Sunday, January 31, 2010

this time, i prefer to gulp, not sip

when i have wine in my face, especially after a long, stressful work week, i prefer to gulp, NOT sip it. however, i still try to maintain a semblance of refinement by holding my wine glass by the stem and perhaps sticking my left pinky out. but food friends mind you, if you looked at my adam's apple, you would notice it rocks up and down in a frenzied pace as i chug it down QUIETLY. yes, sometimes i prefer to gulp and not sip my wine.

this past friday, my two dear friends and i went to city sip in echo park to decompress, chat, and to reward ourselves for a long work week. although the venue is cozy and cute, once crowded (which it was on a friday night), it meant cramped quarters and little to no elbow room. not exactly the best place to physically decompress and to add upon this discomfort was the lack of attentive service. i think this is where the little buzzers you see at your table in korean restaurants would be helpful. ghetto you say? yes. but being forgotten is worse don't you think?

since i arrived after happy hour, i decided to get their regularly priced flight (three tastings) and cheese combo ($23). you can order a flight ($15) if you prefer to drink on an empty stomach but i did not so i ordered the bubbly flight which comprised of all kinds of sparkly wines from cali with cheese. very tasty, BUT unfortunately, they are a bit stingy with their pours. although i did not expect a full glass because it is a wine TASTING after all, small pours in thin flutey glasses is no bueno. the whole combo came out to be $30 with tax and tip included and the value and taste just does not compare to silverlake wine and i wished we were there instead.

less is not more.

cheeses and sweetened dried fruit. i liked the kiwi.

don't get me wrong, i think the ambience is great, but my desire to seek BOTH value and quality sometimes surpasses my need for chic spaces with dark corners. i felt unfulfilled after my wine flight but my companions were awesome as always and i'm glad to have checked out this wine bar that i drive by so often. now i know there's not much reason to stop in again. if you want a satisfying, yummy wine tasting, then i suggest you head over to silverlake wine where the pours are generous and the wines are absolutely fabulous.

City Sip
2150 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(213) 483-9463

price: $$
verdict: it's aight
City Sip on Urbanspoon
City Sip in Los Angeles

Saturday, January 23, 2010

newport seafood has rockin' lobster!

rare are the instances when you walk into a chinese restaurant in the sgv that you actually take note of the decor. that's exactly what happened to me. i was a bit suprised that it looked so modern! what happened to the overdone wood paneling, banquet style dining tables with the spinning lazy susans, and the uncomfortable wooden chairs with barely there flat cushions? my, it's a chinese restaurant that actually looked "nice."

light and lots of it. plenty of open spaces for chillaxin eating.

pink lamp shades overhanging your table while you grub. fantastic.

it was clear to me as we walked to our table that when you come to newport seafood, you HAVE to order their house special lobster. if seeing this dish at EVERY TABLE wasn't enough of a clue, then i'll have to whack you on the forehead with this sign "ORDER THEIR LOBSTER." yummmm....the lobster was cracked, lightly breaded, then stir fried with chopped chilis, green onions, and garlic. it was a delicious dish and i suggest that you don't waste what is leftover from the lobster dish and spoon the excess green onions and chilis on your rice.

we also ordered their garlic stir fried "dou mui" which i think means green pea sprouts/leaves in english. the flavors were garlicky and the leaves were firm and not limp which happens when it gets overcooked or when it watches bad porn.

we also ordered their clams in spicy basil sauce. plump clams with a great aromatic sauce that did not overpower their natural clam taste, if you know what i mean. juicy.

we also ordered a seafood rice noodle dish. this dish tasted pretty bland to me and the pieces of calamari and shrimp were chewy. i also did not appreciated the shlack of sauce on top and it was clearly the weaker dish of the four. i would not order this again.

after the grubbing and merry making, the bill came out to about $136 (tax and tip not included) for a party of 5. it's obvious that the lobster was the pricier dish of the four but in my opinion, it would be a shame for you to come here and not order it. if you are on a budget, i suggest getting the lobster and the pea sprouts/leaves and you will be fine. i think many of their other dishes can be gotten at other places for similiar/better tastes but with better price points. anyways, the decor, food, and good service drew in a diverse crowd of patrons and i think there's a reason why it's is rather good, that's why.

