newport beach

Sunset in Newport Beach

Aaron and I grabbed our Canons to Newport Beach for a sunset photography session. We missed the sunset because we were circling around the parking lot for a good 30 minutes. It was such a beautiful day that all one million Orange County residents decided to go to the beach and enjoy the weather at the same time. I can’t blame them for that because we were basically there for the same reason.

Miraculously, we found parking and decided to challenge ourselves to take pictures with little lighting except from the rays beaming on the water.

Going to the beach always reminds me to be thankful for where I live. Sometimes we easily take the perfect weather in sunny SoCal for granted. We actually met a couple at the beach who were visiting from Chicago. Aaron and I were both thinking to ourselves, “Why would you visit Newport Beach? Why Orange County?” We realized it’s because the weather here can’t beat anything or anywhere else! We’re so blessed.

Thanks Aaron for challenging me to take pictures in a new setting instead of taking pictures of food! And thanks for listening to Taylor Swift in the car ride. Note to us: Go to beach a lot earlier because of parking.

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!

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


When Hannah told me she was going to visit Orange County, I got super excited because I haven’t see her in so long! Also I was excited because she suggested that we hit up Lemonade, a cool-hip restaurant at Fashion Island in Newport Beach. It’s a type of restaurant where you stand in line cafeteria style with a tray, pick out what you want, pay at the end of the line, they give you a number, and they deliver the food to you.

I heard mixed reviews about Lemonade but it wasn’t going to stop me from going! When we got there, the line was pretty long because it was lunch time but mainly due to lack of efficiency within its logistics. Lemonade has too many items on the menu that it slows down the line. I know it sounds ridiculous for a restaurant to have too many items but because there was no one cohesive theme within its food, it seemed like it made customers indecisive and slow to get the right order.

In the beginning of the line, you can order sides of various mixed vegetables pasta salads which they call “Marketplace”. Everything from the Marketplace looked fresh, very green, and healthy. If you don’t want anything from the Marketplace, you can order traditional sandwiches, Land + Sea which consisted of chicken or fish entrees, or get some of their homey food like Beef Stroganoff from the Braise section of the menu. They have gluten free desserts and various refreshing fruity drinks.

Hannah and I ended up getting the same order of a traditional sandwich. It had SW turkey club, blue cheese, avocado, chipotle chili-bacon mayo with a side salad.

We got our food before we were even seated. Like I mentioned before, the logistics at Lemonade was a little off. I mean, it’s good that we got the food pretty quickly but we should’ve gotten it once we were seated. So you can tell that the line to order was so slow and inefficient that we got our food before we were even ready to sit down!
Hannah at Lemonade!

So the food was ok. It wasn’t strikingly amazing or even close to it. The chipotle chili-bacon mayo spread was light in flavor and the SW turkey club was quite dry. Overall, the sandwich itself was pretty bland. The salad was too healthy that I felt like I was just eating grass. I’m not sure what dressing they used, but I think it was just a sprinkle of water. Ok, I don’t think it was water but it was close to it. I couldn’t really figure out the flavor of the dressing because it was so light making the salad itself bitter. Hannah and I had to eat it with the sandwich to make the salad taste less bitter.
Traditional Sandwich

We both agreed that we wouldn’t come back here. The concept at Lemonade is like Tender Greens where it’s about that green life but I think Tender Greens’ execution in their menu and logistics are more satisfying for me and Hannah.

Sorry, Lemonade. You were quite a disappointment.

Hannah, I’m sorry that we both didn’t enjoy Lemonade as much as we wanted to. When you’re back, we’ll hit up Tender Greens where we feel more at home. I’m glad we got to catch up on a lot but I feel like there’s still more to catch up on! Next time, it’ll be you, me, and Briana!

Eat Chow & Sprinkles Ice Cream

Christian was in town for the summer so as usual for our hang out, we had to have a food adventure! We went to Eat Chow in Newport Beach for dinner. FYI. Parking is kind of a bust. You have to park in the neighborhood. Eat Chow is a small, hip, homie kind of a restaurant with great customer service.
Eat Chow

As we were waiting to get seated, other customers were waiting next to us and apparently they go to Eat Chow several times a month because it’s that good. They suggested that we try everything because you can’t go wrong with anything. And you know what? They were right! Everything at Eat Chow was honestly really good!

We started out with the Truffle Parmesan Fries. They were addicting!
Truffle Parmesan Fries

Then we split the Truffle Mac “N” Cheese that had pieces of bacon.
Truffle Mac N Cheese

And! We split the The Chow burger with a side salad. Visually, it didn’t seem like enough food since we were splitting everything but we ended up being stuffed! Everything was honestly good and I wouldn’t mind getting the same exact thing the next time I come here.
The Chow Burger

The total for the fries, Mac N Cheese, and the burger came out to be $25. So for all that good food to split in half, $25 isn’t too bad.

