WKEND RECAP: planet dailies, speculoos, potluck – less words, more pics

13Mar12

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Sorry for the late weekend recap post. I’m not sure yet if I’d like to maintain a weekly “wkend recap” series but I suppose should my life remain eventful, I’ll continue as time permits.

With an aim to post less words and more photos, I’ll briefly recap that this weekend was filled with lots of …. you guessed it … food! From speculoos cookies + (free) spread and complimentary dinner and drinks from Planet Dailies/Mixology 101 to a potluck and breakfast/brunch/lunch in Long Beach. Exciting stuff!

FRIDAY, MARCH 9, 2012

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When Annie aka AG (of freshly created blog Annie Eats World – she’s currently eating Europe right now so check out her food adventures) mentioned Trader Joe’s speculoos, I immediately became intrigued as with everything else that is related to food. Apparently, they’ve been out of this jar of heavenly cookie spread since the holidays and it has caused a serious drought within the community. People are going through withdrawals and Trader Joe’s employees are checking daily on their computers to see if any are in stock.

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Hailing from Belgium, the cookie was apparently made popular by Delta Airlines, who served these delicious cookies to their airline passengers. Americans loved it so much that they demanded it to be sold in the states. Lotus Bakeries, who bought the rights to the recipe, obliged and opened shop with a North American division named Biscoff (located in SF).

And here we are.  Wanting to make my life easier, I simply made an order online and received my anticipated package Friday morning.  They currently have a promotion of 1 free lb of Biscoff cookies if you spend $35 or more (my free lb pictured above). This promotion ends on April 30, 2012. They also have a $5 flat rate shipping fee – awesome news if you plan on ordering a big package.

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I originally ordered the duo spread, which includes one creamy and one crunchy cookie spread jar but when I opened the box (they’re packaging is beyond awesome), I saw two crunchy jars. A bit bothered, I decided to call them to notify of the little hiccup. They immediately apologized for the mistake and said they’d ship me a creamy one for free and that I didn’t have to worry about sending back the extra crunchy. Within a matter of seconds of getting off the phone, I proclaimed my love for Biscoff. Nothing beats awesome customer service.

The correct package arrived Monday night and guess what? Not only did it come with a creamy jar, but it also included another crunchy! They decided to send me the correct duo order, which meant they gave me TWO FREE JARS. Holy moly! As AG would say, I’ll be 10 lbs heavier. I loved Biscoff a little more after Monday.

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Soft launched on Thursday, March 8th, Planet Dailies / Mixology 101 (at Farmer’s Market), a Vegas-born concept, officially opened to the public this past Monday, March 12th. I was lucky to be invited to the soft launch to help their staff/kitchen prep for their big opening day. Free food and drinks galore. What more can a gal ask for?

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Even with reservations, there was a supposed 20-minute wait so we walked on over to Mixology 101 for complimentary drinks and appetizers. I ordered their Jamaican Sangria and the PIC ordered a gin and tonic. Both were yummy. Antsy about eating, we went ahead and ordered their calamari, kobe beef sliders and crab and lobster cakes appetizers.

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We were told that the kitchen was closed since it was their trial run, was thanked for patience and understanding and was welcomed to continue to hang out at Mixology 101 for bottomless cocktails. I was a bit perplexed and at the same time, saddened, that I was not going to try their food. Two minutes later, a man who seemed to be in a position of power, called my name and said we were ready to be seated at Planet Dailies. All this while we were waiting for our appetizers at Mixology 101. I asked if those would be delivered to us on the restaurant side and they reassured that it would. Miscommunication everywhere, I let it brush off my shoulders as it was their soft launch.

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Upon seating at Planet Dailies, they handed us an envelope. It contained random drawings of one appetizer – Tex Mex Egg Rolls, two drinks – one alcoholic, one non-alcoholic and two entrees – Orange Chicken and Ahi Tuna Steak. Unfortunately, the Ahi Tuna Steak entree was out so we chose to replace that with Teriyaki Salmon. That wasn’t my first choice but let’s not get into why….

