Sunday, December 20, 2009

Houston's @ Century City Mall

Good lawd!! Hungry? Go to Houston's!

The BF and I stopped in the other night for din din and we left beyond stuffed.

I ordered the prime rib and when it came out, I almost fainted. That thing was like 1/3 of a cow. I kid you not.

The crust was too salty, and after looking at it for a few minutes, I decided to switch with his filet mignon. I'm sorry, but I'm a visual person. If the food isn't appealing to me, I just can't eat it.

I mean, it tasted alright, but 1/3 of a cow sitting on my plate was not gonna work. I got a side of oven roasted veggies instead of fries, and really should have gotten the baked potato. Bleh. The veggies were not that tasty, and kinda dry.

Filet mignon was quite a heifer as well, but nothing compared to the Titanic prime rib. It tasted better than the prime rib, especially after it was dipped iin the au jus. He got the roasted veggies as well, which was meh too.

Dinner was about $70. Service was good, so no complaints there. But, for $70, I'd rather go to BLT Steak.

10250 Santa Monica Blvd Ste 45
Los Angeles, CA 90067
(310) 557-1285

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dim Sum @ Elite Restaurant

Came here yesterday via recommendations from a few different people. I knew that there were no carts which made for fresher dim sum, but the lack of carts took away from the experience. It just felt like we were ordering food at a Chinese restaurant.

Sure, the food was good, but I did notice that the turnip cake was different from the other dim sum places I've been to. I ordered the fried one first, and it came cut up in little chunks with slices of fried egg on it. It was good, and a tad spicy, but I just wanted my regular fried turnip cake that came in squares.

fried turnip cake

So, I ordered the steamed turnip cake and it came in a round dish with big chunks of turnip in there. It was good, but I wish the turnips were cut smaller.

steamed turnip cake

One dish that really stood out was the fried taro. OMG, the 3 of us all loved it. Crispy, flaky and yummy at the same time. This was a winner.

crystal shrimp, fried taro, mango pudding

The crystal shrimp dumplings were huge, albeit a bit dry. Some hot sauce solved that right away.

I also liked the Chinese broccoli because they were steamed well and easy to chew. The other ones I've had were way too hard to sink my teeth into.

Steamed pork buns were another great dish. We all liked the flavor and the soft buns.

steamed pork buns, steamed yellow sweet buns, chinese broccoli, fried taro

The steamed yellow sweet bun were way too runny on the inside. None of us liked that at all. I think it should have been cooked more.

Crispy shrimp rolls were okay, but I prefer the regular shrimp rolls better. They weren't really crispy at all, more like chewy with the fried yo tiao in the middle.

Fried shrimp dumplings were decent, my BF liked those the best. It came with a dipping sauce which helped the flavor.

Service was pretty good and we only waited 15 minutes on a Sunday. Granted it was 1:45 pm, but we eat lunch late.

Our bill was around $44 which is about right for the amount of food we got. I'll come back and order some other stuff next time. Kinda sad they didn't have my steamed tripe though. But for dim sum though, I'm more into the whole hustle and bustle of the carts.

Elite Restaurant
700 S Atlantic Blvd
Monterey Park, CA 91754
(626) 282-9998

Friday, December 11, 2009

Yabu- Braised Pork Goodness

I've heard so much about Yabu and it's awesome soba, so my friend and I decided to try it last night.

We pulled up to the $2 valet and walked in. Wow, it was packed and really loud! We had to sit by the door, next to a drunk woman at the bar, but oh wells. It was kinda annoying every time the door opened since the cold air would just blow in. But, hey, nothing a lil down home cooking couldn't fix right?

We started off with the braised pork which was so tender and delicious, I almost wanted to get another one. This was easily my favorite dish of the evening. I think everyone should try it! Even if you aren't a pork lover. The meat was perfectly seasoned and fork tender. Yummy.

melt in your mouth pork

Next up was the cold tofu salad. I ordered this because I felt the need for greens. The tofu was good, salad was okay. Arugula was kickin'! Dressing was a bit sharp as well.

