Friday, September 28, 2012

Join in all the fun that LA has to offer this weekend! I wish I wasn't working to join the National Coffee Day Celebration so I can get an awesome new coffee machine and wake up to a fresh tasty cup of coffee.  Alas, I must make the money necessary to keep up with my own lavish spending and lifestyle =)

Event :

Saturday, September 29, 2012 
(11 a.m. – 5 p.m. (or until supplies are exhausted)

8775 W. Sunset Blvd. (at Horn Ave.)
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(in the parking lot adjacent to The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®)

The “Trade Up Your Cup Event” is free and open to the public
CBTL® Beverage Capsules will also be available for sale

Guests can exchange any new or used coffeemaker for the flagship CBTL® Kaldi Machine* (*exchange is limited to the CBTL® Kaldi model available in red, blue, white, and black and valued at $179.95, limit one CBTL® System per person, per visit, while supplies last). The first 200 people will also receive a free CBTL® Milk Frother** (**valued at $59.95, while supplies last). Vouchers for the exchange are only valid on Saturday, September 29, 2012.

Event :
11th Annual Galbani® CheeseItalian Feast of San Gennaro, Los Angeles
Date :
September 28–30, 2012
Location :
The Feast will once again take over
Hawthorn Ave. (between Highland and Orange) in Hollywood.
Website :

Ticket Price :
$5 Daily Ticket - Individual | General Admission
$12 Weekend Pass - Individual | General Admission to all three days of the Feast of LA | Souvenir ($30 value)
$60 Family of Four Special - General Admission 2 Adults + 2 Kids under 12 yrs | 40 Carnival Ride Tickets | Four $5 Food Coupons | Four $2 Beverage Coupons | Souvenir. ($75 value)
$20 Carnival Rides | 40 Tickets |Valid on all days of Feast. ($30 value)
$20 Gravy - Sauce Competition - Individual | Application Fee for Gravy-Sauce Cooking Stage Competition | General Admission to Feast on Saturday & Sunday.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Alright it is what you have been waiting for!~ I have a bunch of tickets to give away for The Port of Los Angeles Lobster Festival starting next Friday to Sunday, September 14th-16th.

Thanks to JackHammer Movement for providing me the tickets.  I will be giving out a total of 5 pairs of tickets to 5 lucky readers! 4 people will get a pair of admission tickets (for one day) so they can join the fun of great food, great music, shopping, rides, games, and more! Lobster meals can be purchased at the entrance and be sure to double up because for only a little bit more you get to have twice the fun of cracking those tasty crustaceans!

Did I mention FREE LOBSTER?  Well you heard right because I will be giving a pair of First Class Tickets which include : First Class Tickets include a weekend admission (including Friday), one guaranteed Maine lobster meal, front of the line privileges at the lobster meal line and the bar and your own dining area along with collectible poster from the rock artists at The Uprising Creative. All First Class Tickets come with one beverage of your choice, but you must be 21 or older to consume alcohol. Your First Class wristband will get you in the gate and to the front of the bar and meal areas!

Each person can enter up to 3 times with the following methods :
1 ) Post a comment here with your full name and guest, as the tickets will be held at will call
2 ) Tweet at me with your full name and guest ( @kats9livez
3 ) Post a comment on my Facebook Fan Page ( with your full name and guest

Entries will end at 8:00 PM on September 11th.  The winner will be chosen at random and be announced on September 12th.  Please check back after September 11th to see if you have won the tickets.  If you would like me to email you, please leave your contact information along with your entry.  All tickets will be held at Will Call under the winners name.

Please feel free to contact me via email, Twitter, or my Facebook Fan Page if you have any questions.

Best of luck to all my readers and may you always lives be filled with yummy lobster to eat!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I have heard so many great things about Portola Coffee Lab, yet I have never been to the actual place nor did I even know where it was located.  Unfortunately my first experience with Portola Coffee Lab was at The Playground and it was not a great experience.  At first I had written them off because of the horrid experience, but as always I try to keep an open mind as I never had it from the source.
Thanks to Katie and Mike (Eating My Way Through OC), we were out on one of our foodie adventures  and added a few stops along the way.  She had been dying to try Portola Coffee Lab and I was completely on board to join the fun =).
Finding the place was a maze in itself.  We went on a Sunday and the place was desolate.  I guess most of the businesses around here are only open on the weekdays or closed early.  There were a few places that we would have liked to try on another trip when they are open.
This was the last place we visited after a full meal so there wasn't much stomach room to try out their delectable pastries.  Their cases offered a wide variety of both savory and sweet treats.  They definitely looked worthy of a return trip.
I really enjoyed all the eclectic and inspiring coffee concoctions.  It almost feels like you have stepped into Dr. Frankenstein's science laboratory.  Coffee is not just made here but "created".  The mad scientists laboratory was just so well lit that it was almost like a moth to a flame that I kept staring at the equipment.

