Seafood

Slapfish – Chowder My Fries

by Franklin on August 10, 2017

In a fast casual setting, Slapfish is all about being fresh and fast. They are all about fine dining with the price of something along the lines of Rubio’s (think California Fish Grill). The environment was clean and reminded me of a beachside local spot. We didn’t necessarily get there really early, but the restaurant was empty. Is this usually a good indication of bad food?

The lobster toast was on the house — after check-in. The itty-bitty toast had lots of flavor. The lobster flavor was masked by the spices and may mixture, but still had a blast of flavor. It was a good teaser to our seafood filled lunch.

The chowder fries were a hit. The fries were nice and thick, though I would have liked them more crispy. The clam chowder and bacon was just an intense richness that I enjoyed with the fries. Sprinkling on some Old Bay, though salty was a nice seafood factor that I enjoyed. The creamy chowder and fries were nice, and the crispy bacon just put everything on a porky note. You can’t go wrong if you put bacon on top of it all.

I am not a fan of grilled fish tacos, but this really changed my palate. The grilled fish in it of itself was so pure. It was grilled perfectly and would have eaten it all on its own. Placed in a taco, with cabbage, micro greens and sauce was just perfect. The thing was basically a fresh fish salad with some dope ingredients inside a fresh tortilla. I prefer the fried fish tacos, but this really changed my thoughts on fish tacos.

SlapFish - A Modern Seafood Shack on Urbanspoon

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A.O.C. – Still one of my Favorites

by Franklin on June 24, 2017

A.O.C. continues to be my favorite restaurant in Los Angeles. The food price is right around my budget, new space is larger and has so much character. Suzanne Goin is a legend in LA, and A.O.C. stands on its own. I still remember the day I went to their first location. The food was still memorable, and left me wanting more from the city. Here is the link to the older A.O.C., and back when I was starting this food blog.

The farmer’s plate was so vibrant and hearty. It is exactly what I imagine a farmer would eat. Whatever there was plenty of, grill it, pair it with some nice bread and call it a meal. The summer vegetables included squash and eggplant. the chicpea puree, muhammara, burrata, and grilled toast gave the dish the added flavor and vibrance. I am a meat-eater at heart, but this vegetable plate made me a vegetable lover.

Another healthy and flavorful dish was the grilled peaches, ricotta, and pistachio aillade. The ricotta and grilled peaches were so good together. Adding the pistachios and greens just gave it a nice balance of crunch and bitterness. This was my favorite of the night.

The arroz negro is a classic here and I always get this dish. The squid was cooked so perfectly tender and the saffron aioli rounds out the whole dish perfectly. The green onion gives a nice balance to the rich squid ink and rice.

The halibut dish was spectacular. Paired with tomato, dungeness crab, and horseradish creme fraiche, everything was creamy and fresh. Seafood done simply is all that is required. The acidity from the tomatoes gave the dish a nice bite and contrast from the buttery fish and sea salty crab.

The location is so perfect and steps upon steps better than their last location down the street. The outdoor seating is some of the best in Los Angeles, and the Spanish architecture is prevalent throughout the restaurant. The food is always consistently perfect here and I always come back. I hate going to the same restaurants over and over, but at A.O.C., I don’t mind it much.

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EMC Seafood – Oyster and All for Happy Hour

by Franklin on February 20, 2015

EMC Seafood seems like a fish out of water in K-Town, pun intended. With a clean cut interior and a fresh menu of seafood offerings, there is no smidgen of K-Town funk. Don’t get me wrong — as a Korean with a love/hate relationship with Koreatown, restaurants in this part of town seem to replicate each other. You have your typical Korean bar/restaurants, numerous BBQ spots, and everything in between. EMC seafood is refreshing and a beam of light for future things to come.

We started things off with a dozen oysters. At a dollar a pop during happy hour, I don’t know why I didn’t get more. The oysters were plump, juicy, and fresh. Topping them with the various sauces, or having them raw, oysters are always enjoyable. No, seriously though. Why didn’t I order more?

