Celebrate Summer with Open Nature® Scandal-less Light Ice Cream from Safeway

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Safeway. All opinions are 100% mine.

Summer is here which means ice cream weather is here! To celebrate and to bring a little joy to our unprecedented summer, I’ve decided to make a SCANDAL-LESS ice cream sundae bar using Open Nature® Scandal-less light ice cream. We all could use a little light ice cream after sheltering-in-place, right? I know I could, with all the snacking and eating that was happening in my home during shelter-in-place. I was a little skeptical about the light ice cream at first, but these flavors really won me over! I recommend the Peanut Butter Cup Light Ice Cream.

I went to my local Safeway to gather all the ingredients for my little ice cream bar. I got some topping options such as chocolate chips, hot chocolate sauce, gummies, berries, cereal, maraschino cherries, sugar cones, waffle bowls and of course, some sprinkles! I picked up the following Scandal-less ice creams. I chose a few different flavors such as Peanut Butter Cup, Cookies & Cream, and Sea Salt Caramel. I usually gravitate towards these kinds of flavors normally, so I was excited that Open Nature had a light version of these flavors.

The Peanut Butter Cup flavor was my favorite out of the three because it was not overly sweet and it had a balanced peanut butter & chocolate flavor. Cookies & cream is a classic flavor and I thought Open Nature made a good light version of it. The ice cream wasn’t too hard and it was creamier than other light ice creams I have tried in the past. I enjoyed the sea salt caramel flavor because it had a nice balance of sweet and salty.

Open Nature Scandal-less light ice cream products have no artificial colors or flavors. They are low in calories & fat while having a high protein content. And if you are counting calories, each pint has about 240-370 calories. Can you believe that each ice cream has between 60-80% less calories & 40-50% less fat than regular ice cream? It is definitely treating yourself with less guilt.

For my ice cream sundae bar, I put the toppings in cute bowls and made a little arrangement around the ice creams. Just doing something as simple as that makes such a big difference. I think creating a fun theme is something that everyone can appreciate. It is all about the little details and presentation and of course, the ice cream!

Can you even tell that this is light ice cream? I think everyone was surprised that the ice creams were light. Everyone enjoyed the variety of flavors and the time spent together making our unique ice cream sundaes.

I got these ice creams at Safeway, but you can also find these SCANDAL-LESS ice creams at the Albertsons Companies family of stores, including Albertsons, ACME Markets, Jewel-Osco, Randalls, Shaw’s Supermarket, Star Market, Tom Thumb and Vons. Or for convenience, you can also get them through Safeway Grocery Delivery & DriveUp & Go™.

So far, I have been really impressed with Safeway’s private label brands and will continue to try their different items & showcase my favorites throughout the year. Hope you will try them as well & let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Creating a Beautiful Charcuterie Board with Primo Taglio® from Safeway

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Safeway. All opinions are 100% mine.

Due to the shelter-in-place & current events, I have been cooking & eating at home more often than before. So I’ve decided to make a charcuterie board using Primo Taglio®, Safeway’s exclusive line of premium quality meats & cheeses available at Safeways in the Bay Area. Primo Taglio translates to “first cut” in Italian, meaning every cut tastes as delicious as the first. And I must agree, their meats & cheeses are pretty tasty!

Charcuterie boards are easy to put-together and they look like you’ve spent a lot of effort on them! The board is great for snacking because I can put a lot of different varieties of meats & cheeses, as well as crackers and fruits. For this board, I’ve used their Manchego, Mozzarella Cheese Roll, Prosciutto, Italian Dry Salame, & Soft-Ripened Brie Cheese. Primo Taglio products are made with the finest ingredients, using traditional, time-honored preparation methods. They do not use artificial flavors or colors, or MSG*. (* With the exception of some of their items such as American cheese & certain value meats which do contain MSG.) I’ve used some fruits such as berries, grapes, cucumbers and dragonfruit to balance out the flavors.

