You, Me, Matcha | Holy Matcha

Holy Matcha – the most aesthetically pleasing café in North Park and an Instagrammer/blogger’s dream. It’s about time that the San Diego area got on the Matcha trend, and I’m so happy that there’s now a local spot dedicated to it. And in one of my favorite neighborhoods, nonetheless!

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Before we get into the actual drinks and food, can we first take a moment to talk about this ombré rose wall?!?! It is such a beauty! At Holy Matcha’s grand opening (which was about a month from the time I’m writing this blogpost), they had another rose wall that I was just dying to see for myself. I wasn’t able to make it during their first weeks in business, and as the wall is made of fresh roses, it wasn’t able to either.

But it somehow worked out that it’d make another appearance for Easter, and during the week I had plans to visit for work play. You can best believe that we had to take many photos of/with the rose wall!

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Now back to the Matcha! My friend, Lauren, and I each ordered a donut and drink. Lauren got the Matcha lemonade and Strawberry donut, while I went with the hot Matcha latte and Matcha donut. The lemonade was alright, but the latte was amazing. Order it with two teaspoons of agave!

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So I’m a Matcha fan, but it’s definitely an acquired taste. If you were to visit Yelp for this place, you’d see a lot of mixed reviews. Matcha can be quite bitter, but with the right amount of sweetness, it’s wonderful.

What I think the greatest thing about this place is that Holy Matcha is 100% vegan-friendly. The milk used in the lattes is Califia Farms almond milk (with soy milk as the alternative). The donuts are vegan, and gluten free – and were surprisingly good. Although, I do wish they were cheaper. Everything on the menu is quite pricey, but that’s a given for hipster cafés.

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Every inch of Holy Matcha is Instagrammable, which I can really appreciate. From the marble tables and velvet pink booths to the palm leaves wallpaper and gold accents, it’s the café of my dreams!

You, Me, Matcha

I definitely recommend just going for the aesthetics, but if you’re a fan of green tea, it’s a good place to get your Matcha on. Big shoutout to Geraldine, the owner, for opening up this café!

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And did I mention how much I love this wall??

Bracelets: Pura Vida Bracelets



Cream Tea | Shakespeare’s Corner Shoppe and Afternoon Tea

Shakespeare’s Corner Shoppe and Afternoon Tea in La Mesa has been my go-to stop for all things British and afternoon tea. Now that San Diego has finally started to cool down, I’ve been aching for proper afternoon tea and a nice ‘cuppa. Years ago, my best friend was in town to celebrate her birthday and suggested we have high tea. That’s when we discovered Shakespeare’s. The last time I had afternoon tea was to celebrate her birthday, so a trip to the tearoom, for cream tea, was long overdue.

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To this day, Shakespeare’s is my favorite tea room. To be frank, I’ve only been to one but when you know, you know. The owners of the shop and tearoom, as well as the adjoining pub & grille, reign from England. Authenticity is something I always look for in everything, so learning that this place is the real thing thrilled me. And who wants English tea to not actually be English?

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My Cream Tea Experience

My sister and I arrived 10 minutes prior to our 12PM sitting. We were greeted by our server, the shoppe owner, and an empty tea room. We were directed to the tea sniffing bar where we’d choose our teas. My sister went for the White Coconut Crème, while I stuck to the classic Earl Grey.

We returned to the patio to our own teapot and tea set. Yes, you get a WHOLE TEAPOT to yourself! And word to the wise, empty your bladder before you decide to get stuck in rush hour traffic. They also provide milk and sugar cubes for the table.

As we started to enjoy our tea, our server then brought out our plates of scones. Cream tea traditionally consists of tea with a combination of scones, clotted cream, and jam. And for $9.95, that is exactly what Shakespeare’s does. We were both really impressed with the freshly baked scone! Oh, and that Double Devon Cream!

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I love a good tea party. Some of my fondest childhood memories are the tea parties that our Grandma Betty would host for me and my god-sisters. I remember walking out onto the patio to dainty tea sets and finger foods. It was always a great time and I’ll forever be grateful for those memories.

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Shakespeare’s Corner Shoppe

As I mentioned earlier, Shakespeare’s has been my go-to stop for British goodies. I’m a huge anglophile. As are pretty much all of the women in my life. I have mad love/respect for the British culture, and it’s been like this for as long as I can remember. Around the holidays, I like going there to get mince pies and a Dairy Milk Advent calendar. They ship in pretty much everything from the UK, including Peri Peri sauce, Crunchie bars, and mugs with the royals’ faces.