The soft shell crab sliders were pretty ok, not the best. I felt the bread somehow overpowered everything. I know from the looks of it, the crab is hanging out from the sides of the bread. For some reason, the soft shell crab lacked flavor. Maybe salting it more or spicing up the batter would have helped a bit. It really didn’t stand out and was the most underwhelming dish of the night.

The lobster roll was quite delicious. The lobster was plenty but didn’t seem cooked recently. Lobster is usually a bit firm, succulent, and has a nice bite to it. The lobster here was a bit flaccid and somewhat flavorless. Maybe it was the lack of mayo. It just needed something extra. Even the crispness of a lime or lemon would have done wonders. I would probably stay away from the lobster roll next time.

The uni pasdta is a favorite of mine. Though the pasta sauce was a bit watery and the uni flavor was not prominent. Still though, uni pasta is uni pasta, and uni is delicious. The spaghetti was cooked nicely al dente, and nice big sliver of uni was great. I think honing down the sauce and making it more robust would do wonders for this dish.

For Koreatown though, EMC is a great spot for seafood. The flavors and ingredients are fresh and it is one of the premiere spots in Koreatown that isn’t your typical “K-Town” flair.

EMC Seafood & Raw Bar on Urbanspoon

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Best Fish Taco in Ensenada – Baja Style

by Franklin on February 17, 2015

It is Tuesday! That, for me means tacos! What is not to love about a taco? When you have the perfect tortilla, the perfect fillings of meat, veggies and sauce, it is so delicious. Fish tacos are hard to come by. It’s easy to get a carne asada taco right, but to get a good fish taco, everything needs to be balanced. The batter needs to be light, and the fish, fresh. It goes without saying the tortilla and sauces need to be equally perfect. If one thing is off, the whole thing can be ruined. At Best Fish Taco in Ensenada (yes, that is the name of the restaurant), the bold statement of the name really holds true. In short, their fish tacos are delicious!

I liked the fish came straight out of the fryer. They give you just the tortilla and fish, and you dress it the way you like. From regular salsa to specialties like mango, pineapple, avocado guac salsa, the toppings are plenty. Putting the amount of salsa and crema I like, it made for the perfect fish taco just the way I like. The fish was fresh and tender, and the batter was just right. The shrimp taco was good too, but I favored the fish more.

To name your restaurant as being “the best” is a bold statement. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that these are the best fish tacos in LA, but they are quite delicious. The plan is simple. Make the fish fresh and let the customer top it off however they like. Their prices are low, and quality is high. With these simple ingredients, it is no wonder why it’s so tasty.

Best Fish Taco in Ensenada on Urbanspoon

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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.

Ritter's SKC on Urbanspoon

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POT – Hot POT

by Franklin on September 29, 2014

Chef Roy Choi owns the Line Hotel as far as eating goes. With POT, Pot Cafe, and Pot Bar, and now the newly opened Commissary, Roy Choi definitely is taking over the food scene. With the opening of the Line Hotel and POT, there was a lot of buzz. Working in Koreatown, I tend not to eat around there. I have my reasons. Finally though, I was able to eat at POT and see what all the fuss is about. Way late in the game, I know. Better late than never.

Named POT, Chef Roy Choi is definitely referring to marijuana. Though he is referring to POT as being the hot pot restaurant that it is, there are plenty of references to marijuana inside the restaurant. You just have to come in and see. The space was a lot more casual than I thought. It honestly reminded me of the Koreatown PLaza food court in the 90’s. Maybe that’s what Chef Choi had in mind? Nonetheless, it was interesting.

We started things off with a trio of Korean side dishes. The kimchi was a bit sweet for some reason, but the sprouts were fresh tasting — almost refreshing. I really liked the marinated green onions. Again, the metal dish reminded me of Koreatown mall food courts.

Upon my buddy’s request, we ordered the potato pancake. I sure was glad we ordered this dish. The pancake was so crispy on the edges, it was insane. I like dipping it in the soy sauce concoction. It was exactly how my mom would make it. The potato pancake had a great flavor, but the crispy texture put it over the top.

