Stop and Smell the Chicken…

Cha Cha Chicken

1906 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90405, PH: 310.581.1684

http://chachachicken.com/

Pricing: $-Inexpensive

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After last week, I can definitely advise you that the best days to have are the days when you have an accidental adventure, and end up at the beach. How did I accidently end up at the beach, you ask? Well, I received a ticket (in a car that has since stopped working 😦 ) that I needed to take care of, so I hoped on the bus, and headed to the courthouse. I’m not used to the public transportation systems in the Los Angeles area, I had no idea where I was going so I was irritated, annoyed, anxious, AND hungry, the entire way there! However, when I finally reached the stop I was advised to take, after an hour and a half trip, I hopped off the bus and immediately smelled the sweet aroma of…chicken.

I had a mini-pep-talk with myself in order to stay focused. I had traveled all that way to take care of my ticket…I could not be concerned with chicken. I walked down the street and took care of the ticket, which took all of five minutes, even though the bus ride out there took “FOR…EV…ER.” *in my Squints from Sandlot voice* 🙂

I headed back to the bus stop to head home, but the delicious smelling chicken invaded my sense of smell, and before I knew it, I was floating in the direction of the chicken. Low and behold, there it was…Cha Cha Chicken. I crossed the street to the restaurant, and just down the little hill from the restaurant was the beach. I thought, “I’m going to get some of this great smelling chicken, and then go walk on the beach!” That is exactly what I did.

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Ambience: I was excited about this restaurant from the moment I laid eyes on it. Cha Cha Chicken’s beach cabana-like eating area, decorated with bright and vibrant colors, combined with the mix of salsa and Caribbean music thumping out calypso beats, made me want to shake my hips and dance from the moment I walked in; I knew this dining experience would be exactly what I needed. I walked up to the window, took a look at menu, and settled on the coconut-fried chicken, for $9.

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Coconut-Fried Chicken– This delicious entree at Cha Cha’s is fried chicken, but instead of the fried chicken most of us are accustomed to, their crisp chicken is made with a coconut battered, and it is served with their sweet mango and jerk dipping sauces. Two tasty sides accompany their entrees (I chose the traditional dirty rice with black beans and plantains) as well as a small side salad, tossed in a slightly sweet and tart citrus dressing. This meal was the perfect medley of sweet and savory Caribbean flavors. It was definitely one of those meals where you eat it as slow as possible, taking the smallest, most delicate bites in an effort to “Make It Last Forever.” *in my Keith Sweat voice*

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Overall: I loved everything about my meal at Cha Cha Chicken, and cannot wait to go back; especially to try their Jerk Chicken Enchiladas! Cha Cha Chicken is a great spot…the only thing that would enhance the overall experience is if the restaurant was actually on the beachside.

Ironically, there is a Cha Cha Chicken located in Northridge, close to where I used to live, and I never knew it. So whether you are in The Valley, or in the Los Angeles/Santa Monica area, Cha Cha Chicken is a place you must try.

After my meal, I walked down to the beach, and hung out for a bit, which granted me the extra relaxation and serenity needed for my long ride home. I even met the cutest couple on an afternoon date at the beach, and shot a few scenic pictures for them. On my way to the bus, I stopped back at the restaurant to get some of their agua fresca; their sandia (watermelon) drink was incredibly refreshing.

Had a nice view of the Santa Monica Pier

Had a nice view of the Santa Monica Pier

My accidental adventure to Cha Cha Chicken and the beach, made my entire week. When things seem to be a bit hectic in your life, or your feeling a bit irritated with life’s trials, forget roses, STOP AND SMELL THE CHICKEN…and take a walk on the beach; it will make your day. 😉

Cheers, CoCo

Berry Deliciousness

Shari’s Berries

http://www.berries.com/

If you are anything like me, you absolutely, positively love receiving packages…especially when the package is a special gift. Doesn’t it just make you feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside? That is the exact feeling I had last week, when a handsome man in a brown uniform brought this to my door:

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Okay…let me rewind just a bit, and explain how I was lucky enough to have a handsome man in a brown uniform deliver this deliciously sweet package to me. In last week’s post I explained how every Monday I participate in #Foodiechats on Twitter, which is a worldwide discussion on…yup, you guess it: food! Every Monday there is a different sponsor, who poses ten questions to the #Foodiechats community; we answer, discuss, retweet, etcetera. Monday, March 31st, Shari’s Berries was the sponsor, and while I was “minding my business,” running my mouth, and answer questions, I receive  a notification saying that I have been chosen in a random drawing to receive a gift from Shari’s Berries.

Really? Me? I won? But I was not even trying to win anything (Side Note: some of the best things come when your not looking for, or expecting it 🙂 ). At the end of the chat Shari’s Berries sent me a direct message, in order to retrieve my contact information, and informed me that my #RAOBerries (Random Act of Berries) package was on the way.

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This little box made me feel special!

As I have stated before, I am not a fan of chocolate, however, there are a few instances when I indulge in the smooth brown sweetness; when it coats a juicy sweet strawberry, that is definitely one of those instances. I was beyond excited when I opened the package from Shari’s Berries and saw these beautifully decorated treats; Shari’s Berries’ Half Dozen Gourmet Dipped Swizzled Strawberries were absolutely gorgeous.

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I almost did not want to eat them…I said ALMOST! 🙂 In addition to the exquisitely designed berries, “Shari” sent me a box of their Handmade Gray Sea Salted Caramels:

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The caramels were good; they had just enough saltiness to accompany the sweetness of the chocolate and caramel, but the chocolate covered strawberries were my favorite. Delicious is an understatement when describing the Gourmet Dipped Swizzled Strawberries.

