bacon

The Coffee Cup Cafe – Good Morning Long Beach

by Franklin on November 19, 2015

I wouldn’t call myself a morning person, but man do I love breakfast. Something about meetings friends and family and having a nice big breakfast/brunch is just perfect. Maybe its the first sip of coffee or the amounts of egg and cheese, but mornings are swell. The Coffee Cup Cafe in Long Beach is just my type of spot. Good portions, bottomless coffee, and classic breakfast is all I need to be satisfied.

I went a bit asian with the brown rice, but this still worked very well. The chicken chili verde omelette was flavorful and hearty. With brown rice, the dish almost reminded me of what I would eat at home when I was broke. Rice and eggs is the name of the game, and the chili verde acted as like gravy. Loco Moco without the patty? Maybe. The dish was comforting and delicious. Oh, and the chili verde was quite delicious.

The breakfast enchiladas were great as well. The red sauce with the tortillas and egg and cheese filling was a great mix. With potatoes and your choice of hot sauce, you are good to go.

My breakfast was classic. Some call it boring, but I say nothing beats it. Bacon, eggs, and french toast is simple and delicious. Their bacon was nice and thick, had a great chew, and not salty at all. The French toast was quite nice. The bread was cooked nicely with a gooey center and crisp outside.

With my hot cup of coffee and my classic breakfast, I was happy. Thanks Long Beach. I will be back.

Coffee Cup Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Newcomb’s Ranch – Canyon Ride and Pancakes

by Franklin on March 22, 2015

The roads are clear, and the roads up Angeles Forest are asking for some action. One morning, some buddies and I decided to take our cars up the mountain caravan style. With some spirited driving, we made it to Newcomb’s Ranch, a biker and car enthusiasts stop up the mountain. Most stop by to have breakfast, chit chat about their bikes and go along their way. It was great to see this community and enjoy breakfast while at it. The food wasn’t really great, but the pancake was memorable.

The sloppy mess was just that, a sloppy mess. The chili and beans on top of the eggs was a mess, and some rice would have been perfect. The hash browns were not something I enjoyed. It was basically just cooked shaved potatoes.

My eggs were cooked nicely, and the bacon was a good match. Bacon and eggs is always a sure thing — only of the hash browns were good. No crisp, no buttered bits of goodness — they were just kind of there on the plate. Masked in ketchup and hot sauce, I made the most of it.

The pancakes really saved this breakfast. After enjoying my eggs and bacon, I always like to treat myself to pancakes. Theirs was surprisingly fluffy and had the perfect attributes of a good pancake. It was light, tasty, and absorbed the syrup just right. It was great with their coffee.

I know the breakfast was a bit boring, but the pancakes were quite memorable. We really don’t drive up the mountain for some of the best breakfast around, but the experience was great. Getting away from the city and enjoying the drive up the beautiful mountain was a treat in it of itself.

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Eggslut – Quick Lunch, Long Line

by Franklin on February 10, 2015

Call someone a slut, and you are asking for trouble. Take someone to Eggslut, and you are just the best friend ever. I remember having Jury Duty (the worst) and we were on our lunch break — I headed straight to the Grand Central Market. It is great to see Downtown flourish and the revival of the Grand Central Market a couple years back is a true testament to that. I knew I had to give Eggslut a try. I think the name itself is just intriguing enough. This is a long overdue post so don’t hate me if the details are a bit foggy.

I ordered the Fairfax with bacon. The soft scrambled eggs were so delicate and smooth and the addition of the chives made it extra special. The cheddar cheese melted nicely and mixed in with the caramelized onions and sriracha mayo. I am glad I added the bacon as it gave the sandwich extra saltiness and flavor. The warm Portuguese bun was the perfect bread to hold everything together.

The Slut is a dish of coddled egg on top of a smooth potato purée. It is then poached in a glass jar and served with toasty crostini. Now they serve it with a baguette. The coddled egg mixed in with the potato puree was so buttery and delicious. Was I supposed to eat it on top of the bread? I didn’t see a use for it. The egg and potatoes in the glass jar were all that I needed — I just didn’t see a need for the bread. If the mixture was a bit more savory or salty, I would like to eat it with the bread. Just think of very buttery mashed potatoes with a nicely poached egg on top, topped with salt and chives. It is so simple and delicious.

