Tuesday, March 3, 2015

3 Ways to Juice on Sunday for the Whole Week

I am no juicing expert, but I have gotten into juicing — in a rather convoluted way. You see, I'm a bit of a tightwad and so I see no sense in paying a juice store to do something I can do for far less money on my own.  The irony is in how much I've spent on actual juicers.

I started out with a Breville centrifugal juicer. When it busted I got a Ninja Bullet. Then when the Ninja busted (from me cramming too much into each jar) I went for the big bucks and got a Vitamix so that I could emulsify and keep the fiber.  But I got tired of so much fiber and so I went out and got an Omega cold press juicer to keep all those nutrients.  Finally, I received a free, new Ninja Auto IQ Blender, which I fell in love with.  Yes, I've spent a lot of money on juicers for being a tightwad.  

When I say that I'm not an expert, it's mostly because I don't make a variety of good tasting juices that I switch up each day. No, I keep things simple. I know that you should have mostly vegetables because fruit adds calories, so my juices are pretty green and veggie filled. My routine consists of going to the farmers market on Sunday morning, washing my purchases, then juicing or prepping for the entire week's worth of juices. 

Yes, my juices pretty much taste the same all the time, but I don't care.  I'm getting my nutrients. What do I put in?  Typically I go to the farmers market and buy the following (1 bunch each):  kale, cilantro, carrots (including the greens), celery, parsley, sometimes mint, a few cucumbers, green apples, sometimes kiwis.  At home I'm lucky enough to have a giant grapefruit and lemon tree to take care of the citrus. Citrus is important to cut that green, leafy taste. I'll also add the following at home, varying upon my mood: chia seed, tumeric and coconut oil (they need each other to work), cayenne pepper, pineapple, and ginger. As you can see, my juice is veggie heavy. 

I juice on Sundays and have juices every day for the rest of the week. And I don't lose much nutritional value because I freeze everything. 

Over the course of the last year I have developed three different methods for doing this.  Each has its own merits. Sometimes it's a matter of how lazy I am and sometimes it's a matter of if I want a lot of fiber or do I just want the juice. The common denominator is that I'm not interested in taking time every day to juice and clean juicers.  I'd rather clean up the whole mess just one time.

1. Mason Jars

Mason jars can be put in the freezer because the glass is so thick. The key things to remember is that you must use the wide mouth jars and you must leave an air gap because liquids expand. Forget the air gap and the freezing liquid could make your jar crack or explode in your freezer.

Mason jars are best used for saving pure juices versus all the fiber in emulsification.  I use 1 pint (2 cups) jars.  After I get all my juices squeezed and have diluted them with a bit of water to stretch them out and tone down the strength a bit, I pour it into the jars, leaving a gap, and quickly seal them with lids and put them in the freezer.  Done quickly enough, you won't need to worry about losing nutrients to oxidization. Each day you can take out a serving of juice and let it thaw out to drink it later. I find that if I take it with me to work, I can drink it mid morning or for lunch.  I've heard that some people do this method but use juice bags to freeze in versus jars.  I like jars. They are easy to clean and you aren't creating waste.



2. Bag it

I had been doing this method a lot recently and really like it. Cut all your vegetables and divide them among several baggies. In the morning grab a bag out of the freezer and throw it into the blender with water, citrus juice, and any extras like chia seed or protein powder.  It will be icy cold from the frozen veggies and it's easy to quickly rinse out a blender. I reuse all my baggies the next week.



3. Giant ice cubes

This is a method I started doing recently because I was getting tired of too much fiber again. I've been cold pressing all the greens and carrots.  I pour the cold press juice into giant ice cube trays. These cubes are about 2" squares. Each morning I grab a cube, half a cucumber, a stalk of celery, and then water, citrus juice, and chia seed.  I blend it all up and this way I've got a lot of greens concentrated in the ice cubes but also some fiber from the cucumber and celery. Rinse the blender and done!

