Just another WordPress.com site

Italian

Little Tokyo: Fat Spoon

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Skinny:  So I learned about the Fat Spoon from another food blog called Weezermonkey.  The blogger had an Uni (Seah Urchin) Croquette, loved it, and that’s what I wanted for lunch today.  Unfortunately for me, when I went there with some coworkers, they did not have any in supply to fry up for me.  So instead, the waiter recommended their Uni Pasta special, so I went with that.

The Fat Spoon is a new restaurant in Little Tokyo that serves Japanese style Curry, Croquette, and Pastas just like the Curry House chain.  It’s right next door to the popular Daikokuya Ramen house and I’m pretty sure that Fat Spoon is owned by Aburiya Toranoko, which itself is somehow connected to the people at Lazy Ox.  I could be wrong though.

The High: One of my coworkers ordered some Mini Corn Dogs as an appetizer.  They were actually pretty good because the Hot Dog they used had a good meaty bite to them, while the Ketchup it came with had a bold Steak Sauce kick.

The Bad:  When Uni is good, it’s really good, but when it’s bad, it’s really really bad.  From what people tell me and what I’ve experienced, fresh Uni tastes sweet and like the ocean.  Well, my Uni Pasta did taste like the ocean, but without the sweet and saltiness of the sea.  There were slivers of Uni still in intact throughout the dish, but they were quite bitter and a bit off-putting.  The Pasta sauce was creamy but bland, I literally had to drown my bowl with grated Parmesan just to add some salty depth.  The only redeeming things about the Pasta dish was the mixed Mushrooms that serve as a meaty texture component, and the Spaghetti Noodles, which were cooked just right.

Would you come back again?  In retrospect, I should have got the Curry since that’s what they are known for.  So next time, I’ll order that….but I won’t be in any rush.

More Info:  Yelp | Address: 329 E 1st St | Los Angeles, CA 90012  | They serve Beer and Shochu | The Uni Pasta cost me $14, but on average, every other dish costs around $10.

– MJ

p.s. pics taken with my android smartphone….sooooo….yeahhh


Las Vegas part 1: The Wicked Spoon @ the Cosmopolitan

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Skinny:  For a company retreat, my coworkers and I stayed at the Venetian in las Vegas. Our first night there we porked out at the Wicked Spoon which is a buffet located at the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino.  This would be my first time there.

From what I heard, what sets the Wicked Spoon apart from other buffets located on the Vegas strip is the way they have a diverse selection of portion size dishes already plated out.   For example, they’ll have Southern style Shrimp N Grits or some braised Short Ribs with Pasta  in their own personal size copper pots.  But like all of the other buffets, they have a Prime Rib, Pasta, Sushi, and other International food stations set up.

The Wicked Spoon buffet is also known for their Dessert and Gelato selections.

The High:  Of all the stuff I tried, which was a lot, the three things that really stood out for me were the Fried Chicken Wings with Mash Potatoes, Crawfish with a Coconut Sauce, and the Bone Marrow.  I was also enjoying the small Mussels with Andoie Sausages, but I bit into one that was full of gunk and soil.  That bite pretty much killed my appetite.

As for desserts, I did try the PBJ Gelato and it was good.  The Chocolate covered Strawberries and Purple-ish Macaroon with Berries stuffed inside, were alright as well.

The Low: Other than that one bad Mussel, the General Tao Chicken had a heavy dosage of Soy Sauce. It was pretty awful.  As I grow older, I’m becoming less of a fan of buffets in general.

Would you come back again?  Not really.

More Info:  Wicked Spoon Buffet |  $22 for Brunch and $35 for Dinner.

– MJ


Las Vegas Part 2: The Venetian | The Palazzo Meeting Halls

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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 

MJ


Salami at Claro’s Italian Market

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Skinny: A cousin of mine gave my brother some mouth melting Salami.

The Good: The thinly sliced Salami was delicious, fatty, salty, and melted away after each chew.  It also looked cool and like something you see underneath a microscope during science class in High School.

The Bad: No clue what it’s called.

Would you eat it again? If I can find it!

More Info: My cousin found the Salami at Claro’s Italian Market.   It’s about 7 bucks a pound and the stuff is imported.  Visit the Claro’s website for store locations.

MJ


Giuliano’s Delicatessen & Bakery

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Skinny: Ever Since I was a little kid and first moved to Torrance I’ve become increasingly attached to this Amazing Italian Deli.  The delicatessen has tons of Italian meats, cheeses, pastas, sauces, etc.  And they serve some of the most legit sandwiches in Southern California.  Giuliano’s has it it all; whether you’re looking to get lunch or buy some ingredients for an amazing Italian home cooked dinner…

The High: Since 6 years old I’ve been obsessed with their Torpedo Sandwich.  It’s an amazingly perfect balance of Italian Salamis and Meats with Cheese, Lettuce, Pepperoncinis, and Fresh Baked bread…YUMMM,  The meat is cut perfect and melts in your mouth as it mixes with the cheese and Italian dressing(that you need to add) as you take each bite.  It’s comfort food…it’s gourmet comfort food I guess, because this definitely ain’t some plain ‘ol Bologna sandwich. I Feel Strongly that the key to this sandwich is in the Bread….and yes the bread is amazing and can be purchased in store and even delivered if you have a business that needs amazing breads.

The Low: The Torpedo Sandwich is amazing.  It’s the only thing I order here and I’ve tried other stuff there which is also really good, but there is nothing quite like a good torpedo.  I’d say the worst thing about this place is that it’s in Torrance and I live in LA now….and have yet to find an Italian Deli that can match the Zen like balance of this Sandwich…So I can only satisfy this craving when I visit friends and family out there.

Would I go to again? I’ve been going here since I was 6….nuff said.

More info:
Torrance
 3849 Torrance Blvd. 
Torrance, CA 90503
 | (310) 540 – 2500
Redondo Beach
 1700 N Aviation Blvd
. Redondo Beach, CA 90746 | 
(310) 376 – 0416
Gardena
 1138 W Gardena Blvd. 
Gardena, CA 90247
 | (310) 323 – 6990

Echo


Las Vegas: MGM Wolfgang Puck

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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!*


The MGM Grand Food Crawl – Part 1

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

The High:

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*