We’re so glad you found us! We are the Dining Darlings, otherwise known as Shana and Kara. Two friends who’ve decided to share our love of food and adventure with anyone who might care to join us. In this blog we’ll be sharing all sorts of things, like eating out, cooking at home, travel eats, reorganizing your kitchen cupboards, and anything else we come up with along the way. Feel free to ask us any questions you might have. Let us introduce ourselves...

Hmm…Where should I start? I guess my name would be good right?!  Well, my name is Shana and I enjoy traveling, experiencing new things, eating and trying practically anything once. “You can’t say you don’t like something if you have never tried it,” is something I believe to be true in respect of food and life in general. I can’t wait to share my food experiences with you all!

Hi there, I'm Kara. I would consider myself a pretty regular girl. I grew up in a small town in Southern California. I enjoy most typical types of food, and every now and then will get a little more adventurous - though I usually leave that to Shana :). I enjoy eating out as well as making dinner at home. I've really been working on my cooking skills over the last 4 years - slowly but surely getting a little more confident and a little more proficient with each meal. My goal is to become one of those people who can reach into an "empty" cabinet and pull out a delicious meal.

All American Breakfast

Nothing starts a lazy Sunday better than waking up late and not making breakfast 😀. Today was one of those great starts. After a nice long sleep (to recover from a late night of pre-halloween spooking), we decided to let someone else do the cooking (and the dishwashing!). Off we went to one of our favorite breakfast spots...The Galloping Hen.

We made it at a good time, and had no wait to get a table. There was a large party in the back, however, so our food took longer than usual to arrive - it was nice and hot though.

Because of all the yummies from the night before, and because Galloping Hen gives a good portion bf and I decided to share a plate. We ordered the All American Breakfast - Two large eggs, hen potatoes (their version of o'briens) or hash browns, choice of bacon, sausage links or patties, and toast. We also ordered a side of biscuit (that's right, just one) and gravy. Oh, and of course we started with coffee.

If you've never been to Galloping Hen, you may have a hard time spotting it. It's in a small strip mall, and shares a parking lot with a Big Lots! The interior is fairly basic, classic auditorium chars set around tables covered with heavy plastic, checker pattern table cloths. The decor is simple, but festive. And yes, it includes lots of hens! It is not a fancy place, but the portions are large, the price is right, the staff is friendly, and the food is GOOD, so I say, "Keep your fanciness - I want the good stuff!"

As I mentioned our order did take longer than usual to arrive, but they were super attentive to keep our coffee filled, and when our food did arrive, it was hot and tasty. If I'm at home, making eggs for myself, I like to have an over medium egg, however when I'm out, I usually order scrambled. I just find it to be easier and less disappointing in cases where your idea of over medium and the chef's idea differ. So, scrambled it was. And tasty they were! We also choose sausage patty, sourdough toast, and hash browns. BF is a hash brown guy, where as I usually order the "house" or o'brien option, but you can't really go wrong with hash browns, so that was that.

The sausage patties were good. Thin and about two inches in diameter, lean but tasty. The toast came unbuttered, and they only offer little pods of Country Crock, which is not my preference - I like real butter! - but sometimes you just have to roll with it. The hash browns were the only issue with this meal. BF likes them extra crispy and asked for such, but they came a little mushy. I think they were trying to be extra generous with portions because of the delay, which was nice, but that caused the serving to be thicker, thus preventing them from getting nice and crispy. I doctored mine with salt, pepper, Tapatio, and ketchup. That did the trick for me, but no so much for bf.

The biscuit and gravy was yuuuumy. The biscuit is nice and soft, and totally covered in yummy, perfectly seasoned, white gravy. Mmmmm Good!

Sharing was the perfect choice. The portion was so large, you would never guess it was meant to be only one when you see them separated. Saves your bank account and your waistline!

If you ever have the chance, I definitely recommend giving the folks and the food at Galloping Hen a shot.

Wishing you lots of Yums!

