Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Destination With An Ocean View at Geoffrey's Malibu





Do people love the romantic scene with an awesome oceanside view?

I got one for you... it'll cost you an arm and a leg, but it's so worth it.

I was getting off from a hike at Solstice Canyon and visiting the popular Escondido Falls. After an exhausting, but exhilarating hike where it takes me about a hour each way.. I was literally famished. Honestly, you would think there would be a tons of restaurants or fast food places nearby in this narrow, but fast highway road along the scenic route.

Surprisingly no.

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Shame on me for not taking better view from the cliff of the ocean

With the scenic road getting more clustered with every possible tourists wanting to visit the beach along the 1 Pacific Coast Highway, I was stuck and will need a possible 90 minutes to get to the nearest freeway to civilization. Took the biggest gamble of my life and went to the nearest restaurant on Goggle Map for a restaurant nearby.

Lo and behold, it was Geoffrey's Malibu. Don't laugh, but back then there were no pics of the place on the map or describing what dishes are being served. All I can ventured something was amiss was a valet wanting to park your car.  I can either go out and hit that the god-forsaken busy stretch of highway road or just bite that bullet to check this what it seemed very upscale restaurant with a view.

Rolling in by myself, I hit the motherlode!

Instantly, I can deduced it was a great fancy date place or the very least a venue you can impress your company you're are dining with. It seemed like it's either everyone is having a special occasion or a gathering to draw in the awe you can siphon in. To be straightforward, it was a fantastic view of the Pacific Ocean and I just wish I had the foresight to take more photos of the view.

Pfft, I was really just there to wait out the traffic and grabbing the grub.

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Lobster Bisque

The meal here was what you expected for a very classy place. Everything here was like you would be dining at a four star restaurant. You already read above I just chose the nearest place without really making any research and I was already in their mercy.

No choice, but to roll in and swim with the sharks at this moment.

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Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass

Based on the menu, only a few things that fancied me and I took it upon myself to just ordered the most appetizing dishes on the menu. They were serving brunch when I barely made it for that cut off time, but chose the mains from their lunch menu. To my astonishment, I think I made some decent choices.

First, I got the lobster bisque, which probably a good start. Not exactly the most exciting thing in the world, but I was willing to eat anything because of hunger after a long hike. This was something I would love to order again if I was eating a light supper and take in the view.

The big moment came was the presentation of their pan seared Chilean Sea Bass. Boy, that did not disappoint. Love how this just melt right into your melt. It was riveting in that something this tender was worth the gold... literally it cost me a gold.

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Creme Brulee

To end all this soiree, a creme brulee was a fitting end to my out of the way excursion that otherwise a beautiful day in the lovely coast town of Malibu. I'm sure there's a question that get asked: Was it worth it?

I didn't save time by waiting out as I still wound up fighting more than a hour of traffic after the meal. To bask in the sun, take in the breathtaking cliff view of the ocean and breath in the fresh ocean air of Malibu, I'm sure there was a cost somewhere.

It was not pretty when I got the bill. I do honestly have to say this is a "special occasion" place that everyone was alluding to. My visit here did gets a tons of kudo and I would raved it about til the end of time.

If there is a way I can cut out my DSL bill and monthly gym membership, I would be on my way here again. Bare in mind, this place is considered a destination place where you do need to get here as a determination to be here.

In my case, a good unintended post workout meal.

Geoffrey's Malibu
27400 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90265

Geoffrey's Malibu Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, August 24, 2018

Let's Go Grub at Cilantro Lime









I rarely do food stall or places to eat in food court.

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Press Play to see the restaurant located at

Deep inside, I think my biased has to do with the fact that it's all about quick and easy. Hence, probably never that good in the first place.

Hot Dogs on a stand, yup. Grilled chicken with teriyaki sauce? Simple enough. Chinese food that looks like it is sitting out too long? Check. Sub Sandwiches.. pizza... wings.. and burgers. I'm sure you got the point.

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The aforementioned Let's Go Grub Tacos

In a fascinating twist, I was following a blogger who loves all things taco and had a menu item named after him. This unique crunchy taco was called Let's Go Grub Tacos (obviously named after himself) is taken a place at food court of a destination shopping center in the Fashion District area of the downtown area.

