Girl. Bistro.

Who is she? Brenda? Melissa? Nah, it's Vanessa. Hahaha, got rave reviews. And good thing is there is a second location in Walnut Creek. I believe the hours are better at this location because every time I went with my fiance they were closed. You hear a lot of things and expectations tend to get high for a place with reputation. This does not deter me because I walk in with no expectation. If it's good, score! If not, oh well, it just doesn't win my taste buds over. Vanessa's Bistro is not bad. There's some things I enjoyed. Other things that my tongue did not like as much. I will have to say it is a little pricey for the portion size. Fair warning though ... the establishment does stress the dishes as tapas.
One of my favorite dishes that I like to try. French Onion soup. Vanessa's has an interesting play on this dish. The onion flavor is okay, a bit more sweet. I assume this is an Asian thing. French is more savory. Asians have more foods with sugar. Was this dish good? It was okay. Not that much cheese and the puff pasty on top is a bit ... underwhelming and almost seems out of place. The reason I say this is because with heat the cheese flavors the bread (and soup); thus, adds a bunch of flavor. I would not order it again because it does not tickle my special spot.
There's the cheese. Not as much. Sad face. Maybe it's the glutton side of me. Love the cheese. Lust for the burnt, toasty cheese. Hahaha.
Filet Mignon Salad. This one was quite tasty. Vietnamese and French know their filet. Yum. Tender, juicy, with the savory garlic butter mixed with the crispy cool vegetables. Yum
Almost all gone. Haha.
Calamari. Although the calamari was tender and lightly battered, it does not strike me as something I must have. Nothing really screams spectacular. Tender calamari, good. Nice lightly grilled onions with some spice, good. So, I would assume the issue right now is with calamari itself. My fiance loved it. She loves fried goods. Hahaha.

Overall, this place is not bad. Go for Happy Hour, definitely more worth it if you want to give the place a try. If you do not like it at that price don't go back. Would I come back here again? Yes, well when I'm in the neighborhood and if there is nothing else around the neighborhood I want to eat but hell, there's a lot of good eats in Northern California.

Vanessa's Bistro 2
1329 N. Main Street
Walnut Creek, CA 94596

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Crap. With Green in the Name.

*sigh* I have had a lot of pictures build up in my little "Blog Pictures" folder but this one has been sitting in here for quite some time. Went here quite some time ago with my fiance and some friends. It got decent reviews ... perhaps we went on a bad night?
Pretty intimate setting. Very dark.
Decor is pretty nice. Small place. They have this little front bar area with some small tables and a separate side with other tables. When we went in they said they had reservations booked up and there was no space in the main dining hall. Note to you readers, when we ordered a group of six got their table in the main dining room. About five tables remaining.
Whatever this was, some kind of thinly sliced cured meat with a salad ... it is not on the menu any more and thank goodness. It was not very good. There was a strong overpowering bitterness with the salad. The meat was cured to the extent of defining sodium in its true form. My tongue was confused and upset. It was either leaning on bitter or salty. No in between. It wasn't like ... hmm this salad is a bit bitter (from say something awesome like arugula) so I think I will pair it with this savory meat. No, it was, oh my dog crap, this is like chewing on orange zest, maybe I can save my tongue ... but wait I just put a salt bar into my mouth. Fail and fail.
The green beans were undercooked. Too hard and chewy. Sorry I don't remember this dish but nothing stood out.
Braised beef ... whatever. I'm an idiot. Gambling on what a waitress thinks is good. Speaking of her ... my fiance, friends and I agreed something smelled of ass. It might have been her or someone else working 'cause someone needed a freaking shower. Or roll in mud. That's how pigs do. Braised crap is fail for me always. I need to keep reminding myself so I will never ever consider it again.
I enjoyed the tomatoes. Meh, next.
Steak was actually not too bad. Went well with the huge tomato and crispy onions. Maybe one of the better dishes of the night.
Bacon wrapped filet. Bacon was a bit burnt. So a bit bitter from the char. Besides that it was alright. Not as good. I would say this one screamed traditional American dinner to me (especially with the peas).
I am a sucker who bends over for donuts. Sadly, underwhelming also.
Fruit crisp with blueberries on top. My fiance hates warm fruit. Our friend enjoyed this dessert. So by the time we finished our meal, there was still four tables open. Subpar food, stuck up waitresses, and smelly ass people or establishment. Meh. I doubt I will go back unless a friend insists, threatened, blind-folded, clubbed over the head, brought by gun point, or the menu looks so enticing I will roll around in a grass field while daydreaming and looking forward to such a menu. Oh yeah, the price point is also sucks.

Green Street Tavern
69 W. Green Street
Pasadena, CA 91105

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Nearby. Set Dinner.

