. Just to make sure it is okay. I’m thoughtful that way.
9. Antioxidants in nuts are so important for good health. These cookies have nuts? I’m there. Just one more. (continued...)

Chockablock Cookies - Tuesdays with Dorie
10. Oatmeal has fiber. Everyone needs fiber. I’ll have some via this cookie.
11. I’m bringing in the cookies the day after I made them. They sat for about 20 hours. I need to have one to see if they still soft and delicious, and suitable for my co-workers. Again, always putting them first.
12. I wonder how these would taste with soy milk? Hum, I’ll just have a nibble.
13. I spent the day checking in on the batch of cookies in the break room...and helping them disappear.

Chockablock Cookies - Tuesdays with Dorie
So, 15 cookies later, I can say that I LOVED them!
Thanks my friend Mary for a great pick!
Be sure to check out the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers!

On Mary's awesome blog,
Popsicles and Sandy Feet or...
page 86 of Dorie's book, Baking: From My Home to Yours.
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Chocolate-Caramel-Banana Upside-Down Cake

Monday, April 26, 2010

Chocolate-Caramel-Banana Upside-Down Cake
Chocolate-Caramel-Banana Upside-Down Cake

The upside-down cake is a big favorite of mine. After the Bundt, of course. And no worries...I'm not going to make 30 days of upside-down cakes. Because people who do that kind of thing are just crazy.
Chocolate-Caramel-Banana Upside-Down Cake
(Well, this post isn't for my banana hater friends, Clara and Jenn)

Chocolate-Caramel-Banana Upside-Down Cake
This is from the cookbook, Cake Keeper Cakes: 100 Simple Recipes for Extraordinary Bundt Cakes, Pound Cakes, Snacking Cakes and Other Good-To-The-Last-Crumb Treats by Lauren Chattman. I made the Orange-Ricotta Pound Cake Bundt earlier this month and it was delicious. So I'm two for two with this cookbook. And the rest of it looks very very promising!

Chocolate-Caramel-Banana Upside-Down Cake
Chocolate-Caramel-Banana Upside-Down Cake Chocolate-Caramel-Banana Upside-Down Cake
Some brown sugar and butter is heated to make caramel. A layer of bananas is placed on top. Then a chocolate cake tops the banana-caramel mixture. I thought there was a bit too much caramel, making the cake a bit too sweet. Next time, I would cut the caramel by 25%.

Chocolate-Caramel-Banana Upside-Down Cake
After baking, let it sit for 5 minutes and then flip onto your serving tray. Voila!

Chocolate-Caramel-Banana Upside-Down Cake
I want to try David Lebovitz's Banana-Chocolate Chip Upside Down Cake next!

Chocolate-Caramel-Banana Upside-Down Cake
Chocolate-Caramel-Banana Upside-Down Cake
Click here for printable recipe
Adapted from Cake Keeper Cakes by Lauren Chattman (2009), page 58. Buy it here or see if your library has it here.

1 stick butter
3/4 c light brown sugar
3 ripe bananas, cut into 1/4-inch slices
(I thought the caramel was a little too much. I would use 3/4 stick butter, 1/2 c brown sugar next time)

3/4 c plus 2 T unbleached all-purpose flour (I used King Arthur flour)
6 T (1/4 c plus 2T) unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
3/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
6 T (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 c granulated sugar
2 large eggs (room temp)
2 t vanilla
2/3 c buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use a 9" x 2" cake pan.
2. Topping: Heat butter over medium heat until melted and foamy. Whisk in brown sugar, turn heat to low and cook, whisking constantly, for two minutes or until the mixture is thick. Spread on the bottom of the 9" cake pan.
3. Arrange the bananas in a circle on top of the sugar mixture. Set aside.
4. Sift together flour, cocoa, soda and salt.
5. Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy (I used my KitchenAid mixer on medium for 3 minutes). Scrape down sides of bowl.
6. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition.
7. Stir in vanilla.
8. On low speed, alternate adding the flour mixture and buttermilk (3 flour and 2 milk additions).
9. Scrape down the sides and then beat batter on high for 30 seconds.
10. Pour batter over the bananas and smooth out.
11. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Let sit on wire rack for 5 minutes. Then carefully invert onto your serving tray. Let sit at least 20 minutes before diving in. The author says it keeps for 2 days in a cake keeper at room temp.
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Tanaka Farms Strawberry Tour (Irvine, CA)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tanaka Farms Strawberry Tour
Strawberry Fields Forever

My UCLA roommate Agnes and her two beautiful girls, Lucia and Julia joined me at Tanaka Farms in Irvine (Orange County), California for their seasonal Strawberry Tour! JustJenn and her sons went on this tour last year, and it sounded great!

Tanaka Farms Strawberry Tour
For $13 per person, you ride around the working farm on a tractor pulled wagon. Here are Agnes, Lucia and Julia ready for the trip!

Tanaka Farms Strawberry Tour Tanaka Farms Strawberry Tour
The group ahead of us were there celebrating a girl's 4th birthday! What a fun way to celebrate.

Tanaka Farms Strawberry Tour
Along the tour, we were given crops to try. We ate cilantro, carrots, celery, lettuce, sweet onions, and bok choy. It was so fresh and perfect. Julia said it was the best carrot she ever had.

