Food Adventure #9

Union Pasadena

Union Restaurant is a small Italian place in the Old Pasadena area. Located in the backstreets, it’s tucked away amongst lots of other eateries. I had heard about this place and their food before, and knew immediately I had to go. While trying to make reservations, we found that Union is really popular and fills up fast. We ended up making our booking nearly two weeks in advance to get a table at a time we wanted. Pulling up to the restaurant, there were no big signs, but a small chalkboard next to the doors that read “Union”. The hostess was standing right by the door, and quickly walked us to our table, swerving through the tightly packed tables. Most of the tables were for parties of two, with a few tables for four. Dim light hung from the ceiling, suspended by steel rods. Next to the bar counter was a huge blackboard filled with information, all written in calligraphy looking font. On one side, they had their farmers market schedule, listing where they get their produce on each day of the week. The other side of the board was filled with Italian ingredients used in their dishes, along with an explanation of what they were.

After being seated, our waitress brought us the menus and explained what the special of the day was. The menu had four sections, “Start, Field, Pasta and Main”. At the bottom of the menu was a list of the kitchen staff. Reading through the menu, I was overwhelmed at the all the unique dishes. They had a salad made of broccoli sprouts, a homemade cheese dish with garlic and bread, and a cavatelli pasta with wild boar. After spending about 10 minutes racking our brains about what to order, we finally decided. I ordered the bread with house made cultured butter and sea salt to start and the squid ink Lumache with Maine lobster, fennel, lemon and truffle butter. My two friends each ordered the duck confit with charred treviso pickled currants and grapefruit, the smoked stracciatella ravioli with tomato orange fondue, whey and basil, and the special of the day which was a roast pork. They brought out the bread and duck confit after only 5 minutes. The bread was served on a thick board with a bowl of spiced pickles in the middle. The bread was fresh and warm, and the butter was amazingly soft and creamy. After devouring our starters, we waited for our mains which came out about 15 minutes after. I had heard about their squid ink Lumache for a long time and was so excited to try it. It came served in a deep white dish, and the little jewels of lobster popped out from the deep black color of the pasta. As soon as the plate touched the table, the fragrance of truffle and squid ink immediately hit my face. I was expecting the sauce to be a little thicker and creamier, but it was just a light coating of the truffle butter based sauce. The first bite I took was everything and more I had imagined it to be. Being a huge fan of squid ink, I had tried lot’s of foods with it before, pasta, break, risotto, and while I always love it, the taste of squid ink is not usually really strong. However in this pasta, the flavor of the squid ink was extremely strong. The little pieces of fennel were just cooked, adding a bit of crunch to the dish, and the lobster was perfectly poached and tossed in the butter. The Meyer lemon cut through the decadence of the dish and tied it all together. It was one of the best pasta dishes I’ve ever had.

After finishing our mains, we sat there content and full, ready to pay and leave. But before we could, the waitress brought us the dessert menu, and I was swayed to order the olive oil cake to share with my friend. It was served with two candied orange slices on top and a dish of vanilla creme anglaise to pour over. The slice of cake was warm and toasted on the outside, but unbelievable moist on the inside. We polished off the dessert, paid and left the restaurant extremely full, but extremely happy and satisfied. Our experience at Union was amazing, and though it was a bit expensive, it was worth every penny. If you check out Union, let me me know what you think in the comments below!

 

Top 10 Places to Eat in Singapore

Heading to Singapore soon? Looking for places to eat? Don’t worry, I got you covered. Today I’m going to share my top 10 places to eat in Singapore! Looking for more than food, check out my Mega Guide to Singapore linked down below. Happy eating!

1. Kaya Toast- One of Singapore’s most iconic foods, kaya toast stores can be found all around the city making for an easy, inexpensive and delicious breakfast before a day out on the town.

Website: http://yakun.com/

Address: All around the city

Pricing: $

2. P.S. Cafe- One of our go-to brunch spots, PS Cafe has a huge variety of western and Asian brunch and dinner options. A few of my favorites are the king prawn spaghetti, the turkey cranberry sandwich and their famous truffle fries (a huge plate, so make sure to share!). While they have a few locations around the country, the one at Palais Renaissance has the most chill and down-to-earth atmosphere.

Website: https://www.pscafe.com/pscafe-at-palais-renaissance/

Address: 390 Orchard Road, Palais Renaissance, Singapore 238871

Pricing: $$

3. Crystal Jade Palace- There’s lot’s of options for dim sum all over, but one of my favorites is Crystal Jade Palace for Sunday lunch. The food is super flavorful and authentic with a huge variety of dishes.  Some favorites are the stir fried carrot cake with XO sauce, Teochew dumplings and deep fried yam puffs.