Cilantro Lime is a no-nonsense type of Mexican fare that catered to the bustling part of the downtown area where the clientele are of the hustle and bustle. You can tell by this part of the town where a tons of actions take place. I forgot about the wholesale businesses are centered in this part of the town and there were tons of negotiations of prices and merchandise being discussed.

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Their famous Carne Asada Fries

With that in mind, you probably think Mexican street food or something where street carts are the norm here. You're not to going to be wrong, but Cilantro Lime is here to elevate that and provided with some fun twist.

Looking around the shopping center where the food courts are located right in the middle of that indoor plaza center, I can see many various type of ethnic cuisines. A few of selections of Pakistani, Vietnamese and other Asian cuisines are in order.

This somewhat surprised me, but I have always known our neighbors to the south have an affinity for this type of grub where some of the influences matches on what they had growing up. Yes, pho and kabob are popular here.

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Taquitos

If the street fare can be had anywhere, where does Cilantro Lime stands? If you ever get a good look of their homemade tacos and taquitos, you can already tell they are aiming for the people who are looking for the essential familiar food. What stands out are the quality and taste. Reminds you of the homey down to earth comfort food many enjoy, but get eye pleasing presentation as well.

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The Pamboza - the wet Torta

The dish I came all the way to visit for was the Let's Go Grub Tacos. Named after a big named Instagram pal of mine who I followed (as you can tell, Let's Go Grub), where it amassed a delicious taste not just in meat, but in this unique deep fried shell. Oh, the loaded Carne Asada fries and taquitos are bomb as well.

If there is one dish I would highly recommend for people to absolute try is to get the Pamboza. Think of it as a wet torta sandwich. Absolutely amazing when you cut into it and get a good bite into that wet bun. It goes well with the aqua frescas drinks they have in stored.

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Many selections of Aqua Frescas (Hibiscus, Lime, Coconut)

Now, if there is one emergence theme about coming here to try a place at a location I rarely ventured out to, was the fact that many of these places are worth trying but sometimes need to pointed out. This restaurant obviously not only catered to the people who worked in the area, but lovers of good Mexican fare as well.

Here's hoping for more retail centers opened up to draw in more foot traffic. I think this fantastic place shouldn't be hidden for long.

Cilantro Lime Restaurant
934 S Los Angeles St Ste 2
Los Angeles, CA 90015

Cilantro and Lime Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Secret to Fried Chicken? It's the Mild Sauce








Something exciting is about to happen!

Can you imagine having something sweet and tangy on your deep fried fixings? I can assured you it can happened!

I was told of a place here in Beverly Hills that had just opened up with a sauce that will dazzle you to no point with the opulence of the sauce in enhancing your deep fried chicken or seafood.

Mild Sauce is the name of a Chicago style tradition of having that flavor and richness on to your fried fixing. We all can gathered in that Hot is associated Nashville, while Savory Spicy is associated with Southwestern Texas. I never really knew that there is a distinct flavor with fried treats associated with Chicago until it was passed on to me that I need to try Chicago style chicken and fried catfish.

Apparently, Mild Sauce will change my perceptions instantly. No joke, it did changed me.

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Press Play for the interior of the place

The thing that struck me about coming to this no-frill fry house was they kept a tile top counter by the entrance with a look of a happy 50's cafe diner. I was feeling jovial about the fact it kept some reminiscent of bygone years.

When I was greeted by one of proprietress of the joint, I was warmly welcomed by a woman named Fix. That's when I knew I was going to be in good hands! Yes, I did spelled the name right.

After the made-to-order Trio Combo I have ordered was placed in the deep fryer. I also had the chance to examine the sauce that was raved by many of the Chicago's transplants. Yes, this establishment was fondly from Chicago and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that many of the well known celebrities have already made a visit here.

Yeah I know...it's Beverly Hills. The feeling was that so many high end dining can be had, but they chose to make a pit stop here. There are also plenty of deep fried chicken places these days, so why here?

Then it hit me when I take my first bite... it's the sauce.

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Press Play for the Sauce

The richness of the sauce oozes out of the bottle that was provided. I can have them to spray the sauce for me or doing it on my own. Frankly I was conservatively with the pour before the first bite, but gang way.... no stopping with the pour from here on out.

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The Trio combo I ordered was one piece of chicken, catfish, and shrimps deep fried with crispy battered glistened on each of the battered goodies. Fries and a cole slaw was our companions to the trio that made its way to our battered goods.

