Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Q: How to cheer up an unemployed friend?
A: Take him/ her out to dinner (food is the best gift --well after money)

And that's what I did to start the Pre-New Year's Eve celebration. I figured pizza was in my budget, so my unemployed friend Chrissy and I ventured to Pasadena to Little Parlor Pizzeria. I read on Zagat that the owner owns Cobras & Matadors and Church & State.

LPP is a cute pizzeria joint with floor & wall tiles. The front door gets a little just pull really hard (or maybe I'm just weak...).

We waited a long time for our food but then I realized that they decided to bring the food all at once even though we requested our soup and appetizer to be brought out first...we ate:

The soup of the day: Carrot Ginger soup DSC05383
I enjoyed the crème de fraiche with the soup, but then once we bypassed it, the soup suddenly tasted like dish washing soap...the waitress suggested that it must be the ginger but then again I've had carrot ginger soup before and don't recall it tasting soapy...hmm...

Burrata Cheese
I love their burrata cheese! It was surprisingly sweet! I just wished they gave us more bread; I guess that's what the pizza crust was for...

Wood pizza

Close up on how thin the slice is: DSC05384
Their pizza is like Pizzeria Mozza --bubbly on the outer edge, but minus the grease! I probably would have enjoyed their pizza more had I ordered a different pizza (minus the charred parts) as the Woods pizza lacked flavor. I wished they distributed the rosemary evenly as opposed to clumps of it...

Pot de Creme
Our waitress suggested the pot de creme for our dessert, which was thicker than a mousse but still light. It was ok...I should have tried their tiramisu instead.

We had 2 glasses of white wine (waiter's recommendation --not bad) and the total came out to $62 (w/out tips). Ok it was more than what I wanted to spend but we just had to drink ($18 total).

Service was ok. I wished they didn't remove our water when we came back in for dessert.

Overall I do like their thin crust pizza (it's simple) and will come back to try their Old School and Finnochiona pizzas.

Address: 66 Mission Street South Pasadena, CA 91030
Phone#: (626) 799-0711
Rating: 3 out of 5

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


**Come to Wokcano for their Chinese lunch specials only

Three years ago I came here on a date and had their sushi, which was gross (the sushi, not the date--still friends with the guy). I had refused to eat at Wokcano...until my work started ordering from food...ok, I guess I'll order something... I knew the sushi was disgusting, so I went for the Moo Goo Gai Pan and to my surprise, it was not bad, so every time we order from there, I always get the MGGP -am never disappointed. DSC05378
Yeah, Wokcano is pricey for Chinese, but just come here for lunch only --you get a lot of food (salad, egg roll, rice and MGGP --oh, and a chocolate fortune cookie) for $7-8 (I think...). DSC05377
Their pan-fried chicken dumplings were not bad but I had better for less (Wokano's are $8 for 6!!).

My colleague enjoyed his garlic shrimp special. The hippo is allergic to crustacean.

Apparently this Wokcano is a hot spot on the weekends, late nights. The hippo thinks that's very OC partying at a chained restaurant on the weekends....

Address: 8408 W 3rd St Los Angeles, CA 90048
Phone#: (323) 951-1122
Rating: 3 out of 5

Sunday, December 28, 2008


I hated living in San Francisco, but one of the things that I do missed about SF was walking down Chestnut and ordering a Dutch Crunch sandwich from Lucca Delicatessen.

I began my quest to find a deli shop that offers Dutch Crunch bread in La La Land. To my surprise, searching for Dutch Crunch bread is like finding a four-leaf clover. I read that Togo's offer Dutch Crunch bread on a certain day...but that's not what I was thinking off..I got all excited when I found out that Frank's Famous Kitchen & Bakery offers Dutch Crunch sandwiches in Monrovia, which is in between Glendale and Pasadena.

