January 2014

Serendipity 3 is a famous stop for tourists in Las Vegas. Situated central to the Las Vegas strip, it sits just outside Caesar’s Palace. The colorful pink and whimsical design makes Serendipity 3 a fun place to eat. Known for their Golden Opulence Sundae, the $1000 dollar, word record holding as the most expensive dessert, the restaurant isn’t quite high end. The atmosphere is fun and casual. I remember going here when it first opened, and though the decor received an upgrade, the food and service seems to be stagnant. Nothing was out striking or extraordinary. It’s still a fun place to grab a bite and dessert in the form of a frozen hot chocolate. Popularized by the movie Serendipity, the NY base was where it all started.


The ABC burger seemed like the only legit burger here. ABC, meaning Avocado, Brie cheese, and caramelized onions made this burger what it is. The picture really makes it look small, but it was a bit larger than that. The amazing part was the blanket of melted brie over the top. It gave the burger a nice silky texture, as did the avocados as well. The caramelized onions gave a nice savory note, and everything worked perfectly together. They accidentally gave us regular fries instead of the sweet potatoes like we ordered. I liked their version of the sweet potato fries because of its sweetness. Each fry had a nice sugary crust.


We all come here for one thing only — that is their Frrrozen Hot Chocolate. It is a hot chocolate mix, mixed in with crushed ice and topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. It’s not really an ice cream, and isn’t overly sweet. The chocolate flavor shines in this bowl, and the pure cocoa is the star. If you are looking for a sugary indulgence of a dessert, this is not for you. If you like chocolate flavor, and like it cold, then this is perfect!

Serendipity 3 is an awesome place to be. The colorful wallpaper and interesting nick-nacks make it a fun destination. Close to the Bellagio Fountains, Caesars Palace, and anything central to Vegas, it’s easy to “stop by”. Honestly though, not everything was all fine and dandy. Some of the waiters were kind of sketchy. One waiter tried to serve us water from a table who didn’t want them. The burger bun was a bit on the dry side. And honestly, the restaurant keeps getting the interior/exterior changed — that could be a good thing or a bad thing. Fine tuning these things and maximizing this prime real estate could really help solidify this restaurant.

Serendipity 3 on Urbanspoon

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Johnnies Pastrami is a Culver City landmark. The 50s styled restaurant is small. It has a diner feel with the central bar area — everything is just smaller in scale. Their pastrami sandwiches though, are quite large. I will undoubtedly compare this to The Hat. If you want to stop reading, I will tell you right now. I like the pastrami at The Hat better. Call it biased if you wish, but I call it how it is–you can read the comparison below.

The pastrami sandwich at Johnnies was packed full of meat. The sandwich was just pastrami in between a sliced roll. Granted, you can get it with coleslaw and cheese, but I wanted the pure pastrami sandwich to shine (for the sake of the comparison). Bread for bread, both Johnnies and The Hat was a tie. As for the pastrami, Johnnies was a bit on the dryer side and had less flavor. The Hat’s was more juicy and saltier (in a good way). Both was probably achieved with a dunk in their special au jus. Sorry to say, The Hat’s pastrami was better than Johnnie’s.

But wait… There is something that Johnnie’s kills it in, and that is their pickles. These pickles were tart, salty, and crisp. It went so perfectly with the pastrami sandwich. I finished the whole bowl of complimentary pickles that was offered. These were probably some of my favorite pickles I have ever eaten. I did dream of eating these pickles with a Hat pastrami sandwich from the SGV. In hind sight, I should have bought a jar of them. Interestingly, the pickles were better than their pastrami.

