Thursday, October 29, 2009

Santouka Ramen

Yeah, I was starving since all I had to eat today was cereal and it was already 5 pm. I dragged my friend to eat with me and we decided on Mitsuwa since there is a variety of places here.

I opted for the santouka combo A set. It comes with a bowl of ramen, side of rice with leeks and a side of broiled egg.

How much did this cost me? $10. I guess that is about right for ramen.

Waited about 10 minutes for my food and was about to start gnawing on myself when she finally called my number.

Wow. It was actually a lot of food. The soy sauce ramen was good, but still a bit salty. I didn't much care for the fatty pieces of pork in there, so I took them out. Noodles and egg were good. I pretty much ate the entire thing, except for the broth so I guess I enjoyed it.

Rice with leeks was simple, yet quite tasty. Yum. I gave some to my friend who looked at it longingly. See how generous I am? JK.

Overall, Santouka is decent. I'll come back, but the cash only deal deters me.

Santouka Ramen
3760 S Centinela Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90066
(310) 391-1101

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Anisette Brasserie - Great Burger!

Mimosas!!! Mimosas!! That was my friend this Sunday.

So, we came to Anisette to fulfill her craving. $10 mimosas may not be cheap, but hey, it did the trick. I indulged in a couple of mimosas myself. Got myself a nice lil buzz.

We didn't have reservations, and the wait was 30 minutes. The hostess said we could sit at the bar since it had a full menu. Not a bad idea actually. I think sitting at the bar gets you better service.

Plus, I got a nice view of their insanely stocked liquor wall.

I had the Brasserie Burger with fries which was highly recommended by the waitress. And boy was she right! This was easily one of the best burgers I've had in a long time! The meat was tender, juicy and flavorful. Bun was lightly toasted and dusted with some butter. Topped off with bacon, lettuce, chopped onions and tomatoes, the Brasserie Burger is definitely a must get. In fact, I noticed the 4 people next to us all got the burger.

My friend had some pate with bread dish which she liked, but didn't love. Well, it looked kinda funny, and I forgot to take a pic. Oops.

Kiddo had a croissant with chocolate milk. That croissant looked divine, buttery and flakey. I almost stole a piece, but she ate it all.

Service was good after the ladies too over. The guy who gave us drinks seemed a bit confused, but it's cool. I forgave that after he made us strong mimosas. Or maybe I forgot.

Our brunch was $87.. so definitely not cheap. But, I'm down for paying for good food. Great brunch spot!

Anisette Brasserie
225 Santa Monica Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 395-3200

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Garden Cafe- Dinner For 4 Under $30

After a long day in nature, walking around the Descanso Gardens, we came to Garden Cafe in search of some hearty food. My first thought was "Whoa, this place has a C rating!?!" I told my friend that we better not get sick. She said the food was good.

Sat down at a round table and started reading the menu with photos. We were all hungry for carbs so the 3 of us ordered Shrimp chow mein, wonton lo mein, and beef stew with wonton lo mein. Can you say OINK OINK?

Service sucked, but that's to be expected at an Asian place. We had to wait a while for the waiter to take our order. At least when he did, the food came out pretty fast.

Shrimp chow mein came first and it was okay. Lots of starch on it and the veggie were hard to chew. I hate when they don't cut up the veggies. I could possibly choke on it. No, they did not offer knives and I wasn't in the mood to ask.

My wonton lo mein and my friends beef stew lo mein arrived next. I swear, all the dishes looked the same, but just had different meat on it.

Oh ya, they give you a bowl of broth so you can make your noodles into soup noodles. They actually tasted much better!

side of broth..

voila! wonton noodle soup

beef stew/wonton lo mein

I added a ton of hot chili sauce to my noodles and it tasted 10x better.

Overall, it was a cheap place to eat at. But, nothing really stood out in my mind. Oh yes. The price did. All this food, plus an order of hainan chicken to go was $29! Dayam. And we had leftovers. It's the equivalent of eating at McDonald's, except Asian.

