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June, 2011 - DineDelish

June 2011

Think of your most delicious seafood meal, and imagine having it in front of an ocean view.  That is what Geoffrey’s is all about.  Located right on the PCH, this Malibu eatery has some of the best view from any restaurant. The fine dining experience was just amazing here.  I took my girlfriend here for brunch to celebrate and we both had a great experience.  Though the sun wasn’t completely out, it was just relaxing to share a meal in front of the calm ocean water.

The bread they served in the beginning was great.  It was warm, and chewy and wonderful.  The rosemary baked within the bread was great and the aroma was even better.  Lather on some of their soft butter, and I was happy. Waiting for our dishes, we just gazed out at sea.  Something about getting lost at sea from ashore was just relaxing.

We started off with their mussels.  The Maine mussels were sauteed in an ale butter sauce with some whole grain mustard.  Nueske’s gourmet bacon really made this dish so delicious.  I felt like the bacon was just as good as the mussels. I would grab the mussel meat, eat it with some of the broth and bacon, and then sop up some more broth with the bread.  The broth was almost like a soup, full of bits and pieces of bacon, tomatoes, and onions.  The mussels were a bit sweet and bacon was meaty and fatty — it added that salty aspect to the dish.  It was a great starter.

The best was their pan seared Chilean Sea Bass.  It was flaky and soft inside.  The meat tasted so delicate — it was such a pure experience. The pesto potatoes were amazing as well.  It was pureed and the texture was like mashed potatoes.  The taste went so well with the sea bass.  Surrounding the potatoes and fish was their heirloom tomato marmalade and basil oil.  I definitely ate with our eyes first, as the dish was very beautiful.  This is probably the tastiest fish dish I have ever had.

I was intrigued to see a lobster eggs Benedict on the menu.  Instead of a traditional English muffin, they use a toasted croissant.  Sadly, the lobster taste was really lacking, and the pieces were really small.  I would have liked to have some actual lobster chunks in there. I would not order this again, but the regular eggs Benedict with the prosciutto looked great.  Nonetheless, their hollandaise was excellent, and the eggs were poached perfectly.

How can one have a bad time at Geoffrey’s?  You have the great Pacific Ocean in front of you, waves and seagulls and all.  Having a meal here is very special and the sights are just beautiful. It is a special occasions type of place though, as the prices are a little high.  Trust me though, it is well worth your dollars.  If you love the beach like I do, and if you like food like I do, Geoffrey’s in Malibu is where you want to be.

Geoffrey's Malibu on Urbanspoon


Sometimes you anticipate things and everything falls into order.  You imagine how the day will go, how everything will be, and it is.  There are days you hope for the best, and it turns out to actually be the best. I had the highest of hopes for Bottega Louie, and I can honestly say that my expectations were certainly met.  This establishment is the epitome of fine dining in Los Angeles, and anyone should be grateful, thankful, and lucky to dine here.  Don’t get me wrong.  When I say fine dining, don’t think that comes with a high price tag. Some of the stuff on the menu are really affordable.

Let’s start with the appearance of things.  From the outside, you cannot mistake it from anything else.  The gold and white color scheme gives this place such purity. Upon entering, you see the true grandness of this restaurant.  A huge hallow space filled with people eating, drinking, and waiting for their table is common.  At one corner, bartenders were mixing drinks, and in another, bakers were selecting all sorts of baked goods for customers.  The open kitchen filled with cooks and chefs was a sight of true culinary expertise at work. Marble and gold everywhere, clean enough, I would eat off of it.

In the middle stood the host and where you sign in for the list.  Seeing all these people waiting, I was disappointed that my girlfriend and I would not be able to get seated quickly.  Everyone knows that getting a seat at Bottega Louie is really difficult. Coming here on the weekends, waiting for a table could take over an hour sometimes.  When we were seated within 5 minutes, I was shocked, but happy.  So far, so good.

We started off with some pastries.  The chocolate croissant was really crispy and chewy — this is something I cherish in good croissants. The Nutella beignets was more of what I wanted rather than the raspberry beignets.  I’m not really a fan of the jelly donut, but I do like chocolate and Nutella.  These things were a perfect started.

