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Alas, here we are…the final instalment of my California food adventures series. In case you missed them, here’s Part I, II and III. Did I save the best for last? You know what…I just might have. Irori Sushi in Marina Del Ray was by far the best sushi I have ever eaten in my life. We only had sushi once while we were down in California and boy, did we get lucky discovering this little gem. The interior imitates a traditional Japanese sushi experience, with a no-shoes policy and floor seating.

After a lot of deliberation, I settled on ordering the Yellowtail Sashimi and their signature Irori Roll. It’s honestly difficult for me to even describe how amazing everything was. The flavour combinations were so unique and the fish was incredibly fresh. I haven’t been able to eat any sushi since because I don’t want to ruin my beautiful sushi memories at Irori. My friend ordered the Baked Lobster Roll and the Scallops and both of her dishes were out-of-this-world delicious. I cannot recommend this place enough if you are ever in the Marina Del Ray/Santa Monica area.

Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeño, Coriander and Ponzu sauce
Front: Irori Roll — Chunk Tuna, Coriander, Avocado & Crispy Onions. Back: Baked Lobster Roll

Next up? San Diego! Even though it hasn’t really been showcased much in my pictures, I had my fair share of fish tacos while I was down in Cali (even some in Mexico!) and the best ones I had were definitely at L’Auberge Del Mar. A delicious combination of grilled fish, cabbage, pickled onions and spicy aioli with a view overlooking the Pacific Ocean? You can’t go wrong.

Fish Tacos at L'Auberge Del Mar
Chips, Guacamole & Salsa at L'Auberge Del Mar

And lastly, here’s some notable mentions from the rest of the trip:

Custom made chocolate bar from Chocolate Lab at Sweet! Hollywood. I chose a milk chocolate base with a Nutella filling, whole almonds, pretzel pieces and toffee bits.
An assortment of delicious pastries from Porto's Bakery & Cafe in Burbank. L to R: Cream Cheese Roll, Coconut Strudel, Peanut Butter Cookie & Guava Roll. I also had the Guava Smoothie which literally tasted like melted guava candies. SO good.
Nutella & Peanut-butter Crêpe at Krafty Krepes in La Jolla. Do I really need to go into detail with this one?!

Thank you so much for joining me in reminiscing my food journey all over California! What’s the best thing you have ever eaten on vacation? Let me know in the comments!

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Our last day in San Francisco was spent strolling along beautiful Fishermen’s Wharf. Around Pier 39, this beautiful building caught my eye.

Boudin

A whole bakery dedicated to sourdough?! Don’t mind if I do…

The inside was even more captivating! The location on the Wharf is their flagship store with big glass windows where you can see the bakers working their magic. We couldn’t get over this adorable transport system that went from kitchen to counter:

Boudin

Aw…look at those little bread baskets go! I picked up some goodies from the store to take home and ordered the Margherita Pizza which was perfectly delicious with an incredible sourdough crust (as expected).

Margherita Pizza from Boudin Bakery & Cafe

You can’t come to San Francisco and not have some chowder, right? And at the Wharf, there’s almost as many chowder places as there are people! Decided to try some at the infamous Crab House and even though I am not a shellfish fan, this chowder had my tastebuds dancing for quite a while.

Crab House

Good thing we did so much walking that day, because I was giddy with excitement over that evening’s dinner plans. We had reservations at Hubert Keller’s Fleur de Lys! Chef Keller is one of my favourite chefs and I couldn’t be more grateful for an opportunity to eat at his signature restaurant. It was an absolutely wonderful experience with exceptional service and an amazing prix fixe menu. The pictures below aren’t the greatest quality since they’re just quick snaps from my cell phone but I had to share them with you guys!

Top Left: Virgin Mango Guava Cosmopolitan. Left Center: First amuse-bouche compliments of the chef — Chilled Melon Soup & Pine Nut Currant Salad. Bottom Left: Second amuse-bouche — Pumpkin Gratin with Roasted Pumpkin Seeds. Top Right: Appetizer Course — Avocado & Frisée Salad with Seared Watermelon, Beets & Golden Panisses. Bottom Right: Second Course — Alaskan Halibut with Black Pepper Butter, Pea Greens, Carrot Emulsion, Pea Soup with Roasted Baby Carrots & Parmesan Cream.
Top: Third Course — Rye Crusted Scottish Salmon with Cabbage Three Ways, Buttered Rye Toast, Radishes, Picked Mustard Seed & Caraway Jus. Bottom Left: Dessert Course — Fleurburger (Lightly Spiced Dark Chocolate Ganache in a Home-made Beignet) with Banana Milkshake & Frozen Fennel Ice Cream. Bottom Right: Assortment of Madeleines and Tarts, compliments of the chef

Coming soon: Part IV of the series where we make our way back to LA and head to San Diego. And in case you missed them, here’s Part I and II.

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One of my favourite parts of our trip was when we drove up the Pacific Coast Highway from LA to San Fran — the scenic route was absolutely breathtaking. We decided to stop for lunch at Morro Bay, a beautiful waterfront city midway on our route. The shoreline is populated by quaint little shops and restaurants and it was hard picking where to eat. Settled on Giovanni’s because people were lined up all the way to the docks for it — knew it had to be something spectacular. I had the Halibut Sandwich with a side of Garlic Fries. The fries were insanely addictive and the halibut was so fresh & tender. It was there we coined our new motto: The Line Never Lies.

