REVIEW – The Loop Handcrafted Churros – Fullerton, CA

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Address: 1101 N Harbor Blvd, Fullerton, CA 92832
Hours: Sun – Thur: 12PM-11PM
              Fri – Sat: 12PM-12AM
Phone #: (657) 217-5008
Website: http://www.theloopchurros.com

Date Visited: July 23, 2018

Here is how the interior of the store looks like.

They also have a water/utensil station on the side for self-service.

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Churro I got: Matcha Crunch with vanilla ice cream.

This churro consisted of regular churro with matcha coating sprinkled with fruity pebbles. Then this churro is set on top of a scoop of vanilla ice cream in a cute The Loop cup.

The texture is really good. Crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. 

Disappointment: I couldn’t really taste the Matcha despite this being called “the Matcha Crunch” and one of the signature suggestions on the menu. 

Suggestion: If you want the full flavor of the matcha or any of the flavored churros, don’t overlap them with a strong, overpowering flavor like fruity pebbles.

Ice cream: The ice cream tasted like something you would get from Dairy Queen, which is good. I personally prefer the ice cream from Churroholic over the ice cream from The Loop. 

There are photo spots in the store for instagram photos.

I like the light fixtures of the place. It’s very light yet impressionable. And the color gold compliments the white space very well. I also think the mason jar tip jar is pretty cute too.

My overall rating of this place would be:

4/5

Fresh Brothers, Irvine, CA – Review

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April 16, 2018 (Monday)

How I Found Out?: My old church friend told me about it. He was bragging about how fresh pizza from here is. 

Address: 13258 Jamboree Rd, Irvine, CA 92602
Phone: (714) 598-2828
Hours:

              Mon-Thurs & Sunday: 11:00am-9:00pm
              Fri & Sat: 11:00am-10:00pm

The exterior of the restaurant looks like this. It is located by the Tustin Market Place and its confusing at first due to shadow that glooms over the signs. However, the environment and the feel of the place is very nice and soothing. Lots of greenery from the plants both on the ground and high up from palm trees. There’s a water fountain display and lots of tables outside with bright yellow parasols for those who enjoy dining outside in the sun. 

The interior is done with the color theme of neutral black, white, and wooden textures to give a clean feel. The countertops are stainless steel. Pops of color for point and hunger-sensation is red and yellow. There are multiple TVs displaying various movies, news, tv shows to cater towards various age groups. The new is neatly organized, but I think it would’ve been better if the two clear menus on the either end would be either white or red, because it was hard to see. 

They have on the wall and off the wall, hand menu as well. I will recommend using the hand menu because there’s pictures to refer to, which helps a lot. So I’d say the menu on the wall is for the formality. 

There’s many options for drinks. Either you chose the bottled options or fountain drink option. I’d say fountain cuz you get more options. There’s iced teas, both sweet or unsweetened, if you’re feeling the crave for some tea. I personally like the clear caps provided for concealing the fountain drink cups, because it allows you to see what you’re drink. (That’s just my thing). It seems like they maintain the place very well because the area with condiments and utensils was very clean. 

After placing your order, you are given a table number to place on your table (only if you are ordering for “here”). Each table comes with its own napkin dispenser, parmesan cheese, and (I believe) Italian seasoning.

What I Got: Personal size Da Works with added pineapple toppings. (Yes, I’m part of the pineapple crew).

It’s the perfect size for one person who can’t eat a whole lot. Even if it is on a small plate, the amount of toppings made for it.

This little dude of a pizza was literally
over an inch thick despite it being a
thin crust pizza. 

I am a vegetable muncher, basically a human bunny. I eat my vegetables raw with no dressing and enjoy the taste and texture of the vegetable itself. So that being said, the vegetables on this pizza was very fresh. Freshly cut and freshly made. I have to say the pineapple bits made things all the more better. 

I have to mention that they were very generous with the toppings. I was thoroughly surprised. 

I got full after my 2nd slice and then was done by my 3rd slice. Overall, my experience at this pizza place was good. 

One thing I didn’t particularly like was how overly cooked my cheese and pepperoni was on top of my pizza. They were all just melted together and I didn’t get the whole cheese stretch experience or got to each my pizza without the difficulty of the whole top of the pizza sliding off. 