The Beep Beep, Uni Dynamite rice bowl has been circulating around Instragram and Yelp since the dish became popular. Honestly, the pictures make it look like a huge bowl of rice and uni. When it came out, I was kind of bummed out, but thats what internet does to you. The flavor of this dish was quite intense, and so much so that the flavors of the uni was a bit lost. All of the other flavors really took away from the unique taste of the uni. I am an uni enthusiast, and this dish, though flavorful did not do it for me. I did like the crispy rice on the edges and the unique flavors, but a simpler approach might have been better.

Of course at POT, we had to order a hot pot. We opted for the Jamal Wilks, a seafood hot pot mix of silky tofu, shrimp, clams, mussels, kimchi, scallions, pork belly, and eggs. The seafood was fresh and had lots of seafood essence. The broth was intense with flavors, like it had too much flavor. The soup was thick and almost mudded with spices and ingredients. The small, which was $37, was actually pretty huge. I think it would have been big enough for about 4 people. I cannot justify the cost as I could get a nice personal bowl of seafood tofu soup at BCD for less than 10 bucks. I did finally find the little bits of pork belly inside which was delicious. The broth though was over flavored, and it had a nice depth of flavor. Not saying it as a positive or negative, but just as a matter of fact.

POT was an interesting experience. I think seeing it online and on the blogs before I finally experienced it for myself ruined it. I had such huge expectations for this place, and ultimately, my expectations were not met. Maybe my expectations were unrealistically high? I am not sure, but I can’t find myself eating at POT again. The food was average and everything seemed to be over flavored. I know too much flavor seems like a good thing, but it wasn’t in this case.

Pot on Urbanspoon

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Greek food is often times overlooked. Everyone goes for Italian, or the all time classic burger, but Greek is always not given a second chance. On a recent trip to Kentro Greek Kitchen, I was surprised by the look and feel of the restaurant. The ordering system is similar to that of Panera Bread. You order first, get your number, then the food comes out. Despite this fast casual concept, the restaurant is elegant and classy all around. From the food and the staff, everything is top notch. Greek food was never overlooked again.


We started things off with the calamari saganaki. Typically a lover of fried calamari, I didn’t mind this one was not. Bathing in a perfect tomoato sauce, the calamari was succulent and tasty. It was cooked just right — soft as can be. The addition of the sharp tasting feta, it was a perfect match. The bread was hearty and a perfect blank slate for the saganaki. This was perfect to get things going.


The Manouri flatbread was probably my favorite. The flatbread had arugula, figs, oregano, attiki honey, and olive oil. The best part of this flatbread is the imported manouri cheese. Manouri, a by-product following the production of feta is a perfect ingredient for this dish. It was light and the flavors were very subtle and a hint of salty. Paired with the very sweet figs and attiki honey, the sweet and savory balance was perfect.


My go to item at Kentro is the lamb sandwich. It is cheap, and you get a hearty meal out of it. The lamb in the sandwich is soft and flavored heavily. The combination of the sweet peppers and bitter arugula make a nice contrast in flavors. The crusty bread soaks up all the ajus and makes for a nice, easy bite of everything in between. The Kentro fries are pretty spot on as well. Peppery and salty, it is a nice sidekick to the near perfect lamb sandwich.


Kentro in Downtown Fullerton is a great place to have Greek food. It is casual, the price is just right, and the decor inside is quite nice. From flatbreads to sandwiches, to pita wraps, they have it all and all of it tastes great. Whenever I am in Fullerton, Kentro is my go-to place.

Kentro Greek Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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Sushi Stop – Snack Time

by Franklin on April 9, 2014

You got to love the Sushi Stop for their logo. A spoof on the Game Stop stores, Sushi Stop’s signage really makes your do a double take. It looks like Game Stop, but it says sushi. Well the signage worked, and I did stop by for some sushi. The best part? Everything is $2.75. Score! I just stopped by to get a few cheap bites of sushi. I didn’t have much cash, as they are a cash only joint.

I ordered the spicy tuna roll, and yellowtail with truffle oil hand roll. Both were pretty decent for a quick and cheap sushi joint. The rice, the most important part of sushi in my opinion, was better than most. Still, it wasn’t the best tasting rice — it was a bit overcooked and had a sticky consistency. The fish was fresh and tasty though. Never have I ever had sushi with truffle oil. The yellow tail and hint of truffle taste was interesting. I didn’t necessarily think the flavors were needed, but interesting nonetheless. I did want to try mixing truffles and soy sauce. I think that will have an interesting body and taste. Something to consider for the future. If it starts getting popular, you heard it first here!

