A lot of restaurants are all bark and no bite. They are full of too much hype and not enough flavor. From food trucks to hole in the walls to 5 star establishments, I'm here to answer the question on everyone's mind, "Is it really that good!" I am not an Iron Chef let alone a line cook. I'm just an ordinary girl who loves to eat extraordinary food.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Bruxie is a gourmet waffle sandwich stand located in Orange, CA. The menu is on the wall and you order through a window. You find your own seat and get your own utensils and condiments. Nothing fancy, nothing glam.

According to the website,  "'Bruxie' is unlike any waffle offered: the Bruxie is light, crisp, yeasty and not sweet. It's street food that's perfect for breakfast, lunch, mid day snack as well as a dessert or late night treat." Even after reading this, I was skeptical to even try it because I'm not a huge fan of waffles in general. If I do order waffles, I like the soft, fluffy ones. I'm not a huge fan of the thick, crispy type. But since it was a different concept, I decided to try it.

Before I even get into the food, let me tell you that the service was SPECTACULAR! When we were waiting in line, a gentleman walked up to us and asked if this was our first time. I guess we totally looked like Bruxie noobs. So he was asking us what we liked and told us what were fan favorites. When it was our turn we ordered the bacon, egg and cheddar waffle, Brussels waffle, Buttermilk fried chicken and waffle and creme brulee waffle. The cashier (wish I got his name because he was very nice too!) asked us if we wanted to hold off on the creme brulee waffle until after we ate our meal. I thought that was really thoughtful most places will just give you your entire order at the same time. When ordering our drinks, I wanted to get juice for my 2 year old. They don't offer any juices so I asked if they had lemonade. No, they didn't. The same gentleman that I was talking to in line (who i still didn't know was the owner yet) told me he would make fresh lemonade, hand squeezed. WHO DOES THAT? He could've just said "sorry, we don't," but he actually made lemonade for us. I found out a little later the gentleman's name is Kelly, one of the owners. All of the employees were so polite, so nice. I didn't feel like I was just another customer that they were trying to serve and get rid of.

Brussel's Waffe- These waffles were buttered and dusted with powder sugar. I took a bite of these before trying any of the sandwiches just so I knew how the waffle tasted by itself, if it  was going to be heavy, doughy or too thick. I took a bite out of one, and WOW, it was exactly how it was described on the website. They were light and crispy. Not doughy at all, they were very airy. You'd think with the thickness of the waffle that it would be heavy to eat. It wasn't at all. It was a nice 'appetizer' of things to come.

I ordered my bacon, egg and cheese waffle sandwich with waffle fries. They must've sprinkled the fries with crack (figuratively speaking of course, duh!) because I couldn't stop eating them. They were so good.  Was it because they were perfectly fried? Was it the type of salt they sprinkled on  top? I don't know what it was about them but they were perfect. While we were eating the fries, the owner came up to us and gave us a sample of the frozen custard. He said "Dip the fries in it. It's a hit with the kids." I thought that was pretty cool of him. The frozen custard wasn't too sweet. It was thicker than froyo. The kids did enjoy dipping the waffle fries in it.  Ok, onto the sandwich, Tillamook cheddar, mayo, applewood smoked bacon  along with 2 fried eggs in between the waffle. Rather than leaving the bacon in strips, it was cut into little pieces. The bacon was crispy and you got it in every bite. The egg was perfectly made. The yolk wasn't runny but it was still wet.

Bruxie's burger- Two angus beef patties with pickles, mayo, lettuce, cheddar cheese and tomato.  The sandwich wasn't overloaded with the condiments. Words cannot describe what my mouth was experiencing. It was juicy but the waffle didn't get soggy at all. The burger had a good char to it but didn't taste burned.  The patties are made medium unless you specify otherwise.  There was a great balance in flavors between the patties and the waffle.  You get that crunch when biting into the waffle then you get that bite of the juicy burger.  It is definitely a great twist to your typical burger.