Juicing doesn't have to be a big ordeal every day.  Keep things simple and do one of the above methods once a week, when the produce is the freshest, and clean up once. Then enjoy your juices for the rest of the week with little effort. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Hawaiian Baklava

Last month when I was in Hawaii I tasted some extraordinary honey.  It's from the ohia lehua flower and the honey has a tropical sweetness unlike any mainland honeys. Then last week I had a bit of inspiration on using some of my macadamia nuts. Why not make a Hawaiian baklava with macadamia nuts, coconut, and Hawaiian honey? Not only did it make perfect sense, but it made delicious baklava!


Roasting the macadamia nuts

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Scatter about 1/2 pound of macadamia nuts on a cookie sheet. Roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the nuts are a golden brown.  Remove and cool.  Chop finely for the recipe


Hawaiian Baklava

1 (16 ounce) package phyllo dough
2 cups chopped roasted macadamia nuts
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut flakes
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup water
1 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup Hawaiian honey

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F(175 degrees C). Butter the bottoms and sides of a 9x13 inch pan.

2. Chop nuts and toss with cinnamon and coconut flakes. Set aside. Unroll phyllo dough. Cut stack to fit pan. Cover phyllo with a dampened cloth to keep from drying out as you work. Place two sheets of dough in pan, butter thoroughly. Repeat until you have 8 sheets layered. Sprinkle 2 - 3 tablespoons of nut mixture on top. Top with two sheets of dough, butter, nuts, layering as you go. The top layer should be about 6 - 8 sheets deep.

3. Using a sharp knife cut into diamond or square shapes all the way to the bottom of the pan. You may cut into 4 long rows the make diagonal cuts. Bake for about 50 minutes until baklava is golden and crisp.

4. Make sauce while baklava is baking. Boil sugar and water until sugar is melted. Add vanilla and honey. Simmer for about 20 minutes.

5. Remove baklava from oven and immediately spoon sauce over it. Let cool. Serve in cupcake papers. This freezes well. Leave it uncovered as it gets soggy if it is wrapped up.

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Pig and the Lady finds a home

Besides Sacramento, I know Honolulu's food scene the next best. Certainly not on my own, but because I have made friends with the two top restaurant food bloggers on Oahu. Mari (@nonstopMari) and Melissa (@Melissa808) work for FrolicHawaii.com and they are the two most in tune with Honolulu's food scene. I first met them 2.5 years ago on my last trip and they were the ones to steer me to The Pig & the Lady. At the time it was a pop-up restaurant, which I wrote about when I wrote about the chef, Andrew Le. Andrew brings his family upbringing to the menu with updated Vietnamese food. 

Almost a year and a half ago The Pig & the Lady opened up in a brick and mortar in Chinatown. It has become one of the most popular restaurants among the locals and is drawing visitors because it has been mentioned in such publications as Travel & Leisure and Saveur magazines. Even better, Andrew Le was a James Beard Award nominee for Best Chef in 2014 and Best Chef West for 2015. Quite an achievement for this young chef. 



at the farmers market
On this trip I had to go visit the restaurant and see what Andrew was up to. He is definitely keeping busy. Not only does P&tL operate for lunches and dinner six days a week, but they also go to several farmers markets on the island and set up quite an elaborate food tent. In fact, I was quite blown away with the number of menu items they do out of a tent! Most food vendors will have about 6-10, P&tL is easily at two dozen. Whether you choose one of several pho or a version of their banh mi sandwiches, the options are so numerous it actually makes it difficult to decide. Rest assured, though, the quality of the meals from the tent are just as high and delicious as from the restaurant. 

