Categories
Food & Drink

Make Boba at Home with KassavaCo!

This post may contain affiliate links which means I will get a commission if you make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Boba tea, or bubble tea, is a drink that originated in Taiwan and it’s usually tea based with tapioca balls (boba) added at the bottom. One of my faves, and a classic, is milk tea boba! With quarantine going on, I haven’t made a trip out to get boba so I was excited when I found out a couple of my sorority sisters started Kassava Co – premium boba tea kits that you can make at home!

How cute is their packaging? It’s a boba straw with little boba pearls falling out! They have two different flavor kits: black tea and green tea. I got to try out the Black Tea Boba Kit with Milk Base. The kit comes with 1 pack each of Boba, Powdered Milk Base, loose leaf Earl Grey Tea, loose leaf Assam Black tea, 6 boba straws, and 6 tea bags. It also came with a personally signed thank you card and a recipe card on how to make the boba tea with variations. I love the minimalist packaging and how you can tell the cardstock paper they used is high quality! You also have the option of getting kits without the milk tea base included. The kits are $30 each with the milk base and $27 each without it.

To make the boba, you boil the tapioca pearls for about 35 minutes, let it cool, then steep the tea. I mixed the tapioca pearls with brown sugar and scooped it into a cup. Then I added the milk base to the tea, added some sugar, mixed well with ice, and poured it over the boba. Boiling the boba is the longest part of the process, steeping the tea and putting it all together is pretty quick. I tried the Assam Black Tea first, then the Earl Grey. I personally prefer the Black Tea, but I love them both!

One thing I really like about making it at home is that I get to control the amount of sugar that goes in it because even the least sweet boba tea has a ton of sugar. The only thing I wasn’t a huge fan of was the string on the tea bags wasn’t super easy to tie – I know, I know, it’s such a minor thing and didn’t affect making the tea. I have a cheap tea infuser like the one below and I preferred using that over the tea bags. I followed the recipe as it was on the card and it recommends 2 tablespoons of milk base, but I liked a little bit less.

Overall, I think it’s a great product and worth the cost. (And I swear I’m not being biased!) It seems like the kit will make 6 drinks (especially based on the number of tea bags and boba straws) and for $30 it’s about on par with buying a boba in store. I definitely like the convenience of not having to go all the way to the store and being able to control the amount of sugar in it. I also love that it’s an Asian-women founded business so I 100% support that! Would you try making homemade boba tea?

Categories
Food & Drink Recipes

#CookingRoxy: Baked Teriyaki Salmon

I’d definitely say cooking and baking is one of my hobbies, but most days I’m too lazy to do it so I try to meal prep for the week so I’m not eating a ton of junk food or takeout all the time. I’ve been getting a lot of messages and positive feedback on my Instagram for my #CookingRoxy stories. I like doing them in stories because they’re overly simplified and I don’t have to make sure every pic / boomerang is insta worthy so I apologize now for the low quality photos! I’ll try to take better ones next time.

I get most of my recipes from Pinterest but I always end up modifying them. For this Teriyaki Salmon recipe I combined two recipes that I found – one used way too much honey and the other had too many extra ingredients I wasn’t sure about (rice vinegar and sesame oil for teriyaki?! wut?! – so I just did my thing and I’m happy with how it came out.

Just a few side notes on this one – it’s probably a Hawai’i thing, but I prefer using Aloha Shoyu soy sauce, especially for marinades. I definitely used the stainless steel garlic press from my Amazon Prime Day haul and it’s so much better than my last garlic press! Anyway, hope you enjoy. 🙂



love this garlic press!

Ingredients

  • 3 salmon filets
  • 1/3 C low sodium soy sauce (I prefer Aloha Shoyu )
  • 1/3 C honey
  • black pepper
  • red pepper
  • minced garlic cloves

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Mix all marinade ingredients.
  3. Add salmon and marinate for 15 – 20 minutes (in fridge or not).
  4. Place salmon filets on baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
  5. Eat!

Step 2: Whisk marinade ingredients together

Step 3: Marinate salmon 15 – 20 mins



Let me know if you tried this recipe!

