Over The Top Mommy

Restaurant Reviews

Islands Restaurant Pineapple Pairing Menu + Enter to Win a Gift Card

I was invited to a media tasting at Islands Restaurant. All opinions are 100% my own. 

 

If you have ever checked out my Instagram, you already know that one of my favorite places to eat is Islands Restaurant! It’s one of our family’s “go-to” places and we love to dine there because there’s something for everyone on the menu.islands-at-the-shops-at-mission-viejo-now-openOur most recent dining experience at Islands involved a lot of pineapple. We were invited by Islands to do a media tasting of their Pineapple Pairing Menu and everything I tried was delicious!islands-pineapple-pairing-menuThe items on the Pineapple Pairing Menu features signature drinks from Islands bar paired up with delicious menu items and include:

  • Hawaiian Burger & Big Island Iced Tea
  • Toucan Sandwich & Longboard Lager
  • Yaki Tacos & Pina Colada
  • Hoisin Bowl & Mai Tai

All of the items on the Pineapple Pairing Menu can be ordered separately are interchangeable as well. I started out with a Pina Colada which made me feel like I was sitting on the beach. I love their Spinach & Artichoke Dip appetizer. Have you tried it before? It’s big enough to share with everyone at the table! Islands-pina-coladaislands-restaurant-spinach-and-artichoke-dipNext, I got to try both the Hawaiian Burger and the Hoisin Bowl, both of which I had never tried before. The Hawaiian Burger is made with fresh pineapple, teriyaki sauce, lettuce, tomato, onion, swiss & mayo and served on your choice of a white or wheat bun. It’s served with their must-have fries, too!islands-hawaiian-burgerThey also brought out a Hoisin Bowl, which is made with fresh grilled pineapple, red bell peppers, snow peas, water chestnuts, red onions, broccoli, and diced scallions It’s topped wth hoisin sauce, but is also available with teriyaki sauce. The Hoisin Bowl comes with your choice of grilled chicken or grilled mahi mahi and is served over brown rice. It was very colorful with all of the veggies and seemed like a pretty healthy option from their menu. islands-restaurant-hoisin-bowlAlthough it isn’t “pineapple”, I always love to finish off a meal at Islands Restaurant with a slice of Kona Pie! It’s such a generous portion that we all shared just one piece! It’s the perfect way to finish your meal off! islands-restaurants-kona-pieGiveaway-time

I’m hosting a giveaway for one of my lucky readers to win a $25 Islands Gift Card so they can dine at their local Islands Restaurant! To enter the giveaway just go to the Rafflecopter below! Thanks for entering! Good luck, everyone!

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The Pizza Press Now Open in Rancho Santa Margarita

The latest location of The Pizza Press recently opened in Rancho Santa Margarita and as soon as I saw the sign, I was excited to try it. I’d heard great things about this eatery, as they’d already opened 8 other locations in Southern California and have several more on the way.pizza-press-menuThe Pizza Press offers a variety of delicious new creations and old classics. Guests also have the choice to create their very own pizza, which is prepared right in front of you, using the day’s freshest ingredients! The Pizza Press is revolutionizing America’s favorite food.the chance to “publish” their pizza to their liking.pizza-press-sauce-and-cheeseGuests at The Pizza Press get to start building their custom pizza with “a blank slate”, a.k.a. their dough. They then get to select their choice of sauce, then cheese, and finally the toppings from the day’s freshest ingredients. pizza-press-ingredientsOnce this is all done, their pizza is “published” as it goes into the 475 degree pizza oven for about 4 minutes. What comes out is a delicious pie!pizza-press-pizzaThe Pizza Press also offers fresh salads. You can start with greens and add your choice of toppings to customize your salad. Caesar and Bow Tie Pasta salads available.pizza-press-saladWe opted to add some Garlic Cheesy Bread to our meal which is made with extra virgin olive oil, minced garlic, mozzarella, aged parmesan, Italian herbs and comes with a side of red sauce. Yum!pizza-press-garlic-cheesy-breadThe theme and decor inside The Pizza Press is modern twist on the Roaring Twenties, complete with quirky newspapers from yesteryear. It’s such a fun atmosphere and the food is outstanding. You’ll want to visit Pizza Press soon so you can “publish” your own meal!pizza-press-to-goTo learn more about The Pizza Press and see their full menu, go here.

