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jcywong91

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 ♥

Osteria Drago

October 17, 2013

Osteria Drago
8741 W. Sunset Blvd,
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 657-1182

http://www.osteriadrago.com

You would not expect this small Italian restaurant in West Hollywood would offer such delectable appetizers and pastas. We enjoyed our dinner for the most part but came to a unanimous consent that everything was great before the meat and fish dishes. Here’s what we liked and didn’t like about Osteria Drago.

Happy Eating List:

Burrata Cheese Amuse Bouche: I love burrata cheese. When they started off our meal with a Burrata Cheese Amuse Bouche in a cute glass jar, it instantly gave me a good impression of the restaurant. I rarely expect for somewhat casual restaurants to offer amuse-bouche at the beginning of the meal.

Burrata Cheese Amuse Bouche:
I love burrata cheese. When they started off our meal with a Burrata Cheese Amuse Bouche in a cute glass jar, it instantly gave me a good impression of the restaurant. I rarely expect for somewhat casual restaurants to offer amuse-bouche at the beginning of the meal.

18 Month San Daniele Prosciutto with Burrata Cheese: Burrata and more burrata with prosciutto. It doesn't get any better than that.

18 Month San Daniele Prosciutto with Burrata Cheese:
Burrata and more burrata with prosciutto. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Beef Tartar with Spring Onion and 100 Year Old Modena Balsamic Vinegar: Loved it. I originally wanted to order the Beef Carpaccio but this was a pleasant mistake.

Beef Tartar with Spring Onion and 100 Year Old Modena Balsamic Vinegar:
Loved it. I originally wanted to order the Beef Carpaccio but this was a pleasant mistake.

Spaghetti with Assorted Seafood in a Light Tomato-Garlic Sauce: I like my pastas al-dente style so it's not too soft or mushy. The spaghetti was cooked to perfection and the light tomato-garlic sauce was just right so the pasta dish was not too heavy.

Spaghetti with Assorted Seafood in a Light Tomato-Garlic Sauce:
I like my pastas al-dente style so it’s not too soft or mushy. The spaghetti was cooked to perfection and the light tomato-garlic sauce was just right so the pasta dish was not too heavy.

Porcini Mushroom Risotto: The risotto was also cooked to perfection (again, very much al-dente). Since I'm a huge fan of almost all-things mushroom, this was one of the top contenders for the most memorable dish of the night for me.

Porcini Mushroom Risotto:
The risotto was also cooked to perfection (again, very much al-dente). Since I’m a huge fan of almost all-things mushroom, this was one of the top contenders for the most memorable dish of the night for me.

Not So Happy List:

Braised Beef Short Ribs with Soft Polenta: True, it was soft and the meat comes apart as you put your fork into it. However, dried short ribs? That's never good.

Braised Beef Short Ribs with Soft Polenta:
True, it was soft and the meat comes apart as you put your fork into it. However, dried short ribs? That’s never good.

Grilled Sliced Wagyu New York with Roasted Potatoes and Broccolini: Most of us doubted that we were really served wagyu beef after the first bite. There's just no way. The meat itself wasn't bad but since I was expecting wagyu beef quality meat, I was pretty disappointed. After all, there is a difference.

Grilled Sliced Wagyu New York with Roasted Potatoes and Broccolini:
Most of us doubted that we were really served wagyu beef after the first bite. There’s just no way. The meat itself wasn’t bad but since I was expecting wagyu beef quality meat, I was pretty disappointed. After all, there is a difference.

Grilled Dover Sole with Pappa Pomodoro and Basil Pesto: This was one of the biggest disappointments for me. Before going to the restaurant, I read some Yelp reviews that said the Dover Sole is excellent and is highly recommended. Turns out, the fish was overcooked and very dry. After living in China for years, I have developed quite a taste for fish. Fish is normally steamed in Chinese restaurants. If the chef is skilled, the fish would be steamed to perfection when the meat would still cling on to the bones and is juicy and tender. Imagine my disappointment when I was served a piece of hard and dried up piece of fish.

Grilled Dover Sole with Pappa Pomodoro and Basil Pesto:
This was one of the biggest disappointments for me. Before going to the restaurant, I read some Yelp reviews that said the Dover Sole is excellent and is highly recommended. Turns out, the fish was overcooked and very dry. After living in China for years, I have developed quite a taste for fish. Fish is normally steamed in Chinese restaurants. If the chef is skilled, the fish would be steamed to perfection when the meat would still cling on to the bones and is juicy and tender. Imagine my disappointment when I was served a piece of hard and dried up piece of fish.

