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.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sushi Zo (Los Angeles, CA)

The best quality sushi I have ever had!!!

This place is omakase (tasting menu) only  so you can't order anything. You can however let them know ahead of time what you don't like. You also are not allowed to use your cell phone while eating (there were signs posted in a few spots). The sushi chef makes everything fresh and tells you if it needs to be dipped in soy sauce (there are even signs that tell you how to eat your sushi; dip only a small part of the fish in soy sauce and when you eat it the fish should be touching your tongue).

The fish was so good here, just about everything melts in your mouth like toro. Also, just fyi, they will feed you until they run out of varieties of fish or until you say you are full. I was unaware of this and ended up eating 26 different kinds of fish. My bill ended up around $110 (not including tip), which was really good for the quality and freshness of the fish. If your one of those people that only like rolls or different concoctions with sushi and not just the fish, then this isn't your spot (try Asenabo).

I apologize for not having pictures, I was scared they would kick me out if I busted out my camera phone.

*edit* they also serve you this yuzu drink at the end of the meal that is ridic good.

Osteria Mozza (Los Angeles, CA)

On the Italian restaurant scale of Los Angeles, Osteria Mozza and Madeo are tied for first. I had the Pasta Tasting menu here (I was scared I would fill up fast, but it was perfectly portioned).  The sauces for all of the pasta dishes were amazing and the quality of the olive oil was so good. I'm not a big wine drinker (because I'm a light weight) so I opted out of the wine tasting, but I did get the Moscato d'Asti dessert wine. It's sweet and slightly bubbly and makes you want to take a bubble bath. 

The dessert (Crespelle di Frutti di Bosco, gelato di vaniglia) was one of my favorites. It was similar to a madeleine. Crispy outside and soft on the inside. This has to be the cheapest tasting menu I've ever done ($69). I will definitely be coming back here. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Eatz LA "Rock the Casbah" Cooking Class (Los Angeles, CA)

The best cooking classes you'll ever take.

Every cooking class I've taken here has been really good. Unlike some other places, here you actually get to cook everything yourself. Here is the menu for this class:

Tabbouleh Salad - came out amazing
Toasted Pita Triangles - perfect for dipping into the Baba Ghanoush and Hummus we made
Baba Ghanoush - it was my first time having it and wow it was good
Lemon-Garlic Hummus - I didn't like the lemony taste too much, but it was still good hummus
Apricot-Mint Couscous - The couscous was good, but I didn't like the apricot and mint flavor in it.
Pan-Fried Lamb Chops with Harissa sauce - yum
Grilled plums (used bananas instead)  with Cinnamon Pecan Yogurt Sauce - Plums weren't in season, so we used bananas instead. Then one of the other students asked about flambeing so we learned how to do that. They poured rum (I think) into the pan and then we lit it on fire. It was awesome!

There are a lot of little cooking secrets that are taught at these classes that make them just that much better. I'm currently taking a condensed cooking course here that is six weeks long (one night a week for four hours). So far it's been great!

Umami Burger (Los Angeles, CA)

After hearing so many good things about this place, I had to check it out. I ordered the original umami burger, along with these potato thingys and their special of the day, pumpkin fritters. There wasn't really anything special about the umami burger to me. It was a good burger, but it's overrated. I am still going to go back and try their different burgers. I should have listened to my instinct and gotten the other kinds, but I wanted to try the original first. The size of the burger is actually smaller than normal burgers, I could have probably taken down three if I wanted to. The potato popper things were alright, again, nothing special. I did really like the pumpkin fritters. They had a pumpkin glaze drizzled over them and was just a hint sweet. I will update this next time I go back.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Toast Bakery Cafe (Los Angeles, CA)

One of those cool trendy cafes in L.A. Lots of food choices and lots of people watching. I had the 7 grain protein salad and fresh orange juice. Along with the grains, included cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, and fresh lemon juice. It was very refreshing. Unfortunately I was in a rush and didn't get to try any of their delicious looking desserts. They have them all laid out in pictures on the menu just to tease you. It's not one of those places I'm going to crave, but if I'm near it I don't mind going back.

Sura Korean BBQ Buffet (Las Vegas, NV)

If you haven't had Korean BBQ yet, you're missing out in life. #justsayin

It's pretty big for a Korean BBQ place, Plenty of tables. It's not fancy (just like most Asian restaurants). The place is open until 3:00 AM and is about $20 a person. All the meat is raw and you bring it back to your table where there is a spot in the middle to cook it. I always get the bulgogi (marinated beef) and this spicy marinated pork. The kalbi is good too, but it comes with bones and is difficult to eat with chopsticks. They also have all the available small dishes like kimchee, marianted cucumber, noodles, mung beans and other korean delights. Also to finish off there is this ginger drink in the dessert section. It's weird the first time you try it, but I always crave it when I eat there now.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Paragon (Foxwoods Casino, Connecticut)

AAA Four Diamond Award

The view and live piano music is on par with the award, but the food is not. I have been to another AAA Four Diamond Award winning restaurant in Connecticut and they are not equal. Back to the view, it's fall here and all around are orange/yellow/bare trees. I grew up in the South so I'm not used to seeing a real fall season. So this view was pretty incredible for me.

Chocolate Martini - First time having it and was pleasantly surprised.
Taste of Paragon - 3 course surprise appetizer - liked 1/3 of it
Lobster Bisque - stingy on the lobster (only about a spoon full)
Boneless Kobe short ribs - great
wild mushrooms - okay
white chocolate dessert - good