coffee

Dunkin’ Donuts

Everyone in SoCal has been going a little too cray, cray about Dunkin’ Donuts now that it’s finally here! My friends and I went to Whittier to check out what Dunkin’ Donuts is all about since it’s so popular in the east coast.

Not only do they sell donuts and coffee, but they also have breakfast sandwiches! Since it was a little after lunch, I just got myself an iced vanilla coffee and a blueberry donut. I had to get the blueberry donut so I could compare it to other blueberry donuts I’ve tried before.

The iced vanilla coffee was made exactly the way I like it! There was no addition of sugar or cream. It was just the coffee and the vanilla sweetener for a little less than $2. It’s more on the sweeter end for a vanilla coffee compared to Starbucks or Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

The donut wasn’t too exciting, unfortunately. The blueberry flavor was light that you could barely taste it. The donut was like any other typical blueberry donut. They were nothing like the duffins aka blueberry donuts that are like muffins from M & M Donuts. Apparently, the donuts from Dunkin’ Donuts are not anything too special.

I guess I’m not too surprised that it’s a-ok here because Yelp gives them 3 stars with only 60 reviews.

Aside from the coffee and donut, the interior layout had a modern taste to it. They made it comfortable enough for customers to hang out in the area. So comfortable that I made a new friend! This little girl kept looking at me whenever I turned around. She was quite an entertainment as my friends and I were hanging out!

Thanks Stanley for treating us all out! It was good seeing the Lee Family out with us spontaneously!

 

 

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Bellingham, Washington – Part 3

Eat Pray Love Journey – Day 5 – Bellingham, Washington – Part 3

What I love about Bellingham is how there are so many different characteristics to it. There’s the old town and downtown sceneries but the best part is how in the midst of that there are so many spots to simply breathe the clean and fresh air while you’re standing in the forest!

We grabbed a drink from one of Christian’s favorite coffee shop called The Woods Coffee on Bay View Drive. Yelp gives them 4 stars for all of their locations in Washington. I loved the location we were at because we were able to see a clear view of the water from the inside.

They’re known for their cold brew coffee. I got their seasonal apple cider which made feel like I was fully experiencing the festivities of the fall and winter season.

Right by the coffee shop there was a boardwalk! It was so nice to sip my apple cider while enjoying the view of the water and feeling the cold breeze!

Afterwards, Christian took me to a place where he and his friends would hang out during the summer. The parking area was so hidden on the side of the road that we missed it! It looked like we were going to an undiscovered area that seemed illegal to enter but luckily there was a sign that said Teddy Bear Cove where it made it official and safe to walk around.

There was a long trail that went down to the forest. It really felt like I was in the middle of nowhere.

At bottom, we crossed over the train tracks to see the water.

We were trying to look for some mermaids but none showed up at the hour. So we took another trail nearby that led us to a cliff for a better view of mermaids. Again, we saw no mermaids but it was a peaceful view of the water.

We walked so much that we were pretty tired and needed to rest somewhere. So we went over to Pure Bliss Desserts. Ok, I know what you’re thinking right now. “What? She’s getting dessert after a long walk in the forest?” Mhm. That sure did happen.

On Yelp, this sweet spot has 4.5 stars with 47 reviews. We got there at a perfect day and time where we were able to get a happy hour deal! Because it was Monday, we got a dollar off on a slice of cake. We shared the last slice of the Almond Mocha cake for $5.

The chocolate and vanilla cake texture had just the right amount of moisture to it. The frosting is what carried the Almond Mocha flavor. It wasn’t too heavy or too thick. The cake overall had a good balance of everything. I definitely recommend you sharing this slice of cake. I mean, if you have a huge sweet tooth, maybe treat yourself to a whole slice.

Finally, to end the day I got a tour of Western Washington University and had dinner from their dining hall! This school is fortunate to have nature right next door!

