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Los Angeles

Kagaya

April 2, 2018

I’ve been going to this restaurant for years and I’m both happy and surprised to say the quality here never diminished. While most restaurants tend to lose some of its quality in either food preparation, ingredients or service, Kagaya still upholds stellar ratings in all three categories.

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Red O

November 11, 2013

Red O
8155 Melrose Ave,
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 655-5009

http://www.redorestaurant.com

The moment we walked into this nicely decorated Mexican restaurant, I thought I was up for a good experience. However, almost everything went downhill from then on. We were greeted with bad service and mediocre dishes that were not worth the price we paid for. This might be from my lack of familiarity with the Mexican food culture but I really do think I’ve had better tacos from food trucks that costed much less than what we paid for at Red O.

It all started nicely when our waiter came to take our order, gave us some suggestions, brought us our wine. After that, he was never to be seen throughout the rest of our dinner until we constantly asked other waiters to help us find ours. Yes, it was very frustrating. There’s nothing I find more frustrating than having inattentive waiters where you waste time trying to find him.

Happy Eating List

Guac & Chips: But then again, you can't go wring with Guac & Chips.

Guac & Chips:
But then again, you can’t go wring with Guac & Chips.

Pork Belly Sope: This was an appetizer that I found more enjoyable than the other dishes. After all, it's pork belly! I was pretty disappointed because the waiter did tell me their Pork Belly Sopes were amazing and it's an absolute must-try dish at Red O. If this is the ultimate must-try dish, I have to say that sets a pretty low standard for the rest of the dishes on their menu.

Pork Belly Sope:
This was an appetizer that I found more enjoyable than the other dishes. After all, it’s pork belly on a pastry crust! I was pretty disappointed because the waiter did tell me their Pork Belly Sopes were amazing and it’s an absolute must-try dish at Red O. If this is the ultimate must-try dish, I have to say that sets a pretty low standard for the rest of the dishes on their menu.

Not So Happy List

Tuna Ceviche: Very disappointed. I don't recommend for anyone to order this dish.

Tuna Ceviche:
Very disappointed. I don’t recommend for anyone to order this dish.

Lamb in Mole Negro: This was supposed to be Rick Bayless's winning dish on the Top Chef. Perhaps he did not convey his secret to the chef at Red O cooking our dish the night we dined there because I have definitely had better lamb dishes at other restaurants. This was a dish that was not appealing at all in terms of sight and taste. Again, very, very disappointed.

Lamb in Mole Negro:
This was supposed to be Rick Bayless’s winning dish on the Top Chef. Perhaps he did not convey his secret to the chef at Red O cooking our dish the night we dined there because I have definitely had better lamb dishes at other restaurants. This was a dish that was not appealing at all in terms of sight and taste. Again, very, very disappointed.

I am generally not that harsh on restaurants but this was truly one of the worst dining experiences I have had in Los Angeles. The meal ended costing around $500 including wine and I have to say, I did not think it was worth the price at all. Not so surprisingly, my friend visited Red O this past weekend and had a bad dining experience as well.

I’m still on the hunt for good Mexican food in Los Angeles before I finish off with the school year and head back to Hong Kong for good. Please let me know if you have any suggestions!

Happy eating,
Joey Wong ♥

Juice Cleanse: Review

November 4, 2013


You might have already figured out if you follow my Instagram, I already started eating on the third day. I’ll be honest. It’s hard to resist when your friends call or text and want to meet up over dinner. So I walked into the restaurant thinking, “It’s okay. I’ll just watch them eat.” Of course, this never happened. The minute the chips and guacamole came, I started getting my fill of chips and guac. On that note, food post coming up next on Red O.

At the end of this “Juice Cleanse Week,” I came to realize that a full-on seven-day juice cleanse is not for me. I know a lot of people have done it and feel great afterward, that wasn’t the case for me. I felt much better after I started eating some regular meals while substituting one meal a day with a juice. This is something that I want to continue because I do feel better not eating lunch, for example, and just drinking a glass of juice. Since I was anemic and suffered from malnutrition in the past, drinking the juice will help me absorb the nutrients that I need.

For those who are interested, including my friend Eva, here are some juice recipes you can try at home:

1. Easy Citrus:
Orange
Lemon
Apple
Celery
Lime

2. The Vegetables:
Red pepper
Carrot
Celery

3. Detox:
Grapefruit
Apple
Ginger

4. Joey’s Favorite:
Orange
Apple
Lemon
Splash of ginger

It turns out that citrus fruits and ginger play an important part in rejuvenating the body. This is why I added a “Joey’s Special,” which is a recipe that is easier to start with since the juice will be on the sweeter side because of the apples and oranges. The lemon and ginger also helps with getting rid of the toxins in your body. I personally cannot tolerate spiciness so I add a minimal amount of ginger (just enough so it tastes a little spicy) juice just for health purposes.