The day after I saw the team at the Blaisdell farmers market I was having dinner with Mari at the restaurant. The pop-up had been a prix fixe affair, but now it was a standard menu of appetizers and entrees to choose from. We each selected our items before getting caught up with what we had each been up to since we last saw each other.

chips/dip

The restaurant is well organized. There is a lot of seating and even some long tables in the center that can be used for large parties or communal dining. The bar is at the back right and there is another bar, the dessert bar, up to the front with a display case by the door for those that want to just grab some cookies on the go. Above there are light fixtures in chicken wire cages hanging from the high ceilings.  Since there are brick walls and hard surfaces, it does get noisy. Mari said it was one of the loudest restaurants in Honolulu. I was not complaining as it seemed on the quieter side compared to California restaurants. 



sashimi
Mari ordered the chips and dip to start. They consisted of potato skins served with potato skins, horseradish-creme fraiche, ikura. I had ordered the pork cheeks that were served with lettuce leaves so that you ate it as a sort of lettuce wrap. Andrew was kind enough to send out a sashimi plate as well. 


pork entree
Pork is my favorite meat and so I double dipped with a pork entree as well. After all, it was pork belly. His Shinsato Farm Pork ala Basquaise had chorizo piperrada, olive oil potatoes, leeks braised in espelette & apple cider, hazelnuts, tomato seed vinaigrette, mustard greens




Andrew has brought in a pastry chef for the dessert bar. Mari says Rachel Murai is among the top three pastry chefs in Honolulu.  She had previously been at Nobu where Mari tells me she actually helped to build the dream kitchen for that restaurant. She's apparently very happy to be a part of Andrew's team, always with a big smile. She's also generous. I had ordered the marvelous avocado cake because I had watched it being prepared.  The avocado cake was covered with a layer of sugar that was then bruleed with a torch to create a candy crunch surface. It was then served with local bee pollen, strawberries, pea shoots, and a light corn gelato.
 Fantastic


Rachel brought us an extra treat as well. They had gotten a soft serve machine and on this day it had a combo of a vanilla custard ice cream in one side and a lychee sorbet on the other. She brought it to us as a swirl witha sprinkling of blueberries and boba around it. In her had was a large capped test tube, which she poured over the soft serve. It was an elderflower soda. The mini float was such a refreshing end to a fantastic meal. 

Two days later I returned for the lunch menu. I opted for their lunch tasting, which for $24 included a small salad, a small bowl of pho with plenty of noodles, and a small banh mi sandwich.  I selected the pork belly banh mi (shock!) and, while I of course loved it, wished that it had been larger! (The next day I dreamed of ordering one to-go for the plane, but alas, they were closed on Sundays.) It was the small bowl of pho that was the real delight. Bursting with full flavor. I can only dream of making a broth so rich with flavor.



Andrew Le is far left
It's always great when you get to see someone succeed at their dream. Andrew's success is not only because of his great skill in the kitchen, but because he has the love and support of his family. His siblings work in the restaurant and even his mom is there helping out on occasion. 

I can't wait for my next trip back when I can see what else Andrew comes up. He's a local favorite, but if you are visiting Honolulu, get away from Waikiki and visit him in Chinatown.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The 4th Sacramento Food Film Festival is just around the corner

Four and a half years ago I had a small idea. Have a film festival for all the food documentaries that I never seemed to catch in Sacramento. At the time I figured I would need funding, so if I could get one big sponsor to say it was a good idea, I would pursue. Luckily my friends at Whole Foods Sacramento and they agreed to sponsor. That first year was one day's worth of films and I pretty much handled the entire thing on my own. 

This will be year four for the festival and it's been growing every year. So much so that it's gotten beyond my capabilities. That's why this year I donated the festival to the Food Literacy Center. 

It's a perfect match. The Food Literacy Center is all about educating children on how to eat healthy, including vegetables.  The film festival was all about watching food documentaries that would help us to understand the politics of food today so we can make better choices as well.

It's my pleasure to give it to Amber Stott's group because I know that they will not only keep it going, but will use the funds to keep growing their own efforts to be statewide.  

So what is planned for this year?  LOTS!  You can get full details at Sacfoodfilmfest.com, but the festival will have 11 events over 11 days. Whoa!  

