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Archive for February, 2011

WTF: Baby GaGa Ice Cream

Human udders ice cream, yummmmmmm!   I first heard about it once on KCRW’s radio show Good Food…and was just reminded of it by a co-worker thanks to this video.  Thanks CC!

I want to say that the idea of eating someone’s breast milk in ice cream form is kind of like eating someone else’s boogers….But I guess it’s pretty natural since we’ve all been breast fed at least once in our lifetime.  Even still….no thank you! (NPR)

– MJ


Flores Meat Tacos

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The Skinny: Discovered  Flores Meat Market on Yelp and the one hype that made me want to test the place out was that it was a spot a reviewer didn’t want others to find.  A few other reviewers wrote about how the Carne Asada burrito was tasty and that it couldn’t get more authentic, especially since no one spoke English there.  So I checked it out with my brother lived and his family.

The High: Just on sight alone, going into a meat market and seeing the way they had the food laid out, got me excited.  My brother ordered something I can’t name, but it’s basically a red beef stew with rice and re-fried beans as sides.   That was the only good thing I had.  It was moist and tasty, thanks mostly to the gravy that kept it lubricated throughout the day.

The Low: Everything else was dried out.  I ordered Tacos with Buche for myself, but they were salty and it felt like I was eating overcooked pieces of squid that’s been laying around for a few days.  I also tried the Carnitas and Pastor and both were tough to swallow.  The Carnitas especially was hard to chew thanks to the lack of moisture.   The place was also pretty stingy about their condiments, like bags of chopped onions, sour cream, and salsa.   Even though we got over 30 dollars worth of food, they only gave us one of each and if my brother had not been there with his fluent Spanish, we’d probably have to pay for the plastic forks as well.  Also, their Chicharones was tougher than a tree bark laid out on top of the hottest salt flats.   It won’t go to waste though, it’ll be chopped up and used for soups and salads later.

I was really disappointed with Flores, especially since I really wanted to eat tacos that day.  There was actually an El Gallito truck in the same parking lot, I should have just went there…even though Flores Meats and El Gallito are somehow connected.

Would you come back again? No….even though I might have came at the wrong the time. I went there for dinner, so maybe it would have been better if I came during lunch hour when the meats haven’t been laid out all day long.

More Info: Yelp | 1200 W Anaheim St. Wilmington, CA 90744N | Credit Card Friendly

– MJ


DineLA presents: Jiraffe

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The Skinny: Located in Santa Monica right by the 3rd St. Promenade and Wokcano, the unassuming (and a tad hard to find restaurant) is run by head chef LA’s own Raphael Lunetta. I had their DineLA Menu during Restaurant Week.

The High: Maine Jumbo Sea Scallop with Fergola Sarda, Farmer’s Market Sunchokes, Chanterelles, Rocco Parmesan Cheese, Pinot Noir Sauce. I was a bit scared at first because I’ve had one too many overcooked scallops in the past, but these scallops were on point. There’s nothing better than starting off a meal with light, savory and perfectly cooked scallops. The sauce was packed with flavor and a bit of a kick that complemented the variety of other additions to the appetizer like the sunchokes and chanterelles very well. It was a whole lot of fun in your mouth as well with the different texture combinations of the scallops, sunchokes, chanterelles, and fergola sarda.

Filet of Beef with Roasted Salsify and White Asparagus Puree, Red Flame Grapes, Salad of Julienne Celery Root with Creme Fraiche-Whole Grain Mustard, Madiera-Beef Jus. I personally liked this over the John Dory. This was my boyfriend’s dish, but we ended up switching midway into dinner. I loved the grapes with this dish. It blended perfectly with the madiera and really added a sweetness to the beef. Everything about this dish was just very delicate and simple, but still deep in flavor. You can tell Lunetta really puts a lot of love and time into his sauces.

The desserts. Carmelized Banana Cream Pie and Chocolate Halsey with Caramel Mousse. I love banana cream pie and Jiraffe did an EXCELLENT job with theirs. It wasn’t too much banana where I’d feel like Donkey Kong, but it wasn’t too much cream where I’d feel like I’m eating Beard Papa’s. A perfect combination of both AND the crust was flaky – exquisite. The Chocolate Halsey was also delicious especially if you’re a dark chocolate fan. The mousse was great and it had a good balance of both chocolate and caramel.

