Monday, June 30, 2014

Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe - Boston (as seen in Ted)

Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe
429 Columbus Ave
Boston, MA 02116

Had to try this place after watching Ted with Blake. John and Lori ate at Charlie's in a scene toward the end of the movie. Turns out Charlie's has great food and friendly service and customers in real life!

Blake's Western omelette was goood.

Western omelette
Blueberry griddle cakes (waitress recommended these). Good but not super duper amazing.

They even had a Ted movie poster

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sam's Chowder House - Half Moon Bay, CA

Sooo good! Not overly clammy or overly creamy.

Sam's Chowder House
4210 Cabrillo Hwy N
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

The Today Show said this place has one of the top 5 sandwiches in America in 2009. Not bad! We didn't try their lobster roll though, but everyone on Yelp seems to love it. If only I didn't hate lobster. lol

Good but nothing amazing. Soft and slightly chewy. Slightly sour too, and I do not like sourdough.

Polenta fries. Reminded us of those French toast sticks from Burger King! Good. Fried on the outside but soft and corn meal-y and slightly mushy on the inside. I can see the texture being weird for people, but I knew what to expect, and I love polenta! These were also very hot and fresh!

It's almost like having a bite of salty & fried corn meal porridge
Blake's fish and chips. Generous portions and tasty fish and coleslaw! Blake liked the fries too.

LOVED the cucumber salad. I love those types of salads. The burger was delicious as well, and the chips were freshly made. I'm not a huge fan of plain chips though, so I wasn't crazy about these. I should have asked for fries or something instead.

Not the best salmon burger ever (the best was this one from Black Hawk Grille in San Ramon), but this was definitely delicious!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Ice Cream at à la Minute - Redlands, CA

Kristine introduced me to this awesome ice cream place in Redlands. I went on Thursday with her, Marina, and Erin, and then I went a couple of days later with Mia because it was so good! This is one of those must-try ice cream places. Why? (a) Unique flavors, (b) fresh AND local ingredients, (c) they make it fresh from scratch right in front of you (with liquid nitrogen) right after you order, and (d) DELICIOUS! Firm and very slightly icy but creamy at the same time. Perfect!

19 East Citrus Ave. #105
Redlands, CA 92373

 My Salted Caramel:
Salted Caramel - "Granlund's caramel ice cream topped with French sea salt (Fleur de Sel de Guérande)"

Strawberry Balsamic - "Fresh from the strawberry patch!"
Chocolate Lavender (Ice cream & topping were delicious and just a subtle hint of lavender, which is good for people who don't like floral flavors like me!):
Chocolate Lavender - Blackbirds dark chocolate & Farm organic lavender topped with cocoa/cacao nibs mixed with Soffel clover honey

This mint chip ice cream was so delicious. I saw them blending the fresh mint leaves, and it wasn't too minty!
Fresh Mint Chip - "Fresh local grown mint mixed with Guittards chocolate chips"

The fresh & local ingredients!

So cool! Literally and figuratively.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies w/ Cacao Nibs

These cookies are sooooo good! Glad I've found a few soft cookie recipes (I've tried two recipes from Sally's Baking Addiction). This melted butter recipe and this softened butter recipe are fantastic and very flexible. For this featured recipe I followed all of the steps for the melted butter recipe except added just under 1 cup of mini chocolate chips and added a little less than 1/4 cup of cacao nibs and 1-2 bits of soft caramel candy pieces per cookie. I also made the cookies smaller than the suggested size.

Recipe (adapted from this recipe)

  • 2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

(1) Mix together flour, baking soda, cornstarch and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
(2) In a medium size bowl, whisk melted butter, brown sugar, and white sugar together until no brown sugar lumps remain.
(3) Whisk in the egg, then the egg yolk. Finally, whisk in the vanilla.
(4) Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix together with a large spoon or rubber spatula. The dough will be very soft & thick. Fold in the chocolate chips, cacao nibs, and caramel bits.
(5) Cover the dough and chill for 2 hours, or up to 3 days. Chilling is mandatory.
(6) Take the dough out of the refrigerator & allow to slightly soften at room temperature for 10 minutes.
(7) Preheat oven to 325F degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
(8) Roll the dough into balls, about 1-3 tablespoons of dough each. Roll the cookie dough balls to be taller rather than wide, to ensure the cookies will bake up to be thick. 
(9) Bake for 11-12 minutes. The cookies will look very soft and underbaked but will continue to bake on the sheet. Cool on sheet for 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Tacos & Churros @ Tacolicious - San Francisco


Blake and I had a disappointing dinner in SF, so we tried to end the night on a happy note (food-wise) and ate a tiny bit at Tacolicious. So glad we did because we both enjoyed our food even if it was just a couple of tacos (with yummy dipping sauces!). Then we tried their fresh churros, which you dunk into a bitter dark chocolate sauce. Very hot and fresh. Very good. However, while I usually love bitter chocolate (even up to 75-80% -- but not higher than that), this was a little too bitter for me. Otherwise, the atmosphere was cool (modern, spacious, busy), service was quick, and the food was good. I do have to say, however, that while the flavors, textures, and freshness were perfect, these were expensive tacos, and you can definitely spend much less on equally delicious (or better) tacos in Central Cal or SoCal.