Sunday, July 30, 2006

King's Head Pub Restaurant
I had never been to King's Head before, I swear! I love British Pubs, even though I can't drink (pesky allergy to alcohol, granting me the forever title of ultimate designated driver). I think it's because of the atmosphere of most pubs - they seem more like gathering places for people of every age group. A completely different feel than a greasy spoon diner - more like, if that greasy spoon diner and a sports bar mated and gave birth to a Pub. Yeah, that idea is kind of gross.

King's Head is located off of 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica - so it's hard to want to deal with the crowds of tourists, super overpriveledged college kids with their parents' credit cards, and WASPy ladies willing to elbow you in the stomach for a perfect pair of white capris. But friends, feast your eyes upon the spoils of this eatery...

I got the Full 2 piece Fish and Chips. It is GLEAMING with goodness! I only could battle one of these down, and kept the other one for lunch the next day. The quality of the fish underneath the deliciously flavored crispy batter was excellent. It's so important to have good quality fish for fish n chips - a lot of other places that I've had fish and chips at seem to hide their bad /slightly rotting cuts of fish under the batter. That's just a sin towards food. The chips themselves were very nicely fried, thick and with a good consistency to their fried outsides. Even the tartar sauce was exactly right, a little tart with relish and rich mayo. Owen got the Sunday Dinner Special - Roast Lamb covered in thick gravy, roast potatoes, carrot mash, broccoli, and a mini yorkshire pudding rounding out the plate. It was a lot to fit on one plate! I had a taste of the lamb - succulent, tender, gravy was tasty - everything I would want in a good piece of meat. Owen complained that the roast potatoes were not so great - I guess they cooked them too long and the outsides formed a hard protective crust. The carrots he also didn't care for, I guess they're carrots that are mashed with some not so tasty root, to stretch out, ah, a carrot side dish I guess. I think it's a British thing. The yorkshire pudding was light, airy and crisp. You rip a piece of yorkshire pudding off, dip it in the vat of gravy in the middle of the plate, and enjoy. So many parings with gravy - the British are ingenious! Anyway Owen enjoyed this meal greatly as there was only the carrot mash left on the plate.

King's Head gets an enthusiastic thumbs up from me. Next time, I will try a Scotch Egg - dying to know what that tastes like!!

Tender Greens in Culver City

There's a ton of new restaurants in downtown Culver City area. The first time I stumbled upon this eatery was on 4th of July, one of the few places that was open around the area. It was a great first impression, and this time around I wanted to give it a proper review.

Tender Greens has great atmosphere - pleasant green hued walls, sturdy modern furniture, little tables. However, don't bring a group bigger than 4 here, or else you're going to be hijacking tables to squeeze together in the small space. There's more room outside to sit.

Ordering is cafeteria style. You walk up to the spitshield glass style counter, and one of the hardworking salad tossers asks you what you would like. The menu is very straightforward, with flatrates for big salads, or combos of sandwich/small salad. ($9). The choices of meat are flatiron steak, free range chicken, ahi tuna, and veggie smorgasboard. After placing your order, you watch and wait. (I kind of feel guilty about this part, as you wait for your food, eyeing the employee assemble your food...very voyeristic)

The huge flaw about this place is paying for your meal. No, I don't mean, they should give me free food. I mean, when attempting to pay for the meal, the eating establishment's method of taking my money is inconvenient to me. At Tender Greens, the cashier does triple duty - they have to pour out any kind of soups a customer orders, has to prepare/fetch the drinks (we got Arnold Palmers, my favorite kind of drink) and collect money. This is the place where everyone is blocked up, as there are only 2 cash registers and a long line of people waiting to pay. The assembly line of TG workers are efficient, and the food is prepared very quickly. But we all have to wait to pay. A bit frustrating, but I know they're new and still probably learning the ins and outs of their business.

Now to the meal!

I ordered an Ahi Tuna Sandwich with Caesar Salad. Owen got a flatiron steak sandwich, also with caesar salad. So we each switched halves and got a taste of both. The salad is pretty standard, I can't say it was the best thing I've ever had but everything was fresh. There were little shards of parmesan cheese that infused with the dressing, which I enjoyed. I wasn't the hugest fan of the big crouton, it was good but having to chop up the piece myself with a butterknife is cumbersome. The sandwiches were very simple - good bread which had a great springiness to it (which is difficult to get in a foccacia style bun), bit of mayo, roasted cold red bell peppers and the meat. The bell peppers aren't something I'm used to in a sandwich. Sometimes, I think they have the consistency of slimy deviened earthworms that have been soaked in red food coloring. But...that's a personal paranoia and isn't Tender Greens' fault.

Close up, you can see the simplicity of the sandwich. I have to say the steak was superior to the tuna, because the tuna had little flavoring and was just...ehh. Not bad but not great. I have to get used to the taste of ahi tuna and bread - raw-ish tuna tastes best with rice I think. The steak slices were perfectly cooked the way I like 'em - medium, a little chewy, good flavoring.

