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: The 2nd day of our company retreat, we had our conference at the Meeting Halls in The Venetian & Palazzo. There we were was served a small buffet for lunch. The theme of the meal was Italian, which makes sense since we were at the Venetian. Not sure how often the menu changes or what the rotation is like, but what we got for that day can be see in the gallery.
The High: The Chicken Consume with Shiitake Mushrooms, Meatballs, and Ditalini was very comforting, especially after a night of little sleep. However, whatever herbs they added to the Meatballs, it was a little strong for me. The Roasted Beet Salad was delicious, but the Cavateli Pasta with Rock Shrimp, Parmasean, and Vinaigrette stood out the most for me. It was my first time having Italian dumpling like Pasta like that since it was thick and toothsome , kind of like fried Udon Noodles. The Shrimp bits that came with it were full of flavor and the Sundried Tomatoes gave the overall dish some well welcomed sweetness and a nice earthy fragrance.
The Low: The Seared Bone in Chicken Breasts were beyond dry. I felt pretty guilty because I didn’t finish mine and there were a lot of half eaten and untouched bird carcasses leftover. Such a waste.
Would you come back again? Probably won’t get a chance to, but I think the overall quality of the meal was better than The Wicked Spoon.
More Info: Venetian Meetings
The Skinny: Our last night at the Ventetian for our company retreat was spent at Bouchon. We were all given a budget of $70 per person that would be used for dinner. This would be my second time at the Thomas Keller restaurant chain, so I knew what to expect.
Since one of my co-worker and I wanted some Seafood, we decided to combine our budget and get the Grand Plateau Seafood platter ($110); and share the Poulet Roti ($29.50) with some Mac & Cheese. The Grand Plateau comes with 1 whole Lobster, 16 Oysters, 8 Shrimp, 8 Clams, 9 Mussels, seasonal Crab, and a special selection. The Poulet Roti itself is a roasted Chicken with Chanterelle Mushrooms, Caramelized Figs, Pickled Ramps and Chicken Jus.
The High: The Grand Paleau was a gluttenous dream come true. It was fresh, clean, and an evil tower of Shellfish with Cocktail, Vinegar, and Horsradish sauces on the side. The petite Lobster I shared was sweet and the Oysters were briny like the sea. I didn’t really care for the Mussels and Clams though.
I wish I could remember what the Poulet Roti and the sauce it came with, tasted like, but for once in Las Vegas, the Chicken wasn’t dry at all. I also barely remember what the Mac & Cheese was like, but it was cheesy and gooey and had a nice crust on top.
I guess Two Much Food and Gin & Tonics numbs out the pallet….and memory.
The Low: I was about to say, I got nothing and that everything was solid, but then I realized… we didn’t get any “seasonal crab” or that “special selection.” I think we got jibbed, but I have to admit, we didn’t really need the extra Crustaceans.
Would you come back again? Sure, why not!
More Info: Bouchon Bistro | 3355 South Las Vegas | Boulevard, Las Vegas – (702) 414-6200
The Skinny: The last and final restaurant I wanted to try inside the Cosmopolitan. When my friend from LA said he wanted Japanese food, I automatically thought of this restaurant. A bunch of my co-workers had been raving about this chicken dish so I had to try it. Blue Ribbon participated in Restaurant Week, so what a great time to try it! The pre-set menu was $50 and it consisted of:
- First Course:
Choice of: Miso Soup ~OR~ Hijiki Salad
- Second Course:
Chef’s Choice of Assorted Sushi
- Third Course:
Choice of: Braised Short Ribs with Celery Root Puree & Truffle Teriyaki ~OR~ Fried Chicken “Blue Ribbon Style” (which was fried chicken with a spicy seasoning accompanied with honey wasabi sauce)
- Fourth Course:
Choice of: Ginger Bread Pudding ~OR~ Green Tea Cream Brulee
My friend and I tried one of each of the first course, we both were not fans of either. Second course you can’t go wrong with. It was a spicy tuna roll, one piece of salmon nigiri & one piece of tuna nigiri. Third Course, my friend had the braised short ribs and I tried the fried chicken. Both were delicious.
The Good: Great atmosphere. Has a traditional yet trendy feel to it. Service was really good, food came out in a timely manner. I LOVED the honey wasabi sauce for the chicken. It was a sweet sauce with a kick. The wasabi wasn’t overpowering at all.
The Bad: A little too expensive for what it is, in my opinion at least. A bowl of shishito for $10 when I can buy it at the store for $2? Yea, kind of ruins it when you know exactly how much the dish really costs. The Ginger Bread Pudding was disgusting! I know it says it in the description GINGER bread pudding, but I thought it was ginger bread cookie type of pudding. Nope, had chunks of ginger root in it, almost made me throw up. My own personal experience, I just REALLY dislike ginger. So imagine the one thing you hate most, eating that dish with it in it not knowing it’s in there. Good thing that wasn’t the second course or it would’ve ruined my whole dinner.
Would you come back again? Probably not, unless they had something like the Restaurant week at that price, it’s a little to expensive for me for Japanese food. I’d rather spend my money at Yellowtail at the Bellagio
More Info: Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill Las Vegas | 3708 Las Vegas Boulevard South | Las Vegas, NV 89109 | This is a splurge restaurant.
– Sniper Tam
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
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.
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.