December Degustabox

December Degustabox

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Degustabox. All opinions are my own.

The last Degustabox of 2017 was a fine one:

December Degustabox
December Degustabox

I could pretty much have everything except one item in this batch, so I’d say that is a pro for this month’s box. The majority of the items were also savory, but it was a nice balance between snacks and meal prep items.

The first item I tried was the box of Good Thins, The Beet One.

The Beet One
The Beet One

These chips (more like thin wafers) had a crisp, tangy flavor, which made sense since their flavor was “balsamic vinegar and sea salt” after all. Given their size and small thickness, they packed a flavorful punch! It almost like they had a hint of tomato/ketchup flavor too. 

Another salty and savory snack/condiment item featured in this month’s box were these Suckerpunch Gourmet Pickles. 

Suckerpunch Spicy Garlic Originals
Suckerpunch Spicy Garlic Originals

The pickle slices were cut at a substantial thickness, had a distinct crunch, and were actually sweeter than I thought they’d be, given that they were supposed to be “spicy garlic originals”. Funny thing was, I only noticed one small pepper at the top, and a couple of garlic cloves at the very bottom of the jar.

I actually made it a priority to try this bottle of Brianna’s dressing, since in times past I often didn’t get to review the bottles in time for review. Lately, I’ve been adding to crockpot bowls comprised of cooked cabbage, bell pepper, and potato slices, but there was one occasion where I drizzled it over some firm tofu that I needed to use up. This dressing flavor is an exquisite combination of honey, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and grape juice—uniting savory and sweet in a creamy blend. 

Brianna's ~ New American Creamy Balsamic
Brianna’s ~ New American Creamy Balsamic // Dressed up some tofu with it. 

Ozrey Bakery provided a coupon to redeem a product for free, since their products are bread/bakery items made fresh. I often passed by their brand of items during my trips to Sprouts, eyeing the intriguing morning rounds they are well-known for. I was able to finally figure out how they tasted, and I chose the Apple Cinnamon morning rounds to try first.

Ozery Bakery Morning Rounds ~ Apple Cinnamon

The morning rounds were soft and chewy, and had faint hint of cinnamon spice. I tried them toasted as well as straight out of the fridge, and while it did taste less “doughy” after toasting (actually it may have brought out more of the cinnamon flavor!) I liked how it tasted in either form.

For a quick lunch in lab, Cauli Rice came in extremely handy (starting next year, they’re rebranding as Fullgreen). I was given the Original and Spicy Chicken flavors to try. I gave away the chicken flavor, but the original flavor was easy to cook up. It simply required a microwave, and after a two-minute spin, the cauli rice was hot, fresh, and ready to be flavored before devouring.

Cauli Rice + Pesto
Cauli Rice + Pesto

This month’s box included a small bottle of Barilla Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto, which I mixed into the cooked cauli rice. I had a voracious appetite before consuming this plate, given that I had spent the morning doing some low-impact cardio, dropping off my sister at LAX (and getting to the Southwest drop-off zone is a nightmare, believe me), and then fighting traffic to drop-off the car before coming into lab.

Barilla actually made up quite a few of the products in this month’s collection. Along with the pesto, ready-made pasta, breadsticks, and sandwich cookies were featured. Carb heaven.

The Mulino Bianco Sfilati Breadsticks with Green and Black Olives had a crunchy texture much like the previous flavor of breadsticks I reviewed.

Mulino Bianco Sfilati Breadsticks with Green and Black Olives
Mulino Bianco Sfilati Breadsticks with Green and Black Olives

These had less of a tangy flavor however, and I could definitely detect the strong olive notes. I had them plain this time around rather than adding them as a topping or mixing them into a meal. 

