Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The end of fine dining train (Wolfgang's Steak House, Beverly Hills)

Sadly, this was the end of our fining dining train. It was steam rolling pretty good for 2 months. It all started at Comme Ca, then to Chaya Downtown, Craft Los Angeles, Spago Beverly Hills, and finally Wolfgang's Steakhouse. No....not that Wolfgang. This place is Wolfgang Zweiner's Steakhouse. I don't think we'll be hopping on a train like this again :( Unless, I win the Lottery. The first time we did something like this, was our food trip to New York. That trip started the birth of Mr. Gohan :) We were eating at all these 'fancy' restaurants that constructed beautifully put together dishes, but I was in the mood for a straight forward steakhouse. And that's what I got, good meat. All though this was the end, I guess all good things must come to an end.

I've been wanting to come here for a couple of years. Ever since I read someone's post on Chowhound. After reading more about this place I was very intrigued. Wolfgang Zweiner used to be the head waiter at the famed Peter Luger in Brooklyn. Having been to Peter Luger in New York, I was interested to see if Wolfgang's Steakhouse shared any resemblance. And I have to say, conceptually it seemed to be very similar except for the decor. Wolfgang's Steakhouse was much more modern and "Beverly Hillsish" :)

On this particular evening, me and the Mrs were dining with some friends who also share a passion for eating. We came during Dine LA and ate a 3 course meal for $44. When else can you eat Prime Grade steaks for so cheap. We were seated in the 'wine room', which I enjoyed very much. It seemed like we had our own private room. Although I walked away from this dinner enjoying the company of some friends and having my stomach full with very good steak, the night didn't get off to a good start. For one I forgot my camera again! I had to use my phone. Secondly, we all agreed that our waiter was terrible. His attention to detail and our needs were absent at best. Having been to many restaurants, one thing that brings down the impression of restaurants are the patron's impression of the wait staff. Having said that, I still enjoyed our night out. The food and company outweighed that terrible waiter.

2005 Sequoia Grove
When I eat a good steak I also enjoy some vino and preferably some gohan (rice). LOL. I'm no connoisseur of fine wine, that would be my brother, but I know when I enjoy a wine. And this particular Cab was very good and very reasonably priced considering.

Tuna Tartare
For those who know me, know that I'm not much of seafood person. Although, as I am getting older I am beginning to like it more and more. So my experience with tuna tartare is very limited and I don't have much to go against. In my opinion, Wolfgang's version was decent. Nothing earth shattering about it.

Manhattan Clam Chowder
I have never had or remembered of hearing of Manhattan Clam Chowder. Whenever I think or hear of clam chowder, I think of New England Clam Chowder. I guess I need to get out more often :) So when it came out I was a bit shocked to see that it was red! My impressions were that it tasted very similar to a vegetable soup. Again, nothing earth shattering about was just good.

Sizzling Bacon
This was a familiar sight. The sizzling bacon reminded me of Peter Luger's. How can you go wrong with bacon? It was very tasty and juicy. The only downside besides it making me more fat is the cost :) LOL.

New York Steak
I know, I know...the picture sucks! Blame it on the camera not the photographer. Similar to Peter Luger's, the steak comes out piping hot and is sliced at the table. Unfortunately, we didn't try their Porterhouse Steak to make a true comparison to Peter Luger's. One thing they do have in common for sure is that the steak was very good! My only knock on my steak, was that it was a bit under seasoned. Other than that it was great! The flavor of the meat was outstanding.

My Plate
Here's a picture of my plate. Pictured is some New York Steak, Creamed Spinach, Mashed Potatoes, and German Potatoes. Everything was very good! Both the Creamed Spinach and Mashed Potatoes were very creamy and delicious. My favorite side was the German Potatoes. They were very delicious and also reminded me of Peter Luger. Everything we had that night was all in all good, with the exception of the steak. Which I felt was outstanding!

Apple Strudel
Although I only took a small bite, my impressions and my memory of this dessert was that it was pretty straight forward and good. Before coming here, I looked at the menu and saw that all the desserts came with a fresh schlag. I was thinking to myself, 'what the hell is a schlag'? It turned out to be their fresh whipped cream. What ever you call it, it was good :)

Chocolate Mousse Cake
This is another example of my recent 'falling out' with chocolate desserts. Usually my favorite desserts always tend to be chocolate but this was not my favorite of the night. hmm....something is going on. Anyways, this was very rich and went nicely with my cup of joe :) All in all, I enjoyed it a lot. It just was not my favorite.