Buttermilk fried chicken and waffle- I know that whenever SoCal'ers hear chicken and waffles, Roscoe's comes to mind. Well, don't think that when you come to this place.  If you are craving Roscoe's  chicken and waffles, go to Roscoe's because this sandwich is nothing like Roscoe's. But that's not a bad thing at all. Remember, this is a chicken and waffle sandwich. This sandwich had 2 big pieces of chicken tenders topped with coleslaw and spread with chili honey. The coleslaw wasn't drowned with the dressing. You can taste the flavor of the chili but it was toned down because it was mixed in with the honey. You would think that this would be a heavy sandwich and dry sandwich, but it wasn't.  The chicken tenders were moist and well seasoned and the addition of the chili honey gave it a really different taste.  
The last item, the creme brulee waffle  is a limited item and is  not on their regular menu. . I love creme brulee. It is one of my all time favorite desserts. So I had to try this. Yes, I still had room for dessert. Sandwiched between the waffles were creme brulee, bananas and strawberries. This was TO DIE FOR! Both the strawberries and bananas were bruleed. They had that crispy sugar coating and I could've eaten that by itsef. The cream wasn't too sweet either, but you can taste the caramelization of the sugar in each bite. Some of it even oozed out onto the paper tray it came in. Don't think for a second I let that go to waste either. It was a different take on creme brulee, but dare I say better? Quite possibly. Remember, this is a seasonal item. If you are going there this is something you want to order, call in advance to make sure it is still available.

Although the menu doesn't seem out of the box, the waffles are what really sets this place apart from any other. Everything tasted fresh and made to order. In everything they put out, there is great flavor and the right balance of sweet and savory.  This is one of those places that's great to go to at any time of the day.  From the time I stepped in line to the second I walked into the car, my experience at Bruxie's was amazing. There is something for everyone. This is a definite must try and would recommend this to everyone. To top it off we were again fortunate to experience another act of kindness, Kelly was kind enough to take a picture with my daughter and I.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Boudin Bistro- San Francisco

Boudin’s Bistro- on Fisherman’s Wharf

Everyone knows that San Francisco is the home of great people, great sites and great places to eat, especially when it comes to eating at the Wharf.  On our recent family trip out to the Bay, I thought Bistro Boudin would be a great place to have a nice family dinner and I would also be able to try their famous, “San Francisco sourdough French bread.”

At the beginning of our meal, the kindly served us their famous sourdough bread w/ whipped butter.  Because of all the hype over this bread I was excited to taste it. It was really good.  It wasn’t warm, but it didn’t need to be. The crust was crunchy and the inside was soft and fluffy.  I can see and taste why they make excellent bread bowls for their soups, chili and chowders.  We didn’t order a bread bowl but we did order their calamari and garlic parmesan fries. The calamari was decent.  The breading on it was good but nothing extraordinary.  The parmesan fries were also okay but not as flavorful or exciting as I thought they would be.

For dinner I sampled a couple entrees.  First, the Crispy Skinned Sea Bass. The skin was definitely crispy and was tasty but for the sea bass itself, it seemed like they didn’t use a good cut.  It wasn’t fatty, or as flaky as sea bass should be.  With this restaurant being on the Wharf I had high expectations of their bass. 

Next up, the Charred Rib-Eye. This was accompanied with bleu cheese au gratin potatoes. The gratin was dry and you couldn't really taste the bleu cheese, considering bleu cheese has a really distinct flavor. The rib-eye had good flavor but didn’t live up to its name. They tried charring it but it didn’t have the proper crust taste and texture.  Once again, proving a point I always make to others, “Don’t order the steak if you’re not at a steakhouse.”

As a side to accompany our dinner, we ordered the Crab Macaroni and Cheese.  This was probably the best of the three entrees. The cheese did have good flavor but it wasn’t thick enough. Also, not every bite had a piece or even hint of crab.  For me that's important especially when you put the word "crab" before the "mac n cheese." 

