Friday, January 30, 2009


ALAS, I can give a 5-star to one of the restaurants participating in Dine LA week! My overall experience at Gordon Ramsey was amazing! I convinced some colleagues that we needed to have lunch at GR. Izzy, an older Brit dame, was glowing and hoping to meet her crush, GR. I've worked with her for over 2 years and I've never seen her happy...and off we go hunting for the dashing Brit and good food! The GR is situated in the left, back part of the glamorous London Hotel where men should wear smoking velvet jackets (don't forget the scarves) and ladies should wear silk halter dresses. It's a swanky joint. I couldn't resist taking a photo of the bar...
We were seated immediately at a table with a beautiful view of the smoggy LA. Unfortunately GR was not there...Izzy was disappointed but then the food came and she brightened up again. We started off with the Rabbit and Smoked Bacon Ballottine,
the Confit Beet Salad,

and the Wild Mushroom Veloute. DSC05704
I didn't dare try the poor Bugs Bunny dish...but Mr. D. seemed to enjoy it. The Beet Salad was delicious! The Wild Mushroom Veloute was even better! I love the presentation -the way the waiters bring out the food and the food display -it's all about the details! For entrees, Jewels and I split the Crispy Pave of Sea Trout

the Braised Ox Cheek.
It was my 1st time having Ox Cheek, and it was very tender, slightly foreign...but good. I didn't have any trouble chewing the Ox Cheek...well, I didn't need to chew because it just kinda melted in my mouth... Izzy the Brit said the Ox Cheek is an Old English traditional dish that's rarely on the menu cuz it's so damn hard to make. She said that GR's Braised Ox Cheek was flawless. As one of the Yelpers mentioned, the Sea Trout tasted like Salmon; nonetheless, it was perfectly cooked. I didn't care for the cabbage though.
We barely had room for desserts. Jewels and I split the Meyer Lemon Pudding Cake
and the Valrhona Chocolate Fondant
My first response to the Meyer Lemon Pudding Cake was, "WOWZER!" If you need to wake up, that dessert is for you. It's sooo sour and sweet! I let Jewels finished that dessert while I devoured the oh-so-heavenly-better-than-sex Valrhona Chocolate Fondant; it beats Comme Ca's Brioche Chocolate Pudding by a nose.

The maitre de was very nice, and the service was IMPECCABLE (changing the silverware, removing every bread crumbs, etc). I have to try the burrata mozzarella dish the next time around...and I wonder if the 3-course lunch special is still going be continued... :D

Addres: The London Hotel 1020 N San Vicente Blvd West Hollywood, CA 90069
Phone#: (310) 358-7788
Rating: 5 out of 5
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Thursday, January 29, 2009


If you don't feel like trekking to Hama or Komasa in Little Tokyo, Sushi Ike is a good alternative. It's a tiny sushi restaurant in a strip mall offering fresh sushi. If you like fancy rolls with heavy sauce to cover the unfreshness, don't come here.

I was craving sushi and decided to check Sushi Ike out. If you can't find parking in the lot, try Carlos Ave. (north of Hollywood Blvd.). The joint was packed. I lucked out snagging the one seater at the bar. It's fascinating to see the chefs at work -they're super fast! And if you stare at them too long, they get worry and think there's something wrong. The chefs are adorable!

I had the spicy tuna hand roll, eel avocado cut roll, albacore sushi, and Spanish mackerel sushi, and they were all great. I had some trouble ordering the eel avocado. Like the way the chef makes his sushi/rolls, he also talks really fast with a soft voice. He'll repeat my order out loud, and I have no clue what's he saying, so I'll just nod my head for fear of offending him. He didn't bite my head off when I corrected my order like some other chefs...

The total came out to $30 total (including tip). It's pricier than Hama and Komosa. I'm going to try the $50 Omakase when I get my 2008 CA tax refund back, which might be I guess I'll have to wait when the federal refund comes back....must save money for LA restaurant week...

