SF | illy caffè university of coffee

This post is sponsored by illy caffè

the flagship location in San Francisco

illy caffè’s flagship store in San Francisco is located in the Financial District. They have multiple locations in the city!

The cafe is very spacious. There is a bar area, as well as booths for more privacy.

Inside their flagship is the University of Coffee which can be rented out for different educational and hands-on coffee experiences. I was invited to their DIY latte art experience. To learn more about the classes they offer, or to book a team building experience or private class for you and your friends, click here!

We were able to view some new products on display: the illy Art Collection by Olimpia Zagnoli espresso cups & the Y3.2 machine in new colors: white + Cape Town Blue. The white one is so cute and would go perfectly with my white kitchen appliances.

Our instructor, Heidi, demonstrated how to make latte art and then we were able to try and make our own.

I was the first volunteer to try it and it was harder than I thought!

After the latte art experience, we also had a coffee mixology demo. We were also able to taste them and I loved the cold brew with salted caramel cream, which was made with illy’s Cold Brew Aria, the first-ever system that infuses ambient air into coffee to create a “nitro” effect.

Thank you, illy caffè, for the wonderful experience! Now I have to practice & perfect my latte art at home.

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illy caffè

220 Montgomery St Ste. 148

San Francisco, CA 94104

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Recipe | California Walnuts Pesto Gemelli Salad with Shrimp

This post is sponsored by California Walnuts

Did you know that walnuts are a significant source of omega-3 fatty acids (2.5g/oz)? Those are the good kind of fats, making walnuts the perfect lunch ingredient. 

Americans are skipping lunch, and this can impact energy levels as well as productivity. I have partnered with California Walnuts to #ChooseLunch to help me feel satiated and more energized throughout the day.

Walnuts are very versatile, so I decided to put a twist on a classic pesto pasta salad by using walnuts as the nut ingredient in this recipe. Hope you enjoy!


INGREDIENTS

Pesto

2 bunches of basil 

6 garlic cloves

½ cup Parmesan cheese

½ cup California walnuts

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

salt + pepper to taste

Pasta Salad

8 oz bag of pasta {I used Gemelli}

½ lb shrimp, 16/20 count

¼ lb cherry tomatoes, halved

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Put all the ingredients for the pesto (except for the oil) into a food processor and pulse until they are evenly chopped.
  • Pour the oil in a steady stream while running the food processor to emulsify. Stop when the mixture is homogeneous.  
  • Set the pesto aside.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to directions on the packaging. I chose Gemelli because of all the crevices in the pasta; it will catch all the pesto goodness!
  • While the pasta is cooking, prepare the shrimp.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large pan over high heat. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Once the pan is hot, add the shrimp.
  • Cook the shrimp until they are opaque. Do not overcook.
  • Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the shrimp.
  • Stir in the pesto.
  • Add the cherry tomatoes to the pan. Mix until everything is evenly coated. Can be refrigerated for lunch or eaten immediately. 
  • Enjoy!

All the ingredients to make our pasta salad!
Place all the ingredients for the pesto [minus the oil] into the food processor and pulse.
Walnuts are a great substitute ingredient for pesto.
Perfect lunch!
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pebble beach | pebble beach food & wine 2019

I had the pleasure of staying at The Inn at Spanish Bay for one night in one of their newly-remodeled rooms. This resort is the central location for Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival which took place April 11-14 of this year. I was lucky enough to attend the first two days of this event.

The king-sized bed was pretty comfortable.
It was really windy and cold that day so the windows had condensation on them so there really was no view of the ocean unless we opened the windows.
The fireplace was so cozy! It has a timer on it so you can leave it on before you go to bed.

VIP Opening Night Reception @ The Inn at Spanish Bay [+$495]

The opening night was very exciting. Barilla held their Pasta World Championship qualifying round & I was able to witness 8 chefs cooking their dishes for the judges. I was able to photograph & sample them as well! The winner was chosen to be the US representative for the World Pasta Championships which will be taking place in Paris this October.

The Barilla competition in the Grand Ballroom @ The Inn at Spanish Bay

For more info about the competition + contestants please click here.

The Grand Ballroom also had various wine + food vendors for tasting as well.
Right outside the Grand Ballroom was this Driscoll’s display.
Kettle One’s fairly new botanical line was also at the opening event.