I featured the Mulino Bianco Baiocchi Cookies on my instagram, noting the following: “These Baiocchi sandwich cookie rounds from Mulino Bianco, consisting of a smooth hazelnut and cocoa creme sandwiched between two buttery shortbreads, were so flavorful and made for a nice after-dinner dessert. The shortbreads were slightly dry, but it didn’t take away from the overall delicious-ness of these cookies 🍪 😋”

Mulino Bianco Baiocchi Cookies
Mulino Bianco Baiocchi Cookies

They weren’t exactly Double Stuf Oreo status, but they were satisfying as they were.

Of all the Barilla products in this month’s box, I was astounded by the Ready Pasta Gemelli. Even the name sounds cute, haha!

"A warm pasta salad 🥗 🍝 for a chilly winter night ❄️"
A warm pasta salad 🥗 🍝 for a chilly winter night ❄️

The pasta is described as “an all-natural, fully cooked pasta that’s ready in the microwave in just 60 seconds. Made with 3 simple ingredients – a dash of extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of sea salt and “al dente” Barilla pasta” Even though I know it’d be better to have more time to cook rather than rely on the convenience of a microwave, I can’t deny that I favor the convenience. And this pack of pasta? When I mixed it with some cooked cabbage and carrots mixed with that Brianna’s dressing I described above, it made for a quick, delicious dinner!

Which of these products would you want to try the most?

Before Barcelona

Before Barcelona

I’ve been dying to write about my (short) stay in Spain, but I have the need to document the days leading up to it, since it was a couple of days of trying new restaurants with loved ones and a number of new-to-me ice cream flavors (hello, Halo Top!) 

The weekend before I left, I was in lab (of course) taking care of some last minute things for my trip since I was going for a conference. E also came by, and we ended up going to DTLA since it was close. We walked around for a bit semi-aimlessly, just enjoying eachother’s company and the weather, but I was getting hungry. 
We found Le Pain Quotidien, and I suggested we go inside since I had never been. E showed her super sweet side when we came across a homeless young woman asking if we had any spare change. Neither of us did, but E offered to get her a coffee and a croissant. 
Le Pain Quotidien
Le Pain Quotidien
The woman was really happy with the gesture, and even though she seemed hesitant, she did come inside to get the coffee and food. 
E and I then ordered for ourselves at the counter. I ended up getting their seasonal dragonfruit bowl, while she got some avocado toast. 
To be honest, the amount I got for the price I paid was disproportionate. The bowl was a measly size, barely filling the size of my palm…
Dragonfruit Acai Bowl
Dragonfruit Acai Bowl
E’s toast was given to her in a paper box, and looked much more filling than my excuse for a bowl…
The next day, I was able to meet up with my sister who was heading back down from a week and a half long trip in Fresno catching up with friends. She picked me up from lab, poster in tow, and we drove to Santa Monica for some early dinner. 
Bareburger has been on my list of places I’ve been meaning to visit, and so it was the perfect opportunity to go for a happy hour dinner. 
Bareburger, Santa Monica
Bareburger, Santa Monica
The inside was super cozy and definitely had a Santa Monica beachy vibe. The bar was not crowded but the after-work crowd was definitely starting to show up. 
Having dinner at happy hour meant being able to snag dinner-sized food at happy hour prices! My sis and I unanimously agreed on a cup of fried pickles with dipping ranch, and we got a handhold for each of us. 
Fried pickles
Fried pickles
Mine was the Farmstead. I didn’t read the description carefully, so I thought my wrap was going to be a bread-based handhold. To my surprise, A green-layered wrap came out with chunks of sweet potato, hummus, and a wild rice patty nicely tucked inside. I was thrown off at first, but after the first bite, I was in love, haha. 
Farmstead Wrap
Farmstead Wrap
My sis dropped me off after a quick run to the grocery store, and I immediately got to packing…okay, not exactly, but I made a list 😉 
The week leading up to my trip was an excuse to finally taste some of the new Halo Top flavors. I remember last year around this time when I did an extensive series of Instagram reviews on their ten new flavors release. Now, I’m excited to see that even more flavors are out and worth trying, but I’m not racing to Ralph’s with the intention to hoard every new flavor I see. But as far as the flavors I tried so far…
Halo Top Cinnamon Roll:
This pint was chock full of cinnamon dough pieces all swirled into a vanilla base. Smooth and creamy through and through, but definitely was spicier than expected.
This pint was chock full of cinnamon dough pieces all swirled into a vanilla base. Smooth and creamy through and through, but definitely was spicier than expected.