I'm especially excited for the Chinese dinner with Frank Fat's with the showing of Soul of the Banquet. I also look forward to seeing the hot food documentary for the year, Food Chains.  And then I happen to love Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory. Those are only a few choices.  Check out the events and buy your tickets now.  Many will sell out, so you don't want to miss your chance to get a ticket and support a great cause - food education of children. 

Buy tickets here. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Oahu Hikes: Manoa Falls and Koko Head

Hawaii has always been a favorite for hikers. With its high yet steep volcanic ridges and ancient volcanoes, the islands provide a unique terrain covered in vegetation. For those visiting Honolulu there are several well known hikes that are not that far from Waikiki. The most obvious and famous is the hike to the top of Diamond Hea, which I did on my last visit. From the old World War II lookout point there is the absolute best view of Waikiki. This trip I did two of the other most popular hikes,  Manoa Falls and Koko Head.


Manoa Falls

Manoa is actually a northerly neighborhood of Honolulu itself.  It's a suburban area of residential homes and schools that reaches up one of the valleys on the north edge of the city. It's a quick drive or moped ride from city center, only about 20 minutes from Waikiki. As you drive to get there you wonder if you are going in the right direction as the road is a 2-lane affair going through the neighborhood homes. At the very end is where you find the entrance to the Manoa Falls Park and the Lyon Arboretum (part of the University of Hawaii). Parking is $5 for cars and $2 for mopeds. If you need to, go to the bathroom at the visitor's center before you start as this is not the sort of place where you can duck into shrubs to do your business.

The hike starts off very easy and, in general, the hike is on the easy side. What takes it to moderate is that it can be very slippery and the last third of the hike does go up some tricky footing.  This is not a hike to be wearing the wrong shoes for.  You should have sneakers at the very least...something with grippy soles. The first third is the casual slopes and twisted jungles around you. 


You'll know that you are slightly more than half way when you get to the vine arch that is like a gateway to the rest of the hike where things get trickier. 

After this point is where you will see very tall bamboo stands. The bamboo here is as tall as large trees and is dense around you.

As I said, take for the last third of the hike. I had to get my hands a bit dirty by holding a muddy rock for security on some footing.  At the top of the trail is Manoa Falls. The falls themselves do not have  large, flowing showers of water, but more like a fountain where the water trickles down the rock facade. It is tall though, 150 feet high. At the base is a small pool of water that is a welcome place to take a dip to cool off and refresh yourself. The water can be chilly for some, but like many rivers or even pools, your body adjusts after a few minutes. 


Koko Head

Koko Head is on the windward (east) side of the island in the Hawaii Kai neighborhood and near to Hanauma Bay. This mound is 642 feet tall and also has World War II lookouts at the top like Diamond Head. The difference here is that they actually build a bit of railway track up the side of the mountain in order to transport supplies to the top. It's this set of old railroad tracks that is the trail to the top. You might have seen it on the new Hawaii Five-O when Steve McGarrett runs to the top of it for exercise.


view from near park entrance
Running is something I can't even conceive of. You should know this is a brutal hike and one should be in at least moderately good condition to do it. I was not at my fittest at the time and I found it exhausting and difficult.

I actually took locals' advice and got there pre-dawn. Since the trail is completely in the sun, it's best to go as early as you can to avoid the heat of the sun. But I had been told I should try my best to make it to the top in time to watch the sunrise. At the time sunrise was at about 7 a.m.. I got there when it was still dark at about 6 a.m. If you do this, you MUST take a flashlight or use the flashlight feature on your smartphone. I stumbled in the dark and scraped my knee. 

When you get to the railroad ties, the first half will be at about a 35 degree slope.  About halfway is a railroad tie bridge. This is not for the faint of heart if you have a fear of heights like I do. On the way up I got to it when it was still dark but enough for me to see the ties. I set my mind and went across in a methodical way, counting the ties...63 in all. But on the way down I could not do it in the light of day. Luckily there is a side trail that you can take to go around it. Also note that there is a posting that there are bees on the bridge, so use caution. 