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Shakespeare’s also hosts themed tea parties, in addition to the more traditional Afternoon Tea. Just this past week, they hosted Harry Potter themed tea – sorting hat and all. Next month, they are hosting a Game of Thrones one!

There’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll be back to the tearoom again. It’s my favorite and my only recommendation for an authentic British tea experience in San Diego.



Ice Cream Flights | Hammond’s Gourmet Ice Cream

Summer in San Diego just wouldn’t be complete without an ice cream cone… or six! You’ve heard of beer flights, but have you heard of ICE CREAM FLIGHTS?! We can all thank Hammond’s Gourmet Ice Cream for the brilliant concept. With flight options of 3, 6, and 32, no ice cream enthusiast walks out of the shop unsatisfied. A statement I personally know to be true.

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I remember first wanting to visit (way back in 2014) when I saw a picture of a flight of 6 on Tumblr, and I thought “Wow. Where is this place? I NEED to try it out.” A quick Google search later, I learned it was in my city! Needless to say, I paid a visit the very next day.

Hammond’s is now my go-to ice cream shop when I’m feeling like treating myself. I always go for the sorbets because I can’t say “no” to POG*-flavored anything. Flavor favorites amongst my sister and I are green tea, pineapple coconut, and pitaya.

(*Passionfruit-orange-guava)

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Ice Cream Flights

With flavors such as toasted coconut, Kona coffee, and peanut butter guava jelly, it’s no secret that the ice creams are island-inspired. Hammond’s offers over 300 flavors of ice cream and sorbet made by Tropical Dreams in Hawaii. They specialize in super premium, meaning you’ll be partaking in super rich and creamy ice cream.

When I visit the shop, I always go for the flights. I commend myself on being able to making a sound decision, but sometimes you just don’t want to choose between chocolate and vanilla. That’s why these ice cream flights are simply amazing. I can get every flavor I want, and the flight itself is quite the aesthetic.

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Hammond’s Gourmet Ice Cream

The initial shop opened two years ago in my favorite SD neighborhood of North Park, and now Hammond’s boasts a total of 3 locations in the city.

North Park – 3077 University Avenue, San Diego, CA 92104

Point Loma – 3740 Sports Arena Blvd, San Diego, CA 92110

Pacific Beach – 1418 Garnet Ave, San Diego, CA 92109

Please do yourself the favor of visiting one (or all three) of these locations when you’re in San Diego!



Empanadas, Pastries, and More | Liberty Public Market

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Last week, I had the chance to finally pay a visit to Liberty Station’s newest resident – Liberty Public Market. For those of you not aware, Liberty Public Market is a farmers market composed of local San Diego and southern California vendors. Inside you’ll find everything from food vendors to fresh produce and even wine tastings. There’s something for everyone – with plenty of vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free options as well. It is basically a foodie’s paradise.

I was mostly interested in trying the Argentine empanadas from Paraná. The empanadas are baked, made with all natural ingredients, and are to-die for. I ordered the Mushroom & Cheese, Margherita, and Beef (for my sister) empanadas – and they were delicious. I loved the crust of the empanadas, and the Mushroom filling was so flavorful! Definitely a must-try.

It’s also worth it to mention that we went to the market during its peak time around noon. This place was poppin’, which resulted in not enough photographs of the many vendors inside of Liberty Public Market. There are a total of 25 resident “artisans,” and you could very well spend half a day there trying everything.

There’s no shortage of great food and fun at Liberty Public Market. Enjoy something healthy and raw from Fishbone Kitchen, something fried and greasy from Cane Patch Kitchen, or something sweet from Crafted Baked Goods and Le Parfait Paris! I had a lot of fun looking at all the pastries – it’s a favorite past-time of mine.

I’m a huge proponent of shopping and eating local, so I’m glad that I have Liberty Public Market. I love going to farmers markets here in San Diego, but now I don’t have to wait until the weekend.

If you ever find yourself in San Diego, make sure you give yourself half a day to enjoy this amazing marketplace. You won’t regret it!



Bad Owl Coffee | A Harry Potter Café

Potterheads come one, come all to the cutest Harry Potter café in the Las Vegas valley! I was finally able to check out Bad Owl Coffee during Fourth of July weekend. After hearing about this new place opening up in the city I grew up in, I knew I’d have to pay a visit the next time I was in town.