Friday, 4/12 Lexus US Chef’s Table Lunch @ Pebble Beach Equestrian Center [+$250]

There were cooking demos, wine seminars, lunches, dinners, after parties that were taking place in the Pebble Beach area all weekend. Each event was located in different areas of Pebble Beach, at different times. There were many different options to choose from but I knew I wanted a lunch & dinner for sure!

I was lucky enough to snag a seat at the Chef’s Table’s Lunch with the Lexus Master Chefs: Ludo Lefebvre, & Dean Fearing.

This event was about a 15 minute drive from The Inn at Spanish Bay. Parking was readily available & free so that was a plus!

The event started at 12 with wine & passed small bites. The actual seated lunch started 30 minutes afterwards.
The prettiest setting + decor!

The event was an open kitchen concept with rows of communal tables. I was able to get up close & take photos of these talented chefs plating their dishes. My favorite dish was the Cast Iron Seared Lockhart Quail by Chef Fearing + the Fourless Chocolate Cake by Chef Ludo. AMAZING!!

The Master Chef himself, Ludo Lefebvre plating his flourless chocolate cake course.

Scroll through my Instagram post below to see the menu & the four course lunch. Of course, there was a wine paired with each course.

Cooking Demonstration: Aviary Live From Pebble Beach @ The Inn at Spanish Bay [+$150]

The Aviary, which is known for their innovative cocktails in Chicago was having a “cooking” demo of their cocktails. I haven’t been back to Chicago in so long but I really did want to check out The Alinea Group restaurants & cocktail lounges so I thought it was the perfect demo to check out before dinner.

The Aviary team demo-ed the cocktails + we were able to taste them. They also gave us the coasters to take home.

Dinner: Big Bottle Party – Bubbles, Burgundy & Bordeaux @ Casa Palmero Board Room [+$1250]

The Big Bottle Party took place at Casa Palmero Board Room. The space was decorated beautifully & I was excited to try all the food + wine.

They passed hors d’oeuvres & bubbly for the first 30 minutes. I really enjoyed the potato croquette by Chef Antonia.
The menu. Truly a BIG BOTTLE PARTY!

My favorites of the night were the seafood tostada by Chef Antonia, & the fideos a la tumbada by Chef Gonzalo Guzman of Nopalito in SF. The tostada had well-balanced flavors & the seafood tasted really fresh. The angel hair pasta had a nice kick!

I had a lovely time at PBFW this year & hope that I can make it back next year. I wasn’t able to stay for the Lexus Grand Tastings on Saturday + Sunday. I think those events are what most people stay for so they can have a taste of food created by 30+ celebrity chefs + over 300 different wines from all over the world. Maybe next year!

Thank you Barilla Pasta & Dawn McCoy for providing this amazing opportunity!

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Sponsored | Simply Chocolate is Simply Delicious

This post is sponsored by simply chocolate.

Simply Chocolate is the perfect resource for chocolate lovers. They offer quality gifts from iconic chocolatiers, as well as innovative artisans.

Simply Chocolate has recently launched the Simply Chocolate Premier Collection & Colossal Truffles, featuring delicious flavor pairings by an artisan chocolatier. These were gifted for me to try.

It’s been raining a lot lately, so I thought it would be perfect to cozy up with some hot milk tea & these chocolates.

Simply Chocolate Premier Collection [28 piece] & Simply Chocolate Colossal Truffles [12 piece]

I was gifted the 28 piece from the Premier Collection & the 12 piece Colossal Truffles. They also come in 14 pieces & 6 pieces, respectively.

6 Flavors: Milk Chocolate, Black & White, Milk Caramel, Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate Raspberry, Peanut Butter Sea Salt
These truffles are definitely COLOSSAL.
I cut them in half so you could see the cross sections.
8 Flavors: Ultra Dark Chocolate, Caramel Coconut, Strawberry Rhubarb, Sea Salt Peanut Butter, Caramel Rose, Mocha Cream, Hazelnut Heart, Orange Cream
Look at the detail on the Strawberry Rhubarb!

Aside from these new additions, Simply Chocolate continually provides new & exclusive products. They have introduced chocolates from four new brands: Ethel M, Jacques Torres, Knipschildt & Kohler. There are more than 30 brands on their site as well as hundreds of products to choose from!