Dark Chocolate Mousse Petit Four: Although I loved the rich, dark chocolate taste of the mousse, the texture was simply not smooth enough. I am picky about the texture of this dark chocolate mousse because it is essential that the texture of mousse is silky smooth.

Dark Chocolate Mousse Petit Four:
Although I loved the rich, dark chocolate taste of the mousse, the texture was simply not smooth enough. I am picky about the texture of this dark chocolate mousse because it is essential that the texture of mousse is silky smooth.

Will I revisit Osteria Drago? Perhaps after I try some of the other restaurants at the top of my “to-try list.” However, I am hopeful that the meat and fish dishes will get better over time.

Happy eating,
Joey Wong ♥

chi SPACCA

October 16, 2013

chi SPACCA
6610 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 297-1133

www.chispacca.com
Dinner at chi SPACCA was overwhelming. If you are planning on going there, make sure you go with a group of friends so you can taste more of their different dishes. Unlike most other Italian restaurants, chi SPACCA serves really large portions. I had the honor to talk to Chef Chad Colby a little while we waited for our food and I asked him what inspired the huge portions. He told me that the large meat portions are all traditional Italian dishes and you have to think country-side farm-inspired dishes where all the dishes are meant to be shared.

Having said that, it explains why their Costata alla Fiorentina is priced at $210.

Happy Eating List

Affettati Misti:  This assortment of Italian ham is a good way to start the dinner. The appetizer sampler gave a taste of a variety of different meat (sorry I can't remember their names). Other than that, it wasn't anything too special.

Affettati Misti:
This assortment of Italian ham is a good way to start the dinner. The appetizer sampler gave a taste of a variety of different meat (sorry I can’t remember their names). Other than that, it wasn’t anything too special.

Tomahawk Pork Chop: The pork chop was really, really well-seasoned and grilled to perfection. I noticed that the chef had to grill the pork for a while before we were served in order to cook through the thick cut.

Tomahawk Pork Chop:
The pork chop was really, really well-seasoned and grilled to perfection. I noticed that the chef had to grill the pork for a while before we were served in order to cook through the thick cut.

Beef and Bone Marrow Pie: I'd say this is a definite must-try. The moment you slice through the pie, the juice from within oozes out. Again, the dish was amazing.

Beef and Bone Marrow Pie:
I’d say this is a definite must-try. The moment you slice through the pie, the juice on the inside of the pie oozes out. It was a bit of a surprise to us when we sliced through the pie. Nonetheless, it was an amazing dish.

Banana Mascarpone Crostata:  Another absolute must-try. The smooth texture from the mascarpone with the banana bits beneath all came together really nicely. This dessert is what makes me want to go back to chi SPACCA.

Banana Mascarpone Crostata:
Another absolute must-try. The smooth texture from the mascarpone with the banana bits beneath all came together really nicely. This dessert is what makes me want to go back to chi SPACCA.

Not So Happy List

Crostata alla Fiorentina: Though massive, I did not think the steak was too special. It was definitely well-seasoned and well-cooked but it lacked the wow factor that makes me want to spend $210 on it again.

Crostata alla Fiorentina:
Though massive, I did not think the steak was too special. It was definitely well-seasoned and well-cooked but it lacked the wow factor that makes me want to spend $210 on it again.

Pollo alla Diavola: The only thing about the chicken was that it was slightly spicy. Other than that, I did not think the chicken was too amazing. It did not wow me like some of the other chicken dishes I've had in other restaurants.

Pollo alla Diavola:
The only thing about the chicken was that it was slightly spicy. Other than that, I did not think the chicken was too amazing. It did not wow me like some of the other chicken dishes I’ve had in other restaurants.

chi SPACCA deserves a second visit but next time, I’ll stick more to the smaller portions so I get to taste more. Despite my comments towards its massive servings, I do think that it is a good place to go with a group of friends to share the food. Just be sure not to go with too large of a group because the restaurant is pretty small.

Happy eating,
Joey Wong ♥

Trois Mec

October 16, 2013

Trois Mec
716 N. Highland Ave,
Hollywood, CA 90038
No phone

www.troismec.com 

Hidden inside of a building that still hangs the pizza sign from the previous owner is Trois Mec. It took me a while to find it, not knowing that there wasn’t big Trois Mec sign on the door but this made the experience the more interesting. It felt like you had to be a real foodie to find the restaurant. Here’s another tip. If your reservation is for 8 pm, you won’t be seated until 8 pm. They time their meals so the people who made their reservations for 6 pm don’t finish until right before 8.

