Tuesday, May 26, 2009

ESPN Zone: 2009 LA Marathon Carb Load Dinner

ESPN ZONE: 2009 LA Marthon's Carb Load Dinner
After my Chinese New Year dinner with the ladies, I tried to sweat off from all the meat I ate and jogged/walked nine miles and for some reason since I was able to accomplish the distance, I figured I could do a marathon! 9 miles to 26.2 miles? It's the same thing right? I know, sometimes I'm crazy and impulsive but that's what makes life interesting --when you challenge yourself the impossible and finish it.

Given that the LA Marathon was my first marathon, I wanted the entire experience -my bib on my shirt, pictures and the carb load dinner. This year carb load dinner was downtown at the ESPN Zone Center . The ticket price was $25. Apparently you need to load up on a carb because you burn roughly around 2000 calories in a marathon? The carb load dinner was set up buffet style. You started off with bread and salad, and then there were four sauces and two different types of pastas - spaghetti or penne.
ESPN ZONE: 2009 LA Marthon's Carb Load Dinner
ESPN ZONE: 2009 LA Marthon's Carb Load Dinner
I wanted the Alfredo sauce but stuck to the marinara sauce. At the end of the table were the desserts. The desserts were simple, nothing fancy: lemon bars, brownies, and cookies.
ESPN ZONE: 2009 LA Marthon's Carb Load Dinner
I was very disappointed with my $25 carb load dinner. I should have just gone to an Italian restaurant and order pasta. The LA Marathon should have charged $9.99. I now know never ever to sign up for carb load dinner again. Live and learn.

Addrsess:1011 S Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA 90016
Phone#: (213) 765-7070
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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Bottega Louie

Since I was on my way to the Convention Center downtown to pick up my LA Marathon bib, I thought it made sense to grab some brunch at Bottega Louie. I’ve heard amazing things about Bottega Louie, and wanted to see if they were true or if it was all too good to be true. One step into Bottega Louie’s space you feel like you’re in New York City, and it’s really hard not to be a fan of the restaurant. I want to live there. As you enter the restaurant there’s the “market” where you can buy all-ready prepared food like sandwiches, salads, desserts, drinks and other goodies to go. They have a full bar diagonally across from the “market.”

The dining area is in the back. The host(ess) writes every customer in the reservation book so when the time comes when they are ready to seat you, they can greet you as, “Miss Hippo follow me.” Their properness makes me almost want to do a curtsy or a bow… The space is much darker in the evening.

Bottega Louie
Servers are attentive--although it might be difficult flagging a waiter if you’re in the bar section on the weeknights/ends.

You should start off with their blueberry lemonade.—not too sour and not too sweet.
Their eggs Benedict were ok. I liked how the Hollandaise sauce is served separate. The sauce could you use a kick of lemon.
I need to come back for dinner. It’s always packed at Bottega Louie in the evening.

Address: 700 S Grand Ave, LA, CA 90017
Phone#: (866) 418-9162
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Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I am finally writing about my dining experience at Barbrix (yes, I fudged the date)—that is the problem when you eat more than what you can write…the evening had started incredibly rocky.

I had made the reservation a week ago just to find my two friends and I to dine all the way in the back at the counter, sitting on the stools right in front where the chef cooks…now I normally don’t mind sitting in front of the chef but there were 3 people and it’s not sushi. The hostess attempted to fool us to thinking that was those were the best seats in the house, right by the chef…and next to the bathroom. No seat that is next to the bathroom is good. If looks could kill, mine certainly would; my evil glare went on autopilot. The hostess seated us outside, and at the time, Barbrix did not have outdoor heating lamps (they do now); we froze to death, but luckily they knew we were not happy campers as our teeth were chattering, and seated us at an inside table.

After five minutes, the owner came up to us, apologizing that we had to move as he had promised the table to a client. I believed all our jaws dropped. SO…we waited for a side table to clear up. The inside is a backward L-shape. At first we were annoyed that were seated at the side table (closer to the front) instead of the main area (the mid –“L” part) but then realized that it was best there as it’s SUPER LOUD inside. Do not take a date to Barbrix unless you are sitting outside. The hostess continued to dig herself in a deeper grave by saying, “we don’t have much option” (something along that line), as we would have had she placed a “reserve” sign on a table! The owner felt bad about our situation and treated us extremely well after we were seated –REALLY well, our jaws dropped even lower than the first time.

Enough about the huge hiccup and let me move on to the important stuff –the food and wine! The owner recommended the Qupe-Syrah, which was excellent—simple and smooth.

