Thursday, April 30, 2009

goldilocks but no bears

Goldilocks Restaurant & Bakeshop
2700 Colorado Blvd
Eagle Rock, CA 90041
(323) 543-2676
http://www.goldilocks-usa.com/

price: $
verdict: tasty, try it!

the only reason i go to goldilocks is to go to their bakery. not because i don't want to try their restaurant, but because i've been eating their baked goods for the last 8 years so i can rave about that.

20 goldilock pounds later, i've decided that they sell 4 baked items that i heart the most: their ensaymada brioche with cheese (weighing in at an artery clogging 450 calories per serving), their cheese rolls, and their mocha and uba cake rolls....oh my gawd yum.

the ensaymada brioche is my ABSOLUTE favorite. i was originally skeptical about the cheese, sugar, and sweet cream combo, but i was sold after taking the first bite. to me, it tastes like a hawaiian sweet bread roll topped with some creamy butter, cheese, and sugar. it's pretty darn amazing. ever since that first bite 8 years ago, i make sure to stop by goldilocks when i feel my sweet tooth tingling. the other three items are just as delicious and worth a try. if you haven't ever tried purple ube cake, i suggest you do so too. yummy!

DO go to the gym after eating one of their baked goods though...most things at the bakery are high in fat content as well as high in taste.

450 calories of dangerous!

Friday, April 24, 2009

mango lovin'

Olympic Bakery
5623 Rosemead Blvd
Temple City, CA 91780
(626) 285-8532

price: $
verdict: omg, i love it!

i have a friend that kept raving about the mango cake at olympic bakery and i got brainwashed into thinking i HAD to have it. ahhh, she is so right!

i recently got a small 15 inch mango cake. the hype was met 100% and everybody that got a taste of it thought it was delectable. the cake was dense but moist, the icing was fluffy and not too sweet (asian style), and the mango slices were just perfect. it would be even better if they had more mango pieces in the middle, but all in all, the combo made for a great cake! i will drive those 16 miles to experience that yummy goodness all over again.

if you want to use a credit card, there is a minimum charge of $25. also, i don't suggest that you ask them to write messages for you. the last time my friend got a cake there, they misspelled mother = monther and jennifer = jeniffer. if you do, just take a good look before you leave...but then again, it all ends up in the same place anyways...a happy stomache.

yumminess for the tumminess.

mango log. yes!

layers of mango deliciousness.

happy hour at the border

Border Grill
1445 4th St
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 451-1655
www.bordergrill.com

price: $$
verdict: it's aight

i came here recently with friends for their happy hour. yum!! they serve $4 drinks (margaritas and mojitos amongst other libations) and $5/$7 dollar tapas to go with your drinks. you sit on the bar side if you want happy hour, but there is a separate area for regular diners.

i ordered a carnitas sope which was soooooo good. nice, tart, tangy marinade and the meat was so tender and flavorful. i could have eaten a few of those. i wanted to order some more tapas after i consumed that one order, but i didn't do so after having this conversation with my happy hour going companion:

me: are you going to order more tapas?
friend: no i'm getting full
me: i'm still hungry
friend: oh, you didn't eat lunch?
me: umm...yes i did.
friend: oh...you had an early lunch?
me: no

(in my head, i'm just thinking...maybe my belly can just sock away more food than the rest of yous...)

alas, i did not order more. i had to reevaluate why my belly can hold more food than other petite asian girls. other than crappy santa monica parking, this is a good find!

naked froyo

Purenaked Yogurt
10250 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90067
(310) 553-8733
www.purenakedyogurt.com/

price: $
verdict: tasty, try it!

mmm....purenaked.....

century city was hot today. ouch. i had to eat something cold to cool off and what better way than inhaling froyo?! pinkberry had a massively long line so we inquired about other froyo places around and was directed to barenaked. good rec!

YUM. i feel the yogurt is a bit "icier" than the other froyo places and less creamy, but the taste is really nice and smooth. the fruits are definitely fresh. a "half naked" which comes with two toppings (i always pick strawberries and bluberries wherever i go) was $3.95. no lines, good taste, good price. i'm coming back. everybody else can wait 30 min for pinkberry.

build me a burrito

Chipotle Mexican Grill
135 E Palm Ave
Burbank, CA 91506
(818) 842-0622
www.chipotle.com

price: $
verdict: tasty, try it!

i don't know why people keep saying chipotle is owned by mcdonald's corp when it hasn't been since 2006:

http://en.wikipedia.or...

now that you know it's not mcdonald's owned, does it taste better? heck, it's always BEEN pretty tasty. i like their "build your own burrito" concept. the guocamole has a good kick to it and the burrito is flavorful and filling. i also like the salad option if you want to decrease your carb load. besides, it's not gourmet so for the price you pay, the food is pretty decent.

there isn't a chipotle near me. too bad for moi. it is a good option when you want something quick but not too oily.

the land of "cheap" froyo

Yogurtland
130 S Central Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 687-0733
http://www.yogurt-land.com/

price: $
verdict: omg, i love it!

anything with the word "land" in it is probably pretty awesome. think about it, disney"land," chinatown "land" (if you don't believe me, go to l.a. chinatown. i believe on ord street, there is a ghetto make shift sign in the old part of chinatown that says "chinatown land"), lego "land," and now yogurt"land." they all have the word "land" and they are all pretty awesome. ahhh yogurtland, you've exceeded my expectations.

i must admit, when my sis and i first walked in, i was a bit disoriented. it looked like a pinkberry, but not quite. then i started picking up the details and stuck one and one together..."oh, it's a self serve yogurt joint!" interesting. we whispered to one another for a bit trying to locate all the wares and inspected the yogurt squirters before we began.

there were a ton of yogurt flavors lined up against the wall: blueberry, oreos, strawberry, peach, mango, banana, etc...and of course, the pinkberry knock-off (which isn't as good). since my sis conveniently forgot her wallet, i treated her and knowing that she was getting treated, she piled on her yogurt and toppings like she was feeding a family of four. i even offered her another container just in case she wanted to strap that one onto her overflowing one. she declined....so unlike her. perhaps she heard that our country is going into a recession. in any case, our yogurts were weighed and i expected the worse...especially with my sister's mother load yogurt...but HELLS TO THE NO. under four dollars for each yogurt container?! are you shitting me?! that's cheaper than pinkberry's by a whole lot!

wow. i'm coming back.

oh yeah, it was pretty darn good too.

taro and plain flavored froyo topped with lychee, mochi balls, captain crunch, and strawberries. mmmmmm.....

smelly fish

Sorafune Restaurant
610 E Garvey Ave
Monterey Park, CA 91755
(626) 280-7752

price: $$
verdict: hells no!

ok, let me bring back some perspective on these high ratings. first of all, while i dined, something smelled fishy there. yeah, i know, it's a sushi joint, BUT it shouldn't smell like one though! ugh. the smell lingered and it was unsettling to my appetite.

the service was slow. the servers were nice and all, but i had to raise my hand like a school child in order to order our meal, get more iced water, follow up on a spicy tuna hand roll order which they forgot, and to get the check at the end of the meal. that was way too much hand raising for the night. my armpit got a cramp.

i ordered the sushi dinner which had 6 pieces of sushi (salmon, mackerel, smelt eggs, salmon eggs, shrimp, albacore) and a tuna cut roll. we also ordered two orders of uni at MP (market price) and a spicy tuna hand roll. *sigh* totally underwhelming. the fish were fresh, but they were not of good quality. the wasabi dots they put in the sushi were inconsistent. sometimes you got a lot which burned your nose, and other times, there were none at all.

i did not get a chance to try their tempura which looked amazing but given the other factors mentioned, it doesn't seem worth another visit just to try their tempura or a terriyaki beef/ salmon dish. when i'm at a sushi joint, i want sushi. if you are curious about the food here, their business hours are:

monday: closed
tuesday: closed for lunch, dinner from 5-10pm
wednesday-saturday: 11:30-2:30 for lunch, 5-10pm for dinner
sunday: 11:30-2:00 for lunch, 5-8:30pm for dinner

good luck with the fishy smell, sub par sushi, and the slow service!