To drink, we tried some of their tasty juices.  I love sour stuff, so I just had their freshly squeezed grape fruit juice.  Refreshing, as always.  The coolest and drink was the green juice.  This included honey dew, green apple, celery, arugula, and cilantro, all in one juice. It was a bit sweet from the honey dew, sour from the apple, and balanced from the celery and arugula.  It was an interesting juice drink, but tasty nonetheless.

We decided to share the portobello mushroom fries and smoked salmon.  The smoked wild salmon lox were great on top of the toasted bagels.  Adding the cream cheese, onions, tomatoes and capers made this so delicious. Something about having these for brunch just makes me so satisfied.  The salty pop from the capers and the creamy cheese and salmon are married with the bite of the onion.  Each bite was so delicious and I crave these every morning.

The best thing at Bottega Louie is the portobello fries. There has to be something in the batter, or they know how to fry well because these things are the best fried food I have ever had.  The outer batter was so crispy and crunchy — the inside was tender and juicy, and somewhat meaty from the mushroom.  It was even better dipping it in the garlic aioli.  This was perfect, and I will order this every time.

After our meal, we went to the bakery section and gazed at all the splendor.  They had cakes, tarts, macrons, macaroons, eclairs, you name it.  I got a box of macrons just to try it.  I had them before, and I can honestly say I do not know what the fuss is about. They are tasty, but nothing really special about them.  Especially at almost 28 bucks for a box of these, it isn’t worth it.  Not saying that Bottega Louie doesn’t make good macrons, I just don’t care for them.

This is a Los Angeles go to spot for brunch, lunch, or dinner.  I don’t know how it is during regular lunch or dinner hours, but I assume it gets pretty busy. Try to get here early, or later — non peak hours.  Also, try to come in small groups (less than 4).  I’d say it would be a longer wait if your party is larger.  They don’t take reservations so eating here is at a first come first serve basis.  Once you get a seat, it is smooth sailing from there.

Bottega Louie Restaurant and Gourmet Market on Urbanspoon

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Ice cream can cure anything.  It can cure a bad day, make a good day even better, or cure a aching heart.  In this day and age, just regular vanilla or chocolate won’t do.  It seems like everyone is doing something different, something outside the box.  People are pushing the flavor envelope further and further, and the people at Scoops really push it to the edge. The flavors they think of is kind of funky, yet they work, some more than others.  I had a pleasure trying this place out and had a few of their creations.  Some I liked, some I didn’t like.  Either way, they have some cool flavors that expand your taste buds senses.

My favorite was the dulche de leche salt and pistachio wasabi.  It sounded like a good idea in my head to mix the salty dulche de leche (think salty soysauce) with the pistachio wasabi (think stinging wasabi).   The dulche de leche was kind of salty and a bit sweet.  I really like the salty/sweet combination and this ice cream flavor was great.  The Pistachio wasabi was a bit nutty and had some wasabi flavor without the sting. Each flavor was good in it of itself, but the two flavors together were magical.  It was more savory, that sweet, and all this from an ice cream.  It was funky, and interesting.

I also tried the vanilla rocky road with coffee cardamom.  The vanilla rocky road was really tasty.  It was exactly like a traditional rocky road, except it was made with vanilla ice cream instead of chocolate.  I was not a fan of the coffee cardamom. The flavor of the cardamom was a bit too overpowering.  Its distinguishable and familiar aromatic taste was just not for me, though, I can understand what they were trying to do.

The decorations inside was a bit neutral, quite “vanilla” actually.  Nothing really popped out at you with wild colors or funky designs. I think the whole Pinkberry scene is dying down, and quite possibly, the ice cream is having a come back. Scoops, for what it is, is just a simple little ice cream shop.  Locals seem to like the flavors they conjure up — Their most famous flavor, brown bread, was nowhere to be seen.  Something to look forward to for all you foodies out there I guess.  Try to mix and match your favorite flavors, or suggest your own creation.  One things for sure, you won’t find just vanilla here.

