Monday, December 15, 2014
My Hubby and I celebrated our 10th Wedding Anniversary this year. He took me to the most amazing Paris trip in the summer. I still have more to share with you about that trip, but that will be for another post. Besides the trip, he also took me for a romantic dinner at Napa Rose on the day of our anniversary. Alright, it might not be as romantic as you think, and here’s why. Napa Rose is located in the Grand Californian Hotel, at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. It probably is the most sophisticated restaurant throughout the property, in terms of food quality and ambiance. But as I’d expected, some family would dine here after a day at the park, with kids, of course. So, that simply take the “romantic” part out of the equation, when you have kids around! But I’m not complaining. I actually love that it’s a kids-friendly restaurant. Therefore, this place will be a nice place to celebrate for a Holiday dinner if you’re in the area, and don’t feel like cooking! Why not, right? Who said the holiday gathering has to be at home?
Back to the food. Here’s what we tried. We ordered a starter to share called Seven Sparkling Sins (see picture above).
An array of tantilization featuring: Spicy Beef and Cashew Roll, Curried Crab Taco, Citrus-cured Buckwheat Blini, Shrimp in Cucumber Wrap with Lemon Dill Crème, Seared Ahi Nacho, Lemon Broiled Scallop and Grape Leaves with Pheasant for two
This picture above is the Lemon Broiled Scallop and it was amazing! I’d be happy if you can serve me a dozen of these and call it entrée.
Next is the Shrimp in Cucumber Wrap with Lemon Dill Crème. It was refreshing and I love the texture combination of slightly crispy cucumber and tender shrimp.
This Curried Crab Taco in the middle (picture above) is probably one of my favorites from this appetizer. You can taste the aroma of the curry but not over powering at all. The crab was sweet and fresh and the taco shell is light and crisp.
Up next is the Seared Ahi Nacho (in the middle). The flavor is absolutely wonderful. The crispy “nacho” on the bottom contrast nicely with the tender ahi on top.
Citrus-cured Buckwheat Blini. I simply love the flavor combination of this Blini. The caviars on top really popped and added a nice salty and slightly briny flavor to this dish.
Spicy Beef and Cashew Roll. Somehow, there’s a really strong sweet and sour taste to this one. It’s probably my least favorite from the starter.
Grape Leaves with Pheasant for two. Okay, I really don’t care about grape leaves. And this one also has a pretty strong flavored sauce at the bottom (and I can’t really tell what it was). I am glad that we tried other items from the starter, first, as they had milder flavors compared to the last two.
Onto the entrée, I’ve ordered the Provencal Herb Roasted Colorado Rack of Lamb Artichoke Bottoms, Poached Radish, Sugar Snaps and Cabernet Jus. It was prepared with care and cooked to perfection. The meat was tender and flavorful. Not at all gamey either. I highly recommend this dish if you like lamb.
My Hubby tried the “Maple Leaf Farms” Breast of Duck, Honey Crisp Apple Coulis, Almond Gnocchi and Pomegranate. Another dish that’s well prepared. I had gnocchi at other restaurants before and thought I don’t like gnocchi at all, until I tried these almond gnocchi! It’s light, fluffy and pillow-ey, so good! The duck is perfectly seasoned and so tender. We really enjoyed this one as well.
For dessert, I ordered the Scharffen Berger Chocolate Paté, Candied Hazelnuts Crème Anglaise and Fresh Raspberries. A gorgeous dessert that any chocolate lover should try! The candied hazelnut crème angaise is heavenly!
My Hubby ordered the Peanut Butter Croquantine with Manjari Chocolate Ganach, Caramelized Bananas. Okay, I don’t really care about peanut butter anything, I thought. But this is one decadent PB dessert that any PB lover should try…and non-PB lover should give it a taste as well. You’ll look at PB differently ever after!
Last but not least, we’ve got some complimentary chocolate truffles to take home as the server knew we were celebrating our anniversary. What a nice gesture. We took the chocolate home to share with the Kiddos.
I hope you like today’s restaurant review and information. If you’re interested to celebrate the holiday at Napa Rose, don’t forget to make a reservation ahead of time. Below is more information on the restaurant for your reference.
Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa
For reservation (714) 781-DINE (3463)
1600 Disneyland Drive, Anaheim, CA 92803
Restaurant Review Disclaimer: uTry.it restaurant reviews are solely based on our experience at each restaurant we visit. They were just our opinions. uTry.it and its owner were not compensated in any way to dine at these restaurants nor to write reviews.
Monday, December 8, 2014
♪ ♫ Rudolph the red nose reindeer, have a very shiny nose ♪ ♫….I have been listening to this song quite often lately while the kids practicing their Christmas songs for the school’s holiday performance. Over the weekend, I’ve borrowed some children’s books from the library, all with the Christmas theme as well. Plus, we’ve just put up the Christmas tree and the Kiddos help decorated it (you might have seen it if you follow me on my Instagram). I say, we’re pretty much ready for the holidays. Are you?
If you’re not in the holiday mood yet, this Rudolph’s Cranberry Fizz will surely help! This drink is not only adorable to look at, it’s refreshing and packed with the holiday’s flavors. While I was cutting some rosemary springs from my little garden, the gorgeous and earthy scents filled the whole kitchen. I can’t help it but took a deep breath to savor the aromas whenever I passed by the kitchen. See the cute little Rudolph floating on top of this drink? They are easy to make and here’s what you need (please see picture below).
Ready to do a little crafts with me? My Kiddos helped me in putting these Rudolphs together while we munch on some marshmallows and cranberries here and there in between the process. Here’s how we made the Rudolph.
1) Break the toothpick in half, and insert one side half way into the cranberry.
2) Insert the other side of the toothpick into the middle of the marshmallow to create the nose.
3) Insert 2 cloves above the cranberry to create the eyes.
4) Remove a few leaves from the bottom of the rosemary springs.
5) Insert the rosemary on top of the marshmallow to create the antlers.
Super simple, isn’t it? This is such a fun and simple craft to do with the kids, too. I say, the edible Rudolph makes the perfect decoration for any Holiday drinks. This Rudolph’s Cranberry Fizz (see full recipe below) is a cocktail for the grown ups, but you can easily make a kids friendly version. Simply mix equal parts of cranberry juice with club soda or lemon lime soda (for the fizz portion), it’ll be equally festive and delicious!
I hope you enjoy today’s recipe and crafts. Please stay tuned for more fun holiday recipes and craft ideas in the near future. Cheers!
Please drink responsibly. Health and General Disclaimers.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Are you all enjoying the lovely Fall weather? I certainly hope so. Somehow, Fall makes me craves for comfort food. Maybe it’s the chilly and rainy weather? Or, maybe it’s the fragrant in the air that makes me long for something familiar. And my definition of comfort food are something that’s easy to prepare, something that I feel satisfied after eating, and something that brings back childhood memories. And this, Cream Corn with Chicken Over Rice (忌廉粟米雞粒飯) falls into all these criteria!
This Cream Corn with Chicken Over Rice dish is a popular dish that I grew up eating, quite a lot! Ask anyone who grew up in Hong Kong, they would know about this dish and probably have many different memories associating with it. Not only it’s a popular dish to serve at home, it’s almost always on the menu of the Hong Kong Style cafes. But since it’s super easy to make at home, why bother eating out, right?
If you haven’t try this dish, I highly recommend that you give this a try. It’ll probably be your new favorite dish to make. It’s perfect for weeknight dinner, especially when you only have 20 minutes to put dinner on the table! ha! So, I always marinate the chicken the day before so that I’ll have it ready to go. Also, I always double the recipe as it’s even better the next day…or just in case, the kiddos ask for seconds!
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
During Summer, our family visited Orlando, Florida for vacation. One of the restaurants that we dined at was called Whispering Canyon Cafe, which is located inside one of the Disney World Resort. Don’t let the restaurant name fool you, there’s nothing quiet about that restaurant! But the Kiddos and I had the most fun dining there. Imagine having over 15 bottles of Ketchup on your table all at once upon request. The whole restaurant, including the guests who dined there, would scream Ketchup for you and you’ll simply get a “special delivery” of ketchups! My Kids still talk about that until now!
Also, how fun is it to run with 20 other kids around the restaurant tables with a Stick Pony in your hand right before dinner? I’m sure your parents won’t think that’s a good idea anywhere else! But it’s highly encouraged at the Whispering Canyon Cafe! There are many more other fun activities and things happening when you dine there. But you've got to be there to experience them yourselves! So, if you happen to be in Florida for vacation or any other reason, be sure to reserve your table early. They get booked up fast!