Categories
Dallas Eats Food & Drink

ICENY Dallas


 

I don’t know about you, but to meet it feels like there’s always some new food trend or other breaking out on the scene. Sometimes those Facebook videos look mouthwatering, other times I’m thinking why would you do that? but to each his own and the foodie in me won’t completely knock it til I try it. Rolled ice cream is one of those trends. Rolled ice cream originated in Thailand a few years back and seems like it hit the US pretty hard in the last year or so. I’ve been wanting to try it out, but to be completely honest, I don’t have much of a sweet tooth! But I saw the COMING SOON signs hung up outside of I CE NY‘s new Uptown Dallas location and knew I had to check it out once it opened.

 




 


 

I CE NY is a franchise rolled ice cream shop that obviously started in New York and spread across the U.S. Located in a strip mall on the corner of McKinney Ave and Boll St, I personally would miss it if I didn’t know it was there. The shop itself is cute – once you walk in, the cash registers are located to your left and you can see 3 big steel grills lined up behind the plexi glass. There’s several concoctions to choose from on the menu, or you can be rebellious and opt to customize. All the combos in the pre-made menu are $7 each, which comes out to $8 and some change with tax. My only gripe about their menu is that there’s no nuts! No peanuts, almonds or anything.


 

I ended up getting the Milk Tea and subbed one of the ingredients for mochi balls. According to the menu, it should’ve came with cookie straws but I didn’t get any. 🙁 Overall, it’s a pretty cool concept – the cream is poured over those freezing steel grills, mashed with any ingredients and then rolled up before getting put into a cup. The ice cream itself is nothing spectacular, but if you love ice cream, I don’t see why you wouldn’t like it. I don’t think I’d be a regular just because of cost and I don’t have a sweet tooth in general but the next time I get a huge ice cream craving, I just might walk over.

 

I CE NY (Uptown Dallas)

2633 McKinney Ave #170

Dallas, TX 75204

www.icenyicecream.com
@icenydallas

Categories
Food & Drink Recipes

Spinach & Feta Turkey Burger + Feta Fries

I’d definitely say I’m a foodie – I love eating out and trying new restaurants – but I secretly like playing chef at home. The kitchen is everything at home and I’ve actually picked my last three apartments because of the kitchen! It’s funny because I’m actually really self conscious about my cooking so you know I really care about you if I cook for you. I get the majority of my recipes from Pinterest but I do have a few cookbooks at home – like the Greek cookbook I pulled this tzatziki recipe from.

 

My latest experiment were these Spinach & Feta Turkey Burgers and Feta Fries. I made enough with this recipe to have lunch at work for a few days! Next time I redo these, I’d definitely add more salt to the burgers and less garlic to the tzatziki. The brioche buns I just got from my local Whole Foods.

 

Spinach & Feta Turkey Burger

 

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 oz feta cheese
  • 1/4 C chopped spinach
  • 1 lb ground turkey

 

  1. Mix eggs, garlic, feta cheese,k spinach, and turkey until well combined; form into 5 patties
  2. Pan fry until cooked or grill 15 – 20 min

 

I might have cut the fries a little thin because I like my fries crispy, but I kind of wished that I cut them thicker. That or just deep fried them like a fatty!

 

Feta Fries

 

  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1 potato
  • black pepper
  • 1/8 C olive oil
  • 1/8 C feta

 

  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Peel potatoes and cut into fries
  3. Add potatoes, olive oil, garlic powder, and oregano
  4. Mix until fries are well coated
  5. Lay evenly on baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes
  6. Flip fries, place back in oven and bake for 10 min
  7. Remove and sprinkle with feta

 

The recipe I used for Tzatziki I got from this recipe book I bought at a bookstore in Santorini. I thought Tzatziki was a sauce, but it’s actually listed under “Salads”! Either way, I love me some tzatziki!

 

 

Tzatziki

 

  • 8 oz greek yogurt
  • 2-3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 2 tbsp olive old
  • 1 T vinegar
  • salt and pepper

 

  1. Grate and drain cucumber well
  2. Mix yogurt and cucumber in a bowl, add garlic
  3. Pour in olive oil and vinegar alternating mixing with a mixer
  4. Season to taste and serve

Categories
Destination

Santorini: Thira Views & Oia Sunsets

We had a fancy Michelin dinner that Monday night and the morning after, the 6 of us headed to Athens International Airport (ATH) to catch the first flight out to Santorini! Santorini was definitely the highlight of the trip (besides the wedding and baptismal) and came with all the travel shenanigans and mishaps possible.