We were invited to a media tasting in order to write this review. All opinions are 100% my own. 

 

Trolls-Inspired Flavors Have Arrived at Yogurtland + Gift Card Giveaway

Calling all Yogurtland fans! Have you heard about the Yogurtland’s irresistible new Trolls- inspired flavors?  The flavors will have you singing, dancing, and smiling while you’re them! Each of the creamy flavors was inspired by the colorful characters of the new DreamWorks Animation film Trolls, which arrives in theaters November 4th. Your tastebuds will dance to each of the 10 colorful flavors are available October 20th – December 21st and you won’t want to miss out on any of these fun flavors!princess-poppy-yogurtland

  • Poppy’s White Chocolate Raspberry
  • Cooper’s Caramel Apple
  • King Peppy’s Chocolate Covered Pretzel
  • Branch’s Peanut Butter Caramel
  • Guy Diamond’s White Chocolate Peppermint
  • Creek’s Butterscotch Pudding Gelato
  • Smidge’s Cinnamon Donut Holes
  • Biggie’s Frosted Cookie
  • Satin and Chenille’s Blueberry Mangosteen Tart
  • DJ Suki’s Cranberry Raspberry Tart

To complement the flavors, Yogurtland is introducing Milk Chocolate Mini Twist Pretzels as a new topping. These twists perfectly combine sweet and savory in each crunchy bite! Mmm!princess-poppy-2Also, for a limited-time only, Yogurtland has two new collectible spoons inspired by the Trolls main characters Poppy and Branch so guests can bring home the fun from Trolls and the tasty flavor from Yogurtland. These collectible spoons are only available while supplies last so hurry in to get yours!trolls-spoonsSo, are you headed to Yogurtland right now? I would be! You can also enter my giveaway for a $20 Yogurtland giftcard. Just go to the Rafflecopter below! Good luck everyone!
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Connect with Yogurtland on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.trolls-posterAbout Trolls Movie
From the creators of Shrek comes DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls, a smart, funny and irreverent comedy about the search for happiness, and just how far some will go to get it. This hilarious film transports audiences to a colorful, wondrous world populated by the overly optimistic Trolls, who have a constant dance in their step and a song on their lips, and the comically pessimistic Bergens, who are only happy when they have trolls in their stomachs.

This is not a sponsored post. I was invited as a guest of Yogurtland to try out these amazing new flavors and share about my experience. All opinions are 100% my own. 

 

Islands Restaurant Now Open at The Shops at Mission Viejo + Giftcard Giveaway

Our family loves to dine at Islands Restaurant and when we heard a new location was now open at The Shops at Mission Viejo, we were excited because it’s literally a hop, skip, and a jump away from where we live! islands-at-the-shops-at-mission-viejo-now-openThe newly opened location is beautiful and is the 11th location in Orange County! In addition to indoor seating and a full 600 square foot bar area, the location also features an outdoor, open air, wrap-around patio for outdoor dining. Amongst the surf-inspired décor, you have a grand view of the 14 huge wall-mounted TVs, from wherever you are seated and will feel like you’re on the beaches of Hawaii as surf videos play on some of the screens. Sports fans won’t miss a play during their favorite games as they dine, with some of the other screens showing “the game” when it’s on.islands-mai-tai-1Islands offers an extensive menu with a full bar so I decided to have a fun drink to start off with. I ordered The Islands Mai Tai. Made with a marriage of two exotic rums, tropical fruit & essence of the islands, this is literally “Paradise in a Glass”! Have you checked out Islands NFL Happy Hour yet? Right now, football fans can enjoy extended happy hour from 4 p.m. to close in the bar area, and all day happy hour on Sundays. All items on the happy hour menu are under $10, including think loaded nachos, sliders, wings, featured IPAs and mai tais. Islands Restaurants will be playing NFL Redzone and NFL Sunday Ticket.

