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The Sandwich Smith | Downtown Los Angeles

we were pretty excited when we heard about the sandwich smith opening up in little tokyo.

the food:

i ordered the buttermilk fried chicken sandwich with garlic aioli, lettuce and grilled onions.  it was huge and fell apart when I tried to eat it.  you could easily just split a sandwich with someone and you would be fine. first bite of my sandwich was good.  since there was so much mayo, i got sick of the sandwich pretty fast.

Sandwich Smith | Los AngelesSandwich Smith | Los AngelesSandwich Smith | Los Angeles

kyle got a much heavier sandwich on their doughnut bun with the habanero lime dressing.  again, it the sandwich was ok…short of amazing. we wish the bun was better.  the habanero lime dressing wasn’t too spicy either.

Sandwich Smith | Los Angeles

one thing I would also like to point out is that the sandwich smith operates using the counter ordering style (where there is a sheet of ingredients and you make your own sandwich).  this may attract some but deter many others.  there wasn’t a special list of sandwiches for you to choose from.  i think having a signature sandwich is what keeps people coming back.

Sandwich Smith | Los Angeles

we got the macaroni salad as a side per the recommendation of the cashier.  it was tasteless.  we had to add salt and pepper (lots of it) in order for it to be decent.

Sandwich Smith | Los Angeles

atmosphere:  décor is modern and open.  it has so much potential.

Sandwich Smith | Los AngelesSandwich Smith | Los Angeles

  • parking:  this place is at the heart of little tokyo in downtown.  if you are lucky, you will find metered street parking (free on sundays).  if you are like us, you will have to pay for one of those outdoor parking lots or structures for $5-8.  not ideal but its downtown.  I wouldn’t expect anything less.
  • service:  service was very friendly.  it was us and two other people in the restaurant that morning.  they were pretty patient with us after we told them it was our first time.  they also let us taste a few things before ordering it… we appreciated it.
  • overall:  the sandwich smith was okay.  sandwiches were decent.  to be honest, this it will be hard for this place to compete with places like mendocino farms for the downtown la lunch crowd.  the sandwiches here are heavier, moderately priced ($10 a sandwich) and short of outstanding.  not to mention, there is great japanese food in little tokyo.  so, if you are little tokyo, you probably already have your sights set on ramen, shabu shabu, or sushi.   long way of saying…no one should go out of their way to come here and that there is a slim chance we would come back here.

The Sandwich Smith
362 E 1st St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Neighborhoods: Downtown, Little Tokyo
Cuisine: Sandwiches

The Sandwich Smith on Urbanspoon

By |August 8th, 2013|Food, Photography, Restaurants|0 Comments

FishBar | Manhattan Beach, CA

it has been beautiful weather lately so we decided to go to manhattan beach for our first beach day of the summer!  since we don’t hang out in south bay too often…that just means another food adventure for us!

we went to fishbar in manhattan beach for brunch/lunch looking for a light meal (light…yeah right).  what we ordered:

seared ahi tuna tacos – recommended by our waitress.  this was good. keep in mind that the sauce is a sweet chili kind of sauce…so it is an asian inspired taco.  get this if you are looking for something light and tasty.

FishBar Manhattan Beach

new england clam chowder – this one i really enjoyed.  one of the best clam chowders I have had (no, really.  It rocks and everyone a our table agreed). one of the perks of being married to kyle is that he loves to get clam chowder every where he goes…just like how i like to get the lobster roll everywhere I go.   anyway, I have had my fair share of clam chowder… and this is definitely great.  tastes great. temperature was great.  nothing in it was overpowering (ahem, like bacon).  not too thick but not watery (nasty) and there was a decent amount of clams in it.  my favorite thing that we got.

FishBar Manhattan Beach

baja fish taco  – our friend really enjoyed this.  fish was fresh and did not have a ton of batter on it. ja feel? ja definitely feel?

FishBar Manhattan Beach

lobster hash – i didn’t really taste this one since i am not a fan of eggs… but our friend said it was one of his favorite meals.  this is one of the heavier items you can order here.

