Tokyo Trip

Happy Valentine’s Day and Happy Chinese Lantern Festival! Traditionally, Chinese Lantern Festival is to celebrate the first full moon of the lunar new year. Children play with their lanterns and solve riddles on lanterns in park. People would eat glutinous rice balls and enjoy the family time together. In modern days, it is considered to be the Chinese Valentine’s Day, but people don’t do much to celebrate. Anyhow, enjoy a sweet day with your loved one. Bryan and I don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day, so we didn’t have any plan. We are more looking forward to the long weekend. 🙂

And yes, I have been back in town for a week. Sadly, Bryan and I are still recovering from our jet lag. We have been feeling sleepy in the morning, afternoon and night-time. Every time when I almost fall asleep on the couch, Bryan would poke my arm with his finger to keep me awake. By now, I think there are many bruises on my arm. Haha! I think we will be back to normal early next week.

Before arriving in Hong Kong, we also stayed in Tokyo for 5 days. The main goal to Hong Kong was to visit family and friends, and check out Chinese New Year. On the other side, going to Japan was all for sightseeing. We had amazing times in both Hong Kong and Tokyo. With two thousand pictures, Bryan can only go through the Japan ones for now. I will update you all about the Hong Kong trip next time.

Let’s talk about Tokyo. This was Bryan’s first time to Japan. I have only been to Japan when I was a kid, so I didn’t remember anything. Japan is a very beautiful place with very nice and polite people. We felt welcomed. Tokyo is crowded, but everyone follows rules and we always feel safe. It is no doubt a great place for tourists. As a foodie, Tokyo is heaven. There are so many different kinds of food, like sushi, tonkatsu, kaiseki, and teppanyaki. There are always something new every meal. No repeat. And for snacks, wow….. They are really everywhere, especially in train/subway stations. You will never go hungry!

Sensoji Temple

Sensoji Temple

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Snack: Ferrero Eggs

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This Easter, Ferrero has pushed out a new product in the US, the Ferrero Eggs. There are two flavors: Hazelnut and Cocoa. When I saw them at Ralph’s last week, I grabbed a bag of the hazelnut one. Once I have tried it, I couldn’t stop eating. I ate 5 eggs continuously. If I have no health concern (that chocolate is not too healthy for you), I really would have finished all 10 eggs at once. This week, I went back to Ralph’s and got 3 bags. We will see how long they last.

A hard chocolate shell covers a thin layer of crispy wafer with a creamy chocolate filling. They remind me so much of Ferrero Rocher, but without the nut. I grew up eating Ferrero Rocher. I love them, but not a huge fan of the nut. When I am eating a Ferrero Rocher, I always eat the nut first, because I want to enjoy just the chocolate, wafer and creamy center on their own. Therefore, these eggs are perfect for me. No nut picking any more.

The hazelnut ones are must better than the cocoa ones. They are unique and different. The flavors of the cocoa ones are too simple and couldn’t stand out. Anyway, try them! Buy them before Easter is over.

Where to buy? I bought them at Ralph’s, but I don’t think all Ralph’s have them. You may have to check out a few stores. Please let me know if you see them somewhere else.

Source: Read

Los Angeles: Boxwood Cafe

Afternoon tea? I have always wanted to do that. Being a British colony for years, Hong Kong have many places for afternoon tea. The most famous one has to be at The Peninsula Hotel. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to try it yet. Someday for sure…

Back in Los Angeles, Bryan and I saw a sign about afternoon tea in The London Hotel a year ago. I knew that I would love to try it. Last Saturday was my birthday, I suggested to have afternoon tea in Boxwood Cafe for my celebration. Bryan and I went with my sister. We all had a good time. It turned out to be a great idea.

Boxwood Cafe is owned by Gordon Ramsay. It only opens during the day and afternoon time. At night, Boxwood Cafe turns into Gordon Ramsay the restaurant for dinner. Since Gordon Ramsay is British, I think his restaurant may be one of the best place for afternoon tea.

When we sat down at our table, we were given a wood box which contained many small bottles of tea leaves. There were the basic, like jasmine and English breakfast, but there were also some unique flavors, like life through water and tangerine. We can smell each bottle and pick what tea we wanted. It was tons of fun. At the end, we all picked something fruit related. My sister and Bryan got mountain berry. The tea color was purplish red. It smelled amazing. It was sweet with a hint of berry flavors. It tasted great by adding a little bit sugar. I got cassis. It was aromatic. I liked it without sugar. At the end of the sip, I got a hint of bitterness which was perfect with the sweet treats on the table.

Tea choices

Enjoying my cassis tea

Afternoon tea food is a pre-fix menu. The only thing we got to choose was the tea. It was perfectly ok with me, because there were tons of different things on the pre-fix menu. There were two kinds of scones, four kinds of savory sandwiches, and four kinds of sweet treats. The scones were ok, nothing too spectacular. The savory was one of the best part! Our favorites were the roast beef with red onion marmalade and the curried chicken with golden raisins. They were so tiny, but packed with so much flavors. Delicious! For the sweet treats, my favorite was the berries tart. It was sweet and tart. The peach crumble was good too. But I wish there was something chocolatey. Then, I will be even more happier.