Our favorite appetizer to start with at Islands is the Spinach and Artichoke Dip. Served with fresh chips, this dip is made with chopped spinach & artichoke hearts mixed with sautéed onion & garlic in a creamy alfredo sauce and is delivered to your table piping hot and is enough for your entire family.islands-restaurant-spinach-and-artichoke-dipKids dining at Islands have quite a few choices on the “Gremmie” menu. I appreciate that they can choose from applesauce, carrots and ranch, carrots, or fries. Kids like to be able to make choices on what they’re going to eat.islands-kids-menuI tend to be a creature of habit when I visit and usually end up ordering the Chicken Club Wrap which has grilled & chilled sliced chicken breast, Applewood smoked bacon, avocado, cheddar, jack, lettuce, tomato, ranch dressing & bbq sauce and is served in a flour tortilla. It’s so delicious that it’s difficult for me to want to order anything else. Mmm, BBQ sauce! I didn’t realize they had sweet potato fries on the menu so I had to try them and they were yummy!islands-restaurants-bbq-kitchen-wrapBacon lovers dining at Islands will be happy to know Islands includes a BLT on the menu called “The Wedge“. It’s made with Applewood Bacon, cheddar, jack, lettuce, tomato & mayo, served on an Islands white or whole wheat bun. It’s also served with Fresh Cut Island Fries. Yum!islands-restaurant-the-wedge-bltAlthough we were pretty full at this point, there’s no denying dessert at Islands. It’s hard to choose between Kona Pie and the Fudge Brownie, so we splurged and ordered one of each. islands-restaurants-kona-pieIslands’ Kona Pie is made with Mocha Almond Fudge, ice cream & cookie crust topped with chocolate fudge, whipped cream, roasted nuts, and a cherry. Their Fudge Brownie is made with a rich fudge brownie served warm and topped with vanilla ice cream. islands-restaurant-fudge-brownieThey’re both perfect for sharing. Have you had either? Oh goodness, they’re both delicious and I had to stop myself from finishing them all by mysefl!Giveaway-time

You can also enter to win a $25 Islands Restaurants giftcard. Enter below on the Rafflecopter. Good luck everyone!
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Connect with Islands Restaurant on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

This is not a sponsored post. We were invited to dine at Islands Restaurants in order to facilitate this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

 

 

 

Fresh Brothers Pizza Opens 2 New Orange County Locations in Laguna Niguel & Newport Mesa

As fans of Fresh Brothers Pizza, our family couldn’t be happier about the opening of their two newest locations in Laguna Niguel and Newport-Mesa! With 14 locations already open in LA and Orange County, the 2 new stores make 16 total! Did I mention that one of the new stores is literally a hop, skip & a jump from our home? When it opened, it was like Christmas came early and we jumped for joy about it! My daughter actually did all he jumpiing as you can see at the end of this short video of our visit there:

Only the Freshest Ingredients
Fresh Brothers Pizza is way more than ordinary pizza though. I mean, their pizza is fabulous and differs from other places? Why? Well, the word “Fresh” is part of the name because they only use the freshest ingredients in their sauces, their dough, and the toppings on the pizzas. This actually holds true for their delicious salads and other food items on the menu. We want to feed our families the freshest and best foods, especially on occasions when it’s necessary to eat away from home or even when we bring in. fresh-brothers-pizza-emi-and-iSpecial Menu Offerings for Dietary Restrictions 
Not only does Fresh Brothers Pizza offer the freshest foods but they’re also considerate of those with gluten sensitivities. Most people know usually think of pizza as an option on a gluten-free diet, but Fresh Brothers offers gluten-free options on their menu. That’s a win-win for a lot of families! They also offer vegan menu items. fresh-brothers-pizza-emi-pizzaSome of My Favorite Menu Items
You probably got a peek at some of my favorite Fresh Brothers menu items if you saw me my Instagram during the grand opening week of the Laguna Niguel store. fresh-knots I will fully admit that I’m a creature of habit and find it necessary to order a couple of the same items on every visit. Obviously pizza, but I also can’t resist the Greek Town Special salad, Fresh Knots, and Meatball Sliders. fresh-brothers-pizza-greek-town-special-saladWhen they recently added Sweet Knots to the menu I could (previously only get them in the terminal at LAX), my life was complete! fresh-brothers-pizza-sweet-knotsFresh Brothers Gives Back to the Community
It makes me happy when I see establishments, like Fresh Brother, that “give back” to the community. During the soft opening of the Laguna Niguel store, guests could choose one of three local schools to have 100% of their purchases go to. I don’t know an exact figure but Fresh Brothers donated over $10,000 to local schools after their Laguna Niguel soft opening. That’s amazing! They are big supporters of community events and schools all around. To read more about their community involvement, visit herefresh-brothers-pizza-gives-backThey Offer Birthday and Team Parties 
Fresh Brothers offer birthday parties, team parties, and any kind of parties, that are super fun for kids! (and adults). We actually celebrated my daughter’s 10th birthday there and the girls loved getting to decorate their own pizza boxes, make their own pizzas, play with pizza dough, and hang out with their very own party host. Read about our pizza party herefresh-brothers-pizza-party

