TSUJIRI Matcha Tea Desserts

July 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

TSUJIRI float (NT $150)


This company was established in Taiwan last year and currently has three locations listed below. It utilizes matcha (Japanese green tea) in several forms through desserts and drinks. This brand is significantly more expensive than the average price of tea (~NT 30-50), but it’s worth splurging.


I was browsing a food court (located at the basement of every department store) and TSUJIRI immediately drew my attention. A lot of people were waiting in line at a place that seemed to only sell one item, matcha. I was curious. There were a couple of tea shops within a few feet; why were people waiting in this line?

I got the TSUJIRI float with blended macha on the bottom, macha froyo and a scoop of red bean. I know this may not be everyone’s ideal dessert, but it was just what I needed. I understood why people were waiting in line and willing to pay 4x the price of a regular tea. It was delicious, full of flavor without being overly sweet. I can’t wait to go back! 🙂

Interesting facts about matcha (taken from matcha’s wiki page)

pure matcha from site


click to enlarge







Review: YOU BAR

May 27, 2011 § 2 Comments


YOU BAR Review Summary:

Taste: My bar tasted good. It’s hard to complain since I chose the ingredients, but I would have liked more cherries.

Cost: $22 (includes shipping and the Groupon); Roughly $1.69 per bar (normally ~$3.50/bar)

Recommendation: The quality is good. It’s also really cool to choose the ingredients and have your own label. However, without the Groupon, it’s a bit pricey for my liking. If you have the money, you should give it a try!


Earlier this month, there was a deal on Groupon (spend $10 for $25 on the YouBar website). I checked out the site and decided to give it a try.

They provide a wide selection of ingredients and a digital nutrition label on the same page which calculates every item you select. After, you can choose the name of your bar. I couldn’t think of anything more creative than “Sherene’s Bar.”

I ordered rushed shipping and then realized that they were also in Los Angeles. 13 bars arrived in a well cushioned box the next day. I wasn’t in THAT much of a rush, but it’s good to know they care about customer service. (Most people don’t make that a priority.)

Overall it was a good experience. 🙂

Ordering Process and Ingredient Choices:

Seven steps taken directly from the website.

1. Base

Choose one or two
(We recommend selecting dates with any nut butter. The combination makes for a healthy custom energy bar that has excellently balanced nutrition and texture.)

Almond Butter
Cashew Butter – Creamy & Delicious *Most Popular
Organic Dates – Fat-Free & Low Calorie
Organic Peanut Butter
Soynut Butter
Sunflower Seed Butter
YouBar Base – Almond Butter & Organic Dates *Recommended
Special Requests
2. Protein Powders
Choose up to three
(For a nutrition bar packed with more protein select extra protein and/or large bar at the top of the page.)
No Protein
Organic Rice Protein – Great for anyone with a milk or soy sensitivity.
Soy Protein – Perfect for vegans & tastes delicious.
Whey (Milk) Protein – Our most popular; high in calcium; tastes great. *Recommended
Less Protein
Normal Protein
Extra Protein
Special Requests
3. Nuts/Seeds
Choose up to two
(For a nutrition bar high in omega 3 fatty acids we recommend adding organic flaxseeds.)
No Nuts

Almonds *Most Popular
Cashews *Recommended
Chia Seeds
Organic Flaxseeds
Organic Sesame Seeds
Organic Soynuts
Pumpkin Seeds
Sunflower Seeds
Less Nuts
Normal Nuts
Extra Nuts
Special Requests
4. Dried Fruits & Berries
Choose one or two
(Unless otherwise specified, all dried fruits and berries are unsweetened.)

No Fruits or Berries
Cherries *Most Popular
Organic Black Mission Figs
Organic Goji Berries *Recommended
Organic Raisins
Organic Shredded Coconut
Organic Sweetened Cranberries
Sweetened Blueberries
Less Fruit
Normal Fruit
Extra Fruit
Special Requests
5. Sweeteners
Choose up to two
(The addition of a sweetener will ensure a great texture for your protein bar. To keep down the sugar content of your nutrition bar, choose ‘Not Too Sweet’.)

Organic Agave Nectar – The low glycemic choice
Organic Brown Rice Syrup – Great for athletes
Organic Clover Honey – Our most popular sweetener. *Recommended
Not Too Sweet
Normal Sweetness
Very Sweet
Special Requests
6. Seasonings, Chocolate, and other tasty additions
Choose up to four
(Unsweetened cocoa goes perfectly with any custom protein bar.)

No Seasoning
Carob Powder
Chocolate Chips *Most Popular
Coffee Crystals
Natural Unsweetened Cocoa
Organic Cacao Nibs
Organic Ginger
Organic Maca Powder
Vanilla Extract
Special Requests
7. Grains/Cereals
Help Choosing
Choose up to two
(Customize the texture of your custom granola bar with these three great options.)

No Grains/Cereals
Galaxy Granola – For flavorful, light crunchiness
Crunchy Rice Cereal – For crispiness. *Recommended
Oat Bran – For chewiness and high fiber.
Fewer Grains
Average Grains
Extra Grains
Special Requests
8. Infusions
Help Choosing

Choose one item, if desired:
(The All-One Vitamin Infusion is the perfect addition to any nutrition bar to ensure you get the vitamins needed to stay healthy.)