FishBar Manhattan Beach

bloody mary – this was fishbar’s big thing.  an award winning bloody mary.  yep da bomb.  the presentation itself is pretty impressive.  It comes with a piece of bacon in it… you know you’ve scored a solid drink if there is bacon in it! you must get this.  oh, for happy hour…I know they have a great deal on this. (oh, and that’s goldman)

FishBar | Manhattan BeachFishBar Manhattan BeachFishBar | Manhattan Beach

lobster roll – (yep) this was good.  i thought it was outshined a little bit by the other dishes but kyle actually really liked the lobster roll here.

FishBar Manhattan Beach

french toast bread pudding – to be honest, i don’t know why we got this since we were all stuffed and we had to stay sexy for the beach (that was a joke. there is no sexiness going on up in here).  i do enjoy a good bread pudding.  was it good?  yes.  was it the best?  no, but it is still good.  i’m used to enjoying bread pudding as one hot, solid piece (mushed together?).  mushed together is probably not the right word…but this is more like monkey bread where there are distinct pieces of the bread held together by probably butter?  this was also on the drier side compared to other bread puddings out there.  topped with berries and a sweet sauce, this was a nice dessert to share.  note that this is not the best thing for you if you are working on that physic.

FishBar Manhattan Beach

  • atmosphere:  fishbar is laid back…like much of the rest of manhattan beach.  pretty good amount of tvs at the bar…so I could definitely see myself watching a football game here if I were a local. decent size restaurant.  I think you can easily roll in with 6-8…however, since it has a lot of booths, I can see rolling in with more than that…would be somewhat difficult unless you wanted to split up.  just pointing it out.
  • parking:  a mess.  parking in manhattan beach is just always an ordeal.  we were on the prowl for a 40 minutes before we found something pretty far away.
  • service:  our waitress was pretty amazing.  attentive. fast…and funny.  spot on with the recommendations. we appreciate it.
  • overall:  we had a great time at fishbar.  this is a great, laid back seafood restaurant near the beach.  perfect for the sunday we went here. good seafood and great service.  we will be coming back here.

FishBar

3801 Highland Ave
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
Neighborhood: Manhattan Beach

Cuisine: Seafood

Fishbar on Urbanspoon

By |August 1st, 2013|Food, Photography, Restaurants|1 Comment

Café Beaujolais | Eagle Rock, CA

we just found this place while trying to figure out what to eat on a sunday night.  cuisine:  french.  occasion:  date night.  we decided on this place since it got great reviews for both food and service. plus, we don’t have a french local restaurant to call our own…why not?

Café Beaujolais | Eagle RockCafé Beaujolais | Eagle RockCafé Beaujolais | Eagle RockCafé Beaujolais | Eagle Rockhere is what we ordered:

bay shrimp and scallops in béchamel ($9) – this was delicious.  we’ve never had béchamel before…it was described to us a a white sauce and the mother of all sauces.  sounds heavenly, right? delicious and perfect size.  can i eat you every day?

Café Beaujolais | Eagle RockCafé Beaujolais | Eagle Rock

french onion soup ($9) – good but was outshined by the seafood béchamel.  when i come back, i would probably try one of their other appetizers.  that top of the soup is layered on with a thick, thick cheese.

Café Beaujolais | Eagle RockCafé Beaujolais | Eagle Rock

oven baked halibut in champagne sauce and a parmesan crust ($24) – this was good. don’t skimp out of the orange bitters, it goes very well with the parm crust and the fish.  i do have to say that i was pretty done half way through…since this is actually not a light dish (you know how halibut usually is?).  the combination of the parm crust (which is actually thicker than i expected probably because the fish is dependent on the parm flavor) and the champagne sauce… delicious but heavy.

Café Beaujolais | Eagle RockCafé Beaujolais | Eagle Rock

flamed filet mignon in port sauce and blue cheese ($25) – this one surprised me!  meat was tender and the port sauce was pretty awesome.  we asked for medium rare.  it was more toward the medium side than the rare side but it was still very tender.  i would definitely get this again probably without the blue cheese since i’m not a huge fan. kyle loved this one and cleaned house.

Café Beaujolais | Eagle RockCafé Beaujolais | Eagle Rock

three things that i would want you to know about this place:

  1. plating was very pretty here.
  2. things i would get again without thinking twice:  the béchamel and the filet mignon.
  3. keep in mind:  if you go here, expect a simple, comforting french meal. flavors were very simple and everything we got was good (french onion soup) – very good (béchamel).

