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Archive for August, 2011

Hollywood: Pa-Ord Noodles

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The Skinny:  So after watching the Noodlewhore make an appearance on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservation in Los Angele,s I’ve been meaning to try the  Thai Boat Noodles they had.   I’m not a big fan of Thai food in general and the only thing I ever really get at a Thai restaurant is the Pad Thai.  However, I am a fan of Soupy Noodles, and the Thai Boat Noodles would be something new for me.  So after 3 years had gone by since I first saw that No Reservation episode, in 2011 I finally became proactive and found a place with those bowls of Noodles.  The restaurant I went to is called Pa-Ord Thai and it’s in Hollywood and next to a dozen other Thai places.

Pa-Ord’s restaurant space is pretty tight and with limited seating, which is the reason why there was a line out the door during lunchtime.  I did notice though that everyone eating there was Thai themselves and that’s always a good thing.  Their menu offers all types of Thai dishes,  like Curry Catfish, Crispy Pork Belly, and Roast Duck with Gravy; and all at a very affordable price.

Since I was there for the Thai Boat Noodle, I got Tom Yum (no.1), which has Pork Balls, Ground Pork, Pork Liver, Dehydrated Baby Shrimps, Bean Sprouts, Ground Peanuts and Pork Skin Cracklings.  With it you get a choice of either Egg Noodles or different sized Rice ones.  I got the Rice Noodles that are similar to what you find in a bowl Pho.  There are also different levels of heat you can have in your soup.  I did ask for “very spicy” but the waitress stopped me and said medium was enough for me, so I listened.  I also ordered some Thai Iced Coffee.

The Good:  My bowl of hot Thai Boat Noodles was simply delicious.  The soup felt lighter than eating a bowl of Pho, and it had a nice component of being a little sweet, salty, and sour.  The Bean Sprouts gave the dish the texture of crispness and the different assortments of proteins kept me satisfied as a carnivore, especially the Pork Skin Cracklings.  However, the “medium heat” was melting my face off and I had to keep on wiping away streams of sweat.  Despite the searing pain of spiciness in my mouth, I just couldn’t stop sipping the soup after I had ate everything in the bowl.

The Bad:  The Noodle portion size is pretty small, but for a large bowl that costs 5.50, I guess it’s okay.  Also, I hate pork liver, it just tastes like funky bad breath.

Would you come back again?  Yup!  It’s cheap and very good eating, plus the people working there are very nice and helpful.

More Info: Yelp| 5301 Sunset Blvd. Ste 8Los Angeles, CA 90027 | Cash Only | menu and prices

MJ

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Los Angeles: La Cevicheria

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The Skinny So I first heard about La Cevicheria months ago while listening to a KCRW Radio show called Good Food, but I never got a chance to eat there til today.  La Cevicheria was spotlighted for it’s specialty on Ceviche, the Bloody Clam version specifically.  Unfortunately, that one dish wasn’t available when I was there, but the owner of the place recommended some other things instead, so we went with that.  We started with Aguachiles which are whole raw Shimps marinated in and served with Lime juice, Cilantro, Onions, Garlic, Cucumbers, and Jalapeno sauce.  I also got the Ceviche with Shrimp and Octopus.   My friend who I was with, got the Ceviche with the same liquid mix as the Bloody Clam Ceviche, but with imitation Crab, Shrimp, and Octopus.   Both versions of our Ceviche had slices of Avacado, Lime Juice, Cilantro, chopped Tomatoes and Onions.  The only difference between the two marinades was that my friend had Mint Leaves and Worcestershire sauce in his.

The Good:  The first dish we started off with were the Aguachiles which had 12 whole Shrimps bathed in a bowl of cold citrus-y soup.  Each shrimp was sweet and had a good meaty texture, but while they were supposed to be spicy from the Jalapenos, I hardly noticed it…at first.  I thought the dish was more refreshing than anything else, but then I tried the La Cevicheria Habanero hot sauce separately.  It looked like regular American Mustard but it tasted slightly fruity and burned like spitfire, causing me to sweat out beads after trying globs of it.  Then thinking that the cold marinade in the Shrimp dish would help, I spooned some out and sipped it only to have the Peppers from both of those things burn the crap out of my mouth.  It was still good though…painful, but good.

As for my Ceviche, it was good.  It started off tasting kind of odd, but after mixing everything together with some squeezed Lime Juice, drops of Tapatio, and some more Habanero sauce, the flavors eventually came together.  It just tasted like how a seafood Ceviche should taste with the Octopus and Shrimp adding some meaty textures to contrast the crisp onions.  I did try my friend’s Ceviche which uses the same the Bloody Clam marinade, and the flavors were more bold thanks to the Worcestershire.

The Bad:  I actually been to La Cevicheria twice.  The first time I came, the place was closed and the owners wouldn’t be back for a month.  Then with the 2nd visit, they didn’t have the one dish I wanted to get, the Bloody Clams.  I guess it was just bad luck on my part.

Would you come back again?  But of course!  Those Bloody Clams will be mine someday!

More Info: yelp | 3809 W Pico Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90019 | Cash Only |  The Aguachiles was about 15 bucks and our Ceviches were about 10 bucks each. La Cevicheria also serves Burritos, Tostadas, and regular Latin American lunch fare.