Newport Tan Cang Seafood Restaurant
518 W Las Tunas Dr
San Gabriel, CA 91776
(626) 289-5998

price: $$
verdict: tasty, try it!
Tan Cang Newport Seafood on Urbanspoon
Newport Seafood Tang Cang in Los Angeles

Monday, January 18, 2010

antonello makes a good fruit tart

three day weekends aren't bone fide three day weekends unless you include shopping somewhere in the mix. and if you're a south coast plaza lova like me, then you drive yourself in the rain all the way to the o.c. where it's nice and dry inside with a lot of pretty things to gawk at. besides, shopping is a great way to know, EXCERCISE. yep, i am keeping true to my new year's resos after all by "being active" at a bomb diggity mall. yep!

after all the fast paced walking to keep my heart rate up and lifting of heavy bags to increase my muscle mass and tone my arms, i found myself at antonello expresso cafe. it's a great stop as you head toward bloomingdale's if you want a nice coffee break and sugar rush.

i picked up their fruit tart which is LOVELY. the custard wasn't overly sweet and there's a suprise coating of chocolate on the tart shell which added a slight hint of chocolate madness to an otherwise fruity dessert. fresh fruit shlacked in a sweet gel is healthy right?! and i loved how ginormous the strawberry looked, poking out like a sore thumb. DELICIOUS! i would most definitely get this again.

my shopping buddy got the tirimisu which was mostly cream heaped upon a few lady fingers. if you lovee the cream, then great, but if you feel that eating something comprised of 80% cream might be disgusting, then don't get this. i wouldn't.

with our spirits revitalized and refined sugar coursing through our veins, we headed towards bloomingdales and prompty did some damage there. what a great way to excercise our body and our wallets when it's raining outside.

Antonello Expresso Cafe
South Coast Plaza
3333 Bristol Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

price: $
verdict: tasty, try it!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

say cheese....cheese!

based on the sheer number of doggy doo doo that you see littered around silverlake, it is clear that silverlakers enjoy the company of their four legged friends (HOWEVER, does not enjoy picking up doo doo. *insert rant* please don't have your dog doo on my newly planted japanese maple tree and just leave it there. your dog's ass hole is the size of a baseball and baseball sized doo doo comes out of it. i don't want to pick it up for you no mo!).

after a long walk with charlie around the hood and the reservoir, i ended up at the coffee table. but to my shock and amazement, i found out dogs were not allowed in their patio area. that made me very hungry and extremely sad because the smells that emitted from their kitchen were amazing. for a second, i contemplated ditching charlie to grab some of their grub. but god slapped me across my face and i knew that was a vile, vile thought so we kept walking until we came across the say cheese cafe which allowed my four legged companion to sit with me whilst i fed me belly.

"mommy, don't ever think about ditching me for a sammich cuz i'll chew through your favorite shoes like last time! better recognize!"

sitting outside while watching the horrific weekend traffic jam that unfolds at the trader joe's/gelsons junction is rather painful. why o' why do people insist on making left turns into a packed up, trader joe's sardine tin parking lot and then subsequently jam up everybody else's drive? then honking, honking, honking as i sipped my ice tea. the best was when a car drove by with some old school hip hop bumping out of their stereo system. charlie couldn't take it and scrambled around my chair in confusion. ahhh, to live and dine in l.a. a la tupac.

the menu at the say cheese cafe consists mainly of sammiches and salads with a few breakfast items during restricted brunching hours. i decided on the rivoli because hot pressed sammiches are generally pretty yummy. boy was i right! this sammich consisted of grilled chicken, roasted eggplant, sun dried tomato tapenade, and parmesean on ciabatinna, but when i had ordered it, they ran out of the ciabatinna so i had wheat bread instead. methinks just as good. their sammiches came with a side of salad with a light balsamic vinaigrette.

look at the chunks of chicken and roasted eggplant! yummmy!

my friend had the red cow sammich which consisted of roast beef, capers, tomato, and aoli on wheat bread as well. this sammich is normally served on a baguette, but they were out. i don't know if that would have made any difference because the flavors were just plain bland. i wouldn't ever order this, and i don't suggest you do either.

pretty to look at, but meh in da mouth.

they also have a great cheese store that sells all kinds of cheeses, olives, wines, time, i'm coming back for the rivoli sammich AND i'm taking home a slice or two of artisan cheese. i'm also glad it's a dog friendly cafe cuz it just don't make no sense to have a cafe in silverlake and not invite the dogs. it really doesn't.

