Wednesday, June 27, 2012

After a great lunch at Sushi Sam's, my friend and I were looking for a great dessert place to have some drinks and munch on some tasty treats while we continue to chat.  We hit a few rough patches because the first dessert place we went to was in a high end hotel and it was past their serving time.  Then the second place we found had no place to sit for us to enjoy the dessert and chat.  The next option my friend suggested that Satura Cakes is always a solid place so we headed down that way.
This was a grueling dessert search lol.  I think this is my first time in Los Altos really.  There were a ton of places that looked very interesting to try in this neighborhood.  If I wasn't so full from lunch, then I would hop around this area to explore all the tasty places that they have to offer.
Satura Cakes' motto is "Never Another Ordinary Bite."  Now the question is do their creations really live up to their motto?  To be honest, s'alright.  I didn't think it was mind blowing but definitely solid.  The presentation looked very tantalizing and everything was nicely decorated.
I love having my coffee speak to me and especially this one is smiling at me.  The teas are also packed in an over-sized sachet.
After a long debate, I decided to try the Classic Chocolate that's a mix of Swiss milk and dark chocolate mousse. On top were toasted diced almonds that give the cake an extra crunch.  The cake was thick and rich but I don't really think that it was anything special that truly stood out or would make me drool when I think about it.
My friend chose to have their Tiramisu, a traditional Italian dessert.  They advertised that this does not have nuts for those who may be allergic.  Although I am not sure why there would be nuts in here, but it is good for those who have never had Tiramisu to know.
 All in all the cakes were decent but I didn't think they were anything different or special.  They also have French macarons here.  I think their displays look very nice but taste wise, I was just okay.  If you are looking for a place to hang out with friends and chat, then this would be a good place.  The decor is very nice and classy.  A great place for people who need to study or to relax too.
Satura Cakes
200 Main St
Los Altos, CA 94022
(650) 948-3300
Satura Cakes on Urbanspoon 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Who doesn't love freshly grilled meat?  I am a meat-atarian so Agora Churrascaria is a perfect fit for me.  Besides the meat, I LOVE Pao de Queijo almost more than the meat itself and that is saying something! lol I just simply love everything about Brazilian food.  The nicely salted grilled meat mixed with soft cheese bread and topped off with a refreshing sip of Guarana.  Simply heaven!
I have been to Agora many times already and sometimes Ms. Lin gets her cravings when she is in town too.  So of course when I got a media invite here, I was on board.  It didn't take much convincing since I love cheese bread and meat!! lol Come hungry and come with a plan! lol
Brazilian soda, Guarana, is one of my favorites! It's not very easy to fine.  Believe me, I have tried! lol The refreshing taste goes great with the orange slice.  I always push the orange slice to the bottom of the soda and crush it to add another level to the drink.  If you have never had this soda, you definitely need to try it out.  It's a fruity and flowery mix of flavor.  
First, don't starve yourself when you go anywhere that you want to enjoy to the max because if you are too hungry then you get full fast.  They offer a full salad bar with plenty of cold and hot dishes to start your palette off.  I personally avoid anything that will fill up my stomach as my goal is to eat medium rare cut meats.
I like the mashed potatoes and many people were raving about the potato salads.  You really can't go wrong with meat and potatoes.  The savory components of the meat really mixes well with the soft and light flavors of the mashed potatoes.
If you find anything a bit more saltier than you are used to, then just use a carb to cut down the flavor on your taste buds.  I like to nibble on the pao de queijo throughout.
The salad bar also has a lot of fresh cut cheeses to choose from.  I enjoy starting my meal out with some cocktail shrimp and smoked salmon.  Don't forget a slice of the mozzarella with basil and tomato.
Here is a secret tip : take an extra clean plate back! Why?  Well, you don't want to miss out on the meat now, do you?  Once you get back, turn your sign to red.
Red means that you do not want the nice gauchos to come to your table-side and serve/carve your meat.  Flip it over to show the green side if you are ready for the bountiful meats to come.   I really enjoyed seeing a stuffed person representing the red side as that is how you might look at the end of the meal. lol
Sometimes they get a little bit busy or the meat may take a little longer to come out so I like to start right away and pace myself.
Don't be shy in asking them about certain meats you like and how you like it to be prepared.  The gauchos are usually very nice and accommodating.  Towards the end of the meal they will definitely double check with you on what meat you would like them to specifically bring out.
My personal favorite are the Picanha and Lamb Chops.  The picanha are the top sirloin caps that have a thin layer of fat surrounding the meat that's nicely grilled and flavored.  **drool drool**  This has always been my favorite and always will be.  I love the light touch of sea salts crystallized on the outside.
Always medium rare to rare for me! You definitely want to enjoy the tenderness of the meat.  It's best when the outer layer is cooked because that is where all the flavor is.  With the inside being medium rare and bloody, it mixes well with the salty outer flavor and brings the whole palette together.
 They also have some specials that you should always ask about.
Ms. Lin loves Cotação, Chicken Hearts, but you usually will have to ask for this and they will bring it out.  Not many places offer this item, so it is good that you can find it here if you like chicken hearts.  I normally never eat it but I felt that I had to take one for the team since Ms. Lin was not there.  The texture is chewy and resilient.
Don't forget the lamb chops.  I love those medium rare as well.  Tender morsels enveloped by the savory saltiness.  Okay, I think I am getting a little hungry and craving more Brazilian BBQ.
As soon as you sit down at the table they bring the Pao de Queijo, Fried Bananas, and Tomato Vinaigrette.
Resist the temptation to munch on these too much because you want to fill up on the meat and then finish off by snacking on the rest.
I like having the fried bananas at the end of the meal as a sort of dessert but it is also very good to switch between the savory and sweet at times.
We also got to sample the original Caiprinha made with Sagatiba, Cachaca, Lime, and Sugar.  You can also choose to make it with Splenda.  This is your traditional Brazilian alcoholic beverage.  I am not a big alcohol fan but the drinks here were not bad.  They do pack them with alcohol so beware.  If you like to drink then drink at the beginning so that while you eat you can digest the alcohol as well.
They have a few twists to the Caipirinha.  The Passion Fruit Caipirinha was not bad but I prefer the Strawberry Basil Caipirinha as that was more refreshing.  Only the original and strawberry basil had that crushed sprig inside, which really added to the flavor and made it more refreshing.
If you have room at the end for dessert, you can try the Brazilian Flan.  It's different from your typical flan that is more like a Mexican flan, which is light and airy.  The Brazilian take is much more dense and sweet.  It's great to share because the sweetness can be a bit much if you are full from the meat.
I also tried their Cheesecake just because I wanted some cheesecake.  This was just okay.  I think some of their other desserts were better.  Definitely go with something more out of the ordinary or something Brazilian.
If you want to top off the night, they have a selection of dessert wines for you to enjoy.  I decided to have the Dow's 20 yr Portugal Tawny Port.  This was very smooth and sweet.  A great wine to finish the night.
We were also lucky enough to meet the owner who relayed his passion and inspiration for Agora Churrascaria.  They were inspired by the wonderful culture and cuisine in Brazil where they spent many years and summers there.
I really want to go to Brazil sometime to experience it myself.  Along with eating all the pao de queijo I can find! They have some that are the size of bagels! =)
I have been coming to Agora for a very long time and I know that they are open on most if not all holidays, which is very nice for families who do not want to cook and want to have a nice meal.
They also now offer Happy Hour where if you are not hungry enough for a full meal but want to catch a few drinks and nibble on some meats.  From 5-7pm you can get Filet Mignon wrapped in Bacon, Brazilian Sausage, or Roasted Chicken for $4 and you get 3 pieces.  You can also choose 2 of the above for $6.
All in all it was a great night with great people.  Got to love these media events when all the foodies come out of the woodwork to gather and have fun =).   I will be honest that at times the meat takes a little bit to come out and sometimes it can be overcooked, but just ask them to make it to your liking and it should be fine.
When you get just the right picanha, then it feels like heaven.  I wished they had that on the Happy Hour menu!
Agora Churrascaria
1830 Main St
Irvine, CA 92614
(949) 222-9910
 Agora Churrascaria on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

