Saturday, April 15, 2023

Restaurant Review: Urban Island

I had been wanting to visit Urban Island since I heard about it. They call themselves a Filipino American Craft Eatery. Urban Island serves Filipino favorites and Filipino twists on American foods and they are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. My mom and I stopped in on a whim on a Friday evening. It was full and we were seated at a small table by the entrance. Not exactly the most comfortable spot. We were informed that breakfast was available all day. Apparently their traditional island breakfasts and twists on breakfast classics are popular. However, we decided to skip breakfast and order off the rest of the menu. They have several cocktails on the menu. We tried the Tita Margarita, a twist on a classic Margarita with the addition of calamansi juice and the Pointing Lips a mango juice, calamansi juice and vodka concoction. We both decided we don't like calamansi juice. It is bitter and over powered the drinks. If you are not sure what calmansi is, it is a citrus fruit popular in Filipino and South East Asian cooking. It is very tart and bitter. 

We also ordered two appetizers. The Chicharron was hot and crispy and served with a spiced garlic vinegar for dipping. 

The Lumpia was filled with ground pork and tasty, but a little on the oily side. Also, my favorite Lumpia are small, crispy and plentiful because Lumpia is addictive. I could have ate more of these. 

My mom ordered the Philly Pino sandwich, it was filled with beef short rib tapa, onions, roasted peppers, gouda cheese, garlic aioli on top of a French roll. I was not a fan of this sandwich. It had a strange blue chees-y taste to it which was peculiar because it does not say it contains blue cheese. The fries were under salted.  

I ordered the Sizzling Sisig. Sisig is a popular filipino dish made with pork and seasoned with calamansi, chilis, onion, garlic and vinegar. This one was made with diced pork belly and then topped with a fried egg. It was served with a side of their rice. I believe the rice was flavored with turmeric, it was just okay. My mom and I agreed that every food item we tried could definitely use a bit more seasoning in it, a little salt goes a long way. All in all we were not that impressed with Urban Island, I would like to return and try some of the breakfast items though. 

27423 Ynez Rd. 
Temecula, CA 92591

Monday, April 10, 2023

Cajun Chicken Pasta

Cajun Chicken Pasta

1 8 to 12 oz. pkg. Ziti noodles
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Cajun seasoning
2 tbs. butter
1 small onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
11/2 cups of heavy cream 
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Olive oil
Fresh parsley
Salt & Pepper

Cook pasta al dente and reserve 1 cup of pasta water. Rinse noodles and toss with a bit of olive oil to coat. Set aside. Pound chicken breasts so they are even in thickness. Season with Cajun seasoning, salt and pepper. In a large skillet heat olive oil and add chicken. Cook for about 6 minutes on each side until they are no longer pink and fully cooked. Remove chicken and transfer to a cutting  board to slice into strips. In the same skillet over medium heat add butter and onions and cook until soft. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add heavy cream and 1/2 cup of the pasta water, Parmesan cheese and more Cajun seasoning and stir. Reduce heat to low and add the noodles to skillet and stir. If the sauce is too thick you can add a little more pasta water if needed. Add the chicken and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper and chopped fresh parsley. 

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Restaurant Review- Juniper & Ivy Part 2

Penelope turned 15 last month and we thought we would celebrate with a fancy dinner. Just like her parents, she loves to try new foods so what perfect place to do that than Juniper & Ivy. Chris and I had such an enjoyable experience the last time we visited we thought Penelope would enjoy it as well. Here are some more of Juniper and Ivy's tasty shareable creations. 

Sourdough and House Cultured Butter The sourdough was warm and chewy with a crusty exterior and the butter was creamy and delicious. 

Smoked Sturgeon Dip served with a Nori Brioche and Caviar This was really satisfying and full of flavor. Also tasted great on top of the sourdough bread. 

Ricotta Gnocchi with Duck Sausage, Shaved Kale and Parmesan and Herb Butter Perfect morsels of gnocchi and duck sausage. Yum!

This pork belly was a little chewy for my liking, although it had good flavor. I don't recall the other ingredients and it is not listed on their sample menu, sorry. 

Oysters with Guava Mignonette My mom also joined us for dinner this evening so we had to have the oysters since mom loves them. We enjoyed these little guys. 

Halibut Handrolls made with Sushi Rice Yuzu Kosho Aioli, Furikake and Tamari These were light and fresh tasting. Yuzu Kosho is a Japanese condiment made from fermented chilis, salt and yuzu. 

Fromage Blanc with Charred Tomatoes, Olives and Rosemary and served with a wonderful Focaccia. This cheese spread and bread was probably the best thing we tried that night. I love a good cheese. 