Halo Top Candy Bar:

This pint had a coffee/mild chocolate flavor with a subtle chocolate swirl and peanut pieces. It was like a cold, underwhelming Snickers bar!
This pint had a coffee/mild chocolate flavor with a subtle chocolate swirl and peanut pieces. It was like a cold, underwhelming Snickers bar!

Halo Top Caramel Macchiato:

This flavor had a sharp coffee caramel taste. Another pint with a subtle swirl, though caramel.
This flavor had a sharp coffee caramel taste. Another pint with a subtle swirl, though caramel.

Halo Top Pancakes & Waffles:

Found this to be such a unique-sounding flavor! The cone pieces were mushy, but the ice cream had a nice blend of honey and caramel. But the aftertaste did pack a punch!
Found this to be such a unique-sounding flavor! The cone pieces were mushy, but the ice cream had a nice blend of honey and caramel. But the aftertaste did pack a punch!

I also had two flavors that were NOT Halo Top, and one fared to be just as good as the offerings from HT and the other…not so much.

Sprouts Organic Cinnamon Pumpkin Ice Cream:

For some reason the pumpkin flavor was calling out to me that day…the texture was like soft serve, and had ice cream itself was a mix between pumpkin and cinnamon. It became a new favorite of mine, that I immediately shared on Instagram.

Simple Truth Low Cow Lite Ice Cream – Birthday Cake:

I rarely ever use harsh language on this blog, but this flavor just plain sucked. I mean, this is a disgrace to all things birthday cake-flavored.
I rarely ever use harsh language on this blog, but this flavor just plain sucked. I mean, this is a disgrace to all things birthday cake-flavored. The ice cream was bland, gross, and dry, sticking to the sides of the pint. The candy pieces had no flavor, and while it was a cheap price at Ralph’s it just was not worth it…

Now that I’ve got some major work items out of the way (for now), I can get caught up on my Spain posts (even though that was work-related too, haha). Stay-tuned!

Bareburger Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sweet Enough to Forget My Battle Scars

Sweet Enough to Forget My Battle Scars

One thing I really wanted after the marathon was something sweet. I probably would have satisfied this craving with a giant cupcake or a pint of ice cream, but I kept thinking about this little place in Sawtelle that has a collection of unique confectionery creations, as well as rotating bread pudding flavors…

B Sweet Dessert Bar

My feet were killing me (especially my right foot, which had developed a swollen black toenail and a rosy blister on the heel), but I managed to make my way inside and over to the front.

Rotating bread pudding flavors—change every week!

I decided to get the “Being Good” size for my bread pudding (6oz) and even though it was St. Patrick’s Day weekend, and they had a Bailey’s-themed bread pudding, I decided to stick with a flavor I’d know I like: Red Velvet.

Red Velvet Bread Pudding

They put together the pudding within minutes, and at first I couldn’t see any of it because of all the frosting on the top.

That frosting though.

The bread pudding was warm, and had the texture of a soft, molten cake, but to be honest I couldn’t detect much flavor. Even the frosting wasn’t too sweet, which was disappointing…but at least it had aesthetics?

Cute decor.

And it was enough to help me forget about the pain that was my black toe nail for ~6 minutes 😛 .

What flavor of bread pudding would you want to try?

B Sweet Dessert Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Carbs, but No Loading

Carbs, but No Loading

I didn’t go out of my way to carbo-load the day before the marathon, but I did eat throughout the day, kept hydrated, and stuck to foods I knew wouldn’t throw me off.