Sushi Stop was a fun experience. The food came out quickly, and the price was amazing. The little snack cost only about 6 bucks, cash only. Not bad at all. For a fast casual sushi joint, the quality of the fish was quite nice. Honestly, I tried this place only because the name intrigued me. I literally stopped for sushi, and it was good.

Sushi Stop on Urbanspoon

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On a recent trip to Vegas, one of the locals had a craving for Hot N Juicy. Already a Boiling Crab fan, I had little hopes for this place. The friend swears that “Hot N Juicy is better than Boiling Crab.” That is all I needed to hear, and I was on board. Before you read on, before you drop everything and head to your nearest Hot N Juicy, I will tell you right now. Go to Boiling Crab.

I won’t lie, I was a bit excited. To imagine something better than Boiling Crab was beyond me. Two things were telling of things otherwise. One, the wait was only 15 minutes, not 2 hours. Two, the smell inside was fragrant, but not in your face. These two minor details should have been telling enough. Still, I was hopeful, and hungry.



We ordered a bunch of stuff. The shrimp, clams, Dungeness crab, and sausage were all fresh and tasty. But honestly, we go to Boiling Crab for the whole shebang right? Theirs, named Hot N Juicy, was really tasty. It had a nice heat to it and the flavor was there. In the bag, it was more of a soupy sauce instead of a thick pasty sauce at Boiling Crab. This made little or less flavor to cling onto the shrimp and food. Even the corn just tasted like corn. None of the goodies really stuck to the corn. After, eating, my hands didn’t have any garlic stink, nor did my clothes. What was going on?

After the fact, I learned that Las Vegas has Boiling Crab, and that LA/OC has Hot N Juicy. There goes my eating in Vegas rule of never eating anything I can eat back home. I don’t know how deep the rivalry goes, but honestly, nothing can beat Boiling Crab. After coming back home, I had Boiling Crab after a week or so, and it was delicious. Yes, I waited over an hour, and yes I smelled like garlic and spices, but man was it delicious.

Hot N Juicy Crawfish on Urbanspoon

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Mamita Peruvian Restaurant – Bimmer or Benz?

by Franklin on October 29, 2013

When you think of Peruvian, I don’t know about you, but I think of Mario’s in Los Angeles. It is almost the perfect food. You have tender beef, amazing rice, and fried potatoes, all with a spicy creamy green sauce that is too addicting for your own good. I was craving this while I was in Glendale, and needed my Peruvian fix. I found Mamita Peruvian Restaurant situated between the Mercedes Benz and BMW dealership on Brand. A bit odd and out of place, the restaurant seemed to have a certain quality to it. It was for me to try it out and see what this place had to offer.

To test the two, I ordered exactly what I would order at Mario’s.

Of course, I had to order the lomo saltado. The beef strips, stir fried with fries, onions, tomatoes was served with rice. Though the beef was a bit dry and not as “greasy,” the food was still quite good.

To share, we ordered the Jalea de mariscos. Seafood is tastiest fried. On the platter was fried fish filet, topped with fried calamari, criolla salsa, and fried shrimp. Again, the seafood was great, but the crisp and batter was a bit lacking. Mario’s has a nice crisp and perfect seasoning throughout. Mamita’s had nice selection of seafood, but the batter was sub-par. With anything fried, if the batter isn’t good, the whole dish suffers.

Aside from beef, I like to get the saltado de calamares. Stir fried with calamari, fries, onions, and tomatoes, the dish was tasty. The rice was a bit lacking here. It tasted more of regular white rice — no flavor really. The ingredients seemed too separated. Nothing really brought it together. All the ingredients were just there for eating.

I had to order the Peruvian style chicken fried rice. It always comes out like I would make it — something I can make at home. It even tastes like someone Korean made it. It has bits of egg, rice, chicken, and has a hint of soy sauce and light sesame oil. I am not really particular to this dish, nor do I crave it. I just order it because it reminds me of home.

