The Skinny: I needed a nice little reality check from some good friends and they decided to go here. Apparently I’ve been here before, but it was so long ago when food was just something I ate to survive I couldn’t remember. It did feel familiar when I first walked in. I was a little excited because it is a Korean/Japanese restaurant.
The interior is this cute little homely place. I felt comfortable the minute I walked in. It was like you’re walking into your best friend’s Asian dining room. We sat down and first thing we ordered was alcohol. Soju (Korean alcohol), Hite (Korean beer) & fresh iced green tea. I’ve never been here and was open to try anything. My friend ordered a dish that was slow cooked pork belly with oysters, tofu steak & a spicy potato & beef rib soup. I loved that the owner’s daughter came to our table with fresh limes and made a special cocktail we named Achy hands drink because she squeezed fresh lime juice into a cup of ice and soju. Loved it better then drinking soju straight up. For our happy ending we had candied corn with cheese. OMG who thinks up these things? At first when it came out my friends and I looked at the dish and looked at Sarah (the owner’s daughter) and said that’s a huge dish of corn! Don’t know why we were so shocked by the plate, we actually finished majority of it. It is THAT good.
The Good: I didn’t have one bad dish here. The slow cooked pork belly with oysters was fantastic! I’m normally not a big fan of pork belly because of how fatty it is, but Sarah’s mom made it so good, I could’ve eaten the whole plate if it wasn’t so filling. The dish came with pickled napa cabbage leaves to wrap the pork belly, oyster & sides (raw garlic, raw jalapeno peppers, and this fermented soy bean paste). This dish is like an explosion of flavor in your mouth. It actually really messed me up the first bite. My brain couldn’t decide what I was eating. I had the flavorful pork belly, the oyster and all the other flavors from the sides. It was delicious.
The spicy potato & beef rib soup was a great choice too. It went well with the other dishes we ordered. A lot of places when I order this type of soup are too spicy. The spice level and flavor was perfect here.
Our last dish was the candied corn with cheese. My friend told me that this is the best dish when drinking. Boy is she right. This dish is no joke. Definitely a must try if you ever go.
The Bad: I don’t really have anything bad to say about this restaurant other than it’s kind of in a ghetto area. The best restaurants are the little hole in the walls right? It is a couple blocks from the University so it’s not that bad, but still quite a drive from where I live. Worth the drive though.
Would you come back again? Absolutely, we didn’t even begin to take a crack at the menu. There are so many choices to choose from. I will definitely be back again. It’s Korean home cooking and you can’t find such great Korean home cooking unless you’re Korean yourself and if you are, then I’m jealous you grew up with such great food. Next time I’ll try some of the Japanese items and report back.
More Info: 1801 E. Tropicana | Las Vegas, NV 89119 | (702) 262-5592 | Reasonable pricing
– Sniper Tam
So I went with that, along with some Shoestring Fries and 15 Minute Wings. As for beers, I ordered the Monkey Knife Fight Pale Ale and a Dogfish Head Punkin Ale. I also had to finish my brother’s Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout since he later remembered that he was on antibiotics.
The Good: The medium well done Bacon Blue Deluxe was juicy and delicious. I usually don’t like Bleu Cheese but it wasn’t too overwhelming in the burger. But what I really liked about the burger overall was how the bun managed to soak up all the juices flowing from the beef patty and still maintained it’s form. It was just a tasty and well built burger.
The 15 Minute Wings were also good. They were crispy, messy, salty, sour, sweet, and had a nice heat that crept up on you later.
The Bad: The chopped up Candied Bacon didn’t seem candied at all, it was just salty.
Would you come back again? Yeah, I think I would, but parking is a bitch.
More Info: 229 Manhattan Beach Blvd | Manhattan Beach, CA 90266 | www.simmzys.com
The Skinny: Beer Belly is a relatively new pub that opened up in the center of Koreatown. It’s like a “where everyone knows your name” kind of place and is a welcoming hang out for the non-Koreans living in K-town. It’s owned by a young couple who for some reason, seems to know everyone, even my co-workers and cousin! The beer selection is solid and meant to pair up with the items found on their good size menu and daily specials. While they do offer full steak meals to justify having dinner there, they also have fried Twinkies and Oreos; so you don’t have to wait for the county fair to get that fried lard induced heart attack.
