Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Jar Restaurant

Jar. The name evokes images of mason jars filled with jam preserves. Funny enough, didn't see any mason jars.

Located on Beverly Blvd with limited parking, Jar sits on the corner of Beverly and Harper Ave. Good thing for the $6 valet. Sheesh.

Why is it that valet parking is so prevalent in LA? Are people really that lazy? I'm just saying. There are so many spots that "valets" take up on the street. It's really annoying for people who don't mind walking a bit before stuffing their faces. Plus, $6 is a meal, damn it.

Anyway, I had a Blackboard Eats coupon for 30% off dinner so my friend and I decided to cash it in. Good thing we had that discount, cause dinner was over $100.

Bread and butter

We started off with the crab deviled eggs. $10. Was it worth it? Hells to the yeahhh. Quite possibly one of the best deviled eggs I've had in my lifetime. We each had 2 and then shared the last piece.

For my entree, I had the Coq au Vin with red wine, applewood smoked bacon, pearl onions, and crimini. $21. Hmm.. not sure this was worth the price. Too sweet for my taste and I've had better Coq au Vin at O Bar. Plus, the mushrooms were lacking and I like my mushrooms, damn it.

My friend had the signature Pot Roast with carrots, and caramelized onions. $29. She said her grandma makes better pot roast. Since I've never tasted said pot roast, I can't agree with her. However, the pot roast was fork tender and juicy. I liked it way better than my chicken.

We shared a side of water spinach with garlic just to get some greenage into our systems. I liked it, anything with garlic is good. $8.

I had a Riesling with my meal at $12. It was alright.

She had a Holy Water- hangar one 'buddhas hand' Lemon vodka, fresh lemon, simple syrup, a splash of lemonade, and club soda. $15. It tasted like lemonade. Where was the vodka?!

Even though I felt like a stuffed turkey after dinner, we still ordered dessert to share. That girl is a sweets fiend. I had to oblige. Plus, we had 30% off so why not?

We got the signature chocolate pudding. $10. OMFG. OMFG. It was freaking amazing! I'm not a sucker for desserts, but Jesus Christ, I could eat this pudding for days to come. It tasted more like a mousse though. Ain't complaining, just saying.

Our bill was $104, but with 30% off it was much better. You can do the math. Of course, make sure you tip on the pre- discount amount.

Jar was popping on a Wednesday night. We had to sit in the side room since our original reservation of 4 dwindled down to 2. Whatevs. Service was nice and accommodating and no one tried to rush us out. Yay for that! If they did, I'd have thrown some chicken.

Probably won't be returning here. But, it was nice to check out. Thanks BBE.

Jar Restaurant
8225 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Bazaar

Wow, my experience at Bazaar is a bit of blur. You can thank the 3 extra dirty martinis I had that night. Better yet, I can thank them. They were quite tasty and helped me endure some awkward moments.

I was invited to a business dinner/going away party for a former colleague this past Tuesday. Good thing I wasn't paying for the food. I probably could only afford 2 drinks.

We had a large party, so I believe there was a prix fixe menu. I can't say for sure since I was too busy talking to people and I also don't remember seeing any menus on the table.

I'm not even sure what we ate. But, one thing stands out in particular. The beef topped off with mandarin orange slices. It was fork tender and practically melted in my mouth. When I asked my former boss what it was, he said "I don't know. Beef with orange? Beef a l'orange." Now, THAT was some funny shit.

We had some albacore with orange slices on top too. Hmm.. is that their signature fruit?

I vaguely remember a roll with quail egg on top. That wasn't too shabby.

Not sure what this was, but it was alright

I do recall everyone complaining they were starving. Well, it is tapas and I guess since the table was 80% male, they should have opted for double servings.

Oh ya, make sure you visit the super cool restrooms. They have mirrors everywhere AND the restroom attendant cleans up after every single person comes out of the toilet. Now, that's A+ service.

I would like to come back, but I can't guarantee I'll be sober enough to remember what I ate again.


The Bazaar @ SLS Hotel
465 S La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(310) 246-5567

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Pierre Lafond Bistro

During a weekend trip up to Pismo Beach, we stopped in Santa Barbara for a quick lunch. I was craving pasta as usual, and wanted to eat the Lobster Putanesca I enjoyed at Pierre Lafond last time. Unfortunately, it was no longer on the menu.

