Sunday, January 31, 2010

LA Paella- Great Spanish Tapas

LA Paella never disappoints. If you are looking for authentic tapas from Spain, this is the place to go.

Pascual, the owner is always friendly and happy to see us. He greets us with handshakes and cheek kisses (bf and me) respectively, and makes sure we are at the best table with stellar service.

Last night, they were completely booked, so we sat at the bar. After 10 minutes, he told us we could move to a table, since the couple there was done, but we opted to stay at the bar for a different experience. It's cool sitting at the bar, since you can watch the waiters making sangria and other drinks.

BTW, I recommend the sangria here, it's sweet, yet strong and make sure you eat the fruit. That's where all the alcohol is.

We ordered artichokes with ham, spicy potatoes, shrimp with garlic, grilled octopus, spanish omelette, croquettes and baby octopus.

artichokes, shrimp w/garlic, potatoes bravas

spicy potatoes, omelette, grilled octopus

Everything was delicious. My favorite is the baby octopus. OMG. It's so good. Light garlic flavor, with red pepper flakes and a hint of lemon, the baby octopus are succulent and perfectly cooked. HIghly recommended. It's not on the menu, so make sure to ask for it.

baby octopus

Spicy potatoes are great too. I love me some spicy food!

I love the garlic aioli they bring at the beginning with bread. It's seriously, to-die-for. I could eat a cup of it. Ok, I exaggerate. Maybe half a cup. I love garlic!

One of my top restaurants in LA and I've been coming here for years.

LA Paella
476 S San Vicente Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 951-0745

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Dean Sin World- Lunch for 3 under $20

Wow, super cheap hole in the wall! I'm so glad I got to try DSW.

My friend, kiddo and I came here last weekend to fulfill some Chinese food cravings. This place is super small, only 4 tables inside, and we were lucky enough to beat the crowd.

Make sure you speak Mandarin or bring someone who does, because the lady does not speak any English at all. Good thing both of us spoke some Mandarin.

We ordered the steamed pork dumplings (XLB), potstickers, green onion pancakes, and beef noodle soup. I wanted to try the lion's head soup, but she said they were out. Bummer! No, it is not actually a head of a lion, it's just a big meatball that resembles a lion's head. My Mom used to cook that, and damn, I miss home cooking!

XLB was good and juicy, skin was thicker than the one's at Din Tai Fung. But, they tasted homemade. I liked them very much.

Potstickers were okay, nothing special, but they were filling.

Green onion pancakes were good, crispy and a tad bit oily. We all liked it.

Beef noodle soup was quite tasty as well. Not spicy, but slightly sweet. I enjoyed the meaty tasting broth.

Overall, everything was good or great here. And you can't beat the price. 19 bucks for all this food! Only in the SGV.

I also took home a bag of 50 frozen dumplings for $10. What a deal! Oh ya, Cash only.

Dean Sin World
306 N Garfield Ave, #2
Monterey Park, CA 91754
(626) 571-0636

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Nom Nom Truck

In support of the T-lofts fundraiser for Haiti today, I dragged my kiddo and BF here to check out the congregation of food trucks. There were 25 total, but I only had 2 in mind to try.

Nom Nom was one of them and I was totally looking forward to getting my banh mi fix.

The line was about 20 minutes long to order, then another 10 minutes to pick up the food. I ordered the deli special which is basically all sorts of deli meats along with pickled veggies. They ran out of pate, which was a bummer, since pate is very common in banh mi. Also, there were no jalapenos in my sammie at all! I was disappointed in that, since I love those spicy peppers. It was also surprising to me since they have a big sign that states their sandwiches HAVE jalapenos.

The sandwich itself was okay. Bread wasn't very fresh, but it was quite filling. I guess for $6, it was alright. I've had better banh mi for $2.50 from the SGV though.

Service was friendly and I could tell she was really trying to accommodate everyone. She even gave me a free soda for waiting. Kudos to the service!

I might come back, but only if they have pate and remember the jalapenos.

Nom Nom Truck

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pizzeria Mozza

We rolled up to Pizzeria Mozza without reservations the day after New Years. No problem, the host said, just have a seat at the bar.

Sat down at the pizza bar, since the wine bar looked boring. I mean, I like wine, but do I really want to stare at a wall full of wine bottles? Nah.

pepper, anyone?

I was quite entertained watching the pizza being made. It's assembly style, one person rolls out the dough, another one puts on the toppings, a third person bakes it, and finally, it is cut and prepared before being served.

Before I continue, I must say I am NOT a fan of pizza. I crave a lot of things, but pizza is never one of them. However, the thin crust pizza here has certainly changed my opinion of this pie.