Santorini Airport

We flew RyanAir and refused to check a bag (check-in baggage cost [X] Euro!) but you know I stuffed my little roller bag as much as possible. The flight attendants called me out and told me if I couldn’t shrink it a few more inches, I’d have to check it. We rearranged some stuff and made it work, got on the tram that took us out to our little plane and – surprise! – they made us check our bags anyway. It probably had something to do with us literally being the last ones to board, but I’m glad we didn’t have to pay that check-in bag fee.

The bakery we grabbed breakfast from.

The weather was a little gloomy when we arrived but we got our rental cars, went out to grab breakfast and hung out until our Airb&b was ready.

Most people stay in the infamous town of Oia (pronounced ee-ya) but we booked the cutest Airb&b in Thira. While waiting for check-in time, we wandered around the nearby city. One of my friends is a beer enthusiast and we scoped out the local beers at every little shop and restaurant we went to. One of the ones we noticed were these “donkey beers” and throughout our time in Santorini, we kept running into it. So much that we made it a mission to try one – the beers were from a small local brewery called the Donkey Brewing Co. (but more on that later.)

We finally checked in and oh. my gosh. The view was absolutely amazing. The pictures don’t even do it justice! We could see the active volcano, the tip of Oia, and the other side of the island. Sunsets and sunrises were beautiful. I swear I could’ve sat on that patio forever.

One of the things to do in Santorini is watch the sunset from Oia but instead of squishing amongst the crowd, we had reservations for dinner at Kastro’s Restaurant. I’m glad we did because we had this gorgeous unobstructed view of the sunset.


Kastro’s after sunset.

Sunset view from Kastro’s.

The crowd on the hillside was so thick we lost people heading to the restaurant. It was a little odd seeing so many people waiting for the sun to set, maybe it’s no big deal for someone like me who’s from Hawai’i, but as soon as the sun went down, everyone started clapping. You’d think there was a show going on! It was beautiful, nonetheless, but still, a little bit weird.

Obligatory group pic.

The restaurant was a small patio restaurant – I didn’t plan it, but I definitely recommend getting reservations ahead of time going there. Dinner was delicious, I shared mussels and beef pasta with a friend. We went home for a bit after dinner to rest, then headed back to Oia to wander and hang out.

Beef Pasta (forgot a pic of the mussels!)

There’s a winding cliffside pathway from Thira to Fira that takes you through the marketplace, which was really nice. To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have found the way on my own, but yay for having a local tour guide!

Hanging out in Fira.

The first day/night was great, mostly because I couldn’t get over the fact that we were in Santorini! But more adventures, specifically beach-ventures, are on the way.

Definitely lived the life in Santorini!

Categories
Food & Drink

Foodie Fridays: Hawai’i Edition

There’s a ton of reasons I love going home to Hawai’i and one of them is definitely the food. I’m a total fat kid at heart and there’s nothing like some ono grinds (delicious food)! Luckily I have awesome friends who are (literally) always down to eat and take me to all the hot spots back home. My mainland friends always ask me where I ate so I thought I’d chronicle my recent Hawaiian foodventures.

I flew back to Hawai’i with my parents from Phoenix and I was starving when we landed. Normally the flight from Phoenix to Honolulu is 5.5 – 6 hours but for some reason my flight on American Airlines was 7+ hours and they don’t even feed you! My first meal was a Soon’s Special from Soon’s Kal-Bi Drive In in Salt Lake. The special is a plate lunch with meat jhun, kal-bi, BBQ chicken, with a side of kimchi. I grew up eating their BBQ sandwiches and plate lunch after school and I love, love, love their meat jhun.