Café Beaujolais | Eagle RockCafé Beaujolais | Eagle RockCafé Beaujolais | Eagle Rock

atmosphere:  cheerful / laid back. i think everyone here speaks french. authentic, eh?  we opted to sit outside since it was still light outside at 7:45pm!  hence we only glanced inside the restaurant, which was dark with dim lights.

Café Beaujolais | Eagle Rock

service: friendly and efficient. sometimes when you sit outside, you get forgotten by your waiter.  nope, not here.  they checked on us every 7-10 minutes and made sure our water glasses were filled.

there’s a sign at the entrance letting you know that they take their time cooking. when i saw this, i took it as a warning sign (i was starving…and a little borderline hangry).  however, the timing of the apps and the main dishes were great.  no complaints.  thought it flowed nicely (the timing and transition from the appetizers to the main dishes).   you know, if you’re into that sort of thing.

parking:  street parking wasn’t an issue.

overall:  we had a wonderful meal.  our bill came out to $73 for the two of us.  definitely not an every day meal but not bad considering how much food we got, the superb quality and the great service.  we want to come back and try all the other things on their menu…and we want to bring our friends.  i think this would be a perfect place to enjoy a bottle of wine with friends.

oh, one tip:  try your hardest not to eat too much of the bread they put at your table… you will get full and regret it.

1712 Colorado Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90041
Neighborhood: Eagle Rock

Cafe Beaujolais on Urbanspoon

By |July 12th, 2013|Food, Restaurants|5 Comments

Mole @ Rocio’s | Sun Valley, CA

Rocio's Mole De Los Dioses

after having delicious mole experiences (here and here), we (i kid. its only me. kyle hates mole.) have been on the search for great mole in our hood.  if you search “mole in los angeles”, rocio’s mole de los dioses comes up.  actually, rocio’s was listed as #1 in laweekly’s blog.  we came here one saturday for lunch.  so. excited. two things they are known for: the variety of moles and cactus tortillas (pictured above).

Rocio's Mole De Los Dioses

since there were so many different kinds of mole, we decided to start with the mole sampler to help us make our decision on our main entrée.  the max was 5 moles or salsa of your choice for $10.  our waiter said he would do 6 for us since it was our first time (we later found out that he ended up charging us $15 for 6.  not a good deal at all).  our sampler standouts (commentary to follow):

  • mole oaxaqueno – this was their famous one. an award winner.
  • mole mancha-manteles – this was their smoky flavored one.
  • mole verde – we got this because it was supposed to be spicy.  
  • mole poblano – the mole you usually find in restaurants.

Rocio's Mole De Los Dioses

we got a complementary soup as a starter.  it’s a shrimp/lime broth.  it was light.  i thought it was ok. nothing spectacular. based on the waiters recommendation, we got two drinks:  the horchata and the pineapple cactus agua fresca.  the horchata is definitely different.  it was topped with pumpkin seeds and is not your regular cinnamon drink. my pineapple cactus agua fresca… eh.  we weren’t huge fans of the drink recommendations.

Rocio's | Sun ValleyRocio's Mole De Los DiosesRocio's Mole De Los DiosesRocio's Mole De Los Dioses

onto the mole:  they were good.  not great or near the best.  my favorite was the poblano and kyle liked the verde (it is pretty spicy). the oaxaqueno was good.  i actually thought the cactus tortillas took away from the mole…

since everyone has been raving about this place, i was expecting to be blown away.  i do give it to rocio.  there are a lot of varieties of mole.  more so than any other restaurant.  but not all of them are great.  and the few that are good, either compare to other places or rate slightly below.  we actually got full off the sampler so decided not to order an entrée.

Rocio's Mole De Los DiosesRocio's Mole De Los DiosesRocio's Mole De Los Dioses

  • parking:  easy street parking
  • service:  was ok.  i was surprised when the waiter said he could add on another mole to our 5-mole sampler and then charged us $15 for 6 when it was $9 for 5.  that was a turnoff.
  • atmosphere:  we opted for outdoor seating.  decor was ok.  nothing you will fall in love with.  when we came for lunch, it was not close to crowded.  it was just us and another couple.
  • overall: i have to start off by stating the bad. we noticed a few ants on our mole tray as the waiter put the food down. ugh. i know. complete turnoff because it is a little unsanitary.  our waiter saw them but didn’t wipe them off or acknowledge them.  but we thought, not biggie it’s just ants. however, since the mole was short of amazing, putting up with ants on our plate was not worth it.  you know what i’m saying?  i know a lot of people love this place… maybe we just came on a bad day. will we be back?  probably not.

