The Skinny: So yesterday (12/1/11) I went to Echo Park to go watch Jamie Woon perform at The Echo. Initially I was going to go there by myself, but I ended up with two guests who wanted to go eat dinner. We ended up eating at Xoia Vietnamese Eats. It would be my second time. (1st time here.)
I ordered the Mi Quang which is a “Hoi An specialty! Wide yellow rice noodles served w/ seasoned shrimp and pork, lettuce, bean sprouts, sprinkles of crushed peanuts, banana blossom, fresh mints, sesame crackers in a shrimp/pork broth.” I also got some Spring Rolls with Beef and Shrimp in it.
The Good: I never had Spring Rolls with Srhimp and Beef before, so that was something different. It reminded me of Bulgogi (Korean marinated beef), especially with some Soybean leaves mixed into the other greens and bean sprouts.
The Mi Quang was a little sweet, sour, fishy, crunchy, and kind of healthy tasting, if there is such a thing. The waitress mentioned that the broth in it would have a concentrated flavor of Shrimp and Pork, but I think it was a bit too subtle for my taste buds.
The Bad: The Mi Quang left me with wanting more and it made me regret not ordering the Pho.
Also, Jamie Woon….not very good live…..
Would you come back again? Yup! Even though Xoia kind of has a fusion theme going, their dishes seem legit in it’s Vietnamese authenticity. So I still need to try their Pho and the Bahn Mi on their secret menu that has an runny egg on top. Also, one of the waitresses was really…..realllllly……cute, and what she wore that night….wow. 😡
More Info: www.xoiaeats.com | 1801 W Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026
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: 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.
p.s. pics taken with my android smartphone….sooooo….yeahhh
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.
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: Over Labor Day weekend I went to Redondo Beach Pier for some Seafood with my mom. She wanted to get this flat Fish that’s kind of like a small Halibut, (not sure what it is….it could just be a baby Halibut), but the price per pound was ridiculous. At the Redondo Beach Crab House, it was $30 something for a pound of that fish, and each one was no less than 4. So we settled for some Fried Clams with Fries, a $45 Sashimi platter, Nakji Bokum (A Spicy Korean Octopus dish) with cold Somen Noodles, and a bottle of Hite.
The Sashimi Platter comes with Baby Abalone, Tuna, Halibut, Hamachi, Salmon, Red Snapper and some of the Flat Fish my mom wanted. The restaurant also provided us with some Ban-chan (Korean side dishes), fresh Lettuce to wrap stuff up, and some chopped up Sea Squirt….which I didn’t touch.
The Good: The Sashimi Platter was actually a whole lot better than I was expecting. The thick slices of Fish seemed fresh, especially the Salmon, which was sweet and fatty. If the Sashimi selections came prepackaged in vacuum sealed plastic bag from China, I couldn’t tell. The Nakji Bokum was also very good and tasty. The Octopus was cooked just right, which made them very tender and sweet. The sauce it came with was a lot spicier than I was expecting, but the cool Somen Noodles and extra veggies helped balance the heat out.
The Bad: The fried breaded Clams wasn’t really needed but I just wanted something fried at the time. They were a bit dry and only a little bit clamy, but they weren’t awful.
Would you come back again? Not really….but the view was good.
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.