This could all be yours if you don't care to share
Can you find the biscuit?? 

My Plate - Only HALF!

Public School 805

I have a friend that I have not seen since 2003, when he moved to Japan.  We both kind of lost touch through the years due to life.  This year, we had reconnected and I had found out that he moved back to Southern California a couple years ago.  Because of our busy schedule, we were unable to meet sooner.  Last week we finally made an appointment to meet for dinner at Public School 805. 

There are multiple Public School locations, but the 805 location happened to work best for us on that day.  We arrived just in time for the happy hour!  We ordered the Buffalo Cauliflower, Garlic Parmesan Fries, Margarita Pizza, and PB&J Burger.  Everything was delicious and the prices was fair.  My least favorite was the PB&J Burger.  The flavors of the peanut butter, jelly, and beef patty somehow did not mesh well for my palette; not horrible, just not my fave.  The Margarita Pizza was the full size pizza and the flavor was on point.  I also know for a fact that they hand toss their pizza dough (I could see them tossing it in the kitchen, from my seat).  It is of the thin crust variety.  I prefer thin crust therefore this was perfect; light and tasty.  Garlic Parmesan Fries, what's not to like?!  It's deep fried potatoes!  So yummy.  They were generous on their garlic and parmesan, so no complaints here.  The fries are served with a garlic aioli which made it even better.  I don't know if you know, but I am kind of obsessed with garlic.  Love it!  The Buffalo Cauliflower was also fried to perfection.  I enjoyed the crispy breading quite a bit and made me enjoy cauliflower much more than I would typically.  It was served with the buffalo sauce and the bleu cheese dressing.  It was so yummy that I didn't even think I was eating a vegetable.  I would definitely come here again.  Next time, I might actually even order stuff off their regular menu!  Good eatings!!

Helloooo Happy Hour!
Margarita Pizza
Buffalo Cauliflower
Garlic Parmesan Fries

Traveling Eats - Vero Espresso House - Eugene, OR

Vero Espresso House - 205 E 14th Ave, Eugene, OR 97401

Hot Matcha Green Tea

Cold Matcha Green Tea

Special – Quiche and Side Salad

French Toast with Bacon & Scrambled Eggs

Yellow. It was a very yellow house on the street corner with a wraparound porch on the first floor. This café has a very warm and welcoming feel to it. The interior had different tables, chairs, benches, etc. for the patrons to sit and enjoy their meals. This café is quaint and cozy. We were lucky enough to visit when they were super busy and did not have any seats downstairs available, so we were allowed to go upstairs. We got to dine in the second floor foyer. The upstairs area is usually only available for special events. This area comprises of two rooms, a bathroom and a foyer. One of the rooms is set up like a kitchen and I believe the sink in there actually works! I was super excited to try their food since their setup is super cute and the aroma was so inviting!

When you walk in, the first thing you smell is the coffee. The aroma alone wakes you up. We arrived around brunch time so we ordered the hot and cold matcha green tea, French toast meal that comes with bacon and your choice of eggs, and their special for the day: quiche, and a side salad. I pretty much love matcha anything so I thought I should try them both. Both the matcha green teas were delicious. I loved the froth on the hot matcha. I really appreciated that the cold matcha green tea was not gritty, which it sometimes is. The quiche was a decent size, flavorful, and had a nice amount of bacon. I was glad I ordered the salad on the side. The salad was light and fresh. It helped balance out the richness of the quiche very well. Biting into the French toast was like biting into a fluffy marshmallow. The challah bread they used was a great choice. It was thick and hearty, but not greasy. The scrambled eggs that we ordered were pretty standard, but the bacon was the thick bacon so it completed the dish off well with a little bit of everything; sweet, salty, and savory. I would definitely order this dish again if I had a chance to go back. The atmosphere was a 5, the food was a 4, over all, I would say a 4.5. If you have time to stop by here, you would not be disappointed. 