Food!!!

Overall, it was a fun experience and something different. The food was fine. I had a great birthday. I would love to come back soon. Maybe when they change the menu? Also, we saw a few groups of people having bridal shower and baby shower. Boxwood Cafe sounds like a perfect place to have small parties. I would love to do that someday.

Boxwood Cafe at The London (1020 N San Vicente Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069)

Recommend: Mountain berry tea, cassis tea, roast beef sandwich with red onion marmalade

Price: $28 per person ($40 per person with champagne)

Lokness’ Rating: ★★★★

Tip: Remember to make reservation ahead of time.

Boxwood Café  on Urbanspoon

Sweet: Snowskin Mooncakes

This year Mid-Autumn Festival is on Sunday. I am not going to make anything special for the day. But I bought a few snowskin mooncakes and some traditional mooncakes with lotus paste to celebrate. Before the day is here, Bryan and I have already finished our snowskin mooncakes. So sad… I wish I have bought more…

Talk about snowskin mooncakes, they are one pretty new invention. They appeared at around 20 year ago, and they started to get popular around 10 years ago. They can now be found in most bakeries in Hong Kong. They are not baked pastries any more. They are some cold treats like mochi. The outside skin is soft and a bit chewy that made with glutinous rice flour. The inside usually are mung bean paste with some fruits flavoring and fruits. They are definitely healthier than the traditional mooncake. And since they are cold and sweet, children and young people tend to like the snowskin mooncake more than the traditional one. I personally love both. The traditional one reminds me of my childhood and home. The snowskin one is more fun and special. All I know is that I must have some mooncakes for Mid-Autumn Festival.

I bought two kinds of snowskin mooncakes. They were both amazing! I love the crunchy texture of the dark chocolate crisps. But I also love the strong mango flavors in the Mango with Pomelo one. I just can’t pick one. There are also many other flavors, like strawberry, green tea, blueberry with cheese, chesenut and etc. Go get some before they are all gone!

I wish you a happy Mid-Autumn Festival! May you and your family can get together and enjoy some precious moments. 中秋節快樂! 祝大家人月兩團圓!

Maxims Snowskin Mooncakes

Mango and Dark Chocolate Crisps Snowskin Mooncake

Chocolate Flavor Skin with Mango, Mango Flavor Mung Bean Paste and Dark Chocolate Crisps

Mango with Pomelo Snowskin Mooncake
Mango Flavor Skin with Mango, Mango Flavor Mung Bean and Pomelo

Want to get some mooncakes?

Snowskin Mooncakes: 99 Ranch Market (140 W Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776)

Traditional Mooncakes: Kee Wah Bakery (150 W Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776)

Snack: Swiss Milk Chocolate (Lindt and Trader Joe’s)

A year or two ago, I was at a friend’s house. I was offered some Lindt milk chocolate. WOW! It was the best milk chocolate that I ever had in my life. But these were just Lindt chocolate…. Why did these taste different? It was because these milk chocolate were from Switzerland. My friend has a family friend who lives in Switzerland. Whenever that friend visits, he would always bring Lindt milk chocolate for souvenir. I say that would be one of the best souvenir you can get.

Lindt Milk Chocolate from Switzerland

The Lindt Swiss chocolate is very creamy and milky. The chocolate is also very smooth and it is not too sweet. I always find milk chocolate to be too sweet. Though, this milk chocolate is just perfect. I think the secret is in the Swiss milk. No matter what the special ingredients are, Lindt Swiss milk chocolate is amazing.

The closest chocolate that I have found in the US which has the similar flavor is Trader Joe’s Swiss milk chocolate. It also has the milky taste, but it is sweeter than the one from Switzerland. At the end, it is still very good and it is better than a lot of other milk chocolate. If you like chocolate, you have to try this.

Trader Joe’s Swiss Milk Chocolate

Silly Cow Farms Hot Chocolate

A few weeks ago, Bryan and I were in Whole Foods Market. The Silly Cow Farms hot chocolate mix caught our eyes. The little clear milk bottles were filled with fine chocolate powder mix. They looked too cute and good. There were a few flavors: Chocolate Moo-usse, Truffle, Chocolate, Marshmallow Swirl. Bryan and I picked up the chocolate one to try.

The hot chocolate was very easy to make. It just needed to add milk. I personally like to add a dash of salt. The hot chocolate was smooth, creamy and chocolatey. It was pretty good. I think this mix definitely worth a try. Hurry up to get one. I heard that Whole Foods only sell them around this holiday season.

Thanksgiving Meal

This Thanksgiving, I had a great and relaxing time. The meal went really well. My sister and I were the chefs. It took us less time to make 4 dishes than I expected. The cornish hens were moist and juicy. I like them. I think the hens are definitely better than a turkey. The portion was much smaller. The side dishes were good too. Since there were so much food, we were so full that we couldn’t eat dessert. We saved the cheesecake for the next day. I will post some of the recipes later.

How was your Thanksgiving? Hope you had a good time.

Lemon Pepper Honey Toasts, Stuffed Cornish Hens, Southwest Potato Salad, and Green Bean Casserole

Cornish Hen with Side Dishes