I felt that the cheese cake was the best dessert of the night. It was very creamy and wasn't overly sweet. Again this was a straight forward interpretation of a dessert. Nothing fancy about it. But then again that's what I enjoyed about that night. Everything was pretty straight forward and good.

Wolfgang's Steakhouse
445 North Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA. 90210

Monday, November 9, 2009

Thanks Dine LA! (Spago, Beverly Hills)

The fine dining train keeps on rolling! When can you get a three course meal for $44 at Spago? Got to love Dine LA! If it wasn't for L.A's restaurant week, I don't think we would have gone to Spago's. I guess we would have for a special occasion one day, but to go for no reason, it would have never happened. It was probably the best deal out of the 200+ participating restaurants.

Again. we made the earliest reservation time available because of "baby gohan". When we arrived they were still setting up tables :) That's how early our dinner reservations were. When we were seated at the outside dining area, we were a little skeptical because some leaves were falling from the trees onto our table, but as the night went on the breezes calmed down and the falling leaves were in the past. The night had turned out to be very pleasant. I have to say....the outside dining area is absolutely beautiful and romantic. We really enjoyed the atmosphere. We were a little concerned that Spago might be a little snooty, but to our delight that was not the case at all. It was the same experience at the Spago's in Maui. The staff was excellent and the restaurant was very inviting. All in all, we had a very enjoyable evening out. Thanks to Dine LA :)

Heirloom Tomato Soup
"Mrs. Gohan's" sister ordered this starter on the recommendation of our waiter. I'm not a tomato person at all, but I have to say that this had a very clean flavor and finish to it. I really enjoyed it and I'm glad someone ordered it so I could try some :) I enjoy trying different dishes, I just have a hard time ordering stuff I'm not accustomed to ordering for myself. That's where other people come in handy. lol

Crispy Monterey Bay Calamari
Yet, here is another example of me being happy that someone ordered this dish. This was "Mrs. Gohan's" appetizer. I would never order this for myself as I am not much of a seafood person, but I'm sure glad I ate some. This was the best appetizer that our table ordered for sure. It was delicious!

Maine Lobster & Spinach Ravioli
This was my order. The Maine Lobster & spinach ravioli. I have to say this was my least favorite of the appetizers. It sounded very good, but it didn't live up to my expectations. It wasn't very flavorful and I didn't get the taste of too much lobster :(

Sweet Corn Agnolotti
This was what they called a mid course. This was my favorite of the night! This was the supplemental dish that we ordered. And boy...was it worth it! The texture of the Agnolotti was just right. The sweetness of the corn was balanced perfectly with the saltiness of the Parmesan Reggiano and was tied together with the butter sauce. This was excellent!

This was probably my least favorite entree of the night. I thought the halibut was a tad bit on the dry side and a little tough. The mushrooms and pancetta with the foam, however, were quite tasty and yummy.

Kurobuta Pork Chop
The Kurobuta Pork Chop with pear-ginger compote, stir fried green beans and confit pork, Chinese 10 spice and port-licorice reduction was quite delicious. The Kurobuta (Berkshire Pork) was perfectly cooked and seasoned.

Wood Oven Roasted Poussin
The Poussin (young chicken) was prepared with caramelized garlic and preserved lemons and served with fingerling potatoes. The skin of the Poussin was very crispy and the meat was very juicy and flavorful. It was one of the best prepared "chicken" dishes I've ever had!

Apple Upside Down Cake
I really enjoyed this dessert. I thought it was one of the best apple desserts I've tried. It was nice and flaky and the apples were not too tart or sweet. It was very delicious.

Chocolate Purse
The chocolate purse was comprised of a crepe filled with a chocolate ganache. The top portion of the crepe was crispy which added a nice contrast in texture with the smooth velvety ganache. This was very rich and decadent.....and oh yes, it was very good!

Berry Short Cake
Although I'm a chocolate lover, I think this was my favorite dessert of the night. Maybe I'm being biased since this was my order :) Although, I find myself enjoying the non chocolate desserts more often than not recently. hmmm.....maybe my palate is changing. Anyways, this dessert was very refreshing yet very satisfying. It even had golden raspberries, which were a treat. They were very good!