Rocio’s Mole De Los Dioses
8255 Sunland Blvd
Sun Valley, CA 91352
Neighborhoods: Sun Valley, North Hollywood

Rocio's Mole de Los Dioses on Urbanspoon

By |July 6th, 2013|Food, Photography, Restaurants|2 Comments

Slaters 50/50 | Pasadena, CA

Slater's 50/50

i have been waiting to try you, slaters 50/50.  a few people have recommended that i come here since i love burgers.  50% bacon, 50% beef…obviously we are in.  next great thing, they are in pasadena! so close!

Slaters 50/50 | PasadenaSlater's 50/50Slater's 50/50

what we ordered:

  • the 6-app plate: fries, sweet potato fries, fried dill pickle chips, beer battered onion rings, beer battered jalapenos, fried bacon mac ‘n cheese balls
  • the flamin’ hot – beer battered jalapenos, fire roasted green chilies, pepper jack cheese and chipotle adobo mayo on a white brioche.
  • peanut butter & jellousy – bacon, peanut butter and strawberry jelly on a honey wheat bun.  apparently this is one of the popular ones and is award winning.  obviously we had to get this!
  • fire 50/50: it was their special.  all i know is that it had habaneros in it… so spicy!

Slater's 50/50 Slater's 50/50

so i knew but didnt know how much they love bacon here… they have bacon salt.  bacon salt. oh and did you know they also have bacon ketchup?  kyle’s version of heaven.

Slater's 50/50 Slater's 50/50Slater's 50/50Slater's 50/50

we got a tremendous amount of appetizers since we were all indecisive.  the apps came piled high…and deeply fried.  oh, and each came with their own sauce!

  • bacon ketchup w/the fries:  i thought this was ok.  i still like good ol’ ketchup.  is there such a thing as too much bacon? 
  • pumpkin sauce w/the sweet potato fries:  not a fan of this sweet pumpkin sauce…too sweet w/ the sweet potato fries.
  • original mustard sauce w/fried dill pickles:  going to be honest for the fried dill pickles, i just used the tapatio ranch.
  • house-made bbq w/everything:  yep. this was my favorite sauce!  a great, great sweet bbq sauce.  so good.
  • cilantro-lime sour cream w/fried jalapenos:  pretty yummy.
  • tapatio ranch:  great with everything as well.

Slater's 50/50Slater's 50/50

the fire 50/50.  it was very good.  spicy, juicy, great bun.  a very good burger. the flamin’ burger was just ok.  i definitely liked the fire 50/50 better.  it was more flavorful and a lot hotter.  did i mention that these burgers are huge?!

Slater's 50/50

the peanut butter & jellousy. i was skeptical about this one.  but it actually went well together.  flavors were great and texture didnt weird me out.  its like the maple bacon donut…you are weirded out at first but then you realize the ingredient compliment each other.  this is that case.  however, would i get it for myself?  probably not.  it was nice to have my own fire 50/50 and take a bite of the peanut butter & jellousy burger.

Slater's 50/50

  • parking: metered street or parking structures available in old town pasadena.
  • atmosphere:  this place gets packed for dinner.  good thing we came slightly earlier than the normal dinner crowd.
  • service:  pretty efficient.  food came out quickly.  water service was good too (i needed this since i was eating habaneros)
  • overall:  so this is more of a bj’s / counter feel.  this is not your average gourmet burger joint.  but i enjoy that and i would come here again.  i definitely dont see myself getting the 6-apps again because that was a little much but i was a huge fan of the bbq sauce. maybe next time get it on my burger? yes!

a few tips:

  • all burgers are weighed after they are cooked.
  • they give you the option of making your own burger. (like the counter)

Slaters 50/50
61 N Raymond Ave
Pasadena, CA 91103
Neighborhood: Pasadena

Slater's 50/50 on Urbanspoon

By |July 4th, 2013|Food, Photography, Restaurants|6 Comments
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