bitter marmalade

Marmalade Cafe
6333 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 954-0088
http://marmaladecafe.com/

price: $$
verdict: not worth my time

went here recently with friends to try their "early show" menu. this is a three course menu offered monday through friday from 4-6pm for $12.95. that totally sounded like a deal, but alas, it's not a deal when the food sucks.

the menu:
first course choices- soup, field green salad, ceasar salad.
second course choices- chicken picatta, filet of salmon, brisket of beef.
third course choices- tiramisu or bread pudding

i started off with the ceasar salad. it was alright. then i had the chicken picatta for my second course. with this dish, you get to choose either rice pilaf or mash potatoes for the side. i chose their rice pilaf. when the rice came out, it looked like regular steamed rice to me, but drawing upon all of my food network watching knowledge, i think rice pilaf is usually cooked in broth with other ingredients thrown in. i asked my server about that and she offered me the mash potatoes instead. the chicken was bland and so were the mashies which didn't come with gravey....the only thing flavorful on that dish was the mushroom sauce. for my third course pick, i went with the tiramisu. YUMMY! for those that chose the bread pudding instead, they sure were envious of our tiramisu because their bread pudding was apparently too dry and too heavy.

my other companions that ordered the salmon filet did not like their dish either. the salmon was overcooked and one of my friends thought the sauce was overly sweet. and for the bread pudding eaters, they took a bite and left the bread pudding in its plate.

at about 6 or so, i felt a bit rushed because they started prepping up dinner for the "real diners." you know, the non $12.95 paying patrons. in any case, perhaps the items on their regular menu would have been tastier, but given that it's right at the grove and there's tons of really great eateries around there, i'm not interested in going back for a second shot. this "early show" menu was not a deal.

where did the moisture go?

Villa Fresh Italian Kitchen
48400 Seminole Dr
Cabazon, CA 92230
(951) 849-5058
www.villapizza.com

price: $
verdict: it's aight

in that particular food court, there's not much to choose from. villa fresh looked like a shiny star out of the lot.

the food is a bit sbarro-esque, but it's decent. the pizzas do have a crazy thick crust to it and it's huge. they also serve the typical fried appetizers like deep fried mozzerella sticks and an egg roll like concoction with pizza filling inside. i just inquired about those...i was at cabazon to do some shopping after all and it didn't make sense to go up in 3 dress sizes by inhaling all these fried foods.

i ended up ordering the lasagna which came with a super garlicky bread roll...they were both tasty. similar to sbarros, they never seem to give enough tomato sauce because half way through the lasagna, the darn thing must have soaked up all the sauce and moisture in the air but it remained dry as hell. where did all that sauce go?!

the food was decent and the bill came out to be $8.81 with a drink. not bad for a carbo recharge as i plowed through a few more stores afterwards.

pappa makes mean sweet potato fries

Father's Office
3229 Helms Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90034
(310) 736-2224
www.fathersoffice.com

price: $$
verdict: tasty, try it!

i was excited about FO because of all the hype it got from the santa monica location. in my mind, i'm thinking YES, i FINALLY get to try FO because 2 locations must mean more room SOMEWHERE for me. tackling the santa monica one seemed like an uphill battle; i shall not fight for food unless there's a famine and i need to battle for the last loaf of bread at ralphs because my hungry family is waiting for me at home.

hype is a funny thing. i think my expectations for their food was at a 10 but my tastebuds gave me another number when i actually ate my office burger. maybe i'm just use to a particular kind of burger (and NO, i don't just eat at mcdonalds. i eat burgers everywhere i go). who knows because i was unimpressed with the burger i got. the sweet potatoe fries were another story though. DANG...how many of those can i stuff in my mouth at once?! they were delicious and though i might have clogged my arteries by dipping them in the mayo concoction that comes with their fries, the semi-heart attack may well be worth it once you taste that sweet, crunchy bliss. oh so good. they had a variety of beers and i picked a "fruity" one....yes, that's the extent of my beer knowledge.

my meal turned out to be about $28 with tip included. i thought the price was too much for an alright burger even if the sweet potato fries were yummy. i will definitely give FO another try before i make my final verdict...but for now, it is just ok.

a boat of greasy love

Tokyo Hibachi
4645 Candlewood
Lakewood, CA 90712
(562) 630-6949

price: $$
verdict: it's aight

i went here recently with my sister for dinner. we were driving through lakewood and had hunger pangs. i remembered going to tokyo hibachi A LONG TIME AGO and faintly remembered it existed...it turned out it still did and it's still the same, inside and out.

there are two parts to this restaurant. one part housed their teppanyaki (benihana style) grill area which looked pretty crowded for a saturday night. there was definitely a wait for that side. my sis and i did not need a show to go along with our food so we opted to go to the side that had a sushi bar and an area for dinner. we got a booth without a wait and proceeded to peruse the menu. we decided to share the "love boat," an odd assortment of meats and tempura and also ordered sushi (maguro, albacore, and spicy tuna roll) for our appetizers.

good god when the "love boat" came out! jeezus. the "love boat" had too much food and seemed more appropriate for two burly, fat men to share as oppose to two asian women with normal appetites. this boat consisted of steak and fried chicken drenched in teriyaki sauce. there was also a pile of shrimp and veggie tempura, chinese style bbq pork (a.k.a. chasiu), and fried sesame chicken. too much meat and too many fried items. the pidly attempt at some salad and fruit in this order did not balance out the meal. i felt a little queasy and totally overwhelmed in grease. there was NO way we would make a dent in the food....and we didn't. we packed 80% of it in a box and took it home.

the sushi was ok. it was fresh but overpriced. the "love boat" was NOT so lovely. it's a great way for a restaurant to execute in quantity but not quality. just fry everything and give a lot of it...that would stop most people from complaining. we walked away 20 lbs heavier and $30 poorer in each of our pockets. i get it, lakewood is NOT a sawtelle or a little tokyo in los angeles, but that doesn't mean i will be easy on my judgements just because there's no other acceptable japanese restaurant in the area to compare it with.

not so cool at finn mccool's

Finn McCool's
2700 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90407
(310) 452-1734
www.finnmccoolsirishpub.com

price: $$
verdict: it's aight

friends and i dropped by finn mccool's for dinner and drinks last thursday night. the food is overpriced for what essentially is fried food and beer. i ordered crab cakes on a bed of greens with a side of fries. not the healthiest dinner choice, but it's a pub. what do you expect? their wine selection was small (duh, it's a beer place) but i found an ok glass of wine to wash it all down.

it wasn't crowded at all and the food is alright..it's just not anything special in my opinion.

not fond of fondue

Monsieur Marcel
6333 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90189
(323) 939-7792
www.mrmarcel.com

price: $$
verdict: tasty, try it!

i gathered my friends here for an early dinner one day because i wanted to try fondue. i knew monsieur marcel served fondue at less wallet offending prices (as oppose to the melting pot in pasadena) so we gave it a shot. we ordered two pots with one titled the "the real thing," get the heck out. real thing? we also ordered a side of sliced meats and apples for dipping. the first few bites were ok, but "the real thing" had a REALLY STRONG wine taste to it. don't get me wrong, i love my wines, but the wine in the fondue tasted bitter. the other fondue pot tasted better, but again, after eating all that cheese and seeing it bubbling and separating from the other oils in the pot, it became pretty unappetizing. needless to say, i am fondued out!

my other friends ordered their burger, salad, and calamari. they enjoyed their meals and everything else looked delightful. m. marcel will be a repeat for me. it seems too delicious not to...but the next time, no more fondue. once was enough.

cozy at cozymel's

Cozymel's Mexican Grill
2171 Rosecrans Ave
El Segundo, CA 90245
(310) 606-5464
www.cozymels.com

price: $$
verdict: it's aight

had lunch with my friends today at cozymel's. after eating at gloria's cafe last night and getting rodeo grill a few days before that, i think i'm pretty much beaned, riced, and burritoed out for the next few days. *burp*

cozymel reminds me of an alcapulco or an el torito. they must be siblings from the same father but different mothers or something because their decor and food comes from a pretty cookie cutter formula. you know what i mean...adobe styled walls with a smatter of non descriptive inca/mayan script or art...but different enough so you know you're eating in a different establishment.

the menu had the usual americanized mexican food so i didn't expect too much in terms of authenticity or taste. burritos, tostadas, tacos, chile rellenos...you name it, they probably have it. i settled on a steak tostada. the steak and guocamole were pretty spicy. like i said, the food is ok but that's about it.

enchilada burrito love

Rodeo Mexican Grill
1721 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(213) 483-8311
http://www.rodeomexicangrill.com/

price: $
verdict: omg, i love it!