What makes peruvian food great is the aji verde sauce – the green sauce that is so spicy and creamy. Mamita’s verde sauce was subpar, unfortunately. It didn’t have the kick and spice that Mario’s green sauce has. This one was a bit milder, had a lot less seasonings, and a bit watery. The sauce is key in Peruvian food; that’s what made me fall in love with it.

Restaurant for restaurant, Mamita and Mario’s is pretty much a duplicate. The size, menu, price, and feel of the restaurant is the same. You get your bread and butter, verde sauce, and all the classic Peruvian dishes. Honestly, Mario’s does it a tad bit better, especially the important, all mighty green sauce, although, Mamita does do a good job. Blind fold me, and I think I can tell the difference between the two. Honestly though, if you are in Glendale, would you drive 30 minutes for Mario’s or go to Mamita and go shopping for Bimmer afterwards?

Mamita Peruvian on Urbanspoon

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Mastro’s to me is just another steak house. Just like Fleming’s or Morton’s and Ruth’s Chris, Morton’s offers a very classic steak restaurant. Visiting Vegas, I made a decision I shouldn’t have made. Not to say that going to Matro’s Ocean Club inside the Shops At Crystals was a mistake or a bad experience. I just have a dining out rule when I’m in Vegas. “If there’s one in LA or OC, don’t go there.” Well, I broke my rule, but it was all for a birthday celebration. I figured, I probably won’t be going to Mastro’s anytime soon, so might as well. And the bird’s nest really attracted me. I was really happy with my decision for the most part.

We started things of with bread service. They offered pretzel, crouton, baguette, dinner roll, and wheat bread. The breadbasket had variety all were quite good. My favorite was the pretzel — it was soft and airy.

I had some of the Caesar salad to start. I needed some kind of greens to soak up all that meat juice. Their Caesar salad was near perfect. The dressing was nice and creamy. The addition of parmesan cheese and cracked pepper made everything better.

I was ready for the main event, the 22oz bone in rib eye. The rib eye is one of my favorite cuts because of the even fat marbling and soft texture. Mine was cooked perfectly medium rare, though a bit more on the rare side. This actually caused the meat to be a bit tough. This cut did have some nice fat running through the steak. This helped with the tenderness and mouth feel of the meat. Even though this wasn’t the best steak I have had, the help of the amazing sides made it all better.

The real reason I came here wasn’t the steak. Well it is, and it isn’t. The real reason I came here was for the lobster mashed potatoes. I mean. It is Mastro’s Ocean Club — Ocean, meaning seafood is in order. This side dish was rich as can be — full of butter. I believe the potato to butter ratio is near 1 to 1. With a whole lobster tail carefully chopped up and placed in a pool of butter, the potatoes were creamy and flavorful. The pure essence of the sea was encased in butter, and mixed with potatoes. Eating this with steak was pure bliss. The kid in me wanted to order the mac and cheese. made with gorgonzola, the flavor was very rich. Another cream heavy and dairy heavy dish, the mac and cheese was delicious. My favorite was the layer of melted cheese on top.

My favorite was dessert. We were celebrating a birthday, so they gave us a chocolate birthday cake. The cake was rich in chocolate and eating just a few bites was enough for me. The best thing about this dessert was their home made whipped cream. Served on the side in a bowl, the homemade whipped cream was so dense and fluffy. The cold cream and the chocolate cake was a perfect mixture. Honestly though, the whipped cream was the best thing ever. I wanted to take it all home.

Eating at Mastro’s Ocean Club was a great experience. The location is a bit awkward. As you are enjoying your expensive meal inside an amazingly architectured “bird’s nest,” you look out and you see people shopping. That is cool and all, but you can’t help but think you are inside of a mall — Well, you are inside of a mall, and this Mastro’s makes sure you know that. I couldn’t help but think I was at a very glorified food court at a mall. When I eat at a nice establishment, I want to feel secluded from the world. I just didn’t get the at from here. The food is great, though as far as steakhouses go in Las Vegas, you can do a lot better. I guess I can only break my rule once. Never eat at Las Vegas where you can at home.