It was getting late at night and there weren't too many choices for late night snacks and drinks near Sinbala.  Maybe it was a Tuesday and that was why we decided to try something new or maybe we were just feeling very adventurous that night.  We looked up Bun Bun Tea House to try out.
There was actually quite a bit of people around.  This place used to be Genki Living but changed to Bun Bun Tea House now.  They kept a lot of the same decor but I do enjoy the layout.  Not many people can necessarily fit inside at one time.  Still, there is always the option of take out.
We were able to grab a seat near the counter and we ordered a snack with the drink.  The Potato Butter Balls, $4.95, looked very tempting and we decided to get an order.  I actually really enjoyed the natural taste of the potato and the outer casing was nicely fried to a crispy bite.  Ms. Lin thought this was just okay.  The dipping sauces were just normal, which was fine since I just liked the hot crispy potato.  It might seem like a normal tater tot formed in a ball, but it was definitely tasty and above average.  I have a soft spot for tasty fried goodies lol.
As for the drinks, we got the Yogurt Tea and Passion Fruit Milk Tea.  I thought the drinks were the downside.  The tea was not very flavorful and did not complement the drinks flavor.  I am not an expert in tea as I don't like tea by itself but I do love my Asian flavored teas and believe me that I have had my share.  Being that SGV/Arcadia is abundantly supplied with tea houses, I think this one does not live up to the other tea houses around.  I would come in for the fried potatoes, but not for the drinks.  Needless to say, I have not been back for the drinks but every time I am here for Sinbala I think about getting an order of the fried snacks for take out.
Bun Bun Tea House
651 W Duarte Rd Ste C 
Arcadia, CA 91007
(626) 446-4168
Bun Bun Tea House on Urbanspoon

