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Bottomless Brunch @ Zengo | Santa Monica, CA

Zengo | Santa MonicaZengo | Santa Monica

bottomless brunch at zengo.  thats what happened when we tried to go to sonoma wine garden and it was a 2 and a half hour wait.  brunch is served 11:30 to 3pm (3 hour limit). $35 a person and includes brunch cocktails.  as far as cocktails, we ordered it all: lychee bellini, sake sangria, traditional and mango mimosa.  all amazing but my favorite is the lychee bellini.  our waiter suggested that he just start bringing out everything on the menu so that we can taste it all but we had the option to reorder things we loved.  literally the food just kept on flowing.

Zengo Santa Monica

steak benedict with kimchee.  kyle and i obviously did not eat this because we hate eggs but our friends thought it was ehh. housemade meatballs with ginger and garlic, on the other hand, were good.

Zengo | Santa MonicaZengo | Santa Monica

carnitas hash was very tasty (regardless of the egg on top).  kind of wish we got more of this.

Zengo | Santa Monica

angry zengo roll was ok.  its not going to be the best sushi roll you have ever tasted especially since there are so many other things on this menu you should get.  like for instance, the thai chicken empanadas!  probably the best thing on this menu! unexpectedly delicious! you must get a few orders of this one!  we would come back just for this empanada.

Zengo Santa Monica

roasted chicken omelette was just an omelette.

Zengo | Santa Monica

we, along with everyone else opted to sit outside on this nice beautiful day. note that this restaurant is on the third floor of santa monica place (aka the outdoor mall) so it is not on the beach but near it.  if you can, sit outside.

Zengo | Santa MonicaZengo | Santa Monica

roasted chicken satay was just ok.  the salmon with ponzu sauce was on the dry side so we didnt order this after the first plate.

Zengo | Santa Monica

yuca fries…you can never go wrong with fries.  especially if they have a dual dipping sauce.  we got plenty of this.

Zengo | Santa Monica

here it comes!  the second favorite of the day:  the sliders.  we ordered this probably four times.  (we know) by the time we got the tofu with sesame chili sauce, we were stuffed.  i dont think anyone really touched this one. we were looking forward to the bacon fried rice but it was just decent and nothing out of this world.

Zengo Santa MonicaZengo | Santa MonicaIMG_1261aZengo | Santa Monica

last but not least, pan dulce.  mexican sweet bread with cinnamon whipped cream.  amazing.  perfect finish to a three hour meal.  notable mention should go to the ceviche.  it was pretty good but we just never took a picture of it.

  • location/atmosphere:  perfect on a nice sunny day.  outdoor seating is the best part in my opinion.  
  • parking: we just parked in the structure connected to third street.
  • service: friendly and relatively fast during the three hours.  during the first hour, our waiter was faster to get dishes out to us compared to the last two hours (we had to remind him to get us some dishes).
  • food: overall, everything here is good.  some dishes were mediocre and then there are dishes such as the empanadas and the hash that definitely stand out.  (we would come back for those empanadas and the dessert fo sho)  food is obviously on the heavier side.  we ended up not eating dinner after this glutton fest. so be prepared.
  • price:  all the food you get and endless cocktails, make it completely worth the $35 you drop.
  • overall:  we started recommending this place to everyone! we love it.

Zengo
395 Santa Monica Pl
Santa Monica, CA 90401

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By |April 1st, 2013|Dessert, Food, Restaurants|0 Comments

Bear Flag Fish Company | Newport Beach, CA

we never actually venture out to newport beach often.  so when we had to meet someone in newport beach, we took the opportunity to eat at bear flag fish company. fresh seafood at reasonable prices…near the beach? no wonder so many people rave about this place. it immediately reminded us of a modern version of places we ate in hawaii.

Bear Flag Fish Company

here is what we ordered:

  • fish taco – yum.  try the special sauce.
  • clam chowder – thought this was pretty good.  
  • salmon poke – good but have had better.  kyle was a little weirded out by the tortilla chips with poke.  i had no issues with this.