Rating: I would give this place a 4/5 stars. 

LOL Bubble Tea & Coffee – Fayetteville, NC – Review

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This is my 3rd time visiting this place and every time, they don’t disappoint. I think their shop name is pretty funny.

How I Found Out?: My friend told me about by bragging how he got bubble tea through snapchat. Then I looked it up on Yelp.

Why Posting About it so Late?: I was being a turtle these days…

Address: 5044 Yadkin Rd, Ste 101, Fayetteville, NC 28303
Phone: (910) 758-9439
Hours:
    Tue-Sun: 11am – 9pm

Bubble Tea (Drink): I’ve tried their Strawberry Slush, Caramel Milk Frost, Green Milk Tea. All 3 of the drinks were all up to standards. I like how they don’t overly sweeten their drinks.

Pudding: The pudding is an optional addition to your drinks. I’ve tried milk & custard so far. Their custard pudding was really good. It had good consistency and flavor, without overpowering the drink’s flavor. Milk pudding had the same consistency as the custard one, except it had a very powdery favor, which was a downer. If you’re trying out pudding, I would recommend going with custard.

Bubble Tea/Boba Pearls: Referred to as bubble tea or boba, this is probably the main reason you go to a bubble tea shop. Their boba pearls were chewy, but slightly more leaning towards the cooked side.

It’s essential to control the temperature and the duration when cooking boba pearls. Overcooking it would loose the chewy texture, but undercooking it would make it too hard and allow it to freeze when it’s inside cold drinks. So finding the very balance and ratio is the key to happy customers. 

Egg Waffle: There are a lot of flavor options to choose from. I chose milk chocolate. It’s very good. The edges are crunchy/soft. The egg part is fluffy and soft. Just a good balance. I actually saved leftovers to eat later in the day and when I tried it hours later, it was still good despite a slight decrease in the crispiness.

Popcorn Chicken: There are spiciness level options to choose from for this one. I went for the spicy option [as always]. I found the little pieces of I think it’s spinach? adorable. The green color creates a nice contrast with the saturated orange tones. Each piece of the popcorn chicken had a crispy exterior and a chewy interior. The spiciness made each bite more enjoyable. I think the cute, hot pink cup it comes in also does a great job of igniting the appetite within you.

Overall, my experience at this bubble tea joint was nothing but excellent. The staff are bubbly, bright, and friendly.

I would give LOL Bubble Tea & Coffee 5/5 stars!

Grilled Ginger – Fayetteville, NC – Review

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Eye spy with my little eye, a very popular and delicious Vietnamese Restaurant! This restaurant is located in a plaza with buildings colored in hues of white and sky blue. I’ve read very good reviews about this place, but have yet to try till recently.

Address: 5052 Yadkin Rd, Fayetteville, NC 28303
Phone: (910) 867-6226
Website: http://www.grilledginger.com
Hours:
   Mon-Tue, Thur-Sat: 11am – 8:30pm
   Wed, Sun: Closed 

I went on a Friday evening with my friend, Tasha.

Occasion: It just happened to be right across from the bubble tea shop we were planning to go. And since both of us did not eat dinner yet, it was just a perfect opportunity.

First Impression: Taking my first couple steps into the restaurant through their door, my impression was, “Wow… very crowded. As expected for a popular spot.”

One of the waitresses led us to our seats. She kept on apologizing for having to clean the booth up for us. I know it’s the asian culture, so as a fellow asian, I reassured that she was doing a fine job and no need for apologies.

There were lots of long tables for larger groups in the middle and booths for smaller parties along the walls. The overall interior design and color choices was reflection of the Vietnamese culture. It was very elegant and bright.

I like how they chose warm colors like muted pink and red. Red is a very good choice for a restaurant because it is a color that evokes appetites.

For appetizer we got their A4. Egg Rolls. The presentation of the 2 nicely fried egg rolls were very cute.

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It reminded me of a hammock. Absolutely love the mixture of wood, aluminum and ceramics. It surprisingly makes a good combination. It’s also very clever to have the egg rolls sit on top of pile of finely sliced carrots and lettuce to balance out the color scheme too.

For the main meal, I ordered their B3. Hot Chili Pork Spare Ribs.