fresh-brothers-pizza-decorated-your-own-boxLet Them Cater Your Special Occasion
Fresh Brothers offers special packages and pricing on their menu for Family-Style Meals and catering. When we recently threw a party at our house, we ordered a bunch of pizzas, Fresh Knots, and salads from the menu to serve to guests. fresh-brothers-pizza-catering-foodOur friends were raving about how delicious the food was! They were also pleased to learn that we now have a location close by. I can tell you first-hand that your guest of honor will be beyond ecstatic if you serve Fresh Brothers Pizza at your party. I know mine was!

fresh-brothers-pizza-catersWhy I Love Fresh Brothers MOST
By this point, you already get how much I love Fresh Brothers’ food but there’s actually another reason that keeps us coming back again and again. It’s because there’s an amazing family behind the name. Nowadays, there aren’t a lot of companies run by families who actually still have a direct hand in the business. When you visit one of their locations, you’re likely to meet at least one of the “brothers” or other family members. Not only will you meet them but they will chat with you and they always make sure everything tastes just as it should because they care about what guests think. That’s somewhere I want to take my family. Don’t you agree?fresh-brothers-pizza-emi-and-i-day-1Have you visited a Fresh Brothers Pizza location yet? What was your favorite menu item? Share with me in the comments.

Connect with Fresh Brothers Pizza on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram too.

I was invited to a media menu tasting in order to facilitate my review. All opinions are 100% my own. 

 

 

The Melt at the Shops at Mission Viejo

The Melt, newly opened inside of The Shops at Mission Viejo is a fun, casual eatery that boasts bright white and orange decor and a menu that caters to cheese lovers of all ages!

the-melt-i-love-cheeseThe Melt’s menu is built around a simple key principal: better comfort food for today’s kids (and adults). They feature a variety of our favorite All-American classics on the menu, but prepare them in a way that doesn’t leave you feeling with discomfort or heaviness you sometimes take away from a typical “comfort food” meal. the-melt-mac-and-cheeseThe Melt uses only the freshest ingredients, including locally sourced produce for their menu items. They’re nostalgic about their no-artificial-flavors-necessary offerings like ooey, gooey grilled cheeses melted to order. They offer juicy burgers made with a custom blend of Angus and Wagyu beef, chicken sandwiches, comforting homemade soups, and mac n’ cheese with real aged cheese. the-melt-mac-daddy-grilled-cheeseOh and did I mention their all-natural sodas and shakes? You won’t find any artificial color or sweeteners used in them. Their handmade shakes are delicious!  the-melt-soda-machinethe-melt-shakesThe Melt offers a great kids menu. The portions are hearty and are served with sliced apples. We added a salad onto ours. the-melt-kids-menuthe-melt-kids-burgerI believe our most favorite item on their menu, hands down, was the Mac Daddy! It’s a grilled cheese sandwich made with an Aged Sharp & Mild Cheddar Cheese Blend, Macaroni, and Bacon, served on grilled Artisan White Bread! This sandwich is everything!

the-melt-now-openThe Melt prides itself on the ability to create some real happy moments for its customers, using quality ingredients including everything from high fructose corn syrup free-ketchup to artisan-baked buns to the season’s peak produce. As a parent who’s trying to feed her family the best food choices, this makes me a “real happy mom“!

To find the closest location to you, visit their site here.

I was invited to a media menu tasting in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% my own. 