As for pricing, the overall product price points range anywhere from $20- $300, so there are chocolates available for any budget; they make perfect gifts for the chocolate connoisseur. The Simply Chocolate branded collection price points range from $20- $100.

The Colossal Truffles [$29.99 – $49.99] & Premier Collection [$34.99 – $59.99]

Visit SimplyChocolate.com to find the latest in chocolate offerings, & also find information about top chocolate shops + featured chocolatiers.

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Sponsored | Foster Farms Bold Bites

This post is sponsored by Foster Farms.

Foster Farms has released Bold Bites in five unique flavors. These are the ideal snack for people on-the-go! As for me, they are the perfect snacks for my low-carb days.

Now available at: Wal-Mart, Target, Kroger, Safeway, Save Mart, Lucky’s, Albertsons, Vons

What I like about Foster Farms is that their chicken is responsibly raised by local farmers. They are committed to raising their poultry at a higher standard; they want to live up to their philosophy of good food feeds good times.

There are five bold flavors to choose from! And they all have completely different flavor profiles which makes it hard to choose just one bag. Which flavor would you try??

Cajun Style, Chile Verde, Caribbean Jerk Style, Korean BBQ Style, Parmesan Garlic
Made a quick snack with crackers, cheese, & Bold Bites Parmesan Garlic flavor.

For my low-carb days, I substitute the cracker for fresh cucumber slices. I used the Bold Bites with Chile Verde Seasoning because I thought it would pair nicely with some guacamole.

Bold Bites are made with whole chicken breasts which makes them a healthy snack option.
They do not include artificial colors, flavors, nitrates, or nitrites.
Bold Bites makes taking a snack break so easy.

If you are on-the-go, these Bold Bites make a great high-protein snack. When I feel like munching on something on my low-carb days, these are perfect. The Bold Bites that I tried are moist, juicy & packed with flavor. My favorite flavor is the Garlic Parmesan!

The other day, I introduced my friend to these Bold Bites because she was interested in my low-carb days & I turned her onto these as the perfect snack option; her favorite is the Korean BBQ.

#BeBoldAnywhere & try these Bold Bites now! They are currently sold in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Idaho, Montana, & Hawaii.

Visit Foster Farms to find a retailer near you.

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SF | Bayonne Ham induction Ceremony + Launch event

This post is sponsored by: Bayonne Ham

Bayonne Ham is now in the US!

What is Bayonne ham?

There is ham & there is Bayonne Ham. It is unique because of these 3 reasons:

  • Bayonne Ham earned the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status in 1998, a label that guarantees the quality & geographic origin of a product. This dry cured ham is so inherently special & inimitable that it must come from Southwest France to be called Bayonne Ham.
  • Four ingredients are essential to the production of Bayonne Ham: pigs, salt, air & patience. To qualify for production, the pigs must be born + bred in Southwest France & fed natural products.
  • With a moderate saltiness & creamy finish, Jambon de Bayonne is unique + stands out among the rest.

I was lucky enough celebrate their launch with an induction ceremony at Bask, a restaurant in San Francisco.

01/13/19 The event took place @ Bask in SF.
They handed out berets and handkerchiefs for the event.
The French Bayonne Ham team during the induction ceremony.
The inductees! {Roland Barthélémy, Cathy Strange, Kelly Cosgrove, Ray Bair, Ron Schinbeckler, Angela Rihacek, Tyson Danilson, Benat Ibarra, Stephanie Ciano}
Look at this beautiful ham! And the accordionist in the back makes things even more festive.
Cutting that Bayonne Ham for everyone to taste. This ham was amazing!
And of course, we had food paired with Bayonne Ham.
Hamming it up!

Thank you for a lovely time, Bayonne Ham!

Now that you know more about this mouth-watering ham, run to your nearest grocery store & ask for Maison Agour, Delpeyrat, Mayte, Salaisons de l’Adour or Pierre Oteiza, some of the most beloved brands that are available in the United States.