#27 please.

that means a tasty enchilada burrito with red sauce, a side of well seasoned rice, and refried beans with a cheese topping.... yum! this typical meal costs me $7.57 and i'm never disappointed with it. their other menu items are just as tasty...in fact, i get pretty consistent rodeo grill cravings.

the restaurant itself doesn't have the best decor so if you EVEN think about bringing a date to this place, then it will be obvious to her after your meal that it's best just to be "friends." it's not bad, it's just not a place to impress. it is casual dining at its finest. the restaurant is relatively clean, there's parking on the streets or in their tiny parking lot in the back, or, you can do what i do and park across the street where masa is located. there's metered parking in a lot back there.

come in, eat, then get the fuck out. or come in, order, and take that sucka home.

every yummy thing already exists on this plate.

carb load

Yummy Pizza Inc.
891 W Baker St
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 979-2669

price: $
verdict: it's aight

located in a strip mall surrounded by three japanese restaurants on a somewhat quiet street, it pulled us in because we were hungry and needed sustenance. you know, the carbo filled, doughy kind of sustenance that going to a japanese restaurant could not seem to fulfill at that time.

yummy pizza inc. was an unexpectedly cute find. the service was AWESOME. the lady that helped run the place made us feel like we were sitting in her very own dining room in her house because she was super attentive and made sure we felt at home...and we did. i ordered a calzone and garlic bread while my friend ordered their gyro. the garlic bread was interesting. instead of the typical french bread infused with butter, it was a flat round bread brushed with "essence of garlic?" not sure how else to describe it because it seriously was round, flat, and had no evidence of garlic on it. it was tasty though and the calzone was yummy too. the calzone was mostly made of bread with a bit of filling. i guess my desire for carbs was fulfilled that night.

the place serves average tasting food, but the service really makes it special. they also have a small selection of beer for you to pair with your food. if i lived around there, i would definitely go back to eat some more.

komasa, where the raw dream begins

Restaurant Komasa
351 E 2nd St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 680-1792

price: $$
verdict: omg, i love it!

(read my review to the tune of sir-mix-a-lot's "baby got back")
oh, my, god. becky, look at komasa.it is so small. *scoff* it looks like, one of those whole in the walls....


i love komasa and i cannot lie
you other sushi eaters can't deny
that when you walk into this itty bitty place
and you get tuna in your face
you get sprung, wanna pull out your gut
'cause you notice that sushi roll was stuffed
sitting at the sushi bar i'm staring
i'm hooked and i can't stop swearing
that "oh baby, your food's the best"
let me take some foodie pictures
my homegirls tried to warn me
but that spicy tuna roll you got makes me so hungry
ooh, rump-o'-salmon-skin
you say you wanna feed my friends?
well, feed me, feed me
'cause we ain't your average sushi groupies
i've seen them rollin'
and here i sit just droolin'
komasa's da shit, da best,
got it goin' like a turbo 'vette
i'm tired of trying other things
and hearing people sayin' other sushi places have the best thing
take an avid sushi eater and ask him that
we say "other places are just plain whack"
so, foodies! (yeah!) foodies! (yeah!)
do you like to eat some sushi stuff? (hell yeah!)
then go shake it! (shake it!) shake it! (shake it!)
shake your healthy gut to komasa!
komasa's NOT whack!

monk fish liver. no thanks. i'll stick to the fish.

greasy burgers = fat girl

Patra Burgers On Sunset
1524 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(213) 250-0301

price: $
verdict: it's aight

this place is a hole in the wall. no joke. it serves the greasiest cheeseburgers ever, but suprisingly, it's acceptably tasty to the taste buds, albeit you'd probably be in the midst of a heart attack while eating it. the indoor eating area is ghetto-fabulous...so is their outdoor portion if you are willing to inhale some sunset exhaust as you sit there and eat. my friend likes ordering their tacos. i stick to the cheesburgers. it's worked for me so far and i've been there twice. i'm still alive and kicking....

they have a somewhat diverse menu: fast, easy, and greasy. it is what it is. it's not gourmet or a zagat rated joint. it is just straight up fast food for cheaps.

the house of greasy burgers.

when sushi comes from the west and not the east

Sushi West
4105 Atlantic Ave
Long Beach, CA 90807
(562) 424-5004

price: $
verdict: tasty, try it!

when i use to work in lakewood, this is where my coworkers and i would go to eat dinner if our work day ran late. it was a good find because it was close and of course the food was tasty as well...and CHEAP. hello! talk about making your dollar stretch!

we always got the combo meal. that seemed like the best deal there. my typical order usually included spicy tuna, salmon teriyaki, or their sesame chicken. it also comes with rice, salad, and miso soup so you totally feel like you had a well rounded dinner. actually, come to think of it, the food and the combo concept reminds me of ichiban in glendale except of course over here, you bus your own table. sushi west is a very good deal.

fyi, sushi west is located in the same mini mall lot as a trader joes and there's a coldstone creamery down the block...just in case you want more food.

not THAT kind of library

Library Alehouse
2911 Main St
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 314-4855
www.libraryalehouse.com

price: $$
verdict: it's aight

i've been here twice and thought the food and the ambiance was alright. it is definitely a place to chill and throw down a few beers, but since i'm not a beer drinker, it mostly served as a place to chill and throw down fries. they have happy hour too so the wines by the glass are ok. the wine selection isn't the best, but it made for a good beer alternative.

it does get pretty crowded so we usually come for an early dinner. i've had their burger which was meh and their fish and chips, also just meh. there's nothing craveable about the place and for that reason, i wouldn't especially hanker to go back again.

dance, mofo, dance!

The Abbey
692 N Robertson Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 289-8410
www.abbeyfoodandbar.com

price: $$
verdict: tasty, try it!

went out with a few gals saturday night for some "straight girls going to a gay bar" action. i was pleasantly suprised by the size of this place as i counted about 2 different bar areas when we searched for a cozy spot to settle in. as the night wore on, the place got denser by the minute which was totally fun because we met some fun people to dance with.

the drinks were strong. i recommend the mojitos and the caramel apple martini. omg, the apple martini is awesome. it tastes EXACTLY like a caramel apple except no apple can eff you up as much as this one. i also recommend trying to recreate the "soul train line" while you're at it. we did that...hilarious! other folks joined in too!

when we finally left, the line to get into the abbey was SO FREAKIN' LONG. good luck is what i say, good luck. parking is hideous too so do what you can and get your booty shakes to the abbey.

mr. cecil makes some good bbq sauce

Mr. Cecil's California Ribs
12244 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064
(310) 442-1550
www.mrcecilscaliforniaribs.com

price: $$
verdict: tasty, try it!

it's a great place to get ribs if you like them on the sweeter side. the sides are amazing and the ceasar's salad is REALLY good. i know, why am i ordering ceasar salad at a rib joint...because i grew up being told that i need veggies somewhere with my meal...even though the veggies have a ton of croutons, parmesean cheese, and creamy dressing. delicious!

the ribs are yum and so is their signature bbq sauce which falls on the sweeter side. the last time i left this joint, i bought myself a bottle of their sauce. i use it as a ketchup alternative at home.

tongue, liver, and cartilage galore

Shin Sen Gumi Yakitori
18617 S Western
Gardena, CA 90247
(310) 715-1588
www.shinsengumiusa.com/

price: $$
verdict: omg, i love it!

i ate here almost weekly at one point for a few months...until it got uber crowded and the wait became impossible so the trek from silverlake to gardena didn't make sense anymore....not that it does right now either.

there's a lot of great things going for this place. the staff is really friendly, the environment is loud and inviting, and the "innards" they grill for you are fantastically delicious. that's right. i am hardcore and i like the place loud while i'm consuming innards.

