Monday, February 27, 2012

Posting a lot on Foody Field Trips facebook page...

Hey everyone who still reads this blog!

Just wanted to give a quick link to the company I've been working with recently - Foody Field Trips, a walking tour where guests get to sample foods from the best restaurants in Los Angeles!  I am a tour guide on Saturdays for Old Town Pasadena.  I love connecting with people and talking about food - this honestly was a perfect fit!

I wanted to let you guys know that I've been posting a LOT of photos (twice a day!) on the Foody Field Trips facebook page, and that if you can't get enough of my food photos on here, to "LIKE" the Foody Field Trips page to get faster updates of food photos from me!

I promise I will still post here though, periodically. Thank you so much for sticking with me and I would would love to meet you in person on my tours!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hal's Bar and Grill

Hal's bar and grill during DineLA week a few years back.  Daphne and I met here to grab some dinner.

First impressions about the place - half the restaurant is dedicated to tables, the rest to the bar - I think this place is pretty well known for their drinks - an after work spot.  We were there earlier for dinner, and were like one of two groups dining, most people were at the bar.   
A bread roll.  Decent crust on this. 
Tempura shrimp with cucumber salad in the middle.  Nicely and perfectly fried.  
Daphne got the stuffed squid as her appetizer.  She seemed to like it - again not overdone so not too chewy. 
We both got the duck breast - with pureed root vegetables and a really nice cranberry sauce to liven up the richness of the duck.  It was very nice and generous serving. 
Dessert - chocolate cake slice with ice cream
I think this was bread pudding.  I liked the presentation, pretty tasty, although very sweet.  

Good service, I'd go again if I was in the area, although there's a lot of competition for my dinner dollars on Abbot Kinney. 

Monday, January 09, 2012


We stopped off at Lemonade after stopping at Urbanic (very pretty stationary, by the way.)  This place caught our eye...
Salted caramel macaron.  Nice and chewy on the inside.  I ate half and saved the rest for later...not too much later, I couldn't resist, haha.  
Wanted to get their signature drink (after all, the place IS named Lemonade...) This was blueberry lemonade.  A bit pricey but very delicious.  I would definitely get this as my beverage again...the tart of the blueberry and lemonade are very harmonious, and the sweetness of the berry comes through at the end.  
Owen's dessert, a pot de creme - chocolate.  Super rich. 
Owen's arnold palmer drink.  Refreshing. 
Owen's sandwich - turkey, with nice panini grill marks.  Nice light salad side. 
I got their ridiculous pot roast panini sandwich, with mac and cheese on the INSIDE of the sandwich.  On the side, a cauliflower soup.  Everything was so good, but very filling.  

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Flying Pig Food Truck

Flying pig truck, I caught this truck while we were at Abbot Kinney, getting supplies for our invitations (so long ago).  
I got their sliders.  Small little buns, pickled red onions, burgery patties.  
Not bad, but the patties were honestly a bit overdone and almost charred-dry.  I still ate them, the taste was pretty good.  
The truck has quite a line.
I haven't tried their brick and mortar location yet, but I had food from their popup at Unique LA.  It was good that time as well - I think I had some kurobuta fried rice.  Worth giving a try, next time I want to try their duck taco and pork belly bun.