Tender Greens is a decent place to go and have a quick style lunch when it's nice out. Nothing wrong with that.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

This is it...the reason behind all of this

Welcome, officially, to my restaurant review blog. I have another blog, that contains more of the fun movie/animation/drawing/random interest stuff, but I want "Drink your milk...and eat your greens" to be something that strictly gives people the dirt on something near to my heart - restaurants and eating experiences. Mostly they will be eateries around Los Angeles and the smaller cities that surround it, but occasionally, like my first blog about Dussini, will happen to be in another city where I happen to be for the weekend.

I'll promise to be as honest and snarky as I can be...I'm not holding back. That's why this blog is named what it is...after a Mr. T saying. Mr. T is AWESOME...I can only hope to follow in his footsteps in the culinary critique world as he did in A-Team. I'll be the B.A." Baracus of food review...well, it's a goal anyways!

Eat decent food everyone! And hope you enjoy the blog!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Dussini Mediterranian Bistro

It's not everyday you wake up and think...

DAMN...I could use some really crappy food today!
I certainly don't. Or I try not to. Even McDonalds is not a horrible meal because you know what you're getting into. And I think that's the thing really, if you're expecting really bad food, and get really bad food, what else can you say but, well, it was McDonalds? And if that Filet O'Fish tastes especially good one time, isn't that an unexpected happy surprise?

I guess the point I'm trying to make is, it's all about expectations. And this place I'm writing up about - did not meet those expecations.

Here's what this place says about itself, taken from their website:
Dussini Mediterranean Bistro, an upscale and intimate restaurant with a distinctive menu, has opened in high style on the site of The Old Spaghetti Factory in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter.

After months of planning, the vision emerged for Dussini with a warm and friendly atmosphere, highly-trained staff and an inviting range of exciting Mediterranean dishes from an olive tapenade appetizer to monkfish a la Nicoise, osso buco alla Milanese and paella.

Okay. That seems like something good, right?

After a long day at Comic con San Diego, our group had decided to get something to eat somewhere decent. We had loved the Old Spaghetti Factory every year we have gone to Con, but when we found out that it had closed down, we were disappointed. Dussini was its' replacement, owned by the same guys who own we gave it a shot.

We had reservations at 8pm, and waited patiently until we were finally seated at 8:25. I figured, okay, busy day, with the Comic con going on and all. But not that many people were actually waiting with I started getting suspicious. Our first glance at the menu was a disappointing one. What restaurant worth their salt doesn't offer something like sandwiches or burgers for dinner, forcing a patron to get something expensive?

Also, I have to say, our waiter was really shady. He was nice enough, but did something that made me want to pee and poo on his grave. When taking our orders, after someone would order an entree, he asked, "Would you like a soup or salad with that?" Now, usually when people hear that from a not so lameass waiter trying to confuse patrons of the restaurant for more money on the bill, one would think, "oh, my entree comes with a soup or salad." My friends around the table each fell for this one by one. I knew not to assume anything with this asshat with an apron, and declined my "soup or salad" option.

We waited for our food to come to our table. For a long time. A really long time. And when it comes to food, I can be pretty patient, but when it started hitting 45 minutes from time Asshat with an apron took our orders to food finally arriving at the patience definitely wore thin.

This is what I ordered. Do NOT be fooled by its' appearance.

Lobster Mac and Cheese
Okay, I know what they were trying to do with this dish. They were trying to combine the feeling of comfort food with a twist of high class. I GET IT. And I was willing to buy into it, as long as it tasted good - but it tasted horrible! Kraft mac and cheese tasted better than this slop. The cheese taste was bitter, and had a nasty aftertaste. The lobster pieces were mushy and obviously frozen and defrosted poorly. The lobster had none of that good lobster taste that only comes from a quality piece of seafood. Taking a bite of one of those lobster pieces was like putting old chewing gum in my mouth; flavored like bitter nasty cheese. I definitely did not finish this entree.

Owen didn't fare much better either. He got the Ragu alla Bolongnese. I had a small bite of this and went, 'bleck'! The noodles were completely overcooked and mushy. The general taste of this dish was gummy mush in your mouth. The sauce was not tasty and meaty, could it have been imitation meat? Doesn't it cost more to make imitation meat than to give in and just have real meat in there? Even Taco Bell has better ground meat than this. And that's saying something.

After the drive back to LA from San Diego, I threw up. Tasting this food twice was like re-watching Star Wars Episode 1-3 Marathon. It's like the feeling of wanting to throw up after you've already thrown up.

So all in all, horrible experience here. Prices were extravagant for no reason, and food was piss poor. The bill for me and Owen (we nicely asked for a separate bill beforehand) came to 70 dollars for the both of us. If you're in San Diego, never ever go here. Ever.