my meal always starts off with mixing the yuzu (the green stuff you see in a bottle at your area) and the vinegar/oil together into a dipping concoction. then i mark all the items i want to have them grill on my order sheet as i enjoy my complimentary shredded cabbage. because i like sitting at the bar area, not only am i entertained by all the yapping that i do with my friends, it's also interesting watching the grill master cook your food. let's see, i've seen a mini fire being put out once, flying sparks, and a smoke disaster.

i typically order the liver, heart, intestine, cartilage, beef tongue, and chicken wings. those are the staples. depending on the night, they will have specials like the salmon tomato, albacore tuna, or soft shell crab. those are pretty delicious too. the menu items are also great if grilled food isn't the only food you're hankering for. of course, there's a variety of sake, beer, and soju for you to order. you can round out the meal with dessert, but seriously, after consuming all that, i'm too stuffed for dessert.

after you pay your pricey tab, you can walk out with a lot of yelling from the staff. i'm not sure what it all means, but i'm quite sure they are bidding you adieu and hope you come back again. i have great memories of this place.

my garlic noodles addiction

Crustacean
9646 Santa Monica Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 205-8990

price: $$$$
verdict: omg, i love it!

i've been here several times and i NEVER leave disappointed. the ambience is great, has the asian decor going on and the see through floor in the bar area so you can look at all the beautiful kois swimming by. the bar is a nice place to sit and get a drink or two if you have to wait for a table.

during my past few visits, we would order appetizers, salad, and what not, but once i realized that all i really needed from crustacean was their cracked roasted crab (which they use to call their garlic crab) and their super delicious, absolutely addicting garlic noodles, i realized to eat anything before these two dishes would just be filler. pair all that with a glass of reisling....boy, my stomach gets happy and my taste buds do the happy dance. yum!

i have yet to find a place that serves a replica of the garlic noodles that's found here. come on, i know it's "an's secret" and whatevers, but one thing asian people know how to do best is to duplicate things....so where's the garlic noodle duplications?! great place to eat anything oily, buttery, and garlic infused. seriously, go, go, go!
valentine's dessert. mmmm....coconut ice cream with banana wontons.

my rounded belly

Buddha's Belly Restaurant
7475 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 931-8588
http://www.bbfood.com/

price: $$
verdict: it's aight

buddha's belly reminds me of gingergrass in silverlake. it's like a "chic-er" cafe/restaurant that commands over-exaggerated prices for their food. don't get me wrong, the food is decent. it's just not "WOWZERS," hence the lack of enthusiasm on my part.

we started off our meal with the avacado and albacore eggroll. wow, pretty good! not so good is that they give you 5 cut pieces of one fried eggroll. teeny tiny! i'm not looking for behemoth quantity, but at about $8, i think they could spare another eggroll. we also ordered the edamame (you can't really go wrong on those) to snack on while we waited.

our entrees: my sis ordered their seared albacore burger with sweet potato fries. that was really tasty!! the albacore patty was a bit weird though because they incorporate corn kernals in the patty. the sweet potato fries were lightly battered, then fried. her dish was awesome.

my entree on the other hand was meh. i ordered the korean steak which ended up being ok tasting steak placed on a bed of stir fried veggies. i had brown rice to go with that. after a few bites of my dish, i started chomping on my sister's potato fries instead. mediocre food makes me so sad.

we didn't get any dessert nor did we order drinks so the bill came out to be about $24 per person including tip. street parking isn't the best because of neighborhood restrictions and there's valet if you want it. if i want similar eats, i'd probably go to gingergrass instead. both have meh asian fusion food, but one is closer.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

sooty eyes

Soot Bull Jeep
3136 W 8th St
Los Angeles, CA 90005
(213) 387-3865

price: $$
verdict: tasty, try it!

my friend celebrated her 30th here and what a great place to do so! nothing like having sparks flying towards your eyes and inhaling a lot of smoke to remind you that you're alive!

since i was too busy yapping to help order, i was nicely suprised with the pile of meats that started showing up at our table. apparently, we ordered the galbi, chicken, and squid...and some other beefy things. the meats were all nicely marinated. yummy! it required immense will power to stop myself from reaching for all the half cooked items on the grill! couldn't wait! we also ordered some soju and OB beer to wash it all down. i'm not a beer fan at all, but the OB was pretty tasty. good note to self when i go and get me some kbbq.

we met there about 6pm so there were spaces left in the parking lot to park. otherwise, it's street parking which can be a bit of a bitch especially with the construction going on. by the time we left at about 8pm, people by the bus loads were waiting by the door. and yes, i smelled like hot barbequed beef. nothing wrong with smelling absolutely delicious.

creamy buns

L.A. Chinatown Bakery & Deli
809 N Hill St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 680-3888

price: $
verdict: tasty, try it!

this bakery is a watering hole for a lot of chinese senior citizens. when you go there on any given day, there will be a crowd of them with their styrofoam coffee/tea cups yapping away. i think that's cute. anyways, it's not an "attractive" place to eat unless you like plastic or old looking, worn furniture. i usually buy my baked goods to go.

i've bought various pastries and things here for the past 5 years and they are super cheap and delicious. my favorite are their cream buns (sounds funny) because the butter cream and the bread is so deliciously made! they usually run out of those first so i try to go earlier in the day if i want to get some. they also have yummy baked or steam cha siu bows, sponge cakes, and sesame balls with mung bean filling inside. everything is within view so you can just point and purchase.

you will be amazed by the number of goodies you will get by just spending a few dollars here. a great place to stop by if you need a quick snack.

cheap and tasty. just the way i like it.

plantains, chicken, and beans oh my!

Versailles Restaurant
10319 Venice Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90034
(310) 558-3168
www.versaillescuban.com/

price: $$
verdict: omg, i love it!

i've been coming here for years, but my motives for patronizing versailles has changed with time though. when i use to go here as a poor, starving, college student, my main priority was to get the most food for my buck. seriously, ordering the 1/2 order of garlic chicken meant having dinner that night and then leftovers for lunch or dinner the following day. going to versailles was a survival tactic. no joke.

nowadays, i go because it just tastes good! not like i didn't appreciate the flavor before, but having a real job means being able to choose where i want to spend my bucks, so it says a lot that i still come back here time and time again. i really enjoy the buttered bread they serve you at the start of your meal (though they become rocks if you ever have them the following day). the garlic chicken is so freakin' yummy and so is the pork....the plantains, to die for. i use to drive from silverlake JUST to get their plantains. love the way they are so nicely caramelized around the edges. ohhh..and the perfectly made black beans (my stomach is grumbling now from just the description of it) to spoon over my rice. happy stomach!

the only beef i have with versailles nowadays is when i order their garlic chicken and i want extra garlic sauce with it, you have to pay extra for it. what the heck? why am i paying extra to make your food jucier? no matter. i still eat here. my taste buds have fond memories of this place.

a sorry roar from a tasteless lion

Red Lion Tavern
2366 Glendale Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90039
(323) 662-5337
www.redliontavern.net

price: $$
verdict: it's aight

don't throw sausages at me, but beer really isn't my thing. so when i partook in the goodies offered here, i really focused on the food and the environment rather than the beer. so my review is based on the food and the ambience alright!

i ordered one of their sausage specials and was not into it. the sausage tasted fatty, the sauerkraut was interesting in a tarty way, and the mash potatoes would lose a fight againgst the mashies at kfc if one was to be had. their thin fries were good though. my friend liked her dish. *shrug* but it's not a place for food. i think it exists solely as a place to drink a lot of beer...hence a few beer guts walking about.

parking is super atrocious too. if you do manage to find a spot in their parking lot, i swear, you will feel like austin powers in his movie when he needed to maneuver his golf cart in a narrow hallway...that's how i felt when i was trying to get out of their lot. reverse, foreward, reverse, foreward....CRASH. j/k. that didn't happen, but don't be suprised if someone bumps into your car or you bump into their's while trying to get out.

i don't mind coming back, but is it really worth it? probably not. i won't shun it though if i'm really desperate.

the glory that is gloria

Gloria's Cafe
10227 Venice Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90034
(310) 838-0963
http://www.gloriascafela.com/

price: $$
verdict: omg, i love it!