I opted for the Shrimp Pappardelle with roasted mushrooms, asparagus and shellfish cream. I really had high hopes for this dish, but it came swimming in sauce. You could have called it shrimp stew and it would have been more fitting. As far as asparagus goes, I found about 5 small cut up pieces in there. The rest was pasta, shrimp, tomatoes and some mushrooms. What a waste at $21.

My dining companion had the Mushroom Sacchetti Pasta with roasted mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, and asparagus in a light Chardonnay sauce and it was pretty much 80% sun dried tomatoes. The pasta was very dense and cheesy, and the sauce was anything but light. There should have been more than 5 small pieces of asparagus to balance out the forest of sun dried tomatoes. $18 for this? I think not.

As far as service goes, it was mediocre at best. We were greeted by the host after waiting for a few minutes at the front. The waiter seemed inexperienced and in a rush to hurry us out. Why? The restaurant wasn't even that busy! One such instance that perturbed me was when he came up to ask me if I was done eating, while I was in MID BITE! Ummm, hello? Does it LOOK like I'm done? Geeez.

This brings me to another thing I've noticed lately about restaurants trying to rush you out. Read my recent experience at Wakasan. Please don't do that. It makes me feel unimportant and that you just care about your next guests. Also, it discourages me from wanting to return or recommend you to others.

In conclusion, skip Pierre Lafond. There are several better dining options on State Street.

Pierre Lafond Bistro
516 State Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
(805) 962-1455

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Absolutely Phobulous- Encino

I like this location better than the one on La Cienega.

Two of the reasons are better parking and better space.

There is valet parking available under the complex, and it's free with validation. Just make sure the valet gives you the right car because mine pulled up in a Honda and I started laughing. Not that I have anything against Hondas, but my car is a Mitsubishi.

This location is much more spacious and they also offer booths which La Cienega does not have. Ventilation is better here as well as the service. Well, the service is about the same, but at least they greet you here instead of just grunting.

My seafood pho was quite tasty and a good deal at $9. It came with squid, fish balls, and crab. Not sure if that was real crab, but I doubt it. However, the broth was yum and I ate the entire bowl.

We also shared an order of fresh summer rolls. They were okay, mine pretty much fell apart which was not good. I also did not care for all the bean sprouts they put in there.

Our waiter did not check on us once, which is fine since we didn't need anything. Food came out in a flash, seriously, within 5 minutes.

Yay for a good Pho place in the valley!

Absolutely Phobulous
15928 Ventura Blvd
Encino, CA 91436
(818) 788-3560

Friday, March 12, 2010

Wakasan- Good Food, Crappy Service

Waksan started off on a high note, but ended with rudeness from the wait staff.

I'll get to that later.

First the food. We got the omakase for $35/per person. Quite a deal considering how much food we got, but I was under the impression it was 12 courses. Instead, we got 9. When we asked the waitress why that was, she just said that it "varies". Hmm. I see.

1. Spinach with bonito flakes- Cold appetizer topped off with bonito flakes in a soupy broth with slices of bamboo. I liked it because it was healthy. It was just hard to eat without dripping broth all over the place.

2. Egg tofu with steamed sea urchin- This was a favorite among the table. The uni was paired perfectly in texture with the tofu and practically melted in my mouth.

3. Marinated abalone with shitake mushrooms and seaweed- Not a fan of this dish. It was toO salty for my taste, and I only liked the mushrooms. Abalone was okay. (oops, I forgot to take a pic of this. It was just brown and dark anyway)

4. King mackerel, tuna and halibut sashimi- Delicious. I liked it all! Fresh fish is sometimes hard to come by, but they did good.

5. Salmon, fried shrimp and lotus root- This was my favorite dish of the evening. Salmon was grilled perfectly and seasoned well. I loved the fried shrimp, it was simply divine. The lotus root added texture and elegance to the plate.

6. Albacore salad with poached egg- Pretty damn good as well. We mixed the poached egg into the salad and it brought out the flavors of the fish and greens. Yum.

7. Beef shabu- This was quite a set up. They brought out a small stone boiler with raw beef and scallions sitting in a paper dish on top of it. We had to push the beef down to cook it and after it was cooked, they took away the fire pot. I rather enjoyed this soup, but then again, I'm a shabu fanatic! Great presentation.

8. Sticky rice with mushrooms- Meh. Some parts of the rice were burnt. I hate burnt rice, and the flavor was not good. My least favorite dish. It felt like a let down after everything else we ate.