The main attraction was the sauce. Was it a secret recipe that is too hard to duplicate? Or was it just something that is not marketed it like hot sauce like the southeast brethren from Nashville?

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It got to a whole point where we wondered why didn't people think of a sauce that doesn't need to be spicy or hot can be a compliment to deep fry goods? Does it always need a kick? As you can tell, it just needs to wet our taste buds.

This sauce was an awakening that I need, to be realized a good deep fried chicken like Mild Sauce restaurant can provide can enhanced the flavor. It works well on the chicken leg and breast we got. I do think their catfish was already good enough before the sauce, but it only up'd the level when it was slathered on . A fantastic revelation that I didn't know until this visit.

Now if all these well known celebrities can't be wrong, then I guessed it's no use to argue with them. (found photos online of them visiting this exact location)

The old joke of what's the different between Chicago Fried chicken versus other fried chicken is not wrong... the difference is the sauce.

Mild Sauce
8500 W Olympic Blvd Suite B,
Los Angeles, CA 90035

Mild Sauce Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Always A Great Catch at Fishing With Dynamite




Sometimes you get entertainment out of the blue for no reason.

This seriously just happened when I am dining here at Fishing With Dynamite.

It's a very small comfy, cute little oyster bar a few steps from the beautiful sandy beaches of ultra rich community of Manhattan Beach. This location is on a good stretch of trendy restaurants and boutique shops that only the rich dreamers can talked about. This is not like Santa Monica or South Beach of Miami. Try to think people who can afford to live in Malibu, but would prefer the less traffic of this community.

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This seafood eccentric restaurant was the brainchild of the chef David LeFevre, who also operated the super popular Manhattan Beach Post (MBP), a more focused seasonal California fare located a few doors down from FWD.

The MBP is more buzzier with casual brunch crowd during the weekend while FWD tends to be more favorable with the eclectic crowd who just wants to dive in to experience their seafood fare. I wouldn't say it's more subdue at this quaint little cafe versus the bigger gastropub, but there is no subtlety about the difference.

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Their famous fish tacos

Two things I was told to always ordered was a platter of the fresh oysters and a plate of their famous fish tacos. Those were indeed an excellent advice. I don't think anyone should skipped their fabulous deep fried battered yellowtail. If I had chance to come here every time, it's to get this excellent soft shell tacos.

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Selections of Oysters

The oysters selections can changed, depending on the season and availability. As you can see from the photo of what was being ordered, I was able to get almost every one of them on the menu. Probably my favorite are the ones in Washington state and New Brunswick, Canada.

As in for my entertainment at this establishment. Every single time... really, I do mean.. every.. single.. time, there's always seemed to be coolest pick-ups at the bar. I think the Girls Brunch dates include a pack of gals sitting at the bar. In no time, I get to witness some of slickest come-ons, dopest openers, and maybe even a finalization concluded with phone numbers exchanged.

No lies, they even swapped Instagram names or add each other on Facebook. This never ceases to amaze me. So please, do sit at the tiny bar section of this awesome seafood bistro. You don't want to missed out.

True story, one of their ice breaker actually works on one of my dates!

Fishing With Dynamite
1148 Manhattan Ave
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Fishing With Dynamite Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, August 10, 2018

Meal Inspires You To Say Here's Looking At You




Don't you love it when an inspirational quote you just heard from a famous movie becomes the name of a restaurant?

The possibilities are endless: "Go Get'em Tiger", "Some Like It Hot", and "Here's Looking At You".

Some are just too corny and will never stand up to the test of time, but there are quite a bit that wound up sticking in the long run. Wouldn't you believe it the last choice actually is now the name of a popular restaurant in Los Angeles? Go figure, right?

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Frog Legs

Years ago, I had an acquaintance that raves about this exact place when it first opened. I remembered vividly in which everything about coming here was an absolute must, but the reservation when it first opened was difficult because to score, just like any new place was at that time.

If you happen to like the restaurant Animal from Fairfax district, then you will definitely love the team behind this venture here. Interesting thing about this cozy restaurant was that when I first came in, I was coming in exclusively for their cocktails. I think that was my passion (every restaurant must have good drinks in order for me to enter the door). After trying all almost their entire cocktails menu, I was a repeat visitor just for these type of sessions for me to wind down after work.

However, as mentioned, it's the food that would get me to join the chorus in raving about the place.