One of the most delicious item we've tried in that fun restaurant was the cornbread that comes with every meal. It was slightly sweet, soft, moist and tender. The corn flavor was wonderful and we always finish the whole mini loaf before the main course arrived. Of course, I can’t help it but to recreate it at home. My version used a combination of yellow corn meal, for the wonderful texture and corn flavor; along with some cake flour, for that soft and tender touch. I also added some cream of corn, to keep it moist. Plus, you also get the corn kernels throughout each piece because of the cream of corn in it.
The batter is super simple to put together and it’s then baked in the cast iron pan, which you can bring up to the table and serve, how easy and smart, right? Plus, the cast iron pan really give you a nice crispy crust that you can’t get from other baking pans. If you take care of the cast iron pan, it simply last you for a life time. Not to mention, it’s super affordable as well. This cornbread is simple, yet scrumptious and satisfying. You will definitely go for a second, or third! Make one for your Thanksgiving gathering and share it with your loved ones. It’ll make the perfect side dish!
Last but not least, I would like to wish you all a blessed Thanksgiving! There are many many things in my life that I am thankful for, my health, my family, and my friends. I'm also very grateful that we had the chance to go on a wonderful vacation last summer and created all those fun and warm memories together. I'm also grateful for a loving and supportive Husband, who didn't complain about the dirty dishes and pans in the kitchen after I've tested recipes for the blog (okay, maybe just a dirty look! j/k) But most of all, I am truly grateful to have each of you, my readers, who follow and visit my blog, and give me supports all the time. So, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, and Happy Thanksgiving!
Props and Tools used in this post:
10-inch Seasoned Lodge Cast Iron Skillet (Click here for more information)
Wood Print Photography Backdrop (Click here to see similar product)
Cake/Pie Server (Click here for more information)
Core Bamboo Cutlery Set (Click here for more information)
Olive Wood Coaster Set (Click here for more information)
Red and White Checkers Cloth Napkins (Click here for more information)
Kel-Toy Jute Burlap Natural Table Topper (Click here for more information)
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Finally, the temperature is cooling down in Southern California. Phew….I thought the summer would never end! It’s time to bring out the light sweaters and Autumn ingredients. Some of my all time favorite Fall ingredients are on this plate, Gold Acorn Squash, Arugula and Pomegranate! Nice and simple. This dish is not just only a gorgeous to look at, but also delightful to the palates.
I love to keep the flavors nice and clean in this recipe so that you can taste each ingredient. When the fruit and vegetable you use are in season, they taste the best! In my opinion, the best way to prepare them is to keep it simple. Therefore, I roasted these gold acorn squashes with just a little brown sugar, salt, pepper and oil to bring out it’s natural sweetness and slightly nutty flavor. After roasting, it is tender, creamy and oh so satisfying! The soft and tender squash is resting in a bed of crisp and peppery arugula, sprinkle with the crunchy, sweet and tart pomegranate seeds on top. Each bite is heavenly.
Here’s how I prepare this dish, follow me to the kitchen!
1) & 2) Preheat oven to 400F degree. Wash and pad dry the gold acorn. Cut them into 1/2-inch thick slices and remove seeds.
3) Place on two large sheet pan and drizzle with grapeseed oil.
4) In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, salt and pepper together. Sprinkle over the acorn squash slices. Gently toss with your hands to evenly distribute the seasonings.
5) Roast the acorn squash for 10 minutes, then flip the squash and rotate the baking pans. Bake for another 10 minutes, or until squash is golden brown on the edges and tendered. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
6) In a large bowl, toss all the salad ingredients together. Taste and adjust flavor to your own preference. To assemble: On a large serving platter, place the arugula salad on the bottom and top with roasted gold acorn squash. Enjoy!
Nice and simple, isn't it? This dish is perfect for your upcoming Thanksgiving gathering. You can serve it as an appetizer, or as a side dish. It’s elegant enough to impressed your guests and super easy to prepare, in other words, a very host friendly dish! I hope you’ll give this recipe a try. I’m sure your friends and family will fall in love with it just after trying a bite. Stay warm and wish you all a happy gathering.