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While still waiting for the appetizers we ordered at Mixology, the Tex Mex Egg Rolls comes out first. It reminded me to Chili’s version – greasy, cheesy and just okay. I was not impressed.

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After the egg rolls, the other appetizers came rolling out and I was excited about these! The calamari was WONDERFUL – fresh, fresh, fresh and yummy batter. The crab and lobster cakes were full of those two things, which makes it worth the $16.99 that we would have been charged. The mango salad on the side was a very nice complement. Oh, and the sliders were fantastic. I mean, look at it! The cucumber was a nice touch that gave it a refreshing crunch. Any of these three super trumped the Tex Mex Egg Rolls.

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As you can imagine, after stuffing our faces with the appetizers, we weren’t as hungry when the entrees were finally placed in front of us. The orange chicken was your regular orange chicken – nothing special or authentic to it’s Chinese connection. Same goes for the Teriyaki Salmon, which was barely touched and put in a doggy bag to-go.

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Their dessert menu was not ready but that was a good thing because we would have been too full to sample anything anyway. Knowing myself, I would have forced a few bites despite my full stomach. Gluttony is a b!tch.

The envelope included “monopoly” money, which we used to pay for the meal.

Employees are new and still learning the menus, bartenders are practicing getting their recipes right, staff in front are scattered everywhere. Overall, the soft launch was a success. It allowed Angelenos to taste and get a glimpse of the new eatery and everything went smoothly, for the most part.  Only gripe I had was missing out on their BBQ Ribs that I could have ordered had I asked the right person.

SATURDAY, MARCH 10, 2012

I did pilates for the first time at Mission Street Yoga in South Pasadena using my LivingSocial deal (one month unlimited use). Those damn discount websites are dangerous. As you’ve heard, it’s a tough class to endure but I got through it with aching abs for the next day.

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After yoga, I made myself a very yummy pizzadilla that had homemade basil pesto as base, mozza cheese, tomato, veggie sun-dried tomato and basil sausage topped with freshly grated asiago cheese on a whole wheat tortilla. Teared this up!

In preparation of Alyssa‘s (blogger at Suppin Good and LA Editor of PoorTasteMag.com) wine and appetizer potluck, I made my current favorite roasted brussels sprouts with maple dijon dressing and toasted sliced almonds (made for the 1st time last weekend).

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Pictures above in order from top to bottom: mac & cheese (bomb) with Alyssa’s homemade puff pasty topped with duck and cherries (bomb), my brussels sprouts, hummus, Alyssa’s beet root veggie sticks (yum), artichoke dip, Alyssa’s homemade red wine and a vegan green tea cake (was bought from Love Them Apples and was SUPER AMAZING!).

I’m missing a lot of photos from the evening but overall, the potluck was a success filled with good food, good people and a great vibe. Can’t wait for the next one!

SUNDAY, MARCH 11, 2012

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For breakfast/brunch/lunch, PIC and I went to Jongewaard’s Bake n Broil in Long Beach. I ordered their popular quiche of the day – broccoli and cheddar – that came with my choice of salad and blueberry muffin. Muffin was great. Salad was great. Quiche was great with a buttery crust.

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Their steak and eggs are always on point. I highly recommend the season hash browns with bell peppers and onions. For to-go, I had try their popular red velvet cupcake and a slice of banana cream pie. The cupcake was comparable, if not, better than Sprinkles’. I couldn’t believe it. I’ve tried so many different red velvet cupcakes in hopes to find one that trumped Sprinkles’ and finally, my search ended in Long Beach. Their frosting is much better because it’s not overloaded with sugar. The banana cream pie was amazing with a delicious crust. The pudding was lightly sweetened. I will order both of these again along with other pies that I cannot wait to try!

Hope you enjoyed reading up on this past weekend’s adventures. This upcoming weekend may be a bit boring so I’ll probably just skip unless I decide to make something in the kitchen….



4 Responses to “WKEND RECAP: planet dailies, speculoos, potluck – less words, more pics”

  1. 1 Nicki

    Yum speculoos! I’ve seen it a big lots before too.

  2. 3 Nicki

    Btw where is the green tea cake from? It looks fantastic!


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