 

My Culinary Adventure At Tempo Urban Kitchen in Brea

Tempo Urban Kitchen in Brea was the place to be the night I was invited to join an eclectic group of local foodies, for a special media menu tasting. The unique eatery, owned by Restaurateur Jorge Cueva, serves up Modern American Cuisine with an urban twist, that’s completely unique from anything else I’ve ever experienced.tempo-urban-kitchen-brea-facadeThe Brea location is run by Head Chef Chris Tzorin. If Chris’ face looks familiar to you, it may be because he’s appeared on the Food Network several times, most recently winning on Guy Fieri’s show “Guy’s Groceries“! tempo-urban-kitchen-chef-chris-tzorin

Chris says “Food is his therapy“, but he isn’t referring to eating it, himself. He puts an immeasurable amount of passion into creating innovative culinary dishes in his kitchen and seems to gage his own success by others’ satisfaction and enjoyment of his food.  If you have the chance to hang out with Chris, you’ll pick up on his frequent mentions of his children, Armani and “Little Chris”, and the immense love he has for them. tempo-urban-kitchen-brea-chris-tzorin-in-the-kitchenHe’s one of the proudest dads you’ll meet and he attributes his drive and success in the industry to how much his children have motivated him to strive for his dreams. tempo-urban-kitchen-chris-tzorin-in-the-kitchenOn the evening of my great culinary adventure at Tempo Urban Kitchen, guests were treated to a meal collaboratively created by not 1 but 3 well-know chefs. Joining Chef Chris were also Chef Charly Urban and Chef Salvador Carrillo. The dishes they each prepared for us that night could be described as “campestre” or “farm-to-table” creations, incorporating the freshest ingredients and boldest combinations of flavors. tempo-urban-kitchen-mango-serrano-margaritaBefore the food even started to roll out, we were served these amazing handcrafted Mango Serrano-Infused Margaritas with Tajin on the rims. They were so smooth, mine didn’t last very long. Tempo has an extensive bar and I definitely recommend you visit it at some point, for some drinks and even happy hour one day during the week. tempo-urban-kitchen-grilled-octopusThe first dish of the night was a delicious Grilled Octopus with house-made Chipotle Aioli, plated on a wooden plank, and served on a bed of micro-greens. The tender pieces of octopus were so delightful and tender and it was obvious that the room was been filled with seafood lovers because it got really quiet during this course.tempo-urban-kitchen-pork-bellyNext, we were served a “Deconstructed Korean Taco“. This Asian-inspired dish was made with the most tender, pork belly I’ve ever tried. It was seared just enough to have a slightly crispy top and the soy-lime and Serrano flavors enhanced it even more. It practically melted on its own in my mouth. The plate was beautifully garnished with a real mango roll, which I devoured in about a second. tempo-urban-kitchen-beef-short-ribsThe third course in our meal was a Slow-Cooked Short Rib topped with Vegan Caviar. (aka Mustard Seeds). The plate was so colorfully garnished with beet sauce and prosciutto. I definitely enjoy beef and this dish was outstanding! tempo-urban-kitchen-tableside-ice-cream

After dinner, all 3 chefs created something extra special for our dessert. They utilized giant KitchenAid mixers. We waited as patiently as we possibly could while they combined fresh ingredients in the bowl. Then they wow-ed us as they brought out the Liquid Nitrogen and turned the mixture into fresh, delicious ice cream! I loved it! tempo-urban-kitchen-ice-cream-cone We were each served a generous scoop of ice cream served on a delicious waffle cone. I felt like a kid in a candy store. It was the perfect ending to our meal! I loved the subliminal message in the backround too. “La Familia es Todo!” (Family is everything!) As a guest at Tempo Urban Kitchen that evening, I was definitely made to feel like part of their family! tempo-urban-kitchen-door

Tempo Urban Kitchen is located at:
1060 E Imperial Hwy
Brea, CA 92821

You should connect with Tempo Urban Kitchen on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

I was invited to a media dinner as a guest of Tempo Urban Kitchen in order to write about my experience. All opinions are 100% my own.