Hot & Cold Matcha Green Tea
Special – Quiche and Side Salad
French Toast with Bacon & Scrambled Eggs

Traveling Eats - Falling Sky Brewing - Eugene, OR

Falling Sky Brewing – 1334 Oak Alley, Eugene, OR

Slow Roasted Beef Brisket with House Salad

Back Alley Burger with Fries

Lavender Vanilla Soda

A few months ago I made a trip to Eugene, Oregon to visit a friend. I know most people would not think that this is an exciting point of destination, especially during the winter when it is cold, wet, and gloomy out. But there I was, vacationing and hitting up some of the local eateries in downtown Eugene.

I left my apartment 6am the morning of my travel and by the time my flight had arrived it was late afternoon, I was starving. I needed to get some sustenance in my system pronto. First stop, Falling Sky Brewing. As soon as you walk into the restaurant, you notice that this venue has an open table concept. They have a few standalone tables, but the majority of the seats are made up of two long bench style tables that run about 20-30 feet across the restaurant. It looks like this would be a good place to hang out and meet up with friends and family. They brew their own beers and concoct their own sodas. They offer many different varieties of beers and change their drinks out regularly, so each time you visit, you may or may not be able to order the same beer you had the time before!

We ended up ordering the Slow Roasted Beef Brisket with the House Salad and the Back Alley Burger with Fries. I first started off on the House Salad: field greens, pickled onions, carrots and radish and a homemade vinaigrette. When I first saw this simple salad, I did not think it would have impressed me. However, my judgment was wrong! It ended up being one of my favorite items that I ate there. The pickled onions had a little tang to it and the vinaigrette was refreshing with a spirit of sweetness to it. I would probably order this on its own the next time I visit. The roast beef brisket had a big pair of shoes to fill after my delicious house salad. My eyes were drawn to the ooey gooey cheese that was melted on the grilled onions and beef brisket. I could not wait to sink my teeth in it. I took my first bite, and it was not as exciting as I envisioned it. The meat was not as moist as I hoped and the cheese was less cheesy that I expected. The flavor of the brisket stayed true to beef, and was not something I would write home about. I then put on some of their homemade ketchup on the sandwich and it actually made my eyes lit up with joy. The ketchup was not your typical ketchup. It was a bit chunky and was very flavorful and made my brisket taste better. Typically, I do not put ketchup on my brisket, but since I was not too impressed as it stands alone, I thought I would kick it up a notch. After finishing my brisket sandwich, my hunger was still not quite satisfied. I had to move onto the next item on the menu.

The Back Alley Burger with Fries was up next. This looked like your typical burger, but it was much more than that. The pub sauce and the pickled onion on the burger created a nice medley of flavors; it was salty, juicy, sweet, and savory. What more could you ask for?! I could not get enough of the burger and wish I had gotten the burger instead of the brisket. Should have listened to the suggestion. The fries were typical, but it was salty and kind of greasy, therefore amazing in my book. I do not always like greasy fries, but in this case, it worked. Nice crunch, but not dried out. And with the last bite of the fries with more ketchup, I was finally full.

I know, I know, they are a brewery but I did not order a beer. I did however, sampled their Lavender Vanilla Soda. It was sweet, very fragrant, with a hint of vanilla. I do not think I would have been able to drink a whole serving of it though. But it is something that I would suggest one to try if they were to be visiting or happen to stroll on by this area. Overall, I would give this venue a 3.5 stars out of 5. The atmosphere was nice, friendly service, food was good, and price is fair. I would do this again.

Slow Roasted Beef Brisket with House Salad
Falling Sky Brewing Shot Glass
Back Alley Burger with Fries

Sushi Time!

Tonight BF and I decided to save our selves some dishwashing and heading to our favorite sushi spot.  We always enjoy good service, and lots of yums at this regular haunt.