I got lost finding this place but it was my fault...there are two Verdugo exits on the 2 freeway: one's near Eagle Rock (the 1st exit) and one's by the 210 freeway (the 2nd exit)...take the 2nd Verdugo exit.

Frank's in a small strip mall with a bunch of other restaurants. The interior is cute. Service is like Alcove --pay at the cashier and you take a number stand with you.

I ordered...

1/2 order of #34 Turkey Club- Swiss, Bacon & Maple Balsamic Sandwich on Dutch Crunch Bread-$6.99
and the close up...

1/2 order of #2 Turkey, Pesto & Cranberry Sandwich on Dutch Crunch Bread -$6.99

Kid size of Housemade Macaroni & Cheese - $3.99

The 1/2 sandwiches look like they were 3" long, but technically 4" long and at a price of $6.99/each is a little sides, just the sandwich. I was disappointed with their Dutch Crunch bread; I miss SF's Dutch Crunch bread! A regular Mac & Cheese costs $8.99, but there was no way with all that food I can order a full size, but thank goodness they offer a kid size...well kinda.. for $3.50, I thought their m&c would be to die for, but it's not. Yes, it's very creamy but it has absolutely zero personality--Krafts is better. Save some money and skip their m&c. They offer Dirty potato chips and 2 flavors of Gus sodas.

Oh swell, it's a pretty drive and you can check out Monrovia.

Address: 3315 N Verdugo Rd Glendale, CA 91208
Phone#: (818) 249-6100
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Addendum 4/16/09: Whole sandwhiches are $6.99 and half sandwiches are now $4.99.

Friday, December 19, 2008


**Penthouse Bar/Grill only


My friend's company recently laid him off but was (cough) so graciously kind to invite him to their holiday reception party (cough) at the luxurious Beverly Hills hotel, the Montage...image is everything and if it means firing good, honest, hard working people to "keep up with the Joneses" then so be it.

Anyhoo...the hotel itself is a typical Beverly Hills hotel -beautiful and conservative. The happy holiday event was at the bar on the penthouse level. The indoor bar is cozy with a beautiful view of B.H. and the hills. The service here is impeccable! Everyone was very sweet! If you asked a server who was serving food for a drink, s/he would get it for you. No attitude; s/he would do his/her round and then get the drink for you. The man (I think his name was Robert) greeting us as we entered the bar was just a doll.

The food display was beautiful. I loved how they presented the bread display:


It's artsy and has a personal touch. The cheese selection was excellent.



For the main appetizers, they served vegetarian egg roll, chicken pot sticker, chicken dumpling (?) and vegetarian pot sticker (which was more of a steamed vegetarian dumpling) -items starting from the top, clockwise. The "vegetarian pot sticker" was the best item. I was surprised that they chose a peanut sauce instead of a sweet 'n sour sauce...They also served a tuna appetizer, salmon appetizer, "pigs" in the blanket, the most adorable mini, mini burgers


and let's not forget about the desserts...


While everyone was checking everyone out, I was checking out the 3 cutest cupcakes:


Um...yeah, my friend's friends thought I was a little weird taking pictures of the food...

In a nutshell, if you have a job and are handsomely paid, you'll be very satisfied at the Montage Hotel.

Address: 225 N Canon Dr Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Phone#: (310) 860-7800
Rating: 4 out of 5

Monday, December 8, 2008


On my quest to try every dumplings in La La Land, I headed to Yu Ga Ne, known for their Beef King Dumplings. I was hoping that Yu Ga Ne would be a great little hole-in-the-wall offering juicy, tasty dumplings, but instead they were flavorless and needed more love. Granted the dumplings are cheap and huge; you get 6 King Dumplings for $4.99, but come on, it's dumplings and it's not that hard to add more salt and sesame oil. Oh beware, they have "C" rating. Eat at your own risk; I'm still alive.
I might still try their Mandu Duk--maybe the soup will add more flavor to the dumplings?