I guess in comparison, it should be Hat’s pastrami a sandwich vs. johnnie’s pastrami with the pickles. If that is the case, it would be a much tougher comparison. Honestly, the Tito’s Tacos neighbor is a hot sport for late night diners in Culver City. I understand you can’t drive all the way to the SGV to get the best “thin” pastrami in LA. I guess you can stay in Culver City for pastrami, but it would only be 2nd best. And all of you “how about Oinkster pastrami?” folks, you can just keep those kinds of irrelevant questions to yourself. 🙂

Johnnie's Pastrami on Urbanspoon

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Syrup (Downtown) – Waffles and Ice Cream

by Franklin on January 18, 2014

Downtown is such a dirty place. You have the coexistence of the rich and poor, and everyone in between. Cars wiz by, polluting the air. The buildings are old, dingy, and most of them block out the sun. With urban development slowly making things better, downtown is certainly looking up. Eats in downtown are starting to get better too. A certain dessert spot has got me scratching my head though. Syrup on Spring St. isn’t really anything special. For some odd reason, it seems to be quite popular. They have their signature desserts and coffees, but nothing is spectacular. Well, their waffles are nice…

No, their waffles are not nice. In fact, their waffles taste like nothing. In another fact, I’ve had better at a brunch waffle bar, at El Torito grill. Now, the waffle bashing will stop. Maybe I was a bit mad that they ran out of their signature blackberry jasmine ice cream. But seriously, it’s just a bland waffle with fruit and whipped cream, with a side of ice cream. Aren’t Liege waffles supposed to be dense and sugary? Syrup needs to take a few pages out of the Waffles de Liege truck.

Honestly, don’t go crazy over this stuff. The upstairs lounge area is cool and all with their board games and what not. If you want to lounge it up with your friends over dessert, stay home, bakes some cookies, grab the ice cream, and whip out Monopoly Deal. Your night is right again.

On a totally random note, but still contenting on about how dirty downtown was, I crossed paths with an actual street rat that day. Not to say that Syrup has a rat problem, but I just saw a rat just roaming around on the street. The only street rats I really know of are Ratatouille, or Aladdin, but to actually see one in real life was kind of cool. Cute in a way, but dirty as can be, the street rat made my day. Why I was looking into maybe buying a condo in downtown is beyond me.

Syrup Desserts on Urbanspoon

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Seoul Sausage had humble beginnings —Simple Korean BBQ sausage street vendors turned reality TV competition stars pretty much sums it up. The Great Food Truck Race season 3 winners immediately gained popularity, and in 2012, they opened up a small shop in Little Osaka on Sawtelle. Serving up their popular Korean BBQ style sausages and street food, the food is innovative and exciting. Never have I imagined Korean BBQ to be stuffed inside a sausage.

It is a sausage company after all, and I had my eye on the spicy pork. The Handmade Korean BBQ pork sausage was flavorful. It had great pork flavor, but a bit on the mild side. I am used to sausage that is salty and full of flavor. This just tasted more like spicy pork inside a tube casing, which by the way was missing the snap of good sausage. It definitely need just a pinch more salt and way more spice. I did enjoy the apple cabbage cole slaw though. It was fresh and gave it that crunch it needed. Served on a toasted soft roll, this was an interesting experience. Never would I have thought that Korean dishes would make its way into a sausage.

The flaming ball was a genius idea. I choose the kimchi fried rice ball. Inside was a cheesy kimchi fried rice with spicy pork served with DMZ sauce. This sauce was perfect — it is a garlic jalapeno kimchi sriracha aioli that went well with the slightly spicy kimchi fried rice. The outer fried batter held everything together. The fried rice inside was pretty standard, but the mixture of the crunchy outside and killer DMZ sauce made everything work together. It was a nice little snack.

The shop is small and only has limited outdoor seating. Situated on Sawtelle and Mississippi, it sits at the bottom of an apartment/condo. The food choices are limited, but with the addition of a fried chicken dish (Da KFC), and galbi poutine, hungry customers should be satisfied. If you’re hungry, or just looking for a little snack, Seoul Sausage Co. has just the right fix. This is what LA is all about — a mashup of ideas and cuisine that creates a fusion of food from different regions. Seoul Sausage Co. hits home for me because of my Korean roots, and spins it in such a way that something so familiar is transformed into something brand new. Creativity is the key, and Los Angeles is the most accepting of anything new.

Seoul Sausage Company on Urbanspoon

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