Bear Flag Fish CompanyBear Flag Fish CompanyBear Flag Fish CompanyBear Flag Fish Company

  • food:  very fresh seafood.
  • prices: our total bill came out to $22.  not bad at all.
  • parking: the lot was full when we got there so had to find street parking.
  • service: we ordered at the counter and sat ourselves.  fast and efficient.
  • atmosphere:  small, clean.  long communal tables on the inside with some patio seating outside.

Bear Flag Fish Company
407 31st street
newport beach, ca 92663

Bear Flag Fish Co. on Urbanspoon

By |March 24th, 2013|Food, Restaurants|2 Comments

Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Cafe | Los Olivos, CA

after our full day of vineyard adventures in santa barbara, we decided to have dinner at los olivos wine merchant & cafe (after reading a bunch of reviews).  immediately fell in love with the place just from the outside!  we had to wait 15 minutes for our table so we roamed the streets and found awesome lawn chairs.

Los Olivos Wine Merchant & CafeLos Olivos Wine Merchant & Cafe

i ordered the ravioli, which they make in-house.  mushrooms, ricotta, cream and parmesan ($16, a steal!).  it was delicious! it’s on the hardy side given the creamy sauce but it hit the spot after a long day. this was the best thing we ordered. you have to get this.

Los Olivos Wine Merchant & CafeLos Olivos Wine Merchant & Cafe

skuna bay salmon – grilled, ricotta-butternut pot stickers, shiitake mushrooms, roasted brussel sprouts.  the fish was very well cooked. $27 though? not worth it.

Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Cafe

kyle and goldman got the orecchiette with roasted garlic, house-made chicken sausage, oven dried tomato, parmesan, fresh herbs.  this was good but nothing out of this world.  i wish it had stronger flavors.  in my opinion, $18 was a little on the high side but this dish is large.  i’d go with the ravioli.

Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Cafe

  • food: food is middle to high price range.
  • atmosphere:  very nice, classy restaurant.  white table cloth. large wine selection although we didnt order any.
  • service: pretty good.  attentive
  • parking: ample street parking on a very quaint street
  • overall: i would come back.  it was a lovely place to end a wonderful day at the vineyards.

Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Café
2879 Grand Avenue
Los Olivos, CA 93441

Los Olivos Cafe on Urbanspoon

By |March 22nd, 2013|California, Food, Restaurants, Santa Barbara, Travel|0 Comments

Wine Tasting | Santa Barbara, CA

so when it got a little sunnier, warmer…we took a mini trip to santa barbara to go wine tasting. first stop: paula’s pancake house in solvang for some breakfast.

Paula's Pancake HousePaula's Pancake House Paula's Pancake House Paula's Pancake House

we ordered the ortega special.  roast beef, jack cheese, green chili on a sourdough bread.  it was ok.  we also ordered the paula’s special danish pancakes topped with apples and fresh whipped cream.  this was my first time eating a danish pancake.  it was pretty much a lighter pancake! i really enjoyed the texture.  wished the the whipped cream was a little sweeter (it was on the bland side) and next time would definitely order berries…not apples.

Paula's Pancake HousePaula's Pancake HousePaula's Pancake House

paula’s pancake house
1531 mission dr
solvang, ca 93463

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based on a brochure we picked up and some good ol’ interest research, 4 vineyards per day was considered plenty.  4 vineyards was definitely the magic number.  it was the perfect amount of time at each one just lounging and learning about wine.  here’s where we went:

  • imagine wine
  • carr winery
  • roblar winery (because it has some food)
  • brander winery

first stop: imagine wine.  met ross.  learned about wine, his family, his start, local art, and drank some pretty good wines.  we loved it.   the tasting room looks like an art gallery.  lots of natural light. wine tasting is $10  and you get to try 5 wines.

fell in love with the chadonnay and bought some bottles.  oh, one of their wines is called the panty dropper (we know, we felt the same way)  this was a great start to the day.  we would recommend coming here for sure.  say hi to ross for us.