After the bridge is when it gets really difficult. The slope now changes to about a 50 degree slope and if you are a short legged person, like me, these steps get pretty high. At this point I was going about 20 steps and then having to take a break before going another 20.  It's what took me so long to get to the top and I did not make it in time for sunrise. I would say it probably took me an hour to get to the top. Meanwhile a very fit guy went up and down twice while I was there. I've heard that on the weekends some locals will actually do it as many as seven times in a row. Murder!


Hanauma Bay view
The view from the very top is definitely stunning and a good reward for your efforts.  It is not a case of you can twirl around and do a complete 360, but you can see half the island from one vantage point and then move to the other side of the top to catch the other side of the island.
looking down
Going up is definitely difficult, but going down is no breeze. I would caution those that have any joint problems to be aware that they will be inflamed by this hike. Going down is where it gets your knees, ankles, and hips the most. And you will definitely feel the after effects 24 hours later when your muscles get sore.

Hiking means always being mindful of your body and whether you think it is really up to it. Either way, be sure to take lots of water for either hike and take your time. There's something rewarding at the end of each trail. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

SusieCakes opens at Pavilions


Got a sweet tooth? Then on Saturday, January 24, you should head over to the grand opening of SusieCakes at the Pavilions shopping center on Fair Oaks Boulevard.

The first SusieCakes was founded by Susan Sarich in 2006 in Southern California. She now has 13 locations, with Sacramento being her latest one in Northern California.


founder Susan Sarich



All of the items are made from scratch daily using only fresh, whole ingredients: butter, milk, eggs, flour.  The recipes were handed down via Sarich's two grandmothers on index cards. There are no preservatives, trans fats, or artificial ingredients.  










All the frostings are buttercreams. They do not use fondants or any of those food coloring printers that print photographs that can be used as transfers on the tops of cakes. All the decorations are done the old fashioned way, via piping and traditional cake decorating techniques. 




The menu stays the same except for a couple of seasonal switches. In the bakery case you'll find at least a dozen cupcake flavors, a pie or two, at least five flavors of cakes, cheesecake, and a variety of puddings, cookies, and bars.



We were given plates for cake tasting. My favorite was the Tropical Coconut which had a light accent of pineapple. 



SusieCakes is not able to name any items as gluten-free as there is likely to be cross contamination in the kitchen, but they do label a few items as made with gluten free ingredients: the peanut butter cookies, the flourless chocolate cake/cupcake, and the vanilla pudding.




Prices range from snack mini-cupcakes and cookies at $2 up to large multi-tiered creations in the hundreds of dollars. Yes, they are happy to make your wedding or party cakes as well.



I asked Sarich how long the cakes are good for and she said for 2-3 days. Asked what happens to unsold items and she said that they get donated to local food banks. 

You will find SusieCakes sort of across the parking lot from Cafe Bernardo at the Pavilions.


SACRAMENTO

564 Pavilions Lane
Pavilions Shopping Center
Sacramento, CA 95825
Tel 916 865 2250
Fax 916 922 2155
Mon-Sat 10am-7pm
Custom Order Inquiries
celebrationSAC@susiecakes.com



Wednesday, January 21, 2015

I'm busy at Guest Innovations

My new job has changed their company name from Dinnerwire to Guest Innovations.  That's because we will be moving into bigger digs and adding new restaurant industry products starting next month.  So far we have Dinnerwire for the consumer to search for restaurants and Rezku, a restaurant management and reservation system.

This is keeping me so busy that I haven't been writing many Munchie posts. That's because I'm busy writing blog posts over there.  But they are still great posts, so I'm going to share them here. Keep in mind that they are written for restaurants.

