Hollywood

This is a story of success.  It is about a perfect night that went as planned — the stars aligned, and most importantly, the food was surprisingly good.  Hungry before a show at Kodak Theatre, and barely having any time to eat, I was sad.  Nobody wants a quick hot dog or boring burgers from Mc Donalds before Cirque Du Soleil. You want something good and satisfying at a sit down restaurant.  An amazing show like that deserves better.

Knowing we only had about 15 minutes to eat, my reservations at Boho seemed impossible to make.  Looking up the menu on my phone, I knew what I wanted.  I called them up, ordered over the phone, and asked to reserve our seat.  We got there and was seated immediately.  From there, our food was served right away.

What did we have in that short amount of time?  We ordered pizza and mac & cheese.  That’s all it took to make us satisfied.

Everyone ordered the Bianca Verde pizza, so we had to try it.  It had preserved lemons, garlic, ricotta, arugula, grated Parmesan.    The arugula played nicely with the fresh melted mozzarella.  and the garlic and preserved lemons gave it a nice kick without being too overwhelming. The taste was so balanced and good, and the dough was perfect.  I would order this again when I revisit.

Mac & Cheese is one of my all time favorite comfort foods.  At BoHo, they add jalapeno, bacon, and Parmesan breadcrumbs.  It was interesting.  The cheese seemed like it was spicy nacho queso sauce, and the bacon gave it the saltiness. It wasn’t a traditional mac & cheese, but it was very delicious.

The atmosphere was very inviting and comforting, all in the middle of busy Hollywood.  Not only was the food amazing, but the service was wonderful.  I almost felt like I was a celebrity.  Getting seated immediately, getting our food right away, and holding front row seats to one of LA’s best theatrical shows made me feel special.  BoHo made it happen — they saved the night. The food was delicious, and the show was amazing  it was a great night. Thanks for saving the night BoHo

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Remember back in the days, before The Grove, before The Americana?  Everyone used to hang out at Universal City Walk.  Though still a popular spot, it wasn’t what it used to be – at least to me.  After watching a movie on IMAX, my family and friends wanted to eat.

This was the first time eating at Hard Rock Cafe, anywhere.  Sadly, it might be my last.  Judging by the food alone, I did not enjoy it.  Nothing about the food stood out.  Dare I say, Chili’s or TGI Fridays has better tasting food. This mega chain with locations all around the world is amazing.  There is a Hard Rock Cafe in almost every major city in the world.  That is a feat in itself, but sadly, I did not enjoy the food.  Nothing stood out.

Though I’m not much of a rock music fan, I was impressed with all of the stuff they had here.  Autographed guitars and instruments glittered the walls in here. Even the classic car in the middle of the restaurant was pretty impressive.  They have all these cool decorations and memorabilia, but that is about it.

My swiss burger was just ok.  The patty wasn’t medium rare as I requested, and therefore, the patty was a bit dry. The side salad made it go down easier, but my bloody meat craving wasn’t met.

My cousin ordered the mac and cheese with chicken.  It wasn’t really cheesy or remarkable.  It tasted just like pasta, cheese sauce, and chicken. Maybe bacon would have done the trick?  There was nothing special about this dish.

The cheddar burger was dry as well.  The blanket of cheddar cheese over it looked, cool, but was deceiving. But by the time it reached my table, it was nearly room temperature and turned into a solid state.  That was really a turn off.  I wanted my ooey gooey, and I didn’t get it.

My brother’s mushroom steak was another non-special item.  The steak was nicely cooked, but it seemed a bit cold.  The mushroom sauce on top was alright, kind of bland.  Nothing stood out.

I can go on and on about how the food was average — below average.  Maybe it is just the Hard Rock Cafe in Hollywood, and other locations are better. I saw the Hard Rock Cafe in movies, in Vegas, and is widely known.  LA even made a new one, so close closely related to this one on Hollywood Blvd. Once I sat down and ate the food, I was instantly turned off by it.  The decor and memorabilia is nice, yes, do go here for that.  But for a good meal, no.