Address: 698 Irolo St Los Angeles, CA 90005
Phone#: (213) 480-1289
Rating: 3 out of 5

Photo credits: Mike L.


Dear Winos,

If you haven't tried Bacaro LA yet, then GO!!!!!! Bacaro is such a cute place for people like us to relax and drink us silly in wine. It's best you go in groups of 4 because the tables are REALLY small. The "bottles" ceiling is cool; it's too bad it didn't hide the fluorescent lights...nonetheless, this wine bar is adorable.
They have a great wine selection. Wine that I've never heard of...but then again I just like to drink and I don't really pay attention to the labels. Santos (I think...) helped me out me with my wine. The Ochoa, Viura & Chardonnay was light and dry, but still tasted like Chardonnay...Santos 2nd suggestion, the White Burgundy (the only w.b. by the glass) was much better.
If you are hungry or need substance to sober up, they have an excellent food selection, offering (3) small plates for $19 or $7 each. Santos suggested 3 plates per person. I was hoping he was wrong as I shared my meal with my cos, but he was right and we opted for the Grilled Panini w/ham, cheddar & tomato as our 4th dish. OMG, we should have ordered the Grilled Panini because that tipped us over and had absolutely no room for dessert. You get (2) Paninis with that order. Their burger was delicious!
You will add 5 lbs eating their burger -don't let the size fool you. I also enjoyed their Roasted Beets.
The Caprese salad was average. You might need to ask for water twice...
I spent a total of $37 including tax & tip. Overall, we had a great time and you will too!

Hippo the Wino

Address: 2308 S Union Ave Los Angeles, CA 90007
Phone#:(213) 748-7205
Rating: 4 out of 5

Photo credit: Bacaro L.A. (top photo only)


Lucifer is going to hell...

It's ashamed because I was hoping that this new pizzeria joint would be better...

This place is NOT dine-in-friendly. There are (4) 2-top tables inside and (2) 2-top tables outside. There's a window booth (no table) that some people find comfortable to eat on. I understand that they are working with a really small space (my living is room is slightly bigger than the space and it's not consider a big living room), but there are ways to provide more seating--just need to spend more $. If you want to try their pizzas, do take out only and delivery is limited. They don't delivery to the Wilshire Center area (2.8 miles away), and they don't delivery when they are really busy.

The menu is pretty interesting. Pizza combinations that I wouldn't have thought order your food at the cashier counter and head back when they call out your name. My cos ordered the Ringburner and Greek Salad and I ordered the Vegetable Supremo (personal size). You have the option to make your pizza spicy; I picked zero hotness. You get your drinks out of the fridge (no Coke, Pepsi only).

We waited 40 minutes for our you should call-in your order before you head over to Lucifer's.

I've never been to place where they don't have napkins or a trash can readily available... weird.

My pizza looked better that what it tasted. It was pretty oily but then again, I wasn't thinking because I forgot it had pesto on it.
My cos thought that the Ringburner was not spicy enough; she requested it to be very, very, very spicy. She's a liar. I took one bite and gave myself a heart burn, and that's why I don't eat spicy food. Then again, in her previous life, she might have been a Latino eating red chili peppers like they're popcorn. The slice is very thin. Crust is mediocre. The menu said that they use arugula and spinach for the Greek Salad, but it was just spinach, and I didn't read the part where they use sundried tomatoes...what an odd Greek Salad...oh, you don't get plates; it served in the pizza box.

I spent around $32 for everything, and I can check this place off my list!

Address: 1958 Hillhurst Ave Los Angeles, CA 90027
Phone#: (323) 906-8603
Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Monday, December 1, 2008


After 4 hours at the mall on Black Friday morning, my friend and I were famished! The lack of food caused us to make us think we missed Cici's, so we ended up at the Little Café. Thank goodness we didn't go to Cici's, because I was malfunctioning and the wait time was 45 minutes. Little Café's was 20 minutes. I was leaning on the rail, holding myself from fainting, taking the Little Café in.