I went with Echo and my cousin Wendy, who works at Beer Belly, and we ordered:
Citizen Garlic Tapatio Wings (which uses the Cismontane Citizen Steam Lager),
Duck Fat Fries w/ Raspberry Mustard and Duck Skin Cracklings
Cornbread Fried Okra w/ Frankenstein Ketchup
Mac n Beer Cheese (w/ Bacon, Orzo Pasta, and a Sunnyside Egg on top),
Grilled Cheese (4 decker w/ Asiago, Gruyere, Goat cheese, Bacon, Maple Syrup Drizzle)
Lamb Meatballs (on Baguette w/ Red Curry Marinara, Tzatziki, Dill).
And we drank:
Bootleggers Spring Ale
Ladyface Blind Ambition
Craftsman Triple White Sage
Taps Irish Red
The Good: Everything was solid and the beer we drank did match well with the food we ate. The Cornbread Fried Okra were tasty Hush Puppies that were complimented with the A1-ish dipping sauce which gave them a nice bold kick and zing. I didn’t really notice the Okra, but I guess it kind of balances out the guilt since it’s a vegetable hidden in fried corn breading. The Duck Fries were really crispy and the scent of Duck Fat was quite noticeable, but what really helped the fried strips of potatoes taste good was the Raspberry Mustard. It helped cut through the fat with it’s play on salty and sweet. I just wished the Duck Skin Cracklings were a little big larger and more noticeable. If you’re going to make a guilty pleasure even more guilty, then you might as well go all the way. The Citizen Garlic Tapatio Wings were good too and had a nice heat that creeps up on you after your done eating them. The Mac N Beer Cheese with Bacon and a Sunnyside Egg was as gooey, creamy and salty as it should be. I just wished I had some Tobasco sauce to dot that runny yellow eye for good measures.
By the time we got to the Grilled Cheese with Bacon & Maple Syrup, I was pretty much tapped out on space in my stomach. I can’t say I liked it because of the state of mind I was in at the time, but I do think it’s a nice play on the Montecristo. The slices of Bread used to make that sandwich were actually pieces from a Grilled Cheese Sandwich. I did have to force myself to try the Lamb Meatballs, and while they were tasty….I kind of wished they were in a bowl of Chili. mmm…Red Curry Marinara Chili with Lamb and Tzatziki sauce!
Of the beers that I had, the most memorable one was the Bootleggers Spring Ale. It was herby, a bit spicy, and had a nice hint of Honey. I think it would be the perfect Autumn beer to have since it reminded me of Pumpkin Spice ice-cream. I do remember liking the Ladyface Blind Ambition Ale, but at the moment I don’t remember what it tasted like. However, the Craftsman Triple White Sage was….well….SUPER SAGEY. It wasn’t bad and it did pair up well with the Lamb Meatballs, but it wasn’t my favorite.
The Somewhat Bad: They don’t have a burger and it doesn’t seem like they’ll be having one any time soon. I think a good quality burger at an affordable price with some unique creative touches would be well respected and garner a loyal following anywhere.
Would you come back again? For the prices they offer and the friendly staff that works there, I can see myself being a regular there. I think I’ll have everyone call me “Norm.”
More Info: www.beerbellyla.com | 532 S. Western Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90020 — (213) 387-2337 | food prices range from 5 to 20 bucks | beer on tap range from 5 to 9 bucks while their bottled selection can go up to about 20 or so. | The place is Iphone friendly, so if you have a playlist you want to share, you can do so at Beer Belly. Just DL the app. | Ask for Wendy, she’ll help you figure out which beer goes well with what.
Video by Joel Kuwahara
For anyone who’ll read this….have a safe 4th of July, because the USA is broke and cops are looking to bust some festive drunks for their next paycheck. JK about the paycheck, but they are looking to round up a lot of happy people this year just to make payroll……..just kidding! Just don’t drink and drive .
The Skinny: The San Pedro Fish Market is a favorite family weekend hot spot for seafood stalls, beer, and a festive atmosphere. It’s also the most crowded place ever, which means good luck trying to find parking.
