Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fogo De Chao (Beverly Hills, CA)

Brazilian Steakhouse lazy buffet style (they bring unlimited amounts of meat to your table)

The best meat choice there is the beef rib (we had to ask them to bring it out from the back). It's marbled with fat so you get the melty feeling in every bite. Second best is the house specialty, picanha, which is rimmed with fat that sinks into your tongue. They also bring you sides of bananas, fried polenta, and mashed potatoes. If you don't get full, the desserts are surprisingly good there. I really liked the key lime pie.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The BLVD (Beverly Hills, CA)

Housed in the same hotel as Cut, I was hoping this place was just as good. It wasn't. It sucked. a lot (both food and service).

Foie Gras - meh

Lobster - sweet pasta sauce that did not go well with the rest of the dish at all

Dessert Sampler - spicy chocolate - very bitter and gross, apple crumble - meh, toffee pudding - really good, pumpkin creme brulee- not pumpkiny enough but still good. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Cleo Restaurant at The Redbury (Los Angeles, CA)

Tapas/Moroccan themed restaurant.

It was okay.

Babaganoush - okay
Hummus with Tahini - texture was too thin
Spicy Potatoes - they never brought it out and I forgot
Cauliflower - meh
Kibbeh - puff pastry with sour cream and chives. a little better than okay.
Borek - like a beef taquito. Was alright.
Tuna Tartar - nothing special
Brussel Sprouts - This is their specialty dish and it was very unique, but greasy and lacking in taste.
Mushrooms - good.
Cous Cous - My favorite thing here. It comes with soup and veggies. Probably one of the best cous cous variations I've had
Sliders - okay, a little random for them to be serving burgers at a Moroccan restaurant.
Beef Cheek Tagine - My 2nd favorite thing here.
Garlic Shrimp - Was okay.
Merguez Flatbread - never arrived and I forgot about it.
Date Ice cream brownie dessert - really good
Chocolate layer bar dessert - meh
baklava - always amazing.

There's bread in that brown paper bag

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sage (Aria, Las Vegas, NV)

This place is one of my new favorite restaurants in Vegas. Here is what I had:

Foie Gras Custard Brulee - creme brulee and foie gras in one dish. It is HEAVEN!!! By far the best foie gras dish I have EVER had! The brioche bread is so amazing!!! 

Slow-poached organic farm egg  - comes with truffles and is delicious. Kind of icky if you don't like yolk.

Roasted Pumpkin Soup - Had some spice to it, it was nice.

Duck - AMAZING! The sauce was so good I thought there had to be soy sauce in it, but there wasn't. This was the best non asian style duck I've had.

Chicken - Freakishly tender, but kind of plain (especially compared to the duck).

Warm Brioche Bread Pudding - Pretty good bread pudding

Chocolate Ganache and Caramel Tart - very very very good.

They also serve absinthe here with a really cool presentation, but I'm not much of a drinker so I didn't order any.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bar Masa (Aria, Las Vegas, NV)

Toro Tartar Caviar
Seasonal Sushi Tasting

This place is Nobu expensive. If you are a real sushi lover, I would suggest going to Sen of Japan (Durango and W Desert Inn Rd.). The quality of fish here was good. I enjoyed their toro tartar caviar dish. They actually loaded it up with more caviar than toro. The grilled mushrooms with white truffle was good, although I would have preferred more truffle (it still was a good amount). I had a yuzu sorbet for dessert (tastes like a sweet lemon, kind of like frozen lemonade). I've been here before to their more private shabu shabu section. Where they serve a very expensive omakase. It was a great experience, but one of those things you try only once.

Twist (Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Las Vegas, NV)

Located on the 23rd floor, this restaurant has a great view of the strip. The cuisine here is crazy combinations of all different kinds of food. Every dish I was served was so complex. With the abnormal blending of all these ingredients, I was expecting for it to have a wow flavor. Instead everything had a very good subtle taste to it. This is what I had:

 Amuse Bouche: the best ones were the sticks to dip in the sauce and then into the crushed shrimp. Tasted just like shrimp chips.
 Foie Gras: was good, again not the way I prefer to eat it. 
 This course came with three plates: The one pictured is scallop, the other was a hamachi ceviche, and then a buratta cheese concoction. The roasted peppers overwhelmed the buratta. The hamachi too was lost in the strong taste of turnips. The scallop dish was really complex and delicious.
 Smoked Cod and Smoked Salmon: The poached pears and artichokes underneath the cod added a pleasant taste to it, but the sauce could have been stronger. The smoked salmon tasted like any other smoked salmon I've had.
 Insane combination of ingredients: Hibiscus, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Nori Seaweed, Smoked Tea Granite and some other stuff. I think there was some ginger in there too that just took over the whole dish. It was a unique taste.
 Roasted fillet of deer, purple potato gnocchi, and mascarpone cream: Every thing was amazing. The venison (deer meat) was so tender. The potato gnocchi was made with bacon so of course it was one of my favorite dishes of the meal. The mascarpone cream was flavored with orange and I didn't quite understand why it was there.
 Dessert came with 5 desserts
 Caramel Apple
 Citron Parfait
 Le Keiko: raspberry, pistachio, caramelized pineapple
Mojito: Foam, Lime sorbet, fresh cucumbers
The Chocolate.

All the desserts again, were very complex, but subtle in flavor. So if you are into the more calm types of flavors, then this is your place.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Picasso (Bellagio, Las Vegas, NV)

Two Michelin Star
Five Diamond Rated

The food was alright, it's not something I'll crave again. The real Pablo Picasso art was impressive though. I had the 5-course tasting menu.

 Chicken croqueta with a tomato based soup: It was a good sample of Julian Serrano's tapas restaurant in Aria.

 Main Lobster Salad with an Apple Champagne Vinaigrette: It was good.

 Pan Seared Scallop: one of the better scallop dishes I've had. The crispy outside soaked up some flavor that made the dish.

 Foie Gras: Not the way I prefer it, but was alright.

 Turbot with Asparagus in Hollandaise sauce: It was very plain.

 Just some after dinner treats.

Quince (fruit similar to an apple and a pear): the sorbet and drink were the better variations.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Prime Steakhouse (The Bellagio, Las Vegas, NV)

Glad I wasn't looking forward to eating here, or else I would have been really disappointed. The decor, ambiance, and service was of course amazing (as in all the restaurants in the Bellagio), but the food (mainly the steak) was not on par. I had the ribeye wagyu steak and it was the worst I have ever had. It was strange, some of my pieces would be really dry and then other pieces would be overwhelmingly marbleized and fatty. I couldn't get a happy medium piece. The soy based sauce that came with it helped it a lot.

Other than that, the stone crab appetizer I had was very good and fresh. I didn't like the seared foie gras (I prefer the smooth spreadable kind, this was the lumpy really livery looking kind). I had a taste of the butternut squash soup which was excellent. The mushroom side was perfect, but the truffle mashed potatoes was lacking in truffle. For dessert I had the poached pear and the coconut souffle. The poached pear dessert seemed a little bland to me. The souffle was really good and it was nice to have a coconut variation of it. I don't think I will find my way here again.

Stone Crab Appetizer

Poached Pear

Coconut Souffle

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Peppermill (Las Vegas, NV)

Corned beef hash
Late night craving for diner food? Skip the Denny's, go to the Peppermill. This place is open 24 hours and always is filled with entertaining people (most likely drunk, or acting like they are just because they are in Vegas) watching. Don't let the decor scare you, at first it's a little overwhelming, but you will grow to love the cheesiness of it. The corned beef hash is pretty good here. It's not crispy like I would prefer, but it's the perfect combination of just corned beef and potatoes. I can't tell if service (food wise) is slow here or if it's just because I'm always starving when I come here. Either way, the servers are really accommodating.

*Usually a little tipsy when I come here so unsure about food being as good sober, but drunk me loves this place*

Pho Saigon 8 (Las Vegas, NV)

Pho Tai Gan
Every time I'm in Vegas, I always try to make my way here. Both their Henderson and Spring Mountain locations are great (I haven't tried their newest location on Eastern yet). The broth here is what makes it so good. I always get the pho tai gan (comes with the steak and soft tendons). Honestly, it's the only one I've tried. It's such a long time between trips out to Vegas, that I'm always craving the same thing. If you haven't had pho before, there is hoisin sauce and siracha or another chili sauce (siracha is the more spicy kind with the green top, the other kind is in the cup with the spoon. I'm a weak asian so I go for the less spicy kind :X) that I usually mix together in a small sauce dish and dip my noodles into it.

Che 3 Mau
To drink, they have amazing coconut water. It's so sweet and refreshing. If you want to be healthy, order the kind from the fresh young coconut (not as sweet, but still very good). For any of you asian readers, the che 3 mau (three bean dessert with coconut milk) is so reminiscent of our childhood. I'm not really sure how it tastes to westerners, but the dessert is definitely top 5 on my dessert list.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Koji's Sushi & Shabu Shabu (Hollywood, CA)

Shabu Shabu is Japanese hot pot. Where you get served raw meat and you cook it in a hot pot of broth. Whatever kind of meat you order (beef, chicken, fish) it comes with veggies too. Just dump all the veggies as soon as you get them. Don't dump all the meat in. Cook those pieces individually and eat it right away. It only takes like 30 seconds for the beef to cook.

I had the around the world platter, which came with ribeye, chicken, shrimp, and salmon. Instead of the traditional shabu shabu broth, I went with the sukiyaki (tastes like a sweet teriyaki sauce. I felt the need for extra soy this day). The meat and veggies were all good. For an appetizer I had the yellowtail collar and miso cod wrapped in zucchini and sprinkled with goat cheese. The yellowtail collar was cooked and very moist. It was a little plain, but the dipping sauce that it came with helped a lot. I didn't care for the miso cod. There was too much zucchini and it overpowered the fish.

Miso Cod wrapped in Zuccini
Yellowtail Collar

I've never had a bad experience at a shabu shabu restaurant before and don't think I ever will. Other than the quality of the beef, its pretty hard to mess it up. The service was a little slow, but I was really hungry so it just could have been me. I will probably be back to get my quick soy fix.

The Restaurant at The Standard (Hollywood, CA)

Wondered into this place late one night (every other place was closed). It's a hollywooded up diner that's open 24/7. 

Guacamole: really bland, needed more onions and some peppers
Hummus: too thick
Fish Tacos: My first time having fish tacos and these are a winner. It's like Long John Silver fish (may just be a Florida chain?) in a taco.
Fresh watermelon juice: No pulp in their version and is really smooth.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Boston Market (Near LAX, Los Angeles, CA)

I grew up eating Boston Market and was sad to see that there weren't many of these in LA. I finally got to one and man, its still good. I always get the half rotisserie chicken with a choice of two sides. I rotate from the sweet corn, mashed potatoes with gravy, and the macaroni and cheese. The best part is the corn bread. I always have a good meal here. It's a shame that so many people on the West Coast probably don't even know what they are missing.

Brunch at Ammo (Los Angeles, CA)

Nice brunch spot.

pumpkin bread: wow! Just as good as my pumpkin spice bars sans frosting
Warm cheddar biscuit with farmhouse butter: great flavored biscuit
Breakfast beignets with fruity dipping sauce: think donut holes covered with sugar, of course is great
Beef short-rib hash with two poached eggs: very good, but not nearly as good as corned beef hash. I'm still on the lookout for good corned beef hash in LA.
Applewood-Smoked bacon: not crispy enough
Homemade breakfast sausage: pretty good
fresh apple, lemon & ginger juice: yum! What a great combination.

Afternoon Tea at The Peninsula (Beverly Hills, CA)

The decor of the tea room is elegant and they even have a harpist playing a harp. There are two choices for tea (under each of those choices is regular sparkling wine or rose sparkling wine). The more expensive choice include caviar. If you like salty taste, then opt for the pricier one. First they brought out strawberries and freshly whipped cream with the sparkling wine. Then the caviar on bread with some type of cream between the caviar and bread. I choose a vanilla spiced tea, it was pretty good, but I was surprised that they didn't have cubed sugar at this swanky hotel.

The scones, sandwiches, and cakes all came out at the same time on this tower. The scones were nice and warm straight out of the oven. They had homemade raspberry chocolate jam and blueberry jam to choose from along with the typical lemon curd and devonshire cream. I didn't care for the raspberry chocolate jam at all. The blueberry jam was delicious and actually better than the traditional jam that usually comes with scones. The sandwiches were okay. The sweets at the end were better than the sandwiches, but not the best I've had (Had afternoon tea in London not too long ago, so my tastes are a little spoiled). Its still a nice spot to chill with your girlfriends.

Free gift at the end with the more expensive choice tea.

