Matcha Love Review

Shane is definitely very skilled at finding new, interesting places to consume sweet treats. He found another intriguing dessert place while searching on popular food blogs called: Matcha Love.


We were excited when we found out that the shop was close by in Kearny Mesa, San Diego, so off we went to taste test more new desserts! We were surprised to find out that this place was located in the Mitsuwa Marketplace inside the bookstore! Shockingly, I guess it’s been a couple of months since I have been to Mitsuwa.



As you can see below, the menu is very simple. They have ice cream, shakes, hot tea and boba tea flavored with either green tea or black sesame.


We both opted for black sesame desserts; Shane got the ice cream and I got the shake. We first tried Shane’s black sesame ice cream. As you can see, this is a creamy soft serve ice cream.  This was delicious! The black sesame gives a wonderful nutty, toasty flavor to the ice cream. Plus, the texture was thick and creamy. We both definitely recommend this!

matchalove5 matchalove6

My dessert was the black sesame shake. This turned out to be more like a liquid milk tea as opposed to a rich, creamy shake. The drink was nicely flavored with the toasty black sesame flavor plus it had just the perfect level of sweetness! If you enjoy your drinks not overly sweet, I recommend this. If I could make one suggestion, I would get this with boba rather than without.  I think this needs that extra textural element to create a more full-bodied dessert drink. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of the shake, but you can see the actual item in the video review.

I definitely recommend heading over to Matcha Love! It’s a cute little shop tucked away in the Japanese supermarket! If you suffer from indecisiveness, this is the place for you as they have a relatively limited menu.

Thank you for reading our dessert review of Matcha Love and don’t forget to watch our video review below!

Mochi Cream Review

Shane discovered Mochi Cream from reading Kirby’s Cravings food blog.  When he showed me the beautiful images of this dessert, I told him that we absolutely must find this! Fortunately, we found out that a store is available in Mitsuwa Marketplace in Costa Mesa, not too far away from San Diego.

Mochi Cream is a dessert store that carries mochi with fillings that go beyond sweet beans. They can be filled with a variety of fruit, chocolate ganache, whipped cream, coffee and much, much more!


Off we went on a quest to find this new twitst on mochi. When we entered the store, I immediately fell in love with this Mitsuwa location! I have been to the San Diego store many times to purchase Japanese treats for video reviews, but the Costa Mesa location is much larger! They have a giant food court with multiple eateries and, of course, they have Mochi Cream! Their colorful display was to die for! It took all my willpower not to purchase every possible flavor option.


The colorful mochi are all neatly arranged. So beautiful!

The colorful mochi are all neatly arranged. So beautiful!

Mochi shaped like donuts?! How adorable is that?

Mochi shaped like donuts?! How adorable is that?

These are plastic desserts. The real Mochido are kept behind the counter. The Japanese win first prize for their realistic looking plastic food displays!

These are plastic desserts. The real Mochido are kept behind the counter. The Japanese win first prize for their realistic looking plastic food displays!


We eventually finalized our purchase and picked up these flavors of the donut-shaped Mochido: Cafe au lait, Double Mango, Strawberry Shortcake, and Chocolate Banana.

We started off tasting the fruit flavored Mochido: Strawberry Shortcake and Double Mango.

Strawberry Shortcake and Double Mango Mochido

Strawberry Shortcake and Double Mango Mochido

These fruit-flavored mochi, slightly melted in our two hour drive back home. 😦 Fortunately, this didn’t seem to affect the flavor much. They just weren’t as aesthetically pleasing as when we first purchased them.

The Double Mango was filled with whipped cream and flecks of mango. The rice mochi exterior had a nice, soft , almost melt-in-your-mouth texture and was also mango flavored. This was delicious and ended up being the favorite of all the Mochido flavors we tried!

Next up was Strawberry Shortcake.  The rice exterior had a strawberry flavor and the interior was also filled with light whipped cream.  This was also very tasty, however, the addition of fruit like the Double Mango, would have made this mochi taste even better.