Spago Beverly Hills
176 North Canon Dr.
Beverly Hills, California 90210

Monday, November 2, 2009

Happy 3rd Anniversary! (Craft Los Angeles, Los Angeles)

Me and Mrs have been on a real roll recently. After "baby gohan" came along, the meaning of dining out to us was going to places like Carrows or IHOP :) But, recently we've been going out to eat at a lot of really nice restaurants. Luckily we had a gift certificate for Craft and what better time to use it and celebrate our 3rd Anniversary. I have to say, that might have been one of the cheapest fine dining experiences I've had in a long long time :) Needless to say, we both were very excited about going. We've wanted to eat here ever since Tom Colicchio opened his restaurant here in Los Angeles, but it almost didn't happen. "Mrs. Gohan" was sick the whole week, but luckily she recovered in the nick of time.

As we approached the restaurant, the appearance from the outside really didn't have that much appeal or character. As soon as we entered, we knew it was a different story. I was pleasantly surprised by the decor and atmosphere of Craft. The colors were warm and inviting but yet had a real contemporary feel. The shape of the dining area was very unique as well. Well, enough of that......On with the food :)

Shishito Peppers
These were some of the biggest shishito peppers I have ever seen! These were nicely seasoned and sauteed. Nothing too special about them. Pretty straight forward

Potato Gratin
The potato gratin was the second side dish we ordered. Too bad they didn't have gohan (rice). LOL. Again the potatoes were nothing mind blowing, but I have to say it was very creamy and good!

Kobe Sirloin
I just had expressed to the Mrs. that online menus have in some capacity diminished the surprise element of going to new restaurants. But at the same time, it does come in handy as well :) Having said that, when we made reservations, we had our minds made up to order the ribeye for the table. After arriving, we were informed that a special item was on the menu. The Kobe Sirloin steak for the table. We jumped at the opportunity. Although it was very tasty and PERFECTLY cooked, I think we should've stuck to our original plans since our favorite cut of meat is the ribeye. But having said that, it was very good. What would have made it better? Rice of course!

Grapefruit Gelee with Prickly Pear
I was not used to having complimentary desserts from the pastry chef. In fact we got two desserts compliments of the house. I only took a picture of this one though. This was a grapefruit gelee with prickly pear. It was very delicious and refreshing.

Chocolate Souffle
I am the biggest fan of chocolate souffles! I basically grew up eating chocolate souffles and that has not changed one bit. Craft's souffle was very light and scrumptious. On a scale from 1-10, I'd probably give it a 7. Nothing beats the one at Moustache Cafe! Sadly it's no longer around :(

Craft Los Angeles
10100 Constellation Blvd
Los Angeles, CA. 90067

Monday, October 26, 2009

Birthday Celebration Part 2 (Chaya Downtown, Los Angeles)

We've always been a fan of the Chaya restaurants. So when we heard that they were opening up in Downtown we were very excited that Chaya was going to be closer to home. To celebrate "Mrs. Gohan's" birthday, I decided to take her to Chaya Downtown. We went from not going out to eat often, to eating at two nice restaurants in 3 nights :) A couple of days prior we went to Comme Ca with "Mrs. Gohan's" sister and brother in law to celebrate her birthday. So in essence, this was birthday celebration part 2. This time it was just me and the Mrs. We really enjoyed the atmosphere. It was a nice mix of clean contemporary lines with traditional Japanese decor. While most of the clientele that evening were the business crowd enjoying happy hour and delaying their time to get home, we were the opposite.... I made reservations early so that we could get home in time to put "baby gohan" to sleep :)

Pork and Duck Rillette with Toasted Baguette
I've never tasted nor have I even heard of a Rillette before this occasion. Frankly, I think I would've been quite happy if it remained that way. Maybe that's being a little harsh. The flavors were not bad, I just thought it was extremely chewy and I didn't like the texture. Although, the sweetness of the figs balanced very nicely with the saltiness of the Rillette.

Miso Marinated White Sea Bass
This dish is absolutely delicious! The miso marinated white sea bass is delicately flavored to let the delicate flavor of the fish shine. The miso doesn't over power the moist fish. The wasabi soy broth adds a nice bite to the dish without being overpowering as well. I really enjoyed the nasubi (Japanese Eggplants) as well. This was a very well though out harmonious dish. Oh, Oh.....I can't forget. This dish had gohan (rice) too! Got to love that :)

Grilled Kobe New York Steak & Braised Kobe Short Rib
People who know me, know that I love my beef. And two of my favorites are steak and short ribs. I couldn't have been happier....oh wait, If there was only a bowl of gohan (rice) with the dish :) Although my steak was a tad over cooked, both of these were very flavorful, delicious, and succulent.