Scoops on Urbanspoon


Having a Disneyland Pass has its perks.  Need a little pick up after a long day at work?  Go to Disneyland.  Need some excitement in your usual day?  Ride a ride at Disneyland.  One drawback about this is that there are no good eateries inside the theme park.  None.  So what is a person to do?  Luckily, there are a few good options in downtown Disney. One of my new favorites is Catal Restaurant and Uva Bar.

At first entering this restaurant, it really took me away from the busy Disneyland atmosphere.  There was a sense of adult sophistication centered around the decoration of Catal — definately refreshing after all the kids and cartons you see in any given day at Disneyland. Eating outside in the balcony, you get the cool breeze from the outside and watch the people on the ground.  The view is great, and watching the busy downtown Disney floor was really fun.

Not only was the decor sophisticated, but their menu as well which consisted of only a handful of the chefs special dishes.  We ordered the cesar salad, sobrasada, and bucatini pasta.  The salad and the pasta were great, but the sobrasada was just alright.  It was basically slices of cured meat and toasted baguette slices.  Tasty, but ordinary. We also ordered the cherry soda.  It sounded good in the description, and it was.  Refreshing and full of cherry flavor.

My favorites were the cesar salad and the pasta.  The Cesar salad had fresh Romain lettuce and their dressing was delicious.  My favorite part about the dish was that they put a slice of a anchovy on top. It was salty and fishy, a perfect companion for the salad.

The bugatini pasta was amazing, quite possibly the best pasta dish I have ever had.  It had roasted wild mushrooms, shreds of ox tail, and topped with creme fraishe, chives, and shaved Mahon cheese.  The cheese was sort of like a milder Parmesan.  The the earthy taste of the mushrooms and the richness of the oxtail and creme fraishe and cheese was amazing. This dish was definitely rich.  It was probably a good thing that the portions were sensible — this is probably why I was savoring each bite. Combining a bite of the pasta, then a bite of the salad was an amazing mixture in my mouth.  This dish was definitely tasty.

So remember when I stated that there are no good places to eat at Disneyland?  Well, I still stand by that statement.  It looks like the secret lies just outside of the theme park.  Catal is a bit pricey, but the grown up ambiance and sophisticated deliciousness of the food all make it worth while. Grabbing dinner and a drink before or after going to Disneyland is a great idea.  Catal & Uva Bar would be the best place to do that.

Catal Restaurant & Uva Bar (Downtown Disney) on Urbanspoon

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Walking around the Orange Circle in Orange, CA, I stumbled upon The Bruery Provisions.  Entering, I was amazed by the wall of beer bottles.  They had so much, I don’t know how anyone can choose from such a wide selection. They sold different kinds of wines and drinks.  What fascinated me the most was their interesting cheese selection.  We were thrilled to find out they offered a beer tasting.  It was only noon and planning on drinking was kind of exciting.

The 5 flights were all on tap.  The menu pictured above, these beers were kinds I have never heard before.  It was fun trying out these exotic beers for the first time.  I think my favorite was the first one.  I like beer that is light and crisp, and the citrus and fruity notes in the beer were really nice. It was a great eye opener to different kinds of beers.  I think I can benefit from trying more beers.  Heck, I think anyone can.

We also got some bread and butter so that our stomachs wouldn’t be so empty.  The best part was the truffle salt on top of the butter. I don’t know if it was the truffle or the fact that it was Danish butter, but the butter was very rich.  It had such a depth of flavor, and it was really wasn’t your ordinary butter. The sourdough slices were a perfect match for this.

This is a really nice shop.  They have a wide variety of beers all over the world.  The wine selection was broad, and the fact that they have cheese and other goods was a plus.  It would be heaven for anyone trying to host and wine and cheese party or any exotic beer enthusiast. The prices are affordable and trying out a cheese tasting or wine and beer is really fun.  I am glad I stumbled upon this place walking around Orange Square.  Also check out Felix Continental Cafe down the street if you want something more after your bread and butter — just don’t forget to take home your favorite beer and wine before hand.