All in all, our dining experience at Boudin's was just par. The bread was definitely worthy of its praise, however the rest of the food was just average.  Their flavors were fine, but their execution could have been better.  The prices weren't bad so if I were a local to the area I would probably eat here every once in a while.  However, I just wouldn’t suggest this place to someone who had to take a long trip out to the Bay.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Discovering the Cube

I’m doing a little something different today. Although there is a little food involved, food won’t be the star of the show today.  I recently won tickets from a fellow blogger of So You Think You Can Mom, to celebrate Elmo's birthday at the Discovery Science Center.  The Discovery Cube is a science center that showcases a lot of different interactive exhibits to help kids, teens and even adults understand the world of science.  From January 29-May 1st they have Sesame Street's: The Body Exhibit.

Living in Southern California and driving on the 5 freeway all the time, I never knew what that building was. This was my family’s first visit there. It’s two stories of wonder. On the first floor we saw an indoor geyser, a rock climbing wall, the quake zone (you sit in a booth and it simulates how it feels to experience an earthquake), and the cloud ring. This is where The Body Exhibit is as well.  Towards the back of the first floor is the entrance to step outside to their Dino Quest.

The second floor has a kid station, just in case your young ones are not old enough to experience the other exhibits. This is a station designed for kids 5 years and younger. The cutest part about this section is there’s a green screen area. Your child (and you’ll want to try it too. I did!) can go into that section and look at themselves on tv swimming with different sea creatures.

We also experienced the Air & Space exhibit where the kids got to fly an airplane, experience a wind tunnel, and feel hurricane strength winds. The is also a "Reaction Time" machine which was my personal favorite.  You place your hands down on the designated area, once you feel the buzzing you have to hit the button. This tests your reaction time. This was my favorite because Ed couldn’t beat my time. There was also a hockey area where you could experience how it is to be a goalie. Pucks are shot through a wall and your job is to not let the puck into the goal. Masks and gloves are provided, of course.

Because we were celebrating Elmo’s birthday, Elmo was there of course. He came out twice to speak to the kids and interact with them. However, this wouldn’t be my blog if I didn’t talk about food, right? Since this was a birthday party celebration there was food and cake. Finger foods such as turkey sliders on wheat buns, veggies with dip, and quesadillas with lowfat cheese and wheat tortillas were served.

Mini cupcakes were also provided by Sensitive Sweets located in Costa Mesa, CA.  There were chocolate cupcakes with either chocolate or vanilla frosting and vanilla cupcakes with chocolate or vanilla frosting. Sounds pretty typical, right? The flavors may have been typical, the cupcakes itself were anything but that. These were gluten, dairy and egg free cupcakes. I’ve never eaten anything that was gluten free, let alone dairy and egg free, especially in a baked good. I was a little skeptical and had an idea that these were not going to taste good, at all. Luckily they were served in a super mini size, just in case they were not to my liking.

I picked up a chocolate/chocolate one.  I first licked the frosting and surprisingly it had a good sweetness to it.  I took a tiny bite of the cupcake with the frosting and it was actually pretty good. Nothing that I thought it was going to be. It wasn’t as sweet as normal cupcakes but it was just as moist and satisfying as one made with the missing ingredients.  I was pleasantly surprised at how good they were. So surprised that I probably ate about 5 of them. That’s all I’ll admit to anyway. I don’t know that I would switch to eating/baking vegan cupcakes but I am definitely not going to shy away from one ever again.

Our experience at Discovery Cube was wonderful. There are so many things to do and see, and there was a lot of good food.  My kids had so much fun.  Our thanks go out to So You Think You Can Mom and the Discovery Cube.  This is definitely a place I will take my kids back to. Take your kids, your grandkids, yourself or anyone who wants to learn something new and have a good time while doing it. Visit their website at http://www.discoverycube.org/ for their latest exhibits and pricing.  It's so much fun and totally worth it.  

Friday, February 11, 2011

Buttermilk Part 2

I know I just posted my review on this truck not too long ago, but I wasn't expecting to see them so soon. When I did, they were serving their new banana pancakes with homemade granola and their cider donuts. Of course, I had to get them.

Although, it was cooked well the banana pancakes didn't do it for me. It was soft and fluffy, like their red velvet pancakes, it just didn't have enough banana flavor and sweetness.  It was so overpowered by spices, that you can't really taste the banana. The homemade granola was not great. The oats didn't seem cooked enough and it wasn't your typical granola that you could pick up in clusters. So I'd have to say that I could pass on those next time.