Claim Your Restaurant’s Dinnerwire Profile 
Calorie Counts and Your Restaurant
The Anatomy of a Good Restaurant Website
Planning for the Busiest Days of the Year
Increasing Business on the Slowest Days of the Year
There’s Money in Mocktails
Setting Restaurant Goals for the New Year
Maximizing Restaurant Email Campaigns Part 1
Maximizing Restaurant Email Campaigns Part 2
Put Your Best Dish Forward at Fundraisers
Making the Most of Food Holidays



Friday, January 9, 2015

It's not worth it to drive Lyft and Uber in Sacramento - updated

Update 1/9/15
Today they lowered rates again.  That means from Sept to Nov to now, the rate for midtown to the airport has gone from $33 to $22 to $17.  Totally not worth it anymore. Don't fool yourself. Don't sign up for either company. 

Another example. Ride from the airport to Chico is 83 miles. A driver took it and the fare was $97. But then he had to drive it back empty. Total is 166 miles.  Government mileage rate is 56 cents per mile. That mean's his expense was $104.16.  He actually LOST money on that ride.

Another.  A driver has a regular, weekly ride from Roseville to Emeryville (lucky him!). It used to be $250 and the rider did not complain. In just six months that fare has been lowered all the way to $110 and with Uber there is no tipping feature. That sucks!  And if he doesn't get another fare for the return trip home....

And read this: Hidden Cost of Being an Uber Driver

Original post 11/24/14
As if I don't have enough to do, I decided in August to start driving for Lyft. Not because I need the money, but because I need a social outlet on the weekends. I'm plenty busy during the week, but often get bored on the weekends. And if you haven't figured out by now, I like to stay busy.

I started Labor Day weekend and fell in love with the driving and the socializing. And the money was nice too! Then I went to Seattle for the weekend and when I had returned, Lyft had lowered their rates in Sacramento by 35%.  What once might have been a $150 week went down to $97.50.  So I got pissed and joined Uber.  All was good for a while again until a month ago they dropped their rate by 25%.

Yes, the low rates are great for the consumer and if I was wanting a ride, I'd be loving it. But for the drivers, it's a horrible situation.

During these few months I've met a lot of fellow drivers for both companies and learned that many of them actually drive as their means of support. Some have been unemployed forever due to the economy. Some feel unskilled for anything but driving. There are many other reasons as well, but the meat of the matter is that they depend on driving as a living and the rate cuts have severely impacted that income.

Lyft and Uber both look at drivers as totally disposable.  Grind em up and spit them out and then take on a bunch of newbies.  They don't look at drivers the way they should - as assets that are the faces of their companies. Drivers are who the customers see, not the corporate suits. Happy, good drivers are better than grumpy, crappy drivers. 

And it's not a price war that will find a victor in this war.  It's customer service and marketing. Guess what?  The first person for customer service is the driver!




Both Lyft and Uber keep recruiting drivers.  I often meet people who say, "Oh, I was thinking of signing up too!"  So here are a bunch of thoughts for consideration before driving in Sacramento. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Lola's Lounge

When you hear consistently good things about a restaurant, you are tempted to go and check it out for yourself. This was the case for me for Lola's Lounge in old downtown Elk Grove.  Word of mouth had been good and this was the night before BAR's not so enthusiastic review in the Bee came out. I'm glad I ate there before I had read his review.

I've never been in the heart of old town Elk Grove. Like many small towns in the region, there's been an effort to revitalize these downtowns and try to get patrons to support businesses and restaurants in them versus the box stores and strip malls of the cookie cutter development areas. Lola's Lounge occupies a historic old building in the heart of old downtown. My friend told me it's one of those locations that has had a string of unsuccessful businesses in it. The building itself is a two-story brick structure and inside the restaurant has the bare brick walls and high ceilings. The left side is the bar area and the right side is the dining area, the sides divided by a low wall. 

The menu is made up of mostly small plates, or tapas style. There are a few entrees, but these were not much bigger portions than the small plates. My friend and I opted to share some items and ordered the following:


The special small plate for the night was a lobster roll. It consisted of a sushi-type roll of chopped lobster salad rolled in a wrap of avocado slices. I liked how light and fresh it was with the thinly sliced avocado carefully used as the wrapper.