The Bad: This blog entry, because I didn’t pay for the food so I don’t know where they came from. I also had 2 big gulp sized plastic cups full of Corona….sooooo….I didn’t bother to find out.
The Good: Everything we ordered was pretty solid…especially the fried Squid and Garlic Shrimp. The Garlic Shrimp, with tasty bits of garlic chips underneath the juices…was well….garlicky and as savory as it should be. The fried Korean-ish style Squid was the perfect beer food because it was salty, crunchy, and tender all at the same time. And I know it was Korean because I recognized the style in which it was cooked and my brother said he did get it from a Korean food stall. So that’s a clue if you want to find out where he got it from.
We also got some French Fries, Garlic Bread, Octopus Ceviche, BBQ Shrimp Fajita, and a small charred up baby Tuna.
The Somewhat Bad: Anything that came covered in red seemed to be made with Ketchup. So the Octopus Ceviche and BBQ Shrimp Fajita all had that sugary dried up Tomato paste taste to them. Also, that day they had a small adorable karaoke show where little kids were singing Justin Bieber songs. I thought the heat from the sun was making my ears sweat a bit, but no…it was just blood pouring out from the pain.
Would you come back again? Yes! Being able to drink cold beer out in the open on a nice sunny day with a bunch of happy strangers….is worth the parking space hunt.
The Skinny: Hot’s kitchen is a gastropub in Hermosa Beach that specializes in 5 dollar mini size burgers, tacos, and a very large selection of beers. There are about over 50 kinds of those tacos ranging from Oxtail and Jerk Rubbed proteins to Alligator and Duck Confit. I was expecting to get the Foi Gras Burger.
I went with family and we ordered:
Fat Burgers (Fried Egg, Grilled Onion, Shredded Lettuce, Mayo, American Cheese)
Mexilaci Burgers (Roasted Poblano, Corn-Jalapeno Mayo, Fried Onion Ring, Oaxaca Cheese)
Hot’s Burgers (grilled Onion, Avocado, Tomato, Cheddar Cheese)
Grilled Korean Wings
Grilled Buffalo Wings
Lobster Heirloom Tomato Salad
Clams in a Spicy Beer Brother with Leguisa, Spinach, and Cheese Bread
Mussels in a roasted Red Pepper and White Wine Broth and served with Toast
A Bunch of Tacos (don’t remember what they were though…)
The Good: Everything we ordered were all solid, but the one thing that was really memorable for me was the Fat Burger. Despite it’s small size, the Burger packed a big beefy punch and the runny Egg made it even more excessively good. I didn’t get to try a Taco and the Lobster Heirloom Tomato Salad, I did however get to pair the Clams and Mussels in their soupy broths with my very hoppy and refreshing Green Flash Imperial IPA….and it was very tasty.
The Bad: For some odd reason, the things I wanted were on the menu but they weren’t available for that day. I was hoping to get the Foie Gras burger I’ve read about on Yelp and some Crispy Picatta Wings, but I got neither.
Would you come back again? Yes and I’m going to order that Foi Gras Burger when I do…and they better have it!
More Info: www.hotskitchen.com | 844 Hermosa Ave, Hermosa Beach, CA — (310) 318-2939 | Parking will be a pain on a busy night.
The Skinny: Dan Sung Sah is a M*A*S*H themed Korean pub where all the furniture is made out of wood and people use worn out utensils that seem like they were used during the Cold War. The place serves Korean style fried goodies, mystery meats grilled on sticks, free communal soup, and cold Makgeolli (Korean Rice Wine) that comes in a tea kettle.
The Good: I usually always get the Dalk Dong Jib (Chicken Butt House), Chicken Wings, and Daeji Kalbi (Korean Pork Ribs). The Dalk Dong Jib are Chicken Gizzards fried with Garlic Cloves and sprinkled with Jalapenos and crack (MSG). The stuff is addictive and I always get it when I go to Dan Sung Sah.
The Chicken Wings are not Buffalo style and there is no sticky sweet sauce. They are lightly breaded, fried to perfection, and maybe sprinkled with some crack as well. I especially like how the cartilage at the ends of each wing are fried up nicely on their own and become crunchy.
Something new I did try was the sliced grilled Pork Belly that comes with a side of Green Onion Salad. It was very tasty and unhealthy.