We enjoyed these fruit -flavored Mochido a little more than the upcoming flavors.

The last two Mochido we tasted were Cafe au lait and Chocolate Banana.  We noticed that these were firmer in texture than the previous fruit flavored Mochido.

Cafe au lait and Chocolate banana Mochido

Cafe au lait and Chocolate banana Mochido


The Cafe au lait’ flavored Mochido had a very strong coffee flavor.  The interior was a coffee-flavored sweet bean paste.  The top of the exterior was topped with an additional coffee glaze and small cubes of white chocolate.  Shane and I both felt that the coffee flavor was a little strong for our taste. We both have never been coffee drinkers, however, if you enjoy your cup of coffee in the morning this might just be the perfect thing for you!

We enjoyed the Chocolate Banana flavor much more that the Cafe au lait’. The interior filling was a real banana-flavored bean paste along with chocolate whipped cream. The exterior of the Mochido was covered in a chocolate glaze. This was delicious and definitely recommend this flavor! Having two flavors and textures commingling in the filling greatly enhanced the taste.

Overall, our Mochi Cream experience was superb! Even just writing this review, I want to head back and try more flavors of Mochi Cream! I highly recommend for anyone to visit the Mitsuwa Marketplace in Costa Mesa to experience this amazing dessert!

If you would like to watch our video review,  you can watch it here!

Field Trip to David Freda and Trish McAleer’s Jewelry Studio

I recently took my Marriage of Metals class last quarter on a field trip to visit David Freda and Trish McAleer’s studio. I thought this would be a great way to expose the students to practicing metalsmiths who incorporate good design and phenomenal craftsmanship.  This was such a great experience for everyone that I would like to incorporate more jewelry field trips in the future for my students! Both David and Trish were very gracious in letting me schedule an appointment with them for my students to come to their home and see their metal work and jewelry processes.

David Freda and Patricia McAleer

David Freda and Patricia McAleer

Every time I have walked into their studio, I am always blown away!  The huge space, abundant natural light streaming in from windows surrounding the entire studio, and every tool you could possibly imagine: quite simply, this is every jeweler’s dream! The studio is impeccably organized down to separating each step in individual containers of every phase of David work.




The rightmost bench and adjacent table are Trish’s work area.

I have known Trish and David for quite some time.  I became more acquainted with Trish early on as she was the former president of the Metal Art Society of Southern California.  Though she finished her term as president several years ago, Trish is still very involved in the MASSC organization.  Trish is a very kind, outgoing and friendly person. She is also an accomplished metalsmith and wrote a book on metal corrugation techniques that she had been exploring for many years.

Trish McAleer's book on Metal Corrugation

Trish McAleer’s book on Metal Corrugation

Trish investigated every possible texture you could create with metal corrugation. There are textures you wouldn’t believe would be achievable with this technique! I definitely recommend this book if you haven’t picked this up already. If you are interested, you can find it here:

Below is an example of Trish’s work. This piece of jewelry was a collaboration between David and Trish. She fabricated the piece and he enameled it. The corrugated textures truly enhance the piece!

"Poppy Pods" by Trish McAleer and David Freda

“Poppy Pods” by Trish McAleer and David Freda

I had a small mention in Trish’s book. I fabricated a necklace a long time ago using the metal corrugation technique.  You can see what my very early work looked like.

"Autumn Leaves" necklace by Tara Magboo

“Autumn Leaves” necklace by Tara Magboo

While I was in graduate school for Jewelry and Metalsmithing at SDSU, I took a Professional Practices graduate seminar where we were required to interview a current metalsmith.  I was and still am a big fan of David Freda’s work and I contacted him in 2007/2008 to request an interview. He, fortunately, said, “yes” and this turned out to be a great opportunity to become better acquainted with his work and life story. I  met him in the past through MASSC functions, but never talked with him at length.