Again, I’d like to reiterate that I did not do a juice-only cleanse. I do encourage people to think about substituting one meal a day with juice because I do believe in the health benefits. This is just something that I believe works (for me) in the long run!

Feel free to contact me if you have been on a juice cleanse and want to share your story!

Happy eating (finally),
Joey Wong ♥

Juice Cleanse Day 2

November 4, 2013

It’s only the second day of the juice cleanse and the cravings are already really hard to suppress. It was a mistake to not get all the ingredients before starting on this homemade juice cleanse because the moment I walk into the grocery store to get some ginger, I spot all sorts of food. My favorite Asian snacks, drinks, ice cream. Oh gosh. I really do wonder if I will be able to last the week.

The good thing about the second day is that after my morning glass of juice, I realized why I’ve been feeling sick since the first day. It wasn’t only because I have been eating unhealthy meals. It was because of all the acid from the citrus fruits that I’ve been drinking. All the citrus increases stomach acid, which causes excess gas. This is why I’ve been feeling as if something was up my throat the whole time and that I wanted to throw up. I don’t actually need to throw up. I just feel as if I want to throw up because of all the gas. After realizing this, I feel much better about the juice cleanse.

Morning: Orange, lemon and celery juice

Morning: Orange, lemon and celery juice

Happy drinking,
Joey Wong ♥

Juice Cleanse Day 1

October 29, 2013

It’s only the first day and I’ve only had two juices so far but I’m already feeling the effects. After my “lunch” juice, I felt like throwing up. I’m thinking there is no way I can get through this but then I have to focus on why I decided to go on this cleanse in the beginning. I was convinced that with the unhealthy meals I’ve been having, I need this to rejuvenate myself.

This morning was especially hard because I was working on USC’s food show, Delish. They made pumpkin everything and I have to say it was an amazing episode. They brought out a fryer to make pumpkin funnel cake. PUMPKIN FUNNEL CAKE. I eyed that funnel cake but nope, I did not touch it.

Some websites say that you can have one light meal while you’re on a juice cleanse. For my first light meal, I had tofu. It might look good in the picture but let me assure you, it is flavorless. I’m also cheating a little by munching on unsalted nuts to keep me going through the day.

DSC_1547

Before I started the cleanse, I stuffed myself with beef last night. I thought shabu shabu was the way to go right before the cleanse so I can satisfy all my cravings beforehand. Wrong. Take a look at this website that explains what you should do before and after a cleanse. Turns out, I have done everything wrong up to this point.

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 2.27.54 PM

Please feel free to leave a comment on this post or email me at joeelovesfood@gmail.com if you have any additional tips or experiences you want to share with me regarding cleanses.

Happy cleansing,
Joey Wong ♥

Il Grano

October 28, 2013

Il Grano
11363 Santa Monica Blvd,
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 477-7886

http://www.ilgrano.com

We decided to come to Il Grano after searching for the best uni pastas in Los Angeles. Since Il Grano popped up and it was located nearby, we decided to give it a try. Major mistake. I have rarely written any posts where I criticize almost everything about the restaurant but my experience at Il Grano was beyond bad. Let me plunge straight into the “Not So Happy List.”

Not So Happy List

Crudo:  Our crude of the day included one oyster and a few slices of sashimi. None of them were too fantastic and the plating wasn't too appealing.

Crudo:
Our crude of the day included one oyster and a few slices of sashimi. None of them were too fantastic and the plating wasn’t too appealing.

Caprese: It's slightly biased that I'm including the Caprese Salad on the Not So Happy List because of the bad experience I had at Il Grano. However, I have to point out that it's hard to make Caprese taste bad. This is why it all comes down to plating and the colors of the food. Though there were a variety of heirloom tomatoes on the plate, I have to say it looked more like a mess than a plate of carefully placed vegetable and mozzarella cheese.

Caprese:
It’s slightly biased that I’m including the Caprese Salad on the Not So Happy List because of the bad experience I had at Il Grano. However, I have to point out that it’s hard to make Caprese taste bad. This is why it all comes down to plating and the colors of the food. Though there were a variety of heirloom tomatoes on the plate, I have to say it looked more like a mess than a plate of carefully placed vegetable and mozzarella cheese.

Bigoli al Nero: This was by far the worst disappointment of the night. Since Il Grano ranked as one of the best restaurants with uni pasta, I had high hopes for the dish. The pasta could have used a few more seconds on the stove as well as a extra drizzle of sauce. I felt as if everything about this pasta could use a little more of everything. Il Grano could definitely add a little more uni to the dish as well.

Bigoli al Nero:
This was by far the worst disappointment of the night. Since Il Grano ranked as one of the best restaurants with uni pasta, I had high hopes for the dish. The pasta could have used a few more seconds on the stove as well as a extra drizzle of sauce. I felt as if everything about this pasta could use a little more of everything. Il Grano could definitely add a little more uni to the dish as well.