Eggslut has some lines when it is lunch time. My wait was only about 10 minutes. Sitting there at the bar, enjoying my sandwich and poached egg was memorable. The ingredients were so pure and simple — the preparation was the star. Alvin Cailan, creator of Eggslut now has a ramen shop called Ramen Champ in Chinatown. I can’t wait to try that in the near future.

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I have been wanting to go to Ritter’s for quite some time. Visiting Vegas throughout, I have been trying to make time to visit Oyster Bar in the Palace Station Casino — All for one dish, the Pan Roast. Chef Ritter, after being approached by some customers went to venture off to open Steam Kettle Cooking in Orange County. Vegas was a long ways away, so Orange County was the next best thing. I was excited to finally try their famous Pan Roast.

Complimentary bread started us off. I made sure I didn’t get too full off of the bread. I of course made sure to save some to scrape up the pan roast bowl.

We started things off with the bacon wrapped shrimp. Shrimp wrapped in bacon, and I’m not ordering it? Please. The shirmp were molasses marinated with mozzarella. Though the mozzarella was lost, wrapping it in bacon did the trick. The shrimp was a bit overcooked, but still had a nice taste to it. Served with molasses mustard on the side, this was a guilty and flavorful appetizer.

We ordered the red beans and rice, which in hind sight, we should have just let it pass. The traditional southern red beans, rice, and andouille pork sausage was good together. The beans were flavorful and the “sauce” was quite good. We ordered it mild, but stupid me asked for a little bit of chopped habeneros. The spiciness did wonders for this somewhat boring dish, but the hot temperature mixed with the spicy habaneros were just too much to bear.

They gave us a bowl of New England clam chowder, on the house. It was rich and creamy, but I felt it was missing something. The clams were plump and the soup was thick. I think a little bit of cracked black pepper would have done much for this bowl. My taste buds were probably singed off by the habaneros at this point.

Ritter’s famous pan roast was worth it. Pan roast is a tomato and cream based creole dish. The rich flavors was such a comfort to me. It was like eating a hearty bowl of curry rice, but not. The creamy tomato mixed with green peppers, onions and celery gave a nice balance. The shrimp, crab, clams, and lobster gave a nice roundabout seafood flavor. We kept the spice level to a mild, but adventurous eaters can choose from a spicy level 1 – 10. The jasmine rice mixed in the pan roast was just a perfect dish.

Ritter’s was an awesome spot to enjoy dinner. The Pan Roast is a must order as it is their signature dish. Nobody comes here for the beans and rice. Nobody comes here for the bacon wrapped shrimp. You come here for the pan roast. That rich comforting bowl of seafood essence and rice was just too nice. No more needing to drive all the way to Vegas for this bad boy. Slowly, they are setting up shop in Orange County.

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This was the first time eating at one of Emril Lagasse’s restaurants. The celebrity chef that started it all is taking on the great American steakhouse in Las Vegas called Demonico Steakhouse. It is inside the Venetian, and the space is quite unassuming and not flashy at all. It is as classic as can be. The food was classically delicious and I had an amazing time. As far as Vegas goes, the space was kind of boring, but the food spoke for itself.

The bread and butter was quite nice. The rolls were normal butter rolls, but the bread was so soft and buttery. Adding on some more salted butter, the bread was a decadent butter fest.

The best cut of them all, the reason why we are all here, is for this cut of beef. The bone in ribeye was cooked perfectly. Steakhouses all may seem the same, but there are good steakhouses and then there are amazing ones. Delmonico’s was indeed amazing. The beef was fatty and cooked perfectly medium rare. The bone flavored the meat ever so perfectly. The herb butter on top melted all over the steak and just flavored it even more. This was a perfect steak.

The sauteed mushrooms was key and much appreciated with this steak. It gave it a nice earthy aroma and paired well with the meat. The buttery mushrooms were seasoned nicely — this was as close to “veggies” as we got for the night.

The grits were amazing and took place of my usual mac and cheese order. The bacon on top put these grits on a new level of savory. The butter mixed in with the grits was so pure and magical. It had a nice bite to it, and the saltiness from the bacon went well with the somewhat mildly seasoned steak.

I am a creamed corn lover. Though it wasn’t as good as those prime rib restaurants, the creamed corn was welcomed with the ribeye. The sweetness from the corn and the saltiness from the cheese all mixed up with cream was just so comforting.