Hard Rock Café on Urbanspoon

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Taste on Melrose – I Dine LA And I Love Taste

by Franklin on October 14, 2011

I’ve heard so much stuff about Taste on Melrose.  I’ve seen that building so many times on Melrose with the words “taste” on it.  “What is Taste?” I would ask myself. Thanks to Dine LA’s Restaurant Week, I took advantage of their 3 course menu.  Looking at their menu, I realized that all or most of the items were the popular dishes. I took my girlfriend, my partner in crime, and had an amazing lunch.

We started off with the white truffle oil mushroom mac and cheese.  This could possibly be the top 10 best Mac and Cheese I have ever had. Not only were the mushrooms tasty inside, but the noodles were cooked perfectly.  What makes this dish is the truffle oil. I know that stuff is expensive, and that’s why it tastes so good.  It gave it that rich buttery and savory flavor.  Honestly, this mac and cheese was top notch.

I also tasted the lobster bisque.  It was delicious and hearty, but I was looking for more of a lobster taste. The cilantro oil was good in it, but might have taken away from the lobster a bit.  Nonetheless, the crostini was good and all around, it was a tasty soup.

When I saw short rib on the menu, I had to get it.  The short rib in the grilled cheese sandwich was so tender and amazing.  I was surprised at how thick and tasty the beef was.  The bread was buttered and crisped to a crunchy state. The horse radish sauce was nice, as I love horse radish on red meat.  The pommes frites were delicious as well.  Some were crispy like a potato chip, some were plump like fries.  I got the best of both worlds.

My girlfriend’s brown rice penne cecca was simple, in the best way possible of course.  The fresh basil, roasted garlic, cherry tomatoes and spinach were so pronounced in the dish. Each ingredient shined through in their own way.  The pasta was cooked to a perfect al dente; it was chewy and delicious.  I never had pasta made out of brown rice, or any rice for that matter, but I loved it.  Who knew such simplicity could be so good.

The long awaited dessert was a short wait actually.  Some say it is the best part of a meal.  My girlfriend’s apple and walnut roulade was tasty, and my personal favorite.  The bread part was kind of like a cinamon twist and not like a traditional roulade. Maybe it was, but fried?  It was more like filo than a cake, but it was delicious.  Believe me.  The ice cream and caramel with apple slices just sealed the deal for me.

The chocolate brioche bread pudding wasn’t sweet enough for me.  Maybe it was because the roulade was so delicious. This did have a nice chocolatey flavor, and the custardy bread pudding was nice.  Is “chocolatey” and “custardy” even a word?  Anyways, the vanilla gelato with the brioche bread pudding made everything great. What a perfect ending to a perfect meal.

I finally ate at Taste on Melrose.  It was a fun experience and the food was fantastic.  If you are more west that west Hollywood, there also is a Taste at the Palisades near the beach. I don’t know if the menu is the same, but if it is anything like the one on Melrose, I wouldn’t worry.  Just remember, I love taste, and I love to dine delish.

Taste on Melrose on Urbanspoon

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Pink’s hot dog is up with the best of Los Angeles.  When you think of LA, what comes to mind?  Hollywood, beaches, In-n-Out, palm trees.  Somewhere in that list, Pink’s should come up within the top 10. Pink’s is a Hollywood icon, and have been a Los Angeles landmark for years.  By the way, being in Los Angeles all this time, I don’t know how we got the rep of being such a healthy town.

It all started with a man named Paul Pink in 1939.  Back then during the depression, a fully loaded chili dog was only 10 cents.  Started on the corner of La Brea and Melrose, it still stays in the same location after all these years. In 1946, the wagon was sold for a small building, and that building is the same building that is up in present day — In those 50 + years, the building looks exactly the same.  Pink’s is truly a Hollywood landmark.  It became such a famous Hollywood landmark, it even has a wall of fame of famous Hollywood actors.

