Good Times and Grub in Vegas

Last month I took my first trip of the year to Vegas with my best friend and met up with more people while we were there. I actually haven’t traveled with her in several years. We have our occasional outings in the Bay Area, but work schedules often make it difficult to plan an actual vacation or quick getaway, so we were both pretty excited about it. We took an evening flight and got picked up by one of her friends, then had dinner at Shake Shack. The bestie had never been there, so it was a good time to take advantage since it wasn’t busy on a Thursday night. We walked off our meal by heading through Monte Carlo (soon to be named Park MGM) and taking the City Center Tram to Bellagio. We took a look at the Chinese New Year display at their conservatory. I loved the huge Husky with the moving tail!

 

 

 

The next morning we had brunch at Truffles N Bacon. I came across them on Instagram and it was a must that we try their Ube French Toast. We lucked out and ordered the last 2. There’s a really good reason why it constantly sells out. Layers of ube bread with ube cream cheese and young coconut in between, topped with condensed milk and a dollop of ube jam make this a pheNOMenal treat for anyone who loves this “purple stuff”. Considering all the ingredients, it wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet. I opted for the chicken and waffles instead and it was amazing. I usually don’t have the best tolerance with spicy stuff, but if you visit and order this, try it with their honey sriracha. You won’t regret it!

 

 

 

Our now group of 4 got touristy in the afternoon and rode the Gondola at The Venetian (unnecessary Vegas bucket list activity, check). We also visited their CNY displays. They had another adorably huge dog (a sharpei) located near the waterfall that sits between The Venetian and Palazzo hotels.

Dinner later that evening was at Sushi Neko. Neko is Japanese for “cat”, so there is feline themed decor strewn throughout the restaurant. I found it a bit funny that they were playing K-Pop at a Japanese restaurant, but I was totally feeling it (It even reignited my interested in listening to it. I blame you, BTS). The last time I had all you can eat sushi was ironically in Vegas last year. I didn’t bother keeping track of how many pieces I ate, but I assure you that everything we ordered was good.

 

 

 

Our last whole day together was nothing short of fun filled. We checked out the China Lights display at Craig Ranch Regional Park. If it weren’t for the blustery evening, we would have gone through the whole thing. We decided to head back after watching the Chinese cultural performances.

 

 

We capped off the night at Omnia with a DJ set by Zedd. I haven’t seen him since Coachella in 2014. It was nice to actually see his face from the second level of the club compared to being several hundred people deep in a muggy and dusty tented area.

 

 

 

 

I’ll be back in Vegas within a few months for a bachelorette party, so the experience will be much different compared to this. This was the first time in a while that I’ve visited without having a rental car, so I probably would have gone to more places If I had one. Then again, no matter how many times I’ve been here, I always manage to discover something new. Have any recs for my return trip? Feel free to let me know in the comments.

 

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**I also found out last week that I’ve been on WP for 5 years. The first few were inactive, but I’m glad that I still held onto this account. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have crossed paths with some awesome readers. :)**

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Japan Crate Mini, Volume 21

Just slightly behind with what I’ve received in my Japan Crate Minis (whoops). March’s theme was Spring Picnic. I received 4 sweet items and 1 savory one.

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What’s inside:

Bon O Bon: Ccreamy Cream – This was a milk chocolate covered bon bon with a wafer layer and creamy peanut butter filling inside. Pretty good!

Country Ma’am Chocolate Chip Cookies – As a self-proclaimed cookie monster, this pretty much made the whole box for me. 20 mini cookies in both vanilla and chocolate flavors. The back of the packaging is in Japanese, but it basically explains that the cookies can also be warmed in the microwave. Still have to try them that way.

Diamond Ring Pop – Nothing too spectacular here. It’s the Japanese version of a Ring Pop. Looks exactly the same too. I received the grape flavored one.

 

Melon Pandaro – This cute panda shaped cookie has a subtle flavor of melon. I kind of wished there were more than just 1 in the pack.

Umakamon Mayonnaise – Not everyone likes mayo. I don’t mind it, and I can definitely tell the difference between the US and Japanese version. These puffs bring on the umami from this popular condiment, making them too easy to finish.

The mini crate is 1 of 3 subscriptions available. Check out Japan Crate’s website for more information. If you choose to subscribe, you can get $5 off either your first Original or Premium box by using code MSA5 (code courtesy of My Subscription Addiction)

Tastea Arrives in the Bay Area

Tastea is a well-known franchise from Southern California that specializes in organic tea and coffee beverages, smoothies, and snacks. Their locations are in Garden Grove, Rowland Heights, Costa Mesa, and Chino Hills. The first Bay Area location in San Jose will have their grand opening this Saturday 04/29 from 3:00 pm – 11:00 pm. The first 200 customers will receive a free drink, and giveaways will be handed out to all customers while supplies last. As a huge fan of milk tea/boba, I had the opportunity to check out their soft opening. After checking in with the host, I was given a ticket and got in line along with others who were anxiously waiting to place their orders.

 

Here’s what I had:

Bootea Shaker – Mango, peach, and pineapple organic tea with black jelly

Matcha Thai Milk Tea – Matcha mixed with Thai Tea, milk, and cream

Salted Cream Jasmine – Organic jasmine green iced tea with salted cream

I also tried:

Passion Attraction – Passion Fruit organic black tea with coconut jelly

Sunset Peach – Peach/raspberry organic black tea with mango bits

Karate Chicken – All white meat popcorn chicken with your choice of spice level. The person from my party who ordered it picked Level 2 (medium kick).

Buttload’a Fries – Lightly battered fries with Tastea’s signature seasoning

Shrimp On It! – Hand battered fried shrimp with Tastea’s signature seasoning

Myself and 2 other people I met at the event shared all of this, plus a few more drinks, and we enjoyed everything. All attendees were also given gift cards to use on a return visit. If you must have more of your newly found favorite Tastea beverage, you can also get it in a jug to take home with you. Nice!

