5 Year Anniversary

I can’t believe its been 5 years since our wedding in Hawaii. This 5th year has definitely been a different one. We started the year in our second trimester of Alice’s pregnancy. We did lots of eating and had a good trip to Portland for our babymoon.

fishing-with-dynamite-1

Our actual anniversary day happened to be the day that Joy went back to work after her maternity leave so we decided to leave it until the weekend to celebrate. In addition to that we went for lunch instead of dinner since its easier to deal with the kid.

fwd-clam-chowder

Fishing with Dynamite is the seafood sister restaurant to M.B. Post. I was excited to try their clam chowder since its the same kind that is made at Hog Island up in San Francisco. It was really good too so its nice to have a place down the street instead of up interstate 5. We also had a half dozen oysters, a peppery Po’ Boy, fries and another Thai sandwich which we’re very happy with.

fwt-oysters

fwd-poboy


Friday Night Dinner

The other week Joy and I went wanted to get some sushi, and with Alice in tow we decided to try another revolving sushi bar which we regretted right away. So to make up for it this past Friday we went to our local sushi bar Sushi Bei, really early in the evening to beat the Valentines rush. Thankfully there were only a couple older couples at the bar, and we got to sit adjacent to the bar at a table which allowed us to order directly from our sushi chef Aki, instead of ordering off of the menu, and getting everything at once.

sweet-shrimp

We got our normal assortment of of hamachi, albacore, ami ebi, and a couple hand rolls, and enjoy a dinner out with Alice. We’ve gotten into the habit of not bringing in a carseat when we go eat because sometimes its difficult to find a good place for it, and half way through dinner she gets fussy and we end up taking her out anyways. Thankfully she’s well behaved once she’s out and just likes to stare at everything we’re eating.

 


Gusto

Saturday night I invited the Manichans to our weekly dinner date night. They made reservations for us and we were totally confused because Ben called the place Gousteau’s, and we kept searching and searching for it online and couldn’t not find it. Only until we got to their house we learned that Ben kept giving the name a French twist instead of an Italian twist which meant the restaurant’s name was really Gusto.

gusto-5

Joy and I actually walked by Gusto the night we went to Son of  Gun which was just a couple doors down. Gusto is a small restaurant with s concise menu, which allowed us to pick and choose a good number of dishes that covered most of the menu.

gusto-3

We started off with the Carciofi (fried artichokes) and Polpette (meatballs) and a sausage pizza. For our pasta dishes we got the Ravioli (spinach, ricotta, bacon) a much better ravioli compared to last week’s ravioli at Osteria Mozza. Carbonara, and Casarecci (lamb ragu). To finish off the meal we got the Merluzzo Nero (black cod). It was a nice dinner, and i actually preferred the more casual meal compared to Osteria Mozza.

gusto-2

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Osteria Mozza

For date night number 4 i originally had planned a Sunday Night Supper at Lucques (sister to AOC) but i was needed for my basketball league so i had to make a change in reservations. With most restaurants booked up i was pleased at getting a 6:30pm reservation at Osteria Mozza (sister of Pizzeria Mozza) the more formal dining experience of the Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali and Joseph Bastianich group.

osteria-mozza

As we were being seated we were brought pass the busy main dining area into the back area which felt awkward since we were the only ones there in this sectioned off area because it was so much quieter, it ended up being super nice because we could actually talk without screaming compared to the main area.

osteria-mozza-goat-cheese-ravioli osteria-mozza-grilled-octopus

We once again over ordered but it was understandable since it was our first time there and wanted to try a bunch of stuff. We started off with a grilled octopus dish, along with a bacon mozzarella dish. For our primi course I of course went with a goat cheese ravioli, and joy went with a oxtail ragu tagliatelle. Lastly we ordered the Duck al Mattone.

The best dish the grilled octopus, followed by the two pasta dishes. The duck came out after we were pretty much done and so we ended up taking most of it home to make duck noodle soup with it. We ended up going to Milk for dessert but they were nice enough to drop off a scoop of gelato on our table to congratulate us on our upcoming Fatty Jr.


Birthday Double Feature

Having Alice’s Baby Shower on September 28th wasn’t so much to ignore my own birthday, but actually give my sister two reasons to come back down to Los Angeles for the weekend. What better way to celebrate both our birthdays than dinner at Lawry’s once again. Looking back this is the third time we celebrated our birthdays at Lawry’s but the party will continue to get bigger with Kaylee joining the festivities this year.

lawrys-bday-2

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(I’ve just been really busy at work and home to get to writing any blog postings but i’m going to catch up this week, i swear)


Date Night – AOC – First Date Redo

On our official first date i took Joy to AOC in  Mid-City West Los Angeles. Coincidentally thinking back it may have been the beginning of both of our culinary adventure together, as it was the first time either of us had been to a restaurant in that stature. The bacon-wrapped dates was the most memorable dish and thankfully its a menu staple that can get it every time we go back.

aoc-joy

For our maternity date night last week we went back to AOC in their new location near Cedar Sinai which is a much bigger space from their original location that includes a large patio where the main dining area is now. Its a very nice setting that really takes you out of being in Los Angeles, and into a courtyard that could be anywhere in Europe.