 

Celebrate Spring with Boudin Bakery’s Fabulous New Salads

It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of Boudin SF Bakery! Obviously, I love their famous Sourdough bread but I also love all of their delicious sandwiches, fresh salads and homemade soups! My daughter is also loves their kids menu.Boudin-Spring-Menu-Kids-menuIf you peeked at my Instagram recently, you may have noticed me posting pics of some of their latest Spring limited-time offerings a few weeks back. boudin-spring-menu-bagsI was invited to a media tasting of the limited-time items at Boudin’s Huntington Beach location. I never pass up a chance to try their new items, especially with Boudin’s Corporate Chef Alan Skversky there to talk us through each one. He is so passionate about creating recipes that are trendy and healthy and that incorporate only the freshest ingredients in them. Starting March 23, Boudin gave all of us 4 more reasons to stop by and dine! First of all, they brought back a highly requested favorite, The Lemony Couscousboudin-spring-menu-lemony-couscousThe Lemony Couscous is made with Israeli Couscous, garbanzo beans, diced cucumbers, grape tomatoes, Kalamata olives, roasted red bell pepper, feta cheese, and drizzled with creamy lemon dressing. It’s absolutely delicious and they brought it back because so many people were asking for it. boudin-spring-menu-turtle-bread

This Spring, Boudin added 3 new Limited-Time offerings to the menu and you’re going to love all three! Each of the salads is made fresh-to-order and served with some of Boudin’s freshly-baked sourdough bread. They are perfect for lunch or dinner and can be enjoyed in the restaurant or taken “to go”. Check these out:

Bacon, Blue & Beets This salad is made with spring mix, all natural chicken, red onion, roasted golden and red beets, green beans, Applewood smoked bacon, blue cheese, spiced walnuts and tossed in ranch dressing. boudin-spring-menu-blue-and-bacon

Mango & Red Quinoa SaladMade with crisp chiffonade romaine and spicy baby arugula lettuces, red quinoa, refreshing mango, red grapes, red onion, almonds and goat cheese, all tossed in house-made mango citrus vinaigrette. You have the option to add chicken for $2.29. boudin-spring-bakery-mango-saladForbidden Rice & Chicken Sesame Salad – This salad is made with baby spinach, black rice, all natural chicken, Granny Smith apples, garbanzo beans, pickled red onion, goat cheese and house-made sesame dressing.

boudin-spring-menu-chicken-saladThe timing of these additions to the menu, couldn’t be more perfect for me! I was just starting to get myself on a better daily routine and these delicious seasonal salads just made my own personal “Get Ready for Summer” meal plan even easier! These refreshing Spring salads are available at all 9 Boudin SF Southern California locations. To find a location nearest you, click hereboudin-spring-menu-crab-bread

This is not a sponsored post. I was invited to a menu tasting in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% my own. 

 

El Mirasol Mexican Restaurant in Palm Springs

During a recent stay in Palm Springs at the Los Arboles Hotel, I discovered that the property was also home to one of the desert’s best Mexican eateries….El Mirasol! The restaurant is actually one of two family-run locations in Palm Springs and promises nothing short of delicious and authentic Mexican food. el-mirasol-mexican-restaurant-signNot only did we eat there on the first night of our stay, it was so delicious that we dined there again on the following night as well! Why did I think it was so great? I won’t say that it was a single determining factor. There were many reasons! el-mirasol-mexican-restaurant-entranceFirst of all, the casual atmosphere of the restaurant offers guests seating indoors, in the bar area,  or outdoors on a patio that’s outlined with colorful strands of lights. El Mirasol is the place to be on weekend nights which was apparent with the packed house on both nights! el-mirasol-mexican-restaurant-margaritaImagine my surprise when I glanced over the drink menu to find fresh, homemade margaritas being offered at very reasonable prices. This was surprising, especially considering that the restaurant is an on-property restaurant for the hotel. I ordered myself up a grande Cadillac margarita right away, after I spotted someone else’s. It was fun to watch the bartender make my drink as I sat nearby.  I watched him finish it off with squeezes of halved fresh limes on top. Yum! el-mirasol-mexican-restaurant-guacamoleThe order of guacamole that they served to our table as a starter, complimented the fresh chips and homemade salsa incredibly. It was a giant portion of guacamole, too, so we didn’t have to fight over one person dipping more than the others. el-mirasol-mexican-restaurant-taquitosI appreciated the offerings on the children’s menu which included typical kids’ Mexican favorites and even chicken nuggets for the kid who won’t eat much. (We can all relate to that situation). It seemed like taquitos were a hit with my daughter! She ordered both chicken and beef ones. (with more guacamole, of course) el-mirasol-mexican-restaurant-enchiladasThe adult menu was extensive and it was a bit difficult to narrow it down to just one entree. Luckily I ate there two nights in a row. The cheese enchiladas were delicious and made with a sauce that was so full of flavor. Everything we tried was so good and the entire staff went above and beyond. Even one of the owners came over to our table to see how our experience was. el-mirasol-mexican-restaurant-poolEl Mirasol is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They were also happy to put drinks into cups we could take by the pool during the day. It’s a great place to dine if you’re visiting Palm Springs. We can’t wait to go back again on our next trip!