it's a good thing that i don't live close to gloria's cafe anymore because i'm pretty sure i'd be over there weekly. i have a real soft spot for beans, cheese, and rice and BOY do you find all of that and then some over at gloria's!! the food is really tasty here and the prices are reasonable. i typically order the combo meal (because of the beans, cheese, and rice...hello? is there an echo in here?) and usually get my enchiladas or chili rellenos because these are some of my old favorites. i can't wait to try some of their other dishes though because everything looks pretty spectacular. more reasons to drive to that side of town!

one of the best things about gloria's is their sangria. holy crap this sangria deserves it's own paragraph. it's smooth and sweet...but packs a punch because the alcohol hits you slowly. you typically want to order more than one cup, but i suggest you pace yourself because the alcohol slowly creeps up on you and you're going to find yourself to be a sleepy drunk. if you have more than one lush at your table, i suggest you get the carafe. it is a better bang for your buck.

i love the fact that there's good food, good service, reasonable prices, consistency, and you get seated immediately. if you've never been here before, i suggest you try. little gems like gloria's are hard to find. you will definitely get your grub on!

one of the tastiest burritos ever.

senor churro

Mr Churro's
15 Olvera St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 680-9036

price: $
verdict: tasty, try it!

i know why there's a "mr." in front of mr. churro. it's a sign of respect. show respect everybody and bow down to the best tasting churro on this side of l.a! seriously.

the churros are crispy on the outside but soft on the inside. they are then dredged in cinnamon and sugar to give it that signature churro coating. nothing special about that right? but au contraire my churro eating connoisseurs...mr. churro bumps it up a notch by pumping into the churro your choice of caramel, strawberry, or custard filling. i like the caramel filling the best, but don't hesitate to ask them to fill in two different flavors since they break your churro in half anyways so each half can have its own distinct filling.

they are a badass churro making mofo. after you take a bite of their crispy churro and have the wonderful filling gush into your mouth, you too will know what i'm talking about.

a rainbow of che

Rainbow Bakery
424 W College Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 617-7638

price: $
verdict: tasty, try it!

this place is a vietnamese bakery. you can order the typical banh mi (vietnamese sandwiches) though the quality is not the best. it's ok though. they also sell spring rolls and "ba de so" or vietnamese empenadas with a spicy pork/chicken filling. that's pretty tasty and it's really addicting so newbies beware! there are various vietnamese dishes here and they either have it on display or there's pictures for reference. it makes ordering the food easy for all you gwai los out there.

my FAVORITE has got to be their "che" or vietnamese sweet desserts. they have a buffet of ingredients and the typical routine for me is to pick 3 items and get coconut milk and ice in it. it's really refreshing on a hot summer day. i've been going here for the past 10 years and always look forward to getting myself some che on a hot summer day...like i even need an excuse to go eat.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

i want sum dimsum!

Ocean Seafood Restaurant
750 N Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 687-3088
www.oceansf.com

price: $$
verdict: tasty, try it!

i brought two friends here for some dim sum because i was FLOORED when i found out that they've never been. "WHAT?!" i exclaimed in disbelief. "how can you live in l.a. for so long and never been to dim sum?" i immediately volunteered myself to become their token chinese friend. in my mind, i already had the perfect place to take them for their virginal dim sum experience, ocean seafood. my family have been patronizing this place for many, many years. i was confident that they will love their dim sum here as much as i do.

suprisingly, there was no wait when we came this morning. we were seated immediately and just as our tushies hit our chairs, we were bombarded with a bunch of dim sum carts (this is what i LOVE about dim sum, being able to eat immediately). since i speak cantonese, it was a nice opportunity for me to practice. HOWEVER, you do not need to speak the language in order to get great dim sum or good service. this restaurant has made a concerted effort to have their staff speak a few words in english because they are trying to expand their customer base. at the very least, you will be told what you're eating and what's in it. in fact, when i spoke cantonese, one of the employees there responded in english!

for my friends' virginal dim sum experience, i went for the following dishes because i knew they were easy on the the taste buds (i only know the cantonese way of saying some of these dishes so i will do my best to describe them):

-for our tea, we started off with "goke boe" which is a mixture of chrysanthemum and black tea. if you don't request a specific tea to start your dim sum experience, the default tea is jasmine which is also pretty nice. they don't have a tea menu just in case you are curious. i know they have "goke boe" because my family orders that all the time.
-ha gow (steamed shrimp wrapped in a transparent rice wrap)
-siu mai (nuggets of pork. yummy)
-seasoned shrimp (with the heads still on it. the shells are crispy enough for you to consume THE WHOLE thing, shell and all. do it.)
-seasoned calamari
-cheung fan (white rice rolls with a choice of shrimp or pork)
-chinese brocolli with oyster sauce for dipping
-baked cha siu boas (baked pork buns)

we stopped there. that's a lot of food. our bill came out to be about $42 for three people not including tip. i didn't order my typical chicken's feet, jelly fish, or seaweed, but it wasn't missed today. maybe in the future, i can convince them to be more adventurous and try these old favorites of mine.

a booty call at sahara!

Sahara Middle Eastern Cuisine
2226 E Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91107
(626) 795-6900

price: $
verdict: tasty, try it!

the best kind of eateries are the ones that makes both your mouth and your wallet happy. sahara is such a place. what a great find! i went here with friends for lunch and found the food to be spectacular. it was a double plus plus that the food was reasonably priced too. i got the beef kebab plate which meant the following gustatory goodness:

-the beef kebab was tender and nicely charred in the right places
-the hummus side was oh so smooth and tart
-the tabouli (which i mistakenly called the ta-booty) was limey and refreshing
-the rice was yummy and fluffy

i like the laid back atmosphere because you order at the counter and they bring you your food. the dining area is large enough to accomodate large parties so a great choice for big gatherings. there's also parking in the back, too. so let me see...good food, great prices, has own parking...i am sold. when i find myself in pasadena again and hanker me some hummus and kebabs, i shall be giving sahara a ta-booty call. absolutely delicious.

real grass might actually taste a tad bit better

Gingergrass
2396 Glendale Blvd
Silver Lake, CA 90039
(323) 644-1600

price: $$
verdict: not worth my time

it's a medium sized venue but depending on the night, it might be quite a wait. luckily, we were able to walk in and get seated because the other parties were too big to be seated immediately. score!

although people rave about this place, gingergrass is a vietnamese restaurant that serves average vietnamese food for hipster prices. we had their bo sate and their lemongrass chicken...meh. the bo sate was saturated in brown sauce. the only appealing thing about this dish were the little taro chunks in it. otherwise, the sauce was overpowering and the green beans were overcooked and were completely soaked in it. the lemongrass chicken tasted like something you can get from sam woo in their bbq section for like $4 as oppose to the $14 price tag here. and i bet you, the sam woo version would be tastier. the rice in general is overcooked and as i surveyed the crowd, i didn't see another asian face. that's probably because they are in montery park at the moment eating BETTER prepared vietnamese food. i felt punked.

except for a few great items like their lychee mimosa and banana spring rolls for dessert which were pretty spectacular, the food really pales in comparison to all the fine vietnamese places that you will find in orange county, chinatown, montery park and such. i ate here because of convienence and that was about it. otherwise, i would rather drive a bit further and get vietnamese food from a more authentic place. the vietnamese side of me was UNIMPRESSED.

lychee mimosa. wow. i want another one!

an island on sunset

Tiki Ti Cocktail Lounge
4427 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 669-9381
www.tiki-ti.com

price: $$
verdict: omg, i love it!

i've never been to hawai'i before, but for a drunken second, i IMAGINED what it might be like through my tastebuds. oh yummy, yummy, scrumpdilidumpcious tiki ti! i love the laid back vibe, the cheezy decor, the delicious tropical drinks, and the friendly folks that run this place...if only the experience can be complete with sandy beaches and clear blue waters rather than dirty sunset blvd when you leave.

i've tried three of their drinks (rest assure there will be more), the penang (strong pineapple based alcohol), bayanihan (coconut based flavors), and the uga booga (full of fuck you up rum). all three are SO GOOD. they taste like liquid dessert with a serious kick to it. can't wait to go back and try the rest, that is unless the liver gives up.

definitely a small place, has an atm inside because it's a cash bar, prices are high, and there's street parking only. if you are in the area, do check this place out. it's worth your time and effort to taste a bit of liquid tropical heaven.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

leela makes bad thai

Leela Thai Restaurant
1737 Silver Lake Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(323) 660-6100
http://www.leelathaila.com/

price: $
verdict: not worth my time

not the best thai food around but it gets play i think because of it's location. it's next to spaceland and the other thai restaurant in the vincinity that i can think of located in silverlake is rambutan thai which costs a bit more. i guess for silverlakers who don't want to drive, leela is an alright alternative.

anyways, the food is blah and greasy. the only thing i will still get from them is their thai ice tea especially after a warm walk around the reservoir (i really dig the ice chips they have in the drink). otherwise, i would rather make the extra effort to go somewhere else for thai...like vim's on hollywood.
suprisingly tasty mango sticky rice. the rice has a nice, subtle coconut flavor.

what a win with vim!