9. Cheese creme brulee- Holy smokes! This dessert was off da hook! I wish they gave us a bigger portion, as the ramekin was tiny. I'm not big on sweets, but damn, I could have ate a tub of this creme brulee. Smooth, creamy, and lip smacking good.

So, why the 2 stars?

Well, after we enjoyed our dinner and paid the $200 bill, the waitress comes by to tell us to leave since there was another party waiting outside. She just said, "We have another party waiting and if you could leave that would be good". What the F? Are you kidding me?

We were in shock at her rudeness. She didn't even say please! Besides that, there were 2 other empty tables! And, we had just spent good money and given her a good tip! $200 aint cheap, especially in this economy. The reason it was $200 was due to the 2 bottles of sake we ordered. But, anyhoo.

My friend asked to speak to the manager who came by and was like, "Oh, it's a Japanese custom, you can choose to leave or not. It's up to you." UMMM what? He did say sorry, but it felt like he was just saying it out of respect, not like he meant it.

BTW, the party that was waiting outside ended up being seated at an empty table. So, why did they ask us to leave again?

Whatever, it's cool. We ended up staying another hour chatting and drinking water.

And no, I won't be back. I refuse to pay good money to be treated like shit.

2/5 **

1929 Westwood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 446-5241

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Baked Fish in Foil w/ Veggies Video

Super easy to make. Healthy dinner for 2 under $10!


Fish fillets, I used Tilapia ($8 for 4 filets at Trader Joe's)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Parsley to top if off

Place each serving of fish in the center of a 12 inch square of foil. Put veggies on top of fish. Drizzle olive oil over everything. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Seal foil. Place on a baking pan. Bake for 25-30 min in a preheated over at 450 degrees. Fold back foil, sprinkle with parsley and enjoy!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Happy Hour @ Morton's The Steakhouse

Morton's features Power Hour, between 5-6:30 pm and 9 pm to close every single day! There are several bites to choose from, along with beer, wine and cocktails for $4- $7. Great deal, if you ask me!

My friends and I came here last week to indulge in some Mortinis and food.

Yes, I said Mortinis. That's what they are called there.

We ordered Vodka Mortinis, Cosmos, and one of us had the Mojito.

My favorite was the vodka Mortini, extra dirty. It was damn strong, but didn't taste nasty. See, you gotta be careful with those cause they are creepers. One minute you're sober, the next you are loopy. However, I didn't mind. Bring it on. Really, I only had 2, my tolerance has gone down in my old age.

Food items were overall quite tasty. Our favorites were the cheeseburgers and the artichoke dip. I loved the sliders and the small amount of onion on it really gave it an extra punch. Just make sure you have some gum if you plan on smooching later.

cheeseburger sliders

The artichoke dip with crab and spinach was heavenly. I'm sure it had like 5000 calories and 500 grams of fat, but who cares? That's what spin class is for.

Oysters were decent, but unmemorable.

Same goes for the filet mignon sammies.

Chicken Goujonettes, fried chicken strips, were too dry for me. I didn't like them at all.

The 3 mini crab cakes were also just okay. And they were definitely mini.

Service was great, and we even got hooked up with free valet parking from the general manager! Cools! Now, that's $6 saved.

If you come here, get the cheeseburgers, artichoke dip, and had a few Mortinis. You won't regret it. Just make sure you aren't driving.

4/5 ****

Morton's The Steakhouse
435 S La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(310) 246-1501

Monday, March 1, 2010

Slow Cooker Recipe- Beef Stew

Over the weekend, I treated my BF, daughter and myself to one of the best beef stews ever. The funny thing was, it was so easy to make, my 9 year old could have done it herself. All you need are a slow cooker ($20 at store) and the following ingredients.

5 red potatoes. More flavor than the russet ones and you don't have to peel them.

A few stalks of celery

I used half a bag of baby carrots that are peeled. Just cut them in half for easier eating.

an onion

1-2 lbs of stewing beef

2 cans of beef broth

let the beef stew cook on low for 10-12 hours

Look at the tender, beefy goodness

Serve over rice for a great comfort meal


4 carrots
5 potatoes
1 onion
4 stalks celery
1-2 lbs stewing beef
2 cans of beef stock of broth
Worcestershire sauce to taste
1 clove garlic
1 bay leaf
1 tsp paprika

Chop vegetables and put all ingredients into crock pot. Cover and cook on low 10-12 hours or high 4-5 hours.

In my experience, cooking it overnight produces much more tender beef and flavor. Enjoy!