Soon’s Special from Soon’s Kal-Bi Drive In
848 Ala Lilikoi St
Honolulu, HI 96818

Another spot that I hit up regularly is Shokudo‘s Happy Hour. Shokudo is a Japanese restaurant in Ala Moana. You know you’re a fat kid when you go to a happy hour for the food and not the drinks! Their happy hour is everyday from 4- 6 PM and Sunday – Thursday, 10 PM – 12 AM. Some of my favorites are the spicy tuna nachos (ask for extra sauce on the side), dynamite fries, garlic clams, and of course the jr. honey toast. The honey toast is a brick toast with the middle chopped up into cubes topped with ice cream honey. The happy hour menu has a ‘junior’ size which is half the size of a full honey toast. You can even get other flavors, but I stick to the original.


Jr. Honey Toast from Shokudo
1585 Kapiolani Blvd
Honolulu, HI 96814

Another must have for me is the Kahuku shrimp plates! There’s three popular shrimp trucks on O’ahu: Giovanni’s, Kahuku Shrimp, and Romy’s. My personal favorite is the spicy shrimp plate from Kahuku Shrimp Truck, but for whatever reason, Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck is more popular. Sometimes the lines are ridiculously long! Giovanni’s has two locations, one in Kahuku and one in Haleiwa, whereas Kahuku Shrimp Truck is only in Kahuku. If you like spicy food, Kahuku Shrimp is definitely better, but if you like garlic butter sauce (or scampi sauce), Giovanni’s is good. This trip we couldn’t make it all the way to Kahuku so I had to settle for scampi shrimp from Giovanni’s in Haleiwa. I got the hot sauce on the side but it really just taste like tabasco.


Scampi Shrimp from Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck
66-472 Kamehameha Hwy
Haleiwa, HI 96712

Anytime we’re on that side of the island, I always ask if we can make a stop at Pa’ala Kai Bakery in Waialua to get Snow Puffies! Waialua is a far drive from town but the snow puffy is so worth it. A snow puffy is a flaky pastry filled with custard drizzled with chocolate and topped off with powdered sugar. Omg I’m drooling thinking about it. They’re best eaten fresh when the phyllo dough crunches when you take a bite!


Snow Puffies from Pa’ala Kai Bakery
66-945 Kaukonahua Rd
Waialua, HI 96791

I think every time I make a trip home my friends take me to a new restaurant to try. This time they introduced me to Marukame Udon, a Japanese noodle restaurant in Waikiki. The udon noodles are freshly made and the restaurant style is definitely Japanese. It’s not meant to be a sit down and hang out for a while restaurant, but a get your food, hurry up eat and get out kind of restaurant. The dining area is relatively small and the line seems to always be out the door and never ending but the wait isn’t long at all and the food is delicious. I got the curry udon with sides of fried chicken, tempura, and Hawaiian sausage. Hawaiian sausage is really Redondo’s hot dog, but only locals would know that. Definitely one of the best bowls of udon I’ve ever had.


Curry Udon, Fried Chicken, Tempura, & Hawaiian Sausage from Marukame Udon
2310 Kuhio Ave
Honolulu, HI 96815

After Marukame, we walked next door to Matcha Cafe Maiko, a dessert place where you can get green tea ice cream or lattes. I got a matcha green tea latte topped with mixed froyo (vanilla and green tea). If you’re not a fan of green tea, I don’t recommend it, but I definitely recommend the mixed vanilla/green tea froyo over straight green tea. They’re a little bit expensive but you are in Waikiki and to be fair, a Starbucks latte probably cost just as much and you don’t get ice cream!


Green Tea Latte with Mixed Froyo from Matcha Cafe Maiko
2310 Kuhio Ave
Honolulu, HI 96815

Another spot I absolutely MUST hit up when I go home is Boot’s & Kimo’s Homestyle Kitchen in Kailua. MACADAMIA NUT PANCAKES FTW. Seriously. If you didn’t order pancakes when you ate there, I don’t know why you went. It made me sad sometimes because it’s such a popular tourist attraction that sometimes the tourist buses would bring loads of people and make the waits ridiculously long! But the pancakes are like little fluffy clouds topped with this light airy macadmia nut sauce. So good. I really wish I knew what they put in that sauce, though! We usually end up getting an order of pancakes to share and then our own plate of something. I always order the Portuguese Sausage Omelette and this time we got the Blueberry Macadmia Nut Panckes. DROOL. Oh, and FYI it’s cash only, but if you forget there’s an ATM inside.