Website: https://www.crystaljade.com/palace/

Address: 391 Orchard Road, #04-19, Takashimaya Shopping Centre, Singapore, Singapore 238872

Pricing: $$

4. Dallas Restaurants & Bar- I found this place when I was out with some friends last month, and it’s my new favorite bar. The drinks are $14 during regular hours, and $12 during happy hour (and they’re generous servings). To top it off, the bar has a beautiful view of the business district (located at the Marina Bar Sands along the water), and the lights of the city are beautiful at night.

Website: http://www.dallas.sg/

Address:2 Bayfront Ave, #01-85, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore 018972

Pricing: $ (as far as drinks go)

5. db Bistro- We’ve been to this restaurant at the Marina Bay Sands twice now, and it was amazing both times. The cured tuna sandwich and the moules frites were some of our favorites. It’s on the pricier side, but generous servings and perfect for a nicer lunch or dinner out.

Website: https://www.dbbistro.com/singapore/

Address: 2 Bayfront Avenue, B1-48, Galleria Level, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore 018956

Pricing: $$$

6. Coffee Academics- Another favorite brunch spot, right in downtown Orchard. It’s a huge space with lots of different tables and seating, so it works for groups of any size. Some of my favorites are the acai bowl and the mac&cheese. The coffee is super good as well!

Website: https://www.the-coffeeacademics.com/

Address: Scotts Square, #02-01/02, Scotts Square,, 6 Scotts Road, Singapore 228209

Pricing: $$

7. Wine Connection- A family favorite for dinner. Their variety of cheeses and wine is incredible, and they’re all amazing. We love doing cheese board so we get to choose the cheeses and meats we want. The salad and tartines are also so good. Some of our favorites are the comte cheese, the cheese and mushroom and pan con tomate tartines and all the salads.

Website: https://www.wineconnection.com.sg/

Address: 11 Unity Street, #01-19/20 , Robertson Walk, Singapore 237995

Pricing: $$ (without wine), $$$ (with wine)

8. Imperial Treasure Steamboat- This place has quickly become one of our favorites, a place we bring all our guests and visitors too. The soup is a pork bone base, and adding all of the meat, dumplings and veggies  makes it delicious. But the best part is the tray of 16 different condiments (including chili, garlic, spring onions, sesame sauce, peanut sauce and so much more) to make the dipping sauce.

Website: http://www.imperialtreasure.com/restaurant/Imperial%20Treasure%20Steamboat%20Restaurant-10

Address: 2 Orchard Turn, #04-09/10 Ion Orchard, Singapore 238801

Pricing: $$

9. Ka Soh- This place in the business district of Singapore is known for it’s fish bee hoon (I personally am not a huge fan), but all of their other food is just as worthy of being known. There’s nothing fancy about it, just hearty, down-to-earth Singapore food with Taiwanese influence. The stir-fried kway teow was SO good, we’ve been back a few times already and love it every time. There are a few funky bars on the same road, and it’s just a 10 minute walk from Clarke Quay so it’s perfect for a night out.

Website: https://ka-soh.com.sg/

Address: 96 Amoy St, Singapore 069916

Pricing: $

10. Lantern- This is definitely not a place I would go all the time (on the pricey side), but for sure on special occasions. The restaurant/bar surrounds a pool and overlooks the Marina Bay Sands, sitting right on the water side. The drinks and the food are both amazing, but pairing that with the beautiful view just puts it over the top.

Website: https://www.fullertonhotels.com/the-fullerton-bay-hotel/lantern-rooftop-bar.html

Address: 80 Collyer Quay, Singapore 049326

Pricing: $$ (food), $$$ (drinks)

‘Mega Guide to Singapore’ Post: https://swimeatlove.com/2017/11/16/top-10-things-to-do-in-singapore/

Food Adventures #7- Back in SG!