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Bad Owl Coffee – Henderson, Nevada

We arrived to the magical café at 2:30 on a Saturday afternoon. All the tables (each adorned with different HP expressions and quotes) were taken when we first walked in. However, by the time we ordered, the “Everyday I’m Mugglin’” table cleared up, which stood across their own Platform 9 ¾.

As we waited for our drinks and dessert, I sat fascinated with the number of customers that this café brings in. Every table sat a customer, and there was constantly someone giving their order. For such a small shop, they seemed to be doing quite well. Big kudos to all of them for supporting local businesses!

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The Menu

For being a small coffee shop, Bad Owl has a great selection of coffees, teas, and foods. Going in, I knew that I wanted to try the most Harry Potter-esque drink, in addition to their new waffles.

  • Butterbrew latte – my friend Angela and I both ordered this Hogsmeade classic, and were pleasantly surprised with their rendition. Had it iced, without the optional espresso shot. Wasn’t overpoweringly sweet like some Butterscotch flavoring can be. I would definitely recommend this drink.
  • Matcha latte – my sister ordered this and said that it was very creamy (from the milk presumably) but also very sweet.
  • Toffee coffee – my mom opted for an iced coffee, and really enjoyed the flavor.
  • Matcha waffle – this was as perfect as a waffle could be: crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Served with maple syrup, matcha sauce, butter, and Thrifty’s vanilla bean ice cream. Best sweet treat, ever.

 

A Harry Potter Café in Las Vegas

You don’t have to be a wizard to understand that J.K. Rowling’s beloved book series has become something bigger than itself. With successful film adaptations and a Wizarding World of Harry Potter on either side of the country, it’s no wonder that Potterheads are finding new ways to keep it alive! There’s now Bad Owl Coffee.

Next time you find yourself in Sin City, make sure to venture away from the Strip and check out this Harry Potter café!



5 Must-Visit San Francisco Eateries

For my recent trip to San Francisco, I took to my favorite iPhone apps (Pinterest, Instagram, and Yelp) for restaurant recommendations. Hands down, one of the best parts about traveling to a new city is checking out the local food scene. We managed to visit all my bookmarked places, which I’m sharing with you today. Here’s 5 Must-Visit San Francisco Eateries!

Mr. Holmes Bakehouse – Lower Nob Hill

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Now, when it comes to choosing somewhere to eat, I admit that I am a complete sucker for the aesthetically pleasing. You know, places that just scream Instagram. (I’m keen to pursue a career in social media, forgive me.) Mr. Holmes’ Bakehouse is exactly that.

I came across the trendy Mr. Holmes Bakeshop on the @breakfastinsf and @sfbucketlist Instagram accounts. Their claim to fame is their croissant muffin hybrid, or more fondly known as the cruffin. You’re encouraged to get there early because those are always the first to sell-out. Unfortunately, Diana and I missed out on these legendary cruffins BUT we were able to walk out with half a dozen other baked goods. Including this Mint Chip donut, mm.

Shanghai Dumpling King – Outer Richmond

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Trusting overwhelming positive Yelp reviews, we ventured out to the Outer Richmond area for dim sum. Reviews of China Town eateries were all over the place, citing food safety issues. We weren’t feeling adventurous in that sense. Plus, it gave us the opportunity to see another part of San Francisco. We can appreciate efficiency.

Ever since I started eating a more plant-based diet, I have felt anxious traveling to different cities and eating out in general. Though, being the thorough researcher I am, I realised that there’s nothing to worry about. Shanghai Dumpling King had plenty veg-friendly items on their menu; we enjoyed vegetable dumplings and potstickers.

Plentea – China Town

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We did end up checking out China Town, however for their boba drinks. Diana, the Boba Queen, discovered this spot and treated us to the yummy beverage. She had Thai Tea with boba, and I had their Ice Milk with brown sugar + boba.

This place was very cute. They serve their drinks in these glass bottles with “Plentea” embossed on the side, which you can take home. It is actually quite amazing. We walked out with nice souvenirs and post-boba smiles.

Gott’s Roadside – Ferry Building

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On our first full day of exploration, 5 PM quickly turned into 9PM as we quickly learned that SF isn’t a 24-hour town. We arrived at the Embarcadero to closed stores and closing restaurants. After a walk-through the Ferry Building, we were losing hope. Then, as we were walking out we came across Gott’s Roadside. Your typical casual dining joint but with a San Franciscan touch.