Warm Milk Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding
Oh My Freaking God!!!!!!!!!! This was kick ass! This was soo good! Usually, I'm such a chocolate dessert person that nothing can compare to chocolate desserts. Wait a minute... this does have a little chocolate in it :) But the breading pudding portion was incredible! The croissant adds a real lightness and butteriness to the pudding. I think I just made up a word....butteriness :) I love it, I love it, I love it!!!

Fallen Chocolate Cake
How can you go wrong with a chocolate fallen cake? On any other occasion this would have been a stand out dessert, but I just couldn't get over the bread pudding. A funny thing about this night was that "Mrs. Gohan" got carded that night :) It was a nice touch that the waiter remembered that it was "Mrs. Gohan's" birthday.

Happy Birthday "Mrs. Gohan"!!!

Chaya Downtown
525 Flower Street
Los Angeles, CA. 90071

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

It's been a long time (Comme Ca, West Hollywood)

Wow! It's been so long since we've gone out to eat at a decent restaurant. We almost didn't know what to do or how to act :) In all seriousness, it truly was a treat to get away for an evening and to leave behind our parental responsibilities for at least a couple of hours. "Mrs. Gohan's" sister and brother in law took us out to dinner to celebrate "Mrs. Gohan's" birthday. After a brief deliberation on which restaurant to go to, we decided to make a reservation at Comme Ca in West Hollywood. Since we're still relatively new to this parent hood thing and it's our first child, we still cater our outings around our daughter. We made dinner reservations as earliest as possible so that we wouldn't get home too late. I'm sure if we have another baby in the future we would jump at the chance to stay out late and leave the baby behind :)

Blooming Daisy
"Mrs. Gohan" started the evening off with a Blooming Daisy Cocktail. I wasn't feeling particularly well that evening so I didn't order any drinks, but I tasted hers and it was DANGEROUS :) It resembled a shaved ice dessert. It was very good!

Salmon Tartare
To be honest...I don't remember much of this dish. Not to say that it was not good nor memorable, it's just that I only had a small bite. I'm not much of a fish person. But I do remember that I enjoyed the flavor profiles.

Roasted Beef Marrow & Oxtail Jam
Now this appetizer I remember vividly :) This was just indulgent and rich! I just love marrow in all of it's glory. It's soo tasty and yummy.....oh yeah and probably bad for me :) When combined with the oxtail jam, toast, and fleur de sel, this appetizer was a slam dunk for me. I'd order this again and again.

Steak Frites
A typical a menu item at "French" restaurant. Steak and French fries. This was "Mrs. Gohan's" entree. I took a few bites and was not overly impressed. It definitely was not bad, but it definitely can not compare to other top restaurant's steaks.

Beef Stroganoff
This was the dish I ordered. Sorry for the crappy picture! It was really dark and plus I forgot my camera again. I enjoyed the flavors of my dish and particularly the texture of the egg noodles. I nearly licked my plate clean :)

Crispy Skate Grenobloise
My only prior experience with skate is eating it in Japanese cuisine. Particularly, eating it sliced thin and broiled. Although I always enjoyed the flavor, I really never cared for the texture. My experience has always shown me that skate tends to be a little tough and chewy. This was on the contrary. This dish was both crispy and moist. I enjoyed it very much. Thanks sister in law for letting me take a bite. It changed my perception forever.

Although we did order several desserts, it was soo dark in the restaurant and without a proper camera, I did not even attempt to capture the images. We ordered a rice pudding, creme brulee, and pot du creme. They were all very delicious and a good way to end the night. I enjoyed our dinner very much!

Comme Ca
8479 Melrose Ave
West Hollywood, CA. 90069

Monday, June 29, 2009

What a name! (Silver & Gold Amazing, Monterey Park)

One day someone showed me an article in the LA Times about a restaurant in Monterey Park which grabbed my attention. Naturally my eyes and ears perk up when anything is written about Monterey Park because I was born and raised here. Not too many people can say they were actually born in the city of Monterey Park. Anyways, back to the food. The LA Times article went on to describe this tiny restaurant which turned out excellent noodle dishes, although their name is something left to be desired. WTF is the meaning of Silver & Gold Amazing. There has to be something lost in translation on this one. One thing that wasn't lost in translation are their tasty dishes. Now that me and Mrs. Gohan have a Baby Gohan, we don't get the chance to go out to eat. The only exceptions are places that are relatively close to home and quick. Silver & Gold Amazing is both. The first time we walked in we were pleasantly surprised. We were expecting a hole in the wall, but what we found was a very clean and bright little restaurant which has become of my favorite local places.

