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.

Eat Snow

So it's been a while since the last time I have blogged.  I hope this sweet treat spot I report to you about will brighten up your day. Snow Monster was recommended to my friends and I by a waitress at the restaurant we were eating lunch at.  We wanted something cold, sweet, and close by to where we were at.  So here we are.

This sweet shop is relatively small in size, but offered quite a few things on their menu.  The shop only had four tables set up inside and three tables outside.  At the counter, you can see a variety of baked goods such as cookies and macarons, but what they are best known for is their ice cream.  Their ice cream can be served virgin with no toppings or with the works.  This style of dessert reminds me of the Philipino dessert halo halo or the Korean dessert patbingsu.  The two desserts mentioned here are similar because they both have shaved ice, fruits, beans, ice cream, and typically condense milk. as toppings.  We ordered two orders of the dessert to share.  Each order has two scoops of ice cream, two toppings, shaved ice, and condense milk drizzled on top.  There were an array of choices for the toppings; from fresh fruits to Captain Crunch cereal!  We ended up ordering cookies and cream and mango ice cream with mochi and fresh cut up strawberries as topping.  The other order had butter toffee and taro ice cream with double mochi topping.  Both orders were delicious!  But I must admit that I enjoyed the butter toffee and taro combination a bit more than the other order.  I was surprised that I liked that combination better since I love mango and mango flavored everything!

The cookies and cream and mango ice cream had a bit of a tangy flavor to it due to the strawberry topping and the mango flavored ice cream.  I would say this flavor combination would be good on a summer day.  It is creamy, but yet refreshing.  The butter toffee and and taro combination was creamy and delightful!  I thought it was going to be heavy with all the creamy flavors, but everything mixed well together.  Some of my friends liked the refreshing combination better than the creamy on creamy combination.

I would suggest you to visit this dessert shop if you are around the area and have never been here before.  You can come and try the different flavors and make the decision for yourself.  You might agree with me or with my friends on what is better.  Go out there!  Taste what Snow Monster has to offer!

Cookies n' Cream & Mango Ice Cream
The two combination side by side
Butter Toffee & Taro Ice Cream

Lobster Time!

My friend got a new job in Boston so she will be relocating. This is an event that calls for a celebration. Since she had been offered a job that she could not refuse, she decided to treat us lobster before she leaves. We ended up at this place called Tan Cang Newport Seafood. This restaurant offers Chinese and Vietnamese style cuisine. Their signature dish is the Newport Special Lobster and that is what we were here for.

There were six adults and two children that attended this festivities. This is a family style dining; where everyone sits around the table and everything is to be shared with a sharing spoon or fork. We ended up ordering the Newport Special Lobster (of course) with noodles, Clam with Spicy Hot Sauce, Baked Shrimp with Salt & Pepper, Hong Kong Steak w/Black Pepper Sauce, Sauteed Peasprout, and Crispy Fried Squid with Salt & Pepper. This happened to be the perfect amount of food for the eight of us. Funny thing about this was that the squid dish that had actually come on to our table was not something we wanted. We had first refused it, but it worked out in our favor. The dish was about to be returned and to let the waiter know that we did not order it, however, one of my friend had a different plan. She ate a piece before we had a chance to turn it away. The best part of it is that the squid dish was the first dish to get completely eaten. Easy to say, the squid was yummy.  What I enjoyed about this dish was that it was not chewy, crisp to perfection, and was salted and peppered very delicately.  The shrimp dish was very treated very similarly to the squid. Crispy and delicious. The sauteed peasprout and the steak dish were yummy, but pretty standard.  I feel like those two items are pretty safe to order anywhere and it should be good. The clams were pretty good, but I only had two pieces since it required work for so little meat. The main star of lunch was the lobster and it did not disappoint. It required a bit more work, but every poke and pull was worth it. I have had this dish at many different Chinese restaurant, and it has all been very good across the board. The thing that stood out to me about this dish was that it came with noodles. Since the noodles were cooked with the lobster, it had absorbed a lot of the flavors and made it super delicious. I am the type of lady who loves her rice and noodles and am not afraid to admit it. Bring it on carbs! To top that, the lobster had some roe in it and it is one of my most favorite things about this dish; is the wonderful surprise that we get in this dish because it is not guaranteed. My taste buds were dancing and my tummy was very happy!

If you would like a delicious meal where you can enjoy with your family and friends, this is a great place. Delicious foods, great company, and a relaxed environment. The price may be a bit higher than most of the places we have posted about prior, but I think it is also due to the dishes we ordered.  The lobster alone was about $120 (for 6lbs). What I also liked about this restaurant was that they even gave us a recommendation to a local dessert shop and offered to hold on to our to-go order (since the weather was warm) until we came back from dessert adventure. That will be in our my next post.  Be sure to look for it next week! If you happen to be in the area, definitely stop by, you won't be disappointed.

Clams in Spicy Hot Sauce
Lobster, the main attraction
Eat it whole! Eat the shrimp shells! It's good for calcium!!
The aftermath. Not sorry.

Eat till you drop...Dada Shabu Shabu

Are you hungry? If you are, you should definitely try out this spot my friends and I went to, Dada Shabu Shabu. This joint is an all you can eat shabu shabu spot. If you do not know what shabu shabu is, in a brief description, it is a Japanese style hotpot that typically consists of meat and vegetables and typically has different sauces to flavor the broth. I typically enjoy this type of meal on a cold day. This restaurant was a new experience to me because I have not dined at an all you can eat shabu shabu place before.

The set up of this restaurant and atmosphere reminds me of a Korean BBQ place. Each table has a pot or two set up in the center of the table and an air ventilator above. My friends and I went to dine during dinner time so there were lots of people hustling and bustling throughout the restaurant. The restaurant is mostly buffet style, but the beef, pork, and chicken had to be ordered through a server. The buffet table had an array of vegetables, noodles, and seafood, and already prepared foods to choose from. The ready made food was mostly Chinese and Korean style dishes, such as soft shelled crab in spicy sauce, chow mein, sesame balls (with red beans in the center), battered fried shrimp, tteok-bokki (spicy rice cake), etc. They also had a patbingsu bar. For those who do not know what patbingsu is, it is a Korean dessert that typically consists of shaved ice, sweet toppings, cut up fruits, condense milk, and red beans.

The overall food was good.  But if you are working with a very limited tummy space, I would go ahead and skip the tteok-bokki.  It was probably the only thing I would not go back for (because I am pretty picky with my tteok-bokki). I liked that it had a variety of things you can choose from. The buffet style dining allows you to grab a bit of everything to try before fully committing to getting a whole dish of something. However, I am a bit paranoid of buffet style serving since EVERYONE can possibly touch the food or do something unsanitary to it as they dish out the food that they want. Dada Shabu Shabu might be a little intimidating for someone who is experiencing this for the first time. Just remember, take it one step at a time, it's all you can eat so you don't have to get everything in the first round! This meal is good for a small get together for the hungry people. There is something for everyone! The variety makes it easy to please everyone in the party (even your vegetarian friends)! If you have not tried this, I believe it is something that one should at least experience once in their life. Have fun. Enjoy. Eat a little (or a lot)!

My selections for my 1st round
A meal for 5 people (1st round)