The Low: Roulade of Hudson Valley Foie Gras and Crispy Potato Wrapped Big Eye Ahi Tuna with Confit of Baby Leeks, Plum Wine-Szechuan Pepper Sauce – For an appetizer with a name as long as the Mississippi River, I expected a lot more (and was disappointed). I LOVE foie gras and this dish just really did not deliver. First off, I couldn’t taste the foie gras at all because it was surrounded by way too much warm raw tuna. There is nothing worse than getting the temp off with raw fish. The only saving grace for this was again, the sauce, but I didn’t appreciate the peppers as much because I still remember how overpowering it was 3 weeks later. If I wanted a mediocre tuna roll with a sprinkle of foie gras, I could’ve went to Wokcano next door.

Would you come back again? 50/50. I don’t think I’d come back for the DineLA menu. It really didn’t live up to the hype. I’ve heard it compared to Melisse before, but the food wasn’t really to die for. I’d recommend it to out of towners who are looking for good restaurants in the area. And, I’d definitely suggest it to anyone who’d be interested in buying me dinner, but not sure if I’d pay for this myself.

More Info:  JIRAFFE Restaurant | 502 Santa Monica Boulevard |Santa Monica, CA 90401-2410 | (310) 917-6671 | Credit Card Friendly | Average Entree Costs $25

– Barbarella


Music Related: “Colours” – Grouplove

It’s been proven, that Hipsters kill taco trucks…..but not all Hipsters are taco truck killers.  Hopefully these guys support local taco trucks found in front of local small “mom & pop” venues.

www.grouplovemusic.com


Las Vegas: MGM Wolfgang Puck

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The Skinny: Tucked away inside MGM, Wolfgang Puck modernizes the traditional “bar & grill” concept.  I’ve walked past it many times, but never really thought anything of it until I sat down to eat.  The restaurant has a very garden chic feel to it.  You almost feel like you’re dining in LA until you hear the lovely sounds of the machines in the casino.  My friend and I dined here before a show, definitely recommend it if you’re looking for something trendy & upscale, but not stuffy.

The High: Truffled Potato Chips, Maytag Blue Cheese Sauce.  This is my favorite dish.  It is a brick in your stomach good.  The huge chunks of blue cheese may have been a little bit overkill, but the first bite was an explosion of blue cheese & truffle.  We also had the Chinois Chicken Salad, Candied Peanuts, Crisp Wontons, Chinese Mustard Vinaigrette.  It was one of the best Chinese chicken salad’s I’ve had.  The dressing wasn’t too overpowering as it is in most chicken salads, it was subtle but noticeable.

The Low: BBQ chicken pizza.  I liked the first bite, but after that it didn’t really do anything for me.  I liked how subtle the BBQ taste was, but the flavor just didn’t do it for me.  Maybe BBQ chicken just needs that tangy BBQ taste.

Would you come back again? I suppose so, like I said, a cool place to hang out and people watch, but there are so many places to do that already, I’d probably only come back for the truffle chips.

More Info: www.wolfgangpuck.com

– Sniper Tam *pew pew pew!*


Las Vegas: Akira Back’s Yellowtail

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The Skinny: One of my favorite Japanese restaurants on the strip.  Akira Back is an amazing chef with his fresh & innovative dishes.  The main dining overlooks the beautiful water fountains of Bellagio Hotel with the Paris hotel’s Eiffle tower in the background.  The ultimate spot for all the movers & shakers of the nightlife industry.  The service itself is enough for me to come back.  If you ever get to meet the GM Young, he is such a wonderful person, tons of energy & he is the epitomy of customer service.  The food is a little of what you expect in a Japanese restaurant and some of it you sort of think to yourself WHAT? No way. This restaurant is definitely for a more complex palate.

The High: My #1 favorite dish of all time at  Yellowtail is the Big Eye Tuna Pizza with truffle oil.  I’ve recommended this dish up and down to everyone I know and not one person has come back to tell me that I was wrong.  Yes, it’s THAT good. My next favorite dish is the Tempura Alaskan King Crab w/ serrano peppers & sweet ponzu sauce.  The texture and flavors of the the dish go well with each other with a little bite coming from the serrano pepper.  The pop rocks roll is always a crowd pleasure.  My friend had never tried this before.  I was nice enough to tell her what it was, but the first time I had tried it, no one told me.  I took a bite of it and it was crunchy and the candy started exploding in my mouth.  It is literally a party in your mouth.   You taste the sweetness of the watermelon poprocks, but it doesn’t take away from the spicy crab.