Mastro's Ocean Club on Urbanspoon

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We all know Gordon Ramsey. The ill tempered celebrity chef from England made a name for himself. When I think of him, he isn’t smiling or laughing. I think of angry eyes, wrinkles on the forehead, and fire coming out of his mouth. That imagery to me, is more laughable than scary. But truly, Gordon Ramsey did make a name for himself, literally. The guy names his restaurants after his name. Gordon Ramsey at The London, and this blog post, Gordon Ramsey Steak at Paris. You must be pretty full of yourself if you name your restaurants after your first name. If Gordon Ramsey has the audacity to put him name (again, literally) on his restaurants, he must be pretty confident in it. With that kind of thinking, I expect top notch flavors and cuisine.

Ramsey’s vision to transport you to the U.K. is accomplished through the “English Channel.” This is exactly what it does. You are transformed from Paris to the UK, just like the real thing! The inside really does transport you to England. The red accents and obviously, the U.K. flag gave it that ambiance.

Another thing that was cool was the beverage selection. The menu is on an iPad and guests can swipe through craft beers, wines, and cocktails. The price and drink description are all available. This was an experience in itself, which probably pushed me to order the Primm’s Cup.

The night started with a cocktail. The Primm’s Cup was the cocktail of choice. It had Primm’s No. 1 and sparkling lemonade. It had a complex flavor and wasn’t too sweet. It was spicy and had a fruity citric flavor. I wanted something with a little bite so that it went well with a steak. The Primm’s Cup wouldn’t be my first choice if it was enjoyed alone. For a meal though, I think this was a successful choice.

We were given complimentary bread. This was a good start — it was some of the best and most flavorful of restaurant complimentary breads. There was walnut bread; lemon, thyme, and olive focacia; and pancetta and mushroom truffle bread roll. This was accompanied with and English Devonshire butter with sea salt. If not the bread, this butter was amazing. It had a cheese like consistency and flavor. My ultimate goal now was to find English Devonshire butter back in L.A. A “shmeer” of this stuff on the bread was purely exceptional. The pop of the sea salt and the creamy butter was purely eventful in my mouth. Sometimes, all a man needs is good butter and good bread. This was surely a great start.

Another item I wanted to start off with was the bone marrow. A personal favorite at any restaurant, I was happy to see it on the menu. The fatty bone marrow on the crostini was delightful. The chimichurri was zesty and added the acidity to the dish. It was a perfect flavor meld of fat and fat.

The waiter came to our table with a display of steaks. All of the steaks were real, and displayed to show texture, and marbling. This was nearly useless to me as I was going to order the beef Wellington, but useful to others not knowing what to order. Table side presentation of steaks, as Wolfgang Puck’s CUT does it is an added wow factor. It is cool to see your steak as is before its cooked off.

My main dish of course, was the roasted Beef Wellington. Being Gordon Ramsey’s signature dish, I was overly excited to try it. Seeing up and coming, “red team, blue team” contestants mess this up time and time again, it was almost like a super star. The beef was cooked perfectly to a medium rare, and soft as ever can be. The beefy flavor was enhanced by the duxelles (mixture of minced mushrooms, onions, shallots, herbs, and butter) inside the flaky crust. Sitting on aside some root vegetables, potato puree, and a red wine demi glace, the entire dish was savory to a great degree. Steakhouses are one of many in Vegas, and the typical bone in ribeye was getting boring. I am glad I ordered and tried the Beef Wellington. Surprisingly, I liked it. Beef Wellington form Gordon Ramsey can now be checked off from the bucket list.

A perfect side dish was the mac and cheese. This may be one of my favorite mac and cheeses of all time! The combination of cheddar, blue cheese, parmesan, and truffle made this perfectly balanced taste. The cheese blend was unctuous and the noodles had a perfect texture. I normally prefer the southern style man and cheese — the one that is custardy and cheddar molested. Gordon Ramsey Steak’s mac and cheese impressed me a lot. I would take this over any other mac and cheese out there.