Garden Cafe
228 W. Valley Blvd
Alhambra, CA 91801
(626) 289-1833

Friday, October 23, 2009

Manna BBQ @ Fox Hills Malls

*Manna has closed*

I really was looking forward to dinner here last night, but I felt like they were trying too hard.. There was a guy outside the restaurant telling people to come in. Maybe he was being overly friendly, but I felt a bit harassed.

We sat down and I wanted to get the AYCE for $16.99 but my friend didn't. It sucks because if one person wants AYCE, everyone else has to get AYCE. I guess it kinda makes sense, but it put a damper in our ordering and I had to end up ordering something else. Whatevs.

We decided to get the Galbi ($25.95) and soon tofu ($12.99). I was shocked at the price of Galbi but the waitress said it was 2 big strips.

Side dishes come out and they are decent. Potato salad, fish cake, spinach, kimchee, some radish thing and rice paper. My faves were the fish cake, spinach, potato salad and rice paper. Potato salad had apples it in, but it was heavy on mayo. Rice paper dipped in sesame oil with salt was bomb.

They brought the galbi out and it was 2 huge rolls of meat. The guy had to cut it with scissors which was interesting. The meat itself was pretty tender, well marinated, but there were some chewy pieces. I think the meat at Chosun still rules.

Soon tofu was very meh at best. We ordered spicy and it came out not spicy at all, so we sent it back. It was supposed to be seafood soon tofu, but I seriously only saw 2 pieces of tiny shrimp in there. What seafood?! I would not recommend this if you are a true soon tofu lover.

Service was good for the most part. They have the call buttons at the tables so that's always convenient. I also liked how we got extra panchan with no attitude.

Overall, this place is decent, but I'd come back for the AYCE because at $16.99 you can't beat that. Dinner for 2 was $50 after tax and tip. One plus was no stinky hair or clothes after!

Manna BBQ
294 Fox Hills Mall
Culver City, CA 90230
(310) 397-9900

Monday, October 19, 2009

SugarFISH by Sushi Nozawa

Just got back from a delicious lunch at SugarFISH. The sushi was very fresh, and the crab roll was straight up divine.

I ordered the "Trust Me" set which was well worth it at $23.

It came with:

Tuna sashimi
Albacore sushi (2)
Salmon sushi (2)
Yellowtail sushi (1)
Halibut sushi (1)
Toro hand roll
Crab hand roll

Edamame was cold but decent. I'm not an edamame fan, so it was just okay.

Tuna sashimi- very good and fresh. Enjoyed the scallions on top. Good flavor.

Albacore sushi- Wow. This practically melted in my mouth! It was the most tender albacore I've ever tasted and albacore is not usually a favorite of mine.

Salmon sushi- meh.. was okay, nothing special.

Halibut sushi- good and tasty

Yellowtail sushi- very good, wish there was more than one piece

Toro hand roll- delicious! Who doesn't love toro? I love the warm rice it came wrapped it.

Crab hand roll- OMFG!! Winner!!! This was so divinely awesome that I ordered another one. I can't stop thinking about it. Crab was very fresh, warm rice and crisp nori really balanced the whole roll. I seriously could eat 5 of these rolls.

Unagi- Bf ordered this for himself and said it tasted great. I didn't get a chance to eat it cuz I was too busy enjoying my second crab roll.

Service was great and on par. They automatically add 16% gratuity onto your bill. Yeah, I'd say it was worth it. I'll definitely be back for more fresh sushi!

11640 San Vicente Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90049
(310) 820-4477

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Yeah. I admit it. I ate McDonald's for breakfast today. And I fed some to my child. *Gasp*

Blame it on the damn Monopoly game everyone is playing! It's freakin addictive!

So addictive that I ordered FOUR hash browns!! Umm yeah.. I only ate 1. So there. My daughter had the other 3.

I also had a nonfat iced mocha which came with a shitload of whipped cream. Um. Doesn't that defeat the purpose of nonfat?!

Of course, I scooped out the cream. She should have asked me if I wanted whipped cream.

But, anyways.

Hash browns were okay, a bit salty though. I still like my Trader Joe's hash browns the best.

$8.73 for this meal. I won 3 railroads! Just need one more to win $500. So, who has #126? I'll trade ya for Atlantic Ave worth $25k if you have the other 3 yellows.