The cider donuts on the other hand were the bomb.com.. I honestly didn't think I was going to like them at first because the taste of apple cider is usually so strong and tart. It was deep fried and then rolled in a cinnamon-sugar mixture. I know, you're thinking another churro, right? Well think churro to the 100th power! Crunchy on the outside, and light and airy on the inside. You can tell as soon as those little suckers came out of the oil, they were rolled in the mixture because every square inch of those donuts were covered in cinnamon-sugar. I got the 5 pack donuts. Next time I have to make sure to get two so I don't have to share them. LOL! Seriously, these were really good and am hoping these will be served with both their morning and late night menu.

Told you this would be quick..

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Manila Machine

I’ve never heard any buzz about this truck. I was introduced to  it through Twitter. I was curious and looked at their website.  I finally tweeted asking if they were planning a visit to the West Covina area because there are A LOT of Filipinos in that area and thought they would get a pretty good reception.  I got a tweet back asking if I had any suggestions. The TruckSquad holds GFT Tuesdays at Best Buy in Industry and I told them to contact the Truck Squad to make arrangements and they did.

“Traditional ways are wonderful; but new ways, when applied with understanding and sensitivity, can create a dish anew – without betraying the tradition.” – Doreen Fernandez: critic, author, Filipino food historian. This quote is the first thing you see on their menu online. So naturally I thought “YES!! Authentic Filipino food, not a fusion where flavors get lost in all of the different ingredients; just good old fashion Filipino food like how my mom used to make”

I was already full from all of the  food from the other trucks and was only going to order the ube cupcake but Ed came back with The Original Manila Dip, Longganisa slider and the ube cupcake.

The Original Manila Dip had shredded chicken adobo and caramelized onions on toasted pan de sal, a traditional roll in the Philippines. It came with an adobo dipping sauce. I don’t know about you, but I LOVE to smell the something before I eat it. If it doesn’t smell good, I just can’t put it in my mouth. (Get your minds out of the gutter people, please. I’m talking about food here!) The pan de sal was warm, the smell of warm pan de sal is so soothing. Then I smelled adobo meat. At that first sniff, I knew it was going to be good.

I took a bite.. DUDE! I didn’t expect it to be that good! I didn’t even need the adobo dipping sauce. The shredded chicken was soft, as if it was simmering for hours in a bubble bath of adobo sauce. The flavors were on point, and traditional. It had enough vinegar to compliment the sweetness of the caramelized onions while the soy sauce gives it that extra dimension of taste. I think I may actually like it better on pan de sal than on rice. The pan de sal soaks up more of the sauce and holds up to it and doesn’t get soggy. Those who really know me, know that my daughter is the fiercest critic. She loves adobo and will only eat my mom’s because all others have failed. I had her take a bite. The minute I saw her face, I knew I had to give up my slider. I don’t think she’ll ever admit, or I for that matter, that this adobo was better than my mom’s but this indeed is a MUST try!!! 

On to the longganisa slider. Sweet pork and garlic sausage with caramelized onions, arugula and mango jam on a pan de sal roll. The longganisa was cooked nice. I don’t know about you, but when you eat longganisa, because all of the oil and fat, you can taste it even 2 days after. Not in this case, which is a good thing. The sausage was split and fried and surprisingly wasn’t as oily as I thought. I did think that the mango jam (which was tasty) paired with the sweet longganisa made the slider a little too sweet. There wasn’t enough contrast in flavors. It was a good sandwich, but would have liked a little acidity to cut into the sweetness of the longganisa. Overall it was still a good slider and would probably order it again but ask for no jam or maybe vinegar on the side.