I got the Coach farm goat cheese, with leeks, scallions, garlic & bacon. At $15 a pop, this isn't cheap, nor is it huge, but it was the perfect serving size. I gobbled it up, much to the amazement of myself and my dining companion. The goat cheese was delicate in flavor, but blended perfectly with the pungent leeks, scallions and garlic. Bacon, well, it's bacon. Everything is better with a lil bacon.

He had the Speck, with bufala mozzarella, olive tapenade & oregano. It was quite tasty as well, and the ham mixed with mozzarella was very good. However, I did enjoy my pizza better.

We both had a glass of Riesling and a glass of Moscato. I preferred the Moscato, but that's cuz I like sweeter wines.

Service was pretty good, waiter was attentive, but not overly so. It was a bit packed at the bar, which would have been better if they removed one stool. Good thing I didn't have to sit next to the guy who kept kneeing my BF. He has more patience than me.

I plan on coming back for sure. Maybe this time, with a reservation.

Pizzeria Mozza
641 N Highland Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 297-0101

Friday, January 15, 2010

Neptune's Lounge- Fail On The Live Seafood

Last night, a bunch of us stopped in to try the live octopus. But, to our dismay, they did NOT have any! According to our waiter, it was not in season. WTF? No! We were so pumped up too! It was a fail of epic proportions.

We all ordered the AYCE for $35. It came with a ton of seafood, some which I did not recognize.

My favorites of the night were the porridge and the uni. Yes, I said uni. Mind you, this was my first time tasting uni and I was quite scared to do so. I've heard that it's an acquired taste and many of my friends have expressed their disdain for it.

porridge and salad

However, being the adventurous eater that I am, I dipped into it carefully. Hmm.. it was.. actually pretty good! The taste is hard to explain, but I guess it's similar to roe, but more creamy. It was quite fresh too, as it was served in it's prickly shell. I heard that the freshness really makes a difference in taste.


no idea what this is

There was a plate full of sashimi as well. The salmon was best, very soft and buttery. Yellowtail was okay. Halibut was meh. There was also some abalone in a shell which was so nasty that I spit it out. It was so hard to chew and had a gross, fishy flavor, I could not muster the strength to swallow it. BLECHHHH!


sushi and rolls

A plate of crab showed up soon after. Shit. That crab was quite good. I would have ate more, but was getting stuffed.

Next up, they brought a hot plate with raw shrimp and beef on it. I had a piece of beef, and was quite unimpressed. It was just beef. Nothing special. Usually, beef speaks to me, you know, like mooing with flavor. This one was just beef. I did not eat any shrimp.

raw beef and shrimp

Oh, I have to say that the spicy soup with daikon in it was really good! They bring that at the end of the meal. I had 2 bowls, and would have had a 3rd, but didn't want to scare my fellow diners with my big appetite.

For a place that advertises "live seafood", nothing that we ate was alive. Humph!!

Service was very spotty. We had to keep asking for water and other stuff, over and over.

At $50 a pop, I think I would rather spend that somewhere else. A place where live octopus is ALWAYS in season.

Neptune's Lounge
601 S Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90005
(213) 365-0730

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Petrossian Weho- Best Mac N Cheese

Petrossian has been on my radar since I read about the super good truffle mac n cheese featured on their menu.

Very pretty decor, the lights are quite festive

The BF and I came here last night around 6:30 pm to experience some truffle goodness. We were the first diners there, and the host greeted us happily.

Before I get on to the food, I just want to commend the service we got last night. It was very friendly, non-intrusive and our waitress really seemed to like her job. That is something I do not find often in restaurants. Upscale places may have good service, but half the time I feel like they are being fake. Trust me, people can pick up on that. Anyway, I felt completely welcome and at ease here.

On to the food.

We ordered the black truffle mac n cheese. It was simply beyond words of amazing. I mean, if there was an orgasm on a plate, this would be it. Orecchiette pasta with parmesan, chives, bacon, and bits of truffle. OMG. What more could one ask for? The only thing missing based on other photos I've seen of this dish, was a piece of black truffle on top of my pasta. However, it was still a fantastic dish.

My entree was the seared scallops with butternut squash and bacon. It was quite good as well, however, I could have done without so much squash. Also, one of my scallops was extremely overcooked and hard to chew. One was cooked perfectly. The last one was somewhere in between. I would have liked more consistency with my scallops. I also did not taste any bacon in this dish.

BF had the steak frites- black angus hanger steak with pepper sauce and shallots confit. He enjoyed it, but didn't much care for the fries. I have to agree, the fries were okay. Steak was cooked medium and I thought it was done right.

Overall, we had a good experience here. I'd like to come back for the Sunday champagne brunch. And, also the mac n cheese! Heavenly, I tell ya!

Maybe next time, I'll be lucky enough to meet Chef Ben Bailly, formerly from my favorite restaurant- L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Vegas. Unfortunately, he wasn't there last night, which might explain the scallops.