10451 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 474-3160

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ippudo NYC

Wow, I think I've found the most amazing ramen in the U.S.

After much research on Yelp and various blogs, I decided to come here last week to see if all the raves were accurate. And they delivered.

We took the subway from the upper west side to the East Village and it was windy as hell that day. I was trucking along in my knee high boots trying not to topple, thinking about the nice, hot, bowl of ramen I'd be eating soon. Finally, we get to Ippudo, walk in, get a seat immediately and proceed to peruse the menu.

hallway at the entrance


very cool decor

There were so many options that I had to ask the waiter what to get. He recommended the Akamaru Modern which came with slices of berkshire pork, scallions, cabbage, onions and kikurage. I added seasoned bamboo shoots to it, being a Panda and all. I need my bamboo! My bf had the tonkotsu shoyu ramen which came with pork, cabbage, bamboo, 1/2 boiled egg, seaweed and scallions.

Akamaru Modern

Tonkotsu Shoyu ramen

We waited about 10 minutes and the ramen arrived in these huge ass bowls. I was so excited! I dug in and OMFG, it was freakin delicious! I used to not care for ramen much since I ate that stuff in college non stop, but damn Ippudo glamourized ramen! The noodles were thinner and straighter than other ramen I've had, pork was so tender that I barely had to chew it, veggies and bamboo shoots gave it nice texture and the broth was just amazing. It was perfectly seasoned with the right amount of fattiness, yet wasn't salty or greasy. Bravo!

look how big the bowl is!

BF liked his ramen, which I tasted and liked as well. However, mine had better flavor overall.

Service was polite and good. Our waiter seemed to know his ramen, so another plus for him. Prices were $13 per bowl of ramen, and a couple bucks per item you wanted to add. Not bad at all for good ramen.

cool ramen bar area

wall of ramen bowls

Out of all the places we dined at during our week in NYC, Ippudo still ranks in the top 5. I highly recommend this place for ramen lovers. It definitely lives up to its hype!

Ippudo NY
65 4th Ave
New York, NY 10003-5220
(212) 388-0088

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Simpang Asia- Oxtail Soup Quest #1

I've been obsessed with oxtail soup lately, and this was my recent discovery. Recommended by fellow blogger Daniel S. =)

My friend and I came here today for lunch and it was okay. The service was decent, but our waiter didn't really check on us much. Well, we did sit outside in the windy tornado, but still.

The restaurant was packed with Asians! I guess that's a good sign. We lucked out and got a parking spot right in front. However, when we left, there were 2 cars who were parked behind me, but good thing one of them moved.

So, I ordered the oxtail soup with a side of rice and egg rolls. I was starving!

The oxtail soup was mediocre. Lots of fat floating at the top which I didn't much care for. It came with 3 medium sized oxtails which were tasty, and I loved sucking on the cartilage at the ends. Yeah yeah, sounds nasty, but if you ever suck on cartilage you know it's damn good. I wish it were heartier and had more veggies, since there were only a few tiny pieces of carrots and scallions.

oxtail soup w/floating fat

Rice was an extra $1.50 which was kinda pricey, since this is an Asian restaurant. Shouldn't the rice be free or less than $1? Oh wells.

rice made it better

The 3 egg rolls were good, but I could not tell what were in the filling. Oh, the menu said shrimp, chicken and veggies. I think I tasted bamboo there. Interesting.

My friend ordered the Nasi Lemak, basically curry chicken with rice and egg on the side. It was okay, but not really my thang.

Overall, I liked the oxtail soup best, but still on the lookout for bomb oxtail soup in LA.

Any recommendations?

Simpang Asia
10433 National Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90034
(310) 815-9075

Friday, October 2, 2009

W Hotel San Diego

Really, the stay would have been 4 stars had it not been for the horrible customer service I received over the phone prior to our arrival.

I had ordered a promo off for $179 for a one night stay and free upgrade to a Spectacular room along with 2 cocktails and $40 credit for breakfast. Sounds like a deal right? It was, but what a freakin hassle.