We did our best to not to over order like we did the first time, but we did it again and probably ordered one too many dishes.

I started off with a glass of wine to ease the work week off, and started our meal with some mt. tam cheese, and bacon-wrapped dates. For the first courses we ordered the clams in sherry and garlic, soft-shell crab with green romesco, and to finish it off we got the farro & black rice, and half a roasted chicken, with panznella, fennel, and green olives.


Date Nights – Son of a Gun

With only six or so more weeks until baby Alice arrives into the world its was time to start enjoying our free nights out as much as possible. For our first Friday Night date we went to Son of Gun of Two Dudes, One Pan fame. Son of a Gun is a small plate seafood restaurant in the Beverly Hills locale which is supposedly really busy, but i scored a 6:30 reservation the day of.

We got some recommendations from our twitter/instagram friend Remil and settled on getting the Lobster Roll, Shrimp Toast, Soft-Shell Crab, and the Fried Chicken Sandwich. The lobster roll was pretty good, but was tiny and is barely big enough to share, so we each got our own. Joy didn’t care for the shrimp toast because it reminded her too much of Thai shrimp toast, but not. The soft-shell crab was tempura fried and served with pork belly which was of course delicious, and the chicken sandwich was a nice was to fill up at the end of the light meal, which made us second guess going for a second dinner (Bakesale Betty’s is still better). We ended up spending around a $100 for our meal with a single glass of wine.

joans-on-third-salt-n-strawWe did end up getting dessert at Son of a Gun, but when we stopped by next door to Joan’s on Third we saw that they were serving Portland’s very own Salt & Straw ice cream, so had to get a second dessert. It was a nice night so we ate it while walking down towards the Beverly Connection.

 


Vegas Vacation

This time around for LVI my parents wanted to watch some basketball as well so we had some extra cheering on our side of the gym. Thursday morning Joy and I picked up my parents from Cerritos and got to Vegas in a quick four hours. It wouldn’t be a trip to Vegas without a little wining and dining.

osca-soup

After checking into the California Hotel we headed for lunch at Ocha Cuisine where my parents had some friends hanging out playing cards. We had to keep it light as we had a big dinner planned with some of my team mates.

sw-steakhouse-couple

For our super fancy dinner CJ planned on a group event at SW Steakhouse at the Wynn Hotel. It was quite a fun dinner even if not everyone enjoyed their meal. We had a table of eight at 7pm which was the perfect time and we had a good view of the show on the lake.

Some of the steaks were over cooked, and some of the side dishes were as reviews mentioned, unimpressive. On the positive side all my dishes turned out great. I split a ribeye with my mom, and it came out perfectly medium rare, and the pureed potatoes were nice and buttery. Joy ordered the scallops with a pea risotto which was also delicious.

sura-bbq

Saturday night we skipped out on going to the Fremont Buffet  for our team dinner and headed west for some Sura Korean BBQ. It was so nice end our weekend with lots of good friends and grilled meats instead of bad steak and bad buffet food.


Reliving Paris – Papilles

Last weekend I re-watached the 100th episode of No Reservation where Tony Bourdain along with Eric Ripert goes on a tour of the new Paris food scene. It made me really miss our time there last year, so I immediately hopped on to yelp to find a restaurant that has the same sensibility. I stumbled upon Papilles in Hollywood which serves a prix fixe menu that changes every other week and thought it would be perfect.

papilles-wineI invited the Manichans to join us on Saturday night and we enjoyed a fun evening of stuffing our face with some really good bread, a little wine, and of course our food. Both couples got one of each dish, with Tiffany getting the vegetarian option. My favorite dishes were both of the opening dishes where the octopus was one of the best octopus dishes i’ve ever had (i haven’t that many), and the risotto was very comforting. The mains were good, but not as good as the first course, and for dessert I couldn’t believe that I liked the blue cheese paired with the honey the best. I really enjoyed our dinner here, and will definitely add it to our rotation.

http://www.papillesla.com/

Papilles
6221 Franklin Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Neighborhood: Hollywood

3 courses, $41. Menu subject to change. Vegetarian option available upon request.


Back to the Desert

It wasn’t quite planned this way but i had to return to Vegas twice within the same week. This time is was for a Work thing where we wanted map out the future of the company and figure out what our long terms goals were for the company. We spent a couple days locked up at a virtual office a few miles outside of the strip so we hashed out every detail that we could think of. In the end I think we have a more realistic and solid plan to run the company.

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We did get to squeeze in a little R&R between the work hours and ate some good food. Earlier in the week I got a Facebook message from an old co-worker from International Rectifier saying he was headed to the Oyster Bar after seeing my pictures and he was in Vegas for the week. Wednesday night we met up with Mark for dinner at Bouchon and got to reminisce of the old days of eating and playing basketball. We drank a lot of scotch that night and made the next morning a little rough.