The Bazaar (Los Angeles, CA)

Tapas Mad Scientist style

Tapas are small plates, so if you're with a large group order multiples of the same dish so everybody can try. It's like the Spanish version of Dim Sum.

This is one of my favorite restaurants in LA (I've actually been back quite a few times). It's a great place to take friends to. It's very LA. The decor is....bizarre (sorry couldn't help myself). Since it's so LA, they usually make you wait 15 minutes before they seat you. Which isn't too bad with all the people watching and crazy decor (btw check out the bathrooms, very Lady Gaga-esque). Okay on to the food:

Jamon Iberico de Bellota: they have many ham choices, but the most expensive kind is the best I've had ever. It also comes with the catalan tomato rubbed bread (yum! I love bread!)
Chorizo platter: it comes enough for a couple people, nothing special so don't waste your money if your short on cash.
Sauteed wild mushrooms: if you like mushrooms and salt, get this. It was addicting.
Beef hanger steak: good
Chicken croquetas: always good at any tapas place you go to
braised wagyu beef cheeks: very good
Cotton candy foie gras: amazing combination, only comes one per order.
Philly cheesesteak: air crisp collapsable bread filled with gooey cheese and almost raw meat on top. Eat with caution. The cheese will drip out and onto your arm if you don't hold it flat.
Not your everyday Caprese: eat with a spoon. The mozzarella balls are melted and held together by a thin clear membrane. It pops in your mouth and is nom nom nom good.
Sauteed cauliflower couscous: good

For dessert they bring across the room to another section. I always get the nitrogen coconut floating island. Its served with caramelized bananas and is just so weird and amazing. If you come here, you NEED to try this dessert.

Chung Dam Korean BBQ (Los Angeles, CA)

This was my first Korean BBQ experience in Los Angeles. I ordered Combo C. It came with a bunch of meats, mostly not marinated. I was surprised to see only kal bi in this combo so I asked them to add bulgogi to it. In the past, I've only had kal bi, bulgogi, and this spicy pork dish. All the meat was really high quality.  For the non marianted meat I put it in the lettuce wrap and loaded it up with the soy paste and dipped the meat in this spicy sauce. It was really good, especially that soy paste (so addicting). The bulgogi here wasn't that good, it didn't seem like it was marinated long enough and I didn't care for most of the side dishes. I'm going to keep trying random Korean BBQ restaurants in K-Town (Korea Town) until I find a great one.

Melisse (Santa Monica, CA)

Two Michelin Star rated
Contemporary French

The menu set up and deliciousness of the food here reminds me of Alex at The Wynn (Las Vegas). Theres a choice between the regular menu ($105 four courses, multiple choice style, can also upgrade to better dishes for more $$$), Vegetarian tasting menu ($95, all surprise), Carte Blanche (not really sure, nor is price listed) or you can go for gold and take down the Ten menu ($150 ten courses, all surprise). I of course chose the Ten menu and paid an extra $65 for the white truffle risotto. Here is what I had:

Amuse - Wild Japanese Mackerel 

Egg Caviar - there was a poached egg on the bottom. This dish was really unique. I'm a salt kind of person so I love caviar.

Wild Japanese Kanpachi - really good, the sesame glazed things were delicious

Dandelion Veloute - I got excited when the description said that there was going to be fried burrata cheese, but its just those tiny pieces there. This dish was okay.

Seared Foie Gras

White Truffle Risotto - This was my first time having truffle. They came out with a wooden box and opened it showing off their collection of truffles, then loaded my dish with freshly shaved white truffle. I always thought that truffles were supposed to taste amazing, but they actually don't really have a taste. Its the smell of them that makes it sooooo good. It is so fragrant, that even when you eat the food, the scent travels up your nasal passage and is just amazing. I couldn't get enough of it. I kept inhaling my plate. Totally worth the extra $65.

I forgot what kind of fish this was, but the crispy skin made the dish for me.

Sonoma Lamb Chop - This was surprisingly not that good. 

Pont L'eveque tart - cheese filled tart with honey yummmmmmm

Chocolate - always good.

green apple, pomegranate, dandelion & Burdock soda - there was frozen bits of apple and apple sorbet that melted in my mouth. This is the best fruit dessert dish I've ever had.

Just some after dinner sweets

If you really want to impress your date, take him/her here. This restaurant is perfect for a romantic dinner.