I was sent two vouchers for a free bread item and a drink to use at one of 85C Bakery’s newest locations—in Glendale. Since E and I have been hanging outside of lab together more frequently now, I asked if she wanted to make a day out of it, and she happily agreed.

We met in downtown and then took a bus that stops close to the Galleria. From there, it was a short walk to the bakery.

85c Bakery – Glendale

The inside of the bakery was clean, and the baked goods were organized in a similar way to that of a bakery I visited a while back in Koreatown.

Ah, what to choose??

E and I both got trays and walked through the aisles, seeing what lovely little bread creations we’d come across.

Baked goods

I decided to get a cranberry cream cheese yudane roll, while E got a wild mushroom cheese bread loaf.

Cranberry Cream Cheese Yudane Roll

For my drink, I opted for a hot green milky tea. E ended up going for a cold lemonade. We found seats by the window, and as soon as we had our food and drinks, we settled in.

Hot green milky tea (or rather, water)

My cranberry cream cheese yudane roll had a rough texture on the outside, but this was completely opposite of its interior texture. The roll had a sufficient amount of cream cheese and cranberries (though both of these ingredients tended to separate from one another) and was quite chewy. The milky green tea on the other hand was watered down in my opinion. There was a faint taste of tea, but overall, it just tasted (?) like warm water.

E’s mushroom bread

After our bread/tea break, we walked over to the Galleria and made a round inside the mall. Both of us did end up buying something to add to our wardrobes, but we didn’t spend too much time shopping.

Taking a break before heading back.

We soon walked over to the Americana at Brand right next door, and stopped to sit down and hydrate with some water. As it approached 4pm, I felt like it would be wise to head back and rest up for my race the next day, so we made our way to the bus stop for the ride home.

Do you prefer sweet bread items (danishes, sweet rolls) or just go for the 100% sweet stuff (cakes, pies) ?

85°C Bakery Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tiramisu Thoughts

Tiramisu Thoughts

I left my house Sunday morning around 7:30am, waking up to a light fog cast around my neighborhood. I only needed to put in 8 miles that day. The running miracle that is ‘tapering’…

I ran a route close to home solo, since many of my teammates are undergrads that went home for spring break. I took it as an opportunity to run AT home, and eat here after the run as well.

Urth Caffe – Santa Monica

I finished my run on Main St., pretty much at the steps of Urth Caffe. It had been a few years now since I’ve been to one…the visits I paid the WeHo and DTLA locations were when I was a fresh Los Angeleno craving weekend foodie adventures and soaking in as much of the city as possible.

Two and half years later, I walk into this Urth Caffe with a straighter posture and resting LA face (much like a another “resting face” people are more familiar with…). I get in line, knowing that crowds are expected even at 9am on a Sunday, barely giving the menu a glance since I already know what I’m going to get—a Spanish Latte with soymilk and an Earl Grey Tiramisu.

Feeling like a latte…

I take my honey-glazed, sweet-filled pastry over to a counter seat by the window. I dig in with a fork, and people-watch as I think about a number of things. The fact that I walked into this place on a whim…it wasn’t planned. I felt like having something sweet paired with something warm, Urth was nearby, so I just went.


Even two and a half years ago, I would have been riddled with panic if my food plans had to change. Any and all visits were planned, and excuses were made if anything tried to “destroy” those plans.

Hello, gorgeous.

But now, I was digging into this tiramisu with enjoyment. The calorie counter was still ticking in my head, but the number didn’t phase me as much as it used to. I got this tiramisu not because of its number, but because I was craving it as my post-run treat.

When my latte arrived, I held the mug in both hands, took a sip, and was immediately transported to Barcelona.

Something warm.

A young woman sitting next to me looking over sheet music asked how I was doing with a huge smile, which at first took me by surprise, but then I gave a her a huge smile back. There was no need to hold on to my “resting LA face”. Happiness starts with YOU, and welcoming every smile or greeting bestowed upon you by others only helps to grow and sustain that happiness.

