Valentine's Day Chocolates & Why I Love Them!


Posted by Anisha | Posted in , , , | Posted on 1/25/2010

I can't help but love Valentine's Day chocolates! The makeshift "holiday" I can do without, but there's something about pink, purple, and red foil-wrapped chocolates that make me swoon. It stems from the seventh grade and well, my love for chocolates.

I loved the seventh grade for many reasons.

I discovered the flat iron, which was a monumental step in taming my poofy hair. My glasses were replaced with contacts, meaning I could see more of the world -- goodbye frames! I survived honors math courses and made some amazing friends in the process. My most fond memory was the famed Februrary 14, when a boy I had a crush on asked me out with a box of caramel chocolates.

I make it out to be more than it truly is! It was the seventh grade and "dating" isn't what "dating" is in the grown-up world, meaning it doesn't involve your mom or dad picking you up from the movies. I can't help it though, because that boy I had a crush on is the boy I'm with now -- three years strong!

Maybe now you understand my fascination and fondness towards Valentine's day, but let me clarify -- we don't do the fancy schmancy dinner & we don't buy each other frou-frou gifts! Two years ago, we went to the batting cages and I can't even remember what we did last year. Also, I think it is a shame that the United States doesn't celebrate Friendship Day the way in which India does. According to the fam bam, tons of people exchange friendship bracelets, exchange yellow roses, etc.

However, this year, we are doing something pretty fan-freakin-tastic. We're headed to the LA Street Food Fest on February 13 to chow down while sitting on the curb, with plastic utensils (or none at all), and paper napkins!

Anyway, back to the chocolate! I was perusing the selection at Cost Plus World Market and was floored by all of the V-day themed confections they offered. Here are a few snaps from my handy dandy camera (phone):

One view of the selection at Cost Plus. I spy tons of Ghirardelli squares.

I was so tempted to purchase this pinked out paper bag of PINK pancake mix with chocolate chips, but then my boyfriend reminded me that I have neon food coloring and I can make it myself!

Pink take-out box of dark chocolate-covered fortune cookies! It also comes in a red take-out box of milk chocolate, but really... who cares about the bastard child of dark chocolate?

Chocovine! Yes, I found a bottle of chocolate wine and yes, that's my pinky. I was going to purchase some Young's Double Chocolate Stout, which I've been meaning to try, but then I found this!

After a bit more perusing, I decided I needed to get away from the pink and red nausea-inducing display in the front of the store to the back, where I always find some nummy chocolate.

Did you know Tabasco makes its own spicy chocolate? I didn't. Cute red tin sells for $3.99 but the price to chocolate ratio is far too high in my books!

Check out the selection if you have friends in mind! I know that I will definitely be back on February 15 to purchase some marked down chocolates. If you'd like to send me some chocolate, I'm more than willing to disclose my mailing address... just kidding! Well, maybe not.

Counting on The Counter Pasadena + Wine Detective Charity Event


Posted by Anisha | Posted in , , , , | Posted on 1/02/2010

If you know me, you know that my parents pretty much work 24/7. They call the store which they manage their first baby. I often joke that they neglect their only child -- me.

They got off of work early and were home by 7pm, meaning one thing: dinner and a movie. We wanted something quick, but not fast food. We weren't in the mood for a home-cooked Indian, so we decided to hit up the Counter Burger in Pasadena.

I have been to The Counter twice before. I love that I have options, more so than the twenty-so burger toppings and the mind boggling list of sauces and spreads. As a Hindu, it's nice to know a burger joint offers something other than the holy cow! Serving turkey, chicken, and a scrumptious panko crumbed-out veggie patty, The Counter strives for customization. Check out their menu here.

[50/50 -- sweet potato fries > onion rings]

[anti-purist trifecta]

Last night, the three of us ordered the "50/50" of onion rings and sweet potato fries! The not-so-purist in me loved that the appetizer is served with ranch, barbecue, and spicy mayo. By the end of the meal, we tried to soak up as much of the spicy mayo with out fries, leaving the other two sauces almost untouched.

[ahi tuna burger]

My mom and I split their monthly special, which is usually pretty darn good. Last month, they had a delicious Greek-style lamburger. I heart lamburgers ever since my Vegas experience at BLT (Bistro Laurent Tourondel) Burger this past October. This month, the special was a Japanese-style ahi burger. The burger boasted ahi tuna, daikon radish, furikake nori, carrots, scallions, mixed greens, and an orgsamic wasabi aioli. I insisted we order the tuna rare, which scares my we-don't-eat-raw-food-except-vegetables-and-fruits-and-you-shouldn't-either parents. The burger was delicious, and I enjoyed the texture of the carrots and daikon radish with the rare, pinkish tuna. The highlight of the meal and my new obsession is their wasabi aioli. I need to figure out how to conjure and bottle up that aioli so that it is readily available to douse, dip, and drench just about anything I can snack on.

[Dear The Counter, please send your loyal fan the wasabi aioli recipe!]

The only thing I did not love about this meal was that I forgot to order it on a honey wheat bun... sad times! The Counter also offers your burger in a bowl of mixed greens, on an English muffin... and plain ol' white buns.

I love this Pasadena location of The Counter, as it is hidden away on Shopper's Lane off of Lake Avenue. It's right across from the Wine Detective, a great segue into my next topic...

Do you love wine?
Are you a food enthusiast? (I mean really, you have to be... you're reading a food blog)
Would you drink for charity?
Want to meet up with fellow bloggers/tweeps?

If you've answered "Yes!" to these questions, join me and other bloggers on January 24, 2010 at the Wine Dectective charity event, organized by Chef Austin Szu. A proceed of each sale will go to Make A Wish Foundation. RSVP soon, as it's only $35 presale and $40 at the door -- and yes, the ticket includes wine and some light appetizers!


The Counter: Custom Built Burgers
140 Shoppers Lane
Pasadena CA 91101

Wine Detective
146 S. Lake Ave #109
Pasadena, CA 91101

The Counter on Urbanspoon
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