Address: 6051 Hollywood Blvd Ste 105 Los Angeles, CA 90028
Phone#: (323) 856-9972
Rating: 4 out of 5

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Happy Ox Year!

After jogging/walking 9 miles and 1.5 hours of Bikram Yoga, I was actually looking forward to eating and celebrating Chinese New Year at Chosun Galbee with my friends. I's Korean and not Chinese, but the location was convenient for everyone. Plus, I recalled the food was excellent a couple years ago when my friends took me out for my birthday lunch, and once again, Chosun did not disappoint me on CNYD.

If there's 4 people they don't take reservation...luckily I showed up 5 minutes late because Cat was late, and once she arrived, we were seated immediately. Service was excellent here! I didn't need to touch the tong!!

Had I known they were going to give us a lot of Banchans, I would have skipped the Korean pancakes or the Japchae...we ordered (2) Galbi plates, (1) Bulgogi, (1) Japchae, (1) Korean Pancakes, and (1) Steamed Dumplings. My plate looked like: The meat were yummy!! Cat pointed out that you need to request the sesame oil with salt for your Galbi as they're cheap now. It's the economy... The dumplings were scrumptious, but definitely on the pricey side...I think they cost $15??? The Japchae and Korean Pancakes were also good. Our dinner ended with the Korean "Horchata" -YUM!

The damage was $40 (including tip) per person (no alcohol at all!), but it's worth it!

Address: 3330 W Olympic Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90019
Phone#: (323) 734-3330
Rating: 5 out of 5


I love, love the interior of Comme Ca! After all, we are in Los Angeles, where everyone is vain and checking themselves out... I figured if they put into that much details with the interior, they would put more attention into the their food and service, and boy...was I disappointed.
After being seated for 15 minutes, I hollered the waiter down to take our order (we didn't get an LA Dine menu, but that's ok, cuz I knew what exactly what my colleague and I were going to eat).

It took about another 15 minutes for our appetizers to arrive, the Roasted Beet Salad and the Soup DeJour, Cauliflower.DSC05688
The soup was bland; it needed black pepper. DSC05687
The Roasted Beet Salad was excellent.

Our entrees the Mushroom Risotto and Scottish Salmon were a HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT! The Salmon was incredibly salty! DSC05690
We were sitting next to (2) fellas who had Comme Ca's burgers and complained that their meals were salty too! What's wrong with the chef's taste buds? The Mushroom Risotto was very rich and more like a Parmesan Risotto with a few mushrooms tossed in there.DSC05689The saving grace was their desserts -well they weren't actually Comme Ca's desserts but Boule's desserts (same owner I guess it's the same...) the Brioche Chocolate Pudding and the Profiteroles with Pistachio and Vanilla Ice Creams. The hippo has died and gone to heaven! DSC05692
The Brioche Chocolate was definitely better than sex and the Profiteroles were Yummalicious!DSC05691
Our waiter was nice, but service was rough. I couldn't believe that they only had (2) waiters and (2) bussers for the entire front restaurant (don't know if there's a back area...) and the restaurant was packed due to LA Dine Week!! Oh, it gets loud there -"cafeteria" loudness.

Come here for desserts and drinks only.

Address: 8479 Melrose Ave West Hollywood, CA 90069
Phone#: (323) 782-1104
Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Photo credit: Kalea D. (top photo only)


Like Comme Ca, STK is another restaurant that has hired a killer interior designer but not chef...when you walk in, you feel like you're in a music video: sleek furniture, alternative music playing, beautiful, young girls waiting for their dates, sipping on tap water...this restaurant is SO L.A..

One of the vendors I use for work (I'll call him Mr. K) bribed me with dinner...I took the bait. I didn't want to take advantage of his offer, so I picked an LA Dine week restaurant.

We started with STK's delicious free bread. DSC05693
Sadly this was my #3 favorite food for the night.

For appetizers, we had the Spinach Salad and Blue Iceberg Salad (not a part of LA Dine Week menu -Mr. K's a very picky eater).
What I like about their salads is the simplicity, and the dressing is very light, and what I hate about their salads is that they're too simple. DSC05695
They could have thrown in some tomatoes, figs, apricots...or a bone.