The entire dining experience was phenomenal so I’m just going to jump right into the highlights.

Happy Eating List:

Avocado on sushi rice with salt cod cream, lime and cilantro: This was the first course that started the meal and it was a mix of heaven and bliss all in the same bite. It was my first time tasting rice mixed with cod cream. Along with the soft texture of the avocado, it was a bite of all things smooth. The slight hint of lime juice gave it a subtle refreshing aftertaste.

Avocado on sushi rice with salt cod cream, lime and cilantro:
This was the first course that started the meal and it was a mix of heaven and bliss all in the same bite. It was my first time tasting rice mixed with cod cream. Along with the soft texture of the avocado, it was a bite of all things smooth. The slight hint of lime juice gave it a subtle refreshing aftertaste.

Beef Carpaccio with grilled yogurt, fermented black walnut and caramelized eggplant:  First off, what is grilled yogurt? I can tell you now that it did not have the burnt, charcoal taste that I expected. Instead, I thought it was a great addition to the dish. I'm always most impressed with chefs who create dishes using ingredients that I normally dislike to eat. The Beef Carpaccio dish is an example of that. I tend to avoid all things eggplants when I eat but this was a pleasant surprise. I actually enjoyed the eggplants in this dish. So there, enough said. I loved it.

Beef Carpaccio with grilled yogurt, fermented black walnut and caramelized eggplant:
First off, what is grilled yogurt? I can tell you now that it did not have the burnt, charcoal taste that I expected. Instead, I thought it was a great addition to the dish. I’m always most impressed with chefs who create dishes using ingredients that I normally dislike to eat. The Beef Carpaccio dish is an example of that. I tend to avoid all things eggplants when I eat but this was a pleasant surprise. I actually enjoyed the eggplants in this dish. So there, enough said. I loved it.

Potato pulp with brown butter, bonito, onion soubise and salers:  At first glance, you'd think it was macaroni. After the first bite, you'll realize it's actually potato. Very rich, creamy. The bonito added some really nice flavors to the potato. This is also one of Trois Mec's signature dishes. Only thing that I didn't like about this dish is that all the potato will fill you up fast. Remember that you have more courses coming up!

Potato pulp with brown butter, bonito, onion soubise and salers:
At first glance, you’d think it was macaroni. After the first bite, you’ll realize it’s actually potato. Very rich, creamy. The bonito added some really nice flavors to the potato. This is also one of Trois Mec’s signature dishes. Only thing that I didn’t like about this dish is that all the potato will fill you up fast. Remember that you have more courses coming up!

Barbecued Carrots with Orange Curry and Sour Cream: I had this option instead of the lamb that was originally on the menu since I'm not a big fan of lamb. After this dish, I will never look at carrots the same way again. Chef Ludo is really skilled at turning such simple ingredients into a fine, elegant dish that is rich in flavors and very, very visually pleasing.

Barbecued Carrots with Orange Curry and Sour Cream:
I had this option instead of the lamb that was originally on the menu since I’m not a big fan of lamb. After this dish, I will never look at carrots the same way again. Chef Ludo is really skilled at turning such simple ingredients into a fine, elegant dish that is rich in flavors and very, very visually pleasing.

Truffle grilled cheese sandwich with buttermilk sauce and campfire ice cream: Wow. This $9 supplement is worth your money. Again, Chef Ludo turned the ordinary grilled cheese sandwich into something unique. My ice cream actually melted a little by the time I took the picture, which explains why the dish looks the way it does in my picture.

Truffle grilled cheese sandwich with buttermilk sauce and campfire ice cream:
Wow. This $9 supplement is worth your money. Again, Chef Ludo turned the ordinary grilled cheese sandwich into something unique. My ice cream actually melted a little by the time I took the picture, which explains why the dish looks the way it does in my picture.

Well, that’s it from me. Unlike other fine dining experiences, I thought that a meal at Trois Mec was decently priced, especially for the quality of the food and service you receive as well as the truly unique tasting experience.

I do look forward to getting my golden ticket to Trois Mec again early Friday mornings and trying some of the dishes offered since the menu changes every day. Stay tuned for my post on chi SPACCA!

Happy eating,
Joey Wong ♥