Thinking about what we just ate, I realized it was just over the top with butter, beef, cream, and fat. This is what Vegas is all about. Over the top? Check! Indulgence? Check! Without a single green in sight, this meal was just a beef and cream and butter fest. Do I regret it? Not at all. I believe after this meal, we went for some desserts and then hit the Craps table. It was indeed a good night.

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The Original Pantry Cafe – Breakfast, Done

by Franklin on September 3, 2014

I’ll make this short and simple. I will try to do this blog post a little differently — It will all be pictures less the words. The Original Pantry has been feeding Los Angeles for a long time now. Joining the likes of Downtown eateries Philippe and Cole’s, they are a landmark. The food is plenty and delicious and the diner is always busy. It is cash only. Enjoy the pictures.

Country Potatoes and Eggs.

Cheese Omelet and Potatoes

Pancakes

Plate of Bacon

I came here on the morning of my birthday. My breakfast literally kept me full until dinner time. I started the day right. Heck, I started the year right. Maybe I’ll make this a birthday tradition.

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The Egg and I – Fuel for the Morning

by Franklin on July 5, 2014

My last trip to Vegas was filled with cheap eats and golf. I think I’ve found the cheapest and tastiest breakfast spot in Las Vegas. Granted, it is way off the strip, but the price can’t be beat, and the breakfast here was exactly what I was looking for. The Egg and I had a diner feel, something that oozes good breakfast food. Most of the items fell under 10 bucks, and it came with a lot of food. This was exactly what we needed to fuel our full round of golf.

I had the Catherine’s Scramble. It had four eggs scrambled with sliced chicken, mushrooms, spinach, feta cheese,
and artichoke hearts. The eggs were ok — something I can make at home. In hind sight, I should have ordered something else. Nonetheless, the scramble was delicious and cheesy. A little dash of their hot sauce and we were in business. With a side of their heavenly buttered rye bread, I was just munchin’ away.

I had a bite of their Eggs Benedict, something a buddy of mine always seems to order. The eggs were nicely cooked and the hollandaise was tasty. What sets this breakfast spot apart from the rest was their ranch potatoes. Cubed up and crispy from frying, the potatoes were like little cubes of French fries. The seasons on these I thing were addicting — a little salty, but good with the somewhat bland eggs. Maybe these are made with ranch seasoning mix? Whatever it was, it was delicious.

The banana nut bread French toast was a huge disappointment. A lover of all things French Toast, this one was much too dense and heavy. A good French toast should haves nice light crust on. The outside and a nice custards mixture on the inside. The banana nut bread is a poor choice for French toast. It was basically just 4 slices of banana nut bread that was cooked over the flat top. Not the restaurant’s fault at all — should have just went with the classic pancake or regular French toast.

Learn from my mistake. Do order something more complex than a scramble, and stay away from the cake/muffin style French toasts. Do get their ranch potatoes. It will make your morning. The Egg and I is a good spot for casual breakfast on the cheap. Our next mission is to get them closer to the strip.

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The best place to have breakfast is near the water. It is and has been a long time dream of mine to live near the water. I imagine waking up Saturday morning, walking or riding a bike with my family to our local cafe. The cafe wouldn’t necessarily over look the ocean, but it would be really close. The smell and the vibe of the ocean takes over and you have a relaxing breakfast. The cafe can’t be a Mecca either. No line. No hustle and bustle of waiters and patrons. Just a small cafe with no noise. After breakfast, a troll to the beach for a swim, and I am set. This to me is a perfect start to a Saturday morning. At Alta Coffee in Newport Beach, this dream felt close enough to reality.

I ordered the Bueno Bowl. It had layers with tortilla chips, black beans, potatoes, bacon, cheese, and scrambled egg. It was topped with salsa, and avocado and sour cream. This dish reminded me of Kamil’s Breakfast at Blu Jam Cafe, minus the pasta. The Mexican inspired bowl of breakfast items was a good balance of carb and protein. The bacon did a good job of flavoring everything, and the avocado did its job of bringing everything together. This was perfect with the help of their hot sauce, Gringo hot sauce. Surprisingly, it was a good mix of spices and had the right amount of tang. Props to the Gringo!

To keep up with the Hispanic theme, I ordered the South of the Border Omelette. The addition Ortega chilies, hominy, and jack / cheddar was an interesting mix. Garnished with salsa, sour cream and avocado to finish it off, the omelette was delicious and seemed healthier than most. The best part of this dish was the homemade toast with strawberry jam. Something about homemade bread is so comforting.