They have 3 level of spiciness for this, I went for the medium level. I love the little pot the ribs came in, especially the wooden basket to support it and help carry the hot content. I think this is a very good idea because pots such as the one shown in the picture above become very hot and to have wooden basket at the bottom will make carrying it around much safer for the servers and customers as well. I was impressed by how well the ribs were cooked. It was very easy to slide the meat off the bones. The flavor was sweet & spicy, which is what I go head over heels for!

Pay: You can pay up at the counter. If you want to take some leftovers to-go, then just go up front to ask for a food container. This is because it’s usually crowded and the servers are preoccupied most of the time. It’s must faster for you to take the initiative to go up to the front desk to ask for the things you need.

Service: The service was good. All of the waitresses were polite and helpful. It was sort of funny to find out that there were 3 waitresses, but each of them had a specific role. So if I asked a waitress in charge of bringing drinks about our food, she would call for the waitress in charge of that specific role to come instead of just addressing the situation herself. But it didn’t really bother me at all. I just found it a little amusing.

Overall, my experience to Grilled Ginger was a good one. If you are looking for a good Vietnamese restaurant, I definitely recommend this one. Tbh, I personally like this one over the other restaurant a little ways over.

I would give Grilled Ginger 5/5 stars.IMG_0965.33270804

Panera Bread – Skibo, Fayetteville, NC – Review

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Panera Bread has clearly established itself as one of the most favored shops. I’m pretty I’m not the only who would always crash at a nearby Panera Bread to do my homework and write my long papers.

Panera is known for their healthy and delicious food. They have also developed their customer service to reach out to those who are unable to come to the shop by offering delivering services. Drive-thrus have become a common sidekick to recent Panera shops-attracting busy, on-the-go consumers as well.

I personally love the nice, calm, and soothing environment of Panera Bread. The interior has always had wood and their trademark shade of green to illustrate a natural, relaxing, homing place for people of various needs to come together. Every Panera I have been to has always been clean and cared by friendly staff. And somehow, its the style that never gets old. It’s a timeless design for sure!

One of my concerns when I go to a cafe or study spot is security of my belongings. I worry about leaving my belongings at the table to get my order sometimes if the current environment isn’t very ideally safe. So the fact that Panera brings your order to you is definitely a plus!

Today, I visited a nearby Panera in 11 months!! It’s been forever! I seriously missed my favorite study/munch spot so it was nice to stop by.

ADDRESS: 1933 Skibo Rd, Fayetteville, NC 28314
HOURS:
MON-SAT: 6AM-10PM
SUN: 7AM-10PM

I got 3 items:
– Green Passion Smoothie
– Pecan Braid
– Spinach & Bacon Souffle

My never-fail, go-to is their Green Passion Smoothie. It is just soooo good!! When I took a sip of it and tasted the exact same taste I’ve had back home…it was nostalgic. It felt like I was home once again. Just sitting in my neighborhood’s nearby Panera, enjoying my usual smoothie. I’ve never been away from home period and it’s been almost a whole year. Being able to taste and feel at home in a place located across the whole country in North Carolina was amazing. It helped re-energize me to keep going.

I’ve always liked anything with pecans, so I decided to give their Pecan Braid a try. Surely, it was good. It had a firm, but soft texture with good balance of sweetness and nuttiness. Definitely a great choice for a little dessert!

Before enjoying my sweet dessert, I filled my tummy up with a little souffle. This is my first time trying their souffle at all. Their Ham and Cheese one sold out before I reached the cashier, so I went with their Spinach and Bacon option. It was delicious! The souffle had a light, fluffy exterior with a slight crisp. When you sink your teeth into it, you come into contact with the soft, moist interior filled with warm cheese and spinach filling. It just hits the spot with the little bacon that’s resting on top to add a little boost. I thoroughly enjoyed taking each and every bite of my souffle and would definitely come back for more!

My overall experience with this Panera was up to expectations and left very satisfied! I’m happy that it’s within close distance and would love to visit when I can.

I give this Panera 5/5.

 

 

Vietnamese Restaurant – Review

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Today, I found myself in a pickle trying to decide where to go exploring. Then I found a Vietnamese restaurant not too far off. It was sort of attracted to it because their very candid choice of name: Vietnamese Restaurant!