David Freda was first a wildlife illustrator, falconer, and taxidermist. He took jewelry making on a whim and became instantly hooked! His jewelry work later evolved to incorporate all his abilities. His hyper-realistic, representational metalwork shows clear influence from his illustration and taxidermy background. David renders his depictions of wildlife with almost terrifying realism, but his work is so expertly crafted that it elevates his work to the level of the precious.  It’s his juxtaposition between beautiful and disturbing that really drew me to his work.

I recommended for Jay Whaley of Whaley Studios, where I teach, to interview David Freda.  Check out David’s recent interview on Blog Talk Radio with Jay! David is truly a renaissance man!

Below are some examples of his personal jewelry work.

David's work in progress.

David’s work in progress.

David's hatching turtle necklace

David’s hatching turtle necklace

He also won grande prize for his Stag Beetle Necklace in one of the most prestigious competitions in the jewelry industry: Rio Grande’s Saul Bell Competition.

David Freda's Stag Beetle Necklace

David Freda’s Stag Beetle Necklace

Detail of Stag Beetle Necklace

Detail of Stag Beetle Necklace

David Freda's grand prize trophy for Rio Grande's Saul Bell Competition

David Freda’s grand prize trophy for Rio Grande’s Saul Bell Competition

David currently works for Tiffany and Co. making one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces for elite clientele. Sultans have purchased David’s work! Apparently, Tiffany puts out two catalogs: one for the general public and another for the high-rollers.  He recently completed a series of orchid brooches, finishing close to sixty pieces! Below is a photograph of his work in the Tiffany catalog. As you can see, the work is exquisite! If you are in the market to buy meticulously crafted enameled gold brooches, you know where to get them!

2007/2008 Tiffany catalog with David Freda's orchid brooches.

2007/2008 Tiffany catalog with David Freda’s orchid brooches.

David is one of the few people in the world with such tremendous skill that can carry on the tradition of fabricating the well-known Tiffany orchid brooches made famous by Paulding Farnham in the late 1800s-early 1900s.

He is currently working on a new series of jewelry pieces for Tiffany which has yet to hit the marketplace. Coming to see David’s work in progress is quite literally watching history in the making!

Back to the orchids, David and Trish have a nice collection of unusual orchids that has served as inspiration for his orchid series.  David has also cast directly from their flowers as well.





This small orchid flower looks like a little bee!

This small orchid flower looks like a little bee!

It was very generous of Trish and David to allow my class into their home and to generously share their knowledge and experience with us! All of the students, myself included, left very inspired by this field trip. Thank you again David and Trish!

Blast from the past! This is a picture of me and David when I first interviewed him for my graduate studies.

Blast from the past! This is a picture of me and David when I first interviewed him for my graduate studies.

American and Japanese Sodas from Galco Soda Pop Stop

Galco’s Soda Pop Stop or Old World Grocery, is awesome!  I believe this is the second largest soda pop store in the country! Shane did a little bit of research on fun places to visit in Los Angeles and he came across Galco. When he found out that they had such a large and unusual inventory of bottled sodas, I was excited to check this place out!


We went a little soda crazy! Some of the sodas we bought were recommendations from the owner, John Nese, from an interview we watched on him on



We purchased eight sodas as well as a few old time candies and chips. As soon as we bought them, Shane and I quickly opened two of the sodas in the car before we headed off to our next destination.  The first soda we tasted was Plantation Style Mint Julep.


The color of the soda was this beautiful sea foam blue/green color which, by the way, is my favorite color! Shane picked this one out as he had tried similarly flavored sodas that he loved in the past.  Unfortunately, it didn’t taste quite as wonderful as he had remembered.  This soda tasted exactly like toothpaste.  I can’t say that I enjoy food that tastes like toothpaste so, sadly, we had to give thumbs down on this soda.

The next soda we tried was my pick called “Mr. Cola”.


I was drawn to the old  world graphics and I also love cola! If any of you have tried “Q cola” it is my absolute new favorite cola beverage! Let me tell you, if cola was a healthy beverage to drink, it would be my sole source of liquids! Fortunately, I try to limit my soda intake to once a week. “Mr. Cola” tastes very similar to Vanilla Coke.  It has a soft cola flavor that’s softened by that additional vanilla flavor.  Shane and I both liked this soda and gave thumbs up for this!