“I may not be in Barcelona, but I’m going to pretend I was there yesterday morning since this Spanish Latte certainly made me feel like I was”

I left Urth Caffe feeling refreshed and fulfilled with my self-care time and reflections. I have so much to be thankful for, and so much to look forward to. I used to fear the unknown, rather than look at it with anticipation.

Slice of decadence…

I could sit back, and worry about not hitting my goal to run under 4 hours at the marathon this weekend. I could ruminate over whether or not I can sustain the relationships I am cultivating now in the future. I could be anxious about reaching my academic and career goals…but I’m coming to the realization that letting those thoughts take up brain space leads to wasted time…

I’d rather be using that time laughing with E in lab over a coffee break, smiling to myself when I reread funny text conversations between my sister and I, and taking pride in my daily running achievements (whether that be a new fast pace or just getting out to run despite not having the motivation).

Honestly, life is just too short…get that piping hot Spanish latte, demolish that decadent tiramisu, and take pride in knowing that life is yours for the taking.

“Run 8 miles, replenish with an Earl Grey Tiramisu”…and enjoy life.

Urth Caffé Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Original (Salted Caramel) Yummy Cupcake

The Original (Salted Caramel) Yummy Cupcake

After getting my fill of Korean food for lunch on Saturday, I continued my way down Magnolia until I reached The Original Yummy Cupcakes. Actually, I passed by it at first, and realized that I had gone to far after I realized I had passed by a room of screaming six-year-old girls celebrating a birthday. Obviously that meant cupcakes were in the vicinity!

Yummy Cupcakes
Yummy Cupcakes

Besides the room reserved for birthday parties and events, there are no seating areas in this bakery. Instead, you walk in, and come face-to-face with shiny, shimmering cupcakes waiting to be devoured.

Small store, lotsa cupcakes!
Small store, lotsa cupcakes!

I wasn’t too overwhelmed by the flavor choices, but I knew just one cupcake would do. But which? Should I go with a chocolate, vanilla, or fruity variety?

While I pondered over this, one customer was able to resist any temptations for a cupcake for himself, and focus solely on ordering cupcakes for a Superbowl party he was hosting the next day. When it was my turn, I chose to purchase a salted caramel chocolate cupcake.

Salted caramel cupcake
Salted caramel cupcake

I enjoyed my cupcake on a bench right outside the bakery, and took my time admiring the caramel drizzle and sprinkling of salt.

So good...
So good…

The cake was moist, and the frosting was the perfect complement. Overall, it was indeed a yummy cupcake. Apparently, I learned that they were in existence even before Sprinkles (2004 vs. 2005)!

As I watched the birthday girl and her party crew happily dance down Magnolia, I told myself I was witnessing the magic power of cupcakes unleashing happiness. While those youngins’ chose to let it all out in sugar-fueled glee, I chose to let that happiness simmer in my soul 🙂

What’s your favorite cupcake flavor?

Yummy Cupcakes Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bread in Beverly Hills

Bread in Beverly Hills

Disclaimer: I was compensated with a gift card for this review, but all opinions (as always) are my own.

When Panera Bread first opened a location in my hometown a couple years ago, my family and I had never heard of the restaurant chain, but we were fascinated by it. I mean, a fast casual restaurant that offered high-quality soups, salads, sandwiches, pasta—and obviously, bread? It was certainly a game-changer in the restaurant scene of my suburban community, which was already flooded with too many restaurants serving that “all-American” burger and diner fare…

It’s hard to believe that they’ve been around since 1987, and already have 1,900+ bakery-cafes in almost every state in the country, as well as some locations in Canada, but I guess that shows that they’re doing all the right things to stay afloat in the ever-changing food industry.

One thing I always admired about Panera Bread was their commitment to community. I was able to see this first-hand with my hometown location, since in my high school days, I often practiced with a music group that used a local church’s kitchen space for our weekend rehearsals. We’d often see tables full of loaves of bread that were donated to the church by our local Panera Bread, and every week, they would be distributed to whoever needed them.