For dessert, we headed over to Sprinkles for some ice cream. I actually got some cupcakes to take home. Then rushed over to the ice cream line before the line got super long. We probably stood in line for about 30 minutes for ice cream. I got a waffle cone with vanilla ice cream and red velvet cupcake crumbs for $3.75.
Sprinkles Ice Cream

I think the ice cream was a little overrated. Nothing too special about it. I probably could have made it myself by getting some Dreyer’s vanilla ice cream and red velvet cupcake all from the grocery store. Done! Sprinkles Ice Cream, you were a little too expensive and not too exciting as I wanted you to be. Sorry, there probably won’t be a next time with you.

Thanks Christian for a full on carbs and sugar filled night!

Casey’s Cupcakes Again

I went to Casey’s again for the second time. I’d like to say that my first experience with Casey’s in Newport Beach was actually quite positive. I remember thinking it was better than Sprinkles. The frosting wasn’t too heavy though the texture was thick. Overall great experience the first time.

I have to say now that my thoughts on Casey has changed, unfortunately. I was excited to get some dessert with my sisters at Casey’s Cupcake. This time, I went to a newer Casey’s Cupcakes located at Irvine Spectrum. My sisters and I got a classic red velvet, mint oreo, and cappuccino.

Casey's Cupcake

Presentation was great though the picture doesn’t do justice. But, the presentation was quite deceiving. What ruined my cupcake experience with Casey was that the cake itself was quite dry. The texture felt as if the cupcake was out on display for some time. Maybe because I bought the cupcake later at night, the quality of it wasn’t at par like before. But then again, the last time I tried Casey’s it was at night also and it was still good. Perhaps, Casey’s Cupcakes at Irvine Spectrum isn’t as good as the one in Fashion Island.

Who knows why those 3 cupcakes my sisters and I shared weren’t as good as before. But I don’t think I can give Casey another chance. Sorry, Casey I can’t spend three something dollars on you. Maybe next, next, next time.

Happy Birthday Dasom!

After a long research of trying to find a place to take Dasom for her birthday, I found Regatta Cafe in Newport Beach. I was focused on finding a place in Newport Beach because the city itself has a comforting feeling to it where there’s always something to do. I mean, come on. You’re by the beach! Beach = fun. We weren’t going to go tan or swim before or after dinner but there’s place to walk around by the beach.

So Regatta Cafe is a little hidden restaurant that has great food and entertainment. When we got there, the restaurant was pretty empty. I don’t think a lot of people know about this restaurant most likely because of it’s poor location. It’s one block away from Mama D’s which by the way is a great place to check out when you get the chance. The restaurant had a European theme to it as it is a Italian restaurant but the antique chairs brought out the theme even more of the European style.

Once we got seated, we were served complimentary bread and salad with a light rasberry dressing afterwards.
Dasoms and food.

For dinner, Dasom ordered angel hair pasta with olive oil and shrimp. Simple ingredients involved yet so flavorful.
Angel hair pasta with shrimp.

I got the Fettucine Michelangelo which is a popular one. The pasta wasn’t too creamy or heavy. It had just the right amount of sauce. The quality overall and the portion of the pasta was perfect and I wouldn’t mind getting it again.
Fettucine Michelangelo

As we were eating, there was a man who just started singing out of nowhere. There was background music as he was singing opera style. He definitely had a beautiful deep and bold voice. I wish he was singing throughout the whole night but he ended up singing a song or two. There was a grand piano in the restaurant but I think they play the piano when the restaurant is more packed. Hopefully the next time I go, they’ll play the piano.
Singing Man.

For dessert, we got a peach cobbler a la mode style. Since it was fresh from the oven, oh man. It was so good. I probably could have eaten the whole thing by myself but I didn’t. I had to share it with the birthday girl!
Peach Cobbler

I hope this restaurant gets popular sooner than later because it’s definitely a great place to check out if you want good quality Italian food and entertainment at the same time. The price is reasonable for the most part. A plate can range from $12-$16. It’s a tad bit pricey by a buck or two but I definitely recommend their food. I don’t think anything on their menu will disappoint you.

After dinner, we drove around Newport Beach and ended up parking near the pier. It was too cold to go outside so we talked in the car like we always do. Late night car talks are the best. We caught up with each other and laughed like always!

Dasom, I can’t wait to see what comes in this new year for you! I am so blessed and thankful to be friends with! Hope you had a fun and happy birthday!