For the entrees, since Mr. K. was not keen on the fish, we went for the Chicken and the Filet.DSC05696
The Chicken was slightly over salted, and the Filet was good, not great though, but if I had to pick a #1 food item at STK, the filet would be it.

We also ordered the 3 most raved side dishes: the Mac N Cheese, Yukon Mashed Potatoes, and Creamy Corn Pudding (I think they're $9 each..?).
The Mac N Cheese was disappointing. I don't know what kind of cheese they use...but the flavor is not strong-- tasted very buttery... The Yukon Mashed Potato was good and helped balanced the salty Chicken, but it was no where near Glitretind's Yukon Mashed Potatos (Park City, Utah). The Creamy Corn was amazing the first 2 bites, but then it's like eating Cotton Candy where you get sick to your stomach because it's so damn sweet.

For desserts we went with the Chocolate Tart and the Ginger Cake. The Chocolate Tart was my number #2 item at STK -YUM (but no where near Comme Ca's Brioche Chocolate Pudding). DSC05700
The Ginger Cake was not bad.
Oh, we also ordered the "Strawberry Cobbler" drink, which was NASTY. The Martini Glass rim is no longer lined with Gingerbread crumbs (I think...), so it's just a "Strawberry" drink, and it tasted like the frozen strawberries in the white know what I'm talking about--sickening sweet, like drinking Strawberry cough syrup. Gag me.

Service was excellent.

I love LA Dine Week. You get to try all these fancy, expensive restaurants and realized that you're not missing much...come here for drinks only (don't get any of their special cocktails, just the basics) if you want to look cool.

Address: 755 N La Cienega Blvd West Hollywood, CA 90046
Phone#: (310) 659-3535
Rating: 3 out of 5

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Shauna D's Banh Mi Crawl: Part 4 of 4

Banh Mi My Tho was our final stop. At this point we said screw "crawling," let's drive! Thanks Ahn T for driving! Banh Mi My Tho was the tiniest place out of the 4 places-no chairs but a counter for you to stand and eat...prices are cheap - $2-3.

Shauna and I split the BBQ Pork.
It was pretty good; I probably would have enjoyed it a lot more had I not ate beforehand...

AJ and Ahn had the BBQ Beef. I managed to take a bite of their sandwich and you know what? I couldn't tell the difference between the BBQ Beef and BBQ Pork at that moment. Stuffed.

Al was brave enough to order his own sandwich - the Pork Loaf.
I didn't try it-- no more room!!!

I also ordered a large Vietnamese coffee for $2.50 (I think..) hoping it would help me...and it didn't. Their coffee is super strong, so just go for a small.

Overall, BMMT has tasty Banh Mis and my #2 Banh Mi place.

Thanks Shauna for hosting the event!

Address: 304 W Valley Blvd Alhambra, CA 91803
Phone#: (626) 289-4160
Rating: 4 out of 5


Is it possible to kill oneself by overeating?

I had a 10 course Chinese New Year Eve dinner at Golden City Seafood Restaurant AFTER a Bahn Mi Crawl in which I trekked to four different joints. What was I thinking!? Woh sen zuh bing!!! I subbed it there, hoping that the walking would help alleviate my food coma from all the Bahn Mis...but no such luck.

The restaurant was packed on CNYE! The hostess who arranged the 10-course meal did a great job, and the restaurant staff did a fantastic job accommodating all 45 (I think...) of us. Excellent service.

We had...