With Pink’s being so famous and delicious, there is a high demand for this stuff amongst Angelinos. Never have I driven passed Pink’s and not seen a line. The line usually coil around the building, and waiting times are usually almost an hour or more.  Like a good foodie, I waited patiently for my Pink’s hot dog.

As we waited in line, I read the pink menu over and over.  Everything sounded amazing.  I had made my decision.    I wanted the Planet Hollywood dog which included a Polish sausage with grilled onions and mushrooms, bacon, and nacho cheese.  That all went out the door when I saw them making the America the Beautiful dog. This one had a huge 12 inch jalapeno dog, pastrami, bacon, lettuce, and chopped tomatoes.  I’m sorry, but this hungry carnivore patiently waiting wanted his meat.

My girlfriend ordered the sensible Rosie O’Donnell Long Island dog.  This just had mustard, onions, chili, and sauerkraut.  We also had to order the fries, and it was a complete meal.  My meaty, meat on top of meat hot dog made her hot dog look like nothing.  Mine was so covered in meat, I couldn’t even find the bun.  I had such a hard time eating this thing.

But honestly, it wasn’t good.  I was surprised.  I thought I would love it.  It was just too messy and too large.  I couldn’t taste the flavors all together. I either took a bite of the bacon only, pastrami only, mustard and dog only.  I couldn’t enjoy it.  Interestingly, I loved the simple, more sensible hot dog my girlfriend got.

The chili at Pink’s is what they are know for.  The chili and the sauerkraut was so good together.  The chili was thick and delicious. It was something I couldn’t point my finger on.  It wasn’t like a chili you eat with a spoon, it was more like a chili sauce topping.  I always thought that chili at The Hat was top notch, but Pink’s chili is in its own class.  Don’t make the mistake of getting the biggest or the most over the top dog here.  As long as their chili is on it, it will be good. I promise.

Pink’s is a treat for the rich, famous, and for the average Joe.  Eating these hot dogs really is being part of Los Angeles history. Your grandfather ate it, your dad, and you and your kids kids will. It’s was a part of LA and Hollywood, and it always will be.

Pink's Hot Dogs on Urbanspoon

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South West Regional Barista Competition

by Franklin on March 6, 2011

Coffee Bean hosted the South West Regional Barista Competition on March 5, 2011.  I had the chance to check out the continuation of Round 1 at Siren Studios in Hollywood.  Baristas were set in front of a panel of judges.  Competitors created creative mixtures of coffee drinks — the baristas battled it out.

During the competition, free goody bags were given out ($5 dollar gift card to Coffee Bean).  Also, Lake Street Creamery and Buttermilk truck were there to satisfy hungry spectators.  Other non-competing baristas were there to make cappuccinos and serve drinks as well.  All in all, it was a successful event.  Check them out Sunday, March 6, 2011 for Round 2.

(Buttermilk Truck Post will come shortly.  In the mean time, check out the video of the competition.)

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Louie’s Pizza and Pasta (Universal Studios)

by Franklin on February 27, 2011

I am not a fan of dining at theme parks.  They are usually over priced and uninspired, for obvious reasons.  I may have been hungry and tired from all the walking, but something about Louie’s Pizza and Pasta at Universal Studios struck me as something really tasty.

This post will be only on the pizza.  Something about this pizza makes me think about it every time I remember Universal Studios.  It may have been the stringy cheese off of each slice, or maybe the over-sized pepperoni.  Whatever it was, it was good.  The slices were so big, I had to fold it in half (and it was still too big).  As all the grease from the pepperoni dripped down the center, each bite was not a reminder that I was eating lunch at a theme park.  The pizza was thin, (which I like), and the dough was perfect.

Let me tell you something about pizza dough.  There is good pizza dough and there is bad pizza dough.  Pizza dough should be crispy and firm on the crust part, but the center should be nice and chewy.  It should remind you something of a soft bagel.  Mix that in with some fresh zesty sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese and pepperoni, and you got yourself a perfectly good pizza.  Louie’s Pizza and Pasta may be some ordinary pizza place at some theme park, but something about that pizza has me coming back for more.

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