Tanaka Farms Strawberry Tour
Tanaka Farms is a family-run farm on land leased from the Irvine Company. The lease is year-to-year so let's hope the Irvine Company doesn't put up condos on this land. The Japanese American family has been farming for over 100 years, and since 1998 in this location.

Tanaka Farms Strawberry Tour
Lucia with a fresh picked and delicious carrot. Living in Southern California, we have lots of freeways, but not many chances to visit a farm. This is a great place to bring the kids.

Tanaka Farms Strawberry Tour
Then it was time for pretty much the best 15 minutes ever. We were given one-pound tubs to pick strawberries...and eat as many as we wanted. Oh my goodness. It was warm today and eating warm, fresh, ripe, sweet strawberries was heaven! I quickly filled my container and then just walked up and down the row stuffing my face with strawberries!!! :)

Tanaka Farms Strawberry Tour
2nd grader Lucia enjoys the Strawberry tour!

Tanaka Farms Strawberry Tour
Kindergartener Julia finding and picking a perfect selection of strawberries.

Tanaka Farms Strawberry Tour
Our tour guide Cindy giving us the scoop on strawberries and strawberry picking.

Tanaka Farms Strawberry Tour
The strawberries are co-planted with onions for natural pest control. Tanaka Farm grows organic produce.

Tanaka Farms Strawberry Tour
Agnes enjoying one of many strawberries we ate in the fields! Look how bright red those strawberries are!

Tanaka Farms Strawberry Tour
Julia filling up her container of strawberries!

Tanaka Farms Strawberry Tour
Tanaka Farms has tours that follow the season: Strawberry, Watermelon and Pumpkin. The farm is close to UCI and is worth the drive! Also, be sure to visit the Tanaka Farm produce stand and inquire about their CSA (see bottom of their blog for a listing of participating schools and churches...some in the Los Angeles/Long Beach area too!)

Tanaka Farms Strawberry Tour Tanaka Farms Strawberry Tour
After a quick trip to the Tanaka produce stand (I'm going to make a load of kale chips again this weekend), we went to Yogurtland. As you can see by their shirts, the girls were either painting with red paint, or strawberry picking!

Tanaka Farms Strawberry Tour
Tanaka Farms Strawberry Tour
Thanks for a great time Ag, Lucia and Julia! I was going to make something with the strawberries I picked, but I think I'm just going to eat them whole, pure and simple!
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Dodgers vs San Francisco Giants, April 18, 2010

Friday, April 23, 2010

Dodger Game vs SF Giants, April 18, 2010
Last Sunday, I entered another world. The world of excellent seats at the Dodger game. I've sat in my cousin's law firm seats before, but these seats (given to my friend Helen by an entertainment world vendor) were fantastic! Helen, Alison, Barbara and I were so excited.

I've always worked in non-profits or public, um, Dodger tickets were nowhere to be found. I was doing a happy dance when I saw that our seats were 7 rows up, between homeplate and the dugout. Sweetness!!!!

Dodger Game vs SF Giants, April 18, 2010
Yeah, onto the food. I started with a Dodger dog $5, fries $4.75, and small soda $3.75. I love me the Dodger Dog. My friend Alison got a Veggie Dog $6.75 and those addicting Garlic Fries $6.75.

No, they don't see these at the Stadium... Bottega Louie macarons - Dodger Game vs SF Giants, April 18, 2010
Bottega Louie macarons. No, they don't have a stand at Dodger stadium...although that would be awesome! My friend Alison picked up this delicious selection of macarons for our 5th inning snack! ;)

Dodger Game vs SF Giants, April 18, 2010
Cute helmet hat ice cream for a nice post-homerun dessert $4.75

Frank McCourt - Dodger Game vs SF Giants, April 18, 2010
$120 tickets get you a seat with a view of Frank McCourt, owner of the Dodgers. Ladies, he is back on the market. Hee hee. Frank and his wife are going through a completely messy divorce. She is asking for $1 million PER MONTH in support! Per month. They have 7 homes and she uses one to go swimming. Yes, a house for swimming.

Manny hitting a home run!!! Dodger Game vs SF Giants, April 18, 2010
After a scoreless 7 innings, the SF Giants were up by one in the 8th. Then, in the bottom of the 8th inning, Manny Ramirez, stepped up to pinch hit. The crowd went crazy...a bunch of fans whipped out their Manny dreadlock hats and wigs when he came up to bat! :)

Of course, Manny hits a 2-run home run to put the Dodgers ahead! Talk about totallllllly exciting.

Woman proposed to Tony - Dodger Game vs SF Giants, April 18, 2010 Dodger Game vs SF Giants, April 18, 2010
A woman proposed to her boyfriend, Tony at the game. We saw it on the big screen. He was pretty shocked, and she had a ring for him. And the photo on the right is former coach, Tommy Lasorda walking by. Yes, my seats were that good.

Dodger Game vs SF Giants, April 18, 2010
Whoo Hoo! Dodgers win 2-1. I doubt I'll be in these seats ever again...but it was a blast!

Thanks Helen for sharing these awesome tickets! And Brian, this post is for you! ;)
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