We finished things off with a dessert drink — toffee latte. Topped with whipped cream, chocolate, and toffee bits, the drink was sweet and hit the spot. The toffee bits were my favorite — I am sucker for anything that resembles caramel. The drink came in a mug that I would find at my own home. That kind of charm and character is hard to find nowadays.

Alta Coffee is just like in my dream. It is near the water, they serve awesome breakfast and great lattes. The weather was perfect, as was the food and service. I just felt like at home here. Too bad I had to get in my car, and drive really far to go home though. I guess the dream of waking up, walking toward the water and finding myself having the “regular” is a dream. The future is still far away — it’ll happen.

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La Grande Orange Cafe – Bacon Optional

by Franklin on August 1, 2013

It was a Monday night. I wasn’t in the mood for anything loud or crazy. I wanted something mellow and quiet. My old age has brought me to La Grande Orange Cafe in Pasadena — a somewhat under the radar, though not a hole in the wall restaurant, that is a bit on the boring side. The inside was interesting though. It had different rooms with different themes. Adjacent to the restaurant is the Metro Gold Line, Del Mar Station and some luxury apartments. The area certainly isn’t Old Town Pasadena. It’s quiet, a bit boring, and kind of nice.

The shredded kale and quinoa salad was refreshing and packed with nutrients. The crunch from the sunflower seeds was appreciated. Sweetness from the flame grapes and citrus from lemon was a nice combo. With a fresh shaving of parmesan, the salad was rich and flavorful, with a nice summer zest. Kale is slowing becoming my new favorite green.

Last year, brussel sprouts have been getting popular. Never having it in a salad, the Brussels sprouts salad was new and exciting to me. Manchego being one of my favorite cheese, the shaved aged manchego was the best thing for me. The sweet dried berries and smoked almonds were a great balance for this dish. The honey mustard vinaigrette was good, considering I am not a fan of sweet dressing; fortunately, it wasn’t swimming in dressing. Bacon on the salad was optional — I just laughed at that statement.

La Grande Orange Cafe is known for the deviled eggs. In hind sight, I should have just ordered it from the DineLA menu. These little bites were perfect. It had a great velvety texture with the right amount of spice and zing. A little drizzle of oil or something could have made them less dry though. Again, bacon was optional, and again, I chuckled.

It was a Monday, and my fiancé wanted a drink. Yes, we are making “its a Monday” as an excuse to drink. She ordered the white sangria, and it was refreshing — better than I expected. Though a girly drink, it was strong enough to enjoy and well, fruity enough to enjoy. The fresh peach was refreshing and cool.

I ordered the wood fire rotisserie chicken. Though kind of boring, the heirloom cannellini beans were a nice touch. The half chicken was a lot of protein to take in, especially the dry breast — dark meat was juicy and well seasoned. The fresh green beans had a nice crunch. A very “safe” dish, but still delicious.

I saw Prime Rib on the menu and had to take advantage. The prime rib was cooked nicely medium rare, though a bit on the rare side. Any less time in the oven, it would have been near raw beef. The mashed potatoes were a bit bland and boring, but the horse radish made everything lively. The green beans brought everything together.

I liked the olive oil cake. It had a very light, yet dense texture, in between a cake and a bread. The mild flavor mixed with the strawberry and vanilla sorbet was a good mix.

The red velvet cake was awesome. The multilayer of cake was nice to look at and fun to eat. Breaking off layer by layer, each cake and frosting mixture was pleasant. The vanilla ice cream was a nice touch. I mean, who doesn’t like cake and ice cream?

La Grande Orange Cafe was an interesting experience. Culinarily, it isn’t as exciting as most restaurants are. In fact, the restaurant is a bit boring. From the food, to the decor, and the wait service, nothing got me excited for anything. It was a Monday night, DineLA was going on, and we just wanted a quiet night together in Pasadena. The food was plenty and everything tasted as it should. The classic styling and menu will never go out of style.

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It was a clear black night, a clear white moon. Warren G was on the streets, trying to consume. Some skirts for the eve, so I can get some funk. Just rollin’ in my ride, chillin’ all alone. That was some regulators action for you. I always feel like the OC can use some more gangster rap. Anyways, before you think I’m getting all randon, it really was a clear black late night, and I was trying to consume…some food. For some reason, no Del Taco run or even In-n-Out would have quenched my craving. I was feeling like a sit down — something like bar food, but better. I wanted something clean, yet greasy, and maybe a nice drink to go with it. A gastropub was the perfect solution for this late night craving. Haven Gastropub in Orange, I was headed.