The Bad: The only Rice they serve comes in a Kimchee Roll with Cheese…..and it’s not good.
How long have you been going there? For over 10 years!
More info: Yelp | 3317 W 6th St. Los Angeles, CA 90020 | They finally have a menu in English.
The Skinny: Went to an Irish Bar & Grille in Down Town Los Angeles for a quick dinner before a night of heavy boozing at a friend’s birthday. Casey is a place that has a full bar, pool tables, television sets all over the place, and a menu with actual Irish food.
I got the Shepherd’s Boxty, Irish Pub Fries, and a pint of Bass Pale Ale.
The Good: Casey’s Shepherd’s Boxty is pretty much like Shepherds Pie, but it is made with ground Lamb, celery, onions, and carrots. It is served rolled up in a savory Pancake and with some gravy on top. The dish itself was tasty and the subtle gaminess of the Lamb added some nice depth to the flavors and whatever seasonings they put in it. The warm pillowy Pancake was nice too, even though it didn’t really taste like anything.
The Bad: The Irish Pub Fries weren’t bad, but it wasn’t as crispy as I wanted them to be. Since they were pretty big Potato wedges, I think they weren’t fried long enough and was steamed up from the inside while in the fryer.
Would you come back? Yeah, I’d like to try the Fish N Chips that cost $16.50.
More Info: www.caseysirishpub.com | 613 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90017 | (213) 629-2353
The Skinny: My brother had a small get together over the weekend and served us some food. From Whole Food Market, he bought Bucheron Montchevre, Mimolette Young, King Island Seal Bay Triple Cream Cheese, and Mt Sterling Smoked Goat Cheddar. He also got us Scallops, Baby Squid, really sweet Honey Melons, and Prosciutto.
The Good: Everything was great, especially the King Island Seal Bay Triple Cream Cheese. It was like really good Brie because it was creamy, gooey, and had just enough saltiness.
The Bad: The Bucheron Montchevre was a really gamey Goat Cheese and it just wasn’t for me.
The Skinny: St. George Spirits is a distillery founded in 1982 in San Francisco by Jörg Rupf who studied at UC Berkley after receiving a grant from the German Government. Their Absinthe is a product that does away with the sugar cube and allows drinkers to sip and enjoy the botanical flavors of the Spirit with just a few ice cubes. It’s made from Brandy, Star Anise, Mint, Wormwood, Lemon Balm, Hyssop, Meadowsweet, Basil, Fennel, Tarragon And Stinging Nettles.
The Good: It’s strong, very flavorful, and I was warm and fuzzy in the tummy.
The Bad: It’s strong, very flavorful, and my brother is missing an ear. I’m not a fan of stuff that tastes like Black Licorice.
Would you drink it again? No thank you…Plus the hallucinogenic qualities of the Wormwood is a myth.
BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Just kidding…………………..or am I?
More Info: www.stgeorgespirits.com | You can find it at Bevmo for around 80 bucks.
The Skinny: In one night, I went to a gastropub in Eagle Rock called The Oinkster and stopped by The Black Boar, a no frills bar. Then on whim, I ended my evening at The Pitfire Pizza Company that’s located in between Culver City and Venice Beach.
Oinkster is popular hipster-ish restaurant that got spotlighted by Guy Fieri on his show Drives, Dives, and Diners. The establishment is known for their Pastrami and BBQ Pulled Pork sandwiches.
The Black Boar is an Irish style pub I Yelped and went to after eating at the Oinkster.
The Pitfire Pizza Company is a relatively new and trendy place that had a live DJ, wooden decor, Sangrias, and really good Pizza Bread.
The Oinkster: Since I went here with some friends, I was able to trade one half of my BBQ Pulled Pork for his “Oinkster Pastrami.” The sandwiches came as a combo with Belgian Fries, a nice dill pickle, and my choice of a hoppy Eagle Rock beer on tap. The BBQ Pulled Pork is described as being brined in Soy and Honey and then slowly roasted and smoked. It came packaged with a Red Cabbage Slaw, Caramelized Onions and BBQ Sauce. While my friend preferred the Pastrami that came pretty much built the same way, except without the BBQ Sauce and with Gruyere Cheese, I liked the Pork more. It could have been because it was the first thing I ate while it was still hot, so all the flavors just felt that much more comforting. When I got to the Pastrami, it was cold and falling apart and it didn’t have the same flavor impact as the Pulled Pork did. It was still good, peppery and full of fatty goodness with the Slaw complimenting everything else. The Belgian style Fries came with Garlic Aioli, and they were pretty addictive. I also love the fact they have an outdoor seating area where I can drink beer openly during a nice Spring evening.