Imagine Wine Santa BarbaraImagine Wine Santa BarbaraImagine Wine Santa Barbara

imagine winery
3563 numancia st #103
santa ynez, ca 93460

next stop was next door to carr winery.  wine tasting room was darker, colder, dark woods high ceilings and a shuffleboard (yes!).  our host was pretty awesome.  wine flights were $10.  not to mention, they also have wine on tap. a pretty cool place (also on the younger side) to just hang out and enjoy wine with friends.

Carr Winery Santa Barbara Carr Winery Santa Barbara

carr winery
3563 numancia st. #101
santa ynez, ca 93460

Carr Winery on Urbanspoon

we picked roblar because they had food w/ wine pairing. we definitely needed food at this point. gorgeous place.  we sat next to the fire place on some comfy couches and enjoyed some food and wine.

Roblar Winery Santa BarbaraRoblar Winery Santa BarbaraRoblar Winery Santa BarbaraRoblar Winery Santa Barbara

we went with the trio package ($20) – tastings of three featured wines paired with three hors d’oeuvres.  we liked the wonton, pork was dry and the pears were ok.  for the four of us, we just ordered two packages.  this was definitely enough.

Roblar Winery Santa BarbaraRoblar Winery Santa BarbaraRoblar Winery Santa Barbara

we couldnt resist.  we had to take jumping pictures in the beautiful vineyard.

Roblar Winery Santa Barbara

very pretty winery.  would we come back?  probably not because there are so many other wineries we would want to try.  the wine was ok.  nothing very memorable (we didnt buy any here).  food was ok.  you would definitely be going here for the atmosphere.

roblar winery
3010 roblar ave.
santa ynez, ca 93460

Roblar Winery on Urbanspoon

last stop: brander vineyard.  we spent quite some time here taking pictures because the property itself is very charming. classic flight with a logo glass $10.

Brander Winery Santa BarbaraBrander Winery Santa BarbaraBrander Winery Santa BarbaraBrander Winery Santa Barbara

we loved the staff. very friendly and helpful.  wine was good.  they are known for their sauvignon blanc.  we were fans.

IMG_0722Brander Winery Santa BarbaraBrander Winery Santa BarbaraBrander Winery Santa BarbaraBrander Winery Santa BarbaraBrander Winery Santa BarbaraBrander Winery Santa BarbaraBrander Winery Santa BarbaraBrander Winery Santa Barbara

i would definitely come back to you, brander vineyard.

brander vineyard
2401 refugio road
los olivos, ca 93441

Brander Vineyard on Urbanspoon

it was nice getting away…and wine is always better with friends.  thank you, santa barbara.

By |March 18th, 2013|California, Food, Friends, Restaurants, Santa Barbara, Travel|0 Comments

Bludso’s Bar & Que | West Hollywood, CA

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came here opening weekend.  we have had bludso’s on our list (the compton location) but have never tried it.  we obviously expected a long wait and huge crowds.  we were sat in 45 minutes.  not bad.  the meat came out fast and piled on a tray. oh yeah, it’s amazing.  we were not disappointed.  they have some pretty dang good bbq here.  we liked the ribs (especially with the spicy bbq sauce) and the mac and cheese.

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not fans of the corn bread and the brisket is definitely a hit or miss.  some of the pieces were uber soft…others were very dry.  our damage:

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  • pros:  wait was long but food came out fast.  we loved our waitress.  great service – prompt, enthusiastic, great water service, and great recommendations.
  • cons: parking isnt the greatest.  the bartender is extremely slow.

bbq is definitely good here.  in my opinion, better than baby blue’s bbq and gus’.  fall off the bone?  No, not really.  are you going to be mind blown?  no.  is your tummy going to be happy?  we think yes.

Bludso’s Bar & Que
609 north la brea ave
los angeles, ca 90036

Bludso's Bar & Que on Urbanspoon

By |March 6th, 2013|Food, Photography, Restaurants|5 Comments
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