Since moving to LA however, I’ve paid more attention to trying out local restaurants, and places that I couldn’t find anywhere else. I didn’t consider paying a visit to restaurant chains as a “unique experience” since I thought I could visit the same restaurant in another city and the ambience, service, and food would be the same…

But I soon learned that Panera was opening up a new location in Beverly Hills—-which caught me by surprise since we all know that neighborhood has some strict polices about what it considers is worthy for its borders 😉

busy in BH

It recently opened this past Thursday, and while I missed out on the opportunity to snag a coffee tumbler or enter for a chance to win free bread for a year, I visited the new location over the weekend to see how this location stood against its competitive Beverly Hills neighbors.


This Panera Bread location was able to secure the former Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce building as its home, and as a result, many of the building’s features were worked into the design of the restaurant. This was certainly evident when I walked in.

panera bread front

For only being open three days, everything was in full swing. I was able to easily place my order for a Soba Noodle Bowl with Edamame and a French Baguette on the side. I chose to sit in the back, where there was ample seating, dim lighting, and an exposed brick wall that brought a cozy feeling into the room.


And even though the design has kept many traditional features dating back to 1940s Beverly Hills, this location has added Panera 2.0 Enhancements, with the most prominent enhancement being the Rapid Pick-Up area.

pick-up shelf

As I was getting my water, I saw this area in action—customers waiting for their orders were able to sit across from the shelving unit, and were able to monitor the status of their order on a screen next to the shelves. I’m sure anyone who comes in hangry and desiring food ASAP would appreciate the real-time information about their order!

Fortunately, I did not come in during one of my hangry episodes. Even so, I didn’t have to wait long for my dine-in broth bowl.

edamame broth bowl

The noodle bowl was comprised of soba noodles and a medley of vegetables including spinach, napa cabbage, mushrooms, onions, fire-roasted edamame, all of which was marinating in a miso broth.


And of course, letting the side bread roll soak up the miso broth was mandatory after finishing up the noodles and veggies!

bread with noodles yeaaaay

Overall, I found this Panera Bread location to be quite cozy and welcoming. The brick walls may play a large part in that, but the feeling of the entire restaurant was upbeat and customer-friendly. Calling the busy Beverly Dr. home will definitely be a perk for this location going forward, since the rich and famous sometimes need the comfort of familiarity, and a warm broth bowl on the occasional cloudy day.

Have you visited a Panera Bread outlet?

Click to add a blog post for Panera Bread on Zomato

Chummy with Plum

Chummy with Plum

After running in my most recent half marathon, and setting a new PR for myself, I was ready to refuel with myself with some drool-inducing vegan food. So goes the eating pattern of my long run races—run for 2+ hours, snack on a sample or two of post-race freebies, then find a nearby vegan restaurant where I end up being the first lunch customer of the day. I have no shame whatsoever 😉

The Plum Cafe was the nearest vegan location to me, and after making a quick stop at Whole Foods to redeem my free runner’s recovery kit, they were open for lunch. 


The restaurant is more of a cafe housed in a cozy, old-style two-story building meant to be a home. Upon stepping inside, the place was also boasting a collection of assorted vegan and gluten-free cupcakes, so it quickly lived up to its reputation as a bakery.

 Blurry pics of cash register and baked goods case.
Blurry pics of cash register and baked goods case.
 Kombucha on tap. They even had a tumeric flavor?!?
Kombucha on tap. They even had a tumeric flavor?!?

My dad was there as company since he wasn’t that hungry, and I knew what I wanted. I just used the outdoor menu as an excuse to take more photos!