Another dish I couldn’t pass up was the Maine lobster. The chorizo stuffed Maine lobster was poached in butter. To top it all off, it sat in a pool of brandied lobster cream sauce. The lobster was cooked perfectly and had a nice chew to it. The chorizo wasn’t overpowering, and the lobster just shined. The rich butter and cream sauce was decadent and flavorful. I as expecting a small lobster piece of a tail, but it was quite large. Screw the steak! I’ll just eat this for protein.

And awesome dinner ended with an even more awesome dessert. From chocolate layer cake, to spiced caramel apple cake, it was a hard decision to make. I went with the sticky toffee pudding and never looked back. The waiter poured the brown sugar toffee over the sweet pudding cake. Glazed all over, the dessert was so sweet! The cake was moist and fluffy. What stood out was the brown sugar toffee. It was simple and devilishly addicting. I wanted to just pour that spout of toffee in my mouth. It was warm and gooey, and went perfectly with the brown butter ice cream. A bite of the warm sweet toffee pudding cake and then a bite of the creamy, not too sweet ice cream to wash it all down was so perfect. The end.

I was honestly expecting great things from Gordon Ramsey and his steak restaurant — for the most part, I got what I expected. The cuisine was top notch and the Beef Wellington was finally off my to do list. The atmosphere here is quite hip and loud. You aren’t going to get that quiet and mellow steak house with slow classical music playing in the background. You aren’t going to get neutral colors and very boring waiters. What you do get is a very fast paced, in your face experience. The loud red colors and people chatting and laughing fills the air. That’s just the vibe you get here. Gordon Ramsey’s steak house inside the Paris Resort is a destination. The Paris Resort was lacking in the quality restaurant department, and this one just set it to the top.

Gordon Ramsay Steak on Urbanspoon

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Mario’s Peruvian Seafood is so popular in Los Angeles. People wait in lines outside the small restaurant — the people just want their Lomo Saltado! I heard that the beef was better in the La Mirada location, so I had to give it a whirl. At first glance, I could tell this Mario’s used to be a Denny’s. Immediately I was turned off — and I know this may sound weird, but the fact that there wasn’t a wait was a turn off as well. Stupid, I know. It must be the Asian in me that wants to wait for the best of the best. I just needed to see what the difference was, and I mean, it’s Mario’s — it can’t be bad.

Of course, I had to order the lomo saltado. 1.) It’s Lomo Saltado; it’s a must. 2.) I am doing a beef taste comparison, remember? As Always, the sauteed beef with onions, tomatoes, and french fried potatoes were delicious. Greasy in just the right way, all the ingredients taste amazing with their seasoned rice. Drenched in the Aji verde sauce, each bite was creamy and spicy at the same time. It is a fact — the green sauce is addicting. As for the beef though, I don’t know if it was all psychological, but the beef did seem more tender. Less dry and more plump, the beef was probably the best part.

When eating at Mario’s, you should always get the jalea de mariscos. It is a seafood restaurant after all. A fried feast of Pacific red snapper, shrimp, squid, and potatoes, this large dish/appetizer is good for the whole group. Topped with onion salsa (I get mine on the side), the flavors are superb. The fried seafood are all cooked to a perfect crisp. Eating it with the onion slaw is a must — the acidity of the slaw and the onions make a nice palate cleanser for the greasy fried goodness. Of course, eating it with the Aji verde sauce is recommended.

Mario’s in Los Angeles is a go to spot. I always think about it, crave it, and come back to it. The prices have risen over the past few years, but even at that, it is a lot of food. Good food! The La Mirada location is no different. Don’t let the Orange County proximity or the former Deny’s facade fool you. This is as “Mario’s” as it gets. The food is on par, if not exceeds the Los Angeles location, and no wait. All you need to know about Mario’s is: Beef, Fried Seafood, Jamaica, and Green Sauce. Knowing those things, you are on your way to having a great meal.

Mario's Peruvian Seafood Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Driving to the back parking lot of Santa Monica Seafood, I wasn’t expecting much. The rear parking lot and subtle entrance had be fooled. I mean, that’s where the dumpster and all the fish guts are. If I had only just walked to the street entrance, I would have realized how judgmental I was being. Once I entered the market/restaurant, I was excited for the food — Center stage was a massive fish market. To one side you have every condiment under the sun for fish and seafood. On the other, you had a pretty legit oyster bar and dining area. Surrounded by seafood, I was hungry for something special.


