Trader Joe’s Mochi Rice Nuggets

asian, japanese, Snack


As soon as I saw this on the shelf at TJ’s, I had no other choice but to get it! Why? Because I love me some mochi!

Wasn’t sure how it would taste but had positive hopes…

Unfortunately, some things in life doesn’t work out or taste as one would hope πŸ˜” This was one of those moments…

There is a slight ‘chewiness’ to it but there’s more crunch than chewy. And the nuggets are a pretty hefty size–I was expecting something slightly bigger than a pea; this is more like a popcorn kernel size. 

Don’t expect much flavor. This is more for those who enjoy mochi in a different texture (very crunchy). 

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Kikis Japanese Casual Dining (Denver, CO)

asian, japanese, noodles

Came here on a recommendation of a fellow foodie. 

I don’t really know what I was expecting since I saw that it didn’t have as great of a review as I would’ve thought, considering it came highly recommended. But I know that sometimes the ratings don’t really match how I ultimately feel about a place – positive or negative. 

It’s a cozy little eatery. Wish there were more images to get an idea of how some dishes are. Coming from a big metro area (LA) w/ a wide variety of noodles (that’s what I was craving), I was slightly concerned that I was going to be disappointed. Fortunately, the BF and I were not! Yay!!

I ordered the TEMPURA UDON. If you like tempura and you like udon, you will definitely enjoy this dish! The broth and noodles were on point; and the shrimp and veggie tempura batter and sauce were terrific! The tempura was much better than many others I’ve had in LA – that’s sad to me :-/


The BF ordered the BEEF CHA-PU-RU. It’s a mix of some veggies, slices of beef, and rice. It’s diff than what he’s used to but said it was okay (as are most dishes w/ him -_-) lol! 


So, w/ this restaurant, don’t let the rating fool ya! And check out their drink menu! 

Mon Ramen (Woodland Hills, CA)

japanese, noodles, ramen, sushi

Hmm… I was hoping for at least a minimum from interior and food πŸ˜”

Went on a warm day and upon stepping in, it was already stuffy due to the cooking–needs better ventilation. And it’s kind of plain and blah inside. Missing decor to personalize the place πŸ˜‘ More effort would be good.


As for the food, got their Spicy Tan Tan Men combo’ed w/ Spicy Tuna Roll. The BF got the Miso Chashu Ramen. 

Spicy Tuna Roll – um, they weren’t shaped as rolls; think they might have been training somebody or were having technical difficulties…? Had a couple friends who mentioned they could’ve done a better job at home (not pro chefs). And a few gave those glances as to say “Huh?? Hmm… Okay, then…” 😐


Spicy Tan Tan Men – the broth was not as thick as I prefer but that’s my own preference. Broth flavoring could be more flavorful. Had to add soy sauce to it. The presentation wasn’t that nice, unfortunately πŸ˜•


Miso Chashu Ramen – the BF said it was good. It had more flavor than the Tan Tan Men but looked less appetizing than my ramen 😳

Overall, I won’t be coming back here anytime soon (if at all). I always hope for tasty dishes w/ nice interior decor (adds to the experience); and this place did not match either criteria 😞 With the availability of other ramen houses that are more pleasant to sit in, and where the dishes are enjoyable and tasty; this place isn’t worth the price–prices are in the same range as the better ones. 

Izakaya Bar Hanbay (Torrance, CA)

asian, japanese, sushi

Was fortunate to have been invited with a group of other diners for a tasting event. 
Interior/decor was nice and typical of what one would find in a typical Japanese restaurant. 

First dish presented was the Assorted Sashimi…


Sashimi was tasty! A little surprised that ginger had to be requested… Oh, well… 

What I really enjoyed about this plate was the presentation–especially the ice bowl in the middle… So creative! 

Daikon Salad–pretty simple and straightforward with the addition of daikon. The dressing was kind of like a homemade vinaigrette, but needed a bit more acidity to balance it out. Could see this being ordered more during summer months since it’s refreshing. 


Dashimaki… Rolled up egg omelet. I was pleasantly surprised by this one; wasn’t expecting much at all. Turned out to be tasty as to get 2nd helpings! 😁 Didn’t care too much for the side of daikon that it came with; I’m fine just how the omelet was. 


Kushi Age… Assorted tempura skewers. Though tempura doesn’t have too much flavoring normally, this one was particularly bland; even with the tempura sauce. One of my least fave dishes. 


Tonteki… Pork steak. Got one of the end pieces and it was juicy but on the fatty side–if you don’t mind that, the end pieces will be your fave (except for the fact that there’s only 2 pieces πŸ˜‘). The rest was on the salty side and a bit dry. Rice would be a good complement. 


Cold Soba comes with a dipping sauce. Please note the word “dipping”–yes, I almost poured the sauce all over till a diner caught me right before while I had the uncertain look on my face, haha! Though this doesn’t look like much, it was yummy! I’m not much into cold noodles, but this was good! What’s also neat about their soba is that it’s freshly made in-house… That’s probably makes it so good πŸ˜€ Must try!!


Hot Soba… Soothing broth and noodles, can you really go wrong?? 😜 Actually, you can… But that’s not the case w/ this one! 😁 Similar to the cold soba, this doesn’t have much to it but it was good nonetheless. I prefer thicker broths but this did well for what it was πŸ™‚ I imagine eating this in replace of rice with other dishes. 


Green Tea CrΓ¨me BrΓ»lΓ©e… What’s always good w/crΓ¨me brΓ»lΓ©e in general is that it’s not too heavy (but still creamy) and not too sweet. And you gotta love that crispy top layer! πŸ˜‹ I enjoyed how this was not overly flavored. Sometimes when green tea flavoring is added, it can get overboard. Not this, though! Another must-try!


Lychee Sorbet… Nice presentation… But could have done without it. Just slightly too sweet (the syrupy tasting kind of sweet). Kind of reminds me of the lychee I would eat out of a can–not necessarily bad, just not preferred. But if you’re a lover of lychee in all forms, definitely order! 

In the end…
This place has more going for it than not. The sashimi and noodles were my faves for this trip! 

Next time, I would order the fried kimchi–they were frying some when we were there but didn’t get the chance to order, smelled tasty! So, if you try it, let me know how it is 😬