I loved every bit of its ambience, from the neon letters spelling ‘EAT’ to the industrial-style lighting fixtures. I was thrilled to see they had a veggie burger as I was craving one, but mostly a side of fries. Happy to say that we didn’t go to bed starving that night.

Café UB – Castro District

Café UB was another @breakfastinsf recommendation, and it brought us to this cute little café near Dolores Park. I had a veggie breakfast sandwich and English breakfast tea.

I’m gutted to say that my photo proof has been lost in the digital space, but thankfully I traveled with a fellow blogger. Check out Diana’s post for another take on San Francisco dining and let her know I sent you!

Foodies in San Francisco

I’ve mentioned this already, but I am following a more plant-based diet. I have only recently switched over to this vegetarian (technically pescatarian) diet, and with that comes new challenges. Traveling can make it pretty tricky, but it isn’t impossible. I’ve seen it done many times before and I think it just comes down to how much research you’re willing to do.

Thankfully, in all the hustle-and-bustle of San Francisco, eateries are realising the demand for good vegetarian food. It is, after all, a foodie paradise. But honestly, if I can recommend anything, it’s to do your homework and research ahead. Google is your friend! As am I (and this blog!)

If you’re heading out to San Francisco anytime soon, I do hope you check out these places!



Eating Vegan at Disneyland

Let it be noted that I am not vegan, however I do make an effort to eat a majority plant-based diet. It is a lifestyle change that I have recently become very passionate about, but I can elaborate on that at a future date. I have found that when eating out, there are more vegetarian options than there are vegan. It can get discouraging at times, especially if you’re just getting used to the lifestyle. But rest assured, the world is changing and more plant-based options, in general, are becoming available. One place where this is evident is the Happiest Place on Earth aka Disneyland!!!

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On my most recent trip to Disney, I made it my personal mission to eat all the vegan-friendly nosh I could in a day. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been eating less and less animal products, so most of these foods I’d eat anyways during each visit to Disneyland over this past year. But I did some further research to see what exactly the vegan-friendly options were, and this blogpost is the result.

Garden Vegetable Burger – Village Haus Restaurant in Fantasyland

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Order the veggie burger with no cheese at the Village Haus with a side of fries (or fruit, if you want to be extra good). Disneyland fries are definitely in my top favorites.

NOTE: The patty contains egg whites, so it is vegetarian and unfortunately not vegan. Check out the Carnation Café on Main Street USA for the true vegan burger!

Dole Whip – Tiki Juice Bar in Adventureland

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Oh, the glorious Dole Whip – my go-to sweet treat on a hot day, and colder day for that matter. I always get the pineapple soft-serve and savor every bite before it melts. My sister and I added Tajín to our Dole Whips, and it was the probably the best decision we made that entire day. Find the Tajín packets at the Tropical Import Stand by the Jungle Cruise.

Outback Vegetable Skewer – Bengal Barbecue in Adventureland

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I saw a group of people walking out of Adventureland with quite a colorful BBQ skewer and I was intent on trying one for myself. Ask them to cook yours on tin foil, as they are cooked on the same grill as the meat skewers.

Chili Sin Queso – Cozy Cone Motel in Cars Land

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Order the Chili Cone Queso and ask to omit the cheese for this tasty (and portable) snack. They top it off with corn chips for the perfect crunch.

Olaf Lemonade Strawberry Bar – Ice Cream carts

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This day was particularly warm due to its humidity, so in efforts to cool down, I got this lemonade popsicle with actual frozen strawberries.

Vegetarian Gumbo – Royal Street Veranda in New Orleans Square

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Get the Vegetarian Gumbo served in a Sourdough bread boule when you want something of substance.

Other Vegan Disneyland Options

Vegan mini Mickey Waffles – Plaza Inn in Main Street USA

Vegetarian options without the cheese – Rancho del Zocalo Restaurant in Frontierland

Pickles, fruit cups, hummus – all the snack stands throughout both parks

Vegan Pasta – Carthay Circle Restaurant on Buena Vista Street

Vegetable and Tofu Skewer – Paradise Garden Grill on Paradise Pier

 

Links:

http://disneylandnews.com/fact-sheets/2015/04/30/vegetarian-and-vegan-food-options-at-disneyland-resort-fact-sheet/

http://www.vegancowgirl.com/blog/vegan-cowgirl-does-disneyland

http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Vegan-Foods-Disneyland-37223017