Border Grill

As promised, I am posting regarding my wedding reception food, and after my experience with RM Seafood, I had a meeting with the event planner over at Mandalay Bay, and she suggested that I might go with Border Grill, as the location of the restaurant is very close to the chapel.  The contact at Border Grill was so nice...she set up a tasting for me and my parents.  This was the complete polar opposite of the customer experience I got at RM Seafood - I didn't even know I could DO a tasting.  When we got there, she discussed all the options, which could be customized.  The chef, Michael Minor, even came out and greeted us at one point, and agreed to do POTSTICKERS for us...not even on the menu!  It was so great for my parents to get this treatment as well, they were so impressed.  
Chips and salsa, with guacamole.  Everything was very fresh tasting, I especially liked the guacamole. 
They brought out so many alcoholic drinks, unfortunately my parents and I don't really drink.  I felt bad, but they insisted on giving them to us anyways, for us to see how they would be served to the guests.  I think this was some sort of margarita. 
I think this was a mango margarita.  My parents and I settled on having watermelon lemonades, which were served during our wedding, along with the alcoholic drinks of course. 
A delicious spread of appetizers.  From the right:  Southwestern eggroll, ceviche chip, quesadilla, a beef sopes, a chicken sopes and a plantain empanada. 
 First close up - southwestern eggroll and ceviche chip.  Both were excellent.  
More ceviche chip - hawaiian fish, red onions, cilantro, jalepeno chile sauce on a plantain chip, topped with avocado.
Quesadilla - I don't recall what kind of meat was in there, but a well done quesadilla slice is always welcome in my book.
The two sopes were alright, but the mazo boat cups they came in were a bit dense and heavy.  It was a good way to have them as little bites but I couldn't have all of it.  The plantain empanada was very good, great texture. 
A bacon wrapped fig is on this plate - one of my favorites of the day.  Fig is filled with a strong cheese, wrapped in bacon...a perfect sweet savory bite. 
More alcoholic drinks we didn't drink...agh, sometimes I really wish I could drink just a little (I'm very allergic to alcohol.)
A classic margarita.  

So as I said earlier, we ended up using Border Grill as our lunch reception venue. It worked out really well, and we had a great time - we even had a HUGE Paella station, manned by the Chef himself!  More photos to come later.  Thanks for sticking with me. 

Monday, January 02, 2012

RM Seafood

These are extremely old photos, but I wanted to post them to show some of the reason why I had been away for so long from the blog...well, the reason I had a few years ago anyways. (after that, it was work, laziness, lack of motivation - I am probably going to beat myself up for awhile in the next few weeks of posting, it is part of the process, heh.)   

I had been planning my wedding in Vegas for ages - it was somewhat stressful, as I am a person who likes planning things out a lot.  My wedding venue was at Mandalay Bay Casino Hotel Resort.  Owen and I loved the chapel's simple and contemporary design. Once location was set, we had to decide on the food.  I had booked RM Seafood initially, just based on what they had on the menu - my parents and I had discussed how important it was to be able to offer wedding guests delicious seafood options.  

My parents and I ended up visiting Vegas on our own around the new year, staying at Encore through a special deal (in a beautiful suite room, so amazing!) We decided to try out RM Seafood to see what kind of food offerings they had.  

The outside of the restaurant.  A very neat water running over glass effect is seen as you enter, if you look up.  Also, my parents are in this shot! Hey mom and dad!  :D

Upon entering, I talked to our waiter and explained that we were trying different dishes to determine what we were going to serve our guests at the wedding.  He tried to point out different dishes that were on the separate catering menu.  
We ordered the clam chowder to start.  Creamy, however I remember thinking it could have been more flavorful.
Steak, eggs and fries.  A pretty great offering of the three.  I loved how the egg was presented in a little cast iron dish, separate from everything else - perfect to keep the deliciously runny eggs in their place.  Crispy light fries, great to dip into the broken egg yolk. I expected the cut of the steak to be tough but it was actually quite tender and nice!
Burger and fries.  Good and satisfying.  More fries.  My weakness. 
Crab cake, the thing that we definitely needed to try, as it would have been the main thing to serve to wedding guests.  I remember it not being very hot when it arrived to the table though. The crab cake itself was decent, not very much filler. The slaw was a nice contrast.  

Okay, so we tried some dishes, but this ended up NOT being the location of our lunch wedding reception for a couple of reasons...please remember that I was figuring out wedding event reception details and this is not normally how I would judge a restaurant.  

1.  The tepid reception of the waiter and manager when telling them that I was trying out dishes for my wedding reception.  
I was treated pleasantly, but no special treatment or separate presentation of each dish.  I didn't expect a red carpet reception but the general attitude was cold towards me and my parents.  I asked to see the area where the reception was going to be held and they pointed to an area behind a curtain.  They didn't show me around or give me a tour.