The Low: Rock shrimp with Korean chili aioli.  It’s not really a low, but once you’ve tasted the tempura Alaskan king crab the rock shrimp’s flavor didn’t really appeal to me.  Either which way, if you’re going to have the rock shrimp or the tempura king crab, choose one or the other and try the other for another day.  I’ve had the rock shrimp before and it was delicious, but tonight I think the crab won.

Would you come back again? Absolutely.  Any day, anytime.  Well ok…..maybe not any day, any time…..it may get a little expensive, but this is definitely one of my restaurants of choice.

More Info: Yellowtail Website : Traditional & Modern Japanese menu;  expect to spend $55+ per person based on a 3 course dinner

Sniper Tam *pew pew pew!*


Music Related: Mr. Little Jeans (aka Monica Birkenes)

Has some Karen O vibe going on in that song.   Monica Birkenes is a Norwegian born songwriter who is now residing in Los Angeles.   When talking about music, she says ” “Personally, I don’t think there’s a standard for what a classic song should have, cause there’s a huge variety out there. But I think Michael Jackson was right when he said melody is king. Melody and a nice tone to the voice…and some good chord progressions!”

Her other song, “Rescue Me,” can be heard in the latest Honda CR-V 2011 commercial.

More info at ChinaShop and on her Myspace page.  I’ll be waiting for news about her live shows in the meantime.


VTM#6: Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Sukiyabashi Jiro.

Sushi Yasuda in Manhattan

by David Gelb

 

 


El Gallito y Sinaloa #3 Tacos

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The Skinny: El Gallito is a taco truck that can be found almost anywhere in Los Angeles.  The one I went to was on Pacific Coast Highway in Lomita and on Washington Blvd near Culver City.  Taco Sinaloa #3 is a sit-down restaurant in Torrance which I found on Yelp.  Reviewers recommended the Pastor, so I got that along with their Buche (pig stomache), which is my favorite meat of choice.  So I got the Buche at El Gallito’s, along with their Carnitas and the little more expensive Tripas.

The High: El Gallito’s Buche and Tripas were great, both texturally and in flavor.  The Tripas were chewy and the amount of Buche was plentiful.  I just wish the Tripas were a bit crispy around the edges.

The Low: El Gallito’s Carnitas wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. The pork was a bit dry and lacked flavor, even with the chopped onions and red salsa I put on top.  I would have used the green salsa they provided, but it was frozen….so I couldn’t.  

Taco Sinaloa #3’s version of the Buche taco started off well because some of the pieces were crispy and it was packed with flavor.  The second bite I took felt like I was chomping down onto a soft salt lick doohickey.  I could literally feel my brain fluids be sucked out by all the sodium that was in that taco.

The Pastor that people raved about on Yelp was a complete disappointment.  I ordered two of them but only managed to finish one.  My biggest problem with it was that it just tasted like bland pieces of pork puffs that got re-hydrated by the amount of oil used to cook it.  I was expecting chucks of pork that were sliced off a gyro looking hunk of mystery meats….but got mushy blobs instead.

Would you come back again? Yes to El Gallito and no to Taco Sinaloa #3. I just hope I went to Taco Sinaloa on a bad day because their Buche could have been my favorite

More Info: El Gallito – www.tacoselgallito.com // Taco Sinaloa #3Yelp

MJ


Music Related: “All Of This” by The Naked And Famous

New music video from an Indie band from New Zealand that won the APRA Silver Scroll Award….maybe last year?  The Naked and Famous is lead by front woman Lisa Xayalith…and they’ll be back in LA to peform at the Echoplex on April 9th.  Yay for me!

“Young Blood” is still my favorite song by them.

– MJ


Salakot – Sizzle & Grill Restaurant

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The Skinny: Salakot is a Filipino restaurant found in the heart of Los Angeles’s own Historic Filipinotown.  The place serves popular Filipino dishes like Adobo, Sinigang, Lumpia, and Pancit.  They even have a 2nd floor dedicated to those who love to eat and party with a karaoke machine.

I actually discovered  Salakot when I went to go see the indie folk-rock band The Steelwells, a great live act with 2.5 kick ass drummers, at the Bootleg Theater. The restaurant itself is about a block away from the venue and I took a mental note of it because one of my co-workers was looking for a Filipino one.  It turns out, he had already discovered the place on Yelp, so we went there for lunch along with a few other colleagues.

The High: Of the 5 things we ordered and shared, the Spicy Sisig and Chicken Adobo were the best.  The Adobe was unapologetic about the strong Filipino flavors and ingredients it had in it. The chicken was cooked on the bone and tender enough to use a spoon and fork to peel the flesh right off.  The smell of vinegar was strong, but it hardly bothered me in terms of flavor.  It did however repel one of my co-workers who couldn’t even hold the dish due to the sour pungency.  I don’t really have a gauge on what is a really good adobe, and although it was complex, the chicken Adobe tasted fine to me.