For the drink, I probably chose the most girly “beer” there was. The Woodchuck hard cider was the drink of the night. It really did taste like hard cider with a hint of apples and cinamon. The alcohol was barely present, yet it was such an interesting drink. I don’t know how that decision was made, but it was late. I was tired, hungry, and excited at the same time. Alcoholic hard cider? Why not?

We started things off with the fried pig ears. It seems like almost all gastropubs are doing it these days. The cartilagey, disgusting pig ear was cut up thin, fried to a crisp and glazed with a tangerine and fresno chili glaze. The once soft flesh now was a sweet and crispy mound of deliciousness. It was crispy, crunchy, and chewy all at the same time. The sweetness of the glaze and the heat from the fresno chilies was a perfect balance. Though some might get turned off by the pig ears part, eatings these were a joy. Just think of it as fried pig skin, which it is, and you will be just fine.

Every gastropub has to have a great burger. If the burger sucks, the whole menu fails in because of it. I was happy to have the Haven Burger perfectly cooked with the perfect ingredients. My favorite was the pickled red onions. It played the role of the crunch as well as the acidity of the burger. Biting into the fatty meat, the pickling of the onions helped cleanse the grease. It seems like arugula is a must on all gourmet burgers, and I can see why. The earthy tones and the somewhat neutral, yet bitter taste of the wild arugula helps counter the richness of the dish. The cheese was my favorite — blue cheese. It wasn’t just any blue cheese — this was Saint Agur blue cheese, from France — the fancy stuff. I mean, blue cheese, arugula, and pickled onions on a burger? Thats a recipe for success. the patty was thick and succulent, the bread was a perfect choice

Have you ever had a salad and was like “Snap, this is freaking bomb!”? No? Me neither. Who eats salads anyways? Well, my burger came with a salad and i was bomb! Probably one of my favorite salads to date, not that I have a lot of salads to compare it to. The radicchio and frisee were bitter which was a perfect vessel to soak up all the truffle vinnagerrete. The pop of the cherry tomatoes and the chevre made a good combination. The chevre had an awesomely smooth texture that gave the salad a nice silkiness. My favorite in this salad was the twice smoked bacon lardons and the poached cage free egg on top. Who doesn’t like eggs and bacon, especially when the bacons are twice smoked lardons? The fatty salty bacon mixed with the creaminess of the chevre and acidity of the vinnegarrete made a perfect balance in flavors. This is the best salad I had in a while. And it sure has been a while.

The duck confit poutine pomme frites — a lot of gastropubs are doing it, and it seems like a simple dish to make, but I never had one that was amazing. I am a guy who likes the simplicity of just thick french fries dipped in brown gravy, like the ones from The Hat. The duck gravy in this dish was nice, but it was too thick, and didn’t taste like much of anything. The duck confit was nicely cooked, but some pieces of the meat were left overcooked and dry. The pomme frites were nice and crunchy, and salted to a perfection. I thnk if the gravy was more savory, it would have been a home run.

I love a good mac and cheese. The gooey factor alone can leave me feenin’ for this stuff after a bad day. I sure was happy to have ordered the mac and cheese here. The black truffles alone were a nice touch. It gave such a depth of flavor unattainable without it. A perfect mix of gruyere, fontina, and parmesan, interlaced between each noodle had perfect consistency and flavor. The crust of panko on top wasn’t my favorite, but nothing with panko really is. This dish of mac and cheese was good, but I felt like something was missing. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but I felt it needed some kind of spiciness or textural difference. At the end of the day, it was a pretty standard bowl, saved by the little truffles that it did have.

My time at Haven Gastropub was awesome. The atmosphere was relaxing and fun, and having a drink, eating good food was just what I needed. Things that stood out the most was their selection in craft beers. I’m no beer officionato, but their beer list was unique and diverse — any beer lover would enjoy it here. Opening in 2009, Haven in Orange received some great accolades — OC Weekly named it the best new restaurant in 2009. Still a pup, the restaurant expanded to Pasadena as well. Whether you are in the OC or in LA, chillin’ with a beer and good food is covered.

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Nate’s Korner is small, hidden, and though closer to Irvine than anything, it is in Santa Ana. It’s in the middle of nowhere, and that is what I like about it. It all started with Qwik Korner, a nice little convenience store. They then ventured out next door and made Nate’s Korner. Popular for their breakfast sandwiches and burritos, I was excited to try it. Entering the small establishment, I ordered my sandwich and burrito and went next door. There, I bought some drinks and snacks, and I was on my way.

The sandwich was impressive. The bread was soft and cut thick. It had a crusty, but not too hard crust, and the white was soft as clouds. The ham was fresh and and the egg was cooked nicely. The melted cheese was gooey and coated the eggs nicely. I know. I can whip this up at home in 5 mnutes. For some reason, theirs was just a tad tastier. It must have been that thick fluffy bread.

Nate’s Korner is a special place in Orange County. It’s a small little kitchen with a convenient store right next door. They specialize in breakfast sandwiches and burritos. Their breakfast burrito was amazing as well. Filled with bacon, potatoes, egg, and cheese, the burrito was hearty and delicious. Everything about it was filling. One thing that it did need was a little more seasining . Adding a little hot sauce did the trick. Though it isn’t a popular spot where lines go outside the door, the food is simple and filling. Yeah, stuff like this I can make at home, but any time you need your breakfast fix away from home, Nate’s got it for you.

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The hot dog — it is such a simple thing, and everyone loves them. For me, I always liked it simple. A nice steamed bun, good quality all beef dog, and a little bit of mustard and onions – simple and delicious is all I needed. No ketchup please. Once I met Dog Haus in Alhambra, it all changed. I realized, new waves are coming through and my old school classic hot dog combination was no longer king. Dog Haus makes some crazy creations with both their hot dogs and burgers. Burgers being a close cousin to the hot dog, it was naturally an item on their menu. The best part about Dog haus is that their hot dog and hamburger buns are all made from King’s Hawaiian bread. Genius! The familiar bread rolls mixed with awesome ingredients make for good eats.

My whole life, all I knew was mustard and onions. Dog Hauses Old Town Dog changed my life and it changed the way I see hot dogs. This massive thing had a bacon wrapped 1/4 lb. dog, caramelized onions, sautéed spicy peppers, chipotle mayo, cotija cheese. Not only was it large in size, it was huge in flavor. The bacon wrapped hot dog was so LA, and so delicious. Smothered in caramelized onions, and spicy peppers, it had a nice crunch and bite to it. The chiopotle mayo gave it a nice smokey flavor and the cotija cheese was a nice touch in my opinion — it gave it that nice salty flavor and made everything perfect.

Put blue cheese on a burger, and call me happy. Add bacon on top of that, and you own me. The Blutarsky hands down has to be the best burger they offer. It’s not on their regular menu yet but I hope they put it on the menu permanently — this burger is bomb, my favorite Dog Haus burger hands down. I’m just a sucker for blue cheese, maybe that’s why. But this burger, with the patty, bacon, bleu cheese, and arugula, it has a great flavor. DO TRY. Blutarsky from Animal House, John Belushi’s character had a lot to do with this thing I suppose. Nonetheless, if you are a blue cheese fan, and a bacon lover, and just a fan of a good burger, get this one.

At Dog Haus, you can kind of guess that they like to do things a little different. They have fries, but why get regular fries when you can get tater tots! Yeah. Remember those yummy little nuggets of crunchy, greasy potato clusters? They got those! You can even put them in your pocket and eat them later (Napoleon Dynomite). All kidding aside, the tots were too reminiscent of elementary cafeteria days that they were impossible to dismiss. They were crunchy and crispy. I even dipped it in ketchup, and I’m not even a fan of ketchup. I guess holding onto that memory as a kid was more important.

Dog Haus is an awesome spot. Their food is familiar done in a radical and new way. I mean, the King’s Hawaiian buns are amazing in it of itself. The flavors are on point and the price is just right. Come here for exactly that — the Blutarsky, Old Town Dog, and tots. What more can you ask for?

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Fogo de Chão translate in Portuguese as “Fire Ground”. Such a fitting name when you are talking about meat cooked with direct fire. When you think of Brazilian BBQ, Churrascaria in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills to be exact, Fogo de Chao comes to mind. If you put endless quality meats together with Beverly Hills, you know its going to be expensive. Taking advantage of the Dine LA menu, you save nearly 20 bucks a person. Not only do you get to eat all the meat you want, but well, I guess that’s it. Bottom line, its a buffet, but nothing like the cheapy-deapy stuff. I tend do eat everything and anything that is served at buffets, so I had to strategize. Not a lot of carbs, just meat. You and your green on one side, red on the other coaster, and your meat. My coaster was on green for a while, meaning, bring on the meat! The servers made sure I had the cut of meat I wanted. Servers with swords came by and carved away at the perfectly cooked meats — think meat skewers for a T-Rex. I got lucky and always had the outer crust — that’s where all the flavor is. Green means go — I was ready to eat.

Speaking of strategy, the restaurant has their own game plan — get guests full on breads and carbs. As am appetizer, they serve some pão de queijo, the bread. Freshly baked and warm, they were so chewy and gooey in the middle with a nice milky flavor. You can easily eat too much of these and leave no room for the meat. Be careful. To add to this carbohydrage stomach filler, they give three sides — garlic mashed potatoes, crispy fried polenta, caramelized bananas. They even offer more sides of rice, beans, and forofa upon request. Wanting the meat, I forewent the extra sides. My favorite were the crispy polenta. It tasted like large sheets of french fries with a crunch like no other. The caramelized bananas were great in between meats — It helped keep the taste buds alive, going back and forth from savory to sweet. The sides were delicious and plenty, but I made sure not to over do it.

Brazilian Barbecue restaurants have a lot of signature meats. Bellow are some of the popular meats served:

Picanha: This is their Top Sirloin. The meat is very tender and lean with a nice fat layer encapsulating the meat.

Alcatra: This is also their Top Sirloin. This had a strong beef flavor, probably the most of the group.

Filet Mignon: Of course, this was one of my favorites. Not wrapped in bacon like other Churrascarias, this one was the purest and cleanest beef of the bunch. Though very lean, it was very juicy. It was the softest of them all and it melted in your mouth.

Ancho: This is the Rib Eye. One of my favorite cuts of beef, this was one of my favorites. It had a good balance of fat and meat. It was cooked perfectly.

Fraldinha: This is the Bottom Sirloin. The meat was tender as well but had more marbled fat within the meat. I liked this far more that the Picanha.

Cordeiro: This is the Lamb. I am not much of a lamb fan. They cooked it well enough to make it juicy and not so gamey.

Frango: This is the Chicken. On the bone, the flavor was clean and of the highest quality. It was cooked nicely with a tasty seasoning on the outside. It was a nice pair with the Linguica.

Linguica: This is the Sausage. It had a nice snap with the natural casing. The sausage was salty and not too fatty. It was perfect with the chicken.

Fogo’s salad bar was impressive as well. Ranging from vegetables, salads, cheeses, salumi, sauces, and more, they were perfect pairings with the meat. Some of the things that stood out were the endive, cheeses, and bacon. Yes, they had a whole bowl full of fried bacon. Any buffet with a large bowl full of bacon is fine by me. Another thumbs up for me was the whole Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese wheel. This was the real stuff, from Italy. It was great with the prosciutto and the meat. All of the vegetables and cheeses were great with the meat.

The Dine LA menu has changed since the past. Fogo was a few bucks cheaper and gave dessert at the end of the meal. Though the dessert was taken off the menu, it was still a great deal. The meat was amazingly tasty and generously seasoned. The sides and salad bar was fresh and good quality. When you dine at Fogo, you are eating like Kings. Thanks to Dine LA and Restaurant Week, I could do it for cheap(er). Any carnivore like myself can appreciate Brazilian BBQ, but at the end of the day, it’s a buffet, a mega chain that exists all over Brazil and United States. At the end of my meal, I got my money’s worth and felt I needed to take a shower. Covered in meat sweat and filled with grease, I was satisfied.

Carnivores 1 / Vegetarians 0

Fogo de Chão on Urbanspoon

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After having my first Dog Haus experience at the Alhambra location, I had to see the place where they serve alcohol. The vibe inside is geared towards the drinking crowd. There were TVs everywhere, it’s dark, and there was alcohol everywhere. Not a big drinker by any means, I took advantage of their happy hour menu. I came here for the delicious sliders. I mean, making sliders on King’s Hawaiian bread is pretty standard nowadays, but Dog Haus seems to get it right each time.

Their sliders are so simple, but so delicious. I crave them. With only a beef patty, cheese, mayo, and grilled onions, these mini burgers don’t seem special, but they are. The beef patty is fully cooked all the way through, something I usually dislike. Surprisingly, the meat still retained its juciness. It was the juciest well done burger ever! You must be thinking to yourself, “well, that means it has a lot of fat”. Well, yes it was greasy, and it was delicious. The grilled onions were perfect as it gave it a nice crunch and savory flavor. Topped off with melted cheese, it was gooey and crunchy perfection — with a little mustard inside of course.

I was intrigued by their Grand Slam dog, so I ordered one. If the name doesn’t give it away, the Grand Slam dog is their rendition of a breakfast style hot dog. With bacon, hot dog, tater tots, and an egg, the whole thing was pretty much breakfast on top of a hot dog. It was tasty on its own, but together wasn’t anything special. The egg was awkward just sitting on top, and the bacon and hot dog clashed a bit. The addition of the tater tots, which were soggy inside, was just too much starch. A little sauce could have helped a lot on this, maybe I should have put some ketchup on top. I know, I hate putting ketchup on a hot dog. Maybe my stubbornness made this one not as tasty, but I will never put ketchup on a hot dog. Never!

One interesting thing I had was the sweet potato tots. If the name doesn’t suggest it enough, these are tater tots made with sweet potato. Genius! If sweet potato fries are popular, sweet potato tots are sure to be a hit. You know how sweet potato fries are never really that crunchy? The story doesn’t change for the tots. Though fried, it still never got crispy on the outside like their normal tater tots. It was a bit mushy and wet inside. The taste was very mild — not too sweet, not too savory. A nice sauce, maybe ranch or some kind of cinnamon pumpkin dip would have been perfect. Still worth a try I guess.

Having a Dog Haus in Alhambra was a blessing. I mean, yes, it is only a few minutes away, but the drive to Pasadena can be annoying. When you are in need of a drink though, Dog Haus Biergarten is the only one that serves alcohol. The atmosphere and vibe there is more about drinks than food, which isn’t a bad thing. They offer the same goodness as Dog Haus in Pasadena and Alhambra, but with the convenience of a bar. I’m sure there are a lot of happy hungry people out there.

Dog Haus Biergarten on Urbanspoon

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Firefly – Snack Time With a Little Tapas

July 11, 2012

It seems to be that everywhere you go, tapas is the hot new topic. Small plates are awesome. You can have as many plates as you want, and variety makes us all happy. You don’t have to order 1 dish and be stuck with it. If you order one wrong dish, you at least have […]

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Lola Gaspar – With Santa Ana’s Arts District Comes Gastronomy

June 25, 2012

Santa Ana is going through a great urban renovation. Old buildings are being turned into offices, condos and restaurants. At the Santa Ana Arts District, the streets look more lively it seems like. Starting in the mid 90’s, the artists rented out undesired buildings as workspace. Soon after, the area saw a growth in artists […]

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Gburger – The Kitchen Sink Almost Makes the Cut

May 18, 2012

There comes a time when you turn from a boy to a man. For me, that time was when I ordered an actual meal from McDonald’s instead of a happy meal. As a kid, the happy meal was the obvious choice. You got your burger and fries with a drink, and a toy to play […]

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Monkey Business Cafe – Good for the Tummy, Good for the Community

March 22, 2012

I passed by this place many times, and it never appealed to me as a nice place to eat. The outside doesn’t look like a restaurant, and the word monkey doesn’t sound tasty. There is something special about Monkey Business Cafe — they are for non-profit. All of their proceeds go to Hart Community Homes. […]

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Nickel Diner – Downtown Urbanites Get A Taste Of Hometown Charm

March 6, 2012

Downtown Los Angeles is full of history and good food.  Nickel Diner is popular amongst the urbanites as a breakfast spot, though they serve lunch and dinner as well.  Located in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles, and neighboring the Skid Row Housing Trust, the atmosphere can cause a bit off-putting.  Anyone not used to […]

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Auntie Em’s Kitchen – Uber Thin Chocolate Chip Cookies and Red Velvet Cupcakes

February 13, 2012

I remember watching The Food Network with Duff Goldman from Ace of Cakes. He did a feature on Los Angeles in the show Sugar High. He visited Auntie Em’s Kitchen in Eagle Rock and tried these really thin chocolate chip cookies. Since then, I have been itching to visit this place and try the cookies, […]

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