The Bruery Provisions on Urbanspoon


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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Eating here was just out of luck, chance, random act of randomness.  I always seen this place on Vermont in Koreatown, but we needed to eat dinner in Irvine.  I saw BBQ Chicken and thought I’d give it a try.  I went inside, and it looked promising.

The name BBQ Chicken is a bit misleading.  They don’t specialize in BBQ at all.  They are more of a specialized fried chicken restaurant. Amazingly, Koreans do fried chicken well.  BBQ Chicken’s fried chicken was really delicious.  Not dry, not too greasy — it was just good good food.

We ordered the half and half, one regular and one spicy.  The chicken here is delicious — plain and simple.  The sides as salad and rice were perfect for this.  The pickled daikons were perfect.  It helped cut the rich fattiness of the fried chicken. Add that with some rice and side salad, it was a great meal.

Warning:  If you love spicy food, I would reconsider the spicy chicken. Honestly, the spicy sauce they put on the chicken was uncomfortably spicy. It was good, nice and crispy, but this stuff was mouth torturing.  Even for the advanced spicy food eaters, this would be a challenge.  Hey, if you love spicy food, order it.  Just remember that I warned you.

After the spicy meat sweats, I looked back on the meal.  For a good price, I had a really tasty meal.  Decent fried chicken and experienced some of the spiciest food ever.  If you happen to be at Diamond Jamboree Shopping Center or Koreatown in Los Angeles, check out BBQ Chicken.  You will regret eating it, and regret not eating it.

BBQ Chicken on Urbanspoon

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Newport Beach, CA is like something out of a movie.  It’s the place of the rich and fabulous.  Nice cars and homes, and of course the beach are what comes to mind.  Healthy living is what I think of next, as Orange County is a big fan of eating healthy.  True Food Kitchen couldn’t have chosen a more perfect location inside Fashion Island —  they serve up healthy organic food that is so fresh, you would swear they have a farm in the back.

I followed some of the recommendations and tried their kale salad. The kale salad was mixed with lemon juice and topped with Parmesan cheese.  For a vegetable so bitter, it was very refreshing.  I could taste the healthy.

The ahi sliders were tasty with the wasabi mayo.  The sweet potato hash was a bit cold and I did not really enjoy them. Other than that, the sliders were great!  Fish should always be eaten fresh, especially when cooked rare.  The fish was as fresh as can be and the taste really shined through.

The spaghetti squash casserole was bland — in other words, it was super healthy.  The melted fresh mozzarella was really the best part about it.  Adding some pepper really bring the flavors out a lot better.

I was in the mood for some raw fish and ordered the sashimi salad as well.  The Hamachi (yellowtail) sashimi was thinly sliced for the salad and topped with radishes, pea shoots, jicama and yuzu sauce.  This was by far the best thing here.  Yeah it was a salad, but it was sashimi, my favorite thing.

We even ordered a fruit drink from the juice bar.  It was a mix of coconut water, organic juice and pineapple.  It was very refreshing — I wanted to try all of their juices.

Everything was so fresh and clean.  I can honestly say this was the healthiest and freshest meal I ever had in my life.  True Food Kitchen really hones in on the health factor of eating.  The open kitchen and open juice bar area is really refreshing when you enter.  Expect a wait during peak hours, this place gets busy fast.  If I ever overindulge myself with fried everything, a trip to True Food Kitchen will be my detox.

True Food Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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In the heart of Orange, CA, there is the Plaza Square.  This is where all of the shops and eateries are.  If you look up Glassel and Chapman in Orange, CA on Google Maps, you can see that Plaza Square is actually a circle.  I thought that was kind of ironically funny.  Before I bore you with shapes and maps, let me get back on topic.  Plaza Square holds many “good to eat” places and one of them is Felix Continental Cafe.

Felix is a restaurant serving traditional Cuban dishes.  They are popular for their breakfast and brunch as well.  I go here for the roast pork plate.  The pork is roasted in its own dripping along with bitter orange and seasonings — sides include rice and black beans.   Eating the pork with the maduros (plantains) was delicious.  It had the taste of a pulled pork “meats” carnitas. At first I thought it would be dry, but I was quite wrong.  Also, the meatiness and savoriness of the pork, with the sweetness of the plantains worked really well together.  What Asian boy doesn’t like meat and rice anyways?