The Sisig was what I was anticipating but it wasn’t what I was expected.  The first time I saw the dish was on TV during the travel show No Reservations.  The host Anthony Bourdain went to the Philippines and had the popular Sisig at a late night pub.  It was suppose to be made out of crispy gelatinous pig ears and snout mixed with fat and pieces of actual meat and potatoes.  I was hoping to get that but instead received salty vinegary steak-ish pork bits with green peppers and onions.  It wasn’t bad, but if I didn’t have rice to eat it with, I’d have a hard time enjoying it.  It was tasty though, maybe a little bit too tasty.

The Low: We also ordered shrimp fried rice, Pancit, and Lumpia.  The fried rice, with just 5 pieces of shrimp, was whatever.  I only appreciated it because it helped mellow out the saltiness of the Sisig.  The Lumpia was filled with a rather bland pork filling that only picked up flavors once you dipped it into a sweet chili dipping sauce.  I’m sure it would taste even better during a drunken state of mind.

With Pancit, I’ve always found it a bit bland whenever I eat it.  Salakot’s version of it didn’t make me think otherwise either.  At first, all it’s flavors were found at the bottom of the plate because we didn’t mix the noodles and condiments together well enough.  However, when we did mix it properly, it still didn’t make a difference.  The Panci was just an one note dish of blandness with only a few hints of citrus to break up the monotony of it all.

Would you come back again? Yes! Even though some of the dishes were more misses than hits, the Crispy Pata looks really good.

More Info: Yelp it!

MJ


Boxes by The Steelwells

I think The Steelwells should have named themselves Beards Papa since they all have full on facial hair, well except for the Korean keyboardist who has a peach fuzz pornstache thing going on.  It’s also so they can get sponsored by Beards Papa, the Japanese cream puffs store, and make it rain pastries on the crowd!

Anyways, even though the Rolling Stones magazine did put the ever so annoying Justin Bieber on their cover and asked him douchie questions about rape and abortion, it would be nice to see these  talented bearded kids on it instead.  So rate them with 5 stars at the Rolling Stones website. Link


The Kalbi Burger

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The Skinny: A popular burger hub that’s been voted as one of the top 10 places in Los Angeles by the Huffington Post. Their signature dish is the Korean influenced Kalbi burger.

The High: The Kalbi Burger itself lives up to the hype.  It’s juicy, messy, delicious, and everything The Counter is not. (:-X)  The greens in it had the same vinaigrette at those $19.99 all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ places.  The flame broiled short rib and ground chuck patty was flavorful thanks to the Kalbi aioli; even though it tasted more like Bulgogi.  The toasted bread stayed together well despite my sloppy way of eating it.  It also served as a piece of sponge to soak up all the delicious juices that tried to escape.  The fries were crispy and tasty thanks to them being fried twice.

The Low: I remember the first time I went to Kalbi Burger I made the mistake of getting the Saigon.  I was expecting it to taste like a Bahn Mi….but it didn’t.  The pickled veggies needed more pickling.

Would you come back again? Yes! I got to try the Seoul Dog.

More Info: www.kalbiburger.com – $9.95 for a combo meal that has the Kalbi Burger, Fries, and a drink. $7.95 for just the burger.

MJ

in i


Music Related: The Steelwells

The Steelwells is an Orange County band that competed in the OC Music Awards.  They are the winner for Best Song in 2010 and the Asian guy in the the band is my friend’s younger cousin.  Anyways, they just make great music and kind of remind me Local Natives and Passion Pit….but not really.    Expect these guys to blow up as well!

Watch out for them them on Jimmy Fallon’s Late Night for the ‘Rolling Stone’ Band Contest (2/14/11) or tomorrow (12/16/11) at the Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles.

MJ


The Counter

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The Skinny: The Counter is a build-your-own Burger chain that has locations all over America.  You can either individualize your own burger using “Market Selection” produce or simply pick something from the menu.  They also have beer on tap and burger bowls, which are pretty much salads with condiments.

The High: Building your own burger is always fun, so that’s a plus.  The place I went to is in Torrance and they have an outdoor seating area, which is good for nice warm California days.  They also have Arrogant Bastard on tap and some tasty french fries and fried pickles.

