Thursday, October 22, 2009

Kiss My Bundt

I heard about Kiss My Bundt from a friend and I read on her blog about how fabulous this place was. When I saw online that they offered baking classes, I jumped on the opportunity.
It was a hands-on baking class with the owner, Chrysta as the instructor. She was such an upbeat and friendly person who offered me so much new information on baking.
The class had about 10 people and we split up into two groups. Each group worked from a "Blank Canvas" recipe for Chrysta's bundt cake and added our own unique flavors to make a new bundt cake creation. Unfortunately I can't post her famous recipe due to copyright reasons. :(
My group made vanilla cappuccino bundt cake with Baily's Irish Cream frosting, (pictured below). The other group made a raspberry, Guinness beer bundt cake with Belgium chocolate frosting. It was all so unique and yummy! I had such a great time meeting new people, baking together, and trying all sorts of great bundt cake flavors at Kiss My Bundt!
I highly recommend all of the cakes and classes at Kiss My Bundt. I even follow them on Twitter because they have discounts and special flavors all the time!

Kiss My Bundt Bakery
8104 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 655-0559

Monday, October 19, 2009

Dragon Fruit

My friend was serving this beautiful and exotic looking fruit at his house warming party that I attended. I have never seen or eaten anything like it!
He told me that it was called Dragon Fruit. Dragon fruit, formally called Pitaya is the fruit from a cactus originating in South America. This fleshy fruit was amazingly sweet with crunchy little black seeds like the kiwi fruit.
On my recent trip to the Farmer's Market I discovered another variation of Dragon Fruit with a hot pink flesh! Dragon fruit contains high levels of vitamin c, calcium and phosphorus and lots of antioxidants. I don't know why I've never had this fruit before, but I'm officially hooked!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fugu Me!

We went out to eat Fugu (Puffer Fish) a major delicacy in Japan. It's not everyday you get to eat Fugu, and it's very hard to find in the states so I was excited about our full course fugu meal.
We went to eat at Torafugu Tei, which just so happened to be celebrating their 2 year anniversary with 50% off the entire menu! Still... Fugu is not cheap!
The beverage of choice: Hire Sake, hot sake with a puffer fish fin inside. The traditional way to drink this is to light the sake with a match and let the fin steep in the sake.
It tastes like a hybrid sake/fish soup.
The course started off with Fugu skin sashimi.
We also had Fugu Nabe (hot pot). The hot pot was a basket with a thick piece of paper and boiling water inside. I thought it was really neat!
Now the creepy part was that the pieces of cut up fish were still twitching on our plates before we immersed them into the boiling hot water.
So you boil your pieces of Fugu and veggies and dip them in Ponzu sauce before devouring.My favorite Fugu dish is Fugu sashimi. It is so delicate yet has a crunchy texture to it. Some people say that the small traces of Fugu poison leaves your lips and tongue tingling. If you ever saw that Simpsons episode where Homer is about to die from Fugu poisoning, you know that Fugu contains lethal poison (Tetrodotoxin). Fugu poisoning is very rare, especially in Tokyo but my best friend in Japan ended up in the emergency room on life support due to Fugu poisoning. So be very careful that to eat Fugu at a proper restaurant with licensed Fugu chefs.
Ohhh, Fugu kara-age is deep fried Fugu. So yummy! Tastes like chicken!
At the entrance of the restaurant there was a huge tank of Fugu swimming around, but at the end of the night after all of the guests ate the little guys, the tank was nearly empty...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Glass Forest

We visited the Hakone Glass Forest, a Venetian glass Museum and Italian Garden during our stay in Hakone.
The museum had impressive displays but the real treat was the gorgeous European style garden that made me feel like I was in Belgium. I especially loved the crystal trees that twinkled in the sunlight.
The gardens also showcased seasonal flowers such as lavender and cosmos.
There is a little tea house in the garden where an Italian singer entertained us with "It's Amore" and other Italian tunes while we had our tea and snacks.
I had the Chiffon cake with fresh whipped cream and apricot jam with fresh fruits. This is a great romantic spot to go on dates with your lover. Such a cute place!

Eating at the Ryokan

Stayed at a ryokan (Japanese style inn) while in Hakone. The hot springs were so wonderful, but the food was amazing. They bring your full course dinner right to your room.
Breakfast was served in the main dining hall which had a nice scenic view of the gardens.
I absolutely love traditional Japanese breakfast!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Autumn in Hakone

We had a one night trip to Hakone. Hakone is about an hour away from Tokyo by car and is famous for it's hot springs and natural beauty. The scenery was beautiful this time of year.The above picture is a view of Owakudani. It is an active volcanic zone of sulfurous fumes and hot springs.The torii of Hakone Shrine floating on Lake Ashi.We also visited the remains of Hakone Sekisho (Hakone Checkpoint), which was an important checkpoint to control traffic along the Tokaido highway which linked Tokyo with Kyoto during the feudal Edo Period. We hiked to the top of the hill to enjoy the stunning view of the lake. This is a shot of a Japanese puzzle box called "himitsu-bako". It is like a puzzle because there is a secret series of steps to open each unique box. These beautiful boxes were designed over 100 years ago in Hakone. So pretty!

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