Vim Thai-Chinese Restaurant
5132 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 662-1017

price: $
verdict: omg, i love it!

this place is the quintessential "hole-in-the-wall" restaurant. the decor is tacky-chic (maybe i'm being too generous with that observation), the booths are lumpy, and the utensils you get are sometimes questionable...but that's why you survey your booth before you sit down and exchange your utensils if there's crust on it. done deal.

there is something seriously tasty about this place. i really can't pinpoint why it makes my taste buds dance, but it does. my usual orders would be their shrimp fried rice (THIS IS THE BEST DISH EVER), tomatoes and beef, beef and chinese broccoli, and their seafood soup. their thai tea is a bit on the sweet side, but it's tasty too. you can't go wrong with an order like that. their portions are huge and it's hella cheap...so why aren't you there already might i ask?

you definitely won't be disappointed with the food, but if the decor is too fugz for you, then order take out. they only take cash and parking is a bitch. but there's this nice man in a cowboy hat that will gladly direct you into the right parking spot.

shrimp fried rice. holy moly jump into my mouth now!

beef and tomatoes...mmmm....

chicken and gailan (chinese broccoli, oh my!)

squabilicious

Happy Family Restaurant 3
111 N Atlantic Blvd
Monterey Park, CA 91754
(626) 282-8986

price: $
verdict: omg, i love it!

my friend wanted to celebrate her belated birthday with a hearty vegetarian meal at this restaurant. cool for me because i LOVE their food and am always down for a meal here. not only is it tasty, it also allows me to save one chicken from losing its breast to me one meal at a time. good deed, good deed.

you won't miss the meat here because the variety of dishes they offer and the different tastes and textures you'll discover will blow your mind away. we typically order a few dishes because they have a great all you can eat menu under $12 (do check for the time which this applies):

-squab (the lettuce leaf with the crunchy filling )
-fish dish (the texture is a bit bizarre, but quite addicting)
-house chicken (deep fried mushrooms. one of my favorites.)
-fried tofu squares
-string beans (pretty yummy. another favorite.)
-spicy egg plant

the squab really is the star of the show. when you order this during their all you can eat time slots, they will only allow you one order which will give you two servings. we had to order it again off their regular menu (for about $8) because it was just THAT GOOD. the server thought we were silly and said "too expensive." so what, we were silly, full, and happy peoples. good eats.

craving the kitchen

The Kitchen
4348 Fountain Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90029
(323) 664-3663
www.thekitchen-silverlake.com

price: $$
verdict: omg, i love it!

i had the most ginormous meal there last night and it still sits in my stomach as i type out this review. i say this in a good way because i still feel pretty full. dang, a meal that keeps going and going!

my friends and i came here for dinner and what a good find it is! at first when we walked through their doors, it was pretty off-putting because the space is so small and crowded and the thought of a long wait with an extremely hungry stomach seemed murderous. BUT apparently, they sit you first if you have all your party present so we were able to "front cut" a few folks. score!

i ordered their meat loaf entree (such yummy mash potatoes and veggies on the side!) while my friends ordered their sesame encrusted albacore and almond encrusted trout. all three dishes tasted HEAVENLY so my taste buds did the happy dance all through dinner. the service was good even though they were busy and never once did we feel pressured to leave a.s.a.p. to make room for others. we were able to sit for a bit to digest.

as we left the kitchen, our conversation started with "when i come back next time, i'm going to order the...." that's a true sign of a good restaurant, when you already start talking about coming back to eat more. seriously delicious eats!

bj's...the food kind

BJ's Brewery
101 N Brand Blvd
Glendale, CA 91203
www.bjsbrewhouse.com

price: $$
verdict: it's aight

kindly take your brewhouse nachos and slap it on my thighs. and that creamy santa fe salad that i always order...on my ass please. oh, oh, let's not forget the stuffed potatoes...go ahead and strap those on my arms. make sure it's one on each arm ok. omg, i almost forgot, that darn pizookie...just drop it on my stomach. right there, right in the middle. that's where all this unhealthy food will end up going anyways.

when waffles and fried chicken copulates

Roscoe's House of Chicken & Waffles
5006 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90019
(323) 934-4405
www.roscoeschickenandwaffles.com

price: $$
verdict: tasty, try it!

the best thing about roscoe's are their waffles. their super moist, perfectly made waffles. do smear it with the fluffy butter and drizzle a lot, and i mean A LOT of syrup. one bite, fork down, your eyes will roll to the back of your eye sockets. freakin' awesome.

the chicken. meh. mediocre. dry and greasy. it is a hit or miss. sometimes it's really good, sometimes, it's all dried up and anorexic looking. their yams are usually too sweet. they could have poured pure sugar directly in your mouth and it would probably taste the same as their yams. no go with that one.

but roscoe's is delicious because they make waffles that will bring the house down! delicious because they sometimes make some pretty good fried chicken even though it's a hit or miss event. ahh, sometimes, it's delicious when waffles and fried chicken copulates.

choosing chosun

Chosun Galbee
3330 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90019
(323) 734-3330
www.chosungalbee.com

price: $$$
verdict: tasty, try it!

anytime you go to a korean bbq place, be prepared to have your clothes reek of smokey meat...but then again, this may help attract single, hungry men to you. perhaps.

i think the place looks pretty upscale and charges a lot for a small plate of meat. if you come here, it's for the refined experience which will be reflected in your bill. the staff is VERY attentive and will do most of the cooking for you. gosh, they are so up in your face that i wouldn't be suprised to have one feed you the cooked galbi as it comes off the grill if you wished it.

the meats are tasty and service is impeccable, BUT it's pretty expensive for korean bbq. you can definitely go elsewhere for similar eats and walk away with a similar smell.

ichiban it's not

Ichiban
120 S Brand Blvd
Glendale, CA 91204
(818) 242-9966

price: $$
verdict: it's aight

my coworkers and i come here often after work when we need quasi japanese food quickly. i usually order their 3 item dinner combo meal...salmon teriyaki, gyozas, and tempura. over the past year and a half, this is what i noticed about their menu items:

-their salmon teriyaki piece keeps shrinking. the last time i checked, i'm NOT a smurf, so please give me the correct portion size. thank you.-they like to make tempura onion rings...which is such a good way to cheap you out.-their baked green mussels with the mayo on top is GROSS. yuck. barf.-they give you a lot of rice so you can fill up.-their sesame chicken are oily bits of meat nuggets.-i like their filtered tap water.

so my conclusion? you get exactly what you pay for. it's a cheap meal and you get ok tasting food. you usually get seated right away and parking is fine because there's a garage right across the street (i really love that). i guess at the end of a long, tiring day at work, finding the most delicious meal ever is not always the first thing on my mind.

Monday, April 13, 2009

lose los cobanos because good grub ain't here

Los Cobanos Restaurant & Delivery
2927 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(323) 661-6407

price: $
verdict: not worth my time

it's not the best mexican restaurant you can find, but an average place to fill up on beans and rice when you hunger. i've had their pupusas (cheese/cheese and pork) and find it average. soft outsides without the nice crustiness that i like in other papusas. i've also had their tacos which is really greasy and somewhat chewy even though it's the hard shell kind. makes you wonder where the magic of taco making went missing when they created their's. the horchata is good though but will that carry the food? no.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

pho sure!