I wish Tastea San Jose much success with their grand opening this weekend. If you’re ever in the South Bay, do check them out.

Japan Crate Mini, Volume 20

February’s Japan Crate theme was Comfort Food.  I received 2 savory and 3 sweet items which are known to be either popular or exclusive in Japan.

 

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What’s inside:

Cheetos BBQ – Man, do I love me some Cheetos. I was excited to get this Japan exclusive flavor. As for it tasting like BBQ? Let’s just say this isn’t anything like how we interpret it in the US. The flavor was sweet/savory, and I also got a hint of ginger in it. It’s good, but I wished they were coated more with the seasoning like the regular cheesy and hot Cheetos.

Fue Fue Ramune Grape – I believe I received something similar to this in a past box. This life saver looking candy can be placed between your lips and emits a whistling sound when you blow through them. The small box with the package contained a small toy (there was a top inside).

Garibori Spicy Garlic Ramen – Have you ever eaten instant ramen straight out of its package? I honestly never gave it a second thought. The crunch and spicy kick that this had was surprising. Good stuff! It can also be cooked in hot water, but I figured it wouldn’t taste as good.

Mashuro – I often get skeptical when I see marshmallows that are different from their plain, white predecessors. My initial thought is that they wouldn’t taste anything like them. Thankfully this one did, the result being that it was the first item from the box that I finished.

Puku Puku Tai Strawberry – I have received the chocolate version of this in a past box. Why I haven’t gone out of my way to look for these tasty cream filled fish shaped wafers is beyond me.

 

The mini crate is 1 of 3 subscriptions available. Check out Japan Crate’s website for more information. If you choose to subscribe, you can get $5 off either your first Original or Premium box by using code MSA5 (code courtesy of My Subscription Addiction).

Japan Crate Mini, Volume 18

December’s mini crate came with 4 sweet items and 1 savory item.

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What’s inside:

Animal Lesson Choco – This is like a version of my favorite Hello Panda chocolate filled biscuits. Instead of panda faces, there are different animals printed on them. These tasted OK, but it’s pretty hard to top HP.

Harvest Biscuit Matcha Flavor – Oh man, I loved these! There are 8 individual packets, each containing 4 crispy biscuits. The flavor is slightly sweet, and the matcha is subtle. I’m going to try and make these last until the end of the month.

Sakuranbo No Uta – This spherical hard candy has a creamy cherry flavor. Think of cherry pie a la mode or topped with whipped cream.

Umai Wa Vegetable Salad Flavor – This snack comes from the same makers of those Umaibo sticks that have been featured in past crates. It’s supposed to be reminiscent of a garden salad, but I think it’s not entirely possible to do so in chip form. Either way, this still tasted pretty good.

Yakimo Yokan – I first heard about this sweet potato gelatin dessert from an anime I once watched. Apparently it comes in different forms and colors. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this, but after the first bite, I was surprised. The texture is denser than actual gelatin. And it does taste like roasted sweet potato. I may have to seek out more like this the next time I find myself at an Asian grocery store.

 

Interested in checking out Japan Crate? Visit their site and use code MSA5 to receive $5 off either your first Original or Premium crate (code courtesy of My Subscription Addiction).

Tea Under the Tree With Crown & Crumpet

A few weeks ago, a few friends and I headed to downtown SF to take part in a holiday tea event. Although it was pouring rain outside the whole time, we still had a blast. Crown & Crumpet in collaboration with the Sir Francis Drake Hotel is holding a holiday tea service for both adults and children throughout the month of December. The area where the event was held is wonderfully decorated, and the large Christmas tree in the middle was the site of many photo-ops.

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Our party of 3 started off with cider and sparkling wine (just me), and later each ordered a tea of our choice. I had my usual favorite (Strawberry Fields) while the others tried the holiday teas. The hostess gave us some party crackers to open before indulging in our selection of tea time treats. The crackers contained mini trinkets, a joke card, and a paper crown which the hostess insisted we wore during our session.

 

Before leaving, we each received a specially made ornament as a memento of the event. I’m glad I was able to partake in it this year and hope to do so in the next. The holiday tea runs through December 30th. More information can be found on the Crown & Crumpet website.

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Japan Crate Mini, Volume 17

The theme for this crate was Japan Throwbacks. I received 3 snack items and 2 candy items in this one, and some of the brands I had tried in past crates.

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What’s inside:

Brazilian Orange Pocky – This was release during promotion of the Rio Olympics earlier this year. I enjoyed the orange white chocolate flavor, and surprisingly haven’t finished the box yet. Some things are worth savoring!

Chew-Ing Straw, Green Apple – These sour straws reminded me of when I would purchase Sour Power during elementary school. These were not as sour, but the flavor was spot on.

Saku Saku Panda Cookie Pack – I believe this is the 3rd time I’ve gotten these awesome chocolate topped cookies, but there’s definitely no complaints from me about it. I just wish there were more of them.

Sportsubu – This chewy candy contains electrolytes to help replenish active bodies. Think of it as chewable Gatorade. These have a lemon-lime flavor. I should have brought them with me during my marathon a few weeks ago.

Umai Sugar Rusk – Rusk is a twice baked baguette that was often served with tea or coffee in Europe prior to its arrival in Japan. This version was made with corn puffs. It’s crunchy, sweet, buttery, and pretty darn addicting.

The Mini subscription contains 5 different types of snacks and candy, but if you’re looking for more, you might want to check out their Original or Premium subscriptions. Visit their site and use code MSA5 to receive $5 off your first one for either sub (code courtesy of My Subscription Addiction).