Caramelle: Again, this dish is slightly biased. It did not taste all that bad but then of course, I'm being harsh on this restaurant because of the bad impression and bad experience I have had so far. The "candy-wrap" style ravioli could use a few more seconds in the pot so the sides of the ravioli would not be as hard and dry. I'm personally a big fan of pasta al-dente so it means something it definitely says something if I think pasta is undercooked.

Caramelle:
Again, this dish is slightly biased. It did not taste all that bad but then of course, I’m being harsh on this restaurant because of the bad impression and bad experience I have had so far. The “candy-wrap” style ravioli could use a few more seconds in the pot so the sides of the ravioli would not be as hard and dry. I’m personally a big fan of pasta al-dente so it means something it means something if I think pasta is undercooked.

I would avoid revisiting Il Grano for the time being because of the disappointments I experienced while dining at the restaurant.

I definitely had better Italian food in Los Angeles. If you’re really craving for uni pasta, I’d say Osteria Mozza served better ones than Il Grano did.

Happy eating,
Joey Wong ♥

Bread Lounge

October 22, 2013

I’m working with Delish at Trojan Vision as a producer and a segment host this semester. For my first segment, we visited Bread Lounge in downtown Los Angeles and got to talk to owner Ran Zimon.

Zimon is originally from Israel and was shocked when he came to Los Angeles and did not find good quality bread, which gave him the idea to open his own bakery/cafe. The Bread Lounge’s bread are so good because they ensure that every process is given enough time. Zimon explained it normally takes around 16 hours to make a batch of bread from scratch. They are known for their baguettes and ciabattas but when I asked Zimon which is his favorite, he said, “I love all my boys.”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGDll778L4Y&w=560&h=315]

Happy eating,
Joey Wong ♥

Eat This Cafe

October 21, 2013

Eat This Cafe
6547 Santa Monica Blvd,
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 999-2003

http://eatthiscafe.com

It’s hard to notice this restaurant if you’re just driving down Santa Monica Boulevard. Surrounded by pretty much nothing, this cafe is hard to spot but is one of the must-tries in Los Angeles. The only reason I found this cafe was when I spent one of my lazy weekend days on Yelp updating my bookmarks and adding restaurants to my “To Try” list.

Eat This Cafe serves every Saturday from 10 am – 3 pm and Sunday from 10 am – 4 pm. Although their pancakes look very appealing, I decided to go for one of the breakfast sandwiches today. To be completely honest, brunch food can start to get boring after one too many eggs benedicts or french toasts.

Happy Eating List

Truffle Cheese & Egg Panini: Heavenly. I asked to switch from the sourdough bread to the cranberry walnut bread. I loved the blend of everything in the sandwich that gave it a subtle truffle taste and although it is a savory sandwich, the balsamic glaze and the caramelized onions gave it a hint of sweetness that made the panini all the better.

Truffle Cheese & Egg Panini:
Heavenly. I asked to switch from the sourdough bread to the cranberry walnut bread. I loved the blend of everything in the sandwich. From the subtle truffle taste to the hint of sweetness from the balsamic glaze and caramelized onions, all the flavors came together and made the panini all the better.

Irish Turkey & Egg Panini: Layers and and even more unexpected layers of meat. This might be one of the paninis with the most layers of meat I've had in a while. The crunchy texture of the grilled cranberry walnut bread complemented with the soft layers of the turkey meat and cheese was a perfect blend of crunchiness and softness.

Irish Turkey & Egg Panini:
Layers and and even more unexpected layers of meat. This might be one of the paninis with the most layers of meat I’ve had in a while. The crunchy texture of the grilled cranberry walnut bread complemented the soft layers of the turkey meat and cheese. It was a perfect blend of crunchiness and softness all in one bite. The bacon, of course, also added some magic to this panini.

Not So Happy List

Corned Beef Hash: After reading all the Yelp recommendations and tips about how amazing the corned beef hash was, I have to say I was a little disappointed. Perhaps it was more of a personal thing that my tastebuds just didn't find the beef hash too appealing.

Corned Beef Hash:
After reading all the Yelp recommendations and tips about how amazing the corned beef hash was, I have to say I was a little disappointed. Perhaps it was more of a personal thing that my tastebuds didn’t find the beef hash too appealing.

One thing that really caught my attention was that the home fries were served with a spicy ketchup. Instead of asking for ketchup and hot sauce, they already blended the sauce for you.

Eat This Cafe definitely deserves another visit. Besides from going back for more brunch food, I also look forward to trying some of the dishes from its regular menu. They offer some healthier options on their regular menu, including a wide range of salad options.

Happy eating,
Joey Wong ♥