The Black Boar: The Black Boar is a pub not too far from The Oinkster. Inside it the interior and vibe is that of an Irish bar, with dart boards, a Foosball table, old Celtic letterings everywhere, and left over St. Patty’s Day whiskey promos still hanging from the ceilings. I liked the place and the indie rock music they had playing on the jukebox. It’s the kind of bar I wish I had near my house so I can be a regular. However their mixed drinks were watered down, but it’s forgivable because my friend had ordered a girly one in a seemingly no frills kind of bar. Plus, the dark haired bartender girl with a nose ring was hot!
The Pitfire Pizza Company: I wasn’t really expecting to go here, but my friend decided on a whim to try it out for the first time after we talked about pizzas we had and loved in Los Angeles. When we got there, the atmosphere reminded me of my design school years with the interior being in a big open area and the kitchen in plain view sight. While we were waiting in line to order, the DJ was playing Foster The People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” as industrial lights guided us to the cashier lady. It was cool, the atmosphere made me feel young again.
My friend and I ordered a pitcher of Sangria and two small Pizzas, one with Wild Arugula and the other with Pumpkin Squash. Both were delicious. The Arugula pizza seemed to have very few ingredients, even with the haystack size greens on top. The Burrata Cheese, Tomato Sauce, Caramelized Onio, Hazelnut , and Pesto Drizzle that were on it, all worked well together (or at least I thought since I was kind buzzed) on the light and airy Pizza Bread. The Pumpkin Squash Farmers Market special had the good kind of cheese that actually stretched as you pull away from a bite. These days, in order for Pizza chains to deliver 5 dollar specials, they opt for the cottage cheese kind that is texturely mushy even when hot. Pitfire Pizza’s seems to be doing it right, with their fresh hippie like ingredients, that delicious pizza dough formula, and their art student music playing in the background. Oh…and the Sangria was a bit too fruit punchy, but good enough to make me stumble as I walked out.
The Oinkster: None really.
The Black Boar: The only thing that doesn’t really bother me is the watered down mixed drinks. No biggy though, since all I was drinking was Jameson.
The Pitfire Pizza Company: While the Pumpkin Squash Pizza was tasty, the special ingredient was hardly noticeable. It was a bit too subtle. I think maybe if they caramelized the pieces of Squash a bit before cooking the pie in the oven, it would’ve tasted just a little bit better.
Would you come back again? Sure x 3.
More Info: TheOinkster: 2005 Colorado Blvd. Eagle Rock, CA 90041 | Expect to pay about 15 bucks for a Sandwich with a Beer and Fries. | The Black Boar: 1630 Colorado Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90041 | The Jameson cost me 7 bucks per order | The Pitfire Pizza Company: 2018 Westwood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90035 | Expect to pay 10 bucks for a Small Pie & 15 for a pitcher of Sangria.
The Skinny: I have been blessed to try 9 restaurants on the MGM Grand property seeing what they have to offer for good eats. This is part 1 of that dine around with 4 restaurants on the board. First stop: Joel Robuchon. This is the one restaurant I’ve been told is a MUST try once in your lifetime. That’s absolutely a restaurant I want my rich husband to take me too. lol Second stop: Shibuya, one of my favorites Japanese Restaurants on the strip. Extensive sake selection! Third stop: Fiamma. This is a trendy Italian restaurant equipped with a fireplace in the middle of their lounge. Fiamma is designed to be seen, so if you want to be noticed, this would probably be the best place to go. Final stop for the evening: Diegos. Great place for you and the girls or even you and the guys to go hang out and grab a margarita before going out. See the high for more details of all these restaurants
Joel Robuchon: The minute you walk into that restaurant is amazing, with the amazing chandeliers & purple velvet upholstry, down to the beautiful table settings. For a lot of people I’m sure they’ll feel misplaced, this IS a high end Forbes 5 star restaurant so yes it’s an intimate, elegant atmosphere. Joel Robuchon is definitely for a more of a sophisticated palate. They came over to the table to show us their bread cart and explained which seemed like a hundred different types of bread, but really it was like maybe 10 or so? Then he came over with the awesome butter display, I don’t know what they do but the bread + butter was amazing. I could’ve just ate that all night alone. Then came the “lobster ravioli” Small bite in the middle of a dinner plate. It was delicious. I didn’t see it on their online menu to give you a description. That mini experience makes me want to go back for the full Joel Robuchon experience…..even if it’s for $400 per person. Remember: It’s a once in a lifetime experience.