Now, the ube cupcake. First it looked so cute. A huge dallop (is that an oxymoron?) but it was a pretty big dallop of frosting and it was topped with toasted coconut shreds letting me know that the frosting had coconut (frosting 101.. always garnish the top with the main ingredient of the frosting). I tasted the frosting first. You can really taste the butter and it wasn’t overly sweetened by the sugar. You can also taste a hint of coconut. It wasn’t overpowering, it just kind of lingered. It was a nice change from the norm. I tore a piece of the cupcake off. It was soft, a little spongey.  I took a bite out of it and you can taste a little bit of ube flavor. I took another bite with the frosting. The weird thing about it, you can taste more of the ube flavor when you eat it with the frosting. I would’ve liked the cake itself to have a more dominant flavor of the ube. Overall this cupcake was just ok for me. I probably would’ve enjoyed it more if the frosting was a little softer and maybe swirled over the entire top of the cupcake so that I could get frosting in every bite.

My experience with The Manila Machine far exceeded any expections that I had. The food was fresh, flavorful and traditional. Next time I will have to try their Tapa Silder, Turon (one of my all time favorite desserts!) and Leche Flan. So definitely expect a Manila Machine review part 2. I wanted to take a picture with the owners but the line was long so I really didn’t want to impose but I just had to give props to them so I asked anyway. People were probably thinking “you  crazy chick, don’t you know we are waiting in this fricken long line freezing our butts off and you want to take a picture?”  Even though it stopped their production I was glad Nastassia and Marvin were cool enough to take time out for a quick pose! By far, the best Filipino Food truck roaming the streets of Southern Cali. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Like Ike, If I Could Be Like Ike!


I've heard a lot about this place through friends and friends of friends. I didn’t realize how popular it really was until I saw a rerun of Man Vs. Food featuring Ike's. So of course when I planned a trip to San Francisco, this HAD to be one of the places I had to try and see if it is really that good..

I went to Ike's at Lime on Market Street.  It was weird in that its attached to a small bar called Lime, but the front part is reserved for Ike patrons to enjoy their sandwiches.  Surprisingly, their menu has a big variety of sandwiches to choose from, each with their own distinct flavors.  I went with the Change and because it was featured on Man Vs. Food I also had to try the Kryptonite.

The Change has thinly sliced rib-eye with bbq sauce, onion rings, and smoked gouda on dutch crunch bread smothered with their famous ‘Dirty Sauce’. This sandwich was really good. The smokiness of the gouda along with the tanginess of the bbq sauce paired well. The rib-eye was thinly sliced so you didn’t have to fight with the sandwich for a perfect bite. It didn’t need the onion rings. I would’ve preferred it on the side so it stood crispy, but overall this was a flavorful and filling sandwich.

On to the Kryptonite.  For those you wondering why its called Kryptonite, its because it can literally kill Superman with a heart attack.  The Kryptonite is stuffed with roast beef, corned beef, pastrami, salami, turkey, bacon, ham, mozzarella sticks, stuffed jalapeno poppers, onion rings, avocado, pesto, and pepper jack on their dutch crunch bread smothered with ‘Dirty Sauce’.  

This sandwich was definitely HUGE.  It was more than enough for two.  They actually give you 2 regular sandwiches in one. I was already full from The Change, but had to taste this sandwich.  Depending on the size of your bites, you could taste bits and pieces of every ingredient.  This thing was so huge that I felt a little self conscious biting into this monstrosity but I managed to get in a few good bites.  There wasn’t one thing that stood out the most. You could really taste the sweetness of the onion, a little crunch and pop of the jalapeno, the freshness of the pesto, and the meats.  Just recapping on all the ingredients of that sandwich has me salivating.  

Ike's definitely puts sandwiches back on the map.  They literally take sandwiches to that next level by reinventing them as something satisfying and flavorful and not just plain and healthy.  But what makes Ike's stand out from the rest were the Dirty Sauce and the dutch crunch bread. I don’t know what’s in that sauce but it is amazing! Ike should package that up and sell it in stores. It’s better than any garlic spread I’ve tasted.  I would recommend getting any sandwich on the dutch crunch bread and ordering it with extra Dirty Sauce.

While I was eating there I just happened to see Ike himself walking around the back but then I was bummed when I thought I saw him leave because I wanted to take a picture with him. Luckily, the girl who was at the register was nice enough to track him down for me and he was very nice about being photographed.  His sandwiches and also Ike as a person get my seal of approval, I even bought a couple shirts.  I must say the sandwiches are a definite must try when you are out in the Bay Area!!!