***

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LV | the factory kitchen opens in las vegas

the factory kitchen is now open in las vegas! i was lucky enough to attend their opening party on 1/16/19.

their first location is in los angeles, & it is named after the street address of that location.

the front of the restaurant has red neon sign of the restaurant name
the factory kitchen in las vegas is located in restaurant row at the venetian

cute little area to sit & chat
they are ready for service!
restaurateur Matteo Ferdinandi, chef Angelo Auriana during the pasta demo. they mentioned that the idea of the factory kitchen was first discussed in the bay area!
media dinner menu. they use fresh, seasonal & locally-sourced ingredients.

i loved the handkerchief pasta aka mandilli di seta. it was cooked perfectly & the pesto was well-balanced.

the prosciutto wasn’t too salty & went well with the creaminess of the cheese.

the porchetta was crispy, fatty & well seasoned.

i recommend their cannolis! i am usually not a fan of them but these had great texture & it had a savory component to them which balanced out the sweetness from the cream.

The Factory Kitchen

3355 S Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(In The Venetian)

+++

The Factory Kitchen

1300 Factory Place #101
Los Angeles, Ca 90013

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sponsored | feel alive with nature’s way alive! multivitamin gummies

this post is sponsored by Nature’s Way Alive! Multivitamins

the end of the year is approaching and i know what that means: another year has passed & i will be another year older when the new year arrives. getting old is not easy & i realized that i need to take care of myself better. i need to #OwnTheMorning and savor each moment.

these gummy vitamins help support converting food into cellular energy.

i was gifted Nature’s Way Alive! Premium Gummies for women which is perfect for me because I JUST LOVE GUMMIES. the thought of taking vitamins in pill form is something i dread at times because of the taste. but since this is in a chewable gummie-form, what is there not to like?

the daily serving size is 3 gummies for 16 vitamins/minerals with choline & inositol

these gummies contain vitamins and minerals at 100% or more daily value than leading brands & contain nutrients to keep me energized throughout the day*

they are made with a premium formula with Orchard Fruits™ & Garden Veggies™ Powder Blend

 

share them with a friend before a meal to support each other’s hair, skin, bones & heart health.*

would you try these to #OwnTheMorning? don’t worry, there’s one for the whole family. Nature’s Way Alive! Premium Gummies are also available for men & kids. Use 15ALIVE1 for 15% off here.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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seoul | march 2018

as some of you may know, i went on an epic trip all over korea in march. in about two weeks, i was able to hit up 100 restaurants/cafes in korea & about 15 places in osaka, japan.  i am finally getting around to starting a series of blog posts from that trip.

i try to go back to the motherland once a year. so far, success! here are some places in Seoul that were worth going to. leave a comment if you are interested in more posts from my korea travels!

usually, this is my first stop when i arrive:

12 Jong-ro 16-gil, Jongno 1(il).2(i).3(sam).4(sa), Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

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it’s so simple & they have only four items on the menu: kimchi jjigae, doenjang jjigae, soon tofu, doen jang jjigae with snails. this is a perfect place to come for breakfast, all under 6,000 ~$6USD.

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광장시장| gwangjang market

88 Changgyeonggung-ro, Jongno 4(sa)-ga, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

 

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nearby in this jongno district, is the gwangjang market which has a lot of food stalls. think dumplings, knife-cut noodles, and the drug kimbap [literal translation]. they also have restaurants, as well as shops that are not food related.

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큰기와집 | keungiwajib
62 Bukchon-ro 5-gil, Sogyeok-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

 

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my newest discovery this past season was this michelin-rated raw soy sauce crab specialty place. if you want this at a lower price-point and at 3am at night, you can also try pro soy crab. i used to go to pro soy crab all the time but after visiting this place, i haven’t gone back.

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513 Yeongdong-daero, Samseong 1(il)-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea

 

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another place, i frequent is this gomtang spot. there are multiple locations. i’ve been to the original location but frequent the one inside Coex mall because of its central location.

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원조닭한마리 | wonjo dahk hanmari
13 Nonhyeon-ro 10-gil, Gaepo 4(sa)-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea

 

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dahk hanmari is chicken soup with the option of noodles at the end. the broth was flavorful and perfect for the weather in march. i had this once before at a different place in korea but it wasn’t as good as this one.

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별양집 | byeol yangjip
17 Teheran-ro 43-gil, Yeoksam 1(il)-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea

 

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i love intestines, mainly large intestines so i was on the search for some good intestine bbq place. i found this place via google maps and it did not disappoint.
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932 Yangjae-daero, Munjeong-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul, South Korea

 

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usually i like to go to the seafood market because it is a good place to get fresh seafood. you first go to one of the many seafood stalls and pick out what you want. lobsters, korean flounder/halibut, abalone, and octopus are some of the things i like to eat prepared raw there. some of the lobsters are huge!  after they kill & clean the seafood for you, you are lead to a “restaurant” where you can eat the freshly prepared seafood. there you can purchase alcohol and also they can cook your seafood if you’d like. they can prepare maeun tang [spicy seafood soup] with the bones/lobster claws or even steam parts of the lobster, etc, etc. they were undergoing renovations since the last time i’ve gone, so things may be a little different now.