I heard about Barbrix through the Zagat. It had noted the owners are from La Terza and I was sold. I am in love with La Terza, which is now called Minestraio Trattoria. I have yet to try Minestraio Trattoria, but am confident that the food is just amazing as it was when it was La Terza. Unlike La Terza and Minestraio Trattoria, Barbrix is a wine tapas bar/restaurant. The portions are small reasonably priced and meant to be shared. That said, we ordered a lot—not every woman is on diet (ironically I am on a raw diet now…) and here are the dishes we had:

Deviled eggs: safe, nonetheless delicious
Spring faro salad: you must order it! love it!
Wild boar sausage w/ bean ragu & green apple mostarda: The sausages was not too spicy.
Prime skirt steak “tagliata” w/ arugula, parmegiano-reggiano, balsamico: good
Crispy grilled polenta w/ shitake mushrooms & creamy gorgonzola fonduta: another must order!
Roasted Alaskan halibut w/ fregola, leeks & asparagus w/ tomato-caper salsa: good –just remember halibut is not a flavorful fish
Burrata w/ eggplant caponata: another must order! the eggplant is not overpowering; I hate eggplant.
Monkfish w/out chorizo and tomatoey chickpea sauce: this dish was another surprise because I’m not a fan of chickpeas but find myself enjoying this dish
Shrimp and chickpea flour tortilla: I’m allergic to shrimp but my companions seemed to enjoy it.
Lemon torte: We were disappointed that they didn’t have a chocolate dessert, the lemon torte suffice our sweet tooth. It wasn’t too “lemony.”
Adria’s Favorite Ginger Shortcakes: My companions liked this dessert more; I just not a fan of ginger.
Despite the gad awful start, the food won us all and the service was stellar after we finally reached our final destination. We will be back very soon.

Address: 2442 Hyperion Ave Los Angeles, CA 90027
Phone#: (323) 662-2442
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Sandwiches and Sausages were the missing ingredients to the Fairfax district until the Golden State moved in. Ok you have Canter’s but that’s a 24 hour Jewish deli that serves e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g minus Chinese. It’s a new hippity hoppity simple eatery offering sandwiches and sausages. I lucked out finding a metered parking space in front of the joint. Had I came in the evening, I would have spent half an hour finding parking.

The Golden State’s interior is simple like the menu with high ceilings so if there are a lot of peeps I imagine you might need to shout…. You order at the counter and take a number. After reading all the reviews prior to heading to the Golden State, I knew I was going to order their burger, but was debating to order the regular fries or the sweet potato fries. The man behind the counter was a bit peeved at my most indecisive stage even though there was no one behind me. I also wanted to make sure I had room for Scoops ice cream –my favorite! It costs a bit more than heading to Scoops on Melrose --$2/scoop as opposed to $1/scoop but it’s still cheaper than Milk’s ice cream.

After pondering for 5 minutes which might have felt like an eternity for the worker, who could have saved me some time by letting me know that the sweet potato fries are not crispy…even though it’s “fried”… I went for regular fries. I hate yam. I can only eat sweet potato fries when it’s nicely coated with fat. Finally I had to decide which ice cream…I asked the man if they’re like Scoops where they give out samples. He was like, “Um, only if you actually end up buying ice cream.” He seemed to lack customer service. I wondered if he was the owner…I ended up with Triple Sec Raspberry.
The medium burger was more on the well done side, but it was still delicious. DSC07360
It comes with Harris Ranch beef, Fiscalini Farms cheddar, glazed applewood smoked acon, arugula, housemade aioli & ketchup. I really liked the bun—like a brioche style. The burger was a nice size –not too big and not too small. Since the burger came with one side, I don’t think $10 was unreasonably. I would still prefer to spend $12 at 25 Degrees for their massive burger and onion rings/fries. I do find their sausages overprice, which range from $7-8. You might as well go to Wurstkuche.

The fries were ok –nothing to rave about, but be sure not to forget to eat ‘em with their curry ketchup! Scoop’s Triple Sec Raspberry was yummalicious! The ice cream flavors change daily but if you see it, get it!

Address: 426 N Fairfax AveLos Angeles, CA 90036
Phone#: (323) 782-8331
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
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Sunday, May 3, 2009


There is nothing better than a nice, greasy cheeseburger after getting a 2:30 time in the OC Half Marathon. I tagged along with my cousin and her friends to Hennessey’s Tavern in Dana Point to celebrate a colleague’s birthday, not me completing my first half marathon. The birthday boy turned 50, so I guess I shouldn’t be selfish… Apparently Hennessey’s Tavern is a chained bar/restaurant –no wonder why it sounded familiar, I’ve been to the Hermosa Beach for brunch, and it looks the same—an Irish pub.

The tavern was jammed back, everyone sipping on Bloody Maries or piss water. I’m lame and opted for H2O –just because you do a half marathon doesn’t mean you want to get shit face; I might when I finish the LA Marathon. A band was rocking away outside.

They had a nice eggs Benedict list, but my instinct was not to order ‘em at an Irish bar/restaurant. Although I think I ordered it last time, but I don’t remember if the E.B. was good as I was nursing a hang over.
I ordered the regular cheeseburger with guacamole. Since I was famished, the cheeseburger tasted GREAT!
No seriously, it was ok. I had better; it’s bar food. Their fries and onion rings are like every other fries and onion rings.
I liked the spicy BBQ sauce. Their “Irish” nachos were incredibly soggy. It was a bit too greasy for what I was going for.
My cousin loved their Bloody Mary. I dropped an Andrew Jackson including tax and tip. I’m realizing the Irish bars are not my scene…

Address: 34111 La Plaza, Dana Point, CA 92629
Phone#: (949) 488-0121
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
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