To top it all off, we also had the french toast.  You got two french toast per order for something like 3 bucks.  Thick cut, with powdered sugar on top the French toast was really cheap, and really good.  I thought the low price was a sign of bad french toast, but it was surprisingly huge and delicious — I would order that again.

Sadly, this time, we could not get their amazing desserts.  Of course I am talking about their rice pudding and tres leches cake.  I had their rice pudding and tres leches cake before, and they are really out of this world good.  It was one of the best tres leches cakes I have ever had — possibly even the best of all cakes.  It was that good.

I don’t have Cuban cuisine enough.  It is probably because there aren’t a lot around.  Honestly though, the restaurant doesn’t look like much on the inside, but once you get the food, you start to Cuban cuisine more.  Felix Continental Cafe is real home cooked Cuban food.  That plate of food you get is what you would get at any Cuban household.  No frills, nothing of that nature — Just straight up, good Cuban cuisine.

Also, if you love Cuban food and you are in the OC, check out Habana in Costa Mesa.  Upscale Cuban, and delish.

Felix Continental Cafe on Urbanspoon


I have always dreamed of finding the perfect seafood restaurant.  To me, it requires freshness and good ingredients.  We stumbled onto Newport Seafood from acquaintances, and what a great suggestion this was. Have I found my favorite seafood restaurant? I possibly could have.

Upon entering the restaurant, all the patrons and wait staff were Chinese or Asian.  Scared that I would have difficulty ordering, I was relieved to find the hostess very helpful.  She suggested we try the lobster — she said it was their most popular dish. I was convinced!  As I look around the room, everyone had the lobster on their table.  We also ordered some mixed vegetables and white rice to accompany our seafood friend.

I waited in excitement as everyone else was getting their dishes.  When we got ours, and my mouth dropped to the floor.  There it was — a humongous lobster split in half, cooked in all kinds of spices and seasonings.  The aroma of the dish was overwhelming.  Even as I am writing this, I could have sworn I smelled the aroma just now — I must say, I am losing it.   The smell was a precursor of how the dish tasted, and it tasted wonderful. The garlic and the other many ingredients got me stumped, as I had no idea what or how this was made.  It was a bit spicy, savory, seafoody, with a bit of zest.  That is the best description I can think of.

Some purists are probably thinking, “all those spices will take away from the true beauty of the lobster”.  You can always buy lobster at the market, boil it, and have a really nice lobster dinner.  I had my fare share of pure lobster meat, and this one kicks it out of the water (no pun intended).  The meat was not overpowered by the marinade.  All the ingredients compliment each other very well. The best part of the dish was the lobster roe.  The sweet red morsels of lobster roe was delicious.  It was amazing how one lobster could contain so many flavors and textures.

Newport Seafood has a nice interior — kind of a modern Asian theme.  The staff was very helpful and attentive.  They have a lot of other dishes as well,  but I would get the lobster for first timers. Prepare to drop some bucks, as this dish is not cheap.  The price becomes all relative once you think about that wonderful, unforgettable taste.  So I ask myself again.  Have I found my favorite seafood restaurant?  I can’t say that, but I have found one of my favorite seafood dishes.  Long live the delicious lobster.

Tan Cang Newport Seafood Restaurant on Urbanspoon


Bouncing around from Orange County and downtown Los Angeles, I rarely visit the Hollywood area anymore.  When I do get to visit in the early morning, I always hit up The Griddle Cafe. This place is popular amongst locals and is a celebrity hot spot.  My experience is always a pleasant one.

I’ve only come to Griddle Cafe on the weekends, and it is always packed.  Once you get in, they take your name down and you play the waiting game.  The lines spill out on the sidewalks of Sunset Blvd. as hungry eaters eagerly wait to be seated. You will be directed by their host, Alex Cobo.  After he reads your name and you get seated, you are ready to eat. Reading a bit about him on LAist.com, I realize he led a very interesting life in the past.