Chocolate Berry Perfection

Chocolate Berry Perfection

Luckily, or ironically, some of my family came over right after I opened the package, and I was able to share my beautiful gift from Shari’s; otherwise I would have been a complete glutton, and scarfed them down myself. 🙂

I would like to PUBLICLY thank Shari’s Berries for the wonderful gift they sent me! If you love someone, your mom, dad, a sibling, a significant other, or a special friend…send them a box of Shari’s Berries! Their BERRY DELICIOUSNESS will make them, and their tummies feel so, incredibly special.

Check out Shari’s Berries, and take a look at all their treats, including their chocolate covered pretzels and cookies, specials for Easter treats, their Mother’s Day and birthday treats, and their Half Dozen Hand-Dipped Home Run Strawberries (GO SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS)! 🙂

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I cannot wait to send a few boxes out to my loved ones…and receive another (hint, hint 😉 ) from the handsome man in the brown uniform!

With Love, CoCo

Drunken Georgia Peach Cobbler…Cookies?!

Twitter is an amazing social networking site; I believe it associates strangers with common interests more than other popular networking sites. A few months ago, I started participating in #Foodiechats’ Monday night chat sessions on Twitter, and by doing so, I have made connections with tons of amazing people, who love food as much as I do.

On March 18, a few of my #Foodiechats friends and I decided to connect further by doing, what we named, the Coast to Coast Cookie Swap (#C2CCS). We each baked a batch of delicious cookies and sent them up and down the California coast, and across the country to Washington D.C.

When it all began! @JazzyJ0nez was soon added! :-)

When it all began! @JazzyJ0nez was soon added! 🙂

It took me a couple of days to decide what would be the perfect cookies to send; I finally settled on peach cobbler cookies. I thought, “who does not like peach cobbler?” and with the summer weather approaching, I knew this would be the perfect cookie to get us in the mood for the coming season. However, I did not want to send “regular” peach cobbler cookies…no, I wanted to send BOOZY peach cobbler cookies. I love the taste of bourbon and peaches together, and I was going to call them DRUNKEN GEORGIA PEACH COBBLER COOKIES (I know…that name was intense)! Unfortunately, after trying three different cookie recipes, and wasting half a bottle of bourbon, my cookies were not even a little bit boozy. 😦

This was a new bottle when I started!

This was a new bottle when I started!

The last recipe I tried, the consistency of the cookie was a bit dense, and kind of tasted “cakey,” versus tasting like a cookie; I think this was because I beat the batter for too long. Thankfully, the cookies were still really good, and I can’t wait to make them again.

I found the recipe on Follow the Ruels (recipe below). I made a double batch; it was hard mixing so much batter at once, so I suggest doing a single batch; however, if you need to make a double batch, mix the liquid/creamy ingredients together, gently, and by hand. One adjustment I had to make when baking was to set the oven temperature to 350 degrees, versus the 375 degrees the recipe suggests, because the first cookies were starting to burn. Also, instead of buying preserves, I made homemade preserves hoping that boiling the peaches in the alcohol would bring out the flavor of the bourbon (yeah…that did not work either), however you may want to make your own just to adjust the sweetness/tartness of the preserves to your liking, and use the rest for your morning toast. 🙂

My Peach Preserves

My Peach Preserves

Like I said…even though it took a few tries, and they still were not “drunken,” I had a blast baking cookies, and participating in #C2CCS. I recommend this recipe, as well as cookie swapping with friends; get some friends together and have a cookie swap party, or contact a long distance friend and agree to send a delicious package to each other. I can guarantee that you will enjoy the experience.

Some of my delicious packages!

Some of my delicious packages!

Here is a list of the cookies that were sent to me in delicious packages, with the links to each of the Lovely #C2CCS Ladies’ cookie recipes:

Allison (@socaliallie): Loaded Oatmeal Cookies

Jazmine (@JazzyJ0nes): Lemon-Blueberry Cookies

Natalie (@InNatsShoes): Glorified Chocolate Chip Cookies

Karla(@FoodologieKarla): Molasses-Ginger Apricot Cookies

CoCo (@uc_foodie): Peach Cobbler Cookies

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Half of the cookies had the crumb-topping, and half were sprinkled with the cinnamon-sugar mix. They were both good!

ALL of the #C2CCS Ladies’ cookies were amazing! Try a couple recipes, and let me know how the cookies come out! 🙂

Happy Baking, CoCo

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Beer Float Trip

I normally blog on Fridays, however, I am SO excited about my first foodie event, and wanted to do a quick post to share my enthusiasm with you all! 🙂

On April 19th L.A. Foodie is hosting the Beer Float Trip at DTLA’s Angel City Brewery. The “stars” of the event are 3 of Angel City Brewery’s craft beers with ice cream from 3 craft ice cream makers floating atop: Peddler’s Creamery, Ice Cream Lab, and Ramekin. Some of the “best supporting cast” include Mwokaji Cakery with their sweet treats, a couple of food trucks, and Uber ride service (they are offering $20 gift card to new Uber users to ensure guests drink responsibly).

Perfect Pair

Perfect Pair

The best thing about this event…it is ONLY $9 to attend! You CANNOT beat that…and each ticket holder receives a beer float mixing kit including, cups, spoons, straws and trays. How cool is that?

I am EXTREMELY excited to attend L.A. Foodie’s BEER FLOAT TRIP and I cannot wait to tell you all about this foodie venture after I attend! Stay tuned for that post.

If you are in the Los Angeles area, you should get your tickets NOW: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/la-foodies-float-trip-tickets-10911962975