Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ink.Sack (WeHo, Los Angeles, CA)

Ink.Sack is a new sandwich shop opened by the "Top Chef" winner, Michael Voltaggio.

Parking: Street
Seating: standing only (with those tables connected to the wall)
Price: $4-6 per sandwich
tldr: meh

Every Sandwich on the Menu
My mom taught me a very important lesson when I was younger. She said the places with the longest lines always has the best food. I guess grand openings is the exception to that rule. The line was out the door and the smells coming from the shop were making my stomach growl. There was a four sandwich maximum at the cashier, but luckily I brought a friend. We got all 7 sandwiches plus the water melon, bbq pork rinds, the peanut butter & sea salt cookie, and orange & mango juice.

The Jose Andres, aka "The Spanish Godfather"
The bread on all of the sandwiches was absolute perfection. By far the best sandwich was The Jose Andres, aka "The Spanish Godfather." It has serrano ham, chorizo, lomo, and manchego cheese. After that I would get the Maple-Pepper turkey melt followed by the Bahn Mi. Only get the C.L.T. (chicken liver mousse, curried chicken skin, lettuce, tomato) if you really like the taste of liver. The "reuben" (corned beef tongue, appenzeller cheese, kraut, russian dressing) was gross. The cold friend chicken and spicy tuna were both mediocre.

BBQ Pork Rinds
This was my first time having pork rinds, but my friend said they were the best she has ever had. Anything that remotely tastes like bacon instantly wins me over so I enjoyed these.

Watermelon with Siracha and lime
The watermelon with siracha and lime was interesting (not in the good way). It comes in a clear air tight plastic bag. Nothing special, just spicy watermelon. The peanut butter & sea salt cookie tasted like a normal peanut butter cookie, just a little saltier.

Best thing at the sandwich shop
Probably the best part of the meal was the orange and mango juice. Nothing here is tasty enough to bring me back.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Rock Sugar (Los Angeles, CA)

The decor of Rock Sugar is very upscale Vegas-esque. It is so pretty in there. Even if the food sucked I would still go there just for the ambiance....errrr nevermind, I wouldn't go back if the food sucked. ;P Fortunately, the food is good, and the drinks are even better. This place is a fusion of about 5 different kind of Asian food (Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, Malaysian, Singapore).

Get the Singapore Mapo Tofu. It'll be the best tofu you have ever tried. It does leave a funny numb feeling on your tongue, but don't worry that just the sichuan peppers and is perfectly normal.

I didn't like the Indian stuffed flatbread very much.

They have really good fruity drinks here and also vietnamese coffee (beware: strong!).

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mr. Pizza (Los Angeles, CA)

Korean Pizza Place? #Winning. I guess Asians just excel at everything. The best dish here is the Potato Gold Pizza. The thing that makes it so good is the crust. They fill every pizza with mashed sweet potatoes. It sounds weird, but it's amazing. From the outside you'd expect the place to be real fob-ish (Fresh off the Boat), but once inside, it's actually pretty normal.

Combination Pizza
For those who can't decide which to get and want to try everything. Just get the Potato Gold Pizza. It's really good.

Jitlada (Los Angeles, CA)

Pretty much any restaurant in Thai Town is a great choice. Jitlada in particular is known as one of the best. Inside, their walls are covered by past awards and reviews. There is usually a wait too! All the Thai restaurants here seem to have a specialty dish that they are known for. Jitlada's is the Crying Tiger Pork (also available in beef). It was even featured on the Food Network's show "Best Thing I Ever Ate." It lived up to the mention. Beware: It is EXTREMELY SPICY! Have a full glass of thai ice tea handy. The sauce is so complex and so addictingly good.

Crying Tiger Beef
Level 10 Spicy. Worth the pain.

Tom Kha Soup with Coconut Milk

Pad Thai
I usually don't like this dish, but my friend ordered it and Jitlada made me a fan of it.