I have no idea when or how my fiance and I got into eating better but we did. I am definitely glad too. She still enjoys the occasional In & Out, McDonald fries, that whole thing. Not too often which is good. I do not care for it. I enjoy my arteries free of fast food. Hahaha, but sometimes I eat it. Once or twice a year I actually say alright I'll eat it. Since I am a strange freak I usually encourage my fiance (and usually friends) to try something new. Just so happens there is a place a quick drive away that has a very good three set course menu. Of course appetizer, entree, and dessert. Pretty decent price $25-30 per person, depends on the day of week.  So without adding more mumbo jumbo crap that comes out of my mouth (and in turn my fingers) here we go:
Nicely toasted bread. I do not mind the size of it, I have a big mouth to accommodate this. Plus, not filthy puns for this one, thanks. The outside is not too hard, and the core is very very soft. With the salted butter, it's a nice filler. They toast it with a bit of butter too.
Unknown Salad. I can't remember what this was. Spinach, bacon, feta. The Caesar was definitely the one that stood out.
Caesar Salad with Anchovies. This was very good. Although the anchovies did sound strange, the chef did not over saturate the salad with dressing. The dressing itself was a little tangy. Pretty good. Tart from a bit of citrus with the savory from the anchovy. Approved. Haha.
Nice shoestring fries. Tasty, but since the potatoes were cut so thin a lot of pieces were hard from being in the fryer for too long. I like my fries with a little tenderness in the middle.
Bone marrow. Not enough marrow. Ever! EVER!
Short Rib Ravioli. This dish was good, but I would say it was not great. The short rib did not stand out in the ravioli. It's weird, I would have to say it was as if the chef has some left over braised short ribs then thought, "Dude I'm going to totally use the leftover meat in some ravioli and just use the same sauce!" That's how I see it anyway ... sauce was good, starchy, seems like a bit of wine was added.
Gnocchi. Usually, we don't order it. But since I went with my fiance, best friend and his wife, we were able to order a little of everything to see what the chef excels best at. I'm not a good judge of gnocchi so for me it just tastes like Chinese rice balls and it would be in dessert. I personally have to pass on gnocchi.
Camping Trip. Camper who? Yeah you heard the dish: Camping Trip. And your mind will trip out all right. You think ... well what the crap did I just order? I thought I received salad already. But wait! There's a sizzling stone with your awesomely cooking salmon underneath all the greens. That's correct ladies & gents, the salmon is still getting cooked (a little) when it is brought out. Don't touch the river stone. The host or waiter will repeat this. The salmon is seasoned well, the balsamic reduction adds a bit of tang then you get the coolness from the greens. Great great dish. Get it.
Chicken & Waffles. This was my first taste of the infamous Chicken and Waffles combination. I have no clue how other places make it but usually I see the gravy/cream crap all over. This ain't a porno. But with this entree, there was some mental moaning. It was good. The waffle was not saturated with maple syrup, the chicken was tender and juicy, there was enough of the secret white sauce for the dish. I enjoyed it. Just depends if you're in the mood for an seemingly breakfast like dinner.
Yum. Peppermint with chocolate. Always a good combo. I forgot what it was exactly but their menu changes depending on what is in season.
Cheesecake. Why not? Was not horrible dense. Pretty good berry sauce. But it's just cheesecake.
Shortbread with ice cream and forgot the reduction on it. I remember it being a lemon shortbread of some sort. Since my tongue is a slut for contrasting flavors, it definitely approved.
Little chocolate cake with ice cream. Basic, light and fluffy. Not dense, not overly chocolaty where you want to pour a glass of milk down your throat.

I guess after all the good appetizers and entrees the desserts seemed ... anti-climatic? They were not bad because my taste buds were definitely satisfied. Usually I need a bit of sweet to end my meals. There was enough sugar to wash away whatever was on my palate. But ... to be honest none of the desserts were whispering in my ear: "Yeah baby, next time you order me." This is a place you do want to try if you live in the area. I would call it a hidden gem. Portions are right, price is fair, service is good.

Owen's Bistro
5210 D Street
Chino, CA 91710

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Snooty. Cupcakes.

Sweets. I like em. Maybe that's why my fiance's nickname is Sweety. She's quite sweet to me. Actually, I'm not quite sure how I gave her the nickname. So the infamous desserts. I used to only enjoy candy. Yet, something has changed and I cannot seem to emphasize how picky my tastes buds have become. On a normal day, only having a dessert or sweet item really completes my meal. Without it, my tongue is usually telling my brain: "Yes, the meal was good but something is missing." With it I get this: "Oh baby you treat me so good. I love it when you do me right." Haha, I just really like removing savory tastes out of my mouth using some sweet dessert. Not overly sweet though. So about the cupcakes ... Kara's Cupcakes. Oh that bitch. Not her personally but her establishment. I was at the Walnut Creek, CA location but I have also been to the location in the Oxbow Public Market in Napa, CA.
Cute logo I must admit. Pretty nice location in Walnut Creek. Very close to a lot of other eateries and shopping.
Their cute box. Of course it is a slightly modified doughnut box but whatever.
Their selection.