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76 Cheongpa-ro 47-gil, Cheongpadong 2(i)-ga, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea

 

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this next place is a cafe where you can hang out with raccoons, a mini pig & a corgi. the corgi & pig are in the cafe seating area while the raccoons are in a separate room where you can feed them treats or ice. i didn’t know they loved ice so much! am i the only one that thinks raccoons are cute?!

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403-3 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea

 

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this coffee shop makes amazing latte art but only during the weekends and ONLY if they are not busy. i tried to go once on a weekend, but they said they were too busy to do their crazy latte art. this latte was 30,000 but can you really put a price on art?

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rain drop – 레인드롭

57-12 Dongsomun-ro 22-gil, Dongseon-dong, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul, South Korea

 

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there are so many cute coffee shops in Seoul but i loved this place! their latte art is also next level. they use meringues to make their art 3D.

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Mnd coffee

81, Duteopbawi-ro 1-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul 04333, South Korea

 

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this next cafe, is a hidden gem. i specifically went for their wave toast. it’s a very simple toast, mainly sweet cream sandwich between two pieces of bread, topped with cream cheese that is in different colors. they have other photogenic toasts but i wasn’t able to try them.

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recipe | not your ordinary granola bar using non-dairy Häagen-Dazs frozen dessert

 post is sponsored by Häagen-Dazs, a Nestlé brand

This post is dedicated to all the lactose-intolerant ice cream lovers out there!

I recently discovered that Häagen-Dazs has a variety of non-dairy frozen dessert flavors that aren’t just sorbets. One of my favorite non-dairy flavors is their Chocolate Salted Fudge Truffle. It has a little bit of saltiness and a whole lot of rich, chocolatey goodness.
I am going to use this flavor in my recipe to create a non-dairy frozen delicacy to enjoy after work, or even as a midday snack. These granola bars are perfect for these warm summer days. #TheresAnIceCreamForThat

 

use two pints of Häagen-Dazs Non-Dairy Chocolate Salted Fudge Truffle frozen desserts for this recipe

 

here are two ways to make these granola frozen dessert bars: one with coconut whipped cream layered on top & one without.

 

one option: put a dollop of coconut whipped cream & top with a fresh strawberry before serving

 

the other option:  freeze a layer of coconut whipped cream on top & then serve it with a fresh strawberry

serving: 9 bars

ingredients
crust
8 oz premium all-natural granola
6T coconut oil, melted
*if using unsweetened granola use honey to taste

filling
2 pints Häagen-Dazs Non-Dairy Chocolate Salted Fudge Truffle, softened

toppings
strawberrys
coconut whipped cream
– 1 can [13.6 oz] coconut cream, chilled overnight

materials
6” x 6” x 2” baking pan
stand mixer + bowl & whisk attachment, chilled

instructions
crust
1. Toss the granola in melted coconut oil until evenly coated.
2. Pour the granola into the pan that is lined with plastic wrap & press down firmly. Make sure the layer is ½” in thickness.
3. Refrigerate the crust for one hour to set.
4. Pour the softened Häagen-Dazs into the pan & freeze until hard.
5. While the frozen treat is being frozen, take out the chilled coconut milk & carefully scoop out the
hardened coconut cream from the can while leaving the liquid untouched.
6. Using a chilled bowl for the stand mixer, whip the coconut milk until stiff peaks form.
7. Take the frozen dessert out of the pan & spread the coconut whipped cream onto the frozen dessert & chill until set. Cut up into 2″x2″ squares.

**another option: cut the treat into 2″x2″ pieces & then place a dollop of coconut cream on each bar.
8. Top each granola frozen dessert bar with a strawberry; place back into the freezer until it is ready to be enjoyed!

 

Save $2 when you buy 3 or more
Häagen-Dazs items or other Nestlé ice cream
products @Safeway.
http://lynk.to/HEEJINLEE

 

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