Minced Beef Fried Rice
The minced beef fried rice was one of the dishes that was mentioned in the article in the food section of the Times, so we had to give it a try. I don't think that the minced beef was what made this dish good. You could have substituted it with anything and it would have been just as good. Although this was very delicious, I wouldn't say it's my favorite fried rice.

Chow Mein with Shredded Pork & Bean Sprouts
This now has become my favorite chow mein ever! The noodles are super crispy and very tasty. The gravy on top of the chow mein is the icing on the cake. Did I just do that?

I know I've said this before about Chinese restaurants and other type of foods that are better served family style, but it's always better to go in a big group. Otherwise you have to make repeat trips to try everything you want. On this occasion, it was just me, Mrs. Gohan & Baby Gohan. Well, Baby Gohan doesn't really count because she can't eat yet. So we only had room for these two dishes. Although we only got to try these two, it left a very big impression on us. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera and had to make due with my phone.

Silver & Gold Amazing
728 S. Atlantic Blvd #108
Monterey Park, CA. 91754

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sure beats hospital food (El Taquito Taco Truck, Pasadena)

I've heard about this place for years, but I never had the time to go or it never crossed my mind to go. It took me the birth of my daughter to finally go and eat here. "Baby Gohan" was born at the Huntington Hospital in Pasadena which was about a block away from El Taquito's taco truck. After the long and excitement filled day of "Baby Gohan's" birth, the whole family was hungry for some good food. Unfortunately, "Mrs. Gohan" didn't get to eat any. She had C-Section and was only limited to a liquid diet :( So on that note, the whole family picked up and went to go eat some tacos leaving behind baby and mamma. Sorry "Mrs. Gohan" :) Some of us walked while others drove, but we all met up there the night that"Baby Gohan" was born and grubbed down. The tacos were absolutely delicious. It sure beat the cafeteria food at the hospital.

My plate of tacos
This was my plate of different tacos that I ordered. I got the carne asada, carnitas, al pastor, and not pictured was the chicharron ( I ordered seconds :) I have to say that my favorite was probably the carne asada. They were oh so delicious!

El Taquito Taco Truck
510 S. Fair Oaks Ave
Pasadena, CA 91105

Monday, May 18, 2009

Exciting lunch (Saladang, Pasadena)

Many moons ago, Chan Dara was one of the few popular Thai restaurants that people used to frequent. But unfortunately for people who lived on the East Side, it was not very convenient. Not until the mid to late 90's when Saladang in Pasadena opened, did us East Side people have something to get excited about. In my opinion, Saladang has gone down hill. Perhaps my opinion is a little harsh. Perhaps it might be that many other Thai restaurants have since gone on to show case Thai food. Back in the day, people's palate towards Thai food was relatively in the infant stage and therefore everybody thought places like this were the greatest ever. So I must rescind my previous statement that Saladang has gone down hill. Actually their food is still very good. Damn, I'm flip flopping like a fish on land right now :) But in all honesty, I can't say that their food is bad. I still like this place, but the only thing is that I compare it to a place like Lotus of Siam in Vegas. And really, that's not a fair thing to do.

Singha Beer
This beer was refreshing! I've really grown to like the different Asian beers. To me, they are similar to Mexican beers. Really refreshing on warm sunny days. Ahhhh!

Garlic/Black Pepper Chicken
This dish is consistently delicious. Although it says Garlic Chicken, in my opinion it is not overly garlicky. Maybe, that's because my taste buds are permanently nuked from eating so much garlic. I love garlic!

Pad See Ew
This dish was a little disappointing. Usually the noodle dishes here at Saladang are pretty good, but on this occasion it was not. The beef in this dish was tough as nails too. I was surprisingly disappointed :( But I'll forgive them this time.

Chocolate Ice Cream
The complimentary ice cream was a real nice treat. I just wish they gave me a bigger scoop :)

When dining at places like Chinese or Thai restaurants, it's best to go with a lot of friends and family that way you can order a myriad of dishes. Variety is the spice of life. But on this particular occasion, it was just me and "Mrs. Gohan". We were in the neighborhood seeing the doctor. This was before "Baby Gohan" was born. So we decided to stop in and enjoy some lunch and to talk about the excitement of having a baby.

363 S Fair Oaks Ave
Pasadena, CA 91105