The Plum Cafe and Bakery (12)

The Plum Cafe and Bakery (13)

The Plum Cafe and Bakery (14)

I ordered a half-size chili cheez nachos plate, and the cashier had to do a double-take on the time since she expected more customers to be coming in for Sunday brunch, which they opened for around 10AM. Like I said, I’m used to being the first lunch customer of the day on race days like these…

While the kitchen went to work on my order, I took the time to take some more pictures of the cafe, in a semi-discrete manner. The quarters are quite tight and small, so it was difficult to not look somewhat awkward standing in the hall 😛

The Plum Cafe and Bakery (6)

 Brunch room. I just want my nachos :P
Brunch room. I just want my nachos 😛

In the back, there was more outdoor seating with nice furniture and music playing.


They were actually playing Disclosure’s “Latch” by the time I got settled and put my orange “table number holder” down.

 The wedding magazine was already on the table---wasn't mine!
The wedding magazine was already on the table—wasn’t mine!

As I was waiting for my food, I noticed a pile of uncleaned dishes in the distance that still had food in them. Which had me question how people could waste food at a vegan restaurant?!

The Plum Cafe and Bakery (10)

Even though I ordered the chili cheez nachos, I realized that they had just given me the regular nachos since it had lime crema sauce instead of chili.

 Nachos, half-size: corn chips (rounds), nacho cheez, refried beans, fresh salsa (?), olives, avocado, lime crema.
Nachos, half-size: corn chips (rounds), nacho cheez, refried beans, fresh salsa, olives, avocado, lime crema. All for $7.

The sauces seemed more runny than expected, but the flavors were still there. The beans were mediocre and reminded me of regular canned vegetarian refried beans. I loved the huge chunks of avocado though. The chips were doused in so much topping, I pretty much had a salad to finish once the chips were all consumed 😛

My “half” plate was a good lunch portion, and kept me refueled and recharged. I passed on dessert, at least in the cafe. I decided to honor my cravings for one of the Luna protein chocolate coconut bars I still managed to save from the race instead.

What’s your favorite food/cuisine to treat yourself with after a long race?

Plum Cafe & Bakery on Urbanspoon

That Bread Place

That Bread Place

My sister, who came up for a weekend in the last week of March from school due to it being a three-day weekend (her school takes Cesar Chavez Day off), had absolutely no clue what I was talking about when I first texted her about having lunch “at that new bread place”.

Once I filled her in on the details, she was excited about going of course. What exactly is “that bread place” we were talking about?

Boudin SF. I say Bo-din, you say Boo-deen, she says Boo-din—it doesn’t matter how you pronounce it. In the end, it’s all about the food. And our experience? It was alright.

Entrance to Boudin
Entrance to Boudin

This location is settled right next to I-80, which attracts those making their way in from Tahoe, or up from the Bay Area. Good thing we came in just before noon to avoid the crowds!

Cases of clam showder while waiting in line.
Cases of clam showder while waiting in line.

The line wasn’t very long…yet. Like I said before, we made it in before Sunday lunch rush hour, where we watched from our seats the line growing OUT the door!!

On the left wall was a glass window where you could get a behind-the-scenes look at where the bread was being made.

A look into the bakery.
A look into the bakery.

At the front counter where your order and pay, my sister and I noticed the large animal-shaped loaves—crabs, bears, and turtles galore!

The front counter.
The front counter.

When we went to get some water, we noticed a familiar face from high school and said our hellos. Then we met my Dad at a table in the center of the dining area. Bad idea, as we would soon realize, since the place was small already and the seating arrangements didn’t help mitigate the already cramped quarters.

Waiting for food.
Waiting for food.

About 15 minutes after ordering, our meals came out.

My Dad and I got butternut soup in sourdough bread bowls, while my sister got a grilled brie sandwich with apple slices and jam.

Grilled Brie with Apples & Fig Jam---says it was too sweet for her liking.
Grilled Brie with Apples & Fig Jam—says it was too sweet for her liking.

My sister was not too enthused with her sandwich, since she wasn’t a fan of the fig jam which made the sandwich too sweet for her liking.