2.  The distance of RM Seafood from the chapel
People were probably going to get lost in the casino on the way there.  It was a little confusing to find for the older folks (It was hard for me to find at first!) 

3.  The AMAZING reception I got from Border Grill.  That will be an upcoming post.  But it was everything I wanted it to be.  

Based on the food itself, RM Seafood was very tasty, and I would gladly go again for a special occasion lunch or dinner with friends or just me and Owen. However, for our reception, it just didn't make the cut.      

Five Guys Burgers and Fries

I like burgers a lot, as you can tell. When I heard about Five Guys trying to battle the In N Out market out here, I was intrigued - I needed to try these burgers to compare!
Five Guys Burger and Fries
Drinks after we ordered. I like that I can have unsweetened ice tea (sweetened is too sweet!)
Five Guys Burger and Fries
Their seasoned fries.  To be honest, as much as I like seasoned fries I think these were too seasoned/salty and could have been crispier.  Next time I will probably stick to just the burger.  I'm amazed at how my palate has been changing as I am edging closer to the age of 30!
Five Guys Burger and Fries
Owen's burger.  One patty, bacon and cheese.
Five Guys Burger and Fries
My burger.  I think I just got cheese.

My opinion - I still like In n out better.  I liked the customization (mushrooms!  swiss cheese!) and the size of the burger (not too big, not too small) but I honestly did not like the taste as much as I thought I would.  If I closed my eyes I would have thought it was a Carl's Jr. burger.  Not that there's anything wrong with that, but this does not defeat In n Out as my favorite fast food burger.  Maybe I should try it again to reassess.  

Cafe Doma

Again, had this meal so long ago, hard to remember what went on, but wanted to post and catch up a little.
Cafe Doma
Miso soup - nice touch with the enoki mushroom shards, but they didn't add that much flavor to the soup I think, it was mostly a texture thing.
Cafe Doma
Lunch bento box.  Generous with the white meat chicken and I remember liking the salad ok-  the dressing was nice, flavorful and light.  However, I remember that the tempura was not my favorite...but it was still edible.
Cafe Doma
Daphne and I ordered an extra roll to share.
Cafe Doma
Close up -  a lot of sauce and tempura batter shards.  I don't recall what the name of the sushi roll was.  It was huge, we shared it - decent accompaniment to our bentos.

Twain's restaurant

Note:  I wrote this circa 2009, and it was sitting in my drafts for ages.  I'll post this but I don't know what it's like now, or if they have changed their food or policies.  Please bear this in mind when reading this.  Thanks!  

Late night eats at Twains back when I had the night shift with Louisa, I had looked up this place Twains on, I had wanted to use a gift certificate to try out a new place to eat that managed to still be open late. Twains wasnt too hard to find, the place itself was very retro and had an awesome old atmosphere and seating the cash register was of special interest, as it was super old, and had those big mechanical buttonsso fun.
The place started getting more crowded as the night went on, and it really looked like only 3 people were manning the whole place one cook, one waiter/cashier/host, one busboy. They did what they could but with all the people starting to stream in and sit on the patio, they were swamped.
This is what we got:
Twain's Restaurant
Louisas salad that was instantly delivered to the table after ordering, Im guessing pre-made. Iceberg lettuce, huge chunk of cucumber, dinky croutons, ranch salad pretty standard diner fare.
Twain's Restaurant
My usual order of an Arnold palmer note the ice chunks. I have a weird appeal for the mini ice chunks, I think mainly because they usually give you so much of it and it turns your drink super cold. Love that.
Twain's Restaurant

Louisas roast beef dinner, glistening and covered in brown gravy. Really, its a marvel of diner food, this is what diner food should look like. She was pretty mediocre on the meat itself, and picked through the vegetables, but she absolutely adored the mashed potatoes. She had said that she was willing to revisit Twains just for a whole plate of mashed potatoes and gravy. Thats a serious endorsement.