Portuguese Sausage Omelette & Blueberry Panckes from Boots & Kimo
15 Hekili St
Kailua, HI 96734

Oh and the small corner restaurant is sports themed, I think the owner is a big Broncos fan, but there’s NFL and other sports paraphernalia all around the restaurant. Each table is one of the 32 NFL teams and when we were getting seated, we had a choice of which table. This was pre Super Bowl 51 and I am a huge Pats fan so I, of course, picked that table. Just had to plug that in. 😉

Another one of my traditions is going to Genki Sushi with my mom. It’s usually the first place I ask her to take me as soon as I land but we were tired from the trip and wanted something quicker. Genki Sushi is a chain sushi restaurant that has a conveyor belt to deliver your food. We went to the location in Ala Moana which has this fancy upgraded conveyor belt where you can order sushi off an iPad and a little boat gets sent straight to your table. I literally only eat two things from there – the spicy tuna and ebi fry.


Spicy Tuna & Ebi Fry from Genki Sushi
1450 Ala Moana Blvd
Honolulu, HI 96814

My favorite food of all time is fried chicken wings and in high school my favorite wings (besides my homemade ones) were from Stadium Giant Malts & BBQ. Growing up they used to be called ‘Bob’s BBQ’ and I still have their number in my phone as Bob’s. It’s a little hole in the wall restaurant near Aloha Stadium that’s cash only. I typically do a phone order, pick up the plate lunch, then eat at home. The same Asian lady that answered the phone when I was in high school still answers the phone today. I love that some things haven’t changed about my little rock.


Fried Chicken Wings Plate from Stadium BBQ
4510 Salt Lake Blvd
Honolulu, HI 96818

Bangus (milkfish) Sinigang from Thelma’s Restaurant

There’s not a lot of Filipino restaurants on the mainland so I love eating Filipino food whenever I can. I had a family lunch with my cousins, a few of her kids, and my mom and we ate at Thelma’s Restaurant in Waipahu. My mom order sinigang, a tamarind fish soup, which is really good but I LOVE the Thelma’s Special. It’s lechon kawali (fried pork belly) topped with chopped onions, tomatoes, and patis (fish sauce). I know. It sounds weird. But it’s so good. Filipino food is underrated and I think it’s mostly the presentation. It never looks really amazing, but tastes so freaking good. I hope one day one of my peoples can make it more presentable.


Thelma’s Special from Thelma’s Restaurant
94-366 Pupupani St
Waipahu, HI 96797

Some bonus treats, McDonald’s had a special while I was there – the Guava Pie! Basically the apple pie but with guava filling instead of apple it was so good, but it was only there for a limited time! I tried ordering it one more time before I left but they told me it was discontinued and they were bringing back the Taro Pie.

Also, another Hawai’i thing, at Starbucks you can order any drink with “Thai walls.” This basically means put condensed milk on the walls of your cup. I know it’s not exactly healthy, but I never said I went home to eat healthy!


Passion Tea Lemonade with Thai Walls from Starbucks

And there you have it, my recent Hawai’i foodventures! I wish I could eat everywhere when I go home, but I can’t fit everything in one trip. But as boo boo likes to say, “The best way to enjoy Hawai’i is to eat it!”

Categories
Destination

Athens: The Parliament, A Guard & A Gyro

The Greek Parliament

The second leg of our trip was a day in Athens – the capital and largest city in Greece. Here’s the quick run down:

  • Ferry from Diakoftis, Kythira to Piraeus
  • Rode the metro to Syntagma Square
  • Took pictures with a guard outside of the Greek Parliament
  • Ate legitimate Gyros at Bairaktaris Tavern
  • Saw the Acropolis
  • Wandered around the Athens museum
  • Ate a fancy Michelin star dinner

Our tickets – they thought we were all related!

After all the festivities in Kythira, we took an overnight ferry from the port in Diakoftis to Piraeus in Athens. It was all kind of sketchy, but again, I was grateful to be with some locals. Auntie & Uncle (my friend’s parents) drove a car so we loaded all the goods in it and booked 2 cabins for all 8 of us (+ baby). Funny thing is Uncle refused to sleep in the cabin because he used to be a ship captain and didn’t trust the ferry captain! 