It was a pain in the ass to get a room for the dates that I wanted, and I finally had to pick a Thursday in September. I really wanted to go in August for my daughter's birthday weekend in SD, but the hotel was sold out. I picked another date, also sold out. WTF? Is everyone going to the W? Geez.

After settling on a date, I was all ready to go, but something came up and I had to reschedule my trip down. Called the W reservations and they told me to call the hotel directly. I did, and spoke to the front desk who transferred me to the reservation manager. I explained my situation to her and she said she could not change my date, and the time to cancel had passed. WTF. Straight up rude and a lie, by the way. I was looking at my confirmation email and it said "Cancel by 4:00 PM Hotel time 1 day(s) prior to avoid 1 Night penalty".

I was calling one day prior and it wasn't even noon yet. She gave me total attitude and said that it their policy was 2 days prior for my reservation. Now, I was getting pissed. I told her that the reservations guy had explained it all to me at the time of booking, etc.. She wouldn't listen. Told me to take it up with billing. And she wouldn't even transfer me! OMFG. Can you say horrible service?!

I called back and told the front desk I wanted to speak to the manager. Left them my number and 2 hours later, Jason called me. We spoke and he was nice, but said that there were no rooms available for the date that I wanted. At least he was willing to change it. But, whatever!

So, I was stuck. I had to go down to San Diego cuz I already paid for it and would be out $179 since the promo was non-refundable.

Anyway, the visit itself was nice. We had good service and everyone was pleasant.

view from our room on the 17th floor

the room

Got our free upgrade, 2 free cocktails and breakfast in bed.

The bartender at the lobby made our drinks so damn strong, it tasted like pure rubbing alcohol. Bleh.

Pool was tiny! There were like 5-6 lounge chairs by the pool. Not really a place to hang out all day. More like a chill for an hour or so pool.

Sandbar upstairs was cool. Great view of SD and it was different to be at a hotel bar and be sitting in a sandy area. Music was 80s and random songs.

My favorite part of the stay was breakfast in bed! Steak and eggs! Steak was huge and came with 3 eggs. I liked it alot, but couldn't finish it.

steak n eggs

Bf had the tofu scramble which I didn't try. I'm not much into healthy stuff. Hahah.. kidding. He said he liked it so that's good.

So, overall, a nice hotel to stay at. Close in proximity to the Gaslamp district.

Apparently, the room we stayed in would normally cost $500. Hmm.. really?

W San Diego
421 W B St
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 231-8220

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Happy Hour @ McCormick & Schmick's

After reading about the $3 cheeseburger and fries here, my friend and I decided to check out what the talk was all about. We arrived around 4:30 pm, grabbed a seat inside by the bar and proceeded to order.

10 minutes go by, and no waiter shows up. The bartender notices us and asks us what we would like to drink. We order 2 house Chardonnays at $4.50 each.

i'll have 3 glasses, thx

10 more minutes go by and still no effen waiter. We flag down the hostess and she comes by and takes our order. Then, the bartender comes by and takes our order, but we told him we already ordered. Come on guys, get it together. So not organized!

Anyhoo, the Chardonnay arrives and it's pretty damn tasty. Not dry at all, almost sweet like my favorite, Riesling.

Our food arrives shortly thereafter. For 2 girls, we sure can eat!

Oyster shooters: damn, this was good! Big oysters in a shot glass with cocktail sauce and something else. We liked it!

Suck it down!

Spicy chicken wings: Not bad, the wings were tasty with a kick. A bit messy to eat, but they are wings after all.

Typical wings

Spider and fries: Decent dish. Calamari was good, although they were a bit soft. I like my calamari crispy. Fries were meh. Too soggy and salty.

Yes to spider, no to fries

Cheeseburger and fries: Hmm.. pretty good burger! We shared it since we were pretty full at this point. It was cooked well done, but still good. At $3 you can't complain!

All in a all, it's a decent place for Happy Hour. We ordered 5 Chardonnays total along with all the food and the bill was $40! Woohoo!

2 winners here are the oyster shoots and the wine. Service was good after we actually got waiter. Solid 3/5 stars.

McCormick & Schmick's
206 N Rodeo Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 859-0434