We always start with our favorite appetizers; gyoza, and garlic edamame. BF loves the gyoza (as do I, not gonna lie here) and these garlic edamame are the best I've ever had. I can eat the whole bowl by myself. Tonight, BF also had a bowl of miso. I was going to as well, until I realized I couldn't decide between two rolls, so I decided to skip the soup (and forgo my pieces of gyoza - BF was not disappointed 😀).

The rolls I couldn't choose between were the Salmon Lovers Roll, and the Green Dragon Roll. The Salmon Lovers is a California roll, with avocado, topped with salmon. It's served on a citrusy type drizzle, with the usual ginger and wasabi paste garnish. I'm not a big ginger fan, but do enjoy the wasabi. I used to add the wasabi to my soy sauce, but have started moving away from using as much soy sauce, so now I just put the wasabi directly on my sushi. This is a great roll for us salmon lovers; simple, tasty, and scrumptious.

The Green Dragon Roll had krab and shrimp tempura inside, and eel and avocado on top. There was an eel sauce drizzle over the whole roll. This roll was not served with wasabi or ginger, which I found interesting. I decided this meant I wasn't supposed to use wasabi with this roll, so I didn't. Still quite tasty!

BF isn't a huge fan of sushi per se, so his choices tend to be of the tempura sort, if not just chicken teriyaki 😄. His go-to order, which he went with on this trip, is called the Big Daddy. It's hard to describe exactly, but basically it looks like two large eggs of tempura, cut in half. It's filled with krab, and other cooked fish, with some delicious sauces drizzled on top. BF did get adventurous and tried my Green Dragon. It took him a minute to gear up for eating eel, but he did it. He didn't care for the eel (texture and taste), but enjoyed the rest. Haha.

Perhaps next time we'll branch out a bit and have something new to share. Until then, wishing you lots of Yums!


Garlic Edamame
Miso Soup
Salmon Lovers Roll
Green Dragon Roll
Big Daddy

BBQ Ribs Debut

First time for ribs... So, usually when it comes to homemade food, I focus on the meals I make. However, BF and I have weekly dinner with some good friends, and this week my friend grilled ribs for the first time. The dinner was so yummy, I decided it needed to be shared.

The menu:
Garlic Bread (French bread with garlic butter spread)
Cesar Salad (Cesar salad kit)
Potatoes (baked in the oven)
Ribs (Kansas City Style and Chipotle)

BF cooked the garlic bread and it was taaaasty! It was a store bought, freshly baked french loaf, and the spread was a store made garlic butter mix. Both purchased at Food4Less, which is a discount grocery chain owned by Kroger (Ralphs). He split the bread along the long side and cooked uncovered in the oven at 350 for 15 minutes.

As mentioned, the salad was from a kit. I believe it was the Dole Cesar Salad Kit. We mixed it all together, but used only about 2/3 of the dressing packet. Of course this should be done to your preference, but I didn't want to over power the other elements of the meal.

The potatoes were cut into bite sized pieces and baked in the oven. I'm afraid I don't have the recipe, but they were scrumptious! I know the protein is typically the star of the meal, and with this being my friend's first shot at the ribs, it was even more so meant to be this way. But If I'm being totally honest, these potatoes were the star. Totally delectable! If I'm able to get the recipe (and permission to share), I'll be sure to do so.

Finally for those ribs. Even though my personal preference steers me towards those potatoes, the ribs were mighty tasty as well! There were two flavor styles (both purchase premartinated). Kansas City style and Chipotle. Those at dinner who are not big fans of spicy food took servings of mostly the Kansas City, while those of us who prefer a little kick took the Chipotle. Wrong! Ha. To the surprise of the table, it was just the opposite. Now, I'm not much of a BBQ connoisseur, so maybe those who are would have known better that Kansas City style has a little kick, but in our minds chipotle = spicy. It was a fun (and tasty) learning experience though. The ribs were cooked well though, and while, I'm not a huge fan of eating meat off the bone, I made an exception for the debut.

Over all it was a super yummy meal, accompanied by some nice wine, good company, and laughter. You can never beat that!

Wishing you lots of Yums!