Il Pastaio (Beverly Hills, CA)

One of the many Giacomino Drago owned Italian restaurants. This was my first time going to one of their restaurants and after eating here, they are definitely #winning. The food was better than your average LA Italian restaurant (so many great Italian restaurants in this town). The restaurant was jam packed with tables (waiters kept bumping into my chair and kept accidentally hitting my sister-in-law), had lots of great wine, had legit italians working, and had even had the extra slow service....very authentic to places in Italy. They have a special white truffle menu available (saw it on their website), but unfortunately it wasn't truffle season anymore. #badbeat. I still was able to get my truffle craving fulfilled though.

Parma Prosciutto Served with Gorgonzola Cheese, Walnuts, Crouton , Fresh Pears, and Burrata
Excellent Starter for sharing.

Polenta Soffice: Soft Polenta with Mushrooms, Fresh Mozzarella Cheese and Truffle Fondue.
My favorite appetizer. There is a good amount of truffle in this dish. The texture of the polenta mixed with the soft mushrooms and the smell of truffle made this dish just melt in my mouth.

Caricofi Salad: Baby Artichokes Tossed with Oil & Lemon, Arugola & Shaved Parmesan Cheese.
Did not like this dish at all.

Agnolotti: Homemade Green Ravioli Stuffed with Mushrooms; Cheese Fondue and Truffle Sauce.
OMGahhhhhh Heaven! 

Not Pictured: Pappardelle: Homemade Wide Green Fettuccini Pasta in a Venison Ragu and Porcini Mushroom Ragu.
If your not in the mood for a cheese sauce, then get this. The red sauce is amazing!

Tortelloni di Zucca: Homemade Tortelloni Stuffed with Pumpkin and fresh Ricotta Cheese, with Sage and Parmesan Cream Sauce.
It was okay, a little too creamy for my taste.

Panna Cotta

Lemon Meringue Tart

Lucques (Los Angeles, CA)

A cozy cutesy restaurant on Melrose just down a block from one of my favorite restaurants, Taste. The outside of both these places look very similar and it has the same feel inside. Even the food looked equally appealing, but it was all a facade. They did everything right except for the taste (couldn't help myself) of the food. #Lame

Winter Vegetables Bagna Cauda with Prosciutto, Burrata and Breadcrumbs

Braised Beef Short Ribs with Sautéed Greens, Cippolinis and Horseradish Cream

Warm Crepes with Hazelnuts, Bruléed Bananas and Mexican Chocolate

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bao Dim Sum House (Los Angeles, CA)

Finally! Legit Dim Sum in the Hollywood area. It's trendy too, not one of those shady rated B Chinese restaurants.

Juicy Pork Dumpling (Xiao Long Bao): the dough part was too thick for my taste
Mushroom Dumpling: didn't like it
Chicken Stuffed Mushrooms: okay
Radish Cake w/Chinese Sausage: one of the better ones I've had, it was crispy on the outside.
Chicken Potsticker: pretty good
Crispy Scallion Pancake: meh
Shrimp Stuffed Eggplant: wow, very good.
Bao Milk Bun: omg nomnomnom good.
Almond Jello: a little plain

Chicken Stuffed Mushrooms, Shrimp Stuffed Eggplant, Crispy Scallion Pancake

Bao Milk Bun

Almond Jello

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Maha (Melbourne, Australia)

Middle Eastern Food.

I don't get to eat this kind of food as much as I like. The seasonings and tastes are so different from what I'm used to and is a really nice change. I did the 5 course soufra where the server picks your dishes. The soup was really refreshing. Each course of the meal they brought out many small dishes. Everything was really good. Our soufra didn't come with baklava for dessert so we ordered that on top. It had crushed nuts in it and was the best variation I've had so far.

The restaurant itself is really trendy (you know dim lighting, soft music, really cool and original cocktail list). I definitely recommend this place. It's also walking distance (like less than 10 min) from The Crown Casino.