Sourdough Bread Bowl with Butternut Squash Soup---took me forever to finish, but I did.
Sourdough Bread Bowl with Butternut Squash Soup—took me forever to finish, but I did.

I actually preferred my soup over the bread bowl. The bread bowl of course was a great vessel for the soup, but the soup by itself is worth ordering on its own.

My Dad got a side salad with his order of the soup.

Butternut Squash Bread Bowl with side spring salad
Butternut Squash Bread Bowl with a side serving of Spring Salad.

My Dad and sister agreed that they prefer Panera over this place, citing the variety Panera tends to have with its menu. I was busy figuring out how to “properly” demolish my bread bowl, and when the knife and fork trick didn’t work, I went for it with my hands. Yes, it was awkward having to get through what seemed like miles of crowded tables to get to the bathroom and wash up at the end of the meal 😛

After lunch, we ran around to do some last-minute gift shopping for relatives who we plan to see on our trip. In the early afternoon, we headed out for some fro-yo. It seemed like the perfect thing to do after feasting on carbs, after all 😉

It's a fro-yo party!
It’s a fro-yo party! I got a pistachio and strawberry mix with mochi, poppers, fruit, carob and yogurt chips. Sis got the usual chocolate fro-yo with similar toppings.

Would I visit Boudin SF again of my own volition? Probably not, but at least I can say I did go, and that I did have a pretty good bowl of butternut squash soup in a mediocre-tasting bread bowl. In my opinion, it looks like Panera doesn’t have too much to worry about in terms of competition…

Boudin SF on Urbanspoon

Are you a fan of bread bowls?

Cannoli @ Crumbs

Cannoli @ Crumbs

Despite coming in to NYC (more on that later…) when the weather was the “worst it could get”, I was thankful for making it into the city (shady “taxi car driver” and all…) on the night before my interview. After settling in at the hotel, I made the bold decision to seek out Crumbs Bake Shop, since it was supposedly right around the corner according to Google Maps.

And it was…except I started off by walking in the opposite direction.  I found other places I’ve been wanting to visit— from 16 Handles to Maoz Vegetarian—but since my giant cupcake craving was too strong, I was beginning to get frustrated and hungry after not finding my initial destination.

Even though I had waterproofed my sneakers, the Thursday blizzard had left the sidewalk corners with mushy gray ice puddles, and icy surfaces. Since it was dark, it was difficult to gauge how “deep” the snow/puddles were, and my feet were shocked by the cold on more than one occasion. That still didn’t halt me on my cupcake quest.

About an hour later, I decided to head back in the direction of the hotel and give the other side a go. I finally found the pink, dimly-lit, bold letters, and almost skipped indoors, after I stopped to take a picture of the entrance:

Crumbs Entrance

Upon entering, I was bombarded by a massive collection of cupcakes—which one to choose?!

Crumbs Window Display

Though Valentine’s Day-themed cupcakes took a portion of the display case, I narrowed down my options to the cannoli or birthday cake cupcakes (although the colossal red velvet looked quite tempting…).

In the end, I chose the cannoli cupcake, since I never had a cannoli before!

Crumbs Cannoli Cupcake

And having one on top of a cream-filled cupcake with chocolate chips is not a bad way to try it for the first time 😀

Crumbs Cannoli Cupcake Biten

Dee-licious ! And worth risking trench foot ;).

After savoring each and every crumb, I took some pics of the interior:

Inside Crumbs Bakeshop (1)

As well as debated with myself about purchasing a mini cupcake assortment…

Inside Crumbs Bakeshop (3)

…full cakes were available too…

Inside Crumbs Bakeshop (2)

But in the end, I walked out being happy with being able to have my first ever Crumbs cupcake. My cold, red, and numb feet may not have been so happy with me, but my stomach sure was! At least I know how imperative snow boots actually are now. Although I must say, I had the chance to build on my ice walking skills throughout the weekend.

What would you do for a Klondike Bar Crumbs cupcake?

Crumbs Bakeshop on Urbanspoon

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