Particularly it's the seafood and vegetables that entrances to me love coming here. I can't get enough of some of the starters. The one dish I am hoping everyone gets to try is their frog legs that is as big of chicken leg. I usually think something like this is grimy, but with the right amount of spices, it is better than a buttered chicken or Tikka.


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Pork Belly

My other favorite dish was their pork belly dish as well. Those two originally had a test run, but I was pleased they kept both of them. The other interesting thing was a I didn't think I would like was their Shishito peppers. Somehow I was made into a believer and tested out their other vegetable starters in over time. Again I was glad they kept this dish in the rotation.

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I'm thinking that they kept the popular sellers like the ones I mentioned above and swap out other dishes in the rotation. One of which was a sweetbread dish I liked in my earlier visits. That got taken out and another dish rotating in to replace the sweetbread. I guess it's always good to keep the diners on its toes with new favorites. Who knows it might be the superstar in its course.

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The cocktail program here was what draws me to this fine restaurant in the first place. I believed that most people come here for the drinks early and leave once the dinner crowds arrive around 7pm. It's always the cue for me back then to leave before the elbow room is gone. Majority of the time, it's wise to get in at 5:30pm and go for a few quick libation. Or come back before it close when the dinner rush hour dies down.

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There are so many dishes to try here and sometimes they do go for the jugular. I remembered a $25 Mai Tai was offered for a short time and a big dry aged Holstein steak was once offered for a big ticket amount. Not saying it's out of price range, but it does give you thrills that maybe a high roller would buy it just to say they got it. I'm still trying to latch on to one of those guys for a sip.

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The desserts have come and gone through transitions as I have noticed, but they can be stellar at all times when you wanted something to end this awesome meal. One of the big reason I liked to sit at the bar at that time was to sample a slice of pie that was offered daily. Since the former p√Ętissier decides to move on, this was one thing I missed.

The team that runs the show here are the veterans from one of my favorite restaurant Animal are dynamic duo of Jonathan Whitener and Lien Ta (who I learned is the wife of my old past acquaintance). With all these fantastic dishes rolling out from a stellar service being displayed, you can imagine I'm here quite often.

Now my hope is someone will be bold enough to name their restaurant "May the Force be with You" or "Go Ahead, Make My Day". 

Here's Looking At You
3901 W. 6th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90020

Here's Looking At You Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, August 6, 2018

Even Hipsters Love Taiwanese Food at Pine & Crane



Has anyone ever thought Taiwanese food can appeal to the masses?

Neither did I if I think hard. I was thrilled with the fact that Kato have re-create some of the most popular far East Asian dishes with local farm to table ingredients. Still.... I am somewhat skeptical on how this cuisine that is more geared towards street food and home cooking can succeed to the general masses that only looked at the dishes with greasy food impressions.

I am a huge fan of any type of interpretation of Taiwanese food, just not a fan of Silverlake area. Yet, I just couldn't pass up a chance to visit one of my favorite Taiwanese joints in all of LA, which is in the heart of the hipster zone.

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Press Play to see the interior

A few years back, I visited Pine & Crane due to my shopping excursion in that area for some hard to find indie label that was considered hip and dope. You are not going to find it at some mall or even upscale boutique store. This area always fit the bill for the people living there with the nonchalant and nonconforming attitude of what's cool with no care in the world.

Which shocked me to no end on how some entrepreneur wants to open up a Taiwanese joint in the middle of that bloated arrogant zone... and succeeded in convincing the populace in that Taiwanese food are the bombdigitty meal that they have been missing out. Maybe it's not that it's neither popular or cool, but the reverse psychology of the not so trendy cuisine make it cool.

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Potstickers - Kurobuta Pork with Cabbage

I'm somewhat stunned that this place looked like any other cafe style restaurants can have a great aesthetics. Even more shocking, in a town that serves tons of crafted drinks, abet mixed with Taiwanese alcoholic beverage can worked as well. There were many soda drinks imported such as the popular sarsaparilla HeySong and a few of the Taiwanese beer brands were available on this spot.

A very straight forward place where you placed an order in the register, then being shown to an open seating area (a lot of long communal table and a few open tables by the wall) with high ceiling and good open window facing the main street of Sunset Blvd. Perfect lighting brightens out the room during day time with nighttime scene emulating from the street at night.