JANE- Brunching in LA

If you can’t already tell, there aren’t many things that bring me more joy than finding a REALLY good place to eat. This morning my friends and I were on a hunt for some Sunday morning brunch. We drove by all of our go-to places only to find never ending lines at all of them. After starting to get hangry (you know it’s a real thing), we quickly searched for breakfast places near us and found Jane on York Blvd in LA. Driving past it, we couldn’t even tell it was a restaurant. The cute little yellow house with a sprawling patio (for seating) was packed, but we decided it was still worth the wait. Their menu was full of enticing options, including different kinds of omelettes, sandwiches and salads. My two friends decided on the breakfast quesadilla with a side of morning potatoes and Arnold Palmers, and I ordered the breakfast sandwich with a vanilla cold brew. Once we ordered we went out to the patio to grab a table in the sun. The purple flowers and little garden just made everything that much more aesthetic (because do it for the insta, right?). Jane was packed with groups of friends, families and couples with their dogs (so cute!!) and was the perfect atmosphere for a low-key Sunday brunch. At around $15 each, we all agreed that Jane is a new go-to and favorite. The portions were extremely generous and the food was delicious. I highly recommend Jane if you are in the LA area and looking for a really yummy brunch! If you try it out, let me know in the comments below.

Website: http://www.janeonyork.com/

Address: 5830 York Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90042

Phone: (323) 675-1093

Price: $$

Food Adventures #6

Got my Singaporean fix from QQ Kopitiam in Pasadena. The Laksa was super authentic and delicious, just like it would be at home! It was a really generous serving for a super reasonable price (two main dishes and one bubble tea was $21 with tax).

Website: https://www.yelp.com/biz/qq-kopitiam-pasadena

Pricing: $

I know I may be a little late to hop on the bandwagon, but I am beyond obsessed with Halo Top. For those of you who don’t know what it is, Halo Top is an extremely low calorie, high protein ice cream (not that you can tell, it’s amazing!). The calories range from 240-360 calories depending on the flavor, so one serving is never more than 90 calories. A few of my favorite flavors are Birthday Cake, Sea Salt Caramel and Mint Chip.

Website: https://www.halotop.com/

Pricing: $4-5

This beautiful spread is from the Granville at the Americana in Glendale. They have a menu full of modern yet homey dishes that are absolutely delicious! This was the bacon & blue burger with a side salad, the Santa Barbara chicken sandwich, a side of sweet potato fries and the uptown mac & cheese. I would also highly recommend the chicken and blue flatbread (not pictures). A perfect stop for lunch or dinner during a day of shopping!

Website: http://www.granvillecafe.com/glendale

Pricing: $$

*As seen on BuzzFeed* Sushi Stop is a super affordable (and yummy) location in Pasadena (they have other locations too). At $3.25 for most of their dishes, it’s hard to spend more than $16 a person (and that’s if you are eating A LOT). Ranging from sashimi sushi to baked rolls to udon and tempura, they have everything you would ever want. To be honest, after eating so mush sushi in Japan, I was a little skeptical of this, but it did not disappoint!

Website: https://sushistop.com/location/sushistop-pasadena/

BuzzFeed: https://www.buzzfeed.com/stevenlim/we-tried-3-sushi-and-250-sushi-to-see-if-its-worth-the-price?utm_term=.roOxJedpE#.wulLQNqV0

Pricing: $

Just throwing this in here because I miss Disneyland. A beautiful mickey mouse-shaped beignet (and some Mint Juleps) from New Orleans Square at Disney.

One of my favorite things about living in LA is finding all the small (what I like to call) hidden gems of the city. Gloria’s Cafe is a small Mexican-inspired breakfast/brunch restaurant tucked away in the back streets of Highland Park. Pictured above is the savory waffle (amazing!) and the breakfast taco. I would also highly recommend their breakfast sandwich which comes on a burger bun with pulled pork and scrambled eggs. For a main dish and (a big a**) iced coffee, I usually pay $14 (including tax and tip).

Website: http://glorias-cafe.com/

Pricing: $$

Where should I go next? Comment your favorite LA spots down below! And if you try one of these places, let me know what you think:)

Avocado Brownies- Recipe

Ingredients:

1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

1 tbsp. coconut oil

1 avocado

1 ripe banana

1/4 cup zero calorie sugar substitute

1 tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 cup flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

Directions:

  1. Melt the dark chocolate chips and coconut oil either in the microwave or over a double boiler. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, smash the avocado and banana. Add the sugar substitute, sugar and vanilla and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the melted chocolate and beat on medium for 1 more minute.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the baking powder, salt, flour and whole wheat flour.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture in three batches while continually beating until fully incorporated.
  5. Pour batter into a lined square tin and bake at 180 c for 22-25 minutes (brownies will be stickier than normal).
  6. Serve warm (maybe even add a little Halo Top ice cream if you’re feeling special:).
Avocado brownies on the bottom (the darker ones) and regular brownies on the top.