1. Veggie Sweet N Sour Soup: Good, after the 5th sip, it was too spicy for me... DSC05665

2. Squab Lettuce Cup: After convincing myself that the squab was chicken (I know it's not, but that's only way I was going to eat the damn bird), I was kinda able to enjoy the dish. It was not bad...definitely would have enjoyed it much more if it was really chicken. DSC05667
3. Green Beans: Excellent
4. Ma Po Tofu: Good, not too spicy
5. Eggplants: No comment- don't like slimy texture DSC05672
6. Longeitivty Noodle: Excellent
7. Fish...der Red Snapper?: Excellent
8. "Chinese" Fried Chicken: Delicious! Must add the side salt!DSC05671

9. Fried Oysters: No comment- don't like slimy texture DSC05677
10. Sizzling Beef Dish...: Good, but the Chicken was betterDSC05674
10b. Close up on the Beef
Excellent food! The meal was $28/person -not bad for the amount of food. There were 7 people at my table, and 3 of us took some left over, and we still had enough food leftover to give to 8 homeless people!

I rolled myself home.

Address: 960 N Hill St Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone#: (213) 253-2660
Rating: 5 out of 5


Shauna D's Banh Mi Crawl: Part 2 of 4

Banh Mi Che Cali was our 2nd stop. I wished I did some research...I found out after the crawl that if you Buy 2, you Get 1 FREE ! Drats! Not that the $2-3 for a Banh Mi was going to hurt me...

I had the BBQ Beef. It was ok...all the BBQ sauce is underneath the meat.

Shauna stuck to her Meatball. Now that's a fully cooked Meatball sandwich, and it was much better than Mr. Baguette's.

Marcus had the Sardines. You have to like Sardines to eat this sandwich; sardines are too fishy for me.

I forgot what Linden ordered...was it the Saigon or BBQ Pork? Since I don't remember the sandwich, I guess it wasn't memorable. I do remember his Marinated Mangos, which were incredibly sour.

Banh Mi Che Cali was the busiest place out of the 4 - I guess this is where all the Chinese/Vietnamese people go to? They also offer other Vietnamese food. I'll have to come back and try their Pork Rice Noodle Rolls.

Address: 647 W Valley Blvd Alhambra, CA 91803
Phone#: (626) 293-8396
Rating: 3 out of 5


Shauna D's Banh Mi Crawl: Part 1 of 4

Mr. Baguette was Shauna's Banh Mi Crawl 1st stop...and I wished it was our last stop.

The best part of Shauna's crawl is eating family style. The sandwiches were splint amongst five hungry, hungry, hungry hippos.

I bought the Saigon, which was narly tasting because the liver was dominating the sandwich. I think I spent $4 total?

Shauna D had the Meatball, which looked um...not done. Someone was trying to convince me that it was red food coloring, but I don't think so. Needless to stay it was bland and gross.

Al ordered his #2 Mr. Baguette sandwich - Meatloaf (that's what Mr. Baguette calls it, but it's just Pork). It was bland.

AC ordered some Ham sandwich on a Brioche bun (it's not really a Brioche, but they call it that...). Like most of the Mr. Baguette's sandwiches, I find it to be boring as well.

Marcus had the winning sandwich - Al M.'s #1 Mr Baguette sandwich - the Roast Beef on a Sesame Baguette.

As Shauna D. mentioned, it was annoying that Mr. Baguette did not put the marinated veggies into the sandwiches.

I wished Mr. Baguette was our last stop because it was the most expensive of the 4 joints and the worse.

Address: 8702 Valley Blvd Rosemead, CA 91770
Phone#: (626) 288-9166
Rating: 3 out of 5


Shauna D's Banh Mi Crawl: Part 3 of 4

Saigon's Sandwich & Bakery was our 3rd stop and my favorite! At this point, we were definitely "crawling" to here. Originally Shauna had 10 Banh Mi places!!! Yeah...that's very ambitious and luckily Shauna cut her list to 4. It was completely empty when we arrived but packed by the time we left. As the other Yelpers mentioned, this is place to order to go and not dine in; it's tiny! Sandwiches are cheap - $2-3 range.

I had the Vietnamese Beef Sausage -excellent!

Shauna had the BBQ Pork - another good sandwich!

Marcus had the Saigon -so good!!

Saigon's is the place to get your Bahn Mi!

Address: 718 E Valley Blvd San Gabriel, CA 91776
Phone#: (626) 288-6475
Rating: 5 out of 5


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