The key to making a photogenic charcuterie board is to add a variety of colors and textures on the board. I usually start with a main item that I want to be the focal point in the middle and build around it. And if there are empty spaces, I add small garnishes like berries or nuts to fill the gaps. To create texture, I folded the prosciutto so it isn’t just flat on the board. There is no wrong way to make it, so get creative with it!

Brie & prosciutto are my favorite meat & cheese for a charcuterie board. Primo Taglio’s brie is delicious and pairs well with the prosciutto. You can tell that Primo Taglio uses the highest quality milk for their cheeses; the brie is perfectly creamy! I can probably eat the whole wheel. In contrast, the Manchego has a rich and intense flavor and has a hard yet crumbly texture. It was quite good! Some of their cheeses use old world recipes, which can be naturally aged up to 2 years.

The board is perfect for unwinding at home with loved ones. I love the way food brings us together. We could all use a little break during the day for some snacking. Wouldn’t you agree?

I love how my snack board came out. I love all the different textures and flavor combinations that can be made for each cheesy, meaty bite! The cucumbers were refreshing with the Italian Dry Salame and Manchego. What is your favorite combination?

I went to my local Safeway to purchase the items for my charcuterie snack board, but you can find Primo Taglio products at Albertson Companies family of stores, such as ACME Markets, Jewel-Osco, Vons, Randalls, Shaw’s Supermarket, Star Market, Tom Thumb and Vons. Try their cured meats & cheeses and let me know what your favorite items were!

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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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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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SF | where i like to eat in san francisco

i get asked this quite often, so i’ve finally decided to put together a short list of places that i like to go to in the city. these are some places that i would take friends from out of town.

if you see it on my instagram more than once, you know that i really do like it!

bakeries

b. patisserie


they have THE BEST kouign amann. i prefer their original flavor but they also have seasonal flavors. their chocolate chip cookie is also quite good.

b.patisserie

2821 California St.
San Francisco, CA 94115

 

arsicault bakery


their almond croissant & ham & cheese croissant are a must. but i think everything there is pretty tasty.

arsicault bakery

397 Arguello Blvd.

San Francisco, CA 94118

 

golden gate bakery


i love their super eggy egg tarts with their flakiest crusts. you have to check if they are open because they always seem to be on vacation. sometimes this site is updated to show if they are open or not.

golden gate bakery

1029 Grant Ave.

San Francisco, CA 94133

*

noods

marufuku ramen


there is always an hour+ wait for this place because it is one of the better ramen spots in the city. i prefer the chicken paitan over the tonkotsu, but you should see for yourself!

marufuku ramen

1581 Webster St. Ste 235

San Francisco, CA 94115

 

quan ngon vietnamese noodle house


the star of the show is their chicken pho with the wide noodles. their chicken isn’t dry & their broth is very flavorful. sometimes the noodle to soup ratio is off, but if you like noodles, this shouldn’t be an issue.

quan ngon vietnamese noodle house

2511 Noriega St.

San Francisco, CA 94122

*

casual dining

swan oyster depot


cash only & i recommend going during off peak hours [around 3-4pm] during the weekday. their crab back, crab cocktail, & oysters are my go-tos.

swan oyster depot

1517 Polk St.

San Francisco, CA 94109

 

house of thai

the tom yum was flavorful and not too sweet. i also recommend getting everything spicy because they do not do things mildly !!!

 

house of thai

901 Larkin St.

San Francisco, CA 94109

*

tasting menus

avery

one of my favorite restaurants in SF. @chefrodneywages is very talented & i absolutely loved everything on the menu. my favorite dish is probably the hokkaido snow beef with bbq sauce.  & the caviar bumps are delicious & fun to do!

avery

1552 Fillmore St.

San Francisco, CA 94115

 

wako

my favorite sushi restaurant in SF. my favorite is their “uni taco” because their uni is sweet & the nori is extra crispy. i always get a few extra of those after the omakase is over.

wako

211 Clement St.

San Francisco, CA 94118

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dessert

u :dessert story


not only are their desserts photogenic, but they are actually tasty! i recommend the pandan crêpe cake & the oolong cheese tea. their cheese foam is so creamy, just the way i like it.

u :dessert story

3489 16th St.

