Saturday, September 10, 2016

Rate-A-Restaurant #374: Bengees (Pasadena)

Bengees ice cream

Restaurant: Bengees Ice Cream Crafters

Location: 901 E Del Mar Blvd (Pasadena)

Bengees ice cream

Type of restaurant: Dessert (Ice Cream)

Bengees ice cream

We stipulated: Maria and I had just finished watching a movie in Pasadena, and had a bit of time to spare before we had to pick up the boys. The answer? Ice cream. I searched for a spot in Pasadena, and Bengees looked promising.

Bengees ice cream

They stipulated: "Treat yo' self." Bengees offers a rotating mix of flavors, including several vegan choices. Also cronut ice cream sandwiches and a toasted marshmallow topping option

Bengees ice cream

What we ordered: Mike: Scoop of churro ice cream, $3.50; Maria: English toffee ice cream, $3.50
Bengees ice cream

High point:  Nice choice of flavors, and free samples.

Low point:  The flavors were ultimately just OK, but not exceptional.

Overall impression: Go for the signature items -- the cronut ice cream sandwich or the toasted marshmallow topping. Otherwise, it's just another ice cream shop.

Will we return: Not sure. There are many ice cream joints popping up all the time, and not sure Bengees made enough of an impression to be back.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Pumpkin Spice Mania Returns, As We Head Into Fall

Pumpkin spice

Remember when I asked last year if the Pumpkin craze had gone too far?

I'm inclined to say no, but I'm a sucker for pumpkin flavors -- and every year, more mainstream products get into the act. This year, pumpkin is invading the cereal aisle. Above, pumpkin flavors of Mini Frosted Wheats, Life and Special K cereals. (All found at Target). I haven't been to Trader Joe's yet this week, but I assume the aisles are starting to look a lot like this, from last year:



Fall is here!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Rate-A-Restaurant #373: Magpies Softserve (Silver Lake)

Magpies

Restaurant: Magpies Softserve

Location: 2660 Griffith Park Boulevard (Silver Lake)

Magpies

Type of restaurant: Dessert (Ice Cream)

Magpies

We stipulated: I love soft serve more than anything. I still dream almost daily of the "Salty Bea Arthur," as served at New York's Big Gay Ice Cream shop (which sadly still hasn't opened a Los Angeles outpost, despite promising so). But I also love adventurous flavors, which is why Scoops is my fave ice cream scoop in LA. Magpies promised to marry the two, and I was in.

Magpies

They stipulated: "Magpies Softserve is a scratch recipe soft serve dessert shop. We make our soft serve mix and all toppings in house. We wanted to expand the flavors of typical soft serve ice cream from the traditional vanilla and chocolate by creating flavors of soft serve that bring us back to our childhood, flavors that inspired us to become chefs. From a Horchata (non dairy), to a Cortadito, a sweetened Cuban espresso to Yuzu Honey, a traditional Korean tea that is unique to the American palate. We had a lot of fun creating flavors that are authentic to us."

Magpies

What we ordered: Mike: Toasted marshmallow and Corn Almond; Maria: Thai Tea and Sweet Cream; Evan: Toasted marshmallow with caramel and cookie crumble; Nathan: Toasted marshmallow. All junior size at $3.95; the two toppings were 95 cents more.
Magpies

High point:  Loved the corn almond, which reminded me of the "cereal milk" flavor found at New York's Milk Bar. Plus: The fact that you could split your order and get *two* flavors was well appreciated!

Low point:  It's a small store, so there aren't many places to sit and enjoy your treat. (But that's a common refrain at spots like Scoops too.)

Magpies

Overall impression: The junior size is more than enough; it's the perfect amount of ice cream. Also loved the free samples as we tested out what we wanted. And the diversity of flavor choices means there's something for everyone.

Magpies

Will we return: Oh yes. Magpies rotates its flavors, which means there will be always new flavors to try. Not good for my diet, but fantastic news for my tastebuds.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Blogger Kid Attends His First Concert: Coldplay at the Rose Bowl

Coldplay show

It all started with the 2011 video to Coldplay's "Paradise." The Blogger Kid, who was 6 at the time, loved the story of Chris Martin, dressed as an elephant, escaping a London zoo and traveling to Africa to find his home. But last year Coldplay easily became Evan's favorite band thanks to the video to "Adventure of a Lifetime," the motion-capture short inspired by Andy Serkis. (Mat Whitecross directed both videos.)

When the Blogger Kid got his first iPod, he had me upload Coldplay's catalog of hit songs, which he now knows by heart. So when Coldplay announced its shows at the Rose Bowl, I knew it would be the perfect first concert for him. (He's seen plenty of live music over the years at events like the Kids' Choice Awards, but this was his first full-blown concert by a major artist.)

We made it to the Aug. 20 show, and indeed, this was quite the experience -- the huge crowd, the epic size of the show and the energy inside the Rose Bowl. (On the down side, stadium shows mean a long wait just to get past security and inside. Then there was trying to leave after the show -- we sat in a car for an hour, not even moving.)

Despite being inside a huge stadium, the show felt surprisingly intimate, even from way up in the stands. Chris Martin connected with the fans (even apologizing for the expensive experience -- I know, I know, but it worked) and the group played most of its big hits.

Some pics from the show:

Coldplay show

Coldplay show

Coldplay show

Coldplay show

Coldplay show

Coldplay show

Coldplay show

Coldplay show

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