The Low: My first visit to the Counter I picked the 1lb burger of beef topped with horseradish cheddar, jalepenos, grilled onions, mixed greens, garlic aioli, and a runny egg.  You would think all that stuff would be a burst of flavor, but it wasn’t.  For me, the biggest problem was that the cooks didn’t season the meat, and if they did, they didn’t season it enough.  The beef was beefy, but how could it not be?  It’s a pound of meat!  Even still, all the extra toppings didn’t really add depth to the overall burger, they seemed to be muted.  Maybe conceptually, the Counter creators thought subtle notes of flavor is best, but to me it was just bland.  On top of that, the cold hamburger bun was completely demolished by the meat juices and my burger ended up being a knife and fork steak meal.  Maybe it could have been the choices I made, like the patty size being too big and the toppings I picked just didn’t work well together.

So I went a second time and I had the same problems. Even though I got the 1/3lb beef patty with a chili theme, the meat was still under season and the cold wheat bun I picked wasn’t able to hold itself together.  And to add insult to injury, the Parmesan fries I got that time were cold and way too salty.

Would you come back again? Only if I’m with a group of people and I get out voted on where we want to go eat.  Then I’d ask the waiter to have the cooks toast the bun a little with some fat and to salt and pepper the meat well.

More Info: www.thecounterburger.com


Las Vegas Bellagio’s Fix

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The Skinny: Contemporary American restaurant owned by the Light Group.  Dim light woodsy atmosphere nestled inside Bellagio Hotel.  A great place to eat before going out to a nightclub or just hanging out in the lounge for a few cocktails.  I was lucky enough to get invited to try their Valentine’s menu which consisted of Osetra Caviar Short stack, Blue Fin Toro Tasting, Lobster Bisque, Smoked Salmon Salad, Truffled Chicken & Shellfish tasting w/ a berry triffle ending.  The food definitely compliments the restaurant atmosphere.

The High: My friend and I started off with the Osetra Caviar Short stack which is Potato Bilinis, Creme Fraiche &  a dapple of domestic caviar.  It was delicious and a great starter. It sort of tasted like a pancake with caviar.   Our second course I ordered the Smoked salmon with wild arugula, lemon,  crisp brioche & salmon caviar.  Definitely not what I expected, when I see arugula, I think salad.  What came out was smoked salmon w/ the brioche.  I’m glad I ordered this because my friend ordered the lobster bisque and it was a pretty heavy for a second course.  It consisted of Lobster “Love Notes” (lobster ravioli), Bottarga & Cognac Cream.  The ravioli was a bit hard, but the bisque was delicious.  For our entree I ordered the shellfish tasting, which consisted of seared scallops ontop of bacon, sauteed spinach, & a potato cake.  The saltiness of the bacon went very well with the scallops, spinach and potato.  It also came with a whole Maine Lobster that had a stuffing in the shell.  It also came with King Crab & Caviar Butter; Lobster Mac & Cheese.  The Lobster Mac & Cheese had a distinctive taste to it, when my friend and I took a bite into it it had a sweet taste to it before it got to the cheesy goodness.  My friend got the Truffled chicken which consisted of Procini Mushrooms, roasted root vegetables & Winter Truffles.  The dish was fantastic & the chicken was very tender.  The Berry Truffle consisted of angel food cake, blueberries, strawberries, champagne & fresh berry caviar.  It was a great ending to the dinner.  I didn’t realize what was at the end until I got to it.  It was a bit mushy, but I finally realized it was the angel food cake soaked with champagne & the juices from the berry, it was a refreshing ending.

The Low: The first course consisted of a Blue Fin Toro Tasting.  I didn’t really like this course.  It came packaged as Sashimi Tartar, seared & topped with a dapple of caviar.  Each one tasted like it had been sitting out too long…..not fishy, but dry.  I could have done without this dish.

Would you come back again? Yes,  I hear their kobe sliders are fantastic & doughnuts are a must try.

More Info: www.bellagio.com.  Reservations recommended.  Look to spend on average $55+ per person based on a 3 course dinner.

Sniper Tam *Pew Pew Pew*


Trader Joe’s Mini Burgers…with Egg on it’s Face

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Mini Burgers w/ Egg on it’s Face

* Trader Joe’s Mini Burger Patties
* Trader Joe’s Mini Buns
* Parmesan Shavings
* Kosher Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
* Eggs cooked over easy (trick: Use a medium size shot glass to cut the egg yolk out.)

Enjoy.

 


Budae Jjigae aka Korean Military Stew

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The Skinny: I consider Budae Jjigae to be Korea’s stone soup and I love it. It’s a stew that came about during the Korean War when people used whatever they could find to make something with a lot of calories to burn.