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Thursday night we had late reservations at Raku where we met up with Thomas for some fancy ass Yakitori and Sushi. The handmade tofu agadashi style was delicious and were completely stuffed by the end of the night. We were still awake and got one of the worse foot massage experiences that i’ve ever had. I was pretty happy to get back to the Hotel after basically getting yelled at for not tipping enough.

work-vegas-4

Back at the hotel Jonathan and I decided to stay up a little longer and hit the slot machines where i played my $20 and wich my last spin hit the wheel of fortune and won back $60. From there we moved on to the dollar machine and on my very first pull got the wheel of fortune spin and made $150. Not a bad way to end the night


Maui Grindz – Food around the Island

There were many places that we ended up eating, some good, some ok, but nothing horrible. Of course the first day we had Da Kitchen, and Star Noodle. Here is the rest of our eats on our trip.

The Cliff Dive Bar

Pina Colada @ Cliff Dive Bar Sheraton
Pina Colada @ Cliff Dive Bar Sheraton

 

Black Rock Lager & Nachos @ Cliff Dive Bar
Black Rock Lager & Nachos @ Cliff Dive Bar

While the family is on the beach or snorkeling around Black Rock, The Cliff Dive Bar at the Sheraton is the perfect place to grab a drink.

The seats along the edge have a perfect view of the people diving off Black Rock into the water. We snacked on a huge plate of nachos that is easily sharable with four or more people.

Full bar to get your mai tai, piña colada, or basic vodka tonic. The food isn’t anything special but they at least serve food.

Hula Grill

Coconut Calamari @ Hula Grill
Coconut Calamari @ Hula Grill

 

4 Years later and it hasn’t changed. Super busy place since its beach front of the Whaler’s Village. The food is ok, and i actually enjoyed the Coconut Calamari this time around. No food discounts for happy hour, but mai tais are cheaper. Expect a wait if you have a larger party and follow the rule of ordering when the waiter/waitress ask if you’re ready or else you’ll be waiting for another 20 minutes.

Fish Sandwich @ Hula Grill
Fish Sandwich @ Hula Grill

 

Happy Hour Mai Tai @ Hula Grill
Happy Hour Mai Tai @ Hula Grill

 Foodland Poke

Poke Foodland on top of a Maui Onion Chip
Poke Foodland on top of a Maui Onion Chip

 Aloha Mixed Plate

Loco Moco @ Aloha Mixed Plate
Loco Moco @ Aloha Mixed Plate

 

Mixed Plate @ Aloha Mixed Plate
Mixed Plate @ Aloha Mixed Plate

 Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop

Olowalu Lime Pie, Pineapple Lemon Tart & Apple Handheld Pie @ Leoda's Kitchen and Pie Shop
Olowalu Lime Pie, Pineapple Lemon Tart & Apple Handheld Pie @ Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop

Be careful or you might just drive past it. Leoda’s was a random stop between activies and a good place to take a break if you’re heading to or leaving lahaina if traffic is backed up.

There were 6 of us so we got to sample a few pies. We got the Olowalu Lime Pie, Pineapple Lemon Tart & Apple Handheld Pie. I love the sour pies but found the handheld pie a little too doughy.

Da Kitchen

Cheese Burger @ Da Kitchen
Cheese Burger @ Da Kitchen

 Hula Cookies & Ice Cream

Kona Mud Pie @ Hula Cookies & Ice Cream
Kona Mud Pie @ Hula Cookies & Ice Cream

 Ono Tacos

Ono Tacos
Ono Tacos

 Sansei

Butterfish @ Sansei
Butterfish @ Sansei

Pre Trip Food List:

Izakaya Matsu
Geste Shrimp
Paia Fish Market
Da Kitchen Cafe
Takamiya Market
Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop
Foodland Farms
Gazebo Restaurant
Local Food
Ono Tacos
Ono Gelato Company
Okazuya & Deli Honokowai
Grandma’s Coffee House
Sam Sato’s
Home Maid Bakery
Kalama Local Grinds
Foodland Lahaina


Shane’s 50/50 Lunch

For Shane’s 34th birthday i got the guys together to celebrate at Slater’s 50/50 in Huntington Beach. I’ve been told about Slater’s for their 50% Beef 50% Bacon burger patty a few times, and thought this would be a perfect chance to try it out.

We got there early on a Sunday afternoon and it was a good thing because by the time we left there was a huge wait in the patio. The interior is quite cavernous with plenty of TVs all around the restaurant. We had a party of 12 and the service seemed a bit slow to deliver our food. As far as the food goes i consider this place pretty on par with what i’ve considered to be Orange County food: Large, greasy and trying to push things to the extreme.

50-50-burger

I ordred a pretty basic 50/50 burger trying to keep it simple to be able to compare it with other burgers in LA and it was ok. The burger was a mess after the first few bites, and i really couldn’t discern any difference in taste. The outside was really charred while the inside pink. Robin got the pancake sandwich which had two fried chicken breast covered in gravy and topped with bacon. I loved the idea of it but when i got a bite of it i really couldn’t taste anything. The syrup sweetness overpowered the gravy and the chicken started getting soggy real quick. We did really enjoy the fried mac’n cheese balls, and the sweet potato fries and the staff was really friendly. They even hooked us up with two birthday bacon brownies for Shane and Joy’s birthday, which was good, but really didn’t need the bacon sprinkled on top.

pancake-sandwich

bacon-brownie