Shibuya: Inspired by Tokyo’s Shibuya district, this is a the ultimate Japanese dining experience. Aside from the sushi bar, and regular dining tables they have 3 teppanyaki tables in the back of the restaurant. They also have an extensive Sake list. I tried the KANI SALAD (King, Snow and River Crab, Pickeled Cucumber, Seaweed, Lotus Chips). This dish is definitely unique as it is served on top of a fish bowl….yes! with a live beta fish swimming around while you’re eating the goods placed in a cone shaped bowl on top. I also tried the AUSTRALIAN KOBE BEEF TATAKI (Lemon Tamari Soy, Garlic Chips, Red Onion, Tarragon Oil) I LOVE beef tataki if it’s made right. This was good, I’ve definitely had better, but still great nonetheless. The sake I had to accompany all these good eats was the Junmai Ginjo. When I first took a whiff of it it had a fruity smell to it, and when I took a taste it, it was one of the best easy to drink sakes I’ve ever tasted. Definitely recommend having this with your dinner.
Fiamma: Traditional Italian recipes in a trendy fine dining atmosphere. This is my kind of place. I had tried their food at this event I went to called Wet Your Appetite during Restaurant Week and it was my favorite. I had the GNOCCHI ALL’ARAGOSTA (Soft Potato Dumplings With Maine Lobster Mushroom and Black Truffle) This is everyone’s favorite out of the whole night, but then again you can get me to fall in love with anything that has black truffle. The gnocchi was just the right texture, some restaurants make it too chewy or too mushy. Fiamma did it just right. We also had a vegetarian dish that had a spinach stuffing in these little handkerchief pastas w/ marinara sauce. I liked this dish too, but the gnocchi get the trophy for the evening. The restaurant has a very “sexy” feel to it. The restaurant is pretty open and faces the restaurant row so everyone that walks by sees you. You definitely don’t want to look broke eating in that restaurant. The lounge area is pretty nice too, has a nice big fireplace right in the middle of the lounge. If you’re tired of the nightclubs in Las Vegas, this would be a cool place to hang out, people watch and have a few drinks.
Diegos: Your traditional mexican recipes with a twist. The table side guacamole is THE BEST!! I LOVE Guac and I’m very particular about my guac. By far Diego is the best. All fresh ingredients prepared table side. Diegos has 125 different 100% agave tequila lables…..need I say more? If tequila is your friend, this is the place to be. They have this unique waterfall slide right in the middle of the restaurant. It’s definitely a fun non traditional atmosphere.
The Low: Shibuya: The last dish I tried was YELLOWTAIL SASHIMI (Shichimi Pepper, Garlic Ginger, Yuzu Juice). This wasn’t the most memorable dish that’s why I put it as a low. It really isn’t too much of a low because it was still good, it’s just not something I’d order at a hotel Japanese restaurant. I like to try something I can’t get anywhere else. Give me something different, something unique…..like the fish bowl Kani 🙂
Would you come back again? I loved all 4 restaurants and only having a taste of each restaurant, I absolutely want to go back and try the full experience.
More Info: Joel-Robuchon-French-Restaurant // Shibuya-Japanese-Restaurant // Fiamma-Italian-Restaurant-Bar // Diego-Mexican-Restaurant// Diego’s has a happy hour! Available at Bar & Lounge Area Only: Sunday through Thursday 4:00 P.M. – 5:30 P.M. They also have Latin nights Friday & Saturdays.
– Sniper Tam *Pew Pew Pew*