I usually go to Toe Bang (3465 W. Sixth St. Los Angeles) in Korea-town for my fix and it costs about 20 bucks an order.  I first started going to Toe Bang at an age where I should have been carded, but never was.  It’s been kind of a Zen thing when I eat this communal hot pot of mystery meats and sodium induced broth.  I really need the atmosphere to be a certain way to really enjoy the experience of raising my own blood pressure through consumption.  When Toe Bang first opened, it used to be made up of a green canopy, lawn chairs, and metal patio tables.  Now it has wood furnishing all over with flat screen TVs and heat lamps keeping customers warm due to the main seating area being outdoors, and outside is where you want to be.  Add some Korean Euro-trash techno music, soju, and some red faced lightweight Koreans yapping in the background…and you have the perfect Budae Jjigae atmosphere.  It’ll make you feel like you’re in another country…like Korea!

However, things have changed a little bit too much at Toe Bang.  Instead of being able to cook the Budae Jjigae at your own table with your own little gas powered hot pot, they cook it before hand and just serve it to you; and that just kills the fun.

So now, I just cook it at home and with my friends….but it isn’t the same as going out and having it in Korea-town where people still smoke indoors.

Recipe:

* 2-3 cans of Swanson’s chicken stock
* half an onion sliced up
* some sliced up spam
* some hot dogs sliced up
* some burger patties rolled up into tiny balls the size of your thumb
* Firm Tofu
* green onions sliced up
* vegis like bean sprouts, cabbage, and enoki mushrooms.
* Sliced rice cakes
* Korean Red Chili Paste
* Chrysanthemum leaves which is a must. They come in bundles.
* A portable Hot Pot, electric or gas powered. The bigger, the better.
* Nong Shim Neoguri Udon – Ramen with some thick ass noodles.
* and Soju!….Chamisul to be more specific.

It’s not really rocket science as to how you bring it all together. There’s no set amount of ingredients because after all, it’s a military stew. You just start heating up the hot pot, add the sliced onions and pour in some chicken stock. When it starts getting hot, take 2 big spoonfuls of red chili paste and stir it into the pot until it becomes thick with red.  When it begins to boil, that’s when you add the mystery meats, tofu, sprouts, and Chrysanthemum leaves.  Then at the very end, add the ramen noodles and green onions.  Serve it with rice, kimchee, and shot glasses full of soju…and you’re set to go.

– MJ


Music Related: “Stuck on Repeat” – Little Boots

Artist Website


Pastor’s “Sweet Potato” Pies

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The Skinny: The first time I had these pies was at work and I thought they were a bit sketchy.  The story I got was that one of the bosses had asked this random guy on street what he did the best (like Ted Williams) and he answered “I make the best sweet potato pies.”  So then the Boss-man had Sweet Potato Pie Guy deliver 10 pies to the office.  I was cautious at first but then when I tried a slice, I was completely surprised by how good it was.  It wasn’t overly sweet, the crust was nice and flaky, and the spices were well balanced.  Nothing really exploded in abundance, it was just a nice ride of simple flavors, kind of like having perfectly made lemonade on a Sunday afternoon.  Even memories of my childhood came forward about how pumpkin spice ice cream was favorite flavor.  The pie was just so simple and yet so addictive that I actually thought there was a little extra special something-something in there to make it more enjoyable.  Later on it turned out that the real story is that the pies came from a Pastor who’s a music producer that moonlights as a baker.  I’m not a religious person, but I have to admit there is something special about these pies…if not medicinal.

Robert “Storm” Daniels, the CEO and founder of Pastor’s Pies, does give the option of adding coconut shavings, pecans, a layer of brown sugar, and cheesecake (we think) to the mix.  I say just order the regular version of the Sweet Potato Pie, it’s the best way to enjoy it.   A glass of milk doesn’t hurt either.

I also think Olivia Munn should partner up with this guy and start up a business together….they can call it…Munn Pie…Truck?

More Info: www.facebook.com/pastorspiesDelivery (only): (562)334-0695 Email pastorspies@yahoo.com

– MJ


Dinner in a Bottle: MeatWater!

The Skinny: The future is here but in liquid form and not pills!  Made with the “finest protein, an organic compound composed of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen.” MeatWater boasts over 64 flavors like Shrimp Salad, Dirty Hot Dog, Peking Duck, Venison Confit, Pigs with Wings, Italian Meatballs, Brunch Omelette, Liverwurst Sandwich, Mountain Oysters, Carpaccio, Sushi, Cheese Burger, and Haggis.  It serves as a substitution for protein shakes that taste like faux Oreos or pina colada.

Seems pretty disgusting, but on the bright side, when the world ends in 2012 all you need to do is stock up on Meat Water and remanence when farm animals used to be around.  mmm…. Escargot water!

Also, you can make some nice meaty cocktail drinks with it!

“Liverwurst Limousine” cocktail recipe

•    2/3 oz Lemon flavored Vodka
•     1/3 oz lime juice
•     2 oz MeatWater™ Liverwurst Sandwich
•     3 lime wedges
•    1 slice of cucumber

Fill Vodka into glass, add lime juice, add ice and lime wedges and top with MeatWater™ Liverwurst Sandwich, stir until smooth, garnish with a slice of cucumber and serve.

VARIATION: Substitute a chili pepper for the cucumber slice. Hold the chili pepper in a lighted match over the drink and then drop it in. The heat really zips up the MeatWater flavor.

For more info visit their website.

– MJ

Song: MeatWater Song



Music Related – Foster the People

Pumped Up Kicks MV

Live  @ The Echo

The Skinny: I came across Foster the People’s EP “Pumped up Kicks” a few months ago.  It was catchy, fun, and easy to listen to.  Then I finally had a chance to watch a free show at Echo with them as the main act and I’m on board with them as being legit artists.  They are Los Angele’s answer to France having Phoenix and Boston being the home of Passion Pit.  They sound 100 times better live than Connecticut’s MGMT and know how to bring their drum beats to life.  While the lead singer does have nasally vocals that Oprah would not gush Twinkie-fillings over, it is distinct and smooth like well aged tequila. People can catch them live at Coachella and while they haven’t really signed on to any official record label because of personal preferences, I can  see them blowing up in the near future.  Also expect to hear blowhards and music snobs get offended and butt-hurt over who they sound like the most.  As far as I’m concern, they sound great….well…if you’re into that kind of music.

– MJ


Las Vegas Cosmopolitan – The Pizzeria

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The Skinny: Amazing New York Pizza at the Cosomopolitan.  Literally a hole in the wall.  If I didn’t tell you where it was you’d never be able to find it.  NEVER.  On the second level of the Cosmopolitan inbetween Jaleo & Blue Ribbon sushi, is this long hallway full of old school vinyl covers.  When you get to the end of the hall way it’s like you got warped to a New York Pizzeria,  The staff is amazingly nice.  Especially the pizza makers.  You pick your base either Cheese, Pepperoni, or White and make your “magic” at the end.  When it’s Nico making the pizza it’s “making magic” at the end with your toppings.  Counter seating only. Or by the slice or by the pie, however hungry you are, they can accomodate.  This place is so off the map that they aren’t even mentioned on the cosmopolitan website.

The High: I ordered a White pizza w/ garlic & ricotta, roasted tomoates and basil.  The minute I took a bite into that pizza I was in pizza heaven.  The crisp of the crust and the flavors of the toppings just went so well together.  This is definitely a great place to grab a quick bite to each before you head out for the night or if you’re ending your night and you need something greasy, the Pizzeria is the place to be.  I’ve brought several east coasters to do the ultimate test and they’ve passed with flyin colors.  If a New Yorker says it’s good, it’s GOTTA be good.

The Low: hard to find if you’ve never been there.  Just remember, there are no signs for this place. So it’s on the 3rd floor, in between Jaleo & Blue Ribbon sushi.  You can’t miss it…..or maybe you can 😀

Would you come back again: Absofrickinlutely! I will drive down to the strip just to have this pizza.  I’ve had Rocco’s NY Pizza & I’ve had Grimaldis,  Pizzeria still takes the cake.

More Info: www.yelp.com.   Expect to spend $3 for the basic slice and $.50 per additional topping.

Sniper Tam *Pew Pew Pew*


Las Vegas – Monta Japanese Ramen

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The Skinny: This is the ultimate hole in the wall Japanese ramen restaurant in Las Vegas.  Many of it’s predecessors have tried and failed, but here we have standing Monta.  It’s a very simple restaurant, with an even more simple menu.  You have 3 broths to choose from, Tonkatsu, Shoyu, or Miso.  Then you add your toppings:  extra char siu, corn, mustard leaf, extra noodles etc.  Aside from the Ramen menu there are other things for those who aren’t that into noodles.  They have a pork belly rice, kimchi fried rice, gyozas, etc.  a small variety of dishes.  Very limited seating including a counter seating like in Japan.