Pho 87 Restaurant
1019 N Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(323) 227-0758

price: $
verdict: tasty, try it!

this is the best place to go to when you are HUNGRY and need to eat something quick. in a blink of an eye, whatever you order will magically appear in front of you. that's awesome when you're seriously starving and only seconds away from ripping off your friend's arm and taking a bite out of it (j/k. too many zombie movies).

when i'm there, i order their pho dac biet (the one with all the fixins like tripe and thin slices of raw beef). their phos have a terrific soup base and the quantity is just right. i've also had their eggrolls, spring rolls, and the rolls with the flavorful sausage inside which i forget the name of. the drinks are also tasty and i really like pairing up my pho with their limeade. the young coconut drink is also good when you need something refreshing to drink on a hot day. no doubt the food is pretty spectacular for the price you pay.

i like the fact that one of the servers there remembers my order. talk about making a quick order even quicker...and yeah, i come here for the food and not the decor. it is definitely a hole in the wall establishment.

sashayed to the tropics

Cafe Tropical
2900 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(323) 661-8391

price: $
verdict: it's aight

knowing full well i have a dentist appointment tomorrow, i threw caution to the wind and bought an unjustifiable amount of sweets at cafe tropical today...it must be my sweet tooth taking over my dinner choices again...the one that's going to get me into trouble tomorrow with my dental hygienist.

i brought home an apple turnover, guava empenandas, a chocolate eclair, and these flaky pastries that i have no idea the name of. they are all pretty scrumptious and just sweet enough for my tastes. i DID NOT eat them all on my own..oink, oink...i had to enlist the help of my sister so we both had a taste of everything. thank gawd because that left some room in my tummy for some "real-ish" dinner, a ceasar salad also bought from the cafe. the salad itself was a disappointment. it was mostly croutons and parmesean cheese, with a few sparse lettuce leaves added so it can pass as a salad.

i'm pretty excited about their pastry selection and will definitely return for their savory menu. but before that, i need to go brush my teeth like 10 times to get rid of all that sugar evidence. bad sweet tooth, bad.

a brand of sushi

Sushi On Brand
308 N Brand Blvd
Glendale, CA 91203
(818) 241-0133

price: $$
verdict: tasty, try it!

i came here with friends for dinner and ate the biggest sushi meal ever. i ate like there was a famine coming and i was supplementing my padding to insure survival. anyways, sushi bought individually here can be pricey. i got uni (2 orders), maguro, albacore, spicy tuna roll, scallop, and a spider roll (yes, i inhaled it all on my own and was still able to waddle out of the restaurant without assistance) and it came out to be about $60 for just plain me...that's not including tip which took me a lot over. unless there was a miscalculation somewhere, i think that's pricey for a dinner where alcohol wasn't even involved.

the sushi is fresh and the facility is clean. it is a good find in glendale.

to accompany your fish.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

gulen's grip

Gulen's Greek
10250 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90067

price: $
verdict: not worth my time

gulen's is located in the century city mall...so if you can bypass the oh so enticing panda express, you'd probably meander through the food court and find this place. they also display all their food in saran wrap so you can get an idea of your order. that's really helpful to me because i'm a visual creature.

i ordered the chicken kebab pita today....the taste is alright, though my arteries are probably a bit clogged from it. how do i know? because i discovered that while i was fisting my pita in it's foil cover, a pool of orangey oil collected at the palm of my hand. i had to use plenty of napkins to wipe up this oil spill.

gulen's does not feel like a healthy choice, but if i hunger and find myself yearning for some pita-like meal after arduous shopping, then this is a good place to go.

mishi for me

Mishima Restaurant
8474 W 3rd St Ste 108
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 782-0181

price: $$
verdict: tasty, try it!

mishima was my college hangout for many years. the prices are fair and the best deals are their combo options. you get a massive heaping of food that you can eat there and/or take home. i always ordered their tempura with rice and udon. that was more than enough grub for many sittings...a survival tactic for poor starving students everywhere.

though i'm out of college now and have enough money in my pockets to eat at places based on taste AND NOT portion size, i still enjoy coming back here every once in a while when i find myself shopping at the beverly center. good nostalgia value, tasty eats, and also, to buy their bottle of "nori komi furikake." it's the seaweed and sesame seed concoction that they have available on their tables for your rice. SO GOOD!

they also have these really delicious condiments...the petite green bean and seaweed sides that you get with your meal. service is awesome and there's usually no wait for dinner or when you eat there during the weekends. parking sucks though....good luck with that.

swinging some din din

Swingers
802 Broadway
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 393-9793
www.swingersdiner.com

price: $$
verdict: it's aight

the decor is hip and cute, but logistically, their booths are kinda small. trying to fit 4 people into one meant someone(s) had to leave a partial butt cheek hanging off of the seat, but i digress.

i've been here twice. the first time, i had breakfast for dinner. always a delicious option. this second time, i ordered their hamburger...not so delish. my burger, along with my other 2 friends' entrees, tasted under seasoned. the only friend that didn't have this issue with her meal had ordered a sandwich that had bacon in it. we concluded the bacon gave her food the necessary seasoning.

before the night was over, i bought a red velvet cupcake to taste. the frosting was a little bit tart with white chocolate shavings on top which added a nice touch. it tasted alright, but for $6.44 a pop, i had expected more.

my conclusion: the decor is fun, but the food was average. i guess it depends what you come here for.

moraccan days

Hotel Figueroa
939 S Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 627-8971
www.figueroahotel.com/

price: $$
verdict: omg, i love it!

the decor is moraccan and the vibe is totally chill. we hung out at the veranda bar and it's pretty spectacular when the sun goes down and you're sitting there with the lighted pool and moraccan styled lamps in comfortable darkness. it totally makes you forget that you're in the middle of downtown and there's a hustle and bustle of life waiting for you outside its doors.

i ordered a cheese burger while my friends ordered steak and fried chicken for dinner from their cafe (there are only 4 entree choices from their menu). we ate our dinner on their patio so we can enjoy some drinks from the bar. purely in regards to taste, the food was mediocre. the only reason to come to this place is to enjoy the ambience and the mojitos which was grand.

it's a hidden gem...a nice place to come to and hang when you have good company and find yourself thirsting for some moonshine in the middle of downtown.

shaved ice korea style

Koffea
610 S Berendo St
Los Angeles, CA 90005
(213) 427-1441

price: $$
verdict: omg, i love it!

i do have a penchant for shaved iced desserts. maybe it's the foolish thought that it can't be that bad for me because most of the dessert is made of frozen water....hmm...frozen water isn't fattening right?

koffea has a REALLY tasty shaved ice dessert called pat bing soo. oh how i adore it! yummy! i usually order the fruit one which means fresh fruits with a combo of red bean and in jul mee (rice cake). those little buggers can be quite addicting! of course, this is topped off with a scoop of strawberry ice cream that deliciously melts all over the place.

there's great ambience here and it's a nice place to hang. you don't get the "look" if you sit too long even though your dessert or drink is long gone. when the weather warms up again, i will be here...eating a piece of heaven once again. it makes my taste buds happy.

flurry of curry

Curry House
123 S Onizuka St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 620-0855
www.house-foods.com/curryhouse

price: $$
verdict: it's aight

there's some pretty incredible smells coming out of this place. the kind that makes you inhale deeply which then produces immediate salivation. it's totally pavlovian. then you get lulled in because you hunger now so you order an entree only to discover that these incredible smells are emitted from "ok" tasting food....a three stars kind of "ok" food. are you somewhat disappointed? i usually am, only because the smells and the taste don't match. how can something smell so delicious taste so average? don't get me wrong, it's fine, ok, alright, so-so tasting...what more can i say to describe OK FOOD?! i'm stretching here....

their curries aren't spicy at all even though they make it sound like it might be. that explains the bottles of tobasco sauce you see on each table. though i sound disillusioned, i'll still eat here like i do every once in a while when i forget that it serves just alright food. it's the incredible smells that gets me throught the front door...what a vicious cycle.

mikey makes meatballs!