We started off with clam chowder. It wasn’t a killer clam chowder — don’t let the “seafood market” thing fool you. It was a good bowl, creamy and thick, but the clams were a bit lacking. Also, the ingredients were different as well. It wasn’t just purely cream, oysters and potatoes. It also contained carrots and peppers which I didn’t really appreciate. I am a purist when it comes to clam chowder — the less the amount of added ingredients, the better.

I never really order salmon at restaurants (I have my reasons). The spicy salmon burger looked appetizing enough for me to order it. With a sesame roll holding everything together, the salmon burger tasty. With cucumber, organic greens, and tomato, the healthy part was taken care of. What really saved the sandwich was the gremolata mayonnaise. Packed with zesty flavors from the lemon and garlic, I wish I had a lot more of it. The balance of meat and bread was a bit off — the help of more sauce would have been better. The side salad sunflourseeds on top was a perfect companion to this sandwich.

When I saw lobster roll on the menu, I was full of high spirits. I came for seafood, and it looked like I was going to get it! The Maine lobster roll had fresh lobster meat with lemon aioli and chives. Everything was perfect until everything wasn’t. I was bummed that they used a hot dog bun. No buttered and toasted split top buns here. The toasted hot dog bun just made it into a stale and hard state — it was all downhill from here. The lobster wasn’t seasoned or salted, and the lemon aioli taste more mayonnaise-y than anything. The french fries were decent, but nothing special. I guess for the price though, it was comparable. A lobster roll is still a lobster roll, right?


At the end of the day, I can appreciate Santa Monica Seafood. The market selections are unique and the fish market aspect is amazing. Though the fresh fish are a bit pricey, the food items are somewhat affordable. Looking at interesting seafood condiments and possibly sucking down a few oysters isn’t a bad way to wait for a table. All in all, it was a positive experiance, as far as seafood goes.

Santa Monica Seafood on Urbanspoon

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K’ya Bistro – Hotel Restaurant fit for any Diner’s Budget

November 24, 2012

K’ya Bistro was an experience. Located inside the La Casa del Camino Hotel, I was excited to eat here after exploring Victoria Beach. Opening at 1929, at first glance, the hotel seemed like a classic. The Historic Mediterranean style hotel is located in the southern pocket on Laguna Beach. Being right next to the water, […]

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Hama Sushi – Sashimi Everywhere but not a Camera in Sight

October 15, 2012

You are transformed walking into Hama Sushi. You throw out all of your standards of what you thought good sushi is and allow their sushi chefs to take rein. My experience at Hama Sushi was authentic as can be, and sadly, I am only able to share this with you through words. Their no camera […]

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Berth 55 Fish Market – My Pit Stop In Long Beach California

September 29, 2012

Sometimes I hate the beach. I’m sure most of you are gasping and ready to throw rocks at me. All that sand in your shoes — The seagulls in your face, flapping their wings. Flocks of pigeons all hovering over you, waiting to unload a big mess on you. Maybe it’s not the beach I […]

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Paradise Cove Beach Cafe – A Nice Day at the Beach Makes Up for a Dull Menu

September 17, 2012

The beach is the first thing I think of when its hot out. The cool breeze and sun all make up for a perfect experience during the hot weather. One of my favorite beaches in Los Angeles, Malibu, is a great beach city. They have the best beaches, and some of the best food around. […]

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Cafe Bizou – Escargot Finds its Way to the Top

August 12, 2012

Pasadena in itself is big enough that you don’t feel a need to leave the city. They have Arclight for movies, Old Town for dining, and Target for everything else. When Restaurant Week came around, Cafe Bizou caught my eye. Their menu was robust and was only one dollar sign ($25 for dinner). Interestingly, if […]

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BLD – A Tweet Earns a Plats du Jour Compliments of the Chef

June 10, 2012

This whole experience was surreal to me. You are reading about a guy who never wins anything. Raffle drawings, none — lotto jackpots, never. But this experience, this one was different. All of the stars lined up for this one and everything worked out perfectly. The way it goes is, you tweet any dish you […]

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