Our other cold, seafood appetizer came out at the same time - the ceviche. This was a shrimp ceviche in a spiced tomato sauce. The shrimp was balanced out by the crunch of chopped cucumber. The large bowl of ceviche was all served with a generous portion of tortilla chips to eat it with. I thought it was a great value and pretty filling for $9.  I'd order this for lunch for myself.

I insisted on getting the empanadas because I really like meat pies of all nationalities. These had a shredded beef, hard boiled egg, and olives. The crust was blistered from being deep fried and they came to the table nice and hot. I liked the beef and crust, but would have preferred less egg and no olive. (That is only because I am not an olive fan and think their flavor was overpowering.)



We had selected one hot entree that came out along with the empanadas. The El Gaucho Beef was sliced and served with a cilantro chimichurri and small roasted new potatoes. Both of us really liked the chimichurri and wiped up every bit of it. The beef was cooked perfectly to a medium rare, as requested, and was sliced to make it tender. 

We liked all our items, some more than others. I worried, though, about the menu. How often was it going to change?  It's not a large menu and my friend had already been a month before and eaten some of the same items. The only special was a soup and the lobster roll.  I could see the menu getting rather boring if you came back often enough before it got changed. 

Overall, I'd recommend it. The service was attentive and friendly, the food tasty and served the right temperature, and the room was not so noisy that we had to shout to have a conversation. If they change up the menu more often and keep fresh and tasty tapas coming, they may be the success that this building has been waiting for. It's these sort of small, independent, different cuisine restaurants that the burbs need.



Sunday, January 4, 2015

Asian Sweet Treats Part 2 - Frozen Delights

Back in 2012 I wrote a post about Asian Treats that could be found around Sacramento. In the last year there has been an explosion of new Asian frozen treat places.

Often it seems like Sacramento is one of the last to the party in terms of some food trends. In this case, we are the leader and these Asian treats will become more in the mainstream market - not just a favorite with Asians, but with anyone with a sweet tooth. Asian snack food chains Quickly and Lollicup have been spreading, so it's easy to imagine that more of these Asian snack trends will as well. 

courtesy of Vampire Penquin
The first one was Vampire Penquin, which opened in Little Saigon and quickly became popular as word spread of their new treats.  VP was not shaving ice and flavoring it, but instead making flavored ice milks and then shaving those. The result is a shaved ice snow that they then topped with things like boba, pearls, jellies, beans, and fruit. After the success of the first location, they are already opening four others and will surely conquer the rest of the State in quick order. 

courtesy of Chelo
Next on the scene was Chelo, located in the Filipino mall at 611 Mack Road.  This is a Filipino eatery which features silog meals (meat/rice/egg plates) and a large variety of halo halo. Halo halo means "mix mix" and is the Filipino frozen treat where a parfait is made with crushed ice, ice cream, evaporated milk, beans, fruits, etc. It's served in a tall glass in layers and then you take a long spoon to mix mix the whole concoction together before eating. At Chelo they serve a variety of halo halos instead of just one standard. 


courtesy of Snobites

Two more frozen treat places are Snowbee Tea Station and Snobites.  They serve boba teas, shave ice, and shave snow.  They add Taiwanese milk toast as well. 

I enjoyed one of the creations with the milk toast over at Snobites.  You can order a single or double slice, or if you are really hungry or willing to share, get a "brick", which is about a half of loaf of milk bread that's been hallowed out and filled with ice cream and treats. I talked to the owner who told me that the milk bread is a sweet, dense bread that is eaten for dessert in Taiwan. They toast it, which adds some time to your order, so be patient. It is served with ice cream, fruit, toppings, and syrup. At Snobites they even add macarons. 

That's quite a few frozen dessert places, all different, to open in the last year.  I see this as a sign and won't be surprised to see more of these Asian frozen treats spreading across the country.

You might also like to read my post, Not all Hawaiian Shave Ice is Created Equal