Like many other places they have a changing menu. Certain days have certain things. Blah blah. We got the plain vanilla, carrot cake, and a chocolate. All were eh. The frosting was a bit sweet for my taste so, as usual, I tossed over three-quarters of the frosty away. Now, my issue with Kara's. Okay, I understand you went on Food Network. I understand you have a lot of locations in Northern California. I understand you company is getting a bit big. What I do no understand is why your managers are hiring employees who are pieces of garbage. Typically, I like to test out red velvet. Is it cliche? Maybe so, but who cares. When I went in to ask for it, your employee scoffs at me and says "Um, we don't carry RED VELVET as you can clearly see." Well I apologize, I thought since it seems to be quite popular in many cupcake bakeries that Kara's would have it. Thus, I went and ordered ... whatever the hell I ordered. Hell, what I said I ordered might have been wrong. We were both so unimpressed I cannot remember anything about it besides being very very expensive and mediocre. Next couple people order a chocolate velvet cupcake. Uh, sounds like red velvet without the red. So I ask this bitch about it. "Yes, it's basically like a red velvet cake except I just told you we don't carry red velvet." Well defecate on my face and call me Donkey Puncher. If I said it needs to be the color purple and have a pair of hairy testicles on it would it make a difference? Chocolate velvet and red velvet ... is it so hard to just inform me you have something very similar and without the food coloring? Wow. Yes, I tend not to judge on service so long as the food is good or great, but these cupcakes were not good and the service matched it. Suck my balls.

Kara's Cupcakes
1388 North Main Street
Walnut Creek, CA 94596

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High Tea. Circa Now.

This is not the traditional high tea. No British accents. No floral prints. No heavy tea pots. No Victorian furniture nor decor. Clean edges. Darker colored interior, nice place to chill, chat, and have a bite to eat. I'm surprised I stumbled on this place. The employees really understand their teas. A nice menu that separates teas by typical styles: black, green, white, herbal, fruit. At least I remember it being something like that. Hahaha. The actual food menu is short. Majority of it is quite pleasant. Tranquil Tea Lounge.
My fiance and I love love love this place. Yes, I apologize for the delay in posts (besides being a lazy turd). I had a lot of planning to do and proposed to my better half this past weekend. She said yes. Awesomely happy. Yay. Back to the Tea Lounge. Here's the menu.
Makena's Passion. Deliciously refreshing. We enjoy our teas a little bit sweetened to bring out the flavors of the tea. If anything ask for the simple syrup on the side. You can adjust sweetness to taste. This tea really tastes tropical. When I took my first sip I imagined myself wanting to be on Maui, just on a lounge chair getting serenaded by the ocean. Man. Guava and pineapple just really helped with the whole tropical feel of it all.
Geisha's Kiss. On the lighter side, that's for sure. The flavors are not as bold but the lychee does stand out the most. Was it good? Yes, most definitely. We have been back a number of times and my fiance usually sticks to one of these two because they're her comfort drinks. I'm usually the psycho who tries the new things and ends up complaining to her if I messed up. Haha. Oh well, how else would I find some other flavorful drink?
Teas that are for sale. Well, the ones here are on display and for you to smell. They have them nicely lined up near the register so you can enjoy the perfume.
Love the teas on display. Really. Just lovely to see.
Here's the Makena's Passion. You have the choice of either hot or cold. They give you a nice little extra serving. Great for when you're thirsty or when you're just taking your time chatting with your buddies. I sweat easily so for the most part I always choose cold.
Fiance's Geisha's Kiss. They usually bring out the tea and let you smell it before it gets brewed. The box on the left is the tea pot. Cool double layered cup so it is not hot to touch. We both really enjoyed our tea. If you just give the employees an idea of what type of flavor you are looking for, I'm positive they will be able to give you an awesome suggestion.
Their portion size seems small but high tea is usually like that. But the whole point of tea time/lounge is to just eat a bit, to hold you over, and just chat away. Their portions do just that. When we're more hungry we order separate items. This time we went we got their Tranquil Trio, which is an awesome bargain. Choice of tea, half sandwich, and smaller salad for ... $9 I believe. This one was the turkey sandwich. Nicely toasted sandwich. Enough meat, good tart and savory from the fontina & sun-dried tomatoes, slight bitterness from argula ... good stuff. Lots of flavor.
Roast beef. I'm not sure why I chose roast beef because I rarely ever want to eat roast beef. Usually it's dry and just really beefy. Haha ... does that even make sense? Anyway, roast beef with creamy tomato soup. The soup changes daily from what I know. I love tomato soup so tomato chunks in this soup are wonderful.
Here's another angle. So the sandwich. Remember how I mentioned how I like trying new things and sometimes I really mess up? This instance was not really focus on messing up but reinforces how I'm very indifferent when it comes to roast beef sandwiches. The one real issue I did have with this sandwich was the bread. Kalamalive olives, way too overpowering. Almost like they shoved freshly marinated olives right into the sandwich. If you like roast beef just tell them to change out the bread. Seriously.
I'm a sucker for sweets so I got a scone. Their baked goods aren't bad. They're not the best. Definitely has that home baked freshness to it. I think I ate about half before I decided I was full and did not want to be too full. The sauces are a nice addition if the scone is too dry for you.