One of the most unique soups I've ever had

poached free range pullet egg, joselito iberico, smoked bread, dehydrated shankleesh, halva and fried cauliflower

fish, couscous, pita chips


Turkish delight filled Maha doughnuts; coconut tapioca with lychees, ginger and mint granita; ice cream

Rockpool Bar & Grill (The Crown, Melbourne, Australia)

Probably the Best restaurant in The Crown Casino Complex (yes better than Gordon Ramsay's Maze....that place was meh). They wagyu ribeye here is the best I've had. The pumpkin and sweet potato with burnt butter and garlic yogurt is a must have side. I didn't care much for any of the desserts, they were just okay. I would recommend the passionfruit pavlova or the hazelnut macaroon and banana ice cream sandwich.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Koko Teppanyaki (The Crown, Melbourne, Australia)

The meats cooked here is really good, but the fried rice was terrible. The service was snail time slow. I don't think I would ever come back here. Kobe and Benihanas back in the States are just far superior.

Nobu (The Crown, Melbourne, Australia)

I think I may have come on an off night here because a few people have told me that this is their favorite Nobu location. The night I came, the toro was awful as was the service. Everything else was pretty standard to all of the other locations.

Sante Buffet (The Crown, Melbourne, Australia)

This is one of my favorite buffets. It's not very big, but everything they serve is really good. Half of it is chinese food, a good mix of american and authentic kind (they had zhu jiao ...don't want to gross out my non asian readers so ask a Chinese person if you really want to know). They also had red bean soup for dessert. Their roasted meats (ham and roast beef) are the best I've had. They were very tender and moist. This place is great if you're short on time.

Taste on Melrose (Los Angeles, CA)

Most of the dishes here are pretty good. It's great for a date or small group of friends. The service was great the first time I came here with a group of 3, but this most recent time it was pretty bad (like not offering more bottles of water bad, had a group of 8). Here is what I had:

Prosciutto & Fig, Pear & Caramelized Onions, and Carne Asada pizzetas

Kobe Beef Meatballs.
Pretty good, not as good as they say it is though.

Chocolate Brioche Bread Pudding

Tangerine Olive Oil Cake.
If you only have room for one dessert get this. It's so unique and original and has such a great taste.

Chocolate Parfait Devil's food cake.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mesa Grill (Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas)

My first Bobby Flay restaurant. This place utilizes an ingredient I haven't had at a restaurant before, tamales (starchy corn based dough wrapped in a leaf). It's a nice change, kind of like the corn version of mashed potatoes.

Shrimp & Roasted Garlic Corn Tamale: good, didn't taste too much of the garlic though.
Grilled Red Snapper: Had a good sauce, but the snapper could have used some more salt because it was very bland.
Smoked Tomatoes: good.
Sweet Potato Tamale: really good.
Desert Tasting:
Banana Cream Pie: good
Toasted Coconut Layer Cake: delicious
Mexican Chocolate Pudding: gross
Churros: Wowza good
Pear Buttermilk Upside Down Cake: rich and good.
Apple Pie: standard.

Bimini Road (Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas)

I went here for lunch and didn't really care for it. It could be that I just don't like Caribbean food. I had the fresh conch salad and the blackened grouper sandwich. Conch (aka the snails that are in those giant shells) is similar to scallops in taste and texture (its more rubbery). The salad was more like a cerviche and was a little too sour for me. The grouper was very dry.

Chop stix (Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas)

Pretty bad Chinese food. Like, I didn't even get a fortune cookie bad. They gave me a fortune mint instead. I had the shrimp wonton soup. The broth was good, but the shrimp wonton was really gross. I'm not even sure if it was shrimp. It was a really weird texture. The mixed seafood with XO sauce wasn't very good either. I didn't even like the sauce. The only good thing was the tapioca soup for dessert. I actually haven't had this in about 10 years. It's basically tapioca balls swimming in coconut milk.