The next soda, I tasted was “Rock and Rye” by Faygo.


This was a recommendation by owner ,Nese, for a smooth cola.  I have to say, this didn’t taste much like cola. “Rock and Rye” just had the slightest hint of cola flavor but tasted predominantly like cream soda. If you love cream soda, this would be a good one to try.  I would give this product thumbs up, however, don’t purchase this if you are wanting a cola flavored beverage.  If you  are looking for a vanilla cola flavor, “Mr. Cola” is a much better option.

The fourth soda I tasted was Mr. Q Cumber soda.


I decided to try this because this was another recommendation from Nese.  I was a little skeptical about this soda because I was not sold on the idea of vegetable flavored soda.  Don’t get me wrong, I love vegetables, I’m just not sure about vegetables in soda form.  My first sip was fantastic! Wow, was I wrong! This cucumber soda was delicious and I have to say this was actually my favorite soda of all the sodas I tried from Galco! It does have a cucumber flavor, but paired with the sweetness and carbonation it is very refreshing! I highly recommend “Mr. Q’ Cumber” soda . Plus, it comes in such an adorable little green glass bottle!

Of course, we had to try some Japanese sodas! Even though I have tried Ramune many times, I have not tried this particular flavor: Melon.  I have tasted a Japanese melon cream soda in the past that I loved! It comes in an aluminum bottle and is also by Sangaria.


The great thing about Ramune is the unusual way in which the bottle opens.  There is a marble that is trapped in the opening of the bottle.  You take the plastic stopper that is included in the package and you use this to push the marble into bottle. This creates a nice, satisfying loud pop! I remember cutting the blue plastic at the top of the bottle as a kid just so I could get the marble out!  This melon Ramune just tasted like sugar soda. I couldn’t really detect much of a melon flavor. Upon tasting it multiple times, I had to change my rating from my video review to thumbs down on this soda. It doesn’t taste bad, but I don’t particularly like soda that has little to no flavor.

Next on the list is “Bubble Up” Lemon-Lime.


This was another recommendation by Nese. What intrigued me about this soda was that it was made with real lemon and lime oil and cane sugar.  I liked the idea of a natural 7-up and wanted to give this a go. This tastes just like 7-up.  In fact, I couldn’t really tell the difference between the two.  I think I would have to do a side-by-side comparison to identify subtle differences.  This was good especially if you are looking for a natural type of 7-up.

Soda number seven was River City’s Old Fashioned Blueberry and Lemonade Soda.


This sounded unusual and I loved the blue color, so I had to try this! The ingredient label states that it is flavored with quillaia which I found out is an extract from the stems and branches of soap bark. Quillaia is a common flavoring in cream soda and root beer. This tasted exactly like the soda described: the flavor is mostly blueberry but there were definitely citrus notes in the background. This was delicious and definitely in my top four favorites of all the sodas I tried from Galco.

The last soda I tried was the plum-flavored Ramune.


This was delicious! This soda had a nice, fruity flavor with floral notes! I definitely give this thumbs up putting this also in my top four favorites!

My top recommendations are:

1. Mr. Q Cumber

2. Plum-flavored Ramune

3. Mr. Cola

4. River City Old-Fashioned Blueberry Lemonade Soda

Galco is such a fun store to visit and I will definitely come back to try more unusual sodas! Anyone would be overwhelmed by all the soda varieties! The nice thing about Galco is that the owner makes an effort to find unusual sodas manufactured by small companies.  For example, you won’t find Pepsi-Cola products here. It is wonderful that Nese supports small businesses and also tries to find naturally sweetened sodas.

If you would like to check out our video review of Galco sodas, check it out here!

If you are interested in finding out where to purchase some of these interesting sodas check out the affiliate links below.
Mr Q Cumber Soda (Pack of 12)

Sangaria Ramune, Plum Flavor 6x 6.76z

Sangaria Ramune Marble Soft Drink Melon Flavor 6 Pack