The Little Cafe is a tiny Ma & Pa diner. I don't recommend party of 6 or more coming here. Nothing fancy except all the celebrities' headshots adorning the wall. The hippo's picture was not on the wall.

The server and host were nice. The, could be better. I ordered my usual, the eggs Benedict . The hollandaise sauce was so buttery (you can kinda tell by the sauce's thickness) that I only could only finished 1 egg.
I finished my home fries instead. My friend had omelette -forgot which one but it had bacon and spinach. The omelette was better than the E.B. DSC04859

Our meal came out to $24.

p.s. CASH only (there's an ATM in the shop next door) & don't forget to write your name on the board -you snooze, you loose.

Address: 19204 Ventura Blvd Tarzana, CA 91356
Phone#: (818) 705-8335
Rating: 2 out of 5


I wanted to wear one of my tiaras at the Tiara Cafe.

Yes, I really do own a tiara; it's all the pageants I've won. I'm kidding about being in pageants. I was Holly Golightly one year. Anyhoo, before I go to the deep end...I had brunch with a friend over the weekend. I had tried coming here earlier this year, but they decided to close early, so call beforehand.
The interior is absolutely adorable. Think Lily Allen's "It's Not Me, It's You" music video --dreamy. It's divided into two spaces. On one side you have the cafe with a zillion Japanese Pop toys starring at you, which is cool, yet weird and creepy, but then again, I collect snow globes. You have the restaurant on the other side. Sadly the waitress wasn't wearing a tiara. On to the important stuff: the food!
I ordered the Poachers aka Eggs Benedict w/ prosciutto, tomato & hash brown Here's a close-up on the prosciutto, tomato & hash brown: I give it a 5-star on presentation, and a 3-star for taste. The Hollandaise sauce needed a kick of lemon. The prosciutto was good. Oh, I wanted ham but the waitress said that they don't have ham...even though it's noted on the menu... the hash brown was crispy, but soggy...
Service was meh. It was funny how the busboy asked us if we wanted coffee and he never came back to refill our cup...oh, when our waitress brought out our coffee, a strand of hair was in my coffee...luckily, I was kind of tired. I complain less when I'm tired.
There's a parking lot next door and you get a discount with validation...don't know how much as I parked on the street.
Well, I can remove this restaurant off my bookmark list. Peace.

Address: 127 E 9th St Los Angeles, CA 90015
Phone#: (213) 623-3663
Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Sorry...I don't get it. Sure the Governor frequents here (in fact Arnold was there the same day, and I all wanted to do was shout, "Don't raise our sale taxes!!!!") and Sly and other old Hollywood peeps, but the food is not impressive.

I was here a few weeks ago for my boss' birthday. It was a lovely day so we sat outside, which can be weird because you are in the middle of this mall and there's construction going on.
I started off with the Antipasto Caffe' Roma (chef's choice cold cuts), which had a good meat selection.

My boss had the appetizer special Truffle Mushroom Polenta, which was good, but not as good as it sounds like.
The Antipasto was pretty filling so I shared a Margherita pizza with my boss' wife. It looked more of a cheese pizza...
I was expecting the pizza to look like: My sad slice was so sad...there was nothing special about their pizza. l-59
I tried my boss' daughter's boyfriend's pizza, the D.O.C. (Fresh tomato and buffalo mozzarella) - I think that's what it's called I was hoping that it would taste better, but nope, not at all. l-58
My boss ordered the Gnocchi con Pomodoro (filante potato gnocchi with tomato sauce) and it was tasteless too. What a disappointment!l-77
Thank goodness the desserts were exciting...well at least the Chocolate Souffle. Ladies, their Chocolate Souffle is the perfect meal to have when you are on your period. l-74
Their Tiramisu was just okay...