Twain's Restaurant
Garlic bread came with Louisas dinner. She ate it. I dont think there was anything much else to it.
Twain's Restaurant
My dinner well, heres some wheat toast, buttered. Not much to say about that, I like toast, this was toast.
Twain's Restaurant

And heres the rest of my dinner or rather, breakfast for dinner Corned beef hash, with poached eggs, and hash browns. Yep, its a trip down carbohydrate street, but I think a good measure for how good a breakfast place is, is how they do their corned beef hash plate. This wasnt a bad version Poached eggs were very good, runny in the middle and mixed with the corned beef well, the corned beef itself was a little too salty, but nicely offset by egg yolk and toast. The hash browns were not my favorite I like the grated potato style and notwell, I guess you can say these potatoes were flaked? They had a decent amount of crispiness and griddle time, definitely edible, but hash browns are not the thing to get here, for me.
Dessert, I wanted to try their dessert after reading about some of it online. Totally a mistake on both our parts.

Twain's Restaurant
When we asked our waiter about the available pies, I wasnt really jazzed at the flavors, so I got a carrot cake slice, not bad, but I really was too full to eat much of it. I ate about a quarter of it before giving up. I feel bad for wasting it.
Twain's Restaurant
The travesty which was Louisa
s peach pie slice was unforgivable. The only edible thing was the crust, and even that wasnt very good. Not flaky enough. The filling of the pie was so disgusting that I think it was a crime against pie. The peach slices were held completely suspended in place by a stiff glutinous substance, I guess it was supposed to be the syrupy sweetener, but it was plain gross. Never, ever again on dessert.
Also, the ending of the meal was further ruined when we tried to use the 25 dollar gift certificate, and the waiter insisted that we could not use it yet, as the computer system mistakenly let us buy the certificate.  So, no 25 dollars off.  
Twain's Restaurant
That was upsetting.  But maybe we can use it later?
Twain's Restaurant
12905 Ventura Blvd
Studio CityCA 91604
Neighborhood: Studio City

Ocean Avenue Seafood

Another DineLA dinner from a couple years back.  I'm embarrassed, and resolve to catch up with posting some highlights from the last couple (!) of years that I've been away.  They'll probably be quick posts to share some photos of the food, but I really am resolving to 1.  post more.  2.  finally post the redesign of the blog.  Please bear with me.

Ocean Ave Seafood, located in Santa Monica, special Dine LA dinner -
Ocean Avenue Seafood
Bread and butter, very good
Ocean Avenue Seafood
Clam Chowder - with Applewood smoked bacon.  Very rich and creamy.
Ocean Avenue Seafood
Oyster Sampler, 1/2 Dozen - Chef’s selection of fresh oysters.
Ocean Avenue Seafood
A close up.  I don't have raw oysters too often as Owen does not like them, but I think I will admit that I prefer their preparation either fried or Rockefeller'd.  These were decent though, very briny and fresh tasting.
Ocean Avenue Seafood
Mixed Seafood Pasta - Handmade linguine pasta tossed with clams, mussels, shrimp, scallop and calamari in fresh marinara sauce.  Daphne got this and she seemed to like this a lot.
Ocean Avenue Seafood
I think it was some sort of dessert wine, a muscato.  Daphne loves this kind of dessert wine.
Ocean Avenue Seafood
Grilled Salmon - with mashed potatoes, asparagus, and pinot noir reduction.  I love me some salmon, and mashed potatoes were excellent.  The skin was nice and crispy on this preparation, and thankfully not overdone.  Very good.
Ocean Avenue Seafood
Traditional Crème Brulee - Caramelized and served with raspberry.  Rich, sweet, although could have used more crunchy caramelized topping.
Ocean Avenue Seafood
Warm Chocolate Bread Pudding - Served with Vanilla Bean Sauce.  I think Owen would love loved this, as these are two things he loves the most.

Ocean Ave Seafood
1401 Ocean Ave.
Santa Monica CA 90401