Dune (Atlantis Beach Club, Paradise Island, Bahamas)

I came here for lunch one day and trust me, its definitely worth the free 5 minute shuttle ride from Atlantis. It's located at the One & Only Beach Club. You walk through the main lobby, out the back side and you just know its going to be good. Theres a gorgeous backyard with grass, palm trees, hammocks, and oh yea, the ocean. They sat me on the covered patio right above the beach. It was perfect temperature, and best of all no birds. This restaurant is a four diamond rated restaurant by Jean George. The only one of his restaurants I really like. I had the crab cake fritters and grouper (deep fried). The crab cake fritters were good, but the sauce was too peppery. I couldn't even finish it. The grouper was excellent. The view made up for the appetizer. So far it is my favorite restaurant in Atlantis.

Seafire Steakhouse (Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas

I came here for a large party (about 8 for a birthday celebration) and they did a really great job on service. They are quick too if you ask (a few of the guests were on a short dinner break for a poker tournament). I wasn't a fan of any of the appetizers I tried. The artichoke and spinach dip were standard, the crab and lobster cake were meh, and the ahi tuna was terrible. My main course was the osso buco (braised veal). It wasn't tender enough and the meat didn't seem to soak up the sauce as it should have. The best thing was the cake (which actually didn't even come from the restaurant, I had to order it from the Atlantis Bakery). It was a vanilla cake with perfect cream and frosting. The actual cake was more sweeter than the frosting. And it was so moist! Top 5 best cakes I've had.

Lagoon Bar & Grill (Big shell restaurant, Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas)

This restaurant is located outside in Atlantis's backyard. It's has the giant shell roof. It's open, so there are a bunch of birds trying to steal food from you as you're eating, but worth it for the great view of either the ocean or Atlantis (whichever side you decide to face). Beware of the birds, my husband luckily had a towel wrapped around him and had received a gift from one of the seagulls. I had the gumbo and pulled chicken bbq sliders. Both were decently good, especially for a pool area restaurant.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Cafe Martinique (Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas)

I've yet to have an excellent experience with a Jean George restaurant. The service and live music is really good, but the food was just disappointing. For an appetizer I had the Heirloom Tomatoes. There was too much going and and such a strong vinaigrette that I couldn't even taste the main ingredient of the dish (tomato). The waiter recommended the duck so I got that. There were crushed candied almonds in the dish that just didn't taste right with the duck. Hopefully his other restaurant on the island, Dune is much better.

Nobu (Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas)

In the past years, the sushi here has been pretty low quality and is my least favorite Nobu. This year, however, the fish is actually pretty good. Service is still bad though. I added a new dish to my usual yellowtail jalapeno, toro, and back miso cod order. I added beef topanyaki and it's definitely a keeper to my  standard Nobu order. I also tried the tiradito Nobu style appetizer and wasn't a fan. For dessert I had coconut pudding (think more like bread pudding, than school lunch pudding). It was pretty good. Like an 7.8/10 on the dessert scale.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Mosaic Buffet (Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas)

It's a nice buffet, but a little disappointed because I heard it was so much better than the Marketplace buffet (also in Atlantis). It was only slightly better. It was much fancier. They had a cheese station, pasta, appetizers, desserts, seafood, sushi, indian, asian, grill, and moroccan. They lamb chop was by far the best thing here. It was perfectly moist. The dessert here was crazy. I couldn't stop grabbing things. I had a mixed berry crepe made fresh in front of me, mini flan (which tasted a little like cheese cake), mini creme brule, mini chocolate lava cake (didn't find any lava or melted chocolate sauce in mine though), coconut macaroon, and a sugar free blueberry mandeleine. I felt a little better about the meal, after finding out it was only $9 more than the Marketplace. I still would rather go to the Marketplace buffet over this one.