The High: I always order the Tonkatsu Ramen.  To me it’s the most flavorful of the soups and takes the longest to make.  (I tried making it…..12 hours later, I went to Monta to order instead lol)  The Tonkatsu Ramen comes with 2 pieces of char siu, green onion.  I always add corn, mustar leaf and sometimes the soft boiled egg.  Your first encounter with this broth is OMG WHAT? It’s SO flavorful and delicious you can’t get enough of it.  Every bite has to have enough soup to go with it.  If you get super hungry you can order more noodles, except they won’t give you more soup if you run out.  I also tried the Gyozas which were handmade in house.  I loved them! I’m used to restaurant frozen from the bag gyozas, but these were fresh because we were watching them make it while waiting for our food.

The Low: It IS a large sodium intake if you eat it too often.  It also gets VERY hot in the tiny restaurant during the summer.  Hopefully they’ve fixed it.

Would you come back again? Absolutely! Anytime I’m craving Noodles, Monta is always the winner hands down, even over Pho :O

More Info: www.yelp.com.  Monta doesn’t have a website, but take a look at the yelp reviews and you’ll get the gist of the restaurant.  They do to-go, but you have to cook the noodles for about 3 minutes when you get home.  Still tastes the same.  How often do you do take out and it still taste as if you were eating it in the restaurant?

Sniper Tam *Pew Pew Pew*


Las Vegas – Lawry’s Prime Rib

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The Skinny: Everyone’s always looking food a good prime rib. I had to try this one out to see what all the talk was about.  Located about 1.5 miles away from the strip in the Howard Hughes plaza.  They’re known for their spinning salads & table side carvings.  Let’s start this journey and see where it takes us

The High: The minute I walked in I felt welcomed. The decor to me makes it feel very retro, and comfortable.  Almost like you stepped into a time warp with the outfits the waitresses are wearing.  They pulled the table completely out so my self and my friend could get in without having to crawl as you would if it was a booth.  A step that amazes me when they actually do it.  We sat down and our waitress presents herself as Mrs …..(i actually wasn’t paying attention to what her name was)  she took our appetizer orders and told us when we are ready Sergio would carve our meat table side.  First, we ordered 2 shrimp cocktails (5 in each order).  The shrimps were pretty big, but the sauce didn’t have the kick I was hoping for.  So the waitress brings me horsradish and WOW that made such a difference.  It was super yummy after that.  She brought out the Famous Original Spinning Bowl Salad which consisted of: Crisp romaine and iceberg lettuce, baby spinach, shredded beets, chopped egg and croutons, tossed with our exclusive Vintage Dressing spining salad tableside and that was pretty cool.  She was spining an aluminum bowl ontop of a bowl of ice while pouring in the vinegarette.  While we finish our salad Sergio our carver comes by opens the cart of meat and we were in heaven.  I ordered the California cut (I can’t eat that much)  My friend orders the Lawry’s cut which is bone in.  So Sergio prepares your whole dish right in front of you.  From carving the meat to applying the sides, which consisted of :Yorkshire Pudding (bakes in small skillets until puffy + golden brown); mashsed potatoes (whole potatoes, cooked then whipped with milk and butter); whipped cream horseradish.

Once my plate was placed in front of me I dove right into it, well after I took a picture that is.  The flavor of the au jus was very tastey.  I love prime rib if it’s done right, this was done almost right.  I ordered it medium, but I should’ve ordered medium rare, the ends were a little overcooked.  Nonetheless still very flavorful.   The sauteed mushrooms we ordered to accompany our prime rib were awesome.  You really can’t go wrong with sauteed mushrooms. If I wasn’t so full I probably would’ve finished it all, but had to leave some men behind.  Dessert was fantastic,  Hot fudge sundae.  Made me feel like a kid again,  whip cream, ice cream + almonds with LOTS of chocolate syrup.  It was a perfect ending to such a wonderful dinner.  I don’t recommend eating as much as we did, my stomach was about to burst eating that much food, BUT it was the only way I can bring all these goodies to you. So you know what to eat and what not to eat. I missed a few sides, but that’s due to  personal preference.

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Would you come back again? Possibly if I have friends in town looking for a really good prime rib.  I would just tell them to rethink the lobster tail though

More Info: website; According to my co-worker, you can dine during the lunch time and have almost the same thing at a cheaper price.  I’ll have to test that theory another day, I still have $25 to spend there.

– Sniper Tam *Pew Pew Pew*