Thank you so much Christian for a scenic tour of Bellingham! I miss seeing trees and breathing the cold crisp air! Thanks so much for showing me around in Washington and Canada! I can’t wait to come back here and hopefully show others the beauty of Bellingham!

The Bay

Eat Pray Love Journey – The Bay – Day 2

For my time in the Bay area, I actually did not plan anything. The only plan was to just go with the flow! I just wanted to hang out with the people there. It’s the people who make NorCal homey.

The first activity we did in the morning was to go hike! Michelle, Yesie, and I drove over to the Almaden Quicksilver Park in San Jose. Yelp gives this park 4.5 stars with 133 reviews!

We started the hike a little late in the morning since we slept in. The hike was tough with the heat creeping in but those uphills made the hike more of a challenge.

I thought those uphills were never going to end but the beautiful view on the way up was never ending!

The view of the fields, clear sky, and trees reminded me of Lion King. Specifically, the first 20 seconds from the clip below:

I should have played The Circle of Life song while I was hiking. I’ll have to do that next time! So after forty minutes of hiking uphill with the scenic view of mother nature, the hike started to get easier. We finished within an hour and fifteen minutes of hiking around this park! We made it alive!

For lunch we headed over to Ike’s, a popular sandwich shop in the Bay area. There, Yesie and I met up with Pastor Sam and his wife for a mini reunion!

Yelp reviews give all Ike’s locations a 4 star! That shows you how good this place is! For sunny SoCal residents, there is one that just opened up in LA!

They have all kinds of unique sandwiches on their menu and they all sound good! I got The 49er which had buffalo wings sauce, cheddar, halal chicken, and honey mustard! I would definitely not mind getting this again!

Isn’t that a beautiful sammich? I wish you could take a bite of this right now because the spread and the halal chicken went perfectly together! This was one thick halal chicken sandwich with a juicy spread! I was so full from one half of the sandwich that I had to save the other half for dinner.

Because we ate so much, the four of us walked around downtown San Jose for a little bit. Then Yesie and I headed over to Santana Row. This a fancy outdoorsy mall in San Jose. I would compare this place to The Grove or The Americana at Brand in LA or Fashion Island in Orange County. There are a bunch of stores and restaurants to check out, and spots to just sit down and relax!

Yesie and I had some real talk here as we waited for more of our friends to join us. I’m always encouraged when I talk to Yesie. She has an optimistic view in life that can easily bring anyone up!

Michelle and Grace joined us for dinner! We all went over to Pluto’s in Santana Row. It’s a make-your-own salad kind of restaurant that is only found in NorCal. For SoCal residents, I’d compare this place to Tender Greens. I didn’t get a plate of salad because I still had my other half from Ike’s but I just got a small plate of vegetables. It’s always good to have some greens in you!

Majority of the different Pluto’s location have 4 stars on Yelp. The one in particular we went to had 3.5 stars with more than 900 Yelp reviews. If you’re craving something clean, this is definitely the right restaurant to check out! Everything is made fresh right in front of you!

Connie joined us in the middle of dinner. It got merrier once she arrived!

The five us here have known each other since 2007! Seven years later, we are big kids who are still able to come together and pick up where we left off!

After a healthy dinner at Pluto’s, we went over to Peet’s for a warm drink on a cold night! Stacy was able to finally join us there! It was more time of fellowship with these girls where we encouraged each other, laughed, and helped Stacy use Instagram on her new iPhone 6!

We ended our night here with a prayer of gratitude and joyfulness! Many thanks to many friends who came out to eat and hang out with me! Thank you to Pastor Sam & Yehee SMN for providing lunch and challenging my faith at Ike’s! Thanks Grace for coming out after work! I’m glad that we were able to have a quick catch up session! Connie! It was good seeing you even for an hour! Thanks for making time for me even for a little bit! Michelle, I’m thankful that you were able to take time off and play with me! Again, thank you so much for picking me up from Millbrae! Stacy, I didn’t think I was going to see you because of your work situation but I’m so glad that we were able to spend the night together! And Yesie, my Yesie! I’m sorry you were stuck with me all day and night but I learned so much from you in such a short amount of time spent with you. Thank you again for opening up your house as always!

 

Happy Birthday to Me!

Woah. I. Am. 25. Years. Old. Can you believe it? I never thought this day would come. I remember turning 18 and thought that would never happen. Same with turning 21. Turning 18 and 21 are pretty significant turning points in life. Some may think turning 25 isn’t anything too special but rather depressing. I remember reading someone’s Facebook status that said, “I turned 25. What am I supposed to do? Rent a car?” Somehow that status stuck with me until I turned 25 recently. I knew that I was going to rent a car once I turned 25. Not just any car but a convertible Mustang GT for the day!

I don’t know what it is about that Mustang but it’s just a fun car to look at and drive especially with the top down in SoCal! So on my birthday, I didn’t even sleep in. I actually lost some sleep the night before because I was FaceTiming with Briana for almost an hour and a half! She was the first one to wish me a happy birthday! Thanks girl!

The picture above looks like we were having a virtual sleepover! Sorry the picture is so big but I just don’t want you to forget how she looks like since she’s one of my close friends!

I wanted to take advantage of driving my Mustang all day so I picked it up at 8 AM. On my birthday, I like to treat my mom out. I started doing this since college when a friend suggested that I buy flowers for my mom on my birthday. It’s nice to always give back to someone who always gives like my mom.


In the morning, I took my mom to a hipster coffee shop hidden in Dana Point called JC Beans Coffee HouseYelp gives this coffee shop 4.5 stars with 191 reviews. What’s so popular about this place is how cozy and friendly it is with the service and ambiance. There can be a long wait in the drive thru lanee but I say it’s best to sit down inside and sip your coffee!

JC Beans Coffee House is small but I love the layout of it. There are books on the shelves that you can check out but also purchase!

You can also sit outside which my mom and I did as we were sipping on our drinks. I was working on my blog as she was browsing the web on her iPad. She got a cup of coffee and I got a Vanilla Chai Latte. We both shared a pastry and with those 3 items together, the total was around $10-$12. It’s a little more on the pricey end but worth the ambiance and the taste.


My mom was pretty impressed how I took a picture of my drink and the pastry. Looks hip, right?

After an hour or so, we decided to get back on the road and make use of my Mustang. We drove down on PCH with the top down and made a stop at Laguna Beach. We took some pictures and walked around. I really don’t know where we were exactly in Laguna Beach but we found a good spot to hang out!


It was such a beautiful day. The sun was shining, there was a breeze from the waves, and it was my birthday! Perfect day.

The view was so breathtaking that I really felt like I could just sit there and enjoy the beach as a living.

My mom took a candid picture of me that I thought looked pretty nice! Go mom!

By afternoon, my mom and I grabbed lunch with my sister at Panini Cafe in Corona Del Mar, right on PCH. Panini Cafe is a Greek, Italian, and Mediterranean kind of a restaurant.  They are located in eight different cities within Orange County and LA County. So you can’t miss one! The one we went to currently has 4 out of 5 stars with 289 reviews on Yelp.

We first ordered the Hummus Trio as an appetizer for $8.95. This large plate of hummus had the traditional garbanzo, black bean, and edmame hummus. The pita bread and the three different kinds of hummus easily filled us up!

After all that hummus, I got myself a healthy Mediterranean Greek Salad that was mixed with onions, Roma Tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, feta cheese in balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

This beautiful green mountain made me feel clean! Actually, there may have been a tad bit too much dressing but overall, I enjoyed the various fresh vegetables mixed together for $8.95.

Beware that if you go to Panini Cafe on PCH in the afternoon, get there a little early because parking might be a little tough to find and it can get packed in the restaurant. Due to the busyness of the restaurant, there was a lack of quality customer service. I wasn’t too upset about it because I didn’t want to let that ruin my birthday lunch! Luckily, there was dinner to make up for it.

We headed back home in my Mustang, of course. I relaxed for a little bit at home and started to get ready for dinner at Laguna Beach with some friends! I curled my hair, did my make up, and slipped on my pink floral dress from Zara. The best part about this dress was that I bought it for only $10! I’m pretty sure it was originally priced at least $80 or so. Pretty good stinkin’ deal, right? It was my first time ever wearing it since I bought a little more than a year ago and I just had to save it for a perfect occasion like this!

So Cindy and Elaine came over to carpool to K’ya Bistro that is located on PCH.

Huge thanks to them for letting me put the top down and have their hair-do get a little messy. I say it was worth the mess!

I decided to have dinner at K’ya Bistro because it was on PCH. Again, I just had to take advantage of my Mustang by driving up and down PCH since it’s a perfect road to have the top down. I also just wanted to have dinner somewhere new and different. So I found this restaurant just from Yelping around and read great reviews about it. Yelp shows a solid 4 out of 5 stars with almost 700 reviews!

Right when you enter the restaurant, there’s a bar where you can order some drinks while waiting to be seated.

They’re known for their tapas of American and Mediterranean food. We all shared a little bit of everything. We started out with some Truffle-Parmesian Fries and Spiced Sweet Potato Fries at $5.50 each. They were pretty addicting to eat, so be careful!

I ordered one of their popular items, Lobster Mac and Cheese. They really knew how to stuff that Mac and Cheese with lobster! It was everything that I imagined it to be like. The Mac and Cheese had the perfect homemade texture and cheesiness to it. The lobster was melted smoothly with the whole Mac and Cheese.

Unfortunately, I have no pictures of what I ate there because I was too distracted talking to my friends at dinner. I definitely have to come back here again and get that Lobster Mac and Cheese and take a picture of it! As for now, enjoy the pictures of my beautiful friends!

Whatever item you get on the menu, I’m sure that you’ll enjoy it a lot as my friends did. We all liked we got whether it was the salad, fries, empanadas, or any other tapas.

Thank you everyone for celebrating my 25th birthday with me! I’m excited to see what this new age has in stored!

Spontaneous Road Trip: Day 1

For a few months, Kat and I were talking about exploring and traveling for a few days. We thought about setting time aside to go to the airport and buy the cheapest flight. Somehow that didn’t work out. We then decided on Antelope Canyon in Arizona. That didn’t work out either. Then, finally we decided to go somewhere a little more local, Santa Barbara. The day before our adventure began, we met up to figure out our plans. We looked at hotels, motels, Couch Surfing, and activities in Santa Barbara. Our research wasn’t very successful since it was all last minute. We decided that we would just figure out then and there by downloading traveling apps on our phone. All we knew was that we were going to first stop at State Street because it has seven miles of stores and restaurants to check out!

Next day, we met up at 9AM, picked up some snacks, and were off to Santa Barbara!

It took us about 2.5 hours to get there which wasn’t too bad. The drive there was so scenic and beautiful especially because of the ocean!

Once we found a parking spot on State Street, we were off to the beginning of our seven mile shopping journey.

We first grabbed some food at Savoy Cafe & Deli which had positive reviews on Yelp. It showed 4 stars with 162 reviews. There was so much on the menu and on top of that, there was a salad bar!

I decided to get their popular Turkey Fritter that has been on TV before thanks to Guy Fieri from Food Network.

Kat and I both got the same thing, the turkey Fritter.

It reminded me of the savory Korean pancakes called buchimgae or neon. The fritter had a homey taste to it with the fried batter mixed with turkey and vegetables.

When I’m traveling, I tend to my lose my appetite easily for some odd reasons. So this fritter filled me up perfectly!

Afterwards, we walked over to The French Press to get some coffee for a tiny boost of energy. This coffee shop is pretty small but has a nice feel to it because of the hospitable customer service.

So I got a small Iced Vanilla Latte for $4 or $5. It was a little expensive for me but when you go to a hipster coffee shop like this, lattes are a little more expensive than your normal Starbucks.