I cannot stress it enough but if you have time go. If you don't have time, make time and go with your friend, best friend, significant other ... just live it up, laugh, talk about farts, sex, ugly people, politics, whatever you want. Just take some time to enjoy and relax. Lounge this place is. Tea they do have. Tranquil will come.

Tranquil Tea Lounge
106 W. Wilshire Ave.
Fullerton, CA 92832

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Worthwhile. Comfort.

One of the places my girlfriend and I wanted to try.
Yep. Yum. Straight up. It was awhile back but definitely still good. I was glad we got a chance to try it because my girlfriend is a busy frickin' bee. Work work and work. Funny 'cause she stresses a lot and it's difficult for her to put that stress aside. However ... when it comes time to eat she's open eyes, open nose, open mouth, indulge.
Bread. Freshly, baked in house. I recall being pretty hungry so we ate a good amount. Plus, Napa is not very close to many things. Butter was salty, creamy goodness. Actually, maybe too salty ... haha.
Tearing up that basket.
Salad with capers and a sweet-ish vinaigrette. Very refreshing, balanced. Except the chickpeas were a bit salty. Good contrast in texture but I could not eat too many of those things due to the salt.
I did not mention but, if you are unaware Ad Hoc is pretty much a set price per person and the food just comes out. Very much family style. So imagine you come home with your friends for dinner. Your mother is surprised to see you brought guests. (Hopefully, your mother did not shun your friends and kick them out). She'll end up deciding to cook more so everyone can enjoy dinner together. Anyway, I like this aspect of Ad Hoc, very warm, very inviting. Very easy to get your elbows dirty on the table and just shove food into your mouth and not care if you smeared all that sauce onto your cheek.

Back to the Flat Iron Steak with bleu cheese. It was good. It was salty. What do you expect from American/French? Salt brings out those flavors that make you salivate in ecstasy. Oh just talking about it while staring at this picture make my tongue crave more. But don't ever forget to down a couple gallons of water during and after the meal. Cooked perfectly. Potatoes and steak are best buds and just so happens the potatoes pick up a good amount of sauce so when you bite into that steak and pair it with the potato. Yum, chew, slight crunch from the potato, cream from the cheese, savory from the reduction sauce (whatever it was). Dang. Your face will be exhausted just from smiling.
Toasted bread, cheese, and honey. You know, I love Northern Californian food. I love Seattle food. The greatest thing about it is wanting to buy food locally. The quality really shines and your tongue can appreciate it. Your wallet might not but who gives a crap, indulge sometimes otherwise you need to .... alright I won't continue with my sentence. This was simplicity. Thick, creamy, savory (cheese) in one hand (or on one utensil) with toasted bread drizzled with a super, slick, non-excessively, sweet honey. I forget the type of cheese but it was a bit dry, breaks off in chunks, easy to bite into. easy to chew, very creamy with a bit of a musky tart outer layer. There is something about tart + sweet + creamy + crunch. It definitely places with all your oral senses ha ha.
The dessert. Fresh Fig Panna Cotta & Citrus Cookies. At least I think it was citrus cookies. Who cares it was good anyway. The fig panna cotta was damn good. I was just nibbling and enjoying how refreshing it was then my girlfriend devours hers and snatches mine and hurls the mini jar at me in disgust as if I wronged the establishment somehow for not releasing my inner beast on the dessert. Just kidding, my girlfriend loved it though, she loved it so much I gave her a bunch of mine. I was a bit full because she did not want too much of the steak.

Thomas Keller. Oh I want to get dirty with French Laundry. That will have to wait until my food savings account is higher though. It's great. My Better Half and I enjoy this place more than Bouchon. Go, you must eat there since it's easier to get in than French Laundry. I really really wish we got a chance to try their famous Fried Chicken but that's usually on ... Mondays I believe? One day, we will go back for whatever they're serving that day and maybe, hopefully, even that Fried Chicken.

Ad Hoc
6476 Washington St.
Yountville, CA 94599

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