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are 100% my own. 

 

Enjoy Cuisine With a Oaxacan Flare at KayNDaves Cantina

I was invited super excited to join a fun group of my friends for Sunday brunch at KayNDaves Cantina in Culver City! It’s of their 3 locations and is situated in a super fun little area of the city, right off Culver Blvd. kay-n-daves-culver-blvdAfter parking, I strolled through the hip downtown area until I reached the location and joined everyone on the outdoor patio. We were seated at a high, round table with a lit fire pit in the middle.Kay-n-Daves-sign Southern California already has amazing winter weather but it also felt nice to have that fire going as we dined outdoors and started off with Fresh Muddled Watermelon Shots! kay-n-daves-watermelon-shotKayndave’s head chef, Alejo Grijalva, was raised in Oaxaca on his great-grandmother’s farm. She too, loved to cook and taught Alejjo and his brothers a lot about life, food, and cooking. The recipes featured on the menu boast flavors and combinations of fresh ingredients that are straight from his great-grandmother’s recipes that he brought to the United States all the way from Mexico. kayndaves-mexican-cantina-alejoAlejo runs the kitchens at Kayndaves, along with his two brothers, Ruben and Roberto. If you ever meet them in person, you’ll most likely question whether they are triplets! They look so much alike! Together, they’re know as “Los Tres Hermanos” (The Three Brothers). The brunch that came out of that kitchen that day, was beyond amazing! kayndaves-cantina-tamarindo-margaritaThe miniature versions of the “Starters” were beautifully plated together and my mouth was watering the moment they were placed in front of me alongside a Tamarindo Margarita, made with Xicaru Mezcal and served in a chili-rimmed glass! The “starters” included:

Mini Pibil Sope – A Cochinita Pork Pibil Oven-Roasted in Banana and Agave Leaves kayndaves-cantina-pibil

Squash Blossom Relleno – Fresh Blossoms, Jack Cheese, Mexican Herbs, Crema, and Pico de Gallo. kayndaves-cantina-squash-relleno

Ceviche Tostada – Sole marinated in fresh lime juice. kayndaves-cantina-ceviche-tostada

Mini Chicken Mole Taco – Mole Negro made from scratch kayndaves-cantina-mole

Please don’t ask me which of the starters was my favorite because they were all amazing! If I didn’t have to save room for the rest of the meal, I would’ve had seconds of each of these! kayndaves-cantina-startersAfter our starters, we were served Blackberry Margaritas. They had muddled blackberries and mint in them which made them not only look beautiful but taste that way as well! kayndaves-cantina-blackberry-margaritaNext, our first entree arrived and it was Chiliquiles Verdes. This traditional Mexican breakfast/brunch dish was served in a skillet and topped with a spicy tomatillo salsa, Cotija cheese, and fresh herbs. I loved the presentation of the entire dish! kayndaves-cantina-chiliquiles-verdesNext, they placed a bubbling hot Molcajete Azteca down in front of me that smelled amazing! It had grilled steak, shrimp, and chicken in it that had been slow-cooked with a relleno in Guajillo sauce. kayndaves-cantina-molcajete

By this point in our meal, although I’d been pacing myself, I was starting to slow down. Everything was so delicious though that it was hard to do so. However, I knew there would be dessert too and I ALWAYS have room for dessert, don’t you? kayndaves-cantina-dessert-trioI had a huge smile on my face when they handed me an iced Mexican Mocha in a Mason Jar! 2 shots of espresso was just what I needed as an afternoon pick-me-up! Topped with whipped cream and sprinkled with some “Abuelita”, it tasted as good as it looked! It also paired well with the trio of desserts we were served: Tres Leche Cake, Banana Flautas, and Coconut Crusted Fried Ice Cream!

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I had such a wonderful afternoon out at KayNDaves for Sunday brunch with my friends! I don’t think I can ever get enough of authentic Mexican food made with such fresh ingredients like that and I hope to make it back there again to try their Happy Hour because I heard it’s all the rage!

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