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Chili Wontons

As in for the food, it was the most cleanest Taiwanese dishes I have ever seen. You'll find it funny that people will order pig's ear to cold cucumber to seaweed can be had. Tea smoked egg can be had as well as they rotate the small plates of cold appetitizers on the counter next to the cash register.

Pretty much of the standard noodles, dumplings, green onion pancakes, to rice dishes you grew up can be had here. What probably stand out is the chili won tons that is popular among the local crowd here in Silverlake. They can't stop raving about this. It's actually funny to me.

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Green Onion Layered Pork Pancake

We also gotten the famous beef roll onion cake they have, except... they replaced with kurobuta pork. Maybe the strip of weird parts of cow might be a turn off for this disconcerted crowd who prefer the presence of Berkshire graded pork. This was the first time I have the beef roll becoming a pork roll. Subtle change, but I still immensely enjoy this.

Let me preface by saying that even though I hate coming to Silverlake for various reasons (hard to navigate, lousy parking situation, traffic can be a mess on a busy street, etc etc.), the only saving grace was this Taiwanese restaurant that catered to let's just say residence of this northeast side LaBeau. For all the clean presentation, I still think it captured the essence of Taiwanese food. Not every dish needs to be stylish, but they can presented beautifully and still have that eclectic taste.

Do I still think Taiwanese food appeal to the masses? Just as I writing this blog post, I found out that the owner of this establishment opened up a 2nd different Taiwanese joint not far from here. Heck, there is even another Taiwanese food restaurant might open up in Silverlake as well.

I am lost at words at that tidbit, but let's keep Taiwanese food train rolling. Shall we?

Pine & Crane
1521 Griffith Park Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026

Pine & Crane Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Another East Coast Burger Presented by Wahlburgers




There's a obscene debate going on between east coast versus west coast that go beyond the rap wars of the 90's. Can you guess what's the big bruhah lately?

Who has the best burger? In-n-Out or Shake Shack?

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I want to say neither just to spite both of the over-hyped wannabes. For some devout followers that swore by them, it can get more religious or political at times as a hot button issues that can't be resolved with a vote of a taste test. Biased opinions tends to take over when we discuss such sour topic that can divide a nation.

For the west coast, it's the team In-n-Out with their fresh meat patties and fresh veggies that are from the source of their carefully chosen farm distributors. Never frozen, always fresh is the model. You can taste the difference so said the believers.

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Then, you got the east coast pushing the rhetoric of Shake Shack down your throat with their meatier version of the burgers with the variety that can beat the slim down menu of their westside counterparts. Both have their strong points, but someone else wants to get in on the action.

Apparently, Wahlburgers from a famed actor and his hip hop family also wanted to enter this battle royale. It's not just Shake Shack have come on strong in the past few years, but Raising Cane and Five Guys have also started to make the march toward the west coast.

What seemed to be a major difference between Marky's burger versus the other funky bunch? For one, I think their patties are bit more thicker because of the 1/3 lbs portion. In a a weird way, you can get the pounder by ordering their triple patty.

They are very generous with the servings of their vegetable add-ons of lettuce and tomato. Almost like getting a salad with the patty and buns. Coincidentally, the buns may or may not be from the local bakery as it was posted on the website. This seems to be something I would get from my local market for that burger cook out.

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How does this Boston transplant of a burger do compare to the New Yorker (Shake Shack), DMV (Five Guys) or In N Out (good ol' Cali)? In my humble opinion... here it goes.

In order from best to worst: In N Out, Five Guys, Wahlburgers, Shake Shack.

In reality wise, I think the price may play into a bigger hindrance as it was the 2nd most priciest with In N Out being the cheapest. Made to Order burgers, my top 2 choices are the ones I prefer, though Wahlburger is not far from them where Shake Shack is so far back, I don't even know what the fuss was in the first place about them being the best.

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Another big plus was the choice of tator tots instead of fries. Yes, I know... they are both potatoes, but I just love the crunchy crispy tots that is in here.

On the flip-side, after this review, I had a whole new appreciation for Five Guys after I shredded them to pieces when I first encountered them many years ago. I had to say it's not as bad as Shake Shack was. One of these days, I might need to add White Castle and Whataburger in my burger comparisons battle.

As in for now, I give Wahlburger a passing grade, but the price of $10 for a single patty may be a deterrence for repeat visits.

Wahlburgers
835 W Jefferson Blvd #1710
Los Angeles, CA 90007

Wahlburgers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato