Costa Mesa

Old Vine Cafe

Though I’ve been to The Camp, located in Costa Mesa’s hipster area, a billion two times for Milk and Honey, The Black Market Bakery, or Umami Burger, for some odd reason, I never made the effort to check out other restaurants there. Old Vine Cafe was one I had yet to check out. Luckily, my friend, Hannah, was in town and was craving it. So Sunday afternoon, Catherine and I went to the Old Vine to meet up with Hannah. It’s a great place to check out because Yelp shows some solid reviews. This place has more than 1,200 reviews with 4 out of 5 stars.

It was surprisingly busy when we got there late afternoon! We waited for 30-45 minutes to get seated but the wait wasn’t actually too bad only because we were having an intense conversation! So time actually flew by pretty quickly.

Catherine and I shared the Pumpkin Spice French Toast with fruits and dried nuts.

I have to say that I loved it! The flavor of it wasn’t too heavy and the texture was almost soft like a pound cake. The French toast seemed more like a dessert than any sort of meal. It reminded me of the softer and sweeter version of the Asian brick toast. Downside about this French Toast was that it was more on the pricy end of about $15. It doesn’t hurt to try it once though!

Hannah got the Caramel Apple French toast. Now, her French toast looked like a masterpiece!

I wouldn’t mind going back just for that French Toast. Maybe I’ll actually try it in the morning rather than as a late afternoon lunch meal.

Thanks Mrs. Kim for coming all the way down to Orange County to hang out with me and Catherine! Please tell your hubby that we said thank you for treating us out! We were thankful for all the wisdom you shared with us! Can’t wait to learn more from you!

Back to Tap

I took a tap class at Jimmie DeFore Dance Center in Costa Mesa for the first time in 11 years! Eleven years, I tell you! Eleven! I had this planned out at least a week in advance and I was so excited that I dreamt about it the night before! I actually don’t remember my dream but I remember waking up and thinking how ridiculous it was to have dreamt it.

I decided to take a beginning level class because I was afraid that I forgot the terminologies in tap or that I just forgot everything. I got to class early and had the chance to just play around. Tapping for the first time was like tapping my foot in the pool just to see how cold the water was. I was shy and scared of what sound to make but once I started tapping here and there, it just all came to me and I was so ready to tap my life away!

Overall, the class was a lot easier than expected. Sometimes at Jimmie Defore, their beginning classes can actually be hard because there are experienced dancers in the class but not in this case. Luckily, there were a few first time tappers so it wasn’t so intimidating. We did a warm up, went across the floor, and did some improvisation.

After class, I stayed a few minutes longer to tap my heart out. Here’s a brief clip of me doing some random tapping:

Ever since that class, I’ve been wanting to tap dance everywhere I go! I just can’t wait for my next class to tap some more! Because I’m so in love with tapping right now, I started YouTubing tap dances. I found a cute tap routine on Cups sung by Anna Kendrick from the movie Pitch Perfect. Check this dance out:

I loved how smooth yet crisp they were in their rhythm and movements. You can really hear them hit every beat that possibly exists in that song. I would love to learn this routine one day!

The next time I take another tap class, I’m hoping to learn a routine and record it for you to see! Wish me luck in my next class because I’m definitely going to step up my game!

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!

Sidecar Doughnuts

January 27, 2013 was the first and last post I wrote on Sidecar Doughnuts. It’s almost been a year the last time I tried Sidecar Doughnuts! Now, one year later Sidecar Doughnuts is more successful than before!

The first time I tried their doughnuts was at Kean Coffee when they didn’t really have a doughnut shop and now this time, they have a real shop! I came here in the morning to grab some coffee and doughnuts with Elaine and Jane.

Inside of Sidecar Doughnuts.

Inside of Sidecar Doughnuts.

We were lucky enough to find seats outside since there are literally no seatings available inside. This doughnut shop is more like ‘take it to go’ kind of a place. Outside, there were pots decorating the walls bringing a hint of a hipster vibe.

Sitting outside with Elaine.

Sitting outside with Elaine.

Sidecar Doughnuts serves drinks from Stumptown Coffee that is based in New York. It’s a popular coffee shop to check out if you’re ever in New York or even in the LA area. I got one of their lattes that was $4 and I also got a huckleberry doughnut which was $3. It was quite a pricey breakfast but the quality of the latte and the doughnut made it worth the $7.

Huckleberry doughnut and latte.

Huckleberry doughnut and latte.

Elaine got a latte also with a Passion Fruit doughnut. This doughnut had a tangy taste to it from the fruit but it kind of evened out with the cream. I probably wouldn’t try the Passion Fruit again because of the tanginess to it. It’s a unique doughnut though since there aren’t a lot of places with a Passion Fruit flavored kind of doughnut.

Passion Fruit doughnut and latte.

Passion Fruit doughnut and latte.

As we were eating and sipping on our drinks, we were served numerous samples of their doughnuts. All of their samples were so good! I think I probably had a total of 2 or 3 full regular sized doughnuts that morning because of their samples. Just with the latte and a doughnut though, you can easily get stuffed.

It was nice to finally check out Sidecar Doughnuts in its actual shop. I probably wouldn’t come back here again anytime soon just because it is kind of pricey. It’s a place to check out if you’re around the area or if you’re a doughnut connoisseur. Check it out at least once since it is a one of a kind of doughnut shop with quality doughnuts made using seasonal fruits.

Thanks Elaine and Jane for a fun filled start in the morning! We were there for awhile having a good time laughing and eating some good doughnuts! Hope the three of us can meet again sooner than later!

L to R: Elaine, Me, & Jane

L to R: Elaine, Me, & Jane

Surprise Briana!

Briana, Christian, Mark and I were in a group text to plan a hangout since we were all in town for the holidays. Christian and Briana were able to meet up, but Mark never really responded if he was free. As we were all texting, I started another group text with just Mark and Christian saying that we should surprise Briana for her belated 25th birthday. Mark and Christian were down to surprise her! So last minute Christian bailed on the hang out and Mark continued to remain silent in the group text with Briana.

Christian and I trolling Briana.

Christian and I trolling Briana.

Planning this mini surprise gathering was challenging but exciting. I like to say it was pretty successful though since Briana was a little upset that Mark didn’t respond at all and that Christian bailed. So it worked out that she was expecting to not see them!

We surprised her in downtown Fullerton where we grabbed brunch at Rialto Cafe. The wait was about 30-40 minutes long. We decided to take some hipster pictures while we were waiting since Briana was dressed up all cute and there were a lot of good spots to take pictures. Here are some pictures from our quick photo shoot by the restaurant:

Briana was a natural! I didn’t have to direct her that much!

Once we got seated, Briana suggested what was popular at Rialto Cafe according to Yelp-Rialto Cafe. As she was doing her research on Yelp, I remembered that whenever the four of us came together to hang out, we usually had a set role. Back in the day, Mark was always the driver, Christian was the DJ playing music in the car, Briana would be the one to look through Yelp to find out what to eat at the restaurant, and I would be the one to plan where to meet. It was funny how Briana was on top of her duty of Yelping even though it’s been awhile since the last time the four of us hung out.

For brunch I got one of the popular items which was the smoke salmon with scramble, hash brown, and wheat toast on the side.  I’m not sure why people like this a lot but maybe it’s because of the salmon. It was a little too simple for me but maybe that’s another reason why it was a popular item.
Smoked Salmon Scramble

Another popular item on the menu was the stuffed French toast which Briana got. I would’ve picked this over the smoke salmon because it was sweet! Downside was that there was no meat. I kind of need my meat for my meals.
Stuffed French Toast

It was so nice to catch up with Mark, Christian, and Briana. Our group dynamic hasn’t changed since we’ve all been separated. Hanging out with them brought a lot of memories back. As we were eating, we were talking about cool apps for our iPhones.

Tutorial on Cart Wheel from Mark

By the way, we are kind of a tech savvy group of friends. More so with Christian and Mark. They’re always on top of that and so Briana and I are always in the know thanks to them. Some things we learned from them at brunch was about the Cart Wheel app from Target. It helps you save money for various products at Target by using the app.
Target's Cart Wheel App

Another handy dandy app is Tab where it helps you split the bill from the restaurant if you’re with multiple people. You basically take a picture of the bill and the app will then divi it up. You can even add names to each item on the bill!
Tab App

Thanks to Christian for introducing Tab to us, we were able to easily split up the bill! After Rialto Cafe, Mark had to head out.
Group picture at Rialto Cafe

Briana, Christian, and I went over to Green Bliss literally across the street. It’s a hip vegetarian cafe that serves sandwiches, coffee, and tea. Because it was a warm day, Briana and I both got an iced vanilla latte. The expresso was so strong that we wanted a refund. You could barely taste the sweetness of it. Luckily, the customer service was above and beyond that they were willing to give us a refund. They were willing to make adjustments for us, but we just wanted our money back and get Milk and Honey instead.
Green Bliss

I want to give Green Bliss a second chance next time since the customer service was superb, the ambiance and decor there was quite eccentric in a good way, and it had good reviews on Yelp-Green Bliss! I’ll come back for you Green Bliss! Don’t worry!

After Green Bliss, we headed over to Costa Mesa. We shopped a little at South Coast Plaza and then grabbed a drink at Milk and Honey where we felt at home! Briana and I got our usual Peach Aloe Tea which you can’t go wrong with at all and Christian got shaved ice.
Milk & Honey

We talked and laughed a lot that day. Oh man, it was honestly a fun day hanging out with them. It made me miss our college days when we were young and had so much freedom to play and go on so many adventures! It was nice to know that we were able to just pick up where we left off.
Last Group Picture of 2013
Thanks Christian and Mark for being good actors to surprise Briana! Briana, hope you had as much fun as I did hanging out with them! Happy belated 25th birthday!

Ballerina Diana Vishneva

Cindy and I spontaneously attended the World Premiere Diana Vishneva on The Edge at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, formerly known as Orange County Performing Arts Center, on Wednesday night. Before the show, I saw brief clips of her previous performances and I was in awe of her technique. So I was more than excited to see her performance live.

Diana Vishneva's Show at Segestrom
The first performance of the show was called “Switch”. Cindy and I were actually pretty confused about it. Unfortunately, we didn’t read the storyline in the program ahead of time. So as we were watching, we were completely lost in the choreography and the emotions involved. I thought there was a love triangle in a Matrix themed choreography but Cindy thought it was about a family drama between a mother, father, and a daughter. We were both completely wrong.

Diana, the main character, was trying to live in such freedom as she watched a couple enjoy life. She tried to find enjoyment within art and life, but she struggled to find a balance within both. At the end, you could tell she felt defeated for not being able to live in solitude within art and life as she took off her pointe shoes.

There were heavy emotions involved of frustration and restlessness within Diana. After reading the storyline, everything all made sense!

Her second performance “Woman in a Room” was totally a different story with more confusion for me and Cindy even though we read the story behind it. Both performances were almost like looking at a canvas that only has a splat of paint on it. You stand in front of it with a pensive look on your face wondering what does this splat of paint mean? You come to a conclusion that you have no idea how this became an artwork. Well, that’s basically how Cindy and I felt about the whole show. We had no idea what was going on.

We weren’t the only ones who felt like this about the show. We overheard some other audience members leave the show with a question mark and an unsatisfying performance. Perhaps that is what Diana wanted to leave us with. The whole show was more philosophical than I expected it to be. I was hoping there to be more classical ballet with traditional techniques involved, but it was mainly contemporary ballet. It was an experience watching today’s classical ballerinas go for modern day ballet choreography.

Thanks Cindy for watching this performance with me! I know it wasn’t what we expected it to be but I hope it broadened your understanding of what ballet or in general dance in mean. It can mean anything!

I’m sure you wanted to watch Diana Vishneva perform more of a classical ballet like this:

Blackmarket Bakery

When I got back from Boston, I had to meet up with Briana to celebrate her acceptance to pharmacy school! Yay, Briana! Praise the Lord!

We celebrated at Blacketmarket Bakery located in the hipster area of Costa Mesa, The Camp. There we tried out some fancy sweets. We shared two of their popular desserts,the Black Widow Tart and  the Basque Berry.
Black Market Sweets

Black Widow Tart. Dark Chocolate Ganache over caramel in a chocolate tart shell. If you like heavy chocolate, then this is the way to go.
Black Widow Tart

Basque Berry. Raspberries and lemon curd under a rich batter, topped with sliced almonds. This has a light tangy flavor to it.
Basque Berry

According to Briana, it’s weird to switch from the Basque Berry to the Black Widow Tart. I actually tried the Black Widow Tart first and then went over to the Basque Berry. I’d have to say it’s better to switch from sweet to tangy.

For two of these tarts, they were a little less than $10. Would I come back here again? Eh, probably not. I wouldn’t go out of my way to try it again. It’s an a-ok bakery just because of what we tried didn’t stand out too much. They were just simply ok good.

While we were eating some sweets, I gave her some sweets from Boston! There’s actually not a lot of souvenirs to buy in Boston. So I ended up just getting her a baby penguin chocolate from a fancy popular chocolate shop called La Burdick.
Bri & Baby Penguin

Congratulations on pharmacy school, Briana! So proud of you!