We also tried the Tuna Smashburger and Fries but I didn't get a photo of it and Penelope was surprised with a scoop of birthday cake ice cream which she gobbled up. All in all it was another enjoyable experience at Juniper & Ivy. 

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Black Pepper Chicken Stir-fry


Black Pepper Chicken Stir-fry

1lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs, cubed
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tbs. honey
3/4 tsp/ black pepper
3/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp Thai curry powder
1/2 cup cornstarch
3 tbs.  cup canola oil
3 green onions chopped

In a bowl, combine the soy sauce, honey, and seasonings. place chicken in a plastic bag and add the cornstarch. Shake up so that the chicken is fully coated. In a wok or large skillet, heat 2 tbs. of oil on medium heat. Add the chicken and fry until no longer pink. Remove from pan. Add remaining 1 tbs. oil and green onion stir in liquid mixture to pan. Bring to boil and lower heat cooking for a couple minutes until sauce thickens a bit. Add chicken back in and stir together. Serve over white rice. 

This is really fragrant and has a lot of flavor and the turmeric gives it a nice color. Yum!

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Restaurant Review: (Road Trip Edition) Yaks on the 5


Last spring we took a road trip on the 5 freeway to Reedsport, Oregon to visit family. I was searching the internet for a place to stop along the way and enjoy some lunch when I came across Yaks on the 5. Yaks on the 5 is featured on Yelp's top 100 list and serves gourmet burgers and beer among other things. I also hear they are famous for their sticky buns. We stopped in Dunsmuir, CA to try out this spot. Dunsmuir is a small city in Northern California along the I-5, blink and you will miss it, unless you know about Yaks because it was packed when we arrived midday for lunch.  Dunsmuir is quaint and attracts the outdoorsy crowd, specifically for its fishing. 

Above is Yaks menu which consists of burgers, sandwiches, fries their smoked barbecue WINGS, they are big. 

Chris ordered the More Than Just A Peanut Butter Burger with their homemade potato chips and was talked into trying one of their Picked The Wrong Day To Quit Smoking Wings covered in a homemade barbecue sauce and ranch drizzle. The wing was perfectly smoked, tender and sweet with the addition of the barbecue sauce. The burger was covered in a peanut butter sauce, fried onion strings, bacon crumbles, and a house-made lemon ginger marmalade. Very big, very messy and very tasty. 

I ordered the Cilantro Bomb burger and the Garlic Parmesan Fries with their homemade lavender ketchup. The burger is a must if you are a cilantro lover. It is loaded with cilantro, jack cheese, fried onion strings and a house-made lime aioli. I love cilantro and the lime aioli paired well with the flavors in this burger. The Garlic Parmesan Fries were crisp and delicious. 

Penelope ordered the Castle Crags Pastrami Sandwich, and was very happy about it. 

Piled high with pastrami, jack cheese, aioli and grilled onions.

These burgers are quite a meal and can easily be cut in half and shared. I have a feeling this will become our go to lunch spot whenever we make the trek to Oregon. 

4917 Dunsmuir Ave. 
Dunsmuir, CA 

Saturday, December 31, 2022

Red Beans and Rice


I know this is not your traditional Louisiana Red beans and Rice but it is a quick, throw everything in the pot, meal that is so satisfying. Here ya go...

Easy Red Beans and Rice

Can of Kidney beans
2 cups of water
1tbs Canola oil
1/2 cup Rotel
3 cloves minced garlic
1 cup uncooked rice
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. Cajun seasoning
1/4 tsp. Cayenne
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 green onions sliced. 

Throw everything into a pot and turn on high heat. Once it starts to boil lower the heat and cover. Simmer on low heat for 20 to 25 minutes until rice is tender. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Drink Me: Mojito Special (light)


Made a lightened up version of a Mojito Special using Fever Tree's Ginger Ale mixer. Fever Tree makes mixers from naturally sourced ingredients and no artificial flavors or sweeteners for the perfect cocktail. 

Mojito Special(light)

1 oz. silver rum

Few springs of mint, these are from my greenhouse apple mint plant

Splash of lime juice

1 tsp. Brown sugar

3 1/2 oz. Ginger Ale


In the bottom of a highball glass put a splash of lime juice and the sugar. Add the mint leaves and middle. Add the rum and fill the glass with ice. Top it with the ginger ale and stir. 

This drink is so refreshing and tasty. I actually prefer it over a regular mojito and I am not usually a ginger ale fan but I am a fan of this Fever Tree Ginger Ale