Thursday, June 14, 2012

After a full day of eating in Vegas, I had to meet up with some friends and after all the talk about Holstein's shakes I had to stop by and top off.  At first we were going to try and sit down but I think everyone in the party was very full and I had planned another meal afterwards so we moved to the front area around the bar.  There you will find a very cute pink cow that represents the store! Moooooo! =)
The staff here is very friendly and where their funny t-shirts.  Yes, they can be purchased! You too can proudly where your milkshakes on your shirt or your shorts for all to see! And yes, I meant it in a dirty way. lol After all, we are in Vegas! After some peer pressure I got my pal and Ms. Lin to invest in those scandalous shirts! lol
Don't worry guys, they have shirts for you too.  They are proud of their meat here and the milkshakes that brings both the girls and boys to yard! It's great for a snack or just a drink.  A very chill place in the Cosmopolitan and the bartenders are very nice as well.
Three of us arrived first and we chose to go with the Bam-Boozled Shakes.  Hey, you are in Vegas and it is an unwritten rule that alcohol must always be present! lol I looked at the list and the Campfire Smores, $11, caught my eye.  I could not deny myself a sweet piece of tasty seared marshmallow to top of my drink! It's a mix of Smirnoff Marshmallow Vodka, Chocolate, Marshmallow, and Graham Crumble.  You couldn't really taste the alcohol and they give you the extra serving left in the mixing cup.  Yum! A great way to end the night or snack on a hot day.
Ms. Lin debated a while on which drink to choose and she ended up going with the Smoking Passion Float, $11.  This was really nice as it came out with the dry ice smoke that is very eye catching and crowd pleasing.  Tried to capture it in the photo with the smoke.  Oooh and Aaaah.
This was on the lighter side and voice of milk if you are lactose intolerant.  This would be a good choice for you.  In here there is Hanger One Mandarin Blossom Vodka, house-made Passion Fruit Soda, Lychee Sorbet, and Rose Water Meringues.  I liked the added touch meringues on top to finish off.  Again, the alcoholic taste was light and this was more refreshing as it is fruit based.
Drea chose the Pumpkin Pie, $11.  That was the other drink I was debating on and the three of us mixed well as we got to try the flavors that interested us most.  The reason I wanted this drink is because they have Bacon Maple Doughnut to finish off the drink.  They had me at bacon!!! lol The drink contains Pumpkin Pie Gelato, and Sapling Maple Liquor.  This was a nice seasonal drink but the pumpkin flavor didn't really do it for me.  I was glad that she got this drink so we could try the doughnut but drink wise... mehhh lol.  I would recommend the other two more, but all the drinks seem fun and you can switch it up by trying different ones.
All in all it was fun hanging out with friends and just chilling by the big pink cow.  Everyone there was friendly and the logos were fun.  I had to try and stop checking out people's chests and butts as I was trying to read what they said. lol  Now I have good blackmail photos on the both of them as I took pics of them trying it on.  Great memories! Whatever happens in Vegas, does not stay in Vegas if you pal has a camera ^_- lol.

Holsteins at The Cosmopolitan
3708 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 698-7940
 Holsteins (Cosmopolitan) on Urbanspoon

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