Morro Bay

Keeping with our motto, we decided to have brunch the next day at Dottie’s in San Fran. We waited almost an hour in line and it was absolutely worth it. I ordered the Black Bean Cakes & Eggs which came with grilled corn bread & homefries. We also got one of Dottie’s Famous Pancakes to share. The black bean cakes were nothing like I have ever eaten before. Not sure what I was expecting, but my taste buds were supremely happy. The corn bread was dynamite and when topped with their signature Jalapeño Jelly?! Don’t even get me started.

Black bean cakes topped with pico de gallo, scrambled eggs, home fries and chili-cheddar corn bread
Dottie's Famous Pancakes

We were full from that massive brunch for pretty much the entire day until 10pm that evening when we decided to track down The Melt Bus. Eagerly wanting some cheesy, melty goodness, we drove up to San Francisco General where they set up shop every night. I ordered The Mission which consisted of pepper jack cheese & jalapeños grilled between two slices of sourdough and a cup of their Sweet Corn Tortilla soup. The boys at the truck were absolutely lovely and the late-night meal was perfectly comforting.

The Melt

The Melt

Next morning, we hit up the acclaimed Tartine Bakery for breakfast which was another line-up that didn’t disappoint. We ended up getting an assortment of treats to go (which admittedly took us a while to finish). Everything we got was gorgeous to look at and perfectly delicious — the James Beard Award winning chefs definitely lived up to their name.

L to R: Coconut Macaroon, Gruyère Breakfast Bun, Chocolate Hazelnut Tart, Chocolate Chip Cookie, Lemon Cream Tart, Morning Bun, Swiss Chard Quiche

Check back tomorrow for Part III as we round out the rest of San Fransisco’s delectable offerings.

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As I spend yet another morning brushing snow off my car cursing what seems to be a never-ending winter, I reminisce back to only a few days ago when my life was nothing but beaches and sunshine. I was fortunate enough to spend an amazing week and a half vacationing in gorgeous California with a friend of mine. We had an incredible time and of course, consumed very delicious food everywhere we went.

Had a bit of a star-struck moment on my flight to LA, when I ran into the ever charming Chef Robert Irvine! My vacation could’ve ended right there and I would’ve been completely pleased with my trip.

Me with Chef Robert Irvine

Alright…that was maybe a lie because as you will see from the following pictures, I’d be a fool to take all this deliciousness for granted.

One of the only things we had planned out before we left Toronto was to see Sean Paul at the Arsenio Hall Show (I know that is super random, but my friend is a HUGE Sean Paul fan). We got there a little late and were turned away at the gate :(. Since food is pretty much the universal anti-depressant, we decided to cheer ourselves up with some Mexican grub at Mission Cantina on Sunset Boulevard.

Virgin Mango Margartia on the patio at Mission Cantina. Also had the Pescado Tacos there but they were nothing to write home about.

Tacos didn’t quite do the trick in the cheering-up department, but we pretty much squealed in excitement when we spotted The Waffle as we walked back to our car. Their Red Velvet Waffle was featured on The Best Thing I Ever Ate on the Food Network, so it was the obvious choice. I wanted to try a little sampling of their other offerings as well so ended up ordering the Sweet Flight of Wee which included mini versions of their Red Velvet, Blueberry Lemon & Sticky Bun waffles. They were absolutely divine and I highly recommend checking out The Waffle if you’re in the LA area.

Sweet Flight of Wee a la mode

Some notable mentions over the next couple of days included a late-night stop at Churros Calientes on Santa Monica Boulevard. I had mine filled with Nutella (of course I did) and topped with dulche de leche. SO SO good with a cuppa tea.

Churros Calientes

Fish tacos Round 2 happened at El Compadre, which seemed to be a favourite among the locals. The restaurant has a vintage Mexican feel with a beautiful interior, great atmosphere, and good service. The tacos were fairly decent and their chips & salsa definitely hit the spot.

El Compadre

The next day when we ventured out to Hollywood Boulevard, I must admit we were way more excited to spot a location of Crumbs Bake Shop than we were to see the Walk of Fame. It took us three days to consume everything we greedily purchased, but boy did we savour every last bite. It was also our first time trying the croissant-doughnut hybrid that seems to be quite the rage everywhere, and I most definitely see what all the hype is about. Mmmm…

From L to R: Red Velvet, Peanut Butter Cup, Salted Caramel, Chocolate Glazed Heart Crumbnut

Stay tuned for Part II where we make our way up the Pacific Coast Highway and into San Fransisco!

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This blog has been a long time coming and I contemplated for weeks trying to pick a recipe for the opening post. Thankfully, as it turns out, I didn’t have to put any recipe under the enormous pressure of debuting.

The Delicious Food Show took place at Exhibition Place in Toronto last weekend, and I was beyond ecstatic to go. They had sessions spanned out over four days but I was only able to go for Sunday (kicking myself for missing out on Chef McEwan on Thursday). Now I’m not sure if going a different day would’ve changed things, but I was done after less than 2 hours. Even though it didn’t live up to my expectations, it was still a fun afternoon. Here’s some shares from the day!

Celebrity chef sightings: David Rocco & Bal Arneson
A wall of pepper mills O_O
Macarons from Moroco. Decided on the coconut one and I must say, best macaron I've ever had.
A chocolate carousel!
Was feeling rather French for lunch and this grilled pear & cheese sandwich with onion soup from La Sociètè definitely hit the spot. P.S: How awesome are these tables?!
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