One thing you will notice when you are seated is the Griddle Cafe really likes to pack people in there.  Population control, I get it. There is a bar seating area, and a booth seating area.  In between was what looked like nice space for waiters and waitresses to move about to and from the kitchen.  Instead, there were more tables and chairs for us hungry folks.  It was kind of amazing how many people were eating in such a small space. To that, I give kudos.  And really, I don’t mind eating in a tight squeeze if it meant waiting less.

Looking at what everyone is eating, you can’t deny the one commonality.  Almost all the diners in there ordered pancakes. I looked to my right, red velvet pancakes.  I looked to the left, more pancakes.  Literally, every table had pancakes.  I even saw a couple, each with their own pancakes.   This made sense because their menu features so many different kinds of pancakes, its difficult to choose from their list.

Accordingly, we ordered pancakes as well — our favorite one.  “A Time to Love” is a pumpkin pancake scattered with butterscotch chips and caramel and is topped with powdered sugar and a heaping load of whipped cream. Three stacks come with this order and this this thing was huge.  I can never finish it all.  The taste was a bit on the sweat side, just how we like it, and eating this with our coffee was simply delicious — French pressed at that.  I never had French pressed coffee before, and I liked it a lot.  Perfect combination with any of their pancakes.

We also ordered the “Muscle Bound Scramble”.  This was an egg scramble with spinach, green onions, tomatoes, and turkey maples sausage. It was delicious — The heavy protein aspect was a great companion to our carbohydrate happy pancake.  The scramble also came with honey wheat Muesli toast — When you ask for jam, they give you those personalized Knott’s Berry Farm jams in a jar.  Little touches like that make Griddle Cafe special.

Everyone says that Griddle Cafe is a celebrity hot spot, but I have yet seen a famous person there — not anyone I know at least.  But I am not a TMZ journalist or a crazed celebrity stalker.  I don’t come here for them, I come here for the food. If you don’t mind waiting in line for some awesome pancakes and breakfast, Griddle Cafe is the spot.  Who knows, you might be luck and see someone famous.  If not, you still had an amazing breakfast.  It’s a win win situation.

The Griddle Cafe on Urbanspoon


Every meal should be sensible and delicious.  Perfect portions, rounded out flavors, and a little bit of everything should be included. At Tranquil Tea Lounge, all that is possible.   This place is something good for you.  No sodas or french fries here.  Sensible sandwiches and salads.  Tea too — all different kinds.

Upon entering this eatery, you can’t help but notice the earthy colors and calming decor — Nothing loud or colorful to make your brain hurt. Looks something like a lobby of a relaxing day spa. They even had a mini store selling books and tea accessories.  Everything just flowed together and this was how their food was.  The word “cohesive” comes to mind.

The roast beef sandwich is my favorite sandwich here.  The Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, and red onion are really good in it.  The best part was the jalapeno cream cheese spread. Even the bread was amazing — kalamata olive bread.  The toasted bread made it really crunchy, holding all of the warm goodness inside.  The whole thing was perfectly pressed in a panini and the inside was so gooey.  By far, this is definitely one of my favorite sandwiches.

The salad they give on the side was a perfect accompaniment for the sandwich.  The fresh green had a citrus vinaigrette and was topped with feta cheese. The dressing was subtle and not over powering.  The natural flavors of the vegetables really shined in the salad — quite refreshing.

For dessert?  A white chocolate lavender scone. It was huge!  Sipping on my Matcha Genmaicha green tea really went well with the scone.  It was such a perfect finish.  The tea’s matcha, sencha, and toasted rice flavors were really subtle.  This was true relaxation.  Sipping on tea, having good conversation, and letting the food digest really had me satisfied.

It was such a memorable meal.  The aura of the restaurant and the tastes of the food really helped me to be relaxed.  I was satisfied beyond words. Not the humongous burger and fries and soda and ice cream and etc. satisfied either.  It was a delicious meal, sensible portions, and all the flavors melded so well together.  I can definitely find peace after a hectic day at Tranquil Tea Lounge.