Service was a hit or miss. They were excellent at refilling our wine glasses but then I had to ask for water THREE times. I am told 10 years ago Caffe Roma's food was amazing...well, now it's gone, and I much prefer La Terza or Osteria La Buca.

Address: 350 N Canon Dr Ste 13 Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Phone#: (310) 274-7834
Rating: 2 out of 5

Friday, November 21, 2008


It was a rough start but then it ended well.

I convinced my boss that we must help the economy and take advantage of Open Table's Stimulus plan. Asia De Cuba is a restaurant that I would always hear about but never tried so what better way to dine there on my boss' dime. We lucked out finding meter parking, so I don't know how much valet costs... The restaurant was pretty empty at 1:30pm...guess the special offer didn't really helped. It took a really long time for my boss to get his lemonade...maybe it was freshly squeezed by hand??? I was disappointed when I saw what was offered for the Stimulus plan. Instead of each person getting their own appetizer, entree, and dessert for $24, it was 2 guests choose 2 appetizers, 1 entree, and 1 dessert. If you wanted to get your own entree it was an additional $8. Furthermore, you only had a few options for each category. For appetizer, you could get the Black bean and Chickpea Dumplings

or the Spicy Lobster Roll (yeah...only 2 options). Luckily they were willing to substitute the Spicy Lobster Roll for the Spicy Tuna Roll,
which was good but I had better -at least it was better than the Black bean & Chickpea Dumplings. My entree, the Miso Cured Alaskan Butterfish w/ edamame salad was delicious!

My boss enjoyed his Marinated Crispy Tofu with Caribbean Vegetables.

The best part of the meal was the Cuban Opera dessert! OMG - I died and gone to heaven! It's a must if you go to Asia De Cuba.

Overall, the food was good and service got better. I can see why people love Asia De Cuba.

Address: 8440 W Sunset Boulevard West Hollywood, CA 90069
Phone#: (323) 848-6000
Rating: 4 out of 5

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Al Bae Ne

Al Bae Ne is my go to place when I want to be Asian and have dumplings and Mandu Duk for breakfast as it’s open 24 hours. I could go to Hodori or Nak Won House but they’re further south and it’s always better to support a mom & pop restaurant. There might be a language barrier but thank goodness they have photos of each items.
I like their Mandu Duk because they don’t skimp out on the dumplings in its Mandu Duk. They also throw a few beef pieces.
Their dumplings are not bad either. The pork and leeks are evenly mixed in the dumplings.
Al Bae Ne
Like the usual, they throw in rice, kim chi and other banchans. It’s a lot of food and all for $15!

Address: 3470 W 6th St, Ste 6, LA, CA 90020
Phone#:(213) 388-1105
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Friday, November 14, 2008

8 Oz. Burger Bar

I tagged along with my colleagues, Pinks and Farts to 8 Oz. Burger Bar, for lunch to nibble on their food since I was still pretty full from my mandu duk from Al Be Ne (I'll write about that review later once I finished the boiled dumplings for supper). Pinks ordered the 8oz Burger combo, which came w/ onion rings and a glass of beer for $15 (pricing is not bad).
Farts ordered the burrata salad l-67
and the Classic burger w/ fries.
I ordered their Strawberry Milkshake.

The 8oz burger was pretty good, but I wasn't crazy about their brioche bun, which made it one soggy burger. It soaks up the juice real fast --must eat immediately! The onion rings were ok, nothing to rave about like 25 Degrees' onion rings.

We didn't realized that the menu "states that burgers are cooked to "medium-rare to medium." Farts' burger was pretty medium-rare, rare. The fries were good, but still 25 Degrees' fries are better. The burrata salad was excellent. Love burrata.

Now my Strawberry milkshake?

"My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard,
And they're like
It's better than yours,
Damn right it's better than yours,
I can teach you,
But I have to charge"

And they did for $4.00. Not bad for that yummy shake!

I'll be back!

Address: 7661 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046
Phone#: (323) 852-0008
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