Michelangelo Pizzeria Ristorante
2742 Rowena Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90039
(323) 660-4843
http://www.michelangelo-silverlake.com/

price: $$
verdict: omg, i love it!

it's pretty delicious here. a great italian place to dine in for lunch or dinner. there's nice indoor seating if you prefer to be away from the elements, or outdoor seating which has a protective plastic awning to protect all you delicate eaters out there.

my favorites are their caprese salad, ravioli radicchio, and meat ball panini. as "boring" as this may sound, their meat balls are very tasty. tasty balls served in spaghetti or with bread as a sammich, the meat balls really pack a taster's punch. try it at least once if you get a chance to dine here.

one downfall would be the service. if they are busy, you would probably have to flag down your server for every little thing. that can be a real drag if you're starving. otherwise, a VERY yummy place to chow.
horrid parking, but there's valet parking if you don't mind. i mind, so park up the street and walk down!

yoshida in the roll

Yoshida
2026 Huntington Dr
San Marino, CA 91108
(626) 281-9292

price: $$$
verdict: tasty, try it!

i made reservations fearing a crowd, but it was not busy at all. once seated, i ordered the yoshida roll, spicy tuna, uni, and maguro. although i couldn't finish it all (it was obvious that i ordered with my eyes and not my stomach), it was a great selection. i was satisfied with the food. i give it 4 stars because it still doesn't compare to hide sushi and komasa which continues to sit with their undefeated 5 stars in my book...but it was nicely done. a good choice to make when you find yourself in that part of town.

creamy ice cream, hubba hubba

Fosselman's Ice Cream Co
1824 W Main St
Alhambra, CA 91801
(626) 282-6533
www.fosselmans.com/

price: $
verdict: omg, i love it!

not too long ago, a friend brought a tub of fosselman's ice cream to our potluck...red bean ice cream. yum. it reminded me that fosselman was m.i.a from my life for a while now. perhaps it was time to go back for a little visit?

still remembering that creamy/ molasses-ish taste in my mouth, i went here last night with friends. how funny that the decor hasn't changed much but the menu has though with great additions of red bean, lychee, and taro ice cream! how strange, yet intriguing...my asian palate was ready for more interpretations! how about durian?! jack fruit? maybe not....

but alas, i got a scoop of pistachio nut, my all time favorite because i am a beast of habit. besides, they don't serve red bean ice cream as individual scoops. before the night was over though, i walked away with a tub of their red bean for $6.55. i forgot that they don't take credit cards and had to dig in my pockets for change (who carries cash anymore?).... good eats, so sweet. i like.

alcapulco it is

Acapulco Mexican Restaurant
4444 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 665-5751

price: $$
verdict: it's aight

went here last night with my friend. this is our "usual" hangout spot when we meet. why acapulco you may wonder? well, the food is pretty consistent here doncha think? whatever entree i've ordered always taste the same...no hidden suprises. yesterday, i was adventurous and tried their picadillo enchiladas...yuck. too salty. but their combo meals are fine...i like their chili relleno, tamales, enchilada options.

we've never had to wait for a table which is critical when you're hungry and must chow immediately. the margaritas are decent. parking has never been an issue for me...i just park in the circuit city lot. i haven't been towed yet (knock on wood), though my car has been dumped on numerous times by poo poo filled birds.

they also have a pretty rowdy happy hour once in a while. funny cuz i can't really imagine acapulco as being a "happening" place, but it appears to be so on some nights...you would think so too when you witness some grind action next to the hot trays full of $2 tacos.

my cookie love

Viktor Benes Continental Bakeries
2725 Hyperion Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 913-1966

price: $
verdict: omg, i love it!

viktor!!! where have you been all my life?! if i only knew you were nestled in the gelson's on hyperion, just waiting for me to find you, i would have come to you so much sooner!!! so, so much sooner!!

my first taste was your yummy rugalah cookies. they were flaky and tart. yuummm....then i tried your chantilly cookies which i prefer to call "tubes of heaven." ooh, what a sweet treat with chocolate cream inside, sealed on both ends with melted chocolate dipped in sprinkles. your scones are pretty amazing too...i have a feeling that i will be visiting you often...especially after my weekly trader joes run. it won't feel right if i don't drop in and get some cookies, too.

viktor, i think we will be friends for a very long time.....

bag o' cookies. flakey, chewy, chocolatey, and 100% yummy!

a grip on my sweet tooth

Crepe In the Grip
7 E Valley Boulevard
Alhambra, CA 91801
(626) 284-1237

price: $
verdict: omg, i love it!

i've been coming here for the past two years. you might miss it if you don't know what you're looking for, but it's on valley next to a starbucks. so look for starbucks and look to the right of it. got it? yeah, that's me waving! hi!

i really dig this place because their dessert crepes are great. can't really go wrong with a dessert that you build right? i typically pick nutella, strawberries, sometimes banana, the mandatory whip cream, and of course CHOCOLATE ice cream. though i haven't perfected the art of eating it genteel style, i don't mind the dribbly chocolate rivers coursing down my fingers...it just means i have to eat faster. the BEST part has got to be the last bite, when the nutella mixes in with the melted chocolate ice cream. this last bite is pretty important too because it sows the seed for your next crepe craving.

they have $1 off crepe skins on tuesday. they also have fries here too. might i recommend fries and a dessert crepe? i don't know about you, but i like eating salty fries with ice cream...in my world, salt and sweet always mixes.

in case one was just not enough.

the cove of crab sammiches

Alcove Cafe & Bakery
1929 Hillhurst Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 644-0100

www.alcovecafe.com

price: $$
verdict: tasty, try it!

it's a great place to go when the weather is warm and you're strutting around in your sexy summer dress. they have cute outdoor seating with mismatched wood furniture and tables. you order at the counter and they bring the food to you, so make sure you snag a place early on because seating is tight peoples! it's a real nice place to hang when you just want to sit around and chew the fat with your buds or enjoy their extensive array of desserts.

the food is pretty tasty, but my favorite has got to be their crab cake sandwich. *drool* good lord that is tasty!! nice crust to the the crab meat patty and it's served with a spicy sauce that you smear on tip. crispy fries come with it which rounds out this meal. i've ordered other items from their menu before, but this sandwich has remained my absolute favorite.

by the way, i saw shannon elizabeth there once. she was heavily made up. wow, not hot.

Friday, April 10, 2009

nostalgic eats

Astro Family Restaurant
2300 Fletcher Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90039
(323) 663-9241
www.astrofamilyrestaurant.com

price: $
verdict: it's aight

i remember astro being in the hood for at least 20+ years...it serves typical diner food, but i think a lot of people come here not because it tastes the best, but because the menu is diverse, because of convenience, and of course because of nostalgia value...if you've lived here long enough to build memories around this place that is.

i usually come here for their breakfast. they serve standard fare omelettes. they also have a pretty extensive menu which will satiate any cravings you may have at all hours of the day and night. but for me, i eat at astro because of nostalgia. because i remember going there as a kid, the hearty after-hike lunches, and the heartbreaks...when the boys or the eggs just don't seem quite right.

mediterranean mehness

Mirabelle Restaurant
8768 W Sunset Blvd
W Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 659-6022
www.mirabellehollywood.com

price: $$
verdict: not worth my time

this restaurant has VERY AVERAGE food. my friend and i went here for brunch. i ordered strawberry banana pancakes while my friend ordered their chopped salad. halfway into our food, we decided we had enough. it's really not that rad. granted we did not taste enough of their menu to pass judgement, but i'm a firm believer that your first experience with a restaurant should either wow you with their food or their ambience. it did neither for us. i would not go out of my way to eat here again.

my sweet lark

Lark Silver Lake Cake Shop
3337 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(323) 667-2968
larkcakeshop.com

price: $$
verdict: it's aight

this cute shop is in my hood so i went to lark yesterday and dropped $10 to take home a variety of cupcakes for my sis and i to taste. again, everybody's taste buds will differ but here's my impression of what i tried:

red velvet cupcake- DELICIOUS. i thought the frosting was a bit much (it is quite the yummy glob), but i didn't bare to scrape any off. it was totally consumed with a smile.
caramel cupcake- the frosting is TOO SWEET. no thanks.
chocolate mousse cupcake- also too sweet. reminded me of a ding dong with the white cream center.
pecan bar- too sweet. good if taken in small doses.

overall, i think this is a good cupcake shop but it requires you to have a super high tolerance for sugar. i would go back for the red velvet and maybe to try their other cupcakes...but if i lie there frothing at the mouth from a diabetic shock, please contact blue cross. i'd appreciate that.
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