We sat outside and relaxed a little bit before actually beginning our shopping excursion.

Actually, we found a historical courthouse nearby that we went to check out. It was so beautiful because of the architecture and the paintings all over. Though it may seem like a museum because the artwork and the many tourists inside, it’s still an actual courthouse!

Can you tell what the picture below is?

It’s a spiraling staircase! I’m in the middle of the spiral where it’s just hallow and took a picture looking up! Pretty cool, huh?

We found a courtroom that is more used as a display for historical reasons. There was a window that was perfect for a dramatic scene in a Korean drama. So Kat graciously took a picture of me in a pensive state as if I’m looking out the window to find the love of my life.

This window was awesome because it had natural sunlight just beaming into the dark courtroom. It was almost breathtaking to see such powerful rays coming into the room.

The courthouse is two or three stories high. On our way to the top, we found this tiled seating area that perfectly matched Kat’s outfit!

We got to the top and was able to see a good view of Santa Barbara.

While we were hanging out at the top floor, we wanted to take a picture. I asked a fellow stranger to take a picture of me and Kat. He respectfully responded with a yes. I thanked him and decided to start up a conversation with him since I enjoy meeting new people! So I asked where he’s from. He said South Korea and I excitedly responded, “I’m Korean!” With a little confused look, he said “Really?” I said yes and said hi to him in Korean. Still in disbelief that I was Korean, he continued to speak in his broken English to me and Kat. I don’t think he believed that I was Korean at all. Oh well but thank you stranger for taking a picture of us!

Afterwards, we finally went shopping. We both got something from Gap because they were having a 40% off sale! On State Street, there’s a lot of stores you’ll recognize from your usual malls but there’s also mom and pop shops where they sell little trinkets and such.

We were pretty tired from walking around for several hours. We sat down for a little bit and tried to figure out the rest of our plans for the day. By this time it was around 5PM and we still didn’t know where we were going to spend the night. I suggested to Kat that we should go to NorCal since we were only 4 hours away. My friend, Aaron, actually suggested it to me before I went on the road trip. He advised that I should maximize my time while I’m traveling since Santa Barbara is pretty close to San Jose and San Francisco. So I brought it up to Kat and she was down to go up north!

I started calling all of my friends (Stacy, Yesie, JennJi, Michelle, P.Sam) in the San Jose area and no one picked up! I told Kat, “Ok, we should just drive up even though no one picked up. Someone is bound to call us by the time we start driving.” So we got to our car and then miraculously Stacy called me back! We asked if we could stay at her place and she said yes without hesitating! We told her that we would see her in 4 or 5 hours.

We went to a Mexican restaurant to grab dinner but noticed it was too expensive so we walked across the street and went to a small burger joint called Chubbies Hamburgers. Cute name, huh? It was pretty cheap and good. I wasn’t expecting anything too fancy. My cheeseburger filled me up and I was content with that!

Once we had our Chubbies cheeseburger, we were off to a San Jose. We only made one stop because we had to take pictures of the open field.

Of course, we took a selfie by the 101 sign before getting back on the road!

We got to San Jose close to midnight! Praise God that the whole drive up north was a safe one and we were able to keep each other awake!

Delifornia

When I first heard of Delifornia on Twitter, I started singing the theme song from that show called The O.C. Not familiar with what I’m talking about? Maybe if you listen to it here:

So I would sing the chorus but replaced California with Delifornia.

“Deliforniaaa! Here we comeee!” The song really got me excited about Delifornia!

Delifornia is located in Center Street Anaheim which is in downtown Anaheim. I didn’t even know there was a downtown Anaheim until I went to Delifornia! I would say this place is like The OC Mix but the north Orange County version. It’s got that hipster vibe to it.

The Good Food Hall has a few places to check out such as Cervantes Mexican Kitchen and The Healthy Junk.

Then there is Delifornia.