San Francisco, CA 94114

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if you ever happen to try them, leave me a comment & let me know your thoughts! also, if you would like to see any other lists, please leave suggestions in a comment.

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SF | Dinerlist app launch

Compensation for this post was provided by Dinerlist. Opinions expressed here are my own.

dinerlist has just launched in the san francisco bay area. to celebrate, at the bottom of this post, there will be a link for a chance to win an iphone x!

it is an app that helps people find new restaurants, bars, and cafes in their immediate area without having to look through millions of photos and reviews; it also shows any deals/promos that the establishment might be having.

dinerlist might entice you to try that one restaurant you always pass by but never thought to go into. or  it may even get you to try a new menu item at a place you’ve already been to, which was the case for me.

i was looking through dinerlist and came across mr. t cafe. i go there occasionally to get their twister potato fries or egg puffs. i saw on dinerlist that they had a 10% off drinks promotion so i decided to go and try their drinks this time.

 

i thought, why not try their drinks at 10% off?

 

i got two drinks [instead of one] because one was 10% off. here shown are the milk tea with seas salt & strawberry milk tea.

download the app & try it for yourself and see what items you would try through their promotions.

itunes
google play

** when you download the app + link to facebook account, you will be entered to win an iphone x! **

a Rafflecopter giveaway

winner will be announced 1/15!

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Bay Area | McDonald’s Gilroy Garlic Fries Are Back!

Yes, McDonald’s Gilroy Garlic Fries are back!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for McDonald’s. Although I have been compensated, all opinions remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.

I LOVE  LOVE LOVE McDonald’s fries, so when they added garlic, olive oil, parmesan, and parsley to a classic, I was definitely lovin’ it!

I had tried these fries last year and am glad that they are back. But sadly, they are available for a limited time, only through summer.
Sorry SoCal readers, these are only available in the Bay Area! You must come visit a Bay Area McDonald’s to get a taste of these deliciously cheesy garlic fries.

These fries are made-to-order and they use Christopher Ranch garlic from Gilroy, CA, which everyone knows is the garlic capital of California!

how does it taste?
The garlic taste is not too strong but very apparent, perfect for garlic-lovers such as myself. I must say I am hooked! I hope that they can make this a regular addition to the McDonald’s menu in the future.

***

 

McDonald’s

441 Sutter St

San Francisco, CA 94108

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SF | China Live in Chinatown

China Live is a new addition to Chinatown, where you can shop, eat, drink and explore Chinese culture & cuisine.

this is above the entrance that leads to the marketplace.

i got to attend the market restaurant media preview for China Live in Chinatown.

[thanks to tablehopper ‘s Marcia Gagliardi x @kavalanUSA x @anchorspirits x @chinaliveSF]

there are communal benches as well as tables. bar seating is also available. the tables and chairs were crafted in China from reclaimed Chinese Elm.

the ceiling has Chinese characters that represent the flavors of China.

these were some of the seasonal menu items that i had the pleasure of tasting.

shen jian bao, chrysanthemum ten ingredient salad, pressed five-spiced bean curd, winter turnip. the bean curd was probably my favorite from this group. the dish was well-seasoned and the green peppercorn flavor really came through.

the crust of the roast pork char siu baked bun added a nice sweet crunch to the soft baked bun.

one of my favorite dishes was the peking duck with kumquat glaze, in traditional sesame pockets. who doesn’t love the crispy, oily skin of a peking duck wrapped in a crispy sesame pocket? the sweetness from the kumquat glaze complemented the saltiness of the skin. the cucumber & green onions brought freshness to each bite.

we also had cocktails made with Kavalan, a Taiwanese Whisky brand.

this was the ‘laughing gas’: Viognier, fresh lime, pineapple, smoked honey & bitters.

and lastly, the dessert was mango shaved ice, similar to the Taiwanese shaved snow but with an added twist of sesame soft serve underneath the fluffy snow with yogurt-flavored popping boba.

currently, the market restaurant opens @ 5pm

***

China Live

644 Broadway

San Francisco, CA 94133

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