Our cabin on the ferry.

Waiting for a cab in in Athens.

We arrived bright and early to Piraeus,  close to 7 AM, brought our stuff to Auntie & Uncle’s apartment and got ready to explore Athens! We took the metro for the experience and surprisingly, I found it cleaner than most American public transportation. We got off at Syntagma Square and stopped for a picture with one of the guards in front of The Greek Parliament.


Me and the girls with the typical mirror selfie.


The metro station under Syntagma Square

Syntagma Square

I had no idea that the Greeks had their own guards, kind of like the guards outside of Buckingham Palace. Apparently, people gather outside the Parliament on the hour to watch the changing of the guards. The guards wear these big wooden shoes and stand completely still – you can’t even make funny faces when taking pictures next to them because the security for the guards will scold you! These guards are super special, they’re called the Evzones and one of the many qualifications needed to even be considered is they have to be very tall. I’m 5’2″ on my best day – look how tiny I am next to him!


Little old me with the guard.

Of course, the next thing we did was EAT! We had lunch at Bairaktaris Tavern, a restaurant that’s been around since the late 1800s and was featured by Andrew Zimmern from the Travel Channel. (I didn’t know this ’til afterwards). The restaurant is kind of in the middle of a shopping district close to the flea market and they have tables outside on the cobblestone walkway. I ordered a lamb gyro with fries in it and a frappe; the frappe is pretty much the closest thing they have to an iced coffee but there’s foam in it. I don’t know where they get their coffee from but it’s really strong – and this is coming from a self-proclaimed caffeine addict.

Bairaktaris Tavern


I’m ALWAYS happy to have food.

After lunch, we wandered through the flea market/shopping area but not before running into this huge Orthodox church. My friend told me his parents got married in this church! Me and the girls did a little shopping, of course, but to be honest, I kind of dislike shopping because most of the things I like end up being expensive and I really don’t need anything. Funny thing, I looked around a little jewelry shop and asked for the price of a necklace in the display – it ended up being over 1000 euros! (O____O) I talked to the shop owner for a bit and he said, “I can tell you have expensive tastes.” Truth be told, sometimes I wish I didn’t! He also mistook me for a Leo (I’m a Pisces) which I thought was kind of funny because I don’t think I’m alpha at all!

Outside of the church.

After wandering around the market, we finally trekked up to the Acropolis, but I will save that, the museum and the Michelin dinner for another post!

Categories
Coffee Dallas Eats Food & Drink

Houndstooth Coffee at SYLVAN | THIRTY

I love coffee. Or maybe I’m just a caffeine addict. Coffee is definitely an acquired taste, a taste I learned while doing all nighters at Old Main at UofA. But even though I’ve been a loyal Starbucks Gold Card member since 2010 (and I say that a little too proudly), I can’t say hands down that they have the best coffee. So far, my favorite coffee shop has been Peixoto Coffee in my old stomping grounds of Chandler, AZ but I’m always open to trying a new cup.

 

 

I went to get my hair trimmed in downtown Dallas and with the help of my handy Yelp app, I found Houndstoodth Coffee nearby. It’s part of a little shopping center/loft apartments thing they have at SYLVAN | THIRTY and it was kind of hard to see from the street where it was at. Aside from the usual coffee and tea, apparently they serve beer and wine. The shop itself is bright and modern inside, definitely with a hipster vibe.

 

I ordered a large (16 oz) Iced Sweet Latte and for $6 I thought that was overpriced – you can get a venti iced caramel macchiato with an EXTRA shot in it for around the same price. The latte itself was really good and I would probably go back to try other things on the menu, but as a cheap Asian, I wasn’t really feeling their prices.

 

 

At first I didn’t really get what this quote on the wall meant, then I realized it’s talking about the houndstooth pattern duh but I still didn’t get it. Their website kind of explains but tbh it goes over my head – how that specific pattern is the pattern of coffee I don’t know, but give me a good cup of coffee and I really don’t have to know.

 

Houndstooth Coffee @ SYLVAN | THIRTY

1878 Sylvan Ave
Dallas, TX 75208
www.houndstoothcoffee.com
@houndstoothcoffee