– MJ


Las Vegas: Estiatorio Milos

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The Skinny:  Estiatorio Milos Las Vegas, one of 4 in the world is a one of a kind dining experience with the display of the fresh fish they fly in every day to the beautiful patio that has a garden atmosphere.   I’ve wanted to eat here since they’ve opened and they definitely didn’t let me down.  Chef Joshua Smith sent us big eyed tuna with bergamot, dill and chili as well as the Lavraki (sea bass) with thyme leaves and lemon to start.  They also sent us 4 different appetizers: the first one was the Milos Special which is lightly fried zucchini & eggplant with tzatziki & kefalograviera cheese.  We also had the Octopus which is grilled Mediterranean octopus with oregano, wild Santorini capers, apple vinegar & olive oil. For our final appetizer, we had the crab cakes which is Maryland blue crab with marinated gigantes beans & mustard emulsion. For our main course we had the red snapper  that was grilled with olive oil, lemon, salt & pepper accompanied by a tomato salad which consisted of  English cucumber, red onion, green peppers, olive oil, oregano, Santorini capers & Barrel aged feta cheese.  Now when I first heard there’s a Greek restaurant on the strip (1st and only for the time being) I’m thinking is this going to work?  It’s definitely unique and it’s definitely working.

The Good:  The food is delicious.  Everything was extremely fresh & basic.  They don’t use a lot of sauces or seasonings on any of their dishes.   It seems like the sauces and seasons they do use is  minimal and it’s more to enhance the natural flavor of the fish itself.  The tzatziki sauce was fantastic.  It was fresh and creamy, where a lot of restaurants I’ve had tzatziki and it was a little more watery then it should be, but at Milos it was the perfect consistency.    The service was fantastic; they were very attentive, always refilling our water glasses and checking to see if everything tastes fine.  It was a good thing we went early to eat because they were a full house by the time we were done.

The Bad:  Not that this is ever a bad thing, but it was SO much food.  If you go to this restaurant, I do recommend that you go in a group.  At least 4, they filet a whole fish at your table, and if you have a full 4 course meal you’ll end up with quite a few doggie bags to take home.

Would you come back again?  Absolutely.  The GM told me that 75% of the fresh fish they fly is consistent, but 25% of it will be different every week. So its worth going back to see what kind of exotic seafood they flew in that week.   I love anything seafood, so it’s definitely cool to have a restaurant where you can walk up to the seafood display and say “I want this one.” You would never believe a restaurant like this exists in the middle of the desert.

More Info:  Estiatorio Milos Las Vegas   3708 Las Vegas Blvd South, Las Vegas, NV  89109.  702-698-7930.   Dinner:  Daily 5:30pm to 12:00am Lunch: Daily 12:00pm to 2:30pm.  website

– Sniper Tam


Santa Monica: Cha Cha Chicken

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The Skinny:  Cha Cha Chicken is a restaurant that was featured on Food Network’s “Best Thing I Ever Ate…” for it’s Coconut Fried Chicken.  I didn’t know that at the time I was there and just ordered the Jerk Combo.  The plate comes with a Jerk Chicken Enchilada, Jerk Chicken Tostada, some Fried Plantains, and Dirty Rice with Red Beans.  I also got a cup of Agua de Watermelon and sat in the outdoor area, which is nice on a warm sunny day by the beach.

The Good:  Everything tasted fine and the ingredients all seemed fresh to order.   The Jerk part of the Chicken components had a sweetness that reminded me of Pineapples.  I did especially like the Dirty Rice for some reason and the cold Watermelon Water was refreshing and not overly sweet.

The Bad:  When I think of Jerk something, I think of spicy food that kicks your butt.  So I was expecting the Cha Cha Jerk sauce to have some heat, but the stuff was hardly mild.  I do think they use pineapple in the sauce and while it tasted fine, it was a little bit too sweet for me.  I just wanted a little more savory and some heat to balance things out.

Would you come back again?  Yup!  They do have a large menu and I want to try their other stuff.

More Info: Cha Cha Chicken – 1906 Ocean Avenue – Santa Monica, CA


Little Tokyo: Takoyaki Tanota

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The Skinny:  Went to Little Tokyo in Los Angeles to play around with my digital cameras and came across a Nisei festival and a Takoyaki stand named Takoyaki Tanota.  In general I love Octopus, which is also why I love Takoyaki and this find was a treat!

The Good:  The painfully hot pancake balls with chunks of Octopus was just that.  They burnt the insides of my mouth, but the  portion size of the Octopus nuggets were good and made it worth while.  5 dollars bought me 8 pieces and they were all delicious.   I got the regular Takoyaki sauce but they also have Ponzu and Jalapeno versions.

The Bad:  It’s not the most filling meal in the world, but then again, it is just a snack really.

Would you come back again?  Sure, if I’m lucky enough to come across it again.

More Info:  Little Tokyo: www.takoyakitanota.com

– MJ


Cheesecake Factory: The Farmhouse Cheeseburger

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The Skinny:  I went to a birthday get together at a Cheesecake Factory in Irvine and I haven’t been to one of these restaurants in over 3 years.  When I got there I ordered the Farmhouse Cheeseburger which has a Runny Egg, Beef Patty, and a smoked Pork Belly packaged into one meal.

The Good:  The Pork Belly was delicious, and as my brother would say, “it’s very hard to fuck up Pork Belly.”

The Bad:  The Farmhouse Cheeseburger was dry, the cheese was the shredded version you find at the Sizzlers salad bar, and the Beef Patty wasn’t seasoned well if at all.  The Fries also sucked ass.  After reading the menu’s nutrition handbook provided by the Cheesecake Factory at each table, I was even more pissed that I wasted 1530 of calorie intake on that piece of crap.  I now officially hate the Cheesecake Factory.

Would you come back again?  Fuck no.

More Info: www.thecheesecakefactory.com

MJ