GrillSmith (Tampa, Florida)

What a great find! It's similar to all those restaurants like Fridays or Ale house, but with much better food. I had Lillian's braised beef. It was pretty perfect. To my surprise, they had banana foster for dessert. I don't know why I don't see this dessert around too often. It's one of my favorites and so hard to find. The version here had the bananas swimming in caramel and you pour it over you ice cream. As you eat it you discover random bites of candied pecans (like the kind they sell at sports events). I wish I had one of these near me, it for sure would be one of my casual go to dining spots.

Kobe Japanese Steakhouse (Orlando, FL)

This seems to be just a Florida chain. It's a teppanyaki restaurant. Where they cook the food in front of you and about 8-10 other strangers (like a Benihanas). The chefs really put on a great show for the guests. You pick what kind of meat you would like and with your choice you get a soup, salad, veggies, fried rice, and noodles.

The dressing for the salad here is so good. I guess all the Japanese restaurants in Central Florida have been going around stealing each others recipes for salad dressing, because a lot of them taste the same and I've only had this particular kind in Florida. It's so delicious I wish the rest of Japanese restaurants on the West Coast caught on already. Same goes for the spicy tuna rolls. Someone in Central Florida came up with a really good version of them and now all the Japanese restaurants here serve it. It is way better than what I've had everywhere else in the world.

Anyways, I usually go with the shrimp, but this time I decided to go with the Kobe beef. Yum what a great choice! It was perfect. Also with dinner, they give you a white sauce (for seafood and veggies, also tastes great smothered in rice) and a brown sauce (for beef). The white sauce is ridiculous. Everyone usually just requests two servings of the white sauce and no brown sauce. I'm usually too full for dessert, so I don't even know if they have dessert here. It's really a lot of food.

Golden Lotus (Orlando, FL)

One of the few places you can get dim sum (outside of downtown). It's an authentic Chinese restaurant with above average dim sum.  I don't know the names of everything (I've only been here with my mom and she always orders for me), but the eggplant dish is really good here. Also the shrimp balls with the crazy crunchy spikes are really good. It's really cheap and I've never had a problem getting a table here. Also, its usually only Chinese people eating here so you know its good.

Seasons 52 (Orlando, FL)

Seasons 52 is another one of my favorite restaurants in Florida. It's one of the few nice and health conscious dinner restaurants out there. Nothing on their menu is over 475 calories (not including dessert, but that technically isn't on the menu, they bring it out to you and show you your choices). Any of their flatbreads are amazing. They are the perfect amount of crispy and have just the right amount of stuff on top. I still haven't found another place with better flatbreads. Just about every dish I've had here in the past years was really good. You can really taste and feel that everything is super fresh. This past experience, my venison chops (deer meat) were a little dry though (I had them a few years ago and they were so tender).

The desserts are the best. They are all served in shot glasses and are like dessert tapas. I usually have 2 or 3. My favorite is the key lime pie and the pecan pie. I recently tried the pumpkin pie. It was below par for a pumpkin dessert (usually you can never go wrong with anything pumpkin related).

Panera Bread

Great place for salads, soups, and sandwiches. Their version of iced green tea doesn't resemble green tea at all, but it tastes too good for me even to care. I personally think the Italian combo is the best sandwich there. I usually get half the sandwich with either a greek salad or chicken noodle soup. It's just an all around great place to have lunch.

Del Frisco's (Orlando, FL)

Prior to moving out to the West Coast, Del Frisco's was my favorite restaurant. Even now, it's my second favorite steakhouse (Cut has 1st place). The bread is baked so fresh and fluffy. I can never stop eating it. The lobster bisque is pretty good for the South and the steak is cooked perfectly. It's the kind of steak thats a little crispy on the outside and is seasoned with the perfect amount of salt. I'm all about the fat now, so I always get the ribeye. It makes the steak taste so much better. Plus the best part is they serve Moscato here. It's a sparkling wine thats a little on the sweet side. It's not a great accompaniment to steak, but its just too good.