Address: 5352 Yadkin Rd, Fayetteville, NC 28303
Phone
: (910) 867-1108
Delivery
: No
Wifi
: No

Hours
:
Tue-Thur:
11am-10pm
Fri-Sat:
11am-10pm
Sun:
11am-9pm

When I walked in, I was welcomed by two staff members. They must’ve noticed I was korean, because the korean lady came to serve me. She spoke to me in korean in a polite manner. She first reset the table so it was for one-person and offer me anything to drink. I just got my usual go-to: water :).

She gave me plenty of time to look through the menu and came to me when I was ready.

I ordered:
– 1 Home Special Fried Rice
– 1 Combination Fried Rice (to-go)

I wasn’t really sure what I wanted, but it caught my eye that they actually labeled this as the “home special” dish. So I figured I would give it a try.


The dish came out fairly quickly in a simple white plate with red, decorative design around the edges. I’ve tried plenty of fried rice dishes from various Vietnamese restaurants back home in California. I sort of expected this one to be on the salty side, but it wasn’t. I had to scold myself for being so quick to judge. The rice was flavored just enough not to overpower the other ingredients. The rice and the various meats (shrimp, pork, chicken) went well together. Good balance indeed.

This dish didn’t seem to be made with MSG… because if I eat anything with MSG, I tend to drink a lot of water throughout the meal; however, I didn’t reach for my glass of water until I was done with my meal. I only took 2 sips and that was it.


As for the to-go Combination Fried Rice, it was packaged inside a typical to-go container and then wrapped within a smiley-face plastic bag–I thought that was cute. I ate it for dinner later on and it was just as good.


One thing I especially loved about this restaurant is that it wasn’t smelly. My usual worry about going to Vietnamese is of getting the strong smell of the food on my clothes (like pho)… but it was completely different. The restaurant was very clean and the smell of the food from other party was unable to be detected. My clothes didn’t stink after leaving the restaurant either. The entire place seemed to be well-ventilated so that was additional plus!

The staff was overall polite, nice, and very helpful except this one lady with glasses. She showed up towards when I was about to leave. She had a rude way of communicating. I figured it was the whole rude-asian thing. (In asian culture, showing respect to those older than you are big. So if some people find out that they are older than you, they sort of be rude to you because either way they know you would show respect to them). She only became slightly nicer after I she swiped my card lol. Can you believe that? She had that slight grin and I was half amused and half dumbfounded.

Overall, the food seems to be good. The service isn’t bad either. The environment in which you will be dining in is clean and well-ventilated. Don’t worry about getting too smelly unless you order something that has a strong scent.

I would give this place 4/5 stars.

Umami – Fayetteville, NC – Review 

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This place seriously ring out “home” to me. I love the overall chill, neat, yet comforting vibe of this place. 
Today I came to get me some rolls and something to-go.
I had a Spider Roll + Crunchy Shrimp Tempura Roll


The Spider Roll had a unique appearance. The fried crab created the image of a spider indeed. The color contrast of the yellow-ish tempura and brown from the eel sauce balanced out well. The tempura crab had a good crunch and soft inner content. The roll was delicious and paired incredibly well with the eel sauce.


Crunchy Shrimp Tempura Roll is my go-to roll wherever. Like the Spider Roll, this was delectable as well. The Tempura shrimp had outer crunch and inner chewy/soft texture. However, it felt quite fresh. Unlike all the other Tempura shrimps I had prior that had dry, instant feeling, this one had freshness to it. It was better than any other Tempura Shrimp I had so far. The presentation was simple, yet refined.


I ordered a Matcha Milk Tea w/ Boba as well. Despite being a sushi bar, the boba here was very good. In fact, the texture of the boba pearls were better than the ones I had at a nearly boba joint. I get an impression that they have an attention for detail and precision. That’s something you don’t usually get from typical restaurants. This is my 3rd time visiting and they never disappoint.

I had Chicken Teriyaki Bowl to-go for dinner. It was just as delicious as the rest of their food. Everything from texture to flavor to presentation had good balance.
The service is good here. The waiter and waitress at this shop along with the kitchen crew are friendly and polite.

Overall, the shop is great when it comes to good and service. The interior is calming and calls out in modern-Japanese feel. I definitely recommend this place if you want a clean, casual, Japanese restaurant with good food.