Tranquil Tea Lounge on Urbanspoon


I remember me and friends were talking about the next big food truck.  I cleverly thought of a food truck that serves ice cream — going back to the basics with a twist.  After a bit of silence, my friends burst out in laughter, teasing me that there were ice cream trucks everywhere!  Far beyond my time, a slew of gourmet  ice cream trucks came following after. My favorite?  Coolhaus.

I had some ice cream sandwiches where the cookie was too soft, or the ice cream tasted like ordinary.  Coolhaus on the other hand does theirs perfectly. I had a chance to try the balsamic fig and mascarpone on a double chocolate cookie, and the ricotta and sour cherry on a lemon rosemary cookie.  These flavors were really nice.

The balsamic fig and mascarpone is my favorite.  A little sweet from the figs and balsamic, and the mascarpone cheese just rounds out the flavors nicely.  The sour cherry and ricotta had a subtle cherry flavor with a creamy texture — it tasted like a cherry cream soda, but creamier.

The lemon rosemary cookie was a bit off putting though.  The double chocolate was sweet and familiar, whereas the rosemary was a bit too savory for me.  Even though I didn’t like the taste, I crave that cookie once in a while.  The cookies held the ice cream well without falling apart.  I was sad that they ran out of the red velvet cookie, but my double chocolate chip cookie was good second choice.  It looked good with the cross cross frosting over it.

The best part is the edible wrapper. Made from potato starch, the wrapper holding the sandwiches are completely edible.  Though it tasted like nothing, it was cool to be able to eat it.  No waste, no fuss.  Little things like this make Coolhaus special.

These really are the best ice cream sandwiches.  The ice cream flavors in itself are amazing, let alone, the cookies.  They should really consider selling these world wide at markets and specialty stores. No, maybe not.  These wouldn’t be special now would they — It wouldn’t even be from an ice cream truck like I imagined in the beginning.  For now, we have to follow them on Twitter @COOLHAUS I guess.

Coolhaus (food truck) on Urbanspoon


Milk – The Blue Velvet Takes the Cake

by Franklin on June 2, 2011

I always passed by MILK on Beverly Blvd., and I always though it was some kind of milk store.  Could it be?  The main headquarters of all of milk?  Maybe it was a retired bottling company for milk bottles, like in the olden days. Whatever it was, or is, I wanted to go inside.

From the looks of the inside, it just looks like a regular shop — Ice cream on one side and baked goods on the other. They serve sandwiches, salads, soups, and other entrees, but most people come for the good stuff, the sweets.

I came here for the blue velvet cake.  Everyone knows red velvet cake, its in all the cakes.  Red velvet cakes, cupcakes, pancakes — everything. But the people at MILK made a twist on that and made it blue.  The taste was really good, and I liked the texture a lot.  A bit dense, and not too sweet.  I liked that it didn’t crumble at all.  All in all, it was a good cook.  Kind of a thin slice for 5 dollars, but it was cool to try the blue velvet. Not to mention that all of their treats are a bit on the pricey side.

I had a chance to have a sample of the coffee toffee ice cream.  It wasn’t as good as I though, but it did have the coffee flavor that I liked. I do prefer gelato over ice cream.  Their other cookies and treats are good as well.  This place is definitely a sweet treat kind of place.  Some honorable mentions are their bread pudding and their chocolate chip cookies.

I imagine going here, having a plate of cookies, a nice slice of cake, and a big cup of milk.  That would be wonderful.  This place would be a good place to have dessert after a meal, possibly Pink’s or El Coyote nearby. Have yourself some cookies and ice cream, or a nice slice of cake.  Maybe both?  Either way, dessert is definitely served.

Milk on Urbanspoon


Portos Bakery – A Family Affair Turns Out Cuban Delights

June 1, 2011

Entering Portos Bakery, you will be amongst the masses.  Half of the population of Glendale will be within a 100 yards from you. People come here for cakes, all kinds of bread, pastries, sandwiches, you name it.  They form a line, move somewhat quickly through, and get their baked goods.  I come here for the […]

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