Petrossian Weho
321 N. Robertson Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90048

4/5 ****

Friday, January 8, 2010

Newport Tan Cang Seafood

Wow, this is an OG Chinese restaurant! I've been hearing so much about how good the lobster here is, so I finally got a chance to coerce my friend to come with.

We showed up at 6 pm and started ordering food like crazy women. The lobster was too pricey for the 2 of us since we wanted to stay under $50 for dinner, but we were able to order 3 dishes that were quite good.

First up, the french style beef. This came highly recommended by a few people, so I couldn't pass it up. Chunk of beef, stir fried with some awesome sauce, sitting on top of lettuce, onions and tomatoes. It came with a side of lime juice/sauce which was superb. For an extra kick, eat the beef with some onion. Flavor explosion! Just don't go make out with anyone afterwards.

Stir fried Chinese broccoli with dried fish was next. It was very good, and I liked the big chunks of garlic mixed in with the sauce. OMG. I love garlic anything! Great dish, and healthy too. Veggies rule!

Our final course, the steamed flounder took about 15 minutes to arrive. It was $22.95, much cheaper than the cod at $15/lb. Anyway, the flounder was very tasty, with thinly sliced scallions on top and sitting on top of some soy based sauce. We killed that fish like hungry cats, but were not into the fish eggs in the belly of the fish. Ewww, gross.

Overall, a great Chinese restaurant! By the time we left, there was a bunch of people waiting for tables! And 99.9% of them were Asian. You know this is an authentic place when Asians line up and wait!

Service was up to par, actually, better than expected. I'd like to come back and try the clams and lobster. Maybe when I have more funds.

Newport Tan Cang Seafood
518 W Las Tunas Dr
San Gabriel, CA 91776
(626) 289-5998

Thursday, January 7, 2010

New York City In Frames

My visit to NYC over the holidays was quite eventful. We did so many things and ate at lots of restaurants. Here's a short recap in a photo essay.

Ippudo NY. Best ramen ever. Akamaru Modern. 65 4th Ave (between 9th St & 10th St)

Clearly, my daughter loved her ramen.

Pepolino Restaurant. Fettucine w/braised rabbit. Tasted like chicken. Good service. Quaint. 281 W Broadway (between Avenue Of The Americas & Canal St)

Nha Trang. $5 pho. Decent, but nothing memorable. Small bowl, no option for bigger bowl. 87 Baxter St (between Walker St & White St)

Central Park on Christmas Eve. Beautiful. Serene. Snowy.

Central Park Zoo. Checking out the polar bears. Wish I could take one home. 830 5th Avenue.

Gus, the polar bear @ Central Park Zoo.

Nespresso Cafe. Mimosa. Perfect way to keep warm in 30 degree weather. 761 Madison Ave (between 65th St & 66th St)

Lady M. Best Milles Crepe cake ever. Kiddo opted for strawberry shortcake. 41 E 78th St (between Madison Ave & Park Ave)

American Museum of Natural History. Great exhibit on dinosaurs. Central Park West at 79th Street

Armani Ristorante. Hip, Italian resto located in the Armani store. Great risotto. Great view of 5th Ave. Waiter was forgetful. Good Riesling. 717 Fifth Ave

Max Brenner. Union Square. For chocolate lovers. Always packed. Seating is cramped. More of a touristy place and for kids. 841 Broadway (between 13th St & 14th St)

Jing Fong. Dim sum palace. Moderate wait times. Huge selection of dim sum. No steamed tripe. 20 Elizabeth Street (between Bayard St & Canal S

Rockefeller Center. Top of the Rock. Cool elevator shoots you up 68 stories. 30 Rockefeller Plaza

NYC will always be my favorite city. But, for now, LA is my home.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Tea Station - Milk Tea Goodness

I blame Tea Station for my insomnia last night. Who knew that a taro milk tea had so much caffeine in it? Apparently, I didn't get the memo.

My friend and I stopped by here last night after eating at Newport Seafood. We were stuffed, but craving something sweet.

I've never been to a Tea Station ever, but have heard so many people rave about it. Personally, I'm not a fan of boba, too fatty, but I do like some good pudding.

I ordered a hot taro milk tea with egg pudding. She had a cold green milk tea with egg pudding. Pudding rules!

hot taro milk tea

At $5 a pop, this tea ain't cheap, but it was worth it!

My taro tea was sweet, and I loved the pudding bits. It was easily one of the best taro tea I've had. My friend liked her green milk tea as well.

Green milk tea iced

One downside to Tea Station is they charge 50 cents if you want to use a credit card on orders under $15. Ours was $11 so we ended up using cash. It's a bit of an inconvenience if you are short on cash, but whateves. I guess this must be very common with Asian places, because I noticed this at Newport Seafood as well.

Oh wells, I'll be back. Gotta get me some more taro.

Tea Station
158 W Valley Blvd
San Gabriel, CA 91776
(626) 288-3785