Steamed shrimp shumai came next and it was decent, but forgettable. I had one and gave the other three to my friend. It was kinda dry and boring.

For my entree, I got the ground chicken rice bowl. It was ginormous! I quite enjoyed it. Great flavor, along with the egg. It tasted better all mixed up of course. I gave my friend 1/3 of my bowl and I still couldn't finish the rest! This was comfort food to the bone. Highly recommend this as well, especially at $8 a bowl.

My buddy got the tempura soba which came in a rather large bowl as well. He liked it, but thought my chicken bowl was way better. I had some of the soba and found it to be a bit gritty, not really the best soba I've had. Personally, I think Gonpachi hasa better soba. I also didn't like that they put the tempura in the soup. It got all soggy and non-appetizing. Tempura tastes better when it's crispy and served on the side.

Overall, I liked the food. Service was lacking. It was hard to get the waiter's attention. The table next to us finally flagged down the waiter because they waited 30 minutes to get their fried chicken order. Yikes.

I'll come back when I'm craving some braised pork and chicken rice bowl.

Yabu Restaurant
11820 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064
(310) 473-9757

Thursday, December 10, 2009

9021Pho. Don't be fooled.

A new pho place in Beverly Hills? Count me in!

Or not.

My friend and I came here last night after having a drink at the Luxe Hotel down the street. I told her that this place was new and worth checking out.

In hindsight, we should have just stuck to our regular pho joint, Pho Citi in Westwood.

The place is quite small, maybe 10 tables, and a few counter places. We sat a small table, went over the menu and decided to get pho. For a place that calls itself 9021Pho, one would expect more than 5 different pho options. They didn't even have Pho Tai, which is the most common Pho of all.

Oh wells. I got the Pho Chay, veggie pho with tofu. She got the Pho Bo, which came with slices of beef and beef balls.

Pho Bo

The service was lacking. We asked for water when we placed our order and didn't get it. I had to ask again 10 min later.

20 minutes later, we finally get our pho. It came in huge bowls which was impressive. It wasn't filled to the top though, but still, presentation was good.

I added the bean sprouts, jalapenos and lime juice to my soup. My 1 sprig of basil was not fresh, so I didn't even bother. Added some Sriracha rooster sauce as well.

Hmm.. wtf? The soup was so bland! There was no flavor at all. Even after the ton of hot sauce I put in there. My mouth was on fire, but it was just fire, not flavor. UGHH. Pho is supposed to have effen flavorful broth. My friend said hers sucked. She didn't even finish it and she usually eats everything on her plate.

Pho Chay

I was disappointed in the 4 small slices of tofu on my bowl. Usually, veggie pho has big chunks of tofu, not puny slices. There were also some small pieces of bok choy and scallions in there. I guess the straw mushrooms were good. Noodles were okay. Overall, it was just a huge disappointment.

After all the hot sauce was added

At $12 for a bowl of pho (after tax and tip), I really felt ripped off!

It's okay, I drowned my sorrows in a carrot cake cupcake from Crumbs down the street.

490 N. Beverly Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 275-7077

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ajisen Ramen

Whoa. There was a long ass line today for lunch. Probably cuz it was -5 degrees in LA. I guess everyone had the same idea as me.

I ordered the Ajisen Ramen with cabbage, pork, half an egg, and seaweed. It was quite delicious! I loved the broth and the noodles were cooked perfectly. Not al dente which I hate.

BF had the seafood ramen which came with scallops, mussel, 2 baby octopus, and shrimp. His broth was lacking in flavor, but I was able to steal his baby octopus. They were okay, kinda bland as well.

see the red baby octopus in the corner?

We also ordered the fried tofu which sucked. No flavor and the dipping sauce it came with tasted weird. The fried croquettes were dry and not too tasty. I took one bite and gave it back to him.