It’s one darn cute little sammich shop, right? I came here with Diane and she first ordered a hipster drink called Curiosity Cola.

She also ordered one of their popular sandwiches, Roasted Turkey. It had green apple, cranberries, warm brie, avocado, caramelized onions, roasted aioli for 9 bucks.

I ordered the Knuckle Sandwich which had roast beef, horseradish cream, onion and cheddar for 9 bucks also.

The Knuckle Sandwich was simple but I was actually not too fond of it mainly because of the horseradish spread. It was so strong in flavor that my nose felt all tingly. On top of that, the onions were raw and too crunchy for me. With two potent ingredients combined, I almost thought I wasn’t going to survive. Luckily, I had some coleslaw and a pickle on the side as a light pallet cleanser. I was only able to finish one half of the sandwich because I just couldn’t handle the spread and the onions any longer.

Diane was very much pleased with hers and I would have been too since there was avocado! Avocado makes everything better. It just solves all problems.

I wanted to bring some Delifornia home because I knew it was good except for what I ordered. So I got Roasted Turkey to share with my sister. Once I got home, I had a bite of it and fell in love. It was exactly how I imagined Delifornia to taste.

I would definitely want to come back here to have the full experience of sitting in that hipster hall while eating a good sandwich like the Roasted Turkey. Then walk around downtown and stop by a hipster coffee house called Ink & Bean. They have Stumptown Coffee and pastries from Blackmarket Bakery. Two well known coffee and pastry shops under one roof? I’m sure it’s a great place to check out as Yelp confirms it! If you’ve never been to Blackmarket Bakery, check out my post here when I went.

Diane, I’m glad we got to finally hang out after trying to plan for a month or two! Let’s step up our foodie game and go to LA next time!

Euro Caffe

I finally got the chance to hit up Euro Caffe in Santa Ana with Linda, Stacy, and Josephine. I’ve been meaning to check this place out for the longest time! I had high expectations about this place because of what people were saying about it and of course because of Yelp. It showed a solid 4 out of 5 stars with more than 250 reviews.

I ordered one of their popular drinks, Spaniard Latte. When I learned that there was a Spaniard Latte, I got really excited because I was reminded of Urth Caffe’s Spaniard Latte which is AWESOME. There’s a light roasty kick to the latte that I like.

The artwork of the Spaniard Latte at Euro Caffe was beautiful! They definitely gave me a lot for a small size. I was surprised that it was drizzled with honey, but I thought to myself ‘Hey that is somewhat different than your usual latte’. When I had a sip of it, there was that Spaniard kick, but the honey did not conclude the taste very well.

I was hoping that the honey would have a subtle taste and blend well with the latte itself. Unfortunately, the honey seemed too heavy and sweet that it overpowered the whole Spaniard Latte experience. I thought I was judging too soon about it, but I wasn’t. At one point, I had to scoop out the honey.

I do love honey though! It never does any wrong to me but somehow, honey and I just did not work out that day.

Aside from the latte, my friends and I ordered a brownie, chocolate chip cookie, and the Greek Goddess crepe. There wasn’t anything too special about the brownie or the chocolate chip cookie. So I would suggest you to not order either of those.

A beautiful dessert presentation can be so deceiving unfortunately. At least it looked good and tasted alright. I think the looks made up for the lack of flavor.

The Greek Goddess crepe was probably the best item that was on our table. It was filled with nutella, strawberries, bananas, and honey. You can’t go wrong with nutella ever!

Our gathering at Euro Caffe was a major overload on sweets that day. Even though the latte didn’t meet my expectations, I wouldn’t mind coming back and trying out their Nutella Latte since it’s another popular drink. I am a little hesitant to go back to Euro Caffe in general because of that Spaniard Latte. But! If I’m with a friend who decides that they want go to Euro Caffe, I would be a tad bit inclined to go and give them a second chance.

Thank you friends for checking out Euro Caffe with me! I’m thankful that we were able to walk off all those sweets by shopping around!