Monday, March 26, 2007

Irori Japanese Restaurant
4371 Glencoe Ave # B-4 (Cross Street: Mindanao)
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

I like taking my shoes off while eating.
Is that weird? I only do this at home, then again we have a "no shoes in the apartment" rule. (Don't disrespect the dojo, man!). It just feels more comfortable, just feels more chill and makes the food taste all the better. Irori is special because it has the same policy I do - shoes off! The tables here suspended just slightly off the ground, and the seats are situated lower so it's like you're eating at a picnic table...below ground level. It's really fun.

But atmosphere aside (I can't eat atmosphere! It has no calories!)...let's go to the food!

The usual starter to most Japanese meals: rabbit food, aka salad. This salad was pretty decent though, as it was mixed greens instead of the browning iceburg lettuce like at many other restaurants I've been to. Good sharp tangy dressing to bring it all home. Hellooooo Lobster tempura rolls! These were really good - meaty tender pieces of lobster, battered and deep fried tempura coating, rolled up with some avocado, rice, seaweed and sesame seeds. These were devoured in no time. Succulent Toro rolls. Soooo good. Melt in your mouth good, where the fish dissipates into pure joyous flavor once it makes contact with your tongue. Amazing quality fish. Amber and I shared this and were equally impressed.
Bryan just had a plate of raw tuna. He was in a carnivorous mood..even the sushi chef was like, "what?? that's all you're eating?" These tuna chunks were so pretty - a perfect pink color!
I got a delicious salmon teriyaki. Great presentation on the leaf. They gave me a fairly big portion, so i was pretty happy with that. It was cooked perfectly, not too dry, not undercooked.

Here's the close up, which ended up being a little blurry, but you can see that awesome crispy skin. Some people don't like eating salmon skin - I am not one of those people, as long as there are no scales.

Irori is a must try for their different style of eating, fresh fish and good eats. Take off your shoes and stay awhile!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Tia Juana
11785 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064-1211

Sometimes, taking a chance can bite you in the ass. There's some favorite Mexican places I haunt, after careful review reading, recommendations from other people and general feelings at the moment. But when I just dive into going somewhere...then...I have no idea what to expect. Tia Juana was one of these places.

We got there late, so after sitting down, we found that our table mates had already ordered...cactus. Whaaa...? Cactus? Not my cup of tea. I didn't have any, although it looked a lot like stewed chewy bell peppers more than anything else.
I had the albondigas soup. Totally not that great. Everything in here was boiled wayyy to long, and felt half digested as I was trying to drink it.
This is my "river of food", as I called it - the two beef burrito plate, with rice and beans. Y'know when more is not really GOOD more, it's just more? This is in the same vein. It was just a ton of food, but not good food. I ate some. The rest went in a take out box, which I didn't eat out of again.
More rivers of food. I think this was the carne asada plate, half eaten. By half, I mean the most anyone can eat without bursting, and then this is what's left on the plate still.
Owen got the two chicken taco plate. Nothing spectacular, but at least more managable.
Here's a nuclear looking flash filled close up on the chicken taco. Sorry guys. Still dealing with camera issues. You weren't missing much though. Shredded dry white chicken meat, iceburg lettuce, tortillas. The tortillas were handmade, at least.
This is Tim's calamari plate. I think it looks like the skin of the arm of the Predator from the movie, The Predator. Tim was expecting the calamari to be something more like what he had from Casablanca...but that obviously was not the case. In addition to it not looking very appetizing, Tim was completely not digging on how it tasted. He actually SENT IT BACK. Now, I don't know if I've discussed my feelings on sending back food. Mainly, I would never do it. The fear of getting saliva laden gross food back is too much of a deterrent for me. What are your thoughts? Anyways, Tim has no fear and sent it back, and got the carne asada instead. And here it is. Looks okay. I still wouldn't eat it.

This place wasn't THE WORST PLACE EVER or anything. It just...didn't do anything for me, when I've been spoiled by other, cheaper, more delicious places around. Eh. Go for your Mexican food fix elsewhere, I'd say.