2 pieces of fried tofu. bleh

very dry croquette

I'll give them 3.5 stars, but if they improve their sides and made the seafood broth more flavorful, I'd bump it up to 4.

Cost for ramen- $8.25 for Ajisen. $9.75 for seafood.

Ajisen Ramen
Century City Mall Food Court
10250 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90067

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Spago- Las Vegas

It's a tradition for me to visit Spago whenever I am in Vegas. I can't get enough of their hand cut fettucine.

However, this last visit was short of extraordinary. But, still the food was yummy.

We came for lunch on a Wednesday afternoon and were seated outside in the patio. Our waitress came over to get our drink orders within 10 minutes. BF had a Riesling and I got the Prosecco. I was feeling bubbly.

The busboy dropped off a basket of bread which had some pretzel style crackers, square onion bread, and some other stuff. The onion bread was my favorite, but unfortunately, they only gave us ONE of those in the entire basket.. WTF.

So, we asked the waitress for more of that bread. She came back 5 minutes later with a basket of bread that had everything BUT the onion bread. Stupid.

Anyway, whatever, moving on.

We got our entrees. I had my usual hand cut fettucine with Wild Oregon Mushrooms, English Peas, Arugula, Glazed Shallots and Parmesan-Reggiano. Delicious as always! Big portion too, took me a while to finish it.

Braised Beef, Roasted Double Blanched Garlic, Plum Tomatoes, House Made Ricotta Cheese and Italian Parsley. I think he always get this dish too. We must be creatures of habit. He cleaned off his plate in 10 minutes, so yeah, he liked it.

Our waitress seemed to be missing most of the meal. We had a hard time flagging her down to get a second round of drinks.. I'm not sure why that was. Spago is usually great with service.

But, it's all good! I got buzzed off 2 glasses of Prosecco. I ain't complainin'.

Lunch was around $100 before tip. I'll still go back, just hope for more attentive service next time.

Spago @ Caesar's Forum Shops
The Forum Shops at Caesars
3500 Las Vegas Blvd S, Ste G1
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 369-6300

Thursday, December 3, 2009

L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon

If ever there was a culinary god, his name would be Joel Robuchon.

This guy is a freaking genius. I bow down to him.

bread basket

My BF and I came here the other night and boy were we glad. We didn't get the tasting menu since we stuffed our faces the night before at Michael Mina.

We opted for a la carte items and were very satisfied with our choices.

Started off with an amuse bouche of foie gras with cheese foam in a shooter glass. Effen amazing! I never knew foie gras could taste so good.

Foie gras ravioli in warm chicken broth with herbs was my favorite dish of the evening. Tiny pockets of delightfulness all wrapped up. OMFG. I am still dreaming of them.

Maine lobster in spicy broth shaved lime and corn was delicious as well. I liked the kick it had, but then again I like most of my food fiery. This was my BF's fave dish.

L'Atelier style spaghetti was up next and it was quite filling. This was basically spaghetti carbonara and it was creamy, yet not overpowering. I also like the tiny pieces of ham. Very tasty indeed.

I chose the salmon with crispy potatoes and a side of mashed potatoes for my entree. It was good, but didn't really stand out as the best salmon ever. However, the mashed potatoes were so buttery every single bite I took made me feel my heart thump harder. It's all good, the BF polished them off for me.

He had the foie gras stuffed quail and truffle mashed potatoes and boy was that heavenly! The quail had such great flavor and seriously melted in my mouth. Wow.

We had 2 glasses each of the German Riesling. Very good as well.

The service was attentive and knowledgeable as well.

the kitchen

I absolutely love this place! Dinner was $250 before tip, so make sure you bring someone special! I can't wait to come back. This was simply orgasmic, in the culinary sense.

I heart Robuchon!


L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon @ MGM Grand Hotel
3799 Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 891-7358