Say Cheese Cafe
2800 Hyperion Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 665-0545

price: $$
verdict: tasty, try it!
Say Cheese on Urbanspoon
Say Cheese Cafe in Los Angeles

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

dilly dally ramen

i understand the allure of staying on the east side especially since i reside there....cuz driving out west only means the eventual murderous trek back home on the 10 to the 110 to the 101. i'm not speaky code. i'm speaky bad southern cali traffic.

so imagine my anxiety when i had to meet a friend out at the westside pavillion for a class project and still found myself out there at 5pm, the start of commuting hell. holy crap, do i go, do i stay? red pill, blue pill? going meant potentially getting caught up in an hour's worth of traffic. but staying meant having to come up with a good dilly dallying plan. santouka ramen?! oh heck yeah!

so i called up a hungry friend and off we went to santouka ramen located in mitsuwa market (i love this market! such a great place to pick up japanese snackies!) for an early-avoid-bad-traffic-dinner.

if i can recall correctly, santouka is one of four eating options at mitsuwa's tiny food court, not counting the countless things you can pick up at mitsuwa's prepared food section. anyways, i zoned in on santouka and went in for the kill. looking at the plastic foods in their display (i love japanese plastic food art!) swayed me to choose the miso chasu ramen. the salt ramen just, too salty? was i wrong to have skipped over that one?

anyways, here's the miso chasu ramen in all its glory. the miso broth was a tad too salty for me and the fatty chasu was well, just too fatty! i know right?! when was i ever adverse to fat? hell must have frozen over cuz i felt a little chilly when i ate it. i thought the broth was tasty and the ramen was aldente, but in a head to head ramen wrestling match between the three ramen houses i've tasted so far, daikokuya, orochon, and santouka, daikokuya would still reign supreme. there is something mighty complex about daikokuya broth. santouka would be running in for the bronze medal.

though i may not purposely drive out to the westside to eat at santouka again, it served as a great dilly dallying plan. by the time we finished eating and i finished shopping for snackies at the market, i was able to zip home on nearly empty freeways with a belly full of warm ramen to boot. not bad for this silverlaker who hates badass southern cali traffic.

Santouka Ramen
3760 S Centinela Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90066
(310) 391-1101

price: $
verdict: it's aight
Santouka Ramen on Urbanspoon
Santouka Ramen in Los Angeles

Sunday, January 3, 2010

frysmith truck: bringing in the new year with delicious grease bombs

it didn’t take but two days for this belly to break her new year’s resos. seriously, my “eating healthy” resolution was shattered by a plea from my sister to try out the frysmith truck. yes, another twitter truck…but this one is dedicated to fries!! omg, whut?! i loveeeeeeee fries. darn! after some hemming and hawing on my part, we booked ass to intelligentsia near sunset junction where they were located for a few hours. no line either.

the game plan was to order 3 different kinds of toppings and stuff face. that was a good game plan because they only have about five regular fries choices plus one special so we pigged out on half of their menu...oink! we settled on rajas fries ($6) which had a topping of shawarma-marinated steak (it had a nice tartness to it), caramelized onions which added some sweetness, poblano chiles, and jack cheese. YUMMY! surprisingly, the fries were still super crispy even though we had to transport it back to my wee house to grub. in fact, they might be slightly TOO crispy for some of you folks, but for me, it was divine. it was like a long chip...a lincoln log chip.

we also ordered the sweet po fries ($6.50) which were sweet potato fries topped with chicken in tomatillo-tamarind sauce with chopped cashews. now THAT was crave worthy. the sweet potato fries got soggy the quickest out of the three, but the flavors were excellent and on the sweeter side of the palate. i also enjoyed the texture of the chopped cashews against the melty cheese. would totally order these again.
here it is, looking like a block of cheese.

here it is, with all its layers.

the last order of fries were the kimchi fries ($6.50). the fries were topped with kimchi and shredded kurobuta pork. the pork were a bit on the scarce side, and the kimchi wasn’t at all spicy, but the fries were delicious nevertheless. i would totally order these again! loveeeeee me some kimchi!

trio of fries ready for some hard eating and new year's reso breaking!

we washed everything down with some tea which i was told would ease the heart clogging effects of fatty foods like fries. tasty tea, but it didn't ease the guilt of starting the new year with grease bombs ask me, would i seek frysmith out again? OH HELL YEAH! the fries were really delicious!

price: $
verdict: omg, i love it!
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