Portola Coffee Lab is definitely not your ordinary coffee place.  I spoke to the manager and mentioned my past experience and he sincerely voiced his concern, which made me feel like that they really do care about the quality of their coffee and not just about selling the coffee.
Although they are known for their coffee, I felt like a Mocha instead.  It is made with their housemade Belgian Chocolate Ganache and you can have it either hot or cold.  The chocolate was thick and rich.  For those who don't really like overly sweet drinks, then this would be good for you.
Katie and Mike decided to go with their teas that are brewed in their special Trifecta brewer.  The tea was light and refreshing.  Personally I prefer my teas a lot sweeter but that can always be rectified by adding more sugar.  I thought the tea was a good balance of flavor and a subtle aromatic taste that doesn't overpower the tastebuds.
All in all this was a much better experience than my first drink.  There are a few more places at the OC Mart Mix that I would like to come and try so I will definitely be back and stop by for a drink! They also offer free wi-fi for patrons to use.  A nice place to chit chat with friends over a good drink.
Portola Coffee Lab
3313 Hyland Avenue
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(949) 284-0596
Portola Coffee Lab on Urbanspoon

Having lived almost all life in Orange County, everyone knows about the Ritz-Carlton in Dana Point as a fine hotel establishment with a gorgeous view.  I myself have never been to their infamous Sunday brunch.
It was very nice of them to inform me of the newly added enoSTEAK restaurant and invite me to come down to try it out myself.  If you ever head down to the Ritz-Carlton, be sure to arrive early when there is sunlight out so that you may check out their gorgeous beach as well as take some beautiful photos before dinner!
I have always enjoyed the elegant decor and fresh flowers that are displayed throughout the hotel.  Valet parking is offered for the guests.
enoSTEAK has both a dining area or a large bar area for guests to converse over some great drinks and delicious appetizers.  Ms. Lin and I had dinner inside the main dining area where they have a great collection of wines displayed in the center of the room.
They have many cozy booths for couples or groups that want a more intimate feeling or they have tables in the center that are great for parties or business dinners.  It's a refined environment with very friendly service.
Ms. Lin and I started the night with a glass of Dom Pérignon and one of their Raya inspired drinks, the Yuzu Fresa.  They have a great list of cocktails to try.  The Yuzu Fresa was light and a great way to start of the meal.  If there are any wines that you love, please be sure to inquire with the server as they have a huge wine collection that may not be listed.
I was happy to see that they offered an Asparagus & Gioia Cheese Burrata Mozzarella with Chardonnay smoked salt and lemon basil vinaigrette to start.
It's very hard to find fresh burrata at times and I simply adore the taste.  Everything was very light on the plate and a great way to lead into a nice juicy steak!
A definite must have is the Smoked & Cured Meat and Cowgirl Creamery Cheese Board with dried fruits, nuts, cornichons, radishes, and crostini.  They have a great selection for the charcuterie, which included duck prosciutto.  I would love a full board of just that and the cheeses selected are as always very tasty.  Cowgirl Creamery always has great cheeses and come from the Bay Area.
All the steaks offered are either grain or grass fed from Niman Ranch.  They cut the meats in house and the butcher on site has been with the Ritz-Carlton for over 15 years.
My favorite cut was the Grilled Prime Rib Eye Steak, 14 oz.  The flavor was fabulous and the cut just melted in my mouth.  Definitely one of the best steaks I have had in Orange County and worth a trip! The rib eye was perfectly marbleized and tender.
With the steaks you can choose a Signature Compound Butter to add an extra kick to the steak.  You can choose from Black Summer Truffle, Roasted Heirloom Tomato, Gardens Herb & Garlic, 30i (meaning 30 ingredients) enoSTEAK Butter, and Tarragon Bearnaise Sauce.
Our server was super friendly and sweet as we couldn't make up our mind on which butters to use.  She offered that we could get two different kinds of butter if we would like.  I thought the steaks were very flavorful by themselves and it was fun to try the different flavors mixed in with the nicely prepared steak.  As always, truffle butter is a must for me!
Ms. Lin decided to try something different from me and ordered the Grilled Prime Bone in New York Steak, 16 oz.  This was a nice cut as well but not quite as tender as the rib eye steak.  The definite winner of the night was the rib eye, but for those who don't quite like their steak as fatty would definitely enjoy the leaner New York cut.  Regardless, everything was prepared and seasoned nicely accompanied with different butters to add another level to the flavor.
The steaks do not come with any sides so be sure to order some Enhancements to enjoy with the steak.  There were so many great choices that Ms. Lin and I were tempted to get every single one of them! We decided to try the Petit Basque Cheese & Chive Sour Cream Yukon Gold Potatoes, Smoked Almond & Duck Fat sautéed Five Grain Rice, Fiscalini & Summer Truffle Mac & Cheese, and the French Beans with Apple Smoked Bacon & Toasted Walnuts & Tomato Fondue.  All the choices sounded so delectable!
The tomato fondue was not quite what we thought it would be because there really was no fondue.  Instead it was nicely sautéed French beans.  As many people know, I am not an avid vegetable fan so I kind of wish we got the wild mushrooms or truffle fries.  The mashed potatoes were very creamy and went perfectly with the steaks.  We also loved the truffle mac and cheese.  I always love a crisp texture on top mixed in with the cheesy goodness.
For dessert they offered a Butterscotch Banana Pudding or a Nectarine & Blueberry Fried Pies served with Lemon Custard Ice Cream.  I really enjoyed the layered pudding.  There's a layer of butterscotch pudding, cookies, banana pudding, and chocolate on the bottom.  Be sure to dig that spoon in so that you can get a taste of all the layers together.  It's a great twist to a classic.
As for the fruit pies, they were good but not for me as I don't really like cooked fruits or even fresh fruits.  O=) They were freshly fried empanada-like treats, but much softer and lighter in texture.  This dessert is definitely lighter and would be good for those who are getting close to being full or are full.
We finished off the night a with a nice cup of Cappuccino.  I enjoyed how they served it with a tiny cube of white and brown sugar along with a nice biscotti topped of with a piece of chocolate, which was a nice tasty treat.
All in all I really enjoyed the rib eye and thought it was actually quite wonderful.  The Ritz-Carlton is always a great place to visit and enjoy the fabulous view.

1 Ritz-Carlton Dr
Dana Point, CA 92629
(949) 240-2000
ENO at The Ritz-Carlton on Urbanspoon

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