All posts filed under: Taste.

truffles and bonbons!

Truffles anyone? Me, me, me! I recently took a truffles and bonbons class at Oaktown Spice Shop. The instructor was none other than the owner and founder of Endorfin Foods – Brian! He makes the smoothest chocolate bars sans milk! (You must try the Turkish coffee bar!) I’ve made truffles once before; they turned out smooth and decadent, but they were on the softer side and would lose their shape quickly. I brought all my questions to class and learned lots of important tips and tricks. We even learned some truffle making hacks like making the ganache in a blender with a heat gun instead of using a double boiler, and using an infrared thermometer to read the ganache’s temperature instead of a candy thermometer (it’s way cooler!). Brian demoed how to make ganache and he brought some premade/precooled ganache for the hands-on part of class. We learned how to flavor the ganache, what types of liquids to use, and what the ganache should look like while it’s being made. Then, with gloves on (and being …

hello kitty! 

I did it! I went to the Hello Kitty Cafe truck…finally! But it was completely on a whim. My parents were in town and heard about the Japantown Cherry Blossom Festival so we went. And we found parking! And we explored. And I saw the famous pink truck. And I left my family to stand in line. Ha! I was expecting a long wait considering the line length, but it went by fairly quickly. On the menu: Hello Kitty decorated cookies, mini cakes, macarons, and donuts; plus shirts and mugs. Deciding among the available desserts was easy: get one of each! We tried the donuts first (too sweet, but so cute!) and had the mini cakes for my birthday (triple layered and delightful!)! I sent the macarons home with my parents to give to my sister and niece, and the cookies keep for a little longer so we’re saving those for later. 😉 Where my fellow Hello Kitty fans at? Have you been to the truck or cafe? Share below!  

chai time!

My good friend Angel (the lady behind Todos Organics) and I ventured to the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden this past weekend for a lesson in chai and spice. Class was held in the Garden’s Tropical House which was the perfect location for learning about masala chai; many of the plants used in masala chai recipes are grown here. Our instructor was Deepa Natarajan, ethnobotanist and lover of masala chai! She’s also got her own masala chai spice blend that is sold at the Oaktown Spice Shop. Basically, she is a masala chai celebrity. 😉 Deepa gave a us history lesson in tea, talked about each of the spices you might put in a masala chai, and showed us the different plants in the garden that produce masala chai ingredients. Masala means “mixture of spices” and chai simply means “tea.” What makes a masala chai? Clove, star anise, cinnamon… …cardamom, turmeric, black pepper, coriander… And ginger! I got to help grate the ginger on a ginger grater, which I’ve decided I need in my life. This thing is amazing! Here’s …

hey hotcakes. 

Mini pancake breakfast time! Last week I got to spend some QT with my sis, bro-in-law, niece, and nephews. And since it was the weekend before Valentine’s Day, we thought we would treat ourselves and have sweets for breakfast! We made a Martha pancake recipe, with blueberry and chocolate renditions. We tripled the recipe. We probably had enough pancakes to feed 8-10 for breakfast; we fed seven, and had plenty leftover for snacking on later in the day. Adult tip to keeping pancakes warm while cooking the rest of your batch: keep them in the oven at 200F. (I feel so grown up!) While we were cooking up pancakes, my nephew and niece personalized each place setting with a handwritten place card and custom chocolate chip or blueberry plate art. We laid out all the toppings: blueberries, bananas, strawberries, almonds, chocolate chips, granola (current fave: Love Crunch with dark chocolate and coconut slivers), syrup, and whipped cream. We had bevvies of choice: guava juice, apple juice, coffee, and tea. Dig in! My niece ‘won’ the pancake challenge …

bagels and barongs.

The day after our wedding we hosted a brunch at our place. The biggest thank yous to my Ladies for helping me pull off brunch the day after our wedding! Decor Talk about reuse and maximizing resources. We decorated with things we already had. We had plenty of flower arrangements to both give away to guests and to decorate brunch. Bestie calligraphy-ed a chalkboard for guests to draw and write messages. The golden Erin + Jay garland was from my office bridal shower, and we’re totally taking it out for all anniversaries. The tissue paper accordion garland pictured above I had been saving for a special occasion. After wedding brunch seemed special enough! I also had our Instax camera (the one I bought with contest winnings) out so people could snap some pictures. Food The spread had all the goodies. I like to say brunch was sponsored by Whole Foods because I used my prize monies from a photo contest. On wedding day, I went shopping with Husband and Bestie in our wedding best. Forrealsies. I went in my gown! I wish I had a picture …

minimoon adventures: the foods.

🎼 Oh minimoon, oh minimoon, your mealtimes were so tasty.🎶 A vacation would not be complete without finding some delicious destinations. Since we road tripped we did have a cooler of snacks and we also ate breakfasts at the hotel, but when we weren’t eating in, we explored the tastes of Tahoe. We found shrimp and sausage nachos at Beacon Bar & Grill, a restaurant on the beach with a lake view. These nachos were some of the best nachos I’ve ever had. Check them out  – packed with shrimp, sausage, and ooey gooey cheese! So. Much. Melty. Cheese. Ok, now I’m drooling… And even though it was a bit nippy throughout our stay, we had to stop for soft serve after a day of exploring. When it comes to sweets, I enjoy chocolate and anything cold because chocolate = life and cold = refreshing. Frozen treats for the win! Traveling to Lake Tahoe in the off season / late Spring also means restaurants like to close for renovations. Two of the places we wanted to eat at …

curfee.

Saturday morning plan: Roll out of bed and head straight to a coffee class! ☕️ I recently took Handbrew 101 at Allegro Coffee Roasters in Berkeley. Our instructor Nat was the coolest. Self-proclaimed coffee nerd, she walked us through four handbrewing methods, sharing her techniques and coffee insight along the way.  Coffee coffee coffee! It all starts with a good roast. Nat selected the Ethiopia Watona roast. She also prepared worksheets for us to take notes and start our “coffee diary” (bt-dubs: important if you want to keep tabs on how you like to make your perfect cup). I took all the notes. So much to learn!  Nat walked us through four coffee brewing contraptions plus all the accompanying equipment – scale, gooseneck kettle, coffee grinder, cupping cups…. We sampled the same beans via French press, Chemex, Hario V60, and Aeropress. I can’t say I have a favorite but they all produced different flavor profiles. What I thought was most interesting was how the flavor changed as the coffee cooled. Science!  At the end of …