No Infusions
All-One Vitamin Infusion
Fiber Infusion
Greens Infusion (Spirulina)

Special Requests

The Market at Santa Monica Place

May 22, 2011 § 1 Comment

photo taken from the Market site

photo taken from the Market site

The Market at Santa Monica Place had its grand opening yesterday. It’s a collection of artisan, gourmet vendors that sell all types of food items.

Despite having some of the best foods in Los Angeles, this market is the first of its kind. It reminds me of the ferry building market in San Francisco or Vancouver’s Granville Island market.

I’m excited it’s here and I hope it’s successful.

Here are the vendors taken directly from the site. 

Ann Ryan, Beth Stockwell & Deb Kimble

A sweet treat from the streets of Malibu, Beachy Cream brings its retro-chic, organic ice-cream sandwiches to The Market.

Aurélie Vachresse

Made with the highest quality organic ingredients, the Cookie Guru bakes cookies that are crispy, yet chewy and gooey. These gourmet delights are paired with delicious flavored organic milk, which provides a unique twist on a classic pairing.

Christian Toxboe

From Denmark to Venice to Santa Monica comes N’Ice Cream, superior gelato and sorbet made fresh every morning with organic ingredients and fresh seasonal fruits.

Clémence Gossett & Hadley Hughes

The brainchild of a French pastry artist and an accomplished Southern cook, The Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savories offers 3- and 4-hour classes, chef demonstrations, special events, cookbook signings and more.

Hans Röckenwagner

Long-time favorite L.A. baker, Hans Röckenwagner, brings an enticing soufflé bar and a fresh selection of breads, pastries and more to The Market at Röckenwagner Bakery.

Jenny Barker

Join her celebrity clientele and experience a fresh take on floral design, including one-of-a-kind arrangements and fun classes, at Jenny Barker’s Magical Blooms.

Julia Faller

At Benedetta, each holistic skincare formula is made in small batches using certified organic and biodynamic ingredients, many California grown.

Mark Cannon & Elliot Rubin

This market, kitchen and café specializes in artisanal foods and farm-to-table cooking – and the results are always delicious.  The Curious Palate features unusual culinary items from around the world.

Piero Selvaggio & Nico Chessa

Primi Al Mercato offers small plates of unusual and creative pastas and more, made fresh on the spot – to enjoy at The Market or take home – from Valentino’s Piero Selvaggio.

Piero Selvaggio, Cesare Casella & Luciano Pellegrino

Joining Primi Al Mercato, acclaimed Santa Monica-based restauranteur Piero Selvaggio brings a second eatery to The Market called Norcino, meaning “The Butcher.”  The concept combines charcuterie plates with premium cheeses that will be served in a sushi-inspired fashion.

Richard Karno

A Westside favorite, groundwork coffee company brews certified organic, fairly traded, single origin and custom-blended coffees, including Banda Geisha, Black Gold, Bitches Brew and Angel City.

Terry Perretz

Artisan, gourmet chocolates – always handmade by the company’s French chocolatier – star in L’Artisan du Chocolat’s new location at The Market.

Tracy Hof, Molly Brink & Susan Brink

Experience this hip and eclectic wine shop and also discover unusual, beautifully packaged gifts. A tasting room adds to the excitement of this new location of the West Hollywood favorite, Venokado.

Tofu Pudding (dou hua)

May 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

dou hua from V.P. Tofu

When I tell people I’m vegetarian, one question always follows. What do you eat, tofu?

Why is tofu always the enemy? Tofu’s been nothing but amazing to me. I’ve had it in countless dishes- sautéed, fried, boiled, steamed, salty, sweet and spicy. It never disappoints.

A few years ago, V.P. Tofu opened in Monterey Park, Los Angeles. They make fresh tofu (medium, firm, fried) and soy milk (sweetened and unsweetened) daily. When I’m in the area, I go for the tofu pudding (dou hua). They sell 12 ounces for only $1.25.

Video shows you how much of a pain it is to make fresh soy milk and tofu. The music doesn’t help.

Dou hua is an Asian tofu dessert. It has a smooth silky texture and melts in your mouth. Traditionally, it’s served hot with a sweet ginger syrup. Typically, you can find this prepackaged in Asian supermarkets with the tofu and syrup separated or at dim sum restaurants.

One variation that you can’t find in the markets is the pandan flavored dou hua. V.P. only makes this on weekends. Pandan is a a green plant that has a distinct yet subtle flavor. The green color and flavor is found in Southeast Asian desserts and is often paired with coconut.

pandan flavored dou hua with coconut milk

If you are near a Chinatown or in the Los Angeles area, I suggest giving dou hua a chance. It’s good to try it and even better to try it fresh!

I don’t recommend following these instructions. Another How To link. I can guarantee that you will not enjoy dou hua. If you don’t have an Asian market near you, please wait till you (1) go to Asia or (2) go to a city that has dou hua available.

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